Headaches! A pain in the neck February 15, 2019
Nearly everyone has experienced the discomfort of a headache and the effect it can have on everyday life. Have you ever noticed that headaches appear at your busiest or most stressful times? There are multiple factors that influence headaches such as muscle tightness or joint stiffness, hormone levels, stress, medications and lifestyle choices. Identifying and addressing these issues is important in treating headaches and preventing their return.
Stress is a factor that can contribute to headaches as when we are stressed we can subconsciously tense our muscles or adopt poor postures. Poor posture with rounded shoulders and a forward poking head can cause muscle imbalances and tightness which can contribute to a headache. For example your head weighs about the same as a bowling ball. Imagine if you were to carry around a bowling ball all day, would you carry it close to your body or hold it out in front of you with your arms straight? …. Of course you would keep it close to your body. Similar to if your head is sitting forward due to poor posture imagine the extra strain this puts on your neck muscles.
Headaches originating from the cervical spine and neck muscles are known as cervicogenic headaches. Assessment by our physiotherapists to identify any issues with posture, neck tightness, muscle weakness and any other contributing factors can assist with finding a way to manage your headaches. A range of manual therapy techniques can be used to relieve and treat headaches in the short term. Longer term solutions can include an individualised exercise program by one of our physiotherapists or exercise physiologists to address any of the above contributing factors.
Tips to avoid headaches:
- Staying hydrated
- Eating a balanced diet
- Avoid food that can trigger headaches such as citrus fruits, some dairy products and MSG
- Participate in regular exercise
- Engage in activities to reduce stress
A method to reduce stress and improve posture is participating in exercise such as walking, cycling or pilates. We have got you covered! So why not participate in one of our stretch up classes to loosen your muscles or a pilates class to help with posture, strength and muscle endurance? So the next time you experience a headache don’t go for a short term fix but instead consider the benefits of finding a long term solution.
Headache Australia – https://headacheaustralia.org.au/
Gwendolen, J et al. 2002, A Randomized Controlled Trial of Exercise and Manipulative Therapy for Cervicogenic Headache, Spine, Volume 27, issue 17.
Jull, G., Sterling, M., Falla, D., Treleaven, J., & O’Learly, S, 2008, Whiplash, Headache and Neck Pain: Research-Based Directions for Physical Therapies. Elsevier Limited
– Written by Hannah Zwar
Can Exercise Make Your Memories Last? November 7, 2018
Dementia is an Umbrella term used to describe a wide variety of neurodegenerative diseases. These can include: Alzheimer’s, Vascular Dementia, Huntington’s Disease, and Parkinson’s Dementia related to Lewy bodies. These conditions can happen to anybody however, they are more prevalent in the ageing population with most individuals experiencing symptoms after the age of 65. These early signs can be:
- Progressive and frequent memory loss
- Personality change
- Apathy and withdrawal
- Loss of ability to complete daily tasks
Exercise has many known benefits including reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease and diabetes, strengthening muscles and bones, and also improving mental health. However, recent research suggests that regular exercise also appears to benefit Brain health as it is essential for maintaining blood flow to the brain and may even stimulate brain cell growth and survival. Studies have demonstrated that people who are physically active are less likely to experience a decline in their cognitive function and are at less risk of developing Dementia. The research is so promising worldwide that the World Health Organisation (WHO) recommends exercise on a regular basis to assist in preventing these cognitive diseases.
So, what is the right exercise? The simple answer is all of it. Aerobic, Resistance, Flexibility and balance exercises all contribute in improving our physical functioning and also our brain health. Therefore, it is recommended that an exercise regime involving all components be undergone by individuals wanting the most successful outcomes. Of course, a healthy well-balanced diet should also be implemented in preserving brain health. Dementia Australia suggest A number of dietary factors have been associated with a reduced risk of developing dementia. These include:
- Lower intake of saturated and trans unsaturated fats
- Higher intake of monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats
- Higher intake of omega-3 fats
- Higher intake of some antioxidants and vitamins
- Higher intake of vegetables and fruits
- Moderate consumption of alcohol (with caution – too much alcohol poses a significant health risk)
So, it’s possible that the key to everlasting memories can be as simple as a healthy lifestyle.
Written by Michael Ceccarelli