With the daily media bombardment about COVID, it is no wonder that fear is generally growing. Fear of the social impact of another lockdown, fear of the uncertainty of our livelihoods and even fear of our very existence. Staffordshire has announced that it will go to Tier 2 at midnight on Friday and this will inevitably raise the fear factor higher.
Mental health has taken a back step with this pandemic and never before in my working life has there been so much anxiety, loneliness and grief hidden away in society.
Your pain, whether physical, mental or both, isn’t going to disappear and many of you are going to need a lot of help in the coming months. Increasingly, we are being asked to help guide people through these difficult times both mentally and spiritually, the latter problems only serving to multiply the actual physical pain.
We Are Staying Open
We know that stress lowers our immunity and raises our sensitivity to pain. Gold standard trials have also proven a relationship between lifestyle stressors and white cell count. What this means is that stress, if left untreated, will slow down your ability to heal, plus worsen your response to pain, inflammation and disease. Yet psychosocial pain is, I believe, wrongly still an afterthought in western medicine, even though more often than not, it holds the key to hidden trauma and deep emotional stress.
At this clinic, we have long recognised the importance of looking at the whole person, rather than just the location of pain. That’s why, even though I am highly qualified in western medical techniques, I have written 5 books on a more holistic approach. In my first book, The 4 Keys To Health, I introduced a simple traffic light scoring system which encompassed the psychosocial factors that affect our health and which can cause so much of our pain.
Our goal is thus to help people in all aspects of their health and never before in my lifetime has there been such an urgent need for this approach. Beyond treating your pain, we wish to get you to as close optimum health as possible to help protect your immune system.
That’s why at the clinic we love to build a relationship with our clients to prescribe a tailor-made treatment plan, working out the best way to help with the mind set and adding in massage, and technology such as laser, shockwave, deep oscillation, acupuncture and IMS dry needling.
Keeping Abreast Of Research
We are constantly monitoring recent research to find new techniques to help. As an example, a recent Harvard trial successfully used electroacupuncture to improve survivability in COVID infected mice. This is highly relevant research, as in some cases it has been shown that it is the human bodies over response to COVID infection which has caused excessive inflammation [cytokine storm], leading in some cases to death. The research findings are significant. Electroacupuncture treatment before the cytokine storm increased survivability by a factor of four, from 20% to 80%. When applied after the cytokine storm, survivability increased by three-fold, from 20% to 60%. Both are huge benefits and it emphasises the benefit of preventative treatment.
As a result of our integrative approach to treatment, combining orthodox western medicine with alternative, we routinely carry out electroacupuncture here.
For those of you who need our help, we are open and will continue to be open unless forced to close by government ruling.
None of us know how long this pandemic is going to last, but the expectation is that it’s going to be a long time. If the availability of treatment is shut off there is going to be a drastic rise in pain and suffering. We have already seen this in the lockdown with patients begging us to see them. That’s why I believe it is so important that we stay open in the coming months.
Our patients are so grateful that we are here now to help them with their pain, pain they suffered for months without any help during lockdown. They have bombarded us with thanks. We will continue to stay open and help you unless and until the government dictates otherwise. Sadly, the chances are there will be few, if any, alternatives for you.
Control Your Stress Now And Improve Your Resistance To Disease
While the government is correct to react to rises in cases, we each need to keep in perspective what the tier trigger points represent, so that we can keep better control of our stress. Tier 2 is triggered at 100 per 100,000 population. Put another way, on average you would need to get close to 1000 people before you are likely to be near a COVID positive risk. How likely, if you are careful, are you to interface closely with 1000 people, especially in these troubled times? Maintain social distancing and always wear a mask to reduce your chances of infection further.
What does this tell us? Mix only with people you are reasonably sure act sensibly and act sensibly yourself. Nothing is guaranteed in life, but by acting sensibly and taking all possible precautions, you can use your own positive response to improve your health.
COVID-19 has had a dramatic affect on all our lives and not surprisingly at Nicky Snazell Clinic as well. Our foremost concern is the safety of patients and staff and we strive to stay fully up to date with the almost daily changes and wherever possible keep ahead of the curve. More on that later.
