Upper Back Pain

People don’t talk about upper back pain very often.  Yet it can be just as crippling as lower back pain.  In most cases the underlying causes are not serious.  However, when it occurs, upper back pain can cause a level of discomfort that’s too misery-making to ignore. 

Upper back pain is usually aggravated by moving the head or the arms, and can radiate out along the edge of the ribs.  It can also cause headaches or aching pain in the neck and shoulders. 

The causes of upper back pain can vary from poor posture or trauma, to improper lifting or carrying heavy objects.  

One of the most unexpected causes of upper back pain is sneezing!  Yes, the common sneeze can cause excruciating pain in the upper back.  It’s very easy to blame back pain on lifting heavy things like children, concrete, shopping or piles of washing, but sometimes our own bodily functions can be the cause of the problem.

Self-help things you can do if your upper back is painful:

Rest: Avoid activities that exacerbate the pain for a day or two. 

Sleep: Try to make sure you get some good sleep. 

Watch your posture: When you’re sitting keep your head in a neutral position with your ears directly over your shoulders. This significantly reduces the amount of stress on your neck and back.

Be careful:  Don’t try to stretch through serious pain – the chances are you will aggravate it!

As always the effect of any remedy will vary from person to person.  Try to figure out what works best for you. And don’t do the things that make it worse!  

Other causes of upper back pain may include osteoporosis (where the bones are weakened) and scoliosis (where the spine isn’t straight, but in an “S” or “C” curve when viewed from the back).  So if the pain doesn’t subside get your back checked – it’s not clever to ignore the pain.

Covid Protocol 30 May 2022

The guidance below was official removed on 27 May 2022. This means masks are no longer compulsory but are instead “risk assessed” by the practitioner.

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/wuhan-novel-coronavirus-infection-prevention-and-control/covid-19-guidance-for-maintaining-services-within-health-and-care-settings-infection-prevention-and-control-recommendations

More information can be found here. COVID-19 | Institute of Osteopathy

As previously stated I am “triple jabbed” and will continue to have boosters when offered and deemed relevant for healthcare workers.

Please read the following update regarding South Dartmoor Clinic’s protocols before attending or when booking your next appointment with us. Please bring and wear a face covering.

During this time the Osteopathic profession is striving to ensure that patient safety is our number one priority as we provide care within a healthcare setting that adheres to the current Government and Industry guidelines on minimising any spread of Covid-19. The following framework should be helpful to know what to expect. This will be subject to change over the coming weeks/months in response to prevailing advice.

1. When you made your appointment please ensure if you were not experiencing any symptoms of Covid-19 (fever, new onset of cough, loss os smell and/or taste, sore throat, headache etc for more details please visit the NHS site). Also if you have been exposed to anyone with suspected or diagnosed Covid-19 in the past 10 days, you will be asked to reschedule your appointment.

2. Appointment times will be 35-40 minutes with ample time between each appointment in order to clean treatment areas and other high touch zones/clinic furniture and prepare and change PPE. To adhere to social distancing we will have only 1 patient (with household members) in the clinic at any given time at the Ashburton Clinic.

3. We will ask that patients arrive on time for their appointment and not too early. Temperatures may be taken using a handheld IR thermometer 3cm from the forehead.

4. Please leave as many accessory items in the car/at home as you are able to.

5. If possible please bring your own PPE mask to attend your appt if you wish to wear one. You will need to remove any gloves that you have been wearing outside our clinic environment and wash your hands/put on another pair on entering the clinic or use the hand sanitiser supplied.

6. We kindly ask that patients do not bring friends or family to appointments unless absolutely required as a chaperone or for assistance.

7. It is advised that patients wear minimal, comfortable, loose clothing and a face covering.

8. The treatment format should remain similar to pre Covid-19. A 1.5m metre distance will be maintained when possible (taking a history, giving advice). 

9. The osteopath may be wearing a mask if deemed necessary or requested by the patient. This will be sourced ethically (not taking away from the NHS). Eye protection, gloves and/or aprons may be worn also be worn.

