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Low Back Pain: Important things to know

Low back pain (LBP) is thought to affect as much as 60-80% of the Western population throughout the course of their life. Many people don’t have any preceding events to cause this back pain, although specific injuries can also initiate their symptoms.

Lower back pain constitutes almost half of all chronic pain. This has a huge effect on quality of life and people with LBP tend to have more time off work and higher medical costs than those who do not have symptoms.

Sedentary lifestyles, increased body weight, reduced physical activity and poor postures are all contributing factors to LBP. Obesity rates in the western world have never been higher, and this is known to cause greater rates of musculoskeletal pain than ever before.

Back pain can strike suddenly or build up slowly over a period of time. Many people report sudden and severe onset of back pain from a seemingly innocent movement. Others find that their back aches towards the end of the workday and follows a regular pattern. Thankfully, more and more workplaces are advocating for better ergonomic set-ups in order to pre-emptively reduce the incidence of LBP amongst employees.

Dealing with back pain is complicated as there are many treatments to choose from. Unfortunately, there is rarely a miracle cure that works for everyone. What research tells us is that effective and timely advice, thorough professional assessment and a tailored exercise program shows the best outcomes in the long term.

There are some cases where your physiotherapist or doctor will suggest that you have imaging such as an x-ray or MRI. While imaging can be helpful in ruling out serious injuries it is important to realise that if everyone was to have an MRI of their spine, it is reasonable to expect that most people would have changes in the appearance of their spines, even if they don’t have any pain or other symptoms. The take-home message is that scans do not always paint an accurate picture of what is happening within a person’s back.

The back is made up of a number of different structures that work together to achieve the required movements needed to perform daily activities. With such a complex combination of tissues and joints, aches and pains can be caused by any number of structures. Keeping the muscles and joints of the spine strong and healthy can have a remarkable impact on pain levels regardless of the specific structure causing symptoms.

If you are suffering from back pain, speak to one of our physiotherapist for advice on how to best manage your symptoms.

While no one can prevent back pain with 100% certainty, keeping active, avoiding smoking and maintaining a healthy relationship with alcohol and heavy labour, can reduce your chances of having low back pain.

This information is not a replacement for proper medical advice. Make sure to speak with one of our physiotherapists for advice on your individual condition.

Caboolture Physical Therapy Centre – serving people in need from the following areas: Caboolture, Morayfield, Elimbah, Wamuran, Beerburrum, Beerwah, Glasshouse Mountains, Toorbul, Donnybrook, Ningi, Woodford, Kilcoy, Bribie Island, Goodwin Beach, Sandstone Point, Banksia Beach, Bongaree, Bellar, Woorim, Burpengary & Beachmere.

The Surprising Truth About Osteoarthritis

Sufferers of knee pain know that nothing can kill your optimism for a recovery faster than a diagnosis of Osteoarthritis (OA).

Osteoarthritis is often seen as a kind of death sentence for joints. Many people believe that if you have OA your pain will never improve and will only get worse until a joint replacement can be performed. In fact, joint replacements for hip and knee OA are some of the most common and indeed successful operations performed by orthopedic surgeons.

At least this has been conventional wisdom for decades. Many of us see our bodies like cars – when a part ‘wears out’ it needs replacing with a new one. The truth is much more complicated, mainly due to our bodies’ incredible ability to adapt and change.

Physiotherapists have always known that the pain and disability that comes with arthritis can be improved with a closely targeted exercise program. In some cases, the pain that is attributed to OA is actually due to another, entirely treatable cause. In other cases, strengthening the musculature around the painful joint can have a significant effect by providing the joint with extra support.

The way we move is often affected negatively by pain and this in itself can create a downward spiral. This is not to say that in some cases, surgery is the best and most effective option to improve your quality of life. Rather that there is a strong case to see a physiotherapist to seek treatment for your knee pain first.

Physiotherapists are highly skilled at identifying exactly what is causing your pain and helping you reach the highest level of function. In fact, a recent study has shown that with targeted exercises, directed by physiotherapists – many patients who were scheduled to have surgery were able to improve their quality of life dramatically, avoiding surgery and getting back to their favourite activities.

While exercise is a very powerful treatment, it’s not that any exercise will take away any pain. To be effective, you will need to have a full assessment and have a personalized treatment program created by your physiotherapist. This can involve identifying weak muscles, limitations in flexibility, finding painful trigger points, restoring movement to stiff joints and providing a biomechanical assessment to make a combination of changes that can make a large difference to your pain and activity levels.

