Deal Physio – Sciatica

sciaticaSciatica describes pain felt along the sciatic nerve, which runs from your lower back, down through the buttock, hamstrings and into the lower leg. The sciatic nerve is the longest nerve in the body. The spinal sections it originates from include L4, L5 or S1.

Sciatica is commonly misdiagnosed, which can result is either slow or non-responsive treatment. Leg pain can have various sources. It can be a local leg injury or it may even be referred from your lower back. The main nerve that travels from your lower back to your leg is your sciatic nerve. Irritation or pinching of your sciatic nerve can cause severe leg pain known as sciatica.

Common Causes of Sciatica

Pressure on the sciatic nerve from a herniated disc usually causes sciatica. Otherwise joint inflammation, compression of the nerve from bony arthritic growths or a locked facet joint in the lower spine can commonly cause sciatica.

Injury that irritates or pinching of your sciatic nerve can cause severe leg pain known as sciatica. You’re most likely to get sciatica when you’re 30 to 50 years old. It may happen due to the effects of general wear and tear, plus any sudden pressure on the discs that cushion the vertebrae of your lower (lumbar) spine.

While there are numerous causes of sciatica, the most common are:

  • Lumbar bulging disc
  • Spine degeneration
  • Facet joint injuries

Other sources include:

  • Piriformis syndrome
  • Spinal stenosis
  • Spondylolisthesis
  • Sacroiliac dysfunction

You’re most likely to get sciatica when you’re 30 to 50 years old. It may happen due to the effects of general spine wear and tear or a traumatic injury that sudden pressure on the lumbar discs e.g. lifting, bending or sneezing.

What are Sciatica Symptoms?

Sciatica causes pain that usually begins in the lower back and spreads through the buttock, leg, calf and, occasionally, the foot. The pain can vary between dull, aching or burning sensations and sharp, shooting pains.

Sciatica can also cause tingling, numbness or muscle weakness in the affected leg. It is very important to seek medical attention in these situations as long-term nerve compression can permanently damage the nerve and its function. In these cases your symptoms may become permanent.

One or more of the following sensations may occur because of Sciatica:

  • Pain in the rear or leg that is worse when sitting
  • Burning or tingling down the leg
  • Weakness, numbness or difficulty moving the leg or foot
  • A constant pain on one side of the rear calf
  • A shooting pain that makes it difficult to stand up.

Sciatica Treatment

PHASE I – Pain Relief & Protection

Managing your pain. Pain is the main reason that you seek treatment for sciatica. In truth, it was actually the final symptom that you developed and should be the first symptom to improve.

Managing your inflammation. Inflammation is a normal part of your healing process post-injury. But, excessive inflammation can be the main cause of your sciatica.

Please contact your physiotherapist or doctor for their professional opinion.

PHASE II – Restoring Normal Flexibility, Posture & Strength

As your pain and inflammation settles, your physiotherapist will turn their attention to restoring your normal back joint range of motion and resting muscle tension, lower limb muscle flexibility and posture.

Your physiotherapist will assess your muscle recruitment pattern and prescribe the best exercises for you specific to your needs.

PHASE III – Restoring Full Function & Dynamic Control

The next stage of your rehabilitation is aimed at safely returning you to your desired activities. Everyone has different demands will determine what specific treatment goals you need to achieve. Your physiotherapist is the best person to guide your rehabilitation.

PHASE IV – Preventing a Recurrence

Sciatica does have a tendency to return. The main reason it is thought to recur is due to insufficient rehabilitation.

Fine tuning your back mobility and core control and learning self-management techniques will ultimately help you to achieve your goal of safely returning to your previous sporting or leisure activities without sciatica.

Call us today to see how we can help you.

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In house Physio Kent

The HSE highlights the benefits of having onsite physiotherapy services at work.

http://www.hse.gov.uk/msd/experience/phisiotherapy.htm

Call us today to see how we can help you to reduce sickness absence.

 

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Posture problems and fixes

Over time, poor posture can damage your spine, shoulders, hips, and knees. Poor postures can lean to structural flaws that lead to back and joint pain, reduced flexibility and compromised muscles.

1 Poking head posture

The problem: Poor strength in the deep neck flexor muscles.

