Strategy for Chronic Pain Management

Strategy for Chronic Pain Management

Recently the government released a document on a nationwide strategy on pain management. Pain (especially chronic) is prevalent, yet misunderstood. There’re many current flaws leading sufferers to be neglected, ultimately leading to non empirical options such as opioid use. In regards to Opioid use, we now have strong evidence that it leads to poor outcomes. The national strategic plan is a thirty-two page document. So I will iNform you on the relevant key points from an exercise physiology perspective. 

Key point one: 

Chronic pain from a medical perspective was not classed on its own as a specific condition. When seeking a team care arrangement (TCA) from a general practitioner (GP) you would have to have an accompanying comorbid condition to be eligible, which is a sadistic oxymoron. A comorbid condition such as type two diabetes mellitus for example. Secondly, living with chronic pain is terribly difficult without the appropriate resources and social support. Along with access to evidence based care which is lacking in some states in Australia. The aforementioned strategy is advising to include chronic pain as a specific medical condition. With eligibility to access a TCA which is fantastic news! And which brings me to my second key point.

Key point two: 

Team care arrangements (TCA) are medical resources for certain populations whom are eligible for five appointments with an allied health practitioner through the Medicare benefits scheme (MBS). The premise of the five appointments is to access support and guidance to manage and optimistically ameliorate one’s chronic condition. Now, allied health professionals have been stern over the years that five rebatable appointments are well below par to make any inroads and psychophysiological change. It was only recently due to the COVID-19 pandemic that a mental health care plan was extended from ten appointments to twenty via the MBS. And most would argue that twenty appointments with a psychologist for a complex psychological issue is only minor at best, however is a good start. It is proposed that ten appointments will be issued with the aforementioned strategic plan which again is progression albeit insignificant to guide and implement real change.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m an optimist. When you’re in the field of chronic pain you see suffering, you empathise deeply and you require more time and resources to help. 

To gain access to the national strategic plan for pain management. Readers can access via the painaustralia.org.au page. 

About the Author

Steve Davis from the Adelaide Show Podcast takes Max Martin to find people wanting to do exercise physiology in Magill

Steve Davis from the Adelaide Show Podcast takes Max Martin to find people wanting to do exercise physiology in Magill

At the top of Magill Road, iNform Health and Fitness Solutions is now well established, so the team is looking to invite a few more clients to choose the Magill Road studio as their base for exercise physiology in Magill.

To that end, Steve Davis from The Adelaide Show Podcast dropped by to see Max Martin and take him on a tongue-in-cheek tour of the area to find new clients.

For many years, Max Martin and Dr Nathan Harten, contributed a segment to the popular podcast called The Made To Move Minute.

With iNform Health and Fitness Solutions now expanded to three practices, Steve thought it would be fun to drop by and give the Magill clinic a nudge, especially because he lives in the area and now called the Magill studio his local.

iNform’s centre for exercise physiology in Magill is based at 500 Magill Road, Magill, and shares the building with Move For Better Health.

As you’ll see in the video, Steve cheekily suggests that Max could approach teachers UniSA at Magill, bowlers from the Tranmere Tennis and Bowling Club, and GPs and patients from Magill Family Practice, across the road.

If you want a “proper” introduction to the studio, click here for location and staff details and Max’s walkthrough of iNform Health Magill.

Steve Davis takes Max Martin on a tour to find people wanting to do exercise physiology in Magill

Steve Davis from the Adelaide Show Podcast takes Max Martin to find people wanting to do exercise physiology in Unley

Steve Davis from the Adelaide Show Podcast takes Max Martin to find people wanting to do exercise physiology in Unley

With iNform Health and Fitness Solutions Malvern now well established, the team is looking to invite a few more clients to choose the Unley Road studio as their base for exercise physiology in Unley.

To that end, Steve Davis from The Adelaide Show Podcast dropped by to see Max Martin and take him on a tongue-in-cheek tour of the area to find new clients.

For many years, Max Martin and Dr Nathan Harten, contributed a segment to the popular podcast called The Made To Move Minute.

