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!
Dizziness can be a little bit complicated. It can be caused by a number of different reasons, but you probably never thought that your neck could be one of them!? Well Cervicogenic vertigo is exactly that, dizziness that is theorised to be caused from dysfunctional or lack of movement in the neck.
20-58% of people who have had head/neck injuries or whiplash will also experience dizziness
How can my neck contribute to dizziness?
Typically this specific type of dizziness is seen in people after an injury to the head and neck such as concussion or whiplash. But that is not always the case, sometimes it is also seen in people with severe muscle spasm in the neck or loss of movement in the neck.
Proprioception is your body’s ability to perceive where it is in space. Tricky to understand, but basically think about it as your ability to stay on balance. Proprioceptive receptors in the neck can be disrupted through concussion or whiplash injury, thus relaying incorrect information back to the brain about where the body is, causing the sensation of dizziness or the sensation of being pulled to one side, or the room spinning. Along with the dizziness people with this type of vertigo typically have pain and limited range of motion in the head and neck.
What are the symptoms?
Neck pain and/or loss of motion in the neck
Dizziness, sense of the room moving or spinning, or feeling disconnected from your body
The difference between other types of vertigo and this one are that the dizziness type symptoms you experience are made worse by holding specific positions of the head and neck. Moving the head doesn’t usually cause the symptoms to flare up but keeping the head in a certain position for a longer time does.
This type of vertigo or dizziness that is caused from injury to or lack of movement in the neck typically responds well to chiropractic care and physiotherapy. Using manual therapy such as manipulation, mobilisation, and Active Release Techniques (ART®) to release the muscles and improve range of motion has been shown to help in these cases. Also specific exercises for the neck and exercises to improve proprioception can be beneficial as well.
As with any condition it is important to have a thorough examination to figure out the true cause of the problem. Give us a call today to see if we can help with your problem!
Our feet play an essential role in how we transfer our body weight when we move, provide vital information to our brains for position awareness and sometimes are even called upon to help out our weak cores. We need to look after them and have them strong enough to meet these many demands. Modern foot wear, orthotics and lack of time walking around bare foot all contribute to weak intrinsic foot muscles and it is these which we need to strengthen.
Try the following movements shown in the video below to see how strong your feet are
1. Foot Crawl
2. Big Toe Up while keeping other 4 down
3. 4 Toes Up keeping big toe down
4. Toe Pianos
5. Toe Spreads
“In order to master it you need to practice it”
Start with doing any weak or difficult movements everyday for 1 minute
If you would like to book an appointment please contact us today for a quick chat to see how we can help!
Yours in Health
The Lawlor Clinic, Portlaoise
Chiropractic, Golf & Sports Injuries | Active Release Techniques (ART®)
Scar tissue can be detrimental to body mechanics if not addressed as soon as possible. It can alter proper movement patterns and generate pain and dysfunction in the body. It can also predispose the area to future injury.
The aim of therapy is to improve tissue texture, flexibility, local blood supply and drainage. Therefore the earlier and more regularly that a scar is treated the better.
Qualities of a Scar
Tough fibrous and non pliable, with reduced circulation and lymph drainage
Reduced local tissue flexibility, resulting in limited joint mobility
Our Approach to Treating Scars
Soft Tissue Release: Gentle hands on massage technique applied around and at the site of the scar to stretch the tissues and promote healing
Instrument Assisted Soft Tissue Mobilisation (IASTM): uses specialised instruments and cream to glide across the scar in a form of cross friction massage to reduce pain and improve pliability of the tissues
Dry Needling: needles are applied around the scar site to encourage an inflammatory healing response
How Effective Can Treatment be?
Below is an example of my own scar healing with the help of treatment following a right clavicle (Collarbone) reconstruction with a surgical plate and pins
If you would like to book an appointment please contact us today.
It’s safe to say that the majority of us have a scar of some sort,for example surgical related, c-section scars, appendectomy scars or scars from cuts or broken bones.
What is scar tissue?