10. Payment will be using the sterilised the mobile card reader provided or cash.

11. Further appointments will be made in a diary and a text can be sent to confirm the booking when it’s made.

12. All magazines and reading materials have been removed from the clinic.

We trust that this level of care will prove satisfactory to you in providing a safe environment for you to receive your Osteopathic treatment in these Covid-19 times. We will continue to monitor our approach to delivering this care and modify these guidelines accordingly. Please remember that although every recommended measure will be taken at the clinic this will unfortunately not reduce the risk to zero and patients attending the clinic do so in full knowledge and acceptance of the risks.  If you have any further queries regarding this or your suitability for receiving treatment at this time, please contact me.

Covid Protocol 09 May 2022

As a healthcare setting we are, as both osteopaths and patients, still required to wear masks during  consultations in accordance with government guidelines. https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/wuhan-novel-coronavirus-infection-prevention-and-control/covid-19-guidance-for-maintaining-services-within-health-and-care-settings-infection-prevention-and-control-recommendations

The Covid Protocol has been reviewed and the latest version seems to be best suited for patient safety, adherence to the guidelines and best clinical practice. As previously stated I am now “triple jabbed” and will continue to have boosters when offered and deemed relevant for healthcare workers.

Please read the following update regarding South Dartmoor Clinic’s protocols before attending or when booking your next appointment with us. Please bring and wear a face covering.

During this time the Osteopathic profession is striving to ensure that patient safety is our number one priority as we provide care within a healthcare setting that adheres to the current Government and Industry guidelines on minimising any spread of Covid-19. The following framework should be helpful to know what to expect. This will be subject to change over the coming weeks/months in response to prevailing advice.

1. When you made your appointment please ensure if you were not experiencing any symptoms of Covid-19 (fever, new onset of cough, loss os smell and/or taste, sore throat, headache etc for more details please visit the NHS site). Also if you have been exposed to anyone with suspected or diagnosed Covid-19 in the past 10 days, you will be asked to reschedule your appointment.

2. Appointment times will be 40 minutes with ample time between each appointment in order to clean treatment areas and other high touch zones/clinic furniture and prepare and change PPE. To adhere to social distancing we will have only 1 patient (with household members) in the clinic at any given time at the Ashburton Clinic. If attending the new Newton Abbot Clinic then please call me when you arrive and wait in the car until asked to enter the clinic. Please make sure your mask is in place (unless exempt) and you will be led by me straight into the clinic room.

3. We will ask that patients arrive on time for their appointment and not too early. Temperatures will be taken using a handheld IR thermometer 3cm from the forehead.

4. Please leave as many accessory items in the car/at home as you are able to.

5. If possible please bring your own PPE mask to attend your appt. You will need to remove any gloves that you have been wearing outside our clinic environment and wash your hands/put on another pair on entering the clinic or use the hand sanitiser supplied.

6. We kindly ask that patients do not bring friends or family to appointments unless absolutely required as a chaperone or for assistance.

7. It is advised that patients wear minimal, comfortable, loose clothing and a face covering.

8. The treatment format should remain similar to pre Covid-19. A 1.5m metre distance will be maintained when possible (taking a history, giving advice). 

9. The osteopath will be wearing a mask. This will be sourced ethically (not taking away from the NHS). Eye protection, gloves and/or aprons may be worn depending on circumstances or if requested by the patient

10. Payment will be using the sterilised the mobile card reader provided or cash.

11. Further appointments will be made in a diary and a text can be sent to confirm the booking when it’s made.

12. All magazines and reading materials have been removed from the clinic.

We trust that this level of care will prove satisfactory to you in providing a safe environment for you to receive your Osteopathic treatment in these Covid-19 times. We will continue to monitor our approach to delivering this care and modify these guidelines accordingly. Please remember that although every recommended measure will be taken at the clinic this will unfortunately not reduce the risk to zero and patients attending the clinic do so in full knowledge and acceptance of the risks.  If you have any further queries regarding this or your suitability for receiving treatment at this time, please contact me.

