Love to Dance…
For those of you who love to dance on a regular basis – whether for your job, for exercise or for the sheer love of it – you will already by familiar with the absolute joy that dancing can bring you, and you’ll crave that unmistakable “buzz” inside you, with the happy endorphins kicking in whilst you move your body to the beat. The genre of music and style of dance doesn’t matter – you’ll simply know the passion it brings out in you, and in others who share your love of it.
However, dancers will also be only too familiar with how tough dancing can be on the body, and often, after hours of blissful dancing, you will then find yourselves aching – in your back, you neck, shoulders, hips… and especially in your knees and feet, which can take quite a hammering with all that bending, sliding, spinning and turning!
Usually, within a day or two, the soreness wears off, and you’re craving your next dance.
But sometimes the problem can be more worrying, with severe pain developing, causing you to restrict your dancing – or even prevent you from dancing altogether for a while.
A few examples include:
• Menisus Knee Tear, from twisting the knee whilst moving;
• Lower Back strain and muscle spasms;
• Plantar Fasciitis – pain as you put weight on your foot;
• Hallux Limitus, where your big toe becomes stiff;
• Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome, from tight hamstrings and calf muscles, and weak quads, plus repetitive pressure on the knee cap;
• Ankle sprains – eg, from landing wrongly from a jump;
• Tendonopathy of the Rotator Cuff, Posterior Tibial tendon, and in the Achilles.
Fear not… Help is at hand!
Yes, we can help you if you are suffering with any of these. At the Nicky Snazell Pain Relief Clinic, we have treatments whereby we can actively intervene to get you back to doing what you love. And the sooner you do something about it, the less damage you will cause – and the sooner you can return to the dance-floor.
The key to healthly exercise is just that.Let’s take another look at why we should exercise so we can hold a green fitness key.Today I find that humans are far too sedentary, all too
often sitting in front of a computer by day, followed by
sitting in front of a TV at night. This lack of physical
activity causes emotional and physiological imbalances,
but we can change this by looking at how we exercise; improving your
fitness changes your chemistry, acts as a powerful antidepressant, promotes
mental clarity, and reduces the likelihood of cancer.
If you’re not happy with either how you look or feel about your weight,
then with correct guidance, you can break out of inactivity and be rewarded
by smiling at yourself whenever you see your reflection. I will guide you towards 4 green keys to health and tonight is fitness.
You can learn more about how and when you should
exercise, as getting the correct mix can extend your life.
When I am working at my clinic, I hear echoing around the walls: I am too
old to exercise, too old to work. Are you too old to exercise? Well, no one told
Jiroemon Kimura (born 1897) that he was too old. He passed away recently
at age 116, farming until he was 90 years old. Remember the Carry On films?
Well, did you know that Barbara Windsor carries on exercising in her late 70s?
You can find her in her gym wear keeping fit outside in Hyde Park.
Over 450,000 people in the USA and over 70,000 people in the UK risk total
knee replacement every year. Want to talk pain? Then talk TKR. What’s
worse is that it is unsuccessful 10% of the time, and you can even die from
having total knee replacement. Furthermore, the age for TKR is constantly
dropping. Why? Anybody want to hazard a guess? That’s right: obesity.
Now, this isn’t proven yet, but it is most likely the biggest cause.
