Mattress: how to find the right one?

One frequently question asked in clinic by patients: What is THE ideal mattress?
Some say the mattress must be soft to allow spine alignment and avoid joint pains from compressions, other state that mattress should be firm in order to offer the optimum support. The answer? There is no specific answer, or universal rule. Confusing? That’s what we thought!

The truth is: the ideal mattress depends on the individual’s needs, body shape/weight, sleeping pattern etc.
For example recent studies suggested that mattress with medium firmness improves pain and disability in people suffering from non specific low back pain (here).

So we tried to summarise for you the different kind of mattresses available, their pros and cons and their ideal sleepers (if you don’t want to read all descriptions there is a table here).

Signs that your mattress is not right for you:

  • You are feeling restless at night,
  • You are waking up in pain,
  • You are not sleeping through the night or just not feeling well rested,
  • Your mattress is older than 8-10 years old

Types of Mattresses:

  • Open Spring Mattress

Composed of springs held by one bar, the springs are moving together. They are the best price value mattresses on the market. However, you do not pick them for their comfort and support. They are great mattresses for occasional or temporary use, with regular replacements; which makes them perfect for guest bedrooms and children bedrooms.

 

  • Pocket spring Mattress

This is a more advanced version of the open spring one, as in this one the springs are moving independently. It is also considered as being more breathable structure than the memory foam mattresses. However, there can be risks of allergies as some of them can be stuffed with furs or feathers. There are ideal for non allergic people, couple/or bed for two and sleepers that get very hot at night.

Brand: Sealy Pocket Teramo 1400 (from £650)

  • Memory foam Mattress

Made from mouldable material, it has hypoallergenic properties. It is the prime choice for anyone with poor backs or joint pains and they are considered one of the best support as it allows your spine to be aligned horizontally (if sleeping on your sides). Although they are known to generate a lot of heat by wrapping the body, some models are being made with more breathable material (Eve mattress). They are then ideal for anyone with pains in their body (especially back), couples with different needs of support, people who sleeps on their side and sleepers that do not mind getting a bit hot at night.

Brand: Casper (from £350); Eve (from £350)

  • Latex Mattress

Made by latex based foam, those mattresses are very breathable and avoid any over heating. However, you may find them a bit too firm at first. You also do not want to pick the first prices as cheap latex mattress will cause you trouble and pain (irregular bumps)!
Those kind of mattress are great for people with allergies or asthma, anyone that feels too hot at night and those that prefers firmer beds with still a good bounce!

Brand: Zenhaven (from £1600)

  • Hybrids mattress

Those are a combination of latex, memory, polyurethane foams, coild and/or other materials. They are designed to maximize benefits and minimizing certain cons. They are all round the safest options of all kind of sleepers!

Brand: Leesa Mattress (from £690) OR Simba (from £599)

  • Mattress topper

You can find all types of mattress topper, with all the different structure and composition as stated above. They are usually an addition to a hard mattress to empathize softness and cushioned comfort.

CONCLUSION:

To chose the right mattress you need to:

  1. Do your research, set up your budget, read the different reviews. Never go too cheap as you will definitely have a poor quality mattress. However, you probably do not need to spend £2000 on one either. And do not be fooled by any brand that claims there are “orthopaedic” or “medically approved” because they are none existing.
  2. Have a chat with your doctor/osteopath/physio. If you have any specific back pains or issues, in order to have their guidance on what you need to look for.
  3. Make sure you have a trial period. Nowadays, the great thing is that plenty of start-up companies offer 100 days trials (eg: Eve, Simba..). This allows you to really have a good sense of how the mattress fits your need on the long-term. Mattresses sold in stores will have the tendency to be a bit more expensive and without such a long trial, but you can always try to hassle.
  4. Check the warranty. They usually should be for 10 years.
  5. Protect your mattress. Use a waterproof mattress protector, as stains will void your warranty/trial allowance.

In here you can read a further description of the various mattress brands mentioned above: http://www.independent.co.uk/extras/indybest/house-garden/best-mattress-side-sleeper-kids-review-tempur-a6950396.html

Choose well, sleep well, live well!

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What is the difference between an osteopath, a physiotherapist and a chiropractor?

[To be noted: this is a very prompt summary, a very basic description kept simple for everyone. If you require more information about each of the profession you should discuss with their professional body or a therapist of each branch themselves.]

