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What You Need To Know About Physiotherapy
Have you often asked yourself who should you see to help you with an injury? You are not alone. Many people are on the same boat as you.
Recently, a patient at our clinic came for knee pain. It took her over a month to see a physiotherapist. She wanted to wait and see if the pain could go on its own.
After doing some research about knee pain treatment, she found us. The physiotherapist recommended a treatment plan with some home exercise. The inflammation around the knee improved considerably after doing some in-clinic therapy. She got better after 4 weeks of treatment.
It appears that physiotherapy can treat a large number of injuries. In this article, I will cover 9 of the most common injuries physical therapy can treat.
How Physiotherapy Can Help You?
Physiotherapy can help you achieve a few goals, including but not limited to:
- Restoring physical function
- Reduction of pain in your daily activities
- Maximizing strength, flexibility, and movement
- Building an exercise and treatment plan that helps you rehabilitate
- Faster recovery and rehabilitation that helps prevent other injuries
Type of Injuries Treated By Physiotherapists
1. Ankle Sprains
Ligaments are strong bands of fibrous connective tissue that connect bones together. An ankle sprain occurs when a ligament has been stretched, damaged or ruptured.
The most common mechanisms of ligament sprains include twisting, tripping or when contacted by a strong force. Ankle and wrist sprains are common examples and usually happen after a slip or fall or during contact sports.
You may have heard of an "ACL tear" or "MCL tear”, these are examples of ligament sprains in the knee joint, and commonly occur during sports.
- Maintain an active lifestyle, including regular stretching and strengthening.
- Manage your environment as best as possible.
Sciatica is the presence of pain in the lower extremities of the thigh, leg, and buttock. Our lower body is supplied by a large nerve known as the sciatic nerve, which is formed from a bunch of smaller nerves leaving the spinal cord.
Once the small nerves unite, the sciatic nerve moves through the buttock, thigh and the leg to supply the region.
It can get pressed against any underlying structures like bones or joints along its course through the lower body, which causes the pain in Sciatica.
- Practice proper lifting techniques
- Reduce or stop cigarette smoking, which promotes disc degeneration
- Exercise regularly to strengthen the muscles of your back and abdomen
- Use good posture when sitting, standing, and sleeping
- Avoid sitting for long periods
3. Frozen Shoulder
As the name suggests, frozen shoulder occurs when the shoulder capsule (a ligament that surrounds the shoulder joint) adheres too tightly to the joint.
This freeze or restricts the movement of the shoulder joint, causing stiffness, pain and in some cases an inability to move the shoulder.
Frozen shoulder usually develops gradually and gets progressively worse, but without treatment the effects can become permanent.
There are three main stages of Frozen Shoulder. All cases will go through each phase, but the duration and severity of each phase depend on whether or not treatment is being performed.
The typical course of frozen shoulder can last anywhere between 6 months and 3 years.
1. Freezing: Shoulder pain is often felt at night, and an individual will notice that their shoulder is feeling more stiff than normal. As this phase worsens, pain is felt during the day and people will complain of pain during most movements.
2. Frozen: This phase can last 6 months or more and is characterized by extreme stiffness and loss of movement of the shoulder joint. Pain is generally less during this phase, compared to the Freezing phase.
3. Thawing: As the capsule starts ‘unstick’ from the joint, more movement can be performed with less pain.
- Maintain an active lifestyle
- Manage any systemic conditions (e.g. diabetes)
- Ensure you are following a range of motion/stretching program for your shoulder and upper extremities following an injury or surgery
4. Carpal Tunnel
The carpal tunnel is an anatomical structure within the wrist. It acts as a passageway for 10 different structures and is surrounded by a tough band of tissue called the flexor retinaculum.
For a variety of reasons, the carpal tunnel can become compressed, or swollen, which places additional stress and irritation on the contents of the tunnel.
- Minimize repeated and frequent movements to the hands while at work
- Perform regular wrist stretching and strengthening routine
- Ergonomic devices can help reduce your risk of developing carpal tunnel syndrome
5. Vestibular Disorder
The vestibular system is the part of the inner ear and brain that is responsible for controlling both eye movement and balance, therefore an accident or disease affecting this system can result in a vestibular disorder.
