The nose: The key to winter wellness

The nose: The key to winter wellness

Your nose is your first line of defense to allergens, pollens, viruses and the cold air. As air
flows through your nose it goes to work filtering, warming and adding moisture to the air so
by the time it reaches your lungs it’s clean and at body temperature. The moisture ensures
the lungs function and can clear debris that does get through and inflate and function

The other amazing factor is the production of nitric oxide (NO) in our sinuses (laughing gas!).
It doesn’t make you giggle but its effects are widespread and definitely promote wellness.
NO works as a sterilizer (anti-fungal, antiviral and antibacterial), it promotes the beating of
cilia – the cells that work like a Mexican wave to move your mucus around, reducing snotty
noses and postnasal drip. It acts as a vasodilator (opens the blood vessels) and breathing
against the increased resistance of small breathing tubes (compared to the mouth) opens up
your air scass – this leads to an overall increase in the amount of oxygen you can absorb –
up to 17-20% than through your mouth! NO also has anti-inflammatory effects.

This is all missed when you breathe through your mouth! You are more likely to feel calmer
as you slow your breath down and tell your body it’s safe believe it or not breathing through
your nose also improves your memory!!
My favorite saying is it’s as silly to breathe through your mouth as it is to eat through your
nose. People often tell me they can’t get enough air through their nose – this can be due to
issues within your nasal structure and sinuses but often is actually due to chronic mouth
breathing. The disuse leads to nasal stuffiness and a sensation of being blocked, so you
continue to mouth breathe worsening the situation.

So….. tuck your chin in, close your lips, let your teeth sit slightly apart, your tongue floats to
the roof of your mouth so it’s creating a small amount of suction, and is docked behind the
top teeth. Breathe silently and feel your head, neck and shoulders relax and enjoy the calm
and wellness.

Written by Catherine George, The Lung Mechanic

Pre-Season Training; is it really worth it?

Pre-Season Training; is it really worth it?

It’s always tricky to find the motivation to dust off your sporting gear or rugby boots weeks before the season kicks off for pre-season training. Most sports are played seasonally so there is a lot of the year where players aren’t training or playing regular games.

During the off season it is common for muscular strength, endurance and general conditioning for the sport declines. When the new sport season begins, there are massive physical demands on players. Going from nothing to full training and competitive games can lead to injury, due to lack of conditioning over the off season and the sudden high demand on the body. It would be like running a full marathon after doing no training for 3 months, this would be especially hard on the body and most likely lead to injury.

Why is pre-season training beneficial?

Pre-season is set to take place before the competitive season begins to allow time for players to progressively work on their fitness, strength and game specific skills.

Pre-season training gives players time to condition their bodies to the physical demands of their sport. This will not only help with the players ability to reduce injury during the competitive season but also help improve technical skills of the game. Having a good training schedule weeks before the competition begins means your player will be able to hit the first games performing well, and not feeling as exhausted afterwards.

The impact a team has when they start the season fit and conditioned to the sport is massive, compared to starting unfit and having done no skills for months. This can be the difference between a successful season and a season full of lost games and player injuries.

Along with building the physical aspect of sport, pre-season training is great for team building. It is important for players to spend time with each other, getting to know each other, how they play and interact in order to have a cohesive team.

Tips for Pre-Season training;

  • Start off easy. Give yourself time to increase your physicality and intensity of your training sessions. This will allow time for your body to adjust to the increase in load on the body.
  • Recovery is just as important as training. An easy way to target this is to add cooling down and stretching into each training session. This will help reduce tightness in your muscles which can help to reduce injuries.
  • Have a good mix of exercises and drills. There are many aspects to training that are beneficial to making pre-season training worthwhile. Cardiovascular training is great to help increase your fitness. Resistance training helps to reduce muscle imbalance and builds strength. Speed and agility training is great and be sure to add in sport specific skills and drills, so you are ready for the demands of your sport. Stretching is important too. This will help muscle recovery and increase flexibility.
  • Add in fun games and activities. It doesn’t all have to be sport focused. In order to build sportsmanship and increase team bonding, try some activities that push your players out of there comfort zone or away from the sporting context. For example, taking your team to mini golf, or day tramping or even a movie night.

