Predicting how long your body will take to recover from injury or pain can be difficult, because each individual person will have many different factors that can influence their pain.
Your recovery time will depend if your pain is from an acute or chronic issue. We use the terms "acute" and "chronic" to describe your injury or pain type - acute being a new, fresh injury, usually where tissue damage has occurred; and chronic being a longer term condition or pain that continues well after expected tissue healing should have occurred.
Acute injuries can include things like ankle sprains, hamstring tears, shoulder dislocations. Usually they happen quickly and are immediately obvious that something is wrong. Maybe you've lifted something too heavy in your gym routine and felt a twinge of pain in your back as a muscle has strained, or you've missed the last step and felt a sharp shock of pain in your hip or knee. High impact blows can also cause acute injuries, like if you have a fall, get in a car accident, or get kicked from a horse.
Chronic pain can stem from an originally acute injury. Its common for people to have ongoing pain or sensitivity after an injury that causes a lot of damage. Chronic pain can also be part of many health conditions, like hypermobility and Ehlers Danlos Syndrome, Fibromyalgia, Multiple Sclerosis, and other conditions that affect your nervous system or connective tissue. Chronic pain also describes pain that comes from repetitive patterns of movement or positioning, usually starting as a mild irritation that can build up to be very painful, like De Quervains or "Mummy Thumb" which a lot of new parents experience as intense wrist and thumb pain from holding and feeding their new baby.
As a very generalised observation, acute injuries tend to follow fairly predictable recovery pattern as long as normal tissue healing occurs. In fact, the pain of an acute injury can often go away even before the tissue healing has completed, like in the case of a mild ankle sprain where you may be able to weight bear and return to normal movement within a week, even if the tissue around the ankle is still in repair mode. The severity of the acute injury will usually give us an indication of your expected healing time - a mild injury takes a shorter time to recover than a severe injury, this follows our common sense understanding even without medical training.
But what about chronic injuries or pain? How can we estimate how long an old injury will take to feel better? And importantly, can we realistically expect long term pain like a very old injury or pain from a lifelong disorder or disease to fully recover? This is where pain starts to become complicated, because in chronic pain patients there are lots of factors involved in the pain outside of damaged muscles, joints or nerves.
Chronic pain in one area of your body can lead to pain developing in other areas when your body tries to find different ways of getting things done. If gripping a heavy object becomes painful in your wrists, you may find yourself balancing it on your forearms and tilting backwards from your pelvis instead. As a short term work around this might be ok, but over time you might find yourself with chronic wrist pain AND chronic lower back and hip pain. Unfortunately, if you have a few "layers" of pain areas, this can mean that its likely to take longer to unravel some of the patterns that have lead your body to being in pain.
Chronic pain tends to be unpredictable in how long it may take to resolve. For people with pain stemming from lifelong conditions like genetic disorders, autoimmune disease or neurological disorders, the pain is likely to come and go in flares, and our aim for these people is to reduce the severity and frequency of the flares that are a part of their condition.
What other factors can contribute to how quickly you recover?
Adaptations to movements and positions:
Firstly, we need to identify movements or positions you currently do that either exaggerate or relieve your pain. Some of these will be easier to adapt than others - if you notice sitting longer than an hour increases your pain, an easy adaptation may be to get up every 30-60 minutes for a brief stretch. If you spend the majority of your day sitting at your computer, we can look at starting and ending your day with a back extension exercise to decompress your lower back. If we find some movements that relieve your pain, we can look at ways of increasing your time spent doing those movements.
We know that we won't be able to change all of the repetitive movements and actions that are needed in your daily life at work and at home, so realistically understanding that some of those things are contributors to your pain means we need to focus on the things we can influence so we can reduce the impact of the things we can't change.
There are lots and lots of options for changing some of the movement and position habits your body has built up, and our therapists can help with some suggestions during your appointment.
Finding a suitable type of exercise for your pain can be very helpful in building strength around the area and in stimulating your body to release its own brand of feel good hormones and neurotransmitters that reduce pain sensations. Exercise might sound very overwhelming to start off, especially if you have a lot of interconnected areas of pain, so our therapists will start you at an appropriate level for where you are at. That might be some mild stretches, a gentle walk or swim, or even a visualisation of doing certain movements.
