Are my tight hamstrings contributing to my low back pain?

 

Hamstring tightness is a common examination finding at Dee Why Chiropractic Care and a lot of these patients suffer from low back pain. Although there are many causes of low back pain, tight hamstring could be an underlying cause or a contributing factor.

Are my tight hamstrings contributing to my low back pain?

The hamstrings consist of 3 muscles located at the back of your thigh and they extend from your buttock area to the back of your knee. There can be many causes of tight hamstrings including genetic factors, lack of stretching, sedentary lifestyle, muscle tears and sciatic nerve aggravation.

How hamstring tightness contributes to low back pain

Ideally we should have a nice curve in our low back that helps distribute forces through our spine. This curve protects our joints from excessive load being put through them. However, when we have tight hamstrings there are changes in this curve that that can lead to low back pain.

When we have tight hamstring it causes the pelvis to tilt forward and as a result there is a flattening of our low back curve. When we have a flattening in our low back curve there is increased pressure on the joints in the spine. When we have increased load on these spinal joints they are more likely to be injured and degenerate over time.

Not only are the spinal joints under increased load, our muscles in our low back are working a lot harder. Over time these muscles in our low back fatigue and get weak which can potentially lead to chronic low back and hip ache.

Dee Why Chiropractic Care’s advise for increasing hamstring flexibility:

  • Gradually ease into it, as being too aggressive from the get go as it can lead to other problems
  • Bring the muscle to a comfortable tension; it shouldn’t be painful
  • Use foam rollers or get massages to break up fibrous tissue in the muscle before you stretch for greater range
  • Hold each stretch for 30 seconds – 1 minute
  • Don’t bounce in and out of the stretch
  • Do slow and easy warm ups and cool downs to loosen up tight muscles that were involved in the workout

If you are suffering from an injury to your spinal discs we recommend you do not stretch the hamstrings using the bend over and touch your toes technique as it may aggravate your condition.

Get stretching today!

Tight chest muscles and posture

 

A lot of patients that we see here at Dee Why Chiropractic Care have rounded shoulders and a slumped over posture. One of the major contributing factors for this is tightness of the chest muscles.

Not many of us think about maintaining good posture throughout the day and don’t even realise that they are slouching. There are many downsides to slouching and they include fatigue, neck and back pain and headaches. One of the muscles that get tight due to slouching is the pectoral (chest) muscle group.

Tight chest muscles and rounded shoulders are common in individuals that:

  • Spend long hours at a desk
  • Frequently use a computer
  • Spend a lot of time on a phone or tablet
  • Drive a lot
  • Bend, lift and carry often
  • Poor postural habits
  • Lack regular physical activity, stretching and mobility exercises

When we are thinking of someone with good posture, their ear should be in line with their shoulder. But when they have poor posture their head will translate forward, there is an slouch in their mid back and their shoulders roll forward. The main contributor of forward rolling shoulders is the tightness of the chest muscles.

Effect of rounded shoulders:

  • Increased load put on neck joints and muscles
  • Neck and mid back stiffness
  • Increased load on rotator cuff muscles
  • Headaches
  • Low back pain
  • Subacromial impingement

Dee Why Chiropractic Care’s advice

The chest muscles get tight when you sit most of the day because they are in a shortened position. We advise that if you work at a desk to try and stand up every hour and reset your posture.

Stretch out your chest muscles. Stretching the chest muscles is extremely easy and comfortable. Find a door and place you forearms on the doorframe with your arms parallel to the floor. Lean forward until you feel a good stretch in the muscle and hold for 1 minute, breathing normally throughout the stretch.

If your chest muscles are chronically tight they have most likely built up with fibrous tissue within the muscle. Use self-massage devices such as trigger point balls or hand held massagers to break up these adhesions to make it more comfortable before you stretch.

Do mid back extension exercises to counteract the slouched posture and restore movement to the joints that are stiff. The easiest way to do this is to get a foam roller and place it across your back at the level of your shoulder blades.

 

If you have any questions about posture or any of the exercises feel free to contact us.

Start stretching out your chest and correcting your posture today.

Tennis Elbow: do you have it?

 

Tennis elbow is also called lateral epicondylitis and is the most common overuse injury of the elbow. It is a common condition treated at Dee Why Chiropractic Care and patients generally complain of pain at the outside of the elbow and forearm.

Ironically this condition is not very common in tennis players. Tennis elbow is a condition that generally affects individuals that use their wrist extensors of the forearm frequently.

The muscles responsible for extending the wrist all attach at one common area on the outside of the elbow. Contractile loads that chronically stress this common attachment point of the wrist extensors are the main cause of tennis elbow.

