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Keep up to date with the latest news, offers and useful articles from the team at Castle Clinic…

Protect your children’s hearing when they’re gaming

Parents have lots to worry about when keeping their children safe when gaming, be it ensuring they’re playing age-appropriate games, that they’re not being groomed by other online gamers or that they’re not racking up huge bills with in-game purchases. Now there is something else to consider, and it is very important… Their precious hearing.

A research paper published yesterday by the BMJ reviewed 14 studies, which involved over 50,000 people in total, suggests that gamers regularly play for long periods of time (with or without headsets) with volumes beyond safe limits. Some of these studies found correlations between gaming and irreversible hearing loss as well as tinnitus (ringing in the ears).

Part of the issue is the volume, with shooting games in particular ranging from 88.5 – 119 decibels (dB), the other issue is the length of time spent gaming with sound at these levels. The WHO guidance for adults is that they can safely be exposed to 80dB for 40 hours per week, to only listen to 85dB for a maximum of four hours a week, and 90dB for one hour and 15 minutes per week, with thresholds for children being even lower.

Our advice is to discuss this with the gamers in your house, and regularly monitor the volume of the headsets and the length of time spent gaming.

If you are concerned about you or your loved one’s hearing, we have our in-house audiologist who can assess the ears, hearing levels and provide practical advice and treatment for any issues or concerns. If you would like to book an appointment, you can do so here or call on 01423 787800.

Sunshine: Hero or villain?

I don’t know anyone who complains about the sun shining, but for my fellow pasty northern folk this usually means either lathering ourselves with SPF to protect oneself from the sun’s harmful rays or turning as pink as a mole’s nose and as sore as a belly flop from the top board. The former is for a fear of developing skin cancer and an attempt at preventing ageing of the skin, the blokes usually favour the latter as they stupidly think wearing sunscreen is as macho as synchronized swimming. The sun however isn’t all evil. Its UV rays allow our bodies to manufacture potent supplies of vitamin D, a substance essential for bone health. Without these UV rays our body is prone to a vitamin D deficiency, because unlike other vitamins, no matter how many greens or oily fishes we eat, our bodies cannot produce enough vitamin D without the sun’s rays.

It’s long been known that a lack of vitamin D leaches muscles and bones of calcium, leading to pain, weakness, osteoporosis and fractures, but research published contradicts the long-held belief that avoiding UV radiation will reduce the risk of skin cancer. In fact their findings suggest that avoiding the sun leads to an increased risk not only of melanoma, but of any other cause of premature death including other cancers. The researchers conclude that a lack of vitamin D from too little sunlight is to blame for adverse health effects seen in their trial. It is thought that 50% of white skinned, 90% of dark skinned and 25% of British children display vitamin D deficiencies. And if you think how sunny Yorkshire is, this shouldn’t be happening in our region!!!

In my opinion the problem is a combination of two factors. Firstly, people have taken scientists’ advice to the extreme over the last 30 years, and rather than limiting sun light exposure, people have avoided it all together by keeping their heads and bodies covered at all times with clothes and/or sunblock. Secondly, the fact that over the last 60 years we have migrated indoors as we spend more time inside our offices, homes and shopping centres, means we are kept away from the sun all year round. Computer games and TV have been blamed for a resurgence of rickets, a problem last linked to Victorian poverty, as children no longer play outside.

With all this conflicting information you’re probably wondering what the solution is? Scientists are yet to precisely advise how much sunlight is healthy. I would suggest using common sense. I think that old saying ‘everything in moderation’ applies well. We should try and take in the sun’s rays little, but often and not binge on the sun. Taking in the sun’s rays without protection for about 15 minutes in the morning, or late afternoon & evening is safer than during the intense midday sun. Opportunities to practice this throughout autumn and winter, whilst more difficult, should be seized. It is still important to wear sunscreen, cover up and find shade on the days when you need to be out for long periods on a sunny day because it is essential that you avoid burning. In summary the sun is our hero, essential for our health, but equally, if misused, it transforms into a villain!

In the company of…

This week we featured in The Harrogate Advertiser’s feature ‘In the company of’. Our director and osteopath Seb Contreras was quizzed about a range of things from what we do at the clinic, what motivates him and who inspires him. You can read the full article here.

Supporting patients with Long Covid

Yesterday our clinic and Charlotte featured on the BBC News. They were covering the story of a young woman suffering with Long Covid and how she felt osteopathy had made a significant impact on her recovery, particularly her breathing. Watch the news feature here:

Lockdown 3.0: We are open

Following the latest announcement, we can confirm that in line with public health guidance we will remain open and continue to provide care and osteopathic treatments. Unfortunately at present, Filipe our Sports Massage Therapist is not permitted to offer face to face appointments, however he is still leading online Pilates classes. With the NHS under extreme pressure our osteopaths continue to play an important role in supporting the health and well-being of our community as safely as possible.

We will continue to apply our robust infection control procedures to ensure your safety at all times. These include:

Pre-appointment screening questionnaires.
All persons entering the building must be wearing a face covering and observe social distancing.
Temperature measurements.
Full PPE worn by practitioners.
Regular anti-viral fogging of treatment rooms and reception.
Full sanitisation of treatment rooms in between appointments.
Regular sanitisation of touch points throughout the day.
If you would like to book a face to face or online appointment, you can do so here.

You remain safe in our hands.

Lockdown 2.0: We remain open

Under current guidelines and as Allied Health Professionals, our osteopaths are privileged to be able to remain open and keep supporting all patients through the latest lockdown. Now more than ever it is important to attend to our physical, mental and emotional health and we as osteopaths play an important role in primary healthcare and provide safe and effective treatment.

We are still waiting for further guidance on whether sports massage in a clinical setting is able to continue from the 5th November and will update you in due course.

Be assured that the safety and wellbeing of our patients, team and wider community continues to be our priority and if you have been into the clinic since June you will be aware we have implemented extensive measures to support this.

Please remember that if you or anyone in your household develops symptoms of COVID-19 you must not come into the clinic and ensure that you follow the government guidelines about self-isolation.

For patients who feel unable to come in for face-to-face appointments, we continue to offer our online video consultations.
You remain safe in our hands and we look forward to supporting our patients, friends and families through the coming months and beyond. Please contact us for more information or click here to schedule an appointment.

We are open again for face to face appointments!

Over the last 9 weeks of lockdown we’ve been busy offering video consultations as well as planning and preparing for the reopening of hands on treatment. That day is finally here. Here is a video that we have put together to show what we are doing to keep you, our team and our wider community safe whilst continuing to offer you the care and treatment you need to get you out of pain.

Desk based exercises

Following on from our last blog, we’ve included 3 more exercises that can be done without leaving your desk to minimise stress and strain on your spine and hips whilst maximising your work output.

Unwind your spine

Following several requests from you, we have put together this video of what we think are the 3 most important exercises to perform to mitigate sustained pressure on certain parts of your back that sitting at a desk for long periods causes. These 3 simple spinal mobility exercises will help you stretch and loosen key parts of your back to minimise back pain and stiffness:

Working from home

The outbreak of COVID-19 and the ensuing lockdown has meant many of us have been forced to work from home. But working from home away from your purpose built office desk and ergonomic desk chair could put untold stress and strain on your spine. Watch this video for simple tips on how to safely work from home: