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There is nothing worse than not knowing how to treat your back pain when you are struck with acute back pain.

Acute back pain is the sudden onset of immobilising back pain. In most cases there has been back ache previously, but the most ‘normal’ movements can trigger debilitating pain e.g. bending to tie a shoe lace, brushing your teeth or making the bed.

What Causes The Pain?

The acute onset of pain is the response to a ‘normal’ movement which (on this occasion) the body sees as a threat. What happens is that the ‘movement’ causes one of vertebrae slightly shearing across another. The nerves in the area send a panic response to the brain, which in turn sends chaotic messages from the muscles in that specific area to either rotate, flex, extend, side-bend and spasm. It is total chaos and excruciatingly painful.

What Do I Do When It First Happens?

How bad the pain will be depends on the amount of muscles in spasm. If all you can do is lie there, try to get onto all fours. Next try to stand. I remember crawling to a corner and using the wall to stand up against, the presence of the other corner wall gave me the confidence to ‘let go’ of one wall with a hand and transfer it to another. I believe that confidence brings relaxation which in turn will help lessen the muscle spasm and help with pain reduction.

Sometimes I found it easier to push myself up into a standing position by pushing down onto my thighs. Once you are upright try to walk a little, as it becomes easier extend the amount to time walking. The action of walking normalises the response from the brain to the muscles and it time it will settle.

Believe me; I’ve experienced the most horrific back pain so I really know how back pain makes you feel and the fear of it re-occurring….

What’s next?

Initially, if the pain is very bad lie down. Bed rest is fine providing your bed is firm and supportive. The floor is good, however, many people experience the scenario of ‘once you’re down there you can’t get up’

  • Taking an anti-inflammatory medication (tablets or gel) may help by reducing inflammation and pain-control to allow further mobilisation and stretching.
  • Ice the area
  • If it really bad and you are unable to move bed rest for 1 or 2 days may help, but remember if you do not work the muscles they will loose tone- even after 48hours.

Often you get re-occurrence of acute episodes and in time you can end up with a serious and debilitating back issue with other complications. Prevention (as always) is better than cure.

I find myself dealing with chronic and acute back on a very regular basis. Initial deep tissue work and minor adjustments will bring about an instant response of releasing tension, couple that with the knowledge of how to strengthen and protect your back you could have even greater confidence and knowledge to minimise the severity and frequency of acute back pain.

If you require body-work, physical therapy to reduce pain, alleviate symptoms, re-gain mobility and prevent further problems I can help. BOOK YOUR TREATMENT HERE

Are you over-training?  Is Your Body Under Stress?

Do you know the difference between being just a little tired or on a down-cycle, and being legitimately run down or over tired? One of the biggest challenges to achieving your fitness goals is consistency.

Juggling your training with enough sleep and rest, as well as the ‘perfect’ nutritional diet is hard enough, but add to that your work-life, your personal/ home life and suddenly it gets more tricky! So, how do you keep up the pace without over doing it, becoming sick or injured?

What is over-training?

Overtraining occurs when a person experiences stress and physical trauma from exercise. The key to remember when training is that it’s the exercise that breaks your body down, but it’s the rest and recovery that makes you stronger and healthier. This doesn’t happen overnight, or as a result of one or two sessions.

We all know regular exercise is extremely beneficial to our general health and fitness, but we all must remember that improvements to our body can only occur given time.

Please note when I use the word stress I use it very ‘broadly’. Stress is stress, whether it’s a physical, mental or emotional stress, it still has the same effect on your health and well-being!

Whilst there are no specific tests per se there are quite a number of signs and symptoms to be aware of.

If you suffer from one or two of the following signs or symptoms it doesn’t automatically mean you are suffering from overtraining. However, if you recognise five or more of the following signs and symptoms, then it may be time to take a close look at the volume and intensity of your work load.

Physical Signs & Symptoms

  • Appetite loss
  • Chronic muscle soreness or joint pain
  • Decreased performance
  • Delayed recovery from exercise
  • Elevated resting pulse /heart rate
  • Exhaustion
  • Frequent minor infections
  • Increased susceptibility to colds and flu’s
  • Increases in minor injuries
  • Insatiable thirst or dehydration
  • Intolerance to exercise
  • Lethargy
  • Weight loss

Psychological Signs & Symptoms

  • Anxiety
  • Apathy or no motivation
  • Depression
  • Fatigued, tired, drained, lack of energy
  • Headaches
  • Inability to relax
  • Insomnia
  • Irritability
  • Reduced ability to concentrate
  • Twitchy, fidgety or jittery

As you can see by the number of signs and symptoms there are a lot of things to look out for. Generally the most common signs and symptoms to look for are a total loss of motivation in all areas of your life (work or career, health and fitness etc.), plus a feeling of exhaustion. Need help with ‘Emotional’ stress management ? Or Maga Relaxing treatments, click here to read more….

