What is Musculoskeletal Physiotherapy?
Musculoskeletal Physiotherapy is a branch of Physiotherapy that involves the treatment of musculoskeletal conditions that effect the way you move on a day to day basis and therefore how you feel. It looks at the whole picture, about how your muscles and joints work all together as part of a system leading to efficient or non efficient movement and in effect your risk of injury or developing injury. Let’s face it when you don’t feel good or are injured and in pain it can has a large impact on many aspects of our lives.
When Should I consult a Musculoskeletal Physiotherapist?
This is a question we get all the time! Often we find that most people seem to seek out a musculoskeletal Physiotherapist when they cannot continue with the pain any longer. While this is a great time to consult a Physiotherapist it can be a double edged sword, why? Many musculoskeletal injury’s are simpler and easier to resolve when dealt with earlier in the injury time frame, there are many reasons for this, however, we have complied a guide for you to self-assess and see if you are ready to begin your recovery process.
Most common reasons to consult an Inertia Musculoskeletal Physiotherapist
1. If your pains are aggravated or worsened by particular movements (this may mean you are suffering a ‘mechanical issue’)
Mechanical is a very simplified way of looking at the function of the body. What we mean is; is your pain worsened by bending backwards? This may mean you have a facet issue that maybe a closing joint dysfunction. It might mean that if your knee pain is worsened by sudden twisting on the knee it may elude to a ligament injury or meniscus injury in the knee. If there is a mechanical aspect to your injury, then there is a very high likelihood that your Physiotherapist may be able to assist you in your diagnosis and your rehabilitation of your injury.
2. If there is worsening of your pain or your pain is not resolving (getting better)
We often hear at the end of our examination or initial consultation the words “ I wish I came to see you earlier”. Often we find people are suffering pain unnecessarily and being limited from wanting to do what they want to do often without just cause. We know it can be a tricky thing, because it’s not uncommon for us to suffer the general ache or pain, most will self-resolve within days, our bodies are usually great at healing itself in many instances. However, if the pain is not getting better or if the pain is worsening then it may require a Musculoskeletal Physiotherapists help to get on top of it. It may just be as simple as getting the Physiotherapist to do an assessment of the injury and maybe just advise you or educate you on the how to best facilitate the recovery process other musculoskeletal injury’s maybe more involved. Injuries like tendon injury, may settle with just rest but each time you try to partake in a sport you may notice your pain flaring up, this is a type of injury that most likely will respond best to a graduated strength and conditioning program from your Musculoskeletal Physiotherapist who understands the stage of the injury but also the timing of the correct loading stimulus and treatment techniques.
3. If the pain you are experiencing is very severe and affecting your movement
Injuries like acute neck pain or back pain can at times develop and present when you wake for your nights sleep. This can be very debilitating limiting your movement ability and be very severe in pain. Luckily these very acute episodes respond extremely well to Physiotherapy input. Musculoskeletal Physiotherapists are skilled in the assessment of these injuries and can assist in relieving the acute pain and allow you to mobilise more comfortably than if you were to otherwise leave it, leading to a much more rapid recovery. During your assessment your Musculoskeletal Physiotherapist will also be able to screen you for potential sinister pathology that may require onward referral to the emergency department or to a medical specialist.
4. Pain that has been present for a significant time and is preventing you moving as you usually would or preventing engaging in the physical activities and sports you would usually participate in.
Life’s to short! Pain can come on slowly and in doing so we don’t fully notice how it has effected or limited us over time. We give up some of our favourite activities because of pain, weakness or because we can’t move like we used to because pain inhibits us. Often we hear people say they never returned to their favourite gym class, or outdoor activity because they felt too weak and they are afraid of re-injuring themselves. Musculoskeletal Physiotherapy is very effective in these scenarios. Our Musculoskeletal Physiotherapists will assess you to see where these inadequacies are and what we can help you with trying to get you back to living a life you enjoy! These issues may be related to compensation strategies, tight or weak muscles, balance and co-ordination issues, accumulatively these can really effect peoples confidence to be physically active or even move normally and Physiotherapy can be more than helpful with assisting these issues.
How can a Musculoskeletal Physiotherapist Help You?
If you present to a Musculoskeletal Physiotherapist with an injury they can certainly help you alleviate your acute pain and begin your recovery. After they have worked with you to settle the acute pain a Musculoskeletal Physiotherapist can also look beyond the initial injury into the reasons as to why it has happened, these may be intrinsic factors based on your musculoskeletal strength and conditioning, movement patterns, joint health and flexibility and/or biomechanical factors associated with this. There are also extrinsic factors that aren’t as related to your anatomy but more your environment, these may be your workplace ergonomics or the loads based around activities you may perform repetitively.
