Lots of people come into the clinic complaining of elbow pain. Commonly people have pain on the inside of the elbow and say it is down to overuse of the elbow after a long week or overtraining and the elbow has flared up because of it. But with pain on the inside of the elbow, it is not always down to overuse but down to misuse.
With elbow injuries, if you just look at the site of pain and blame the elbow for the cause of the problem you might be missing the root cause of the issue. This is because the muscles which are around your forearm attach onto you humerus which is the upper arm bone and this starts at the shoulder.
People spend a lot of time in a hunched over position with the arms turned inwards and therefore when you have to turn your arms out for example when you hold the bar squatting or doing barbell curls, if the movement is not coming from the shoulder then the movement has to come from the elbow. This creates stress at the elbow as it is not designed to overly rotate.
A lot of the time with elbow pain the thought process is to stretch out forearms. But this is treating the symptoms, not the cause. The root cause is often from being restricted in shoulder movement.
So, if you are having elbow pain or even if you are not you can try this quick test. Hold your hands out in front of you with your arms straight and turn your palms upwards. A lot of the time the you will see a difference from side to side with how much you can turn your palms upwards. You may also find you are compensating to get this movement from the wrists or feel stress through the elbow. If this is the case then helping your shoulder mobility will prevent pain from occurring or if you are in pain, be the resolving factor in your pain.
If you want to know more about potential causes of injuries or get your pain sorted, then contact the clinic for a full functional assessment to see where your imbalances are. To do this contact the clinic today on 0578678904, direct message us on Facebook or book now.
Yours in Health
The Lawlor Clinic: Spine & Sport, Portlaoise, Laois
Elbow injuries are a common injury in desk workers and athletes. In people who lift weights they are one of the most common injuries to have.
Although the elbow may appear to be a simple hinge joint that simply has two movements (bending or straightening the elbow), the reality is far from it. The elbow is a more complicated joint than it seems because the movement occurs between three bones and surrounding this are 16 small muscles. These help to not only straighten and bend your elbow but also rotate it as your palm is either up or down.
Although many elbow issues are due to overuse of the muscles causing a repetitive strain injury, it is common for people to cause an injury to one of the several nerves in the arm. This can cause tingling, numbness, a burning sensation and possible weakness in the hand.
A type of exercise that is used to help nerve pain is nerve gliding. This aims to either stretch the nerve or glide the nerve.
Gliding techniques will stretch the nerve and have the aim of increasing the tension and pressure through the nerve. This sometimes makes symptoms worse in people.
Sliding techniques will move the nerve with a lot less tension and pressure and therefore don’t increase symptoms.
The goal is to use these techniques to increase blood circulation, reduce the swelling that is around the nerve and get the nerve back to its natural movement. This will decrease symptoms once these areas are restored.
Make sure you only do a few sliders at a time because overstressing the nerve even with a less aggressive technique will potentially increase your symptoms. It is not always the case that a little bit of something is good so let’s do lots of it in a more is better approach. So do this little and often throughout the day rather than all at once.
If you suffer from any elbow issues or capal tunnel then contact the clinic today on 0578678904, direct message us on Facebook or book now.
Yours in Health
The Lawlor Clinic: Spine & Sport, Portlaoise, Laois
Chances are you know someone with a hamstring injury or have had one yourself. If you have had a hamstring injury you will know first hand they can be very difficult to get rid of. Also, you are faced with the problem that if you have a hamstring strain you have a very high chance of re-injuring the hamstring again.
But what are hamstring tears?
Class I: There are only a few muscle or tendon fibers are torn. You will usually have pain during or after activity which would be worse when sprinting. There may be a small amount of swelling and discomfort. Usually associated with minimal strength loss. You will likely be able to walk directly after the injury.
Class II: A partial tear of the fibers. You will usually have pain during activity which stops activity. There will be a significant loss of strength and a significant amount of pain. You will likely have some pain when walking.
