Newsletter – November 2015

November 2015

Finally the summer sun reveals it's colours. I think this time of year is the best in Sydney with the prospect of balmy days ahead, endless hours in the garden and family outings to the beach or the country. In this issue we give you some great tips on how to tune your body to enjoy the season.
We've put together a jam packed newsletter with great tips and ideas and I would be grateful if you would share this with your friends and loved ones. We've added some social media buttons at the top of the text to make it simple to share  - please share the love!

Newsletter Articles

Our Hornsby Practice has moved!

After many months of searching for larger premises we have finally found our new home at 4/32 Florence Street Hornsby. The new offices are proving to be a marked improvement with natural light in all our rooms,more space and a sense of calm in the hub of Hornsby. The location is extremely accessible being close to the fountain with parking at our door and yet only a minutes walk from our previous premises. We're delighted with the move and look forward to welcoming you to our new home. 

As our Hornsby practice continues to grow we are able to incorporate key services to enhance both the service we provide and the outcomes for our clients. The larger premises gives us the ability to make our services more readilly accessible.  We are now open from 7am - 7pm and also on Saturday mornings. As well as Osteopathy and Remedial Massage we now offer a specialised Masage Service for Expectant Mothers. Our pre- and post- natal massages are proving to be extremely popular. This service is offered by Zuzana Dzurmanova who has completed extensive further study to fully understand the intricate changes that accompany pregnancy and beyond. Call Hornsby to make a time to see Zuzana on 9477 6594
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Are You Sitting Comfortably?

Recently we have seen a lot of patients coming in with back pain related to spending a lot of time on the road driving. 
There is driver illustrationincreasing awareness about maintaining good posture while sat at work desks, but this doesn't seem to have crossed over into driving posture very well. Many people spend hours behind the wheel for work purposes or running around after kids. To maintain a healthy back it’s crucial that this is done with good posture and the optimal seat set up.

There are a few key things to look out for when sat in a car chair, this article gives an overview:

Seat distance

The distance of the seat from the pedals is one of the most important aspects of a good driving set up. You should be able to reach the pedals comfortably when at upright, without having to stretch to reach them.
The knee should have a slight bend in it, even with the pedals are fully depressed. The angle to aim for in the knee is around 120°

Upright angle of the seat

The angle of the seat is easily adjusted in most vehicles, and is an extremely important part of a good back posture. As with a desk chair, the seat should be angled backwards from upright slightly. The ideal angle is around 100-110°. This allows for a nice neutral spine position and prevents the muscles and joints from being overworked. A good test to check both seat distance and upright angle is to place the wrist of one hand onto the topmost part of the steering wheel. If the seat distance and angle is correct, you will be able to place your wrist flat onto the top of the wheel, and bend your hand over the top of it - while keeping the back and shoulders in contact with the seat behind you. If the seat position is too close to the wheel, you will be able to place your forearm over the wheel.

Seat height

You should aim to have an angle of around 100-110° between your hips and torso whilst keeping a clear view of the dashboard through the steering wheel.

Steering wheel height

If your vehicle allows, the steering wheel should be adjusted, and brought to a level where you can have your hands at the '9 and 3' position, with the palms lower than the shoulders - at a height where the shoulders can remain 'neutral' and are not being shrugged upwards - shrugging your shoulders whilst driving will cause your muscles in that area to fatigue.


Once you have the seat position set up correctly, you should adjust the mirrors from there - you should be able to clearly see the mirrors while sat in the appropriate seating position. If you have a tendency to slouch whilst driving, it can be an idea to set the rear-view mirror ever so slightly higher than you normally would just as a reminder to sit upright.

General tips

Once you have the seat, steering wheel and mirrors in an ideal position you have the foundations of a great driving posture. From here, you just have to get into good habits in how you sit, remembering not to slouch into a 'lazy' posture but also not to sit bolt upright as this will over-tense your muscles. A few other tips some people find useful:

  • Allow yourself to be as comfortable and mobile as possible.
  • Take off heavy and restrictive coats and empty your phone and wallet from your pockets.
  • Lumbar supports can be a cheap and effective way to improve seat posture - they may be particularly helpful if you drive an older car, in which the seats are often not designed from an ergonomic viewpoint.
  • Use appropriate footwear when driving, shoes including high-heels will dramatically alter posture when driving.

10 Tips for Pain-Free Gardening

Gardening guide

Spring is in the air, and if you have a garden – its time to get busy! Its also a busy time for osteopaths. At this time of year, many people come in with lower back pain, shoulder pain and wrist injuries resulting from a sudden bout of physical activity in the garden.

