Best Physiotherapy Exercises for Neck & Shoulder Pain

Neck and shoulder pain are often treated with physiotherapy exercises to not only treat the site of the pain, but also determine the underlying cause of connective pain. In most cases, the pain in the neck and shoulders is connected to a misalignment of the hips, shoulders or spine. Because of the misalignment, the muscles of the shoulders and neck will become tense which can lead to stiffness and pain in the neck and shoulder area. To be able to address the problem, physiotherapy strengthening exercises are needed. Below are the best options to get you back on track to feeling better.

Static Back

Lie down on the floor with your legs elevated on a chair or stool. Your knees and hips should be bent at a 90 degree angle. Your arms should be placed on the floor at shoulder level or at 45 degrees. Palms should be facing up. When you lay down like this, your back will settle and you will begin to feel the muscles releasing in your back and shoulders. Five to ten minutes of resting like this is recommended.

Sitting Floor Position

Have a seat on the floor with your back placed against a wall. Feet should be hip width apart. Pull your shoulder blades together and then downwards. Pull your toes and tighten in your thighs. Your feet need to be straight as your head touches the wall. Hold this position for three minutes then release. You will be stretching your shoulder muscles and upper back, helping your shoulders and spine roll into place.

Static Wall

This exercise calls for you to lay down on the floor and move into the wall with your legs going straight up the wall. If you must, you can move back until your tailbone is lying flat on the floor. However, you will get a better stretch if you have your legs going up the wall and your bottom slightly elevated. Pull your toes back and feel yourself tightening your thighs. Make sure your feet are pointing outwards. Hold your positioning for three minutes.

Neck Stretches

Because the neck area is giving you trouble, it is important to stretch the neck muscles. Neck muscles will need to be loosened before stretching so add a little heat before you begin this process. Warming up the muscles will allow for a great stretch. Once heated, begin by dropping your chin to your chest. Move your head back to regular position and then look to the left side. Move back to center and look to the right side, holding for five seconds each.

Roll your head around completely, stretching your muscles during movement. Feel the stiffness melting away as you stress and test your neck muscles.

Olecranon Fractures: Treatment & Management

Our elbow is a complex hinge joint made up of three different bones. It can also perform various functions. The elbow is able to bend and straighten up, rotate and turning up and down. When you try to bend your elbow, the sharp tip protruding out is called the olecranon. Olecranon fractures are injuries that affect the particular bone.

Treatment

After a patient suffers from an Olecranon fracture, the first thing a doctor will administer is ice and pain relief medication followed by elbow immobilization. The doctor will then determine if surgery is required depending on the extent of the fracture.

Nonsurgical treatment

Patients who do not have a severe fracture will not be required to undergo surgery. Nonsurgical treatment is fairly straightforward. The patient will need to immobilize the fractured elbow using a splint or sling during the healing process. The patient will also need to visit the hospital once a week for X-ray imaging to monitor the healing process. If there are no protruding bone fragments, movement will resume after a month. During the healing process, a physiotherapist will be assigned to teach basic strengthening exercises. If the fracture shifts during this process, the patient will eventually surgery to piece the bones together.

Surgical treatment

Surgery will be needed for patients who have serious fractures such as an open fracture or displaced fracture. In a displaced fracture, the fracture is out of place. This is due to the strong attachment of the bicep muscles to the olecranon. Once the fracture is out of place, the elbow will be unable to straighten at all. An open fracture on the other hand means that the bone fragments have cut the skin, leading to an increased risk of infection. This is a much more serious condition and patients will be administered with antibiotics and tetanus shot. An incision will be made at the back of the elbow where the surgeon will piece the bone fragments together again. Large pieces of bones may be joined together using pins, wires, screws or plates and these metal implants can be permanent or biodegradable.

Management

Following surgery, rehabilitation will be required in order to regain the elbow to its previous condition. As the healing process is lengthy, bone resorption could have taken place. As such, the region is much weaker. A physiotherapist will thus concentrate on regaining bone mass and muscular strength in the elbow.

5 Types of Physiotherapy Exercises

Physiotherapy exercises are an integral part of the recovery process of a patient with musculoskeletal problems. There are different types of exercises targeted at different parts of the body and is often used in conjunction with other treatment methods such as surgery and medication.

