When to see a physiotherapist
A new year a new beginning….
This is the time of year for New Year resolutions with many based on improving our health and fitness. It can be a bit of a challenge to stay committed and motivated, so here at Physio Extra we will be helping you reach your goals with our weekly blogs packed full of useful info such as self-help techniques, basic first aid, info on common conditions and so much more… We would love to hear your comments, feedback and please do get in touch if you have any questions.
This is a very common question, which can be difficult to judge. “Do I wait as it could get better?” or “If I leave it will it get worse?” is the dilemma we can face especially as many of us can experience aches or pain which can be resolved with some form of self-treatment or rest.
The following four questions may help you with your decision:
- Is your pain mechanical?
Mechanical refers to the problem being made worse or aggravated by certain movements, activities, or even maintaining certain positions i.e. wrist pain being made worse by repetitive use of a keyboard; knee pain made worse by running; back pain increasing by prolonged sitting such as driving. If there is a mechanical component to your pain a physiotherapist will be able to help you through a biomechanical assessment, then if appropriate, treatment and teaching you exercises to increase your strength and endurance.
- Is the pain not changing or getting worse?
Any mechanical pain that is not getting better or even becoming worse would benefit from a physiotherapist’s assessment and diagnosis. This would help with understanding the cause of the problem, working out the approximate recovery time, working on a treatment plan, and taking preventive steps to ensure the problem does not return.
- Is the pain very severe and affecting your movement?
If the pain you are experiencing is affecting your daily functional activities i.e. washing, dressing, going to work, a physiotherapist will be able to assess you, form a diagnosis, treat the problem and give advice on the best way to reduce your pain and get you back to full functional ability as quickly as possible. Physiotherapists will also screen you for any signs of serious underlying pathology or problem, which may require you to go to A&E or seek medical advice.
- Has the pain been ongoing for a long time and is it preventing you from physical activities and sports?
Often we can feel unable to return to a sport or activity following an injury because the perception of being too weak or being worried about the risk of re-injury. Long-term mechanical problems and chronic pain can cause a restriction in movement due to biomechanical changes like muscle strength or length. A physiotherapist can assess muscle strength and muscle length, which will help formulate specific home exercise programmes. In addition, reduced proprioception i.e. balance and coordination can cause the feeling of being unstable when performing an activity. Through strengthening and balance exercises, Physiotherapy can improve proprioception and help you return to your sports and activities.
Hopefully the above questions will help you with your decision. If you have any questions please do give us a call, we are always happy to help.