Category Archives: Fitness

Exogen Ultrasound Bone Healing System

Following on from my previous blog entry regarding my broken leg & the new cast I have had fitted with the Exogen portal, I thought it might be educational or at least informative to show the unit in action.

The basic idea is that the unit bombards my leg with an ultrasonic pulse which excites my broken bone & promotes the healing process.

The probe has a gel ‘coupling agent’ put on it to give the ultrasound signal something to travel through between the gap between the probe & my leg. The unit then sends a preprogrammed signal to my bone for a set time. That’s it. It’s that simple (and painless).

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The Broken Leg Saga

The original red cast had become loose & was abrading the top of my foot, so a new cast has been fitted.

As I had my ultrasonic Exogen equipment this time (it hadn’t been delivered when my leg was originally plastered) the plaster technicians were able to incorporate the probe portal direct into the cast.

This makes for easier & more refined daily treatment.

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Take a break

As many of you may be aware, I was training to take part in the 2013 Grim Challenge when I managed to injure myself. The injury has so far stopped me running for over 6 months.

Luckily cousin Wendy still managed to do the Grim.

Luckily cousin Wendy still managed to do the Grim.

I was increasing my training pace and distance gradually so as not to injure myself when at the tail end of August 2013 I managed to hurt my leg.

I had a lovely endorphin rush whilst setting my best distance & time out running. There was a bit of a pull on my leg as I was running, but I thought nothing of it for the last two miles. I simply thought it was a slight twist or shin splint.

I got home, happy with my run, then sat down to a cup of tea.

I went to stand up and I couldn’t put any weight on it. Incredibly painful. I couldn’t even stand having it touch the floor without weight on it. In a word: PAIN.

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Lumpy

I went straight to Accident & Emergency where I had the leg looked at. An X-Ray showed nothing to worry about, although this was 2 hours after it happened. I did asked if I should go back in a few days for another X-Ray, as a stress fracture would not show due to swelling so soon after it had happened, but the hospital staff said it was fine.

I was told it was muscular & to try and keep weight off, but keep it moving & stretching lightly during the healing period so that the muscle wouldn’t tighten up. I was given some strong anti-inflammatory pain killers.

3 weeks later I went to the doctor & said it was getting worse. He said that is expected from muscle injuries.

3 more weeks & the doctor decides this isn’t quite right after I show swelling and increased tenderness in a specific point on my tibia.  I finally go for the second X-Ray.

When the results came through there were blatantly obvious fractures. The swelling appeared to be new bone growth that was trying to heal over the fracture, but I kept re-breaking whilst following the original advice of ‘keep it moving‘.

The specialist who saw me at this time said the last thing I should be doing is moving it around or putting weight on it… Yeah, that really didn’t surprise me.

A removable cast was fitted & worn for several months to no avail. It remained very painful.

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Plastic Fantastic

I went back to the specialist who agreed something wasn’t right. I had an MRI scan carried out & a few weeks later when the specialist got the results he became concerned at what could be seen on the MRI scan images.

The specialist immediately sent me for a priority ‘same day‘ CT scan. I was a little concerned as they are usually reserved for serious bone issues or tissue problems such as tumours. I didn’t think it could be a serious bone issue, after all at this point my leg had been broken for close to 6 months… not exactly an urgent life or death break… which left a nagging ‘tumour‘ thought in my mind, which I pushed almost entirely to one side.

I tell you, nothing makes you panic in a hospital like being rushed around for urgent scans by a specialist. Suddenly I longed for the hospital visits that take so long you can finish a couple of good books whilst waiting…

A few hours later and the CT results come through with good news. I was told that the dark tissue areas were nothing to worry about (the fact they hadn’t mentioned these areas before did make me think that they had thought they might be a serious problem – hence the need for a CT scan). The fracture on the other hand showed no signs of healing. It had possibly stopped healing due to initial ‘muscle’ treatment & painkillers masking the injury.

I’m now over 6 months into this broken leg and have a few options left, which aren’t really options…

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Oh Snap!

I have a fixed cast on my leg that covers my foot and comes halfway over my knee. In a few days time I am starting ultrasonic treatment to try and aggravate the fracture to try and kick start the healing process. To do this they will cut a small hatch in my leg cast for me to apply the treatment each day for 20 minutes for 6 weeks.

