Tips to Avoid Knee Pain When Starting a New Sport

 Starting a new sport, especially one as invigorating and accessible as running, can be an exciting journey towards better health and fitness. However, for many newcomers, the thrill of the activity can be dampened by the onset of knee pain. Knee pain is a common complaint among beginners, but with the right approach and precautions, it can often be avoided. Our osteopaths at Nene Valley Osteopathy  understand the importance of preventing injuries and promoting healthy movement patterns. Here are some tips to help you avoid developing knee pain when starting a new sport, such as running:  1. Start Slow and Gradually Increase Intensity: One of the most common mistakes new athletes make is doing too much, too soon. To avoid overloading your knees, start with shorter distances and lower intensities, gradually increasing your intensity over time. This allows your muscles, tendons, and ligaments to adapt to the demands of your new sport with...

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Unlocking the Connection Between Gut Health and Overall Well-being: 5 Tips

Through the years I've worked as an osteopath, I've seen firsthand the intricate relationship between gut health and overall well-being. The gut, often referred to as our "second brain," plays a crucial role in digestion, immune function, mood regulation, and more. When our gut is out of balance, it can manifest in various symptoms throughout the body. But did you know you can help improve your gut health, and the flora of bacteria within  your gut, to improve your health? Here are five tips to improve your gut health and enhance your overall health and vitality: 1. Embrace a Fiber-Rich Diet: Incorporating plenty of fibre-rich foods such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and legumes can promote a healthy gut microbiome. Fibre acts as fuel for beneficial gut bacteria, helping to maintain a diverse and thriving microbial community. Aim for a variety of colorful plant-based foods (eat the rainbow!) to ensure you're getting a wide range of nutrients and fibre types. ...

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How can I stick to my New Year's fitness resolutions?

We all know about the usual new year resolutions such as eat better, stop smoking/drinking and doing more exercise, but how long do you stick to the resolutions you make? What happens if you hit an unexpected blip, like an injury? The good news is, with a little planning, you can get help sticking to your resolutions. If you're thinking about what you're going to change to help your fitness, let's have a look at how you can give yourself a fighting chance.  Plans aren't always bad...  You've probably heard the saying 'a goal without a plan is nothing but a wish', and when it comes to new year's fitness resolutions, nothing can be more accurate! Write a list of your goals and a detailed plan of how you'll achieve each step. While you might have some bumps in the road, you're far more likely to carry on with the good work if you've got a plan to refer to. Pre-Resolution checks.  Before you start any new fitness regime invest in some osteopathy treatment to help curtail any...

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Help! I've got a slipped disc!

We often hear the phrase in clinic "I've got a slipped disc!" often coupled with "X practitioner clicked my disc back in" but did you know that these 2 statements are very misleading and that they are not exactly true? Let's have a look why… A little anatomy lesson. The discs themselves are really known as Intervertebral Discs, which are located between 2 bones in your spine, the vertebrae. The discs are comprised of several incomplete rings of ligaments, known as the anulus, with a jelly like substance in the middle, the Nucleus Pulposus and have tougher fibres above and below them, the End Plates, that connect into the bones above and below. Discs allow a wide range of movements to happen in the spine whilst also acting as shock absorbers.  As you can see from the disc's construction, they are tough, and will oppose almost any type of force placed on them. Thanks to the surrounding ligaments of the spine, and the disc's thick end plates which attach directly into the vertebrae, ...

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Back pain after raking leaves?

Are you dreading the leaves falling and those autumn gardening jobs this year? Autumn is a wonderful time of year with leaves turning an array of colours to brighten up the countryside, but for some it sees extra jobs in the garden that become a chore! Every year, we see people in clinic who have injured themselves from raking leaves and carrying out other heavy gardening jobs! If you're feeling a little overwhelmed with the gardening and how your body will cope, read on for some handy hints to keep yourself injury free! For some people, gardening only produces a mild discomfort that is short lived, but for others it can create a burning pain in your back or even an overstrain injury. Repetitive twisting whilst sweeping and raking leaves can easily strain ligaments throughout the body. The same is true for lifting heavy pots and bags of compost when you've not lifted anything heavy for a while. Lack of balance, repetitive twisting and lifting, and poor fitness can all contribute to you...

