Physiotherapy

When to See a Physiotherapist

Feeling pain? Joints hurting? Have an injury? There are lots of different reasons why you should see a physiotherapist. Not only can they help you deal with pain, but also they can help improve your quality of life.

Physiotherapists are highly trained and have a very detailed understanding of the human body based on years of study at university level. At Sydney Physiotherapy Solutions our physiotherapists also continue their education by attending professional training regularly so that they are up-to-date with the latest treatments & scientific data.

It is not necessary for you to be injured before you seek help from a physiotherapist. All our physiotherapists are great at helping prevent injuries as well as treating them after they appear. We are here to help you achieve your health goals and there are lots of different methods of assessment prior to commencing exercise.

You should consult a physiotherapist if

  • you have sustained an injury
  • you have had recent surgery on a limb
  • you have low back pain, either acute or chronic
  • you have aches & pains in your muscles and joints
  • you have joint problems; hurting, locking or giving away
  • you would like to increase your balance, strength & flexibility
  • you experience numbness or pins & needles
  • you would like to improve your sporting performance.

At Sydney Physiotherapy Solutions we have a great team ready to help you. We are conveniently located – 2 clinics in Sydney CBD, one in Macquarie Street & one in Castlereagh Street and a clinic in Chatswood, very close to the transport Interchange. Phone us now or book online.

Chronic Ankle Instability

Chronic ankle sprain and instability treatment

Chronic ankle sprain and instability treatment

What Causes Chronic Ankle Instability?

People who have a sprained their ankle may develop chronic (long-lasting) ankle instability. It is considered to be chronic if the ankle joint still gives way too easily six months after the first sprain, or if the ankle is sprained again within six months of the first sprain. One quarter of all sporting injuries are ankle related, and 85% of the time these are lateral ligament complex problems.

This kind of instability can develop if the ankle ligaments are overstretched or torn, and heal too loosely (mechanical instability). The interactions between the bones in the ankle and the surrounding ligaments and muscles may be disrupted too. The body has an unconscious awareness of movement and spatial orientation within the body, known as proprioception. This helps to coordinate the movements of the joints by using unconscious reflexes to stabilize them and keep the body balanced. So if an ankle feels permanently unstable, this might not only be caused by overstretched ligaments, but also by a problem with proprioception or resulting problems with muscle coordination.

Chronic Ankle Instability Treatment Options

There are a few different treatment options for chronic ankle instability. At first “functional treatment” is tried, involving physiotherapy to strengthen the joint, and possibly wearing an ankle brace or rigid tape to stabilize it.

One common approach is called neuromuscular training. The aim is to improve the stability, strength and coordination of the ankle. Studies show that neuromuscular training can speed up the healing process of ankle stability and mobility in the first few weeks. But there is not enough research to be able to say what effects this treatment has in the long term.

If the joint remains unstable despite training because the ligaments are too loose, surgery may be considered. One option is to shorten and tighten the ankle ligaments. This is not a very common approach and is usually utilized when all other avenues have been exhausted.

Chronic Ankle Instability Rehab

Chronic Ankle Instability Rehab

Chronic Ankle Instability Surgery Recovery & Rehab

Getting back to sport after surgery

Ankle instability often leads to problems with muscle coordination. For this reason, ankle exercises are a very important part of rehabilitation after surgery. Wearing an ankle brace during this time may also help. Braces not only support the joint from the outside – the pressure will also help you develop a good sense of muscle coordination again.

People probably benefit from starting movement, strength and coordination exercises two to three weeks after surgery at the latest. Studies suggest that people who do this become active again sooner than those who wear an ankle brace for six weeks and do not do any exercises during that time. In the studies, the participants who started doing exercises and strength training earlier were able to go back to work about one to two weeks sooner. They were also able to do sports again about three weeks earlier. But after about two years no advantages could be seen anymore: the stability and mobility of the affected ankle were the same in both groups.

Physiotherapy Vs surgery?

There were no studies comparing surgery directly with physiotherapy or other treatments. For this reason, it is not possible to say who might benefit most from surgery or how effective it is compared with non-surgical (conservative) treatment.

It is also not clear how the different surgical procedures compare with one another. There are only few small trials on this, and they do not provide reliable results. More research is needed to be able to answer this question.

