Sharon Winkler Osteopathy for People & Animals
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Telephone: 01707 257880
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The Sharon Winkler Osteopathic Practice - BSc (Hons) Ost, PG Cert (Small Animal Rehabilitation Therapy)
Please note that due to a fault on the line, our usual phone number is temporarily out of order. Please ring us on 01707 264037 instead.
Find us on Facebook  Follow us on Instagram

Blog: People

Quality in Osteopathic Practice
21st September 2018

This new report published by the Institute of Osteopathy provides key information about osteopathic practice. The document brings together existing research on aspects of osteopathic practice including the patient experience, clinical effectiveness and safety. It will be helpful to members of the public seeking more information about the patient experience and for anyone who has an interest in the profession and knowing the research evidence available that supports our work.

Please click on the link for more information.

    

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Pelvic Tilt Exercises for Lower Back Pain
14th September 2018

Pelvic Tilt Exercises for Lower Back Pain

If you’re a lower back pain sufferer you have probably tried to improve your spinal flexibility at some point. This is an integral part of good spinal health and shouldn’t be overlooked. However, spinal stability is equally as important and often is overlooked. In other words, you want to keep your back both mobile (flexible) and strong (stable). Although this might sound contradictory, it is entirely possible to achieve and maintain.

In conjunction with a regular stretching routine, you can help alleviate back pain by implementing core stability exercises. The ‘core’ consists of your lower back and abdominal muscles. These muscles can become imbalanced, affecting posture and can result in pain. Balanced, strong low back and abdominal muscles lead to good core stability and a reduction in back pain. Think of it as an inbuilt muscular lumbar support.

Pelvic TiltsNow, when people imagine core exercises they may think of brutal gym classes, extended periods of planking and complicated yoga or Pilates poses. Although advanced core work can be both fun and beneficial, you don’t want to cause more injury to your back by over doing it in the early stages. You need to lay down the foundations before building the house.

Therefore, a simple, gentle exercise like ‘Pelvic Tilts’ can be a great way to begin strengthening your core, especially if you’re prone to back pain:

  1. Lie on the floor on your back. Place a small cushion underneath your head to support your neck. Bend your knees with your feet flat on the floor about hip width apart.
  2. Gently flatten your lower back against the floor by tensing your stomach muscles and tilting your pelvis towards your head. Hold for 5 seconds and slowly return to starting position.
  3. Repeat this sequence 10-15x slowly tilting your pelvis and flattening your back against the floor. Try this 1-2x per day.

Here is the link to a video on YouTube that should help you visualise the movements more easily:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2oDtowdT9-8

Tips for the perfect Pelvic Tilt:

  • Don’t raise your hips or buttocks. Keep them on the floor throughout the exercise
  • Don’t press through your neck, shoulders or feet
  • Avoid doing pelvic tilt on a bed or any surface that’s too soft. This makes it harder to correctly perform the tilting movement and you’ll sink. Lying flat on the floor on a mat, blanket or towel is ideal
  • Avoid jerking movements with the back. The movements performed during the exercise should be slow, smooth and controlled. Remember to breathe!
  • To help get the hang of pelvic tilting, you can place one hand on your stomach and the other hand underneath your low back throughout the exercise so you can feel the right muscles working (this is optional)
  • Stop the exercise if anything becomes painful

And remember, feel free to ask us if you need any further advice on this exercise or about lower back pain in general.

References:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2oDtowdT9-8

https://www.nhs.uk/live-well/exercise/lower-back-pain-exercises/

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Epsom Salt Baths
3rd April 2018

Epsom Salt Baths

What is Epsom Salt?

Epsom SaltEpsom salt is a mineral compound of magnesium and sulfate, both of which are naturally occurring in our bodies but is often lacking in our systems. Magnesium helps to regulate enzymes, reduce inflammation, aid muscle and nerve function and plays a role in arterial health. Sulfate helps eliminate toxins and improve the absorption of nutrients. Studies have shown Magnesium sulfate can be absorbed through the skin making Epsom Salt baths a perfect way of restoring levels of this important mineral in our bodies.

