Osteopathy for pain management

osteoIf you’re experiencing pain on a regular basis, painkillers are not your only option. Osteopathy can address the underlying causes of pain to set you on the road to recovery, without the need for drugs or surgery.

Our osteopaths recognise that when someone experiences pain, it often stems from abnormalities in our body’s structure and function. Osteopaths do not focus on treating individual conditions; rather their practice is based on ensuring that the body’s musculoskeletal framework is physically comfortable and balanced. When treating a patient, an osteopath will take a holistic approach – they believe that your whole body will work well if it is in good structural balance.

Osteopaths have a detailed knowledge of anatomy and physiology and a highly developed sense of touch that they use to detect and release areas of tension or structural imbalance. By detecting and treating problems with muscles, ligaments, nerves and joints, they aim to promote the body’s natural healing ability. They do this using non-invasive techniques including massage and joint articulation and manipulation.

One of the biggest things we do at the Good Health Centre is to work with patients experiencing chronic pain – that’s pain that is felt every day over periods of three months and longer. We take a multi-faceted approach over a number of months to help control a patient’s pain.

Imagine a seesaw with ‘risk factors’ on one side and ‘protective factors’ on the other. We look at a patient’s protective factors – their lifestyle, their diet and nutrition, what kind of mattress they sleep on, their posture and ergonomics, their stress levels and so – and we aim to increase them while minimising the risk factors. For example, we may recommend that a patient with a great deal of tension in their body consider using mindfulness techniques or taking up yoga. Or to another patient we may suggest they replace their old, unsupportive mattress.

At the Good Health Centre we use osteopathy in treatment plans for patients with a variety of muscular and joint pains, as well as problems caused by poor posture. Here are just some of the ailments our osteopaths regularly treat:

  • Lower back pain
  • Neck pain
  • Problems with the shoulder and elbow, including frozen shoulder and tennis elbow
  • Sciatica
  • Arthritic pain
  • Headaches and migraines
  • Discomfort during pregnancy
  • Joint pain, including hip and knee pain from osteoarthritis
  • Neuralgia
  • Fibromyalgia

Our osteopaths also treat many patients who are recovering from a range of sports injuries. We also specialise in cranial osteopathy, which can be used to treat a surprising range of ailments in patients of all ages.

Our practice founder and osteopath Ami helped his patient Uzma whose tendonitis in her shoulder was so severe that she was struggling to get dressed and do other daily activities. Uzma said, “Following my first session with Ami I felt some flexibility return and less pain. I couldn’t believe the improvement! After a further four sessions I have regained more than 90% movement in my shoulder and arm.”

Our osteopath Josh recently helped new mum Kathryne who had been struggling with lower back pain for months following her daughter’s birth. Kathryne said, “I thought it would improve over time but it got progressively worse to the point of absolute agony and I was unable to walk normally. Josh McCollum identified what my problem was and with a combination of treatments my back has massively improved.”

You don’t have to live with pain. Make an appointment to find out how osteopathy could help you on the road to improved health and wellbeing. Call our reception team on 0113 237 1173 or click to request a callback.

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Best foot forward – our advice for taking up walking

imgWe’ve been inspired by many of the celebrities who have completed amazing Sport Relief feats: Radio 1 DJ Greg James completing five triathlons in five days; Alan Shearer and Robbie Savage’s 57 hour five-a-side tournament; and actor and comedian Eddie Izzard completing 27 marathons in the South African heat!

But we reckon it’s comedian Jo Brand’s achievement that could really inspire people, not only to support the Sport Relief fundraising but to make a change in their own lives. Back in February Jo completed a 150 mile coast to coast walk over seven days. Has hearing about 58 year old Jo’s achievement of walking 20+ miles a day for a week inspired you to take up long distance walking?

Walking is undoubtedly a marvellous way of keeping active and getting some regular exercise. It’s a gentle and efficient way to burn calories and control your metabolism. Walking gets you out into the great outdoors and, as with other forms of exercise, releases endorphins that can help protect against stress, anxiety and depression. It’s a mood-booster alright and walking in a group with other people has benefits for fighting depression and loneliness too. Plus it’s been reported that walking regularly can help us live longer.

If you’d like to start walking distances longer than a stroll in the park, our osteopath Josh McCollum has this advice for you.

