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Osteopathic Blog

Tips for a pain free Christmas

The Christmas holiday period should be a time for enjoying ourselves with friends and family, overindulging and celebrating. However for some, the dramatic change in our daily routine, going from rushing to get decorations up and presents bought and wrapped to, for most, a week spent being overly sedentary can be the cause of back and neck pain.

Whilst we can’t help decide the winner of charades or take the calories out of your trifle, here are a few tips to keep you happy, healthy and pain free over the Christmas period.



  • Being that little bit more organised will help. Plan your shopping trip and if time allows take several trips to get everything you need. This will prevent you from spending hours on your feet carrying heavy bags. If circumstances allow park as close to the shops as you possibly can, ask for help from family members and if not possible there is always the shop assistant!
  • If you are having a marathon shopping day try to take regular breaks, sit down, stretch and alternate carrying arms to spread the load and distribute the weight evenly. Or fit in a trip back to the car to get rid of some bags.



  • We’ve all experienced this at some point be it birthdays or special occasions, however Christmas generally requires more wrapping time.
  • Therefore, if possible avoid wrapping presents on the floor. It permits bad posture and leaves us flexed forward for long periods of time subjecting the spine to loads it is not used too. Sitting or standing at a table reduces the need to subject ourselves to bad positions.
  • Use a table to write your Christmas cards and tags! You wouldn’t carry out such tasks at work on the floor, but for some reason we have all done it!
  • As is commonly advised in this day and age, take regular breaks get up walk around and have a stretch every 20-30 minutes.



  • When it comes to putting up the Christmas tree, get some help.
  • When carrying a real tree get some help as they can be quite heavy and awkward! Be careful on the ladder when heading into the loft to find your faux tree, especially on the way down.
  • When decorating be sensible and use a step where necessary. Don’t overstretch or move in awkward ways that your body isn’t used to – just to get that angel on the tree!!!

Biomechanics of running

I’d like to talk to you about something we often see in clinic and that is running or sports related running injuries. These are common in both the experienced athlete and those new to a sport or fitness regime.

Often patients will present with a wide variety of complaints e.g.

  • Muscle and tendon injuries,
  • Lower back pain,
  • Hip pain,
  • Knee injuries,
  • Foot and ankle injuries such as planter fasciitis.

When patients come to see us they often ask ‘what shoes should I wear’ or ‘what stretches should I do’ to prevent further injury or aid rehabilitation. When we assess a patient a common finding is weak glute muscles.

Whilst these are all important factors to consider, it often isn’t as simple as just ‘do this stretch before exercise’, ‘change to this pair of shoes’ or solely trying to strengthen one’s glutes. Whilst good, focusing on one ‘fix’ usually isn’t enough in itself to prevent injury.

To gain further understanding and to help patients further I completed some training earlier this year with a company called The Running School. This focused on the biomechanical analysis, rehabilitation and reeducation of the running gait.

This experience highlighted how multifaceted running injuries and rehabilitation are and how necessary it is to access each person as a whole rather than look at the injured area in isolation. For example arm position and arm movement can hugely impact the whole body during running.


To summaries some key points when accessing sports injuries, we need to:

  1. Access you as a whole. We achieve this by observing your running gait from behind and side on. This allows us to assess for any asymmetry or imbalance in your lower and upper extremities as well as through the trunk and torso.
  2. Observe and assess your muscle strength and activation through a series of simple movement exercises. This may help explain the movement patterns we found during the running gait analysis and explain why the specific injury you have occurred in the first instance.
  3. Observe some simple repeated movement patterns, which may further highlight imbalances and poor patterning.

Having gathered this information it allows us to further understand why your injury may have occurred and how to correct it properly, thereby lessening the chance of relapse in future.

Key points to remember when running:

  1. A good warm up which engages anterior and posterior muscle chain prior to setting off.
  2. At least once a week try to fit in some conditioning/strength training. Not just lower extremity but involving core and upper body too.
  3. Posture/form when running is hugely important in establishing efficient movement patterns and preventing injury.
  4. Good post exercise nutrition to aid recovery.

Successful Osteoporosis Open Day Becomes Annual Event

Did you know that one in two women and one in five men over the age of 50 will break a bone as a result of osteoporosis? Or that an estimated 3 million people in the UK have the condition?

