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Feb 18, 2014

What is inflammation?

It would be a fair assumption that most of us have suffered from some form of inflammation during our lives…. Whether it be an infected graze; sprained ankle or ingrown toe nail the basics of the bodies inflammatory response are exactly the same.

If I went around a room of strangers and asked everyone what they perceived was the meaning of inflammation I think 90% of responses would be something along the lines of ‘the pain and redness that you get when you hurt yourself’ and generally that’s pretty spot on. But why does this response take place? And is it harmful to the body?

Inflammation is the biological response that your body undergoes in response to a  ‘threat’ whether it be bacteria, virus, cell damage ,fungus, parasites, trauma or toxic chemicals.  In most situations this is an effective protective mechanism to eliminate the injurious stimuli and initiate the healing process.

To live a healthy balance lifestyle small amounts of inflammation in the body are essential BUT it is possible, and interestingly becoming more and more common for the inflammation process to get out of hand with the consequences ranging from fueling chronic disease to weight loss problems.

READ FULL BLOG HERE

Categories General Issues Health and Wellbeing Tags inflammation chronic disease acute inflammation swelling chronic inflammation tissue damage pain

Feb 10, 2014

Don't be 'hamstrung' by hamstring injury

The rugby season is rapidly approaching… training is back in full swing… the club is finally showing a few signs of life again; felt a little like a ghost town during the off-season… and the best part? (Insert sarcasm here) I trade sunny Saturday afternoon’s lazing poolside for sweaty footballers, strapping tape and deep heat.

In most professional sports these days a lot of time and money is invested into ‘injury prevention programs’. Players are screened individually with data used to create personalised gym programs  tailored to suit each athletes specific strength and mobility needs…. All this in attempt to try and keep players on the field week in week out.

A big focus in all codes of rugby and also football (or soccer as I like to call it) has been preventing hamstring strains and tears. Easily one of the most common injuries that can sideline players for weeks and furthermore when correct rehabilitation doesn’t take place the chance of re-occurrence can further delay return to play.

To develop an effective ‘prevention’ program we need to address the reasons why hamstrings seem to be so vulnerable to injury.

READ FULL BLOG HERE

Categories Exercise & fitness General Issues Tags hamstring hamstring strain hamstring tear massage strengthening pre season training gym dry needling physiotherapy

Feb 6, 2014

Why go nuts for coconuts?

Coconuts have been around for years and years; however in the last 12 months they have ‘come into vogue’ in the health industry with many health professionals and scientists now beginning to sing their praises. You only have to trace it back to its ‘roots’ to find out there is something pretty special about this nut.. In ancient India coconut trees are known as kalpa vriksha which is sanskrit for “the tree that supplies all that is needed to live’

Is coconut really a superfood? Can it really prevent and cure heart disease? Does coconut actually have health benefits when it comes to weight loss and insulin stabilisation? We don’t have all these answers in black and white BUT what we do know is there are multiple health benefits to be gained from the array of coconut products on the market.

Let’s talk a little about coconut oil. This seems to be the topic that has all the health big wigs talking. Coconut oil is the safest and healthiest oil to cook with. Yes it is exceptionally high in saturated fat BUT they aren’t your ‘run-of-the-mill’ fats like you find in cheese, steak and other foods we readily consume. Coconut oil contains a lot of medium chain triglycerides, which are metabolized differently in the digestive system and have been proven to have therapeutic effects on several brain disorders including Alzheimer’s. I think medical professionals may begin to see the light on this one. SATURATED FAT IS NOT THE ENEMY.

READ FULL BLOG HERE

Categories Exercise & fitness General Issues Health and Wellbeing Tags coconut coconut oil superfood health nutrition wellbeing saturated fat young coconuy

Why TRX training is 'trending'

There is always new ‘trends’ when it comes to the health and fitness industry… whether its dance style aerobics, crossfit, hip hop yoga ‘raves’ or high intensity interval training. When push comes to shove most of these varieties of training have positives and negatives; some more positives than others of course depending on what you are aiming to achieve with your health and fitness goals.

