Ice is an effective and natural pain killer and anti-inflammatory.

Ice should be applied over the inflamed area in the acute or early stages of your problem.  (See below for application)

Whenever you experience swelling, redness or sharp / stabbing pain it is generally considered best to apply ice. Repeat until symptoms ease – usually for 24 – 48 hours.

Following this you should alternate with ice and heat. If in doubt, contact your Physiotherapist.

APPLICATION

Place ice cubes in a plastic bag or use a professionally prepared ice pack.

Place a damp face washer or tea towel over the problem area then place the ice pack on the material covering.

The first application should be as follows:-

10 minutes on
10 minutes off

10 minutes on
10 minutes off

10 minutes on

Then during waking hours, apply the ice pack every 2 hours, or as indicated by your Physiotherapist.

Heat is an effective therapy for reducing muscular tension and pain and is best used AFTER the initial inflammation has subsided.

N.B. If you do not have ice immediately available, then use a pack of frozen peas or similar item.

Your workstation should be set up to cause the least amount of stress on your body. Prolonged hours of poor posture or repetitive work habits, often in a stressful environment can result in significant overuse injury. Applying the following points can help tominimise such injuries.

Important points to note :

  • Site in front of your workstation such that your monitor is directly front on.
  • Your arms should be at right angles from your shoulders when you type
  • Your wrists should be in line with your forearms, both horizontally and vertically
  • Your keyboard should be flat
  • the top of your monitor should be level with your eys
  • Do not sit too close to your monitor – at least an arms length away
  • Ensure your seat is properly adjusted
  • If your feet don’t reach teh ground, use a foot rest.
  • Do not reach too far for your mouse, keep it close to your keyboard and support your arm on the desk when using your mouse
  • Use a document holder attached to the site of the monitor
  • Take regular breaks every hour, stretch your legs and perform simple mobility exercises to limber

Optimal Chair Setup

Correct seating posture is an essential ingredient to preventing spinal injury and fatigue.

The basic features of a good chair are :

  • height adjustable
  • pelvic tilt on seat
  • lumbar support
  • Adjust the height of your chair such that your knees are level or just below hip height and that your feet are flat on the floor.
  • If your seat has a pelvic tilt, this should be set to a slight forward incline to promote a natural inward lower back curve.
  • Move the lumbar support so that it fits snuggly into the curve of your lower back. This will help to prevent lumbar strain and helps to maintain a straight spine and neck whilst seated.
  • Never sit with your legs crossed! Crossing at the ankles is a preferable alternative.

Sports injuries are commonly caused by overuse, direct impact, or the application of force that is greater than the body part can structurally withstand. An injury that happens suddenly, such as a sprained ankle caused by an awkward footfall, is known as an acute injury.

Chronic injuries are caused by overusing the same muscle groups or joints. Poor technique and structural abnormalities can also contribute to the development of chronic injuries. Medical investigation of any sports injury is important, because you may be hurt more severely than you think. For example, what seems like an ankle sprain may actually be a bone fracture.

Common types of sports injuries
Some of the more common sports injuries include:

  • Ankle sprain – symptoms include pain, swelling and stiffness.
  • Bruises – a blow can cause small bleeds into the skin.
  • Concussion – mild reversible brain injury from a blow to the head, which may be associated with loss of consciousness. Symptoms include headache, dizziness and short term memory loss.
  • Cuts and abrasions – usually caused by falls. The knees and hands are particularly prone.
  • Dehydration – losing too much fluid can lead to heat exhaustion and heat stroke.
  • Dental damage – a blow to the jaw can crack, break or dislodge teeth.
  • Groin strain – symptoms include pain and swelling.
  • Hamstring strain – symptoms include pain, swelling and bruising.
  • Knee joint injuries – symptoms include pain, swelling and stiffness. The ligaments, tendons or cartilage can be affected.
  • Nose injuries – either blood nose or broken nose, caused by a direct blow.
  • Stress fractures – particularly in the lower limbs. The impact of repeated jumping or running on hard surfaces eventually stresses and cracks the bone.

