Should I Stretch?

Are you feeling stiff and sore? Perhaps you pulled a muscle during exercise, and you think you could’ve avoided it if you had done some more preparatory stretches. If you’re reading this blog, chances are you’re one of two people – either you’re an excellent and frequent stretcher, or you know you don’t stretch enough. If you’re the former, good on you! If you’re the latter, don’t worry, you’re not alone and it’s never too late to start!

First things first: what does stretching actually do?

Stretching is a very effective way in the long- and short-term to improve flexibility in the body. Whether you prefer dynamic or static stretching, they’re both effective in helping keep your body limber.

Stretch the big muscle groups

For maximum effect, cover your major muscle groups first – butt, legs, arms, chest, and back. It’s also smart to give extra attention to areas you use a lot, which will be more prone to tightness, injuries, or cramping.

Stretch before and after exercise

If you don’t see yourself committing to bed stretches or stretches while waiting for the water to boil or while you’re watching your favourite show – try to stick to stretching your main muscle groups before and after your exercise (after warming up).

Make it easy and the habit will stick

Most new habits die off because we bite off more than we can chew. Don’t try for a 20 min stretch session every evening – things will get in the way and you will most likely stop. Instead, break your habits into smaller portions and scatter them through your day.

Start small, perhaps by doing some leg and back bed-stretches before getting out of bed in the morning, some arm stretches while waiting for the water to boil, or some gentle neck stretches while watching TV. Making stretches an unconscious and easy part of your day-to-day is the best way to improve your body’s flexibility over time.

What happens if I never stretch?

If you never stretch you leave yourself more vulnerable to muscle soreness, stiffness, pulled muscles, and long term effects on the body from lifestyle.

But the good news is that the science is inconclusive whether stretching is dramatically beneficial for us. If you feel stiff and sore or are prone to pulled muscles, or notice that you spend a lot of the day hunched (over a desk, wheel, or bike) stretching can be what you need.
If stretching makes you feel good or you want to improve your overall flexibility – stretching is the way to go.

However, if you never stretch and just don’t seem to need it, you may be right. We still recommend discussing this with your myotherapist to be safe.

See a Myotherapist

Few things feel better than stretching a muscle that really needs it. If you’d like to stretch more but you’re unsure where to start, talk with your myotherapist to get a stretching plan tailored to your schedule and body’s needs. They’ll help locate areas in need of extra attention, reduce tension, and help you mitigate the potential long term effects of your lifestyle before it’s too late.

For all myotherapy concern, contact Northern Myotherapy at 03 9078 9953 and our friendly myotherapist will gladly assist you.

Five Causes of Winter Stiffness, and Five Tips to Combat It

Do you feel stiffer, sorer, and more sluggish in winter? You’re not alone. There’s a whole heap of reasons for why our bodies aren’t as flexible in the colder months, but luckily there are ways to combat them as well. Here are five common causes for winter stiffness, and tried and tested habits for keeping astride with our musculoskeletal health.

  1. We Move Less in Winter

Put a hand up if you move less in the colder, darker, wetter months. It makes sense really, that we’ll want to hibernate and stay cozy and snug at home. But with this sedentary, winter snugness comes stiffness and aches, often a process that sneaks up on us slowly but surely.

Make sure you get up out of your chair regularly, incorporate light stretching, schedule regular exercise, and make sure you warm up well. Bodies need a longer warm-up period in winter; without it the strain on our bodies can lead to tissue damage, injury, and soreness.

If you struggle to find motivation to exercise in winter, make an effort to find an activity you enjoy doing. There might be a ‘more effective’ exercise available to you, but the most effective exercise will always be the one you actually do. So this winter, take up an activity you enjoy, or have always wanted to try, be it climbing or swimming, brisk walking or interval running, cycling or bouldering, or perhaps gardening.