Overall, it is currently not clear whether surgery leads to a faster recovery than strength and coordination training does. But if the ankle remains unstable because of loose ligaments, surgery might be an option. Whichever treatment you go for: with a little patience, sprained ankles usually become stable again.

If you are suffering from an ankle injury and are looking for a Sydney CBD physio contact the team at Sydney Physio Solutions who can help you get back on your feet again.

Defying Gravity with the Alter-G

Alter G Anti Gravity Treadmill Sydney CBD

Alter G Anti Gravity Treadmill Sydney CBD

The AlterG Anti-Gravity Treadmill has finally arrived in Sydney CBD.

Here at Sydney Physiotherapy Solutions we understand how important it is for runners and other athletes to recover quickly so that they can continue participating in the sport that makes they love.

We are dedicated to continuously educating ourselves in order to provide the the most current and effective treatment possible. This is why we have decided to introduce the Alter-G anti-gravity treadmill to our brand new clinic at 155  Castlereagh Street in Sydney CBD.

Sydney Physio Solutions is proud to be one of the only clinics in Sydney to have an Alter-G anti-gravity treadmill.

Working with runners and athletes is a speciality here at the clinic. Many of our therapists are runners themselves which gives us an advantage when treating running injuries as we understand the sport and have the necessary experience in treating the associated injuries. More importantly, we understand that most of our athletes would prefer to keep running while injured and so we have introduced the Alter-G to ensure that we can keep our athletes running.

Advantages of the Alter-G Treadmill

  • Helps minimize time lost from training, especially those training for an event such as a marathon
  • Maintains cardiovascular fitness during rehab
  • Reduces stress on joints
  • Improves bone density measures
  • Suitable for runners who may be overweight
  • Allows gradual loading as our injury heals during rehabilitation

Specific injuries that the Alter-G is suitable for

  • Knee osteoarthritis
  • Complex regional pain syndrome
  • Fibula stress fracture
  • Lumbar disc herniation
  • Metatarsal stress fracture
  • Plantarfasciatis
  • Ankle sprains
  • Tibial stress fractures
  • Navicular stress fractures
  • All types of muscle strains

To find out how the Alter-G AntiGravity Treadmill works read more here.

Alter G Anti Gravity Treadmill Sydney

Alter G Anti Gravity Treadmill Sydney

The Alter G treadmill uses an inflatable bubble to enable users to walk and run in a reduced gravity environment. The effects of training in this environment is lowered impact on your lower body meaning a reduced risk of long term injury in addition to reducing the time to return to running post injury.

The Alter G in the Hi Performance Centre (HPC) is available to everyone whether you’re an athlete, returning to exercise from an injury or to aid weight loss.

Contact our Castlereagh Street clinic to make a booking on the AlterG Anti-gravity Treadmill machine.

Physiotherapy Castlereagh Street – Sydney CBD

Castlereagh Street Physiotherapy

Castlereagh Street Physiotherapy

Physiotherapy Castlereagh Street 

A new physiotherapy clinic has opened in the Sydney CBD. SPS Pitt St, a favourite for city physio in the CBD, has relocated and is now located at 155 Castlereagh Street.

Our Castlereagh St physio clinic offers flexible hours for those city workers who want to fit their treatment around work, right in the centre of Sydney CBD.

Sydney Physio Solutions Castlereagh Street continues to provide Physiotherapy, Pilates, Massage and sports Injury treatment, the same services you have come to expect, so for all your Physiotherapy needs in Sydney CBD come and visit our new location.

We are very proud of  our team of expert physios, our state-of-the-art technology including the revolutionary anti-gravity treadmill and we are  committed to superior service from the moment you book your appointment. To read some reviews of past clients click here.

Physiotherapy Castlereagh Street

Physiotherapy Castlereagh Street

For general physio needs for everybody, to restore function and movement after an injury, illness or an operation, for specialised sports physiotherapy to assist you with acute or chronic injuries, for advice about beginning training and dealing with pain, the provision of exercise programmes and for clinical pilates, Sydney Physio Solutions Castlereagh Street is your one stop physio location.

Our key focus is to provide you with the most effective patient care services. From your assessment and diagnosis to your treatment plan and implementation, you can rest assured you are being cared for in an honest and transparent way.

