Laser therapy is a medical treatment that uses focused light to trigger a series of events in the body that leads to an increase in cellular metabolism. This can decrease pain and inflammation so the healing process can take place faster.
Laser therapy is used to treat short and long term conditions as well as post-activity recovery.
For injuries that have just occurred it is particularly effective if it is administered as quickly as possible.
With long term conditions, laser therapy is most commonly used to help persistent pain and inflammation.
To aid in post-activity recovery the laser is used by 250 pro, college, and Olympic sports teams across the United States and many parts of Europe.
What Does It Feel Like?
Laser therapy treatments is administered directly to skin, as clothing or topical dressings interfere with delivering light to tissues beneath the skin.
Patients will feel a soothing warmth feeling as the therapy is administered.
Patients receiving treatments with higher-power lasers also frequently report a rapid decrease in pain. For someone suffering from chronic pain, this effect can be particularly pronounced.How long do treatments last?
With LightForce lasers, treatments usually 4-7 minutes long, depending on the size of the area being treated.
How Many Treatments Will I Need?
Patients generally see results after 3 to 5 treatments.
If you need help with your tightness, pains or just want some advice feel free to contact the clinic today on 0578678904 or book now.
As winters arrives and summer sport starts slow down it can be hard to stay motivated to keep training or exercising regularly. But continuing to do regular exercise over winter can have significant benefits for your health and will get your body prepared for when sport starts up again.
Physical activity and training in the senior population on a consistent basis can have great impacts to someone’s way of life. These benefits include that people have fewer falls with injury, improved muscular strength and endurance, a decreased incidence of coronary artery disease, and a lower risk of cardiovascular related mortality for example heart attacks
There are a number of sports to pick from that can be found locally including running, walking, swimming, golfing, lifting weights, cycling and tennis.
Based on the activity you are training for, the training regimen should be specifically designed to produce both metabolic and physical adaptations aimed to improve health and performance. But in general here are some goals and targets you can aim for to help stay active over winter.
•Train 3-5 days per week
•20 to 60 minutes aerobic activity. For example walking or running.
•Choose an activity that engages the large muscle groups. This can be walking, jogging, running, cycling, rowing, stair climbing.
•Perform resistance training: One set of 10-15 repetitions for major muscle groups, two to three days per week. This will help develop muscle strength and help you perform better at your chosen activity.
•Perform flexibility training: stretch major muscle groups at least four times each for a minimum of two to three days per week
If you need help with planning a physical activity routine or have any pains when exercising feel free to contact the clinic today on 0578678904 or book now.
When dealing with back pain a common relief strategy people use is to stretch for the back. In this weeks blog post we are going to discuss why stretching your lower back may not be an effective long term way of dealing with your pain. For a long time it was common for people to prescribe certain stretches for example pulling your knees to your chest while lying on your back as an exercise for people suffering with lower back pain.
Short term the exercise makes sense. If people had trouble standing for long periods of time or if they were in pain lying on their back then they would feel better in a flexed position. Many who complained of feeling stiff and painful in their low back had instant relief of their symptoms after performing a few of these stretches.
However, this relief is only temporary for most people. When you stretch your low back, you are stimulating the stretch receptors deep inside the muscles that give the perception of pain relief and the feeling of less stiffness.
But muscle pain and stiffness you may feel in your back is caused because of a chemical reaction called inflammation. Inflammation occurs from the real injury located deeper in the spine. This can from a bulging disc, facet irritation or other injuries. The underlying injury is what causes the secondary contraction or spasm of the surrounding muscles. This then causes pain.
So because of this when you are rehabbing a back injury the majority of people should have their focus on stabilising their core and fixing any faulty movements. This is why increasing the mobility of the surrounding muscles and joints will help fix the cause of the lower back pain rather than just focusing on the symptoms.
If you do suffer from back pain and would like us to have a look at your problem and run through advice to get you out of pain contact the clinic today on 0578678904 or book now.
Squatting is one of the most common exercises to perform in the gym but often is done incorrectly. A good place to start is if we look at it as a movement rather than an exercise.