  1. The Cold Increases Existing Pains and Stiffness

If we’re stiff in summer, or struggle with arthritis, injuries, or other conditions that affect the joints, bones, and ligaments, chances are these pains will get exacerbated in winter, so the best prevention is to prepare.  If you have an underlying condition you’re aware of, or you generally feel sore and stiff, make sure you head into the colder months with a game plan developed with your myotherapist or doctor.

  1. We Don’t Dress Appropriately for the Weather

Cold weather causes muscle contraction, which in turn can lead to:

  • Muscle tightness
  • Reduced muscle and joint mobility
  • Pinched nerves
  • injuries

Staying warm is key to maintaining a resilient musculoskeletal system over winter, and how we dress can play a big role in this. Rather than bulky items, opt for several light and warm layers to trap warm air close to your body. That way you can also more easily regulate your temperature by donning or removing layers when moving between the outdoors and indoors.

  1. We Don’t Get Enough Vitamin D

Vitamin D strengthens our bones, and without it we’re at risk of developing osteoporosis and bone fractures. In winter, the sun is out less, and so are we. Due to our weakened ozone-layer, we’re recommended to reduce our sun-time all year round in Australia, which is why we should keep a careful eye on our Vitamin D levels year-round. Eat fatty fish, take supplements, and talk to your doctor about how you can keep your bones strong year round.

  1. We’re Reactive, Not Proactive

Too often we wait until the pain and stiffness has arrived, and by that time, the work has been cut out for us. This winter, make sure you dress appropriately, get your vitamin D, exercise, stretch, eat warm hearty meals, and schedule a winter appointment with your trusted and experienced myotherapists to make sure you’re seeing to your body needs. Book an appointment today.

Best Neck Stretches to try at Work

Best Neck Stretches to try at Work

 

Easter Holidays are now behind us, and work is back into full motion. Since returning to work you may notice that your neck is feeling strained. Before reading on, our first tip is to ensure your desk is ergonomic and you maintain great posture while working. You can find directions on how to do this in our previous blog here.

If you are still experiencing pain after making your desk ergonomic, here are our favourite neck stretches to help. These stretches will become your secret weapon to combatting neck pain. So the next time you go to procrastinate at work, instead of picking up your phone and getting more tech neck, we recommend you do the following daily:

1 – Forward and Back Head Tilt

How to do this stretch:

  • While seated in your chair or standing up, start with your back straight and your head held upright.
  • Slowly lower your chin down to your chest and hold for 15 seconds while breathing slowly.
  • Slowly bring your chin back up and back. Tilt your chin toward the ceiling and have the back of your head moving towards your back. Hold for 15 seconds.
  • Return to the starting position.
  • Repeat 5 times.
  • Tip! If you are doing this while standing, keep your feet hip-width apart, and while seated, keep your feet squarely on the floor.

2 – Side Tilt

How to do this stretch:

  • While seated in your chair or standing up, start with your back straight and your head held upright.
  • Without raising your shoulders, gently tilt your head toward your right shoulder and try to touch it with your ear. Don’t worry if you can’t reach your ear to your shoulder. Just aim to feel a stretch in your
  • neck.
  • Hold the stretch for 5-10 seconds and then return to the start position.
  • Repeat on the left side.
  • Repeat 5 times.
  • Tip! For an extra stretch, take the hand you are tilting towards and place it over to the opposite side of your head. Use this hand to gently pull your stretch down further to your ear.

3 – Side Rotation

How to do this stretch:

  • While seated in your chair or standing up, start with your back straight and your head held upright.
  • Slowly turn your head to the right so that your head is now in line with your shoulder. You should feel a stretch on the opposite side of your neck and shoulder.
  • Hold the stretch for 15 seconds and return to the starting position.
  • Repeat on the left side.
  • Repeat 5 times.

4 – Shoulder Roll

How to do this stretch:

  • Unlike the others, try this stretch standing up. Keep your legs hip-width apart.
  • Raise your shoulders up and around, moving them in a circle forward.
  • Complete 6 rolls.
  • Return to the starting position.
  • Now make another 6 circles but this time rolling your shoulders backward.

