Cancer, Exercise, Health, Fitness, Physio

Exercise for Cancer Patients at Personal Health

The Guardian newspaper recently (7-5-18) discussed powerful evidence in relation to the benefits of exercise for cancer patients. The published research is from The Clinical Oncology Society of Australia. This research has helped to launch its position statement on the role of exercise alongside surgery, chemotherapy or radiation in cancer care.

Research gets widespread endorsement

The research is endorsed by a group of 25 influential health and cancer organisations, including Cancer Council Australia. It is the first researcher-led push anywhere in the world for exercise to be an essential component of treatment for cancer. Indeed the statement goes further, suggesting exercise should be prescribed to ALL cancer patients. Furthermore it states ‘not to do so would be harmful’. A definitive and powerful stance indeed.

Why Personal Health provides Exercise for Cancer patients

At Personal Health, we welcome the position taken by the Clinical Oncology Society of Australia wholeheartedly. A number of our cancer patients have had great results with regular intensive exercise. Their positive experiences have included increased energy levels (or reduced fatigue), maintenance of weight and lean muscle mass, and improved mood. Overall there is an improvement in Quality of Life – and this is objectively measured as opposed to mere speculation.

Evidence is indisputable

The lead author of the research, Prof Prue Cormie from the Australian Catholic University, said the statement was based on “indisputable” evidence. “Really we are at the stage where the science is telling us that withholding exercise from cancer patients can be harmful,” Cormie said. Our philosophy in Personal Health has always promoted exercise as a form of medicine and rehabilitation for people living with prolonged health conditions. Our team of Chartered Physiotherapists & Occupational Therapy are passionate about providing insight and support for Cancer patients.

Exercise is Medicine

Professor Cormie is a huge advocate of exercise in general, and elaborated further in relation to cancer therapy. “Exercise is the best medicine someone with cancer can take in addition to their standard cancer treatments. That’s because we know now that people who exercise regularly experience fewer and less severe treatment-related side-effects; cancer-related fatigue and mental distress. They also have a lower risk of their cancer coming back or dying from the disease’,

Lifestyle Change

At Personal Health, we apply the best evidence to help lifestyle change. A simple way to boost cancer survival rates is to improve diet and include regular exercise. It is simple in concept but difficult to implement regularly. We provide a helping hand, a support network at home or in clinic, and a familiarity with the challenges you face. Some patients have had to maintain lean muscle mass in order to optimise chemotherapy/radiotherapy, others have had to improve range of movement post surgery. There are lots of differing angles and solutions.

Professor Cormie agrees …

It seems Prof Cormie agrees with our approach and vice versa. ’If the effects of exercise could be encapsulated in a pill, it would be prescribed to every cancer patient worldwide and viewed as a major breakthrough in cancer treatment,”  

She further elaborated “If we had a pill called exercise it would be demanded by cancer patients, prescribed by every cancer specialist, and subsidised by government.”

Types of Cancer patients in Personal Health

To date we have worked with patients who have had Breast Cancer, Oesophageal and gastric cancer, Prostate and Bowel cancer. Based on the latest evidence above we see no reason to be exclusive just for these types of cancer. Our service provides benefit for all those dealing with the various difficulties on the journey to recovery.

We offer 10 physio-led exercise appointments for 500 Euro in a non-intimidating gym environment. This is covered under Chartereed Physiotherapy in your Insurance Policy.

Call us now to find out more.

01 496 4002

www.personalhealth.ie

Exercise, fitness, ageing, arthritis, Lifestyle, Dublin 6

Motion is Lotion – the benefits of exercise for the over 70’s

All the big Consultants we know very regularly use the phrase ‘wear and tear’! It’s a gentle way of talking about the decline of our once glorious body. Arthritis is not curable but it is absolutely manageable. The trick is to exercise correctly while simultaneously not antagonising the inflammatory joint. Movement is key and motion is lotion!

The over 70s lifestyle

A great number of our patients are of a certain age …. but who’s counting right?

What we can confirm apart from dubious birth certificates is that they are a smiling, well oiled vintage. Many of them are golfers, almost all of them are regular walkers. Some join exercise groups dotted around the community. These people are living busy lives, booking concert tickets on the Ipad, gardening and loving the sport on TV. The Grandchildren are beautiful but exhausting, and often that mayhem is followed by a well deserved glass of wine. Lets’s not forget the odd holiday or three … Vitamin D is good for the joints, the skin and the soul.

