Is ITB Friction Syndrome as complicated as it sounds? It’s giving me hell!

Is ITB Friction Syndrome as complicated as it sounds? It’s giving me hell!

What is ITB Syndrome?

So, let’s break it down. ITB stands for Iliotibial Band, which is a lengthy ligament-tendon hybrid that runs along the outside of your thigh. It’s fixed to your lower leg just below your knee joint, and to both the top of your thigh and bum. Essentially, the ITB helps with the movement of the leg away from your body, and stabilizes the knee joint as it flexes and straightens when you run, cycle or do just about anything apart from lie in bed.

When your knee is flexed the ITB rubs against a bony outcrop on the outer knee. Over time, and with repeated or exacerbated friction, sufferers can experience severe soreness in the area, which is often noticeably worse during the flexing of the knee.

Any associated pain typically starts out as manageable tenderness, before getting worse with repeated use. Beyond these initial symptoms, sufferers have reported a stabbing pain during activity, and occasionally a feeling of snapping as the knee is straightened. Yep, that made us wince as well.

What have I done to deserve this?

Don’t forget that ITB is primarily caused by overuse or misuse – you’re not going to have an ‘aha!’ moment when you pinpoint exactly when and where you developed it. Unfortunately, this can make the process of determining exactly what the underlying problem is a little tricky if you don’t seek expert help.

The first thing you should investigate is whether you’ve made any pronounced differences to your training routine. If you’re someone who is occasionally guilty of overtraining, then we applaud your
commitment to the cause, but will gently ask you to ease off and give your ligaments a rest. Similarly, if you’ve amped your training up too much too quickly, your eagerness to improve may have triggered ITB syndrome. Don’t be disheartened, you haven’t found your body’s physical limits, but you probably have put the current version of your body under a little too much stress. Try dialling your routine back a little bit for the time being… it’ll allow you to reach higher goals in the future.

Away from training too hard, ask yourself if you’re training smart. Is careful stretching and a thorough warm-down part of each and every session? Are you practicing proper technique or form? As your body changes and evolves, are you being careful to strengthen opposing muscle groups together?

And finally, make sure you’re wearing footwear that’s suited to whatever your exercise routine is. The thought of people training in incorrect or exhausted trainers is what stops us from sleeping at night.

How can a myotherapist help me out?

There are no gold stars to hand out to people who guessed that a myotherapist will be able to help you to address the causes discussed in the paragraph above. Determining exactly what is causing your ITB syndrome is always step one, and, in all likelihood, the only way you’re ever going to prevent an escalation of your discomfort.

Through an examination of your routine, a myotherapist will be able to tell you if it’s the frequency of your training, or whether you’re committing any of the cardinal cardio sins (we’re looking at you, downhill running). Beyond your routine, a myotherapist will be able to identify if there any other contributing factors such as underdeveloped muscle groups, or even poor technique.

Additionally, treatment of the surrounding soft tissue with massage and dry needling may provide you with a more immediate dose of pain relief.

So what’s next for me?

As always, you want to be doing everything you can to avoid the need for surgery or any invasive procedures. Although rarer with ITB syndrome than it is with other tendon/ligament issues, surgery can become a legitimate suggestion if all treatments elicit no response, or if inflammation becomes chronic. If you’re experiencing any of the symptoms described, give us a call and we’ll be able to talk you through your best plan of action.

For more information about ITB Syndrome, don't hesitate to visit our and talk to our experienced myotherapists. You may also call us on 03 9078 9953.

Rotator Cuff Injuries

Rotator Cuff Injuries

I had no idea I had one, what is a rotator cuff?

The rotator cuff is a bundle of muscles and tendons that keep the ball in your shoulder socket. These muscles also provide you with power required to both lift and rotate the arm itself. A rotator cuff injury is any strain or tear to this group of muscle and tissue.

Be honest, am I at risk?

The first group who are more at risk of rotator cuff injuries are those over the age of 40, as the ligaments tend to weaken and deteriorate with age. Unfortunately, rotator cuff injuries are more likely to appear on your dominant side, as all those days of additional use begin to rack up. On a similar note, keep an eye out for any family members who have suffered with the injury as there is a growing body of evidence that a genetic factor could be at play.

