Tag: physio

Understanding our pain

How well do you understand the pain you experience?

Pain is defined as “an unpleasant sensory and emotional experience associated with actual or potential tissue damage, or described in terms of such damage”, which is an interesting concept in itself as the definition clearly states that pain can be tangible, or simply mean that the potential for damage is there.

The amount of pain you experience does not relate to the severity of the injury you have sustained- think how painful a paper cut can be even though it is a relatively minor injury!  Similarly, we can continue to experience pain long after the original cause has resolved, simply because the body perceives that we are still in danger; this is due to changes in the local tissues.

One common misconception is that pain is produced by injured structures- but we now know that pain, no matter where or how it is felt, is produced by the brain. Before our brain will tell us something hurts, it will first process a vast amount of information before deciding if we need to experience pain.  Have you ever cut yourself and not realised until you looked down and saw blood?  This is because your brain processed the injury and did not perceive it as a threat to warrant pain signals.  Pain relies heavily on context and the brain’s perception of further threat- if you bump into a lamppost, it will hurt, but will it still be painful if you’re about to be run over by a train? Unlikely, because your brain will realise the incoming train is life threatening !

Pain can be both a help, and a hindrance- for example, if we put our hand on a hot stove, the acute pain we experience tells us that we are burning ourselves.  However, persistent pain can be very unhelpful as often it does not indicate ongoing damage.  This persistent pain is like leaving the volume knob on our radios turned up to maximum- it can block out other senses and become very disruptive in our lives.

When we are left with persistent or chronic pain, it can be hard to believe that there is no ongoing damage, it is because this persistent pain is more to do with our nervous system’s interpretation of the information it is receiving.  If you were asked to do the same task all day every day, it wouldn’t take long for you to become very good at it, performing the task quicker and more efficiently each time- the body can do exactly the same.  It can become very good at sending pain signals, and can actually adapt so that it sends these signals more frequently.  The body can then become so sensitive that it misinterprets normal messages (such as light touch) and responds to them as if they were dangerous.  We call this process “sensitization”.

What happens when our nervous system becomes sensitized?

When we perform recurrence activities they become familiar to us, and we become very good at doing them efficiently.  Now try to imagine if these activities were painful to perform.  If we perform these painful movements for long enough, the brain will associate the connection between those movements and pain, to the point that even preparing, or thinking about a movement can cause pain.  This can be very confusing and worrying if we do not understand why this is happening.

Deep, unexplained pain can often cause more worry and anxiety simply because we cannot see what is happening, nor can we sometimes understand why it is happening.  As the definition of pain says, it is both a physical AND an emotional experience- the two go hand in hand.

Have you ever noticed your back pain gets worse when you are stressed at work, or not sleeping well?  Have you ever noticed your back pain gets better when you’re on holiday, relaxing in the sunshine?  There is a vicious cycle that exists between pain and anxiety, which can be hard to break.

What we focus on as practitioners is addressing the factors that have led to us feeling pain. These factors can be our overall physical wellbeing, social environment, health beliefs, mental health, and social environment.  We aim to progressively increase your activity and work to restore your confidence in movement as these will all help to reduce your pain levels, and help break that vicious pain cycle and turn it into a positive experience whereby more movement and confidence means less pain.

So how do I help myself?

If we learn to view pain as a motivator to encouraging us to help our bodies, we can start to work with it to get ourselves better.

