All posts by Graeme IMC

Cycling and Low Back Pain in Glasgow & Ayrshire

Cycling and Low Back Pain in Glasgow & Ayrshire

Cycling and Low Back Pain in Glasgow & Ayrshire

Cycling is known to be a very fun and effective way to exercise. There is some doubt, though, as to how posture when riding, can affect the lower back and whether cycling is effective in healing lower back pain.

Cyclists ride either round-back, flat-back, or curved-back, depending on the degree of pelvic rotation and spinal flexion. It seems that the choice of position when riding a bike is mainly related to saddle height, saddle angle or turn, and the form of handlebar. Some handlebars offer multiple options as to where you can place your hands, e.g. on the grips (most upright), on the bar closer to the stem (medium position), or on the drops — the lowest option offered on the under / racing handlebar type curl.

One would imagine flat-back posture might be better for the lower back, precisely because it prevents the two extremes. However, this position is synonymous with greater wind resistance and is likely to be avoided by more serious riders trying to cycle as efficiently as possible. One pilot study looked at the lumbar spine angle of young adult recreational cyclists as they utilised all three postures in ten-minute intervals with different bike configurations and found that the “curve-in back” position caused by gripping the drops resulted in the greatest increase in spinal flexion over time. In individuals with a low back problem, this increased spinal flexion can lead to increased pain and associated symptoms over time.

Another study looked at how a bike is fitted, the position of the cyclist, and the perception of comfort, fatigue, and pain. Twenty bikers raced for 45 minutes in three out of nine possible places at 50 percent of their total aerobic strength performance. The three positions were defined by two parameters: knee flexion angle (20°, 30°, 40°) and trunk flexion angle (35°, 45°, 55°), in a random order. The results showed that having the trunk upright (not bent forward) and the seat height adjusted so the knee flexion angle was 30° was the most comfortable position for participants. In addition, the researchers found that tilting the seat forward reduced the low back discomfort in people with the condition.

As part of the healing process for low back pain, Osteopaths also urge patients to exercise. Due to its low-impact nature, as well as being really fun, cycling is a perfect choice. However, it’s important to make sure your bike suits in such a way that you can ride easily with a good balance and not worsen your condition.

If you are suffering from low back pain or any condition you may feel the need for treatment, please book online at

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Shoulder pain

Scapular Stabilization for Shoulder Pain in Glasgow and Ayrshire

The shoulder is one of the biggest and most complex joints in the body. It’s actually three joints—the AC or acromioclavicular joint (the collar bone/acromion of the shoulder blade joint), the glenohumeral joint (the ball-and-socket joint), and the scapulothoracic joint (the shoulder blade/rib cage “joint”)—all of which involve the scapula to some degree.

The rotator cuff consists of four muscles, three of which sit on the back of the scapula and rotate the outer arm (external rotation) and one which rotates it inward (internal rotation.) The trapezius muscle is made up of three parts: the upper part pulls the shoulder blade up and in, the middle portion pulls the shoulder inward, and the lower section of the muscle pulls the scapula down and inward. The chest muscles rotate the arms inward. There is also a “bursa” or a fluid-filled sac that cushions, lubricates, and protects the rotator cuff tendon attachments. The “labrum” attaches to the rim of the “socket” or cup, to give it more depth and stability for the ball to sit in.

Since this structure allows the shoulder a wide range of motion, it also makes it less stable and more vulnerable to damage. There are many injuries that can affect the shoulder, with one of the most common being tearing of the rotator cuff tendons (called “tendinitis” or “tendinopathies”), which often lead to a bursitis, or swelling of the bursa sac, resulting in shoulder impingement (pain raising the arm). In fact, over half of people in their 80s have tearing of the rotator cuff.

There are several activities that aim to recover the function of the shoulder in both non-surgical and post-surgical situations. Exercises are intended to improve balance, reinforce weak muscles and support the shoulder. However, findings suggest that the best outcomes are obtained when stabilising scapula movements are used in the treatment phase.

One GREAT exercise for stabilising the scapulae is called the Push-Up Plus (PUP). This is performed by positioning yourself into a push-up position (either toes or knees—you choose based on strength) with your hands shoulder width apart, elbows locked straight, and the fingers pointed outward (thumbs at 12 o’clock). Instead of dropping the chest to the floor, PUSH the middle of the back upward toward the ceiling. Hold the position for three seconds and SLOWLY return to the start position. Repeat five to ten times and gradually increase reps as you’re able.

