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There are various ways to keep in contact with Pro-Am after your visit

Telephone 01723 363332

Email proaminjury@gmail.com

We love to hear how you are progressing and what activities you are up to!

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Back pain breaking the myths

Back pain is the most common area of pain I treat in the clinic. Everybody at some point will have an episode of back pain and for those unlucky few ongoing recurrent problems.

The approach to back pain has changed a lot and challenges many widespread beliefs about the condition. Here is what I have found out throughout my 10yrs of experience.

1. Back pain is common and normal.

Most back pain is due to strains and sprains and usually resolves within 6 weeks. Only a very small percentage go on to develop long standing disabling problems and many of these may improve with the right help.

2. Scans are rarely needed. You would think that a picture of the spine would explain why you are in pain but it is not that simple. The scans will often show up things that are poorly linked with pain. Many people who have no pain are shown to have bulging discs, degenerated discs, arthritic changes etc. If you are told you have these problems it can lead to further distress and avoidance of activity.

3. Back pain is not caused by something being out of place. Many people may feel better after manipulations/mobilisations but this is mainly down to short term reduction of pain, muscle tone/tension and fear. As therapists we use these techniques to help get you moving better not to realign you.

4. Bed rest is not helpful. This can create stiffness, muscle de-conditioning and fear. Stiffness itself is painful and treatment and exercises will be painful to get movement back again.

5. Increased back pain does not mean more damage.

6. Surgery is rarely needed. Many people who have back surgery still have pain after because they have not taken a multi factoral approach to getting better. No one treatment will work on its own.

7. There is no perfect sitting posture. It is about moving and altering posture instead of maintaining posture that is important. The body will never like being stuck in one position for any length of time.

8. Lifting and bending are safe. Yes it may cause a strain in the back but should never be avoided as it is good strength work for the back and body. And yes there are bad techniques that can lead to injury, just remember you have a pair of legs to help you. Don’t lift silly amounts of weight, be smart. The length of the activity also has an influence break it up into smaller manageable amounts.

9. Avoiding painful activities is not the way forward. Fear of pain can heighten your senses of back pain and increase stress on the back due to an altered movement pattern.

10. Poor sleep, stress, low mood and worry all influence the back.

11. Exercise is good and safe and persistent back pain CAN get better with it.

Long standing back pain has to have a whole body and psychological approach. Manual therapy can help but exercise is very important as well. So is general health, looking after you weight, healthy diet, good sleeping pattern and knowing how to cope with stress. Everyone is different so what works for one person will not work for the next.

 

 

 

Practical tips for a healthy back

1: Stay mobile

Optimal spine health means having mobility in all directions with good control. One area that can put pressure on the lower back and neck is stiffness in the mid back (thoracic spine). If your thorax has limited rotation, more load and stress can be transferred to other parts of the body. You can check this by sitting in a chair, feet firmly grounded, hands clasped and tucked into your sternum, turn to your right and then left. You should be able to turn equally to the right and left and be able to see behind you easily. Here is a video showing thoracic whips if you find you have limited mobility mobility here, perform 4 sets of 5 reps both sides, if one side is more limited perform 2 extra sets on that side. https://youtu.be/NFWAoXwjlCQ

2: Vary positions at work

Sitting at a computer and desk all day puts increased pressure on your spine. After 30 minutes of sitting make sure you get up and walk around or do some exercises for 30 seconds to keep the flow of blood and fluids to the spine. You will start to notice many work places are looking into workstations that are for standing but again after 30 minutes you still need to move about. Make sure workstation is setup properly for you to encourage optimal posture.

3: Keep the core in good condition

Optimal strength and control of core muscles is very important for spine health, especially if you do suffer from repetitive bouts of back and neck pain. Regular exercise that includes strength training is highly recommended. Pilates is a great exercise that helps you understand how to use your core muscles and how to control movements through the spine.

4: Monthly Sports Massage

Having a regular sports massage for maintenance of well being is highly recommended to get rid of tightness and stiffness that may interfere with spine health. Sometimes our bodies will adapt to the postures and movements we do in life, this can lead to compensations which can lead to injury. If one area of the body is stiff, that limited range of movement will have to be compensated for at the next joint. This may not cause a problem to start with but over months, years it can develop into a chronic problem.  Pro-Am’s Health Scheme can help prevent many injuries.

