Six common DIY injuries and how to prevent them

TV shows such as The Block have made millions of Australians passionate about DIY. The appeal is real, because with some skill and determination, you can turn an old house with good bones, into a stunningly beautiful, renovated home. Yet for any DIY quest, it’s important that you understand the risks involved.

Fast Facts About Aussie DIY injuries

  • 30% of all adult injuries in Australia occur in the home and garden.
  • Home injuries result in more time off work than workplace injuries.
  • If the principles of workplace OH&S were applied to home DIY, such as using the correct tools and lifting techniques, it would prevent many home injuries.
  • Young men aged between 20 to 39 years old are the most commonly injured in home DIY accidents.  
  • The most common injuries are lacerations and wounds from foreign bodies and operating machinery, followed by musculoskeletal injuries, such as lower back pain, shoulder and elbow complaints.

Source: Monash University, Accident Research Centre, Department of Human Services and Health (1999) Prevention of Injuries associated with Do-It-Yourself activities.

Prevention is always better than a cure. So here are some simple tips from Maroubra Road Physiotherapy, which may help to prevent some common DIY injuries.

Wear protective gear

We don’t want to dampen your enthusiasm for keeping your home beautiful, however you should wear protective gear when doing DIY at home.  You should wear steel-capped boots, safety glasses, safety gloves and earmuffs when operating power tools.

Many avoidable injuries to the back, feet and hands frequently occur because individuals weren’t wearing protective gear. Despite the Aussie stereotype, thongs are not considered to be safe DIY footwear. If you really must wear rugby shorts when doing DIY, at least make sure they aren’t Queensland maroon!

See the table below for a startling reality check, about why protective gear is always a good idea when using power tools.

Source: DIY injuries fact sheet

A DIY expert always checks his tools and techniques

Doing a preliminary safety check of your tools is an often overlooked part of any DIY job. When getting your tools and equipment such as ladders, saws and grinders out of storage, make sure you check that they are still operating correctly before you use them.

For this reason, it’s always a good idea to keep safety guides for your power tools and equipment. They provide important insights. It’s not commonly known that power tools can cause tennis elbow, more frequently than actually playing tennis! Firmly gripping a power tool over many hours results in pain in the outside of the elbow.

Lift and carry furniture the back-friendly way

Many people visit our clinic because they have incorrectly lifted heavy furniture or other objects, resulting in injury.

There is a correct way to lift heavy items, which will protect your knees and back.

For heavy loads, bend your body to lift from the knees, rather than bending from your lower back.

While lifting the item, keep it close to your body and never bend or twist with any heavy object. For carrying or transporting heavy items like white ware, TVs or sofas, use a wheel-trolley or gurney.  

At Maroubra Road Physiotherapy, when it comes to common back and neck injuries, we see the whole person, rather than just the injury. We create step-by-step programmes that are uniquely tailored to meet individual circumstances and needs.

Be careful on that ladder, daredevil!  

Summer is an amazing time to get outside and clean the gutters, paint the exterior of the home or fix any broken roof tiles. In order to ensure you don’t fall and experience serious multiple traumas or even death, you should stabilise your ladder on even ground.

If you must climb up high on uneven ground, make sure you have a supporting person holding the ladder steady beneath you at all times. Always make sure that the ladder is locked in place before heading up.

Avoid repetitive DIY tasks for long periods

Are you going to paint the house, pave the driveway or retile the family room this summer? Repetitive tasks that require repeated movements over many hours can result in muscle overuse injuries, strains, sprains to the hands, arms, neck, back and shoulders.

Painting the ceiling or walls often leads to shoulder injuries, like a bursitis or an injury to the rotator cuff.

This is because keeping your arm elevated overhead may compromise the position of your shoulder. This can result in a pinching of the soft tissues where the shoulder blade meets the collar bone. A sudden movement during this kind of work could result in an acute tearing of the muscles in the shoulder.

To avoid this, make sure you get up and have a break or do something else every two hours to avoid repetitive strain injuries.

Our friendly and highly experienced team at Maroubra Road Physiotherapy treat these kinds of injuries every day. We use a combination of soft tissue release techniques, exercise-based rehabilitation and manual therapy.  This helps to strengthen the muscles and prevent future re-injury.

Avoid staying stationary in one position too long

Gardening involves many hours hunched over the garden bed or hauling heavy bags of potting mix. If you need to remain still for long periods, this can cause a lower back injury.  By doing appropriate pause exercises and maintaining postural awareness, you can avoid common strains and sprains. Doing so will enable you to cope better with the physical demands of DIY.

Good luck on your quest for a renovated home and garden! You can expect a few aches and pains if you’re not used to lots of exercise. However if this persists for more than a week, then you should get a physiotherapy assessment to ensure that you don’t worsen your injury or lengthen your recovery time.

Doing so, also means you are recovering from injury in a personalised way that is safe and beneficial to your health. Speak with the team at Maroubra Road Physiotherapy today to book an appointment on (02) 9314 3888.

References

Flinders University, Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (2017) DIY injuries fact sheet

Monash University, Accident Research Centre, Department of Human Services and Health (1999) Prevention of Injuries associated with Do-It-Yourself activities.

CanStar Blue (2018) Six DIY injuries to watch out for.

DIY at home Government of NSW, Department of Health (2014) Do-It-Yourself Safely.   

Government of Western Australia. Department of Mines, Industry Regulation and Safety (2016) Avoid injuries with DIY work

Valentine’s Day Date Ideas: Sweat Together & Stay Together

Valentine’s Day Date Ideas: Sweat Together & Stay together

Regular exercise is one of the most beneficial things that any couple can do together. It’s a fun and healthy way of bonding, and creating great memories. Working out together also wards off many chronic diseases and disorders, such as diabetes and cardiovascular disease, depression, anxiety and obesity.

