Wednesday 29 January 2014

Exercises for strength and balance are better than stretching, for preventing injury

Strength training and balance exercises are more likely to help prevent sports injuries than stretching, a new look at the evidence suggests.
"If you could do some kind of strength training ... that would be our best (recommendation) for now. But we need more studies to confirm these results in order to be totally sure," said Jeppe Lauersen, who led the review of past studies at the Institute of Sports Medicine Copenhagen at Bispebjerg Hospital in Denmark.
The researchers combined data from studies that randomly assigned people, mostly adult or teenage athletes, to groups that either completed certain exercises or did not. The studies followed participants to see who got injured over periods ranging from months to a year.
The final analysis included 25 trials and more than 26,000 participants, including soccer, basketball and handball players and army recruits.
Some of the studies tracked all possible injuries. Others had a more specific focus, for example, looking only at hamstring injuries or knee injuries related to overuse. Overall, researchers analyzed close to 3,500 injuries.
Lauersen and his colleagues found three studies that looked at stretching programs and showed no benefit for averting injury.
The limited data "do not support the use of stretching for injury prevention purposes, neither before or after exercise."

Br J Sports Med 2013.

Monday 20 January 2014

Chewing gum may be the cause of headaches

Treating some headaches in children may be a simple matter of getting them to stop chewing gum!
A new study suggests that excessive gum chewing may be an important but under-recognised trigger for headaches in older children.
Researchers believe that excessive gum chewing causes headache not through the ingestion of aspartame from the gum, as has been previously suggested, but by putting undue exertion on the temporomandibular joint (TMJ).
For this study, 30 youngsters (25 girls)were recruited, ranging in age from 6 to 19 years, who had recurrent episodes or chronic headache and were daily gum chewers. Their headaches were classified as migrainous (60%) or tension-type (40%).
Patients filled out a questionnaire that included information on medical and neurologic history, headache characteristics, family history of headaches, and known headache triggers. Researchers divided the participants into 4 groups according to gum chewing duration: up to 1 hour a day, 1 to 3 hours a day, 3 to 6 hours a day, and more than 6 hours a day.
Study participants were asked to stop gum chewing for a month. After this discontinuation, 26 patients responded (19 had complete resolution of headaches and 7 had some improvement in headache frequency and intensity). No improvement occurred in 4 patients.
The duration of symptoms before stopping gum chewing did not play a role in the clinical response. Some children who reported full or significant improvement had experienced chronic headaches for up to 6 years.
Patients were then asked to renew their gum chewing habit to the same extent as before discontinuation. All 20 of the 26 patients who first reported complete or partial headache relief and who reintroduced gum chewing reported relapse, within a week, of headaches of similar intensity as before they discontinued the chewing habit.
Research shows common headache triggers include weather, stress, menstruation, frequent travel, sleep disturbances, perfume, and lights. Triggers in children appear similar to those in adults, although they may also be vulnerable to video games, environmental noise, exposure to smoke, and school book reading. Specific foods, such as chocolate, alcoholic drinks, and cheese, are also associated with headaches.
Headache has been shown to be associated with and be provoked by TMJ dysfunction. Chewing gum, as well as other oral habits (such as excessive nail biting and teeth grinding), imposes a mechanical burden on the joint.
Pediatric Neurology. 2013;50:69-72. Abstract
To find out more about the physiotherapy services we can offer to help with any TMJ problems please contact us today for more information and to book an appointment.

Tuesday 14 January 2014

Exercise and Dementia

Recent research says that keeping fit especially in middle age reduces the risk of dementia.

20,000 adults were looked at mostly in their 40s and 50s using a treadmill exercise. Up to 9% went on to develop dementia and 36% of the most fit were less likely to go onto develop dementia than those with a lower fitness level.

To find out more about the physiotherapy services we can offer to help you with exercise and keeping healthy please contact us today for more information and to book an appointment.

Annals of Internal Medicine 2013

Monday 13 January 2014

Exercise and fall prevention

A recent systematic review of research related to fall-prevention programmes was undertaken. Fall prevention exercise programmes aimed at improving balance, gait, functional training, strength, flexibility, coordination and endurance will all benefit individuals. They will help with increasing muscle strength and improving reflexes which will help protect and strengthen bones.

People who follow specialist exercise programmes are less likely to fall and will have less severe injuries if they do.

To find out more about the physiotherapy services we can offer to help you with  exercise and keeping healthy please contact us today for more information and to book an appointment.

BMJ 2013; To view this research paper go to