Archive for January 2020

What Do Osteopaths Do for Shoulder Pain?

What Do Osteopaths Do for Shoulder Pain?

Typically, when people think of osteopathic treatment, they picture back pain, neck pain, and headaches, as strong research supports osteopathic treatment for these problems. But what about shoulder pain care with Osteopathic therapy?

The Government conducted ground-breaking reports in 2010 and again in 2014 that examined previously published work on various forms of treatment for many disorders, both musculoskeletal and non-musculoskeletal (like asthma). These reviews noted that the use of Osteopathic treatment with respect to shoulder-related conditions including pain / dysfunction in the shoulder girdle, rotator cuff pain, and adhesive capsulitis (frozen shoulder) is supported by scientific evidence.

As osteopaths seek treatment for patients with shoulder pain, care generally focuses on improving shoulder range of movement using various manipulative and mobilising methods aimed at the three shoulder joints: The glenohumeral joint (ball & socket joint), the acromioclavicular joint (AC) and the scapulothoracic joint (shoulder blade & rib cage). Osteopathic care may also include exercise training to restore mobility, energy, and stability to the muscles and soft tissues that surround the shoulder region. During various stages of recovery following shoulder injury a variety of physical therapy modalities are also used as adjudicative techniques in many osteopathy settings. Treatment is aimed during restoring patients to their normal level of everyday activity.

But what about after surgery with shoulder pain? Can osteopathy continue to help? A study conducted in 2018 found that post-surgical patients receiving mid-back (thoracic spine) manipulation had significant increases in shoulder movement (flexion and abduction) and increased space measurements (neutral and outward rotation). The authors cited other studies that reported similar improvements in shoulder mobility as well as the kinematics (movement & stability) of the shoulder blade (scapular).

Another study examined improvements in pain in the shoulder, impairment and perceived rehabilitation in patients with shoulder pain following two sessions of upper thoracic and upper rib manipulation. In all criteria tested, which lasted for up to three months, participants reported significant improvement here, too.

Given the solid research support of manual therapies aimed not only at the shoulder but also at the neck, upper and mid-back spinal regions, Osteopathic care is simply a must for patients with shoulder pain!

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lower back pain

Low Back Pain – What To Do Immediately (Part 2)

This article is part 1 of a 2-part series. For part 1, Click Here.

As previously stated, low back pain (LBP) can affect most (if not all) of us at some point in time. Learning what to do when the warning signs appear is important to prevent an LBP episode disabling you. We started the discussion in the previous article about providing ways to manage the LBP using activities to stop and reverse a potentially serious degree of LBP. We offered ways to stretch from a seated position that could be done in public. Here are some exercise options from a standing position…

EXERCISE C: THE HAMSTRING & GROIN STRETCH: from the standing position, 1) place your foot on a seat, bench, chair, railing pipe, or anything about knee level (it doesn’t have to be too high). If your balance is not very good, be sure to hold onto a wall or counter in order to maintain your balance. 2) Keep your knee bent 20-30 degrees and arch your lower back by sticking out the buttocks until you feel the hamstrings (back of the leg) pulling or stretching. 3) Slowly straighten the knee (keep the buttocks stuck out and the lower back arched) and you’ll feel the hamstrings getting tighter slowly. 4) Adjust the knee angle and/or the amount of low back arch / pelvic tilt to adjust the strength of pulling in the hamstrings. Continue this stretch for 15-30 seconds, or until the muscles are loosened. 5) Remain in that EXACT SAME POSITION and twist your body inwards (toward the leg on which you stand) until you feel the tug moving from the hamstrings to the groin (to the inside thigh) muscles. You may also go back and forth between the hamstrings and the groin (adductor) muscles and continue the exercise until the back of the leg and groin feel sufficiently stretched (usually 5 to 15 seconds / leg).

