Neck pain, discomfort, or injury could cause a neck headache, also called a cervicogenic headache. Neck headache typically occurs when there is some trauma to the structures in the cervical spine that surround the neck. The headache can spread, first to the back of the head, and then further to the top or to the sides of the head. Common sources for neck headache include a herniated disc, irritated spinal nerves, neck muscle tension, tight soft tissues, and stiff neck joints. These symptoms are generally known under the popular name of ‘stiff neck’.
Neck headache often comes with a persistent throbbing pain that can spread to the lower back, causing discomfort in the shoulders and the arms, muscle tenderness, and limit motion in the upper body area.
The tiny neck area is extremely important for proper mental and physical functioning of the whole body and pain that occurs here should not be disregarded.
Exercises and Medications for Neck Headache Treatment
There are seven vertebrae which make the part of the spinal cord called cervical spine – thus the name cervicogenic headache or headache deriving from the neck area. Particular vertebrae attach to the skull base and the top of the shoulder blades. The neck area also includes the trapezius muscle and important nerves and arteries which enable blood flow to the brain. Thanks to its specific anatomy, the neck requires a well-structured physiotherapy treatment that targets the specific affected areas. Therefore, most physio programs for neck headache treatment don’t include one or two isolated treatments but are a combination of:
Manual physiotherapy to decrease stress and relieve tension and pain
Neck strengthening exercises to support the deep neck flexor muscles
Cardiovascular exercises to improve blood circulation and blood supply to the painful area
Nerve blocks – anaesthetic injections to desensitise suffering nerves
A physiotherapist specialised in neck headache treatment can help you design a plan you can apply at the clinic and at home and significantly alleviate neck headache symptoms. Usually, a persistent exercise regimen works best to remove the pain trigger and should be done together with medication when necessary.
Neck Headache Treatment at Home
As a general rule, you shouldn’t treat injuries without consulting a specialist. However, mild neck headache can be decreased by some self-help techniques you can do at home. You can apply them when your physiotherapist recommends or, by exception, when you are in need of a first-aid treatment and you should wait a long time for your next visit to the physiotherapy clinic. Here are the risk-free measures you can do in the meantime:
Put a heating pad or ice pack to your head for 5-10 minutes. Repeat if necessary.
Shower with hot water to release muscle tension.
Massage with a tennis ball.
Stretch. Do exercises such as back and forth shoulder rolls and squeezes, and rolling your head to your chest and back.
Maintain a good posture.
Take supplements – magnesium, coenzyme Q10, and B2 vitamin.
Use stress management techniques.
Unfortunately, eliminating neck headache is not always that simple. These techniques can alleviate the symptoms but the headache may come back later. It is important that you consult with a specialist to learn the cause of the symptoms and apply appropriate physiotherapy plan that is made just for your body. Sometimes, only the hand, the equipment, and the advice of a physio specialist can remove joint and muscle tension because the neck headache cause could be a disease.
Examples of diseases that could cause neck headache include arthritis, herniated cervical discs, occipital neuralgia, and the herpes simplex virus. You should talk to a specialist if the neck headache doesn’t go away after a few weeks, or when it is accompanied by one or more of the following symptoms: serious trauma, blurred vision, seizures, hand numbness, as well as painful or red eyes and temple tenderness.
It can be discouraging to find out that your hand, a treasured companion on which you rely nonstop, ceases to support you in your daily activities.
Wrist or hand pain, regardless of whether it shows up alone or together, is a rightful concern for many people. It can be a sign of an injury, for example, a tiny fracture, or a symptom of an acute condition or a long-standing illness.
Although unpleasant, hand and wrist pain treatment is available for almost all occurrences. Therefore, before you understand what can be the cause of this unexplained pain, don’t lose your spirit – inform yourself.
Most Common Causes for Hand and Wrist Pain
The hand is a complex network of tendons, ligaments, bones, nerves, and connective tissue. Your hand pain and discomfort can be an indicator of multiple conditions. Some of them, like diabetic neuropathy, are a culprit in disguise. However, most people suffer from one predominant issue that can sometimes spread to other parts of the body, but is, nevertheless, treatable with appropriate physiotherapy care.
The list of the typical wrist and pain causes includes several types of injuries, recurring conditions and illnesses, and nerve irritation issues.
A broken bone can be painful. Since there are 27 bones in our hands, such injuries are common but rarely serious. Your doctor will establish the problem by doing an X-ray exam and hand inspection, and assign exercises you must do in order to restore the hand’s normal function once the injury is healed.
Wrist sprain and strain
A wrist sprain is a typical ligament injury for athletes but it can also happen during regular daily activities when falling on an outstretched arm. The trauma of the fall causes strained, partially torn, or fully torn ligaments, which are the real cause of the pain.
You may also feel swelling, bruising, tenderness to touch and a snapping sensation in your wrist as you move it.
Many hand ligament injuries can cause difficulties with pinching, gripping or bending the palm and can be long-lasting, requiring long-term wrist pain treatment.
