golf warm up

Disaster at the Masters…….Before the competition even starts!!

Golfers all over the country will be tuned in with keen interest considering the Irish representation in the US Masters today. Already there has been some notable incidents with tournament favourite Dustin Johnson suffering a fall at home and injuring his back. We’ll wait and see what emerges here but something tells me that he’ll be alright on the night!
The traditional Par 3 competition on the eve Day 1 has been a washout and abandoned for the first time ever. Players may be forgiven for not being too upset as a winner of the Par 3 competition has never won the US Masters in the same year.
As a physio and a golf fan, the US Masters is the unofficial start of the domestic golfing season. Players all over the country begin to get the appetite for the game back coinciding with the change in the weather.
Inevitably, this brings with it a few interesting challenges. The golf swing is a complex beast no matter what a player’s handicap or ability is! Biomechanically there is a huge amount of force being created and that can have a major impact on some of the structures in the body – Just ask Tiger!

traning for golf physiotherapy

The Great Golfing Conundrum….

In reality, the majority of recreational golfers would be really well served by committing a small amount of time and effort into a short routine performed 2-3 times per week in an effort to keep the body supple and strong.
There is a myriad of opinion on what is the best routine and exercises to focus on. I’m a firm believer that the best exercises to focus on are the ones that get done!
Designing a manageable and time efficient routine that as the American’s would say provides “bang for your buck” is very achievable. Attempting to make small changes to a weekly routine can lead to a significant increase in both improving performance and preventing niggles and injury.
Strength training and mobility exercises are largely the key ingredient in this process. Tailoring the program to either the living room floor or the squat rack in the gym depends on the individual.
As a golfing Physio, my mind is always analysing practical ways to try and help with the enjoyment of one of the best and worst (depending on how you’re playing) games around. The fact that you can get better as you get older is a unique attraction with this game and maybe why it’s so appealing??
If you want to discuss any of your golfing ailments feel free to contact me at or you can phone the clinic on 01-4964002.

physiotherapy Dublin 6

The Golf Physio – Ronan Fallon

Ronan Fallon (MISCP) Personal Health Director of Physiotherapy



Lowering Your Cholesterol The Healthy Way- Caoimhe O’Leary

Have you had your cholesterol checked?

More people die in Ireland today from heart disease than any other illness. It accounts for 36% of deaths in Ireland. The positive news is that 80% of the incidence of heart disease can be prevented by improving lifestyle factors. Unfortunately, we are not in control of other risk factors such as age, gender and genetic predisposition to illness. We are however in control of modifiable risk factors such as cholesterol, blood pressure and smoking and if taken care of we can reduce the risk of developing heart disease.

Get your cholesterol and blood pressure checked!

Cholesterol is a waxy substance of which 75% is produced by the liver and 25% can be found in certain foods.

It is essential in producing all the body’s cells and hormones, and is needed to make vitamin D and bile for digestion.  However, when your blood has too much cholesterol this can stick to the walls of arteries. A build-up of cholesterol in the arteries, narrows the arteries restricting the amount of blood flow to the brain and heart. This can eventually cause a blockage leading to a heart attack or stroke.

Cholesterol is carried in the blood attached to proteins called lipoproteins. There are two main lipoproteins: LDL (low density lipoprotein) and HDL (high density lipoprotein). Too much LDL is unhealthy therefore it is referred to as bad cholesterol and should be kept low. HDL is protective however and helps to remove LDL cholesterol. HDL is known as the good cholesterol and should be kept high.

What do the numbers mean?

One of the best ways of taking control of your cholesterol is through a healthy diet and physical activity.

Choosing a healthy diet low in saturated fat (butter, cream, cheese, coconut oil, palm oil, lard, fatty meat, processed meats, confectionary foods) is one way of reducing your cholesterol levels. Aim to consume less than 20g saturated fat per day to help to reduce your LDL cholesterol. When reading food-labels avoid anything more than 5g saturated fat per 100g.

It’s not all about cutting out the bad stuff – the good news is that there are foods you can introduce into your diet that will also help to lower your cholesterol levels.

  1. Nuts – with their positive nutrient profile of fibre, falvonoids and monounsaturated fats, have been shown to lower cholesterol by 3-7.5% and reduce the risk of heart disease by 37% . Aim for 30g unsalted almonds, pecans, pistachios, walnuts or peanuts per day.