Not many people do, which is why we decided to host a free open day at our Croydon-based Cheyne Walk clinic on Saturday 11th November to raise awareness. The mid-morning event proved so popular, we’ve now we’ve decided to host it once a year.

Around 30 people turned up to learn more about the condition, which causes bones to lose their strength or break easily usually following a minor bump or fall and our knowledgeable practitioners were on hand to talk about the effective measures people could take to manage this so called ‘silent disease’.

Nutritional therapist Dr Zeeba Shariff shared her tips on making good dietary choices and warned against the use of aluminum foil and cooking utensils as it can effect calcium absorption.

Meanwhile, Anne Ring, a key member of our pilates team and ‘Buff Bones’ certified instructor demonstrated seven practical exercises to help combat the effects of osteoporosis.

She also explained why people with the condition are at a far higher risk of fracturing bones when they complete traditional high impact exercise classes like legs, bums and tums and showed alternative ‘safe training’ techniques– a skill she provides in her specialist ‘elders’ pilates sessions. To see some of the dedicated exercises, check out our Instagram page here.

Interestingly, a number of men discovered that they themselves had issues such as osteopenia – low grade osteoporosis. They’d only arrived to support their wives so the day certainly proved a learning curve for everyone!

Oh, and for those who couldn’t attend in person we streamed part of the event via Facebook Live.

We’d like to give warm thanks to the National Osteoporosis Society who supported us enormously and kindly donated comprehensive information packs for all the attendees.

We have some information left, so please ask in reception when you’re next in the practice.

To make an appointment with Dr Zeeba or Anne Ring please call us on: 0208 662 1155.

Doctors Don’t Hell Thy Self

Thanks to one of our patients, a local surgeon, for the following story…

Doctor 1: Middle-aged hospital consultant, late life skier. Last run, of the last day, the birthday run, ooops. Fall, ski jack-knifes; boot stays locked in….ouch…the tear is palpable. Home, Tubigrip. Crutch. Scan – full tear of medial head of calf muscle. Emergency call to The Osteopathic Clinic. “Help! I need help. It hurts and I am on-call all week. I can’t carry on like this. It’s not getting better.” Response from Paul and the clinic “Don’t worry. Just come in when you can. We will sort you out.”

Doctor 2: Late life snorkeler. Flipper gets stuck in coral. Ouch the tearing pain is palpable.  Scan – severe Achilles strain almost complete tear. Tubigrip and walking stick.

Doctor 1 and 2 meet each other, a couple of weeks later by chance at the hospital where they both work. They smile painfully at each other and compare notes about the injury, the crutch, the stick and the Tubigrip. They talk about which exercises to do.

Doctor 1 says to Doctor 2 “Go and see my osteopath. He will get us back on our feet quicker than you and I will buy our own Tubigrips and exercises!”

So here I am, Doctor 1. Having had a couple of weeks of misery at trying to get better with the conventional advice from colleagues (orthopedic surgeons, radiologists and rheumatologists), I literally cried for help and got it.

The Osteopathic Clinic, Paul and his team, were immediately sensitive to the physical and psychological pain and suffering that I was experiencing. Straight away Paul with his holistic approach, based upon a wealth of experience and profoundly sound anatomical and physiological knowledge, started to work upon my recovery. It was clear to me, of a similar scientifically analytical mind, that his knowledge and how he put it into his evidence-based clinical practice would benefit me. Needless to say, he discarded the Tubigrip and crutch swiftly and had me up and around quicker than I would have done so with anyone else. However, this was backed-up by a rigorous programme of personally tailored exercises. Not only was I physically getting better, but also my despairing mind and emotions were being dispelled.

The approach of his contemporary, scientifically sound evidence-based therapy with his fundamental high quality osteopathic skills, have got both myself and Doctor 2 back fully on our feet. His step-wise use of multimodality state-of-the-art techniques, not only the ultrasound machine, but also laser and last by no means least (the best I would say) Shock Wave Therapy have I believe undoubtedly fast-tracked my progress to a whole and complete resolution. He has got me back to the tennis courts in time for this year’s beautiful English summer with the family. He has made me stronger in my body and also given me the vision and targets to keep my body strong and stable for the future… next year please Paul?!

Thank you Paul and The OC! Don’t go anywhere. We need you.

Even surgeons get injured need osteopath and pilates#osteopathicmedicine #pilatesreformer #rehabilitation #skiinjury #kneeinjury

A post shared by The Osteopathic Clinic (@theosteopathcliniccroydon) on

Infant Colic

Infant ColicMy baby is suffering from colic, what to do?’

