Autumn is coming – Time for reflection…Oh, and clearing the garden.

June 2, 2015

A few days ago I decided (on the spur of the moment), to take down a Magnolia tree that was shading the house. To be frank, the real reason is that it was giving the local squirrel population a convenient bridge to my roof space and therefore extending my ongoing battle with there smart little beggars!

However, the point of this reflective post is that I did EXACTLY the opposite of the advice I give to my patients! With frowning solemnity, I tell them how silly it would be to treat ANY physical activity differently to the way that we should approach exercise and movement. This of course includes gardening, especially the , “I was only moving a large pot/I was only felling a tree/I was only double-digging the potato plot ready for next season”, comments that I smugly listen to and gently shake my head sadly at.

I made the decision (good, as I had been putting it off for a while), leapt to my feet and gathered the tools I’d need (pretty good, as this shows planning and commitment), fired up the chainsaw and plunged in (really not so good, as I’d done no physical preparation and hadn’t got proper eye protection), and then spent several hours turning a perfectly good tree into fuel for the open fire and a huge pile of debris that I couldn’t be bothered to take to the dump because my back hurt, my shoulders were knackered and my quads were shaking from spending too much time terrified up a ladder!

What lesson should I draw from this? The most practical answer to that is probably go to work and earn the money to employ a professional (but then would he arm up either?). What should I and you and, indeed a professional tree surgeon, have done?

The image to the right might be one answer, but I think we can take a more pragmatic approach and


September 29, 2011

Wrist pain is common. Wrist pain starts for many reasons including trauma, overuse and disease, but I think we often overlook its importance when there isn’t an obvious injury like a fall. The emphasis for many sports and fitness enthusiasts, both consumers and providers, is on the bigger, perhaps more impressive structures.
Sure, there are many articles on the web about grip strength, and forearm strength, but what I see as missing from many of these articles and blogs is any attention to the ‘non-muscular’ structures, like tendons and fascial integrity of the retinacula. These connecting structures that provide stability and ‘packaging’ for the mobile structures like joints and muscles have an unglamorous image.
Wrist pain is amazingly frustrating to anyone who suffers from it, but especially to the active and fit because it inhibits or prevents almost every they do, from dressing to lifting their favourite weight to leaning on the wrist to perform a press-up or sprint start.
One common problem is strain of the ulnar collateral ligament (often called the styloid ligament),  on the outer (ulnar), side of the wrist. It usually starts after overuse or strain of the wrist, perhaps as when over-stretching the grip and especially when cocking the wrist sideways.
You will note that Matt’s wrist, although subject to the stress of an off-centre 44kg load, remains aligned with his forearm and is not deviating to either side.
So, why does this ligament give so much trouble. It is small, short and rather insignificant looking.
The styloid ligament is a rounded cord, attached above to the end of the styloid process of the ulna, and dividing below into two fasciculi, one of which is attached to the medial side of the triquetral bone, the other to the pisiform and flexor retinaculum.
In other words, from the end of the outer forearm bone to two of the wrist bones and some fascia.
So why does it matter if it small, short and insignificant? Well, small doesn’t just have to beautiful. It can be functional and vital as well (and I did say insignificant looking!). The answer is in its role in stabilising for the wrist, prevention of excessive radial deviation  and helps in the limiting over flexing of the wrist. (Remember it is blended with the flexor retinaculum).
In anatomical terms it is very complex and forms part of the triangular fibrocartilage complex. In functional terms, the TFCC forms a cushion for the end of the ulnar bone and is a major stabiliser of the wrist.
So what happens when you stuff it up?
First, there is pain, particularly on wrist flexion and ulnar and radial deviation (sideways motion). Extension tends to feel sore and compressive rather than sharp, like the other movements.
Second, swelling and sometimes heat is seen over the outer side of the wrist. The whole wrist, hand and even forearm may feel stiff and ‘full’, as if pumped up, but not in a healthful way!
Third, you may find it confusing; overall grip might feel reasonable, but pinching index and thumb together can be really sharp. There may well be lots of clicking across the joint, especially if you twist the wrist. It is not necessarily painful, but a bit disturbing. The elbow may well click also.
Fourth, painkillers may not be all that effective and finding a comfy position is hard to achieve.
All these features and no doubt many others, are ‘normal’ for sprains and strains. They are however a message not to plough on regardless. Symptoms should be settling over a matter of days as long as you use common sense practice – any longer than a week, the suspicion must be that it is more than a sprain.
Self treatment includes the old faithful’s of R.I.C.E or Rest, Ice, Compression and Elevation. The example on the right is a bit extreme (I’m sure you will be a lot neater), but you get the idea.
Keep the joints moving with plenty of articulation WITHOUT LOAD, strip out any trigger points you may have in your forearms with a TPT ball (I recommend the one from this link), or just deep thumb pressure assuming you haven’t rogered the other wrist as well.
Slowly reintroduce exercise with some gentle weight bearing, perhaps with the wrist strapped initially and do take your time. It is worth remembering that ligaments do not have a good elastic limit, like muscle and tendon fibres.
The relevance of that is that if you overstretch a ligament badly, continue to over-stretch it or ignoring these injuries, they will become less and less competent. And we don’t want that do we?
Keep well and strong. Contact me here if there are any questions arising from this brief offering.

