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Northampton Osteopaths News

6th December 2014

Walk In Clinic

To busy to come and sort out that pain and injury in the week?  Try our Saturday morning Walk In Clinic!  No appointment needed, just come along - could be the best thing you will do this weekend!

7th May 2014

A WALK IN THE PARK...FREE POSTURE ANALYSIS

If you're free for an hour on Saturday 24th May at 12noon, why not come and meet the team at Delapre Cafe and take advantage of our FREE posture analysis with our Osteopath Jo Blair and enjoy a short walk around the park with us....everyone welcome!!!  Click on the link for more information   Hope to see you there!! 

24th April 2014

Helpful Hints

Often it is confusing as to what you should be doing in the event of an injury.  The helpful hints pages are a guide to some of the first aid that you can use at home.  By no means are these exclusive or exhaustive but a simple yet effective aid to some pain management.  Should any symptoms worsen, your first port of call should be your medical practitioner. 

Osteopathic or medical treatment should be sought following any prolonged symptoms as this usually means your body is unable to rectify the injured area without help.

 

ICE AND HEAT - WHICH ONE?

Ice and heat are a common first aid tool.  More often than not people will apply heat rather than ice since the heat is more soothing and applying ice is less comfortable.  It isn't necessarily wrong but thought should be given as to why either one is used. 

ICE

In the event of an acute injury, there is usually swelling around the joint/muscle area and here ice should be used to minimise further swelling and to reduce inflammation which is a physiological response to an injury.  Apply for approximately 20 minutes for the first 48 hours of injury.

Ice is also used to minimise chronic injuries where muscles are overused for example in repetitive strain.  Here ice should be applied after any activity to calm any inflammation to the tendons or muscles.

HEAT

With chronic conditons, heat is more useful in relaxing and loosening tissues so blood circulation is improved to the local area.  It is also useful in repetitive strain type conditions before activity as the warmth allows the muscle to have more elasticity.

CONTRAST BATHING - ICE & HEAT

At times using both ice and heat can be extremely useful in pain management.  Dependant on the area  the best tools for this is an ice pack and a hot water bottle or a cold/hot flannel. 

Application:  ice for 10 minutes follow with heat for 10 minutes and end with ice for 10 minutes.

This allows the blood flow to constrict during ice application and on applying the heat, the blood vessels dilate quickly which pumps the blood through allowing a flushing of toxics whilst letting a fresh blood supply to area.  Ending with ice lets the body heat the area slowly and thus allows tissues to be nourished slowly for regeneration.

15th April 2014

Pain Management

Pain relief is an essential part of recovery. It works by blocking pain signals to the brain by intefering with them so that you can carry on with your usual activities.

Many individuals are reluctant to take painkillers when injured for fear of "masking" the pain and therefore damaging further.   This is not the case as with pain present you are unable to function normally and allowing pain relief to the body helps with activities thus continuing general circulation which the body needs to help with repairing the injured area.

There are two types commonly used:

non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAIDs) eg, ibuprofen, diclofenac.  They offer pain relief whilst lowering fevers and working against inflammation.

painkillers eg, paracetamol, panadol and codiene based pain killers.  These offer pain relief and reduce fevers but do not help with inflammation.

The difference in the two is that NSAIDs also have the side effect of thinning the blood and can therefore affect blood clotting.  Heart patients are commonly advised to take aspirin along with their heart medications and NSAIDS are not suitable for these patients. Paracetamol does not thin the blood like NSAIDs, but it can cause liver damage when taken improperly. It is often found in other drugs like sinus medication and cold medicines, so those with liver and kidney issues should check the labels of all painkillers.

Painkillers are an effective pain management and if taken as prescribed can often help with symptoms. Occasionally, it is useful to have a session of osteopathic treatment to restore the blood circulation to local areas for the painkillers to be more effective.

PLEASE NOTE: YOU SHOULD ALWAYS CONSULT YOUR GP/PHARMACIST BEFORE TRYING ANY NEW MEDICATIONS/DRUGS. 

10th April 2014

RSI (or occupational overuse syndrome, work-related upper limb injury)...

is caused is caused by repeated overuse and injury to the muscles of the hands, wrists, arms or shoulders. For example, constant movement of the fingers by a typist or musician causes stress on the tissues at a microscopic level. This triggers molecular changes such as the release of chemicals which attempt to limit or repair any damage. But sometimes this ability of the body to protect itself is outstripped by prolonged repetitive movement, and injury to the tissues - RSI – becomes established.

Symptoms

Symptoms of RSI may take months, even years, to appear. Initially, only a slight ache may be felt. As the problem gets worse, there's more marked pain while performing the repeated activity - when typing, for example.

 
Once the problem has become severe, pain may be felt most of the time, even with the slightest movement.
 
