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Brookmans Park Osteopaths

Our low back and neck exercise sheet

Brookmans Park Osteopaths Nick Cowan and Tom Glindon have created a bespoke low back and neck exercise sheet. Whilst demonstrating five of the most beneficial stretches they inserted their own photos and created a handy pocket sized low back and neck exercise guide.

Daily stretches are important to maintain mobility in the joints and encourage blood supply and stretch of the soft tissues. Stretching after an injury prevents build up of scar tissue and encourages the muscle and tendon to return to its pre-injury resting length.

Getting into a regular daily habit prevents shortening of the ligaments around the joint and can prevent bad postural habits forming.

Visiting an osteopath will ensure you do the right exercises correctly.

Rule of 90

Simply put the best way of sitting at a desk is to subscribe to the rule of 90’s. Sit with your hips, knees, ankles and elbows at 90 degrees and your computer monitor at eye level.

The truth is there is no perfect way to sit and sitting like this for hours in end will not save your posture. Be sure to move about and change your position subtly every 20-30 minutes. Basically you have 360 joints and 650 muscles in the body and they all need to move!

Are you sleeping comfortably? Whats best; front, side or back?

Sleeping positions

DON’T SLEEP ON YOUR FRONT

Sleeping on the front forces the neck into extreme rotation and forced extension.  The position of your neck is similar to looking as far as you can over your shoulder, then tipping your head to the same side (tip your ear backwards) and then looking up towards the ceiling.

DON’T SLEEP IN THE FETAL POSITION

This can be less easy to manage.  Sleeping in the fetal position compresses the diaphragm and digestive system restricting normal breathing mechanics & digestion.  Curving the back forward, and bringing the knees up compresses all of these joints, which can aggravate joints under a lot of strain, or arthritic ones, making morning stiffness in these joints worse.

OK:   SLEEPING ON SIDE

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Sleeping on the side can allow the back to have the freedom to move around and fidget into the right position. For keeping the back in alignment, putting a pillow between the knees can be very helpful. Lying on the side is usually better than other sleeping positions for reducing snoring.

OK: LIE ON YOUR BACK  

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The weight is distributed comfortably over your entire body assuming the correct use of the pillow. The neck and back remain in the optimum alignment reducing undue stress and strain on muscles, ligaments, nerves or blood vessels of the neck. If the low back is arching when lying flat, put a small pillow under the knees to take the pressure off.

If you are unsure whether you are sleeping correctly, or you wish to improve your sleep position, then please contact any of the osteopaths in the clinic.  We will be happy to offer you a free 15 minute sleep position check and offer advice.

 

Osteopath Tom Glindon joins the team!

In August 2015 Tom Glindon joined the existing team of 4 osteopaths and 2 Chiropodist / Podiatrists at Brookmans Park Osteopaths.

Already Tom has made a great start………

Here are some of the comments from patients who have been happy with Tom’s treatments:

‘I like the way Tom explained at each point what he was going to do and why….’ V.G

‘Tom is like a car mechanic for the body.  I got a full service and came out feeling healthier not just in my low back but all over….’ N.H

‘Tom is competent, confident, reassuring. I felt in the hands of a true professional….’  P.H

‘Tom’s hands felt strong and confident.  After 1 session I felt instantly better…’ S.M.

‘I am not sure how in just 30 minutes I went from walking in with a 9/10 pain,  to walking out with a 2/10 pain level but I did!….’ TJ

If you would like to be treated by Tom he works Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Saturdays.

Just call 01707 655514

 

 

 

 

Exercises for Sciatica

This exercise routine is designed to help relieve sciatica, a pain caused by the irritation or compression of the sciatic nerve, a cause of back pain.

The sciatic nerve runs from the back of your pelvis, through your buttocks, all the way down both legs, ending at your feet.

These stretches help mobilise the sciatic nerve and improve low back flexibility.

Before starting these exercises make sure you have been diagnosed correctly for sciatica, and to stop immediately if you feel any pain.

 

  1. Knee to chest stretch

Improves the flexibility of your low back 

Start position: Lie on your back on a mat or the carpet. Place a small flat cushion or book under your head. Bend your knees and keep your feet straight and hip-width apart. Keep your upper body relaxed and your chin gently tucked in.

Action: Bend one knee up towards your chest and grasp your knee with both hands. Slowly increase this stretch as comfort allows. Hold for 20-30 seconds with controlled deep breaths.

Repeat three times, alternating legs.

Tips:

  • Do not tense up through the neck, chest or shoulders.
  • Only stretch as far as is comfortable.

Variation: Grasp both knees and press into chest.

 

  1. Sciatic mobilising stretch

Mobilises the sciatic nerve and hamstrings

Start position: Lie on your back. Place a small flat cushion or book under your head. Bend your knees and keep your feet straight and hip-width apart. Keep your upper body relaxed and your chin gently tucked in.

Action: Bend one knee up towards your chest and grasp your hamstring with both hands (or use a towel) below the knee. Slowly straighten the knee while bringing your foot towards you. Hold for 20-30 seconds taking deep breaths. Bend the knee and return to the starting position. Repeat two or three times, alternating legs.

Tips:

  • Don’t press your low back down into the floor. Place small towel under low back.
  • Only stretch as far as is comfortable, and stop immediately if you feel any pain, numbness or tingling.

 

  1. Standing hamstring stretch

Stretches and lengthens the hamstring muscles 

Start position: Stand upright and raise one leg in front of you on to a stable object, such as a step. Keep that leg straight and your toes pointing straight up.

Action: Lean forward while keeping your back straight. Hold for 20 to 30 seconds while taking deep breaths. Repeat two to three times with each leg.

Tips:

  • Only stretch as far as is comfortable. Your low back should not arch at any time.

 

  1. Lying deep gluteal stretch

Stretches and lengthens the piriformis muscle 

Start position: Lie on your back. Place a small flat cushion or book under your head. Bend your left leg and rest your right foot on your left thigh.

Action: Grasp your left thigh and pull towards you. Keep your tailbone on the floor throughout and your hips straight. You should feel the stretch in the right buttock. Hold for 20-30 seconds while taking deep breaths. Repeat two to three times.

Tips:

  • Use a towel around the thigh if you can’t grasp your thigh.
  • Keep Pelvis neutral.

For demonstrations of any of these exercises, drop into the practice and see an osteopath.