Approach To Self Care

This is one in a series of three blogs about our Osteopaths' approach to self care.

My Story

Over the last few years I myself have recovered from #fibromyalgia - a condition that includes amongst other things chronic, persistent pain and crushing fatigue. Using a MindBody and SIRPA approach I was able to be 98% better but during the last few weeks my fatigue levels have increased a little. This is not surprising because of the stress induced by the pandemic, the lock down and all the implications that surrounded it. However, I needed to identify what component was the most relevant in order to change it.

Responsibility

Many people have experienced this fatigue recently but today enough was enough and I journaled and asked myself the question why was it affecting me so much? The answer that came up was that I want to make everyone feel better...in the whole world! Now that is tiring and impossible but also enlightening. It led me to this great article by Tiny Buddha about if we start healing ourselves then we can help to heal the world.  It made me ask myself about the part within the whole scenario that I can change... and that part is me.

I can take responsibility for me. I can change how I respond, I can stop blaming others and choose which parts I am able to take responsibility for and which parts I need to let go.  I can do this with compassion and not let anyone down. I do not need to use my energy to save the world, I need to use my energy to care for me and those around me - my family, my friends, my patients and my community. If we each did that we may still not be able to heal and change the world but we could certainly heal and change our world. I know can help myself to achieve this through MindBody practice.

Mindbody Practice

The environment we create with our thoughts and responses can fundamentally change our health. Negative thoughts, especially negative self talk, can be incredibly destructive and is an important factor especially if you are struggling with a chronic pain, anxiety, chronic fatigue or chronic illness. We can fundamentally change our health by addressing our inner thoughts and environment.  Situations that cause pain, whether physical or emotional, are registered in the same part of the brain.

Journaling is an incredibly effective way of identifying what are the elements of life that are bothering us. Then if we can practice becoming aware of when we have been triggered or overwhelmed we can change how we respond. It does take practice and in the current world where we are bombarded by opinion (apologies for adding to it) it can be so hard to know what is the right response. Learning to pause and check in with our thoughts can increase our awareness of what is burdening us and causing our pain and fatigue.  Knowing that a situation is making us feel uncomfortable may help us to make the right response for self.

Practices, such as mindfulness and meditation, that allow us to find stillness within the mind and body can also help. If we are able to know what it feels like to be still and calm then when something is challenging we can be more aware of the effect it is having on our body. Dis-comfort indicates that we need to change the situation, or the parts that we can, and adapt our thoughts and reactions.

Pippa Cossens Registered Osteopath and Stress Illness Practitioner.

 

If you would like any help with practices to engage the MindBody connection please visit our MindBody toolkit

 


Osteopathy For All thoughts affecting chronic pain

How To Manage Chronic Pain Naturally

One of the ways to manage your chronic pain naturally is by being kinder to yourself.

How stressful events can affect how we manage chronic pain

When we have a stressful situation, especially a pandemic, this changes the neural activity in our brains and it also raises the levels of stress hormones, such as cortisol, in our body. This produces a sense of agitation for every one. However, if you suffer with a chronic pain condition, such as fibromyalgia, your already sensitised nervous system perceives this danger as a greater threat and can trigger an increase in your pain levels.    At this current time people's symptoms are also being exacerbated by being separated from our support networks.  Not being able to see friends and family and not having normal access to healthcare.  When we are shut away like this and under pressure it gives us so much time to be inside our own heads and this isn't always helpful. 

Why what you are saying to yourself is important

Often our inner voice is our biggest critic and we can be quite unkind to ourselves, judgmental and harsh and we don't even realise we’re doing it. It becomes such a habit that we are doing it all the time without even realising. I think at the moment with quite a lot of time on our hands and when we are not going about normal daily routines it is actually making it worse. So if you do no other self care in this stressful time just keep a check on your inner voice and be gentle with yourself. 

When we engage in a lot of negative self talk the body perceives this as stress and it doesn’t know that it is not coming from an external source. Stress, we know, increases nervous system activity and for people with chronic pain this can increase the pain intensity. So if you find yourself being harsh just try to stop and check yourself. Then find a phrase or saying that might be more helpful such as ‘I am enough’ or ‘I don't need you (the thought) just now’.  

