4 Reasons Why Winter Sun Is GREAT

Today’s blog post comes from the wonderful Lucy Anderson, one of our highly experienced osteopath and pilates instructor who specialises in your total wellbeing, not just getting rid of the niggles meaning you feel great for a long long time.

As I was going for my morning run in the park today, I couldn’t help but be reminded of what a difference a sunny day makes. I actually felt motivated and energised to push myself a bit further and less foggy-headed… like I should be back in bed!

But why does sunshine make us feel so much better?

Serotonin release: Sunshine exposure has been shown to increase brain cell production of serotonin – a hormone and neurotransmitter intricately linked with mood and central nervous system function. Research has shown a link between depression and low serotonin levels.

Vitamin D synthesis – Sunlight exposure is known to promote synthesis of Vitamin D in our skin, which is by far our most effective source. Insufficient vitamin D production makes us feel sleepy and sluggish and generally feel low by virtue of it’s link with immune and metabolic processes.
Vitamin D is not only important for mood, but also for bone health. We need Vitamin D to absorb calcium in the gut which is important for maintaining bone density.

Influences circadian rhythms – exposure to sunlight particularly in the morning and daytime helps to switch off production of melatonin, a hormone needed to promote sleep. This improves release of melatonin when it gets dark helping you sleep better.
Other benefits:….

Sunlight not only makes us feel better, but it has also been shown to help lower blood pressure. Sunlight exposure promotes release of nitric oxide from the skin. Nitric Oxide is a potent vasodilator – I.e. It widens blood vessel lumens. This reduces resistance to flow of blood within the vessel resulting in reducing blood pressure.

How can I get more sunshine in the middle of winter?
Getting sufficient sunlight exposure in the winter can be tricky given the short days and often cloudy weather (sadly, we have no control over it!) However, I have put together a few simple ideas to help improve your sunlight exposure in the winter:

1) Walk to work – ok, you might not have time to walk all the way to work, but consider getting off the tube one stop earlier and walking for 15 minutes. This has the added benefit of endorphin release from the exercise. It doesn’t always feel appealing to walk around on a cold day, but the cold air is a great way to help you wake up and become more alert for the day ahead.

2) Run outside instead of on the treadmill – Again, this might feel less tempting on a cold day, but. once you’ve taken that first difficult step out of the door there really is nothing more refreshing than a cold run along the river or through the park. Make sure you wrap up warm and invest in a good pair of running leggings – brushed fabrics offer more warmth. If, like me, you find the cold air harsh on your lungs, ears and nose, wear a hat that covers your ears – we lost most of our body heat through our head so a hat really does make a huge difference. A thin scarf or snood over your mouth and nose can help to warm the air as it passes into the lungs and also reduce pollution exposure.

3) Pop out for a coffee – while the coffee machines at work may be convenient and free, leaving the office for that mid-morning coffee instead of staying in will give you some sunlight exposure, fresh air and helps to dull that late-morning slump.

4) Invest in a light box – On gloomy days or dark mornings, sitting in front of a light box has been shown to be helpful in improving mood.

5) Take a winter holiday – depending on where you go, it can be a cheaper and a less busy time of year to get away to a beautiful beach destination. A weeks’ holiday in the sun really does help to beat the winter blues and break up the long, cold, dark days.

 

4 Reasons Why Winter Sun Is GREAT Third Space Sports Medicine

Snap, Crackle & Pop

Is that Snapping Hips Syndrome? 

1. Internal Snapping Hip

When a tendon slides over a bit of bone, the result is a snap. This is by far the most common and usually caused by Iliopsoas slipping over a protrusion of the pelvis called the iliopectineal prominence or Rectus Femoris, your main quadriceps muscle moving over the head of the femur (your thigh bone).

Symptoms?

  • Popping when running, or when the hip is flexed more than 90degrees or rotates away from the body.
  • Popping with a sharp sudden pain at the front deep in the groin.
  • Pain worsens with activity
  • The original onset is vague and may have begun as a mild annoyance.

Treatment Required? Not always. If pain is present then yes as it is important to offload the irritated tendon and make sure the iliopsoas bursa isn’t involved but usually just lots of stretching and flexibility work should resolve the issue in a couple of weeks.

