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Viewing posts categorised under: Spine

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  

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.