INJURY BLOG: CARPAL TUNNEL SYNDROME

A picture containing person, hand

Description automatically generatedAre you experiencing wrist pain or numbness in the fingers and hands that worsens at night? Carpal tunnel syndrome could be to blame. It’s a painful and debilitating condition that causes hand and wrist pain due to pressure on the nerves in the wrist. Read on to learn about carpal tunnel syndrome, what causes it and how it can be managed with the help of osteopathic therapy.

The carpal tunnel

The carpal tunnel refers to the narrow part of the wrist that opens to the hand. The median nerve and flexor tendons run through the carpal tunnel, helping to give feeling and movement to our fingers and thumb. The carpal ligaments and wrist bones surround the carpal tunnel, creating a rigid boundary.

What is carpal tunnel syndrome?

Carpal tunnel syndrome is caused by the tunnel narrowing or the flexor tendons swelling with nowhere to go. This compresses the median nerve and reduces blood flow.

What are the symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome?

The most common symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome include:

  • Numbness and tingling in the thumb and fingers or palm that can feel like pins and needles.
  • Weakness in the muscles of the hands; difficulty gripping things.
  • Swollen fingers.
  • Nerve pain in your wrist or hand that can be severe.
  • Pain that radiates up your arm.

What causes carpal tunnel syndrome?

Inflammation can cause the swelling that compresses the median nerve. A number of conditions can cause this and are linked to carpal tunnel syndrome, including:

  • Diabetes
  • Thyroid dysfunction
  • Fluid retention in pregnancy
  • High blood pressure
  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Wrist fractures

The condition can be aggravated by repeated motion of the wrist when using a keyboard or mouse, using hand tools or power tools for extended periods of time or overextending the wrist when typing or playing piano.

Why is carpal tunnel syndrome common in pregnancy?

Carpal tunnel syndrome is common in pregnancy, with 3-5 out of every 10 women experiencing the condition. This is because pregnancy hormones promote fluid retention and swelling, and soften the ligaments. This causes the median nerve to be squashed in the carpal tunnel. It’s important to seek treatment to manage your symptoms, as the condition can continue after birth and be exacerbated by lifting and holding your baby in certain positions (e.g. while feeding).

How can osteopathic treatment help?

Osteopathic treatment can help to treat the symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome. As osteopaths, we will assess your symptoms and come up with an individualised care plan to reduce your symptoms and manage your pain.

Your treatment plan will depend on the symptoms you’re experiencing and may include ice therapy, gentle soft tissue massage, and joint manipulation. Exercises and stretches may be included as part of your treatment. Commonly with carpal tunnel syndrome, it is advised to take regular breaks from repetitive tasks and reduce movement of the wrists. A splint may be used to help with this.

If you fear you’re experiencing carpal tunnel syndrome, come and see us. We are here to help! We will assess your symptoms and come up with a treatment plan to help relieve the pain. Call us on 9078 2455 or email info@innerwesthealthclinic.com.au to make an appointment.

References:

  1. Better Health Channel (2012). Carpal tunnel syndrome. [Online]. Available at: https://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/health/conditionsandtreatments/carpal-tunnel-syndrome  (Accessed 9 April 2022).
  1. Health Direct (2020). Carpal tunnel syndrome. [Online]. Available at: https://www.healthdirect.gov.au/carpal-tunnel-syndrome (Accessed 9 April 2022).
  1. Healthline (2019). Carpal tunnel syndrome. [Online]. Available at: https://www.healthline.com/health/carpal-tunnel-syndrome (Accessed 9 April 2022).
  1. OrthoInfo (2021). Carpal tunnel syndrome. [Online]. Available at: https://orthoinfo.aaos.org/en/diseases–conditions/carpal-tunnel-syndrome/ (Accessed 9 April 2022).
  2. The Royal Women’s Hospital. (2019). Pregnancy-Related Carpal Tunnel Syndrome. [Online]. Available at: https://www.thewomens.org.au/images/uploads/fact-sheets/Pregnancy-related-carpal-tunnel-210319.pdf (Accessed 9 April 2022).

What is Diabetes?

Picture 1Diabetes is a health condition that occurs when your body does not produce enough insulin or cannot use the insulin it produces. Insulin is a hormone that converts glucose into energy, usually keeping your blood glucose levels in check. You may have heard of diabetes, but are you familiar with the signs and symptoms? And did you know that there are different types of diabetes?

What are the types of diabetes?

