An aching hip can throw off your whole day. You might have slept on a funny angle, or it might be an old injury flaring up. Whatever the cause, hip pain can leave you limping and uncomfortable throughout the day.
Any hip pain that lasts more than a couple of days needs to be assessed by a qualified myotherapist. But if you can’t get in for a massage and myotherapy treatment straight away, here are some tips to ease your sore hips.
Gentle exercise and movement
Even when you’re sore, even a little bit of movement is often a good idea. By moving your body, you can encourage blood flow to repair any damage and improve mobility.
But when it comes to a sore hip, moving without pain can be tricky. That’s why I recommend non-weight bearing exercise in a pool or lying down. Start gently by circling your leg and hip within a range that isn’t too painful. This can improve the mobility of the hip and decrease the pain sensitivity.
As a myotherapist, I can not only assess and treat your pain. I can also recommend specific exercises and movements to rehabilitate the joint.
Another gentle form of movement is yin yoga. Unlike other forms of yoga, yin is very slow and involves more gentle, restful postures. Yin yoga uses different props so that you can hold poses within a comfortable range of movement for your body.
If your hip pain is quite strong right now, you may find a class to be too much until after you've had some treatment. But if your pain is a recurring issue then a regular yoga class as a way to manage your pain and prevent flare ups is a fantastic option.
I love Ananda Yoga in Belgrave. You’ll often find me at Kerry’s Yin Yoga classes on Tuesday and Sunday morning. Kerry is the absolute best! Her classes are all about moving in a way that feels good and a lot of her classes use things like spiky massage balls to help you release tight muscles yourself. You can check out their website here.
Creams and gels can provide temporary relief of pain, even for deep pains that come with a sore hip. There are plenty of good options on the market. My favourites are:
Every injury is different. But many people find that using heat for muscular pain brings more relief – and is more comfortable – than ice.
So chuck on a heat pack if you have one, or pick one up at the clinic. Or jump into a hot shower and do some gentle stretches, moving your body slowly through any ‘good pain’ spots.
If you can, slide into a nice warm bath with a book and a cup of tea. As a bonus, add some Epsom salts – they are incredibly relaxing and are a source of muscle-relaxing magnesium.
Which suggestion you take does depend on the injury and your pain levels. If your hip is aching, tight and generally sore, you could probably use any of these, or all of them! But if your hip pain is sharp and significantly reducing your mobility, your best bet is to use topical treatments, and book in to see a practitioner, stat.
Has your hip pain been getting you down? I offer sessions throughout the week, including evenings and Saturdays, so that you don’t have to suffer through the pain. To book in an appointment, click here.
Many people are already seeing a manual therapist such as a myotherapist or a chiropractor. But what you might not know is that you can see both! There are several benefits that come with seeing both a myotherapist and a chiropractor as part of your health strategy.
Myotherapy Vs Chiropractic – What’s The Difference?
The main difference between myotherapy and chiropractic is their focus. Myotherapy focuses on muscle health, although it does include some supportive work for the joints. On the other hand, chiropractic has a strong focus on the spine and its impact on the whole nervous system, as well as treating other joints throughout the body.
How Myotherapy And Chiropractic Can Work Together
Chiropractors can adjust structural issues
As a myotherapist, I am your go-to for muscle issues. And while myotherapy can include mobilising joints, sometimes it’s not enough to address a structural issue. Manipulating joints is a specialised skill and is out of a myotherapist’s scope of practice.
That’s where a trusted chiropractor comes in. If your myotherapist thinks there is a structural issue that needs to be addressed, teaming up with a chiropractor can get you sorted.
Soft tissue work can extend the results of an adjustment
Maybe you’re already seeing a chiropractor regularly. Adjustments from your chiropractor can be great at the time. But many people feel like they slip back into the same uncomfortable position in no time.
This is where working with a myotherapist can extend those results. We can have a look at any muscles that are encouraging your problematic positioning and help rebalance them. This can lead to longer-lasting results from your chiropractic sessions.
