Putting a stop to incontinence

Putting a stop to incontinence

Do you leak when you laugh? Its time to raise awareness for the 5 million+ Australians who experience bladder or bowel incontinence. Yes, it really is THAT common! This can be a very debilitating condition, but unfortunately, a lot of people suffer in silence through fear of speaking out, due to the embarrassing nature of the problem.

What you may not realise is that the majority of incontinence cases can be treated, and a lot of the time, stopped completely. So, to try and help break the silence surrounding incontinence, we are going to give you a little run down on what it is, who it affects, and some tips on what you can do to help.

WHAT IS INCONTINENCE?

Incontinence is the term used to describe the uncontrollable loss of urine from the bladder or faeces from the bowel. It ranges in severity from losing only a very small amount of urine, to a complete void of the bladder or bowel. If you’ve never experienced this, you can only imagine how distressing this must be. There are different types of urinary incontinence, including:

  • STRESS INCONTINENCE, where small amounts of urine leak due to small increases in pressure on the bladder during physical activity, or from coughing, sneezing or laughing.
  • URGE INCONTINENCE, where you get an unexpected, strong urge to urinate with little to no warning. This is usually as a result of an overactive bladder muscle.
  • INCONTINENCE ASSOCIATED WITH CHRONIC RETENTION, where your bladder cannot empty fully, and you get regular leakage of small amounts of urine. There are many causes for this, including an enlarged prostate in men, or prolapsed pelvic organs in women, as well as medications and certain conditions, such as diabetes and kidney disease.
  • FUNCTIONAL INCONTINENCE, where you are unable to get to the toilet, possibly due to immobility, or wearing clothes that are not easy to get off in time.

Faecal incontinence is when you have a lack of control of bowel movements and you may accidentally pass a bowel movement, or even pass wind without meaning to. This may be due to weak muscles surrounding the back passage (Unfortunately ladies, this is common following pregnancy and childbirth), or if you have severe diarrhoea.

TAKING THE STRESS OUT OF INCONTINENCE

For all those suffering in silence, it is time to speak out.  There is no need to be embarrassed, it is surprisingly common – and like we have already mentioned, help is out there! You may not need to look very far. Being your local Osteopath, we may be able to help.

The most common type of incontinence that we see and treat is stress incontinence. Although seen across both sexes, women are three times more likely to experience it than men. It is very common in women following pregnancy and childbirth (when the pelvic floor muscles get over-stretched, and sometimes even damaged), during menopause (due to hormonal changes) and in the elderly. It commonly affects men who have had prostate surgery.

The pelvic floor muscles sit at the bottom of the pelvic bowl, spanning from the pubic bone to the tailbone (front to back) and from one sitting bone to the other (side to side). Imagine a tarpaulin stretched out with a person holding each corner and you kind of get the gist. When these muscles are strong, they help to support our internal pelvic organs (i.e. the bladder, bowel and the uterus in women) and wrap around the openings of the front and back passages, allowing us to control when we decide to do a number one or two. Following pregnancy for example, they may become weak and dysfunctional, and we can lose that ability to control voiding. It only takes something as small as a cough, or an activity like jumping or running (things many of us take for granted) that may cause a person to lose a small amount of urine.

WHAT WE CAN DO TO HELP

The most important thing to point out is that not all types of incontinence will improve or resolve with just strengthening of weak pelvic floor muscles. So, it is very important to get an accurate diagnosis, because there will likely be other factors that need addressing too. For instance, losing weight, stopping smoking, and making other lifestyle changes are just as important in the management of these conditions, if relevant to the person of course. Some people may also require release of tight and over-active muscles.

Once you have your diagnosis, then strengthening may well be a part of your therapy. In order to strengthen, you need to know where the muscles are, and how to activate them. Below is a little step by step guide to getting a grip on those pelvic floor muscles (we don’t mean literally!):

  1. Get in a comfortable position – try sitting or lying on your back and take a few breaths to relax.
  2. Imagine you are trying to stop yourself from urinating mid-stream by squeezing for about a second. If this is not easy to feel, next time you are on the toilet emptying your bladder, have a go at stopping mid-stream and then relaxing again to finish emptying (don’t hold it for too long please – just enough to feel which muscles you need to use).
  3. Do the same as step two for the back passage – this time imagine you are trying to stop yourself from passing wind by squeezing.
  4. Do these quick squeezes 3 x 20 reps a day. Once you’re comfortable, you can do it sitting or standing. Make it routine… Do it when you’re brushing your teeth, eating lunch, or in the ad breaks of your favourite TV show.

