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Peninsula Physiotherapy and Health
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|Sitting Up Straight| A mental battle, not a physical one.
Are you sitting up straight?
Forget whether or not you can be perfect.
Today's modern environment almost makes this impossible. Years of computers, chairs, commuting, couches and any other sitting-related activities starting with the letter 'c' have left us stiff and relatively weak.
If fostered for long enough, these gradual physical changes can make trying to reclaim a good position feel a little uncomfy.
So don't worry if you're not a perfect postural specimen just yet.
The focus needs to be on whether or not you are trying to be a BETTER postural specimen.
The body forever adapts to what we ask it to do. It responds to constant pestering - both good and bad (unfortunately).
With a little TLC its reasonable to expect your body to improve.
But this is the issue.
It's not too difficult to sit up straighter and pull your shoulders further back. It's obviously simple to do.
The main thing holding most people back from completely re-wiring their lifelong postural habits is simply whether or not you can be bothered...
That's it.
Most people fail in their quest for postural world domination purely because it's a pain in the ass to commit to.
We can start out with the best intentions but as soon as we become engrossed in what it is that we are doing it's easy for the body to default back to it's habitual shapes - it saves energy and effort.
But if we care at all about being pain free and supple we just have to persist.
It's a famous slogan but admitting you have a problem is the first step to rectifying it.
So please keep it up.
Take the first step and then just keep repeating it. Up tall, shoulders back.
Up tall, shoulders back.
Up tall, shoulders back.
Rinse and repeat. Persist.
It's a lifelong commitment that we all (unfortunately) will share at some point if we value our long term physical wellbeing.
Good luck and don't stress - we find it just as annoying as everyone else does!
#sittingisthenewsmoking #posture #backpain #neckpain #shoulderpain #injury
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Heeled Shoes | An Excellent Way To Ruin A Good Ankle
Take a moment to consider your footwear.
How much of a heel are you packing?
It might surprise you to know that any heel differential at the back of the shoe is evil.
Sneakily evil.
For some reason we have decided that almost every shoe needs a heel, despite our bare feet having the necessary amount already built in.
This is vitally important because the size of the heel is the EXACT amount of ankle flexibility we don't get a chance to use.
And as the old adage goes - if you don't use it, you lose it.
Ankle stiffness is a symptom that we reference consistently throughout these posts because it lays the foundation for so many of our unnecessary leg issues.
Achilles dysfunction, Plantar Fasciitis, Shin Splints, flat arches, knee pain, hip impingement etc. are all heavily influenced by stiff ankles.
These tissues are loaded poorly as the entire leg is forced to 'go around' the stiffness.
So please take a good hard look at the shoes you expose your feet to on a daily basis.
If they are anything other than flat, then your ankles may have started to become unnecessarily stiff over recent weeks, months or years.
You may not be experiencing any direct ankle pain as a result, but you won't be immune to it's effects.
The bottom position of the squat is a great way to gauge how stiff your ankles are. If you can't get down there comfortably with your feet straight, heels down, knees out and no tendency to want to fall backwards - then you have some ankle restriction.
If you value performance or even just want to function well and injury-free long in to the future, then this is one of THE most important environmental factors to consider and potentially change.
*It's important to note that if you have spent a long time in heeled shoes an immediate jump to a flat shoe may cause some initial discomfort. Work hard on freeing up those ankles so that the transition is a smooth one. Try gradually reducing the height of the heel each time you are due for a new pair.
Let us know how you go in the COMMENTS.
Please continue to LIKE, SHARE and COMMENT on our posts as it helps them to get out beyond our little community.
It's much appreciated.
#anklestiffness #kneepain #anklepain #hipimpingement #FAI #shinsplints #achillespain #plantarfasciitis
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Swollen? Say hello to Compression Flossing!

If you follow our posts you will know that we are recently talking all things swelling.

Our most recent post discussed the need to incorporate responsible, pain-free movement into our initial rehab in order to access the body's natural swelling-removal system, the Lymphatics.

Without movement swelling won't go anywhere.

Further to this, we mentioned that today we wanted to let you in on a revolutionary new technique that's gaining some huge traction in injury rehab.

Calling something revolutionary can often come across as a little tacky and, let's face it - a little full of sh!t - but this one is legitimate.

So much so, that the need to ice an injury is becoming defunct.

It's THAT good. And it's simple.

So without further ado, we present to you...

Compression Flossing.

Compression flossing is something that's originated recently from the States with its roots lying somewhere within the Powerlifting community.

The idea is to take some strong elastic (theraband will do to a degree) and wrap the desired area up tightly - without being so tight as to impact your circulation.

Once wrapped, we simply follow the idea of our previous post and move.

