Northern Ireland's Leading Specialist Back Pain Clinic
Tel. 028 9266 6959
gavin@gavnoble.com


3 things you could be doing that makes your knee pain worse

  • By G NOBLE
  • 17 Sep, 2017

Have you ever experienced knee pain?

The kind that slows you down in life , niggles  when you walk up and down the stairs, hurts every time  you bend down, aches when you sit , and just generally  leaves you feeling frustrated  wondering when it’s finally going to wear off…

If that sounds like you, you’re not alone.

Painful knees are one of the most common things we see people living with at the clinic. And a lot of people get frustrated because they don’t understand WHY it’s happening to them.

Some people think knee pain is just a part of ‘getting old’, because a friend or close family member told them it happens to everyone. Some people are told it’s just wear and tear and everyone gets it.

Some people think knee pain is one of those things that comes and goes, hoping it’ll magically disappear one day when they wake up… (but it ends up staying longer, and sometimes gets worse).

The sudden onset of knee pain can be confusing. Sometimes it happens because of a nasty fall or a movement you did that set it off.

But more often than not we see people suffering with knee pain because of  everyday habits we do without even realising.

Maybe these habits are making your knee pain worse too?

Here’s 3 of the most common bad habits we see people doing…

1. Wearing The Wrong Shoes

It’s sad but true, your favourite pair of heels, or smart suit shoes, could be causing your knee pain (and making it worse).

High heels change the way you walk, as do smart suit shoes that are too tight, placing additional stress on your knees.

To combat this, wear shoes with cushioning.  Shoes with good cushioning can absorb the impact of your foot hitting the ground, preventing the shock from getting to your knees. Specialised inserts (like Orthotics) are perfect for offering more comfort and protecting your knees.

And about high heels, you don’t have to give them up altogether, save them for special occasions instead.

2. Sitting With Your Legs Bent

There’s so much ‘gossip’ that surrounds knee pain, but this is fact… you and I were not designed to sit.  It goes against every basic, fundamental rule of the way we originally evolved as humans.

When you sit at a desk, or in a chair with your knees bent underneath, you’re stretching ligaments and muscles and placing your knee in a position that is un-natural – and a position knees really aren’t built to be in for too long.

Limit the amount of time you sit with your knees bent, and keep them out straight for as long as possible – and keep them moving too.

3. Resting……..Too Much

A lot of people we see think ‘rest’ is the solution to getting rid of knee pain. But when you’re told to ‘rest’, rest doesn’t mean laying on the sofa watching your favourite TV series back to back all day long. It means not doing ‘too much’.

I’m not saying rest isn’t important – it is! The problem with too much rest  is that it makes your joints tight and stiff. Try to do low-impact exercises that don’t put too much strain on your knees.

Remember our bodies are meant to move. Moving helps to loosen stiffness and allow joint fluid to lubricate the joints, making movement easier.

You could go swimming, enjoy a light walk, Pilates, go for a cycle – all of these exercises are great for fitness and for your knees.

Are you doing any of these three things?

If your answer is ‘yes’, putting an end to these three habits today will help ease your knee pain, and stop it from getting any worse than it needs to be.

There’s obviously so much more you can do too – like do exercises which have been tailored for you, and your knee pain, by a Physio, and get hands-on specialist treatment.

But these are the fundamentals. If you apply them daily, you’ll feel a huge difference.

BONUS!!

If you want more information on what you can do to recover from Knee Pain, we have a Knee Pain event  that we run at the clinic.

It lasts 60 minutes and it’s FREE for you to come along and discover exactly how you, or a loved one, can finally unlock the agonising mystery of knee pain, and how to get back the life that you deserve, for good.

If you are interested in attending this event, please feel free to contact the clinic.

Gav Noble Physiotherapy

By G NOBLE 19 Oct, 2017

Let me tell you about one of the most common things that people aged 50+ who come to see me experience…In fact a patient came to see me last week with this problem.

The sudden onset of shoulder and neck tension.

It often sneaks up on people without any warning and without any mechanism of injury.

And usually offers no explanation as to why you might wake up with an annoying, nagging pain in the neck one day that can even begin to make it difficult to enjoy daily life.

Neck pain can often be caused by a number of things…

Spending all day long at a desk looking at a computer screen, sleeping with too many pillows, lifting and reaching, ironing, watching TV and even reading a book before you go to bed.