Motion is Lotion

There is one shared quality among this group who cross our threshold in Personal Health.

They are keeping active. A former P.E teacher from my schooldays had a phrase referring to healthy joints; ‘Motion is Lotion’. This was as relevant for teenage kids as it is now for the ageing population.  It makes perfect physiological sense. Regular activity at any age helps circulation within our joints. An oxygenated blood flow swishing it’s way through our spine, shoulders, hips and knees is all good news. But it is particularly relevant when we are getting older.

Move More or Move Less? ….Move Clever….

Movement, Hips, Arthritis, exercise, Fitness, Dublin, ageing

The magic of Jimenez…..aaaaaaannnd Stretch !!

With regular movement our joints begin to move more freely – regardless of previous injury or medical diagnosis. Let’s take the hip as an example. It is a joint that regularly succumbs to arthritic change as we get older. The natural tendency is to move less with arthritis present in the joint. This is often due to pain while weight bearing. It is a perfectly natural reaction to move less. Unfortunately this is the completely wrong thing to do and means the joint will only deteriorate quicker. We need to start moving clever without impacting the damaged part of the joint.

Non Impact Movement

One of the best remedies for joint pain is to move the joint in a non weight bearing way. Cycling (indoor exercise bikes or outdoors in the park) allows the hip joint to move without compressing the ‘wear and tear’ we referred to previously. Most importantly, it strengthens and lengthens the muscles that surround the joint. It is a positive cycle whereby the blood flow helps lubricate the joint. This in turn eases inflammation. As soon as we have facilitated greater movement, the joint has greater range. This means the muscles protecting the joint automatically get stronger while stretching and contracting with greater activity.

The Money Deal – How much??

We provide 4 exercise classes and a healthy living workshop every month for €99. We are all Healthcare professionals so your insurance will cover at least half of this if not more.

So €99 can very easily become

€50 for 5 appointments with a healthcare professional once you have your receipts in order (which we will promptly provide).

Surely not I hear you say!

The Solution

Get active!! If you would like to choose Personal Health as your option, we will be waiting with open arms. There are comfy seats and tea on tap (post exercise) to recover and recuperate. We always have time for a few chats too. Hopefully see you soon!

Wellbeing, Health, Corporate, Fitness, Dublin 6

Wellbeing Weeks and Fruit Friday’s don’t work!

Too often, we have seen the corporate wellbeing world be a storm in a teacup. ‘Wellbeing Weeks’ or ‘Fruit Friday’s don’t work! If your employees don’t feel valued, a guest speaker once a year and a free basket of fruit here and there, won’t change their productivity or happiness.

Stress is an enigma. we all know it’s there but we can’t always identify it. What does it look like ? Or how is it measured? We are in a data driven age and non measurables tend to be under valued.

In our experience dealing with the corporate wellbeing world, we have noticed that some issues repeatedly become a stumbling block. The ultimate goal is for wellbeing initiatives to actually improve wellbeing ! At the very least there ought to be a reduction in stress levels.

The problem for HR

In our experience, the difficulty for innovative and enthusiastic HR managers is implementation. That’s why initiatives like ‘Fruit Friday’ exists. It’s a gesture that can be achieved. It’s also coming from a very well meaning place.

But in a target driven environment, punctuated by End -of -Quarter stress avalanches, the wellbeing philosophy becomes a distant ideal. The idea that the Sales team might take a 30 minute break for a mindfulness session during the avalanche is outlandish.

Ironically, it might be the perfect time to do it, but let’s face it, it is highly unlikely.

Can Lifestyle change actually reduce stress?

Well in terms of exercise the World Health Organisation (WHO) recommend 150 minutes of light exercise per week. This is a non specific recommendation, and indeed slightly less than 150 minutes can suffice if done at a moderate to vigorous intensity. Let’s not focus on the content for now. Let’s simply look at the duration;

  • 2 x 30 minute sessions in a week amounts to 1/168th of our week
  • A whopping 0.006% of our week !!

Time Management and Lifestyle Change

Can we spare 0.006% of our week to help reduce stress levels ? We all know we can. But we still regularly don’t. Perhaps we are not truly framing the benefits in a relevant way.

It can specifically improve our performance in work.

Neurological benefits are rarely highlighted, but the scientific community have proven that exercise can improve concentration, memory and decision making under pressure! How good is that ?!

