Archive for April 2020

neck pain

Neck Pain – Exercises to Reduce Risk

As personal computers, notebooks, ipads, e-readers and smartphones are becoming more important in our lives, more and more people are contacting healthcare providers for musculoskeletal problems such as neck pain. Why is this the case, and are there things that can be done in today’s modern world to reduce one’s chance of neck pain?

It’s common for individuals to lean forward and/or look downward while using mobile devices. The muscles in the back of the neck tend to work harder to keep the head straight while the head lies in front of the neck and shoulders.

Over time, forward head posture (FHP) will lead to head / neck back, arms, and upper back discomfort and injury, leading to pain and impairment. Past findings have found that up to 60 per cent of people with neck / shoulder pain have FHP, indicating that taking action to minimise FHP will have a significant effect on the incidence of neck pain in the general population.

The following exercises will help to strengthen one’s posture and therefore reduce the risk of neck pain (patients with neck pain also benefit from these):

  • Stretch the pects, or muscles in the arms, by gripping a door jam and turning away.
  • Shoulder external rotation strengthening. Lay on your side, elbow bent, and lift/rotate a LIGHT dumbbell toward the ceiling and slowly lower it.
  • “Flies”. Reinforce the interscapular muscles by laying prone and lifting the arms to the ceiling (like flying), pressing the blades of the shoulder together.
  • Chin Tucks. Tuck your chin and nod the head to strengthen the deep neck flexors.
  • Neck Stretches. Pull your neck to the side, look up, and turn toward your pulling hand, followed by looking down and turning away from your pulling hand.

Staying physically active will also reduce the risk of neck pain. In a year-long research involving 367 sedentary staff, those who raised their daily average number of steps by 1,000 steps lowered their risk of neck pain by 14%! And, if you’re working in an office, set a timer to prompt you to get up and walk around and/or perform the aforementioned exercises (at least some which you can do from your seat). Breathing and meditation exercises can also reduce muscle strain in the neck.

In addition to the use of physical therapy such as mobilisation and manipulation to treat patients with neck pain, Osteopaths also prescribe home exercises such as those mentioned above to improve forward head alignment and reinforce the neck muscles not only to relieve neck pain but also to reduce the risk of recurrence of neck pain.

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neck pain

Cram Osteopaths – Glasgow & Ayrshire

We are a family run osteopathic practice and have over 70 years’ experience in treating a wide variety of conditions including Osteopathic Care for back, neck, shoulder and hip pain. We also provide shockwave therapy treatment and diagnostic ultrasound. Learn more:

We care for patients all over Scotland – with the aim to get them out of pain quickly and keep them healthy.  It could be for a specific problem, or just the wear and tear of getting older.

We know how challenging aches, pains and injuries can be and we care about getting your body into the best possible condition to treat or heal the issue that you’re facing.

Cram Osteopaths began with the late Normund Cram in 1946, who whilst studying medicine became dissatisfied with orthodox approaches at that time. He was introduced to Osteopathic theory and opened the first practice, in Glasgow’s west end.

Normund was joined in his practice in 1973 by his son and daughter-in-law, Alex and Heidi Cram, who had graduated from the British College of Naturopathy and Osteopathy (BCNO), now the British College of Osteopathic Medicine (BCOM).

In 2009, Alex and Heidi’s daughter and son-in-law, Joanna Cram and Michael Brown (who both also studied at BCOM), became the third generation of Cram Osteopaths!

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Get the Best Out of Sports

Get the Best Out of Sports

It can be rewarding to participate in sport or keep fit, improve your health and reduce your risk of serious illnesses, such as heart problems, stroke or cancer. It can help to keep your weight under control and improve your self-esteem.

Adults aged 19-64 are advised to do at least 150 minutes of aerobic activity of moderate intensity per week. This could include activities such as brisk walking or cycling. It’s also recommended to do exercises twice a week to strengthen all major muscle groups (arms, legs, and body). You should also aim to minimise the amount of time you spend sitting for extended periods, even if you are active on a regular basis.

