Helen Clare Physio News & Updates

Clinical Pilates now at Helen Clare Physiotherapy

We are now happy to be able to offer Clinical Pilates at Helen Clare Physiotherapy.

Over the last 12 months, we have noticed that our patients have experienced exacerbations of their pain or injury in general Pilates or group exercise classes.

For this reason, we have commenced individualised Pilates sessions in small groups.  All exercises are individualised and each person works on their own program.

An assessment is conducted prior to attendance to determine your own needs and goals.

Valerie Mullane, Musculoskeletal Physiotherapist and Credentialled McKenzie Therapist, is a qualified Pilates Instructor, and will be responsible for developing each person's program and supervising the sessions.

If you feel you would benefit from attending, or have any questions about the Pilates sessions, please do not hesitate to conduct us at the clinic on 02 94362565, or email reception@haclare.com.  Like us on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/helenclarephysiotherapy/ for regular updates about class times.


Neck pain from using IPhones, IPads and Tablets

Over the past 12 months we have been seeing an increased number of people experiencing neck and upper back pain associated with the use of  IPhones, IPads or other types of tablet devices.

 Of course the advantage of using these devices for emails and any web-based activity is that we can do it anywhere, anytime.  On the train or bus, as a passenger in the car, sitting on the lounge or in bed, in waiting-rooms and at times I have observed, even when walking down the street. The disadvantage of their use is they encourage us to have our necks in a forward posture and because of their convenience for an ever increasing amount of time per day.

The small size of the screens and the small text also encourages our heads to be down which perpetuates the problem.

The forward or protruded head and neck posture stretches the ligaments and joints in the back of the neck and upper back. An analogy to this would be to walkover on our ankle for hours per day.  Having the head and neck forward also requires the muscles that extend down the neck to the shoulder tip (trapezius muscle) to contract in an attempt to stabilise our head position.  This results in a sensation of constant tightness in these muscles.

Even more seriously sustained forward head postures have been shown to be associated with disc pathology in the lower cervical spine.

After years of improved ergonomic awareness when we are sitting using computers it was anticipated that the incidence of neck pain would reduce.

However the increased use of Iphones, Ipads and other devices such as tablets by all age groups appears to be having the opposite effect.  It is certainly difficult to maintain an erect posture when using them but to reduce the incidence of neck pain it is important to attempt to do so.  

Keeping the device elevated as much as possible and regularly pulling your head and neck back over the shoulders will assist. Limiting the amount of time that you are in the head forward posture will also be beneficial.

If you make these changes and your neck pain persists you should consult one of the physiotherapists at Helen Clare Physiotherapy who can provide you with other strategies.


Regular Exercise is Important

Summer seems to be the time for “boot camps”. After limited exercise and activity during winter we decide that we want to get fit for summer activities and we have limited time to do so.

However we need to be careful. High intensity exercise when our bodies are not used to it is a common cause of musculo-skeletal injuries. We need to “train” our bodies and work slowly at improving our mobility, improving our cardio- vascular fitness and developing strength. Not all of us can achieve these gains at the same rate. Importantly we should not try and keep up with others in an exercise group.

It is important to:

  • Identify what we want to achieve with exercise – better flexibility, better fitness, better strength
  • Where possible have an exercise professional assess your mobility, cardio-vascular fitness and strength.
  • Start slowly, and exercise regularly
  • Choose an exercise routine / activity that you enjoy and suits your life style – that way you are more likely to continue doing it.

Research has shown that the regularity of the exercise is more important that the intensity. Enjoy working on your fitness for summer without risking injury.


The Importance of Posture

We are all spending more time in static postures – working on computers, iPads, iPhones, Kindles, sitting in cars, buses, trains and planes, watching TV. Most of us are sitting the greater part of our day. Our spines however were not designed to be kept still – it was designed for movement.

“Normal” sitting for most of us places our low back in a flexed posture, our mid back rounded and our head forward. This posture stretches the spinal ligaments, stresses our spinal joints and loads our discs. Ultimately these structures object to this stress and respond by becoming painful.

We can however control this pain by altering how we sit. It takes effort but sitting erect can become a habit.

Steps to correcting your posture:

  1. Sit well back in the chair
  2. Place a support (rolled towel, small cushion, lumbar roll) in the small of your back
  3. Sit tall by gently lifting your chest.
  4. Keep your head back over your shoulders.

The new posture will feel unusual but should not feel strained or painful.

Research has demonstrated that the longer we sit the worse our posture gets so remember to get up from sitting every 30 minutes.


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