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Can your teenager touch their toes?

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It’s very interesting as an Osteopath thinking about how and when back problems start?

As a generalisation I think that they usually start to manifest chronically in adults over the age of forty but their origins may be in childhood. However anyone at any age can hurt their back even children & teenagers. The difference is that the younger you are the quicker your back will recover so children rarely need more than a couple of treatments to get well.

The causes of back pain are either from an injury, poor posture or prolonged immobility; that is either doing too little or too much. The result of which is inflexibility and pain.

One should never dismiss the injuries and pains of childhood even though they tend to disappear quickly. However any prolonged symptoms [more than 7 days] should prompt a visit to your Osteopath.

One of the things that surprise me is the inflexibility I come across in teenagers. Many of the ones I treat can’t touch their toes because their hip flexibility is restricted. This is something I’ve seen throughout my career stretching back 36 years so it is not a new phenomenon.

As a generalisation kids keep active, however with more and more of them using their computers to play games as opposed to running around, one wonders what the future holds for not only their back health but their general health too. Not to mention the one’s doing too much sport!!

More and more evidence is coming out with regards to adults and prolonged sitting. Not only talking about back pain, diabetes, obesity, cancer and heart disease but increase risks of mortality!!

How is the increased amount of sitting going to affect the life expectance of our children? Will we see lessons times limited to 50 minute say? What will happen to double lessons! I know there has been a cut back in games at school but maybe the Government will have a rethink this especially with obesity rates on the rise too.

The majority of my patients are over 50 but maybe there will be an increase in younger people developing back problems. I certainly do see people in their 20s, 30s & 40s and I’m sure this will only increase at time goes on due to excessive sitting.

So in conclusion, frequent sitting for anyone for more than 60 minutes is harmful. To combat it just get up have a glass or water, answer the phone or walk round the room. That’s all you need. At the same time keep an eye on your children and try to limit their computer use and keep them active.

You might find this video interesting:

If you have any concerns about your child’s back please feel free to contact me for a chat 020 8954 2254

What frustrates me?

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One of the things that really frustrates me is the lack of understanding of the importance of our mind with regards to our health and for our life experiences in general.

I believe that taking control of our thoughts (& thus how we feel) is the most important aspect of our lives and is also a vital component in our health recovery. As is stated ‘what goes around comes around’ so we are in control and just need to grab the reigns!

So what stops us appreciating our mind’s role in life?  

I think it comes from a lack of spiritual awareness where the “I” is very important together with our medical professions obsession with the physical aspects of health & external causes eg germs and the environment in general! It is also coupled with the lack of appreciation for the bodies own self healing and regulatory mechanisms. I learnt a long time ago from my personal development that the human mind creates everything in the universe and that is actually a Law of Nature along with Gravity, Attraction & Healing.

Our mind is our great ruler so taking control of it is an incredibly important aspect of human life that few really understand, let alone do something about. It is governing every aspect of our life; motivating us in what we eat, how much we exercise & activity we do, how we interact with other people and whether we are positive or negative in our attitudes. We know that negative attitudes play a huge inhibiting role in human life so being what I call a deliberate positive thinker is essential for maintaining a happy & healthy existence. 

However our mind is incredibly malleable and will respond protectively according to our life experiences. The more ‘upset’ it is ( especially when young) the more it changes ones thoughts to negative but if nurtured & soothed it can recover a sense of value & optimism which in my view are the two vital governing components of human existence/health.

I see my role as health mentor helping people to take control of their personal power & improve the way they think (& thus feel) about themselves, others & life in general. Eg developing essential half glass full thoughts. 

I can’t get you well as that is down to you but I can be the guide for your journey.

Recovery as with everything in life occurs in direct proportion to the determination & commitment that one is able to put into it so this is the challenge for everyone and I want to feel that everyone is as passionate (obsessional) about life & health recovery as I am

Thus I guess I need to find ways to encourage people to make health recovery their obsession; thus enabling them to stop living the life that they are with the thoughts that they have and change to living the life of their dreams with the thoughts ( & feelings) that support those dreams?

