Understanding, Coping, and Thriving
Osteoarthritis is not fun. This month we’re focusing on osteoarthritis of the hip in depth. If that’s not related to your aches and pains, we’re still here to help.
What is Hip Osteoarthritis?
First things first, let’s understand what hip osteoarthritis is. Imagine your hip joint as a well-oiled machine with smooth cartilage cushioning the bones. Hip osteoarthritis happens when that cartilage wears down over time, causing the joint to start reacting. It’s like your once-silky-smooth ride turned into a bumpy roller coaster.
Why Does It Happen?
Well, it’s mostly due to the natural aging process – as we get older, our joints endure wear and tear. But it’s not just age; genetics, injuries, and strain (through lack of movement, obesity or grinding) can also play a role. When the cartilage deteriorates, it can lead to pain, stiffness, and limited mobility.
Now, let’s get into the good stuff – how to deal with hip osteoarthritis and preserve, and even regain, mobility.
Lifestyle Changes for Hip Osteoarthritis:
Mindful Movement: One of the best things you can do is to keep moving. It might sound counterintuitive, but gentle, low-impact exercises like walking, swimming, and Tai Chi can work wonders. They help to strengthen the muscles around your hip, providing extra support and reducing the stress on the joint.
Watch Your Weight: Your hip joints must carry the load, quite literally. Excess weight puts extra pressure on them, which can accelerate the cartilage breakdown. Shedding those extra pounds through a balanced diet and exercise can make a world of difference. That’s easier said than done for most of us we know, but you’re not alone! Reach out for help if you need it.
Ergonomics: Pay attention to your daily activities. Are you sitting or standing for prolonged periods? Try to maintain good posture and consider using assistive devices like a fit-ball for a chair, a stand-up desk, or a cane or a walker – whatever is right for you. These small changes can reduce strain on your hips.
Footwear Matters: Believe it or not, your choice of shoes can impact your hip health. Choose supportive, cushioned shoes that provide stability. This can alleviate some of the pressure on your hip joints when you’re on your feet.
Exercise for Hip Health: We’ve already touched on the importance of exercise, but let’s break it down further. When dealing with hip osteoarthritis, there are three main types of exercise to consider:
- Strengthening Exercises: These focus on building up the muscles around your hip joint. Think leg lifts, squats, and resistance band exercises. Strong muscles provide better support to your hip, making it less likely to ache.
- Flexibility and Range of Motion Exercises: These aim to improve your hip’s mobility. Simple stretches can do wonders, like the butterfly stretch or knee-to-chest stretches. These keep your joints limber and reduce stiffness.
- Aerobic Exercise: Activities like swimming or cycling are fantastic for cardiovascular health and joint flexibility. They’re low-impact, making them easier on your hips while helping you to stay fit.
Nutrition for Hip Health:
Your diet plays a significant role in managing hip osteoarthritis. Here’s what you should consider:
- Anti-Inflammatory Foods: Incorporate foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids, like salmon and walnuts. These have natural anti-inflammatory properties that can help with pain and discomfort.
- Calcium and Vitamin D: Strong bones are essential, so make sure you’re getting enough calcium and vitamin D. Dairy products, leafy greens, and fortified cereals can be your best friends here.
- Stay Hydrated: Water is essential for overall health, including joint lubrication. Make sure you’re drinking enough throughout the day.
Now, let’s talk about how an Osteopath can assist you on your journey to hip health. We are healthcare professionals who focus on the musculoskeletal system, which includes your bones, muscles, and joints.
Manual Therapy: Osteopaths use gentle, hands-on techniques to improve joint mobility and reduce muscle tension around the hip. This can provide relief from pain and enhance your overall mobility.
Personalized Treatment: Every person is unique, and so is their experience with hip osteoarthritis. We will tailor treatments to your specific needs, ensuring a personalized approach to managing your condition.
So, hip osteoarthritis might throw a few bumps in your path, but with the right approach, you can regain control of your life. Remember, it’s about taking small, manageable steps, staying active, maintaining a healthy diet, and seeking the professional care of one of our Osteopaths when needed. By making these changes, you can keep those hips moving
Call us anytime to make an appointment at and we can help with whatever body issue bothers you – not just hip osteoarthritis
If you’re an office worker and you’ve been dealing with elbow pain, you’re not alone. Many of us spend hours at a desk, typing away on a computer, and sometimes that can lead to discomfort in our elbows. Let’s dive into what might be causing your elbow pain, some basics about elbow anatomy, and most importantly, how we might be able to help. But if you’d rather cut straight to the chase, give us a call and our experts can treat these symptoms.
