• 03 May 2019

    What does Stretching do?  Manual Therapy Effects Part III

    There’s no question that stretching feels good – at least after we’ve done it. But why is that; what has actually changed? And will stretching have a lasting effect on how flexible we are? Short-term (immediate) increases in flexibility are... Read more
  • 14 March 2019

    What does “cracking” your back (HVT) do, and how helpful is it? Manual Therapy Effects Part II

    What does clicking your back do, and how helpful is it? As usual there is no simple answer to this question, and having taken a fresh look at the research relating to the effects of High Velocity Thrust (HVT) I am left... Read more
  • 13 February 2019

    The Rubber Hand Illusion: Manual Therapy Effects

    In the rubber hand illusion individuals have a rubber hand placed before them on a table while their real hand is placed out of sight on the other side of a screen.  A researcher then strokes the fingers of the... Read more
  • 28 November 2018

    Muscle Stiffness – Part II: Expectation Violation

    In part I of this post I talked about how a recent research paper suggested that persistent muscle stiffness – like persistent pain - could be due to a perceptual error:  the nervous system has become oversensitive – the threat of... Read more
  • 19 September 2018

    Why do Muscles Feel Stiff – Part I

    Muscle stiffness is a common complaint of patients presenting to my clinic.  Common questions are “why do I feel so stiff?”; “why do my muscles feel so tight?”; “why do I have knots?” In the most straightforward of cases, patients... Read more
  • 14 May 2018

    Sun’s Out Guns Out

    Flexing in front of the mirror actually makes your biceps bigger!!!  Well maybe.  A study just out showed that focusing on the targeted muscle/movement during weight-training (watching oneself in the mirror might fall into that category) increased arm circumference by 12.6%  (internal focus)... Read more
  • 22 March 2018

    Are you sitting comfortably: the myth of good posture

    That's the Guardian's (5/3/18) headline - not mine - for an article in which two well regarded physical therapists and researchers explain why it doesn't matter how we sit, or what posture we assume because there is no evidence to support... Read more
  • 18 January 2018

    Make Coordination and Variability a Priority

    Good coordination really amounts to the activation of the right muscles, in the right sequence, at the right time for the performance of a particular task and helps to keep us pain free and avoid injury.  It also contributes to other... Read more
  • 01 December 2017

    Why Biomechanics Matter

    There has been a huge shift to the biopsychosocial model in manual therapy in the last decade and understanding how psychological factors influence our experience of pain has and continues to change the way physical therapists communicate with, educate, and... Read more
  • 08 November 2017

    Understanding pain part 4: persistent pain

    In part one of this series I used Greg Lehman's analogy between the way an alarm sounded by a ship's lookout gets passed up the chain of command to the Captain and how nociceptors ( the body's pain sensors) pass... Read more
  • 07 November 2017

    Abdominal exercises sitting and using lunge sequences

    Abdominal exercises performed upright and in our normal relationship to gravity have better carryover to daily activities like lifting children into car seats (one of my own personal training objectives!).  I show a couple of examples here from which you... Read more
  • 18 October 2017

    Understanding Pain – part 3: why load is good

    The majority of patients I see in clinic have non-specific pain, that is, it cannot be attributed to a specific pathology like a fracture, tear, or sprain.  Nevertheless, the pain alarm has been triggered indicating that action needs to be... Read more
  • 28 September 2017

    Understanding Pain – Part 2: Pain doesn’t mean damage

    A few facts about damage and pain: 96% of athletes younger than 22 will show changes on an MRI that some people call “abnormal”. But since everyone has them how “abnormal” can they be? (Rajaswaran 2014) 37% of 20 year... Read more
  • 19 September 2017

    Understanding Pain – Part 1: The Process of Pain

    If we want to understand how best to treat and rehabilitate ourselves after an episode of pain then it helps to have an understanding of the mechanism of pain, the things that influence it, and the circumstances which might give... Read more
  • 22 February 2017

    A shoulder problem that started at the foot

    My sister asked me to take a look at my 12 year old niece Grace at the weekend, as she was worried about a lump on her shoulder (she also has left knee pain).  The lump turned out to be her... Read more
  • 08 November 2016

    5 Tips to Counter the Health Risks of Sitting

    Most of us are aware that sitting for long periods has serious consequences for our health, leaving us at higher risk of diabetes, heart disease, and, of course, back, neck, and shoulder pain. Read more
  • 27 September 2016

    Training to Avoid Muscle Strains

    I hope you have all had a good summer, and feel fresh and raring to go as we enter the autumn months. If, like me, you are getting back to your workouts after a break in routine, then you might... Read more
  • 09 June 2016

    Stretches for the hip using a doorway for stability

    In this video clip I make use of a chair and doorway to help achieve some really effective stretching. The doorpost affords increased stability and therefore makes stretching in all three planes of motion easier, whilst enabling us to get... Read more
  • 17 May 2016

    Hip flexor stretch

    In this short video clip I give one example of why hip extension is important in maintaining a healthy low back, and demonstrate a stretch that improves hip extension while avoiding irritating the joints of the low back. Read more
  • 17 May 2016

    Calf stretch

    In the last post I explained how tight calf muscle, or reduced ankle dorsiflexion, can cause problems elsewhere in the body. Here I show you how you can stretch your calf in all three planes of motion, which is necessary... Read more
  • 09 March 2016

    How tight calf muscle causes back pain

    If you've ever wondered why we're interested in your feet and ankles when you come to us with low back pain then here's just one explanation. Read more
  • 21 January 2016

    Stability and the Myth of Core Stability

    If you are entering the new year with a renewed sense of commitment to improving your level of fitness then it is worth giving some consideration to just how good your balance and stability are. Balance and stability are not... Read more
  • 01 December 2015

    Exercises for the mid and upper back

    As promised in our last newsletter, here are some exercises for the mid and upper back (thoracic spine) that will benefit - along with almost everywhere else! - your low back. Read more
  • 01 December 2015

    Gravity, Sitting, and Low Back Pain

    The causes of low back pain are many and varied - in short, the biomechanical interactions between different parts of the body are complex - but often, the hips below and/or the thoracic spine above (mid- upper back) are found... Read more