There are a range of variants to this. For example, turning the fingers inward increases the operation of the rotator cuff muscles (the most important muscle group for shoulder stabilisation) and decreases the action of the chest muscles (pectoralis major) and scapula elevators (levator scapula). You can also alter this by raising your feet to different heights, as the higher the feet, the greater the serratus anterior muscle activity!

We can inform you on which shoulder stabilisation exercises might be most helpful to your particular situation. If you would like to seek treatment for a range of services, book online here and we look forward to seeing you!


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Neck Pain

Osteopathic Care in Glasgow & Ayrshire of the Elderly with Neck Pain

One in five people over 70 are suffering from neck pain, which can have a drastic impact on their overall quality of life. How effective is Osteopathic neck pain management for a senior?

A 2019 study released in the journal Osteopathic & Manual Therapies surveyed 288 Australian Osteopathic patients and found that people over 65 years of age account for about a third (28.5 percent) of the overall number of patients.

Nearly half (46 per cent) of these elderly patients sought care for neck pain, often with dizziness and headaches that coexisted. Researchers found that this group of elderly patients often had a fear of falling, which impaired their individual capacity to function independently.

Osteopaths in the survey indicated that they often addressed care of seniors with neck pain using a variety of physical therapies (including spinal massage, instrument change, mobilisation and active / passive stretching), modalities (ice / heat, ultrasound, electrical stimulation), effective exercises and self-management guidelines to alleviate discomfort and strengthen neck and upper back function.

Another benefit of a conservative approach to treatment such as Osteopathic care for an older patient is that it does not involve over-the-counter or prescription medicines that may have undesirable side effects or interactions with other medications, that the elderly patient may take.

In fact, a study published in the journal Pain Medicine in March 2020 reported that patients who received Osteopathic treatment for a musculoskeletal condition, such as neck pain, were significantly less likely to take pain medication to manage their pain in the following year, especially if they first consulted with an Osteopath.

Many of the patients in the study (nearly 99 percent) reported an improvement in neck pain and associated symptoms after an average of nine treatments, although patients with both neck pain and migraines required an average of two additional visits.

If you are an older adult suffering from new-onset or chronic neck pain, call 0141 339 0894 or Book Online at

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Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome Affects Various People in Glasgow & Ayrshire

While carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS) affects 4 percent of the population, certain people have a significantly higher risk of the condition, and a variety of causes will need to be treated in order to achieve a successful outcome.

Trauma: An acute trauma, including fracture bones, can lead to CTS. However, it is more common to link chronic stress reactions with the condition.

Anatomy: Not all wrists are equal and some individuals may have a narrower carpal tunnel which increases the chances of inflammation of the tendons passing through the region, and compressing of the median nerve.

Arthritis: Osteoarthritis can cause spur formations that project into the tunnel and increase pressure on the nerve. Rheumatoid arthritis causes irritation of the wrist joints and the lining of the tendons, and may also exert pressure on the median nerve as it travels through the wrist.

Hormones: Hormonal changes caused by breastfeeding, menstruation, menopause, birth control drugs, hormone replacement therapy, diabetes, hypothyroid, kidney disease, lymphedema, etc. can lead to carpal tunnel swelling or inflammation which can put pressure on the median nerve.

Medications: Certain drugs can raise the risk of CTS, such as anastrozole, a medication used in the treatment of breast cancer; diphosphonates, a class of drugs used to treat osteoporosis; oral anticoagulants; and more. (When there are non-musculoskeletal causes, treatment can include co-management with a patient’s doctor.)

Job environment: CTS risk factors in the office include a cold climate, vibrating equipment, uncomfortable neck / arm / hand configurations, no breaks, excessive machine mouse activity and more. Individuals who work occupations that are marked by quick, repeated, and aggressive behaviours related to grip / pinch can develop CTS up to 2.5 times more often.

Other Musculoskeletal Conditions: The median nerve may be squeezed when it travels through the spine, back, elbow, and forearm, which may cause CTS-like symptoms in the hand and wrist, even though the carpal tunnel itself is not distorted.

