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WHAT IS AN ANKLE SPRAIN?

15.05.20

WHAT IS AN ANKLE SPRAIN?

An ankle sprain is a stretch or tear in one or more of the lateral (outside) ligaments of the ankle. Ankle ligaments are slightly elastic bands of tissue that keep the ankle bones in place. Because the ankle is responsible for both weight-bearing and mobility, it is particularly susceptible to injury. The relatively small joint has to withstand large forces exerted when walking, running and jumping, especially if the surface is uneven. Most ankle sprains happen when the ankle twists or rolls suddenly, usually a rapid and uncontrolled movement. The most common injuries happen when the foot rolls onto the outside of the ankle, straining the outside ligaments of the ankle joint. Symptoms of a sprained ankle include; pain, tenderness and swelling, bruising, trouble moving the ankle, and sometimes an inability to put your full weight on the ankle.

HOW LONG DOES IT TAKE TO HEAL?

Most people recover completely from mild sprains within two to six weeks. More severe sprains can take up to six months before you can return to full activity, or sport. Once a significant sprain occurs, without good rehabilitation the joint may never be as strong as it was before the injury. It is not surprising therefore that many people have a history of repeated ankle sprains. With the correct rehabilitation however, you can help your ankle become even stronger than it was before the injury.

WHAT CAN BE DONE?

Tissue injury usually involves damage to small blood vessels that results in bleeding at the site of injury. This bleeding leads to inflammation, part of the natural healing process. However, the body tends to overreact to sudden traumatic injury and as a result excess inflammatory fluid accumulates which can result in ‘scar’ tissue production. Too much scar tissue may prevent normal function with reduced flexibility and increased risk of re-injury. It is important to get medical advice to gain a positive diagnosis and

ADVICE HANDOUT

Follow the PRICE guidelines immediately after injury and for at least 3 days afterwards before doing anything else. Your local physio therapist as well as most massage therapists can assist you with this: PROTECT - Protect the injured tissue from undue stress and avoid ALL movements in the same direction as when the injury occurred.  REST – Unload the joint (take the weight off it) as much as you can in the first 72 hours after injury. Try and avoid walking on the joint as much as possible. ICE – Ice is an amazing natural healer and a great short-term pain reducer. It is also believed to have a beneficial effect in reducing swelling and promoting healing. The optimal amount of time to apply ice is around 10-15 minutes in bony areas such as the ankle. It can be applied as often as desired to achieve pain relief, ideally every 1-2 hours. COMPRESSION - This is advised for the first 72 hours, but only while your foot isn’t elevated. The compression can be firm if it doesn’t cause pins and needles or any loss of feeling around the joint. ELEVATION - Reduces the flow of blood to the area which helps reduce swelling. Elevation is recommended in the first 72 hours after injury. However, remove any compression while your foot is elevated unless you are wearing just a light compression bandage. When following PRICE it is also important to avoid HARM, hence the saying: ‘Give PRICE and avoid HARM’. HARM is an acronym for Heat, Alcohol, Running, Massage. Following this acute management phase, your physical therapist will start some ‘hands-on’ treatment to mobilise and strengthen the joint. This phase of treatment is crucial to ensure you return to full function and prevent future injury. Adequate preparation for activity is key and weight-bearing should progress gently. Drastic changes in activity level and performing unpractised skills expose your ankle to re-injury. Gradually build up your fitness level. Your ankle, and the rest of your body, will thank you for it!   WHY IMMEDIATE TREATMENT IS IMPORTANT The success of injury healing can be boosted by appropriate, effective and timely action particularly in the early stages of an injury (ie. the first 72 hours). Any ‘soft-tissue’ is subject to injury including ligaments (which join bones to bones), tendons (which join muscles to bones) and to muscles themselves. The immediate reaction of the body to injury is similar irrespective of the soft tissue structure and is known as an inflammatory reaction. Injuries can be caused by overstretching, bruising or crushing. A strain describes overstretching of a muscle, while a sprain describes overstretching of a ligament or tendon. THE INFLAMMATORY REACTION Tissue injury usually involves damage to small blood vessels that results in bleeding at the site of injury. This bleeding leads to the four main signs of inflammation:
  1. Heat – chemicals released from the damaged tissue causes dilation of surrounding blood vessels to bring healing agents to the area. The result is more blood and therefore heat
  2. Redness – is due to the increase in blood to the area
  3. Pain – is caused by the chemicals released from the injured tissues as well as the increased tissue pressure from the fluid acting on nearby nerve endings
  4.  Swelling – is the result of this accumulation of extra fluid.
This inflammatory reaction is necessary as it is part of the natural healing process. However the body tends to overreact to sudden traumatic injury and as a result more inflammatory fluid accumulates than is necessary for healing. This fluid contains a protein that turns into replacement ‘scar’ tissue. If too much can form it may prevent the structure returning to normal function with reduced flexibility and increased risk of re-injury.

