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Viewing posts categorised under: Back and Neck Pain

Remedial Massage Therapist Rosie

04.02.20

Rosie is our Remedial Muscle Therapist, and Swedish Relaxation Therapist.

Rosie has completed an advanced diploma in Soft Tissue Therapy at Kingscliff Tafe. These studies have laid down a solid foundation of awareness in the anatomy and functionality of the body. Rosie works with assessment and tactile massage tools to support the body. With these tools she can support you on getting out of pain, relieving tension, correcting compensation imbalances, and overall maintenance for physical and mental health.

Over the last year Rosie has also undertaken another bodywork course in Zenthai Shiatsu to help further deepen her understanding of the body and how it works/heals. This bodywork therapy looks through the lens of Ancient Traditional Chinese Medicine and Temple Thai massage, and works a lot more on the facial connective tissue (meridians) throughout the body. This modality has enabled Rosie to support others in healing that is not only physical but also psycho-emotional, nervous system balancing and stress relieving. Rosie also has studied 200hour multi-style yoga teacher training, which adds layers again onto her ability to understand the body and it’s movements, posture and alignment. Feel free to ask Rosie for some simple take-home yoga stretches/postures that will specifically support you and your body on your healing/health journey. Rosie is also happy to work hand-in-hand with your physio to obtain best results. For many cases the combination of physiotherapy and remedial massage therapy together, can accelerate your healing journey, and/or bring ease to maintaining and healthy functioning body (and mind). Call 6676 4000 to find out her availability!

 

Headache 

06.01.20

Headache    If you’re one of the 47% of the global population who experiences regular headaches, you’ll know they’re no laughing matter. For some people, they’re just a minor inconvenience, for others they can be utterly debilitating, condemning you to a dark, quiet room for hours, and sometimes even days.   The trouble is that successfully diagnosing a headache gets complicated, because more than 130 distinct disorders have been identified along with over 300 triggers, which makes a headache almost as unique as an individual. Luckily at Pottsville and Cabarita Physio we specialise in treating headache and can confidently determine if Physiotherapy will help you within the first session. Headache is a unique condition in that you can also simultaneously suffer one, two or more types of headache or a migraine at the same time, where one may cause another, or overlap with each other. These are known as mixed or multi-source headaches and can take longer to resolve as your therapist works through treating the different causes. For example, a dysfunctional painful neck can cause an increase in surrounding muscle spasm, which will increase your blood pressure. In this scenario, you could have a cervicogenic (neck) headache, with a tension headache and a resultant migraine! The most commonly diagnosed headaches are:

  • Migraines (12%)
  • Tension headache (75%)
  • Cervicogenic headache (originating from the neck) (18%)
  • Sinus headaches
If you only suffer from the occasional headache, this is often caused by lifestyle factors such as:  
  • Dehydration
  • Stress
  • Alcohol
  • Caffeine
  • Some foods
  • Skipped meals
  • Lack of sleep
  • Posture
  • Muscular tension
  • Medications
  • High blood pressure
  • Infection
  • Hormonal influences
  However, if you suffer from headaches more regularly, there is some good news, because two of the most common headaches, tension-type headaches and cervicogenic headaches (which originate from musculoskeletal issues in and around the neck) can be significantly improved, and even cured by physiotherapy, both in the short term, as well as the long term.   There is a robust body of research, as well as clinical evidence, showing that physiotherapy is an extremely effective treatment for certain types of headache.   Manual, hands-on therapy manipulating or mobilising your neck can be hugely beneficial in eliminating your headache; or at least reducing the intensity and duration of the headache. Soft tissue work including trigger point therapy and massage, can be effective in relieving spasm in the head and neck muscles which may contribute to your headache. Massage has also been shown to help people cope better during headache episodes, reducing associated stress and anxiety. In addition, poor posture and repetitive movements in your daily life, have also been shown to increase the risk of experiencing headaches as they can cause muscle imbalances, muscle weakness and strain the ligaments and soft tissues in the joints of your neck. In these cases corrective exercises to strengthen weak muscles and stretch tight muscles can be extremely effective.  Our Physios specialise in these corrective exercises. We have some more downloadable resources and advice sheets on each specific headache type at the following link. If you would like to understand more about how we can help in the treatment and prevention of headaches, please don’t hesitate to contact us directly on 02 6676 4000 / 02 6676 4577. https://www.facebook.com/pottsvillephysiotherapy