Myotherapy can make it easier for your chiropractor to effectively adjust you
If you have very tight muscles and connective tissue surrounding your spinal joints, it can sometimes be difficult to get those areas adjusted. By seeing me directly before an adjustment, a lot of my patients find their chiropractic treatment is more effective and less uncomfortable. Its definitely a satisfying feeling getting an adjustment that moves easily without feeling like muscle tension is stopping you getting the full benefit of your chiropractic session.
Adjustments and home exercise can work together
Another reason to combine myotherapy with your chiropractic care plan is including corrective exercises for the muscles. As a myotherapist, I can prescribe a personalised exercise plan that can strengthen a weak muscle, correct muscular imbalances and relieve pain over the long-term.
Why is this a great approach? It means that instead of just treating the problem, you can work towards healing it.
A combination can do wonders for spinal issues
People who have spinal issues such as nerve impingement get more bang for their buck by working with a myotherapist and chiropractor. Myotherapy can reduce pain levels and muscle sensitivity using techniques such as massage therapy, cupping and muscle energy techniques. On the other hand, chiropractic can help with repositioning the vertebrae, which can reduce compression on the impinged nerve.
Bonus point: creating a treatment plan at Balanced Life Health Care
If you see me and a chiropractor from Balanced Life Health Care, you’re in luck! As we work together, we are able to discuss your management and progress. This allows us to continue with a cohesive plan that covers all of your musculoskeletal needs.
So there’s no need to play Chinese whispers between therapists at different clinics – we’re your one stop shop for healthy muscles and joints.
Ready to bring myotherapy and chiropractic on board? To book in a myotherapy session, head to my booking page. To add a chiropractic appointment, phone Balanced Life Health Care on 03 8719 7373.
Many people know what it’s like to have a loose joint. Maybe you even considered yourself ‘double jointed’ when you were in primary school. But hypermobility is something that can be benign, or it can be a serious concern in some cases. So let’s look at hypermobility and how you can support a loose joint naturally.
What is hypermobility?
Hypermobility is when a joint has a greater range of movement than usual. This can be caused by a handful of factors, including:
Is hypermobility a bad thing?
Not always. Some people can actually train their joints to become hypermobile over time – think people who do gymnastics or calisthenics. This isn’t a problem, as long as the joint isn’t damaged and the muscles are strong enough to prevent the joint from slipping out.
There are also people that have one or more hypermobile joints, but don’t have any problems as a direct result. This is generally described as benign hypermobility.
But it can be problematic for some people. Sometimes, it’s a short-term problem – like if you dislocate a shoulder during football. This will mean you need to nurse the joint back to normal mobility to prevent further injury.
Sometimes, hypermobility is part of a bigger concern. There are conditions that present with hypermobile joints, including most forms of Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome and Marfan Syndrome. Sometimes, hypermobile joints that become problematic are the first clue that there is an underlying issue.
Tips to support a hypermobile body part
If you have some hypermobility and it’s not causing you any issues, you might be just fine. But if your joint is causing you pain, is unstable or affecting your life in any way, here are some tips to support it back to health.
Keep exercising within your limitations
The body thrives off movement, and it boosts blood flow throughout, which is needed for healing. If you have an injured body part, do any kind of exercise that doesn’t cause pain or discomfort. For example, if your shoulder is the issue, go for a daily walk still. If it’s an ankle, keep doing upper body work at the gym that doesn’t require standing.
Remember, if you’re not sure how to exercise safely due to injury, the best course of action is to consult a myotherapist who can assess the situation for you.
Use taping and other tools to increase proprioception
One issue that is common with hypermobile joints is a loss of proprioception. Proprioception is where your brain thinks your joint is. If you lose proprioception, your body can start to think that the correct position for your joint is partially dislocated, or subluxed.
A good tool to use to increase proprioception is taping. By taping a joint, you can stabilise the joint when it is very unstable. Once the joint improves, kinesiotape can help to increase your awareness, or proprioception, of the joint.
