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Spine, Spinal Surgery, Rehab, Surgery, Physio, Rehabilitation, Fusion, Dublin

Recovery from Spinal Surgery – How can Physiotherapy help?

Recovery from Spinal Surgery – How can Physiotherapy help?

We often look after patients who are recovering from spinal surgery. There are many types of surgery and interventions that a spinal specialist will use to optimise the recovery of the patient – ranging from discectomy to rhizotomy, and decompression to fusion – the terminology can be confusing. What all orthopaedic and spinal specialists recommend however is a targeted and specific rehabilitation plan with a physiotherapist.

In patient recovery

Most surgical interventions see the patient getting out of bed independently less than 24 hours post surgery. On the hospital ward the Physiotherapists and the Nursing team work together to encourage as much movement as is recommended. This can be surprising for patients who have been dealing with acute and/or chronic back pain for a long period prior to surgery. The surgical approach of our spinal specialists these days has become so refined and skilful that the in-patient recovery time has significantly shortened in recent years. This is a big benefit for all concerned.

Outpatient recovery

After the patient is discharged from hospital, they will be armed with a small advice leaflet to maintain an adequate baseline of activity  – and this suffices for the initial 7-10 days post discharge.

After this the outpatient recovery ought to take on a more dynamic aspect as the rehabilitation progresses. The passage of time and long rest periods will indeed help in terms of tissue healing times. However an overly passive approach to back rehabilitation is not advised.

Spinal surgery patients at Personal Health

We have had a large amount of patients manage their journey to recovery in Personal Health. Some choose the clinic simply because of location, others because they feel reassured that we have experience. Word of mouth seems to be a deciding factor for many, as they have heard good reports. However for those undecided we can provide some further information.

The journey to an active lifestyle once again

The most obvious reason for spinal surgery is excessive pain levels. Often the pain has become so debilitating for people that their day to day function is simply no longer possible. The journey to living an active lifestyle once again is a rewarding one, but it takes some determination and patience. If one has chosen to go down the path of surgical intervention, why not optimise the outcomes?

From Purgatory to Heaven

We have a varied and fun (believe it or not) approach to rehabilitation. It ought not to feel like penance, rather an opportunity to move from Purgatory to Heaven. We use strengthening exercises for the lower limb – thighs and gluteal muscles in particular. Similarly, we look to improve range of motion either above or below the surgical site. This can involve the whole spinal column, divided into its component parts of lumbar, thoracic and cervical. Also the small matter of re-training countless postural muscles can be less like homework than it sounds.

The body is designed to move

While inhibited movement is a natural part of recovery, it is important to reduce our inhibitions around natural movement. Even post surgically, the spine remains a column of strong bone, connective tissue and muscle. The body is designed to move and rediscovering the joys of this is a great feeling for people in their rehabilitation.

To Book an appointment at pH ; Visit us online at www.personalhealth.ie or call 01 4964002

Shoulder, Injury, Fitness, Rotator Cuff

Have I Got a frozen Shoulder? Or is it a Rotator Cuff?

Have I Got a frozen Shoulder? Or is it a Rotator Cuff? – Physiotherapy

Frozen shoulders can be a complicated and very frustrating issue. Typically they can last for up to 18 months. The shoulder becomes very inactive and day to day function is compromised. It is not a common presentation in the clinic here. Often people are concerned they have developed a frozen shoulder. However it is more frequently an issue to do with rotator cuff damage, or a type of shoulder impingement, or both of these together.

What is Frozen shoulder?

Frozen shoulder is medically termed as ‘adhesive capsulitis’. Fibrous adhesions start to develop within the shoulder joint and ultimately surround the shoulder capsule. The capsule itself becomes very inflamed – hence the ‘itis’ on the end of the word capsule. The result is significantly reduced shoulder function. Certain movements can cause sharp pain and as result the patient begins to move the joint less and less. It is best treated with injection therapy, some physiotherapy (aiming to preserve some range of motion), and in more acute cases there is surgical intervention. In the case of surgery the shoulder joint is manipulated under anaesthetic to restore greater movement. Although surgical intervention naturally cannot have a guaranteed success rate, it can provide a degree of improvement in the extremely frozen shoulder.

