As we head into colder weather, many of us will start to feel the cold in our joints. If this is you, no need to fear! Today, I’m sharing my top tips to relieve joint pain in winter.
Why do joints hurt in cold weather?
The truth is, we’re not 100% sure. What specialists theorise is that the cold weather causes change in the tissues around the joints. The connective tissue becomes less flexible and more stiff. And if our joints are restricted, moving them can feel uncomfortable or even painful.
Why am I feeling this pain, when others around me don’t feel it?
Some people are more susceptible to weather-related joint pain than others. You are more likely to experience joint pain if:
If your pain is new, severe, and/or it is preventing you from enjoying everyday life – yes. Your friendly local myotherapist (me!) can help by providing treatments that reduce inflammation and stiffness in the joint.
Tips to relieve joint pain in winter
I know that you can’t always be in to see me. So if joint pain is getting you down, here are my top recommendations to ease the aches away.
Do you need a little extra TLC to relieve the aches and pains that cold weather brought on? Make sure you book in an appointment.
The human body is an incredibly complex machine! There are connections that go from one end of the body to the other, and even some that we don’t completely understand yet. But when it comes to your own body, it’s easy to think that it’s simple. Pain happens, and we assume that the pain is from there.
But in reality, pain and dysfunction is far more complicated than that. So today, I thought I’d explore the holistic approach to caring for your body, and why it’s important to understand that your body parts aren’t separate.
Pain isn’t always accurate
When we’re in pain, we know that something is wrong. But unfortunately, the body isn’t always able to tell us exactly what that something wrong is! This is why pain can be a very confusing condition.
For example, you might think that your back pain originates from your back. You go and see a remedial massage therapist who focuses on relieving tension in the back area. But the pain returns.
The thing is, your back might not be the actually problem. The pain might be caused by a previous injury causing your pelvis to misalign, which then strains the muscles in the back. Or it might be the shoes that you wear to work, altering your posture. Only by taking a holistic view are we able to find and manage this kind of issue.
The benefits of a holistic approach
There are so many reasons why it’s smarter to look at the bigger picture of your health and wellbeing. That’s why I recommend that my clients work with a team for optimal results.
Benefits of this holistic approach include:
As you can see, you benefit a lot more from caring for your entire body, rather than just treating a specific pain spot!
What to tell your myotherapist
To take a holistic view of your body and how it functions, I need to be able to take a detailed case history. It’s essential that you tell your myotherapist about any significant injuries, no matter how unrelated you might think it is. Some of my clients have found out that minor injuries have played a major role in their pain!
Things to inform me about include:
Do you want to see what a holistic approach can do for your body? Pop over to the booking page and get yourself an appointment today.
One thing many clients ask me is ‘is myotherapy painful?’ Some people haven't experienced therapeutic massage techniques, and others have seen remedial massage therapists and experienced pain during or after treatment.
This is something that I’m very passionate about. So I thought I would share my opinion about whether myotherapy should be painful, and who it suits.
The difference between myotherapy and other massage styles
There are many different types of massage and bodywork. Most people are familiar with Swedish massage and remedial massage. But myotherapy is quite different from these common forms of massage.
Generally speaking, Swedish massage is known as the ‘soft’, relaxing form of massage. The focus is overall relaxation of the body. A Swedish massage follows the same routine for every person, moving in gentle, rhythmic ways that help calm and relax the person in a way that feels wonderful.
Remedial massage is sometimes known as ‘deep tissue’ work. A remedial massage can be great for relieving widespread tension and pain throughout the body, and for maintaining good muscle health. A remedial massage is hands on, working the muscles in the region that the person is experiencing pain.
Many people might think that in comparison to these two, myotherapy has to be painful, deep work.
I recently overheard someone tell a friend "oh, you don't want myotherapy, its like a really really deep remedial massage, it hurts like hell!"
However, myotherapy can be gentle – it doesn’t have to hurt to be effective!
Swedish and remedial massages tend to cover a broad area, while myotherapy focuses on the specific and tailored management of pain and dysfunction to support people during rehabilitation from pain or injury. So if you experience specific pains or a specific condition that affects the muscles and joints, myotherapy might be the best option to support you.
The greatest advantage of myotherapy is that it can be adapted to anyone’s needs. If you have chronic pain and are very sensitive to touch, we can relieve tension using gentle techniques that won't set off alarm bells in your nervous system. But if you enjoy a good trigger-point release, we can accommodate that as well! Every persons treatment plan will look different, depending on what your body needs most.