Heads Up!

January 19, 2011

Filed under: AB'S PERSONAL VIEWS,CRANIAL THERAPY — Andy Bellamy @ 2:38 pm

Just a short note on the on-time  arrival of our first precious grandchild – a healthy girl who is, of course, quite simply beautiful!

She did enter the world with a little Ventouse assistance after a relatively easy labour, (according to our daughter), and apart from being one of the first to have a cuddle, I was thrilled to be asked to check her over for any cranial problems. Happily, there were no issues to deal with, but I will be keeping one professional eye cocked, while I use my ‘grandad’ eye to look admiringly on.

It has, however triggered me to think about a niggling doubt that has been at the back of my mind for some time. As a practicing Osteopath, I normally see patients who have an existing problem or concern and indeed, this includes producing ‘a result’.

I am, therefore used to treating the halt and the lame! People with actual physical issues and injuries. We examine, test and treat physically with our hands and they get better and this includes babies and infants.

So, where is the issue?

If the patient is ill or injured, of course there isn’t one. However, when parents of young children bring their first child with, perhaps an infantile colic problem and this is happily resolved, they are often happy to bring in their subsequent children ‘just for a check up’.

Until now, I have not been used to examining and not treating patients when they are fine. It feels odd, yet the client is still getting what they want, which is further reassurance that their precious child is fit and well.

Perhaps I am just an old-school osteopath from the old pre-statuary registration days, when giving value for money did mean working hard physically at an intervention-type treatment.

Suddenly, the light has gone on as I contemplate our newest family member and what changes she will bring. It’s not how long the treatment lasts, or how much of a sweat, clicks and pops, (not on babies, of course), that you generate that matters.

I now understand that the important element is not what we Osteopaths actually do to our patients. It’s what we can give to our patients and their relatives in confidence, support and reassurance. Treatment is almost an afterthought.

Perhaps I am a slow learner and all this is obvious to the rest of you, but there’s nothing like a personal experience to make the scales fall away.

Thanks little one!


September 27, 2010


How often have we written off a patient or client because they simply won’t do what we ask of them? More than once, I suspect if we are being honest.

So, how often do we ask ourselves whether they simply CANNOT perform a particular stretch or movement!

A bit of anatomical knowledge could help us to decide how we handle these situations. I want to briefly outline one particular anatomical problem that will limit hip movement as well as cause hip & groin pain, however much you try to stretch or strengthen your way out of it. In fact, trying may make things much worse!

Abraham Maslow said, “If the only tool you have is a hammer, you tend to see every problem as a nail”, so let’s see if we can add tools to the box.

The Problem? Femero-acetabular Impingement Syndrome, (FAIS). This is where the neck of the femur, (just below the ball), knocks into, or impinges on, the rim of the socket because it has a ‘bump’ or cam that reduces range of motion, (ROM). What should be concave is convex. The rim also has a soft collar called the labrum. The potential is that the labrum tears or gets crushed and the underlying bone becomes damaged. The labrum is vital to health of the joint and its nutrition.

There are several anatomical variations to the neck/head of the femur and the socket, (see diags), that make a person more likely to suffer FAI and the bottom line is that only imaging such as X-ray and MRI will confirm the problem. A good physical examination can hint at the problem, but is probably mainly useful in ruling out other problems.

Pain in the groin is something most of us have had at some point. Most often is it the result of overuse, or ambitious sporting activity. Sometimes, it is repeated tackling, as in football or rugby. Perhaps it is an inguinal hernia!

