How Can Physiotherapy Help Alleviate Musculoskeletal And Neuromuscular Pains?
Musculoskeletal pain is a pain that causes discomfort in muscles, joints, and bones that are not physically broken. There are several reasons a person can feel musculoskeletal pain, which include injury to an area, injuries sustained in a car accident, falls in steps and stairs, prolonged immobilization of muscles, or sports injuries.
The first thing that you, as a patient, need to do is determine if this is musculoskeletal pain and not because of a fracture. Medical doctors treat these pains with non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, also known as NSAIDs, and although these drugs offer help in reducing inflammation in the muscles, it is a temporary solution. Besides, NSAIDs are known for their adverse effects on the stomach, and prolonged use can cause further complications.
Many doctors agree that exercise and physical therapy is the best solution to treat musculoskeletal pains anywhere in the body.
The way physical therapy treats these pains is by slowly mobilizing the affected muscles and building strength. Treatment includes heat therapy, mobilization techniques, and exercises. In cases where the pain is caused by posture issues or excess strain on specific muscles, patients are advised, trained, and treated to learn to correct their posture. Posture correction can take a long time and must be treated and corrected professionally.
Therapists categorize musculoskeletal pain into three categories:
When a small number of muscles have sustained damage. In this category, the muscles are fully functional but painful when used or when the patient puts pressure on them. Those suffering from 1st category pains are advised not to put pressure on the muscles. Soft brace, bandage, or crutches are recommended to contain the injury and protect the muscles from further damage.
In this category, muscles have sustained more damage, and the pain is constant with or without a moment. Once the initial 24 hours have passed, and the physiotherapist will start with heat therapy and, in some cases, lightly massage the injury if permissible. Once swelling and inflammation have subsided, your therapist will advise exercise and mobilize your muscles.
In musculoskeletal pain, this is the most painful category, and there is a complete loss of moment in the affected muscles. As in categories 1 & 2, your therapist will start slow and later mobilize your muscles and rehabilitate with the help of special exercises.
Neuromuscular disorders, on the other hand, can be either acquired or genetic. In this type of disorder, a complete loss of muscle function can occur over time. In simple English, the affected muscle is usually not painful itself. Still, the adjoining muscles can show inflammation due to excess stress and work or stress on joints and nerves within.
There are several methods to diagnose neuromuscular disorders, including history, observation, blood tests, and electromyography, also known as EMG. Depending on the excess of damage to the muscles, if surgery is advised or not necessary in both cases, physiotherapy can help a lot.
Physiotherapy can help strengthen and revitalize damaged muscles and help surgeons evaluate the muscle’s own health.
It is absolutely necessary to help strengthen the supporting muscles around the affected areas to avoid skeletal damage and excess strain on other adjoining or supporting muscles.
Post-surgery physiotherapy is a must to help strengthen muscles and avoid reoccurrence and damage to the repaired and treated muscles.
It can be said with confidence that Physiotherapy can help alleviate musculoskeletal and neuromuscular pains as also help rehabilitate. With regular physiotherapy, the damaged muscles gain strength and motor skills.
Vestibular Rehabilitation Treatment (VRT) is a physical therapy-based routine that helps treat dizziness and related issues. Getting dizzy is totally normal, but after taking a ride in the giant teacups in Disney Land or something similar. However, the constant feeling of being dizzy or having a spinning feeling every time you change positions can affect your daily life and require treatment.
If you suffer time and again from the following, you may be in need of Vestibular Rehabilitation Treatment.
- Feeling wobbly
- Feeling Woozy
- Feeling Lightheaded
- Feelings like you are about to pass out
- Sensations of moving while actually stationary
- Spinning feeling
- Floating feeling
- Swaying feeling
- Leaning feeling
What is vestibular disorder?
A human being balances itself by the information provided to the brain by the vestibular system. Within the human ear are canals also known as semicircular canals and these are filled with a liquid. When we start to walk or change positions, this network sends our brain messages to help keep our balance and keep our body steady. If this network start sending wrong messages, we can lose balance and fall or feel as if we are falling. This sensation of falling or feeling dizzy is called as a vestibular disorder.
There are many things that can cause this disorder. Sometimes it can happen as a side effect of the medicine you are taking, or an ear infection can also trigger this disorder. Other causes are issues with the inner ear, calcium deposits within the ear or an injury to the head.
