A Regular “tune-up” can help you stay feeling better

If you have a chronic or recurrent problem, such as back pain, neck pain, headaches or arthritis a regular “tune-up” may help you enjoy life more.

Most of these problems mentioned respond very well to a course of therapy. In conjunction here at Pro-Am we usually give you self treatment exercises to help you improve your problem and maintain this improvement.

Some problems unfortunately can be recurring and can make life feel miserable. If this is the case then a regular maintenance treatment can make this more manageable. Treatment will help to keep you mobile, release tension and update self treatments as and when required so they give you the maximum benefit. By having a fortnightly or monthly “top-up” it can be more cost effective than having to have extensive treatment for acute episodes of pain.

“Tune ups” are also beneficial for those who have jobs that involve prolonged postures, repetitive movements, heavy lifting or perhaps your hobby or sport is demanding on the body. With a regular maintenance treatment you can keep your muscles and joints in good balance and, pick up on any niggles before they develop into a nasty injury. Our goal at Pro-Am is to keep you active in the activities you enjoy.

Practical tips for a healthy back

1: Stay mobile

Optimal spine health means having mobility in all directions with good control. One area that can put pressure on the lower back and neck is stiffness in the mid back (thoracic spine). If your thorax has limited rotation, more load and stress can be transferred to other parts of the body. You can check this by sitting in a chair, feet firmly grounded, hands clasped and tucked into your sternum, turn to your right and then left. You should be able to turn equally to the right and left and be able to see behind you easily. Here is a video showing thoracic whips if you find you have limited mobility mobility here, perform 4 sets of 5 reps both sides, if one side is more limited perform 2 extra sets on that side. https://youtu.be/NFWAoXwjlCQ

2: Vary positions at work

Sitting at a computer and desk all day puts increased pressure on your spine. After 30 minutes of sitting make sure you get up and walk around or do some exercises for 30 seconds to keep the flow of blood and fluids to the spine. You will start to notice many work places are looking into workstations that are for standing but again after 30 minutes you still need to move about. Make sure workstation is setup properly for you to encourage optimal posture.

3: Keep the core in good condition

Optimal strength and control of core muscles is very important for spine health, especially if you do suffer from repetitive bouts of back and neck pain. Regular exercise that includes strength training is highly recommended. Pilates is a great exercise that helps you understand how to use your core muscles and how to control movements through the spine.

4: Monthly Sports Massage

Having a regular sports massage for maintenance of well being is highly recommended to get rid of tightness and stiffness that may interfere with spine health. Sometimes our bodies will adapt to the postures and movements we do in life, this can lead to compensations which can lead to injury. If one area of the body is stiff, that limited range of movement will have to be compensated for at the next joint. This may not cause a problem to start with but over months, years it can develop into a chronic problem.  Pro-Am’s Health Scheme can help prevent many injuries.

Sciatica Causing You Problems?

Is Sciatica causing you pain? How can we help ease your sciatic pain?

What is Sciatica?

Sciatica describes a set of symptoms that can include lower back pain, pain in the glutes (buttocks), pain shooting down the leg and numbness and tingling in parts of the leg and foot. It is often just experienced down one side of the body and can interfere with activities of daily living and sleep.

What Causes Sciatica?

Sciatica is an irritation of the sciatic nerve, there are many causes and in order for treatment to be successful the right cause needs to be found. Common causes are tight muscles in the lower back or glutes, and disc or facet joint irritation .

Less common sciatic symptoms can be caused by spinal stenosis (a narrowing of the spinal canal) or a growth or infection.

What is piriformis syndrome?

Piriformis syndrome describes a case where the muscle known as the piriformis compresses the sciatic nerve due to its position deep in the glutes. This can be caused by poor posture when lifting, poor prolonged postures (office based, driving) or physical activity  overuse. If referral pain is present is usually stays above the knee sometimes into the calf but rarely, if referral pain travels into the ankle or foot is is most likely related to the disc. Sometimes piriformis syndrome can mimic a hamstring strain.

Piriformis_Sciatic

Can Sports Therapy provide effective Sciatica treatment?

In cases where muscle tightness and stiffness is causing impingement of the sciatic nerve, then yes. If your injury is caused by the disc becoming irritated or facet joint irritation without  damage, then yes. You have to remember that muscles control joint position and when tight can alter posture and create compression on the sciatic nerve. Even with a herniated disc we can advice you on exercises to help get you back to full fitness and how to prevent flare ups.

Early treatment intervention can prevent chronic muscle tightness from establishing itself. However even in cases where chronic tightness is already presenting itself sports therapy can still be an effective treatment intervention.

Often sciatica creates a pain cycle, once the nerve has been irritated by tight muscles, the body further contracts around the sensation of pain to protect itself. This exacerbates the original tightness. A Sports Therapist can manually locate, ease and soften tight muscles and provide relief of pressure and relief of pain. We educate about good movement patterns and use muscle energy techniques to change the bodies pain cycle allowing movements to become pain free.

If there are any underlying issues that created the primary irritation of the sciatic nerve sports therapy can work in support of other treatment modalities. Just inform the therapist if you already have a diagnosis of sciatica so they have the full details and can design a treatment plan to suit your needs.

How else  might we support you through your sciatica care?

We can show you how to do exercises to ease and mobilise stiff muscles and joints. At Pro-Am we believe starting with a good breathing pattern and good body awareness enhances the efficacy of the exercises given. We like to make you involved in improving on and maintaining the benefits our treatments provide.

Please note that this blog post is for information purposes only.If you think you may be suffering with sciatica please seek out an injury professional or see your doctor.