You might think physiotherapy is only something for elite athletes or people with broken bones, but physiotherapy can help with so much more. From sprained ankles to dizziness to sore jaws—there are many common conditions that a physiotherapist can help you recover from that will improve your quality of life.
A physiotherapist is a muscle and movement specialist who helps treat people with different types of injuries and conditions. Their role is to assist patients in relieving pain, dysfunction, 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 10 common conditions that can be treated by physiotherapy:
1. Sprained Ankles
Sprains are overuse or traumatic 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 or injury of the tissue. Bruising is a sign that you have bleeding beneath the skin and tearing has occurred. This can cause swelling and severe pain, which can make putting any weight on the foot very difficult. 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. As well as modalities like heat/ice, acupuncture, taping, manual therapy (hands-on treatment), and ultrasound.
2. Frozen Shoulder
A frozen shoulder is also known as adhesive capsulitis. It causes the capsule surrounding your shoulder to tighten, which leads to pain and a limited range of motion. Frozen shoulder is more common in individuals over 40 and those with diabetes. Frozen shoulder has 3 phases; freezing, frozen, and thawing. These stages can last anywhere from weeks to months. Physiotherapy is especially helpful in the thawing phase of a frozen shoulder. A physiotherapist can help you manage your symptoms in each phase and in the later phases can help you regain range of motion by stretching out your tight muscles and capsule and provide you with exercises to help improve your strength and joint mobility. Heat, cold, manual therapy, and ultrasound can also help speed up the recovery process.
Scoliosis is a curvature of the spine that causes a side-to-side or rotational imbalance in your spine. It is a common childhood condition, but can also develop later in life. Most people have some sort of curvature in their spine (no one is perfectly symmetrical) but significant curvature can cause pain and dysfunction. A physiotherapist can help you manage your symptoms and improve your posture with exercises to promote strength and mobility. Physiotherapists can also help determine if a back brace is necessary and help fit you with the right one.
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.
5. Vertigo (the false sense of spinning) and other vestibular disorders
A physiotherapist can help with dizziness, imbalance, and vertigo (the false sense of spinning) with special training. They have special equipment that can look at eye movements which helps diagnose the cause of your dizziness. There can be many causes of dizziness including; coming from the muscles in your neck, migraines, “crystals” in your ears, and head injuries. Your physiotherapist can help alleviate these symptoms with specialized exercises and maneuvers.
6. Chronic Back or Neck Pain
Back and neck pain are common conditions that can be caused by a number of different things, like workplace injuries, falls, heavy lifting, and repetitive activities. Some pain can 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 will establish if there are any muscle imbalances or joint dysfunction. Manual therapy and mechanical traction can help alleviate neck and back pain and correct any joint or muscle imbalances. If you have chronic pain, a physiotherapist can determine your pain levels and assist you with 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, which means you have been experiencing pain for 3 months or more, it is important to see a physiotherapist, as waiting too long can make it harder to recover.
Sciatica is due to the sciatic nerve (nerves coming from your low back and traveling down your leg) being irritated by several structures. Structures that can irritate thesciatic nerve include; muscles, lumbar (low back) discs, lumbar bones, and lumbar joints. A physiotherapist can help you manage your pain and improve your mobility with a combination of targeted stretches and exercises. They can also provide you with heat and TENS (transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation), manual therapy, home exercises, and mechanical traction. If you have sciatica, a physiotherapist can help you determine if you have a herniated disc or DDD (degenerative disc disease), which affects your sciatic nerve, versus a spinal stenosis, which does not.
8. Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome is a common wrist problem that occurs when your carpal tunnel becomes irritated and inflamed, which causes pressure on the nerves in your wrist. The carpal tunnel sits just above your wrist crease towards your fingers. This can lead to pain, tingling, and numbness in your hands and wrists that gets worse with prolonged gripping or using your hands a lot, like using a mouse or typing on the
computer. A physiotherapist can help you manage your pain, improve your strength and help lessen the numbness you are experiencing. 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.
9. Rotator Cuff Injury
A rotator cuff injury is when one of your shoulder muscles is injured. The muscles of the
rotator cuff help move your arm and shoulder and keep your shoulder joint strong and
stable. A physiotherapist can help you recover from rotator cuff injuries by teaching you how to
properly use your shoulder and give you exercises to help improve your strength,
mobility, and stability. This will help reduce your chances of re-injury and the need for
surgery. 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
10. TMJ pain/dysfunction (jaw joint)
A physiotherapist can help alleviate pain you may have in your jaw. Common issues
people describe are pain when yawning, eating, or speaking. People with jaw pain commonly grind their teeth as well. You may also note soreness and tenderness in the jaw muscles. A physiotherapist can help determine the cause of your pain, whether it is a joint or muscle dysfunction. They can also help determine the need for mouthguards and refer you back to your dentist. A physiotherapist will use manual therapy that helps mobilize joints and reduce muscle tension, provide home exercises, and use modalities
such as heat and ultrasound to help quicken the healing.
Altea Physiotherapy and Wellness is a physiotherapy practice that has successfully
treated these conditions and others in the Prince George community. Our dedicated
staff will help guide you through recovery and get you back to doing the things you love
Give us a call today to book an assessment or speak with one of our therapists.