So, what happens when you get fat? Ladies, take the ‘C’ off chips and you
know what you get! Guys, you put it on around the waist and lose sight of
your favourite toy! What you probably don’t know is that your knees are
loaded with up to four times your weight, so every extra stone (14 lbs) is
an extra four stone (56 lbs) on your knees – that’s why knees are so often
the first casualty with OA. If you want to know why the four times multiple
occurs, it’s because of leverage. Now, you are intelligent people, and you are
surely interested in health or you wouldn’t be here. So, why have you made
the decision to get arthritis? Made the decision to get lots of pain? Made
the decision to risk surgery and even death? It’s because much of the pain
associated with the pleasure of eating too much is too far away, and anyway,
going to the gym is a pain for most. We need to change the way we think
about exercise, and hopefully this chapter will go some way to doing that
Here’s some more cheery news: an in-depth study into retirement found
that men in their sixties are every bit as good at driving business than those
physically and mentally in their prime. In later life, prescriptive exercise is
more effort than swallowing a pill, but it is well worth it; in a nutshell, you get
less senility and less pain. Exercise weaves its magic, strengthening the heart,
releasing more neurotransmitters for cell communication, boosting BDNF
for improving neural connections in the brain, aiding metabolism, improving
blood flow, stimulating toxic disposal systems, and strengthening bones.
This next fact gets me out running in howling gales and rain: current research
in Sweden shows that exercise alters the way genes work in the tissue that
stores fat, and changes in adipose tissue storage sites were measurable even
with just two workouts a week. Epigenetics has always fascinated me since
studying biology, and this is the study of how chemical alterations will
change how genes work in a cell. This allows us to fine tune our body to a
Exercise alters this process in muscle cells and improves how sugar is
processed. Furthermore, adipose tissue (fat cells) is an organ in its own right, producing active chemicals that have profound effects on the body. In
this tissue, 18,000 markers were found on 7,663 genes! This is leading to a
greater understanding of why exercise helps fatty tissue do its job properly,
which means that as we get older, we don’t have to have such a lumpy,
bumpy body. This smooth body needs a good structural support.
The 4 keys to health is all about investing in the healthiest happiest future you could wish for with sound scientific knowledge and big spoonfuls of commonsense and experience.Tonights blog is for nutrition week. The traffic lights approach to healthfor the 4 keys to health gives one point for every yes answer.
0 – 3: RED.
3 – 6: AMBER.
6 – 9: GREEN.
Scores: Now count up your scores – are you red, amber, or green for this key?
Once you’ve read the chapter and implemented any changes, take the
questionnaire again to see how much you’ve improved.This questionnaire is in 4 parts.
Diet and Blood Sugar Levels
• Is your weight good for your age and height?
• Do you have lots of energy and do you like to exercise?
• Are you free from joint pain?
• Do you rarely feel like dozing in the day and feel alert after eating?
• Do you hardly ever get stomach ache or bloating?
• Do you concentrate easily with a clear memory and few
• Do you hardly ever need sweet food or caffeine fixes?
• Do you jump out of bed, raring to go?
• Do you rarely feel dizzy / irritable / have mood swings in
gaps between meals?
• Do you rarely have thirst / dry mouth?
• Do you rarely get headaches?
• Is your urine a mild (not dark) yellow colour?
• Are your skin and lips moist, not dry?
• Do you have regular bowel movements most days?
• Do you have less than two glasses of alcohol a day?
• Do you have five helpings of fresh fruit and vegetables a day?
• Do you have several glasses of fruit water / juice / herbal
teas a day, even if resting?
• Do you avoid having too many salty snacks?
Healthy Low Homocysteine Levels (repairing DNA
and building nerves / cartilage)
• Is your weight satisfactory and stable?
• Are you a clear thinker with a good memory and rare
• Do you eat healthily with green veggies, seeds, and nuts,
but aren’t vegan?
• You are not an alcoholic, smoker, or heavy coffee drinker?
• Do you have little joint pain?
• Do you have great stamina without weariness?
• Is your cardiovascular system and blood pressure normal?
• Do you sleep well?
• Are you rarely angry, irritable, or down?
• Do you have healthy hair?
• Do you have flexible, pain-free joints?
• You are not taking painkillers?
• No arthritis, asthma, or eczema?
• No diagnosed cardiovascular problems?
• Do you spend more than thirty minutes a day outside in
• Do you eat healthily with oily fish, about four eggs a week,
seeds and nuts most days, and fewer than two alcoholic
drinks a day?