If these two warning signs are present, plus a couple of the other listed signs and symptoms, then it may be time to take a short rest before things get out of hand.

Sounds like you’re over training?

What do you do now? Click HERE to read more….

Cycling stretching exercises to improve your performance and do away with cycling injuries for good.

If you’re looking to improve your cycling or just seeking to prevent cycling injuries it is important to follow the information in this article. In addition, adding a few simple stretches to your fitness program will also help.

Body bits involved

Cycling requires a great deal of muscular and cardiovascular endurance. Therefore,a combination of speed, strength, and endurance work, along with flexibility training, is essential for success.

The major muscles involved in road cycling include:

  • The muscles of the legs and hips.
  • The core muscles are important for maintaining balance and power.
  • The muscles of the arms and  shoulders are important to maintain a support position on the bike when  leaning forward, as are the muscles of the hand, wrist and forearm.

Special attention must be paid to stretching the muscles after use to ensure flexibility in commonly over-used muscles.

Most Common Cycling Injuries

The list of common overuse injuries experienced by cyclists includes Plantar Fasciitis, Knee Bursitis, Iliotibial Band Syndrome (ITB), Patellar Tendonitis, Lower Back Pain, and Muscle Strains. Cyclists who experience crashes may also be subject to fractures and traumatic brain injury.

  • Iliotibial Band Syndrome  (ITB): causes  the tendon to pull the knee joint out of alignment and rub against the outside of the knee, which results in inflammation and pain. Read More….
  • Knee Bursitis: Bursitis is a condition a fluid filled sac (bursa)that cushions the tendons and ligaments where they cross the bone, become irritated and inflamed. This leads to redness, warmth, and swelling in the area. In some cases the bursa may rupture causing the fluid to leak out and impair the ability of  the bursa to cushion. Repetitive flexion and extension of the knee can cause irritation to the bursa on the outside of the knee or on the top of the knee cap. The pain will subside with rest and the inflammation usually  responds to ice and NSAIDs during rest. Flexibility training during rehabilitation helps to reduce the chance of bursitis recurring.
  • Lower Back Pain: The riding position on the bike, especially during road racing, can cause pain in the lower back due to poor posture or fatigue. Pressure on the intervertebral discs may  require medical help to relieve.
  • Muscle Strains: Muscle strains are sometimes caused by overstretching or working against an extreme load. They may also be caused by overtraining a muscle and not allowing for rest and recovery. The muscle fibres tear causing inflammation and bruising within the muscle. The resulting pain may lead to a guarding of the muscle and stiffness will set in due to scarring. Muscle strains range from severe, large numbers of fibres and a large area of the muscle, to minor, involving a small number of fibres. Rest, ice, and anti-inflammatory medication are used to treat muscle strains. (For more treatment information CLICK HERE…..)
  • Patellar Tendonitis: may be an acute injury, caused by trauma to the tendon. More commonly it is due to overuse, or incorrect pedalling form. The tendon rubs over the bone and causes inflammation that aggravates the condition, leading to a cycle of inflammation and pain. A lot of mileage during training can lead to this condition. Treatment for tendonitis includes discontinuation of the activity that caused the problem, NSAIDs, and ice.
  • Plantar Fasciitis: Foot arch pain….Read More
  • Traumatic Brain Injury: Landing on your head or being struck by another cyclist after you have fallen leads to many of the traumatic brain injuries in cycling. Always wear a helmet. Traumatic brain injury is a medical emergency and requires immediate medical attention.

Injury Prevention Strategies

Effective, efficient conditioning and safety measures are essential in injury prevention strategies of road cyclists.

  • Always warm up prior to training.
  • Allow an adequate cool down period and perform after training/competition stretching.
  • Effective cardiovascular conditioning will prevent fatigue and other overuse injuries.
  • Increasing flexibility in the muscles and joints will reduce the stress on these areas during training.
  • Keeping the bike in top riding condition and maintaining it on a regular schedule will also prevent accidents from occurring.
  • Learning proper cycling technique is important to prevent overuse injuries and those caused by improper form.
  • Stronger muscles will be able to handle the stress of longer rides better than weaker ones.
  • Wearing a helmet while riding is extremely important to prevent head injuries.

The Top 3 Cycling Stretches

Stretching is essential to overall conditioning and should be an integral part of any cycling training program. Due to the long period of time spent in the same position, stretching is very important to the cyclist.

Kneeling Upper Hip & Quad Stretch:

Kneel on one foot and the other knee. If needed, hold on to something to keep your balance and then push your hips forward.

Single Heel-drop Achilles Stretch: Stand on a raised object or step and place the ball of one foot on the edge of the step. Bend your knee slightly and let your heel drop towards the ground.

Lying Knee Roll-over Stretch: While lying on your back, bend your knees and let them fall to one side. Keep your arms out to the side and let your back and hips rotate with your knees.

 

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