We believe in educating our clients to the best of our ability, so you’ll be involved in your healthcare every step of the way.

Physiotherapy Castlereagh Street

Physiotherapy Castlereagh Street

To contact Sydney Physio Solutions Castlereagh Street or make an appointment for our Castlereagh Street physiotherapy clinic you can call the same number 9264 4153 and for your convenience we offer the same online booking service so that you can schedule your appointment at a time to suit you.

The Best Physio In Sydney

Best Physiotherapist In Sydney

At Sydney Physio Solutions we aim to be the best physio in Sydney, providing physiotherapy, pilates, massage therapy, men’s health physiotherapy and corporate physiotherapy services. We are trusted for the knowledge and experience of our staff members. Our physiotherapists are experts in specific areas of the body so if you are searching for a physiotherapist, see an expert, not a generalist.

At SPS we offer the latest technology to assist in your rehabilitation, superior communication & the ease of online bookings in real time. We aim to make your physio experience the absolute best it could be.

100% of surveyed clients say they would refer us to friends & family: “I have been healed yet again at Sydney Physio Solutions! A wholistic service designed to super charge your recovery and give you the tools to self manage the everyday wear and tear on the body” and “Fantastic physio providing great service! Helped heal issue I had with my right hand removing the pain and increasing my quality of life. Staff are wonderful and super friendly!

Highly recommend this place for all your physio needs.” To read some of our reviews click here or more here

We have two clinics in Sydney CBD and a brand new physiotherapy clinic in Chatswood. All our clinics are staffed by highly qualified and expert clinicians whose motivation is to find the cause of your problem & return you to pre-injury fitness as soon as possible.

All clinics also contain a fully-equipped rehabilitation gym, private treatment rooms  and the latest technology such as dorsaVi and ShockWave Therapy.

Our professional and caring team of expert Physiotherapists are all highly qualified and continually engage in on-going professional development. At Sydney Physio Solutions we pride ourselves in only employing the very best physiotherapists that Sydney has to offer as your well being and recovery is paramount to us.

There is a commitment to communication with you and a customised treatment plan focusing on the cause of your complaint not just the symptoms.

With two centrally located Sydney CBD Physiotherapy clinics conveniently located on Macquarie Street and Castlereagh Street, and a brand new clinic in Chatswood, Sydney Physiotherapy Solutions provides Physiotherapy, Pilates, Massage Therapy and Corporate Physiotherapy Services using the latest state-of-the-art technology.

The Best Physio In Sydney

Sydney Physio Solutions have been providing the very best physiotherapy in Sydney for more than a decade. It all started small; a phone and a comfy room in Macquarie Street.

The ideal then and still today is never ever to compromise on being the very best physio in Sydney CBD for our patients. We’re not about being the biggest physiotherapy clinic, but we are about being the best physiotherapy clinic.

Top Tips

Each week Virginia gives us her top tip. These are quick little snippets of advice which, if followed, will make a difference to your well being. Check back regularly to see updates or, if you would like to receive these tips, accompanied by an exercise of the week, delivered by email, let us know.

# 1. This week my focus and top tip is based around the timing of the activation of your deep core muscles.  In the ideal world, your core should activate prior to any change of position, exercise or general movement.  Failure in the timing of this can lead to your body “stealing” stability from elsewhere and becoming less efficient (e.g gripping through your hip flexors).  Pick at least 5 things you do everyday, and try to activate or check your core is on before and during the activity – don’t forget to breathe!

# 2.  This week my top tip is all about your feet.  Some of you will know if you have been in my pilates classes that I occasionally go on “foot patrol”, to see the posture of your feet as you stand, sit, or lie.  Ideally we like to see the feet sitting underneath the knee, and hips in good line.  Watch for one turning out to the side, or taking more of your weight. Remember, your feet are highly sensitive and take on a lot of load when when walk – so don’t forget to look after them!

# 3. This week my top tip relates to how we breathe. Often we can get caught up with taking short and shallow breaths from the upper part of the chest, which can tighten up the muscles of the neck and shoulder, but also means that we aren’t getting the most out of each breath. Diaphragmatic breathing encourages a full deep breath, relaxes the muscles around the shoulders and means we can optimise the uptake of oxygen.

