Tag: surgery

Fascial blading- how it can help reduce pain and improve function

Fascial blading is a form of gentle, instrument assisted soft tissue mobilisation. The blade itself acts as an extension of the practitioner’s hands and allows the clinician to gently identify and breakdown scar tissue adhesions and fascial restrictions.

Fascia is the cling-film like tissue that connects everything in the body. It runs along and through all our muscles, organs, vessels and nerves and even attaches on to our skeleton, forming a continuous 3D web of connective tissue. Traumas or scars to any area or the body can lead to problems in other areas through disruption of this connective tissue web.

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The Lancet Research Paper: Update

Time after time the research shows that chiropractic care should be the first-line intervention for low back pain. “Chiropractors are well placed to provide evidence-based non-pharmacological care for their patients with low back pain, including advice about physical activity, applying judicious manual therapy, education that supports self-management, and a graded return to normal activities and exercise.”

It’s time to move away from surgery, scans and strong painkillers and instead focus on what works.

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Horse and Rider

A good rider knows that they must work in unison with their horse. To create fluid movements it requires symmetry, balance, coordination and stability. This doesn’t come easy, and requires training on both parts as a poor rider can ruin a good horse.Professional horse jumper

At Acorn Health we see patients that are involved in a variety of equestrian activities, including carriage driving, showjumping, cross-country and dressage. In addition to this blog post, we have prepared a brief video to help you reduce the impact of back pain whilst riding (see below), but first please read our hints and tips!

Lower back pain is a common problem in horse riders, due to the static position we adopt when riding – especially in the untrained rider. These problems reveal themselves through dysfunction and altered movement in the hips, pelvis, and lower back from the result of poor core stability, lack of flexibility, and instability in the saddle. There are some simple steps to prevent this.

If you only have a few minutes, scroll down to the bottom to read our top tips to improve these problems.

Restriction in the movement of the hips is a common problem, and this can affect the pelvic movement and motion of the lower back. The pelvis moves in a complex, multidirectional way when riding, if one area is not moving enough, another area will be moving too much to counteract this. Good core stability is vital to allow and support these movements. Insufficient movement through the hips can cause stiffening of the lower back and buttocks so the upper body may become loose (causing head bobbing or bouncing shoulders), or the lower body may become unstable (leading to flapping legs). An example is seen in the video below.

If you feel out of balance in the saddle, this may be because you are tipping forward through the pelvis. This in turn causes your seat bones (the ones you sit on) to angle backwards.  The result here is that the lower back hollows, and the hips are unable to move freely at this angle.  When this happens your body will immediately attempt to compensate for this, usually through recruiting other muscles to stabilise the area- commonly, the inner thighs or hip flexors (the muscles in the front of your thighs) will become involved, and this can lead you susceptible to yet more muscle and joint strain.

The image in the video demonstrates tipping forward through the pelvis causing hollowing of the lower back. The correct position of the pelvis in the saddle, and rotating backwards through the pelvis causing flattening of the lower back and protruding stomach.Hacking with horses

Importantly, these imbalances in the rider can also affect the way your horse is able to
move. Putting pressure on your horse’s back means that he will find it difficult to use his back and legs in the correct way. This impacts on your horses ability to swing their shoulders through the paces, and can cause them to have back pain too so over time, you will both perpetuate each other’s lower back issues.

Many riders find that their hamstrings (in the back of the thigh) and their quadriceps (in the front of the thigh) become shortened as a result of the position we adopt in the saddle.  Ensure you muscles are functioning at their best by adopting a good stretching routine.

What are the most common postural faults in riders?

  1. The “en avant” position. Leaning forward in the saddle and balancing the majority of the weight in the stirrups.  This is most commonly seen in show jumpers and cross-country eveners. Riding too much in this position also means you will be unable to provide the correct aids to your horse, and are already out-of-balance in the saddle. The pectoral muscles in the front of the chest become tight and sore, further encouraging rounded shoulders. Due to this imbalance, should the horse spook, you may find yourself thrown forward on to his neck or coming off over his shoulder.
  2. Riding too short or too long.  Stirrup length should be measured and adjusted on a regular basis. Why? As you become more flexible, your body will change and as a result subtle changes will adapt the length of the muscle.
  3. Tight hip flexors.  Tension through the front of the thigh will automatically lead to tension in the lower back, causing weakening of the abdominal muscles. A common mistake is to adopt a position in the saddle similar to the position we adopt when using an office chair. When the hip is over-flexed, the lower back hollows as a result which is a key contributor to lower back pain.
  4. Dropping the chin. Constantly dropping the chin to look at the horse causes strain of the muscles in the back of your neck, and weakening of those in the front. This in turn can lead to headaches, neck, and upper back pain. A rider should always be looking up and ahead, not down at the horse.

