How to Remedy Thoracolumbar Fascia Back & Spine Pain

When you think of pain in the back, the thoracolumbar fascia is not likely the first guess as to what is causing the discomfort and pain you are experiencing. The thoracolumbar fascia is a very important tissue of the body as it is needed for coordinated movement, plus it is an attachment site and a connective element for a number of muscles and joints of the lower and upper back. Therefore, it is not uncommon for pain to occur in the middle or lower back regions stemming from thoracolumbar fascia injury.

Thoracolumbar Fascia Back Pain Causes

The thoracolumbar fascia is a tough membrane composed of three layers that cover the deep muscles beneath the back, covering the thoracic spine. Muscles are also enclosed within the layers. This fascia tissue crosses the entire low-back area and it connects the shoulder to the opposite hip. This transitional area between the upper and lower half of the body allows forces to be transferred as needed for athletic and daily movement. Besides enabling movement, the thoracolumbar fascia is also important for stability and sensory roles.

Some tasks can take a toll on the fascia, resulting in thoracolumbar fascia back pain or a loss of mobility of this tissue over time. Excessive strain, overuse, repetitive stress or having poor posture when lifting an object or squatting can bring on thoracolumbar pain in the low-, mid- or upper back.

This injury is relatively common among those who lift moderately heavy loads on a regular basis at work, such as construction workers or farmers. It is also seen among athletes, especially those who lift weights without proper form.

Sitting all day can also damage the thoracolumbar fascia. If you are looking to correct your posture try wearing a posture brace or following these simple tips while sitting at your desk.

Symptoms of Thoracolumbar Fascia Injury

Besides pain in the back, you might also develop trigger points in the fascia, adhesions and scar tissue that can diminish your strength and range of motion. Pain in the back can also cause you to alter your motion to compensate for the discomfort, leading to pain elsewhere in the body. These symptoms can worsen if you do not pursue thoracolumbar pain treatment.

Achieving Thoracolumbar Fascia Pain Relief

Most instances of thoracolumbar pain can be remedied using conservative methods, such as tissue manipulation, relaxation techniques, exercise and stretches, or wearing a thoracolumbar treatment brace.

Tissue manipulation, more commonly known as massage therapy, is often the go-to mode of treatment for thoracolumbar pain. Seeing a professional is usually preferred, but regular self-massage via tools like a foam roller or massage stick can also help. Tissue manipulation can increase the blood flow to the region, reduce tension and stress, and improve mobility.

Wearing a thoracolumbar support can also help support the back, especially if your career involves a lot heavy lifting or twisting. This support applies compression to the lower spine region. It also has a pocket for easy application of ice or heat therapy.

Other relaxation techniques, breathing exercises or meditation can also help to regulate the pH of the body and it can help the thoracolumbar fascia to relax.

Engaging in mild exercise on a regular basis can also help. The same can be said of daily thoracolumbar exercises and stretches to improve the strength, stability and flexibility of the back and core. Some also have success with deep tissue laser therapy for relieving pain in this thoracolumbar fascia.

How To Treat Inflamed Thoracolumbar Fascia Strain

Preventing thoracolumbar fascia pain involves following many of the guidelines for general back health. Shown below are 7 remedies that can help to treat your thoracolumbar fascia pain and discomfort.

  1. Maintain a healthy weight
  2. Practice good posture
  3. Take frequent breaks for stretching and movement when sitting for long periods of time
  4. Warm up and stretch before exercising or heavy lifting
  5. Strengthen your core muscles
  6. Wear a back brace to help apply compression and support to the spine
  7. Use massage therapy to increase the blood flow to the injured area
InSync Physiotherapy is a multi-award winning health clinic helping you in Sports Injuries, Physiotherapy, Exercise Rehabilitation, Massage Therapy, Acupuncture & IMS.

7 Tips to Staying Injury-Free

Have you ever been just into your first set of lateral raises and felt a pinching feeling? What about being halfway through your run and your knee starts to hurt? What do you do? Do you press through or stop?

There are very few of us that don’t deal with injuries or niggles of some sort. So how can we prevent and manage injuries so that they don’t stop us from living active lives? Here are some tips that we try to use in our training:

1) Listen to your intuition. 

You know your inner voice that speaks to you? Is it whispering or screaming at you? If something really hurts or the pain continues, it’s best to stop. If you have a sharp pain or a pain that is very one sided, something is not right.

2) Keep tension on the muscle. 