EXERCISE D: THE HIP FLEXOR STRETCH: 1) step forward with one leg and stand in a semi-long, steep stride position (one foot before the other). 2) Rotate the pelvis forward on the back-leg side until the hip lines up with the front leg hip (or square pelvis). 3) Add the pelvic tilt (tuck in the buttock / pelvis or flatten the low back). 4) Lean backwards (stretch low rear) holding the position above. When you extend backwards, feel deep within the upper front of the thigh / groin area for the stretch. You can alter the hip flexor to release and re-stretch between the third and fourth steps. Continue stretching for 5-15 seconds or until you feel stretched and repeat on the other side. This one takes a little work but you’ll understand why it’s so good once you feel it!

EXERCISE E: THE ADDUCTOR STRETCH: As an alternative to the second part of EXERCISE C (step 5 of the standing hamstring stretch), stand fairly wide apart with your legs spread. Shift your pelvis from side to side (left then right) and feel in the inner thigh / groin area for the stretch. You should increase the stretch by applying a lean to the side you shift the pelvic to. Try to hold the stretch for 5-15 seconds and alternate 5-10 times between the sides.

Such activities are intended to take place in public, WHEN you need to stretch. Stop the vicious cycle from getting out of control by STOPING, STRETCHING and, if you can, resume your activity!

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Low Back Pain

Low back pain? – What to do straight away (Part 1)

At some level, low back pain (LBP) will most likely hit all of us, at least that’s what the statistics say. How we respond to it can be vital to its advancement or cessation. Here are some “highlights” of what to do if this happens to you.

STOP:  The most important thing you can do is stop what you are doing — that is, if you’re lucky enough to get pre-warned before the LBP strikes crisis point. This move can be crucial, since it may be too late to reverse the cycle quickly once it hurts too much.

The “trigger” of LBP is often cumulative, meaning it happens gradually over time, usually through repetitive motion overloading the area. As previously stated, if you are lucky enough, you’ll be warned that before LBP becomes an occurrence that disables / prevents. Normally, the nerve endings in the damaged tissue activate muscle guarding as a protective mechanism when the tissues in the low back are over-stressed and initially wounded. This “muscle spasm” reflex limits the flow of blood leading to more pain producing a vicious cycle that needs to be stopped!

REACT: This is the “hard part” because it needs you to actually do something, but once you prove to yourself that this strategy really works, you will not hesitate. You will need to determine your preference for “direction,” or the position that reduces LBP. Once you’ve developed yourself, you can do exercises to help relieve back pain. To do this job, you need to be able to do these exercises in public without attracting too much attention, so that you can feel comfortable doing them anywhere at any time.

EXERCISE A: When bending forward feels relaxed, the alternative exercise is to sit down and (a) cross one leg over the other, (b) lift the knee to the opposite shoulder, and (c) push the knee in different positions to adjust the “pull” area. Stretch out each tight area by applying an arch to the lower back, move the trunk to the side of the flexed knee (sit tall and twist — if it doesn’t hurt) and switch between those positions (10-15 seconds at a time) until the stretched area feels “loosened up.” A second exercise is to sit and rotate the trunk until you feel a stretch. Again, during the twists alternate between different degrees of low back arching, feeling for different stretch areas until it feels looser, usually 5-15 seconds per side. A third exercise, as if to tie a shoe, is to sit and lean forward and hold that position until the tightness fades away.

EXERCISE B: When bending backwards feels better, exercise choices include putting your hands in the small of your back and leaning back over your fists, or bending backwards and keeping the position for as long as you need to feel relief (usually 5-15 seconds). Try to place a rolled-up towel from a sitting position (make one with a towel wrapped tightly like a sleeping bag held with rubber bands) in the small of the back to increase the curve. Lying with the roll on your back and a cushion under your lower back will feel great too!

Part 2 to follow!

Adapted article, credit:–what-to-do-immediately–part-1-/

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low back pain

Can Back Pain Outcome Be Predicted?

Patients with low back pain (LBP) are often nervous and worried about responding to the treatment — especially when it comes to getting out of pain and returning to normal activities. Osteopathic care has been shown by a variety of studies to be an effective option for the LBP patient, and although there is no “crystal ball,” there are some tests that Osteopaths can perform during an exam that can help predict results.