Now, you might think the things I’ve just mentioned are simple, and that they wouldn’t cause neck and shoulder pain at all…

But the thing is, just as with anything, if something is done repetitively no matter how small or trivial, eventually it will have an impact on your body, and will surface a few years later done the line in form of pain, stiffness and tension.

So, with that said, let’s take a look at watching TV…

Let’s face it watching TV is something that most people do, and of course there’s nothing wrong with it!

I enjoy winding down with a good programme before I call it a night – Australia Masterchef is a firm favourite, and I love to read a story to my daughter in the evening before she goes to bed.

Now, what most people don’t realise is that the head is designed to be kept in a position where your ears are in line with your shoulders, and most of the time when we’re doing certain activities, your ears are no longer in line.

I can be guilty too whilst watching TV or when reading, that my head tends to bend forwards and put extra pressure at the back of my neck. Understanding this and correcting it ASAP will only help to keep neck and shoulder pain at bay!

Continue to let the head flex and get out of alignment every day, will only gradually worsen unwanted problems, like tension as time goes on.

So what can you do to fix a stiff neck before the tension gets any worse?…

Well to start with, when watching TV be aware of your neck posture.

If you notice your neck is leaning forward at all, tuck your chin in down towards your neck and chest. This will help to straighten the neck.

Another thing you can do as soon as you wake up is to take a hot bath or shower and have a gentle stretch. Muscles love to be warm, and they don’t like being kept stationary.

With that said, you could also consider taking up activities like Pilates, which is great for your posture and can even reduce the risk of neck pain due to the amazing AND relaxing strengthening exercises.

For more ways and advice to ease neck and shoulder pain, go here next to collect your free tips report:

  http://www.gavnoble.com/neck-shoulder-pain


By G NOBLE 13 Oct, 2017

This is one of the most common questions I get asked when I see patients:

“Why did my shoulder pain start without me even doing anything to set it off?”

Normally, there tends to be some sort of injury occurrence that sets off shoulder pain, such as a fall onto your hands or shoulder or even braking hard in the car that the shoulder jolts forward, can set off shoulder pain

Let’s understand a little more about the shoulder first.

As far as joints go, the shoulder joint is probably the most mobile joint in the body. Think just for a minute about how often every minute of every day that we do something with our hands, arms and shoulders. It’s quite a lot, isn’t it?

This means then that is not very stable, which means that sometimes it’s easy for your shoulder joint to easily go into positions that can cause stress on the muscles around it.

The shoulder joint relies a lot on its muscles, tendons and ligaments to support it. Unfortunately these muscle tendons often pass through very small gaps between the bones and therefore can rub and wear down over time.

So, what is the cause of the pain?

It is generally an irritation of the muscle tendon, which when going back to the cause is down to your POSTURE!

One common way this injury occurs is simply by sitting at a desk, the arms reach forwards and round the shoulders forwards.

Although such a seemingly simple activity, over time this repetitive movement can lead to your shoulders experiencing pain. Even reaching to pick something up, like a book or even a small child becomes more difficult.

So how do you limit the chances of this happening?

Well the answer is quite simple really… You check your position.

 

If you notice you have to stretch quite far forward to reach the keyboard, simply move your keyboard closer so that your elbow is at a 90 degree level and you can type comfortably.

Another way is to simply hold your shoulders back slightly. I bet you have noticed that towards the end of the day you slump more and your shoulders become rounded?

One problem with this position is that your shoulder blades aren’t working properly. The muscles around the shoulder blades aren’t doing their job as well as they should so they don’t look after your shoulder joint like they should.

Now, if you’re currently suffering with pain, and you want to get back to golf or tennis, be able to pick up your child or grandchild, or whatever it is that you may love doing then don’t worry…

…Physiotherapy is the first port of call for you!

The physiotherapist will be able to assess, properly diagnose and treat your injury, giving you the advice you need to get you back doing exactly what you want to quicker!

If should pain is bothering you right now and you’d like to discover how to ease it quickly… Click here to instantly download your free shoulder pain report:

http://www.gavnoble.com/neck-shoulder-pain


By G NOBLE 06 Oct, 2017

Starting Pilates can be a daunting thing. One of the things that we get told frequently is ‘I’m not sure if I’m doing it right’. Another thing we hear is about Pilates being for men?

