Brighton Marathon Training Advice

Antony, the Sundial physio here in Brighton recently attended a pre-marathon meeting to give advice to charity runners who are giving their sweat and blood to race the next Brighton Marathon in April 2011. They have kindly given their time to run for the The Rockinghorse Appeal. A talk was given by personal trainers, a nutritionist and Antony from a physiotherapy perspective. They offered advice on the top tips to complete this gruelling but rewarding challenge without injury. Continue reading “Brighton Marathon Training Advice”

Tips to prevent back and shoulder pains in photographers

Photographers carrying lots of gear get neck and shoulder painsBack pain, neck pain, shoulder and arm pain are common in photographers. Unlike many other pursuits photography pains are not confined to those of us who dabble occasionally with their SLR and who are therefore ‘unfit’ with the crouching postures, running for shots or even just the transporting of the camera. Continue reading “Tips to prevent back and shoulder pains in photographers”

Top tips to avoid back pain when moving house

Everyone knows that moving house is listed as one of the top 3 most stressful events of anyone’s life, following closely behind  bereavement and marriage.   Having just moved house and recently said “I do” within a month of each other myself I can certainly vouch for that! But taking action to minimise the physical stresses will ensure that the transition into your new house is as smooth as possible and leaves you with only boxes to unpack not a need for painkillers and  avoidable chiropractic appointments. Continue reading “Top tips to avoid back pain when moving house”

Massage may improve immunity too

Massage therapy may help fight infections. Until recently, little scientific investigation has been conducted to examine the belief that massage therapy can effect the immune system of healthy people. If there are any links between massage therapy and improved immune function, the mechanisms by which they operate are not known. One study has evaluated the effects of massage therapy on immune functions of two healthy women. Continue reading “Massage may improve immunity too”

10 Top Tips to Prevent Back Pain on Holiday

Watch your back

At this time of year we start to see several people who have injured themselves on holiday. It is not the sort of holidays that you might expect either. Rather than activity holidays like biking, kayaking, tennis and walking trips it is the inactivity holidays that are worst culprit. As stress builds leading up to the departure date, aches and pains start to recur before people even get to their destination. Continue reading “10 Top Tips to Prevent Back Pain on Holiday”

Sundial supports Brighton Marathon

Antony, our physio, has been busy following on from the Brighton Marathon. He has seen lots of runners who have not recovered as well as they had hoped or who have pulled muscles or aggravated knee and foot problems on the gruelling 26.2 miles course. Our state of the art laser is proving a real bonus in treating these injuries and is the only one in Brighton.

Sundial also supported the Rocking Horse Appeal runners in the marathon. The runners raised over £200,000. Our very own massage therapist, Yvette Knapman, was on hand at the end of the run to knead tired muscles and soothe away at least some of the aches and pains. We also provided the runners with pre-run training tips, check-ups and a goody bag full of useful things like an ice pack for emergency first aid.

Our other massage therapist Jewel O’Connell actually ran the marathon. She said “I raised £630 for the Rockinghorse Appeal, a local Sussex Children’s Charity.  I ran the course in 4hours 24mins, which I was really pleased with.  The atmosphere on the day was amazing and the crowds gave everyone a wonderful support.  I can’t wait for the next one.”

She must be mad!

X-rays reduce cancer risk says latest research

Arthritis x-ray explainedUsing x-rays to see inside the body has been around since 1895 and chiropractors were amongst the first to use this wonderful new technology. The first x-ray machine to be installed in a chiropractic college was in 1910 in Davenport, Iowa. Since then x-ray use fallen in and out of favour in both medical and chiropractic circles. Everyone assumes that all x-rays pose a risk to health but latest research puts this to the test.

Recently NICE recommended against the routine use of x-rays for simple low back pain. As far back as 1976 studies(1) showed that ordinary x-ray films don’t show the cause of the pain. Further arguments showed that in most cases and doesn’t improve care or the clinical outcome.  Whilst that may be true for medicine where the first treatment is medication and then, after a while, physiotherapy exercises, chiropractors use x-rays differently.

The 1976 study was limited to the 18-50 age group so the same conclusion cannot be drawn for older back sufferers. Chiropractors take films standing up which shows such things as leg length differences far more accurately than measuring the legs or eyeballing differences at the feet or ankles. Hospitals take back x-rays lying down which show disease but mask postural changes like spinal curvature (scoliosis)  and disc compression with instability.

Chiropractors main form of treatment is manipulation or adjustment of the spine. Whilst this is a safe procedure in most people, if you have a hidden spinal birth defect, x-ray can show if it safe to adjust. Chiropractors feel for individual spinal bone movement and it is the loss of this movement which is thought to cause many forms of back pain. If there is a spinal defect where 2 vertebra have not  grown properly and have fused, which is not uncommon, then that segment will move abnormaly. Without an x-ray a chiropractor might conclude that this was 2 bones locked together causing the pain and start treatment to unlock them. In a review of 847 x-rays form new borns to 85 year olds, 68 % had observable anomalies (2).  These ranged from common wear-and-tear arthritis to tumours and fractures. It is good to know so that the right treatment can be applied.