Treating Vestibular Disorder with Physical Therapy:
Physical Therapy is the best way to treat vestibular disorders. It is a non-surgical and the most natural way to treat vestibular disorders. VRT first pinpoints the cause of the disorder the extent of damage and also focuses on triggers. Once your therapist has established the cause and triggers, he or she will design a treatment plan for you that involves exercises and other relaxation techniques. These exercises are simple and easy to do and often do not require a lot of visits to the therapists, but you must be regular in doing your exercises. Depending on your individual needs, you will start with therapist-assisted exercises and then move on to doing those exercises yourself. You will be having regular therapist visits where your physical therapist will assess your improvement and make changes to your exercise plan. These exercises will start easy and later your physical therapist will increase the difficulty level to treat your disorder completely.
Vestibular Rehabilitation Treatment at the Unique Care Rehabilitation:
At Unique Care Rehabilitation, we have qualified and experienced physical therapists. Our therapists will guide you about the process and then work closely with you to develop a therapy plan for you. We deal each patient individually and give full attention to each patient. Unique Care Rehabilitation is fully qualified to treat Vestibular Disorders. Out VRT techniques and exercises are proven effective and we are looking forward to treating you back to health. Please visit Unique Care Rehabilitation for your Vestibular Rehabilitation Treatment as soon as possible. We are open Monday through Friday and also on weekends on appointment. We accept most insurance plans, as well.
Cleveland Clinic website accessed Nov 20, 2020. https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/treatments/15298-vestibular-rehabilitation
Vestibular.Org website accessed Nov 20, 2020. https://vestibular.org/article/diagnosis-treatment/treatments/vestibular-rehabilitation-therapy-vrt/
Medscape Website accessed Nov 20, 2020. https://emedicine.medscape.com/article/883878-overview
Read about effects of leg length discrepancy
Effect Of Leg Length Discrepancy On Lumbar And Spine Pain
Apparently, more people suffer from Leg Length Discrepancy (LLD) than you thought. LLD is more common and can cause back and pelvic pain, although it is, to date, a very controversial topic.
LLD can be further classified into two parts, one “Structural Deformities” and the second “Functional Deformity.”
Leg Length Discrepancy (LLD) because of a Structural Deformity:
As the name suggests, any deformity in the human skeleton is a structural deformity. This is related to issues with bone growth. If one leg bone grows a little less as compared to the other, it is a structural deformity. This can be caused by a broken leg at birth time or other trauma later on. The structural deformity causes a lot of pressure on the pelvic region and can cause it to deform and tilt. It is a physical issue, and, in some cases, it is quite visible, like in a person’s gait. When there is a considerable length difference between the two legs, a person cannot keep his or her balance and has to walk with a limp. The limp cause additional strain on the back and can result in spinal deformity and back pain. According to a study by physical therapists Yvonne Golightly and Dr. Joanne Jordan, the structural deformity can also cause knee and hip pain as well in the shorter leg.
Treatment of structural deformity, on the other hand, is easier compared to functional deformity, though. In most cases, this can be treated by using shoe inserts (insoles) or increasing the shoe heel size for the shorter leg.
Leg Length Discrepancy (LLD) because of a Functional Deformity:
The functional deformity is when there is no noticeable physical deformity but due to muscle strain and tightness. Patients with functional leg length discrepancy (FLLD) are more prone to back and associated pain. The exact cause of FLLD is hard to determine and people suffering from it have to experiment as to what works best for them. Patients with FLLD can benefit a lot from alternative therapies like Chiropractic, Massage and Physical Therapy.
In these therapies, muscles are targeted and massaged to release tension. In addition to massage, in physiotherapy, exercise is also prescribed where the affected muscles are strengthened. Due to the lateral pelvic tilt, increased compression on the facet joints of the short side decreases spacing in vertebrae leading to pinched nerves known as sciatica.
How can Physiotherapy Help?
In both cases, whether structural or functional deformity, physiotherapy can alleviate the pain and help in rehab. In physiotherapy, we start with taking history and taking the diagnosis into account. An exercise plan that includes a focus on your leg, knee, hip, pelvis and spine. Directly or indirectly, all these joints and muscles are under lots of stress and strain. By alleviating the pain and using exercise techniques to strengthen the muscles, the patient’s posture is corrected.
In case of a structure deformity, if a patient is prescribed an insole or a shoe heel, the patient is guided and helped to adjust to the change in the height of the leg. A complete rehab procedure is followed to make sure that the patient gets accustomed to their new height and that they do not fall or bump into objects.
Since in FLLD, any number of muscles can cause discomfort, we start by focusing on all the possible causes and keep on eliminating those that aren’t causing discomfort. In the end, we are left with the root cause and all focus is shifted to treating and strengthening the muscles, causing pain.
At Unique Care Rehabilitation, we have the required facilities to help alleviate pain caused by the Leg Length Discrepancy and help rehab and get used to any physical aides that are prescribed.
