So often in my physiotherapy practice I see people who have been suffering in one way or another for a very long time. A lot of times they have been to other health care practitioners with minimal results, and so they have just resigned themselves to living with pain, discomfort, and limited function.
When I talk to these people, they always tell me that previous treatment has only ever been aimed at the painful area. Despite the fact that they often have multiple complaints involving several areas of the body, they have never had a full body assessment linking everything together. This is the only way we look at things in my practice. Whether you come in with a sore back or having had a stroke, we will look at how everything is connected.
Here are seven common things I see people needlessly enduring.
Injuries When Starting a New Activity
I started playing indoor soccer for the first time last winter. One of my teammates had never played soccer before and another hadn’t played in a very long time. They both pulled their quadriceps ten minutes into the first game. While some might put this down to inadequate warm-up, the problem is more complex than that.
When we pull a muscle it is because that particular area is over-working. Why does it do this? Because some other area isn’t pulling its weight. The key is to find the area that is slacking and whip it into shape. If this isn’t done then the injury will persist and/or the person will likely reinjure the same spot eventually. Check out this blog post for more common injuries like this.
With a detailed assessment weak areas can be spotted and treated preventatively. If my client tells me what sport they are about to undertake, I can look at the main areas they need to do that activity. If a weak link in the chain is spotted it can be treated before injury occurs. So consider a preventative tune-up before starting something new.
Acute Back Injuries
I think we all know someone who has done some apparently harmless movement, like picking up a sock off the floor, and found herself splayed out in debilitating pain. Obviously picking up the sock didn’t cause the injury. The structure had been failing for some time and that last movement was just the straw that broke the camel’s back.
Well if that’s the case then we should be able to intervene before the camel goes down. People will often say, “it happened out of the blue” or “I didn’t see that one coming”, but there are almost always telltale warning signs. You just have to know what to look for and get some physiotherapy treatment before you end up collapsed on the floor.
Pain when Lifting up Babies and Toddlers
A lot of moms of young children live with pain, most often in the upper back, shoulders, wrists, or thumbs. This often results from lots of lifting, carrying, and the sport of champions – breastfeeding. We put this down to some sort of rite of passage, but there is no need to live with this.
The key to avoiding upper body injury is stability in the lower body. Pelvic stability is crucial here in order to minimize the stress on the upper back and shoulders. The thumbs often get unduly stressed and can become painful as well. Having physiotherapy treatment aimed at improving lower body stability will relieve the issues in the upper body and allow you to get on with things with a smile on your face instead of a painful grimace.
The first thing to note here is that I have seen many people who have been told they have sciatic pain when they do not, so a proper diagnosis is the first order of business. The second order of business is determining where the sciatic nerve is potentially being compressed.
Traditional physiotherapy treatment for sciatic pain is aimed at the lower back where the nerve fibres originate. However, as you will see from this blog post it is more complicated than that. The nerve can be compressed anywhere along its route and the true underlying cause of the compression must be found. This may involve treating distant areas of the body in order to improve overall alignment. Once the big picture is taken into account the pain can be chased away for good.
Feeling Sluggish After Having Babies
So many mothers of young children feel that they are “out of shape” and berate themselves for letting things get to this state. The reality is that they are not out of shape, they have stability issues that are sapping their energy. Deal with the stability and the fitness will come.
Plantar fasciitis is a common condition which causes pain in the bottom of the foot when weight bearing. Because the pain is in the foot, physiotherapy treatment is usually aimed there. But the real problem lies further up the chain, sometimes quite a distance away. Treating just the foot may produce temporary relief but will not produce lasting effects.
Often when I am treating someone for a more acute injury, while taking a history they will mention another part of their body that is a continual problem, shrug and say “Oh that old thing has been a problem forever. I just keep hurting it. Nothing can be done about it.” In my book that is a gauntlet thrown.
In my world recurrent injury is no accident. It happens because the true underlying cause of the problem has never been addressed. The weak link in the chain is still weak and so one particular body part is taking the brunt of the force repeatedly. The only way to deal with the situation for good is to look at everything, find the weakest link, and vote it off the island.
Treat the Whole Body and the Rest Will Come
If you are tired of putting up with any of these things then come in and see us. We would love to help you get on with your life with a smile on your face.