Lower back pain

2705, 2015

Curtsy Lunges

By |May 27th, 2015|media|Comments Off on Curtsy Lunges

Curtsy Lunges

‘Keeping your knees healthy and symptom free begins with developing a functional understanding of how this unique joint is constructed (anatomy) and how it does and doesn’t function (biomechanics)’

Lunges are excellent dynamic strength exercises for the lower body but can cause pain if not performed properly.

The curtsy lunge is like the standard lunge, but your rear foot moves backward, crossing it behind the front  leg, planting the ball of your rear foot about half a metre across the midline as though you were about to curtsy. In this movement the knee travels across the body vs. the traditional forward and backward motion. The weight used in the exercise has to be lowered drastically. Not just because your muscle can’t handle it, but because there is no chance for your muscles and body’s passive structures to exert enough force in such an extreme, anatomically disadvantageous position.

The curtsy lunge exercise negates one foundational rule of biomechanics. To encourage proper movement pattern, function, and strength, the knee joint, hip joint, and shoulder joint should be kept in alignment with one another the entire time while bearing load. For the grand majority, this will produce unwanted stress since the hip socket doesn’t align with this movement angle or pattern. Consequently, the IT band and TFL will take a loaded stretch.

Increased rotation of the knee causes excessive overstretching or twisting of the ligaments or tendons or increased shearing forces on the bursa surrounding the knee, then ligament strain, tendinitis, meniscus tears, bursitis, iliotibial band and patella femoral syndrome can occur.

The knee is a hinge-type joint, roughly equivalent to a door hinge, but with a slight rotation to lock it into full extension. The meniscus is located between the femur […]

1905, 2015

High Heels and Chronic Pain

By |May 19th, 2015|media|Comments Off on High Heels and Chronic Pain

High Heels and Chronic Pain

“When your feet hurt, you hurt all over.” Socrates

Women complain of the pain from high heels regularly. However in many situations, high heels are considered a must-wear item. Wearing high heels is your choice, but you or your work (Some workplaces require women to wear high heels) should at least be aware of the problems related to high heels. If you frequently wear high heels, you are setting yourself up for long-term issues.

High heels alter alignment of the feet, legs, and back, and can have long-term effects on posture and health which may influence unnatural posture, changed position of the spine can put pressure on the nerves and cause back/ neck pain and sciatica, balance impairment, headaches, early fatigue and a feeling of heaviness in the legs, muscle overuse and repetitive strain injuries, osteoarthritis of knees and ankles, reduce calf pump efficiency and may influence deep vein thrombosis, shortening of the Achilles tendon and calf, Achilles tendonitis and calf strains, ankle sprains, plantar fasciitis, foot deformities, hammertoes, bunions,  Morton’s neuroma (thickened nerve) and corns.

The mid-foot, heel, ankle, knee, hip, mid-back, upper back can all become painful as a result of wearing high heels and even headaches can arise. If the mobility of the feet and ankles are compromised then the joints of the lower limb, pelvis and spine will also be compromised.

If the joints of your feet don’t work properly because of the strain of wearing high heels, the connecting tissues are forced to compensate. This gives rise to increased muscle tension and muscle imbalance resulting in pain due to these compensatory changes.

The unnatural position of the foot in high heels means it’s less able to act as a shock absorber […]

2411, 2014

The Effects of Backpacks on School-Aged Children

By |November 24th, 2014|media|Comments Off on The Effects of Backpacks on School-Aged Children

The Effects of Backpacks on School-Aged Children

“As the twig is bent, so grows the tree”

William Garner Sutherland (1873 – 1954) Founder of Cranial Osteopathy

Most children are required to carry heavy school bags to and from school each day, and the load increases as they reach higher grades. Sports clothing and equipment often adds another bag to their load. Your child’s spine could be in for a tough time coping with all the increased stress, and when you add poor posture, lack of exercise and hours of computer time each day into the mix. According to a study published in the journal ‘Spine’, daily backpack carrying is a frequent cause of discomfort for school children. School backpacks were felt to be heavy by 79.1% of children, to cause fatigue by 65.7%, and to cause back pain by 46.1. Studies show children should not carry any more than 10 per cent of their body weight and that anything over 15 per cent can be damaging.

