By: Blair Milne, Physiotherapist
You might think of physiotherapy as something reserved for people with broken bones or other serious injuries, but it’s so much more than that. From sprained ankles to frozen shoulders—there are many common conditions that a physiotherapist can help you recover from that will improve your quality of life.
A physiotherapist is a muscular specialist who helps treat people with different types of injuries or conditions on a daily basis. Their role is to assist patients in relieving pain and regaining strength and mobility after an injury or surgery, while also identifying risk factors for future injuries and helping to prevent them from happening again.
This article outlines 9 common conditions that can be treated by physiotherapy:
1. Sprained Ankles
Sprains are overuse injuries that can happen to anyone, at any time. They occur when the soft tissue that connects your bones to your muscles (ligaments) is overstretched, which leads to a tear. This can cause swelling and severe pain, which can make walking or running very difficult—if not impossible. Depending on the severity of the sprain, you can usually recover in a few days to a few weeks.
A physiotherapist can help to speed up your recovery by providing you with targeted exercises or stretches for your specific injury. Exercises are a great way to help strengthen your joint and surrounding muscles, making it easier to lift and push your foot off the ground when you walk. Sprained ankles can also be treated with a variety of different taping techniques that can help support your joint and keep it in proper alignment.
2. Frozen Shoulder
A frozen shoulder is also known as adhesive capsulitis. It causes your shoulder joint to stiffen, which leads to pain and limited range of motion. Frozen shoulder is more common in individuals over 40 and women who have had children.
A physiotherapist can help you manage your symptoms and regain range of motion by stretching out your tight muscles and providing you with exercises to help improve your strength and joint mobility. They may also use heat therapy, cold therapy, or ultrasound to help speed up the healing process. A physiotherapist can also assist you with a shoulder massage technique called joint mobilization, which helps increase the range of motion in your shoulder, while also reducing pain and stiffness. If your shoulder is frozen, it’s important to see a physiotherapist as soon as possible.
Scoliosis is a curvature of the spine that causes a side-to-side imbalance in your spine. It is a common childhood condition, but can also develop later in life.
A physiotherapist can help you manage your symptoms and improve your posture with a special exercise called a “posture correction exercise”. This exercise can help reduce your scoliosis symptoms, improve your posture, and help you feel more comfortable while sitting and standing. If you have scoliosis, it’s important to see a physiotherapist to determine if you need to wear a back brace. A physiotherapist can assist you in choosing the right type of back brace for your condition. They can also help you fit and wear your back brace properly.
4. Knee Pain
Knee pain is a common complaint that often comes from overusing your joints, which can happen if you are a runner or someone who does a lot of heavy lifting. This can cause your knee joint to be overworked and lead to inflammation of the knee.
A physiotherapist can help you manage the pain and reduce inflammation with ice, heat, and other treatments. They can also help you with a number of different exercises, such as squats and lunges, to help strengthen and stretch your knee joint. If you have knee pain, a physiotherapist can help you determine if you have a torn meniscus or a knee ligament tear, which requires a different treatment plan. They can also test your knee joint mobility using a variety of different tests, such as the leg length test, to determine if you have knee joint restrictions.
5. Exercise Intolerance
Exercise intolerance is a condition that has to do with your heart and lungs. It makes it difficult for your body to get enough oxygen, which can cause you to get out of breath very easily. If you have exercise intolerance, you might find that you get out of breath quickly when climbing stairs or walking up a hill. This can make even the most basic daily activity difficult.
A physiotherapist can help you manage your symptoms and improve your overall fitness by prescribing a physical therapy and fitness program. They can also help you learn how to use an inhaler properly, if you have asthma. A physiotherapist can also help you make sure you are safe when exercising. They can assist you with a fitness assessment to determine which exercises are best for you, or find ways to modify exercises if you are at risk for injury. They can also help you find a safe way to exercise at home, if you have a physical impairment.
6. Chronic Back or Neck Pain
Back and neck pain are common conditions that can be caused by a number of different things, such as poor posture, heavy lifting, or an injury. Some back and neck pain resolves by itself after a few days or a week, but persistent back or neck pain may make daily living difficult. Some pain can only be relieved with the help of a physiotherapist.
A physiotherapist can help ease your chronic pain by creating a personalized exercise program designed for your specific condition. They can also help you improve your posture by identifying and correcting any bad habits or muscle imbalances in your upper or lower back. This can help reduce your chronic pain and put you on a path to reclaiming a pain-free life. If you have chronic pain, a physiotherapist can determine your pain levels and assist you with a specific exercise program to help you manage the pain. They can also help you identify any potential injury or cause of your pain, and help you avoid re-injuring yourself. If your pain is chronic, it is important to see a physiotherapist as soon as possible, as waiting too long can make it harder to recover.
Sciatica is a painful malady that’s caused when the sciatic nerve is irritated. This vital nerve runs from your lower back, through your hips and down to your legs. It can be caused by a number of different things, such as a herniated disc, degenerative disc disease (DDD), or a spinal stenosis.
A physiotherapist can help you manage your pain and improve your mobility with a combination of targeted stretches and exercises. They can also assist you with heat therapy, cold therapy, and joint mobilizations. If you have sciatica, a physiotherapist can help you determine if you have a herniated disc or DDD, which affects your sciatic nerve, versus a spinal stenosis, which does not. If you have sciatica, it is important to see a physiotherapist as soon as possible, as waiting too long can prolong your recovery period.
8. Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome is a common wrist problem that occurs when your carpal tunnel swells, which causes pressure on the nerves in your wrist. This can lead to pain, tingling, and numbness in your hands and wrists.
A physiotherapist can help you manage your pain, improve your strength, and create a safe exercise program, as many people with carpal tunnel syndrome have trouble exercising. They can also help you with a number of different exercises designed specifically to reduce your pain, regain strength, and improve mobility in your wrists and hands. If you have carpal tunnel syndrome, a physiotherapist can help you determine if you need surgery to relieve pressure on your nerves. They can also help you recover from surgery and avoid re-injuring your wrists when you’re done healing.
9. Rotator Cuff Injury
A rotator cuff injury is when one of your shoulder muscles is injured.
A physiotherapist can help you recover from rotator cuff injuries, such as tears, by teaching you how to properly use your shoulder. They can also help you with a number of different exercises designed to improve your strength, range of motion, and help you avoid re-injuring your shoulder. If you have a rotator cuff injury, a physiotherapist can also help you determine if you need surgery to repair the injury, or assist you with managing your pain with other treatments. If you have a rotator cuff injury, it is important to see a physiotherapist as soon as possible, as waiting too long can make it harder to recover.
Peak Health and Performance is a physiotherapy practice that has successfully treated these conditions and others in the Calgary community for years. Our caring, professional staff can guide you with an initial assessment that will diagnose the source of your problem and offer a personalized treatment plan designed to help you recover soon. Call Peak Health & Performance today to learn more about how physiotherapy can help you.