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Hip and knee pains can occur due to injury or for any number of reasons and therefore it is important to always visit your practitioner for diagnosis and advice so that you can obtain the correct treatment for your condition.  However, here is a little self help advice that may just help you relieve some tight tissues that can result in hip and knee dysfunction and pain.

This video demonstrates two stretches that are common culprits for these complaints. (It may appear that the video has been cut short and in a way it has; I shortened it as I was speaking too much with information that may have confused you.) The first stretch is for the Psoas muscle and the second stretch is for the TFL/ITB. The only thing you may like to add to the second stretch, to make it more effective, is to raise the arm toward the ceiling, on the same side that you have the knee in contact with the floor.


The ilio-psoas muscles are one of the major postural muscles; it is the main hip flexor whose origin is the anterior (front) surface of the 12th thoracic to the 5th lumbar vertebrae of the spine and attaching to the lesser trochanter of the femur (thigh bone).

When these muscles are tight/dysfunctional they prohibit you from taking a full stride, altering the movement of lumbar vertebra, this can lead to lower back pain, increased lumbar lordosis or an antalgic stance as well as possible hip/groin pain or, in guys (obviously), testes pain (read this if this is of interest to you).


The tensor fascia latae (TFL) muscle originate from the iliac crest and insert into the iliotibial band (ITB); aiding in hip stabilisation, flexion and abduction. The ITB runs along the lateral or outside aspect of the thigh, to the lateral condyle of the tibia, or bony bit on the outside of the knee; crossing both the hip and knee joints. The TFL is an important stabiliser structure of the lateral part of the knee as the joint flexes and extends and therefore, they can cause a lot of hip and knee problems.

Iliotibial Band Syndrome

Iliotibial Band Syndrome


Soft tissue work – with your prickly ball or jack-knobber or foam roller (READ MORE HERE)- (we carry all of these at the clinic).

Increase flexibility – by doing daily stretches demonstrated in the video at the beginning of this blog.

Strengthening exercises – stretching is not going to do it all. The mentioned muscles may be having to work too hard because they are compensating for other muscles that are not firing properly. A plan of exercises to strengthen these involved muscles is needed. Your practitioner will be able to tell you which muscles are involved. The most commonly involved muscles are weak gluts as well as foot pronation causing incorrect alignment and function. However, please visit your practitioner as she/he will be able to advise you.

Hope you find this helpful.

Written by Anne French, BSc(Hons), MSc Chiropractic, D. C.


The last year has been a difficult one for me (I know there are many of you that feel the same). No matter how much I tried to improve situations, another crisis occurred. It felt like hiking up a hill made of treacle. Thankfully, I managed to care enough about myself to continue juicing, (I swear, it’s my top health tip), which kept me going but I was still suffering from the effects of stress. For me this results in insomnia and body pain, especially in my feet and legs.

One particularly dreary day in January I decided to soak in an Epsom Salts bath; my mother used to do it so I thought I would give it a go. I’m not a bath person; I like to shower and get on with my day. I took my kindle, lit some candles and soaked… until the water cooled. Went to bed, slept like a baby and woke up feeling great! Since then, I have been having an Epsom salts bath once or twice a week. It hasn’t got rid of the problems but it has aided me in reducing my body pain and improving my quality of sleep which definitely aides in me being able to cope with what life throws at me more competently.


Why do it works (the science bit)

Epsom salts are a naturally occurring mineral compound of magnesium and sulfate. Both of these minerals are easily absorbed through the skin whether via a foot bath or a bath (greater surface area, therefore more effective).

Magnesium is commonly lacking in our diets, due to modern farming methods, however, it is vital for over 300 enzyme reactions in our bodies (and that is what we know of, there will be many more of which we are unaware). Some of those enzyme reactions are  responsible in reducing inflammation, muscle pain/cramps, anxiety, relieves constipation; magnesium is also a natural sedative and therefore can help with sleeping problems.

Sulfates help with the absorption of other nutrients, easing migraines, and flushing toxins. They also help strengthen the walls of the digestive tract.