• Do you have a good memory, learning abilities, and
• You don’t get down, anxious or unnecessarily angry?
Anti-Ageing, Anti-rot, Antioxidants
• Are you a quick healer?
• Are you younger than middle aged (40)?
• Do you have healthy skin?
• No diagnosis of cancer or cardiovascular disease?
• Don’t bruise easily?
• Do you live in quiet, clear air, healthy countryside, not
near major roads?
• Do you eat healthily with five lots of fruit and veg a day,
raw seeds / nuts, and at least two oily fish a week?
• Do you take antioxidant supplements?
• Do you exercise and raise your heart rate five times a
week?If you got a red key read my blogs or get a copy of my book,through www.thepainkiller.co.uk,www.painreliefclinic.co.uk, or amazon.
Exercise is vital for healthy ageing, so get out of that chair! When we slouch
in our chairs, we don’t breathe correctly, we have less lung capacity, less
oxygen, a poorer blood flow, a weaker heart, and less nutrient delivery.
Smooth muscles tighten up to take up the slack, and our blood pressure
readings go up. Blood flow can’t accommodate sudden movements anymore,
so dizziness follows, and with it, increased accidents. Men’s sexual potency
falls, the gut slows, and digestion fails. Sugar metabolism struggles andcc
diabetes is more likely to take hold. In an article in Psychological Medicine,
Dregan and M.C Gulliford wrote about how intense exercise helps brain
function (Dregan & Gulliford, 2013), so you can remember where you put
your gym wear! Get my drift?
Here are some more facts I sourced for you to back up reasons to exercise
– for all you academic buffs out there. Whether you are old or young,
‘it’s widely acknowledged that a healthy body equals a healthy mind. The
government recommends a minimum of 150 minutes of exercise per week,
between the ages of 19 and 64’ (Dregan, 2013). A word to the wise – if you
don’t exercise at all, start. If you are new to exercise, start small and just walk
a little further than usual. Exercise doesn’t have to mean enduring lengthy,
intense programmes or taking up a gym membership, although I think the
discipline of going and the social angle is great. If you are exercising on your
own, you still need to add in working out with weights as well as aerobic
exercise, such as walking.
Did you know that at 44 years old, without exercising, we are at the peak
depressive age? However, at 70 – if we follow a fitness programme – it is
possible to be as physically fit and happy as we were when we were 20!
Another study got a group of 60 year olds to start doing three long swims a
week, and their medical measurements and tests were those of 40 year olds.
Exercise is much like medicine – it doesn’t have to taste nice, but the outcome
is more than worth it. Being disciplined about getting your exercise is your
key to longevity, so exercise regularly and effectively. Most people will say
they don’t like it, that it’s boring or painful, that they have no time to do it,
but they’re just in denial for the need to move. Well, couch potatoes, here
are some more facts for you:
• A study looked at 50 elderly people of an average age of 87.
Given a 10 week weights workout at this age, they doubled their muscle
I am sure you have heard about lemmings, those little animals that supposedly follow their leader and all jump off a cliff to their deaths. Now at first thought, you may be thinking dumb leader and dumb followers. But if you look at human behaviour, much of what we do is very lemming like. For example, just look at fashion. Some remote group decides what the ‘in look’ and colour is going to be for next year, then promote it like mad, and everyone buys it to be ‘in fashion’. Doesn’t matter how bad or uncomfortable some of the fashion is sometimes, we follow like lemmings.
Now some of you are probably thinking ‘I wouldn’t do that, I’ve got too much common sense’. Have you ever thought about what ‘common sense’ means. Something can only be sensible if it’s common to us. Fire is dangerous, don’t play with it, that’s common sense, right? No, not necessarily. A couple of years ago I was watching a program about polar bears and one bear came close to this Canadian village, who were burning their rubbish in a sizeable bonfire. The bear clearly had no idea what fire was and just walked up to it and stuck a paw in, only to run off yelping. That bear was probably unique after that in being the only polar bear to have the common sense to know that fire was dangerous.
