Most children learn how to walk somewhere around the ages of 9 to 18 months. It’s usually a case of trial and error and children typically progress through strategies for getting around starting with rolling, progressing to crawling, cruising, toddling and finally walking (sometimes with some bum-shuffling in between). Most parents would probably agree that children’s walking skills are mainly self-learnt and, if you stop to think about it, most of us wouldn’t know where to start in teaching someone how to walk – either for the first time or after an injury.
Nonetheless most of us manage to find a way of walking that does the job.
But as children head to preschool then primary school it can sometimes become apparent that a child isn’t quite making the same strides as their peers. As older children start to take part in sport they might want to improve their speed, agility and physical confidence. Other than lots of practice there’s not much that you can do, right? Well, not quite.
Dynamic Movement Skills
Dynamic Movement Skills (DMS) is a neuromuscular re-education movement methodology (which basically means it’s away of getting your brain and your body to coordinate better to produce more optimal movement patterns). DMS was developed by Mike Antoniades, Performance and Rehabilitation Director at The Running School and The Movement School. DMS helps develop, refine & improve gross motor skills, coordination, agility & quickness.
Who is it for?
DMS can be used for those anyone who is not developing as well as they would like or for those who are doing well but want to maximise their abilities.
It’s suitable for children and adults; whether looking to move more confidently, to improve pain and injury problems, or to enhance athletic performance.
The system has been provided by The Running School as part of training at top professional football clubs including Manchester United and Chelsea and has been used with many professional sportspeople and athletes (including Olympic Gold Medalists).
Children From age 6 upwards:
It can help children whose movements are not developing as quickly as others; for example they may have been diagnosed with dyspraxia or autism; or their parents, teachers or coaches may have noticed that they just don’t seem to move as well as their peers or that they shy away from physical activity and sports.
It can equally help children who are doing well but would like to do better in certain areas. For example we often contacted by parents of children and teens at football academies and professional clubs: as they’ve progressed from school, to clubs, and into academies they have identified that perhaps they are not as quick off the mark as others at that level. Dynamic Movement Skills gives them the edge they are looking for.
The system is becoming increasingly popular in schools, both to develop foundation movement skills and in some cases as a method of helping children who find it difficult to settle in class.
At Core we’ve worked with cricket and football academies, with individual children attending academies, runners of all abilities, and many professional sports professionals.
But don’t we develop these skills naturally?
Every child develops their movements at different speeds and in different ways and unfortunately those who develop more slowly can sometimes shy away from physical activity which can make matters worse. DMS coaching can help children to increase their physical confidence, enabling them to join in with physical activity and enjoy the many lifelong benefits that brings.
Children ideally need 3 hours of movement per day (whether playing, walking, running, sport, dance, martial arts or any other activity) however many fall short of this. It is not unusual for kids in their first session of DMS to want to sit between exercises or lean on a wall or piece of furniture (until I advise them not to!).
Even children who prefer to be more active may have had to sit for much of the day; their muscles and nervous system being static at school, and then they are suddenly asked to fire up in the evenings and weekends.
For adults too, modern lifestyles can also make it easy to avoid physical activity – like cars, electronic entertainment, a curriculum that favours academic over physical subject. And following injury, when we are in pain, or periods of illness our movements can also be affected – we can lose previous abilities or change the way we move, perhaps to avoid pain or using certain muscles, which can have knock on effects. DMS can be used as part of recovery from injuries and to help both return to activity and prevention of re-injury.
How does it work?
Specific gross motor movements of footwork and jumping in multiple directions (depending on your level) are practiced and coached using advanced coaching techniques. These are ‘foundation’ movements that are repeatedly used in all movement of multi-directional physical activity and sports, firstly to develop improved movement patterns including: placement of feet and foot contact, coordination, sequencing, rhythm, lightness of feet, and reduced time spent on the ground.
The repetition of these movements help develop the patterns through stronger and faster neuromuscular firing patterns and improved activation sequences. The repeated practice helps the muscles to fire simultaneously rather than individually, creating smoother and faster movements.
The DMS mat is the best place to perform the movements as it gives focus to placement and direction and adds to motivation. The system can however be performed indoors or outside using track lines, markers or similar.
What can it help (in short)?
