One of the top four preventable causes of death in the UK today isn’t alcohol or drug abuse, or high cholesterol – it’s lack of physical activity, according to the World Health Organisation.
It’s thought that the average British adult spends 50 to 70% of their day sitting, whether at a desk, while driving or in front of the television. Prolonged periods of sitting are thought to be just as bad for our health as smoking. Sedentary lifestyles can have a damaging effect on our blood pressure and our metabolism, changing how the body breaks down fat. Inactivity increases our risk of heart disease and type 2 diabetes, and certain cancers too.
Here at Good Health Centre we’re all for keeping active and encourage our patients to do so – even 30 minutes of moderate exercise several times a week is thought to be good for our joints and muscles, our mental wellbeing and can even add years to our lives.
That’s why we’re showing our support for On Your Feet Britain on Friday 29 April. This is an initiative from Get Britain Standing, aimed at office workers primarily, to get us sitting less and moving more throughout the working day. Employers pledge to encourage their staff to take part in fun physical activities at work on 29 April, all with the underlying message that many of us have habits at work that are damaging our health.
On Your Feet Britain aims to inspire workers to make simple changes to their working day that can have a big impact on their health and wellbeing – things like standing during phone calls, using the stairs instead of the lift, and walking to talk to a colleague in person instead of phoning or emailing them. There are more suggestions on the Get Britain Standing website.
It’s all about starting some new, healthier habits during our work day – and looking after ourselves better.
Of course, our Good Health Centre practitioners spend the majority of their day on their feet, treating our patients. But on Friday 29 April we’ll be encouraging our office staff and reception team to move more and spend less of their working day seated. Look out for them and remind them to ‘Wiggle It, Waggle It’!
If you’d like to know more about On Your Feet Britain on Friday 29 April or want to get you and your workmates signed up, visit the Get Britain Standing website www.getbritainstanding.org.
With the 36th London Marathon taking place on Sunday 24 April, this week’s blog post takes a look at the help our osteopath Josh McCollum recently gave to one of his marathon running patients.
Mrs G is a 44 year old, long distance runner and Pilates instructor. She first started running around 10 years ago and has taken part in marathons consistently since. On average Mrs G reports running at least 65 miles per week during her off-peak season, and can run over 20 miles per day as her race approaches (six to eight weeks before).
When the patient first visited Good Health Centre, she reported experiencing low back pain centrally and on her left. This pain was also felt in her left buttock, hip and groin. As soon as Mrs G bent forward she felt a pinching and clicking within the front of her hip.
During examination, Mrs G was unable to bring her left knee towards her chest as closely as on the right side. However when the movement was done passively by the osteopath (patient did not have to activate her muscles), it was even. This suggested a muscular limitation to the movement. Josh then examined the muscles that flexed the patient’s hip (Picture 1) (the Iliopsoas, Rectus Femoris and sartorius are the major ones) which proved to be very tight. Due to this tightness, the left side of the pelvis was rotated forward.
As the muscles within the low back were tighter on the left, it led to the facet joints (picture 2) within Mrs G’s spine being approximated (forced closer together). There was an ache when Mrs G arched backwards within the same area as her pain, and the symptoms in the central spine were eased as she bent forward. This approximation of the facet joints is called a facet irritation.
Josh also noted that the movement of the patient’s sacroiliac joint (Picture 3 – the joint between your tailbone and pelvis) was more on the left than the right. When Mrs G laid on her back and raised her leg whilst keeping it straight, it led to pain, however this pain was eased when compression was placed through the pelvis and the movement repeated.
The diagnosis for Mrs G was a hypermobile sacroiliac joint (the joint was too mobile) leading to a rotated pelvis and facet irritation, maintained by extensive tightness of her hip flexors which lead to the pinching sensation and restriction in movement.
Stage 1 of Mrs G’s treatment was aimed at reducing the tightness within the hip flexor muscles and her low back muscles using a combination of massage, articulation and stretching. This also reduced the compression in her facet joints (picture 2). After the muscles were looser, Stage 2 was based around strengthening the muscles around her Sacroiliac Joint with a combination of exercises and resistance techniques during treatment.
How did the patient respond?
The patient continued with her training programme of running up to 20 miles per day, and despite this reported gaining 60-70% improvement after the first treatment.
Josh gave his patient an exercise routine to help maintain the improvements between treatments. These exercises were aimed to correlate specifically with the different stages of her treatment plan. This ensured that she could continue with her marathon training as best as possible.
