Asthma

Some basic facts about breathing

The average adult breaths between 17,000-23,000 times per day whilst at rest, this increases with any activity exertion. Per minute it is expected that we breath 12-16 times, however the optimal breathing rate is less than this. Optimal breathing rates are closer to 6-8 breaths per minute which would result in 8,000 to 12,000 breaths per day.

Research suggests that the breathing rate increases in patients with chronic conditions such as asthma, cystic fibrosis, diabetes and many more. This can then significantly impact your physiological functioning in multiple areas of the body.

At Good Health Centre some of the practitioners may use Capnograph training to assess the efficiency of your breathing by observing breathing rate, Carbon dioxide retention, heart rate and heart rate variability to assess your physiological functioning. This will enable them to provide you with more specific advice.

Asthma

Asthma is a chronic inflammatory condition which causes the airways within your respiratory system to become obstructed. The condition is irritated by various factors including allergen exposure, smoking, physical exercise, temperature, Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory (NSAID) medication and trauma.

Although the exact cause of asthma is not known, there are several potential ideas as to why people suffer with it. There is a genetic link to Asthma and there are several genes which have been researched into most. (Scott, 2012). The 5th Chromosome has been researched as a genetic link to the development of asthma due to its association with the inflammatory response involved with the disease, leading to a chemical imbalance of pro and anti-inflammatory reactions.

Types of asthmatic onset

Genetically induced asthma usually begins in childhood and often presents with other symptoms such as eczema and allergic rhinitis, 1.4 million children are affected in the U.K. (predicted in 2012) with twice as many boys than girls. There may be a link with smoking during pregnancy or passive smoking in infants increasing the likelihood of children being impacted by the disease.

Asthma can also be induced during adulthood and commonly occurs after a severe viral or respiratory tract infection; however it can further be predisposed by factors such as emotional stress, fatigue, endocrine changes, humidity variations and occupational influences.

The majority of asthmatics do not suffer with one or the other, but both types of induced asthma.

What causes asthma?

Asthma is due to the hypersensitivity of the lining of the bronchia. This hypersensitivity leads to spasm of the muscle, along-side swelling of the mucosa and thickened secretion – this combination can drastically narrow the airways.

All asthmatics can develop status asthmaticus (asthma attack) which is a severe acute attack that does not respond to standard medication. Symptoms of an asthmatic attack include marked respiratory distress with wheezing or absent breath sounds.

Genetically induced asthma usually begins in childhood and often presents with other symptoms such as eczema and allergic rhinitis, 1.4 million children are affected in the U.K. (predicted in 2012) with twice as many boys than girls. There may be a link with smoking during pregnancy or passive smoking in infants increasing the likelihood of children being impacted by the disease.

Asthma can also be induced during adulthood and commonly occurs after a severe viral or respiratory tract infection; however it can further be predisposed by factors such as emotional stress, fatigue, endocrine changes, humidity variations and occupational influences.

The majority of asthmatics do not suffer with one or the other, but both types of induced asthma.

 What causes asthma?

Asthma is due to the hypersensitivity of the lining of the bronchia. This hypersensitivity leads to spasm of the muscle, along-side swelling of the mucosa and thickened secretion – this combination can drastically narrow the airways.

All asthmatics can develop status asthmaticus (asthma attack) which is a severe acute attack that does not respond to standard medication. Symptoms of an asthmatic attack include marked respiratory distress with wheezing or absent breath sounds.

What might an Osteopath do to help?

As an Osteopath, we would assess the common compensations that occur with this condition, and how certain structure are functioning.  Frequently asthmatics tend to breathe through their upper ribcage; using their shoulders to assist with the mechanism rather than using the larger diaphragm muscle. This leads to long-term postural changes, such as an increased curve in the upper spine and shortened muscles within the neck.

Research has also suggested a link between back pain, headaches and asthma sufferers.

An example of what an Osteopath may to do help with the postural compensations from asthma is:

  • Articulate the thoracic spine and ribcage to help improve expansion of the joints.
  • Massage or stretch the muscles in the neck to help decrease the ‘forward head’ posture that is associated with asthmatics. Also stretch the pectoral muscles and subscapularis to help reduce the forward rotation of the shoulders and help improve rib expansion.
  • Soft tissue work through the diaphragm, the connections of it and the innervation through the neck.
  • Provide you with exercises aimed at postural improvement, pelvic and diaphragmatic functioning and core stability.

If you would like more information on asthma and osteopathy, please do call the Good Health Centre and we will be more than welcome to make an appointment for an osteopath to see you in order to give you some personalised advice.

Coping with Depression

“Everybody’s experience with depression will be different and each episode can vary in severity.”

This month the World Health Organisation (WHO) dedicated World Health Day to depression. Depression is a common illness, with more than 300 million people living with the condition worldwide. The WHO states it’s the leading cause of ill health and disability globally (WHO, 2017).

Everybody’s experience with depression will be different. There are many symptoms; such as sadness, loss of interest, feelings of guilt, disturbed sleep, poor concentration, and each episode can vary in severity.