  1. Soluble fibre – found in fruit, vegetables, oats, beans and pulses can lower LDL cholesterol by 5-20% if you consume 15-20g per day. Increase foods containing oat beta – glucan (porridge, oatbran, oatcakes, porridge bread)  and other wholegrains, beans and pulses (aim for 80-100g per day).


  1. Oil rich fish – a rich source of unsaturated fats especially omega 3 which have heart protective benefits. Aim to have 1-2 servings (140g) per week – salmon, sardines, mackerel, kipper, trout, anchovies, eel, pilchards, fresh tuna, sprats, whitebait, whiting. Other healthy fats include olive oil, rapeseed oil, sunflower oil, corn oil, avocado, olives, nuts and seeds.


  1. As always recommended increase your fruit and vegetables to 5-7 portions per day. A portion is approximately 80g per day. Consumption of at least 400g fruit and vegetables per day has been associated with lower incidence of heart disease, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, cancer and obesity. They are low in calories, high in phytonutrients, soluble fibre, antioxidants and vitamins and minerals.


  1. Plant stanols or sterols are structurally similar to cholesterol and are naturally found in a wide range of foods such as nuts, seeds, vegetable oils, whole grains, fruits and vegetables. They mimic cholesterol and compete with it for absorption. Most diets provide a small amount of plant stanols/sterols (approx 300mg for average person, or 600mg for those on vegetarian diets) however an intake of 1.5-2.4g per day has been shown to reduce cholesterol by 7-10% over 2-3 weeks. You can achieve this by including plant stanol or sterol fortified dairy foods in your diet or taking a supplement containing plant stanols or sterols. Always check with your GP if you are taking medication for your cholesterol.


  1. Soya foods – consumption of 15g-25g soya protein daily has been scientifically proven to lower LDL cholesterol by 4-10%. Include more soya products in the diet such as soya beans, soya yoghurts, soya  milk, tofu, edamame beans.


For further information on cholesterol and diet why not attend a cholesterol workshop at Personal Health Rathmines carried out by Consultant Dietitian Caoimhe McDonald where she will provide you with practical tips on a cholesterol lowering diet in a supportive environment.

Next Cholesterol Workshop Date: Wednesday 12th April 7-8pm

Book your place now at 01-4964002

Pelvic Girdle Pain During Pregnancy- By Mary Kate Ryan

Pelvic Girdle Pain During Pregnancy

What is it?

Pelvic Girdle Pain (PGP) is a collection of uncomfortable symptoms caused by a stiffness of your pelvic joints or the joints moving unevenly at either the back or front of your pelvis. 

It is not harmful to your baby, but it can cause severe pain around your pelvic area and make it difficult for you to get around.

Around 20% of women suffer from Pelvic girdle pain.

Different women have different symptoms, and PGP is worse for some women than others.

Symptoms can include:

  • Pain over the pubic bone at the front in the center
  • Pain across one or both sides of your lower back
  • Pain in the area between your vagina and anus (perineum)
  • Pain in your buttocks.

Pain can also radiate to your thighs, and some women feel or hear a clicking or grinding in the pelvic area.



The pain can be most noticeable when you are:

  • Turning in Bed
  • Going upstairs
  • Walking
  • Standing on one leg (e.g. getting dressed)
  • Getting out of car
  • Standing up

What Causes PGP:

Sometimes there is no obvious explanation for the cause of PGP.

Usually, there is a combination of factors causing PGP.

Relaxin: During pregnancy, the placenta produces a hormone called relaxin, which softens your ligaments to loosen up your joints. Relaxin is very important as by loosening the joints it allows your baby to pass through more easily during childbirth however it can lead to the pelvic girdle becoming less stable and therefore painful during pregnancy.

Occasionally the position of the baby may also produce symptoms related to PGP.

With PGP the degree of discomfort you are feeling may vary from being intermittent and irritating to being very wearing and upsetting.



Physiotherapy: Advice, Education, Exercises and Manual techniques can help!

The sooner it is identified and assessed the better it can be managed which may help to speed up your recovery, reducing the impact of PGP on your life.

If you have symptoms that do not improve within a week or two, or interfere with your normal day-to-day life, you may have PGP and should ask for help from your midwife, GP, physiotherapist or other health carer.