A meta-analysis of data from 43 studies published since 2012* indicates that centralisation and directional choice, which may be present in 60-70 percent of LBP cases, provide significant prognostic clues. Directional choice means that the body can be moved in a way that makes the patient more comfortable than others. Centralisation means moving in a way that reduces the spread of pain to a given region.

Let’s say an LBP patient shows up with radiating leg pain from their lower back with numbness and tingling in both leg and foot. The emphasis is on seeking a movement that REDUCES the pain / numbness of the legs, and their Osteopath asks the individual to lean upward, backward and sideways and twist their body, searching for which position is preferred, i.e. lateral inclination. When pain decreases, and AND centralises (leg pain disappears), then the directional preference is the extension.

If centralisation happens, this is a positive prognostic sign indicating that positive change can be expected. Likewise, if all positions or directions raise pain in the legs, this is a bad prognostic sign, which means this is potentially a more difficult situation.

It helps doctors better advise patients about their condition and what to expect from treatment in both the short and long term so that the patient can make REALISTIC goals and plans in time. Directional preference also helps Osteopaths to decide which type of treatment should be emphasised. For example, if the patient feels comfortable bending backward and leg pain disappears, the Osteopath may approach care from that direction with exercise suggestions.

Patient education is an important part of treatment, and educating patients on how to predict the outcome of treatment instils confidence and puts realistic goals in perspective so patients know what to expect. This improves both the health care provider and the patient’s respect for care and trust.


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neck pain

Social Media and Devices Detox

The ability to take out a small device to check email, take photos, connect with friends, play games and answer almost any question seemed like a great idea when smartphones and social media emerged more than a decade ago; but in recent years, many reports have looked at the downsides associated with heavy use of social media and technology.

A 2018 report, for example, found that people who use social media platforms for extended periods of time are more likely to take risky decisions. Another study revealed a correlation between heavy use of social media and an increased risk of physical ailments. Many people are aware of the term “text neck” which results from so much time spent looking down at the phone that it changes a person’s posture for the worse. Other studies have linked the use of social media to poor mental health, especially among teens and young adults. The more someone uses social media, the more likely they are to work with a plastic surgeon to “transform” their look, one study suggests.

Dr. Joseph Rock of the Cleveland Clinic states that these issues associated with the use of social media / devices can be attributed both to how social media affects the brain and to the impact of sedentary activity on mind and body. After all, if you’re all-day looking at your phone, your body probably won’t be moving enough.

One of the big issues with social media is that it creates emotions that keep luring people back for more— to the point that they find it difficult to cope if they don’t get stuck to their computer or device. The best way to determine if you’re using too much of your device is to ask family and friends what they think and if the answer is “too much” regularly, that’s a good indication of a problem. Dr Rock suggests a “cold turkey” approach to assess the severity of the addiction. He warns that although it will be initially uncomfortable, it will progressively improve the situation.

Not only will you spend more time having talks face to face and “smelling the flowers”, but you will probably increase your physical activity levels and take on a healthy posture also.

If you are still having discomfort with your neck / shoulder, your Osteopath can give you some exercises that can help you retrain your body to sit up straight, which can take a great deal of pressure off your neck and upper back.

If you feel you may need some treatment, feel free to book into one of our clinics at our website.

Adapted article: credit

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Neck pain

Osteopathic Neck Pain Care in Glasgow & Ayr

Have you ever had tightness, pain, or stiffness in your neck? With all the time spent using smartphones, tablets, watching TV and working at computer desks, the chances are, you have.

Neck pain is very common due to the complexity, structure and the function our necks undertake. The neck supports your head, which may weigh 10 lbs or more and it moves in several directions. Our heads way roughly 10lbs so, the weigh load is 10lbs provided it is directly over the centre of our shoulders. However, for every inch the head sits forward from centre for example, the weight increases by 10lbs. So, 3 inches forward equals 30lbs of weight strain on the neck. This strain is taken by the spine, discs, joints and nerves. This can cause major neck pain and recurring issues.

These pain symptoms are a sign that something is seriously wrong. Even minor neck stiffness can be an indicator that something is wrong inside your spine and you should Google “Osteopath near me” to seek local professional evaluations from your local Osteopath.