Are X-rays Safe?

We are exposed to x-rays every day, about 2.4 mSv a year. In Cornwall the rock emits more radiation so it is bit higher here ( no Cornish jokes please). When we fly the exposure is higher still. It has been assumed that any exposure is harmful. This has not been based on research but an assumption that the effects are linear down to zero. This theory means that even small doses have a small adverse effect.

But is this true. In 2008 Rodgers and Holmes (3) went to Chernobyl to find out. Astonishingly they found that at small doses of up to 15 mSv, x-rays were actually beneficial! Up to this level people had lower levels of cancer than a normal un-exposed population. So x-rays are good for you, within reason. A set of 2 low back x-rays is about 1 mSv (4) and the maximum safe dose is 20 mSv a year (5).

The British Chiropractic Association insists on a strict code of practice to ensure even higher safety standards. Regular site inspections and equipment maintenance is carried out to make the best use of a valuable resource in the chiropractors diagnostic options.


1. Nachemson, A. L. (1976). The lumbar spine an orthopaedic challenge. Spine,1, 59-71.

2. Beck, R. W., Holt, K. R., Fox, M. A., &  Hurtgen-Grace, K. L. (2004). Radiographic anomalies that may alter chiropractic intervention strategies found in a New Zealand population. Journal Manipulative Physiological Therapeutics, 27, 554-9.

3. Rodgers, B. E., &  Holmes, K. M. (2008). Radio-adaptive response to environmental exposures at Chernobyl. Dose Response, 6, 209-21.

4. Wall, B. F., &  Hart, D. (1997). Revised radiation doses for typical X-ray examinations. Report on a recent review of doses to patients from medical X-ray examinations in the UK by NRPB. National Radiological Protection Board. Br J Radiol, 70, 437-9.

5. World Nuclear Association (2009). Radiation and Nuclear Energy. Dec 2009 from

Four Secrets to Relieve Arthritis – Without the Use of Drugs

Arthritis Care PackageArthritis is a joint disorder. The joints are inflamed which can cause significant pain and can interfere with an individual’s regular daily routine. A lot of people suffering from arthritis depend on medications to relieve the pain but depending on drugs is not a very healthy option. So we’ll be sharing four simple secrets to relieve pain caused by arthritis without the use of drugs.

Secret 1: Hypnotherapy. Controlling your mind about how you perceive the pain definitely eases the pain or even stops your brain from recognising that you are in pain. Hypnotherapy doesn’t let you lose control over your mind, it’s the complete opposite. You are gaining control over your own mind to stop the brain from perceiving the pain you feel.

Secret 2: Exercise. Just because you have arthritis doesn’t mean you shouldn’t exercise. There are exercises that can help you if you have arthritis such as:

  • Walking. Walking maintains joint flexibility and builds the strength of joints which is good for arthritis because it is mainly caused by an inflammation of the joints.
  • Tai Chi. A martial art exercise that originated from China that includes flowing fluid like circular movement of the arms and legs that allows you to relax and improves your range of motion.
  • Yoga. This relaxing activity provides relief to stiff muscles and relieves sore joints through the use of deep breathing techniques, controlled movements, stretches and pressures.
  • Exercise in warm water. This eases stiff joints and eases muscles that are sore. Water allows the body to move in full motion without any pressure or difficulty.
  • Our physiotherapist can advise on specific exercises and put a tailored programme together. Click here for more information.

Secret 3: Lose the extra weight. Keeping your weight within normal ranges greatly lessens the pressure on your load bearing joints. If you know your weight has gone a bit overboard then now would be a good time to go on a healthy diet.

Secret 4: Watch what you eat. Some foods will affect the level of pain you feel and the level of inflammation in your joints. Eat a diet that consists of raw nuts and seeds, vegetables and fruits. Follow this regimen for 30 days and observe if the pain is caused by something you eat or is greatly lessened because of your present diet. Another healthy option is to snack on raw nuts and fruit smoothies. Foods that can cause inflammation of the joints are caffeine, sugar, salt, fast food, and processed food which you should avoid.

Now that you have the secrets to relieve pain caused by arthritis, you are on the way to easy and healthy recovery without the use of medications. To sum up the secrets, simply change your diet, lose the extra weight, exercise and control your own mind. This takes dedication but is worth it if you really want to get rid of the arthritis pain that has been bugging you.

