Wednesday, 26 December 2012

iPad And Tablet-Related Injuries On Rise.

iPad And Tablet-Related Injuries On Rise

The Chartered Society of Physiotherapy says it has seen an increase in the number of people with upper body pain, which could be related to the use of hand-held devices and tablets.
Businessman Jeremy Asher used to spend around six hours a day switching between his laptop, smartphone and tablet computer, until his body began to protest.
"I woke up one morning with an intensely sharp pain right around the shoulder blade. I thought … perhaps it would go away after a night or two. But it didn't. In fact it seemed to be even worse, and it was starting to even stop me sleeping."
He was treated for a nerve problem and is now pain-free, but cases like his are becoming more common.
Chartered physiotherapist Amanda Stockton says she has seen more patients with symptoms including neck, shoulder and wrist pain, as well as headaches.
"When you're using a tablet, your neck is pointing sharply down, so your joints are getting stiff and your nerves are possibly overworking."
The unofficial term "iPad shoulder" emerged earlier this year after researchers at Harvard University looked into the risks of using tablets.
The study's leader Dr Jack Dennerlein suggests prevention is key.
"A lot of this can lead to chronic neck pain," he said. "And who knows - over the long term, these chronic issues can lead to other chronic health issues such as arthritis."
Apart from sitting upright in a chair, experts recommend keeping the tablet near eye level and taking regular breaks.
Dr Dennerlein added: "Find support in how to hold it up so that you can look at it properly. Don't use your arms if you don't have to. Go hands free. Find a good case."

Monday, 24 December 2012

Pelvic bio mechanics. A few answers.

To wedge or not to wedge??Is this the answer??

there are times when they are not. Take the example of the wedging of the feet in the pedal in an attempt to correct an overly flat foot in the shoe or cleat. Bearing in mind that 60% of the biomechanical problems that exist in feet are compensations for faulty biomechanics in the pelvis or hips, then you can see that it’s critical to ensure that the hips and pelvis are fully functional before the feet are addressed.

A ‘rotated’ pelvis, (which is where the pelvic bone gets stuck in an abnormal position) can go unnoticed for many years until the compensations start to cause problems. Typically a rotated pelvis is caused by unaccustomed lifting or carrying, performing a repetitive movement abnormally or perhaps compensating for another biomechanical issue elsewhere in the body. When the pelvis rotates, the piriformis muscle on the outside of your hip goes into a protective spasm. This spasm effectively prevents the joint from functioning correctly and so other areas have to compensate. If the problem is caught early enough, treatment will help. If however the problem is left for more than 6 weeks, the muscle will change its composition and become fibrotic and be unable to function normally. In theses cases treatment will help in the short term, but whenever you start training again, the problem recurs.

The body can compensate in a variety of ways for the rotated pelvis causing a leg length discrepancy, causing a variety of potential problem areas.

Common examples are that the foot can flatten to shorten the length of the longer leg or the opposite foot can increase the height of its arch to lengthen the shorter leg. Alternatively the knee of the longer leg can bend more to shorten it, or the knee of the shorter leg can bend less to lengthen it. In addition, the spine can side bend more to allow the shorter leg greater reach. These are only some of the many ways the body tries to compensate for a leg length discrepancy. Also bear in mind that the problems are worse in cycling than many other sports as you are fixed in a position determined by an external factor, unlike with running where you are relatively free to compensate how you like. All of these compensations though will increase the load on the structures that are doing more work. Typically they will result in knee pain, back pain, thigh or hamstring pain and hip pain. Moreover they make it very difficult to set your bike up correctly, as how do you know whether to set the seat/pedal relationship right for the longer leg or the shorter leg?

