Posts

Mobility, Flexibility, fitness, movement, health

The Pursuit of Flexibility

As the years go by, the pursuit of flexibility can be a wistful bygone goal. In reality we stiffen up a fair bit as time flies. So, what seemed to be regular flexible movement at one stage, now seems difficult to attain. Why do I groan all of a sudden when I’m standing up from a chair ???

Let’s be kind to ourselves here – mobility and flexibility are often impossible due to our lifestyle demands. Similarly, if we do find some free time, is stretching a priority? It seems so boring… Perhaps not?

Well, there is a lot more to flexibility than static muscle stretching…. A lot more!

And best of all, it can genuinely provide relief, positively affecting your mood.

 

Be kind to each other

Many components affect our flexibility including:

Joint Capsule
Muscle
Ligaments
Tendons
Nerves

I am going to focus on joint stiffness in the thoracic (mid) spine as this is a common presentation across office workers. It is also equally common in multiple sports including cycling, rowing, boxing, wrestling and hockey.  Here is why…

The thoracic spine is the area of our spine located between your neck and low back. Thoracic mobility is important for optimal movement. The mobility of spinal joints and their surrounding capsules adapt depending on the activities performed. Multiple sports require the athlete to move with their arms positioned in front of their body, this positional demands often result in the shoulders sitting forward and a round upper back consequently increasing the risk of developing stiffness in this area.

As the mobility of the thoracic spine affects the function of the shoulders, neck and low back, it is strongly recommended to spend time ensuring your thoracic mobility is being maintained. It is all about balance.

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The more time you spend sitting at your desk, or training, then the more time you need to invest in maintaining your mobility and flexibility. To prevent long-term changes the idea is to position your body in the opposite positions from what you train or work in. For most people this will involve mobilising your upper back in extension and in combined extension and rotation. In other words, straightening your spine.

Over the past years I have found the following thoracic mobility exercises to be highly effective in maintaining and restoring thoracic movement:

1.Thoracic extension on foam roller:

Stretches the pectoral muscles and forces extension in the upper back. Ensure your low back is flattened on the roller for most efficiency. Hold for 30 seconds. Repeat 2-3 times. You can alter the position of your arms between 90 degrees and 120 degrees to bias different areas of your upper back. See image below.

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2. Segmental flexion and extension over the foam roller:

Place fingers on temples to promote thoracic extension. Position the foam roller horizontally and roll along your upper back. Stop at the segments which feel more uncomfortable and stiff. To bias the mobility at these segments, slowly extend over the roller towards the ground. Support your lower back whilst doing this by tucking your bum in. See pictures below as the athlete moves from thoracic flexion into segmental extension.

IMG_3256 IMG_3257

 

 

 

 

3. Bows and Arrows:

Position yourself in side-lying so that shoulders and hips are in line. Bend your knees so that your hips and knees are in line (this offloads your low back ensuring the movement is coming form your upper back). Outstretch both arms. Reach the top hand past the bottom hand and then pull backwards as though drawing the arrow on a bow. In this drawing back motion, aim to have the top shoulder facing up towards the ceiling. This is a slow and controlled movement and aim for 10 repetitions 2-3 times on each side. See the images below.

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4. Shaking it all out:

Finally, if all else fails….Try loosely and gently relaxing your stomach, if you have ‘a belly’ (everybody does by the way) let it real and hang over your belt. Then gently allow some light  shaking through all the main joints, neck, shoulder, spine, hips, knees, ankles and feet. Just like the way Diego Maradona used to warm up for football games…..

 

 

Tag a friend if you feel this article is relevant to them, or that co-worker who constantly complain of upper back stiffness! If you have any further questions or queries regarding thoracic mobility or wish to purchase a foam roller contact us at Personal Health on 01 4964002 or email info@personalhealth.ie.

Polycystic, Ovarian, Cancer, Physio, Diet

Women’s Health – Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome

Women’s Health

Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS)

PCOS is a relatively common condition that affects how a woman’s ovaries work. It is a condition where a number of cysts develop around the edge of the ovaries (polycystic ovaries) in addition to one or more other symptoms.