Any of theses professions have to answer this emblematic, empirical question: what is the difference between an osteopath, a physiotherapist and a chiropractor?

A point to be raised to start: they are not “ALL THE SAME”. They are all highly regulated primary health care manual therapies and the three different names are not just synonyms, as it can be heard sometimes…

The main common point of all these therapies is that they treat people affected by injury, illness or disability through movement. They aim for health, symptoms relief and improving their patient’s life. So they are all in the same team really.

The osteopath examine and treat their patient as a whole, they will work of various restrictions and posture issues using various range of approaches and techniques (individual to each practitioner); considering not just muscles and joints but also blood supply, nerves, fascia, organs etc. If an imbalance is picked up, the osteopath will aim to trace back the source responsible for the “end up product” imbalance; exercises might be given and advice on posture and habits will be provided too. The osteopath works with different principles including that the body is its own medicine chest (more description on this page).

The physiotherapist requires a very high patient compliance and involvement, as in addition to do manual therapy they will use exercise rehabilitation. If an imbalance or a restriction is picked up, the physio will treat through movement and exercise rehab program in addition to manual therapy to overcome this imbalance and adjust the imbalance. Obviously physiotherapy is a highly recommended and almost compulsory therapy for post-surgery, post injury/trauma to retrain injured and atrophied muscles.

The chiropractor focuses on the diagnosis and manipulative treatment (mainly of the spine) of neuromusculoskeletal disorders and their effects on the function of the nervous system and general health. They can give exercises too. Their aim is to re-establish spinal mobility via manipulations (techniques that will make you ‘crack’). They can usually recommend regular treatment (weekly) over a certain period of time.

To summarise, they are 3 different approaches with the same aim of re-establishing health. People will prefer the rush and boost of a chiropractic manipulation, when others will prefer a more gentle holistic approach that an osteopath can offer. And others will prefer their physio sessions.

The most important point is that you pick a practitioner highly qualified and that knows what they are doing. Any of those therapy can do a great job as long as the practitioner knows what they are doing and what is appropriate for their patients.

As an osteopath, I work alongside physiotherapists and chiropractors and used cross referral when necessary and I truly believe this is a very important to acknowledge as a practitioner, in order to offer the best care and management to our patients.

References:

www.csp.org.uk
www.gcc-uk.org
www.osteopathy.org.uk
www.nhs.uk

How and why Stretching?

Stretches: you know about them, you are doing them, your doctor give them to you but actually what their actual benefits are, and how to do them properly seems to be a bit of a blurred area in common knowledge, with a lot of myths and misconceptions.

So here is an article that attempted to summarise and explain stretches; and hopefully will make everything a bit clearer to you:

Lets start with some definitions:

Static stretches: the ‘classical’ way of stretching, with no specific action. This is the dry, simple way of stretching a muscle, moving a limb to its full range of motion and hold it for a certain time.

Dynamic Stretches: this is a more functional way of stretching, involving repetitive movement and functional active movement; again bringing a limb to its full range of motion but repeating movements.

Ok now lets have a look at the common says and misconceptions on stretching:

  • ‘Stretching prevents muscle aches’

FALSE
Stretching has been found to NOT prevent aches; especially static stretching.

Although long thought to be caused by LACTIC ACID building up in your muscles, soreness post work out is now known to be caused by microtears in the muscle cells themselves. This happens when you work a muscle more than it is used to; if you repeat the activity several times, allowing the muscle to rest and recover in between, the muscle will gradually adapt and you will soon not feel sore anymore doing this same activity. (remember you first legs bums and tums class ladies?). This is called the ‘repeated bout effect’. And apparently if you increase the activity less than 10% you should not experience soreness too much, so quite a good way to increase your performance without suffering too much.

THE TRUTH
Stretches can be part of a warming up routine that would involve low intensity muscle action (at least it should), increasing blood flow to muscle tissue, which is known to reduce post workout muscle soreness or damage.

Methods that increased the blood flow to muscle include: massage, hot bath, sauna, low intensity muscle warm up

Past and Recent researches agree on its benefit in RECOVERING from aches. Dynamic and static stretches.

  • ‘Stretching reduces the risk of injury’

FALSE
Injuries are caused and predisposed by many different factors and isolated ‘stretching’ before an effort is not what keeps you from an injury.

Good stretching routine does not help in preventing overuse injury either.