- Gross Motor skills
- Re-direction of forces
- Reduced risk of injuries
- Reduce amortisation (time on the ground)
What does a DMS programme involve?
An initial assessment of the foundation movements is performed.
We typically recommend a programme of 6 or 12 weekly sessions, with each session lasting an hour; home exercise tasks are also given.
Those who have acquired a good level at the end of their first course can then progress onto the running technique programme.
I love the progress that I see from kids undergoing a Dynamic Movement Skills programme as they develop movement, coordination, body control and speed. They find the sessions fun and feel great about the improvements that they achieve. Equally, the programme can make a huge difference to athletes and sportspeople of all abilities as they try to improve their performance and avoid injury.
David Brown BSc (hons), Movement Coach (and Occupational Therapist). Certified Running Technique Specialist ® accredited by The Running School.
Making positive lifestyle improvements and keeping track of the symptoms of chronic conditions to help you manage them better can be much easier with the help of an app.
Here we round up seven of the best.
Migraine Buddy is an advanced migraine diary and tracking app, designed with the help of neurologists and data scientists. It’s had more than 1 million downloads and is rated as the best Migraine App by both patients and doctors.
The app allows you to record the frequency and duration of your migraines and pain location and intensity. You can also record symptoms and medications. The app can help you to identify migraine triggers.
Migraine attacks are recorded on the dashboard including start and end time and details of the attack (like pain level, location when your migraine began, and potential triggers). The app also records any signs that presented before the attack, migraine symptoms, medication taken, relief methods that you used, how your migraine affected your daily tasks, and a head map to select the area of your pain.
After entry, the dashboard shows you how long you have been attack-free. The record of your attack is stamped on the calendar and can be accessed through the records section. The reports dashboard gives insights about your migraines and factors that could be linked.
Headspace is a meditation and sleep app that can help you focus, breathe, stay calm, perform at your best, and get a better night’s rest. It helps you develop skills of relaxation, meditation and mindfulness which have been proven to have a whole range of mental and physical health benefits.ust sit back, relax,
There are exercises on everything from managing anxiety and stress relief to breathing, happiness, calm, and focus. If you’ve never meditated before there’s a free Basics course that will teach you the essentials of meditation and mindfulness.
In the Sleep by Headspace experience, you’ll find sleep meditations, sleep sounds, and specially-designed sleepcasts to guide you to a place of rest. Sleep by Headspace was built around the needs of restless sleepers so the screen is darker and the buttons are easy to find. It’s perfect whether you have trouble falling asleep, or you wake up in the middle of the night.
If you often wake up feeling groggy and unrefreshed then Sleepcycle could be a great app for you to try.
It’s like an intelligent alarm clock that tracks your sleep patterns and wakes you up when you’re in light sleep. When you wake up during light sleep you’re more likely to way to wake up feeling rested and energized.
As you sleep, you go through different sleep phases, ranging from light to deep sleep and back again. The sleep phase you are in when your alarm goes off is critical for how rested you will feel when you wake up.
While you sleep, your movements vary depending on what sleep phase you are in. Sleep Cycle’s sound technology tracks your sleep patterns using sound or vibration analysis (you don’t have to install it on a wearable for it to work). The app then finds the optimal time when you are in light sleep to wake you up in the morning, during a predefined 30 minute time window that ends at your set alarm time. Waking up in light sleep feels like waking up naturally without an alarm, leaving you feeling rested and energized.
Kaia is the first medical exercise therapy app that aims to relieve back pain at home. It can Kaia plays an active role in the effective and natural treatment of your back pain, guiding you through every step.
The app offers individually personalized guidance: whether you are a beginner or consider yourself an athlete – the exercises adapt to your fitness and pain levels via intelligent algorithms.
The daily training sessions take just 15-30 minutes and don’t require any special equipment.
Studies of Kaia users show an average pain reduction of over 40% and there’s evidence that the use of the app can help prevent new back pain episodes from becoming chronic. As well as offering practical steps and exercises Kaia is educational (increasing your knowledge about back pain) and motivational.
