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McTimoney Chiropractor in Eastbourne

Hi, I’m a McTimoney chiropractor practicing in Eastbourne.  I often get asked about McTimoney chiropractic.  Some people want to know what the McTimoney Chiropractic technique feels like. Others are interested in my journey to becoming a chiropractor here in Eastbourne, especially as I started my clinical practice life as a graduate sports massage therapist.  This blog is my first attempt to answer some of these questions.  If you are looking for a McTimoney Chiropractor in Eastbourne then I’d love to help.  I’m the only McTimoney chiropractor in our Eastbourne chiropractic clinic and am always happy to answer questions.

Image of Eastbourne Doctor of Chiropractic Carran Lefever to accompany her blog on Mctimoney chiropractor

Carran Lefever

What is Chiropractic? And McTimoney Chiropractic?

Chiropractic is defined by the General Chiropractic Council as: “Chiropractic is a health profession concerned with the diagnosis, treatment and prevention of mechanical disorders of the musculoskeletal system (bones, joints and muscles), and the effects of these disorders on the function of the nervous system and general health.  There is an emphasis on manual treatments including spinal adjustment and other joint and soft-tissue manipulation.

Chiropractors have a specialist interest in neck and back pain but when they assess their patient they take their entire physical, emotional and social wellbeing into account.

Chiropractors use a range of techniques to reduce pain, improve function and increase mobility, with an emphasis on hands-on manipulation of the spine.

They may also offer advice on diet, exercise and lifestyle, and rehabilitation programmes that involve exercises to do in your own time. Some chiropractors may also offer other treatments, such as acupuncture”.  

Recently a chiropractic patient of mine here in Eastbourne asked me “What’s so different about a McTimoney chiropractor?”.  They’d read something about McTimoney Chiropractic in the press and wanted to know more.

I explained that a McTimoney Chiropractor is a chiropractor that has had specialist chiropractic training to use the chiropractic technique called “McTimoney”.  I have discussed the McTimoney chiropractic technique itself later in this blog.

I also explained that the techniques I used on them were actually a combination of diversified chiropractic technique, acupuncture and McTimoney, because I’ve done extensive post-graduate training in a wide range of chiropractic techniques.  One of the benefits of working in such a large and established clinic in Eastbourne is that we share techniques and knowledge with each other.

 McTimoney Chiropractic Technique

There are many chiropractic approaches and techniques used around the world, often named after their originator.  I graduated as a Doctor of Chiropractic from the McTimoney College of Chiropractic.

The chiropractic approach I follow is the McTimoney approach which was developed by the late John McTimoney in 1972.  Check out this link to the biography of John McTimoney.

The McTimoney approach is typified by a whole-body assessment, which uses light force adjustments making it a comfortable technique to receive.  The adjustment demands great sensitivity and skill and is extremely effective.  The purpose of McTimoney chiropractic is to balance and realign your body to help relieve discomfort and pain, it may also help to increase your mobility.

The McTimoney chiropractic technique can be used on people of all ages from the very young, including babies to the elderly, frail and infirm.  The McTimoney technique is a gentle and effective manipulative technique that treats the whole body to maintain and correct the alignment of the spine and allow the nervous system to function at its optimum potential.  Quick, gentle adjustments are used to bring your body back into balance, reducing restrictions, relieving pain and promoting natural healing.  X-rays are not routinely used, and McTimoney chiropractors rely on their finely tuned sense of touch to palpate restrictions in the spine.

 Problems can occur due to a traumatic incident like a car accident or a fall from a horse or they can be the result of the build of tension and stress in the body due to the repetitive activities of daily living.

Activities such as sitting at a computer for prolonged periods, doing lots of driving or carrying young children are all part of many peoples’ daily lives and these are the sort of things that can cause a build-up of tension, pain and stiffness.  Some of these activities may resonate with you!

I have found that people with cervicogenic headaches respond exceptionally well to the McTimoney technique.  People often say that they feel lighter and more flexible after experiencing the McTimoney approach to chiropractic care.  I had a 12-year-old girl who was getting headaches almost every other day and after receiving just one McTimoney treatment her headaches significantly reduced.  After she completed her plan of care she did not experience any headaches at all!  She was very happy when she started her new term at school in September headache free.

Interestingly McTimoney chiropractic is often used on animals.  For more than 40 years, those trained in McTimoney animal techniques have been helping horses, dogs, cats and farm animals.  Even more exotic animals have benefited from the technique.  Again, the whole body is assessed and treated to eliminate the cause, and not just the symptoms.

