Article and Comment: Does foam-rolling actually work?

Article and Comment: Does foam-rolling actually work?

Foam rolling is a frequently used soft tissue modality used by everyone from athletes during warm ups, to the weekend warriors using it to loosen up after a Saturday run.

There are numerous hypothesised benefits of foam rolling, including:

  • Improved tissue quality
  • Lengthening muscle fascia (the connections between muscles)
  • Breaking up fascial adhesions
  • Releasing muscular trigger points
  • Stimulating proprioception (the awareness of your body in space)
  • Does it produce diffuse noxious inhibitory control (DNIC – a form of pain modulation)

The link above is a research review questioning whether foam rolling can reduce pain or improve mobility, and how does it do so.

In Summary:

  1. There is limited evidence that foam rolling creates any tangible change in muscles, fascia or proprioception.
  2. Foam rolling might have a short-term pain relieving effect
  3. This pain relief should be treated as a window for improving movement, strength and control – things that can be of much more permanent benefit.

Want to know more?

If you want more information or would like to book for a FREE full body assessment with one of our Physiotherapists or Exercise Physiologists, call us on 9857 0644 or email us at admin@mdhealth.com.au

How Does Foam Rolling Work?

Foam rolling is very popular. Athletic trainers use it as a part of the warm-up. Physical therapists use it as part of their treatment strategy, often to improve extensibility of “short” tissues.

Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

Chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS), is an illness that affects a person’s nervous system (commonly called a ‘neurological illness’).

CFS is a complex illness, in which we do not know the potential cause.

For some individuals, the condition may be triggered suddenly by a viral infection, toxic exposure, anaesthetic, immunisation, gastroenteritis or trauma. In other people, it may develop slowly over months or years.
 
There are many subtypes of CFS, which means that an individual management plan must be developed for each person with the condition. Applying a particular treatment for one subtype can be very damaging to another subtype. Therefore, an individual management plan must be developed for each person with CFS.

Symptoms of chronic fatigue syndrome:

 
The main feature of CFS is a type of exhaustion experiencing flu-like symptoms after exercise and/or not having enough energy for daily activities.
 
Research shows that people with CFS have a different physiological response to activity or exercise from other people. This includes abnormal exhaustion after any form of exertion, and a worsening of other symptoms. The response may be delayed, perhaps after 24 hours. Depending on the amount and type of exercise, it may result in post-exertional malaise for a few days, or serious relapses lasting weeks, months or even years.
 
Because CFS is a very complex chronic illness, many other symptoms will occur and must be present for diagnosis. These include;
  • problems with thinking, concentrating, memory loss, vision, clumsiness, muscle twitching or tingling
  • disrupted sleep
  • pain or aches in the muscles, joints or head
  • drop in blood pressure, feeling dizzy or pale
  • palpitations, increased heart rate or shortness of breath with exertion or on standing
  • allergies or sensitivities to light, smells, touch, sound, foods, chemicals and medications
  • gastrointestinal changes such as nausea, bloating, constipation, diarrhoea
  • urinary problems
  • sore throat, tender lymph nodes and a flu-like feeling
  • marked weight change – extreme loss or gain
  • inability to cope with temperature changes
A person’s symptoms will fluctuate over short periods of time, even from hour to hour.
 
Diagnosis and treatment for chronic fatigue syndrome:
Currently, there is no single test to diagnose CFS. Doctors make a diagnosis by excluding all other illnesses after a person has had symptoms continually for six months. The person’s results from routine medical tests will often be normal, but additional tests will show abnormalities.

People who receive an early diagnosis and early treatment tend to do better. Having a supportive community of family, friends, school, work, employers and health workers, who understand the potential seriousness of CFS, can improve recovery for people with the condition. It is important to find a doctor who is not only sympathetic to CFS but can suggest ways to manage with the condition. Treatment choice will vary and will depend on the results of the additional testing.

Chronic fatigue syndrome and exercise:
People with CFS react to physical activity differently. Exercise can be a problem for some people, because physical activity can worsen their symptoms. 

Vigorous aerobic exercise is helpful for many chronic illnesses, but people with CFS can’t tolerate traditional exercise routines hence must learn to pace activities. It is important that they work with their healthcare professionals to create a weekly routine that is especially for that person and focuses on doing as much activity as is possible, without any worsening of symptoms in the following days or weeks.