These two contractions together form the basis of what you need to be able to do to begin your pelvic floor muscle training. If you struggle to feel this, then ask for help from your therapist. They will be able to help you perfect the activation of the correct muscles.

We hope you have found this blog interesting and helpful. If you, or someone you know is looking for answers to questions and advice on the management of these conditions, then please get in touch. We are ready to offer advice and/or treatment. 

References

  1. Continence Foundation of Australia. 2019. World Continence Week. [Online]. [Accessed 07 May 2019]. Available from: https://www.continence.org.au/events_calendar.php/482/world-continence-week
  2. Continence Foundation of Australia. 2019. Laugh Without Leaking. [Online]. [Accessed 07 May 2019]. Available from: http://www.laughwithoutleaking.com.au
  3. Continence Foundation of Australia. 2019. Key Statistics. [Online]. [Accessed 08 May 2019]. Available from: https://www.continence.org.au/pages/key-statistics.html
  4. Milsom, I. and Gyhagen, M. 2018. The Prevalence of Urinary Incontinence. Climacteric. 22(3). 217-222. DOI: 10.1080/13697137.2018.1543263
  5. Continence Foundation of Australia. 2019. Pelvic Floor Muscles in Women. [Online]. [Accessed 08 May 2019]. Available from: https://www.continence.org.au/pages/pelvic-floor-women.html

Five tips for digestive bliss

Five tips for digestive bliss

June is bowel cancer awareness month, so we’re here to give you tips on how to keep your digestive system healthy and reduce the risk of disease.

Whether you are a professional soccer player, a tradie or an office worker, a healthy digestive system is key to you being able to function and carry out your daily tasks. Our bodies break down the food we eat into energy and this is what allows us to kick a ball, drill a hole, or sit and type on the computer. Now, your digestive system will only work properly if you feed it the right stuff… So don’t expect to last the 90 minutes and be at the top of your game if all you do is gorge on deep fried or fast food. That’s just a fast track to the subs bench and unhappy insides!

Try out these little gems of advice to ensure your digestive system stays healthy, so you can give 100% every single day:

1. DRINK LOTS OF WATER: We’ll make this one nice and simple… Your body needs water for almost everything! From maintaining the health of every cell in your body, to keeping your blood fluid – you can see it’s pivotal for life to exist. Water is also needed for creating your digestive juices used to break down food and preventing digestive complaints like constipation.

2. EAT A HIGH FIBRE DIET: Fibre is basically all the parts of plant-based foods that we are unable to breakdown and digest. There are different types. ‘Soluble’ fibre (found in fruits, vegetables & legumes) helps to keep you feeling fuller for longer and helps to control blood sugar levels and lower cholesterol. ‘Insoluble’ fibre (found in the skin of fruits and vegetables, wholegrain breads/cereals, and nuts and seeds) absorbs water helping to bulk out and soften our stools and aids in the regulation of bowel movements. Having a good mix is important to prevent diseases such as constipation, bowel cancer, diabetes, and heart disease.

high fibre diet

3. EAT A PROBIOTIC: Probiotics are the bacteria found living in our gut. They are responsible for providing the ideal environment for getting the most nutrients out of the food we eat. They also protect us from the effects of nasty bacteria that may show their faces at different points. Without them, we wouldn’t exist. Sometimes our stores of bacteria can be put under threat, like when we are ill, stressed for long periods, or after a course of antibiotics. Having a poor diet can also be bad for them. Luckily, we can eat foods like probiotic or ‘live’ yoghurt and kefir daily to help keep our gut well-populated with these little soldiers.

4. GET PLENTY OF EXERCISE: The benefits of exercise are endless! When you move, it helps to promote movement of food through your gut, which keeps everything functioning well and helps to reduce the risk of digestive problems like constipation. So, move every day because your gut doesn’t tend to go on holiday for days here and there. It is always working hard for you!

5. LIMIT INTAKE OF ALCOHOL AND SMOKING: Too much of anything is a bad thing, but the effects of too much booze and cigarettes on the digestive system are well documented. Heavy, long term intake may lead to conditions such as reflux, digestive ulcers, and possibly more severe disease such as oesophageal, stomach and bowel cancer.