In the clinic, I offer both rigid and kinesio taping services. In fact, return clients can book in a follow-up taping session, so we can re-tape a loose joint until it regains stability. To book a taping session, contact me directly.
If your joint is particularly loose, you can also consider tools like splints, supports or orthotics to help with proprioception. These are most useful for highly unstable joints, or for times when you can’t focus solely on where a joint is. Not sure which tool is best for you? Ask your friendly myotherapist.
Be cautious with stretching and yoga
Stretching and yoga can have oodles of benefits. But if a joint is already stretched out of place, the wrong stretches or yoga poses can exacerbate the situation. Just because you can move into an extreme stretch doesn't always mean you should - often the safest option is to stop short of your absolute maximum stretch, because here you'll have the most control over your movement. Control at our very end range of movement can be difficult, and if your joints are prone to dislocation and instability due to loose or unreliable ligaments then ideally you should be aiming for a stretch where you can still keep excellent muscle control over the joint. If you’re not sure what is safe to do, have a chat to your practitioner or yoga teacher.
Work with a hypermobile-literate myotherapist
If your body is sore, a massage therapist can relieve some pain. But if you want to get the injury rehabilitated, you want to work with a myotherapist who is familiar with hypermobility.
With myotherapy, we can not only give immediate relief using massage and other treatment techniques, but also put together a personalised treatment plan. A hypermobility management plan will include targeted strength and proprioception exercises. By rebuilding the muscles and teaching your joint where it should sit, you can get back on track.
I’ve had the opportunity to work with many people who have hypermobility – both short-term and chronic. So whether you have a loose joint post-injury or a condition like Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome, I’m happy to help. Click here to book in an appointment.
Nobody likes to feel sore and achey all the time. If you experience chronic pain, it can contribute to many other conditions and sabotage your mental health. But if you’re looking for natural ways to relieve pain, the first place to look to is your diet. My good friend and incredible Nutritionist, Sam Gemmell, has taken the time to write this guest blog to explain more.
Fatty fish are a potent source of omega-3 fatty acids, which are naturally anti-inflammatory. Most studies that have been published focus on omega-3 supplements. But there are small studies that support consuming it as part of the diet as well. One showed that consuming fatty fish 4 times per week can reduce inflammatory compounds in the body.
3-4 serves of oily fish per week is a good number to aim for. If you prefer plant-based sources, include walnuts, chia seeds, flaxseeds and hemp seeds daily to reap the benefits.
Looking for a healthy source of fat to include in your diet? High quality olive oil has properties that may help to reduce joint-related symptoms. One animal study showed that extra-virgin olive oil reduced joint swelling, slowed the destruction of cartilage and reduced inflammation.
But don’t worry – the benefits are for people as well! One study showed that people who consume olive oil are less likely to have rheumatoid arthritis.
Olive oil can be drizzled over salads, or used to sauté ingredients. But it's not great for deep frying - deep frying isn't good for you anyway!
Berries are the best fruit ever, at least in my opinion! They are chock-full of nutrients including vitamins, minerals and antioxidants that can help to reduce inflammation naturally.
One study showed that people who ate at least two servings of strawberries per week were 14% less likely to have elevated inflammatory markers. Researchers also suggest that blueberries and strawberries may offer protection against arthritis.
Want to up your berry intake? Chuck them in your smoothies, porridge, salads or just straight into your mouth.
Spice things up in the kitchen! Pretty much any herb or spice will have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. But if we’re going to play favourites, turmeric and ginger are bestfor sore joints and arthritis.
There are many research studies that show supplementing with turmeric can be beneficial for arthritis. But adding it into your diet can still help as well! Turmeric is not well absorbed, so the best consume it is with a source of good fats and some black pepper. Research into turmeric and ginger has shown that both have anti-arthritic effects.
How to use them? It’s simple – sprinkle your favourites spices everywhere! Turmeric and ginger can be added to sweet and savoury dishes.