Walking footwear

As you prepare to take up walking, it’s important to get the correct footwear to help reduce your risk of injury. Get advice from a quality walking equipment store – different walking shoe brands have different benefits and a sales assistant can help you based on your foot shape and the type of terrain you plan to walk on. Gait analysis to help protect your arch may also be recommended.

When choosing your walking shoes, it’s a good idea to go shopping in the middle of the afternoon. This is because our feet expand during the day so waiting until mid afternoon to try on footwear will give a truer picture of how it will feel when you’re out walking.

Other things to remember:

  • Your shoes should be well cushioned.
  • Your feet should be stable – you don’t want your feet to slide about within your shoes.
  • Double skin socks can help to reduce your chance of getting blisters.

Remember to stretch

Warming up and cooling down through stretching are paramount to avoiding an injury, as for other forms of exercise.

After a short warm up and before you head out on your walk, do the following stretches:

Standing quadricep stretch – Face a wall and place one hand on it for support. Bend your leg behind you with your foot towards your buttock and hold your leg by the ankle. Pull your foot closer to your buttock and hold the stretch for 15 seconds. Repeat with your other leg.

Standing calf stretch – Face a wall and place both hands on it for support. With one leg in front and one behind, keep the rear leg straight and bend the front leg at the knee and lean towards the wall, bending your arms. Keep both feet flat on the ground and hold the stretch in the back calf for 15 seconds. Repeat with the other leg.

Standing hamstring stretch – Again facing a wall, put one leg up in front of you with your foot flat on the wall, parallel to the ground. Slowly bend the supporting leg to lower your body until you feel a stretch in the back of your thigh. Hold for 15 seconds and repeat with the other leg.

Plantar fascia stretch – To avoid strain of the fibrous connective tissue on the bottom of the foot, use a water bottle to massage the underneath of your foot. Place the bottle on the floor and roll it backwards and forwards with the bottom of your foot in controlled movements. Repeat with the other foot.

Give your feet some TLC

Caring for your feet properly is key to reducing injury, maintaining your regime and making sure your time out walking is comfortable. Here are Josh’s three very simple tips:

  1. Always dry your feet well after bathing or showering.
  2. Cut your nails regularly.
  3. Choose acrylic socks over cotton ones as they reduce perspiration.

Josh adds, “Remember to start off slowly and build up your speed and endurance gradually. And be realistic with your goal setting – going too hard, too quickly will often end in injury.”

We wish you well on your walking journey, wherever it may take you!


Solgar 7 capsules for sensitive joints

20120402132545_50497_T1_W275_HThis month in the practice we’re promoting the Solgar 7 joint complex supplement. Don’t let stiff or sensitive joints limit your activity when there’s a daily dietary supplement available that can help to increase your mobility, flexibility and range of motion.

Solgar 7 is an award-winning dietary supplement that helps to manage the wear and tear on joints. This once daily capsule contains vitamin C, turmeric root, ginger root and white willow bark in a formula that targets multiple pathways to balance the release of joint enzymes, structurally support collagen building blocks and sensitive joint cartilage, while simultaneously supporting the body’s range of natural motion and flexibility.

Advertised as the next generation after glucosamine supplements, Solgar 7 brings together bio-active nutrients that work together to create a fast acting approach for occasional joint stresses brought on by exercise, sport or any kind of physical activity.

The capsules can help you to stay active, carrying on with activities you enjoy while stiff or sensitive joints recover. Many patients report improvements in their mobility and a decrease in joint pain within seven days of taking Solgar 7.

Solgar 7 capsules contain no gluten, wheat, dairy, soy, yeast, sugar, sodium, artificial flavours, sweeteners, preservatives and colours.

Want to try a one week sample of Solgar 7 capsules for free? Ask your practitioner or the Good Health Centre reception team on your next visit to the practice.

Acupuncture for pain relief

acuAcupuncture can be used to treat a wide range of ailments, from digestive conditions to problems linked to the menopause, from anxiety to chronic fatigue. This ancient system of healing can also be used to relieve and manage pain. At Good Health Centre we use acupuncture to treat patients with all types of pain. Here we take a look at how it works.