Suspension training or TRX as many people know it was created by the NAVY seal as a form of ‘functional training’ that allowed the troops to stay in shape wherever they were in the world. Our bodies were designed to move and shake in many different planes. In the past traditional weights training has seen very linear almost robotic movement patterns based around machines that allow a single joint to move in a single plane.The body needs to be trained as the body shall be used!

What does suspension training involve? TRX training moves the body in many planes integrating fluid motion and ‘real life’ movement patterns. The main idea behind this form of training is using our body weight to determine the resistance level depending on how close or how far away you are from the anchor point. This allows you to easily control and manipulate the difficulty and intensity of the workout.

READ FULL BLOG HERE

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Categories Exercise & fitness General Issues Health and Wellbeing Tags TRX suspension training functional movement workout core stability strength training exercise gym fitness

Curious about Crossfit?

Crossfit is literally taking over the world..  Ok so maybe that’s a little exaggeration but seriously crossfit gyms are EVERYWHERE. 6 months ago most of the fitness world probably thought this was just going to be another ‘fitness fad’, kind of like Zumba the ‘calorie burning dance fitness party’ that would trim and tone your buttocks; or my personal favourite the ‘power bracelet’ that promised improved athletic performance and endurance. Crossfit, despite its fair share of negative press seems to be ever growing in popularity.

Crossfit is a form of strength and conditioning that utilises functional movements and Olympic style lifts performed at high intensity.The demands of a crossfit workout are quite unique in that many of these ‘functional movements’ require unrestricted full range of movement; at multiple joints with perfect technique in order to prevent strain and injury. While many people may be under the impression that crossfit has a greater tendency to harm than other forms of exercise we must consider that all high intensity sports from rugby to running are prone to both traumatic acute injuries and overuse injuries.

FULL BLOG HERE:

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Categories Exercise & fitness General Issues Health and Wellbeing Tags crossfit workout exercise training injury prevention olympic lifting

Dec 2, 2013

Injury proof your legs

Don’t you just love leg day? That burning feeling in your quads as you complete the your last set of jumping lunges, or the aching in your calves as you reach the top of your last stair run. How good is the feeling the next day when every muscle in your legs groans as you bend down to pick up the morning paper…. Call me weird but I love this feeling. Sore is the new sexy….. right?

Post exercise soreness, or DOMS (delayed onset muscle soreness) is your muscles response to unaccustomed strenuous exercise. Like anything our bodies are programmable.. do the same workout everyday very quickly your brain and muscles will learn how to cope and surprise surprise it becomes easier. That’s why the fitness world is constantly calling for us to shock our body, do something new, progressively overload your workouts etc etc.

When it comes to our ‘lower limb chain’ its GREAT that you can squat double your body weight or that you can deadlift 150kg BUT are you including enough of the basic stability exercises to complement this ‘lets get massive quads workout’?

In my opinion there are a few stock standard exercises that should be regulars in your legs program to keep your biomechanics in check. These exercises if performed at least a few times a week will help injury proof your legs.

READ FULL BLOG HERE

 

Categories Exercise & fitness General Issues Tags legs workout strength core stability foam roller exercise DOMS injury prevention weights stability

Quite literally a pain in the butt

I seriously love my job. Yes of course I have days where my sunny courtyard is much more appealing than the inside of a physio practice, If I didn’t I wouldn’t be normal. The thing I love most; apart from the insanely awesome team I work with, is that no two days are the same. The only common thing? They are all suffering pain.

It’s bizarre how life goes, and this has happened to me several times now. I’ll have someone present with a condition that I haven’t seen for a AGES; suddenly within that week 2-3 more people will walk through the door with the exact same problem. It’s as if it becomes the ‘trending’ injury for that week.. and then I won’t see another one for another few months!!!

I have had one of those months. This months ‘trending’ injury is quite literally a pain in the ass.

Piriformis Syndrome

People with this problem usually come in complaining of ‘sciatica’ that starts deep in their bottom. Just to clear a few things up because people often get this confused, sciatica is not a diagnosis as such; but a set of symptoms. Basically if someone says they have sciatica it means they have pain running down the back and/or outside of their leg. This can originate in the lower back due to a variety of things or it can start deep in buttock area. It’s caused by an irritation of the sciatic nerve at some point along its windy path from the lumbar spine (lower back) to the foot.