How often do you speak to yourself harshly?

When we have chronic pain we often talk harshly to ourselves because we feel that our body has let us down. This is not helpful, partly because it means we are focusing on the pain and giving it power.  Being mean to ourselves is a self induced stress.  You wouldn't tolerate somebody else speaking to you that harshly and you wouldn't speak to somebody else in that way and so why do it to yourself? Maybe today is the day to try to listen compassionately to your bodies and to your pain.  

It is a really good time to make this a new habit as many of our normal distractions are not there.  So addressing the internal environment needs to be done very consciously when under stress.  You can do this just by trying to change your thoughts.  Another effective way of getting thoughts out of your head that we also recommend is journaling. Journaling is really useful to help offload unhelpful thoughts and calm your internal environment. 

Would you like to try an experiment?

How would it be if when you had a pain today you paused and identified the pain.  Then acknowledged the pain and spent a moment understanding the pain?  Why had it just been triggered what did you just do? Was it something physical or was it actually the fact that you just had an emotional response to something? Could it have been something such as a difficult phone call or a large unexpected bill has just arrived?  Just spend a moment checking in and trying to understand what is going on with your pain. Then, if you can, stop focusing on the pain, breathe it out and release it.  

So today please be gentle with yourself.

My personal experience

I know it may be a hard concept to grasp and when I first came across it when I was suffering with fibromyalgia pain I thought so too.  Now, however, I know that it was an important part of the jigsaw for my recovery. The person we hang out with most, is our self, all day every day (especially at the moment) and if we have a constant negative dialogue going on in our heads this can be triggering to our already jangled nervous system. When our nervous system is under pressure it effects ALL the other systems in our bodies which is why chronic pain is accompanied by so many other symptoms such as anxiety, restless legs, irritable bowel syndrome, insomnia, headaches and fatigue.

If you would like any help with how to manage your chronic pain naturally then we offer video consultations that you can book here...

More information on our approach to chronic pain here...


Father doing a workout with his son at home so they can stay active indoors.

How To Stay Active At Home, Mentally And Physically

How To Stay Active At Home, Mentally And Physically

As we’re all spending more time indoors, it’s important to keep moving and to stay active at home, for our health and wellbeing. Official advice (correct at time of writing, 03/04/20) has been to stay home and not take part in gatherings of more than two people. Normal routines have been disrupted. If you are someone who goes to gym classes or swims regularly, you may be asking yourself how to stay active at home.

We’ve put this article together to help you stay active not just physically, but also mentally. It’s important, now more than ever, to stay healthy and moving often is a key part of this.

Stick to an active routine

Create a new routine at home which gets you moving and sets you up mentally for the day. Start every morning right by getting out of bed early, having a stretch or workout, taking a shower then eating a wholesome breakfast.

Though it may be tempting to roll out of bed and slob around in front of the TV in your PJs all day, this will ultimately lead to you feeling low in the long run. Instead, stick to a routine which gets you moving at the beginning of the day, while giving your brain an energy boost. Start as you mean to go on as they say.

Pick up a new hobby that keeps you active at home

There are plenty of activities around the house to keep you moving. You probably already do some of these but wouldn’t think of it as a form of exercise at the time. Activities to keep you staying fit include gardening (bending, digging and shovelling), housework (hoovering, washing dishes and dusting) and walking (whilst talking on the phone, up and down the stairs).

Not only your body, but your mind too needs to be kept active for good general health. Things you can do to keep your mind in good working order include watching quiz shows (try to answer the questions yourself!), word puzzles (crosswords and wordsearches) and colouring books for adults.

Have a go at some active home workouts

Now that gyms, swimming pools and leisure centres have closed, it’s time to start doing physical activity at home a few times a week. Though you might be missing out on your running or cycling, there are plenty of workouts you can do indoors to increase your heart rate! There are lots of different exercises you can try before finding the best ones for you. Have a browse through the NHS website to find something suitable.