Tart cherry juice
Tart cherries are packed full of antioxidants that can support your joint health. One study looking at osteoarthritis showed that consuming 475ml of tart cherry juice daily significantly reduced symptoms and inflammation. Tart cherry juice can also reduce inflammatory markers.
But the benefits don't stop there. Tart cherry juice is also a natural source of melatonin, which is needed for deep, restful sleep. If you’re not getting quality sleep, your body can’t repair damage effectively, which can exacerbate pain.
Ready to get into tart cherry juice? Make sure you choose an unsweetened variety. Otherwise, a lot of the benefits will be cancelled out by excess sugar.
Don’t get me wrong, I love my coffee. But green tea is king when it comes to caffeine-containing beverages if you’re in pain.
Green tea contains a potent antioxidant known as ECGC. ECGC has been shown to reduce inflammatory cytokines in research. And although trials are in the early stages, the research also suggests that it could be beneficial in reducing inflammation in osteoarthritis.
I often recommend that coffee drinkers alternate between coffee and green tea – so if you drink 4 cups of coffee per day, try 2 cups of coffee and 2 cups of green tea. But if you're not big on caffeine, even one cup a day can offer health benefits.
Sam is a nutritionist, health writer and wellness speaker based in Melbourne. She loves to spread knowledge about food as medicine, and is passionate about personalised nutrition. You can find out more on her website.
Everyone knows someone who is a bit of a klutz. But often, there is a reason behind someone being naturally clumsy. It all comes down to what we call proprioception.
What is proprioception?
To put it simply, proprioception is a fancy way of describing where your brain perceives your body to be in space. If you have good proprioception, your brain knows that your arms and legs are where they are.
But if you have issues with proprioception, your brain might think that you’re a little more to the left or right of where you actually are. This is where it’s common for people to do things like walk into doorframes, stub their toe or miss a step.
Some people can be born with a reduced sense of proprioception, particularly if they have neurological conditions such as autism. Others may have proprioceptive issues because of hypermobile joints. Sometimes, proprioception of a particular body part can be reduced through injury, such as a dislocation.
What are signs of proprioception issues?
There are some common signs of proprioception issues, including:
It can also come with other signs, depending on the cause. Proprioceptive issues will come with sensory signs in people with autism. Hypermobile people will often experience more injuries such as rolled ankles because they have more flexible joints than most people.
Have you ever noticed that if you have an injury, you will be more likely to bump that injured limb or area? Thats because that area is where the misinformation is coming from - for example, I cut my finger a few weeks back, and managed to bump it on something on at least 3 different occasions that day! My general awareness of that finger was raised, but my ability to hone in on the location-specific proprioception was decreased due to injury.
How can I fix my proprioception?
The good news is, you can work on your proprioception and reduce the clumsiness. Proprioception is influenced by information from your nervous system and your balance. Here are some ways to retrain your brain and increase body awareness.
Move your body
A lot of people will avoid exercise because they think they are clumsy. But the more that you move your body, the more chances your brain gets to correct itself. So don’t avoid exercise – just stick to gentler options while you retrain your brain.
Retrain your balance
There are specific exercises that can challenge proprioception and retrain the brain. Stability and balance exercises are the most effective. These start with very simple and supported movements, then increase in difficulty as your proprioception adapts. For example, you might stand on one leg with your eyes open. Once you can do that easily, movements of your raised leg can be included which will challenge your balance. If that becomes easy, you can try it with your eyes closed, or add a wobble cushion or balance board.
Exercises will need to be tailored to your specific proprioceptive needs. As you can see from the example above, there are many stages of these exercises that progress to harder and more challenging movements as your proprioception enhances.
Neurons that Fire Together, Wire Together
Have you heard this phrase before? The brain loves short cuts, so movements, actions, thoughts and sensations that are often felt together can become neurally linked. We can use this to our advantage by using exercises and movements in a way that can "rewire" the proprioception of a joint so it relearns its movement or activation patterns.
Using tape can help to retrain your proprioception in conjunction with stability exercises. It helps to indicate where the body part is because the tape is slightly stretched on your skin for a number of days - your brain gets a consistent signal from the sensation receptors on the skin saying "Hey! Here I am!".