Your Osteopath will need to study the history of each patient’s wellbeing and analyse the entire length of the median nerve to determine the potential factors for optimum outcome.

If you are suffering from CTS or any conditions you feel a session with Cram Osteopaths would help you – please book online at

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Various Causes of Hip Pain

Various Causes of Hip Pain

Hip pain is a very common issue in older adults which can impair their movement and ultimately their freedom. Although it is normal to think that hip Osteoarthritis (HOA) is responsible for the aged population’s prevalence of hip pain, the Framingham Osteoarthritis Research (FOS) found that is not always the case.

The FOS authors reported the presence or absence of HOA on x-ray, was poorly correlated with hip pain. Only 15.6 per cent of participants with frequent hip pain had x-rays that showed HOA. When only about one in six people with hip pain have HOA, from where does their hip pain originate?

Bursitis is a common cause. The bursae are fluid-filled sacs found between joints and attachments to the muscle tendon, that cushion the tissue and protect it. Bursitis is an inflamed bursa, which is typically the product of trauma — repetitive over time or following a one-time macro-traumatic incident, including a sport accident.

Hip synovitis (HS) is an inflammatory disease of the synovial membrane (SM) of the hip which is within the joint capsule. SM has the purpose of lubricating and nourishing the cartilage and bones within the joint capsule. The SM is what causes a joint to swell easily after an injury (think about knee or ankle fracture with LOTS of swelling).

Hip synovitis may result from damage, such as a labral tear in which the thin cartilage or labrum ring (located on the hip socket rim) breaks. The labrum cushions the hip joint and acts as a seal of rubber which helps to keep the ball in the hip socket. Injuries from athletics and slip-and-fall will cause labral tears.

Certain sources of hip discomfort include inflammation (various types), damage (bursitis, synovitis, dislocation, fracturing, labral tear, inguinal hernia, sprains, tendinitis, or strains), pinched nerves (sciatica, pinch of the femoral nerve), tumours, and more.

What are Osteopaths doing to aid hip pain? The first step is to develop an objective diagnosis by understanding the history of the patient, a detailed analysis and, if necessary, medical testing such as x-rays or even an MRI. When there is a possibility of a medical issue or other forms of inflammation, a patient may be referred to a doctor for blood testing.

If the condition is musculoskeletal in nature, care may include hip and adjacent joints compression, recovery, and soft tissue therapy for pelvic and low back. Patients may also receive recommendations for nutrition and exercise to reduce inflammation and aid the healing process.

If you are suffering from hip pain book into our Glasgow Or Ayrshire clinics at this link

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Forward Head Posture & Neck Pain in Glasgow & Ayr

Forward Head Posture & Neck Pain in Glasgow & Ayr

Neck pain is one of the most common complaints that results in patients seeking Osteopathic care. Cause of injury is often a reported traumatic incident, but in other cases, the neck pain is the product of wear and tear from bad posture — especially head forward posture.

The Head, weighing 10-11 lbs. (4.5-5 kg), usually rests above your shoulders. If the head of an adult bends to glance at a computer screen or gaze down at their smartphone / tablet, the muscles in the back of the neck and upper back / shoulders tend to work harder to hold the head straight.

Experts estimate that the head feels around 10 lbs for every inch (2.54 cm) of forward head posture, however even heavier on the muscles that attach the head and neck to the back. To demonstrate what that feels like, pick up and hold a 10-pound object, tight to your chest, like a bowling ball. Keep it up with your arm extended out from your body to notice how much heavier it feels, and the pressure it places on your body to sustain the position, even for just a brief while.

Forward head posture is something the body can manage in the short term, but over time the muscles can get tired and the strain can injure the soft tissue in the back of the neck, shoulders and upper back. Some muscles may get stronger to adapt (and some may atrophy), the shoulders may roll forward, the cervical curve may straighten etc. Researchers have observed that forward head posture, particularly with rotation and forward flexion movements, can also reduce neck mobility. Although these changes may lead to a number of negative health problems, neck pain is perhaps the most obvious and common.

If a patient arrives for Osteopathic neck pain treatment, it is usually appropriate to correct postural defects in order to produce a successful result. This can be achieved through manual therapies to restore proper movement in the affected joints, and through exercises to retrain the muscles that may have become deconditioned.

