Stretching

Marathon Running – Importance of Stretching

Marathon Running – Importance of Stretching. For Marathon Running, stretching can be useful for two different reasons. First of all, you can use stretching to address specific muscle restrictions which are identified as being contributory to a specific injury. Tight or shortened muscles are commonly associated with overuse injuries. The shortening may be at the same site as the injury or in the muscles close by. Muscle tightness may be secondary to neural restriction, muscles imbalances or trigger points. This needs to be corrected first if stretching is to be effective.

For example, a runner who has weakness in the buttock muscles is likely to have particularly tight hamstrings, Any amount of hamstring stretches will not resolve the issue and gluteal (buttock) strengthening exercises will need to precede the stretching programme. Stretching needs to be done on a regular basis, as instructed by the sports therapist or physiotherapist.

Secondly, stretching is very important as part of an injury prevention programme. Running is a very repetitive, one dimensional activity. This means that the muscles and joints are only working in very small, specific ranges of motion. This means they are likely to become short and tight.

Marathon running – warm up
In general, it is suggested to do dynamic stretches at the beginning of a training session. This should follow a short warm up, which may be jogging. Dynamic exercises include running with high knees, kicking heels to bottom and stride lunges. They should all be comfortably performed. This is even more important before a speed or interval training session.

Marathon running – cool down
At the end of a training session, a cool down is very important and this should include stretching. Technique is key when it comes to stretching, and runners would be advised to seek advice on the best way of stretching all the key muscles groups.

Headache

How Massage can Help with Headaches

Massage therapy helps to relieve headaches by easing muscle tension, relieving muscle spasms, releasing shortened muscles and relaxing tension held in the muscles of the head, shoulders, and neck. When muscle tension eases, there is less pressure on the nerves and blood vessels that supply them. Oxygen-rich blood circulation improves, which also relieves pain. Massage therapy not only helps the muscles of the body to relax but also effectively reduces the anxiety and mental stress that can cause or exacerbate headaches. Regular, ongoing massage therapy can also help to prevent headaches by helping to reduce overall stress and the muscle tension that can trigger headache pain and by helping to maintain emotional balance. In a nutshell… if you have regular headaches, rather than reaching for the paracetamol come and see me and we can get to the bottom of it.

At Optimal Sports we treat a great number of musculo-skeletal conditions and consequently are not be able to include them all.

Preventing injury and optimising performance is beneficial to everyone whether on the sports field, at work or at home. Through a comprehensive assessment of posture, muscle imbalance, biomechanics and flexibility, any imbalances will be identified. A programme addressing these inefficiencies will allow you to continue your sport or activities with a decreased risk of injury while enhancing your performance.

he Optimal Sports Therapy Centre is located in Basingstoke, Hampshire and is ideally placed for travel from Basingstoke, Hook, Fleet, Hartley Whintney, Camberley, Farnborough, Aldershot, Andover, Overton, Whitchurch, Newbury or Reading. For an appointment please call Seb Challen on 01256 771160 or 07876 351562 or use the On-Line Booking page to book an assessment session.

Frankfurt

Basingstoke man starts IRONMAN career at age 57

Local athlete AJ Lane writes about how he came to start his Ironman Triathlon career at the age of 57 years. He gives a lot of the credit for his success to Seb Challen at the Optimal Sports Therapy Centre in Basingstoke. Here is what AJ says…

I  first met Seb when I was having some back pain and was recommended to him by my daughter. I had visited the doctor for a routine check-up . I was overweight, had high blood pressure, etc.

I decided to take dramatic action to get fit and signed up for a full IRONMAN triathlon at the age of 57. (That’s a 2.4 mile swim, 112 mile bike ride and a 26.2 mile marathon).  This involved a strict regime of daily training for 11 months. Part of this regime was to visit Seb Challen, at the Optimal Sports Therapy Centre, for various treatments, some preventative and some to help with niggles picked up in training. I am sure that I could have never completed this challenge without the help of Seb.  I have since completed another  three  IRONMAN races, including 2 in 2 weeks, all at under the careful management of Seb at Optimal.

Thanks Seb!!