Remember, you really are what you eat. Gut health is so important for you to do the things you want to do – work, playing with the kids, sports, everything! So don’t be surprised if your Osteopath or Acupuncturist throws in some questions regarding digestive health when they’re treating you. It’s much more than just muscles and bones. We will delve deep if we need to, to make sure you are at the top of your game.

References

  1. State Government of Victoria. 2014. Water – a vital nutrient. [Online]. [Accessed 03 May 2019]. Available from: https://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/health/healthyliving/water-a-vital-nutrient
  2. Nutrition Australia. 2014. Fibre. [Online]. [Accessed 03 May 2019]. Available from: http://www.nutritionaustralia.org/national/resource/fibre
  3. Webster-Gandy, J., Madden, A., Holdsworth, M. eds. 2012. Oxford Handbook of Nutrition and Dietetics. Oxford: Oxford University Press
  4. Enders, G. 2015. Gut – the inside story of our body’s most under-rated organ. Melbourne: Scribe Publications
  5. Drinkaware. 2019. Is alcohol harming your stomach. [Online]. [Accessed 04 May 2019]. Available from: https://www.drinkaware.co.uk/alcohol-facts/health-effects-of-alcohol/effects-on-the-body/is-alcohol-harming-your-stomach/
  6. State Government of Victoria. 2019. Smoking – effects on your body. [Online]. [Accessed 04 May 2019]. Available from: https://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/health/healthyliving/smoking-effects-on-your-body

Attention all new Mum’s!

Attention all new Mum’s!

Being a parent can be very challenging at the best of times. And especially if you’re a new mum. It doesn’t matter whether it’s your first, second, or fifth child, being a new mum comes with a whole host of daily challenges. Your new little human requires all your attention – feeding constantly, changing eight nappies a day, bathing… Throw in another child, other family members, work, groceries (and the list continues) into the equation and it’s easy to see how life can be taxing on you and your body.

The good news is, we’ve devised a little self-help guide for new mums! Below we give you tips on how to be kind to your body and not put yourself at risk of injury, so you can give your little munchkin the attention they need.

FEEDING

You’re going to be doing a lot of this. Your new recruit requires constant nourishment to ensure they grow strong and stay healthy. And it doesn’t matter whether you breast or bottle feed, it’s likely you are going to be seated for long periods, looking down at your baby. This all leads to extra strain through your neck, back and shoulders. So, try some of these little gems of advice to help keep this process pain free:

  1. Get a comfortable, supportive chair – pick a chair that is going to feel good to sit in, but one you can easily get up and down from. If it’s too low, allowing you to slouch right back into, you’ll struggle to move yourself and your baby around without compromising your back.
  2. Keep your neck moving – feeding is a great time to bond with your baby. Eye contact is important but try not to spend the whole time looking down at a funny angle. Once your baby is comfortable feeding, it’s OK to break that eye contact every now and then to move your neck. Doing some light stretches will ensure you don’t end up with sore, overworked muscles.
  3. Consider a feeding pillow – these are great for taking the weight of your baby, so your shoulders and arms don’t have to. And they still allow you to have that important close contact.
  4. If you have a partner who can help feed, allow them to help regularly to give you a break. This tip is more for the bottle feeders of course, but it can make a huge difference.

CHANGING

It’s going to be nappies galore! This can mean a lot of bending over, so it’s important you look after your posture so your lower back doesn’t take all the strain. Try to avoid changing your baby on the floor in these early days. Ideally, get yourself a changing table. It means you can place your baby down on the table and change them at a height where you don’t have to bend forward and hold an awkward position. And of course, the same advice can be followed when changing your baby’s clothes. Look after that back, you’re going to need it!

OTHER USEFUL TIPS

The following tips are by no means any less important, so try to take these on where possible:

  1. Sleep when your baby sleeps: Getting those extra hours in when your baby is taking a nap is important to conserve your energy and reduce the risk of fatigue.
  2. Eat and drink well: It’s easy for the focus to turn to your baby, and rightly so, they are little and dependent on you. Remember though, you can’t look after your baby if you aren’t well. Eat for the health of you and your baby – lots of water and good nutritious food such as fruit and vegetables!
  3. Stretch: Especially your shoulders, neck and chest. Once baby comes along, our arms are always in front of us. Whether it’s holding, feeding, changing or playing, we’re usually a little slumped in our shoulders. Build stretching into your routine (like every time after baby feeds for example). We want to reverse the ‘slump’ position, so take your arms out wide, open up your chest and hold for 30 seconds (and repeat). Aim to do this three times a day (or whenever you get the chance!). Gentle shoulder shrugs and neck stretches can also help.
  4. Take time to relax: When the opportunity arises, get your partner, grandparent or friend to look after your newborn while you take a bath, read a book, or close your eyes for a little while. You deserve it, and it helps keep you sane and grounded during a very busy period in your life.