Away from age and genetics, those who participate in certain sports have a significantly higher risk of rotator cuff injury. If you’ve spent your Saturdays whipping up a demonic serve that has the other members of your tennis club trembling on the baseline, there is a small chance that the repeated strain could lead to problems down the line. Similarly, if you’ve long fancied yourself as the spiritual successor to Shane Warne, make sure that you’re proactive in your shoulder care.

Away from sport, employment that requires a large amount of repeated arm movement (think carpenters and painters) places you at increased risk. If a high proportion of this movement takes place overhead the rotator cuff is more susceptible to damage over time.

If you’re in any of these groups it might be an idea to keep an eye on any unusual sensations or niggling pains you experience through your shoulders or arms.

Why should I care?

At first a rotator cuff injury might not lead to anything more severe than mild soreness when performing certain actions on the affected side. However, if left unchecked this irritation can develop into noticeable swelling, and a reduced range of motion. In some cases, people are left unable to sleep on the affected side, which can begin to disturb your ability to function properly day- to-day. It also means your partner can’t roll you over in the middle of the night if you’re snoring too loudly.

Jokes aside, in bad cases sufferers have completely lost all movement and strength on the torn side. We don’t need to convince you that that’s a bad thing.

Can a myotherapist help?

As ever, it’s best to have a myotherapist help you uncover both the type of injury, and the cause. In rare cases rotator cuff injuries can be traced back to a single incident where high impact or strain has had an immediate effect.

More often than not, there’ll be a more subtle cause for your discomfort. This is where a myotherapist will help you both pinpoint the source, and a map a possible route to prevention. This doesn’t necessarily need to involve an avoidance of any activity, it may be a matter of altering the way the activity is being performed, or implementing a stretching or strengthening routine.

In terms of immediate treatment, a myotherapist is going to be able to offer you some much needed pain relief with a range of massages, stretches, and techniques such as dry needling. For more information on prevention of injury, contact our myotherapy clinic on 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.

Let us help you manage your muscles to prevent injuries, talk to our experienced myotherapist. Visit our Brunswick clinic or you may contact us on 03 9078 9953 for more details.

Myotherapy And Pregnancy. What’s the Link?

Myotherapy And Pregnancy. What’s the Link?

While the highlight of many people’s lives, it’s pretty hard to ignore the massive physical implications that pregnancy has on the body. As both your body and mind go through significant changes, it’s vital that you do everything you can to stay healthy.

More and more women are embracing myotherapy as a way to both make the most of, and reduce the damage done by, their pregnancy.

In this blog we talk you through some of the benefits of using a myotherapist before and after childbirth.

Maintain your posture!

It’s typically during the second trimester that pronounced changes to the body become more and more noticeable. As the breasts and abdomen begin to grow at an accelerated rate, many women will experience a curvature in the spine as the body tries to adapt to the rapid addition of extra weight.

Ultimately, these changes to the spine can lead to back pain and other issues if left unchecked. A gentle examination from a myotherapist can identify any potential muscle imbalances which can become increasingly serious as time goes on.

Minimize your morning sickness

For the vast majority of women, morning sickness is an inescapable part of pregnancy. Whilst we’re not going to complain that there’s a miracle cure, combating the stress that plays a big role in the ailment can have a positive effect.

Whether it’s through massage or other manual therapies, reducing the amount of stress that any woman feels while childbearing can significantly reduce the effect that morning sickness has on your life.

Get things, ahem… moving

Okay, there’s no pretty way to discuss this topic. The hormones released during pregnancy often lead to severe constipation as they cause the digestive tract muscles to relax.

While it can be a beautifully moving experience, carrying a child can often lead to radical changes in the body that can lead the mother to feel a little bit lost.
If you’re experiencing any pregnancy side effects that you’d like to minimize or alleviate, get in touch with your nearest hypnotherapist today. For more information, contact our clinic on 03 9078 9953.


Can A Myotherapist Help Me Avoid Knee Surgery?

Can A Myotherapist Help Me Avoid Knee Surgery?

