All posts by Graeme IMC

Neck Pain

Device Overuse and Neck Pain

When people use their smartphone, tablet or laptop, they frequently adopt an awkward posture in which their head rests on their shoulders. This forward head pose, or “text neck,” puts additional pressure on the spine, arms, and upper back muscles which can contribute to musculoskeletal discomfort. Researchers are also studying how the use of electronic devices impacts posture, which may raise the risk of spine, shoulders and upper back pain.

In a report conducted in 2018 by University of Nevada, researchers from Las Vegas analysed survey results from 412 university students, employees, faculty and alumni about their use of mobile and tablets and related musculoskeletal symptoms. The study team found that 55 per cent of daily users reported at least mild neck and shoulder pain rates, which is greater than the general population. In fact, 10 per cent of the frequent users in the study reported serious device-related neck and/or shoulder pain. Just about half (46 per cent), however, said that they stopped using their device when they felt discomfort.

The researchers added that regular device users, particularly younger people with no dedicated workspace, often used their device in awkward positions, such as sitting on the floor with their legs folded, or laying on their stomach or side while looking down at their device. These postures can place undue stress on the spine, shoulders and upper back, leading to pain and musculoskeletal discomfort.

The study team also observed that women were more than twice as likely to experience device-related pain (70 per cent versus 30%). While this can be explained in part by women being more likely to sit on the floor with their legs crossed while using their device (77% vs. 23%), the researchers hypothesise that the anatomical differences between men and women may be a primary driver of the disparity.  Women also have slimmer arms and fewer body mass / strength. Their shorter arms and narrower shoulders, while typing on their device, may also result in more extreme postural stress.

Such results worry researchers as tablets are becoming more common for family, educational, and company use, which in the years to come could put a greater burden on the health care system. Experts recommend sitting in a chair with back support to reduce the risk of musculoskeletal pain associated with tablet use; placing the screen slightly below eye level; using an external keyboard; typing at 90 degrees with the elbows bent; taking mini breaks to stretch; and performing forward posture correction exercises.

If you continue to experience pain associated with device use, consult with us at your earliest convenience. Book online here www.cramosteopaths.co.uk/book-online/

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Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

Repeated Movement and Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

Perhaps the most well-known of all the potential contributing factors to carpal tunnel syndrome is involved in jobs and activities that require rapid, repetitive hand movements that can put increased pressure on the median nerve as it passes through the wrist. Other contributing factors are, diabetes, thyroid dysfunction, inflammatory arthritis, pregnancy, birth control usage, and obesity.

What can someone do if they begin to experience tingling and numbness, or carpal tunnel syndrome-related pain and weakness without giving up their livelihood or hobby?

First, understand that the pressure on the carpal tunnel can increase substantially when the wrist is bent, especially when inflammation is present which can affect the median nerve. So, if a movement sometimes results in numbness, tingling, or unpleasant sensations in the hand and wrist, look for ways to maintain a more relaxed position in the wrist. This may also require the use of more ergonomic, wrist-friendly devices.

For the patient with carpal tunnel syndrome, an Osteopath may also advise wearing a splint overnight to keep the wrist from bending during sleep. It is also necessary to take regular breaks (for example, every 30 minutes), so that the injured wrist and hand can relax. Or if necessary, move to a separate task for a brief time before returning to the job that puts the greatest pressure on the hand.

Here are three excellent workout choices for increasing the strength of the finger, thumb, wrist and forearm, which will stretch the soft tissues in the wrist and improve resistance to the activity:

“Push-ups” for the thumb-finger: Place the pads of your fingers and thumbs together in front of you and keep your fingers straight, spread apart and point down. Push your hands together (try to touch your palms) and push them apart by bending and repeating the motion. This simultaneously stretches all five digits and all palm / forearm muscles.

Shake them out: … as if you shake your wet hands to get them dry. Continue that every hour for as long as one to two minutes.

Place your palm on a wall, elbow straight, fingers pointing down and pushing your palm as far as you can into the wall. Reach forward and with the other hand take the thumb out from the wall and stay for 20-30 seconds. Change hands and spread again. This can be repeated every hour, two to three times per hand.

Of course, consult your Osteopath so that he or she can take a look at your patient history and examine the entire course of the median nerve to identify any other factors that may contribute to the symptoms associated with your carpal tunnel.

Book online at www.cramosteopaths.co.uk/book-online

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Link Between Back Pain and Bladder Problems

Link Between Back Pain and Bladder Problems

While undergoing Osteopathic care, it is not unusual for a patient to experience an enhancement on an issue that seems unrelated to their main problem. For example, a patient with a temporomandibular condition may report a reduction in their jaw symptoms following care in the neck or upper back muscles. Or treatment to strengthen the function of the hip can also support the ankle or knee. In this article, we will look at how therapy for low back pain may help a patient who also has bladder problems.