THE TRUTH
As mentioned above, increased blood flow to muscle reduces risk of injury. Anyone is prone to injury, amateurs and athletes, and to minimize the risk of injury a nice and appropriate warm up is needed. This involves dynamic stretches (preferably, depending on the activity you are preparing for), functional movements and light cardio. And should last more 10 min at least!

  • ‘Stretching makes muscle longer’

UNDECIDED
This a topic highly debated:

Is increased range of motion in a joint from stretching due to increase in muscle length or an increase in stretching tolerance?

Most researches support that static stretching promote increase in tolerance to stretch; one study found actual muscle lengthening.

  • ‘Stretching improve athletic performance’

TRUE if they are appropriate for the activity

Dynamic stretches while warming up have been found to increase performance in activity involving jumping and running; so they are great for activities like involving floor impact like running, basketball, handball.

Static stretches have been found to be inefficient and even dangerous as a warm up for activities involving running and jumping as the muscle is losing its full strength capacity (it’s called ‘stretch induced strength loss’). However, as they are still increasing flexibility they are appropriate and more recommended before activities involving core and flexibility like ballet, dancing and gymnastics.

  • ‘I am already flexible I do not need to stretch’

FALSE
The nightmare of all osteopaths. Flexible does not always mean your muscles are not tight and noded. Some people, especially girls, have hyperflexibility in their joints, and if generalised in the body, it is called ‘benign hypermobile syndrome’. This is a tricky condition because people tend to think they are quite flexible when actually they are just very bendy. Not training properly and not stretching accurately will predispose to injury and muscular fatigue. (you can read more about hyperflexibility on my post here).

THE TRUTH
Regardless your joint flexibility you should always be aware of your muscle tone and balance. And if you are double jointed you might find yourself having to exercise a bit harder than the average to promote better support of your body and prevent pain and injury.

Summary and Recommendations:

  • Stretching does not prevent injury
  • Stretching enhances muscle power when using dynamic stretch; but if using static, muscle strenght can be impaired
  • Stretching is needed before working out (dynamic preferably), FOLLOWED by a proper warm up of at least 10 minutes, involving functional movements and light cardio; in order to optimize muscle function
  • Stretching is needed post working out (static preferably), and will help muscles to recover quicker, diminishing aches
  • Do not confuse hyperflexibility in the joints with muscular flexibility, everyone needs stretching
  • Stretching alongside physiotherapy or osteopathy helps recovering from injury (especially shoulder, back and knee)
  • Be sensible in your stretching, learn to be aware of the different kind of pain, and listen to your body. ‘Pain’ does not mean you are doing it right all the time.
  • Include variations in exercise stretch, feel where the stretch feels the strongest
  • Bring movement and fluidity in your stretches.
  • Stretch BOTH sides!

 

How long How often:

You cannot expect improving flexibility by just stretching irregularly5a3a5e71d1c94c48502377bce6471d52 and inconsistently.
You can achieve the most benefits from stretching by doing so at least 3 times per week. Think about it like any other type of exercise.
The American College of Sports Medicine recommends static stretching for most individuals that is preceded by an active warm-up, at least 2 to 3 days per week. Each stretch should be held 15-30 seconds and repeated 2 to 4 times. Older adults and people with decreased activity need longer stretches according to studies.

Which Stretches

I generally advise my patients basic stretches inspired by yoga routine and rehabilitation exercise; but strongly advise them to find a good yoga class locally to them or to work, with less than 15 people and a good caring instructor. Usually after 2 months you should be able to get into a routine yourself and can apply the different poses and stretches at home. Most of my own stretch exercises are yoga based or strongly inspired from it.
Most of people nowadays need some core notion in order to improve their body awareness and prevent injury; hence alternating pilates and yoga classes is a nice (and highly recommended!) option.
Otherwise there are always nice stretches you can find on pinterest such as those basics ones on the picture.

 

 

 

 

 

“The impulse to stretch is built into the very pulse of life: it is the expansive moment, before the contraction, the filling before the emptying, the charge before the discharge. It is the child’s arms reaching for its mother, or the lover embracing her love. It is the legs stepping out into a walk, then a run. It is the propensity to go beyond where you have been, and once you have found comfort in that new place, to wriggle and move beyond that too. It is the wrapping of the heart around more, and the broadening of the mind past its own limits. Stretching will always have its place, and from the infinite creative potential it expresses, we will continually unfold.”

