Blog Archives

Persistent thumb pain after a fall? Get an x-ray!

Using your hands to break a fall is common enough through all age groups, and so is the pain around the point of contact of the wrist and hand against the ground.   This is known as  a foosh injury – Fall On an Outstretched Hand. But if you or your child has pain around the base of the thumb near the wrist after the fall that is worse with use, hurts at night and doesn’t get better after a couple of days it’s very important to get it checked for a fracture.   Whilst most fractures heal quite well by themselves, because of the way the scaphoid is plumbed up to

Posted in Adults, Children, Hand & wrist

“Getting old’s not for wimps” Trouble opening jars or getting out of chairs..

How often have I heard that from a senior as he or she slowly manoevers onto  the treatment table!  Older people often complain of pain stopping them from doing simple things, and often these are in several areas: hands, hips, the outsides of the thighs, shoulders…  The widespread symptoms can be confusing & demoralizing.  Advice to take it easier, or stop doing something altogether can be frustrating to someone who wants to stay active.   The solution is..? Strength training. This can start off without weight bearing (e.g. squeezing rubber balls to improve grip strength, or lying on the floor to do hip and leg exercises) and then move to

Posted in Adults, Arthritis, Older People

When stretching ISN’T the answer to your aches

“I suppose I should be stretching more” – is something I often hear from patients trying to figure out why they have on-going pain. But sometimes it’s not the best thing to do.    Here’s why: If you’re double jointed and super ‘bendy’, your flexibility can be a real asset in putting the rest of your yoga class to shame. Or for performing well if you’re into gymnastics or cheer leading. But that same advantage also makes joints more vulnerable to injury as they can move beyond a healthy limit, and especially if that movement is uncontrolled, sudden and under load. Normally it’s your ligaments that prevent this, but with

Posted in Adults

What NOT to do for your tennis elbow

Drop the anti inflammatories if you’ve had your ‘tennis elbow’ for more than a month Because most chronic (i.e. long term) tendon issues are not due primarily to damage and inflammation following a tear, but to repetitive or continuous over use of the affected muscles. T he problem here is the way the collagen fibres (the white stuff you see in tendons) change from being organised in line to being more of a jumbled tangle of fibres which are not good at being put under tension and recovering from use. The normal healing process also seems to break down with many people experiencing on going discomfort for months and even

Posted in Adults, Arm, Shoulder and Neck

Have you got a bit of the Cinderella in you?

How many of these boxes do you tick? – Are you female (you’d have to be if we’re talking about Cinderella) – Do your shoulders ache even when you’re not at work? – Did your shoulder pain just appear for no obvious reason? – Do you do desk work most of the day? – Does massage only give you temporary relief? – Does stretching not seem to help much either?   If you’re that person then science has been showing quite a lot of interest in your problem in recent years and has even given birth to a hypothesis –that Cinderella muscle fibres are the cause of your woes. A

Posted in Adults, Arm, Shoulder and Neck

Nerves (part 2) – the recovery process

Last time  I said that nerves often recover from compression or bruising.  Incidentally, I didn’t mention that stretching can damage a nerve.  That’s because I was only talking about things that pressed on nerves.  A bad break or dislocation can do this kind of harm.  Pulling on a newborns arm during an awkward delivery is another well known injury. Moving on though, I thought I’d go into a bit more detail about the process of recovery, which involves making the distinction between two sorts of nerves.     Sensory nerves These convey sensation  recover more quickly than motor nerves, which tell a muscle to contract. It can be many months

Posted in Adults

Nerve Irritation 101

It’s sometimes difficult to judge how much  people who aren’t osteopaths or physios know or don’t know about the body.   So I thought it might be useful to do a couple of posts on nerve pain just in case.  Maybe next time I’ll go into a few typical nerve problems.  But if you haven’t already seen it you might be interested in my last post where I talked about a patient who came to me with a profoundly weak right arm.   So, here goes. If a disc (or anything) presses on a nerve hard enough, you’ll find changes in the muscles that are linked to that nerve because

Posted in Adults

Floppy arm comes back to life!

Here’s a rather unusual case I had recently. A man came to me having fallen on his front & sliding along the turf during a hockey game, leaving him with profound weakness in his right arm.  Now our clinic Eftpos machine is kept on a shelf above waist height & it was so bad he could hardly raise his arm high enough to swipe the machine!  He could only do it by hitching his shoulder up. What was so unusual was the fact that he had very little pain.  In fact he only had some in his lower right neck some 2 days after the fall, when he woke with

Posted in Adults

“It feels like a trapped nerve…” (But is it?)

Folk often say this to me when they feel a sharp pain with small movements in the neck and lower back.  But sharp pains are common and come from other problems too. Let’s start with facet joint irritation.  Each joint in your spine has two surfaces (facets) that slide and glide around on each other as you move.  If this are irritated, say from whiplash by being slammed against each other too hard they will give a sharp pain. Even sharper perhaps is when part of the capsule lining the joint gets caught between these surfaces.   That’ll also give you spasm and make it next to impossible to turn

Posted in Adults

“I must have slept funny” – Morning neck pain

If you wake to neck pain in the morning Just as the day is a dawning Your neck will lock tight You’ll look quite a sight From something that struck with no warning     “I must’ve slept funny…”  I hear this a lot as an explanation for a pain that appears for no obvious reason when waking.  It seems strange, doesn’t it, that something can go wrong with just your normal bed and pillow? But maybe this is just a convenient scapegoat.  After all, as humans we always want to be able to blame something.  And if you wake to a pain that wasn’t there before, it’s natural to

Posted in Adults, Arm, Shoulder and Neck