Try placing your hands around the base and sides of the ribs as you breathe, feel the ribcage expansion as you inhale, and soften as you exhale.

# 4.  My top tip for this week relates to sitting posture.  If your day involves a lot of sitting, try to ensure good posture by keeping your feet flat on the ground and your lower back against the back of your chair.  Ideally you should directly face your monitor (if you are working at the computer), without any rotation through the spine.  Shoulders should feel relaxed from the ears and chin gently tucked in.  If you can, try to change your posture regularly through the day from sitting, to standing, walking etc.

# 5. My top tip for the week is all about how we look after our spine.
The spine is a machine which is designed to move, and remains strong and flexible by staying active.  By moving around, or even just a subtle tweak to your posture through the day, you allow the spine to manage the loads placed on it.

# 6. My top tip for this week relates to relaxing the muscles around your face and jaw.  Sometimes, without realising, we tend to clench our teeth and tighten the jaw.  This can sometimes lead to pain referring into the neck and face, or even a headache.  Through the day try to open and close the jaw and allow it to remain relaxed as you work.  You may be surprised at how tight it has been!

#7. My Top Tip this week relates to your lower back.  This is one of the most commonly strained areas of the body, so needs to have some attention!  Maintaining good flexibility around the lower back, hips and thighs, along with a regular strength and cardio programme can make a real difference to spinal health.  Variation in what you do is also important, so try to mix it up every 6-8 weeks to keep your body strong and your mind motivated!

#8. This week my focus returns to maintaining your neutral spine throughout the course of the day…we are all built with different spinal curves, so it’s helpful to be aware of where your neutral position is.  Try tilting your pelvis forward and back several times to find a comfortable middle ground. This should reduce pressure building up through your back with day to day posture & hopefully improve your awareness of your body position.

#9. This week my focus is all about your balance.  Sometimes we can become reliant on one side of the body more than the other, and naturally become much stronger on this side.  When you can, try and balance on 1 leg and see how steady you are compared to the other.  Try and aim for at least 10 seconds each side.  If you are a little unsteady, make sure you are near a wall or something solid for support.  If you find one side isn’t as good, work away on this as you can to help restore similarity.

#10. This week my focus is all about your balance.  Sometimes we can become reliant on one side of the body more than the other, and naturally become much stronger on this side. When you can, try and balance on 1 leg and see how steady you are compared to the other.  Try and aim for at least 10 seconds each side.  If you are a little unsteady, make sure you are near a wall or something solid for support.  If you find one side isn’t as good, work away on this as you can to help restore similarity.

#11. My Top Tip for this week relates to your feet, and more specifically, the small internal muscles that lie within them.   Like any other muscle group, the internal muscles of the feet can get tired and weak, and can be strengthened to help offload the joints of the foot and ankle.  My favourite exercise for this I call “The toe grippers”.  Take a small towel, place it under your foot and start to grip it as if you are trying to pick it up.  Repeat this on and off for 30-45 seconds, 1-2 times per day.

#12. My Top Tip for this week relates to your hands.  Similarly to your feet, your hands work a lot through the day and the small muscles within them, (along with the larger ones of the forearm), can get very tight and tired.  Give your hands some love by stretching out the arms every hour or so at work…this may simply be stretching the fingers out or extending the forearm and drawing the palm up or down.

#13. My Top Tip this week is all about keeping active.  Don’t underestimate the impact of going for a brisk walk, getting in the pool or even doing a home based programme with small weights.  With the seasons changing and the nights creeping in earlier it may be more tempting to head straight home after work, so try to mix up your routine and try something new!

#14. This week my focus is on looking after your neck whilst at work, especially if you sit or stand a lot through your day.  Try to keep your chin tucked in just a little, and if working on a computer ensure the screen is set at the right level, just so you aren’t looking down or twisting the neck to see it.  Every so often stretch the neck side to side and reset your posture.

