Static vs. Dynamic Stretching

Image

Hi All,

In the previous blog post the term dynamic was used to describe the type of stretches that should be done when warming up.

But isn’t stretching just, stretching?

Well, there is a little more to stretching then just bending down and touching your toes. There are actually seven different types of stretching, with the two main forms being static and dynamic. Knowing about these two forms of stretching is important in ensuring that you are stretching in a way that is beneficial to performance and reducing the risk of injuries.

Dynamic Stretching

Dynamic stretches involve moving parts of your body and gradually increasing the reach, speed of movement or both. The movement should not be bouncy or jerky and should not force the body beyond its range of motion.

Dynamic stretches should be performed prior to or part of a warm up as they:

  • Increase the body’s core temperature
  • Increase muscle temperature
  • Elongate muscles
  • Stimulate the nervous system
  • Decrease chance of injury due to increased range of movement and muscle length

Static Stretching

Static stretches involve reaching a point of tension and then holding. For example, reaching for your toes to stretch your hamstring and holding the stretch. This form of stretching does, however, decrease eccentric strength for one hour after, decreases force by 5% and decreases the rate of peak production by 8%. Therefore, static stretches are best performed after activity and can be done with cool down activities.

Image

Choosing the right form of stretching for specific exercises can greater reduce the risk of injury occurring from exercises.

Why Warm up and Cool down?

Hi All,

Sometimes it can be hard to find the time to exercise and this can lead to people opting to skip the warm up and cool down activities. However, it is highly likely that these people wake up the next morning with tired, achy and stiff muscles.

By ensuring you warm up and cool down you reduce the risk of muscle injuries and help prevent muscle soreness the next day.

Image

Warm up facts:

  • Act of increasing body temperature, improving mobility and enhancing mental readiness through performing  sports specific  activities
  • The most effective warm up consists of both general and specific exercises
  • General exercises include jogging, general stretching and resistance exercise
  • Increase speed of contraction and relaxation of warmed muscles
  • Dynamic exercises reduce muscle stiffness
  • Warm muscles means that we can utilise blood oxygen more efficiently
  • Facilitates nerve transmission and muscle metabolism
  • Increase blood flow

Cool Down facts:

  • Cool down involves a short period at the end of an exercise session during which the physical activity of the body is gradually reduces to almost its resting level.
  • Often involves a period of low-impact aerobic exercise which is gradually reduced, followed by a few stretching exercises
  • Gradually reduces the heart rate while still assisting venous return
  • Helps to get rid of waste product including Lactic acid
  • Reduces the potential for Delayed Onset of Muscle Soreness (DOMS)
  • Reduces chance of dizziness or fainting caused by the pooling of venous blood at the extremities
  • Reduces levels of adrenaline in the blood
  • Allows the heart rate to return to its resting rate (within 30 beats of what it was before exercise session started)

So next time you think it will save you time to skip the warm up and cool down exercises, just think about how much slower you will be the next day due to sore, stiff and tired muscles.

Neutralise your spine

Hi All, Neutral spine is the natural position of the spine when all 3 curves of the spine — cervical (neck), thoracic (middle) and lumbar (lower) — are present and in good alignment. 4-spinal-curvew-adam Being able to maintain a neutral spine will help reduce stress and strain on the spine whilst doing everyday activities including walking and sitting. Neutral spine is the basis of many Pilates exercises due to the fact that maintaining the position helps to stabilise the spine reducing the risk of injury and back pain.

HOW TO FIND NEUTRAL SPINE:

  1. Feel that you have some weight on 3 points of the foot, the ball, your heel and the outside border of your foot.
  2. Soften your knees.
  3. Imagine your pelvis as a bucket of water, tip the water out the front by tilting your pelvis forward and then tip water out the back by tucking bottom under and tilt pelvis back, neutral is half way between the 2 points of tipping.
  4. Lifting your breast bone, imagine a dagger under your diaphragm and lift off it.
  5. Show off your necklace, imagine you are wearing a necklace and want to gently pull shoulder blades together to open the nape of your neck.
  6. Retract your neck (not too much) imagine pushing the back of your neck gently into a wall and tucking your chin slightly.

standing-posture1 The more you practice achieving a neutral spine the greater the chance it will become your natural spine position. To remember to practice your neutral spine and maintain good posture click on the image below, print it off and place it on your desk or save it as a screen saver. Keep Calm-page-0  

Buy a better bed!