Where we can help:

We can help with our expert physiotherapists. Our physiotherapists are trained to sport muscle imbalances, biomechanical issues and can test range of motion, flexibility and muscle strength and function. Identifying these can be key in avoiding injury.

We can also help by tailoring individualized exercise program, warms up or drills to ensure you are correctly loading your muscles and optimizing your training load.

Our podiatrist can also offer expert advice. They are trained in assisting with shoe selection. This can be helpful to people who are new to sport or people who will be spending a lot of time in the shoes they have chosen for their sport as it can be a good way of reducing injury or muscle soreness.

Podiatrist can also do gait analysis. This is extremely helpful to analyze your walking and running style to see if you need any assistance with exercise to improve the way you walk or run. This can be hugely beneficial in injury reduction.

New ACC Maternal Birth Injury Coverage.

New ACC Maternal Birth Injury Coverage.

Childbirth is such an exciting time for so many reasons. Women’s bodies have a tremendous capacity to adapt and accommodate during childbirth, but sometimes injuries to pelvic structures can occur and these are called Maternal Birth Injuries. These injuries can have long-lasting effects on pelvic function so it’s important to get treatment and support early on. This will help women recover faster and reduce the impact of related injuries and symptoms in the future. Pelvic floor physiotherapy plays an important part in the assessment, treatment and support of these birth injuries. More information on postnatal physiotherapy can be found in our previous post/article.

New ACC Coverage;

As of October 1st 2022, ACC is expanding their personal injury coverage to include some of these specific injuries that occur during childbirth. This means that women who have birth injuries that happen during labour or delivery on or after 1 October 2022 will be eligible to submit a claim to ACC for coverage of their injury. Midwives, doctors, nurses, pelvic health physios and some other healthcare providers can lodge these claims on behalf of their patients within their area of practice. This might be straight away after the birth of a baby while in the hospital, or sometime after birth when it’s been identified further support and care is needed for recovery from the injury.

The specific injuries that will be covered are listed here;

  • Anterior wall prolapse, posterior wall prolapse, or uterine prolapse
  • Coccyx fracture or dislocation
  • Levator avulsion
  • Obstetric anal sphincter injury tears or tears to the perineum, labia, vagina, vulva, clitoris, cervix, rectum, anus, or urethra
  • Obstetric fistula (including vesicovaginal, colovaginal, and ureterovaginal)
  • Obstetric haematoma of pelvis
  • Post-partum uterine inversion
  • Pubic ramus fracture
  • Pudendal neuropathy
  • Ruptured uterus during labour
  • Symphysis pubis capsule or ligament tear

Pelvic health physiotherapists (including our team at Active Health) are able to treat all of the conditions listed above, however are only able to lodge the initial claim for some of the covered injuries. If this pertains to your situation your physio will advise you to see your medical provider (GP or specialist) to have the claim lodged, if this has not already been completed. You will still be able to access pelvic health physiotherapy using ACC Maternal Birth Injury coverage as long as your injury fits ACC’s criteria.

What happens next?

Once the ACC Maternal Birth Injury claim is approved, women can get the support they need from ACC, just like others with musculoskeletal injuries can. This support might include pelvic health physiotherapy, specialist treatment, support at home, or help with other costs. ACC are also offering traditional rongoā Māori healing services as a rehabilitation option. These services include mirimiri (bodywork), whitiwhiti korero (support and advice) and karakia (prayer). 

ACC Maternal Birth Injury coverage does not cover any of the listed injuries that occurred prior to 1 October 2022, episiotomies, pregnancy-related injuries or illness, maternal birth injuries not listed, or injury to the baby, although they may be eligible for treatment injury cover. They acknowledge this is difficult for those excluded by this change and encourage mothers who may have experienced a maternal birth injury that is not listed or which occurred before 1 October 2022, to please talk to their midwife, doctor or primary care provider about support available. 

As Melissa Davison (Pelvic Health Specialist Physiotherapist) reported in her interview with RadioNZ “This is life changing for these women. The more we talk about it, the more the taboo will get lifted and the more women will seek treatment. And while some of these injuries are common, they are not normal and they are treatable. So the more words we get out there to say ‘hey, we can help, it’s effective’, the better it is for women.”

More information on this Maternal Birth Injury coverage may be found HERE on the ACC website.