Addressing the ‘men’ issue, it’s really not. I can remember attending my first Pilates class and being the only guy there. I guess I got it pretty quickly as I could see the massive benefits it would have for my once lower back pain (I don’t suffer any more by the way). We run mixed classes and the guys in class keep coming back as they see the real benefits of Pilates. It’s not just a girl’s exercise regime! The founder of Pilates, Joseph Pilates, was clearly male and lived well into his 80’s!

We never want people to come to our classes thinking about this, as it then distracts them from the real reason why they are there. Whether that reason is to help get stronger, more flexible, improve their core strength, or help with back pain. We want you there to enjoy the class, get stronger and more flexible, but most importantly have fun.

Throughout the class time our instructors are constantly paying lots of attention to everyone, making mental notes on how people are moving, helping you adjust position, and correcting exercises and positions so that you perform them efficiently. This helps us to modify the classes to the ability of everyone who attends.

This is important to us and hopefully to everyone who attends

 

Our instructors are highly trained Specialist Physiotherapists and Pilates instructors, who have spent many years learning and understanding about movement. We love seeing the classes progress and love it even more when we overhear people saying “I was never able to do a certain movement but it’s ok now” – I love that!

So as I said, we hear this’ I’m not sure if I’m doing this right’ so often. This is one of the reasons why we highly recommend attending for our Pilates assessment. It really makes the transition to class so much easier, as people tend to ‘get’ it more as they have a better understanding. At the assessment, we go over all the underpinning principles of Pilates, we teach the basic fundamental exercises, and send you home with the ‘basics’ on paper and also via email with access to videos of everything you have just learnt.

If you have any questions, queries, please feel free to contact us at 028 9266 6959, or gavin@gavnoble.com

By G NOBLE 24 Sep, 2017

I wanted to answer one of the most common question I get asked about being stiff. We hear this all the time and not just at the clinic.

“Gavin, what advice have you got for someone who isn’t necessarily in a lot of pain, but who is just really stiff in the morning and feels stiff through the day? I feel it slows me down and can’t do things the way I’d like to.

I have plenty of tips and advice to help reduce stiffness.

But first I want to clear up  ‘why’ we feel stiff in the first place.

A lot of people we see think that stiffness is something we feel as we get older – and while there’s some truth in that, stiffness isn’t always directly related to how old you are.

Yes, as you get older your joints and muscles might get stiff if you don’t exercise regularly. And it’s true that your joints become less flexible as the lubricating fluid inside them decreases, and the cartilage becomes thinner as you age… But there’s some other points to factor in too.

Not drinking enough fluids and dehydration can also lead to stiff muscles. Muscles are active tissues, which means they’re the kind of tissue that requires the most water in the body.

Inactivity is another culprit – leaving your muscles in one place for a prolonged period (sleep, sitting in a chair, driving for hours etc.) can cause them to stiffen.

Another cause can be related to stress – when we’re in a state of stress, our bodies tighten up as preparation for a “fight or flight” situation. Prolonged stress can lead to you maintaining a tight posture, resulting in strain on the muscles.

So what can you do to reduce the side-effects of stiffness? Here’s five quick and easy tips to add to your daily routine that will help you find a life with less stiffness no matter what age you are.

1. Stretch – daily. Ten minutes on a morning when you first wake up, and ten minutes on a night before bed. Doing gentle stretches just before bed can help you get a much better night’s sleep as well. No equipment needed, just you and the comfort of your own home.

2. Walk – It’s time to start making a habit of a regular walk in your daily routine. Start off going for 10 minutes and gradually build up your time and even your pace. Your heart will thank you for it too.

3. Avoid long periods of sitting – Sitting just doesn’t allow muscle to move in the way they are supposed to, causing tightness. We are not designed to sit for long periods. You’re better off laying stretched out on the sofa than you are sitting in a chair for long periods of time. Standing up and stretching every 30 minutes can help. Check out this  video about the one stretch you need to do if you sit long periods.

4. Take a warm bath – with bath salts. The heat and combination of bath salt or will ease your aching muscles almost immediately and will calm your mind. The perfect way to end your day and unwind before getting a good night’s sleep.