  • Exercise. Implementing strategies to encourage more physical activity will help your body release  feel-good chemicals (endorphins) which will make us feel better, blood flow to the brain increases and so our ability to function and concentrate improves, muscle strength and endurance will improve.  Remember, as you start to become more physically active, you are likely to continue to experience some pain- however, hurt does not equal harm.  With practice, and focus, normal movement will return and your pain levels will decrease.
  • Set yourself realistic goals.  As humans we often set ourselves up for failure by setting unattainable targets (New Year’s Resolutions being a prime example), and so when we do fail, we lose the motivation to try again.  Set yourself an attainable target, such as being able to walk the children to school and back within three months, or being able to hoover the lounge without sitting down. Competing in your very first triathlon in a months’ time is NOT an achievable target for everyone.
  • Take charge of your pain. Learn more about it, read around the subject, understand your condition.  By increasing your understanding and addressing your thoughts and feelings about pain, you can actually affect your own pain levels by giving yourself more control over your pain.  No health professional can take your pain away from you, you must take control.  There are a number of resources available to help you learn more:
    –  www.paintoolkit.org
    www.knowpain.co.uk
  • What is your coping strategy?  You might think that the sympathy offered to you by friends and family is helpful, but we actually know that those with a more attentive, concerned spouse/partner will report higher levels of pain.
  • If you have been prescribed help, this must make sense to you and increase your understanding of your problem.  If something does not make sense to you, ask, we are here to help.  A good clinician will help you master your situation but you must feed back to them if you do not understand what they say.
  • Research shows that if you have a good understanding of chronic pain, you can feel more in control, make better decisions in your self-management of pain, and experience less pain as a result.  Taking simple steps to increase your understanding of pain, such as reading and understanding this blog post, means you are already making a positive step to addressing and taking charge of your pain.

Download our “Understanding Pain” resource here.

KnowNovember

💭KNOWvember  💭
Did you know that oral health and general health are closely linked?�
Gum disease may increase your risk of all kinds of other health complications, including diabetes, stroke, and heart disease. It has even been linked with problems in pregnancy and dementia.

All the more reason to take good care of those pearly whites!

💭KNOWvember💭

What to give the person who has everything? How about a voucher for a Thai or Remedial Massage?

£50 for a one hour massage, or £30 for 30 minutes, it’s the perfect pre-Christmas treat.

Pop in to clinic to purchase your voucher.

💭KNOWvember 💭 

The health watchdog NICE (National Institute for Health and Care Excellence) is to recommend that vaginal mesh operations should be banned from treating organ prolapse in England.

The documents are currently undergoing consultation prior to publication, and in them NICE said there were “serious but well-recognised safety concerns” and that “evidence of long-term efficacy [for implants treating organ prolapse] is inadequate in quality and quantity”.

Hypopressives is a specific form of training which targets the core and pelvic floor, providing a non-invasive method of treating pelvic organ prolapse. Hypopressives training can negate the need for invasive surgery such as vaginal mesh operations, which are increasingly shown to be unnecessary and ineffective.

For more information on hypopressives training, please click here.

💭KNOWvember💭 

Back pain during pregnancy- it might be common, but it isn’t normal!

With top tips on how to avoid back pain during pregnancy, along with information and advice on the causes of lower back pain and how chiropractic can help, this resource is a must-read for all expectant mums!

In this resource, we also discuss the other considerations for expectant mums, including nutritional advice, exercises, and other factors that could affect your pregnancy. Download it here. 

💭KNOWvember💭 

Did you know… A growing body of research shows that drugs such as paracetamol, ibuprofen, gabapentin and diclofenac are largely ineffective for back pain.

Opioids (such as oral hydromorphone, oxymorphone, morphine, tramadol, tramdaol with paracetamol, tapentadol, oxycodone, fentanyl and hydrocodone) have also been found to be largely ineffective with high risk of side effects including dependence.

Research recommends manual therapy, exercise, and cognitive behavioural interventions… all of which can be provided by a chiropractor!

💭KNOWvember💭 

What sort of training do Doctors of Chiropractic have?

A chiropractic degree is a four year full-time course, the first two years of which covers topics that are almost identical to those covered in a medical degree, and range from basic sciences such as embryology, physiology and biochemistry, to clinical sciences such as pharmacology and radiology. The key difference between chiropractic and medicine degree programmes is the weighting of the subjects. For example, chiropractic students spend a far greater amount of time on anatomy than medical students, but do not study pharmacology in as much detail as chiropractors opted not to have prescription rights.

A huge focus of training is on practical and clinical work, covering orthopaedic and neurological examination, general diagnosis, clinical nutrition, anatomy and physiology, behavioural sciences, psychology and mental health, clinical imaging, joint biomechanics, functional management, paediatrics, obstetrics, geriatrics and pathology.