To manage these issues, we first have to return the abnormal muscle tone in the pelvis (the piriformis muscle) to normal. In other words you have to do ‘anti-spasm’ exercises for the muscle. Stretching or flexibility work just won’t cut it. You need to return the muscle to normal function, not just stretch it. Once the spasm is eradicated as much as possible, then you have to perform exercises to stabilise the pelvis. In other words exercises that allow your muscles to control your pelvis and trunk without them needing to go into spasm. Part of this process is achieved by so-called ‘core stability exercises’, but also you need to speak to your health care provider about plyometric exercises for pelvic muscles that you can do in the gym.

Once your pelvis is in good shape, and if you continue to get problems with your troublesome body part, then you can safely get a qualified practitioner or specialist to consider prescribing the wedges.

So if anyone says to you that wedges in your shoes can help with your knee, back or hip pain, you must make sure that they check your pelvic biomechanics first.
For a full bio mechanical assessment, book an appointment with Andy or Jason, our fully qualified Bio mechanical coaches.

Writen by ITS.

Sunday, 23 December 2012

Electrolytes and their importance to the athlete.

Electrolytes and their importance to the athlete.

During intensive exercise the body needs to convert oxygen into energy (oxidative metabolism) yet only one quarter of the energy produced enables you to move, the rest is released from the body as heat. This is where sweat comes in; when working in a warm environment the heat produced must be eliminated from the muscles being used, to the blood. Without this effectively occurring in the body there is risk of a noticeable decrease in capacity to perform, possible hyperthermia and further health risks. Rehydration, particularly in the hot weather is crucial for replacing lost fluids and maximising performance.
In April of last year Olympic medallist and extreme sportsman, James Cracknell endured the 156 mile, gruelling Marathon des Sabres in the scorching Moroccan heat. During this marathon he had his urine tested twice a day in order to detect any signs of dehydration, trauma or malfunction. The tests where essential in enabling him to not only perform at his best but survive the experience under those conditions.
If there is no one at hand to test urine and check for dehydration there is a simple test that can be done.
The nail blanch test/capillary nail refill test; Hold your hand above you heart line and press down on the nail bed until it turns white but not so that it hurts, then let go. If the nail bed returns to the normal pink colour within 2 seconds, your circulation is good. If it takes longer than 2 seconds the result may be a sign of dehydration. 
It isn’t just water you need for adequate hydration over long periods of exercise. The body can only absorb a safe and proportionate amount of fluid (plain water) this is approximately one litre of water per hour. A 2% decrease in hydration results in a 20-35% drop in performance whether that be mental or physical or both. In order for the produced heat to be transferred from the muscles being used to the blood where it can then reach the extremities of the body and/or be released as sweat, other components need to be added to water.     
Electrolytes are minerals such as sodium, chloride, potassium, bicarbonate, calcium, phosphate and magnesium. These electrolytes are found in the fluid within the body and are obtained by the food and drinks we consume in our diets. They are fundamental in regulating nerve and muscle function, blood pressure and pH, hydration and the repair of damaged tissue. When there is an imbalance of fluid within the body, mineral levels change and can be lost. This loss can alter blood chemistry; affect muscle action and other mechanisms of the body. Not only inadequate intake of fluids can cause an imbalance of electrolytes but also some medication, vomiting, diarrhoea and sweating.
Blood contains more minerals than sweat and therefore at times when there is inadequate water taken in to counteract the water lost during exercise, the concentration of these minerals (electrolytes) in the blood increases. When the amount of water lost through sweating is equal to the amount consumed, the major electrolytes (sodium and chloride) decrease. This however is more apparent in ultra-endurance athletes where exercise lasts longer than 3 to 4 hours. For training of up to several hours at a time, it is important that fluid along with glucose, are taken in to prevent dehydration, exhaustion and heat stroke. The combination of sodium and carbohydrates can help stimulate the absorption of water in the body and this is especially important during periods of recovery where rehydration of both fluid and electrolytes are essential. It is thought that the most effective post training rehydration drink should have around 1100mg of sodium per litre1.  Vita-coco is natural coconut water that contains naturally occurring minerals, though relatively expensive it is one of the best hydration drinks available.
Stroud Sports Clinic Ltd.