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16 Maroubra Road
Maroubra, 2035 NSW
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Holiday self-care: five ways to soothe your frazzled body and mind

Attention all of you keyboard warriors and open-plan office occupiers, it’s almost time for the annual Christmas Holiday exodus from the workplace. The time when everyone is forced to ‘abandon desk’, even if it’s only with a sense of reluctance and for a short period of time.

Now that everything is grinding to a halt for Christmas, it’s also the perfect time to keep the lights burning bright by embracing self-care. If you use your down-time to care for your physical and mental health and to redress the balance, this will pay off in the years to come.  

Exhaustion, pain and physical injury are related 

Workplace burn-out is one of the most common conditions. It’s also termed exhaustion or over-work. According to the Australian Psychological Society’s 2014 Stress and Well-being in Australia Survey, one-quarter of Australians experienced moderate to high levels of stress in the previous 12 months. Stress was most prevalent in young Australians aged 18 to 35.

Money, career and relationship worries were all common sources of stress for younger Australians, whereas health problems were more likely to worry older people.

Burnout is defined as a state of chronic stress, leading to exhaustion, detachment, and feelings of ineffectiveness. It is beyond what you may know as ‘regular tiredness’. While stress can lead to higher states of productivity, burnout is often accompanied by cynicism and lack of productivity. Those with burnout report feeling tired and bored and experience an accompanying loss of enjoyment.

Scientific studies of burnout show that when left unchecked, stress and burnout can contaminate other areas of your life. It can adversely affect how we experience musculoskeletal pain, especially in the back and neck areas. It’s also linked to a higher risk of diabetes, high blood pressure and cardiovascular disease. However, it’s not all doom and gloom – there is a lot you can do.  

 

  • Look after aches and pains 

 

Studies have shown that psychosocial factors may influence how we cope with stress and can dictate how we activate our muscles. For example if we have a tension in the neck and shoulders while watching TV, this will be different from how we tense our muscles when working to a deadline at work. In the latter case, this may lead to the body’s releasing stress hormones, such as cortisol, which can increase the likelihood of an inflammatory response in the body. In combination, this can manifest itself as pain and discomfort in the body. 

Fortunately, physiotherapy including manual therapy, exercise based rehabilitation, stretching and soft tissue release techniques can really help with repetitive strain injury and stress related musculoskeletal problems. If you are needing to take some time out for self-care, Maroubra Road Physio can give you a personalised assessment of your condition, because ‘every body’,  just like every situation, is different. 

 

  • Exercise with Maroubra Road Physiotherapy 

 

Exercise has a swathe of benefits for people at every age and stage of life. It helps to strengthen and tone the body and has a broad range of protective benefits. 

That’s why Maroubra Road Physio have introduced several different classes which we run on a weekly basis to help keep people healthy, prevent illness and help to manage pain. The Balance and Conditioning Class is a dynamic balance program that is focused on strength, power, and high level balance for people who want to improve their overall function. It’s designed for all age groups and helps people to develop more control, strength and balance in their bodies. 

Another class which we have introduced recently is Strong and Supported. This is designed to help people who experience pain in the knees or hips or who have arthritis. It’s a great way to reduce pain in these areas and may also minimise the need for surgery. The class was created using the latest research into osteoarthritis. Our classes are popular, so make sure that you register quickly. 

 

  • Take back the holiday spirit 

 

There are many ways to practice self-care over the holidays and all of them require listening to your body and tuning into its needs. When you are feeling extremely stressed out and tired, you should focus on doing simple things that recharge your batteries. This might be playing with your pet, just sitting quietly and reading, hanging out in nature, listening to music or a podcast, or simply lying around and watching Netflix. 

 

  • The power of saying ‘no’

 

There will be a plethora of Christmas and new year events that will come up this month. If you’re feeling too exhausted, you should remember that you do have the power to say no. By saying no, people who care about you and respect should understand your wish to simply relax and take time out for yourself to recharge your batteries. Putting up boundaries on your time, attention and energy in order to care for yourself is fine. Doing this is perfectly OK. 

 

  • Listen for the signs 

 

Your body will tell you when you have had enough. Perhaps you will get eyes that sting and go red from tiredness. Or you could have a tendency to get a red, itchy rash when you’re stressed. What about a sudden and incredibly painful stabbing pain in the back or neck, perhaps? It’s possible that you get irritable and short-tempered with loved ones. You may find it increasingly difficult to find the energy to do the essential things in the day to day. These are all signs that you’re pushing yourself too far and you should take a step back and instead focus on self-care. You should listen to your body and how you feel. Ignoring it won’t make it go away, it needs to be addressed. 

The team at Maroubra Road Physiotherapy will be happy to provide guidance on redressing the balance and bringing equilibrium back to your body. Get in touch and book an appointment with one of our experienced physiotherapists, by calling (02) 9314 3888.

 

References 

Exercise and Sports Science Australia (2019) How to avoid burn-out this holiday season 

The Conversation (2015) New Year’s Resolution: How to get your stress levels in check 

The Conversation (2015) Repetitive Strain Injury: Is it real or imagined?

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.

Stress – A Few Simple Tips to Help You Live a Healthier Life

Stress – A Few Simple Tips to Help You Live a Healthier Life

Life can often be overwhelming, demanding, and downright chaotic – and that’s just the good days!

Sometimes big events like moving house, starting a new job or an illness cause a major disruption in our lives. Other times it can be a multitude of little stresses that can make us feel anxious and dazed.  Little stresses such as your boss asking you to finish three reports by noon, your 6-year-old screaming for the newest fidget spinner, or dealing with a niggling back ache for days can accumulate and disrupt our mental and physical flow. So it’s important to try find ways to manage life’s stresses.