Musculoskeletal Physiotherapists are movement specialists, these guys and girls can really deep dive into your issues and help to look for and create more permanent solutions for your musculoskeletal health. This works to keep you active and engaged in the activities you love. Remember, the effort in seeing the benefits for Musculoskeletal Physiotherapy are in the teamwork between you and your Musculoskeletal Physiotherapist. Once your out of your acute pain your Musculoskeletal Physiotherapist can analyse you and your movement patters (this might relate to how you squat, lift, walk, run, jump, your muscular strength of certain areas of your body, and your range of movement of certain areas of the body that may relate to your injury). Once their evaluation has been completed there are many things that can be implemented to improve your, pain, function, mobility and strength or whatever it is you may be looking at to work towards as a goal.
What is involved in a Musculoskeletal Physiotherapy Treatment?
Musculoskeletal Physiotherapists have a variety of treatment techniques available to them in their treatment of musculoskeletal injury.
1. Educate you on your condition or injury and what to expect in your recovery
2. Hands on Mobilisation and Manipulation of Effected Joints.
These treatments are critical for restoring joint function of an area. Often joints can become stiff from swelling, protective spasm or avoidance of movement into particular directions. It is also important to mobilise these effected joints but also surrounding joints as it can assist with pain modulation and also restoration of comfortable ranges of movement and normalisation of these ranges of movement, which also decreases the body’s and brains perception of threat or injury!
3. Massage & Mobilisation of Soft Tissues including gentle stretching
Again these treatments are really important of changing the bodies perception of pain, but also loosening of tissue in and around the effected areas or even the areas of compensation. This similarly to mobilisation of joints changes the brains perception to threat and allows for increased range of movement and comfort of movement when applied in the correct treatment dose and timing in relation to the injury.
4. Dry Needling, Western Acupuncture & Cupping Techniques
These forms of therapy are fantastic at relieving acute pain and or tension. Dry Needling or Western Acupuncture can have a local effect on the tissue increasing bloodflow and reducing tension on restricted tissues as well as stimulating your sympathetic nervous system to elicit a multitude of beneficial effects on the injured area as-well as other areas of the body. More and more research is coming out of about this form therapy and its benefits on the body. Cupping has been used to for centuries and even found in some medical text books of the ancient Egyptians. It is another way to encourage bloodflow to tissues as well as have a neuromodulation effect on fascia (the stuff that surrounds muscles) and reduced pain and tension in these systems.
5. Tailored Rehabilitation Exercises based on your clinical evaluation and presentation
Corrective guided exercise prescription and dosage is critical to your improvement in the long term. These form a large chunk of your rehabilitation process and building the strength and resilience back into the effected area so it can cope with the loads you need it when you get back to full function. These exercises can also be used to reduce your body’s compensation strategies it may have developed as a result of injury. This all works to ensure long term benefit and results but also assists to reduce your injury risk moving forward.
- These exercises may be a combination of isolated strength movements building to heavy resistance movements
- Balance or Co-ordination exercises
- Dynamic and functional movements specific to your pre-injury needs
- Speed movements and plyometric movements based on your required level of function and stage of rehabilitation
These exercises are guided and progressed along a continuum to ensure adequate tissue healing and neural learning. The resistance and exposure to higher loads is gradual and patient specific your needs of injury and function. Your Musculoskeletal Physiotherapist will work with you to create a unique rehabilitation program tailored to your needs to continually challenge you.
Why choose Inertia Health Group for your Musculoskeletal Physiotherapy needs?
At Inertia Health Group our Musculoskeletal Physiotherapists main goal is to work with you, to develop a rapport and understanding of what it is that is important to you and why you are seeking Physiotherapy rehabilitation programming. With this understanding coupled with your initial complaints and presentation combined with a thorough musculoskeletal and biomechanical examination we can identify areas of concern that can be worked on in the short term, mid term and long term. Depending on your reasons for seeking treatment we can work with you to develop a program that is targeted purely at achieving your goals.
At Inertia Health Group our Physiotherapists understanding that injury is not just focussed around a muscle, bone, ligament or Joint. We understand there are many factors that contribute to a persons musculoskeletal health. We know peoples exercise habits, eating habits, sleeping habits, current work or life stressors all have an impact on injury and recovery and this deep understanding allows us to work well with a large range of people from all backgrounds and lifestyles, we have a very holistic approach to our patients injuries, health and treatments. It is what makes us stand out from many Physiotherapy and allied health clinics and allows us to be successful with our treatment protocols time and time again. It is also the reason why we see many of our patients confident to trust us with the care of their family and friends which we feel there is no more flattering compliment.