Brighton and Hove

5o Shades of Pain

Jul 30, 2012
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50 Shades of Pain

Pain is pain, right? Wrong!  Pain can come in a variety of situations, can feel very different and can be slight or severe.  One person’s experience of pain is often very different from another’s.  There are many factors that affect how a person experiences and reacts to pain ranging from their previous experiences of pain to their psychological state at the time they are suffering.

Different structures in the body cause different types of pain.  For example, pain of a muscular origin will behave in a fairly predictable way.  We are all familiar with muscular pain after a long walk or a hard session at the gym and we know that the pain and stiffness is often worse the second day but that it is then likely to ease quickly after that.

Most people will be able to differentiate stomach ache from back pain and neck pain from a headache but there are some types of pain that are hard to tie down.  People often struggle to put their finger on exactly where the pain is in certain shoulder problems.  They know it hurts but can’t quite work out exactly where.

We have all bashed our funny bone at one time or another (which is actually our ulnar nerve, not a bone) and have therefore experienced radiating pain.  Once the nerve is irritated we experience pain, tingling and some numbness in the little and ring fingers despite the fact that nothing has happened to those fingers.  This is because the nerve impulses are interrupted at the elbow and the signals that arrive in the brain are interpreted as pain and altered sensation.

We can also experience referred pain from organs that are suffering in a completely different place to where the organ is.  People who have heart attacks experience pain in their left arm and their throat neither of which overlie the structure of the heart.  The gallbladder, which sits just underneath the liver, can refer pain to the tip of the right shoulder and problems with the function of the lower back and pelvis can be mistaken for knee pain or groin pain.

Often symptoms we see in the clinic are made up of several different aspects and types of pain.  For example, many people we see complaining of lower back pain find they have quite a sharp pain in a very specific area of their back but also have a constant ache in a larger, more diffuse area and stiffness when they try to move.  This may well be because the affected joint in the back is inflamed and therefore causes acute pain when the joint moves whilst the muscles surrounding the area are very tight from trying to protect the joint and cause the aching pain and stiffness.

By finding out which pain is which we can create a much better understanding of the problem and in doing so provide much better and accurately targeted treatment to get rid of the pain.  Once the pain is gone you are free to do … whatever you want with your body!

Breaking News….Exercise is Good for you …. Imagine That!

Jul 19, 2012
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Breaking News …. Exercise is Good for You … Imagine That!

In the news today new research is telling us that inactivity is responsible for almost as many deaths each year as smoking!  That’s about 5.3 million deaths worldwide per year.

We have always known that exercise is good for us.  Plato said “Lack of activity destroys the good condition of every human being while movement and methodical physical exercise save it and preserve it”. But too often we hear excuses for not doing exercise such as not having time or enough money.

I suspect that also people have become scared of exercise, that is to say that when they think of exercise they think of gyms, Lycra and top class athletes that they must emulate.  They see themselves and think “I can’t be like them, I’m so unfit that I couldn’t possibly even get started!”

But we don’t have to run for miles, pump iron in the gym, join a triathlon club or buy a step machine.  If we look at the current health guidelines we should be doing two and a half hours of moderate intensity, aerobic and muscular strengthening exercise.  That equates to less than 26 minutes per day spread over the week.

Exercise can mean anything that raises the heart rate and gets you a bit out of breath.  Walking the dog, going up stairs, gardening, playing with children and even sex all count as exercise.  In fact for human beings exercise as we know it these days is quite an alien concept.  After all sitting still whilst driving several miles to the gym then running on the spot on a treadmill going nowhere for half an hour is completely nuts if you think about it!

According to the Lancet it is about using the body that we have in the way it was designed, which is to walk often, run sometimes, and move in ways where we physically exert ourselves regularly whether that is at work, at home, in transport to and from places, or during leisure time in our daily lives.

So let’s try to think about exercise in a different way.  What if you went for a walk in the evening for twenty minutes, ten minutes from the house and back?  Throughout the working week you would have done an hour and forty minutes exercise already.  Add to that walking up the stairs in the car park rather than taking the lift on Saturday afternoon in town and a bit of vigorous weeding in the garden on Sunday and you are just about there.

People often see exercise as a way to lose weight or get fit for the summer but let’s start to see it for what it should be – for health.  Exercise helps to make your heart stronger, helps to prevent many cancers, tones up muscles preventing back and neck pain and can really help to relieve stress and depression and ultimately helps you live a longer, healthier life.

So let’s all get outside a bit – especially if the weather is about to get better as they promise.  Make a small change and see the benefits – you can always make more changes later.  Let’s get healthier!

BUPA’s Plans to Change Osteopathy

Jul 11, 2012
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BUPA’s Changes and How They Affect You

In April this year, Bupa announced that they are changing the arrangements for osteopaths who treat members of Bupa. The conditions in the new contract are so onerous, that many osteopaths are planning to withdraw from offering consultations under Bupa cover.

Even if you are currently covered for treatment by your own osteopath under Bupa, there is no guarantee that this will continue and the number of osteopaths accepting Bupa insurance in your area may well be severely reduced.