For many in the UK, sport has become a way of life, with participants ranging from the elite athletes to those who just want to keep fit.

But if you get an injury what happens?

Too much or too hard engagement in sports can sometimes result in injury. Failure to warm up properly in advance or warm down and stretch after exercise can also lead to strain. Likewise, using inappropriate equipment or wearing the wrong footwear can hinder your performance. An unresolved injury that might not even be related to sport, can make it hard to get even started in physical activity.

Your Osteopath Can Help

After exercise, it is normal to experience some mild discomfort, as the body needs a little time to heal and adjust to the activity demands. Soreness mostly fixes itself quickly, but occasionally it can last for more than a couple of days or make it difficult for you to resume your usual activities. You may want to ask for advice from an Osteopath in these instances.

Osteopathic treatment is based on the patient’s particular needs, and hence varies depending on age, health and diagnosis. Osteopaths use a wide variety of gentle hands-on methods, concentrating on stress release, muscle relaxation and mobilising joints. These are also combined with exercise and supportive guidance along with strapping or taping, both intended to alleviate discomfort, help return to normal levels of activity and preserve the best of health. As well as treating injuries, Osteopaths may provide guidance on proper nutrition or prescribe a diet unique to sport.

The good news is that while sport injuries are common, those who are active and have experience following exercise routines can find that they recover from their injuries more quickly and easily.

How you can help yourself:

  • Start your activity slowly and increase your intensity especially after an injury
  • Drink plenty of water when you are thirsty, particularly when you are doing exercise
  • Take daily exercise and try to change the types of exercise you do for body fitness
  • If you think you have injured a limb, rest, ice, compression and elevation can help, but if you’re worried, seek advice

The usual healing time for soft tissue can be as long as 12 weeks (if no other injuries occur). If you’re concerned about a short, medium or long-term injury it’s worth getting more advice at both.

What to Expect

Osteopaths are highly qualified clinicians who have the ability to treat health conditions, including those which may need more investigation. They will inquire about current symptoms and medical history when they first visit an Osteopath. All details must be considered as confidential by the General Osteopathic Council (GOsC) and the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), May 2018.

Concerns over symptoms and cause is normal. An Osteopath should also complete a regular evaluation to test for more severe conditions, advise and discuss any further action that might be required. Following this review, an Osteopath will discuss treatment options and you will then collectively agree on a reasonable and appropriate treatment plan, along with any associated costs. This programme can include multiple visits and occasionally, more tests and/or referrals to another health care provider who is suitable. Treatment can commence at the first appointment. Afterwards, there could be a mild pain, but in most situations, this should dissipate within 24 hours.

Concerned about face to face consultation? Book an online session here

Adapted article, credit:

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Problems of Fibromyalgia (FM) and Central Nervous System

Problems of Fibromyalgia (FM) and Central Nervous System

If you hurt all over, always feel drained, can’t seem to ever feel “rested” after a night’s sleep, don’t respond to any of your doctor’s prescriptions and no test appears to show something specific, then you might have Fibromyalgia (FM). FM is a chronic/long-term condition involving generalised muscle and joint pain, generally on either end of the body above and below the waist, associated with “tender points,” where mild to firm pressure normally causes pain in the following locations (but possible anywhere):

  • Upper chest
  • Outer elbows
  • Upper hips
  • Sides of hips
  • Inner knees
  • Back of the head
  • Between shoulder blades
  • Top of shoulders
  • Front sides of neck

A widespread hypersensitivity is normal and it seems like you just can’t shut off your brain. It can start with a physical or an emotional occurrence, but it doesn’t have to be especially that, because it may seem to come out of nowhere as well.

In the UK, FM affects about 2 percent of the population, mainly women and especially those growing older. One specific underlying clinical finding is non-restoring night-time sleep with insomnia. The sleep disturbances associated with FM include sleep apnea and restless leg syndrome.

