Neck 2

Neck Injuries

Pillows - NexGen Posture Form Memory Foam Pillow 2

Neck Pain, Stiffness or Headaches?

If you’re having a restless sleep or waking with neck pain, stiffness or headaches, your pillow could be the culprit. A good night's sleep is dependent on a healthy sleeping position and a good pillow. A quality pillow will support your head in natural alignment with your spine. Only a pillow offering good support and adjustability can do this.

What's the Classic Signs of an Unsupportive Pillow?

Most quality pillows will only last you three to four years before you need to change. Some of the lesser quality pillows will only remain supportive for a few months. The problem is that pillows internal supportive material breaks down with use and time. Whether your pillow is feather, foam, memory foam, rubber, latex or any other natural or synthetic product, they all eventually disintegrate with time and use. If you are consistently having the following trouble, it's time to change your pillow.
  • Waking during the night or in the morning with a stiff neck, neck pain or headache.
  • Restless or interrupted sleep with difficulty going off to sleep.
Another sure sign is an improved sleep when you visit a friend, borrow your partner's pillow or stay in a hotel. If any of these sounds like you, it's time to change your pillow.

Maybe it's NOT Your Pillow!

Sometimes there is simply no pillow in the world that is best for you.

Why?

If you have a neck injury, pain or stiffness you may not have the available pain-free range of neck motion to have a comfortable pain-free sleep. The solution on this occasion is to have your neck professionally assessed and treated. Often just one quality treatment of your neck will solve years of sleeping difficulties.

Pillows Online

If you like to see the pillows that most of our therapists sleep on and recommend to our clients, you can view these online here or test then at your nearest PhysioWorks clinic.

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Pillows Neck Pain Neck Headache

Youth Spinal Pain

Teenager Neck & Back Pain

teenager back pain Teenagers can be particularly vulnerable to back pain, mainly due to a combination of high flexibility and low muscle strength and posture control.  The competitive athlete and most individuals who exercise regularly or maintain a level of fitness and core stability control are less prone to spine injury and problems due to the strength and flexibility of supporting structures. Your physiotherapist can assist the resolution of any deficits in this area. Luckily, issues involving the lower lumbar spine are rare in athletes and account for less than 10% of sports-related injuries. Injuries do occur in contact sports and with repetitive strain sports. Sports such as gymnastics, cricket fast bowlers, and tennis have a higher incidence of associated lumbar spine problems related to repetitive twisting and hyper-bending motions. Spondylolisthesis is a significant concern and needs to be appropriately treated by a physiotherapist with a particular interest in these type of injuries. Luckily, most injuries are minor, self-limited, and respond quickly to physiotherapy treatment.

Common Adolescent Spinal Injuries

Lower Back (Lumbar Spine)

Midback (Thoracic Spine)

Neck (Cervical Spine)

Pelvis

For specific advice regarding youth neck or back pain, please seek the professional advice of your trusted spinal physiotherapist or doctor. Common Youth & Teenager Sports Injuries Common Youth Leg Injuries Common Youth Arm Injuries
A British Medical Journal study found that pre-event stretching does not reduce the overall risk of injury. However, stretching does slightly reduce the risk of specific kinds of damage (injuries to muscles, ligaments and tendons). These soft tissue injuries are common in both elite and recreational sportspeople. It seems reasonable and common sense that stretching may not prevent you suffering a broken bone or a joint dislocation, but it could reduce your chance of a soft tissue injury. The other main finding was that stretching reduces the risk of experiencing soreness, which always makes exercising more enjoyable! While sustained stretches in isolation may not be the answer, other studies have shown that warming up does reduce your injury rate. While there is no "absolutely proven"method of warming up yet, the preferred options appear to be a graduated progression to prepare you for your sport. In simple terms, warm-up steadily from gentle exercises that increase in intensity and speed as you progress through your warm-up period. It makes common sense for you to warm things up slowly to start and then prepare with replicate skills, to what you will require shortly on the field, at the end of your warm-up. For more specific warm-up and injury prevention advice particular to your sport or work, please ask your physiotherapist to prescribe a warm-up and warm-down routine specific to you and your sport or physical activity.

Back & Neck Pain Prevention Tips

Here's some beneficial advice to help you prevent back pain and enjoy life to the maximum.

Posture

I'm afraid that your mother was right. If you slouch, you'll end up with problems. Just one of those problems is back pain. You'll find other problems elsewhere on this website. Think "Grow Tall".  Imagine that you have a string screwed onto the back of your head, just above your hairline. Then think that someone is dragging you up off the chair you are sitting on. Hold this "grow tall" position for 10 seconds and repeat every half hour. As well as greatly reducing your chances of back pain you'll note that your chest has lifted, shoulders are relaxed, the chin is tucked in, the head is level and stomach muscles have contracted.  Not bad for such a simple exercise. This posture can be repeated in sitting, standing, sleeping, walking or running. Try it, and the physio will work for you too!