One or both upper limbs may be affected, depending on which is used to perform the activity responsible for the problem. As well as the pain, numbness and tingling may make holding objects difficult.
 
The risk of RSI is increased by spending long periods without a break, sitting on an uncomfortable seat, at a poorly arranged workstation.
 
At work, the computer keyboard and mouse are often responsible for RSI. Home computers, video games and text messaging also increase the risk. Workers on factory assembly lines, musicians, dressmakers and cleaners are also more likely to develop RSI.

Symptoms of RSI may take months, even years, to appear. Initially, only a slight ache may be felt. As the problem gets worse, there's more marked pain while performing the repeated activity - when typing, for example. Once the problem has become severe, pain may be felt most of the time, even with the slightest movement. One or both upper limbs may be affected, depending on which is used to perform the activity responsible for the problem. As well as the pain, numbness and tingling may make holding objects difficult. The risk of RSI is increased by spending long periods without a break, sitting on an uncomfortable seat, at a poorly arranged workstation. At work, the computer keyboard and mouse are often responsible for RSI. Home computers, video games and text messaging also increase the risk. Workers on factory assembly lines, musicians, dressmakers and cleaners are also more likely to develop RSI.

Treatment and recovery

Treatment of RSI may include:

Rest of the affected area

Painkillers and anti-inflammatory drugs

Heat and cold packs

Elastic wrist supports or firm wrist splints

Osteopathy, acupuncture, exercises rehabilitation etc.

You can reduce your risk of RSI by warming up and cooling down the muscles used, taking regular breaks throughout the day, having an appropriate workstation and seating position, and practising relaxation. If your job puts you at risk of RSI you should seek out expert advice on prevention from your osteopath or other healthcare practitioner. (Source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/health/physical_health/conditions/repetitivestrain1.shtml)

10th April 2014

Stretching and Strengthening

On a general note – we should do both as it keeps the muscle fibres strong and allows them to act as necessary for activities.

When injured, it’s difficult to know what to do.  Again it depends on whether the injured area is in an acute or a chronic state.

Acute – rest it for a few days until the inflammation calms down.  Gently massage and stretch the area to stimulate circulation and ease muscles/tendons.  When you find that you can do a little more with the area, you can start strengthening specific muscles.

Chronic – with chronic conditions which have flared up, you wait until the inflammation has calmed as above.  With a condition that is becoming increasingly restrictive, the brain tends to disconnect itself from the area of pain as it becomes sensitive to the smallest of activities.  One of the first exercises to begin is to awake the proprioceptive nerve endings so there is a feedback of the area to and from the brain.  Once this feedback system is working, stretching and strengthening can begin.

As not all the possible conditions can be covered in this small section, you should discuss your particular condition with the Osteopath who will devise an individual programme for you to work through.  In principle, the idea is not to over-strain the area and to stretch it off enough to allow regeneration muscles.

10th April 2014

In Pregnancy

Everyone has good intentions when you are pregnant and people will give you untold snippets of well meaning advice pertaining to their experience of pregnancy.  As in most cases, your pregnancy is your own and your body will respond to it differently whether you experience a nice breezy pregnancy and labour or one where you are sick, in pain, and end in complications.

There are numerous reasons for a pregnancy to be uncomfortable but it doesn’t have to remain that way.  Osteopathic treatment throughout pregnancy helps you stay comfortable as your body changes with the growing baby.

Some of the discomforts that you could be feeling:

Pain on eating –the viscera has to move around to make room for the growing baby and so it can result in lots of squashed organs like the stomach, intestines etc.  This might give you indigestion, constipation, breathing difficulties etc..  These symptoms can be eased by treating the rib cage and diaphragm area.

Neck, shoulder & back pain – your posture changes dramatically as your “bump” starts to get bigger.  Often these strain patterns change the way your muscles are functioning so tightness in these areas are quite common.

Sciatica – this refers to the sciatic nerve which can get pinched in the lower lumbar joints or in the buttock muscles.  Characteristically the pain is “sharp shooting” in the back of the leg, restricts walking and aches in the night often with pins and needles.  Treatment consists of releasing the lumbar joints and stretching the muscles which are affected by the sciatic nerve.

Symphysis Pubis Dysfunction – this is a common condition in the 3rd trimester of pregnancy and extremely painful and restrictive.  It is caused due to the extra movement available in the joints of the pelvis in pregnancy that are normally not so mobile.  Unfortunately due to the limited pain relief you are allowed, it is difficult for doctors to treat this.  Osteopathic treatment aims to relieve the symptoms of SPD by treating the joints of the pelvis.

Your Osteopath will provide you with the correct advice throughout the different stages of your pregnancy.  Please do not hesitate to contact us if you have any specific questions.

1st March 2014

New premises

Our new premises opened on 1st March. Contact us for details or to make an appointment.