As a therapist that is what I want to be giving my clients - RESULTS. When it comes down to it, when you are working with pain you want to get results. Without results, it is very difficult to convince someone that you are achieving significant change and also, keep them continuing with a treatment protocol or timeline. It's an aim I have - to provide a treatment protocol.
It’s a common complaint that people arrive in the centre with strains and sprains that are exacerbated, if not caused by poor posture at work and poor postural behaviour that is reinforced by work place actions and behaviours. We all have to sit at desks for some period (well ok not all of us) and multiple screens and transposing information from data sheets or documents can and does affect how we sit and stand for most of our working day.
Depression has a socio-economic predeliction to it. It is genre specific. Sadly it is also very aggressive. In so many ways it targets groups of people and creates symptoms and conditions that are remarkably similar, almost to the point where you think it is tactical in it's approach. It also occurs in waves and varying degrees and whilst not all forms of depression are clinically determined, sometimes just feeling a bit low or down can be a precursor to a more devious beast that lies within.
In any form of recovery from injury, the ‘activation’ stage is the realm of actually doing exercises and key movements to ensure that muscles work ‘sequentially’ and as a group, to perform safe and efficient movement. This is also where a lot of patients fall down because they ‘don‘t do their homework’ These all important exercises that a patient has to do to contribute to their own recovery are a vital part of the program to recovery and pain free movement.
Fascia is the body’s connective tissue. It covers every muscle, organ and muscular compartment as well as going right down to every tendon, muscle fibre and even deeper to the microscopic level of muscle fascicles. It is part of what gives our body shape and is contractile. It serves as the connection for nerves and blood vessels and plays a great role in allowing our bodies to move in transverse movements across the midline of the body and involving a complex co-ordination of muscles to effect movement. Complex movements with power require a great deal of muscular contraction as well as contraction of the fascial system.
Plantar Fasciitis is the most common of injuries in people who run and jump. Court sports persons and runners in general suffer from this condition which is an inflammation of the connective tissue that covers the underside of the foot. The condition is usually diagnosed by intense pain upon placing your foot down on the floor when you first wake up in the morning. Slight limping until the fascia warms up and becomes malleable is a certain indicator and it can leave you unable to walk for a brief time in the morning hours. Continuing to ignore this condition can result in a tear which will leave you unable to place any weight on the foot without intense pain.
The 'Spondy' family is basically a term that applies to our spine (spondylos- greek, vertebrae). And furthermore - the inflammation of the joints of our spine. In most cases of the 'Spondy' family we are looking at inflammation of the spine. As with any condition there are variations but the 'spondy' family seems to have quite a few members to it. So let's take a look at some of the terms to get you familiar and differentiate exactly what part of the 'spondy' family you may belong to.
I find many people become more complacent about exercise and routine in winter, with dark nights when you leave work, rainy weekends preventing you from getting outside, there are too many reasons to say 'oh I just won't even bother today'. We all do it. It becomes even more important during this time to ensure you allow yourself the time to invest in some regular exercise.
Personality is a major driver of this conundrum. When looking at recovery from an injury, one of the main aspects to take into account is 'personality'. Are you an active recovery person, or are you happy to take the path of least resistance when it comes to re-engaging in physical activity. Both aspects can be your own worst nightmare if you are are not careful to appraise where you are seated in the 'injury recovery' spectrum.
Listening to your body is all important. Managing injury is as much a part of the performance as is the regular and regimented training that goes into preparing for an event months in advance. SO what do you do when you do find yourself not being able to complete a basic training run and you have 3 weeks left before the event?
As it gets colder, our bodies want to slow down and go inward but our work/family/social commitments often require us to stay in Summer or Spring mode, so things can go a bit off kilter. We can feel emotionally worn-out, unable to sleep or focus, and we may have aches and pains or suffer poor digestion as our bodies feel over extended. It is also common for lingering lung problems to show up, such as sinus and allergies or a constant sniffling nose or dry throat. Alongside acupuncture and personalised Chinese medicine formulas there are some simple self-care rituals I encourage my patients to do to help build the body’s resistance to the cold-weather woes.
Our feet are our connection to our base - our essential foundation at the most fundamental level. They connect us and enable us to move, walk and be the bipeds that we are supposed to be. Obsessing over perfect points of contact and how well you 'strike' the ground is a most worthy undertaking and the value of such discussion can benefit all of us in one way or another. Now I am no runner, but I too very much value the articulation of the lower limb as a most vital and important factor in movement and our ability to be the graceful beings that we can be.
Wry neck is something that constantly rears its head in our clinic. People being unable to turn their head to the side or look around without a shooting pain into the head. Some people say its the worst injury of all as you just can't get comfortable and you end up looking like Beaker out of the Muppets as you sit at the desk and try to remain upright. So what can you do to avoid this condition and how is it treated effectively?
How many times have you reached for the Voltaren to deal with a pain that is in your back? How many times have you got out of the chair and stretched to deal with a pain in your back? How many times have you reached for the Sudafed tablet for a headcold, before doing an infusion inhaling or a Nasal clean? We are a culture of ‘quick fix’. A culture that relies on the liberal application of synthetic drug use to solve symptoms of conditions and keep pain at bay.