Loads of research backs up the notion that couples who sweat together, stay together. One study from Indiana University found that married couples who joined a health club together have only a 6.3% drop-out rate, compared to couples who worked out separately. The latter group had a 43% drop-out rate over the course of a year.

Mutual health goals help you to build stronger bonds with your partner. With this in mind, here are some great athletic Valentine’s Day date ideas.  

A hiking adventure

Australia has hundreds of beautiful national parks with well-provisioned walking trails and gorgeous scenery. Walking or hiking trails range from easy to advanced. So this is a good form of exercise that most people of all fitness levels and ages can enjoy.  So grab your compass, decent hiking shoes, a picnic and your significant other and go exploring.

A romantic cycling trip

Australia has over 16,000 mapped cycling routes throughout our vast country. Whether you want to go for a city cycle or take a trip of a lifetime to Ayers Rock or Tasmania, Australia is a cyclist’s paradise and offers a fun Valentine’s Day date option. Don’t forget to bring water, food and plenty of sunscreen. An outback tour by bike is best reserved for experienced cyclists because of the complete isolation of the desert.

An indoor rock climbing challenge

City-dwelling couples with less time for a Valentine’s Day date should consider indoor rock-climbing. It’s not weather dependent and the facilities are all over the place in major cities. Also it’s a great way to improve your cardiovascular fitness and strength, while also requiring input from your partner. While one of you climbs, the other one belays the ropes.

A swimming, sauna and spa visit

Treat yourself to a bit of luxury and pampering together by visiting a day spa or health centre. Enjoy a swim together in the pool followed by a sauna, spa treatment and a massage. It’s guaranteed to make you both feel loved, cherished and relaxed afterwards.

Kayaking along the coast

Australia has over 35,000 kilometres of coastline. With so much beach to choose from, you can easily find a place outside of major cities where you can enjoy a kayak together on a deserted romantic beach.  A double kayak is a great way to improve your cardiovascular strength and upper body strength, while also enjoying the wild beauty of the Australian coast.

Warming up and warming down to prevent injury

The expression ‘No pain, no gain’ is really silly when it comes to exercise! To prevent injury, you should listen for the warning signs in your body. Pain is your body’s way of warning you that something is not right.

Common musculoskeletal injuries such as strains, sprains, joint injuries and back pain can be prevented with warm ups. These stretches should last approximately 10 minutes in duration. Warm ups are important because they:  

  • Slowly boost your heart rate and breathing rate.
  • Increase the blood flow to working muscles.
  • Warm up your muscles and improve their elasticity, preparing your body for exercise.

After your workout, a cool down stretch is also important. This could be static stretches (static holding of positions for 10-30 seconds) or dynamic stretches (moving the body through a full range of motion). Both kinds of cool down stretches help you to maintain your flexibility in your muscles, tendons and joints.

If you have forgotten about warm ups and cool down exercises and sustained an injury, it may be time for you to visit the experienced team at Maroubra Road Physiotherapy.

Don’t go from zero to hero

If you or your partner are starting from zero exercise and plan on jumping straight into a very athletic Valentine’s date, you should first consider any pre-existing health conditions or injuries you may have.

The friendly team at Maroubra Road Physiotherapy will be able to provide you with an assessment of your musculoskeletal condition.  We will also be able to provide you with expert advice on what kind of Valentine’s date would be most suitable for the both of you.

If either one of you are experiencing pain, it’s a good idea to book an assessment by Maroubra Road Physiotherapy before your athletic Valentine’s Day date.

References

Psychology Today (2014) The Reasons Why Couples Who Sweat Together Stay Together  

Exercise and Sports Science Australia (2017) Exercise Right: Top 5 Active Date Ideas for Valentine’s Day

Department of Kinesiology, Indiana University (1995). Twelve month adherence of adults who joined a fitness program with a spouse vs without a spouse.

Health Education Research (2008) The role of collective efficacy in exercise adherence: a qualitative study of spousal support and type 2 diabetes management.

PLoS One (2013) Energy Expenditure during Sexual Activity in Young Healthy Couples.

Back to school and work: Ergonomic advice to start the year right

It’s almost possible to hear the collective groans of millions of people in Australia, somewhere in the middle of January, as they lurch away from the beach or pool-side and back to their respective workplaces and schools.

As we all return to business as usual, it’s easy to forget that workplaces and schools can cause us unintended injuries. Pains, strains, neck and back pain and joint pain are some of the most common ailments people suffer.  Thankfully, they are also the most easily treatable.

Costing the Australian economy over $60 billion dollars per year, workplace injuries are more common than you think with over 106,000 workplace injury claims made in 2013-2014.  

Below is a a guide to office ergonomics and workplace safety. The basic rule of thumb is that preventing injury begins with managing your 1. Posture, 2. Activity, 3. Environment.

Workplaces: an ergonomic and injury avoidance checklist  

Posture

  • Switch positions regularly at your desk. Many repetitive strain injuries occur because you’re sitting for too long in the same position.
  • Ensure that your back is supported and that your shoulders are relaxed but not slumped.
  • Ensure that your eye-line is straight when looking at the top third of your computer screen,  and that your neck doesn’t need to angle up or down to view the top part of your computer screen.
  • Keep a neutral position with your forearms and hands in a straight line on the desk while seated.  
  • Keep your elbows as close to your body as possible.
  • Keep your mouse and keyboard close.
  • Get your eyes checked. Generally, if you need to squint to view what’s on the computer screen, you will automatically create an awkward posture for your body.  Over time, this will lead to injury and discomfort..

