Sciatica Made Simple

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Sciatica Made Simple

sciatic pain can extend right down the legSciatic pain is commonly felt alongside lower back pain, it is described as pain in the leg (lower extremity). It occurs when there is irritation of the sciatic nerve, this is typically felt from the lower back down to the back of the thigh to the knee and sometimes further down into the ankle or foot.

Largest Nerve In The Body

The sciatic nerve is the largest and longest spinal nerve in the body, it extends from the lower back, running downward into the buttock or gluteal region, and into the back of the thigh and lower the leg (calf). Smaller individual nerves branch off from the sciatic nerve to reach muscles and skin and so can cause a variety of symptoms.

Commonly pain is only one side of the buttock or leg rarely felt in both sides, this is due to branching off into two sciatic nerves supplying each leg. If both legs have symptoms this may suggest either spinal nerve roots or cord is being compressed. The pain can vary from infrequent and irritation to constant and incapacitating.

Areas Of Discomfort

  • Low back (lumbar spine)
  • Hip and buttock (gluteal area)
  • back of the leg
  • Feet and toes


  • Pain: Stabling, Shooting, Burning or Dull Ache
  • Pins and needles (Tingling feeling)
  • Loss of sensation (Numb)
  • Muscles Weakness

Causes of Sciatica

Commonly the sciatic nerve is irritated in a result of a disc herniation that directly puts pressure on the nerve. Other causes such as local inflammation, trauma, and degeneration to the low back (lumbar spine) or disc. Pressure on the sciatic nerve from a muscle called piriformis (because of its pyramidal shape) can occur causing “Piriformis Syndrome”, producing symptoms similar to true sciatica.

Trapped nerves (radiculopathy) in the low back can produce diverse symptoms depending on which nerve is being trapped. The common ones are:

L4 Nerve Root (L3-L4): symptoms stemming from this level in the lower spine may include pain and/or numbness to the inside lower leg and foot; weakness to the foot

L5 Nerve Root (L4-L5): stemming from this level you may experience pain and/or numbness at the top of the foot, around big and second toe. Weakness may also be experienced potentially in the ankle.

S1 Nerve Root (L5-S1): pain and/or numbness to the outside the foot; weakness results in difficulty raising the heel off the ground or an inability to walk on tip-toes.

How to relief the pain?

  • A range of exercises/stretches can be used to relief the sciatic pain along with relief of lower back pain. Please watch our video on exercises to help relieve your lower back pain!
  • Pain may increase by prolonged sitting, standing up, twisting, lifting or straining; therefore reduce these movements to help relieve the pressure or irritation on the sciatic nerve.
  • Lying flat with a pillow to support your head and under your knees will help relieve the pressure on your back, using a cold compress on the affected side will help with any local inflammation that has occurred.

If your symptoms don’t improve it’s best to seek the professional advice, as the are also other medical conditions which may need to be looked at.

Osteopath, Wimbledon
Jennifer Beck, M.OST
Member of the General Osteopathic Council
Member of the Institute of Osteopaths

I am available to help you today. Being gentle and working in tune with nature, it will be a relaxing way to heal“.

Call anytime for an appointment of free telephone advice, 02089462331

New patients: book your first 60 minute appointment and treatment here

Reduce Running Injuries By Changing Your Running Posture

By | Exercise, Pain Relief, Sports | No Comments

Improve your running technique

These two pictures put side by side show how from childhood we have good hip extension. The knee of the back leg is almost a straight line with hips and abdomen and chest.  Haile Gebrselassie hasn’t lost that full hip extension either!

However for most of us that have desk based jobs our hip flexors – the ones that help us bend at the waist- become tighter and can keep us in a slightly flexed position. In turn this means that when we run we do not get full extension at the hip.

Why does this matter?

1) Increased risk of running injuries

If our hips remain slightly flexed through the gait cycle then the femur (thigh bone) is always slightly rotated inwards. This in turn can put extra strain on the IT band, the knee and the hip bursa which can leading to strain injuries in these areas.

We can also try to over compensate with a short back swing and with a longer stride. This takes up more energy too and can lead to greater strain on the knee and foot leading to Achilles tendonitis and patella femoral pain syndrome (pain behind the knee cap)

Alternatively, runners gain extra hip ‘extension’ by arching their lumbar spines and this in turn can lead to lumber spine pain.

