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Cervicogenic Headaches

Are you experiencing headaches? A large proportion of headaches are migraines and tension-type headaches; however, a common type of headache physiotherapists can assess and treat are cervicogenic headaches. Neck pain and headaches are frequently associated with headaches (Ashina et al., 2015), indicating the structures around the neck and shoulder may contribute to the headaches.  

Cervicogenic headaches are characterised by 

  • Pain and headache starting in neck and behind head and travels to the front
  • Usually only on one side 
  • Headache does not move from left to right 
  • Headaches are associated with posture, sustained positions such as sitting at a computer for too long, or turning neck in a particular position 
  • Neck pain 
  • Tight neck movement 

The development of cervicogenic headaches may involve your joints and muscles, which have pain generators that can create a headache. Your daily habits, posture, trauma to the head, or stress are ways you can develop a cervicogenic headache. Physiotherapists can trial different treatments to help relieve your headache, which may include:

  • Exercise: An important factor in long-term effects to help with strength and endurance of postural muscles and optimally using your muscles. High quality evidence has supported the use of exercise to help with long-term effects of headaches    
  • Dry Needling: A technique in which acupuncture needles are strategically placed to relieve tight muscles and improve range. This technique is short term and should be reinforced with stretching and exercise
  • Deep tissue massage: A technique that uses firm pressure to help relieve pain generators that travels up to create a headache. 
  • Joint Mobilisation: A technique that focuses on loosening up the neck joints to improve movement. This technique should be reinforced with active treatments such as self-mobilisation, massage, stretching and exercise
  • Taping: A short-term technique to help with postural awareness  

If you are experiencing headaches, you can visit Capital Physiotherapy to further assess and treat your condition. At Capital Physiotherapy, there are a wide range of treatments that can be done to help relieve and allow your take control of your condition. We are conveniently located at South Yarra, Footscray, and Balwyn. You may drop an email at info@capitalphysiotherapy.com.au

Runner’s Knee Pain (ITB Syndrome)

ITB Syndrome (Iliotibial friction syndrome) is one of the most common causes of “Runner’s Knee”. Being an overuse injury, it is caused by repeated trauma rather than a specific incident.
It arises at its proximal end from the tendons of the tensor fasciae latae and gluteus maximus muscles. From its origin, the Iliotibial tract travels along the lateral side of the thigh and across the knee joint, inserting on the lateral epicondyle of the tibia.

Sign and Symptom:

  • Pain with activities that require repetitive activities involving knee flexion-extension
  • Burning pain at the outer aspect of the knee.
  • The pain tends to be worse when running or coming down stairs.
  • There may be an audible snapping sensation the knee bends due to the band flicks over the bony tubercle.
  • There may also be some swelling on the outer side of the knee.
  • Pain is also exacerbated when running a long distance.
  • The onset occurred most frequently at the lateral knee after 2-3 km of running, or hiking over 16km.

At Capital Physiotherapy, all our physiotherapist is able to assess your running and come up with strategies to help you during your run. At capital physiotherapy, we have clinicians who have ample experience returning athletes back to sport. If you’ve got lingering pain that is sticking around longer than expected, book in with one of our friendly physiotherapists and get some recommendations on what to do. We are conveniently located at South Yarra, Footscray and Balwyn so choose a clinic most convenient for you. You may drop an email at info@capitalphysiotherapy.com.au or do an online booking here.

Facet Joint Stiffness

Back pain is a common condition that everyone experiences at some point in their lives. It may become debilitating to the point it can stop you from enjoying activity, working, or even sleep.  