Lifting

The best method to avoid back pain from lifting is delegation. If this isn't an option for you, try the following:
  • Use back support to lift loads over 15 to 20kg.
  • Bend at the hips and knees with your feet shoulder-width apart.
  • Firmly grip the load and hold it close to your body.
  • Think "grow tall" to tighten your stomach muscles and look upwards to straighten your back.
  • Stand using your strong thigh and buttock muscles to lift.
  • Once upright, turn by using your feet. Avoid twisting your back.

Sitting

Use the "grow tall" principle each 15 to 30 minutes while sitting. A supportive chair or lower back cushion is essential if you must sit. If possible, don't stay seated for too long. Regularly stand up, stretch your back and walk short distances for a variety of posture. After all, we were designed for hunting and foraging - not sit in front of a computer!

Exercise

Fitness has many benefits. Stronger, more flexible muscles and less weight to stress the bones and discs. PhysioWorks specialises in the provision of exercise programs to keep your back flexible, strong and pain-free. Exercise can involve aspects of flexibility, strengthening and postural control. Consider Real-Time Ultrasound Retraining to ensure you are doing it right!

Sleeping

A quality pillow and mattress are necessary for a healthy spine. You do spend somewhere between one-quarter (1/4) and one-third (1/3) of your life sleeping. Do it in comfort!  You'll need to consider a new mattress if you wake up through the night or in the morning with back pain.  Please ask your PhysioWorks therapist for advice at your next visit.

Driving

Use the "grow tall" principle each 15 to 30 minutes while driving. The combination of sitting and bumpy roads is a recipe for back pain. A  lower back cushion is essential if you must drive any distance. If possible, don't stay seated for too long. Regularly break your travels to have a walk and perform simple stretching exercises for a variety of posture and a healthy spine. After all, we were designed for hunting and foraging - not sit in front of a computer!

What are the Benefits of Good Posture?

good-posture-sitting

Good Posture:

  • Keeps your bones and joints in the correct alignment.
  • Helps to decrease the abnormal wearing of joint surfaces.
  • Decreases the stress on the ligaments holding the joints of the spine together.
  • Prevents the spine from becoming fixed in abnormal positions.
  • Prevents muscle fatigue.
  • Prevents any backache and muscular pain.
  • Contributes to a competent and confident appearance.

To Achieve Good Posture You Will Require the Following:

  • Good muscle flexibility
  • Normal motion in the joints
  • Strong postural muscles
  • A balance of muscles on both sides of the spine
  • Awareness of your posture, plus knowledge of proper postural position, which leads to conscious correction.
Practise the correct posture for standing, sitting, and lying down (as described below) to gradually replace your old position.

What is Good Posture?

Standing with the good posture looks and feels fantastic, plus it's very healthy for your joints, muscles, bones, blood circulation and most importantly, your self-esteem. That's why proud and confident people stand tall with excellent posture. It's a habit! How you hold your body in space is your posture. Your posture is a direct result of the postural habits that you commonly exhibit. You can choose to hold good posture or poor posture. Gravity is your worst enemy while standing or sitting. You could also refer to this as your spinal posture, back or neck posture. The good news for you is that you can quite easily change your postural habits and train your body to sit, stand, walk, and even rest in great postures. Good posture also places the least strain upon your supporting muscles and ligaments. But, no one posture is good to maintain all day. As a human, you were designed to move from posture to posture to avoid muscle fatigue and abnormal sustained tissue loading. This means that your best posture is your next posture!

Benefits of Good Posture

Good posture:
  • Prevents postural muscle fatigue.
  • Correctly aligns your joints and bones to encourage efficient muscle activity.
  • Helps minimalise joint stress.
  • Avoids passive ligament overload.
  • Prevents backache, neckache and muscular pain.
  • Contributes to your enhanced confidence and a good appearance!
Standing comfortably with good posture should feel natural and energy efficient. Bad postural habits can cause a few muscular aches and pains for a few days during the early transition (posture habit change) phase. You may experience temporary joint or muscle discomfort or fatigue as your joints realign, ligaments stretch and postural muscles start working. The good news is that if you keep at maintaining a good posture your body will quickly adapt and you'll feel more comfortable and strong in your new normal posture. Plus... the up side is that not only will you be less likely to suffer pain, you'll look confident and feel fantastic too!