Our team of Pelvic Health Physiotherapists at Active Health are ready to help all women recover, rehabilitate and be their best. If you are unsure whether your injury is covered or would like to chat about your situation or book an appointment you may contact our team at Active Health 03-383-6290.

Why every new Mum deserves postnatal physiotherapy.

Why every new Mum deserves postnatal physiotherapy.

Physiotherapy following childbirth is designed to assist with recovery of the pelvic floor and core, along with the rest of the body and health in general. The initial 3 months following childbirth is referred to as the ‘4th trimester’, and during this time it is essential to allow the body to recover from pregnancy and childbirth. During pregnancy posture must change to accommodate for the beautiful wee baby growing inside. The ribs widen as the heart increases by 50% of its normal size and the ligaments soften to allow the body to stretch. The muscle activity around the pelvis changes as the pelvic position changes. This is a normal process and a clever way the body adapts to have a child. The pelvic floor is a group of muscles that sit like a trampoline in the base of the pelvis. With the increased weight of the baby resting on the pelvic floor it also undergoes some stretch throughout pregnancy.
post natal physio near me

Changes to the pelvic floor during birth.

During a vaginal delivery, or attempted vaginal delivery, the muscles and nerves stretch significantly to allow the passage of the baby from the inside to the outside. The pelvic floor is designed to stretch to 250% of its resting length, much more stretch than any other muscle of the body. However, depending on the circumstances of the delivery, that stretch to the tissues may be temporary but sometimes if there is a greater degree of stretch, a longer duration of stretch or the need to use instruments such as forceps, the tissues may be injured and not be able to return to their predelivery state. Due to the constantly changing circumstances of each mother’s labour and delivery it is possible to injure other structures around the pelvis during vaginal deliveries such as the pelvic bones, the tailbone, the nerves and the tissues that hold the pelvic organs inside the body. For those who have a caesarean section delivery the pelvic floor has undergone the stress of the pregnancy. There may have been stress to the vaginal and pelvic floor tissues and muscles if a vaginal delivery was initially attempted, and then in order to access the baby for delivery the abdominal wall tissues and muscles are injured as they are cut to access the baby therefore also need time to heal and recover. We know the scar takes at least 3 months to heal to a reasonable strength when it can then start tolerating more stress and loading. Due to these significant effects on the structures around the pelvic floor and pelvis it is very important to allow time for these injured tissues to recover follow childbirth, and to rehabilitate them in a safe manner. Pelvic health physios can help to guide women in this recovery, as well as check if there has been injury to the pelvic floor muscles or other structures during childbirth. Allowing the appropriate time to recover and rehabilitate from the normal adaptions from pregnancy, childbirth and the potential injuries that may have occurred is beneficial to optimize recovery and to address any symptoms or difficulties women may be having in the 4th trimester, but also to reduce the risk of pelvic health problems later in life. Pelvic floor physical therapy has been proven to reduce the risk of pelvic organ prolapse, urinary, bowel, and sexual dysfunction and pelvic pain.
post pregnancy physiotherapy

When to begin Pelvic Health Physiotherapy;

It is highly recommended to start pelvic floor physiotherapy around 6 weeks following delivery. This is to screen for any potential injuries, and to help to guide recovery including exercise and return to sports and fitness whether your goal is circus performing, running 5km or 50km. Having said that, it is never too late to see a pelvic floor physio. Many pelvic health symptoms that occur after having children and are often thought to be a ‘normal’ consequence are in fact common but not normal. They are a sign of pelvic floor dysfunction and often respond very well to pelvic health physiotherapy. A good example of this is leaking when you cough, sneeze or jump on a trampoline- this is common but not normal!

