Below are responses to some frequently asked questions, however, if you need further assistance our friendly staff are here to help you. Please don’t hesitate to contact us.
Below are responses to some frequently asked questions, however, if you need further assistance our friendly staff are here to help you. Please don’t hesitate to contact us.
Physiotherapy is a health treatment which aims to restore movement in those suffering muscular injuries or disorders, using natural methods such as massage and exercise. If you are visiting a physiotherapist, what should you expect from the appointment?
The first time you see a physiotherapist you will be asked a series of questions regarding your medical history and the likely cause of your condition. This will aid in evaluating the correct management and treatment of your injury. You will need to provide the physiotherapist with any relevant reports or x-rays. The physiotherapist will then assess the nature and extent of your condition through an examination and observation of the affected muscles and joints. You may be required to change into a patient gown to allow the physio better access to the affected area. After your assessment, the physio will then explain your diagnosis and the recommended course of treatment. Typically, this would involve deep tissue massage and exercises but may also include recommendations for other treatment such as lasers, ultrasound, hydrotherapy or electrotherapy sessions.
To speed up the healing process you are likely to be given a program to continue at home which may include exercises, stretching the muscles, heat or ice therapy, postural awareness and changing your workplace setup. You will be told when you need to return for your next appointment.
You can expect to see the physio more than once until your condition has improved sufficiently. If you feel that physiotherapy is the right treatment for you, make an appointment with your local physiotherapist.
Physiotherapists are movement specialists. People visit a physiotherapist for assessment and treatment of muscular injuries such as back pain, sporting injuries and other physical conditions. Does physiotherapy work?
The role of the physiotherapist is not only to treat the injury, but also to find out the cause and devise a plan to prevent it happening again in the future. The first treatment with the physio is likely to relieve some of the pain, but it is important that you do your “homework” to speed up the healing process. Your homework could include exercises, stretches and maybe even some heat or ice therapy. You may also be advised as to how to prevent the injury occurring again in the future.
Lifestyle changes such as beginning an exercise program, adopting the correct posture when sitting, standing or sleeping and setting up your workplace ergonomically might be required. If you don’t change the cause of the injury, in all likelihood it will happen again.
Depending on the severity of your injury, it may take more than one visit to see results. Ask your therapist how long the recommended course of treatment will be and how many visits are required. You know it is working for you when the pain reduces or disappears after treatment and positive action taken to prevent it recurring is successful.
Contact your local physiotherapist if you are suffering from muscular pain and discuss your treatment options and plan of management.
Physiotherapists are health care professionals who use massage and manipulation to promote health and well-being. They are found in private practice, in hospitals, in medical centres and sports clinics. They may work alone or in collaboration with doctors or other health care providers. Physiotherapists not only treat the pain or injury but find out the cause and where possible, advise on how to prevent it happening again. What problems can a physiotherapist help with?
Just about any condition that affects physical movement can be helped by a physiotherapist. Physios are well known for their work treating patients who are suffering pain as a result of a sporting injury, back or neck pain (like whiplash) and other muscular injury, e.g. from a car accident. Physios help people regain their normal movement after accident, injury or illness by training the muscles and surrounding ligaments, nerves and joints to work together effectively.
Some people are faced with movement disorders from birth, such as patients with cerebral palsy. Patients with cerebral palsy can suffer from poor motor (movement) co-ordination, their muscles can be stiff and tight or they may have shaky movements or tremors. Hydrotherapy is one popular form of treatment for patients with cerebral palsy. Multiple sclerosis patients also suffer from poor motor control, stiffness and tremors. Physiotherapy is recommended to help them also.
After a stroke, patients usually have movement problems. They might have difficulties with sitting, standing or walking; holding a pen and writing; their physical presentation might be different and one side of their face may be droopy; there could be problems with their sight, speech, memory and bladder control. Through training the muscles to relearn basic movements, physios can help with the rehabilitation of stroke patients.
