Halloween is upon us and many of you are embracing the affair with tricks, treats, costumes, and horror movie marathons into the wee hours of the night. As big fans of ghostly and ghastly narratives ourselves, we’re here to share some scary stories that may follow you through the other 364 days of the year. Doesn’t sound all that fun? It isn’t, so in order to make sure these tales don’t become a reality for you, heed the warnings and make physiotherapy a part of your health and wellness regime. But first, read ahead.
Five Frightening Things That Can Happen to Your Body When You Don’t Make Physiotherapy a Part of Your Life
1. The Creepers
What are creepers? These are the underlying injuries you don’t know you have. These injuries are often dismissed as nothing more than post-work or workout muscle soreness, especially when the pain and discomfort tend to abate somewhat later in the day or week until an agitating activity brings it back.
It’s important to note that innocuous soreness typically feels achy, stiff, or tight, whereas an underlying injury usually delivers a sharp pain. Pain and discomfort from underlying injuries also tends to linger or return often. If the latter sounds familiar, see a physiotherapist right away to keep the creeper from getting worse and sidelining you for weeks or months on end.
2. Ripping Muscles and Shearing Tendons
Muscle tears aren’t just unfortunate events that could not be foreseen in the same manner as broken bones from from physical impact. They are typically the result of months, weeks, or even days of muscle fatigue, overuse, or improper use. They commonly occur in individuals who do not adequately warm-up a muscle prior to an activity, nor cool-down, nor perform stretching/strengthening exercises in the days between. Simply put, they are an impairment born from the ill-prepared.
In some cases, a muscle tear isn’t all that scary in the grand scheme of things. However, there are many scenarios where they can be downright debilitating. Doctors classify muscle tears into three grades, contingent upon the severity of muscle fiber damage. A Grade-1 strain is relatively mild, with only a few muscle fibers being stretched or torn. There is pain and tenderness, but strength remains normal for many. Things change when it comes to Grade-2 and Grade-3. The former is characterized by a larger number of injured fibers and more severe muscle pain and tenderness followed by a very noticeable loss of strength and function. The latter, is game over. A Grade-3 tear will have you in tears, as the muscle rips into two separate pieces or shears away from its tendon. The result is a complete loss of muscle function, along with considerable pain, swelling, tenderness and discoloration.
The frustrating thing about this common and frightening injury, is that it is very avoidable. When you work with a physiotherapist, you will have been prescribed a routine of at-home exercises and stretches along with being provided in-clinic treatments (massage therapy, acupuncture, and more), all of which will serve to keep your muscles free from strains and tears.
3. Exploding Head
Got your attention? OK, so your head won’t explode if you don’t see a physiotherapist on a regular basis BUT it may feel like it. If you’re like 15 percent of the population, you suffer from chronic (vs episodic) headaches and migraines. What’s this have to do with physiotherapy? A lot.
Debilitating headaches and migraines are commonly the result of poor sitting/standing/walking posture, repetitive strain injury (even text neck), anxiety and stress (view more), improper breathing (see apical breathing) and a variety of other activities that can effectively be addressed by a physiotherapist.
4. Referred Pain Misdiagnoses
Referred pain is pain and discomfort perceived at a location in your body other than the site of the painful stimulus. Because of your body’s interconnecting sensory nerves and subsequent referred pain, unfortunate misdiagnoses of an injury are made by patients (DIY) and even some medical professionals. This compounds the issue, leaving the injury untreated, or worse as a wrong form of corrective action may be taken. A common example of referred pain in physiotherapy is when there is a shooting, burning or aching pain traveling down the back of a patient’s leg. The patient may assume the problem is in their hamstring, but in fact, it could be the result of sciatica, something that a professional physiotherapist can effectively treat.
On the flip side, a physiotherapist can also dismiss an injury to a tendon, muscle, tissue, ligament, joint, or nerve as being the culprit for pain in a given region. This in itself can prompt a patient to visit a physician to identify the existence of a potentially serious health issue. There are many examples of this. Pain on the internal side of the left hand or in the upper-middle part of the back may be connected to a heart issue, while pain in the neck and shoulders may be related to a condition in the lungs or diaphragm. The unfortunate implications of referred pain are seemingly endless, but fortunately by making physio a part of your health and wellness plan, you can avoid misdiagnoses.
All of the ailments addressed above, along with all other acute and chronic injuries, make people more susceptible to one of the most horrific health epidemics in North America – addiction to painkillers and opioids, especially the highly addictive trifecta of OxyContin, Vicodin, and Percocet. The abuse of painkillers is not exclusive to adults who have frontal lobe development to make more informed decisions. Painkillers are taking young athletes (even at the high-school level) and turning them into heroin addicts when their prescriptions run dry.
Trading injury pain for opioids and other prescription or over-the-counter (OTC) pharmaceuticals is not the solution. Instead, see a physiotherapist before you take one single step towards the counter of your local pharmacy. By integrating physical therapy into your health and wellness regime you could very well obliterate the pain and discomfort from your life, the natural way.
Are you ready to exorcise the demons that may be impacting your body’s ability to function at an optimal level and remain pain free? Schedule your first consultation at Burnaby clinic today.