PLAYING SPORT SAFELY
Playing sports can do you and your body a lot of good. Not only does it make you more enduring and tolerating when it comes to physical pressures, but it also makes you a generally healthier and happy person. You become physically stronger and it takes a lot of activities and effort before you get tired.
Who wouldn’t want that?
But then, playing sports has its temporary setbacks, too. Injuries are inevitable. You have to learn about the causes, treatments and everything in between about the injuries you get from sports to allow you to go on and enjoy playing repeatedly.
- Wear and use proper gear for your sport, including helmets, pads, shoes, sunglasses, gloves and layered clothing where appropriate.
- Understand the rules and follow them. They are in place for a reason.
- Warm up slowly before activity. This is especially important in sports that require quick, dynamic movements, such as basketball, and soccer. This helps to increase heat throughout the body slowly and reduces the risk of tearing or straining muscles by increasing their ability to lengthen.
- Take a 2-3 minute jog, to raise a light sweat before you stretch
- Always use proper body mechanics in sports involving repetitive stress to the upper extremities. (tennis, baseball, golf).
Do you know the steps to take after a sports injury?
is for REST. Stop the activity you are currently performing. It is also a relative rest- in the first 72 hours you must be very careful to allow maximal healing. After this time you must then begin to gradually apply natural stresses to the damaged tissue.
is for ICE of course!! Ice is essential in the acute stages of injury. Ice means an ice pack, frozen bag of peas, crushed ice etc. wrapped in a wet tea towel applied to the affected area for 10-15 minutes every 2-3 hourly. This helps reduce and minimise the swelling.
is for COMPRESSION. Compression involves applying a constant force around the affected area to reduce swelling also. This is usually in the form of a compression bandage, which is applied from just below to just above the affected area. If in doubt, ask a physiotherapist or you GP how to apply.
Do not apply ice for longer than this as you may cause an ice burn, which will further damage the tissues.
is for ELEVATION. Many people think this means elevate above ground level. It will actually only be effective if elevated above the level of the heart. This assists the flow of blood back to the heart.
PLEASE REMEMBER TO CONSULT YOUR GP OR PHYSIOTHERAPIST FOR A PROPER ASSESSMENT OF YOUR INJURY
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LOOK AFTER YOUR BACK
We have all heard the figures – approximately 80 percent of the population will experience lower back pain at some stage in their life. Though most of the population suffering chronic back problems tend to be the over 50s with arthritic and overuse complaints, we do still see a disappointingly high number of young people with acute low back pain.
There are some very simple reasons for this – our generation is increasingly more sedentary in our work environment. The invention of the computer, and hence prolonged sitting, was probably the biggest single contributing factor to the increase in lower back problems. Add into the equation slouching at home on the couch in front of the TV, sitting in the car/train/bus to get to and from work, sitting down for meals/drinks/movies and heavy lifting. Then you can also mix in some house duties- vacuuming, hanging out the washing and probably the most notorious cause of back pain, gardening and you can see how much strain the back must in endure day in and out year after year.
If you haven’t experienced severe back pain then you can’t possibly know how debilitating and frustrating it can be – let alone painful. A lot of these acute back problems can be avoided with just a little effort.
The number one preventative measure is posture. Good posture means maintaining the three natural gentle curves of the spine. In your lower back this means it should curve gently inwards – even being flat is not ideal. A good way to ensure you maintain this is to make or buy a lumbar support for your chair or car. Simply get a bath towel, fold it in half lengthways roll it up into a cylinder shape and bind it with some masking tape – EASY! Now just remember to place it in the lower part of the back to give you all the support you need.
It is also important to avoid prolonged sitting. If your job requires this you should make an effort to move around in you chair and definitely get up every half-hour or so even if briefly. Your workstation may also be creating problems. If available, your company’s occupational health and safety officer will be able to assess your workstation and often, by making a few simple adjustments, injuries can be prevented. Your physiotherapist will be able to give you some advice as well. There are some very simple exercises your physiotherapist can show you to help prevent problems and keep the spine mobile.
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The importance of good posture cannot be stressed enough in modern times. It extends far beyond our outward appearance and aesthetics.
Some of the effects of bad posture are neck pain, headaches, shoulder pain, back pain, referred pain into the arms or legs, development of trigger points, loss of concentration and productivity, RSI and the list goes on!
We often see cases where postural faults initiate a chain of events that results in incapacitating pain, time off work and costly medical bills. The issue is becoming more relevant as we tend to spend more time at work. However, bad posture can also be problematic at home after hours.
Achieving good posture is more complicated than simply ‘putting your shoulders back’. For example, did you know that most people’s postural problems originate from the positioning of the pelvis?
Your physiotherapist can provide professional assistance in achieving and maintaining good posture with a personalised stretching and exercise programme that is tailored specifically to you, bracing and/or taping techniques, core-stability exercises as well as ergonomic advice for your work and home environments. We also have multiple therapeutic aids that may be beneficial for you in reversing the effects of bad posture eg posture pole, lumbar rolls etc.
