Archive for Back care tips

How to ease tennis elbow

Anyone can get tennis elbow, even if you don’t play tennis. It describes pain or discomfort around the outside of the elbow as a result of over use of muscles in the forearm. This condition is called tennis elbow because it is common among tennis players, who often put the tendon leading to their elbow under repeated stress.

Similarly, pain on the inside of the elbow is often referred to as golfer’s elbow.

Tennis or golfer’s elbow generally occurs more in men than women. Even though these conditions are more prevalent among tennis players and golfers respectively, they can occur in anyone who undertakes work or leisure activities that involve repetitive use of the elbow, hand or wrist. For example, hairdressers, gardeners and heavy machinery operators are among people who may be impacted by tennis or golfer’s elbow.

Tennis elbow symptoms

Tennis elbow affects the muscles and tendons of your forearm that extend to your wrists and fingers. Symptoms may develop gradually, with mild pain that slowly worsens over time. It isn’t caused by an injury but by overuse of the tendons in your forearm. Symptoms include:

  • an ache or pain that occurs after gripping or squeezing objects
  • weak grip strength and a pain or burning sensation on the outer part of the elbow.

Golfers elbow symptoms

Golfer’s elbow impacts the forearm muscles that attach from the wrist to the “funny bone” area of the elbow near the inner bump. These muscles are used for wrist flexion (the twisting motion of the wrist), which explains its connection to golf. In this case symptoms include:

  • pain or tenderness near the funny bone, or inner bump of the elbow, as well as reduced grip strength.

Easing tennis and golfer’s elbow

There are a number of stretches and exercises you can do to ease both tennis and golfer’s elbow:

Wrist stretches

For tennis elbow: Hold your arm out in front of you, palm facing down and gently pull your hand and fingers back towards you using your other hand. This shouldn’t be painful as it is intended to give a slight stretch to your forearm. Hold for 30 seconds, relax, and repeat three times.

For golfer’s elbow: This exercise is similar to the one for tennis elbow but in this case hold your arm out in front of you with the palm facing up. Gently pull your hand and fingers back towards your body using your other hand. Hold for 30 seconds, then relax. Repeat three times.

Forearm exercises

Wrist Extension:  Begin with your elbow at a 90-degree angle, palm facing down, resting on a table’s surface. Gently extend your wrist to lift it off the table (this should not be painful). Repeat ten times. As you progress you can add weight, like holding a water bottle, to add resistance and incorporate strengthening into the exercise.

Wrist Flexion: This exercise is similar to the wrist exercise above, but the palm is in the other direction. For the wrist flexion exercise, begin with your elbow at a 90-degree angle, palm facing up, resting on a table’s surface. Gently extend your wrist to lift it off the table towards the ceiling (this should not be painful). Repeat ten times. You can also add weight resistance to add strength training to the exercise.

Grip Strengthening: For this exercise, all you need is a squishy ball or “stress ball.” Hold the ball in your hand and gently squeeze. Hold for five seconds, relax, and repeat ten times. This exercise is helpful for both tennis elbow and golfer’s elbow.

Strength Exercise: One of the common strengthening exercises you can do is informally called the “hammer exercise.” You will need a hammer as your weight resistance. Hold the handle of the hammer, and keep your elbow at 90 degrees, rested flat on a table’s surface. Slowly rotate the hammer towards the centre of your body, turning the direction of your palm downwards. Then slowly reverse the motion, rotating the hammer outwards—your palm begins facing up with the heavy side of the hammer pulling on your arm. Rest briefly. Repeat ten times.

In addition to these exercises you may benefit from a compression or stability elbow brace available from the chemist.

Sports chiropractic is highly effective at treating and quickly reducing the symptoms of both tennis and golf elbow. If you need assistance with tennis or golf elbow contact Lane Chiropractic on 6676 2270.

Chiropractic can be the difference between winning and losing

For competitive athletes, the difference between winning and losing can be milliseconds, and the secret to this is biomechanics.

Biomechanics is basically how the structure of people’s bodies impacts their movement, which is why some people move more effectively and why some others are more prone to injury.

In competitive sports, athletes need to be at their peak of strength, speed and flexibility. Unfortunately, the sustained need for peak fitness means that athletes often suffer from injury, which is why they rely on chiropractic care.

According to the American Chiropractic Association, 90 percent of all world-class athletes use chiropractic care to prevent injury and increase their performance potential. In fact, you will see chiropractors treating many Australian sports teams at major sporting events such as NRL and AFL grand finals, the NBL, the Australian Open and Commonwealth Games.

Sports chiropractors use techniques that strengthen and support an athlete’s body structure to achieve peak athletic performance and reduce the risk of injury.  If an injury occurs, chiropractors also help to relieve pain without the complication of prescription drugs or surgery.