Class III: This is when there is extensive tears to the muscle, you will usually have felt pain immediately and may have fallen to the ground. Your range of movement at 24 hours is usually significantly reduced with pain on walking. There is usually weakness in contraction.
Class IV: A complete rupture of the muscle/tendon. This will be associated with a huge loss of muscle function, often an inability to walk due to pain and massive bruising on the back of the thigh. This class can often be less painful than class III.
How to help
If you have suffered a low-grade strain of your hamstring, here are some explanations of exercises that you might find useful. If you have sustained what you think may be a grade 2 or above injury, it is recommended that you go see a medical practitioner for some hands on help and to effectively rehab the muscle.
A good exercise to start for a low grade hamstring strain is a bridge. Start by lying on your back with your knees bent. Drive your heels into the ground and imagine you’re about to get punched in the stomach (this will make sure your core is braced). Then drive your hips upwards and squeeze your butt muscles. You should then hold this postition for 5 seconds and then lower yourself to the starting position. If this is painful then STOP, you don’t want to over strain the tissues that are healing. 2-3 sets of 15 reps.
Also it is important to work on your balance. To do this, stand on one leg, then do a small hip hinge and attempt to hold this position for 10-20 seconds. Start with your eyes open and then once you are comfortable with this you can try doing it with your eyes shut which will make it much more challenging. Also, try to do this exercise barefoot. 2 sets of 5 holds.
If would suffer from recurrent hamstring issues, then contact the clinic today on 0578678904, direct message us on Facebook or book now.
Yours in Health
The Lawlor Clinic: Spine & Sport, Portlaoise, Laois
Hip pain is very common in people who exercise regularly. But how can you help your hip pain and tight hips?
To prepare the body to be able to squat or lift weights pain-free, you should improve your sense of balance and general control single-legged.
Think about it, when was the last time you trained single leg exercises? I mean, really trained it? But it’s never too late to start incorporating it into your workout routine.
The hip airplane which was designed by Dr. Stuart McGill with the aim of being an active flexibilty exercise deals with both balance and general control head-on so will seriously challenge you to perform it equally side to side.
Therefore, the hip airplane will test and improve the stability of the muscles in and around your hip.
Even people who can squat huge amounts of weight can struggle with this and it will lead to injury. This is because of progressively causing micro-trauma to your tissues because you don’t have the functional stability around your hip. So, people of all athletic ability can benefit from training single movements.
So why is the hip airplane so important for the squatting movement pattern?
When you squat you femur’s are in an abducted position (so they’re pointing out) with your feet also out in relation to your pelvis. Your pelvis is the stable point around which your femurs will move and rotate in their socket.
So to recreate this movement but to work on stability rather than strength you can use the hip airplane. This is because instead of having your foot out to the side and your pelvis in neutral, the foot is now directly underneath your body and you will deviate the pelvis.
How to do the hip airplane
Firstly do the exercise barefoot to activate the small muscles in your foot which will help create a stable structure from the ground up.
Starting position: Then go onto one leg and bring your front leg upwards to 90 degrees.
Then bend your torso forward so it is over your leg in contact with the ground, do this while kicking your back leg behind you.
Keep your trail leg straight.
(If you know common weightlifting movements then this is very similar to the single leg roman deadlift or RDL).
Then slowly bring your belly button towards your leg in contact with the ground and then out to the side. Then return back to the starting position.
Aim: Practice quality of the movement with good form. But as a rough guide aim for 1-2 sets of 10-20 repetitions. But this exercise is all about control so even if you can only do 3 to start. Slowly build up from there.
As you do this exercise more and more you will get better at balance and your steering ability in rotation. As you improve you can start leaning further forward to make the exercise harder.
If would like a full functional assessment and to get some tips and feedback on your exercises, then contact the clinic today on 0578678904, direct message us on Facebook or book now.