Taping can also help with holding the joint or body part where it should be, preventing issues such as hunching or rolling of the shoulders. It’s best to get taping done by a qualified practitioner who can tape you correctly. This is why I offer taping sessions for my clients who need re-taping between appointments.
Do you want to work on retraining your brain and increasing your proprioception? I can put together a personalised management plan to help. Book in an appointment today to get started.
The human body is a confusing thing! Some things that don’t seem that concerning to you might be a warning sign for your practitioner. It can be difficult to tell what just needs a heat pack or a cup of tea, what needs a practitioner and what needs an emergency room visit!
What is meant by the term "red flag"? Its a sign or symptom that can indicate the possibility of a serious medical condition that may be dangerous if left unchecked.
So today I will discuss some of the most common red flag signs and symptoms I see as a myotherapist. If you are experiencing these types of symptoms, its always safest to check in with your GP first.
This might seem a little obvious. But sudden, severe pain is always a red flag, even if you think you know the cause. If it causes nausea, vomiting or loss of consciousness, you need to seek medical attention, stat.
Night Time Pain That Wakes You Up
Pain that wakes you up, stops you from falling asleep, or doesn't ease with rest is an indicator that something is not right. It can be associated with infection, inflammation, abdominal aortic aneurysm and cancer.
Sudden Changes In Bladder/Bowel Control
In myotherapy terms, this is a very serious red flag. Although there can be more benign reasons for a change in bladder or bowel control, it could be a sign of serious nerve or spinal damage. Seek out your GP asap.
Dizziness & Fainting Spells
There can be may reasons why you experience dizziness and fainting. Some can be as simple as low blood pressure. But some can be a warning sign of something nastier. If you lose consciousness completely, then you need to seek immediate medical attention. For dizzy spells, book in to see your GP for a general checkup.
Burning Soles Of Feet
It seems like the least significant of the listed red flags. But this one can be just as serious. Burning soles can be a sign of nerve dysfunction in the legs, spine or feet. But it can also be a warning sign for deep vein thrombosis – a blood clot that occurs in a vein. If DVT is not treated, it can be fatal. So don’t hesitate to get a medical check-up straight away.
Lower-Mid Back Pain Plus Altered Urination
This might seem like an unusual combination of symptoms. But it can involve serious kidney involvement – from a kidney infection to kidney disease and even kidney failure. If your lower-mid back pain is still lingering after a treatment, its worth considering that it may be kidney related. If in doubt, get some tests done to check your kidney function, its always better to check it out than leave it to progress!
Chest Pain & Shortness Of Breath
It’s not just the dramatic heart-clutching Hollywood-style chest pain that is a red flag. Any unexpected chest pain is a concern, whether it feels obviously muscular or deeper into the chest. Difficulty breathing can also be a major concern – after all, we need enough oxygen to function! For mild cases, you can seek your GP’s attention immediately. But if in doubt, call 000 – better to be safe than sorry.
We all get headaches from time to time. But severe headaches can be a sign of issues including hormone imbalances, nerve dysfunction or even brain tumours. The more severe the headache, the sooner you should seek medical attention. Even if you are used to having migraines, it is still a red flag to get suddenly what feels like the worst headache you will ever experience. Feeling confused, running a fever, vomiting and numbness associated with a headache means you need to seek help immediately.
Sudden Changes In Vision
Seeing is a pretty important part of surviving in today’s world. But if there are sudden changes to your vision such as blurriness, double vision or loss of vision (even temporarily), it can mean that something is impairing the function of your eyes or your brain. Look out for co-existing symptoms along with vision changes - like headache, dizziness, or nausea.
If you are experiencing any changes in vision, please do not drive anywhere, even to seek medical help. Order an Uber or a cab, ask a friend for a lift, or if all else fails, call an ambulance or book a home visit with a GP.
