Monday, 30 January 2017

Pelvic Floor Health at Progress, Cambridge

For some people dancing, laughing, coughing and sneezing can all lead to the embarrassment of accidentally leaking urine, but there’s no need to let a pelvic floor problem ruin this festive period.

•       Pelvic floor disorders are known to affect 1 in 3 women and 1 in 10 men in the UK
•       It is currently estimated that there are 3-6 million people in the UK suffering with some form of incontinence

Kathryn Levy is a Women's Health and Postnatal Specialist Physiotherapist at Progress. Kathryn believes people shouldn’t ignore such symptoms as:
•       accidentally leaking urine when you exercise, laugh, cough or sneeze
•       needing to get to the toilet in a hurry or not making it there in time
•       constantly needing to go to the  toilet
•       finding it difficult to empty your bladder or bowel
•       accidentally losing control of your bladder or bowel
•       accidentally passing wind

“These can all be indications of a pelvic floor problem, but there are treatment options available that do not necessarily involve surgery. So do not ignore your symptoms, seek professional advice and be proactive about your pelvic health.”

What exactly is your pelvic floor?
“The pelvic floor is a sling of muscles between your tailbone and pubic bones that help support your pelvic organs, namely your bladder, bowel and uterus. They also help play a role in controlling bladder and bowel continence, so if they sustain trauma, become overstretched and weakened, or overactive and tight, you can develop problems such as stress urinary incontinence or pelvic organ prolapse.”

Who can have problems?
Kathryn explains:
 “It’s not just women who experience pelvic floor problems after childbirth or after menopause.  Both men and women can experience problems for a variety of reasons – your general health, trauma to pelvis or pelvic floor, repetitive heavy lifting at work or in the gym, prolonged periods of standing (nursing or restaurant work), ongoing constipation and/or straining to empty the bowels; being overweight or obese, a chronic cough and ageing. Even young elite athletes (both men and women) who engage in regular high impact activities such as running or heavy weight lifting are at risk for developing problems due to the excessive downward pressure on their pelvic floor muscles.”

Do not ignore your symptoms
“Do not ignore your symptoms. First and foremost, it is important to rule out any medical condition that may be contributing to your symptoms. Depending on the cause of the problem, there are a number of medical and healthcare professionals who can help including: specialised physiotherapists with experience in pelvic floor dysfunction, urogynaecologists, urologists and colorectal specialists to name a few. Discuss your symptoms with your GP or Consultant who can refer you to the appropriate specialist.”

Significant improvements are possible by undertaking a tailored exercise program for your pelvic floor muscles and as well as incorporating bladder and bowel retraining, nutritional counselling, stress management and improving general fitness.

Start now with exercise
Most people do not know how to perform a pelvic floor muscle contraction properly. First you need to find the right muscles.

Lie on your back with your knees bent and feet hip width apart. Inhale to prepare. Exhale to lift your pelvic floor first by closing around your back passage like you are holding back wind, and then towards the front like you are holding back water. Try and hold that lift for 10 seconds. Relax completely and then repeat 10 times. Make sure you do not clench your buttocks or thighs and do not hold your breath.

You can progress this exercise to sitting or standing.

Friday, 11 November 2016

From laser beams to Unicorns and something about a £50 note!

Laser Beams an Unicorns are not the first things that would come to mind when you think about physiotherapy. Our competition winner Lauren Thomas has just had her initial assessment with our Specialist Physiotherapist Lauren Bradshaw at Progress.

The initial assessment included biomechanical analysis with a specific focus on running. This included movement screening and strength endurance of major muscle groups required to run efficiently.

You can see how Lauren got on with her plank and her side planks, which included the good side and the wonky!
We speak to Lauren about how she feels about being our athlete and a little bit of her running history here.

If you are starting your training plan and want some expert advice from Lauren or any of the team at Progress call 01223 200580 to arrange an appointment.


Friday, 21 October 2016

“When is a niggle not a niggle?”

Cris Kellet, Physiotherapy Manager at Progress, Cambridge looks at a frequently asked question,

When is a niggle not a niggle and should I just ignore it and carry on or should I get it looked at by a specialist physio?

We need to find the middle ground between being hyper-attentive to every nuance of our body or ignoring it completely and just pushing on.  As with many things in life it’s a continuum.

Here are some practical points that would indicate when you need to seek help:
1. Is the pain > 3/10? (on a scale 0-10, with 10 being the worst pain possible)

2. Has your pain occurred more than 3 times?
3. Does your pain last more than 4 hours or is it present the next day on weight/load-bearing?
4. Does your pain make the affected area feel weak?

If you answer YES to any of these questions then you should seek an assessment one of our team at Progress who will be able to identify the problem and either treat it or plan further management.  If you answer YES to more than 1 question you should do this soon.

Early prevention or intervention can save you a lot of lost training/competition time and ensure you enjoy your activities and perform at your best.

To book an assessment with one of the team please contact us on 01223 200580

Thursday, 20 October 2016

At the heart of CUCBC’s road to the 2017 Boat Race

Cambridge University Boat Club gathered at Progress for hi-tech Cardio Screening

Cambridge University Boat Club (CUBC) undergo heart screening with an ECG and Echocardiogram at Progress, The Cambridge Centre for Health and Performance.