Used to working with gym equipment such as weights? You can improvise with things found around the house. Tinned food and bottles of drink act as great weights. Upgrade to bags of flour or sugar when these get too easy!

Remain in touch with loved ones

Keeping in touch with your family and friends will help reduce isolation and stress. Though you can’t get out and see them in person at the moment, there are plenty of other ways to get those contact hours in. Email, text, chatrooms and phone calls are all great ways to connect with others. Why not set up a book club on a group chat platform or have dinner dates through video calls.

Get some fresh air outside

We’re not suggesting that you go outside where there are lots of other people but getting out into your garden, or for some exercise, can boost your morale exponentially. Direct sunlight stimulates the brain and produces the mood enhancing chemical, serotonin. This lifts our mood and makes us feel good. Fresh air also helps clean your lungs with oxygen, ultimately giving you more energy and making you feel happier.

Try deep breathing exercises

You may know that breathing exercises reduce stress and can help you feel more focused. But did you know that these techniques can reduce blood pressure too? Physically, they help strengthen abdominal muscles and promote good blood flow.

Practice for a few moments a day to begin with, to make you more conscious of how you normally breath. Then up the ante when you need to. Here are a few techniques to help you get started.

 

At Osteopathy For All, we are determined to help you get the treatment you need. We support our patients with help and advice to help them keep as healthy as possible. By having a holistic approach to health, we help to provide longer-term solutions to our patient’s health conditions.

For more information or for advice contact us today by emailing hello@osteopathyforall.co.uk or calling 01825 840582.

 

We have also made this article available as a downloadable infographic. Click the button below to download yours today.


Anatomy Activity Sheets For Kids

We have produced some Anatomy Activity Sheets For Kids.

Please feel free to use them especially whilst your kids are at home from school.

We will be adding to them as we go along so pop back and see what is new.

If you want other resources please check our blog on Homeschooling Advice and Resources 

Hope that they help.


Homeschooling Advice And Resources

As many of you know I have home-schooled / home-educated for the last 6 years. So as the nation starts homeschooling on mass I wanted to share some homeschooling advice and resources with you.

Homeschooling whether by choice or due to unexpected circumstances is an undertaking so my main piece of advice is...

DON'T try and replicate school.   

It is hard enough being a parent without also trying to be the maths, science, PE and head teachers as well. Remember you and your children are going to have to live under the same roof for a few weeks now and unlike the summer holidays many attractions are not open. So cut yourself and your kids some slack.

Getting Outdoors and Online PE

On the subject of attractions the National Trust are letting people into their larger park and garden properties for free. In Sussex  Sheffield Park has a lovely activity trail in the park across the fields from the car park so if the kids need to blow of steam that is one option. The tea rooms are closed so take a picnic. Just remember to keep 2 metres from other visitors especially the elderly. If you can't get away from home get the kids moving in the house or garden. Joe Wicks Personal trainer is going to be doing live PE online each morning starting on Monday 23rd March.  If you need a more calming activity why not do some Tai Chi / Qi Gong together.

Online Printable Resources

There are masses of printable resources available online, especially on pinterest or just google what you fancy there are lots of free resources out there.  We have produced a couple of anatomically relevant resources for your kids to complete. We hope to produce more and will keep you posted.

Household Management

Involve your children in the household chores - teach them to run a house. How to budget, how to do the washing, how to cook... their future partners will thank you. There is an amazing amount of science and maths in every day household management.

Virtual Grandparents

Link you kids up with activities they can share virtually with self isolating grandparents - this will be great for both groups. Get grandparents to read a story on Skype or Facetime. They can even play games such as squares or noughts and crosses.  There are also online games of chess that can be played remotely.

Screen Time

You are, like it or not, probably going to have to relax your screen time rules especially if you want to stay sane. Ensure your computers settings are set at the appropriate level for your children and send them off online to explore something that interests them and then get them to explain what they have found out to you. Sit down and relax with them. You will appreciate the rest and they will love the attention. One of my favourite parts of home educating has been what my son has taught me.