These stretches should take approximately 5 minutes to complete, but we are sure you’ll gain those minutes back. Work will go much faster without the pain in your neck! For those working long hours, these stretches are great to do for morning, lunch and afternoon tea. As you are waiting for the kettle to boil, make the most of your break by releasing tension using the stretches above.

If you are still experiencing chronic pain, our team here at Northern Myotherapy are here to help. Call us on 03 9078 9953 or book an appointment for myotherapy at our Brunswick or Niddrie Clinic.

4 tips for getting back into exercise after a break

 

4 tips for getting back into exercise after a break

 

It’s been a long few months in Melbourne as we buckled down to take control of our second wave. Finally, we are now pleased to be back – this time we’re hoping for good! When it came to exercise, many of us found our motivations went in either direction. Some of us came out of lockdown fitter with home workouts, while some of us took a break as our exercise options became more limited. Whichever boat you fell, we’re here to guide you back into the gym and toward a new exercise routine.

If you found that your exercise routine was halted, slowing getting back into a new routine can be the best way to adapt and adjust your body to the change. Whether you are transitioning from home workouts back into the gym, or if you took a break and wanting to start again, the following tips are for you.

1 – Ease yourself into it

When getting back into the gym, ensure that you don’t go too hard too soon. It’s easy to become enthusiastic and try to pick up the routine you were doing before the break. If you start from where you left off without easing into it, your body may become in shock resulting in strain or injury. Just remember, that it’s okay to take a few steps back in your progress, simply start small and listen to your body as your progress.

2 – Plan your routine

Having a plan can be the best way to kick start your new routine. Consider your lifestyle as you start blocking out time for the gym. Starting before work can be a great way to build your energy for the day, or starting after work can be an excellent way to release stresses from the day. Either way, listen to your body and test which times might be best for your existing routine. Again, you can ease yourself into exercise by aiming for one or two times a week at the gym and build up the frequency as you progress.

3 – Pre and post-recovery 

To ensure you don’t shock your body into injury there is a myriad of preventative tips you can use to safely ease yourself back into exercise. Firstly, start your workout with a warm-up to prepare your body for the increase in activity. Secondly, stretch before and after the workout. This is an important part of your warm-up, and cool down to maintain circulation and reduce lactic acid build-up. You may experience some tightness as you ease back into your exercise routine, so some assistance from our team here at Northern Myotherapy can be another way to ease tension and loosen your muscles

4 – Keep motivated

We all know that creating a new routine can be difficult, so our last tip is to find ways to keep motivated. Asking a friend to workout with you is a perfect way to keep yourself accountable, and can even assist with preventing injury as you support each other lifting larger weights or running longer distances. Setting goals can be another way to stay motivated. As you reach new milestones you will start to feel more confident and excited about your exercise journey. And lastly, just have fun with it! Exercise is not meant to be a chore – exercise releases endorphins and can provide you with more stamina and energy in life. Keeping a safe and regular exercise routine can only do you good!

So that’s all from us today. If you have any questions on how to ease back into exercise and prevent injury speak to one of our myotherapists today. We are here to prevent injury pre and post work out, whether you are easing back into the gym or preparing for an exercise event. Northern Myotherapy will always be here in your corner to support your exercise journey.

Three Ways to Reduce Lower Back Pain

If you are one of the many Australians who spend their days at a desk, one of the most common ailments you might find yourself with is lower back pain. Lower back pain is estimated to be experienced by 70 – 90% of Australians at some point in their lives, so this month we are writing about three ways you can alleviate that niggling pain!

1 – Maintain correct posture at your desk

In a previous blog on maintaining posture at your home office, we talk about some of the great desk practices you can adopt. To summarise, you can ensure that your desk set up is ergonomic with the following adjustments:

  • Raise your monitor or laptop to eye level so that your eyes are looking straight ahead.
  • Adjust your chair so that your elbows are kept at 90 degrees to the desk.
  • Adjust your back panel so that you keep your back straight and avoid any unnecessary slouching.
  • Keep your feet flat to the floor instead of crossed.