Tennis elbow occurs with activities that involve a lot of repetitive arm movements such as:

  • Working at a computer
  • Heavy lifting
  • Rotary movements of the forearm
  • Repetitive vibration

Tennis Elbow: do you have it?

For that reason it is commonly seen in:

  • Desk workers
  • Manual labourers – hammering, screw driver work, heavy machinery
  • Racquet and throwing sports
  • Women who practice needle work
  • Frequent gym goers who primarily lift weights

Symptoms of Tennis Elbow

  • Pain located at the lateral epicondyle (outside of elbow)
  • Tenderness to touch at lateral epicondyle
  • Activities that stress the tendon will cause pain such as gripping or lifting
  • Weakness of grip strength
  • Pain that may extend down the forearm and into the hand
  • Pain caused by stretching the wrist extensors

How we treat tennis elbow at Dee Why Chiropractic Care

The first thing we want to do is modify any activity that can be aggravating the condition. Some examples of this include using a mouse pad for work or altering your grip on your tennis racquet. Then we work on taking pressure off the effected tendon and breaking up fibrous tissue using techniques.

Breaking up fibrous tissue using techniques such as:

  • Muscle stripping
  • Dry needling
  • Cross friction massage
  • Instrument assisted soft tissue mobilisation (IASTM)
  • Trigger point therapy
  • Active release techniques
  • Therapeutic ultrasound
  • Sports taping

We also integrate range of motion, stretching and strengthening exercises to complement the treatment. We may suggest specific bracing that can reduce the tension on the tendon and allow it to heal more efficiently.

If you found this information helpful and think we can help you recover from tennis elbow, contact us today.

How dry needling can benefit you

How dry needling can benefit you

Written By: James Hayes
Chiropractor

Dry needling is a common technique used at Dee Why Chiropractic Care and is an excellent way to relieve muscle tension and pain. Is used to treat various conditions in conjunction with other treatment techniques.

What is Dry needling?

It is sometimes referred to as musculoskeletal acupuncture and should not to be confused with traditional acupuncture that targets specific points along the body’s meridians to clear energy blockages. Dry needling targets tight bands of muscle called “trigger points”.

What is a trigger point?

Trigger points are commonly referred to as knots. These knots are an isolated area of spasm within the muscle. Due to their nature they choke off their own blood supply leading to pain. Some trigger points can be present in muscle without causing pain however when pressure is applied to them it “triggers” the pain.

Trigger points don’t just create pain at the source, but they can project pain to other locations in the body. The pain is usually hard to pin point, dull/achy and over a broad area.

Examples of common trigger point locations:

  • Neck – side of head, base of skull and forehead
  • Shoulders – shoulder, neck, base of skull, forehead and arm
  • Pecs – chest, front of shoulder and arm
  • Low back – low back, hip and side of the leg
  • Gluts – hip and into the leg

Dry needling has been shown to be effective in relieving the symptoms caused by trigger points.

Does the dry needling hurt?

We know some people have a phobia of needles and that’s understandable. Dry needling is a completely different experience to getting a flu shot or having a catheter in your arm giving blood. Dry needling is essentially painless; the needles are so thin that you can hardly feel their presence. You may feel a small prick initially when the needle is inserted but more often than not the process is painless. 

How do they work?

Dry needling has been utilised by physical therapists around the world, namely chiropractors and physiotherapists. Studies have shown that when we insert the needle into trigger points they can cause biochemical changes, which will assist in reducing your pain.

When we needle trigger points it can elicit a local “twitch response” within the muscle, which is a spinal cord reflex. It is believed that creating a local twitch response within a muscle is the first step in breaking the “pain-cycle”. They can reach deep layers of muscle that cannot be effectively treated just using the therapist’s hands.

How dry needling can benefit you

Common conditions treated with dry needles:

  • Neck Pain
  • Low back pain
  • Shoulder pain
  • Headaches
  • Rotator cuff injuries
  • Hip and leg pain
  • Tendonitis (eg. Golfers/Tennis Elbow)
  • Sporting injuries

What if I don’t want needles?

Not a problem. Dry needling is excellent however we can achieve similar results utilising other muscle release techniques. 

How do I know Chiropractic is for me?

How do I know Chiropractic is for me?

Written By: James Hayes
Chiropractor

When people first injure themselves they don’t know who to see. Some people take pain medication or see the GP… but what about a Chiropractor? Chiropractors are known as spine specialists however we are not limited to the spine. We cater for disorders of the musculoskeletal system including sports injuries, postural rehabilitation and repetitive strain injuries.

Every chiropractor you will see will have undertaken at least 5 years of university training to be proficient at the diagnosis and treatment of the musculoskeletal injuries.

