Category Archives: Healthy Living

What’s the difference between Physiotherapy and Sport therapy?

 

As it’s quite detailed the articles have been split into two, so we’re starting off by explaining about Sports Therapy.

Part 1

The short answer is that both professions are trained and insured to treat musculoskeletal disorders back but there are some key differences in their training and approach. In this article, we give an overview of the two professions, outlining their similarities and differences to help you identify the most appropriate practitioner to aid you back to optimal fitness.

As we all know, a key part of staying healthy is physical exercise – whether this is done on a treadmill at the gym or outside on a football pitch. If you are a keen fitness enthusiast, ensuring you are exercising safely is crucial. Having said this, even the most careful of us can sometimes succumb to injury.

Sports injuries can be caused by a variety of things including not warming up properly, pushing yourself too hard or simply suffering an accident. When injuries happen, they usually require you to stay off your feet and rest up while you heal. When exercise or sport is a big part of your life, recovering from injury and returning to normal function is paramount.

This is where sports therapy comes in. A sports therapist aims to provide care for sport and recreational participants to help them recover as quickly and fully as possible. On this page we’ll look at what sport therapy entails, common sports injuries and different treatments that may be used.

What is sports therapy?

There is often confusion regarding the difference between physiotherapy and sports therapy as they both deal with similar health concerns. While sports therapists do apply physiotherapy skills, sports therapy is specifically concerned with the prevention and treatment of sport-related injuries using a variety of modalities and techniques.

Another common misconception is that sports therapists only work with professional athletes – this is not true. No matter what your occupation is (or your sporting ability), if your injury is sports/exercise related, a sports therapist will look to help you.

Utilizing the principles of sport sciences, the therapy uses various techniques, such as sports massage, to help fully rehabilitate those with injuries. As well as helping you to recover from injury, a sports therapist will also use their skills to optimize your performance and support you in your sporting/exercise endeavors.

Common sports injuries

When you exercise or play sports regularly, certain parts of the body can become susceptible to strain or injury. While of course exercise is beneficial to your health, it is important to be aware of some common sports injuries. If you feel pain somewhere in your body when exercising or playing a sport, be sure to seek medical advice as you may have injured yourself.

Listed below are some common sports injuries to be aware of:

Back injuries

Many people will suffer from back pain at some point in their life, whether it’s due to a recurring problem or bad posture. Those who exercise regularly may also encounter back problems. The most common of which is muscle strains and ligament sprains. Athletic over-use, insufficient stretching or even trauma can cause these sorts of sprains.

Another common injury in sport enthusiasts is spondylolysis and spondylolisthesis. Defects of a vertebra’s pars interarticularis are called spondylolysis and the slippage of one vertebra in relation to another vertebra is called spondylolisthesis. These injuries are normally seen in those who participate in sports that involve a degree of twisting and hyperextension of the spine (for example, gymnastics).

Ankle and foot injuries

Other parts of the body that can cause problems for regular exercisers are the ankles and feet. Ankle sprains are perhaps the most common of these sorts of injuries, especially for those who run and jump when they exercise. Turf toe (pain at the base of the big toe) is another well-known injury and is common for those who play sport on artificial turf. Breaks and fractures are less common, but can occur as a result of trauma or severe over-use.

Knee injuries

Knees can cause health problems for many people and knee pain is a common complaint for sport participants. There are several different causes for knee pain including:

      • arthritis

      • ligament injuries

      • cartilage injuries

      • meniscal tears

      • tendonitis

      • dislocated kneecap.

Uncovering the root cause of knee pain is important – if left untreated it can lead to recurring issues and may impact your ability to play sport in the future.

Hip injuries

The hips are part of our core and are central to many movements the human body makes. Common causes for pain in this area include inflammation of the joint and muscle strains. Again, these conditions can occur due to over-use and trauma. Stress fractures in the hip are another complaint – these are most prevalent in those who participate in high-impact sports, such as long distance running.

Wrist injuries

If the sport you play involves wrist action (for example tennis or basketball), you may find yourself susceptible to wrist injuries. Sprains and tendonitis are typical examples, however long-term conditions such as arthritis and carpal tunnel syndrome can also cause problems.

Elbow injuries

Similarly to wrist injuries, sports that require a lot of arm movement also leave you susceptible to elbow pain. One of the best-known sporting injuries in this category is known as tennis elbow (official name – lateral epicondylitis). This condition involves pain over the outside of the joint and can make it difficult for the sufferer to grip objects. Despite its name, most patients with this condition don’t play tennis.