Even if you are an existing patient, but definitely if you are a new patient, we will take you through a screening process to make sure it is safe and justified for you to come in for treatment. There will be quite a few questions, and we ask you to bear with us on this as it’s all in our best interests. For sure, the questions asked will constantly change in line with latest guidelines. Where the risk is deemed higher, then a more detailed assessment will be needed with a physiotherapist, before treatment can be authorised.
Please note that in cases where you may need to be accompanied, then that person also has to pass screening to be allowed on site.
Changes At The Clinic
All of our 13,000 plus patients will know that our aim has always been to create a welcoming, peaceful and relaxing environment from the moment you walk in the door. Well that of course, to an extent, went out the door when we adjusted rapidly to the pandemic. Our waiting room has been effectively closed and patients are now asked to wait in their cars until their allotted start time. At that point they should come in alone with a face mask on, use the readily available hand sanitiser and their therapist, wearing full PPE, will take them to the treatment room.
At the end of the appointment the therapist will, if necessary, book a follow-on appointment and we then ask that you go to reception, where we have installed protective screens, to pay in advance for the next appointment. To speed this process, we now only take payment by card and by touch whenever possible. Where a payment requires a pin, the terminal is sanitised after use.
We then ask that you leave the clinic immediately as we want to minimise time that patients are in the clinic. Please don’t think we are being rude if we don’t chat as we used to. We are minimising your time on site. We have also staggered the start times between therapists, to avoid multiple patients being on site outside of a treatment room at the same time.
All rooms are sanitised between treatments and thus treatment times will be slightly shorter. In addition, we use a spray which lasts up to 5 hours on surfaces and this is used on all common touch points every 3 hours. Thus, for example, when you open the door to come in, you can be sure that the handle and surrounding woodwork will have been sprayed and is as safe as is practical.
We understand of course that some patients will need to use the toilet and we request that if needed, you first advise us so that we can sanitise after each use. Note, however, that the toilet is also thoroughly sanitised every 3 hours with our 5 hour effective spray. Please try to avoid the need to use our facilities wherever possible.
We require that you use a face mask which covers your mouth and nose at all times while inside the clinic. All of the available scientific information supports the need to wear masks inside a building. It is important for each of us to realise that wearing a mask helps protect those around us from us. By not wearing a mask properly, this would be putting our staff at additional risk and this is not acceptable.
Patients at times have found difficulty in wearing a mask, but we politely request that you must do so for the short time on site. Bear in mind that our staff are in full PPE all day to protect you.
Patients who do not comply with this request may be refused further treatment.
We also need your help in running to time. It is vital that you have vacated the treatment room on time, leaving sufficient time for the room to be sanitised. Any overrun will mean that patients will be held in the waiting room and this is not acceptable.
Payment In Advance
We have changed our payment procedure, as we now ask for payment in full at time of booking and in 99.9% of cases this has been fully understood and accepted. On one or two occasions, however, patients have misunderstood our reasoning for this. We have made this change by necessity, as many patients leave the building immediately after their treatment and it would be totally unworkable for us to have to continuously call patients to take payment. We had to come up with a single system for all, so this change is not a reflection on any one patient.
Staying Ahead Of The Curve
Part of our role is to stay up to speed with the ongoing changes caused by our government updates, but in addition, we, and in fact all of us, can choose to operate more safely if we wish. An example would be that last night Scotland announced that most COVID-19 infections were caused by meeting people from outside our household within our homes and thus banned this. In England a more relaxed position has been taken. It is, however, up to us to decide which position is more in our best interest. If we at the clinic feel it worthwhile to use more strict guidelines to help protect all, then we reserve the right to do so.
Having lived in the USA twice, I personally check in on their news channels and in particular I look for information from Dr Anthony Fauci, who is the USA’s leading disease expert, having been advisor to the last six Presidents. He talks more openly and simply than we tend to get in the UK. He is also completely apolitical and is only interested in scientific proof. There is also a wealth of real world, scientifically based information put out by Dr Sanjay Gupta.
Yesterday Dr Gupta interviewed Dr Fauci and for those who want a better insight and understanding of where we are right now, then I recommend you watch the interview on YouTube.
For those who don’t have time to watch this, here are some snippets:
- Dr Fauci is optimistic that a vaccine may be ready for approval by November or December, based on the limited results available in the small-scale phase one and two trials. But, and this is a big but, the all important large scale phase 3 trials are double blind, placebo controlled trials and so even he has no idea what the current results are. In fact, nobody does, except one or two statisticians who see unblinded results. In simple terms, a double blind trial means that only the statisticians know who is getting the placebo and who is getting the vaccine being tested, not even the manufacturers, as the trial is conducted by an independent group. This is the gold standard for scientific testing and is not something that can be politically manipulated.
- The best advice is that we must all wear face masks if social distancing can’t be maintained.
- What we didn’t know a few months ago was that 40% to 45% of COVID positive people were asymptomatic, nor were we aware that a substantial proportion of the infections were coming from those who were without symptoms. That makes it overwhelmingly important to wear a mask.
- There is a suggestion that some of the virus droplets in the air may be light enough to hang around and circulate, thus acting as an aerosol. The facts are we don’t know yet, but in many respects, it doesn’t matter. It just emphasises the advice given: wear a mask, keep your distance, avoid crowds, wash hands regularly, ventilate rooms.
- Yes, the elderly are more at risk, but people with underlying conditions, at any age, are at risk.
The overwhelming issue is that we all need to get on with our lives while we minimise our risk during this pandemic. We believe we are taking every possible step to minimise that risk and that we have created a far safer environment than most.
Take care, be safe, think of others
Spinal Disk Bulge Physiotherapy For A Spinal Disc Rupture
Can a disc slip? The simple answer is no. It’s a layman’s term that is unfortunately very misleading to the general public.“My disc has slipped out, can you put it back in” is not an uncommon conversation opener on the telephone. Of course, it’s quite difficult then to get the caller to understand that this can’t actually happen, which is why Spinal Disk Bulge Physiotherapy is key to recovery.
Let’s look at the spine’s anatomy and in particular the role of the disc.
The spine is made up of 7 cervical (neck) bones called vertebrae, 12 thoracics (middle) vertebrae and 5 lumbar (lower) vertebrae. The top 2 vertebrae in the neck are a little bit different, so putting those to one side, between each pair of the remaining vertebrae there is a disc, the purpose of which is to provide shock absorption and allow movement. The disc itself is attached strongly to the vertebrae and cannot slip out.
A disc is made up of a tough fibrous structure on the outside, layered in exactly the same way we make cross-ply tyres. On the inside, there is a soft, crab paste like moist material. As we age this tends to dry out. There are also end plates in contact with the vertebrae. The spinal disc is 70% to 90% water, so making sure you are well hydrated is very important to disc health.
There are two major types of damage to these discs. The first is when the disc is overloaded sufficiently to cause a protrusion, or bulge in the outer wall, as in the diagram above. This is similar to what you see on the side of a car tyre when it has hit a curb. Sometimes this is referred to as a slipped disc. It’s not possible to just push the bulge back in, but specific exercises can help to relocate this and over time the disc may heal itself.
The second and more serious damage is when the overload has been sufficient to rupture the outer fibrous structure and force the inner material to squeeze out. This is called a herniated or ruptured disc.
What Are The Implications Of A Disc Bulge Or Herniated Disc?
A disc bulge will cause pain if it is central and compresses the central spinal column, or if it bulges to one side into the exiting nerves. In either case, if the compression is significant enough, it will cause pain and/or numbness and weakness and possibly loss of control in the limbs.
If the disc bulge is central it could cause problems down both sides of the body. If the bulge is on one side, it will only cause problems on that side.
If the disc has been ruptured or herniated, the same problems with compression of the central spinal column and exiting nerves can occur. In addition, if chemicals from the inside of the disc come into contact with the nerves, it can cause severe pain even without any compression of the nerves. In such cases, a course of anti-inflammatories will most likely be prescribed.
Can Spinal Disk Bulge Physiotherapy Treat A Disc Bulge or Herniated Disc?
In many cases, a bulging disc and a herniated disc will over time heal itself. The time required may depend on the severity of the problem and may take from weeks to months to resolve. Physiotherapy treatment can help reduce the pain much more quickly. The key is to get an accurate diagnosis through a physiotherapy assessment, possibly needing an X-ray or MRI. Treatment can include specific exercises to help reduce the disk bulge, Gunn IMS dry needling, electroacupuncture, laser, shockwave, core stability rehab and postural rehab. In severe cases, surgery may be needed.