#15. My Top tip for the week relates to the Thoracic (middle) spine.   This part of the spine is often the area we lean forward and hunch from when sitting, typing and even texting!  As it supports the rib cage and has an important role in our posture, it is important to keep it mobile and strong.  Simple movements such as rotating the trunk as you sit, or a cat stretch on hands and knees, can keep it from stiffening up.  Lifting the chest bone up slightly in sitting, along with broadening the collarbones, can be easy ways of encouraging a little more extension and length of the spine…

#16. This week my focus is on the ribcage.  Ideally, when we breathe, there should be a slight emphasis on getting your breath to the base and the side of the ribcage.  This is called “lateral breathing”, and encourages the diaphragm to be part of the process.  You can feel this happening if you gently rest your hands on the base of the ribs as you inhale. Whether you are sitting, standing, or simply lying down, test this out and you should feel the rise and fall of the chest wall.  This can help also to activate your deep abdominals, assist in relaxation of the body and also help direct stress away from your shoulders.

#17. My top tip for this week relates to how much we rest and sleep.  With life being as busy as it is, it is important to allocate sufficient downtime,  and get to bed early where possible, to allow our bodies to slow down and recharge.  Your body is busy as you sleep repairing itself and preparing you for the day ahead…so reward yourself by getting your 6-8 hours as often as possible!

#18. This week my focus turns towards planning your exercise for the winter months.  As the seasons change, the days get shorter and more chilly, it can be harder to go for the morning or evening walk or run.  Have a few alternative options if the weather is against you that you can do inside no matter what.  Maybe try your hand at swimming, the local indoor tennis centre, or even a touch of Pilates to see you through!  

# 19. My Top Tip for this week relates to those people who stand a lot through the day.  With the option in many workplaces now of the sit- stand desk, more of us are spending time on our feet, which is great.  If you are on your feet more through the day, keep an eye on your posture and every so often check that you haven’t started to stoop or lean too heavily on one side.  Small, subtle corrections and movements through your day can make a world of difference!

#20. As winter is now upon us, try to make sure you still get out at some stage through the day to get your dose of fresh air and Vitamin D.  It can make such a difference to your day just to get outside and get the legs moving, energising you for the rest of the day.  Alternatively, wrap up warm and hop off the bus or train a stop early and get a few extra steps in on your way home….it all adds up!

#21. This week, my focus is on how we hold up the weight of our head through the day. Every morning on the bus, I look around and sure enough the majority of commuters have the head down, scrolling along their texts, reading the news or checking out Instagram posts they may have missed overnight.  Although this definitely makes the trip go faster, it certainly doesn’t help the pressure around the muscles of the neck and shoulders.  Where possible, try and take a quick break from your phone and take the time to stretch out your body.  Think about lengthening up through the spine, rolling the shoulders and nodding the head side to side.

See you in the studio,

Virginia & the Pilates team

Hamstring Injury Guide

WHAT ARE THE HAMSTRINGS?

The hamstrings are a group of 3 muscles located in the posterior of the thigh, between the hip and the knee. They consist of the semitendinosus, semimembranosus and biceps femoris.                                                                                                                                                                                                                            The hamstring muscles run from the “sitting bones” (ischial tuberosity) at the base of the pelvis and finish behind the knee, attaching to the top of the fibula on the outside of the knee (bicep femoris) and tibia on the inside of the knee (semimembranosus, semitendinosus).

WHAT DO THE HAMSTRINGS DO?

The main job of the hamstrings is to bend the knee, as well as helping to decelerate the knee during extension in activities such as walking and running. As the hamstrings cross both the hip and the knee, they also have role in extending the hip.

WHAT ARE THE HAMSTRINGS ATTACHED TO?

The main common origin of the hamstring complex is the ischial tuberosity. This is commonly called the seat bone and can be felt as a hard spot near the gluteal folds.

From here the hamstrings split into 3 muscle bundles. One passes towards the outside of the knee (biceps femoris) the other two head towards the inside of the knee (semimembranosus and semitendinosus).

The lateral hamstrings insert into the lateral tibia, lateral collateral ligament and fibular head.

The medial hamstrings insert into the superior and medial tibial border. They blend with the tendon of the gracillis muscle to become the pes anserinus tendon.

There may also be a bursa present at this location.

WHICH ACTIVITIES USE THE HAMSTRINGS?

The hamstring is a prime mover for all activities which include flexion (bending) of the knee and extension (straightening) of the hip. It is also responsible for braking a knee or hip movement in the opposite direction.  