  • Type 1-diabetes is an autoimmune condition where the immune system attacks the cells that produce insulin. The cause is unknown and there is no cure for Type 1 diabetes.
  • Type 2 diabetes develops gradually when the body becomes resistant to the effects of insulin and loses the capacity to produce enough insulin. There are strong links to genetics and lifestyle risk factors.
  • Gestational Diabetes occurs during pregnancy. It is characterised by higher-than-normal glucose levels, usually around 24-28 weeks.

What are the symptoms of diabetes?

Common symptoms of diabetes include:

  • Increased thirst and constant hunger
  • Passing more urine
  • Unexplained weight loss (Type 1)
  • Gradual weight gain (Type 2)
  • Vision changes/blurred vision
  • Fatigue and lethargy

Type 1 diabetes has a rapid onset of symptoms, and most people are diagnosed before they reach adulthood. Type 2 diabetes is harder to detect. The symptoms are not as pronounced, so it can go unnoticed for long periods of time.

How is diabetes treated and managed?

Type 1 diabetes requires insulin replacement through injections or a pump. Daily doses of insulin are required to control blood glucose levels. Lifestyle changes cannot prevent Type 1 diabetes, however maintaining a healthy lifestyle after diagnosis can reduce your risk of developing serious complications (e.g. kidney disease or eye damage).

Through changes to diet and increased physical activity you can slow or halt the progression of Type 2 diabetes. You may also need medicine to manage glucose levels.

Can osteopathic treatment help to manage diabetes?

As osteopaths, we take a holistic approach to healthcare. Whether you have been diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes or are working to slow the onset of Type 2 diabetes, we can provide diet, exercise, stress-management, and lifestyle advice to help.

Osteopathic treatment can also help to relieve some of the musculoskeletal symptoms/dysfunction caused by diabetes. We will work with you to understand your symptoms and develop an appropriate treatment plan to get you back to feeling your best.

If you need help managing diabetes symptoms, give us a call on 9078 2455 or email us at info@innerwesthealthclinic.com.au to book an appointment.

References:

  1. Health Direct (2022). Diabetes. [Online]. Available at: https://www.healthdirect.gov.au/diabetes (Accessed 5 April 2022).
  • World Health Organization. (2022). Diabetes [Online]. Available at:

https://www.who.int/health-topics/diabetes (Accessed 5 April 2022).

OSTEOPATHY FAQs

So you’ve heard about the health benefits of osteopathic treatment and you still have some questions… We’ve got you! We have compiled answers to frequently asked questions that we get asked as osteopaths.

What is an osteopath?

This is a common question we encounter! An osteopath is a government-registered, allied health practitioner who aims to improve a person’s overall health and wellness. We treat the whole person, not just a single condition or area in particular (and not just bones – a common misconception). We take a holistic approach to healthcare, focusing on the relationship between the body’s structure and function, and recognising the capacity of the body for self-healing.

What qualifications do you need to become an osteopath?

Depending on the country of study, it takes 4 to 5 years of university degree-level education to become an osteopath. Osteopathic students are expected to learn about all areas of the human body, the principles behind osteopathic thinking and treatment, and hands-on techniques. Students go through a range of written and practical assessments each year to help to prepare them to take on the important role of a health practitioner.

What conditions can an osteopath treat?

Osteopath’s can treat a wide range of conditions including: 

  • Neck and back pain
  • Headaches
  • Arthritis
  • Shoulder and elbow pain
  • Pelvic, hip and leg pain
  • Tendon injury
  • Pregnancy-related pain and postural problems
  • Minor sports injuries including ligament and muscle strains

And so much more…

What happens during an appointment with an osteopath?

During a typical appointment, osteopaths carry out a clinical assessment, discuss your medical history and symptoms with you, diagnose, and apply hands-on therapy and other treatment techniques. We also provide postural, workplace, diet, exercise, stress-management and lifestyle advice.

What treatment techniques do osteopaths use?

Depending on your symptoms, some of the treatment methods we may use include:

  • Soft tissue massage
  • Spinal manipulation
  • Articulation and mobility of joints and muscles
  • Muscle energy work – encouraging muscles to work against resistance

Got more questions about osteopathy? You can always give us a call on 9078 2455 and we’ll get back to you as soon as we can!

References:

  1. Better Health Channel (2022). Osteopathy. [Online]. https://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/health/conditionsandtreatments/osteopathy Available at: (Accessed 23 March 2022).