My pain diary
My pain diary is an award winning app which makes it easy to track your pain and symptoms both for your own use and to report to your doctors or clinicians. If you have a chronic condition, or even multiple conditions, it can be a real challenge to keep track of your symptoms or to remember how you’ve been since your last appointment. The my pain diary app makes it easy for you to keep track which can give both you and your healthcare professionals valuable insights into patterns and potential management strategies for your pain or other symptoms.
The app is completely customizable to suit your specific tracking needs; you can track as often as you and record as much data as you need.
My fitness pal
MyFitnessPal is a great companion app if you want to make positive lifestyle changes or follow a specific fitness-related plan. It can help with goals including weight loss, toning up, and improving your overall fitness. The app can integrate with your other health apps and scan food barcodes to gather nutrition information.
The app is highly rated by users but its focus on nutritional values and calories as well as exercise targets might make it better suited to someone who is already somewhat engaged in a fitness plan and finds targets like these to be motivating rather than oppressive.
As the name suggests Happify aims to increase your happiness! by helping you overcome stress and anxiety and building your resilience so that when life is challenging it doesn’t affect your wellbeing so much.
Happify was jointly developed by scientists and game designers and uses games and exercises to help you change your habits towards happiness. It also lets you track your progress over time which as well as being motivating can help you to identify patterns and areas to focus on.
by Angela Vossen
I work in a multi-disciplinary healthcare clinic with 26 colleagues and I also coach healthcare professionals and small business owners.
Everyone in my team is dedicated to helping others to achieve the best possible health and wellness outcomes. We are all pretty knowledgeable about lots of aspects of health and wellness and we support our patients to make positive lifestyle changes to improve their wellbeing.
As a mum and step-mum I also manage the health of our family. I’m full of good advice when a friend tells me about their mum’s headaches, their dad’s back pain, or their own anxiety.
But when it comes to consistently looking after my own health? Hmm, ‘could do better’.
This week I’ve been thinking about how I can start to improve that.
Knowing what’s healthy can be hard enough; doing what’s healthy is even harder. Many of us who work in health and wellness, or who have some responsibility for others’ health and wellbeing – perhaps as employers, teachers or parents – have a fairly good level of knowledge about health topics.
But a visit to your local NHS hospital will quickly show you that just because you work in healthcare and ‘should’ (and probably do) ‘know better’ does not mean that you’re following your own advice. For example, it’s estimated that 1 in 4 nurses are obese, 4 in 10 NHS employees are affected by work-related stress, and there’s evidence of increasing numbers of GPs turning to alcohol or drugs to cope with rising stress levels in their profession.
This presents a real credibility challenge for healthcare professionals who are trying to encourage patients to eat better, move more, stop smoking, drink less, or talk about their mental health challenges when they aren’t managing to do these things themselves.
In our team at Core Clinics we are very aware that actions speak louder than words and we can’t expect our patients to follow our advice if it’s clear that we aren’t.
We offer a generous level of free treatments to our team members and strongly encourage health-promoting behaviours through training and simple actions like providing bowls of apples in reception and team areas. But despite of all this we all acknowledge that we’re not as good as we could be at looking after our own health and wellbeing.
We have busy work days and when the slot we’d booked for our treatment with a colleague is requested by a patient we give it up. We are rubbish at following up the home-care advice we’ve been given by our colleague because, well, because they’re our colleague.
In the last few weeks I’ve supported several of my colleagues and family members with health-related challenges. I make all the right noises and take practical steps to help and enable them to take the mental health day at home, get the treatment, or speak to the doctor. I schedule my children’s appointments and give them daily encouragement to improve their eating, sleeping and activity habits. I keep a watchful eye on my husband’s health. In spite of all of this I’m often left perturbed when people don’t take the steps they know would be beneficial to their health (even though I’m well aware of lots of the reasons why).
But, I’ve asked myself this week, how good am I really at looking after myself? After a few discussions and self-reflection I asked myself the question ‘if I were coaching myself, how would I do it? What approach would I take to help myself to get better at self-care?’ I’m still very much working through that process but I’ve started to form a few thoughts that might be helpful.
Factor myself as an equal member of the team or family schedule
I schedule and coordinate health and wellness related activities for people in my work team and for my family. But I’ve noticed that I don’t factor myself into that planning.