Physios can help ease the pain of osteoporosis and arthritis sufferers by providing exercises, hydrotherapy, massage and/or Pilates classes to help keep the joints moving effectively.
Physiotherapists help with workplace injury and advise on posture and ergonomics. Ergonomics involves setting up the workplace or desk so that minimal strain is placed on the workers’ muscles and prevents repetitive strain injuries (RSI). Bad posture can cause back and muscular strain. Physiotherapists can assess your posture and advise on how to correct it.
Pregnancy can put a great deal of strain on a woman’s back. Physiotherapists can relieve the pain and advise on ways to sleep, rest and otherwise minimise the strain on the woman’s body during pregnancy. They can advise on exercises to assist with recovery after gynaecological surgery, or with the embarrassing but common problem of incontinence after giving birth.
Physiotherapy can provide relief from asthma. As the lungs get moving and receive more air, they get stronger and this helps prevent the onset of asthma attacks. Asthma therapy is graded according to the fitness of the sufferer and severity of the asthma condition.
Physiotherapists are also employed in rehabilitation after surgery or long periods of bed rest. They are also employed in intensive care removing secretions from the lungs of patients. Physios treat head and spinal injuries. They assist with the use of prostheses or substitute limbs so that patients can lead normal, active lives.
Physios are often employed to assist with the relief of lymphoedema after damage to the lymph nodes following breast cancer treatment.
Physios assist with the treatment of mental illness by providing advice on the incorporation of healthy lifestyle programs such as exercise and relaxation, which in turn promotes good mental health.
Physiotherapists can provide pain relief through methods such as massage, acupuncture, hydrotherapy, electrotherapy and manipulation.
There are many conditions, either temporary or ongoing, that can benefit from physiotherapy. Contact your local physiotherapist or family doctor for more advice on recommended treatment.
At some stage in our lives we will probably need to see a health professional to treat and help us manage a muscular injury such as back or neck pain, headache or sport injuries. When faced with such an injury we want to be confident that we can choose a health professional that is right for us, who can effectively relieve our discomfort and create a plan to manage the injury and let us get on with our busy lives. Physiotherapy, Osteopathy and Chiropractic therapies are popular treatments for musculoskeletal pain and injury and it can be a difficult decision choosing which one is right for you. Each individual’s needs differ, so your choice will be based upon your knowledge of the practice, your preference and also the type of injury involved.
Physiotherapy is probably the most widely used and recognised health remedy focused on musculoskeletal movement or manual therapy. Physiotherapy is available within both the public and private health care systems in Australia. Physiotherapists specialise in the rehabilitation and treatment of painful joint and muscular injuries to optimize movement. Physiotherapy treatment tends to focus on exercises and massage but may also include ultrasound, hydrotherapy, heat therapy or electrotherapies. Increasingly, physiotherapists are also using alternative treatments such as acupuncture and reflexology. Although traditional physiotherapy is probably best known for treating sport or work-related musculoskeletal injuries, they can also work in other health settings. These can include care of the aged in stroke recovery or mobility after a fracture, hydrotherapy for arthritis, the fitting of splints and braces, incontinence, mental illness, occupational therapy and removing secretions from the lungs of patients in intensive care.
Osteopathy is a holistic therapy that diagnoses and treats problems with our muscles, ligaments, nerves and joints. This helps the body return to natural balance and mechanical function and in doing so it assists with the body’s natural ability to heal itself. Osteopathy is commonly used to treat musculoskeletal problems as well as other functional disorders of the human body. Osteopaths believe that injury and pain results from abnormalities in our body’s structure and function. They focus on how the different elements of the body function together as a holistic unit. In order to treat symptoms effectively, the underlying cause of the injury needs to be treated. This form of treatment will also prevent recurrence of the injury. Treatment can include using a variety of techniques on muscles, ligaments and other soft tissue such as gentle manipulation, joint mobilisation, stretching, exercise, nutrition, soft tissue massage and trigger point therapy.