If you have suffered a recent back injury or had a long-term problem then it’s advisable to get your condition assessed and treated. We have extensive skills in treating spinal pain and clients travel from all over the UK and abroad to seek our help.
Call 01889 881488 now.
Rotator Cuff Physiotherapy
Many have heard of the rotator cuff in the shoulder and, not surprisingly, believe it to be a single part of the shoulder. The rotator cuff is, in fact, a group of four muscles that work together to provide dynamic stability of the shoulder joint, helping to control the joint during rotation:
- Teres Minor
The Supraspinatus is a small muscle which you can feel above the bony ridge on the back of your shoulder blade (scapula). It attaches to the top of the arm bone (humerus), just below the shoulder joint. The task of this muscle is to move the arm sideways away from the body for the first 15 degrees. After that other muscles take over most of the load, it is an area of the should that can be torn and is popular for ‘Rotator Cuff Physiotherapy’
The Infraspinatus is a thick triangular muscle, which occupies the main part of the sculptured dent in the back of the shoulder blade, below the bony ridge. As one of the four muscles of the rotator cuff, the main function of the infraspinatus is to turn the arm out as in the backhand in tennis and stabilise the shoulder joint.
The Subscapularis is a large triangular muscle at the front of the shoulder blade, between the shoulder blade and the rib cage. It attaches to the top of the arm bone (humerus) and into the front of the shoulder capsule. Its role is to turn the arm in.
The Teres Minor muscle sits below the Infraspinatus. It is quite a small rounded muscle and its primary task is to stop the arm moving up when it is moved out sideways (abducted). It also helps the Infraspinatus turn the arm out.
TREATMENTS FOR ROTATOR CUFF TENDINITIS
Rotator cuff tendinitis describes the inflammatory response of one or more of the four rotator cuff tendons, due to impingement or overuse, and leading to more and more micro-trauma that can then lead to a tendon rupture and will require Rotator Cuff Physiotherapy.
The inflamed thickening of the tendons often causes the rotator cuff tendons to become trapped under the acromion (the bony projection of the shoulder blade over the shoulder joint) – like a carpet stuck under a door – causing sub-acromial impingement. Failure to heal then leads to further damage. Early treatment of tendinitis, therefore, is necessary in order to prevent the development of more chronic and serious conditions.
Treatment can include: first and foremost scapula re-education exercises, postural exercises to lessen the impingement, gentle shoulder mobilisations and massage, aided by local electrotherapies, such as laser, pulsed shortwave, shockwave and deep oscillation. Specific rehab exercises can help guide you back to full fitness.
Growing Old, Stave Off Ill Health
Part of life is growing older and we should all plan for that stage of our lives. The good news is that with correct lifestyle choices and planning, the later years can be just as much fun as any other part. The first and most important step in this process is aligning your beliefs with this reality.
What do I mean by this? Well if you believe that when you get older you won’t be able to do much, will spend a lot of time sitting in a chair because moving around is too painful and you will need a cocktail of drugs to keep you going, then probably that will all come true for you. If on the other hand you believe it doesn’t have to be that way and that you can still be active, healthy and enjoying life then probably that’s how it will be for you. The reason for this is that the mind is immensely powerful in determining outcomes. And if you strongly believe something, your mind will subconsciously move you towards decisions that support that belief.
I once spoke to someone who said ‘I’m 50 now and I need to slow down’ and guess what, she visibly aged as all her thoughts supported that belief. On the other hand, I know people who are in their late 80’s who go to the gym and swim three times a week, run to the shops and take no medication and never have. And they see no reason for anything to change.
So, my advice is to really think about what you believe because that is likely to be your future. Question your beliefs. Ask yourself why is it that different countries have widely different life expectancies. Why is it that some countries have much lower risks of cancer than the UK has. Your beliefs will be based on what you learned as a child and what hear and see is normal around you. But what is normal here is not normal elsewhere. Understand this and you will be more open to questioning and changing your beliefs.
It's your life. You reap what you sow.