It is done with love, forgiveness, acceptance, persistence & patience.

Are you up for this challenge?

How to avoid the Hazards of the Holiday!

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How To Avoid the Hazards of the Holiday

It’s coming up to holiday time again so I’d like to warn you that I see a lot of patients, with back problems, after they have been on holiday. Why is this the case I hear you ask?
Well, it’s down to the 3 hazards of the holiday!
Number one is the suit case. They are often over filled ( ladies!). Less shoes please! Try packing them down stairs, next to the washing machine, so you don’t have to shlap them down the stairs. Remember they have to be hoiked into the boot, off the carousel or into the overhead. When you do have to lift them try to bend your knees.
Hazard number two is sitting for long periods of time whether it be in a car, on plane or a train. Where ever it is, stand up and walk up and down the plane or train or stop at a service station; every 2 hours max. Do some simple back stretches just to prevent your back seizing up.
Hazard number three is unusual activity. We do a lot of this on holiday, so please remember I see most of my Osteopathic clients from them doing things they are not use to, like tennis, skiing, horse riding, climbing or bedroom activities!!………..and finally please remember you are 10 years older than you think you are!
If you do hurt your back remember the quicker you contact me the quicker I’ll get you better. Happy holidays.


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In this modern world we live in, Science is discovering that stress is playing a larger and larger role in the underpinning our health, our aches & pains and even our general well-being. However, it is not always easy to define and then even harder to know where to go to get relief.

I have spent my whole life helping people get out of pain, increase their flexibility and improve their mental & physical well-being and now, 38yrs on, I am finding stress is becoming more and more relevant for patients’ recovery.

With mental illness on the rise and the connections between stress and pain becoming more and more understood there is a question that needs answering: “Who do I turn to when I am feeling stressed?”

Here are a few symptoms of Stress:-

· A feeling of overwhelm

· Insomnia

· Headaches or Migraine

· Neck & shoulder tension

· Difficulty swallowing or chest tightness

· Indigestion or diarrhoea

· Aches & pains

· Frequent urination or menstrual irregularities

· Anxiety and/or depression

Stress affects all of us in some way but it is not always that easy to recognise and also to know where to go to find help?
This is where I come in. I’ve put together what I call my Advanced Stress & Pain Recovery Programme (ASPRP)

My ASPRP involves 6 one hour treatment sessions which include:-

· Osteopathic Massage & Manipulation

· Progressive Relaxation & Breathing Exercises

· Mindfulness

· Personal Development

· Counselling

· Journaling

· Health Coaching

The aim of this ASPRP is to calm & soothe the tension that Stress produces and to re-educate the mind to be more optimistic & appreciative.

My special offer price today for this programme is £325. This is the same as I charge for 6 ordinary 30mins Osteopathy sessions but here you are getting much more with a double session of 1hr (a saving of £250). I only ask you commit to 6 sessions and then I will guarantee if you are not happy after those 6 sessions I will refund your money.

Please call me on 020 8954 2254 to book your programme.


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This is probably the most important question you’ll ever ask yourself because as any sports person will tell you, this is the secret to great performance. You can have the fittest body but if your mind is not right, how well will you perform? However if your mind is right but your body isn’t physically prepared that won’t work either!

Which is the more important the physical or mental? Are they equal or does that slight edge come from that extra bit of mental resilience? What makes the winner the winner? Determination? That never say die attitude? I think it’s that extra 10% that makes the difference so that makes it 45% physical & 55% mental.

So we have now established that you need to work on your mind to get you the edge in sport so what about your life? Is your life any different to a sporting performance?