From a more academic point of view BBC Bitesize is a great resource for all ages from primary school upwards and there are a number of museums offering virtual tours.

Stress - Yours and Theirs

I cannot promise that this time is going to be stress free. So I wanted to share the resources that are available on our website. We have three tool kits on the website and one of these is specifically for children. Our Children's toolkit contains some videos with relaxation techniques to help children find their ability to self calm. We also have breathing techniques and  meditation links for you for when it feels a bit overwhelming.

Most of all try and find the balance for you and the children. Reach out to friends and share resources. Keep an eye on our Facebook page for these activity sheets (and more) and don't drink too much wine!

Here for you

Pippa Cossens Registered Osteopath and Home Educator

skeleton labeling diagram
Skeleton Activity Sheet
Ear activity sheet
The Ear- Activity sheet

Young woman thinking of using osteopathy for mental health

Can osteopathy help the mind as well as the body?

For many, osteopathy is perceived to be a manual therapy that is designed solely to help patients with pain and to move better. However, the truth is that osteopathy takes a lot more into consideration, by helping people to develop a healthy bodily environment across all parts of the anatomy, including the mind.

It is widely known that osteopathy helps patients to increase movement and reduce restriction which in turn helps to ease congestion, inflammation and disease. But how can that play a part in our mental health and wellness?

This article explores the question: can osteopathy help the mind as well as the body?

The answer is surprisingly simple.

Overall health is multifaceted. Therefore, the solutions to provide sustained good health should be too.

Within our bodies, the physical, chemical and emotional are all interlinked. Using osteopathic techniques to provide our bodies the right environment it needs to perform, can result in a reduction in overall stress. This reduction in stress will lead to more physical ease and an increase in energy levels. Increased energy (alongside good nutrition) will give the body and mind the fuel it needs to work optimally, and the loop continues.

As with physical pain, mental ill health can be perceived as a signal that can be used to trigger action. It can be seen as a sign that something is not right and that things need to be done to fix the problem. Osteopathy doesn't just focus on the physical but also on the mental signs.

Recognising the connection between physical and mental health

Poor physical health is often paired with many other symptoms related to mental health such as anxiety, fatigue and unhappiness.

Using anxiety as our example, those who are suffering may feel fearful and anxious in their everyday lives. This can result in other physical symptoms such as:

  • Poor posture – You may find yourself hunching forward or keeping your head down in social situations or busier environments.
  • Muscular tightness – Your muscles may become tightened or stressed throughout the day as you move between different environments and interact with people.
  • Difficulty breathing – Shorter, shallower breaths that occur during stressful situations may result in tightness in the jaw and neck or could result in prolonged and repetitive headaches.
  • Digestive issues – You may suffer from a decrease in appetite, cramping or nausea as a result of all the symptoms listed above.
  • Exhaustion – With additional strain on your whole body it is inevitable that many patients may be suffering with tiredness, fatigue or exhaustion.

This is just one example of how our mental health and wellbeing can be directly affected by and influence our physical health (and vice versa) and the same principal can be applied to many other symptoms.

Is Osteopathy the right solution for you?

Many of our patients come to us with long term symptoms, perhaps of pain and discomfort, headaches or muscular aches. By applying our understanding of the body and mind, in many cases we can identify other underlying issues that the patient may never have known had been the root cause of their symptoms.

If you feel that you have tried other avenues to ‘fix’ your problem but to no avail, then we would advise that you consider osteopathy.

We provide free evaluations to our patients, to help identify these problems first-hand. To schedule yours, simply visit the free osteopathic evaluation page on our website.

At Osteopathy For All, we specialise in identifying, understanding and treating issues that may not seem directly related to your underlying problem. By having a holistic approach to health, which sees the body as one complete mechanism that is interrelated, we help to provide longer-term solutions to our patient's health conditions.

For more information or for advice contact us today by emailing hello@osteopathyforall.co.uk or calling 01825 840582.


