family watching TV - strictly come achingIt’s that time of year again, Strictly Come Dancing has kicked into action and we’re heading for the sofa! While that may be great entertainment value, it could be painful …

The launch of the Autumn TV shows attracts many of us to our sofas like moths to a light. For some of us, this means we will be enjoying the equivalent of 2 whole days of extra sofa time before the glitterball is finally lifted.

And that can result in pain! And, no, I don’t mean the pain of spraining something when trying out the dance moves. I mean back pain from sitting too long on the sofa!

I see a lot of patients in my London Osteopathy clinics who come to me with back pain. Poor posture is one of the prime causes of back pain and sitting incorrectly (or slouching) on the sofa can ruin an otherwise enjoyable night in front of the TV, especially if you are prone to back pain.

But you don’t have to give up your TV to avoid the pain, there are three simple things that you can do that could mean you can enjoy Strictly, pain free.

Firstly, sit up straight! Think about the shape that your spine is in as you are sitting and adjust your position. Keep your back straight and your head held high. This will put your spine into a “neutral” position that doesn’t strain it. You may find it helps to sit in a chair that gives you better support for your spine. Also, sit with your feet flat on the floor and the whole of your body facing forwards, from nose to toes.

Secondly, take a break! Your body is not designed to sit in one position for long periods. Give it a rest by standing up and walking around for a few minutes, at least once an hour. Maybe get yourself a glass of water?

Thirdly, exercise! No, you don’t need to do 30 push-ups. But stretching your muscles will help to counteract the effects of inactivity. A few gentle exercises will loosen your muscles and prepare them for the next few Strictly dances. But, a word of caution here, if you are in any doubt about what exercises might be best for you then please book an appointment to see me and I can advise you.

So try this and see if it helps you. And try to avoid being over enthusiastic when practicing the dance moves too!

There is increased research and media coverage that a sedentary lifestyle can lead to all kinds of health problems.

As an experienced London osteopath in W1 I treat many patients whose lifestyle is having an adverse affect on their health. I was therefore interested in an article that caught my eye recently. It highlights research undertaken by two different teams of anthropologists and the conclusions they have come to with regard to the affect that our increasingly sedentary lifestyle is having on the human skeleton.

There was a time when humans were hunter-gatherers. That time has long since passed and the average person in this day and age barely has to take any physical activity to feed themselves or their families. Instead of running around and hunting all day or walking miles to the nearest shelter we are spending more time sitting down, ordering takeaways and not getting about much.

The studies by the two teams come to the conclusion that as humans turned from from being hunter gatherers and instead developed a more sedentary work style to farm and feed themselves, the human skeleton has become less exposed to stress.  They conclude that these changes in activity, rather than diet, have led to a weaker skeleton and in turn to us being more prone to osteoporosis and breaking bones.

An even more sobering thought is that the researchers warn that with the deskbound nature of peoples’ work  will lead to their bones becoming even more brittle than ever before.

The researches are turning their attention to observing how rigorous exercising affects bone density by analyzing the bones of marathon runners and athletes.

If you are suffering pain or discomfort and you would like further information on how I may help you or to book an Osteopathy appointment at one of my osteopathy clinic in London W1 please feel free to send me a message or call me on 020 8815 0979. I also, have an osteopathy clinic in North London, in East Finchley which may be more convenient for you.


Poor posture affects our physical appearance and can make someone look older and heavier than they really are. However, over time poor posture can have a significant impact on our physical health affecting the spine, shoulders, hips and knees.

Unfortunately, as an experienced Osteopath in London I often treat patients whose problems can be related to their poor posture. Their symptoms include: back and joint pain, reduced flexibility and muscle disorders.

The good news is that you can improve your posture by undertaking some simple exercises.

Three common postural problems I see as an experienced London Osteopath are:

  1.  Head Forward
  2. Shoulders Rounded
  3. Shoulders Elevated

If you find that you are often in one of these positions then here are some exercises that you want to follow to correct your posture.

1.  Head Forward

To correct this posture you need to loosen the muscles on the back of your neck. Simply slowly move your head forward and tuck your chin into your chest and hold for 5 seconds. Repeat 10 times a day.

2.  Shoulders Rounded

This is otherwise known as slouching.  To correct this you need to strength your trapezius which is the large muscle across your shoulders and back. Lie face down on the floor with your arms at a 90 degree angle in a high five position. Keeping your arms in this position, raise them from the floor by pulling your shoulders back and squeezing your shoulder blades together. Hold this position for 5 seconds and then lower your arms. Repeat 10 times and do a set 3 times a day.

3. Shoulders Elevated

This posture is very common and to correct it you need to strengthen the muscle under your chest. To do this sit upright in a chair. Place your palms facing down next to your hips and keep your arms locked straight so as not to move them. Press down on your palms until your bottom is raised off the chair and hold for 5 seconds. Repeat 10 times and do a set 3 times a day.

If you are suffering pain or discomfort and you would like further information on how I as an experienced London Osteopath may help you or to book an Osteopathy appointment at one of my osteopathy clinics in London please feel free to send me a message or call me on 020 8815 0979.

Note: if you haven’t exercised for some time and you have health concerns, you may want to talk to your doctor before starting a new exercise routine. Id you experience any pain or discomfort during exercise then stop and seek medical advice.