THE IMPORTANCE OF MUSCULOSKELETAL HEALTH FOR PEOPLE OF ALL AGES
According to the British Medical Journal “The majority of chronic pain experienced by older adults is musculoskeletal in origin”. Low back pain and neck pain is said to be now the leading cause of disability in England for both men and women combined. Falls, which are often a result of poor musculoskeletal health, also remain in the top ten causes of disability adjusted life years (a combination of the number of years of life lost to disease and the number of years lived with disability as a result of disease). As well as causing pain and disability, musculoskeletal conditions can affect people’s physical health more generally.
PAIN IS A PAIN
This is a universal truth. Everyone can suffer from musculoskeletal pain with movement restrictions whether you are a sport-and fitness devotee, in a deskbound job or frequently in management meetings and on regular travel overseas. Injury, muscle tension and restricted movement can manifest due to:
- repetitive strain injuries
- accidentally in a myriad of ways.
Whatever the cause of your symptoms may be, my effective treatments relief pain, restore movement and bring you respite as well as relaxation. I am NOT in favour of “No pain, no gain”! I use light touch to treat symptoms of pain and you are likely to notice immediate positive changes during your first treatment. Our bodies are designed to move because normal movement begets normal movement.
MUSCULOSKELETAL SYMPTOMS (non-inclusive)
Back pain (Poor posture (Scoliosis/Kyphosis), Pain on sitting or standing)
Neck pain (Movement restrictions)
Jaw pain (Facial tension, restricted jaw, locked jaw/ post-dental work)
Shoulder pain (Headaches, restricted neck turns, restricted arm lifts, frozen shoulder and poor shoulder movements)
Forearm, wrist- or finger pain (Carpel Tunnel Syndrome, weak uneven grip, poor finger movement, tennis – and golfer elbows)
Hip-and groin pain/pelvic issues (i.e. Menstruation, infertility, sciatic- and sacroiliac pain)
Leg and calf pain (Tight hamstrings, difficulties walking up stairs/ bending knees, stiff upper legs)
Ankle pain (Heel pain on standing up, tightness, stiffness and discomfort in and around ankle)
Foot pain (Bunions, gout pain, compressed toes and hammer toes, plantar fascia tension, collapsed arches i.e. flat foot)
Knee pain (On bending or straightening lower legs, knee restrictions, stiffness, weakness in standing, swollen knees)
NEUROPATHIC SYMPTOMS (non-inclusive)
- Balance and walking difficulties
- Drop foot
- Muscle imbalances
- Bowel problems
- Bladder dysfunction
- Hearing- and eyesight issues
- Emotional changes
- Cognitive changes
- Tingling or numbness
With nerve damage there can be a wide array of symptoms and this depends on the location and type of nerves that are affected. Damage can occur to nerves in your brain and spinal cord. It can also occur in the peripheral nerves, which are located throughout the rest of your body.
Autonomic nerve damage may produce the following symptoms:
- Inability to sense chest pain, such as angina or heart attack
- Too much sweating or too little sweating
- Dry eyes and mouth
- Bladder dysfunction
- Sexual dysfunction
Motor nerve damage may produce the following symptoms:
- Muscle atrophy
- Twitching, also known as fasciculation
Sensory nerve damage may produce the following symptoms:
- Tingling or prickling
- Problems with positional awareness
In some instances, people with nerve damage will have symptoms that indicate damage to two, or even three, different types of nerves. For instance, you might experience weakness and burning of your legs at the same time.
MUSCULOSKELTAL DISORDERS - RIDERS
Horse riding can be a dangerous sport! As with all sports, horse riding can cause pain and trauma to the body. Aside from head – and spinal injuries as a result of a fall, riders can sustain many musculoskeletal conditions which result in pain and movement restrictions. Repetitive Strain Injuries (RSI’s) are very common amongst riders with muscle strains and soft tissue damage and issues with tendons and ligaments. The joints in the hips, ankles and knees can take a serious battering while riding due to the continued and repetitive forceful vibrational loading on the intervertebral discs of the lower back. Advice on injury prevention, warm-ups and suitable exercises form part of my treatment.
MUSCULOSKELETAL DISORDERS - CYCLISTS
The majority of musculoskeletal pain complaints arising from cycling are due to overuse or poor technique. Commonly cyclists suffer from:
- Lower back pain, neck pain, anterior knee pain (knee cap), hip pain (Piriformis Syndrome), hand pain (numbness and tingling), iliotibial band friction syndrome, and Achilles tendonitis.
In cases of acute pain it is best to follow the RICE procedure (rest, ice, compression, and elevation). Cyclists need to make sure they have a proper fit for their bike and bike saddle. Improper bike fit contributes to the causation of a significant number of these conditions and in men can lead to ‘cyclist’s syndrome’ which is Pudendal nerve entrapment (PNE) and chronic pain caused by the pudendal nerve (located in the pelvis) which is entrapped or compressed. Pain is positional and is worsened by sitting. Bike geometry may also be altered to alleviate symptoms and prevent injuries.