So now we are approaching Christmas, it’s a time I always look forward to, just like everyone else. Advertisers are in full swing, promoting alcohol, chocolates, turkeys and so on, and like lemmings we will all go off and over indulge. And why not, everyone else does it, don’t they and I don’t see what’s wrong with it? Sit back and think about that. ‘Everyone else does it’ translates to ‘lemming behaviour’ and ‘I don’t see what’s wrong with it’ translates to ‘it doesn’t break my common sense test’.
The problem here lies in the fact that for the majority, the health risks associated with a very rich and acid diet are not known and are no more ‘common sense’ than fire was to the polar bear. But at least the bear learnt very quickly that fire was dangerous and would be very wary the next time. The implications of poor diet and for many, a far too acidic diet, are not immediately apparent. Even worse, the fact that ‘everybody else’ in an individual’s social group is doing the same thing, means that it doesn’t’ even register that a diet may be poor in the first place.
No better example of this can be given than a highly publicised TV program shown a few years ago, which monitored the health implications of junk food by getting a volunteer to live on nothing other than junk. He had to be taken off the diet because his health plummeted so rapidly. What impact has this had? Very little, if you look at the explosion of junk food outlets.
There is a very interesting video on YouTube which shows how the Japanese discovered the health benefits of ionised water back in the 1960’s and since then its use has been medically approved. An ioniser produces both alkaline water, which you drink, and acid water which you can treat skin conditions with, or if very acid, use to sterilise. The video shows how hospitals are sterilising operating theatres and medical instruments with nothing other than acid water. Surgeons are shown washing their hands before surgery in nothing other than acid water.
This ‘miracle’ is said to be possible as the water is so acid that it kills all germs. The irony is that some soft drinks that we consume are just as acidic as this water. Now you tell me, is it common sense to do this, or is this an example of lemming behaviour.
Poor diet will slowly, but surely damage your body and will eventually surface as deteriorating health and disease. You will not get the luxury of an early warning that the bear had with the fire.
Enjoy your Christmas, as I most certainly will, but if nothing else, make a decision not to go ballistic with way too much rich food and commit to start the New Year with a healthier way of living. Do that and you will live to enjoy a lot more Christmas seasons and what better Christmas present can you get than that.
If you would like to know more about ionised water then call our clinic on 01889 881488.
Welcome back to the new series of articles about physiotherapy and common injuries and pathologies seen by physiotherapists. Last time we took a brief look at one of the most common musculo-skeletal conditions that a physiotherapist will encounter – tennis elbow (also known as lateral epicondylitis, lateral epicondylosis and lateral epicondylalgia). This article will now look at the anatomy of the elbow and the muscles connected to it in detail so that we can have a good idea of what is hurting or being injured in tennis elbow and can maybe start to have an idea of what causes it.
The elbow is an amazing piece of biomechanical design and is comprised of 3 bones – the humerus which is the upper arm bone and two bones in the forearm called the radius and ulna. The radius runs from the elbow to the thumb and the ulna starts at the bony prominence on the back of your elbow (olecranon process) and runs down to the wrist. To make it easy to remember which bone is which, when I was a student I used to repeat “the ulna is underneath the radius”. Simple I know but effective nonetheless when you are a physio student desperately trying to cram in your anatomical knowledge.
Now as we are looking at tennis elbow we are not going to look or worry too much about the actual elbow joint itself except to say that it has two ways of movement – flexion and extension (basically straightening and bending) and pronation and supination (pronation is rotating the hand palm down and supination palm up). It may seem strange that in a condition called tennis elbow we will be ignoring the elbow joint itself but hopefully the reason why will become clear soon.
