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Love Your Bones – World Osteoporosis Day

Posted on 20th October 2018 by

Today is World Osteoporosis Day.World Osteoporosis day

Osteoporosis is a condition that weakens the bones, causing them to become less dense and therefore more fragile and easily broken.

We will naturally lose some bone density as we age but in some people this occurs more rapidly and is then known as osteoporosis or osteopenia (a milder form). This affects more than 3 million people in the UK and its thought 1 in 2 women and 1 in 5 men over the age of 50 will break a bone due to osteoporosis.

You may be at higher risk of osteoporosis if:

  • You have low body weight or history of anorexia
  • You had an early menopause or hysterectomy
  • You don’t get enough vitamin D and calcium in your diet
  • You smoke or drink over the recommended limit of alcohol a week
  • You’ve had long course of steroid based medication or cancer treatment

Most people don’t know they have osteoporosis until they break a bone but it can be diagnosed by a DEXA scan which looks at your bone density.

If you have osteoporosis your GP may prescribe medications such as alendronic acid which helps slow the breakdown of bone, or calcium and vitamin D supplements which help build new bone. Eating a healthy well-balanced diet and avoid smoking and alcohol are also likely to be beneficial.

Regular weight-bearing and resistance exercises have been shown to help stimulate our bones to grow stronger. The most suitable type of exercise will depend on how much bone density you have already lost, for example younger people with reasonable bone density but several risk factors would benefit from higher impact training such as running, circuit training, tennis and football.

However, if you already have been diagnosed with osteoporosis start with lower impact exercises such as walking, Pilates, tai chi, gentle dance classes and lifting light weights to build your bones up more gradually.

Our Positive Steps classes are a perfect place to start, aimed at the over 60’s we combine seated and standing resistance exercises with balance and flexibility work. With 2 levels of class, small numbers and a fun and relaxed atmosphere you’ll be feeling the benefits straight away.

If you are unsure what’s the best type of exercise for you consult your GP or come along and see one of our Physiotherapists.

World Osteoporosis Day

Osteoporosis Fracture Risk

 

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The Elephant In The Room – MSK Conditions

Posted on 17th October 2018 by

Musculoskeletal conditions: the elephant in the room?MSK Conditions

Conditions of the bones, joints and muscles are a big problem in the UK; with over 17 million people living with a musculoskeletal condition, more people suffer with disability from musculoskeletal conditions than anything else.

Good health of bones, joints and muscles underpins living life well. Musculoskeletal conditions affect nearly everyone at some point in their life. They can cause pain, fatigue, restricted mobility and activities of daily living. They impact people’s lives, their work and even people’s other health conditions. Conditions of the bones, joints and muscles represent a significant cost to the individual, the economy and health and social care.

Acknowledging the problem

Everyone knows conditions like arthritis and back pain are common. But they are often misunderstood and ignored, like the figurative elephant in the room. The solution begins in acknowledging the problem. That’s why we need to shift our mindset and start planning and acting nationally, locally and individually for healthy bones, joints and muscles throughout life.

Large rewards

If we’re brave enough to tackle this big and growing problem, to champion lifelong good musculoskeletal health, there are large rewards! We see it day in day out here at goPhysio – poor MSK health has a huge impact on quality of life. If you invest in your MSK health, like in other areas of your health and wellbeing, you can get more out of life!

Why are MSK conditions the elephant in the room?

From our years of experience, there are many factors!

  • Firstly, MSK conditions often occur gradually or creep up on you. It starts as a niggle or minor ache or pain, that you accept as part of life. You manage it yourself or make small adjustments in your life to compensate. Over time, your pain, stiffness and limited mobility gets worse, but the impact on your life has been so gradual, you don’t really notice until the effects are huge. Suddenly you’re not walking so far, aren’t exercising, avoiding certain activities and you take a look and are shocked what affect it’s had on you.
  • MSK conditions aren’t immediately life threatening. Let’s face it, no matter how painful the condition is, there is nothing immediately at stake aside from quality of life. Subsequently, they aren’t always a high priority. However, this view is very short sighted – because over time, the impact of long standing MSK conditions can have a huge impact. Being less active and living with a painful MSK condition can cause many other issues as there will be knock on effects with mental health, cardiovascular health, maintaining a healthy weight and all the complexities that come with health.
  • Culturally, we’ve been lead to believe the ‘wait and see’ approach is OK! How many times have you heard ‘rest’, ‘take painkillers’ ‘it’ll get better in time’? Funding cuts in the NHS has bread this culture! The truth is, if people had the support, education and correct personalised, professional advice from the early onset of an MSK condition, the issues could be reduced massively.
  • Preventing MSK conditions and the solutions aren’t easy! Everyone now wants the easy option, the quick fix! But preventing and addressing MSK conditions need investment in time and effort. If you could take a magic pill that would solve it – great. But tackling these conditions takes time, there often isn’t a miracle miracle cure. e.g. If you have back pain, there is overwhelming evidence that exercise is the best management. But what do most G.P.s do if you go and see them with back pain? They’ll often advise painkillers and rest as the first step. Take osteoarthritis of the knee. Again, exercise is a highly effective treatment for this condition. But shockingly, many people would rather have a risky operation with no guarantee of a positive outcome than commit time and effort to doing regular, prescribed, specific exercises that would help them.

