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Sore Elbows and Achy Arms

Kyle Lotz - Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Sore Elbows and Achy Arms

Ever find your wrist and arms sore after a day on the tools? How about after writing on the chalkboard or the computer? Sore elbows after gripping something heavy or for a long time? Most of us have to deal with long hard days that involve some of these activities, which means most of us are familiar with elbow and forearm pain and stiffness. This post is going to help you understand some of the different conditions that cause the pain, and a simple tips to help alleviate it.

Most of us are familiar with tennis elbow, which is a condition which causes pain primarily to the outside of the elbow and forearm. “Backhand” type motions (such as tennis), or activities such as typing, knitting, bricklaying or painting which have the hand bent backwards for long periods under load can cause or worsen the problem. Tennis elbow can appear similar to an extensor tendinopathy in the forearm, a problem where the pain is in a similar location and from similar causes.

Golfer’s elbow, which is also common and relatively well-known, is a condition where the pain originates mainly in the inner elbow and underside of the forearm. The name comes from the “cocking motion” that occurs with the lower arm of the golf grip during swing, but that isn’t the only cause. Activities where the wrist is slightly bent forward, such as rotating a crank or ratchet, heavy or awkward lifting, prolonged gripping or truck-driving can contribute to this problem. Golfer’s elbow also has a bit of a doppelganger in flexor tendinopathy, with similar location of pain and similar causes.

If this arm pain has been a problem for you, there is a simple home tip to try which may help. Simply grab a pole with a similar width and weight of a broomstick, possibly a bit heavier but evenly weighted on both ends. Grip is important; wrap the thumb right around and make sure all fingers have good purchase. If your pain is on the outside of the forearm, slowly curl the wrist and hold the top position for 5 secs as shown in the first part of the picture. If your pain is on the underside of the forearm, slowly extend the wrist backwards and hold the top position for 5 seconds as shown in the second part of the picture. The good news is that research shows that manual therapy and rehab are very effective for these conditions. If you suffer any of these problems come chat with Kyle and see how we can help at King Street Natural Health Centre.

Source:

Brukner and Khan, Clinical Sports Medicine 4th Edition


WHAT THE CRACK?!

Cameron Champion - Monday, November 20, 2017

One thing we are commonly asked at King Street Natural Health Centre is “What is that crack noise we hear from an adjustment/ manipulation?”

That cracking noise has a fancier name known as a cavitation and occurs due to the formation of a vapour or gas bubble within the joint after the rapid separation of two surfaces. To make this more interesting this theory was recently shown on a MRI scan. What this information does tell us is that the cracking noise does occur at the joint, within a finite degree of movement.
A “crack” without pain from a short sharp movement may surprise you, but it is likely nothing to worry about. It is very unlikely to be a fracture or dislocation of a joint, rather simply a bubble forming.

So now we know what causes the cavitation but “what are the benefits of chiropractic adjustments or joint manipulations?”

Chiropractic adjustments/ joint manipulations may assist in lowering pain, improving joint range of motion and decrease associated muscle spasm. Research at this stage cannot explain exact mechanisms of how this is achieved, but it is proposed that the velocity used to achieve a manipulation or adjustment may uniquely affect joint and muscle receptors. This may create reflexive change to the joint and surrounding structures, resulting in increased range of motion and decreased muscle spasm, which may assist in the treatment of a variety of biomechanical disorders.

If you have any questions about cavitation’s, or if your spine and joints have been sore, stiff or noisy lately, come see the team at King Street Natural Health Centre.


The Forgotten Thoracic Spine

Cameron Champion - Monday, November 20, 2017

 

Every day here at king street Natural Health we treat a whole range of musculoskeletal injuries to the neck, shoulder, low back. One main common area that all these injuries have is they all have a relatively close proximity to the Thoracic Spine. The Thoracic Spine is the mid area of your spine made up of 12 vertebrae between the cervical spine and lumbar spine which connect to your rib cage and traditionally demonstrates lower movement when compared with other areas of the spine.

As a 21st Century population we love to adopt postures and activities that actually reduce the movement of the thoracic spine, such as sitting at a desk, watching TV or driving cars. These sustained postures can reduce the mobility of an already stiffened area which then results in the adaptations which may compromise areas such as the neck, low back and shoulders, potentially producing pain. Not only might it affect these areas on a pain scale but also may change your ability to perform leisure activities (such as gym based activities) and occupational roles (like lifting overhead).