First aid for sprains, strains and joint injuries
Suggestions on immediate treatment for sprains, strains and joint injuries include:

  • Stop the activity.
  • Rest the injured area.
  • For the first 24 to 48 hours, apply ice packs for 15 minutes every two hours.
  • Bandage the injured area firmly, extending the wrapping above and below the injury.
  • Whenever possible, elevate the injured area above the level of your heart.
  • Avoid heat, alcohol or massage, which can exacerbate the swelling.
  • Seek medical advice.

First aid for nose bleeds
Suggestions include:

  • Stop the activity.
  • Sit with the head leaning forward.
  • Pinch the nostrils together and breathe through your mouth.
  • Hold the nose for at least 10 minutes.
  • If bleeding continues past 30 minutes, seek medical advice.

First aid for dislodged teeth
It may be possible to save the tooth with prompt dental treatment. Rinse the tooth in water or milk and see your dentist immediately.

Emergency situations
Call an ambulance if any of the following injuries are suspected:

  • Prolonged loss of consciousness
  • Neck or spine injuries
  • Broken bones
  • Injuries to the head or face
  • Eye injuries
  • Abdominal injuries.

Treatment options
Treatment depends on the type and severity of the injury. Always see your doctor if pain persists after a couple of days. What you may think is a straightforward sprain may actually be a fractured bone. Physiotherapy can help to rehabilitate the injured site and, depending on the injury, may include exercises to promote strength and flexibility. Returning to sport after injury depends on your doctor’s assessment. Trying to play before the injury is properly healed will only cause further damage and delay recovery. In the meantime, you can maintain your fitness by choosing forms of exercise that don’t involve your injury; for example, ride a stationary bicycle while your sprained wrist is healing.

Prevention strategies
You can reduce your risk of sports injuries if you:

  • Warm up thoroughly by gently going through the motions of your sport and performing slow, sustained stretches.
  • Wear appropriate footwear.
  • Tape or strap vulnerable joints, if necessary.
  • Use the appropriate safety equipment, such as mouth guards, helmets and pads.
  • Drink plenty of fluids before, during and after the game.
  • Try to avoid exercising in the hottest part of the day, between 11am and 3pm.
  • Maintain a good level of overall fitness.
  • Cross-train with other sports to ensure overall fitness and muscle strength.
  • Don’t exert yourself beyond your level of fitness.
  • Use good form and technique.
  • Cool down after sport with gentle, sustained stretches.
  • Allow adequate recovery time between sessions.
  • Have regular medical checkups.

Painful shoulder conditions that limit movement are very common, and are caused by injuries affecting the shoulder joint, muscles, tendons, ligaments and cartilage.

It is possible to do more movements with the arm than with any other part of the body. The arm is such a useful tool that it’s a pity that there are only two of them!

The bones that make up the arm include the humerus, in the upper arm, and the two bones of the forearm, the radius and ulna, as well as the little bones of the wrist, hand and fingers. The arm is very special as it enables the hand to get into all sorts of useful positions.

The shoulder joint in particular, being a universal joint, has a huge range of movement. The hand can go above the head, behind the back and even across to scratch behind the other shoulder. The elbow works like a hinge joint allowing the hand to come nearer or go further away from the body. The elbow and wrist combined allow manipulation of the hand through more than 180 degrees i.e. from palm up to palm down, the wrist helps with grip, whilst the joints in the hand, thumb and fingers allow the dexterity of finger movement.

Since the nerves that supply the shoulder and arm originate from the neck and upper spine, conditions such as Vertebral Dysfunction commonly contribute to pain in the shoulder.

Physiotherapists can assist with the following shoulder conditions:

  • Frozen Shoulder
  • Chronic Shoulder Pain and Stiffness
  • Shoulder Muscle Spasm and Tension
  • Arthritis of the Shoulder
  • Diagnosis of Shoulder Pain
  • Rotator Cuff Disorders such as tears and strains
  • Impingement Syndrome
  • AC Joint Injury

In order to determine the cause of your pain, your Physiotherapist will conduct a full physical, orthopaedic and neurological examination of the shoulder, cervical and thoracic spine.

You will be asked to perform shoulder range of motion and muscle strength tests. Where the pain is felt, both at rest and during movement of the shoulder, provides important clues as to the cause of the shoulder pain.