Activity

  • Take frequent mini-breaks throughout the day and walk around to get the blood moving in your body. Even better, leave the building for a walk.
  • Give your eyes a break regularly by closing them, blinking and looking off into the middle distance.
  • Instead of emailing someone in the office, go over to their desk to ask a question. Not only are you getting more exercise this way, you’re also making your relationship with them more personable.  
  • Avoid doing the same repetitive action, such as moving boxes, bending or reaching, for more than 1 hour at a time.

Environment

  • Eliminate sunny glare from windows. This may cause eye strain and headaches.
  • Adjust the contrast and brightness of your laptop screen if you regularly move around in changing lighting conditions.
  • Employ stress reduction techniques such as yoga, meditation or breathing techniques to help with stress.
  • Remove all debris and obstructions from the workplace floor that could be a tripping hazard to people.
  • Ensure that stairwells have adequate lighting and signage to avoid trips and falls.
  • Ensure that lighting in your office is adequate and clear. This will help to prevent eye strain.
  • Covered footwear is a normal requirement for most industrial workplaces.
  • Protective clothing and helmets are a normal requirement in many industries as well.
  • A clean and hygienic workplace prevents rodent or insect infestations that could pose a health risk.
  • Machines and power tools should be checked regularly to ensure that they meet safety requirements.

If you have recently had a workplace injury or you suffer from ongoing pain problems at work, you can speak to the friendly team at Maroubra Road Physiotherapy. The team are experts at identifying, assessing and providing personalised treatment plans for these kinds of injuries.

 

Tips for parents to ease the kids back into school

Here are some tips so that your children have the best chances to learn and give their full attention to the teacher this year.  

1. Sleep is a big priority

Children need a lot more sleep than adults. For a comprehensive guide on sleep for people of all stages of life, read Sleep and Recovery: Five ways that sleep mends your body by the team at Maroubra Road Physiotherapy. When children get enough sleep, they have the cognitive power to learn and absorb more throughout the day. Over summer they may have been allowed to stay up later than usual, but make sure you return them to a regular routine.

2. Create a quiet, well-lit area for homework

Ideally homework should be done at a desk or a table. It should not take place near a TV or with easy access to mobile devices. Ensure that the study area is well-lit and has a desk and chair that’s optimised for their physical body. For younger children, parents should decide on the time of day for homework, either before dinner or after dinner, and stick to the routine.

3. Ensure children have enough down-time and play time

Playtime and physical activities are essential for children. It’s essential for them have a balance between sleep, learning, rest and play. That’s the recipe for their ongoing happiness.

At Maroubra Road Physiotherapy, we treat and correct children’s posture along with many other specialities. If your child has a sporting injury or is suffering from neck or back pain, please reach out to us, we are happy to help.

Maroubra Road Physiotherapy strives to keep everyone in the Maroubra community healthy, active and moving. The best medicine is preventative and educational. So make sure you subscribe to this blog via Facebook.

Four Smart New Year’s Resolutions for your health that will actually work in 2019!

Four Smart New Year’s Resolutions for your health that will actually work in 2019!

Could we please have a show of hands if you’ve ever promised yourself that in the new year, you would magically transform into sparkling new human being?

It’s very reassuring to know that we all make these promises to ourselves! Don’t worry, you’re not alone in that!

This ultimate guide from Maroubra Road Physiotherapy will show you how to bootstrap yourself in 2019 with pragmatic goal-setting. You will learn how to realistically stay the course towards a new and improved you and not become disheartened along the way.

A word first about goals

If you want to take on a big change to your health in 2019, then it’s best to attempt this in bite-sized pieces. This reduces the likelihood that you’ll break your commitment or feel demotivated if the goal is too lofty and seems unreachable along the way. A good way to think about health goals is to make them SMART.

S – specific, significant, stretching

M – measurable, meaningful, motivational

A – agreed upon, attainable, achievable, acceptable, action-oriented

R – realistic, relevant, reasonable, rewarding, results-oriented

T – time-based, time-bound, timely, tangible, trackable

Here are some common new year’s resolutions and then a SMART alternative goal that is going to be far more effective, to get you where you need to be…

Faulty: “In 2019 I’m going to eat healthier”

SMART: “I’m going to replace 2 take-away meals per week with 2 home-cooked and vegetarian meals every week”

If you focus on changing your entire diet, you will literally bite off more than you chew. Instead of telling yourself you need to eat healthier in 2019, you should focus on making the goal concrete, measurable and realistic.

By doing away with an ‘I can’t eat that’ restrictive mindset, you won’t feel guilty each time you want unhealthy food. This kind of restrictive mindset might lead you into an unhealthy food binge. Instead, by having a concrete goal of adding healthy food to your overall diet, you will be able to monitor how close you get to achieving this every week. When you do, you can pat yourself on the back!  

So how do you define healthy food? That’s a rather complex question. But it’s a good idea to steer clear of heavily processed foods with additives and preservatives in them. Instead opt for organic wholefoods or unprocessed foods like lean meats, organic dairy, vegetables and fruit. For quick and portable snacks, replace chocolate and chips with fruit and nuts. These are real fuel for the body that will keep you fuller for longer. For more detailed information on nutrition, read the Guide to Discretionary Food and Drink Choices by the Australian Government’s Eat for Health program.

