What Are Core Muscles and How Do I Strengthen Them?

Most people have heard of core muscles, but many of them aren’t exactly sure what they are. Some people instantly think of the abdominals or stomach and they’re certainly on the right track. However, there’s a lot more to the core muscles than just the abs. In fact, the core muscles are made up of 29 different muscles that are located in the hips, pelvic floor, buttocks, and lower and mid back.

When combined, they basically act as the foundation for all of your body’s movements. And since they work together it’s a good idea to try and develop them together.

No matter what physical activity you’re involved in, such as lifting, running, or playing sports, there’s a good chance your core muscles are being used to control your functional movement, performance and balance. The core muscles are also depended on to help prevent injury and this is why they need to be strong. If your core isn’t strong enough you may find yourself with decreased coordination and control when it comes to your body movements. This is why core strength and stability are important for everything from everyday activities to sports.

 

The Core Muscles

A person’s core muscles are made actually up of two separate groups. These are the inner core muscles and the outer core muscles. The inner muscles can be found deep internally as they’re attached to the spine. These muscles stabilize your core and help support body movement. The outer core muscles work hand in hand with the inner muscles by supporting them when your body moves.

 

Strength and Stability

Core strength is needed when the outer core muscles are used to produce body movement. Core stability allows the inner core muscles to stabilize your spine due to muscle activity. If your core muscles are strong your stability, posture and balance will improve. Your body movements will be enhanced and the risk of injury will be reduced. A strong core will also typically result in better athletic performances and it will help cut down on back pain.

 

Core Strengthening

You can work on strengthening your core by aligning your pelvis properly. To achieve this you should rotate your hips (pelvis) forward and backward within a range that’s comfortable. Once you find a comfortable mid-range position you can train your inner core muscles by trying to contract your navel towards your back without holding your breath. If you do this correctly you should be able to move, breathe and talk while contracting the muscles. This exercise is commonly known as the drawing-in maneuver and it’s recommended that you try it for 30 seconds at a time. However, if you feel any increased pain while trying the exercise make sure you stop immediately.

Just remember that the core muscles are a relatively large group. Therefore it’s important to work on as many muscles as you can, not just your stomach or abdominal muscles. There are several other types of exercises that can be performed to strengthen these other muscles. Some of these activities are trunk rotations, bridges, side planks and prone planks.

 

Core Muscles and Physical Therapy

If you’re experiencing pain in the core area or feel that your core muscles are a tad on the weak side you may want to visit a licensed physical therapist for some help. A physiotherapist will be able to evaluate your core and determine if any of the muscles are deficient. If they are, the therapist will be able to draw up an in individualized manual-exercise program to help you stretch and strengthen them.

What is Functional Exercise and What Are its Benefits?

What is Functional Exercise and what are its benefits?

There are many different types of exercise programs to help you get into, and stay in shape these days. However, you don’t have to change your daily routine to an extreme level to enjoy a better and healthier overall lifestyle. Some people exercise by running full marathons and bench-pressing 300 pounds, but this type of rigorous activity isn’t really necessary if you simply want to improve your general level of fitness and quality of life.

Functional Exercises

Functional exercises have been designed to specifically help you improve the routine and daily activities that you perform. For example, these could be things such as mowing the lawn, shoveling the driveway, and carrying the groceries etc. You can benefit from functional exercises without the need for expensive and complicated workout machines. In addition, many of these exercise machines will focus on just one specific muscle group. This isn’t the case with functional exercise since many different areas of your body will benefit from it.

Functional exercise will focus on combining your coordination and strength when it comes to facing real-life situations and activities. For example, some people may use an agility ladder for the specific purpose of improving their athletic skills in a chosen sport. But for older adults, the exercise device will help them with their foot/eye coordination, body control, and balance. In turn this will help when it comes to reducing the risk of falling while performing their routine daily tasks.

Other types of exercise apparatus such as the kettle bells may help strengthen a person’s posterior chain and abdominal core. While this is helpful to athletes, it’s also an ideal way to cut down on lower-back ailments while doing things such as lifting loads of laundry or a sack of potatoes from your grocery cart.