Bupa’s new terms & conditions will mean that, in future, you may not be able to choose the osteopath you wish to see.

So why is this happening?

There are several areas that these changes affect…

Fees

Bupa is offering to pay below the present fee scales for many osteopaths, especially in the London & the Southeast where the costs of running a practice are higher. They are also preventing patients from making up the difference between their present osteopath’s fees & what Bupa is
prepared to pay – i.e. they are not allowing patients to “top up” the fees.

Administration

The new requirements will mean a massive increase in the amount of time that your osteopath has to spend in filling in forms for Bupa about your claim, your diagnosis, the treatment that you receive & your response to that treatment. This will cut down the time your osteopath has to do what they do best – treating patients such as yourself.

Treatment

Osteopaths treat patients as individuals. Although your osteopath may diagnose that you have a particular problem, the treatment they provide to each patient is as unique as you are. We believe that your osteopath, having taken a case history and performed an examination, is in the best position to decide the treatment that you need. Without knowing you or ever having seen you as a patient, Bupa is trying to dictate what treatment your osteopath is allowed to give you.

No osteopath wants to stop providing treatment under your cover, but many feel that these changes make it impossible for them to give you the care you need.

For more information follow this link http://www.save-osteopathy-on-bupa.org/

The Seven Ages of Back Pain

May 30, 2012
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The Seven Ages of Back Pain

The lower back works hard when we lift and we all know that we should be lifting correctly but sometimes it’s just not that easy especially when children are concerned!

1. During pregnancyAs the baby grows your centre of gravity begins to shift and the core muscles get stretched making it more difficult for them to support the lower back during the lifting process.  Extra laxity in the ligaments also means that the lower back and pelvis is in danger of having an acute episode.  Common areas of pain are to one side of the spine or at the top of the buttock.2. With a newbornWhen the baby is small you would imagine that lifting is easy but there is a lot of paraphernalia that goes with a newborn.  The pram, the changing bag, the car seat, not to mention bending to the cot or Moses basket to pick up a distressed child.  Then there is the carrying – all parents will know the subconscious and mildly disturbing rocking that occurs (even when you are not holding the baby).  Holding even a very light infant for prolonged periods of time is very hard work for the muscles of the arms, shoulders, neck and back especially if you are not accustomed to doing so.

3. Pre-toddlers The baby is getting his or her personality and becoming heavier as they are eating more solid food and building their own muscles by learning to crawl and stand.  The lifting required has also changed.  Heavier lifting and often from the floor (or under the table!) means that it may not be possible to get in the correct position to lift making it more likely that your back will suffer.

4. ToddlersEven heavier and now a new challenge … walking and running.  This means you have to keep an eye on them at all times and often have to grab them before they run off in the street or bolt for the hot cup of coffee.  Now your body ends up contorting itself wildly to halt a weighty, fast moving child – recipe for disaster in back terms.

5. Pre-schoolHopefully the children will now be a little more obedient and are not so prone to running off and due to their walking ability and weight lifting becomes heavier but more infrequent and of shorter duration.  Up onto the kitchen counter to put a plaster on a skinned knee and up over country gates when required.  Cuddles are done sitting down though hauling a child up onto your lap from the ground can put an enormous strain on the sacro-iliac joints in the pelvis.

6. School YearsLifting of children is seldom required now but there are bikes to get in and out of the boot of the car and play fights to have on the living room floor.  The child is too heavy to lift now apart from the odd piggy back when its really muddy or way past bed time.  There is also more time now to get back into the sports and activities you used to do but remember you have not done them for quite a long time and adjust the intensity and duration of the exercise accordingly.

7. GrandparentsFar from being immune from the pain children can cause to a back the grandparents can be in even more danger if they are not around all the time.  Children grow quickly and if you don’t lift them regularly your back will not be ‘match fit’ and the shock to the back and neck can be significant when an excited child launches themselves at you upon arrival at your house.

Fortunately, at Back to Health we understand the pain being a parent can cause. And we can help you get back to being pain free – as you like it!

Odd Things You Can Do With Your Body # 1

May 9, 2012
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ODD THINGS YOU CAN DO WITH YOUR BODY # 1
Make your arms float
Standing in a doorway, allow your arms to come away from your sides until they meet the doorframe.  Now push firmly out wards against the frame and keep the pressure up for a minute.  When you release the pressure and walk out of the doorframe your arms will feel like they are floating upwards.
WHY?
The reason for this is that you are performing an isometric muscle contraction with the Deltoid muscle.  That is to say that you are asking the muscle to contract but not letting it shorten.  By holding the contraction you are reinforcing the neural signals to push the arms outwards.  At the same time there is the phenomenon of synergistic muscles which causes one muscle to relax as another contracts.  For example, when you bend your arm at the elbow you need the bicep to contract but you also need the tricep (at the back of the arm) to relax.  If they both contracted together the arm would not move.
THE RESULT!
When you walk out from the doorway the neural stimulation causes the deltoid muscles to continue contracting to a small degree and the synergistic muscles are inhibited making the arms feel as though they are floating upwards.

Deltoid Muscle

  • Not sure if osteopathy is for you?

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