  • Continue to be as active as your can within your pain limits, and avoid activities that make your pain worse.
  • Ensure your back is well supported while you sit down. This can be achieved by placing a towel between the curve of your back and the chair.
  • Wear flat, supportive shoes and avoid standing for long periods.
  • Get help with household chores from friends, partner, and family.
  • Rest when you can.
  • Sit down to get dressed-e.g. Don’t stand on one leg when putting on jeans.
  • Try and make sure any weight you carry is evenly distributed- this means no shoulder bags, and try nit to left your toddler up onto your hip.
  • Be careful and take your time doing any activities that may put strain on your pelvis i.e. getting out of a car- keep your knees together and squeeze your buttocks.
  • Sleep with a pillow between your legs
  • Squeeze your buttocks and keep your knees together when turning in bed.
  • Take the stairs one at a time, leading with the less painful leg.


  • Standing on one leg
  • Bending and twisting to lift
  • Carrying a baby on one hip
  • Crossing your legs
  • Sitting on the floor or in a twisted position
  • Sitting or standing for long periods
  • Lifting or pushing heavy objects such as shopping bags, supermarket trolley.
  • Carrying anything in one hand (try using a small back pack).


It is important if you pain is not manageable with general advise to book into a physiotherapist. Treatment includes:

  • Assessment
  • Exercises to specifically retrain and strengthen stomach, back, pelvic floor and hip muscles
  • Manual therapy to ensure your spinal, pelvic and hip joints are moving normally or to correct their movement.
  • Acupuncture
  • Exercises in water.
  • Provision of equipment e.g. pelvic girdle support belts, crutches

To Book an appointment with our Women’s Health Physiotherapist Mary-Kate call Personal Health at 01 4964002 or email

Pregnancy yoga Rtahmines

Get your Asana on with Prenatal Yoga at Personal Health – 5 Yoga Poses every Moma-to-be needs to Know- By Cathy O’Grady

Pregnancy is a truly magical time in any woman’s life, but adjusting to all those physical & emotional changes, can be quite challenging. Prenatal yoga is a wonderful way to help Momas-to-be, to find their zen whilst navigating their journey to motherhood.

It’s not all about the asana of course. Learn useful breathing techniques (pranayama), that can be taken with you in your labour bag, to pull out when the big day finally arrives.

Childs pose/ Balasana

Childs pose

From hands & knees, big toes touch, take knees out wide, sit back towards heels, whilst walking hands straight out in front, straight arms. Bring forehead down to rest on mat or support. Inhale walking finger tips away, exhale sitting deeper back towards heels. Repeat. Breathe.

Benefits: Resting pose. Releases lower back pain. Lengthens the spine, allowing energy to run more freely through the entire body. Encourages one to focus, reconnect with the breath & quieten the mind. One to use at any stage throughout pregnancy, labour & motherhood (we all need a little time out by times).

Bound Angle Pose/Baddha Konasana


From sitting, bring soles of feet together & draw them as close to the perineum as comfortable. Soften the knees out to sides. Can use props to support knees if hips are particularly tight. Lengthen spine, chin neutral, breast bone reaching forward. May gently press elbows to inner thighs deepening the stretch. Breathe.

Benefits: Lenghtens & releases hip & inner groin muscles. Stretches the lower back & thighs.

Mountain Posture/Tadasana

Stand with feet hip width apart (or wider in latter stages of pregnancy). Root down through 4 corners of feet, micro lift of kneecap, neutral pelvis, soft in tummy, long lift of spine, shoulders set, neutral chin, crown of head drawing up towards ceiling, arms extended away from body, palms facing ahead. Breathe.

Benefits: Strengthens the entire body. Opens the heart centre, stabilising the shoulder blades, encouraging good posture. It’s useful in releasing tension/tightness, especially from the shoulders.

Garland pose/ Malasana

Step feet out to mat distance apart pointing at 45-degree angles. Hands to heart centre. Inhale lengthen, exhale squat down, bringing elbows to inner thighs, heels may lift (can place blocks/supports under heels if lifted). Eye gaze straight ahead, chin neutral. Breathe.

Benefits: Hip opener, leg strengthener, encourages baby deeper into pelvis (particularly beneficial in the latter weeks of pregnancy/early labour).

Corpse pose/Savasana

Lie on left hand side, with support under the head to keep head & neck in line. Keep left leg straight & bend right knee at 90-degree angle, resting it on top of a bolster/support. Relax arms/hands in comfortable position. Teacher may assist by placing a support behind the back. Breathe naturally. Let go.