Coronavirus How to Keep Healthy

The press are NOT making it easy to get the correct information about coronavirus so please obtain your information from the NHS or World Health Organisation sites NOT from the press.

The panic about getting ill is driving people into a state of anxiety which is detrimental to your health so we would like to share some simple advice on keeping your immune system as well as possible, some simple steps to help prevent you catching the virus and what to do if you do catch it.

Keeping Yourself Healthy

  • Keep yourself healthy by eating well.  Include lots of fruit and vegetables, we recommend Eating a Rainbow every day as this provides a wide variety of essential nutrients including vitamins and minerals to keep your body and immune system working well.  If you find this hard try getting your fruit or vegetables in one hit.  Check out our juice and smoothie recipes on the Eat A Rainbow page of our website. Here you can also find some simple advice on supplements.
  • Speaking of supplements taking vitamin C can help boost your immune system. Vitamin C cannot treat the virus but has been shown to help boost immunity generally.  Vitamin C is an essential micronutrient for humans. It is a potent antioxidant and Vitamin C contributes to immune defense by supporting various cellular functions of both the innate and adaptive immune system. Vitamin C supports epithelial barrier function against pathogens on the skin. You can read a more in depth study here... Vitamin C is available in citrus fruits and juices (such as orange and grapefruit), kiwi fruit, green peppers, broccoli, strawberries.
  • Vitamin D is also important for immune function. Vitamin D is produced in the body when the skin is exposed to sunlight. It is often low at this time of year and especially after the long wet winter we have had in the UK so supplementing your vitamin D may also help boost your immune function. Please take only the recommended dose of any supplements. Food that provide vitamin D are fatty fish, such as salmon, sardines or tuna and if you don't like fish then it is in eggs.  As we approach spring try to sit in the midday sun for 10 to 15 minutes.
  • Zinc is an essential mineral involved in the production of certain immune cells. Mild low levels of zinc may impair your immune function. Some top food sources of zinc are : Baked beans, cashews and chickpeas.
  • Drink lots of water to stay hydrated - this applies always as it helps your body deal with toxins and the body's waste.
  • Keep yourself moving and get some fresh air each day, if possible.

Stress and Anxiety

As you know we specialise in stress medicine at Osteopathy For All and we are aware about how much stress and anxiety the press coverage of this virus is causing. If you need help to reduce your anxiety levels we have advice in our Well-being Toolkit. The WHO have also produced some advice for those who are struggling with anxiety that the virus is causing. They have information for adults and for children.  We also recommend meditating to help reduce anxiety and boost your well-being and on our meditation page we have a link to a calming meditation that you may find helpful.  If you need further advice please contact us.

Advice on how to avoid catching or spreading coronavirus.

  • wash your hands with soap and water often – do this for at least 20 seconds
  • always wash your hands when you get home or into work
  • use alcohol based hand sanitiser gel if soap and water are not available
  • cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze or cough or sneeze into your elbow fold, not your hands
  • put used tissues in the bin straight away and wash your hands afterwards
  • try to avoid close contact with people who are unwell
  • do NOT touch your eyes, nose or mouth if your hands are not clean

Looking after yourself if you think you have coronavirus

If you suspect coronavirus do NOT go to a GP surgery, pharmacy or hospital -   instead call 111 or visit the  NHS 111 online coronavirus service that can tell you if you need medical help and advise you what to do.  If they recommend you stay at home then this is the general advice for treating a virus/flu.

Home Treatment for viruses

  • rest and sleep.
  • keep warm.
  • drink plenty of water to avoid dehydration (your pee should be light yellow or clear)
  • The NHS also recommend taking paracetamol or ibuprofen to lower your temperature and treat aches and pains.

 


6 reasons to be more selfish when it comes to your own health and wellbeing

For those of us that have busy lives, families to support or kids to look after, our own wellbeing can often take a back step in our list of priorities. However, this could be having a huge negative impact on not only you but those closest to you.

In this article we look at six key reasons why you should become more selfish when thinking about your own health and wellbeing.