The fix: Sit or stand up tall, flatten the face and then retract your head backwards. Hold for a count of five; do this 10 times a day.

2 Rounded shoulders

The problem: Weakness in the middle and lower parts of your trapezius (the large muscle that spans your shoulders and back).

The fix: Lie face down on the floor, with each arm at a 90-degree angle in the high-five position. Without changing your elbow angle, raise both arms by pulling your shoulders back and squeezing your shoulder blades together. Hold for five seconds. That’s one rep; do two or three sets of 12 reps daily.

3 Anterior pelvic tilt

The problem: Tight hip flexors.

The fix: Kneel on your left knee, with your right foot on the floor in front of you, knee bent. Press forward until you feel the stretch in your left hip. Hold for a count of 30 seconds. That’s one repetition; do three on each side.

4 Elevated shoulders

The problem: The muscle under your chest (running from your ribs to your shoulder blades) is weak.

The fix: Sit upright in a chair with your hands next to your hips, palms down on the seat, arms straight. Without moving your arms, push down on the chair until your hips lift up off the seat and your torso rises. Hold for five seconds. That’s one repetition; do two or three sets of 12 reps daily.

5 Pigeon toes

The problem: Weak glutes (butt muscles).

The fix: Lie on one side with your knees bent 90 degrees and your heels together. Keeping your hips still, raise your top knee upward, separating your knees like a clamshell. Pause for five seconds, then lower your knee to the starting position. That’s one rep. Perform two or three sets of 12 reps on each side daily.

6 Duck feet

The problem: Your oblique muscles and hip flexors are weak.

The fix: Get into a pushup position with your feet resting on a stability ball. Without rounding your lower back, tuck your knees under your torso, using your feet to roll the ball toward your body, then back to the starting position. That’s one rep. Do two or three sets of six to 12 reps daily.

 

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Computer Ergonomics

DSE assessments Kent

DSE assessments Kent

What can I do to help myself?

Make full use of the equipment provided, and adjust it to get the best from it and to avoid potential health problems.  The Health and Safety Executive provide the following tips:

Getting Comfortable:

Adjust your chair and VDU to find the most comfortable position for your work. As a broad guide, your forearms should be approximately horizontal and your eyes the same height as the top of the VDU.

Make sure you have enough work space to take whatever documents or other equipment you need.

Try different arrangements of keyboard, screen, mouse and documents to find the best arrangement for you. A document holder may help you avoid awkward neck and eye movements.

Arrange your desk and VDU to avoid glare, or bright reflections on the screen. This will be easiest if neither you nor the screen is directly facing windows or bright lights. Adjust curtains or blinds to prevent unwanted light.

Make sure there is space under your desk to move your legs freely. Move any obstacles such as boxes or equipment.

Avoid excess pressure from the edge of your seat on the backs of your legs and knees. A footrest may be helpful, particularly for smaller users.

Keying in:

Adjust your keyboard to get a good keying position. A space in front of the keyboard is sometimes helpful for resting the hands and wrists when not keying.

Try to keep your wrists straight when keying. Keep a soft touch on the keys and don’t overstretch your fingers. Good keyboard technique is important.

Using a mouse:

Position the mouse within easy reach, so it can be used with the wrist straight. Sit upright and close to the desk, so you don’t have to work with your mouse arm stretched. Move the keyboard out of the way if it is not being used.

Support your forearm on the desk, and don’t grip the mouse too tightly.

Rest your fingers lightly on the buttons and do not press them hard.

Reading the screen:

Adjust the brightness and contrast controls on the screen to suit lighting conditions in the room.

Make sure the screen surface is clean.

In setting up software, choose options giving text that is large enough to read easily on your screen, when you are sitting in a normal, comfortable working position. Select colours that are easy on the eye (avoid red text on a blue background, or vice-versa).

Individual characters on the screen should be sharply focused and should not flicker or move. If they do, the VDU may need servicing or adjustment.

Posture and breaks

Don’t sit in the same position for long periods. Make sure you change your posture as often as practicable. Some movement is desirable, but avoid repeated stretching to reach things you need (if this happens a lot, rearrange your workstation)

Most jobs provide opportunities to take a break from the screen, e.g. to do filing or photocopying. Make use of them. If there are no such natural breaks in your job, your employer should plan for you to have rest breaks. Frequent short breaks are better than fewer long ones.