Studies have looked at exactly how acupuncture works as pain relief and there are two main theories: one believes that the needles inserted into acupressure points send impulses through the body that travel faster than pain impulses, thereby blocking them. The other believes that treatment by acupuncture releases endorphins into the bloodstream and it is this that helps to relieve pain.

According to the British Acupuncture Council:
“In general, acupuncture is believed to stimulate the nervous system and cause the release of neurochemical messenger molecules. The resulting biochemical changes influence the body’s homeostatic mechanisms, thus promoting physical and emotional well-being. Stimulation of certain acupuncture points has been shown to affect areas of the brain that are known to reduce sensitivity to pain and stress, as well as promoting relaxation and deactivating the ‘analytical’ brain, which is responsible for anxiety.”

The British Acupuncture Council is keen to point out that “an early systematic review of acupuncture for chronic pain found very limited evidence to support it”. However, subsequent studies have found that acupuncture treatment is more effective than no treatment or ‘sham treatment’ for chronic back pain, knee pain and headaches.

We use acupuncture in our individual treatment plans for patients with different types of chronic pain, including lower back pain, pain from arthritis and from sports injuries, nerve pain including trigeminal neuralgia, trapped nerves and sciatica, migraines and tennis elbow. We also feel it can help to relieve pain caused by chronic muscle strains and plantar fasciitis.

The benefits of acupuncture frequently include more than just relief from a particular condition. Many people find that it can also lead to increased energy levels and improved sleep, as well as an enhanced sense of overall wellbeing.

If you’d like to find out more about managing your pain through acupuncture, get in touch with us for help and advice. Call us on 0113 237 1173 to make an appointment.

Our acupuncture practitioners are all registered with The British Acupuncture Council. Find out more about who practices acupuncture at Good Health Centre.

Useful links

The British Acupuncture Council website has a number of factsheets on the use of acupuncture to treat a variety of conditions

Our blog post on the use of complementary therapies in the treatment of migraine.

Our blog post on how complementary therapies can be used to treat whiplash.

The importance and impact of gut health

shutterstock_75469864Recently in the practice we’ve been offering patients advice on digestion and promoting probiotic products that can help to encourage healthy gut bacteria. In this week’s blog post, our nutritional therapist Catherine Barker explains how our gut health can affect all aspects of our physical wellbeing, and offers tips on improving our digestion.

As a practitioner, gut health plays a very important part in my case taking as not only is faulty digestion directly responsible for a large number of digestive disorders, it can also be indirectly responsible for a vast array of seemingly unrelated illnesses.

It is very important to get on top of any digestive symptoms as imbalances here have the potential to affect the whole body. The mucosal lining of the gut is not only for the absorption of nutrients but is also important for the immune system, serving as the first line of defence against pathogens. It also shows the body how to deal with food antigens which may cause allergies and sensitivities.

It is my experience that patients with digestive problems fall into three categories:

  • Poor digestion – inflammation, intoxication, lack of enzymes, lack of stomach acid, lack of good bacteria
  • Poor absorption – leaky gut, allergies, intolerances
  • Poor elimination – clogged up colon and liver detoxification problems.

I see a wide range of patients. With over 20 years’ experience in clinical practice, both in the private sector and the NHS, I have helped people of all ages with both acute and chronic conditions by looking closely at their nutritional health.

Catherine has these daily digestion tips for us all:

  1. Increase your intake of fibre-rich foods in the form of vegetables, beans, lentils and a moderate helping of grains.
  2. Eat fruit separately from other foods as it gets digested quickly. If you do eat it with other food (like protein), this can slow down the digestion of the fruit, and some research has shown the fruit may then start to ferment which in some cases causes gas and bloating.
  3. Don’t eat on the move. Sit and eat in a relaxed atmosphere.
  4. Don’t eat when you are stressed or upset as this will affect your production of digestive enzymes. Wait until you feel recovered.
  5. Allow time to chew each mouthful thoroughly.
  6. Regular exercise and drinking water helps to keep bowel movements healthy – especially important for anyone who is prone to constipation or dry stools.
  7. Don’t over-drink during meals as this can dilute gastric juices. Drink separately from eating.

Catherine offers clinics at the Good Health Centre on Tuesdays and Wednesdays. To make an appointment to see her, call the practice on 0113 237 1173 or click here to request a callback.