 2) Reduced running efficiency

It also does not allow for most efficient running. When your hip reaches full extension you have stored maximum potential energy in the hip flexor muscles (psoas, iliacus and rectus femoris) which turns into Kinetic energy on the swing phase of the run as you bring your leg forward for the next step.

And so we can expend more energy in running with less hip extension.

What can you do ?

Running injuries tend to be multi-factoral but a lack of Hip flexion is often involved.

To help increase hip extension you need to work on lengthening your hip flexors (psoas, iliopsoas and Rectus Femoris) as well as activating and strengthening your Gluteal muscles.

And then consider how to incorporate this into your running posture. Look up as you run and run with a more upright stance. This will help with a greater degree of extension at the hip.

Here are two key exercises designed to help you do just that

Do them daily am and pm 10-15x each and work them into your warm ups and warm downs

Hip flexor stretch- a guaranteed antidote to sitting at your desk and shortened hip flexors

Hip extensor activation- Gluteal (buttock) strengthening

Hugo Firth BOst, BSc, MA
Osteopath and
Sports Rehab Specialist

Sports Osteopath Hugo Firth

Member of the General Osteopathic Council
Member of the Institute of Osteopaths
“My approach to healthcare is a balance between osteopathy and patient empowerment through effective therapeutic exercises. I recognise it’s not always possible to come in for a treatment, and many conditions can be helped with the right exercise if used early enough. After all prevention is much less painful than cure“.
I offer free advice via email, phone 0208962331 or by filling in this online form here
New Patients: 60 minute appointment  – book here please

Scans And Pills A Waste of Time For Back Pain

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Pain killers and scans can harm you and wastes your money. Find out why.

Back & Neck Pain
Are Scans and Pills a Waste of Time?

As an osteopath, I found the following article a compelling read. It featured in The Independent and was entitled, Opioids, injections and scans of ‘dubious benefit’ harming 540 million back pain sufferers worldwide” (21 March 2018). Curiously, this day is also my Persian New Year, the vernal equinox. I say curiously because I get the impression that the medical profession may be making a new start too, in managing spinal pain.

dont suffer back pain any more

Do I Need A Scan?

In private practice, one of the commonest questions I get asked as a practicing osteopath is, “Don’t I need a scan or an x-ray; or should I see my doctor?” In the case of the GP, I usually reply, “If you have a toothache, you go straight to the dentist, you don’t go to the doctor.”

In the same way, osteopaths, physiotherapists and chiropractors are medically recognised by the medical profession as primary healthcare practitioners in their own right. This is reflected in law by the respective acts of Parliament. This is because our clinical skills are recognised, and we are validated to work independently as specialists in this field. Day in and day out, that’s all we treat: back pain, neck pain, sciatica, trapped nerves, muscle spasms and so on. Of course, there is an overlap between our professions, which was actually the focus of The Independent article, which found that the reliance on traditional medical support is currently skewed against the patients’ best interests.

Back pain guidelines

Click here to see guidelines

If healing is slow, patients will request an investigation, such as a scan or an x-ray. This is quite understandable. However, research evidence has advised against this, unless certain criteria are met (for details, see later in the text). On the contrary, the government’s own guidelines, the NICE guidelines (November 2016), recommend that patient education and spinal manipulation, along with exercises. The guidelines also recommend combining physical treatment with psychological support, when necessary. Certain types of pain and some pains which are slow to heal may have psychological causes. This could be as straightforward as stress at work, home, relationship issues, emotional fatigue etc. Or, if it is more advanced, we may be looking at depression, for example, or other conditions that may require psychotherapy or cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT). In such cases, your osteopath is qualified to identify the need and refer you on.

Importantly, the evidence in the NICE guidelines that supports spinal injections / invasive procedures is poor. It specifically instructs doctors to avoid these procedures for pure low back pain, which also includes certain types of spinal surgery. In other words, it is encouraging us to consider a different approach to back pain, recurring pain and chronic pain. As a point of interest, modern medical books no longer refer to “back pain treatment”, as there has been a subtle change to re-word it as “back pain management”.