In my experience I find that McTimoney is most helpful with people that do not like or respond well to the traditional chiropractic techniques that may involve audible ‘clicking’, and often the elderly who are nervous about the stronger chiropractic techniques also respond very well, which has made it a particularly popular in my work as a chiropractor in Eastbourne.

To summarise, McTimoney Chiropractic is the use of the specialist McTimoney chiropractic techniques used by a chiropractor.  Sometime those chiropractors who use McTimoney chiropractic restrict themselves to that technique alone.  However, as I mentioned earlier, I prefer to use a wide range of techniques to suit the individual and their needs.  That means I can combine a range of chiropractic techniques with the McTimoney chiropractic technique to get the best possible results.  I also combine acupuncture, some massage/soft tissue release and muscle energy (stretching) techniques to help.  I found that this combination of techniques seems to be particularly helpful to my elderly chiropractic patients here in Eastbourne.

Looking for a McTimoney Chiropractor in Eastbourne?

So, if you’re looking for a McTimoney Chiropractor please come and visit me at Lushington Chiropractic in Eastbourne to find out more.  I have been working in the health care profession as a sports massage therapist and now chiropractor since 2009.  You will find me kind, caring and attentive to your recovery.  As a McTimoney chiropractor, I have a very finely tuned sense of touch, developed over my 5 years of training, which enables me to identify misalignments and restrictions of the vertebrae and other bones in the body.

You’re first chiropractic visit would be a consultation that takes about an hour.  After that I’d explain what we found, how we can help you and discuss what your chiropractic treatment plan would be and answer any questions you may have.

Lushington Chiropractic is Eastbourne’s largest and most award-winning chiropractic clinic.  We are based in Eastbourne’s town centre, with easy parking and accessible rooms.  Our chiropractic clinic is open late and Saturdays.  We have a lovely team of chiropractors serving the people of Eastbourne so if you have any questions do not hesitate to contact me on 01323 722499.

Thanks for reading.

Carran

Differences between Chiropractic associations

As a Doctor of Chiropractic in Eastbourne I often get asked about the chiropractic associations and the difference between them.  In this blog I share information about the different associations and why we require them.  Another commonly asked question is the difference between chiropractic, osteopathy and physiotherapy which I have briefly explained in this blog.  However, one of my colleagues at Lushington chiropractic in Eastbourne wrote a fabulous blog explaining this in further detail.  Check out the links towards the end of this blog to be enlightened.

I am currently a member of the McTimoney Chiropractic Association (MCA) and the United Chiropractic Association (UCA), as I believe that these are the ones that resonate with me as a chiropractor and whom support me entirely as a Doctor of chiropractic in Eastbourne.

Picture of Dr Carran Lefever doing a McTimoney atlas toggle on a patient in Eastbourne.The McTimoney Chiropractic Association currently governs membership, ethical conduct, and provides insurance for its members.  There are currently over 550 members in the United Kingdom, which represent over a quarter of the profession, plus a small number overseas.  The McTimoney Chiropractic Association is the second largest professional chiropractic association in Europe.

Here’s how the McTimoney Chiropractic Association define chiropractic:

“Chiropractic is a primary health care profession focused on your health and wellbeing”.

“Emphasis is placed on the spine and the neuro-musculo-skeletal system and how conditions affecting these areas can affect your health and performance.  Chiropractors do not use medicines or surgery and the gentle manual approaches we use are extremely safe and comfortable to receive.

Chiropractic care is used regularly to help maintain good posture, promote health and improve performance, no matter what it is you do, from a high-performance athlete to a senior member of the community enjoying a potter in the garden.  Patients undergoing chiropractic care often report benefits from back, neck and general joint pain, headaches, sports injuries and many other conditions.

Chiropractors have broad diagnostic skills and are also trained to recommend therapeutic and rehabilitative exercises, as well as to provide nutritional, dietary and lifestyle advice.

Chiropractic students in the United Kingdom study for four to five years to gain their Integrated Masters in Chiropractic (MChiro) degree.  In the United Kingdom, chiropractors are Statutorily Regulated by the General Chiropractic Council (GCC)”.

Similarly, the United Chiropractic Association defines chiropractic as:

Chiropractic is a major contributor to natural health in the UK.  And for many good reasons:

Chiropractors avoid drugs and surgery.  Our approach is to remove nervous system disruptions (usually along the spine) that can restore your ability to self-heal.