If we can fix the problems in a bodyweight squat you can create a greater capability to carry the load with the barbell.
The importance of the squat:
Squatting is a functional movement. This is because if you look at most sports for example a tennis player waiting for the serve or a goalkeeper at a penalty. The starting stance of the squatting movement is a universal position that carries over into many other movement patterns.
Different people have different mobility limitations and anatomical differences will impact the width of your stance. The goal is to place your feet in a position that will allow for a full depth squat while still feeling comfortable. Although overall placing your feet at shoulder width apart is a good starting position for most people.
When it comes to the feet for a bodyweight squat it is best to have a near straight foot position with a very slight 5 degree outwards rotation for your feet to be pointing. If you have difficulty performing the movement to full range with this foot position, it may indicate you have certain issues in mobility that need addressing.
In the clinic we can assess you to see where you are not getting the correct movement from and then treat the affected area. This will gain range of motion and mobility so you can perform better when squatting.
A solid foot tripod:
When we create a good arch in our foot, you form what we call a tripod foot. The three points of the tripod is the heel, the base of the 1st toe and the base of the 5th toe. Th goal when squatting should be to maintain the arch of our feet and have our weight distributed evenly.
Creating hip external rotation:
The last thing to think about before starting the descent for the bodyweight squat is to create external rotational with your hips. Creating this movement creates a tightness in our hips that will ensure our knees track with ideal alignment during the entire squat. This will help produce power and speed to your squat.
To create this power at the hips think about squeezing your glutes and driving your knees out. When you do this you will feel the outside muscles of your hips engage.
Point your feet as straightforward as possible. 5 degree toe-out angle.
Maintain three points of contact with your feet in relation to the floor establishing the tripod foot.
Create external rotational forces at the hips by squeezing your glutes while maintaining the tripod foot.
Always remember that the squat is a movement first and an exercise second.
I hope this helps, but if you do suffer from tightness when squatting and would like us to have a look at your problem and run through advice to get you out of pain contact the clinic today on 0578678904 or book now.
It is likely that you or someone you know has had low back pain in the past. It is a common problem but often it can be tackled by simply changing how you are moving or changing a couple of key habits in the day. This blog will cover ways to help the office worker and people working lifting boxes and machinery.
If you sit with bad posture during the day then it will put more stress on certain areas of your back.
Some key movement tips:
Don’t bend and round your back when getting out of bed
When brushing your teeth, unloading the dishwasher or other simple movements you want to avoid too much spinal movement. To help try and hinge from the hips. You should feel like you’re gliding your bottom backwards in order to lean forwards. It’s fine to lean one hand on the sink for support.
Try not to be hunched over when putting on shoes and socks, instead put a foot up on a chair to help bring your hips into play like in the point above.
Sometimes fixing your posture can help but often peoples jobs require lifting or moving in the day. For this a proper core brace should be implemented. Not with a physical one you can buy but rather with your abdominal muscles.
But how do you do it? If you create pressure in your abdominal cavity you will help to create extra stability for your back. So as you are about to lift the object off the ground take a breath and brace your core (to brace your core if you were to cough you will feel some muscles contract. Tense these muscles as you lift). Doing both of these things will increase the pressure inside your abdominal cavity against the structures surrounding it so your back will be protected as you lift to help you stay injury free.
I hope this helps, but if you do suffer from back pain and would like us to have a look at your problem and run through advice to get you out of pain contact the clinic today on 0578678904 or book now.
Have you ever had knee pain that you do not know what is causing it and it keeps coming back?
This blog will help you to understand what sort of knee pain you have and what is driving your pain. A lot of people develop knee pain while barbell training or playing sport but do not have a clear understanding of what is causing the pain.
The common conditions we will cover today are:
Illiotibial band Sydrome
Patellofemoral Compression Syndrome
Iliotibial Band Syndrome: The IT band is a thick band of fascia that starts at the hips and runs the entire length of your upper leg. The pain usually is on the outside of your knee. The reason for the pain is the compression caused by the thick IT band compressing on the bony part of the outside of your knee. Normally you will not get it from a specific incident but will gradually come on overtime. The pain can start as a dull ache and then progress into a sharp pain.