A patient may also need to learn improved postural practices, especially when communicating and interacting with their electronic devices. While the process may take time, the good news is that forward-head posture can be reduced, which can also reduce the risk of recurrence of neck pain.

If you are struggling with neck pain or any related issues, please book into one of our locations which can be found here

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Choose Your Osteopath First for Low Back Pain

Choose Your Osteopath First for Low Back Pain

Seeing an Osteopath first will also reduce a patient’s risk of needing to perform a surgical operation to treat back pain. A research released in Spine in 2013 looked at statistics from government employees and found 43 percent of those with a back injury who first approached their doctor, ended up getting surgery when just 1.5 percent of those who first had Osteopathic treatment eventually had surgery for back pain — a major disparity.

Will it matter what sort of health care provider a patient first sees for treatment when it comes to a condition like low back pain? A report released in 2015 investigated this issue and concluded that a patient’s originally treated form of healthcare provider, had a significant effect on both their short-term and long-term prognoses.

Researchers in the study examined 719 patients with low back pain, 403 of whom first met with a general practitioner and the remainder were first receiving treatment from an Osteopath. Studies found that not only did the patients in the Osteopathic Treatment community report a significant decline in their low back pain, they were much more satisfied with their treatment. The study concluded they strongly recommended Osteopathic care for patients with low back pain as the main and initial treatment option.

In a 2019 study, researchers reviewed medical records from over 216,000 patients without a history of opioid use and who had new-onset back pain, to see if initial provider choice influenced future prescription narcotic use.  The results showed that in the short-term 22 percent of patients required an opioid prescription; however, patients who first met with an Osteopath were much less likely to need either a short-term or long-term medication plan, than those who first saw a general practitioner. The study authors concluded, “Incentivising use of conservative therapists may be a strategy to reduce risks of early and long-term opioid use.”

A subsequent research tracked a group of 2,870 patients for four-years, with acute and chronic low back pain. The researchers found that Osteopathic treatment offered more beneficial short-term outcomes for patients with chronic back pain, while patients with both acute and chronic low back pain showed better long-term outcomes, especially in chronic patients with leg pain extending below the knee.

Try Osteopathic treatment FIRST to find the most comfortable, reliable and cost-effective approach to treating acute or chronic low back pain! Book online at

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Hints & Tips for Energy Boosting

Hints & Tips for Energy Boosting

Many people will look for a sugary snack or a caffeinated drink as tiredness occurs during the day. Whilst these activities may lead to a quick, fast burst of energy, the crash can leave us feeling much more exhausted afterwards. Let’s look at better and healthier ways of raising energy levels.

1) EAT BREAKFAST: Studies have found that there is less exhaustion and fatigue found in those eating breakfast than in those who miss it. Avoid white flour / sugary options, such as donuts. Instead, consider fruit and fibre-rich foods, such as oatmeal, that help maintain satiety longer.

2) EXERCISE: A quick 5- to 10-minute walk or quick burst of exercise can increase blood flow to the brain and improve cognitive function.

3) SING/TALK: Singing activates different brain pathways which can boost emotions as well as reduce levels of stress hormones. Try it while driving or feel those eyelids falling at any moment, but maybe NOT at an office meeting! Speaking activates brain regions like music, making us more alert.

4) DRINK WATER: Feeling lethargic is one common dehydration symptom. Try drinking water during the day (such as eight 8-oz. glasses a day), as some doctors also suggest you might still be in a moderate state of dehydration. Hunger can often be mistaken for dehydration, which may also hinder cognitive function and increase the likelihood of headaches.

5) SUNSHINE: Spending time in the sun stimulates the development of vitamin D which boosts energy. A new research found that sunlight exposure during the workday not only resulted in healthier sleep but also increased cognitive test results.

6) SNACK: Start consuming almonds and peanuts which are rich in magnesium and folic acid and are important for the development of energy and new cells. Consuming protein and slow-burning carbs with fresh berries like bananas, peanut butter, or granola will also help control blood sugar levels. A scented spice, like cinnamon or peppermint, can even combat tiredness and make us more alert.

7) LAUGH: Listen to comedy or think about a recent funny encounter and laugh out loud, if possible — it’s incredible how it stimulates those centres of the brain to give you a boost of energy.

