Light sleep actually occurs in two stages: NREM stages 1 and 2 sleep.
Think of NREM stage 1 as “falling asleep.” During this time, your muscles relax, your heart begins to slow down, and your body temperature dips. Your brain waves slow down moving from a regular, rhythmic pattern to one with less frequent, less regular waves. Stage 1 sleep usually only lasts a few minutes.
NREM stage 2 sleep makes up the bulk of your NREM sleep. During this stage of sleep your muscles relax and may jerk. Your respiration and heart rate slow down. And your body temperature drops.
Associated with dreaming and memory, REM sleep plays an important role in re-energising your body. REM sleep makes up 5-50% of your total sleep and is regulated by your circadian rhythm. Typically you get more REM sleep in the second half of your sleep.
Deep sleep is the most restorative part of your sleep cycle. Deep sleep includes your normal sleep and your naps. Deep sleep can make up anywhere from 0-35% of your total sleep. On average the adult range is 15-20% which makes up 1-1.5 hours of deep sleep a night. This usually decreases with age. When you’re in deep sleep your blood pressure decreases, heart and breathing rates are steady and your muscles relax. During deep sleep, your muscles repair and grow which is why you often get more after a hard workout. Your immune system refreshes and your brain flushed out toxins. Normally deep sleep occurs mostly in the early stages of the night so try to get a consistent bedtime routine to help this occur to its best potential.
More on how to improve these cycles of sleep next week.
Injuries can disrupt our lives, but chiropractic care offers a vital role in the recovery process. This blog post highlights the significance of chiropractic care in rehabilitating injuries, helping individuals regain strength, mobility, and overall well-being.
Diagnosis and functional screening: Chiropractic care considers both the area injured and the driving factors for pain. Chiropractors promote comprehensive healing by identifying and treating underlying dysfunctions, reducing the risk of recurring problems and chronic pain.
Effective Pain Management: Chiropractors relieve pain through manual adjustments and soft tissue therapies. Chiropractic care provides natural pain relief, addressing the root causes of discomfort.
Restoring Mobility and Function: Chiropractic adjustments and therapeutic exercises restore proper movement and function to injured areas. By targeting joint restrictions and soft tissue injuries chiropractors facilitate healing, enhance range of motion, and restore normal function.
Preventing Complications: Chiropractic care helps prevent secondary complications associated with injuries. By correcting imbalances, strengthening weak muscles, and improving biomechanics, chiropractors address underlying issues, minimising the risk of future problems.
Personalized Treatment: Chiropractors create customized treatment plans based on individual assessments, considering the specific injury, medical history, and goals. This tailored approach ensures patients receive appropriate care, maximizing their chances of successful recovery.
Chiropractic care is essential in injury rehabilitation, offering a diagnosis for your pain, what is driving the pain functionally, effective pain management, restoration of mobility and function, prevention of complications, and personalized treatment plans.
Contact the clinic today on 0578678904 or book now.
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.
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.
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