Body Chemistry



The importance of chemistry

In the previous blog, we discussed how pain was initiated from chemical, mechanical and thermal changes.
This article provides a brief overview of how chemistry and chemical /cellular interactions are the foundation of all living things.

Such is the importance of our own chemistry, if we develop a chemical imbalance we get a warning in the form of an ache, a pain or a feeling of 'dis-ease'. As a result of this warning we then have a chance to take action and make necessary changes. Changes that could prevent tissue damage or the development of disease.

Changing your chemistry is easy.

You can change your chemistry in a matter of seconds, either with a thought or a drug. A single scary moment will initiate a cascade of chemical reactions that will change your blood pressure, digestive enzymes, heart rate and much more. A single cup of coffee will do similar things.

After these effects the body fights to regain normality, a balance; what is refereed to as homeostasis.
Unfortunately, sometimes it takes several hours, days or even months for the body to regain normal chemistry. Sometimes, normality cannot be re-attained because of a disease process or because essential ingredients are missing.

The importance of ingredients and the oven

You cannot bake a cake if your oven is broken, you can't make a cake if you don't have any eggs!

Our bodies are constantly cooking up new material and making new tissue. We have a digestive system to process food and extract key ingredients. We have a liver and kidneys to filter out toxins and waste products; the stuff we don't need. We have specialised cells to build new cells and construct new tissue.

For this process to work, we need a working 'oven' and a constant supply of the correct ingredients.
If any part of this process is missing or fails to work, we then have a health problem.

In most cases, if the problem reaches a stage were it could potentially cause damage, then our body will send us a warning. Not an email or a 'whats app' message, but quite often a 'pain'.

Interpretation of the chemical warning

The interpretation of a chemical initiated warning is difficult. How do you know if your painful and aching joints are related to a lack of vitamin D or mechanical wear and tear; or both?

What if you are low on iron, or if your kidneys aren't clearing out all your toxins?
What if your back pain is related to the chemical process that occurs when fighting an infection?
What if you are eating the right foods but your stomach fails to extract the key ingredients?

There are that many chemical reactions that the process of diagnosis is complex and confusing and sometimes seems endless. And, even if a test is positive there is still often another 'why?'.
For example, if a blood test shows your are low in iron; you then have to answer why?
Is it your diet? is it a failure to adsorb iron? or is it a problem in the bodies ability to make red blood cells etc?

What is the solution?

The first and most important thing to do is to have focus on what you have an ability to change.
Don't get caught up in too much specific detail. Firstly, are you putting the correct ingredients into your body??
Remember 'you can't bake a cake without eggs'

There are millions of people who are low in vitamins and minerals and people with highly toxic diets and thousands who are simply dehydrated.
Many people have low levels of exercise and activity and consequently their 'ovens' aren't fully fired up.
There are individuals who are sleep deprived and mentally stressed, anxious and full of negative thoughts.
And these people are still working and living, but feel unwell or tired or have general aches and pains.

The solution is definitely not to cover up this warning with pain medication, but to take action and improve all that is within an individuals control.

Can you make one change today that will improve your chemistry?

Please Note: There are diseases and pathology that prevent good health irrespective of an individuals actions. The advice in this blog is not a substitute for medical opinion. Always consult your healthcare professional for specific advice on your personal condition. But please remember, best health irrespective of condition will always be optimised if your chemistry is made as good as possible.



The Importance of Movement

We have previously discussed how our experience of pain is generated by changes in temperature, chemistry and mechanical forces. See Pain, pain and more pain.
And how we move is the key factor in the mechanical strain placed upon our body's.

For many of us we repeat the same activities everyday; and the way we perform these activities is unique to us. No two people are the same or move the same. Consequently the strain on our joints and muscles is slightly different.

For some people their movement pattern is naturally good, they have balance, coordination and strength. For others, their movement is strained and this is either the cause of their injury or the result of injury.
In either case, their movement needs to be improved.

A Simple Forward Bend

Our spines are the same as every other animals, even a Giraffe has seven vertebral bones in its neck; the same as us but bigger. But unlike other animals we stand upright on two legs and therefore we frequently bend forward to pick things up.

Despite bending forwards throughout the day, how many of us actually practice the movement and analyse our movement pattern. Could we bend forward with a better technique?

The answer is yes 100%. Even the best athletes in the sport of weight lifting constantly practice their bending technique. They assess their foot position, distribution of body weight, pelvic tilt, movement at their hips and stability of their spine.
There are infinitive ways in which a person can bend forwards but as general observation, most of us move in-correctly.


If in doubt stick your bum out

The purists could pick fault with this statement 'if in doubt, stick your bum out', but as a starting point it helps correct one of the most common faults. People don't release their hip joints.

The lady in the picture demonstrates a simple squat. Her spine is held in neutral alignment and her hips and knees have released to allow the body to drop down.

This movement might look simple, but as a clinician of over 20 years, it is rare that I observe a client who moves like this. Consequently I see many people with knee, hip and back pain.

Remember, if we don't move well, the repeated mechanical strain on joints is likely to initiated a warning.


How can I improve?

The first thing is to have awareness of your movement. The next time you bend forward stop at the end of the movement and ask yourself where do you feel the weight on your feet. Is it on your toes? maybe your heels. Do you have more weight on one foot than the other.

You can also check where your knees are in relation to your feet.