The most common sporting injuries we see as sports chiropractors involve knocking the spine out of alignment or causing stress on joints, muscles, nerves, discs and ligaments. Chiropractors are experts at gently re-aligning the spine and supporting recovery from situations such as head and neck injuries, back and shoulder pain, ankle and knee injuries, tennis elbow, groin pain, shoulder instability and even repetitive strain injury.

A key benefit of chiropractic care is improved performance. In fact, in one American study, athletes achieved a 30 percent improvement in hand-eye co-ordination after 12 weeks of chiropractic treatment. Chiropractic care also helps to improve muscle strength, boost speed, increase flexibility, improve balance and enable more effective training.

Another key benefit of chiropractic care is fewer injuries as a result of alignment issues causing unnecessary stress on the body. If your musculoskeletal system is in alignment, your body is less likely to suffer injury.

If you are injured, chiropractic care reduces the recovery time. Sports chiropractors use massage and stretching combined with movement to speed up recovery time and reduce the chance of further injury.

If you’d like to know more about how to improve your sporting performance, to avoid injury or just to generally improve your fitness contact Lane Chiropractic on 6676 2270.

How to avoid seeing your chiropractor

Many of us can get a stiff neck sometimes, especially after a long workday, a stressful project or from sleeping in the wrong position. Here are some tips to help you avoid it becoming a real pain in the neck.

  • Maintain good posture when you sit or stand
  • Avoid looking down when texting – make sure your phone is at eye level
  • Also move your computer monitor to eye level
  • Take micro-breaks throughout your day, especially if your job requires that you sit for long periods of time
  • Stop and take breaks during a long car trip
  • Use a firm pillow and sleep on your side or on your back, never on your stomach
  • Learn to recognise your signs of stress and take steps to relieve stress in your life on a regular basis
  • Try regular exercises throughout the day and each week to maintain proper movement in your neck.

Managing your neck pain at home

There are a few things you can try at home to help alleviate neck pain.

Use Ice

Often pain can be caused by inflammation. Therefore, ice can reduce swelling to an area that is inflamed. Hold a cold pack or a bag of frozen vegetables wrapped in a towel on your neck.  A good rule of thumb is 20 minutes on, 20 minutes off and then repeat.

How’s your pillow?

Make sure you use a firm pillow and sleep on your back or side, never on your stomach. If your pillow is too flat, it forces your neck to bend in an unnatural position and you’ll wake up feeling sore.

Try Neck Exercises

Do light neck exercises by gently moving your head up and down and from side to side to help loosen stiff muscles. Be careful not to over-extend your neck beyond its normal limits or you may do more harm than good.

Avoid driving if your neck is too stiff

Driving may require you to look over your shoulder to see behind you when changing lanes or reversing. If your neck is stiff, restricting your ability to look over your shoulder, it could impair your ability to drive safely. Driving may also require you to turn your neck quickly from side to side. If you have neck pain, this may overstretch your neck and cause severe pain. It’s best to avoid driving until your neck’s normal movement is restored.

When to see your chiropractor

It’s a good idea to see your chiropractor when any of these symptoms are present:

  1. Your neck pain or stiffness does not improve after a few days
  2. You cannot look to the right or left without severe neck pain
  3. You feel like you must use over-the-counter pain medication just to make it through the day or are using it regularly to treat your neck pain
  4. You’re worried that your neck pain may have a serious cause
  5. Your neck pain started in the neck but has moved to numbness or tingling in your hands or wrists
  6. Your neck pain started within a few days of a car accident
  7. Your neck pain is worse when you first wake up in the morning but then begins to feel a little better as the day progresses

Lane Chiropractic can help get your neck moving again. Call us on 6676 2270 for an appointment.

Does cold and rainy weather cause back pain?

Often my patients tell me that they feel more aches and pains as the weather turns cooler and I am regularly asked if pain is linked to a drop in temperature.

With the cooler weather approaching and some much needed rain in northern NSW, you may find that you get a few more aches and pains. This is because when the body is faced with low temperatures, blood vessels narrow in your extremities and divert that extra blood to vital areas like the brain, heart and lungs to keep them warm.

When muscles, tendons and ligaments have less blood, they become stiff. It’s the same with the structures supporting your spine. When the weather is cold, there is less blood flow to the structures supporting your spine and they become naturally stiff which, in turn, places extra strain on the back. Additionally, if joints are already inflamed, a drop in barometric pressure or temperature can cause swelling and subsequent pain.   

It’s important to note that the majority of spine pain is caused, not by a problem with the spine itself, but by strain or injury to the muscles, tendons and ligaments that give it support. If these tissues are stiff and pull on the sensitive nerve endings in the spine—which is common—it can feel like your back is hurting despite the fact that the source of the pain is not the spinal structure. On top of this, tight or cold muscles, tendons or ligaments are much more susceptible to strain or injury.

