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Osteopathy & the Jaw

How much do you enjoy having a cheese platter? I am not sure it’s worth me even answering that question. What about, how much do you love singing in the shower? Imagine if these simple activities became difficult. Normal behaviours of your jaw involve talking, eating and yawning. So, when this joint is not functioning, it can have a significant impact on your daily life.  Dysfunction of the jaw occurs in 25% of the population, slightly more so in women and usually in people between the ages of 20-50 years old.

Anatomically your jaw is referred to as your TMJ or temporomandibular joint.

All pathologies of the TMJ are now termed Temporomandibular Dysfunction (TMD).

What are the symptoms of TMD?
Looks- like limited mouth opening
Sounds- are clicking, popping, catching or locking
Feel- pain when chewing, ache over head, neck and/or ear region

How can an Osteopath help?

The results of manual therapy trials for jaw pain suggest that manual therapy is a viable and useful approach in the management of Temporomandibular dysfunction/TMD. Manual therapy has also been shown to be more cost-effective, and less prone to side effects than dental treatment. (Kalamir, et al., 2007)

There is a link between your neck (cervical spine) and your TMJ. As you open your mouth, your neck extends backward. When you close your mouth, your neck bends forward into flexion. Your osteopath will assess your neck prior to treating your TMJ, as stiffness or restriction in this area can promote pain/TMD.

The treatment and management of TMD involve a multidisciplinary approach, and you will find your practitioner working closely with your dentist. If your pain wakes you at night or intensifies upon drinking hot or cold beverages than your osteopath is likely to refer you to your dental practitioner. In addition, if the pain is throbbing in nature the cause may be related to the tooth and will need further dental management.

Humans move the TMJ 1,500-2000 times daily, which means it is one of the most used joints in the body. Limits in range of motion can be caused by several factors including; muscle overuse, external injury, emotional stress and misalignment of the teeth. Osteopaths tend to work through all the muscles surrounding the jaw as well as others that could contribute to tightness in the area. When necessary we can also treat the joint and muscles from inside your mouth to help reduce compression of the jaw.

Complimentary to dental or osteopathic management relaxation and exercise strategies can play a huge role in managing your pain. I have listed a few useful approaches.

1.    Download the app Calm
This helps you to learn the skill of meditation and listen to sleep stories to help you fall asleep. Decreasing stress levels may help reduce any clenching or grinding that you may be doing

2.    ‘Clucking’
This sound is created by pressing the tongue against the roof of your mouth. This is used to help to breathe. You can try to then maintain this position during normal activity.

3.    ‘The surprised look’
Keeping the tongue on the roof of your mouth slowly open your mouth. You can place some slight overpressure with your hands on the sides of your jaw to create a small downward stretch. Ensure not to push into pain.
Hold for 10-15 seconds, repeat 3-5 times.

4.    Masseter massage
Place the fingers of your hands on your cheeks and gently clench. You should feel some muscles pop up into your fingers. Relax your jaw. Then using your finger pads gently massage these muscles in a circular motion. If you find any tender spots you can hold some extra pressure down to wait for a small release.
About 30seconds - 1minute in total.

You can discuss these and further techniques with your practitioner.

Remember that TMD is a common problem that can be treated and managed just like any other musculoskeletal complaint. There is not one method that suits all approach, which is why it is important to seek support from your local practitioner.

Written by Melissa Arnts who is a practicing Osteopath at Without Limits Health.

Management and Treatment of Temporomandibular Disorders: A Clinical Perspective [Journal] / auth. Wright Edward and North Sarah // Journal of Manual & Manipulative Therapy. - [s.l.] : Taylor and Francis, 2009. - 4 : Vol. 17. - pp. 247-254.
Manual therapy for Temporomandibular Disorders: A review of the literature [Journal] / auth. Kalamir Allan [et al.] // Journal of Bodywork and Movement Therapies. - [s.l.] : Elsevier, July 19, 2007. - 1 : Vol. 11. - pp. 84-90.
Temporomandibular disorders [Book Section] / auth. Okeson Jeffrey // Conn's Current Therapy 2018 / book auth. Kellerman Rick and Bope Edward. - [s.l.] : Elsevier, 2017. - Vol. 1.
Temporomandibular dysfunction [Online] / auth. Clinical Edge // clinicaledge.co. - September 21, 2016. - January 22, 2018. - https://www.clinicaledge.co/blog/webinar-temporomandibular-dysfunction-with-dr-stephen-shaffer.
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Bio-compatability Hair Testing


Have you spent your life suffering?

Whether it’s with a persistent headache, sinusitis or something more severe such as migraines, asthma, arthritis, irritable bowel syndrome, ADHD or hundreds of other ailments which are holding you back! You’ll be glad to know there’s a tried and tested way to change your life.