As part of their training, chiropractors also engage in prosection and study of cadavers to truly appreciate the structure of human tissues and the anatomy of the body. In addition, our training focuses heavily on perfecting the manual techniques used in practice. Practical classes begin with learning to assess joints, muscles and nerves, introducing methods of treatment alongside. These classes build from a very basic level to the most advanced manual techniques in current medicine.

Finally, after years of academic and practical development, chiropractic students enter into a clinical year. This year is based in a specially designed teaching clinic. Students are supervised throughout this process, and by the end of the year have delivered over three hundred treatments and consultations each.

But it’s not over yet…. After completing their clinical year and graduating, chiropractors then must complete a year of supervised practice before becoming fully-fledged Doctors of Chiropractic!!

💭KNOWvember💭 

Did you know… why Brad Pitt has such a defined jaw? It’s probably due to overdevelopment or hypertrophy of the masseter muscle.

The masseter is located in your jaw, and based on its size, it’s actually the strongest muscle in the human body. With all muscles of the jaw working together it can close the teeth with a force as great as 55 pounds (25 kilograms) on the incisors or 200 pounds (90.7 kilograms) on the molars.

Think of that as you’re tucking in to your Sunday lunch!

 

💭KNOWvember💭 
Mac’s Story

Mac came to see us in September because he’d had hip pain for over 7 months. As a keen footballer, it had stopped him from playing and was understandably getting him down. He had a severe limp and was struggling to walk and sleep

After a thorough assessment, we diagnosed him with sacroiliac joint dysfunction, a complex issue which is common in footballers, complicated further by an old quadricep muscle tear in his right thigh causing some issues!

We’ve treated him five times with a combination of joint adjustments, soft tissue work, kinesiology taping and rehab exercises. Here he is with Philippa today having popped in for his final appointment- We’re delighted he’s pain free and back on the pitch playing for Widbrook FC.

Chiropractic- it’s not just for back pain!

 

💭KNOWvember💭 

Your brain cannot feel pain.

When you stub you

r toe or touch a hot stove, your body releases chemicals that trigger signals to go up to the brain, telling the brain about the pressure from the stubbed toe, or the heat from the hot stove. Your brain then interprets that information and decides what to do with it- generally, it’ll tell you it’s painful so you stop touching the stove or rub your toe better!

Although the brain interprets these pain signals, the brain itself does not feel pain, only the structures around it can do that!

As a matter of fact, once inside the brain, surgeons can operate on the brain without anaesthesia. In one technique known as brain mapping, surgeons probe brain tissue while monitoring reactions like muscle movement and speech — all while the patient is awake!

💭KNOWvember💭 

You might have seen this poster on Philippa‘s treatment room wall. This chap wasn’t caught up in an explosion in a paint factory, this image shows a “dermatomal map” of the human body. (The colours are actually just for fun!🌈)

A dermatome is an area of skin supplied by a single spinal nerve. By testing the dermatomes in conjunction with a range of other neurological and orthopaedic tests, your chiropractor can identify not only where a problem might be in your spinal cord, but also what type of problem it is!

 

 

💭KNOWvember💭 

This rather fetching looking chap is called a “homunculus” and he’s a little man who lives in your brain. (Sort of!)

The homunculus is a model that shows how your brain sees your body. The cortical homunculus represents the importance of various parts of your body as seen by your brain. Most of us have very sensitive hands and lips, hence why these areas appear larger on the homunculus.

Did you know these “mental maps” can change with experience. People who read Braille (which is done with an index finger) develop large areas that respond to stimulation from the index finger. A homunculus mapped on the motor cortex of a Braille reader would have an absolutely enormous index finger!

 

 

💭KNOWvember💭 

The word “muscle” comes from the Latin for “little mouse”, musculus (the diminuitive of mus).

There are two theories behind a mouse becoming a muscle- firstly, that the Romans thought the movement of a contracting muscle resembled a mouse moving under a rug. Or secondly, that in a rather abstract way, a muscle looks a little like a mouse- with a round body (muscle belly) ending in a long thin tail (the tendon).