Image

Hi All,

In the last blog post we explored how to get a better night’s sleep by choosing the right pillow. However, to get the ultimate nights rest you also need the right mattress. Not one single body is the same, therefore, there is not one miracle mattress that will provide the right support for everyone whilst meeting their comfort needs.

The variety of mattresses available, and the different levels of comfort and support, can make buying a new bed a confusing experience.  To prevent this we have put together ten tips for buying a better bed.

  1. Talk to your physiotherapist about what she/he recommends for your body. Your physio is aware of any health conditions you have and should be able to give you some advice about what type of support you need.
  2. Figure out the reasons why you need to buy a new mattress. Does your current mattress have lumps or dips? Are you waking up with a stiff or aching back? Do you need some more support? Do you need a more comfortable mattress? This will help you when deciding on what you want and need in your new mattress.
  3. Before going into the store to look at mattresses, go online and research the options to avoid becoming overwhelmed with choices whilst shopping. Some websites to help narrow down the mattress search include Sealy Bed Selector, Sleepmaker and Snooze bed match.
  4. Make sure that if you have a partner that they come and choose the mattress with you.
  5. A firm mattress does not necessarily make it the best mattress for your back. Choose a mattress that is firm enough to provide support, but with a comfortable feel.
  6.  For some people with back issues, reclining beds can be a great choice. The beds elevate your head and knees which results in the pressure in the lower back being relieved. However, placing pillows under your head and knees can also relieve lower back pain whilst sleeping.
  7. Buying a mattress with a 30 day money-back guarantee is great option for someone who is wishing to try a new type of mattress but is unsure if it would be comfortable and or provide the right support for them whilst sleeping.
  8. When lying on a mattress to see if it is comfortable, lay on it for at least 10 to 15 minutes.
  9. A mattress has a life span of about 10 years so make sure you get a at least 10 years of a warranty when buying a new mattress, that offers a full replacement guarantee.
  10. Finally, buy a mattress protector. This not only protects the mattress from the moisture that is expelled from the body during the night and any accidental spills, but also prevents your warranty from being discredited.
Resources: http://www.choice.com.au/reviews-and-tests/household/living-and-bedroom/bedding/buying-guide-mattresses.aspx, http://www.spine-health.com/blog/top-12-tips-buying-a-new-mattress

Pillow Talk

Image

Latex contour, duck down, memory foam, soft, hard, medium, white goose down, tummy sleepers, side sleepers, back sleepers, foam core, dual core, body, posture support, extra support, high soft, adjustable, high firm, low firm, allergy sensitive, maternity, regular, gel top foam…CONFUSED???

These are just some of the different types of pillows available which makes buying a new pillow a daunting task.  

Sleeping on the wrong pillow can result in neck stiffness, headaches, pins and needles in your hands, snoring and breathing issues. Having the right pillow under your head at night is essential in helping you get that much needed nights rest. However, choosing the right pillow can sometimes seem impossible and expensive.

So how do you choose the pillow that is right for you?

  • For starters the pillow needs to be of good quality, as this should help the pillow keep its shape for longer. However, regardless of quality, you should replace your pillow around every 18 months. 
  • To avoid waking up with neck stiffness and back pain you need a pillow that aligns your body into a neutral position; where your head and neck is aligned with the rest of your spine.  To achieve this pillow should fill the gap between your neck and shoulder.
  • If you have difficulties during the night switching between the heights of one or two pillows, try an adjustable pillow. This way the pillow can be specifically adjusted to your comfort and the position you are lying in.
  • As a general rule, most down or feather pillows offer very little structural support compared to pillows filled with firmer materials. People who have neck pain or pathology generally find a firmer pillow such as foam or latex more comfortable.
  • When choosing a pillow size, pick one that reflects your body frame. People with larger frames or broader shoulders will need a firmer pillow than someone with a smaller frame. 
  • If possible avoid sleeping on your stomach as it is impossible to have your spine in neutral in this position. 

