These are both active and passive manoeuvres which can be performed on any joint in the body. They are expected to produce an immediate change in how the joint moves and therefore gives an immediate benefit to the patient either in range of movement or a reduction in pain.
Soft Tissue/Myofascial Release Techniques
There are many types of massage each having a different effect on the tissues. The type of massage selected depends on the desired effect such as relaxation, softening, release of scar tissue etc. Myofascial release techniques particularly address fascia which has a profound effect on muscles, nerves, joints, viscera etc throughout the whole body. Myofascial systems hold a very important role in achieving proper balance within the body. Old injuries, repetitive movements, abnormal posture etc all lead to adaptive patterns within the fascial system which then gives rise to further symptoms. Myofascial release techniques are used in conjunction with joint manipulation and muscle re-education to achieve faster and longer term benefit.
Orthotics / Biomechanics
When patients present themselves to us with foot pain, ankle pain or pain in the back, hips or knees, sometimes we find the problems may be down to poor biomechanics – in other words, how we stand or move. Poor biomechanics can often lead to other injuries such as plantar fasciitis, foot or heel pain, shin splints and runners knee. Think of yourself like a house – poor foundations can lead to structural trouble upstairs. If your feet aren’t positioned correctly, then this can lead to problems in the feet and further up your body. We can sometimes help stabilise and prevent against such problems by using Orthotics. Orthotics can be expensive, and if incorrectly prescribed, become an unnecessary cost or worse still can lead to other problems.
At the Clifden Physiotherapy Clinic, we use our training, experience and professional judgement as a Chartered Physiotherapists to prescribe the correct orthotic only where absolutely necessary.
Dry Needling for Pain Relief
Dry needling (Myofascial Trigger Point Dry Needling) is the use of either solid filiform needles (also referred to as acupuncture needles) or hollow-core hypodermic needles for therapy of muscle pain, including pain related to myofascial pain syndrome.It is commonly used in physiotherapy to treat a range of pain problems. It can reduce pain and muscle spasm by acting on the body’s nervous system to release a range of chemicals, for example, endorphins and serotonin. Acupuncture is commonly used in combination with other treatment approaches like exercise and manual therapy.
Electrotherapy can have many uses in physiotherapy. There is now evidence that modalities such as ultrasound can have a positive effect on tissue repair and healing, assisting the body’s own natural healing process. Other electrotherapy such as a TENS machine or IFT (Interferential Therapy) are used for pain relief. They can relieve pain by stimulating the sensory nerves which then ‘block’ the pain messages from reaching the brain. They also stimulate release of the body’s own pain killers (opioids). Electrotherapy is often used in conjunction with other techniques.
Advice on specific exercises to address specific problems is widely used in physiotherapy. Not many of our patients ‘escape’ without being given any exercises! Often the exercises are a treatment in themselves or they can be used to maintain the improvement gained within physiotherapy sessions. Exercises can be used to restore normal function, strengthen muscles that have become weak and under used, switch off other muscles that have become over active and tight, stretch out tight soft tissues and re-educate posture. They are most effective when they are specific to the problem that is being addressed, taught and performed accurately and then progressed as the problem resolves. We use ‘Physio Tools’, a computer programme, which allows us to print out or email to you written instruction and pictures of your specific exercise.
Pain Management Physiotherapy
Pain management physiotherapists are concerned with the assessment and management of persistent pain problems. A range of techniques are utilised – physical, psychological and practical – with the aim of reducing pain symptoms, along with the associated disability and distress. Patients with a wide range of conditions can be helped by this approach, for example, spinal pain, headaches, osteoarthritis, Fibromyalgia, Chronic Regional Pain Syndrome, and many others.