What happens during myotherapy
You might think that myotherapy is just another type of massage. But in fact, myotherapy is a lot more holistic in the approach to caring for your muscles and joints. Massage is only one aspect of myotherapy, and within it, there are several types that can be used.
Myotherapy includes use of extra skills including:
So in fact, myotherapy involves developing a full personalised treatment program that is specified to the condition you have and how your body is best supported. It’s not just about relieving the pain – it’s about rehabilitating the body so that you can heal whatever is causing the pain.
The right myotherapist makes all the difference
At Simple Wellness Myotherapy, I enjoy helping people who experience chronic pain to manage their condition. So I know how important it is to help relieve the pain they experience without inflicting more pain during or after treatment. There is a very strong policy against ‘no pain, no gain’ in my clinic room!
If you want to experience how gentle and supportive myotherapy can be for your body, make sure you book an appointment today.
There are many different issues that can cause pain around the jaw and face. In fact, between 5-12% of people experience some kind of dysfunction in the temporomandibular joint (TMJ). But the good news is, TMJ pain doesn’t have to stick around.
What causes jaw pain?
There are many factors that can contribute to pain in the jaw and around the TMJ joint. This can include:
Your jaw pain could be caused by one or more factors, depending on your situation.
Symptoms of jaw pain
If you have dysfunction in the TMJ, pain is an obvious symptom. But there are other symptoms caused by jaw issues to keep an eye out for, including:
You could also experience symptoms that come with generalised pain, such as nausea, lack of appetite, irritability and fatigue.
Assessing jaw pain
If you’re experiencing jaw pain, your best bet is to see your friendly local myotherapist (that’s me!). There are a number of things I will do to assess the pain. We’ll look at:
There will also be some palpation, or feeling, of the jaw. This will tell me whether one side is tighter compared to the other, which may be maintaining your jaws dysfunctional patterns.
What can be done to ease jaw pain
To get to the bottom of the TMJ issues, you’ll need to see a practitioner for assessment and treatment. But if you need some immediate release for your jaw pain, you can try this self-release technique.
Start with your fingertips pointing upwards on the base of the jaw. Press your fingertips down firmly (but not painfully!). You might feel a hard sensation - that is the tightened muscle. In one long, slow movement, roll your fingertips up the jawline, over the cheek and cheekbones, along the temples and up to the hairline. Do this slowly and deeply, taking 1-2 minutes from jaw to hairline. Open and close your jaw wide like you’re yawning. Then repeat the process 1-2 times.
In myotherapy, treatment of jaw pain may include mobilisation, myofascial release, trigger point work and intra-oral release. Intra-oral release is an internal treatment – I’ll get gloved up, and then use my finger or thumb to release the tight muscles of the jaw from inside the mouth. This can be painful – I’ve had it done to me as well! - but it is effective for the majority of clients with TMJ pain.
In my own TMJ treatment experience, I was having extreme tightness and pressure build up in the joints of my jaw. When I opened my mouth my jaw swung noticeably towards the left. When it got bad, it was a struggle to eat things like nut bars or anything that requires a lot of chewing. It took time, but between seeing my own Myotherapist and doing the self care exercises he gave me, I've mostly corrected the dysfunction and its very rarely painful anymore.
If you’re ready to release your TMJ tension, book yourself in for a session today.
You’re ready to get yourself a myotherapy treatment and get your body feeling fabulous again. But what should you expect after your session, and how should you manage it? Let’s have a look at how to make the most of your session after it’s over.
What to expect after a myotherapy session
Every body is different, and can react in different ways. I can treat two clients with the same techniques, and their experience afterwards will be completely different!
Of course we all want to feel instantly better after a treatment, but thats not always the case. Particularly for long term issues like injuries, pain, tension and postural problems, it can take a little bit of time to get to that stage where you're feeling better.
I don't want you to feel worried if you feel a bit off afterwards, especially if its been a long time since you last had any treatment - keep in mind, we've just worked on some unhappy muscle groups, and altered the incoming messages that your nervous system is getting from those problem areas. It can take a little while to settle.
Some of the common symptoms that might arise within 24hrs of a myotherapy session include:
These symptoms will generally only last for a day or two. If they persist, you are welcome to give me a call and we can see whether you need further assessment.