There are hundreds of causes of hip and groin pain, but I want to stick with this increasingly recognised condition, FAIS. FAIS has only recently been generally accepted as a pathological condition and I want to ask the Kettlebell community whether anyone has experienced this or, more likely, are experiencing the symptoms, but haven’t yet had an accurate diagnosis!

So what should you look for?

  • The sufferer is usually early twenties to middle-aged and active, usually to the point of being seriously sporty, semi-pro or a professional athlete.
  • Range of hip motion is decreased, especially in flexion and internal rotation.
  • Pain is in the groin and may radiate down the thigh to the knee.
  • The pain becomes increasingly chronic and long-lasting.
  • Pain may initially be only after sport/activity and is worse after sitting/driving, crouching/squatting for extended periods.

Current research increasingly suggests an association with progressive osteo-arthritis of the hip.

The two basic mechanisms of FAI are cam impingement (most common in young athletic males) and pincer impingement (most common in middle-aged women).

What can be done about it?

From what I understand, if you have Cam Impingement, then surgery is the only solution once any significant damage has been done. Reducing activity, or ‘Managed Rest’, as it is called, will help those who can give up the sport that aggravates them, but frankly these are the people who are less likely to do so.

Arthroscopic surgery seems to be the option of choice, but you need to do your homework and pick an experienced surgeon.

Pincer Impingement, it would seem, if caught early enough, presents a window of about 6 months of remedial soft tissue and physical therapy can be helpful and some may avoid surgery. One source suggested about 2%. Bear in mind that this group tend to be middle aged people, who are perhaps a little more likely to tone down their activities.

So, the bottom line is that IF you have FAIS, you cannot work through it, and it will probably make things worse if you do. It may sound contentious, if you get a diagnosis and conservative therapy makes it better……..well, look carefully at the diagnosis, rather than the therapy/therapist. The initial diagnosis was probably wrong!

Just bear in mind that the client who has some of the symptoms or signs and who cannot seem to improve, just might have FAIS. You will make a lifelong friend if you help them to find a solution. You don’t need to be a medic, just think things through and you might just make a real difference.



July 23, 2010

I am 52 years old. Recently, I have asked myself, what do I want from exercise?  My history of sport, physical exercise, competition, health and health needs are probably quite typical!

Tall and strong at a young age, I was good at contact sports, particularly rugby and field athletics – running at someone, throwing anything and jumping were all fun for me. It was all about strength, condition and being bullet proof.

Dislocated left shoulder – shrug it off!        Torn right knee cartilage – move on!        Concussion – shake your head and get back up again.

Then, work and career started to get in the way. I married. We started a family. Professional training.  Change of career. More qualifications.  Walking with the kids and dog don’t really count, do they? Sport and exercise got put aside.

Twenty years pass. Sporadic attempts at gym, squash, circuits, and the rest. The kids grow up. Then, “40 years old” arrives and passes. Time to get rid of the growing belly. Back to the gym in earnest.

Boring, boring, boring! Too many ‘beautiful people’ who put me off and seemed so judgemental at my lack of focus and progress. Looking back, the problem was me not knowing what I wanted.

Next? A chance conversation and I was introduced to mountain biking. Now, this presses the right buttons! Wonderful and refreshing in its freedom and variability. Expensive, mind you! Great for aerobic fitness, balance and stamina – but ultimately, you get fit for what you are doing.

The activity doesn’t matter; tennis, running, rugby, and the rest – all wonderful but something was missing – I could bike a steep hill with the best and the rest, but couldn’t run up the street without puffing. The fitness was too specific, too focused.

It took another injury, severe this time, to make, no, force me to think about what I was doing. In my case, I came across kettlebell and body weight training and this works for me, physically and, more importantly, mentally. I enjoyed it and continue to enjoy it. Total body workout, flexible, aerobic and balanced. You can go heavy or light, hard or gentle.

Frankly,what works for me doesn’t matter – at my age so many people are searching for a specific or magical regime or principle that they can work to, a set of rules that they can follow. Well, let me spell it out – THERE IS NO SUCH THING! Human beings are just too variable, we all have the baggage of our particular genetics, history, fears and wants.