Benefits: Encourages deep rest & relaxation. Left lateral lying also encourages maximum blood flow to the uterus & baby.

*You can attend our Midwife led Prenatal Classes here in Personal Health with Cathy O’Grady on Tuesdays at 7pm and Saturday’s at 10.30am. Pre booking is necessary. €90 for 6 week course- 01-496 4002

Personal health, Dublin 6

Breast Cancer & The Pink Ribbon Program at Personal Health

Breast cancer is the third most common cause of cancer in Ireland. Recent advances in science and medicine include improvements in diagnosis, new operating techniques and progressions in adjuvant therapies. The types of surgery for breast cancer vary widely depending on each individual presentation. Surgery can span from lumpectomy to radical mastectomy. Individuals may also undergo breast reconstruction where skin and fat can be used from the abdomen, the inner thigh and the back.

Often the pain associated with the surgery and loss of movement and strength in the arm is an aspect post surgery which individuals are not prepared for. Especially after exiting the brilliant supportive network that is provided in the hospital setting. Rehabilitative exercise is important at this point in returning to activities of daily living after breast surgery by targeting the previously mentioned movement restrictions and pain.

Pink Ribbon Pilates

Personal Health – 16/17 Rather Road, D6

At Personal Health the Pink Ribbon Program is a specifically designed gentle Pilates based exercise Program for Breast Cancer survivors who are on the road to recovery. The Program is 6 weeks long and there are 2 classes a week. The Program is suitable whether your surgery was recent or several years ago. The program places a strong focus on regaining shoulder mobility and strength and the exercises are specifically tailored taking into the contraindications and precautions of each surgery. The initial assessment performed prior to starting the classes allows us to takes each individual history and to examine the movement of the shoulder joint. The program is led by experienced Physiotherapists and certified breast cancer exercise specialists.

Chartered Physiotherapists specialising in Breast Cancer recovery

Pink Ribbon at Personal Health

The benefits of the program are extensive from both a physical and mental perspective:
Helps regain strength and mobility in the affected shoulder and arm
Improve functional ability and quality of life
Reduce pain and swelling
Reduce the risk of shoulder impingement and frozen shoulder
Improve self confidence and control
Improve core stability and posture
Improve lymphatic drainage- reduce the risk of lymphoedema
Helps to control weight
Improves sleep
Alleviates fatigue
Decrease stress and anxiety


pink Ribbon Programme Dublin 6

Chartered Physiotherapist Dee Ryan


Our aim in Personal Health is to spread the awareness of this Program and to extend the invitation to welcome you into another supportive community during this recovery period. By doing so we hope to bypass the potential burden and stress than can present due to any physical limitations.

As always we ask you to be a friend and forward on this information to anybody you feel would benefit from our Pink Ribbon Program. Should you require any further information please do not hesitate to contact us at the clinic on 01 4964002.

The Role of the Brain in relation to Pain

Pain perception

                     The Complex Homunculus



There is a representation or map of every body part in the brain. Consider this the ‘virtual representation’. The correct term for this representation is a homunculus. These virtual bodies inform us of what our ‘actual’ bodies are doing in space.

Above are 2 homonculi, 1 representing the skin and the other representing movement. In the sensory homunculus you will notice the areas in the brain devoted to the lips, hands and face are larger. This indicates that areas which require better sensation have a larger representation. The same is said for the motor homunculus as areas which you use more have a bigger representation. Again this is adaptable depending on your line of work, hobbies etc. For example an author will have a bigger representation of their dominant hand due to writing with the hand a lot.

Chartered Physiotherapy

                      Smudging & the Homunculus

Imaging studies reveal that chronic pain results in changes in the virtual representation of the area affected. ‘Smudging’ of the virtual limb so that there no longer is a clear defined outline of the body part is one such change. This can result in an overlapping of neighbouring body parts. I like to compare this to driving in a fog. When driving in fog your vision is compromised, no longer are you sure of what is ahead on the road- you become very cautious and hyper-vigilant in an attempt to control the environment -you slow down, turn down the music, you may even roll down the window. The brain is similar when unsure of what exactly is happening in an area- it can become very conservative in its management at times causing the neighbouring areas to hurt or areas that didn’t hurt before can start to hurt.

The more chronic the pain is, as in the longer you have been experiencing the pain then the more advanced changes in the brain have occurred. For example the more difficult that body part will be to use or the more sensitivity you will have in that body part or the neighbouring areas. Ultimately, the physical body mirrors the state of the virtual representation in the brain.