Faulty: “I’m going to look really muscly/really skinny in 2019”

SMART: “I’m going to exercise for 30 minutes every other day”

This kind of faulty new year’s resolution fails to take into consideration that exercise is a constant daily commitment towards overall health. If you make exercise a daily habit, combined with a balanced diet, you will get results.

The problem with this faulty resolution is that you may hit the gym initially with gusto and determination. This overzealous exercise may lead to a strain, sprain or sporting injury, because you’re being too extreme with your workout.

A smarter approach to exercise would be to commit to a manageable and realistic amount of exercise every second day. This may be a lunchtime walk around the block during work hours, kicking around the football with the kids in the backyard in the evening, or walking the dog.

When we are realistic and have an easily achievable goal, this becomes less of a chore and more of a pleasure. Eventually this turns into a healthy habit that totally changes your life.

As a bonus, with this approach you may look into the mirror one day and see a hot version of yourself staring back, just not instantaneously.

Faulty: “I’m going to lose 10 kilos in a month”

SMART: “I’m going to eat five healthy meals per week and exercise for 30 minutes every other day”

While we can control our own behaviours towards eating healthier foods and exercising more, we can’t fully control how much weight we will lose. Looking at the scales and seeing the scales tip in the wrong direction may make you feel bad and discouraged. Instead of worrying about what the scales say, focus on what you need to do to make it happen.

This might mean committing to going to the gym every other day to do a workout. It might mean fitting in more vegetables and lean protein into your diet, rather than getting take-away foods. Measurable and practical goals are far easier to achieve.

Faulty: “I’m going to quit my job because of the physical pain I’m in at work”

SMART: “I’m going to get an ergonomic assessment of my work space and desk. And I’m going to do stretches at my desk every working day”

Before making any dramatic decisions, like quitting your job, it’s always a good idea to work out the core reason why you’re having pain during working hours. Whether you have an active or sedentary job, the way you’re moving and the way you interact with objects in your workplace affects how you feel. A desk that isn’t calibrated to your height will result in back, neck and eye strain over time. For people who work in a warehouse or other industries, a poor technique with lifting items in a warehouse will result in problems with their lower back.

The great news is that you don’t need to take drastic action to resolve that kind of pain. With a personalised treatment approach to workplace related conditions, the friendly team at Maroubra Road Physiotherapy can help you to resolve this issue with our therapeutic approaches and techniques. This will help you to return to work quickly and prevent further injury.

Would you like some help with making some realistic SMART goals for your fitness, health and injury recovery? Book a consultation with the team at Maroubra Road Physiotherapy today and get a customised approach to sports injury recovery.

How to travel in comfort and avoid injury during a holiday

Great weather is finally here and most people are contemplating going away on holidays over the summer. If you’re going away to a far-flung location – you lucky thing! Make sure you read Maroubra Road Physiotherapy’s comprehensive guide to staying safe and looking after yourself and your family overseas.

Between 2016-2017 the Australian government’s consular services supported 1,701 Australians who got into trouble and were hospitalised far from home. In this article, we will provide you with a run-down of all the things you should consider to avoid injuries this silly season.

Choose a destination that’s safe

Some parts of the world are statistically more high risk for a holiday than others. Things that we take for granted in Australia like safe roads, law and order and political stability often don’t apply in other parts of the world. The Australian government’s Safe Traveller website can give you up-to-date safety insights for your dream destination.   

What to avoid on your next holiday

Here’s some food for thought, According to Bupa, these are the most common injuries or illnesses suffered by Australian tourists at popular tourist destinations. It’s worth keeping this in mind.

 

  • Thailand: Head Injuries from motorcycle and scooter accidents.  
  • Indonesia/Bali: Gastroenteritis.
  • France: Cycling accidents.
  • Singapore: Rabies and bacterial infections as a result of monkey bites.
  • Philippines: Parasitic water-borne viruses.
  • China and Mongolia: Respiratory and breathing problems.

 

Know your physical limitations

Often when we go on holidays, we can feel temporarily invincible. We’re away from the normal working week, so we feel more energised and bolder than usual. Holidays are often times when we try risky activities like free-diving, surfing in turbulent waters, mountain climbing or something else that tests our physical limits. This can be a grave mistake when not prepared for it and may result in injury or even worse!

Mentally you may feel emboldened by your sudden energy, but actually, you haven’t trained in the lead-up to your physically challenging activity and have overestimated your fitness. This is when strains, sprains, sporting injuries and back injuries often happen. In planning your adventure in the months prior, you should gradually increase your fitness levels and choose sport specific exercises that use the same muscle groups as your chosen activity. A personal trainer or physiotherapist will be able to provide advice for this.  

Advice for long-haul flights

Part of Australia’s charm is the multi-cultural diversity of its population.  For some people, this may mean up to 28 hours on a flight to get to their loved ones over Christmas. Long-haul flights can be the most boring and gruelling part of a holiday. You can make traipsing across multiple time-zones more enjoyable and less painful by following this advice.  

 

  • Avoid alcohol and caffeine on the flight. Along with the pressurised cabin, these drinks will dehydrate you and leave you feeling more tired than you otherwise would.
  • Try and get some shut eye. Many people often take a sedative like Ambien or Valium on a long-haul flight. Yes you will probably sleep, but when you arrive, you will still feel groggy and half-asleep, which isn’t fun.
  • Invest in a decent pair of noise-cancellation headphones. These are designed to block out all ambient noise. You can comfortably listen to a relaxing album or podcast until you fall asleep. Planes are surprisingly loud. Blocking out all the ambient noise will make a long-haul flight far less stressful and tiring.     
  • Drink a lot of water to rehydrate your body. Before, during and after your flight, staying hydrated will make you feel more energised.
  • Don’t stay stationary for long periods of time. Instead, get up every hour, move and stretch.