Dr Leonard Shapiro, Consultant Cardiologist at Spire Cambridge Lea Hospital, who examined the CUBC team for cardiovascular conditions, said: “We are proud to be part of Cambridge University Boat Club’s journey to the Boat Race 2017 and look forward to beating Oxford on the Thames”

He continues “ECG and Echocardiograms are not just for elite athletes as they can be very useful to everybody offering diagnostic information to help  show any damage to the heart muscle”

Helping to ensure the athletes representing Cambridge are fit to handle the rigors of rowing for such a prestigious team, these advanced tests can assist in identifying undetected cardiovascular conditions, which are sometimes found in the healthiest of sportspeople. 

Leading the health programme is CUBC Team Medical Officer and member of the British Rowing Medical Panel, Dr Simon Owens. “The BNY Mellon Boat Race is a high profile event that pushes athletes to the limit of their endurance and cardiovascular screening is an important issue. We have worked together to develop this wonderful programme and we are very grateful to Dr Shapiro for his great expertise and to Progress for their excellent facilities in helping us to look after out athletes”

Following the team screening, Dr Shapiro reported that the strong hearted men were all fit for the challenges ahead. And for those keeping count… Cambridge currently lead Oxford with 82 to 79 wins.

For more information on our Cardiology services that are available at Spire Cambridge Lea Hospital click here.

Monday, 4 July 2016

Wimbledon 2016 - Progress physiotherapist looks at common tennis elbow and other tips

It’s Wimbledon again and we naturally get inspired to get out there and start smashing winners!  If we don’t do this on a regular basis though, our over-enthusiasm could just lead to muscle and joint injuries.

The most common of these is ‘Tennis Elbow’, which as some of you might have discovered does not necessarily involve tennis! This is a pain on the outside of the elbow and is usually associated with overuse, resulting in a painful tendon. Other injuries may involve the shoulder, knee and ankle.
How do we avoid these and enjoy our court time?

The most effective way to do this to do a warm-up that involves the movements that you are going to be performing when you play; avoid deep, sustained stretching as there is now evidence suggesting that not only does this not reduce the risk of injury, but it may also reduce your chance of playing well.

The warm-up should start with light jogging followed by brisker sprints. Shoulder movements overhead, across the chest and ‘windmills’ will help prepare your shoulders. You’re now ready to hit some ground strokes and start moving around the court. Finally, practice your serve with increasing speed and power as you warm-up.

Ok, you’re ready to go. Don’t forget to stay hydrated through your match, not only will you feel fresher, you will reduce your risk of injury and your focus and concentration will last longer.
Enjoy your game!

If you are looking to get back on the court sooner, please contact us on 01223 200580 or email

Thursday, 7 April 2016

Let us help you get back on course

Let us help you get back on course

Here at Progress we have noticed that the temperatures outside are rising and the sun is out making it an ideal time for a round of golf with good friends.

It’s frustrating when you want to get back on the course if you have an achy back, pulled muscle or painful condition like arthritis. You know it may need to be treated or need a medical opinion, but you just never seem to get round to it.

Golf is a game which is now more popular than ever. It is played by a wide variety of the population with varying size, shape, age, fitness and health of players. As a result, when injuries in golf occur, these can potentially aggravate a pre-existing condition such as osteoarthritis or chronic overuse injuries. The majority of golf injuries are associated with a lack of core control, limitations in flexibility or imperfections in the swing, all that twisting and bending can lead to back pain, or even injury.

Being in good physical condition is an important factor to becoming a great golfer. Being out on the green usually means standing on your feet long periods of time and having to walk far distances. A golfer in good physical shape will have the stamina to play a full golf game.

It is never too late or too early to improve your strength and flexibility!

To make an appointment with one of our Physiotherapy team or to find out more, call 01223 200580 or for more information on our other services visit our website

Sunday, 28 February 2016

Post race/run tips

Progress - Post race/run tips. Top tips for immediately after your run 
  • Take advantage of a quick massage today
  • Try using ice to massage any sore areas or an ice bath at home
  • Drink lots of fluids, especially ones rich in electrolytes such as orange juice or tomato juice (now is the time for electrolyte drinks vs during the race)
  • Try to drink at least 180-250mls of water every 1-2 hours
  • Eat something as soon as you can - most glycogen energy stores are replaced more effectively eating within 1-2 hours post exercise.
 Top tips for the following dayYou will be sore - try to keep moving to aid the circulation and reduce stiffness; aim to do a walk or light swim in the afternoon for 20 minutes

  • Eat - replenish those energy stores!! Eat well balanced meals with 50-60% complex carbohydrates to replenish the body's energy stores. Take in adequate protein to repair any tissue damage
  • A long soak in the tub is ‘OK’ today, but ice baths thereafter will aid recovery more for your muscles
  • Rest and get to bed early
 Stiffness and soreness-when to seek helpDeveloping stiff and sore muscles after a hard run is normal and is due to a buildup of lactic acid in your muscles. This is called delayed onset of muscle soreness (DOMS).
  • Listen to your body - over the course of a few days post run, these aches and pains should slowly subside and can be aided by light stretching, sports massage, ice baths and low intensity jogs
  • Seek expert physio help if after a few days the aches and pains do not seem to be subsiding or are increasing
 Planning the next raceAfter you've completed this event, try to think about your running in terms of a reverse taper. It is recommended to take 2-3 days off during the last week leading up to your run, so do the same thing the week after.
Then, if you are an experienced runner, start doing whatever feels good, but even the most seasoned of runners probably won't be ready for a long run right away.
Beginners, if you have been bitten by the running bug, start looking for your next race, but give yourself enough time to recover from this one.  Be careful to build up your training intensity and mileage steadily. If in doubt seek expert advice. If you have any questions regarding the above please contact our team on 01223 200580