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THE ART OF THE BREATH

11.05.20

THE ART OF THE BREATH Breathing correctly promotes a sense of calm, helps us to de-stress and also promotes physical healing. We are all breathing all day everyday but most of us are not breathing correctly! Some common mistakes are: -breathing too quickly -breathing too shallow using our neck muscles rather than our diaphragm -breathing unevenly with lots of sighs and yawns -breathing through our mouth Start learning to breath properly again by focusing on the following: 1. Be sure to breathe through your nose - in and out all the time, even when exercising.  Your nose is designed to filter air and make it the perfect temperature and humidity. 2. Focus on each breath becoming smoother and slower.  We should aim to breathe 12 times per minute (many of us are breathing 16+ times per minute) 3. Your breathe should be even and silent - avoid noisy sighs and yawns 4. use your diaphragm and belly muscles to breathe.  Your shoulders should not move up and down to breathe. Learning to improve your breathing will help improve so many physical and psychological ailments.

The low down on Hip Replacement

25.02.20

The low down on Hip Replacement

The current state of affairs

Hip replacements are becoming increasingly common. Currently 1.3 people in every 1,000 will undergo a hip replacement operation, and more than 1.2 million are carried out each year worldwide. The biggest risk factors for needing a hip replacement are age and arthritis, with 85% of people having a hip replacement, also having osteoarthritis. In terms of gender, women have a higher risk of needing a hip replacement (58%) compared with men (42%). Hip replacement surgery in patients aged 45-54 has also doubled in the past 10 years.

What can we do, to reduce the risk of needing a hip replacement?

Physical activity helps. Running decreases your risk of developing osteoarthritis by 18% and as osteoarthritis is present in 85% of people who undergo a hip replacement, this has a knock-on effect in reducing your risk of needing a hip replacement by 35-50%. And if you’re not up for running that’s OK, walking can also reduce the risk of needing hip surgery, although by a smaller percentage (23%). Almost half of the protective effective of being physically active comes from weight control. The higher your BMI, the greater your risk of needing a hip replacement.  

And what can you do if you’re already experiencing hip pain?

If you need a hip replacement then the sooner you have it, the better the outcome is likely to be and the quicker you will recover from your operation. This is because the more pain you suffer prior to having surgery, the more compensations and adaptations the muscles and soft tissues will have made around the joint, in an effort to try and protect it and you from that pain, and the harder that will be to re-train once you’ve had the operation. That’s not to say it can’t be done, it will just take a bit longer and need a bit more of an investment in your time and energy. The good news is that outcomes from hip replacements are very good. Developments in materials and surgical techniques, mean that the artificial hips are lasting longer, and success rates are very good, with more than 80% of people experiencing pain relief and functional improvement, meaning their daily lives become easier and they’re able to do more.  

We hope you find this information helpful and if you have any questions or queries, please feel free to get in contact with us 6676 4000 or 6676 4577.

We are running the GLA:D program as a preventative for surgery for hips and knees with osteoarthritis.

Follow this link to read more - GLA:D program Pottsville and Cabarita Physiotherapy.

 

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

RUN: Better, Faster, Longer, Stronger

26.08.19

RUN: Better, Faster, Longer, Stronger

Do you dream of being that runner where every step of every mile is 100% pain free? No aches, no twinges or niggles, no lingering soreness from yesterday’s session. You are not alone; research shows that as many as 79% of runners get injured at least once during the year. Stop. Think about that number for a moment; nearly 8 out of every 10 runners you see at your next race have been or will be injured sometime that year. Think of running pains in terms of a spectrum. At one end you have severe, full-blown injuries, we’ll name that the red zone, which includes stress fractures that require time off. The other end, where you're in top form, is the green zone. Mild, transient aches that bug you one day and disappear the next sit closer to the green end. Unfortunately, many runners get stuck in the middle, in the not-quite-injured but not-quite-healthy yellow zone. Your ability to stay in the green zone depends largely on how you react to that first stab of pain. Often a little rest now, or reduction in training mileage and intensity, with some treatment, can prevent a lot of time off later. Developing a proactive long-term injury-prevention strategy, such as strength training, stretching, regular massage and foam-rolling can help keep you in the ‘green.’ Physical therapy is a lot like homework, not all of us like having to do it, but if you don't do it, you’re sure to get in trouble at some stage!