What do you think, can you see a resemblance? 🐁

 

💭KNOWvember💭 

Did you know… Kinesiology tape is just one of the many adjuncts that might be used during your chiropractic treatment. You can purchase Sporttape from us in clinic- find out how it works and why we use kinesiology tape for pain and problems. Read more here. 

 

💭KNOWvember💭 

Did you know… Our acupuncturist Gillian is a former midwife and has specialist knowledge in helping couples undergoing fertility treatment.

Acupuncture may help boost fertility by:
– Regulating hormone function
– Increasing blood flow to the ovaries and uterus and helping to relax your muscles which can improve the chance of an embryo implanting.
-Tackling the causes of polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) – a common cause of infertility
– Generally helping to relieve stress and make you feel more relaxed

 

💭KNOWvember💭 

Did you know…. Chiropractic is the third largest primary healthcare profession in the world after medicine and dentistry!

💭KNOWvember 💭

Did you know….
Although chiropractors are known as spinal health care experts, chiropractic care is also effective for:

– Ankle sprain
– Cramp and muscle spasms
– Elbow pain and tennis elbow that has arisen due to an ssociated musculoskeletal condition of the back or neck
– Headache arising from the neck (cervicogenic)
– Inability to relax
– Joint pains including hip and knee pain from osteoarthritis
– General, acute & chronic backache and back pain
– Sciatica
– Generalised aches and pains
– Lumbago
– Mechanical neck pain
– Migraine prevention
– Minor sports injuries and tensions
– Plantar fasciitis
– Rotator cuff injuries, disease or disorders
– Shoulder complaints (dysfunction, disorders and pain)
– Soft tissue disorders of the shoulder

💭KNOWvember💭 

Did you know… Your spinal cord has an incredible memory for pain. When you experience an instance of intense pain, such as an acute back pain episode, the neurons in your spinal cord will carry signals more easily to the nerves in your back for several days, making your back feel more sensitive during this time. This is the result of a molecule thought to be the precursor to memory, known as PKMzeta. Your spinal cord is especially sensitive to this molecule and “records” instances of pain as a result.

This can make us more susceptible to future episodes of pain when we repeat actions that previously lead to injury, as the spine “remembers” those signals and (much like anything that is practiced over time) gets very good at sending them.

Learn more about how pain works, and why chronic pain can be such an issue. Download our “understanding pain” resource here: http://acornhealth.org.uk/product/understanding-pain/

 

💭KNOWvember 💭

As a gentle, safe, non-invasive way of dealing with back pain, look no further than chiropractic care.

 

💭KNOWvember 💭

Did you know… We’re often asked where the name “Acorn Health” comes from. It’s from the old English proverb “Mighty oaks from little acorns grow” meaning great things can come from small beginnings!

Our clinic started in 2014 with just Philippa practicing from a single room in Emsworth, and our ‘little acorn’ has grown and flourished into its own premises in the heart of Emsworth with a wonderful multidisciplinary team. This is all thanks to some hard work and the incredible support of our colleagues, friends, family, patients and the local community.

The proverb also conveys to us a sense of growth, health and vitality- and our belief that no matter what, everyone can achieve optimal health… Something we are privileged to see our patients achieve under our care.

💭KNOWvember 💭
The quicker you’re seen by your chiropractor, the faster you’ll get better.

Too often, people suffer in pain for months before seeing a chiropractor as their “last resort”.

Research consistently shows that early intervention and care has a profound effect on both how well and how quickly you’ll recover.

💭KNOWvember💭 

Our ethos is delivering effective, evidence-based healthcare that is uniquely tailored to you.

You deserve the very best healthcare available, and we’re continually reinvesting in ourselves, our knowledge base and our clinic to ensure we provide you with an exceptionally high standard of healthcare.

At our clinic you’ll be treated as an individual, listened to and respected every step of the way.

💭KNOW-vember💭

Did you know… Chiropractors are trained to treat all areas of the body, but specialise in assessing, diagnosing and managing conditions of the spine.