2 – Stretch and move

To keep your muscles warm and joints loosened, take a break from your desk every hour. Walk around and have a glass of water – this will not only give your back a rest, but your mind and eyes too! If you are experiencing lower back pain there are a few simple stretches you can do too:

  • Knee to Chest – lie on your back and fold your knee up to your chest. Hold for 30 – 60 seconds and repeat on both legs.
  • Trunk Rotation – lie on your back and bend both knees up so that you are positioned as if you were sitting on a chair. Keeping your arms wide out and palms to the floor, gently roll your bent knees to one side and hold for 15 – 20 seconds. Repeat on both sides.
  • Cat and Cow Pose – on your hands and knees in a tabletop position, move between arching your back down into the “Cow” position and bending your back up into a “Cat” position. This yoga-style stretch can be enhanced by breathing in as you activate your Cow pose, and breathing out as you activate your Cat pose.

3 – Using Ice and heat

Should our preventative tips above still not do the trick, the use of ice and heat packs may assist further. Here is how either can help:

  • Use of a cold pack can help reduce inflammation and pain. You can use a frozen gel pack wrapped in a tea towel, or get creative and try a bag of frozen peas if you don’t have a gel pack at home!
  • A heat pack, on the other hand, can help improve blood flow, relaxation, and pain relief. A warm shower, soaking in a hot tub, or using a heat bag are just a few ways you can apply warmth to your back.

And there you have it – our top three tips for easing lower back pain. With the right amount of self-care you can prevent unnecessary strain to your lower back. But if you have any questions, our team at Northern Myotherapy are here to answer your questions and assist you with further on hands treatments. Contact us at 03 9078 9953 or you can book an appointment online using this link.

Keeping fit with home workouts

Keeping Fit with Home Workouts

Lockdown 2.0 has recently hit metropolitan Melbourne, and sadly our re-admission to the gym has been cut short. To assist with the transition back into your home gym, this month we will write about some of our favourite home workouts that you can easily do in your backyard, indoors or nearest park!

Before starting, we suggest that you always warm up. In a previous blog which covers our top 5 tips for muscle recovery, we touch on stretching. Before a workout, stretching can warm the muscles to improve flexibility and efficiency which in turn reduces your chances of injury such as muscle pull. Once warmed up try these 5 exercises.

Squats – 20 Reps

Believe it or not there’s a likely chance you do this exercise more often than not! Every time you pick up a box, your toddler, or dog from the ground you are likely doing a squat to reach down to them. Here’s how you can do it safely and effectively:

  1. Standing up keep your legs approximately shoulder distance apart
  2. Keep your toes positioned slightly outwards
  3. Keep your eyes forward and looking into a spot in front of you
  4. Keeping your arms out can assist with balance
  5. Keep your back straight and push out your rear
  6. Put your weight into the heels and balls of your feet as you drop down
  7. Focus on keeping your knees in line with your feet
  8. Sit down below your knee level
  9. Use your glutes to squeeze your rear back up

 

Push Ups – 10 Reps

Push ups are a perfect strength training exercise and a great all-body workout. Ensuring that you keep the correct form is crucial for ensuring you don’t put any unnecessary strain on your back. If you can’t do all 10 reps straight away, keep practising!

Here’s how you can do them:

  1. On the ground keep your hands slightly wider than your shoulder width
  2. Push up handles can help alleviate any wrist pain
  3. Keep your feet in a way that you feel balanced
  4. Clenching your rear and your abs can assist with form
  5. Look ahead of you instead of face down
  6. Keep your back straight as you bring yourself down and back up again

 

Lunges – 10 Each Leg

A lunge is another great way to build up lower body strength. Specifically targeting your hips, glutes, quads and hamstrings, your legs are in for an all-round workout with this exercise. To ensure your knees remain safe during the lunge, here are the steps to take:

  1. While engaging your core, stand tall with your feet hip-width apart
  2. Take a big step forward with your right leg and push your weight so that your heel hits the floor first
  3. Lower your body until your leg is at a 90 degree angle with the floor. If you can, just lightly tap your left knee on the floor to ensure you have dipped enough into the exercise
  4. Press back into right heel to drive back up to your starting position
  5. Repeat on the other side

Jumping Jacks – 30 Reps

So far, our exercises have concentrated on strength, so next we’ll mix it up with some cardio to get your heart pumping. Jumping Jacks are a great way to achieve this!