Health Benefits of Epsom Salt

Epsom salt is only to be used externally and helps to relax tense muscles, loosen stiff joints, reduce cramping, reduce inflammation in the body, improve nerve function, reduce stress levels, promote healing and reduce pain levels

Other benefits include:

  • Improve arterial health and regulate blood sugar levels
  • Relieves constipation
  • Reduce pain and swelling of sprains and bruises
  • Reduce pain and redness of sunburn
  • Helps remove splinters and heal cuts
  • Ease discomfort of gout
  • Exfoliates skin
  • Helps flush out toxins
  • Treats congestion and colds
  • Improves sleep

How to use Epsom Salts in your bath

  1. Run a bath at a temperature that’s hot but that’s comfortable for you.
  2. Pour 1-2 mugs of Epsom salts into the bath (yes, be liberal!).
  3. Mix the water until salts are fully dissolved. Epsom salt is odourless and won’t change the colour of the water.
  4. Soak for 20 minutes. The combined effects of the heat of the water and the salt itself will relax your muscles. The heat will also bring blood closer to the surface of the skin aiding in effective absorption of the Epsom salts. Try not to add other soaps and products to the bath that may interfere with this absorption.

How often?

We suggest having an Epsom salt bath once per week but more is fine. Additionally, Epsom salt baths can be particularly effective (and thoroughly deserved) after a long, stressful day and after exercise helping combat delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS).

Enhance the health benefits further…

Don’t make having an Epsom salt bath just another chore on the to-do list. Use this time for yourself and look forward to it. Setting aside just 30 minutes of ‘me time’ each week can be a great stress buster. Try soaking in the bath listening to your favourite music, reading a good book or meditating with some scented candles. Basically do whatever relaxes you. You can even add 5-10 drops of lavender essential oil to the bath to aid in this relaxation. This way, you’ve received the physical benefits of Epsom salt whilst improving your mental wellbeing all for very little money and in a short space of time! Truly holistic!

Where to find Epsom Salt

  • Your local chemist/pharmacy
  • Health food shops
  • Online (especially good for buying in bulk at a cheaper rate)
  • Check out this local business www.epsomsalts.co.uk who sell Epsom salt and a range of other great health products for a great price

Please feel free to contact us with any questions.

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Lifting
11th September 2017

How to reduce the risks associated with liftingCalling all manual labourers and those who are required to lift things at work... are you doing it correctly to minimise the likelihood of injury? This week we explain how to reduce the risks associated with lifting and provide a simple step by step guide of how to improve your lifting technique

Reduce the risks:

  1. Firstly, does the item need to be moved in the first place? Look for a weight label. It may be heavier than you think.
  2. Make use of lifting aids like trolleys and pallet lifts if available and appropriate (make sure you know how to operate these safely first).
  3. Break down loads into smaller more manageable chunks if you can.
  4. Lift together. Ask someone if you need help moving an item.
  5. Avoid lifting directly from the ground or from above shoulder level especially with heavy loads.
  6. Avoid repetitive lifting and take frequent breaks in between.
  7. Always familiarise yourself with and follow the guidelines and regulations laid down by your workplace regarding manual handling.
  8. Practice good lifting techniques (click here for pictures)

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Plantar Fasciitis
13th January 2017

There are many causes of heel pain, one of the most common being Plantar FasciitisCan't understand where that niggling pain under your foot has come from?

There are many causes of heel pain, one of the most common being Plantar Fasciitis.

The Plantar Fascia is a strong band of tissue extending from the heel to the ball of the underside of your foot. It helps to absorb shock as your foot contacts the ground. Plantar Fasciitis is simply inflammation of this important band and is a real pain in the foot!

This pain can occur when walking, and commonly, during the first few steps after getting up in the morning. It can affect one or both feet.

Plantar Fasciitis can be caused by:

• Excessive walking, running or standing (especially more than you're used to)
• Beginning an exercise regime or increasing intensity of an existing one
• Sudden over stretching of the sole of the foot
• Poor footwear
• It can also be associated with other disorders

Luckily, there is help afoot.  Osteopaths treat feet too!

There are also STEPS you can take yourself to manage your foot pain:

1. Rest your foot: avoid factors that aggravate the pain such as long periods of walking, running or standing.

2. Ice: using ice helps to reduce inflammation and pain.
Cool Tip! Roll your foot over a full frozen water bottle to ice and massage at the same time!  Or use a rolling pin.