This means that even when we exercise in a group, there is a huge range of variability and you have a responsibility to look at what is both good and safe for you to engage in. If this wasn’t true we wouldn’t have specialist participants, (who ‘play to their strength’), in every team sport that I can think of!  Why, then do we imagine that synchronised mass step aerobics, for example, is suiting everyone and yet you don’t see anyone doing their own thing. Peer pressure – think for yourselves!

Most, if not all of this more mature age group, carry injuries. Most will have arthritic changes. The fast, twitch muscle fibres are fast disappearing. Recovery times are longer even just after each training session, let alone injuries!

Then, if that is not enough, even those who manage to get to a class, (of whatever type), are so often greeted by these lovely specimens of male and female beauty and physical perfection!

It’s enough to make you run a mile.

BUT DON’T, please don’t. Don’t blame the trainers for your lack of success in class or even for putting you off from taking up a class.


SCANNING THE CORE MUSCLES – what is the point?

April 28, 2010

Please note that the comments in this blog come from many years of clinical experience and practice, combined with details and opinions taken from various sources, including open-source internet articles. Where relevant, links are provided.

Here at the Adur Osteopathic Clinic, the Osteopathic and Physiotherapy Practitioners are frequently asked to help with understanding and developing Core Stability exercises.

The term ‘core stability’ has gone in to popular culture and is widely used in fitness, training and health circles. However, I do believe that the very popularity of the term’s use often means that people are unclear exactly what ‘the core’ is. I ask many patients to tell me what their understanding is and it is clear that there is a huge range of interpretation and advice being given.

Now it should be said that there is no substantial danger in exercising and strengthening ‘the wrong muscles’, but I believe it is a matter of accuracy and you may not get the result that you want or expect . There may be some risk of aggravating lower back problems is the exerciser if overzealous.

Exercises range from gentle, subtle pelvic floor and lower abdominal contractions to highly taxing and often aerobic dynamic exercises such as Kettlebell and advanced Pilates routines. So, who needs what? That, of course depends on what your specific needs, physical condition and ambitions are. However, I generally like my patients to start off at the bottom, (sorry!), even if they are otherwise fit and able. This is because the technique is very important and running before walking is what leads to the confusion about what core strength and stability  really is.

For example, I have scanned some very fit professional footballers and they have wonderful external and internal oblique muscles – well defined, strong and capable. But, their Transverse abdominis muscle, (the really important one), is thin and poorly defined. Why? I think that it is partly training-specific and partly because they can see fantastic abs and six packs, (so therefore they are worth the effort), and partly culturally-driven within football – pelvic floor stuff, “is a bit girlie”. I do point out that ignoring this area is partly why they are on my treatment couch  in the first place and it my responsibility to educate them of the importance. Give people the right reasons to do something and they will usually do it, even if they do need a good push to get started! Let’s face it, the most valuable, basic structural exercises are also pretty dull – but see them as the base for the more glamorous stuff.

What then, can real-time dynamic ultrasound scanning offer, and why bother? It is all about feedback, a sort of visual carrot and stick – perform an exercise or muscle contraction and see the result there and then, able to visualize what is going on beneath the skin – a quick peek inside at how things work. Action and result before your eyes. (more…)


January 21, 2010


19778_1182692889414_1290961347_30456412_4073783_nFirst, I am a Registered Osteopath and must state that my interest in this opinion piece is for the relevance of Kettlebell for people who already have back problems and more specifically for the chronic or long term sufferers. Also, this is quite a long rant, but please bear with me because the general issue of how we tackle chronic back pain in this country is a serious one and often badly tackled.

Anyone with an acute back problem should avoid strenuous exercise until they have been properly assessed by a Registered Osteopath, physiotherapist or appropriate medical practitioner.

Second, you may well ask, what on earth is Kettlebell? This dynamic exercise and training form is currently making itself felt throughout the fitness industry and claims the patronage of many celebrities, (Jennifer Lopez, Matthew McConaughey, Gerri Halliwell and Penelope Cruz are often mentioned), Russian Special Forces, boxers, cross-fit trainers, MMA* fighters and football clubs.

Raging through the US for the last decade with crossfit trainers and fitness adherents, the discipline has been in the UK for the last few years and it has now reached a prominence that is hard to ignore.

Its origins are not entirely clear but lifting weights to improve strength and fitness goes back as long as boys have wanted to show off . Kettlebells have been claimed by the Russians, Turks and Scots, (who apparently trained with small church bells!). The kettlebell or Girya resembles a cannonball with a handle. Incidentally, they do not ring. The only sound created is the heavy breathing of the user and the occasional clang as the bell finds the floor early!