Muscles support joints so you want to have tension on the muscle when you are training, you don’t want to be just falling into your joints. You want to slowly lower into a squat, not just drop down and bounce out of the bottom. Keeping the tension on will strengthen the muscle and help to protect your joints.

3) Land softly. 

With HIIT and plyometric training all the rage it’s easy to really hammer on your joints. Think of absorbing your landing (shock absorption!) throughout the movement. Bend at the joint and cushion the landing. If you have a joint or muscle injury that is bothering you then skip the power movements (jumping, explosive movements) until you have fully recovered.

4) Focus on the muscle that is working and the form 

Don’t just go through the motions, know what muscle groups you are using and the proper form for the exercise. If you feel lower back pain, it’s likely that your form is off or your back is compensating for other muscle groups that should be working. Be educated and start with a lighter weight until you have mastered the form.

5) Have a regular yoga or flexibility practice

Having a regular yoga practice can not only keep you limber to help prevent injuries but it also provides more body awareness so that you become more attuned to what is working, what is tight, what is out of balance etc.

6) Take time off when you need it

We can’t stress enough how important it is to rest and heal when you have an injury. If you don’t let an injury fully heal, it may keep cropping up and nagging at you or can put you out of commission for good.

7) Cross train and strength train. 

We’re always harping on our clients to cross train and to ensure that they are strength training. We need to build those muscles that are supporting those joints and instead of only participating in one mode of exercise that can cause overuse injuries and muscle imbalances, be sure to switch up your training. It can help to have a personal trainer assess your weaknesses and work with you to strengthen any lagging muscle groups.

InSync Physiotherapy is a multi-award winning health clinic helping you in Sports Injuries, Physiotherapy, Exercise Rehabilitation, Massage Therapy, Acupuncture & IMS.

6 Stretches for Sciatica Pain Relief

6 Stretches for Sciatica Pain Relief

Sciatic nerve pain can be so excruciating and debilitating that you don’t even want to get off the couch. Common causes of sciatica can include a ruptured disk, a narrowing of the spine canal called spinal stenosis, and injury.

The sciatic nerve runs down the spine and branches off, like a zipper, down the legs. The pain of pressure on the sciatic can feel like sharp shocks running down your leg (generally just one at a time) or nagging lower back pain. Sometimes people experience numbness or tingling in the leg, too.

Sciatica pain can occur for a variety of reasons. Identifying ‘what doesn’t move’ is the first step toward solving the problem. Often, the most problematic body parts are the lower back and hips.

The best way to alleviate most sciatica pain is to do any stretch that can externally rotate the hip to provide some relief.

Here are six exercises that do just that.

Pigeon pose

Pigeon Pose is a common yoga pose. It works to broadly open the hips. There are multiple versions of this stretch. The first is a starting version of the pigeon pose, known as the reclining pigeon pose. If you are just starting your treatment, you should try the reclining pose first. Once you can do the reclining version without pain, work with your physical therapist on the sitting and forward versions.

Reclining pose

  1. While on the back, bring your right leg up to a right angle and grasp it with both hands behind the thigh, locking your fingers.
  2. Take your left leg and place your ankle against the knee. Hold the position for a moment before changing legs. This helps stretch the tiny piriformis muscle, which sometimes becomes inflamed and presses against the sciatic nerve causing pain.
  3. Repeat by switching sides and doing the same exercise with the other leg.

Sitting pose

  1. Sit on the floor with your legs stretched out straight in front of you. Then bend your right leg, putting your right ankle on top of the left knee.
  2. Lean forward and allow your upper body to lean toward your thigh. Hold for 15 to 30 seconds and then switch sides. This stretches the glutes and lower back.

Forward pose

  1. Kneel on the floor on all fours.
  2. Pick up your right leg and move it forward so that your lower leg is on the ground, horizontal to the body. Your right foot should be in front of your right knee while your right knee stays to the right.
  3. Stretch the left leg out all the way behind you on the floor, with the top of the foot on the ground and toes pointing back.
  4. Shift your body weight gradually from your arms to your legs so that your legs are supporting your weight. Sit up straight with your hands on either side of your legs.
  5. Take a deep breath. While exhaling, lean your upper body forward over your lower leg. Support your weight with your arms as much as possible.

Knee to opposite shoulder

This simple stretch helps relieve sciatica pain by loosening your gluteal and piriformis muscles, which can become inflamed and press against the sciatic nerve.

  1. Lie on your back with your legs extended outward and your feet flexed upward.
  2. Clasp your hands around your knee and gently pull your right leg across your body toward your left shoulder. Hold it there for 30 seconds and then push your knee so your leg returns to its starting position.
  3. Repeat for a total of 3 reps, and then switch legs. Remember to only pull your knee as far as it will comfortably go. You should feel a relieving stretch in your muscle, not pain.

