Tips for pain free camping

With the warm weather, the camping season has arrived and it’s timely offer some tips to avoid aggravating your back

  • If you’re driving, make sure
    • Your car seat is adjusted to support your spine and is as upright as possible
    • Take regular breaks, at least every 1.5 hours and do some stretching and walk about for 5 – 10 mins to help release tension and improve blood flow to your back muscles
  • If your going by train
    • Same thing, get up and move about every hour ,doing some stretches if there’s room
  • Take care packing, lifting and carrying
    • Two bags are better than one as they are lighter to lift, pack and when carrying help distribute the load better for your body reducing strain to your back
    • When you lift and carry, avoid reaching, lifting and twisting as this a very common way of hurting your back. Take care to brace and protect your back, tuck in you abdominal muscles and pull up your pelvic floor muscles. If you have to twist turn your whole body from your feet up rather than just your back.
    • If your taking a back pack watch some YouTube videos on how to pack it. Keep it as light as possible and place heavy items at the bottom of the pack and adjusting the straps for a comfortable fit and to keep the weight on your hips
  • Plan for activities
    • If you’ve been less active over the winter, plan to start improving your fitness levels a few weeks before you go
    • A couple of weeks before you go, check you have the right equipment, it fits and is in good order
  • Take an icepack in your cool bag! 
    • When you arrive, lie on the floor with your knees up and the ice pack under your low back for 10 minutes. This helps to realign your spine and reduces the pressure on the discs and joints that sitting in the car has created.
  • Pitching your tent
    • Take a short break when you arrive, stretch out and try and get your equipment as close to your pitch as possible to avoid unnecessary carrying
    • Find a flat surface and remove any large rocks or sticks. Be aware of any excessive bending when putting up your tent and knocking pegs into the ground, getting down on all fours to takes the pressure off your back and use your legs where possible
    • Ensure your back is protected against a hard and potentially damp surface by sleeping on a blow up mattress or thick camping mattress. Blow up mattress can be cold so sleep with a blanket or better still a duvet on top of the mattress
    • Although practical, sleeping bags are harder to turn over in, so if you have a bad back consider unzipping your sleeping bag or taking your duvet instead
    • Take your pillow from home, sleeping without enough neck support and in a draft are common causes of stiff necks in the morning

If your do injure your back and it doesn’t resolve after a few days, why not give us a call to see if osteopathic treatment might help

Jeni and Sally will be joining Cherubs breastfeeding support group at The Milk Shed on North Street this Monday 11th December between 2-3 pm. Do come down and we will be able to help with any questions you might have about how osteopathy could help you or your baby

Summertime Special Offer

We are extending our latest offer for three months starting on the 21st of June 2017, Sally Hunter and Sam Dobbie will continue to be offering free “baby checks” to all babies under 6 weeks*.

The check will involve a full case history and osteopathic examination. Based on the findings and depending on what your baby needs, Sam may recommend a course of treatment, give advice on positioning, exercises, diet etc., or refer you to other specialists and groups in the area.

Please call us on 0117 923 1138 to book an appointment – be sure to mention the “baby check” over the phone.

(*Offer available to babies less than 6 weeks old at time of appointment)



Tips for insomnia and improving your sleep

I’ve had a few patients recently with sleeping difficulties so thought I’d run a few posts with helpful tips:

Tip 1. Restrict artificial light at night

The light emitted from artificial light can disrupt the production of melatonin, which is the main hormone involved in sleep regulation. At home, this light primarily comes from screens – TV’s, computers, smart phones but also fluorescent bulbs and LED lights, so reducing exposure to artificial light in the evening can help.

One easy way to help with this is installing f.lux, a free app, on your computer. It automatically adjusts the colour of your screen at night, making it slightly orange, which reduces the amount of blue light coming into your eyes.


