A medicine with no negative side effects… Exercise!

Cancer and its subsequent treatment can be a debilitating and physically demanding process. Whilst there have been many advances in the technology used to treat cancer, they all have less than desirable side effects that take a significant toll on the body.

A huge amount of research has and continues to be done on how cancer therapies can be altered to reduce the horrible side effects. Doctors are now able to use radiation in a way that specifically targets the cancer affected area and research is currently being done into utilising information about people’s genes and proteins to develop targeted chemotherapy (http://www.cancer.gov/about-cancer/treatment/types/targeted-therapies/targeted-therapies-fact-sheet). Despite these advances in technology many cancer treatments still have considerable side effects, are uncomfortable and can also be painful.

However not all research is focused on technology and medication. Another area gaining a huge amount of momentum in the research world is exercise!

Exercise therapy has been shown to negate many of the undesirable effects of other cancer therapies and in many cases boost their effectiveness. Exercise improves:

  • chemotherapy completion rates,
  • cardiovascular fitness,
  • immune function (which helps your body fight the cancer naturally),
  • fluid removal,
  • energy levels,
  • mood,
  • body image and self-esteem
  • and helps to prevent loss of muscle and bone density during treatment.

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Recently, the ABC program Catalyst did an excellent segment on how a prescribed exercise plan can have amazing benefits of exercise for cancer patients – http://www.abc.net.au/catalyst/stories/4459555.htm. Exercise can help to reduce pain, fatigue, inflammation, severity of symptoms, nausea, depression and anxiety and the risk of getting many types of cancer in the first place. Exercise is a powerful medicine before, during and after other cancer treatments. With carefully monitored exercise there are virtually no side effects!

So… will any old exercise do?

The simple answer is that some exercise is better than none and more is generally better than less. In general, physical activity is likely to be beneficial for most cancer patients. BUT! There are still some safety considerations and exercise should start under the supervision of a qualified exercise professional.

An Accredited Exercise Physiologists (AEPs) is an expert in exercise prescription and understands the stresses placed on the body by cancer and its treatment. They will take into account your age, previous fitness activities, type of cancer, stage of treatment, type of therapy and any other conditions that you might have. They can provide expert advice about exercise and create a safe, effective program to your specific fitness levels and needs. AEPs can do all of this and more whether you are recently diagnosed, currently undergoing treatment or are post treatment. There are many good reasons to start an exercise program and very few reasons not to. So if you’re interested come down to Vibe Rehab and see the friendly team of AEPs today!

 

Resources:

http://movingbeyondcancer.com.au/how-can-exercise-help-me

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Creating Awareness: National Pain Week 25 – 31 July 2016

Chronic pain can be a significant problem for many Australians – with 1 in 5 Australians suffering from chronic pain. It can be extremely debilitating, impacting a person’s relationships, sleeps cycle, sex life and ability to exercise resulting in severe consequences to their social and work life.

It is an invisible condition that often has no visible external signs to highlight that there is something wrong. Experiencing chronic pain can be like wearing an invisibility cloak that can lead to people thinking that they must suffer in silence, and feel isolated or ostracised. This impacts not only a person’s physical health, but their mental and emotional health as well – rates of depression are much higher with people in chronic pain.

Chronic pain is a separate disease entity from the acute pain that is associated with physical injury. It is pain that persists long after the tissue healing has taken place, and is caused by complex neurophysiological changes in the body which causes the nervous system to become wired in a way that is highly sensitised for pain and produces more pain signals. Basically, the nervous system tells the brain that there is pain without anything physically occurring to cause this reaction.

Your doctor or physio may refer or recommend that you seek some additional help from allied health practitioners including an exercise physiologist or psychologist. This is because chronic pain is complex and all aspects of the condition should be addressed. Regardless of the various treatments that you may seek, it is important to recognise that there several key things that you can do to take back some control of your life. Diet, sleep, exercise, and mindfulness can assist in re-establishing a healthy nervous system. Your physio or exercise physiologist may be able to help you establish an exercise routine, and give you further advice, or refer you to someone who can help.

To find out more, visit one of these websites:

http://www.painaustralia.org.au/

http://www.chronicpainaustralia.org.au/

Or watch the below video from Brainmain that can be found at https://www.youtube.com/user/HunterBrainman/videos

 

Image reference – http://img.medscape.com/thumbnail_library/dt_150916_chronic_pain_headache_migraine_800x600.jpg

 

 

When you shouldn’t ignore your feet

Our poor feet are often overlooked and neglected.