Sitting spinal stretch

Sciatica pain is triggered when vertebrae in the spine compress. This stretch helps create space in the spine to relieve pressure from the sciatic nerve.

  1. Sit on the ground with your legs extended straight out with your feet flexed upward.
  2. Bend your right knee and place your foot flat on the floor on the outside of your opposite knee.
  3. Place your left elbow on the outside of your right knee to help you gently turn your body toward the right. Hold for 30 seconds and repeat three times, then perform this stretch with your left leg bent and body turned to the left side.

Standing hamstring stretch

This stretch can help ease pain and tightness in the hamstring caused by sciatica.

  1. Place your right foot on an elevated surface at or below your hip level. This could be a chair, ottoman, or step on a staircase. Flex your foot so your toes and leg are straight. If your knee tends to hyperextend, keep a slight bend in it.
  2. Bend your body forward slightly toward your foot. The further you go, the deeper the stretch. Do not push so far that you feel pain.
  3. Release the hip of your raised leg downward as opposed to it lifting up. If you need help easing your hip down, loop a yoga strap or long exercise band over your right thigh and under your left foot. Hold for at least 30 seconds, and then repeat on the other side.
InSync Physiotherapy is a multi-award winning health clinic helping you in Sports Injuries, Physiotherapy, Exercise Rehabilitation, Massage Therapy, Acupuncture & IMS.

4 Tips on How to Improve Your Rock Climbing Ability

1. Climb More

The best thing you can do to get better at rock climbing is to climb more. A lot of newbies often feel they need to build up more strength before they can start rock climbing in earnest, but this is a mistake. If you’re really serious about giving rock climbing a go, then don’t waste your time pumping iron at a regular gym to “build up your strength” before you hit the rocks. The best way to get better at rock climbing is to climb. It is really as simple as that.
Pumping iron might be useful at a later stage but it won’t do you much good at the start. Plenty of buff guys coming into the rock climbing gym can’t climb to save their lives.
If you wanted to get stronger, you should do it by climbing more, not swapping out your climbing sessions with regular weight training sessions. Why? Because weight training is symmetrical. When you do a lat pull down, you pull equally with both arms. You don’t use your legs to help you and you certainly don’t have to balance on tiny footholds while you’re at it. Additionally, time spent at the regular gym is time you aren’t spending climbing. Since you can only do so much weight training (your rock climbing sessions included) a week before you start to overstrain your muscles, you lose out on the opportunity to hone your other climbing skills – such as balance, finger strength, footwork, etc.

2. Practice Down Climbing

If you want to get better at climbing, then you have to practice down climbing. Why? Down climbing helps you focus on the one thing most climbers, especially newbie climbers, often forget – your feet. When you down climb, the first thing you think about is: “Where am I going to put my foot?”
Many new climbers often underestimate just how much their legs can do for them when they climb. It has been said that you can tell the difference between a beginner skier and an experienced skier by listening to them complain about the parts of their bodies that ache after a day’s worth of skiing. A beginner skier will complain that their arms ache the most, while an experienced skier will complain that their legs ache the most. Similarly, the first part of a newbie climber’s body to give way in climbing is the arms and that is because they often forget about their legs. To reiterate the fact that many newbie climbers give little value to the power of their legs, you’ll hear many of them offer this statement when citing how they plan to get better at climbing: “Let me build more strength in my arms first.”
Why are your legs so important in climbing?
The more weight you transfer to your feet, the less mass you have to haul up with your arms – this is great especially if your upper body strength is poor.
The most common reason why a newbie fails to make it to the next hold is because they can’t reach it or they are unable to get a good purchase on the hold because they are too low. Just moving your feet up a few centimeters can be the difference between making it to the next hold and falling off. The most common mistake a newbie makes is that they forget to move their feet up.
The greatest virtue of down climbing lies in the fact that it makes you think about your feet and it teaches you to focus on your footwork. So the next time you’re climbing at the gym, try down-climbing a couple of routes. You should start with the routes that you normally “warm-up” on, that is, nothing too difficult.

