Physiotherapy treatment can be life changing, helping you recover from traumatic injuries, acute or chronic pain and get you on the road to your best performance levels. Here are a few tips to make sure you get the most out of your physiotherapy treatment.
1. Ask your physio questions about your injury
Understanding your condition and how to best manage it is one of the most important factors for a successful recovery. Effective therapists allow time for you to ask questions in a non-judgmental environment. There are no stupid questions, if you don’t understand what is happening in your own body it is harder to follow advice and stick to your program. This can also help you to cope with pain and feel less helpless in your recovery.
2. Follow your physio’s advice and do your exercises
Home exercises are a key part of your recovery, especially when treatment times are limited. Try to stick to your exercise program as seriously as you would a medicine schedule. It is also important to ensure that you are doing your exercises correctly at home. Don’t be afraid to double and triple check your technique during your appointments.
Your therapist will also provide you with advice regarding activities to avoid, how to stretch, when to rest and how to avoid further injury. If you’re not sure about something, ask your therapist to write it down for you.
3. Notice your improvements
Nothing can be more disheartening than feeling like the appointments and exercises you’re diligently attending to are making no difference. As therapists, we make regular measurements to track your improvement and know that while your symptoms might be lingering, you are actually moving more and increasing stress on your body as you recover. Set your own measurements to help you track your recovery. This can help you stick to treatment and feel more positive as you complete your recovery journey.
4. Set goals and work with your physio to meet these.
The goals of recovery are different for everyone. Some of us want to be able to reach peak performance, such as running a marathon. For others, just getting through the day with a little less pain would be a huge success. Know your own goals and take the time to discuss this with your therapist, who will guide your treatment to help you meet these milestones.
Our physiotherapists at The Physio Nook are happy to discuss your condition with you and share their tips to help you stay pain-free.
One of the most challenging aspects of living with an injury or chronic pain is how it can impact your exercise routine. If you have been working towards a fitness or weight goal, this can be extremely demoralizing. Here are a few tips that can help to keep you on track while you recover. Staying as active as possible during this time can mean you’re in the best position to reach your goals again once your injury has healed.
1. Try a new activity.
When injury strikes, it can be tempting to stop exercising altogether and just rest while you recover. An injury can be frustrating, but it can also be an opportunity to try out a different sport. If you’re a runner with an ankle injury, you can keep up your fitness by swimming instead. Cycling can be an excellent option for people for dealing with knee pain, and if you’re a swimmer with shoulder pain, maybe switch to running for a while. Check with your physiotherapist for some ideas to keep you moving.
2. Exercise within your limits.
If you’re getting pain at 5km, this doesn’t always mean you should give up running altogether. Your physiotherapist can help you monitor your symptoms carefully and plan an exercise routine that keeps your fitness up while reducing symptom flare-ups. Staying as active as possible throughout your recovery can also mean that you a better placed to get back to your best performance once symptoms subside.
3. Take the opportunity to improve your footwear and equipment.
Injury and pain can be a great prompt to look at your equipment and technique. For example, with hip and knee pain, the type of shoes you wear can have a significant difference. Often pain has more than one cause, with technique and equipment often having a substantial impact on the stress placed on your body. Your physiotherapist is an excellent source of advice in this area, don’t hesitate to ask for an assessment.
4. Take to the water
Hydrotherapy has long been used to help patients with joint pain or muscle weakness exercise. The water helps reduce joint stress and provide extra sensory input that can reduce pain. Exercising in water can be especially helpful for sufferers of chronic pain or those who have pain with weight-bearing. Speak to your physio for a hydrotherapy program if you’re not sure how to approach exercise in water.
Our physiotherapists are happy to discuss your condition with you and share their tips to help you stay pain-free.
What is spinal stenosis?
The spinal cord, nerves and arteries are housed by the spine, which acts as a hard casing to support and protect these vulnerable structures. The spine has a hollow column that allows the spinal cord to run from the brain to the rest of the body. At each spinal segment, nerves exit the spine and supply the tissues of the body. There is also an intricate network of small veins and arteries that provide blood to the spinal cord and vertebrae, providing them with the nutrients needed to operate.
Spinal stenosis is characterized by a narrowing of the spaces that house the spinal cord, nerves and blood supply. A variety of factors can cause spinal stenosis, however overwhelmingly it is caused by degenerative changes to the spine as we age. Many people over the age of 60 will have a degree of spinal stenosis, however not all will have pain. Clinically, spinal stenosis is often used to describe the painful symptoms of this condition rather than just the narrowing itself.
What are the symptoms?
Pain with walking or standing that radiates into the hips, thighs and even as far as the feet is the hallmark of spinal stenosis. Usually, this pain will be reduced with rest and forward movements of the spine. Spinal stenosis is a progressive condition and symptoms will gradually increase over time. The pain is often described as a deep ache and can be associated with fatigue, heaviness, weakness and numbness. It can affect just one leg, but often will be felt in both legs. There will often be associated back pain, however leg pain is usually the most severe complaint.
How can physiotherapy help?
There are many conditions that need to be excluded before a diagnosis can be made. Your physiotherapist is able to conduct a thorough examination and accurately diagnose this condition. In some cases, imaging may be requested. As mentioned earlier, many people have stenotic spinal changes without symptoms. Surgery to decompress the restricted nerves and stabilize the spine can be used in very severe cases.
For mild to moderate cases of spinal stenosis, physiotherapy can be extremely beneficial. Your physiotherapist can help you manage your pain through hands-on techniques and by providing a targeted exercise program based on biomechanical assessment. They are also able to help you to understand and manage your day in a way that helps to reduce flare-ups and maintain muscle strength.
Occasionally surgery is the right choice for you, then your physiotherapist is able to guide you through this treatment pathway, helping you to prepare and recover from surgery to get the best overall outcome possible.