Range of motion exercises

One of the most common physiotherapy exercises is the range of motion exercise. This is performed by patients suffering from joint problems including the knee joint, shoulder joint and elbow joint. Due to injury, joints are often stiff, inflamed and swollen. As a result, the ability to achieve maximum range of motion is hindered. Imagine yourself being unable to fully straighten your leg or your elbow. It is definitely going to cause a lot of discomfort. Range of motion exercises can effectively loosen tight tissues and help to slowly improve your joint flexibility.

Strengthening exercises

Strengthening exercises can be prescribed before and after any surgery. Before surgery, the muscles must be strong as patients are often required are required to rest for a certain period of time, resulting in atrophy of the muscles. Strong muscles prior to surgery can help to reduce the level of weakness and better support the injured parts. After surgery, the muscles will need to be strengthened to help better support the recovery parts and bear the weight and grunt of the body.

Soft tissue mobilisation

Soft tissue mobilisation helps to relax tense and tight muscles which would otherwise be causing a lot of discomfort and pain to the patient. It is performed by therapists doing massage on the affected area, static stretching to relax and relieve stiffness and the usage of therapeutic tapes which supposedly helps to improve blood flow.

General conditioning

General conditioning as its name suggests helps to provide conditioning of the body through various cardiovascular exercises such as walking, swimming and jogging. It helps to increase flexibility of the joints as well as improve overall health.

Balancing exercises

Due to injuries, the body’s natural ability to balance the body may be slightly off and therefore, exercises that help to restore the balance will need to be performed. Initially, the use of a parallel bar may be required to help you keep your balance but as time goes by, you can start to disregard the presence of that bar.

Physiotherapy aims to recondition your body back to its initial condition and help you achieve a better quality of life.

3 Ankle Strengthening Exercises

Did you know that each person walks an average of 9000 steps per day? And the total distance covered by a person in his lifetime is sufficient to cover the Earth a whopping 4 times? Not only has the foot need to bear our body weight, it also has to lift it off the ground when we are walking. This places tremendous stresses on the ankles as well as the surrounding ligaments and tendons. With such a high use rate, problems can easily arise if it is not well taken care off. Imagine your ankle to be a car engine – you need preventive maintained after a certain mileage. However, you cannot give your ankle an off day as that will result in lots of inconvenience so the best alternative is to perform ankle strengthening exercises which can help to better support the ankle.

Ankle strengthening exercises are simple and can be performed easily almost everywhere without the need for big and bulky equipments.

Resistance band assisted flexion

The resistance band assisted flexion is a simple and convenient exercise that does not take up much space and time. You will need a resistance band which can be easily purchased from most sports shops. Place the resistance band over the top of your foot and curl the toes in. Slowly flex your leg outwards and you will be able to feel a slight pull at the ankle. Slowly return to the starting position and repeat for 3 sets of 20s.

Achilles stretches

The Achilles tendon is the thickest and strongest tendon in our body and it passes through the ankle. Therefore, it makes sense to strengthen this tendon which is responsible for absorbing the weight of our body. Sit down in an upright position and using a towel, wrap it around the toes. Slowly pull the towel towards you and you should be able to feel a stretch in the ankle. Repeat this exercise for 3 sets of 20s.

Toe raises

Toe raises can be performed almost anywhere, even when you are on your way to work or school. Stand on the edge of a flight of stairs and slowly raise your toe. Standing on the edge causes your body to shift the entire weight to the toes and help to strengthen your ankles. It can also help to promote a sense of balance in your body. Slowly return to the starting position and repeat for 20 times for 3 sets.

Without such a high usage, it is not shocking to know that ankle injuries are common. However, the inconvenience and discomfort of ankle injuries are too serious to ignore. Simple ankle strengthening exercises are simple and convenient and a little can go a long way.

Patellar Dislocation: Causes and Prevention

Patellar or kneecap dislocations are injuries that occur with significant regularity, especially in young and active teens. Most injuries occur laterally and are accompanied by severe pain and swelling. The immediate remedial action following a patellar dislocation is to relocate the kneecap back to the trochlear groove. This is often performed without you even knowing it as it automatically pops in when u straighten you leg.