Chiropractors provide care that is safe.  Because the techniques used by chiropractors are acquired over years of study and experience, chiropractors have an enviable safety record.  In fact, in the words of a classic New Zealand study, chiropractic care is “remarkably safe.”

Both the McTimoney Chiropractic Association and the United Chiropractic Association have a big focus on health and wellbeing and how chiropractic optimises health.  In contrast, the British Chiropractic Association has a pain based, functional approach to chiropractic care.

The British Chiropractic Association defines chiropractic as:

“Chiropractors use a range of techniques to reduce pain, improve function and increase mobility, including hands-on manipulation of the spine.  As well as manual treatment, chiropractors are able to offer a package of care which includes advice on self-help, therapeutic exercises and lifestyle changes.

Chiropractic treatment involves safe, often gentle, specific spinal manipulation to free joints in the spine or other areas of the body that are not moving properly.   Apart from manipulation, chiropractors may use a variety of techniques including ice, heat, ultrasound, exercise and acupuncture as well as advice about posture and lifestyle”.

After five years of study, licensing examinations and continuing education seminars, chiropractors in the United Kingdom are at the top of their game, using proven techniques and natural methods to help you get well and stay well.

As a doctor of chiropractic in Eastbourne I will honour your health goals.  Whether you require short-term relief or lifetime wellness care, I will be ready to listen, provide choices and support you and your family in achieving your individual health goals with a view to potentially optimise your life.

In summary, each chiropractic association embraces a different belief system and a different chiropractic approach to chiropractic care.  I am very fortunate and honoured to be working at Lushington Chiropractic clinic in Eastbourne because I am supported by a large team of chiropractors whom all enjoy sharing various chiropractic skills and techniques with each other and whom all have different beliefs and approaches in the way they work as a Doctor of chiropractic enabling us the opportunity to give the very best care to all walks of life.

What’s the Difference Between Chiropractic, Osteopathy and Physiotherapy

Another hot topic for my Eastbourne patient’s is “what the differences are between physiotherapy, osteopathy and chiropractors?”.

Generally, in my experience, physiotherapists work on soft tissues and do not usually involve spinal manipulation; osteopaths use longer lever techniques to manipulate the spine and various other joints and chiropractors applies short levers to adjust individual vertebrae.  As mentioned above, one of my lovely colleagues at Lushington chiropractic Eastbourne has written a blog comparing the differences between physiotherapist and chiropractors here, and also between osteopaths and chiropractors here.

If you would like to find out more about the chiropractic associations and discover more about chiropractic in Eastbourne, then come and visit us at Lushington Chiropractic.

Lushington Chiropractic is Eastbourne largest and most award-winning chiropractic clinic.  We are based in Eastbourne’s town centre, with easy parking and accessible rooms.  Our chiropractic clinic is open late and Saturdays.  We have a lovely team of chiropractors serving the people of Eastbourne so if you have any questions do not hesitate to contact me on 01323 722499.

 

Chiropractic Technique

In our Eastbourne Chiropractic clinic, Lushington Chiropractic, we are truly blessed to have a multidisciplinary team. This team consists of chiropractors, sports massage therapists, acupuncturists and more. Each different health care profession in our clinic brings different techniques approaches to our guests. Added up, this means that the care our guests in Eastbourne receive is truly first rate.

Among our chiropractors, there are different techniques used by each of us. This difference allows us to approach patients in slightly different ways, but always with the improvement of the patient as our goal. One of the techniques that we have in common between the chiropractors here in Eastbourne is called Sacro Occipital Technique. This is a technique that is learnt with separate specialty seminars to the general chiropractic degree. Seeing as you are likely to have experienced this technique if you have seen any of our chiropractors, I thought it would be a good idea to discuss this technique in a bit more detail. I am only going to talk about the history in this blog post as it is long enough already!

Foundation

Sacro Occipital Technique (SOT) is a technique used by chiropractors and first developed by a man nicknamed “the major”. This man’s full name was Dr Bertrand DeJarnette and he developed SOT in the USA in 1925.

DeJarnette was originally an engineer before suffering serious injuries due to an explosion in a car factory he was working at. These injuries caused him immense pain and discomfort. He tried and tried to no avail to seek medical help, but didn’t experience any relief from his symptoms until he started receiving spinal manipulative treatment. He credited this with saving his life. DeJarnette was so impressed by to help others like he himself was helped.