Increased Scans & Drug Use is Ineffective

Returning to The Independent news story, it reports that Professor Rachelle Buchbinder, a leading rheumatologist at Monash University, Australia, said: “The majority of cases of low back pain respond to simple physical and psychological therapies that keep people active and enable them to stay at work.” She added that: “Often, however, it is more aggressive treatments of dubious benefit that are promoted and reimbursed.” She was referring to the prescribing habits of the doctor, whether they be pharmacological, surgical or investigatory. She highlighted how the “Increased use of ineffective potentially unsafe treatments has wasted limited health-care resources and harmed patients,” such as opioid (painkiller) addiction and opioid mortality, which she cited as having escalated over the last 20 years in the USA. Her work has been published in The Lancet.

A New Way Needed

According to Professor Buchbinder, the idea of requiring a scan or prescription-grade medication is so ingrained in patient culture, they expect it and doctors largely acquiesce. Year after year, studies have supported Professor Buchbinder’s conclusions. In the light of such a waste of resources and actual harm, she is calling for a worldwide, top down, rethink – from governments and policy makers to healthcare practitioners – of this leading cause of pain and debility, which is occurring globally. In short, she is calling for a culture shift that will not only educate doctors and the public against the use of scans and strong drugs, but also urge them to consider physical therapy, rest, and most of all, education (something that osteopaths have been doing since the late-1880s, which is perhaps why osteopathy is so popular worldwide).

But Scans Do have Their Place

Returning to the scan requests, we do acknowledge that it is important to rule out the pathology (i.e. medical causes) of back pain, which would inherently require further investigation. Whilst pathology is thankfully very rare, the following list can help to put your mind at rest.

Serious red flags which require medical help include-

History of trauma enough to fracture a bone

Sudden weight loss

High fever

Loss of bowel / bladder function

Numbness around anus, scrotum or vaginal area

Weakness in any limb (ie arm or leg)

Foot drop

First onset of pain >55 years of age

Rest assured, every primary care physical therapist is qualified to detect and refer you in such cases. There are many simple neurological and orthopaedic tests that can be done in-house to help route you through to the best care. It is interesting to note that these consulting room tests are the same as the ones you would encounter when visiting a medical doctor.

What If Your Symptoms Are Getting Worse?

However, assuming that no pathology exists, where does this leave you, especially if your symptoms are unrelenting or getting worse? One of the most natural reasons for requesting a scan “is to see what is going on”. However, countless medical studies sadly show there is a very poor correlation between a patient’s symptoms and the findings seen on the scan. For example a systemic review of literature (this is a high level review, not just a single clinical trial) in 2015 concludes that: “Imaging findings of spine degeneration are present in high proportions of asymptomatic individuals, increasing with age. Many imaging-based degenerative features are likely part of normal aging and unassociated with pain.

neck pain

Slipped disc not causing pain

I recall a case about 25 years ago, where I treated a middle-aged woman with spinal pain, who had been diagnosed with arthritis of the spine by her NHS team. In short, her pain was relieved by the treatment I gave her. But I mentioned to her that the arthritis in her spine would remain; the inference being that her back pain could not have arisen from the arthritis, as the arthritis would remain unchanged by the osteopathic treatment. In other words, the cause of her pain must have arisen from a different source (which thankfully is amenable to manipulative treatment). There are many such examples in which expensive scans, together with strong medication, are routinely given. This not only a waste of NHS resources, but also means there is a delay in the patient getting the right treatment, which only prolongs their suffering.

If You Do Need A Scan

In private practice, however, we do refer for scans, usually at the patient’s request. Such scans are costly. In fact, the cheapest I know of at the time of writing (March 2018) is about £300. So why do we do it? The main reason for me, is to enable the patient to see in black and white what their spine looks like, as there will always be a certain amount of degeneration in any scan (as mentioned above). It is my hope, rather than belief, this visual of their spine may help to prompt the patient to take better care of their spine. However, if nothing is seen on the scan, it shows the symptoms are not due to a medical pathology and are more likely to have arisen from soft-tissue overuse or psychological factors. In both these examples, it crucially helps to support patient education, as advocated by Professor Buchbinder, NICE, and the years of extensive research by other authors. Additionally, it helps to address the bio-psycho-social component of pain, i.e. how the patient’s body is being used throughout the day, physically and emotionally.