In all its shapes and forms, arthritis affects over 40 million people all over the world. If you are feeling swelling, stiffness and pain in your wrists, usually in both hands, you may have one of the many types of arthritis:
Osteoarthritis. A degenerative disease which occurs with age as the cartilage that protects the end of your bones wears down and deteriorates over time.
Rheumatoid arthritis. A chronic inflammatory disease that affects not only hands and wrists with swelling and strong pain, but can also cause other autoimmune responses such as bone erosion, joint deformities, and even organ deformation.
Psoriatic arthritis. A common accompanying symptom ofpsoriasis, an illness that causes red skin patches/skin lesions.
Infective arthritis. Also known as septic arthritis, this condition is caused by viral, bacterial or fungal infection spread from another part of the body and it requires urgent medical treatment due to the high fever it can cause.
Trigger finger is a special type of tendonitis (inflamed tendon), which causes pain and inflammation of the usually smooth finger movement. When moving it back and forth, the finger gets stuck and causes a popping sensation called trigger finger.
De Quervain’s Tenosynovitis (Tendonitis)
De Quervain’s tendonitis affects the thumb and the wrist when the tendons at the base of the thumb become inflamed and painful, causing a snapping feeling, and sometimes, cyst-like growths around the thumb filled with fluid.
Gout and Pseudo-gout
Gout occurs when your body produces too much uric acid. Due to your body’s inability to eliminate it through the urine, it forms join crystals that cause the pain. Instead of uric crystals, pseudogout occurs when there are calcium deposits in the joints, typically in the wrists and the knees.
The nerves on the hand can get compressed, pinched, injured and irritated, causing continuous pain.
A very common nerve irritation problem is the Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, which causes aching, numbness, and tingling in the hands, both in the palm and the fingers, and can spread all the way to the elbows. The cause of the Carpal Tunnel Syndrome is swelling of the median nerve that goes through the wrist and is in charge of moving the hand.
When to Talk to a Doctor for Hand and Wrist pain Treatment
Many hand and wrist pain issues resolve by themselves. However, you shouldn’t leave them to chance especially if you feel one of the following symptoms:
Swollen joints, with fever and chills
Hand deformities after an injury
Difficulties with bending, gripping or making a fist
Numbness that wouldn’t go away
Continuous pain that doesn’t improve with over-the-counter medication
Visit Pro-Fit Physio and Allied Health Centre to talk to our physiotherapists to decide for the best path forward for starting a hand and wrist pain treatment and get rid of the debilitating pain.
Running can be quite a pleasant recreational activity, as well as strict healthcare and athletic routine. But it’s highly unlikely that you would consider it dangerous – it’s aimed at improving people’s health. However, research shows some surprising results. Almost 80% of runners are injured at least once a year. As it turns out, running injuries are not uncommon and we must learn how to prevent them.
Why Do Runners Get Hurt?
Runners get hurt because of two major reasons. They either overtrain or neglect certain bodily imbalances that may produce an unequal effect on their performance on parts of the body across both sides.
For instance, you may have a slightly shorter leg or a weaker left hip. If you run continuously and overburden your “lesser” side, you can get injured.
Alternatively, as you run, your aerobic capacity increases disproportionately to your muscles, tendons, and joint strength. While you think you can handle a higher pace and an increased heart rate, your body doesn’t agree in full, causing an injury to those underdeveloped elements. Therefore, injury prevention while running should be a must for all runners who want to enjoy their favourite sport for years to come.
How to Prevent Running Injuries
Among the most common injury prevention tips for runners, a gradual increase of the pace, velocity, and length should be a prerogative. But if you are really into running, which means you train regularly for at least 3-4 times per week, you need to be talking into account the following injury prevention tips for runners.
Warm up and cool down
Running early in the morning, when the muscles are stiff from the overnight slumber or late in the evenings when you are tired and have less sense of your capabilities can hurt you if you jump straight into training.
Always start your running session with warm-up exercises such as a simple gymnastics routine or a mild run/faster walk workout to release the lactic acid residue from your muscles and prepare them for greater speeds and lengths.
Arm circles, skipping, bounding, and gentle high-knee drills are some good examples for warming up before running. Cool down by properly stretching post-workout and hydrating.
Many runners get into the runner’s high, forgetting that enthusiasm can be harmful when running is done forcefully on an inflexible body.
Long mileage runs require a flexible body and a flexible body cannot be achieved without a daily stretching program.
Don’t forget to stretch the hamstrings by lying on the ground or leaning against the wall to prevent running injuries. Hip flexors are among the most underused muscles due to long hours of sitting and must be opened before and post run. Always loosen the lower and upper calves to prevent foot injuries. In the end, quads and glutes carry the heaviest load during running and should be regularly stretched but never when they’re cold, the same ad with other muscle groups.