Postpartum physio can also help with:

    • Difficulty peeing or emptying the bladder, leakage of urine, and bladder urgency or frequency
    • Constipation, difficulty with bowel movements, and leakage of bowels
    • Painful sex, diminished or absent orgasm
    • Separation of the abdominal muscles
    • Restoring core function and strength of the abdominals and pelvic floor
    • Pelvic floor and pelvic girdle, low back, and hip pain
    • Caesarean section and episiotomy scar tissue and pain
    • Pelvic organ prolapse prevention and/or treatment
    • Eliminate pain from trauma to the pelvic floor and muscles
    • Reduce pain from nerve damage in the pelvic and pelvic floor
Postnatal physiotherapy helps with this and really should be a standard part of our healthcare as it is in France! As a profession we are excited that the upcoming ACC Maternal Birth Injury coverage will improve access for many new mothers to undergo postnatal rehabilitation- more on that in our next post. Our Pelvic Health Physiotherapy team at Active Health are here to help you recover and live your best life! Call us at 03-383-6290 to see one of our team.
Meet our Pelvic Health Physiotherapy team

Meet our Pelvic Health Physiotherapy team

Active Health Canterbury and Rangiora are excited to introduce you to our new look Pelvic Health Physiotherapy team who bring a wealth of education and experience to this exciting and expanding area of physiotherapy. With the range of experience of our pelvic health physios we are proud to offer quality care in all aspects of Women’s, Men’s and Pelvic Health from care during pregnancy and the postnatal period, to management for bladder, bowel, prolapse and sexual concerns, through to more complex conditions such as pelvic pain, pelvic cancer and pessary fittings. All of our Pelvic Health physios have a solid background in musculoskeletal physiotherapy and have completed specific training in pelvic health physiotherapy. Our team are all passionate at enabling women and men to safely return to activities and sports they love following events or conditions that may have limited their ability such as childbirth, surgery, or the onset of pelvic health symptoms.

Meet our team…..

pelvic physiotherapist

Jo Dowle;

Jo joins the team with a wealth of experience and education in the area of pelvic health, both in the private setting and from within the public system. With her solid background in musculoskeletal physio, Jo is able to thoroughly investigate symptomatic dysfunctions from both inside and outside the pelvis and apply education, manual therapy and exercise to address her patients’ symptoms and functional limitations. Jo has had much experience working with pregnant and post-natal ladies and has a special interest in helping women return to exercise or higher-level sports after childbirth. Jo has also undergone training to fit a range of pessaries for both prolapse and stress incontinence and works with the patient’s healthcare provider to ensure this is done safely. Fun fact about Jo: Jo lived in Nepal for 2 years and worked with leprosy patients.

Jacqui Bath;

Jacqui Bath has wide ranging experience as a physio and has treated a range of clients from high level athletes playing contact sports to physical facilitation rehabilitation programs with the more elderly. She has extensive experience as a musculoskeletal physio and since having her own children, she has also completed further training to become a Womens’ and Pelvic Health physiotherapist. Jacqui has a special interest in core stability and strengthening, including Pilates and incorporates this into preparing her patients to return to exercise and sports. Jacqui has completed a Postgraduate Diploma in Public Health, focusing on health promotion and prevention, Hauora Māori and promoting healthy active lifestyles. Fun fact about Jacqui: Jacqui was one of the first women in New Zealand to referee rugby.

Ashley Briscoe;

Ashley Briscoe has recently moved back to her hometown of Christchurch after working in private practice in Auckland. Ashley has done multiple pelvic health courses and enjoys combining her pelvic health and musculoskeletal skills to empower and motivate her clients back into doing those things they enjoy after childbirth or pelvic injuries. At Birthcare in Auckland Ashley worked with women soon after childbirth educating and guiding women on postpartum recovery and safe return to exercise. Ashley is currently studying towards a Diploma in Pain Management with a focus on pelvic pain at the University of Otago. She particularly enjoys working with lower back, pelvic, glute and hip pain, again utilizing her pelvic health and musculoskeletal skills. Fun fact: Ashley has three schnauzers aged 3 months, 6 years and 7 years.

Susan Larson;

Susan Larson is Active Health’s team lead for Pelvic Health and Cancer Rehab, with a Postgraduate Certificate in Pelvic Health and is a Certified Cancer rehabilitation Physio. She enjoys sharing knowledge gained from her extensive experience and education in pelvic health, cancer rehab and musculoskeletal physiotherapy with her team and enjoys working in a close team environment with others who share her passion for pelvic health. Susan’s area of special interest is rehabilitation of pelvic cancers, including gynecologic, prostate and colorectal cancers. Fun fact: Susan has jumped off 3 bridges, out of 2 planes, and climbed 21 14,000ft mountain peaks.