Let’s take a hurdles race as a metaphor for our life. You have to prepare yourself to run, first by gradually doing more and more training. This is like our childhood not too many difficulties if our coach (parents) train us right. They feed us the right food and encourage us to develop physically and also encourage us mentally with loving kindness (just like a motivating coach). We know the encouragement is important, in fact we decided that the mental side is slightly more important. We know an athlete without the motivator will not be so successful but what about the child without loving kindness or worse having to experience an adverse emotional event? We now know from research that they are more likely be less successful & less healthy.

Now as we get older along come the hurdles: 1st day at school; exams; driving test; living away from home; exposure to infections; unhealthy eating or drinking; bereavement; job interviews; relationships; work stress; financial worries; divorce etc etc. We know we will deal with them in relation to our mental and physical resilience.

So now if you ask yourself is your mind right you realise the importance of the statement. If you take on life’s challenges with it not right you know the outcome will not be so favourable and we also know that our health is affected by our attitudes.

Research once again tells us that if one has an optimistic outlook and a good self-esteem we will be healthier, recovery more effectively from illness or emotional upsets and generally be more successful in life.

So what does it mean to ‘get your mind right’?

Here are a few tips:-

· Take responsibility for your thoughts

· Look forward to everything

· Learn to forgive

· Look for good

· Appreciate yourself & life

· Express your feelings

· Relax & learn mindfulness

· Walk to clear your mind

· Think before you react

· Don’t watch the news

· Wear half-full glasses

So as a final thought how would your life be if your mind wasn’t right when you started your day, when you got to work, when you had a date, when your kids or husband (or wife) annoyed you and how do you think your immunity, your headaches, your digestion, your heart, your periods, your worries would be if your mind wasn’t right? Food for thought perhaps! The good news is that you can teach yourself to be more of the above.

For further help to ‘get your mind right’ please get in touch as I have set up a Health Recovery Mentoring Programme that as well as 45% physical & nutritional advice provides that 55% ‘mind gym’ advice that will give you the slight edge that will enable you to lead a full, happy & health life. Please contact me at 020 8954 2254 or at

10 Steps Along the Natural Path to Migraine Relief

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10 Steps Along the Natural Path to Migraine Relief

Step 1) Hydration: Try to have a glass of water in front of you at all times and drink it every 2 hours.

Step 2) Eyesight: One of the simplest issues to correct as it may be causing your Migraine.
Step 3) Neck & shoulder problems: Many Migraines can be caused or aggravated by tension in this area.
Contact me for an Osteopathic check over.
Step 4) Sleep: Even though some people get a Migraine from a lie-in, I believe that’s is caused by a build up of sleep deprivation. Go to bed earlier, don’t lie in later!
Step 5) Eat regularly. Many people suffer a Migraine, when their blood sugar falls, if they miss a meal. If you are one then eat little and often.
Step 6) Triggers: Many foods have been have been linked as triggers for a Migraine. Here are the most common:- alcohol, coffee, chocolate, oranges and cheese. 
Contact me for your Food & Lifestyle Diary to find your triggers.
Step 7) Hormones: Are your migraine monthly? More exercise, less salt & sugar will help balance your Menstrual Cycle. Include isoflavone rich foods such as soy, peas, beans & lentils twice daily if possible. Take Vitamin E & B6 and evening primrose oil.
Step 8) Stress Management: Stress triggers nearly everyone’s Migraine so what do you do to manage yours? Massage, mindfulness, counselling, progressive relaxation, breathing exercises, visualization and sitting in a jacuzzi are all ways to combat stress.
Step 9) Supplements: Magnesium & the herb Feverfew are worth a try.
Step 10) Detox: This occurs naturally with a diet rich in fibre (fruit, veg & whole grains) low in protein & fat; with regular daily exercise in the outdoors; with the use of saunas, Epsom salt baths and skin brushing. Along with plenty of water which is where we started!
For any further information contact me


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Did you know that the un-noticed injuries that we have throughout our life contribute to the amount of aches & pains, and ultimate Osteoarthritis, we experience when we are older?

From an early age we all experience what is called micro-trauma [ unnoticed injuries]that are caused by very small strains and bruises that occur when, for example, we fall over during childhood. These are relatively insignificant because as youngsters our bodies are supple enough to absorb the impact of these falls.

