Saturday, April 18, 2015


This week in the Daily Telegraph I read that nearly half of all young people are suffering with neck or back pain because of a 'sedentary epidemic' sweeping Britain, alongside the rise in laptop technology.

The British Chiropractic Association said that increasing numbers of under-30s were seeking medical help because they were spending up to 10 hours a day sitting down, often at screens.

Although I can't say that this is my experience in clinic, most of the patients I see in this age bracket come with sports injuries, however there is no doubt that a very large number of people who do have neck and back pain do spend huge amounts of time sitting at work and home, using computers often laptops.

My advise is without doubt to ensure that wherever possible and certainly if you're working on a laptop for more than a few minutes, it's worth: finding a table/desk that's at the correct height; a chair that offers good back and leg support; ideally use a desk top screen and keyboard and a docking station; however if that's not possible ensure the laptop is at a height where you're not looking down at it, the top of the screen level with your eyes is the ideal; and then use a separate mouse and keyboard.  Spending hours working on a laptop or tablet on your lap, lying on a bed or slumping in a chair that's not offering enough support such as a sofa, all take their toll on our muscles which can then lead to joint and nerve problems.  Other consideration are to ensure regular breaks are taken to prevent fatigue and if and why not think about standing up whilst you're working.  According to  'Get Britain Standing' British people sit for an average of 8.9 hours a day.  Why not take a look at their website for more information on the benefits to standing over sitting.

For more information on anything about including sourcing equipment, how to sit and stand well and how physio can help if you do suffer with aches and pain, call us on 07984203698

Monday, January 26, 2015


A campaign has been launched to tackle the barriers that stop millions of women from taking exercise and getting fit.

Sport England’s This girl can campaign will aim to show ‘real women’ exercising, and change the widely-held view that active females must be Lycra-clad and super-fit.
Research commissioned by the sport promotion body found that 2 million fewer women in England aged from 14-40 played sport regularly than men, but that 75 per cent of women would like to be more active.
The findings show that the biggest barrier to women exercising is a fear of being judged. Sport England chief executive Jennie Price said: ‘We want to tell the real story of women who exercise and play sport. They come in all shapes and sizes and all levels of ability. They have a myriad of reasons for doing what they do.
‘This campaign says it really doesn’t matter if you are a bit rubbish or completely brilliant, the main thing is that you are a woman and you are doing something, and that deserves to be celebrated.’

Taken from the CSP's Frontline Magazine

Monday, January 12, 2015


I've just read in my professional journal that 'Falls leave 1.2 million in A&E and cost the NHS £1.6 million'.  

We all fall from time to time but more so as children and as older people.   As children on the whole tend to bounce back pretty well I thought I would focus on falls amongst the older population and whether that's you or someone you know I hope that you'll find the information and handy hints below helpful.

You'll probably know that as we get older our bones tend to grow thinner and weaker, our muscles can become weaker and our balance becomes less good which can all lead to an increase in prevalence of slips, trip and falls.  

With an ever increasing older population this is not just a problem for the NHS where the queues are long and the financial cost is high but it can also be a huge problem for the person who has fallen too.  At the very least it is likely that a lack of confidence in mobilising will result following a fall.  If an injury has occurred such as a fracture, surgery may be required resulting in time in hospital or possibly plastercast which in turn will require help from others, possibly a change of home situation and reduction in independence.   

To help reduce the incidence of slips, trips and falls it's vital that we take action.  The Chartered Society of Physiotherapy have put together a fantastic 12 point list of handy hints (listed below) that help to identify key areas of problems and suggest ways to address them. I have added a couple of things to the lists which I know from experience can be a problem.
  • 1. Mop up spillages straight away so there is no risk of slipping
  • 2. Take particular care when getting up in the night to go to the bathroom. You may need to do this more urgently and frequently as you grow older. If you are at risk of tripping in the dark, have a night light or a lamp with a switch nearby. Find CSP advice on continence here.
  • 3. Remove trip-hazards like clutter, trailing wires and frayed carpet
  • 4. Use non-slip mats and rugs, or put a carpet grip underneath.  In areas where you don't necessarily need a rug it might be easier to take it up.
  • 5. Use a grip mat in the bath and shower, and have grab rails for getting in and out
  • 6. Use high-wattage light bulbs
  • 7. If you are falling frequently, organise your home to keep climbing, stretching and bending to a minimum and to avoid bumping into furniture. For example, move crockery that you use regularly to a waist-high shelf
  • 8. Get help with tasks you can't do safely on your own
  • 9. Avoid walking on slippery floors in socks or tights
  • 10. Avoid long, trailing clothes that might trip you up. If you are unable to tack up a hem, then put a belt around your waist and pull the excess material over the belt.  Watch out for rugs too which might get caught up when getting out of a chair
  • 11. Wear well-fitting slippers and shoes in good condition that support the ankle and have a good grip on the sole.
  • 12. Maintain good physical fitness, muscle strength, balance and flexibility 


For many of us keeping fit is a hugely important part of daily life.  We strive to keep healthy and do some form of exercise on a regular exercise to maintain or improve our shape, fitness or general health.
However a huge number of us, whilst doing our exercises, will experience aches and pains that are not just from working the muscles but due to something which ‘doesn’t feel quite right’ - you’ll know the difference.  From listening to patients I think the majority of people would opt to take some rest from that activity and hope it improves, they might put some ice on it or do a few stretches to see what happens.  After a few weeks, feeling a bit fed up from not being able to do what they enjoy/need to do they’ll return to the activity and hope for the best.  However in my experience this is when they consider coming for physio too as they realise that things aren’t quite a well as they’d hoped.

