Sarah Oliver Osteopathy, 020 8520 5268 (Walthamstow) 07708 130 319 (Fulham)

Weekend Reads: August. X-Ray Gifs, Bananas and Avocado Chocolate Mousse

It’s the last weekend of August so it’s time for my monthly links round up.  Enjoy!

Paracetamol  could be no better than placebo for back pain.


wrist xray

These Xray gifs are AMAZING.  I wish I’d had them when I was a student.

I’ve said before that carrying heavy luggage is a big cause of back pain, so I was very excited to see this life hack.   The easiest way to pack one night’s worth of clothes.

I made this avocado chocolate mousse and it was not only very easy but delicious!

10 interesting banana facts

I love this scarf; it is printed with a slice of human bone tissue.

Low vitamin D levels may increase your risk of dementia.

The Telegraph interviewed an osteopath this month.  I don’t agree with everything she says but it’s an interesting read nonetheless.



Maybe this seal needs some osteopathic  treatment after being jumped on by a penguin? (Via Cheezburger)


What have you been reading this month?



Healthy App Review: Moves, Pedometer and Exercise Tracker

There are so many health and fitness apps available that it is tricky to choose between them.  Every month I’ll b testing one app and giving you my honest opinion on it.

App Name: Moves

Platform: Android 4 and up (Google Play), iOS (App Store)

Cost: Free!

Size: 2.6m

Tested on: Google Nexus 5 running Android 4.4.4

What they say:

Moves automatically records any walking, cycling, and running you do. You can view the distance, duration, steps, and calories* burned for each activity. The app is always on, so there’s no need to start and stop it. Just keep your phone in your pocket or your bag.

Moves app screen shot

What I say:

Moves is basically a fancy pedometer.

I’ve been testing Moves for just under a week and it has been surprisingly useful.  I consider myself to be quite an active person but the app has revealed that actually I am quite lazy!  It has definitely encouraged me to plan more exercise in to my day, and I’ve enjoyed seeing my step count creep up.   It seems to be pretty accurate; other than missing the end of one run it looks to have recorded everything.  I’d like to know how it compares to other trackers and pedometers.


+ Automatically recognises your activity.

+ Always on so you can’t forget to record.

+ Label places so you can track usual routes easily.

+ Very easy to use – you don’t even need to sign up, no confusing menus or extensive options.  It just does what it says it’ll do.

+ Pretty to look at and easy to understand.  Displays your day as a timeline, with total steps and activity time totalled in a colourful circle at the top.

+ Displays your journeys on a map.  You can review them to work out new routes.

+ Doesn’t take up much space on your phone.  The app is currently using only 7.36 mb on my phone.

+ Easily share your activity on other apps.  Moves will prepare an image of your daily summary for you to share with your friends.


- Only understands walking, running and cycling (on Android) so no good for recording other forms of exercise.

- Always on so maybe a bit stalkerish!

- Might drain your battery, but I’ve not really noticed much of a difference.

- Bulkier than a wearable pedometer/activity tracker.

- I don’t usually walk around indoors with my phone in my pocket.  If you do, well done.  If not, you will miss out on some activity.


The bottom line: Recommended. I really like Moves and will be keeping it for the time being, but I’ll look at testing some alternatives.

Download it from Google Play or App Store.

Treatment for Shoulder Pain: New Research on NAT

New research has shown promising results for osteopathic treatment of frozen shoulder, a major cause of shoulder pain and stiffness.


Niel Asher Technique (NAT) is a form of manual therapy for shoulder pain.  It is based on trigger point and deep massage style techniques and was developed by osteopath Simeon Niel-Asher in 1997.

There are currently about 5,000 NAT practitioners world wide, one of which is me!

adhesive capsulitis causing shoulder pain

In a recent study, 154 frozen shoulder sufferers were treated by 4 independent  NAT therapists.  During the course of treatment the patients showed a significant improvement in shoulder movement (in flexion and abduction) and a significant reduction in pain levels.

On average the participants had 7 sessions of treatment over an 11 week period, demonstrating a much quicker recovery than in an average frozen shoulder sufferer.