 

READ FULL BLOG HERE

Categories Back General Issues Tags piriformis syndrome sciatica leg pain buttock pain muscle spasm massage physiotherapy sciatic nerve pain

Tips to have a stress free holiday

I’m far from your typical ‘girly’ girl. I hate champagne; I never get my nails done; my makeup selection is actually a joke; I don’t even own a hairdryer; and on average I think I get ready to go out quicker than my boyfriend! BUT the one thing I love, along with most females is some good old GIRL TIME.

This weekend I am heading to Singapore for a ‘girls weekend’ with my mum and sister.. I can hardly contain my excitement!!! This is not a typical Esslemont family activity, the last family holiday we went on was about 10 years ago and we haven’t been away together since; I think traveling through Europe for 6 weeks with 3 kids and 13 suitcases was slightly more stressful than my parents envisaged.

Travel, whether for work or pleasure is often not all bells and whistles. It is change after all and not many of us deal well with change; different time zone, unfamiliar environments, different bed, unusual foods. Yes it’s exciting seeing new sites and new cities but it’s actually quite a stressful transition for your body.

There are a few simple things that can be done to minimise unnecessary stress. There is no point going on a holiday if you return more frazzled than you were when you left… right?

READ FULL BLOG HERE

Categories General Issues Health and Wellbeing Tags holiday stress travel de-stress unwind relax vacation

Nov 5, 2013

Want to be a better surfer?

My boss is a surf addict. Literally. It’s obvious from the moment you walk through the doors of the physio practice; surfing shots litter each and every wall, surfing magazines are front and centre in the waiting room and most of the patients come armed with an up to date surf report about which beach has the most ‘pumping’ waves just in case we have a few hours off over lunch! I personally couldn’t call myself a surfer; Among surfers I’d be known as a ‘gremmie’ or a really bad surfer. Sure I can stand up and catch a wave on a ‘foamie’ but then again I’m pretty sure Ross’s 7 year old daughter can do that too so I’m not getting too excited. It’s on my bucket list.

Surfing, like any sport requires a certain level of fitness, strength and ‘stability’ in order to meet the demands placed on your body. Have you ever actually tried to duck dive under a huge swell of white wash? It’s not exactly a walk in the park especially when you have to do it half a dozen times each time you paddle out. I guess the point I’m trying to make here is a lot of people assume going surfing for a few hours is an activity of leisure, when really it’s a pretty challenging workout, particularly if the surf is pumping and you’re carving heaps of gnarly barrels. (I’m so onto this surf lingo)

Do you want to be a better surfer? Then it’s time you conditioned your body to be one.

Want to know how? READ FULL BLOG HERE

Tags surfing strength training fitness conditioning exercise workout core stability

Oct 21, 2013

Reflexology: Are you walking on the solution to your health problems?

As a physiotherapist massage makes up a pretty significant portion of my days work, and a lot of people may find it odd but I find giving massages strangely therapeutic… most of the time; the 100kg footballer wanting a deep tissue massage maybe not so much. The worst part about it is that I get insanely jealous of the person on the table thoroughly enjoying an hour of zen time while I am lost in thought about what I would do to trade places with them.

 finally did it. Thursday night late night shopping of all places, in search of an outfit for the races, next minute I was dozing off in a reclining chair enjoying a 40 minute reflexology foot massage. Best $45 I ever spent. (and no I didn’t find a dress for the races that day). While in my sleep like state I did manage to notice that there were certain points on my feet that were incredibly painful compared to the rest and I couldn’t help but be curious about what these particular points meant in the world of Chinese medicine. Unfortunately I didn’t get any groundbreaking information from it, all my tight areas corresponded to neck, shoulders and back which are generally stiff and sore as a result of my work.

My very western orientated medical brain doesn’t really believe that releasing pressure points in the hands and feet can treat the range of medical conditions it says it can BUT I am trying the whole be ‘open minded’ and the more I read about it the more it interests me.

