Types of Treatment Provided:
- Full assessment and identification of the problem or problems
- Management and rehabilitation program outlined
- Indication of time scale and options should the problem not resolve
1. Mobilization and Manipulation
Joints in our body such as in the spine, lumbar, cervical or thoracic as well as shoulders, knees and hips become stiff. This may be the result of injury, our posture, job, or a form of arthritis. It is also not unusual for stiffness in one joint to also lead to stiffness and pain in another. A physiotherapist can assess and treat the stiffness and pain with a series of techniques known as mobilization and manipulation. Mobilizations’ are a combination of repeated small passive movements, usually applied as a series of gentle stretches in a smooth, rhythmic fashion to the individual joint or vertebral level. Manipulation is when the joint is taken to the end of its range and a thrust is applied often resulting in a click, crack or pop. Both treatment techniques are effective means of improving joint range of motion, providing pain relief and joint nutrition.
Mobilization is often perceived to be safer due to the fact that the joint is not forced beyond the end range and, is generally delivered slowly. Mobilization is completely safe procedure especially when used with the neck (cervical spine) and an effective alternative to manipulation in those that may be at risk due to degenerative joint changes, age or vascular problems.
Most physiotherapy treatments will involve some mobilization and sometimes manipulation. The physiotherapist will ALWAYS request your consent prior to using these treatments. The physiotherapist will also provide you with exercises to, maintain your new range, strengthen weak muscle groups and provide advice on posture at work and with recreational activities.
Your physiotherapist may use massage as part of your treatment to help aid circulation, relax muscles and help alleviate pain and stiffness. Rubbing or kneading of the body part is provided at an intensity and depth appropriate to the injury or problem being treated.
Your physiotherapist may use traction as an aid to treatment. Traction involves distracting the two surfaces of a joint to help relieve pain and stiffness as well as helping to nourish the joint. It can be applied in varying directions, intensity and duration, but is commonly provided longitudinally or along the line of the body and found to be extremely effective in treating spinal and other joint problems that are not suitable for manipulation.
Physiotherapists are extremely skilled in the diagnosis of muscle imbalances as well as joint and soft tissue injuries. A muscle imbalance is often described when some muscles surrounding a joint are weak, long, short or tight affecting the normal efficient function of those joint and often normal body movements. As a result of the assessment carried out the physiotherapist will ascertain which muscles need to be strengthened or lengthened and provide an accurate exercise program to restore the joint balance. It is extremely important that any exercises given by the physiotherapist are done accurately and that what is learnt is carried over into training, working and daily life activities. Your physiotherapist is an expert at teaching and providing an exercise plan that has suitable progressions and variations to cope with your improvement and pain levels.
Posture and the way we function in our day to day life and environment play an important role in wellness and injury management as well as our quality of life. Our physiotherapists at HealthZone recognize the importance of good physical health and may offer advice on nutrition, work postures, stress management as well as working with your trainers, coaches and employers to help you maintain an edge over your competitors while improving your wellbeing.
Core strength is a widely used term that relates to the strength of the trunk, tummy and mid section. The concept of good core strength is to give the rest of the body a stable foundation to work off. These exercises that often concentrate on the tummy and back are designed to also help your posture and to encourage you to use these muscles and lessons learnt throughout your working day. These exercises may not cause pain and burning as felt in exercises involving large muscle groups, but are often difficult to master and maintain doing for long periods due to the fact that they no longer are activated due to injury, pain, or long periods of inactivity. The brain has an important role in helping to activate these muscle and it is here that the theory of “little and often” applies. Core exercise is important in the treatment and prevention of spinal (back and neck) pain and injury, but in also improving performance and avoiding injury to other joints.
Acupuncture involves the insertion of fine needles into specific points of the body. Acupuncture is used by some physiotherapists to help reduce pain and inflammation and aid in healing. Acupuncture causes a release on endorphins resulting in relief of pain even after the needles have been removed. The needles are commonly inserted in the vicinity of where the pain is experienced and in areas that related to producing pain in the affected area. The skin may become red around the needle as it stimulates the circulation to the area. The needles are extremely fine and much finer than those used in delivering an injection.
6. Tens, IFC
IFC stands for interferential current, and TENS stands for Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation. Both IFC and TENS are electrical devices that deliver relatively low voltage electrical current to the body by way of small electrodes. The electrical stimulation gives is felt as a mild buzzy or tingling feeling that acts to distract the brain from feeling pain. These devices can be used by physiotherapists to reduce swelling, stimulate blood flow and provide pain relief in conjunction with the use of ice, heat, exercise and compression depending on the type and severity of your injury.
Ultrasound is a device that delivers sound waves to the body to provide deep heat and thus stimulate healing by improving blood flow to the area being treated.
8. Taping, Strapping
Taping is a commonly used technique by physiotherapists to support a joint, provide a postural reminder, and to inhibit overactive muscles or stimulate underactive muscles. It can be used for pain control by reminding us of our posture, or for holding a joint in the correct position while healing takes place. Taping can also be used when bracing is unavailable or inappropriate for activity. In a sporting environment taping can often help prevent serious ligament or joint injuries by providing a rigid block to the end range of a joint movement or, by creating a sensation on the skin that encourages stabilizing muscle contractions around the joint.
Taping can also help in the rehabilitation process by guiding correct movement patterns while strengthening and exercising a joint or muscle group.