Before undertaking a scan, I carefully explain the reasons why it may be clinically unhelpful. Some patients concur and put the money towards something else in their lives, and some naturally don’t. Patient education is a slow process and we all learn at our own rate. I like to support patients on their healing journey in whatever way it is needed.

In conclusion, best practice dictates that we should help the patient to understand the root causes of the pain, and/or the factors which inhibit the healing cycle. This is what patient education is all about. Historically, this important pillar is often discounted by the patient, as their thoughts are focused on the expectation of a full 30 minutes of manipulation to effect a  “cure”. Manipulation needs to be allied with education, exercises, as well as psychological and social factors. Perhaps this is what makes the Living Centre Clinic such a successful clinic in delivering osteopathic treatment, in Wimbledon or anywhere else in the SW London area. Our osteopathic team provides a genuinely holistic treatment, bringing together the key aspects of health, lifestyle, emotion and injury correction.

Personal Comment

senior osteopath, Wimbledon

After all these years (since I graduated in 1986), it is heartening for me to see these tenets finally recognised and actively promoted by the medical profession. There is a move to change the way that society thinks about back pain, both nationally and globally. This is something I genuinely thought would never happen in my professional lifetime, and I feel it validates the years of care that I have taken in helping patients to not only heal, but to remain healed. After all, healing a pain will last only for so long, until the next injury; but the information will last a lifetime. What better way to care for a patient than to impart the power of self-healing?

Mr Vispi Jamooji DO, PG Cert SPOP  (1986)

More Information

Visit our Osteopathy Page
For free advice click here or call 02089462331.
New Patients: 60 minute appointment  – book here please

Office Chair Exercises

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Office Chair Exercises

by Hugo Firth, Osteopath

Back and Neck Exercise

90 Second Desk Exercise Workout

Want to know the best way to relieve stress at your desk? Our resident Sports and Exercise osteopath Hugo Firth has devised this special 90 second workout.  Hugo Firth brings together his life long skills of in sports together with his career as a successful Sports Osteopath. Quickly relieve tension and relax tired tissues. 

Do these exercises up to 6 times a day. Why not book bookmark this page and refer to it daily?

As with all exercises these must not be rushed and if symptoms persist you may wish to seek professional help. Why not contact Hugo for some friendly advice – click link below to use our online form:

Use our online form to ask us any quetion about your health or the health of a friend.

Top Tips

In the mean time here are some tip for general well being.

  1. Take a short break out of your chair every 60 mins or so. You may even wish to drink more water to prompt you to get up more often.
  2. Choose a variety of exercises throughout the week to help you keep fit. Try and avoid repetitive exercises, such as constant exposure to running, cycling or the same gym exercises. Postural variety is what keeps you going. 
  3. Avoid any prolonged activity, such as long periods of sitting, driving, or standing. Its hard to break this up if it is what you do for a living, but during your most stressful times, try and find a way around it. 
  4. Early nights help boost healing. So why not try a week of early night (just once, as a one-off) and we are sure you will be so impressed you will want to do that again. 
  5. Try and avoid soft deep chairs and settees. Contrary to popular belief soft squidgy chairs, beds and settees can be a source of hidden danger to the spine. If you are going through a bad time, try lying on your side or back to watch TV (or read), either on the settee or on the floor.

Hugo Firth BOst, BSc, MA
Osteopath and
Sports Rehab Specialist

Sports Osteopath Hugo Firth

Member of the General Osteopathic Council
Member of the Institute of Osteopaths
My approach to healthcare is a balance between osteopathy and patient empowerment through effective therapeutic exercises. I recognise it’s not always possible to come in for a treatment, and many conditions can be helped with the right exercise if used early enough. After all prevention is much less painful than cure“.
I offer free advice via email, phone 0208962331 or by filling in this online form here

How can Cranial Osteopathy can help my crying baby?

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Cranial Osteopathy for Crying Babies

Video by Vispi Jamooji
Over 27,000 views on YouTube

Why is my baby crying so much?

As a qualified specialist paediatric osteopath, one of the commonest questions I get asked is how do you stop a baby from crying. Crying is of course a natural communication used by babies for almost every need: ” ‘I am hungry’,  ‘thirsty’, ‘bored, ‘feel ill’ ” etc.