Build core strength
You can hear successful and experienced runners swear on their abs. A strong core is a key factor to preparing your spine to handle the constant bouncing off the ground, as well as to give you a proper posture, which is even more important if you do long-distance running such as marathons and half-marathons.
Eat a wholesome diet
Like it or not, what you put into your body is equally, if not more important than exercise. You can select a group of foods and make them regular staples in your eating plan. Or, choose your own variety, but take care to fill up your potassium and magnesium reserves that get depleted from strenuous physical activity. Pick up healthy carbs such as oats – a good pre-run energy booster. Don’t miss out on greens and veggies, and get enough good fats, for example, from peanut butter. Dark chocolate is tasty and a good magnesium source.
Create a training schedule with rest days
Beginner runners often struggle with maintaining a healthy schedule. Not everyone has the means to train with a running professional. If you’re left to your own devices, ensure a balanced approach to building a running schedule.
Quick results are tempting. However, they’re also the quick route to injuries. Typically, running programs start with longer rest times and shorter training times, and move in the opposite direction once you build endurance and strength. Include rest days in your schedule.
Here is a good example of an eight-week plan. As you can see, it takes around two months to set into a routine and prevent running injuries.
All five of these tips start with a basic awareness of your body and its capacity. Steady gradual progress with running is the common sense of injury prevention, one that will make you a healthy, happy runner that pays the least visits to their GP or orthopaedic specialist.
Achilles tendonitis is a common injury with people who run longer mileage trails, do uphill training, sprints, or weekend recreational activities that overburden the Achilles tendon, for example – tennis, basketball, football, and gymnastics.
The Achilles tendon is a tough fibrous tissue that connects the heel bone with the calf muscles above. We use it together with the calf muscles to pull the heel up and stand on our toes during running, jogging, and jumping.
The Achilles tendon is also the strongest tendon in the whole body and can support our full weight. However, repetitive movements and high tension due to overuse of the tissue with limited blood supply can strain it and result in pain, stiffness, and inflammation, causing Achilles tendonitis (tendinitis).
Achilles tendonitis will make the spot above your heel red and swollen. Prolonged inflammation can result in more complicated injuries, including tears, ruptures, tendinosis, and tendinopathy. Therefore, it is much simpler to pay due care to prevent the tendonitis than to heal it later.
Preventing Achilles Tendonitis
There are simple yet effective preemptive strategies to avoid Achilles tendonitis you can do at home. Most of them can be done as a self-care method after consulting your podiatrist.
1. Warm up by walking
Don’t start with a strenuous activity immediately when you enter the sports court. Take at least 10 minutes to warm up with walking or gentle jogging before hitting the ground in full speed.
2. Use a heating pad
Another no-fuss, low-cost method for warming up and improving the blood circulation in the Achilles tendon area without walking is applying a heating pad, which softens the tissue and prepares it for better endurance.
3. Strengthen calves
Since calves work along with the tendon to lift the heel up, strengthening them with calf raises by standing on the toes and elastic bands exercise can help support the tendon during repetitive activity. Do single-leg raises or add weights if you need to increase intensity.
4. Choose low-impact activity.
Low-impact sports such as swimming or cycling can help prevent Achilles tendonitis. If you don’t want to quit your favourite high-impact activity, at least try to switch occasionally to something more moderate to let the tendon rest and heal naturally.
5. Increase effort gradually
When starting with a new exercise program, don’t go fоr maximum intensity straight away. Go for the low-key version, which most programs include for beginners.
6. Apply a compressive brace
Elastic silicone braces will provide support to your ankle and foot as you move, relieve pain, and prevent sore feet and overextending over your natural body limits.
7. Schedule a massage therapy
Sports massage is a mechanical treatment for improving the condition of the blood vessels and the tissue around your Achilles tendon. When done skilfully by a sports physiotherapy expert, massage can not only help with prevention, but also enable stronger performance and improve your athletic stamina.
8. Wear appropriate footwear
Always choose good sports and everyday shoes, especially if you have a flat foot or engage in a sport that requires anatomic insoles, ankle support, or anti-slippery outsoles.
Stretching is a powerful self-help technique to relieve the pressure on the Achilles tendon. Stretch by leaning against the wall with your hands and putting one leg forward bent at the knee while the back leg is straight with the foot flat on the floor. You can also use a step ladder – place one foot with the ball on the step and let the other hang loose. Hold the stretch for 30 seconds on each leg for both exercises. Repeat 3 times.
It is important to remember that taking anti-inflammatory drugs can relieve instant pain but it can also be dangerous – inflammation that occurs in Achilles is a warning sign of overstretching that area and that over-the-counter painkiller can mask more serious symptoms and cause further injuries. Therefore, it should be the last resort without doctor consultation.
First Aid in Healing Achilles Tendonitis
Prevention is not always sufficient. Despite all cautionary measures, you still may get your Achilles tendon inflamed. Self-care methods you can do on your own if you get Achilles tendonitis include resting or raising your legs, putting ice and compression, and using a heel lift or a painkiller if that’s necessary. However, these are temporary solutions and you shouldn’t rely on them long-term. Regular practice of stretching and strengthening exercises as recommended by your physical therapist is a more effective treatment that can be used over extended periods and prevent overcomplicating the Achilles tendonitis symptoms. Shockwave Therapy can also be used by your physiotherapist to treat this condition.