With iNform Health and Fitness Solutions now expanded to three practices, Steve thought it would be fun to drop by and give the Malvern clinic a nudge, especially because he grew up nearby in Clifton Street.

iNform’s centre for exercise physiology in Unley is based at 277 Unley Road, Malvern, and shares the building with Move For Better Health.

As you’ll see in the video, Steve cheekily suggests that Max could approach teachers from Walfold Anglican School For Girls, residents and workers at Living Choice Fullarton Retirement Centre, and even the Mayor, councillors, and council and library staff at the City Of Unley.

If you want a “proper” introduction to the studio, click here for location and staff details and Max’s walkthrough of iNform Health Malvern.

Steve Davis takes Max Martin on a tour to find people wanting to do exercise physiology in Unley

The science behind why exercise is beneficial for individuals with cancer

The science behind why exercise is beneficial for individuals with cancer

Exercise as a cancer therapy

Over the past few years, exercise has emerged as a potential therapy (in conjunction with other standard treatments) to help delay cancer progression, reduce recurrence risk, and improve overall survival. Did you know that physical activity has been linked to between 30-60% risk reduction in cancer-specific mortality?

 

The mechanisms for the beneficial effect of exercise on cancer is complex and multifaceted. Here are a few ways exercise can work (in no particular order):

 

1. Improved immune system function

A good immune system is necessary to slow cancer growth. In fact, there is a whole type of treatment which aims to increase fight from your immune system called immunotherapy. Excitingly, aerobic exercise has been shown to increase the production of immune cells (i.e. natural killer cells), and infiltrate these cells into tumours. Natural killer cells can produce an approximate 60% reduction in tumour incidence. These immune cells are mobilised within minutes of your exercise starting, and maximal mobilisation of these immune cells is achieved after 30 minutes of exercise. This essentially means you need to have small doses often to get the best effects. Exercise once per week may not cut it. Exercise may also positively affect immune cell activity through muscle contraction-induced release of beneficial immune cells.

 

2. Increased blood flow to a tumour

The region surrounding a tumour is typically low in oxygen (hypoxic) because the body is not able to deliver enough oxygen amidst the disorganised and poorly working vessel structure of a tumour. During exercise, blood flow increases all over our body, including around any tumours. If we keep exercising, we can improve how arteries, capillaries and veins work within and around the tumour. All of which increases the delivery of our body’s own cancer killer immune cells and therapeutic agents such as chemotherapy drugs, making treatments more effective.

 

3. Regulating the way our genes express to help fight cancer

Epigenetics is a big word for changes in the way our genes express in the body without actually changing our DNA sequence (all of the those A, C, T, G’s that we learnt in science classes). Epigenetic alterations are necessary for cancer cells to grow and divide; however, on the other hand, exercise can modify the way our genes express and regulate and reduce the growth of cancer cells. This is a fairly new discovery, and more research is needed to understand what types of exercise are more effective for different, ages, races and cancer types. Exciting none the less.

 

4. Inflammation reduction

Chronic inflammation is widely recognised to encourage tumour growth in several ways: (1) Suppresses programmed cell death (apoptosis). (2) Promote cell growth (proliferation). (3) Improve the ability to spread to nearby tissues as well as distant organs (metastasis). Exercise can play a large role in reducing inflammation via several processes.  Getting active can reduce pro-inflammatory markers (the bad ones) and increase the number of myokines (small secreted proteins that can reduce inflammation). All of which can prevent the growth of tumours.

Final thoughts

It must be noted that research is still evolving in this area. The effects of exercise on different cancer types still needs more time and research funds. We cannot definitely say exercise will have a significantly positive effect on every cancer and will not cure your cancer in isolation. However, it is clear that being active has so many benefits for cancer patients.

About The Author

If you would like to read more:

Exercise protects from cancer through regulation of immune function and inflammation (2017)

Mechanisms of Exercise in Cancer Prevention, Treatment, and Survivorship (2020)

The Exercise and Sports Science Australia position statement: Exercise medicine in cancer management (2019)

 

 

 

The 7 Best Upper Body Exercises (Or, My Favorite Upper Body Exercises)

The 7 Best Upper Body Exercises (Or, My Favorite Upper Body Exercises)

In this article I outlined what I think are the best 7 upper body exercises on the planet. Seriously, give them a go and watch the gains come rolling in!