 

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Did you know…

savingsA company can claim tax relief for up to £500 per employee, per year for any health related interventions including physiotherapy.

This makes such interventions very cost effective.

With musculoskeletal disorders accounting for 49% of sickness absence physiotherapists are perfectly placed to support employers manage these cases.

Contact us to find out how we could help you keep your staff fit for work.

 

 

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Occupational Health Physiotherapy

  • Sickness absence costs the UK around £15 billion annually in lost economic output
  • £13 billion is spent on health related state benefits
  • In the NHS almost 40% of staff sickness absence is due to musculoskeletal conditions,
  • e.g. back pain
  • 5% of sickness absence becomes long term, lasts over four weeks and accounts for
  • almost half of the total working days lost each year
  • There is an 80% chance that if absent for six months an individual will be out of work for five years.

Work is good for the health of the working population, yet sickness absence due to common health related conditions remains significantly high in the UK. This cost burden to individuals, employers and society can be avoided with rapid intervention. Occupational health physiotherapists are able to provide preventative and reactive services for keeping people at work or helping workers return quickly after sickness absence.

Call us today to see how we can help you keep your employees fit for work.

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DSE Assessments – When do you need to do them?

When are assessments required?

Whenever:

  • You have been allocated a new workstation
  • The workstation is relocated
  • New hardware is introduced
  • New furniture is introduced
  • Working practices are altered or new software is introduced
  • Significant changes are made to the lighting
  • The workstation is to be used by a different operator
  • At regular intervals e.g. Every 2 years
DSE assessments Kent

DSE assessments Kent

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10 tips for new runners

Sports physio Deal

Sports physio Deal

Get the right trainers – for you

Schedule a professional running shoe fit so you get the right shoe for you.

Set a challenge or goal

Entering a race or having a goal helps to define your training. A race date can give you a deadline and helps provide motivation and commitment.

Find the Right Training Plan – For You

Find a plan that is compatible with your current fitness level. Don’t start above your head.

Start slow

Start by running very slowly or even walk first before running. Keep a pace where you can hold a conversation for at least three months as you develop your running base. Take walk breaks as needed. Focus on increasing your run time or your distance in gradual increments rather than your run pace.

Make Running Friends

Running friends will help support your new sport and lifestyle and may help encourage you to train. Meeting up with others for runs makes you accountable too. Making training a “social event” can make it fun and safer too!

Run at Least Three Days a Week

Training plans that are three or four days a week allow you recovery time between runs while still providing enough training stimulus to promote health and fitness benefits. Don’t skip workouts; try to do each and every workout on your training plan. If you miss one, don’t try to make it up by squeezing it in, just pick up where you left off. Rest days are part of the training process too. We need down time to adapt to training. This is when we become stronger, fitter, and faster. Take at least one day a week completely off.

Cross-Train

Enhance your running by cross-training two days a week. Focus on muscular strength and flexibility activities like weight training, yoga or Pilates rather than aerobic cross-training activities.

Eat Well

Change your diet to support your newfound sport and healthy lifestyle. Eating healthy will help fuel your runs, repair your body, make you feel better and improve your performance.

Hydrate Well

Increase your water intake when training to ensure you are keeping well hydrated.

Follow the 10 – 20 % rule

Increase mileage or time gradually. Sticking to the 10 to 20% increase rule helps you avoid doing too much, too soon, and too fast. A slow, gradual build reduces the risk of injury.

 

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Walking – 10 reasons why you should….

Physio Deal Kent

Physio Deal Kent

WALKNG…..It’s a gentle, low-impact form of exercise suitable for people of all ages and most abilities and its FREE.

So how is it good for you?

  1. It strengthens your heart

Regular walking has been shown to reduce your risk of heart disease and stroke. It lowers levels of LDL (bad) cholesterol while increasing levels of HDL (good) cholesterol and keeps blood pressure in check.

According to the Stroke Association, walking briskly for up to 30 minutes can help prevent and control the high blood pressure that can cause strokes – reducing your risk by up to 27 per cent.

