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Emma James Physio Blog

Chartered Physiotherapy and Clinical Pilates

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June 2019

Work related stress & how to manage it

Up to half a million people in the UK experience work-related stress every year, which often results in illness (Health and Safety Executive 2011).

The signs of stress can vary from one individual to the next (NHS Choices 2011). They may manifest physically as an illness, tiredness or lethargy or as symptoms such as sore, tight muscles or erratic sleep patterns. Mental stress can result in depression, mood swings, anger, frustration, confusion, paranoid behaviour, jealousy or withdrawal.
Treatments include medication such as anti-anxiety drugs, cognitive behavioural therapy, relaxation techniques (NHS Choices 2011), acupuncture and floatation therapy.

How acupuncture can help

Stress is a common complaint cited by acupuncture and these individuals present with a variety of symptoms. Can acupuncture help with stress and anxiety? Let’s look at the research…..

One small randomised controlled trial (RCT) suggested that acupuncture might be successful in treating the symptoms of chronic stress (Huang 2011). Another study which looked at healthy individuals subjected to stress testing found acupuncture at an acupuncture point used for stress was more effective than a ‘control’ point (Fassoulaki 2003). A study by Pavao (2011) found acupuncture might be effective in attenuating psychological distress, as well as increasing cellular immunity. acupunctureIn a small pilot study, the use of one particular acupuncture point led to marked reductions in stress (Chan 2002).

Acupuncture is proposed to have many effects, including stimulating the nervous system and causing the release of neurochemical messenger molecules. The resulting biochemical changes influence the body’s homeostatic (state of equilibrium) mechanisms, thus promoting physical and emotional well-being.

Floatation Therapy

In addition to acupuncture, another alternative treatment for stress and anxiety is floatation therapy. During a floatation session you effortlessly float in an Epsom-salt solution. The solution is heated and maintained at skin temperature (37°C) and the environment in the tank is controlled so that the air is also skin temperature.

floatation-therapy
This creates an environment similar to that of the Dead Sea (but nearer to home!) which lets you float effortlessly on the surface of the solution, enjoying a feeling of total  freedom & complete weightlessness!

Preliminary research has shown that floatation therapy may lower stress, anxiety and even depression by reducing how much sensory input the brain and nervous system receive (Feinstein, 2018).

At Emma James we have our own Floatation Tank. Please just call us if you would like any more information on how this, or acupuncture, could help you.

lisa

Lisa
x

Blog post by Lisa
Senior Physiotherapist
MSc MACP MHCPC MCSP 

Emma James Physio

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Rheumatoid Arthritis Awareness Week

nras-logoRheumatoid Arthritis (RA) Awareness Week 2019 takes place between June 17th and 23, and is an annual event to raise awareness of the condition. The event is run by the National Rheumatoid Arthritis Society (NRAS).

Physiotherapists are members of the multi-disciplinary team involved in the treatment and management of people with rheumatoid arthritis to help an individual achieve their short and long-term needs.

They work closely with multi-disciplinary team colleagues, such as occupational therapists, podiatrists and orthotists, and will refer you to them when necessary.

When will you see a physiotherapist?

Physiotherapists have a key role throughout the course of the disease. The extent of their involvement will vary throughout that time, dependent upon the individual’s needs.

What physiotherapy can offer an individual with Rheumatoid Arthritis:

After diagnosis they will offer education and advice, which is likely to include information regarding how to recognise and manage a flare, when to rest and when to exercise, and advice on how to modify activities to reduce pain and maintain/ improve function. People with rheumatoid arthritis often find that their joints become stiff and muscles become weak and therefore carrying out normal daily activities, such as getting up and down the stairs or in and out of a chair, can become hard. Physiotherapists can help by teaching mobility and strengthening exercises to increase movement and strength allowing better function.

Why exercise is important

exercise

Exercise is important as part of a healthy lifestyle to maintain fitness, control weight, maintain joint range of movement, improve muscle strength and endurance and improve mental wellbeing maintaining joint range of movement, strengthening muscle and increasing endurance.

A Physiotherapist is a specialist in advising on exercise. It is important to find a safe way of exercising that the individual enjoys and will be able to continue in the future.

Further reading:

anyoneanyage

 

lisa

Lisa
x

Blog post by Lisa
Senior Physiotherapist
MSc MACP MHCPC MCSP 

Emma James Physio

 

 

Surgery no more effective than physio for common shoulder condition…

As discussed on Radio 2, Jeremy Vine show, Wednesday last week.

shoulder-painResearchers show that one of the most common surgical procedures in the Western world is probably unnecessary. Keyhole surgeries of the shoulder are useless for patients with ‘shoulder impingement’, the most common diagnosis in patients with shoulder pain.