If you found this interesting and would like to know more, get a copy of ‘The Mind’ at the clinic and ask about the 2018 Seminars and Meditation classes.
‘The Body’ Nicky’s second instalment of her fantastic ‘Human Garage’ Trilogy is days away from release!
To celebrate we are offering an amazing 45% off any Magnetic Resonance Treatment. If you or someone you know needs help with Osteoarthritis, Bone Problems, Sports Injuries or Spinal Disc issues.
Call us on 01889 881488
“For a longer active life”
Offer ends 30th September
Terms and Conditions apply.
Marathon Performance for the Lullaby Trust
Lorna Hopkin from Brocton, Stafford is elated to have completed Sunday’s gruelling 26.3 mile Virgin London Marathon. Lorna a Marketing Manager at Tamworth based Summit Systems, and her brother Gavin Aiken, ran on behalf of the Lullaby Trust, supporting families effected by Sudden Infant Death Syndrome. The duo chose the charity following the tragic loss of Lorna’s son Leo to SIDs last year aged just 5 weeks. They have raised an incredible £8,500 for the charity with donations still flowing. Please see Just Giving Site.
“We are absolutely amazed by the generosity of everybody more than doubling our fundraising target. The marathon was incredibly hard but I felt I had no choice but to complete it for Leo and everyone who put their faith into us. There were more than a few tears shed by the whole family at the end. We hope the money provides beneficial support to families enduring the pain of SIDS.”
Lorna found the challenge harder than anticipated after a back injury earlier in the week left her unable to walk properly. After some impromptu advice she managed to get an appointment at Nicky Snazell’s Pain Relief Clinic, where her pelvis was assessed and the muscular spasm treated accordingly. Lorna says:
“When I arrived I found that a friend who worked there, Erica Byrnes, had already paid for my treatment in support of the cause which was so incredibly kind it brought a tear to my eye. The service was fantastic and I left renewed.”
“On race day, I was still experiencing some back pain as expected, but knowing the underlying cause was gone, I decided to attempt the race. The first few miles were really painful, then it settled down and my toe took over. By mile 15 my toe was in agony so I stopped a few times then eventually took my shoe off to reveal a hole in my sock strangling my toe!! Thankfully once moved pain relief was immediate and I was able to continue”.
“The Lullaby Trust had cheering stations at mile 9 and 19 which kept me going. I had a mini breakdown at mile 23 but accepting sweets of strangers got me going again. Seeing the London Eye and Big Ben, and hundreds of people shouting my name and cheering made the last mile amazing.
“Passing through the finish line and feeling the weight of the medal around my neck was one of the best feelings ever.
“I then had to get across London to the Lullaby Trust after party. I felt like a celebrity with people high fiving me, giving up seats on the tube and asking questions. The after party was great too with a much needed shower and sharing stories with other families effected by SIDS.
“Running the London Marathon has been one of the hardest but best experiences of my life. I am delighted to have been able to raise so much money in Leo’s memory and it was wonderful to feel him smiling down from heaven on me for the day.”
Love to Dance…
For those of you who love to dance on a regular basis – whether for your job, for exercise or for the sheer love of it – you will already by familiar with the absolute joy that dancing can bring you, and you’ll crave that unmistakable “buzz” inside you, with the happy endorphins kicking in whilst you move your body to the beat. The genre of music and style of dance doesn’t matter – you’ll simply know the passion it brings out in you, and in others who share your love of it.
However, dancers will also be only too familiar with how tough dancing can be on the body, and often, after hours of blissful dancing, you will then find yourselves aching – in your back, you neck, shoulders, hips… and especially in your knees and feet, which can take quite a hammering with all that bending, sliding, spinning and turning!
Usually, within a day or two, the soreness wears off, and you’re craving your next dance.
But sometimes the problem can be more worrying, with severe pain developing, causing you to restrict your dancing – or even prevent you from dancing altogether for a while.
A few examples include:
• Menisus Knee Tear, from twisting the knee whilst moving;
• Lower Back strain and muscle spasms;
• Plantar Fasciitis – pain as you put weight on your foot;
• Hallux Limitus, where your big toe becomes stiff;
• Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome, from tight hamstrings and calf muscles, and weak quads, plus repetitive pressure on the knee cap;
• Ankle sprains – eg, from landing wrongly from a jump;
• Tendonopathy of the Rotator Cuff, Posterior Tibial tendon, and in the Achilles.