3. Practice Traversing

If you’re new to climbing, you’re probably wondering what the heck is traversing? It is basically a horizontal movement across the wall as opposed to a vertical climb up the wall. It is normally done as a climbing warm up before you start climbing in earnest at the gym. Just start at one corner of the gym and keep traversing horizontally until you drop off.
When you first begin traversing, you may find yourself unable to stay on the wall for very long. Keep practicing until you can make your way around the gym easily or do laps across a short section. Try traversing with different holds and finding different rest positions instead of coming down when you need to take a break.
If you are traversing as a “warm up”, then do so only until you feel your muscles warming up and stop well before the lactic acid builds up in your forearms (often called a “pump”). If you traverse until your arms are pumped, you won’t be able to do much climbing, especially if you’re new to the climbing scene.
What does traversing do for you?
It teaches you to use your feet and it helps you think of different ways to move on the wall. You can learn which moves are easier for you and you can work through a problem close to the ground which allows you to tackle the problem without wasting energy on the parts you can do easily. If you find it too easy and you want something harder, try skipping holds or use fingertips only – vary the exercise. As you get better at traversing, you can graduate to “bouldering” which I will talk more about below.

4. Variety

Variety is the spice of life. It is also the key to getting better at whatever you do. Always try to climb something new and different – work on different routes, climb at different crags, go to different gyms. This helps you to improve a couple of things:
  • your route-reading ability – how you look at a new route and figure out how to climb it.
  • your repertoire of rock climbing moves – every new route will train your muscles in different ways. If you only climb the same routes over and over again, your body won’t learn anything new. Eric Horst once wrote about a climber who would climb at the same crag every weekend. He got so good that he could dance pirouettes around every single route at that crag. Until one day when someone broke one of the holds on a route and suddenly, he couldn’t climb that particular route any more. Don’t fall into this trap.
Add variety to your training sessions. Try different styles of climbing. You can work any of the following suggestions into your training program:
  • Climb using only one hand (the easier routes, of course); or only one leg.
  • Practice traversing on a slab (a forward inclining wall, see picture to the right) using feet only – this is great for improving your balance and your footwork. The wall in the picture below is a good example of a slab, but obviously if you’re only using feet, make sure it has bigger footholds.
  • Climb using first touch – that means once you have placed your hand or foot, you can’t shift the position, even if it is awkward. This helps you think about how you use a hold so that you optimise your moves and reduce the number of unnecessary moves.
  • Boulder – do this with a group of friends and give each other boulder problems to work on. Bouldering is the act of climbing a section of a wall without a rope. A spotter (usually another climber) will “spot” you to make sure you don’t injure yourself if you fall while bouldering. There are also crash mats for you to land on. Bouldering tends to involve a shorter, more powerful sequence of moves and this is guaranteed to help improve your footwork and your strength.
  • Do laps – up climb and down climb on a route that you can complete but is still somewhat challenging. Obviously, don’t pick one that you could climb in your sleep, make sure you feel like you are working out when you do laps. This helps to build your endurance.
InSync Physiotherapy is a multi-award winning health clinic helping you in Sports Injuries, Physiotherapy, Exercise Rehabilitation, Massage Therapy, Acupuncture & IMS.

7 Ways to Tell if You Have a Psoas Muscle Imbalance

When you have a tight (or short) psoas muscle, you may experience pain in your lower back or in your hips, especially when lifting your legs. This is caused by the muscle compressing the discs in the lumbar region of your back.

Stretching your muscles and releasing the tension on the psoas is the best way to prevent this from happening. It takes time and daily attention to keep your psoas muscles relaxed, stretched, and strong.

And, while most people with psoas issues have tight psoas muscles, there are some people whose psoas muscles can be overstretched. In this case, if you stretch your psoas and it is already overstretched, you will cause more problems.

Your body will tell you what your psoas ultimately needs. Here are 7 ways to tell if you have a psoas muscle imbalance:

Leg length discrepancy

A tight psoas muscle can cause your pelvis to rotate forward. This in turn can cause an an internal rotation of your leg on the affected side. The opposite leg will rotate externally in an effort to counter-balance.

This will make the affected leg longer so that every time you take a step, it drives your leg up into your hip socket. This can lead to functional leg length discrepancy.

Knee and low back pain

If you experience knee or low back pain with no apparent cause, it may be coming from your psoas muscles. When your femur is in essence locked into your hip socket due to a tight psoas muscle, rotation in the joint can’t occur. This can cause your knee and low back to torque.

Postural problems

When your psoas is too short or tight, it can pull your pelvis into an anterior tilt, compressing the spine and pulling your back into hyperlordosis or “duck butt.”If your psoas is overstretched or weak, it can flatten the natural curve of your lumbar spine creating a “flat butt.” This misalignment is characterized by tight hamstrings pulling down on the sitting bones, which causes the sacrum to lose its natural curve and results in a flattened lumbar spine.

