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!
To date, Fibromyalgia is still a misunderstood condition. There are many theories as to what causes it, what can trigger it, and what can help with the pain. But we don’t know for sure. As you can imagine, that can be very frustrating for someone who has been diagnosed with this condition, not knowing what to do about it. Lets learn a little more about this common condition.
1. Fibromyalgia is a condition that causes wide spread muscular pain, it is more common in women than in men, and can run in families. Fibro= fibrous tissue, myo= muscle and algia= pain.
2. The newest theories on the causes of it are leaning towards a dysfunction in the nervous system. Something triggers the nervous system and the persons pain response is altered. Or how the brain is interpreting the pain is altered.
3. There are many other symptoms associated with this condition besides muscle pain, some of these include: fatigue, muscle weakness, poor concentration, brain fog, headaches, and anxiety, just to name a few.
4. There is no specific test for fibromyalgia. It cannot be detected in a blood test or scan. The best way to diagnose it is from the persons specific history. Guidelines from the American College of Rheumatology state that the person must have : ” widespread pain lasting more than 3 months, and other general physical symptoms including fatigue, waking unrefreshed, and cognitive (memory or thought) problems.”
5. There is also no specific treatment for fibromyalgia. Common is for patients to be put on pain killers, or anti-inflammatories, and sometimes anti-depressants.
You may be feeling quite grim right now, because we don’t know what causes it, and it can be hard to treat. So what can we do?
Exercise – regular exercises seems to be one of the biggest things that helps to keep fibromyalgia manageable. Not only is this shown in the research about the condition, but in our experiences here in the clinic.
Chiropractic treatments – chiropractic care can help relieve muscle tension and pain that comes along with fibromyalgia.
Laser – our class 4 laser is also a great tool at helping ease the pain of those tender points associated with this condition.
Dry needling/acupuncture- another one that our fibromyalgia patients feel the benefits from.
Nutritional supplementation- more research needs to be done, but there is some evidence to support certain supplements and their role in helping this condition, including vitamin D, co-enzyme Q10, probiotics, and trace minerals magnesium and zinc.
So you can see, there are things that you can do to actively work on taking control of this condition. Our best advice, find a provider who will work with you, looking at the whole picture and incorporating some of the things above, and help you to stay consistent.
Have fibromyalgia? Book an appointment today and let us help you get on the road to managing this condition and getting back to your life!
Have you been diagnosed with a disc herniation? It is one of the most common conditions that we see in the clinic. Today we want to show you one effective exercise that can help reduce your pain: The McKenzie Extension exercise.
In the last blog, you learned what happens to your discs. We guided you through the stages of disc herniations, and how they can protrude outwards into the spinal canal, which can cause irritation around the nerves and pain. With this exercise we are trying to get a decompression of the discs, encouraging them away from the spinal canal and the nerves, which will be evident by an improvement in your pain.
If you are experiencing pain down one leg, what we would expect with the Mckenzie extension exercise, is that the pain starts to become more central. Meaning that instead of feeling it all the way down to the ankle, you start feeling it only at the knee, or down to the bum.
If your pain does not improve with this, that means you may need a different type of exercise for your lower back pain. As always, its important to get a proper assessment and diagnosis to get the best treatment plan for you!
Diastasis Recti is a condition we see commonly in the clinic. Most often it’s associated with pregnancy and the post partum times, but did you know that it can affect anyone? While can be considered a cosmetic issue, it is a major warning sign that a more serious issue with the core is going on. Lets learn a little more about this common condition.
What is it?
We all have a line down the middle of our body, that separates the two halves of the outer layer of abdominal muscles. It runs from the breast bone to the pubic bone. Diastasis recti occurs when there is a separation or widening between the two sides of of the muscles. Everyone has a little bit of a gap, but it is considered more of a problem when it’s 2 fingers wide or more.
What causes it?
Diastasis recti is common in pregnancy due to two things:
1. The growing belly that pushes out against the abdominal musculature, thinning the connective tissue.
2. The maternal hormones that cause the connective tissues to become softer and more flexible can promote laxity in the structures.
It is something that naturally happens to a degree during pregnancy, and after the baby is born, should come back to normal if your core was in balance before pregnancy. It is worth noting that in many studies, women who were active before pregnancy and continued that exercise throughout their pregnancy tend to be less likely to suffer with diastasis recti. But this is not always the case.
Outside of pregnancy, it can be caused by overdoing it on the wrong abdominal exercises, such as traditional sit-ups or crunches and/or weak deep abdominal musculature. It is not just about weak muscles though. An imbalance in the muscles of the abdomen, and your overall posture can also contribute.
Why is it a problem?