At the end of that they will scan the leg again and if the ultrasonic treatment is not successful, they will commence with putting a titanium rod down through the top of my tibia just under the kneecap, down to the bottom by the ankle.

Basically… really, really basically… it’s this:

This CGI shows the more technically accurate version, which is oddly less graphically repulsive,

YUMMY…..

So… the challenge is to do the Grim Challenge 2014… Watch this space.


Hypnotherapist Bullshittery?

I used to think hypnotherapy was all either staged or at best a placebo effect, so a book by a hypnotherapist on overcoming stress & anxiety would be a no brainer on the ‘do not buy‘ list for me… BUT I know the author of this particular book… Gary ‘Smiler’ Turner, and I hope he reads a bit further than this, as he’s a multiple kickboxing/MMA World Champion…

… but above all, a thoroughly decent, helpful guy.

It’s through Gary that my ‘engineering: how does it work side‘ has been satisfied that not only is this not gypsy tea-leafery, but it is a very real & a very beneficial thing.

I’m a bit of an OCD worrier & I know I put blockers in my own head that make me avoid certain situations.

When it comes to running & shooting I also build mental walls that hold me back, but those walls have now become targets as I know that they are purely in my head, and I have the ability to knock them down.

The mental walls in my head for running simply stopped me in my tracks and I couldn’t run any further… Yet I knew I should be able to physically. By constantly trying to punch on through the wall, by positive reinforcement and the knowledge that it was all in my head, I managed to break that wall down… Not all the way, as some nagging doubt is hanging on in there, BUT from struggling at a 1 mile run, to suddenly pushing out 5 miles with similar ease, I proved to myself that it was just in my head, and I did have the ability anyway.

My running achievements and return to form on competition target shooting are testament to that… and that’s just from a few general chats with Gary, taking out barriers that are many years old.

So I have ordered his book based on what it says it can offer, and what he’s already done for me first hand.

Stay tuned for a review once I put it into practice.

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From Amazon:

Have stress and anxiety become too much? Nerves and worries holding you back? Suffering from panic attacks? Would you like to be able to relax, be calm and at peace? In this remarkable book Gary Turner reveals the simple steps of his Anxiety Clearing Technique (ACT) to help you easily overcome nerves, worry, anxiety and stress. He will guide you through a series of simple, yet powerful techniques to recondition your mind and effortlessly let go of anxiety and stress so you are free to live life to the full. Gary Turner is a World Champion Sportsman, Trainer and Hypnotherapist. He developed his unique Anxiety Clearing Technique (ACT) over many years of working with men and women from all walks of life, as well as athletes, executives and top celebrities. Now you can learn directly from Gary how to say goodbye to anxiety in all its forms – and simply transform your life!

Click HERE for your copy!


Picking up speed

A new way to donate… AND A VIDEO!

Our attempt on The Grim Challenge for CANCER RESEARCH UK using a more extreme variant Nordic Walking is going pretty well. Sure we’d like to see more sponsors and donations, but it’s early days and we’re both training to make sure we don’t let anyone down.

I’ve added a method to make donating really easy now. You just need to use your mobile phone and text STIX99 and a donation amount (£1, £2, £3, £4, £5 or £10) to 70070.

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Meanwhile, along with cardio and endurance training, I’ve thrown together a little video to promote our challenge. It’s only a first attempt and I plan to make another (more?) as time goes on.

It is for Cancer Research UK, although they support the worldwide fight against cancer and are simply based in the UK, so to everyone out there, where ever you are, please do donate and share this page. It’s for a very good cause after all.

CLICK HERE TO GO TO OUR ‘JUST GIVING’ CHARITY PAGE


A FIRST for team STIX & STONES

It’s official…

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As a challenge to get me fit again after injuries (ankle, back, and recently cellulitis in the elbow – yay me!), me and my physical trainer cousin Wendy are going to be taking part in the Grim Challenge at the very end of November.

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The Woo: Tougher than the Grim Challenge itself.

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The Return of the Black: What doesn’t kill me better be able to outrun me…

Dirt, rocky roads, gravel, mud, man made mounds, obstacles, water holes, more mud, more hills, ditches, more muddy wet holes… 8 miles of tough challenge. She’s not used to the Nordic style which I really enjoy, and I’m not used to straight running… Hopefully we’ll learn the right things from each other…

We’re doing it for Cancer Research UK, and just to make it interesting we thought we’d attempt to do it using Nordic X-country poles.