Chiropractic treatment is also a holistic therapy focusing on musculoskeletal problems. The discipline is based on the premise that the body is capable of self-regulation and healing itself, which is controlled by the brain, the spinal cord and the nervous system. Chiropractors focus on the relationship between the structure of the spine and pelvis as coordinated by the function of the nervous system. This relationship affects the preservation and restoration of health and the ability of the body to resist disease and ill health in the future. Chiropractors focus on the position of the vertebrae in the spine. If the nerve pathways of the spinal cord are affected by bony pressure or misalignment of vertebrae, problems are created in surrounding muscles and tissue and other areas of the body. For this reason what may appear to be a non-spinal condition may also require spinal adjustment. A chiropractic treatment would typically involve adjustments or manipulation with attention to the spine, pelvis or skull to help remove the interference or blockages of the nervous system and in turn relieve pain, muscles spasm and provide overall good health.
With differing philosophies, all three health professions are capable of treating a range of musculoskeletal and other conditions. If you have a health problem you feel would benefit from these treatments, advise your practitioner as well as your family doctor of GP. A healthy lifestyle combined with good nutrition and exercise is recommended to maximise well-being and good health. Contact your local physiotherapist, osteopath or chiropractor for more information.
With our busy lifestyle we are often so intent on getting the job done, or getting from here to there as quickly as possible, that we forget about keeping a good posture. Our posture is the way we hold our body upright against gravity and indicates to the world whether we are confident, alert and healthy.
Sitting and standing with good posture places the least strain on our muscles and ligaments and keeps the different parts of the body balanced and supported. Our back has a natural curve and when the curve is resting or neutral, the muscles are being used properly and therefore experience the least strain. We can have good (or bad) posture when we are standing, sitting or lying down.
Everyday activities such as sitting in an office chair at a computer, driving, standing all day or even sleeping incorrectly can stress our body. Poor posture can cause back, neck and other muscular pain, headaches, joint degeneration, rounded shoulders, a potbelly and increase the risk of sporting and other muscular injuries. This may lead to lower self-esteem and decreased quality of life. Unfortunately we are often unlikely to notice our hunched shoulders until we notice the symptoms of bad posture, such as back pain.
The good news is that in many cases it is really quite easy to change, regardless of how long we have been sitting, standing or lying incorrectly. A physiotherapist can advise on some simple adjustments to improve posture, making us feel and look better and reducing the risk of injury. In some cases, it might feel a little uncomfortable or strange at first, but our muscles will adapt to their new positions and our posture will begin to correct itself. Simple things like wearing supportive footwear and doing regular exercise can help. Sitting correctly when driving or at a desk will also prevent back pain and improve posture. If you are experiencing pain in a position, get up and move around. Every hour, take a break for a couple of minutes and have a stretch or a walk. Ergonomic chairs or props such as a lumbar support can be used at the office. Get advice on how to set up your work place so that it is ergonomically correct, so that it fits around you – instead of you fitting around it. An ergonomic work space will reduce the risk of muscular injury. Pilates is also well known for improving core and back strength, promoting good posture and helping to promote good health and prevent injury. Regular low impact exercise such as walking, swimming or bicycling will also keep the body conditioned and strong. Good posture combined with a healthy lifestyle means that our body is working effectively, with minimal strain on the muscles and ligaments. It means that we should sleep well, are able to exercise and think clearly without the interruption of muscular pain or headache. It means that we look and feel good and can get on with our busy lives.
If you are suffering from back pain or other injury or just need advice to correct your posture, seek a health professional for advice. Health professionals such as physiotherapists are trained to assess and advise on posture and ergonomics. They will be able to treat the injury, identify how it occurred and advise on how to correct the problem. Contact your local physiotherapist or other health professional today.
