Scoliosis is a lateral bending and/ or rotary deformation of the spine presenting as one or multiple curves in the back. It can be functional or structural.
If it is functional, then it is usually a compensatory pattern, possibly posture-related, and can be corrected with stretching, strengthening, joint manipulation, and postural retraining.
If it is structural then it is due to anatomical changes. There are wide varieties of structural scoliosis, but the most common one is Adolescent Idiopathic Scoliosis (AIS).
What is Adolescent Idiopathic Scoliosis?
Adolescent Idiopathic Scoliosis (AIS) is of unknown cause and usually happens during adolescence- age 10 to 18. It is more common in young girls and the progression usually slows down after the menstruation starts.
What is the treatment for AIS?
There are many different approaches to help prevent AIS progression and also possibly decrease its curve if it has a functional component.
It can be addressed with:
Possible bracing depending on the severity of the curve
Strengthening and stretching exercises to properly address the curvature
Dynamic Neuromuscular Stabilisation
Soft tissue work
Below is an exercise that can help:
If you suspect that your child has a scoliosis contact the clinic for a consultation on 057 8678904.
Triathlon’s shoulder (also known as swimmer’s shoulder) is a term that is used a lot, and not only in the world of athletes. But what does it really mean? What is involved in creating the pain and what can be done to help alleviate it?
What is triathlon’s shoulder?
The medical terminology for triathlon’s shoulder is “impingement syndrome” which is a fancy term to say that there is a narrowing in the space between the acromion (the most top bony part of the shoulder) and the humeral head (connecting the arm to the shoulder). This narrowing causes a “pinch” in the tendons going through that space: usually the rotator cuff (supraspinatus and subscapularis in the picture below) and/ or the biceps.
What causes it?
It occurs more often in athletes and labourers that perform repetitive motions which can in the long term cause this sort of overuse injury. The typical sports include but are not limited to triathlon, swimming, baseball, volleyball, and racket sports. Jobs involving repeated overhead activities such as painters, carpenters, and electricians are also more at risk.
The recommended hand on approach involves the patient, the chiropractor and the coach (if sport-related injury) to combine their efforts together using:
Manual chiropractic adjustments
ART: Active Release Techniques muscle work
Laser IV therapy
Technique evaluation and correction
Proper rehabilitation exercises
Finding the cause of what initiated the pain is very important in order to avoid reproducing the same injury in the future. This does not mean stopping the activity involved with that movement but rather finding a new pattern that will allow to achieve the same goal without putting yourself at risk for injuries. This process works best with everyone working together as a team to get you out of pain and back into doing whatever activity or work you want or need to do.
The following video shows what a normal shoulder full range of motion should look like. Please only perform this exercise to your own tolerance. This is not a treatment.
If you have been experiencing shoulder pain and would like a consultation, contact the clinic on 057 8678904.
Gaelic sports usually cause athletes to work their hips mainly in an externally rotated position due to the demands of the sports. This can cause a significant decrease in hip internal rotation as the body will compensate due to the increasing demand on the hips to open in one direction over the other.
Why does this matter?
This matters because having such imbalances will cause your body to create more compensatory patterns which can eventually lead to decreased performance or injury.
If you have limited hip internal rotation, then eventually the way you walk and move might be changed.
For example, you could start walking with your feet and toes pointing out more as your hips will not have the full movement to allow your foot to go back to a neutral position. The foot and ankle will then no longer be functioning in their optimal patterns and might start overpronating to allow you to keep walking undisturbed. The knee may also start picking up the slack for both the hip and ankle which could put more stress on the knees and the body as a whole. With every step, you are reinforcing these patterns which can eventually lead to pain or injuries.
So to make it simple, the most common injuries related to poor hip mobility are:
Low back pain
Hamstring and Groin strain
But this is not to say that your upper back may not be affected by this as well. It all depends on how you move. Take a squat for example, if your hip mobility is limited your body is going to find other ways to move through the position you are putting it through. We already went through the changes in the lower extremity when talking about walking. Now let’s talk about your back: if your hips can’t sit through the motion needed, your lower back might start rounding to allow you to go lower, and then your upper back might overextend to allow you to keep looking forward while squatting down.
Those are just examples, you understand by now it’s all about your own body patterns and whether your compensations are putting you more at risk for injury.
One good exercise to work on hip mobility is the 5 months hip & pelvis separation from Dynamic Neuromuscular Stabilisation (DNS). This exercise helps your body work on hip and pelvic movements. Giving you more motion but also more control in those areas. It is important to work on both mobility and stability so that all increases in range of motions and overall movements still allow you proper control to avoid risk injuries.
During this exercise, make sure to keep pressure through the downward knee and foot, as well as the downward elbow throughout.
If you want more information or have any aches or pain, contact the clinic on 057-8678904 to see how we can help.
Almost everyone has experienced a headache in their lifetime. If it only happens once then there is usually no need to do anything about as it will be quickly forgotten. What about those that come back regularly, every month, weekly or even daily? There are many kinds of headaches which can be very debilitating, especially migraines.