 Activities which depend on the hamstring to do both of these functions include walking, running, squatting, bending, lifting, kicking and rowing to name a few.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 If you combine some of these activities such as running and bending, or picking a ball up from the ground while running, the intensity demanded of the hamstring increases dramatically. 

The hamstring is also responsible for pelvic control. It pulls the pelvis into posterior rotation and facilitates anterior rotation by not activating. This has great importance for pelvic stability during static and dynamic activities.

WHAT IS A TIGHT HAMSTRING?

The feeling of hamstring tightness is ambiguous and does not necessarily mean the hamstring’s physical and mechanical properties are under excess tension or shortened. It is possible to have one without the other.

It could be one of several different complaints which may include the following:

There has been a loss of range of motion around the hip joint, knee joint and lumbar spine.

End of range of motion around joints is restricted and requires extra effort to achieve this.

The movement around the joints may be fine but the hamstring just never feels relaxed.

The movement may be fine around the joints and the hamstring feels relaxed, but there is a mild pain in the hamstring, and is perceived as being “tight”.

WHERE WILL HAMSTRING PAIN OCCUR?

Depending on what hamstring injury you have, pain can either occur in the muscle or the tendon. There are 3 main muscles that make up your hamstring, therefore depending on which hamstring muscle you have injured this will indicate the area of pain.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     Common areas of pain are centre of the muscle belly, where the muscle meets the tendon, where the tendon inserts into the bone, such as your sitting bone or tendon pain above the back of the knee.

WHAT CAUSES HAMSTRING INJURY?

Acute Hamstring injuries such as a tear are generally due to high velocity, intensive load being placed on the muscle. These also occur as a result of weakened or unconditioned muscles around the hip/pelvis and quads which can in turn put more strain through the Hamstring as it tries to compensate.  

Posture-wise you may be more at risk if you stand and move with your pelvis tipping forwards, or slumping back - this can put the Hamstrings at a disadvantage mechanically and may render them in a long, weak and or tight position.

WHICH HAMSTRING IS MOST COMMONLY INJURED?

There are two distinct types of Hamstring injuries, therefore it depends on the situation and the Sport undertaken as to which hamstring muscle can become injured;

Type 1 Hamstring strains occur during high-speed running. This is the more common type of Hamstring strain, and usually affects the Biceps Femoris, one of the parts of the Hamstring muscle, which meets the tendon near your Ischial Tuberosity (sit bone). These injuries are often more severe in their initial presentation, but recover much more quickly.

Type 2 Hamstring strains occur during movements leading to extensive lengthening of the Hamstrings when the Hip is also flexed, such as high-kicking, sliding tackle, and front-split – these injuries may occur at slow speeds, such as in gymnasts and ballet dancers, and can take much longer to rehabilitate.

HOW DO I TREAT A HAMSTRING INJURY?

Early management following a hamstring tear is crucial in determining your recovery time frame. The hamstring may bleed for several days. A RICE (rest, ice, compression, elevation) regime should be incorporated, whilst stretching should be avoided in this early period.

As soon as possible, pain permitting, exercise should commence to strengthen the hamstring again whilst also maintaining strength and flexibility of the unaffected musculature (eg glutes, calf). The PATS (progressive agility and trunk stabilisation) program is an example of an exercise program that studies have shown improves return to sport times and reduces re-injury rates.                                                                                                                                                                                                      Hamstring strengthening programs should progressively increase in intensity and incorporate different speeds and movements specific to your sport. When the hamstring is strong enough, you may return to training but you should successfully complete one week of full training prior to match play.

If the tendon, as opposed to the muscle, of the hamstring is thought to be the injured then you should follow a tendinopathy protocol. If you suffer from recurrent hamstring injuries then you may have a 'driver' from another area such as nerve tension which should be addressed using a neural mobilisation regime. To get a rehabilitation program tailored to your injury and needs, see an experienced physiotherapist.

WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN A HAMSTRING STRAIN AND A HAMSTRING TEAR?

A grading system is used to determine the extent of a hamstring injury:

Grade 1 = a mild strain - few muscle fibres torn, minimal/no loss of muscle strength, and minimal pain on contraction. May present with some mild swelling and bruising.

Grade 2 = moderate strain/tear - significant number of fibres torn, muscle weakness and significant pain on contraction of that muscle. Usually presents with significant bruising and swelling. Please note this can take a few days to appear particularly if the tear is very deep.