But what happens when your baby is checked by the health visitor, GP or medical paediatrician and no reason can be found for your baby’s crying. What if your baby that cries the minute you put him down or awakens ‘suddenly’ from sleep crying. Or the baby that’s inconsolable from the late afternoon until night time?

When the medical profession can’t find anything wrong they might say your new born baby is suffering from ‘colic’. It might also be the reason why colic treatments such as Infacol, Colief, ranitidine etc may have limited success in such cases.

As your new born appears healthy and happy in other ways, there be another reason for this behaviour. Cranial Osteopaths take time to look at the baby’s head – which along with the gut is one of the most pain sensitive structures in a new born baby. Being born exerts large forces on the baby’s head, which is literally like squeezing a baby through an hour glass shape with the baby’s head being used to clear the way. No wonder it may have a sore head in some cases. Of course this is a normal process. Other reasons why a baby may get a sore head include: the way the baby might have been lying in the womb, how ‘crumpled’ the baby was in the womb and of course birthing processes such as forceps, ventouse or caesarean deliveries. In the case of the latter the head and neck can become stretched as the baby is pulled out, which is the exact opposite of what nature intended the head to do (remember in nature the head is designed to be ‘squashed’ as it descends the birth canal – not pulled and lengthened). Whilst such assisted delivery techniques are typically vital and safe, it makes sense to have your baby’s head and neck checked after.


So what do I do as a cranial osteopath?

Baby Cranial Osteopathy

Baby Cranial Osteopathy

Firstly I check to see if the baby’s head and neck are aligned as one would expect. I carry out gentle, tried and tested, cranial releases to ease any tissues which may have become tight or locked up. This consists of a series of gentle holds. No force is applied against these structures, just very gentle, subtle holds in certain directions. The neck and chest are also checked, as many of the head and neck muscles finish on the chest and upper back. Once a release has been established, most of the work is complete.

The release provides a window of time for baby to get better. However if baby goes back to ‘old habits’ such as lying on the ‘wrong’ side, lifted or carried in certain ways etc, the problem may return. I teach parents how to look after their baby at home. Knowing doing right from wrong is a key support in the care of the new born baby. This would include positions your baby would favour when being held, techniques for lifting your new born baby, positions for laying your baby, baby postures to try and of course I show you what baby exercises to do. These are all specific to each new born child and so the advice given will vary depending on each baby.

Stopping you baby crying is a joint effort between parent and osteopath. Cranial osteopathy may not be the solution in every case, but in cases where the crying is due to mechanical reasons, our special cranial consultations can go a long way to providing the postural relief for a happier, less fractious, new born baby. Cranial osteopathy for babies is known to help relax a baby, according to government research (NICE guidelines).

Princess AnneVispi Jamooji is an experienced baby cranial osteopath, with a specialist degree in paediatric osteopathy from the world renowned University College of Osteopathy, London. His interest in crying babies began in 1994 following the birth of his own daughter who cried relentlessly from birth. His experience as a father is coupled with his professional skills, providing you with the confidence to manage as well as care for your new born baby child.

NOTE: Only doctors are qualified to diagnose life threatening conditions, which thankfully happen rarely. For this reason we ask you to always take your crying baby to your GP first.  We all want to be certain that any underlying medical issues have been eliminated. 

senior osteopath, Wimbledon

Mr Vispi Jamooji DO PG Cert SPOP is a qualified specialist paediatric osteopath as well as a cranial osteopath. He has been in practice over 30 years and heads the Baby Child and Mum Team at the Living Centre Clinic.  For free advice click here or cal 02089462331.

For a consultation or a “Baby Checkup” click below 24/7

Pain Relief – Hot or Cold?

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Self Help Pain Relief: Apply Hot or Cold?

Self help for pain relief

A frequent question I get asked shall I use a hot or cold compress? Firstly, let’s understand what each does?

Heat Therapy:

  • Improves circulation
  • Allows expansion of the vessels and tissues
  • Increases temperature
  • Soothe and relax muscle discomfort

You can use either dry heat (heat pad) or moist heat (hot baths, steam), both should aim or a ‘warm’ temperature not hot! A common mistake people make, which leads to burns! You can use local treatment for targeting one muscle, or a whole area targeting whole body stiffness.

When you should not use heat?