Patellar dislocations can happen for various reasons, ranging from contact to non-contact scenarios. An athlete involved in impact or contact sports can suffer from it due to a sudden change in direction, causing a twisting action on the kneecap and a subsequent dislocation. This is classified as non-contact since it does not involve a third party. One of the pre-requisites for this to happen is the existence of a weak knee ligament to hold the knee properly in place. Another method is a direct impact onto the knee, causing a much more serious injury. This will cause the surrounding muscles and tissues to be damaged rather heavily as well.

Patellar dislocations can be prevented by performing simple strengthening exercises. Strong knee muscles can help to significantly reduce the recovery time, experience lesser pain and be at a lower risk of injuries. There are 4 main muscle groups in the knee that should be targeted and they are the front thigh muscles, back thigh muscles, buttock muscles and lower leg muscles. The front thigh muscles or quadriceps muscles straighten your leg whenever they contract and they help to ensure that your patellar is in the proper position at the thigh bone. It also works hand in hand with the hamstring muscles. The back thigh muscles which are the hamstring muscles help in knee flexion, extension, transfer of energy and forward propulsion. Strong hamstring muscles can help to perform all these roles much more effectively and prevent injuries. The buttock muscles or gluteal muscles help to bend and flex the hip joint to allow us to perform actions such as walking, jumping and running with ease. A weak gluteal muscle will result in the inability to provide the explosive power and lead to a higher risk of injuries. Last but not least are the lower leg muscles or the calf muscles. It runs from the back of the leg all the way until the ankle. Strong calf muscles help to lift the feet up with minimal effort and support the knees and hips. Since the entire body weight is acting on the calf muscles, weak ones will cause the knee and hip muscles to have to take over this role and increase the risk of injuries.

Patellar dislocations are nasty injuries that will cause a lot of discomfort and disrupt to daily activities. Studies have shown that the risk of recurrent dislocations is high once a patellar dislocation occurs and this will result in problems if you wish to continue playing sports.

4 Steps To Reduce Risk of ACL Injury

 

There are 4 main ligaments in our knee which gives rise to the stability. The ligaments work together to prevent excessive motion to the knee joint and prevent over stretching which might lead to injuries. The most important ligament out of the 4 is the Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL). However, ACL injuries are also the most common ligament injury and many teenagers have had ACL reconstruction performed on them. So what are some steps you can take to help reduce the risk of ACL injury?

Before knowing how to reduce the risk of ACL injuries, you should understand how does the ACL tear. ACL tears occur due to a sudden twisting action, causing tremendous stress on the ligaments and ultimately rupturing the ACL. This is much more common in sports such as rugby, basketball and soccer which involves constant knee twisting and sudden changes in direction where the foot is still firmly rooted in the ground while the knee twists, instantly tearing the ACL.

Leg muscle strengthening

Leg muscle strengthening exercises will help to increase leg strength and lead to a more stable knee joint. A strong knee joint can help to resist sudden movement and hold the ligaments firmly in place during sudden twisting actions, reducing the risk of ACL injuries. Some excellent leg muscle strengthening exercises include hamstring curls, walking lunges and toe heel raises.

Neuromuscular training

Neuromuscular training is an excellent preventive method. It teaches the body how to obtain maximum knee stability and how the knee should move when jumping, pivoting and landing. Most injuries occur due to awkward landing on the knees, causing the ligament to twist and rupture. Scientific studies have also concluded that neuromuscular training significantly reduces the risk of ACL tears.

Knee bracing

If you have a weak knee or feel a little instability in the knee, you should use a knee brace. A good knee brace is able to make you feel like you are not wearing one, hold the knee ligaments firmly together and offer better support to the knee as a whole. There are some knee braces that are even allowed to be worn for games. Knee braces will offer better stability and provide you with more confidence.

Sufficient rest

Sufficient rest periods in-between training and games will allow the body ample of time for reconditioning and repair of the tissues. If you overstress your body, you are depriving it of repair time and sooner or later, the tissues and ligaments will break down. To speed up recovery process, some athletes consume foods that are high in protein such as chicken breast and protein shakes.

Reducing the risk of ACL injuries is as easy as 1-2-3. You only need to make a little bit of effort to buff up the muscles and don protective and supportive gears when you are playing your favourite sport.