Keeping physical health in top condition is important to everyone. Motivated to lose weight, improve posture, fuel athletic performance, maintain vitality and stamina until later in life, or just enhance overall wellbeing, most people search for ways in which they can do something about their health.
Here are five top tips to keep your body in shape, prevent injury, boost flexibility, and invest in your physical and mental welfare for years to come.
1. Keep an eye on your posture
This is easier said than done. Most people know that they don’t sit, walk or drive in an optimally balanced position, but under the stress of daily life, they forget about the common culprits that can distort a good posture. Break down your 8-hour of sedentary office lifestyle with some movement and stretching exercises. Stand up, go for a stroll or just walk to the water cooler if you’re not allowed to go far. There are stretching exercises you can do at your desk. Beware of repetitive motions if your work demands it – do exercises to counterbalance the continuous effort. Driving can also make your spine suffer. It’s important to set your car seat right and do frequent breaks if you take long trips.
2. Connect exercise and fun
Exercise is beneficial for all ages. Even if you are in your senior years, doing regular exercise can help you remain independent, help your bone health, reduce chronic pain, and prevent common injuries that happen due to age-related degenerative illnesses. To stick to your exercise routine, find something that is fun. It doesn’t have to be a strict program, as long as it is something that brings you joy. Consult with your practitioner about the best exercise program, explore doing a course of clinical Pilates, especially if you suffer from a particular illness that requires careful movement.
3. Relieve mental stress
Mental stress and physical stress are correlated. More and more people understand that being in a great physical condition is impossible without mental balance, and vice versa. If you take care of one aspect, the other aspect of stress will benefit, too. Mindfulness exercises are helpful for keeping your mental wellbeing in check. Stretching is important, too, as muscles, joints, tendons, and soft tissues around them are known to accumulate stress.
4. Remember to do your periodical health checkups
Preventive care solves many small issues before they grow into something bigger and chronic. If you adhere to the scheduled visits at your GP or physiotherapist’s office, you will recognise a problem in the early stages before it gets too severe. It’s no good to suffer in silence as many people do only because they think the pain will go away or because they gradually get used to it.
5. Don’t neglect back pain
Back pain is so common, that almost 70 to 90 percent of Australians will face it once in a lifetime. It’s important to act on back pain sooner rather than later because the issue can progress and worsen in time or because it can be a sign of a more serious musculoskeletal condition that may require prolonged treatment or surgery if left untreated.
Taking control of your weight with a well-balanced diet also helps ease down the pressure on your muscles and bones. Incorporate these simple tips into your lifestyle and you will see the benefits of them soon enough.
A woman’s body is a wonder of nature, capable of bearing new lives, and with powerful self-healing and transformative capacities to regenerate monthly. However, the sensitivity typical to female anatomy sometimes makes women’s bodies vulnerable and prone to chronic pain and women-specific illnesses.
If you are experiencing these ailments, you may have never thought of looking into women’s health physio as a solution. But women’s physiotherapy can help you improve and overcome many of these pains that arise due to age, diseases of the female reproductive system, or other medical conditions that affect you as a woman and are not exclusively anatomy-related.
At Pro-Fit Physio, we run personalised discreet consultations and specialist treatment programs to alleviate most common symptoms of women’s health conditions, helping you get the maximum of your health capacity at any age.
How Physiotherapy Can Help with Women’s Health
Despite individual differences, women’s bodies have less muscle mass, more fat, and a peculiar hormonal constitution. These factors contribute to some diseases that are more common in women than in men. Lifestyle also matters. Therefore, if you find yourself diagnosed with one of these female associated illnesses, there are physiotherapy techniques that can help you heal them concretely and enhance your overall health.
Multiple sclerosis (MS)
Post-menopausal heart disease
Sacroiliac (SI) joint dysfunction
Breast or other cancers
Women’s health physiotherapy techniques are specialised for treating critical periods in a woman’s lifetime, including pregnancy, menopause, and senior years, but can also target acute conditions.
Manual therapy helps patients soften tissues and joint stiffness, as well as improve their mobility by applying consistent hand motions and movements.
Muscle Retraining Therapy
To retrain muscles, physiotherapists concentrate on awareness about daily habits, including posture and movements. For example, what are the most frequent physical activities you unconsciously do that worsen your condition?
Exercise Physio for Women
With a targeted exercise program, you can regain some of your body’s lost strength and endurance, but also boost your joint and bone strength, overcoming the weakness that comes with age, hormonal disbalances, or from a debilitating chronical condition.