The Finnish Shoulder Impingement Arthroscopy Controlled Trial (FIMPACT) compared surgical treatment of shoulder impingement syndrome to placebo surgery. Two years after the procedure the study participants, both those in the group who underwent surgery and the ones in the placebo group, had equally little shoulder pain and were equally satisfied with the overall situation of their shoulder.

“These results show that this type of surgery is not an effective form of treatment for this most common shoulder complaint. With results as crystal clear as this, we expect that this will lead to major changes in contemporary treatment practices,” said the study’s principal investigators chief surgeon Mika Paavola and professor Teppo Järvinen from the Helsinki University Hospital and University of Helsinki.

This research confirms previous randomised studies showing that keyhole decompression surgery of the shoulder does not alleviate the symptoms of patients any better than physiotherapy.

The FIMPACT study involved 189 patients suffering from persistent shoulder pain for at least three months despite receiving conservative treatment, physiotherapy and steroid injections. Patients were randomised to receive one of three different treatment options, subacromial decompression surgery, placebo surgery (diagnostic arthroscopy, which involved arthroscopic examination of the shoulder joint but no therapeutic procedures) or supervised exercise.

Two years after the start of the study, patients were asked about shoulder pain and other symptoms they had experienced, as well as their satisfaction with the treatment and its results. The patients in the decompression or placebo groups were also asked which group they believed they had been in — actual surgery or placebo.

Overall, shoulder pain was substantially improved in all three groups from the start of the trial. However, decompression surgery offered no greater benefit to shoulder pain than placebo surgery.

The group that received exercise therapy also improved over time.

“Based on these results, we should question the current line of treatment according to which patients with shoulder pain attributed to shoulder impingement are treated with decompression surgery, as it seems clear that instead of surgery, the treatment of such patients should hinge on nonoperative means,”

Järvinen states. “By ceasing the procedures which have proven ineffective, we would avoid performing hundreds of thousands useless surgeries every year in the world,”

Järvinen points out. “Fortunately, there seems to be light at the end of the tunnel as the NHS in England just released a statement that they will start restricting funding for ‘unnecessary procedures’ and the list includes subacromial decompression. We applaud this initiative and encourage other countries to follow this lead.”

“We have to spend taxpayers’ money responsibly. If we are spending money on procedures that are not effective, that money is deprived from treatments that are clinically effective and would provide benefits to patients. One component in becoming more efficient is to make sure we are not undertaking unnecessary procedures,” Dr. Taimela concludes.

The FIMPACT research project includes the Helsinki and Tampere University Hospitals in Finland.

lisa

Stay Healthy!
Lisa
x

Blog post by Lisa
Senior Physiotherapist
MSc MACP MHCPC MCSP 

Emma James Physio

“I’ve got that Plantar Fa…something”

At some point, we’ve all experienced some kind of pain in the foot, or know of someone who is currently experiencing/complaining about persistent foot pain. Perhaps it was around the time we decided to get back to the gym for six weeks. Perhaps it was after a major hike up in the Lake District. Perhaps it is just the nature of our job has a bartender. Quite often, we then get told – or even self diagnose – that it’s something called Plantar fasciitis. But what exactly is Plantar fasciitis?

The Plantar Fascia is a thick, strong band of connective tissue in the base of the foot, roughly spanning from the heel to just before our toes. Because of its structure, it acts as a shock absorber, provides structural supports for our arches; and mechanically acts as a spring when we walk and run. Plantar Fasci-itis is the name of the condition when this structure is irritated and inflammed, thus causing the persistent, and often flagrant pain.

What causes plantar fasciitis?

Plantar fasciitis often occurs with a combination of physical, environmental, and social/work factors all impacting on the structure of the foot. Some of these are listed below:

  • Altered/poor gait (walking) biomechanics
  • Weakness in hip, knee, and/or foot muscles
  • Repetitive strain on the soft tissue
  • Recent change in physical workload (Predominantly overloading)
  • Poor/uncomfortable footwear

Treatment and Management

shutterstock_57382018The initial goal in managing plantar fasciitis is to reduce pain and inflammation. Your physiotherapist would be able to provide some manual treatment to help begin the recovery process. But it is also important to then assess and examine all these factors mentioned above in order to get to the root of the issue, and being able to prescribe the most appropriate management plan. This may include some stretching/strengthening exercises, modifications to your activities/daily schedule, and in some cases recommending extra assistance, such as an orthotic.

gait-scanAll our physiotherapists at Emma James are trained to assess any biomechanical issues, whilst the clinic is also equipped with purpose-specific pressure pads to perform a detailed gait analysis.

If this is something that you needed help with to get back to your work, your training, or even just to be pain-free, come and see our team of experts at Emma James Physio and we would love to help you!

kelvinKelvin

Kelvin Leung, Sports Physiotherapist
Emma James Physio

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