What is reflexology?

Reflexology is a form of massage that involves releases pressure points in the hands and feet which coincide with certain areas of the body. Basically our feet and hands are maps which correspond to parts of the body including our organs and vital systems such as the nervous and circulatory system.

(READ FULL BLOG HERE)

Categories General Issues Health and Wellbeing Tags reflexology massage trigger point reflex points foot massage de-stress deep tissue massage

Oct 17, 2013

HIIT your fitness peak this summer

I was chatting away on the phone to my darling mother the other day about this, that and the other when our conversation took its usual progression onto health / medical related topics. Mum always has some insightful new information about the latest study or trend in the medical world to share with me and it’s often something obscure like how mushrooms can actually provide humans with their daily vitamin D requirements. This particular calls topic was high intensity interval training and for the first time I think I was actually more knowledgeable on the topic that mum was.

High intensity interval training (HIIT) is a form of exercise that is growing in popularity in the fitness industry. No one has time to be slogging it out at the gym for 2 hours every day, which I guess is a good thing because research now shows that just 20- 30 minutes of high intensity exercise is actually better for you, both for fat loss and cardiovascular gains!

What does this form of training involve? If you think about it it’s kind of self explanatory… Short bouts of HIGH (not medium) intensity work where you literally bust your guts and push yourself to your limits, followed by a short period of rest and away you go again. The work to rest ratio is the key component of the training and it will be determined by what you are setting out to achieve.

(READ FULL BLOG HERE)

 

Categories General Issues Health and Wellbeing Tags HIIT High Intensity Interval Training training exercise aerobic fitness fitness summer work/rest training

Oct 10, 2013

Are you getting enough sleep?

The short answer here is probably no… I would estimate 80% of people reading this right now are under slept! As a working adult the recommended sleep requirement is around 8 hours. Can you actually remember the last time you got a solid 8 hours sleep? Because I certainly can’t! I average 6.5 – 7 hours of sleep a night and trust me I am feeling it by Friday afternoon!

The benefits of getting enough sleep stretch far beyond banishing the dark circles under your eyes… it is ESSENTIAL to your health; both mentally and physically. Pretty much 99.9% of us are grumpy individuals when we don’t have enough sleep, not to mention our attention span diminishes to that of a two year old; you become irritable, irrational and unproductive.

Why is sleep so important?

1. HELPS TO REDUCE STRESS: When you’re functioning on a lack of sleep your body can enter a chronic state of stress. Several of my previous blogs highlight how detrimental too much stress can be to our health and wellbeing. Too much stress releases cortisol (stress hormone) constantly which can contribute to chronic disease such as high blood pressure and coronary artery disease; curb weight loss results and leave you feeling generally run down and emotional.
 

Categories General Issues Health and Wellbeing Tags sleep recover hormones health wellbeing stress mood memory rejuvenate

Sep 29, 2013

The road to becoming an Iron Man

Imagine the fittest person you know… and by fit I don’t just mean your mate who can run 20km with ease or your boyfriend who squats 100kg.. Now multiply that by 10 and you have Adam Becker. I’m not kidding this guy is on another level of fit. Mentally and physically he is the fittest person I know.

A few weeks ago he asked me if I wanted to do a running session with him. I considered it until I found out it was 100 x 100m efforts on the clock. The other option was 28 x 1km efforts. I’m not sure which is worse all I know was that there was no way I was attempting either session with this crazy kid!

I first met Adam when he playing footy down at East’s Rugby. He is now the manager of Parc Ftness, a small boutique gym chain in Bellevue Hill and Rose Bay, a personal trainer, Cranbrook rowing coach and IRON MAN.

I caught up with him following his first Iron Man in Japan a few weeks ago… (where he came 2nd in his age group I might add) to chat about his training scheduale and how he came to be the fittest human in the eastern suburbs.

(READ FULL INTERVIEW HERE)

 

 

Categories Athlete Interview General Issues Tags Iron Man training exercise running cycling triathlon Adam Becker East's Rugby Parc Fitness physiotherapy EastSports physiotehrapy

Sep 15, 2013

Stairway to heaven... or hell?

