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Can Neck Pain Cause Headaches?

One of the most common types of headaches is the cervicogenic headache which is the name given to a headache originating from the neck. When a part of our neck such as the joints, muscles, nerves or ligaments are damaged or put under strain we can experience referred pain to our head area. This is due to the fact that the nerves which supply the neck area also serve the skin surrounding the head, eyes and ears.

Damage or strain to the neck does not necessarily need to be severe in order to cause a referring pain headache. It is quite often the case that such headaches begin after a build up of muscle tightness and imbalance caused by poor posture while sitting at a desk for prolonged periods of time, for example.

Neck pain left untreated will often cause a headache of varying intensity, sometimes made worse by specific movements.

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Shoe Insoles vs Barefoot Shoes - Which Are Best For Me?

In many cases, long term muscle imbalance exists already, an injury then occurs and an orthotic is prescribed to temporarily offload the injured structures to promote healing and recovery. 

In this situation, some biomechanics experts would argue that the orthotics, by placing the foot and ankle in a more ‘aligned' position, can actually help overcome and correct long term muscle imbalance, often with the help of corrective exercises and manual joint and soft tissue mobilisation techniques. This situation often occurs from the late teens onwards.

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Can Acupuncture Treat Fibromyalgia

In the clinic we find medical acupuncture, when given at the correct dose, to be very effective in helping certain Fibromyalgia patients manage their pain better as well as help them move and exercise more comfortably. Unfortunately, treating Fibromyalgia is not a quick fix and requires a course of treatment of at least 6-8 weekly sessions, possibly followed by maintenance or top up sessions if it has been helpful.

There is no known cure for Fibromyalgia, but it is a condition that can be managed and medical research evidence has shown that medical acupuncture has a role to play (Berman et al, 1999, Martin et al, 2006, Harris, 2005).

Also referred to as dry needling, acupuncture is a technique of inserting very fine, solid, metallic needles into the body through the skin. The needles stimulate the nerves of the skin and muscle and increases the body's release of endorphin and serotonin (natural painkillers) in the pain pathways of the spinal cord and the brain.

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Wimbledon Reminds Us How To Treat a Sprained Ankle

With Wimbledon fever well under way and a particularly injury prone year among the top seeded players I thought it might be interesting to have a look at the most common tennis relates sports injuries. Research has shown that there are 54 injuries per 1000 games played (Pluim et al 2006). Among the most common injuries are a sprained ankle, shoulder strain, calf strain, tennis elbow and back injuries. 

Let’s take a closer look at the sprained ankle.

The sprained ankle is highly common in both the elite and the recreational sportsperson. The sudden sprinting, side movements and change of direction as required in tennis can cause the ankle to twist, particularly if the player is becoming fatigued or are playing on a slippery surface. The likes of Andy Murray and Roger Federer will wear ankle braces during matches in order to reduce the risk of such injuries.

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Why Exercise Forms Part of Your Treatment

Exercise will in most cases form an essential part of your Physiotherapy treatment programme. The reason we prescribe you exercise is not to take up more of your valuable time, but to use these exercises to assist us in bringing about pain relief as well as restoring movement, strength and function to the injured part of the body.

There is a vast amount of research supporting the benefit of exercise, and as Physiotherapists we would not be doing our job properly if we did not use this wealth of knowledge to your benefit.

As Chartered Physiotherapists, we have been trained in the use of exercise as a medical treatment and are able to compile a programme of very specific, tailored exercises to suit you as an individual with an injury that is specific to you.

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Pain Intensity; Why Does My Pain Hurt So Much?

The pain process is a complex and intelligent signalling system between the affected area of the body and the brain. This system is ultimately trying to protect us but it seems we can trick ourselves by making the pain sensation far worse relative to the injury.

In a recent article called "What happens when we feel pain?" I explored this pain process including questioning why pain can become persistent, how unhelpful thoughts play a role as well as best treatment and pain management techniques.

Here are two excellently presented, intriguing and entertaining videos by Professor Lorimer Moseley, a clinical scientist investigating pain in humans.

These are well worth a watch. Enjoy.

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Why Exercise Is So Important For Your Health - part 2

Can I exercise too much?

Sure you can. There is such a thing as ‘chronic cardio’ where the amount of exercise you do can actually have negative long term consequences on your health.

Although in my experience, those I meet who are chronic exercises are often aware of what they are doing and are driven by something else rather than the pursuit of optimal health.

Another quote I recall from a runners forum:

I run to add life to my years not years to my life

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The Dangers of Sleep Deprivation - INFOGRAPHIC

Good quality sleep is really important. Sleep not only enables the body to recharge physically but is also essential for helping us stay mentally alert and balanced. In fact, poor quality and not enough sleep over prolonged periods can affect our health in many negatively ways.

This infographic describes The Dangers of Sleep Deprivation

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Why Exercise Is So Important For Your Health - part 1

With increasing lifespans, rising chronic disease rates, challenged health care systems and an explosion in easily accessible health information - it seems everyone is searching and sharing their experiences in trying to discover that magic pill for perfect health. Maybe it is and has been right under our noses all this time.

Why is an athlete better off than you or me?

Have you ever been in awe from the physical perfection of a professional athlete? Just last year we witnessed one of the greatest sporting events, the Olympics, bearing witness to those runners, riders, throwers, jumpers and others who dedicate incredible time and effort preparing their precision sculpted bodies for the highest level of performance in their sport.

Any such athlete rarely reaches this point alone. Trainers, coaches, Physiotherapy teams and the latest and most advanced sports medical research assists the athlete through the highs and lows of such demanding training. Sickness or injury would present a major set-back and strategies for prevention and recovery is hardly left to chance.

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How To Relieve Shoulder Pain

When asking yourself "Why do I have Shoulder Pain?" I suggest you don't waste much time agonising about how it happened but rather focus on how you are going to relieve your pain and achieve a speedy recovery. Do not leave it too long before receiving treatment. It is normal to rest an inflamed or irritated muscle but timing and type of treatment along with doing specific shoulder pain exercises will be necessary for a quick recovery.  

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