Before starting treatment, your chiropractor will do a full assessment, which will involve taking details about your condition, current health and medical history, and perform a full physical examination (to assess the function of your joints, nerves and muscles) to help make a diagnosis.

💭“KNOW”-vember! 💭

If you’ve seen a chiropractor before but it’s your first time seeing Philippa, you might be surprised at just how different her treatment and treatment programmes can be. Philippa often refers to her metaphorical “treatment toolbox”- the skills and treatment modalities she has to choose from which she tailors to your needs based on what’s wrong and what type of treatment you would prefer. This means each and every patient receives an entirely new and individual treatment programme, based on your requirements.

 

Fitness February

Throughout February we have been posting our top tips to get fit and healthy the best way possible in February. Here’s to committing to your workouts after the initial ‘New Year’ rush! Are you ready for our top tips to conquer ‘Fitness February’!? (More to be added soon!)

Protect Your Neck – Tuck your chin in and put your tongue on the roof of your mouth when you do crunches. It will help align your head properly, which helps reduce neck strain.

Don’t exercise when you’re sick – You’re better taking a day off so your body will use its resources to heal itself, not build muscle and endurance.

If you want to exercise before work but aren’t a morning person, try this trick: For a set period, let’s say 4 weeks, force yourself to get up 15 minutes earlier than normal and go outside for a quick walk. Make it so easy that you don’t even have to change into your workout clothes. As you near the end of the 4 weeks, you’ll have a new habit and will then be able to progress to either longer walks or a run in the morning!

Improve your balance – Stand one-legged on a sofa cushion and move a medicine ball (or heavy phone book) from hand to hand, side to side, and behind your head. Once you’ve mastered the move, try it with your eyes closed. This technique will improve your balance, coordination, and body control, all important athletic attributes.

Run Injury-Free – One week out of every six, cut your weekly training mileage and frequency in half. You’ll give your body a better chance to recover, and you’ll avoid permanent, nagging injuries. Find out more in our Running without pain resource.

Run Hills Faster – When running uphill, keep your head up and your eyes focused on the top of the hill. This opens your airways, making it easier to breathe than if your upper body were hunched forward. Find out more in our Training, Injury prevention and recovery resource.

Loosen Your Hips – Keep your heels on the floor when you squat. If you can’t, your hip flexors are too tight and need to be stretched out! Try this stretch: Hold onto the sides of the squat rack and lower yourself until your thighs are parallel to the ground. Hold this for 30 seconds. Return to a standing position, then repeat five times

Replace Your Shoes (Not Your Knees) – To avoid injuries, write an “expiration date” on your shoes as soon as you buy them. Shoes last about 500 miles, so simply divide 500 by your average weekly mileage to determine how many weeks your shoes are likely to last.

End Back Pain – For every set of abdominal exercises you perform, do a set of lower-back exercises. Focusing only on your abs can lead to poor posture and lower-back pain.

St Georges Day Charity Dog Walk Success!

Earlier this year, we organised the St Georges Day Charity dog walk around Thorney Island in aid of Hounds for Heroes. Due the the success of the trial event, we have begun organising the next St Georges Day dog walk for Sunday 23rd April 2017! We already have renewed support from The Emsworth Business Association and have a new sponsor which is a local organic dog biscuit company – Beautiful Joe’s to treat our furry friends. Attend the event on Facebook here so you can keep up to date.

 

St Georges Day dog walk acorn health hounds for heroes

Hounds For Heroes are a charity based in Petersfield who provide specially trained assistance dogs to injured or disabled men and women from the UK Armed Forces and UK Civilian Emergency Services. Hounds For Heroes provide all specialist training, in addition to covering pet food and vet bills for life for each of these talented pups, at a cost of £30,000 per dog.
Dog Walk Details
Suggested donation is £5 per dog, dogs can bring their owners, family members and anyone else who would like to come along! Additional sponsorship forms can be found online here: http://houndsforheroes.com/get-involved/document-downloads/sponsorship-form/
 
Starting Point: Thornham Lane, just past the Thornham Marina.
Some parking spaces (20 spaces max) have been kindly offered to our event by Thornham Marina – All dogs must be kept on leads here due to heavy vehicles moving around on site.
 