What you eat influences how your body repairs and recovers. If you have food sensitivities or intolerances this can also effect your bodies inflammatory response - the more inflammation, the more sensitive our nervous system is to pain. If you were already eating a good diet prior to your injury, you are likely in a better position to recover quicker than someone who was eating nutrient-poor food or a diet that caused inflammation. A nutritionist may also be able to recommend supplements that can support your bodies natural healing processes.
Fitness & General Health:
You may be more likely to have an easier recovery from injury if you were in fairly good health and physical condition before your injury. Your recovery may be slower if you have pre-existing health concerns, including things like diabetes or autoimmune disease. Its never too late to start working towards a healthier lifestyle!
Good sleep is crucial to good healing. Pain can make sleep very difficult, and this can become a bad cycle of intense pain leading to poor sleep, resulting in feeling fatigued, which causes pain to increase, and so on. Breaking this cycle and getting some proper rest can help with recovery. Using extra pillows to support your body may allow you a longer and deeper sleep. There are also lots of great sleep apps or meditations that some people find useful in falling asleep or getting back to sleep if you wake up in the night. Speak with a nutritionist or pharmacist about night time supplements that can help aid with sleep.
Nervous System Health:
Chronic pain is often just as much about your nervous system as it is about your musculoskeletal system. This means if you are highly anxious, stressed, depressed, or just have a lot on your plate right now, that your pain levels may be higher than normal. The nervous system controls your entire body, so while we're not saying "your pain is in your head, you're making it up!" what we are saying is that if your nervous system is working overtime then its much more likely that your pain will be noticeable even in response to small actions. Think of it like a kettle that has just boiled, it takes much less time to reboil the kettle because its already hot. The nervous system is similar, it will take much less action for your nervous system to turn up the volume on your pain because its already on high alert.
Finding ways of supporting your nervous system is crucial for long term chronic pain conditions. This is also why medications for anxiety and depression are often prescribed for people with ongoing pain. There are lots of natural or herbal supplement options available through Naturopaths and health stores. Setting a nervous system health routine for yourself is also a hugely valuable part of managing stress and overwhelm, and this might include things like mindfulness, meditation, relaxation, affirmations, or anything else that helps you to tone down nervous system activity.
Self Care Tools:
Treatments with your practitioner are great, but having the tools and know-how to apply treatment principles at home goes a long way to helping you take charge of your recovery. We can teach you how to use a range of tools for releasing tight spots in your body so that you have some tricks up your sleeve for between treatments.
Get the type of treatment that your body responds to. Some people respond best to hands on treatments like massage, cupping and dry needling. Some people go better with active exercise based treatments. Our therapists can advise you of the treatment types that have been reported to work best for your type of pain, but ultimately each individual body can react differently, and we'll work towards finding the best combination of treatment techniques for you.
Be aware that trying too many treatment types at once for the same issue can make it very difficult for any of your health practitioners to determine which treatment is effective. This is also why we'll often pick a small number of Myotherapy techniques to use in each treatment, because if we use absolutely everything we know all at once, its very hard to know what worked and what didn't.
Go into your first treatment expecting that it might take your body a little while to start making long term changes, especially if your pain has been there for a long time and if repetitive movements and positions seem to be a big part of your pain hanging around.
Want our help with your pain or injury?
Book an appointment with us now.
Foot and heel pain can really impact your day. It can be a hard area to avoid aggravating through use and movement, for obvious reasons!
A very common cause of heel pain is a condition called Plantar Fasciitis. This is an inflammatory condition of the thick connective tissues of the heel and sole of the foot.
The sensation is usually described as a sharp, stabbing feeling directly under the heel. Its generally most painful first thing in the morning, or after resting for some time. Depending on the severity, this can last anywhere from a few moments, to being felt constantly throughout the day.
It can be caused by an acute injury or strain to the plantar fascia, and can also develop over time. People who are on their feet for long hours can develop this foot pain, especially if they don't have good supportive footwear.
Our bodies are pretty good at finding work arounds to keep us moving, so if you're experiencing plantar fasciitis, you may notice some compensation patterns like limping, reduced ankle mobility, taking smaller steps, or toe walking to avoid pressure to your heel. Short term, these compensation patterns are fine, but if the heel pain becomes chronic then these altered movement patterns can lead to other pains further up the body.