What is the Rotator Cuff?

The rotator cuff is a grouping of soft tissue structures that protect and strengthen the shoulder joint. It is comprised of muscles and tendons including the Supraspinatus, Subscapularis, infraspinatus and Teres Minor. These surround and attach into various parts of the shoulder joint and the shoulder blade. The cuff gives stability in particular, however it is vulnerable to damage as we get older.

How the shoulder joint moves

The shoulder is a relatively vulnerable joint compared to some other major joints within the body. It moves in multiple directions – as opposed to the hip or knee. There is a higher incidence of shoulder dislocation for example, because of this greater level of movement. Essentially the joint moves in multiple directions; forwards,backwards, sideways and in a rotational fashion.

Some typical Examples

The majority of shoulder issues presenting in clinic here in Rathmines relate to the rotator cuff as opposed to a frozen shoulder. Very often our clients are unaware how the issue might have developed, as it can be a very innocuous incident which causes the initial damage. Some typical examples such as starting a lawn mower, pulling a heavy suitcase or simply out walking the dog on a lead can cause an initial tear to a tendon and the issue slowly escalates from there.

What we do to treat the issue

We do an initial assessment of the joint to find out what the specific issue is. We use a number of orthopaedic examination tests to get an accurate diagnosis, without need for MRI referral. Once we have a solid diagnosis, we then work on restoring range of motion to the damaged joint. We simultaneously work on improving stability and strength. Don’t worry, there’s not too much hardship and homework – we send on video exercises to our clients so they can work away on their own schedule as suitable.

 

To schedule an appointment with one of our Physiotherapists, jump straight to our booking system here or call 01 4964002.

 

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, Health, Brain, Fitness, Rathmines, Physio

Exercise to keep your Brain calm

Exercise can help your brain slow down….Which is a really good thing!

The quality of blood flowing to and through the brain is affected by exercise. Is your head in a tizzy?? Exercise can actually slow down the speed with which neurons fire in the brain.

This is a good thing! We all need to slow down a bit. Most people reluctantly enjoyed the recent ‘snow holiday’ as we were forced to switch off and relax for a couple of days. Exercise can have a similarly calming effect. When we unplug devices, meditate or walk by the sea, our brain naturally produces good ingredients. Exercise similarly produces a fertile soil for the brain.

Exercise. Brain

Benefits for the Brain

Exercise will stimulate your memory, situated in the hippocampus area. Your capacity to concentrate will improve. It will reduce your mental stress levels due to effective management of the stress hormone – cortisol. In the same way exercise helps reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease, it also reduces the risk of any cognitive decline – such as dementia or Alzheimer’s.

How?

Everybody talks about the physical benefits of exercise. The word cardiovascular is synonymous with fitness and heart health. Neurovascular is far less commonly used but is equal in importance when we consider exercise.

Neurovascular applies specifically to the blood flow in the brain. When we exercise we oxygenate the brain’s blood vessels with healthy red blood cells. With greater oxygen to the brain we are calmer, more alert, less impulsive and generally better decision makers. This is so valuable in the modern day pressures of work/life/family demands.

Toothpaste for ‘Brain Plaque’

When I wash my teeth in the mornings I put toothpaste on the brush and fire away. The brushing motion along with the toothpaste itself combats the buildup of plaque on our teeth. The brain produces plaque as we get older too. One of the best ways to replicate the toothpaste analogy for our brain is to exercise. The healthy blood flow derived from exercise can help combat the growth of brain plaque. One of the other most important ways to reduce growth of plaque in the brain is to be sociable! And laughter produces feel good hormones too!

So, get out and meet some new people, or connect with an old friend! Go for a walk and have some fun. You are doing yourself and your brain a big favour.