What is a migraine? A migraine is a specific type of headache. It is defined as recurring head pain due to changes in the brain and/ or surrounding vasculature. These can come with or without an “aura”. An aura is a symptom/ feeling/ sound/ vision that comes on before the migraine starts, as a warning sign.
Migraines are usually related to triggering factors such as:
Pain can be very intense and is usually described as pulsating or throbbing. More often than not it is located on one side of the forehead and can last several hours to days.
Some common side effects of migraines are:
Sensitivity to light
Sensitivity to sound
What can ease the symptoms of migraine? Migraines can respond well to conservative care including:
Active Release Technique (ART)
Dynamic Neuromuscular Stabilization (DNS)
Medication (if needed)
Another very important aspect to help with migraines is to find the triggering factor(s) to be able to avoid them if possible or at least manage them when encountered.
If you have recurrent migraines or headaches and are not sure what to do about them, contact us at the Lawlor Clinic in Portlaoise for a consultation to see how we can help.
According to the “2019 Canadian Guidelines for Physical Activity Throughout Pregnancy”, in general physical activity is associated with greater benefits and “has been proposed as a preventative or therapeutic measure to reduce pregnancy complications and optimise maternal-fetal health”.
Women who were active prior to pregnancy are encouraged to continue exercising with appropriate modifications and going by how they feel at all times. Those women who were inactive before pregnancy are encouraged to start exercising during pregnancy, starting at lower intensity and progressively increasing the intensity and duration of the exercise to their tolerance.
Always be sure to get the go ahead from a medical professional beforehand as there are several contraindications to exercise while pregnant that must not be ignored.
Click the link below for the full article with a comprehensive list of all contraindications.
Physical activity recommendations for pregnant women:
All women without contraindications should be physically active throughout pregnancy
A good goal is to aim to accumulate at least 150 minutes of “moderate intensity” exercise (being able to maintain a conversation during that exercise) spread out over at least 3 days a week.
Being active everyday is encouraged
Exercises should be varied, including aerobic and resistance work. Yoga/ stretching can also be added.
Doing daily “pelvic floor muscle training”, for example Kegel exercises, may help decrease urinary incontinence.
If feeling unwell, light-headed, or nauseated while exercising, specifically when laying on the back, the exercise should be modified to resolve the symptoms. For example, doing the exercises side lying rather then laying on back.
Maintain proper hydration and nutrition before, during and after any activities.
When to stop exercising and seek help from a medical professional:
Persistent excessive shortness of breath that does not resolve on rest.
Regular and painful uterine contractions
Amniotic fluid leakage
Dizziness or fainting that does not resolve on rest
Are there any exercises that should be avoided during pregnancy?
Put simply Yes.
Avoid exercising in excessive heat and/ or humidity (for example hot yoga), activities involving physical contact or possibility of falling eg. scuba diving and skiing. Physical activity above 2500m or high intensity/ competitive exercises should be discussed with obstetric care beforehand.
For more information or to arrange a pregnancy consultation contact the clinic on 057 8678904.
Those new born days and weeks for most women can be described as a being a bubble of love and awe at what your body has produced. During the nine months prior to this we invest so much time making sure we eat healthy, exercise wisely and educate ourselves of what’s to come.
We may have attended ante natal classes that focus on breastfeeding and focus on how to get that perfect latch. Some mothers and babies take to it easily but many have obstacles to overcome, such as suboptimal latch, tongue tie and nipple pain.
Breastfeeding is supposed to be the most natural thing in the world but it isn’t in anyway easy.
Someone that is often neglected at this precious time is the mum. It can affect us in so many ways particularly emotionally, mentally and also physically.
How does breastfeeding physically affect the mum?
Many postpartum women who attend the clinic have issues with neck pain, mid back pain, headaches, low back pain and even referred pain into the arm/ hand. Basically their posture is inadvertently suffering from all that nursing, cuddling, holding and carrying of their little one.
Of course this doesn’t just apply to nursing mothers but also to those that bottle feed.
Tips on how you can help yourself:
It’s important to ‘check in’ every so often when you’re feeding to make sure you’re not hunching over your baby constantly. This will put strain on those postural muscles and local joints.
Bring the baby to you and use supports such as a nursing pillow to help.
Look at changing nursing position if possible. For example try laid back nursing where you can relax more during feeding.
Foam roll your mid back little and often to relieve tension.
Start doing some gentle stretches for your mid back, chest, neck and hips.
Chiropractic, soft tissue therapies and dry needling are excellent tools for relieving joint restrictions and muscle tension. As well as these, stability exercises are given to make sure these areas are better able to withstand the demands of everyday parenting.
If you are still in discomfort or experience an increase in symptoms consult your local health professional or contact us today for a consultation.
It has been shown that 80% of the population will suffer from an episode of back pain during their lifetime. A smaller number will also suffer Sciatica, a referral into the leg which can be caused by a disc bulge, bony narrowing of the exit canal or entrapment of the nerve along its path down the leg, for example at the piriformis muscle.
Walking: It is important that you keep as active as possible, so we recommend short frequent walks for our patients who suffer from back pain or sciatica. Depending on the severity of the leg symptoms we also ask the patient to shorten their stride so this will put less pressure on the sciatic nerve particularly during the swinging of the leg forward.
