Antidote to sun lounger back pain

By | Back Pain, Osteopathy, Prevention | No Comments

Is your back feeling bit worse after the summer? Here’s a possible antidote.

If like many of us this Summer involved long car drives, traffic jams, some cycling and may be some sun lounger action then your hip flexors could now be tighter than normal. These muscles help us bend forwards at the hip. But tighter Hip flexors and in particular Psoas and Iliopsoas can lead to lower back pain.


Tight Psoas can cause back pain

Tight Psoas causes reduced movement in lumbar spine

If you have been sitting for long periods of time either in the car, on your bike or with your feet up on a sun lounger (lucky you!) or at your desk (not so lucky!) then your hip flexors become tighter.

This would normally cause your body to lean forwards. However your body adapts to ensure you are standing up straight by contracting your postural muscles in your lumbar spine (lower back). This can lead to greater pressure on your lower vertebrae and the associated facet joints as the muscles attached to them tighten up. The extra work load on the postural muscles can lead to strains and spasms. Back pain!

How to help Yourself

The antidote to this is to start a concerted exercise to stretch these hip flexor muscles out from their contracted state. As you can see from the image below the Psoas originates from the lumbar vertebrae in the lower back and connects to inside of the femur (thigh bone).

Tight psoas can be a cause of back pain

Psoas helps flex hips

So any exercise must work the muscles fibres that run vertically and those that go at an angle to attach to the femur. This exercise does just that and so is very effective.





The Hip Flexor exercise

The key to this exercise is that it is what’s termed dynamic. It is a movement rather than a static stretch. Research has shown that the body responds better to dynamic movement based exercise designed to increase range of movement than static stretches. It makes sense. Our bodies were designed to move not hold static poses and so our muscles are designed to adapt to movement.

Important points to note

At no point in the exercise is the stretch held as a static stretch

Your hips move forward to dynamically stretch the vertical muscles fibres

Your arm comes up and you bend to the side to dynamically stretch the muscle fibres that attach into your femur.

Do not arch your back in an attempt to gain a greater ‘stretch’ sensation.  This can make the muscles in your lower back even tighter and put more pressure on the lumbar vertebrae. Just push forward with your hips.

Repeat the movement 10-15x am and pm daily for best results. Incorporate it into exercise warm up and warm downs too.

It should be a pain free exercise. If you experience pain just stop and contact your Osteopath or other professional physical therapist.

For more information on this exercise and how Hugo can help you return you to your personal best call  0208 226 3767.

The role of Gluteals in Back Pain or running a PB

By | Back Pain, Osteopathy, Prevention | No Comments


From  Back Pain to running a PB – effective Gluteals are an important factor

If you suffer from back pain , even infrequently, or you’re aiming for a personal best for your next race or training harder for your chosen sport whether it be running, rugby, football, tennis, swimming, cycling, skiing or golf.. the strength and effectiveness of your Gluteals will be a factor. Read More

Knee Pain? The problem could be above and below

By | Osteopathy | No Comments

A female patient, 26yrs old, recently came to the practice with pain underneath her left knee cap. It also clicked occasionally and was much worse after the gym or running and walking up the stairs. It had been getting progressively worse for the last 6 months.

On examination the patient’s knee had no obvious mechanical injury to her ligaments. There were signs of a little wear and tear. However what was obvious was that the patient significantly pronated on her left foot and her left pelvis was anteriorly rotated.

The diagnosis was patella femoral syndrome.


This involved articulation and manipulation to the foot , the fibula head and the SIJ and lumbars to address the rotation. Sports massage to the muscles inserting at the knee including gastrocnemius, hamstrings, tfl, itb and quads and a recommendation to purchase orthotics to help her pronation.
The patient was also given therapeutic exercises to strengthen her core stability, relax and stretch her ilio-psoas and so reduce her pelvic tilt.
After two treatments the patient reported a complete cessation of pain. She had also ordered the orthotics.


Now I recognise that not every patient will respond in the same way but this global approach to the patient’s knee pain, combining osteopathy with remedial  and sports massage and therapeutic exercise is a typical example of how I treat. And for this patient it was very effective at addressing her problem.  Long term she will need to use her orthotics and maintain her therapeutic exercises. But now the management of her pronation and potential future knee trouble is within her own control.

How osteopathy can help patients with Arthritis

By | Arthritis, Osteopathy | No Comments


Rheumatoid arthritis
Patients can suffer from either Rheumatoid arthritis or osteoarthritis. The two conditions are quite different. The first is an auto immune response where the body evokes an inflammatory response in a joint. The synovial membranes within the joint are attacked by the body’s own white cells (antibodies) and they become inflamed, red , swollen. The bone starts to degenerate. Joints tend to be affected bilaterally. That is to say on both left and right. Eg both hands or knees, elbows etc.
Treatment includes drugs to reduce the body’s immune response – steroids are given at the beginning. This can help but as the disease progresses stronger drugs are employed such as methotrexate or cyclosprorin.

Read More