This can lead to low-back injury, especially at the intervertebral discs. You may also feel pain at the front of your hip. Finally, it is possible for your psoas muscles to be both tight and overstretched. In this case, your pelvis is pulled forward in front of your center of gravity, causing your back to curve (swayback) and your head to poke forward.

Difficulty moving your bowels

A tight psoas muscle can contribute to or even cause constipation. A large network of lumbar nerves and blood vessels passes through and around the psoas muscles. Tightness in the psoas muscles can impede blood flow and nerve impulses to the pelvic organs and legs.

In addition, when the psoas is tight your torso shortens decreasing the space for your internal organs. This affects food absorption and elimination. As such it can contribute to constipation, as well as sexual dysfunction.

Menstrual Cramps

An imbalance in your psoas muscles can be partially responsible for menstrual cramps as it puts added pressure in your reproductive organs.

Chest breathing

A tight psoas muscle can create a thrusting forward of the ribcage. This causes shallow, chest breathing, which limits the amount of oxygen taken in and encourages over usage of your neck muscles.

Feeling exhausted

Your psoas muscles create a muscular shelf that your kidneys and adrenals rest on. As you breathe properly your diaphragm moves and your psoas muscles gently massage these organs, stimulating blood circulation. But, when the psoas muscles become imbalanced, so do your kidneys and adrenal glands, causing physical and emotional exhaustion.

9 Tips for Keeping Your Psoas Muscles Happy and Healthy

Exercise, sitting in your favorite chair, wearing shoes, and even unhealed physical and emotional injuries can cause imbalance in your psoas muscles. Getting things back in balance will give you a greater range of motion and relief from pain. Plus, you feel more grounded and relaxed!

Here are some tips for getting things back in balance:

Avoid sitting for extended periods.

If you must sit for work or other reasons, sit with good posture and be sure your hips are level or slightly higher than your knees. Avoid bucket seats and chairs without support for your low back. Try to get up and move around every hour.

Add support to your car seat.

Use a rolled up towel underneath your sit bones and/ or behind your lumbar spine to keep the psoas and hip sockets released. If you are traveling long distances, stop every 3 hours to stretch and walk around for 10 minutes.

Lay off extreme exercise routines.

We don’t mean completely or forever. But, if you are a power walker, distance runner or sprinter, or even if you do a lot of sit-ups, you may want to alternate your workouts.

Try Resistance Flexibility exercises.

Resistance Flexibility exercises can do wonders for your fascia.

To strengthen your psoas, lay on your back with your hips abutting the wall next to a door frame. Raise one leg straight so that it is against the wall. (Your other leg will extend through the door way.) Bend your extended leg and using your hands to slow down the movement and create resistance, bring your bent knee toward your chest.

Do this while also pressing your raised leg into the wall. Then reverse the motion of your bent leg. As you straighten it, continue to create resistance using your hands to push your leg out as your leg resists.

InSync Physiotherapy is a multi-award winning health clinic helping you in Sports Injuries, Physiotherapy, Exercise Rehabilitation, Massage Therapy, Acupuncture & IMS.

3 Reasons You Might Be Feeling The ‘Pinch’ After Training

Ever find yourself getting an odd pinchy feeling in the front of your hip at the bottom of a squat? That ‘can’ be caused by the tensor fascia latae (TFL). This muscle runs from the top of your ASIS hipbone, across the hip joint via the iliotibial band. The TFL is primarily a trunk stabilizer; it tries to prevent your torso from moving as the lower body moves. However, the TFL also flexes and abducts the hip, and internally rotates the femur. This is where our problems lie.

Inability to activate the glutes can cause overactivity through the hip flexors, quadriceps and especially our friend TFL. Inability to activate the gluteal muscles can stem from a number of possible causes:


In terms of muscle, the saying “if you don’t use it you lose it” applies. If we don’t create a demand on or stimulate the muscle, it will become smaller and harder to engage. If you’re sitting on your gluts now, squeeze them together. If you can’t get strong, even activation on both sides, good luck getting activation in the gym.


Though we are biologically symmetrical, the demands we put on our body are rarely so. Our body’s response to these demands is to make specific adaptions increasing our ability to survive future stressors, thereby making the body asymmetrical. Aysmmetry can be a massive issue when it comes to the demands of training. Whether it be Sport, CrossFit, Powerlifting or Olympic Weightlifting, 90% of injuries both chronic and acute happen on an athlete’s non dominant side. Ie if you’re right handed the issues will mostly happen on your left side. This is because we put the same amount of load and weight during training through both sides, with one side normally lacking the stability, muscle bulk and overall neuro muscular development.