Here at the Good Health Centre, we meet many patients who are struggling with depression. Usually, the patient will come to us with a physical condition, but our practitioners always look at the person as a whole. We have a duty to our patients to find all the factors involved in the problem; only then can we establish a treatment plan individually tailored to the patient.

Osteopathy and depression

Whilst osteopaths do not treat depression, we do treat people with depression.

Pain and depression can unfortunately create a vicious cycle:

A chronic physical problem can both cause and exacerbate depression. Patients with chronic pain will often express signs of depression due to the duration of the issue, and the hopelessness they are subsequently feeling. If the osteopath is able to alleviate some of the symptoms, in particular pain, this in turn can have a profound effect on the emotional state of the patient.
There are also instances where the consequences of depression can worsen a physical symptom. A good example would be a patient with back pain. After a consultation, the practitioner establishes that the patient is actually feeling quite low and depressed; because of this, he is sitting in a slumped position at his desk at work, resulting in the back pain he is presenting with.

How can we help?

  • Our osteopaths can teach you postural and breathing exercises.
  • We can help with some typical emotional postures.
  • Cranial osteopathy may increase your energy levels, improve your ability to relax, benefit your general health and well-being, and improve your sleep.
  • A consultation with an osteopath can be a chance to off-load confidentially. It’s time to talk, and may be used as a therapeutic tool. Osteopaths work closely with both councillors and psychologists.

Acupuncture and depression

Our acupuncturist Robert Maida sees patients suffering from depression.

Acupuncture may help in a number ways:

  • It can release endorphins both locally, and in the central nervous system, which may have a calming effect, thereby, reducing stress levels.
  • It can affect hormone levels, which have been associated with mood.
  • It aims to harmonise the body’s energy. Often, Robert may suggest a combination of acupuncture and reiki.

Robert may also discuss any dietary imbalances and general lifestyle choices, which could be having an effect on a patient’s mood.
As with osteopathy, the acupuncturist will look at a patient holistically, seeking out the best angle to address the problem.

Pedal on over to the Good Health Centre

“The 2017 Tour de Yorkshire”

Here at the Good Health Centre, all of our osteopaths are pro cyclists, it’s a prerequisite before applying for a job. Not really … but it is true that a few of us are keen cyclists, and we would like to share a few tips with you, to help prevent some of the common injuries that we treat.

Although accidents can occur, we mainly see injuries that are a result of overuse and incorrect posture:

Point of contact injuries

These are the most common complaints from cyclists. We’ll concentrate on the main three; hands, bottom and feet.

  • Hands – holding the handlebar in the same position for an extended length of time, gripping it a little too tightly, or leaning too far over the wheel can lead to compression of the ulnar nerve (runs from the little finger up to the elbow and into the upper arm).

Compression causes nerve pain, and the cyclist will typically feel tingling on the outside of the wrist towards the little finger.

To prevent this, our osteopaths suggest moving your hands around the handlebars; it is important not to get stuck in one position. If you start to feel discomfort, you are not altering your position frequently enough and your grip may be too intense. Cycling out of the saddle can also alleviate the pressure.

We also suggest investing in some quality cycling gloves. The padding helps avoid nerve pain, and the grip will also give you greater control over the bike.

  • Bottom – friction between your skin, clothing and the saddle can cause sore buttocks and sometimes a rash. Once again, cycling in a more upright position or even out of the saddle can significantly reduce the pressure.

Invest in some good quality padded shorts and go commando!

If you still get sore after trying the above, don’t worry; with practice, your bottom will start accepting the saddle pressure.

  • Feet – if you use cleats, ensure they are positioned at the correct angle. It may help avoid knee pain, and can also generate increased power in your pedal stroke. Try and cycle with your heels parallel to the ground, and use the image of a clock face to make sure you are pushing and pulling through all the numbers as your feet go through a whole turn.

Muscle tightness

Those of you that aren’t Chris Froome, who cycle for enjoyment and to keep fit, may find that your hamstrings, quads and calves can get quite tight. This usually manifests when you’re off your bike. Tightness can lead to muscle tearing, which you certainly want to avoid. A simple method to prevent this is to stretch your calves out properly before you set off, and make sure you cool down after you cycle; stretching helps your muscle elasticity. Start your cycle with a more rapid cadence with least resistance; your muscles will be nicely warmed up prior to increasing your power.

 Back and neck pain

Many of us are guilty of having a bad posture, which can result in niggles in our back and neck. Unfortunately, cycling can bring these issues to the fore. Sitting with your back muscles in a neutral position is the ideal method to avoid these pains, but that isn’t always possible if your bike measurements aren’t correct. Get your bike fitted to ensure you have the correct frame size, and that your seat is in the correct position for your body. If your bike is poorly fitted, your knees may be over-extending, which can lead to patella tracking problems and joint swelling, resulting in a burning and stinging sensation.

We don’t mean to patronise but please remember to wear your helmet. Importantly, if you do have a fall, replace the helmet as it will not provide the same protection after it has been damaged.

Our osteopaths can help with all the issues above. They can teach you postural exercises, how to use a foam roller, and appropriate stretching exercises to make you feel fresh and ready for the next ride.