Back pain can involve multiple components of your spine, which includes:   

  • Joints
  • Muscles 
  • Ligaments
  • Nerves 

Back pain is not only limited to mechanical issues, as levels of pain can increase due to stress, duties of work and daily activities, sleep pattern, eating and drinking habits, which can be addressed in later blogs. Today’s blog topic will focus on the lumbar facet joint pain, which are the connecting points on the sides of your spine that allows and restricts certain movements such as bending forward and backward, twisting, and side-bending. The facet joints can become stiff or irritated due to various reasons, including:

  • repetitive or overuse twisting or rotating 
  • abrupt/unexpected movements of the spine
  • increased loads to the spine (i.e. weight, running, jumping) 
  • excessive side-bending or twisting of the spine

Your spine is especially strong and can withstand many aspects of load to it. However, sometimes, excessive movements that don’t allow the facet joint to rest can irritate the facet joints. Rest assure, physiotherapists are specialised in treating and planning programs to help reduce and prevent future back pain events.

If you have been experiencing back pain that includes but not limited to:

  • Pain or tenderness in lower back 
  • Local tenderness/ stiffness alongside the spine of the lower back 
  • Pain, stiffness, or difficulty in certain movements (i.e. side-bending, standing up straight) 
  • Referred pain down the butt or legs

At Capital Physiotherapy, we have clinicians who have experience in treating back pain. The service may include deep tissue massage, mobilisation, dry needling and exercise, depending on your presentation. We are conveniently located at South Yarra, Footscray, and Balwyn. You may drop an email at info@capitalphysiotherapy.com.au or do an online booking here.

Warming Up

Many people neglect the warm-up part of physical activity. Some people simply don’t have enough time because they arrive late to training and want to get into it as soon as possible. Others feel it’s simply a chore and unnecessary to complete. While it does take some time to complete a good warm up, doing a warm-up has a tremendous amount of benefits which you shouldn’t ignore.

Increase Muscle Temperature

Pretty obvious that a warm-up is suppose to increase your body temperature. But why is this so important? Think about your car engine on a cold day; for the best performance you should actually leave it running for a bit before the trip. Same thing with your body. If your muscles are cold when you jump straight into activity, you won’t be able to move as well. There is a good chance you will perform poorly simply because you haven’t taken the time to warm-up. 

Joint Lubrication

Not only should your muscles be warm, your joints need be warm-up as well. As per your muscles, getting blood pumping to your joints allows your joints to move the way you want. Think about if you are trying to use a pair of rusted scissors; it’s difficult to move and takes a lot more energy to move it. This can also impede with your performance with your activity if you don’t have a proper warm-up. It’s best to warm up and scrape off that rust rather than during your activity.

Injury Prevention

Likely the most important reason to complete a good warm up, you reduce the chances of getting injury. Using the rusted scissors example, not only does it not work properly, it also has a higher chance of breaking. Warming up increases blood flow and elasticity of your muscles, which reduces the chance of sustaining a muscle injury. If your muscles are compromised, there is an increased load onto your joints, which also increases the risk of injury.

Mental Preparation

Aside from physiological preparation, getting mentally prepared sport is equally or even more important. Even if your muscles are warm and joints are loose, it is difficult to perform your fullest if your head isn’t in the game. While general warm-ups works the body, specific warm up drills that are related to your sport or activity is very important to get your mindset in the game. To be able to switch on as soon as your activity begins allows you to perform your best.

It is quite unfortunate to sustain an injury because your didn’t have a proper warm up, so take that extra time out of the game and prevent that from happening. If you have unfortunately sustain an injury, best to check up with a physiotherapist to get you back to your activity as safe and efficiently as possible.

At capital physiotherapy, we have physiotherapist who are familiar with all injuries from all types of sports, work or daily activity. If you’ve got any inquiries about your injury, or are in need of a solid warm up routine, come by one of our clinics conveniently located at Balwyn, Footscray and South Yarra. You can also send an email at info@capitalphysiotherapy.com.au or book online at https://www.capitalphysiotherapy.com.au/online-booking/.One of our physiotherapist will place you in a rehabilitation program best suited for you and give some advice towards how to safely return to activity.