I tend to plan and schedule everything and everyone else and then, if there’s any time left at the end of all that, I might sneak a moment for myself. But there’s not enough moments for me to really look after myself: I might either have time to go for a nice walk with the dog, or to have a massage, or to make myself a nice healthy lunch, but not all 3.
So by including myself in the planning I do for those around me perhaps I’ll have more opportunities to build healthier habits rather than making them an afterthought or the first thing to be sacrificed when someone else has a conflicting need or want.
Get support by sharing my health priorities with others
I am a natural facilitator. At work, at home, and socially, I don’t have a strong sense of what I want or need independently of what I’m trying to help the group (or family) to achieve.
While I genuinely derive a lot of happiness from helping others to thrive, I sometimes ‘lose’ my sense of self in that and don’t know what I want or need, let alone ask others for support with that.
There’s a lot of evidence that sharing goals (in writing, with others, publicly) can help us to achieve them. So, as I continue to consider what my health priorities are I’m going to also try to get better at sharing those with others who can support me.
Don’t beat myself up when I fall short of my own expectations
As much as it’s great to make positive changes towards a healthier lifestyle, when we fall fall short of our own aspirations – the ‘broken’ diet, the unsuccessful attempt to moderate our drinking, the injury that sets our training back – we can often fall back to a worse place than we started and pile a load of self-undermining negative chatter on top of ourselves for good measure.
Over the years I have definitely got better at not beating myself up with my ‘should stick’. You probably have a ‘should stick’ too. It’s made up of your expectations (and probably others’ expectations of you that you’ve internalised) about what you should do, who you should be and what you should be able to do. When I was a young adult my ‘should stick’ was more of a timber trunk on a monster crane and some of the biggest health challenges I’ve had have been a direct result of that stick.
But over the years I’ve worked hard at breaking the trunk down into a branch, into a stick. Now whenever my inner voice starts saying ‘should’ I am far less triggered by it and far more interested in what ‘is’ than what ‘should’ be. And if other people try to hit me with their should sticks well, they can stick it! By focusing on where I’m actually at rather than where I tell myself I should be I can take realistic steps towards where I want to be.
Identify and practice my own self-care priorities
There are some self-care principles that are pretty universally beneficial. Like eating a balanced diet but not being obsessive about it. Being at least moderately active. Trying to be more aware of your stress levels and taking steps to manage them.
But the detail of self-care varies from person to person and across your life-stages. It’s not all about beasting it in the gym, kale smoothies and mindset coaching programmes.
Sometimes my self-care is accepting that I can’t and shouldn’t try to run at 100 miles an hour all the time and asking my husband to take the children out for a few hours. Sometimes it’s binge-watching a box set and embracing that downtime as beneficial rest and recuperation (and not as a failure or failing). Sometimes it’s a walk, a run, a bike ride: but because that’s what I want and need; not because that’s what I’ve guilted myself in to doing.
It’s very hard to stick to any activity that isn’t really aligned with your values, priorities, or lifestyle. So if you try to take an approach to eating or exercise or lifestyle because you’ve been told to, because a friend swears by it, or because it’s the latest instagram trend, it’s unlikely to stick. It’s far better that you start with one thing that you’d really like to make positive steps towards and just focus on that.
As ever with these things, it’s easier said than done. But you’ve got to start somewhere.
If you suffer with frequent or severe headaches here are some top tips to treat them.
By Dr Marie Vossen (DC) and Katie North, osteopath.
1. Headaches have started or worsened recently:
Headaches are very common and usually not something to worry about too much. They are usually self-limiting (which means they will usually get better on their own in a few hours). Taking it easy, drinking plenty of fluids to keep hydrated and taking an over the counter painkiller are usually the best treatments for an isolated headache.
2. Headaches that have been present for a month or more/ are there 1+ times per week
If your headaches have been present a few times over the course of a month it may be a lifestyle factor that is influencing your headaches. Stress, sleep, posture, diet, alcohol intake and neck pain are just a few of the more common triggers of an escalation in headaches. It’s worth keeping a diary of these or using a headaches app to record your headaches and any potential triggers. If one or more of these common causes seems likely to be affecting you, you can make strategies to improve things.
At this point, seeking the advice of someone who specialises in headaches is likely to be beneficial, as you’re likely to see more rapid improvement when well guided.