Once teenage years are reached bones are starting to fully form to accommodate growth into adulthood and some of that suppleness starts to diminish and then small injuries take on more significance. E.g. carrying heavy school bags or being shaken up at a fair ground along with the unfortunate sedentariness of the PlayStation. [Being active and doing as little sitting as possible are key not only to healthy joints but also good health in general.] These traumas, along with any accidents or falls, can go undetected but there is an accumulative effect on the joints & tissues. Teenagers can complain about pains in their backs but these can pass quickly due to their rapid recovery rate. However this is another example of micro-trauma leaving its mark on our bodies! As a test ask your teenager to touch their toes as suppleness is a great indicator to the amount of micro-trauma they may be experiencing. If they can’t then you should limit the amount of sitting they do, encourage more activity and maybe have a one off check with an Osteopath. I recommend these once every 5 years from the age of ten regardless of symptoms, but more often if pain is being noticed. Some teenagers are very active with sports that perhaps may be a bit inappropriate for their age but that is a bit of a difficult call as many top sportsmen were child prodigies! Use the injury level as your guide as to whether they are doing too much. The good thing about youngsters is that they respond very quickly to physical treatments like Osteopathy and should be back playing sport very quickly.

Once you reach your twenties it is a time of peak physical fitness so aches and pain should be minimal. They might occur if you overdo the sport but even then you should recover very quickly. However once again you are laying the seeds for the future with micro trauma and if you are less active and more sedentary then the years from 40-60 might present themselves with more aches & pains than expected. This is a time when activity tends to take more of a back seat as family commitments supersede in one’s life. If you can make time for activity then you will reap the benefits of having more flexibility and less pain. However to keep aches & pains at bay now is the time to start an Osteopathic Spinal Maintenance Program which involves a back MOT twice a year in the same way you have a car or boiler service or a visit to the hygienist. Combining this with sensible lifting, caution when doing unusual physical exertion and participation in yoga, swimming, walking and jogging should lead the way to a healthy life experience.

With this regime in place the next twenty years [60-80] of your life should be relatively pain free and you still should be able to live life to the full doing the things that you love. If you neglect yourself and your back then it is highly likely that the degenerative changes of Osteoarthritis will significantly interfere with your life and you’ll find yourself taking regular doses of anti-inflammatory painkillers and limiting your activity levels. [ these pills by the way greatly increase your susceptibility to a heart attack if you are over 70]


For further information about lifelong back care please give me a call 020 8954 2254

Would you like to know what causes your Migraine?

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Firstly are you sure your headaches are really a migraine? Here are some identifying symptoms:- A warning feeling that something is coming on; some kind of visual disturbance; some numbness or disorientation; followed by a one sided intensely painful headache that you need to lie in a darkened room with; accompanying nausea and/or vomiting; this can last anywhere from 4-48 hours!

Here are 9 reasons that may be causative factors. Any one or a combination of any can trigger migraine but stress is a major overarching cause.

1. How is your eyesight?

Are you having trouble seeing distant objects or the small print? A visit to the Optician is the simplest cure for Migraine.

2. Do you drink less than 8 glasses of water a day?

If you do dehydration could be a factor in your Migraine so just drink more water [herbal tea or diluted grapefruit juice will do too].

3. Do you suffer from a stiff neck or shoulder tension?

Many migraine are caused or aggravated by musculo-skeletal problems here [call me on 020 8954 2254 for a Spinal Check Over].

4. Do you feel tired during the day?

7-8 hours’ sleep is essential for Migraine sufferers but go to bed early don’t lie in!

5. Do you skip meals?

Low blood sugar has been found to bring on a Migraine in some people so try to eat every 4 hour even if it is just a snack [like nuts & raisins or a fruity bar].

6. What are your triggers?

Several foods have been found to bring on an attack including:- chocolate, coffee, alcohol, oranges, MSG, sulphites & cheese.