How Functional Exercise can benefit you

Like most types of exercise and fitness programs, to benefit from functional exercise it needs to be unique and designed for an individual’s specific situation, body, and needs. What’s good for one person may be harmful for another. This is why it’s important to visit a professional, licensed physiotherapist before beginning any type of exercise routine. Once you’ve been provided with a unique functional exercise program you’ll benefit from it in several ways, such as:

1-It helps reduce injuries

2-The exercises are ideal for people of all ages

3-It will help motivate you to achieve your fitness goals

4-The exercises can be performed anywhere

5-It’s cost effective

6-Your progress is easy to track

Taking advantage of functional exercise

You don’t have to spend hundreds of dollars and join a high-tech exercise gym to enjoy an improved lifestyle. You can exercise various areas of your body with functional exercises and can perform them from just about anywhere, such as at work and home. A good functional exercise routine will give your muscle groups a daily workout and will help you perform your routine activities pain-free.

 

What Is Frozen Shoulder And How Do I Treat It

There are hundreds of different ailments that affect the human body, so don’t feel too bad if you’ve never heard of frozen shoulder. The technical medical term for the condition is Adhesive Capsulitis and it may be more common than you think.

What is Frozen Shoulder?

Frozen Shoulder occurs when the connective tissue around your shoulder joint has become inflamed. The tissue will then thicken and become stiff and this is what causes the pain. Just like an ice cube, there are four different stages of frozen shoulder. These are pre-freezing, freezing, the frozen stage and then the thawing. Many people who suffer from this ailment don’t always recall injuring their shoulder. However, they’ll usually feel a dull pain for several weeks and this will typically become progressively worse as time goes on. Eventually the shoulder will become so painful they won’t be able to move and use it.

Causes of Frozen Shoulder

Nobody knows what exactly causes the ailment, but medical experts do know what some of the risk factors are. Some well-known facts regarding frozen shoulder are as follows:

It often affects people who are over 40 years of age and more women suffer from it than men. It sometimes shows up in people who have recently suffered an injury that immobilized their arm as well as those who have undergone recent arm surgery. People who suffer from diseases or afflictions such as such as stroke, Diabetes, hyperthyroidism, hypothyroidism, cardiac disease, and Parkinson’s may also be at risk of contracting frozen shoulder.

Medical professionals tell people with frozen shoulder that it’s important to be aware of the symptoms and they should realize it will limit their shoulder mobility. Because of this, they’ll be somewhat restricted when it comes to going about their usual daily activities. If you believe you have any of the symptoms of frozen shoulder it’s recommended you visit a doctor or professional physical therapist. They’ll be able to properly diagnose your symptoms and can treat the ailment before it gets any worse.

Frozen Shoulder symptoms

These are some of the most common symptoms of frozen shoulder:

1-Aching or dull pain in the shoulder at all times

2-Increased shoulder pain when sleeping

3-Range of shoulder motion is restricted

4-Difficulty in carrying out daily and routine activities such as getting dressed, driving, brushing your teeth, combing your hair, and reaching for things etc.

 

How Physical Therapy helps

Frozen shoulder can usually be treated with the right type of physiotherapy. A therapist will be able to help restore the range of shoulder movement by leading you through a series of helpful exercises. These will help to stretch the capsule and tissue in the shoulder and many of the exercises will be able to be done at home. When the shoulder is properly stretched and strengthened it will result in greater shoulder motion and this will assist you with your daily activities.

Once you feel unexplained shoulder pain it’s a good idea to visit a physiotherapist before it becomes worse. A physiotherapist will be able to evaluate the joint and pinpoint the problem. They’ll then prescribe the proper treatment needed to alleviate it and work hand-in-hand with you until your frozen shoulder has properly healed.

What is Manual Therapy?

Manual therapy involves specific hands-on techniques to treat various problems throughout the body. Physiotherapists are healthcare practitioners who have both the training and the skill to evaluate and work with you to reduce pain and to help you manage a variety of health issues. They can use manual therapies such as massage, resistance training and joint mobilization and manipulation to help reduce muscle tightness, reduce pain and improve function.

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Whether you are managing a chronic illness or recovering after surgery or an injury, manual therapy can help. These treatments will help you to return you to an active lifestyle and maintain maximum mobility and flexibility. Sprains, strains, back and arthritis pain are only a few of the conditions that are suitable for manual therapy. Patients with postural problems or issues of overuse such as tendonitis can also benefit. Even if you have a debilitating disease or a major injury, manual therapy can help to ease the negative impact and improve functionality.

