10 Aug 2016

August Blog-is lying on the sofa a sin?

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One of the most frequent pieces of advice Alan Nevies and his colleagues at northlondonosteopaths will give you is to exercise appropriately and keep moving as much as possible. This will usually be qualified and tailored to the patient’s specific needs and circumstances. It was most welcome to get the thumbs up for this advice from a most unlikely corner last week, in the form of Pope Francis from the Vatican, or more accurately from Poland where he was visiting. He warned a huge congregation there of the “harmful and insidious paralysis” that originates in his view “from confusing happiness with a sofa”. He could have been quoting from the writings of Dr Nathan Hasson, paediatric rheumatologist, who works closely with Alan Nevies. Dr Hasson believes he is seeing increasing numbers of children who suffer from hyper mobility syndrome because they are spending too much time on the couch (usually in front of a screen) and too little time running about in the garden. Humans were created to move and be active and staying seated in the same position for a long period of time (most often today sitting at work and /or in front of a screen) can have a detrimental effect on our muscles and other structures. However, when standing upright there is an even stress going through the intervertebral discs, which means less overall pressure on the discs. Additionally, certain important muscles actually become shorter from prolonged sitting which puts extra strain on the spinal joints and this in turn causes more pain.

So it seems that “are you sitting comfortably?” might not be the best way to begin a story. We all need to stand up and move around as much as possible and this good advice is shared by Alan Nevies and associates at northlondon osteopaths as well as the pope.