Along with chronic back pain, issues with either or both of the knees can be the most debilitating impairment going.

What makes knee pain doubly frustrating is there is such a wide range of symptoms, sensations, and points on the knee itself where the pain can be experienced. Additionally, due to the amount of work they get through over the course of a lifetime, pain in the knee can be constant, rare, or anywhere in between

Although there’s no denying that sometimes a pain in the knee is just your body’s way of screaming that nothing is going to get better without going under the knife, myotherapy can often present a less invasive solution.

Establishing the causes

The first thing any good myotherapist is going to do when assessing your knee condition is to try and establish the cause of the pain. As with every other of the body, the knee is part of a complicated chain of movement and action. Pain in the knee can stem from underdeveloped muscles in the quadriceps or calves

On the other hand, muscle tears can be to blame for sharp pains through the knee and surrounding areas. Establishing a cause early on gives you the best chance of minimizing further damage, and returning to full fitness as quickly as possible.

While you should always remain optimistic, do remember that tougher roads to recovery (like surgery) are unavoidable at times.

Devising a path to recovery

Once a treatable cause has been established, a myotherapist will be able to guide you on exactly what you can be doing to get back to fitness. Knee injuries are somewhat unique in that the knee will almost always require that the joint continues to be used.

Depending on the cause of your problem (and your lifestyle) a myotherapist will be able to draw you up a treatment plan that gives the knee just the right amount of movement and resistance. Often, activities such as swimming or cycling will be suggested as they eliminate hard impacts.

Thinking outside the box

Besides conventional treatments, myotherapists can explore a range of options to get you back to full fitness, and to keep you there. Whether that’s a home treatment that makes use of spiky balls and all of the other weapons in the myotherapist’s armory, or something like an analysis of your running technique, there could be a way to get you back to fighting fitness quicker than you thought.

Northern Myotherapy offers different injury recovery treatment services, visit our clinic in Brunswick or call us on 03 9078 9953.

Is your tension headache stressing you out?

Is your tension headache stressing you out?

If you’re living in the same world as everybody else, the brutal truth is that stress (hopefully to a manageable degree) will pop into your life from time to time. While a certain amount of stress is unavoidable (and although it may seem counterintuitive, healthy), the headaches that can accompany it can be treated.

In this blog we talk you through three of the best natural remedies for those infuriating headaches.



Bear with us here, we promise we’ve not gone mad. Although people are often willing to accept that back ache can originate in the feet, or that problems with the ands can be tracked back to the shoulder, there’s often a quiet reluctance to consider that the cause of a pain in the head can be tracked to a different part of the anatomy.

The truth is, many headaches are rotted in a problem that starts with the posture and muscles in the neck and shoulder area.  All to often, those with a headache are quick to reach for the over the counter cure instead of trying something as simple and immediate as stretching.

If your head is giving you grief, try sitting completely upright with a beauty contestant’s posture. Holding this pose, pull your chin as far back as you can, almost as if you were trying to get your chin to where your spine currently is. Make sure the rest of your body is kept stationary and do you do not tilt your head up or down whilst performing the stretch. Hold the pose for a couple of seconds before returning to normal.

About 6-8 reps should help you to alleviate any tension that could be contributing to your headache.


Hot and cold treatments

Depending on the cause of your pain, hot or cold treatments might have you nodding your head to your favourite tune in no time.

Take a heat pack and apply it to the base of the neck if you feel a headache coming on. Applying head will help the muscles in the area to relax, whilst also promoting blood flow to the affected area.

Alternatively, the use of ice or a cool pack can help to reduce any inflammation you may have at the base of the neck. Inflammation can lead to radiated pain up to and through the head, and increased tension through the  shoulders.



Although a little more difficult to do yourself (and almost guaranteed to generate concerned/bemused looks if you do attempt self-treatment), massage is perhaps the greatest tool in the fight against tension headaches. The most common areas which yield success are again the base of the neck (if you hadn’t guessed already, this is a pretty important area when it comes to all things cranial) and the area surrounding the eyebrows.