THE ART OF THE BREATH

11.05.20

THE ART OF THE BREATH Breathing correctly promotes a sense of calm, helps us to de-stress and also promotes physical healing. We are all breathing all day everyday but most of us are not breathing correctly! Some common mistakes are: -breathing too quickly -breathing too shallow using our neck muscles rather than our diaphragm -breathing unevenly with lots of sighs and yawns -breathing through our mouth Start learning to breath properly again by focusing on the following: 1. Be sure to breathe through your nose - in and out all the time, even when exercising.  Your nose is designed to filter air and make it the perfect temperature and humidity. 2. Focus on each breath becoming smoother and slower.  We should aim to breathe 12 times per minute (many of us are breathing 16+ times per minute) 3. Your breathe should be even and silent - avoid noisy sighs and yawns 4. use your diaphragm and belly muscles to breathe.  Your shoulders should not move up and down to breathe. Learning to improve your breathing will help improve so many physical and psychological ailments.

The low down on Hip Replacement

25.02.20

The low down on Hip Replacement

The current state of affairs

Hip replacements are becoming increasingly common. Currently 1.3 people in every 1,000 will undergo a hip replacement operation, and more than 1.2 million are carried out each year worldwide. The biggest risk factors for needing a hip replacement are age and arthritis, with 85% of people having a hip replacement, also having osteoarthritis. In terms of gender, women have a higher risk of needing a hip replacement (58%) compared with men (42%). Hip replacement surgery in patients aged 45-54 has also doubled in the past 10 years.

What can we do, to reduce the risk of needing a hip replacement?

Physical activity helps. Running decreases your risk of developing osteoarthritis by 18% and as osteoarthritis is present in 85% of people who undergo a hip replacement, this has a knock-on effect in reducing your risk of needing a hip replacement by 35-50%. And if you’re not up for running that’s OK, walking can also reduce the risk of needing hip surgery, although by a smaller percentage (23%). Almost half of the protective effective of being physically active comes from weight control. The higher your BMI, the greater your risk of needing a hip replacement.  

And what can you do if you’re already experiencing hip pain?

If you need a hip replacement then the sooner you have it, the better the outcome is likely to be and the quicker you will recover from your operation. This is because the more pain you suffer prior to having surgery, the more compensations and adaptations the muscles and soft tissues will have made around the joint, in an effort to try and protect it and you from that pain, and the harder that will be to re-train once you’ve had the operation. That’s not to say it can’t be done, it will just take a bit longer and need a bit more of an investment in your time and energy. The good news is that outcomes from hip replacements are very good. Developments in materials and surgical techniques, mean that the artificial hips are lasting longer, and success rates are very good, with more than 80% of people experiencing pain relief and functional improvement, meaning their daily lives become easier and they’re able to do more.  

We hope you find this information helpful and if you have any questions or queries, please feel free to get in contact with us 6676 4000 or 6676 4577.

We are running the GLA:D program as a preventative for surgery for hips and knees with osteoarthritis.

Follow this link to read more - GLA:D program Pottsville and Cabarita Physiotherapy.