Covid Protocol 21-02-2022

In light of the latest “Living with Covid” there are currently no changes to the existing protocol for osteopaths working in a healthcare setting.  https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/wuhan-novel-coronavirus-infection-prevention-and-control/covid-19-guidance-for-maintaining-services-within-health-and-care-settings-infection-prevention-and-control-recommendations

The Covid Protocol has been reviewed and the latest version seems to be best suited for patient safety, adherence to the guidelines and best clinical practice. As previously stated I am now “triple jabbed” and will continue to have boosters when offered and deemed relevant for healthcare workers.

Please read the following update regarding South Dartmoor Clinic’s protocols before attending or when booking your next appointment with us. Please bring and wear a face covering.

During this time the Osteopathic profession is striving to ensure that patient safety is our number one priority as we provide care within a healthcare setting that adheres to the current Government and Industry guidelines on minimising any spread of Covid-19. The following framework should be helpful to know what to expect. This will be subject to change over the coming weeks/months in response to prevailing advice.

1. When you made your appointment please ensure if you were not experiencing any symptoms of Covid-19 (fever, new onset of cough, loss os smell and/or taste, sore throat, headache etc for more details please visit the NHS site). Also if you have been exposed to anyone with suspected or diagnosed Covid-19 in the past 10 days, you will be asked to reschedule your appointment.

2. Appointment times will be 40 minutes with ample time between each appointment in order to clean treatment areas and other high touch zones/clinic furniture and prepare and change PPE. To adhere to social distancing we will have only 1 patient (with household members) in the clinic at any given time at the Ashburton Clinic. If attending the new Newton Abbot Clinic then please call me when you arrive and wait in the car until asked to enter the clinic. Please make sure your mask is in place (unless exempt) and you will be led by me straight into the clinic room.

3. We will ask that patients arrive on time for their appointment and not too early. Temperatures will be taken using a handheld IR thermometer 3cm from the forehead.

4. Please leave as many accessory items in the car/at home as you are able to.

5. If possible please bring your own PPE mask to attend your appt. You will need to remove any gloves that you have been wearing outside our clinic environment and wash your hands/put on another pair on entering the clinic or use the hand sanitiser supplied.

6. We kindly ask that patients do not bring friends or family to appointments unless absolutely required as a chaperone or for assistance.

7. It is advised that patients wear minimal, comfortable, loose clothing and a face covering.

8. The treatment format should remain similar to pre Covid-19. A 1.5m metre distance will be maintained when possible (taking a history, giving advice). 

9. The osteopath will be wearing a mask. This will be sourced ethically (not taking away from the NHS). Eye protection, gloves and/or aprons may be worn depending on circumstances or if requested by the patient

10. Payment will be using the sterilised the mobile card reader provided or cash.

11. Further appointments will be made in a diary and a text can be sent to confirm the booking when it’s made.

12. All magazines and reading materials have been removed from the clinic.

We trust that this level of care will prove satisfactory to you in providing a safe environment for you to receive your Osteopathic treatment in these Covid-19 times. We will continue to monitor our approach to delivering this care and modify these guidelines accordingly. Please remember that although every recommended measure will be taken at the clinic this will unfortunately not reduce the risk to zero and patients attending the clinic do so in full knowledge and acceptance of the risks.  If you have any further queries regarding this or your suitability for receiving treatment at this time, please contact me.

Carbon Neutral

I’m pleased to announce that South Dartmoor Clinic is now carbon neutral. Thanks to the good people at One Life One Tree a giant sequoia has been planted in Wales on my behalf. This will directly cancel out the clinics and my personal carbon production for my entire life!

“The purpose of life is to plant trees whose shade you will not sit under”

Covid Protocol 24-11-2021

There has been some significant changes to the protocol since the last update so please take the time to have a look at the below. The changes mainly concern the use of aprons and gloves the full details of which can be seen here https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/wuhan-novel-coronavirus-infection-prevention-and-control/covid-19-guidance-for-maintaining-services-within-health-and-care-settings-infection-prevention-and-control-recommendations

To ensure patient safety, there will be some change to the current measures that have been put in place at South Dartmoor Clinic. We remain open in Newton Abbot and Ashburton. The Covid Protocol has been reviewed and the latest version seems to be best suited for patient safety, adherence to the guidelines and best clinical practice. As previously stated I am now “triple jabbed” and will continue to have boosters when offered and deemed relevant for healthcare workers.