Common conditions treated at Dee Why Chiropractic Care:

  • Neck pain
  • Back pain
  • Headaches/migraines
  • Shoulder pain
  • Poor posture
  • Sciatica
  • Pinched nerves
  • Sports injuries
  • Tendinitis
  • Ligament sprains

Whether you come in for a quick check-up on your posture or are suffering from something more complex such as disc herniation or impinged nerves, a Chiropractor will complete a thorough case history and examination to reveal the exact cause of your pain.

Don’t be the person that asks Dr Google why they are in pain, you will just end up causing yourself a great deal of stress…leave the diagnosing to the professionals.

We make sure you know exactly how and why it has happened, as we believe understanding why it has happened will prevent future episodes.

At Dee Why Chiropractic Care we encompass a multidisciplinary approach when treating your condition. We utilise an array of techniques to release tight muscle tissue such as dry needling and active releases in addition to chiropractic adjustments to get you out of pain as fast as possible.

Call or email us today with any further questions!

Instrument Assisted Soft Tissue Mobilisation: Can it help me?

Instrument Assisted Soft Tissue Mobilisation: Can it help me?

Written By: James Hayes
Chiropractor

What is IASTM?

Instrument assisted soft tissue mobilisation (IASTM) is basically a range of different tools used by a physiotherapist or chiropractor to efficiently detect areas of soft tissue adhesions and/or chronic inflammation. Once identified the therapist will be able to use these tools to flush out inflammation and break down scar tissue and facial restrictions. These adhesions in the soft tissue are usually a result of injury, surgery, immobilisation or repetitive muscular strain. The IASTM tools stimulate the healing response for a faster and more functional recovery.

How do they work?

IASTM is a modern technique however it is said to be an evolution of Gua Sha; a form of Traditional Chinese Medicine. The Gua Sha technique adopts the same philosophy of traditional acupuncture where it is applied to the body’s meridians to move bad chi out of the body. However IASTM is used to specifically treat disorders of the musculoskeletal system.

There are many forms of IASTM instruments that are ergonomically designed to be confortable for the patient and the treating practitioner. As mentioned earlier they are used to break down scar tissue and facial restrictions within muscles due to the introduction of “controlled microtrauma”.

This microtrauma initiates reabsorption of fibrous tissue and excessive scar tissue, setting off a cascade of healing mechanisms leading to remodelling and proper healing to the soft tissues.

Your therapist will combine IASTM with other treatment modalities such as chiropractic adjustments, joint mobilisation and home rehabilitative exercises to correct poor movement patterns and biomechanics.

When to use IASTM:

  • Reduced range of motion
  • Muscle tightness and pain
  • Pain during joint motion
  • Motor control issues
  • Problems with muscle recruitment

Conditions treated using IASTM at Dee Why Chiropractic Care:

  • Tennis Elbow
  • Golfers Elbow
  • Plantar Fascitis
  • Rotator cuff tendinitis
  • Neck Pain
  • Low Back Pain
  • Muscular trigger points
  • Hamstring and calf tightness
  • Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
  • Patellar Tendonitis
  • ITB Sydnrome
  • Chronic bursitis
  • Acute ankle sprains
  • Muscle strains and tears
  • Ligament Sprains
  • Hip Pain
  • Hand Pain
  • Poor Flexibility

When you initially look at this tool they appear to be quite brutal, however in actual fact they are quite comfortable and some of my patients can’t tell the difference between the feel of a therapists hands and an IASTM tool. If you are suffering from any of the above conditions or believe IASTM can benefit you contact us today!

Avoiding injuries at the gym

Avoiding injuries at the gym

Written By: James Hayes
Chiropractor

Not everyone has same goals when they go to the gym. Whether you train to obtain your ideal beach body, increase your cardio or gain strength, we are all susceptible to injury. That’s why it’s important to train smart!

Gym injuries are frequent presentations at Dee Why Chiropractic Care. It can be quite frustrating suffering an injury when you are trying to better your health.

In most cases your workout routine can be modified to work around the injury but in some cases it can put a complete halt to training and achieving your fitness goals.

Common injuries:

  • Tendonitis
  • Muscle tears
  • Neck and low back injuries
  • Rotator cuff injuries
  • Knee injuries
  • Joint sprains

Dee Why Chiropractic Care’s advice to avoiding injuries at the gym

Get a personal trainer or go with an experience gym buddy

If you are new to the gym and don’t know how to get started… get advice. By telling a personal trainer your goals they will develop an appropriate training program for you. This will save you a lot of time in the long run as they will outline the do’s and don’t’ of working out.