  1. Firstly, stand upright with your legs together and have your arms at your sides
  2. Bend your knees slightly and jump into the air
  3. As you jump do two things – spread your legs to be about shoulder-width apart and stretch your arms out and over your head
  4. Jump back to starting position with your legs together and arms by your side
  5. Repeat

Planking – 15 – 30 seconds

End your work out with an exercise that tenses your abs and tests your ability to stay still in a horizontal position that’s not your bed! If you can’t make 30 seconds, try starting with 15 seconds until you are able to stay planking for longer times.  Here’s how:

  1. Plant your hands on the ground slightly wider than shoulder-width – or alternatively put your forearms on the ground for an easier variation
  2. Press your toes into the floor and squeeze your glutes to stabilise yourself. Tensing your legs and core will help too
  3. Hold this for as long as you can

So there you have it – your very own home work out. Exercising daily has an enormous impact on keeping you physically and mentally healthy, especially during these trying times. If you need any assistance with your workouts or feel sore a few days after, you can always give us a call at Northern Myotherapy for remedial massage. Both Brunswick and Niddrie clinics are open during the second COVID-19 lockdown and our therapists are trained to keep the safety of our staff and clients at all times.

 

5 Tips for Muscle Recovery After a Gym Workout

5 Tips for Muscle Recovery After a Gym Workout

As restrictions are slowly lifting, we are excited to see the return of gyms! Many of us who are working out at home will soon have the opportunity to return to the gym floor, but with that comes the adjustment of larger weights and sophisticated machines targeting more muscles than your at home gym. As such, we thought it was timely to write about our Top 5 Tips for muscle recovery you can implement after hitting the gym.

1) Stretching

Stretching for a workout has a myriad of benefits. Before a workout, stretching can warm the muscles to improve flexibility and efficiency, this in turn reduces your chances of injury such as muscle pull. After a workout stretching can also facilitate muscle recovery by reducing lactic acid and improving circulation. If you are unsure about how to stretch, utilising Yoga and Pilates techniques can be a great way to learn and get into the habit of stretching.

2) Healthy Food

Reaching your fitness goals goes beyond exercise as food is just as important! The right food combination can be used to build muscle, lose fat and provide energy. Eating protein can assist with muscle build during your recovery, and carbohydrates can assist with the much-needed energy before a workout. Speaking to a dietician about your body’s needs is recommended to ensure that you are fuelling yourself with the right food and correct portions.

3) Hydration

Before, during, and after exercise drinking water is crucial. Have a couple of glasses two hours before your workout, and drink during your workout to keep your muscles well hydrated. The hydration will help facilitate the removal of toxins from your body and in turn speed up the recovery time after your workout. Further, drinking water can assist with maintaining lubricated joints to ensure you don’t feel joint pain during and after the workout.

4) Good Sleep

Sleep is a time of recovery for your body, and a lack of sleep can impair your workout intensity and its recovery. You can improve your sleep in a number of ways, this can include reducing phone time directly before bed, sleeping on a comfortable mattress and pillow, and ensuring the temperature and lighting of the room is perfect for a tranquil sleep. The use of apps such as Calm or Headspace may also assist with those who have trouble falling to sleep in the first place.

5) Massage

Sports massage is a form of treatment specifically designed for soft tissues injuries. It can be performed by one of our qualified massage therapists. The treatments generally applied use the hands, other body parts, such as the elbows and forearms to apply the right pressure to your body. This in turn relieves tension in your muscles, flushes toxins from your body and puts you in an all-round relaxed state.
Sports massage can also be utilised before and during a workout. There is a pre-event sports massage done within an hour before a game or activity that is usually followed by an inter-event massage for those who need to rest in between games. A post-event massage, on the other hand, is done when the athlete cools down while a restorative sports massage is performed during rest days.