 

PCOS Caoimhe2

 

SYMPTOMS

Irregular or absent periods
Excessive hair growth
Thinning of scalp hair
Acne
Difficulty maintaining a healthy body weight
Elevated testosterone levels
Fertility problems
Insulin resistance

Approximately one in five women has polycystic ovaries. In addition, approximately one in ten has PCOS to some degree.

Long term health concerns associated with PCOS include heart disease, non-alcoholic fatty liver disease and diabetes. Being overweight, having high cholesterol or high blood pressure increases this risk. As a result, up to 60% of women with PCOS are overweight or obese. 50-70% of women with PCOS also have insulin resistance.

 

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PCOS cannot be cured but the symptoms can be managed through diet and lifestyle. Healthy eating and being active can improve your PCOS symptoms and reduce the risk of heart disease and diabetes.

In overweight women, the symptoms of PCOS can greatly improve by losing that excess weight. Furthermore, losing weight will reduce the amount of insulin your body needs to produce. As a result, your testosterone levels are reduced and your chance of ovulation improves. Many women with PCOS have difficulty with losing weight. This is where professional advice from a Dietitian will help. Gradual weight loss of 5-7% can restore ovulation, along with decreasing excessive hair growth and reducing acne.

The type and quantity of carbohydrate can influence insulin resistance. The Glycaemic index is a ranking system which shows how quickly your blood glucose rises after eating carbohydrate foods. Low GI diets and increasing physical activity can be useful to reduce the symptoms of PCOS due to improving insulin levels.

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How can Personal Health help you to improve your symptoms of PCOS?

In conclusion, our team of Dietitian’s and Chartered Physiotherapists can assist and help you by;

  • identifying your specific nutritional needs
  • providing dietary and lifestyle advice tailored to you
  • helping you to lose weight, if you are in the overweight category, through diet and exercise
  • providing dietary advice if you are planning a pregnancy
  • developing tailored resources such as recipes, meal plans, shopping lists to help you to achieve your goals
  • and finally, providing encouragement and motivation in a supportive, non-judgemental environment

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To find out more:

Phone: 01 4964002

Email: info@personalhealth.ie

www.personalhealth.ie

Pregnancy, Constipation, Diet, Physiotherapy

Constipation is a Common Problem During Pregnancy…

Constipation is a Common Problem During Pregnancy

 

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This may be due to:

  • Your pregnancy producing an increase in the hormone progesterone, which relaxes smooth muscles throughout the body, including the digestive tract. This means that food passes through the intestines more slowly.
  • Your expanding uterus, takes up valuable space normally occupied by your bowel, which may also add to congestion.
  • Also the iron-containing prenatal vitamins you’re taking may also contribute – but stopping them is a bad idea, for you and your baby.

8 Tips To Try To Ease The Problem…

  1. Pelvic Floor Relaxation

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  • Inadequate pelvic floor relaxation and release with bowel emptying is one of the major causes of constipation.
  • During bowel emptying the pelvic floor muscles provide a firm platform of support.
  • Regular pelvic floor exercises are essential to improve pelvic floor support. (See page on pelvic floor exercises)
  • Pelvic Floor relaxation is promoted by bulging the low abdomen forward with relaxed deep breathing.

 

2. Ideal Toilet Techniques:

 

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  • When you first feel the urge to empty your bowels, do so at the earliest convenient time.
  • Allow sufficient time to empty you bowel, try not to rush.
  • Sometimes the simple action of taking 5-6 deep breaths can help relax the pelvic floor and facilitate bowel opening.
  • If you find that after 2 or 3 minutes of relaxed breathing and sitting on the toilet that your bowels do not open then get up and return to your daily activities and return to the toilet when you feel the next urge.
  • Sitting on the toilet for long periods without an urge can increase the likelihood of straining the pelvic floor.

