therapy articles

We hope that the following articles will be of interest. Some of the authors have no connection with BoCo.

Women’s Health Physiotherapy & Pregnancy

By Laura Barrett

Your body undergoes many changes during pregnancy and continues to change post-natally. It is important to address any issues that occur at this time so as to prevent problems later in life
Pelvic girdle pain (PGP) is a common complaint during or after pregnancy affecting up to one in four pregnant women. Symptoms of PGP include pain at the front and/or the back of the pelvis. Pain is most commonly felt whilst walking, climbing stairs and turning over in bed. The pain can affect many daily activities, impacting greatly on your lifestyle. PGP can occur at any stage of your pregnancy, coming on gradually or suddenly.
PGP is caused by asymmetry of the pelvic joints. Usually in PGP the pelvic joints, which should work together in a ring system, are not working normally. Often one joint becomes stiff causing strain and irritation in the other joints. Traditionally, it was thought that all PGP was caused by increasing hormone levels and changing posture during the pregnancy. However, this is not the case. Research has shown no link with hormone levels and the cause of pain. Hormones affect, but do not cause PGP, and therefore manual treatment will help in the vast majority of cases. The asymmetry that is causing the PGP is a mechanical problem therefore it can be treated with manual therapy. Prompt treatment can prevent the condition from worsening and leads to a shorter overall recovery time. If PGP is treated during your pregnancy, the aim is to reduce your pain, and improve your function and mobility.
After the birth of your baby, if your pain is going to resolve without treatment, it will usually do so within a week or two of the birth. This happens in a small number of women. If your pain does not resolve, you should seek treatment immediately.
Treatment may include:
• Joint mobilisations
• Muscle energy techniques
• Soft tissue release
• Stretches
• Strengthening exercises
• Clinical Pilates
• Birthing position advice
• Postural advice
• Use of sacroiliac belt
• Advice on exercise and movement modification

Urinary incontinence in pregnancy should not be ignored as research suggests that if you develop stress urinary incontinence during your pregnancy, or within 6 weeks following the birth of your baby, you are more likely to suffer from incontinence 5 years later. The mounting pressure of the uterus on your bladder gives you less room to store urine at a time when your pelvic floor muscle may be being stretched by the weight of your bay. Childbirth can also lead to pelvic floor trauma. You may notice that you leak urine when you sneeze or find it harder to hold your urine when you need to ‘go’. An assessment with a Women’s Health Physiotherapist is often all you need to prevent this. Making sure that you are doing the right pelvic floor exercises. Activating the correct muscles for a suitable length of time is important in maintaining a strong pelvic floor through your pregnancy and beyond. Pilates based pelvic stability exercises are invaluable through pregnancy to strengthen the supporting muscles of the pelvis and ease the pressure on the pelvic floor.
A Women’s Health Physiotherapist can also help with healing of separated abdominal muscles (Diastasis Recti). Diastasis Recti often occurs in the third trimester of pregnancy when the abdominal muscles are at their greatest stretch. The linea alba normally joins the left and right hand abdominal muscles. When the linea alba is overstretched a separation can occur between the left and right sides. Diastasis recti may lead to back pain, make it harder for you to regain your tummy tone and return to your normal exercise routine. It is important to have an assessment to determine if your muscles are separated.

Laura Barrett practices at BoCo. You can contact her on or 07572 415009.