A person with CFS should never be persuaded to push past their limit as it can be dangerous and cause long-term relapse. The goal is to balance rest and activity to avoid decreasing fitness levels from lack of activity and flare-ups of illness due to overexertion.

For some people with CFS, as time passes and their condition improves, they will find they can do more, but it is a slow and gradual process. 

It is very important that any activity plan be started slowly and increased slowly. When beginning an activity program, some people with CFS may only be able to stretch for as little as a few minutes. 

 
General exercise tips for people with chronic fatigue syndrome:
 
Be guided by your doctor, specialist or allied health professional (Physiotherapist/Accredited Exercise physiologist), but general suggestions include:
  • Experiment to find the type of exercise that works best for you. Choose from a range of gentle activities such as stretching, yoga, tai chi, walking and light weight training.
  • Keep an activity diary so you have a long-term picture of your performance levels and factors that might impact on your symptoms.
  • Stop the physical activity well before you feel any symptom flare. Pacing yourself is very important.
  • Remember that the amount of exercise you can do will change from one day to the next.
  • Listen to your body – if you don’t feel up to exercising on a particular day, don’t!
  • Find out as much as you can about your condition. Make sure you consult with your health professionals who fully understand CFS as a ‘real’ biomedical condition.

Want to know more?

If you want more information or would like to book for a FREE full body assessment with one of our Physiotherapists or Exercise Physiologists, call us on 9857 0644 or email us at admin@mdhealth.com.au

Source: image:Diana. (2018). Retrieved from https://xmasaddict.wordpress.com/author/xmasaddict/

Not getting results you want in the gym? You need to shake up your workout!

Not getting results you want in the gym? You need to shake up your workout!

This article outlines one of the major principles of how to get change with exercise over time, and that is progressive overload.

But, what does this mean?

When you exercise, the normal response from your muscles is to cause some disruption of the muscle fibres. 

This is normal and should happen and is what can lead to DOMS (delayed onset of muscle soreness) the day or two after exercise.  Over then next couple of days, the body repairs and builds the muscles up to a higher state than before so it can withstand greater load.  So, the next time we exercise, we are able to do more than originally and need to be challenged to have further gains.

Variety is very important to both keep an exercise program fresh and to facilitate further changes in your body over time, however, there are 3 major things that should be kept in mind for a long-term program:

  • You need a good base of strength in the major postural muscles – A good, strength-based program should be the foundation of any exercise program. If you do not have a good base of strength in the core stabilisers, such as the core stabilisers (the multifidus and transversus abdominis muscles) and the pelvic stabilisers (gluteus maximus, medius and minimus), you just won’t get the full benefit of your gym program and have the potential for back injury.
  • Moderate changes each time, don’t over do it – Progressive overload, means exactly that, progressive changes. It is important to make incremental changes in your program each time, not huge leaps every time.

    For example: if you are running, change either the time, speed or hills, not all over these at once.  Changing all these aspects at one time leads to injuries such as tendinopathies (breakdown of the muscle tendons), which can take months to recover and really pull you backwards.

  • Regular assessments are very important – The only way to know how you are progressing and to make such you are on the right track is with regular assessments with your instructor/health professional. Initially every 6-7 weeks, then after a while, at least every 3 months means that you are always on track and the exercises appropriate for what you want to achieve.  It is the job of the instructor/health professional to see the things you do not see and adjust your program accordingly.

So, if you are serious about getting the most from your workout in the long term, make sure these principles are a foundation to your program.

Want to know more?

If you want more information or would like to book for a FREE full body assessment with one of our Physiotherapists or Exercise Physiologists, call us on 9857 0644 or email us at admin@mdhealth.com.au

Not getting results you want in the gym? You need to shake up your workout!

Recently a friend approached me with a pretty standard conundrum: he wasn’t seeing any results from the work he was putting in at the gym.

What is the big deal about Omega 3’s?

What is the big deal about Omega 3’s?

Why do you need Omega 3 fatty acids in your food and why are they different to any fats we have in our food?

Omega 3 fatty acids make up a very small proportion of the fats that we eat (250 – 500mg), but they function very differently to other fats that we eat. 