Other elbow injuries include fractures from trauma and nerve compression (radial tunnel syndrome and cubital tunnel syndrome are typical examples). As with other joint injuries/conditions, if left untreated elbow pain can become a recurring issue that may affect your ability to participate in sport.

Shoulder injuries

The shoulder is a complex part of the body and therefore can be the cause of many sports injuries. The rotator cuff in particular is often affected, with tendonitis of the cuff and tears seen regularly by sports therapists.

Another condition called frozen shoulder can also be a problem. This is where the joint stiffens and almost locks, inhibiting mobilisation. On the flip side of this, shoulder instability is a problem that makes the shoulder joint loose and prone to dislocation.

What will happen when I see a sports therapist?

While sports therapists may use different approaches and techniques, generally your treatment will follow this format:

      • initial consultation

      • assessment

      • treatment

      • rehabilitation

      • prehabilitation.

Initial consultation

During your initial consultation, your sports therapist will look to find out more about you and why you are there. You may be asked some questions about your lifestyle, medical history and any other relevant information (for example previous injuries and treatment). When your therapist has detailed information about your background, they will be better able to assess you. This is also an opportunity for you to get to know the therapist better and ask any questions you may have about their experience.

Assessment

This part of the process will help your sports therapist understand what your injury is and how best to treat it. The assessment may involve physical elements such as checking your posture, functional movements and ligament stability tests. Normally you will be referred to a doctor to receive an official diagnosis. Once the diagnosis has been made, the treatment can begin.

Treatment

Once you have agreed on a treatment plan together, your sports therapists will carry this out. There are many different treatments that can be used and some may take a multidisciplinary approach. If you are unsure what your treatment will entail, be sure to raise this with your therapist.

Rehabilitation

Depending on the nature of your condition/injury, sports rehabilitation may be required. Rehabilitation aims to help you manage your condition until you are returned to full health (if this is viable). Your sports therapist can guide you through this, offering tips and advice to help you cope in everyday life.

Prehabilitation

Within sports therapy the term prehabilitation relates to keeping you injury free in the future. Giving you advice and suggested exercises to carry out, your sports therapist can help you avoid the same injury in the future.

Sports therapy treatments

Sports therapy utilizes a number of techniques to help ease pain and encourage recovery. While the specific treatment used will depend on the nature of your injury and your own personal history, the following techniques are commonly used:

      • massage

      • mobilisation

      • myofascial release

      • electrotherapy

      • hot/cold treatment.

Massage

Many sports therapists will be able to offer sports massage and/or remedial massage to help reduce aches and pains from training, treat soft-tissue injuries and encourage blood flow to the muscles. Within the realm of massage there are many different techniques that are used, including:

Effleurage – A term used to describe a series of light massage strokes that warm up the muscles before deeper work begins.

Petrissage – A stronger technique that kneads the soft tissue to work out knots, improve blood flow and loosen muscles.

Tapotement – This method is a rhythmic movement, usually using the side of the hand or tips of the fingers. This action is used to ‘wake-up’ the nervous system and encourage lymphatic drainage.

Neuromuscular techniques – Helping to treat pain, this technique involves applying concentrated pressure to muscle areas to break the cycle of spasm and pain.

Positional release – This is a specialised technique that requires the therapist to locate the tender joint/tendon/ligament in the body and then positioning it in a certain way to ‘release’ the tension and pain.

Mobilisation

Mobilisation is a manual therapy that is designed to help restore joint movement and range of motion in the event of joint dysfunction. The sports therapist will gently move the joint in a passive way within the limit of the joint’s normal range of motion. This kind of movement needs to be very specific and gentle, so must be carried out by a qualified professional. If joint dysfunction is left untreated, it can cause muscle spasm, pain and fatigue.

Myofascial release

Also known as soft tissue mobilisation, myofascial release is used to release tension build up in the fascia. Fascia are sheets of fibrous tissue that surround muscles, separating them into groups. When a trauma occurs, the fascia can shorten, restricting movement and blood flow.

Techniques used in myofascial release look to break up any adhesions and relax muscle tension. This helps to reduce pain and restore normal range of movement.

Electrotherapy

Some sports therapists may use electrotherapy in your treatment. This covers a range of treatments, including TENS and laser treatment. TENS (transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation) machines transmit a small electric charge to the muscles via a small patch worn on the skin. These are known to help with certain types of pain and can be used as an alternative to (or alongside) painkillers.