Needless to say, there is plenty to be done to care for your groin, hips, and pelvis area. It can become too stiff or too loose at times. However, there are visible improvements from physio targeting female medical conditions, a few of which are listed below:
Strengthened pelvic floor
Solved urinary incontinence
Release and loosening of the connective tissue in the abdomen during pregnancy
Restoring back intimate area health postnatally
Since not all women’s physio problems are necessarily related to the reproductive system, women can also benefit from standard physiotherapy treatments applicable to all patients.
Main Things in Women’s Health Treated by Physiotherapists
Together with regular post-surgical treatment or exercises for women’s athletes or ballet injuries, many of the physiotherapy treatments encompass a holistic approach, targeting both physical and mental wellbeing of female patients.
Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS)
PMS can be a nightmare. A physiotherapist can work with manual therapy to release tension, as well as provide advice for relaxation and self-care. Additionally, they can use kinesiotherapy and electro-stimulation to help you with migraines, headache and constipation.
Physical therapy during pregnancy can alleviate lower back pain, neck stiffness and headache, pain in the thorax, the ribs, wrists and palms, as well as leg cramps and weakened abdominal muscles.
Post-surgery and prior to the operation, endometriosis problems can be treated with specialised physio treatments, including myofascial therapy, spinal mobilisation, flexibility improvement exercises, trigger point release, flexibility exercises, anti-stress and relaxation techniques, thus easing the effects of late diagnosis, which can take as long as 7 to 10 years.
Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS)
PCOS comes with an array of discomfort: pain, irregular periods, and estrogen storage in fatty tissues. A women’s health physio expert can help with making appropriate dietary changes and lowering insulin levels.
Cardiovascular Disease (CVD)
More than 90 percent of Australian women have at least one risk factor for heart disease. From mild heart disease to major heart attacks, physical therapy can address a number of factors that endanger the female heart health by applying anti-smoking and exercise advice, managing weight and cholesterol levels, as well as by cardio rehabilitation programs.
Apart from complicating physical activity, obesity is a major risk factor for Type-2 diabetes, CVD, and musculoskeletal conditions. Physiotherapy can prevent risks and provide women with practical advice and exercise programs executed in a supervised environment to help them with weight loss and increased muscle strength.
According to an ABS survey, one in eight women reported some anxiety disorder. It is a well-known fact that aerobic exercise helps with depressive symptoms and anxiety, including post-partum depression and general mood. The release of serotonin during resistive or aerobic physiotherapy training can alleviate many of the common mental and physical pains associated with depression.
Neurological physiotherapy offers promising rehabilitation results to patients who suffer from primary neurological and neuromuscular disorders or conditions which have indirectly affected the brain and the nervous system. If your GP advised that you need to talk to a neuro physio specialist, you will be getting combined help. This includes the latest discoveries and trends in advanced neurology, as well as exercise to help you heal or improve acute, degenerative, functional, and traumatic neurological conditions.
What Is Neurological Physiotherapy?
Neuro physiotherapy is a medical branch. It includes specialist treatment to rehabilitate patients who endure the consequences of conditions that affect the brain and the nervous system. If you think of reasons such as injury, trauma, a long-term illness, or genetics, you are right. For instance, prolonged neurological physiotherapy can help people suffering from Alzheimer’s disease, epilepsy, multiple sclerosis, or migraines.
Many patients who require neurological physio help have a range of typical symptoms, that are more or less common:
Loss of balance and coordination
Seizures, spasms, and tremors
Poor heart health
Difficulties with cognitive abilities, reading and writing
Loss of movement skills, partial or total paralysis
Neurological disorders cause some type of structural, biochemical or electrical abnormalities in the brain, spinal cord or other nerves. These make it difficult for people to move, or to use their body and brain in an optimal way.
Common Medical Conditions that Benefit from Neurological Physiotherapy
We need all our nerves to function to the highest standard. Unfortunately, illness is part of life and, sometimes, it can affect our neurological health. Neurological physiotherapy can help you restore the lost health, at least partially if not in full, and ease down the pain of the declining functioning.
Depending on the particular disease, symptoms can show in a milder or stronger form. But the common denominator for the hundreds of neurological conditions is that, somehow, a part of the nervous system has been damaged and cannot support the organism properly. Therefore, hospitalisation or at-home physiotherapy exercises can give some slack with the following neurological conditions:
Traumatic Brain Injury
Spinal Cord Injury
Chronic Regional Pain Syndrome
Naturally, each neurological condition on this list has its own peculiarities. That’s why you should describe your symptoms to our physiotherapist at Pro-Fit Physio in more detail so that you can get specific advice and treatment on the type of disorder you need assistance with.
Physiotherapy for Degenerative Neurological Conditions
Degenerative neurological conditions are debilitating, if not life-threatening. With regular neuro physiotherapy treatments, symptoms can be made more bearable. Typical degenerative nerve diseases which affect human motor capabilities, heart and breathing, as well as speaking are:
Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis
Lewy body disease
Spinal muscular atrophy
Even if many of these names sound unfamiliar, you probably know more about your own ailment. Regardless of the cause – genetic reasons, tumours, toxins, viruses, a stroke or alcohol abuse – you can do something to feel better and reduce symptoms, even if the prognosis for a cure is poor. Our physio specialist will be assigned to you to work on relieving your pain with exercises, as well as with tips to manage your condition within its constraints.