Please read the following update regarding South Dartmoor Clinic’s protocols before attending or when booking your next appointment with us. Please bring and wear a face covering.

During this time the Osteopathic profession is striving to ensure that patient safety is our number one priority as we provide care within a healthcare setting that adheres to the current Government and Industry guidelines on minimising any spread of Covid-19. The following framework should be helpful to know what to expect. This will be subject to change over the coming weeks/months in response to prevailing advice.

1. When you made your appointment please ensure if you were not experiencing any symptoms of Covid-19 (fever, new onset of cough, loss os smell and/or taste, sore throat, headache etc for more details please visit the NHS site). Also if you have been exposed to anyone with suspected or diagnosed Covid-19 in the past 10 days, you will be asked to reschedule your appointment.

2. Appointment times will be 40 minutes with ample time between each appointment in order to clean treatment areas and other high touch zones/clinic furniture and prepare and change PPE. To adhere to social distancing we will have only 1 patient (with household members) in the clinic at any given time at the Ashburton Clinic. If attending the new Newton Abbot Clinic then please call me when you arrive and wait in the car until asked to enter the clinic. Please make sure your mask is in place (unless exempt) and you will be led by me straight into the clinic room.

3. We will ask that patients arrive on time for their appointment and not too early. Temperatures will be taken using a handheld IR thermometer 3cm from the forehead.

4. Please leave as many accessory items in the car/at home as you are able to.

5. If possible please bring your own PPE mask to attend your appt. You will need to remove any gloves that you have been wearing outside our clinic environment and wash your hands/put on another pair on entering the clinic or use the hand sanitiser supplied.

6. We kindly ask that patients do not bring friends or family to appointments unless absolutely required as a chaperone or for assistance.

7. It is advised that patients wear minimal, comfortable, loose clothing and a face covering.

8. The treatment format should remain similar to pre Covid-19. A 1.5m metre distance will be maintained when possible (taking a history, giving advice). 

9. The osteopath will be wearing a mask. This will be sourced ethically (not taking away from the NHS). Eye protection, gloves and/or aprons may be worn depending on circumstances or if requested by the patient

10. Payment will be using the sterilised the mobile card reader provided or cash.

11. Further appointments will be made in a diary and a text can be sent to confirm the booking when it’s made.

12. All magazines and reading materials have been removed from the clinic.

We trust that this level of care will prove satisfactory to you in providing a safe environment for you to receive your Osteopathic treatment in these Covid-19 times. We will continue to monitor our approach to delivering this care and modify these guidelines accordingly. Please remember that although every recommended measure will be taken at the clinic this will unfortunately not reduce the risk to zero and patients attending the clinic do so in full knowledge and acceptance of the risks.  If you have any further queries regarding this or your suitability for receiving treatment at this time, please contact me.

Getting Fit in your 40s and Beyond

Looking after your fitness is always important but even more so in our middle age. The benefits both physically and mentally are too numerous and wide reaching to address in this post. I’m often asked by patients what they should and how they should go about looking after themselves in middle age and beyond so I’d thought I’d share some tips on how to achieve your goals.

Have a Plan

Its good to have some structure especially building it around your week with realistic amounts of time that you can devote. Ideally following a training plan – these can be found online or even better is to have coach create a bespoke one for you. This helps to keep the training varied and interesting. Its important to have rest days and weeks where you build effort and weeks when you consolidate

Strength Training

There are a number of age related changes including reducing VO2 max, muscle mass, immune function and increased fat deposition and recovery time. Strength training helps to combat these effects. It can be anything from holding postures longer in yoga to weights sessions.