If you are getting the headaches frequently and the pain is quite severe you should consider discussing medications with your doctor. It is important to realise that the medication you take can also play a role in causing headaches, so it is important to discuss this with someone who understands it.
3. Headaches that have been present for more than 3 months.
At this point you should definitely have sought professional advice and if not, you should seek it now.
If you find medications don’t manage your symptoms as you would like you may benefit from trying alternative modes of treatment such as manual therapy (e.g. osteopathy, chiropractic) to see if it suits you better. This treatment option will also benefit you if you don’t like taking medication regularly.
There is often a musculoskeletal element to chronic headaches (i.e. problems with the spine, neck and muscles) that respond well to manual therapy.
4. Urgent symptoms to seek immediate medical attention:
If headaches are new to you or you’ve noticed a recent increase in the frequency and severity of your headaches, and you present any of the urgent symptoms listed below you should seek medical advice. These symptoms can sometimes mean that your headache could be caused by a more serious underlying problem (although less than 4% of people who present to a doctor with headaches have a serious underlying cause it’s better to be safe than sorry).
- A headache that is different to what is typical for you.
- First and/or worst ever headache you have experienced.
- Abrupt onset of severe headache that feels like having been hit by a baseball bat (thunderclap headache /comes on in under a minute)
- Neurological symptoms (numbness and/or tingling in the face or arms, loss of control of facial muscles and dizziness)
- Changes in vision
- A new onset of headaches if you are over the age of 50.
- A new onset of headaches if you are pregnant, immunocompromised, or have cancer
- A headache associated with loss or change in consciousness
- A headache triggered by physical exertion, coughing, sneezing, straining
- A headache associated with a fever, rash and severe neck stiffness (unable to look at your toes)
- Headache with a previous history of (Neoplasm) Cancer
Contact your GP, NHS 111 or go to A&E as a matter of urgency. Again, remember, there’s every likelihood that your headache will not have any serious underlying cause but just knowing that is likely to help you feel better.
If you’d like us to answer any of your headache-related questions please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll be happy to help.
In our latest vlog post Core Clinic’s Movement and Running Coach David Brown talks about how common foot position and movement problems (including pronation and supination) can affect your running and running shoe wear patterns.
Watch it here
This summer we’ve decided to take advantage of the beautiful grounds around the clinic by introducing outdoor exercise facilities for our personal training clients and group outdoor exercise classes.
When the sun is shining, heading to the gym can seem like a waste of a beautiful day; now you can combine your workouts and time in the sunshine to soak up your daily dose of vitamin D (1 in 5 adults in the UK are deficient in Vitamin D and exposure to sunshine is a great way to top yours up).
But there’s more to outdoor exercise than sunshine. Compared to indoor training, working out in out in nature could offer a number of added benefits, according to research.
1) You’ll exercise for longer and burn more calories
The natural elements and variations in outdoor terrain act as natural resistance when you exercise outside so your body works just a little harder. Research by physiologist Professor Andrew Jones found treadmill runners expended less energy to cover the same distance as those running outside. His study suggested that to replicate outdoor running, treadmill runners would need to adjust their machine incline. Outdoor running -with its changing views and terrains – offers natural resistance, interval training and variety to motivate you to exercise for longer.
If you combine the benefits of outdoor exercise with working with a personal trainer or in a group class it’s easy to see why you’re likely to work harder, for longer, than if you were just plodding away by yourself in the gym.
2) It boosts self-esteem
In addition to reducing stress and other negative emotions outdoor exercise has been connected to improved self-esteem. A study by the University of Essex found while exercise in any environment significantly reduced blood pressure, increased self-esteem, and had a positive, significant effect on four of six mood measures; viewing pleasant outdoor scenery during exercise produced a significantly greater positive effect on self-esteem than when exercising without the views. Viewing unpleasant urban scenes whilst exercising had the worst outcome, prompting the researchers to conclude that ‘green exercise’ has important health benefits.
3) It’s good for motivation
If you want to find a fitness regime that will get you motivated and keep you feeling that way, working out in the fresh air could be the key. Participants in the Peninsula College of Medicine and Dentistry review also reported greater enjoyment and satisfaction with outdoor activity and declared a greater intent to repeat the activity at a later date.
