For All Your Physiotherapy & Health Needs
Visit
4 Annie Street, Caboolture

Fibromyalgia – Symptoms and Treatment

What is it?

Fibromyalgia is a chronic condition characterised by widespread pain throughout the body along with fatigue, memory problems, sleep and mood disorders. Sufferers of fibromyalgia often spend years trying to find a diagnosis that fits their many symptoms and fluctuate between periods of having high energy and ‘crashes’ of fatigue and pain. In severe cases, fibromyalgia can cause significant lifestyle disruptions, including reduced activity, unemployment and depression.

The underlying mechanism that creates the symptoms of fibromyalgia has been shown to be increased pain amplification by the central nervous system and reduced activation of the sympathetic nervous system. Essentially this means that small pain signals in the body are processed as large pain signals by the central nervous system.

What causes it?

Fibromyalgia is a complicated condition that is poorly understood. This can be very frustrating for sufferers, who often find themselves being shuffled between health practitioners looking for answers and long term relief. While the pain generally feels muscular, usually little to no muscular damage or injury can be found on physical assessment. The symptoms can also mimic those of an infectious illness, or other chronic diseases. Often a diagnosis of fibromyalgia is reached after other diseases and causes have been ruled out.

The cause of fibromyalgia is as yet unknown, it was thought that the depression and reduced activity that are often associated with fibromyalgia could be causative, however it has been shown that these are symptoms of fibromyalgia rather than causes. Other significant signs of fibromyalgia are a lack of REM sleep in sufferers and a positive result of more than 11 out of 18 muscular trigger points.

What is the treatment?

Following a diagnosis of fibromyalgia, patients primary strategy is to understand and manage their symptoms. This can involve pacing activities and balancing exercise so as to reduce ‘crashes’ and unhelpful pain cycles that lead to frustration. Identifying activities, employment and a routine that don’t exacerbate symptoms can have a significant impact on quality of life for someone with fibromyalgia. Having psychological support can also be very important to help patients deal with the emotional distress of a complex chronic condition that has no outward physical signs.

Treatments that have been shown to help reduce symptoms are TENS (electrical stimulation) which produces an endorphin response and can reduce pain. Certain medications may be helpful when prescribed by a doctor.

Education and understanding of this condition can have the largest impact for sufferers, helping them to manage and maintain some control over their symptoms. Physiotherapists can have a large role in education and helping patients find a routine and activity level that helps them manage their condition as best as possible.

The information in this article is not a replacement for proper medical advice. Please get in touch with our Practice 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.
Surprising Facts About Posture

Some Surprising Facts About Posture

Your posture is one of the first things other people notice about you and can affect so much more in your life than just spinal health. Healthy posture has been linked to better respiratory health and has even been shown to affect your confidence. In this article, we explore a few other surprising facts about posture.

Ideal posture doesn’t mean having a straight back.

Many people think having good posture means standing as straight as possible with your shoulders pulled back. This is actually a relatively unnatural posture and requires a lot of energy to maintain. Ideal posture, where the spine rests in its most comfortable and strongest position, is where the neck has a gentle curve backwards, the thoracic is curved gently forwards and the lower back curves back again. These curves create an elongated ‘S’ shape and can be seen when viewing a person from side-on.

There are four common postural patterns other than ‘ideal posture’.

For those who don’t have ideal posture, four common variations are seen, these are; kyphosis (excessive curve of the thoracic region), lordosis (excessive curve of the lower back), flat back (loss of the normal spinal curves) and sway back (where the pelvis is pushed in front of your centre of gravity and the upper body leans back to compensate).

Each of these postures is often accompanied by a typical pattern of joint and muscle stiffness that can lead to pain and injury. Your physiotherapist is able to assess your posture and identify any ways this may be contributing to your pain. They can also help you to change your posture with strategies to increase spinal mobility and strength.

Regular movement is just as important as your posture.

While ideal posture has been shown to reduce the amount of stress and tension found in the spinal muscles, holding yourself rigidly in one position is also not healthy. Ideally, our spines will be flexible and able to move through their full range without pain or stiffness. Regular movement is the key to healthy joints, including the spine. If you finding yourself sitting or standing for long periods, try to find time to stretch as well as working on your posture.

Personality type has been linked to postural patterns.

A study by S. Guimond and others in 2014 showed a surprising link between personality type and posture. They found that extraverted personalities were much more likely have an ‘ideal posture’ or excessive spinal curves than Introverted personalities and introverted personalities were more likely to have ‘flat’ or ‘sway back’ postures. They were unable to determine if personality influenced posture, vice versa or there was a hidden third factor such as pain.

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.
Pain not improving_Caboolture_Brisbane_Physio

Four surprising reasons your pain isn’t improving

Most tissues in the body have healed completely in six to 12 weeks following an injury, however, many people have severe pain that lasts much longer than this. We know that the intensity of the pain you feel is not always associated with a similar amount of damage. In some cases, there can be a severe amount of pain with almost no detectable damage. With this in mind, we explore some reasons why your pain might not be getting better, long after the tissues have healed.

You’re afraid of the pain.

Pain can mean many different things, for some of us pain can affect our ability to work or can be a symptom of a serious disease. What you believe about your pain can either amplify or reduce the symptoms you experience. If you feel that every time you experience pain you are causing more damage, you will naturally pay more attention to this and your nervous system will amplify the signals in an attempt to keep you safe.

