Reform Physiotherapy and Pilates Malahide
Pregnancy is a unique time in a woman’s life where the body goes through so many changes that we can and cannot see. Lifestyle behaviours such as diet and exercise can really impact the health of the mother and her fetus. Exercise, which is associated with many different health benefits throughout life, has also been linked with fewer complications during pregnancy and after birth. Even if you were previously inactive, it is recommended that you exercise during pregnancy.
Guidelines recommend that you get 150 minutes of exercise a week, which can be broken down and spread out as you wish. The types of exercises you might be used to, including walking, swimming, pilates, strength training and mobility, may be harder to do in the current lockdown situation we are all in, especially if you were attending pregnancy classes or groups to help with your exercise. It is however, still important to try your best to fit some movement into your day where and when you can. Below are a few ideas that can help you do this:
Unless specified otherwise by your consultant or GP, it is perfectly safe for you to go out for a walk daily. At present there are no specific restrictions advised by the HSE for women who are currently pregnant and non symptomatic. Just be sure you’re taking all precautions necessary such as keeping your distance from others and staying close to home.
Walking is the most practical and cost effective form of exercise, you can dictate the pace and route that you take. Try keeping your breathing controlled and at a rate that you can still have a conversation.
If you previously ran prior to pregnancy, it is OK to keep that up at the beginning. During your second and third trimester you may find it becoming harder to control breathing and keep light on your feet. If you feel discomfort, consider swapping out the running for walking at a pace. Remember you should be able to talk while running and make sure you don’t feel like you’re overheating.
It is really important to keep your joints and muscles strong during pregnancy, especially around the hips, pelvis and lower back area. This may be harder to do now as the gyms are closed and classes may not be running. Check in with any classes you were doing previously and see if the instructors are carrying out classes via zoom or online or if they have any specific programmes you could do for the foreseeable future. Otherwise, try to incorporate some body weight strengthening exercises into your day a few days a week. This can include exercises such as squats, lunges, superman and step ups/ stair climbing. It is recommended that exercises such as bridge, and core exercises (lying on your back with your head down) can be performed until you start to feel uncomfortable in that position, normally around the 20 week mark.
Pelvic floor strengthening can be performed daily. Try and set aside a few minutes 3 times a day to do these and focus on getting a good contraction and full release of the muscles before you begin another rep.
Although it is important to keep strong, you also need to keep your joints moving through their range. Including daily stretching for your hips and through your spine can really help if you’re starting to feel tight through these areas.
Movements such as the cat stretch, book opener, child’s pose as well as hip flexor and hamstring stretches can help. Always make sure you’re moving through the stretch rather than holding it for any length of time. Use your breathing to help. Try breath out as you go into the stretch and breath in to come back out of it. Stretches shouldn’t be painful during or after performing them.
These are general guidelines aimed at uncomplicated pregnancies. If you have any concerns or any specific conditions that may affect your ability to exercise during pregnancy, contact your consultant or a women’s health physiotherapist who can advise a specific programme tailored towards your needs.
Roisin Carroll (MISCP),
Reform Physiotherapy and Pilates.Read More
Over the last few weeks, we’ve all had to adjust how we go about our day. Some of us can no longer go to work, some of us are working more than ever. With all this sudden change to our lives including how we exercise, our stress levels and general routine, you may find you’re starting to experience discomfort or stiffness in your back. Changes to the above can all have an effect on how our body manages and perceives pain. Here are 5 tips that may help you manage your pain at the moment or help prevent it.
1. Move More
Our back and muscles around it are robust and strong structures although they may not always feel that way. One thing they love is movement. Even if you don’t realise it, you may be moving less than you had been before lockdown. Things such as getting up from your desk to go grab a coffee or walking around the classroom as you’re teaching, they all add up and help break up your sitting time. Try setting yourself a goal or reminder to get up and move every hour at home. Whether it’s walking around the house, doing some squats, or stretching out your lower back in your seat for a minute or two, it all counts towards getting you moving.