Gil Hedley – Doctor in Theological Ethics and Anatomy specialist

 

The ‘Flat Head Syndrome’ in Babies

Plagiocephaly or the so called Flat Head syndrome: How to manage it, how to avoid it, how to improve it.

‘What is it?’

Plagiocephaly is a deformity of the baby’s skull, usually from positioning or moulding in the womb.
According to some research, about half of babies nowadays have a flattening of the head with varying degrees. However due to the large scope of different prognosis, it is hard to have more specific numbers.

At birth and in young babies the skull is composed of 44 separate bony elements, meaning that some of the bones are not even fused within themselves. There are separated by areas of dense connective tissues (6 fontanelles, cf picture). The cranial bones themselves are very soft and membranous, and are separated by unfused sutures, allowing the room for general musculoskeletal growth and the growth of the brain.

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In summary, babies have very soft heads, in order to allow appropriate growth and brain development. Unfortunately, this means their heads are prone to deformities, rated light to severe.

These deformities are commonly called plagiocephaly (flattening on one side of the head, ‘parallelogram’ head), but also brachycephaly (flattening of the back of the head, square head).

Plagiocephalies are commonly associated with torticollis, but your baby can have positional plagiocephaly without suffering from a torticollis.

plagiocephaly

‘What causes my baby’s head to misshaping?’

  1. Muscle spasm in the neck (torticollis) causing the baby to look only on one side and affecting the position of the head, gradually causing moulding/flattening on one side.
  2. Birth strain, if the baby was compressed in the whomb or ‘stuck’ during labour; or if there was use of ventouse, forceps etc
  3. Spending too much time on their back; on too hard surface; not enough ‘tummy time’

However, more serious reasons can cause head deformities, and it is important that you check with your GP, health visitor, midwife or osteopath if the misshape of your baby’s head is only benign and not caused by:

  • Craniosynostosis: when there is a premature fusion of certain sutures in the head, possibly impairing healthy development and with a risk of raised intracranial pressure.
  • Muscular anomaly: hypotonicity caused by syndrome (eg Downs); muscular dystrophy or other neuromotor conditions.

‘How can it affect my baby?’

Plagiocephaly and brachycephaly are measured and classified from light to severe.
Correction is important in the mild to severe cases as if sustained on the long term the whole body of your baby is going to grow with this asymmetry and around it; predisposing to compensatory scoliosis; movement asymmetries and possibly impairing normal healthy development.
For the ‘lighter’ correction is mainly for comfort and cosmetic reason.
Plagiocephaly can indirectly be associated with feeding difficulties, aerophagia and colic. If the feeding mechanics are impaired by head movement, the jaw will be affected, causing discomfort to both baby and mum, and the increased chance of air swallowing.

‘What can I do?

Simple little things parents can do in order to promote natural correction of flattening of the head such as:

  • Promoting tummy time (8 to 10 times a day, from seconds to minutes)
  • Interacting with your baby more to the side opposite the flattening, changing toys position and cot set up
  • Regularly change position of your baby to decrease the pressure on the flattened area
  • Consulting an pediatric osteopath in order to have a check-up and promote more symmetry in your baby’s head, neck movement and general body. You will be provided with more personalised advice according to your baby’s need.

‘How about helmet therapy?’

orthomerica-starband-026

This is an optional therapy for the severe cases of head flatenning.
From 5-6 months of age, usually last between 3 to 6 months. It consists of wearing a personalized helmet for 23hrs per day with check up and reviews every 6 weeks.

Usually recommended to try manual therapy first. And alongside if deciding to do it, in order to help the baby coping with the changes.

 

What can Osteopathy do?

If your baby has a ‘funny shaped’ head, most likely, they will grow out of it, and with hair it will be less noticeable (although, less evident for boys). However, in more obvious cases, it is worth seeking the advice of your pediatric osteopath in order to ensure your baby as full range of motion in the neck and that flattening do not affect their development and/or is not due to more serious causes. The osteopath would promote better spinal movement and more balanced muscular tone, looking to promote a healthy body alignement, working gently using mainly cranial techniques. Treatments over time, combined with natural growth and parents’ following advices; will promote a more symmetric head shape.

 

For more information do not hesitate email or contact via phone.

Why and how did stress become your worst enemy?

Do you know how much pressure we put on our self in the society of today?