Patellofemoral Compression Syndrome/ Biomechanical Dysfunction: If you have pain on your knee cap or underneath it is most likely down to a compression problem or a biomechanical dysfunction (bad technique when training). Pain normally increases the more you load the knee. So for example, if you are squatting 60kg the pain might be 1/10. But if you increase the weight to 100kg it may increase to a 4/10.
As your knee moves your kneecap/ patella will cause the muscles to tense and surround your knee to stabilise it. But if these muscles are tight then the knee will not move properly and will rub and can cause injury. In the clinic, we assess your squat both in a normal deep squat position and also doing a single leg squat. This allows us to see where you are not moving properly and then work on this with manual therapy techniques and form alternations to help your knee move better and have you perform pain-free again.
Patellar Tendinopathy: If you do sports that involve more explosive movements that are highly repetitive. For example, hurling, rugby and gymnastics. It is common to have patella tendon pain when you do excessive jumping or loading through the knee. It is much more common to get the pain when you are putting force through the knee, for example, jumping. Rather than just running because it is difficult to overload the knee just running on its own.
Mainly the pain is on the patella tendon itself but you can also get pain on the little bump below the knee (called your tibial tuberosity). This is a common place to see swelling too.
Just looking at the knee is rarely enough to fully fix your pain. It can help a great deal to release off tissue and muscle tension around the knee to allow it to move better but the mechanics that have led to the injury in the first place must be fixed in order to stop the pain from coming back.
This is where we can help you in the clinic by both helping your knee move better and lower pain levels but also see where you are moving poorly to help the pain from returning.
If you would like a full functional assessment and find out what is causing your knee pain, 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
When you were training for sports in your P.E classes, you were most likely told to hold your hamstring and groin stretches several seconds before starting your training session. This static stretching is very popular and is a common routine in any athletes routine.
But more recently if you ask a medical professional or coach about stretching before your workout you will likely get a different answer. So why is some advice to stretch before working out and other advice is to stretch after your workout? We will cover the reasons behind this in today’s blog.
To start, there are different kinds of stretching. These are listed below:
Static Stretching: This is this most common stretching that people think of. For example, if bend over to touch your toes and hold the position, you are performing static stretching.
Passive: This is when someone else moves your body into a stretch and proceeds to hold the tension while you are relaxed.
Dynamic: This is a controlled movement into the stiff position. The best way to think about it is performing a deep squat or lunges.
Ballistic: This involves using your bodies momentum to bounce in and out of stiffness. It’s not recommended by many because of the chances of injury but is more commonly used by dancers.
PNF: This is an acronym for proprioceptive neuromuscular facilitation and describes a combination of passive stretching followed by different types of muscular contractions. If someone gets your muscle into a position, for example a hamstring stretch while you are on your back. Then asks you to contract and then relax while they push the muscle further, this is PNF.
In the past, research showed that performing static stretching before training or a competition could reduce the chances of muscular strain. This is why it is such a popular form of stretching.
But recent research is showing that static stretching can lead to a decrease in strength, speed and power. So this would lessen the athlete’s performance. But it might not be the static stretching that is the problem, rather it is the long duration someone will hold the stretch for.
Stretches for short periods of time (under 30 seconds) cause no harm to muscular performance and cause an increase in mobility, this means you can get into better technical positions when performing your lift or movement. It is when a stretch is held for 45 seconds that there is a decrease in power, speed and strength.
A test to do:
If you struggle with tightness and feel restricted you can test if you are short of what is expected of your muscles.
Place your foot 10 cm from the wall and then bend your knee to try and touch the wall without lifting your heel to do so. If you can touch your knee to the wall you have passed the test and have good ankle mobility. Working on passive stretches of 30-second holds can help to free up your calf and get to pass the test without affecting your performance.
For example, a deep goblet squat can help improve your ankle mobility before training. Hold a kettlebell on your chest and sit down into a deep squat. Hold 4 stretches for 10-30 seconds.