Elbow Anatomy 101
First things first, let’s understand a bit about your elbow’s anatomy. The elbow is a complex joint formed by the connection of three bones: the humerus (upper arm bone), the radius, and the ulna (the two bones of the forearm). It’s a joint that allows for both bending (flexion) and straightening (extension) of the arm. Ligaments and tendons, like the ulnar collateral ligament and common extensor tendon, provide stability and enable movement. When any of these structures are affected, it can result in elbow pain.
Causes of Elbow Pain for Office Workers
Elbow pain can be caused by various factors, and for office workers, some common culprits come into play:
Repetitive Strain: Typing on a keyboard and using a mouse for extended periods can strain the tendons and muscles around the elbow joint, leading to conditions like tennis elbow (lateral epicondylitis) or golfer’s elbow (medial epicondylitis).
Poor Ergonomics: An improperly set up workstation can put stress on your elbows and wrists. If your desk, chair, or keyboard height isn’t right, it can lead to awkward arm positioning and increased strain.
Overuse: Working long hours without breaks or frequently performing tasks that involve gripping and lifting can lead to overuse injuries, contributing to elbow pain.
Nerve Compression: Prolonged periods of bending the elbows can compress the ulnar nerve, leading to cubital tunnel syndrome, which can cause pain and tingling in the forearm and hand.
Stress and Tension: Stress can cause muscle tension, which may exacerbate existing elbow pain or trigger discomfort in the first place.
What can we do to help?
Our Osteopaths will be able to help you find relief from your elbow pain. Osteopathy is a holistic approach to healthcare that focuses on the body’s musculoskeletal system and aims to improve overall health and well-being. Here’s how:
Assessment and Diagnosis: We will start by thoroughly assessing your condition. We’ll ask you about your symptoms, examine your elbow (and other parts of the upper limb and spine), and possibly perform tests to pinpoint the source of your pain. This diagnostic process helps tailor the treatment plan to your specific needs.
Manual Techniques: Osteopaths use a variety of manual techniques to treat musculoskeletal issues. For elbow pain, they may use techniques like soft tissue manipulation, myofascial release, or joint mobilization to alleviate tension, improve circulation, and promote healing.
Ergonomic Advice: Osteopaths often provide advice on ergonomics. We can help you set up your workstation correctly to reduce strain on your elbows and prevent future issues. Even small changes can make a big difference – not surprising when you think about how many hours a day you probably spend stuck at your desk!
Exercise and Rehabilitation: We may recommend specific exercises to strengthen the muscles around the elbow and shoulder joint (interesting point – elbow pain is often predisposed by an issue in the neck and shoulder!). These exercises can improve stability and support your recovery.
Preventive Care: Osteopaths don’t just focus on treating the current issue; we also emphasize preventive care. We’ll work with you to develop strategies to reduce the risk of future elbow problems.
Remember that each person’s experience with elbow pain is unique, so we will tailor our approach to your individual needs. The goal is not just to provide relief but to promote long-term healing and well-being.
Can Osteopathy help elbow pain?
In conclusion, if you’re an office worker dealing with elbow pain, don’t suffer in silence. Call us for an appointment instead and let’s work to get you feeling better. Your elbows work hard to support your daily tasks, so let’s give them the care and attention they deserve to keep you comfortable and pain-free at work.
We hope you found this information helpful. If you’re interested in learning more about your musculoskeletal system, you can follow us on Facebook at Beachealth or Instagram at Beachintegrated.
Did you know that World Osteoporosis Day is marked on the 20th of October? So we’ve decided to make it our focus this month. World Osteoporosis Day, after all, is about education and awareness. So, what is osteoporosis and can you do to prevent it? How do you manage it? And how can the Osteopaths help?
What Is It?
Osteoporosis is often referred to as a “silent disease” because it develops gradually and doesn’t cause noticeable symptoms until a fracture occurs. Essentially, it’s a condition that weakens your bones, making them more fragile and prone to fractures. Our bones are living tissues, constantly being broken down and rebuilt. But with osteoporosis, the balance tips, and the creation of new bone doesn’t keep up with the removal of old bone, leading to a decrease in bone density.
Prevention is Key
Preventing osteoporosis is more effective than trying to treat it once it’s developed. Here are some key steps you can take to reduce your risk:
- Nutrition: A diet rich in calcium and vitamin D is essential for strong bones. Dairy products, leafy greens, fortified foods, and supplements can help you meet your calcium and vitamin D needs (and sunshine for Vitamin D of course!).