INJURY BLOG: MEDIAL EPICONDYLITIS (GOLFER’S ELBOW)

You may have heard of tennis elbow, but are you familiar with its counterpart, golfer’s elbow? Both are tendon injuries; the connective tissue that attaches muscle to bone. So what’s the difference? This problem in the outer elbow is known as tennis elbow (lateral epicondylitis), while golfer’s elbow (medial epicondylitis) is located in the inner elbow and forearm.

Read on to learn more about the causes and symptoms of golfer’s elbow, and how it is treated.

What causes golfer’s elbow?

Firstly, you don’t have to be an avid golfer to develop it! It’s an overuse injury caused by any repetitive movement of the wrist, hand and forearm.

Besides overdoing it on the golf course, what are the types of activities that may cause golfer’s elbow?

  • Racket sports like tennis or squash – gripping a racket that is too heavy or too light. Make sure you check your technique as well.
  • Weight training with poor technique causes you to overwork the tendons and muscles of the arms.
  • Ball sports: repeatedly throwing a ball in sports such as bowling, softball and baseball.
  • Manual labour: painting, plumbing, and construction work that involves forceful and repetitive movements cause golfer’s elbow. Doing repetitive work using tools like hammers or screwdrivers may also cause it.
  • Computer work: frequently typing on a keyboard and using a mouse with a poor ergonomic set up.

What are the symptoms of golfer’s elbow?

There are some common symptoms you may experience if you have golfer’s elbow. It’s worth noting that the pain develops over weeks or months, often starting out as pain in the inner elbow.

You might experience pain and tenderness that radiates from the inside of the elbow down the forearm. Your elbow may be stiff or difficult to move. Although rare, there may be numbness or tingling in your fingers, or weakness in the hand and wrist also.

How is golfer’s elbow treated?

Most of the time this condition is managed at home, following simple steps used to treat tendon injuries:

Rest your arm: this one’s important! You need to give the tendon a break for a few days so that it has a chance to heal. Avoid any activity that makes the pain worse. You can gradually re-introduce these activities once the pain is under control.

Apply ice: in the initial stages of injury, ice can help to control pain. For the first few days, apply to your elbow and forearm for 15 to 20 minutes, three to four times a day. Contrary to popular belief, you want to limit ice application because the cold temperature can inhibit the natural inflammatory process the body goes through when a new injury develops. We want to allow the body to do its thing, so use ice sparingly and only early on.

How can I prevent golfer’s elbow?

  • Take regular breaks from repetitive exercises.
  • Stop any activity that causes elbow or forearm pain.
  • Learn proper techniques for exercise and sport to avoid putting extra stress on your wrists and elbows.
  • Warm up properly before you begin exercise or sports.
  • Increase your arm strength.

How can osteopathic treatment help?

Your osteopath can help you to recover from golfer’s elbow. They may use soft tissue techniques such as massage and stretching to reduce muscular tension and increase blood flow to the tendon.

They will also help you to prevent the injury from reoccurring by conducting an assessment and diagnosing the root cause. Don’t be surprised if your osteo treats your neck, mid-back and shoulder to help with this issue. These areas often need attention too!

We’ll put together a treatment plan with you to see you gradually return to your former glory. Tendon injuries like these need an approach that focusses on strength and mobility and ultimately, time.

If you are experiencing elbow pain, we are here to help! Don’t let golfer’s elbow impact your handicap. Give us a call on 9078 2455 to make an appointment.

References:

1. Higuera, V. (2018). Medial Epicondylitis (Golfer’s Elbow). [Online]. Available at: https://www.healthline.com/health/medial-epicondylitis (Accessed 19 February 2022).

2. NHS. (2020). Tendonitis. [Online]. Available at: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/tendonitis/ (Accessed 19 February 2022).

3. WebMD (2021). Golfer’s Elbow. [Online]. Available at:  https://www.webmd.com/fitness-exercise/golfers-elbow-basics (Accessed 19 February 2022).

INJURY BLOG: HAMSTRING STRAIN

Have you ever started a new running program with a little too much enthusiasm and ended up hobbling around the house, wincing when you go to sit down or stand up? A strained hamstring is the likely culprit!  The hamstring is the group of three muscles that run down the back of your thigh. It is a common sports injury, and one of the most commonly injured muscles among runners.

What are the common causes of hamstring tightness and strain?

Our hamstrings can quickly lose flexibility as we age, which makes the muscles tighter and more prone to injury. This is exacerbated when we sit for extended periods (e.g. at a desk) without taking regular breaks.

