Vinyasa Yoga

This months newsletter will be out in the next few weeks. It is all about yoga and how you can use it help prevent injury by helping with strength and mobility. It is great to help balance the body. Don’t want to miss this article? sign up to our newsletter by clicking on the link at the bottom of the page. It will only take a few minutes. Enter you email and confirm your request by clicking on the link sent to your email account.

The Pro-Am newsletter goes out every two months.

 

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Back pain breaking the myths

Back pain is the most common area of pain I treat in the clinic. Everybody at some point will have an episode of back pain and for those unlucky few ongoing recurrent problems.

The approach to back pain has changed a lot and challenges many widespread beliefs about the condition. Here is what I have found out throughout my 10yrs of experience.

1. Back pain is common and normal.

Most back pain is due to strains and sprains and usually resolves within 6 weeks. Only a very small percentage go on to develop long standing disabling problems and many of these may improve with the right help.

2. Scans are rarely needed. You would think that a picture of the spine would explain why you are in pain but it is not that simple. The scans will often show up things that are poorly linked with pain. Many people who have no pain are shown to have bulging discs, degenerated discs, arthritic changes etc. If you are told you have these problems it can lead to further distress and avoidance of activity.

3. Back pain is not caused by something being out of place. Many people may feel better after manipulations/mobilisations but this is mainly down to short term reduction of pain, muscle tone/tension and fear. As therapists we use these techniques to help get you moving better not to realign you.

4. Bed rest is not helpful. This can create stiffness, muscle de-conditioning and fear. Stiffness itself is painful and treatment and exercises will be painful to get movement back again.

5. Increased back pain does not mean more damage.

6. Surgery is rarely needed. Many people who have back surgery still have pain after because they have not taken a multi factoral approach to getting better. No one treatment will work on its own.

7. There is no perfect sitting posture. It is about moving and altering posture instead of maintaining posture that is important. The body will never like being stuck in one position for any length of time.

8. Lifting and bending are safe. Yes it may cause a strain in the back but should never be avoided as it is good strength work for the back and body. And yes there are bad techniques that can lead to injury, just remember you have a pair of legs to help you. Don’t lift silly amounts of weight, be smart. The length of the activity also has an influence break it up into smaller manageable amounts.

9. Avoiding painful activities is not the way forward. Fear of pain can heighten your senses of back pain and increase stress on the back due to an altered movement pattern.

10. Poor sleep, stress, low mood and worry all influence the back.

11. Exercise is good and safe and persistent back pain CAN get better with it.

Long standing back pain has to have a whole body and psychological approach. Manual therapy can help but exercise is very important as well. So is general health, looking after you weight, healthy diet, good sleeping pattern and knowing how to cope with stress. Everyone is different so what works for one person will not work for the next.

 

 

 

Neck and Shoulders Feeling Tight?

Neck and shoulder pain? tight or painful chest? stressed at work or home? does your pain keep returning or getting worse? Breathing patterns can contribute to or even be the cause of your chronic muscular pain. Here is some information you will find helpful to start finding relief.

Breathing is intertwined with our bodies emotional responses and stress levels, how? the diaphragm’s connection to the brain. We have to breath to survive, we do not have to think about breathing it just happens but it can also be controlled.

How does breathing relate to painful shoulders? when we are stressed our brain sends an alarm signal that alerts us to danger. however this works like a fire alarm. It does not know whether you have burnt your toast or if the house is on fire. It simply sends an alarm.

Your reaction to this alarm has 3 reactions Fight, Flight or Freeze. Within the work environment you can not start a fight or run a way from it unless you want to lose your job. You just hope that the deadlines and work volume will somehow go away without devouring you? This is the freeze response and is usually accompanied with breath holding. Breath holding is a natural primitive survival instinct and is an automatic response to stress and pain.  It is something we do not usually notice ourselves doing unless we are extremely body aware.

When we freeze our breathing becomes shallow, our ribs move less and our muscles become tense. If we were in a real life threatening situation we would be playing dead. With this response repeated day after day it can lead to our muscles feeling stiff and hard, leading to chronic pain and dysfunction.

If not acknowledged and dealt with stress can cause many health problems, sore muscles are just the first step. It can lead to you feeling tired and run down, frequently getting ill and headaches. All warning signs that your body needs some kindly attention.

So what can you do?

You begin your journey by having awareness of your breath. It is advised that you do seek out a therapist to make sure you do not have any underlying mechanical reasons for your neck and shoulder pain. Breath holding maybe in response to protecting an injury site.

Muscular pain caused by work related stress is very treatable. With the assistance of a therapist you can become more aware of your breathing pattern and put ‘you’ in driving seat to combating your pain.

Here at Pro-Am we can help you to understand the mechanisms of the stress response and help improve your breathing pattern which will help keep your shoulders, ribs and chest mobilised.