It has now been few days or even weeks that you have welcomed your baby into the world, however, you’ve noticed that your infant cries regularly.

If you were expecting sleepless nights and few cries, you are now concerned your newborn might be crying more than normal. The repetitive episodes of prolonge and inconsolable crying are becoming a real concern.

It is normal for a baby to cry as it is the only way he can express himself. If he is hungry for example.

However your baby seems to be crying for no apparent reason:

  • he is not hungry,
  • he is not cold or hot,
  • he doesn’t have a wet nappy

Your baby may be suffering from infant colic

Colics are on second position, after gastro-oesophageal reflux, in infants health issues and are present in 10 to 40% of infants.


Abdominal discomfort, excessive crying for many hours per day or night and difficulties settling down can be very stressful situations for both babies and parents who often found managing colic overwhelming, as it affects baby’s sleep and feeds.

However, be reassured that your baby is still in good health.

Colic is not a disease in itself and it usually resolves by itsel by 3 months, or during the 1st year of life.

Osteopathy, often combined with medication, can help relieve symptoms of colic.


  • Symptoms usually start week 2 or earlier
  • Inconsolable crying or fussing lasting few hours, and usually worse in late afternoon or early evening
  • Signs of discomfort such as red face, arching back and clenching fists
  • Unsettle, jumpy, difficulty sleeping
  • Crying for no apparent raison: baby is not hungry, doesn’t have a wet nappy, is not cold/hot..
  • Excessive and explosive flatulences, excessive bowel sounds, hard and distended abdomen, frequent watery/mucousy stools.



Osteopathy doesn’t subside to medical treatment, however it can have an important role in optimising gut function by identifying and minimising the underlying causes of your baby’s symptoms.
Your osteopath will also rule out other factors that might contribute to it (such as allergies…) and refer your baby for further medical management when needed.

Using gentle techniques, your osteopath will focus on the following areas :

  • The digestive system:
    Gentle techniques to help get rid of the winds and empty the bowels.
  • The thorax and diaphragm:
    This can often be strained during delivery, causing a torsion in the diaphragm.
    Additionally, prolonged and excessive crying due to abdominal discomfort in colicky baby causes tension in the thoracic region, increasing the sensation of discomfort for baby.
    Your osteopath will use gentle techniques to balance the rib cage and release torsions through the diaphragm.
  • The neck, head and mouth:
    By gently releasing tension in the neck and around the mouth. Osteopathy contributes to improve suckling, reducing air swallowing during feeds.
    Also, the vagus nerve, which exits from the base of the skull and supplies the digestive system, can be irritated or compressed during the birth process. Irritation of this nerve is thought to contribute to colicky symptoms.
  • Visceral tensions caused by colic can create spinal tensions, which can affect the mobility of the back and neck, which in turn can interfere with proper food absorption as well as making breastfeeding more challenging.



Tip 1 Tummy massage
Tummy massage helps improve the digestive transit and reduce bloating.
Gently massage his tummy in clockwise direction, outward from the umbilicus to help move along trap winds and bowels.
Avoid tummy massage after feeds.

Tip 2 holding baby in vertical position
Try to keep your baby as upright as possible while feeding to reduce risk of air swallowing.
If you are breastfeeding, make sure he is fully emptying one breast before moving to the other.

Tip 3 Burping
Take time to burp your baby after every feeds. Holding him upright over your shoulder for example then gently rub his back to bring up wind.


Courtesy of OC Osteopath, Sabrina Peyandane

Shockwave on Paul’s knee

Never let it be said we’d recommend thing we were’t willing to do ourselves…

Earlier this week Paul broadcast a Facebook Live session as he Shockwaved his knee. For those technical minded: lateral femoral condyle and soft tissues superiority and inferiority work 😉

If you’ve ever wondered about the procedure, this is a great watch.

Pilates Aid: Stabiliser Pressure Biofeedback

As part of our ongoing care of to Pilates and back care patients, we’re happy to share the following exercise to assist finding the deeper stabilising muscles of your lumbar spine.

This technique was introduced by a pioneer in back care from Queensland University, Dr Carolyn Richardson, who incidentally made an enormous impact on the rehabilitation world and was a lead in the Team creating the term ‘Core Stability’.