Grade 3 = Complete tear - this means the muscle has been torn completely with a severe weakness/loss of function and is often pain free on resisted testing. This injury presents with signficant swelling and bruising.

WHY DO HAMSTRING MUSCLES CRAMP?

Hamstring cramping, especially cramps associated with a physical performance, is common and can be a painful and frustrating experience. However, despite their prevalence the exact cause is still unknown.

There is likely to be a combination of contributing factors though muscle fatigue seems the most likely. Muscle fatigue, or overload, may result from insufficient training/preparation, environmental conditions, intensity and duration of activity. The result of this overload is an increase in the excitability of the motor neuron, which may lead to cramping.

Several other theories, including the serum electrolyte theory, where it is thought that decreased electrolytes (e.g. Sodium, magnesium, potassium) caused by excess sweating (or overhydration) are being explored further by leading medical and sports scientists.There is a lot of potential in these studies for explaining and perhaps helping to prevent cramping.

The best that a person can do to prevent exercise induced cramps, is to ensure they prepare adequately for an athletic performance. This includes completing proper training, warm up, having the correct equipment and having an adequate diet and hydration.

WHAT EXERCISES SHOULD I DO TO PREVENT HAMSTRING INJURY?

Stopping a future hamstring injury is impossible, however, minimizing the likelihood of injury can be achieved through specific hamstring exercises.

These exercises should aim to achieve ‘strong and long/flexible’ hamstrings in comparison to ‘weak and short/tight’.

Whilst stretching exercises can help achieve ‘long’ hamstrings, certain strengthening exercises are more effective. Think ‘strengthen to lengthen.’

The godfather of hamstring strengthening is the Nordic Hamstring Exercise. (See below). 

According to at least half a dozen recent studies, almost two-thirds of hamstring injuries might be prevented by practicing the simple steps below. 

nordic-hamstring-exercise

nordic-hamstring-exercise

Steps: 1) Grab a partner or lock your ankles under a stable bar. Place your knees on a padded surface

2) Maintaining a straight torso (no bending at the hips or arching lower back), slowly lower yourself forward towards the ground.

3) Maintain position for 5 seconds and then break your fall onto the ground by placing your hands out in front of you. (Similar to a push-up position)

4) Repeat 10 times.

HOW TO DO A HAMSTRING STRETCH AND A HAMSTRING CURL?

Hamstring curls:

As the hamstring muscles are knee flexors the aim of a hamstring curl is to strengthen these muscles by bending your knee.

Technique:

Lying on your front with foot pointing down over the edge of a couch/table/bed, the athlete fully bends the knee – trying to touch your buttock with your heel.

Provided this is pain free, a resistance band or ankle weights can be used to increase difficulty.

Advantages:

Lying leg curls are the most direct exercise in isolating pure hamstring activity and strength. Other exercises such as Romanian deadlift or hyperextension exercises are hinging movements at the waist, working the hamstrings via the hip joint. That makes it more of a stretch exercise. The lying leg curl is more of a true and direct hamstring contraction exercise.

Disadvantages:

The lying leg curl is difficult to load unless you have access to a machine in a gym setting. The movement is not very functional in a sense that it is not a movement that happens naturally during the course of daily living (vs squat or deadlift).

Pain Triggers – Shoulder Rides

 

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Most parents know kids can cause pain… literally. Lifting and carrying children can result in stress and strain on the parent’s body, back, shoulders and neck. The shoulder ride is a typical suspect. Despite being great fun for the child, it can quite literally be a pain in the neck for the parent as sometimes it is just quicker and easier to pick up a child when walking a long distance.

So how can a parent minimise the stress and strain on their own bodies?

  • If you absolutely insist on lifting a child up onto your shoulders, try having them stand on a higher (make sure it is safe!) surface such as a table, so that they are at the correct height. Remember its always much better to lift with your legs, rather than your back and this is no different
  • There are carrying devices on the market to assist in carrying children on the back or shoulders. These devices are potentially a safer option for the parent, and avoids the child needing to use a tight grip on the neck or head to hold on.
  • If carrying a baby or infant in the arms be conscious of alternating sides regularly to avoid overloading on one side only.
  • Limit the amount of time or the regularity of shoulder rides.
  • Know when to say no. Don’t attempt it if you are tired, or sore.
  • Know your limits. At some point in time your child will be simply too big to carry. Try and explain to them that it is no longer safe to keep carrying them.
  • Learn a few smart stretches to help keep you limber. Your friendly physiotherapist can guide you, or help you out if you’ve already suffered the effects before reading this advice.shoulder-rides

 

If you suffer from neck or back, it is best to commence neck treatment straight away.  Your physiotherapist has numerous tricks that can help to quickly relieve your neck pain and muscle spasm.