Metal implants can further exacerbate the condition because metal implants react differently to human tissue. If they get cold, they can start lowering the temperature of the tissue and nerves surrounding them, which can lead to back pain. People whose device is simply covered by skin or a thin layer of soft tissue are much more likely to experience aches and pains in cold weather. 

COLD, DARK DAYS CAN CONTRIBUTE TO DEPRESSION, WHICH CAN AGGRAVATE BACK PAIN

Just as importantly, research has shown that cold weather and dark days can contribute to what is known as seasonal depression, which can cause or aggravate back pain. 

Seasonal affective disorder, also known as SAD, is a type of depression that typically occurs yearly, starting in autumn and lasting through the winter months.

There are a number of factors that can cause seasonal depression such as the decreased amount of sunshine throwing off your body’s circadian rhythm and causing a drop in serotonin levels in the brain.

Seasonal depression can also cause fatigue, increased perception of pain and decreased interest in daily activities that can prevent people from exercising and strengthening the muscles supporting the spine, which in turn causes back pain.

How to avoid back pain in cooler weather

The key to reducing back pain in cool and rainy weather is to make every effort to keep yourself warm and ensure that you do daily low-impact exercise such as walking, swimming, bike riding, yoga or indoor aerobic exercise.

Our muscles need continued exercise to remain strong and if you are neglecting to work out when it’s chilly, you are opening yourself up to injury further down the line. 

Regular exercise is also a great way of releasing endorphins, those natural mood lifting hormones that help reduce depressive symptoms.

Overall, it’s important to know that daily back or neck pain is not normal. If this is something you’re experiencing or if you need advice about a winter exercise program to suit your needs, contact me, Bruce Lane at Lane Chiropractic on 6676 2270.

Is binge watching give you a backache?

Did you know the average Australian spends 2 hours and 25 minutes a day watching television? That’s a long time in one position and it can be hazardous to your health.

Most of the time, when people watch TV, they are either slouching or lying in ways that put strain on their shoulders, back or hips. Unwinding in front of the television shouldn’t feel like work but it also shouldn’t leave you feeling miserable the next day (which can happen if your body is not properly aligned).

Here are some things you can do to keep your spine happy while watching television:

  • Pay attention to your posture – sitting up straight may not feel comfortable at first but over time you’ll be able to maintain good posture as a habit. Keep your shoulders back and ensure your back is relaxed. Also avoid tilting your head forward, backwards or sideways.
  • Take a break – a great way to remember to move is by getting off the couch and walking around during commercial breaks.
  • Reduce sitting time – you can make television time productive by doing household chores such as ironing or folding clothes while watching your favourite series.

Chiro Can Help

If you are already experiencing the side effects of poor posture and prolonged sitting (pain, headaches or stiffness), Lane Chiropractic can help ease your pain. Call us on 6676 2270 for an appointment.

Flexion gives gentle pain relief

Lane Chiropractic uses the flexion distraction technique, which embraces a combination of chiropractic and osteopathic principles using gentle mobilisation of various body parts and slow manual traction to treat many different forms of pain.

Some of the most common conditions treated using a flexion distraction table include sporting injuries, herniated discs, migraine, neck pain, rib pain, back pain, spinal stenosis and much more.

About the Flexion distraction table

A large number of chiropractic tables are designed to respond to quick thrusts from the chiropractor, thereby realigning the spine. Some are called drop tables because various sections drop under the pressure, using gravity to help return the spinal column to a healthier position.

A flexion table, on the other hand, was developed to work best with slow and controlled movements. With this particular option, the chiropractor manipulates the patient’s body by moving portions of the table as opposed to a more hands-on approach, which requires physically manipulating the patient’s limbs and torso. This provides for a much gentler and more relaxing treatment with the same good results you’d expect from your chiropractor.

Australia Day Survival Tips

Whether it’s the beach, a barbie or backyard cricket, Australia Day is all about relaxing and having fun with your mates. Whatever you plan to do to celebrate our special Aussie Day, make sure you take care of your back with these Australia Day Survival Tips from Bruce Lane of Lane Chiropractic clinic at Pottsville.

Keep Active

While a day off is a great excuse for lying on the couch, make sure you get at least 30 minutes of exercise per day to keep your back and your whole system moving. It’s particularly important to keep moving and activating your core stabilising muscles to support your back.

Watch Your load

This time of year we can get a bit too excited about backyard games and beach fun. It’s during this time that I find people will often over extend muscles, especially when they haven’t been exercising much previously, and put their backs out. If you feel pain, it’s your body’s way of telling you to stop. Make sure that when you are having fun, listen to your body and its limits.

Be careful about how much you lift and watch your lifting technique. On a day when we often fill our eskies for parties, we can forget correct lifting techniques. Make sure you bend your knees and lift with a straight back. Use your legs to take the load, not your back. If the load feels too heavy, get someone to help you.