4) It’s cheaper and better than the gym
Taking your cardio session outdoors is easy: swap the treadmill and exercise bike for outdoor running and cycling. And as for the weights and resistance training? Why not try a free initial session at Core Camp?
Rob Butler, head of Strength and Conditioning at Core says “working out outdoors can be every bit as effective as a weights session in the gym if you know how to use your body weight and imagination. Squats, lunges, press-ups and crunches can all be done outdoors using without any specific kit. At our outdoor exercise sessions we do have some kit and working in a group extends the possibilities but fundamentally it’s about using your body rather than relying on machines in the gym.”
5) The unpredictability of the outdoors makes it fun
Working out in a gym which is at the same temperature and light-level whatever time of day or year can be a bit soulless. Although the British summer weather can be notoriously unpredictable, once you get your trainers on and get outside, you’ll hardly notice – except in a good way.
A bit of wind or a light shower can we very invigorating on a run or outdoor class. And even on a slightly chilly morning, an outdoor exercise session will soon warm you up naturally – burning more calories in the process than if you were working out in a climate-controlled gym.
If we’ve convinced you of the benefits of outdoor exercise why not try a free first session at Core Camp?
Call 01926 801111 or email email@example.com to book now (staring the 8th May).
Dr Jeff Foster on Testosterone Deficiency
Testosterone deficiency is a common condition that many people don’t know exists. Whilst there is still a long way to go, awareness of the effects of hormonal changes many women experience around menopause is gradually improving. But men can also be significantly affected by hormonal changes – especially testosterone – and the effects can begin to be felt as early as the age of 30.
Testosterone deficiency is common in men over the age of 40, and affects up to 12% of men aged 50 and over. Affecting more than 790,000 men in the UK, this treatable condition can cause symptoms including tiredness, irritability, depression, low sex drive, loss of muscle and weight gain.
What are the signs and symptoms of testosterone deficiency?
Testosterone deficiency is associated with sexual, physical and mental symptoms that can affect your everyday life:
Your sex life
- Low sex drive
- Problems with erections
- Difficulty achieving orgasm
How you feel
- Low mood or irritability
- Reduced wellbeing
- Loss of concentration
- Hot flushes and sweats
How you look
- More body fat
- Male breasts
- Loss of muscle and strength
What is testosterone deficiency?
Testosterone plays an important role in physical and emotional wellbeing. Its roles include maintaining muscle and bone strength, sperm production, and the desire to have sex (libido). Testosterone deficiency is a failure of the body to produce enough testosterone to maintain healthy levels.
Who gets testosterone deficiency?
The reasons for having testosterone deficiency are not always clear. After the age of 30 our testosterone levels naturally begin to drop but in some cases they drop so far that it can cause the health and wellbeing of a man to suffer quite significantly. The chances of becoming testosterone deficient are higher in men who have certain other conditions, including:
- Diabetes (up to 50% of men with type 2 diabetes also have low testosterone levels)
- High blood pressure / raised cholesterol
- Heart disease
- Any chronic inflammatory condition (such as asthma or arthritis)
- Men who take medications (a large number of prescription drugs can also reduce testosterone levels)
- Men undergoing cancer treatment
What can you do to increase your testosterone levels naturally?
Improving your overall health can help to boost testosterone levels (as explained in the video on this page). Particularly good ways to increase your testosterone levels naturally include:
- Maintain a healthy weight. Losing weight can help increase testosterone levels. Aim for a healthy, balanced diet with plenty of vegetables and protein (and low in sugar, saturated fat and processed food)
- Stay active. Regular physical activity helps your brain send out testosterone-boosting signals.
- High intensity and weight-bearing exercise. Current evidence suggests it is the intensity that is most beneficial for health rather than the type of exercise. Short bursts of high impact/high intensity exercise appear to the produce the best results in metabolic stimulation and hormone production. Including a mix of high-intensity, weight-bearing, and aerobic exercise in your activities also keeps it interesting which means you’re more likely to stick with it.
- Reduce stress. While you might not always be able to remove or avoid the causes of stress, you can change your response to it. Being in good shape physically can help you to manage stress better and as can mindfulness or meditation, or simply talking about it (whether that’s to friends and family, or to a counsellor).