McKenzie Extension: This is one of the few positions that patients or athletes will feel any relief from their leg pain, The extension exercise has been shown to centralise the disc material taking pressure off the nerve. You should feel the leg pain reduce during the hold, the pain may also localise to the low back or buttock area.
Cat & Camel: Spinal flexibility and control is important for the lumbar spine. The Cat & Camel exercise is a great exercise that we give to every patient. If you struggle with either of the movements then we suggest you use a mirror for feedback.
Nerve Flossing: This exercise will help with leg pain and also improve the sliding of the sciatic nerve from the low back all the way in the foot.
With any of the exercises it is important to work within a pain free range of motion, if you see an increase in your symptoms then please stop the exercise and consult your local health professional or contact us today for a consultation.
Plantar fasciitis is one of those phrases that gets thrown around a lot in conversations. But do you know what it actually means? What is the plantar fascia, what causes irritation to it, and how can you prevent and treat the cause of the problem using Active Release Techniques?
What is the Plantar Fascia?
The plantar fascia is not a muscle or tendon, it is actually a connective tissue structure that supports the bottom of the foot. It runs from the heel bone to the toes and lies on top of the deeper muscles of the foot. But it is not the plantar fascia on its own that causes the problem. The fascia works in conjunction with the flexor digitorum brevis and quadratus plantae muscles, both are flexors of the toes.
What causes Plantar Fasciitis?
An irritation and inflammation to the previously mentioned tissues and muscles, to state it very basically! But what causes the irritation? Biomechanical issues in the foot and ankle, tightness or damage in muscles of the feet or calf, sudden increase in activity that is too much too soon, some even say too much sitting around (underactivity) can cause the problem.
But when you do get it, you want it to go away as fast a possible because it can be very painful!
Some common symptoms include:
Pain at the heel or anywhere along the bottom of the foot
Cramping at the bottom of the foot
Pain worse first thing in the morning
How can ART® help plantar fasciitis?
Active Release Techniques ART® is a hands on technique for helping to restore normal function to the soft tissue. So release of the plantar fascia and other contributing muscles in the foot, might be uncomfortable but the results will be noticeable within 3-4 treatments.
Along with ART®, manipulation of the joints in the foot using Chiropractic techniques can help to restore normal biomechanics to help prevent this from recurring in the future. To help speed up the healing process we commonly use Laser Therapy and you will always be given exercises and stretches to do at home.
If you think you might have plantar fasciitis, don’t keep suffering, give us a call today to see if we can help you get on the path to healing!
Yours in Health
The Lawlor Clinic | Spine & Sport, Portlaoise, Laois
In the last blog article we covered a number of different topics related to concussion and its management. We will focus on nutrition and sleep in this article.
Post Concussion Signs & Symptoms:
Difficulty in remembering things or people
Lack of Focus
How to Improve Recovery with Nutrition:
Omega 3 Fish Oils are important in cognitive function of the brain, they will also act as anti inflammatories for the brain during the recovery phase of the concussion
Creatine helps to increase water retention in the body which will in turn increase fluid levels supporting the brain during healing.
Turmeric is a powerful natural anti inflammatory which can also aid in the recovery phase
The majority of post concussion patients will need to increase their number of hours of sleep as this is essential for the brain to recovery from injury. It is also important to decrease the time spent on mobile devices as the blue light from the screen can have an effect on melatonin levels which help to regulate sleep cycles. Most devices and computer now come with blue light filter or apps can be downloaded if not included on your phone, tablet or computer.
In the sporting world concussions are one of the most commonly seen injuries, particularly in impact sports. Concussions can also happen in the general population. They are one of the most important injuries to recognise quickly. Appropriate treatment and rehabilitation are essential, because concussion really is a mild form of traumatic brain injury.
Just one concussion can increase the risk of long term damage to the brain and can increase the risk of getting another concussion. This is why it is so important to recognise them and get treatment. Not only can you injure the brain when you have a concussion, there can also be damage to the spine and the neck musculature and ligaments.
What is Post-Concussion Syndrome?
Post-Concussion syndrome is what can occur after the initial injury and can last in some cases up to six months. Symptoms include: headache, dizziness, fatigue, cognitive difficulties (difficulty remembering things or focusing), and irritability, with some of these symptoms being caused by spasms in the musculature of the head and neck.
One common muscle involved in head and neck injuries is the Rectus Capitis Posterior Minor. It attaches on the first vertebrae of the neck and occiput, and then has connections into the dura mater, one of the layers of covering over the brain. When these structures are injured or not functioning properly, it can cause pulling on the dura mater around the brain leading to increased headaches.
How Can ART ® help?
Active Release Techniques® are used to help diagnose and find the injured area and treat it, with the goals of restoring the normal movement of the muscle and/or joint, thereby speeding up the rate of healing! And in the case of this muscle, helping to decrease headaches.
Along with ART ® we have numerous other techniques we use in the clinic to help you get back quickly to enjoying your activities and your life! Contact us today to see if we can help with your recovery from a concussion!