The great news is that smudging is reversible. Educated movement is excellent in helping to normalise the virtual representations in the brain. Every time you move in a pain-free controlled manner it is positively reinforcing normalisation of smudged representations. Furthermore, it is the understanding why pain occurs and removing the threat of the pain which enables you to move freely. This reason alone is why so much emphasis is placed upon the biology of pain and understanding the science behind this marvellous process. By gifting ourselves with this knowledge we are allowing ourselves to increase our physical capacity, reduce pain and improve quality of life.

‘Explain Pain’ by Lorimer Moseley and David Butler is a brilliant book which has formed the basis of these blogs. It is written with the aim to enable individuals who experience chronic pain. I would highly recommend it.

Should you require any further information on this topic of pain please do not hesitate to contact me in Personal Health on 01 4964002.

Dietitian, Dublin 6, Caoimhe McDonald

Take control of your IBS don’t let it control you- By Caoimhe Mc Donald

Dietitian, Dublin 6, Caoimhe McDonald

“Take control of your IBS don’t let it control you”   

Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a chronic and relapsing bowel disorder that can affect up to 20% of adults and adolescents as well as children. It is 1.5 times more common in women than in men.  Symptoms include:

Dietitian, Dublin 6, Caoimhe McDonald

  • abdominal pain
  • bloating
  • constipation
  • diarrhoea
  • flatulence
  • poor appetite
  • indigestion

It is important to note that many conditions have symptoms that can mimic IBS such as inflammatory bowel disease, coeliac disease and microscopic colitis. It is important that the diagnosis of IBS has been carried out, coeliac disease has been out-ruled and alarm features are absent.

Many people have had symptoms of IBS all their lives and done nothing about it, putting it down to having “a sensitive tummy”. As a Dietitian, I would estimate 60 – 70% of my patients suffer with IBS, some that come to a dietitian for a different reason and drop it into conversation when discussing their diet. People wonder how it has become so much more common these days, but when asked about their family history many report one or both of their parents have avoided a food for years at it “doesn’t agree with them”. 

Irritable Bowel, Dietitian, Rathmines

The truth is, more people feel comfortable discussing their digestive health and doing something about it. People live busy lives that can often be stressful and many are now more conscious of their diet and looking after their health. I have seen patients with such severe symptoms it has a huge impact on their quality of life; unable to attend work, fear of getting public transport, avoiding social activities or not sleeping at night as a result. Why live with something like this when symptoms can be managed effectively?

The exact cause of IBS is not known and it is thought to be multifactorial. Suggested causes may be; a previous gastrointestinal infection, prolonged antibiotic use, stress, medication, alcohol, poor diet and lifestyle factors. Two thirds of IBS patients perceive their symptoms are related to food. Symptoms can come and go and may be exacerbated in stressful situations which can make it difficult to identify the exact triggers.

So how do people go about managing their symptoms of IBS?

Dietitian, Dublin 6, Caoimhe McDonald

  • Medical management using anti-diarrhoeals, anti-spasmodics, laxatives or low dose antidepressants
  • Self-help – 7% treat themselves with no medical supervision
  • Herbal remedies
  • Psychological guidance
  • Probiotics
  • Lifestyle changes
  • Dietary guidance

Diet assessment and adjustment by a qualified dietitian is so important in the management of IBS. Many patients prefer dietary management rather than a reliance on medication. As a dietitian specialising in digestive health, it is very rewarding to see a patients’ symptoms improve when they have received guidance on diet, meal pattern, lifestyle factors and stress management. Some may immediately feel an improvement after increasing fibre in the diet, increasing fluid and introducing exercise. Others may find eliminating certain foods beneficial or the use of a probiotic.

There is a growing interest in restriction of short chain fermentable carbohydrates called FODMAPs (fermentable, oligosaccharides, disaccharides, mono-saccharides and polyols….a mouthful I know!) for IBS management. The low FODMAP diet is an exclusion diet specifically for patients with IBS which has been supported by 30 clinical studies. Research has shown that limiting these foods (high in FODMAPS) can alleviate the symptoms associated with IBS.  The low FODMAP diet should be done under the supervision of a dietitian as exclusion diets are at risk of nutritional inadequacy.