We hope you’ve found our list of tips interesting and helpful. If you are ever unsure, have a niggle or need some further advice on breastfeeding, please do not hesitate to call us to discuss your needs and book to an appointment with Reena who is a Lactation Consultant (IBCLC) and Osteopath with a special interest in helping new mum’s and babies navigate the early parenting period. Alternatively, you can access the online diary here to find a time that suits you and your baby.

References:

  1. Everymum – https://www.everymum.ie/baby/expert-advice-5-practical-posture-tips-for-new-moms/
  2. Womens Health Australia – https://www.womenshealth.com.au/prenatal-postnatal-posture

Living well with diabetes – It affects more of us than you think.

Living well with diabetes – It affects more of us than you think.

Are you living with Diabetes? It can be very overwhelming managing this condition, particularly in the early stages following diagnosis. We’ve put together a little fact sheet and given some tips on things you can do to manage your condition and live well with Diabetes.

WHAT IS DIABETES?

In a nutshell, Diabetes (or correctly named – Diabetes Mellitus or DM) is a condition characterised by increased levels of sugar in the blood, resulting from the body’s inability to either produce or correctly make use of a hormone called Insulin. Insulin helps move sugar (called ‘glucose’) in the blood into the cells around the body so we have energy to function. There are a few different types of DM:

  1. Type 1: The body does not produce enough insulin due to cell damage of the pancreas – the organ in the body that produces insulin.
  2. Type 2: The body is unable to sufficiently use and respond to the insulin produced by the pancreas.
  3. Gestational Diabetes: This form affects pregnant women who have no prior diagnosis of DM. This condition usually resolves after delivery of the baby.

Each form is treated slightly differently. Type 1 requires the person to take insulin, usually via self-injection. Type 2 can predominantly be managed through diet and exercise, but may require medication and possibly insulin, depending on how advanced the condition is. Type 2 is the most common form of the condition and what we’re going to focus on.

WHAT CAN YOU DO TO HELP?

The most common cause of Type 2 DM is a combination of excess body weight and lack of exercise. So it is fitting that one of the best ways to control your blood sugar levels, and reduce the risk of complications (such as heart, kidney, eye and nerve disease) further down the line, is to reduce body weight and exercise regularly.

DIET

Dietary recommendations for people with DM are not too dissimilar to those for any other person. The following tips can be helpful to follow:

  • Eat regular meals and consume healthy snacks spread across the day
  • Eat high fibre, complex carbohydrate foods such as whole grain breads, cereals and pastas, beans, lentils, fruit and vegetables (i.e. foods that have a low glycemic index and won’t spike your blood sugar levels quickly)
  • Be mindful of the amount of fat you eat, especially saturated fats, found in takeaway food, fried food, cakes and biscuits
  • Keep alcohol intake low as a general rule, and ensure you have plenty of alcohol-free days
  • Keep energy balance in mind. If you consistently consume more energy than you burn off in a day, you will gain weight
Exercise Rigth
Diabetes

EXERCISE

It is recommended that people with Type 2 DM participate in both aerobic and resistance-based exercise regularly and consistently. These forms of exercise have been shown to improve insulin action and overall quality of life. And they help decrease blood pressure, heart complications, fat levels and risk of death.

Please remember that these are basic guidelines, and we always recommended that you seek help from a health professional such as your GP, DM specialist, or your local osteo before making any big decisions on diet and exercise to help manage your Diabetes.