When DeJarnette was qualified and practicing as a chiropractor, he started to feel like something was missing. To him, the classic chiropractic adjustment wasn’t giving him the full answer and solution to pursuing better health. DeJarnette decided to dedicate himself to exploring this thought over the next few decades. He performed clinical research in his search to develop a specialised approach to health and chiropractic, eventually discovering the link between the sacrum, which is a bone in your pelvis, and the occiput, which is a bone in your skull. DeJarnette’s technique details procedures for analysing and correcting pelvic, spinal, visceral and extremity problems using specific methods.

Furthering SOT

Perhaps due to his previous experience of being an engineer, DeJarnette was extremely methodical in his work. He was also perhaps fortunate to be working in a less litigious time, when ethical committees simply did not exist. On top of all this, he had a burning passion for understanding the physiology of the human body and the effects of chiropractic adjustments on this.

In fact, DeJarnette had such a passion for this understanding that he was also a prolific researcher, working for over 6 decades to perfect his chiropractic techniques and teach others. By the time of his death he had published his work in over 100 research papers, booklets and books.

Photo of the SOT seminar notes of Josh French, Eastbourne chiropractor. SOT is a chiropractic technique.

Eastbourne Chiropractor Josh French attended a weekend long SOT seminar in Amsterdam

Nowadays, to learn this technique as a chiropractor you are required to attend weekend seminars. To be a fully qualified SOT practitioner you need to attend 11 weekend modules, which due to scheduling could take up to 6 years to complete!!

I hope that this has been helpful background information on one of the most common chiropractic techniques and one of the techniques you may have experienced at our clinic in Eastbourne. If you have any questions or queries, please feel free to contact us here or ask your chiropractor next time you visit us in Eastbourne for your next adjustment.

Thanks for reading,

Joshua French

Simple Exercises for Low Back Pain part 2

Previously I talked about an exercise that can be performed at home to help improve low back pain and prevent recurrence of injury. Bird dogs are just one such exercise that the Chiropractors at our clinic in Eastbourne give to our guests. Today I am going to talk about two other exercises that are perfect for recovering from a nasty bout of low back pain.

Side bridge

This exercise is rather simple to perform, and like the bird dog has progressions and regressions depending on whether you need to make it harder of easier respectively. The purpose of this exercise is similar to the bird dog; help improve the endurance of the core musculature, particularly the lateral trunk flexors. On top of this, as this exercise is only performed on one side at a time it can be helpful in balancing up any muscle imbalances that occur as part of our day to day life.

To perform this exercise:

• Lie on the floor with your knees flexed at 90 degrees and your spine straight. You should be in a similar position to the video
• Similarly to the bird dog, before initiating any movement maintain an abdominal brace.
• You should then drive your hips forward, such that your torso is in a straight line elevated from the floor, supported by your elbow and your knee closest to the ground.
• This position should be held for a couple of seconds, and then slowly bend your hips such that you go back down to the floor

The above steps describe one repetition, and this exercise is best performed aiming for 12-20 repetitions on each side, for a total of three sets.

To increase the difficulty of this exercise, you can perform it with your legs straight instead of knees flexed to 90 degrees. This is more difficult due to the increased demand on your core musculature.

To progress even further, instead of doing 20 repetitions with a one or two second hold, try performing one repetition of a 45 second hold. This will really test the endurance of your muscles, but if you start to feel any uncontrollable shaking at any time, stop there and perform the same number of seconds on the other side.

Clam shell

This exercise is also performed lying on your side. The purpose of this exercise is to help increase the activation of some of the muscles around the hip and pelvis, specifically the gluteus maximus. This muscle becomes inactive through extended sitting and contributes towards hip, pelvis and low back pain when it is inactive.

Instead of having to perch yourself on your elbow, you can lie down on your side in whichever way you are comfortable in, as long as your knees are flexed to 90 degrees and your pelvis is level with your shoulders. See the below photo for guidance if you are struggling with this.

To perform this exercise:

• adopt the position in the video
• place your top hand on your buttock so that you can feel the muscle activation
• keeping your feet touching, open up your top hip such that your knee is raised in the air. Only go as far as your hip will allow, as otherwise you will start to recruit the wrong muscles and the exercise will lose its effectiveness

This exercise is best performed with 10-12 repetitions done for three sets on each side. The beauty of this exercise is that it is very easy to do. The difficulty in it is concentrating and really trying to feel the buttock muscle activating.