If you’re experiencing frequent and prolonged tension headaches, a myotherapist may be able to quickly and effectively treat your symptoms using one, or a combination, of the above. You may book for a consultation to our professional myotherapy expert by calling us on 03 9078 9953.

Think on your feet. Heal your pain.

Think on your feet. Heal your pain.

Every journey begins with a single step. But how can you even begin to walk that distance, join a marathon or trek that dream adventure when you can barely get out of bed without experiencing severe pain in your foot?

That pain can easily cloud that picturesque destination you had in mind. But instead of sitting and sulking about how difficult it is, maybe you need a different mindset. After all, you’re not incapacitated, and your feet can still function, just not at the speed that’s required - yet!



A recent study by the Australian Bureau of Statistics found that on average, adults can take approximately 7,400 steps per day. It’s statistics such as this which make our feet the most underrated part of our bodies, as they can absorb much of the stress and pressure that comes with going about our daily activities while carrying our weight.

Unfortunately, it’s the feet that are all too often one of the most neglected parts of our body, which is startling when you consider how irreplaceable they are. It’s only until our feet hurt that we realise how important they are.

So, before you buy those expensive stilettos or sneakers that look amazing, first ask yourself is your feet properly supported? Is there enough cushioning inside of the shoe to avoid suffering heel pains such as Plantar Fasciitis? Yes, Plantar Fasciitis can have severe long-term effects and is an injury that should not be taken lightly.



What is Plantar Fasciitis? Why does it matter and why should I care?

The word ‘Plantar’ means the bottom of the foot, while ‘Plantar Fasciitis’ refers to inflammation of the Plantar Fascia, which is the flexible band tissue along the bottom of our foot that connects our heel bone to our toes. The Plantar Fascia acts as a shock absorber and forms the arch of in our foot.

If you happen to experience stiffness or a burning sensation at the bottom of your foot that gets progressively worse when you move after a period of rest, you’re most likely suffering from Plantar Fasciitis.

Plantar Fasciitis the most common ailment of the foot, which can go from a numb feeling to a sharp pain. It can affect either foot or both of your feet. The pain can cause much discomfort if you’ve been sitting or lying down for hours.

According to medical experts, most people who are afflicted with Plantar Fasciitis are those that frequently do long-distance running, walking, playing soccer, and hiking. The pain flares up due to increased inflammation and you will only feel it after a prolonged activity and not while you’re doing it.

People that don’t actively engage in sports or outdoor activities are not immune to Plantar Fasciitis either. Those who stand on hard surfaces for long periods such as cashiers at grocery stores, market sellers, or workers in the hospitality industry – cafes and restaurants - are also prone to this injury.

Plantar Fasciitis can also affect people that have flat feet or with high arches, are overweight, or those who are fond of wearing shoes that don’t provide proper support.



While Plantar Fasciitis is not life-threatening, it can get in the way of your normal routine. It can also cause Heel Spurs, a calcium deposit in your heel bone that will eventually lead to surgery. Chronic heel pain can also injure your legs, knees, hips and back and affect how you walk long-term.

Treating or preventing the onset of Plantar Fasciitis is easy if you act early. The most important thing to remember if you have any of its symptoms then don’t ignore the issue, particularly if you’re between the ages of 40-60 years old, and if you’re above your recommended weight.

Don’t just wait for the pain to disappear on its own as it will only worsen and if that occurs, then it will take longer to heel the pain – pun intended!



If you’re suffering from Plantar Fasciitis, then over-the-counter medicines can be prescribed to relieve the pain. There’s also the option of having your doctor directly inject Corticosteroids into the damaged section of your ligament. However, what most medical experts will recommend is to seek physical therapy to treat your swollen heel.

Here at Northern Myotherapy, we can help stretch your Plantar Fascia, strengthen your lower leg muscles, lessen the workload on your heels and help stabilise your walk.

We are experienced therapists equipped with the right skills to ease your pain and accelerate the healing. With our holistic approach, you get a non-invasive remedy for your foot problem so that you can get on with your life and enjoy what you love doing most with no interruptions.



After receiving treatment for your heel pain, you should consider making necessary changes such as wearing appropriate footwear that supports your arch and avoid overtraining. Another recommendation is to do stretches before and after you exercise in order to have adequate recovery time between sessions.