A.J. Lane

Lifting

Lifting Objects Properly – Some simple principles to follow

Lifting Objects Properly? Follow these simple principles. Stand very close to, or directly over, the object you want to lift. Start with your feet and legs about shoulder width apart. Lightly pull in your abdominal (stomach) muscles and then squat or dip down. Your knees, hips and ankles should be bent.

Pick the object up from underneath you if possible, squeeze your buttocks to help straighten you up again and keep the object close to your body while you carry it.
This all helps reduce the forces applied to your back.

The Optimal Sports Therapy Centre offers a wide range of treatment and correction. Treatment is aimed to speed up recovery, restore function and help you return to your normal daily activities at work, leisure or sport.
Preventing injury and optimising performance is beneficial to everyone whether on the sports field, at work or at home. Through careful assessment of your posture, muscle imbalance, biomechanics and flexibility, you can identify any imbalance.

A programme addressing these inefficiencies will allow you to continue your sport or activities with a decreased risk of injury while enhancing your performance.

Sports Therapy is an aspect of healthcare that is specifically concerned with prevention of injury and the rehabilitation of individuals back to optimum levels of functional, occupational, and sport specific fitness, regardless of age or ability.

We assess relevant joints and muscles, check muscle length and balance, provide deep tissue massage and advise on appropriate exercises and stretching techniques. Sports Therapy utilises the principles of sport and exercise sciences to prepare the participant for training, competition and work.

Golfer

Golf Back Pain – how to avoid it!

The main cause of Golf Back Pain is the swing. The golf swing has four components: the address position, back swing, down swing and follow through.

Golf Back Pain problems can occur during any of these phases, but the common errors tend to be:

Too much forward bending at address
Too little rotation of the hips and spine
Insufficient abdominal and back strength to support and control the swing action.

Picture shows Golfer at address with a good spine.

As many as 1 in 2 elite professional golfers have suffered from serious back pain at some stage of their career and 1 in 5 amateur golfers will suffer from back pain each year.

Top Tips to prevent back pain

  • Learn to maintain correct spinal posture (neutral spine) when addressing the ball.
  • Stretch hamsting muscles if tight to allow good address position
  • Develop adequate hip and spinal rotation flexibility
  • Strengthen abdominal muscles protect spine against excessive rotation force during the swing
  • Seek out the assistance of a professional golf coach to teach you the basics of an ideal swing.

Most of us at some time in our lives will suffer from low back pain. Many diagnoses are given for low back pain and range from slipped/prolapsed discs, degenerative arthritis, spondylosis, muscle strain, sacroiliac dysfunction and – one of the most common – sciatica. Assessment and treatment of spinal posture and muscle and strength imbalances will be carried out.

Golf Back Pain can be caused by Sciatica – a set of symptoms resulting from compression or irritation of the sciatic nerve. Symptoms can include pain in the lower back, buttocks and sometimes the leg and foot, pins and needles or numbness in the leg. There are many different causes and potential areas of the origin of pain.

Cycling

Back Pain – Cycling

Back pain – cycling. Research studies have shown that back pain in cycling is something that affects up to 70% of cyclists , together with neck pain. This is hardly surprising as cyclists regularly spend hours in the saddle. The cycling action involves the repetitive bending of alternating hips and knees, whilst maintaining a fixed back posture. Added stress on the back comes from vibrations from the ground which are transferred from the seat to the spine.

Neutral or near neutral position for your back on the bike is vital. Hinging forwards in the saddle from the hips rather than curling from the lower back. Studies show that cyclists who suffer from back pain tend to curl forwards more in their lower back.

Hamstrings and hip flexors need to be flexible in order to allow you to hold your spine in neutral. If they are tight your body will compensate by curling your back round.

Seat height is important. Too low and your low back will be forced to flex too much for you to pedal freely and too high will cause you to bend forwards through your back to reach the handlebars.

Neck pain is also very common in cyclists. The more you round your back, the greater the need to lift your neck upwards in order to look ahead. This compresses all the neck joints setting you up for pain and stiffness.

To prevent this you need to hold your spine straight and use your eyes to look ahead rather than always lifting your head. Every now and again, you should bring your head down to your chest whilst cycling in order to reverse the prolonged stiff posture of holding the neck in extension.

