For or any athlete or gym-goer, the ability to move pain-free and being mobile on the field is key to performance. Whether you play rugby, football, hurling and weightlifting, these all require muscle strength, flexibility, proper body mechanics and technique to prevent injury and perform your best.
Preventing Pain and Injury
People who are training consistently for a sport or activity are more likely to be stiff and sore after training or a match. This is especially relevant for those who participate in contact sports like rugby. In the clinic, we have a wide range of treatment options, which will help target your muscles and joints to gain more flexibility and decrease painful movement. This can help decrease the risk of injury because it encourages flexibility and movement so you have a better range of motion to throw, catch and run.
Many sports require repetitive motion that can lead to overuse injuries. This is because you need consistent practice at a certain skill to achieve accuracy and distance. This means muscles around the arm and shoulder can become injured. If the muscles and joints can become painful and inflamed you will start to limit the movement to protect the sore joint. While rest is helpful for repetitive motion injury, in the clinic with techniques such as massage therapy can restore normal function, relieve muscle spasms and pain quickly.
In the clinic, we will do a full functional screen to see where the body is not moving efficiently and help recognise where we can help improve your movement to help your sports performance.
Treatment methods we use in the clinic are:
Active Release Technique (ART)
Dynamic Neuromuscular Stabilization (DNS)
If you have niggle or feel tight in certain areas and want to get it 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
If you suffer from stiff ankles or tight calves this blog post is for you.
The assumption to make when you have tight calves is to stretch the calves. However, to gain length in your calves it is often helpful to train the muscles at the front of your lower leg. This is because they are often weak in people who have chronically tight calves. This is because stretching causes a mechanical change in the muscles whereas strengthening causes a change in the way your body perceives length.
What are the problems if you have poor ankle mobility?
Common for people to roll off the outside of their foot when walking.
Big toe bunions can form
If your ankles are tight when walking your calf is used more, therefore becomes tighter.
Your body mass is more forwards when walking
Collapsing of your foot arch
So when you are at home instead of forcing your knee over your ankle to create mobility in your ankle, try to strengthen the front of your lower leg which will allow you to access more range of motion for the long term. This will be more long term because you won’t be relying on an external input but instead you will cause internal changes that should make more significant differences in muscle function.
How to do this?
Try this exercise called the moonwalk.
Come back onto your toes
As you lower your toes, bring your knee over the front of your toes
As you bring the knee forwards, lift up your toes
If you suffer from stiff ankles or tight calves and would like us to assess and treat you, then contact the clinic today on 0578678904, direct message us on Facebook or book now.
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
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!
Aimee had a great time last night at the Portlaoise Leisure center last night, May 12th, 2016, sharing their presentation “Sitting Is The New Smoking”.
For those of you who couldn’t attend, here is a little recap of the evening.
-Sitting is the new Smoking is a phrase coined by Dr. James Levine, an American endocrinologist. He says, ” Sitting is more dangerous than smoking, kills more people than HIV, and is more treacherous than parachuting. We are sitting ourselves to death.”
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.
Supplements are an important aspect for reaching optimal health and well-being as most of us are not intaking adequate nutrients on a daily basis. Our diets have changed over the years, we have gone from eating whole food sources to more foods that are pre-prepared and pre-packaged, which usually means less nutritional value. Supplementation is not meant to replace eating healthy, but meant to be an addition to healthy eating habits, to help us get all the nutrients we need. Here is our list of the most important you should be taking:
Probiotics– more research keeps coming out about how many different conditions are affected and prevented by having a healthy micro biome in our guts. Even if you haven’t been on antibiotics recently, but especially if you have, make sure to get good bacteria into your system. Outside of supplementation you can get bacteria through fermented foods and yogurts as well.
Vitamin D– this is a common deficiency to have, especially in places where daylight and sunshine is limited. It is not just for bone health, but can impact a number of systems in the body, contributing to: fatigue and achy muscle pains. Make sure to get it in D3 form with supplements.
Omega oils– you can get these from animal sources such as fish oil or krill oil, but they can also be obtained from plant sources such as flax, chia, and hemp seeds, and spirulina. They help with heart and brain function, and can also be beneficial in certain conditions such as ADHD and autism.
Magnesium– is used throughout the body in different systems. It can lead to symptoms such as: fatigue, muscle cramping, and numbness/tingling.
Zinc– we don’t store it in the body, so its important to get this one daily. It helps to ward off colds and keep your immune system strong among other things.
Everyone is different and their nutrient needs are also different, but this can be used as a guide to help you make sure you are including these important substances into your daily routine.