5. Drink plenty of water -Seventy percent of your muscles are water. So it makes sense that you need to drink plenty of water to support your body and keep it hydrated. My tip – Drink plenty of water through the day. This also helps the body get rid of any build-up of toxins

It’s sad but a lot of people accept stiffness in their life as though it’s normal and nothing can be done about it. Stiffness in your joints such as your neck, shoulders, back and knees is a sign that something needs to be done by you.

So there you have it, five things you can very easily put into action in your day as soon as today, to reduce stiffness and prevent it from making daily activities difficult to do.

Don’t accept stiffness as part of life, if you do and you don’t do anything about it, it’s likely to worsen and affect your ability to move freely. Time to change your habits

P.S. If you’re experiencing stiffness in your back which restricts your ability to move without pain, click here to download my free back pain tips guide which includes actionable tips I give to my patients at http://www.gavnoble.com/back-pain
By G NOBLE 17 Sep, 2017

Have you ever experienced knee pain?

The kind that slows you down in life , niggles  when you walk up and down the stairs, hurts every time  you bend down, aches when you sit , and just generally  leaves you feeling frustrated  wondering when it’s finally going to wear off…

If that sounds like you, you’re not alone.

Painful knees are one of the most common things we see people living with at the clinic. And a lot of people get frustrated because they don’t understand WHY it’s happening to them.

Some people think knee pain is just a part of ‘getting old’, because a friend or close family member told them it happens to everyone. Some people are told it’s just wear and tear and everyone gets it.

Some people think knee pain is one of those things that comes and goes, hoping it’ll magically disappear one day when they wake up… (but it ends up staying longer, and sometimes gets worse).

The sudden onset of knee pain can be confusing. Sometimes it happens because of a nasty fall or a movement you did that set it off.

But more often than not we see people suffering with knee pain because of  everyday habits we do without even realising.

Maybe these habits are making your knee pain worse too?

Here’s 3 of the most common bad habits we see people doing…

1. Wearing The Wrong Shoes

It’s sad but true, your favourite pair of heels, or smart suit shoes, could be causing your knee pain (and making it worse).

High heels change the way you walk, as do smart suit shoes that are too tight, placing additional stress on your knees.

To combat this, wear shoes with cushioning.  Shoes with good cushioning can absorb the impact of your foot hitting the ground, preventing the shock from getting to your knees. Specialised inserts (like Orthotics) are perfect for offering more comfort and protecting your knees.

And about high heels, you don’t have to give them up altogether, save them for special occasions instead.

2. Sitting With Your Legs Bent

There’s so much ‘gossip’ that surrounds knee pain, but this is fact… you and I were not designed to sit.  It goes against every basic, fundamental rule of the way we originally evolved as humans.

When you sit at a desk, or in a chair with your knees bent underneath, you’re stretching ligaments and muscles and placing your knee in a position that is un-natural – and a position knees really aren’t built to be in for too long.

Limit the amount of time you sit with your knees bent, and keep them out straight for as long as possible – and keep them moving too.

3. Resting……..Too Much

A lot of people we see think ‘rest’ is the solution to getting rid of knee pain. But when you’re told to ‘rest’, rest doesn’t mean laying on the sofa watching your favourite TV series back to back all day long. It means not doing ‘too much’.

I’m not saying rest isn’t important – it is! The problem with too much rest  is that it makes your joints tight and stiff. Try to do low-impact exercises that don’t put too much strain on your knees.

Remember our bodies are meant to move. Moving helps to loosen stiffness and allow joint fluid to lubricate the joints, making movement easier.

You could go swimming, enjoy a light walk, Pilates, go for a cycle – all of these exercises are great for fitness and for your knees.

Are you doing any of these three things?

If your answer is ‘yes’, putting an end to these three habits today will help ease your knee pain, and stop it from getting any worse than it needs to be.

There’s obviously so much more you can do too – like do exercises which have been tailored for you, and your knee pain, by a Physio, and get hands-on specialist treatment.

But these are the fundamentals. If you apply them daily, you’ll feel a huge difference.

BONUS!!

If you want more information on what you can do to recover from Knee Pain, we have a Knee Pain event  that we run at the clinic.

It lasts 60 minutes and it’s FREE for you to come along and discover exactly how you, or a loved one, can finally unlock the agonising mystery of knee pain, and how to get back the life that you deserve, for good.