Initially, stress is supposed to be a survival instinct, it is to be and to have a short term action: to run away or to fight for your life. Stress is a good thing: it makes you stronger, faster, quicker in thinking and sharper in decision making, it inhibits pain and shuts down every other systems in your body that could get in the way of your performance. Thanks to complicated physiological mechanisms, involving hormones such as adrenalin, stress is here to save your life, eg: running away from a lion.

This is the normal, short term, acute kind of stress.

In today’s world, stress has become the new normal (and especially in a big city like London). And what a mess it is making out of us. We always ‘need to’ be more efficient, faster, stronger, younger, smarter, thougher.. it is never good enough, there is no time for holidays or lunch break otherwise your ‘life is over’ as someone is ready to replace you. Sounds familiar to anyone?

As the worldly renowned neuroscientist Robert Sapolsky says: ‘We’ve evolved to be smart enough to make ourselves sick’.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bEcdGK4DQSg

So how do you get to chronic stress, and what are the effects on your health?

Hormones are here to regulate energy production and storage, immune function, heart rate, muscle tone, and other processes that enable you to cope with the stress.

When you are stressed all the time, once your adrenal glands ran out of resources, they get tired, your body and different systems start to collapse, as you are running out of resources to meet your general demands and needs. This can start with feeling tired more often than usual (phase 1), then not recovering from a small cold (phase 2 and 3), which can then spreads and turns into a more severe infection (eg pneumonia, meningitis), eventually leaving your life in danger (phase 4).

Your body will keep trying to find other ways to keep up (maintaining homeostasis), messing around with your general metabolism, neuroaxis and other systems; until you have a general melt down (phase 4).
beautiful illustration on Pinerest here

Stage 1: Adrenal Stress
difficulty getting the energy you need, general irritability and impatience, difficulty digesting and sleeping

Stage 2: Adaption
your body learned to shut down the previous symptoms in order to support you. and that is not good on the long term

Stage 3: Adrenal Exhaustion
chronic fatigue, (tired all the time), recurrent infections and colds

Stage 4: Physical Burnout
immune system crashing: risk of depression, severe infections (pneumonia, meningitis), chronic fatigue syndrome, diabetes, fibromyalgia.

12 signs you may be suffering from adrenal fatigue:

  1. Feeling tired all the time, difficulty getting out of bed even after 12 hours sleep
  2. Having burst of energy late in the evening
  3. Suffering from regular infection or cold viruses
  4. Difficulty digesting
  5. Difficulty losing weight
  6. Feeling of overwhelming and inability to achieve everything you aimed for
  7. Circulation problem
  8. Skin break outs
  9. Head aches
  10. Cravings
  11. Insomnia
  12. New or worsened allergies

How can we get less stress in our life?

  • Have fun and make sure you enjoy every day of your life
  • Meditate and use mindfulness to be in the present
  • Be more self-compassionate
  • Exercise to spend your energy, build stamina and boost your metabolism
  • Eat healthly, avoiding nibbling
  • Keep hydrated
  • Be closer to your loved ones
  • and so much more (cf picture from pinterest)

And always remind yourself: ‘Stress is what you make of it’,
Anyone up for some changes? 😉

If a tree falls in a forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?”  George Berkeley, 1883

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6 Reasons why water is so important for your health

Although the actual daily quantity of water needed per day per person is still discussed, keeping hydrated throughout your day is essential in regards to your general health and more.

Take it from this point of view: our body is composed of 60% of water (80% for babies) and we are constantly losing fluids in so many different ways:

  • Through our skin via sweat AND evaporation
  • Breathing
  • Passing water
  • Digesting
  • Maintaining your general homeostasis

As our dear French Scientist Antoine Lavoisier used to say:
‘Rien ne se perd, rien ne se créé, tout se transforme’
‘Nothing is lost, nothing is created, everything is transformed’

Right, but if your body water is transformed into urine, stools or sweat or used to digest it must be replaced, or your body will find other ways to keep itself hydrated. But you don’t really want to go down that road as you would end up suffering from: head-aches, brain fogginess, poor digestion, low blow pressure, shortness of breath, dry skin, brittle hair, urinary tract infection, muscle cramp… And a lot more! Who wants that really?

