How to manage an acute injury yourself

Runners knee pain“As a physiotherapist this is a question I get asked a lot and having just completed the Brighton Half Marathon you may be asking the yourself the same question.” says Sundial physio James Masterson.  He goes on to say “So in order to help you with your post run recovery here’s a few useful tips to ease you back to fitness and potentially your next race.”

Physiotherapists love an acronym and what used to be known as RICE or PRICE is now often  referred to in the industry as POLICE.  With each letter relating to a useful management strategy this acronym can be a helpful tool in guiding anyone suffering from an acute injury.

 Protection

Depending on the severity of your injury you may want to use a brace, tapping or in more extreme circumstances casts and crutches, this will help to prevent excessive movement and protect the site of injury.

 Optimal Loading

The key part to remember here is OPTIMAL, the right amount of loading will help stimulate the healing process of a muscle, tendon, ligament and bone. This could be any type of activity such as standing, walking or swimming, however in more serious injuries such as fractures or full tendon ruptures the OPTIMAL load might be no loading and may require casting, crutches or surgical intervention

 Ice

Applying ice during the initial stages of an acute injury can be beneficial for reducing both pain and swelling.  Although medical professionals have been recommending ice for several years the evidence is far from conclusive.  I usually advise my patients to wrap an ice pack in a flannel or thin towel and apply directly on the site of pain for 15 minutes 3 to 4 times daily within the first 72 hours of injury.

 Compression

Similar to ice compression can be used for managing swelling, applying a simple tubigrip or neoprene strap can help to compress the injury site.  The applied compression should be tight but comfortable with good circulation above and below the strapping, I often ask patients to remove the compression for short periods throughout the day and take the strapping of at night to allow the skin time to breath.

Elevation

Can also be very useful in reducing swelling.  For example, if you’ve acutely sprained your ankle lying on your back with your leg raised and supported can reduce the amount of blood rushing to the effected area.  With this specific injury you may wish to do a few ankle pumps to improve the blood flow and help with the healing process.

 At this point it is probably worth mentioning that I recommend anyone to seek medical advice if you are unsure about an injury.  Although the POLICE protocol is a useful tool for managing an acute injury it is not a one size fits all strategy!!  If you are having difficulty weight bearing or have symptoms such as bony tenderness, considerable swelling, loss of range of movement or the feeling of instability in a joint then I recommend seeing a medical professional ASAP.

Sundial Clinics offers a free 20 minute physiotherapy assessment to anyone who would like advice about an injury, this session is a great way to get some useful tips on how best to manage your injury and to see if physiotherapy is right for you.  Why not call the clinic today to arrange a free informal consultation and stop that niggle turning into a pain!

Great stretches for running

Stretching may help reduce injury and improve flexibility in runners. Most runners include stretches in their routine. It is important to prepare your muscles for a run by gently warming up and keep flexible by doing these stretches. These exercises put together by our physio can help stretch the main running muscles.

These stretches should be held for over 30 seconds – don’t rush. Aim to do these exercises once a day although doing them twice a day is three times as beneficial. Stay relaxed and breathe out as you develop the stretch. Develop the stretches gently to avoid overstretching and injuring yourself.

The 3 stretches we recommend for running are: hamstring, hip flexor and calf and here is how to do these.

You can download the stretches for running for free here VBHM stretches

Hamstring stretch

Dynamic hamstring stretch

Sets three each side

Hold 30 to 60 seconds

  • straighten one leg, grabbed the back of your thigh and target your leg towards your chest until you feel a gentle stretch.
  • Bend your leg at the knee slightly coming off the stretch
  • repeat by pushing your heel towards the ceiling
  • alternate your legs

Note: avoid kicking violently or arching your lower back

If it’s shaking your doing it well!