2. External Snapping HipThis is also when a tendon slides over a bit of bone but this time between the bone and the skin rather than deeper in the pelvis. This is still very common and usually caused by the ITB (iliotibial band) or Gluteus Maximus slipping over part of the top of the femur called the greater trochanter.

Symptoms?

  • Popping when the hip is flexing and extending e.g. when climbing stairs. Carrying heavy bags or playing golf or tennis makes this more prominent.
  • Popping with a sharp sudden pain on the outside of the hip. Sometimes this can be seen too.
  • The hip feels like it may pop out of its socket (it’s not, don’t worry!)
  • The original onset is vague and may have begun as a mild annoyance.

Treatment Required? More often than not, treatment is needed to nudge a patient in the right direction for rehabilitation. If pain is present then this is a must as your gait is likely to have been affected, which can lead to further problems down the line.

3. Intra-Articular Snapping Hip

This is a problem with the hip itself. Less common but not unheard and should always be treated professionally.Causes?

  • Acetabular Labral Tear – When the tough cartilage that rings the hip joint tears. Symptoms include snapping and pain in the groin area. The most common cause of intra-articular snapping hip.
  • Injury to articular cartilage – the surface of the joint is damaged causing aching deep in the hip, not always snapping.
  • Loose bodies in the hip – When a fragment of bone or soft tissue breaks away and gets trapped between the hip joint causing snapping or a vague locking sensation in the hip.
  • The original onset is usually traumatic and pain starts immediately.

Treatment Required? Yes, identifying what is going on with this form of snapping hip is important as the longer it goes on the longer term the effect on the function of your body.

These are the musculoskeletal causes of a snapping hip. There are other things that may cause a change in the biomechanics of the hip which may mimic this, from arthritis to infection to tumours. It is really important that these more serious causes of any pain you are experiencing is ruled out.

So if you are struggling, then our team is always here to help, whether that is on email, phone or in person.

Human Carpentry

Yesterday I went to watch a particularly interesting surgery – Sacroiliac Fusion using the Si-Bone implant system.  Essentially what happens is three triangular shaped titanium rods are chiselled through the joint to hold the back of the pelvis in place.

These patients are disabled with their pain before their surgery – manual therapy like osteopathy and physiotherapy had been done to exhaustion and wasn’t giving any lasting relief. However, after the surgery, these patients often “bound out of bed” (in the words of Mr Khai Lam, the surgeon performing the days surgery). A great result all round. Remarkable but the good news for the vast majority of patients is that surgery isn’t usually needed and a few visits to the good old osteopath or physiotherapist should get you the strength and movement back into your joints.

Have a look at the video for exactly how it is done (don’t worry, all animated not real life gore) and the picture for highly technical, yet remarkable carpenter-like equipment used during the procedure.

 

HoHo..Oh. Back Pain Season, Part 3 – Driving Home For Christmas

Cars are often cited as a cause for aggravation of back pain. Rather than buying every contraption possible on the internet we have some simpler tips to help you get comfortable for your Christmas getaway…

1. Pick Your Car

All people are different shapes and sizes so if you are in the market for a new car try and take this into consideration too as some cars provide better care for your back than others. This might not help this Christmas but equally if you have the choice between your friend’s amazing Lamborghini to drive the length of the country vs. your own sturdy VW Golf then pick the one that will let you stand up straight without crying in pain at the end (I mean the Golf….definitely the Golf).

2. Prepare Your Space

Unless you are just popping to the next suburb for your Christmas lunch, the likelihood is you will be driving over an hour. So spend 90 seconds getting the seat you will be confined to more suited to you. Raise the back of the seat relative to the front, implement the lumbar support if there is one and raise the head rest so you can actually rest your head onto it.The problem is that the human body isn’t designed to spend long periods of time sitting down. Sitting down for long periods of time, combined with using your feet means you can’t support or stabilise our lower body, as we might when sitting in a chair. This leads to problems and lots of muscle fatigue, particularly in the lower back and hip flexors.

3. Take a Break

Taking a break to stretch your legs and your back (and your shoulders and your neck!) is as important as taking a break when you are tired. It adds a couple of minutes to your journey and will mean you don’t spend the first day of your trip fighting off the remnants of the ache.If you have found yourself reading this after you have arrive home from Christmas, come and see our team and we will help straighten you out!

We will be offline next week so we would like to wish all of our patients a very healthy Christmas and New Year. Thank you for being part of our clinic and we hope you have an injury free 2017!

