2008, 2014

Sort yourself out today…Shoulder pain

By |August 20th, 2014|media|Comments Off on Sort yourself out today…Shoulder pain

Back and shoulder pain is a common complaint due to our sedentary lifestyles and bad posture. Nearly 50% of us will suffer at some point in our lives -our experts are here to help you avoid it.

The Osteopath

Dr Guy Ashburner is a Cape Town-based osteopath

Painful shoulder conditions that limit movement are common, and are caused by injuries affecting the muscles, tendons, ligaments and cartilage. As the shoulder has a high degree of flexibility, it’s less stable and more prone to injuries than other joints. As the nerves that supply the shoulder and arm originate from the neck and upper spine, conditions such as spinal dysfunction commonly contribute to pain in the shoulder. To determine the cause of your pain, the osteopath will conduct a full orthopedic and neurological examination of the shoulder, neck and upper back. When a diagnosis has been reached, the osteopath will discuss the treatment options with you. Although shoulder pain can be serious, the vast majority of injuries are not serious and can easily be helped.

The Physiotherapist

Kerryn Alcock runs a practice in Linden, Joburg

The shoulder is made up of three bones: the clavicle (collarbone), the scapula (shoulder blade) and the humerus (upper arm bone). Shoulder pain is often related to occupation or sport, overuse or ‘wear and tear’ also results in a painful shoulder and this can come with age. To ensure a good prognosis, early treatment is essential in order to prevent stiffness, over-stretching of ligaments or tendons, weakness and further injury. Simple exercises can be done at home such as pendular exercises done while lying on your stomach with your arm off the bed or while standing, bending over slightly or leaning on a chair. Relax your arm and […]

308, 2014

No Muscle Left Behind – Muscle Imbalance

By |August 3rd, 2014|media|Comments Off on No Muscle Left Behind – Muscle Imbalance

Muscle Left Behind – Muscle Imbalance. To get a strong and sculpt a sleek silhouette, you have to identify which muscles are slacking and whip them into shape.

Nearly every muscle in your body has a corresponding muscle group that carries out the opposite function. Take your biceps and triceps: their even match-up lets you bend and straighten your elbow without any thought. That’s how it should work, at least. Unfortunately, everyday habits (like sitting at a desk), repetitive workouts (say, that marathon you’re training for, or your weekly abs class) and even your wardrobe (yes your skyscraper heels) threaten these partnerships.

The result:one of the muscles becomes stronger and overpowers the other, a common condition known as muscular imbalance, which can worsen poor posture and wreak havoc on your figure, says trainer Melissa Paris. (tight hip flexors, for example, can tilt your hips forward and give you a “boep”.) Correcting them , she adds, helps elongate your silhouette and can actually make you look slimmer.

Chain reaction

Muscles, ligaments, tendons and bones are all connected through an intricate system , known to trainers and doctors as the kinetic chain. When one link in the chain is dodgy, it starts a reaction through the rest of your body. So your back pain could actually stem from a problem with your shoulder, your knee or even your shin. As with any team, when one muscle’s not keeping up, others have to work harder to compensate. “The danger of muscular imbalances is that they alter your natural movement patterns,” cautions personal trainer Karen Joseph. “Over time, they can pull your bones and joints out of alignment, which often leads to pain and injury.” The result, says Cape Town -based osteopath Guy […]

3010, 2013


By |October 30th, 2013|media|Comments Off on Kettlebells

Kettlebells, cast-iron weights that look like cannonballs with handles, have grown in popularity, and many gyms, trainers and coaches have jumped on the kettlebell bandwagon. A popular kettlebell exercise is the single-arm swing. A combination of a squat and an arm swing, it is one of the trickiest kettlebell exercises to do correctly. Common sense suggests that swinging the kettlebell back and whipping it straight overhead in one clean movement is a recipe for injury. Kettlebell instruction methodology suggests that concern for safety may be understood, yet explosive movements with weights, which increase that risk greatly, are still endorsed.

The kettlebell swing shouldn’t be performed until the barbell deadlift is mastered. The barbell deadlift not to be confused with the stiff legged deadlift, is essential for the safety and integrity of the lower back, and indeed your whole spine, when lifting any weight. Ironically, I rarely see this fundamentally important movement performed correctly in the gym.

Explosive/ballistic lifting kettlebell exercises should be treated with extreme caution, and are not suitable for the beginner at exercise, or those returning to exercise after inactivity. Using kettlebells correctly and safely requires a high level of technical skill and proper instruction. Only those who are professional athletes, or who have a few years of weight-training experience with free weights and have trained their muscles to withstand repeated shock of a ballistic nature, should even consider using them.