- Exercise: Regular weight-bearing exercises like walking, dancing, and resistance training can strengthen your bones. They help stimulate bone growth and reduce the risk of bone loss. How? Exercise stimulates mechanical loading on the bones, which triggers cells to build and strengthen bone tissue. Additionally, physical activity helps maintain calcium balance in the body (by regulating hormones like parathyroid hormone (PTH) and calcitonin) and promotes the release of growth factors, contributing to improved bone density and reduced risk of fractures.
- Avoid Smoking and Excess Alcohol: Smoking and excessive alcohol consumption can weaken bones. Why? Smoking impairs bone cell function and inhibits collagen production, leading to decreased bone density and strength. Additionally, smoking increases oxidative stress and inflammation, disrupting the balance of bone re-modelling and ultimately increasing the risk of fractures and osteoporosis. While alcohol interferes with calcium absorption in the intestines. Chronic alcohol consumption interferes with hormone production, resulting, among other things in less estrogen being produced. So, quitting smoking and moderating alcohol intake can contribute to better bone health.
Managing Osteoporosis with Osteopathy
Now, let’s discuss how the Osteopaths might be able to assist in managing osteoporosis. It’s important to note that there’s no miraculous cure. But it is manageable. We can offer advice to help guide you to strengthen your bones, and work on overall alignment and balance making falls and fractures less likely. We may also be able to help with managing your pain. It’s a complex condition and you want a great team supporting you. We want to part of your team. Read on to find out how…
- Assessment: As always, we start with a thorough assessment. We can assess your posture, mobility, and musculoskeletal issues. We’ll pay particular attention to issues related to osteoporosis, but also to other signs that might exacerbate the pain and dangers associated with the condition.
- Pain Management: Through gentle manipulations and massage we may be able to help you manage pain associated with osteoporosis. These techniques aim to reduce muscle tension, improve circulation, and enhance your overall comfort.
- Exercise Guidance: It’s never too late to start exercising. After a thorough assessment we’ll be able to recommend safe and appropriate exercises to strengthen your muscles (and therefore your bones) and improve balance. This can be crucial in reducing the risk of falls and fractures, which are common concerns for individuals with osteoporosis.
- Lifestyle Recommendations: Our Osteopath may offer advice on lifestyle modifications to reduce the risk of fractures. This may include tips on fall prevention and ergonomic adjustments to your daily activities.
- Collaboration: We will work closely with our other healthcare professionals that you may see, such as our Physiotherapists for clinical Pilates to strengthen your body, our Naturopathic Doctor for nutrition advice, or our Chiropodist for feet support and body alignment, providing a holistic approach to managing osteoporosis. Get a team to support you. Teamwork makes all the difference!
Osteoporosis is a condition that requires proactive prevention and comprehensive management. Our team at BeacHealth can play a valuable role in helping individuals with osteoporosis to enhance their bone health, reduce pain, and improve their overall well-being. If you’re concerned about osteoporosis or already have it, we look forward to working with you to help you manage the condition and get the most out of life despite of it. And remember, a healthy lifestyle and proactive care can go a long way in managing osteoporosis and maintaining a strong, resilient skeleton.
This month we find ourselves fascinated by quadricep strains and hope to share a little information and advice with you. If that interests you, read on. But if another injury or ache or pain is your priority right now, please give us a call. We are here to help with hamstring strains, bicep strains, triceps strains, calf strains… and even aches and pains that have nothing to do with strains!
So, you’ve strained one of your quadriceps… Firstly, ouch – we know that can be a real pain. But we want to reassure you that with the right knowledge and some help from an Osteopath, you’ll be back on your feet in no time.
What Is It Exactly?
First things first, let’s understand the anatomy. The quadriceps muscle group is a powerhouse located at the front of your thigh. It’s responsible for extending your knee and helping you to kick, jump, and run. Maybe you don’t run like an Olympian, but your body’s movement potential and power is amazing when you start to really consider its mechanics! The quadriceps are so named because there are four of them. You’ve got the Rectus Femoris running down the centre of your thigh, the Vastus Lateralis on the outer side of your thigh, the Vastus Medialis on the inner side of the thigh and the Vastus Intermedius deep between the vastus lateralis and vastus medialis. Sometimes, these muscles can get overstretched or overloaded, leading to those unwelcome strains.
How Bad is It your quadricep strain?
There are three grades of quadriceps muscle strain, and each one brings its own set of challenges:
Grade 1 – The Mild One:
A Grade 1 strain is the least severe of the bunch. It happens when only a small number of muscle fibers get torn. You might feel some mild discomfort and tenderness in the affected area, but it won’t stop you from going about your daily activities. It can be tempting to ignore it and just get on with things, but this might be detrimental to your healing in the long-term. So challenge yourself to take proper care of this injury.