With this cuff you can essentially get the deeper stabilising muscles to provide segmental muscular strength.

It’s little difficult at first as the cuff gives you feedback to whether you’re able to recruit the correct muscles and then consequently challenge by way of mobilising i.e. lifting your knee off the ground.

As always, if you’re struggling or feel any discomfort, stop immediately and come to see us in clinic.

Starting Position…

  • Place the stabilizer under the lower back
  • Inflate the stabilizer to 40mm Hg
  • Arch your back and note the decrease in pressure
  • Flatten your back and note the increase in pressure
  • Now return to the mid position of 40mm Hg
  • You must not move your back during the exercise
  • Keep the pressure at 40mm Hg
  • Gently pull in your stomach without increasing the pressure and breathe normally.
    Do not hold your breath.


  • Slowly lift one leg, until the heel is about 10cm from the floor and return to the starting position
  • Do not push down with the lower leg
  • Repeat 10 times
  • Stop if you are unable to maintain pressure at 40mm Hg throughout this exercise
  • Repeat with the other leg

Link to cuffs:

Professional: PhysioRoom
Patient recommended:  Amazon

Ironman: My Road to Dubai

 The 27th January 2017, will forever be the day I completed my first Half Iron Man triathlon. The biggest physical achievement but also most humbling experience of my life so far. Having always been into team sports growing up triathlon was something completely foreign to me but following a conversation with a friend almost exactly a year ago I decided to give it a go. I started with a sprint distance triathlon (750m swim, 20km bike, 5km run) in June 2016, then another in August and then decided to jump in the deep end and enter the Half Iron Man 70.3 in Dubai. (1.9km swim, 90km bike, 21km run.) A massive jump from what I had done previously, but I love a challenge… and what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger right?

So with only 4 and a half months to train I got straight to it. My eating habits changed, I was now eating to fuel my body and empty calories became a definite but difficult no-no. I had previously had a consultation with our nutritionist Dr Zeeba, so went back to following the diet plan she had designed for me; which made huge differences in both my energy levels, ability to train at the intensity necessary but also my ability to recover from the hard sessions. I was training hard 6 days a week with a mixture of open water and pool swims, bike and run sessions as well as some heavy weight sessions. Training was going really well, I was feeling motivated and positive, my body was changing shape and I was noticing big differences in strength and fitness…. Then 13 weeks before the date of the race following an accident at the gym I was sat in Epsom General A&E fearing a broken ankle.

Those few hours in A&E felt like weeks, I thought that was it, all my hard work had been for nothing and I wouldn’t be on that start like come January. As it turned out it was only a nasty sprain and as soon as I heard the words ‘no fracture’ from the consultant I was formulating my rehab programme in my head.

After a week of complete rest, ice, elevation and compression I was able to squeeze a still very swollen ankle into my bike shoe and get out and cycle. Soon after I took to the pool and was able to swim with heavy strapping but running was going to be a no go for some time. From week one under Paul’s recommendation I was using the infra- red laser we have at the clinic 3 times a week to help reduce the swelling and target the immune response to the injury more locally to the damaged ligaments. Regular treatment from Paul (not always comfortable I might add) in combination with a rigorous stretching and strengthening regime and continuing to build fitness in the pool and on the bike is I am convinced what got me to that start line.

The feeling I had lining up on the start line is something that will stay with me forever. The months of training, coming through the injury and hard work and support from friends and family had all come down to this. So many people had said to me in the lead up ‘oh all the hard work is done now, just go out and enjoy it’ and I somehow hadn’t quite believed them… but they were so right. All the training was done, my fitness was there it just had to go out there and do it. My goal had been to try and complete the race in under 7 hours, but considering the state my ankle had been in just 13 weeks before I would have been happy just to finish in one piece! As it turns out the ankle was fine! And I completed the whole thing in 6hours 24minutes, absolutely exhausted and elated!!

It was the most incredible experience, tough but incredible. One I would absolutely recommend to anyone thinking of having a go. The amount of support from fellow athletes, organisers and spectators was like nothing I’d ever experienced before. I met people of all shapes, sizes, ages, races and nationalities in Dubai, all with a common interest for health, exercise and passion for triathlon. Definitely an experience I will never forget.
Onwards and upwards though and onto the next thing.

I really believe you’ve got to push and challenge yourself in life; whether it be physically, mentally, at home or at work. If not we all stand still. Challenge means change and change means progress.


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