Exercises for Back Pain Relief

One in 6 Australians experiences lower back pain at some stage in life.  Symptoms of lower back pain can be debilitating – pain can remain localised in the lower back and in some cases can refer down the legs.  It also restricts movements which then affect work and simple activities of daily living such as putting shoes on, sitting and pulling pants up etc.

Despite pain with movement, exercises are recommended over rest.  Avoid prolonged sitting or standing as remaining in stationery positions tends to disengage muscles that are essential to provide stability to your back.  Keep it moving help relieve pain and assists in the recovery. Here are some gentle exercises that can provide some relief to your back pain:

  Hip flexor stretch

  • Hip flexors are commonly tight for those who sits a lot as it remains in a shortened position when sitting.  Tight hip flexor can contribute to back pain as it attaches to the spine.
  • By performing this stretch as in the picture, you’ll feel tension at the front of the back leg. Push your hips forward to deepen the stretch.
  • Hold for at least 30secs.  Do 3-5 times on each side daily.

Glutes stretch

  • This stretch targets the gluteal muscles and can easily be done when in the office or commuting on the train
  • Sit with one leg crossed, lean forward and gently press the knee of the crossed leg down. You’ll feel a stretch on the side of the hip.

Cat and camel

  • This exercise aims to gently get your back moving
  • Start on your hands and knees.  Make sure your hands are under your shoulders and your knees are directly under your hips.
  • Slowly drop your stomach down and then gently arch your back up.
  • Do 10 times every morning and night

Bridging

  • This exercise strengthens hip muscles that tends to be switched off when sitting for long.
  • Start by lying down with knees bent. Making sure hips, knees and ankles are in line.
  • Lift hips up and lower down with control
  • Do 15-20 per set and 2-3 sets daily.

Pelvic tilt

  • This exercise targets your core muscles which assists in providing stability for your back
  • Prepare by setting up the same as the last exercise.
  • Tuck your tailbone in to flatten the curve on your back, hold for 5-10 secs then relax. You should feel your tummy muscles contracting.
  • Do 5-10 secs hold for 10 times every day

Walking

Although simple, walking is one of the dynamic exercises that is effective in engaging many different muscles. It is also a low impact exercise that can replace running or other high intensity when you have back pain.

If you are suffering from back pain, physios at capital physiotherapy can assess, diagnose and provide you with the right exercises to relieve pain and get your back moving.  Capital physiotherapy is also passionate at injury prevention, so give us a call if you would like more exercises and strategies to prevent recurring lower back pain.

Images from http://www.legacyneuro.com/fitness-friday-maintain-healthy-back/

https://www.bidmc.org/about-bidmc/blogs/wellness-insight-landing/sports-medicine-and-fitness/hip-flexor-stretch

https://www.besthealthmag.ca/best-you/stretching/seated-glute-stretch/

https://goodexerciseguide.com/the-exercises/bridging-exercise/

https://www.gaiam.com/blogs/discover/how-to-be-more-mindful-just-by-breathing-and-walking

Sports Physio – When do I Stretch, Before or After Exercising?

Stretches improves flexibility, which is an essential component of movement and exercises. But should we stretch before or after a workout? The short answer is to do stretch before AND after activities. Meanwhile, we shall think a little more about WHAT stretches to do and WHY.

Our bodies require flexibility for movement to occur efficiently.  Imagine wearing super tight jeans when you have to chase after a bus.  The jeans are limiting your range of motion and hence no matter how hard you try to take big strides you won’t go too far too fast.  Having flexibility means that your muscles can work more efficiently during sports or exercises.

Amongst the many different ways to stretch, static and dynamic ones are the most commonly used. Take our hamstring muscles as an example. To perform a dynamic stretch, we swing the leg back and forth across the entire available range of motion.

Dynamic stretch has been shown to improve muscle power, sprints and jumps when performed prior to exercises. It is therefore a good idea to include dynamic stretches in your warm up to prime for sports performance.

On the other hand, a static stretch is to hold the muscle in a lengthened position for 30seconds.

Static stretch is great as part of the cool down post sports or workout in order to maintain or increase flexibility.

 

For more ideas of stretching, have a look at this sports physio video (https://youtu.be/HNeTehBImAs) on Capital physiotherapy YouTube channel. Or if you have any questions, feel free to ask our team at Capital physiotherapy, South Yarra.