And that’s our Top 5 Muscle Recovery Tips! We hope you are just as excited to get back onto the treadmill as we are. Be sure to check your local gym for its reopening day, and please let us know if you have any further questions about your gym recovery.

For all your myotherapy questions and concerns, contact us at 03 9078 9953 or you may book now for an online appointment.

How myotherapy can relieve stress

 

Given the recent events of 2020, it is hard not to feel stressed during these times. Day to day life already sees us being exposed to a number of events which can build up anxieties – bad traffic, workplace tensions, relationships and economic stresses can all be a contributor. When you are stressed, everything from your concentration through to your immune system can be compromised. It is important to understand how you can prevent this and what you can do to alleviate it.

How myotherapy can reduce stress

Often people feel a tightness in their neck, head and shoulders as a result of stress – and this is where myotherapy can help. Focusing on relieving tension, myotherapy can relax and loosen the muscles around your neck, head and shoulders to relieve pain. Physical pain from other areas of your body may also cause stress, so you can inform your therapist of these at the time of your treatment.
Chronic conditions of stress can often lead to more serious physical effects. For example, people who experience panic attacks and fearful thoughts can experience shortness in breath, accelerated heart rate and excessive sweating. Massage therapy can have an opposing effect, forcing the body to relax by reducing tension, heart rate and promote calmer feelings.
Further to this myotherapy and massage can even improve blood flow, reduce general pain and even improve sleep quality. The accumulation of these benefits can improve both your physical and mental health.

An added benefit of coming in for a myotherapy treatment is that you are forced to step away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life and spend an hour of your time relaxing. Setting aside as little as 10 – 20 minutes per day to relax can be enough to curb the intensity of stress, so the length of your massage will more than assist.

To gain the most benefits from your myotherapy treatments, at home stretching can be a great take-home activity to accompany your treatments in the clinic. Take a break from your desk or work activity every hour to take a walk and stretch. Be sure to ask your therapist which stretches are the most effective for you.

How often should I get myotherapy?

Receiving regular myotherapy treatment every 2 to 6 weeks can have a hugely beneficial result in releasing tension and reducing stress. However, talking to your therapist is the best way to find out how often and how long you should undertake myotherapy treatments. The intensity of your pain and understanding if your problem is acute or chronic will all contribute to your treatment plan. Our team of therapists are passionate about fixing the underlying cause of your pain and can work with you on your road to a stress-less lifestyle.
If you are experiencing chronic stress, contact your GP to ensure that we can work together on your larger health goals. Call Northern Myotherapy  at 03 9078 9953 to get started today!

Preventing Injuries With Myotherapy

Preventing Injuries With Myotherapy

Unless you’re a professional athlete (and if you are, we’ll pretend we’re only mildly jealous), the chances are that you only see a specialist for any issue once a problem becomes intolerable. That’s not a dig, it’s just what experience has shown us.

Although we’ve all heard heard the phrase ‘prevention is better than cure’ a thousand times, it’s something that can be very difficult to incorporate into our exercise routine. Whether it’s a fear of cost, a lack of time, or just not quite being sure exactly who to ask, there are a range of factors preventing us from taking the preventative measures we should be.

Prevention should be your goal

At the most basic level, preventing injuries hurts a lot less than having and treating them. For example, if you’ve got a hamstring that’s perilously close to injury, any treatments and accompanied stretches are going to be far more comfortable than that dreaded ‘ping’ in the back of your leg as you try to accelerate. Similarly, the time and money you’ll spend on prevention pales in comparison to treatment.

Injury is sometimes unavoidable

Unfortunately, there’s probably not a soul reading this blog who won’t experience some kind of injury over the next few years. You can’t ever have complete control over what’s going to happen to your body. However, if you’ve been active with your prevention, the chances are that you’ll be able to recover in a fraction of the time it might normally take.