Grade 2 – The Moderate Trouble-Maker:
A Grade 2 strain is a bit more intense. This time, a more significant number of muscle fibers get torn. Ouch! You’ll likely experience pain, swelling, and maybe even some bruising around the thigh. Moving your leg could be tricky, and walking might not be as smooth as it used to be. The challenge here is to care for your leg, but not fall into a poor movement pattern while you work around the injury. This can create more problems throughout the rest of your body – which is the last thing you need!
Grade 3 – The Severe One (Or the Great Escape):
A Grade 3 strain is the big kahuna, and it’s no joke. In this scenario, the muscle suffers a complete rupture. Yep, you heard that right – it tears all the way through! The pain will be intense, and you may even notice a divot or dent in your thigh where the muscle used to be. This one might take you off your feet for a while, and you’ll need some serious TLC to get back on track.
How Did This Happen?
So, how does all this quad strain mayhem happen? Well, it can come about in a variety of ways:
- Overexertion: Pushing yourself too hard during exercise or physical activities, like sprinting or weightlifting, can put a strain on those quads.
- Sudden Movements: Abrupt changes in direction, especially when running or playing sports, can cause the muscle fibers to go “uh-oh!” and decide to take a break.
- Weak Muscles: If your quadriceps muscles are weak or imbalanced compared to other leg muscles, they might not handle the workload and could get strained.
- Lack of Warm-up: Skipping the warm-up routine before getting into the action can leave your muscles unprepared and vulnerable to injury.
- Fatigue: Tired muscles are more prone to strains, so it’s essential to listen to your body and not push it beyond its limits.
Bad luck plays into these things too of course. But it’s a good reminder that warming up, listening to your body, using proper form and cooling down properly are essential.
How Can My Osteopath Help?
Alright, now that we’ve got the lowdown on quadriceps muscle strains and how they happen, let’s talk about what an osteopath can do to lend a helping hand during the healing process.
Osteopaths are like the masters of the musculoskeletal system. They understand how the body works and can work their magic to help you recover from that quad strain:
- Assessment and Diagnosis:
First things first, our Osteopath will give you a thorough evaluation. They’ll ask about your symptoms and examine the affected area. This will help them determine the grade of your strain and tailor a treatment plan just for you.
- Manual Therapy:
Osteopaths are experts in manual therapy techniques, and they’ll use their hands to gently manipulate and mobilize the affected area. This can improve blood flow, reduce muscle tension, and speed up the healing process.
- Rehabilitation Plan:
As you move through the recovery stages, our Osteopath will develop a tailored rehabilitation plan for you. This might include specific exercises and activities to progressively challenge your quads and get them back in top-notch shape.
- Prevention Tips:
To avoid future quad strains, our Osteopath will share some valuable prevention tips. These could include additions to your warm-up routine, muscle-strengthening exercises, guidance on how to pace yourself during physical activities and other lifestyle tips like gait adjustment and postural advice.
Remember, every quad strain is unique, and the healing process can vary from person to person. So, don’t rush it! Listen to your body, follow your Osteopath’s advice, and give those quads the TLC they deserve.
In no time, you’ll be back on your feet, enjoying life to the fullest, and saying goodbye to those quad strain blues. So, take care, be patient, and let us guide you to a full and speedy recovery!
So, you’ve got your first appointment with an osteopath coming up and you’re filled with anticipation and curiosity. Let’s walk you through what to expect before, during, and after your first visit here at BeacHealth.
Before the Appointment:
Before you head to your Osteopath’s clinic, take a moment to gather some essential information. Make sure you have your medical history handy, including any past injuries or conditions you’ve dealt with. Jot down any current symptoms or discomfort you’re experiencing, so you don’t forget to mention anything during your visit.
During this time, you might also want to write down any questions or concerns you have about your health. Your Osteopath is there to help you, so don’t be shy about asking anything that’s on your mind.
It’s best to wear comfortable clothes to the appointment. You’ll probably be asked to move around a bit so we can see how your muscles are working. Restrictive, uncomfortable clothes just get in the way.
During the Appointment:
Expect a warm and friendly atmosphere. Osteopathy is a holistic discipline – we treat the whole person not a muscle in isolation – so we’ll work to put you at ease.
Your Osteopath will start by having a chat with you about your medical history and any specific issues you’re facing. They’ll listen attentively and ask questions to get a comprehensive picture of your health.