Physiotherapists see patients for a number of reasons, usually to provide treatment for muscular conditions affecting movement or causing pain and discomfort. How do you choose a physiotherapist? Is there one better suited to treat you than another? If you are looking for a physiotherapist, we suggest that you consider the following five things before choosing a physio to treat your condition.
Your physiotherapist is required to complete a degree and have full registration to practice with the Physiotherapy Board of Australia. This ensures that they meet the standards which have been set by the Board to promote best health practice. This includes holding necessary indemnity insurance, English language standards, codes of conduct, criminal history checks and continuing professional development standards. Physiotherapy practices can also receive further accreditation, which provides for even more professional accountability and excellence in clinical care.
Physiotherapists complete years of study and training to obtain their qualifications. They can further their expertise in many areas of specialisation. Some of the areas that physiotherapists can specialise in include sports injury, mental health, care of the aged, stroke rehabilitation, ergonomics and office set up, spine and head injuries, respiratory problems, pregnancy and recovery after surgery and rehabilitation. If your injury is specific, you may need to see a physiotherapist who specialises in that area. If you have a sporting injury, it might be advantageous to go to a physiotherapist who specialises in sporting injuries or a sports clinic that offers physiotherapy as well as complementary treatments. A physiotherapist does not have to specialise however; they can have a general practice that treats a range of conditions.
You may have a preference for a particular type of treatment to ease your pain. Traditionally, physiotherapists train in exercise and movement, massage, manipulation and electrotherapy. Increasingly, they are also trained in and able to offer complementary or alternative treatments to replace traditional pain relief. These can include acupuncture, reflexology, reiki, hydrotherapy, different types of massage and manual therapy such as shiatsu, Bowen technique treatments, cranio-sacral therapy and neuro-structural integration. If you have a preference for a type of treatment, you should ask the physiotherapist it is available. If you don’t like a type of treatment, you should ask the physio if they have an alternative. For instance, hydrotherapy is well known to assist arthritis sufferers with pain relief. If you suffer from arthritis, you may want to ask your physio if they offer this type of treatment. It is not unusual to go to a health centre, pain and injury clinic or sports injury clinic and be offered a range of different practitioners to treat your injury. In the same clinic you may have the option of being treated by an osteopath, a physiotherapist, a masseuse, Chinese herbalist, life coach or participate in a Pilates class. It might suit you to see more than one health practitioner at the same premises.
Is the physiotherapist close to home or work? If you are driving, is there parking available? If you are catching public transport, are they situated close to a bus or train station? Do you need wheelchair access?
Unfortunately, it is usually the case that we want to see a physio because we are in pain and need quick relief. For this reason, a therapist who is able to see us as soon as possible is preferable to one that is booked out for weeks in advance. It is also good to know that if you do need to see them because of relapse or if the pain becomes too strong before your next scheduled appointment, they can squeeze you in if needed.
Contact a number of physiotherapists in your area to find one that is best suited to provide the treatment that is best for you.
You may visit a physiotherapist for a variety of reasons, both preventative and therapeutic. The number of appointments you require with the physiotherapist will usually depend on the severity of your injury and the progress of your recovery.
If you wish, you may visit a physiotherapist for preventative advice before an injury occurs, for instance, to set up your workplace ergonomically. Ergonomics is the process of designing workplaces or products to fit the people that use them, so there is minimal strain on the muscles being used, and physiotherapists are trained in this field. Another reason for making an appointment could be that you feel your shoulders are becoming hunched and you need advice on exercises to help fix your posture. For some people with on-going motor (movement) problems, such as cerebral palsy and multiple sclerosis sufferers, visits to the physiotherapist may occur often throughout their lifetime. The continuing help and advice the physio gives them and their carers may assist them with movement, help them to write, to use a knife and fork, to talk more clearly and learn other skills required for ease of movement. Physiotherapists can help with stroke patients. After a stroke, patients usually have movement problems. They might have problems sitting, standing or walking, holding a pen and writing, their physical presentation might be different and one side of their face may be droopy, there could be problems with their sight, speech, memory and bladder control. Through retraining the muscles to relearn basic movements, physios can help with the rehabilitation of stroke patients. Depending on the severity of the stroke and how much work is involved will determine the amount of visits required to the physio, although in most cases it is likely to be a fairly lengthy process.