How to Improve Your Standing Posture:

The number one tip to achieve a great standing posture is to simply"stand tall"! All the muscles that you need to push you taller are the same ones that improve your posture.
  • Stand tall!
  • Extend your head directly up (think balloon lifting your head with a string in the top of your scull) - but keep your chin tucked in. Avoid tilting your head forward, backward or sideways.
  • Your earlobes will line up with the middle of your shoulders.
  • Keep your shoulders back, your knees straight and your back straight.
  • Let arms hang naturally down the sides of the body
  • Lightly draw in your core stomach muscles. Avoid tilting your pelvis forward.
  • Avoid locking the knees
  • Ensure your feet arches are in a neutral (not flat) position.
  • Stand with weight over the the centre of your feet.
  • Stand with your feet slightly apart (shoulder-width).
  • When standing for a sustained periods, shift your weight from one foot to the other, or stand in walk stand and rock your weight from your front to back foot.

How to Quickly Check Your Standing Posture

Stand against a wall with shoulders and bottom touching wall. The rear of your head should lightly touch the wall.

How to Correct Your Posture?

If you experience discomfort in the above test and you can't easily correct your posture, you may have some restriction of joint, ligament or muscular movement. All of these problems can be quickly assessed and quickly improved by your physiotherapist. Please consult them for advice. Having difficulty maintaining a normal upright posture? You are probably suffering from reduced muscle endurance or strength. But these can both be easily improved with some practice of the right exercises. Your physiotherapist is an expert in prescribing the best postural exercises for you in a stage-appropriate manner to help your improve your posture without causing unnecessary pain or injury. You physiotherapist may also advise a posture brace or prescribe some posture taping to assist you to quickly achieve and maintain a good posture. Contact your physiotherapist for posture advice specific to you and your needs.
A posture brace can help you position your shoulder blades into a better posture and allow you to return to everyday activities sooner. However, we don’t usually encourage their long-term use because research has shown that your shoulder and upper back muscles will weaken as you become reliant on the brace.  There are better ways that are exercise-based. Children's posture, in particular, can be improved by wearing a posture brace for an hour or two a day while studying to encourage awareness of a good posture.

More Information about Posture Braces

Back Tone 4000: Posture Trainer

A Biofeedback Device

Re-train your body to great posture in just 20 minutes a day Good Posture makes you look great, feel more energetic and project confidence. It also helps prevent injury and reduce pain. We all want good posture but it can be so hard to achieve. That's because acquiring good posture involves not only learning new movements, but changing life-long habits as well. Just knowing how to correct your posture is not enough to achieve a change in your actual habit. Our body uses learnt motor patterns to perform everyday activities. When we sit, stand, walk or move - our body follows previously learnt motor patterns. If your body has learned to slouch - that's what it will do. BackTone helps you re-train that motor pattern.

What is BackTone?

The BackTone 4000 is the latest biofeedback device for re-training postural habits. Worn for short periods daily, BackTone beeps whenever the wearer slouches. Straightening up turns the beep off. Users wear their BackTone during everyday simple tasks. Wear the BackTone for about 20 minutes at a time during everyday tasks. Without even thinking about your posture, you will straighten up whenever the BackTone beeps. The New BackTone 4000 has:
  • 4 -5 second vibration option for use in noisy environments
  • New strapping configuration for more active tasks
  • Firmer strapping and rubber-backed waist band for less slippage
  • Easy change battery

BackTone Benefits

  • Can be worn at work - the sound emitted is low volume thus does not distract others
  • The backTone 4000 now has a vibration mode for noisy or discrete environments
  • Not cumbersome, easy to put on, no cleaning
  • Wear outside of clothing
  • Not a ‘support’ but a training device (reusable)

 Features of the New BackTone 4000

 
  • Vibration Option allows use in noisy or quiet environments
  • New strapping configuration:
    • Allows wearing during more active tasks.
    • Suits clients with sloping shoulders
    • Allows adjustment for wider range of body shapes
  • Rubber backing on rear waist helps to anchor BackTone
  • Louder, deeper beep (plus vibration option) allows use by people with hearing problems
  • Attractive new packaging and instruction guide

Health Practitioner Tips

Backtone Retrains Posture Habits Like No Other Strategy. Allow Sufficient Time
  • It takes at least 21 days to change any habit. Wear BackTone for 20 mins, a couple of times a day for as long as you like – and actually change the habit.
Use a Train/Feedback/Practice Regime
  • Wear BackTone to learn good posture during activity. Then REMOVE IT and practice without the feedback. Daily non-wearing is just as important as wearing. This allows the training to naturally flow into everyday activities.
Avoid Fatigue
  • BackTone is designed to be easily removed by the user before their muscles fatigue. Once muscles tire they won’t learn much at all. In fact, muscle fatigue may actually contribute to slouching and slow down the learning process.
User Friendly
  • BackTone is easily adjusted by the user even during a single training session. This allows them to set the training to their current status and task.
Develop Confidence and Skill
  • The capacity to apply, adjust and remove the device yourself encourages users to notice and manage their own posture. BackTone users will know when they’re slouching and do something about it, and will tend to alter environments such as computer setup, office chairs and seating of their own accord.
BackTone gives you the tools to provide a comprehensive program that results in real change in posture habits

Article by John Miller

What is the Best Way to Sleep?