Here are some of the benefits that Epsom salts baths can provide:

  1. Promotes relaxation / eases stress
  2. Eases muscle pain
  3. Eases sprains/sports injuries/bruises
  4. Promotes sleep
  5. Relieves constipation (can also be taken orally, e.g during a liver cleanse)
  6. Flushes heavy metals/toxins from the cells = aides in detoxing

Last month there was an article in The Daily mail, with celebrities Gwyneth Paltrow, Victoria Beckham and Elle Macpherson claiming the miracles of Epsom salts baths including: reduced bloating/flat tummy to a hangover cure. Epsom salts will reduce bloating but.. and as far as a hangover cure; yes it helps detox your body so will aid in reducing the symptoms of a hangover, however, your liver will still be over loaded from drinking to much alcohol. I would try and look at the bigger picture of these claims. Epsom salts is a great aide but as always, what you are putting in your body is extremely important.

To get started

Fill your bath tub with warm water and add 250 grams or more of Epsom salts. The more salt you add, the greater the effect. Then soak for at least 20 mins.

If you really want to improve the whole experience I recommend using a body brush to stimulate the skin/lymphatic system (it makes your skin feel like silk too) and opens the pores before a 20-minute soak in an Epsom salts bath.

You can purchase your Epsom salts from the clinic, £3.50 for 1/2 kg, £5.50 for 1 kg.  Our salts are from Westlab, the highest food quality Epsom salts. We also carry the dry body brushes. Cheap, effective aides to health.

If you have never indulged in an Epsom salt bath, give it a go. It’s an efficient and inexpensive way to relieve stress and improve your health.

Written by Anne French

It is Brighton Marathon time! We will be offering our usual FREE express road side massage and stretch aid to all Brighton Marathon runners on the day of the marathon.  We are perfectly placed along the course, just before mile 18.

Helen Grant, Physiotherapist and myself Anee French, Chiropractor, will be set up outside Coast Chiropractic at 198, Church Road.  Please come and see us if you’re struggling and hopefully we can help you get through the rest of the race.

We will also be available for post event treatments; we recommend a deep tissue massage or if you have an injury – chiropractic , osteopathy or physiotherapy. Just give us a call on 01273 321133.

GOOD LUCK – we will be cheering you on!


If you would like to look at any of our blogs on running – just click on any of the following:

Running injuries

Beginner, serious enthusiast or elite athlete?

An Athletes Relief Aid

My Little Runaway

Olympic Mindsets

Yoga stretches for runners (and everyone).

ITB Syndrome

Barefoot running

Barefoot running (part 2)

We will once again be offering FREE express road side massage and stretch aid to all Brighton Marathon runners on the day of the marathon.  We are perfectly placed along the course, just before mile 18.

Natalie, Sports Therapist and myself, Chiropractor, will be set up outside Coast Chiropractic at 198, Church Road (weather permitting, if not we’ll be just inside). Please come and see us if you’re struggling and hopefully we can help you get through the rest of the race, with a smile on your face.

We will also be available for post event treatments during normal clinic opening hours from Monday 15th April!


If you would like to look at any of our blogs on running – just click on any of the following:

Running injuries

Beginner, serious enthusiast or elite athlete

An Athletes Relief Aid

My little runaway

Yoga stretches for runners (and everyone)

Distance running and ITB syndrome

Please tell your friends and spread the word…


The effects of sports massage

As the summer is approaching no doubt more and more of you will be inclined to start some kind of exercise regime. Perhaps some of you are preparing for your beach summer holiday; or are motivated to improve your fitness levels to feel healthy and energised over the summer months; or perhaps you just want to get the maximum benefit from this gorgeous weather by exercising outside in the sunshine.


Others, no doubt, are in full flow with your training programmes psyching yourselves up for the big event – the Brighton Marathon 15th April (or perhaps  London? or Paris? ), not too long to go for you now folks!


Whether a beginner, a serious exercise enthusiast or an elite athlete, without a doubt the benefits of sports massage can be reaped by all.


What are the benefits of sports massage?

Generally, the main benefits experienced from sports massage fall into two categories: (i) injury prevention (ii) enhanced performance


Identifying problem areas – breakdown of scar tissue:

All sports contain a repetitive element (as do most occupations), therefore muscles can get overworked and overloaded, this can lead to muscle fibres being torn on a microscopic level (micro-trauma). This is turn causes bleeding and inflammation; the body will repair this by forming adhesive bonds to heal the afflicted area. If the same muscles continue to be used this can lead to yet more overuse and secondary micro-trauma and so on, causing the formation of further scar adhesions. This may begin to affect the elasticity and function of the muscle, also having a knock-on effect to the whole muscular and skeletal system, which in turn can lead to a more complicated injury pattern.