  • If you have bruising
  • Inflamed joints/area
  • Open wounds

Certain pre-existing conditions that may causing higher risk of burns or complications

  • Diabetes
  • Dermatitis
  • Vascular disease
  • Deep vein thrombosis
  • Multiple sclerosis

Cold Therapy:

  • Reducing blood flow
  • Contraction of blood vessels and tissues
  • Reducing inflammation
  • Relieve pain
  • Temporarily reduce nerve activity

You can use for local areas: ice packs, sprays, or whole body effect: ice baths, ice massage. During the first 72 hours of initial injury, can use ice three times a day for 10-15 minutes.

When should you not use ice?

  • Tight and stiff muscles
  • Feeling unwell (shivering cold)


As a general rule of thumb use cold therapy on a new injury. The first object is to reduce the inflammation, which is the body’s first response to injury. (Remember inflammation is a big source of pain).  It should be applied for up to 15 minutes only and usually no more than 4 times a day. 

If you are experiencing muscle spasm, then heat can be a great source of relief. Heat is generally best applied a few days after the acute injury has passed (ie giving time for the inflammation to subside).  As a general rule of thumb, if you feel like you need a massage, it probably means you are ready for a heat pack.

If you are unsure, always go for cold therapy first, as at the worst it will do you no harm. Where as applying heat to an inflamed area will increase the inflammation which will certainly add to the pain and stop you feeling better.  Also remember that generally speaking heat therapy works against medicines like Neurofen (ibuprofen), naproxyn, diclofenac etc. Always protect your body from direct sources of hot or cold as both can burn the skin, as mentioned above.  If this all sounds confusing or need personal advice – give us a call – we are always on hand to give free telephone advice – even if you are not a patient. So please share this blog or visit our pain relief page!


Osteopath, Wimbledon
Jennifer Beck, M.OST
Member of the General Osteopathic Council
Member of the Institute of Osteopaths

I am available to help you today. Being gentle and working in tune with nature, it will be a relaxing way to heal“.

Call anytime for an appointment of free telephone advice, 02089462331


Choosing Yoga or Pilates?

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Choosing: Yoga or Pilates?Pilates & Yoga for back pain

You may think these are in the same exercise category, however they are rooted from very different histories. Read below to help determine which practice is right for you…


This type of exercise originated in south Asia thousands of years ago, the purpose is the unite the mind, body and spirit. They use the whole body structure using the environment to heal the body and help mental harmony.

The different styles:

  • Anusara: Beginners class to yoga with physical practice to yoga
  • Bikram: ‘Hot Yoga’ series of 26 basic yoga postures, each performed twice
  • Hatha: Classical physical yoga practice using breathing and posture
  • Ashtanga: Six established and strenuous pose sequences
  • Lyengar: precise alignment and deliberate sequencing using props.
  • Kundalini: constantly moving, invigorating poses.
  • Vinyasa: Active and athletic style of yoga adapted from the traditional ashtanga system
  • Prenatal: yoga postures adapted for expecting mothers
  • Restorative: using less poses and increased breathing techniques.


This type of exercise was created by Joseph Pilates in the 1920’s. The purpose of Pilates is to gain flexibility, strength and body awareness. Although the routine is performed on a mat, there are specific Pilate’s machines; this type is called the Cadillac and reformer.


  • Mat Pilates: classical specific routine of movements and involves little or no equipment – heavily focuses on strengthening the core
  • Contemporary studio Pilates: fully equipped studio under expert instruction
  • Group reformer Pilates: dynamic, full body workout all with one piece of equipment (the Reformer)
  • Classical Pilates: fully equipped studio, with original series of movements in a specific order.


Questions you can ask yourself before choosing?

  1. Are you seeking exercise for a mental benefit? All exercise is linked with improving your mental health, yoga may be most effective for this as it focuses on the mind, body and spirit.
  2. What physical benefit are you hoping for? Pilates is known for focusing on core strength however yoga has an overall benefit.
  3. Have you currently got back pain? Some routines/positions can increase pain therefore informing your instructor of your current situation is important.
  4. No to props? Yoga using your body weight with a sequence of positions where Pilates uses different props to enhance the technique.

Ultimately the choice is yours, trying out both and deciding what works best for you. Yoga provides a meditative environment for you to improve overall quality of life, focuses on stress relief while improving our body. Pilates works from the centre of your body outwards, it forces to increase your body awareness. In my opinion, yoga is excellent for everyone by improving their mental health, but allowing a combination of Pilates to optimize your body function.