The Cervical Spine

The section of the spine positioned in the neck is comprised of seven bones called vertebrae. These vertebrae protect the spinal cord and nerve roots that exit from the spinal cord. Between the vertebrae are pads of tissue called discs that help cushion the vertebrae as the spine flexes and bends. An injury such as a car accident, whiplash or a bad fall may cause damage to the neck and spinal cords. However, mainly wear and tear from lifestyles i.e. poor posture, lack of movement and exercise, job situation and even emotional stress from bad relationships can cause damage over time.

Injuries and disproportions can cause cervical vertebrae to move out of position or become constrained. Delicate tissues like tendons and ligaments can become inflamed, worn out and exhausted. The cervical discs, which function as cushioning and help with movement, separating and cushioning the cervical vertebrae, can begin to decay and lead to disc bulges or ruptures (herniations) causing neck pains. If the degenerative degradation in the discs continues, this needs to be reversed to avoid additional pain and loss of function.

Ultimately, when we grow older the neck changes. Nerves may become pinched or irritated from misaligned spinal areas or from bulging discs. To cause irritation, it doesn’t take much pressure, just the weight of a coin. There are several age-related changes, also referred to as arthritis, that can occur at the spine. Due to weakening of the muscles or ligaments, the neck can lose its healthy curve, cause degenerating discs, or even develop bone spurs. All of these degenerative changes can cause nerves in the spine and neck to become irritated.

Neck Problem Symptoms

Neck problems can lead to pain symptoms and reduced motion range (normal rotation would cause the chin to be almost parallel to your shoulder). And even seemingly unrelated symptoms can be attributed to neck problems: headaches, inflammation of the sinus and discomfort, ear ringing (tinnitus), and vision disturbances were all associated with dysfunction of the neck. Just as a cavity in the tooth decays long before it reaches the nerve and causes pain, the misaligned vertebrae will irritate the function and damage it before any pain starts.

Keeping and Getting a Healthy Neck

Most people are seeking neck pain remedies such as muscle relaxants, pain killers, or tranquillisers. Such medical treatments should not be the first choice because they only “cover” the pain; they do nothing for the underlying cause which is why the pain returns when you stop taking the pills.

More extreme medical interventions include injections of steroids, or even surgeries that have many risks. Long-term use of drugs can lead to undesirable side effects and damage to internal organs like your liver and kidneys. There are more than 400,000 deaths from improperly prescribed medicines each year.

We are handling arthritis here at Cram Osteopaths with programs that are not just treating the symptoms. The purpose of our initial assessments is to identify and fix the underlying cause.

At Cram Osteopaths practises across Glasgow and Ayr, we will perform a thorough history evaluation and examination, with special attention to the spine and its effect on the nervous system will be carried out. As Osteopaths we are experts in the care of bones, nerves, muscles and connective tissues which make up about 60% of your body.

The conservative Osteopathic approach is to find the source of the neck pain that most frequently dysfunction (subluxation) in the vertebrae, and to repair it to allow the body to heal naturally. Once the dysfunction has been repaired, the spine moves normally and, most importantly, the spinal nerves are no longer irritated or pinched to allow proper nerve flow to the different areas of the body.

Several research studies have shown that Osteopathic treatment is more successful than the other types of medical treatment, also it’s healthier. One study, published in the Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics, found that patients receiving Osteopathic care reported significant improvement in neck function and a decrease in neck pain, whereas those just taking pain-killers did not.

If you are suffering from neck pain or are concerned about any symptoms you are suffering, get online and search for “Osteopath near me” or if you live within travelling distance of Glasgow and Ayr, please feel free to visit us at Cram Osteopaths where you can book online here at

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Sleep and Osteopathic Care

Sleep and Osteopathic Care

It is estimated that around 17% of us have a sleep disorder. Bad sleep patterns are associated with several adverse health outcomes, including an elevated risk for musculoskeletal pain.

Whilst the precise mechanisms are not completely understood, the current research proposes that the relationship between musculoskeletal pain and sleep disturbance is a two-way thing. In that, individuals with a sleep disorder are more inclined to develop an issue requiring Osteopathic treatment, moreover people with pain are more likely to have trouble sleeping.