We spend over one third of our lives sleeping so having the right pillow is a must. If you’re unsure of what type of pillow would best suit you (every neck is different) and or are waking up with aches and pains in your neck or back, book in with one of our physiotherapist and they can help find you the perfect pillow (and even order one for you if needed). 

Wry Worry?

neck

Acute wry ( pronounced “rye”) neck is a common condition which can cause disabling pain and stiffness. This is often accompanied with muscle spasm of the surrounding neck muscles.

Symptoms of acute wry neck include:

    • often one-sided neck pain
    • inability to turn head towards painful side
    • postural deformity due to pain
    • muscle spasm, or tightening of the surrounding muscles

The most common cause of acute wry neck is a locked facet joint. Facet joints are located to the right and left of the bony points you can feel at the back of your neck. Ideally these joints open and close smoothly with neck movements, however, with acute wry neck these joints get stiff and/or stuck at a certain point. This results in pain and a stiff neck.
ucx.wry.neck2

Patients with acute wry neck often report waking with a stiff and painful neck and may have:

      • had a restless night sleep
      • used an uncomfortable pillow
      • woken suddenly in the night
      • or had no obvious contributing factors!

The good news is that with prompt and appropriate treatment, most acute wry necks can be unlocked immediately. However, there may be overlying muscles spasm which can take longer to address. Ideally, 2-3 physiotherapy treatments in the first week will improve symptoms, but longer term treatment may be required to address other issues including weakness, posture and joint stiffness.

If you think you are suffering from acute wry neck, give us a call to make an appointment ASAP. For some relief before your appointment with the physio, you should apply a heat pack to the neck and surrounding muscles.

Work SMARTER not harder!

Hi All,

Today’s blog is designed to give you an insight into what you should already know (but possibly don’t know), about the humble workstation set up. The more proactive you can be about your posture in prolonged positions, the less likely you are to sustain injuries. Education is the first stage of prevention!

Sitting in one position for prolonged periods of time, whether it be in the car or at the computer desk, is not good for anyone! Computer use has been shown to cause musculoskeletal discomfort, including muscle tension, muscle fatigue, paresthesia, pain, and/or physical strain in the soft tissues and bone. Areas of common complaint include the neck, shoulders, elbows, wrists, hands and back.

All of which can be prevented!

Changes to the work station, regular rest breaks, and work station exercises have been shown to decrease musculoskeletal discomfort and increase productivity.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration recommends the following:

  • Stretch the torso, fingers, hands and arms frequently throughout the day;
  • Take several short rest breaks;
  • Stand up and walk for a few minutes periodically;
  • Alternate computer tasks with non-computer tasks whenever possible; and
  • Make small adjustments to the desk and chair.

Your workstation set up should be based on the following. If you are having troubles working out what is correct, don’t hesitate to request a workstation assessment within your workplace, or ask us!

 

In the past few years, a large amount of research has been focused on this area due to the increasing time we are spending in the seated position.

It proves that regular breaks from the desk/computer can improve speed, accuracy and performance, and reduce muscular discomfort. (you might be saying “I knew that!!!!”)

But how much rest is effective?? – Studies have concluded that the most effective work/break schedule is 30s break every 15 mins, with an additional 3 mins at the end of each hour.

The following picture demonstrates a good range of stretches and movements to be performed in these breaks!

workstation stretches

If you have addressed all of these issues, and are still experiencing unexplained pain – give us a call!

Or if you want a copy of the work station stretches please don’t hesitate to contact us by phone or email ( admin@viberehab.com.au ).

Braving the Cold with Cardboard!