There are many potential causes of bladder problems, but one contributing factor is the weakness of lower pelvic muscles. It therefore makes sense that some patients may benefit from therapies addressing pelvic function disorders. A 2018 Cochrane systematic review concluded that lower pelvic muscle training is more successful than either placebo therapy or no care for certain individuals with bladder problems. This is the place where back pain comes into play.

It is estimated that more than 80 percent of us will be affected by back pain during our entire life. We also change our daily activities to escape pain, both consciously and unconsciously. These irregular movements may place additional stress on other parts of the body. In the case of the lower back, it is common to alter the function in the waist and pelvis.

A November 2019 research published in the Craniovertebral Junction & Spine Journal reached the conclusion that people with lumbar degenerative disc disease, spondylolisthesis, and failed back surgery symptoms are more likely to exhibit unnatural spino-pelvic alignment. Over time, these people may develop secondary conditions in the hip or pelvis, which may impair the function of soft tissues, including muscles, in the region. Or, in the same way, injury to the hips/pelvis may lead to abnormalities in the lower back, which may be the reason why the patient sought treatment in the first place.

Osteopaths are trained to examine the patient’s medical record and to perform a comprehensive examination of the patient as a whole in order to understand the factors contributing to the patient’s primary complaint. That is why it is important to note all symptoms, including those that seem insignificant or that may be embarrassing. If a patient with low back pain has a history of bladder problem and the examination identifies abnormal pelvic posture, therapy is likely to address improved function in both the pelvis and the lower back to deliver the best results.

Book online if you are suffering from any symptoms you may feel you need treatment for, click this link to learn more about what we help with.

 

 

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Using Traction to Treat Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

Using Traction to Treat Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

Carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS) is the most common peripheral neuropathy affecting approximately 4-5 percent of the general population and approximately 10 percent of working adults. Osteopathic care for patients with CTS usually requires many of the same treatments as those used for conditions such as neck and back pain, such as joint compression, relaxation, precise exercises, and dietary guidelines to minimise inflammation. In some cases, patients with pain in the neck and back may benefit from traction. Could the people suffering from CTS also take advantage of the traction applied to the wrist?

A Canadian journal published in 2004, reported a series of cases involving four patients with confirmed CTS who underwent a mechanic traction treatment method involving between five and twelve 5-minute treatment sessions over a 3-month period. The results showed a recovery in the nerve conductive tests that lasted up to one year after the end of treatment.

In a study published in October 2017, 181 CTS patients were assigned either mechanical traction (two therapies per week for six weeks) or regular medical therapy. The basis used by the researchers for a successful outcome was whether or not the patients had chosen to undergo carpal tunnel release surgery within the following six months.

According to the researchers, 43 per cent of participants in the usual care group were exposed to carpal tunnel surgery in the allocated time frame compared to only 25 percent of patients in the mechanical traction group. The researchers concluded that mechanical traction appeared to be an effective conservative treatment option for CTS patients. Treatment guidelines recommend that patients exhaust all non-surgical treatment options before considering surgery, unless otherwise justified.

However, as with any musculoskeletal problem, it is important to identify all the factors contributing to the main complaint of the patient. In the case of a suspected CTS, median nerve compression in the wrist may or may not occur. Likewise, median nerve compression can occur anywhere else along the course of the nerve from the neck to the hand. It is also possible to see non-musculoskeletal causes of swelling in the carpal tunnel that need to be addressed in conjunction with other health care professionals in order for the patient to achieve an adequate outcome.

If you need treatment, we cater to a wide range of services please book at cramosteopaths.co.uk/book-online/ available in Glasgow and Ayrshire locations.

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Neck Pain

Neck Pain in Office Staff

Neck discomfort is the second most common reason patients seek Osteopath treatment, and it’s an issue with office staff in particular. One study estimated that neck pain affects 42-69% of those who work in office environments. Many such individuals will experience recurring episodes of neck pain, and can develop chronic, ongoing neck pain in at least one in six. While Osteopathy offers a safe and effective way of managing neck pain, there are many first steps that an office worker can take to reduce the risk of neck pain.

Taking a daily walk can be a successful technique for avoiding neck pain according to one study. In the report, which in the previous three months included 387 office employees without spinal symptoms, researchers asked participants to wear a pedometer and note any signs of spinal pain during the next year.

16 per cent of the 367 participants that completed the study reported the onset of neck pain. The results showed that for every 1,000 steps a participant averaged each day, their risk for neck pain fell by 14 percent. The researchers concluded that increasing daily walking steps protect those who work sedentary jobs from the onset of neck pain and managers should formulate and test strategies to encourage walking, to reduce the incidence of neck pain among employees.