 

Headache 

06.01.20

Headache    If you’re one of the 47% of the global population who experiences regular headaches, you’ll know they’re no laughing matter. For some people, they’re just a minor inconvenience, for others they can be utterly debilitating, condemning you to a dark, quiet room for hours, and sometimes even days.   The trouble is that successfully diagnosing a headache gets complicated, because more than 130 distinct disorders have been identified along with over 300 triggers, which makes a headache almost as unique as an individual. Luckily at Pottsville and Cabarita Physio we specialise in treating headache and can confidently determine if Physiotherapy will help you within the first session. Headache is a unique condition in that you can also simultaneously suffer one, two or more types of headache or a migraine at the same time, where one may cause another, or overlap with each other. These are known as mixed or multi-source headaches and can take longer to resolve as your therapist works through treating the different causes. For example, a dysfunctional painful neck can cause an increase in surrounding muscle spasm, which will increase your blood pressure. In this scenario, you could have a cervicogenic (neck) headache, with a tension headache and a resultant migraine! The most commonly diagnosed headaches are:

  • Migraines (12%)
  • Tension headache (75%)
  • Cervicogenic headache (originating from the neck) (18%)
  • Sinus headaches
If you only suffer from the occasional headache, this is often caused by lifestyle factors such as:  
  • Dehydration
  • Stress
  • Alcohol
  • Caffeine
  • Some foods
  • Skipped meals
  • Lack of sleep
  • Posture
  • Muscular tension
  • Medications
  • High blood pressure
  • Infection
  • Hormonal influences
  However, if you suffer from headaches more regularly, there is some good news, because two of the most common headaches, tension-type headaches and cervicogenic headaches (which originate from musculoskeletal issues in and around the neck) can be significantly improved, and even cured by physiotherapy, both in the short term, as well as the long term.   There is a robust body of research, as well as clinical evidence, showing that physiotherapy is an extremely effective treatment for certain types of headache.   Manual, hands-on therapy manipulating or mobilising your neck can be hugely beneficial in eliminating your headache; or at least reducing the intensity and duration of the headache. Soft tissue work including trigger point therapy and massage, can be effective in relieving spasm in the head and neck muscles which may contribute to your headache. Massage has also been shown to help people cope better during headache episodes, reducing associated stress and anxiety. In addition, poor posture and repetitive movements in your daily life, have also been shown to increase the risk of experiencing headaches as they can cause muscle imbalances, muscle weakness and strain the ligaments and soft tissues in the joints of your neck. In these cases corrective exercises to strengthen weak muscles and stretch tight muscles can be extremely effective.  Our Physios specialise in these corrective exercises. We have some more downloadable resources and advice sheets on each specific headache type at the following link. If you would like to understand more about how we can help in the treatment and prevention of headaches, please don’t hesitate to contact us directly on 02 6676 4000 / 02 6676 4577. https://www.facebook.com/pottsvillephysiotherapy

Back Pain: The Chain of Command

26.11.19

Back Pain

The Chain of Command

Your spine is essentially the chain that forms the ‘backbone’ of your entire body. Without it you would be a blob of muscles, organs and soft tissue piled on the floor. Your spine commands respect because it is the pillar that supports your body, allows you to walk, stand and sit, as well as touch and feel; because it forms the canal connecting the nerves from your body and limbs, to your brain. While your heart may be the vital organ that keeps you alive, without your spine you wouldn’t be able to move. There are three natural curves in your spine that give it an "S" shape when viewed from the side. These curves help the spine withstand great amounts of stress by distributing your body weight. Between the bony vertebra are spongy discs that act as shock absorbers. The lumbar spine (or lower back) connects the thoracic spine to the pelvis, and bears the bulk of your body's weight. Your spine is not rigid though. It allows movement through the intervertebral joints connecting the bony vertebra. These joints allow you to twist, to bend forward and backward, and from side to side. Large groups of muscles surrounding the spine, pelvis, hips and upper body all interact to allow for movements like walking, running, jumping, and swimming. However, there are also muscles deep in your body that work constantly just to maintain your posture when you’re sitting and standing. It is essential that all elements of the spinal ‘chain’ work harmoniously together to ensure fluid movement without overloading structures resulting in injury and pain. Any link in the chain that becomes ‘stuck’ will not only affect that spinal level but also the movement and strength of the chain above and below it. If the muscles around the spine are uneven in strength and length (flexibility) this too can affect the ‘chain’, altering the alignment and motion of the links. Taking care of your spine now will help you lower the chances of experiencing back pain later. Many of the steps you can take to improve the overall health of your spine involve nothing more than practicing better body mechanics, or how you move and hold yourself, when you do daily tasks and activities.