This week is officially Bone and Joint Week. Hopefully, getting the message out there will help filter out awareness of these conditions, the impact they have on so many people.

World Spine Day

Physio for MSK Conditions

physio for MSK conditions hampshire

#BoneJointWeek


6 Arthritis Myths

Posted on 12th October 2018 by

Today is World Arthritis Day, aiming to raise awareness of the importance of early diagnosis and World arthritis day access to timely, evidence based treatment of rheumatic and musculoskeletal diseases.

Rheumatic and musculoskeletal diseases (RMDs) are commonly classified into inflammatory and non-inflammatory types:

Common non-inflammatory RMDs consist of degenerative spine diseases, osteoarthritis, osteoporosis and fibromyalgia.

Common inflammatory RMDs consist of rheumatoid arthritis, ankylosing spondylitis, reactive arthritis, connective tissue diseases and polymyalgia rheumatica.

There are many myths surrounding these conditions and to shed some light on these, Physiotherapist Gemma has explored them further.

Myth 1: There’s only one type of arthritis

There are several types of arthritis with very different causes, symptoms and treatments. Osteoarthritis is the most common form and is our normal wear and tear as we age. This can give symptoms such as pain, stiffness, and thickening around the joint and typically affects the knees, hips or spine in people over the age of 50. Rheumatoid arthritis is an inflammatory disease that typically starts in younger adults and cause redness, heat, swelling and pain often in the small joints of the hands and feet. There are many other forms including juvenile arthritis and psoriatic arthritis. If you are unsure about your symptoms check with your GP or physiotherapist.

Myth 2: My parents had arthritis so I will get it too

Whilst genetics do play a role in the development of arthritis, lifestyle has a much bigger influence. For example, if you are overweight, with a poor diet and a heavy occupation you may be more likely to develop arthritis than a sibling that is a healthy weight and has good strength in the muscles which help to support their joints.

Myth 3: You shouldn’t exercise if you have arthritis

It’s a common belief that if osteoarthritis is wear and tear in the joint, then further exercise will wear it out more. However, the reverse is actually true. By exercising we are mobilising the joint which helps to relieve stiffness, and we are strengthening the muscles around the joints which can help to support and offload the painful area. Low weight-bearing exercises such as cycling or swimming can be a great place to start if your joints are painful enough to limit the type of exercise you are able to do. Specialist classes such as clinical Pilates or our Active Ageing Exercise classes for older people are a perfect way to exercise with the right support and guidance.

Myth 4: Arthritis is always painful and will get worse as I get older

If you start noticing the symptoms of osteoarthritis there’s a lot of things you can do to help relieve and even abolish the pain yourself. Start simply by using a heat pack such as a hot water bottle or microwavable wheat pack to help ease stiffness and aches. Then begin gentle stretches of the affected joints, you need to do these little and often to be effective, but don’t push into pain.

Consider your diet and exercise levels, extra body weight puts a lot of extra stress and strain on our joints so shedding even a few pounds can help. A physiotherapist can give you personalised advice, hands-on treatment such as joint mobilisations, soft tissue massage, acupuncture and a tailored exercise prescription have all been shown to be effective in relieving the pain of arthritis. We see many patients who remain pain-free and active for years with these simple solutions.

Myth 5: If I have arthritis I will need a joint replacement

Joint replacement surgery is a major operation and always considered a last resort rather than a quick fix. Start by following the tips above and if you still find you are struggling with everyday activities seek advice from your GP. They will be able to organise an x-ray to assess the degree of wear and tear in your affected joint and ask you questions about the types of activities you are struggling with and if you have tried modifying lifestyle factors such as diet, weight and exercise. Remember some unaffected joints may show equal or even worse wear on x-ray but be completely asymptomatic. Therefore, there is no need to undergo the risks of surgery if it is not causing you any pain.

