North Shore Osteopaths, Balgowlah

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Do you suffer from chronic neck pain?

Friday, February 21, 2014



Do you suffer from chronic neck pain and stiffness? Do you get relief from massage or manual therapy only to feel your pain and stiffness come back within minutes?


You may be relying on the muscles in your neck and shoulders to help you breathe in, rather than relying on the diaphragm to do this.


If this is the case, every time you breathe in, your neck and shoulder muscles have to contract very strongly, to lift up your rib cage and all the organs in side it – a job that should be done mostly by the diaphragm muscle. This is enough to make anyone stiff and sore!


Handy tip: put your hands on your hips, then slide them up a bit to the bottom of your rib cage. Take a big breath in slowly and as you breathe in, you should feel your rib cage pushing out into your hands – as you breathe out slowly, you should feel you should feel your hands moving back in towards each other.


If you find it very difficult to feel your rib cage expand, you may need some help to loosen up this area and to make sure your diaphragm and its associated connective tissues, are ‘communicating’ well with the rest of your body.


To have your breathing mechanism assessed, treated and home exercise suggestions, make an appointment with one of the osteopaths at NSO

Do you suffer lower back pain?

Thursday, February 20, 2014



Do you suffer from lower back pain? Does your lower back feel weak and unstable?


Do you have strong tummy muscles or core muscles? Strengthening these muscles can be one of the best ways to help prevent and alleviate lower back pain and weakness. While doing specific abdominal muscle training like sit-ups is very good, consistency is the key. Ideally, the tummy muscles should be helping to support the lower back all the time, not just during exercise time.


Handy Tip: when you are standing, sitting, about to stand or sit and particularly when bending forward, very slightly contract your tummy muscles by drawing your tummy back towards your spine. This should be a subtle movement that doesn’t feel hard to maintain and doesn’t feel like you are ‘sucking in your tummy’. Every now and then, remind yourself to do this slight contraction again.


When you do this exercise, if it increases your back pain – or if it doesn’t alleviate your pain at all, you may be out of alignment and therefore you may benefit from coming to see us to assess and treat you.

Do you static stretch or dynamic stretch before exercising?

Sunday, November 30, 2008

To stretch or not to stretch?

Do you dynamic stretch or static stretch before exercising?

Stretching has been for many years an integral part of just about any warm up routine .You will most likely have an obligatory stretching ritual that you complete before exercise, as if you were on auto pilot. Typically it will involve assuming a number of static postures targeting specific body regions and stretching anywhere between 10-30 seconds. This is known as static stretching.

Static stretching causes elongation and relaxation of muscle fibres.This is secondary to a change in nerve impulses that target the stretch receptors within the muscles and tendons. Performing static stretching in isolation prior to exercise, may actually impede your performance. The reason for this is that, relaxed and lengthened muscle is not optimal for exercise that requires power, speed and agility.

There is a current trend towards the use of dynamic warm up activities before sport. Basically, the principle of the dynamic warm up is to “fire up” your nervous system and increase blood flow and oxygen to the muscles in preparation for the upcoming tasks. Simple examples include; star jumps, the walking lunge or arm swinging both backward and forward. A dynamic warm up of 15minutes is adequate.

On completion of your exercise/sport, a warm down consisting of static stretching is recommended. Static stretching during this period is designed to promote muscle relaxation, restore normal muscle length and promote recovery of your musculoskeletal system, in preparation for the next bout of exercise. How long should you stretch for post activity? Time frames vary but generally a warm down of 15-20 minutes is suggested.

Adequate flexibility is an important factor in optimising your movement efficiency during sporting related tasks. Regular static stretching will permit your joints to move smoothly through a greater range of motion and reduce the chance of sustaining injury. So it is vital to undertake your warm down every time. For some people who are inflexible a series of static stretches followed by a dynamic warm up may be beneficial.

Whether you are a recreational sports person or serious athlete, injury prevention and performance enhancement are a common goal. Advice on injury prevention and performance enhancement through appropriate exercise prescription, requires specialist knowledge and expertise. We will take a detailed medical history, followed by a thorough physical examination, postural and mobility assessment. As part of your treatment plan we will provide you with an appropriate dynamic warm up and static stretching program that will address your needs.


  • For your pre sport preparation, perform a dynamic warm up using basic activities such as; star jumps, the walking lunge, and arm circles.15-20minutes.
  • Static stretches post sport, 15-20 minutes duration. The stretch should be of mild discomfort and held for about 30 seconds. Do not bounce, and if you feel pain stop, do not push through pain as you may have sustained a muscle strain/tear.
  • Optimal flexibility is important to enhance your overall movement efficiency, agility, speed and injury prevention. Regular static stretching warm down may enhance your over flexibility and joint mobility.
  • Consult North Shore Osteopaths, so we can provide you with a professional postural and mobility analysis. This will enable us to tailor a specific warm up and warm down stretching program for you, that will enhance your overall performance and reduce your risk of injury.

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