Physical Therapy For Incontinence Disorders And Pelvic Floor Rehab
One way or the other, almost every woman and in some cases, men too, have suffered from small urine drops falling after sneezing or a big laugh. It is not something you should be embarrassed about. It is a medical condition, and it can be treated. So far, the most effective non-invasive treatment is through physical therapy or, in short, physiotherapy. The complexity of the problem can range from 1 or 2 urine drops due to a trigger to frequent urination or extreme urge to urination. Physical therapy can help deal with incontinence disorders and also pelvic floor rehab.
What is an Incontinence Disorder?
If we define urinary incontinence disorder, we can say that it is an uncontrolled urine leakage or urge to urinate uncontrollably. There are several reasons it can happen, and we are going to explore those in a moment.
What is Pelvic Floor Rehab?
The pelvic floor is a bowl-shaped region of the human body that holds your urinary bladder, bowel, rectum and the uterus as well. There are lots of muscles within this region and in some cases, these muscles can either become weak or stiff. In both cases, you need to work on these muscles to either strengthen them or to learn to relax them and return those muscles to work the way they are supposed to. Pelvic floor rehab is possible with physical therapy.
Urinary Incontinence Disorder:
This disorder can further be classified into at least 5 different categories.
- Stress Incontinence.
- Urge Incontinence.
- Mixed Incontinence.
- Functional Incontinence.
- Urine Frequency
Stress incontinence is when you leak urine more or a few drops when you are doing physical activity like exercise or when lifting something heavy. It can most commonly occur when you suddenly laugh, cough or sneeze. Main cause of Stress Incontinence is weak pelvic floor muscles. When there is urine in your bladder, there is a valve that keeps it inside and does not let the urine leak. With weak pelvic muscles, this valve cannot keep shut and when there is a trigger a person can have urine leakage. Stress incontinence can happen due to either pregnancy, which puts lots of pressure on your pelvic muscles and also childbirth, where unusual pressure and stress is experienced by all your pelvic floor. In addition to this it can be caused by a surgery, sedentary lifestyle, trauma or an injury to the pelvis.
In Urge Incontinence you cannot hold your urine, unlike other. You do not have the required control over the muscles that keep the urethra closed. This condition can further worsen due to anxiety, fear or nervousness in general. Again this condition is because your pelvic floor muscles are either too weak or tight. Urge incontinence can also happen if a person associates their habit with urination. Like when you urinate every time you leave home can become a habit and you may start feeling a strong urge to urinate as soon as you start thinking about going.
Mixed Incontinence is when you are suffering from both stress incontinence and urge incontinence.
Functional Incontinence and Urination Frequency, although not directly related to issues in the bladder or the pelvic floor can also cause incontinence. Age, sedentary lifestyle or an injury can be the functional incontinence, while frequent urination means you need to empty your bladder more than normal during the day and once or twice even during the night. These are caused by underlying issues with other muscles and can be treated with physiotherapy.
How can physical therapy help with incontinence disorder?
Physical therapy is one of the best ways to treat urinary incontinence disorders. It is a non-surgical solution with very high success rate. In physical therapy your physical therapist (PT) will help you strengthen your core pelvic floor muscle. The process is known as pelvic floor rehab. After investigating the cause of your disorder, your PT will focus on strengthening and revitalizing your weak pelvic floor muscles through a series of exercises and dietary changes as well, if required. This is a painless process (except you do have to exercise physically).
If you or your loved ones are suffering from Incontinence Disorder or you want pelvic floor rehab after a surgery or childbirth at Unique Care Rehabilitation, we have all the facilities, qualifications, licenses and experience to treat it using Physical Therapy. At Unique Care Rehabilitation we can treat incontinence disorders of all kinds and we can help with your pelvic floor rehab. We are open all week long for any walk-ins and also on the weekends if you have an appointment.
How can physiotherapy help people involved in a car accident?
A car accident can be as fatal as causing death or serious injuries. Many people sustain injuries that result in a coma and many fractured bones or permanent disability. On the other hand, a car accident may cause not as severe injuries as death or permanent disability but broken bones, torn ligaments and muscles, and whiplash, which is the most common car accident injury.
According to the Association for Safe International Road Travel (ASIRT), road accidents cause around 1.35 million deaths annually, translating to an average of 3700 deaths every day. This is a significant number and non-fatal accidents are even more than those causing deaths.
Suppose you or a loved one was involved in a car accident that resulted in any injury like a fractured wrist, hand ligaments tear, whiplash injuries, back injuries, shoulder injuries, a broken arm, or a fractured leg will not only be very painful, but it will take anywhere between 3 weeks minimum to a year or more to heal completely. Injuries that take this long require extra care, exercise and rehabilitation.
What happens when a limb or a muscle is not used for long?