Tips On Continuing With An Exercise Program

As physiotherapists, we highly promote exercise as a form of therapy to keep your body strong and healthy. Really, there should be no restrictions to what type of exercise you do as long as you remain within your skill level. This can range from your gym based exercise to a group fitness class to dancing on your own. As much as it is beneficial to exercise, many would agree it is difficult to start and even more difficult to sustain. The right exercise to engage in is definitely based on individual preferences. So, how do we find which form of exercise is right for you?

Keep it fun

The truth is, not everyone likes to exercise. Exercise requires work, takes time and just isn’t fun for everyone. This point is really important for those who don’t like “exercise”. If you are able to view “exercise” as an entertainment, it wouldn’t even be considered “exercise” anymore. It would be just like watching a good show on the tele. Easy enough right? However, if the show is boring, you would stop watching it. This means you have to find the right show to continue to watch it for a long time. Same with exercise; if the exercising like a drag, the likelihood of continuing drops significantly. So go experiment with dancing, team sport, gym activities, you name it. Make sure it’s something you enjoy.

Bring a friend, or even friends

It makes it that much more entertaining if you exercise with a friend. Bringing a motivated individual also increase your own motivation. This is definitely true if you make it into a competition. Within the gym, you can’t expect to jump from 10kg squat to 30kg within a week. This needs to build up. And if you miss a day, you are giving your friend an advantage. This level of competition motivates people to continue your program. Not just the competition aspect, it’s simply more fun to chat to someone about the things you are doing. So bring a friend to fuel that motivation. It’s good fun and healthy for all of you.

Get some advice

For some people, there is that fear of starting exercise for because you’ve never been before. If you fall under this category, it’s helpful to get started with a bit of guidance. You can definitely turn to someone who has more experience in the field of exercise, including personal trainers, specific sport instructors and even friends who have a bit more experience with exercise. For other barriers to exercise like you’ve hurt yourself doing exercise or unsure if your injuries has healed enough to continue, it might be a good idea to consult with a physiotherapist to make sure you are healed and strong enough to continue the specific exercise.

At capital physiotherapy, we strongly promote exercise as a form of treatment for rehabilitation, recovery, strengthening, injury prevention and entertainment. If you are seeking advice on safety of exercise, come down to get a thorough assessment and some recommendations. We are conveniently located in Balwyn, Footscray and South Yarra so send us an email at info@capitalphysiotherapy.com.au and lets get you on track with your goals.

Bone Bruising

You’ve probably had your share of experience with bruising. It is a very common injury associated with collision with someone or an object. This happens frequently if you are playing a competitive sport and collide with someone while chasing the ball. Another frequently culprit of bruising is the table corner which you just forgot about and bumped into it really hard. Not the most pleasant feeling in the world, but generally it gets better within 1-2 weeks. 

On occasions, there are times the bruising feeling feels a lot more deeper than the usual bruising feeling. Sometimes this feeling can last a while and seems to be healing really slowly. In this case, you might have suffered not a bruising for your muscles but your bones.

Bone bruises are similar to muscle bruising but occurs within the bones instead. There is comparatively less blood going through the bones compared to the muscle, which is why healing process takes longer. To get a formal diagnosis of bone bruise can only be done through MRI, but the treatment of this injury does not require this formal diagnosis. It is important to ice it down, give it time and do everything within pain free level to allow for optimal healing to occur.

For the active individual, pain free levels can be rather difficult to sustain. Telling a footy playing who has mild pain to not play yet is rather difficult. However, it is essential as the pain interferes with muscle function and increases the risk of injury. It is a good idea to check up with a physiotherapist to ensure you return to sport in a safe manner. 

At capital physiotherapy, we have clinicians who have ample experience returning athletes back to sport. If you’ve got lingering bruising pain that is sticking around longer than expected, book in with one of our friendly physiotherapists and get some recommendations on what to do. We are conveniently located at South Yarra, Footscray and Balwyn so choose a clinic most convenient for you. You may drop an email at info@capitalphysiotherapy.com.au or do an online booking here.