Once you’re done with a few rounds of treatment, you will learn how to:
Keep your remaining mobility and stamina
Deal with progressive symptoms
Maintain a daily living routine
Use mobility aids and other devices
The cure for degenerative neurological conditions, if we can call it that, is developing a functional new strategy to help you compensate for the losses in vital functions that resulted from the disease. An expert in neurological physiotherapy has been through the same with multiple patients and will know exactly how to help you and your close ones manage the new reality with less stress and pressure.
Physiotherapy Secondary Neurological Conditions
In contrast to neurological conditions where the primary cause is related to the nervous system, secondary neurological conditions arise from another main medical problem, for instance, a tumour or a stroke.
The limited blood flow to the affected area after a stroke can cause a whole range of often unpredictable symptoms. Therefore, a dedicated physical therapist with knowledge in neurological physiotherapy will develop an individualised plan to combat symptoms and improve the neural plasticity and responsiveness of the injured part.
Physiotherapy for Traumatic Neurological Conditions
Traumatic injuries take a huge psychological and physical toll on the human body. You not only have to deal with the shock of the sometimes permanent loss of vital functions, but you might also need to endure chronic pain.
In such cases, neurological physiotherapy must be persistent, skilled, and targeted. Possible treatments for serious injuries include:
Core strength training
Exercising arms and legs to restore mobility
Bed exercises for muscle strength
Mobilisation and positioning to loosen tight joints
Breathing and circulation exercises
Learning instructions on mobility devices, canes, wheelchairs, prosthesis and orthoses
Education about post-hospitalisation activities
Neurological diagnoses are among the most challenging health conditions. The fact that you are motivated to do as much as you can about it is a sign of a positive change in an overall exhausting situation. The positive change will follow as a natural consequence of resolutely following a rehabilitation program developed by a specialist in neurological physio care.
Have you ever felt stiffness in your joints which usually happens when you wake up in the morning and lasts up to half an hour? Maybe you’ve heard your knees, hips or other joints make a grating or crackling sound when you move. Or, perhaps, your joints are swollen and tender with pain, and the pain only gets worse as you use them. If you find yourself struggling with such discomforts, then you may be suffering from osteoarthritis. Physiotherapy for osteoarthritis can be the perfect treatment to ease down your pain and make your life as pleasant as possible.
What is Osteoarthritis?
Osteoarthritis is a medical condition which causes stiffness and pain in the joints. Although it is the most common form of arthritis, osteoarthritis is just one of around one hundred types of arthritic conditions. Most people experience some form of this condition by the time they reach seventy – for instance – osteoarthritis of the hip, osteoarthritis of the spine or knee osteoarthritis. A less known fact is that osteoarthritis is typically a degenerative joint disease. It occurs when the protective tissue within joints wears down over time and the risk of developing it increases with age.
How Does Osteoarthritis Happen?
Inside the joints, there is a protective tissue called “cartilage”. Cartilage cushions the joint and prevents the bones from rubbing against each other. During usual daily activities, joints suffer from a continuous low level of damage. Our bodies have an inherent capacity to repair the damage itself and, therefore, we don’t experience any symptoms most of the time. However, in osteoarthritis, the cartilage on the ends of the bones breaks down and causes pain, swelling, and problems moving the joint. Sometimes, this condition can also affect nearby bones, causing bony growths called bone spurs or osteophytes.
Risk Factors for Osteoarthritis
Even though age seems to be a leading reason for osteoarthritis, not all people’s joints wear down to the degree that requires clinical treatment as people get older. Additional risk factors that can contribute to osteoarthritis are:
Obesity, especially for knee osteoarthritis
Sports-related and other joint injuries caused by repeated movements or overuse.
Repeated bleeding into the joints
Long-lasting inflammation caused by previous rheumatic illness
With specialised mechanical exercises and heat therapeutic treatments, physiotherapy for osteoarthritis can significantly improve the disease symptoms and provide you with a pain-free life.
What Are the Symptoms of Osteoarthritis?
Half of the people who experience typical usual osteoarthritic symptoms are not aware they have it. Symptoms can range from mild to severe and can vary depending on which joint is affected – knees, hips, small joint of the hands, feet or spine.
People with osteoarthritis often have:
Pain related to change of weather
Bony lumps at the end or on the middle of joints of fingers
Numbness or tingling in an arm or leg.
Pain usually increases with movement and settles with rest. As the condition worsens and the pain becomes more constant and severe, it may make it difficult for the patient to carry out everyday activities.
What Can You Do if You Have Osteoarthritis?