Top tips for reducing back pain in the saddle:IMG_8878

  1. Stretch. Riders rely on their quadricep muscles to bear the weight of their body, and the calf muscles must work to keep the heels down in the saddle.  This tends to lead to hamstrings becoming tight but weak, calves becoming long, and quadriceps shortening. Maintain suppleness and flexibility through your hips by stretching on a regular basis (not only before you get on the horse!)
  2. Focus on your core stability.  Yoga or pilates exercises will help teach you balance and coordination by encouraging your core muscles to work correctly, allowing you to maintain the correct posture in the saddle.
  3. Ensure your saddle has been fitted correctly.  A poorly fitting saddle can cause discomfort in the horse and affect its movement, often encouraging the horse to move asymmetrically to avoid pressure and pain from the saddle.
  4. Commit to physical fitness.  A lot of riders use riding as their only conditioning activity, but a well-rounded fitness programme (which includes core stability, stretching routines and cardiovascular exercises) will help improve your overall fitness and stamina, and reduce injury while riding.

Please see the full video with guided help here.

Acupuncture- what is it, and how does it work?

Acupuncture is often seen as a form of complementary medicine, although it is used nationally in many NHS general practices, as well as the majority of pain clinics and hospices in the UK. It is recommended by the National Institute for Clinical Excellence as a treatment for lower back pain, and a range of other conditions.  If we decide together that acupuncture is a good choice for you, then we can start the treatment there and then!  Our chiropractor Philippa is fully trained and registered to use acupuncture as part of her treatments in clinic.

Acupuncture involves the insertion of needles (which are about the thickness of a human hair, and about 1 inch long) into specific points in your body.  Mention “acupuncture” to someone, and you may think of something like the image below, using dozens of needles.

Acupuncture back pain chiropractor Emsworth Hampshire

 

It may surprise you to know that we tend to use a maximum of 6 needles in our treatments!  This is because we use a Western medical approach to acupuncture in clinic, which is different to traditional Chinese treatments.

 

Want to learn more?

A medical approach to acupuncture involves a few essential features:

  • Medical history, examination and clinical investigations (if necessary) are all used to form a diagnosis.
  • An appropriate plan of management, and appropriate needling points are identified.
  • As with all our treatments at Acorn Health, the appropriate treatment is given, in a way that is carefully tailored to the individual.  This can mean using more needles (usually up to a maximum of 6), using percutaneous electric nerve stimulation, or increasing the length of time the needles are inserted.
  • Your response to treatment is monitored, and subsequent treatment is determined based on your response to this treatment.
Acupuncture chiropractic back pain injury Emsworth Hampshire
Philippa using acupuncture to treat an elbow condition

Acupuncture is, in itself, a phenomenon- it produces an unique sensation, can alleviate pain in areas quite far away from where the needle is inserted, and patients have been known to spontaneously report feelings of improved wellbeing and deep sleep after treatment!  This treatment is also a powerful tool for pain relief, and this sometimes occurs immediately after removing the needles; several hours after treatment; or gradually accumulating over a course of several treatments.

So if acupuncture is a phenomenon, with varied responses for each individual, how do we know that it is an appropriate, evidence-based, effective treatment for you?

Here are five mechanisms to help explain how acupuncture works:

1) Acupuncture promotes healing.  It stimulates nerve fibres in the skin and muscle, and this leads to the release of a substance called CGRP- calcitonin gene-related peptide (no, we won’t quiz you on this later!)  This substance causes blood vessels around the needle to dilate, and increases blood flow, which encourages tissue healing.

2) When a needle stimulates nerve fibres, these travel to a specific part of the spinal cord, called the dorsal horn (which helps regulate pain signals). This stimulation helps to reduce the response of the dorsal horn to pain, and this is probably the main mechanism by which acupuncture relieves pain, and what it is most commonly used for.

Brain acupuncture chiropractic back pain Emsworth Hampshire3) These nerve signals then transmit up to the brain, and stimulate the body’s pain-suppressing mechanisms.  (Yes, our body can suppress pain- think about the times when you haven’t noticed a scratch or a graze because you’ve been concentrating on something else). This is why acupuncture is so helpful, as it can suppress pain throughout the entire body.

4) Parts of our brain that control emotion, behaviour and sleep are also stimulated by acupuncture, and so acupuncture has a calming effect and can improve our feeling of wellbeing.

5) When our muscles are strained or injured, it develops a small area of damage (called a trigger point) which can be slow to heal and can cause persistent pain.  Acupuncture helps to deactivate and reduce these trigger points.

If you would like to find out more about this type of treatment, what it can be used for and whether it could be a good option for you, book an appointment with us today!


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Acorn Health © 2014 - 2022

Website Created by WebHolism