References

  1. Diabetes Victoria – https://www.diabetesvic.org.au/diabetes-and-me?tags=Left-Mega-Nav%2FDiabetes%20and%20nutrition%2F&bdc=1
  2. American Diabetes Association – http://www.diabetes.org/food-and-fitness/food/what-can-i-eat/making-healthy-food-choices/?loc=ff-slabnav
  3. Harvard Health – https://www.health.harvard.edu/diseases-and-conditions/living-well-with-diabetes

Magnesium: A Necessity for 21st Century Living

Magnesium: A Necessity for 21st Century Living

Chronic Stress Depletes Magnesium

There is no escaping the pressures of modern life! You may be familiar with common stressors experienced by the majority of people, such as financial strain, relationships, pressures at work or school, toxins, diets high in processed foods, and constant Wi-Fi and screen exposure. The main
problem is that these assaults to your system are constant. Extended periods of stress can result in a loss of the important mineral, magnesium, at the time your body needs it most. Ensuring you have good magnesium levels helps make you a warrior during stressful times.

Are You Low in Magnesium?

Fatigue, muscle cramps, headaches and difficulty sleeping are common signs of magnesium deficiency in both adults and children. Pre-menstrual syndrome (PMS) and mood disorders including anxiety, depression, and constant stress are all associated with poor body stores of magnesium. Talk to your Practitioner today about whether you have an increased need for magnesium.

Running on Empty – What Causes Low Magnesium?

There are many different factors that contribute to magnesium deficiency. These include:

  • Inadequate intake from foods.
  • Continual stress. As increased levels of stress hormones diminish precious magnesium stores, this can lead to a vicious cycle of magnesium depletion, making it even harder to cope.
  • Caffeine, alcohol and certain medications. These increase the loss of magnesium through urination

The Many Benefits of Magnesium

Being the fourth most abundant mineral in the body, magnesium plays many roles in supporting your health. It helps dampen the effects of stress hormones to promote calming sleep, as well as relaxing muscles and reducing cramping. Magnesium protects your brain from memory loss, improves mood, concentration and learning, and lowers anxiety helping keep you stay calm during stressful times. However, that’s not all this mighty mineral helps with! Magnesium also improves blood sugar control, which can positively impact weight, reduce sugar cravings and support energy levels.

Magnesium Fuels Your Energy

When you become stressed, it affects you right down to your core, even causing damage at the cellular level by allowing energy molecules to leak from the cell. These energy molecules are needed for every function in the body; without energy your body’s ability to cope with stress is hindered, resulting in fatigue and other symptoms. But thanks to your cells’ instinctive ability to adapt to perceived stressors, the body uses magnesium to boost energy production, supporting good health and increasing your energy levels.

Daily Protection Against Stress

Utilise the following tips to shield your mind and body from stress and conserve your magnesium: Reduce caffeine to a maximum of 1 cup per day. Increase your consumption of magnesium rich foods e.g. spinach, dark chocolate, avocado, almonds, pumpkin seeds and black beans. Minimise your intake of high sugar and processed foods low in nutrients. Get a good night’s sleep. This will assist your body in repairing tissues and reducing inflammation caused by stress. To improve sleep quality, ensure your bedroom is cool, dark and quiet; and unplug from electronic devices (e.g. mobile phones, tablets, computer, and TV) 1-2 hours prior to bedtime. Exercise regularly to reduce the negative effects of emotional and physical stressors on health.

Choosing the Right Type of Ammunition

We can help recommend an appropriate magnesium for you if stress is weighing you down. Look out for magnesium bisglycinate in particular. This type of magnesium is superior to many other forms as it is well absorbed, gentle on the digestive tract and provides a calming effect. A necessity for 21st century living, magnesium will improve your resilience to the stressors of modern life. So talk to us today on how you can reduce stress using Magnesium!

Magnesium rich foods
Examples of Magnesium rich foods

Content reproduced with permission from Metagenics, 2019.

Raising awareness for healthy hips

Raising awareness for healthy hips

Healthy Hips week is here (1-7 April)! So, to raise awareness for all the good work Healthy Hips Australia do for people diagnosed with Hip Dysplasia, we’ve written a little blog to bring you up to speed on what Hip Dysplasia is, what to look out for and what can be done about it.

What is Hip Dysplasia?

Hip Dysplasia is a condition where the ball and socket part of the hip joint do not fit properly together in their normal position. The main cause is a combination of loose ligaments around the joint and abnormal growth or development. The severity of this condition can vary from mild dysplasia, to severe abnormal development where dislocation of the hip may occur. The condition is also referred to as Developmental Dysplasia of the Hip (DDH), congenital hip dysplasia, and has many other names too.