When you have a diastasis that continues for months after pregnancy, it is a problem. It is a sign that your core musculature is not working properly. If you’re wondering why you need your core working properly, here are a couple reasons to consider:
Many who have diastasis recti also have or will have pelvic floor issues including urinary incontinence.
A weak core can lead to ongoing lower back, sacroiliac joint, and symphysis pubis pain
How can we help?
Diastasis can be helped by improving your function and removing any imbalances in the core musculature. Some of you may be thinking, I know other women who are very fit and still have diastasis, what about them?? The answer to that would be that just because someone exercises, does not mean that their core is actually functioning properly and that they know how to properly activate and brace their core during exercise, breathing, and normal day to day activities. They may be loading their core in a way that is contributing to more tension (in the wrong way) on that front part of the abdominal muscles.
It’s important to seek expert advice if you are struggling to get your core back after pregnancy. Look for a practitioner that will take a varied approach to getting you functioning better as a whole to help get your core back in balance! For more information check out this book from Katy Bowman.
You did it. You survived pregnancy and labour and now have a beautiful little person that will enrich your life! And all the little pains of pregnancy will magically go away right? In a perfect world, yes. But for many women, they find that their body is not quite what it used to be. This is especially true for the pelvis. We have talked about the pelvis, and how it changes during pregnancy before, but what happens with the pelvis after pregnancy and birth?
All about the Hormones:
Remember those lovely hormones that help prepare the body for the birth process? Relaxin is one of the main ones, and it does just what it’s name implies, relaxes things. It relaxes the muscles and ligaments so that the joints in the pelvis can spread to allow the baby to pass through. Relaxin remains in your system after the birth and can continue to cause problems for months after the baby is born. If you are breastfeeding, it may be even longer.
The pelvis continues to be unstable in most women after the birth of their baby.
Getting back to Normal:
After the maternal hormones have settled down back to a normal level, the pelvis can go back to being stable, although in some women, it remains unstable for years after the children are born. Even when the pelvis is stable again, that doesn’t mean that it has become stable in the right position. We see many women with pelvises that have stabilised, but did not stabilise correctly. Meaning one or both sides are out of balance, thus causing a lot of discomfort when walking, lifting the baby, or bending.
What about Treatment?
Don’t fret, this can all be corrected with proper treatment. Using different types of manual therapy on the pelvic ligaments and muscles including Active Release Techniques (ART®) and specific exercises to improve your core strength. To help the pelvis heal, it’s important to keep active, which may be difficult to do when you are in pain. We recommend gentle exercise such as light walking as a great way to start.
Book an appointment today to get your pelvis checked and get back to feeling like yourself again!
Yours in Health
The Lawlor Clinic, Portlaoise
Specialising in the treatment of Pregnancy Related Disorders
January is one of the busiest months in the gym as people try to get their fitness back on track. In the clinic we see an increased number of patients who have suffered from a gym related injury such as back & neck pain, sciatica, ankle sprain and shoulder pain.
Here are our top tips to stop you getting injured on your return to fitness
Proper Assessment and Screening: It’s important you know how your body is moving and of any physical limitations that might prevent good pain free movement. A good screening can also highlight potential areas of weakness that causes injuries to occur. Ask your medical and health professional for a functional movement screen (FMS).
Stay Hydrated: Increased training levels means that you will need to increase your water intake. Add himalayan pink salts to your water as a natural electrolyte
Warm Up: A 5 minute cardio session prior to a gym workout will get the core temperature up and prepare the body properly for each session.
Sleep: The best recovery tool on the market is sleep. Make sure you get a solid 8 hours a night.
No Pain No Gain: No one should train or do an exercise that gives them pain, this causes the body to move differently and compensate around the pain.
Overtraining: 3-4 gym sessions are optimal for maintaining good fitness levels. For proper recovery, training 6-7 times a week will only lead to injury.
If you would like a functional injury prevention screening or you are suffering from a gym related injury please contact the clinic for a consultation.
There has been a worrying trend over the last decade, we have seen a increase in the number kids attending the clinic for injuries including Back Pain, Knee Pain, Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL) Injuries.
These injuries are usually reserved for adults but with the training regimes that some of these children are undertaking is comparable with professional athletes.
Our top tips for keeping your kids injury free:
Recovery & Off Season: Sleep, Recovery and a 8 week off season is key to injury prevention. This allows the body to rebuild after long sporting sessions and the toll of a lengthy season.
Late Specialisation: All the latest research has indicated that kids should wait into their teens to specialise in one sport. By playing a number of sports it ensures that your child develops a number of movement based skill sets.
Good Balance of Training & Game Schedule: Parents and coaches should keep track of their youth athletes training schedules ensuring that they are getting at least 2 days off each week. The majority of injuries seen in children are from chronic over use injuries which is preventable if a kid has a sensible training and schedule. Do not over train you athletes!
