Stiff, swollen and painful joints are common symptoms of arthritis. You might notice that in any joint in your body, such as your fingers, wrists, elbows, hips, knees or ankles. There's no cure for arthritis...Read More..
Stiff, swollen and painful joints are common symptoms of arthritis. You might notice that in any joint in your body, such as your fingers, wrists, elbows, hips, knees or ankles.
There's no cure for arthritis so treatment focuses on relieving pain and maintaining your joint function and movement. Exercise can really help your arthritis. A skilled physiotherapist or exercise physiologist can help you exercise safely to improve your arthritis. That may include a mix of strength training, flexibility exercises, aerobic exercise, and hydrotherapy.
Arthritis and Physical Therapy
It’s thought that 4 million Australians live with arthritis (that’s 1 in 6 of us). It’s the leading cause of chronic pain and the second most common cause of disability and early retirement due to ill health in Australia.
It’s not just an old person’s disease either. Around half of those living with arthritis are of working age (15-64 years). Children can also get arthritis.
We’re still learning about the best ways to treat arthritis but we do know that it’s important to keep moving your joints. It really is a case of ‘use it or lose it’.
What Is Arthritis?
Arthritis is a common condition that affects your joints, those areas of your body where two or more bones meet. Arthritis can affect the bone, muscle, and soft tissues surrounding your joints. If you have arthritis, you may experience joint pain, stiffness, and reduced function. That can cause disability and reduce your quality of life.
There are over 100 different types of arthritis. Most forms of arthritis are caused by the body’s immune system attacking its own joint tissues.
Common types include:
- Osteoarthritis (the most common type), involves changes to the entire joint including cartilage (protective covering), the underlying bone, and soft tissue (muscles, ligaments, tendons).
- Rheumatoid arthritis, where your immune system produces an abnormal inflammatory response causing swelling and pain in joints and soft tissue
- Gout, where crystals of uric acid are deposited in your joints, causing pain and inflammation
- Juvenile arthritis, where a child’s immune system attacks their joints.
Physical Activity as an Arthritis Treatment
It helps to improve your:
- Joint mobility, flexibility, and alignment
- Muscle strength
- Cardiovascular fitness and endurance
- Posture in sitting and standing
- Balance and walking capacity.
You may also find that regular exercise decreases your pain, tiredness, muscle tension, and stress. Other general benefits of exercise include increased bone strength and lung capacity, better sleep, and increased energy levels.
How Does Physical Therapy Help Arthritis?
Physiotherapy helps you stay active, giving you a safe program of exercise that will help to keep your joints mobile. Physiotherapists and Exercise Physiologists have the background and understanding to prescribe appropriate exercise for your situation.
Your therapist can guide you through the right kind of exercises at the right level, depending on your type of arthritis and your fitness level. They can also help you plan to increase your activity.
They can also encourage you to keep on exercising. You may feel worried that using painful joints will make them worse but they can help you understand that you need to use your joints. If you don't, the joints will stiffen further and the surrounding muscles will weaken. This can reduce your capacity for normal daily activities and quality of life.
If you have arthritis, it's important to understand that you're likely to have some level of pain before and during exercise but this unlikely to be harmful. However, if the pain is worse than usual or too much to tolerate, then your therapist can show you how to reduce your exercise levels to a more manageable load.
Your physio can also provide advice to manage pain, for example:
- Using ice packs to soothe your joints
- Using heat packs to release tense muscles
- Fitting a temporary splint to help swollen or painful joints or posture support to keep the spine better aligned
- Laser (biophotomodulation) to help improve the cellular function in the joint
- Specific muscle release and joint mobilization to promote better alignment
- Using a TENS machine to alter your pain perception
Physiotherapy/Exercise Physiology Exercises to Help Arthritis
So, what kind of exercise is your therapist likely to prescribe for your arthritis?
Your arthritis exercise prescription will probably include a mix of:
- Strengthening exercises where you use weights or resistance bands to increase your muscle strength to support and protect your joints
- Flexibility exercises where you gently move and stretch the joints to reduce stiffness
- Aerobic exercise to increase your heart rate and maintain your overall fitness
- Hydrotherapy where you do all the above exercises in a warm pool to reduce the impact on your joints while strengthening your muscles
How Can Neurospace Help Me?
At Neurospace, we support you through life with arthritis, helping to reduce your pain and give you the confidence to perform your normal daily activities.
We'll carefully assess your symptoms and mobility before we recommend treatment. That may include a tailored program of exercises and stretches.
If you'd like to help manage your arthritis, then please get in touch today.
Hand Hygiene Practising good hand and sneeze/cough hygiene is the best defence against most viruses. We ask you, along with all our Neurospace staff, to: Please use our hand sanitiser on arrival and departure from our c...Read More..
Practising good hand and sneeze/cough hygiene is the best defence against most viruses. We ask you, along with all our Neurospace staff, to:
- Please use our hand sanitiser on arrival and departure from our clinic reception
- Wash your hands frequently with soap and water, before and after eating, and after going to the toilet
- Cover your cough and sneeze, dispose of tissues, and use alcohol-based hand sanitiser
- If unwell, avoid contact with others and please rest at home until you are feeling better
Please alert our reception team or your therapist if you:
- Are feeling unwell or experiencing symptoms such as a fever, cough, sore throat or shortness of breath
- Have recently returned from Victoria and/or overseas travel
- Have been exposed to someone that has been diagnosed with COVID-19
Your cooperation with this is requested to help us keep you safe while you conduct your usual therapy sessions.
Neurospace is committed to keeping you safe by:
- Practicing good hand hygiene at all times and between all clients – in the clinic and within our community team
- Wiping down equipment after every use
- Continuing to use regular, professional cleaning services
- Asking staff to keep us informed should they experience any of the symptoms listed above or have any imminent overseas travel plans
- In accordance with normal protocols, staff, clients and their families or carers who are unwell with respiratory illness should remain at home until symptoms resolve
For the latest advice, information and resources, please refer to www.health.gov.au
Enable ME! We have used our slightly quieter COVID time to rethink our gym… this has included a physical revamp rescheduling our gym program, and reviewing the operation and focus of some of our shared sess...Read More..
We have used our slightly quieter COVID time to rethink our gym… this has included a physical revamp rescheduling our gym program, and reviewing the operation and focus of some of our shared sessions.
Enable ME! is for everyone – working at your current capacity no matter what your mobility and targeting underlying impairments to make a functional difference to allow better participation in the activities you want to be doing. The Enable Me program is an individualized strength and conditioning program in a small group (max 3) with the assistance of an Exercise Physiologist. It takes place in our gym with lots of specialized equipment to help work at whatever level you are at. Your program will be designed with input from your Physiotherapist and Exercise Physiologist. You will have at least one session on one to one basis learning the specifics of your exercises and how to use the equipment.
The Enable Me Program aims to:
- Build confidence and knowledge about how to exercise for YOUR body
- Improve specific goal orientated functional changes
- Improve your cardiovascular health and reduce the risk of secondary health conditions
- Improve brain health and psychological wellbeing
- Educate about the frequency and intensity of exercise to meet your goals
Exercise has been proven to make positive impacts on:
- Cardiovascular fitness
- Increased strength and day to day function
- Reduce fatigue
- Improve sleep
- Improve cognitive function
- Improve balance
- Increase and maintain bone density
- Reduce risk of falling
- Improve quality of life
The National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) provides people with a disability the choice, control and support to reach their goals and aspirations. Under the scheme, NDIS goal setting is a vital and ess...Read More..
The National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) provides people with a disability the choice, control and support to reach their goals and aspirations.
Under the scheme, NDIS goal setting is a vital and essential part of developing your plan with your provider, as the goals you set will build out the services and treatments you receive.
However, to reach your goals, you first need to establish them, which is sometimes easier said than done!
No need to worry, though. We want to help you achieve your aspirations and plans, so we’ve set out our top 6 NDIS goal planning tips to help you along your way.
- Understanding the importance of having goals
As adults, it’s very likely that we’ve all set goals in our life. We all have things we want to achieve or do, but why specifically is it essential to have NDIS goals as part of your plan?
Simply, NDIS goals are essential as they are what guides your NDIS plan, including the support you need and the funding you receive. Your goals, in turn, help you achieve the things you want in your life and your future.
No matter the size of your goals – big or small – they should be recorded to make sure you get the funding and support to make it happen.