Next comes the physical examination. Don’t worry; it won’t be anything invasive or uncomfortable. Your Osteopath will gently assess your body’s mobility, posture, and movement. They might ask you to perform certain movements to better understand how your muscles and joints are doing.
Based on their assessment, your Osteopath will create a personalized treatment plan just for you. They’ll explain their findings and what they believe could be causing your discomfort. Remember, your Osteopath is here to work with you and find the best approach for your unique needs.
If any hands-on treatment is necessary, your Osteopath will explain each step before proceeding. Manual therapy techniques are common in osteopathy, and your Osteopath might use gentle manipulations, stretches, or other techniques to address your specific concerns. Rest assured that it’s non-invasive. If anything hurts let your Osteopath know. Communication is key.
After the Appointment:
Congratulations, you’ve completed your first visit with an Osteopath! Now, let’s talk about what comes next.
After your session, you might experience some immediate relief from your symptoms (and that is just the most amazing feeling for you and for us!). However, keep in mind that healing takes time, and your body might need a bit of adjustment. Don’t be discouraged if you don’t feel 100% right away; gradual progress is normal. It’s even possible that the aches and pains might feel even more pronounced for a day or two while the healing happens.
Your Osteopath might provide you with some helpful advice on how to manage your symptoms at home. This could include exercises, stretches, or lifestyle modifications that will support your recovery. Follow their recommendations diligently to maximize the benefits of your treatment. We cannot stress the importance of this enough. While we love repeat business, we prefer that our patients keep coming back because we’re just that good – not because they keep hurting themselves in the same old ways over and over again!
In some cases, your Osteopath might recommend follow-up appointments to continue monitoring your progress and adjusting the treatment plan as needed. It all depends on the injury/condition/ache – it’s severity and causes. The important thing to know is that we’re here for you to provide ongoing support if it’s needed for long-term healing and well-being.
Remember, open communication with your Osteopath is key. If you have any questions or concerns after your first visit or throughout your treatment journey, don’t hesitate to reach out. They are here to guide you and ensure you feel comfortable every step of the way.
Before, during, and after your first visit with an Osteopath, you can expect a caring and personalized experience. The team at BeacHealth will take the time to listen to your concerns, conduct a thorough examination, and design a treatment plan tailored to your needs. With gentle hands-on techniques and expert guidance, they’ll help you on your journey to improved health and well-being.
So, take a deep breath and call us to book your first appointment and embark on a path of healing and vitality. You’ve got this! We hope you found this informative. If you’re curious about osteopathy, human movement or human anatomy check out other blogs on our web site at www.beachealth.com, or follow us on Instagram at beachintegrated. We should warn you that the occasional osteopathy joke may make its way to our posts! We look forward to seeing you at the clinic.
When Your Hands Demand Relief from an Osteopath’s Touch:
This month we’re focussing on Carpal Tunnel Syndrome and what our Osteopaths can do to help.
So, you’re experiencing tingling, numbness, or pain in your hands and wrists. You might be afflicted with that bothersome condition known as carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS). Whether you spend long hours typing away at a keyboard, using power tools, or engaging in repetitive hand movements, CTS can seriously impact your daily life. But fear not! We’ve got the information you need to understand and alleviate your carpal tunnel woes.
Understanding Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
Imagine your wrist as a busy highway, bustling with nerves, tendons, and blood vessels, all passing through a narrow tunnel. This (carpal) tunnel is formed by bones, ligaments, and connective tissue. Within this confined space, the median nerve, responsible for providing sensation and controlling certain muscles in your hand, can become compressed or irritated leading to carpal tunnel syndrome. Now, let’s unravel the science behind the scenes. Brace yourself for some jargon. Here are the key players:
Ligament and Tendon Tales:
Introducing the transverse carpal ligament—the bodyguard of the carpal tunnel. In folks with CTS, this ligament may decide to thicken or lose its stretchiness, becoming a bit of a buzzkill. The narrowing of this tunnel puts pressure on the median nerve, leading to those pesky symptoms.
Nerve Slippin’ and Slidin’:
In a perfectly functioning wrist, the median nerve glides effortlessly within the carpal tunnel. But in CTS, the nerve can get a little stuck due to changes in the surrounding tissues. Think of it like a stuck zipper — annoying, right? This restricted nerve movement only adds fuel to the CTS fire.
Ah, inflammation—the not-so-welcome guest at the CTS party. When things get swollen in an already narrow tunnel, the space inside the tunnel gets even tighter. And you guessed it —more pressure on the median nerve means more discomfort for you.
