Physiotherapy 4 Sports
What is Physiotherapy?
Physiotherapy is the treatment and prevention of injury and disease by natural means. Its aim is to alleviate pain, maximise healing, and restore the body to its natural balanced state through provision of exercises, soft tissue release and educational advice.
Since its emergence as an independent profession over 100 years ago physiotherapy has adapted and improved its treatment techniques and increased the range and number of patients it can help. People nowadays are looking for a holistic approach to the treatment of illness and disease which chartered physiotherapists agree is all important. They will always look at the ‘whole’ person, and that is exactly the approach that Nancy uses – taking into account previous medical history, work, lifestyle, etc. before making a diagnosis and devising a treatment programme tailored to an individual’s needs.
Chronic pain refers to pain that has lasted for longer than 3 months and is affecting your ability to live a normal healthy lifestyle.
Anyone may sustain an injury whilst pursuing their favourite sporting or dance activity. However, professionals, youngsters and anyone involved in physical activity at a high level will require specific training to prevent injury. Some injuries are unavoidable and require specific and rapid treatment followed by appropriate rehabilitation. Sometimes injury is due to “overuse”, poor technique or posture problems. Retraining will be part of the rehabilitation process. Hypermobility syndrome can be a significant factor with this group.
These can often be related to stress, poor posture or lack of core strength. These conditions can turn chronic if not dealt with early. Symptoms can range from moderate to severe, dull aches to sharp pains.
The “soft tissues” are non-bony tissues, e.g. tendons, muscles, ligaments, connective tissue and skin. This also includes nerves and nerve sheaths. These structures can be injured by bruising or tearing. The cause of injury may be acute e.g. an accident or fall, or chronic and related to the use (or misuse) of the neuro-musculo-skeletal system. It is important to relieve pain, restore healthy circulation and normal movement, as well as prevent recurrence by addressing the source of the problem. Treatment may include massage and mobilisations, postural re-education and adjustment, remedial exercise, acupuncture. Some soft tissue pathologies need very specific treatment and management. Repetitive strain injury (RSI) is usually closely related to occupational and/or ergonomic factors. Reflex sympathetic dystrophy (RSD) can occur following a severe soft tissue injury or a fracture affecting the upper or lower limb. Fibromyalgia can affect those who suffer from chronic fatigue syndrome or post viral fatigue. These complex soft tissue problems require careful assessment and a patient centered approach which addresses all the contributing factors.
The pain of arthritis is often linked to stiffness and inflammatory changes, which can be helped with physiotherapy. Individually tailored remedial exercises to strengthen muscles weakened by the effects of ongoing joint pain can make a huge difference to the symptoms of osteoarthritis. Acupuncture as part of holistic therapy can assist with pain relief and muscle and joint mobility. Rheumatoid arthritis is essentially an inflammatory condition of joints and requires multidisciplinary management. Physiotherapy is an essential component of this management in helping to maintain normal movement and promote improvement during remission periods. Ongoing pain following fracture healing can often be due largely to stiffness and weakness. Physiotherapy is always helpful following fracture. Acupuncture can also be useful as part of an holistic programme. Joint dislocation requires a rehabilitation programme following orthopaedic intervention. It is essential to strengthen the muscles groups acting over the joint to assist ligamentous healing and strengthening, thus preventing recurrent dislocation.
Also known as benign joint hypermobility syndrome. Many people suffer from lax joints and low muscle tone. It is related to the type of collagen inherited genetically and is not a “pathology” in itself, but rather, represents a connective tissue type. Further influence is exerted as a growing child develops. Lax joints are easily strained and repeated minor injuries can cause chronic problems. Conditions such as spinal scoliosis and anterior knee pain can be linked with this clinical picture due to the interaction between developmental patterns, daily activity and sporting and recreational pursuits. However, it is important to note that there are medical pathologies which are linked to hypermobility and screening by a rheumatologist may be an essential part of managing and treating the individual. Conversely, people with hypermobile joints often excel at dance, gymnastics and athletics but may need professional care and advice during their training and careers. Core stability and muscle balance are essential for good health in affected individuals.
There are many neurological conditions for which physiotherapy is helpful, ranging from the distressing but relative harmless e.g. facial palsy, to the serious e.g. multiple sclerosis and Parkinsons Disease. Physiotherapy has an essential role to play in recovery and management.
The causes are many and varied. For women the onset of urinary and/or faecal incontinence has origins in pregnancy and childbirth. For men it can be related to prostate pathology or surgery. Conditions such as perianal fistula and haemorrhoids can affect either sex and any lower bowel surgery can cause (usually temporary) faecal incontinence. It is advisable to retrain the pelvic floor following gynaecological surgery e.g. hysterectomy. Other factors contributing to stress and urge incontinence are uterine prolapse, hypermobility, weak pelvic floor muscles (usually together with loss of core stability). Good pelvic floor function is essential for women who are pregnant (or planning pregnancy), and in the post natal period.
Emotional stress tends to manifest physically. A wide range of physical dysfunctions are either, in part, caused by poor stress management, or made worse by stress. Stress is normal but an unremitting stressful lifestyle can become a habit leading to negative, physical effects. Stress management means recognising the symptoms of stress at an early stage, and taking action to alter habits. Treatment of physical symptoms is part of stress management and exercise has been shown to be of prime importance in promoting well being and reducing anxiety and depression.
Discomfort at work or having problems performing your job role efficiently. Nancy is qualified to carry out ergonomic and desk assessments in order to adapt a task to the individual.
Repetitive strain injuries such as carpal tunnel syndrome, upper back and shoulder pain from sitting at a desk incorrectly. Specific functional rehab programs can be designed in order to strengthen up the right muscles and allow the person to be more biomechanically efficient- sport and work related.
I.e. difficulties regaining normal everyday function (also known as “activities of daily living”) after surgical intervention. After surgery there is usually some scar tissue, although this is less of a problem since “keyhole surgery” became the norm. Pain and discomfort often causes limited movement for longer than the time it takes for the tissues to heal. This causes adaptive changes (i.e. chemical and structural changes) in the tissues, which in turn, limits return to normal full function. A rehabilitative programme, which may need to include some specific treatment such as massage, mobilisations or acupuncture, can be helpful in restoring full movement and returning the individual to work and recreational activity.
CONSULTATIONS AND ASSESSMENT