Using a hair sample, Bio-Compatibility testing identifies the influence either positive or negative that each of a wide range of foods and products has on the individuals body. This particular test is called the Hair 500 test and it tests 500 Local and common Vegetables, fruits, Meats, seeds, oils, seafoods, Nuts, Alcohols, Beverages, Biscuits, sauces, Dairy products, Flour and grain products, Cereals, Breads, Gluten Free products, Deodorants, sunscreens, Bathroom chemicals, Cleaning products, toothpastes, common supplements and Health shop items .By using the Bio-Compatability Hair test we are able to determine which foods and products should be avoided and which can be used. The focus is on what you CAN eat and use rather than what you can’t. It includes common local brands found in supermarkets and health food stores. Each item is tested in the form it is usually consumed (both raw and/or cooked where applicable). The technique is based on the way in which the foods and products which we use has either a positive or negative influence the body. Each person is unique so it obviously follows that when it comes to foods and household products that “one size does not fit all”. Each individual has his or her own nutritional and energy requirements. Have you noticed that some foods give you good energy while others seem to drag you down and seem to aggravate existing symptoms?

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Time & Space

Time and space are the two things that are lacking in most peoples lives today. Everybody seems to be time poor and it is starting from a younger age as kids schedules seem to be overwhelmingly busy. With every waking moment there seems to be less space to park your car, less space in our backyards if you're lucky enough to even have one, less space to sit on the aeroplane, there is less space for your thoughts, less space in your body and less space in life to explore who you actually are beneath your skin.

I invite you to join me on this journey of exploration of how time and space changes everything from your autonomic stress response to changing the way you think and respond to circumstances.

In order to embark on this journey, I must share with you my own personal journey one in which I have hesitated to share purely because it is hard to stand firm in your own vulnerability, which inevitably comes with sharing a part of yourself with the world, (however few people read this blog).
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Upgrade your brain with exercise

The benefits of exercise and movement extend far beyond physical fitness and keeping in shape

As the winter months draw to a close, more and more Melburnians are dusting off their active gear and looking to enjoy the great outdoors.  Most of us look to exercise for the immediate benefits of physical fitness and to trim that winter belly, but have you ever thought of what else it might be doing?  New and exciting research is finding that physical exercise and movement are key in the management of many conditions, from osteoarthritis to normal brain function, Alzheimer’s and dementia!

The increased blood flow to our brain delivered by exercise improves our mental capacity and function.  Nerves fire more efficiently, creating bigger and faster connections, our brains are literally ‘upgraded’ – improving our ability to process and solve complex problems1.  Obvious benefits in combating stress and depression are complimented by an improvement of Alzheimer’s and dementia symptoms1,2.  Physical activity has been positively linked to a reduction in the compounds connected to the progression of these conditions; the actual architecture of our brains changes for the better1.
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Digestion & Absoption

Did you know that 80% of your immunity cells are in your Gut?
Yes that's right, So if your digestive system isn't working well, is inflamed or you're suffering from Candida, leaky gut, IBS, Constipation or intestinal inflammatory bowel disorders then there's a high risk that you'll be more likely to get sick, suffer from allergies, food intolerance, and skin disorders.
It all starts in the Gut. Maintaining a healthy digestive system is key to overall health and vitality. We have about 100 trillion bacteria which is about 1.5 kilograms living in our intestinal tract. These bacteria help stimulate digestion of food and absorption of nutrients.
The right bacteria is necessary for proper nutrition and absorption. Digestive bacteria and enzymes break down foods into small molecules in the small intestines. These smaller molecules then enter the blood stream and go to where they are needed in the body.
As mentioned earlier, many conditions can affect this absorption of vitamins and minerals. The main culprits are:  Candida Overgrowth
  Leaky Gut Syndrome
  Parasitic overgrowth or worms
  Irritable bowel syndrome
  Inflammatory bowel disease
  Constipation or Diarrhoea
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Keeping loose on long haul flights in 4 easy steps!


Aeroplane flights are both an exciting and draining part of any holiday or work trip. Whilst you are at altitude the pressures within the cabin are much lower than you would experience at ground level. This makes it very hard for the body to absorb oxygen into the bloodstream, and can result in swelling in your legs or feet.

Regardless of anything written below the most important thing is to stay hydrated. The Aerospace Medical Association suggests around eight ounces (230ml) of water for every hour you fly. You should be getting up to go to the bathroom, which is a good movement to encourage blood flow back to the heart from your legs and reduce the chances of any clotting or DVT (deep vein thrombosis).

Being immobile for long periods of time can also cause your muscles to get tense and become fatigued, even in the days following your flight. There is nothing worse than starting a holiday stiff, sore and in discomfort but there are a few ways you can try to avoid this.