Having regular sports massage helps to identify these problem areas and deal with them by using various frictional techniques to break-down scar tissue & fibrous knots, therefore, preventing further injury.

Improves self-awareness:

Regular massage helps the exercise enthusiast become more in-tune and aware of what is happening in different parts of their body. This helps them to adjust their training accordingly and can improve the quality and quantity of their training.

Improves recovery:

Massage boosts the circulation; consequently after exercise massage helps the circulation to remove waste from the muscles e.g. lactic acid and helps to bring fresh blood to the muscle fibre cells, helping to restore nutritional levels. This improves the recovery time for athletes, preparing them effectively for their next training session. 

Improved elasticity:

Deep longitudinal massage strokes and sports massage techniques e.g. STR ( soft tissue release), MET (muscle energy technique), can stretch specific localised areas of tissue by drawing them apart in all possible directions in a way that functional stretching by an athlete alone cannot achieve. This helps to improve the elasticity of muscles and the overall flexibility of the sports person, which ultimately enhances performance.


Massage has an effect on the nervous system. It stimulates the nerve receptors in the muscles that control tissue tension and helps the body to let go and relax the tissues, releasing tension and helping to reduce pain. This affects tension throughout the body.

Massage triggers the parasympathetic system, which slows down the heart rate, deepens the breath and allows the whole body to enter a state of deep rest and relaxation.

In conclusion:

Whether you’re just about to start your summer exercise regime or whether you’re an all year round sports person, it is very beneficial for you all to build some quality time for regular sports massage into your training schedule.  Then you too can benefit from reduced injuries and IMPROVED PERFORMANCE! Your body deserves it!


Attention: Brighton marathon runners:

Remember the Coast Team will be offering Free Express Massages on the day of the Brighton Marathon at mile 18. Richard, Anne and I will be set up outside the clinic at 198, Church Road. Please come and see us if you’re struggling and hopefully we can help you get through the rest of the race, with a smile on your face.

We will also be available for post event treatments during normal clinic opening hours from Monday 16th April! GOOD LUCK & ENJOY !

Written by Jeanette Mahoney, Massage Therapist.




And so this month see`s the Brighton Marathon and with it Spring well and truly underway. Everyone is up and running this month, walking, biking running, hop skip and jumping, and generally glad to be alive and being active now the weather is better and the days are longer.


So as you grab those luminous lycra shorts and prepare to roller blade ten miles along the sea front be sure to warm up warm down and increase the amount of exercise you do gradually as your body wakes up from the slumber of winter.


Tendon and ligament damage can occur through improper training regimes or over enthusiastic exercise. Over use of joints or repetitive strain injuries are commonly caused through excessive running or sports. Runners with injuries such as shin splints, knee pain, Achilles tendon problems, Iliotibial Band Syndrome or general foot or ankle pain can all benefit from acupuncture treatment, increasing healing time and enabling a return to training or work and not chronic or recurring injury.


Acupuncture works by stimulating the body’s energy, (Qi) the electromagnetic activity created through chemical reactions on a cellular level.  The excitement and activation of the body’s energy draws blood to the area. In Chinese medicine we say Qi is the commander of the blood and blood is the mother of Qi to describe the yin yang interconnected nature of this phenomenon.


In other words exciting the electromagnetic field in an injured knee draws blood to the area, and the blood contains the healing aspects of the immune system such as white blood cells, lymphocytes etc to draw away waste products and stimulate tissue repair.


The other mechanism at play in acupuncture treatment is the systemic factor. We not only work on the local area but on the deep organs and systems of the body to strengthen the immune response. The classic one I see is people who suffer chronic tendon strains and suffer a systemic “blood deficiency” i.e. there isn’t enough extra blood to repair and nourish the tendons and allow healing to take place. Including points to stimulate this aspect of the body and include blood building foods in the diet allows the body to complete what it is trying to do.


Acupuncture is very effective at treating musculoskeletal injury but sometimes a structural problem is contributing to an injury and chiropractic or osteopathic treatment is necessary first in order to correct this before acupuncture can be used to strengthen or speed up repair.