Spring is finally here; we have already been blessed with some ripping ‘summer like’ days, the mornings are lighter, the ocean is getting a little warmer (I braved my first swim on the weekend!) and it’s even starting to smell like spring! I LOVE this time of the year!

Naturally spring means it’s time to start thinking about shedding our winter coats (literally) and getting in shape for summer. Ladies that means we need to get out butts moving so we can flaunt our bikini bodies! In my opinion stair running is the perfect workout to get your heart rate up, burn some serious calories, tone up those pins and the best part… that feeling of soreness the next day that reminds you just how hard you worked!!!

The eastern suburbs of Sydney is packed full of great sets of stairs that are a challenge for even the fittest of the fit… Supersize your workout this week and give some of my favorite sets of stairs a whirl.

Cooper Park: Located in Cooper Park at the top of Bellevue Road in Bellevue Hill these are a great little set of stairs to knock over a great workout. It’s not the longest flight of stairs you have ever seen but they are short, steep and your quads will be well and truly burning by the time you get to the top.

(READ FULL LIST HERE)

Categories General Issues Health and Wellbeing New Category Tags stairs cardio workout running Coogee Stairs Cranbrook Stairs exercise health

Sep 12, 2013

SOS: The most effective re-hydration solution on the market

As a sports physiotherapist working with semi-professional athletes, one of the most difficult challenges we face ‘in game’ is maintaining adequate hydration levels of the players. These boys are playing at a high intensity for 80-90 minutes; they sweat ALOT and are losing vital electrolytes at a rapid rate. This not only affects their physical performance significantly but also makes them prone to muscle cramping.

Since beginning to work in the health and sport industry I haven’t been a huge fan of drinks like Gatorade and powerade; they are ridiculously high in sugar and often lack some of the essential electrolytes that you lose through sweat; making them seemingly ineffective at treating moderate dehydration.

SOS is a really exciting new re-hydration drink that is packed full of essential electrolytes; think sodium, magnesium, chloride all of which are all lost in large volumes when we sweat. SOS contains double the amount of sodium (the main electrolyte lost in sweat) found in most sports drinks.

READ FULL BLOG HERE

 

sos

Categories General Issues Health and Wellbeing Tags hydrate sweat electrolytes hydration re-hydration cramping SOS sports drinks

Sep 9, 2013

Foods your body will LOVE you for avoiding

If you saw last week’s post you will no doubt be right on top of all the best foods to help fight off and prevent build up of unwanted inflammation in the body.  It’s all very well eating an abundance of these healthy nutritious foods BUT are you sabotaging all your hard work by consuming other foods that actually contribute to inflammation and make our bodies more ‘toxic’.

There is no doubt that diet can serve as a protective function for our body. More than 70% of our immune system cells are found in the digestive tract so it a no brainer than when you fuel your body with nourishing foods we are able to heal faster and we are less likely to develop chronic inflammation build up.

Surprise surprise number 1 on this list is refined sugar!!! It’s quite literally killing your insides and adding to your love handles. Directly linked to metabolic syndrome, type 2 diabetes and a variety of other chronic diseases. Think soft drinks, fruit juices, pastries, desserts, packaged snacks, candy etc etc

(READ FULL BLOG HERE)

 

Categories General Issues Health and Wellbeing Tags inflammation chronic inflammation diet lifestyle health refined sugar processed food

Sep 2, 2013

The best foods to fight inflammation

Inflammation is medically defined as localised physical condition whereby a part of the body becomes painful, red, swollen and hot usually in relation to a physical injury or underlying infection of the tissues. This is acute inflammation and usually a short term completely NORMAL response by the body as it attempts to heal injured or affected tissues.

Chronic inflammation on the other hand is a different kettle of fish; this is an ongoing inflammatory response by the immune system. Your body produces a constant supply of immune cells which can be detrimental to your health in many ways. Studies have shown links to cancer, alzeimhers, arthritic conditions. Chronic inflammation in the body can be caused by an array of different things: stress, weight, smoking, lack of exercise, sleep patterns and DIET.