Don’t Get into Deep Water with Swimming Injuries

10.12.19

Don’t Get into Deep Water with Swimming Injuries

Swimming is one of the most popular sports in the world. We swim in the sea, pools, lakes, streams, rivers and even ponds. And given 70% of the Earth’s surface is water, we’re not short of opportunities. And while swimming is considered a ‘low-impact’ sport due to the fact that the water supports a large percentage of, more than 84% of regular swimmers suffer from some type of overuse type injury caused by swimming. Why? The main reason is the high repetition number and forceful nature of the shoulder revolutions which takes our shoulder joint through its full range of motion (which is one of the greatest of all our joints), against resistance, over and over again. And as 50-90% of the power generated to propel you forward comes from the shoulders, you can see why they are the most frequently injured joint. However, swimming also puts stress on your back, to hold you level in the water; on the neck when raising your head out of the water to breathe and if you favour breaststroke as a stroke, there’s added pressure from the unnatural twisting motion on the knees. So, despite it seeming to be a low-impact sport, swimming actually carries a surprisingly high risk of injury. Let’s take a look at those injuries, why they happen and what you can do about them. Swimming injuries generally stem from two sources, and often these sources will combine:
  1. Muscle imbalances
  2. Stroke technique issues
Muscle Imbalances Our everyday posture, particularly if you spend a lot of time sitting at desk or in a car, or generally not moving around, creates all sorts of muscle imbalances from short hamstrings, tight muscles around the neck, back and shoulders. We unconsciously adopt a curved forward upper back, round shoulders and chin poke, which not only add to shoulder problems in swimmers but neck pain too. Poor posture is the biggest culprit of short tight trapezius and pectoral muscles and weak anterior (front) neck and upper back muscles. These muscles can be painful and develop trigger points which are hyperactive spots in the muscle, commonly referring pain and causing headaches. Tight muscles may also limit your neck movements. Good posture ensures good alignment of the joints and ligaments which allows for optimal contraction of your muscles and off-loads underlying structures. Stroke Technique This a big topic to cover because it depends what stroke you’re swimming mostly with and what kind of injury you may have but issues include: a wide, swinging arm recovery which requires excessive internal rotation, causing impingement on the joint; thumb in first with hand entry, which again causes excessive internal rotation in the shoulder and a dropped elbow or straight arm pull through which creates a long lever and overloads the shoulder. What does all of this mean to you? You shouldn’t swim? You should reduce your training or change your sport? The bottom line is that the benefits of swimming - whether it’s for general fitness and physical activity, the desire to win competitions, or just to find your quiet place for stress relief - far outweigh the risk of injury.

   

Back Pain: The Chain of Command

26.11.19

Back Pain

The Chain of Command

Your spine is essentially the chain that forms the ‘backbone’ of your entire body. Without it you would be a blob of muscles, organs and soft tissue piled on the floor. Your spine commands respect because it is the pillar that supports your body, allows you to walk, stand and sit, as well as touch and feel; because it forms the canal connecting the nerves from your body and limbs, to your brain. While your heart may be the vital organ that keeps you alive, without your spine you wouldn’t be able to move. There are three natural curves in your spine that give it an "S" shape when viewed from the side. These curves help the spine withstand great amounts of stress by distributing your body weight. Between the bony vertebra are spongy discs that act as shock absorbers. The lumbar spine (or lower back) connects the thoracic spine to the pelvis, and bears the bulk of your body's weight. Your spine is not rigid though. It allows movement through the intervertebral joints connecting the bony vertebra. These joints allow you to twist, to bend forward and backward, and from side to side. Large groups of muscles surrounding the spine, pelvis, hips and upper body all interact to allow for movements like walking, running, jumping, and swimming. However, there are also muscles deep in your body that work constantly just to maintain your posture when you’re sitting and standing. It is essential that all elements of the spinal ‘chain’ work harmoniously together to ensure fluid movement without overloading structures resulting in injury and pain. Any link in the chain that becomes ‘stuck’ will not only affect that spinal level but also the movement and strength of the chain above and below it. If the muscles around the spine are uneven in strength and length (flexibility) this too can affect the ‘chain’, altering the alignment and motion of the links. Taking care of your spine now will help you lower the chances of experiencing back pain later. Many of the steps you can take to improve the overall health of your spine involve nothing more than practicing better body mechanics, or how you move and hold yourself, when you do daily tasks and activities.

