Tuesday, 27 March 2012

I recently spoke with Gillian Brown, an osteopath at the Harpenden Osteopathy & Sports Injury clinic. I pretended to be a member of the press and carried out an ‘in depth interview.’ Her thoughts on a healthy lifestyle and practising osteopathy are, I think, relevant to everyone.

Interview with Gillian Brown – an osteopath in Harpenden

Gillian’s route to being an osteopath came via tennis and this is still a big part of her life both professionally and in her leisure. On leaving school she won an American tennis scholarship and studied sport science at Northern Arizona University. Her professional tennis career continued for eight years after university and Gillian was ranked in the top fifteen in the country and won many medals and competitions.
While being in the rarified  atmosphere of professional athletes she developed an interest in injuries and their treatment. Osteopathic treatment for a persistent knee injury lead Gillian to become qualified herself and she now practices in Harpenden, Hertfordshire.

Does being an osteopath change the way you play tennis?

I see a lot of sporting injuries that are caused by insufficient warming up and cooling down time before and after exercise. I do this as a matter of course after my time as a professional athlete but seeing my patients suffering from avoidable injuries impresses the importance of this on me -  so I’m always really keen to advise my patients on correct warming up and cooling down routines.

What are the most common injuries that you treat?

With my continued connections to tennis I treat a lot of tennis elbow and other sporting injuries such as, calf strain and Achilles problems associated with runners along with all the normal everyday problems, such as back and neck pain. As I specialise in gait and orthotics and looking at the way people walk I treat a lot of foot related injuries.
 What is apparent is that most chronic injuries are due to an underlying issue or habit that has existed for a long while and it has just been a matter of time before problems are experienced.  The underlying issue could be poor posture, sitting poorly for many hours a day as part of a sedentary lifestyle or being overweight.

How do you approach your diagnosis?

I see my role as a detective to find the root issue of what is causing the problem and treat it. As mentioned chronic conditions are often due to years of neglect and after initial treatment some maintenance is required. This could be more osteopathic treatment and/ or a specific exercise program.
In some instances the root cause can be the foot and I use gait analysis equipment to allow me to prescribe orthotics that correct the foot arch and bio-mechanical problems. I use this approach where appropriate. My interest in this came after personal experience and I still use orthotics in my shoes every day to prevent the foot problem re-occurring.

What do you see as a major future cause of problems for your patients?

With more people choosing to work from home for a day or two a week it is becoming more common to not have a good work set up at home and working on the kitchen table can be the reality for many. This can lead to real problems – possibly not immediately but after some time a chronic condition is likely to ensue. I am very keen to advise my patients on an effective ergonomic set-up and regular exercises and movement to keep the postural muscles strong.

What do you sit on?

I sit on the Back App ergonomic chair which promotes a healthy posture and also ensures movement.

Do you still enjoy your work?

Very much so. I enjoy helping people get to grips with what has sometimes being a long term problem and give them a new lease of life. I have personal experience from being a patient of osteopathy and from beneficial use of orthotics.

Would you recommend someone to become an osteopath if they were considering it as a career?

Certainly I find the profession very rewarding. If anyone considering this as a career option would like to talk with me then please feel free to call on 01582 764361 or send me an email at gillianbrownost@ive.com.

Gillian’s practice, the Harpenden Osteopathy & Sports Injury clinic contact details are;
Tel:  01582 764 361/ 07969 138607

Tuesday, 13 March 2012

The Chance to Win a Back App Chair

I will be attending the ACPOHE/ SOM conference next week and will be exhibiting some Back App chairs. For those who attend there will be a chance to win a Back App ergonomic chair (www.backapp.co.uk .)

The conference is on March 20th and 21st at the Royal College of Physicians and I will be exhibiting on the 21st. ACPOHE stands for the Association of Chartered Physiotherapists in Occupational Health and Ergonomics and SOM stands for the Society of Occupational Medicine.

Details of the conference and speakers are on  http://www.acpohe.org.uk/events/acpohesom-conference

See you there.

Monday, 5 March 2012

At the Back Pain Show last week I spoke to many people while on the Back App stand. I started to note the questions that people asked and have listed some of them here - they are more or less in the order that they were asked most often.

Questions about Back App from the Back Pain Show
What are the important aspects of the Back App?
This is hard to summarise briefly so best to contact Back App UK directly but essentially the sitting position helps to ensure an excellent, healthy posture and the motion provides a gentle work out for the core muscles.
Can I trial a chair?
Back App UK is very keen for all concerned about their posture or suffering from back problems to trial the Back App. Contact us on 01727 757221 and we will arrange this through our network of dealers

Can you sit on the Back App all day?

Yes, thousands of people in Scandinavia sit on the Back App all day. It may require a short lead in period to get your muscles used to the movment but before long you will be able to sit on the Back App all day.
How long is the guarantee?
The guarantee for faulty chairs is valid for 5 years.

Do you need to buy a new desk to use the Back App?

No, but you do need to think about the height at which you are working because you sit higher on a Back App than on a regular office chair. This could mean using desk raisers or other means to raise your keyboard and monitor. A good solution is to use an adjustable height desk but it is not absolutely necessary.
Who invented/ developed the Back App?
A Norwegian man called Freddy Johnsen. He suffered greatly from a bad back, endured surgery and had the idea from sitting on a wobble board by mistake. This gave him the idea which he developed into the Back App.

Where is the Back App made?

The Back App factory is in Anderstorp, Sweden.

Do dentists use it?

          Dentists do use the Back App – they prefer the mobile version.
Does it come with a wipe clean fabric?
The Comfort fabric can be easily sponged clean but leather and a synthetic leather are also available which wipe clean.

Can I be a dealer?

There are opportunities for appropriate therapists and retailers to become dealers in the Back App. Contact us and we can discuss your ideas.
Can I sell on commission?
Some therapists sell the Back App this way. Contact us to discuss if it is appropriate for you.
What is your preferred route to market?
The preferred route to market is via therapists or retailers that have an understanding of ergonomics and have a real desire to help people improve their health and/ or their workplace environment.

Can children use it? – they may sit for 3000 hours doing home work during their school career

As long as your legs are long enough to comfortably reach the foot plate you can use the Back App. There is a low lift version so quite young children should be able to use it.

Are there any conditions that you can’t use the Back App if you suffer from them?
We have not come across any conditions that the Back App is not appropriate for as the exercise that it provides is very gentle. However, if at all concerned you should discuss the Back App with your doctor or appropriate health professional.

Does the seat tip forward?

The seat is fixed to the stem such that the  movement is from the stem and seat moving together from the base of the chair.
How wide is the base?
     The circular footplate has a diameter of 600mm.

Can I purchase the chair with a disability allowance?
We can introduce you to a retailer to help with this if appropriate.

Friday, 2 March 2012

Residential Rehabilitation Courses for Muscular/ Skeletal Problems

At the Back Pain Show last week I came across the Spring Rehab Centre. They run residential courses to help people that suffer.
The courses generally last three weeks and are consultant led with instruction from physiotherapists. They cover many different topics from recreational therapy, individual physiotherpay and ability awareness.
The concept seemed a good one and I had not heard of such things before. Has anyone else come across them and what was their experience?
Their website is http://www.springrehab.co.uk/index.php