If the child has to lean forward when walking with a loaded pack, it is too heavy. A heavy backpack has a number of undesirable effects to your child’s spine. It distorts the natural curves in the middle and lower back, causing muscle strain, headaches, irritation to the spine joints and the rib cage, reduced breathing capacity and may hamper his/her overall growth. Spinal dysfunction that results from these poor habits, may affect your child’s ability to study or participate in sport; setting a poor foundation for spinal health that may carry through into adulthood.

The posture that a child habitually assumes will affect the shape of the bones and the way in which the end plates harden and form. This is particularly evident […]

1408, 2014

Posture and your child

By |August 14th, 2014|Uncategorised|0 Comments

Posture and your child.

 “As the twig is bent, so grows the tree”  William Garner Sutherland (1873 – 1954) Founder of Cranial Osteopathy

A growing body of evidence shows that poor posture in childhood can lead to a lifetime of chronic pain, fatigue, and low self­ esteem. Children naturally imitate the behaviour of adults around them. If you care about your posture, so will your children. But that isn’t the only reason to take care of your own posture, you will be a more energetic and pain­-free parent as a result.

“School age children spend a growing amount of their free time watching TV or playing with hand­held devices. Many people have unsupportive furniture in their living rooms, leaving children mould their spines to the shape of the sofa and reinforcing their bad habits. In most cases, kids often hunch over when they are executing a task, walking, or even seated. This is compounded by sitting all day and carrying weighty backpacks at school. With time, the adverse effects add up to severe problems later in life.

Good posture is when your child’s back has the least amount of strain placed on it through keeping bones and joints aligned properly, allowing muscles to be used properly as well. Good posture naturally happens when the upper body’s muscles are balanced in strength and used uniformly. Bad posture can result in stress on the spine at certain levels. For instance the slouched position can put a lot of unnecessary loading on the middle back spinal region, which can lead to jutting forward of the head and jaw. This then leads to headaches and the inability to concentrate. This slumped posture can also effect the efficiency of breathing and gut motility. Poor posture also can […]

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

Stretching Exercises

By |October 30th, 2013|media|Comments Off on Stretching Exercises

Many office workers visit osteopaths or other physical therapists to relieve neck and back problems. Sitting with poor posture for prolonged periods of time often results in headaches, neck and back pain, postural fatigue of the shoulders, and a multitude of other unpleasant aches and pains.

Fascia is the fibrous connective tissue that surrounds muscles, groups of muscles, blood vessels and nerves, binding those structures together. Visualise how plastic wrap is used to hold the contents of sandwiches together, and you’ll get the general idea: When we adopt prolonged poor postures, our fascia becomes stuck in a certain position.

Try this exercise to see what I mean. Adopt a slumped-over posture. You’ll see that the shirt or top you are wearing crumples up over your abdomen. Imagine that material is fascia, and if you remained still long enough it would stay in that position, now hold the material where it is and try to sit up. You won’t be able to, because the material is holding you fast. If you sit badly for long enough you will stay sitting badly, because your fascia will shorten, closely followed by your muscles. Did your mother ever tell you that if you keep a funny face or a cross expression for long enough, it will stick like that? Well, theoretically it is true!

If you are desk bound, you probably regularly find yourself sinking into a bad postural position, with your chest collapsed and your shoulders slumped. Eventually many people find that this becomes their normal posture. This drooping position lengthens the fascia on the back of the body and shortens it on the front. Chronic shoulder, neck and back pain are the result.

Stretching should be done in a […]

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 […]

3010, 2013

Keep the curve

By |October 30th, 2013|media|Comments Off on Keep the curve

Keep the curve – The worst thing for your back, which most of us do, is to sit all day long. Not only is this bad for your health generally, it’s also terrible for your back. Human beings are not designed to sit on chairs all day, and most people sit incorrectly, even on ergonomically designed chairs. The result is weakened, fatigued tissues in the lower back and buttocks, and a stiff back, which will most likely lead to injury down the line.

The correct way to sit is to alway make sure that there is a slight concave curve in your lower back,around the lumbar area. To encourage this curve, shift your butt all the way to the back of the seat as far as it will go, so your behind is actually providing support to your back. Conversely when your tailbone is tucked under, it robs your back of support.

I encourage clients to keep a Post-It stuck to their computer screen advising them to ‘Keep the curve’, so they are reminded to sit correctly. It’s also important to maintain this lower-back curve whenever you’re exercising or picking something up off the ground — in which ease you should always squat, with your back at a 45-degree angle (a bit like a godila!). Never, ever bend over.

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 […]