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Recovery Tip

Did you know that your core muscles, which are the deepest layer of your tummy muscles, should work at all times to brace and protect your back? These muscles switch off due to pain and it takes 50,000 repetitions before they work automatically again to protect your back!

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76 Commercial Road (Function Well Gym) Newstead Q 4006

Phone: 0423 687 440

Latest updates from LePhysique Physios

Thursday
Sep262013

Are you Hyper or Hypo Mobile?

Are you Hyper or Hypo Mobile? 

We often see clients who complain of stiff, tired and inflexible muscle, joints and body. They often find it hard to sit still for a long time and fidget through the movies. They tend to sleep all over the place, either on their stomach, side and twisted in a pretzel configuration. These people rarely find themselves sleeping on the back comfortably. They often are not able to get a decent stretch and do not get much relief from stretching alone. Often one of the causes for these complaints is joint hypermobility and its effects. Our aim as physios is to alleviate the perceived muscle and joint stiffness, realign the bones and joints so that they are sitting in the right position, release the tight global muscle and retrain the core muscles to stabilise the joints in the right position.

Hypermobility:

This picture is a simplified drawing of a standard joint in our body. All the joints in our bodies are held together by ligaments and muscles. An efficient joint must be able to move, but also must be stable enough to provide a solid axis for that movement.

Ligaments allow a degree of movement in certain directions, while still holding the joint surfaces close together. In other words, the ligaments are what provide passive stability to joints.  Muscles also cross over joints and can provide active stability to joints and also create movement.

The tightness/looseness of the ligaments crossing a joint is what decides how much passive joint motion there will be (side to side sliding and rotatory movements). Some people have tight ligaments and their joints feel more rigid. Others have looser ligaments and their joints can feel quite bendy. This is called joint hypermobility.

In a hypermobile joint the ligaments do not provide as much passive stability, so the body has to compensate by using the muscles more to keep the joints stable.

With the muscles working so hard to keep the joints together, a hypermobile person is more susceptible to postural muscle fatigue and soreness.

The paradox is that a hypermobile person can often feel very tight and inflexible because their muscles are overworked and unable to relax fully.

If you are hypermobile there is no way to tighten your ligaments, so correct posture, good alignment and core stability muscle strength and endurance is of utmost importance.  For most people, regular physio check ups (maintenance for re alignment of the spine /joints and muscle releases) fortnightly or monthly has been proven clinically to be beneficial and effective for long term health and wellbeing. 

Thursday
Sep192013

Should I be taking any medication?

A very common question that comes up after an injury is ‘should I be taking pain medication?’ and ‘what medication should I be taking?’ 

Some will gladly take anything that will make them feel a bit better; others are quite reluctant to take anything in fear of ‘masking the pain’ and doing more damage.

Whilst we do not recommend taking pain medication and/or anti-inflammatories to so you can forget your pain and continue to do things that would otherwise aggravate it (eg. sit longer, stand longer, lift heavy objects, run or attend your favourite high intensity exercise class). We do recommend taking pain medication under the instructions of your GP or physiotherapist to assist with the rehabilitation and restoration of normal function. This is not used to mask the pain and enable you to do more. On the contrary, we advise people not to try and ‘do more’ when taking pain relief, but ‘rest more’.  For example after a back injury, we would not advise you to take pain killers so you can go dig up a tree in your back yard. Relative rest and care is still very important in the early stages. We may however, suggest pain killers and/or anti-inflammatories to enable you to correctly perform rehabilitation exercises that strengthen the back and deloads damaged tissue.

 An important reason for this is that pain and inflammation cause altered muscle activity. It causes local muscles (also called core muscles or stability muscles) to switch off, and global muscles (also known as the large movement muscles) to be overactive. This can lead to poor alignment, muscle spasm, instability and sometimes compression of sore joints. In other words pain and dysfunction begets more pain and dysfunction. The anti-inflammatories and pain-killers enable the muscles to behave a little better and we are then able to more effectively perform manual therapy rehabilitation exercises. Anti-inflammatories can also help prevent build up of inflammatory chemicals that may prolong healing. 

Here is an example:

Notice how the medication fits in to augment, but not replace, the rehabilitation process.