If you do not have good ankle mobility you will be unable to get into a good squat position and therefore will hinder your technique.
In the clinic, we work using a variety of techniques to help improve mobility in all areas of the body, including ankles. So working on your muscles and joints to help get into a good position will allow you to perform and move better day to day and during athletic performance.
Stretching prior to your workout is not a one size fits all. It will come down to you as an individual and what your body responds best to. Also, it will depend on where your weaknesses are. Your tightness can also be down to overall muscle weakness, so it could tighten up to try and stabilise the area.
To help work out what needs to be done to fix your issue and to help get you the best results contact the clinic today on 0578678904, direct message us on Facebook or book now.
Yours in Health
The Lawlor Clinic: Spine & Sport, Portlaoise, Laois
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
With people still working from home it can become a big change in peoples lives. Therefore this blog post will go through the most effective ways to work from home safely and efficiently.
Get into a good routine
It is important to get into a routine, so a good way to do this is make a plan of how your working day is going to look. Having this routine set out from the moment you start work through until when you finish will make sure you get what needs to be done completed and also prevent you from overworking. Having a routine also will be less stressful. This is because knowing when you will finish will keep you motivated to work during your work hours and then switch off when you finish. Also it can be useful to have a schedule so you can tick off the jobs at the end of the day.
Making sure you have breaks from work is crucial for your over all health. Our bodies are designed to move about all day so sitting down for long periods can increase the risk of injury. To help this it can be useful to stand up every 30 minutes (people will an Apple watch will know all about this) or change your posture. It can also be beneficial to get out of the house and take a walk so you feel refreshed when you get back to work.
Keeping a good posture at work will help prevent you from getting aches or pains during work. The way to do this is when you are sitting, to make sure to find your natural best posture. To get into the right position push your hips slightly back, bring your back up straight, then bring your shoulders back and then bring your head over your shoulders. You can always stack your laptop on top of some books in case you need to have your laptop higher so you don’t strain your neck. It is also important for your feet to be comfortable. Whist working they should be shoulder-width apart and flat on the floor. Your knees should be lower than your hips and the way to do this is to shuffle forward on your chair.
When you have been sitting in a different position compared to what you are normally used to in the office, it is very common to develop aches and pains. This is because your body is sitting in a different posture to what you are normally used to and it is putting more stress and strain on certain joints and muscles in your body. If these joints and muscles are being loaded in a way they are not used to, that is when you will experience pain or discomfort.
If you have aches or pain while working at home and would like some treatment and advice about it, then contact the clinic today on 0578678904, direct message us on Facebook or book now.
With gyms opening up again and sports teams having training and matches, everyone will be getting much more active over the coming weeks. But after a long rest period, rushing back into training at full speed can cause an injury. So, if it is a casual round of golf or getting back into the gym here are some tips and advice to get performing safely.
Before training, it is important to do a targeted warm-up before you start actively. This might not mean doing a 5-minute cycle before your gym session because instead, it will be beneficial to target to muscles you are training that day rather than just simply getting the heart rate up. For example, if you are going for a run you should focus on warming up your hips and legs. This can be done with exercises such as lunges and side shuffles. Then some hip mobilising exercises such as hip CARs which are attached below.
Fuel your body
Having the right food before a workout is vital to performing at a good intensity. This doesn’t mean consuming protein shake after protein shake but instead having a well-balanced meal before your workout and also throughout the day so you do not feel like you are crashing throughout the day.
Before and during your workout it is very important to stay hydrated. So if you know you will be training later you should make an effort to make sure you are hydrated before. You can also include natural electrolytes into your diet such as coconut water or pink Himalayan sea salt.
After a long period of time off it is normal to have lost some of your strength or general physical fitness. So if you find it difficult to bench press what you used to or the number of reps has decreased don’t get discouraged. Set a goal to work to over the coming weeks and gradually increase your weights and sets. This will give you a great platform to get to where you were pre COVID and pugs beyond where you previously were.
If you have taken a break from the gym and you are feeling stiff or want to prevent a possible injury when you are back training 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