Hot/cold treatment

The short answer is that both professions are trained and insured to treat musculoskeletal disorders back but there are some key differences in their training and approach. In this article, we give an overview of the two professions, outlining their similarities and differences to help you identify the most appropriate practitioner to aid you back to optimal fitness.

As we all know, a key part of staying healthy is physical exercise – whether this is done on a treadmill at the gym or outside on a football pitch. If you are a keen fitness enthusiast, ensuring you are exercising safely is crucial. Having said this, even the most careful of us can sometimes succumb to injury.

Sports injuries can be caused by a variety of things including not warming up properly, pushing yourself too hard or simply suffering an accident. When injuries happen, they usually require you to stay off your feet and rest up while you heal. When exercise or sport is a big part of your life, recovering from injury and returning to normal function is paramount.

This is where sports therapy comes in. A sports therapist aims to provide care for sport and recreational participants to help them recover as quickly and fully as possible. On this page we’ll look at what sport therapy entails, common sports injuries and different treatments that may be used.

In the next article we will discuss Physiotherapy, so look out for that soon.

Can you Sleep? 

Sleep Disorders are a common problem for many people and will affect them one time or another in their lives. Causes are usually down to stress, illness, temporary interruptions to your normal routine or travel. If a sleep problem is a regular occurrence and is interfering with your daily lifestyle, you may be suffering with a sleep disorder. Sleep disorders can affect you day and night and can take a serious strain on your mental and physical health. This can lead to weight gain, can affect your energy and mood, as well as even causing memory problems. However, don’t despair; it doesn’t have to become a part of your life in this day and age, as there has been thousands of studies to help you get a good night sleep which will help improve your health.

Many of us experience occasional sleep problems, so how do we know if it is just a minor passing annoyance or a sign of a sleep disorder?

Firstly, we have to eliminate any medical conditions such as;

• Heart burn

• Heart failure

• Diabetes

• Kidney disease

• Nocturne

• Breathing problems

• Mental health disease

• Neurological disorders

The best way to tell if you have a sleep disorder is to take a look into the daytime signs.

• Feeling sleepy or irritable during the day

• Having difficulty staying awake when sitting still, watching a screen or reading

• Falling asleep or feeling tired while driving

• Having difficulty while concentrating

• When others tell you “you look tired”

• Having slow reactions

• Having trouble controlling your emotions

• Feeling like you need a nap almost every day

• Requiring a caffeinated beverage to keep yourself going

If you said ‘yes’ to any of these symptoms on a regular basis, you may be suffering from a sleep disorder. The more you have answered ‘yes’, the more likely you have a sleep disorder.

There are many types of sleep disorders. Some of the most common are:

Insomnia

Insomnia is the inability to sleep or sleep well at night. This can be caused by stress, jet lag, health conditions, medication or caffeine. Other causes can be depression or anxiety.

Restless Leg Syndrome

Restless leg syndrome is a sleep disorder that causes an irresistible urge to move your legs (or arms) at night. The urge to move occurs when your resting or lying down and is usually due to uncomfortable creeping, aching, tingling or some sort of sensation.

Narcolepsy

Narcolepsy involves excessive, uncontrollable day time sleepiness. It is caused by a dysfunction in the mechanics of the brain that control sleeping and waking.

How massage can help you get a restful and restorative sleep?

Massage can help in a number of ways to help you sleep better and should be used in combination with other treatments to help improve your sleep.

Massage can help boost your Serotonin levels, the “feel good” neurotransmitter. Serotonin is usually low in people who struggle to stay asleep and as a result are awake throughout the night.

Massage can also lower your Cortisol levels (Cortisol is also known as a major stress hormone). If you have a high level of Cortisol this can disrupt your sleep patterns in a major way. It can keep you up all night. If you are able to fall asleep it can wake you in the middle of the night and prevent you from falling to sleep.

Massage is commonly used to reduce pain. There are certain types of treatments the LIFESTYLE clinic uses to reduce pain. If pain is what is keeping you up at night then by increasing the blood flow to the muscles, releasing the build up of tension in the muscles and releasing natural pain killers already stored within the body, this is used to help you relax physically and mentally.

 

Tight Hamstrings?

Tight or stiff hamstrings is a common injury I find in my day to day work. Anyone with tight hamstrings can try stretching on a daily basis, but they will find that this has no effect.