Again, the tag line here is "responsible pain-free movement."

As we discussed prior, movement helps facilitate the body's passive removal of swelling, which when compressed tightly with elastic - will supercharge this process.

The tight elastic compression with movement also helps to sheer free any restrictions to create a more mobile area.

There is some strong thinking out there that the majority of pain that we experience when injured isn't so much from the injured/inflammed tissue itself, but moreso from the compression of that injured/inflammed tissue by the swelling.

So the faster we can help the body through the swollen stage, the faster we can be free of pain and restriction.

Pain still plays an important role in injury as it lets us know where our limits are, but with Compression Flossing we seem to be able to speed this process up significantly.

So if you are recently injured, have persistent swelling or are injury-free and just want to feel and move better, grab some theraband and give it go.

Take the area through whatever range of motion it can tolerate, walk on it if applicable or simply just tense and squeeze the relevant muscles in the area. Just move and do it for a few minutes.

It's completely safe to try provided you don't wrap it up too tightly. If it feels too tight, it's too tight. If after a few minutes you feel like it's time to take it off, take it off. Listen to what your body is telling you.

There is a whole new range of strong elastic compression on the market for this very reason - which we do stock - but for all intents and purposes plain old theraband (not theratube) works a treat.

Please give it a go and let us know your thoughts in the COMMENTS.

You won't be disappointed!

*Please note: The nature of these posts are relatively generic so please be mindful that you will have your own set of individual circumstances specific to your injury. This shouldn't be a substitute for a face to face consult with your health professional.

#swelling #injury #rehabilitation #compression #compressionfloss #voodoofloss
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Calf Injuries | Your BACK and/or ANKLE need a strong talking to.

Calf injuries are persistent beasts.

The calf itself is a strong workhorse of a muscle that often deals with our entire body weight as we step from leg to leg.

So it can handle a lot... until it can't.

One of the tricky things with any calf problem is that one of the biggest factors that influences its health and function is almost the furthest thing away from it.

The low back.

If your low back becomes stiff through poor postures and positions, it can pass that restriction on to the Sciatic Nerve.

This is important as the nerve runs straight down the back of your leg and down in to the calf.

Any increase in tension through this system can increase the chances of an injury as it forces a change in the way the calf is loaded.

Similarly, if we look much closer to home we often see ankle joint stiffness associated with calf dysfunction.

The idea here is that as soon as any ankle joint restriction is introduced it forces the leg as a whole to have to "go around" that restriction.

Instead of the ankle acting predominantly as a hinge, its forced to a become a hinge with a twist. Keep this up and its no surprise to see the tissue around it suffer.

With this in mind, it's important to note that despite calf injuries generally being seen as an "old man's" injury, this is absolutely not the case.

Without these likely predisposing factors, we should all be allowed to age gracefully and not dysfunctionally.

So keep an eye out for some low back and/or ankle restriction. Eliminate that and not only should your calf settle faster, but you may just see the end of it for good!

Any calf injury sufferers out there? Let us know in the COMMENTS.

#calfinjury #calftear #running #jumping #basketball #triathlon
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| Can you brace your spine properly? |

This is a very, very important idea.

One of THE most fundamental things the body does to prepare for movement or loading is spinal bracing.

In a perfect world this should happen automatically, but years of sitting, slouching and poor movement habits have left our trunks weak and inactive - leaving us prone to back pain and dysfunction.

It's extremely important that we return some conscious control to this action so that we can brace effectively when moving and lifting and eliminate any unnecessary poor loading of the spine.

Excitingly, the better your bracing mechanism is the better your body will function. So say hello to lifting more weight, running faster and generally performing better.

It's no secret that the best athletes in the world tend to have amazing core function and strength.

So, do you know how to brace your spine effectively?

At this point it's important to make a clear distinction. Having conscious control over your bracing mechanism is different to how strong that mechanism is.

There's less benefit to a strong core if that strength is not being used correctly when needed.

So how do we brace?

Simple.

First, try lying down in a comfy position.

Next, take a nice deep breath in through your tummy (diaphragmatic breath), and then exhale fully.

Now once you have let all the air out try and gently draw your entire tummy in towards your spine.

You have just created a bracing mechanism.

As you begin to breathe in again try and maintain that same gentle activation.

If you haven't done this before it may take a little practice to dissociate your bracing from your breathing but persist as it's important.

We don't want you sacrificing a well braced spine just because your breathing.

If you can maintain that braced position AND it's happening independent to your breathing, then congratulations! You have the basics of a well braced spine.

From here we need to make sure you can maintain a well braced position as you move about your daily life. Again, all whilst independently breathing.

Can you maintain it when you walk?

How about when you sing?

What about when running or lifting weights?