A visit to the physio may result in recommendations to alter your lifestyle to incorporate a good diet and a sensible approach to exercise, work, rest and play. A healthy lifestyle at any age will mean a stronger and more flexible body that is less prone to physical injury and hopefully avoid visits to the physiotherapist in the future.
During your first consultation with the physiotherapist, your condition will be assessed, your history taken and advice given on a treatment plan. Your therapist will be able to give you a rough estimate of how many times you will need to visit them and how often. Depending on the severity of your problem, you may need to see the physio quite a lot to begin with, especially if your injury or pain is acute. A regular strain or injury may require a few consultations, usually a couple of days apart to begin with, gradually increasing the time in between visits until you are back to normal function and the pain has just about gone. This may take weeks or, if the injury is severe, months. A treatment could be anywhere between 30 and 60 minutes, although the first treatment would usually take longer than the following sessions.
The rate at which you heal is also dependent on following up your treatment with homework. The physio will advise you on what you should do at home to supplement your treatment. This could include exercises, stretches or heat and ice therapy. If you continue with this recommended treatment at home, then you can expect to heal more quickly and need to visit the physiotherapist less frequently.
The physiotherapist should be able to identify the cause of the problem, such as bad posture or a workplace setup that is causing strain on your back or other muscles. The physio may advise on how to improve these matters to prevent your injury recurring. Of course, if you don’t remove the cause of the problem, you can expect it to recur and more physiotherapist visits will follow.
If you are suffering from pain or injury or need advice on muscular injury or other matters, please see your physiotherapist for more information.
In Australia we are lucky to have a health care system called Medicare that helps to pay for our medical costs. Basic access to health providers such as our local doctor or GP and basic hospital and surgery access are funded under this scheme. Other health programs such as immunisation programs for children, the pharmaceutical benefit scheme and the teen dental health plan are also part of the Medicare service. Depending on which doctor we go to and what our requirements are will determine whether Medicare pays all or part of the cost of our visit.
Many medical services and complementary health care such as physiotherapy, ambulance services, the cost of glasses and hearing aids, psychology and occupational therapy are not covered under the Medicare scheme in most cases. Private health insurance can help to pay for the cost of these additional services, although individual costs and covers vary greatly.
When you visit the physiotherapist for the first time, you can normally expect to pay a bit more for your initial consultation as it usually takes longer for the assessment, history and diagnosis to be taken. Your next series of appointments may cost a bit less at a standard consultation rate. In most circumstances, you would not expect to be able to claim any of these visits on Medicare. If you have private health insurance, you should be able to claim money back from them, but it will depend on your level of cover.
There are a couple of programs however that allow you to claim on Medicare for physiotherapy consultations, provided that you meet the criteria. If you have a child with an eligible disability, you may be able to claim physiotherapy treatments as part of The Better Start for Children with Disabilities program or the Helping Children with Autism program. Children who have been diagnosed with cerebral palsy, Down syndrome, fragile-x syndrome, autism or have specified levels of hearing and sight impairment are entitled to Medicare rebates for physiotherapy and other allied health treatments under these programs. The services need to be part of a treatment and management plan that has been set up in collaboration with your referring GP or medical specialist.
