You and your partner are expecting a little one… congratulations! Knowing that you’ll be bringing life into the world truly is a blessing; you’re probably counting the days until you meet the newest member of the family, right? Of course you are! But, then again… you’re also desperately counting sheep… night after night, after night. While your partner sleeps soundly next to you, you’re rubbing your belly and your back, trying anything short of whiskey to fall asleep. Hey… pregnancy is a rollercoaster, and falling asleep later in the process can be an uphill battle. Don’t be too hard on yourself! In this post, then, we have a look at why sleep eludes you the closer you get to labor, and we also dive into the ways in which you can overcome the discomfort, stop counting sheep, and get a good night’s rest. Sound good? Let’s get started!
Forget about the food cravings, aching feet, and bouts of tears – pregnancy can wreak absolute havoc on our hormones, bodies, and general wellbeing. We eat too much ice cream, find ourselves crying during Disney movies, and fight the urge to spend our entire salary on Amazon. In all seriousness, though, pregnancy is a very interesting time for the body, and one of the areas most affected during this time is sleep – this is particularly true during the last few months of pregnancy. In order to understand why, though, we need to have a quick look at some of the changes experienced whilst carrying a child:
I already mentioned the ice-cream, right? Well, pregnancy goes hand-on-hand with a bit of extra weight: not only do your hormones dictate that you increase your calorie intake in order to provide nutrients to your unborn, they also ensure that you’re maintaining a steady level of regulatory chemicals in the blood stream. Sometimes, though, the body craves unhealthy snacks and junk-food, all of which can cause imbalances and cause weight gain. Here’s the crux, though: weight gain can lead to disturbed sleep in the form of sleep apnea and general discomfort. The body isn’t used to rapid weight gain as experienced during pregnancy, so sleep quantity and quality may suffer.
While there is so much joy in the expectation of a baby, anxiety can often accompany pregnancy. The pressure of a child on the way often affects mom’s mood and behaviors, oftentimes leaving her feeling listless, down, and anxious. Of course, chemistry once again plays a role, here, with hormone levels fluctuating during pregnancy. The more anxious one is, the less peaceful sleep can be: disturbed dreams, nightmares, and general night-time anxiety can cause a wave of insomnia.
Alongside weight gain and depression, back pain can also surface as a result of pregnancy. Not only does the baby bump add a little more pressure on the back, but posture and gait are both affected, too. And yes, that’s right… back pain can easily cause disturbed sleep or, in many cases, no sleep at all!
Ah… you know what this feels like, right? You finally found a comfortable spot and then you get the unavoidable urge to move your legs… it’s annoying, right? Well, when you’re pregnant and trying to fall asleep, restless legs can be one of the worst afflictions out there. The pain associated with forcing yourself not to move is unbearable, but every movement drags you further away from dreamland. It’s a catch-22!
Because the digestive system slows down in the later stages of pregnancy, heartburn is a common issue for many women. The distinct burning sensation associated with heartburn can leave you feeling out of sorts, not to mention wide awake!
All these changes obviously directly affect the quantity, quality, and ease of sleep. And when sleep is neglected, the above issues become exacerbated: it’s a dangerous cycle. Happily, there is a way out. It stands to reason that, if the above changes are regulated via healthful, safe methods, then your sleep quality and quantity will return. So, here’s how you can make that happen:
Proper Pillows for Support
Be sure to be properly supported during sleep: use a pillow under your stomach and ensure that you place one between your knees so as to support your spine. Not only will you feel more secure during the night, but you’ll also be alleviating your back pain.
Stretches Before Bed
Stretching will help your muscles relax before bed; it will also ensure that you’re able to let go of the built up tension from the daytime hours. Stretching primes your body for bedtime and gives you a good foundation to tackle the night ahead.
Ensure that a strict routine is followed before bed; eliminate screen time, drink an herbal tea, and read or listen to a podcast. Repeat the same routine each night so as to form relatable, lasting habits that set you up for success.
Reduce sugar, fizzy drinks, and processed food – focus on healthy protein and vegetables. Opt for healthier snack where possible and satiate your cravings by getting creative in the kitchen.
Drink Plenty of Water
Water is a must during your pregnancy and beyond! Not only does it help eliminate harmful chemicals from the body, but it regulates blood sugars and hormones, too. So, get drinking! You need to drink between 1.5L to 2L of water per day.
