Core Strength and Back Pain

What is Core Stability?

This is a term which describes the firmness and stability of your trunk muscles. These are the muscles which wrap around your trunk like a cylinder or brace. They lie between your ribs and your hip bones just like the corsets worn in Victorian times.

The core or trunk muscles are the foundations of the body. The back, arms and the legs work much better if the trunk muscles are stable. When the trunk muscles are working together they support your body when walking, bending, lifting and even sitting upright and give you more energy.

Once working correctly they will also help protect the back from injury.

Why is Core Stability useful in the treatment of back pain?

Pain has been shown to turn muscles off. Pain encourages sufferers to adopt pain relieving positions but ultimately they add to the problem. This leads to recurrent low back pain. Improving core stability will help stop this pain or reduce it a lot and encourage better posture which will prevent further pain. Improving posture may reduce pain immediately. Improving core stability will reduce pain over time.

How can we help you?

We need to teach your muscles how to work again. This training is done one on one with your physiotherapist. Once the muscles are working correctly we can then give you a programme of exercises to improve your strength even further. These need to be monitored and are progressed as the muscles slowly strengthen and work together correctly. We also offer pilates classes and strength classes which incorporate core strength. Call us now to book into our classes. New times and more classes coming 2015…………. New schedule up on website in Jan

5 steps to get you that summer body you have always wanted.

Summer is here and now is the best time to take control of your life and get your body into the shape that you always wanted.  It generally takes a minimum of 6 to 8 weeks before you will notice results and even longer to reach long term physical goals. Here are some awesome steps that will help you get there:

1: Work out with weights.The right kind of weight training for women can be extremely beneficial for good health and for achieving your visible physical goals. Many people believe weight training does not burn calories, but this is untrue. Weight training, if done correctly, has been proven to burn more calories than most cardiovascular activities. Resistance training builds muscle tissue/ connective tissue, strengthening bones and improves vitality.

2: Eat more healthy meals a day in order to speed up your metabolism you must eat less and eat more often. 3 big meals a day is not going to help you lose weight. 6 smaller meals of healthy food is going to get you just that bit closer to achieving your goal. Remember that this is 6 healthy meals. A lot of people don’t realize that about 70% of weight loss is in your diet.

3. Drink more water. Ditch those sodas and start drinking more water. We all know that sugar drinks go straight to the hips but so can the diet drinks as well. Diet drinks can make your body produce extra insulin which can in turn make you put weight on. In addition to flushing out the toxins out of your system, drinking water encourages you to build muscle. The average person should drink 6 – 8 glasses of water a day and more when you are training. It is advised that you drink room temperate water as it absorbs much quicker into the system. Especially when training and in turn it should avoid you bloating and have it sitting in your stomach.

4. The correct cardio training. Doing the correct cardio training is extremely important. A good balance of exercises is also needed to avoid the body from reaching a plateau. Mix it up with running, cycling, swimming and even a variety of sports. Also make sure you mix it up with interval training and not just the same repetitive motion. Jog or walk for a while and then sprint for a period of time. You need to constantly shock your system.

5. Avoid alcohol. Alcohol can be one thing that if had to excess can ruin all of your great eating and training. A lot of our clients don’t realize how high in calories alcohol is by itself not to mention how bad some of the mixers can be for you. Then what do you do when you wake up the next day? I know that the first thing I feel like doing after having a couple drinks the night before is call up the nearest burger place and eating the fattest burger there. Because your body is trying to break down the calories from the alcohol, this burger will pretty much store straight in the body as fat. So if you do feel the need to drink, make sure that the next days food intake is extremely healthy.

These are 5 easy steps that if all done correctly will help you get into shape for summer. None of these should be overlooked. If you are going to have a go, make it a good one. Good Luck.

Is your stretching program putting you at risk?

Stretching – Recent research shows us a number of factors that affect when, why and for how long we stretch.

The latest research suggests that general stretching prior to exercise does not prevent injuries- in fact traditional static stretching (where a muscle is held on stretch for a period of time) has been shown to decrease muscle contraction for 20mins post stretch- adversely affecting muscle performance.
Dynamic stretching has been shown to be much more effective at preparing the body for exercise. Dynamic stretching is about preparing the body for sport and involves movement to end range to put stretch on tissues. This type of stretch signals to the body that we are preparing for action and has been more effective at preparing the body for exercise.
Traditional static stretching can be useful after exercise to prevent post exercise soreness
Talk to our team of Physiotherapists to devise the most appropriate dynamic stretching program prior to your exercise – this can benefit the weekend warrior going for a run, surf or cycle etc, right up to the elite sports people that we look after.

Those people with specific injuries may need to stretch these areas in order to prevent them causing further problems
Physiotherapist uses stretching and joint mobilisation to gain range of movement in strutcures that have lost range. This can be either a joint, or your soft tissues (muscles/ connective tissue/ ligaments)

Deep Neck Flexors- Small exercises for big neck pain.

Most people have heard of “the core” when talking about low back pain and strengthening, but not many have heard of the deep neck flexors (DNF) which are a group of muscles that are “the core” for neck. These small muscles are buried deep in your neck and are responsible for the stabilisation of the neck.

Neck trauma, poor posture, whiplash, muscle imbalance, and overuse can cause dysfunction in these muscles which may lead to ongoing and recurrent neck/ upper back / shoulder pain, headaches and on occasion other symptoms of dizziness, nausea, and visual disturbances

Most people with neck pain do not experience a complete resolution of symptoms, resulting in a persistent and recurrent condition. Between 50% and 85% of those who experience neck pain at some initial point report having it again 1 to 5 years later. Training of the neck stabilisation muscles has been shown to be crucial in the complete resolution of recurrent and chronic neck pain. It has also been shown to beneficial for athletes in contact sports in the head such as rugby and soccer for prevention of injury.