Due to the vascular (blood vessels) change that occurs during/post exercise there is an associated change in blood flow inside the brain. Why not tap into this ?

Behavioural Change and Wellbeing

For the HR managers out there it is important to manage your own expectations and the barriers facing your implementation of wellbeing.

0.006% of the week doing exercise is of course achievable for your employees. However It may be time better spent to have a regular check in / reminder to simply encourage employees to adopt new behaviours. Ultimately they have to do the exercise themselves. So, raising awareness about lifestyle benefits can be a powerful message if done in a strategic way. It gently lets your most important resource (your people) know that you value their lives outside of the job, and you value their time while on the job. You don’t have to provide the actual activity for lifestyle change, you just have to constantly encourage the change in behaviour.

Exercise, fitness, ageing, arthritis, Lifestyle, Dublin 6

How to Exercise with Problem Health Conditions

Have you got arthritis in your knee? Too painful to exercise the way you used to? And now you are putting on weight…and the pain is getting worse?

You are in a very common cycle that you can combat smartly.

There’s always a way – if not 2 or 3!

The most obvious thing to improve arthritic joint pain is to reduce the inflammation which is the main contributing factor. In plain language, you need to stop loading up the troublesome joint.

So for the golfer who plays twice per week and is struggling with night pain after your 18 holes…why not look to getting a buggy for the next few rounds?

Moreover, there is a culture of taking anti-inflammatory tablets like smarties in arthritic patients, but certain brands can be quite corrosive on the stomach. So maybe a safer bet is to get a prescription anti-inflammatory topical gel and use in plentiful amounts on the affected area.

Movement is Key

Keep moving the joint in question – but not while weight bearing. A troublesome knee joint is usually well able to complete a full revolution on an exercise bike.

Most patients protest that exercise bikes = insufferable boredom!!!

 

Well let’s look at the benefits of cycling for 30 minutes on a static exercise bike 5 times per week – IN FRONT of the TV!!!!!

  • Increased range of motion in the troublesome joint (hip or knee). This means less stiffness after sitting in a restaurant or going to the cinema!
  • Increased circulation – lubricating the inflamed area and increasing healthy blood flow – this means your knee can have less swelling, redness and heat through those affected areas.
  • Increased strength in the surrounding muscles which support the joint – helping to unload the pressure that goes through that weight-bearing area. which means walking slopes (up or down hill) will be less problematic.
  • Weight loss – every pound of weight lost is equivalent to 4 pounds less pressure going through the affected joint – so you really only have to lose a couple of pounds to get the effect of losing a stone!!

We do exercise classes for people living with health conditions at Personal Health. These include Arthritis, Osteoporosis, Cancer and Stroke survivors, Diabetes, Cardiology patients, Parkinson’s and Multiple Sclerosis.

For further information please contact:

01 4964002

info@personalhealth.ie

www.personalhealth.ie

Movement, Hips, Arthritis, exercise, Fitness, Dublin

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

The Masters

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 of 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….

Recreational Golfers

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 is very achievable. 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 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 ronan@personalhealth.ie 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

 

 

Cholesterol, heart, diet, dietitian, food, health, fitness

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.

Lipoproteins

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.

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

 

  • Soluble fibre – found in fruit, vegetables, oats, beans and pulses. It 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).

 

  • 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.

 

  • 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.

 

  • 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. Always check with your GP if you are taking medication for your cholesterol.

 

  • 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.

  

Treatment

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.

Tips:

  • 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.

Avoid:

  • 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).

Physiotherapy

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 info@personalhealth.ie.

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

Prenatal Yoga

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

Baddha

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

Pink Ribbon Programme

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 which individuals are not prepared for. Especially after exiting the 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

Program for Breast Cancer survivors

At Personal Health the Pink Ribbon Program is a specifically designed gentle Pilates based exercise Program for Breast Cancer survivors. 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. We place a strong focus on regaining shoulder mobility and strength. The exercises are specifically tailored to the contraindications and precautions of each surgery. The initial assessment performed prior to starting the classes allows us to take each individual history and 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
  • Improves 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

homonculus1

 

Brain Map

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

Smudging

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 fog. When driving in fog, your vision is compromised. You are no longer sure of what is ahead on the road.You slow down, turn down the music, you may even roll down the window. You become very cautious and hyper-vigilant in an attempt to control the environment.  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.

Educated Movement

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. It is a huge help to understand 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.