Like it wasn’t going to be tough enough in the first place…

The thing is, the Grim is technically a run, although some folk do end up walking as it is a very tough course. We didn’t know if actually starting out ‘walking‘ was going to be a problem (albeit Nordic Walking, which is a different ball park to hiking or normal walking – especially how I do it…).

The organiser is not in favour of people who turn up just to walk the route… but in the organiser’s own words when I suggested about us using Nordic X-Country poles: “… I know all about Nordic walking and suspect you guys are not the strolling type!”

Team Stix & Stones

Team Stix & Stones.

Our TEAM PAGE is STIX & STONES – (Stix due to the poles and x-country, and stones, because it’s both off-road, and you need figuratively two of them to do the challenge…). Please visit it to make donations.

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It turns out that we are officially the first people to attempt the Grim Challenge using the Nordic method. I wonder why?

Course (taken from the Grim web page):

This land is used to test Army vehicles so expect it to be interesting!

You will reach a long hill shortly after the start before descending again eventually reaching a water filled ravine.

You will run on over puddle-strewn paths before having to crawl under camouflage netting.

You’ll eventually reach some man-made mounds before arriving at and running through some rather large puddles.

Expect to get very wet!

You’ll run on to the fast vehicle driving circuit where it is rocky underfoot.

This brings you to some more large areas of water and the finish area.

Sounds delightful!


First Aid ~ Everyone should know it.

One of the things that I have found very useful in life is my First Aid training.

Both for helping others & knowing what’s happening to me, it has proved invaluable.

One of the strange ways it helped me was a few years ago when I suffered a traumatic injury. Whilst in hospital I started shaking, convulsing & collapsed. This would’ve scared the crap out of me, but I knew that I was going into shock, and I knew this was my body’s way of shutting down to protect me by concentrating on my vital systems.

It helped me understand what was going on, and why certain things had to be done. I was actually very calm in a situation where I would’ve otherwise panicked & possibly made things worse.

It has also helped when my son has been ill or injured. I’ve either known what to do, or understood why his body was doing what it was doing. Either way it helped me stay calm by giving me an understanding of the situation. It’s not knowing things that scares most people.

I highly recommend going on a course. If you’re lucky you could get your company to send you on one & maybe get a little extra cash for being a work First Aider. It’s win/win.

Courses are supplied by the UK’s leading first aid providers, although other courses are available (I use St John Ambulance). When I had my first course there was a practical exam at the end, but now the trainees are observed during the training course and there’s no pressure of a final exam.

Click the logos below for more information:

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Air SupMRI – The search for brainzzz

Since August last year I have had a bit of a problem with headaches.

Scroll down the page if you just want the MRI Simulator video I made…… otherwise, read on….

For 12 weeks I had a constant headache around the back of my head. It didn’t really stop me doing anything, but it was bloody annoying. A series of medication knocked this headache out, so that was all well and good.

Trouble is, on top of this headache, ever couple of weeks I would get a short lived slamming headache hit me in the back of my head to the right…. and it felt like a 12″ nail being hammered in. The pain felt like it is in one very specific area, like a knife point.

These wonderful ‘extras‘ have been enough for me to get on my knees or lay down and physically scream out in pain as they’ve gone on. I’ve broken bones and had various injuries, but I had never experienced pain like it. Over the 20 to 40 minutes it lasted, it started off as unbearable, and then ramped up.

Tests were done to make sure my brain was okay, and all functions were firing… and they were. Increasingly strong migraine medication was given to me, but none of it made the slightest difference.

As one came on over Christmas I took a painkiller/muscle relaxant left over from when I put my back out. These pills knocked me out cold when I had the bad back, so I reasoned that it would be better to be unconscious whilst this bastard headache ran its course if I couldn’t actually get rid of it. Yes…. probably not the greatest thing to do, but it was back medication that was prescribed to me, and I took a normal dose.

The headache stopped.

I saw a specialist and he said it is most likely tension related. That is to say a muscle under tension might be trapping a nerve and causing the pain. This is why the back medication worked. It is not work stress or mental tension… it is a physical tension within muscles etc.

So… I can now easily control the headache with meds and stop it before it even gets started…. but we still need find what’s causing it….

I was sent for an MRI scan to see if there was anything brain with my wrong.