Here are a few ideas to get you started!

Relaxation techniques:

  • Take a deep breath through your nose (Count to 3), hold 1 second, and gently exhale through your mouth. Repeat 5 times. There are some great mobile apps such as Smiling Mind, Headspace & Calm, which can help you get into a great routine.

Eating a healthy and well balanced diet:

  • Small dietary changes can make a big impact on your body composition and mood!

Spend time with family and friends:

  • Research shows that quality time with friends and family help increase serotonin levels (happy hormones) and decrease cortisol (your stress hormone).

Meditation:

  • Take 5 minutes everyday to find a peaceful, private and quiet area. Practice focusing on your breathing and zone out any outside disturbances!

Maintaining a consistent sleep schedule:

  • We often have hundreds of different tasks we need to accomplish by the end of the day and take sleep for granted.
  • Research shows adults need a full 7-8 hours of sleep to function optimally!

Regular Exercise routine:

  • A regular and consistent exercise routine is one of the best ways to de-stress. Even a 20 – 30 minute walk everyday can be a great way to get started. Or read our blog on how to get started here

Incorporating a few of these steps into our daily lives can have a profoundly positive effect on our overall health and wellbeing! Let’s get started today!

Back Pain

Back Pain – Common Misconceptions

Just over 80% of the population will experience back pain at some stage of their lives and most people don’t take the correct steps to manage their pain. There is a sea of information out there regarding back pain and navigating the waters is both daunting and intimidating. Here are some common misconceptions about your low back pain.

1. Resting Is Good For Me

Lying in bed or on the couch will cause your muscles and joints to stiffen, resulting in prolonged and possible persistent pain! It is important to keep moving muscles and joints as tolerated. A qualified physiotherapist will help you manage your symptoms and provide appropriate gentle stretches and exercises to help get you moving.

2. My Pain Is Tolerable, It Will Go Away If I Leave It

Pain is your brain telling you that something isn’t quite right. Sometimes pain is not indicative of the severity of the issue. The pain may increase over the course of days, weeks, or months. It is essential that you get checked out if you feel any pain that doesn’t readily settle.

The body always follows the path of least resistance. When you’re in pain, you may adopt alternate postures to protect your back, and you engage muscles and joints in a way they were not designed to be used, thus overloading them and causing further pain and dysfunction in other areas. This may cause you to present with a much more global picture of pain affecting multiple joints and muscles , than if you had addressed the problem sooner.

3. My MRI And XRAY Show Disc Damage Which Is Contributing To My Pain

Disc degeneration, prolapses, disc bulges and annular tears are highly prevalent in the pain free population. They are not strongly predictive of future low back pain and correlate poorly with levels of pain and disability. These changes are similar to getting grey hairs, a natural part of aging.  Therefore the findings on these investigative scans are only relevant if they correlate with your actual symptoms. The spine is one of the strongest and most robust structures in the body, and is designed to move!

 

Common Misconceptions About Your Low Back Pain

Maroubra Road Physiotherapy

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome – All You Need To Know

What is Carpal Tunnel Syndrome?

 

The carpal tunnel is a narrow passageway on the palm side of your wrist, made up of bones and ligaments. Carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS) is defined as a condition that affects the median nerve that causes hand pain and numbness/tingling – specifically the thumb, index finger, middle finger and half of your ring finger. Various reasons such as repetitive work (typing, drilling, playing an instrument), pregnancy, or diabetes may cause this tunnel to get smaller and restrict the median nerve’s ability to send signals to the hand.

Here are a few tips to help prevent and treat carpal tunnel syndrome.

  • Take frequent breaks. Give your hands and wrists a break by gently stretching them periodically. Alternate tasks when possible. If you use equipment that vibrates or requires great force, taking breaks is even more crucial.
  • Modify your activities. Avoid activities that bring your wrist into end of range flexion or extension. Keep it nice and neutral!
  • Seek professional advice. Nerve stretching and manual therapy are a great way to allow your median nerve to move and flow without restriction. Often nerves can get tethered and caught in between muscles. “Releasing” the nerve from being tethered in the fascia or muscle is an excellent way to get the nerves gliding as optimally as possible.

For more information on what we treat, please visit: https://maroubraroadphysio.com.au/what-we-treat/joint-problems/

When should I book a Physio Appointment?

When should I book a Physio Appointment?

You don’t have to wait for pain and injury before seeing a Physio. Many injuries tend to occur when people ignore a niggle and don’t deal with the discomfort or stiffness straight away. If you ignore an injury, it is possible for it to become chronic. Chronic pain is harder to treat and will take longer to heal, so it is important to get treatment sooner rather than later.

If you get injured while playing sport, it is important to deal with the problem straight away. If you don’t deal with the issue, soft tissue injuries are more likely to recur. Misguided statements such as “I thought I’d let the swelling go down first” or “I thought the pain would eventually go away” can often lead to persistent pain.

When returning to sport after an injury, it is important to gradually build your strength and conditioning. A Physio can help guide you to return to sport safely and avoid further injury.

Prevention is better than cure

You’ve probably heard this a million times. But here it is again! Don’t wait for that niggle of pain or stiffness to turn into debilitating pain and stiffness before paying attention to your health. We are skilled at assessing and targeting deficiencies before they become a major problem.

Invest in your health

We invest in so many other facets of our lives. Don’t forget about your health and mobility. Imagine your body is a vehicle that is made to last a life-time and that you want to keep it in peak condition and performance. Seeing a physiotherapist for regular scheduled maintenance will help you run smoothly and keep you on track.