If you are interested in attending this event, please feel free to contact the clinic.

By G NOBLE 10 Sep, 2017

Cracking knees is something that we get asked about all the time in the clinic. People worry when they hear cracking, popping, or even grating in their knees.

Research tells us that this causes negative emotions, inaccurate beliefs about what is actually happening with our body and ultimately fear avoidance behaviour.

FEAR NOT!

You are about to find out all about that cracking or crepitus as it is also known.

Research has found that a high percentage of people suffer from these clicks and cracks or pops with absolutely no pain, and that it is absolutely NORMAL! There is no research to date that has been able to prove that there is any relationship between the noises and any active disease.

So what are the noises?

1.      A snapping feeling over the bone, may just be a tendon snapping over the bony protuberances.

2.      Inside the joint, displacement of the bones can create a vacuum and leads to the collapse of gas bubbles within the synovial fluid. This is where you hear the characteristic pop or like clicking of knuckles.

3.      Research has shown that cracking of knuckles has no significant reason for arthritis to become worse.

4.      A ‘clunk’ in the knee for example, could be just the movement of the knee cap over the knee. The movement can be jerky and cause vibrations. This can be due to loss of joint lubrication or lack of joint mobility.

5.      Fine grating sounds, are normal too. This is where joint fluid flows through a slightly rougher joint surface

Finally,

6.      The Eland Antelope from Eastern and Southern Africa, uses knee cracking as a display of dominance

So knee cracking is not always a sign of underlying disease, but can be viewed as a healthy, mobile and well lubricated joint.

If you have any further questions, please feel free to contact the clinic 028 92666959 or gavin@gavnoble.com

By G NOBLE 08 Sep, 2017

This is a question we get asked quite frequently in the clinic. It’s always a hard question to answer as we are all very different people, who do very different things and have very different lifestyles.

How about if I put it to you that arthritis does not have to be a debilitating condition, which stops you from doing things that you love doing?

WHAT?

Would that change your outlook of your condition?

Yes, it’s true; arthritis does not have to be that condition which holds you back. There are many things that you can do that can help to keep you active and mobile. First thing that I have to implore that you do is, to seek advice from your Health care professional!!

Let’s have a look at what arthritis actually is.

Arthritis is inflammation in the joint, be it back, knee, shoulder, etc. It’s part of the body’s natural healing process. The two main types of arthritis we see at the clinic are inflammatory arthritis and degenerative/mechanical arthritis/osteoarthritis (OA).

Inflammatory arthritis normally occurs as a defence against viruses or bacteria. Often this occurs for no obvious reason and is referred to as an auto immune condition, which means the immune system is attacking your joints. So, instead of helping to repair the body, inflammation can cause damage to the affected joint and cause pain and stiffness. The inflammation can also affect tendons and ligaments surrounding the joint.

Degenerative/mechanical/osteoarthritis (OA) is a group of conditions where the main problem is damage to the cartilage which covers the end of the bones. Normally the cartilage helps the joints to move smoothly. In this type of arthritis the cartilage becomes thinner and rougher. The bone underneath then tries to repair the damage but sometimes overgrows, altering the shape of the joint. It can also result from previous damage to the joint such as fractures or previous inflammation.

Ok, so knowing what it is, what can we do about it?

Ok so first, seek healthcare professional advice. As I said above we are all very different and at very different stages of having the condition in different joints. Getting assessed properly, finding out all about you is the most important thing. Finding out about what you can or can’t do and even what you would like to be able to do, top our list every time.

NOTE! Doing nothing will get you nowhere!

I am always keen to find out what your limitations are and setting goals to get you closer to where you would like to be.

The main thing with physiotherapy and arthritis treatment always boils down to the assessment. Inevitably there will be some exercise to do; as this is what research tells us is important to help ease those aches, pains and tightness. Finding the right exercise regime that works best for you without overly stressing your body or making things worse is always one of our goals.

At our clinic, we also advocate the use of manual therapy techniques to help loosen off tight muscles and stiff joints. That is what we find works best for our clients.

So, is my arthritis going to get worse and cause more pain?

In my opinion, yes it will if you do not seek help and find the right rehabilitation. Getting the right treatment will certainly help to keep aches and pains at bay.