Again, it's important to remember that if you can't stay well braced and breathe comfortably in any position, then you do not own that position.

You might be able to run fast or lift heavy, but you're not doing it to the best of your ability.

If you have a back issue then it's VITALLY important to master these basic concepts. It's a non-negotiable.

And if your back is giving you grief it's ill-advised to progress through the myriad of core strength exercises before mastering this action.

The whole point of rehabilitating a back problem is RE-TRAINING the body so the circumstances that led you to this point are forever changed.

So please give this a go.

It's such a simple, yet mindblowingly important skill to master.

It is literally the foundation from which your entire body is built upon.

Let us know how you went in the COMMENTS if possible.

*Please note: The Tranversus Abdominus (TA) mucle is often mentioned when discussing core strength, but what we are finding is that it may not be as important to isolate one muscle from the rest of your trunk musculature in order to brace for correct movement. We are finding that it's a general trunk action, which falls in line with other holistic body mechanical principles. The body doesn't move single muscles in isolation, it moves as a system of muscles that work together.

#corestrength #backpain #lowbackpain #chronicpain #transversusabdominus #injuryrehabilitation
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Hamstring Issues? It's a back thing.

Hamstring problems plague athletes of any level.

They tend not to discriminate - they're very noble like that.

They are hugely common amongst our recreational athletes, but despite all our advances in Sports Medicine over the years, the rate of injury hasn't really shifted.

And our awareness of why these things happen hasn't progressed.

In the AFL alone, the incident rate of Hamstring injury essentially hasn't shifted in 10 years.

We have become very good at rehabilitating a Hamstring injury, but not preventing or stopping them from recurring.

And it's essentially because of one major thing.

A Hamstring issue is not just a Hamstring issue...

It's a back issue.

Rarely will you see someone experiencing some type of Hamstring complaint that also has a perfectly functioning low back. It just doesn't seem to happen. And for good reason.

The low back can influence Hamstring function in a few simple ways.

One of the most basic functions of the trunk itself is to become a strong, stable platform for our arms and legs to function from.

If our bracing mechanisms aren't adequate (or even non-existent) then our body will recruit other structures to try and find that stability.

Essentially, with poor core stability (not just strength) our Hamstrings tighten to become part of the solution. Their primary Hamstring-related function is sacrificed for the greater good.

This is great for creating a more stable trunk, but not great if you want your Hamstrings to still function as Hamstrings.

Put these over-tensioned Hammys into your chosen athletic pursuit and we now have a mechanism for injury.

Similarly, stiffness in the low back can create just as many issues.

The Sciatic Nerve originates from the lowest segments of the low back and travels down the back of the leg where your Hamstrings are located.

The nerve itself should floss smoothly through any and all structures that it passes through. Think of a well lubricated machine.

Guess what happens if that nerve becomes stiff at it's origin? That's right, the Hamstrings now have to deal with that change in tension and load.

These two factors aren't necessarily obvious as they generally aren't associated with low back pain. They are simply things that will change the demands on the Hamstring even before we add running, sprinting and bending over.

To broaden this idea, all we are essentially referencing is one really boring idea...

"Do you sit in a good position? Yes or No?"

Sitting is obviously not the only factor but often these low back issues stem from what we spend most of our time doing - which unfortunately is sitting for most people.

If you rarely sit and still have some Hamstring issues, then there will still be times throughout the day where a) you're not bracing your spine well enough or b) are still creating a hinge in that low back ie. leaning over for long periods.

It must be said that we absolutely need to rehab the Hamstring and keep it strong and supple, but if we don't have adequate spinal bracing or are consistently warehousing low back spinal stiffness, then all we are doing is treating the symptoms and not the very simple, fixable cause.

So if you, or someone you know is having trouble with their Hamstrings, please keep this in mind.

Everyone hates hearing about good postures and positioning because it's just such an unsexy topic, but any self-respecting athlete or sportsperson can't ignore it forever. It has real consequences.

Good luck!

#hamstringinjury #hamstringtear #running #sprinting
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Unique first patient this morning!

Unfortunately a few hot spots involved, but with some hard work and increased experience hopefully we'll see their physical capacities evolve.

We'll battle on together regardless and see where we end up in the gym.

Quite a few areas to mobilise, but as we all know, you've gotta stretch 'em all...

#PokemonGo #badpokemonpuns
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| How well can you bend BACKWARDS? |

Looking for a sign of a healthy spine?

Try bending backwards and see how it feels.

On a scale of supple to rusty door hinge where would you be?

When bending backwards we tend to bias our spinal joints - they close down as we extend.

Any stiffness you may feel is a sign of poor loading in our everyday lives.

Poor postures and positions force these tissues to stiffen and adapt to cope.