Make sure you keep a spring in your step by following these simple tips whilst gardening.

  1. Getting Ready
  • Don't forget to warm up - Gardening may be relaxing but it is a great style of exercise, so as with any physical activity make sure you warm up your body first. A few simple stretches to wake up your muscles will help prevent any over-strains.
  • Set realistic tasks – as tempting as it may be to declare war on weeds, try not to set yourself unrealistic tasks or deadlines. There's no need to push hard to finish everything in one day.  Set yourself smaller tasks and spread them out over a few days.
  • Invest in Decent Tools - If a tool does its job well, it should take some of the physical stress of gardening away from your body. Tools should also be comfortable to use. When buying garden tools, imagine you are using using them and ask yourself: are they comfortable to hold? The right size? Not too heavy? Remember to keep tools sharp, as blunt tools put more strain through your hand, wrist and arms.

2. Good Gardening Posture

Keep your back straight and try to work within comfortable reach of your body. Focus tasks as much as possible in the area between your knees and shoulders and within arms length. The further you reach from your body, the bigger the force your body will be subjected to. Long-handled tools and a ladder can help with this.

3. Vary Your Activities

If you are planning a long stint in the garden, break it up into shorter activities. Eg. raking for 30 mins, pruning for 30mins, weeding for 30mins. Using different tools with your body in varied positions reduces the risk of repetitive strain injuries or over-straining a single part of your body.

  1. Take Regular Breaks

You deserve it! Take 5 mins to make a drink, sit back in the sunshine and admire your work. Your body will thank you for it.  It will also stop you making silly mistakes. Sometimes its only when you take a break, you realise your pruning is wonky or a bit over-ambitious – oops!

How Best To Do….

5. Digging

This short video gives a good explanation of good digging technique, but the main things to remember are:

  • Stand in a split stance with one foot in front of the other. Keep your back straight and arms close to your body.
  • Bend from your knees and hips, not your back.
  • If you are moving earth to your side or behind you, turn your whole body rather than twisting from your waist or back.

6. Ground Level Weeding and Planting

  • Avoid standing and bending forwards from your waist to reach the ground.
  • Better to kneel with both knees on a kneeling pad (to reduce stress on your knees). Support yourself with one hand and use the other for weeding.
  • Switch hands occasionally to give the other side a break.

7. Bending and Lifting

  • Find a gardening buddy to help out with heavy loads
  • Lift from a squat position using bent hips and knees rather than using your back.
  • Try to lift from directly in front of you to avoid lifting and twisting and at the same time (this is a common cause of disc injuries).
  • Use a wheelbarrow. Remember to bend from your hips and knees when lifting it and keep your back straight.
  • Keep secateurs in a belt-holster or a large pocket to save repeatedly bending down.

8. Pruning

  • Use a ladder and move it regularly so you are within reach of the area you are working on.
  • Invest in pruners or loppers with long or telescopic handles to prevent over-reaching. Some also have a ratchet system which makes cutting easier and reduces strain on the back and shoulders.

9. Raking

This great video clip tells you how best to avoid back pain whilst raking. Key points are:

  • Keep your back straight, using hips and knees to bend rather than your back
  • Rake from in front of you and avoid twisting to the side.
  • Move your feet to keep yourself positioned close to your rake to avoid over-reaching.

10. After you’ve finished…

  • Have a good stretch. Slowly bring on your stretches to the point of tension not pain, then hold for at least 30 seconds.
  • If you are in pain after gardening, try using an ice pack on the area. Ice is usually better to bring down any inflammation immediately after an injury.
  • Sit back, rehydrate yourself and admire your handwork!
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 Ashtanga Yoga

shutterstock_181560956By now we're all aware that Yoga provides many benefits to the body from stretching the muscles, improving immunity, and removing toxins to the more obscure benefits of massaging the internal organs, easing mental stress and improving body stability.

There are many different forms of Yoga each offering something different, however, the underlying concepts are of relieving stress, removing impurities and co-ordinating the body and the breath.

In this regard Ashtanga Yoga ticks all the boxes. Whilst remaining fairly gentle, Ashtanga focusses on all aspects of movement and breathing to provide a workout that charges the cardiovascular system and heats the blood to remove toxins. This is a workout where you'll sweat and stretch and afterwards you'll know you've been exercising.

We now offer Ashtanga Yoga classes in Chatswood on Sunday and Monday each week. The classes are run by Ashtanga Yoga North Shore and are suitable for all ages and abilities. It's a great way to improve your physical condition, calm the mind and detox your body.

More information at Ashtanga Yoga North Shore or book at Reception on 9413 4674