We see them as ugly, smelly, dirty and gross. The fact that they support our weight everyday gets forgotten once we slip on our shoes and cover them up.

Foot issues can result in not only painful symptoms in your feet but also your legs, hips and back. These can range from short term pain flare ups to long term structural issues. Foot issues can be caused by the way your muscles are working in your legs and feet, the ‘rolling’ in and out of your feet, the technique of how you walk or run and incorrect footwear.

Our podiatrists at Vibe, Matthew, Claire and Melanie have put together a list of the 5 most common foot problems that you shouldn’t ignore and see a podiatrist for treatment:

1. Heel pain – This can commonly be plantar fasciitis but also things such as heel spurs, nerve compressions, fat pad inflammation or achilles tendinopathy. It is important to assess and diagnose this correctly in order to develop the correct treatment plan – this is our passion at Vibe rehab!

2. Shin splints – These can be a variety of conditions ranging from bone type pain to muscle and soft tissue overload. Commonly this is influenced by foot function, activity and footwear.

3. Diabetes – An emerging issue amongst Australia’s aging population is that not all people with diabetes are aware of the effects it has on their feet. Getting a diabetic foot evaluation is critical in preventing long term complications.

4. Forefoot pain – This type of pain is often very treatable and can be caused by problems like arthritis, bursitis and nerve issues. These issues can be uncomfortable and are most of the time influenced by shoes. Luckily there are some simple treatment methods available to successfully reduce pain levels and discomfort.

5. Corns and callous – These are very common and are caused by high pressure being continuously placed on certain areas of the foot or areas rubbing together. The best thing about these problems is that they are easy fixed with the correct treatment.

If you are experiencing one of these common foot issues or have another concern regarding your feet, book an appointment with our podiatrist on 62993886 or email admin@viberehab.com.au.

5 ways to relieve stress this silly season

5 ways

The final weeks of the year are always busy and stressful. Never ending gatherings, end-of-year school activities, family visits and the cost of Christmas can leave you feeling frazzled and anxious. This can all lead to unhealthy habits such as being too busy to exercise, eating all the Christmas treats and not getting enough sleep.

By the time the New Year comes around you are in need of another holiday!

Here are some simple ways to avoid and relieve some of the holiday stress:

  1. Plan ahead

Start you’re week by spending 10 minutes on the Sunday night to plan out your week. This can be as simple as noting down the commitments for the week ahead or going into more detail by planning meals and even outfits to save time in the morning. Also, as soon as you commit to an event write it on the calendar!

  1. Resist some temptations

Christmas and New Year is a time for food….lots and lots of yummy hard-to-resist food. It can be very difficult to not continuously pick at the cheese, dips, chips, cookies and cakes, especially when you go from one event to another in the same day! The excuse of “it’s Christmas” is so easy to say but the constant intake of food leaves you feeling yuck and doesn’t help your overall mood and stress levels. Try instead to eat small portions of treats and if you have more than one event in a day choose one of the events to have a treat at instead of having cookies from brunch to dinner.

  1. Light an aromatic candle

Whilst you’re busy wrapping presents light an aromatic candle to stay calm and relax. If you have a tricky shaped present that just doesn’t want to be wrapped, take a few deep breathes to increase oxygen flow to the brain.

  1. Indulge in a massage

I know, I know you’re really busy and finding the time for a massage can be hard. But even 30 minutes of a remedial or relaxation massage can not only physically help relieve stress but also mentally. When your muscles are less tense, your body will thank you! To book an appointment with our massage therapist call us on 6299 3886.

  1. And finally, EXERCISE!!

Exercise releases mood enhancing chemicals and reduces stress hormones to help you deal with the stressful busy season. You are NEVER too busy for doing some exercise. You may not be able to get a full 60 minutes in, but every minute you can do counts!  Here are some ways to add a little bit into your day:

  • Take the stairs
  • Park your car a little further away from the entrance
  • Go for a walk on your lunch break
  • Book in with Damien to develop an exercise regime for at home, the gym or the Pilates Reformer

Hope you all have a safe and stress-less Christmas and New Year!

From the Vibe Team

Transform your body with the Pilates Reformer

pilates-reformerHi All,

Do you have a schedule that makes it difficult to commit to a weekly Pilates class? At Vibe we have a Pilates reformer which is a great, flexible option to help you strengthen your body.

The Pilates reformer is a piece of equipment that enables resistance to be added to Pilates exercises giving greater benefit. Resistance is created using springs and body weight to increase muscular strength with the controlled movements that target specific muscles. The reformer may look scary at first but it is low impact and safe for injury rehabilitation, pregnancy and general conditioning.