The key part of the elbow in tennis elbow that we really need to examine is the lateral epicondyle – this is the point where all of the wrist extensors and finger extensors start from and is the point at which pain is felt in tennis elbow, it is also called the common extensor origin (for reasons which will become apparent soon) and is the site of attachment for the common extensor tendon. Pain here is the cardinal sign for tennis elbow that all physiotherapists look for.
Running from the lateral epicondyle and the common extensor origin are all of the muscles that extend the wrist and the fingers – extensor carpi radialis brevis, extensor carpi ulnaris, extensor digitorum, extensor indicis and extensor digiti minimi. Two other muscles have attachments at the lateral epicondyle – supinator and anconeus. All of these muscles merge together here to form what is known as the common extensor tendon which then attaches to the lateral epicondyle. So it is fairly obvious that this common extensor origin is an important point in wrist and finger extension and may well be a likely site of injury that physiotherapists will need to examine.
Before moving on it is worth considering the actions of a couple of these muscles in more detail extensor carpi radialis brevis and extensor carpi ulnaris have an important synergistic role in stabilising the wrist – they both act at the same time in concert with their flexor brothers (flexor carpi ulnaris and flexor carpi radialis) to prevent side to side movement at the wrist (ulnar and radial deviation). The two extensors also act together at the same time you grip an object to hold the wrist in extension a bit and prevent the finger flexors from flexing the wrist. In fact studies have shown that extensor carpi radialis brevis is the tendon most commonly injured in tennis elbow and the most common point that it is injured at is the common extensor tendon.
So hopefully from the above brief anatomy lesson we can now see that any extension or even flexion of the wrist is going to put a large amount of stress through the common extensor tendon and in turn if this tendon receives any injury we are likely to feel pain at the lateral epicondyle – which is where patients with tennis elbow will normally describe to their physiotherapist that they feel pain when they pick things up.
The next article will look at the physiology and some of the reasons why tendons get injured and why tennis elbow can often become chronic and last for a long time.
Every summer, it’s time to get out your tennis shoes and racquets. It’s vital to make sure that both you and your kit are properly prepared to prevent unnecessary injury. So here are some tips and advice to help guide you:
Tennis Top Tips
- Practice hitting the ball in the “sweet spot”, the shot feels good and the impact force will be at a minimum.
- Improve your stroking technique, especially backhand
- Modern racquets do not absorb shock like the old ones. To reduce the impact on your arm:-
– Lower string tension
– Increase flexibility of racquet
– Increase racquet head size
– Add lead tape to the head to increase weight
– Increase grip size. The optimum grip circumference equals the distance from the tip of the ring finger to the crease in the middle of the palm (proximal crease)
– Grip higher up handle
– Loosen grip on handle
- Play on an appropriate surface. If you play on a hard surface the forces through the joints are much higher: twice your body weight when walking, 3 to 4 times on running and 12 times on jumping. Very dry and hard surfaces can also cause twisting ligament injuries to the knees, due to the increased friction between your shoes and the ground.
- Get a biomechanical assessment and if you need them purchase bespoke high quality orthotics. Make sure your footwear is appropriate.
- Train at an intensity lower than competitive conditions to reduce the chance of injury
- Reduce the total amount of weight bearing exercise. Do some cross training to reduce impact loading, while maintaining training volume.
- Mix training sessions with different activities. I.e. cycling, swimming.
- Set up a training diary recording rest days, sleep, heart rate and heart rate recovery time.
- If the morning your heart rate increases, decrease activity plus add in more relaxation time, and spend more time on cool down post activity.
- Eat healthily and adjust your calorie intake to activity level. Take carbs for fuel, protein for rebuilding muscle, high quality vitamin & mineral supplements and drink plenty of water.
- Enjoy the stress relief exercise can bring and don’t force yourself if you are exhausted as this is when you are most likely to get injured.
- Get regular sports massage to remove trouble spots before they become injuries.