They are not really used as energy, but affect the actions of eicosanoids, a signalling molecule in your tissues that effect important functions such as inflammation and blood clotting.

The diagram below, details this eicosanoid pathway:

The direction this pathway takes is dependent on the balance between Omega 6 and Omega 3 fatty acids that we eat in our diet. 

As we can not convert Omega 6 fats into Omega 3 fats and vice versa, it is completely dependant on what we eat.  Both elements are important for our normal function, but when the balance is screwed in one direction (almost exclusively towards Omega 6’s), this increases the amount of blood clotting and inflammatory signalling molecules we have in the body. 

As our proportion of Omega 3’s increases, these have the following effect:

  • Reduce the amount of inflammatory signalling molecules
  • Reduce blood clotting
  • Reduce blood pressure, due to the reduced inflammatory signalling molecules
  • Reduce heart arrhythmias

Although the results are quite variable, in general the recommended doses to be effective are:

  • 1g of Fish oil ( which contain about 300mg of direct omega 3 fatty acids) for heart health
  • 3g of Fish oil ( which contain about 900mg of direct omega 3 fatty acids) to have an anti-inflammatory effect

Want to know more?

If you want more information or would like to book for a FREE full body assessment with one of our Physiotherapists or Exercise Physiologists, call us on 9857 0644 or email us at admin@mdhealth.com.au

Fasting power: Can going without food really make you healthier?

Fasting power: Can going without food really make you healthier?

At MD Health, we strive to be well-read and up to date with the current literature surrounding several health issues.

This article, (from New Scientist magazine, 20th October 2018) outlines the supposed benefits of intermittent fasting and some of the short-term effects on the body following fasting.

The article outlines the following points:

  • Although there are numerous hypothesised positive effects of fasting diets (including ketogenic, paleolithic diets), scientific trials have yet to confirm many of these effects.
  • In short term studies (duration 3 months) health markers such as body mass index, visceral fat and blood pressure were all significantly reduced (particularly in overweight to obese subjects), however it is unclear whether this can be explained by the simple fact that the subjects lost weight in general.
  • During fasting, the body is supposed to go through a process called “ketosis”, where fat stores are metabolised for energy. However, a body composition analysis of the author after short term fasting found that most weight-loss was from muscle stores, rather than fat.

Key takeaways:

  1. Strength training is still important when on any form of diet, to maintain muscle mass!

This article “Fasting power: Can going without food really make you healthier? By Caroline Williams” outlines very well, some of the long-term negative effects of fasting that actually “slows” weight loss and reduce long term health. 

The author trials the fasting diet for 5 days and although losses 1kg in the process, only 168g of this was fat and a staggering 584g of this was lean muscle mass, the metabolically active, joint and bone protecting tissue of the body.

This has 2 obvious main issues for long term health:

  • It will be harder to lose weight in the long term – Our resting metabolic rate, the amount of energy we expend at rest is dependant on our organs, the energy required to breakdown food and our lean muscle mass. This only part we can really control and do something about is our lean muscle mass.  When you loss 0.5kg of muscle mass, you will burn less energy doing the same activities you did the week before, such as running, going to the gym and even sleeping.  Your exercise will just not be as effective in expending energy and will take a lot of work to regain the muscle mass you have lost.
  • It reduces your ability to control glucose metabolism – Lean muscle is again the only tissue we have that we control that help regulate our blood glucose for diabetes control. As your muscle mass improves, not only is there more muscle mass to pull glucose from the bloodstream, lowering blood glucose, but the number of sensors on the surface of muscle (GLUT4 receptors) increases, so the muscles become more efficient at doing so, helping combat insulin resistance.

So, if you are serious about managing your weight, a much more effective way of doing so is regular eating, improving your muscle mass and appropriate meal portions for long term results.

Want to know more?

If you want more information or would like to book for a FREE full body assessment with one of our Physiotherapists or Exercise Physiologists, call us on 9857 0644 or email us at admin@mdhealth.com.au

Fasting power: Can going without food really make you healthier? By Caroline Williams

Fasting diets are getting ever more popular, amid promises of weight loss and better health, but does the science stand up? We put the latest one to the test

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