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.
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
Most low back pain is primarily caused by the way you move and how you sit. During the day there are ways to do these things that put less stress on your back. Your spine has 24 vertebrae and it is common to think that all the parts move evenly. But certain areas take on more movement than others which are called hinge points. This blog post will give you some techniques and ideas to help remove these hinge points and to start getting you more pain free.
In between the segments of your spine, there are discs that act as little shock absorbers. As you sleep the discs gather water and hold the water so they become more pressurised when you wake up first thing in the morning, this means they are easier to injure. After an hour the pressure decreases to nearly normal so this is why it is extra important to be careful in the morning.
Ways to manage this in the morning:
Don’t bend and round your back when getting out of bed
When brushing your teeth, avoid spinal movement. 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
Don’t have your back rounded when sitting down eating your breakfast
Other problems for your back throughout the day are when you try to lift something heavy. If your job requires a lot of lifting it is vital to know how to squat with good form.
To do this you should have your feet at shoulder width. Then keeping your back straight you should move your pelvis backwards and keep your heels down. To practice this if you get a pole or a golf club and held it along your spine touching the bak of your head, mid-back and tailbone, the pole or club should stay touching throughout the whole squat.
Also, when you are walking day to day it is important to do this correctly to reduce the strain on your lower back. So try to walk with your chest up and bring your head back and swing your arms. Interesting fact, walking is 12% more metabolically demanding with your hands in your pockets, this shows how your arms play a vital role in saving energy. Doing this will reduce tension in your lower back and walking can be therapeutic for back pain if you do these steps correctly.
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 pain-free, then contact the clinic today on 0578678904 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.
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
Clinic Patient Privacy Statement
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.
We have a “Legitimate Interest” in collecting that information, because without it we couldn’t do our job effectively and safely.
We also think that it is important that we can contact you in order to confirm your appointments with us or to update you on matters related to your medical care. This again constitutes “Legitimate Interest”, but this time it is your legitimate interest.
We have a legal obligation to retain your records for 8 years after your most recent appointment (or age 25, if this is longer), but after this period you can ask us to delete your records if you wish. Otherwise, we will retain your records indefinitely in order that we can provide you with the best possible care should you need to see us at some future date.
Your paper file is stored in locked filing cabinets, the keys are locked in a safe, and the offices are always locked and alarmed outside working hours. Paper records are never removed from the Clinic premises.
Your electronic file is stored “in the cloud” using encrypted practice management software. We have a contract with this provider which includes a written declaration that they are fully compliant with the General Data Protection Regulations. Access to this data is password protected.
Email appointment reminders are set up for each patient, but patients can opt out of this service if they wish. We do not use SMS or email marketing communications.
Occasionally we will need to contact you in writing or provide a medical or solicitor report on your behalf. Such letters are saved securely on to our office computers, which are password protected and the offices are always locked and alarmed out of working hours.
We will never share your data with anyone who does not need access, without your written consent. Only the following people/agencies will have routine access to your data:
– Your practitioner(s) in order that they can provide you with treatment. Self-employed Associates and Therapists have a signed contract with the Clinic which includes obligation to maintain confidentiality of information relating to clients.
– Our clinic manager and reception staff who have signed contracts of employment including strict clauses re data confidentiality.
– The practice management system that stores and process our electronic records
You have the right to see what personal data of yours we hold, and you can also ask us to correct any factual errors.
Provided the legal minimum period has elapsed, you can also ask us to erase your records.
Should your personal data that we control be lost, stolen or otherwise breached, where this constitutes a high risk to your rights and freedoms, we will contact you to explain to you the nature of the breach and the steps we are taking to deal with it.
Making a complaint
You have the right to make a complaint at any time to the Data Protection Commissioner via their website: www.dataprotection.ie
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
PLEASE SPEAK WITH OUR RECEPTIONIST IF YOU DO NOT CONSENT TO RECEIVING EMAIL APPOINTMENT REMINDERS / IMPORTANT CLINIC UPDATES. WE WILL MAKE SURE YOUR RECORD IS UPDATED TO REFLECT YOUR CONSENT AND PLEASE BE AWARE THAT YOU CAN OPT OUT OF THIS SERVICE AT ANY TME. WE WILL NOT SEND YOU MARKETING COMMUNICATIONS.
At the Lawlor Clinic we provide Chiropractic for all the family from newborn to old age. Many of the problems that patients present with as adults can be addressed in childhood and treated appropriately with Chiropractic care.
Some of the common conditions we deal with in the different demographics include:
If you have answered yes to any of these then the Scalene Muscles could be at fault….
The scalene muscles lie at the front of your neck and are in close proximity to the branch of nerves which supply the arm and hand. If the muscles become shortened and/or irritated they can compress these nerves and cause neurological symptoms such as radiating pain, numbness or coldness into the upper limb. The scalenes can also contribute to neck pain and headaches.