Taking Care of Your Spine

Pay attention to early warning signs or pain. Although back pain is very common and nearly every person will experience at least one episode of back pain in a lifetime, it is essential to address any symptoms promptly. It has also been shown in studies that early treatment and rehabilitation can prevent recurrent bouts of back pain and prevent the development of chronic lower back pain which can be very debilitating, stressful and depressing. It can affect your ability to work, play sport, socialise and sleep, all of which can further compound your pain cycle. Your back pain could be due to inflamed ligaments, damaged intervertebral discs, nerve irritation, bony formations on the spine, muscle imbalances such as weakness or a lack of flexibility, leg length differences, or muscle strains, to name just a few. Even the way we move (or don’t move) at work, school or sport can all be an underlying cause to the current pain.

How Pottsville and Cabarita Physiotherapy Can Help with Back Pain

Your physiotherapist can treat the pain or stiffness experienced from back pain using massage, soft tissue mobilisation, spinal manipulation, heat, acupuncture and other devices. It is important that you, together with your physiotherapist work through a rehabilitation program (specific exercises and stretches) to correct underlying muscle weaknesses, flexibility issues, and the  sequence in which the muscles around your spine work to provide stability.  A physiotherapist can also give you advice on correcting posture / technique for work and sport. Chat to us today about what we can do to help Ph: 0266764000 / 02667644577

Back Pain and Sleep Issues

One of the most common issues back pain sufferers experience is sleep disruption so we have put together an interactive Back Pain and Sleep Guide to help you banish those sleepless nights and wake up feeling refreshed. The guide includes:  
  • 6 Strategies for Improving Your Sleep
  • 8 bedtime stretches to relieve back pain (with video links)
  • Sleeping positions that will help relieve pain (with links to videos)
  • 7 Yoga Poses that will help cure most back pain issues
  • A morning stretch routine that will help ease pain from a restless night (with videos)
  Click this link to find out more and download the guide Disclaimer: This information is intended as general guidance and information only and should not be relied upon as a basis for planning individual medical care or as a substitute for specialist medical advice in each individual case. https://www.facebook.com/pottsvillephysiotherapy  

Golf: The Most Dangerous Sport?

25.07.19

Golf: The Most Dangerous Sport?

The PGA may not look like it has much in common with professional rugby - but you may be surprised to learn that golfers are actually injured more often than rugby players. It’s true. In fact, 62% of amateurs and 85% of professionals will sustain a significant injury associated with playing golf. And with a staggering 60 million golfers worldwide - that’s a whole lot of people getting injured. The problem is, amateur golfers are usually out of shape or have poor swing mechanics, and professional golfers often overuse their muscles with frequent play. Trauma to the lower back accounts for one third of all injuries and can happen to anyone regardless of age or ability. There are a couple of logical reasons for this. Firstly, a good golf swing requires significant club-head speed, which is something that is only achieved by applying a lot of torque (force) and torsion (twisting) throughout your lower back. Secondly, compared to other sports, golf puts a lot of pressure on your spine. Consider the average golf swing produces a compression load on your back equal to 8 times your body weight, whereas a sport like running produces a compression load just 3 times your body weight.  

