Tuesday, 10 February 2015

Guest Blog - Kathryn Priest from Arcadia Physiotherapy

Oooooh, new things all over this blog at the minute - Pattern of the Week (every week) and now an occasional guest blog post. This lady, Kathryn, popped in before Christmas after discovering us because she's just set up her shop down the road. Literally, about two minutes (eight or so shops) closer to town. It's Arcadia Physiotherapy and it looks amazing. She's a lovely friendly woman and she's put up with my disorganisation so I hope you enjoy reading her and if you need her services then give her a call - don't be scared.

Tell us about your business. What do you do? Where do you do it?

I’m a physiotherapist, and graduated from the University of Nottingham last summer. It was the hardest thing I’ve ever done, as I gave up all my job and security to do it, but it has been totally worth it, as I am now ‘living the dream’ running my own physio clinic! It’s just a few doors down from the Knit Nottingham shop, at 63B Mansfield Road. I do physiotherapy (finding the root of the problem and creating a goal-focussed rehab programme to fix it), acupuncture, taping, and sports and remedial massage. I can’t wait to qualify in Osteopathic techniques (i.e. cracking backs) this summer, and have a special interest in women’s health issues (post natal).

Why did you start?

I set up my own business rather than going into the NHS (as is advised, and expected, of new graduates) because I have a vision of how care should be – nurturing, not rushed, empathetic, timely – and from my existing experience there is simply not the opportunity to do that to the full in the NHS, however hard you try. I am trying my best to ensure I keep to those values in everything I do, and I think ultimately it will set me apart from my competitors.

How are you finding these 'tough economic times'?

Everything is still so new, having opened my doors in September 2014, so I don’t feel hugely affected by the economy, as my books have never yet been chokka block! I don’t want to build an empire, so think I’ll survive on fewer but better quality patients. Plus I think when people are ready in their heart to address long standing issues, they are ready to make the investment, especially if they find the right person to help them.

How long have you been knitting? What do you like to knit? What's the best thing you've made?

I’ve been knitting probably for about ten years now on and off. It tends to be a seasonal thing, with a flurry of activity to make hats for people at Christmas. However, I did knit a poncho in July once, my friends still rib me about it!

I prefer crocheting, as I seem to remember that better and it seems more discreet – I can do it anywhere without fear of spiking someone or needing more room. I was taught by a male friend one evening – we went to Wagamama’s for dinner and he showed me what he’d been making: a bobble hat for his upcoming snowboarding holiday. Everyone loves a bobble, and I just had to learn! I also learnt this winter to do wrist knitting and made an infinity scarf – here’s a photo of my handsome chap modelling it

What's the biggest issue for most people physically speaking? Back? Knees? Hips? Shoulders?

Hmm, I think backs are the biggest issue, in that once you’ve had back pain you are four times more likely to get it again, but I think shoulders have more potential to go wrong in a more complex way. They are fascinating structures, with layers of intertwining muscles, each with their own function and partner in crime. Did you know that the only place the whole shoulder structure is attached to the central skeleton is the collarbone? The rest is held in place by muscles. However, any weakness in any of these will cause overcompensation by others, leading to muscle fatigue, pain and dysfunction. Hunting down the real problem, not just the symptoms is often rather a head-scratch! But worth it to see the changes it can bring.

And what's your best tip for keeping that supple?

To keep the shoulder strong in all planes of movement. Our whole life is in front of us, computers, steering wheels, shopping bags, dinner. I’d encourage people to strengthen their backs and pulling muscles as much as their pushing ones – this would also have the added advantage of improving posture! Yoga, swimming and kettlebells are great for this.

What issues are most likely to affect crafters?

From personal experience and suffering, I’d say that crafters would suffer most from shortened muscles in their hands and upper back and neck ache from bending over. It’s so easy to slump in a chair, head bent over our craft, and then emerge every time a little more stooped than before! This adds up over years, I kid you not, until we are at risk of being the stereotypical hunched granny.

Can you give us some info on posture for crafting?

The best thing to do, especially if you are addicted and will be doing it for hours, is to ensure you are working in a place or seat where your back is properly supported. By this I mean mostly your lower back and pelvis – if your pelvis is in a good position it is much harder to slump! So sit where you normally would, then find the front corners of your hip bones with your fingers. Can you feel yourself sitting on your sitting bones? Or is your pelvis tilted backwards? Try to bring your hip bones so they are vertical to the seat – you’ll then find you are sitting directly on your sitting bones and there’s a natural curve in your lower back, which aligns your upper back better, and so on. Once you’ve found this position, stuff a small cushion into the small of your lower back to support it. If you are in a high backed chair you can also put some behind your upper back so you are sitting upright. You may find this seems rather a formal position, but as it ensures ‘stacking’ of your vertebrae correctly, it is relieving a lot of pressure on your back and neck. We weren’t meant to sit for 8 hours a day, so we should give our back muscles some TLC.

It’s also key to support your hands / arms, because if they are at waist height then the temptation will always be to bend forward to get closer. Rest your hands on a nice big cushion or thick blanket, and enjoy the coziness at the same time as saving your shoulders.

What excercises should we be doing to keep us in tip top condition for crafting? Any thoughts on sore fingers/wrists?
The best thing to do is keep opening up the front of our bodies, to counteract the hunch! Just as you might at a desk job, get up, move around as often as possible, remembering to look up and stretch your neck and shoulders too. Lean back over the back of your chair to arch your back and open up your chest and front, take some deep belly breaths. Twist gently from side to side, feel the stretch in your sides. Raise your arms up for maximum effect! 

Knitting itself is fantastic for dexterity and fine detail endurance, but fingers and hands can also get tired and tight. Like the shoulder, there are far more muscles than you’d expect in the hands, and they all play their part in crafting, so they all need some R&R after a few hours at the needles. If you can get someone to massage your hands that’s fantastic, being firm but gentle and easing out the knots and tight areas with some oil. You can also use a hot water bottle to soothe tired muscles, or stretch out your fingers by standing above a table pressing your open hand onto its flat surface and moving your forearms slowly forward and backwards, and side to side. This should give a nice stretch and open the hands again. Do it for a minute or so for best effect.

Where will we see more of Arcadia Physiotherapy?

I am getting into the habit of doing a blog, which you can read by clicking here. Last week I wrote a poem about a tennis ball, so it’s not all anatomy and exercise! I am currently looking for businesses where I can come and do a free seminar on posture and back pain, so if your workplace would benefit I’d be hugely grateful if you got in touch. I’d also love to come and do free hand massage at a knitting event so I hope to meet you at some point soon!


How lovely! Wasn't that interesting?!?! Especially about the shoulders. I am all about the shoulders since starting yoga - I didn't think they were that bad until I realised how good they could be! We'll keep in contact with Kathryn and you may see her pop up at some events - free hand massages anybody? OH YESSY!

In other news, if you fancy doing a blog post about anything (vaguely knitting/crochet/yarn related) then get in contact. It'd be amazing to have some other voices on here and I know you lot would really like to hear them. As an idea, I've asked somebody who's doing a histoy PhD to maybe talk a little about the Luddites and I'll be asking Vezza to talk about her yarn business. Anything you fancy nattering about? Get it touch in the usual ways.

Love Eleanor.

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