By using a combined approach of hands-on therapy, the gentle application of needles and prescriptive exercises, Hugh is able to help more people back to health.
Neck and Referred Pain
Neck pain and stiffness can range from simply waking up with a stiff neck, having slept awkwardly, to complex whiplash injuries following a car accident. Acute neck pain may refer pain down the arm or around the shoulder blade, as well as being a source of pins and needles into the hand – a condition often referred to as a ‘trapped nerve’.
Mid and Lower Back Pain
Lower back pain can be debilitating and very distressing. Sometimes pain strikes completely out of the blue but more often it begins with a sense of stiffness that increasingly interferes with day-to-day activity over time. Symptoms can vary from sharp, acute pain and spasm to a more chronic dull ache or stiffness. A number of different structures in the lower back can be responsible for causing these symptoms, including the muscles, nerves, discs and joints. Furthermore, hips and knees may be the root cause of the problem. For example, if you are not bending through your knees terribly well, you are bound to over-exert your lower back.
If you are experiencing a constant cramping ache in the buttock, back of the thigh and calf, often combined with pins and needles or numbness in the foot, then it is likely that a nerve root in the lower back is being chaffed and irritated as it exits out of the spine. This can become a challenging condition to alleviate. If the pain is unremitting it is often helpful to obtain an MRI scan that I can help to organise. Sometimes the tissues are so ‘angry’ that hands-on treatment alone is not enough and this is where acupuncture can be really effective in calming the area down.
Hip, Knee and Ankle Issues
This is a special area of interest to me both personally, after undergoing a hip replacement at the age of just 40, and professionally, having studied gait and running analysis on Post Graduate courses. Whether you are an injured elite runner or someone suffering from osteoarthritis in a single joint such as the knee, suffering from an acutely sprained ankle, achilles tendonitis or Plantar fasciitis it is always important to consider are the joints above and below the injured area contributing to the body’s amazing ability to absorb the impact of your heel striking the ground and sending a chain reaction force up through the leg.
Shoulder conditions, such as frozen shoulder or impingement syndrome, are extremely common and can severely limit activity. The shoulder, almost more than any other joint, is dependent on the interaction and balance of the muscles around the shoulder complex. Since so many of us spend a lot of our time with our shoulders drawn forwards, whilst sitting at a desk, working at the computer or driving, the ball and socket joint of the shoulder becomes ‘crowded’ and is then not in the best position to swing freely. Treatment is aimed at encouraging a better balance of muscle tension around the shoulder and shoulder blades.
Elbow and Wrist Pain
Pain around the elbow, wrist and hand may stem from repetitive movements, such as gripping a tool or using a keyboard, which then goes on to become tendonitis. Other issues may develop following a fall or after a fracture which without intervention may go on to become arthritis. Depending on the nature of the problem, it is firstly important to soothe the symptoms with acupuncture or massage, support the area with taping and strengthen with exercise.
Headaches and Migraines
Tension headaches are often associated with a build-up of tension in the neck, shoulders, upper back and jaw muscles. Often you are unaware of the tension and stiffness in the neck because the overwhelming feeling is of a tight band around the head or pressure at the back of the head or eyes. In addition, migraine may be in part triggered by tension in the neck and shoulders. Migraines are complex and often there are many components and triggers. However, it can be helpful to address the musculoskeletal component with hands on treatment and the deeper underlying elements with acupuncture.
Having played racket sports at a high level as a young adult and continuing to run, swim and cycle both on and off road I have a good understanding of sports injuries whether you are a Rugby player with a neck strains, a Swimmer with shoulder issues, a Racket player presenting with elbow tendonitis, a Footballer suffering athletic groin strain, or a Runner with Iliotibial Band syndrome. Having a good knowledge of the strains sports men and women put on their knees, ankles and joints of the feet I can offer support advice and rehabilitation in many cases.
In the past, I have been involved in athletics coaching and swim coaching and, being a parent of three sporty children who have now grown up and continue to enjoy sport, I understand the importance of a balanced approach to sports. I believe training for sport should be of a high quality, take into account that young adults’ bodies are still changing and adapting but above all remembering that sport should be fun and something you want to continue for life.
Once more from personal experience recovering from hip and shoulder surgery I believe with targeted intervention and specific exercises you can reach goals that you never thought you could achieve. Whether you are recovering from a joint replacement, such as the hip and knee or from keyhole surgery on the spine, shoulder, knee or foot factors such as the ability to correct your balance, as well as, regaining strength and control need to be consciously addressed.
Pregnancy and Postnatal Issues
During pregnancy, hormones are released that prepare the body for birth but which can also lead to changes in posture. After childbirth these changes can take a while to settle which when coupled with the trauma of labour itself or a C-section leaves the lower back vulnerable as there is less support from the hips and abdominal muscles. Add in a lack of sleep and no time to exercise, is it any wonder that so many new mums suffer from back pain?
Arthritis and Chronic Conditions
The best way to manage the symptoms of chronic pain is through movement and nutrition. The right movement can decrease pain, maximise the health of cartilage as well as supporting the strength and stability of joints. The right nutrition can decrease inflammation and build healthy muscle tissue which supports your movement programme.
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