People will tell you that the machine “will make a little noise“… Ha…. yeah, and then some…

The MRI operators will often play music through headphones to you, to help mask the noise…. ah ha ha…. no… really.

To help you understand what it is actually like, you might like to try my simulator…

The sound is an MRI scan, with an Air Supply song being played to help take your mind away from the noise of the machine….

This video and music track will help you simulate an MRI scan in your own home!

Yes, all you need is a good bass speaker and a bucket (white would be best).

Now just follow the on-screen instructions…..
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If you have an MRI scan, you might be lucky and they won’t play music…..

Due to the nature of an MRI scan, you can’t have normal headphones. To get the music to you, they use a modern version of the speaking tubes used in days of old.

The music is played from a speaker away from the MRI machine and into a rubber tube. The tube splits off to your left and right ears.

Music is literally piped to you.

Unfortunately the MRI scan is so noisy, and the effectiveness of the sound tubes is so poor, the end result is, well…. crap.


Kick to Thrill

As you may be aware, I took up a boxing/cardio class to try and get myself in shape. I wrote THIS when I started out. I just wanted to do the boxing, get fit – not fight, and John was the guy who got that ball rolling.

It didn’t take long before I joined the kickboxing class… I just wanted to build up my fitness some more, along with co-ordination and flexibility. I had no desire to spar or even compete… mind you, only a few weeks previously I had had no desire to join a kickboxing class…

Time moves on and I’m really enjoying the continued challenge and camaraderie of the people… the friends… that I train with and have met through getting in to the sport.

On January the 22nd I took my first step on the grade ladder and earned my blue belt. It was definitely ‘earned’ as the grade class took 2.5hrs – and had no breaks. It was go, go, go from the start.

After the 2.5hrs finished I walked away with my belt, blistery feet that felt like I was walking on water filled bubble wrap, and a very dead arm from a round kick block…. and I loved it!

Many thanks to the guys I partnered with during the grading – I know it was all about the individual, but if you end up with a bad partner it’s going to take a Hell of a lot more effort. Thankfully JD’s training (Head honcho for SMA Kickboxing) meant that only those who were capable of gaining a grade were actually put in to take the grade.

Since the grading I am now able to take part in sparring… and I’m actually looking forward to that… which can only mean that sooner or later I’ll probably say “You know what? Maybe I will compete….” – but that’s most likely later, if ever!

Up until now I have been an ungraded guy training in a room of kickboxers – but now I am graded and I feel I can call myself a kickboxer (albeit one with so much to learn). Now that I have that belt, and I have all of my  protective gear (listed here on the SMA site) I am ready for those sparring classes!


A brief pause… and ZOMBIES!

Christmas came and went. New Year landed.

Lots of fun time was had with Chris and Alex as we spent quality time together. Thank you to those who sent greetings and/or gifts, they were greatly appreciated. Alex has had a wonderful time and is really getting into the Christmas thing.

Tesco, Earlier today.

Anyway… ZOMBIES!!!

At the supermarket  earlier I was surprised to see so many vacant eyed mouth breathers wandering around masticating on gum with their mouths open. Some even doing it as a family…

I wondered what was happening… and then it clicked… 2 days into the New Year and these were the New Year ‘resolutionary’ non-smokers.

I give them a week at best.

You see, the way I see it is; if you have to wait until New Year to set a resolution, then you probably don’t have what it takes to make it happen anyway.

If you really want to do/quit something that much, then why would you wait? Just do it.

You don’t believe me?  Tell this to someone who just set a resolution and watch them break sweat and reach for a cream cake and a cigarette as they realise that it is absolutely correct. See the realisation creep into their eyes as they understand how weak they really are, and how the resolution was never going to work….

I gave up smoking many, many years ago. At my worst I used to smoke 20/40 a day…. I simply decided enough was enough and stopped. No gum, no patch, no hypnotherapy. I used that long lost tool humankind seems to have let wither and almost die…. “Will Power” and “Getting the Hell on with it“.

You can do it – gum, patches, self help books, plastic cigarettes – these things may help a few people, but mostly they are there to make money off of you by convincing you that YOU ARE WEAK AND CAN’T QUIT WITHOUT THESE PRODUCTS….. they just want your money… You ARE strong enough… all you have to do is dust off that back bone and get on with it – and it’s in this area that hypnotherapy can really help. Yes… use it to unleash that will power – You don’t need drugs or patches or other gizmos…you already have it in you.


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