 

Stretches on the plane

The key to feeling great after a flight is to do some leg work. Hours staying stationery in a confined place will mean that your blood becomes stagnated in the body causing swelling in the feet and ankles and in some cases, resulting in the dangerous DVT or deep vein thrombosis.

1. Fifteen calf raises every few hours

You should do some in-seat stretches every hour or two. A calf raise involves pushing up onto your toes and engaging your calf muscles. Then, if space allows, lift your legs so they are outstretched in front of you and flex your feet, hold for 20 seconds, and repeat.

2. Hamstring and glute exercise every hour  

The muscles in your hamstrings and glutes naturally shorten on a flight when you are stationery for many hours. This can cause pain and soreness in your lower torso. To help relieve soreness and pain, put your heel up onto the top of your opposite knee and push down on your leg to get a good stretch in your glute.

 

3. Neck and shoulder exercise every hour

Sitting down in a cramped position for many hours always leads to tension in the neck and shoulders. To alleviate this, do five shoulder rolls forward and then five backward, then turn your neck to the right and back to the centre five times and then turn it to the left and back to the centre 5 times. Try and do this every hour.

4. After your flight

Walking through the terminal after the long flight will help to loosen and warm up your muscles again. Then once you arrive in your hotel (Phew, finally!) you should do a gentle stretching or a gentle yoga routine to release tension in the legs, hips and lower back. This will help to re-energise you, help with jetlag and prepare you for sleep. For more advice on stretching and pain relieving exercises, speak with the team at Maroubra Road Physiotherapy.

Maroubra Road Physiotherapy can help

If you arrive back in Sydney after a holiday full of aches and pains, book an appointment today with our friendly team at Maroubra Road Physiotherapy. If you enjoyed this post, make sure you like and share this with someone on Facebook who is going on holiday soon. Bon Voyage!

 

Six tips for avoiding injuries during the silly season

 

During Christmas, a cocktail of stress, excitement and tiredness can take hold. In this environment, accidents can easily happen. However with some careful planning, many accidents can be avoided. In this guide by Maroubra Road Physiotherapy, our expert physiotherapy team will talk you through some smart solutions for the silly season.

1. Give gifts that encourage physical activity

 

According to the 2018 Active Kids Australia Healthy Report Card, only 13% of children (aged 15-17 years old); along with 23-64% of primary school aged children did an hour of muscle and bone strengthening activities each day.

 

This is concerning because it shows that kids are more excited by stationary, gaming and computer-based activities. No surprises there! To remedy this, we recommend buying sports-related gifts this Christmas and involving the whole family in fun backyard sports challenges.  This can often be a fun way to inspire the kids.

2. Kids need adequate protective gear for sports  

 

There’s nothing wrong with letting your children loose for a bit of rough and tumble play. Although it’s important to mitigate against accident risks too. If you bought your child a bike, skateboard, or a pair of rollerblades for Christmas, then It’s always a good idea to invest in a helmet, along with protective knee and elbow pads to protect them on their roving adventures.

3. Taking a break from sport over Christmas

 

If you regularly play sport and stop training over the Christmas break, your body will lose strength and muscle condition. This may result in a higher risk of sports-related injuries when you return to training.

 

It would not be wise to go straight into your regular boxing, weight-lifting, cardio or running program after the Christmas break. Your unprepared body may have other ideas and may protest in the form of a sprain, strain or sporting injury.

 

Instead of allowing your body to lose muscle condition and strength over Christmas, you could substitute the gym with going for daily walks or swimming in the ocean. When you return to your workout program after Christmas, you could try a gradually tapered training program that increases in intensity over a number of weeks to avoid injury and get you back to your original fitness levels.

 

Also, don’t forget about warming up and cooling down with each workout to prevent injury as well. For more advice on sports injuries, speak with the team at Maroubra Road Physiotherapy.

 

4. Be mindful of your alcohol consumption

 

Alcohol is usually the chief mischief-maker and reason for many people’s Boxing Day regrets.

 

One 2018 study by Monash University in Melbourne analysed eight hospital Emergency Rooms across Australia and New Zealand. The study screened nearly 8,500 patients seen over a seven day period in December 2014.  Of these, 801 presentations in the ER (or 9.5%) were identified as being alcohol-related. These people went a bit overboard on the partying and as a result their decision-making, motor coordination and cognitive ability was impaired, resulting in accidents and injuries.

 

5. Avoid Kitchen calamities

 

Boiling water, sharp knives and heavy objects can make your kitchen a hazardous place during the Christmas period. It’s always a good idea to keep the kids out of the kitchen and to avoid having alcohol yourself until you’ve finished with cooking. Also it’s wise to clean up spills as they occur to avoid slips and falls.

6. Don’t ignore pain

 

According to the Australian Pain Management Association, If you have problems with chronic pain, then Christmas can sometimes be a rather intense and demanding time. You might be expected to pitch in with tasks like shopping, cooking or preparing meals.

 

Remember to ask your family members and friends for help with these daily tasks. Also,  you should ask for their understanding if you’re experiencing pain. Remember to do your stretching exercises. Often these gentle movements will lessen the pain. For a detailed and personalised stretching program that will help you with chronic pain, you can speak with us  at Maroubra Road Physiotherapy.

Over the years we have seen many different Christmas related injuries at Maroubra Road Physiotherapy, from drunken falls down the stairs, to daring dad’s trying out their kid’s skateboards and falling off. If you would like some advice on managing pain or injury during Christmas, please give us a call today on (02) 9314 3888.