If you feel you could benefit from seeing a dietitian in relation to digestive health or any other dietary issue contact Caoimhe McDonald at Personal Health who has worked with patients with IBS for years and can help you identify the triggers for your IBS and provide meal suggestions, recipes and shopping lists to make sure your diet is still balanced and you are getting all the nutrients you need.

Diet is not always the cause-it can be just one contributing factor to IBS. For many stress management may be the best solution. Personal Health also has a Psychotherapist Susan Duffy who specialises in stress management which may be the answer for you.

Contact the Personal Health team to make an appointment with Consultant Dietitian Caoimhe McDonald or Psychotherapist Susan Duffy on 01 4964002.

Personal Health, Rather Road, Chronic Health intervention

Surprise Your Bones….


Medically Led Fitness

Responsible Exercise for Osteoperosis

When I was training as a student in Cork University Hospital our lead Clinical Educator, Fiona, had a stock phrase for helping patients with Osteoperosis….

‘Surprise your Bones’

….said Fiona regularly, in a gentle Scottish lilt. Whether it was her accent or it’s ‘catchiness’, the phrase seemed to stick!

Fiona was a Clinical Specialist in the area and really believed in the positive benefits of exercise for Osteoperosis.
The tricky part is knowing what are the correct exercises, what are the safe ones and what needs to be avoided.
The even trickier part is making a class relevant/enjoyable to a 60 year old lady who might rather be on the golf course or anywhere else!

Medically Led Fitness Osteoperosis Classes

Exercise can be responsible and good fun

In Personal Health, our Chartered Physiotherapists manage a nice happy medium in this class.
We aim for the whole thing to be enjoyable, sociable and challenging enough to ‘surprise the bones’ into shape.

Typically Osteoperosis affects females far more than males, usually over the age of 55.
It is diagnosed by DEXA scan which is able to measure bone density – usually through imaging of the hip bone.

For those managing Osteoporosis it tends to be a quiet process. There’s typically no pain, and one might only be alerted to it’s complexities when in the A&E room after something innocuous has caused a fracture.

Areas such as the base of the thumb/ wrist and hip are more vulnerable for fracture based on the age and activity profile of those diagnosed with the disease. Similarly a focussed approach to improving balance and/or falls prevention can be a smart way to approach the condition.

Frequently an osteoporotic patient will be undergoing ‘medical’ management of the condition by taking prescribed tablets –  ’Calcichew’- or something similar. It has various classifications in terms of severity, and often patients opt for a sustained (but finite) period of injection therapy as treatment. These injections aim to increase the strength of cortical bone structure in addition to the focussed dietary and exercise interventions.

Personal Health Dublin 6

Chronic disease is just a definition not a life sentence 

In Personal Health our Medically Led Fitness programmes are geared towards optimising chronic health issues. By definition, ‘chronic’ relates to time and duration – not severity (as regularly understood).
So with a chronic diagnosis like Osteoporosis, there’s still a multitude of ways to successfully thrive. In Personal Health we provide a helping hand, some time and a refreshing enjoyable approach to managing your chronic health issue.



Last week in Jamaica, Usain Bolt pulled out of the national finals following a second night of discomfort in his hamstring muscle during the evening race. He has been diagnosed with a Grade 1 muscle tear. This is potentially a big problem as he needs to qualify for the Olympic Games on the 22nd of July in London. 

Usain Bolt Running out of Time, Ronan Fallon, Physiotherapy, Personal Health, D6

Will he run out of time??

Firstly, what is a Grade 1 muscle tear? Put simply, muscle injuries are clinically graded on a scale of 1-3 with 1 being the least serious and 3 being a severe rupture.

If you are dealing with an Olympic athlete, he will probably undergo an MRI to confirm what the medical team already know from their clinical examination of the presenting problem. 

Secondly, what happens next? There is a battery of treatments that an Olympic athlete will probably receive. Usain Bolt has flown to Germany to see a specialist for further treatment. Ultimately, these treatments are designed to speed up the healing process. These can vary depending on all sorts of issues, mainly money!! There are a wide range of weird and wonderful treatments available to the elite athlete. However, Mother Nature’s physiological healing timeframes need to be acknowledged and respected.

Medical team, Usain Bolt, Personal Health,Ronan Fallon, Physiotherapy, Personal Health, D6

A reasonable analogy is that the fibres in Muscle tissue are similar to the strands of a rope. Once an injury has occurred, then the amazing human healing cycle begins. This can take weeks to fully return to somewhere close to the pre-injury condition.