Osteopathic treatment has been researched in many areas around the world where sleep deprivation is prevalent —particularly in patients with fibromyalgia, a condition characterised by insomnia, tiredness and pain in several areas throughout the body. A study published in 2000 stated that fibromyalgia patients who received 30 Osteopathic treatments, experienced sizeable improvements with respect to pain intensity, exhaustion and sleep quality.

In a systematic review, researchers identified 15 studies that connected Osteopathic care with benefits for patients with insomnia. For low back pain and neck pain, which are two of the most common sleep interfering chronic conditions, Osteopathic management not only aids this but it is recommended worldwide, as a guideline for first levels of treatment.

Osteopathy offers the following to help with sleeping difficulties:

Manual therapies such as mobilisation and manipulation
• Soft-tissue work that helps relax the nervous system
• Nutritional approaches
• Weight management (obesity is a risk factor for insomnia)
• Education on sleeping position, napping, relaxation methods (breathing exercises, mindful meditation), no “screen-time” prior to bed, pillow placement and size, and more

KEY TAKEAWAY: Osteopathic care helps manage pain arising from a variety of conditions. Sleep is necessary to avoid chronic, disabling conditions (like FM) and maintain a high quality of life, so seek osteopathic care and do your best to help yourself sleep well every night! If you feel you would like further advice contact us at whereby you can book online.

Adapted Article

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Lower Back Pain

Swiss Ball Exercise Program for Lower Back Pain

Today, we will look at why employing a Swiss ball could be more beneficial for the back-pain patient than simply doing floor-based exercises.

In a study back in 2015 published in the journal of Science and Medicine, researchers assigned twelve chronic lower back pain (cLBP) patients to perform either floor, or ball-based exercises, 3 times a week for 8 weeks, performing 4 different motions or exercises.

Whilst subjects in both groups enjoyed progression, the gains witnessed were much greater for those using the Swiss/gym ball in terms of functional improvement. CT scans of partakers in the ball group also found an increase in the cross-sectional area of the deep low back stabilising multifidus (MF) muscles.

The question is, why did the Swiss ball patients gain better outcomes? A likely probability is that the use of an unstable device like a gym ball, promotes the neuromuscular system to work harder to maintain balance.

This process not only improves proprioception i.e. the body’s ability to sense where its varying parts are in relation to one another for purposes of movement and balance, but it also works out additional muscle groups that are involved in normal everyday movement that may not be activated when exercising from the floor or another stable surface.

The four Swiss ball exercises included in the study:

1) Bridge-1: Lay face up (on your back) with the ball under your upper back and bring one knee toward the chest to a 90/90° hip/knee angle; hold ten seconds and repeat five times with each leg.

2) Bridge-2: Lay face up with your upper back on the floor with the ball under the pelvis; push down into the ball with the pelvis for ten seconds and repeat five times.

3) Bird-dog (kneel on all-fours—quadruped position): Place a small ball (4-6”) under one knee (kneel on it) and slowly lift and straighten the opposite leg and balance for ten seconds and repeat ten times with each leg.

4) “See-Saw:” Lay on your stomach with the ball under the pelvis/hips, balance on the forearms, raise the legs, and do a scissors-kick (as if swimming) for ten seconds ten times with each leg.

We encourage proper form and working safely within “reasonable pain boundaries” that you deem acceptable. Gradually increase reps and sets as you improve.

If you would like to learn more or feel a visit to your Osteopath could be beneficial, book online at

We look forward to seeing you!

Adapted article, credit:

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Reasons to Eat More Blueberries

Blueberries are closely related to the Scottish “Blaeberry.” Blueberries are incredibly good for you. Which is great as they are both widely available in supermarkets and extremely tasty. So why are they so good for us?

A 2019 review looked at findings from eleven studies that involved blueberry inclusions. The researchers found that blueberries help memory and executive function in both children and adults. Furthermore, blueberries can improve psychomotor function in the elderly, including those with mild-cognitive impairment. The researchers also reported that blueberry intake reduces risks for developing metabolic syndrome (heart disease, stroke, and type-2 diabetes), cancer, cardiovascular disease, and cognitive decline. Furthermore, they are found to improve both recovery from and prevention of muscle soreness.