Additionally, your confidence in your own body will be higher upon your return from injury if you’re not battling to address years of bad practice.

So how can a myotherapist help?

A myotherapist is going to be able to help you better understand your musculoskeletal structure, and identify any areas of elevated risk. Our bodies are wonderful at adapting to any areas of weakness or instability over time, but this can create problems down the line.

For instance, if the muscles in your backside aren’t doing everything they should to stabilize you and minimize the transmission of shock up through the body, it’s likely your thighs will begin to compensate. While you’re unlikely to notice any difference, your chances of injuring those overworked quads is massively increased. Likewise, your lower back is in increased danger as it operates on a makeshift solution.

Your body is unique

Most importantly, a myotherapist is going to be able to give you advice specifically for your body. More general tips and tricks such as warming up, getting enough sleep, and fuelling your body correctly are great, but they’re never going to be as effective as tailored instruction.

If you’ve got a lingering complaint, a customized exercise routine is going to put you in the best position to avoid it blowing up in your face. Similarly, something as simple as taping before exercise could dramatically reduce the load on problem areas.

Although nobody will be injury-free for life, a myotherapist can help you to reduce your risk. The first step is always knowing what you’re working with, and having an expert point out any looming problems. If disaster does strike, a healthy record of prevention work puts you in the best possible position to reduce the toll on your routine, your life, and your wallet.

For myotherapy, dry needling or remedial massage in Brunswick and Niddrie area, contact Northern Myotherapy at 03 9078 9953.

Managing Your Muscle Strain

Managing Your Muscle Strain

Where am I most likely to get one?

In simple terms, a muscle strain occurs when a muscle (or the connected tendons) is torn or overstretched. The severity of the strain depends on the degree to which either of the above happens, or but also on where the muscle is located. For instance, a strain in the lower back can have a much more significant effect on your daily routine than one to your hand.

Strains are more common in certain muscle groups and areas of the body (especially the lower back and the through the back of the legs) due to the mechanical make up of our anatomy.

Okay, but who is most likely to get one?

Those who regularly participate in contact sports are probably the highest risk group… have a think about it, when’s the last time you got to enjoy a game of footy without mention of somebody ‘doing a hammy’? The collisions and evasive manoeuvres demanded in contact sport elevate the risk of overstretching, and ultimately tearing of muscles. Additionally, sports that place higher workloads on areas such as the ankles, hands, or elbows (think golf, racquet sports) elevate your chances of muscle strain.

Away from sport, repeated overexertion or overuse of an underprepared muscle can lead to straining. This can take place over an extended period of time (although there’s currently no hard evidence to suggest that your swiping through Instagram is going to set off a disastrous chain of events in your thumb) or in one isolated incident. Lifting objects that are too heavy, or with incorrect technique, is the star of the show here.

How can a myotherapist help me?

You guessed it, step 1 is to get professional help with a diagnosis. A myotherapist is going to be able to help you uncover if what you’re actually labouring through life with is indeed a muscle strain, and not a common alternative. Additionally, they’ll be able to educate you on the muscle(s) involved, and the severity of your injury.

If a diagnosis reveals that a muscle strain is the culprit, your initial goal is most likely going to be pain relief. A good myotherapist will be able to instruct you on which of the various techniques – such as massage, deep tissue manipulation, or dry needling – will help you to get back on with your life without the inflammation, bruising, or discomfort. Relief from these symptoms is known to reduce stress levels boost quality of sleep, and increase mobility. Who wouldn’t want that?

Finally, a visit will give you some solid advice on what you can be doing to prevent repeat injury. Whether it’s a case of refining your warm-up routine or strengthening a muscle group, there are always improvements that can be made to reduce your risk of injury during physical activity.

Alternatively, if the cause of your strains originates in another area of your life, you probably need an expert to help you address it. Seemingly trivial changes like tweaks to your posture, or amendments to the configuration of your work desk/chair can do wonders for your body.