The structure of the reformer enables a diverse range of exercises to be completed laying on your back, stomach, kneeling and standing with varying levels of resistance. The endless option of exercise prevents you getting bored with doing the same exercises over and over again.

You will soon notice improvements in strength, toning of muscles, improved posture, core strength, breathing, flexibility and lean muscle mass!

We offer individualised programs designed specifically for your needs with regular updates. The reformer is available for use during all our business hours leaving you plenty of choice of times. And the best part is it’s fun to use!!

So whether you have an injury or just want to improve your fitness and body shape the reformer is for you! Contact us for an appointment on 6299 3886 or email admin@viberehab.com.au.

Image from Canva.com

Super Simple Healthy Banana Cookies

Hi All,

Do you get to the end of the week and have a few ripe bananas left over? Ripe bananas are great for baking but a lot of recipes are time consuming and unhealthy. These cookies, however, are super simple, quick, healthy and involve staple ingredients usually found in your pantry.

If you feel a bit adventurous you can add in some choc chips, walnuts, peanut butter, nutella, cinnamon, raisins or cranberries. Mix and match the ingredients for different flavour combinations!

The great thing about this recipe is that it is vegan, made with natural sugars, is rich in protein and can be easily adapted to be made gluten free (swap the oats to a brand without wheat traces).

Super Healthy Banana Cookies

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(Makes about 13-16 depending on size) 

Ingredients:

2 ripe bananas

1 cup oats (traditional or quick)

Method:

1.       Preheat oven to 175°c fan-forced.

2.       Mash bananas in a small bowl with the back of a fork or masher.

3.       Add oats stir until combined.

4.       Stir in any extra add ins. (I used 1/3 cup dark choc chips)

5.       Scoop balls of mixture on a lined tray using a spoon.

6.       Bake for about 13-15 minutes until the cookies are slightly brown.

7.       Allow to cool for 5-10 minutes on the tray before moving them to a cooling rack….or eat them warm!

Creating awareness: World Continence Week

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The Continence Foundation of Australia states the approximately 4.8 million Australians are affected by some form of incontinence, with both men and women of all ages being affected. Many people who suffer from incontinence are not aware that it can be treated, managed and in some cases even cured by seeking treatment.

There are two main categories of incontinence which are urinary incontinence (poor bladder control) and faecal incontinence (poor bowel control).  Under these two categories there are several different types of incontinence and the treatment varies depending on the type you may have. Two of the different types urinary incontinence are:

1. Stress incontinence is associated with weakness of the pelvic floor muscles and leakage of urine occurs when there is an increase in intra-abdominal pressure such as during a cough, laugh, sneeze etc.

2. Urge incontinence tends to be associated with an over active bladder and causes an overwhelming urge to urinate that often results in leakage. Common triggers are keys in the door, arriving home, the sound of running water.

Here are some ways a physio can help someone suffering from incontinence:
– Assess pelvic floor function
– Identify the type/s of incontinence you have
– Provide exercises for pelvic floor muscles
– Bladder training
– Teach toileting dynamics
– Give advice regarding lifestyle modifications
– Help you choose safe exercises

The key thing to remember is not to be embarrassed when seeking treatment from a health care professional – and that you are not alone!

To find out more visit http://www.continence.org.au/, call there helpline on 1800 33 00 66 or ask your physio.

 

Image sourced from http://www.ics.org/committees/continencepromotion/wcw

TREATMENT SPOTLIGHT: Acupuncture and Dry Needling

acu

Acupuncture became an important part of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) when the ancient Chinese found they could alleviate many symptoms and ailments through inserting fine needles into various parts of the body. Over two thousand years later this practice is still commonly used by traditional acupuncturists and physiotherapists to help relieve patients of pain.

The modern acupuncture method used by physiotherapists known as “Western Medical Acupuncture” uses current medical knowledge of the body to outline where the needles are to be placed in order to stimulate the nervous system. Traditional Chinese Medicine, however, is based on the circulation concepts of qi and yin/yang that makes this type of practice an alternative medical practice.

Acupuncture is used as a treatment method due to the fact it helps encourage blood flow resulting in improved circulation to the needled area and can help relieve pain for conditions including:

  • Arthritis
  • Headaches and migraines
  • Chronic neck and back pain
  • Sciatica
  • Shoulder and hip pain

Similar to acupuncture, dry needling involves the use of needling to help relieve pain. However, the technique differs as the acupuncture needles are inserted into painful and/or tight muscles rather than areas known to stimulate nerves. Dry needling aims to improve resting muscle tone and relax muscles and can also be used to needle ligaments or tendons, in order to encourage these tissues to heal.