The advantages of having a personal trainer or a gym buddy is that they will be able to oversee you exercising and correct anything that needs improving. They would have seen gym injuries in the past and they will be able to give you safety tips to avoid injury.

Warm up

Have a sufficient warm up before you go into full training mode. You want to warm up your body to increase your body’s core temperature and allow sufficient blood flow to the muscles that are about to be trained. If you are lifting weights do a few light sets on each exercise to warm up specific muscle fibers that are about to be trained.

Cross train

Change up your workout routine. It will give your body a much-needed break from your regular workout and it avoids hitting a progress plateau.

Train with correct form

One of the biggest causes of injury in the gym is working out with incorrect form. When people go to the gym they think moving the heaviest weight means the most results. When people try and lift weight that is too heavy for them they will sacrifice form that increases the stress on joints and tendons. WORK THE MUSCLE NOT THE WEIGHT! 

Each exercise has a specific purpose or a target muscle group. When we lose form other muscle groups will activate to produce the force needed to move the heavy weight. Lets just use bench press as an example; the purpose of the exercise is to target the chest muscles. If you lift with poor form, most of the force will be produced from the shoulder muscles and triceps, it also leads to increased stress on the shoulder that can potentially lead to injury over time. This also means that you not getting the maximum benefit of the exercise.

Also be aware of your form on cardio machines. A common machine that causes low back and shoulder pain when done with poor form is the rowing machine.

Be realistic

Be smart about training and know your limitations. Progress slowly and don’t try and do too much too soon; it is one of the main causes of gym injuries. Gradually increase the time and intensity of your workouts!

Wear suitable gym attire

If you are a runner it is essential that you wear suitable shoes. You can go to a sporting goods store for their advice on what shoe is best with your foot shape, gait and weight. If you have flat feet it could be beneficial to see a podiatrist for proper arch support and shoe advice.

Waist belts, wrist supports and knee sleeves are examples of supportive wear used in the gym to prevent injury. The type of gear you use will be based around what exercises you do on the day, such as using a waist belt for deadlifts and squats to protect your low back.

Have a balanced diet and stay hydrated

Having a balanced diet and staying hydrated will help repair those muscles that are broken down during a workout! Diet will vary from each individual as everyone has different goals and if you are unsure on what you should be consuming consult a nutritionist.

Self-maintenance

The use of devices such as trigger point balls, foam rollers and therabands are excellent ways to keep joints moving efficiently and maintaining good muscle quality. They are cheap, effective and may save you from injury in the future.

Rest

Listen to your body and don’t overtrain. If you are feeling pain during a workout seek treatment or let the body recover. When you workout you need to give your body time to heal as without sufficient time in-between workouts may lead to injury!

Hopefully now you can workout safely and efficiently. If you have any more questions about avoiding gym injuries don’t hesitate to contact us.

Can Chiropractic help my knee pain?

Can Chiropractic help my knee pain?

 

Written By: James Hayes
Chiropractor

Knee pain is extremely common and can be due to many causes. Knee pain can come on progressively from repetitive stress placed on the knee or just old age. Acute injuries to the knee can be quite debilitating and commonly occur in sports.

How Dee Why Chiropractic Care can help

The way knee pain presents can be very diverse and an accurate diagnosis of the cause of your pain needs to be identified. Chiropractors are well trained in the diagnosis and treatment of knee injuries. Your chiropractor will perform an orthopaedic and functional examination to determine what you have injured and the extent of the damage.

Common knee injuries:

  • Ligament sprains – ACL, PCL, MCL, LCL
  • Meniscus tears
  • Patellofemoral pain syndrome
  • Patella Tendonitis
  • Peroneal Tendonitis
  • Iliotibial band (ITB) syndrome
  • Bursitis
  • Osgood Schlatters disease
  • Osteoarthritis

Knee pain can significantly decrease your quality of life and the pain could make the simplest of tasks such as getting out of chair or walking quite challenging. It also may stop you from exercising or participating in your favourite sports.

The good news is we can help. Once we have identified the source of your pain we implement various treatment techniques to restore balance and function to the knee and surrounding tissues.

Treatment techniques used to treat knee pain

  • Active muscle releases
  • Cross friction massage
  • Dry needling
  • Joint mobilisation
  • IASTM
  • Muscle stripping
  • Therapeutic ultrasound
  • Taping

Home rehabilitation exercises are essential when recovering from knee pain. For that reason we prescribe specific strengthening, stretching and range of motion exercises to get you better faster!

If you have knee pain and believe we can help you, contact us today.