3. Stretch: regular gentle stretching to both the calf muscles and soles of the feet will decrease tension and prevent further issues.

4. Good footwear: Replace old or worn out shoes and invest in some well fitted ones with comfortable cushioned heels and a good arch support (you may also benefit from additional orthotic arch supports to be placed within the shoe itself).

5. Orthopaedic extras:
E.g. Heel supports are designed to cushion the heel and aids in shock absorption when the foot is placed on the ground.
E.g. Night splints work to gently stretch the plantar fascia during the night to reduce that 'first step' pain.

6. Maintain a healthy lifestyle: as with most things, prevention is better than a cure. Losing weight takes excess pressure and strain off feet and joints in general. Your feet and body will thank you if you exercise regularly and eat a healthy balanced diet.

For questions about foot pain and how we can help don't hesitate to email or 'phone.

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Office Chair Advice
25th November 2016

Features of a good office chairCalling all office workers and those who work from home. How well do you know the chair that you are sitting on? Could it be contributing to your pain? Here are some features of a good office chair that you can check yourself:

  1. A swivel function with wheels. Sit as far back as possible against the chair and bring yourself towards the desk using the swivel chair rather than sitting and leaning forwards.
  2. An adjustable height. There should be sufficient leg space under the desk to stretch out your legs. Keep this space clear of bags and clutter. Your feet should rest comfortably on the floor. If not, adjust chair accordingly and/or use a foot rest.
  3. A good width, preferably 17 – 20 inches.
  4. A good depth. Whilst sitting comfortably with your back against the chair, check that there are 2 – 4 inches between the back of your knees and the chair seat. It is preferable to obtain a chair with adjustable depth.
  5. A back rest and extra lumbar support, if needed, to reduce slouching. A rolled up towel/blanket behind the low back can be used, or a purpose built lumbar support that fits onto the chair itself.
  6. Soft seat/back material with enough padding. No hard surfaces!

To get the best out of your office chair, familiarise yourself with its featuresSome office chairs have various adjustability functions, the benefits of which, are lost if you don’t know how to work them. So to get the best out of your office chair, do make sure you familiarise yourself with its features.

And remember, no matter what office chair you have, it’s vital to take short, regular breaks (as opposed to fewer longer ones) to maintain good health at work. Get up every 30 minutes, if possible. Have a stretch, a bathroom break, get some water, walk around. Try to make sure you have a proper lunch break and if possible include a walk.

As Osteopaths in Hertfordshire, we can advise you about your chair or buying one.

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Blog: Animals

Tips for looking after a senior dog in winter
19th October 2016

Tips for looking after senior dogs in winterRecent advances in the management of osteoarthritis in dogs include weight loss, therapeutic exercise, physical therapy and the use of joint supplements to reduce the severity of clinical signs and reliance on medications to control pain and discomfort.

Here’s some tips for looking after your senior or arthritic dog during the cold winter months:-

  1. Keep your dog warm in the outdoors with a coat.  Make sure the coat is long enough to reach the base of the tail and cover the low back
  2. Consider where your dog sleeps.  Does the area get cold at night when the heating goes off?  Make sure your dog’s bed is well insulated from a cold surface and avoid drafts.  Consider a dog “jumper” for your dog at night during the colder weather.  Dogs who sleep upstairs are likely to be warmer, especially those who share a human bed!  Remember our canine pets who live indoors have become adapted to our centrally heated houses.
  3. Dry your dog well after coming in from the rain.  If your dog has to be left in a car or cold place afterwards put a coat on him to stop him becoming chilled.
  4. Consider your floor surfaces at home.  Senior dogs can struggle to walk on slippery surfaces.  This includes wood or laminate floors and some tiles.  Runners, mats and rugs are ideal to help your pet move more comfortably around your home and avoid hurting his joints.
  5. Keep your dog slim.  If your dog is carrying too much weight it puts excessive strain on his joints.  With the shorter days your dog may get less exercise, so make sure you monitor his food accordingly.

For more information on suitable medications, joint supplements and weight management speak to your vet.  For information on how physiotherapy can help, contact Sharon.

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