Golfers experiencing low back pain typically have one of the following types of injuries:

 
  • Muscle Strain or Ligamentous Sprain
  • Disc Injury
  • Altered Joint Mechanics or Motor Control
  • Degenerative Arthritis
  • Bone Fracture
  Other top golf-related injuries include trauma to the elbow, wrist/hand or shoulder. (So much for golf being a low-impact activity!)   It’s helpful to understand not only the types of injuries associated with golf but also the main causes of injury which include:
  • Frequency of repetitive practice (overworked muscles)
  • Suboptimal swing mechanics
  • Inadequate warm-up routine
  • Poor overall physical conditioning
With the average recovery time lasting 2-4 weeks, addressing the main causes of injury is well worth the effort. SO, the question is - How can you enjoy the wonderful game of golf while reducing your risk of injury? The simple answer is through targeted and routine conditioning.  Golf requires strength, endurance, flexibility and explosive power in order to play the game well - and not hurt yourself in the process. Physical conditioning routines designed specifically for golfers can help you stay on the green and out of pain. And as a bonus, conditioning your body to avoid injury while playing golf also helps you improve your game. An 11-week targeted conditioning program found participants:
  • Increased their clubhead speed by 7%
  • Improved their strength up to 56%
  • Improved their flexibility up to 39%
  • Increased their drive distance up to 15 yards with sustained accuracy
  Whether you’re a casual golfer or serious about your game we can help you avoid injury and improve your skills. That’s why we’d like to share with you fun, informative tips and tricks to help you stay injury - free  be sure to check out our Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/pottsvillephysiotherapy/ where we’re posting tips and tricks - whatever you’re doing.    

11 Lifestyle changes you need to make to CURE your HEADACHE

11.06.19

• Correct your posture: think tall all the time, avoid sitting and holding your head up with your hands. • Consider your ergonomics especially your computer set up and how you use your digital devices.  In particular, avoid a forward chin position and sustained head and neck rotation. • Learn to breathe properly: gentle breathing in and out through the nose with movement occurring at the solar plexus not in the shoulder region.  Breathing should be silent and invisible. You should feel the sides of your chest wall expanding as you breathe in, not your shoulders rising or your belly expanding. • Manage your stress levels, you may need to start a meditation practice.  There are many great apps (e.g.- head space, smiling mind etc) to help you get started.  This is particularly important if you clench or grind your teeth. • Get adequate sleep.  Aim to sleep with your head in a neutral position not rotated or side flexed. Aim for an absolute minimum of 8 hours every night. • Eat clean food: avoid processed food, excess alcohol and coffee.  Eat plenty of vegetables! • Drink a lot of water (at least 33ml per kg of body weight / day) add an extra 250ml for every caffeinated drink (such as coffee) you have. • Avoid carrying anything other than a very light bag on your shoulder • Avoid extending the head / looking up for long periods • Watch the position of your head while exercising – ensure you maintain a neutral head position, (i.e. – not look up or around). • Do not over do it when exercising particularly when using your arms and upper body.

Massage Therapy

14.05.19

Fact: It is estimated that 37% of the population of developed countries and 41% of developing countries, suffer from chronic pain.

It is one of the most common reasons why people visit Rosie at Pottsville and Cabarita Physio (up to 40% of visits).

Other common reasons include rehabbing sports injuries, relief of pain from accidents or muscle strains, relief of stress and as a form of preventative health care.

And also, just that good old relaxation that can only come from human touch.

What is massage therapy, exactly?

People with specific massage therapy training are highly knowledgeable about anatomy and physiology and are skilled diagnosticians with regards to chronic pain and how to treat it.

The underlying idea behind massage therapy is that a relaxed and loose muscular structure promotes the flow of energy through the body, which enables the body to maintain health and heal itself, without resorting to drugs or surgery.

Here are some common massage therapy modalities that you may encounter, ranging from simple relaxation to treatment of complex pain issues and connective tissue realignment.

Swedish Massage

This is your standard relaxation massage. Swedish massage is very popular in spa settings.

As one of the most popular types of bodywork performed today, the overarching goal of Swedish massage is the ultimate relaxation of the entire body. It is exceptional at achieving this, easing tension while promoting the release of environmental toxins stored in the body’s fat and epidermis layers while simultaneously increasing the oxygen levels in the blood.

