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The Mill Clinic Blog

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BackCare Awareness Week Focus on Office Workers

Office workers are being encouraged to take care of their backs to ease back pain as part of this year’s BackCare Awareness Week which runs between 6 – 10 October

According to a BackCare survey half of us are affected by back pain and 7.6 million working days were lost due to work-related back pain between 2010 and 2011, an NHS study revealed.

BackCare Awareness week, is focusing on office workers who are prone to stress, tension headaches and back pain. While these ailments are common, often they go unrecognised.

But there are many ways to avoid and ease back pain when working. Here are some of my tips: –

1) Be aware of your posture; when standing try to distribute your weight evenly across the front, back and sides of your feet. When seated, sit up straight; align the ears, shoulders and hips in a vertical line as much as possible.

2) Avoid prolonged positions; even a good sitting position can be tiring and put a strain on muscles. Try alternating sitting at the front of the chair with sitting back against it. Try to also get up and move about every 30minutes. Take 2 minutes to stretch, stand or go for a short walk, this will not only stimulate your muscles, but also your mind!

3) Avoid unbalanced posture; such as sitting with your legs crossed, leaning to one side, hunching the shoulders forward or tilting the head up.

4) Position your monitor at your natural resting-eye-height. This will avoid straining the neck as you look up or hunch down to your screen.

5) Exercise regularly; a good combination of cardio and strength training will strengthen muscles and protect against back injuries.

6) Get moving: the body was designed to move, and it is so important to keep moving. Even if you are suffering from back or neck pain, limiting movement will only exacerbate the symptoms. Try to do lots of gentle movement within a relative pain free zone, in order to prevent everything from locking up.

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Osteoarthritis Prevention and Management

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Osteoarthritis (OA) is the most common form of arthritis. In the UK more than 10 million adults see their GP each year with arthritis and related conditions. More than 1 in 3 of the over 50’s have joint pain that interferes with their normal activities – and it can get worse as you get older!

The most commonly affected joints are the knees, hips and small joints of the hands. OA occurs with normal wear of our body, which is why it happens mainly as we get older. Injury and overuse (including being overweight) can accelerate the process and therefore affect us at a younger age. Inactivity can also make things worse as the muscles get stiffer and weaker around the joints.

The good news is that we can do lots to prevent and keep things going so arthritis doesn’t stop us doing what we want to do, and we can start now. There’s no excuse even if you already have arthritis. Here’s your action plan.

Exercise and hot and cold therapy for Arthritis

Yes again it comes up, even little and often is better than doing nothing. Do something for a minimum of 30 minutes a day, at least 5 days a week. If you cannot do the full 30 minutes try doing 10 minutes three times in the day.

It should include exercise for general aerobic fitness and local muscle strengthening. As well as helping weight loss, (which will reduce the load on the joints and help to improve pain) exercise itself will help to build muscle strength and endurance and can lead to reduced pain and improved joint function.

If you don’t use it, you may lose it – so keep your joints moving and your muscles strong. And remember it’s never too late to start keeping yourself fit!

If the joint is swollen and very painful put cold on it (e.g. bag of peas wrapped in tea towel) for no longer than 15 minutes, and repeat the cold again once the area has warmed up as many times as you wish.

For joints that are just a bit stiff and slightly achy then try putting something warm on the joint.

Osteopathy and acupuncture have been proven to help arthritis.

Patients who come for regular maintenance therapy (or an MOT as one of the patients describe it!) once every month or couple of months have found it made a big difference. They have fewer days when they have pain and stiffness and can reduce or stop the painkillers and anti-inflammatory medicines they need to take.

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Believe it or not The Mill Clinic has been open for 3 years!

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How time flies! So for those who haven’t visited the clinic for a while we thought we would give you an update. As well as the blog we will be sending by email from time to time a newsletter, and we also have a Facebook page.

We aim to keep you up to date with what we do at The Mill Clinic, and pass on valuable hints and tips on a healthy and happy lifestyle. We are professionals who keep up to date with the latest research and will only give you the facts – unlike some journalists! We would really appreciate it if could like our Facebook page (and even spread the word to your friends and family) and check our blog from time to time.

Making an Appointment

Our mainline telephone reception service is available 6 days a week, 8am to 5.30pm Monday to Friday and 8.30am to 1pm Saturday. If you call 01322 864499 our receptionists will be able to book osteopath and podiatry appointments for you and take messages. They will also give you the numbers of the other therapists in the clinic if you want a sports massage or hypnotherapy but they are unable to book them for you, you will need to do that directly yourself with the therapist.

You can text or call Debbie Crumpton, or Linda Russell directly, but please bear with us if we don’t get straight back to you as we may be treating patients.

Booking online for osteopathy treatment is also possible out of hours via www.osteopath4all.co.uk, even at 3am! However, please be aware not all the available appointment slots are shown online so please call or email if there isn’t a suitable time showing on the online diary.

Osteopathy

Two Osteopaths work in the clinic, Debbie Crumpton, and Shelley Machin. Between us we try to ensure Osteopath treatment is available 6 days a week (unless holidays and snow interfere!). Evening appointments can be made on Mondays and Thursdays.

Osteopaths don’t just treat backs (although we do see a lot) we can treat anything from your head to toes that involve the musculoskeletal system. Including helping with reducing headaches or rehabilitation help after operations such as on hips, knees, shoulders, and even bunions!

Sadly these days all too often patients have brilliant operations but little aftercare or physiotherapy, it’s important you don’t leave it too long to get rehabilitation advice and treatment. Osteopaths can also help once the wound has healed, or plaster is removed. It is really important to get the blood flowing (so the body can heal itself) as well as strengthening and stretching the muscles around the area. Recovery will be better and enable you to get back to enjoying life again.