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What is fascia and how can we treat it?

 Welcome to the weird world of Fascia! It's a phrase that some of you may have heard, along with myofascial release therapy, and it's becoming a key component of the body as we research more and more and understand it's role better. That's all well and good, but what IS fascia, and how is it relevant to you? Let's look a little further at what this mystery tissue is, where it's found, what it does and how we can treat it. Read on for more information... The Fundamentals...  At its very basic level, fascia is a connective tissue in the body. For many years, medics thought that it was simply a packing material to fill gaps, but science has disproven this! Fascia is like the skin on a sausage which wraps around the muscles, but as science has investigated it more, we now know that it webs throughout all the tissues of the body to encase everything together, wrapping around individual muscles, nerves and blood vessels! Yet, fascia isn't just about muscles, it joins in patter...

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How to avoid back pain this Christmas

Your guide to a pain free festive season! We all look forward to some time off work over the forthcoming festive season, whether you prefer to celebrate with family or head out adventuring somewhere fun, but none of us want to be lumbered with unforeseen back pain. With a few little changes to your activities in the run up to Christmas, we've got Christmas all wrapped up so you can relax and enjoy yourself! Look after yourself this year:  Making a few small tweaks to your normal routine can help you feel good, why not give the following tips a try? Lighten your Load - When did you last muck out your handbag or the bag you carry? Take out anything that you don't need to carry that day such as a water bottle, extra keys, overstuffed purse of receipts? A few minutes to organise your bag will see your neck, shoulders and arms thanking you for removing the extra luggage they won't need to carry! Take your wallet out of your pocket! Sitting on a wallet in a back pocket or having that wa...

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How can mindfulness help me?

If you've not already come across mindfulness, it's a way of dealing with your thoughts and emotions to help you process them, a coping strategy as such to bring you back into the current moment. For me, the best description of mindfulness is that it's akin to sitting on a park bench in front of a road and watching the cars go by. You are aware that those cars are passing, but you don't pay too much attention to them whilst they're there, and quickly forget about them as they drive by. Replace those cars with your thoughts, and you're practicing mindfulness. Here's a few top tips to try every day to help your mindfulness journey: Pause at the beginning of your day – Before getting out of bed, or in the shower, take a few deep breaths and breathe out slowly. Scan through your body, where do you feel tension? What are your surrounding smells, sounds and sights? Take a minute to notice these things but don't focus on them, acknowledge that they're there and allow them to pass on by. Visua...

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What is referred pain?

A common question we hear in clinic is "What does referred pain mean?", and it's quite a valid one as it can be quite confusing!  Put simply, referred pain relates to pain felt in an area which is elsewhere from the source of the pain, the pain originates in a different part of the body. This confusing occurrence is caused by a network of sensory nerves that all connect. These nerves join with each other in the spinal cord and signals passing through a small number of these nerves can get confused. This triggers sensations in parts of the body that are supplied by the same nerve but that don't have anything wrong with them. Sciatica is a great example of this, often people experience pain and symptoms in their leg, but the root cause is often a lower back problem, however the nerves all join the spinal cord at roughly the same area and sometimes signals get confused.  Is referred pain always from the skeletal system?  There is another style of referred pain, known as vis...

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Help! I've got a slipped disc!

We often hear the phrase in clinic "I've got a slipped disc!" often coupled with "X practitioner clicked my disc back in" but did you know that these 2 statements are very misleading and that they are not exactly true? Let's have a look why…  A little Anatomy…  The discs themselves are really known as Intervertebral Discs, which are located between 2 bones in your spine, the vertebrae. The discs are comprised of several incomplete rings of ligaments, known as the anulus, with a jelly like substance in the middle, the Nucleus Pulposus and have tougher fibres above and below them, the End Plates, that connect into the bones above and below. Discs allow a wide range of movements to happen in the spine whilst also acting as shock absorbers. As you can see from the disc's construction, they are tough, and will oppose almost any type of force placed on them. Thanks to the surrounding ligaments of the spine, and the disc's thick end plates which attach directly into the vertebrae, t...