- Determine the parts of your life you’d like to improve
When you’re setting your NDIS goals, it can be helpful to complete some NDIS preplanning, giving yourself more time to think about what you want to achieve before your official appointment.
To do that, ask yourself this:
- Where do you want to be in one year?
- What do you want to be doing more of or what do you want your life to look like?
Maybe your aspiration is that you want to improve your education. You may want to become more independent in your daily living. Perhaps you want to take part in more social and recreational activities, or maybe your goal is about where you want to live.
Doing a preplanning exercise before you meet with your provider can be very useful to help you get the most out of your NDIS program.
- Think both short-term and long-term
Once you know what is really important to you, you can then start breaking this down into specific short-term and long-term goals to help you achieve your big end goal.
For example, if your aspiration is to become more independent in your daily living, there may be smaller steps to take to get there. One NDIS goal example may be receiving help from a physiotherapist to improve your mobility so you can catch public transport to see friends or family. Or alternatively, another NDIS goal example could be to take driving lessons and gain your driver’s licence, so you don’t need to rely on a carer to get around.
Your long-term goals and short-term goals are what will be considered for funding under the NDIS.
- Your goals can be big or small, as long as they work for you and are deemed ‘reasonable and necessary’
The goals you set and the sub-goals that you create to work towards these can be as big or as small as you want. They can be for work, for education, or just for fun and social interaction.
Your planner will help you set ‘reasonable and necessary goals’, which means they are:
- related to your disability,
- do not include day-to-day living costs (like groceries),
- represent value for money,
- are likely to work for you, and
- take into account other support available to you.
- Talk about your goals to your family, friends, carers, and providers
By talking to the people around you about your goals and desires, they will be able to understand what you want to achieve and support you to get there.
It can also be handy to speak to those around you when you are doing your preplanning, as they can help you work out what you want most out of life to focus on in your NDIS plan.
Having a group of people around to support you can ensure you get the most out of your efforts and life, so share, share, share!
- Preparation is key to getting the most out of the NDIS program and this handy tool can help
When you meet with your NDIS planner, you will have conversations about your life, your support needs, and you will record information about your goals, needs and aspirations in your plan.
This meeting is conducted with a person who does not know you or your circumstances, so it’s important to go fully prepared.
To do this, and to make sure you have covered everything you will need for the conversation, you can use the official NDIS Planning Workbook, found here: NDIS PLANNING WORKBOOK.
This workbook also has lots of additional information that may help you with other questions you may have.
NEUROSPACE AND THE NDIS
If you’re eligible for the NDIS, Neurospace can help you get the most out of your funding, develop clear goals and deliver high-quality therapy to help you maintain your skills and function.
If you’d like to learn more about how we could help you or someone you love, or have any questions, please get in touch.
Vertigo is one of Alfred Hitchcock’s most famous movies. It’s also the name for a form of dizziness where you feel like the room is spinning. You might notice this when you move your head suddenly, like stan...Read More..
Vertigo is one of Alfred Hitchcock’s most famous movies. It’s also the name for a form of dizziness where you feel like the room is spinning. You might notice this when you move your head suddenly, like standing up quickly or rolling over in bed.
Vertigo is actually a symptom of another health condition. Potential problems could be in either your inner ear or central nervous system. That could be an infection leading to labyrinthitis or vestibular neuritis, a vestibular migraine or Meniere’s disease. The most common cause of vertigo is a condition called benign paroxysmal positional vertigo.
Vestibular physiotherapy is often used to treat vertigo by training your brain to ignore false signals, enhance other sensory system information and trust that your body and surroundings are stable.
Vertigo: Symptoms, Triggers and Treatment
Feeling dizzy? It could be vertigo.
What Is Vertigo?
Vertigo causes an unpleasant sense that either:
- You’re moving, even though you’re not, or
- The room is spinning.
As well as dizziness, other symptoms of vertigo include:
- Ringing in the ears
Vertigo is commonly confused with a fear of heights (acrophobia) but that’s incorrect. Looking down from a height may certainly bring on a dizzy feeling but vertigo and acrophobia are two different conditions with different underlying causes.
How Long Does Vertigo Last?
Vertigo experience varies from one person to another. You might find that the attack is sudden but over briefly. Or it may last much longer, with constant symptoms over several days. Your symptoms could be quite mild or so severe that they interrupt your life considerably.
What Causes Vertigo?
Vertigo is actually a symptom rather than a condition in its own right.
If you’re experiencing vertigo, there may be a problem with either your inner ear (which regulates your balance) or your central nervous system.
Conditions that cause vertigo include:
- Benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV): Crystals of calcium carbonate get dislodged from their usual position in your inner ear and end up pressing on delicate sensory hair cells when you move. That gives your brain false information about where your body is. Your brain tries to sort out the contradictory information it’s receiving from your ears and your eyes, resulting in dizziness.
- Vestibular migraines: This type of migraine affects your vision and balance (and may or may not cause a headache too).
- Labyrinthitis: This is the result of an infection that has led to inflammation in your inner ear, which affects your balance.
- Vestibular neuritis: This is the result of an infection that has led to inflammation of the vestibular nerve, disrupting its messages to your brain that help to control your balance.
- Meniere’s Disease: This is an inner ear disorder, probably caused by fluid building up in your inner ear and creating pressure.
- Ageing effect: as the body ages there is a deterioration in the balance mechanism in your ear leading to loss of sensory information.
What Triggers Vertigo?
With BPPV, you’ll probably notice that moving your head suddenly can trigger vertigo. That often happens when you roll over in bed, stand up or bend down for something.
The dizziness caused by a vestibular migraine is triggered by the migraine itself. So, what triggers the migraine? Many things could do that, which is why you might be encouraged to keep a diary to spot what happens before a migraine. Triggers include your diet, stress levels, hormones, environment and tiredness levels.
With labyrinthitis and vestibular neuritis, the trigger is the infection that caused the inflammation. It’s usually a viral infection like flu, shingles, chickenpox or cold sores. An untreated bacterial infection in the middle ear could also cause labyrinthitis.
Treatments for Vertigo
What are the treatments for this kind of dizziness? The right approach depends on the condition causing your vertigo, which is why you should see a doctor for diagnosis.
Home treatments for vertigo include:
- Sleeping with your head raised on two pillows
- Sitting up slowly in bed, wait for a moment, then stand slowly
- Trying not to bend down or stretch up to reach things (get someone to help you rearrange your kitchen cupboards and wardrobe so things are within easy reach)
- Managing your stress levels, alcohol intake and diet if those things trigger your vertigo
- Doing any exercises your doctor or therapist prescribes.
Your vertigo may disappear by itself or your doctor might prescribe medication such as:
- Antibiotics if there’s an underlying bacterial infection
- Motion sickness medications
- Diuretics to reduce fluid build-up in Meniere’s disease.
Physiotherapy Treatments for Vertigo
Your doctor may also refer you to a vestibular trained physiotherapist (like us, here at Neurospace), who can help you retrain your brain to sort out the mixed messages that cause vertigo and improve your balance.
This is known as vestibular rehabilitation therapy (VRT). It’s a program of special exercises that train your brain to get used to the abnormal messages your ears are sending and rely on the correct messages from your eyes and legs instead. Learning to trust those correct messages helps to restore your balance.
There’s a special variation of VRT known as the canalith reposition procedure that’s used to treat benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV). Your physiotherapist will guide you through a series of head manoeuvres designed to shift small crystals in your inner ear so that they stop pressing on sensitive nerve hairs.
How Can Neurospace Help With Vertigo?
At Neurospace, we focus on complex movement problems that interfere with your quality of life. We have a special interest in treating dizziness and take a systematic approach to identifying and treating vertigo and its underlying causes.
As a practice focused on neurological and vestibular physiotherapy, we’re ideally placed to help your brain and body reconcile the conflicting messages that cause dizziness. Our skills enable you to practise moving through dizziness in a safe and supportive environment.
Please make an appointment today.
There’s something blissful about being in water. If you’re living with a painful or debilitating condition, water offers a sense of freedom. As the water supports you and bears some of your weight, you&rsquo...Read More..
There’s something blissful about being in water. If you’re living with a painful or debilitating condition, water offers a sense of freedom. As the water supports you and bears some of your weight, you’re more able to exercise sore joints or walk without fear of falling.