Your Best Sleeping Position?

best sleeping position
Everybody has their favourite sleeping position. However, some are better for you than others. Try to sleep in a posture that helps you maintain the curve in your lower back. We recommend lying on your back with a pillow under your knees (if more comfortable) or on your side with your knees slightly bent.

It is preferable to not sleep on your side with your knees drawn up to your chest (the foetal position). However, having said that some back conditions will find this preferable. You should seek the advice of your physiotherapist if you are in doubt.

If you are suffering back pain, you could try lying over a lumbar roll or peanut cushion at night to make you more comfortable. A rolled sheet or towel tied around your waist may also be helpful. You may wish to avoid sleeping on your stomach, especially on a saggy mattress. This sag can cause back strain and can be uncomfortable for your neck.

What is Your Best Mattress?

Select a firm mattress or an ensemble that does not sag. If necessary, place a board under your bed's mattress. You can also set the mattress on the floor temporarily if needed. If you've always slept on a soft surface, it may be initially painful to change to a harder surface. Try to do what's most comfortable for you.

How to Rise from Bed

When standing up from the lying position, turn on your side, draw up both knees and swing your legs over the side of the bed. Sit up by pushing yourself up with your hands. Bend forward at your waist with your core muscles activated.

What is Your Best Pillow?

The human neck curves slightly forward (to sustain the weight of the head when upright), and it is crucial to maintain this curve when in a resting position. If the height of the pillow is too high or low when sleeping, your neck is bent abnormally out of alignment, causing muscle and joint strain. You can even wake with headaches.

Poor pillow support can also cause narrowing of the air pipe, resulting in obstructed breathing, and sometimes snoring, which can hinder sleep.

The best lying or sleeping position may vary, depending on your symptoms. No matter what posture you lie in, the pillow should be under your head, but not your shoulders, and should be a thickness that allows your head to be in a normal position.

To give your body the proper rest it needs, and to ensure the health of your spine, physiotherapists recommend only two sleeping positions: Side sleeping and supine sleeping.

Sleeping Tips

Sleeping on your side, with the spine straight.  Sleeping on your back, maintaining the primary curvature of the cervical spine. Both of these positions prevent poor alignment of the neck and upper back. Proper alignment can help to reduce the number of neck aches, backaches, pinched nerves, shoulder and arm referred pain, insomnia, and mental fatigue from a lack of effective sleep.

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Heat Packs

There is no doubt about it, applying a heat pack to an aching body part provides almost instant relief from pain and stiffness.

microwave heat packs

How Does Heat Ease Your Pain?

For centuries, applying heat is a simple yet effective way to manage your pain and joint or muscular stiffness. Deep and penetrating heat not only relieves your pain but also enhances your recovery process. By applying a heat pack to your painful joints and muscles, the heat stimulates your sensory receptors to block the transmission of pain signals to the brain, resulting in an instant and effective pain relief. Even if you are a chronic pain sufferer, heat packs can help relieve your discomfort - NOW and for many years ahead! If you've been suffering from either stiffness or pain that feels better when you apply heat, have a warm relaxing bath or a hot shower. Alternatively, a microwave heat pack could be the best investment you'll make this year.

How Does Heat Help You?

  • By increasing tissue elasticity, heat reduces your resting muscle tension and helps to relax those nasty painful knots.
  • Your pain quickly eases via the sedation and soothing of any pain-irritated nerve endings.
  • The profound heating increases your blood flow to the painful area, bringing more nutrients to the injured area while flushing out the damaged debris. This flush-out helps to quicken your healing rate.
  • The deep heat also promotes a speedier healing rate by stimulating your natural metabolic rate. In other words, there is more energy available to fix the injury quicker.

What's the Advantage of Wheat Heat Packs?

Can be heated in a microwave with a turntable in about two minutes. The durable but soft fabric allows for comfortable use and an ability to mould to your body shape, which is great for those super curvy areas such as your neck, knees and shoulders. You can even pop it in bed with you during those cold winter nights!
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