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.
Antioxidants, herbs and spices are important ingredients in a healthy diet and are very important in helping to treat joint pain and arthritis. Different combinations of these herbs and nutrients are likely to be particularly powerful anti-inflammatories and painkillers, which can improve the progression of arthritis.
Curcumin (found in turmeric)
Boswellic acid (found in Indian frankincense)
Quercetin (found in tea, red onions, apples, citrus fruits)
Bromelain (found in pineapple)
Hydroxytyrosol (found in olives)
Cream-based anti inflammatories:
The major bone mineral is calcium. 99% of the calcium in our bodies is found in bone. Calcium should be taken in via your diet, but one of the greatest factors in calcium balance is exercise. Studies at NASA discovered losses of calcium in astronauts living in zero gravity conditions. They also demonstrated that weight-bearing exercise (such as walking) can raise calcium levels in the body by 2%, which will help slow down the progression of arthritis.
Without magnesium, calcium is unlikely to be used properly. Vitamin D is also needed to enable calcium to be used properly with the body. Boron is involved in the transportation of calcium around the body. It helps the body to retain calcium and magnesium. These are the main players in arthritis. Other key minerals which help managing arthritis include zinc, copper, manganese, phosphorus, folic acid, vitamins C, K and B6.
Calcium and magnesium:
Supplement 300-600mg daily
Oily fish (herring, mackerel, pilchards, sardines, tuna)
30mins of sunlight daily
Supplement 15mg daily
Supplement 3mg daily
With arthritis, there can be obvious joint degeneration and cartilage depletion. If this is the case, it may be advisable to:
Supplement a cartilage rebuilder (glucosamine, chondroitin) for at least three months
Supplement vitamin C 3-5g daily
The most effective way of tackling arthritis is:
Improve bone strength
Weight bearing (walking) and non-weight bearing (hydrotherapy) exercises
‘Say No To Arthritis’, by Patrick Holford is an excellent read for those suffering with arthritis. If you are struggling with arthritis, please do not hesitate to get in contact with the Lawlor Clinic on 05786 78904.
Yours in Health,
The Lawlor Clinic, Portlaoise
Chiropractic | Active Release Techniques (ART®) | Functional Range Conditioning (FRC®)
Everybody knows how important sleep is. Runners need more sleep than most people. Running sleep deprived can be as dangerous as driving intoxicated! You probably know someone who brags how he only needs five hours of sleep a night and another who insists on eight hours — and it’s true, sleep needs vary.
As an athlete, getting enough sleep is as important as your food and exercise choices. Cheating on sleep makes it hard to concentrate at work, may impair your appetite and causes irritability. A sleep debt can negatively affect your running. The National Sleep Foundation says that “sleep is as essential as diet and exercise. Inadequate sleep can result in fatigue, depression, concentration problems, illness and injury. Sleep helps general protein synthesis, cell growth and division, and tissue repair and growth.”
So, what happens during sleep that is so important?
One of the most important ways sleep can help your running is water reabsorption — especially during the summer months when you sweat more and dehydration is more of a concern. During sleep, the kidney balances water, sodium and other electrolytes. Without enough water the kidneys can’t balance electrolytes properly. Being fully hydrated, the kidneys can balance your body’s electrolytes more effectively so that this balance can be better maintained during running.
“Dehydration leads to muscle pain while running and poor performance,” said Joanne E. Getsy, MD, professor of medicine, Drexel University College of Medicine, Pulmonary, Critical Care, Sleep Division, Philadelphia, Pa.
Besides making you feel better, sleep is when your body repairs and regenerates damaged tissue from the day’s workout and builds bone and muscle to be ready for the next workout. Distance runners especially need that sleep/repair time to make sure that muscles recover from training.
Research from Stanford published in SLEEP reported that increased sleeping time can improve athletic performance. In the study, researchers had basketball players maintain their regular sleep schedule of six to nine hours for up to four weeks. After that, they were asked to sleep 10 hours each night for five to seven weeks. Speed improved significantly (16.2 seconds verses 15.5 second for 282-foot sprints); shooting accuracy improved and the players said they felt their practices improved after six weeks of lengthening night-time sleep length.
The study suggests that sleep is important for performance and that reducing an accumulated sleep debt can be beneficial for athletes likely at all levels. Sleep should be a high priority in an athlete’s daily training. Sleep allows the body to engage in the repair process.
Human Growth Hormone (HGH)
During the deeper stages of sleep HGH is released during slow wave sleep. HGH is a natural hormone produced by the pituitary gland and released into the bloodstream. HGH rebuilds damaged tissue while building stronger muscles. It also helps convert fat to fuel, and keeps our bones strong.
“If you don’t get enough sleep, you produce less HGH and it becomes harder for your body to recover from workouts. Too little sleep also leads to an increase in cortisol, which often comes out during times of stress. An increase in cortisol contributes to slower recovery times,” said Shelby F. Harris, PsyD, CBSN, director, behavioral sleep medicine program, Montefiore Medical Center, Bronx, N.Y.
If your workouts are hard, your body may release greater quantities of HGH while you sleep. “If you do a harder interval workout as opposed to an easy run, you might have more HGH hormone secreted if you actually need it,” added Benny Garcia, MS, CSCS, exercise physiologist at Loyola University Chicago/Gottlieb Center of Fitness in Chicago.
Regular sleep can boost the weight loss benefits of running.
If you don’t get enough sleep, your body’s appetite signalling hormones [leptin and ghrelin] are thrown off. Less sleep leads to more ghrelin [which makes us hungry] and less leptin [which tells us we’re full]. Sleeping a full night regularly helps keep your hunger signals in check and keeps, especially when combined with exercise, your weight down.