Restore shoulder movement with NAT in Walthamstow

Photo Credit: Muffet via Compfight cc

Frozen Shoulder is a relatively common shoulder condition, affecting 3-5% of 40-70 year olds.  It is characterised by severe pain and stiffness in the shoulder.   Frozen shoulder is usually a self limiting condition, typically lasting for 18-30 months.

Various treatment options are available, including surgery, but to date few have been shown to be effective.



Want to know more?

Do you have frozen shoulder? Take the online symptom test.

Read the abstract of the study on the IJOM website.

Learn about NAT on the official website.

*Book an appointment with me for frozen shoulder treatment.  Call 020 8520 5268 (Walthamstow) or 07708 130 319 (Fulham).*

Stretch: Supine Spinal Twist

This is a very nice stretch for loosening the whole spine, but particularly the low back.  It is important to take this nice and slowly.  You may not feel a lot at first, but this is a powerful stretch and you could hurt yourself if you try and force this movement.

loosen your back with a spinal twist stretch

1. Lay on your back.

2. Bend both knees up and gently lower them down to your right.

3. Place your right hand on your knee and press down towards the floor.

4. Turn your head towards the left.

5. Stretch your left arm out to your left.

6. Rest in this position for 30 seconds.

7. Slowly turn your head and legs back to a neutral position.

8. Repeat in the opposite direction.

9. Perform 3 times, once a day.


Keep breathing normally while you stretch. Do not hold your breath.

Stretch gently and slowly. You should be able to feel a stretching sensation but it should not hurt.

If a stretch becomes painful, stop immediately and seek advice from your therapist.

Only perform stretches which have been prescribed or approved by a qualified individual such as your GP, physiotherapist or osteopath.  This information is provided for reference only.



Download a pdf of this stretch ▶


*If you suffer with back pain and would like professional osteopathic treatment, call me on 020 8520 5268 (Walthamstow) or 07708 130 319 (Fulham).*

How to Improve a Bad Back by Sitting on your Sitting Bones

Poor seated posture seems to be a major factor in cases of back pain.  Once you learn to sit correctly, strain to muscles and joints in your low back is reduced and you should start feeling better.


What does ‘sitting correctly’ entail?

It is easy to say you will sit properly but hard to do!  While there is a lot to consider when it comes to posture, I have an excellent starting point for you: Sit on your sitting bones.


Sit on your sitting bones and prevent a bad back

There are two bony points near your hips called your ischial tuberosities, but more commonly known as the sitting bones.  These are able to support your body weight while you are sitting.

 If you sit upright, with your weight going evenly through these two points, your low back should remain fairly well balanced and unstrained.

The mistake most of us make at some stage is to sit with more weight going through one side than the other, or to slouch back and rest our weight on the back of the pelvis.  This is not a good idea!

How do you find your sitting bones?

  • Sit on a firm, flat chair with both feet flat on the floor (or a foot rest if you are short)
  • Sit on your fingers.
  • You should feel a bony lump pressing down on to your hands.  That’s your sitting bones.
  • Lean a little over to one side and you’ll feel a large increase in pressure on those fingers.
  • Lean forwards and back, and notice how the pressure changes.  The ideally position is with your weight directly underneath your torso.

Practice finding this position whenever you are sitting down; not just at work but also on the train, in front of the tv, at dinner time etc.  With time and practice it will feel more natural and easier.

*If you suffer with back pain and would like professional osteopathic treatment, call me on 020 8520 5268 (Walthamstow) or 07708 130 319 (Fulham).*

Weekend Reads: July. Cycling, Holiday Stretches, Skeleton Steve and Iced Coconut Mochas

It is the last weekend of July making it time for Weekend Reads! Enjoy my favourite bits from this month on the internet.




How much does sitting negate your workout benefit?

I’ve just got a bike and found this beginner’s guide to cycling really helpful.

Speaking of which, did you know that Waltham Forest council offer free one to one cycle training for people who live, work or study in the borough?

If you’re off on holiday, try these stretches I shared on the Ashlins blog.

Would you try an iced coconut water mocha?


Skeleton Steve, Ilkley Osteopaths

Some of my colleagues in West Yorkshire joined in with the Tour de France in their own special way.

Handy: 6 things productive people do each day.

What have you enjoyed reading this month?