Climbers . . . this ones for you!

Following the warmer weather ( and the rain finally clearing up) it seems like a great time to discuss shoulder injury and pain in climbing now that the conditions seem just right! Physio Kirsten is an avid climber, when she isn’t treating our incredible clients you will most likely find her on a rock wall somewhere, or scaling the cliffs at Kangaroo Point in Brisbane. 

Kirsten has given us her top tips for climbers, and sat down to let us know about shoulder injury and how physiotherapy can help.

One of my favourite things about treating climbers is that we are super keen on figuring out why things are happening and how we can self treat ourselves to keep climbing. 

Where does shoulder pain come from?

With shoulder pain there are several things to consider. We always want to assess the neck and thoracic spine as pain can commonly originate at these areas. Looking at both the spine and shoulder positioning with movement and climbing often will highlight a dysfunction in the movement. This dysfunction at the joints can lead to nerve irritation or compound soft tissue injuries of the muscle, tendons or labrum.

Treatment for Climbing Shoulder Injury/ Pain

Often treatment will involve the physiotherapist treating the joint dysfunction, nerve irritation, the soft tissue injury and work on correcting the dysfunctional movement.

There are some common areas that frequently need physiotherapy treatment in climbers. In general we need to treat some area in the neck and thoracic joints with manual therapy, strengthen the rotator cuff, middle and lower traps, serratus and lats as well as lengthen the pecs, biceps and lats and train appropriate neck and shoulder positioning for climbing and belaying.

Strengthening antagonist muscles and training should be done in good positioning and control so that:

1. when climbing in not the most ideal positions at least some of the positioning training will transfer and

2. We aren’t overloading ourselves in poor positions leading to injury

Treatment areas and proper cueing are very specific to the individual and often we as climbers deal with some level of pain until it gets to the point we can’t continue climbing. The key to quick recovery is catching the issue early, booking in with a professional who can assess where and what your pain is coming from and start treating what is specific to you.

Nutrition and Pelvic Health

A lot of pelvic health issues (Women’s health / Men’s Health) are tied in some degree to the digestive system. When you think about the postures you take when you have an upset tummy, the strain your pelvic floor muscles take when you are having difficulty with a bowel movement and the close proximity of the pelvis and digestive system you can see why.
Therefore, in conjunction with musculoskeletal assessment and treatment, nutrition and gut health should also be addressed when looking at pelvic floor pain and/or dysfunction ie// prolapse, stress incontinence, urgency, back pain, pelvic floor pain, pubic pain, SIJ pain, Scrotal pain.

Does Nutrition Play a role for you?

1. Are you getting enough nutrients in your diet? Are you absorbing them?
– You should be eating 8-10 fruit and veg servings
– Eating in a stressful environment, on the go or while talking can inhibit absorption
– Chewing less than ~20-40x can inhibit absorption nutrients, reduce feeling of fullness and minimise normal hormonal responses
– Certain medications can change absorption
How this affects you physically: muscle spasm, fatigue, tight-ropey muscles

2. Are your stomach and intestines working as they should?
– Are you producing enough stomach acid to help digest food?
– Signs you aren’t: bloat/belch following a meal, feeling overly full, undigested food in stools
– Changes in intestinal permeability meaning not just good things getting out ‘leaky gut’

How can this affect you physically? You may feel bloating and gas which can leave you feeling yucky, and cause us to hold ourselves in bad positions to combat this “icky” feeling. This also can hypersensitize our body.

3. Do you have gut inflammation?
Chronic stress and pain can lead to low digestive enzymes as energy to make these is directed elsewhere. It also activates hormones that can lead to an inflammatory response. This inflammation in the gut can then propagate musculoskeletal symptoms further.

What to Do:
Assessment and treatment for prolapse, stress incontinence, urgency, back pain, pelvic floor pain, pubic pain, SIJ pain, Scrotal pain should include:
– Seeing a nutritionist to tackle this component of the picture
– See a physiotherapist/s who can perform a physical assessment of your condition.

At Barefoot we are a musculoskeletal physiotherapy clinic who looks at your whole body to fix the problem. We will look at your muscles, joints and nerves and together we can work towards stronger a stronger pelvic floor.

Want to learn more or book in to see the Barefoot Physio team? Click here.

Functional training, here’s what you need to know!

Here at Barefoot we’re often asked about buzzwords in the fitness space and a phrase that regularly comes up is functional training. You’ve probably seen the term used in fitness advertising and many trainers offer it as a part of their exercise programming. So we want to discus the functional approach to exercise, the benefit it provides, and give you a few tips on how to ensure your exercise involves a functional component.

 

Let’s begin with the term functional.

 

adjective

  1. having a special activity, purpose, or task.

“a functional role”

  1. designed to be practical and useful, rather than attractive.

“a small, functional bathroom”

 

With this definition in mind, the concept of functional training involves performing exercise that has purpose and will be useful to the exerciser. To assess the practicality of the exercise you are currently doing it is worth considering the kinds of movements that are purposeful to you. Or to put it another way, what movements are you required to do everyday in your environment? This varies from person to person and depends on variables such as work, sport, life stage, and personal goals and hobbies. Programming exercise with a functional approach, therefore, must take into account such variables in order to be practical and useful. As it turns out, a majority of the time, the complexity of human movement can be broken down into just a few basic fundamental movements – pulling, pushing, squatting, lifting, and walking/running. When you see “functional training” offered as a part of a fitness service generally speaking it is offering an exercise program that involves training these fundamental human movements. It should also be considering your individual goals and lifestyle.

In many cases exercises that could be considered as “functional” involve movement of multiple joints, action of multiple muscles and ultimately has a basis in fundamental human movement. The reason for this is that this reflects many of the movements of day to day life – think carrying groceries in from the car, picking up and holding children, placing objects up on an overhead shelf, even running to catch a train – each example involves movements of multiple joints and muscles, and has a basis in one of the fundamental human movements – sound familiar?

By performing exercise with a functional approach not only do you receive the benefits of exercise and gain strength but the movements and moments of day-to-day life become easier. If you can train what it is going to be useful to you in the real world environment your ability to carry out physical tasks improves.

This also means your resilience to injury improves too!

 

Want to make your training more functional? Here are some things to consider.

  1. Ensure your trainer understands the sort of physical activities you do regularly. This will give them an idea of your movement profile and whether you need to train for strength, power, or endurance.
  2. If you’re already doing certain exercises ask yourself how the exercise will be useful to you. If you’re told an exercise is functional consider asking “functional for what?”. Often times, exercises involving multiple joints and muscles will be more practical since they mimic the movements of day to day life.
  3. Keep in mind that not everything we do in our day to day lives needs to be trained in the gym. For example, the best way to train your good sitting posture and build endurance in your postural muscles, is to use your time in the office to practice!

Regardless of the term you use to describe your exercise just remember to move often in a variety of ways and above all find something that you enjoy. Exercise can come in many forms. There’s lifting weights, rock climbing, martial arts, yoga, running, gardening, barefoot bowls…the list goes on. Just be sure to move often and if you find this difficult find something you enjoy as this will make your movement habits easier and set yourself up for success.

Want to know more? Or meet with one of the physios to discuss how you can get your body moving again? Click here.