And yes, maintaining a healthy weight is equally important. Try to picture yourself carrying a full basket of clothes above your head, and then image, that load of clothes being dropped into that basket several times over the day. That high impact is what our feet goes through daily and if not managed accordingly, it will breakdown over time. It’s not only your feet that will thank you for it; your whole body will too.

For the most severe cases, we will refer you to Mr. Peter Dietsch, a podiatrist professional at Frontier Foot Clinic Niddrie, so that you won’t have to live with Plantar Fasciitis for the rest of your life.

Remedial Massage Services in Brunswick

How to deal with lower back pain naturally

How to deal with lower back pain naturally

Remedial Massage Services in Brunswick

Achy lower back? It’s the condition that seems to unite us all once we pass a certain age. Lower back pain is one of the most common back ailments, and it’s not an issue that should be left to worsen. It’s also one of the most common reasons why people end up at the doctor’s when they should be in work.

Lower back pain can be mild to severe, short-lived or long-lasting. Although no one disputes just how debilitating and painful it can be, in the majority of cases there’s no need to go under the knife to find a cure. For most people, there is no specific or certain remedy for lower back pain. Often, it takes the process of trial and error to learn just which prevention or therapy works for you. Before you start popping any of those pain-relieving pills, or book an appointment with your doctor, try some of the natural remedies below.

  • What causes lower back pain?


Lower back pain is rarely a sign of something serious and can be prevented by looking after your back and keeping it in good shape. There are many causes of lower back discomfort and most are due to postural problems like sitting at your desk all day, sleeping on a sagging mattress, or carrying a heavy bag (most likely full of unnecessary items!)


It can also be a result of an injury, such as muscle sprains or strains due to sudden movements, or poor body mechanics while lifting hefty objects. At other times, ageing can be to blame as changes to the spine occur over time. These age changes can be noticeable as early as your 30s, and can make you prone to back pain if you’re overdoing it. If you live a fairly sedentary lifestyle, it’s time to stretch those muscles and maintain a healthy weight. You don’t want to be living with lower back pain, so start living a life that reduces your chances as soon as possible.


  • Get some exercise


Everybody has heard the doctor’s opinion that when it comes to health problems, sitting is the new smoking. Many of us are so glued to our seats in our professional lives that the only time we actually flex our legs and move our lower back muscles is when we take that trip to the water cooler or bathroom. The human back just simply isn’t designed to spend its day hunched over a computer screen. For any muscle to work effectively, it needs a certain amount of contraction and expansion. When we sit too much – and the chances are, that if you’re reading this, you’re somebody who spends too much of their day sitting - we place our bodies in a set position for an unnaturally long period of time.


Contrary to what some people say, spinal specialists are rarely of the opinion that exercise can increase your future risk of back pain injuries. Conversely, it’s likely that well-regulated exercise can prevent lower back pain.

For chronic couch potatoes, here’s the good news: you don’t have to engage in high-intensity interval training to help your back. Gentle stretches, walking, and periodically standing up at your desk can help stabilise your spine and prevent muscle imbalances. Doing a simple brisk walk two to three times a week can also do wonders! If you can find the time in your schedule, consider an activity like yoga or any other meditation technique to lower your stress levels. Stress and back pain often go hand in hand.


  • Soothe the pain with ice and heat

If you’re reading this too late and you’re already suffering, try using hot and cold treatments to reduce the pain.

Cold therapy is great for reducing inflammation, which is almost always the culprit in any back discomfort. Localised cooling acts as a local anaesthetic that slows down nerve impulses, shuts down capillaries, and reduces blood flow, which should ease swelling and pain. Heat, on the other hand, loosens tight muscles and increases circulation. This brings healing nutrients to the affected area, and inhibits the pain messages being sent to the brain.

It’s recommended to use cold therapy for 20 minutes a session for the first 48 hours after the pain sets in, and switch to heat therapy after two days, in 20-minute intervals.

  • Go for massage therapy

Any kind of pain is no fun, but there’s an upside to your struggle: it’s a legit excuse to get regular massages. According to a study by the Annals of Internal Medicine, chronic lower back pain sufferers who attended weekly massage appointments reported less pain after 10 weeks than those who didn't.