Functional Movement Screening (FMS): The FMS is one of the simple ways to see if your child is at risk of injury. The screening is scored out of 21, any score under 14 indicates an increased injury risk. At the clinic we use the FMS with all our clients and athletes to help them identify areas of potential injury risk.
If you child is suffering from a sports related injury or you would like more information on injury prevention please contact us.
One of the most important areas for anyone who plays golf is the mid back or thoracic spine. Loss of mobility here can cause major issues with your swing and can cause compensations in other areas of the body, leading to injuries. Poor mid back mobility can contribute to:
Want to improve your golf game? Improve your thoracic spine mobility to see greater gains and more consistency in your swing! Check out our video below on some drills to help you improve this area.
Get treated like the Tour Pros at the Lawlor Clinic!
Chiropractic | Sports Injuries | Active Release Techniques (ART®)
Other than the lower back pain, neck pain is one of the top complaints we have in the office. Neck pain is one of those things many people choose to live with, without taking action to help it. We want to give you a few things to check in your own life, that may be contributing to your neck pain, and small steps to help improve them. So what are some things that can impact the neck:
Poor Posture– siting hunched over a desk all day? Notice that your head keeps going further and further forward to read the screen? Every inch you go forward puts a lot of extra pressure on the neck. The same goes for looking down at a smart device or book for a prolonged period of time. Try to keep the neck in a neutral position when reading, typing, texting, etc. That means you have to bring the book or device up, while keeping the neck in a relaxed position.
Sleeping Position– are you a stomach sleeper? Hate to break it to you, but that is the worst sleeping position for the neck. Though sleeping on your back or side with the neck propped up higher than the rest of the spine with lots of pillows can be just as destructive. Ideally you want the neck to be even with the rest of the spine- not too far up, and not too far down. Try to get a partner or friend to look at your position while you are laying and help you figure out how you can adjust to be more straight.
Stress– tension headaches arise because of….tension. Tension can be formed from repetitive strain type injuries but also from stress. Manage your stress levels to help ease your neck pain. Things like meditation, yoga, exercise are some examples of things you can try. Find what works for you and keep at it.
Shoulder Tightness– many of the muscles in the neck also attach to the tops of the shoulders. Hold your stress or tightness in the tops of the shoulders? Its probably affecting your neck as well. Keep the shoulders loosened up to help with the neck tightness. Try some gentle stretching or foam rolling around the shoulder area and see how it affects your neck.
Trauma– car accidents, falls, and hits, can all cause damage to the neck. One of the common results we see in the neck from trauma, is a whiplash injury. Which is an injury in which the head gets whipped in one direction and then abruptly into another direction. Such as the case with car accidents and many sporting injuries. Disc herniations and other more serious injuries can also occur from trauma. With these types of injuries, it’s best to seek professional consultation before trying to do anything on your own.
If you are experiencing neck pain, go through the list above and see if you can figure out what may be causing the problem. You can try out things at home, such as avoiding the inciting posture or stress. If the problem persists, you may need a professional opinion. Contact us today to see if we can help with your neck pain!
Yours in Health,
The Lawlor Clinic
Chiropractic | Sports Injuries | Active Release Techniques (ART®)
Autism is a neuro-developmental disability that affects the development of the brain in areas of social interaction and communication. The disorder affects about 1 in 100 children in Ireland according to recent studies.
While there are a number of resources for Autism which discuss the possible causes of the disorder we would like to look at the things that you as a parent might able to introduce to your child life that may benefit them.
Cleaning Up Diet: Many who have autism suffer with digestive issues. Cleaning up the diet and supplementation can help significantly with this. Removal of gluten, diary, processed foods, food additives and the reduction of sugar in the diet can have a profound effect on your child’s behaviour as well as.
Supplementation: Addition of high dose fish oils which are rich in Omega 3 are great at supporting the brain’s neurotransmitters. As well as a probiotic to help balance the gut bacteria, which can also help with digestive issues. This is especially important if your child has been on antibiotics at some point. Other vitamins/minerals that have been shown to be beneficial are: B6, C, and zinc.
Daily Exercise and Balance: Daily movement and balance work is essential for for the brain, Exercise can help with the dopamine levels in the brain.
Listening Therapy: This therapy has been around since the 1970’s but is not very well known in Ireland. Listening therapy has shown to be a very effective neuroplastic technique to cause changes within the child’s brain. Paul Madaule, one of the world’s leaders, has seen improvements in two thirds of the children that he has seen at his centre.
These are a few of the many options out there for parents of children with Autism. Don’t let a diagnosis dictate the future of your child and know that there are things you can do to empower your child and help ease some of the symptoms associated with this disorder.
Yours in health
The Lawlor Clinic
Chiropractic | Mums & Babies | Dynamic Neuromuscular Stabilization