Swedish massage has also been shown to produce significant reductions in the stress hormone, cortisol.

Trigger Point Therapy and Myofascial Release

A trigger point is a small area of tightly bound and ‘knotted’ muscle that will produce referred pain into another part of the body when pressed upon. For example, a trigger point in the rhomboid muscle in the upper back can produce headache-like pain at the base of the skull.

Trigger points such as these are often misdiagnosed as migraines.

Trigger points range in severity from mildly annoying to completely debilitative. The affected muscle fibres are in a permanently shortened and tense state, and can even pinch nearby nerves, producing even more related symptoms, sometimes spiraling into full-blown fibromyalgia, a disorder of the connective tissues.

This is one area where massage therapy has a distinct advantage over every other form of treatment. Conventional medicine’s answer to trigger points is usually an injection of a local anesthetic or a corticosteroid injection. Both of which are temporary, unnatural treatments and in the case of the corticosteroid, actually damaging to the tissues.

Massage therapy treats these by the application of pressure directly to the trigger point, going over time from light to very deep, (usually within the same session) whereupon the trigger point will begin to release and relax.

Follow-up treatment is nearly always needed to retrain the muscle fibers to lengthen and “smooth” back out. A good massage therapist can often boast a near 100% success rate with trigger point therapy, even when other treatments have failed.

Myofascial release is a broader application of this type of therapy that seeks to restore mobility and function to the body’s underlying network of connective tissue that is present in every muscle in the body. It improves lymph circulation (keeping the blood clean) and enhances the muscle’s natural stretch reflex, keeping the body supple and strong.

It should be noted that these types of massage therapy are not the same as a relaxing Swedish massage and can sometimes be quite painful as the body relaxes, releases, and returns to normal homeostasis. It’s important to communicate to us during your treatment if you are uncomfortable at any time.

Sports Massage

As the name implies, sports massage is focused on the athlete. From the highest level of competition, to the casual weekend warrior, sports massage therapists can be found everywhere from weekend 5ks to professional locker rooms and Olympic fields.

Sports massage focuses on both pre- and post- event training and recovery.

Pre- event for example, may involve stimulating a stretch reflex in the quadriceps muscle of a runner to help lengthen her stride, with repeated treatments resulting in a faster runner who is less prone to injury.

Post-event can take the form of a light, relaxing massage to stimulate healing blood flow to an overused muscle group, enabling the athlete to recover safer and faster, and enable them to perform at the top of their game sooner than otherwise would be the case. Rather than a specific technique as in trigger point or myofascial therapies, sport massage focuses on the dual goals of athletic performance and recovery and may borrow heavily on other modalities to achieve these ends.   Rosie is our skilled masseuse and is looking forward to helping you, to book in phone 0266764000 / 0266764577 For more information click http://bit.ly/2S96ETT https://www.facebook.com/pottsvillephysiotherapy

Is screen time affecting more than kids minds?

29.11.18

Is screen time affecting more than kids minds?

    The increased use of screens is probably the biggest change in childhood activity patterns since the introduction of the television 50 years ago. It is likely to have a big impact on children’s health and habits now and throughout their life. The high use of devices in childhood is likely to have a knock on effect later in life with increased risk of; • Obesity • Cardio and metabolic problems • Social and psychological issues • Musculoskeletal problems especially in the neck. Spending numerous hours in a poor neck posture with very little neck movement will make children more vulnerable to neck pain later in life.   There is a lot of research emerging that neck and back problems begin in adolescence – hence the importance of exploring prevention in childhood. The strongest predictor of whether you are going to suffer from neck or back pain in the future is if you have already had it, so stopping that first occasion of pain will have a significant impact! The research also suggests: • that children will also grow up with poor gross motor skills • Children who watch more TV or devices then their peers will have weaker bones by aged 20

Surveys suggest 2/3 of children aged 0-5 are spending at least 30 min per day on devices.

Australian Department of Health guidelines for screen time suggest that children under 2 have NO screen time.

Please click on the below links for guidelines for Physical activity for 0-5 year olds and 5 - 12 year olds.

