Workstation setup- they are not just at

October 14, 2013

Workstation setup- they are not just at work there days.

Last week I saw three different cases where people had caused back and neck pain by home working on computers in very poor ergonomic set ups. I have first hand experience of this myself, having given myself a decent bout of neck and arm pain after sitting on the chair of last resort (the one you get out at Christmas to fit everyone at the table) and doing 2 hours on PC work.

There are some simple things you can do at home to make your “pc home station” better.

Try a USB key board instead of the cramped laptop one.
Add a proper mouse.
Raise the lap top on some books to get the correct viewing angle.
Get a 5 way adjustable chair – I just got one for home for about £50 online.

All the setup instructions are on our leaflet VDU setup. You can download it here.


Herniated disc (Slipped Disc) maybe its not so bad

February 5, 2013

A Disc injury (slipped disc) diagnosis is a serious matter.  Because a disc takes a long time to heal and is made worse by bending, lifting and sitting – it can mean time off work, a change in life style and possibly even surgery.

Back Pain cause Quadratus Lumborum

Back pain from Quadratus lumborum

So how can this be not so bad?

Well, one frequent cause of back pain is a strain or spasm of the Quadratus Lumborum Muscle. Osteopaths call it the QL.  Its the red one in the picture.  It works by pulling your spine sideways bending you to the left and right.  Also it keeps the spine straight when you have a load on the opposite side – like when your digging or lifting on one side.

So lets think about digging.  Its a common cause of disc injury but also strain  on the  QL muscle.  So I go digging and get back pain.  A disc injury is worse for bending, lifting, coughing,  sneezing and sitting.  Now because the QL attaches to the lower ribs a strain here  is also worse for bending, coughing, sneezing and lifting.  So what if your disc injury is really a QL strain.

If the pain is reproduced by pressure into the QL muscle then there is a good chance that this is the problem.

The good news is that it is easy to treat and because its a muscle injury you can expect some rapid recovery.

At osteopaths we treat QL strains often.  We use deep muscle stretching, and manipulaton and sometimes medical acupuncture needles to un-spasm the muscle with some times immediate improvement.

Find out more at

Cervicogenic Headache – What is that?

November 23, 2011

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An email question flooded in last week.  I thought I would share it on the Blog as it may be of help.


I have been getting headaches for the last few months. My GP has sent me for tests which have all proved negative. I have been told that the cause of my headaches is cervicogenic. I am not really sure what this means?


Cervicogenic Headache

Cervicogenic Headache

A Cervicogenic headaches, in basic terms, relate to headaches that are caused as a result of problems within the neck. At the base of the skull there are very sensitive blood and nerve vessels that can be irritated by tension in the neck joints and, or, muscles. Osteopathy can be a very effective treatment for this by reducing the restrictions in the neck, encouraging the joints to move correctly and the muscles to relax. Posture can be a contributing factor to cervicogenic headaches, so by working to improve posture can also help reduce the probability of the headaches returning.

There’s more about this on our web site at

Arm pain when I cough

April 17, 2011

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People often ask if I’ve suffered from the same problems that I treat. Fortunately I have been quite lucky, suffering only from short episodes of nasty back pain and the usual minor aches and pains everyone has.

For the last week I have had a very bad cough. By the end of the week, the cough had started to give me sharp shooting pain in my arm each time I coughed. The pain was into my right arm just inside the triceps muscle.

This was an interesting experience for me as I have never before had anything like that. A quarter of my patients come with a similar condition. I found myself driving home and behaving just like any one of my patients, immediately considering the worst possible case.

In the 30 minute drive I had gone through the cancers, blood clots, disc prolapses and nasty neurological problems.

Fortunately common things are common and rational thought prevailed.

I had no pain in my neck or on neck movement, which rather excluded any disc injury. I had no loss in power or sensation in the arm, my pulses were good and the pain only came when I coughed.

I had a good poke around in my neck and shoulder and found a very severe pain on pressing on the joint between the very bottom of my neck and the top of my back at the C7 – T1 vertebrae and particularly over the first rib on the right hand side. Pressing on that gave me a vague sense of the pain in my arm.

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Most likely the pain in my arm was caused by the rib and neck strain. The nerve that supplies that part of the arm is the Medial Brachial Cutaneous nerve (the yellowish-brown bit on the diagram). This joins the spine at exactly the same point as my neck tenderness. So the nerve was probably getting irritated by the coughing and the stuck rib. I was able to take this information to an osteopath colleague who examined and diagnose the fact that I had strained the 1st rib through coughing. With some very simple osteopathic treatment and simple manipulation of the C7 – T1 and some deep muscle work they were able to “switch off the pain”.

So what began as a life changing worry was quickly sorted out. As an osteopath I know it was a fairly simple fix for my colleague. But as a patient I feel deeply relieved and very grateful for the expert attention.

There’s more information on our website


Hello world!

April 7, 2011

Well I’ve got lots to write but no time right now.

Pop back later today