We’ve all been held back at some point in life by an injury or pain that can sometimes prevent us from doing even simple, everyday tasks. As with most things in life, through knowing what you are dealing with, being able to put a name to something and having a plan is a hugely important first step on the road to injury recovery. Often these are simple things that can be done to make the road to physical freedom faster, simpler and more comfortable.
Contrary to what some may think, physiotherapy can help you in many more ways than the passive massage we often get associated with. Here at HG Physio we pride ourselves in addressing the following:
1. Clear diagnosis
Physiotherapists are known as “first-line practitioners” which means you don’t need a referral from another medical professional to see one. Why is this relevant to your pain or injury, you might be asking? It’s important because even when you aren’t sure what you are dealing with, booking an appointment with your physiotherapist might be the real starting point on your road to injury recovery. We are great at doing thorough assessments and referring you on to the appropriate health care professional if we feel that physiotherapy treatment is not what you need, and often have a quick-win exercise or two up our sleeve you can do to help you through the difficult moments. Our goal is to put a name to your problem, help you to understand how you got there, and help map a way forward.
As a physiotherapist, I always make it my goal to partner with my patients in their healing journey. Patients should leave a treatment feeling empowered to take charge of their own recovery and patient education is hugely important here. Carry through at home is essential to ensure you get the most out of your treatment. Understanding the “how” and the “why” of your injury as well as your role in the “where to from here” is really your best chance a full and speedy recovery.
3. Symptomatic relief
The hands-on physiotherapy treatment should bring you symptomatic relief and help to facilitate healing. Your body is an incredible machine with fantastic healing powers but manual therapy techniques can help to kick start the process and facilitate full and functional healing without the tricks and compensations your body is so good at recruiting when your primary movement pattern fails you. Soft tissue techniques, joint mobilizations, electrotherapy, dry needling, etc are all modalities your therapist may employ to help facilitate healing. These treatment techniques encourage blood flow, relieve muscle spasm and restore movement, which should always leave you feeling better than when you arrived!
Your physiotherapist will try to establish causative factors that resulted in your injury/pain and address those in treatment. They will often work with you to put together a few exercises to correct dysfunctional movement patterns or just work on conditioning to improve your capacity to handle the load and avoid getting to failure. Certain joints, like the shoulder, are very dependent not only on adequate muscle strength but also on the correct timing of muscle activation to provide stability at the joint. Correcting muscle imbalance can not only relieve symptoms in the short term but also prevent degenerative injuries down the line. We are ALL about treating the cause, and not just the symptoms.
5. Lifestyle/movement modifications
Aside from the hands-on treatment and rehab, your physiotherapist will also advise on appropriate lifestyle or movement modifications to avoid flaring your injury as you return to work, sport, or just life in general. Although in some cases complete rest is advised, most of the time your physiotherapist will identify ways in which you can modify your current activity to avoid benching you completely. If your dysfunction stems from the workplace we may advise adjusting your position or posture, rearranging your work station set up, swapping out chairs or working off a bigger screen than your laptop.
If returning to a sport we may advise, using supports or bracing, dialing back on pace or choosing a more forgiving surface to train. All of the above-mentioned modifications are part of the process we call “active rest”.
Sounds like a lot to expect from one treatment right? Well, we pride ourselves on doing “a lot”. We believe that with one of our physiotherapists you really are in good hands.