Hip flexor stretch

Hip flexor stretch

Sets three each side

Hold 30 to 60 seconds

  • hands on hips, tuck your tailbone under to flat on your back
  • lean forwards while maintaining a straight posture and keeping your head up
  • avoid arching your low back or letting your hips roll forwards

Note: do it next to a wall if you feel out of balance

Calf stretch

Sets three each sideCalf stretch

Hold 30 to 60 seconds

  • have front toes and knee touching the wall
  • move your foot back a little until you can just about keep your knee against the wall and heel on the floor
  • hold
  • Move the back foot away from the wall to feel a stretch
  • keep back heel on the ground and knee straight as possible
  • hold
  • swap legs

In partnership with the Vitality Brighton Half Marathon

VBHM logo

Brighton Chiropractor and physiotherapist working together

Chiropractors and physiotherapists work together surprisingly often. One of the great advantages of having a team of practitioners at Brighton’s Sundial Clinics who can treat back or neck problems and sports injuries is that the best combination of treatments can be given. Sometimes this will mean deciding which type of practitioner is best suited eg Low back problems are typically seen by our chiropractor and calf strains by our physiotherapist. There are times when seeing both a chiropractor and a physiotherapist is the best solution, an approach called “co-management” writes Sundial chiropractor, Richard Hollis.

Here are a couple of case studies of recent clients at Sundial Clinics here in Brighton, who have benefitted from seeing both a chiropractor (in these cases me!) and our physiotherapist, Quentin.

Case 1

Mr A had 3 weeks of right Achilles tendon pain which had begun after overstretching playing football. It was recommended that physiotherapy would be the best option and Quentin diagnosed a right Achilles strain and began treatment with laser, massage, taping and exercises. After 10 days progress was a little slower than anticipated, so after discussion with Mr A, it was agreed that the injury may benefit from some dry needling (also known as Western Medical Acupuncture) to help decrease inflammation, decrease pain and help stimulate healing. This is a treatment that I am qualified in and was able to apply some needles the next time Mr A had an appointment with Quentin by booking a little time out in my diary. We followed up the next week and Mr A reported a 60% improvement and treatment was repeated. Improvement continued and Mr A has now returned to playing football.

Case 2

Mrs B was seeing me for right sided leg pain which after a short course of treatment was 90% improved. She mentioned at an appointment that she had unfortunately slipped on some leaves a few days before, landed on an outstretched right arm and now had right shoulder pain, with limited shoulder movement. I examined her shoulder and concluded she had strained a muscle called supraspinatus, part of the “rotator cuff”. I recommended that she should see Quentin for some physiotherapy advice and that I would see her again as planned in 2 weeks and could discuss the progress physiotherapy had made with her shoulder. At the next appointment her sciatic pain was resolved and her shoulder had improved by 80% with physiotherapy and that Quentin expected it to be completely resolved by the following week.

If you are unsure who you should see first, a chiropractor or physiotherapist, then book in for a free check and we will suggest who would be the ideal practitioner to sort out your problem.

How a Brighton Physiotherapist Can Help With Shoulder Pain

If you are looking for a physio in Brighton to help with shoulder pain then we can help.  Shoulder pain can affect up to 1 in 3 people at some time. But how does physio help with shoulder pain? What does a physio do and how successful is it?

Shoulder Pain

The shoulder is one of the most complex joints in the body. Unlike the hip joint which has a deep socket for the ball of the thigh bone to sit in the upper arm bone, the humerus, sits in a shallow cup. Ligaments tie the bones together. The cup is deepened by a rim of cartilage but this itself can tear and cause pain. The shoulder and chest muscles wrap around the shoulder joint to hold the bones in place as well as move the bones themselves. It is this complexity and the competing goals of flexibility and stability that make the shoulder joint a target for injury.

Physiotherapy Examination

With so many possible structures to go wrong in the shoulder, the first thing our physios do is examine and probe the tissues, testing ranges of movement and looking for restrictions  and weaknesses. Simple tests often show up where the problem is but sometimes x-rays are needed which are carried out at Sundial or we refer for MRI or ultrasound scans.

Brighton Physiotherapists

Our physios are some of the best in Brighton and are experts at diagnosing shoulder problems. Once a firm diagnosis is made then treatment can start. The treatment for shoulder problems is a partnership between you and the your physio. You may be given exercises to gently mobilise stiff joints as well the physio carrying out precise mobilisation procedures here. You may also be given muscle strengthening exercises which can work wonders at getting to the root cause of the problem as well reducing the pain signals from the injury.

Brighton Physiotherapists Secret Weapon

Our secret weapon in the treatment of shoulder injuries is our Thor laser. It is one of the few units in the whole of Sussex. Laser is remarkably effective in reducing pain and inflammation and also at  improving  healing. Studies have shown laser to be more effective than many other treatments for shoulder pain including ultrasound.