Watch for stress injuries. Our backs take a lot of strain a lot of the time. Most of the time they are pretty tough and don’t let us know that we are pushing things too far. Think about how your daily activities impact your back (even too much inactivity can impact your back). Be mindful of how your back feels and how you can relieve stress on it.

Travel Safely

If you are traveling this Australia Day, these handy travel tips will help you enjoy the best time away:

  • Take regular stretch breaks at least every one to two hours
  • Tuck in your chin and roll your shoulders back every hour to loosen tight muscles
  • Use back support, such as a small, rolled towel. Alternate behind the back and then between the shoulders.
  • Sit upright with your head back before setting the position of your mirrors. This will remind you not to slouch.
  • Stay well hydrated, sip water often.
  • Pillows are light, so take a supportive pillow with you.
  • Put your seat upright and ensure your tailbone is as far back in the seat as it can be, with shoulders and head as supported as possible by the seat.

If you are travelling by plane, most of these tips apply. In addition, where possible sit in an aisle seat to make it easier to regularly stretch and walk during the flight. Be careful lifting suitcases. Bend with your knees, not your back. Also, regularly roll your ankles in circles and point then flex your feet to reduce the risk of deep vein thrombosis.

Sleeping in an unfamiliar bed

If you are sleeping away from home this weekend here are some tips to protect your back and give you a good night’s sleep.

  1. Sleep on your back or side as much as possible, avoid sleeping on your stomach!
  2. If the bed is ‘saggy’, consider putting the mattress on the floor.
  3. Use a ceiling fan instead of air-conditioning where possible to avoid cold blasts of air on your neck or back.
  4. Compensate for dips in the mattress by placing a small, soft towel under your side.
  5. Always stretch after sleeping.
  6. Stay well hydrated, sip water often – but not too much before bed otherwise you will be up in the night!

Is Your SI Joint Causing a Problem?

If you feel pain in your lower back when you stand up from your chair, it could be your sacroiliac joint.

We have two sacroiliac joints in our lower backs, which sit on either side of the spine. They carry the weight of our upper bodies when we stand, walk or shift loads on our legs.

Sacroiliac pain can be dull or sharp. It starts at the sacroiliac joint but can then move to the buttocks, thigh, groin or even upper back.

Sometimes standing up triggers the pain, and a lot of times pain may only be on one side of the lower back. It may bother you more in the morning and get better during the day.

Pain starts when the sacroiliac joint gets inflamed, which may be caused by a sporting injury, a fall, ligament damage, pregnancy or uneven strides due to one leg being slightly longer than the other.

There is a type of arthritis called ankylosingspondylitis that can damage the sacroiliac joint. You’ll also hurt when the cartilage over the sacroiliac joint slowly wears away as you age.

Chiropractic care can help to relieve inflammation and reduce sacroiliac joint pain.

To check the health of your sacroiliac joint contact Lane Chiropractic on 6676 2270.

Myths and Facts about Back Pain

Most of us will experience back pain at some stage in our lives. Some people are more lucky than others and don’t have too much back trouble, while others suffer it almost every day. I found this interesting article that talks about the myths, facts and treatment for back pain.

If you need help with managing your back pain contact us on 6676 2270.

Are your biomechanics holding you back?

Want to improve your surfing? Then it’s a good idea to get your biomechanics checked.

Biomechanics examines movement of the body, in particular, how muscles, bones and ligaments work together to produce movement. Biomechanics not only includes the structure of bones and muscles and the movement they can produce but also the mechanics of blood circulation and other body functions.

In surfing, biomechanics is critical to maintaining balance and stability on the waves.
Balance is a combination of the centre of mass and base of support. With surfing, the centre of mass is the mid-point of your body and the base of support is the area of contact underneath the surfboard. Usually, the bigger or wider your base of support is, the more stable you become and this makes it easier to balance. Therefore, bigger boards are easier to ride. Also, you want the centre of mass and base of support to be close to achieve a sturdy position. Having more control of your body and the board can help you better manoeuver on the waves.

Factors that affect stability are body mass, friction between the body and the surface or surfaces contacted, the base of support and position of the centre of gravity.

In many other sports, balance is also a key factor in biomechanics, as well as the position and movement of the body. If you jerk too quickly, for example, it could mean the difference between a goal and a sprained ankle!

To minimise injury in surfing, footy, the gym or any of your favourite sports it’s a good idea to ensure you gently stretch before beginning the activity. It’s also a good idea to get the biomechanics of your body checked in case there may be an underlying factor that could make you more susceptible to injury.

Bruce Lane is a certified chiropractic sports practitioner and can help you identify any potential weakness in your biomechanics, as well as provide advice and treatment to correct any problems. If you’d like a biomechanical assessment contact Lane Chiropractic on 6676 2270.