Dry needling can be extremely effective in treating muscular pain, and patients often find them much more comfortable than the therapist’s elbow or thumbs! Conditions and injuries that dry needling can be an effective treatment for include:

  • Muscle stiffness and pain
  • Referred pain from muscle trigger points
  • Tennis elbow/golfer’s elbow
  • Achilles tendinopathy
  • Plantar fasciitis
  • Gluteal tendinopathy and hip pain
  • Headaches and neck pain

To find out more about our acupuncture/dry needling appointments or to book in with one of our physiotherapists call us on 6299 3886 or email admin@viberehab.com.au.

 

Image sourced from: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/sara-calabro/what-does-acupuncture-feel-like_b_2860656.html

Is it time to ditch the scales?

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When you are trying to lose weight it is easy to get fixated on the numbers on the scale, as it validates all your hard work…but does it really? What makes the scales change can be more than a reduction or increase in body fat and they are not necessarily an accurate reflection of all your hard work.

Athletes are an excellent example of why scales don’t tell you what you need to know about how well you are progressing with your healthy weight loss goals. Athletes have a high percentage of muscle in their body to be strong enough to compete and low levels of fat so they are not carrying unnecessary weight that might slow them down. Due to this on the traditional BMI measurement of weight to height ratio, many athletes are considered overweight and in some cases obese.

This is because athletes have an increased level of lean body mass, and it is not only ideal for athletic performance, it is also ideal for reducing your risk of developing diseases like heart disease and diabetes, as well as unnecessary injury from bone fractures.

Therefore, if you have been trying to lose weight but are finding that the scales aren’t reflecting the time you have put into exercising this could be due to you building muscle. Even though it may seem a bad thing when you look at the scales, it is a sign of a healthier, stronger body.

The list below outlines some key factors that indicate if you are succeeding at increasing your lean body mass but your scales show you are putting on weight:

  • Are you feeling like you have more energy each day?
  • Are your clothes feeling looser?
  • Did you drop a size last time you bought new clothes?
  • Are your blood results from the doctor showing lower cholesterol or blood sugar levels?
  • Have you been able to reduce any of your medications?
  • Are you exercising more often than you used to?
  • Are you eating better and being more mindful of your food choices?
  • Are people noticing that you have lost weight?
  • Each month your weight decreases a little more on the same set of scales at same time of day in same type of clothing?
  • Is there a change in your comprehensive anthropometric measurements?

You may be wondering what is a comprehensive anthropometric measurement’. These measurements are taken through analysis your body fat and muscle composition, which is great if you like to have numbers to support your progress. There are several options that are considered relatively accurate measurement tools, and certainly more accurate than the single anthropometric measurement provided by your humble scales when they are measured regularly. These include:

So is it time to ditch the scales? No, not entirely, they can still provide you with some information on your progress and general health. But you do need to consider what else is happening in your body that maybe affecting those numbers, measure your progress in a number of different ways and keep up your motivation to strive for a healthier you!

 

Image sourced from: http://masteringmymidlife.blogspot.com.au/2014/11/going-weightless.html

Your posture on the loo affects the way you poo!

Hi all,

Sometimes it can be difficult to go the toilet but instead of asking a health practitioner for advice many people persist and end up doing damage from straining too hard. However, simply changing the way you sit on the toilet can significantly help when you go to the loo.

Maintaining a good position whilst on the toilet can be useful for people who have difficulties passing a stool, suffer from constipation, strain when emptying their bowels, or just for better bowel habits for us all to prevent these things from occurring.

The following pointers may help make going to the toilet easier:

  • Lean forward when you are sitting on the toilet and place your hands in your thighs
  • Ensure your knees are bent and are higher than your hips (A footstool may be useful)
  • Try to breathe to the bottom of your lungs with your mouth open to prevent straining and contracting your pelvic floor
  • Bulge your stomach muscles forward as you take a deep breath in and then ‘brace’ your stomach to prevent it from bulging further forwards. Do not tighten your stomach muscles
  • Relax your anal sphincter to open your bottom and let the stool out
  • Take a deep breath to increase the pressure in your abdomen and then push down towards your anus

 

The image below illustrates the above steps:

toilet positions image

 

So the next time you go to the toilet, see if adjusting your position helps you go!