7. Menstrual cycle?

Many women’s’ migraine begin at puberty so hormone play a significant role in their causation. A natural female health check can help a lot to balance hormones.

8. Vitamin and Mineral deficiencies?

Certain supplements have been found to benefit migraine sufferers including Magnesium, CoQ10, Vitamin B2,

9. Over-Stressed?

This is the biggy! You could maybe get away with some or all the others but if you are stressed your migraine will be worse. 2 de-stressing tips:- go for walks and learn to relax/meditate

If you are interested in my Comprehensive Migraine Treatment Protocol that includes:- neck treatment, dietary and lifestyle analysis plus relaxation and healthy thinking guidance please get in touch at or 020 8954 2254


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1. Take a deep breath or two; Breathing deeply, relaxes the body & brings more Oxygen to the brain. Plus we often hold our breath when stressed.

2. Go outside; A change of environment with a walk in the open air will allow you a bit of clarity.

3. Eat & drink regularly; Low blood sugar & dehydration raise the stress hormone Cortisol.

4. Take your lunch breaks and allocated holidays and try not to take work home; over working only makes matters worse!

5. Engage in regular physical activity; Exertion in the form of sport, dancing, gardening or going to the gym are well known de-stressors.

6. Make hobbies some part of your life; spend time away from your stressors with your mind on something else that is pleasurable.

7. Try to get 7-8 hours’ sleep a night; sleep deprivation is well known to make us more stress susceptible.

8. Avoid junk food; a Mediterranean diet with the emphasis on fruit, veg, nuts, seeds & fish plus whole grain carbs has be proved to be best for one’s mental acuity. Avoid sugary food and drink.

9. Coffee and alcohol are not the answer to stress; using coffee to wake up and alcoholic drinks to relax are a sure sign you are stressed! For further evidence take my  stress test and contact me for more advice on how to de-stress. Drink water, diluted juices and herbal teas.

10. Most importantly try to cultivate a Positive Mental Attitude; this can take as much time & effort as training for a marathon but don’t under-estimate the power of your mind in creating not only your stress but success too. Here are a few pointers to help:

· Do whatever it takes feel happy

· Look forward with excited expectation

· Learn from the past

· Be grateful and appreciative of everything in your life

· Forgive! Forgive! Forgive!

· Reduce the effects of reality on your mood and dream big!

· Understand that you are the creator of your life


Well I hope you have found this useful and please feel free to share this.

Why is musical chairs the healthiest game?

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Prolonged sitting is one of the unhealthiest activities we do.  Many of the health issues of our modern life can be linked to our sedentary lifestyle and there appears to be no let up in the damage it is causing.

One of the most disturbing statistics I read last year was the one that said that teenage girls’ life expectancy had been cut from 86 to 82 because of childhood obesity which is an unfortunate side effect of too much sitting. Diabetes, deep vein thrombosis and low back pain are all closely linked to sedentary habits.
Let’s now analyse the how prolonged sitting damages us.
  1. A lack of activity will impede circulation, reduce breathing and diminish heart activity.
  2. It causes a congestion in the abdominal and pelvic organs.
  3. A seizing up of the lumbar and thoracic vertebrae  by tightening the spinal muscles and ligaments.
  4. Weaken leg power.

So what can we do to counter its bad effects?

It’s not easy if you have a desk job but you can seek out some under desk exercises. I always suggest to my patients that they try to stand up whilst answering the phone or discipline themselves to just stand and stretch every hour. The unfortunate thing is that doing some exercise in the evening does not appear to counter the prolonged effects of 8 hours of sitting!
Travelling is another time when we do a lot of sitting and I find this a frequent contributory factor in patients with low back pain. I always suggest breaking your journey or walking up and down the plane or train.
Finally and probably the most worrying is our children and their obsession with the likes of Facebook and the Play Station! I can only suggest that you limit their viewing to hourly sessions and try and get them out the house, but good luck!