One study involving 168 patients with FM associated fibromyalgia and central nervous system (CNS) dysfunction. Researcher conducted numerous tests including an auditory brainstem response (ABR) that tests the cranial nerve that is responsible for our hearing and balance; a test that specifically measures eye movements while sleeping; and a third test that measures balance functions. Below is a list of the study results:

  • 78% of the FM patients complained of dizziness or vertigo. Most of these cases were mild but 4% complained of constant, severe dizziness.
  • Sensorineural hearing loss was found in 15% of the FM patients.
  • 51 of the subjects (30%) had abnormal ABR test findings.
  • 58% had abnormal eye movement tests and 45% had abnormal findings on the balance test.

Some studies also report that similar symptoms are associated with whiplash associated disorders (WAD).

If you would like an online consultation service throughout this lock-down please book online here.


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Live Online Consultations

Online Video Telehealth Consultation for New and Existing Patients 🙂

Due to the recent Covid-19 Pandemic and UK lockdown we are adapting.

We are now offering ‘Live Online Consultations’ please book here or at the bottom of this page. We look forward to helping you soon.

Consultation Includes: 

Case history

We will need you to tell us all about your symptoms and your past medical history. We will then ask you some specific questions to help us.


We will then need to examine the area and related areas that are causing your symptoms. We will ask you to perform some simple movements. We may then ask you to carry out some specific tests to help with our diagnosis.


We will advise you of our working diagnosis which is likely causing your discomfort with any differential diagnosis if it isn’t quite clear at this stage. Sometimes with extremely acute pain common conditions can be very similar. We may refer you on to emergency care if you require it.

Self Help Advice & Treatment

Propose a necessary treatment plan along with providing some specific advice on what to expect. We will advise on what you can do to speed up your recovery and reduce your symptoms. We may encourage you to do some specific exercises at this stage along with hydrotherapy, nutrition, ergonomic and other self help advice.

Book Your Online Appointment Here 


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Low Back Pain

Low Back Pain and Walking

Guidelines advocate pursuing treatment in the acute stage of low back pain conditions, rather than waiting for it to become chronic. Getting back pain better quickly is a top priority for patients. Osteopaths have other goals for the patient’s body too. By relieving the back pain quickly Osteopaths are aiming to avoid stress and compensation patterns on other joints muscle and ligaments. Low back pain compensation patterns can cause more pain in the hip’s, knees, ankles and leave the patient suffering with another painful condition to deal with.

In a study performed in February 2020, researchers studied the lower limb kinematics (function) in 40 participants, half of whom had chronic back pain, using a special seven-camera device that monitored pelvic, hip, knee and ankle joint movements while walking. The data showed that individuals with chronic low back pain in all three lower extremity joints had significantly altered movement.

Another research study used a marker-based motion control device to evaluate 22 adults’ spinal kinematics (half with chronic low back pain) while walking along four parts of the spine: upper and lower lumbar (UL and LL) and thoracic (UT and LT). This experiment showed major variations in behaviour between the two groups.

Using an advanced measurement tool called statistical parametric mapping (SPM) to obtain a 3D visualisation of participants (20 with vs. 20 without low back pain), yet another test established altered patterns of motion for people with low back pain.

Such experiments indicate that individuals with back pain display altered walking kinematics and may be the body’s reaction to pain avoidance. But doing so can put extra stress on certain areas of the body, such as the thighs, knees, and ankles, which can contribute to secondary conditions. On the other hand, there is the risk that in the lower extremities pre-existing instability resulted in irregular activity due to a lower back injury.

Either way, these findings underscore the importance of examining the entire patient to identify any and all problems that may contribute to their low back pain, something that Osteopaths are trained to do to achieve the best outcome for each patient.

Do you need emergency help throughout the COVID19 lockdown? Call: 0141 339 0894.

