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What is Pain??

What is pain??

Trying to answer questions like – what is pain and why something might hurt can be very useful for the patients we see at the Four Health Osteopathy clinic.

The definition of pain according to the dictionary is – ‘A highly unpleasant physical sensation caused by illness or injury.’

There are two broad categories of pain –

  1. Nociceptive pain – Pain associated with tissue damage
  2. Neuropathic pain – Pain arising from the nervous system

Nociceptive Pain –

This type of pain is what most people are familiar with. Nociceptive pain is caused by the stimulation of nociceptors which are sensory nerve fibres found all over your body due to tissue damage such as muscle strains or tears, impact trauma or broken bones to name but a few.

When you hurt yourself these nerve fibres are stimulated, they send a message through your nervous system to your brain where the information is interpreted. The result of this is a feeling of pain.

Nociceptive pain characteristics typically change with movement, load and position.

Neuropathic Pain –

This type of pain is caused by damage or disease to the nervous system itself. This can be due to trapped nerves, spinal cord damage, nutritional deficiencies or conditions such as diabetes, MS and strokes.

The symptoms that are common with neuropathic pain are – pins and needles, burning or coldness, numbness and itching.

Why do You Need to Feel Pain??

Simply put, you need to feel pain in order to protect yourself. Let’s say you over reach for something whilst gardening and strain a muscle in your back. Pain acts as your bodies alarm signal to let you know you’ve done something that’s compromised a muscle and caused damage. Pain may continue after the initial incident to give your body time to heal by reducing movement, it may cause you to temporarily stop what you’re doing and it serves to remind you to be careful with certain movements.

How can an Osteopath help??

The majority of patients will come to see us because they’re in pain. Helping people understand why they’re in pain, diagnosing the cause and ascertaining whether it is nociceptive, neuropathic or a combination of the two will help us form the most appropriate plan to help get you back to normality. Knowing what type of pain you’re suffering from also directs what type of treatment is appropriate to help you recover as quickly as possible.

Top Tip

As pain can be acting as your bodies alarm signal telling you that something isn’t quite right be careful when returning to the same level of activity pre-injury too quickly! The damaged tissues may still be vulnerable even if the pain has gone.

Questions

The question, ‘what is pain?’ is a very complex one. If you have any questions or would like more info please get in touch by email at – info@fourhealth.co.uk or give us a call on – 07932 022503.

Running Running and More Running!

Let’s talk RUNNING!!

What a week it’s been so far! Busy with patients, reaching out to local businesses to collaborate with and now writing a new blog!

I was on a home visit in Teddington and thought I’d pop into Sweat Shop on Broad Street. (www.sweatshop.com) They are running specialists. I had a great chat with Nico, one of the guys there about what they do and how they do it. They have a good understanding of gait for all you runners, a good selection of shoes and of custom moulded insoles. I love interacting with local companies like this, it gives me confidence to send patients their way when people ask for recommendations.

I’ve worked with runners a lot in the last few years of varying standards from people who just like a short jog a couple of times a week to ultra-marathon runners. I was very privileged to support a guy through his training for the Marathon Des Sables not that long ago. Having access to treadmills at the clinic in Cobham is fantastic when analysing gait and offers a true insight into your running technique.

The next blog post will be about what to do if your back goes into spasm as it seems people aren’t too sure.

In the meantime, a take home tip for runners – If you’re a road runner don’t always take the same route. Mix up which side of the road/pavement you run on and this way you reduce the risk of the camber of the surface potentially causing you issues and pain!!

Catch up soon

Jonny

Shoulder Pain??!

Do you get Shoulder Pain?? If yes maybe this will help –

Last weekend I went off to my old university (BSO) which is now called The University College of Osteopathy to do a course based on FAR techniques in regards to shoulder pain and particularly thoracic outlet syndrome. Thoracic outlet syndrome is a group of disorders that occur when blood vessels or nerves in the space between your collarbone and your first rib are compressed. This can lead to pain in your shoulders and neck and numbness in your fingers.

FAR or Functional Active Release technique is a way of releasing tight and shortened muscle using a combination of your movements and pressures exerted by an osteopath or manual therapist. Having had shoulder pain probably from playing too much squash I can say with confidence that the technique works wonders after one of my fellow osteopaths used me as a guinea pig! One session and the difference was huge!!
If you have shoulder pain or for that matter any tight or painful muscles please get in contact for a chat and to find out how we can help you.

The PT & The Osteopath

New  Collaboration – The PT & The Osteopath

Freddie (lead trainer of The 225 Club) and I are debuting our new collaboration, The PT & The Osteopath. What does this mean, you may ask! Well, here it is…

As an osteopath I see patients with all types of muscle and joint pain, some related to sporting injuries some just seem to start for no good reason. Current research is firmly of the opinion that a combination of treatment and strengthening is more effective than treatment on its own. At the Four Health clinic we give our patients exercise programs to follow in conjunction with treatment which can be very useful, however for some they may need and want more!

Freddie has a wealth of experience as a personal trainer with particular interest in post injury rehabilitation. He regularly sees clients that find they are being slowed down by an injury or restriction in their muscles and tissues and need help from someone like an osteopath in conjunction with their training.

Freddie and I will be offering various packages which combine our expertise and give you a collaborative approach to either help you improve what you’ve already got or help you get over an injury that’s holding you back.

All sessions will be held at The 225 Club, Cobham. Please call 01932 590030 for info and bookings.

Watch this space for more info on upcoming offers and packages.

