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.
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.
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!
Many of you who already attend the clinic may have had one of us use our LiteCure Laser on you. And as you sat there, feeling the warmth coming from that little machine, you were probably wondering, what’s this laser treatment all about?!
What is a Laser?
Firstly we have to start with the basics- what is a laser? According to google, a laser is “a device that generates an intense beam of coherent monochromatic light (or other electromagnetic radiation) by stimulated emission of photons from excited atoms or molecules.”
Lets try to simplify that. LASER is actually and acronym for Light Amplification by Stimulated Emission of Radiation. So in other words, through some amazing process of science and physics this light coming out of the machine is a very intense, amplified beam of light.
How can the laser help me feel better?
So we now know that the little machine is sending out a high powered very intense beam of light. That’s great and all, but how does this light actually help decrease pain and help to stimulate healing of the area?
To put it simply, the light from the laser gives energy to the underlying tissues, helping the tissues to increase blood flow to the area and accelerate healing process!
What’s the catch?
A treatment that is painless for the patient, easy for the practitioner, and gets good results; there must be a downside right? Well, no. It is FDA approved, and with thousands of studies performed, there have been no reported side effects of treatment with the laser! It is as good as it sounds!
From acute to chronic conditions, muscle, tendon, ligament, bone, or disc injuries, laser therapy is a quick and easy way to help reduce pain and speed the healing. Treatments with just the laser last from 15-30 minutes and results are typically seen in 4-6 treatments. Contact us today to see if laser treatment is right for you!
The most common type of headaches are tension headaches. Most of us have likely experienced one at some point in our lives. Headaches can usually be tolerated by most of us if they happen only on rare occasion, or at least infrequent enough to bother us. But what about when you start getting headaches more than once a month? What about every week? And at the extreme, multiple times a week? These symptoms are your body trying to tell you that something is not right! So what’s the cause of these headaches? And what can we do to help?
Causes of Tension Headaches:
Do you get headaches that start at the back of your neck or shoulders? Do you feel pressure around your head? These are some of the symptoms of tension headaches. Unlike some of the other types of headaches, tension headaches usually have a mechanical cause. Mechanical meaning a more physical cause. For example, dysfunction in the muscles of the neck, head, shoulders, and in the joints of the neck. Specifically the muscles at the base of the skull, the suboccipital muscles, are some of the most commonly implicated muscles with these headaches.
What Triggers these Muscles to Tense Up?
Forward head posture: working with head in a prolonged flexed position for too long
Stress: many people “hold” their stress at the top of the shoulders and with these muscles connecting up into the neck and head, too much tightness here can lead to headaches.
Grinding teeth/ Jaw problems
How we treat Tension Headache?
The good news for those who suffer from these type of headaches, is that they respond very well to conservative care, which is what the Lawlor Clinic specialises in! We use Active Release Techniques ®, to provide a targeted release to the problem muscles and tissues, and manipulation or mobilisation to the joints in the spine, and other therapies including Dry Needling and Dynamic Neuromuscular Stabilisation (DNS) to help you get back to focusing on life instead of focusing on a headache.
If you are still unsure, contact us today for a quick chat to see how we can help!
Yours in Health
The Lawlor Clinic: Portlaoise
Chiropractic | Physiotherapy | Active Release Techniques (ART®)
With the middle of July now here, summer is in full swing, (with or without the cooperation from the weather!). And with summer comes travel and holidays. We get many patients that end up injuring themselves on holidays, and what should have been a good time, ends up being a painful week or two. So what are some ways that you can keep yourself injury free while traveling??
Smart travel posture- Weather you are flying or driving or taking the train, one of the easiest ways that you can safeguard your back health is by remembering to maintain good seated posture. That can be difficult depending on the type of seat. Most general airline seats for example are not made with good spinal posture in mind. The easiest way to help combat this? Sit all the way back in the seat with bum and back hitting the back rest. Then get an extra pillow, towel, blanket, or sweatshirt, and roll it up and place it behind your lower back. This will help you maintain the normal lumbar lordosis. Sitting back in the seat also helps keep the upper back in a better posture. And don’t forget about the neck, make sure not to keep the head in a bent forward posture for extended periods, be that for reading or texting. Keeping the head back on the headrest will ensure a neutral posture for your neck as well.
Proper lifting of luggage- Utilize the rolling capabilities of your luggage if it has it. If you end up in a hotel with no elevator and are stuck carrying your bag up three flights of stairs, here are a few tips for you. Keep the abdominal muscles contracted. Keeping these muscles active helps them to act as a natural weight belt for the lower back and prevent injuries. Bend from the hips instead of from the back. Always try to aim for keeping the back flat when bending over to lift something up, this will also help to protect the lower back from injuries.
Hydration- Especially true if you are somewhere warm, but drinking plenty of water is not just for times when the sun is shining. Keep your water bottle close by at all times. Water help to hydrate the joints and the muscles and can ease tension and pain. Dehydration leads to headaches and more aches and pains.
Exercise- Most people don’t associate holidays with exercise! But being on holiday can be a great opportunity to do exercises that you may not be able to do while at home. Hiking, walking, swimming, are all great lower impact activities to do to help keep your body strong and healthy. Forget about that lounge chair at the beach, get yourself out and moving.
Smart shoes- Speaking of all that walking you will be doing. Now is not the time to wear a brand new pair of shoes. Make sure you wear in the shoes before you go to avoid pain. And if you know you will be doing a lot of walking, make sure to bring proper shoes with the support you need, even if they might not fit in with the local fashion trends. It’s better to be pain free, than to be stylish and in agony!
Keep our tips in mind as you enjoy your summer travel, to help keep back pain at bay!
The two most important purchases in life are a good bed and a good pair of shoes!
Our health and recovery is dependant on getting good quality sleep and our mattress will play a vital role in this happening.
Patients commonly come to the clinic suffering from back pain, sciatica, neck pain or headaches as a result of a bad bed which may be too old, too firm or too soft. If you wake up with aches and pains having not gone to bed with any soreness then this is a sure sign that you need to change your mattress.
We get asked frequently in the clinic, “what’s the best mattress?”, or “how do I choose a mattress?”, so here are our top tips for picking one.
Think Orthopaedic: You don’t need to spend thousands of euros to find a good mattress. Best to go for a quality orthopedic mattress, with a good warranty and/or return policy.
Test It Out: Always test out the mattress before you buy it! When you are in the shop lie on the bed for 15- 20 minutes, if it doesn’t feel comfortable move on to next one. We also advise against buying your bed online as you will have no idea about the comfort levels.
Rotate and/or Flip: Rotate or Flip your mattress every 6 months to even out wear patterns.
New Mattress: Mattresses need changing every 8-10 years! So those of you that have had yours the last 20 years, its time to update!
If you would like further information on buying the perfect mattress or would like to book a consultation with one of our Chiropractors if you suffer from Back Pain, Sciatica, Neck Pain or Headaches please contact us today.
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.