Sound familiar?

The acronym RICE rest, ice, compress, elevate is certainly a good place to start and many things respond well to it and improve faster than if it hadn’t been done.   But why?  

Rest - gives time for healing - a couple of days will have a huge impact, 
Ice - this helps with pain relief and swelling, 
Compress - helps to reduce the swelling, and 
Elevate - helps the swelling move the lymph glands which are found around our hips in our lower limbs and armpits in our upper.   

A support in the first few days may also be helpful such as a sling or pair of crutches.  If you think that something has been badly damaged it’s worth going to the GP or seeing a physio to find out the best plan of action.  

Tuesday, January 6, 2015


I've just read about this great new, free app Collideoscope which has been developed with the aim of helping cyclists identify accident hotspots with a view to preventing injuries etc.

I think this is a fantastic idea as it allows cyclists to be better informed of problem areas but also gives an opportunity to inform others.  I've read that the plan behind the development of this app is to find out how many people are having cycling collisions and crashes, what the outcomes are and where they are happening.  This information can be used not only day to day but also to influence public policy.


The Labour Force Survey reports that in 2013/14

  • The total number of cases of work-related stress, depression or anxiety was 487 000 (39%) out of a total of 1 241 000 cases for all work-related illnesses, and 
  • The number of new cases of work-related stress, depression or anxiety was 244 000.  
  • Resulting in a total of 11.3 million working days lost over 2013/14
The HSE define work-related stress, depression and anxiety as 'a harmful reaction people have to undue pressures and demands placed on them at work' which can include not just the workload itself but also changes at work and interpersonal relationships.

In my experience the additional stressors I have noticed include hot desking, especially where bits of equipment don't work properly, job insecurity, lack of recognition from management, difficult to achieve deadlines and no time to even stop for lunch.  

Recently I was on a business course and we were told that employees were happiest when they were working at 80-85% of capacity, busy but not frantic.  

So what changes can be made to make sure that you're happy at work this year?

Why not start with the things you can control.

*  Make sure your workstation, chair, laptop etc are set up correctly for you.  If you're hot desking ensure  you make the changes at the start of the day so you're comfortable all day.  If you need any help on what to do check out my new website ergonomics at the physio place.  If you need extra equipment make sure you have it available and that it works well for you.

* Factor in a break from your desk every hour, even if you're just standing up. 

* Try varying the jobs you need to do throughout the day

* Make sure you take a lunch break. So many people eat something at their desk and continue working or 'googling'.  Continuing with the same posture and tasks throughout the day is a know contributor to aches and pains.

*Take regular exercise even if it's just a short walk.  A change of scene together with some exercise will help recharge you and help with your circulation too 

* If you're struggling with your workload it's unrealistic you need to speak up, your manager may not be aware that you're struggling.

I appreciate that actioning these things can seem like a mountain to climb but why not try adding in a couple of these suggestions each week and by the end of the month you might be feeling like you're back in the driving seat.

Friday, September 19, 2014


Here are some easy to follow guidelines which I hope will make sure your workstation is well set up for you.

Having your chair correctly set up for you offering enough upper and lower back support to maintain your curves is key.  Ensuring the depth and width of the seat offer enough support that you can rest comfortably and get your feet on the floor with your back into the back of the chair is important.  Ideally there should be about 3 fingers depth between the front of the chair and the back of your legs.  
The desk should be at a height that you can sit comfortably whilst maintaining a 90 degree elbow bend.  Arms shouldn’t be reaching across your desk or causing you to slump to reach your keyboard.  If the desk is too high either lower it or raise your chair and get a footstool.  Knees and hips should be at about a 90 degree angle too or slightly more but definitely not less.
Keyboard and mouse should be within easy reach so as to maintain your elbows in by your side.  These things should not cause wrist, shoulder, neck or finger problems when using them and if they do it may be that you need something that is more ergonomic in shape.   Check out Ergonomics online website and Posturite for alternative suggestions to flat keyboards and normal mice.
The top of your screen should be level with your eyes and arm’s length away and directly in front of you.  If you use a laptop for more than short bursts of work it’s a good plan to use either a desk top monitor and laptop keyboard or raised the laptop and get a desktop keyboard.  If you’re working on it all day a docking station and desk top equipment is ideal.   
When reading, studying or doing paperwork bringing the paperwork off the desk to reduce the neck angle is ideal.  The use of a document holder or writing slope is recommended.