Your physiotherapist can also identify any external factors that may be contributing to your pain. Such as unsupportive footwear, workplace set up etc. Talk to us to see how we can help you manage your osteoarthritis.

This information is not a replacement for proper medical advice. For advice on your individual condition, please contact our practice.

Caboolture Physical Therapy Centre – serving people in need from the following areas: Caboolture, Morayfield, Elimbah, Wamuran, Beerburrum, Beerwah, Glasshouse Mountains, Toorbul, Donnybrook, Ningi, Woodford, Kilcoy, Bribie Island, Goodwin Beach, Sandstone Point, Banksia Beach, Bongaree, Bellar, Woorim, Burpengary & Beachmere.
What is referred pain?

Referred pain: What is it and how can I manage it?

What is referred pain?

Referred pain occurs when pain presents in one area but the cause and origin are located elsewhere. This occurs due to sensory nerves being impacted with too high or low a signal being sent through the central nervous system.

The central nervous system sends messages to soft tissue, bones and organs throughout the body, potentially impacting these areas. Referred pain can be reported as; an ache, deep pain, pins and needles, numbness, or as pain in a specific area. Alternatively, you may get referred pain due to muscles or even your organs.

What are the common types of referred pain?

There are common types of complaints which include referred pain, such as; headaches, low back pain and knee arthritis.
Headaches can be referred pain from tight muscles or nerves at the base of the skull, around to the top of the head, temples and the jaw with the symptoms originating from the joints or muscles within the neck.

Experiencing pain in the back of the leg could be due to the irritation of the sciatic nerve in the lower back. Alternatively, low back pain can refer into the hip, groin, leg(s) or further up your back.

Arthritic changes occur when cartilage within the joint wears away. For example; within the knee, pain can be referred around the knee or in other areas of the leg due to the exposure of nerves within these areas.

Muscles may refer pain. Typically from trigger points within the muscle belly due to overuse or underuse. This could be because of poor posture, lack of movement or abnormal movement patters. Trigger points have distinctive referral patterns throughout the body.

Organs within the body can also refer pain. This is often described as a deep ache. This pain often won’t have a set pattern and you can experience pain far away from the affected organ. For example; the heart causing pain in the neck and/ or arm.

To help find the cause or to manage your referred pain talk to your physiotherapist at Caboolture physical therapy centre who can help manage your symptoms and answer any questions that you may have.

Caboolture Physical Therapy Centre – serving people in need from the following areas: Caboolture, Morayfield, Elimbah, Wamuran, Beerburrum, Beerwah, Glasshouse Mountains, Toorbul, Donnybrook, Ningi, Woodford, Kilcoy, Bribie Island, Goodwin Beach, Sandstone Point, Banksia Beach, Bongaree, Bellar, Woorim, Burpengary & Beachmere.
Osteoarthritis of the hip

Osteoarthritis of the Hip

What is Osteoarthritis (OA)?

Osteoarthritis (OA) is a degenerative disease that affects the cartilage of joints. Cartilage is a firm, flexible connective tissue that lines the surface of many joints and provides shock absorption and cushioning for the bony surfaces of those joints as they move. During the process of OA, cartilage gradually begins to break down and is worn away. This means that the bony surfaces below the cartilage start to rub together, creating increased stress and friction. The body reacts to this increased stress by creating small bony deposits around the joint, as more of these are created the joint becomes increasingly painful and difficult to move.

The hip is one the joints most commonly affected by osteoarthritis. While OA is generally considered to be a disease associated with aging, younger people can be affected, particularly following trauma to the hip. As a general rule, however, the cartilage in our bodies loses elasticity as we age, making it more susceptible to damage. Other risk factors for the development of OA are a family history of OA, previous traumatic injury of the hip, obesity, improper formation of the hip at birth (developmental dysplasia), genetic defects of the cartilage, impingement of the hip (femoroacetabular impingement) and a history of intense weight-bearing activities.

What are the signs and symptoms?

The most common symptoms of hip OA are pain and stiffness with reduced movement of the hip, particularly in the direction of internal rotation. These symptoms in a person over the age of 50, in the absence of a trauma that may have caused a fracture, indicate possible OA. Pain originating from the hip joint can be felt as a deep ache that can be noticed in the groin, buttocks, thigh or even knee. It is also typical for sufferers of OA to experience stiffness in the morning upon waking that lasts less than 30-60 minutes. Grating or cracking sensations with hip movements are also common complaints, along with mild to moderate joint swelling.