How to optimise recovery after a session
Whether you experience symptoms or not, your body is recovering and recalibrating after a treatment. Although I may give you advice in your session that is specific to your treatment, here are a few general tips to get you started:
If you stick to these tips, you’re more likely to have a speedy recovery and be at your best.
A nutritionist’s advice for post-treatment care
A big part of recovering well from a treatment is what you put into your body. So I asked my good friend and nutritionist, Sam, to give us a few tips:
Now that you know how to manage after a session, it’s time to book yourself in for a session! Head here to snag yourself an appointment.
Guess who's running their own pop up clinic at the Seven Sisters Festival this weekend?
Clue: It's me!!
If you've been to the Seven Sisters Festival before, you'll know that one of the highlights is the Healing Haven. Lots of therapists providing lots of treatments and having a great time.
I've worked in the Healing Haven at the last 4 festivals, but this year I'm taking it up a notch! This year, there is a new section of the festival - the Pamper Market.
Now, while Myotherapy isn't a "pampering" type of treatment, I've been chosen to offer treatments from my own pop up clinic all throughout the festival! My good friend and fellow Myo, Mel Aggenbach from Symbiosis Massage in Apollo Bay, will be joining me in the Simple Wellness Myotherapy tent providing treatments.
If you've been to Seven Sisters before, you'd also know that the lines for the Healing Haven are pretty long, and you're not guaranteed to get the therapist or treatment that you want even if you do wait.
To help you get a massage or myotherapy appointment with us, without missing any workshops while you wait, I've set up an online booking page just for this weekends event! No wait, no fuss, just pick a time that suits you!
We'll also have EFTPOS available so that you can save your cash for buying goodies at the market, as well as food and coffee throughout the weekend.
Did you know I'm upgrading my qualification?
I'm currently studying my Bachelor of Health Science (Myotherapy) at Endeavour College of Natural Health!
The Bachelor of Health Science gives me more advanced techniques, including mobilisation, assessments, pathology and clinical sciences, pain neuroscience, foundations of human nutrition, further corrective exercise prescription, and lots more!
Any of you who know me, know I'm a total nerd about this stuff, and I'm very excited to bring new skills week by week back into my clinic.
I start on campus classes in March 2018. I'll be studying all day from 8am through til 6pm on Thursdays.
My available clinic hours from March 2018 will be:
Monday - 9am-7pm
Tuesday - 9am-7pm
Wednesday - 9am-7pm
Thursday - closed
Friday - 9am-7pm
Saturday - closed
Sunday - closed
Want to book your next appointment? I look forward to seeing you soon!
We’re a nation of sports lovers. One in five Aussies regularly participates in competitive sports, and many more engage in non-competitive activities. But with sports comes a risk of injury. The good news is, you can work to prevent injuries before they even happen. Let’s look at how myotherapy can reduce your risk of injury.
Why prevention is better than treatment
You might wonder why it’s smarter to put in the time and effort to prevent injuries, rather than just treating them. Here’s why:
How myotherapy can help prevent sport injuries
Ready to stop injuries before they even happen? Myotherapy is a must-have therapy in your toolkit. Here are just some of the ways that myotherapy can help prevent sport-related injuries:
We explore the balance of your muscles – It’s a little known fact that most of us have imbalances between the muscle groups. This is particularly true in sportspeople, as they train the muscles they need, but often neglect other groups. The problem is, imbalanced muscles leave you more open to injury.
During your myotherapy assessment, we can check your muscles and spot any imbalances early. That way, it’s easy to prescribe exercises and stretches to correct the problem – BEFORE you get injured.
It helps with recovery after an intense training session – nobody likes being super sore after an intense training session. But using bodywork techniques and targeted stretching, myotherapy can help to loosen up tight muscles and mobilise joints. This can increase circulation to the muscles and boost recovery. So your soreness will fade in no time!
We can personalise at-home care to your needs – if you have any old injuries or muscle imbalances that need some extra TLC, myotherapy is there to help. Together, we’ll craft a care program to your needs that might include exercises to stretch and strengthen your muscles, and using self care tools like foam rolling, spiky massage balls or hot/cold therapy.
Taping can help to stabilise muscles and enhance performance – taping isn’t just for looks! It can stabilise muscles that may be at risk of injury. Plus it can help to enhance performance by supporting key muscle groups needed in your sport. So it can give you that real competitive edge for the big events.
Ready to get a tailored plan to keep you fit and ready for your sports? There’s no better time to organise on-going management for your body than today! Be sure to book in your appointment now.