Weights vary from 4Kg to 60kg, although typically 8kg, 12kg, 16kg and 20kg are used by normal mortals. The more capable and ambitious ‘kettlebellers’ are called Gireviks, Russian for weightlifter.

Now, it is not my business to promote Kettlebell as a practise, there are plenty of more able people out there who can do that, but must declare that I am an enthusiastic participant who has benefited, and has done so at a number of levels.

What is the technique?

A good whole body mobilisation is essential. Some moderate aerobic exercise such as jogging, star jumps, squats and arm swinging,  shoulder, neck and quads stretches take place over several minutes. Now I know that the evidence for stretching before exercise is now felt not to help in preventing injury, but you will need 6-10 minutes of cardiovascular ‘warm-up’ for the session that follows.

For the chronic back pain sufferer, I think this gives hope. All too often, rehab programmes concentrate on passive stretching and mobilisation, rather than a return to CV health and strength. Personal and professional experience tells me that someone with a 20 year history of back pain is afraid of the consequences.

The attitude is ‘better the devil we know’ and all that. Maintaining the staus quo is better, in the minds of many, than ‘stirring things up’, which is often the experience they have starting a new exercise programme. It takes a lot of courage to start a regime knowing that it may well make things feel worse to begin with.

However,the important word there is FEEL. I spend much of my clinical time agreeing with patients when they say, “but won’t that exercise make it hurt more?”. They don’t expect me to agree, because previous advice will often have been about caution and ‘don’t do too much’.

Being frank about what will happen is often more to do with the therapist making their own life easier; management of the patient rather than management of the condition. Both are needed, but it’s the emphasis that may need looking at! Please remember, hurting more does not necessarily equate to damage!

Of course, there are risks, but with proper guidance from your Osteopath, Physiotherapist or health advisor and in conjunction with your trainer, doing damage or causing any permanent worsening of symptoms is unlikely.

The trick is to take the right amount of time for the individual and this is where group classes can be weak – frankly, even the best trainers can’t be expected to tailor programmes for each person in a class of 20+. Don’t blame the class leader though, take personal control and think of how you get around the issue.

So, what is the answer? Well, one answer is to take personal tuition to begin with. Yes it can be expensive, but at say £35 to £40 per session over say 4 weeks, it’s cheaper than an overnight stay in London. Put bluntly, I know plenty of my chronic back pain patients do that fairly regularly ‘as a treat’. So treat yourself to being well and it may improve your mood and mental well being as well – radical stuff, eh?

Probably sounds smug, but it’s what I did. I took a couple of 1-1 lessons and was joined by a friend for a further 2, (price went down for 2 by the way), then another friend for two last sessions. Then I felt ready to join a group class. Let’s face it, most blokes don’t want to look like they don’t know what they are doing and most women don’t like to be stared at!! No doubt that sounds somehow sexist, but I hope you know what I am getting at.

Photo courtesy Paige WaehnerThe basic form is the TWO HANDED KETTLEBELL SWING. I won’t describe each exercise in detail, but the kettlebell swing is where it all starts and the technique must be good to both protect your back and get the most out of the exercise.

The swing mainly targets  the legs and abdominal muscles, the back, (BUT NOT WHILE BENT),the hip rotators and increases cardiovascular endurance. The swing element comes from contact with the inner arm as it meets the inner thigh and the thrust generated by a crisp forward thrust of the hips/pelvis.

The aerobic nature of the exercise is what startled me most when I started.

The next technique to master is the CLEAN.

Clean 1st Pos - Photo Christian Vila

Clean 1st Pos – Photo Christian Vila

Clean 2nd Pos - Photo Christian Vila

Clean 2nd Pos – Photo Christian Vila

The kettlebell design allows for the weight to roll around the hand and wrist as you lift into the clean, keeping it balanced and ‘close packed’.

Once again, the power is coming from the thighs, abdomen and to some extent the lower back, dynamic, fluid and using the whole body to distribute any stresses. However, you can see that the back is held in a neutral or slightly extended position.

The lifting arm is held close to the body to protect the joints in the arm and shoulder. This is crucial, as injuries to the rotator cuff are common when weights are used with the arms extended or stretched out.  The loose arm is used for balance and seems to help focus the dynamic nature of the move.

PRESS - Photo Christian Vila

PRESS – Photo Christian Vila

The next move is a continuation of the CLEAN; the PRESS can be seen in the image here. Particularly good for shoulder, shoulder blade and upper back muscles, it is once again using the whole body, flowing from one structure to another and while the joints are used throughout their range.  There are few static moments during kettlebell moves, the time when soft and bony structures are most stressed, and so helps in reducing the risk of damage.

While excellent for promoting mobility in the joints at each end of the collar bone, the upper ribs and neck, this exercise needs to be done with good technique. This often means using an approriate weight. I have seen people struggling with too much weight, the technique suffers with the consequent risk of neck strain.

I should also say that the leaders of the class that I attend are very hot on this and encourage swapping weights during a set – the emphasis is on keeping going safely rather than emulating Atlas.

The static presses and exertions of  ‘regular’ gym weights, fixed or free, do, in my view, carry the risk of overextension of the joints and point pressure on vulnerable structures such as the rotator cuff insertion, acromio-claviclular joint,  knee and shoulder cartilages.

There are plenty of other basic forms, but check those out on the kettlebell sites, (see examples below), as there are variations and styles that should suit most needs.

So, after all that, is it good for your back? Please remember that the back, (or spine), to physical therapists also includes the neck.

Succinctly, if you are well but unfit and want to become so, then yes. If you have back problems, then proceed with some caution!

However, as with all exercise forms, make sure that you seek out well qualified trainers and yet be strong enough in yourself to proceed at your own pace. Their job, in my view, is to provide the knowledge, support and skills, plus the encouragement to keep going and to draw out your motivation.

In conclusion, I like this regime because it is dynamic, relatively low impact and uses the joints through their whole range. It flows, is as much about balance and technique as it is about strength, yet improves power.

Kettlebell is an excellent mix of aerobic exercise and fat-burning, with muscle toning that doesn’t produce too much bulk.

It is egalitarian and friendly. My experience is that the men and women who go are not there just to look wonderful, but to improve themselves generally. Sounds a bit twee, but I mean it. Posers are at an absolute minimum and overt testosterone is low. There is a good mix of abilities, ages and, lets say, weight categories and there is an old-fashioned helpfulness, at least in the class I attend.

Go on, give it a go. As previously stated, check with someone qualified to judge but you may well be suprised by how much you will benefit!

Andrew Bellamy

Training in the Brighton, East & West Sussex area.

Influential figures in Kettlebell:

*MMA – Mixed Martial Arts

Bored With Shoulder Articles? How about Christmas Pains?

November 24, 2009

Filed under: AB'S PERSONAL VIEWS,LOW BACK & SCIATICA — Andy Bellamy @ 1:02 pm

Just lately I have put up several shoulder related articles – I’m sure that this is getting boring, so what else has been coming into the Adur Clinic lately?
Seasonality is something of a fact in Osteopathy and Physiotherapy clinics and some of the trends are probably no surprise; Spring tends to bring in the gardeners and sports people. Summer time sees more sports problems, especially football, water sports and cycling, while in Autumn there are more falls as the ground gets wetter, softer or more icy.
The pre-Christmas season also brings us some specific strains and injuries. The present-shopping melee’s that have to be endured lead to an increase in back and shoulder strains from carrying awkward shapes and loads. The horror of the food shop, with massively overloaded trolleys, sometimes two, with sticky wheels just adds to the musculo-skeletal misery.
The only advice I can really give is SLOW DOWN. I can almost hear the moans – ‘what is he talking about, I haven’t got the time to slow down…far to much to do and if I don’t, no one else will’. Sadly, I do hear this all the time and, while I am sympathetic to the problems, taking things less frenetically is the only realistic answer.

So, once you get the presents home, they have to be wrapped. This job mostly falls to the women of the house. (Men tend to grudgily buy one present and get the kids to wrap it for them – “but sweetie, you do it so much better than I do“). My experience tells me that most wrapping is done on the floor which gives maximum space, but furthest distance to reach and greatest potential for twisting, the basis of many of the injuries that we see at any time of the year – “now where did that sellotape go?”
Imagine the scene – on your knees, twisting to reach the furthest away item, turning the other way to get the paper off the roll, sellotape pieces stuck to your hand, youngest child begging to be let in the room, or wanting a wee and the dog walking through the whole lot!
It does take longer, but wrap at a table or better a kitchen worktop which is at a better height. Less twisting = fewer back problems. Simple, really.
Now, wrapping over, the big day comes and the bend to put the bird in the oven, (often after a few the night before), and the back ‘goes’. The number of times I have heard this and another Christmas is ruined is not quite countless, but it is very familiar. Do the sensible thing and get someone else to do it for you. Failing that, bend at the knee with a straight or slightly extended lower back and DO NOT TWIST!