Back pain – cycling. In Summary

  • Maintain adequate spine flexibility especially in the thoracic area (between shoulder blades)
  • Develop good hamstring and hip flexor flexibility
  • Check saddle height (possible bike fit from local shop)

Learn to hold neutral spine while riding (see pic above)

Marathon Running

Marathon Running

For Marathon Running, stretching can be useful for two different reasons. First of all, you can use stretching to address specific muscle restrictions which are identified as being contributory to a specific injury. Tight or shortened muscles are commonly associated with overuse injuries. The shortening may be at the same site as the injury or in the muscles close by. Muscle tightness may be secondary to neural restriction, muscles imbalances or trigger points. This needs to be corrected first if stretching is to be effective.

For example, a runner who has weakness in the buttock muscles is likely to have particularly tight hamstrings, Any amount of hamstring stretches will not resolve the issue and gluteal (buttock) strengthening exercises will need to precede the stretching programme. Stretching needs to be done on a regular basis, as instructed by the sports therapist or physiotherapist.

Secondly, stretching is very important as part of an injury prevention programme. Running is a very repetitive, one dimensional activity. This means that the muscles and joints are only working in very small, specific ranges of motion. This means they are likely to become short and tight.

Marathon running – warm up

In general, it is suggested to do dynamic stretches at the beginning of a training session. This should follow a short warm up, which may be jogging. Dynamic exercises include running with high knees, kicking heels to bottom and stride lunges. They should all be comfortably performed. This is even more important before a speed or interval training session.

Marathon running – cool down

At the end of a training session, a cool down is very important and this should include stretching. Technique is key when it comes to stretching, and runners would be advised to seek advice on the best way of stretching all the key muscles groups.

Here are some stretches to help with injury prevention:
Hamstring:

Keep your chest up as you maintain a curvature in your lower back as you lean forward.

Hold for 30 seconds.

Quadriceps:

Stand and hold onto a support. Keep your back flat and draw up your bent knee. Keep both thighs level to each other and feel the stretch in the front of your thigh. Make sure you do not allow your back to arch as this will reduce the stretch.

Hold for 30 seconds.

Calf (Straight leg):

Stand with your affected foot behind you and keep your heel on the floor as you lean forwards until you feel a stretch in your calf. Make sure both your feet are pointing forwards.

Hold for 30 seconds.

Calf (bent leg- soleus):

Bring the back foot in a bit and bend the knee until you feel a stretch lower down in the Achilles tendon. You can balance out your weight on both legs as you stretch.

Strength balance training

Strength balance training

“Physios can help prevent repeated falls in older people”

So says NICE, the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence in its new quality standard for falls in older people.

Strength balance training

Older people with a history of falls should be referred to experts, such as physiotherapists, who can provide them with strength and balance training.

Falls are the leading cause of injury-related death in people over 75 in the UK.

NICE says that falls are the leading cause of injury-related death in people over 75 in the UK, and cost the NHS an estimated £2.3 billion each year. As a result, the quality standard aims to help NHS staff prevent further injury in older patients who have already had a fall.

Physiotherapist Vicki Goodwin, research officer for the CSP professional network Agile, was part of the NICE quality standards advisory committee, which developed the standards.

Quality standards

The document sets out a series of standards to ensure that older falls patients receive a comprehensive assessment and support to prevent them falling again.

These include that:

NHS organisations with inpatient beds should ensure that all staff follow ‘post-fall’ protocols, which include checking older people who have fallen for fractures and spinal injuries before they are moved.

Older people who have fallen in the past should see an expert who can help them start exercises to build up their muscle strength and improve balance.

Older people who are treated in hospital for a fall should be offered a visit from a trained professional who can check their home for anything that puts them at risk of falling again.

Full report from the Chartered Society of Physiotherapy here…

http://www.csp.org.uk/news/2015/03/27/physios-can-help-prevent-repeated-falls-older-people-says-nice

Strength balance training

Physiotherapy helps restore movement and function when someone is affected by injury, illness or disability. It takes a holistic approach that involves the patient directly in their own care. Physiotherapists treat people of all ages, helping them manage pain and using a number of methods to aid recovery. Although they’re often thought of as just dealing with musculoskeletal problems, physiotherapists are trained healthcare professionals who work in many areas, and in particular strength balance training of the elderly.

