Archive for the ‘Physiotherapy’ Category

Rotator cuff injuries

What is the rotator cuff?

A rotator cuff is a group of muscles and tendons that surround the shoulder joint.  The rotator cuff keeps the head of your arm bone (the humerus) firmly within the shoulder socket and allows you to raise and rotate your arm.

 

rotator-cuff-diagram

Common injuries

Injuries to the rotator cuff are common and can range from mild inflammation (tendinitis) to a complete tear in the tendon.  Pain may present in the shoulder as a dull ache and it may be difficult to move your arm up over your head and/or behind you.

The incidence of rotator cuff injuries does tend to increase with age due to normal wear and tear on the rotator cuff tendon and usually present as a tear in the tendon.

 

Injuries in younger people

Rotator cuff injuries can also occur at a younger age in professions that require repeated overhead movements such as painters and carpenters and in sports activities such as baseball and swimming.

Rotator cuff injuries can also present after a fall on the shoulder.

 

Types of rotator cuff tears

Tears can be either partial where there is one of the rotator cuff muscles tendon is frayed or damaged – or a complete tear where the tear goes all the way through the tendon.

rotator cuff tears

Recovering from a rotator cuff injury

The good news is that most people with an injury to the rotator cuff can manage their symptoms and make a full recovery with physiotherapy. Treatment depends on the type of injury but includes,

  • soft tissue therapy to release tight musculature,
  • exercise management to build up strength in the rotator cuff and other shoulder stabilisers and
  • avoiding overhead movements until the tendon heals.

Physiotherapy treatment may also include taping or a specific shoulder brace to unload the tendon.

 

Occasionally surgery may be required

If there is a substantial injury to the rotator cuff, surgery may be required.  If this is the case physiotherapy can also help with both your pre-operative and post-operative rehabilitation.

 

Do you need help with shoulder pain?

If so, contact us on (02)  4454 4588.

Top tips for moving well and winter exercise 

Top tips for exercise in the colder months!

 

To avoid injury and illness during winter exercise and sport, you need a slightly different approach during the colder months than you do in summer.

 

 

 

Warm up

Warming up is essential in winter.  Your body takes longer to warm up during winter to ensure adequate blood flow to the muscles before you commence more vigorous exercise.

Warm up can consist of light jogging, dynamic warm-up exercises or a combination of both.  Allow 5-10 minutes to warm up before you commence your sport or exercise.

 

Wear warm layers

If you are exercising outside, make sure you wear warm clothing and/or layers so that you can appropriately change your layers to allow for body (and air temperature) changes.

Compression tights are a great investment for exercising in the winter months.  They enhance blood flow through the leg muscles, helping to prevent fatigue and joint stiffness.

Breathe in through your nose

Inhalation of colder air can cause your bronchial tubes to narrow. This can reduce the capacity of the mucous membranes to stay moist and is exacerbated if you breathe in through your mouth.

Breathing in through your nose gives incoming air an opportunity to be moistened and heated through the nasal mucosa and mouth.  IMPORTANT: If you are asthmatic, it is best to consult your GP regarding training in cold weather.

Cool down

Cooling down is an important part of your winter exercise program.  Cooling down exercises allow your muscles to gradually return to their optimal length-tension relationship and prevent venous pooling of blood in the lower extremities. They also allow your heart rate and breathing to return to a normal level and prevent a build-up of lactic acid in the muscles.

TIP: Make sure you put your layers back on before your cool down exercises to keep your body warm.

 

Learn more

Do you suffer from lower back pain?

Lower back pain is extremely common, affecting 8 in 10 people at some stage in their life.

The majority of cases of lower back pain (90%) are not due to a serious disease or serious back problem. They fall into a category called ‘non-specific lower back pain’.

Non-specific lower back pain

The cause of non-specific lower back pain can be hard to identify but often happen after lifting a heavy load or twisting awkwardly. In some cases, you can wake up with lower back pain. The pain can be mild to severe.

Causes of lower back pain

While the cause may be hard to identify, it is usually a strain of a muscle or ligament. In some cases, it can be a minor problem with a disc that sits in between two vertebrae or the facet joint, a small joint in between two vertebrae.

These episodes can easily be treated with physiotherapy to reduce muscle tightness and pain and quickly improve your range of movement. Specific and targeted exercise management is an important part of the treatment process to help prevent a recurrence.

 

More serious back problems

A small group of back pain patients (less than 10%) may have a more serious back problem. These fall into 2 key categories.

Nerve-root-irritation

Nerve root irritation

This is where a nerve root exiting the spine becomes irritated causing pain into the buttock and down the affected leg into the foot. You may also experience pins and needles and numbness.

This is often caused by a disc in between the vertebrae prolapsing or bulging and touching the nerve root.

Physiotherapy can help milder cases of nerve root irritation. If the nerve root irritation is severe or continues you will need to see your GP and be referred to a Specialist for treatment.

Cauda equina

Cauda equina is a serious nerve root problem where the nerves at the base of the spine are pressed on causing not only lower back pain but also bladder problems (unable to urinate), numbness around the saddle area and numbness down one or both legs.

You must see your GP if you experience these symptoms as it needs to be treated urgently. Fortunately, cases of Cauda equina are rare.

Rehabilitation

Rehabilitation (including targeted exercise management) following an episode of lower back pain or following back surgery is important to help speed up your recovery process and reduce the risk of recurrence.

Call us on 9819 6151 can help you manage your back pain.

Newsletter

Facebook Twitter