Pain/previous injury

Pain is one of the major inhibitors of our glutes (in particular gluteus maximus). This is primarily a survival mechanism to help prevent further injury, as our glutes are major propulsion muscles.

If you’ve had a previous injury on one side of your body, your body will subconsciously move in a way to unload that area of the body. Unless you physically focus on strengthening the issue. Seeing a Physiotherapist is a great way to get that previous issue addressed and to optimize your performance in the gym.

If you are unable to activate our glutes, more specifically the gluteus medius, the TFL can begin to take over as a primary hip stabilizer. This manifests as pain in the front region of the hip and leads to slow movement throughout the squat or an inability to reach the bottom of the squat.

InSync Physiotherapy is a multi-award winning health clinic helping you in Sports Injuries, Physiotherapy, Exercise Rehabilitation, Massage Therapy, Acupuncture & IMS.

5 Tips to Preventing Ski and Snowboarding Injuries

As the temperatures continue to drop outside, winter sports begin to heat up! Activities, such as skiing and snowboarding, are very popular at all age levels and draw thousands of people to the slopes each year. Although, as health care professionals, we advocate for an active, healthy lifestyle for all, we want to ensure that everyone is active in the safest way possible as to prevent injuries.

Winter sport injuries are dominantly traumatic and can be caused by falls, collisions, ski lift accidents and/or dangerous or rough terrain. Some of the most common injuries that are seen are injuries to the knee (ACL and Meniscus tears), injuries to the shoulder (subluxations, dislocations and AC joint sprains), injuries to the head (concussions) and fractures (wrist, hand, finger and ankle). Although some accidents cannot be prevented, below are some tips to minimize your risk of injury.

Ensure Proper Instruction

If you are new to the world of skiing and snowboarding or haven’t hit the slopes in a while, sign up for lessons before heading out on your own. Most, if not all, ski resorts offer free lessons to new and even experienced skiers and snowboarders. Taking lessons will teach you about proper technique, how to fall safely, how to properly use the ski lifts, the “rules of the slopes” and which slopes are geared for your ability level. Let a professional instruct you correctly before you develop you own bad habits, which can place yourself, as well as those around you, in danger!

Utilize Proper Equipment

Speak with a professional at a ski shop or sporting goods store when purchasing or renting ski and snowboard equipment. Although the temperature is cold outside your body temperature will slowly increase as you begin activity. Wearing several layers of light, loose-fitting, water and wind resistant clothing will help your body when adjusting to the temperature changes. Wearing appropriate protective equipment such as goggles and a helmet will aid in minimizing the extent of injury just in case an accident does happen. Before setting sail down the mountain, check the bindings to your skis and snowboard to ensure they are adjusted and set to your height, weight and experience level. Improper set up of you bindings or faulty bindings can lead to a dangerous fall due to lack of control of your equipment. Finally, never use old or outdated equipment without checking with a professional to ensure safety first.

Know your Surroundings

Check with your instructor or read the signage around the resort and abide by all safety rules of the slopes. Learning how to yield, stop and safely fall meanwhile keeping your eyes and ears open for potential hazards when skiing down a busy mountain can prevent numerous injuries from occurring. When choosing a slope to head down, make sure the trail is marked, free of any rocks, trees and large icy patches and that the experience level matches that of your own. Being aware of your surroundings and learning how to navigate the slopes will not only keep you safe, but will also protect those around you.

Warm Up

Beginning an activity without properly preparing the body sends thousands of people to the emergency room or their physician’s office every day. Just like we let our cars heat up on a cold, icy day our bodies need time to prepare for the stressors that we will be placing on it. Research has shown that “cold” muscles are more prone to injury. Warming up, or increasing blood flow to the body’s musculature, by completing a mixture of static and dynamic stretches and slightly elevating the heart rate by completing a short jog will greatly diminish the chances of a soft tissue injury (i.e. strains and sprains).

Hydrate and Fuel Up

Give your body all the tools it needs to withstand a long, tiring day on the slopes. Start your day off with a well –balanced breakfast of healthy proteins and carbohydrates to provide your body with the energy it needs to remain alert throughout the day. Dehydration can occur more quickly in the cold due to the amount of respiratory fluid loss through breathing, sweat quickly evaporating in the cold air and under the multiple layers of clothing and people don’t drink water as often due to not feeling as thirsty as they may feel in the heat. Remember to hydrate before, during and after the day as well as replace the calories lost through healthy snacking throughout the day.