We all have our limits and sometimes we all need help from outside of ourselves, here at Coast we try to provide everything you need to live as fully as possible. Now go outside and play!

Written by Jeremy Marshall

My first pair of Vibram Five Fingers ™ (VFF’S) was a pair of Classics, in grey and orange. I loved them. The first thing I did, of course, was research how to wear them in – not! What I did do was put them on and go out all day walking miles. To begin with they were amazingly comfortable. I even quite liked the odd glances my feet were getting. But by the afternoon I was regretting my decision. I crawled home, with my calves like rocks and the soles of my feet on fire. It was at that point I looked to see how I should start wearing them.


            So what should I have done? Essentially: ease into wearing them gently. Wear the shoes for short periods of time, round the house, building up to local trips. The same principal as it is with running; add it slowly. Start with short distances, gradually going further. Listen to your body; don’t overdo it. Also stretch! Especially stretch your calves, quads and hamstring muscles. (There will be more information on stretching coming soon). So that is what I started to do. It took some time but I built up my resistance gradually. As I got into the barefoot idea I sought more information. One name that popped up regularly is a book by Christopher McDougall Born to Run: The Hidden Tribe, the Ultra-Runners, and the Greatest Race the World Has Never Seen. It is an interesting pop science book, with a positive outlook on barefoot running.  


            Eventually after 6 months I was able to wear my VFF’s happily all day, with no ill effects. One of the best things about the shoes is you forget you are wearing them. So when people started looking at my feet in confusion I would wonder why. I even had 10 people round me in a shop asking questions. Including where to get them. My advice has always been go where you can try them on. The fit is vital. They don’t fit like normal shoes, so you must go where they can give good advice. For example in Brighton and Hove, I would always recommend Inter Sport, Nick Rivett on Church Road. They are great in there.


            So remember if you want to try these amazing shoes, get them fitted properly, start slowly and stretch.


Written by Margaret Sinclair

Part 1:

Two years ago I entered the world of ‘barefoot’ footwear; an increasingly popular alternative to ‘normal’ shoes and trainers. These are my experiences.

The theory is that humans had been running barefoot for a long time before big brands started manufacturing the modern trainer. They had to run, and run well to catch their food and to avoid being food. Therefore the foot is perfectly designed to run without all these mod cons of cushioning and stability etc. That is, at least, the theory.

People who advocate barefoot running claim benefits ranging from improved posture, faster running times and fewer injuries. Also a more connected feeling to their body and earth. They can be very evangelical about it. Opponents to the new ‘fad’ claim that there is increased injury (especially metatarsal fracture) and possible future problems from such unsupported foot use. There is evidence to support both arguments. The answer is somewhere in-between and is individual to each person.

I have Vibram Five Fingers© (VFF’s for short) they are like gloves for the feet. They have very thin soles to enable increased awareness of what is under your feet and allow as much intrinsic mobility of the foot as possible. They also have individual pockets for the toes, allowing increased ‘wiggle’ ability. It is the nearest thing you can get to walking barefoot, with some protection from what is on the floor, which can be gross.

One of the things you have to know before you wear them is that everyone will look at your feet and ask you questions about them. They are a bit like Marmite; people will love them or hate them.

The second thing to know is that you have to build up wearing them slowly… Or you will end up in pain! The muscles of the foot need time to build up and this does need to be done slowly. You would not just go and run a marathon without some training, not without hurting something anyway. In the same way, you need to train your feet and legs to work barefoot again. So start small and build up time and mileage.

So how did I get to own my first pair of VFF’s, one of the more unusual looking ‘barefoot’ shoes? It was not for all the benefits highlighted above. My partner saw a man wearing them, thought they looked suitably odd, decided they would suit me perfectly and accosted the man for details. And there began my love affair with these weird looking but, in my opinion, amazing shoes.

Written by Margaret Sinclair, Osteopath.

Well done all you Brighton Marathon runners. What a great atmosphere from some great people.

It was my great privilege to try to help those runners that found their way to my portable massage table outside the clinic on Church Road. Interestingly – not one of my many patients that ran the Marathon needed my help. (Could it be that they already know how gentle I am with soft tissue work – or – that they are in such good shape?)
So much fun mixed with so much pain. Don’t know how many of you did it. Such conviction.