The usual way people determine their hamstring flexibility is whether they can bend from the hips and touch their toes. Most professionals will use this in their assessment to get a picture of how the body moves. For those that think that bending by the hips and touching their toes helps the hamstrings, they will find out later in this blog that this isn’t a true representation of hamstring flexibility. This is because far more muscle groups are involved than most think to accomplish this task.

The reason it is beneficial for a professional to observe you touch your toes, is so that they can see exactly how your anterior and posterior chain functions. Simply put, to see how free your spine and hip interact; with this information you can see if the hamstrings relax to a reasonable length.

After we assess the movements of the hip and spine we can then look into the diaphragm, pelvic floor and intercostal muscle, as these too have the ability to impact your toe-touch motion. If there is good motion in the hips, but not much thought the spine, then we expand the assessment to other areas of the body that help forward flexion. It is quite normal to feel very quick changes as a result, which is perceived as hamstring flexibility but actually could be an improvement in the muscles within the posterior chain. Through this, we then begin to see the full range of motion in the hamstring as previous muscles that can inhibit the hamstring flexibility are removed.

If the Spinal movement is good and we can see the hamstring and hip movement is restricted, we will then move onto posterior knee stability.

Posterior knee stability

When you walk or run your hamstrings are used along with your gastrocnemius to stabilise the knee through an isometric contraction. This is to prevent the knee from bending as our foot hits the ground through initial contact. The stiffness in the hamstring is needed to help you absorb the force when the foot hits the ground and ensures the power you are generating in your hips is not wasted, and so, generates forward motion.

If there is no stiffness in the hamstrings and gastrocnemius, then these two muscle groups start to work harder than they need to during low impact work and this then starts to create a feeling of constant tension, with a feeling that it always needs to be stretched.

So, if this is occurring in your hamstrings and you’re trying to stretch, but no matter how long and how many times you do it you feel nothing is working, then most likely it is not your hamstrings at fault. If you treat the symptoms and not the cause, it will be harder for you to reach your desired results.

Is your Achilles in pain

Almost all sports will have you walking, running or jumping; if it’s not in the activity itself then it’s included in the warm up. This has the potential to turn into an achilles injury. It is not uncommon for people to think that they have an issue with the achilles tendon. However, it could in fact be a result of a different tissue in the area causing the problem such as a toe flexor or another muscle/tendon in the lower leg such as the tibialis posterior, both of which sit just in front of the achilles.

Achilles tendinopathy comes in two different types: mid portion tendinopathy or insertional tendinopathy. The difference between the two are simple. The mid portion tendinopathy sits above the attachment of the tendon. The Insertional tendinopathy sits at the calcaneus.

Tendinopathy can be caused by a number of different factors.

  • Corticosteroids    
  • Hyperthermia
  • Mechanical Stress

If we look at the causes of both types of an achilles injuries from a mechanical stress point of view, we get slightly different results. The research shows that mid portion tendinopathy is related to repetitive loading the weight being applied to the tendon is too much and causes tissue damage. Insertional tendinopathy is related to the compression of the tendon against the Calcaneus – the compression occurs when the foot moves into dorsiflexion.  

There are 3 basic stages of tendinopathy, which are:

  • Reactive
  • Tendon disrepair
  • Degenerative

The movement through these stages is not necessarily straightforward. It can move from reactive to degenerative and back again dependant on the loading placed on the tendon.

In the reactive stage, we see a thickening and stiffening of the tendon in a response to the load in an attempt to cope with it and reduce the stress. In this stage the load has often been increased too quickly for the tendon to deal with. However, with rest and a reduction in the load, healing will allow occur.

The degenerative stage happens with chronic overloading and is usually more common in the older athlete. In this stage we see further breakdown in the structure of the tendon and this is accompanied by cell death. In this state if it is left unresolved, it can result in tendon rupture.
When it comes to managing and treating this type of injury, in all stages it comes down to managing the load placed on the tendon. In the reactive and early disrepair stages we simply want to reduce the stress that is causing the issue, by catching it fast enough and simply allowing it time to calm down.

Are you Magnesium deficient?

 

 

 

Now, before I start explaining to you about magnesium, with all its good points and why it’s a crucial part of your diet, I first want to first cast your mind back to 500 years ago.Now, as you all know, animals have evolved and changed to what we see today and the same can be said for fruit and veg. What we see, feel and taste is the result of human ingenuity of around 10000 years of genetic modification and selective breeding. We have created the fruit and veg that you see today. For those sceptics who don’t believe that this is possible, take one of the most famous genetic modifications in plants. In 1066 the “The battle of Hastings” or “War of the roses” commenced and in was the red rose Verses the white rose and at the end to show a symbol of peace the roses were combined to show the red and white rose.