Osteopath, Wimbledon
Jennifer Beck, M.OST
Member of the General Osteopathic Council
Member of the Institute of Osteopaths

I am available to help you today. Being gentle and working in tune with nature, it will be a relaxing way to heal“.

Call anytime for an appointment of free telephone advice, 02089462331


What My Trip to South Africa taught me about Back Pain!

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What My Trip to South Africa taught me about Back Pain!

Osteopath, Wimbledon

Jennifer Beck, Osteopath

Lone bull elephant in Kruger ParkI’m just back from a holiday in the Kruger. It was a long flight and reminded me of how some of my patients have to face a long-haul flight with back pain. Following my own advice I resisted the temptation to sit for hours at one time, to reduce the pain of sitting I followed some basic chair exercises; which can be found below.
Click to download my video exercise pdf:
Exercises to do whilst sitting at your office or PC
So here are my Top Tips for long haul flights:
Make sure you have comfortable, light shoes. There is usually pressure socks provided which will help with the swelling!Take a supportive neck pillow to stop your head from dropping and causing neck pain Keep hydrated throughout the journey Do chair exercises regularly Get up and walk every few hours, if you can’t, make sure you move your feet around.We arrived at the park to a great sunshine, and I was not as tired as I had originally feared. I was ready for the first game drive, we were extremely lucky to have seen so much. We were greeted by the white ring and giraffe…

Giraffe's dont have neck problems
Eating and Sleeping
During my week of observing these animals, you realise the important of a healthy and consistent diet. Meals are often skipped, and when eaten do not contain the right nutrients to maintain a healthy regime. Then there is sleeping, if you’ve ever been treated by myself, this is something I highly recommend. Sleeping is a key element for body recovery, it helps with both mental and physical recovery.
Lion walking freely

Watching the lions, one of the top five animals that rule the outside world, they have regular naps through the day, where the rest themselves for the tasks of the day. This is similar for us; during our busy life stresses accumulate through the spine weather it’s sitting at a desk or a manual job.Resting your spine in a neutral position on the floor will allow the pressure of the day to reduce. It also enhances your performance through the day. So when you get back to work, get up and don’t stay in the same position for hours without moving.

Have yourself a healthy snack and a glass of water to hydrate yourself, make sure you have to get up and away from your current task, at least 3 – 4 times a day.

Watching the animals constantly on the move reminded me of how little as humans we move. It is well known that lack of movement can lead to premature wearing of joints and muscle weakness. We are all designed to move.  Movement is extremely important for the human body. It strengthens our bones and muscles. It allows blood flow to increase.  Increased blood flow means faster healing, often before it becomes a clinical issue (ie a damaged back).  Our muscles are designed to support and reinforce our body.

This does not mean that you have to hit the gym, walking is a great way of activating your movement; making sure you change the incline and pace to get your heart rate up.

If you want to improve your health, its worth learning a thing or two from mother nature!

Osteopath, Wimbledon
Jennifer Beck, M.OST
Member of the General Osteopathic Council
Member of the Institute of Osteopaths

I am available to help you today. Being gentle and working in tune with nature, it will be a relaxing way to heal“.

Call anytime for an appointment of free telephone advice, 02089462331

Shoulder and Arm Pain

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National Back Awarness

Shoulder and Arm Pain

Shoulder & Arm Pain

Shoulder and arm pain treatment


Ever wondered where that pain in your arm or shoulder is coming from? With this being National Back Pain awareness week, it’s helpful to know that pain in your arm may actually be coming from your back and osteopathy is here to help!

Is it comming from the Back?

On certain occasions shoulder or arm can be painful even though nothing is wrong with the shoulder or the arm! In these cases it may be possible the neck is the cause of the pain and discomfort. Even more perplexing the patient may say they dont have a neck problem. This is a common phenomena seen by clinicians every day.

Causes of Shoulder/Arm pain from the back

There are ways in which pain can appear in the shoulder or arm, and in these cases the treatment needs to be in the neck.

1. Trapped Nerve

painful areas of the armNerves follow a predefined course from the vertebrae in your neck into and down your arm to your hand. This complex motorway of nerves allows us to move our limbs and feel sensation see image.

