Articles in Practice News

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.


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.

Free Meet the Osteopath Sessions

Over the summer we are going to run some free, weekly sessions to meet one of our friendly experienced team, in the heart of Bedminster, South Bristol.

Bubbahub 2.00 – 3.00 pm 24th July, 14th August, 21st August
The Hungry Caterplilar 9.300 – 10.30 am 31st July, 14th August 28th August

It’s an opportunity to come along and have a chat about what we do and the kinds of symptoms we can help with, for more information on either, check out our website at

As many of you know, we are osteopaths and cranial osteopaths, with a special interest in paediatric osteopathy. Over the years we have seen many women through pregnancy, as well as babies and children. Although we also often help parents and carers with the pains and discomforts they have too.

Looking forward to seeing you there!

We are expanding !

We are excited to announce that The Courtyard Osteopaths are expanding – please spread the word!

We are opening two new satellite clinics in Clifton. In June, we began working at the Berkeley Centre (off Park Street) and will be starting in the Alma Vale Centre (just off Whiteladies Road) at the beginning of July.