What can be done about Plantar Fasciitis?
Do you need help with heel pain?
Book in with our team so we can help you with a treatment plan.
Yep! We're open on Saturday April 3rd and Sunday April 4th, so if you find yourself in need of a remedial massage or myotherapy appointment we are here to help!
We will be closed on Good Friday (April 2nd) and Easter Monday (April 5th) for the weekday public holidays, but you can still catch us over the weekend.
Appointments are going fast, check our availability and book in soon!
We hope you have a happy and safe Easter!
We get asked quite a lot if a scan like an X-ray, ultrasound or MRI is needed first before a Myotherapy or Remedial Massage appointment.
Generally, the answer is no, you won't need to go for a scan first. Myotherapy and Remedial Massage are very low risk treatments that can help with your pain without needing imaging first.
What can scans show you?
X-rays will show you bony changes. This can include obvious bone injuries like breaks and fractures, as well as things like arthritis and bone spurs.
Ultrasound can pick up changes in soft tissues like muscles, tendons and bursa. There are limits on how much detail an ultrasound can pick up especially if the tissue is deep inside the body, and it can sometimes be unpleasant because the scanning device needs to be pressed against the affected area to complete the image.
MRIs provide a more in depth look at injured tissue. They can be used to observe bone, muscle and nerve changes, as well as identifying other non-musculoskeletal conditions like cancer or abnormal growths.
CT scans are a series of images of the affected area to create a cross section view of bone and soft tissue.
When might you need a scan before an appointment?
There are certainly times that it can be useful to get your GP to refer you for a scan, like:
Do you already have a scan or imaging report?
Great! Bring along the copy of your report to your appointment. Our practitioners can have a read of the findings and make sure that you understand what it means, and this can help inform our treatment approach to your pain.
Lets get started!
Book your appointment with us and we'll complete an assessment and treatment. If we think you may need some imaging we can write a referral to your GP explaining our assessment and asking them to complete further investigations so that as your health team we get you back to feeling and moving better!
Thats right! We have a new face in the clinic!
Meet Duke Autret, our new Remedial Massage Therapist!
Duke got his Remedial Massage qualifications in 2019 from Australian College of Fitness & Bodywork, which is the same college that Mel studied her Myotherapy qualifications.
He is also close to completing his certification as a Pilates instructor, and interested in leveling up to become a Myotherapist!
He's a body and movement nerd - and you know how much we love nerds here at Simple Wellness Myotherapy! In addition to a feel good remedial massage, he will be able to give you some great take home movements that help which you can use between your treatments to boost your recovery!
Our long term plan is that once Duke has finished his Pilates instructor training, we want to offer combination treatments where you can experience half the appointment as manual therapy, and the other half as a tailored pilates program.
You can book with Duke for remedial massage on Thursdays 3pm-7pm and Sundays 12pm-6pm.
Most private health insurers cover Myotherapy as part of the Extras packages. The category that Myotherapy falls under tends to vary between providers, sometimes we are in the same category as Physiotherapy, sometimes under Natural Therapies, sometimes under Remedial Massage.
We often get asked "How much will my private health pay?" but this can be impossible for us as practitioners to guess. The rebate amount varies depending on which health fund you are with and which level of cover you have. There are hundreds of options for Extras insurance. To find out your exact rebate amount, we always suggest contacting your health insurers Members Service team to ask them to check what you're entitled to on the specific level of coverage on your health insurance plan.
Some health insurers will give you a set rebate amount that doesn't go up or down if you book a longer or shorter appointment.
Some will give a higher rebate on your first ever appointment with a new practitioner, and then a lower amount on all your follow up appointments.
And some will give a percentage based rebate, so the amount changes depending on how much the appointment fee is.
All health insurers will give you a cap limit per year on the maximum amount of rebates they will give before you use up your limit. This amount varies a lot between funds, so be sure to check with your insurer what your maximum limit includes.
Most funds reset the limit at the start of the year on January 1st - however! A small number of funds restart from the financial year on July 1st (including AHM, Defence Health, and PeopleCare just to name a few) and a smaller number reset your limit from the anniversary of the date that you joined them (GU Health, looking at you!)
