Lower Back Pain
Muscle strains are unfortunately very common in the lower back or lumbar region. They are usually caused by a sudden movement or trying to lift using poor technique. Lower back injuries can also occur as the muscles gradually tighten and spasm due to prolonged bad posture. Initially lower back pain can be treated with Sports Massage techniques to speed up recovery and relieve the pain. To prevent the condition recurring it is important to use correct lifting techniques i.e. always bend from your knees, not your waist and use your legs to lift the weight. Keep your back straight and carry any heavy loads close to your body. Following a regular flexibility programme or trying Pilates or Yoga techniques to strengthen the back and improve your mobility will also be extremely beneficial.
This is pain that begins in the lower back and radiates down one of the legs, and is a very common complaint. It’s caused by pressure upon the sciatic nerve which can be the result of various problems. A prolapsed or slipped disc or muscle tension in the back or buttocks (piriformis syndrome) can pinch the nerve. Depending upon where the nerve is pinched will determine where the pain is felt. The pain (which is usually quite sharp) can radiate to the front of the knee or right down the back of the leg to the foot. Heat and massage are effective treatments for this condition.
Tennis Elbow (Lateral Epicondylitis)
This is a common injury and is so called as tennis players tend to suffer from it. It involves inflammation of the tendon that attaches to the bone on the outside of the elbow or lateral epicondyle. It not only affects tennis players but activities that include repetitive arm movements whilst gripping a piece of equipment, e.g. racket sports, golf (often affecting the opposite bone on the inside of the elbow or medial epicondyle), canoeing, windsurfing, even gardening or knitting. Tennis elbow can easily become a chronic or long term condition therefore early treatment is highly recommended.
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
This is due to overuse of the wrist whilst the joint is in a supporting role, common in activities such as cycling, typing or playing the piano. The median nerve is one of the nerves that supply the hand. It passes through the wrist in a narrow space called the carpal tunnel. Inflammation of the muscles and tendons of the forearm can reduce the space in this tunnel, compressing the nerve and causing pain and numbness. This usually radiates down towards the first three fingers or up the arm mainly along the lateral or outer side. After the initial or acute stage when any swelling has reduced deep friction massage is effective in treatment.
This is the name given to pain at the front of the lower leg and can have a number of causes. It can be caused by inflammation of the periostium of the tibia or ‘shin’ bone. The periostium is a sheath rather like clingfilm which surrounds the bone. Another common cause is due to increased pressure inside the muscle compartments of the lower leg or Compartment Syndrome. With increased training the muscles will increase in size, whereas the fascia surrounding the muscle (imagine a sausage skin), may not be able to increase at the same rate and so pressure may build up. Both of these causes are due to overuse of the muscles with inadequate rest periods, running on hard surfaces or on tiptoes and sports where lots of jumping is involved. As well as sufficient rest it’s advisable to check whether or not you are wearing the correct type of shoe for your foot type.
Inflammation (itis) of the Achilles tendon which connects the calf muscles to the heel. This can result from prolonged repetitive leg work on hard surfaces, particularly long distance running. It’s estimated that 11% of all running injuries can be due to Achilles tendonitis. The Achilles tendon has a poor blood supply which is why it is often slow to heal, although this injury responds well to massage treatment and a progressive stretching and strengthening programme.
Iliotibial Band Syndrome
The iliotibial band (I.T. band) is a band of connective tissue which runs down the outside of the thigh and can become inflamed at the knee, usually after running some distance, often referred to as ‘Runner’s Knee’. Running downhill increases the pain and runners with excessive pronation are more likely to suffer with this condition. As the condition will continue even after a period of rest if the I.T. band is tight, a programme of sports massage and stretching is extremely beneficial.
Running is a complex biomechanical process where, generally speaking, your foot strikes the ground first on the outside of your heel. Then your foot rolls downward and slightly inwards with contact with the ground. Lastly your heel lifts and you push off from the ball of your foot to move forward. The rotation of the foot downward and inward as you land on the ground is called pronation, which contrary to popular belief is a natural and normal process which helps the foot absorb the shock of impact. Some runners however, over-pronate or their feet roll too far inwards, or even under-pronate or supinate, when their feet roll inwards only slightly. Both these problems are very common and can lead to injury, but the correct choice of shoe for your foot type will help to alleviate these imbalances.
Treatment for these conditions could involve regular sports massage, cold therapy, specialised stretching and strengthening programmes and advice upon the type of footwear and training undertaken. All of these can be provided by your Pure Personal Trainer. You should always consult your G.P. if you experience recurring pain.