Congratulations and see you next year.

Low lunge 1

Regular running without sufficient stretching will cause muscular tightness leading to imbalances in body.  The body will then find ways of compensating to address these imbalances, leaving the runner prone to injury.  Incorporating a few yoga postures into your routine will increase your flexibility and strength, helping to safeguard against injuries.  In addition, a regular yoga practice allows one to become more attuned to the body and any warning signals it sends.

Try these few yoga postures after each run (and on non-run days if you can) and your body will thank you for it! Here are a few important guidelines before you begin:

–          Cast aside your trainers and practice in bare feet on a yoga mat if you have one.

–          For the standing poses, pay attention to your feet.  Always keep the inner arches lifted to avoid pronation and press down evenly through the ball joints of the big toe, little toe and the centre of the heels.

–          Stay in each pose for 5 to 10 deep breaths through the nostrils.  If you can’t breathe comfortably, then ease off a little until you can.

–          Keep your core strong by drawing your lower abdominals (below the navel) in towards the spine.

–          Once in a pose, try to draw your awareness inwards by focussing on your breath and feeling what is going on with your body, rather than concentrating on the external form of your body.

–          Never ‘bounce’ your way into a posture – hold steadily and comfortably!

–          Only go as far as is comfortable but whilst feeling the stretch – if you keep practicing regularly you’ll be amazed at the difference.

Setting the foundations – Mountain Pose

Stand with your big toes touching and heels as close together as comfortable and spread your toes.   Have your arms by your sides (middle finger in line with outer side seam of your trousers).  Ground down evenly through the balls and heels of the feet whilst lifting the inner arches.  Engage your quadriceps to stabilise your kneecaps.  The pelvis should be in ‘neutral’ with the lower back neither arched nor flattened.   Draw in the lower abdomen to feel a gentle release in your lumbar spine.  Lift the ribcage away from your pelvis and reach the crown of the head upwards, whilst allowing your shoulders to relax down.  You may feel a little taller!

Mountain pose

Benefits:  teaches correct alignment of the whole body and good preparation for other yoga poses.

Chair pose ‘Utkatasana’

 From Mountain pose, inhale and raise your arms over your head pressing your palms together (if this is uncomfortable, keep hands shoulder distance apart).  Exhale, bend your knees, tracking directly over your toes, coming into a squat as if you are just about to sit into a chair – the torso should lean forwards so it forms a 90 degree angle with your thighs.  To come out, inhale to straighten your legs and exhale lower your arms back to Mountain pose.

–          Keep your heels grounded and your spine in neutral with the back of the neck long

–          Gaze forwards or upwards, encouraging your breastbone to lift without arching your lower back

–          If the palms are pressed together, draw the inner elbows towards each other to broaden the upper back.

Chair pose

Benefits:  Strengthens the ankles, calves and thighs whilst stretching muscles of shoulder and chest.

Warrior III

From Mountain Pose, exhale and fold your torso forwards until it is parallel with the floor whilst simultaneously raising your left leg behind you, so that you form a ‘T’ shape with your body. Reach your arms back by your sides; or out to your sides for more balance.  Gazing forwards may help your balance whilst gazing to the floor will further lengthen your spine. To come out, exhale, lower your leg and arms and stand upright.  Repeat with the opposite leg.

–          Keep the hips square to the floor.  The tendency is to lift the hip of the raised leg, so encourage the thigh to internally rotate to correct this and point all 5 toes down to the floor.

–          If it is too much to be parallel to the floor then you can come to the halfway point, but always keeping your lifted leg in the same line as your torso.

–          Push back through the heel of your lifted leg as if you were pressing the sole of your foot into a wall behind you.


Benefits:   a great strengthening pose for both legs and the gluteals, whilst stretching the hamstring of the standing leg.  Also tones the shoulders and strengthens the core and back whilst improving balance and concentration.