Having tight hamstrings can make you more susceptible to a strain when running or playing sports, especially if you skip the warm up before you start.

Activities that involve starting and stopping often, and sudden movements such as running, sprinting, and jumping (e.g. tennis, basketball, and football) lead to overloading of the hamstring. When the hamstring is overloaded and the muscles tear, this is known as a strain. Ramping up a fitness or running program too quickly will also increase your risk of hamstring strain.

What are the symptoms of a strained hamstring?

Hamstring injuries are graded as mild (a minor strain), moderate (a partial muscle tear), or severe (a complete muscle tear).

Common symptoms of a hamstring strain, include:

  • Pain in the back of thigh and glutes when walking or bending over.
  • Tender, bruised or swollen muscles.
  • Sudden pain or ‘popping’ during exercise.
  • With a severe tear, you will not be able to walk or stand on the affected leg.

How to treat a hamstring injury

Recovery time varies according to how severely the hamstring is strained. You should recover from a mild strain in a few days, while a moderate to severe strain may take weeks or months to heal.

For the first 2 – 3 days, follow the standard first aid protocols for muscle injuries. RICER is a common protocol to follow (there are other similar protocols):

  • Rest your leg as much as possible.
  • Ice therapy (apply ice packs for 20 minutes every two hours for the first 24 hours).
  • Compress the injured leg using tape/bandage wrapped firmly around the thigh to minimise swelling.
  • Elevate the leg using a pillow for support, as much as possible.
  • Refer – if you are unable to walk, you should seek medical attention to determine if medical imaging is required.

Most importantly, book an appointment with your osteopath to make sure your recovery time is minimised.

How can osteopathic treatment help?

Osteopathic treatment can help with muscle tightness, sprains and strains. Muscle strains are one of the most common conditions we treat in the clinic.

If you have tight hamstrings or are experiencing a hamstring strain, we may use soft tissue techniques such as massage therapy, joint manipulation and stretching to increase blood flow to the area and reduce tightness. Our hands-on treatment takes a holistic approach to healing and recovery.

We will also conduct an assessment and develop an exercise program for you, that will help you to strengthen the muscles and prevent the injury from reoccurring. We’ll have you back out there, fitter than ever!

How to prevent a hamstring strain?

When you have recovered and are ready to return to exercise, it’s important to take care to prevent the injury from reoccurring.

Some steps you can follow to minimise the risk of re-injuring the hamstring, include:

●          Warming up thoroughly and cooling down/stretching after physical activity.

●          Wearing appropriate supportive footwear.

●          Ramping up the intensity of running or physical activity slowly.

●          Taking the time to do active recovery between sessions (e.g. stretching or foam rolling).

●          Stretch and strengthen hamstrings.

If you are experiencing hamstring tightness or a strain, we are here to help! Give us a call on 9078 2455 to make an appointment.

Headaches

Whether you are stressed, dehydrated, ate an ice-cream way too quickly or are a chronic sufferer, it’s safe to say we’ve all experienced a headache or two in our day. But if you’re finding that your ‘once in a blue moon’ headache is becoming a regular visitor, it’s time to seek professional help. Osteopathy can help those suffering from chronic headaches by determining the underlying cause and treating the body as a whole. Let’s take a quick look and see how we can help you to feel your best!

What is a headache?

A headache is any pain in the head region. The pain may feel sharp, dull or throbbing. It may be isolated to one side of the head, behind the eyes or felt evenly around the head. There are over 200 types of headache and they are broadly categorised as primary or secondary.

Primary headaches occur on their own (and are not influenced by another illness). These include:

  • Tension headaches: are the most common type with mild to moderate pain. It may feel like a tight band across your head or a dull and aching pain. Tenderness in your scalp, neck and shoulders is also common.
  • Migraines: cause severe throbbing and pulsing and are typically felt on one side of the head. Migraines are usually experienced with other physical symptoms. These include nausea, vomiting, body tingles and visual issues like sensitivity to light or blind spots.
  • Cluster headaches: occur in episodic periods that range from one week to a year. They are extremely painful and typically present as striking pain behind one eye or on one side of your head. Migraine-like symptoms are common and eyes can become red, swollen and teary.

Secondary headaches are caused by another illness in the body. These vary greatly from sinusitis, concussions, to the flu or a brain freeze!

Causes

The causes of headache vary greatly! Secondary headaches have a direct link to another problem, but primary headaches commonly occur from:

  • Stress
  • Misalignment of the spine
  • Poor posture
  • Tense muscles
  • Lifestyle factors
  • Genetics

Can osteopathy help?