 

3.    Ideal Position For Bowel Movement

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  • Sit on the toilet seat, never hover above the seat.
  • Place a small stool under your feet to mimic a squat position.
  • If you are out and about and you have no stool lift your heel off the ground. The key is that you want your knees higher than your hips.
  • Lean forward at your hips with a straight back.
  • Place your elbows on your knees.
  • Make your waist wide and bulge your abdominals out as this opens up the pelvic floor.
  • Push down and back into your back passage.
  • Breath out or make a noise as you push out.
  • Don’t push too hard. (Scale of 1-10, push at 5-7).
  • This technique relaxes and opens the anal sphincter to allow the bowel movement to pass.
  • Lift and squeeze your pelvic floor muscles when finished.

 

  4.Exercise:

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  • Regular exercise helps to stimulate bowel movements.
  • Low impact exercise such as pre/post natal Pilates, walking and cycling is ideal.
  • Be mindful of avoiding exercises with the potential to overload and strain the pelvic floor.

 

 5.Diet

If your stool is too hard, it will be very difficult to pass!

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       Good stool consistency requires:

  • Adequate Fibre intake (30grams/day), don’t make the mistake of consuming too much fibre as this can overload the system.
  • Gradually introduce whole-grain foods.
  • Fresh fruits and vegetables (raw or lightly cooked preferably with skin left on), dried fruits.
  • Greens (broccoli, spinach, green beans, cabbage).
  • Small Regular meals: Big meals can overtax your digestive tract. Try eating six mini-meals a day rather than three large ones.

 

 6.Fluids 

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  • Eight full glasses of fluids (water, vegetable or fruit juice, broth etc.) each day.
  • Warm liquids such as, hot water and lemon

 

      7.Supplement

  • Ask your GP about adding high-powered fiber to your diet, such as wheat-bran or psyllium.

 

       8.Probiotic acidophilus

  • Found in yogurts that contain active cultures — stimulate the intestinal bacteria to break down food better, aiding the digestive tract in its efforts to keep things moving.

 

How can Personal Health Help Mums to be?

Exercise:

  • Medically Led Fitness 30 Min Classes-Modified by our Physiotherapists for pregnancy
  • Pre Natal Pilates & Yoga classes led by Chartered physiotherapists and Midwives: see here for schedules and prices:

https://personalhealth.ie/clinical-pathways/medically-led-fitness/

 

Dietary Choices:

 

Book an appointment with our Consultant Dietitian:

Caoimhe McDonald(MINDI)

 

 

Call us to find out more.

Phone: 01 496 4002

Email: info@personalhealth.ie

Website: www.persoanlhealth.ie

The Very Real And Emotional Struggles Of Having A Fitbit (Or Does Your Fitbit Have You?)

The Very Real And Emotional Struggles Of Having A Fitbit (Or Does Your Fitbit Have You?)

My Fitbit journey began a month ago. I had plagued my husband with hints of getting me one and well, yes to my own disbelief, he actually must have listened, as one day he arrived home with one for me!

I was thrilled or so I thought but very quickly I began to realise, I didn’t own this Fitbit……..this Fitbit owns me! This is what happens when you let a Fitbit into your life:

You live for the sole purpose of getting to you daily Fitbit goals:

Waiting for that little buzz when you get to 10,000 steps and then pathetically self-high-five-ing is perhaps the least glamorous moment of your day.

fitbit steps nailed

 

You get angry if you don’t have it on when you walk:

If you walk without wearing your Fitbit, does it even count as walking? I know there is no logic to this. I do know that. But on days when you happen to forget your Fitbit, you wonder why you even bothered getting out of bed in the first place. If Fitbit isn’t counting them, are these steps even real? Is anything?

no fitbit don't move

 

Fitbit’s validation becomes more important than the opinions of human beings:

IT LIKES ME. IT REALLY LIKES ME. Oh, whoa, did I get fired? It’s cool, I got 11,000 steps today so I’m pretty much crushing it-whoop!

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You’re constantly jumping up and down for seemingly no reason:

Anyone who has ever stood next to me in work or while waiting to cross the road or in the queue at Tesco’s have probably been only one step away from calling to get me committed.

