Interesting CPD training course with Oxford Osteopathic Network, last month, regarding latest scientific thinking about pain and how so many factors have a bearing on how pain is experienced and how our nervous systems can physically become over-sensitised. It appears to be scientific fact that our fears, beliefs and experiences can actually trigger chemical reactions in the body that either decrease or increase the amount of pain we feel. This explains why pain is so individual and how two people, with the same amount of normal age degeneration in the spine, for example, either feel pain or not. For anyone experiencing chronic pain – I would strongly recommend you look at the following links for more information – it may completely change the way you think about pain.
http:/www.retrainpain.org/courseindex – very good resource with eight 2-3 min picture courses providing more detail than next video link below, but in a very simple and understandable way.
http://youtu.be/C_3phB93rvl – entertaining short video explaining pain in 5 mins.
Another helpful resource and also link to downloadable app – http://www.paintoolkit.org/downloads
Customers often ask me why their joints make that clicking/crunching sound when manipulated. Click on link below to see a video showing what happens from m.livescience.com.
Video Link – Pop Knuckle Cracking Sound
“It’s a little bit like forming a vacuum,” study researcher Greg Kawchuk, a professor of rehabilitation medicine at the University of Alberta in Canada said in a statement – “As the joint surfaces suddenly separate, there is no more fluid available to fill the increasing joint volume, so a cavity is created, and that event is what’s associated with the sound.” (LiveScience)
Many people believe they ultimately require surgery to fix their back pain. However, research shows that only 2-3% actually do – the other 97% only require conservative treatment and/or advice. Please click on title link above to view an article on a back surgeon’s perspective from ‘BackCare’.
Osteopaths are very good at relieving pain and speeding up recovery times for back problems, and can also provide helpful lifestyle and exercise advice.
Thank you to all those who sponsored me for ‘Race for Life’ in June. All sponsorship money has now been passed onto Cancer Research. Taking part meant a lot to me this year as I have lost both a close friend and relative in the last 12 months to cancer, so it was good to do something positive.
Interesting shoulder course recently with Anju Jaggi, Consultant Physiotherapist. Latest research is showing that surgery is no more effective than conservative treatment especially in relation to a-traumatic shoulder instability. New emphasis is now shifting towards improving motor control in supporting muscles and addressing abnormal movement patterns – osteopaths are skilled to help in this regard. Click on the link from the title above to read more about her.
Please study the attached info-graphics which provide valuable preventative advice before embarking on a spot of gardening. I get many people visiting my clinic this time of year who do a little much too soon – look after yourselves!
Click on each image to enlarge:
In people with back pain the ‘multifidi’ muscles, which are important stabilisers of the spine, very often become dysfunctional and various exercises can be used to reactivate them and thus increase back strength after injury. Horses with back pain appear to experience a similar pattern to people and severe back pathology, such as degenerative changes, have been associated with multifidi dysfunction at the same spinal level (Stubbs et al., 2010 – abstract link below).
Illustration from November 2012 issue of Canadian Horse Journal.
The long muscles of the horse’s back (the longissimus and iliocostalis muscles) affect the degree of bending, rounding, or hollowing of the whole length of the back, whereas the much shorter multifidus muscles are able to isolate their effect to a very small area of the spine, and thus are more effective at stabilizing the inter-vertebral joints of a horse’s spine.
Some exercises that can help horses have now been put to the test and, for those that are interested, you may find the following book useful. It is based on a research study in 2011 (link below), involving a group of school horses that did not have signs of back pain. The results showed that when dynamic mobilization exercises (carrot stretches) were performed regularly (5 days per week for a period of 3 months), there were significant increases in multifidi cross-sectional area i.e., the back muscles became stronger. These exercises are thus recommended both for therapy in horses with back pain and as a preventative measure to reduce the risk of back injury in equine athletes.
Activate your Horse’s Core – Press link below to purchase through BEVA.
New research is now contradicting advice to apply ice or use anti-inflammatory drugs for damaged tissues. Recent evidence suggests this can delay healing as inflammation is part of the healing process and auto-immune response. It is now recommended that you stop exercising immediately when injured and elevate injured area to minimise swelling. Ice can be applied for 10 mins at a time for no longer than first six hours after injury to reduce pain. Click on link below for for more info.
Happy New Year! If your new year’s resolution is to get fitter, remember not to over do it and end up with a bad back in the process! I get many people in the clinic this time of year that do exactly that. Last year I had a lady in who ended up with very sore muscles just by trying out all the equipment for the first time at the gym. If you haven’t exercised for a long time or are not used to a particular form of exercise be very careful and build up anything you do very gradually. Please feel free to give me a call if you need any advice.
As Osteopaths we are trained to recognise what may not be a musculoskeletal problem and when someone may need to be referred to their GP. The latest example of this was a 65 year old lady who came into my clinic with upper back pain on the left hand side, which only appeared to be a problem when she took the dog for a walk. The pain had been getting worse over a 12 month period and although she wasn’t suffering from shortness of breath she also had periodic swelling of her right ankle which wasn’t related to any injury. I took her blood pressure which was very high and referred her back to her GP, who immediately put her on beta blockers and is now investigating what might be causing her problem. Gratifying to think that all that training did actually sink in!