For marathoners during taper weeks, regularly getting a solid night of sleep may be even more important than the miles you’re running during that time period.
Endurance athletes find that moderate carbo-loading just before an event can enhance athletic performance. However, if you’re not sleeping enough, your body won’t properly store the carbs you’re consuming [leading to less glycogen stores] and the benefits of carbo-loading may be lost. You might even hit the wall sooner than usual because your glycogen stores will be depleted too fast.
Concentration & Mental Toughness
Runners can be analytical — always trying to figure out why one race went so well and why another didn’t. It takes a few hours after you fall asleep to reach deep, quality sleep, usually into the seventh hour — especially in younger athletes. Concentration can be negatively impaired when a runner races with sleep debt.
Enough sleep helps you tune into your body better, improves your concentration and helps you strategize the rest of the race or for the rest of the run. This concentration is also essential for being able to “push” it at the end of a race.
Knowing this, how can you get the best running from your sleep?
Determine your sleep needs and meet it every night, “Monday through Monday.” Establish a regular sleep schedule. Go to sleep at the same time every night and wake up at the same time every day. If you have a yo-yo sleep-wake schedule, your body never knows when it’s time to shut down. You end up being in a constant state of jet lag without ever leaving home.
Get one long block of continuous sleep at night. Power naps are a last resort if you have to make up lost sleep. Snooze for 10 to 15 minutes — no longer or you might become groggy.
Ensure you are well hydrated, taking in enough water during the day and limiting caffeine, nicotine and alcohol which can reduce sleep quality.
Stop using your mobile phone 1hour before bed – this can help to increase sleep quality.
Try to keep noise levels down and ensure there is no brightness entering your room.
Avoid stressful situations before bed – try reading a book, taking a relaxing bath or practice relaxation techniques, maybe even listen to relaxing music.
Lighten up on evening meals, try not to eat before 8pm. Eating after this can be a recipe for insomnia.
Try to fit your running in early. Exercise helps promote restful sleep if it is done >3hours before bedtime – you will sleep more soundly and faster if you try this.
If you are struggling with sleep days before a race, don’t panic. Research has shown that sleep loss ranging from 16-24 hours does not impair performance during aerobic and anaerobic events. The adrenaline rush of competition appears to override any negative physical consequences of sleep deprivation. Therefore, if you miss several hours of sleep for a night or two before your race, your performance is not likely to be impacted unless you are particularly susceptible to sleep deprivation. Once the sleep loss doesn’t exceed 2 successive nights.
“You might be able to get by with one or two lousy nights of sleep, but your best performance is when you’ve had a good night’s sleep,” said James B. Maas, PhD, a psychologist from Cornell University in Ithaca, N.Y., and author of Sleep to Win.
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®)
Plantar Fasciitis (PF) can be quite a debilitating disorder. It is commonly described as having pain under the heel of the foot or along the arch of the foot. It is a progressive disorder, where the first few steps in the morning are painful, along with barefoot walking, or pain wearing flat shoes. Prolonged standing, walking or running can aggravated the pain. Many different treatment options have been proven to be effective in treating PF, such as deep tissue work, stretching and manual therapy. But, are there any additional therapies that are effective at treating PF, for example, if the hands-on approach is not yielding results to your liking?
At the Lawlor Clinic, we utilise Class 4 Laser Therapy for a variety of conditions, including PF. But, is it any good? Are there positive results with this approach? Or is it all a load of nonsense? Let’s see what the evidence says.
Class 4 Laser Therapy
With laser therapy, a light beam is placed on the injured area in an effort to affect cellular metabolism, protein synthesis, wound healing and immune response. The idea is that this will fight the inflammation in the fascia, reduce heel pain, and increase recovery time. 2 papers have evaluated the effectiveness of Class 4 Laser Therapy on chronic PF, and have a strong quality of evidence as they appear on the Cochrane Database of Research.
X2/week for 3 weeks
X1/week for 6 weeks
Before, 1week, 2weeks, 3weeks, 6weeks, 8weeks
Before and at 6weeks
Results – Plantar thickness
A difference in plantar thickness, but not statistically significant (not meaningful)
Results – Pain
Statistically significant improvement (p<0.001)
Statistically significant improvement (p=0.001)
These two studies demonstrate that after 6 sessions of Laser Therapy, the PF pain had significantly reduced when compared to placebos. This shows that laser is effective in treating PF, but it is important to explain to patients that research suggest that the most effective treatment approach is 6 treatments either x2/week for 3weeks or x1/week for 6weeks and then the patient can make up their mind which they would rather.
Comparing Laser to Extracorporal Shock Wave Therapy (ESWT)
The idea behind ESWT is similar to LLLT. In ESWT, a probe is placed on injured area and shockwaves are pulsed in through the skin to stimulate angiogenesis (new blood vessels) and neurogenesis (new nerve cells). In theory, these aspects stimulate wound healing mechanisms. Again, 2 high quality papers compared the use of LLLT vs ESWT:
X3/week for 3weeks of either ESWT / Laser
X3/week for 3weeks (ESWT)
X3/week for 4weeks (Laser)
Both given stretches for 3 months
Before and at 3 weeks
Before, after 1st session, after 3 months
Results – Plantar Thickness
Reduction in plantar thickness, more significant reduction in ESWT
Results – Pain
Statistically significant reduction in pain with Laser, not in ESWT
Statistically significant reduction in pain with ESWT, not in Laser
The data above suggests there is no difference between using Laser or ESWT for treating PF. This is because of the conflicting evidence above.
In summary, the evidence demonstrates that Laser (once completed for 6 sessions between 3-6weeks) is very effective in reducing pain levels in those with chronic PF. If you are suffering with PF, or any foot pain, please do not hesitate to contact us today