There is also another program set up for patients who have been identified by their GP as having complex and structured care needs. This initiative is part of the Medicare Enhanced Primary Care program (EPC), which has been designed for the elderly and the chronically ill as part of the allied health and dental care initiative. Other allied health professionals who may participate in this initiative are aboriginal health workers, audiologists, mental health workers, chiropractors, speech pathologists, psychologists, chiropodists, osteopaths and dietitians. The Enhanced Primary Care program provides for more preventative care to older Australians and improves the care coordination between GP’s and other health professionals for patients. To be eligible for this program the patient does need to be identified as having a chronic condition entailing complex and ongoing care that requires a healthcare team. The healthcare team must consist of your GP and at least two other allied health professionals. A chronic condition is one that is of more than six months duration. It can include asthma, diabetes mellitus, cancer, cardiovascular illness, arthritis and musculoskeletal conditions.
To access these programs, you will need to speak to your GP who will determine whether you are eligible for these initiatives. If you are eligible, your doctor will develop a care plan and provide you with the appropriate referral forms which will need to be provided to the physio or other health professional before or at the time of treatment. Treatment needs to be face to face and your physio or other allied health professional will discuss your progress and needs with you and your GP. At the end of your treatment your GP will review and discuss the care plan and your future healthcare needs.
If you think that you or your child is eligible for either of these programs, please see your GP for further information and to discuss your healthcare needs.
It is estimated that Australians spend over one billion dollars annually on alternative and complementary medicine. Both here and overseas, the market appears to be growing at around 30% each year. Alternative medical practitioners may include naturopaths, chiropractors, osteopaths, kinesiologists and reflexologists.
Most alternative medicines originated in Eastern cultures, and have been effectively practiced for many centuries. They are thought of as alternative because they were not originally developed from the western scientific method as was traditional western medicine. They are also believed to provide natural alternatives to pharmaceuticals for pain relief. It is not unusual to attend a health centre or sports injury clinic and be offered a range of different practitioners to treat your injury. In the same clinic, you could be offered the professional services of an osteopath, physiotherapist, masseuse, Chinese herbalist, life coach or even a Pilates class. If you are unsure as to which type of practitioner to see for your ailment, seek professional advice from the clinic as to which of these disciplines will treat your injury most effectively. The practitioners are also likely to be trained in more than one treatment, possibly from both traditional and alternative medicine.
Alternative medicine is becoming more accepted as an option to complement or replace some of our more traditional methods of treatment. Due to their success, alternative medical treatments are becoming a common part of our health care treatment plan. The main differences lie in the methods of treatment and philosophies of the different practices. When you have an illness or injury, you want to make sure that you see the health care professional who is best suited to treat you and make you feel better in a manner that you are most comfortable with. Increasingly, traditional health care providers are looking for alternatives to drugs for pain relief and treatment.
In Australia, Chiropractors, Osteopaths and Physiotherapists are all required to hold a science degree or a science-related degree and undergo years of training and study to obtain their formal qualifications. Chiropractors focus their treatment on the spine and the nervous system it protects. Osteopaths focus on how the body works and communicates as a whole. They work to restore a natural balance to help the body heal itself. The practice of physiotherapy is specifically concerned with the diagnosis and treatment of muscular disorders and pain, and the promotion of movement and health. All three practices treat physical and musculoskeletal injury.
Traditionally, physiotherapists are trained in exercise and movement, massage, manipulation and electrotherapy. Increasingly, they are also trained in and able to offer complementary or alternative treatments instead of traditional pain relief. These can include acupuncture, reflexology, reiki, hydrotherapy, different types of massage and manual therapy such as shiatsu, bowen technique treatments, cranio-sacral therapy and neurostructural integration. Many of these techniques are shared across the different disciplines.
Acupuncture is a traditional Chinese medicine, which has become extremely popular in western treatment and uses tiny needles inserted into certain points in the body. It has been used effectively for thousands of years in China. Acupuncture is used to clear blockages and stimulate “qi” or “life energy” through the body. It is known to help with healing, provide drug-free pain relief and can be applied to a huge range of physical, mental and even emotional disorders.
Contact your physiotherapist or health professional for more information on the range of alternative treatments available and what is best for you.