The Proper Lunge Technique

Lunges, like squats are one of the best exercises you can do in the gym too. It’s another exercise that can effectively work on more than one area of your body. An effective exercise means your body will gain the most out of it, so you can reach your goal quicker! However, just like an improperly done squat, the wrong technique will cause you injury and future issues in the knees. It is important that you scrutinise your technique and concentrate on the quality of your lunge.

Not only are lunges great for your body, but they are easily done anywhere you’d like to exercise. You may see lunges done out in the park during boot camps (*shivers*). You may also see them done in the gym; you can be creative and use the different weights and bars to increase the intensity of your lunge routine. I personally like to do the lunge at the comfort of your own home. It’s an easy exercise that your body will thank you for!

The most important factor while doing lunges are to make sure your knees are positioned correctly throughout the movement. This means:

  1. Your knees do not move past your toes at the front
  2. Your knees do not move rotate inwards
  3. You keep your body nice and upright

By making sure you follow the above rules, you reduce the chance of any wear and tear around your knee caps as well as reducing any issues that arise due to improper technique. By having your knees moving in the correct way, your knee caps are able to distribute the force much more evenly around its surface area; this reduces stress building up on only one area of the knee cap.

In addition, by doing the exercise correctly, you will gain the most out of your lunge. Correct technique allows your muscles to function at its most effective; which means you can progress yourself and get stronger quicker!

Make sure you have a chat with one of our physios to get the most out of your routine!

The Proper Squat Technique

Squats are one of the best exercises you can do in the gym (or at home!). This is because it is one of the few exercises that works multiple areas of your body. This makes it an efficient exercise to make you stronger quicker! However, when done incorrectly, squatting can cause a lot of issues to your knees. Improper technique results in imbalanced pressures around your knee cap, which will accelerate wear and tear.

Not only are squats great for your body, but they are easily done anywhere you’d like to exercise. While the gym is a great place, as you can use different bars with weights to challenge yourself. However, you can do squats at home or even at the park! The best exercises are the ones you can do anywhere. This means you won’t skip your exercise day and get the most out of it!

The most important factor while doing squats are to make sure your knees are positioned correctly throughout the movement. This means: 

1. Your knees do not move past your toes at the front 

2. Your knees do not move rotate inwards

By making sure you do not do the above, you reduce the chance of any wear and tear around your knee cap as well as reducing any issues that arise due to improper technique. By having your knees moving in the correct way, your knee caps are able to distribute the force much more evenly around its surface area; this reduces stress building up on only one area of the knee cap.

In addition, by doing the exercise correctly, you will gain the most out of your squat. Correct technique allows your muscles to function at its most effective; which means you can progress yourself and get stronger quicker!

Don’t hesitate to contact Capital Physiotherapy team if you have any questions and we’ll be able to help you!

Also, if you haven’t checked our previous article about Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome, please click here.

KIM K WORKOUT- HOW TO GET YOUR DREAM BOTTOM

Youtube Video for this blog

What are gluteal muscles?

The muscles of the gluteal region can be broadly divided into two groups:
• Superficial abductors and extenders – A group of large muscles that abduct and extend the femur. Includes the gluteus maximus, gluteus medius, gluteus minimus and tensor fascia lata.
• Deep lateral rotators – A group of smaller muscles that mainly act to laterally rotate the femur. Includes the quadratus femoris, piriformis, gemellus superior, gemellus inferior and obturator internus.

Why are gluteal muscles important?

You might be concerned about how to make your bottom looks toner to have a better fit for your jeans however, there’s so much more to glutes strength than the way your pants fit! This important group of muscles extends the hip (pulls the thigh behind you), abducts the hip (your lateral movement to the side), and does internal and external rotation of hip. In short, they’re incredibly important.

Unfortunately, in today’s society, they are often weak and under work.In this first work society, spending time in front of the desk becomes an inevitable task. Long hours sitting caused our glutes to “turn off” or stop firing. This in turned caused the muscles to weaken without us realising it.
Once our glutes stop firing, our hip flexors (the muscles that pull the thigh forward) get tight and can lead to injury. When you build a stronger booty, here are a few of the benefits you can expect.

Having a strong glutes can help:

Prevent back pain: Your glutes work to stabilize the pelvis and keep integrity of movement in the hip joint. When they’re strong, your lower back doesn’t bear the brunt of your motion.

Increase athletic performance: If you want to be a stronger athlete, it’s time to start working your glutes! Stronger glutes will improve your speed, agility, and jumping skills, and quick side-to-side movements will also become much easier.