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You have jumping marathons before you go to bed:

Nothing is more unbearable than the idea of resting your head on a pillow when you’re at 9,000 steps. Time to wake up all the neighbours!!

bed fitbit

 

(If Im being brutally honest, I have had evenings where I’ve got me children to wear it for an hour or two before they go to bed to get me to my target while I put the feet up. I’m just being a good mother and encouraging them to be active-right??!)

 

 

Your worst enemy is yourself:

One day I reached 30,000 steps in one day & the my Fitbit sent a text to my phone telling me I was an “Overachiever”. I told everyone I met that day just how great I was! My husband & children couldn’t bare to be in the same room as me! An overachiever at last!! But then it dawned on me, that the only way I’d ever feel this good about myself again was by topping it, and there are only 24 hours in a day. Can we use all of them for stepping??-NO. Will we try anyway?? CATCH ME IF YOU CAN.

 

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The American Heart Association uses the 10,000 steps metric as a guideline to follow for improving health and decreasing risk of heart disease, the number one killer of men and women in America.

How do I fit all that walking into my busy day?- Here’s a few tips:

  • get off the bus early and walk the rest of the way home or to work
  • walk to the station instead of taking the car or bus
  • take the stairs instead of the lift, or walk up escalators
  • walk the children to school, whatever the weather
  • get a dog- they really help get you out and about and reach those 10,00 steps

How Can Personal Health help you reach your 10,000 steps per day?

Attend one of our 30 minute Medically Led fitnesses classes-

Personal Health’s 30 min fitness classes are designed and implemented by our medically qualified team. Classes vary from session to session. This variety provides a greater all round level of fitness and flexibility and most importantly, it keeps classes interesting and fun. Suitable for all fitness levels.

To see schedule & Book visit our website now….www.personalhealth.ie

 

 

 

Phone: 01 496 4002

Email: info@personalhealth.ie

Website: www.persoanlhealth.ie

Physio, Golf, Tennis, Physiotherapy, Fitness, Exercise

Tennis Elbow, Golfers Elbow or both – the dreaded Country club!!

Tennis Elbow, Golfers Elbow or both – the dreaded Country club!! 

country club

 

I’m regularly asked about both Golfers & Tennis elbow in the clinic. Generally they are a large portion of the non-contact elbow injuries that patients develop. Commonly, it’s a term that people have heard of but are not quite sure what it actually is! Golf or tennis may not be on your list of hobbies to be struck down!

A tennis elbow is an irritation of the tendon on the outside or lateral part of the elbow whilst a golfer’s elbow is an irritation of the tendon on the inside or medial part of the elbow.

If you are unlucky enough to develop both, you become a member of the “Country Club!”

 

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Basically, the majority of the muscles in our forearms anchor to either the inside or outside of the elbow via a shared tendon. When we overload these tendons from things such as hitting 200 golf balls off a rubber mat or deciding to tackle painting the house in one swoop, we can cause a painful episode in these tendons.

It’s a very common problem. I always like to take people through the anatomy of the issue. Understanding is the key to settling this problem down. We are fortunate to have some state  of the art anatomy tools to facilitate this in the Personal Health clinic.

 

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Acute or Long-Standing Issue

The next question is whether it is an acute flare up or a long standing grumbling issue? This largely dictates the management and treatment. Conservative management with appropriate exercise, soft tissue work and de-loading of the tendon resolve this issue in the majority of cases. Surgery and injections are thankfully relatively rare.

 

 

 

Call us to find out more.

Phone: 01 496 4002

Email: info@personalhealth.ie

Website: www.persoanlhealth.ie

Health, Physio, Physiotherapy, fitness, exercise

Invest In Your Health Now or Pay For Your Health Later….

Invest In Your Health Now or Pay For Your Health Later……..

Nobody can control the uncontrollable. Age only accumulates and the battle scars of a life in progress mount up, imposing imitations to ambulation and to motivation. We are often at the mercy of external pressures on our health, which can feel all-consuming and relentless; work, family, finance, etc.  It never ends…life is hard work!