Who does it affect?

A hand holding a baby

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As many as 1 in 6 full-term newborn babies have some form of hip instability at birth, and it tends to affect females more than males. However, it is not always present at birth, hence the ‘developmental’ part of the name. Risk factors for developing this condition include:

  • Incorrect swaddling techniques
  • Being a first born
  • Having family history of the condition
  • Breech positioning inside the womb

What are the signs and symptoms?

There are a wide variety of signs and symptoms for Hip Dysplasia. Depending on when you are diagnosed, you might experience:

  • Clicking or clunking when moving the hip
  • Uneven thigh or buttock skin creases
  • Uneven leg lengths
  • Weight-bearing to one side when sitting
  • Avoidance of weight bearing altogether
  • Limping or pain when walking
  • Walking on tip-toes on one side
  • Legs that are difficult to spread apart

What can be done about it?

Screening at birth, and in the weeks and months that follow, is the best way to reduce the risk of developing this condition, and its potential complications later in life. You should allow for your baby’s legs and hips to sit in their natural position where possible (i.e. knees bent and turned out at the hips). Try to avoid swaddling, as this restricts leg movement, and any car seats or carriers that bring your child’s legs in together at the knees.

In cases where Hip Dysplasia is present, there are a few different types of treatment, which include harnessing or bracing for milder cases, or surgical correction in more severe cases (i.e. dislocation).

One of the biggest side effects in adults is hip osteoarthritis, so from the teenage years and up, some cases may be considered for corrective surgery to avoid the risk of this developing later in life.

If you are worried about your child’s hips, or even your own, then contact us, your trusted Osteopath. We will take you through an assessment and advise you on your best course of action. This may include referring you on for further investigation, prescribing you strength and flexibility exercises to help you manage your condition, or other treatment. Whatever you need, we’ll help you or your loved one get back to doing the hippy hippy shake in no time!

Reference:

  1. Healthy Hips Australia. http://www.healthyhipsaustralia.org.au/education-training/what-is-developmental-dysplasia-of-the-hip/
  1. International Hip Dysplasia Institute. https://hipdysplasia.org/adult-hip-dysplasia/adult-diagnosis/

Yang, S. et al. 2019. Developmental Dysplasia of the Hip. Paediatrics. 143(1).

What pain relief is right for you?

What pain relief is right for you?

Pain has been an ongoing topic for research and discussion for a long time. Nearly everyone feels it (I say ‘nearly’ because there is actually a very small minority of people with a special condition that does not allow them to feel pain), and it varies in character and severity depending on what part of the body is implicated. And for the most part, none of us like being in pain. When we feel pain, normally the first thing we do is to look for a way out of it (or as some of you like to, ignore it – tut tut!). It’s a bit of a minefield knowing where to go for good pain relief. Some of us like a quick fix, others are more interested in fixing the problem long term by putting the hours in to do the rehab. Luckily for you, we are here to help with both stages!

When it comes to the body, we usually feel pain because our body is sending us a signal letting us know something is not quite right. That might be down to a simple muscle imbalance or joint restriction, which is leading us to walk or run differently. Or it might be down to something more serious like a tear of a muscle or tendon, changes in the nervous system or a problem with an organ deep inside the body – the list of causes is long and complex.

Regardless of the cause, when in pain it’s human nature to want to know how to get rid of it. Some of you turn to the experts (i.e. like your local Osteo/Myo/TCM practitioners, and other professionals like doctors), and some prefer to self-diagnose using www.DrInternet.com (how’s that been working out for you?!).

Some of the most common and well-known forms of pain relief include manual therapy, use of temperature, medications, supplementation and diet – you’ll find a brief overview of each below:

Manual therapy

We as humans have been using our hands to treat the body for a very, very, very long time! If you walk into a clinic in pain, be it you have a swollen ankle or the inability to lift your arm above your head, your practitioner will get to work on you using a whole host of techniques (after they have carefully and correctly diagnosed you of course!). Soft tissue massage and myofascial release techniques are widely used in the management of musculoskeletal pain and evidence suggests you aren’t wasting your time by getting the help of your local therapist. Your practitioner may also utilise other techniques, including joint mobilisation and manipulation, to correct your problem and to help get your pain lowered and under control. Usually you will also be given some form of flexibility or strengthening exercises to perform between treatment sessions to back up what happens in the treatment room.