Our osteopaths will assess, diagnose and treat headaches. We’ll also treat other areas that can influence head pain, including the neck, jaw, shoulders and back, if necessary. This helps us get to the root cause of the issue! We use a combination of soft tissue massage, joint manipulation and stretching, and also offer lifestyle advice on exercise and posture to prevent headache frequency. Our hands-on treatment takes a holistic approach to not only treat your headaches but improve your overall quality of life. Because there’s nothing worse than a terrible headache!

Don’t put up with the pain! If you are experiencing frequent headaches, give us a call on 9078 2455 or email info@innerwesthealthclinic.com.au to book your appointment today!

References

  1. Chorley, K. (n.d.). Headaches. [Online]. Available at: https://www.iosteopathy.org/what-we-treat/headaches/ (Accessed 31 Dec 2021)
  2. Mayo Clinic. (2020). Headache. [Online]. Available at: https://www.mayoclinic.org/symptoms/headache/basics/definition/sym-20050800 (Accessed 31 Dec 2021)
  3. Better Health Channel. (2015). Headache. [Online]. Available at: https://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/health/conditionsandtreatments/headache#causes-of-headache (Accessed 31 Dec 2021)

Healthdirect (2021). Headaches. [Online]. Available at: (Accessed 31 Dec 2021) https://www.healthdirect.gov.au/headaches

The power of massage

When you hear the word ‘massage’, does your mind take you to a luxurious day spa, with essential oils and feeling your best ‘zen’ self? The problem is, you only go once in a blue moon, right? Lucky for you, massage is incorporated into our osteopathic treatment and has amazing benefits for your whole body (that extend far beyond feeling relaxed after your session!).

What is massage?

Massage has been used as a healing treatment for thousands of years and is one of the most popular alternative therapies used across the globe. Our friends at the Better Health Channel define massage as “the practice of kneading or manipulating a person’s muscles and other soft-tissue in order to improve their well-being or health”. It is a form of manual therapy that includes pressing, moving, rubbing and applying pressure to manipulate muscles, tendons and ligaments. Your osteopath will typically use their hands or elbows to perform treatment, with pressure ranging from light to deep, depending on your presenting concerns.

Here are some of the common types of massage you may see on offer around your home town or city:

  • Remedial: targeted to treat pain and injuries related to muscles, ligaments or tendons.
  • Deep tissue: uses firm pressure to release deep muscle tension and enhance recovery.
  • Sports: specific to sports injuries, it is used to enhance recovery and performance.
  • Trigger point: targeting ‘knots’ or areas of tenderness in the muscle to reduce pain locally or in other parts of the body.

Massage and osteopathic treatment

Osteopathy uses massage to help treat a range of musculoskeletal concerns which include sport injuries, repetitive strain injuries, temporomandibular joint (TMJ) pain and tennis or golfers elbow. It is also used in the treatment of other health issues like chronic headaches, posture problems, stress-related tension or pregnancy-related pain (just to name a few!). As osteos, we look to provide a holistic treatment that not only enhances recovery of a particular area but your overall health as well.

Massage and osteopathy work well together and provide a range of benefits for your entire body (see below!). The exact combination of therapy methods is determined after a thorough assessment to make sure the treatment is right for you!

Benefits

The benefits of massage extend beyond just relaxation — that’s why we love it! Applying pressure to your muscles, tendons and ligaments helps circulate blood flow and flush toxins from your body. By releasing certain areas, we can improve joint mobility and flexibility, which also helps to relieve pain, restore damaged tissue and enhance recovery from injury. Some other great benefits include:

  • Future injury prevention
  • Reducing heart rate
  • Minimising fatigue
  • Managing chronic pain
  • Improving athletic performance
  • Improving immune system and digestion
  • Releasing endorphins and improving mood
  • Reduction in stress and anxiety
  • Increased energy and overall well-being

If your body is feeling tight and stiff or if you’re experiencing any niggles or pain and simply want to feel your best, give us a call on 9078 2455, or email info@innerweshealthclinic.com.au to see first-hand the power of massage and how it can work for you!