Maintaining your body hydrated will help:

  1. Your general body fluids homeostasis

Your body fluids are involved in digestion, absorption, circulation, production of saliva, transportation of nutrients, and maintenance of body temperature. If you are dehydrated, via a complex mechanism involving blood pressure, your brain will be alerted and will send informations to your kidneys in order to regulate the water in or out your body. It will also makes you feel thirsty in the case of dehydration. Isn’t it amazing?

2. Your muscles metabolism:

Your cells in your body need water and electrolytes to function well. Even more so your muscle cells, especially during physical activity. If you have poor hydration and lack of electrolytes your cells will start to collapse and be less efficient, eventually resulting in muscle fatigue and cramps. In some extreme cases, muscle tissue even starts to burn from over tiredness and dehydration. Not very pretty.

  1. The look and texture of your skin:

Acting as our main protective barrier from the outside environment and preventing excess fluid loss our skin is constantly challenged, pulled, exposed, burned etc. Keeping well hydrated will improve the aspect of your skin, and dampen your wrinkles.

  1. Losing weight:

Well actually… Water does not, and never had, make people losing weight. However, being hydrated and eating food rich in water such as cucumber, cauliflower, melon etc will take more volume in your stomach hence will help you feeling fuller and will help easing your appetite.
People that are used to drink sugary drinks throughout their days and swapped them with water will categorically lose weight. Because guess what: water counts 0 Kcal and 0 g of sugar when a can of coke (330 mL) held 140 Kcal and 39g of sugar.

  1. Your kidneys and excretion of toxins

As mentioned earlier, your body fluids will help in nutrient transportation as well as in waste product. The toxins in your body are mostly water-soluble and hence able to be excreted in the urine thanks to your kidneys.

When you are well hydrated urine flows easily, and your kidneys function normally. However if lacking enough fluids, this will put more stress on your kidneys as they will try to reabsorb as much water as they can, making urine with a strong smell and darker colour.

  1. Your digestion and bowel function:

Water has a significant role in our digestive system starting from saliva to lubrication when passing bowel. When you are dehydrated your colon will reabsorb water from their content, resulting in constipation. Same goes for passing water, the less hydrated the more irritated it will be, leaving you prone to irritation and cystitis.

What do we need to take from that?
Water is part of you and your health, your body needs it, your body uses it, your body runs on it. You can survive 3 WEEKS without food but only 3 DAYS without water. Coincidence? I don’t think so!
So here are some tips to make sure you keep hydrated throughout your day:

  • Drink a large glass of water when you wake up in the morning
  • Carry your bottle of water with you
  • If you feel thirsty, think about drinking water before junking on sugary fizzy drinks
  • Eat your water, watery food such as: Cucumber, Lettuce, Celery, Radishes, Tomatoes, Bell Peppers, Cauliflower, Watermelon, Spinach, Strawberries, Broccoli, Grapefruit, Apricots, Cherries, Grapes, and Zucchini.

You will feel better, digest better, sleep better, manage your weight and diet better and feel clearer in your head! So what are you waiting for?

Anna the Midwife

Working with expecting women, mothers and their children and babies is a very significant part of my practice. And to be able to offer them my best I want to be surrounded by people I can trust and refer my patients to, when needed. Hence I am organising regular meeting with people from different profession involved in ante natal and post natal time.
Find out about my meeting with Anna Von Horsten, an independent midwife.
anna

Who is Anna?

Anna is a trained midwife from Germany that moved to London and works at The London Birth Practice, with other independent midwives.

Loving her professional activity, Anna values her health highly and encourages all her patients to do so. Nowadays too many people take their health for granted and undervalue it, to the point of hurting themselves.
Keen on her yoga practice, Anna sees regularly her osteopath in order to maintain her body health and prevent injury.

How did I meet Anna?

Anna and I have been introduced via her osteopath who happens to be a friend of mine. She recommended Anna to get in touch with me as she was looking for an osteopath specialised in paediatrics that would do home visits and to whom she could refer patients to.

What is Anna’s experience with osteopathy?

Apart from having regular osteopathy for herself, Anna noticed the benefit of osteopathic treatment to new-borns quickly in practice.

She started in Hospital in Germany where she was working on the postnatal ward. Back at that time each baby would be seen twice a week by an osteopath before she was discharging them.

Anna witnessed babies screaming, being unsettled, not feeding well or having severe reflux getting better from osteopathic treatment.

From her experience all her new borns patients suffering from colics, aerophagia, feeding difficulty, reflux, torticollis or birth trauma benefits from osteopathy.