Flank stretch ‘parsvottanasana’

From Mountain pose, Inhale to step your right foot forwards about 2 ½ – 3 feet with the toes pointing forwards, then turn your left foot outwards about 45 degrees (think ‘ten to’ on a clock). You do not want to be standing on an imaginary tightrope with your heels directly aligned, instead imagine you are standing on a narrow railway track so that as you square your pelvis and torso forwards, your sitting bones are aligned with your heels and you feel balanced.  Exhale to take your arms behind your back and hold opposite elbows with your hands, so your forearms are parallel to the floor (or hold your wrists if your shoulders are tight).  Experienced yogis could take ‘reverse prayer’.  Inhale broaden your chest and draw your shoulders together and lengthen your spine.  Exhale fold forwards from your hips over your right leg as far as you can whilst keeping the spine long and both legs straight.  Gaze towards the right foot.  Feel the stretch in your hamstrings. To exit, inhale whilst pressing through your feet to come up and then exhale to release your arms.  Repeat with the left leg forwards.

–          Do not round your back – fold from your hips and lead with your breastbone.

–          Keep your neck in line with your spine. 

–          Avoid collapsing in the chest by keeping your shoulder blades drawing together towards your spine.

–          Keep both legs active – engage your quadriceps to avoid ‘locking’ out your knees. 

–          Press down through the ball joint of your front leg’s big toe and the heel and outside edge of your back foot.

Flank stretch

Benefits:  Strengthens the legs; stretches the spine, shoulders hamstrings and hips.  Opens the chest.

Low lunge

This pose is best done on a mat or at least put some padding, such as a folded towel, under your back knee.  From an all fours position, exhale and step your right foot forwards between your hands with the toes pointing forwards.  Your right knee should be directly over your right ankle, shin vertical.  Then slide your left knee backwards until you feel a stretch in the front of your left hip and thigh.  The top of the left foot should be flat on the floor.  Inhale to lift your torso to an upright position and rest your hands lightly on your right thigh, with your chest lifted and shoulders back and down.   To come out, exhale lower your torso and bring your hand back under your shoulders.  Repeat on the left leg.

–          Press down firmly with your front foot

–          Draw your tailbone down to the floor whilst lifting the pubic bone upwards

–          Keep your lower abdominals engaged and lift through your pelvic floor.

–          To deepen the stretch, if you feel stable:  Inhale and reach your arms overhead, pressing your palms together and lift your gaze towards your thumbs.

Low lunge 1

Low lunge 2

Benefits:  Stretches the quadriceps and hip flexors of the back leg.  Provides a gentle extension for the spine so lengthens the front of the torso and counteracts rounded shoulders.

Boat Pose ‘navasana’

Sit on the floor then bend your legs and clasp the back of your thighs with your hands, drawing them towards your torso.  Lean back with your torso slightly whilst lifting the breastbone, drawing your lower abdominals in and find balance on your sitting bones.  Now lift the feet off the floor as you allow your arms to reach forwards at shoulder height.  Your torso and thighs should form a ‘v’ shape. Try to raise the shins parallel to the floor keeping the feet together.   To release bring your feet back to the floor and arms by your sides.   Repeat 3 – 5 times.

–          Spine should be straight throughout – keep lifting your chest and drawing your shoulder blades back and down.

–          If this is too difficult or you find that your back is rounding, drop your toes to the floor.

–          To deepen the pose, straighten your leg so that your toes are level with your eyes.

Boat pose 1

Boat pose 2


Benefits:   strengthens the abdominals, hip flexors and spine.

Hero’s pose

Kneel on the floor, the tops of your feet should be on the floor with the toes pointing straight back (this is very important – if your toes are turned outwards this will strain the inner knee).  Your knees should be very slightly apart and feet a little wider than your hips.  You will probably need a prop to sit on so place a few yoga blocks (if you have them) or a telephone directory or some folded towels between your feet, so as you sit down your buttocks are raised off the floor.  Sit with a tall spine and feel the stretch in your quadriceps and the front of your ankles.

–          Hold for as long as is comfortable – build up gradually, eventually aiming for a few minutes.

–          If you do not feel the stretch then you can lower your prop or perhaps take it away altogether so that you are sitting with buttocks on the floor.

–          Ensure there are no pulling sensations in your knees.  If you find that there is then check the alignment of your feet (toes pointing straight back) or make your prop a little higher.

Heros pose 1

Heros pose 2

Benefits:  lengthens the quadriceps and front of the ankles.

Written by Ginny Haswell, Yoga Instructor. 

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