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Pelvic Girdle Pain During Pregnancy – Women’s Health Physiotherapy

Pelvic Girdle Pain During Pregnancy -Women’s Health Physiotherapy

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.

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, 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.

USAIN BOLT – THE RACE FOR OLYMPIC FITNESS!! by Ronan Fallon

USAIN BOLT – THE RACE FOR OLYMPIC FITNESS!!!

Last week in Jamaica, Usain Bolt pulled out of the national finals following a second night of discomfort in his hamstring muscle. The diagnosis is 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 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! 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

 

Muscle is like a Rope!

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 has to be fully healed and strong before you even attempt to put it through the most severe test which is flat out sprinting. 

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 am sure 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. This generally helps shave a few days of the well-known recovery timeframes. Also, access to medical and physiotherapy services which 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 am confident that he will get through the qualification stages even if he is not 100% fit. 

If you are an Olympic athlete, recreational runner or 5-a-side player, all muscle injuries are very well understood. Chartered Physiotherapy will help with grading and managing recovery.

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?

 

Women's Heath Chartered Physiotherapy

2 Simple Exercises to strengthen your Pelvic Floor – Women’s Health Physiotherapy

Pelvic Floor Muscle Training

Pelvic floor muscles are very important as they:

  • Control the bladder and bowel
  • Support the pelvic organs and thus help prevent prolapse
  • Are important for sexual function
  • Support the growing uterus when pregnant
  • Work with core muscles to support the spine

 

Women's Health

The Supportive ‘Hammock’ of the Pelvic Floor

Where are they?

They attach to the pubic bone at the front and tail bone at the back and to the side of the pelvic walls.
They are the only horizontal muscle in your body and often described as a hammock that supports the pelvic organs.

 

What can weaken the Pelvic floor?
  • Regular straining to empty the bowel
  • Constant coughing
  • Weight of baby and hormones during pregnancy
  • Muscle damage and interventions used during birth
  • Work involving regular heavy lifting
  • Excessive abdominal workouts or over challenging exercise
  • Pelvic organ prolapse
  • Hysterectomy and some pelvic surgery.
Pelvic Floor function at Personal Health, Dublin 6

The Correct Exercise is Vital

 

Pelvic floor muscles cause problems when they are….
  • Weak and not strong enough to lift when you run or sneeze
  • Tight and cannot relax
  • Over powered by excessive tightness in trunk and waist muscles
  • 1 in 3 women experience incontinence after labor due to pelvic floor dysfunction.

 

 

Benefits of Pelvic Floor Exercises:
  • Restoration of vaginal muscle tone and vaginal health
  • Recover from physical stress of childbirth
  • Prevention and treatment of stress urinary incontinence.
  • Strengthen the pelvic floor muscles
  • Increase blood supply and nerve supply to the pelvic region
  • Increases sexual stimulation and feeling

 

2 Simple Exercises to strengthen your Pelvic Floor

It is important for all women before and after birth whether they have a vaginal or cesarean delivery to strengthen their pelvic floor muscles.

1. Long Hold:
Lie on your back with your knees bent and your feet supported but apart.
Squeeze and lift around all 3 openings in your pelvic 
floor. These being your back passage vagina and bladder. Like you are 
trying to stop yourself passing wind and urine.
Hold for 6-10 seconds, keep your abdominal, buttock and 
thigh muscles relaxed and continue to breathe 
normally.
Relax for 3 seconds.
Repeat this exercise another 5 times
Repeat 3 times a day.
As your pelvic floor muscles get stronger, practice in 
sitting and standing.
Gradually increase the hold time and number of repetitions until you can do a 10 second hold 10 times.
Remember…Always stop exercising when the muscle fatigues.
2. Quick holds
Tighten the pelvic floor muscles as above but only hold for a second before letting go fully.
Repeat 5 times in a row.
Repeat 3 times a day.
Gradually increase your repetitions until you can do 20 
quick squeezes in a row, it may take a few months to be able to do this.

 

 

How can Personal Health help?

Book an appointment with our Women’s Health Chartered Physiotherapist Mary-Kate Ryan to get a thorough pelvic floor assessment and specifically tailored exercise programme.

Please book an appointment online or Call 01 4964002

Women's Health Physiotherapy Dublin 6

It’s as easy as that!!!!