Taking Care of Your Spine

Pay attention to early warning signs or pain. Although back pain is very common and nearly every person will experience at least one episode of back pain in a lifetime, it is essential to address any symptoms promptly. It has also been shown in studies that early treatment and rehabilitation can prevent recurrent bouts of back pain and prevent the development of chronic lower back pain which can be very debilitating, stressful and depressing. It can affect your ability to work, play sport, socialise and sleep, all of which can further compound your pain cycle. Your back pain could be due to inflamed ligaments, damaged intervertebral discs, nerve irritation, bony formations on the spine, muscle imbalances such as weakness or a lack of flexibility, leg length differences, or muscle strains, to name just a few. Even the way we move (or don’t move) at work, school or sport can all be an underlying cause to the current pain.

How Pottsville and Cabarita Physiotherapy Can Help with Back Pain

Your physiotherapist can treat the pain or stiffness experienced from back pain using massage, soft tissue mobilisation, spinal manipulation, heat, acupuncture and other devices. It is important that you, together with your physiotherapist work through a rehabilitation program (specific exercises and stretches) to correct underlying muscle weaknesses, flexibility issues, and the  sequence in which the muscles around your spine work to provide stability.  A physiotherapist can also give you advice on correcting posture / technique for work and sport. Chat to us today about what we can do to help Ph: 0266764000 / 02667644577

Back Pain and Sleep Issues

One of the most common issues back pain sufferers experience is sleep disruption so we have put together an interactive Back Pain and Sleep Guide to help you banish those sleepless nights and wake up feeling refreshed. The guide includes:  
  • 6 Strategies for Improving Your Sleep
  • 8 bedtime stretches to relieve back pain (with video links)
  • Sleeping positions that will help relieve pain (with links to videos)
  • 7 Yoga Poses that will help cure most back pain issues
  • A morning stretch routine that will help ease pain from a restless night (with videos)
  Click this link to find out more and download the guide Disclaimer: This information is intended as general guidance and information only and should not be relied upon as a basis for planning individual medical care or as a substitute for specialist medical advice in each individual case. https://www.facebook.com/pottsvillephysiotherapy  

RUN: Better, Faster, Longer, Stronger

26.08.19

RUN: Better, Faster, Longer, Stronger

Do you dream of being that runner where every step of every mile is 100% pain free? No aches, no twinges or niggles, no lingering soreness from yesterday’s session. You are not alone; research shows that as many as 79% of runners get injured at least once during the year. Stop. Think about that number for a moment; nearly 8 out of every 10 runners you see at your next race have been or will be injured sometime that year. Think of running pains in terms of a spectrum. At one end you have severe, full-blown injuries, we’ll name that the red zone, which includes stress fractures that require time off. The other end, where you're in top form, is the green zone. Mild, transient aches that bug you one day and disappear the next sit closer to the green end. Unfortunately, many runners get stuck in the middle, in the not-quite-injured but not-quite-healthy yellow zone. Your ability to stay in the green zone depends largely on how you react to that first stab of pain. Often a little rest now, or reduction in training mileage and intensity, with some treatment, can prevent a lot of time off later. Developing a proactive long-term injury-prevention strategy, such as strength training, stretching, regular massage and foam-rolling can help keep you in the ‘green.’ Physical therapy is a lot like homework, not all of us like having to do it, but if you don't do it, you’re sure to get in trouble at some stage!

What Causes Running Injuries?