Sore shoulder necl
Heat pack

Heat and cold therapy

If you’ve hurt yourself in the past, there is a good chance you’ve tried some form of treatment relating to temperature to help relieve the pain. Cold therapy can help to reduce pain, blood flow, swelling, muscle spasm, and inflammation. Heat therapy can help to relieve pain, increase blood flow, and tissue elasticity. It’s worth getting advice for the best approach for your problem.

Medication

There are countless different medications out there that can help with pain relief – these are called analgesics. Without getting too complicated, they can generally be split into Non-opioid and Opioid analgesics. Non-opioid analgesics include your well known and easily accessible medications such as aspirin, paracetamol, and anti-inflammatories (such as Ibuprofen) – these are generally good for the control of musculoskeletal pain. Opioid analgesics are there for cases of more severe pain, and include codeine, tramadol and morphine (you won’t be able to get these ones over-the-counter though!). Remember it’s always safest to consult a medical professional before using any form of medication.

Supplementation & Diet

There is no shortage of nutritional supplements available to assist you in the non-pharmacological management of pain also. From anti-inflammatory herbs like Curcumin (derived from Turmeric), Boswellia and Ginger to Fish Oil and Glucosamine and Chondroitin. Similarly, diets high in Berries, Fatty fish like Salmon or Sardines, Green Tea, Avocadoes and Broccoli can assist with reducing inflammation. In conjunction with the avoidance of sugar and highly processed/refined foods, alcohol and trans fats.

If you are injured or in pain or would just like to know more about pain and the many ways to manage it we recommend you to book a consultation with one of our practitioners today so they can talk through your problem, assess you thoroughly, and then advise the best course of action for you.

Our aim is to help get you out of pain and moving better again! Say ‘au revoir’ to pain! 🙂

How massage affects your mood

How massage affects your mood

An apple a day keeps the doctor away… we’ve all heard this phrase. Well how good would it be if getting a regular massage was also good for your health? Look no further and read on! We have some insight into how massage can have a positive effect on your mood, and overall well-being.

When we are treated by our massage therapist, their simple touch starts off a whole chain of activity in our nervous system, changing the levels of lots of different types of chemicals in the body, which ultimately results in you feeling good, relaxed, and ready to take on the world again. The chemicals we refer to are your stress hormones and happy hormones.

Stress hormones

Stress hormones include Adrenaline, Noradrenaline, and Cortisol. Don’t worry if you haven’t heard of them – these chemicals are basically responsible for activating your fight-or-flight response. They’re your body’s natural mechanism for dealing with danger and stressful situations (you know, like when you come face to face with a lion down a dark alley… Not happened to you? Erm, just us then?).

So having these chemicals is good, but if they flow around the body for too long, it can be detrimental to your health, leading to anxiety, increased blood pressure, a lowered immune system and much more. If you’re the kind of person who is regularly stressed in life, the good news is that massage has been shown to lower the amount of circulating stress hormones (think about the fight-or-flight response being reversed or switched off), reducing the risk of long-term complications from having your body in a constantly heightened state.

Happy hormones

Happy hormones include Serotonin, Dopamine, Endorphins and Oxytocin. These chemicals have many roles to play, but important roles include regulating mood, appetite, focus and the body’s ability to make you feel generally positive and happy. So, it makes sense that we want plenty of these hormones regularly being pumped around the body. Good news again… massage, or even just the touch of another person has been shown to increase levels of these hormones, making you feel good, focused and productive, and generally a lovely, happy person to be around.

So, you can see it’s a win-win situation. Massage anyone? Oh go on then… book one now

What’s giving you a pain in the neck?

What’s giving you a pain in the neck?

Roadworks during peak hour. Screaming kids on flights (someone else’s, or worse, your own). Hairdressers who don’t listen. The neighbors’ house alarm that goes off when they are on holiday. All of the above are certified pains in the neck, and unfortunately, little research has been done into how best to prevent their occurrence.

Even worse than these figurative dilemmas however is actual neck pain, a condition which a large percentage of the Australian population experience on a regular basis.

So much of the movement necessary for daily life, whether driving, talking or working, depends upon having good mobility in the neck. But if you are one of the many people who suffer from neck pain, even the simplest actions are accompanied by stiffness, discomfort and prolonged headaches.

What causes neck pain?