Incontinence & Physiotherapy

By Laura Barrett

Urinary incontinence is the unintentional passing of urine. It is a very common problem, especially in women. It can occur at any age but it is more likely to develop as you get older. It is thought to affect millions of people worldwide.
There are various types of urinary incontinence, but the two main types are stress incontinence and urge incontinence.
Stress incontinence occurs when there is a sudden extra pressure on the bladder and the pelvic floor muscles are too weak to prevent urination. Urine will tend to leak most when you cough, laugh, or when you exercise. Weakness of the pelvic floor muscles can result from childbirth and may be exacerbated by other factors such as age, constipation, having a chronic cough and being overweight.
Urge incontinence is when there is an urgent desire to pass urine and it is thought to occur as a result of incorrect signals being sent between the brain and the bladder.
Many people do not tell their doctor about their incontinence, due to embarrassment. Some people wrongly think that incontinence is a normal part of ageing or that it cannot be treated. This is unfortunate, as many cases can be successfully treated or significantly improved.
A specialised assessment by our Women’s Health physiotherapist , Laura Barrett, will include a discussion on your toileting habits, your daily intake of fluids, previous pregnancies and childbirth and past medical history. Assessment may also include, with your consent, a vaginal examination to determine the strength and function of your pelvic floor muscles. Treatment of incontinence includes:
• Personalised Pelvic floor exercise programme
• Bladder retraining
• Education and advice

If you are having difficulty with performing pelvic floor exercises, the physiotherapist may utilise electrical stimulation, muscle feedback (biofeedback) and specialised weights to assist in activating the pelvic floor muscles.

Laura Barrett practices at BoCo. You can contact her on or 07572 415009

A natural approach to health and well being

By Olivia Roff

I have struggled with my health for the past 3-4 years.  Yoga and meditation have really helped, along with various complementary therapies.  I was drawn to a more natural approach to health as I felt it was more holistic than conventional treatments/medication.  I have done a lot of reading and research into natural health and I am now very passionate about it.  A couple of years ago I swapped to natural and organic skin care products, as I had read about some of the nasty ingredients used in many skin care products on the market.
When I became pregnant I knew I wanted to use only natural products on my baby.  About 3 weeks after my son was born he developed eczema on his face and head.  I was convinced it was solely due to my diet as he was breastfed.  I cut out the usual suspects dairy, gluten, eggs etc and there was a slight improvement.  I tried lots of different natural creams and oils but none of them seemed to really help.  I was then recommended a few products by Neal's Yard Remedies; Mother's balm, Baby Balm and Create hair and body wash.  I tried the Mother's Balm first as I had been given some during my pregnancy.  Within a couple of days there was a considerable improvement to his skin.
I couldn't quite believe it as I was sceptical that a product could make such a difference (still convinced it had to be down to what I was eating).  Once we had finished the Mother's balm I ordered the Baby Balm which is slightly lighter in consistency and we had the same result.  Initially I used the balms 3 to 4 times a day but now we use it morning and night.  So many people have commented on how much better his skin is and when I explain it's because of the balm, friends have been amazed.

Since then I have tried some of the skin care products on my face and I have had incredible results.  I found after having my little boy, my skin had gone from oily/combination to dry.  I also have some acne scarring.  It now feels wonderful and my scars have faded.

A few weeks ago I joined Neal's Yard Remedies Organic as an independent consultant.  I want to share my experience with others and help them improve their skin and overall health. 

If you would like to chat with me about my experience with the NYR products, find out more about the products,  are interested in natural health or you already use the products and would like to take advantage of my current discounts, then please do contact me.

Email -
NYR website-

Facebook - Livs Naturally - Olivia Roff NYR Organic Independent Consultant


































Give Hay Fever the Heave Ho

By Nuala Price

Summer is nearly upon us and along with sunshine (hopefully), long days and bbqs many of us will suffer from runny noses, sore throats and sneezing as pollen season gets into full swing. The UK has one of the highest rates of Hay fever sufferers with symptoms affecting up to 12 million people (40%) of the population.

What is Hay fever?

