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.
It is common for cyclists to complain about having a sore or achy back. Commonly this can be easily avoided and is due to people rushing out on their bike or not getting the bike fitted to them correctly. Because bikes are not a one size fits all, you can get fitted for your bike cheaply and easily and it can make a big difference to back pain.
But apart from poor bike fit what are some other reasons for people getting back pain cycling?
The seat is too high so your 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 your pedal stroke.
The 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.
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.
Being tight! For example tight hamstrings can reduce your movement so will pull on your pelvis and rotate your spine into a more rounded position.
Weak core muscles.
If you are riding on bumpy ground. This increases jarring and compression to the spine while you cycle and can cause your back to get aggravated.
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.
It is not just your lower back that can be affected, sometimes your neck and upper back can be achy or painful. Especially if you extend your neck for long periods causing irritation in your neck
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.
But overall we would recommend 3 main things to do:
Check your bike fit.
See if you are cycling at around 90 RPM as a low cadence puts more strain on your back so may need to be increased.
Strengthen your core and back muscles. Your core can protect your back if you cycle often or for long periods so is a key area to work on.
If you suffer from back pain when cycling and would like a full functional assessment or to see where you can strengthen up your body feel free to contact the clinic today on 0578678904 or book now.
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
Shoulder pain is a common issue for a lot of people either in day to day life or when they are training. One of the most common conditions is shoulder impingement.
To prevent shoulder impingement it is important to have strength and endurance in a muscle called the Serratus Anterior. In movements such as putting something up on a shelf or exercises such as an overhead press, this muscle activates and makes sure that your shoulder blade moves correctly and that your shoulder joint is stabilised in a correct position.
If your Serratus Anterior is weak or if it gets tired quickly then it can cause unwanted movement in the shoulder joint and lead to an impingement in the shoulder.
So what exercises can we do to strengthen the Serratus Anterior and also stabilise your shoulder?
Half-Kneeling To Overhead Press
A bottoms under kettlebell press is an excellent stability based exercise for the shoulder and this movement carries over to alot of movements you perform in the gym and daily life.
Start with both knees bent with the kettlebell in the front rack position. Then keeping your core engaged drive up and bring your leg in front of you. It is important to keep your core braced doing this and try to keep your ribcage stacked directly over your pelvis. Finally, press the kettlebell overhead and then lower it back down keeping control of the kettlebell throughout the movement.
Holding the kettlebell upside down means the centre of gravity is further away from your hand and therefore means you have to work harder to control the kettlebell as it is in an unbalanced position.
DNS Low Oblique Sit Stage 1
Start on your back with your right hand up in the air holding the kettlebell. This time the kettlebell will not be in a bottoms under position. Then bend your right leg up and keep your left leg straight. Pressurise through your abdomen and keep your core contracted. Bring your left elbow out and drive up through the elbow keeping the kettlebell overhead and your core braced. Keep in control of the kettlebell at all times and control your movement back into the start position.
If you are an elite athlete or just enjoy going to the gym then both of these exercises can help you. They both work very well as a warm-up before you do your workouts, or they also work integrated into a workout superset.
If you have shoulder pain and want to get it sorted 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.
Shane’s talk from the Irish Strength Institute 2018 Symposium
“Building Better Senior Golfers”
Discussing a number of aspects including ▪️ Common Injuries seen in Senior Golfers ▪️ Assessing & Treating the Senior Golfer ▪️ Rehab Applications including Dynamic Neuromuscular Stabilization, McGill Method and Functional Range Conditioning ▪️ The Importance of a Warm Up
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Lawlor Clinic as a data controller is aware of its obligations under the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). The Clinic is committed to protecting the privacy and security of your personal information.
We want you to be absolutely confident that we are treating your personal data responsibly, and that we are doing everything we can to make sure that the only people who can access that data have a genuine need to do so.
This privacy notice summarises, in line with GDPR, how we collect and use personal data about you during and after your time as a patient of this clinic. It also sets out how long we keep it for and other relevant information about your data. It applies to current and former patients.
Please contact the Clinic on firstname.lastname@example.org for full privacy terms and conditions or request a copy at reception.
We need to collect personal information about you and your health, in order to provide you with the best possible treatment. Your requesting treatment and our agreement to provide that care constitutes a contract. You can, of course, refuse to provide the information, but if you were to do that we would not be able to provide treatment.
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If you have any questions about this Privacy Notice or how we handle your information, please contact Karen Lawlor, Lawlor Clinic, 2 Audville Terrace, Dublin Road, Portlaoise, Laois, R32 VW62. Telephone number 057 8678904. Email: email@example.com
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Shane has been selected to speak at the inaugural European Golf & Fitness Symposium which will be held in Lisbon. Portugal this coming April 12th & 13th
This symposium will bring together international experts in the areas golf coaching, biomechanics, physical preparation, injury prevention, treatment and fitness.
Shane is one of Europe’s leading Sports Chiropractors and is an expert in the treatment, screening and rehabilitation of golf injuries. He has travelled extensively with professional golfers on both the European & PGA Tours since 2009 and worked with over 45 different tour pros.
For more information on the European Golf & Fitness Symposium visit the website
Yours in Health
Lawlor Clinic: Spine & Sport, Portlaoise, Laois
Experts in the Assessment, Treatment & Rehab of Golf Injuries