Sometimes, one or more of these nerves get trapped where they exit the spine and cause pain / tingling somewhere along its course. This can result in symptoms in the shoulder, upper arm, forearm or fingers. We use the site of pain to our advantage by tracing the nerve back to where it’s pinched in the neck. That’s the reason why people are often asked to identify exactly where the pain is or which fingers are affected. Each of the numbers in the image tell us where to look in the neck.

2. Referred Pain
There are cases of arm and shoulder pain where the nerve itself isn’t trapped but the root of the problem is still stemming from the back. This is a phenomenon called Referred Pain. And similarly, it’s only by fixing the issue in your back can we alleviate your arm symptoms.

3. Posture
We all know good posture is important, maintaining it, however, can be difficult especially with long commutes, desk work and stress. But did you know that bad posture can be another cause of shoulder/arm pain?
Sitting or standing with the back in a slouched position changes the mechanics of your shoulders and they tend to round forwards. Your arms are now in a position that’s likely to put strain on the muscles and joints in your shoulders which can, over time, become very sore!
Osteopaths can gently stretch your back, open up your chest and realign your body back to its neutral position, thus reducing the strain on your arms making day to day life pain free.
We can also provide you with useful advice on how you can improve your posture yourself. Here is a simple exercise you can do to loosen your shoulders to get you started.

Top Tips for Beating Shoulder and Arm Pain

1.  Avoid sleeping on the painful side

2.  Better way of using a cell phone or tablet:

3.  Free Exercise PDF (including videos): click  image

Home exercises for the shoulder

Robert Ballard MOst, DO

Cranial Osteopath
Children Osteopath

Call 0208 946 2331 to see how we we can help you today.

NOTE: all advice and exercises are for guidance only. Every pain is different. These exercises may not agree with every back-pain complaint, so please stop immediately if pain arises. You are adviced to seek professional help before following the advice or exercises.I am text block. Click edit button to change this text. Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Ut elit tellus, luctus nec ullamcorper mattis, pulvinar dapibus leo.

Upper Back Pain

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National Back Awarness

Upper Back Pain

It all happens here

Back pain stretch

This is the part of the spine that we use most when we are sitting at our desks, driving our cars, reading, eating. When I say ‘using’ it’s almost a misnomer.

Our upper backs are actually moving very little. It is this lack of movement that can cause us pain in the long term.

We sit at our desk, shoulders forward fingers ready to type on our key boards, heads forward, upper back arched. Sometimes for hours at a time.

Poor posture

Our bodies take this input as a desired position and start to adapt accordingly. The body is always looking for efficiencies. To reduce energy expenditure. So it reduces blood supply to muscles, joints stop moving so nerves receive less innervation.

Muscles at the front of our bodies becoming shorter such as our pectorals.

Our spinal muscles become stretched and longer. And our neck muscles become shorter as they constantly lift our heads up to view the screen.

We do this day in day out for up to 8 hrs a day for months and then years! Then we go home and watch tv or use our laptops at home, or alternatively try and get the stress of our work out the system and go cycling and assume the exact same position.

Muscles working with a reduced blood supply work anaerobically and we get lactic acid build up. Over time these muscles lose their flexibility and become fibrotic (ropey) and can become inflamed. That causes us pain.

Top Tips to stop Upper Back Pain

To stop upper back pain – simple – change the inputs.

Break the static 8 hrs day. Stop every 30-45 mins and make your back and shoulders move. Your body will respond by increasing blood supply. Muscles will change to become more flexible. Joints and nerve innervation inputs will increase.

Here are three simple exercises you can do at work to start changing the inputs.

Pectoral Stretch

T-Spine Samba

T-Spine Side Bending


TIP: Choose exercises which will increase the mobility of your upper back.  Swimming is excellent for this especially front crawl and back stroke. Certain pilates exercises are excellent at generating more mobility in the thoracic spine if done regularly too.

Hugo Firth BOst, BSc, MA

Exercise & Posture Osteopath
Call 0208 946 2331 to see how we we can help you today.

NOTE: all advice and exercises are for guidance only. Every pain is different. These exercises may not agree with every back-pain complaint, so please stop immediately if pain arises. You are adviced to seek professional help before following the advice or exercises.