If you can barely move backwards or feel things bunch up back there then we have some work to do.

Grab a tennis or lacrosse ball and lie down, go hunting for those restricted areas and spend some time pressing in to them.

Once you find the right spots you'll be pleasantly surprised at how easy it is to make change.

Keep re-testing your back bend to gauge how effective this self-treatment is.

Don't get too hung up on how far you can actually go (it's often hard to judge on your own anyway), but definitely take note of HOW it feels.

Remember: A healthy spine should not feel like it jams up back there. It should not feel tight and most definitely should not feel sore or uncomfortable.

And as always keep an eye on those daily postures - as yawn-inducing as it tends to be.

Good luck!

#backpain #posture #sittingisthenewsmoking
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|Persistent Patella Tendonitis| What you might be missing.

Patella Tendonitis can be hard to eliminate quickly and for those finding it hard to do so - read on.

You might be missing one crucial piece of the puzzle.

And here's a hint...

It rhymes with... umm... Yack Sickness?

Anyway...

The tendon at the front of the knee often becomes overloaded and sore for athletes who run and jump consistently.

But because running and jumping are innate human skills they should never create a problem on their own - only expose one.

So what's the deal?

This is where your back becomes important.

We often find that most athletes suffering from Patella Tendonitis also have an associated stiffness in the upper segments of their lower back.

Unsurprisingly, these segments form the majority of the Femoral Nerve that runs directly down through the Quadriceps at the front of the thigh that attaches to the Patella.

Stiffness in these segments essentially pulls the slack from the nerve and increase the tension through the whole anterior segment.

This of course culminates in greater resting load through the Patella tendon.

With this in mind we can start to see how a knee can suddenly become sore when loaded further.

Don't just take our word for it test it out yourself.

Lie on a foam roller or rolled up towel and place it a little higher than your belt line - just below the base of your ribcage.

Go hunting for that low back stiffness.

If your Patella tendon issues have thus far been persistent, you may hopefully be pleasantly surprised.

Low back stiffness in this area also plays a strong role in Quadricep tears, hip flexor dysfunction and general day-to-day anterior stiffness and tightness.

Even if your Patella tendons are immaculate a supple low back will strongly influence how well your legs function.

So give it a go!

Please LIKE, SHARE these posts around. Your help is much appreciated!

#patellatendonitis #kneepain #patellatendonopathy #running #triathlon
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|Hip Stabilisers| Unlock some of your hidden power and performance

Hip stabiliser strength is not something that we overtly notice - we're not supposed to.

A good functioning hip is a boring one. We should almost forget that we have a "hip" at all. Things should just happen behind the scenes.

An absence of hip stabiliser strength is not necessarily something we can pick up on either.

You may not feel "weak" especially if you're not looking for it at all.

But what you will notice is improving from weak, poor functioning hip stabilisers to BETTER ones.

You'll notice a BIG difference in fact, or at least you should.

The hip joint itself is essentially a ball and socket joint. The bony socket is relatively deep and made even deeper by the Acetabular labrum. Both contribute to hip stability in a passive sense.

Actively we rely heavily on our hip rotators - the most recognisable of which is the Piriformis - for good movement.

These deeper muscles help facilitate strong, stable and efficient hip movement by creating a rotational force at the joint.

To understand what we mean, try this:

Stand up tall with your feet straight.

Without letting your big toes lift, try outwardly screwing your hips in to the ground.

What you should notice is that some deep hip muscles fire up.

You may also notice your knees rotate outwards and the arches in your feet should lift.

If so, you have just created a strong stable lower leg.

This technique also tends to give us a sense of greater connection with the surface we are standing on - almost like a tree creating an underground root system.

If in a sport that requires maintaining a strong foothold, this is a way to help make you a more immovable object.

If you were to then squat from this position, you will notice that your knees are now 'out'.

This basic concept underpins all lower leg movements, and a loss of this inherent capacity has profound ramifications for your low back and down into your knees and feet.

Poor hip stabiliser strength has strong clinical links to low back pain, hip impingement, ACL tears, shin splints, Achilles injury, Plantar Fasciitis etc.

When performing any lower leg exercise with your feet on the ground, it is vitally important that we practice creating this rotational tension. Its importance is similar to that of consistently trying to activate your core when exercising.

We want strong, stable joints and levers.

By training your body to include these deep stabilisers, we are effectively improving the overall function of your lower half.

And with improved leg mechanics we should see a rise in overall strength, running speeds and endurance, evasiveness, ability to break tackles and basically anything else that requires your hip to function.

Good Luck!

#hipstrength #running #squatting #jumping #ACL #kneepain #FAI #sportsinjuries #lowbackpain
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