Emma James Physio Blog

Chartered Physiotherapy and Clinical Pilates


January 2016

Back Pain

Back Pain

back-painBack pain is a very common musculoskeletal complaint affecting 80% of adults at some point in their lifetime, although the symptoms and severity will vary greatly. Many factors may contribute to your condition including injury and diseases, but for some cases there is no specific cause and clinicians refer to this type of pain as ‘non-specific’ or ‘mechanical low back pain’.
There are some signs and symptoms that must not be ignored. You should always seek urgent medical advice if you have back pain and:

  • A loss of control of your bladder or bowel
  • Numbness around your genitals, buttocks or surrounding area
  • Chest pain
  • Unexplained weight loss


How can I lower my risk of developing back pain?

  • Carrying extra weight, especially around your belly, puts added stress on the muscles in the lower back and can affect your posture and position of your pelvis; in turn leading to lower back pain
  • Weak muscles and abdominals are unable to support your posture and trunk when you move, which can lead to overloading the small muscles in the back which are not designed to do this job and lead to injury
  • Your occupation could also affect your back. Those with manual jobs are at risk due to heavy lifting and repetitive bending, whilst those with sedentary jobs are at risk due to the amount of time they sit, particularly if they tend to slouch


How can I treat my back pain?

Try to keep mobile. It may be tempting to remain on bed rest until the pain subsides however evidence suggests that remaining mobile may actually help reduce the intensity and duration of your back pain as well as prevent it from returning. Start off with low impact exercise first such as walking or swimming

Take pain relief. People often worry that taking painkillers will make the symptoms worse by masking the pain, however by taking painkillers while you are in pain it will allow usually you to continue with your daily routine which in turn will often speed up your recovery

Try physiotherapy. A physiotherapist can help identify the root cause of your back pain and use a variety of techniques including massage, acupuncture and home exercises to reduce your pain and prevent it recurring

Pilates. There is lots of evidence to support the idea that a weakened core puts pressure on the little muscles and supporting structures in the lower back. Therefore by strengthening the muscles which support our trunk and core, it will minimise your risk of developing back pain as well as help to ease the pain if you are already suffering.


What is Pilates?
pilatesPilates is a low impact form of exercise aimed at strengthening the whole body, especially the core. Whether a beginner or an elite athlete and regardless of age and gender, Pilates could be beneficial for you. Practioners argue there is a wide array of benefits to practicing Pilates including improving muscles strength, balance, joint mobility and even stress relief.
Here at Emma James Physio, we offer a range of different classes including Clinical Pilates which are led by highly qualified instructors. View our Pilates timetable here >>>

Where can I go for help?

If you have back pain and would like to see how we can help, please call us 01442 870686 or visit our website

Tennis Elbow

Tennis elbow, known clinically as lateral epicondylitis, is a condition that causes pain on the outside of the elbow. It is a very common musculoskeletal condition, usually affecting adults between the ages of 40-60 years.


What causes TENNIS ELBOW?

elbow-painTennis elbow is usually an overuse condition, caused by stressing the muscles which attach to the bony part of the elbow (lateral epicondyle) leading to inflammation and tiny tears. The muscles and tendons which are strained are responsible for straightening the wrist and fingers so activities which involve straightening the wrist can lead to tennis elbow, particularly if you are not used to doing them or have suddenly increased the amount of time you spend doing them.


I don’t play tennis, how can I have TENNIS ELBOW?

Although tennis (and other racquet sports such as squash and badminton) are linked to tennis elbow, there are many other activities which involve overusing your forearm muscles which may lead to the condition. These include:

  • Manual work such as bricklaying or plumbing
  • Gardening
  • Decorating or DIY
  • Activities involving repetitive movements at the wrist and hands such as typing


How can I treat my TENNIS ELBOW?

Tennis elbow will usually get better with or without treatment, however research suggests that this could take up to two years. There are many things that you can do to help speed up the healing process

  • REST – avoid the activities which aggravate or caused your initial symptoms
  • ICE – apply ice or something cool to the bony bit of your elbow to reduce pain and inflammation
  • PAINKILLERS – taking medication to control the pain and inflammation. If you are unsure what to take, consult your GP or pharmacist
  • PHYSIOTHERAPY – a physiotherapist will conduct a thorough assessment to diagnose the condition and identify any underlying issues. They will then use a variety of treatments including, but not limited to, massage, acupuncture, manipulation and stretches and strengthening exercises to treat the symptoms


Where can I go to get more information about TENNIS ELBOW?

Call Emma James Physio on 01442 870686 or visit our website where our Chartered Physiotherapists will be happy to help you.

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