Link for guidelines for physical activity for 0- 5 5-12 year olds  

Back Pain: The Chain of Command

29.08.18

Back Pain: The Chain of Command

Your spine is essentially the chain that forms the ‘backbone’ of your entire body. Without it you would be a blob of muscles, organs and soft tissue piled on the floor. Your spine commands respect because it is the pillar that supports your body, allows you to walk, stand and sit, as well as touch and feel; because it forms the canal connecting the nerves from your body and limbs, to your brain. While your heart may be the vital organ that keeps you alive, without your spine you wouldn’t be able to move. There are three natural curves in your spine that give it an "S" shape when viewed from the side. These curves help the spine withstand great amounts of stress by distributing your body weight. Between the bony vertebra are spongy discs that act as shock absorbers. The lumbar spine (or lower back) connects the thoracic spine to the pelvis, and bears the bulk of your body's weight. Your spine is not rigid though. It allows movement through the intervertebral joints connecting the bony vertebra. These joints allow you to twist, to bend forward and backward, and from side to side. Large groups of muscles surrounding the spine, pelvis, hips and upper body all interact to allow for movements like walking, running, jumping, and swimming. However, there are also muscles deep in your body that work constantly just to maintain your posture when you’re sitting and standing. It is essential that all elements of the spinal ‘chain’ work harmoniously together to ensure fluid movement without overloading structures resulting in injury and pain. Any link in the chain that becomes ‘stuck’ will not only affect that spinal level but also the movement and strength of the chain above and below it. If the muscles around the spine are uneven in strength and length (flexibility) this too can affect the ‘chain’, altering the alignment and motion of the links. Taking care of your spine now will help you lower the chances of experiencing back pain later. Many of the steps you can take to improve the overall health of your spine involve nothing more than practicing better body mechanics, or how you move and hold yourself, when you do daily tasks and activities.

Taking Care of Your Spine

Pay attention to early warning signs or pain. Although back pain is very common and nearly every person will experience at least one episode of back pain in a lifetime, it is essential to address any symptoms promptly. It has also been shown in studies that early treatment and rehabilitation can prevent recurrent bouts of back pain and prevent the development of chronic lower back pain which can be very debilitating, stressful and depressing. It can affect your ability to work, play sport, socialise and sleep, all of which can further compound your pain cycle. Your back pain could be due to inflamed ligaments, damaged intervertebral discs, nerve irritation, bony formations on the spine, muscle imbalances such as weakness or a lack of flexibility, leg length differences, or muscle strains, to name just a few. Even the way we move (or don’t move) at work, school or sport can all be an underlying cause to the current pain.

How Physiotherapy Can Help with Back Pain

Your physio can treat the pain or stiffness experienced from back pain using massage, soft tissue mobilisation, spinal manipulation, heat, acupuncture and other devices. It is important that you, together with your physio work through a rehabilitation programme (specific exercises and stretches) to correct underlying muscle weaknesses, flexibility issues, and the sequence in which the muscles around your spine work to provide stability. A physio can also give you advice on correcting posture / technique for work and sport. Should you need referral to another professional your physio can also help with this, for example, a dietician to counsel on a meal plan to achieve a healthy body weight. Being active can also help prevent as well as cure back pain. Chat to us today about what we can do to help. Ph 02 6676 4000

Back Pain and Sleep Issues

One of the most common issues back pain sufferers experience is sleep disruption so we have put together an interactive Back Pain and Sleep Guide to help you banish those sleepless nights and wake up feeling refreshed. The guide includes: • 6 Strategies for Improving Your Sleep • 8 bedtime stretches to relieve back pain (with video links) • Sleeping positions that will help relieve pain (with links to videos) • 7 Yoga Poses that will help cure most back pain issues A morning stretch routine that will help ease pain from a restless night (with videos) Click this link to find out more and download the guide Disclaimer: This information is intended as general guidance and information only and should not be relied upon as a basis for planning individual medical care or as a substitute for specialist medical advice in each individual case.

Postural Changes in Pregnancy

20.08.18

Postural Changes in Pregnancy