There are a lot of theories as to what causes running injury but it seems the answer is fairly obvious: running! Research has stated that “running practice is a necessary cause for RRI (Running Related Injury) and, in fact, the only necessary cause.” With running being the key risk factor for running injuries what other factors influence risk? Historically a lot of emphasis was placed on intrinsic factors like leg length discrepancy, pronation (flat foot), high arches, genu valgus/varum (knock knee or bow legged) and extrinsic factors like ‘special’ running shoes being stability shoes or anti-pronation shoes, lack of stretching. However, recent studies have shown there is no one specific risk factor that has a direct cause-effect relationship with injury rate or injury prevention. Whilst warming up, compression garments, acupuncture and massage have some evidence in reducing injury rates it is all a little grey. Leaving you with a multifactorial buffet of probable contributing causes to running injuries. There is however one specific factor that has been proven, and that is training error. Estimates suggest that anywhere from 60 to as much as 80% of running injuries are due to training errors. Runners become injured when they exceed their tissues capacity to tolerate load. A combination of overloading with inadequate recovery time. Poorly perfused tissues, such as ligaments, tendons and cartilage, are particularly at risk because they adapt more slowly than muscles to increased mechanical load. Factors that affect how much training load a runner can tolerate before injury will also have a role. There are 2 key factors that appear to play a part in this – Body Mass Index (BMI > 25) and history of previous injury, especially in the last 12 months. While high BMI and previous injury may reduce the amount of running your body can manage, strength and conditioning is likely to increase it. There is a growing body of evidence supporting the use of strength training to reduce injury risk and improve performance. Training error and injury risk share a complex relationship - it may not be that total running mileage on its own is key but how quickly this increases, hill and speed training. The old saying of “too much, too soon” is probably quite accurate. Injury prevention is really a ‘mirror image’ of the causes of an injury. So, if you understand the primary reasons for getting injured then you are heading in the right direction to staying healthy this running season.   What are The Most Common Injuries to be Aware of? Body tissues such as muscles and tendons are continuously stressed and repaired on a daily basis, as a result of both 'normal' functional activities and sport. An overuse injury often occurs when a specific tissue fails to repair in the time available, begins to breakdown initially at microscopic level and then over time develops into a true injury. So, the first time you feel a soreness, a stiffness or a pain is not necessarily when it all began. The most common injury is ‘runners knee’ or patellofemoral pain syndrome and accounts for over 40% of running injuries. This is followed closely by plantar fasciitis, achilles tendinopathy and then ITB (iliotibial band syndrome), shin splints and hamstring strain. These injuries generally need complete rest or at least a reduction in training volume and intensity. Followed by physical therapy to promote tissue healing and mobility. Although these are overuse injuries there is frequently an underlying muscle weakness and/or flexibility issue that needs to be addressed with specific rehabilitation exercises. If you do pick up an injury (including 'tightness' 'irritation' or 'niggle') that you’re worried about then we can help, the sooner it’s treated the better.   And don’t forget to check out our Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/pottsvillephysiotherapy  

11 Lifestyle changes you need to make to CURE your HEADACHE

11.06.19

• Correct your posture: think tall all the time, avoid sitting and holding your head up with your hands. • Consider your ergonomics especially your computer set up and how you use your digital devices.  In particular, avoid a forward chin position and sustained head and neck rotation. • Learn to breathe properly: gentle breathing in and out through the nose with movement occurring at the solar plexus not in the shoulder region.  Breathing should be silent and invisible. You should feel the sides of your chest wall expanding as you breathe in, not your shoulders rising or your belly expanding. • Manage your stress levels, you may need to start a meditation practice.  There are many great apps (e.g.- head space, smiling mind etc) to help you get started.  This is particularly important if you clench or grind your teeth. • Get adequate sleep.  Aim to sleep with your head in a neutral position not rotated or side flexed. Aim for an absolute minimum of 8 hours every night. • Eat clean food: avoid processed food, excess alcohol and coffee.  Eat plenty of vegetables! • Drink a lot of water (at least 33ml per kg of body weight / day) add an extra 250ml for every caffeinated drink (such as coffee) you have. • Avoid carrying anything other than a very light bag on your shoulder • Avoid extending the head / looking up for long periods • Watch the position of your head while exercising – ensure you maintain a neutral head position, (i.e. – not look up or around). • Do not over do it when exercising particularly when using your arms and upper body.

OSTEOARTHRITIS OF THE KNEE – Day to Day Tips

26.02.19

Day to day Tips 

 
  • Pace your activities through the day – don’t tackle all the physical jobs at once.
  • Wear low-heeled shoes with soft, thick soles (trainers are ideal). Thicker soles will act as shock absorbers.
  • Use a walking stick to reduce the weight and stress on your painful knee.
  • Use the handrail for support when climbing stairs.
  • Don’t keep your knee still in a bent position for too long, it will stiffen up.
  • Think about modifying your home, car or workplace to reduce unnecessary strain on your knee.
  • Learn to relax your muscles and let the tension out of your body.
  • Use heat/ice packs to help eases pain and stiffness.
  • Knee braces for osteoarthritis are available.
  • Speak to your doctor or therapist first for recommendations or referrals for any of the above.