If you have any queries or concerns, feel free to comment below or pop in and see us at our Chiropractic clinic in Eastbourne.

Thanks for reading

Joshua French

Starting the day off right with a morning routine

As a chiropractor, I believe that if my care to my patients ended with treatment alone, I would be doing myself and my patients a disservice. I love giving my patients advice regarding exercise and diet, as well as other things that may help to enrichen lives and develop good habits. One topic that I frequently mention to my chiropractic patients at the clinic in Eastbourne is a morning routine. There are many benefits to having a consistent and efficient morning routine – some of which I will talk about here today.

All my school life and time at university, I struggled to wake up in the mornings and get on with the day. I definitely never considered myself a morning person, but I thought this was something that was just in my nature, unable to be changed.

In my final year at university, I started reading more about the habits of successful people, and one of the things that everyone seemed to have in common was a consistent morning routine. One day I decided to start my own morning routine. At first this was just three small things to complete before leaving the house to go to university, but soon it grew into a 60 minute long routine.

Photo of morning alarms set by Josh French, the Eastbourne chiropractor who authored this blog about his morning routine.

Do you need multiple alarms to wake up in the morning?

I stick to this come rain and shine, even at weekends. I strongly believe that a morning routine sets the tone for the whole day, so an efficient morning really helps me settle into the day at hand. On top of this. I find that in the mornings I have a limited amount of energy. This energy, and willpower, drains away with decision making. Therefore, knowing how the first hour of my day will go helps me to avoid mental fatigue and feel more in control of my day.

My top tips for a great morning routine:

  1. Place your alarm clock away from your bed. By being out of reach, this will force you to get out of bed and therefore you will be much less likely to just hit the snooze button and go back to bed for another 10 minutes.
  2. Drink a big glass of water as soon as you wake up. This helps you rehydrate after 8 hours without any fluids. On top of this, it is a great way to kickstart your metabolism.
  3. Make your bed. This may seem like a silly one, but having some small tasks in your morning routine that are easy to complete really gets you in the mood for a productive day.
  4. This is one of the most important parts of my morning and probably worthy of its own blog post! I’m quite new to meditating, but I find it helps to clear my mind and gain clarity. I use an app called headspace which I find helpful. If this sounds like too much, simply taking the time to take 20 deep breaths in and out is a great way to start this habit!
  5. Take the time to be grateful. Another habit I have picked up recently is spending 5 minutes to write in a journal. The journal I write in has the same questions every day, and helps me to be more reflective. The things I write about are things I’m grateful for, things that would make the day great and positive affirmations. The most important part of this habit is allowing yourself 5 minutes to think of all the things you’re grateful for. You may find that doing this allows you to gain a greater appreciation for things.
  6. Read! For many years at university reading was a habit I simply didn’t do. Perhaps I was too tired of reading after having to do it all day long. Since I started reading 10-20 minutes in the morning I have found that it helps to inspire me for the day ahead. The books I tend to read in the morning are on personal growth, mindset or perhaps even chiropractic books, depending on how much energy I have!

I hope these tips have been helpful, and maybe in the future I will see you going for an early morning run around Eastbourne before work! If you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to contact us here or ask next time you visit us in Eastbourne.

Thanks for reading,

Joshua French

 

Ice v Heat – What to use when?

Chiropractors often see problems that are chronic, that is the person has been experiencing problems months if not years. On top of this, at our clinic in Eastbourne we also regularly see new injuries that are only days old.  Among both these groups of patients, a topic that often causes a lot of confusion is icing, or rather when to ice vs when to heat. This is something that can be very confusing, so hopefully reading this blog will help you understand this topic better.

Firstly, what are ice and heat used for?

photo of Josh French, the Eastbourne chiropractor who authored this blog about ice and heat.

Joshua with Ice

Ice is primarily used for injuries. When a tissue in the body gets injured, an inflammatory process takes place. This process is healthy and natural, but unfortunately also is painful and can take a longer time to occur than it needs to. Inflammation causes the damaged tissues to become red, hot and swollen, which is where ice helps. In this sense, ice can be thought of as a mild, drugless method to reduce inflammation. Your chiropractor at our Eastbourne clinic may even use cooling gel as part of a massage or soft tissue technique to enhance this effect.

Heat on the other hand is predominantly used for muscles, stress or chronic pain. Heat can be used in this way to take the edge off of the pain, to reduce the pain of whole muscle spasms and for calming down the nervous system and the mind, which we know is a major help in chronic pain problems.