Osteoarthritis is a long-term condition that can’t be fully cured. But if you are disciplined and regularly follow advice from a licensed physiotherapist, you can manage the pain and maintain the ability to use the affected joints. Depending on the severity of the condition, symptoms can be reduced with:
Regular exercise programs
Wearing appropriate footwear
Using special devices to reduce joint strain
If your symptoms are more severe, you may need painkillers and an exercise plan supervised by a physiotherapist. Some extreme cases of inflammation require that your doctor removes fluid from the joint and inject it with corticosteroids. This treatment should be applied only if indispensable, as overusing this type of drugs can further damage the joints.
When none of the above is helping, surgery may be the best option to repair, strengthen or replace the damaged joint. How Can Physiotherapy Help with Osteoarthritis?
If you are looking for natural ways to keep osteoarthritis under control, physiotherapy may be your best answer. It is very effective even with severely damaged joints when supervised by a trained physiotherapist who has knowledge of osteoarthritis. Once a physio specialist assesses your condition thoroughly with a series of tests and possibly X-ray, they will work together with you to establish the best treatment plan. This plan may include a variety of therapies such as:
These therapies aim to reduce pain, as well as stretch and strengthen muscles surrounding the affected joints. You will improve the range of movement, which will allow you to take control of your condition and to perform daily functions with less disruption.
Long-term Positive Effects of Physiotherapy for Osteoarthritis
Once you have regained function and your pain is under control, you will probably need to initiate some type of home exercise program to maintain the achieved results and reduce future flare-ups. If you are like most people and lack discipline, you will probably stop exercising as soon as your pain decreases or as your joints become somewhat functional. However, your next flare-up will make you start the same process all over again. Such cycles can cause even more damage, which is why maintenance physiotherapy visit every 4 to 6 weeks is the best way of keeping the condition under control. During these visits, the physiotherapist will not only work with you on the existing maintenance plan, but they will also have an opportunity to review the prescribed exercises and decide whether to modify or reinforce them. This way, they will help you control any future flare-ups and save you money on any other medical interventions that you may need to endure in case of acute flare-ups. Since there are long waiting lists to obtain maintenance physiotherapy treatments in public facilities, private physiotherapy clinics can be an excellent option. Whatever option you choose, you will be making a good decision, as research indicates that even severe osteoarthritis can improve with physiotherapy. Keeping the condition under control with maintenance physiotherapy is a great solution to reduce any progressive long-term damage.
You have probably heard some of your friends talking about their ailments, or a famous athlete having physical therapy, physiotherapy, or physio after having an injury or being in an accident. You may also have an unexplained pain in your body and have heard that physio could do the trick to make it go away.
But what do these terms mean and are they all the same thing? All of the above words that contain the word “physio” refer to the same therapy.
During physiotherapy, a disease, an injury or a deformity is treated by physical methods, such as heat treatment, massage, acupuncture and exercise rather than by drugs or surgeries. The meaning of the word has its roots in the Greek “physio”, which stands for nature, natural, or physical. Therefore, physiotherapy, in a way, means applying natural treatments.
Not only can physiotherapy help restore function and movement when someone is affected by an illness, injury or disability, but it can also improve overall physical health and reduce the risk of illness or injury in the future. And this applies to all ages – from children to elderly people. Even though physiotherapy is led by trained professionals called physiotherapists, it is a holistic approach to healthcare as it involves the patients directly in their own care. Physiotherapists help patients make the most of their ability to move and function during the course of their life through movement and by using manual therapy, massages, exercises, education, and advice.
What is Physiotherapy Used for?
Physiotherapy is used to help people overcome a variety of conditions and physical health problems. Physiotherapists use their skill and knowledge in many areas, including orthopaedics, sports, cardio-respiratory injuries, neurology, paediatrics, women’s health, and seniors’ health.
In a nutshell, any healthcare area in which patients could make good use of biomechanics and kinesiology requires the help of a physiotherapist.
1. The most common area where physiotherapy is used is in treating injuries and conditions that affect the bones and joints
2. Physio is key for treating patients who are recovering from surgery. Their treatment usually consists of exercises that aim to increase strength, coordination and balance in order to correct damage to or deformities of the bones or joints. Electrical stimulation or shockwave therapy can also be incorporated into the mechanical force or movement exercises.
3. Physiotherapy is also used to treat people after a heart attack for recovering vital functions.
4. Patients with lung conditions, such as cystic fibrosis, chronic bronchitis, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease make great advancements with physical therapy. For example, cystic fibrosis is treated by clapping on the patient’s back while they are lying down. This helps with loosening the build-up of mucus in the lungs so it can be coughed up.
The physiotherapists could educate parents of a child with cystic fibrosis how to clear the mucus of their child or teach older patients how to do this themselves.
6. Children with conditions that affect the bones and muscles visit physiotherapists to get treatments for increasing flexibility, maintaining strength, and preventing joint suffering.
7. Physiotherapy is also extremely helpful with conditions that appear in late life, such as osteoarthritis and osteoporosis, and can help with recovery after hip surgeries.