Back Pain – Sacroiliac Joint

Adding on to our repertoires of back conditions, a common source of pain in the lower back is the sacroiliac joint (SIJ). We’ve already talked about this topic just a bit in the pregnancy blog. Let’s go into a bit more details about it. 

This joint is the connection point between the lower back to the pelvis. This is an extremely stable joint held by many ligaments in the front and the back which make the joint relatively immobile. Furthermore, muscles above and below the joint act together in a sling-like fashion to stabilize the SIJ.

Pain coming from this joint occurs more frequently in females. One of the reason for this is due to the shape of the hips. The female hip is wider in comparison to the male hip which allows the forces of gravity and the weight of the body to act on the joint with greater leverage. Another reason is ligaments can be laxed from child bearing. During pregnancy, ligaments become loose to prepare for childbirth. Unfortunately, that means the stability of the SIJ is compromised and can lead to pain.

To add to this condition, the laxed ligaments does not go back to the way they were before after childbirth. Once a ligament is relaxed and stretched out, it’s rare for the ligament to return to its original length. This means it is very important to strengthen the muscles around the joint to increase the stability of SIJ and prevent SIJ related back pain from returning.

Again, SIJ is not the only thing that can cause back pain. There are many structures in the back that can give rise to pain, so it’s a good idea to get an expert to take a look. At capital physiotherapy, we have physiotherapist would have seen many presentations of back pain. We understand everyone’s pain presents uniquely and will individualize our treatment pain to best manage your pain. 

If you’ve got concerns regarding your back, Contact us at info@capitalphysiotherapy.com.au or visit one of our clinics located in Balwyn, Footscray and South Yarra to get started on a management plan that is best suited for you. 

There’s Pain So There Must Be Damage – Probably Not

Do you know someone who has this lingering pain that doesn’t seem to go away? This mostly happens with lower back pain. Their doctors have done scans and examinations and found nothing physically wrong with their condition yet they continue to claim they are in pain. Does that mean they are faking it? Make no mistake, if someone says that they are in pain, they are likely serious about it. However, the structures around the back itself may not be the cause of pain anymore.

Previously, we’ve discussed how stress can influence the amount of pain which an individual can feel. Fear of movement can also cause stress which influences how one feels about the pain.

Using low back pain as an example, it can arise if you’ve placed it under heavy load and unfortunately pulled something, ie. during gardening, new movement at the gym or twisting movement during work. In a normal physiological response to pain, there is generally an extremely painful pain that limits movement followed by a period where there is not so much pain with minimal limited movement movement.

Both these periods has some degree of pain; initially there is a lot of pain followed by less further down the tract. Generally speaking, the likelihood of the structures in the back still damaged is relatively low further down the track. This raises the question of why is there pain?

As mentioned in our previous blog, the brain is the organ which registers the pain. The brain can actually increase sensitivity to pain base on our perception of the injury. In other words, if you have really high fear of your lower back pain getting worse, your brain will increase the sensitivity around your back so it hurts even with little movement in your back to help avoid the movement. In addition, avoiding the movement also reinforce the brain to think there is damage to the area, which can also cause increase pain sensitivity.

With that said, breaking out of this pain cycle can be very difficult. There needs to be methods to desensitize the body and brain to the movement and allow for normal movement. If you are having this annoying lingering pain, it’s a good idea to see a physiotherapist to get it sorted sooner rather than later.

Never give in to living with pain, especially if it’s interfering with what you love. At Capital Physiotherapy, we have movement specialists who have experience with chronic pain. If this niggling pain has been with you for a while, please give us a call at 0401 865 333 or book in an appointment online at https://www.capitalphysiotherapy.com.au/online-booking/. We have clinics conveniently located in South Yarra, Footscay and Balwyn.