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Aching muscles after doing DIY?

It's spring at last and as a nation of DIY-ers, a lot of us are dusting off our ladders, digging out our toolboxes and planning a bit of home improvement. Whilst a bit of DIY is good news for your home, unfortunately this time of year is also when we see an influx of people with neck, back and shoulder pain after doing too much! We thought a timely blog on the subject might save a few of you from unnecessary pain. Just as you'd prepare a room before decorating, a bit of preparation for your body can warm you up and help avoid those strains and aches. But how often do you remember to do some exercises before you climb up that ladder and do you know what sort of exercises you should be doing? General warm up and warm down exercisesDespite the initial horror at the idea, warming up doesn't have to take much time at all. The following exercises are simple and quick and should help you stay nimble and injury free! Knee hugs: Lay on your back and hug your knees towards your chest. Hold for 1...

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Can Osteopathy help running injuries?

With a new year beginning many people start new goals for fitness and health which often include running, but whether you're running for general fitness, as part of cross training for another sport or for a particular running related goal such as a marathon, there is always a possibility you may get injured. Nearly every person who participates in any sport will experience an injury at some point, and runners are no exceptions. The good news is that, in most cases, injuries can be treated and with a few tweaks, can often be prevented!  Common causes of running injuries When we are in clinic, two of the most common reasons runners get injured are down to simple things, such as being too keen and overworking your body, not giving it enough time to heal, and also running with poor technique: Any level of running is considered to be a high impact form of exercise. It's important not to push too hard at the beginning so as not to overload your body. Gradually increase the distance/spee...

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What can help my headache?

Headaches. Let's face it pretty much everyone has one at some point in their life. But what can osteopaths do to help those of us who suffer frequent headaches? Let's take a look at the different types of headaches commonly see in clinic, and how osteopathy can offer relief for them: Tension Type Headaches Tension type headaches are the most common headaches seen in adults, reported to affect around 45% of the population. They're often described as a dull pain, a tightness or a pressure around the forehead or at the back of your skull extending down to the neck. Patients often describe the pain as a "band around the head". Tension type headaches are more commonly seen in women than men, and can either be episodic (occurring less than 15 times a month), or chronic (occurring more than 15 times a month for at least six months).The exact cause of tension type headaches is still not fully understood however there are known triggers, including, but not limited to: • Stress and anxiety• Dehy...

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How can Osteopathy help Rugby Players?

Rugby is the kind of sport that places huge physical demands on the player which inevitably leads to a high incidence of injuries. Physical contact from tackles and scrums can make spectators eyes water from the fierceness displayed by the players! Rugby injuries can be categorised into different injuries such intrinsic injuries, often caused by repetitive strains and overuse injuries and extrinsic injuries, such as collisions with other players. Osteopathy can offer hands on treatment and rehabilitation for both styles of injuries, by ensuring that players with imbalances of muscle strengths, poor flexibility and old injuries are treated appropriately and helped to function at their best by restoring the body to its optimal function. Intrinsic Injuries As we mentioned above, intrinsic injuries describe those of a repetitive nature and of an overstrain pattern. When areas of the body are subject to repetitive patterns of movement, such as sitting at a desk or in a vehicle throughout th...

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Pain from racket sports ruining your game?

You'll know that racket (sometimes known as racquet) sports such as tennis, badminton and squash are demanding games that can be hard on the body. Those quick lunges to return the ball or shuttlecock to the opponent can result in strains and pains that are an unwanted nuisance, threatening your performance and your enjoyment of the game.  Let's take a look at the most common injuries we see from racket sports and an idea into how we begin to treat them. It's always important to note that this information should be used in conjunction with, rather than in replacement of, a full assessment of your individual case to make sure you're getting the most appropriate advice. Tennis ElbowPossibly one of the most frequent injuries from a variety of sports, this painful condition is due to an irritation of the tendon that attaches into the side of the elbow. Pain often comes on slowly initially, often after activity, but can increase in severity as time progresses. It can cause havoc with yo...

