At Ashburton Physio, generous time is allocated to listen to you and your story. An accurate assessment is essential for effective treatment, and is reached by thorough questioning and examination. The examination may involve looking at parts of the body distant from your pain. For example, a knee problem may relate to abnormal foot positioning. Or, foot pain may be caused by a back problem.
Leah and Alastair are global in their approach, and will consider all aspects of your life, both at work and in recreation, when reaching a diagnosis. Once the source of the pain or problem has been established, a treatment plan is then discussed and agreed with you and a timescale suggested. The simpler problems sometimes need only one session to find out what is wrong and put you on the road to recovery.
Treatment usually includes:
Pain relief: in the early, inflammatory stages of an injury or condition, ice, compression (bandaging or taping) and elevation is beneficial. We also use ultrasound, acupuncture, TENS and a variety of taping techniques to relieve pain.
Manual therapy (hands-on): gentle movements or mobilisations of your affected joints, together with massage of the connective and soft-tissues. Occasionally, you may be offered high-velocity manipulation, for which Jenny has specialist training. Leah offers new skills in the Thoracic Ring Approach and Connect Therapy.
An exercise programme, custom-made to your needs, whatever your age, for pain relief and restoration of movement and function. For example, the patient with a typical sports injury may need a programme of exercises to address muscle imbalance, poor core stability, tightness of muscles and fascia and weakness of surrounding muscles. Balance and coordination may need re-education. This programme will be specific to the patient's dysfunction and chosen sport. By contrast, the older patient may need a programme of exercises to slow down the process of osteoporosis (bone thinning), improve balance to prevent falls, or to the rehabilitation after a fracture or operation.
We use an exercise software programme called Physiotec which enables us to email your personalised exercise or stretching programme. This includes video clips to ensure that you perform them with a good technique.
Education re posture and lifestyle. This will embrace both work and hobbies, along with exercise and diet. Relaxation practice may be part of the package.
Ongoing assessment focusing on goal achievement. Your programme will be monitored and adapted as you progress.
Aches, Pains, & Injuries
Aches, pain and injuries, or 'musculoskeletal disorders' (MSDs), refer to a group of conditions characterised by pain and loss of physical function in the body.
MSDs cover a wide range of symptoms and may include pain in the back or neck, joint injuries, ligament sprains, muscular aches and strains and non-specific arm pain. They are a common health problem with 60% of the adult population suffering from them at some time; once present, they may recur.Alastair and Leah have the expert knowledge, skills and experience to treat these MSDs and prevent recurrence through a whole-person approach.
Back pain and sciatica
Whether back pain rules your life or you just get an occasional twinge, physio' will be able to help you. Research shows that, in most cases, it is best to keep as normally active as possible.
Back pain, in most cases, is caused by mechanical factors which affect muscles, tendons, ligaments, discs, nerve or other soft tissues and joints. These mechanical factors may be due, for example, to inappropriate posture, repetitive activity or incorrect lifting. Sometimes pain will be experienced in the buttock and down your leg as far as your foot and toes. This is known as 'sciatica' and may also cause numbness, pins and needles or weakness in the leg. Sciatica is caused by trapping of the sciatic nerve by swollen tissue at the source of the problem in your back. As this heals, scar tissue may then tether the nerve, causing continuing referred symptoms.
Physiotherapy will work as a catalyst to speed up your body's natural healing mechanisms. An exercise programme will enable you to get control of your pain. You will soon be moving better and returning to work or your chosen sport, and you will be given advice to prevent recurrence. The treatment may include the use of psychological principles, such as cognitive behavioural therapy, to help you manage your pain.
Alastair and Leah, both experienced physiotherapists, will recognise when there is potentially something seriously wrong with your back. They liaise closely with the local doctors and specialists.
Neck pain, headaches and dizziness
Neck pain and stiffness can make it difficult to turn your head. For example, when reversing a car. Symptoms may appear suddenly, for example when you wake up with a tight neck, or gradually. The pain may be limited to your neck or may be accompanied by headaches and dizziness, or pain and pins and needles down the arm or hand.
There may be many factors causing neck pain, affecting joints, nerves and soft tissues in the area. Obvious factors include stress or tension, sustained postures such as at a computer, repetitive activity whether it be on the telephone or a musical instrument, and long journeys. Car accidents can cause whiplash.
Alastair and Leah are highly skilled at helping people with neck pain. Following examination of head, neck and upper body, you will be given hands-on treatment and learn how you can manage your pain, contribute to your own recovery and prevent recurrence. There is a good research evidence base for the use of acupuncture for neck pain and headaches, and this, or ultrasound, may be included in the programme. Learning a good relaxation technique can be beneficial, together with application of heat or cold to the neck.
Alastair and Leah treat a wide range of sports and associated injuries from tip to toe. Injuries can occur through poor technique, wrong equipment, overuse, or simply an accident. They are professionals at establishing the cause and treating appropriately. For example, assessment of a painful knee may involve examination of the low back and hip, as well as the knee, together with biomechanical assessment of foot posture and gait, in order to find the source of the problem.
Treatment will be graded and built around the examination results. In one instance, an advanced programme might include lunges, squats and balance activities, with emphasis on core control and correct alignment.
And the rest...
Arthritis (wear and tear of any joints causing stiffness, swelling and pain);Thoracic spine and rib problems (between the bottom of your neck and your low back);
Neural mobilisation for trapped nerves;
'Frozen' shoulder and other shoulder conditions;
Muscle strains and tendonitis;
Ligament sprains of any joint;
Tennis elbow, carpal tunnel;
Hip, knee and ankle problems;
Growing pains in adolescents;
Conditions associated with growing older;
Fractures and post-surgery;
Work-related disorders (formerly known as RSI) and a number of other conditions.