Treat yourself and your problematic back and head in to Northern Myotherapy for a remedial massage. All our treatments are based on our proven holistic approach, and are designed to provide you with substantial healing and pain relief.

Don’t prolong your agony. Schedule your appointment with us by calling on 03 9078 9953 and get back to living a pain-free life as soon as you can!

What You Should Know About TMJ Disorders

What You Should Know About TMJ Disorders

Do you often feel a dull, aching pain in your jaw? Do you hear it click or pop whenever you yawn or even talk? If you answered yes to either of those questions, there’s a chance you’re suffering from a temporomandibular joint disorder (TMJ disorder). In this article, we’ll look at the jaw-dropping facts (we’re sorry, we had to) about this all too common ailment. One of the biggest problems with TMJ disorder is how often it goes undiagnosed or, even worse, misdiagnosed. As with almost anything else in life, the earlier you know, the easier it is to do something about it.

What’s a Temporomandibular Joint?

Your TMJ or Temporomandibular Joints are the joint and jaw muscles that connect your jawbone to the skull, and are the most used joint in your body. The skull and the jawbone are separated by a cartilage disk that serves as a shock absorber and joint lubricant. You use it when you eat, talk, breathe, drink, yawn, and express your feelings and emotions. Essentially, if you’re doing anything that helps to keep you alive, you’re using it. Because they get through so much daily work, many people will suffer some sort of TMJ pain in the course of their lifetime.

What causes a TMJ disorder?

Primarily, TMJ disorders occur when something adversely affects your jaw joints or jaw muscles. There’s a variety of causes ranging from injury to arthritis. In many cases they result from an injury that moves the TMJ out of its proper alignment, or an inflammation such as arthritis. However, there are instances when TMJ disorders are caused by seemingly innocuous routines such as teeth grinding or jaw clenching. It sounds unbelievable, but even poor posture can contribute to strains in your jaw, neck, and facial muscles.

What are the symptoms of a TMJ disorder?

While pain or tenderness is not always present, when you have a TMJ disorder you may experience mild to debilitating symptoms such as:

  • Clicking, popping or grating sounds when you move your jaw
  • Pressure behind your eyes or inside the ears
  • Ringing in the ears and dizziness
  • Locking of the jaw joint, making it difficult to open and close your mouth
  • Sensitive or sore teeth
  • Chronic headaches and migraines
  • Back, neck and shoulder pain

What exercises can you do to relieve the pain?

If you have one or more of the symptoms listed, you should try a few exercises to see if they offer any pain relief.

The simplest thing you can do to relax your jaw is a simple breathing exercise. Inhale for 5-10 seconds, then slowly exhale for another 5-10 seconds. Repeat this 5-10 times. Although it’s obviously the simplest thing you can try, focusing on your breathing can help to relax and relieve tension.

Alternatively, you can try strengthening and stretching your jaw. Put your thumb under your chin and gently push downward against it using your jaw muscles. Keep on opening your mouth against moderate force and hold it for 5-10 seconds. Another thing you can do is to open your mouth as widely as possible and then place your index finger between your chin and lower lip (maybe it’s best to try this one in the privacy of your own home). Push inward against the resistance.

One final stretch utilizes your tongue, rather than your hands. Place your tongue on the roof of your mouth and glide your lower jaw out as far it will go, then return it its natural position, allowing for 5 seconds in each position. This can also be done with a closed mouth.

If all else fails, see an expert

If you’ve tried these simple relief exercises aren’t having any luck, get on the phone and book an appointment to come see us here at Northern Myotherapy. We’re specialists in treating muscle and joint strains, and are dedicated to helping you live a full, pain-free life.

If the problem persists we’ll be able to refer you to a specialist doctor – Associate Professor Michael Stubbs – who will be able to look into alternative avenues of treatment.

Whatever you do, don’t panic. Bear in mind that jaw pain and chronic headaches do not always mean that a TMJ disorder has reared its irritating head. But, if you regularly experience any of the symptoms listed above, don’t leave it too late before getting in touch. Give us a call and let’s get you back on the road to wellness.