Here’s the problem, the Hamstring muscle needs to be fully healed and strong before you can even attempt to put it through the most severe test which is flat out sprinting. You can see how this might be an issue in the 100M qualification for Rio.

Usain Bolt of Jamaica starts in the men's 200 metres heats during the world athletics championships at the Olympic stadium in Berlin, August 18, 2009. REUTERS/Dominic Ebenbichler (GERMANY)Ronan Fallon, Physiotherapy, Personal Health, D6

I imagine that Usain is being managed extremely carefully as the medical and physiotherapy team attempt to combine the tricky task of accelerating healing and loading appropriately in an effort to prepare for the ultimate test on the 22nd of July.

Elite athletes such as Usain Bolt are obviously supreme physical specimens which generally helps shave a few days of the well-known recovery timeframes. Also, access to medical and physiotherapy services which I suspect will be babysitting him 24 hours a day is also a bonus. 

Usain Bolt, Bubble wrap, Personal Health,Ronan Fallon, Physiotherapy, Personal Health, D6

Bearing all this in mind, and considering that he is the fastest man on the planet, I suspect that he will be able to get through the qualification stages even if he is not 100% fit. It’s going to make that race very interesting viewing on the 22nd of July.

Whether an Olympic athlete or a recreational runner or 5-a-side player, muscle injuries are well understood and Chartered Physiotherapy can help with grading and managing recovery.

Tag a friend if you feel this article is relevant to them, or that co-worker who you think may find this useful. If you have any further questions or queries regarding muscle tears or any injury contact us at Personal Health on 01 4964002 or email

Chronic Pain by Dee Ryan

The Facts Behind Chronic Pain- by Dee Ryan


As previously mentioned in my last blog when the brain perceives you are in danger it calls upon many systems in its response to this discerned threat including:

  • The muscular system- run away, fight
  • The sympathetic system-increase heart rate, sweat
  • The immune system –promote healing, sensitise neurons
  • The endocrine system-reduce gut and reproductive activity

Together all these systems work together to get you out of trouble creating a pain experience, or motor experience or a stress experience.

When we initially injure our tissues we go through an immediate inflammatory response.  This initial inflammation is to be appreciated as the body’s immune and rebuilding cells are directed to the injured body area. Give thanks, muchas gracias! Often pain is experienced here as the chemicals involved in inflammation can sensitise the nerve endings in the area, causing a barrage of messages to be delivered to the brain. However, as the healing process continues the pain levels should drop as the inflammation subsides and the tissues heal.

Personal Health, Rathgar, Physio

Pain nearly always involves something going on in the tissues! Therefore, managing the tissues involved will help you manage your pain.  Understanding the processes behind the pain experience in both the brain and the tissues will provide you will enormous control in your pain experience. When pain persists past the natural healing time of the tissues we can say with certainty that the brain has concluded that a threat continues and that you still need protection and consequently pain. The central nervous system is highly adaptive and will respond to the demands it is placed under. If continued messages from a damaged, inflamed, scarred or weak tissue continue arriving, the brain gets more tuned to that zone and better at listening. It’s the continuous influx of messages that can lead to the brain ‘over-listening’ to that area and in turn over responding.



personal health, Dee Ryan, Physio,

When this happens you can become aware of more pain in areas that just hurt a little before, or areas that didn’t previously hurt at all now have started to hurt. Rather than calmly supervising the operations on the ground floor the brain has now become a hyper-vigilant boss micromanaging every movement in that sector. The pain persists, spreads, perhaps worsens and now even small movements can become painful. This is an indication that the alarm system can become faulty.

                                                    Screen Shot 2016-07-06 at 15.26.46

This enchanced sensitivity of the alarm system is nearly always a feature of ongoing pain. Due to this increase in sensitivity in the tissues, the brain is now acting on faulty information and is no longer receiving accurate information about what is going on in the tissues and so the brain perceives that there is more danger in the tissues than is actually the case.  As a results the brains responses such as thoughts, beliefs, immune, muscular, endocrine are amplified and exaggerated. Oh my! At this stage brain in attempt to look out for you makes those body parts harder to use….does this sound familiar to you?

  For fear of over-informing I will leave you to digest the above information and in my next blog I will explore further changes that can occur in the brain during chronic pain. As before, be a friend and tag a friend who you feel will benefit from further understanding the processes involved in the pain experience! For further information or to book an appointment with Dee, contact us at Personal Health on 416 4002.