Neck Tension Related Headaches

Nowadays, headaches are relatively common. What you should know is that there are over 100 types of headaches that have been classified today. Within this gigantic list of headaches is one that is associated with joint and muscle tension of the neck. Although this type of headache is not as common as other types, this one is treatable with conservative management rather without the need for drug usage.

Headaches associated with neck muscles and joints are referred to as cervicogenic headaches. Pain in the neck from either joints or muscles can have a referral pattern towards the head, which can go as far as the front of the head. One theory behind this phenomenon is the muscle and joints of the neck are innervated by the same sensory nerve of the head. So when there is a pain in the neck, it confuses the brain to think that there is something going on with the head as well.

This type of headache is often associated with whiplash injuries. Whiplash injuries are damage to the neck from a violent jerk of the head, like in a car accident. In response to this injury, you’re neck muscles tense up as a protective mechanism. This tension restricts neck movement, which stiffness the joints of your neck. Even after the damage has resolved, muscle tension and joint stiffness remains and can become the new source of pain. When the muscles and joints become stiff, there can be radiating pain from the neck to the head which manifests as a headache.

Another common way for neck muscles and joints to become stiff and tight is from sitting posture. This is common among people who work long hours at a desk. Sustained poor posture for a long period of time can overload the neck joints and cause neck muscles tighten up, leading to cervicogenic headaches. Do check out our previous blog on desk sitting posture and stretches for some more advice to help alleviate these symptoms.

If headaches are a common occurrence for you, it’s best not to leave it for long; speak to your clinician to identify which type of headache you have and how to reduce the severity of the symptoms.

At capital physiotherapy, our physiotherapist have helped manage clients with headaches arising from different sources including cervicogenic ones. If you are having headaches, book in with one of our physios and get started on your treatment today. Contact us at 0401 865 333 or through our website online booking to book in with one of our friendly physiotherapist to build an individualized program best suited for you. 

Physios Perspective on Back Braces

Back braces are becoming more and more popular. Some people use a back brace because they have sustained a back injury. Others may use the thing to improve their posture. Have you wondered which is the correct way to use this device? Better yet, what are the consequences of using a back brace?

We discussed the pros and cons of braces in one of our previous blogs: (https://www.capitalphysiotherapy.com.au/sports-physiotherapy-pros-cons-bracing-taping/)

Generally, a brace is used protect your body from injury or prevent further injury. Therefore, if you’ve sustained a back injury, a brace can potential reduce the amount of strain some activities may cause you. This would allow the injury heal. An example of this would be using a back brace after sustaining a back injury to go back to playing footy. You would still need to be mindful of some movements that you do, but the brace just might be enough to bring you back into the game.

Back braces can also be used as a preventative measure to add extra support during activities which you know can be risky for your back. Take weightlifters for example. Many weightlifters wear a back support when completing an extremely heavy deadlift.

The above examples are solid reasons to use a back brace. On the flip side, using this device with the intention of improving their posture is a bit more controversial. For example, if you work in front of a desk a lot, there is a good chance that your posture isn’t the greatest and your neck or back can get painful from sustained long sitting position. Using a back brace to correct your posture reduces the load which your body has to sustain in that position and allow you to work for a longer period of time. 

However, by reducing the load which you back needs to take may also weaken your muscles. This would make you reliant on the device to reduce the load of prolonged sitting. Overtime, your body may progressively weaker to a point where the support of your back brace is not enough to reduce pain. 

As physios, we highly recommend preventing back and neck related injuries through a solid, individualized preventative strengthening program rather than using a brace to alleviate the pain. If you have lingering issues with your back, it is a good idea to see a physiotherapist before it gets any worse. 

At capital physiotherapy, we have excellent physiotherapists who have considerable experience with back related issues. We believe each individual injury is different and will set you up with a rehabilitation program tailored to your individual needs. If you are in the area around South Yarra, Footscray or Balwyn drop us an email at info@capitalphysiotherapy.com.au and one of our physios get you started on a holistic back program.