Diet can play a huge role in how our body harvests inflammation. Certain foods are termed inflammatory foods, they signal our immune system to create immune cells while other foods are anti-inflammatory foods. I’m not advocating you design your diet around what I am about to write….This is merely food for thought.

(READ FULL BLOG)

Tags inflammation pain diet lifestyle food health

Why stress can be a real pain in the neck.

Sydney can, at times, be a very overwhelming place to live. Don’t get me wrong I LOVE this city and quite frankly I probably would choose it over any other place in the world especially to live my current lifestyle.

I like the hustle and bustle, the chaos, the crowds; but there are a lot of people I know who just don’t cope with the fast paced society many of us thrive on. Interestingly it’s these same people who seem to suffer ALOT with stress related problems.

The most common presentation that we get that’s driven by stress is neck / upper back pain quite often associated with headaches. So called ‘tension’ headaches are a combination of physical and emotional stress resulting in tight overactive muscles through the neck and shoulder region. This dull ache precipitates behind the eyes and feels like a tight band around the forehead can turn what you were hoping to be a productive days work into a nightmare where you literally can’t sit still and have concentration levels of a 5 year old.

 

(READ FULL BLOG)

Categories General Issues Health and Wellbeing Tags stress headache muscle tension neck pain pain physiotherapy massage

Aug 13, 2013

5 ways to give your sore, aching muscles some TLC

Were you one of the 85,000 Sydney siders that took to the streets yesterday to participate in one of our nation’s most famous foot races?

A windey, up and down 14km track from leafy green Hyde Park to picturesque Bondi Beach. We were blessed with a delightfully sunny winters day.. From the pro’s to the novice runner; there were superhero’s; fairies; mums and bubs; and an unusual abundance of the latest it garment the ‘onsie’! It’s one of those days where just about anything goes, and most defiantly the only day of the year topless smurfs are allowed to run a muck in Bondi’s best pub the Beach Road Hotel!

So you finished the race and of course immediately, in true City 2 Surf tradition, headed straight for the nearest watering hole… and no I’m not referring to the sandy shorelines but rather the closest pub serving ice cold beer! Re-hydration is the key to recovery right?

A lot of the time muscle soreness following exercise that you are not usually accustomed too simply requires time. Unfortunately boy and girls this post exercise soreness tends to be worst 48 hours post exercise so if you are struggling today, don’t expect too feel much better tomorrow…BUT it’s all downhill from there I promise.

Despite feeling a little worse for wear today there are a few little things you can do to give those sore aching limbs some TLC. (READ FULL BLOG HERE)

Categories General Issues Health and Wellbeing Tags City2Surf recovery stretching massage sauna running magnesium

Aug 4, 2013

What is a Morton's Neuroma?

They say doctors make terrible patients… I think physio’s do too and I have several reasons why; firstly we have an inability to take our own advice (most of the time); secondly we usually fail to get treatment on our problem areas because let’s be honest the last thing you want to do at the end of a long days work is have to treat your colleague… and thirdly is the case of too much knowledge being a potentially dangerous thing,. Naturally as humans and also medical practitioners I think we are programmed to think the worst and then work our way backwards.

Recently I was out enjoying a Sunday jog on the famous Bondi to Bronte coastal track when my two middle toes started aching and tingling. I kept running, it got worse, I kept running, by the end my jog was a hobble and surprise surprise for the rest of the day my foot was killing me. By 8pm that night I had convinced myself that I had a stress fracture (always jumping to the worst case scenario) I had visions of a walking boot, no running, no gym....

What is a Morton’s Neuroma? I’m so glad you asked... A neuroma is a growth that arises within the nerve cells. A Morton’s neuroma is the name given to an inflamed nerve between the metatarsals at the ball of the foot. It most commonly occurs between the second and third toe and is caused by irritation and compression of the intermetatarsal nerve. (READ FULL BLOG HERE)

 

Categories General Issues Health and Wellbeing Tags Morton's Neuroma neuroma foot pain toe pain running intermetatarsal nerve