Football, Physio, sport, Physiotherapy, Fitness

Will Jonathan Walters be fit for Saturday ? by Ronan Fallon

Well is he going to be fit to continue?

Last night’s match in Paris saw the boys in green put in a great performance on the European stage. It’s fair to say that we could have easily taken all three points. Unfortunately, this result did have an impact on Jonathan Walters.

It is well known that he has been struggling with an Achilles tendon problem for the last few weeks. The Achilles tendon is the common tendon from the calf muscles into the heel bone.
It is a notoriously tricky problem for anyone from an international footballer to a mid-week 5-a-side social footballer or tag rugby player. As such, it was not a good sign that Jonathan Walters reported last night that he was struggling with this issue from the very first minute!

Achilles tendon
As you can see from the image, pretty much all activity on the football pitch requires load to go from the calf muscle and through your Achilles tendon. This allows the athlete to propel forward to run & jump.

 

MANAGEMENT

Chartered Physiotherapy Dublin 6

Decisions Decisions…..

There is no doubt that the Irish medical team are using all of the resources at their disposal in an effort to get Jonathan fit for Saturday. This is a very quick turnaround for an injured achilles such as this one.
I suspect that they will be using a battery of treatments including anti-inflammatories, Icing, Soft tissue for the calf muscles and most importantly rest.
The crucial component in this management strategy is controlling loading. Thai is the weight that he takes through that inflamed tendon. He should be on crutches for 48 hours. This would allow the Achilles to recover without the stress of his bodyweight on every step.

Medical Team

This is a tricky conundrum for the medical team today. How long can they afford to rest Jonathan from team training in preparation for the Belgium match? Martin O’Neill and his team will have  already discussed this and may have even made a decision on ruling him out.
It’s very difficult to see how Jonathan Walters will be fit for Saturday. An MRI scan will show the true extent of the damage. As a result all we can work off are the soundbites from Management and player alike.

In conclusion, we’re all hoping for a speedy recovery and that his removal from the game early might just give him a chance for the big game on Saturday.

COYBIG !

Ronan

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

 

Cycling, physio, physiotherapist, movement, fitness, health

Summer, Sunshine & Spandex by Tim Ahern, Chartered Physiotherapist

We cyclists call it Lycra and there is a lot of it about lately. Here on Rathgar road we see hundreds of commuters and leisure cyclists pass by our clinic on their way to and from work every morning. This is great to see. All sorts of people are cycling now on all sorts of machines. Some new, some old and many ill-fitting.

IMG_1189

New to Cycling?

For those of you who are new to cycling and training for that first triathlon, charity cycle or are just beginning in the sport, bike fit is important. The usual hotspots of discomfort for the beginner include the lower back and the back-side. This is a normal and temporary phenomenon. But often times pain and discomfort in these areas persists. Knee, neck and wrist pain are also common. Therefore having a bike that is comfortable and suitably set-up for your requirements is a must in order to minimise or indeed prevent such injuries. Appropriate bike set-up is key to enjoying injury free cycling and this becomes more pertinent as time in the saddle increases. Despite the myriad of different bike designs and new technologies available, a bicycle remains a bicycle.

IMG_1551

Rider and bike have 5 contact points, both hands, both feet and the one bottom! The bike is a symmetrical machine. Many of us are not. Parameters such as handlebar reach, handlebar type and angle, the degree of knee flexion in pedal stroke, shoe cleat position and saddle position are the main interfaces between the rider and the bike. That results in a huge number of possible position permutations. Many people are now measured and fitted for their bikes before they purchase them. This is very useful. As with clothes, not everyone can buy “off the peg”.

MLF cycling

 

Assessment

Personal Health offer an individualised assessment of the individual’s anatomy and injury history. We take into account the type, the intensity and the volume of cycling of each client. We don’t try to make radical changes to set-up or position, rather we look at making micro adjustments to the bike set-up. This may stave off injury and reduce discomfort based on our physical assessment of the body first, and then the bike.

Based on our findings, we will provide a relevant exercise programme for the body. This is a bespoke service and some clients require more focus on the physical and others require more attention on the bike set-up. Most often though, it is a combination of the two.

Tim Ahern is a Chartered Physiotherapist, an Exercise Physiologist, and a hugely passionate cyclist. He is an integral part of Personal Health, providing a valuable link between our clinical expertise and the practical aspects of exercise prescription.