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Osteopathy for Scoliosis

Osteopathy for Scoliosis

Scoliosis is a term used to define a not “natural” curvature of the spine. Natural curves of the spine have an inward curve in the lower back and neck and an outward curve in the middle back when approaching the individual from the side (“sagittal plane”). Nevertheless, when approaching a person from the front or back (the frontal plane) there should NOT be any curves; the spine should be straight. This is called scoliosis because there is a curve in the frontal plane and is generally either a singe curve, shaped like the letter “C” or a double (or more) curve, shaped like the letter “S.” While there is a scoliosis-specific diagnostic code, it is not a disorder or condition in itself, and it is mostly associated with no or, at worst, limited symptoms. Despite this reason, scoliosis is not detected much of the time until the curve changes dramatically and a friend or family member makes a statement or a school screening picks up on it.

The most common spinal position for the development of scoliosis is in the middle to upper back (called the thoracic spine), but it may also be found at the intersection between the middle back and the lower back, as well as sometimes or more rarely, in the abdomen. Since scoliosis-associated symptoms are uncommon, the way it is detected is by examining one or more of the following:

  • One shoulder is higher than the other
  • One shoulder blade sticks out more than the other
  • One side of the rib cage appears higher than the other (called a “rib hump”)
  • One hip appears higher or more prominent than the other
  • The waist appears uneven
  • The body tilts to one side
  • One leg may appear or actually be shorter than the other

Normally it is necessary to use X-ray to confirm the diagnosis and calculate the amount of curve that can then be used for potential reference and to rule out a possible irregular scoliosis origin. Rarely is an MRI required – only in situations where there are neurological signs and symptoms and in younger children (ages 8-11 years old) because scoliosis almost often occurs within the time period of puberty when hormonal systems (ages 12-14) are kicking in. If scoliosis occurs at an age younger than 11, and if neurological changes (reflex, muscle strength, and/or sensory functions) occur, and/or when the mid-back / thoracic curve bends to the left (as it almost always curves to the right), an MRI is sufficient to rule out the spinal cord strain.

The decision to treat or not to treat depends on two factors: 1) the “patient’s skeletal maturity” (how much development is left to the individual); 2) the degree of curve. Typically speaking, the bigger the curve, and the younger the patient, the greater the risk of curve development or deterioration.

Osteopaths may provide extra treatment by applying spinal changes, minimising defects in the length of the leg where there is a compensatory lumbar / low back curve, and providing scoliosis-specific exercises.

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Keep a Healthy Weight

Help Keep a Healthy Weight

Losing and holding the extra weight off can be a struggle. Ideally these eight tips will help make the battle of the bulge easier to win …

FOOD JOURNAL: A study published in the Obesity journal revealed that those who logged their meals regularly and conducted online group sessions on weight-loss strategies, lost an average of 10% of their body weight within six months.

WHEN TO EAT: It’s not only WHAT we’re consuming but WHEN we’re consuming that can make a huge difference. One study found that a group called “time-restricted feeding” (TRF) (eating breakfast 90 minutes later and dinner 90 minutes earlier than usual) were feeling more healthy, losing more weight, and seeing greater increases in blood sugar and blood lipid readings than people who tended to eat on their daily schedule.

SELF-CONTROL: Rate your satiety on a 0-10 scale (10=feeling stuffed) before reaching for another serving and strive for a maximum score of 4-6/10 to stop feeling like you ate too much. Research show that practising this form of assessment will reduce the likelihood of extra calories being eaten at mealtime.

WHAT TO EAT: If the temptation to eat fast food hits, consider eating a balanced food option rather than an unhealthy one. A KEY to success with this suggestion is to have pre-prepared healthy options so that when the desire for a snack hits is easy to catch.

READ & FOLLOW THE LABELS: Restrict the amount of food to the portion size written on the packaging. For instance, many people fill the bowl to the brim when it comes to a bowl of cereal, which could actually be three servings, not a single. One research found that about 300 fewer calories per day were consumed when participants followed this basic instruction.