The good thing is that by changing these habits, regular exercise and stretching of the thoracic spine may assist in restoring some of the movement back to the thoracic spine, which can help in changing the overloading patterns to the surrounding regions. A couple of good tips to help are:

  • 1.Take regular breaks when working at your desk or watching TV aiming to get up, stretch and walk around will assist in helping maintain thoracic mobility.
  • 2.Build regular stretching of the thoracic spine, as shown in the image, into your daily routine.
  • 3.Checkout the video “Breathing Exercises presented by Kyle”, and read his breathing blog on this page, as encouraging proper breathing patterns can assist in correcting and maintaining thoracic mobility.

If you have any further questions regarding the Thoracic Spine and how it may be affecting you, feel free to call King Street Natural Health Centre on (02) 4620 8630 and ask to speak to Cameron. And don’t forget about your thoracic spine because it hasn’t forgotten about you.

 


 

Our Hands

Kyle Lotz - Thursday, November 16, 2017

They Come in Handy

Our hands are arguably our most important external body part. Evolutionary sciences say the human hand’s complex, intricate and strong array of movements, such as multi-angle thumb opposition and fine dexterity, are the reasons we’re so advanced as a species. Key in forming language and progressive use of tools, they are the building blocks of modern civilisation. Controlling our hands takes up a quarter of our brain’s movement control centre for the entire body, a large majority. It is made of around 29 bones, 123 ligaments, 34 muscles and 48 nerves, slightly different person to person.

Our hands need that many resources because they are so special. They are strong enough to clasp and press more than average bodyweight in many different angles or against different forces. They are so sensitive that touch and pressure sense (from the finger pads and nerves at the base of the fingernail) can be used by the brain to sense detailed shapes and textures. Our thumb alone can move in 6 directions at just one of its joints, and it is estimated that losing it means losing 60% of the use of your arm.

Many modern requirements and habits, such as working at the computer, prolonged repetitive gripping and twisting, impact sports and excessive gaming can increase your risks of long term hand injury. These chronic injuries and conditions, such as arthritis, carpal tunnel syndrome and deQuervain’s syndrome tend to occur because we lose sight of how versatile our hands are. So we forget to move them in many different ways against different manageable loads to keep the whole system of joints healthy, the way nature intended. Gentle wrist stretches, light grip exercise and finger movement will maintain healthy hands, and if the injury or imbalance is too much, see Kyle for a handy checkup at King Street Natural Health Centre (02)46208630.

Sources:

http://www.eatonhand.com/hw/facts.htm

Hands_and_Arthritis (www.arthritisaustralia.com.au)

Our Feet

Kyle Lotz - Thursday, November 16, 2017

Injury Prevention from the Ground Up:

Did you know that your feet are the 2nd most sensitive part of your body after your hands? While hands need that sensory feedback for our fine sense of touch, feet are different. They need the sensory feedback because, as upright humans, our feet serve as our sole point of contact with the Earth. As such, our brain needs input from our feet to maintain balance and alignment against gravity, as well as to help us distribute and shift the weight of our bodies and things we carry.

Footwear is very important. The shoes you choose to wear during any prolonged or strenuous activity can significantly impact how sore your back, hips, knees and feet feel during or after the activity. Out of over 1.2 million people surveyed, Sports Medicine Australia found that over 70% of runners were injured, with 42% of these injuries to the knee, 17% to foot and ankle, 13% to lower leg and ankle and 11% to the hip and/or pelvis.

To avoid becoming another injury statistic, pick the right protective footwear for the job. For running, or prolonged walking, wear comfortable, well-fitted supportive footwear with some shock absorption in the sole or insert. This reduces the impact of forces from hard surfaces which may traumatize the knee or ankle, or jolt the joints of the hip, pelvis or lower back. Shock absorptive footwear may also help reduce long term pain from old ankle and lower leg fractures, or flare-ups of nagging plantar fasciitis.

For lifting or moving heavy objects, a well-fitted shoe with a firmer, flatter and more even heel surface is better. This allows for a more stable platform or foundation, so that the foot has maximum feedback to stabilize the load through the body, and thus the body can use less energy (and risk less injury) to balance itself out.

Make sure your footwear fits properly according to your foot type and the way you walk. If you have foot problems, or whenever you buy new shoes, take well-worn old ones in so the professional can see how you wear the heel in activities. For footwear professionals it can help them recommend the most comfortable shoe for you, and for healthcare professionals it will help them diagnose and correct weight-bearing problems. If you have any questions about footwear to reduce or prevent injury, ask Kyle at King Street Natural Health Centre.

