Muscle of the Month

3Supraspinatus

What is it and what does it do?
Supraspinatus is a member of the rotator cuff muscles which surround the shoulder joint. It initiates and assists in lifting the arm up and out.

Why have we chosen this muscle?
Well, it plays a big part in shoulder pain, a problem we often see, and it has an important role in our daily activities.

You may have either experienced or heard of certain conditions directly related to Supraspinatus…

Tendonitis (inflammation) of the Supraspinatus tendon is a common cause of shoulder pain when lifting the arm up high, or lying on your shoulder during the night. It is often caused by repetitive use of the arm.

Tears – recurrent inflammation can tear the tendon attached to Supraspinatus, which can cause shoulder pain, stiffness and restricted movement.

Looking at the whole picture…

As osteopaths, we believe that tailoring treatment towards the individual is vital. It is, of course, possible to read a textbook and allocate a treatment plan that best suits the condition; but the same method does not necessarily work for everybody. We all have the same basic structure, and physiology, but we are far from identical. Variation makes us interesting as human beings, and we have found that recognising variables in the body can play a big part in forming a successful treatment plan.

Let’s look at a basic example… Laura and Charlotte play squash 3 times a week together. They are both 30 and have the same level of fitness. Laura suffers from Tendonitis, which impacts on her life. Charlotte does not.

Why is that? Does a structural difference in Laura’s body contribute to this problem? What does she do for a living – does she have a job that requires repetitive arm movement? Are there other factors in her life that also need to be addressed?

Let’s say that Laura has a kyphotic spine (excessive curvature). This has caused her shoulder blade to roll forward and downward, which in turn has narrowed the exit route of the tendon, giving rise to impingement and inflammation. We may surmise that this is a contributing factor to her tendonitis.

As a result of this discovery, we would treat her spine alongside the tendon, thus relieving her symptoms swiftly, and minimising the chances of recurrence.

Laura then finds that subsequent to treatment on her spine, the tendon has improved, and it has also had a positive impact on her breathing as she is now able to take deeper breaths more easily, as opposed to her previous shallow breaths.

Everything we do, and who we are, interlinks; each aspect of ourselves has an effect on another aspect. This is the reason why we believe so strongly in looking at the person as a whole.

Spiced Chicken, Spinach and Sweet Potato Stew

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Ingredients

  • 8 Chicken thighs, skinless and boneless
  • 1 Red chilli, chopped
  • 1 thumb-sized piece of ginger, grated
  • 2 Onions, chopped
  • 4 Preserved lemons, deseeded, chopped
  • 1 190g bag spinach
  • 3 Sweet potatoes, chopped
  • 1 400g can Tomatoes
  • 500ml Chicken stock
  • 1tsp Paprika
  • 1tbsp Sunflower oil
  • Pumpkin seeds, toasted
  • 4 Naan bread, warmed

This meal serves 4

Method

  1. Put the sweet potato in a large, deep saucepan over a high heat. Cover with boiling water and boil for 10 mins. Meanwhile, put all the paste ingredients in a food processor and blend until very finely chopped. Set aside until needed.
  2. Put the spinach in a large colander in the sink and pour the sweet potatoes and their cooking water over it to drain the potatoes and wilt the spinach at the same time. Leave to steam-dry.
  3. Return the saucepan to the heat (no need to wash it first), then add the oil, followed by the spice paste. Fry the paste for about 5 mins until thickened, then add the chicken. Fry for 8-10 mins until the chicken starts to colour. Pour over the stock, bring to the boil and leave to simmer for 10 mins, stirring occasionally.
  4. Check the chicken is cooked by cutting into one of the thighs and making sure it’s white throughout with no signs of pink. Season with black pepper, then add the sweet potato. Leave to simmer for a further 5 mins. Meanwhile, roughly chop the spinach and add to the stew. At this point you can leave the stew to cool and freeze for up to 3 months, if you like.
  5. Scatter over the pumpkin seeds and preserved lemons, and serve with warm naan bread on the side

Source: BBC goodfood

Slips & Falls

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“All the leaves are brown…. and the sky is grey.
I’ve been for a walk on a winter’s day…”

California Dreaming Lyrics – The Mamas & The Papas

We probably would be safe and warm if we were in L.A.

But as we have chosen the Yorkshire Dales over the Hollywood Hills, we thought it was a great time to talk about preventing injury during the winter season.

The winter months bring us a variety of potentially hazardous weather conditions, including rain, snow and ice. Two out of the three can look very picturesque, but they can also make some of our daily tasks and routines more difficult. Whether you come to see one of our Osteopaths regularly, or are just looking for some general advice, we would like to share with you a few preventative tips from our Director, Ami Sevi:

  1. Warming up prior to exercise – take some extra time to warm up, as exercising with cold muscles can lead to injury. Imagine your muscle as a piece of Blu-Tack; if it is cold and you try to stretch it, it will snap; warmed up, it becomes more flexible, and will stretch more easily.
  2. Wear the correct clothing – in cold temperatures, our body will adapt to keep our core temperature warm. Our muscles tighten up and shiver to conserve heat. Although advantageous, contracted muscle is less able to shock absorb, meaning there is an increased chance of injury. We can help prevent this simply by wearing winter clothing; insulating your body means it doesn’t have to work so hard to keep you warm. Wear your vest with pride!
  3. Wear the correct footwear – try not to wear summer shoes in winter. To avoid slips on snow and ice, wear a flat rubber-soled shoe with a tread that offers traction. Shoes with ankle support can also help prevent common ankle injuries that can persist throughout life. If you don’t fancy turning up to the office in mammoth snow boots, then simply change your shoes when you arrive at work.
  4. Lean forward slightly as you walk – when a slip occurs, most people fall backwards as their centre of gravity is on the edge of the heels. Correct this by leaning forward a few centimetres, shifting the centre of gravity forward, and creating more stability. The body does not like vertical falls on the bottom; it compresses the spine, meaning the vertebral discs suffer. This can aggravate current disc problems, or create a new injury.
  5. Take care moving snow – we usually have to do this in the morning when we are hurried and rushed for time. Our muscles need time to warm up first thing, so before you head out armed with a large shovel, do some gentle stretches; it increases circulation to the muscles, warming them up. In general, the back does not like flexion and rotation, which is the method we use when shovelling, so be gentle, don’t rush and overstrain your body.
  6. Driving – winter weather conditions can increase stopping distances, so it is important to leave a big gap between you and the car in front. It is also important to check both the driver and passenger seat headrests; the top of the headrest should be a fist above the top of your head. This will help prevent whiplash if a rear impact accident occurs.
  7. Allocate extra time – an important general point, applying to all 6 tips above. Set off early to work, don’t rush down an icy pavement, and drive unhurriedly. It may prevent accidents, and also reduce stress levels.

At The Good Health Centre, we like to look after our patients during the winter months; we want to ensure you are functioning at your optimal potential. In addition to treating a problem you may have arrived with, our Osteopaths like to do a ‘Winter Check’, examining areas of the body that may be prone to injury during the season.

If you would like to be seen by one of our osteopaths, or if you have any further questions, then please get in touch with us. You can call us on 0113 237 1173 or email [email protected], and we will get back to you promptly.