If you feel your posture is in need of improvement, book an appointment soon. It could save you much pain, time and money in the future.
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AT YOUR DESK
- Make sure your head and neck are in a straight line with your back
- Your eyes should be level with the top of your monitor
- Keep your shoulders relaxed
- Wrists should be in a neutral position
- Adjust the back rest of the chair to fit the lower back curve or get a lumbar roll
- Elbows, hips, knees and ankles should be at 90 degrees
- You may need to adjust the seat height or use a footstool to achieve a perfect height
Have your mouse as close to you as possible.
Take a break every half an hour to avoid repetitive strain injuries and try to focus your eyes on something distant to avoid eye strain.
When talking on the telephone, do not hold the phone with your head and shoulders.
If you get neck or back pain, headaches, shoulder or arm pains see a physiotherapist to get the right treatment and advice.
At Central City Physiotherapy we can help you avoid injuries and be more comfortable and efficient at the work station. We can come to your offices in Perth and set you and your colleagues up correctly to your size, height and body shape and make recommendations on safer and healthier work settings.
Call us on 9421 1733 to discuss this option for your office or send an e-mail to email@example.com
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BEDS AND PILLOWS
Do you wake up in the morning with a stiff neck or sore back on a regular basis? It could very well be your bed or pillow isn’t performing maximally for you.
If you think about the amount of time you spend in your bed (the average time being 8 hours per night) and make a quick calculation, you will see that most people spend one quarter of their life in bed. Sure, beds appear expensive as an initial outlay but not when compared to how much time we spend in them and comfort is essential.
When buying a bed, don’t be shy! Lay on it- on your sides and back- try to get a real feel for the bed. Make sure you buy with the proviso that you can return the bed if not happy after a couple of weeks. When lying on it, don’t forget men and women are very different in body shape. Women need more give in a bed when laying on their side- if there is a big difference between the hips and waist this may lead to hip or lower back pain if the bed doesn’t give. Ultimately, the big test is comfort.
When choosing a pillow a contoured one is the way to go. This allows the curve between your shoulder and the side or back of your head to be supported. Make sure the height of the pillow suits you –only one way to find out (lay on it!). The firmness of the pillow is also another factor to consider –some like it firm, some softer.
Ultimately, for relatively small difference in outlay the difference in quality, when multiplied over time, can be huge!! If still in doubt, please ask one of our physiotherapists to advise you.
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How often do you clean out your backpack, briefcase or handbag? Do you ever find yourself cursing the junk that seems to pile up on a daily basis? If you carry an excessive load over a period of time you will develop pain either in the neck, shoulder region or arm.
Wearing the strap of a handbag over one shoulder for extended periods puts far more load on one side of the body. This can cause you to lean, thus stressing the spinal structures. It also causes your muscles on the side carrying the bag to overwork. This sustained static work by these muscles will lead to fatigue and eventually pain or headaches as some of these muscles attach to the neck.
Carrying a briefcase can have the same effect except you are also providing a traction force on the nerves of the arm which can lead to tingling or pins and needles or even numbness in the arm or shoulder area.
A backpack, if not adjusted correctly or if too heavy can lead to the wearer leaning forward, thus poking the chin out and stooping from the mid spinal region. This will lead to headaches and neck/arm pain also if prolonged.
To avoid these problems simply ensure your load is not excessive! Clean out your bag on a regular basis. Try not to carry weight more than 15-20 per cent of your body weight. Just feel the bag, imagine how it will feel after 20 minutes and then decide if you need to lighten your load.
If carrying a pack, buy one that is adjustable around the waist so your hips can take the majority of the weight. Ensure the straps are length adjustable. Most obviously, wear both straps (that is after all the advantage of a pack).
If carrying a handbag or briefcase make sure it has a decent strap that is comfortable or a handle that is easy to grip. Swap sides every few minutes so as to not overwork one group of muscles. If in doubt ask you physiotherapist to check you when carrying your chosen piece of baggage.
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Lighten the educational load!
On a daily basis, your child may lug more than five kilograms to and from school in their backpack. This concerns our practice as there is a connection between loads carried and reports of unhealthy spinal symptoms including low back, shoulder and neck pain.
By getting your child to see one of our physiotherapists for a check up, we can determine whether your child's spine is healthy and suggest actions such as flexibility and muscle control to help maximise their spine's healthiness.
To keep your child's spine in good health use the following tips in addition to speaking to one of our physiotherapists.
Tip 1 Choose the right backpack that....