To move or not to move: Is movement helping or hindering your recovery?

To move or not to move: Is movement helping or hindering your recovery?

If you have sprained your ankle, torn your ACL or slipped a herniated disc, you will be familiar with the saying ‘make pain your friend’. Pain can be a horrible companion though, keeping you laid up on the sofa with day-time TV as your miserable companion. It can also be the key to understanding when you are ready again for exercise and when you still need to recuperate.

It can be incredibly frustrating to be out of action for weeks and sometimes even months! However injury recovery time is essential to ensure that you don’t stay on the couch for even longer periods. Here are some pointers for when you should resume exercise, and when to take it easy following an injury. Every injury is different, so it is advisable to discuss these suggestions with your physiotherapist to make sure they apply to you.

Listen to your body and respect it

This is easier said than done, All you want to do is get out there and pound the pavement or get on your bike to resume your workout regimen.

However by listening to subtle (and not so subtle) signals that your body is giving you, and then acting accordingly, you are going to prevent worsening your injury.

After having a rest period, your injured body will now be in a weaker and more vulnerable state. Going from zero to 100 straight away is not a wise move. After a strain, sprain or sporting injury you need to ease back into it.

A return to exercise after an injury needs to be carefully managed by a physiotherapist. However an example of a return to exercise may initially include low-impact exercise like yoga, stretching and walking. Then after a week or two and no obvious signs of pain, you could increase the frequency and intensity of your daily routine. Perhaps you could try a 3 km slow jog twice per week. Although in any case with an injury, it is best to be assessed by a physiotherapist or other healthcare professional for a tailored programme.

Listen for signs

During any physical activity post-injury, listen out for pain in your body. This will indicate when you should ease up on exercise or stop altogether. Pain is an obvious and clear signal that you have done too much too soon.

Begin with low-impact exercises

Walking is the most natural type of body movement. It’s what we humans were born to do. A gentle walk can be a low impact way to stay active. Swimming and yoga are also low impact choices for stretching out your muscles and gaining strength following an injury.

Try balance and strength exercises

Pilates, yoga and other strengthening exercises are great for improving your posture, muscle strength and core strength. You would be surprised at how many muscle injuries occur due to a lack of core abdominal strength. Exercises that promote abdominal strength are vital for preventing many strain and sprain injuries. You should consider integrating balance and strengthening exercises into your injury recovery, this will help you in the long-term.

Avoid high impact and weight-bearing exercises

Weight-bearing exercises should be avoided following an ankle or leg injury to avoid the chances of worsening your condition. Not only should you put down the hand-weights, you should also avoid high impact exercises and high impact cardio like running, basketball and netball which take a heavy toll on the joints for the same reason.

Eat well, sleep well and stay hydrated.

Food, sleep and hydration play a critical role in accelerating or hampering your recovery time after an injury. You should therefore avoid fatty, sugary and processed foods in favour of fresh fruit, vegetables and grains. If you must eat meat, make sure it is a lean cut of fresh meat.Try and avoid alcohol because it won’t help your body to heal itself. Conversely, good old water is going to help your body’s tissues to heal quicker by keeping them hydrated. A decent night’s rest every night can also have a positive impact on your recovery time.

See a friendly and caring physiotherapist

A physiotherapist will assess your current physical state and give you deep insights into your prospective recovery time. Many factors including your age, health, fitness and how long you have been injured and immobile will influence the length of time you take to recover.

Maroubra Road Physiotherapy is made up of experienced, caring and friendly physiotherapists who are passionate about helping the local community. We take a holistic approach to looking after people and see the whole person, rather than just the injury. We create step-by-step programmes that are uniquely tailored to your circumstances and needs. The team get a real thrill out of seeing people get back on their feet again and back into healthy exercise and living a full life.

Getting a physiotherapy assessment will help to ensure that you don’t worsen the injury or lengthen your recovery time unnecessarily. It also means you are recovering from injury in a personalised way that is safe and beneficial to your health. Speak with the team at Maroubra Road Physiotherapy today to book an appointment on (02) 9314 3888.

Sleep and recovery: Five ways that sleep mends your body

Sleep and recovery: Five ways that sleep mends your body

Sleep is a free and powerful tool that only nature can provide! Although we sleep around a third of our lives, we put little faith into the miraculous benefits of sleep.

If you have recently had a sporting injury, or sprain, then sleep could be just the tonic you have been searching for…and best of all…you do it anyway and it’s free!  This post will explain five fantastic benefits of sleep and why you should start taking your sleep more seriously.

  1. Adequate sleep regulates inflammation

The hormone prolactin, which helps regulate inflammation in the body is secreted while you are sleeping. This means that if you don’t get adequate sleep then you my be more likely to experience inflammation in the body. This lengthens the recovery time after an injury and may also put you at risk of further injuries.

  1. Adequate sleep regulates growth hormones

Hormones also play a role in sleep too. When your body enters into a deep state of sleep where you aren’t dreaming, (also known as the non REM phase of sleeping), your pituitary gland secretes growth hormones which stimulate muscle repair and growth. Likewise, if you don’t actually get enough deep sleep, then the amount of growth hormone in your body is depleted, thus you will take longer to recovery after an injury.

  1. Adequate sleep regulates blood flow

During the non-REM deep stage of sleep, your body heals itself by increasing blood flow to your muscles and tissues. Increased blood flow in the body means more beneficial nutrients and oxygen to aid recovery of injured muscles and to repair and regenerate cells.