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What's the difference between western and traditional Chinese acupuncture?

Acupuncture is a popular style of treatment that can be used to help a variety of health problems including back pain, headaches and migraines. However, did you know there are 2 very different styles of acupuncture? Acupuncture's roots lie deep in Chinese history, with the first written text reported to date back to between the first century BC and the first century AD. Thankfully, it's moved on a long way from those eras where they used sharpened bones as needles! Traditional acupuncture follows the Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) principles, whereby it believes that blockages in specific flows of energy through the body, or meridians, can cause dis-ease. By needling certain points, the blockages are encouraged to clear, helping to improve health and wellbeing. Medical acupuncture, sometimes known as western acupuncture or dry needling, is a whole different style of treatment. The medical model uses anatomy, physiology and current medical models to create a diagnosis for your condi...

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Golf swing upsetting your back pain?

For anyone who has never played golf before, it's a curious sport that is hugely demanding on the body. Regular golfers will tell you that lower back pain is one of the most commonly reported pains amongst golfers, and some research suggests that up to one third of all golfers will suffer with lower back pain at some point in their lives! We see many golfers in clinic, and whilst each individual's case is different, pain can be caused by some common factors, mainly lack of mobility in the ankles, hips, upper back and shoulders, all forcing the lower back to work exceptionally hard to compensate for the lack of mobility elsewhere. What causes pain?When you go through a golf swing, the spine has to twist to not only create the turn, but also help to drive the ball forwards. By doing this, the fine ligaments of the spine and where the pelvis connect to the back, can really be subject to a huge amount of pressure. Combine this with muscles that are not functioning at their best, due to bei...

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Not digging your back pain?

 Now the weather is beginning to get a bit warmer there's nothing nicer than spending time in your garden, either working on some gardening or just relaxing. Our gardens are the most perfect place to just spend some time connecting with nature and allowing ourselves to be mindful of the world around us. For those of you amongst us who are keen gardeners, when did you last stop and think about any bodily injuries that can occur from working in the garden? Lifting pots, moving compost and long periods of time bent over weeding can wreak havoc on our bodies, and many injuries sustained in gardens are related to poor manual handling. It's always busy at this time of year for osteopaths in clinic as we see many people who have sustained gardening related injuries. Commonly, these injuries are muscle and joint related, and often involve shoulders, lower backs and necks. So, if gardening is so risky, what can you do to help protect your body from injury? Let's take a look at some tips to...

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How do I know if I'm Double Jointed?

We see lots of people who are hypermobile in clinic and it's sometimes referred to as being "double jointed", but how do you know if you are or not?  Do you find you just can't feel the stretch, despite being able to stretch really far?Do your hips and back still ache despite doing stretch classes a few times a week?Do you often dislocate joints or keep getting sprains and strains? If you answered yes to the 3 questions above these symptoms suggest you could be hypermobile.  Hypermobility basically means that the joints are overly mobile because the ligaments and tendons that support the joints and act as retaining straps are too elastic, and stretch too much, therefore they don't provide good support for the joints and let the joints move too much. Hypermobility itself doesn't usually cause pain, and often will barely affect your normal daily life. But why do hypermobility sufferers get pain? The pain is caused by the muscles working extra hard to support and stabilise ...

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Missing your comfy office chair?

It's no secret that we've all gone through a radical change with how we work thanks to the Coronavirus outbreak, and its effects are being felt in so many different ways, one of which is body aches and pains from poor posture. So, if you're missing your comfy office Herman Miller chair, let's see how we can make you more comfortable without splashing out lots of money! Space - One of the biggest changes we need to make to be able to work from home is to create some space. Take some time to create a space big enough for your needs, and don't forget you're going to be working here for the next few months at least, so don't compromise!Invest – We all appreciate that laptops are convenient for working on the go, but they're not so great for home working. Invest in a decent keyboard/mouse and allow your body freedom, so you're not constantly scrunching your body to work to your laptop's confines.Sofas – Take it from someone who knows: Sitting on a sofa for 8 hours a day with a laptop i...

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