References

  1. Massage Therapy and Spinal Manipulation. (2016). [Film]. Directed by Brent Bauer. The Great Courses. Available at: https://uts.kanopy.com/video/massage-therapy-and-spinal-manipulation (Accessed 31 Dec 2021)
  2. Ooi, S. L., Smith, L., Pak, S. C. (2018) Evidence-informed massage therapy – an Australian practitioner perspective, Complementary Therapies in Clinical Practice, 31,  pp. 325-331, ISSN 1744-3881, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ctcp.2018.04.004.
  3. Better Health. (2017). Massage. [Online]. Available at: https://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/health/conditionsandtreatments/massage#benefits-of-massage (Accessed 31 Dec 2021)
  4. Massage Therapy Reference. (2018). Effects of Massage on Body Systems. [Online]. Available at: https://www.massagetherapyreference.com/effects-of-massage-therapy/ (Accessed 31 Dec 2021)
  5. Burgan, B. (2016). How Can Massage Help My Health and Wellbeing? [Online]. Available at: https://www.takingcharge.csh.umn.edu/explore-healing-practices/massage-therapy/how-can-massage-help-my-health-and-wellbeing (Accessed 31 Dec 2021)

Tips for your home workout

One of the positive things to come out of extended periods of lockdown over the course of the COVID-19 pandemic is it has given people chance to get in touch with their bodies. With gyms closed at various times, the home workout became the choice for many. Those who previously decided to give exercise a miss because of busy schedules, suddenly had the chance to jump into some form of daily exercise routine, even if it was time-restricted in some way.

Whether you are a long-time fitness fanatic, recent convert, or are only now thinking of getting yourself in shape, we’ve put together some pointers on how to make your home workout an enjoyable, safe and beneficial part of daily life. Follow these tips and you’ll soon be wondering why you haven’t been doing it all your life!

Get advice

Fitness doesn’t have to cost the earth, but we fully recommend getting some advice from a professional (ahem… like us!) before you get into a full-blown routine, especially if you are new to fitness or working out regularly. The beauty of seeing your osteopath before getting started on this path is we can assess your bodily movements and discuss with you your expectations and aspirations. Some time and money spent with a movement specialist (like us!) before you start can greatly decrease your chances of early injury and a huge setback in your plan to donning the best bod in town! Depending on your past medical history and current health issues, some forms of exercise may not be 100% suited to you, so getting advice on this can also be beneficial to reduce risk of flaring up an old injury or making a current one worse. Consider this option (seriously). It will be money well spent and you won’t regret it.

Go all in

If you want to succeed with exercise, you should go all in from the beginning. What we mean by this is that it needs to become part of your daily life… part of your routine. It’s possible to start seeing and feeling some very positive results quickly if you exercise regularly and make it part of your weekly schedule. If you exercise or workout just once every 10 days (or just very irregularly), you are unlikely to see positive results (including increased strength, decreased pain and physical changes in your body) very quickly, if at all. If you want a benchmark to aim for each week, the World Health Organisation recommends the following for adults:

  • At least 150-300 minutes of moderate aerobic exercise; or
  • At least 75-150 minutes of vigorous aerobic exercise, per week
  • Moderate or greater intensity muscle strengthening exercises for 2+ days a week

Take home point is… GO ALL IN! It’s time to invest in your health.

Diet is key

If you’ve taken the step to start improving your health by ramping up your exercise regime, it is highly recommended you eat a balanced, clean diet as well. This will help to maximise the effects of exercise, help you maintain a healthy weight / lose weight (if required), and reap the benefits of a healthy body and mind. Make no mistake, working out hard to then go and stuff yourself with processed, fast foods and chocolate is completely counterproductive. When you work out, your body undergoes change at a tissue level. For example, muscle fibres tear and then repair following exercise. For repair to take place, the body needs all the good stuff, including protein, vitamins, minerals, and much more. You can’t get the right stuff from rubbish food. We can help you get on track with your diet if you need some help… it’s all part of the service.

Water, water, water!

When we push our bodies during exercise, we sweat, and place demands on the various tissues that make up the body. Chemical reactions take place left, right and centre. All of which require water to work. We become dehydrated, and unless we replace that water (remember the human body cannot produce water on its own), we stay dehydrated, processes start to break down, you feel sluggish and low on energy, and everything is pretty much rubbish. Then you won’t feel like you want to exercise! So, drink lots of water, especially during and after exercise to replace the stores of water in your body that you inevitably lose. This will keep your body ticking along nicely and keep your mind fresh and alert and ready for the next set of squats and lunges!