Forward Head Posture

HoHo..Oh. Back Pain Season, Part 2

The head is heavy and balanced on top of the rather thin spinal column. The average head weighs somewhere between 8 and 12 pounds if it is balanced happily atop the spine. But if the head moves forward to any degree, the weight the spine has to cope with increases.

That extra weight can be a problem, because it adds the tension to connective tissues such as muscles, tendons, ligaments and fascia.

Forward head posture

Forward head posture, which is exactly what it sounds like, is one of the most common problems for the upright skeleton, especially with these days of walking and texting – AKA Text Neck

But if your head is forward trying to pull it back into a better position is not really the answer. You have to realign the rest of your posture to enable the head to move backwards. A simple three-step way to look at it is:

1. Chest Up
2. Shoulders Down
3. Chin Tucked In

If this doesn’t work in the medium term, we need to look further afield which is where Clinical Pilates comes in. This form of Pilates is a way to teach you how to recognise where your body is in space – a surprisingly difficult task – and enables the muscles to work appropriately and to take the tension away from the wrong muscles, ligaments and connective tissue and improve blood flow around the spine and neck and help you feel all round better.

If you would like to see Lucy or Claire at our London Bridge Clinic location for 1-2-1 clinical Pilates, please see the link here

Forward Head Posture Third Space Sports Medicine

 

Inflame In The Membrane

Understanding how to manage inflammation can help boost your health and supercharge your performance. Inflammation is a crucial part of the bodies immune response. However there are two sides to the story!

There are two types of inflammation – acute and chronic.

Acute inflammation can be a response to exercise stress, an injury or infection. Physiological changes that occur include increased blood flow, accumulation of white blood cells, redness, heat, swelling and pain at the affected site. We need acute inflammation to promote the generation of new cells which leads to healing. With exercise stress this is how the body adapts to the stimulus and recovers.

Acute inflammation is crucial but it needs to be managed in the correct way.

Chronic inflammation is a long-term physiological response to one or more factors. It is a failure of the body’s immune system to maintain a healthy homeostatic state. It occurs when there is repeated exposure to acute inflammation or it is poorly managed. Factors such as poor nutrition, environmental toxins, over-training or infection can lead to chronic inflammation. If you do not address your nutrition and lifestyle then it could lead to the clinical symptoms of disease and poor performance.

Chronic inflammation is something we want to minimise as much as possible! Luckily we have put some tips together to help guide you in managing inflammation.

EAT THE RAINBOW

Brightly coloured fruits and vegetables are rich in antioxidants such as vitamin A, C, E, zinc and selenium which will reduce inflammation.

●  Vitamin A is found in eggs, pumpkin, carrots and sweet potato.

●  Vitamin C is found in broccoli, cauliflower, citrus fruit, tomatoes and berries.

●  Vitamin E is found in nuts, seeds, avocado and eggs.

●  Zinc is found in meat, nuts and seeds

●  Selenium is found in Brazil nuts and seafood

●  Pineapple and papaya contain enzymes (bromelain and papain) that lower inflammation

ENSURE YOU GET GOOD QUALITY SLEEP

Growth hormone levels are highest with good quality sleep. When we are sleep deprived, T cells (important for immunity) are lowered and cytokines (inflammatory cells) are raised. Bottom line……ENSURE YOU GET ENOUGH SLEEP.

USE LOTS OF SPICES

Certain spices aid in reducing inflammation in the body, as well as making your food taste better. Be generous with the ginger, turmeric, cumin and cinnamon.

CUT DOWN ON PROCESSED FOODS

Steering clear of processed foods is a quick way to avoid many inflammatory agents. These include omega-6 fatty acids, trans fats and refined carbohydrates.

EAT FOODS RICH IN OMEGA 3

Omega 3 fatty acids are an anti-inflammatory powerhouse. The highest levels are
found in wild salmon, mackerel, sardines, eggs, walnuts and flax seed and oil and green leafy vegetables.

GET YOUR B – VITAMINS

B – Vitamins perform hundreds of different functions to help us produce energy, improve digestion and create anti-inflammatory substances from our food. Increase the amount of beans, vegetables, seafood and meat you eat alongside supplementing with a high strength B-Complex.