- Sleep tight. Try to get at least 7 hours good quality sleep a night. If you’re doing all of the above you’ll often find that your sleep improves; if you’re still struggling to get a good night’s sleep on a regular basis it’s worth speaking to your GP.
- Have more sex. Ironically, although testosterone deficiency can cause problems with sexual desire and performance, having sex can actually increase your testosterone production. If you are having sex very infrequently this is likely to reduce your testosterone levels.
How can testosterone deficiency be treated?
Testosterone deficiency can be diagnosed easily in most cases by listening to your symptoms and arranging some simple bloods tests. Based on the results of these tests, we can decide whether testosterone replacement therapy (TRT), is suitable for you. There is excellent evidence that, when used properly, TRT can help alleviate all of the symptoms listed above.
Recent good quality evidence suggests that safe use of TRT in men may be associated with a decreased risk of cardiovascular events, such as heart attacks and stroke.
There are different treatments for testosterone deficiency; the one that’s best for you can be discussed during your consultation. Options include:
- Gels applied to the skin each day
- Injections into the muscle (every 2-3 weeks or every 10–14 weeks)
Once you start treatment it is important to attend follow-up appointments so that we can make sure your treatment is working, and doing so in a safe manner.
Do you think you or your partner could have testosterone deficiency?
The ADAM questionnaire is a useful screening tool used by doctors to see if you might suffer with low testosterone. If you answer “yes” to questions 1 or 7, or three or more of the below questions, we suggest that you might need a testosterone blood test – you can contact us to book your consultation.
The ADAM questions
- Do you have a decrease in libido (sex drive)?
- Do you have a lack of energy?
- Do you have a decrease in strength and/or endurance?
- Have you lost height?
- Have you noticed a decreased “enjoyment of life”?
- Are you sad and/or grumpy?
- Are your erections less strong?
- Have you noticed a recent deterioration in your ability to play sports?
- Are you falling asleep after dinner?
- Has there been a recent deterioration in your work performance?
Above all remember: testosterone deficiency can be treated and you don’t have to (and shouldn’t) put up with the symptoms as a ‘natural’ part of ageing.
If you want further information or wish to make an appointment please contact Dr Foster or speak to our reception team on 01926 801111.
A final note on supplements, vitamins and minerals
- There is no medical evidence that any over-the-counter supplements (including tribulus, taurine, fenugreek, or ginger) will produce increases in testosterone levels.
- For healthy individuals on a balanced diet, additional vitamins and minerals will make no difference to testosterone production in men. However, there is some evidence that additional zinc or selenium can be linked to sperm quality, but not overall testosterone production.
We had a patient in the clinic this week who came in with a complaint of lower back pain. After a thorough assessment and treatment with our osteopath Katie, the patient commented that ‘you didn’t treat my lower back at all’ to which Katie responded: ‘that’s because it’s where the pain is, it isn’t where the problem is’.
This concept seems to be a huge revelation to patients, but it’s an important one to understand if you suffer with chronic pain.
To give a couple of common examples, ‘sciatica’ is a condition where pain and other symptoms are often felt in the legs but the ’cause’ of true sciatica is rooted in the discs and nerves in the lower part of the spine. If you try to treat sciatic pain in the legs by directly working on the legs it won’t work. To make matters even more complicated, there is almost always a combination of ‘underlying’ reasons why someone gets discal problems in the first place (in the case of sciatica it’s usually around the area that doctors call LS4/5 S1) and those problems are NOT just related to the back. For some people that point in the back is a ‘place of least resistance’ where a host of underlying biomechanical issues are culminating. Like the point in a dam where a flood breaks through. So problems can arise in the feet, manifest in the lower spine, and cause symptoms in the legs. (Yes, really).
There’s also the phenomena of ‘referred pain’ whereby you might feel pain or other symptoms like numbness or pins and needles in one part of your body due to a problem somewhere else. A common example is neck and shoulder aches and inflammation that cause numbness or tingling down the outside of the arm and into the fingers. You feel the symptoms in your hand but a good therapist will work on the appropriate points in your shoulder where the problem is originating.