- If in doubt see a sports physiotherapist
Warming Up and Cooling Down
Warming up is often overlooked and should be part of your injury prevention routine as there are a number of benefits:
- The muscles work better when warm and oxygenated with good blood flow.
- The joints become more flexible which reduces the pull on muscles.
- The nervous system becomes more responsive.
Including a gentle jog in your warm up will give the muscles the energy supply they need to work properly. Follow this with sport specific exercises and dynamic, sport specific stretching drills. This regime has largely replaced old fashioned static alternatives.
Examples of tennis specific exercises are running for 5 to 20 minutes with heels up to buttocks, or with high knees up to hip level. Increasing the size and speed of movements, as the body warms up and the heart rate increases, will more closely simulate competitive conditions. It is also important to focus on full body conditioning, as predominantly one sided sports, such as tennis, can cause muscle imbalances.
You should allow a total exercise and stretch time of 15 to 30 minutes and no more than 30 minutes before competing, otherwise the benefits will be lost.
Cool down should include a gentle jog plus light stretching to help eliminate waste products and reduce muscle soreness.
If you need help contact the clinic on 01889 881488 and see a physiotherapist or visit www.painreliefclinic.co.uk
Pain can be a result of injury, but in many cases how much pain we feel is a consequence of the decisions we make through our lives and is governed by our beliefs. How we deal with life’s challenges, what we choose to eat and drink, including the quality of antioxidants and minerals, how much effort we put into exercise, posture and weight control, how much sleep we give ourselves – all these are choices of which we are in control.
Unfortunately, most of us make choices which will at some point promote pain. Fortunately, the body is always attempting to regulate pain impulses and heal. With knowledge we can work with, rather than against this process and feel less pain.
How Do We Feel Pain
We have a myriad of tiny receptors all over our body, which pass information to sensory nerves and then to the spinal cord. The pain impulse continues up the spinal cord to the thalamus in the brain, which acts like a router and in effect makes ‘phone calls’ to three other parts of the brain:
- Sensory Cortex interprets nature of pain
- The mammalian Amydala assesses level of fear/emotion and decides if parts of the body need to shut down to prioritise fight or flight.
- The Cortex is the human part of the brain which finalises the decision process
Hence our brains really do decide, like a panel of judges, how much pain is appropriate for us to experience at any time. Pain is then translated into how much we hurt.
Although we naturally want to avoid pain, this acts as important and in some cases, critical feedback. Pain is a warning signal that something is wrong and should stimulate a response to change activity, not to repeat the cause of the pain. Thus if something is wrong and we block the pain, the risk is that we could continue an activity that harms us.
Imagine you are driving a slow, small car and you are waiting to turn onto a highway and big lorry after big lorry goes past and stops you continuing your journey.
Now translate that analogy, this time the pain signal being the car and other, more powerful signals being the lorries. If we can provide a continuous supply of powerful signals the pain never gets out to the spinal cord and up to the brain.
This is called pain gate theory and goes some way to explaining how and why we can reduce pain. What’s the first thing you do if you hurt your hand in some way? Most of us will shake it. This sends stronger signals to the brain than the pain and so blocks the pain.
Endorphins – The Body’s Natural Pain Killer
Endorphins are released at the point where the pain signals reach the spinal cord and prevent more pain signals being released. It is this process which prevents pain getting through immediately, sometimes after a serious injury. This “endorphin rush” allows an athlete to persist through pain.
Ten Top Tips To Reduce Pain
1. Massage– nice sensations travel seven times faster than pain impulses and block the pain.
2. Acupuncture raises endorphin levels and blocks pain at the gate. Also, it can be linked to electro acupuncture to boost the long-term effect.
3. Nutritious food and supplements. The correct food products are required to make amino acids which are essential to pain-killing hormones. Minerals and anti-oxidants all reduce inflammation and boost the immune system. Too many carbs/sugars metabolise into pain products: reducing the calories reduces the pain. Less obesity – less pain. If the cell is healthy, nutrient-rich and properly hydrated, with few toxins, pain is an unwelcome guest.