That’s why many people find that hydrotherapy (or aquatic physiotherapy) gives them a greater sense of wellbeing than land-based exercise. Hydrotherapy is an effective treatment for many musculoskeletal and neurological conditions. We’ve been offering it at Neurospace for a long time because it works so well and our patients love it so much.
Want to know more about hydrotherapy? Read on to learn how it works and how it helps.
Hydrotherapy: What Is It and How Can It Help?
What Is Hydrotherapy?
Hydrotherapy pools are different from regular swimming pools. The water is warm and often shallow enough to stand in. There are usually a few different ways to enter the pool, like a step, a ramp or a hoist, because it’s there for people recovering from injuries or managing conditions that affect their movement.
You can find these pools in a few places. Some local council pools have a hydrotherapy pool attached, many retirement communities have one, and some specialist physiotherapists have their own.
How Does it Work?
Life is different in the water, simply because of the water. Depending on the aims of your treatment, we can use calm or turbulent water, create a current for you to resist, or give you the sensation of floating weightlessly. It’s about creating the right level of challenge to help you make progress.
With the water bearing some of your weight, you feel more able to stretch and strengthen the sore parts of your body to promote healing. It gives you more confidence to work on joints that are weak or painful without fear of falling because the water supports you.
Hydrotherapy is a soothing, relaxing and surprisingly effective way to:
- Improve your joint flexibility
- Improve your muscle flexibility
- Gain strength
- Develop better coordination
- Build endurance.
There are many different exercises you can do in a pool. You might practice walking through the water to improve balance and strength, do specific exercises for your condition, swim to aid fitness, control and flexibility. Relaxation is another benefit.
Your therapist is always there with you, ensuring that you’re safe and appropriately challenged by the exercise.
What Conditions Is Hydrotherapy Used For?
Hydrotherapy is used for:
- Musculoskeletal conditions like arthritis, joint replacements or back pain
- Neurological conditions like multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease, stroke, and traumatic brain injury
- Cardiopulmonary conditions like chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).
What’s the Evidence for Hydrotherapy?
For musculoskeletal conditions, hydrotherapy has been shown to reduce pain and disability while improving exercise capacity and quality of life. People also felt a greater sense of wellbeing than they usually did after land-based exercise. It is also useful when recovering from surgery; the buoyancy of the water means there is less load on your joints and muscles and movement is easier and can start your rehabilitation earlier.
Hydrotherapy was found to be much more effective than land-based exercise in improving endurance and quality of life for people living with COPD.
A Spanish study found that hydrotherapy may reduce pain, spasms, disability, fatigue and depression in people with MS while improving autonomy. A small study of people with Parkinson’s disease found that hydrotherapy improved their balance.
Is Hydrotherapy Safe During COVID-19?
Many things have changed due to COVID-19, including pool closures and a rapid shift to telehealth for most consultations. Restrictions are gradually easing but the situation is still new and advice changes regularly.
At Neurospace, we are following public health advice to protect our staff and our patients, as many are particularly vulnerable to the disease.
Rather than give a definite answer here, it’s best to call our clinic on 6162 0450 to ask about the most up-to-date advice on hydrotherapy during COVID-19. Hydrotherapy pools are starting to reopen in the ACT, with strict limits on the number of people in the pool and surrounding areas at one time and increased cleaning protocols.
Would Hydrotherapy Help Me?
Before answering that, we’d need to assess you. We’d discuss your condition and your treatment goals then, if appropriate, recommend hydrotherapy.
At Neurospace, we’re particularly focused on helping people manage long-standing or difficult-to-treat conditions. We’ve found that hydrotherapy has been a very positive experience for many of our patients.
If you’d like to know more, please call us on 6162 0450.
Parkinson’s disease (PD) is a complex condition affecting your ability to control your body’s movements. Symptoms include tremors, slow movements, stiffness and difficulties with balance and coordinat...Read More..
Parkinson’s disease (PD) is a complex condition affecting your ability to control your body’s movements. Symptoms include tremors, slow movements, stiffness and difficulties with balance and coordination. It can’t be cured so treatment focuses on managing symptoms and slowing the progression of the disease.
Exercise is a very effective treatment for Parkinson’s disease. That’s why a skilled therapist is such an important member of your treatment team. Parkinson's Disease and Physiotherapy
What Is Parkinson’s Disease?
Parkinson’s Disease (PD) happens when there’s a problem with your nervous system that makes it hard to control your body movements.
The name comes from Dr James Parkinson, a doctor, social reformer and political activist who first established ‘the shaking palsy’ as a medical condition in 1817.
With Parkinson’s, the nerve cells (called neurons) in your brain gradually die. That causes a drop in your levels of dopamine, a chemical that carries messages between the areas of your brain that control body movement. Low dopamine levels make it hard to control your muscles, both when you’re resting and when you’re active. In particular the brain loses capacity to initiate movements, and will underestimate the amount of movement that it has made.
At least 80,000 Australians live with Parkinson’s disease making it more common than many well-known cancers. PD also becomes three times more common as you get older. Given Australia’s ageing population, it’s likely that PD will become much more common in the coming years.
We’re still investigating the causes of Parkinson’s disease. Possible causes include environmental factors and head injuries. Family history may also play a part, though it’s uncommon to inherit Parkinson’s disease.
What Are the Symptoms of Parkinson’s Disease?
Parkinson’s disease causes many different symptoms. Some are obvious and some are hidden. Each person is different – you don’t have to have all these symptoms to have Parkinson’s disease.
Common motor (movement) symptoms include:
- Slowed movements such as walking slowly, not blinking as much or fewer facial movements
- Stiff muscles
- A resting tremor, meaning a finger, hand or limb that moves of its own accord when you’re relaxed
- Difficulty with balance or coordination (this often worsens as the disease progresses)
There are a range of other, less obvious symptoms including:
- Low blood pressure
- Mood changes
- Speech and swallowing problems
- Vision changes
- Sleep difficulties.
By the time you become aware of these symptoms and get a diagnosis, the disease has often progressed substantially. It is important to started on treatment as soon as possible.
How Is Parkinson’s Disease Treated?
There is, as yet, no cure for Parkinson’s disease but there are many different ways to manage its symptoms. It can take a bit of time to find the best treatment for your particular experience of Parkinson’s. As the disease progresses, your treatment will need to adapt too.
Possible treatments include:
- Medicines that can be swallowed, injected or given through a tube that goes directly into your small intestine
- Deep brain stimulation (a surgical procedure)
- Exercise, as this can slow the progression of Parkinson’s disease.
Because the disease is so complex, you’ll benefit from a multidisciplinary treatment team that may include doctors, nurse specialists, physiotherapists, exercise physiologists, occupational therapists, speech pathologists, dieticians, psychologists and social workers.
How Does Physiotherapy Help People with Parkinson’s Disease?
Exercise is one of the most effective treatments for Parkinson’s disease. It helps with balance, strength and mobility. It can also slow down the progression of the disease, helping you stay well for longer. Many different forms of exercise can help. Pick something that’s enjoyable, safe and a little bit challenging.
Because Parkinson’s disease affects your movements and because exercise is so beneficial, your treatment team will often include a physiotherapist who can:
- Assess how Parkinson’s is affecting your movements
- Recommend exercises to build your muscle strength and flexibility
- Help you keep fit
- Help you improve your balance to prevent falls
- Help you manage pain.
Therapeutic exercises, prescribed by your physiotherapist or exercise physiologist, are different to you participating in a general exercise program. In our experience you get the most benefit when combining the two. This gives you targeted exercises to improve your movement, as well as general fitness.
How Can Neurospace Help?
Neurospace has a special focus on neurological physiotherapy. We help people with Parkinson’s disease or other complex neurological conditions by providing targeted therapy to ease your movement difficulties. Many of our staff have completed extra training to help PD. We have a range of approaches including our own exercise groups to suit the needs of our clients.
Our team includes physiotherapists, massage therapists and exercise physiologists working in our gym, our therapy pool or your place if you need a home visit.
Please call us on 6162 0450 if you’d like to make an appointment. We’re following COVID-19 guidelines and offering telehealth, home visits and carefully managed in-clinic appointments.
How Do You Manage Parkinson’s During the Pandemic?
The COVID-19 pandemic creates extra challenges for people living with a complex chronic condition like Parkinson’s. People with underlying conditions are known to be more susceptible to the illness but are at risk of other problems if they stop receiving their usual care.