Don’t ignore pain

Exercise can be very enjoyable. Sure, when you push yourself hard, it might hurt a little inside. You may wake up the following day a little sore (this is normal) and sorer the day after that (this is also normal), but exercise should never be “ouch” painful. If it is, something is wrong, and you should stop. The chances are you are performing a movement incorrectly, or something in the way your body moves needs to be assessed and corrected to ensure you are able to perform the movement properly without placing undue strain on the joints and muscles. It’s easy to think to yourself ‘no pain no gain’, but this statement causes many people more problems than it’s worth. Ignoring pain can lead to significant injury, setbacks in your exercise journey and a very unhappy you. Not to mention possibly having to take time off work while you recover and not being able to pick your kids up and run around with them. Don’t take a chance on pain. We revert you to tip one on this blog… Get advice from your osteo!

So… are you ready to change your life for the better, forever? If you are and want to get some advice, please call us today on 9078 2455 and let’s get cracking!

References

  1. World Health Organisation. 2020. WHO guidelines on physical activity and sedentary behaviour. [Online]. Available from: https://www.who.int/publications/i/item/9789240015128. Accessed 06 Oct 2021.

Injury blog: Bone fractures

You’ve fractured a bone.” Probably the last thing anyone wants to hear when the doctor or nurse in the emergency department approaches you following an x-ray. Not two hours earlier, you’ve gone into a 50/50 challenge on the pitch with an opponent and came out feeling something wasn’t quite right. Who would have thought a simple, unintended stamp on the foot could lead to so much pain?!

Sometimes it is obvious you have fractured a bone. If you have an accident or fall and look down and your immediate reaction is hmm… my leg or wrist is usually much straighter than that, then there is a good chance you have fractured a bone. Other times, it may not be so obvious. Take for example the stamp on the foot scenario above or taking an impact into the ribs or spine. These may not leave your body deformed, but it doesn’t mean a fracture hasn’t occurred. There are usually some tell-tale signs and symptoms that go alongside a traumatic event. Pain and not being able to use the body part as you normally would are big ones. There may also be evidence of bruising or swelling, although these do not always appear right away.

What is a fracture?

A fracture is a broken bone. Many people think fractured and broken bones are different, but they are not. As we move around this world in our own little human way, our bodies are subjected to forces acting upon them from the environment around us. Most of the time we don’t even notice these forces acting upon us as our bodies just soak them up as we go about our daily tasks. If the forces increase in strength (E.g. an angry opponent taking you out on the rugby field while you are running at top speed), we may then notice them. Ouch! If the force becomes too great for our bodies to handle, that’s when more serious injury occurs. For a muscle, tendon or ligament, a tear or rupture occurs. When bone is involved, it fractures. Bones can fracture in many ways, with some being more serious than others.

Types of fracture

There are many different types of bone fracture. Let’s get familiar with them, as the lingo can help you to understand what has happened:

  • Simple / closed: The bone breaks without breaking through the skin.
  • Compound / open: The bone breaks through the skin. There is a high risk of infection with these types of fractures.
  • Non-displaced / stable: The bone breaks but the pieces maintain alignment.
  • Displaced / unstable: The bone breaks and the pieces lose alignment. Unstable fractures usually require surgery to correct.
  • Transverse: The break occurs straight across the shaft of the bone.
  • Linear: The break occurs straight along the shaft of the bone.
  • Oblique: The break occurs diagonally across the shaft of the bone.
  • Spiral: The fracture line twists around the bone shaft, usually the result of a strong twisting force placed on the bone.
  • Comminuted: There are several bone fragments — a complicated and serious!
  • Impacted: Two parts of a bone are driven into one another.
  • Greenstick: Seen in children where the skeleton is still quite flexible and has not transitioned completely from cartilage to bone. This is a partial fracture where one side of the bone breaks, but the other side stays intact.
  • Compression: Most seen in the spine where two vertebrae are forced against one another leading to collapse of the body of the bones.
  • Stress: An overuse injury. A small, repetitive stress is placed on a bone over and over until a small crack appears. These can then progress if left untreated.
  • Avulsion: These occur when a forceful muscle contraction creates a strong pull, breaking away the bone underlying the tendon of the muscle.
  • Pathological: These are fractures that occur due to the presence of an underlying medical condition such as cancer or osteoporosis.

There are a lot of words, but as an example, it is possible to have a non-displaced transverse fracture of your femur (thighbone). It is also possible to have a displaced transverse fracture of your femur. The difference being the two parts of the bone remain aligned in one, but not aligned in the other.

Can my osteo help?