Physiotherapy Exercises You Can Do at Home

Physiotherapy exercises from Brighton Physiotherapist, Sundial ClinicsPhysiotherapy is a therapy that makes use of physical techniques to relieve pain and increase mobility. Physiotherapists will often use exercise as a treatment. So here are a few easy physiotherapy exercises for your back, neck and feet that you can do at home to help yourself.

Tips to get the most out of these exercises.

  • Repeat each exercise at least 5 times and increase this number over time.
  • Remember quality of the movement is better than quantity, so, stay focused on the area of the body you are exercising.
  • Slow, smooth movements are best.

Physio exercises to do at home for back pain and neck pain

Physio exercises to do at home for Shoulder Impingement

More physiotherapy exercises to do at home

Back exercises. Many people go to physiotherapists with back pain. Here are two exercises that help to relieve pain and reduce stiffness in the back:

  • 1. Lie on your back with both of your legs straight. In this position, bring your left knee up close to your chest. Hold this position for 10 seconds. Return your leg to the straight position. Repeat with the right leg.
  • 2. Stand up with your arms on your side. Bend to the left side while slowly sliding your left hand down your left leg. Come back up slowly and relax. Repeat with the right side of your body.

Neck exercises. These are great exercises if your neck is strained from staring at a computer screen all day long. Do these exercises sitting up straight in your chair and do not slouch!.

  • 1. Keep your eyes centred on one object directly in front of you, now slowly move your head back. You will now be looking at the roof. Keep your whole body still. Hold this position for 5 seconds and slowly return your head to the start position.
  • 2. Keep your eyes centred on one object directly in front of you, now slowly move your head down. You will now be looking at the floor. Keep your whole body still. Hold this position for 5 seconds and slowly return your head to the start position.
  • 3. Keep your eyes centred on one object directly in front of you, turn your head to the left, your vision should be in line with your left shoulder. Turn your head as far as you can and hold the position for 5 seconds. Slowly relax as you return your head to the start position.

Foot exercises. Do the following exercises barefoot:

  • 1. First write digits 1 to 10 using your toes raised up in the air.
  • 2. Sit on a chair, raise your toes and curl them
  • 3. Pick up a small piece of cloth off the floor using your toes.
  • 4. Still in a sitting position, point your toes and circle your ankles in a slow counter and clockwise motion.
  • 5. Stand up from the sitting position and go on tip toe for 5 seconds.

You can even do these exercises at work, so there is no excuse! You’ll be happy with the results. For more information visit our physio page by clicking here.

If you get significant pain on doing these then stop and seek our advice.

Nutritional Therapy Right at Home

Nutritionist BrightonFood is definitely something we cannot live without. Everyone depends on it for survival. The food we eat should contain all the nutrients our bodies need to perform our daily routines, jobs and activities but for most of us today the food we eat contains fewer nutrients than in years gone by and in fact is increasingly loaded with things we should avoid like sugar, salt, additives, pesticides and herbicides.

However, did you know that even food can be used as an approach to heal or relieve ailments? Yes you read that right. Even the chocolate bar you may be munching on right now may be relieving your stress. How is that possible? Well, chocolate has over 200 chemicals that increase the levels of endorphins in the body. Endorphins are the natural pain killers of the body. Not only that, chocolate contains phenylalanine which is a known substance that makes you feel happy or gives you that giddy feeling when you’re in love. Food has a great impact on health, energy, mood and even appearance. The saying: “You are what you eat” definitely applies to nutritional therapy.

Food has a lot of benefits which is why there are books about nutritional therapy available in any book store. The good news is that nutritional therapy can be easily done at home and you don’t have to spend much.

So what exactly is nutritional therapy? Nutritional therapy is the use of nutrition to promote optimum health in an individual to combat diseases or ailments. Now there is no one diet that is perfect for everyone. So, for best results, ask a nutritional therapist to develop a nutritious diet specifically for you.

However, there are things you can do right now to start nutritional therapy at home. Simply follow the guide lines I’ve mentioned below and you are on the right road to a healthy lifestyle and diet.

  • Limit the amount of packaged and processed foods you have in your cupboards. Always read the labels and ingredients of the food you buy as these foods often contain heaps of sugar, salt, hydrogenated fats and preservatives that do us no good at all.
  • Eat more fresh fruit and vegetables – aim for 5 portions a day. Eating salads is a great way to help you on your way to this but be sure to limit the amount of dressing you use!
  • Stick to water as your drink of choice. Even better make it filtered water and use it for cooking too.
  • Limit the biscuits and cakes that you have close by and may get tempted by during the day. This will help cut down on excess sugar and carbohydrates that we take in.
  • Salt may be an important ingredient to your special dish but don’t keep adding salt when you think the taste isn’t quite enough. Salt is a major factor that causes high blood pressure so lay off the salt.

These are just simple tips to follow on nutritional therapy right at home. Start the right choices, starting with the food you eat today. Live healthy and happy!