  1. It lowers disease risk

As well as heart disease, a walking habit can slash your risk of developing type 2 diabetes, asthma and some cancers. A study in the British Medical Journal showed taking more steps every day can help ward off diabetes. And according to the charity Walking For Health, regular exercise such as walking could reduce risk by up to 60 per cent. Those of us who are active have around a 20 per cent lower risk of developing cancer of the colon, breast and womb than those least active.

  1. It keeps weight in check

“If you’re trying to lose weight, you need to burn about 600 calories a day more than you’re eating,” says Amory. “Putting one foot in front of the other is one of the easiest ways to do that.” A person weighing 60kg burns 75 calories simply by strolling at 2mph for 30 minutes. Increase that to 3mph and they’ll burn 99 calories. Speed it up to a fast walk (4mph) and that’s 150 calories – the equivalent of three Jaffa Cakes or a jam doughnut. “Walking also increases muscle mass and tone and the more muscle you have, the faster your metabolism – so the more calories you burn, even at rest,” he adds.

  1. It can help prevent dementia

Regular exercise reduces dementia risk by up to 40 per cent. According to Age UK, older people who walk six miles or more per week could avoid brain shrinkage and so preserve memory as the years pass.

  1. …and osteoporosis, too

Walking is a weight-bearing activity and helps to stimulate and strengthen bones, increasing their density which is really important, especially for women. It also helps maintain healthy joints so may stave off conditions such as arthritis.

  1. It tones your legs, bum – and tum

A good walk can help strengthen and shape your legs, giving definition to calves, quads, hamstrings and lifting your glutes (buttock muscles) – especially if you add hills. But if you really pay attention to your posture as you walk, it can tone your abs and whittle your waist, too.

  1. Let’s not forget your arms

With faster walking try focusing on moving the arms purposefully back and forth, this can help to tone the upper arms – good bye bingo wings!

  1. It boosts your vitamin D levels

If you’re walking outside in daylight, you’ll be boosting your body’s stores of vitamin D, a nutrient that’s hard to get from food, but that we can synthesise from exposure to sunlight. Many people in the UK are deficient in vitamin D and it’s a nutrient that plays a big role in everything from bone health to immunity.

  1. It gives you energy

It might seem like a paradox (and the last thing you might feel like) but a brisk walk is one of the best natural energizers around. It boosts circulation and increases oxygen supply to each and every cell in your body, helping you to feel more alert and alive. It wakes up stiff joints and eases muscle tension so you feel less sluggish. Always have a mid-afternoon energy slump at work? Head out for a walk at lunchtime instead of sitting in a café or at your desk and see what a difference it makes.

  1. It makes you happy

The ability of exercise to boost mood is undisputed. Studies have shown regular, moderate-intensity exercise (such as brisk walking) to be as effective as antidepressants in cases of mild to moderate depression. Getting active releases feel-good endorphins into the bloodstream, reducing stress and anxiety.

 

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Sports Physio Deal – Cycling Injuries

Sports Physio Deal Kent

Sports Physio Deal Kent

Cycling is a great form of exercise and can be a fun and practical way of getting around. However, as with any sports there are issues that can arise. Here are some tips on how to avoid common problems.

The Basics

Cycling requires some muscles to work on holding the body in the optimal position, whilst others are used to generate the power. If you can utilise the correct muscles for stabilisation, power and torque development, you will not only significantly reduce the risk of injury, but also enhance your cycling performance.

Set up

External factors such as seat height, saddle width and handle bar orientation are crucial to bike set up. However leg length, ankle range of motion, spinal flexibility and control, muscle strength and control in the glutes and the core muscles are crucial in achieving the correct individualised bike set up. This is where some folks go wrong, the bike set up for an athlete might not be so tolerable for a novice cyclist. The bike AND the cyclist need to be appropriately prepared.

Putting It To The Test

Weaknesses around the lower back, pelvis and hips are usually the major problems contributing to the onset of cycling injuries. The good news is there are various exercises that can address these issues. If you would like to have an assessment with us call us today to see how we can help you keep injury free when cycling.

 

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Older workers

Older workers

Older workers

More and more of us will be working beyond the traditional retirement age. The government is recognising that businesses need to support their older workers. Below are two references that focus on how older workers can be supported in the workplace.