- Fits the body comfortably
- Doesn't extend above the shoulders when seated
- Has shoulder straps that are broad, well padded and adjustable
- Has straps attached to the top of the pack at separate points
- Has a waist strap to keep the load in place when moving
- Has separate compartments to allow heavy items to be packed close to the body
- Is padded where it touches your back, and made of firm material to prevent the load from sagging backwards
Tip 2 Pack smart
- Lighten loads don't carry too many heavy books on the same day
- Plan ahead don't carry lots of equipment at the same time, like sports gear, musical instruments or art materials
- Pack the heaviest items such as a lap top closest to the body and the lighter, softer items further out
Tip 3 - Carry Smart
- When packed, make sure the backpack doesn't sag or pull backwards . Use both shoulder straps when wearing the backpack
- Use the backpack's waist strap to keep the load in place when walking or cycling
- Don't carry the backpack for too long take breaks and put it down
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WATERING THE GARDEN
WATCH YOUR BACK WHILST WATERING!!!
Due to watering restrictions, gardeners are now having to do a lot more watering by hand and so the Australian Physiotherapy Association (APA) have cautioned to gardeners to make sure they watch their backs.
Physiotherapists have reported an increase in watering-related injuries since the water restrictions have increased, as more people are watering by hand.
“Certainly, older people are at greater risk but it’s people from all age groups who are visiting physios with injuries from watering,” said APA president, Cathy Nall.
Affixing hoses to take grey water from bathrooms, kitchens and laundries for re-use in the garden is an ideal solution, but if this can’t be managed, using buckets and watering cans is the next best way to water without wasting a drop.
“Manual watering with buckets and cans will be allowed in the early mornings and evenings, but we are encouraging older people in particular to avoid watering in the evenings when their vision is reduced and they are more susceptible to falls. It’s preferable to water in the early morning when it’s cooler and brighter,” said Ms Nall.
“Wrist, shoulder and back pain is also more likely when carrying heavy buckets and watering cans, and lifting awkward loads. Warming up with a few stretches can make a difference, and it’s worth stretching a bit more when you’re done,” she said.
The Australian Physiotherapy Association offers these timely tips to minimise the risk of injury from lugging litres of water to the garden.
Tips to minimise injury and pain
- When lifting buckets or watering cans, remember to bend your knees, not your back. Never twist your body when your back is bent. When lifting, keep your feet apart and one slightly in front of the other.
- Never overfill your bucket. Only carry as much weight as you know you can lift comfortably. Hint: half-fill buckets to lighten the load and help avoid wrist and shoulder pain
- Distribute the load equally on each side of the body by using two lighter containers rather than one heavy bucket. Hint: rinse out and use 2-litre milk bottles for watering.
- Always carry buckets as close to your body as possible. Holding any weight away from your body increases the stress on your upper body and back.
- Place the bucket on a stool or chair when filling it, so you don’t have to lift it up as far when it’s filled.
- Keep the pathway where you are carrying the buckets free from trip hazards and choose the flattest path possible.
- Pay attention to where you place your feet (it helps if you can actually see your feet) to avoid a stumble, and avoid wearing thongs or flip flops.
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ADVICE ON GETTING FIT
Made a promise to yourself to get ﬁt in the new year? If you did, you’re not alone. Many of our patients make this same promise to themselves however find it hard to get motivated. The physiotherapists in this practice can help.
We can recommend exercises that are designed specifically for you to achieve your desired level of fitness. The more you repeat and become aware of an activity, the easier it becomes. Our practice looks at types of exercises/ activities, specific workloads, durations of activities/sessions and intensity guidelines and can devise a plan to help you achieve your target fitness level.
We have 7 tips below to help you become motivated and ﬁt.
Tip 1 - Start slow
If you’ve been inactive for some time it’s important to start slowly and gradually build up. Begin with low impact activities such as walking, swimming or using an exercise bike. We can help suggest an appropriate level to start at based on your current fitness.
Tip 2 - Know yourself
Talk to us about your medical history or any problematic areas which may affect your choice of activity. We can help make exercise safer.
Tip 3 - Warm up
Remember to warm up, warm down and stretch before and after gentle activity to minimise muscle soreness. If you’re not sure - we can show you some warm up techniques or visit our page on stretching.
Tip 4 - Come prepared
Make sure you have appropriate footwear for your activity and a bottle of water to keep you hydrated.
Tip 5 - Venues
Gyms are great places to get active but you must ensure that you are well supervised.
Not a gym person! Then try something else – go bush walking or go for a bike ride! Even simply – take the stairs, walk to the train station or local shops! Better still – see us for regular assessment and instruction.
Tip 6 – Record your progress
Keep a diary or log of your progress – it will serve as a reminder of how far you’ve come and give you encouragement if you’re feeling disheartened. Reward yourself with something healthy when you achieve mini goals.
Tip 7 – Workout with someone
Find a workout mate or buddy. You’re more likely to keep a workout date if you’re doing the activity with a friend, or you’re a member of a club.
See one of our physiotherapists about developing an exercise program for you today and GET MOTIVATED! If you have any injury concerns, stop your activity and consult one of our physiotherapists. The sooner you address these injuries the quicker you can resume your favourite activity.
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