When People Need to Get Help from a Physiotherapist?
Even though physiotherapy services are usually prescribed by your doctor after an injury or surgery, it doesn’t mean physio can only be used in those cases. It can actually be used to improve your health in many unexpected ways. You may need to get help from a physiotherapist when you are experiencing any of the following.
Playing sports for a living takes a huge toll on athletes’ bodies. It’s almost impossible to imagine a long-term successful career without continuous physiotherapy treatment.
Advanced sports physio treatments can also vastly improve the overall outlook of a sportsperson suffering from mild or serious injuries – despite all the precaution, serious injuries do happen. If this is the case, the longer you wait after you get in touch with a physio expert, the more you expose yourself to additional complications. Acting quickly is the best solution to prevent further damage. This goes double if you are not a pro since you, most likely, haven’t heard expert advice on how to act after an accident as sports people do.
Taping with kinesiology tapes, or, shortly kinesio taping, is an effective technique to ease down the pain and inflammation of sports-acquired conditions, such as strain and sprain in the lower and upper extremities, the groin and the lower back, as well as the neck and the shoulders.
Tapes are applied to the injured part, and due to their mechanical support properties, especially their capacity to improve the proprioceptive sense of bodily parts, they help patients coordinate movements better and heal faster.
Continuous Pain after Injury
If the pain does not go away after you have recovered from an injury and the tissues have healed, this means your pain has become chronic. You need physiotherapeutic treatment!
This is especially common with lower back and neck pain, which can be caused by many factors. Physiotherapists will provide a custom-made program with massages and exercises to help you support your affected body part better and stop the injury from happening in the future.
Neck and Back Pain
Neck and back pain is perhaps the most common reason so many people ask for physio. They play a major part – “carry the burden” of workload and stress of everyday activities.
Therefore, it’s important to pay attention when pain calls attention to these parts. Apart from taking your own measures, such as limiting strain and improving posture, you can ask for specialist physio help. Neck and back pain can be a sign of a more serious issue, too, so, it’s best to ask for medical advice if you feel prolonged pain.
Physio for dancers takes care of minor to mild injuries. Most dancers, sooner or later, suffer from a sprained joint, muscle strain, and injuries to the connective tissues which ensue from regular exercise. Dancers actually build their bodies with muscular micro-tears, causing them to grow stronger and more flexible. In a way, dance progress is always associated with injuries that must be healed. Physio can make a big difference for this type of micro-trauma.
Recovery After Surgery
Surgery is accompanied by general weakness of the body and scar tissue. Patients cannot function normally immediately after surgery. Physiotherapy can accelerate the road to health and help you regain normal functions. Most post-surgical physio treatments require specialised personal consultation and care. There is no one-size-fits-all solution.
Casting and Plaster Treatments
Certain injuries require immobilising parts of the body by putting them in casts. Today’s advanced physiotherapeutic aids include waterproof casts to heal fractures as soon as possible and maintain your comfort and hygiene at a high level. For minor wrist injuries and chronic conditions which affect the normal functioning of your hands and palms, you can ask your physiotherapist to present you with braces options.
Loss of Balance
This can be a result of issues with your inner ear, which is the crucial part of your balance system. Problems with the inner ear can lead to a variety of symptoms such as vertigo, dizziness and a general lack of balance. This condition can be very challenging to live with. A physiotherapist can help you with a series of head, neck, and eye exercises to help retrain your nervous system to make up for the inner ear issues.
If you are stuck sitting at your desk at work all day without regular walks or stretching, you are very likely to experience headaches or backaches.
Our bodies are designed to move, so staying immobile for hours can cause our muscles and joints to strain, causing pain. This is why you need to take regular breaks from the desk in order to move your upper back, head, neck and arms.
Loss of Flexibility and Deteriorated Movement
If you notice you are not as flexible as you used to or you are not moving as easily as before, a physiotherapist can show you a wide range of exercises to strengthen the supporting tissues and relax the muscles, thus increasing your flexibility.
Difficulty Controlling Passing Urine
If you have started to urinate uncontrollably, you are one of the millions who suffer from this condition. It is likely to happen with age and is especially common in women.
What Are the Benefits of Physiotherapy?
Physiotherapy has proven to be effective and make a great difference to the quality of life of people and their ability to live a fully active and healthy lifestyle. It is one of the most effective and natural ways to promote physical activity and overall health and wellness.
Physiotherapy can prevent injuries, disabilities and conditions from recurring. It is crucial in restoring and maintaining a level of physical function that allows people, especially those with chronic conditions, to live independently.
An overall benefit from physiotherapy is decreased pain along with increased strength and coordination, as well as improved joint mobility and cardio-respiratory functions.
With dedicated and prolonged physio care done in the right way, you can start enjoying your favourite leisure activities at work and at home after weeks and months in discomfort and pain.
*Pro-Fit Physio & Allied Health Centre provides physio services to Revesby, Padstow, Bankstown and surrounding suburbs.
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