Only last week I wrote an article outlining my 7 favorite lower body exercises.

So I figured I might as well do the same with some upper body exercises.

As I alluded to in that previous article, I have been training my upper body for a fairly long time (much longer than my lower body, to be honest…).

The term ‘meathead’ would be an apt description.

However, because of this, I have had the opportunity to experiment with a number of different exercises over the years. Some of which I have found some to be much better than others.

It is these exercises that I have then used with my clients (with great success, I might add) — and it is these exercises that I am now passing onto you.

So, without further ado — and in no particular order — what I believe to be the 7 best upper body exercises.

 

1. Landmine Press

Boy oh boy do I love me a landmine press.

While this great exercises is not as sexy as a bench press, nor as handsome as a bicep curl, it does offer one serious point of difference.

Functionality.

The landmine press is one of the few exercises that allows your shoulder blade to move freely during the pressing motion, and therefore replicating how it acts in real world settings.

This has obvious carryover to tasks of daily living and a myriad of upper body performance tasks (things like throwing comes to mind).

As a bonus, because the landmine can move laterally, this exercise also improves shoulder stability. This is important, as it can directly enhance shoulder health, while also preventing injuries.

Oh, and I should also mention that because your shoulder moves freely during this movement, it is super shoulder friendly — making it perfect for those of you with cranky shoulders.

 

2. Inverted Row

The inverted row is one of the few exercises that feature in most of my clients programs, most of the time.

And for good reason too.

The inverted row is a horizontal rowing variation that targets all of the muscles of the upper back. This makes it perfect for improving posture and reversing many of the nasty side effects that come with sitting.

As an added bonus, it can be performed on a number of different pieces of equipment, including in a squat rack, on a smith machine, or even using a TRX.

 

3. Push Up

You didn’t expect me to leave the push up off this list did you?

Good — because I simply couldn’t.

Like the landmine press, the push up allows your shoulder to move freely, which makes it very shoulder friendly.

With this in mind, when performed properly, the push up offers a great way to improve should stability, as well enhance core endurance and increase upper body strength.

The trick lies with making sure you perform them properly…

And finally, they can also be loaded easily with the addition of weight plates and bands (so no, they are not just a ‘beginner’ exercise…).

 

4. Single Arm Dumbbell Row

I have a very special place in my heart for dumbbell rows.

Not only are they a great way to increase upper body strength, enhance shoulder function, and improve posture (all simultaneously), but I am pretty sure they are the reason I put any muscle on my upper back when I first started training.

And really, isn’t that enough?

I personally like performing dumbbell rows with both feet firmly planted on the ground, while supporting my upper body on a bench. When done in this way they also increase core engagement, which can only be a good thing.

 

5. Chin Up

I can picture it now.

The year is 2036, and the zombie apocalypse is finally upon us. I sprint through the streets. Lungs burning, I seek any means of escape. A thousand pair of feet shuffle quickly behind me. Groans fill the air. The taste of fear is thick in my mouth.

The cold embrace of death inches closer by the second.

Then I see it.

Down an alley way to my left, a small balcony. Slightly above head height — I think I can make it.

I turn sharply, moving down the alley as fast as I can.

Launching myself up towards the ledge, I panic — I’m not going to make it.

Somehow my fingers make contact.

I manage to hang on.

With my feet scrambling and my heart pounding, I drag myself up, arms screaming all the while.

As I slide the final few inches, I feel a hand scrape the bottom of my shoe.

The angry shrieks of the undead ring in my ears.

I will live another day.

Thanks to chin ups.

In all seriousness, being able to perform even a single chin up with solid technique is a clear demonstration of upper body strength. It also means that you can control your own body through space, which is important when it comes to managing life on a daily basis.

More importantly, the chin up itself is great way to train all the muscles of your back, and it improves core stability.

In short, it makes you a strong and resilient human being.

 

 

6. Dumbbell Bench Press

I simply could not do it — I had to chuck in a bench press variation.

And while the dumbbell bench press is not quite as snazzy as a traditional barbell bench, it is arguably a much more readily available alternative.