If you understand the cause of your pain and know that while there is discomfort, you are not in danger of causing more damage, often the pain will feel less severe. This is one of the benefits of seeing a physiotherapist after your injury as they can help you to understand your pain, giving you more control over your recovery.

You started moving differently after the injury. 

Immediately after an injury, it’s natural to change the way you move to avoid painful movements. After a while, these changed movement patterns can become maladaptive and actually begin to cause pain and discomfort on their own due to the altered stress patterns placed on your body.

Correcting these adaptive movement patterns can often go a long way in reducing pain after an injury. You might not have noticed these changes and might need a physiotherapist to identify and help you to return to your usual movement pattern.

You have lost muscle strength since the injury.

While a certain amount of rest following an injury is always helpful, if we stop moving altogether, our muscles can lose strength. This can mean that our posture changes, we fatigue easier during our usual activities and that we are more susceptible to further injury. Less movement also means we actually focus on the pain more when it does happen. Physiotherapists are able to advise you on the right types and amounts of exercise for you in the period following your injury.

The pain has affected your lifestyle.

When pain affects your ability to sleep, work and even concentrate, it’s not surprising that this can have a negative affect on your overall wellbeing and mental health. This can create a negative cycle of anxiety and depression that perpetuates and increases the experience of pain. If your pain is really getting you down, speaking to a mental health professional can actually be a valuable part of your physical recovery.

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.

Do you really need to stretch?

Stretching has long played an important role in the world of sport and fitness, with many athletes stretching religiously before and after exercise in hopes of preventing injuries.

Lately, this practice has been called into question with many people wondering if stretching really makes a difference to athletic performance. The answer, like most things, is not black and white, as we explore a little in this article.

 

A brief introduction to stretching

Stretching is a type of movement that increases flexibility by lengthening muscle fibres to the end of their range. Stretching before and after exercise has been thought to reduce the risk of injury, improve athletic performance and reduce muscle soreness after exercise.

The two most common types of stretching are static and dynamic stretching. Static stretching is when you lengthen your muscle and then hold that position for a period of time.

Dynamic stretching uses movement and momentum of the body to stretch muscles to their end range, without holding the stretch at the end.

 

What does the research say?

Some research has suggested that static stretching before an activity can actually reduce power, strength and performance. However, these reductions were shown to be minimal and not noticed at all if the stretches were held for less than 45 seconds.  It has also been found that stretching does improve flexibility but only for a short period of time. A few minutes after stretching, your joints move further, and with less resistance, so you may have improved flexibility immediately after stretching.

 

Why stretch at all?

One thing that is undeniable is that stretching feels great, with many people feeling more relaxed and reporting a rush of endorphins after a good stretching session. It is also difficult to test the long-term effects of stretching specific muscles showing abnormal tightness. A long-term static stretching routine will improve your overall flexibility, and this is thought to help prevent injuries, although the evidence is inconclusive.

If you’re an athlete, the decision to stretch or not can be a personal one. A warm-up prior to intense exercise that includes some form of dynamic stretching is generally recommended for reducing injury risk, but of course is no guarantee. Strength and balance training may have a far greater impact on reducing injuries in the long term.

 

Your physiotherapist is able to guide you on the best stretching advice for your individual activity and they may be able to identify some areas where improving your flexibility will help to reduce injuries and improve performance.

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.

Five reasons to see a Physiotherapist after an injury

There is no doubt that the human body can be very resilient. Short of regenerating new limbs, our bodies are capable of recovering from large amounts of damage, including broken bones.

With this in mind, many people are happy to let nature take its course following an injury, thinking that seeing a physiotherapist will only act to speed up already healing tissues.

The speed of recovery, however, is only one measure of healing and despite our bodies’ incredible capacity for repair; injury repair can be less than straightforward. Here are a few things about injury healing you may not have been aware of.

  1. Scar Tissue is more likely to form without treatment.

Scar tissue can cause ongoing pain and stiffness in skin, muscles and ligaments. Physiotherapy can prevent excessive scarring from forming through advice regarding movement, massage and other hands-on treatment.

  1. Your ability to sense the position of your body, known as proprioception, is often damaged after an injury and can be retrained.

Impaired proprioception is a major factor in re-injury. If you’ve ever heard someone say “my knee/ankle/shoulder still doesn’t feel 100%” then this could be why. The good news is that with a specific exercise program, proprioception can be improved and recovered.

  1. Once healing has finished, your body may not be exactly the same as before.

Following an injury, ligaments may be lax, joints may be stiffer and muscles are almost always weaker. While the pain may be gone, there might still be factors that need to be addressed to prevent more complicated issues in the future.

  1. You may have picked up some bad habits while waiting for the injury to heal.

While in pain, we often change the way we do things, this can lead to the development of poor movement patterns and muscle imbalances. Even though the pain has gone, these new patterns can remain and create further problems down the road.

  1. Injuries don’t always heal completely.

On rare occasions, injuries may not be able to heal completely on their own. The most serious example of this is a fracture that cannot heal if the bone is not kept still enough. Other factors that may prevent an injury from healing include poor circulation, diabetes, insufficient care of the injury and poor nutrition.

Your physiotherapist can assess your injury and develop a treatment plan that will both restore you to the best possible function and prevent further injuries. 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.