Myth 6: Supplements help

A lot of research has been conducted into supplements such as glucosamine and chrondroitin which are thought to help rebuild damage cartilage in arthritic joints. However, the vast amount of the research in this area is flawed or bias (i.e. research conducted on animals rather than humans, or conducted by the company’s manufacturing the product with a vested interest in positive results). The more recent unbiased research shows these supplements to be no better than a placebo. That said, some people do feel they get some benefit from supplements so consider trying them for up to 3 months to weigh up the cost versus the benefit yourself.

If you need any help or support then please do get in touch. Our team of Clinicians and range of services can really help educate and inform you about your condition and find ways for you to help live with your condition positively.


Productive healthy ageing and MSK health

Posted on 9th January 2018 by

Last month, Public Health England published new guidance, entitled Productive healthy ageing and musculoskeletal (MSK) health.

Over the last few decades, life expectancy has been steadily increasing, with the ONS estimating that by 2041, there will be an 3.2 million people aged 85 years and older in the UK.

The report highlights that older people have an abundance of skills, knowledge and experiences that benefits the wider community greatly, however, the opportunity to utilise these resources is dependent on good health as we age.

Challenge the view that retirement is about sitting more and moving less.

As life expectancy rises, we must promote the concept of productive healthy ageing. This involves many pillars including; financial security, resilience, social activities and physical health.

Productive healthy ageing

Physical Health 

MSK conditions are problems of the bones, joints, muscles and spine, and are a common cause of severe long term pain and physical disability. There are 3 groups of MSK conditions:

  • inflammatory conditions, for example rheumatoid arthritis
  • conditions of MSK pain, for example osteoarthritis, back pain
  • osteoporosis and fragility fractures, for example fracture after fall from standing height

The older a person is, the more likely they are to experience chronic diseases and disabilities such as poor MSK health.

MSK conditions have a massive impact on society.

  • Lower back and neck pain were the leading causes of disability in England from 1990 to 2016.
  • Estimated levels of MSK conditions in England for 2012 also found that 18% and 11% of people aged 45 years and above have knee and hip osteoarthritis, respectively.
  • An estimated 17% of all ages have back pain.
  • Fractures, which are often a consequence of falls, are one of the most serious MSK problems seen in the older population.

There are many risk factors that can increase people’s susceptibility to MSK problems, including age, being overweight or obese, lack of physical activity, and poor health habits such as smoking.

The two risk factors that often coincide are increasing age and reduced physical activity. As people age, they take part in less physical activity

In the 19 to 24 year age group 76.6% of people are physically active compared to 24.7% in individuals aged over 85 years.

Living for longer does not mean a lifetime of pain and ill-health. There are steps that we can take throughout our lives to maintain healthy productive lives, reduce the risk of developing MSK conditions and better manage our health.

Our Top Tips

As a physiotherapy, health & well being clinic, a significant number of the people we see are in the older age range. We see people with MSK conditions such as osteoarthritis, back pain and osteoporosis. We see people concerned about their reducing mobility or with balance problems that mean they are starting to loose their independence. More frequently, we are now seeing people who are really investing in their physical health – listening to the messages the Government are putting out and taking action to reduce the risk and impact of MSK conditions.

Physical activity in adults

So, what are the best ways of tackling physical health as we age?

  1. Stay as active as possible. Simply walking is fantastic, you can make it social or build it into functional tasks such as shopping. Set yourself some walking goals, to increase your distance gradually. Find a variety of physical activities that you enjoy – swimming, specialist classes, yoga or Pilates are all great ideas. It doesn’t matter what you do, the most important thing is that it’s fun and enjoyable, then you’re more likely to make it part of your routine!
  2. Sit less. Don’t be tempted to sit more. Activities such as gardening, going out shopping, looking after grandchildren and cleaning are all wonderful ways to stay active.
  3. Be health conscious. If you’re invited to check up’s at your G.P., don’t put them off. Keeping on top of your general health and managing any conditions you may have, will help with your physical health. You can also have check up’s or health MOT’s through schemes such as Health Works locally. Try and eat well, sleep well and have time for relaxation too!
  4. Keep on top of aches and pains. If you do pick up an injury or an MSK condition such as arthritis is giving you pain or limiting you, seek help. Seeing someone sooner rather than later will help make sure you can stay physically active and recover quickly, so you can continue enjoying life. “Use it or loose it” is a very apt saying as we age. If you can’t keep active due to pain or an injury, you can very quickly loose muscle strength, balance, fitness and flexibility. So it’s really important to be pro-active.