Always question why you are doing a particular exercise (even if you are with a personal trainer or biokineticist) and determine its risk vs its benefit. Rather be safe than sorry. If you have a pre-existing neck, shoulder, back or postural issue, arthritis or a hernia, kettlebells are NOT for you. It’s also a potential […]

2110, 2013

Knee Pain Helped with Osteopathy

By |October 21st, 2013|common complaints|Comments Off on Knee Pain Helped with Osteopathy

Knee Pain Helped with Osteopathy – Because the knee is a weight bearing joint, knee pain affects almost everything we do that requires mobility, including those things most of us have usually taken for granted. Routine activities of living, work, social and recreational activities are often limited or avoided because of knee pain. A person with a bad knee knows how often it gets in the way of doing the things they want and need to do in daily life.

Knee pain can be caused by direct trauma to the knee from falls, over-use or impact sports injuries, motor vehicle accidents, poor alignment /muscle imbalance, congenital weakness, disease, and age related wear and tear. With both chronic and acute knee conditions, an osteopath can be an invaluable resource in the diagnosis and treatment of your knee condition

The stress and jarring of routine running activities combined with a poor tracking ability of the kneecap (Runner’s knee) wears down and inflames the knee joint cartilage. The result can be pain, swelling, and dysfunction. Left untreated, these inflammatory knee disorders inevitably lead to arthritis.

Whether a knee condition is acute (injury related) or chronic (wear and tear related) the importance of getting a good diagnosis and receiving the proper treatment cannot be understated. Although analgesics can help relieve some pain and swelling, it takes proper corrective measures to address the underlying cause of the problem. A consultation with an osteopath could help you determine just how much you can do to improve the condition of your knees by taking a comprehensive medical history and perform a thorough physical and biomechanical examination in order to make an accurate diagnosis. Treatment would involve hands on osteopathic techniques to relief pain, improve joint function, reduce any swelling and treating areas around the knee that can be contributing to your Knee pain and advice […]

2706, 2013

Osteopathic Support for Smoking Cessation

By |June 27th, 2013|common complaints, media|Comments Off on Osteopathic Support for Smoking Cessation

Osteopathic Support for Smoking Cessation

Although osteopathy and smoking may seem at first glance to be unrelated, there is a common interface which can be of great assistance to anyone giving up smoking.

There is much information in the media today, focusing on educating smokers to actively encourage them to quit. Despite this, the link between smoking and back, muscle and joint disorders is not so well documented. Other than the conventional treatments for smoking cessation available with mainstream health services, there is other help that we can get to support us in becoming healthy non-smokers. Complementary therapies such as osteopathy are increasingly used to support the move to a new lifestyle. Osteopathic clinics can play an important part of our treatment plan, with advice and support during smoking cessation and active treatment for symptoms that are likely to be smoking related.

Smoking Linked to Lower Back Pain and Muscle Disorders

A number of countries have been involved in research looking for links between smoking and lower back pain. It is now widely accepted as a result of these studies that there is a link between smoking and back injuries; with smoking related disorders such as high cholesterol, high blood pressure and coronary artery disease also being connected with both osteoarthritis and lower back pain. The blockage or partial blockage of arteries carrying blood to the lower spine (atherosclerosis) makes the lower back susceptible to both joint and disc damage. An increasing number of osteopaths recognize that function of the diaphragm is negatively impacted by smoking and this can cause both gastro-intestinal and ventilator disorders.

There is growing recognition that complementary medicine has a valuable role in supporting mainstream health services with smoking cessation services to their patients. It is becoming more commonplace for trainee osteopaths to receivespecific instruction in supporting smoking cessation for […]

1804, 2013

Advice for fathers with a new born baby – New Dad Tips – New Father Tips

By |April 18th, 2013|media|Comments Off on Advice for fathers with a new born baby – New Dad Tips – New Father Tips

Advice for fathers with a new born baby
Becoming a father can be an exciting and overwhelming experience..Take care of yourself. Keep an eye on your lifestyle, driving and your risk-taking. Your baby needs you for a long time. Being a healthy and happy dad is one of the greatest gifts you can give to your kids.

Sleep is essential: Newborns challenge their parents’ ability to get a good night’s sleep. Sleep deprivation can quickly take a toll on new moms and dads.

The good news is that by 3 to 6 months lots of babies develop regular sleep patterns and sleep until morning.

The human body has incredible recuperative powers but this can only be ensured when you enough sleep. Reduced sleep equals less ability to deal with physical and mental stress.

Work out a night-time schedule with your partner that allows both of you to rest and care for the baby.

If your baby does not settle into a normal newborn sleep pattern you may want to consider cranial osteopathy. Pressure in the baby’s head and neck not only makes them more uncomfortable and hence unsettled, but may irritate the nervous system, making it difficult for them to wind down. This makes settling and deep, restful sleep, difficult to achieve. Cranial osteopathy is incredibly gentle and helps to release any compression or tightness from the birth. This makes the baby more comfortable and helps them to settle more easily and sleep better.

If you have a medical question about your baby, call your paediatrician or midwife.

