I have recently completed an intensive course on deep myofascial/muscular massage for the neck, shoulder and scapular (shoulder blade) region.
Although no therapy is ever 100% successful, I have been quite pleased with the results in reducing pain and improving mobility in the shoulder so far, particularly in those of my patients where I felt that we had hit a plateau, and had ceased to make further improvements.
It is certainly not a treatment for the faint hearted; deep soft tissue work, particularly on chronically tight, painful shoulders can be uncomfortable, as fibrotic muscle is very sensitive to work on.
It is imperative that the patient feels in control of the treatment and can say if it is becoming uncomfortable or too painful for them. Even if the area is very sensitive, the treatment can be adjusted to work within a patient’s comfort zone, although some stiffness and soreness can occur for 24-48 hours after treatment – I know it did on me.
In some ways this takes me back to my student days, when I had severe back and neck pain and was treated by a local Osteopath who had studied under Ida Rolf. Rolfing, is a total body, deep soft tissue treatment, very popular in the 1970’s. It certainly cured me, and I remained out of pain for many years, although decades of Osteopathy – and Morris dancing – have finally taken their toll on my shoulders and knees! I know that, for me, deep work on tight fibrotic muscles can be very effective and long lasting.
I will be introducing NMR alongside my Neil-Asher shoulder work, as I feel these complement each other well, and will be monitoring the patients who have opted for this treatment, to see if their response bears out the NMR claims, and my own experience.
Watch this space!Learn More
I have tried everything else over the years for back and neck pain - nothing was as effective as Osteo by Jane. It is always holistic. Jane always looks at the "whole picture" and gives appropriate advice and treatment. At least I am pain free in my back and can get on with living.
Driving can cause back pain to both men and women, but as most cars are predominantly designed for men, many smaller women are suffering and don’t realise why.
Most men can easily change gear by leaving their heels on the floor and swivelling their foot from the accelerator to the brake. Ladies with smaller feet can’t do this, and have to pick their foot off the floor and place it on the brake pedal. If they are changing gear at the same time, they could end up with both feet off the floor momentarily, which puts a lot of strain through the lumbar and lower abdominal muscles in supporting the weight of both legs. Commuting through town can involve repeating this bilateral leg lift tens (or even hundreds) of times every day.
Research has shown that sitting with the back of the seat reclined to about 135o reduces the weight and strain through the base of the spine. If you are short, you may want to sit upright to be able to see over the dashboard clearly, but this will put a lot of pressure through the lumbar spine and can cause back pain.
This can be corrected by raising the seat base (if the adjustment is available) or by adding a firm cushion to raise up the seat, so that you can recline the back of the seat and reduce the pressure on the lumbar spine. 135o may be a bit extreme for some people, but reclining the back of the seat even a few degrees at first can often ease low back pain.
Three door versus five door cars
It may seem counterintuitive to have a five door car if you are small, but two door cars have larger doors, to allow passengers to get into the back of the car.
This means two things:
- These doors are much bigger and heavier, particularly if the camber of the road is against you. This can strain the shoulder and elbow because of the extra force need to push the door open.
- The door pillar is much further back, making it difficult to reach the seat belt. The driver has to twist hard to the right to reach the seat belt which can aggravate the low back if they reach with the left hand, or cause rotator cuff problems in the right shoulder if they try and reach backwards with the right hand,
A five door car will have doors that are smaller and lighter. The door pillar will be just behind the driver’s seat, so easier to reach the seat belt with less rotation to twist behind you.
Manual versus automatic
As previously mentioned, ladies with small feet have to lift both legs simultaneously to brake and clutch, which is hard work for the low back muscles. An automatic car allows one foot to be constantly on the floor, as you don’t need to declutch. Allowing more stability and support for the base of the spine.
Some gear sticks can be sprung to third and fourth gear so that, to reach first or second gear, you have to push the gear stick away from you by rotating and abducting the shoulder, this can lead to repetitive strain injuries to the shoulder and neck, if repeated multiple times in an urban commute.
An automatic car allows you to have both hands on the steering wheel at all times, which is much easier on the neck and shoulder.
Automatic cars are now almost as fuel efficient as manual cars, the gear changing is smooth and they are very reliable. Patients sometimes make the excuse that you can’t push start an automatic car – but realistically when WAS the last time you push started a car? Most cars have antilock brakes and numerous improvements.
If you have back or shoulder/neck problems, try an automatic car, it will make your driving so much easier.
Short drivers can be injured by the air bag
If you are short and sit close to the steering wheel so that you can reach the pedals, you are at risk from injury from the airbag.
In an automatic car you don’t have to compress a clutch pedal flat to the floor, so you can sit a little further back from the steering wheel and reduce this risk.
The Effect of Height on Injury Outcome for Drivers of European Passenger CarsLearn More
Varifocals are a Jack-of-all-trades and master of none!
Although many people find that Varifocals improve their lives tremendously, there are two large groups of people who can have real problems with them:
Computer and Laptop use.
The lower part of the lens is for close work, such as, sewing or reading, but a computer screen is placed to be viewed straight ahead of you. You are then viewing it through the mid to long range part of the lens.
When using a computer or laptop, Varifocal users often tip their head backwards to be able to see the screen through the lower part of the lens, rather than just raise their eyes as they would normally do. Sitting with their head tipped back for long periods can cause neck pain and headaches.
This can be corrected by having a pair of Computer glasses just for keyboard work. The focal length can be optimised for seeing the screen and the keyboard clearly, by just moving the eyes up or down while keeping the head upright and in the correct postural alignment.
If you wear Varifocals and get you neck pain or headaches after using a computer, it might be helpful to get some glasses specifically for computer use. This can save you paying out for a lot of unnecessary treatments.
Walkers and those walking on slippery surfaces like icy pavements
As previously mentioned, the lower part of the lens in a Varifocal is designed for close up work like reading. Many people find that, when walking on a rough or slippery surface, they can’t see the ground clearly by just looking down with their eyes; they have to tip their head down to see the ground clearly. This can be uncomfortable and can make you more likely to fall – especially going downhill. This can mean that you can miss your footing as you can’t see where you are placing your feet, or you might miss a patch of slippery ice, as you won’t be able to see the shiny surface.
If you enjoy walking and hiking, it may be helpful to have Varifocals for that purpose, with the focal length at the bottom of the lens suitable for seeing the ground in front of you without having to tip your head down. This may make map reading a bit harder, but you could take a flat, plastic magnifier to help with that.
If you need to see the ground clearly when you walk, or have a fear of falling over – particularly if you have already fallen and broken a wrist or hip – it may be advisable to have Varifocals for walking. Some people with arthritis of the neck just don’t have the range of movement required to allow them to see through the best part of the lens and this can mean that they are either walking not being able to see their feet clearly, or they are aggravating their cervical arthritis trying to look down too far. Neither of these are ideal or helpful, and can be quite dangerous in icy weather.
If you want more information about Varifocals and neck pain, or if you have neck pain and need treatment, please telephone the practice on 01926 335932.Learn More