2. Structured Exercise
Gyms are closed, we have to stay within 2km of our house and for some of us, we’re not allowed out at all. On top of little movements throughout the day, set yourself aside 30 minutes a day to do a specific exercise. It could be a walk with the kids, a short bike ride, a run, pilates, yoga or your own stretching or exercises routine if you have one and the space to do so in your house. Change it up every day to give yourself variety. Do more if you’re used to doing more. Again, our muscles love movement. Whatever you choose, make sure you’re comfortable with the exercise you’ve chosen. i.e. Maybe now isn’t the best time to start doing YouTube high intensity workouts if you’ve never done anything like that previously. Which brings us on to point 3…..
3. Don’t over do it
As I mentioned in the point above, all this free time you may have may make you want to start something new e.g. get fitter or stronger. While our muscles and joints love moving, they also like when we gradually increase their moving and loading. If you’re starting to notice your back is feeling more achey than usual and you just painted the whole house, decided to tackle the garden or felt that Joe Wicks HIIT classes were your new past time, this could have an effect on how your back is feeling now. Remember to gradually do things. The whole house doesn’t need to be painted in a day. Take breaks, do a wall a day, break up the garden into segments or just make sure you’re doing exercise that your body is used to and you’re confident in your ability. If it’s different from what you’re used to doing, think about how you could mix in some stretches for your back throughout your day. Take a break in the YouTube class and bring your knees to your chest, stop the painting and do some cat stretches. You’ll get it all done in the end but maybe you won’t feel quite as uncomfortable afterwards.
4. Stress Management
You may find you’re more stressed with working from home, stressing over financials, or just stressing over the lockdown in general. All of this is completely normal and to be expected. What you may not realise is that stress can have a really big impact on how our body feels and especially our perception of pain. Make sure you’re taking time to relax every now and again. Don’t feel you have to be on top of everything all the time if you feel you’re exhausted and your back pain is coming back. Try some mindfulness, make a to-do list, talk to someone, or do some stretching for the whole body, moving your joints and back in ways that are pain free and comfortable.
5. Create Routine
With all of this in mind and how much each of our lives have changed, have a think about how you felt in your joints when you had a weekly or daily routine. It was probably better for helping with stress, exercise, movement, and sleep. Having a routine, whether you’re still working at the moment or not, will really help you manage pain and keep you feeling good.
● Include daily movement
● Try keep a sleep schedule
● Get out in the fresh air daily
● Do something relaxing
● Stretch daily!
Lastly, don’t let all of this get you down. If you feel like you’re not able to get a handle on your pain at the moment, book in for an online consult and get some individualised advice and help.
Roisin Carroll (Chartered Physiotherapist).Read More
Running is a brilliant form of exercise. It is easily accessible, free, anyone can do it and it has many health benefits. It is important when starting running to build it up slowly to allow your body to adapt to a new form of exercise. Our Physiotherapist, Roisin Eivers, has some tips in this video on how to get started safely:
There are so many old wives tales about what you should and shouldn’t do during pregnancy! We see pregnant women every day in the clinic, and a lot are uncertain if they should be exercising or not, or what type of exercise they should be doing.
At Reform Physiotherapy, we try our best to follow the most up to date evidence to guide us as health professionals. This is what the evidence currently says about exercising during pregnancy:
Other evidence from the literature shows that exercise:
In summary, pregnant women are advised to try exercise x 30mins atleast 3 time a week at a moderate intensity exercise in an uncomplicated pregnancy. If the pregnant woman isn’t used to exercising before they fall pregnant, they should start off slowyl doing 15mins x 3/week and building it up slowly.
Examples of exercise that pregnant women should participate in are:
If you would like any more information on this, or would like to book an appointment to get a pre-natal exercise plan, call 086 3582911. AnneRead More
We used to think pain was a measure of tissue damage, but thanks to a lot of research in this area over the past decade we now know that is not true. Pain scientists are agreed that pain is an unpleasant feeling in our body that makes us want to stop and change our behaviour. Pain is a complex and highly sophisticated protective mechanism.
What is really interesting about pain is the context in which we feel it! Pain depends upon the brain evaluating a massive amount of information, including perception of danger, but also cognitive data (for example expectations, previous exposure, cultural and social norms, beliefs. Therefore, the context is critical, and other sensory data input (for example that from vision).