For myotherapy, dry needling and remedial massage in Brunswick, contact our friendly and trusted myotherapist at 03 9078 9953.

How to Get the Sleep You Crave

How to get the sleep You Crave

Feeling groggy and foggy in the mornings? You’re not alone. Reports show that around 40% of Australians are not getting enough shut-eye, and it’s got the potential to seriously affect the way we live our lives. The Sleep Health Foundation has highlighted potential consequences such as an increased risk of stroke, memory loss, and social withdrawal. Oh, and it’s also estimated to cost the economy $66 billion every year when health bills, lost productivity, and wellbeing are all factored in!

Sit back and relax; the perfect night’s sleep is not out of reach. Below we discuss four ways to give yourself the best chance of getting that great sleep you’ve been craving.

1. Clear your head before hitting the sack

If you consistently find yourself unable to sleep until the early hours of the morning roll around, the chances are you’re overwhelmed with residual stress, worry, or even anger. What you need is a way to let go of the day’s emotions before climbing into bed. One option is to embrace the soothing qualities of meditation. There are tons of books, mobile apps, or even beginner’s courses that will be able to help you decouple from the day’s worries. If meditation is a bit out there for you, go for something a little simpler like soothing music to divert your thinking from all those nagging thoughts that keep you from nodding off. You’ll be surprised at how effective replacing your concerns with a spot of music can be. You can also use your powerful sense of smell to influence the way you feel. Think about how certain smells recall a favourite memory and instantly improve your mood. If you’re having issues getting in the right frame of mind for sleep then essential oils have the potential to reduce anxiety and bring on a feeling of positive relaxation. Most importantly, they’re a natural alternative to those tablets the pharmacist has suggested.

2. Create a bedtime schedule and stick to it

Keeping a regular sleep-wake cycle is one of the most practical strategies you can implement to reduce the stress of bedtime and start your journey towards better sleep. Your body likes routine and is unlikely to respond well if it’s got no way of knowing when your next sleep will be. You can’t be a morning lark one day and a night owl the next. Try to choose a bedtime that suits your lifestyle and your body, and work hard to stick at it. Once you’ve developed a schedule that works for you, try to adhere to it every night of the week to optimise the ease and quality of your sleep. Occasional later nights during weekends are okay if you’re able to slot back into your normal time the following night. While everybody loves a nap and you may need one from time to time, be smart about when and how you do it. Try to limit yourself to 15-20 minute bursts so you don’t oversleep and feel ready for a triathlon when your time for a real sleep rolls around.

3. Stay away from your gadgets before getting some Zzz

Don’t let any of your devices stop you from living a happy and healthier life! Your world will not stop spinning if you give yourself a bit of space from your electronic buddies as you begin to get ready for bed. Studies show that focusing on screens before bed negatively impacts the quality and length of your sleep. The blue light that our electronic devices emit disrupts your body’s internal clock and suppresses the release of melatonin, which is the body’s sleep-inducing hormone. It’s simple, the more time you spend on devices at night, the harder it’s going to be for you to fall asleep. If you’re the kind of person who can’t help themselves reaching for something as bedtime looms, reading an old-fashioned book under a lamp is your best plan of action. If you’re really struggling, keep your electronics in another room and use a simple alarm clock (instead of your phone) to prevent you from staring at your screen like a zombie.

4. Sleep in a comfortable environment

How many of us actually consider our sleeping environment when questioning why we aren’t getting enough sleep? Try to keep your room clean and cool, and avoid using it for work-related or stressful activities. Additionally, never underestimate the importance of your mattress. We know they can be a little costly, but too many people make the mistake of presuming their mattress will last them a lifetime. Just like your body, your mattress will change and age over time. In order to help you get the mattress you need, we’ve spoken to the lovely people at Beds for Backs and arranged for ALL Northern Myotherapy clients to receive a storewide 20% discount. If it is your mattress that’s stopping you from getting the sleep, there’s now no excuse not to fix it.

Talk to our professional and experienced myotherapist to learn more about how to sleep soundly, contact us on 03 9078 9953.