What Causes Running Injuries?

There are a lot of theories as to what causes running injury but it seems the answer is fairly obvious: running! Research has stated that “running practice is a necessary cause for RRI (Running Related Injury) and, in fact, the only necessary cause.” With running being the key risk factor for running injuries what other factors influence risk? Historically a lot of emphasis was placed on intrinsic factors like leg length discrepancy, pronation (flat foot), high arches, genu valgus/varum (knock knee or bow legged) and extrinsic factors like ‘special’ running shoes being stability shoes or anti-pronation shoes, lack of stretching. However, recent studies have shown there is no one specific risk factor that has a direct cause-effect relationship with injury rate or injury prevention. Whilst warming up, compression garments, acupuncture and massage have some evidence in reducing injury rates it is all a little grey. Leaving you with a multifactorial buffet of probable contributing causes to running injuries. There is however one specific factor that has been proven, and that is training error. Estimates suggest that anywhere from 60 to as much as 80% of running injuries are due to training errors. Runners become injured when they exceed their tissues capacity to tolerate load. A combination of overloading with inadequate recovery time. Poorly perfused tissues, such as ligaments, tendons and cartilage, are particularly at risk because they adapt more slowly than muscles to increased mechanical load. Factors that affect how much training load a runner can tolerate before injury will also have a role. There are 2 key factors that appear to play a part in this – Body Mass Index (BMI > 25) and history of previous injury, especially in the last 12 months. While high BMI and previous injury may reduce the amount of running your body can manage, strength and conditioning is likely to increase it. There is a growing body of evidence supporting the use of strength training to reduce injury risk and improve performance. Training error and injury risk share a complex relationship - it may not be that total running mileage on its own is key but how quickly this increases, hill and speed training. The old saying of “too much, too soon” is probably quite accurate. Injury prevention is really a ‘mirror image’ of the causes of an injury. So, if you understand the primary reasons for getting injured then you are heading in the right direction to staying healthy this running season.   What are The Most Common Injuries to be Aware of? Body tissues such as muscles and tendons are continuously stressed and repaired on a daily basis, as a result of both 'normal' functional activities and sport. An overuse injury often occurs when a specific tissue fails to repair in the time available, begins to breakdown initially at microscopic level and then over time develops into a true injury. So, the first time you feel a soreness, a stiffness or a pain is not necessarily when it all began. The most common injury is ‘runners knee’ or patellofemoral pain syndrome and accounts for over 40% of running injuries. This is followed closely by plantar fasciitis, achilles tendinopathy and then ITB (iliotibial band syndrome), shin splints and hamstring strain. These injuries generally need complete rest or at least a reduction in training volume and intensity. Followed by physical therapy to promote tissue healing and mobility. Although these are overuse injuries there is frequently an underlying muscle weakness and/or flexibility issue that needs to be addressed with specific rehabilitation exercises. If you do pick up an injury (including 'tightness' 'irritation' or 'niggle') that you’re worried about then we can help, the sooner it’s treated the better.   And don’t forget to check out our Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/pottsvillephysiotherapy  

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.

OSTEOARTHRITIS OF THE KNEE – Day to Day Tips

26.02.19

Day to day Tips 

 
  • Pace your activities through the day – don’t tackle all the physical jobs at once.
  • Wear low-heeled shoes with soft, thick soles (trainers are ideal). Thicker soles will act as shock absorbers.
  • Use a walking stick to reduce the weight and stress on your painful knee.
  • Use the handrail for support when climbing stairs.
  • Don’t keep your knee still in a bent position for too long, it will stiffen up.
  • Think about modifying your home, car or workplace to reduce unnecessary strain on your knee.
  • Learn to relax your muscles and let the tension out of your body.
  • Use heat/ice packs to help eases pain and stiffness.
  • Knee braces for osteoarthritis are available.
  • Speak to your doctor or therapist first for recommendations or referrals for any of the above.