If you’re struggling to fall asleep and you find the idea of getting into bed for the night daunting, then we invite you reach out to one of our professional, friendly physical therapists, right now. You may be surprised to know that physical therapy is about so much more than aching muscles; in fact, with physical therapy you could be accessing the best sleep of your life, even during your pregnancy. During physical therapy, you’ll learn about the best posture during your slumber, the best ways to stretch during your pregnancy, and ways in which to exercise and stay active so as to tackle both mental and physical slumps. Physical therapy is the safest way to access restful sleep not only while pregnant, but well into the future, too.
If you’re tired of counting sheep and staring at the same spot of wallpaper night after night, then it’s time to make a change. We hope the above tips have given you a good place to start from, and should you have any other questions please don’t hesitate to contact us. We want the best for both you and your child, and we certainly want you to sleep well! So, we look forward to hearing from you!
How many times have you run that mile? How many times have you looked at your stopwatch and sighed at the missed minutes or seconds on the clock? Sport performance is an incredibly powerful driving force for athletes, and when minutes and seconds become indicators of success, making the most of every movement, every muscle, and every intentional stride, means the difference between winning and falling short. Fitness, strength, flexibility, mobility, and precision… these are but a few of the things involved in sport performance. In this post, we’re looking at the ways in which physical therapy can exponentially boost your sports performance. That’s right! It’s not all about back disks and joint pain… physical therapy can be the different between a good run, length, ski, or jump, and a great one. Let’s see how!
Back pain is an elusive beast… it can strike at any moment and can often leave us feeling debilitated for weeks, months, or even years if nothing is done about it. In fact, back pain is so widespread it’s now considered one of the most common issues around the globe. What’s truly interesting is that, while so many people suffer from back pain in one form or another, no pain is similar – how about that? Yet, while no individual is the same, one thing may very well be a common denominator in all cases: poor quality and quantity of sleep. Yes, that’s right. Poor sleep may in fact directly contribute to back pain in various ways. In this post, then, we look at why sleep is important, how a lack of sleep can cause and/or aggravate back pain, and ways in which you can get back to getting some shut eye so as to alleviate your discomfort. Are you ready? Let’s go!
Why is sleep so important? Well, during the hours of sleep our bodies have a chance to heal and to reenergize – muscles, nerves, and joints all have time to re-set and take some time to regroup. Sleep regulates blood pressure, mood, alertness, brain responses, immune system responses, weight control, and so much more. And for these reasons, it’s clear that a lack of sleep may adversely affect you… not least when it comes to back pain.
But why is a lack of sleep particularly bad when it comes to back pain? Well, as mentioned, sleeping hours give the body a chance to recover from the exertions from the day before: muscles relax, blood flow is regulated, and the immune system is given an opportunity to see to any nagging issues that are present. If sleep quality and quantity is disrupted, therefore, the body is unable to do many – if any – of those things, and your tissues, joints, muscles, and nerves are neglected. Because the back and spinal cord are the veritable epicenter of your nervous system for the majority of your body, it stands to reason that a lack of sleep will eventually culminate in back pain – the body has a unique way of centralizing stress placed on it in the back, and in very few ways is this less obvious as when it comes to being tired.
In addition, being tired means you’re less aware of your posture and movements, thereby constantly placing your back in vulnerable and compromising positions. You may be unaware of the way in which you’re walking, sitting, or carrying heavy objects. You may also not be particularly aware of twisting in the spine or pressure placed on it in the form of carrying a backpack, for example. Mental alertness – gained from a good night’s sleep – will help you make positive decisions for your back. The opposite is true if you’re tired and fatigued.
And let’s face it: back pain is very rarely centralized – over time, your back pain may very well turn into neck, shoulder, or even hip pain… not to mention headaches! It’s an ongoing, often debilitating cycle… all of which is facilitated by poor quality sleep.
So, what can be done? The first thing to do is to take a serious look at precisely why you are getting sub-par sleep quality and quantity. You ought to aim for a good 8 hours of sleep so as to reap the most benefits possible. If you’re falling short of this, try thinking about the following:
Are you stretching enough?
Stretching before bed can make all the difference: from lubricating your joints to easing the pent-up stress in your muscles, a good bedtime stretch routine is essential for a good night’s rest.
Do you have the proper pillow?
Ensure that your pillow supports your neck and spinal cord correctly – if you’re unsure, please reach out to a physical therapist for help and information.
Are you sleeping in the correct position?