The dumbbell bench press allows you to keep your shoulders in a nice neutral position, which makes it very shoulder friendly.

More importantly, it trains the muscles of the chest and hammers the triceps — so you know, beach muscles and stuff.

The strength developed in the bench press has a lot of carryover to various tasks of daily living (like getting yourself up from the floor) and a number of athletic based movements (think of Dustin Martins don’t argue).

In  short, its good.

Yeah, I guess I’m a fan.

 

7. Single Arm Cable Row

And last (but certainly not least) we have the single arm cable row.

If you have ever trained at iNform, then there is a very good chance that you have done one of these bad boys during a session.

They not only offer a great way to train all the muscles of your back, but they also require you to rotate your thoracic spine. This improves your thoracic mobility, which can help enhance shoulder health and reduce lower back pain.

Importantly, as the exercise is unilateral (AKA uses one arm at a time), it is also perfect for ironing out any strength asymmetries you may have.

Talk about bang-for-your-buck.

 

Take Home Message

And boom — there you have it — 7 of the best upper body exercises on the planet.

Chuck these in your program and watch all the gain train come rolling in.

About the Author

Outlifting Osteoporosis: Is Weight Training Good for Your Bones?

Outlifting Osteoporosis: Is Weight Training Good for Your Bones?

Is weight training good for your bones? Yes, it certainly is — if you implement it optimally of course. So find out how you can!

Over the last couple of weeks I have written a couple of articles describing how and why weight training is good for your joints (check them out here and here).

So I thought I might as well keep that ball rolling and answer a question that comes up more often than you might think: “is weight training good for your bones?”

 

What You Need to Know About Bone Health

Keeping your bones healthy and strong is pretty damn important.

I mean, if they become weak and brittle, then you are going to be at a much higher risk of incurring bone fractures and breaks.

Now this obviously not a good thing.

In fact, it can be an absolutely terrible thing.

I mean, while a fractured bone will be an uncomfortable experience for most, it can be a literal death sentence for some individuals (particularly those entering their golden years).

So, to put it simply, strong bones = healthy life.

 

Bone Health and Osteoporosis

Osteoporosis is a disease is typified by a significant reduction in bone density.

This occurs when your rate of bone production is outweighed by your rate of bone degradation (which i should mention is a normal process). In this scenario, your bones will become weak and brittle, in which you become much more susceptible to breaks and fractures.

Not good…

But here is the really scary thing: osteoporosis affects more than 700,000 Australians over 50 nationwide.

And no, that is not a typo.

More than 700,000.

For those of you playing at home, that’s a helluva lot of people.

 

Fighting Osteoporosis

Now, the good news is that osteoporosis (and the decline in bone density that precedes it) is not a death sentence.

In fact, there is a growing body of research clearly demonstrating that exercise can have a seriously positive impact on the health of your bones.

And of those types of exercise that appear to have the most benefit?

Well, encase the title of the article didn’t give it way, weight training appears to be king.

 

 

Is Weight Training Good for Your Bones?

Amazingly, progressive weight training has been shown to cause steady increases in bone mineral density. Importantly, this occurs in:

  • Healthy individuals,
  • People with diagnosed osteoporosis
  • Those at a high risk of developing osteoporosis

So, by simply weight training a few times per week, you can see some huge increases in your bone health.

This is not only going to significantly reduce your risk of developing osteoporosis in the long run, but will also limit your likelihood of experiencing bone breaks and fractures.

 

Optimising Weight Training to Improve Bone Health

You now know that weight training is the key to increasing the health of your bones. But there a few things that need to be considered here:

  • Heavy loads appear better at stimulating bone growth than lighter loads
  • Free weights that place load on the lower limbs and the spine appear most effective
  • You need to progressively increase loads as you get stronger, to continually force adaptation
  • Three sessions per week appears optimal

If you manage to adhere to these general rules, you can be guaranteed that you will see some good improvements in bone density.

 

Take Home Message

So, is weight training good for you bones? Yessir, it certainly is.

If you implement it optimally, of course.

With this in mind, weight training is something that should be performed by all individuals — especially those looking to improve bone health and stave off osteoporosis.

About the Author