Ski Stretching

Ski Exercises

For anyone planning to ski in this new year, here are some ski exercises that are recommended to give you the best control on the slopes.

1. Standing on a slant board your knees and hips need to be bent at a 45 degree angle. Try and stand for as long as possible until your quads (front of thighs) can no longer take it. Rest for a minute and then go again. Repeat once more. This will really help build some quad endurance that is essential for skiing.

2. Single leg supermans. Stand on one leg or on a wobble cushion and slowly hinge the hip whilst keeping the back straight. The body should end up being quite horizontal with the non-stance leg out straight in order to counter-balance the forward body lean. Aim for 3 sets of 10 reps on each side. This is a great balance exercise to develop single leg limb control, as well as working on hamstring and glute strength. This is very important for skiing.

3. Side Planks. Prop up on one elbow and keep feet together and hips off the floor. Hold for 20-30 seconds on each side and then repeat 3 times. This is great for trunk and core stability that will help stay strong on the ski’s.

The Optimal Sports Therapy Centre at Basingstoke, Hampshire, offers a wide range of treatment and correction aimed to speed up recovery, restore function and help you return to your normal daily activities at work, leisure or sport. Preventing injury and optimising performance is beneficial to everyone whether on the sports field, at work or at home. Through a comprehensive assessment of posture, muscle imbalance, biomechanics and flexibility, any imbalances will be identified.

A programme addressing these inefficiencies will allow you to continue your sport or activities with a decreased risk of injury while enhancing your performance.

Deep Tissue Massage

Sports Massage

Sports Massage is an integral process in maintaining good levels of performance within Sport. Elite teams as well as casual players benefit from regular treatment and it has been shown to improve individual and team performance.

Sports Massage Benefits

A high quality sports massage can reduce the risk of injury and enhance recovery periods. It can release muscle tension and help to minimise muscle imbalances in the body brought about by the specific movement within the sport. Massage is also essential for the rehabilitation of soft-tissue injuries, such as muscular tears.

For example, in Football the physical nature of the sport leads to potential muscle imbalances. Particularly around the hips and hamstrings.

Most players have dominancy in one leg, which creates huge reaction forces that affect the kicking leg, whilst the opposite leg should stabilise and control the motion. Players muscles often fatigue too quickly or have limited ability to de-accelerate the leg during the kicking movement or during sprints. This can lead to hamstring tears and groin strains. Sports massage to the specific muscles which are shortened and overworked will reduce the risk of this occurring. This helps create more flexibility in these specific muscles groups which also helps promote muscle firing and allows good joint range in order to strengthen the weaker areas.

Repetitive use of muscles causes fibres to bunch up and form areas of adhesions which lead to overall muscle stiffness. The layers of tissue can become bound down and significantly restrict joint movement. Muscle strength throughout the entire joint range can be affected, leading to certain dysfunctional movement patterns. Identification of the poor movement patterns is necessary for preventing injury to tissue.

When is Sports Massage needed?

Within Sport, different applications of massage are used depending on matches and training schedules. Lighter sports massage can be used either straight after competing or in the following 24-48 hours to aid in recovery. Sports Massage within this period will aid the removal of waste products from the muscles and increase blood flow to increase oxygen and nutrient delivery, therefore, decreasing muscle aches. This will also decrease the likelihood of muscular tiredness symptoms. No deep tissue work is usually necessary at this time as the body is still recovering from performance.

Deep tissue massage can be used during the week leading up to a competition leaving at least two days prior as it may sometimes aggravate symptoms temporarily. It is applied to specific regions and designed to alleviate muscle stiffness, spasm and pain and promote tissue health. This allows the body to recover and allows the physiological adaptations to take place so that performance at the highest level can take place.

Sports Massage aids body awareness and by receiving treatment educates individuals by learning specific exercises and stretches that will lead to improved performance and reduce the risk of injury.