We now know that pain can be turned on, or up, by anything at all that provides the brain with credible evidence that the body is in danger and needs protecting such as fear or visual feedback that is scary (such as blood). So, if the brain’s evaluation of all available information leads it to conclude that things are truly dangerous, then sensitivity of spinal nociceptors increases (i.e. you feel more pain). If the brain concludes things are not truly dangerous, then sensitivity of spinal nociceptors decreases (you feel less pain).
In chronic pain, all the above applies but with one very significant caveat: the hardware (the biological structures involved in conveying and processing danger messages and in integrating other threatening cues) increases its sensitivity. This is one significant reason that recovery from persistent pain is seldom a quick fix, but requires a journey of patience, persistence and good coaching. Our efforts focus on decreasing sensitivity in the system and training it, gradually over time, to be less protective.
In Reform Physiotherapy we see people with chronic pain every day. We have had great results with educating people that pain does not always mean tissue damage. Therefore, pain does not correlate with damage/danger to the body. Once this is accepted, and fear of pain is reduced, we can start focusing on functional goals and over time the pain is reduced or well managed.
Please call 0863582911 if you would like to book an appointment. AnneRead More
Brighter evening tempting you out running….great! But do not make the mistake of many of scale up too fast causing an injury and leaving you feeling deflated for trying to be healthy! Follow this infographic on increasing your running load gradually in order to avoid overload injuries:Read More
A common complaint we see regularly is people feeling their hips are ‘tight’ or ‘stiff’. Often people can get cramps/stiffness feelings in their hips due to weakness, inactivity or an injury. Also, more and more people are sitting for a long proportion of their day-this in itself can contribute to hips feeling tight. Try limit the amount of time you sit daily, giving yourself short breaks or trying to use a sit-to-stand desk where possible.
Try these simple stretches at home every day to see if they alleviate your symptoms over 2 weeks. If your symptoms persist, attend a Chartered Physiotherapist for a thorough assessment.
1. Glut stretch:
Lying on your back, put your left foot over your right knee. Put your hands behind your right thigh and pull it up towards your chest. Pull up until you feel a deep stretch in your left buttock (gluts). Breathe so that you relax into stretch. Hold for 30 secs and do x2 each side.
2. Adductor stretch:
Sitting up, bring the soles of your feet together and pull them in towards your groin. Let your knees fall out to the side or push them outwards with your elbows. Lean forward into the stretch to make it stronger. You should feel this in your groin/inner thighs. Hold for 30 secs and repeat x 2.
3. Hip flexor stretch:
In a kneeling lunge position, stay upright and lean forward on front leg. Try tuck your bum in under to tilt your pelvis back. Make this as wide as possible and stay upright. Hold x 30 secs and do x2 each side.
4. Hip internal rotation:
Lying on your front, with your knees together and bent up so feet are in the air. Let your ankles drop out towards the floor. Try relax to let them drop out as far as possible. You can ask someone to apply light pressure on your ankles to encourage them out a bit more. Hold x 1-2 mins.
5. Pigeon stretch:
On your front, tuck one leg in under you with the foot up as close to your stomach as possible. Stretch the other leg out behind you and lean down onto it. You can stay on your forearms, or let your head rest down towards the floor to make it a stronger stretch. Hold x 1-2 mins.
Enjoy your stretching! AnneRead More
This is a nice information leaflet on how to manage your back pain:
Book in for a Physiotherapy consultation if your back pain is persisting, oh 0863582911Read More
If anyone has ever had a muscle go into spasm, they will know how painful it can be! Although muscles spasms can be common, many people do not know why they have the spasm or what to do when it happens.
Muscles can go into spasms and cramp for several different reasons- fatigue, dehydration, over loading the muscle, stress or even fear of a movement/activity can cause your muscle to spasm painfully. You can get a spasm anywhere in your body-in your back, neck, legs, arms or feet! I have seen many patients over the years that find it hard to believe that their pain is due to a muscle spasm and feel they must have ‘damaged something’ or ‘broken something’ due to the severity of the pain. It is important to understand, that muscular pain can be very severe, take your breath away on occasion and even refer pain into other areas of your body!
So how do you treat a muscle spasm? Follow these steps:
If you would like more information or want to book an appointment, call 0863582911