In the early stages, mild pain may be felt with activities such as walking or running. As the disease progresses these activities will become more painful with the muscles that provide additional support to the joint becoming weaker, exacerbating the disease process. For many people, a total hip replacement may be necessary to reduce pain and restore function.

How can physiotherapy help?

For mild to moderate cases of OA, physiotherapy can help to reduce pain and maintain function for as long as possible. Keep the musculature around the hip as Strong and healthy as possible can have a significant impact on your quality of life and your physiotherapist work with you to help you to set and reach your goals for treatment
Treatment will also include stretching, trigger point therapy, joint mobilization to increase the joint’s mobility, and a personalised exercise program, including hydrotherapy and isometric exercises that work to increase muscle strength while putting less pressure on the joint.

For those whose best course of treatment is a surgical joint replacement, physiotherapy can help to achieve great outcomes by helping with effective preparation and rehabilitation, getting you on your way to recovery as quickly as possible.

The information in this article is not a replacement for proper medical advice. Please contact us for advice on your individual condition.

Caboolture Physical Therapy Centre – serving people in need from the following areas: Caboolture, Morayfield, Elimbah, Wamuran, Beerburrum, Beerwah, Glasshouse Mountains, Toorbul, Donnybrook, Ningi, Woodford, Kilcoy, Bribie Island, Goodwin Beach, Sandstone Point, Banksia Beach, Bongaree, Bellar, Woorim, Burpengary & Beachmere.

Rheumatoid Arthritis | Symptoms and Treatment

What is it?

Rheumatoid arthritis is a type of arthritis classified as an autoimmune disease. Autoimmune disorders are conditions where the immune system of the body mistakenly attacks healthy tissues. This process of inflammation, the bodies defence system against injury and infection can damage joints and cause deformity over a long period of time. Unlike osteoarthritis, which usually affects larger joints that are involved in weight bearing, rheumatoid arthritis can affect many joints at the same time, with smaller and larger joints affected equally.

What are the symptoms?

Rheumatoid arthritis is a chronic disease, characterised by periods of remissions and flare-ups. During a flare-up, joints might become red, hot, swollen and painful. During a remission a patient might have few symptoms, however over many years, these flare-ups can degrade and deform joints, causing them to lose function and the muscles around them to weaken.

The symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis vary from mild to severe and as mentioned, can fluctuate significantly over time. As movement can help to reduce swelling caused by inflammation, pain can actually increase as joints are rested. A person with rheumatoid arthritis may complain of pain and stiffness that is worst when waking and may take 1-2 hours to subside.

What are the causes?

While rheumatoid arthritis is known to be a process of autoimmune dysfunction, the trigger that causes the immune system attack healthy tissues is unknown. In some cases, a virus may trigger the onset of the disease. There is evidence that women have a stronger immune system than men, and a downside of this is that they are more prone to autoimmune disorders, as is the case with Rheumatoid Arthritis.

Other risk factors associated with rheumatoid arthritis include a family history of rheumatoid arthritis, obesity and smoking.

How can physiotherapy help?

While there is no cure at present for the disease process that causes rheumatoid arthritis, there are treatments that can improve the patient’s quality of life and help to manage the symptoms. The first line of treatment for rheumatoid arthritis is medication particularly, anti-inflammatory medications. Change in lifestyle and diet are also advised.
The objectives of physiotherapy treatment for rheumatoid arthritis are to improve joint mobility, increase strength, restore the function of the affected joints and to maintain the level of activity of the patient. Physiotherapy treatments include heat or cold therapy, hydrotherapy, therapeutic exercises, pain management, manual techniques and patient education. Splinting may be done to protect joints from further damage. Patient education is an important part of the treatment so that the patient is knowledgeable about his/her disease, what to do and not to do.

All of these treatments can help reduce the potential long-term disabilities caused by rheumatoid arthritis. Speak to your physiotherapist for more information.

 

The information in this article is not a replacement for proper medical advice. Always see a medical professional for advice on your individual injury.

Caboolture Physical Therapy Centre – serving people in need from the following areas: Caboolture, Morayfield, Elimbah, Wamuran, Beerburrum, Beerwah, Glasshouse Mountains, Toorbul, Donnybrook, Ningi, Woodford, Kilcoy, Bribie Island, Goodwin Beach, Sandstone Point, Banksia Beach, Bongaree, Bellar, Woorim, Burpengary & Beachmere.