Why do I have Carpal Tunnel Syndrome?
Here are a few of the usual suspects.
- Repetitive Hand Movements: Engaging in repetitive tasks that involve forceful or prolonged hand movements, such as typing, assembly line work, or playing musical instruments, can increase the risk of developing CTS.
- Wrist Alignment: Certain anatomical factors, such as a naturally smaller carpal tunnel or an altered wrist alignment due to injury or arthritis, can make the median nerve more susceptible to compression.
- Hormonal Changes: Hormonal fluctuations, particularly during pregnancy or menopause, can cause swelling and fluid retention, which may contribute to the development of CTS.
- Medical Conditions: Certain underlying medical conditions like diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, thyroid disorders, or obesity can increase the likelihood of experiencing carpal tunnel syndrome.
Our Osteopaths will help you get to the bottom of it.
Osteopathy and Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
So now that we understand the condition and its causes a bit better, let’s talk about how we can help you.
Manual Therapy Techniques:
Osteopaths employ a variety of manual therapy techniques to address the underlying causes of carpal tunnel syndrome. They may use gentle manipulations, joint mobilizations, or soft tissue techniques to reduce restrictions in the wrist, hand, forearm, and surrounding areas. By restoring proper alignment and enhancing blood flow, these techniques aim to alleviate pressure on the median nerve and reduce inflammation.
In addition to hands-on treatments, your Osteopath may prescribe specific exercises to strengthen the muscles in your hands, wrists, and forearms, promoting stability and support for the carpal tunnel. Additionally, stretching exercises may be prescribed to improve flexibility and alleviate tension in the surrounding structures. Both the stretches and the strengthening exercises will enhance circulation to the area, which brings its own healing. Your Osteopath will guide you through proper technique and advise on the frequency and duration of the exercises.
Ergonomic and Lifestyle Advice:
To address the root causes of carpal tunnel syndrome, the Osteopaths at our clinic will also provide valuable guidance on ergonomic modifications and lifestyle adjustments. They may recommend optimizing your work or home environment by using ergonomic keyboards, wrist supports and proper chair and desk height. They might recommend modifications to the tools you use. These adjustments will help prevent future flare-ups, so we hope you make them permanent even after symptoms subside.
Your hands are incredible instruments, capable of so much, so don’t let carpal tunnel syndrome hold you back. We’ll work with you to get you feeling and moving better.
We’re all about balance this August.
Now, we’d love for you to achieve work-life balance, eat a balanced diet, and balance your chequebook effortlessly (does anyone still have a chequebook?) but that’s not what we’re talking about. We are talking about your ability to maintain equilibrium and stability during various movements and in different positions so you can move gracefully through life and recover quickly if you do stumble. Why are Osteopaths such big believers in working on your balance? It’s because balance plays a crucial role in your overall well-being and musculoskeletal health, which is really our whole thing! So, if you’re ready to embrace stability and unlock a world of benefits, keep reading. But if you’ve got other aches or injuries that you’re more concerned about right now (maybe from a stumble you never recovered from…?) give us a call, our Osteopaths can help.
Did you know that balance skills can be improved with practice? Yep, the brain and body will respond to exercise, helping you to find your center of gravity and enhance your overall stability.
But before we dive into these exercises, let’s remember that achieving optimal musculoskeletal health is a holistic endeavour. It’s all about finding the right balance (pun intended!) in our bodies. Now, let’s get started with these awesome balance exercises!
Sit to Stands Without Using Arms to Push:
This exercise not only helps strengthen your leg muscles but also challenges your balance and coordination. Here’s how you can do it:
- Find a sturdy chair and sit on the edge.
- Place your feet hip-width apart, firmly planted on the ground.
- Cross your arms over your chest.
- Engage your core and, without relying on your arms for support, stand up slowly and smoothly.
- Pause for a moment at the top, ensuring that you feel stable.
- Then, lower yourself back down into a seated position with control.
- Aim to perform 8-10 repetitions for a few sets.
Remember, it’s normal to feel a bit wobbly at first, but with time and practice, you’ll notice an improvement in your balance and strength.
Standing on One Leg:
This classic exercise may seem simple, but it’s highly effective in challenging your balance and proprioception (your body’s sense of its position in space). Give it a try:
- Stand tall with your feet hip-width apart.
- Gently shift your weight onto one leg.
- Lift the other foot off the ground, bending your knee to a comfortable height.
- Find your balance and hold the position for 20-30 seconds.
- If needed, you can lightly rest your fingertips on a wall or countertop for support.
Repeat on the other leg. Aim to perform 3-5 repetitions on each leg.