Improve your Brain Health – Occupational Therapy

Improve your Brain Health – Occupational Therapy

Over the last number of years, it seems that increasingly in the media we are seeing people live with neurological conditions that affect the brain such as Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, Stroke and other disorders. At the same time there has never been so much emphasis on the benefits of regular exercise and the optimum diet for a healthy body and brain.

We are being bombarded with information written by specialists, experts, bloggers, and anyone with a social media account. Everyone has an opinion on what good health is but is there a simple one size fits all formula to follow?

Earlier this week, I attended the lecture on ‘Our Beautiful Minds: Our Brains and how they shape our lives’‘ by Professor Shane O Mara, Professor of Experimental Brain Research in Trinity College. I learned that maybe being healthy isn’t as complex as all the newspapers, magazines, and online media make out. The three main points I took from the lecture were simple in their own way. He highlighted the importance of exercise, sleep, and giving your brain a chance to rest. Very simple suggestions but can we actually follow through? Why should we even try?

Stats

Looking at the most recent statistics in Ireland, it is estimated that over 700,000 people in Ireland live with a neurological condition. This represents about 17% of the total population of Ireland. These conditions include acquired brain injury, epilepsy, multiple sclerosis, stroke, Parkinson’s disease, dementia and other progressive, intermittent or disabling conditions of the brain or spinal cord. While not all neurological conditions are preventable, there are certain things we can do that can reduce our risk of developing these conditions.

Poor health is never far from anyone’s door and it makes no exception to your social status, religion, race, or otherwise. Last year the infamous Billy Connolly came out to speak about his diagnosis of Parkinson’s Disease. In the last few years the country music singer Glenn Campbell, made known for his hit ‘Rhinestone Cowboy’ released the movie of his farewell tour as a result of being diagnosed with Alzheimer’s Disease. Last year Amy Huberman and Brian O’Driscoll  featured on the cover of the Irish ‘Parkinson’s Ireland’ Summer magazine as Amy’s father is living with Parkinson’s Disease. As we are living longer we are also living longer with and developing neurological conditions.

With increasing evidence linking exercise and diet, mindfulness and relaxation to improved health, we need to look at what we can do on a daily basis to maintain good body and brain health. Over the age of 30 on average you lose slightly less than 0.5% of your brain each year. It has now been proven that by exercising alone you can increase the size of your hippocampus, a part of the brain that makes memory.  Research also supports being socially active, it reduces your risk of dementia.

Here are some more suggestions to improve your body and brain health:

·         Exercise regularly

·         Maintain a good sleep routine

·         Give your brain a rest

·         Eat a well-balanced diet

·         Challenging your brain

  • Read a book
  • Do a crossword
  • Travel to new places

·         Learn something new

·         Keep socially active

·         Keep a check on your cholesterol/blood pressure/ weight

·         Adopt a positive attitude

Our generation are living longer. We need to ensure that we’re living Better too. Give yourself the best chance at ageing well.

www.personalhealth.ie/occupational-therapy/

 

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

Lowering Your Cholesterol The Healthy Way – Dietary Advice

Lowering Your Cholesterol The Healthy Way – Dietary Advice

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

Back pain,

Preventative Exercises for Santa this Christmas- By Dee Ryan

  Preventative Exercises for Santa this Christmas!

It is well-known to all that Santa has a very busy night ahead on Christmas Eve. We do not doubt that Santa is in top physical shape but we wanted to provide him with a few tips to ensure his risk of injury is at an all- time low to allow him to do what he does best. In order to be specific I am going to focus on the position which Santa will have to adopt for long periods of time  ….. driving his sleigh!

santa1

Santa will spend a lot of time sitting in his sleigh. As with any amount of prolonged sitting there lies the risk of developing low back pain. To ensure he does not stiffen we recommend pelvic tilts in sitting. This will allow Santa to mobilise his low back and to provide a relative stretch to the muscles positioned parallel to his low back. This exercise is simple and straightforward it involves rolling forwards and backwards off the sit-bones in a slow and controlled manner.   His back will be grateful for this movement little and often throughout the night. We feel Santa will find it easier to get on and off the sleigh as a result of keeping his back mobile, especially when considering how cold it will be that high up in the sky.

