Carol is 40 years with three young children. She is an active runner and tennis player. She likes to do a couple of runs a week and try and get one game of tennis in, sometimes more during the better weather. She started to train for a half marathon and used her trusted method of two short runs a week and one longer one. She came to see me with right hip / thigh pain after a busy fortnight at work and training. She recovered but noticed that at the end of tennis match she felt uncomfortable around her right hip and thigh.
I examined her by getting her to do normal everyday movements like walking, squatting, and twisting. These showed up a few asymmetries that I believe lead to her symptoms. She felt more comfortable walking on her left side rather than right. She had a shorter stride on her left side, when she walked her right hip / pelvis looked 'stuck', and the bunion developing in her right foot meant she did not bend her right big toe a lot (ouch) !
The question is why ? I got her to do some of the exercises in the video, plus a few more, and observed. I asked her if she had spent any time warming up and preparing for her exercise...........no she said ! A young family , a sedentary job, and a stiff big right toe meant she was not extending her right hip much running or doing everyday activities. This lack of movement was aggravating the bunion, and putting more strain on her back. So you see everything is connected and to see where the problem is coming from you need to have a full active examination.
You would think that I am asked a lot of questions on prevention. How can I prevent this coming back , what can I do to help myself ? Well actually I don't get asked that as often as you would think. It's at the very centre of what I do, make people better and then tell them how to prevent another episode. We are all aware that exercise is one factor that we all need, but anything else ? Yes, we need some brain fitness too. So you can make sure you read the paper everyday, play bridge and do a seduco. But why not play table tennis once a week ? When I was growing up in France my mate Oliver had a table tennis table in his parents garage. We were always down there playing, it was a social and exercise hub. So why not do the same now, and play in a club or buy a inexpensive table that you can fold away ( like mine in the video). Keep reading the blog and look out for my Monday Morning Wellness videos on my Facebook page www.facebook.com/cameronreidosteopathnorfolk?ref=hl .
Many of us have had a light bulb moment that shapes the rest of your life. I remember when I was a university student, I had a niggly pain in my lower back which only came on when I went for a run. This went on for several months and I decided I needed to do something about it but I didn't know where to go so I visited a local Osteopath who unbeknown to me was a very well known in his field.
He asked me loads of question and examined me, and then explained why I developed back pain when I ran. It was due to my ankle and an area half way up my back! He worked on my ankle in a very precise way and told me that this would calm my sciatic nerve down, then he asked me to get off the plinth and stand up. He was taller and bigger than me and he picked me up with his arms under my armpits and gently swayed my body from left to right, he was in fact manipulating my mid spine . After the treatment he told me I would be fine and that he may need to see me again, it was a remarkable transformation and running became pain free. I never needed to return for another treatment and I spent the next few months trying to understand what it was he did to my body and how it help me recover so efficiently. Five years later I graduated as an Osteopath, way back in 1986.
What is the biggest reason exercise programs fail? Patients don't enjoy them and fail to stick with them. Motivating patients to stick with their exercise programs is one of the biggest challenges I face. Louisa and I go to the gym once a week together and we challenge each other to do a little more each week. Understanding how the exercises you are doing work for you then you are more likely to follow them. Remember though it takes 6 weeks for muscle to show signs of strengthening.
There are several ways to make sure my patients carry out the exercises I have given. First, I establish clear goals, what do I want my client to achieve? Secondly, explain how muscles and joints respond to exercise and most importantly, make exercise simple and fun. If you have not exercise for a while doing some simple body weight exercises, and cardiovascular will be quite sufficient. Initially make the cardiovascular exercise a brisk walk or a jog on a treadmill. Do not use the cross trainer as they have a tendency to tighten your hips and hence place more strain on your back.
This is a one legged squat. It strengthens muscles in the hips and pelvis and therefore is an excellent back pain preventer. You are better doing these than sit ups! This is how not to do it. Notice Louisa's pelvis is not level. This is because a muscle in her right hip is weak and can't hold the pelvis level. Her right leg is also collapsing inwardly a little, again a sure sign of muscle weakness in the pelvis.