Skiing and snowboarding are great ways to remain active in the winter and are sports that can be enjoyed by all if done properly. Following the tips above and consulting with a professional if you have any questions or concerns, will hopefully lead to an injury free winter sport season!

InSync Physiotherapy is a multi-award winning health clinic helping you in Sports Injuries, Physiotherapy, Exercise Rehabilitation, Massage Therapy, Acupuncture & IMS.

3 Steps To Powerful Hips and A Better Squat

If a few brief hip flexor stretches is your idea of mobility work, you’re cutting yourself short. Make hip mobility a priority, and your reward could be a better squat and less back pain!

The hip flexors are a group of five muscles that connect the femur (or thigh bone) to the pelvis. They move in one of two ways. When the pelvis is stationary, a contraction of the hip flexors will draw the femur upward—think the classic “goose step.” Conversely, if the femur is stationary, a contraction of the hip flexors will tilt the pelvis forward and the butt back.

1. Come Unglued

The first step in building better hip flexors is to spend some painful minutes ungluing tissues that have been frozen from years of sitting at a desk. We recommend rolling, aka “self myofascial release.”

You can roll on just about anything. We’ve used several different types of foam rollers, a Rumble Roller, lacrosse balls, PVC pipe, a number of weird stick-shaped things. We have found that different materials are suitable for different areas on different bodies, so feel free to experiment and find what works best for you.

To work these tissues, start by locating your iliac crest. It’s the top bony part of your hip that sticks out by your beltline. If you’re using a lacrosse ball, simply move into a plank position on the ground and lay on the ball so that it presses into your hip just below the crest. Move side-to-side slowly, so the ball moves back and forth laterally several inches at a time.

Keep adjusting your position until you find a hot spot, then hold that position for at least 30 seconds. Your first impulse will be to tense up when you feel tenderness, but it’s important that you relax and continue to move around the area. Keep it up, and don’t hurry. The more slowly and more often you can do this, the better.

2. Get On The Couch

Now that we smoothed out that old tissue and dislodged a few fossilized nasties, let’s see what we can do about improving extensibility. The couch stretch is one of the most effective movements you can do for opening up your hip to the end range of motion. Adopt a kneeling position in front of something that you can use to hold your foot up (i.e., a couch). Your back knee should be completely flexed, meaning your heel is as close as possible to your butt.

It’s easy to compensate in this position by hyperextending your lower back, but it’s crucial that you don’t. Instead, We want you to focus on squeezing your glutes and hamstrings, which will push your hips forward into a full-on “schwing.” If your right foot is back, you should feel an intense stretch on the right front side of your hip. Hold it for a long time, like a minute or two, and then switch sides.

Like rolling, this is a movement that deserves to be done as often as you can tolerate. We recommend doing it for two minutes on each side every half hour. That may be tough to manage, but the point is this: Frequent, long-duration stretches are the only stretches that will have any significant effect on your tissue length and mobility. If you want to improve, you have to commit.

3. Build Flexible Flexors

The psoas, our primary hip flexor, is usually the weakest of the five flexors, and the other four hip flexors have to work more as a result. To test if this is the case for you, lift one knee well above 90 degrees and hold it there, ensuring that you do not compensate by moving your pelvis or leaning forward. If holding this for more than a few seconds is painful or impossible for you, your psoas suck. You are going to have serious trouble squatting to parallel or lower if these muscles can’t do their job properly.

One way to strengthen the psoas is by performing the type of toe-lifting movement.s We mentioned at the start of the article. However, in this case we prefer to rely on closed-chain movements, where the hands are fixed and can’t move. This small change makes it harder to cheat or compensate, allowing you to focus squarely on the movement.

We recommend doing floor-slide mountain climbers. You will need some furniture moving pads, Valslides, or something similar that will slide smoothly on your floor. Paper plates even work well in a pinch. Put your feet on the sliders and move into a push-up position. To perform the movement, simply pull one knee at a time up toward your chest, going as high as you can while keeping your foot on the slider. You can alternate legs with each rep or do sets of one leg at a time. Don’t expect it to be easy.

Your hips may not lie, but they can really sidetrack your training if they fall out of whack. Implement this three-part plan, and your hips will be more effective in the gym and less prone to injury moving forward!

InSync Physiotherapy is a multi-award winning health clinic helping you in Sports Injuries, Physiotherapy, Exercise Rehabilitation, Massage Therapy, Acupuncture & IMS.

5 Tips for Running in Sub-Zero Temperatures

The key to running in the extreme cold is to protect yourself, wear the proper clothing, and have an exit strategy.