Developing a growth rather than fixed mindset

You know how we all like to give praise to encourage children, turns out we need to be more specific what apects we praise. And, a really simple idea can really help develop confidence and ability.
How Mindset Affects Success – Every so often a truly groundbreaking idea comes along and this is one.
Mindset explains:
1. Why brains and talent don’t bring success
2. How they can stand in the way of it
3. Why praising brains and talent doesn’t foster self-esteem and accomplishment, but jeopardizes them
4. How teaching a simple idea about the brain raises grades and productivity
5. What all great CEOs, parents, teachers, athletes know
Mindset is a simple idea discovered by world-renowned Stanford University psychologist Carol Dweck in decades of research on achievement and success—a simple idea that makes all the difference.
In a fixed mindset, people believe their basic qualities, like their intelligence or talent, are simply fixed traits. They spend their time documenting their intelligence or talent instead of developing them. They also believe that talent alone creates success—without effort. They’re wrong.
In a growth mindset, people believe that their most basic abilities can be developed through dedication and hard work—brains and talent are just the starting point. This view creates a love of learning and a resilience that is essential for great accomplishment. Virtually all great people have had these qualities.
Teaching a growth mindset creates motivation and productivity in the worlds of business, education, and sports. It enhances relationships.
Check out this Ted Lecture…/carol_dweck_the_power_of_believing_tha…

Or, her website

Low back pain when turning in and getting out of bed

This is often due to irritation of some of the tissues in the low back.

Whilst it is a good idea to find out the route-cause of the pain and seek appropriate treatment for it, in the meantime, there are some simple things you can do that may help to ease your discomfort.

If you are on your back already, try lying with your knees bent and your feet rested on the surface you are lying on. This may help to relax your low back. Try gently rocking your knees side to side whilst in this position. You can also try pulling the knees towards your chest and giving them a little hug. You may also like to gently rock side to side whilst in this position.

Before turning  over, try contracting your ‘core stability’ muscles. These are muscles that help to protect and stabilise your low back. Lying on your back, pull your belly button in towards your spine without pushing your low back in to the bed and continue to breathe normally. Then try turning on to your side whilst maintaining this and using your abdominal muscles to help you turn over.

If you have low back pain getting out of bed, it is best to roll on to your side first and then drop the legs off the mattress whilst using your arms to push yourself up to a sitting position. Try contracting your core muscles again whilst doing this and before you stand up. Try sitting for a few seconds on the bed before standing.

If you experience pain or discomfort performing any of the above techniques or are not sure how to do them, please do not continue to attempt them and seek assistance from your doctor or appropriate manual therapist, such as ourselves. If you do not know where your core muscles are or how to contract them, this may be linked to your low back pain. Again, seeking the help and advice of your doctor, osteopath, or sports person may help.

Aging and your body: stiffness

Stiffness is a common complaint in some of the older patients we see at the clinic.

It is a symptom felt due to a natural aging process that brings about changes predominately affecting the joints and muscles.

The fluid that keeps our joints well lubricated may decrease, the cartilage in these joints therefore is closer together and may rub and start to erode (osteoarthritis) and minerals (like calcium) may deposit in and around some joints (calcification).

In muscles, lipofuscin (a ‘wear and tear’ pigment) and fat is deposited, muscles start to shrink and their fibres are replaced more slowly or are replaced by more fibrous tissue.

Rest assured this is a completely normal process of aging but there are many things you can do to help yourself feel less stiff as you age. Make sure you maintain a good level of appropriate exercise (aimed at strength, balance and flexibility), look after your posture, don’t spend too long in static positions, stretch, stay well hydrated and eat a balanced diet. Some people consider taking supplements.

Physical therapy, such as osteopathy, can be very useful in helping to maintain good range of motion in joints, stretch out tight muscles and break down fibrous tissue deposits. Many patients report feeling more mobile and able after a course of treatments.


How To Get The Most from Your Sports and Exercise

How do you get the most out of your gym routine and how much exercise should you do to stay healthy?

There is no denying that exercise is good for you. We know that those who perform a moderate amount of exercise on a regular basis are considerably less likely to suffer from diseases such as diabetes, stroke and heart attack or experience insomnia. Exercise helps older people maintain their independence and is one of the most effective methods of weight management. It is also very important for our psychological health, as it stimulates the release of endorphins, natural pain killing chemicals that can also improve our mood.