There are people who dedicate their lives to biking, bike fits, and saddle fits. Whilst you can call on specialists to work some magic on your bike, I am your ‘go-to’ for gentle, yet powerful and effective treatments for pain relief and restored range of motion (ROM) and it doesn’t need to hurt in order for you to reap results. Positive changes can frequently be noticed promptly during your first treatment. Appropriate stretches and strengthening exercises are part of my multi-disciplinary treatments for natural pain relief.
MUSCULOSKELETAL DISORDERS - ROWERS AND GENERAL WATERSPORTS
Rowing is a great way to get fit and allow you to enjoy the beauty of your local river or lake. It is a fantastic sport for developing core, leg and arm strength with the overall benefits of cardiovascular exercise. Unfortunately, given the nature of the sport, it does have a reasonably high incidence of overuse injuries which come in the form of muscle strains or tendon friction injuries. The rowing stroke is a repeated continuous cycle, from a position with the legs flexed, elbows straight to a fully extended knee position and elbow flexion with the oar handle drawn into the body. A strong back and core strength is a vital component to increase power through the stroke and avoid injury. The most common rowing injury is low back pain - closely followed by the knee. Rowing incorporates all the joints of the body to various degrees so an injury can be sustained to any joint. Musculoskeletal pain, aside from common back pain and knee pain are commonly due to rowing injuries and affect the upper back and neck. Frequent complaints are wrist tendinopathies from oar rotations and the obvious hand blisters.
MUSCULOSKELETAL DISORDERS - GOLFERS
The act of swinging a golf club, regardless how far or straight the ball goes is an extremely demanding sports activity. This simple swinging action places significant stresses on the body in order to develop club head speed. The combination of poor physical condition, lack of core stability, overuse (excessive play), inadequate warm up and poor swing technique are factors that contribute to injuries, in particular back pain. Common golf swing injuries due to:
- Overuse and over-practice
- Poor swing mechanics
- Not warming up the muscles properly
- Rotational stresses placed on the spine
- Incorrect grip and setup
- Traumatic force to the body resulting from a poorly executed swing
As a result, musculoskeletal pain in golfing injuries is common, particularly low back pain and golf-related elbow pain. The legs (hamstrings and quadriceps muscles) are vital to a good golf swing because they keep the solid posture of the golfer intact throughout the swing.
Generally, my multi-disciplinary treatment approach varies and is always symptoms led. Here, my focus is on helping you to strengthen your core muscles which can be done with simple back and abdominal exercises. I advise on stretches for flexibility, core stabilisation and strengthening of the important golf muscles as well as advice on proper back mechanics to avoid any stresses on the spine. Developing strength and stretching routine for identified muscle groups will increase strength and power through the golf swing. Proper stretching will help to avoid this problem and give the golfer faster swing speed due to the longer back swing that he or she is able to achieve.
“I first consulted Andrea for a recurrence of nerve pain that was initially treated with neurosurgery several years previously. The nerve pain went from my left hip down my leg and into my left foot and I was at a point where I had to use a walking stick to aid my mobility. I was amazed by the level of pain relief from my first treatment with her.
Andrea has such an understanding of physiology and anatomy, along with years of study in complementary health practices that she was able to get to the root of my pain and designed exercises for me that progressed as my treatments continued. I eventually stopped using my walking stick and am now pain-free. I would not hesitate to recommend her to anyone suffering from musculoskeletal or other pain.”
Carrie Baide-Pugh, Helston, Cornwall, May 2019 - POST SPINAL NEURO SURGERY
“I have played golf for years and still play regularly. In the past I have seen a Physiotherapist for many years for back issues and a friend of mine recommended Andrea to me. My first treatment gave me instant pain relief and vastly improved my posture. To this day I see Andrea when the need arises. I am very impressed with her ability to address any issues promptly, gently and efficiently.”
Nick Walker, East Horsley, Surrey - CHRONIC BACK PAIN, NECK AND SHOULDER PAIN, GOLF
“I was diagnosed with relapsing remitting Multiple Sclerosis in 2011. My balance was very poor. I always thought I could never hope for any improvement. I’m so pleased I was wrong! Since starting my therapy with Andrea, I have seen a marked improvement in my balance and this has genuinely changed my life. Andrea is highly skilled, intuitive and professional. I cannot recommend her highly enough.”
Zara Ryan, Penzance, Cornwall, May 2019 – RELAPSING / REMITTING MULTIPLE SCLEROSIS
“After trying many and various treatments for shoulder, hip and lower back pain over a number of years, Andrea's treatment has helped enormously. I am now pain-free in the shoulder and am working with Andrea to resolve the rest. Andrea has much experience and was able to pinpoint the problems rather quickly. I have huge respect for her extensive expertise and have no hesitation in recommending her.”
Danielle Manville, Milford, Surrey – CHRONIC SHOULDER PAIN