An Osteopath's View
Thoughts on leading a healthier life from Helena Greenwood at Jurassic Coast Osteopathy, Weymouth, Dorset
A reminder of the lovely weather we had last week, one of my photographs I took on my 2 hour walk… I’m still working hard (and failing) at fitting regular exercise into my routine, but in order for change to be sustained long term, it’s often small changes in behaviour that work better, rather than starting something likely going to the gym 3x a week from no activity at all and then giving up after a few weeks. Of course there are ways to sustain that.. for example, work with a trainer or go with a buddy so that you make a commitment and have support to enocurage you.
I like best to walk alone and my small behaviour habit change is rather than do clinic paperwork when I have unexpected free (ie non-patient) time, instead if it is a nice day, just get out the door and go for a walk and take the camera (and my foraging basket, as a fan of wild food for free). Managed it 3x in 10 days and although long walks occasionally are probably not as good as short frequent bursts of exercise (although I’d have to check the research on that), boy did it make my legs ache and me heart feel joyous being out in the sun and blue skies! Why not try it next time you have even a few minutes to spare - carpe diem (seize the day).
Walking is a great cardiovascular exercise - you can do it on the flat or give your leg and back muscles more of a workout by going up and down hill - the gluteal muscles (that form the fleshy part of your backside) are particularly important for the support of the low back area so walking can really help low back problems. You can speed up or slow down to vary the pace and the workout plus get all the mental health benefits of being outside in nature, particularly at this time of year with crisp blue autumn skies and wonderful sunsets. I hate the gym but I know how important it is to exercise - I’m lucky enough to live on Portland and I always take my camera out on a walk, whether I’m exercising, foraging or just having some peaceful time out. You can see the results of some of this summer’s walks below, look out for more over the coming months. Even better - get out there yourself and get the benefits - even a walk round a park or a small green space or along the harbourside can be great if you can’t walk far or don’t live on Portland. Get outside & get healthier (for free) by being in nature and getting more mobile!
#portland #jurassiccoast #jurassiccoastosteopathy #weymouth
#portland #jurassiccoast #jurassiccoastosteopathy #weymouth
#portland #jurassiccoast #jurassiccoastosteopathy
Singers, Musicians & Osteopathy
(Originally published 4th October 2013 on www.villageosteopaths.co.uk and edited 06.08.2018).
In September 2013 I treated a professional singer, which for an amateur singer like me was always an enjoyable experience as I always learnt something in our discussions – part of the reason I love being an osteopath is that the people I treat are so interesting! And it’s great when I can help them improve performance in their work or their passion, not just reduce their pain.
For a professional singer, their voice is their instrument, and like musicians (or indeed anyone who has mastered a movement-based physical skill at a high level – dancer, dressage rider, plasterer etc.), singers are very aware of what is going on in their body, and if there is any restriction (even though there may be no pain) that is affecting the ease or control of their breath and voice, they will feel it.
This particular singer did have a specific problem – a mild rotator cuff (shoulder) tendonitis following a sprain while gardening. However, they also had an intermittent spasm in the area of the lower ribs & an area of the upper thorax that felt stiff and achy, and generally (as someone both body-aware & some experience as both a cranial patient & practitioner) felt out of sorts. Addressing the underlying deeper tensions through the spine, diaphragm and pelvis using cranial osteopathic techniques (as well as doing massage & movements to the injured shoulder) made a noticeable difference to the patient’s experience of their breath control – at the second appointment this week, they said they could carry long lines through which they’d be unable to do the week previously (and the painful areas were less painful), and their experience of singing was a greater sense of ease than before the treatment.
Another singer I treated – this time an opera singer from abroad with no experience of osteopathy (cranial or otherwise) – fell and injured themselves in rehearsal (oddly enough, another shoulder injury!). I happened to be singing in the chorus, so was happy to treat them as the staging meant they had to climb a ladder – a bit difficult when you can’t lift your arm above 90 degrees! While assessing them using a ‘cranial’ osteopathic assessment, I found another problem unrelated to the injury – tension in a muscle (psoas) that from an osteopathic point of view is integrally linked to diaphragm function. The singer was a bit surprised, as they hadn’t told me about an accident they’d had (hit by a car on that side of the pelvis as a child). They were also surprised that when I treated them, they could feel their ‘spinal cord dancing’ (their words not mine), and similar to my more recent case, after treatment experienced an increased sense of capacity and ease in their singing – sufficient to suggest I might like to move to their country and treat them & their friends!
Similarly, treating musicians can help performance in ways that are about freedom or ease, not just pain reduction. Early in 2013 I treated a flautist who had come to me for shoulder & neck pain. In the course of our conversation, I mentioned that I could see they had a bite problem with their jaw, which they then told me they had previously been offered surgery for, but had declined, since it would mean they couldn’t work after the surgery, and even worse, there was no guarantee that their playing would be the same once they’d recuperated. For an osteopath, the relationship between the jaw & the upper neck is crucial, since a failure of compensation in one area (say, the jaw) may lead to other muscles of the head & neck becoming symptomatic through increased compensation or altered mechanics. As part of my assessment and treatment, I used some intra-oral techniques (working with my fingers on the bones inside the mouth) to release tension around the palate – this is what they emailed me after the treatment:
“Just wanted to let you know that I had a fantastic rehearsal tonight following my session with you today. Face/sinus/jaw area felt really free and I was able to play without feeling strain. What a difference to be able to work with my body feeling like that.
I’ve also treated amateur singers for problems with breath control and aching shoulders from holding their copies up in long concerts, or low back pain from standing for long periods in rehearsals; a teenage student flute player with mid-back pain which was down to their posture when playing; a professional clarinet player with neck, shoulder and headaches from postural tension and fatigue that was affecting their playing; a professional cellist who was feeling not quite right and wanted help identifying where the problems were physically so they could work on it themselves.. and many more.
If you are a singer or musician struggling with some aspect of performance physically, then get in touch for an assessment.
First time blogging!
There are so many topics that I’d like to share about around finding activities that you enjoy to get fit, stay healthy and have fun, with a pinch of added Osteopathy to give you an osteopathic perspective on how each activity helps - whether that’s by getting joints moving, improving muscle balance or circulation. I’ve tried it on my Facebook page but my posts just end up far too long by the time I’ve added useful information links and references, pictures, videos etc to make some useful resources. So I thought I’d give Tumblr a go since I can integrate it from my website - there are only so many places I have time to get round on the internet during my working day because I’m treating patients! I’ll probably cover the same topics in this blog as on my Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/jurassiccoastosteopathy/ if you’re interested), but in more detail. Anyway, it’s all a bit of an experiment so we’ll see how it goes - look forward to getting your feedback!