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/help-and-support-for-older-workers/help-and-support-for-older-workers

http://www.theageingworkforce.com/

 

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New health tech

physio dealTake a look at some of the new health tech from bionic limbs to diabetes monitors…

http://www.csp.org.uk/frontline/article/cusp-technology-healthcare

 

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What a pain in neck!

Pain in the neck

Pain in the neck

For most cases of neck pain you should carry on with your normal daily activities as you can, try and keep active and take painkillers to relieve the symptoms. You can also try the following to help manage your symptoms;

  • take regular paracetomol, ibuprofen or a combination of the two, to control the pain this should be taken at regular intervals without exceeding the maximal dose to ‘stay ahead’ of symptoms
  • a hot water bottle or heat pack can help reduce the pain and any muscle spasm
  • try a low firm pillow at night as using too many pillows may force your neck to bend unnaturally
  • remember to keep good posture as bad posture can cause neck pain and make it worse
  • avoid driving if you have difficulty turning your head as this may prevent you being able to view traffic
  • try some neck exercises to move your neck if it is stiff and sore. Slowly and gently move your head/neck in all directions separately. DO NOT ‘roll’ your neck as this can make symptoms worse
  • DO NOT wear a neck collar as there is no evidence to suggest wearing a neck collar will help to heal your neck.

Preventing neck pain

You may find the following helpful in preventing neck pain;

  • ensure that you have good posture when doing tasks at home and work. This means keeping the gentle arch in your neck, keeping your head in line with your shoulders i.e. not slumped forwards or twisted. For example if you work with documents and a PC at work you may find an inline document holder useful to hold your papers on.
  • take regular breaks from static postures such as your desk, driving or any activity where your neck is held in the same position for a long period of time
  • stress can make your neck stiff so try some relaxation techniques if you feel this might be an issue for you
  • at night try not to sleep on your front and normally one pillow is enough. You need to ensure that your neck is in line with the rest of your body. A firm mattress is also better for your neck and lower back.

As with most aches and pains see your GP if the pain or stiffness does not improve after a few days or weeks, if you cannot control the pain using ordinary painkillers, or if you are worried your neck pain could have a more serious cause.

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Online – where to look for GOOD information on health issues

http://www.nhs.uk/Livewell/c25k/Pages/running-injuries.aspx

A useful webpage with lots of information on different health issues including running injuries.

There is a lot of health information online but not all of this is based on sound evidence and good practice. The NHS website and patient.co.uk are both useful resources.

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Shin Splints

Sports Physio Deal - see us about your sports injury today

Sports Physio Deal – see us about your sports injury today

Shin splints are a general term used to describe pain at the front of the shin associated with exercise. There are a number of causes of shin pain but this article focuses on the muscle at the front of shin, tibialis anterior. N.B there are other causes of shin pain and if you have any concerns about your symptoms you should seek advice from your GP or Chartered Physiotherapist.

 

Tibialis anterior shin splints are common in runners and long distance walkers.

This muscle has two roles to play when running or walking. Firstly it lowers the foot to the ground. Secondly it bends the ankle up to allow the foot to clear the ground.

What Causes Shin Splints?

  • Increasing your training too quickly which does not allow the muscle to adapt to the increased demands.
  • Tight calf muscles are a common cause of shin pain. Tight calf muscles alter the range of movement that the ankle can move through on every stride and can add extra stress to the anterior tibial muscle.
  • Over pronation, which is also associated with tight calf muscles, can overstretch the anterior tibialis as the foot rolls over.
  • Not using the appropriate footwear i.e. trainers that do not support your foot adequately.

So What is the Treatment?

  • Specific prescribed exercises including stretches and strengthening.
  • Ice can relieve the immediate pain and inflammation.
  • Footwear adaption and/or orthotics.
  • Phased return to exercise

 

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Low back pain in runners

Sports Physio Deal

Sports Physio Deal

Low back pain is the most common musculoskeletal problem people get with anything up to 90% of people experiencing back pain at some point in their life.

It is also common among runners, although some runners might except this as part of the course.

Low back pain for runners can arise from:

  • Tight hip flexors that fail to allow full hip extension, causing lumbar stress
  • Poor core stability, where the lumbar spine and pelvis fail to stay stable as the hip pushes off
  • Being too upright in the stride, resulting in compensatory extension from the low back; and/or
  • Excessive trunk rotation due to an inefficient arm swing.

