Plank Progressions

Planks are great for helping to build your core muscle endurance but they do get a bit boring after a while. Check out this video if you want to challenge yourself further. Remember to squeeze your butt whilst you're planking to avoid your back taking unnecessary load which may lead to injury.

If you experience any pain, please contact our chiropractors to see if there are any areas that need addressing.

Sciatica

Sciatica describes symptoms of buttock and leg pain. This sometimes includes tingling, numbness or weakness. It originates in the lower back and travels through the buttock and down the large sciatic nerve in the back of each leg.

Common lower back problems that can cause sciatica symptoms include a lumbar herniated disc, degenerative disc disease (caused by osteoarthritis), spondylolisthesis, or spinal stenosis (caused by osteoarthritis). Sciatica isn't an actual diagnosis, it's just referring to the symptoms.  Often people refer to their back or leg pain as sciatica but if your pain isn't going below your knee, it's unlikely to be caused by your sciatic nerve, even if it's a really sharp pain. 

Sciatica Nerve Pain Characteristics

It may comprise of one or more of the following:

  • Constant pain or pain brought on by certain movements in only one side of the buttock or leg (rarely in both legs)
  • Pain that is worse when sitting, coughing, sneezing or going to the toilet 
  • Leg pain that is often described as burning, tingling, or searing as opposed to a dull ache
  • Weakness, numbness or difficulty moving the leg, foot, and/or toes
  • A sharp pain that may make it difficult to stand up or walk and pain getting in and out of a chair
  • Pain that radiates down the leg and possibly into the foot and toes 

Sciatic pain may range from being mild and occurring infrequently to excruciating and debilitating. In rare and extreme cases, where the pain is caused by a disc herniation, it may cause a condition called cauda equina syndrome which can result in a loss of bowel, bladder and sexual dysfunction. This is a medical emergency.

The Sciatic Nerve and Sciatica

The sciatic nerve is the largest nerve in the human body and is made up of 5 individual nerve roots which exit from the Lumbar spine (lower back). Sciatica symptoms occur when the large sciatic nerve is irritated or compressed at or near its point of origin.

If you're experiencing sciatica symptoms please contact us as our chiropractors can help you out. 


How is it diagnosed

Your chiropractor will take a thorough history to determine when and how the injury occurred as well as what aggravates and alleviates it. You will be taken through a series of tests including orthopaedic and neurological testing and muscular strength test providing it doesn't increase your pain. You may also have X-rays taken to check for any slippage of a vertebra, osteoarthritis, disc narrowing and the amount of curvature in your spine. 

Treatment

Bed rest isn't a good idea unless you just can't get out of bed and try to minimise it to a few days. Try to move as much as your pain will allow you to as it will help you to heal faster. Try bending forwards, backwards, side to side and rotating only in a comfortable range.

Spinal manipulation has been shown to help reduce pain (1). This in combination with exercises specifically prescribed for you will help you recover faster. 

If needed, take pain killers to help you tolerate your severe pain and get adequate rest. Don't over do it just because you can't feel the pain anymore as you may cause further injury. Heat packs can also help to manage the pain.

Surgery is a last resort and most cases can be managed with conservative chiropractic care. 

Our chiropractors have had extensive experience in dealing with clients who have sciatica. If you would like help with this please contact us or book in online.

(1) https://nccih.nih.gov/health/pain/spinemanipulation.htm#science

Fuel For Your Back

Your back pain isn't only affected by what you do or don't do throughout the day but also by what you eat. 

What you eat affects your back pain and body composition. Your body is like a car's engine, if you fuel it with e-10 and it needs 95 or 98 octane fuel, don't get upset when it doesn't give you the output you want. Research shows that a plant-based diet is best to help reduce pain and inflammation. Whilst a purely plant based diet makes it harder to get in enough protein and you may be sad to not eat meat, the Mediterranean diet is a happy medium.

If you would like to know more about fuelling your body properly to reduce pain please contact us or book in online to start feeling better today as our chiropractors love being able to help.