Aches and pains and Vitamin D……Don’t be in the dark!

sun

In case you haven’t noticed it’s winter! Other than the cold weather, which some like and some don’t, we find ourselves with an issue that is less obvious, and that’s a lack of sunlight.

Many of us get up nice and early in the morning (when it’s still dark), commute to work using various forms of transport, sit in an office all day and then head home, in the dark! Some of us may not see the sunlight for more than a few minutes if at all on an average day.

Why could this be a problem?

One major result of a lack of sunlight can be a vitamin D deficiency. Vitamin D is very important to us as it helps with the absorption of calcium, iron, zinc and magnesium in our guts. Unfortunately the types of vitamin D we require aren’t found in abundance in foods and are only really created by our skin being exposed to UVB rays from the sun.

In our Cobham clinic we see patients through out winter who may present with signs of vitamin D deficiency and not realise it. These signs include; tiredness, general aches and pains, more frequent infections and in severe cases bone pain and difficulty getting around.

As osteopaths we offer our patients longer appointment times than your GP may be able to. This gives us the opportunity to ask more questions that may make us suspicious of a vitamin deficiency. It’s common for people to assume physical pain or discomfort is only linked to musculoskeletal issues.

Although osteopaths can’t directly treat vitamin D deficiencies we can offer advice regarding lifestyle and exercise and also when necessary refer you back to your GP for further investigation. Vitamin deficiencies are normally diagnosed with a simple blood test.

Please get in contact with us at Four Health Osteopathy via email – info@fourhealth.co.uk or give us a call on 07932 022503 for more info and advice.

Prepare For a Half Marathon

Running 13.1 miles may seem like a daunting challenge especially if you’re new to running but fear not, laying down some good foundations when preparing for it can give you the confidence you need.

To begin with here are some tips to get you going

  • Make sure you have a good pair of running shoes. At Four Health Osteopathy we can help advise you on the sort of shoe to look for that is appropriate for your feet.
  • Make sure you warm up properly before your runs. 5mins of walking building up to a brisk walk before you start running is a good way to approach it.
  • If you can, try and have a rest day between your running days. This is very important for recovery and to allow your muscles and tissues time to repair properly before the next run.
  • You should be running about 3 times per week to get things started. These don’t have to be long runs, maybe about 30mins each.
  • At the weekend consider doing a slightly longer run than you do during the week. Aim for about 3miles to start with and gradually build on this as you go adding around 1.5 miles every 2 weeks. On alternate weekends go back to the 3mile run.
  • Plan to take about 15 weeks to prepare for a half marathon doing your longest run 2 weeks before the race.

As your body adapts to running in some cases for the first time you may find things hurt! There are lots of conditions associated with running. These include Achilles tendonitis, plantar fasciitis, shin splints and ankle and knee pain to name but a few. Don’t ignore pain! Come and speak to us at Four Health Osteopathy for advice. We can help to diagnose the issue properly and suggest ways of adapting your training.

Treatment like osteopathy and sports massage we offer at Four Health can help to reduce the chance of injury during training. With semi regular sessions we can pick up on any asymmetries or imbalances in your body and help correct them before they potentially become injuries that stop you from running. In many cases prevention is much better than cure!

Osteopathy and Tennis Injuries

With the tennis season coming close to an end and the Olympics showcasing some amazing matches it’s time to look at the unfortunate issue of tennis injuries and how osteopathy may be able to help.

Whatever the level of your game, we see a lot of tennis players at Four Health Osteopathy, from club level players to those wanting to get back into the game after a long break. There is a wide range of injuries they bring with them – repetitive strain in the elbow, fondly referred to as tennis elbow, shoulder rotator cuff injury, calf strain, and so on. However, whatever the injury, we find that if the player doesn’t have good movement and stability in the axial skeleton (spine and pelvis) then this may lead to injury, not only in the back but elsewhere.

In this article I will explore the common complaint of recurrent back injury, which has plagued many top players in the world like Andy Murray right down to us mere mortals, why it can occur in fit individuals, and some tips on how best to defend against it.

Back injuries have affected Andy Murray for some time, but why? If we consider what happens to our bodies when we play tennis it may go some way to explaining some of the underlying causes of back injury. Two significant forces that are exerted on us during a game are impact and rotation, the impact of running with sudden changes of direction and the rotation when we hit the ball.

Our low backs don’t like significant rotation and bending at the same time. During a serve, rotation and bending happen together, which can potentially cause spinal disc injuries. How can we avoid this? The low back has relatively little rotation available compared to the upper back therefore it stands to reason that flexibility in the latter can actually help protect the low back. Gentle rotation exercises for the upper back can help to improve the compliance of this area and limit excessive forces being transmitted into the low back.

When it comes to high impact sports like tennis a degree of fitness before you start will go a long way. This may seem counter intuitive as many of us will want to play tennis to get fit but the reality is that if your body isn’t used to the excessive forces and demands being placed on it the chance of injury is increased. Doing low level drills and court based exercise can be a really good way of doing this rather than just pounding tennis balls back and forth.

The most important thing to remember when playing tennis or any sport is to enjoy it! Getting some exercise and fresh air is good for us all. Here are a few tips that may help to keep you injury free for years to come.

  • Use a racket that is the right size and weight for you. Speak to a specialist supplier for help.
  • Make sure the grip is the right thickness. Incorrect size can cause elbow and forearm pain.
  • Wear appropriate footwear. Good support can limit the chance of foot and ankle injuries.
  • Warm up and cool down properly. We can advise you on that!
  • If you’re carrying an injury don’t ignore it! Please come and speak to us for advice.