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November 1, 2019

City Osteopaths has a new service to offer our clients. Jennifer is now trained in clinical matwork Pilates with the Australian Physiotherapy and Pilates Institute (APPI) and will be advancing this qualification over the next six months. Exercise is one of the most effective treatments for muscle and joint aches and pains and can also help prevent injuries. Of all the different exercise approaches that have been studied, Pilates is consistently is shown to be one of most beneficial.  Pilates focuses on strengthening the body with an emphasis on core strength.  It involves performing a series of exercises, usually in a specific order. It was originally developed for ballet dancers by Joseph Pilates in the early 20th century. There are now several types of Pilates available based on slight modifications to the original method.

Clinical Pilates is a modification of classical Pilates, it was modified because Pilates was originally designed for very fit and healthy people.  Consequently...

August 6, 2019

There are many possible causes of heel pain, but plantar fasciitis (pronounced fa-shee-ai-tuhs, meaning inflammation of the plantar fascia) is a particularly common one that we see at City Osteopaths.  The pain of plantar fasciitis is usually felt on the underneath or inside of the heel, in contrast to Achilles tendonitis, which is more commonly felt on the back of the heel.  The pain is typically worse when walking, particularly first thing in the morning or after a period of sitting.  Usually, the pain is easier when wearing supportive shoes compared to being barefoot. 

The plantar fascia is a ligament like structure that supports the arch of the foot by tethering the two ends together – attached to the heel at one end and the base of the toes at the other.  Pain occurs when the plantar fascia’s attachment at the heel becomes strained.  This can be caused by various factors, including: a change in footwear, or an increase in time spent barefoot, an increase in exercise...

June 24, 2019

Most people will have had trouble sleeping at some time and understand the common consequences this has.  However, research estimates that up to 90% of us have suffered with sleep deprivation at some point, and up to 30% of us meet the diagnostic criteria for insomnia. This means a large percentage of the population have had issues with maintaining regular sleep. A lack of adequate sleep has been strongly linked to depression, anxiety, stress and weight gain due to the increase in the hormone, ghrelin, which makes you feel hungrier and crave foods high in saturated fat and sugar.  Lack of sleep is clearly not good news if you’re on a diet, but does it have anything to do with pain?

The links between sleep and pain

Surprisingly enough, a plethora of evidence shows that sleep and pain are interlinked. One such way, is that increased pain levels reduce the quality of our sleep, which will be obvious to anyone who has suffered with a bad back!  More importantly, is that the chronicity o...

May 17, 2019

In our society, poor mental health is considered as one of the biggest causes of disability, poor quality of life, and reduced productivity. Poor mental health can come in many forms, including negative mood, anxiety, depression, social isolation, bipolar disorder and schizophrenia.

Chronic pain (pain which has lasted more than three months) is often interlinked with symptoms of poor mental health. Pain can interfere with your daily life (both work and social) and can take a toll on your self-esteem and sometimes make you feel depressed, anxious or frustrated. Depression and chronic pain also share some of the same brain chemicals, called neurotransmitters, and nerve pathways, which act as messengers between different parts of the brain and nervous system. This connection may explain why people with chronic pain are three times more likely to develop mental health issues.

There is plenty of clinical evidence showing that exercise is beneficial for mental health, it reduces anxiety, depre...

March 28, 2019

Sciatica, or to give it its technical term, lumbar radiculopathy, describes symptoms felt in the leg because of a problem with the nerves that come from the lower back.  The symptoms can include a sharp shooting pain, pins and needles, numbness, tingling or burning.  In more severe cases, weakness in some of the muscles of the leg can occur, which may cause problems with walking.   The nerves are usually affected because of a problem with the lower back, so back pain is often felt at the same time, but sciatica can occur on its own.  The pain of sciatica is most commonly felt in the buttock, back of the thigh, outside of the calf and the foot.  Sufferers tend to find that sitting is the most uncomfortable activity, with bending usually also being affected.   

It is estimated that between 13-40% of people will suffer with sciatica at some point in their life, most commonly affecting people in their 50s.  The most common cause of sciatica is an injury to...