How Do I Strengthen My Back?

If you really want to make headway in regards to getting a stronger back to reduce pain and tension, you need to address the weak muscles and areas that aren't moving properly in your body. To obtain your best results you need to be assessed for these imbalances. Our chiropractors, are able to examine you and provide an appropriate strength and mobility rehab program tailored for your body.

If you don't have pain but you find your hamstrings and hip flexors or side of neck/shoulder muscles are always tight regardless of how much you stretch, you need to be assessed for weak areas because tight muscles aren't the root of your problem, they are a symptom of it. Stretching helps but only to a certain extent.

If you are ready to take this step please contact us or book in online to start feeling better.

If you aren't ready to take the step of coming in for a proper assessment to determine specific areas you need to work on, try these exercises at home. If you experience any pain with these exercises, please stop doing them and book in for an assessment with one of our chiropractors.

It Takes Time

When starting treatment, people and this includes myself, want to see results straight away and some people do.  For lasting changes it really does take time for our body to heal and become strong again, especially when our muscles and connective tissue have tightened up and are full of scar tissue which pulls us back into our old, incorrect posture.

I was reminded of this recently when I had a moment of frustration about my back still giving me issues after I had an unstable pelvis late in my 2nd pregnancy.  Whilst I am significantly better than I was (I could barely walk from 36 week's of gestation), I had to remind myself that I hadn't given it enough time or adequately done rehab exercises to strengthen my spine to get myself back to great spinal health.  I am now being vigilant about doing my exercises!

So, just remember - Rome wasn't built in a day... It takes time for our body to heal.

Stronger is Better

I hope you enjoyed the October Long Weekend and have adjusted to the clock going forward.  I love this time of year as the days are getting longer.

People tend to get back into exercise if they let their exercise regime lapse over winter. I want to share with you a wonderful exercise to help strengthen your core stabilising muscles, it is called the Pallof Press. It is so important to have a strong core to minimise spinal injury.  Please take a look at this video on our new Riverside Chiropractic YouTube channel.   We will be uploading more videos to our channel in the near future which is very exciting.

 

We will be uploading more videos to our channel soon which is very exciting.

Yippee!!

Hooray for the arrival of spring! Recently I've been getting stuck into my garden at home by removing some small trees and lots of weeds.  It struck me as to what a good workout it was as well as other DIY activities, however, it is potentially quite damaging for one's spine.  Some of these tips might be really obvious to you but nevertheless a reminder is always good.

1) Vary your position when doing a prolonged activity eg if raking do it from the right and left hand side of body and when weeding change from between crouching, squatting and kneeling.  Doing a deep squat is best as it takes pressure off the balls of your feet and calves. 

2) Stretch: your muscles can get a really good workout so loosening them up when you finish will help you to not only feel better but also reduce the likelihood of injury later on.  Our resources page contains stretches

3) Bend your knees not only when you lift heavy pots and plants but also when picking up light objects such as a trowel or a paintbrush.

Gardening and DIY can be a great workout however it predominantly works the muscles at the front of your body so one still needs to do exercises to help strengthen their spine.  This helps to keep it healthy and reduce pain. Some of these exercises are: bridges, vertical row and core muscle exercises.  My colleagues and I can help you out if you have any questions regarding looking after your body whilst gardening.

There's A Reason Why It Is So Important

Walk into any gym or health club and you’ll find people exercising their core. Core training has taken the world by storm, and for good reason as strengthening the core creates stability and better movement and helps prevent lower back pain. To help you get the most out of your efforts, it’s important you understand what you’re doing.  We’ve outlined below the difference between local and global muscles, to help you perform core work safely and effectively.

What Is your Core?

Your core is a shorthand way of referring to all the muscles of your lower back/pelvis/hip area. It’s where your centre of gravity is located and where movement begins. A strong core stabilises the spine and pelvis and supports you as you move. The core has 29 pairs of muscles that fall into two categories:

1) Local Muscles: Think of your local muscles as the deeper muscles, the ones close to the spine and responsible for stabilisation. They don’t have much ability to move the joints. The local muscles are further broken down into primary and secondary categories. The primary local muscles are the Transverse Abdominus and Multifidi (the two most critical muscles for providing stability). The secondary local muscles are the Internal Obliques, Quadratus Lumborum, Diaphragm and Pelvic Floor muscles.

