How to Stretch Properly?
While there are many benefits to be gained from effective stretching, employing an improper technique can actually result in injury. Here are some tips and guidelines for you to follow when stretching:
Warm up first with an activity such as walking (at least 5 -10 minutes).Stretches should be pain-free. You should only feel tension or a tight feeling when stretching. If you feel a sharp pain, this means you’re stretching too far and should relax a little.Don’t hold your breath while stretching; keep breathing to ensure the muscle tissues remain oxygenated during the stretch.Stretch both sides. But, if one muscle is tighter than the other, focus on it more until they’re both in the same range.Avoid bouncing at the end of the stretch because it may lead to injury.Hold stretches for 20-30 seconds, if not longer. A 10 second stretch is not always enough to achieve a lasting effect.Repeat the stretch 3-5 times with intermittent rest periods in between.Make sure your body is aligned properly and observe good posture.
When to Stretch?
Traditionally, stretching has been encouraged before and after any kind of physical activity. However, recent studies show that there is no discerning difference between whether you stretch before exercise/sports or not, both-in terms of performance and injury prevention. In some cases, researchers say that it’s okay to omit the pre-event stretch since the post-event stretch is much more beneficial.
Some of our everyday postures and activities can lead to certain muscles becoming tight while the others sit in a lengthened position. These habitual postures that lead to muscle imbalances then become more and more difficult to correct over time. Many therapists will suggest that stretching all muscles generically isn’t as beneficial as identifying which of your muscles are abnormally tight and developing a targeted stretching regime.
Talk to your physiotherapist for advice regarding the best stretching program for your body type, posture and activity levels.
Osteoarthritis of the Hip
What is Hip Osteoarthritis and how does it occur?
Hip osteoarthritis (also called Degenerative arthritis of the Hip) is one of the most common types of osteoarthritis. Osteoarthritis occurs as the cartilage of a joint, a soft tissue that provides cushioning and a smooth surface for joint movement, begins to degrade due to wear and tear caused by mechanical stress. As the cartilage breaks down and is worn away, the joint begins to function abnormally and small bony deposits can form around the joint. As this process progresses, movement of the joint begins to be painful and can eventually lead to significant disability.
As we age, our cartilage often loses quality and elasticity – resulting in an increased likelihood of degeneration as we age, however osteoarthritis is not limited to the elderly and many young people are affected, although much less frequently.
While there is no single identified cause for osteoarthritis, there are known risk factors that make a person more likely to develop the condition.
These risk factors are increasing age, a family history of osteoarthritis, previous injury to the hip joint, obesity, improper formation of the hip joint at birth (a condition known as developmental dysplasia of the hip), genetic defects in the cartilage and, activities that put extra stress on the hips.
What are the signs and symptoms?
The most common symptom is pain, followed closely by joint stiffness. The location of arthritic pain is usually around the hip joint but it can also appear in the groin, buttocks, thigh or knee. Other symptoms include a grating or cracking sensation with joint movement, tenderness around the joint, and swelling.
Pain is most noticeable with weight-bearing activities such as walking, running or negotiating stairs. After a period of prolonged rest, the arthritic joint will often feel quite stiff. This can be particularly noticeable in the morning with many people reporting feeling stiff for 15-20 minutes after waking.
In osteoarthritis, complete elimination of pain is not always a possibility as physiotherapy is not able to change the structure of an arthritic joint, however it can assist in improving the function and strength of the surrounding muscles, which often contribute to pain.
How can physiotherapy help?
Physiotherapy management for osteoarthritis of the hip will usually include stretching, exercises and joint mobilization to increase the joint’s mobility, as well as resistive exercise to the muscles surrounding the hip, allowing them to better support the joint.
Many other factors can help with arthritic symptoms such as appropriate rest, weight loss, physical activity and environment modification, mobility aids and NSAIDS. For many people the best course of action is a surgical joint replacement, which can have great outcomes when coupled with effective preparation and rehabilitation.
None of the information in this newsletter is a replacement for proper medical advice. Always see a medical professional for advice on your individual condition.
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Central Physio & Health Tip
Keeping kids active helps to reduce the occurrence of obesity and diabetes. Active kids show improved co-ordination in sport, socialisation skills in a team environment and an overall improved sense of well-being.