Fear not… Help is at hand!
Yes, we can help you if you are suffering with any of these. At the Nicky Snazell Pain Relief Clinic, we have treatments whereby we can actively intervene to get you back to doing what you love. And the sooner you do something about it, the less damage you will cause – and the sooner you can return to the dance-floor.
The key to healthly exercise is just that.Let’s take another look at why we should exercise so we can hold a green fitness key.Today I find that humans are far too sedentary, all too
often sitting in front of a computer by day, followed by
sitting in front of a TV at night. This lack of physical
activity causes emotional and physiological imbalances,
but we can change this by looking at how we exercise; improving your
fitness changes your chemistry, acts as a powerful antidepressant, promotes
mental clarity, and reduces the likelihood of cancer.
If you’re not happy with either how you look or feel about your weight,
then with correct guidance, you can break out of inactivity and be rewarded
by smiling at yourself whenever you see your reflection. I will guide you towards 4 green keys to health and tonight is fitness.
You can learn more about how and when you should
exercise, as getting the correct mix can extend your life.
When I am working at my clinic, I hear echoing around the walls: I am too
old to exercise, too old to work. Are you too old to exercise? Well, no one told
Jiroemon Kimura (born 1897) that he was too old. He passed away recently
at age 116, farming until he was 90 years old. Remember the Carry On films?
Well, did you know that Barbara Windsor carries on exercising in her late 70s?
You can find her in her gym wear keeping fit outside in Hyde Park.
Over 450,000 people in the USA and over 70,000 people in the UK risk total
knee replacement every year. Want to talk pain? Then talk TKR. What’s
worse is that it is unsuccessful 10% of the time, and you can even die from
having total knee replacement. Furthermore, the age for TKR is constantly
dropping. Why? Anybody want to hazard a guess? That’s right: obesity.
Now, this isn’t proven yet, but it is most likely the biggest cause.
So, what happens when you get fat? Ladies, take the ‘C’ off chips and you
know what you get! Guys, you put it on around the waist and lose sight of
your favourite toy! What you probably don’t know is that your knees are
loaded with up to four times your weight, so every extra stone (14 lbs) is
an extra four stone (56 lbs) on your knees – that’s why knees are so often
the first casualty with OA. If you want to know why the four times multiple
occurs, it’s because of leverage. Now, you are intelligent people, and you are
surely interested in health or you wouldn’t be here. So, why have you made
the decision to get arthritis? Made the decision to get lots of pain? Made
the decision to risk surgery and even death? It’s because much of the pain
associated with the pleasure of eating too much is too far away, and anyway,
going to the gym is a pain for most. We need to change the way we think
about exercise, and hopefully this chapter will go some way to doing that
Here’s some more cheery news: an in-depth study into retirement found
that men in their sixties are every bit as good at driving business than those
physically and mentally in their prime. In later life, prescriptive exercise is
more effort than swallowing a pill, but it is well worth it; in a nutshell, you get
less senility and less pain. Exercise weaves its magic, strengthening the heart,
releasing more neurotransmitters for cell communication, boosting BDNF
for improving neural connections in the brain, aiding metabolism, improving
blood flow, stimulating toxic disposal systems, and strengthening bones.
This next fact gets me out running in howling gales and rain: current research
in Sweden shows that exercise alters the way genes work in the tissue that
stores fat, and changes in adipose tissue storage sites were measurable even
with just two workouts a week. Epigenetics has always fascinated me since
studying biology, and this is the study of how chemical alterations will
change how genes work in a cell. This allows us to fine tune our body to a
Exercise alters this process in muscle cells and improves how sugar is
processed. Furthermore, adipose tissue (fat cells) is an organ in its own right, producing active chemicals that have profound effects on the body. In
this tissue, 18,000 markers were found on 7,663 genes! This is leading to a
greater understanding of why exercise helps fatty tissue do its job properly,
which means that as we get older, we don’t have to have such a lumpy,
bumpy body. This smooth body needs a good structural support.