Initially the exercises given were designed to stretch the tight hip flexors, and stretch her lower back muscles (examples as follow)
[Content] Knee Hugs – to help stretch the muscles in her low back, alongside decrease the compression of her facet joints.
[Content] Gluteal stretch – to help reduce the spasm associated with the facet irritation, and reduce the stress in her buttocks.
Hip Flexor Stretches
[Content] Hip Flexor Stretches – given to help decrease the tone of the hip flexor muscles and decrease the rotation with the patients sacroiliac joint.
The second stage of rehabilitation was designed to strengthen the muscles around the sacroiliac joint. This included increasing core stability to help reduce the strain on the spine (such as plank, superman plank, adductor bridge, and pelvic floor exercises).
[Content] Clam exercise – Given to help increase the strength within the patient’s buttock muscles and stabilise her Sacroiliac Joint.
Body weight squat
[Content] Body weight squat – Given to help increase the strength within the patient’s buttock muscles and stabilise her Sacroiliac Joint.
Adductors squeeze and bridge
[Content] Adductors squeeze and bridge – given to help strengthen the core stability through the pelvic floor muscles, abdominal muscles and stabilise the Sacroiliac joint.
At Good Health Centre our practitioners regularly treat patients with minor sporting injuries that are causing them pain and affecting their performance. If you’d like to find out how we could help you, give us a call on 0113 237 1173 or click to request a callback.
Spring is most definitely in the air. Sadly for some of us that means the unwelcome return of a runny nose, sneezing, and itchy eyes and throat. If you’re a hay fever sufferer, our homeopath Catherine Barker has advice on coping with your symptoms through your diet and food supplements.
The clocks have only recently gone forward into British summertime but already pollen is affecting some hay fever sufferers. It is common for people to be allergic to more than one pollen. Tree pollen often triggers symptoms during the spring, grass pollen is in the air in late spring and summer, and pollen from weeds is around from early spring into late autumn.Hay fever can also be caused by mould spores from late March until November, usually peaking in late summer and early autumn. For many people, it means months of misery.
Boost your immunity
Hay fever sufferers can take action at the beginning of the season by increasing their immune support. I always recommend to regularly take vitamin C, D3 and essential fatty acids and add a natural anti-inflammatory such as Solgar’s Quercetin Complex Vegetable Capsules, taking two a day at the beginning of the hay fever season.
Relief from symptoms
When symptoms start, I usually recommend the homeopathic combination remedy Pollinosan to be taken during acute attacks. Taking two tablets three times a day often brings welcome relief. Pollinosan is also available in a nasal spray – anyone suffering with a blocked nose may find taking the remedy in this form more beneficial.
Adapt your diet
There are ways to cope with hay fever through your diet too. It’s a good idea to start eating natural, local honey at the beginning of the pollen season. Bees pollinate the local grasses and plants meaning their honey contains minute particles of the allergen that causes your hay fever, so it works a bit like immunotherapy. (Immunotherapy involves gradually introducing more and more of an allergen into the body to make the immune system less sensitive to it.)
I also advise increasing your intake of vitamin C and beta carotene rich foods. These include bright red, yellow, orange and dark green leafy vegetables and fruit. All fruits and vegetables are a good source of antioxidants and include vitamins A, C and E, plus zinc and selenium which all support the immune system.
Essential fatty acids contain hormone-like substances called prostaglandins that have anti-inflammatory properties and may help reduce the symptoms of hay fever too.
Another powerful anti-inflammatory is quercetin, which is found in high levels in garlic and onions. Ginger also slows histamine production – add a few slices of fresh ginger to hot water with lemon, or add to cooking.
Drink immune boosting green tea and especially nettle tea which acts as a decongestant, reducing the amount of mucous. It’s another natural anti-inflammatory too.
Reducing your exposure to pollen
Other ways for hay fever sufferers to cope with the inevitable onslaught of symptoms is to reduce their exposure to allergens. Here are my tips:
If possible, stay indoors with the windows closed in the early morning and late evening as this is when pollen is at its highest level. Try to do the same when your neighbours are cutting their grass.
While driving, keep the windows closed.
Wear sunglasses to keep pollen out of your eyes.
Splashing your face and bathing your eyes with cold water will help wash away irritants.
If you are a severe hay fever sufferer, you might consider an air purifier or ioniser which can reduce overall pollen levels in your home.
If you’d like to make an appointment with Catherine Barker to discuss your hay fever symptoms and find out more about how homeopathy could help you, call the practice on 0113 237 1173 or click to request a callback.
Parking is available at the front and rear of the practice, we are open Saturdays and accept some health insurances.