Core Exercises for Cyclists

Participation in cycling is on the increase due to the success of our GB squad but also many local clubs having the funding to setup beginner groups and host relaxed fun events. Its a great exercise for fitness and for many it is easier to build up fitness levels compared to running due to its low impact. It is an exercise we give to many athletes when injured to help keep fitness. As with any sport there are injury risks and cycling is no different.

Bike setup and on bike posture are essential to avoid injury.

Here at Pro-Am we recommend you get a proper bike fit especially when spending alot of money on the bike. Next is making sure your posture is good on the bike. The on bike posture is a vital aspect of efficient cycling and it is the strength of our core which can help you maintain good posture. When our central stability is poor it makes it increasingly hard to dissociate the hips from the back and this can lead to you dragging rather than driving through the revolution cycle. It also creates increased postural fatigue through the thoracic spine (mid back).

Here at Pro-Am we can help prevent injuries occcurring from the result of poor core control with advice on some simple mobility and strength exercises which could also increase your performance too. Combine this with regular sports massage to reduce the effects of the repetitive motion that cycling incurs and you can become injury proof.

 

 

Osteopath, Chiropractor or Sports Therapist?

Previously Pro-Am has explained the difference between a Physiotherapist and a Sports Therapist. I did this because for some reason Physiotherapy is seen as a more recognised profession because of its use within the NHS but in private practice there are many more choices available.

This article is about the difference between Osteopaths, Chiropractors and Sports Therapists.

This is actually quite hard to explain as many of our skills and practices overlap.  I was going to give a definition for all 3 but they all sounded the same.

All 3 professions can assess, treat and rehabilitate musculoskeletal injuries. All 3 use manual therapy to manipulate soft tissues and joints. And all 3 use exercise to help treat and rehabilitate clients. What makes it so confusing is we all use different methods and terms to assess, treat and rehabilitate, its like we are each in our own tribe with our own languages but in reality we have the same knowledge and end goal: Getting people pain free and healthy.

What are the differences?

You will find the manual therapies used will be slightly different. It can be said that all 3 are classed as complementary medicine but Osteopaths follow a more holistic approach, Chiropractors say they are ‘evidence based’ and Sports Therapists share both approaches.

Osteopaths and Sports Therapists take a full body approach, Chiropractors are seen to be more specialised in the spine but can treat any joint or muscle.

Out of all of them Sports Therapists are much more specialised in their degree training towards musculoskeletal and sports but what makes a sports injury, a sports injury? Many of the injuries sports people get, so do non sporting people. A Sports Therapists most common injuries seen in the clinic will be general neck and back pain from people who have non sporting backgrounds. A lot of the techniques learnt can help many with chronic pain conditions like fibromyalgia and arthritis.

Osteopaths and Chiropractors have a choice to specialise in many other areas and treat a wider variety of other health problems like vertigo, tinnitus, asthma, IBS ect. They can also specialise in working with athletes. Osteopaths and Chiropractors are a protected profession by the health council so all are guaranteed to have completed a degree, sadly Sports Therapy is still battling for this recognition and until then please check that the Sports Therapist you see has the letters BSc after their name and are registered with The Society of Sports Therapists.

You will find many Osteopaths or Chiropractors will also train in Sports Therapy or Physio and vice versa. Sadly you do get some arrogant therapists who will say ‘Osteopaths are the best’ or ‘Chiropractors can only deal with your injury’.

‘No one profession is better than the other, they have different approaches towards the same outcome’

For each therapist no matter what profession, it’s all about building a good solid reputation and offering a great service to help people in pain, improve their life and enable them to get back into what ever activity they enjoy.

My advice, ask around, word of mouth is all 3 professions main way of advertising, recommendations are everything to us. What ever injury or illness, seek out a professional who specialises in that area. If you are still not sure then find a local therapist in your area and give them a ring and ask, we are all here to help and give advice. This may be you booking an appointment there and then or it may be information of another therapist who is best suited to your needs. If your not happy with one therapist DO NOT let it put you off, its like anything in life we are all different and respond to things and personalities  in different ways.