In traditional medicine, seasons determined what was available to us for a reason. Our bodies needs change inherently with the environment around us. For example, in autumn our bodies require moisture as the days cool and the browning of the foliage starts to set in. We need foods to combat this lack of hydration. We also need to start to prepare our bodies for the ensuing winter months, reinforcing our blood which means our resilience for immune function is at a premium as well as preparing our lungs for the ensuing bacterias and onslaught of coughs, colds and flus during the winter months.
What makes a great therapist?
It's a bit of a 'pandora's box' really. If you really look at what it is and what it entails, you can be arguing and advocating for days. The question begs many opinions and many interpretations! But what is it that makes you go back to a therapist? I have my own opinions and my own interpretations. I attempt to offer them here as a way to discuss what can be expected or should be expected from myself as a treatment practitioner.
I don't think I could actually see myself. As a therapist, I am asked to perform tasks and treatments on people that are not always comfortable, that are often difficult to administer because they involve inducing an amount of discomfort to a person that is not regarded as 'pleasant' or 'nice' or 'relaxing'. I don't like administering treatments that cause people to grunt and groan - but they are sometimes the way to get the release or ‘space’ that allows a muscle or joint to move again.
In this way, it's being able to work with someone as opposed to 'on them' that makes a big difference. Not everyone is the same - in fact no-one is the same. Every body is unique and every person has their own unique circumstance to come with. Sure there are correlations to similarities, but there is never a blanket approach when you are dealing with a person and their being - be it physical or otherwise.
The key to a good treatment starts with a good assessment. Being able to identify patterns of pain and trace a source of pain is the most effective way to administer a treatment that is focussed and succinct to the individual needs of the client. Identifying what is the root cause of pain is perhaps the most singularly significant tool to a therapist. Sometimes it takes some time to identify where the real cause of an issue is coming from.
It's a game of hide and seek sometimes, where certain issues reveal themselves at significant moments and sometimes larger issues hide behind smaller ones. An interested therapist is one who wants to get to the cause of the problem, to achieve real and significant change. Constantly investigating and re-assessing what is going on and never settling for a mediocre result.
Utilising whatever tools in your ‘bag of tricks’ is the best asset to a creative therapist. Sometimes going with a gut feeling is more important than following a logical progression of symptoms. A good therapist is creative. Able to adapt and work with a constant ebbing and flowing of information as it comes back from treatments, other involved persons or from the client. Being able to adapt and work with continual feedback is a quality that is most important. No single treatment should be the same. An interested therapist is one who is constantly present and working with what is 'at hand', 'in the moment' and never relying on standardised sequence or assumed knowledge to effect a satisfactory result.
A gradual moving forward is always the desired result. This does not mean that you won't feel a change in symptoms. As I say to many of my clients - a change is good. Feeling the pain shift from one area to another means there is adaption, there is a shift in what is happening and there is a 'changed perception' in the symptom. If the pain is persisting in the same area, then you are missing something. Something is not being treated as primary.
A good therapist also knows when to refer on. Being able to get more information and to ask for more information is a valuable skill to understand, and this is often a difficult moment to rely upon. It's not admitting defeat - it's about realising that you need to ascertain more precise detail in order to effect change and keep that constant 'forward movement' happening.
Questions and feedback are the most important way to ideally measure your progress. A good therapist listens, and doesn't dismiss what is being offered. As I have said before, no-one knows your body as good as you. You feel what is going on, you know what the pain is doing - it's our job to figure out what, how, when and why it is happening.
The rib cage is an all important frame that serves more than just protecting the visceral organs from damage and providing a cavity for the lungs and diaphragm. The ribs can be your secret to 'unlocking' the balance of posture that so many people search for. As a very 'forward orientated' society, we are constantly flexed forward at the hips, and reaching forward for work with computers and desks forming the majority of our work labours. Looking at the body from the side, if the ribs are falling forward, this generally throws the body forwards and the upper back rounds as a result.
Rotational movements are very rarely isolation exercises. They are composite (involving more than one muscle or muscle group) and mutli-faceted movements that challenge not only physical strength and power, but also stability, co-ordination, balance and flexibility. Having to actually move your focus during a movement primarily takes away the stability of a movement and requires you to activate and stabilise in areas that are not directly related to the movement itself, but are vital for any action that takes place in the street or certainly on the sporting field.
The internet is a double edged sword, allowing us access to a multitude of different sources of information and ideas. Advantageous for finding new ways to inform and understand from our own perspective. However, we can also fall prey to promises of miraculous results and marketing ploys which claim to assist with the 'latest technological advancements' in weight loss, body sculpting or athletic ability and recovery.
For whatever reason, any good outcome needs a good plan. A series of events in place that determines step by step how we are going to approach the task. Part of these plans are being able to create 'good habits' that help us by making something routine. A habit is something we do without even realising that it might be a conscious decision, so if we can create 'good habits' as opposed to bad ones, then we may be making those goals easier for ourselves.