We can absolutely help you recover from a bone fracture. We are unlikely to be your first port of call when you fracture a bone unless the underlying cause of your pain is a stress fracture. We do often see these before they are diagnosed by an x-ray or bone scan. Most people end up in the emergency department of a hospital following a fracture, and then once the initial period of healing is over, they will consult an osteopath for further help. Following a fracture, the muscles and joints close to the break will have been affected, decreasing your ability to move that body part. This is where we come in!

Recently fractured a bone and have been given the all-clear to start rehabilitating? Consult us today by calling 9078 2455. We’ll see your bones (and the rest of you) back to full health!

References

  1. Australian Orthopaedic Association. 2021. A break in a bone is a ‘fracture’. [Online]. Available from: https://www.aoa.org.au/for-patients/wonder-of-movement/bone-fractures. Accessed 09 October 2021.
  2. Health Direct. 2020. Fractures. [Online]. Available from: https://www.healthdirect.gov.au/fractures. Accessed 09 October 2021.
  3. Brukner, P. and Khan, K. 2017. Clinical Sports Medicine. Australia: McGraw Hill Education.

Arthritis: Osteo- or Rheumatoid?

Every October 12th marks World Arthritis Day, a campaign to raise awareness for people with rheumatic and musculoskeletal conditions across the globe. There are many forms of arthritis, each with their own features and ways they affect the body. ‘Arthritis’ is an umbrella term used to describe any condition that affects the joints of the body and is derived from ‘arth’ meaning joint, and ‘itis’ meaning inflammation. Something a lot of people do not realise is there are over 100 different types of arthritis.

Here’s a quick-fire guide to two of the most common types of arthritis… Osteoarthritis (OA) and Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA). These conditions are often mistaken for each other in the general population but are two very different conditions.

Osteoarthritis (OA)

OA is a chronic, progressive condition that commonly affects the spine, hands, hips, knees, and ankles. Its main feature is the breakdown of the cartilage that lines the ends of bones in a joint. The underlying bone and surrounding muscles, ligaments and tendons also become affected and gradually degenerate over time. This condition is often referred to as ‘wear and tear’ of a joint, but more accurately it is result of the body trying to constantly repair itself due to excessive strains being placed on the joints due to poor stability and movement of the body.

Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA)

RA is a chronic, autoimmune disease that commonly affects the hands, feet (i.e. small joints) and spine. This condition is driven by the body’s immune system attacking its own tissues. This leads to widespread and permanent degeneration and destruction of the joint tissues, and a characteristic deformity of joints, particularly those of the fingers and toes. RA is a body-wide condition that also affects the nerves and organs of the body, including the heart, lungs and eyes.

Who does it affect?

OA can affect people of all ages but is more common in those aged 45 years and over, and is most common in people who are 75 years and above. People who are overweight and obese are more likely to develop this condition, and there is more chance of having this problem if there is a family history. Injury and repetitive day-to-day movements are also contributing factors.

RA is also most common in those aged 75 and up. The onset of this condition usually occurs anywhere between the ages of 35-65. There is a strong genetic link with this disease, so if there is history in your family, there is a higher chance that you will also develop this condition.

Both conditions affect women more than men.

Signs & symptoms

Both OA and RA share the following joint symptoms:

  • Inflammation and pain
  • Swelling
  • Stiffness
  • Loss of function

There are some differences in presentation though. Whereas OA usually affects joints on one side of the body, RA commonly affects both sides at the same time. OA is also more likely to affect the larger joints like the hip and knee, whereas RA most commonly affects the small joints of the hands and feet.

As already discussed, RA also affects other systems of the body, so you are more likely to experience symptoms relating to the nerves, heart, lungs (and other organs) and eyes with this condition.

Treatments

As it stands there is no cure for either condition. There are treatments for both conditions which help to manage and slow the progression of symptoms.

OA is best helped by leading a healthy lifestyle, keeping your weight in check, moving regularly and well, and staying in touch with your osteopath on a regular basis ?. Seriously, osteopathic treatment is a safe and effective way of managing joint pain relating to OA, so we highly recommend coming in for a consultation so we can put a plan in place and help you manage the condition going forward. You don’t have to do this alone! We can also help to advise on the use of movement aids, including the use of walking sticks, frames, braces and orthotics.

If you have been diagnosed with RA, it is likely you will be under the care of a rheumatologist who will help you to manage your condition medically alongside your GP. RA also requires you to stay flexible and strong, so exercise is an important part of your treatment. Osteopaths can also help people with RA. We can work with you to ensure your joints move well so you can retain function into your later years.

Do you have a diagnosis of arthritis? We are your people! Call us today on 9078 2455 to book your consultation.