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


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 – 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.