What are heat and ice not to be used for?

Due to the opposite action of ice and heat, there is the potential that using the wrong method may actually make the problem worse. Heat and inflammation in particular are a very bad combination. Remember what we discussed above: fresh injuries cause inflammation, which leaves the area red, hot and swollen. Adding heat to this area that is already warm and swollen can cause the area to swell up even more and worsen the pain.

On the contrary, ice has the potential to make muscle spasms and chronic tension worse. Trigger points, which are painful sensitive spots within muscles, often develop in people with chronic pain problems. Despite feeling like something that may be helped by ice, these trigger points can actually worsen the pain and ache more acutely if iced. This is a common mistake people make with low back pain and neck pain.

Both of these methods are pointless when unwanted – for example heating when you’re already sweating or icing when you’re already freezing. Not only will this feel very uncomfortable, but the brain can sense things that are in excess as a threat, and when this occurs, the brain may also increase the pain sensation.

So if ice is supposed to be used on injuries and heat is supposed to be used on muscles, what do you do if there is a muscle injury? After all, this is one of the most common injuries that we will encounter on a day to day basis. Unfortunately, like most questions such as this, the answer is – it depends. Usually I would recommend icing for the first couple of days at most, before switching to heat. This should only be done if it is definitely a true muscle injury. Muscle injuries are normally caused by obvious trauma or overload during intense effort, causing sudden and severe pain immediately. In cases such as this, ice can be used to take the edge off the inflammation first, and then once the worst is over heat can be used to soothe the muscle.

Summary

At the end of the day, both heat pads and ice packs are not the most powerful forms of treatment, however they have both been shown to have mild benefits, so they are well worth trying. Despite the information above, the bottom line is use whatever feels best for you. You know your body better than anyone else, and if you hate the idea of taking a dip in the Eastbourne sea at Winter, icing may not be at the top of your wishlist! Similarly if you start to use one method and decide you don’t like the feel of it, then by all means just switch to the other and see if that helps.

Thanks for reading and I hope that you have learnt something. If you have any further questions, feel free to contact us here contact us here or ask us next time you are in our clinic in Eastbourne for an adjustment.

Joshua French

Instrument Assisted Soft Tissue Manipulation

During their education, chiropractors are taught all kinds of treatment techniques. One of the techniques that I use frequently at the clinic in Eastbourne is called instrumented assisted soft tissue manipulation, or IASTM for short. People often ask me questions about this technique, so I thought it would be a good idea to write a blog about it to help answer any questions you may have.

Image shows Eastbourne Chiropractor Joshua French to accompany his blog on soft tissue manipulation

Lushington Chiropractor Joshua French

What is IASTM?

So firstly, what exactly is IASTM? The history of IASTM seemingly dates back to ancient China, where it was performed with tools made of ivory or bone. No

wadays practitioners of IASTM normally use either stainless steel tools or tools using some sort of plastic. The tools are used to affect the muscles and ligaments of the body. It is similar to massage in a way, but can be more precise. On top of this, because of the stainless steel tools IASTM is able to achieve results that massage alone would be unable to. Another benefit of using a stainless steel tool over a hand is that the tool carries a certain amount of resonation in it. Over a patch of muscle which is tighter and more adhesive than the surrounding tissue, the resonance of the tool will cause the area to feel like there are coffee granules beneath the skin. This resonation allows a trained IASTM practitioner to pick up directions that specific muscle fibres are more adhesive in, which allows the treatment to be much more specific and therefore effective.

 

Misconceptions

One of the most common misconceptions among chiropractors, osteopaths or physiotherapists that use IASTM without proper training is that to use IASTM properly, you need to bruise the tissue. This is believed because many practitioners use too much force and think that bruising is equal to positive tissue change. However, in some cases this desire to cause bruising actually leads to compromised tissue by way of widespread bruising. Obviously if you’re trying to improve the healing times of ligamentous or muscle injuries, compromised tissue in the form of bruised tissue is not the way to go!

Forms of IASTM

One of the most common forms of IASTM is called Graston technique. This was a technique developed by a group of chiropractors in America. There has been a lot of research produced by the Graston foundation showing several positive affects. One of the most famous Graston research papers was carried out on rat ligaments believe it or not! In this study, the researchers wanted to see if using Graston technique on healing rat ligaments would alter the structure of the healed ligament in any way. What they found was that the rat ligaments that received Graston therapy healed in a much more organised and therefore stronger orientation, whereas the rat ligaments that didn’t receive Graston therapy healed with fibres running in all sorts of directions. This shows that for people that sprain their ankles for example, IASTM can be used to help improve the healing time and also improve the outcomes once the healing has finished.