However, some people become a little disenchanted when the exercise they do doesn’t have the desired effect. Most of the time, it’s because people are not clear on the type of exercises that are most likely to achieve their goals. Different types of exercise will be more appropriate, depending on what you’re hoping to accomplish.

As a general rule, if you are trying to build larger muscles, the most effective method is to use a weight, which you can manage to lift 8-10 times before the muscles fatigue, in order to get the desired effect. If you are looking for stronger, leaner muscles, a weight programme based upon 20 repetitions would be more appropriate.

If you are trying to lose weight, cardiovascular exercise (anything that gets your heart rate up such as running, swimming, dancing or football) is the way to go. In order to be most effective, this should be performed at 60 – 80% of your maximum heart rate, which is a lot less strenuous than you might think (Subtracting your age from 220 will give you your advised maximum heart rate. You can buy a heart rate monitors from most good sports shops or online to monitor this).

It’s also important not to train every day. The body needs time to respond to the strain of the training, and it’s during the recovery period that the gain takes place. So going to the gym for two weeks before you go on your summer holidays to shed a few pounds is likely to end in frustration. It takes 4-6 weeks to start noticing the health benefits of exercise. Doing something you enjoy makes it more likely that you will persist, which is important if you don’t want all that hard work to go to waste.

But how much exercise do you need to do to be healthy? If you are aged between 19 and 64, research suggests that you perform at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity, or 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity cardiovascular exercise each week plus muscle strengthening exercises on at least two separate days of that week. The good news is that this exercises does not need to be all in one go, and activities such as walking briskly to work (if your journey is more than 10 minutes) counts as part of the total.

If you want to know more about what would class as moderate or vigorous exercises, or if you are outside of this age group, visit the NHS choices website at:

If you suffer from aches and pains that limit your sporting activities, why not give our friendly professional team a call to see if osteopathy might be the answer.


2 Talks Coming Up! Posture and Handling Advice for Parents

Having spoken to the new parents we see in our clinic, one thing they all say they wish they’d had more help on is how to safely handle their newborns and advice on different positions – both to protect their own bodies and to help their baby to be more comfortable.

Jeni and Sam will be giving two talks at the Alma Vale Centre, in Clifton.

The first one is on Monday the 15th of Sept.

Practical Advice For Pregnant Women and Handling of Newborns

This will be about optimal posture before and after the birth, what to consider posturally when choosing baby equipment (slings, buggies etc.) and best positions for feeding and changing.

The second talk will be held on Monday the 13th of Oct.

How to enjoy looking after your baby without breaking your back

This will focus on body awareness, stretches and exercises to protect your back as your baby gets bigger, plus how to pick up, hold and position your baby to make sure their postural muscles develop properly.

The talks run from 7:00-8:30pm and cost £10 each.

Space is limited, so call 0117 377 1186 to book your place now.

Support for Babies Uncomfortable on their Backs

Last week I had a Mum in with her baby who told me about a sleep positioner she had used to help her baby sleep safely on her side, as she was so uncomfortable on her back.

We get lots of babies in the practice with this problem and occasionally recommend sleeping a baby on it’s side, during the day, when they have difficulty or discomfort sleeping on their back. This is usually apparent by a baby fully rotating their head to one side whilst sleeping on their back.

Another issue can be if an infant has tension on one side of their neck and/or flattening on one side of the cranium. This will cause them to continue to sleep on that side, as that is where gravity will pull them. Sleeping them safely supported on their side may help reduce the severity of a positional flat spot. Side sleeping may also be useful in preventing Flat Head Syndrome (Positional Plagiochephaly).

There is much that we as physical therapists can do to help release this tension, including stretches that can be taught for parents to do at home.

If this is something that concerns you about your baby, why not give us a call for a free informal chat, or to book an appointment, we may be able to help.