Sources:

Sports Medicine Australia: http://sma.org.au/resources-advice/sports-fact-sheets/running/

Athletics Australia: www.athletics.com.au

Hamstring Issues

Kyle Lotz - Thursday, November 16, 2017

Hamstring Issues:

Whether you’re an athlete or not, hamstring issues can make life difficult in one way or another. If you’re not an athlete then short, tight hamstrings may be reducing your ability to move your legs properly, and be contributing to back and hip problems. Athletes tend to suffer hamstring injuries very often, with varying severity and also with a good deal of pain and recovery time involved.

It is important to note that many of the more common hamstring injuries could have been avoided. In these cases the cause is commonly “no or improper warm up routine”, or “inadequate strength and/or flexibility in the muscle”. So by conditioning your hamstrings, you can limit the chances of hurting yourself like this. Here are some tips on how to do it:

  • 1.Stretching may not be good for everything, but in the case of maintaining or restoring hamstring function a good stretch may help. Try stretching the hamstrings by lying on your back with your foot against the wall, to prevent straining your lumbar spine. You can stretch the hamstring by straightening your knee, gently with your hand if necessary.
  • 2.If you’re an athlete needing to warm up, or are in the pain-free stages of recovery from previous injury, look into using Nordic curls as a researched-backed tool in hamstring maintenance. Anything non-risky that involves lengthening the muscle has been to help.

If you’re already suffering with pain in the back of your thigh, or something popped, went into spasm or hurt after a kick, jump or sprint, make sure to have it checked out. You may have a hamstring strain or tear, or it may be referred from the back or glutes. With the right treatment and healing time it won’t slow you down. Give Kyle a call and we can help.

Sources:

Hamstring injuries: prevention and treatment—an update by Peter Brukner

Hamstring Strain Clinical Presentation by Jeffrey M Heftler, MD (and associates)

 

Low Back Pain

Kyle Lotz - Thursday, November 16, 2017

Low Back Pain

If you’ve ever been lifting, twisting or getting up and said “Ahh, my back!” and fell over, with a lot of pain just above your belt-line, you’re well aware of what low back pain is. Sometimes you can’t breathe; it feels like you can barely walk and pretty much every position, even lying down, is uncomfortable.

If you have experienced this, you are not alone either. The Australian Bureau of Statistics reports 1.8 million Australians have back problems, while 70- 90% of us will have these problems at some point on our lives. While 90% is pretty bad, the most troubling is who it affects. While most common in young to middle-aged adults, there are reports of it affecting children as young as 8-10 years old. The pain can get bad enough that it causes disability in 10% of Aussies.

The good news about low back pain is that we have a pretty good idea how to tackle it nowadays. Most of the really good stuff we can do to fight it involves prevention and homework. We can prevent low back pain by trying to maintain mobility and movement throughout the day more frequently (even when pain-free), and seeking treatment during the early signs, like back tightness or mild spasm, instead of ignoring these things. Spinal manipulation, massage, dry needling and light rehabilitative exercises have all shown to be low-risk, effective ways to get relief, while reducing the need for medications. If you have low back pain, chat with Kyle at King Street Natural Health Centre.

Sources:

www.healthdirect.gov.au/back-pain

National Centre for Complementary and Integrative Health – Spinal Manipulation for Low Back Pain

Image: Randy Glasbergen

 

Ergonomics

Kyle Lotz - Thursday, November 16, 2017

Being More Comfy at Work:

Many people with desk jobs suffer from headaches, neck and low back pain and flexibility issues, especially those that take their work seriously and pull long hours. Sitting in one spot for 4 hours or more, combined with the inherent stress of mentally demanding, high pressure tasks, are a bad situation for causing or worsening these pains. Most people simply suck it up as long as they can, manage it with massage or pain medications, or aim for regular exercise. While these things all help, none of them will completely undo the damage of being in this bad situation 8 hours a day, 5 days a week.

The most effective things desk workers can do to make work more comfortable and themselves better workers are changing things at work. Taking time to improve postures and increase movement habitually in the work day has been shown to reduce stress and decrease overall likelihood of sustaining chronic injury. Especially movement-related habits, such as getting up and standing and /or walking for a couple minutes every hour (getting a drink of water, handing items to colleagues wherever possible etc) has been shown to improve mental performance while also reducing likelihood of pain.