Prevent knee pain: Strong glute keep the pelvis stable from swaying side to side. When your pelvis isn’t stable, it puts a lot of pressure on your knees and ankles to compensate. When your glutes are strong, it helps prevents this naturally, keeping you safe from injury.

Exercises to help gluteal muscles strengthening

There are many exercises that help strengthen our glutes. In our video, we demonstrate the 3 basic exercises that we normally start our client with, and progress to more sports specific gluteal exercise as required.

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Shoulder Blades Sticking Out? Is it Bad?- Ask a Physio

What is scapula winging?

Scapula winging is when the borders of the scapula (shoulder blade) stick out away from the ribcage. Normally the scapula is meant to lie flat against the rib-cage. Scapula winging usually results from muscle imbalances of the muscles attaching to the scapula. Imbalances commonly occur between the pectoralis minor, upper trapezius, lower trapezius and serratus anterior muscles.

Consequences of scapula winging:

Scapula winging can result in inefficient movement of the glenohumeral (shoulder) joint. The scapula and shoulder joint are connected. If the resting position and movements of the scapula are not in optimum position, it can lead to restricted movements of the shoulder joint. This in turn can lead to impingement of the rotator cuff tendons and associated pain and dysfunction.

Weakness of the cervicothoracic postural muscles and subsequent scapula winging can also lead cause increased tension and pain in the muscles between the shoulder blades and the muscles attaching from the scapula to the neck. This in turn can lead to joint stiffness and potentially tension-headaches in more severe cases.

How can Capital Physiotherapy help reduce scapula winging?

After thorough assessment to determine which muscles are contributing to the winging scapula, our physiotherapists may use a variety of different treatment to try and relieve symptoms associated with scapula winging and reduce the winging itself.

Treatment options include:

  • Postural education and correction
  • Postural taping
  • Massage to relieve tension of tight muscles
  • Dry needling to relieve muscle pain and tightness
  • Muscle strengthening and re-training to correct muscle-imbalances causing the winging
  • EMG activation prior to strengthening to help activate muscles that have difficulty firing due to altered neuromuscular activation patterns

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HOW TO FIX GROIN/HIP PAIN? TIGHT HIP FLEXOR!

HIP FLEXOR TIGHTNESS

The role of the hip flexors:

The hip flexor muscles include the iliacus and psoas major. Together these muscles act to lift the thigh up closer to the abdomen, which is the movement known as hip flexion. Excessive tightness of the hip flexor muscles is more likely to occur in certain people. It can lead to biomechanical abnormalities and be a source of pain.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

People that are more prone to hip flexor tightness:

People that have occupations that involve prolonged periods of sitting are prone to hip flexor tightness as the hips are in a sustained flexed position during sitting. People that engage in regular exercise such as running and cycling are also more prone to tight hip flexors. Sportspeople playing kicking sports such as soccer and football are also more likely to experience excessive flexor tightness as the kicking motion involves repetitive hip flexion movements.

The consequences of tight hip flexors:

Tight hip flexors can be a local source of pain around the hip joint which can be present during prolonged periods of sitting or during sporting activities that utilise the hip flexor muscles. Excessive tightness of the hip flexors can change lumbo-pelvic posture as it pulls the pelvis into an anteriorly tilted position. Increased anterior pelvic tilt increases the curve within the lumbar spine (lordosis) which in turn can cause the facet joint of the lumbar spine to be compressed more and tighten up surrounding back extensor muscles such as the erector spinae; this can lead to associated lower back pain.

Tight hip flexors and altered alignment of the pelvis can also lead to over-activity of the hip flexor muscles and altered neuromuscular activity of the gluteal and core muscles which can further be a source of hip pain.

What can we do to reduce hip flexor tightness?

Our experienced physiotherapists at Capital Physiotherapy can help to reduce hip flexor tightness and associated aches and pains through various treatment options which include:

  • Massage and trigger point release
  • Gluteal and core strengthening to improve lumbo-pelvic stability
  • Neuromuscular training
  • Stretches

What can you do to reduce hip flexor tightness?

To manage tight hip flexors stretch the hip flexors daily, try and stand up every 30-60 minutes to avoid sitting for prolonged periods.

Drop down into lunge position. Tilt pelvis backwards to activate glutes. Then lean forward at the hips, keeping the back in a neutral position. A stretch should be felt near the groin/front of the thigh. Hold for 30 seconds. Repeat up to 4 times a day. Stretch at least once a day.