How we help 

We run a range of specialist services for the older residents of Chandlers Ford and surrounding areas of Hampshire. Our core service of physiotherapy is there for you if you want help and relief from pain or an injury. It’s also valuable if you have a diagnosis of an MSK condition such as arthritis or osteoporosis, and want to know more about the condition and be pro-active about managing it.

We also run weekly Positive Steps classes, which are specifically designed exercise classes for older people. They are a relaxed, sociable and fun way to exercise in a supportive environment, led by Clinicians who understand your exact needs and goals. You can try your first class for free, so why not get together with a friend or partner and give it a try!

We also have an extensive Pilates timetable. Our mat classes are ‘Clinical Pilates’, so adapted specifically to work on optimising physical health and run by Clinicians who understand the ageing process and the best way to exercise.

Wherever you find yourself, we’re here to help and support you. Not sure if and how we can help? Just pop in or give us a call and we can have a chat!

 

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Osteoporosis

Posted on 25th May 2017 by

The definition of osteoporosis comes from, ‘Osteo’ – a prefix denoting bone and ‘porosis’ – implying the weakening of a structure or porous bone.

It’s the loss of boney tissue resulting in bones that are weakened and liable to fracture.

Osteoporosis

Who is at risk osteoporosis?

  • Those with low body weight
  • Maternal history of the disease
  • Smokers
  • Excess alcohol consumption
  • Low dietary calcium intake
  • Late puberty
  • History of eating disorders
  • Generally physically inactive
  • High caffeine intake
  • History of steroid use/treatment
  • Previous fractures, particularly after menopause

Who can be affected by osteoporosis?

Worldwide it is estimated that 200 million women suffer from osteoporosis. It is unknown how many men suffer from the disease but it is on the increase. Although it is commonly thought of as an affliction of the older population, it can affect people of all ages. It is more common amongst the white and Asian population and less so in black populations.

What potential problems arise from osteoporosis?

The bones become weakened and result in low bone mass and are, therefore, more susceptible to a fracture. In the UK there are an estimated 60,000 hip, 50,000 wrist and 40,000 spine fractures due to osteoporosis every year.

Other fragility fractures are also associated with osteoporosis e.g. pelvis and upper arm.

1 in 3 women and 1 in 5 men surviving to the age of 80 will suffer a hip fracture.

What are the signs and symptoms of osteoporosis?

It is usually a silent disease until the individual suffers a fracture. However, there are many screening tests that can now be done and if you think you are at risk of osteoporosis from the risk factors above, it is advised to see your GP.

A Colles fracture is a break of the wrist and is most common among women aged between 45 and 65. It is often the first sign of osteoporosis.

Back pain can be a symptom of osteoporosis. Pain in the back can gradually creep up over time and your posture can become noticeably more flexed forwards. Over time, you can lose height too. Episodes of acute back pain which settle after a few weeks can be due to spontaneous vertebral fractures, caused by osteoporosis.

Physiotherapy and osteoporosis

Physiotherapy can have a key role to play in both the treatment and prevention of osteoporosis. There are a number of ways in which we can help.

  • Education on appropriate exercise, posture, diet and lifestyle changes. This can be both to prevent osteoporosis or help minimise it’s impact of you’ve been diagnosed with osteoporosis.
  • Exercises to target vulnerable areas and help keep the bones and joints strong.
  • Core stability and muscle strengthening exercise programmes.
  • Balance exercises to help prevent falls.
  • Advice on water-based exercises to help strengthen core stability, improve range of movement and reduce pain.
  • Ongoing support in order to self-manage the disease in the long term including preventing and managing fractures.

The role of exercise in managing osteoporosis

Weight-bearing exercise is proven to have a positive effect on bone mass.  The less weight that goes through the bones, the more likely they are to weaken further, so weight bearing and resistance exercises play a crucial part. Specific exercise, as prescribed by your physiotherapist, target the vulnerable areas of the body. Through strengthening the muscles and keeping joint stiffness to a minimum, you are less likely to suffer from pain and the risk of fractures may be reduced.

Other exercise to be considered:

We offer a range of services at goPhysio to help support you if you are looking to prevent or minimise the impact of osteoporosis. If you’d like any help or advice, please give us a call.