Don’t Let Yourself Be Sidelined by Tennis Injuries

01.02.19

Don’t Let Yourself Be Sidelined by Tennis Injuries

  Tennis is one of the most popular sports throughout the world, with approximately 75 million participants worldwide. It is a sport that you can play at every age and at every level. Children can start playing from the age of 4, using softer, slower balls and smaller rackets on modified courts to make the game easier and more fun, gradually progressing to regular rackets, balls and courts. Older players can start the sport at any age and can continue playing all their life. Whether you are looking for the competitive club league tennis or a more social game amongst friends, tennis is an excellent sport with loads of health benefits. Tennis is a fun and social (as well as competitive) way to add to your weekly activity goals.

Here are some amazing benefits of participating in regular activities like tennis:

1.    Increased brain power From alertness to tactical thinking, tennis enhances the neural connections in your brain. Kids who play tennis regularly get better grades at school. 2.    Better hand–eye coordination Playing tennis involves regular skills that all contribute to good hand–eye coordination. You can improve your agility, balance, coordination, reaction time and more. This can benefit you in injury prevention where improved balance and agility can help protect against rolling an ankle or tripping and falling often resulting in sprains or Colles fracture of the wrist or worse a hip fracture in older age. 3.    Reduced stress Tennis involves physical, mental, social and emotional challenges, which increase your capacity to deal with stress. Or simply running around smashing some balls may help you to blow off some stress too! 4.    Strong heart Compared with other sports, tennis players have the lowest incidence of cardiovascular disease. Playing just 3 hours a week will reduce your risk of heart disease by 56%. 5.    Higher fitness levels Playing tennis on a regular basis (2–3 times/week), either singles or doubles, meets the global exercise recommendations and leads to increased fitness levels. Tennis is an excellent interval training technique - running, stopping, burst of activity then rest between points or games (which elevates and then lowers heart rate repeatedly through a match) which is proven to be hugely beneficial in improving fitness levels and in cardiovascular conditioning too. The effect is not only seen in elite players but with recreational tennis too. 6.    Leaner body Tennis is an excellent and fun way to burn calories and lose weight. An hour of singles play can burn 580–870 calories. A lower body weight has immense benefits in preventing and managing cardiovascular diseases including diabetes, and a lighter frame will reduce loading on your back and joints reducing joint pain and possible arthritis in older age. 7.    Strong bones Playing tennis on a regular basis leads to stronger, healthier bones. This effect is strongest in those who play tennis from an early age, but even if you start playing tennis later in life you can benefit from the positive effect on your bones. This is applicable to both women and men combating the development of osteoporosis a.k.a. brittle bones with ageing. 8.    Strong leg muscles Playing tennis strengthens your leg muscles, which helps maintain your mobility and independence in old age.

The Secret is Staying Injury Free

But these health benefits won’t be very fruitful is you are sitting side-lined because of injuries and while some injuries are quick to repair, others can take a couple of weeks and others may be more stubborn, taking 6 weeks or more. What’s more frustrating, and unfortunately very common, is the risk of re-injury. One of the greatest risk factors for an ankle sprain or a muscle strain (tear) is having suffered from a previous sprain or strain. Nearly 2/3rds of tennis injuries are chronic overuse injuries, many of which are caused by poor technique, incorrect equipment use and lack of physical conditioning

Acute injuries, like an ankle sprain or calf strain, although sudden and unpredictable can also be prevented with adequate preparation and appropriate conditioning. Chat to one of our friendly staff for more information on how to prevent common tennis injuries and stay in the game longer!

Cancer and Exercise

      The potential benefits of exercise during and after treatment are significant and research has proved its effectiveness. Exercise during chemotherapy can help ease side effects, such as fatigue and nausea, and can help to boost the immune system of those undergoing cancer treatments. Chemotherapy side effects can sometimes make exercising tough, but it’s recommended to try to be as active as possible during treatment. Benefits of an appropriately prescribed exercise program in this population include improved:

  • Muscle mass, strength, power
  • Cardiorespiratory fitness
  • Physical function
  • Physical activity levels
  • Range of motion
  • Immune function
  • Chemotherapy completion rates
  • Reduced anxiety and depression

Balance – Are you Losing your Balance?

13.12.18

Losing some of our balance is part of the ageing process.