Training the DNF’s requires the participant to lye on their back with the neck supported with a rolled up towel under the head. The physiotherapists at Bureta use the pressure biofeedback cuff under the neck to help you train these muscles. To activate the DNF we ask you to perform a small head nod without activating the larger muscles around the neck. We grade the strength of your neck flexors which can be anywhere between 22mmhg and 30mmhg on the pressure cuff. Once you have the correct technique you will be asked to perform the exercises daily and we will review your progress on the next appointment.

Depending on your symptoms and what your goal is, we have a progressive strengthening program with specific exercises for the DNF’s to reach their optimum function. You should notice an improvement in symptoms within the first few weeks but it may take up to 12 weeks to build the strength you require depending on your goal. The physiotherapist at Bureta can guide you through the process, contact us for an appointment.

Your Injury, Our Challenge, Your future

An example of deep neck flexor training is seen in this video link https://youtu.be/6Of_10gUelI

Using a pressure cuff to train neck muscles

Using a pressure cuff to train neck muscles

The silent epidemic – Concussion – It’s a brain injury!

Concussion is a hot topic in the media at present. There was a news article on seven sharp last night that shows one mans crusade against this silent epidemic. It is a condition that is suffered at all levels of sport from grass roots to professional levels but unfortunately at many levels it is not managed well. This results in serious long term consequences for the athlete which shouldn’t occur if managed correctly.
Fortunately there is a gold standard as to how people with a concussion should be managed and if a person has suffered a concussion that is not resolving, they can be referred to the appropriate services within the ACC system in New Zealand. For this to happen, it must be diagnosed early and monitored appropriately.

The SCAT3 takes people through the appropriate steps in the process of returning a player back to sport but can also be adapted for children to return to school and workers to return to work. Everyone who has had a concussion should be medically cleared by an appropriate health clinician.

Bureta Physiotherapy will work with your doctor to take you through the necessary steps so that your doctor can clear you for sport, school or work. There is a current initiative with Sport BOP to get this message out into the community, which involves players, coaches, parents to come on board.

Concussion is a brain injury! and must be treated with respect.

If you have suffered a concussion contact us for correct baseline testing and to be given the gold standard steps to ensure you are healthy to return to sport, school or work.

If you have had a knock to the head and you have one or some of these symptoms – it is advised that you seek medical attention from GP, or concussion trained Physiotherapist

Symptoms

Headache/pressure
Unbalanced, dizzy
Nausea
Foggy/dazed
Visual disturbance
Hearing
Irritable, emotional changes
De ja vu

Signs
Loss of consciousness, impaired consciousness
Poor co-ordination/balance
Convulsion or impact seizure
Unsteady gait/balance
Slow answer questions, directions
Distractable, poor concentration
Inappropriate emotions
Vomiting (more than 2 x then caution)
Vacant glassy stare
Slurred speech
Personality changes
Inappropriate playing behaviour
Decreased playing ability/affected reaction times

5 gardening tips to prevent injury

Summer is here, the garden is going crazy, and it’s time to get out there and sort it out. Carrying compost or watering cans or pushing heavy barrows around the garden can increase your risk of injury, particularly for older people.

Our physiotherapists can advise you how to avoid these injuries whilst gardening.

We often treat patients with wrist, shoulder and back pain attributed to carrying heavy items and lifting awkward loads. To avoid this, we recommend that you warm up before and after gardening by stretching. We can recommend the type of stretches that would be most appropriate.

For our older patients who are at greater injury risk, we recommend gardening earlier in the day when the weather is cool and bright. This will minimise the risk of evening falls caused by reduced vision.

To help we have some handy tips for you to use when gardening. For more comprehensive information on avoiding injury whilst gardening or undertaking other household activities see one of our physiotherapists.

Tip 1 Bend your knees

When lifting items, remember to bend your knees, not your back. Never twist your body when your back is bent. When lifting, keep your feet apart and one slightly in front of the other. If you are unsure, we can demonstrate these techniques for you.

Tip 2 Don’t overfill

Never overfill your bucket, barrow or watering can. Only carry as much weight as you know you can lift comfortably. If you are unsure, we can help suggest an appropriate weight for you.

Tip 3 Equalise your loads

Distribute the load equally on each side of the body by using two lighter containers rather than one heavy one.

Tip 4 Closeness is the key

Always carry buckets, containers or loads as close to your body as possible. Holding any weight away from your body increases the stress on your upper body and back.

Tip 5 Use your surroundings

Place a watering can on a stool or chair when filling it, so you don’t have to lift it up as far when it’s filled. Place garden pots and containers on a bench to avoid bending to plant them out or work on them.

How To Recover From Injury Faster

In order to achieve wellness, optimal performance and/or full recovery from injury or illness a combination of movement and exercise, nutrition and hydration, rest and recovery, and thought and stress control are necessary.

Movement and Exercise:

The right type and amount of exercise stimulates the growth and strengthening of injured tissues and is vital to the healing process following an injury.

Nutrition and Hydration:

It is important to eat the right amount and right type of food to ensure that specific nutrients are available for tissue repair. Drinking an adequate amount of water is essential to allow hydration of your joints, allowing your cartilage, discs and nerves to function normally.

Rest and Recovery:

Your body heals when you rest. It is important to get a balance with the right amount of exercise versus the right amount of rest. At nighttime your body undergoes its physical repair between the hours of 11pm and 1am.

Thought and Stress Control:

Excessive stress, extreme emotional responses and negative thought patterns may all interfere with the healing process.

Your physiotherapist is able to discuss all of these components with you giving you advice and information on how you can manage these factors to achieve the best results for your injury.