FRONT-LOAD YOUR CALORIES: Studies indicate that people who consume more of their daily calorie intake early in the day appear to be less hungry during the day than those who eat a light breakfast and a large supper.

BE BEVERAGE CONSCIOUS: Particularly in our culture in Glasgow and Ayrshire, be conscious of what you are consuming and what you are drinking with alcohol. Many drinks, such as sodas, juices, iced tea and milkshakes are full of sugar and/or calorie-rich. Instead, maybe drink coffee. Also, it is very important to remain hydrated even to ensure proper metabolic functions. While dining, consuming a whole glass of water would also reduce the amount of food eaten.

EAT MORE PROTEIN: Avoid processed / fast food as this activates dopamine in the brain which may increase the cravings for these foods. Instead, eat protein and fibre-rich, nutrient-dense foods (chicken, fish, lean meats, and non-starch veggies).

If you need to speak to us during these times of isolation please contact us at or at


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Exercise for Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

Exercise for Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (CTS) is an extremely common disorder which can affect anyone of any age. In fact, there is a high possibility that at some point in time up to 50 percent of people reading this today will have or have had CTS symptoms and 10 percent or more will have been treated for it! We have addressed many non-surgical treatment strategies for treating CTS recently, but the question of why exercises should be included in this plan remains a mystery for many!

In examining the carpal tunnel anatomy, we have nine tendons that are the “shoe strings” that link the muscles in the forearm on the palm side with the fingers that move through the tunnel along with the notorious median nerve — the culprit that causes the CTS-related numbness and tingling. The tunnel’s bony “roof” consists of eight carpal bones, which link our forearm with our hand and allow us to bend the wrist in several directions. Without these eight little bones, we’d never be able to bend our hand! The tunnel’s “floor” is the transverse carpal ligament, on which the median nerve lies directly above. CTS occurs when the tunnel contents swell and the pressure is applied which pushes the median nerve into the floor, what’s normal when the wrist is twisted, like sleeping with our hand tucked under our chin at night – thus the explanation for a night splint to avoid bending at night.

Now that we have a picture of the tunnel in our heads, CTS exercises will make more sense. CTS occurs when strong, repetitive activities are conducted over a long period of time (e.g., musical instrument practise, assembly line work, carpentry, etc.). The friction inside the tunnel between the tendons (“shoe strings”) causes swelling and this results in tightness.

EXERCISE # 1 is ICING and spreading it over the tunnel using a bag of ice. You’ll feel COLD first, then burning, then aching and eventually numbness. Stop at numbness, as frostbite is the next step of cooling! Some of you may not see “ice massage” as an exercise, but it’s really necessary!

EXERCISE # 2 – Stand by a countertop, put the palm side of your fingers on the counter edge and move until your wrist is bent sideways to the point that you can hold it while holding your elbow straight. Now reach over with your other hand and draw back your thumb as far as possible. Can you feel a “pull” up to the elbows in your mid forearm? Good! Keep that for 3 to 5 seconds, rest for 5 seconds and repeat it 3 times. Use this on both hands, even when the other hand is “natural” so you can feel the difference between the “strong” side of the CTS versus the regular arm. Often, CTS is bilateral so you may not note any difference. Now, set the timer to ring every hour on your smartphone to remind you to do that during the work day.

EXERCISE # 3 is an open sequence of the fist/”bear claw” / hand. First, make a tight fist, then open your hand while holding your fingers bent / flexed and then open your hand and fingers completely. Keep each place for two to three seconds and go through the sequence as much as possible (usually two to three times a day, several times a day) when doing BOTH sides simultaneously.

Why do these exercises help? You break up adhesion’s between the tendons, their sheaths, and the underlying tissues. These exercises often cause you to take ‘mini-breaks’ during a busy day, which may minimise swelling in the carpal tunnel.

We understand that you have a preference for your health care and we deeply appreciate your choosing our service for those needs. If you, a friend or family member need Carpal Tunnel Syndrome treatment, we’d be delighted to support you.

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