We have had some very kind, concerned patients who have not wanted to use their private health insurance in the past because they believed that it meant we had to give them a discount of the rebate amount. In case you've wondered how this works, let me explain:
Using the HICAPS machine in our Knoxfield Myotherapy clinic, we swipe your private health card. The machine connects to your insurer and allows them to pay the rebate amount directly to us, so that all you need to pay is the difference between the total appointment fee and what the rebate covers - this is your "gap" payment.
What happens if you don't have your card, if the card has expired, or if the HICAPS machine can't connect for some reason?
In these situations, we rely on the good old fashioned method of giving you a receipt to make a manual rebate claim. You pay the full appointment fee, and then your private health insurer pays the rebate amount directly to you. We prefer to use the HICAPS machine whenever we can so that we don't leave you with paperwork to do to get your rebate, but doing a manual claim like this is still a perfectly normal and valid way of using your extras cover!
Need an appointment? Book in with one of our friendly practitioners now!
We're finally back after a long lockdown period, and we're seeing a lot of people with very similar pain issues in their neck, shoulders and backs.
Working from home definitely seems to be taking its toll on peoples bodies, so while we're very happy to help you out by releasing those sore, tight muscles, we also wanted to give a few of our top tips on how you can shake up your daily patterns to reduce your pain.
Take Regular Breaks
We can't emphasise this one enough!! The most common thing we're hearing these last few weeks since returning to the clinic is that people are working longer hours.
Even if you have the most perfect posture, staying in one position for too long can leave you feeling stiff, sore and fatigued.
Think about it this way - if we asked you to hold your coffee cup out in front of you at shoulder height, you could probably do that. If we asked you to hold it there for 6 hours without taking a break, your coffee cup would feel like it weighed a ton, your arm would probably start to shake or cramp, and you would end up trying to lock your elbow joint into position to stabilise your arm. Your muscles would be tired and sore. You might even have trouble allowing your arm to lower because you had been stuck in that position for so long, or find that trying to raise your arm again afterwards felt like you'd been to the gym for 10 hours.
Try to take a quick movement break at least once per hour. This could be as little as just standing up, stretching your arms above your head, rolling your shoulders or doing a little spinal twist. You could use this chance to drink some water, go to the toilet, make a cup of tea, or stand in the sun.
Trust us, your body will thank you for the movement and the chance to reposition.
Set Up Your Workstation
You're probably not the only one working from your home right now. We know a lot of people have to share their work from home space with partners and kids, and theres only so much space to go around.
As best you can, try to set up your workspace so that your equipment is at the right height. This means screens at eye level, mouse and keyboard positioned so your arms can be at 90 degrees, and your chair is at the height that allows you to have your feet resting comfortably.
We know this isn't possible for everyone. Some patients we've seen this last week or so have been telling us they have to work from a low coffee table, or at a high kitchen bench, or even working from bed. If this is your situation, please keep in mind that regular breaks are going to be even more important for you!
Stretch and Move!
There are plenty of easily available online stretching and movement classes that you can use to help guide you through some feel-good motions.
Our favourite is Erica Webb's online yoga and pilates studio, which offers a great variety of classes including what Erica calls "movement snacks" which are short 5-10 minute videos that you can do anywhere, any time! Memberships to Erica's studio are less than $10 a week, and include a selection of on-demand classes and live yoga classes.
Set Strong Work/Home Boundaries
The blurring of the line between work and home has been strong this last year! We're hearing from people that they are often logging in early or continuing to work late to try to get ahead of deadlines or hectic work weeks - and often these extra hours are not even paid hours of overtime!
A once in a while overtime session may be occasionally needed, but we encourage you to try to avoid the temptation of working longer hours on a regular basis.
Use Your Self Care Tools
Massage balls, foam rollers, magnesium creams, heat packs - all of these tools that we talk about in the clinic are really great ways that you can help reduce tightness and tension in your body between treatments with us.
If you're not entirely sure how to use them, ask us at your next appointment and we can show you the best way to get into your problem areas using tools you already have, and give you recommendations of new self care tools that are a great investment for your health! (We don't sell any of these products, but we can direct you to reputable stores or websites that you can purchase from)
Book a Treatment!