  1. Increase your productivity

If you find yourself living a busy life, full of running around after others or juggling work and social time and you struggle to keep up, improving your wellbeing could prove to be hugely beneficial.

It may sound counter-intuitive, but taking a step back from your busy life to spend time on yourself could make you more productive and ultimately result in you feeling less busy overall.

  1. Encourage your creativity

Investing in your wellness can result in higher levels of creativity. If you work in a creative industry or you feel that your life is duller than it perhaps once was, simple adjustments to your lifestyle can significantly improve this by boosting creative aspects of your mind.

  1. Support physical health

High levels of wellbeing can support our willingness and ability to partake in physical exercise. If we are feeling good generally, we may be more likely to work hard to maintain our sense of good wellbeing. Ensuring that you spend the time you need on yourself mentally will affect your physical health and vice versa.

  1. Improve focus and determination

Many people suffer from an inability to focus or stay determined to achieve their goals. When we spend time on our mental health and physical wellbeing, we are able to stay focused for longer periods of time and ultimately improve our ability to get things done!

  1. Creates and spreads optimism

A good sense of wellbeing can help us to become more optimistic about our lives. Having a good sense of optimism can help us to build a certain mental resilience that will put you in good stead against the challenges that life brings to you and those closest to you.

  1. Helps you to support others

How we feel within ourselves will often display itself in our actions. If you have people around you that rely on you, it is vital that you are in the best position to be able to continue to care for them. Taking the time to look after your own body can have a huge impact on your ability to look after others.

At Osteopathy For All, we are determined to help our patients with all aspects of their health and wellbeing. Osteopathy is often misunderstood as just a service for ‘bad backs’ (for example), but there are so many more benefits to osteopathy as a treatment for mental health and overall wellbeing.

Read more about how osteopathy can be used to improve your wellbeing or contact us today to discuss how we can help you.


wellbeing-osteopathy

Why is wellbeing important and how can you improve yours?

Over the last few years the term wellbeing has been used more and more frequently. But just what does wellbeing and wellness actually mean? And, more importantly, what can you do to improve your own health and wellbeing? 

The great news is that more people are aware of the importance of wellbeing than ever before, but with this has come a huge surge in wellbeing products and services, each claiming to be the ‘go-to’ remedy to improve your wellness and wellbeing. 

In this article we examine the subject of wellbeing, to understand and explain exactly what it means, as well as offering some useful advice on how to improve your wellbeing. 

Let’s jump straight in. 

What does wellbeing actually mean? 

The first thing to explain is that your wellbeing works like a scale, with a range that is constantly susceptible to change, between a sense of low to high wellbeing.  

Simply put, a high sense of wellbeing is the feeling of being comfortable, healthy, happy and content in your own skin. A sense of low wellbeing can stem from multiple factors, such as unhappiness or physical pain and will usually result in a general dissatisfaction overall. 

Measuring wellbeing is tough. That’s because each individual will have their own value systems that will determine how they are feeling. For some people, finances and job-role play an important role, for others it comes down to the quality of friendships or even the car they drive. These individual values undoubtedly have a huge effect on each individuals sense of wellbeing; however, the biggest and most important factor is your health. 

Even when you are meeting the criteria you set yourself within your own independent value systems, a health issue can throw you off track and negatively effect your sense of wellness. This is vital when understand the true meaning of wellbeing and, although we certainly cannot always control what happens to our health, we can ensure that we do the very best for our bodies to aid the process. 

This leads us on nicely to the next part of our article:  

How to improve your sense of wellbeing 

As we have mentioned, your wellbeing is affected by your individual values which tie in to how you feel overall. Unfortunately, changing your mindset can be a real challenge. However, there certainly are things you can do to change your perspective on things, which in-turn will improve your wellbeing.  

Below, we explore a range of ways you can quickly improve your wellbeing: 

Diet 

diet-and-wellbeing

Often overlooked, your diet can play a huge role in your sense of wellbeing.  

A 2017 report written by the Mental Health Foundation states: “Just like the heart, stomach and liver, the brain is an organ that requires different amounts of complex carbohydrates, essential fatty acids, amino acids, vitamins, minerals and water to remain healthy.” 