Another way to use IASTM is to reduce the tightness of tissues or muscles. Sometimes tight muscles are caused by overfiring of the nervous system, which is responding too much to a certain stimulus. By gently using the IASTM tool over an area that is being overstimulated, this overfiring can be reduced and the muscle can go back to a more relaxed state. The soft tissue of the body has several different receptors within it, one of which is called a mechanoreceptor. This type of receptor senses pressure, and sends signals back to the central nervous system which then decides what to do next. There are both slow response mechanoreceptors as well as fast response mechanoreceptors. Both of these types of mechanoreceptor respond well to different types of IASTM.

Picture of a stainless steel tool used for soft tissue manipulation

Picture of a stainless steel tool used for soft tissue manipulation

Hopefully this review of IASTM has not been too scientific. At the end of the day, it is just another soft tissue technique utilised by our Eastbourne chiropractors and sports massage therapists to aid the treatment of problems and make sure the greatest improvements can occur. If you like the sound of this, contact us here and book in with one of our practitioners in Eastbourne proficient in the usage of this technique.

Joshua French

Low Back Pain Exercise

One of the most common problems I see at our clinic in Eastbourne is low back pain. Often this is accompanied by some hints of instability of the joints in the lower back. This is one of the most common complaints that chiropractors are trained to deal with. In the majority of low back pain complaints that I see here in Eastbourne, the true cause of the dysfunction can be traced back to the same couple of things. This is a problem that is easily fixed, and prevented, with the help of home exercises. The following low back pain exercise is very simple, and when practiced and performed daily can help to build a more injury resilient spine, and therefore keep you functioning at your best!

Image shows Eastbourne Chiropractor Joshua French to accompany his blog on low back pain exercise

Lushington Chiropractor Joshua French

Bird dog

This exercise has a funny name and can seem difficult to perform properly. However, it can still be scaled back if it is too difficult. The purpose of the Bird dog exercise is to improve the endurance capabilities of the “core” musculature, that is the muscles deep to the spine and in the abdomen. These muscles deep to the spine tend to switch off after prolonged sitting or poor movements.

To perform this exercise:

  • Get on the floor with your knees under your hips and your hands shoulder width apart
  • Keep the spine neutral and the pelvis level to the shoulders at all times
  • Maintain a firm abdominal brace before starting to initiate movement of the arms or legs. This should feel as though you are blowing up a balloon or preparing to be punched in the stomach
  • While keeping the abdominal brace, slowly move one arm out in front of you while moving the opposite leg away from you
  • Keep the arm and leg in the extended position for a second or two, and then slowly bring the arm and leg back to neutral.

Watch me performing this exercise

The above steps are one repetition, and this exercise is best performed with 12-20 repetitions on each side, done for three sets. However, as this exercises aim is to improve endurance, it is important that you do not feel too fatigued after each set. If you feel you cant complete 12 repetitions on each side without shaking and falling over, make the exercise easier. This can be done by only moving your legs, keeping your arms stationary. This will allow you to improve the endurance of the muscles we are targeting without getting too fatigued and using other muscles instead of the ones we are trying to train.

Progressions and Regressions

If this exercise is too easy for you then perform a harder variation. This exercise can be made harder by starting with your hands and knees closer to each other. This narrows your balance base, which makes you work harder on keeping your pelvis balanced and therefore works the muscles in a more extreme way.

To make it even harder, while your arm and leg are in the extended position, try to draw a square with your arm and an inverse square with your leg, such that when you move up with your arm, you move down with your leg and vice versa. This will really challenge your ability to maintain a neutral pelvis and spine position. After doing 3 sets of 15 repetitions of this on both sides, you can count yourself an expert on the bird dog exercise!

I hope this has been a helpful insight into one of the most common home exercises given by chiropractors for low back pain. Chiropractors are trained to be holistic. This means seeing a chiropractor should be more than just receiving treatment. I love to give advice about nutrition and exercises to help everyone I see improve their quality of life.  If you are having any difficulties with the exercise, please feel free to comment below or contact us at our Eastbourne clinic  if you have any other worries.

Joshua French