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

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.

Patella Tendinopathy (Tendonitis)

 What is it?

Patella tendinopathy, also known as jumper’s knee, is an overuse disorder characterised by pain at the base of the patella (kneecap) with activities such as squatting, sitting or going up and down stairs. The condition is known as jumpers’ knee because it commonly affects athletes involved in sports that require jumping and repetitive loading of the patella tendon, such as basketball, volleyball, football and tennis.

Landing and jumping activities put a great amount of stress on the patella tendon. This tendon is responsible for transmitting the full force of the quadriceps muscles to the lower leg and during activities such as jumping and landing, this force can actually be many times more than your body weight. 

What are the symptoms?

The hallmark sign of patellar tendinopathy is sharp, localised pain in the patellar tendon just below the base of the patella. The pain is usually aggravated by activities that increase load through the quadriceps muscles such as squatting and jumping.  Pain associated with patellar tendinopathy usually occurs gradually, often when a person has been very active for a long period of time or if they have recently increased their training schedule. The pain will often start as a small niggle, gradually becoming more noticeable and there may also be a feeling of stiffness with movements of the knee or first thing in the morning.

How does it happen?

Patellar tendinopathy is not a traumatic condition rather, it usually develops gradually over time due to prolonged overloading of the tendon. Like other tissues in the body, tendons are dynamic and can adapt to be able to withstand more force with training. However, if a tendon is unable to adapt to increased load quickly enough, it can develop micro tears leading to pain and dysfunction, known as tendinopathy. The risk of developing this condition can be increased by external factors, such as the type of sports chosen, training volume and the hardness of the training surface. 

Intrinsic factors such as bone structure, muscle length, diet, age, muscle strength and overall health can also affect the ability of a tendon to adapt to forces. Anything that impairs the tendon’s ability to absorb force can lead to the development of tendinopathy. In general, men are affected by this condition more often than women. 

How can physiotherapy help?

As with all conditions, the first step to effective treatment is an accurate diagnosis. Your physiotherapist will be able to correctly identify this condition and any factors that have led to its development. Treatment for any tendinopathy will involve a degree of rest and reevaluation of your training schedule. Treatment of the tendon itself has been shown to be most effective with a targeted exercise program involving isometric and eccentric muscle contractions. These types of movements have been shown to help stimulate healthy tendon tissue to increase strength and support the damaged tissue, ultimately reducing pain. Tendinopathies can be notoriously difficult to resolve without patience and commitment to a rehabilitation program guided by a physiotherapist.  

This information is not a replacement for proper medical advice. Get in touch with one of our therapists 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.

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.

Where is your pain really coming from?

Have you ever been to see a physiotherapist for pain in one part of your body and, when they treated you, they focused on a completely different area?

While this can be a strange experience, it can be even more puzzling when the treatment actually works.

So what is going on? Shouldn’t pain be treated where it is being felt?

When pain is felt at a different location from where the pain is being caused, this is called ‘referred pain’ and is actually more common than you think. Exactly why this happens is a little complicated, and in fact, we don’t yet understand everything about the way that pain is processed.

Pain is usually felt when something causes damage to the body, sending an electrical impulse to the brain. The brain receives this information and process it to make sense of which part of the body the signal is coming from and what kind of pain it is.

When the brain thinks that the pain is coming from a different area than where the damage or signal is actually coming from, this creates the phenomenon of referred pain.

Referred Pain

Sometimes referred pain is easy to explain, such as when a nerve becomes injured or irritated, causing the pain to be felt along the length of the nerve. This often feels like a sharp, burning pain that runs in a strip, along the skin. Other examples of referred pain are more difficult to explain and in some cases seem to defy explanation. Perhaps you have heard about the strange phenomenon of phantom pain where amputees continue to feel pain as though it was in the place where their limbs used to be.

Muscular trigger points can also cause referred pain. The mechanism behind this is a bit trickier to understand, but is thought to be explained by tight bands of muscle tissues that cause pain to be felt in predictable patterns around the body.

Other tissues of the body can cause pain to be felt in a different location

This includes discs of the spine and internal organs. Many times the internal organs can refer pain in peculiar patterns and this can actually lead to serious illnesses being mistaken for muscular aches and pains.

Kidney pain can be felt in the lower back and tragically, some people fail to recognize that they are having a heart attack because they feel pain in their neck and arm, not in their chest.

We also know that not understanding or being afraid of pain can make pain feel stronger. In rare cases, people who have pain in one hand can feel pain just by seeing their other hand moving in a mirror.

There are many other fascinating aspects to pain, and understanding how it works is an important part of managing your symptoms.

To understand how referred pain may be affecting you, chat with one of our physiotherapists who can help answer your questions.

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.