Signs of Shoulder Pain may include restriction in the movements of the shoulder, both active (the person doing them themselves) and passive (the joint being moved by someone else).Upward motion is usually less than 100 degrees (ie not far above shoulder level) and the arm cannot be turned outward more than 30 degrees.

It may also be necessary to undergo specialized diagnostic tests such as XRay, Ultrasound and/or MRI scans.

Treatment of Shoulder Pain

Regardless of the cause, treatment of the shoulder complex requires an experienced physiotherapist who can test the movements and structures of the shoulder and come to an accurate diagnosis of the problem. Physiotherapy treatment can then focus on the core problem.

The initial objective of all shoulder injuries is to relieve pain and inflammation.

Whilst many doctors will recommend non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) to relieve pain and swelling, the benefit obtained by applying ice-packs can be equally, if not more beneficial.

As your shoulder begins to heal, it is vitally important to

  • Restore range of movement,
  • And later to improve muscle strength so as to stabilize the shoulder and help prevent further injury and aggravation.

Your Physiotherapist will be able to assist you with suitable shoulder range of motion exercises and shoulder strengthening and rehabilitation exercises during your recovery.

Please contact us for your comprehensive shoulder assessment. We look forward to hearing from you!

Physiotherapists regularly treat sciatica and have terrific results.

Sciatica is the Latin word for “Pain down the back of the leg” Sciatica is referred pain usually caused by trapping the sciatic nerve in the lower back. See back pain.

The sciatic nerve runs from the lower back down through the buttocks and along the back of each leg. Sciatica is pain along this nerve and is a relatively common form of back pain and is usually caused by pressure on the sciatic nerve from a herniated or bulging disc.

The pain from sciatica can be anything from infrequent and irritating to severe and debilitating. Usually, it affects only one side, the pain radiating through the buttock and down the leg and is often associated with a constant pain on one side of the buttocks, pain in the leg and/or buttock that may be worse when sitting , burning or tingling down the leg, weakness, numbness or difficulty moving the leg or foot or a shooting pain that makes it difficult to stand up.

While sciatica can be extremely painful and uncomfortable, it is rare that permanent nerve damage (tissue damage) results. Most pain is due to inflammation and will improve within a period of time. Nerve pain is caused by a combination of pressure and inflammation on the nerve root, and treatment is centred on relieving both of these conditions.

Typically, sciatica is made worse by bending, lifting, sneezing and coughing.

Sciatica is a common problem for manual workers, sedentary office workers and is particularly prevalent during pregnancy.

Physiotherapy Treatment main objectives are

  • reduce pain
  • restore movement
  • strengthen weakened muscles
  • reduce tension

Causes of Sciatica

The sciatic nerve is the main nerve in the leg and the largest in the body. It runs from the base of the spine, along the back of the thigh to the knee, where it divides into branches.

Sciatic pain is usually caused by compression of this nerve root at the point where it leaves the spine. Damage to the nerve can also cause pain.

In young and early middle-aged adults, the most common cause of sciatica is a prolapsed intervertebral disc in the lumbosacral area of the lower back.

In older people, changes in the spine due to conditions such as osteoarthritis may be responsible either by causing localised pressure on the nerve or by narrowing of the spinal canal – called spinal stenosis.

Other bone disease or local injury may also be responsible.

Pressure on the sciatic nerve can result from a number of reasons including

  • Sometimes, just sitting awkwardly can cause sciatica.
  • Piriformis syndrome (tightness of the piriformis muscle in the buttock that compresses the sciatic nerve)
  • Spinal misalignments, vertebral dysfunction
  • herniated disc
  • Poor posture – wearing high heels, prolonged sitting, poor mattress
  • Poor lifting technique and poor bending habits
  • Spinal compressions due to osteoporosis

Diagnosis of Sciatica

Since there are many disorders that can cause sciatica, your physiotherapists’ first task is to determine the exact cause of your sciatic nerve interference.

Physiotherapy treatment

  • Always begins with a thorough history,
  • Spinal, orthopaedic and neurological examination.
  • Special diagnostic imaging investigations such as X-ray, CT, MRI
  • Posture pro scan may also be required to accurately diagnose your sciatica.

Treatment of Sciatica

As sciatica is due to pressure on the sciatic nerve, it stands to reason that treatment involves removing this pressure. Your Physiotherapy treatment aims to achieve this by reducing nerve pressure caused by poorly moving spinal joints as well as easing muscular tension in the lower spine, buttock and leg.