Remember, doing nothing will most likely make things worse.

If you have any further questions, please feel free to contact the clinic on 02892 666959, or gavin@gavnoble.com

By G NOBLE 14 Aug, 2017

The first time you take any new fitness class can be a little intimidating. Meeting new people, wondering if you will be able to do the exercises, or wondering what everyone else is like at the exercises in the class. Maybe it’s the exercise names that you’ve never heard before.  FEAR NOT! We all have to start somewhere.  

If you’ve wanted to try Pilates classes but something has been holding you back, now’s your time to sign up for your first one. Pilates offers plenty of benefits to your body, no matter your fitness background. You’ll improve your posture, focus on bodily alignment, and get a great workout.

Whether you're on the mat or a reformer, you can snag the same benefits. A 2016 study  found that eight weeks of Pilates classes improved abdominal endurance, flexibility, and balance. Other studies have shown that when doing Pilates for chronic low back pain, it was able to show greater improvements in pain and functional ability compared to usual care and physical activity.  Plus, Pilates has become popular with top professional athletes from all over the world, and A-list famous people.

Want to know what the hype is all about? Here's everything a Pilates newbie needs to know to enjoy their first class.

1. There are two different kinds of Pilates classes: mat classes and reformer classes.

You'll be tackling a class that's based on either a mat, to cushion pressure points, or a machine called a reformer, which is a sliding platform complete with stationary foot bar, springs, and pulleys that provide resistance to help tone the body. Know which one you're getting into before you commit to your workout, which is typically 45 minutes to an hour long.

Both options focus on the concept of control rather than cranking out endless reps or muscle exhaustion. In Pilates, your muscles are working to lift against gravity and (in the case of the reformer) the resistance of the springs or bands, with the ultimate goal of strengthening and isolating the right muscles. Your goal should be to take your time with the exercises, focus on the task at hand, and connect your mind with your body and your breath.

Regardless of what class you choose, make sure to let your instructor know you’re a beginner. This way, they’ll be able to keep an eye on you throughout the class and offer modifications, adjustments, progressions or regressions.

2. You'll feel your muscles burn during class, and you'll probably be sore the next day.

While you may not be crushing high-intensity exercises like crossfit or lifting heavy dumbbells, the mostly bodyweight routines that Pilates classes offer can be pretty intense. If we look at the Hundreds exercise for example, a abdominal focused movement that involves less than two inches of constant movement, it will make your abs burn. You can bee given modifications so that you can perform each movement with good form and with differing levels of difficulty (another reason to introduce yourself as a beginner before class starts).

Being able to focus on small movements means that you’ll work on the muscles that each exercise intends. That means you may be dealing with muscle soreness after your workout. Being sore the next day doesn’t mean you’re out of shape; it just means you’re challenging your muscles in new ways or working muscle groups that don't usually get much attention. This is common!

3. Wear comfortable clothes

Even if you typically prefer loose-fitting workout wear, you're going to want to wear comfortable clothes for Pilates classes, that allow your body to move. Tighter clothes can be better, so that the instructor can see your movements. You can wear legging with a tank top or fitted long-sleeved shirt.

As for footwear, you can either be barefoot or wear socks for your session. If you're going to go for socks, find yourself a pair with rubber detailing on the soles so you don't slip on the mat or machine. A barefoot or socks-only approach will also help you navigate in and out of the straps on a standard reformer with ease.

4. Every studio has different lingo they use in class. Look to regulars for form help when you're not up with the terms.

Every exercise class from aerobics to CrossFit has its own set of terminology, Pilates included. For Pilates, know that your "powerhouse" refers to the centre of your body, where all of your power comes from to execute movement. "Peel through your spine" means slow movement from vertebra to vertebra. Don't worry: You'll get used to it with time.

In the meantime, look to regulars who catch on to the instructions quickly. The best way to do this? Put yourself in the middle of the room. Whether it's on a reformer or a mat, planting yourself in the centre allows you an optimal view of all of the action. It is generally easier to see and follow the instructor from the middle of the studio. You can also try to follow the other regular participants. A good instructor will be watching the room intently and getting up from their mat to make adjustments with people. This is how you can learn moreeffectively.