8) GET MORE SLEEP: It seems obvious but it’s unhealthy to sleep less than seven hours a night because it decreases the energy resource that you have available during daytime. Sleep quality is also crucial so we recommend a sleep test to assess for sleep apnea, if you toss and turn or wake up a lot at night.

If you would like to consult with us on a wide range of health treatments, we are based in Glasgow and Ayrshire. Please feel free to book online and we look forward to seeing you!

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Back Pain Causes

Back Pain Causes & Treatment in Glasgow & Ayr

Simplifying the process of deciding “What causes my LBP?”

Low back pain (LBP) can emerge from the bones, nerves, joints, and soft tissues around it. The Quebec Task Force proposes splitting LBP into three major categories: 1) mechanical LBP; 2) back pain involved with the nerve root; and 3) back pain or fracture. We’ll be covering the first two, because Osteopaths most commonly treat them.

Making the best decision leads your Osteopath in the right direction when it comes to care. It avoids time wasted by treating an unrelated condition, which runs the risk of increased chances of a poor and/or prolonged recovery. Low back pain is certainly no exception! The “right” diagnosis makes for concentrated and precise care, ensuring that the optimal outcomes are obtained.

The most frequently observed form of back pain is mechanical low back pain, which involves discomfort that results from sprains, strains, facet and sacroiliac (SI) syndromes and more. The key difference between this and LBP connected to nerve root is the ABSENCE of a pinched nerve. Therefore, usually pain does NOT radiate, even if it does, it never extends past the knee and does not normally cause weakness in the leg.

The injury process for both forms of LBP can occur when a person is doing too much, holding an uncomfortable posture for too long, or over curves, lifts, and/or twists. Yet LBP may also occur “insidiously” or for almost no reason whatsoever. For most situations, though, if one considers long enough, they may recognise an incident or a sequence of “micro-traumas” that stretch back in time, which may be the “source” of their present low back pain symptoms.

LBP connected to the nerve root is less frequent, but it is also more severe — since the pain associated with a pinched nerve is sometimes very sharp, can often radiate down a leg to the foot, and can cause numbness, tingling, and muscle weakness. The location of the weakness depends on which nerve is pinched. Think of the nerve as a wire to a light and the switch of the nerve is located in the back where it exits the spine.

When the switch is turned on (the nerve is pinched), and the “light” switches on — possibly in the outer foot, middle foot, inner foot, or front, back or side of the thigh. In fact, there are several nerves that innervate or “run” into our leg, so usually, a very specific location “lights up” in the limb.

Determining the cause of your low back pain lets the Osteopath decide which care plans will better function to relieve the discomfort as well as when to concentrate on these therapies. Book Online.


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Osteopathic Care for Migraines

Osteopathic Care for Migraines

Migraine headaches can adversely impair one’s quality of life and their capacity to carry out their everyday routines, at home and at work. While Osteopathic treatment for tension-type and cervicogenic headaches has been shown to be helpful, what does the literature suggest about its effect on migraines?

The first thing to remember is that while migraines cannot actually be caused by cervical disorder, problems in the neck play a role in the onset of migraine headaches.

For example, researchers examined the neck of 52 female migraineurs and 52 women without a history of neck pain or headaches, in a 2019 study published in the European Spine Journal. They found that participants in the migraine group were significantly more likely to show cervical dysfunction.

Another study in 2019, this time published in the Cephalagia review, found that migraine patients with chronic neck pain have a slightly greater migraine-related issues than those without neck pain. Many tests have found that patients with migraines are more likely to have pain points in the cervical muscles.

So, can Osteopathic therapy help migraine patients boost their cervical function? An analysis of evidence from six randomised study trials which involved a total of 667 migraine headache patients undergoing spinal manipulative therapy (SMT), concluded that SMT is “an efficient therapeutic strategy for minimising migraine days and pain / intensity.”

What can a migraine patient expect on seeing an Osteopath? The patient must undergo a detailed assessment to understand which areas to administer care in the cervical region, typically by assessing the degree of joint “play” or restraint, point tenderness and localised muscle protection using static and motion palpation procedures.

Usually the treatment strategy may include a mixture of spinal manipulation, stimulation, unique movements, modalities, and dietary guidelines, based on the needs and preferences of the patient. Book online here for any issues you feel may need treatment.

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