Exercise is essential for normal function and improves mood, boosts energy, promotes better sleep. So whenever the opportunity arises try and make a plan once a week to go to the gym or participate in […]

1804, 2013

Back Pain – Neck Pain – High performance South African Sailing

By |April 18th, 2013|common complaints, testimonials|Comments Off on Back Pain – Neck Pain – High performance South African Sailing

High performance South African Sailing

Thirteen years ago at age 33 I was diagnosed with early arthritis by my family doctor and prescribed drugs. I had been suffering from an acute stiff neck for months and thought it was simply from years of abuse as a competitive sailor doing the wrong kind of training without adequate coaching and physical training advice. I took the drugs for a few months but felt like a hypocrite to my anti-drugs philosophy and common sense. So I looked at alternatives and came across an osteopath in Johannesburg, Dr Pleass. After a few treatments and some sage advise, I was soon off the drugs, on some effective homeopathic alternatives for a while and participating in regular yoga classes. My neck pain subsided, my flexibility returned and I soon felt young and virile again.

I have subsequently sailed in two world championships finishing 2nd in both, become a Kundalini yoga teacher and a youth sailing coach. For a time I was the national High Performance Manager for South African Sailing responsible for setting up training programmes for our country’s top sailors to compete in world championships and the 2012 Olympic Games. I tried in vain to convince the authorities and the athletes to consider alternatives for physical fitness and recovery without much success. Two years ago, for personal reasons, I gave up on my yoga practice and in fact stopped exercising completely. It took it’s toll. By the end of 2012, my body felt like that of an old woman, aches and pains all over, especially in my hips, lower back, neck and shoulders. After an attempt to play squash with my teenage son, my neck went back into the age-old spasm of […]

3001, 2013

Rheumatoid Arthritis – Rheumatoid Arthritis Treatment

By |January 30th, 2013|common complaints, testimonials|Comments Off on Rheumatoid Arthritis – Rheumatoid Arthritis Treatment

Rheumatoid Arthritis Treatment

I was diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis at the age of 18 which was 28 years ago. My initial treatment was conventional medicine eg. Voltaren and the rest of the anti-inflammatory drugs. My final visit with a Rheumatologist was walking out with a scrip for Cortisone and Disprin. I tore up the scrip and decided that was the end of drugs for me. It has been a process of elimination from herbalist to naturopath to acupuncture. Currently I am a patient of Dr Barbara Lewis (my homeopath) and Dr Guy Ashburner (my osteopath). I personally feel that I have benefited from “alternative” medicine by not succumbing to drugs and the many related side effects. Both of my chosen therapies have a holistic approach to my Rheumatoid Arthritis and have helped me change my lifestyle to a huge extent.

Homeopathy was always a preferred therapy and I am extremely happy with the treatment I receive from Dr Barbara Lewis. Osteopathy on the other hand was totally unknown to me and had it not been recommended by a colleague, I would probably not have tried it. My initial visit with Dr Guy Ashburner was about 2 years ago to sort out my back. My back problem turned out to be my hip that was taking strain. As a result of aerobics I had messed up my right knee and had a total knee replacement 21 years ago. This caused me to totally abandon going to gym. Thanks to Dr Guy Ashburner I am now back at the gym under his guidance and regaining some of the flexibility I had lost. I cannot explain how this has impacted on my life. Not only have the physical benefits been […]

2606, 2012

Treatment for Arthritis of the Spine

By |June 26th, 2012|testimonials|Comments Off on Treatment for Arthritis of the Spine

Treatment for Arthritis of the Spine

Since the age of sixteen, I have been suffering from pain in the lower back up to the tailbone. Due to very stressful work activities in business such as driving and sitting a lot, this back ache developed into a constant problem (pain).

In 1955, in Johannesburg, an orthopedic specialist prescribed and recommended that I wear a corset but the results were not successful. To avoid further damages to my back, it was suggested by my doctor and physical therapist in a hospital in Berlin in 1957 that I do more swimming and walking. So, I continued with swimming and walking including therapeutic massages.

Severe pain was reduced by pain reliever injections if necessary (once per year). Starting in the 1960s, I received Chiropractic adjustments for my lower back in Germany by a local Back Institute providing non-surgical back pain treatment for about 20 years. During this time, I had a car accident which worsened the symptoms in my lower back.

In 1988, I moved to South Africa and continued my business activities in Cape Town. In the years after my bypass operation in 1989, I had several muscle spasms in the lower back. I have tried chiropractic and physiotherapy but I have had no real relief. The orthopedic department in the MediClinic in Constantia found out through x-rays that nothing could be done to relieve the pain due to the fact that the problems occurred throughout the years by wear and tear and the past accident.

Due to the hands on treatment by my Osteopath Dr. Ashburner, the pain was reduced to a minimum and has provided relief of muscle pain and better blood flow in those areas. I am visiting Dr. Ashburner’s […]

1505, 2012

What is Osteoporosis?

By |May 15th, 2012|media|Comments Off on What is Osteoporosis?

The Silent Disease

With more than four million potential osteoporosis sufferers in South Africa, it’s time we stood up and paid attention.

Osteoporosis is more serious than you think, affecting over 200 million women worldwide; most women don’t know they have the disease until they’ve fractured a bone. And, by the time a fracture occurs, the disease is in its advanced stages and damage is severe. […]