5. Pilates should be a part of a well-rounded fitness plan.

As with any fitness programme, your body needs time to adapt and change to new movements. Hence, it is always good to take a day or two off from Pilates to allow your body to recover. In that time you can still exercise, but by doing something different.

Pilates stretches, strengthens, tones and aligns your body all at the same time. It also complements other exercise/sport/fitness programmes because it prepares your body to move better in every way. Adding it into your routine will help you lift heavier weights, run faster, swim with better form, achieve a better golf swing or even help you recover from back pain.

By G NOBLE 23 Jul, 2017

So as some of you may know, I have been away in New Zealand for three weeks at the start of July, leaving Chris in control of the clinic, and he’s done a smashing job too.

I have been away with RBAI school rugby team U15 and U16 teams touring both north and south Islands of New Zealand providing, physiotherapy/medical cover, plus a little bit of craic for our time there. The boys played 10 matches in total and won nine of these matches against top New Zealand rugby schools, which is just an amazing feat.

I have been Physiotherapist to RBAI school 1st XV since 2002. A role I stumbled upon, having some free time on a Saturday morning. I have never looked back. With trips to Barcelona, Japan, England, and Scotland, I always enjoy a good tour. The opportunity to meet new people, visit new places, spend time with great people, be part of good rugby and most important for me is to have fun whilst doing it. It has been a pleasure to work with some of the top coaches in Ireland and some great rugby players/pupils.

When the tour to New Zealand was first mentioned to me I agreed and said no problems, after all it was a few years away. Well it came around fairly quickly! There was lots of fundraising, such a superb effort put in by all the parents, boys and staff. Without them all, the tour would never have happened.

Prior to the tour I have to say that it did feel slightly daunting, being the medical cover for 45 boys. So off we went, the boys having completed SCAT tests before leaving. Whilst away, we had to do a few more SCAT tests after some of the games for those boys who suffered knocks to the head. Thankfully no one seriously concussed. It’s the safety of players which is always at the forefront of our minds. Match days were busy, helping both teams prep for each match.

So what kind of injuries did we pick up whilst away? We had some usual rugby knocks and bumps – nothing too serious, a few mild concussions (ruling boys out of playing), cellulitis, quads strain, back strain, shoulder impingement, ankle sprain, knee pain and finally some mild cold symptoms. Thankfully nothing too serious and only two visits to medical centres for the entire three weeks, which I think was pretty good all round. After all, it was winter in New Zealand and cold!

The entire tour has just been an incredible experience for all those involved, and one for which I will be eternally grateful.

There have been many highlights on the tour for me:-

·        Skyline tower in Auckland

·        Going to the Super 14 match between the Highlanders and the Reds in Dunedin

·        Watching the match between the British and Irish Lions in the Auckland fan zone, beat the All Blacks

·        Seeing the Crusaders and the Chiefs at their respective training grounds

·        Queenstown – Fergburger (best burger in the world), Luge racing, white water rafting, helicopter ride through the snowy valley, jet boat on the Shotover river, The views of the wintery countryside/mountains.

·        Maori village, Rotorua – experiencing the culture, the food, the games, the lifestyle.

·        Mini team competition, fines and court session, were always a laugh. My own mini team of Robin, Tom, Michael, PC, Stuarty Mc, Alex and Sam, were unfortunate to miss out on the top team prize but definitely a top group of lads. PC and Sam were our winners for top tourists as voted by the boys and the management.

·        The most important one for me in the list here is the way in which our two inexperienced teams played their rugby. They gelled well and played good rugby and beat some good, hard opposition. You have to remember that this is our summertime, and our boys haven’t played much rugby for a few months.

·        Beating all the boys at table tennis at Otago Boys HS with Jonny Peak, winning 10 pin bowling

·        Kyle, our bus driver was a fountain of knowledge (except rivers) and couldn’t do enough to help out.

·        The New Zealand people in general were so friendly, kind, social and brilliant.

The boys have been incredible ambassadors for our country with everyone they met and for all the families that they got to spend time with out there. They, their parents and the school should be very proud how they have conducted themselves both on and off the pitch. I certainly am! Each boy on the trip will have their own story to tell and highlight (even shooting possum). If you ever get the chance to ask them about it, then ask them. It’s hard to put down on paper just how incredible the whole tour was.