Stomach sleepers, beware! Avoid sleeping on your stomach at all costs, as the pressure placed on your back can be immense. Instead, sleep on your side with a pillow between your knees and ankles to support your spine.
What’s your bedtime routine like?
Ensure that the hour or so before bed is dominated by a healthful routine: read a book, drink some herbal tea, listen to some music, or mediate. Avoid screens if possible – all this will mean you have a much better quality of sleep simply because you primed your body to relax.
Are you drinking enough water?
Avoid stiffness and aches by drinking enough water throughout the day: dehydration can cause disturbed sleep, whilst an increase in blood pressure caused by a lack of water may very well add to your back pain in the long run.
Are you dealing with your stress?
Stress can and will affect your sleep quality and quantity if you let it: be sure to meditate, practice yoga, walk, or read so as to relieve some of the stress of the day. Never take your stress to bed.
Back pain can spell the end of a successful training routine, the beginning of bad moods, and the potential ruin of your relationships and activity levels. It’s absolutely vital that you find the root cause of your back pain so as to start getting back to the things you love. One way to do this is to take a good look at your sleep patterns. Physical therapy is a fantastic option if you’re ready to get to the bottom of your sleep problems and back pain. By finding and treating the root cause, assessing your sleeping patterns, giving you exercises and stretches to do at home, and advising you on the best sleep-posture and bedtime routine for you, physical therapy will make all the difference. If you’ve not considered physical therapy, now’s your chance!
Don’t let a bad night’s sleep steal one more day from you. For more information and for advice on how we can help you with your sleep and back pain, why not contact one of our professional, friendly physical therapists right now? We look forward to hearing from you!
If you suffer from arthritis, winter is less a call for celebration, snowball fights, and snuggly evenings on the sofa, and more a cause of worry, anxiety and – sadly – pain. Colder weather seems to usher in a worsening of arthritic symptoms, and the winter months can often leave those suffering from its effects with low moods, bed bound, and even worse off than they were a year ago. So in this post, we’re looking at exactly why colder weather affects arthritic joints, how you can avoid the pain associated with this, and ultimately, how you can move forward knowing that the colder months will no longer be a cause of anxiety in your life. Let’s get started.
We all know the feeling… it’s cold outside, the bed is a lot warmer than the yoga mat, and your willpower is as close to zero as it can get. Making it to the gym feels the same as scaling Mount Everest at this point, and to be honest, you’d much rather just stay in bed for the rest of the day. And as if that wasn’t bad enough, the pandemic means the gym probably isn’t even open… so, the workout is put on the backburner, right? Wrong! Working out at home this winter – particularly during these unprecedented times – can actually be really fun! And no, you don’t need to rush out and buy a treadmill or spinning bike… you can just keep reading this blog for tips, advice, and motivation to get you out of bed, into your sport socks, and back to living a healthy, fit, pain free life! No equipment needed!
If you’re like me, then you’re still in a daze – rubbing your eyes, stepping out of 2020 like a sleepwalker. A whole year has flown past – elections, pandemics, your mom’s Thanksgiving turkey… where did the time go? Equally, too, like me you’re probably thinking of ways to make 2021 great – and no, I don’t mean knitting a sweater or learning how to DJ at the local club… I mean ways for you to get healthy, happy, and living the life you dream of! I’d like to help you with that, and so that’s why this post is all about making the right decisions for your health, for achieving the pain free life you deserve, and for making lasting resolutions that extend beyond January second. This year is going to be great, so let’s chat about how exactly you can live your best life, right now.
As a physical therapist, I can honestly say that there are few words as frequently said in my field as ‘sciatica’. So, then, isn’t it odd how such an every-day ailment can be so shrouded in mystery for most people? In fact, do you really know what it is? Sciatica is actually one of the most common forms of back, leg, and hip pain around, and yet it remains incomprehensible to many. So, as an early holidays present, I wanted to take this opportunity to talk about what sciatica is, what some of the hidden causes of this affliction may be, and how it can be treated. Ready? Let’s jump in!
There’s something about driving, isn’t there? The long roads, the beautiful landscapes, great music on the stereo, and back pain. Wait, what? Back pain? Yes, that’s right. While we all love taking long road trips with loved ones, or indulging in the much-needed down-time on our drive to the take out, driving can take an unanticipated physical toll. On that note, the festive season is upon us and it’s my guess that the gas tank is full and you’ve already packed your elf costume for a visit to grandma’s, right? Well, in that case, you best keep reading. I’m here to tell you all about why you get back pain when driving and what you can do to avoid it. Let’s jump straight in!