There is no specific prevention for vestibular disorder but there are various treatment physiotherapists can help you with. There also a few home exercises you can do.
6. Knee Pain
Knee pain is a common complaint that affects people of all ages. Knee pain is often associated with general wear and tear from daily activities.
It also may be the result of an injury, such as a ruptured ligament or torn cartilage. Some medical conditions such as arthritis and gout can also cause knee pain.
- Maintain a healthy weight and a healthy diet
- Wear supportive, stable, well-fitted shoes
- Keep legs, hips and core muscles strong – be smart about exercise
- Gently and regularly stretch the muscles that support your knees
- Avoid kneeling on hard surfaces without knee pads
- Respect your body – keep it moving, rest it when it is tired!
The temporomandibular joint (TMJ) acts like a sliding hinge, connecting your jawbone to your skull. You have one joint on each side of your jaw. TMJ disorders.
A type of temporomandibular disorder or TMD, can cause pain in your jaw joint and in the muscles that control jaw movement.
Not much to do there, except maybe to:
- Eat a soft diet to allow the TMJ to relax
- Avoid chewing gum
- Avoid biting your nails
- Avoid biting your lower lip
- Practice good posture
- Limit large jaw movements, such as yawning and singing
8. Muscle Strains & Tendonitis
A muscle strain is any injury that occurs to a muscle or tendon. Sometimes called "pulled muscles", muscle strains vary in severity and commonly occur in the back, neck, shoulders and legs.
A muscle spasm occurs when a muscle is abnormally used, and causes an involuntary contraction, often described as feeling "locked" or "stuck".
An injury to a tendon that causes inflammation is often referred to as "tendonitis". Tendon injuries can be caused by traumatic incidents or chronic overuse.
Symptoms of a muscle strain and tendonitis are similar, so a detailed assessment is recommended to ensure the right treatment is being provided!
- Maintain an active lifestyle, including regular stretching and strengthening
- Manage your environment as best as possible
- An ergonomic assessment of your workplace completed are two other important preventative factors to consider
9. Concussion or Brain Injury
A concussion, it's a trauma caused to the head due to a fall or an accident of some sort. It is usually a hard hit on the head.
Effects are usually temporary but can include headaches and problems with concentration, memory, balance and coordination.
- Always wear seatbelts in the car and buckle children in safety seats
- Wear a fitted helmet when you are on wheels
- Prevent falls on stairs by putting up handrails
Those 9 types of injuries often require physiotherapy treatment. If you don’t exercise much or you aren’t used to stretch, it’s always best to speak with a physiotherapist first.
They are well-trained and experienced in musculoskeletal injuries. For a concussion, you must ensure to speak with a specialized health practitioner in brain injury. Not all physical therapist can treat a concussion.
Generally speaking, Physical therapy can help you reduce inflammation by using certain modalities such as TENS, Ultrasound and Acupuncture. If your injury is too inflamed, it will be more difficult to stretch and likely more painful.
As mentioned above, I would like to offer you a FREE Downloadable Guide on Home Exercise for the most common injuries. It doesn’t replace the expertise of a physiotherapist or a sport medicine doctor but it’s a good start.
“Fantastic staff and environment. Maggie helped me immensely feel better after my broken ankle. I highly recommend and would definitely go back again.” Shawn Noble
“This is a fantastic place to be for all needs of rehabilitation! beautiful space, people and environment. when you walk in, you feel welcome and at ease like everything is lifted off your shoulders.
GREAT staff, GREAT place, GREAT service!
highly recommend all services!” Chelsea
Message From The Clinic Owner
Is Physiotherapy covered by my health extended benefits?
Yes, most health insurance will cover to a maximum amount. It is recommended you contact your health insurance to identify if you are covered and to how much.
Do I need a Doctor referral before my appointment with my physiotherapist?
No, you don’t but if it is recommended to bring any reports on scan imagery you may have done as well as a copy of any prescription you are currently taking.
How many sessions I have to take?
It really depends on your injury. The assessment will identify the next step. Your physiotherapist will let you know the course of action and the recommended treatment plan to follow.