I personally would like to thank Dan Soper and the school for the opportunity to be part of the experience. I’d also really like to thank every one of the boys for being such great craic, banter and overall just being all-round ‘good’. I can’t believe the time passed so quickly. There was never a dull moment. There have been a lot of memories created for everyone on the tour and will surely not be forgotten. Thank you too, to all the staff, great memories!!

I have added a couple of photos just to remind myself of New Zealand but also, all the people who made the trip so great.

Sweet as bro!

Gavin

By G NOBLE 27 Jun, 2017

When you sleep at night, do you find yourself sleeping on your stomach? Or with more than one pillow in a twisted position?

When you’re relaxing at home, do you find yourself looking up at the TV screen with your chin poking up and forward?

When you’re out and about do you carry your bag on one shoulder? Or hold your heavy brief case in one hand?

Do you ever suffer from stress or anxiety?

Chances are, you’ve answered ‘yes’ to at least one of these questions.

I may be wrong, your bag might not be heavy, and you might sleep with just the one pillow, but the reason why I guessed you’d answered ‘yes’ to one of these questions is because over the years, almost every patient that walks into my clinic who has been suffering with neck pain, has been doing one of these things.

So it’s no surprise that during my time as a Physio that one of the most regular injuries I see is  ‘neck pain’.

And without even realising it, things that we do every day can cause it.

So let’s take a look 4 of the most common everyday mistakes I’ve found my patients doing that cause their ‘neck pain’…

1. Watching TV

Watching TV is a habit – not saying it’s good or bad! But the real issue with watching TV, is HOW you watch it!

Are you doing it the way I see most of my friends and family watch it… With the TV hung above the fire place high on the wall, kicked back with your feet up (and neck!), while watching your favourite TV soap opera?

Even though you might think it’s comfortable and relaxing, truth is, there could be a problem waiting for you! If you’re watching TV like this it can be strenuous for your neck and head.

A lot of people make the same mistake, they don’t realise that the position they have it in, can actually affect their body and health.

Anyway, how to fix it? There’s a reason why TV stands are almost always the same height, and any decent one will mean that if you’re sitting on the sofa watching TV, the TV will be at eye level.

Watch TV so your head isn’t looking upwards, or reaching out, and this should help you avoid headaches, eye trouble and muscle tension.

2. Your Bag

Carrying your bag on one shoulder, or holding a heavy brief case in one hand is something most of us are guilty of doing, but did you know that’s also one of the main causes of aches and pains in your neck and shoulders?

You see, since all of the weight of your bag is on one shoulder, or on one side of the body, it can throw your muscles and posture off balance, which is why you sometimes see people with one shoulder higher than the other!

Another thing, the way we carry our bags can cause our muscles to become stiff too.

So the way to solve this problem is reduce the weight of your bag, and to switch up the side you carry it on periodically.

Switching your bag over to the opposite side will help to balance out the way your body carries the weight, relieving any tension built up in your muscles, and solving any posture problems too! Switch it up every 10 minutes, or every time you walk past two streets.

3. How We Sleep

Another daily habit that brings on neck pain is the way we sleep.

You see if you sleep with your head propped up on more than one pillow, your neck, and back aren’t going to be nicely in-line – meaning more pressure on your muscles and spine.

And if you find yourself sleeping on your stomach, your head is most likely going to be turned on its side – meaning your body is in a twisted position all night for hours!

Although your neck is built to rotate from side to side, it’s not designed to stay in that position for hours on end. So if you choose to sleep on your side, use a pillow that doesn’t prop your head too high up, but in-line with your shoulder instead. And if you choose to sleep on your back, sleep with one thin pillow so your neck and spine are nicely straight.

 

4. Breathing

Check out the way you breathe.

If you use the muscles on your upper chest and shoulders to breathe, you may be causing them to overwork, and in turn cause increased tension in them plus the muscles at the back of the neck. This tension can progress on to cause pain!

So what can we do about that?

Well, we can start to use our main breathing muscle – the diaphragm, in a better way by letting our tummy rise as we breathe in. This will help ease the work our shoulder and neck muscles do on each breath.

 

Now can you see why you might wake up with a bit of a sore neck?…

For more ways and advice to ease neck and shoulder pain, go here next to collect your free tips report:

http://www.gavnoble.com/neck-shoulder-pain

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