What about other ways of doing exercise? A meta-analysis of data from two randomised control trials involving more than 500 participants showed moderate-quality evidence that taking part in a workplace exercise programme can reduce the risk of developing a new episode of neck pain by up to 68 percent. Participants completed stretching and mobility testing twice a day at work and twice a day at home during the first exercise. The second trial included a mix of strength, stability, aerobic, and body awareness activities that included three days a week, over a nine-month time span, health details, ergonomic training and stress reduction training.

While a condition such as neck pain cannot be completely avoided, the evidence suggests that regularly engaging in physical activity may substantially lower the risk. It is important to receive Osteopathic treatment as soon as possible for those who experience neck pain, which can lead to quicker symptom relief and minimise the risk of recurrence of neck pain and chronic neck pain.

We are open for business under strict new safety measurements, ensuring ever precaution is undertaken to protect your health. We are open in Glasgow and Ayr for booking here www.cramosteopaths.co.uk/book-online/ if you are suffering from neck pain or any other symptoms please don’t hesitate to contact us.

 

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Chronic Low Back Pain

Chronic Low Back Pain & Walking Backwards

A fear of movement, (Kinesiophobia) is a common occurrence in patients with chronic low back pain (cLBP). Sadly, self-restricting one’s physical activity can lead to fatigue and atrophy in muscles. It can lead to more inactivity and muscle fatigue, and consequently low tolerance to regular day-to-day tasks, absenteeism from work, and depression. If the muscles around the lower back or lumbar spine become atrophied and stiff, the likelihood of acute low back pain (LBP) flair-ups increases, which leads to more discomfort and distress.

Reports have indicated that, when comparing the muscles at the front of the lumbar spine (the “flexors”) to those behind the spine (the “extensors”) in individuals with cLBP, the extensors display greater levels of atrophy and weakness. The lumbar multifidus (MF) muscles are essential to the stability of the lumbar spine, while the superficial extender muscles of the erector spinae (ES) are known as “global stabilisers,” which are built to create gross movement and counterbalance while lifting external loads.

Osteopaths typically recommend rehabilitation / exercise programmes for enhancing motor function, muscle strengthening, stretching and aerobic capacity while treating patients with cLBP. One such exercise which might be recommended is to go walking backwards. Studies have shown that walking backwards can lead to better outcomes in terms of cardiovascular health and activation of the MF muscles (which are often weaker in cLBP patients, as mentioned earlier).

In addition, walking backwards works to a greater degree with the lower limb muscles, while reducing stress on the patellofemoral joint (kneecap). This is significant, as knee pain can often co-occur with low back pain, particularly in overweight / obese patients. Walking backwards often stretches the hamstrings which in cLBP patients are mostly short / tight.

Not only can walking backwards help patients who already have back pain, but, adding this kind of movement to the workout routine will also reduce the risk of low back pain!

We are open to see patients in Glasgow and Ayr, book online here

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Scoliosis

Osteopathic Treatment of Scoliosis

Scoliosis is a disorder that affects approximately 3 percent of teenagers, but typically the cause is unclear. The degree of spinal curvature is, for the most part, mild (10-15 degree curve), but in some situations, the curve may begin to increase as the child develops.

Visual symptoms of adolescent idiopathic scoliosis include: skewed shoulders, one shoulder blade “sticking out” (more pronounced) than the other; an irregular waist or hip that is higher than the other; and/or a pronounced rib cage, typically on the convex side of the curve.

When the curve is small, symptoms are often few if any. If the curve deteriorates, however, the child will face difficulties which may require care. Complications associated with scoliosis arise mainly in people with larger curves and involve heart and/or lung complications due to shortening of the spine and weakening of the rib cage as the curve progresses, making it difficult for the heart to pump or for the lungs to expand. Individuals with scoliosis can also experience chronic back pain and other musculoskeletal problems due to changes in the spinal conditions.

In order to assess the degree of spinal curvature more precisely, scoliosis is diagnosed after a routine medical history and physical examination, as well as standing x-rays of the lower and middle back. Treatment may not be required in mild cases; but, if the condition deteriorates or in more serious cases, normal medical care may involve wearing a back brace, or perhaps even surgery.

Is Osteopathy offering an approach to scoliosis care? Researchers studied the case history of 60 patients diagnosed with scoliosis in an Osteopathic environment in a report published in January 2017. Patients were offered a mix of Osteopathic spinal manipulation and exercise methods including cantilever, postural weighting, fulcrum block, and ball exercises for rotating torso therapy. The findings revealed positive outcomes in 38 percent of patients in 90 percent of cases, with 52 percent of patients experiencing curve correction and curve stabilisation. This adds to existing research and case reports regarding the effectiveness of both behavioural activities and manual therapies for scoliosis treatment.

You can book an appointment online, just click here. You can give us a call on 0141 339 0894 or alternatively send us an email to info@cramosteopaths.co.uk and we’ll get back in touch.