One aspect of manual therapy is massage which involves applying pressure to the soft tissues of the body, particularly the muscles. Injured patients, or patients in pain, tense up as the body tries to protect itself from harm. Unfortunately, this tenseness usually causes more pain and can also cause more problems. Massage helps to relieve this tension, increase circulation to bring blood to the injured area, and alleviate a significant amount of pain so that muscles can relax and the body can begin to heal.

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Another manual therapy used is mobilization. This is where the physiotherapist slowly twists, pulls or pushes you into alignment to alleviate pain and to restore structure. When the body is misaligned pain is just one result. Another problem involves decreased functionality as the body is unable to move as it should. If left uncorrected, this misalignment impedes movement in other parts of the body which escalates problems for the patient. Resistance exercises are often included to strengthen muscles so that the body returns to its proper state when the body is at rest and to cut the risk of further injury.

Finally, physiotherapists use manipulation to help patients. Pressure is applied to a joint in a particular manner to correct problems. The physiotherapist chooses an appropriate movement, whether it be slow or fast, strong or gentle, to bring about effective results.

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Besides pain management and flexibility, manual therapies also increase strength and coordination and improve respiratory function. This makes these techniques suitable for a wide range of conditions including headaches, neurological conditions and chronic breathing issues such as asthma, hay fever and sinusitis.

The licensed physiotherapists at FIT Physiotherapy have the evaluative and “hands-on” skills necessary to get you on the right track towards improved health. If you are looking for relief without having to take medication, manual therapy is a good alternative or an excellent addition to your existing treatment protocol. Our professionals have spent years in the classroom and in practice and have mastered manual techniques that can help you feel better. There is no need for you to suffer. Manual therapies are affordable and effective.

Have a question about manual therapy?  If you live in Newmarket, Ontario or the surrounding area, feel free to call us at 905-235-5360 with any questions you may have.  You can also book an appointment online using the form below.

Physiotherapy After a Motor Vehicle Accident

At FIT Physiotherapy Newmarket, we understand that the aftermath of a motor vehicle accident can be challenging from both a physical and emotional perspective. Our team of knowledgeable and sensitive professionals can minimize the pain and frustration of recuperation, and help get you back to your pre-accident physical condition.

One of the most common injuries caused by a motor vehicle accident is whiplash, which occurs when the head and neck are thrust suddenly forward and backward, injuring the muscles and ligaments. Research has shown that even motor vehicle accidents that take place at speeds of as little as 5 mph can still cause neck injury.

Other common injuries include:

• Fractures of extremities, trunk or spine

• Bruising resulting from impact with the steering wheel or airbags

• Sprains and strains of other body parts

The impact of the crash typically strains the soft tissues around the neck, shoulders, and back, causing inflammation and bleeding. After the accident, many patients experience dizziness and headaches, as well as pain or stiffness, particularly in the neck, back and jaw. Some patients experience these symptoms immediately following the crash, while in other cases, the symptoms do not appear until days later.

TREATMENT FOR MOTOR VEHICLE ACCIDENTS

Seeking treatment as soon as possible is the best way to minimize your risk for long-term problems. At FIT Physiotherapy Newmarket, we can develop a treatment plan that will help you recover and get back to normal as soon as possible.

Your initial treatment may include:

• Cold therapy to manage pain, as well as control bleeding and inflammation in the muscles and around the joints

• Passive joint mobilization, which involves gentle, repetitive movements of the joints in and around the neck, can also provide pain relief

• Gentle stretching exercises, which can prevent stiffness or loss of mobility

As your acute symptoms resolve, we may also recommend strengthening and condition programs, as well as massage, acupuncture, TENS, or other treatment approaches based on your unique issues. A typical treatment program lasts between six to twelve weeks, but the exact length depends on the nature and severity of your injuries, as well as how you respond to treatment.

Beyond physiotherapy, it’s important to remain as active as possible following the accident and resume as much of your normal daily routine as you feel comfortable doing. If you have any doubts about what you should or shouldn’t be doing, we’re available to provide education and guidance.

To find out more about our advanced physiotherapy treatments for motor vehicle related injuries, you can call us at 905-235-5360 to speak to one of our physio professionals.