It may seem obvious, and as a society we have certainly become more aware of the benefits of diet with mental wellbeing, but diet plays a huge role on our wellbeing. 

We have put together a series of dietary toolkits related to diet and hydration, which will help you to understand, in detail, how to improve your diet for the benefit of your wellbeing: 

'Eating a Rainbow' - Diet Toolkit

View our Diet Toolkit to learn more about the benefits a health diet can have on your overall wellbeing

'Hydration' - Toolkit

View our Hyrdation Toolkit to understand the impact of good hydration can have on your wellbeing

Gratitude

gratitude-and-wellbeing

This one may seem a little more ‘out there’, but reflecting and focusing on the positives in your life can result in a huge improvement for your wellness, even when things aren’t going well and you’re not feeling great. 

Health and wellbeing studies have shown that cultivating gratitude can have a range of positive effects on your health and wellbeing, from being less stressed to increasing energy and even exercising more. 

Why not consider creating a gratitude journal and writing down a few things each day that you have been grateful for? This practice will help you to focus on the positives rather than the negatives and could help you to significantly improve your overall health. 

Exercise

exercise-and-wellbeing

Exercise is an integral part of wellbeing. Working out, however much, is proven to give huge health benefits, not only physically but mentally also. Exercise helps to give us energy, relieve stress and help to regulate sleep – all key factors that will make a significant difference to your mental and physical wellbeing. 

It’s important to mention that not all people are able to partake in strenuous physical exercise, however even the smallest changes to your lifestyle that result in increased exercise will have positive effects. Why not take a brisk 15 minute walk each morning and think about the things you are grateful for?  

We have put together a series of exercise toolkits which are designed to offer alternative options when it comes to staying fit and healthy. 

'Starting Moving' - Exercise Toolkit

View our Starting Moving Toolkit to learn about how keeping active impacts your wellbeing

'Exercising with Arthritis' - Versus Arthritis Resource

View more information regarding exercising with Arthritis

'Exercising with Osteoporosis' - Royal Osteoporosis Society Resource

View more information regarding exercising with Osteoporosis

Taking Action 

If you are aware of something that is affecting your wellbeing, the best thing you can do is to take action to try and remedy it. 

As osteopaths that specialise in osteopathy for wellbeing we are highly aware of the benefits our patients get from taking action when it comes to their health. When treating patients, we often find that underlying issues related to general wellbeing can be incorporated into our treatment plans that result in an overall improvement in multiple areas of health. 

Your body is a complex and complicated system which is interconnected and reliant on a whole series of parts to function optimally. This can mean that improvement in one area can have huge benefits on others. 

You can find out more about osteopathy and how it is used as a tool to improve wellbeing here. 

Your wellbeing is important - it’s time for you. 

The way that you feel, both within yourself mentally and physically is the essence of living. How we perceive ourselves, our thoughts and our feelings are what makes us human. 

It is vital that we treat ourselves with care to enable us to live our lives to the fullest. 

Whatever your definition of wellbeing may be, whichever values you hold closest, listen to your body and remember to act if you are feeling like your wellness is not as good as it should be. 

If you are looking to improve your wellbeing and take action to make positive change, and perhaps haven’t yet considered osteopathy as an option, get in touch with us today.


fibromyalgia-exercises

10 Tips for getting started with exercising if you have fibromyalgia or chronic pain

If you are uncertain about whether exercise is suitable for you please seek professional advice.

1. Understanding your pain is key to being able to exercise without massive flare ups. If you have fibromyalgia or chronic pain not only is there the pain to deal with but also the fatigue and the anxiety. All these things may be triggered by exercise but done appropriately exercise can help to reduce your symptoms. Most of the symptoms in a chronic pain condition have a neural pathway involvement. The localised pain is related to excess tension in the muscles that is being maintained by the nervous system - a bit like phantom limb pain. This means there is no actual tissue damage so exercising should do no harm even if it is causing pain. We recommend an assessment with a chronic pain specialist who can explain what is going on in your tissues and nervous system before entering in to any exercise programme. They can also advise what exercise and how much to do and support you as you get started.