As you progress, challenge yourself by closing your eyes or performing small movements, like swaying side to side, while maintaining your balance. This exercise engages your core, strengthens your ankles, and trains your body to maintain stability.
Heel to Toe Walking:
Get ready to test your coordination and balance with this exercise:
- Find a clear path or an open space.
- Begin by standing with your feet in a heel-to-toe position, one foot directly in front of the other.
- Take a step forward, placing your heel directly in front of the toes of the opposite foot.
- Continue walking in a straight line, maintaining the heel-to-toe alignment.
- Engage your core, keep your gaze forward, and take slow, deliberate steps.
- Aim to walk for about 10-20 steps.
If needed, start with shorter distances and gradually increase as you feel more confident.
Heel to toe walking challenges your balance, proprioception, and helps strengthen the muscles in your legs and feet. It’s like a tightrope act without the actual tightrope!
Remember, these exercises are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to balance training. Our Osteopaths can tailor a program just for you if you’d like to enhance your balance. Give us a call for help with this or anything else to do with your musculoskeletal health.
Keep up the great work and enjoy your balance-boosting exercises!
Ouch! So, you missed your footing on the stairs and fell. You landed badly, twisting your ankle in a funny direction. It could have been worse of course, but it’s still not great. It’s time to call your Osteopath.
What Is a Medial Ankle Sprain?
When your foot rolled, it stretched or even tore the ligaments holding your ankle together. A medial ankle sprain is an injury to the ligaments on the inside of the ankle. Ligaments, by the way, are tough bands of tissue that connect bones to each other. They help to stabilize joints and prevent them from moving too far out of place. Medial ankle sprains are less common than lateral ankle sprains, which occur on the outside. This is because the deltoid ligament which runs along the inside is particularly strong. Not only does the strength of the deltoid ligament make a roll outward (called an eversion) less likely than an inward roll (called an inversion), but it makes injury less likely. However, if the twist, trip, or direct blow is bad enough, even the deltoid ligament can tear.
Symptoms of a medial ankle sprain may include:
- Pain on the inside of the ankle
- Difficulty walking or putting weight on the affected foot.
How Do I Treat It?
The treatment for a medial ankle sprain will depend on the severity of the injury. At first, you must apply the RICE protocol: Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevation. We know you’ve heard it before, but it bears repeating. You must keep your weight off the injured foot for a time – skipping this step or attempting to fast-forward through it could seriously impact your healing. What does Ice mean – it means ice it for twenty minutes every two to three hours (and yes to all the smartie-pants out there – you can have a break while you sleep!) Wrap your ankle in a compression bandage and prop it up above your heart level. RICE is generally considered effective for up to three days, but don’t hang about. Remember to get in and visit your Osteopath early in the injury. We will work with you to promote healing, reduce pain, reclaim your ankle’s range of motion (preventing it from stiffening up as it heals) and strengthen the muscles around the ankle to stabilize and support it. It’s essential that we do this as, left untreated, your injury could lead to chronic pain, instability and recurring injuries.
The good news is that ligaments can heal. They just heal a little slower than muscles. Crucially, they need to bear a little weight to do that and exercise stimulates growth and healing. Your Osteopath will be able to prescribe the right exercises for you along with performing manual manipulations to make those exercises more possible.
Every injury is different, but your exercise regime will likely include stretches and strength training for the leg muscles, ankle mobility exercises, and progressive balance exercises.
Getting Back to Normal
The bad news is that a history of ankle sprains is one of the greatest predictors of future ankle sprains. The good news is that your Osteopath can advise you on ways to make that less likely – from exercises for strength, balance and proprioception to advice on strapping your ankle and footwear. Our Osteopaths are here to help!
All About Lumbar Disc Prolapse:
Symptoms of a lumbar disc prolapse vary from mild to severe and can affect the whole body (from the limbs to the bowels, as well as, of course, the back.) It can have a serious impact on your ability to carry out everyday tasks and can be debilitatingly painful. Sometimes its onset is sudden, especially when trauma or injury to the spine causes it. More often though, it creeps up on you. In fact, at Beachealth, we’ve treated patients that lived with lower back pain and stiffness for months before they sought treatment!
A Bit of Osteo Poetry…
Discs bulge, nerves complain,
Lumbar pain brings me such strain,
Osteopathy brings ease again,
Healing hands my spine regain!
It’s funny how relief from pain can leave you feeling euphoric (and poetic). Let’s get serious again and think about what’s happening and what we can do about it.
What is Lumbar Disc Prolapse?