This can become a problem for older adults, making them more susceptible to falls and injury.

The good news?

Exercise and balance training can help to prevent falls.

Frequent falls can not only lead to injuries, but can also hinder one’s ability to live independently. Although losing our balance appears to be the number one cause of falls in older adults, we can start to have falls for a number of reasons. Some of these include:
  • Loss of lower limb strength/sensation
  • Cognitive impairments/slowed reaction times
  • Multiple medications
  • Poor eye sight
  • Poor grip strength
   Although exercise may not be able to improve things like eyesight, it can significantly improve your strength, body awareness and help improve your cognitive ability! Exercise alone has been shown to effectively prevent falls when delivered to people within the community. The amount of risk reduction and rate of falls reduction has been shown to be anywhere between 20% – 35% with the introduction of a balance and strength program. It is recommended to complete at least 2 hours of structured exercise per week for the prevention of falls. This exercise should not only include balance exercises, but also some strength training! This also doesn’t mean that 2 hours has to be done in a single session. Do what works best for you. It may be 20 minutes of training everyday of the week, 30 minutes every second day, or an hour of exercise completed twice a week. Balance training should be of a difficulty that poses a challenge and may cause one to lose their balance, but does not place them at risk of having a fall. Some balance exercises may include:
  • Standing on unstable surfaces
  • Adapting and holding difficult postures
  • Functional exercises like step taps
  A decrease in lower limb (and even upper limb) strength has been identified as a risk factor for falls. It’s therefore important to train for strength too. It’s never too late to start lifting weights! Strength training may include using your own bodyweight, bands, weights and cable machines to provide resistance. Interestingly, those people who are susceptible to falls and already have frequent falls aren’t recommended to walk as a form of exercise. Walking increases the exposure and chance that we may catch our foot on one of those sneaky cracks in the pavement and fall. Research suggests it’s best to get balanced and strong again before heading out for a stroll.

Although exercise is a fantastic way to decrease your falls risk, there are more benefits! You can improve flexibility, manage weight, and reduce your risk of developing chronic conditions like cardiovascular disease, diabetes and osteoporosis. Regular physical activity can also improve your mental health.

 

Osteoporosis

15.10.18

Osteoporosis is a condition where bones are weakened so they are more likely to fracture.
This is due to bone tissue loss that is a result of ageing.  Gradual bone loss begins around 30-40 years of age.  The rate of loss accelerates for women at the time of menopause as oestrogen is protective of bone up to that time.
Lifestyle factors such as inactivity and inadequate dietary calcium and vitamin D all increase the risk of osteoporosis.
Loss of muscle strength and balance with age as well as disuse increase the risk of falling.  Many osteoporotic fractures (including over 90% of hip fractures) occur as a direct result of a fall. The spine, hip and wrist are the most common fracture sites but any bone can be affected.
Osteoporosis often remains undetected until a person suffers a fracture.  The standard accepted method to diagnosis osteoporosis is dual-energy x-ray absorptiometry (DXA), a very low-dose x-ray examination. Scans are usually performed at the hip and spine and provide a T-Score which indicates how an individual’s bone mass compares to the average bone mass of others of the same race and sex at age 20. Weight bearing exercise is the best way to prevent osteoporosis in those with normal or slightly low bone mass.

DXA Bone Density scan

A person with very low bone mass however is at increased risk of low trauma fracture and so should perform lower impact exercises such as Clinical Pilates, Tai Chi, line dancing, stair climbing, and low-moderate impact aerobics.
Exercises to strengthen the back muscles are beneficial, however correct technique should be emphasised.  
Any new exercise program should be initiated carefully, monitored closely and progress gradually.  Gains in bone from exercise in adulthood will be lost if the exercise is stopped.  High impact activities may not be practical for individuals with painful joints but gradual introduction is likely to be beneficial
Osteoporotic men and women should:  
  • Aim to exercise 4–5 times per week for 40 minutes
  • Engage in a variety of lower intensity exercises designed to optimise balance, muscle strength and endurance to prevent falls
  • Clinical Pilates based programme's  that include back muscle strengthening and balance activities like standing on one leg, heel-to-toe walking along a line, stepping sideways over objects and walking on tip toe are ideal