In a 2018 study involving 215 older adults, researchers observed that those with the highest cognitive impairments who consumed a daily 600mg polyphenol-rich grape and blueberry extract for six months, experienced significant advances with respect to episodic memory.

Not only are blueberries low in calories (only 84 calories per cup) but just one cup of blueberries contains four grams of fibre, 24% of the recommended daily allowance (RDI) of vitamin C, 36% of the RDI of vitamin K, and 25% of the RDI of manganese.

Blueberries are very rich in antioxidants, which can protect the body from the free radicals that are known to damage cells and contribute to aging and diseases, like cancer. These antioxidants can also reduce oxidization of LDL (“bad”) cholesterol, which is a risk factor for heart disease. Further research suggests regular blueberry intake can be associated with lower blood pressure and a reduced risk for heart attack.

Blueberries can improve insulin sensitivity and glucose metabolism—both of which can reduce the risk for diabetes and may provide benefits to diabetics. Similarly, with cranberries, blueberries contain anti-adhesive substances that can help keep bacteria from remaining in the bladder and causing a urinary tract infection.

If you regularly exercise, then the good news is that blueberries reduce soreness and aid in muscle recovery following a strenuous workout.


Adapted Article: Credit

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Weak Core May Contribute to Hip Pain

Weak Core May Contribute to Hip Pain

When patients are suffering hip pain, they generally target hip exercises as a strategy for improvement. However, recent studies suggest there is a direct correlation between weak core stability of the trunk and injury to lower extremities, including the hips.

In March 2018, Belgian researchers examined data from nine formerly published studies with a focus on the significance of core stability and its affiliation to lower extremity musculoskeletal injuries, in a healthy athletic population. The research showed:

  • Core strength
  • Core proprioception (balance)
  • Neuromuscular control (coordination) of the core are directly linked to the likelihood of lower extremity injuries

Let’s look at some core exercises you can carry out from home to aid your core and in turn hip health (you can view several demonstration videos on YouTube if you search for “Stuart Mcgill’s big-3 core exercises”).

1) The Curl-Up (abdominal strength): STEP 1 — Lie on your back, straighten your left leg, and bend your right leg, placing the right foot next to the left knee.  STEP 2 — Tuck your hands under your low back to prop up the lumbar curve (so it does not flatten out).  STEP 3 — Curl up by lifting your head, neck, and shoulders only a few inches off the floor (keep your chin tucked).  STEP 4 — Hold for 7–8 seconds (or work up to this).  STEP 5 — Slowly lower your trunk back to the ground.  Repeat five times with the right leg bent and five times with the left leg bent, while keeping the opposite leg straight.  This exercise helps reduce low back disc compression, which is significant when performing a conventional sit-up exercise.

2) The Bird-Dog (core, back, and gluts):  STEP 1 — Kneel on all-fours (hands and knees).  STEP 2 — Keeping your back flat, lift and straighten out the LEFT arm and RIGHT leg parallel to the floor. STEP 3 — To further activate the core muscles, draw a square with the arm and leg while bracing the abdominal muscles (firm up your abs, as if to brace for being punched in the stomach). STEP 4 — Return to the starting position and repeat on the opposite side (repeat STEP 3 again).

3) The Side-Bridge (obliques): STEP 1 — Lie on your side, elbow directly under your shoulder and bend your knees 90°. To increase the difficulty, keep the legs/knees straight. STEP 2 — Lift your hips off the ground so you are holding your weight with your elbow and knees (or feet). STEP 3 — Hold the “Up” position for as long as possible. STEP 4 — Repeat steps 1-3 on the opposite side.

Osteopaths are trained to evaluate patients from the feet up to the head to identify issues elsewhere in the body that may contribute to or even cause the patient’s chief complaint. For many patients, managing hip-related conditions may involve treatment to address issues in the core (as described in this article), the lower back, and even the feet or knees!

If you are suffering pain book online at

Adapted Article: Credit


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