If you’re living with Parkinson’s during COVID-19, then we recommend that you:
- Follow public health advice to minimise the spread of the coronavirus, including good hand hygiene and social distancing
- Get a flu jab soon – this won’t protect you from COVID-19 but will reduce the risk of catching flu, a serious respiratory disease in its own right
- Continue getting your usual PD care – that means keeping your regular appointments with your usual team of doctors, nurses and allied health professionals.
The last point is very important. The last thing we want is for your condition to worsen because your care has been interrupted by COVID-19. You can and should keep getting your usual care, even if it’s through telehealth for a while.
So, stay safe and stay well. And, if you’d like help from one of our neurological physiotherapists during this time, please call Neurospace on 6162 0450.
We’re in the midst of a global pandemic caused by a new coronavirus. To help reduce the spread of the virus, the government has urged us all to stay at home unless going out for a handful of permitted reaso...Read More..
We’re in the midst of a global pandemic caused by a new coronavirus. To help reduce the spread of the virus, the government has urged us all to stay at home unless going out for a handful of permitted reasons.
To help you stay safe, Neurospace has decided to move to telehealth consultations. This post will explain what telehealth is, how it works, and how it’ll help combat COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus. Let’s start there.
To help reduce the spread of COVID-19, Australians are now to remain at home unless it is essential to go out for:
- Medical care
- Exercise (obeying rules on public gatherings, which are currently restricted to members of your own household or one-to-one exercise with a friend or trainer)
- Study and work (though this should be done from home wherever possible).
This is a new way of life that’s unwelcome for most of us. It’s part of social distancing, which helps stop COVID-19 spreading from person-to-person. If you do have to go out, social distancing means keeping a 1.5m distance between you and other people and having no physical contact such as hugs or handshakes with people you don’t live with.
Currently in Canberra, the COVID-19 cases we know about are people who have been overseas or people who were in direct contact with them when they returned. However, in some of our larger cities, we’re seeing evidence of community transmission, where someone is diagnosed with the disease but has had no known contact with someone else who has it.
Social distancing is the equivalent of creating a firebreak to stop a bushfire. If the trees aren’t there, the fire can’t spread; if people aren’t mingling with each other, the virus has nowhere to go and so spreads more slowly.
Is Neurospace Still Seeing Patients?
Yes, but usually not in the clinic anymore. For at least the next four weeks, we will be using telehealth for most patients (this will be explained below).
COVID-19 affects older people and people with underlying medical conditions more severely. Most of our clients are therefore considered high risk, and if they were to become ill with COVID-19 they would be very unwell.
That’s why, going forward, we’re only seeing a very small number of clients in our consulting rooms. These are people who we cannot diagnose and treat using telehealth, such as patients with acute dizziness or pain.
Do I Still Need to Come to the Clinic?
We are assessing every patient’s case and we will let you know if we think you are in the small group of patients who should still attend your appointment in person (assuming you do not have any symptoms of COVID-19 and have not been in close contact with someone who does).
You are allowed to leave home for essential medical care – indeed, it’s important to keep on top of your healthcare to avoid hospital admissions. Rest assured that we are cleaning and sanitising our premises regularly, especially our gym.
Can I Still Have a Home Visit?
We are still offering home visits. Our staff are implementing good hygiene practices whilst on home visits and we ask that you do the same. If you are unwell, please cancel your home visit. Home visits are for clients who are unable to leave their house due to mobility or transport difficulties, not for those who are in quarantine or isolation.
What Is Telehealth?
Telehealth uses telecommunications – that is telephones and computers – to bring a healthcare professional and a patient together to talk through the issues, diagnose, plan, and provide treatment.
If you’re already one of our patients, you’ll know that we emphasise accurate diagnosis since we tend to treat people whose conditions are easily mistaken for something else. We believe we can still provide accurate, timely, safe and effective care through telehealth, planning modifications to movements, postures, aggravating activities and providing self-management techniques such as exercise to mobilise and strengthen.
While telehealth has expanded rapidly to help tackle the pandemic, it is not new. Telehealth is a tried and tested means of providing healthcare and has been very useful to the rural community, for example.
What Are the Benefits of Telehealth?
Telehealth overcomes the barriers of distance to provide healthcare to people who cannot meet their provider in person.
Those barriers are sometimes geographical, which is why telehealth has a good track record in rural and remote communities. But right now, for most of us, the barrier is the need for social distancing to slow the spread of the coronavirus.
How Do I Use Telehealth with Neurospace?
We will help you through it so that you know what to expect and can troubleshoot any technical problems that may come up.
Will You Help Me Use Telehealth?
Absolutely! Right now, our therapists are working hard to set each client up for online consultations and are writing exercise programs that you can follow at home.
Our staff will call you well before your appointment to:
- Find out what technology you have which could be used for telehealth, such as a smartphone, laptop, iPad or telephone
- Help you set up the system
- Test that everything’s working and fix any problems that crop up.
If necessary, our staff will even do a home visit to help set everything up for you.
A Final Reminder
We’ll end by reminding you of the importance of good personal hygiene to slow the spread of COVID-19. We encourage you to:
- Practice coughing and sneezing hygiene – always cover your mouth and nose when sneezing.
- Wash your hands regularly, lathering with soap for 20 seconds each time (that’s longer than you think!). Always wash your hands before eating.
- Keep your hands away from your mouth, nose and eyes – that’s how most people absorb the virus into their bodies.
We look forward to seeing you for your next consultation, which will most likely be through telehealth. And we really look forward to seeing you in person once we’ve beaten COVID-19.
If you’re eligible for the NDIS, we can help you get the most out of your funding, develop clear goals and deliver high-quality therapy to help you maintain your skills and function. NDIS: How We Can help Ne...Read More..
If you’re eligible for the NDIS, we can help you get the most out of your funding, develop clear goals and deliver high-quality therapy to help you maintain your skills and function.
NDIS: How We Can help
Neurospace provides physiotherapy and exercise physiology services to many NDIS participants. If you have an NDIS Plan, we can help you by:
First things first - Give us a call!
We like to have a chat with you first, find out a little bit about you, what your needs are and see how we could help you. If we think we would be a good fit for you, we will get down to business and book an appointment and draft a service agreement. If we think you need help from a different provider, we can give you some ideas on who might be able to help you with what you need.
Step 1: Service Agreement
To begin with, we ask for a copy of your NDIS Plan, which lists the supports the NDIS has agreed to fund for you. This helps us understand your broad goals. Then we send you a Service Agreement, which outlines how and when we commit to delivering the therapy that will help you achieve those goals.
Step 2: Initial Assessment
This is when we start getting to know each other. Our Initial Assessment takes 60-90 minutes. It’s an important meeting where we go through your plan and start to flesh out your goals.
We collaborate with you to to make your goals more focused, moving from broad intentions to specific treatment goals that can be achieved through physiotherapy and/or exercise physiology.
That could be:
- Walking further
- Getting in and out of your wheelchair more easily
- Improving your strength, stamina, balance or coordination
- Setting up a program at your local gym to keep working on.
This is a great time to share your ideas – however big or small they may be! It gives us much more to work with as we try to identify the therapies that will help you achieve your goals. We also like to consider how you’ll know if you’ve achieved the goal – then we can celebrate your success together.
We’ll write a short report on this meeting and send it to you, your GP if you like, and also your case manager.
Step 3: Treatment Plan
After our Initial Assessment, we make a Treatment Plan which outlines:
- The therapy you need
- How long and how frequently the sessions will be
- Whether they’ll be individual or group sessions.
- Where they’ll take place.
Perhaps one of the biggest ways we help, is by enabling you to understand the NDIS and use it in the way that suits you best.
The NDIS has different categories of funding, namely core support, capital funds, and capacity building, each with their own subcategories. You can’t shift money between these budgets but you can, in some cases, use it flexibly within each budget.
Most of our services fall under the heading of Capacity Building and its various sub-categories. Exercise physiology supports appear under the heading of Health and Wellbeing (but they also come under Capacity Building now too). It’s intended to help you manage the impact of your disability. Physiotherapy is classed as therapeutic supports under the Daily Activity sub-category. The aim here is to help you increase your skills, independence and community participation.
Therapeutic supports are there to help you:
- Maintain your current level of functioning
- Achieve small, incremental gains
- Prevent decline.
Basically, that means we can help keep you moving well, and making the most out of what you have. . To make the most of the opportunities we do have, we’ll give you ideas on how to make your daily activities easier to accomplish. That might include exercise programs to follow at home, training your family and carers to help you in a more effective way, and recommending (but not supplying) equipment that helps your independence.