2) Global Muscles: The global muscles are the outermost layer of muscle—they’re the ones you can feel through your skin. They’re responsible for moving joints. The global muscles in the core are the Rectus Abdominus, External Obliques, Erector Spinae, Psoas Major and Iliocostalis.

The core should operate as an integrated functional unit, with the local and global muscles working together to allow easy, smooth, pain-free movement. When the muscles work together optimally, each component distributes, absorbs and transfers forces. The kinetic chain of motion functions efficiently when you do something dynamic, like exercise or run.

Core Injury

An injury to one of the core muscles usually means an episode of lower back pain. When that happens, the deep stabilizers change how they work as a way to compensate for the injury and protect the area. The stabilisers now have delayed action; they’re turned on only after you move, instead of as you move. Because now they’re not functioning as they should, the brain recruits the global muscles to compensate. That causes a core imbalance. The result: pain in the lower back, pelvis and glutes (the big muscles you sit on).

Exercises designed to help get your core muscles back in balance are the best way to prevent re-injury and avoid lower back pain. Traditional abdominal exercises are often recommended to strengthen the global muscles. These exercises can actually increase pressure on the lower spine. Similarly, traditional lower back hyperextension exercises meant to stretch out the lower spine also may actually increase pressure on it. A better approach to preventing lower back pain is restoring stability with the core exercises below.

Abdominal Brace

The abdominal brace activates all the contracting muscles in the abdominal wall. This exercise strengthens the connection between the global muscles and the deep local muscles. This helps restore the balance between them and improves spinal stiffness.

To get an idea of how the muscles in your core work, place your thumbs in the small of your back on either side of your spine. Next, do a hip hinge: bend forward from the hips about 15 degrees. You should feel the muscles in your lower back move as you bend and stand back up again.

To do the brace, stand upright and suck in your stomach, as if you were about to get punched. Hold that for 10 seconds, then relax. Repeat 20 times; do three sets.

You’ll know you’re doing the brace correctly if you poke your extended fingertips right into your side below your ribs and then brace. You should feel the muscles move under your fingertips.

Curl-Ups

Curl-ups train the Rectus Abdominus, the long abdominal muscle that runs vertically from your breastbone all the way down on both sides of your bellybutton.

Start by lying on your back with your hands palm-up beneath your lower back. Bend one leg and put the foot flat on the floor; extend the other leg, perform the abdominal brace. Hold your head and neck stiffly locked onto your ribcage - imagine them as one unit. Lift your head and shoulders slightly off the floor by about 10 centimetres and hold that position for 20 seconds. Your elbows should touch the floor while you do this.  

Relax and gently lie back again and repeat 10 times. Switch legs and repeat 10 times again. Do three sets.

Tip: If you experience neck discomfort doing this, push your tongue against the roof of the mouth to help stabilise the neck muscles.  If you experience pain in your low back try bending both knees.

Bridge

Lying on your back with your knees bent, brace your abdominals then raise your hips up until you are in a straight line.  Do not over arch your back.  Keep your hips level and hold for 10 seconds then lower hips to the  floor.  Repeat 10 times.

This strengthens all of your core muscles due to abdominal bracing as well as your Glutes and Hamstrings.  These muscles become weak from sitting too much.

Side Bridge

This exercise is great for training the back extensors, including the Longissimus, Iliocostalis and Multifidus.  

Start on your hands and knees (quadruped position). Raise and extend the opposite arm and leg simultaneously.  Hold for eight seconds, then return to the quadruped position. Repeat eight times, then switch arms and legs and repeat for ten reps. Do three sets.

All the muscles of the core must work together to produce efficient and effective movement. The core is the centre of the body’s motion—training it is a critical part of any exercise routine.