Sleep is particularly great for healing blood vessels and the cardiovascular system including the heart. Conversely, without enough sleep, over sustained periods of time, you increase your risk of heart disease, kidney disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, and stroke.

  1. Adequate sleep helps you to learn and retain information

Research from Harvard has found that getting enough sleep helps to improve brain function and aids your memory and decision-making abilities. So you should give credence to the idea of sleeping on a complex problem and then making a decision on it the following morning. While you sleep, your clever brain will be highly likely to formulate a remarkable solution to a problem, which was troubling and confusing you the night before!  

  1. Adequate sleep helps you to regulate how hungry you feel

When you get enough sleep, the hormones that regulate how hungry or full you feel (ghrelin and leptin respectively) are in balance.

Ever notice how, when you’re extremely tired you also feel like eating a lot? That’s no coincidence! It’s because your body’s hunger hormone ghrelin has gone up and your leptin has gone down, making you hungry and craving unhealthy food. Sleep also regulates the body’s insulin levels which control blood sugar levels. Thus, a  lack of adequate sleep over time can lead to an increased risk of diabetes and obesity.

So what is ‘adequate sleep’ anyway?

Well it depends on how old you are, or if you have recently had an injury.

Babies, children and teens have a lot of growing to do. So they therefore need a lot of time for sleep. Adults need less sleep because they are fully grown, so their bodies are simply in maintenance mode. In general, if someone has a serious injury, they will need more sleep to recover from it than a non-injured person.

  • Newborns (0-3 months): 14-17 hours each day
  • Infants (4-11 months): 12-15 hours
  • Toddlers (1-2 years):  11-14 hours
  • Preschoolers (3-5): 10-13 hours
  • School age children (6-13): 9-11 hours
  • Teenagers (14-17):  8-10 hours
  • Adults (18-65): 7-9 hours
  • Older adults (66+): 7-8 hours

Source: The Sleep Foundation

How to get a good night’s sleep

In the sensory-overload of the modern world, it has become increasingly difficult to shut off our minds and bodies each night, in order to let our natural healing mechanism of sleep to gently kick in. Here are some things you can try. These activities when done together will help to stimulate melatonin in the brain – the sleep triggering hormone.

  • Stick to a sleep schedule, even on the weekend.
  • Try watching the sunset each night
  • Exercise each day
  • Avoid caffeine after 2 pm
  • Ensure that your bedroom is the right temperature, and doesn’t have too much sound or light intruding into it.
  • Sleep on a comfortable mattress and pillows
  • Avoid the alcoholic ‘nightcap’ before bed, it will actually wake you up once it wears off.
  • Avoid having a late dinner or snacks before bed.
  • Use the blue light filter on your phone and laptop. Blue light affects your wakefulness.
  • Don’t fall asleep in front of the TV – the ambient sound and light will affect the quality of your sleep.
  • Go electronics free at least an hour before bedtime.
  • Keep your bed for sleeping and enjoying time with your spouse, don’t use it as a home office.  


The team at Maroubra Road Physiotherapy strongly recommend sleep for the accelerated recovery from muscle strains, damaged tendons and injuries.  Make sleep your friend and your body will heal itself quicker and get back into fighting fit form. Maroubra Road Physio offer a holistic approach to physiotherapy that examines and treats the whole person and their lifestyle, visit the caring and friendly team by booking an appointment or give us a call on 02 9314 3888.

 

Do You Work in An Office? Here are Six Top Tips Every Office Worker Should Know! | Blog | Maroubra Road Physiotherapy

How do I change the bad posture I’ve developed in my office job?

Modern life poses a lot of challenges on our bodies every day. Mobile phones, tablets and laptops demand our attention. The blue light from devices changes your circadian rhythms making your mind and body feel awake and it can lead to headaches and pain.

Also, peering into your computer screen or mobile phone causes you to change your neck and back posture. Our reliance on technology extends beyond the end of a working day and into every aspect of our lives. This impacts how our bodies work in a fundamental way.

Bad posture isn’t only going to impact how you look. Bad posture, left untreated can have a serious impact on your back, neck, and shoulder injuries. According to many studies, poor slumping posture while sitting and standing also affects your breathing, causes headaches and even impacts how you feel emotionally.  

Although there is no magic pill solution for a life-time of bad posture from working in an office, using stretching techniques on an ongoing basis yields many health benefits. Here are some tips to help manage bad posture in the workplace.

1. Get help with your workstation set-up

Maroubra Road Physiotherapy will be able to help you understand problems with your workstation set up. Our physiotherapists will point out possible flaws in your workstation setup and postural alignment when performing certain tasks, such as typing and sitting at a desk for long periods of time. Our physiotherapists will be able to advise you on postural awareness; appropriate pause exercises; and strength and endurance exercises. This will enable you to cope better with the demands placed on your body; and help you return to work as soon as possible. Over time these changes to your workstation will become more noticeable in your body and help with problems in your sitting posture.

 

2. Do regular yoga or pilates

Recent research into the effects of yoga and pilates on chronic neck pain, found that both forms of exercise had a positive impact on the pain scores and muscle functionality for study participants. Additionally, pilates increased the strength and size of the semispinalis capitis muscle in the neck.

Yoga and pilates have become a secret weapon for many people who suffer from chronic pain and if you are wanting to help yourself, you should give it a try, after all you have nothing to lose and everything to gain.

