On Valentines Day, Love & Frida

Valentines Day is a day to reflect on LOVE and on all the wonderful and unexpected ways that it comes into our lives. For example, in the form of a salt & pepper Schnauzer that was unexpectedly

Frida as a puppy

dropped on my doorstep by my sister two years ago. I fell in love with her instantly and we’ve pretty much been inseparable since.

Many of my patients have seen little Frida at the clinic. There is a rule that she stays in her bed while I’m working in the treatment room, but my patients love to conspire against me with her. I will often walk into the reception area to find Frida happily curled up in the lap of a farmer.

As far as Frida is concerned, there is no better place than Moora. She loves her morning walks around the paddock, especially if there’s been rain overnight and there are plenty of muddy puddles to splash through.

Usually, when I go cycling I have to leave Frida

Trying out our new K9 Sports Sack

at home but then I heard about K9 Sports Sacks which are designed to carry your furry friend on your back while you hike or cycle. So that’s what I’ve bought us for Valentines Day! At this stage we’ve only tried walking around with it but so far so good. We’ll tackle a bike ride together soon. Happy Valentines Day to everyone ~ Love Allie & Frida X

On Conditions I See in the Clinic

I’ve been a city girl all my life and before I worked in Moora I didn’t have a thorough understanding of the soft tissues injuries that result from farming work. Most of these conditions are the result of repetitive tasks that put stress on the same areas of muscle or joint over and over again.

Generally, the best way to manage soft tissue injuries or muscular pain is to rest the area and apply an ice pack. A heat pack can also help to relieve pain. However, it’s unlikely that our farmers are going to have a few hours rest & put their feet up to rest an injury during harvest. This puts pressure on me to improve soft tissue injuries in the shortest time possible.

Here is an overview of what my experience in Moora has taught me about soft tissue injuries:

Moora Chiropractors Charlene Lees & Allie Gledhill

  • Farmers Elbow: inflammation of the tendons at the elbow, usually from sheep work (this is like a tennis elbow but without the tennis). If treated early these respond well to a course of ultrasound therapy and supportive taping in conjunction with home exercises. Chronic cases can become very painful and may respond to a steroid injection.
  • Tractor Back: muscular aches & pains in the lower back muscles from bouncing around on the tractor. Deep tissue therapy is the key to getting these right, usually in conjunction with manipulation of the joints in the lower lumbar spine and the pelvis. This condition responds well to ongoing care, every 6 – 8 weeks depending on the severity of symptoms.
  • Tractor neck: results from always looking over the right shoulder whilst driving over an unstable surface i.e. a paddock. This sort of pain can refer from the neck muscles to the shoulder muscles and restrict movement considerably. It can also cause difficulty getting comfortable in bed at night. Tractor neck requires lots of deep tissue work around the shoulder & mobilisation of the joints in the cervical spine. Tractor neck seems to require less regular care than tractor back.
  • Header shoulder: this is a result of having the right arm held at 90 degrees while operating the joystick on the head. Again, this is tissue damage from the result of a repetitive task. If this develops into an impingement syndrome they can be tough to get right but they do respond well to ultrasound therapy & supportive taping. There are usually restrictions in the neck that require manipulation as well as in the mid back, between the shoulder blades. Thorough movement assessment and exercise prescription will help to reduce recovery time.

October Already

September was a busy month with everyone in the clinic getting away for holidays at some point. Now we’re in October we are all back together again & ready for the next few months that we’re sure are going to go past very quickly.

Back in September, Charlene arrived back from her trip to states & took over from me at the clinic while I boarded a plane for Scotland to do some hiking & catching up with friends & family.

I spent my early years as a Chiropractor in Scotland & still have patients there that I used to treat who now feel more like family to me. It was great to spend some time with them.

While I was away, I did have a terrible bout of homesickness over the hockey grand final weekend when my team, Robins B Grade, won their competition ~ Congratulations Girls! That experience has taught me to not book overseas trips during hockey season.

Robins B Grade 2016


Congratulations as well to the Strikers Hockey Club who won the A Grade Competition.

Strikers A Grade 2016

On Acupuncture and Dry Needling

I still remember plain as day the lady’s butt cheek that ignited my interest in acupuncture and dry needling. It was a very knotty butt cheek and belonged to a lovely lady who regularly spent hours in a car seat driving to a small town where I was working as a young and somewhat inexperienced Chiropractor.