The full walk is approx 8 miles around the Island (approx 3.5 hours). Why not take a picnic and enjoy some refreshments at St Nicholas’ Church or Thorney Island Sailing Club, near the halfway point.
 
For those with little legs looking for a shorter walk there is a gate-to-gate option that doesn’t take you around the full island. Please be aware that livestock graze close to the path so dogs should be under their owner’s control.
 
All donations made will be presented to Hounds for Heroes.

Prevention is better than cure

As the old proverb said, ‘prevention is better than cure’.  So what’s the simplest thing can we do every day to prevent musculoskeletal pain?

With every patient we find the root cause or underlying issue of the problem and treat it accordingly to patient preference and clinical evidence and research. The most common problem I see from children to adults…

The most effective way of getting you out of pain quickly is self management. We provide a personal back pain toolkits and show you how to do stretches to ease pain and prevent pain or injury in the future.

Prevent back pain with these three simple steps.

One.

Include stretching into your daily routine, or go to a regular yoga class. Think of preventing back pain like preventing tooth decay – it’s as easy as brushing your teeth.  We love using foam rollers in clinic- a great addition to your stretching routine.

Two.

Use ice immediately to reduce swelling and inflammation on a new injury. Use heat on a recurring injury to reduce pain. You can use paracetamol to help prevent swelling and pain as well.
Three.

Research shows a 20 minute walk everyday will reduce the risk of back pain by 10-50%. Similarly if you are sitting down all day, get up to move about or stretch every 20-30 minutes (this also has the helpful side-effect of improving your concentration).

If you would like more hints and tips about prevention of back pain or musculoskeletal injury please read our blog page that details particular injuries and more helpful tips.

Kinesiology Tape for sports injuries.

Focus on Tennis Elbow.

Guest Blog: Calcium and Osteoporosis.

Contact us for more information or to book an appointment.

E: acorn@acornhealth.org.uk T: 01243 379693

Marathon 101

The South Downs Marathon is this weekend. Thousands will be running, competing, having fun and raising money for charity all at the same time.

Whether you are an athlete, pro-runner or amateur there are some simple rules to stick by to prevent injury and pain after running all that way.  The South Downs Marathon is notoriously tough, so here’s our tips to help you overcome from the challenge!

1. Water – If it’s hot outside, you’ll need to drink more than usual, which is a challenge when you’re trying to run as well.  Please focus on hydration both pre- and post-race (being well hydrated will mean you recover more quickly too!) Don’t overlook the electrolytes you’ve lost through sweating. Rather than buy expensive, sugary energy drinks, simply add a few mmol of sodium (salt) or suitable electrolyte powde to your water. Tastes gross but does the trick!

2.  Don’t forget to eat. It might be the last thing on your mind after you’ve just run a hefty race but it’s important to rep
lenish your body with lost nutrients and electrolytes after expending so much e
nergy!

  • Replenishing stores of glycogen (what gives you your energy!) in the muscles and liver
  • Protein helps aid muscle repair
  • Restores fluid and electrolytes lost in sweat
  • Supporting the immune system in removing the lactic acid that can build up after strenuous activit

3. Kinesiotape is not only helpful when you’re out running to help support your joints and muscles, but it may alsoKinesiotape Running Pain Pregnany Sport Nike Chiropractic Adidas Hampshire Emsworth Sussex Physiotherapy Osteopath aid recovery from injuries by improving blood and lymphatic flow around the injured areas.

If you are reeling from any form of exercise this weekend and are in need of some assistance please contact the clinic on 01243 379693 or email acorn@acornhealth.org.uk

 

 

*Cover photo taken from www.209events.com


Join The Conversation

Mills House
Mills Way
Amesbury
Wilts
SP4 7AU

Acorn Health Ltd © 2014- 2022

Website Created by WebHolism

Join The Conversation

Acorn Health © 2014 - 2022

Website Created by WebHolism