Hi All,

At Vibe we realise that looking outside of our little world can be a bit of an eye opener sometimes.

We have all been stunned this year, with new stat’s that have reveled something we were completely unaware of – ACT has the 2nd highest rate of homelessness in Australia!

So instead of sitting back and just being aware of it – we are going to do something about it!

Our very own Damien Bowen will be participating in this years CEO Sleepout:

CEO Sleepout Logo

On the 20th June, in Civic Square, Damien will be equipped with a sleeping bag and 3 pieces of cardboard to spend the night outside and do what he can to raise awareness of our homelessness rates.

We have made personal commitment to this cause, and set our goals high (as usual), to raise $4000 for this  event. All of which will be sent to the Vinnies.

Will you help us in our pledge? Will you help do something about it?

We are taking donations from anyone who is willing – no amount too big or small. Call (6299 3886), email (admin@viberehab.com.au) or drop in to place a donation.

For more information about this event, or if you want to enter yourself, visit the website http://www.ceosleepout.org.au/register/get-involved/

Dont put up with Heel Pain…get it fixed!

Heel pain is one of the most prevalent symptoms affecting the foot. The greatest incident of heel pain occurs in middle aged men and women; however, this symptom may affect people of any age.

There are thought to be many causes of heel pain, the most common being feet with flatter arches, feet that “roll in” or pronate, and also high arched foot types. These foot postures can place excessive stress on the heel bone (Calcaneus), the plantar fascia, and other surrounding connective and soft tissues.

Heel pain is usually associated with inflammation of the connective tissues within the sole of the foot. This inflammatory process is usually secondary to an underlying biomechanical abnormality or pathology. An accurate diagnosis is paramount to the appropriate management and resolution of your problem. There are many conditions which may present as heel pain and professional advice should be sort if you suffer with such symptoms.

plantar heel pain 2 plantar heel pain

Depending on the underlying cause, your podiatrist may employ a treatment plan including any or all of the following:

  • Rest from activities that stress the heel (such as running and jumping)
  • The application of Ice (Ice packs etc.)
  • Regular foot massage, concentrating on the arch of the foot
  • Professional strapping
  • A splint worn at night
  • Flexibility exercises
  • Ultrasound therapy
  • Anti-inflammatory medicine (topical or oral)
  • Checking your posture and walking style, to correct imbalances and gait abnormalities that may contribute to the pain
  • Shoe inserts (orthoses) to help support the foot
  • In some cases, surgery may be recommended to treat conditions including neuroma, bursitis and heel spurs.

At Vibe we offer a range of mechanical and manual therapies to help resolve your foot and lower limb symptoms in a timely fashion. We provide a multi-disciplinary approach to your care with a variety of allied health that can assist –  If you have foot pain call us and start the “Heeling” process with a podiatry consult!

Bag a healthy spine

Back pack - bad

The children have returned to school, but they’ve since been complaining about having a sore back. Sound familiar? Poorly fitted/packed school bags are a common source of back pain in school children. Incorrect back pack use over 12 years of schooling can lead to adverse changes in posture, as well as current issues with headaches, neck, shoulder and back pain. There are a few simple tips to remember when buying and packing your child’s school bag.

The school bag should:

  • Be no more than 10-15% of your child’s body weight
  • Be Australian Physiotherapy Association approved
  • Have heavy items packed closer to your child’s back
  • Be worn symmetrically i.e. over both shoulders. Single strap bags can cause asymmetry and distortion of the natural curves of the spine
  • Have padding at the rear between your child’s back and items in the bag
  • Fit snugly against your child’s back and not hang from their shoulders

i.e. change their bag position to look like this…

Back pack cartoon

The school bag should not:

Image back pack

  • Change your child’s posture when viewed from the front or side
  • Be lower than your child’s waist, i.e. covering the buttocks
  • Be higher than their shoulders when seated.
  • We wider than their shoulders

If your child is complaining of back pain and you think their school bag may be contributing, give us a call to make an appointment.