How to remember these exercises? Just sing the song!

“Heads, shoulders, knees and toes, knees and toes”


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Mind over Tension

Mind over Tension
Tension is the result of something being stretched, strained or put under pressure.  In our bodies this relates to tight muscles and can lead to tension headaches.  Tension can build up in our bodies over time starting with a bit of tightness in our hamstrings, perhaps it moves on to the middle back until it eventually creeps up into the neck and shoulders, if you are very tense you might find yourself grinding your teeth at night and waking up with a headache in the morning.

We all know that tension is what causes tension headaches, hence the name; but what are the forces that cause tension in the first place? And how do we avoid that dreaded ache in our heads?
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Post and Pre Natal Depression

Post and Pre Natal Depression

Post Natal Depression has really stepped out of the shadows and into the spotlight lately. Whether it’s because more and more women are becoming aware of their bodies or because the ‘shame’ and stigma that was once associated with it is now starting to disappear. Pre Natal depression which occurs during pregnancy, is also becoming much more diagnosed now and there are more and more treatment options available.


Whilst post Natal depression is classed as a mental disorder, There are many Physical changes in the body which contribute to this and when you look at the process closer, it is easier to understand why it happens to so many women.


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Breast, bottle feeding and your body

Breast, bottle feeding and your body
A common complaint from new mothers in clinical practise is soreness through the neck, shoulders and upper back following feeding of their newborn. This special time between a mother and their baby is a unique bonding experience, and shouldn’t be disturbed by pain, stress and discomfort.
When you are feeding, you often spend a significant period of time looking down, and holding the baby in your arms. This can place considerable pressure on your neck and create fatigue in your upper arms and shoulders.
I have put together a few go-to exercises that can be done in a small amount of time, with no equipment, (and minimal sleep!)  Thank-you to our lovely Naturopath, Yannick for being our model. Yannick is pregnant with her second child and highlights how these exercises can also be completed whilst pregnant.


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We are what we repeatedly do...

We are what we repeatedly do...

Our bodies tell a story of what we do all day long, everybody tells a different story because we are what we repeatedly do and repetitive strain injuries are a product of that repetition; they develop over time well after bad postural habits are formed.  Sometimes these habits are so seemingly small and insignificant that we don't even realise strain patterns are forming, until perhaps someone like myself starts finding tender points in places you didn't know were sore.

RSI injuries take time to heal and it is important to remember that time does heal all wounds, however we are all impatient and no one likes to be in pain.  The good news about RSI injuries taking a long time to develop means that there are plenty of opportunities along the way to do something about it before it becomes problematic. Remember prevention is best.
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The Dangers of Conventional Sunscreen

The Dangers of Conventional Sunscreen


Our bodies thrive with Sunshine and fresh air and in Australia in particular we embrace being a sunburnt country. It is actually very healthy for us to spend time in the sun every day.  Just as plants need Sunshine to grow and thrive, so do we! A safe amount of time is between 15-20 minutes a day in the sunshine. Our bodies have an inbuilt Sun protection factor in the form of the Pituitary gland. When we step out  in the sun, the Pituitary gland signals the body to produce a hormone which protects us from getting burnt. The problem is though that we tend to wear dark sunglasses so our body is tricked into a false sense of being indoors when we are actually outside. As a result the pituitary gland doesn't receive the trigger to produce the hormone and consequently we end up getting burnt. The other reason is that we stay out in the sun a lot longer then what we should.

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Does your car cause you back pain?

Does your car cause you back pain?

We often place great emphasis on how our desk set up is at work, but how much do we think about our car seat? Recent research has highlighted that Australians spend 4.4 hours a week or 53 minutes a day on average travelling to and from work. The position at which we sit in our car can place excess pressure on certain areas of our spine, which can produce or aggravate pain.



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Beyond Posture- Featured in Facilities Magazine

Beyond Posture- Featured in Facilities Magazine

The mind uses the body as a vehicle for communication; and our posture is an extension of that communication.  Posture is not just confined to the walls of our desk and how we sit at the desk, posture relates to our body language and how we communicate with ourselves and with others.  As our mind and body are inherently linked we can also use our bodies to connect with our mind. 

We can tell if someone is listening by assessing their body language/posture.

-Are they facing you?

-Do they have eye contact?

-Are their arms relaxed or crossed?

All of these tiny clues tell us what frame of mind people are in through subconsciously assessing each others body language thus their posture.  If you find that you have lost concentration and you were not listening when you were suppose to, you can change your posture to enhance listening.

As long as our mind and body are united we must expand our thinking and acknowledge the role that our mind has in how we choose to hold our bodies through different postures.  Only then are we able to unlock the habits of the mind that are linked with our posture.