1. Dress in Layers

You’ve heard this one before. Probably from your mother, who advised you take along your jacket — just in case. Well, you should listen to her. A good approach to running in sub-zero temperatures is to wear a breathable synthetic layer, followed by a second insulating layer, topped off by a wind-proof shell. (synthetic layer, half-zip shirt, shell) On the bottom, consider the same approach in two layers (synthetic layer, tights or pants).

2. Grease Up

You’ll be harder to catch than a greased pig in a snowstorm. Smother Vaseline on any exposed skin to offer insulation from the cold and protection from the wind. That means your nose, cheeks, chin, neck, and ear lobes. You’ll be amazed what a layer of this stuff can do.

Tip from the pros: If you’re racing in shorts on a cool day, you can coat your hamstrings and other important muscle groups in Vaseline to keep them warm.

3. Protect Your Bits and Pieces

Okay, guys. This one’s for you. Buy yourself some underwear that is synthetic and offers windproof protection where it’s needed most. You only need to run in the freezing cold once to realize the value of this garment.

4. Head, Hands and Feet

Wear a good hat that covers your ears and keeps you warm without causing sweat to trickle down your neck and freeze. There are several breathable winter hats made for this purpose. Keeping your hands and feet warm will prevent frostbite and make your run more comfortable.

We have found good success wearing wool mittens over synthetic running gloves. The mittens always seem to keep your hands warmer than gloves, and the synthetic gloves keep your hands from getting sweaty inside the mittens. On your feet, you could wear some warm Merino wool running socks.

5. Tell a Friend

It’s always important to tell a friend or family member that you’re going out for a run. However, running in sub-zero temperatures makes it a necessity. You don’t want to get stuck out there. It’s a good idea to bring a phone along as well. Let’s face it, even if you don’t normally run with your phone, you’ll be glad to have it. Be smart and stay safe and you’ll look forward to winter running.

InSync Physiotherapy is a multi-award winning health clinic helping you in Sports Injuries, Physiotherapy, Exercise Rehabilitation, Massage Therapy, Acupuncture & IMS.

How to Release the Piriformis Muscle

The piriformis muscle is one of the most irritated spots on a human body. It attaches to the outside of each hip and to your sacrum, the spine’s lowest section. Its job is to turn your leg outward. The major issue for many people is that the sciatic nerve runs through or under the piriformis muscle. If your piriformis is too tight, it can lead to pinching and sciatica-like symptoms in the affected leg. When the piriformis irritates the sciatic nerve, it leads to pain in the buttocks as well as referring pain along the sciatic nerve felt down the back of your thigh or in the lower back.

Step 1

Stretch the piriformis. This is the first step in releasing the muscle. Lie on your back. If you need to release the muscle on your right side, bend your right knee, bring it across your body, and point the knee toward your left shoulder. Move the bent knee back to the starting position. Put your hands under your bent knee and bring it to your chest. You will feel a stretch in your buttock region–stretching the piriformis. Use progressive piriformis stretching. Start with five seconds, and gradually work up to 60 seconds of sustained stretch. Repeat several times throughout the day. If your pain is on the left, utilize the same procedure on the left side of the body.

Step 2

Take a tennis ball, place it under your piriformis and lay on it. This will work out a trigger point, or a knot within the muscle. Lay on the ball for 30 seconds. Relax for one minute. Repeat the process four to five times.

Step 3

Utilize a foam roller. This also can work out a trigger point. If you need to release the piriformis on the left side, start by lying on your left side and placing your left elbow on the mat or floor. This will stabilize your upper body. Place the foam roller beneath the back side of your left hip, under your piriformis. Roll back and forth to release the tension in the muscle. Do the same thing on the right side if that is where you are experiencing pain.

Step 4

Treat other biomechanical problems simultaneously for best results and to prevent future problems. For example, overpronation of the foot can contribute to the problem. Pronation happens as the foot rolls inward and the arch of the foot flattens. Leg-length discrepancies also are commonly associated with piriformis problems, and can be corrected with use of orthotics. Prescription orthotics can be obtained by visiting a chiropractor and undergoing a gait analysis. Stretching may need to be combined with physical therapy for issues like overpronation.


Keep hydrated and take extra vitamin C, calcium and magnesium to promote tissue healing.

Things You’ll Need

  • Tennis ball
  • Foam roller
InSync Physiotherapy is a multi-award winning health clinic helping you in Sports Injuries, Physiotherapy, Exercise Rehabilitation, Massage Therapy, Acupuncture & IMS.
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