Sitting at desk

Physio Rathmines

Secondly as Santa is driving his team of superb reindeer he will be holding the reins out in front of his body. This can commonly cause us to allow our shoulders to move forward and to round our upper back. I recommend Santa does shoulder retraction exercises throughout the night. This involves moving the shoulder blades back and down. By doing so he will be enforcing correct alignment of his shoulders and will be opening up through his chest muscles.

shoulder-retraction

    

The third exercise we recommend is seated thoracic rotation- this will mobilise Santa’s upper back. We recommend that Santa continues to hold the reins throughout this exercise and that he hips his hips forwards to further bias his upper back.

Other tips for the night:

When placing the presents under the tree we recommend Santa should bend down onto his knees and keeps the presents in close to his body until he is close to the ground – this will prevent excessively loading his low back.

santa-3

Similarly, when going down the chimney Santa should try keep in arms in close to his body to ensure his shoulders are not stretched beyond their capacity.

Back pain,

Our Team at Personal Health are in complete agreement with Theresa Mannion- we do not condone unnecessary journeys on our roads- particularly over the Christmas period when the weather can be treacherous. However, should you find yourself driving for a prolonged period of time we recommend the top 3 exercises on our list for Santa.

Wishing you a very Merry Christmas from the Team at Personal Health!

Personal Health, Rather Road, Chronic Health intervention

Surprise Your Bones….

Exercise for Osteoporosis

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 Osteoporosis.

‘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 Osteoporosis. 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. We know you would rather be on the golf course or anywhere else!

Medically Led Fitness Osteoperosis Classes

Exercise can be responsible and good fun

Personal Health Exercise Classes

At 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 Osteoporosis 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. This is 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 has caused a fracture.

Areas such as the base of the thumb/ wrist and hip are more vulnerable for fracture. This is 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. 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

Medically Led Fitness

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.

So with a chronic diagnosis like Osteoporosis, you have the power to successfully thrive. At Personal Health, we provide a helping hand, some time and a refreshing enjoyable approach to managing your chronic health issue.

2 things about 5 things that tell you nothing…Really Efficiently

Bygone Blissful Days of Youth

Well the world is all about data apparently. Big Data…. The internet of things…. Is it a wearable? What’s your elevator pitch in less than four words? Are you sustainable? Social Media lifestyle.

Recently I saw a post on Facebook talking about something distant. Life as a child. The simplicity of it all.

‘I would fake being asleep so my Dad would carry me to bed. When I swallowed fruit seeds I was scared to death a tree would start to grow in my tummy…..’ I thought the moon followed my car. I would watch two drops of rain roll down the window and pretend it was a race.

The wistful bygone days. Not very data driven. And so the struggle began. Please disassociate from silliness. Keep abreast of cellular level changes in everything.
Never stand still.

 

IMG_2117

But I still like a giggle….most of all when I’m stressed out???

At Personal Health we are about balance.

If you want measurables we’ve got them. In fact our measurables are better than any entry-level analysis you will get in any Commercial Gym in Ireland.
We are not a gym you see, we are medical professionals trying to sustainably improve your systemic health. How U is that for a USP?
If you’ve got some health problems….Please contact us.

 

Contact us....

Contact us….

 

Prescription

Exercise with freedom and joy.

Savour your wine and let the taste buds dance with your pistachio ice cream.

If you exercise twice a week (anywhere on earth) for 30 minutes at a time …..you have reduced your risk of heart attack by up to 50%. Fact.
Bet your High Performance Officer didn’t mention that.
Yes, add some cauliflower to your plate. Filter it on Instagram(Guilty!) …..Just don’t weigh it!

IMG_3717
This mediocrity is not for some…..

You are fully entitled to wear a Fitbit during a gym class. A Heart Rate monitor (bpm) will fluctuate with exertion. Some other ‘wearable’ will measure your punch power (kilowatts). A Carbon fibre floor plate will gauge your ground contact time (milliseconds) and something else will have your concentric muscle torque (Nm) sorted simultaneously.