Step 4: Therapy Throughout the Year
Once the planning and paperwork is out of the way, we begin the in-depth work of therapy. We implement your plan, providing the physiotherapy or exercise physiology services we’ve agreed with you. That might be at our Canberra clinic, your home or a pool. It could be in individual or group sessions.
Our staff are highly skilled at effectively communicating with and delivering therapy to people with complex movement difficulties and long-standing, difficult to treat conditions. We enjoy building long-lasting relationships with our clients and we love it when we see you making progress towards your goals.
Step 5: Review Meeting
Your NDIS Plan usually lasts for one year. As the end of that year approaches, we’ll hold a review meeting with you to discuss how your therapy has gone and note your progress since the start of the year. We are required to report back to the National Disability Insurance Agency at the end of your Plan. Our report outlines your goals, your progress towards achieving them, and the next steps we recommend. That information informs your Plan Review and the development of a new Plan for the next year.
So, that’s an overview of how the team at Neurospace can help NDIS participants. If you’d like to learn more about how we could help you or someone you love, please get in touch.
What Is a Stroke? A stroke happens when something stops blood getting to your brain. Blood travels along your arteries and delivers oxygen and nutrients to your brain. If your artery becomes blocked or bursts, the blood...Read More..
What Is a Stroke?
A stroke happens when something stops blood getting to your brain.
Blood travels along your arteries and delivers oxygen and nutrients to your brain. If your artery becomes blocked or bursts, the blood can’t reach your brain. If brain cells don’t get enough oxygen or nutrients, they die. This is called a cerebral infarction.
A stroke is always a medical emergency. The Stroke Foundation uses the FAST system to help people remember stroke symptoms and know what to do.
Face: Check their face. Has their mouth drooped?
Arms: Can they lift both arms?
Speech: Is their speech slurred? Do they understand you?
Time: Is critical. If you see any of these signs call 000 straight away.
It’s important to get immediate help because there's a greater chance of stroke-related brain damage if you delay. Getting emergency medical treatment soon after you develop symptoms improves your chance of survival and rehabilitation. In the early days after a stroke, the swelling in your brain goes down and you begin recovering.
What Is Stroke Rehabilitation?
Rehabilitation is the process of helping you recover or adjust and achieve your full potential. It’s about helping you return to your daily activities and improving your quality of life after a significant event like an injury, surgery or stroke. We can help you optimize your function and wellbeing. Rehabilitation focuses on addressing your impairments, reducing your disability and maximizing your participation.
Rehabilitation should start as soon as possible, and as little as 19 minutes extra exercise per day in the hospital setting has been shown to
- improve mobility and activity levels,
- reduce length of stay in hospital
- significantly improve quality of life
Stroke rehab is therapy that helps you adapt to life after a stroke. It may help you relearn how to do something or find a new way of doing it now. Your brain has an amazing capacity to change and adapt (known as neuroplasticity). Stroke rehab harnesses this, training new brain pathways to help you recover abilities that were affected by your stroke.
Will I Make a Full Recovery From Stroke?
This is everyone’s biggest question. You might be feeling quite shocked about what’s just happened to you and fearful about the future. Everyone’s stroke journey will be different, and reading about other people’s experiences can help you with your recovery.
Stroke affects each person differently. How your stroke affects you depends on the area of your brain that is injured, and how badly. It is hard to predict what your stroke recovery process will be. Some people recover almost completely while others live with ongoing impairments affecting their strength, control, coordination, vision, communication, sensory processing, thoughts, feelings or behaviour.
There’s an important window of opportunity in the first six months after a stroke. People who participate in early and comprehensive rehab tend to make much better progress towards recovery. But recovery doesn’t stop at six months – research shows that it’s possible to continue making significant recovery years after a stroke if you’ve got the right support and exercises.
How Can Physiotherapy Help Me Recover From Stroke?
Your stroke rehab team may include doctors, nurses, and Allied Health Professionals such as occupational therapists, speech pathologists and physiotherapists. Each professional helps your recovery in a different way and the best results are achieved when you have a team working together to look after you.
Physiotherapy after stroke assists with recovery of movement and sensation, which are essential abilities for daily life. We work with you and your family or carers to retrain movement patterns and work on specific task training. There are many different possible stroke recovery exercises depending on which parts of your body have been affected. We find that repetition is the key to drive neuroplasticity, but you also need to be practicing the right movements with good technique. That is where we can help.
Physiotherapy can help you to:
- Use your arms: Your physio may recommend strengthening exercises to address arm weakness and repetitive practice of certain tasks to help with daily life.
- Walk again: Your physio may use hands-on therapy and carefully chosen exercises to improve your walking after a stroke. You might practice many steps on a treadmill to help you relearn how to walk. Your physio can also advise on aids such as a walking frame or stick.
- Regain balance: You’re at greater risk of falling after a stroke because your balance is affected. Your physio can assess your balance and improve your steadiness by prescribing and supervising exercises.
- Prevent another stroke: Your physio can help you modify your lifestyle to prevent a disabling second stroke.
Physiotherapy is about much more than keeping your regular appointments with your physio though. It relies on you working on your stroke recovery on a daily basis at home, doing your exercise program and integrating your practice into functional tasks. Research shows that people who take an active role in physiotherapy have a better recovery from stroke.
Your physio will give you exercises to do at home that are tailored to you. These might include:
- Using a chair to practice standing up
- Lifting your bottom or moving your legs while lying on your bed
- Staying fit by walking or swimming.
Your physio knows where you need to start, how much you can do, and when it’s time to progress to the next level of difficulty. You might start by doing simple exercises in bed to activate your muscles, we are building the foundations for more difficult activities like getting in and out of bed, sitting and standing balance and walking.
How Neurospace May Be Able to Help You Recover From Stroke
At Neurospace, we focus on helping people with complex movement difficulties due to damage to their nervous system or sensory systems. This includes people recovering from stroke.
Our physiotherapists can assess your strength, coordination, sensation, movement control, joint function and balance and understand how these affect your daily activities. Then we can develop a tailored program of exercises to help you reach achievable goals.
Please make an appointment today so you can continue your stroke recovery progress.
How Does Neurospace Help in MS? Our therapists at Neurospace are trained to help people with neurological conditions like multiple sclerosis (MS). Multiple Sclerosis is the most common acquired neurological d...Read More..
How Does Neurospace Help in MS?
Our therapists at Neurospace are trained to help people with neurological conditions like multiple sclerosis (MS).
Multiple Sclerosis is the most common acquired neurological disease in young adults, with most people being diagnosed between the ages of 20 and 40. MS is a condition of the central nervous system that interferes with nerve impulses in the brain, the optic nerve and the spinal cord.
At Neurospace, we focus on helping people with complex problems – and your brain is the most complex of all, controlling the rest of your body. We assess you carefully then make recommendations for tailored exercises, walking aids if you need them, and pain and fatigue management strategies.
We have also started a new program for people in the early stages of MS, called MS Get a Head Start. It is an innovative, 6-week high intensity exercise and education program to empower self-management. The program is designed to maximise your understanding of how MS can be positively influenced by exercise and education.
You can make an appointment to see us at Neurospace to help you maintain your wellbeing and assist you with any difficulties you may be facing.
Living with MS
If you have MS, you may experience varied and unpredictable symptoms including problems with motor control, fatigue, neurological disturbances, incontinence, depression, cognitive difficulties, issues with temperature regulation and memory loss.
Types of MS
There are a few types of MS. Most people have relapsing-remitting MS. In a relapsing period, MS affects life significantly. Then comes a remitting period where the disease is in remission for a while. Eventually, for most people, the disease progresses steadily with fewer periods of remission. This is known as secondary-progressive MS.
The second main type is primary progressive MS. In these cases, there’s a steady progression of symptoms from the start without any periods of remission. Another type is progressive-relapsing MS.
Early Intervention for MS
Early intervention refers to providing specialist help and support in the early stages of a disease or disability.
Even in the early stages of MS, damage occurring in the brain and spinal cord can affect your cognition, emotional wellbeing, quality of life, day-to-day activities and ability to work. Early intervention is vital (both with a disease-modifying therapies and lifestyle changes) to preserve brain tissue and maximise lifelong brain health. The goal is to reduce the impact of debilitating symptoms and maximise the opportunities for independence.
Early intervention for MS can include:
- Support from neurological physiotherapists to address strength, balance and any reduced sensation.