It’s sometimes easier to think of it in terms of analogies. Like…
Water flowing down a mountain doesn’t flow in a straight line. It follows the path of least resistance which depends on the contours of the land and the hard or softness of the material (soil = soft, rock = hard). In the same way stresses and strains experienced in one part of your body (or mind) sometimes flow through the path of least resistance and you can get symptoms where you least expect them.
When you have a rubbish day at work and your boss chews your head off you can’t take it out on them in case you lose your job so you go home and shout at your family (or kick your dog). In the same way you might experience ’emotional stress’ as physical symptoms like back pain.
When the axle is out by a few millimetres on your car it can set your wheel balance out so badly you feel like you’re driving around in a fairground ride. In the same way you can experience major symptoms in your body (the car) if your ‘axle’ (your ankle, hip, or other major joints) are ‘out’ even a little. Trying to treat the symptoms directly is like giving the passengers a big cushion to sit on rather than fixing the tracking.
When there’s a puddle of water on your floor you can ‘treat’ it by mopping it up or putting a bucket under it. In this analogy let’s say the puddle is ‘back pain’ and the mop is a pain-killer; the bucket is a back support vest. So, unless you identify whether the puddle (or the back pain) is caused by a leak in your roof, a leak in your plumbing, rising damp or your dog knocking over its water bowl (in retaliation at your kicking it instead of your boss, perhaps?) you can’t permanently ‘treat’ a puddle by mopping it up. In the same way, you can’t successfully treat chronic back pain with a painkiller or a support vest.
So…if you have chronic pain, particularly if it has a big musculoskeletal component, don’t be surprised if your clinician focuses their treatment away from the place you’re experiencing pain or other symptoms. In fact, if they do focus exclusively on where the symptoms are, they’re probably missing the bigger picture and it might be time to get a second opinion.
For further information on the Vossen technique click here: Risus sit optima medica
Happy April Fool’s Day!
Will love and laughter from the team at Core Clinics.
But seriously…Laughter really is a wonder remedy!
Endorphins produced when you laugh promote an overall sense of well-being and can even temporarily relieve pain.
Laughter protects the heart.
Laughter improves the function of blood vessels and increases blood flow, which can help protect you against a heart attack and other cardiovascular problems.
Laughter burns calories.
Laughter improves your quality of sleep.
Laughter helps you manage stress.
So – get Vossening!
Have you ever suffered from back pain at least once in your life? The majority would probably show afflicted faces. Indeed, it is a very common issue which affects around 43% of the population in the UK. Despite most of the time the pain comes for just a few days, some of us can be affected by chronic back pain. In this case, back pain could negatively affect your daily life such as your performances at work, your mood or mental health.
Thankfully, relief is possible for adopting some remedies to cope with it:
- The physical aspect of the back pain
Probably your first thought is to skip work and lie on your couch until the pain goes away. However, sitting can cause more stress for your hurting back whereas staying active and try activities such as yoga or pilates can be really helpful to minimise pain. You will learn how to keep the right posture and how to increase strength and flexibility at once. Also, it is good to reduce your stress which is due to all challenges of life and this will help your muscles to relax. Obviously, if you feel that your body is too under pressure, you can ask for help for certain poses to be sure you are performing it correctly without causing excessive strain for your back. In a nutshell, yoga therapy can be your medicine for your body and your mental wellbeing.
- The emotional aspect of the back pain
Stress level is often very high within back pain patients and can be an influencing factor for avoiding everyday activities to be sure not to feel the pain. Also, emotions like fear and anxiety can be the cause for your back pain according to Harvard Medical School. Indeed, the mind can make you feel the pain as a protective barrier in order not to focus on these emotions which could generate a psychological breakdown. Psychotherapy can support the emergence of these hidden emotions and you will discover the cause of your negative feelings and how to accept and live with them. In this way, the mind will send negative input to our body since the breakdown danger disappeared.
TOGETHER We can do it!
The best thing to do if you are looking for help is combining physical and psychological treatments. Taking a holistic answer to this issue which considers not only the physical aspect but also other factors influencing the pain which are the social and psychological factors could be very effective to deal with this recurrent and disabling condition. Always think about wellness and balance in every daily activity which is vital to make positive changes about medical conditions such as low back pain.