Stress can be a killer: from making you lose sleep, to raising your blood pressure and alienating loved ones, it can have a massive impact on not only your mental wellbeing, but your physical health, too. Stress places pressure on your heart, tightens your muscles and causes you to lose flexibility and mobility over time, too; stress can literally rob you of your independence in many ways. This post comes at a time where each and every one of us – globally – has had to deal with more stress overall, and juggling the COVID-19 pandemic, financial pressure, and trying to maintain our physical health, has been taking a serious toll. In this post, then, we offer you some guidelines for dealing with stress – we hope these tips will promote a better, relaxed lifestyle, a healthier body, and a happier you. Follow along and try your best to implement them throughout your day. Here we go!
What do you think about when I say the following: “Core Strength”? It’s natural to think of your core as just your abdominal muscles – surfer ‘6 packs’ and ‘washboard abs’. It’s natural to want that, too! But, what if I told you that core strength is something entirely different? What if it isn’t about having the perfect beach body or wearing a bikini like a model? What if core strength is about being strong… not so that you can pick up boulders, but so that you can stay mobile for longer? That’s exactly what this post is all about: we’re giving you the low down on what core strength is, why it’s important, and how you can achieve it. Stay tuned – here we go!
As the summer fades and the cooler weather sweeps in, the trees begin to change and so do our mind-sets. Whilst we may indulge in a few more takeout nights, or drink one or two more hot chocolates, many people also venture outside to do more outdoors activities. Hiking, walking, and a general movement away from the cities into nature seems to be a common theme for the fall months. With this general influx of interest in movement and fitness, we thought it would be a good time to give you some information on why being outdoors is healthy. We want you to know how it actually boosts not only our physical bodies, but our minds and mental wellbeing, too. So, let’s jump straight in!
Hiking season is here! As the trees change color and you start turning the heating in your homes up, many of us are heading out into the woods and mountains for intrepid hikes and camping adventures. And yet, how many of us do it safely? It’s fair to say that most of those who put on their boots and grab a backpack don’t really know if they’re doing things safely, let alone why it’s important to know if they are! Luckily, we’re here to help. In this post, then, we cover all things hiking – from bags, to shoes, to water… we’ve got it all. So, stay tuned!
Are you thinking of getting knee or hip replacement surgery? Ask yourself these three questions first!
So, you’re thinking about knee or hip replacement surgery… it’s a big decision. Alongside getting a mortgage, starting a family, and walking your children down the aisle, major surgery is one of the biggest decisions you’ll make in your lifetime. And yet… have you thought about it much? Have you thought about what surgery will mean for you in the future, for your family, or for your mobility? There’s a lot at stake. It takes careful consideration, and oftentimes you’ll need to ask yourself some hard hitting questions. We know it isn’t easy, and it can feel as though you just don’t know where to start. But, don’ worry, we’re here to help. Keep reading to see three of the most important questions you need to ask yourself before undergoing knee or hip replacement surgery.
As we move through these unprecedented times, we’re faced with new issues every day. These teething problems may include installing a hand-wash timer in the bathroom, packing the dishwasher more often, or planning meals further in advance than you normally would. One other problem that may not have caught your attention yet is back health. Working from home, and spending so much more time on the sofa or in bed, can wreak havoc on your back in the long term. It’s absolutely vital that you take care of your back and prevent low back pain from taking hold in your life. Luckily, we’re here to help. Take a look at some of these helpful tips to stave of low back pain and keep you fit and healthy as you tackle the other, non-physical issues around you.
Do you ever feel as though nothing will ever help you get rid of your pain? Have you suffered for so long that you’ve just started to accept your pain as a burden you’re destined to carry? Many people feel the way you do, and these feelings are often compounded by the fact that everything you’ve tried has failed. Painkillers just cover up the issue, massages don’t work, hot packs only bring relief for a few precious minutes, and that brace… well… you’d rather get rid of it. But perhaps the worst thing of all is the fact that physical therapy has also not worked for you – you thought it would help you out of your pain, but it just left you feeling desperate.
"We Help Active Adults & Athletes Get Rid of Frustration, Get Off The Couch, & Get Back to Running, Lifting, & Playing The Sports That They Love, Without The Need Of Painkillers, Injections, Or Surgery."