- Helping you understand the neuro-protective effects of exercise on the central nervous systems, with specific exercises that have the potential to slow the progressive disease down
- Help to manage appointments and social engagements and remaining connected to family and friends
- Domestic help with household tasks
- Psychological and emotional support to help you adjust to living with a long-term medical condition
- Occupational therapy to overcome difficulties with everyday activities
- Help from Specialist Employment Support Services to help you continue working, including aides and other support to help you continue doing your job
Other Treatments for MS
There’s no known cure for MS but there are medical treatments to relieve symptoms, reduce the risk of relapses or slow the disease progression.
If you have relapsing-remitting MS, disease-modifying therapies (DMT) slow the frequency and severity of attacks to your central nervous system by modifying your immune system. Steroids can reduce the inflammation at the site of an MS attack while immunosuppressants may help if you have progressive MS.
Causes of MS
Frustratingly, we don’t yet understand what causes MS, though we suspect it’s a mix of genetic, environmental, immunologic and infectious factors. We know it’s an autoimmune disease where your body’s immune system attacks itself. This destroys myelin, the fatty substance that protects the nerves in your brain and spinal cord. When the myelin is damaged and the nerves are exposed, the messages your brain sends along the nerves get slowed or blocked.
MS is more common in people who are:
- Aged 20-50
- Female (women are three times more likely to develop MS than men)
- Closely related to someone with MS
- Caucasian of northern European ancestry (MS still occurs in most other ethnic groups including African Americans, Asians and Hispanics/Latinos but is more common in white people)
- Living in a temperate climate like southeastern Australia, Canada, northern USA, Europe or NZ
- Someone who has had certain viruses such as glandular fever
- Living with other autoimmune diseases like type 1 diabetes, thyroid issues or inflammatory bowel disease.
If you’re experiencing difficulties due to MS, please make an appointment to see us at Neurospace. And if you have MS and are feeling good, please make an appointment so we can help you maintain your wellbeing.
Physiotherapists specialise in understanding the human body and its movements. We often focus on a particular area, such as musculoskeletal (aches and pains), neurological (recovery after a stroke or Parkinson&rs...Read More..
Physiotherapists specialise in understanding the human body and its movements. We often focus on a particular area, such as musculoskeletal (aches and pains), neurological (recovery after a stroke or Parkinson’s disease) or cardiovascular (after heart surgery or a heart attack). But as you get older, you often need help with all of the above, and some specific help with making sure you keep moving well as you get older.
Physical Changes Due to Ageing
Each season of life has its joys and frustrations. As you get older, you might enjoy spending more time with loved ones or on favourite hobbies. You might be able to contribute more to your community or offer wise advice to someone struggling with an issue you’ve faced yourself.
There are undeniable physical changes associated with ageing though, including reduced bone density and muscle strength, stiff joints, poorer coordination and an increase in body fat. Those underlying changes have effects on your general fitness, balance and mobility, increasing the risk of falls. A raft of illnesses are also more common in older people, which may make daily life more difficult and increase the temptation to be sedentary rather than active.
But don’t be disheartened – we can help keep you moving well and make the process of ageing easier. Research shows that physiotherapy helps older people maintain health, well-being, mobility and independence by improving strength, balance, coordination and flexibility. It really is a case of move it or lose it!
Improve Your Joints
Arthritis is quite a common condition among older people, and the main types are osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. The most common is osteoarthritis, and this was thought to be ‘wear and tear’, it is now thought to be the body trying extra hard to repair the affected joint. Your GP may prescribe medication to help with arthritis and may also recommend physiotherapy. Don’t think of this as an optional extra – it’s actually a core part of the treatment.
Regular exercise is one of the most effective treatments for arthritis, improving strength and flexibility, improving posture and balance and reducing pain and fatigue. Neurospace’s physios are skilled in assessing joint problems and prescribing exercises that suit you best. This could be a gym program, cycling or walking, strength training or even low-impact exercises in the water.
Improve Your Balance and Mobility
Balance, (or postural control as we like to call it) is a complex interplay of sensory system providing inputs to your brain, and then your brain responding with a specific action requiring strength, coordination and movement. This all happens in a split second to keep you upright whilst you are either moving or standing still.
As you get older, one or more of these systems can be working less effectively and this can lead to difficulties walking and getting around, a fear of falling and often unexpected trips or falls.
If you are concerned that your balance is getting worse, it is worth checking in with your GP and your physiotherapist. They can work together to rule out more serious causes, and your physio can design a program to help you improve your balance and mobility. Physiotherapists look at how well the different parts of your body work together. Then we train them to do better. We’ll tailor exercises to your particular areas of weakness, aiming to challenge your body enough to see improvements whilst still exercising safely. And we’re not just training your body; we’re training your brain too. It’s the command and control centre of your body, in charge of coordinating your movements. Your brain adapts to new situations. It’s always learning and changing through a process known as neuroplasticity.
You’re at an increased risk of falling as you get older. At least 1 in 3 people over the age of 65 falls once each year and sometimes more often. Falls can have big consequences including injuries and dented confidence that causes some people to withdraw from activities and become increasingly dependent on others. There’s strong, high-quality evidence from many studies to show that exercise can prevent falls, but the exercise needs to be challenging to your balance, of a sufficient dose, and also needs to be ongoing. This is where we can help get you started and keep you motivated.
Promote a healthy heart
As you get older, the walls of your blood vessels and arteries get stiffer, which makes it harder for your heart to pump blood around your body. This puts you at risk of high blood pressure and other cardiovascular issues. As you exercise, your heart rate won’t increase as much as it used to. A healthy heart needs regular physical activity, a healthy diet, plenty of sleep and not too much stress. We can help with the exercise!
Rehabilitation After Injury or Surgery
Some injuries such as fractures become more common with age, especially in women. The injured bone or joint is usually immobilised to protect it while it heals. Physiotherapy improves your recovery by helping you address the joint stiffness and muscle weakness caused by immobilisation. We can also help with specific exercises to reduce the incidence of fractures with people with osteoporosis.
Prevent and Manage Medical Conditions
Physiotherapy may help prevent and manage many common conditions that become more common as you age. That includes incontinence, heart disease, osteoarthritis, lung diseases and stroke. Physical activity also helps your mental health.
Healthy Ageing at Neurospace
Our Neurospace therapy team includes physiotherapists, exercise physiologists and massage therapists. We focus on treating people with complex issues and we understand both the process of ageing and its effect on other medical conditions you may be living with. We understand how important your physical capability is to your ongoing independence and quality of life as you age.
We assess all new patients carefully and then we’ll recommend a tailored program of treatment. Please make an appointment today to begin strengthening your body under our guidance.
If you’re living with ongoing pain in your ankle, neck, knee or back, you may have begun to wonder whether you’ll eventually need surgery to fix the problem.
A common question we’re asked as physiotherapists is, ‘Do I need surgery for my back/hip/knee/ankle/shoulder?’ It is a very good question to ask, as in many cases, conservative management (medications, exercise and hands on therapy) can provide as good as, if not better results than surgery.
Surgery can be seen as a quick fix that will deal with the problem. Surgery carries risks, including bleeding or clotting problems, infection, or a bad reaction to the anaesthetic. It can be costly, with bills from the hospital, surgeon, and anaesthetist if you’re going private, and ongoing post-surgery rehabilitation, where you’ll usually be referred to a physiotherapist to regain strength and flexibility in the affected area.
Surgery is a good option if you really need it. That’s the crucial bit. The physical risks, financial costs and recovery times associated with surgery are only worth it if the operation is likely to have significant benefits.
What Is Physiotherapy?
Physiotherapy can help you reduce pain and stiffness, move more easily, recover from injury and reduce the likelihood of getting injured again. Physiotherapy uses a range of non-invasive treatments including:
- Exercises and stretches to improve your movement (mobility) and muscle strength
- Joint manipulation or mobilisation
- Dry needling
- Laser therapy
Physiotherapists are trained to at least degree level though many have post-graduate qualifications too. You can book your own appointment to see a physio; you don’t need a doctor’s referral (though getting one may help with costs).
The decision to have surgery is not an easy one. In addition to the surgical risks consideration can also be given to time off work, recovery time, and out-of-pocket costs. With the right exercises, advice and attention, physiotherapy can change the way your body is moving, allow the body to heal and strengthen and in many cases, avoid the need for surgery.