Lumbar disc prolapse occurs when the soft, jelly-like centre of a spinal disc in the lower back (lumbar spine) bulges through a tear in the outer ring of the disc. This can put pressure on nearby nerves, causing pain, numbness, and weakness.
What are the Symptoms of Lumbar Disc Prolapse?
Symptoms of lumbar disc prolapse can vary depending on the severity and location of the affected disc. The most common symptom is lower back pain that radiates down the legs, often accompanied by numbness, tingling, or weakness in the affected areas. Other symptoms may include muscle spasms in the lower back or legs, limited mobility or stiffness in the lower back, and bladder or bowel dysfunction. Yikes.
How is a Lumbar Disc Prolapse Diagnosed?
Your osteopath will take a detailed history of your current symptoms and history at your first appointment. They will conduct a physical examination and perhaps order imaging tests. Not all lower back pain is caused by a lumbar disc prolapse and it’s important that we understand your particular condition. Whether it’s a prolapse or something else causing your symptoms, the right treatment is crucial to prevent further damage to the structures supporting your spinal cord.
Why Has This Happened?
A lumbar disc prolapse can occur as a result of wear and tear on the spine, sudden trauma or injury, or degenerative changes in the spine due to ageing. The condition may also be more common in individuals who perform repetitive bending and lifting movements, and in those who have poor posture or weak abdominal muscles. Some of this might be out of your control, but understanding the link between core strength, healthy posture and mindful movement can help you recover quickly and reduce (or maybe even prevent) future problems.
What Can My Osteopath Do?
Osteopathic treatment for a lumbar disc prolapse might include manual therapy techniques, such as gentle spinal manipulation, soft tissue massage, and stretching exercises. Osteopaths may also provide advice on posture, ergonomic modifications, and exercises to improve strength and flexibility in the lower back and core muscles. In the most severe cases, surgery may be necessary to remove the bulging disc and relieve pressure on the spinal nerves. If that is the case, we can work alongside your orthopaedic team to ready you for and rehabilitate you after surgery (and work with you to make reoccurrence less likely). That all sounds a bit scary – let us assure you that in most cases surgery isn’t necessary: manipulations, postural adjustments, stretching and strengthening exercises can be sufficient to bring you back to healthful, easy movement.
So, if you’re experiencing the symptoms of a Lumbar Disc Prolapse (especially if the symptoms are getting worse over time) call us for an appointment. Our osteopaths are here to help. You can also follow us on Instagram at beachintegrated for more handy tips and updates.
You know how there’s always a scene in horror movies where a creaking floorboard is the scariest thing? For a lot of people, the floorboard is probably unnecessary, but the weird noises coming from their knees, necks, shoulders, and fingers would do the job. But what are these noises? Why do joints make grinding, clicking and popping sounds? And, the most important question our patients ask us, is it something to worry about? Our answer assumes you’re not aiming for a stealthy getaway from the Boogie Man! Let’s first try to understand what’s happening in your body.
What is Causing the Noises Anyway?
A few different things could be happening.
· A tendon or ligament might be snapping over a bony bump.
· A ligament might tighten with movement causing a bit of a click or creak.
· Air bubbles inside the joint can pop. (The famous noise of cracking your fingers.)
· Muscle tightness (particularly around the neck) might cause it to grind with movement.
· Cartilage may have worn away, meaning the bones can no longer glide against each other smoothly.
When should I be concerned?
Now a few little pops especially after you’ve been very sedentary for a while are no big deal. The working theory is that that’s just bubbles in your synovial fluid responding to a sudden movement. (And there’s really no evidence after studying habitual finger crackers for years that these little pops might lead to arthritis later in life.) But other grinding noises and cracking noises can be a problem. These sounds are called ‘crepitus’ and indicate things are out of balance. Cartilage may have deteriorated. Unfortunately, there is a correlation between these sounds and osteoarthritis later in life. A lower-pitched clunking sound, followed by a reduction in your range of motion is also a cause for concern. Your body is letting you know something’s out of balance and likely to lead to further problems if ignored. And of course if the noise comes with pain you need to take action.
What can be done?
Call or email us at BeacHealth to make an appointment. Your Osteopath can diagnose the nature of the noise and it’s causes. Osteopathic manipulation may bring pain relief as well. It will also get your body into better alignment so that your muscular system better supports the joint in its ideal position. Your Osteopath will also work with you to find an exercise program that works for you with your current pain levels and abilities to build a stronger more stable body to support your joints. In the meantime, keep moving gently. Motion is lotion! If you keep moving your joints, you keep healing fluids moving through them. We look forward to working with you towards your health goals.