The video opposite demonstrates a wall squat. By first practising with your bum resting against a wall you can focus on alignment without worrying about balance. Once this movement has been mastered then progress to performing the movement in free standing.
Finally, make sure you then employ this movement during daily activities.

Please note this post, like all brief explanations only covers the basics for pain arising from muscle, bone, tendon and ligament structures. There are many other factors that influence the experience of pain and much research has been done on the emotional components of pain and the sensitisation of the pain mechanism. 

For more information and links to educational videos please visit 'virtual physio' on the QuickPhys website.


Treatment for Knee Osteoarthritis

Knee osteoarthritis is not just mechanical wear and tear, it also involves cellular and chemical changes. These changes affect all the tissues that make up a knee joint (cartilage, bone, joint capsule, ligaments and muscle).

In the event of trauma and/or age related changes, the body will attempt to repair damaged tissue. However this process does not replace like for like. Consequently tissue repair can result in changes that further affect the normal function of the joint.

It is therefore essential that both mechanical and chemical changes are minimised.

patient review on treatment of knee pain and osteoarthritis

Mechanical Factors

In order to decrease abnormal mechanical stress on the knee joint there are three keys factors that a person should identify. Their joint alignment, strength and functional movement.

OA knee

The photograph shows a typical valgus alignment of the left knee and the x-ray shows what lays beneath the skin. You can clearly see the erosion of the left side of the knee joint. In this situation mechanical correction by surgery and a joint replacement is likely to provide the best outcome.


Most are not that bad!

Fortunately, most knees with osteoarthritis are not that bad and therefore mechanical improvements can be made via exercises. The video shows good technique for a wall squat. You don’t have go very deep into the squat but it is important to get your hips, knees and feet in good alignment. The squat will improve knee joint strength.

Chemical Changes

The chemical changes within a knee joint can also vary. Many arthritic joints have inflammatory flare ups and at times the fluid within the joint needs to be aspirated. Other chemical changes include Gout. The video shows the technique for joint aspiration.

Chemical changes are not simply achieved by taking excessive fluid out, improvements can also be made by injecting medication directly into the knee. A common injection is a Corticosteroid. This will directly decrease inflammation and can often decrease the persons experience of pain.

Other injections can also be considered. These include viscosupplementation, such as Ostenil and Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP). Please click the button for more information on the different types of joint injection.

Diagnosis is critical for best treatment

For any treatment to be effective it must be tailored to the specific requirements of the individual. There are many other factors that affect knee osteoathritis including problems with the hip joint, foot and ankle. The pain experience itself is not diagnostic, it simply informs the person that they have a problem.

New patient examination and ultrasound scan £75

Please remember that the Injection Clinic provides a high quality service for all your joint aches and pains. Please visit the website for full details.

Frozen Shoulder

Frozen shoulder is a common shoulder problem; it typically starts without any trauma and last for around 18 months. Quite often it affects the persons non dominant arm and after a period of several weeks it can cause the shoulder joint to loose its range of movement. Washing hair, fastening bras, putting on jumpers etc all become problematic.

Diagnosis is established by the presenting loss of movement and ultrasound scans can further ensure there is no tissue damage. A frozen shoulder on both ultrasound scan and x-ray will look normal.

Due to the high level of pain and limited movement, the condition has a significant impact on a persons life. Whilst treatments such as gentle exercises and soft tissue massage to the surrounding muscles can benefit, the main change in symptoms and movement is provided for by injection therapy.

Guided corticosteroid injections help reduce inflammation and in so doing decrease the pain experience. Hydro-dilitation or distention helps to stretch the shoulder joint capsule from the inside and can provide immediate improvement in joint range of movement.

It must be noted that all injections have to be administered under guidance. The joint space is relatively small and can be as deep as 6cm on some individuals. For Hydro-dilitation, the use of ultrasound scan enables a clear image of the expanding joint capsule.


Guided injections work well to suppress excessive inflammation. This can often improve night time rest, enabling better sleep.

To book an appointment with Injection Clinic and find out if you could benefit from a guided injection please ‘click here’.

Shoulder Pain

What does shoulder pain look like?
Shoulder pain and ‘pain’ in general cannot be seen. What can be seen are changes to the tissues that make up our shoulder joints.
Shoulder Bursitis
Common problems include shoulder bursitis, which is the inflammation of a fluid sac within your shoulder joint. This can be seen on the ultrasound image below (see the darkened band pointed to by the white arrow) . It is a common painful condition that responds very well to ultrasound guided cortisone injections.
Next picture shows a needle directed into the bursa. Note the measurement ‘A ‘(3.6mm). This is the size of the bursa after injecting with cortisone. To ensure accurate needle placement when the tissues are so small requires ultrasound guidance.
Rotator cuff tendon tear
Another common shoulder problem is a tear within the rotator cuff tendon. The image below shows a comparison between a normal supraspinatus tendon (left image) and a torn supraspinatus tendon (right image). This problem is not for injection, but requires surgical consideration and appropriate rehabilitation.
Acromio-clavicular joint inflammation
A common and often over looked problem is inflammation of the acromioclavicular joint (ACJ). When inflamed the joint responds really well to injection therapy.
If your shoulder is painful then first establish a diagnosis and then select the right treatment for your problem.
Call Active Healthcare Sheffield on 0114 2671901 and ask about an ultrasound scan and injection therapy.

Click here to visit booking page