If you’re interested in working on your body first, and considering surgery second, it is time to come and see us at Neurospace.
How Can Physiotherapy Help Prevent Surgery?
There are many common surgeries that could be delayed or even avoided with physiotherapy – hip replacement, knee arthroscopy, total knee replacement, spinal fusion, laminectomy for example.
A skilled physiotherapist may be able to help you avoid or delay the need for surgery on your ankle, neck, knee or back. And, if surgery does prove necessary, your efforts have not been wasted; having physiotherapy before surgery may help you bounce back more quickly afterwards.
Here’s a quick comparison of physiotherapy and surgery for some common conditions affecting the back, knees, fingers, neck and ankles.
Lumbar spinal stenosis: A study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine found physiotherapy to be just as effective as surgery (and with fewer associated risks) in treating this type of lower back pain.
Degenerative disc disease: When followed-up five years later, there was no difference between patients who had had physiotherapy for their degenerative disc disease and those who’d had surgery in terms of pain levels, overall health, satisfaction levels and disability, according to a study at Thomas Jefferson University Hospital in Philadelphia.
Meniscal tears and knee osteoarthritis: The evidence supports trying physiotherapy for meniscal tears and knee osteoarthritis before deciding on surgery. A study published in the New England Journal of Medicine found that patients who had physiotherapy and those who had surgery gained equal improvements in the use of the knee and equal reductions in pain over a 6-12 month period. About 70% of physiotherapy-only patients were able to avoid surgery because the physical therapy was effective.
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome: After a month, patients having physiotherapy focused on the neck and median nerve were making faster improvements than patients who’d had surgery. After a year, the two groups had both made similar improvements in their grip strength, according to a study published in the Journal of Orthopaedic and Sports Physical Therapy.
Neck pain: A 2013 review of the available evidence concluded that it’s hard to decide whether surgery or conservative treatment is best for neck pain. In itself, that’s an argument for avoiding the risks of surgery since there’s no clear evidence that it’s better than the alternatives. The researchers found that no particular intervention seemed to be consistently better than the other options and most patients found their neck pain improved over time.
Chronic ankle instability: Some people develop long-term ankle instability after a sprain. At the moment, it’s not clear whether physiotherapy to improve strength and coordination is better or worse than surgery to shorten and tighten your ankle ligaments.
How Neurospace May be Able to Help You
Your body may be capable of healing itself when given enough time and the right techniques.
We can help give you those at Neurospace. Our trained physiotherapists can carefully assess your condition and develop a tailored treatment plan for you. It may help you avoid the risks and costs of surgery on your neck, back, knees or ankles. If you do still need surgery, we can work with you on pre-op fitness and post-op rehabilitation, helping to minimise the risks and maximise your recovery.
Please book an appointment online or call us on 02 6162 0450.
It can be hard to describe dizziness in a way that does justice to the sickening feeling of being woozy, unsteady, light-headed or faint. Sometimes it feels like the whole world is spinning out of control. Dizziness is...Read More..
It can be hard to describe dizziness in a way that does justice to the sickening feeling of being woozy, unsteady, light-headed or faint. Sometimes it feels like the whole world is spinning out of control.
Dizziness is surprisingly common. It is not a condition in its own right but usually a symptom of something else. Dizziness is your brain’s way of telling you something is wrong. Those unpleasant sensations certainly get your attention!
Here are 8 possible causes of dizziness.
1. Inner Ear Problems (Vertigo)
Problems with your inner ear can cause vertigo, the false sense that your surroundings are spinning.
Vertigo happens when your brain is trying to sort out contradictory messages. Your inner ear is telling your brain that your surroundings are spinning but your eyes and other nerves say things are still.
There are several causes of vertigo including:
- Benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV): This causes an intense but brief sense of spinning triggered by moving your head suddenly. It’s the most common type of vertigo.
- Meniere’s Disease: A build-up of fluid in your inner ear causes sudden bouts of vertigo that may last several hours. It can be accompanied by tinnitus and hearing loss.
- Infection: Vestibular neuritis, an infection of a certain nerve can cause extreme and ongoing vertigo. A nerve inflammation called labyrinthitis may also cause dizziness and sudden hearing loss.
A vestibular migraine can cause dizziness. You may or may not have a headache but you may experience problems with your hearing, vision or balance. It may last just a few minutes or it might go on for hours. Physiotherapy, medication and lifestyle changes may help reduce the frequency or severity of migraines.
There’s a two-way relationship between dizziness and stress. Feeling dizzy can certainly make you feel stressed. And feeling stressed can also make you feel dizzy.
When you’re feeling stressed, anxious, afraid, frustrated, angry or embarrassed, there’s often a physical response. You might notice that your heart is beating faster, you’re sweating, you feel nauseous, or you’re trembling and shaking. Dizziness is another physical symptom that can be related to your mental and emotional state.
4. Circulation Problems
Your heart’s job is to pump blood around your body, including your brain. If your brain isn’t getting enough blood, you’ll feel faint or dizzy.
Have you ever stood up quickly and suddenly felt woozy? That happens when your blood pressure drops quickly.
Conditions that stop your blood circulating properly can cause dizziness. That includes an irregular heartbeat (cardiac arrhythmia), a heart attack, cardiomyopathy or a minor stroke (transient ischemic attack), which temporarily blocks blood flow to the brain. Circulation problems are serious and should be investigated by a doctor.
Dizziness is a common side-effect of many medications including:
- Drugs that lower your blood pressure (you get dizzy if the drug lowers your blood pressure too much)
- Drugs to control seizures.
If you’re struggling with dizziness and think it relates to your medication, then talk to the doctor who prescribed it. They may be able to put you on a different medication that can treat your condition without causing dizziness.
6. Underlying Medical Condition
Dizziness can be a knock-on effect of another medical condition.
That can include:
- Diabetes: Dizziness is a common symptom of low blood sugar if you’ve had too much exercise, or haven’t balanced your food and your insulin properly. The dizziness usually passes once you’ve eaten a few jelly beans to get your blood glucose level back to normal.
- Anaemia: Dizziness is one symptom of low iron levels.
- Neurological disorders: Parkinson’s Disease and Multiple Sclerosis can lead to a progressive loss of balance.
- Anxiety: You might feel lightheaded or dizzy during a panic attack.
- Heart conditions: As noted above, a drop in blood pressure or a circulation problem can cause dizziness.
Aussie summers are baking hot and heat stress is common. If you’re active in hot weather or if you don’t drink enough water, you may feel dizzy as a result of overheating or dehydration.
When you’re hot, your body sends more blood to your skin in an attempt to cool you down. That means there’s less blood flowing to your brain, which can lead to a sudden drop in blood pressure. That can make you faint or feel dizzy.
As you get older, you’re more likely to experience dizziness, which affects 30% of people over 60 years old and 50% of people over 85.
Age-related changes in your inner ear make you more prone to vertigo. You’re also more likely to have one or more underlying medical conditions that can cause dizziness. And you’re more likely to be taking medications that can cause dizziness as a side effect.
Dizziness is a strong predictor of falls in older people. Those falls can cause injury, fear of falling again, loss of independence and even death in some cases. That’s why it’s so important to investigate dizziness in older people.
How Neurospace Might Help You
Dizziness can have a significant impact on your quality of life. Thankfully, there are treatments available for dizziness.
Our staff at Neurospace have many years of experience in identifying and treating the causes of dizziness. We’ll discuss your lifestyle, your stress levels, your medical history and your symptoms before deciding on a diagnosis and course of treatment to improve your symptoms.
You can make an appointment online or call us on 02 6162 0450.
Bell’s Palsy Bells Palsy is a weakness of the muscles on one side of the face, often affecting young adults. The palsy is caused by damage to the facial nerve. The nerve can be affected by a number of things...Read More..
Bells Palsy is a weakness of the muscles on one side of the face, often affecting young adults. The palsy is caused by damage to the facial nerve. The nerve can be affected by a number of things. In particular, there can be viral infection causing inflammation and swelling along the nerve which disrupts the relay of muscle activation messages to the facial muscles. The weakness be partial or total. There is often a fatigue or stress component with the viral onset, and the virus itself causes further fatigue.
The symptoms of Bell's palsy are paralysis or weakness on one side of the face, pain around the ear, poor eye closure, and poor capacity to eat and drink. The face feels heavy and can have a numb feeling from the weakness. There can also be a difference in the way food tastes.
