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.