Yours in Health
The Lawlor Clinic: Spine & Sport, Portlaoise, Laois
Firstly, cycling in comparison to other sports has a low rate of injury, apart from crashes or collisions from, for example, someone jumping into the cycle lane on your morning commute and your morning coffee failed to wake you up in time.
However, cyclists do need to take care of their backs because in general, the most common thing cyclists complain of, is their back.
Being hunched over on a road bike will take an effect over time. Low back pain is reported by more than 50% of cyclists and in overuse injuries lower back pain causes the highest rates of functional impairment and medical attention amongst cyclists.
Why do cyclists get low back pain?
There are many potential reasons why cyclists can get back pain but the following are the most likely:
Poor bike fit: This can be from an incorrect saddle height or and uneven saddle
Knee has a less than 25% bend at the end of the stroke. This will force you to rock your pelvis from side to side to get enough power at bottom of the stroke.
Your handlebars are too far forward causing you to overstretch which will increase tension in your lower back.
Flexing the lower back and causing core abdominal muscles to be in a poor position and so won’t work effectively. This means you won’t be in a stable position when you’re cycling.
You can also hurt your neck and upper back by bending your neck too far upwards. This will increase the strain in your neck and you could also hurt it going over unexpected bumps.
Using BIG gears. You should aim for a cadence of around 90 RPM. If you are getting lower than this then it will put extra stress on your back.
Tight hamstrings. If you have a reduced range of motion in your hamstrings then this will pull on your pelvis and rotate your spine into a more rounded position.
Poor core muscle strength.
If you are riding on bumpy terrain. This increases jarring and compression to the spine while you ride and can cause pain in your back.
Length of cycling done weekly. Cyclists who ride an average of 160 km or more per week are significantly more likely to report back pain than those who rode less km per week.
Things to check if you have back pain while cycling:
Ultimately there are 3 main things to do:
Check your bike fit. There is an association between bike fitting and your comfort while cycling. This can increase pain if your bike is not fitted properly.
Check your cadence and see if it needs to be increased. A low cadence puts more strain on your back.
Strengthen your core and back muscles. The low back is not designed to take much hard work when cycling. Your core should protect it and provide support.
If you suffer from back pain when cycling and would like a full functional assessment feel free to contact the clinic today on 0578678904 or book now.
💥Have you had overly tight calves for a long time? Hip extension may have something to do with this.
🏃🏻 Your hip and ankle are key components in your gait/running cycle. Normal range of motion is 10 degrees for hip extension and 40 degrees for ankle dorsiflexion.
💥If you are restricted in these movements then there may be long term effects of your running performance and you could incur injuries or overly tight muscles along the way.
💪🏽There are 2 main muscles in your calf. The Gastrocnemius and the Soleus. The main firing of these muscles is when your heel lifts. The gluteus maximus at the back of your hip stops firing just before your calf muscles, this acts as a one two punch that propels you forwards.
💥Normally ankle dorsiflexion should be equal to hip extension. So if your ankle is restricted in movement, then you will not be able to access your full hip extension and therefore affect performance and increase your susceptibility to injury. This is termed the Z angle.
✍🏻 It has been shown if you can not get into full hip extension then your calf has to fire early to still help you move forward while running. So, your calf is being loaded for a greater amount of time so runners can be symptomatic of calf pain for days after a run because of this.
💥Also, if you can’t get into full hip extension, when the calf contracts it will drive your weight upwards creating a vertical phenomenon, meaning your calves have to work harder.
How can we help at the Lawlor Clinic?
During an assessment we can see if your hips ankles or other parts of the body aren’t moving properly or to see if you are compensating in other areas.
Once we have found the problem areas , we can mobilise and manipulate them. This should increase the range of motion in the area.
Then we will give exercises in the clinic and for you to do at home that will help get the muscles surrounding the joint to work well functionally while you move.
👌This will mean you can get into the previously not possible range of motion and keep it there so you will be out of pain for longer and performing better.
If you would like to book in for an assessment then contact the clinic today on 0578678904 or book now.
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.