But it is fun too! And we can make efforts to control the controllable which in turn makes everything else much more manageable.

We should start with ourselves as individuals. Health is something that we can and must cherish. We can and should take better care of ourselves. This starts with wanting to be as healthy as you can be and incorporating routine into your life.The benefits of feeling fit and healthy have positive effects on all facets of our lives. Mens sana in corpore sano  (a healthy mind in a healthy body) is not just a saying. It’s very true.

 

Healthy mind

 

 

What is stopping you? 

• Time – Time waits for no one. But there is plenty of it in the week to make a difference. At Personal Health we have a range of classes for the time pressed at times that work for you.

• Knowledge – No man is an island. Nobody knows everything but as a collective community of health professionals the Personal Health team is ready, willing and able to guide you and advise you on all aspects of your health.

• Confidence – You have our vote! We are a team of health professionals who espouse the lifestyle we promote. We are here to facilitate your needs and to guide and advise you on all aspects of your health.

• Cost – Your health is your wealth. Our Medically Led Fitness classes are great value and the perfect way to join our community.

 

 

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There are always barriers to changing lifestyle habits. Change is hard and requires focus and support. The Personal Health team prides itself on looking after you. Everyone is different but we all want to be as fit and healthy as we can be.

We take your health personally!

Call us to find out more.

 

 

Phone: 01 496 4002

Email: info@personalhealth.ie

Website: www.personalhealth.ie

Surviving the first year of motherhood

Surviving The First Year Of Motherhood

Not a medical opinion……just a mum’s!

Like any parent, I will never forget my first day of motherhood, the day we brought our first born Lucy home from the hospital. The two of us walking from the hospital to the car with her tucked up in her car seat, both of us looking at people in a shocked manner if they moved in any way that potentially, in any way, could have ended up in harming her.

We placed her in the back seat, facing backwards, checking and re- checking the seat was fitted correctly. I sat in beside her and held the car seat….. just in case (well you can never be too careful, can you!!) while my husband proceeded to drive home at 10 MPH!!

I was so happy! “Nothing could upset me today” I said to myself.………..Ten minutes later (& about 100metres from the hospital with the 10MPH driving!) I was in tears! What am I going to do with her when we get home ?? The Midwives helped me with everything up until now??? The midwives made me a cups of tea- more sobbing!

‘OMG, I’m failing already…….I’m a useless mum……already! ’ That is when my husband asked me would I actually like to go into the house or was I going bring our child up in the car in the driveway!

Well, you’ll be glad to hear I did not bring her up in the car, I went in and I was ok! Obviously nothing can prepare you for the real thing but looking back there were a few small things I wish I had taken more heed with.

When you are pregnant, no matter what people say, you think when your little bundle of joy arrived it’ll be like this……

 

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But we were like this……

 

Purchase this image at http://www.stocksy.com/605050

 

 

There is a mountain of information on how to cope and everyone will give you their six pence, especially family!

A few tips I wish I had known, for what it’s worth & I am certainly no expert, were the following:

Stop Self Criticism:
  • When you catch yourself berating yourself for not losing the baby weight quick enough, you’re not breastfeeding/you are breast feeding!, you can’t get out the door before lunch and perfect ‘Susan’ has 5 kids up, fed and perfectly dressed by 7.30am!- (well done Susan!) Whatever it is, try and pull yourself back and ask yourself would you speak to your very best friend like you have just criticised yourself if she was in your shoes. Knocking yourself will only make you feel worse and with that you are more likely to make bad lifestyle choices and it then becomes a vicious circle. (The best friend thing may seem ridiculous but it works! I would never say or even think the things I have said to myself about myself to one of my friends!)
  • I know this can feel self-indulgent nearly and I do not mean go from self-criticism to arrogance but just treat yourself with the kindness you treat others. A good tip I found to help me get over the ‘self-indulgence or self praise’ feeling & putting a stop to the negative voice was that as your children get older (especially girls) you do not want them to self-criticise themselves and unfortunately, monkey see/monkey do, so why not change the habit now and you’ll also be a happier person for it too- so……..win/win!
Get out & meet other mums:
  • I know that sleepless nights can put a stop to having the strength or energy to get out the door but if you can muster up the strength it will always be worth it.
  • Chatting with other mums will make you realise you are not alone and that EVERYBODY thought they would be the family in the first photo but are in fact feeling like the family in the second one!
Exercise:
  • Obvious one I know, but SO important, even if it is just a stroll to the shops, again huge for your mental health and it is always the very day that it is hardest to make yourself do it is the most important day that you do. Make an arrangement to meet a friend for a walk and that way you will be less likely to pull out. And if you do pull out…don’t beat yourself up about it!
  • If possible, really try & attend a Post natal pilates or yoga class. They are both invaluable  to your physical recovery and for future pregnancies but so relaxing too, both elements so important to new mums. It is just very important you choose the right classes. Make sure that they are taught by professionals that have specialised in post natal exercise in order not to get injured or cause damage.
Make The Right Food Choices ‘Most’ Of The Time:
  • I really struggled with this one!! I just wanted sugar 24/7 with being so tired. When I did manage to drag myself away from the sugar and the 20 cups of coffee I felt the benefits massively, so it is so worth it if you can manage to make those choices.  Though some days you just have to drink copious cups of coffee with several packs of Toffee Pop biscuits and that’s ok too!
Try & Have Fun!:
  • Particularly with your partner. This may be a tough one as you are probably killing each other or just feel too tired to make an effort. Let go of being the perfect mum, give yourself and break, laugh- you won’t regret it! & the times goes so fast so try not to be too serious about it & enjoy it!

Lucy

❤Lucy Coleman❤

1yrs old

How can Personal Health Help New Mums?

Exercise, Meet Other Mums & Have Fun:

Post Natal Pilates & Yoga classes led by Chartered physiotherapists and Midwives: see here for schedules and prices:

https://personalhealth.ie/clinical-pathways/medically-led-fitness/

(Babies are welcome up to crawling age at Personal Health.)

Dietary Choices:

Dietary workshops for new mums: Coming soon

or

Book an appointment with our Consultant Dietitian:

Caoimhe McDonald(MINDI)

www.personalhealth.ie

Call: 01 4964002

 Email: info@personalhealth.ie 

Ronan Fallon Physiotherapist Dublin 6

Muscle Strains and Timeframes – ‘When will I recover?’

Muscle strains and injuries are usually caused by a shearing effect such as a contact injury or a strain. The muscle fibres and their surrounding tiny blood vessels rupture hence the pain.
The healing process for the human body is incredible – the repair cycle kicks in within hours.

It is a complicated physiological process but in a nutshell you’re looking at a cycle of 21 days until your muscle is getting close to where it used to be prior to injury. Due to this process, it is very important to be patient and listen to your body.

 

The Trap 
The classic trap is that you begin to feel ok and pain free by day 7-10 and think “I’m good to train again tonight”. Unfortunately, this is a recipe for a re-injury and starting the whole process all over again.

 

Management 
Therefore, correct management of muscle strains and injuries is very important to prevent re-injury and chronic repetitive problems. In these cases the majority of clients just need a helping hand to guide the process from acute management through to a short rehabilitation/strengthening  programme.

 

Return 

The key component for the majority of clients is getting back to regular routines, sporting/exercise etc. in a responsible and time efficient manner.

 

 

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How can Personal Health make the difference for you….?

Use Our App!

  • Our Personal Health App uses rehabilitation videos filmed in line with best practice in e-learning
  • no more guesswork around your technique
  • your doctor/physio can prescribe from a library of over 1000 exercises ranging from basic to dynamic agility based rehabilitation
  • track your progress with interactive rating scales & charts
  • facilitates regular contact with your doctor/physio as we distance monitor your progress

 

Thanks for taking the time to read this

Ronan Fallon, Director of Physiotherapy