 

3. Alternate standing and sitting at work

Ask your workplace about a stand-up desk, which means you can work standing up. Alternating between sitting, standing and moving periodically throughout the day in 30 minutes blocks will help with your posture, muscle fatigue and your experience of  pain or discomfort. For more information if it is better to stand or sit at work, here is our blog

 

4.  Use an exercise ball along with your normal office chair

Even if you happen to have a beautiful and comfortable work chair, it’s always a great idea to mix it up a bit. Moving is key.  You can try using an exercise ball as a second seat for short periods of no more than 30 minutes and rotate between your normal chair and the exercise ball over the course of the day. It is possible to slouch on the ball so you still need to remember good posture.  It does make you work a bit harder, encouraging your body to use core muscles even while you’re simply working at your desk. Using a ball is not appropriate for everyone, so it is advisable to discuss this option with your physiotherapist.

 

5. Stretching and pause exercises throughout the day

 

Stretching your body and simple pause exercises throughout the day will help to improve and maintain your posture. The form that these exercises take will depend on your own preferences and health at the time. These exercises are not time-consuming and can be performed while working or on the phone. In the below video you will find some great desk-based pause exercises that help with posture and chronic pain.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CAq9vV7gkrs

Some people take the opportunity to walk or jog at lunch time if the weather is nice. Or even go to the gym.

6. See a physiotherapist

The team at Maroubra Road Physiotherapy are well equipped to treat work-related conditions. They use a combination of manual therapy, soft tissue release techniques, education and exercise based rehabilitation.

The team at Maroubra Road Physiotherapy take a holistic approach to physiotherapy that looks at the whole person, their lifestyle and overall health. Our friendly physiotherapists are experienced at resolving chronic pain challenges for clients. Empower yourself and change the way your body feels with Maroubra Road Physiotherapy, book an appointment on (02) 9314 3888.   

The complete guide to making a speedy recovery after a work injury | Blog | Maroubra Road Physiotherapy

The complete guide to making a speedy recovery after a work injury

Knowing how long it will take you to recover from a workplace injury is a bit like trying to find out how long a piece of string is!  However, instead of gazing into a crystal ball to see into the future, you can take practical and empowering steps optimise your recovery. With the help of an experienced physiotherapist at Maroubra Road physiotherapy, you will be on your way back to the workplace.

 

Fast facts on workplace safety

According to data from WorkSafe Australia:

 

  • The agriculture, forestry and fishing industries have the highest number of workplace injuries, deaths and compensation claims in Australia.

 

  • 43% of all serious injuries involve traumatic joint/ligament and muscle/tendon injury.

 

  • The median amount of compensation paid for a serious claim is $10,800.

 

Understand your workplace injury

 

Your GP or physiotherapist will possibly be the first point of contact after you have had an injury. It’s important for you know what’s wrong with your body so that you understand how we treat the problem. Broadly speaking there are two types of injuries.

 

  • Soft tissue injuries: injuries to the muscles, ligaments, and tendons in your body. You might know these as sprains, strains, pulled hamstrings or a twisted ankle.
  • Bone injuries: Injuries to the bone including fractures, micro-cracks and dislocations.
  • A bone injury will generally require intervention by a doctor or specialist, along with a splint or cast for the healing of the bone.
  • Physiotherapists are specialised in helping with soft tissue injuries of many kinds, rehabilitation after being immobilised in a cast or brace, recovering after surgery, as well as the treatment of conditions where chronic pain is a symptom.

Three stages of healing: how we can help  

 

Acute Inflammatory Phase: Day 1-7

Acute inflammation often gets a bad wrap, but this kind of inflammation is a good thing – it’s actually the tissue healing itself after being injured. In week one you will experience pain, redness, swelling and heat at the injured location of your body. This is the body going through its normal healing processes. The same thing happens after surgery as well.

 

Physiotherapy during this phase focuses on education regarding management of your condition and controlling the inflammation. Maroubra Road Physiotherapy will help you to understand this phase of healing and what to expect during this stage.

 

Fibroblastic Repair/Subacute Phase: From as early as day 4, up to 6 weeks

 

Once inflammation settles down, your body will begin to lay down collagen which is a type of scar tissue that is less flexible than normal tissue in this area. During this phase you may start to feel better and return to your former level of physical activity.It is possible that  you may experience a set-back in your progress because your body isn’t quite ready. Physiotherapy treatment during this phase is focused on regaining full range of motion, joint and scar tissue mobilisation and exercises to promote re-alignment of the collagen fibres.

 

Remodelling Phase: 2-3 weeks, up to months or years

 

After this your healing will progress. The tissue in your injury area will have improved in quality and strength. During this phase, adding stress to the tissues is important to realign the fibres along the proper lines of stress. This will mean that the tissues will accommodate to increased pressure placed on them.  During this phase, Maroubra Road Physiotherapy will focus on regaining your full range of motion and improving strength through exercise and gradually increasing resistive loads.

 

Good to remember

 

  • You should always listen to the advice of your physiotherapist. Each treatment, exercise and piece of advice will be tailored to meet your injury, stage of healing and personal circumstances.

 

  • You should also follow the advice of SIRA, the NSW government’s guidelines on return to work policies for employers and employees. Check out their guide.

 

Don’t rush treatments with a physiotherapist

 

It’s essential that you don’t rush your treatment with a physio. At Maroubra Road Physiotherapy, we pride ourselves on taking our time and offering hands on treatments and exercises. These easy to follow exercises will help to promote your body’s healing and ongoing wellbeing. We work closely with you to tailor your treatment to your individual needs, and use techniques that will best suit you and your situation.

 

A workplace injury can be challenging to manage without the right help. Maroubra Road Physiotherapy offer specialised physiotherapy that helps workplace injuries. Call us today on (02) 9314 3888.