Don’t Let Yourself Be Sidelined by Tennis Injuries

01.02.19

Don’t Let Yourself Be Sidelined by Tennis Injuries

  Tennis is one of the most popular sports throughout the world, with approximately 75 million participants worldwide. It is a sport that you can play at every age and at every level. Children can start playing from the age of 4, using softer, slower balls and smaller rackets on modified courts to make the game easier and more fun, gradually progressing to regular rackets, balls and courts. Older players can start the sport at any age and can continue playing all their life. Whether you are looking for the competitive club league tennis or a more social game amongst friends, tennis is an excellent sport with loads of health benefits. Tennis is a fun and social (as well as competitive) way to add to your weekly activity goals.

Here are some amazing benefits of participating in regular activities like tennis:

1.    Increased brain power From alertness to tactical thinking, tennis enhances the neural connections in your brain. Kids who play tennis regularly get better grades at school. 2.    Better hand–eye coordination Playing tennis involves regular skills that all contribute to good hand–eye coordination. You can improve your agility, balance, coordination, reaction time and more. This can benefit you in injury prevention where improved balance and agility can help protect against rolling an ankle or tripping and falling often resulting in sprains or Colles fracture of the wrist or worse a hip fracture in older age. 3.    Reduced stress Tennis involves physical, mental, social and emotional challenges, which increase your capacity to deal with stress. Or simply running around smashing some balls may help you to blow off some stress too! 4.    Strong heart Compared with other sports, tennis players have the lowest incidence of cardiovascular disease. Playing just 3 hours a week will reduce your risk of heart disease by 56%. 5.    Higher fitness levels Playing tennis on a regular basis (2–3 times/week), either singles or doubles, meets the global exercise recommendations and leads to increased fitness levels. Tennis is an excellent interval training technique - running, stopping, burst of activity then rest between points or games (which elevates and then lowers heart rate repeatedly through a match) which is proven to be hugely beneficial in improving fitness levels and in cardiovascular conditioning too. The effect is not only seen in elite players but with recreational tennis too. 6.    Leaner body Tennis is an excellent and fun way to burn calories and lose weight. An hour of singles play can burn 580–870 calories. A lower body weight has immense benefits in preventing and managing cardiovascular diseases including diabetes, and a lighter frame will reduce loading on your back and joints reducing joint pain and possible arthritis in older age. 7.    Strong bones Playing tennis on a regular basis leads to stronger, healthier bones. This effect is strongest in those who play tennis from an early age, but even if you start playing tennis later in life you can benefit from the positive effect on your bones. This is applicable to both women and men combating the development of osteoporosis a.k.a. brittle bones with ageing. 8.    Strong leg muscles Playing tennis strengthens your leg muscles, which helps maintain your mobility and independence in old age.

The Secret is Staying Injury Free

But these health benefits won’t be very fruitful is you are sitting side-lined because of injuries and while some injuries are quick to repair, others can take a couple of weeks and others may be more stubborn, taking 6 weeks or more. What’s more frustrating, and unfortunately very common, is the risk of re-injury. One of the greatest risk factors for an ankle sprain or a muscle strain (tear) is having suffered from a previous sprain or strain. Nearly 2/3rds of tennis injuries are chronic overuse injuries, many of which are caused by poor technique, incorrect equipment use and lack of physical conditioning

Acute injuries, like an ankle sprain or calf strain, although sudden and unpredictable can also be prevented with adequate preparation and appropriate conditioning. Chat to one of our friendly staff for more information on how to prevent common tennis injuries and stay in the game longer!

Cancer and Exercise

      The potential benefits of exercise during and after treatment are significant and research has proved its effectiveness. Exercise during chemotherapy can help ease side effects, such as fatigue and nausea, and can help to boost the immune system of those undergoing cancer treatments. Chemotherapy side effects can sometimes make exercising tough, but it’s recommended to try to be as active as possible during treatment. Benefits of an appropriately prescribed exercise program in this population include improved:

  • Muscle mass, strength, power
  • Cardiorespiratory fitness
  • Physical function
  • Physical activity levels
  • Range of motion
  • Immune function
  • Chemotherapy completion rates
  • Reduced anxiety and depression