2 things about 5 things that tell you nothing….. really efficiently.

That’s more like High Performance. And we don’t do that. Despite the fact it sounds great.
High Performance environments are stress inducing, often on purpose. Cortisol tends to identify rather easily who wants to run and who wants to fight. Usually it involves elite level performers dedicated to their pursuit in a full time professional and handsomely remunerated environment.

Sometimes it is joy-less. I’ve been involved in it for nearly 15 years in a sporting capacity. The good days outweigh the bad. But not by much.

HP is all over the Corporate environment too. Mediated by Wellness tools of course and an occasional banana on your desk. It’s progressive at times but there’s a tipping point. You know where it is.

Personal NCT

If you want measurables, why not measure your internal health?
A personal MOT for you and your lifestyle, not the car, or the company.

God knows there’s enough going on with your body breaking down, relationships, kids and mortgage.
You are smart enough to perform highly all day in work…. You know exactly what to do next.
When those two raindrops were rolling down the window you were measuring them after all.
But didn’t you enjoy the race?

 

pain, chronic pain, exercise, physio, physiotherapy

Do you really understand your pain? by Dee Ryan, Chartered Physiotherapist

Pain is often misunderstood, and as a result can cause fear. This fear and confusion can drive our pain experience. This blog explores the true meaning of pain with you. It might facilitate a different approach to your pain management, and hopefully can improve your coping strategies.

Pain is the body’s alarm system. It is designed to be a helpful response to protect you. This alarm system is assisted by your vision, hearing, smell and taste. For example, at halloween you see a bonfire, hear the wood crackling, smell/taste the smoke and feel the warmth. These sensory cues are helping your brain decide how best to respond to a given situation.

FireBeachPain
A key point to understand about pain is that once the brain decides you’re in danger, you will feel pain with or without the presence of tissue damage.

YOUR BRAIN DRIVES YOUR PAIN

Pain can be straight forward. But like most things in life, it can also be a complex process requiring some patience. Pain from direct tissue damage is clearly understood – an ankle sprain for example, see our Rory McIlroy blog:

Here, for example, the ligaments are sprained and in an attempt to protect you (how loving!) your brain decides the ligaments are at risk and need healing. Subsequently pain is felt in order to allow ligament repair and remodelling.
Pain can also be reflective of behaviour, emotions, memories, belief systems and what the pain means to you. A nice analogy for this is to imagine the ingredients of emotion, stress, memory, belief and behaviour are mixed together and make up the batter to a special kind of cake called pain. This cake is cooked in a particular oven called the brain. How the cake of pain turns out is very much so dependent on the oven – what temperature it is cooked at, how long it is cooked for etc. So it is clear the brain directly influences the end product- the pain cake.

 

pain management Personal Health Dublin 6

Is your pain getting out of hand?

Regardless of analogies, there is a proven science to this…..

Our body house these incredible sensors which continuously send messages to the brain via electrical impulses (neural pathways). Some sensors report on temperature, some respond to mechanical change, others to chemical change. There is a certain type of wire called a nociceptor which delivers messages of danger to your brain. They respond to any form of stimulus which is considered a threat. Remember nociception is just the delivery postman of the message, not the message itself.
Not every message being delivered from the sensors reach the brain. At the level of the spinal cord there is a sorting process, and the number of messages being passed is under control. Similar to a bouncer manning a nightclub. The danger messages can sometimes be granted access and are delivered to the brain. Here the brain has to make a decision how best to react to all this information it has been given.

Dee Ryan Chartered Physiotherapist in Dublin 6 discusses the complexity of pain

Those shoes are quite nice mate…..

Next week

Next week I will discuss the various systems which the brain calls upon in its response to these issues. Similarly I will expand on the effects of pain over a prolonged period of time- known as ‘chronic pain’.
Be a friend and tag a friend who you feel will benefit from further understanding the processes involved in the pain experience!

And now my parting gift to you until next week….a superb video which explains pain in less than 5 minutes:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RWMKucuejIs