The human body is made up of a network of muscles, tendons, nerves, and bone structure. The whole skeleton is joined together by the flesh around them, which are muscles that support and allow movement.
In order to function correctly, all muscles need to be mobile within their own domain. If not used, left dormant, or there is no movement, the muscles become weak, and they cannot perform normally.
When there is an injury or a fracture, it is advised not to exert any pressure or strain on the adjoining or affected muscles. If there is a cast around a limb or shoulder to treat a fracture, not only the muscles around the fracture become immobilized, but the adjoining and supporting muscles too are either used lesser or not at all.
Not using those muscles or reduced moment and no exercise causes them to become weak and damaged.
Another prominent effect of an extended period of rest or no use can cause the muscles to lose memory and forget about their function. Like when a fracture is healed, the person cannot remember or make their hand/arm/leg to move at all.
Both of these conditions are very serious and require rehabilitation. Physiotherapy can help in either case.
How can physiotherapy help rehabilitate broken bones and damaged or weakened muscles?
Physiotherapy is very effective in treating and rehabilitation of muscles and tendons. An injury or fracture caused by a car accident can result in forced extended rest of affected muscles, torn tendons and fractured bones. Extended rest can cause immobility related issues and weakening of muscles to a point where they become numb, painful, or completely unusable.
Preventing Neck and Backpain by Strengthening Core Muscles:
Strengthening of the human core is extremely important irrespective of your age. When you are healthy and young, your gym trainer, your sports coach, and even your yoga instructor make you do exercises focused on building up your core muscles. Planks, sit-ups, push-ups, and crunches all concentrate on making your core stronger.
However, when you have an injury or have undergone surgery, especially your back or neck, you cannot do these routine exercises. In old age, these regular exercises can become difficult to do and can even cause more problems due to osteoporosis. Additionally, these exercises can cause compression fractures or increase the chances of spinal stenosis.
How to strengthen the back, neck, and shoulders without further complications?
Although routine and regular exercise techniques can further complicate back injury, neck sprain, or shoulder injuries much worse, physiotherapy can help alleviate the pain and strengthen the core muscles to help avoid these injuries and pains in the future.
Physiotherapy is scientifically and medically proven exercises and therapy sessions that focus not only on the pain but help strengthen the muscles to reduce strain on the injured area.
Your physiotherapist will refer to your medical condition, see your X-Rays, tests, and doctor’s findings, if any, and develop a full treatment and rehabilitation plan for you. Each physio plan is different than the other and that’s why one single shoe does not fit all. Physiotherapy is different and the most effective because it focuses on each patient according to their needs, problems, age and job.
Treating patients with an injury:
99% of the time, your doctor will refer you to a physiotherapist. If you had a back injury, a whiplash injury caused by a car accident, or if you underwent a back, shoulder, or spine surgery, it is a must you visit and consult a physiotherapist.
If you were involved in a sports accident or injury, or physical fight, physiotherapy will help you get healthy and be pain-free better than any other alternative treatment option.
After your initial medical or emergency treatment, you are referred to a physiotherapist to help build your muscles and reduce muscle spasms. When you undergo surgery, you cannot use and keep your muscles built to support your core due to the extent of your injury before and after the surgery.
Physiotherapy focuses on your core muscles, rebuilding and strengthening them without causing you excess pain or discomfort. A physiotherapist is a trained and certified professional who understands human anatomy and has special exercise and massage skills to alleviate pain and rehabilitate you back to your everyday life.
Treating elderly patients with no injury
As we grow old, our muscles and bones become weak. Osteoporosis is a significant cause of pain in the elderly. Due to age, our muscles are not as robust and elastic as they used to be while at the same time, they have to support our body upright and take on all its weight and help us live our daily lives. To cope with old age pains, physiotherapists will strengthen your core muscles using exercise, massage, and heat/cold therapy. These exercises are not only easy for the elderly but extremely beneficial as well.
Treating working-class people with no injury but constant pain and discomfort:
Our daily work routines have us sitting on our desk for extended periods of time or standing behind a counter. When we come back from work, we are so exhausted that we cannot find the time to go to the gym or maintain a proper exercise schedule. Neglecting our body for so long, sitting and maintaining the wrong posture and standing on our feet can lead to severe back pain, neck pain and shoulder pain.
Consulting a physiotherapist will give you a fighting chance at winning the battle against back pain. Your therapist will advise you on the best and focused exercise that will help you strengthen your core muscles without committing to hours long strenuous exercise routines.
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How to sleep tight with a lower back pain
Stomach sleepers should opt for only a thin
pillow under their head and place a more
supportive pillow under their hips and
abdomen. This works to prevent the lower
back from sinking into a U-shape that pulls the
spine out of alignment.