Now that you can access manual therapies again, book in with us! We'll help you make some quick improvements to tight aching muscles, and help you plan for reducing pain while you continue to work from home or once you get back to your office!
After the nearly 3 month COVID lockdown, we're very happy to say that Myotherapy and Remedial Massage are back from Wednesday 28th October!
We've moved a few things around in the clinic, and we can't wait to welcome you back and resume your treatment plan.
We've given the first choice of appointments to those of you we know have been waiting patiently for this day, but we'll have our full online booking system up and running again very soon.
Thanks for your support throughout this year!
We were really hoping to have good news by this point that we would be reopening from Sept 14th on track following the 6 week Stage 4 Restrictions.
Sadly, things have changed, and the Victorian Government have extended the restriction period by at least 2 weeks at the current Stage 4 level restrictions.
Its still unclear to us or to our association whether Myotherapy and Remedial Massage will be able to reopen on Sept 28th, or if we need to wait for the next stage around Oct 26th.
We know you're hurting. We aim to let you know some good news as soon as possible.
Stay safe, we'll get through this together!
When you have chronic pain, you get very familiar with pain that makes itself known every day. You may have some good days and some bad days, but either way its good to have a toolkit of things you can do at home to help reduce, manage or avoid pain flare ups.
This is even more important now, while Melbourne is under Stage 4 Restrictions in response to COVID19 and seeing your Myotherapist is no longer an option.
Your toolkit will likely be different to someone elses, but these are some of the things that you can incorporate at home to help keep pain as low as possible.
Gentle movement - Walking, yoga, pilates, dancing, cycling, and other low impact exercises to keep your joints and muscles mobile. What you can achieve may change day by day, work within your own limits. There are plenty of free or affordable online options, my favourite that I'm personally using throughout lockdown is Erica Webb Yoga & Pilates virtual studio ($37 a month for unlimited classes)
Stretching - Make time to stretch each day, especially the muscles that feel tightest. If you're working from home, its really easy to get stuck sitting for hours at your desk - or couch, coffee table, hammock, whatever your work from home set up looks like.
Self care tools - Foam rollers, tennis balls and spiky balls, acupressure mats, TENS machines: these can all help reduce muscle pain and tension. Don't have one? You can pick these up cheap online on eBay or through sports stores.
Hot or cold therapy - Heat packs, hot water bottles, electric blankets to keep you warm and take away some of the ache. Ice packs or cool compresses can work better for acute inflammation areas or for numbing persistent pain.
Nutrition and hydration - Eat well, drink water, and avoid foods that tend to flare up your pain. Pre-plan meals and snacks so you can have some easy to grab options on bad pain days where you don't have the energy to cook (or clean!)
Stress management - Easier said than done during a pandemic, right? Find things that bring down your stress levels, that will be different for each person, but some classics include reading, listening to music, taking a nap, having a warm soak in epsom salts, booking a telehealth appointment with a counsellor, writing in a journal.
Seek support - Don't suffer alone! Reach out for a conversation with your friends, family, coworkers, neighbours. Don't forget there are plenty of services to support you, including talking with your GP, a counsellor, and support groups online.
Pain relief - I know a lot of our patients choose not to use pain relievers, but in these times where its hard to get access to hands on treatments that help, you may find that taking pain relief is helpful. This may include prescribed medications from your GP or over the counter recommendations from your pharmacist.
Gels and creams - There are a heap of options for topical pain creams, the most commonly used ones include Deep Heat, Fisiocrem, and Voltaren. My personal favourite is a non-pharmaceutical blend by Doterra called Ice Blue Rub, its got a cooling menthol effect that is fairly long lasting, but it is on the pricey side for a cream. A little goes a long way!
Sleep - What can you do to optimise your sleep cycle? A well rested body has the best opportunities to repair and recover. Some things to experiment with are an earlier bed time, switching off screens well before bed, changing your pillow, listening to relaxing music.
We hope it won't be long now until we're able to offer hands on treatments again. As soon as we know more, we'll make an announcement and get our online booking page active again.
Meet Our Team
We have a team of great practitioners available 7 days a week at our Knoxfield clinic.