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Neck Pain

Headaches linked to the Neck

Experts report that headaches affect half of the population, with up to 25 per cent of headaches from the cervical spine or neck, known as cervicogenic headache (CGH). Several studies demonstrate the effectiveness of Osteopathic management for CGH, often involving a multi-modal treatment approach to address biomechanical dysfunction in the cervical spine that may contribute to or cause a patient’s headache.

Treatment options are:

SPINAL MANIPULATION THERAPY (SMT): There are several strategies or techniques of spinal manipulation to enhance joint mobility, which can be subdivided into two types: high velocity, low amplitude (thrust) where joint noise happens (called cavitation); and low velocity, low amplitude (non-thrust) where joint cavitation is not common. Some refer to the latter as “mobilisation.” Osteopaths frequently make use of both, but eventually, practitioner and patient choice determine the decision.

EXERCISE: Exercise on its own may not appear to be as successful as spinal stimulation, but when exercises — especially those affecting the deep flexors — are combined with SMT, the effects last longer and become more rewarding in the long run.

OCCIPITAL NERVE FLOSSING: CGH effects can be intensified by stress on the occipital nerve as it leaves the brain. The stress can be reduced by nerve flossing. The Osteopath raises the patient’s head whilst sitting on the ground with the face tucked under, then pushes the face into the chest to extend the muscle attachments at the base of the neck (which sometimes squeeze the nerves that trigger headaches) whilst the patient bends the knees to reach their collar bones. When the Osteopath lowers the patient’s shoulders, the patient stretches their elbows and wrists / hands toward the floor and drops their arms. That is sometimes replicated 5 to 10 times (depending on tolerance).

ACTIVITY (ERGONOMIC) ADVICE: This is where your Osteopath reviews your work place and interests, searching for opportunities to reduce the pressure on your neck and upper back. Forward head posture is very normal and he or she will show you how to correct the incorrect posture once identified — often by making small changes to your daily activities.

HOME CERVICAL TRACTION: Traction operates by pushing out joints and the vertebra. While you can do this in the office, you can do it at home much more frequently. An over-the-door unit works well. Typical treatment time is 15 minutes. A typical tolerance level is the steady rise in weight to a maximum acceptable point (10-15 lbs./4.5-6.8 kg). To get the best result, the “Int” is with RELAX.

Bottomline: When you experience headaches, then it might be helpful for you to visit an Osteopath to decide if the headaches could be induced or worsened by neck discomfort. If so, the Osteopath should also have a range of treatment options available to reduce the headaches‘ frequency and severity.

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walking

Increase Your Lifespan with Walking

Many studies in recent decades have reported early-death risk factors such as decreased cardio-respiratory function (CRF), hypertension, smoking, diabetes, cardiac disease, pulmonary disease, etc. Bad CRF appears to be the leading risk factor for early death, of all the causes listed. If CRF is so essential can walking help? If so, how many steps does it actually take for us to live longer and better?

Experts have recommended taking 10,000 steps a day for years in order to lead a long and safe life, but there is not any evidence to support the argument. A 2019 report analysed how many measures a sample of 18,289 elderly women took during a seven-day stretch, and correlated the data four years later with their health outcomes. The researchers linked a decreased chance of death with more steps being taken per day, up to around 7,500 steps a day. Those doing 8,400 steps a day were 58 percent less likely to die over the duration of the study compared to people taking 2,700 steps per day.

Studies compared average step count data gathered between 2003-2006 with health results a decade later in a related study affecting 4,840 middle-aged people, and found a correlation between steps taken every day and a decreased risk of early death.

Neither study concluded that a level of fast or slow walking played a part in the total risk of mortality. Several research, however, have linked a faster walking pace to improved cognitive function and decreased disability risk. Thirteen-year research comparing running club participants with those who didn’t run showed that people who jogged frequently were less likely to suffer physical injury or premature death.

Such research indicates walking and moving the body will boost cardiovascular health and reduce early mortality risk. Staying healthy can also be correlated with a higher quality of life. Certain methods of prolonging longevity include limiting heavy intake of alcohol, not smoking, retaining body weight, preserving / building muscle mass and a balanced diet. If you experience musculoskeletal pain that interferes with your everyday life, contact Cram Osteopaths as soon as possible, so you can restore your normal pain-free activities.

Moreover, we are now accepting more appointments; all available appointments are now available to book online and by calling 0141 339 0894. Our Barrington Drive and Muirhead practices are accepting appointments and this will shortly be extended to Ayr. Patients can attend any practice they choose, regardless of their own location.

We have adapted some of our working practice procedures in relation to Covid-19 which can be found here. If you would like to contact either of us directly, we would be delighted to hear from you.

Michael – michael@cramosteopaths.co.uk

Joanna – joanna@cramosteopaths.co.uk

We hope you have remained well in mind and body throughout this time and we look forward to seeing you soon.

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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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