2. Passive exercise If moving or exercising is too much then here are 2 ways to achieve passive exercise. Firstly if you can get access to a sauna and cold shower then the warming up and cooling down has the effect of driving blood through the tissues to the skin and back which is a similar effect to getting the muscles warm with exercise. Please be cautious if you have trouble regulating your temperature and also be aware that it can be quite more tiring than expected.

Get into the sauna with dry skin and sit until you feel the skin just start to sweat. At this point take a cold shower for as long as is tolerable then towel yourself dry. Repeat this process two more times. The time it takes to produce a sweat should reduce at each cycle. Make sure you drink plenty of water during and afterwards.

The second form of passive exercise is a general osteopathic treatment. A gentle rhythmical movement of all the major joints in the body. This allows passive stretching and releasing of the joints, ligaments and connecting muscles which helps them be less tight and in turn improves the circulation in the area and has a calming effect on the nervous system. Please contact us for more information.

3. Initially work within your pain free range. This may be very small amount of movement to start with but the body needs to be re-educated into being able to move without pain so chuck away the old adage 'No Pain, No Gain' and go instead with NOI group's 'Motion is Lotion'. Gentle circular movement of your limb joints whilst sitting is a good place to start. Move each of your limb joints in a circular motion in a range that doesn't produce pain and gently rock the spine to either side again within the pain free range. Keep doing this a few times a week and soon you will discover that the pain free range is getting bigger. See our Thoracic Spine exercises video

 

4. Do less than half the amount you think you can do. The nature of the nervous system in chronic pain conditions, such as fibromyalgia, is a sense of overwhelm so you want to exercise without triggering the body into feeling under threat so always do less than half the amount you think you can. This may initially mean only a 2 minute walk but that is a start. It may not seem worth it but once your body realises that it can start to move without feeling threatened you can build up.

5. Do not exercise everyday to start with, or maybe even ever. You body needs to rest and recover between exercise especially initially.

6. If you feel triggered either with pain or anxiety whilst exercising then rest for a couple of minutes and use the techniques that suit you to decrease the overwhelming feelings before going back to the exercise. For instance on some days just raising your pulse rate means the body feels under threat. So stop, and use a simple breathing technique such as the 6 in: 6 out to help regulate and calm the sympathetic nervous system until you feel settled enough to return to what you were doing. On days like these initially you may have to keep the exercise at a low intensity but once your body starts to learn that exercise is not threatening then you should feel less triggered. It is also important to try to identify whether there is an emotion attached to why you have felt triggered as addressing this in the long term will help improve your exercise tolerance. our breathing techniques can be found here: ADD LINK

7. Keep Hydrated Whatever exercise you are doing it is important to keep hydrated as dehydration makes the muscles feel more restricted so drink extra on the days you move more

8. Walking with an understanding friend Exercising with a friend is a great way to get moving and the social interaction helps as a distraction and motivation to get out there.Pick your friend wisely as they need to be someone who gets it and is understanding if you can only manage a short amount of exercise initially.

9. Tai Chi / Qigong is an excellent starting exercise for fibromyalgia. It is known as moving meditation and is very low impact and very controlled. It doesn't raise you pulse rate too much so is not overwhelming to the body but starts to get it moving. We have several videos that we recommend in the recovery toolkit on our website. ADD NEW LINK

10. Swimming is another good exercise to start with. The support of the water helps to support the body meaning it feels less under pressure. To start with we recommend moving in the water rather than masses of lengths. Float gently moving your limbs initially or walk in the water. Once you feel able to swim, again initially do less than half that you think you can achieve. You want to come out of the water feeling that you have done some exercise but that you still have energy in the tank which is very tricky with a fatigue condition. Building up slowly will increase your stamina. Once at the point of swimming lengths it is advisable to mix up your strokes. A length on your front then one on your back uses different muscle groups so gives each set a rest on alternate lengths.