Muscle weakness when you have worked out or numbness when you’ve been sitting on your foot is one thing. But if you experience unexpected weakness, numbness or inability to move any body part, it’s a massive red flag. This shows that your nerves are not functioning properly or your nervous system isn’t getting the message.
If any area of your body feels numb, this is a sign of nerve involvement. Numb can mean different things to different people, but usually people describe it to me as being like pins and needles, a bit tingly, feeling "different" or a true numbness of complete loss of feeling. The most common areas to have this numbness is in the arms and legs, and usually it starts at the fingers and toes. This is a kind of red flag that your myotherapist may be able to help you out with, although you may still need to see your GP or your Chiropractor if any scans are required or if structural treatment is needed.
If you experience any of these symptoms, your first stop should be your GP. If you come in to see me and we can't clear these red flag symptoms, I might not be able to treat you. But once you’ve got the all-clear, I’m happy to help with any musculoskeletal symptoms. To book in a session, head here.
One condition that I see a lot in my clinic is fibromyalgia. People of all ages and all walks of life can have fibromyalgia, and it is still a misunderstood condition. So today, I want to share a myotherapist’s perspective of fibromyalgia.
What is Fibromyalgia?
This diagnosis is a condition that can affect multiple systems of the body. Symptoms can include widespread muscle and joint pain, fatigue, digestive issues, brain fog and weakness, among many, many other associated symptoms. People with fibromyalgia may have other health concerns, including musculoskeletal issues. In my experience, fibromyalgia can come hand in hand with conditions like bursitis, disc injuries, osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, and plantar fasciitis, and many more.
Pain is a major symptom of fibromyalgia, but it can vary from person to person and day to day. Typical fibromyalgia pains can include both muscle aches and nerve pain – it can feel like a deep ache or sharp, shooting, burning, throbbing or like pins and needles. Some days the pain can cover the whole body, others it may be one area. Today it may be back pain, tomorrow it’s hands and feet. Fibromyalgia can be unpredictable at the best of times!
Fibromyalgia, Pain Threshold & Pain Tolerance
One thing that fibromyalgia clients should keep in mind is the difference between pain threshold and pain tolerance.
Pain threshold is the amount of stimulus needed before the pain signal begins. Someone with fibromyalgia will usually have a low pain threshold - that means they feel pain often with very little "cause". They may wake up with aching, tight muscles without having over used those areas or done anything out of their ordinary routine to aggravate the area. People who experience allodynia can experience pain from normally non-painful things like the sensation of clothing on skin or the pressure of sitting in a chair.
On the other hand, pain tolerance is how much pain a person will withstand before seeking help. Many fibromyalgia clients build up a high pain tolerance, putting up with pain levels that would send the average person to the emergency room!
So if a practitioner mentions you have a low pain threshold, it simply means your nervous system is on high alert. It responds quickly to incoming messages about potential danger - even if rationally you know there is little or no actual danger. Its a neurological response, not a psychological response. For more about pain responses and the role of the overactive nervous system, see my previous article.
How can myotherapy help with fibromyalgia?
Many people with fibromyalgia are terrified of getting physical treatments, as they’ve often had painful massages and treatments in the past. Unfortunately many of my fibromyalgia clients have been told by previous therapists that "it needs to hurt to be effective" which I don't believe in one little bit. A gentle myotherapy session can be incredibly beneficial!
I like to be upfront with my treatment approaches, so I want to make it clear - I don't claim to be able to cure fibromyalgia using myotherapy treatments. There is no known cure. But what I have found time and time again is that regular myotherapy treatment is excellent for keeping flares at bay and managing muscle and joint pain to make day to day activities easier and more enjoyable.
A few ways I use myotherapy to relieve fibromyalgia symptoms includes:
Although these are some treatments I use, every client is different. The whole process is in your hands – if something hurts too much, we will find an alternative that doesn’t hurt. After all, I am the ultimate ‘no pain, all gain’ myotherapist!