These biomechanical issues can be addressed through appropriate exercises and altering running techniques.

Being aware of how you walk can assist with your running technique. The same inefficient habits often occur when walking. Be sure to maintain a light, forward trunk and extend powerfully with your hips behind you, even when walking. Efficient running begins with efficient walking!

Sports Physiotherapy Deal Kent

info@unitedhealthkent.com

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Corporate Physiotherapy Kent

Employers that take steps to address health and well-being report;

  • reduced sickness absence
  • fewer compensation claims
  • increased productivity
  • improved staff retention (lower recruitment and re-training costs)
  • increased employee satisfaction
  • improved competitiveness and profitability.

Simple steps can be made without any significant cost;

  • encourage staff to take short breaks away from their workstation. Short breaks help to improve alertness and reduce fatigue
  • train supervisors and managers to understand and recognise the risk factors for musculoskeletal injuries so issues can be identified early
  • encourage staff to report issues early. Prompt access to treatment and advice can help reduce injury time and time off work
  • provide a colleague information board with topical health information. There is a lot of free information available from the NHS website or the CSP (Chartered Society of Physiotherapy).
corporate physiotherapy Kent

corporate physiotherapy Kent

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Workplace Physio Kent

Workplace Physio Kent

Workplace Physio Kent

Sickness absence (SA) is a major drain on the UKs productivity. It is estimated that the annual cost of sickness absence per employee is £517. If you are an employer do you know;

  • What are you SA costs?
  • Why do your staff go off sick? Back pain? Neck pain?
  • Are there SA trends? What could you do to prevent these?

There is consistent evidence that health and well being initiatives reduce SA and improve productivity.

Physiotherapists can;

  • Prevent people from going off work in the first place with quick access to diagnosis and treatment
  • Get people back to full duties with prompt management of the injury/symptoms
  • Facilitate a return to work and offer guidance to managers.

Musculoskeletal injury preventative strategies including ergonomics education and assessments and quick access to treatment can help to reduce SA, improve staff moral, productivity and reduce staff turn over.

 

 

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Pregnancy related low back and pelvic pain

Physiotherapy Deal Kent

Physiotherapy Deal Kent

Pregnancy can result in low back or pelvic pain. Experts estimate that anywhere from 24% to 90% of women experience low back or pelvic-region pain when they are pregnant. Many women find that this pain goes away when the baby is born. However, more than a third of women still have pain 1 year after giving birth. Physiotherapy during and after pregnancy can help to decrease low back and pelvic pain. Common treatment options include education, exercise therapy, manual therapy, braces, or a combination of these treatments. Learning new ways to perform home and work activities as well as relaxation techniques can help ease the pain.

Studies have found that exercises can decrease pain, improve function and limit sick leave for pregnancy-related back and pelvic pain. Effective exercises often focus on strengthening the muscles around the spine and pelvic floor. Exercises can also include water aerobics, general strength training, endurance exercises and balance training. Finally, some research found that combining education, manual therapy and bracing can be helpful.

Your physical therapist can teach you the right exercises and explain how to alter the way you perform some activities to best reduce your pain. Your therapist can also help you decide whether other treatments, such as manual therapy or braces, might be helpful. After a thorough evaluation, your physical therapist will customise a treatment programme that will work best for you. Usually you can do the exercises at home.

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DSE assessments Kent

DSE assessments kentDisplay Screen Equipment (DSE) is a device or equipment that has an alphanumeric or graphic display screen. This includes desk top computers, laptops and touch screens.

Working with computers can be associated with neck, shoulder, back or arm pain, as well as with fatigue and eyestrain.

The Health and Safety (Display Screen Equipment) Regulations 1992 aim to protect the health of people who work with DSE.

Working with computers does not mean you will get an issue. Neck, shoulder, back and arm pain can be avoided if users follow effective practice, setting up their workstations properly and taking breaks during prolonged use.

DSE assessments can help inform you how to set up equipment for the type of tasks you are doing e.g. paper based tasks, dual screen, phone use etc. We all work a little differently so tailored advice can help you to adjust the workstation to suit you as an individual.

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