4. Reiki and meditation are known to change the brain wave frequency and biochemistry. New research suggests the state of mind impacts DNA transcription and chronic pain. Self-healing methods like these can focus the subconscious mind on reducing both stress and pain.
5. Review your lifestyle and regulate levels of stressful/fearful activity will boost positive emotional activities. Understand your natural biorhythms to make the best of your time awake. – makes you more productive and less stressed
6. Improving your posture, especially sitting, enables the large core muscles to take a load off the back.
7. Taking regular exercise boosts feel-good pain-killing endorphin levels, boosts metabolism, and helps to reduce obesity – fat cells store toxins and enhance pain. Many studies prove correct exercise significantly reduces painful chronic illness and mortality.
8. Tens is a portable hand-held, the medically-endorsed device that sends frequencies, 2HZ to 150HZ, through the sensory nerves to block the pain gate and boost happy biochemistry, such as serotonin and endorphins to kill pain, reduce depression and help sleep. The Tens electrodes can be placed along a nerve root and onto a painful point, or on to specific acupuncture points. With professional guidance, good quality Tens can significantly boost the effects of pain treatment.
9. Consider hypnosis. This fascinating and controversial subject can significantly reduce pain when practised by an experienced therapist. People have even had surgery whilst under hypnosis
10. A warm bath with alkaline salts and aromatherapy, especially lavender, helps with sleep. For more on sleep tips, read this article.
For more information about Nicky Snazell’s Pain Relief Clinic, call 01889 881488 or visit www.painreliefclinic.co.uk
Massage has a history which dates back thousands of years and for much of this time has been a primary medical treatment by Doctors, recognised for its ability to reduce stress, anxiety and pain, plus both help prevent and heal injuries and illnesses.
Earliest records of the use of massage in medicine were in Egypt, India and China thousands of years ago. Since then its use has expanded around the globe, with inevitable cultural variations, so we see Shiatsu from Japan, Tuina from China, Ayurveda from India and Swedish from Europe and so on.
Original concepts from India and China were to consider disease and illness as a manifestation of the body being out of balance and not in harmony with the environment. Massage was considered an important treatment to help restore balance and harmony.
In the West massage spread through Europe and was noted by Hippocrates, the Greek Physician, in 400 BC as an important part of overall health maintenance. The use of massage started to decline with the emergence of newer medical techniques and also suffered greatly due to the more unsavory euphemism for sexual services.
This very concern in fact led to the formation in the UK of the Society of Trained Masseurs, later to become the Society of Chartered Physiotherapists that we know today. Thus physiotherapy has its roots in the power of hands on healing.
In more recent years massage has had a new dawn and become available in a many forms. You can now take your pick from intensely relaxing treatments on warm water beds, to deep pressure for the less faint hearted. The basic aim remains the same: to help heal on both the physical and emotional level and enhance the overall quality of life.
Unfortunately, the true value of massage is not widely recognised in the UK and for many it is still pigeon holed as an occasional luxury, or for many men, not something they would do. But let’s go back briefly to history again. Hippocrates recognised the importance of exercise, healthy diet, rest and massage as the ingredients for maintaining or restoring health. Certainly evidence exists for example that through the ages, the Olympics have made use of this philosophy.
Now fast forward to the present day. In the 1984 Olympics, massage was listed as a medical treatment to be provided. In fact many top athletes have their own masseur. For these, diet, exercise and rest go without saying. The message is no different to that proposed by Hippocrates 2400 years ago. You can be sure massage was intensely used in the London Olympics.
In the East, massage is considered a normal medical treatment and we can look much nearer home for cultural differences to perhaps break down British prejudice. In Germany, massage is considered an important part of their preventative and treatment health care. It is quite normal for a German Doctor to prescribe a course of massage, and not drugs, for the treatment of conditions such as back pain, neck stiffness and stress.
