Reasons to Visit Your Physiotherapist BEFORE you Experience Injury
Physiotherapy treatment is generally sought after you experience pain, discomfort, reduced mobility, or a reduction in occupational or sporting performance. These are all symptoms that are associated with injury.
It is important to note that injuries can present in either an acute manner; for example an ankle sprain, or a wry neck; as well as a gradual onset, such as Achilles tendinopathy/tendonitis or osteoarthritis.
Visiting a physiotherapist before you get injured has a number of immediate and long-term benefits:
Avoiding injury in the first place is the primary reason to visit your physiotherapist. They are able to complete a number of assessments that can identify problematic areas, or areas that may be predisposed to injury or pathology. Many injuries are the result of an increase in physical load, intensity/volume of exercise or lifestyle change.
Working with your physiotherapist now to identify these areas may be critical to prolonging the health of your tissues and joints.
Injury prevention is also cheaper than treatment! It is much more cost effective to prevent than to treat an injury, especially if the injury persists for a period of time!
Generally speaking, the biggest risk of injury is a previous injury; so ensuring that your previous injuries have been rehabilitated completely is essential to a complete recovery.
For example, if an ankle sprain is not comprehensively rehabilitated to an equal range of movement, strength and balance, the chance of injury recurrence remains high, until appropriate treatment is undertaken.
An assessment from a physiotherapist will identify these trends in your medical history and will treat to prevent them from happening again.
Maximizing physical capabilities is another way of gaining benefit from your physiotherapist, before you are injured. Based on a comprehensive assessment, your physio can aid your physical performance through; load management, strength and flexibility programs (see below), and technical assessments of activities such as running, cycling, golf and gym based exercises.
For example, someone training for a fun run or marathon will experience a significant increase in training loads and will subsequently be at increased risk of injury. Checking in with your physiotherapist for an assessment (in this case running) will help to identify weaknesses and put in place a plan to not only prevent injury, but also improve the efficiency of running technique to maximize performance.
Make sure you use your physiotherapist to create benefits for physical performance beyond simply injury prevention.
Strength & Flexibility Program
Your physiotherapist will be able to develop a strengthening and flexibility program that will provide a number of benefits. Benefits include, injury prevention and improvements in physical performance. A strengthening program can be home based or gym based, and is tailored to capabilities and constraints of the client. Further, your physiotherapist will be able to guide you into a supervised or independent Clinical Pilates (see below) program.
Clinical Pilates is a fundamental modality of physiotherapy that provides specific treatment to a range of musculoskeletal and neurological conditions. Pilates can be used as an effective treatment method for injury prevention, strength, flexibility, as well as assisting physical performance and ergonomic health.
Change in Occupation
A change in occupation, or a change in behaviours throughout the work day can have a significant impact on the body.
Increases in sitting time at work can be detrimental to health, promoting poor postural changes and uneven loads through the cervical, thoracic and lumbar spine – leading to postural tightness, and vertebral disc injuries.
Standing for extended periods can be just as wearing on the body, poor hip, pelvic and lower back control can increase compression through the low back and tightness through the hip flexors.
Increases in walking distance to and from the workplace can also have an accumulative effect on the body. These stresses can be amplified if the walking is on the incline/decline, on hard or uneven surfaces or wearing inappropriate shoes – increasing individuals’ risk of plantar fasciitis, Achilles pain, or patellofemoral (kneecap) pain.
Your physiotherapist will be able to identify these risks, and provide treatment and advice to avoiding these issues.