A typical treatment plan for fibromyalgia includes a few treatments fairly close together to begin with - ideally weekly or fortnightly. As the treatments begin to hold longer and longer, the time between treatments becomes longer. Most of my fibro clients find their "sweet spot" for ongoing maintenance treatments to be anywhere between a fortnightly treatment to once every 6-8 weeks.
Is it always ‘fibro pain’?
One thing that I often see is clients and doctors putting new pains or symptoms down to being fibromyalgia-related. Although this might be true, there’s also a chance that it’s not. That’s why I always encourage clients with any chronic pain condition to get new symptoms checked out by a musculoskeletal practitioner.
For example, one of my fibro clients recently was diagnosed with lumbar stenosis - a narrowing of the canal where the spinal cord runs. His leg symptoms had been put down to being fibro-related for years, but I wasn't convinced and asked him to get a second opinion from a chiropractor who could send him to have some scans to investigate. After getting an MRI, it was determined that in addition to fibromyalgia, there was actually a structural cause for his deep leg pains.
Fibromyalgia might be hard to manage, but co-existing issues don’t have to be. By identifying any other conditions and managing them from the start, you can see big improvements in your pain levels and a reduction in flares.
Are you ready to support your fibromyalgia pain in a holistic, effective way? Don’t hesitate – book yourself in for a session today.
Many people are raised with the belief that complaining isn’t good. And while I definitely don’t recommend whining at your work mates, it’s different when you walk into my myotherapy treatment room. In fact, if I don’t have all of the correct information, it can impact on how effective (or not) your treatment is.
So please, treat my clinic as the Whinge Zone - get it all off your chest, because the more I know about all the little things that are part of your pain, the more specific I can make your treatment and the easier it is for me to get you back to feeling great.
Here are some of the things I need you to tell me when you come in for a myotherapy session.
Previous injuries and procedures
One of the most important factors on how your body feels today is your previous injuries. Broken bones, strains, sprains or any kind of soft tissue damage are on the need-to-know list. Sometimes, an injury from 20 years ago can still be a factor today.
Surgeries and procedures that you have had can also impact on your body. Even if it was decades ago, the scar tissue can still affect how you move your body. Remember – I’ll see the scars anyway, so I will ask!
How the injury happened
It doesn’t matter if you were being clumsy, doing something you shouldn’t have, or if it was something that was unavoidable. By knowing how the injury happened, I can understand how it happened on a tissue and cellular level. And by understanding that, it’s easier for me to use the most effective treatment for that type of injury.
Sometimes you won't know, and thats fine. Some pains are gradual and build up over time from repetitive movement patterns. But if you can track your pain to a particular event, give me the run down on what happened.
What movements exacerbate pain
Have you noticed that particular daily activities can cause pain or strain on your injury? Let me know. This allows me to visualise which muscle groups are involved and narrow down where the site of the injury is. After all, pain can be in a very different location to the actual injury!
And don't worry, I've heard pretty much everything!
If wiping after going to the loo hurts - this lets me know that your spine rotator muscle groups may be involved.
If you've had to cut your hair super short because you can't reach to brush it - we're looking at the muscle groups that raise your arm up.
If you've had to modify any of your daily activities to make it easier to handle, let me know so that we can make restoring that muscle a priority in your treatment plan.
What has been done before, and if it helped
There’s nothing wrong with seeking out different practitioners to help with your pain. In fact, I encourage a multi-modality approach to health. But if you’ve used other treatment methods beforehand, it’s helpful for me to know what you’ve done.
This could be as simple as treating it at home with an icepack, using pain medication or seeking out the opinion of your GP. If you’ve seen another manual therapist, telling me what has and hasn’t worked will allow me to tailor your management plan. After all, there’s no point in using a treatment if you know you didn’t respond well to it last time!
If you’ve taken medication before the appointment
You might be someone who is sensitive to pain, and so you take some painkillers before a session with any kind of bodyworker. But if I don’t know this, those painkillers can make it harder for you to know if you’re in pain when we’re going through movements and determining your current status.
So if you have used painkillers or any medication that could influence how you respond to treatment, let me know. That way I can modulate the pressure I use and you won’t have to deal with exaggerated post-treatment feels!
