Not sure what to do about your niggles? Read on!

Everyone at some point experiences some kind of injury. Injury can be the result of a traumatic event (e.g. sporting injury) or from repetitive stress on a particular structure/body part (e.g. tennis elbow or postural strain). Generally speaking, the time it takes for an injury to heal can be dependent on the nature and the extent of the injury. If the injury is severe it may take longer to heal, compared to a minor injury which might take less time to resolve.  Other factors like age, activity and systemic health may also hinder healing times.

Nonetheless, it is important to address an injury sooner rather than later. BUT WHY?!

Well, the human body is equipped with mechanisms that switch on in the presence of an injury. In the case of a musculoskeletal injury, we may typically see:

  • Pain inhibition of deep stabilising muscles
  • Reflex inhibition of postural muscles
  • Protective global muscle spasm
  • Reduced local joint protection & sense of joint awareness/balance
  • Muscle wasting due to disuse
  • Altered movement

If an injury is not seen to, it can lead to long term muscular imbalances and altered joint mechanics of not only the injured body part, but also body parts nearby. We call these secondary compensations or compensatory patterns. This is why it is important to follow a consistent exercise rehabilitation program that is specific to your injury. Not only does this ensure that you strengthen the affected areas appropriately and safely, but it also ensures that secondary compensations to the original injury do not become an issue later on! In other words, the sooner you address your injury, the better. And the more consistent you are with your exercise, the better the results will be!

Written By Dr. Jena Chang (osteopath)

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Creaking and cracking like an unoiled machine this winter?

Some of us aren’t in the luxurious position of escaping winter for months on end each year, and have to shiver through the cold mornings and nights as we wait out what seems like a longer, darker and colder winter each year. Some of us suffer more than others, as we move like Tin Man from the Wizard of Oz in the mornings until our joints eventually loosen up a bit. But there is constant stiffness there, not to mention the creaking and cracking joints, especially when we climb the stairs. Although there are much colder climates than Melbourne, it is still not fun for those of us with joint and muscle pain.

So why in the world are we worse in winter, and what can we do about it?

  1. Decreased activity – With the shorter days, there is less chance for us to be out and about. And we are also less likely to be outside because it is colder and wetter. Admit it, you’d rather stay home and watch Dr. Phil with a big bowl of soup and rustic sour dough bread. With less movement overall (doesn’t even have to be exercise), we have less circulation, and become more stiff.
  2. Change in diet – When we are cold, we shiver more, which makes our muscles tense up, and our blood vessels constrict, which burns more calories. Hallelujah! You say. Sorry, not that easy. Because of this, we are hungrier, and turn more towards comfort foods. So you subconsciously eat more to compensate, going for the hot chocolate, the yummy bread, that extra bowl of rice, those hot chips. Yum. But not good for the joints or your general health. If you gain weight, it’s extra pressure on the joints, and your muscles and joints aren’t getting the nutrition they need.
  3. Change in mood – have you noticed that when it’s gloomy and cold outside, everyone seems grumpier? And when the sun is out, we all just feel happier, and more willing to smile? There is no scientific reason for this, it is purely an emotional thing. This affects our joints because if we feel depressed, we want to move even less.
  4. Lack of vitamin D – studies show that 30% of the population have a vitamin D deficiency. I think that if they tested everyone, it would be more that 50%, especially in winter. Our bodies require a lot more vitamin D than we think. Vitamin D deficiency can lead to bone pain and muscle weakness, among other things. It doesn’t hurt to take a supplement. And I would recommend everyone to take it especially in winter when there is less sunlight.
  5. Dehydration – with us being around heaters all day, and feeling overall less thirsty because we aren’t sweating, we are drinking a lot less water, which leads to dehydration. Dehydration leads to a reduction of minerals in muscles and joints, which then leads to stiffness and pain. Water is the best medicine, and best of all, it’s free! Please try and drink at least 2 litres per day!

So what can we do about it? My best advice would be to move to a tropical resort. Failing that, then, consciously think of ways to move more (you could even just do stretches on your foam roller as you watch TV at the end of the day, or have more breaks at work to walk around), prepare your food so you don’t reach for junk, think about how cold Iceland would be in comparison and be grateful for our mild winters, take a vitamin D supplement, and drink water! I promise you, after a couple of weeks of doing this, you will notice a huge difference in how you feel. And of course, you are always welcome to book an appointment at the clinic with one of our amazing practitioners. The heaters are always on, with the teapot waiting for you on the warmer. We embrace winter here, and love it!

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How to make time for exercise when there is no time

I love looking at Instagram pages of mums who do lunges in the kitchen while chopping carrots, and burpees putting the washing into the washing machine while wearing their super expensive, stylish workout gear. I can only dream. I don’t know about you, but when I’m at home with the kids, there is so much to do, the only exercise I get is trying to walk with a 1 year old attached to my leg, and running to save him from falling off the couch.

I am a mum of a 3 year old and 1 year old, and I own and operate BHCH. Needless to say, I don’t have much time on my hands at the best of times, and it has been made extra challenging these days because of a very exciting development… we are moving to a new location!!! It is a custom fitout in Box Hill North. More details to follow.

We will be ready to go by the end of March, and you will be updated via email and on facebook/Instagram as we go, so please follow us (links below) to stay in the loop! We are still operating from Prospect Street in the mean time, so don’t forget you can BOOK ONLINE.

Being so busy lately has brought me to this article… my top 4 tips on how to make time for exercise (or other things you might need to do) when you have no time.

  • make time for exercise tip 1

    Tip 1

    Write down the answer to these questions:

    How important is it to you to exercise (or do the task you “have no time” for)? Why is it so important? How will you feel once you get it done?

    Imagine yourself 3 months, 6 months, 12 months from now once you have achieved your task. How do you look, how do you feel, what difference has it made to your life?

    Revisit this page every week or fortnight, and remind yourself why you are making time for this.

  • make time for exercise tip 2

    Tip 2

    DIARISE IT.

    I have gotten very good at diarising things since I had my second son. I give myself blocks of time to get certain tasks done, and make sure I do it in that time.

    For example, I allow 2 hours every night after the kids are in bed to work on the business. At the start of each week, I plan out how I will utilise those 2 hours each day. And then I tick off those tasks.

    So, my advice is to find windows of time that you are free, and block them off in your diary for exercise. Even if you can fit in a short 20 minute workout at home, it’s better than nothing. Easy!

  • make time for exercise tip 3

    Tip 3

    This probably makes me sound like a broken record, but PRIORITISE.

    I find it helps if I write down my list of things to do for the day, week, month, even quarter, and number them in order of importance.

    Then ticking things off gives me a sense of achievement, while the more important things are done first.

    For example, I might have a 90 minute window while the little one is napping, so I would do a quick 30 minute workout, make a few work phone calls and send some emails, then prep dinner, leaving laundry for later.

    You’ll be surprised how much gets done in just 90 minutes when you are focussed on the tasks at hand. You just need to work out what is important to YOU.

  • make time for exercise tip 3

    Tip 4

    JUST DO IT.

    And I’m not selling fitness apparel, although buying nice workout clothes might motivate some.

    Mel Robbins came up with a theory called the “5 second rule”. Every time you have an idea to do something, you have 5 seconds before you talk yourself out of it. So she suggested you count down from 5, and as soon as you hit 1, jump up and do what you were thinking.

    E.g. you set the alarm for 5:30am to hit the gym before work. Your alarm wakes you. instead of thinking about hitting snooze, you count 5…4…3….2….1 and leap out of bed and into the gym.

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