She reports she can see improvement on her follow up appointment after 1 to 2 treatments and recommends all her patients, mother including, to have osteopathy. Even if there is no current complain, Anna believes pregnancy and birth are strenuous for both mum and baby and that they should get checked by an osteopath.

What’s next?

I am really thrilled to have met Anna as now I have a private midwife to recommend my patients too.
Her kindness and value of health makes her the perfect midwife to trust and rely on.

I will refer all my pregnant patients to her as I know they will be in very good hands.

Anna Von Horsten’s Contact details
http://www.londonbirthpractice.co.uk/index.php/the-midwives/50-anna-von-hoersten.html
email: anna@londonbirthpractice.co.uk
number: 07454917537

My experience with Paediatrician Rheumatologist Dr Hasson

Dr Nathan Hasson quote on osteopathy:

“Osteopathy is very important as many patients I see have musculoskeletal symptoms such as backache and neck pains with headaches and respond well to osteopathy. Osteopaths form an integral part of the multidisciplinary team that help treat my Rheumatology patients, and have skills other members of the team don’t have.”

Who is Dr Nathan Hasson?

Dr Hasson is a Consultant in General Paediatrics and Paediatric Rheumatology, with a special interest in hypermobility and juvenile idiopathic arthritis. He worked at Ealing Hospital before moving to Great Ormond Street Hospital in Paediatric Rheumatology.

Dr Hasson is a believer of multidisciplinary approach to patients using many different therapy referrals such as osteopathy, physiotherapy, podiatry, psychology etc.

Why did I want to sit with him for a day?

Rheumatology is a huge part of our work as osteopaths and Dr Hasson is an authority in his field. I find that observing consultants, and surgeons in practice gives me a better perspective and greater understanding of my patients, allowing me to perform at my best.

Children are mainly suffering from weakness and pore core due to lack of physical and outdoor activities. For those that are called ‘hypermobile’, ‘double jointed’or, ‘flexible’, this can become a problem as they lack  strength to protect their body and end up suffering from different aches, pains and joint inflammation.

Dr Hasson uses a physical muscle test of strength for different groups of muscles on both sides of the body:

  • Arms:
    . Shoulder muscles
    . Biceps,
    . Triceps
    . Forearm muscles
  • Pelvis:
    . Gluts
  • Legs
    . Quadriceps
    . Hamstrings
    . Calves
  • Core:
    . Abs
    . Chest
    . Trapezius
    . Latissimus Dorsi

He uses 11 different muscle power tests on both sides and has a final score out of 22.

His general findings in initial consultations are the following:

  • Children have a general score of 5 out of 22 of normal muscle strength: Right biceps, both hamstrings and calves
  • Children are weaker than their parents, even if they train at the gym or are rugby players (I witnessed a 16 years old boy, training at the gym every day, being weaker than his mother and the previous patient who was 8 years old)
  • Their shoulder on the non-dominant side is atrophied, shorter and higher, due to its lack of use.
  • The best management to hypermobile weak children is symmetrical activity, such as dancing, swimming, climbing etc. Physical activity and rehabilitation of muscle strength will decrease aches and pains and prevent injury.

According to recent researches here are some interesting – but worrying facts:

  • 1/3 of teenagers in UK suffer from knee pain due to chondromalacia patella caused by discrepancy in leg muscles (weak underdeveloped quadriceps, chronically tight hamstrings and calves)
  • An Australian study found that modern children perform less well when running compared to their parents at the same age.
  • Hypermobility is not a disease, it is a just a genetic version of tissue elasticity, children suffer from being weak, not hypermobile
  • Anxiety is coded by the same gene, hence the hypermobile child tends to be prone to anxiety
  • Hypermobile children can also suffer from tiredness (lack of stamina), poor balance and coordination, easy bruising, abdominal pains, headaches, dizziness and, poor concentration

So what can we do about it?

There is no medication for hypermobility, and the best treatment for weakness is… EXERCISE! And this would be for their life-time.
Children would have to do exercises daily, designed to improve the strength and fitness of each muscle group specifically. The key point is to carry out significant number of repetition and low weights. There is no point in being able to do a few repetitions with heavy weights, this will not help build up stamina, although the muscle would appear bigger. Stamina or endurance is known to decrease anxiety, depression, chronic pain, fatigue, etc. With more stamina, children would also perform better at school, sleep better, and be able to focus more.