Our physios work with other practitioners where needed to bring about the quickest benefits. Sometimes bringing one of our chiropractors to work alongside can improve the outcome of treatment especially where spinal joint problems are playing a part in the shoulder dysfunction and pain.

So if you have pain in the shoulder and would like to get rid of it make an appointment to see one of the physiotherapists at our Brighton clinics. To download a free physiotherapy check certificate go here.

References

Comparison of the effects of low energy laser and ultrasound in treatment of shoulder myofascial pain syndrome: a randomized single-blinded clinical trial.

Rayegani S, Bahrami M, Samadi B, Sedighipour L, Mokhtarirad M, Eliaspoor D.

Eur J Phys Rehabil Med. 2011 Sep;47(3):381-9.

Choosing the right Brighton Chiropractor and Physiotherapist Clinic

Our professional approach, gentle treatment and the great care we take of our clients have helped us become a centre for excellence – and the Brighton back pain clinic that people most prefer.

Many people believe they will have to put up with back pain when in fact, prompt treatment can cure back pain for good. Call us today for a free check to see how our back pain treatment works and if we can help you. We can also help with leg pain, neck pain, shoulder pain, knee pain and headaches too. Even arthritis pain can improve with the right treatment.

At Sundial Clinics we work hard to find out what is wrong. That’s why we have physiotherapists, chiropractors, massage therapists and Pilates trainers to help you.

Most of our clients come from Brighton, Hove and Kemp Town but many come from around Sussex as we are close to Brighton railway station. We are so confident that we can help you find the pain relief and better health you want, that we offer all our clients a money back guarantee.

Here is a check list to choosing the best chiropractors in Brighton

Four Secrets to Relieve Arthritis – Without the Use of Drugs

Arthritis Care PackageArthritis is a joint disorder. The joints are inflamed which can cause significant pain and can interfere with an individual’s regular daily routine. A lot of people suffering from arthritis depend on medications to relieve the pain but depending on drugs is not a very healthy option. So we’ll be sharing four simple secrets to relieve pain caused by arthritis without the use of drugs.

Secret 1: Hypnotherapy. Controlling your mind about how you perceive the pain definitely eases the pain or even stops your brain from recognising that you are in pain. Hypnotherapy doesn’t let you lose control over your mind, it’s the complete opposite. You are gaining control over your own mind to stop the brain from perceiving the pain you feel.

Secret 2: Exercise. Just because you have arthritis doesn’t mean you shouldn’t exercise. There are exercises that can help you if you have arthritis such as:

  • Walking. Walking maintains joint flexibility and builds the strength of joints which is good for arthritis because it is mainly caused by an inflammation of the joints.
  • Tai Chi. A martial art exercise that originated from China that includes flowing fluid like circular movement of the arms and legs that allows you to relax and improves your range of motion.
  • Yoga. This relaxing activity provides relief to stiff muscles and relieves sore joints through the use of deep breathing techniques, controlled movements, stretches and pressures.
  • Exercise in warm water. This eases stiff joints and eases muscles that are sore. Water allows the body to move in full motion without any pressure or difficulty.
  • Our physiotherapist can advise on specific exercises and put a tailored programme together. Click here for more information.

Secret 3: Lose the extra weight. Keeping your weight within normal ranges greatly lessens the pressure on your load bearing joints. If you know your weight has gone a bit overboard then now would be a good time to go on a healthy diet.

Secret 4: Watch what you eat. Some foods will affect the level of pain you feel and the level of inflammation in your joints. Eat a diet that consists of raw nuts and seeds, vegetables and fruits. Follow this regimen for 30 days and observe if the pain is caused by something you eat or is greatly lessened because of your present diet. Another healthy option is to snack on raw nuts and fruit smoothies. Foods that can cause inflammation of the joints are caffeine, sugar, salt, fast food, and processed food which you should avoid.

Now that you have the secrets to relieve pain caused by arthritis, you are on the way to easy and healthy recovery without the use of medications. To sum up the secrets, simply change your diet, lose the extra weight, exercise and control your own mind. This takes dedication but is worth it if you really want to get rid of the arthritis pain that has been bugging you.