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What people don’t tell you about PLANK/PUSH UP/SQUAT

Correct Exercise Technique

Correct technique is crucial to ensuring the correct muscles are recruited during specific exercises. Poor technique leads to increased risk of injuries.

Correct Squat Technique:

  • Straight back
  • Knees behind the toes
  • Stick the bottom out
  • Keep heels on the ground

Common mistakes performing squats:

  • Not sticking the bottom out far enough
  • Arching the lower back
  • Slouching the upper back
  • Knees going over the toes
  • Heels coming off the ground
  • Weight on the toes rather than the heels

Correct push-up technique:

  • The head, back and bottom are aligned to form a straight line
  • When going down towards the ground, the chest should move forwards so that it lies in front of the shoulders
  • The shoulder blades should be stabilised before descending so that they don’t stick out relative to the upper back

Common mistakes performing push-ups:

  • Arching the lower back
  • Dropping the head down towards the ground
  • Shoulder blades sticking out
  • Chest going straight towards the ground rather than moving forward as the body descends

Correct plank technique:

  • Head, back and glutes should be aligned to form a horizontal line
  • Glutes and core should be engaged
  • Shoulder blades should be in line with the upper back

Common mistakes performing planks:

  • Arching the lower back
  • Head/neck drop down towards the ground
  • Shoulder blades sticking out

At Capital Physiotherapy, our physiotherapists can create a personalised workout program just for you. Capital Physiotherapy will tailor to individual needs and wants. We will make sure that the program is challenging yet safe to do.

All our therapist are highly trained, prevention is always better than cure! Get fit? Start today 🙂
Hope that through this video, viewer can gain a better understanding on tips to improve your exercise technique. If you like our video please do like, subscribe and share 🙂

5 Steps to Fixing Tennis Elbow Pain

Tennis Elbow/Lateral Epicondylitis

One of the most common causes of elbow pain is the dreaded tennis elbow or, as it’s formally known, Lateral Epicondylitis. Tennis elbow affects predominantly the wrist and finger extensors that is located on the outside part of your forearm; specifically the Extensor Carpi Radialis Brevis and Longus). These muscles originates from the small bone bump on the outside of your elbow, and attaches to different parts of your hands.

The usual cause of a tennis elbow is usually due to a repetitive movement; specifically gripping activities. This is the reason why it’s called tennis elbow, this involves gripping a racquet. However, there usually is an issue with the person’s hitting technique. A common mistake is to use wrist extension to hit the ball. Your physio at Capital Physiotherapy can assess you in this regard.

Other common ways you can get tennis elbow are: prolonged computer work (typing), home renovations (hammering, painting) as well as carrying/lifting objects. In some cases, tennis elbow may also be as a result of some neck issues, including stiffness and nerve root irritation.

As you can see, it is important that you seek professional help when you have elbow pain. Inappropriate care will result in worsening of your symptoms as well as delayed healing. This may result in you requiring corticosteroid injections.

Your physio at Capital Physiotherapy is well equipped to look after you. They will spend the time that it takes to ensure you are cared for and get the results you need. They will make sure all contributing factors are considered and assessed. A thorough assessment is required so that you receive the correct treatment to get you back to your activities quickly!

Hope that through this video, viewer can gain a better understanding on tips to help with your tennis elbow pain. If you like our video please do like, subscribe and share 🙂

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Essential Stretches For Runners and Cyclists

Stretches and foam rolling to maintain muscles length is crucial to optimise performance.

When our muscles is too tight, it is impossible to contract your muscles to create force and power to run or cycle. It is vital that all cyclist and runners have a regular stretch and foam rolling routine to help keep their lower leg muscles loose and injury free.

In Capital Physiotherapy, we have created a simple and easy to follow stretch/ foam rolling routine that we gave to all our runners and cyclist clients. This routine when done on a regular basis have shown significant improvement to their performance.

Studies have shown that foam rolling after exercises can significantly increase joint range of motion and reduce muscles soreness after a intense workout.

Feeling tight is related to muscle tone, while actually being tight is related to your muscle tissues physically becoming shorter.

In this video we like to show all viewer on how to stretch all 6 muscles group that are vital for activities such as running and cycling. These muscles are mainly lower leg muscles such as the:
1) Calves muscles
2) Shin muscles
3) Quads muscles
4) IT band
5) Gluteals muscles (glute muscles)
6) Hamstring muscles

Hope that through this video, viewer can gain a better understanding on the importance of regular stretches and foam rolling to prevent potential injuries and allowing them the keep up with the activities that they love doing 🙂

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