Stress we all know is on the increase and quite simply can be a killer. The body cannot heal itself if it is continually stressed. Scientific studies have shown that excessive and uncontrolled variation in heart rate caused by stress leads to increased sickness and disease. Furthermore, just relaxing at the end of the day with your favourite tipple, cannot undo the damage caused by a full day of stress. At the clinic we measure heart rate variance (HRV) and many patients are shocked by the result. Modern technology such as HRV merely amplifies just how accurate our ancient forefathers were about health.
Time and again we see patients at our clinic, who for either physical or emotional reasons would greatly benefit from regular massage, but will not as they cannot get over the stigma of it being either a luxury or not really of therapeutic value. Without doubt, many patients would retain a more pain free existence and be less stressed, if they could overcome these barriers and adopt the attitude of many other countries.
Perhaps it is time to look again with a new perspective at massage and all it can offer you.
If you would like more information on the massage we offer or our HRV technology, then please contact the clinic on 01889 881488 or visit www.painreliefclinic.co.uk
With our hectic modern lifestyle, there can be so many reasons why we don’t have a healthy spine and as a result suffer back and neck pain. As I have explored in my previous articles, keeping healthy involves four key things; state of mind, diet, exercise and posture.
The spinal cord and nerve roots are housed in a bony structure, the spine, to minimise fraying and compression to sensitive neural structures, further protected by cushioning discs and strong muscles.
If you are unable to eat a healthy diet or have chronic stress, the gut cannot absorb nutrients effectively. The body then starts to crave these missing nutrients and literally rapes the spinal bones of minerals to sustain the vital organs. This accelerates wear and tear in the small finely chiseled spinal facet joints that allow us to twist and turn. They become prematurely arthritic and fire off pain receptors.
Daily impacts due to heavy footsteps on solid surfaces, cause faster wear and tear. Furthermore with sustained poor posture in walking and sitting, amplified by not drinking enough water, the cushioning discs will crack and bulge. Then the fragile nerves are put at further risk by weak muscles. They turn into sensitive dysfunctional nerves which cause muscle contractures, accelerating arthritis, disc damage and general aging.
Hence the way we move will affect the harmonious flow of movement up through all the small joints in the spine. The correct structural alignment of feet, legs, pelvis and spine is very important, especially if you are very active and sporty. The science of how we move is called biomechanics, a physical expression of health, and a predictor of future problems.
So many times symptoms appear totally unrelated to the spine and yet unless recognized and treated the culprit lies dormant and the problem keeps reoccurring. Many times the symptoms of pain, numbness, weakness and pins and needles can be anywhere else in the body but the spine. So often, seemingly unrelated painful conditions such as osteoarthritis, tendinitis or unrelenting sports injury can only be resolved specialist neuropathic treatment to the spine. I firmly believe if anyone has a problem anywhere in the body the neural link to the spine must be assessed. Furthermore with shortened muscles compressing nerves such as sciatica in the leg, or brachialgia in the arm, the best way to quickly release the tight muscle contractures is with laser and a specialist pain treatment called Gunn IMS. We are the only centre in Europe to offer teaching internships in IMS pain relief, after being awarded the highest accolade in treatment and lecturing internationally on this subject.
We very much embrace this approach in the clinic, with our specific diagnostic physical and functional tests . We may also need to arrange an MRI to look inside the spine, and if we want to know if the bone or cartilage cells are healthy enough to repair and hydrated now we have leading technology to tell us.
It’s so exciting the way science is progressing, as now it is possible to repair sports injuries and arthritis at the cellular level. German scientists have pioneered a therapeutic version of MRI that can regenerate cartilage and bone cells throughout the body, including the disc and spine. Following a visit to the German research facility with our inhouse surgeon, we are proud to have joined over 150 European orthopaedic consultants who have helped over 150,000 patients with this non invasive technology.