The aim of any management is to reduce complications such as damage to the eye and maximise the speed and extent of recovery.
Bell's palsy usually resolves by itself within a few months and 70% of people will make full recovery without any intervention.
Eye management: Blinking naturally cleans and lubricates the cornea of the eye. If there is incomplete blinking the eye is protected with patching, eye drops and gels.
Medications may be given and have an effect. Prednisolone is a corticosteroid given to reduce the inflammation on the facial nerve. For maximum benefit this needs to start within 72 hours of onset and may continue for up to 10 days. A summary of literature found that prednisolone led to a more complete recovery at 6 months post onset (17% incomplete if had drug and 28% if no drug) and reduction in abnormal muscle activity
Antiviral drug may be given but has so far not shown to be of benefit or add more than what the prednisolone does. (Somasundara and Sullivan, 2017).
Physiotherapy has not been demonstrated to be useful with a lack of controlled studies (Teixeira and Valbuz, 2011). There is low quality evidence that tailored facial exercises can help to improve facial function, mainly for people with moderate paralysis and chronic cases. There is low quality evidence that facial exercise reduces sequelae in acute cases.
At Neurospace we use a range of techniques to help manage the recovery depending on the severity of the weakness and time since onset. The best results are with those we see earliest post onset, but we have seen people 5 years post nerve damage and been able to reduce the severity of the weakness.
- laser therapy to help manage the inflammation of the nerve,
- muscle stimulator to help the maintain the weak muscles and trigger their activation,
- massage and specific facilitation techniques to maximise muscle activation
- teaching you how to exercise correctly at home and progress the exercises.
Occasionally there are other nerves affected, such as those going to the inner ear and balance system. We help to recognise and diagnosed the symptoms associated vestibular nerve damage and help you to manage this.
Somasundara D., Sullivan F. Management of Bell’s palsy Aust Prescr 2017;40:94-7 DOI: 10.18773/austprescr.2017.030
Teixeira LJ, Valbuza JS, Prado GF. Physical therapy for Bell's palsy (idiopathic facial paralysis). Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews 2011, Issue 12. Art. No.: CD006283. DOI: 10.1002/14651858.CD006283.pub3.
Strengthening is an important part of any fitness routine and is particularly important as we get older and the muscle bulk and bone density start to naturally reduce without actively maintaining this. Weakness can occur...Read More..
Strengthening is an important part of any fitness routine and is particularly important as we get older and the muscle bulk and bone density start to naturally reduce without actively maintaining this.
Weakness can occur for a range of reasons in the perosn with damage to their neurological system including:
- the loss of neural commands to activate the muscles
- secondary loss due to doing less activity or poorly controlled activity
If you are going to do strength training that is really going to impact on how you move there are a few things that need to be considered.
Testing the muscle for how much strength there is can be complex and deficits compounded by other issues such as contracture, sensory loss, inco-ordiantion and spasms. The muscle can have problems at different parts of the range or with different types of contractions. There may also be an influence of how the tester sets up the test position that influences the result of the strength test. This requires a skilled practitioner to help break down the issues.
In planning what muscles are going to be strengthened and how, the effect that muscle weakness has on movement also needs to be considered in terms of the range and type of muscle activation required. There are other factors such as muscle fatigue to consider that will vary with different conditions as to how the repititions and weight loading are managed.
If you are undertaking a strengthening program and you are trying to change something specifically, eg getting up from a chair, then getting some movement retraining to ensure the muscles are learning to integrate and activate in the right way is vital. The body will not necessarily use the new strength without retraining as the motor pathways are already stored, and we have to rewire the brain.
We encourage to you to get an accurate assessment to integrate good strengthening activities into your routine.
Aquatic physiotherapy (also known as hydrotherapy) is an alternative way of doing physiotherapy that offers a range of benefits that are more difficult to achieve on land when undertaking rehabilitation. There are ...Read More..
Aquatic physiotherapy (also known as hydrotherapy) is an alternative way of doing physiotherapy that offers a range of benefits that are more difficult to achieve on land when undertaking rehabilitation. There are a small number of research studies completed, but they do support the improvements that can be made in the neurological population and in other populations such as people recovering from joint replacements.
The properties of the water offers the therapist ways to either promote relaxation and flexibility of a limb, or promote more activity and build up strength and stability within a body part depending on how the exercise is set up and progressed. The therapist will use a range of techniques and equipment to facilitate the best outcome for the stage of the condition that is being managed.
Specific issues can be addressed such as muscle weakness, joint contracture, spasticity and inco-ordination. Tasks can be modified to practice everyday activities in a safe, supported way such as sit- to stand, balance, use of arm and hand, and walking. The level of complexity of these tasks is gradually progressed in the water.
The warmth of the water and the graded pressure can be important to help manage painful conditions and extra fluid in limbs. Generally, the water enhances the overall feeling of well being and gives confidence feel movements that are difficult on land.
There are many conditions that benefit from treatment in the water including:
- Strokes, head injuries, spinal cord injuries
- Multiple Sclerosis, Parkinson ’s disease
- Peripheral neuropathy, muscular dystrophies
- Cerebral palsy
- Post fall recovery and balance retraining to prevent further falls
- Chronic pain
- Joint replacements and reconstructions
- Spinal surgery
Water may not be the best place for everyone to use for therapy. We do need to do a screening assessment to check, understand your underlying health condition and the goals you are working toward. To get the best from your water therapy integration into land based exercises and movements is essential.
Neurospace is fortunate to have access to Hartley Hydrotherapy pool, which is usually around 34 degrees. We offer continuing therapy services at the pool, or intermittent treatment to set your own individualised program with reviews.
Feel free to make further inquiries with our reception team.
The festive season is where fitness routines go to die. Sneaky drinks after work, Christmas parties, relatives visiting and stacks of incredible food. We get it! It’s easy to give in to the “festive blowout&r...Read More..
The festive season is where fitness routines go to die. Sneaky drinks after work, Christmas parties, relatives visiting and stacks of incredible food. We get it! It’s easy to give in to the “festive blowout” and just stop exercising all together. But you shouldn’t! If you’re already thinking of retiring your sneakers until January 1st, read on.
With the inevitable increase in calorie consumption over the festive season, finding time to work out is more important than ever. It will keep away those dreaded “Christmas kilos” and help to manage your holiday stress levels (relatives, am I right?!).
If you’re struggling to stay motivated, we’ve got you covered.
Five easy ways to sneak exercise into your festive season:
1. Work out in the morning.
It might seem like a no-brainer, but simply switching your workouts to the morning can save your routine this Christmas. Things pop-up in the evening, especially at this time of year. 5pm work drinks, festive dinners… They all get in the way of your exercise regime. Plan ahead! Do your exercise first thing in the morning when you’re less likely to be led astray!
2. Hit the shops.
Walking is great for your health! Swap out online shopping for the real deal… Sure, braving the shops at this time of year can be scary, but all those extra steps can add up quickly!
3. Move at Work.
Make the most of your time at work by adding exercise into your routine. Park further away from your office, take the stairs, take a walk at lunchtime or even squeeze in a mini-desk-workout. It’s surprising what a few squats every hour can do for your health!
4. Up the Intensity.
You might not have time to spend an hour at the gym, but short, high intensity workouts can be even more effective. High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) triggers the after-burn effect, known as Excess Post-Exercise Oxygen Consumption or “EPOC”, and for this reason it’s much more effective at burning calories than your steady state or regular aerobic exercise. Try HIIT-style workouts to get the most bang for your buck.
5. Grab a mate.
Part of what makes the festive season so wonderful is catching up with friends and family. So why not recruit a workout buddy? Not only are you more likely to stick to your routine if you exercise with someone else, but it’ll also make it more fun.
If you need some help getting motivated this Christmas, chat to an expert. An Accredited Exercise Physiologist can help you to exercise right, regardless of your health status or level of experience.
Neurospace Clinic we will be closing for the Christmas holidays from 22nd December 2018 and will reopen 8:30am on 2nd January 2019.
To celeberate the year that was and our wonderful clients, their family members and care teams, we will be holding a twilight street party in the park opposite our clinic on 3rd December 2018! We would love to see you&nb...Read More..
To celeberate the year that was and our wonderful clients, their family members and care teams, we will be holding a twilight street party in the park opposite our clinic on 3rd December 2018! We would love to see you here for games, sausage sizzle and musicperformed by our verey own Simon Smith and Amy Rose!