Debbie qualified with the British Medical Acupuncture Society in 2013 and sometimes uses acupuncture as appropriate (with patient permission) as part of her osteopathic treatment to help with pain management and promote healing especially in ligaments.

Deep Tissue and Sports Massage

Nicki Goodman has been working at the clinic since we opened and as well as providing deep tissue and sports massage she can do strapping or taping to help injured clients compete so that all the hard training doesn’t go to waste.

You don’t have to be sporty or athletic to see Nicki deep tissue massage is a great way to get rid of stress, or even to keep the older muscles a bit more flexible.

Nicki is usually available Monday, Wednesday and Friday including some evenings. Tel. 07890 266636

Podiatry

Darenth Foot Surgery run by registered podiatrist Linda Russell is based at The Mill Clinic. Linda can deal with all sorts of problems with the feet from dealing with persistent verrucae to performing nail surgery.

It’s all too easy to forget how important feet are for most of the time – until they hurt!

As it’s the sandal and bare feet time of year it’s worth sorting out those fungal nails & corns.

If you are diabetic it’s extremely important to look after your feet, even if recently diagnosed it will pay off in the long term to get into a routine of regularly seeing a podiatrist. Linda has lots of experience in helping diabetic patients look after their feet and is passionate about it!

Hypnotherapy

It’s the dreaded exam season, and we all know how nerve wracking and stressful it can be, Hypnotherapy can help you control your nerves and so you can sleep better, focus on revision (sorry can’t help with that bit – you just have to get on and do it!), then face the exam with more confidence.

Hypnotherapy can also help with phobias such as fear of flying, heights or even spiders. So why not get these under control now the holiday season is underway. Call Maggie Moore 07788 587707 to find out more and book an appointment.

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Are You Sitting Comfortably?

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Computers and tablets are an essential part of our lives, whether for work or pleasure we do spend a lot of our time sitting or slumped in front of them. It’s great news for osteopaths as we treat lots of tense shoulders and headaches, and even pins and needles in the hands. It may reduce our income but we still want you to manage how you sit to prevent these aches and pains.

Here are some tips: –

  • First of all sit on a chair with your back supported, your feet flat on the floor and knees at 90 degrees.
  • The desk/table should low enough or the chair high enough so that your arms will rest as though they are hanging from your shoulders (elbows are nearer 120 degrees than at 90 degrees). If your shoulders are raised at all the top of your shoulders will ache, that means that the table is too high or the chair too low. If your feet are no longer flat on the floor use a box or footrest to raise them up again.
  • The monitor or screen should be high enough that you are not looking down to it and not too close (hold your arms out in front of you and the screen should be as far away as your fingertips). Worth investing in a laptop stand and separate keyboard so you aren’t always looking down at the screen.
  • Holding a tablet computer e.g. an iPad too low, say on the lap, forces the neck to bend forward too much, straining the neck, also holding it in one hand for a long time can also often give you achy shoulders. Simply placing a tablet on a table propped at an angle in a tablet case can reduce neck and shoulder strain and potential pain.
  • Regularly changing position when using tablets and computers will also reduce the strain on the neck and shoulders as well as helping your back.

Finally, don’t leave it too long before coming to see your osteopath and suffering persistent headaches and pins and needles in the hands.

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Should you stretch before running?

It is generally accepted that you should loosen up before exercise including running. But does it really help? Recent research suggests that some types of stretching could make little difference and can even reduce performance!

Static stretching has long been seen as a way of warming up, loosening the muscles and preventing injury, but often this type of stretching doesn’t prevent the runner picking up various aches and pains which they are prone to.

It is now thought that the better option is a more dynamic stretching warm up before running, working the muscles through some of the ranges of motion they’ll need via skipping or even hopping, rather than holding the muscles & joints in a fixed position.

An example of a dynamic stretching regime is the Fifa 11 Plus program http://f-marc.com/11plus/home/ which many football players use to warm up before training. It has been proven to prevent injuries. The Fifa program involves light jogs, light aerobic workouts and then various exercises which focus on agility.

 When it comes to how much stretching the runner should do, the key quesion is whether they feel they have adequate flexibility for the performance they are looking to achieve. To train at higher intensity the runner may need more joint flexibility to take the training to the next level. But it is also important to increase strength as well as flexibility to maintain control through the stride.

It is important for runners who have detectable mobility restrictions to definately do some sort of stretching to prevent injuries. Runners with low back problems often have stiffness around the hips. Static stretching again may not be the best technique to loosen that tissue. Using a roller massage or seeing a sports massage therapist or even an osteopath would be a better approach to prevent injuries. 

For runners who are already very flexible, static stretching can even make them more injury prone by pushing the joint too far. There are even studies that have found that runners with over-stretched muscles run slower!

As a means of warming down static stretching could be of some benefit, more so than before a run, as the muscles are warm and more relaxed, but it is important to be careful. After a particularly intense and damaging run like interval, hill running or a race, prolonged stretching may not be a good idea as you already have tissue that is probably damaged and needs time to rest and recover. A lovely cold (yes cold!) bath and a glass of milk would do you more good. Then book in to see the Sports Massage therapist and you will be back on the road in even better shape than ever. 

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Nordic Walking – a great way to improve your brain

Apparently just 30-45 minutes of brisk walking a week can improve your brain function when you are older.

Read the full article in The Times www.thetimes.co.uk/tto/science/article4008696.ece

Another great reason to try Nordic Walking, just a few lessons and a set of poles and you are all set to go.

Contact Debbie at The Mill Clinic for lessons and find out more about how Nordic Walking is fantastic for all ages and fitness levels.

I know the weather may be less than inviting at the moment, but it won’t be long before it gets better (we hope!) so nows the time to get started on those Nordic Walking lessons!

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