Why do you think we altered the fruit and veg? The answer is simple, we wanted crops that were consistent, productive, resistant to pests, gave a good size and a better taste to match their productivity. However, in all these improvements you find that the microelements within our fruit has been changed, so we receive less of the nutrients we need in exchange for fructose.


How does this apply to me?

Magnesium has major elements that can affect every part of our natural lifestyle, from our emotional state to our physical body.

Some examples of the benefits of magnesium is that it allows us to assimilate calcium into our bones, all the while playing a role in activating vitamin D in the kidneys.


Recent studies have shown that high levels of magnesium in the body as a direct effect on insulin sensitivity, so good news for people with diabetes.

Other benefits include:

For the physical wellbeing

  • Reduces headaches
  • Reduces muscle spasms and cramps
  • Decreases Fibromyalgia

Neurological wellbeing

  • Anxiety
  • DepressionAutism and ADD
  • Restless leg syndrome (RLS)
  • Insomnia
  • Tics

More benefits

  • Psoriasis, acne and eczema
  • Blood pressure
  • Osteoporosis

So, if you suffer from any of these conditions and you are unsure of the reason you are feeling this way, just try magnesium and see if your condition improves.

What kills magnesium?

Magnesium in the body turns out to be a very sensitive element. There are 4 substances that actively deplete the amount you consume before it can work any benefits to the body. These are:

  • Caffeine
  • Sugar
  • Tobacco
  • Stress

For every City gower/Hard worker you start to see a pattern in your lifestyle and your dietary needs. I am pretty confident that most people have high levels of one of these four killers. So if you do have  any of the signs and symptoms previously listed and you want to make a change, to understand that it could be related to your environment is your first step.      

 

Foods high in magnesium

Hopefully by now I’ve peaked your interest to try this super ingredient and to improve your lifestyle.

The foods that are high in magnesium are:

Dark leafy greens: i.e spinach

Nuts

Seeds

FishBeans

Whole grain

Avocado

Bananas

Dried fruit

Dark chocolate

Conclusion


I don’t make money or receive any endorsements for writing these articles. I only want to make a change in people’s lives to help them improve and prevent any further discomfort, especially when it can be easily resolved. I have written this because I have heard many stories and seen many people who are suffering. I’m sure that if you search online, you will find people that have come through hard times in themselves, just because they have improved their diet for the better. If you do know or see anyone that has any of the symptoms and have high levels of the killers, then suggest to them to change what they eat. Many studies in diet conduct their tests for a month to see if it makes a difference. It is hard to start off with, but it should become much easier after week 3 if you stick to it.

Good Luck!!!

Welcome

Welcome to my blog and thanks for finding the time to read it.

My name is Tom, I am a sports therapist I work and run a clinic in south east London.

A lot of people and professionals believe that sports therapy is just for rehabilitation. So I want to show what my industry can do and how it can be applied to you in a multitude of ways, whether it’s prevention or pre-event, inter-event or post-event massage, and what to expect and why. I’ll also take a look at what the therapist hopes to achieve by these treatments and exercises.

My main goal is to introduce you to an awareness of your body. This will include a little bit of my own philosophy of movement and healthy living, backed with a lot of research. My passion lies in what I do and I wish to share that with you.

How? What? When and why? I find myself exploring these questions every day in every treatment. It makes me want to take every article, and then right back to where this question first became a question – the genesis – because only then, do I believe the right answers can be found.

There’s lots of information on how to prevent injuries from occurring and I’ll explore some helpful tips on how to exercise and what to expect if you do get injured. And if you don’t do sport – well, that’s fine too. While practising, I’ve found that injuries can occur in all circumstances: the office or just day to day lifestyle. Being an avid sportsman, I know how to overcome many injuries and address how they occur from my own personal experience. In fact, if I had to list all of the injuries I’ve had, the list would probably shock you (one of the reasons I became a sports therapist).

I want to make sure that everything I write can be applied to your situation. So if you want me to talk about ideas on how sports therapy can be applied to a sport, or concerns on a general injury, then leave a comment or better yet contact me!

My main aim is to improve myself, and in doing so share that with you and improve your life, so if you want to leave positive comments or constructive criticism I really appreciate because only then I can improve and I can tailor my article to what you are looking for.