EXERCISE – FIND A BALANCE

Exercise reduces inflammation, but it also increases it. And depending on the context, this increased inflammation due to exercise is either a good thing or a bad thing. Confused?!? It is all about balance.

Whatever your exercise regime, whether it is regular walking, high intensity gym work or marathon training make sure you are implementing proper recovery time with sound nutrition support.

Want to work with Liam in London Bridge to get your bespoke nutrition plan? Head over to here to book in!

Immune Boosting Foods

With winter fast approaching, finding ways to boost your immune system is vital. Liam in London Bridge and Clapham Junction is on hand to provide us with the best foods to include in your diet to boost your immunity before you pick up that bug going around the Northern and Jubilee lines….

Brazil nuts and pumpkin seeds

Brazil nuts are high in the antioxidant selenium and pumpkin seeds are very high in zinc. Both nutrients support your body at a cellular level, strengthening your immune system.

Make a brazil nut and pumpkin seed vanilla smoothie

Broccoli

A powerhouse vegetable that is highly nutrient- dense, broccoli is rich in chlorophyll and contains other beneficial nutrients like vitamin C, carotenoids and phytonutrients.

Steam for 2 minutes then pan fry in chilli and garlic

Garlic and ginger

Ginger and garlic are an awesome immune function double team. They contain compounds such as allicin and gingerols that have immunostimulatory effects, antimicrobial properties and help lower inflammation . All helping support a healthy immune system.

Add to a stir fry!

Green Tea

Rich in antioxidant polyphenols and catechins, green tea has been used as a health-promoting beverage for centuries. Catechins have antimicrobial properties and the antioxidants may help reduce the effects of stress, in addition to supporting immune function.

Try to drink 2-3 cups per day – or brew some and then let it cool and add to smoothies.

Shiitake Mushrooms

Not only are shiitake mushrooms high in amino acids, rich in B vitamins and are a good source of vitamin D. They also contain beta glucans and polysaccharides which naturally improve the function of your T-cells (immune system cells).

Whack them in a stir fry or make some chicken and mushroom soup

Turmeric

Now this is a proper superfood! This spice delivers a wealth of phytonutrients and has been shown to numerous benefits for overall health and performance. The active compound in turmeric is curcumin. This warrior can reduce oxidative stress, stimulate the T cells responsible for immune health, and aid in cellular protection Pretty impressive stuff!

Make sure you take it with black pepper and a fat source to increase absorption. Perfect recipe would be turmeric roasted salmon.

Immune Boosting Foods Third Space Sports Medicine

Don’t Shoulder The Pain

Shoulder and upper back pain are so endemic that our patients often report that it is so common to feel it that it has become ‘normal’. Just to be clear, shoulder aches and pains in everyday life should never be ‘normal’.

The postural muscles around the scapular and thoracic spine are prone to getting chronically tight in response to postural behaviours like sitting at a desk or slouching as they try to keep the upper back and rib cage stable. This tension is then felt in those low grade but sometimes agonising pesky aches and pains.

This video shows an easy release for these muscles that can be done anywhere so try it today and get friends and family who get bogged down by headaches to try as well – you’ll be amazed at the immediate results you can have if these muscles are tight!

For other stretches please see our YouTube Channel here.

Headache Tension Relief

Headaches affect most people at some time in their life and the causes range from hormonal and stress to postural and traumatic causes. All types have a knock on effect on the muscles of your shoulders and neck.

Of particular interest in this is the Suboccipital Muscles that connect the base of the skull to the upper neck. They are prone to getting chronically tight in response to headache pain as they try to keep the head and neck stable. The problem is this only exacerbates the headache by pulling on the scalp and reducing blood flow around the muscles of the upper neck.

This video shows an easy release for these muscles that can be done anywhere so try it today and get friends and family who get bogged down by headaches to try as well – you’ll be amazed at the immediate results you can have if these muscles are tight!

For other stretches for your quads or hamstrings please see our YouTube Channel here.

STOP Foam Rolling Your ITB!

Foam rolling is painful at the best of times, but if you have been rolling your ITB you are a glutton for punishment with no benefit to you! The ITB is not a muscle so won’t respond to deep massage, what you need is to loosen the muscles that influence it, namely the TFL, Quads and Hamstrings.

This single stretch for your TFL is easy for anyone to do and takes half the time of foam rolling which I call a double win. For other stretches for your quads or hamstrings please see our YouTube Channel here.