The most important thing to remember
There are things that you might find embarrassing to share. But at the end of the day, I’m not here to judge you. We’ve all done silly things in the past. So it doesn’t matter to me if you tore a ligament in your foot when you were a little tipsy or broke your tailbone by falling on your butt! What does matter to me is that we get you feeling as good as we can today.
Is it time for your next myotherapy session? Now that you know the things I need to know, you can book in and get your pain sorted.
If you’re coming to see a manual therapy practitioner, you’re probably experiencing some kind of pain. But pain as a whole is a misunderstood creature. So I thought I’d talk about pain, address that old "its all in your head" chestnut, and explain what it means for the person experiencing it.
What is pain?
Pain is an incredibly complex thing, which is why researchers are still studying it. To put it simply, pain is a warning message. It is an output from the brain to the body, not the other way around.
There is one crucial thing to keep in mind when I say that pain is an output of your brain. Just because pain is sent from the brain doesn’t mean that it’s ‘all in your head’. You are not crazy, you are not making it up. Pain is a neurological response, not a psychological response.
The pain you experience is real – but the danger that the body perceives may not be, and this can be due to incorrect messaging from the neurological system.
This pain message may be sent out because of incoming messages from the local tissue, saying there is damage. But this isn’t always the case.
What pain is not (necessarily)
Because pain is from the brain, rather than the tissue, pain doesn’t have to mean that there is damage. In fact, someone can experience pain in an area of the body that is structurally sound. This is because pain can be due to a problem with the function, or physiology, rather than structure, or anatomy.
This is something that people who experience chronic pain need to keep in mind. Pain is not a reliable measurement of tissue damage. It is a sign that your nervous system is reacting to something.
In chronic pain, pain is even more complex. This is because the nervous system can become overly sensitive to pain. So while one person might feel a touch on the hand as a gentle sensation, someone with chronic pain might feel it as a crushing, stinging or burning pain.
What if there is tissue damage?
Sometimes you will have a break or a strain. In this case, pain is telling you to minimise movement to avoid further damage. Your body wants you to rest the body part so that it can heal it as quickly as possible.
But it’s also important to start back slowly once the pain has receded. Your body is still healing an injury once the pain is gone – a broken bone can take months or even years to fully heal. So make sure you follow your doctor’s (and myotherapist’s!) recommendations about getting back into activity after a significant injury.
What this means for you
At the end of the day, pain is a warning sign. But the message is that your body wants you to stop an activity that the brain thinks is dangerous.
This is why I don’t agree with the philosophy of ‘no pain, no gain'. By taking a more gentle approach to treatment, we can release the aggravated muscles and normalise your joint movement without setting off the alarm bells for your nervous system.
Is it time for you to relieve some of your pain? Book your appointment today, and we can support your body back to health.
As we head into colder weather, many of us will start to feel the cold in our joints. If this is you, no need to fear! Today, I’m sharing my top tips to relieve joint pain in winter.
Why do joints hurt in cold weather?
The truth is, we’re not 100% sure. What specialists theorise is that the cold weather causes change in the tissues around the joints. The connective tissue becomes less flexible and more stiff. And if our joints are restricted, moving them can feel uncomfortable or even painful.
Why am I feeling this pain, when others around me don’t feel it?
Some people are more susceptible to weather-related joint pain than others. You are more likely to experience joint pain if:
If your pain is new, severe, and/or it is preventing you from enjoying everyday life – yes. Your friendly local myotherapist (me!) can help by providing treatments that reduce inflammation and stiffness in the joint.
Tips to relieve joint pain in winter
I know that you can’t always be in to see me. So if joint pain is getting you down, here are my top recommendations to ease the aches away.
Do you need a little extra TLC to relieve the aches and pains that cold weather brought on? Make sure you book in an appointment.
Mel is a Myotherapist based in Ferntree Gully. She has a special interest in chronic pain conditions, like fibromyalgia, degenerative disc disease, and more.