Scar tissue forms after injury to the normal cells of the body and it is the body’s natural response to repair any tissue damage. Scars can however generate its own issues once it has laid down, the effects of which is something we come across daily in the clinic.
The effect of scars on the body?
Excessive scarring will create tissue tension throughout the fascial system and limit the mobility within the muscles, tendons, ligaments and ultimately the joints. This results in altered postures and movement patterns. When this happens a cascade of compensatory movement starts elsewhere, creating pain and stiffness, such as neck, shoulder and low back pain.
The assessment and treatment of scars is often a neglected area in the management of musculoskeletal pain and is of upmost importance, particularly in the case of an unproblematic longstanding scar which may be preventing the patient from returning to full non painful movement.
At the clinic we examine and address scars old and new to improve soft tissue function and movement. All with the intention of improving joint mobility and giving the best foundations for developing core stability in our patients. This is especially important for ladies who have had c-section procedures and want to get fit again after childbirth and reduce low back pain.
If you would like to book an appointment please contact us today for a quick chat to see how we can help!
Yours in Health
The Lawlor Clinic: Portlaoise
Chiropractic | Active Release Techniques (ART®) | Functional Range Conditioning (FRC®)
Fibromyalgia is a chronic syndrome marked by widespread muscular tenderness and pain. Those with FM commonly experience disturbances in sleep, mood, and cognition, as well as having neural symptoms also.
Fibromyalgia is characterized by 18 tender points (9 pairs) throughout the body. These tender points are located in the hips, neck, chest, elbow and knee.Fibromyalgia sufferers will have at least 11 tender points and will have had symptoms for >3 months.
It is accepted that the treatment of Fibromyalgia is multimodal. Generally, this encompasses relaxation, meditation, exercise, physiotherapy, acupuncture, nutrition, medication and laser therapy.
Resistance training is a great way to build up muscle strength, power, and endurance. Studies have shown that after 16-21 weeks of beginning a resistance training programme, the tenderness and pain levels in female Fibromyalgia sufferers reduced. The training helped to improve overall well-being, physical function, and muscle strength.
After 12 weeks of beginning a flexibility programme, overall muscle and joint pliability and flexibility improved. And, doing 20-30min walks @ approx. 60-70% max heart rate has been shown to improve mood and sleep patterns.
Evidence suggests that acupuncture can provide short term benefits to Fibromyalgia patients, generally up to one month within treatment. The acupuncture needles are placed on the 9 pairs of Fibromyalgia tender points. Its effects have been further enhanced when combined with other modalities, like exercise or laser therapy.
Laser has many benefits for those with Fibromyalgia. It is a painless intervention for those with Fibromyalgia. Laser stimulates cell growth, increases cell metabolism, invokes an anti-inflammatory response, promotes oedema reduction, stimulates nerve function, reduces the production of substance P, and stimulates the production of endorphins. Laser is applied to the area of pain and/or the 9 pairs of tender points for 20-30seconds per point.
Laser helps to improve sleep, improve physical function, increase mobility, reduce pain, muscle spasm and fatigue.
Nutrition is vital in managing Fibromyalgia. Various studies have connected Fibromyalgia to bacterial overgrowth in the small intestine and a compromised gut function as a result. There are a variety of ways to help cleanse your gut and improve your digestive function. For example: ultrainflamx, omega 3 fish oils, probiotics, turmeric, and vitamin D3 are all very effective in creating a healthy gut. It is also beneficial to either cut out dairy or wheat, depending on which is more sensitive to your gut.
Meditation has been shown to improve mood and sleep patterns in individuals with altered sleep and mood swings. Try to find a quiet room, darkly lit, for 10-15mins twice daily to listen to some relaxing music. Focus on taking deep, slow breaths and try focussing on something that makes you happy. The HeadSpace App is very effective in instructing meditation too.
As you can see, Fibromyalgia must be approached using a variety of different interventions. In our clinic, we have expert medical professionals who have experience in dealing with Fibromyalgia. If you think you suffer with this condition, or know of anyone that does, book an appointment today and let us help you get on the road to managing this condition and getting back to your life!