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Thyroid health- foods to avoid

Thyroid health- foods to avoid
Foods that effect your thyroid health
Your thyroid is responsible for so many functions in the body which we take for granted!!
Did you know that your thyroid is a butterfly-shaped organ located in the lower front part of your neck. It releases hormones that control your:
Heart rate
Central and peripheral nervous systems
Body weight
Muscle strength
Menstrual cycles
Body temperature
Cholesterol levels
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Getting that ache out of your head

Getting that ache out of your head
Most of us suffer from one type of headache or two throughout our lives, unfortunately headaches have become quite common in today's society; we can blame desk posture for a lot of those complaints, but did you know there are different types of headaches and not all of them have to do with posture?  Below is table of the different types of headaches you might suffer from with a few ways in which to manage them.
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Inflammation is the body's attempt at self-protection, the aim being to remove harmful stimuli, including damaged cells, irritants, or pathogens - and begin the healing process in the body.

When something harmful or irritating affects a part of our body, there is a biological response to try to remove it, the signs and symptoms of inflammation such as heat, swelling and pain specifically acute inflammation, show that the body is trying to heal itself.

Inflammation is part of the body's immune response. Initially, it is beneficial when, for example, your knee sustains a blow and the tissues need care and protection. However, sometimes inflammation can cause further inflammation which can become self-perpetuating. More inflammation is created in response to the existing inflammation.

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Motion, Movement- to be Free Featured in Facilities magazine

Motion, Movement- to be Free Featured in Facilities magazine

Movement, Motion & freedom are three things most people take for granted or never quite give much thought to.

If we were to change the structure of the sentence slightly those words might serve more meaning to you.  

“to be able to move forward in motion, freely”

The statement above outlines a fundamental requirement for health enduring a lifetime.

When you cannot move forward in motion, you are stuck and freedom will evade you in many facets of your life.

Movement is so essential to our sense of freedom and wellbeing yet most of us overlook this simple pleasure in life. Unfortunately moving freely is only truly appreciated when it is lost!

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Preparing for Winter

Preparing for Winter
We seem to approach winter with a sense of great trepidation about the onset of colds, flu, sinus and allergies but it doesn't need to be this way. It is very easy to breeze through winter and into spring without as much as a sniffle. Now is the time to start preparing your body and boosting your immunity.
There are plenty of natural remedies such as Manuka honey, Olive leaf extract and colloidal silver which can alleviate and reduced the symptoms associated with theses conditions. However practicing immune building rituals now can greatly reduce the risk of catching the dreaded lurgy's.
Ear candling can prevent and greatly improve Hayfever and sinus symptoms and taking a herbal tea every evening with cinnamon, honey and apple cider vinegar can help you to power through the winter months without a tissue in sight!
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Optimal Sleeping Postures

Optimal Sleeping Postures
Sleeping well is something we all strive for to make us feel better, but it's importance in overall body function is often overlooked. Your ability to heal and regenerate relies heavily on the amount of rest you can achieve. It is interesting to note that lack of sleep can result in;
-Increased risk of obesity, due to the unhealthy balance of hormones which make you hungry
-Difficulty fighting off common colds and infections, due to the inability of your immune system to function
-Lack of repair injured tissue cells, or the ability to boost muscle mass
Poor sleep due to pain is something you can change, this in turn can dramatically improve physical health and wellbeing.

Your sleep position can be an essential component of you getting that rest your body deserves. 
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Getting Fit Faster, Smater and Injury Free- Featured in Facilities Management Magazine

Getting Fit Faster, Smater and Injury Free- Featured in Facilities Management Magazine

It’s that time of the year where news year resolutions have been made and you have decided this is the year to get fit.  Your motivation has sky rocketed and you have finally bitten the bullet and started exercising; your muscles hurt, you can’t sit on the toilet without a moan from your gluteal muscles, and yes that is the tell tail sign you have been literally working your butt off…..  You go all out for 3-4 weeks and bang you injure yourself and loose all momentum, leaving you frustrated and annoyed thinking that all that hard work is going to fall by the way side.

Let me let you in on a little secret.  You are not alone.  Time and time again in clinic I see injuries caused during exercise.  Most injuries occur after an increase in load, whether it be physical, mental or emotional.  Remember that the body does not differentiate between mental, emotional, or physical stress, chemically it is all the same response in the body and that is a rise in cortisol levels.

So it is important to understand that stress; including your internal and external environment play a role in predisposition to injury.  So if you have been hibernating all winter, stressed at home or work and you need an outlet, just having signed up for the next fun run so you can pound the pavement in order have some release; then I urge you to proceed with caution and introduce the training load slowly; or I expect that you will be knocking on your local practitioners door and emptying your wallet quickly in order to get back on the pavement so you can participate in the run you just signed up for.

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