What should you take?

 Over the counter medications that contain paracetamol and codeine (e.g. panadol, panadeine, panadeine extra) are sufficient for pain relief in most cases. In some cases you may need to consult with your GP if you require stronger prescription medication.

 For anti-inflammatories, the most commonly used drugs are non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAID’s) like ibuprofen or Voltaren (diclofenac). However special care must be taken with this class of drugs especially if you have a history of stomach ulcers, asthma, heart disease, kidney disease, liver disease, bleeding/clotting disorders or allergic reaction to NSAID’s. Also it is important to remember that anti-inflammatory drugs (as the name suggests) will only be useful if a condition has an inflammatory component. Anti-inflammatories should only be used in the short-term (1-2 weeks) unless prescribed by your doctor for long-term use.

 Finally, always follow the dosage instructions on the label and if you have any adverse reactions then stop taking them immediately and seek professional advice from your GP or pharmacist.  

 Examples of painkillers

  • ·       Paracetamol - commonly known as panadol
  • ·       Panadeine extra (Paracetamol and Codeine)
  • ·       Mersyndol
  • ·       Panadeine forte (Higher dose of Codeine than Panadeine extra)

Examples of anit-inflammatories /NSAID's

  • ·       Ibuprofen - commonly known as neurofen 
  • Voltaren (Diclofenac)
  • ·       Celebrex
  • ·       Asprin 
Wednesday
Aug212013

Magnesium

How does Magnesium help my muscles relax?

Who needs Magnesium?
If you have anything that feels tight, irritable, crampy, or stiff, whether it be your muscles and joints or even your mood, this can be a sign of magnesium deficiency. Studies have shown that as much as 15% of the general population are magnesium deficient. The processed and refined diet that is so common today contains very little magnesium, and moreover magnesium levels in our bodies can be decreased by things such as alcohol, salt, coffee, soft drinks, lack of sleep and intense stress.

What are the benefits of Magnesium?
Magnesium is described as one of the most powerful muscle relaxants. So powerful in fact that it is sometimes used as a relaxant in emergency rooms to treat pre-term labour, seizures and abnormal heart beats (the heart is a muscle too!).
Magnesium may help with:
• Muscle cramps, spasms and twitches
• Aching muscles
• Fatigue
• Improving sleep
• Irritability and anxiety
• And a long list of other health conditions!

How does it work?
Magnesium is essential for many enzymatic reactions in the body. Without boring you with a long list of incomprehensible chemical equations, there are two main ways that magnesium helps with muscle relaxation.
1) It combines with ATP (the bodies main energy unit) which is used to bind to the proteins in muscle and directly cause them to relax. Without magnesium the protein filaments stay bound together and don’t relax!
2) Magnesium closes calcium channels in nerve cells which cause them to be activated. Low magnesium → high calcium in nerve cell → more nerve activity → more muscle contraction and less relaxation.

Le Physique recommends the powder form of Magnesium supplementation. For more information about magnesium supplementation call us at Le Physique Physiotherapy or talk to us at your next appointment. 

Friday
May242013

Survival Perceptions

Is my pain real?

A recent article in the Australian Journal of Physiotherapy discusses how our perceptions of painful experiences can influence our recovery from pain and injury. 
Human beings are built with sensations that help us to identify and avoid danger. The subjective experiences of pain, breathlessness, hunger, thirst and nausea are there to help us identify and minimise damage to our bodies and enhance our survival. These symptoms are perceptual and differ from person to person in their experience. 
With acute injury, these perceptions can be advantageous in helping us avoid further damage and protect our bodies. (For example, we limp or stop walking when we sprain an ankle, which helps us to avoid further damage to the ligament. We may even avoid wearing a certain pair of old shoes that contributes to causing the sprain.)
However, in chronic conditions our mind-body maps can be restructured and over-generalised so that we can experience pain even in the absence of threatening stimuli. (Like feeling nauseous at the smell of a food that once caused us food poisoning). Our brains can begin to focus on painful experiences and fear of pain so much that we no longer know how to feel normal. This can be debilitating and often requires intervention.
There is however, growing evidence that these survival perceptions can be modified. With persistent effort, we can effectively rewire our brains to feel normal again.

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