Heat or Ice? When to use it

Heat or Ice? When to use it

Written By: James Hayes
Chiropractor

When should I use ice and when should I use heat? It is a question we get asked frequently at Dee Why Chiropractic Care and we want to give you clarity on how to use heat and ice effectively and appropriately.

Heat or Ice? When to use it – As a general rule:

  • Ice

    Acute injuries that have occurred within 72 hours, to limit pain and swelling.

  • Heat

    Used for chronic conditions to relieve muscle pain or stiffness.

Ice

Whenever you have an acute injury like as an ankle sprain or muscle tear, inflammation and swelling will occur. When we apply ice to the injured area it numbs the area limiting the severity of the pain. What it also does is constricts blood vessels to the area hence limiting the swelling and pain.

Examples of conditions to use ice:

  • Sprained ankle
  • Muscle tears
  • Whiplash
  • Sprained wrist
  • Shoulder dislocation
  • Muscle contusion
  • Acute tendinitis

Ice packs are cheap and extremely helpful when needed, so we suggest having one in your freezer ready to go. Otherwise a bag of peas will also do the trick!

When treating an acute injury with ice its best to wrap it up a cloth to avoid direct contact with the skin as it can cause a burn or skin irritation. It is recommended that you use the ice for 20 minutes, 2-3 times a day post injury.

When not to use ice:

  • If you suffer from a sensory disorder where you have an inability to feel certain sensations because you will not be able to feel damage if it is being done
  • If you have poor circulation
  • On stiff muscles or joints

Heat

Heat therapy is typically used to treat chronic muscle pain and joint stiffness. Adding heat to an area of muscle tightness will soothe discomfort and increase the muscle flexibility. Heat does this by increasing blood supply and circulation to the affected area.

Examples of when to use heat:

  • Chronic neck pain and stiffness
  • Chronic low back pain and stiffness
  • Muscle tightness
  • Joint stiffness

Heat packs can be purchased from any chemist and are very affordable. Otherwise having a hot water bottle will always get the job done. It is recommended that you apply heat to the affected area for 10-15 minutes, 2-3 times a day.

Office workers tend to have chronic neck and shoulders tightness. Heat is excellent at relieving these symptoms and we suggest having a heat pack at work to get relief during the day!

When not to use heat:

Do not use heat on an open wound or a bruise as it will promote further bleeding.

Individuals with any of the following pre-existing conditions should consult a doctor prior to use due to a higher risk of burns or complications:

  • Heart disease
  • High blood pressure
  • Dermatitis
  • Vascular disease
  • Diabetes
  • Multiple sclerosis (MS)
  • Deep vein thrombosis (DVT)

Heat and ice therapy is a common home remedy we suggest to our patients as it aids in their recovery. It is advised that the application of heat or ice should be instructed by a professional to limit the chances of an

Treating an acute injury

P.R.I.C.E: Treating an acute injury

Written By: James Hayes
Chiropractor

The PRICE protocol consists of 5 steps that should be implemented directly after an injury. PRICE aims to protect the injured tissue from further damage, offer pain relief and limit the symptoms, until further treatment can be performed.

P.R.I.C.E = Protection, Rest, Ice, Compression and Elevation

At Dee Why Chiropractic Care we recommend patients suffering from acute injuries to adopt the PRICE protocol for the first 24-72 hours.

It is important to note that if you experience increasing pain during this process to stop immediately.

“P” Protection

This is done to prevent further injury.

Use any supportive device to take pressure off the injured tissue such as a sling for a dislocated shoulder or crutches for a leg injury.

“R” Rest

It is important to give your body time to heal.

You need to avoid any activity that increases stress on the injured tissue, as it will slow the healing process.

“I” Ice

This is applied to the injured area to reduce pain and inflammation.

Ice should be applied for 10-20 minutes every few hours. It is important to limit burns and skin irritation; hence we recommend the ice to be wrapped in a cloth to avoid direct skin contact.

“C” Compression

Compression of the area limits swelling and offers support.

The bandage should be applied at “medium tension” to avoid pins and needles, numbness and discolouration of the soft tissues. If you are experiencing these symptoms remove the compression and the symptoms should alleviate. If you are unsure of how to apply compression to the injured tissue, consult a professional.

“E” Elevation

Elevating the injured tissue will help reduce swelling by improving drainage to the affected area. By controlling the swelling we:

  • Decrease pain
  • Limits loss of motion
  • Speeds up recovery

Depending on the severity of injury, the PRICE protocol can completely resolve the symptoms and signs of your injury!

In some cases some pain and compromise to the tissue will remain where further treatment will be required. If you have any questions regarding the PRICE protocol or have an injury you think we can help you with, don’t hesitate to contact us.