Supports such as pen grip or insoles may be useful according to the child’s needs, but it would be in combination with their exercise programme.
Occupational therapy and osteopathy are found to be useful too.

My intake on my day with Dr Hasson:

I had such an enlightening time. Dr Hasson is brilliant with his patients and on the top of his field. His way of explaining and talking to his patients and their parents is admirable, and I could observe how much trust he inspires in all his patients.
I learned so much from Dr Hasson in such a short time and I know that has already made me a better practitioner. I am very thankful to have had this amazing opportunity.

Why sitting is the new smoking

Wondering why we keep saying sitting for too long is bad for you?

Nowadays, it has been found that the average person spend more than half of their time in a day in ‘sedentary pursuits‘. This fancy term basically is a broad expression envelopping effortless, energy saving behaviour such as: sitting watching tv, playing video games, working sitted at the computer, reading, sitting in the tube, taking the elevator instead of stairs etc. Sounds familiar to anyone?

Did you know that, compared to people sitting for little time, people that sit for too long have:

  • 112% increase in risk of diabetes
  • 147% increase in cardiovascular events
  • 90% increase in death caused by cardiovascular events
  • 49% increase in death from any cause

It is commonly said and recommended to spend 150 minutes of ‘exercise’ per week, but everyone has different needs and metabolisms.

But why is sitting so bad for us? Here are some reasons:

– you don’t spend energy, your body is shutting down and there is little muscle activity. your metabolism is slown down.
– you adopt poor posture, overstraining some muscles and underusing some other, collapsing your back and overusing your neck
– by not moving and having a poor stature you don’t stimulate blood flow and general fluid mechanisms responsible for the good health of your tissues (muscles, ligaments, nerves, organs etc) and you end up having aches and pains, head aches and poor digestion.

So how to fight sedentarism in your every day life? Little things and changes such as:

– taking the stairs instead of lift or escalator,
– walking 20 minutes instead of taking a bus or a tube for couple of stops
– having regular breaks from your desk work and go for a walk, do some stretches
– find an exercising activity to do regularly: running, yoga, spinning whatever works for you the best

Movement is health, so keep up with it and your body will thank you 😉

10 reasons why I think children are the best patients

What I deeply love about our profession as osteopaths, is that we all have the opportunity to find fields we feel passionate about and where we are at our best.
I do love treating everyone from any age and background and I feel fulfilled and thankful every day for doing what I love.

I found myself having special interest in paediatric early, even before my life as an osteopath, I knew I wanted to work with children.

For me, children are the best patients, and here is why:

  1. Their body is full of vitality. They have not been worn out by life, they are only discovering the world and learning to grow up.
    This makes treatment more efficient and quicker but also challenging at times when they are jumping everywhere.


  2. They always, (always), tell you what they think and how they feel. Or if they can’t talk, they will make you understand in their own way (biting, gazing, avoiding your hands..).
    If you don’t do your job well, they won’t spare you. They are your best critics.


  3. They don’t care about what others think. They are their own mind and person and if parents do well they will manage to contain them. But they will do things the way they intend to do them and no one will change that. Even if it includes getting into their dippers for treatment when you don’t necessarily need them to undress.

  4. They are your best Personal Trainer ever: making you work out, muscle strength by lifting and carrying them, and cardio, by running after them when they decided that they didn’t want treatment this day.
    They challenge your mind, pushing you to your limit and make you tougher, reminding you how a toy thrown in your face is great and non painful (AT ALL).


  5. They push you to be fashionable, by making you change your top up to 2-3 times a day sometimes, due to food or ‘body fluid’ incidents.

  6. They make you become the best illusionist and multi-tasker of all time, as you need to find ways to distract them when you are treating them if they are having one of those days.

  7. They show you their gratitude with cuddle, drawing, smiles, screams, kicks, saliva, and only other great things they produced themself!

  8. They inspire you and remind you how life does not have to be so serious all the time. They make you travel and play by telling you all about their imaginary world.

  9. They are your best parenting training ever, as you have been treating so many of them. And if they have a tantrum during your consultation, you can let the parents taking care of it 😀

  10. Making them feeling better and helping them recovering, supporting their family is the best rewarding feeling as their osteopath.

These points are probably very familiar to most of parents but obviously nowhere near true parenting challenges 😉