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

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

“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

Do your knees swing in towards each other when you bend them ?

Many people notice their knees doing this instead of staying in line with the lower leg and foot.  This can be a problem. Why?  Well as the knee swings inwards it puts more pressure on the inside edge of the knee, including the medial collateral ligament there, which has to try to resist and control that pressure.  There could also be consequences for the meniscus or disc, which will have uneven pressure on it.  Both can be painful, with knock-on effects on the foot, which will tend to roll inwards increasing the pressure on the inner side of it. Imagine a leg with this knee problem like bending a stick. 

Posted in Adults, Legs and Knee

Back Pain – “Could it be my kidney?”

It’s only natural  in the search for a self diagnosis that we point the finger at any organ in the painful area.  So if it’s at the front of the chest you think heart, and just the worry might be enough to give you palpitations! I’ll just say right up front that I’ve only seen relatively few people with back pain which didn’t come from a joint, nerve or muscles.  And that’s a good thing as it has meant that treatment and recovery was a relatively simple matter. But cases of kidney related back pain are out there.     What you’d be looking for with kidney issues Basically, if

Posted in Adults, Back and Hip

Trampers & Hill Walkers – Knees Aching?

I made a discovery very late in the trip after many days out int the Nelson Lakes area in late December and early January last year.  It’s one I wish I’d cottoned onto much earlier, as it probably would have resulted in better tramping performance for less discomfort in the knees after each day. The pain, an ache, wasn’t so much inside the knee or deep down, but below the patella, or knee cap. I’m not sure exactly how or why I suddenly came to this realization, but it was this: Going uphill I was constantly relying on and overusing my quadriceps muscles for each upward step.  Those are the

Posted in Adults, Legs and Knee

4 easy exercises for a stiff upper back

Gyms, running or walking are great for working out our lower bodies, legs or specific muscles,  but our upper backs often get forgotten or are under challenged.  It’s an important area, not least because of its connection to  healthy neck and rib movements. So why not try these exercises in between all that sitting or whilst you watch t.v?   The snake wriggle Sit with feet flat on the floor, preferably on something with a bit of spring like a mattress or sofa, cross your arms & hold onto your shoulders. Now try to produce a continuous & rhythmic side to side motion through your upper back – so it

Posted in Adults, Back and Hip

A slouched upper back can reduce your neck & shoulder movements.

If you’re one of those whose upper back slumps & sags forward and down, try this little experiment. Sit in your normal slumped position, & turn your head as far as it will go to one side.  Notice how it feels.  Stop right there – don’t move your neck. Now lift your chest a little & try to make your neck longer – without tipping your chin up.  Notice how your head will turn a bit more without that same level of discomfort. I’ve had patients complaining of low neck pain turning their heads to reverse the car, and this one simple adjustment to posture is sometimes almost all that’s

Posted in Adults, Arm, Shoulder and Neck