Neck pain is caused by a range of factors, all of which affect the vertebrae, cartilage and ligaments which support the head.

Poor posture, typically linked to hunching over a computer or smartphone screen, is responsible for the vast proportion of neck complaints. Sitting, slouching or slumping at a desk for an extended period puts pressure on ligaments and muscles, as does reading in bed or sleeping on your stomach.

If you have ever experienced pain when turning your head to the side, it’s possible that you have been suffering from a condition called ‘wry neck’. Brought on by sleeping in an awkward position, sudden jerking of the head or carrying heavy, unbalanced loads, this complaint is responsible for causing temporary, acute pain and stiffness in the neck. A more serious version of this condition is whiplash, where the jerking of the head strains the soft tissues of the neck. While whiplash is commonly associated with car accidents, it is an injury that can also be sustained through playing contact sports.

The final major contributor to neck pain is a degenerative disease like arthritis. Like all joints in your body, the cartilage cushioning your vertebrae wears down with age, and the result contributes to the condition osteoarthritis. When the firm cushion between two bones deteriorates, affected individuals experience pain, stiffness and muscle weakness which make even gentle movements difficult.

What can you do to help neck pain?

While there are no foolproof solutions to curing the pain in your neck, there is a lot you can do to prevent problems arising from your daily routine. Think about your posture when sitting or standing, and make sure your desk is designed to help you sit comfortably. Regular exercise will improve muscle tone and posture, while also helping to work against massage osteo back injury pain reliefthe muscle-tightening effects of stress.

If you have sustained an acute neck injury, it may be time to consult a qualified health professional for a course of soft tissue massage, mobilisation or manipulation. Taping problem spots can help support your posture, while a specific program of stretching and strengthening can promote greater stability in the neck muscles.

Made up of seven small vertebrae, the neck nonetheless plays a crucial role in your daily activities. By looking after the muscles and ligaments in your neck you will help keep pain at bay, making you better equipped to deal with the roadworks, screaming kids, bad hairdressers and neighbours’ alarms when they inevitably come your way.

 

Call Completely Aligned on 02 4655 5588 to find out how we can assist you today.

Rectus Diastasis

Rectus Diastasis
What is it?

Ask any woman who’s ever been pregnant and she’ll tell you that the bigger the baby grows the harder the simple tasks like putting socks on becomes. With this growth and uterine expansion, there is a widening and thinning of the gap between the two sections of the rectus abdominis muscle, the “6-pack” muscles.  This gap is called a diastasis. These muscles have not “torn”, simply separated. This gap is called a diastasis. These muscles have not “torn”, simply separated.

Whilst rectus diastasis most commonly occurs during pregnancy, women are not the only ones to suffer it. Newborn babies can also have a diastasis. Men can also experience a diastasis as a result of yo-yo dieting, an incorrect technique of doing sit-ups or weightlifting. It is most commonly linked to poor internal abdominal pressure control and biomechanics. Which means you can be fit and still have a diastasis.

Is it common?

Yes! 2 out of 3 women will experience some degree of diastasis in the first two trimesters of pregnancy and 100% of women have a diastasis during their 3rd trimester. A staggering 66% of women with a diastasis will also have some level of pelvic floor dysfunction and 75% of women will suffer from a pelvic organ prolapse. Although common, this is not normal and can be improved with correct exercise.

Signs to look out for:

• Looking pregnant even though back to pre-pregnancy weight

• Pooching or doming of your stomach

• Weak core and pelvic floor

• Lack of strength and stability in the entire pelvic region and midsection

Why is this so important to fix?

Healing the connective tissue and reducing your diastasis is important as these muscles are what protects our internal organs and back. Other areas where you can be at increased risk of if not fixed include:

• Lower back pain

• Constipation

• Incontinence

• Breathing difficulties

• Hernias

• Pelvic organ prolapse

What should I avoid and what should I do to heal or prevent a diastasis?

Exercises to avoid include those that place a huge load on your back and excessive forces through your pelvic floor like sit-ups and some pilates movements. Holding your breath when lifting heavy objects (including your toddler!) should be avoided also.

The majority of cases can be greatly improved as well as prevented through specific core and breathing exercises, correct lifting technique and posture, as well as wearing a splint.

For an assessment of your diastasis and comprehensive exercise rehabilitation program call 02 4655 5588 and make an appointment to see one of our Osteopaths today.