October 29, 2018

The placebo effect has been in the media quite a lot recently, and I often hear people wonder whether the effects of a particular treatment are ‘just placebo’.  So, what is actually happening, and does it matter if it is ‘just’ the placebo effect?If your health problem improves after receiving a treatment, there are three reasons why this may have happened.  1. The treatment you received was effective and has addressed whatever health problem you had.  2.  Your health problem got better naturally and would have done so anyway, even if you had not received the treatment.  3. The placebo effect.  This is where our belief in the effectiveness of the treatment is responsible for the improvement, rather than the treatment itself.  In reality, any improvement we see after receiving treatment for a particular condition is probably a combination of all three of these reasons.  The way the placebo effect works is complicated, but essentially involves changes in our brain physiology.  It is more...

September 7, 2018

Is Stress Affecting my Pain?

Our understanding of the relationship between stress and pain has evolved exponentially over recent years, thereby helping to expand our knowledge of what pain is and how it’s caused. The more we learn about stress, the clearer it becomes that our stress levels dramatically affect our pain and in some cases, may even be the cause.

What is Stress?

So, what do we mean by stress? There are lots of different definitions for the term stress, it could be argued that everything is a potential stressor on the body, from weight training to emotional anxiety and everything in between. However, for the purpose of this blog, we will be discussing the consequences of stress on the body, or the ‘stress response’.  This is often termed the ‘fight or flight’ response, where the body releases certain hormones as part of a survival mechanism. This stress response can be triggered by pretty much anything that feels stressful to us and can persist for a short or long period of ti...

July 24, 2018

Last week, there was a news article titled ‘Babies given solid food sooner sleep better’ featured on the BBC news website. Sleep and feeding, be that breastfeeding, formula feeding, or the introduction of solids, are issues that many parents I see at the clinic want to talk about. So hopefully, this blog will help clarify the important points that were missed in the recent news article.

There is a wealth of information from published scientific studies that shows there is no association between what a baby eats and how much they sleep. Even if hunger was the only reason for a baby waking up, the best solution would be to give more milk, as this contains more energy, fat and protein than any other food a baby can be given. However, babies wake for a multitude of reasons, such as being cold, hot or uncomfortable.

The research study that the previously mentioned news article was referring to, actually showed no difference in how much babies under 5 months old woke up, regardless of whether...

June 28, 2018

As many of you will know, I am doing my PhD (Doctor of Philosophy degree) at Keele University alongside my clinical and teaching roles.  The aim of a PhD is to undertake a large research project that contributes new knowledge to your chosen field.  My project is to develop a measure of adherence to exercises that are prescribed for musculoskeletal pain.  The first stage of my project was to establish what is currently understood about adherence in the existing research literature.  To do this I conducted a systematic review, which is where all the relevant research that has already been published is examined to try and draw conclusions about the current state of knowledge.  Although it is not expected of PhD students to try and publish their research, it was suggested that I should publish my systematic review due to its importance.  I submitted it to the British Journal of Sports Medicine (BJSM) and after being sent to four experts in the field for review and six months of revisions a...

May 23, 2018

Feeling tight and stiff or having aching muscle pains are very common symptoms of day to day life, but what are the causes, and how do you deal with them?  Unsurprisingly, the cause is often not one single factor. However, the frequently blamed ‘muscle knots’ (firm lumps within the muscle), and ‘muscle tightness’ i.e. muscles not being as stretchy as they should, have actually been shown to be unlikely reasons for common muscle aches and pains . This new understanding has led to improved methods for treating muscle pain, rather than simply stretching and massaging the painful area.  It has been suggested that the role of the nervous system, psychological factors (such as an increased stress response), and even ischemia (a lack of blood flow) are all possible explanations for the feeling of tight or aching muscle pains. Below is a brief overview of the ideas behind each of these:

Nervous system:   

Your brain decides when something needs to be painful, but the thr...

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Our Recent Posts

Pilates now available at City Osteopaths

November 1, 2019

Heel Pain and Plantar Fasciitis

August 6, 2019

Is a Lack of Sleep Causing Your Pain?

June 24, 2019

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