I’d been working on this patient’s glut muscles for a few weeks, using pressure and stretching techniques with the aim of de-knotting and therefore restoring proper function to her muscles. After 3 or 4 treatments we agreed that my treatment wasn’t working & I referred her to a local Osteopath who had a good reputation.

The following week I was surprised to see her name in my appointment book again. When I saw her, I could tell by the way she skipped into my treatment room that her butt cheek issue had been resolved. She told me that the Osteopath had ‘needled’ her glut muscles and she’d felt instantaneous relief as the needle caused her muscles to relax. I re-examined her and agreed that her gluts were nicely de-knotted. After I adjusted her lower back & her hip, her movement was restored and both her and I were happy.

I now understand that what my patient was describing is called the ‘twitch response’ which is a cascade of events in the muscle tissue initiated by the insertion of  a fine needle into a trigger point (the tightest fibres in the muscle). The insertion of the needle breaks the muscle spasm cycle and causes the muscle to relax.

These are the times when I use dry needling or acupuncture in my clinic:

  • To break tension patterns in muscles that are well established, often around the neck and shoulders.
  • When adjustments aren’t holding as well I feel that they should be, needling trigger points in the surrounding muscles can help.
  • Using traditional acupuncture points to alleviate stress and relax the nervous system.
  • Stubborn trigger points in muscle that aren’t responding or are slow to respond to deep tissue massage, especially in the forearms of my truck drivers and farmers who are prone to a bit of tennis elbow.

I have a special interest in acupuncture and have attended courses in the UK and United States learning the latest techniques and styles. Many of my friends who are health professionals use dry needling because they find it is an effective tool and as our businesses depends on delivering good results, we tend to use the best techniques that we can find.

Not everyone responds well to acupuncture. I find that patients will either:

  • Respond very well very quickly
  • Respond well but more slowly
  • Not respond/no change in muscle tension

I have many patients who were horrified when I first suggested to them trying some dry needling because they ‘hated needles’ or had ‘a fear of needles’, but they tried it once and had such good results that they now see me every couple of months for a needle in the shoulder or the hip.

If you have any questions about dry needling or acupuncture, then feel free to speak to me. ~ Allie X

On Ultrasound Therapy

Our ultrasound machine usually gets a big workout in winter and enjoys a quiet season over the summer. But not this summer. This summer has seen a lot of people with inflammation in the muscles and soft tissues that have responded well to ultrasound therapy and these people are the inspiration behind this post today.

These are the types of things I’ve been treating with ultrasound this summer:

Ultrasound Machine

  • Relief of muscle spasm and contractures in the shoulder muscles of my swimmers, especially my young swimmers who are doing ocean swimming for the first time.
  • Carpal tunnel in the wrists of farmers and mechanics. These often require ongoing treatment every 1 – 3 months depending on the severity of symptoms.
  • Bursitis in the hips which I see mainly in female patients who have been doing a lot of driving up and down to Perth.
  • Shoulder pain in male patients who used to play football. If there were multiple injuries to the shoulder then there can be pain from shortened tendons and scar tissue. 2 or 3 ultrasound sessions can help to relieve this pain.

Ultrasound therapy is the use of sound waves to treat musculoskeletal problems, particularly in the soft tissues such as muscles, tendons, ligaments and bursas (which are the fatty cushions around the joints). Inflammation in the soft tissues (i.e. from general wear and tear) can cause irritation and pain which then interferes with quality and enjoyment of life. This is where my trusty ultrasound machine comes in.

Ultrasound therapy works by sending ultrasound waves from the machine and into the tissues. The vibration and energy of the sound waves increases the healing rate of the damaged tissues and increases local blood flow. The intensity of the ultrasound energy can be adjusted to suit the needs of the patient and is different for older or for more recent injuries.

Ultrasound Selfie

I have a few patients who responded very well to ultrasound therapy and have gone on to purchase their own home ultrasound machine for $200. Although the intensity of home ultrasound machines isn’t as strong as professional ultrasound these patients have reported good results in terms of pain reduction and increased movement in the affected area.

If you any questions about ultrasound or feel that it’s something that your body might need then feel free to speak to me ~ Allie