This is achieved by using a combination of the following techniques:

  • Spinal mobilisations
  • Massage therapy and trigger point therapy
  • Stretching tight muscles, joints, tendons and ligaments
  • Ultrasound and other electrical stimulation devices
  • Advice in relation to how to minimise pressure and irritation of the sciatic nerve

In addition to this, you will be given a series of home stretching exercises and asked to apply ice and heat to help aid your recovery.

If you are suffering with sciatica at the moment please do not delay – you can achieve the best results when you address the symptoms early, simply contact us to begin your care today!

What is good posture Posture is the position in which you hold your body upright against gravity while standing, sitting or laying down. Good posture helps to minimise the amount of strain imposed on our muscles, joints and ligaments whilst performing our daily activities.

If you want an example of good posture, just look at a young child – their back shows a graceful ‘S’ curve and their movements are easy and effortless. As we get older, bad habits such as slouching and inactivity cause muscle fatigue and tension that ultimately lead to poor posture. The complications of poor posture include back pain, spinal dysfunction, joint degeneration, rounded shoulders and a potbelly.

Symptoms of poor posture can include:

  • Rounded shoulders
  • Potbelly
  • Bent knees when standing or walking
  • Head that either leans forward or backward
  • Back pain
  • Body aches and pains
  • Muscle fatigue
  • Headache.

Living in the 21st Century means that we sit for far longer than ever before in history. We sit to work, to play and then, when we are tired, we slouch on the sofa. This slouching encourages our low back to take exactly the opposite to ideal shape. Our lifestyles also encourage us to be physically passive. Our work involves smaller and smaller movements performed under tension (compare the physicality of the skills required to use a manual typewriter with those for a computer keyboard!)

Sitting is in itself tough on the back but slouching is one of the most constant and damaging strains on our spines in modern life. If we slouch on a regular basis the slouch will feel ‘normal’ to us but human nature is to interpret that feeling as if it is correct.

Proper posture:

  • Lessens muscle strain by keeping bones and joints in correct alignment.
  • Reduces the abnormal wearing of joint surfaces caused by overstrain and overload.
  • Minimises ligamentous strain on the joints of the spine and posture loaded joints.
  • Reduces fatigue due to more efficient use of muscles, allowing the body to use less energy.
  • Helps prevents muscular pain and backache.
  • Contributes to a more assertive and positive appearance.

Remember, as the twig is bent,
so grows the tree.

 

Postural mechanisms

Poor posture interferes with a number of the body’s postural mechanisms including:

  • ‘Slow twitch’ and ‘fast twitch’ muscle fibres
  • Muscle strength and length
  • Nervous system feedback on the body’s position in space.

Proper posture requirements:

  • Strong postural muscles
  • Balanced muscle tone on both sides of the spine
  • Good muscle and joint flexibility
  • An understanding of what constitutes good posture which leads to conscious correction.
  • With practice, the correct posture for standing, sitting, and lying down will gradually replace your old posture.

What is the correct way to stand?

Most people when asked to stand with good posture immediately stand tall, arching their spine and pulling their shoulders back. It looks uncomfortable and is a far cry from a healthy standing posture. Keep it simple – try using PUPPET POSTURE !

Puppet posture is a term I have used to simplify the process of assuming correct posture. It works especially well with children as they can identify easily.

Imagine that you are a puppet (well try to at least!) with a string coming out of the top of your head. Gently lift the imaginary string upwards to straighten your spine. Your arms and shoulders will assume the best posture they can for your current spinal function. Watch yourself in the mirror to visualise what you are achieving. Practice regularly, it gets easier as your spine and muscles gain strength.

Sleeping Posture

  • Sleep on your back or side only.
  • Do not sleep on your stomach as this often causes lower back and neck strain.
  • Use a quality contoured pillow that provides adequate support to your head and neck while sleeping.
  • When arising from bed, move to the side of the bed and push yourself up sideways while swinging your legs off the side.
  • When your back is painful you may place a pillow under your knees (when on your back) or between your knees (when on your side).

You can improve your posture and spinal health by making a few lifestyle adjustments. See your Physiotherapist for further information and advice.