If you have had neck pain or stiffness for a month or more, your GP may be able to refer you to a physiotherapist in Sydney as long-term stiffness can be treated effectively at any time.

If you are not sure what to do, please contact Sydney Physio Solutions for advice or to make an appointment with one of our neck physiotherapists.

Pain Triggers – Laptop Bags

laptop-bagsCarrying a heavy laptop bag can be a common cause of lots of joint issues including neck, shoulder, lower back or forearm pain. Laptops and all the paperwork that comes along with them often weigh more than we think and can cause significant postural asymmetries and abnormal joint loading – especially if we carry them for long periods and always on the same side.

Another common culprit is us females popping our heavy laptops and papers into our shoulder handbags – not only is this bad for our shoulder and neck but also bad for our bags!  

Consequently consider using a wheeled or rolling laptop bag and swapping arms regularly backpackto help keep these aches and pains at bay. A rucksack bag rather than an over the shoulder or carrying case is also better option.

So ladies for those of you going against these recommendations its a good excuse to go shopping – happy bag hunting! 

laptop-bag

 

If you suffer from shoulder pain or neck pain, it is advisable to start shoulder treatment straight away.  Your physiotherapist has numerous tricks that can help to quickly relieve your shoulder pain and muscle spasm.

If you have had shoulder pain or stiffness for a month or more, your GP may be able to refer you to a physiotherapist in Sydney as long-term shoulder stiffness can be treated effectively at any time.

If you are not sure what to do, please contact Sydney Physio Solutions for advice or to make an appointment with one of our shoulder physiotherapists.

Driving Posture

drivingCould your driving position be causing your pain?

With the number of hours we spend in our cars commuting to and from work or during our weekend errands it could be possible that your driving position is causing you pain.

Common pains experienced with driving are neck, shoulder, lower back and foot pain. If you do experience any of these what could you do about it?

  1. Before you get into the car ensure there isn’t anything on you that can alter your sitting posture. Empty pockets of pants and jackets removing wallets, phone and keys; as well as ensuring that clothing is not restrictive.
  2. Seat position:
  • Adjust the seat so that you’re not having to reach too far forward on the steering wheel and you can visually see the road well. By moving the seat forward you should have a slight bend in your knee and be able to easily press the clutch or accelerator fully.
  • You want to keep your spine upright by correcting the backrest position. Using pillows can be a great way of correcting your spine position or the height of your hip and knees. This should reduce the pressure on your spine.
  1. Steering wheel: the height is determined on how much clearance there is for your knees during sitting and where you can still see the display panel well. To determine the arm length you should be able to rest your wrist comfortably on the top of the wheel without reaching forward. Keep both hands on the wheel to stop any twisting or side bending in sitting.
  2. Mirrors: Adjust your mirrors last to prevent any twist of the spine, neck protraction or leaning forward with the body.
  3. Foot placement: common areas of pain can be your heel or the ball of the foot. If you rest your foot on the floor this could lead to heel pain. Ensure that your foot is straight and use shoes that have cushioning around the heel. If pain is persisting once you stop driving this could indicate there is another underlying issue that may need to be treated. Pain in the ball of your foot is generally due to the contact point of the pedal, and is can be influenced by shoe choice. Ensure to wear comfortable shoes or implement gel padding if necessary to the pressure through the foot.

 

Even once you have established a good sitting position it is important to ensure you take regular breaks. For long distance drives take a minimum of 10-15 min breaks every 2 hours. When you stop ensure to walk and perform stretches. When you return to driving, recheck and adjust your sitting posture to alleviate your current symptoms.

Whilst driving check your posture to ensure you don’t slouch.

If pain still persists with the above advise please seek treatment from your GP or physiotherapist.