Assuming you survive Christmas the next thing is to survive the urge to go to the gym to burn it all off. Just a word to the wise – the gyms will be packed at first, but this settles back to normal in about six weeks when all the good intentions have faded away and other people have forgotten the rash resolutions you publicly announced.
Make your resolution to start at a time that is ‘offbeat’. You don’t have to follow the crowd and if it is your decision made on your terms, you are more likely to stick to it, in my view.
Also take your time to decide which exercise suits you; swimming is a great all round exercise, but if you find it dull and a chore, you won’t keep it up which is a waste of membership fees and achieves very little. Experiment and try and find the exercise that you enjoy – it doesn’t have to be a sport in the conventional sense. What about dancing, walking and cycling?
The thing that matters is to avoid injury in the first place and to keep fit in a way that gives you pleasure. You just have to get out and try a few different things to find which suits best.
Merry Christmas

Gentle Shoulder Rehab: Just A Suggestion

Filed under: AB'S PERSONAL VIEWS,SPORTS INJURIES,UPPER LIMB — Andy Bellamy @ 12:00 pm

There is an old saying that suggests that there are many ways to skin a cat. Just so, and there are also many ways to stretch and rehab any joint, including the shoulder.

I sometimes feel that there is a gap in the way that we as therapists and trainers handle the recovery and rehabilitation phase of shoulder injury; that the categories are sub-divided too starkly into black and white, passive and active, low-stress mobilising and strength building. It seems to me that we should more often look at what the individual needs and build in an intermediate phase, where act as guide but let the injured individual be inventive and therefore participatory in their own recovery. They improve faster as a result. Encourage them to clean windows, polish floors, bounce balls against a wall – all low, (or at least controllable), effort activities that help to distract from the discomfort but also gives a sense of achievement.

This is not revolutionary thinking by any means as business management techniques are always telling us that if the employee ‘buys in’, then productivity and contentment rise! Why should patients and sports people be any different?

Each individual is just that, individual, and has different physical structure, varying levels of physical activity, abilities, age, expectations and needs. It seems intuitive, therefore, that while those who are professionals endeavour to tailor recovery regimes, that they should, in part at least, be led by the recipient.

I am a great fan of The Rotater and, increasingly, of Kettlebell workouts, but they have very different ‘points of entry’ in the timeline of recovery – the Rotater can be used fairly early in the recovery phase – gently at first, ramping up the intensity as pain reduces and range of motion increases and until it becomes an integral part of any workout, prehab or sporting event. Kettlebell is fantastic as a total body workout that is low impact and wonderful as shoulder mobiliser, BUT is only appropriate rather further down the recovery road!

The following video tries to outline a fairly ‘loose’ approach to mobilising the shoulder – be inventive, work within your means to start with, gradually increasing range and intensity, trust your therapist or trainer, but trust yourself as well.

As with all advice on medical conditions, check with your doctor, osteopath, physiotherapist, chiropractor or trainer before embarking on any new regime.

NEW ShoulderCentric SITE & BLOG

September 6, 2009

As a result of my earlier fall and subsequent surgery, I have, (perhaps inevitably), taken a more active interest in shoulder problems than I did before. As a result of using an excellent product for shoulder injury rehabilitation called ‘The Rotater‘,  I had something of a ‘Victor Kiam’ moment and have become exclusive UK distributor for this product.

We don’t normally endorse products so positively, but this thing really does do what it says on the tin. Take a moment and have a look! If you would like to know more, drop in and see us at the clinic or check  these sites;

Main ShoulderCentric Site

The Blog for shoulder exercise and rehab articles.

Facebook Page for general shoulder information:

Scott Welch - Boxer using Rotater

Scott Welch - Champion Boxer using the Rotater

The Rotater is used to enhance the process of rehab after surgery and can also be used to improve shoulder mobility that may help your sporting ambitions. Flexibility and improved range of motion, (ROM), for golf, tennis, rugby, baseball, boxing and goalkeeping can all be helped with its regular use.

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