Hay fever or Seasonal Allergic Rhinitis is due to an over activity of the immune system to certain allergens. Pollen particles irritate the lining of eyes, nose and throat triggering an allergic reaction. The immune system overreacts; wrongly thinking grass and tree pollen are threatening toxins and responds as if it was attacking a virus, releasing histamine to protect the body. Histamine further irritates the nose and throat lining and the eyes leading to inflammation and swelling and in turn the recognisable symptoms of Hay fever appear - cough, wheezing and shortness of breath, runny nose, sneezing, nasal itching and blockage, eye symptoms (red eyes, itching, tearing). Other less obvious symptoms include tiredness, fever, pressure sensation in the head and itchiness. If left untreated Hay fever can affect quality of life, work, sleep and in turn general well being.

How can Acupuncture help?

Acupuncture is a holistic medicine that looks at pain and illness as a sign that the body is out of balance. We believe illness and pain occur when one's Qi or vital energy cannot flow freely. Therefore the primary aim of treatment is to restore the free flow of Qi and in turn restore the body's equilibrium bringing balance to body, mind and spirit.

In relation to Hay fever, acupuncture has been shown to relieve symptoms by
• reducing inflammation
• aiding the dispersal of swelling in the body
• enhancing natural killer cells activities
• regulating levels of proteins that are capable of producing allergic reactions
• stimulating nerves located in muscles and other tissues leading to the release of endorphins changing the processes of pain in the brain.

Acupuncture treatment also has the added benefit of having no side effects compared to conventional treatments.

If you would like more information about Acupuncture and Hay fever or how Acupuncture can help you please call Nuala on 07808938223 or visit her website
where you will find more details of the many conditions Acupuncture can help with.

Soothe your stomach with acupuncture -
Acupuncture and Irritable Bowel Syndrome

By Nuala Price

Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) affects 10-20% of the UK population at any one time, causing embarrassment and discomfort to sufferers. Up to 12 million people in the UK are affected by IBS at some time in their lives. More women seek help, but it is just as common in both sexes and commonly starts between 15-40 years old. Acupuncture* has been found to be very effective in relieving the symptoms of IBS.

IBS is a long-term and often debilitating condition that causes re-occurring pain or discomfort in the abdomen. Bloating, swelling, bouts of diarrhoea and/or constipation and feeling sick are just some of the symptoms which can cause misery for sufferers. The exact cause of IBS is unknown; so many sufferers remain undiagnosed or struggle to manage their symptoms.

Traditional acupuncture is a branch of Chinese medicine that recognises the importance of healthy bowels for overall physical and emotional health. Acupuncture treatments for IBS have been researched, refined and developed in China for thousands of years and understands how emotional stress can combine with physical factors to stagnate the body’s vital energy, known as Qi, and result in the symptoms of IBS.

Acupuncture moves stagnation and regulates the flow of Qi in order to restore normal bowel function so that your body can properly digest food and eliminate waste products. By alleviating energy blockages in the body, acupuncture relieves IBS symptoms by reducing pain, regulating muscular movement and strengthening of the digestive tract, reducing anxiety and depression as well as decreasing stress. Acupuncturists look at the body as a whole and also provide dietary advice to ensure patients are well nourished and improve digestion.

Nuala Price, acupuncturist and British Acupuncture Council member says; “I’ve seen many patients who have struggled to get a diagnosis for IBS and so look to Traditional Chinese Medicine to help. Many of them who have suffered with IBS for years have found acupuncture to be a great relief.

Acupuncture can relieve stress, one of the main causes of IBS as well as reduce pain, bloating and nausea. By treating the underlying cause of the problem rather than just the symptoms, acupuncture can provide longer term relief for sufferers”.

Nuala Price practices at BoCo on a Wednesday and Saturday. You can contact her on 07808 938223 or by email Her website is

* Acupuncture:
Acupuncture is based on Chinese medicine principles that have been developed, researched and refined for over 2,500 years. Acupuncture is holistic, not focused on isolated symptoms. It regards pain and illness, whether physical or mental, to be a sign the whole body is out of balance. Western or medical acupuncture is a more recent development practised predominantly by doctors and physiotherapists, who use acupuncture techniques within their existing scope of practice on the basis of a western medical diagnosis


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