The other very important thing is making your workspace your own. Set up your chair to be the right height for your desk, with the right lumbar support recline to prevent your torso leaning too far forward or back. Ensure your monitor has the right zoom, with the right brightness (of the screen and surrounding area) to reduce eyestrain and screen glare. Position the monitor and keyboard so that you don’t have to twist, bend or arch your neck, and so as your elbows and forearms are relaxed in an open position. Your overall desk should have enough space to reduce hunching over your equipment, and your feet should comfortably rest flat on the ground. Finally if you use a laptop, use a separate keyboard whenever possible. Watch this space as I will put some videos up with more tips to feel more comfortable at your desk. If you have some of the pains described above, give us a call at King Street Natural Health (02 46208630)and come see Kyle

Sources:

https://www.worksafe.qld.gov.au


What is Dry Needling?

Kyle Lotz - Thursday, November 16, 2017

 

What is Dry Needling?

If you have sporty friends, or if you’ve ever sought advice for muscle pain, then you’ve probably heard of dry needling. If you have heard of it, then it was probably explained as ‘a form of acupuncture’ or similar, but you also probably heard how good it is for the right cases and how well it works. But what is it exactly?

Placing fine, high quality needles into different points in the body to alleviate pain and ailment has been practised in Eastern countries as early as 700BC, while using needles to treat various muscle disorders has been recorded in Western medicine since the 1700s. Over the past four centuries doctors have tried injecting different things into painful muscles, from anaesthetic, to anti-inflammatories, saline and even just water, with mostly positive results. One thing has been shown for sure over all these years: Needling a painful muscle reduces the pain, even without injecting anything via the needle.

Acupuncture, as most people know it, is different from dry needling. Acupuncture is based on Eastern treatment philosophies such as Traditional Chinese Medicine. Dry needling is based on Western medical philosophies and has different targets for treatment, tests and measurements. Both forms are effective at what they treat and have a place in modern care. Now what are the targets for treatment of modern Dry Needling?

If you have a look at our blogs, Cameron did an article called “Getting to know Your Knots”. The knots he’s talking about, myofascial trigger points, are terrified of needles. Dry needles placed and left in knots stimulate the nerves to allow muscle fibre components to relax. They also stimulate the nerve receptors to transmit less pain from the knots, along a few possible pathways. This reduces that background ache in those knotted muscles, and allows for pain free movement.

Removing the pain from the knots, and eventually the knots themselves, lets you get back to working on the underlying postural or movement problems that caused the knots to form in the first place. Dry Needling is very powerful, effective tool for muscle problems, and being this effective means it can cause pain as it reproduces the knot pain to reduce it. It can be done very gently to minimize this pain and still gives great results. If you think Dry Needling is right for your muscle pain, come discuss it with anyone from our team of chiropractors at King Street Natural Health, we all offer the service!

Sources:

Precise Points Dry Needling lecture presented by Gino Lo Pilato

Dry Needling: peripheral and central considerations – Jan Dommerholt

Therapeutic needling in osteopathic practice: An evidence informed perspective - Luke D. Rickards

Management of Myofascial Trigger Point Pain - Peter Baldry

 

Cooling Down

Kyle Lotz - Thursday, November 16, 2017

 

Cooling Down:

“It’s not the intensity or amount of work performed that is likely to injure people, rather what people do for the 6 hours after that heavy work that increases likelihood of injury.” Low back pain and sports researchers are saying the above statement recently because we’re most likely to hurt ourselves a few hours, or the next morning after strenuous activity, rather than while we’re doing it. If anything, injuries during heavy activity tend to stem more from accidents, or if the person really isn’t accustomed to the task. Does this sound familiar with any recent painful activities you may have done?

We can reduce the chance of injury and pain after strenuous tasks (e.g. heavy workout, or using a drill in an awkward position and so on) by being smart in the aftermath. By actively cooling down, we ease the body into rest state while also gaining awareness of possible problem spots. Like warming up, this really helps keep the body healthy. Here are some easy ways to cooldown:

  • 1.Slow movements, such as sidebends, slow air squats and sweeping arm motions are a great way to remind your body of your range of motion. This will prevent the joints stiffening up and maintain flexibility.
  • 2.Stretching is much better when cooling down rather than warming up. Whether individual muscles like bicep or calf stretches, or static hold positions like a side-lying stretch or the yoga child pose, these static stretches help clear lactic buildup in muscles and feel good.
  • 3.Self-Myofascial Release(SMR): This basically means using your thumb or finger, along with your leverage and some bodyweight, to release your sore spots. There are many ways to do this and it works, but it can be painful. Try using a soothing cream or hot shower on the area before attempting SMR.

These things, along with good old walking, are a good way to be smart about recovery and preventing injuries. Funny thing is that reducing temperature is only important for the first few hours of cooling down, so don’t be shy about using heat to help loosen up in the days after. Chat to Kyle at King Street Natural Health for more tips about cooling down.