Us Aussies love our sports! Keeping active is an essential part of living a healthy, happy life. But whether you love your extreme sports or just enjoy a spot of golf on the weekend, you have a risk of getting injured.
What injuries can occur during sports?
Pretty much every injury you can imagine can happen, depending on the sport you’re involved in. Every single bone, joint, muscle, ligament and tendon that can be injured WILL be injured by someone at some point!
Some of the more common injuries you might come across include:
Just because your sport is “low impact” doesn’t mean it’s risk-free. Any time we move our bodies, there is a small chance of injury. It’s part of life! But the good news is, injuring yourself doesn’t mean you have to suffer through unnecessary pain.
Myotherapy can help with injury recovery
Because myotherapy is all about ‘muscle therapy’, it is fantastic for helping you recover from an acute injury. Here are some of the ways that it might be able to help with your sports injury:
It can help to drain excess fluid and swelling – when we massage and mobilise an area, it increases the lymphatic drainage from the area. That lymphatic drainage is what can help to pull excess fluid away from an injury, which aids with recovery.
It can loosen the muscles around an injured joint – when we are injured, our muscles can tighten up to protect us from further pain. Unfortunately, that’s not so helpful when it comes to recovery. It can keep a weakened joint out of place, and it can strain other muscles that have to compensate.
Working the muscles with myotherapy techniques will loosen them, allowing the joint and other muscles to return to a neutral position.
Taping can help with swelling, pain and proprioception – it’s great to get some bodywork done. But taping can keep working on the injury days after you’ve left the table. Different taping techniques can be applied to reduce swelling and stabilise the injured area.
The most important thing about sports injuries
If you have injured something, remember this: the quicker you get it seen to, the quicker it will heal. If left untreated, you may end up with a chronic injury. And believe me, chronic pain is not something you want to get familiar with.
Once you’re recovered, you can head on back to your beloved sport! But that’s not where it ends – as we’ll discuss next week, myotherapy can be a great supportive treatment for prevention of injury as well.
Been injured while at your favourite sport? It’s best to get it looked after asap. Book in an appointment today, and we’ll get you back into the swing of things quickly.
Your back is aching again. You assume that you slept wrong, or have been sitting for too long with your back in a poor posture. But what if the pain is actually coming from elsewhere?
Back pain might not be in your back
The body is a complex thing! Every muscle, tendon and ligament is connected to different areas of the body. So just because you feel pain somewhere, doesn’t mean that is where the problem lies. In fact, it’s often the muscles that are overcompensating for weakness elsewhere that get sore.
So let’s have a look at a few causes behind your back pain that aren’t your back.
A weak core
The “core” muscles are more than just your abs! In fact, the core is made up of many muscle groups, including your superficial abs, deep abs, obliques, back muscles and pelvic muscles.
Often, if you have a generally weak or imbalanced core, it can lead to one part of the core – the back muscles – to take on more strain. And this means pain.
Try: Talking to a personal trainer for a personalised program to strengthen your core muscles. Better yet, see your friendly local myotherapist who can assess which muscles need strengthening!
Weak or tight front chain
For those who aren’t up on anatomy lingo, the “front chain” is a chain of muscles that run down the front of the body. This chain, also called the anterior chain, is made up of muscles like your chest muscles, abdominals, quads and shin muscles. We also have a posterior chain, which includes the back.
These two chains need to be balanced in order for the body to work optimally. If one is tight, the other gets stretched out, and if one is weak, the other picks up the slack. So when the front chain is weak or tight, the back is one of the muscle groups to cop the strain.
Try: Balancing out your workout and stretches. Both the front and posterior chains need to be exercised AND stretched out to keep the body in balance.
Hips and pelvis
It’s all in the hips! Or at least, it might be. As mentioned, the pelvis plays a part in core strength. So if it’s out of alignment, so is the rest of your body.
If the muscles in the hips and pelvis are too tight, pain can radiate up the back. Or if they are out of alignment and muscles are weak, the back will pick up the slack.
Try: Using a foam roller to release tight hip muscles. It will probably hurt – but you’ll feel better afterwards!
No matter where your back pain is coming from, I’m here to help. To get your body balanced again, book in for an appointment, and we’ll put together a plan that addresses the issue.
Mel is a Myotherapist based in Ferntree Gully. She has a special interest in chronic pain conditions, like fibromyalgia, degenerative disc disease, and more.