HITT

Its important also to get ones heart rate up. I won’t address the physiology here but it really helps to make gains in fitness

Diet

To combat the muscle loss and fat deposition try to stick to a diet with increased protein and reduced carbohydrate – obviously making sure all the other boxes are ticked like plenty of veg and fruit, fresh whole foods etc etc

Sleep

The body responds to any exercise we’ve done when resting so making sure we get adequate sleep and down time

Fun

Finally make sure you’re enjoying it otherwise we will probably give it up. Classes and groups really help as well as offering the benefits of socialising

Covid Booster

I’m pleased to say that I received the Covid booster jab (the third one) yesterday. Thanks to the NHS for allowing frontline healthcare workers to continue to receive their vaccinations early.

Covid Protocol (17-09-2021)

There has been no significant changes to the protocol since the last update but please take the time to have a look at the below.

To ensure patient safety, there will be no change to the current measures that have been put in place at South Dartmoor Clinic. We remain open in Newton Abbot and Ashburton. The Covid Protocol has been reviewed and the latest version seems to be best suited for patient safety, adherence to the guidelines and best clinical practice. As previously stated I am “double jabbed” and will continue to have boosters when offered and deemed relevant for healthcare workers.

Please read the following update regarding South Dartmoor Clinic’s protocols before attending or when booking your next appointment with us. Please bring and wear a face covering.

During this time the Osteopathic profession is striving to ensure that patient safety is our number one priority as we provide care within a healthcare setting that adheres to the current Government and Industry guidelines on minimising any spread of Covid-19.

With this information in mind there will be no changes implemented. The following framework should be helpful to know what to expect. This will be subject to change over the coming weeks/months in response to prevailing advice.

1. When you made your appointment please ensure if you were not experiencing any symptoms of Covid-19 (fever, new onset of cough, loss os smell and/or taste, sore throat, headache etc for more details please visit the NHS site). Also if you have been exposed to anyone with suspected or diagnosed Covid-19 in the past 10 days, you will be asked to reschedule your appointment.

2. Appointment times will be 40 minutes with ample time between each appointment in order to clean treatment areas and other high touch zones/clinic furniture and prepare and change PPE. To adhere to social distancing we will have only 1 patient (with household members) in the clinic at any given time at the Ashburton Clinic. If attending the new Newton Abbot Clinic then please call me when you arrive and wait in the car until asked to enter the clinic. Please make sure your mask is in place (unless exempt) and you will be led by me straight into the clinic room.

3. We will ask that patients arrive on time for their appointment and not too early. Temperatures will be taken using a handheld IR thermometer 3cm from the forehead.

4. Please leave as many accessory items in the car/at home as you are able to.

5. If possible please bring your own PPE mask to attend your appt. You will need to remove any gloves that you have been wearing outside our clinic environment and wash your hands/put on another pair on entering the clinic or use the hand sanitiser supplied.

6. We kindly ask that patients do not bring friends or family to appointments unless absolutely required as a chaperone or for assistance.

7. It is advised that patients wear minimal, comfortable, loose clothing and a face covering.

8. The treatment format should remain similar to pre Covid-19. A 1.5m metre distance will be maintained when possible (taking a history, giving advice). 

9. The osteopath will be wearing PPE. This will be sourced ethically (not taking away from the NHS). It will include single use apron and single session face masks. Eye protection and gloves may be worn depending on circumstances or if requested by the patient

10. Payment will be using the sterilised the mobile card reader provided or cash.

11. Further appointments will be made in a diary and a text can be sent to confirm the booking when it’s made.

12. All magazines and reading materials have been removed from the clinic.

We trust that this level of care will prove satisfactory to you in providing a safe environment for you to receive your Osteopathic treatment in these Covid-19 times. We will continue to monitor our approach to delivering this care and modify these guidelines accordingly. Please remember that although every recommended measure will be taken at the clinic this will unfortunately not reduce the risk to zero and patients attending the clinic do so in full knowledge and acceptance of the risks.  If you have any further queries regarding this or your suitability for receiving treatment at this time, please contact me.

South Dartmoor Clinic

Tavistock Sprint Triathlon

Thank you to everyone who showed interest and support. I’m pleased to say that I completed the course yesterday and was pleased with the result. I had no idea the run would be so hilly – over 100m of elevation over the 5k course. Looking forward (sort of!) to Dawlish in a fortnight.