Cervicogenic Headaches

Headaches are a very common occurrence and there is an increasing body of evidence that supports the benefits of Physiotherapy in the treatment of them.

 Headaches can be broadly separated into 2 types- ‘musculoskeletal’ and ‘medical’.

The neck related headaches are called cervicogenic headaches and are usually felt on both sides of the head, but may be predominantly on one side and usually accompanied by neck pain.

Cervicogenic headaches can be caused by:

·         Poor posture

·         Trauma like that sustained in a motor vehicle accident

·         Osteoarthritic changes in the neck joints

·         Stress and tension

·         Jaw issues

 

Neck pain and headaches are often made worse by extended periods of sitting.  The neck is tender to the touch and head movements can be restricted.

 The precise reason for a headache occurring may be complicated and therefore, it is important that a Physiotherapist completes a thorough assessment to determine if the symptoms fit the cervicogenic pattern.

 At Albert Park Physiotherapy, we have a number of effective ways to treat cervicogenic headaches including:

·         Manual therapy such as massage and spinal mobilisation

·         Trigger point dry needling

·         Exercise therapy

·         The provision of education, advice and assurance to ensure a person understands the nature of their headache and has the knowledge to actively participate in the care of their neck.

 If you are experiencing headaches or require further information about the above blog, please do not hesitate to contact the clinic.

KNEE OSTEOARTHRITIS

Diagnosis

It is now accepted that the best way to diagnosis osteoarthritis in your knee (and many other joints for that matter) is your health practitioner interviewing you thoroughly about your problem and closely examining your knee – especially how it looks, feels, moves and most importantly, determining what you can and can’t do easily.

In most cases X-rays and/or scans are not necessary for diagnosis, and are not helpful for determining the severity of your problem or what treatment is best for you.

Management

The most important person involved in managing your knee arthritis is you!

A Physiotherapist’s role is to educate and advise you on the nature of your problem and how best to manage it so you can minimize its effect on your daily life. So, in a way, your physiotherapist acts like your personal “body” coach!

In the case of knee osteoarthritis, there are three main areas of management that are the key to a good outcome:

1.      Keeping your joint healthy – Learning how to protect your knee from exacerbations, what best to do if such a flare up occurs and maintaining your knee joint in as good a condition as possible. Your physiotherapist can advise you on all of these important strategies.

2.      Exercise – this includes strengthening and stretching exercises and increasing your general fitness – your physiotherapist will design a program especially for you and your lifestyle. Research has shown that exercise is as effective as drug treatment for management of knee osteoarthritis and, of course, has less side-effects and great side benefits!

3.      Weight loss and load management – knees are very sensitive to weight gain, so even a small loss of weight can reap great benefits for your knee. Your physiotherapist can give you advice on modifying your activity, exercise and/or sport routines so you are not overloading the knee.

Good management of knee osteoarthritis means less pain and disability and hopefully puts off or negates the need for surgery in the future.

 

Warning: Sitting may kill you!

 
 

In recent years, Australians have become increasingly accustomed to sitting down—at work, on the couch, in the car—and it’s taking a major toll on the health of individuals and our economy.

This sedentary lifestyle is part of the widespread problem of obesity and other related health diseases that lead to more than 7,200 deaths each year. This is why Albert Park Physiotherapy supports the Australian Physiotherapy Association’s ‘Australia’s Biggest Killers’ campaign; aiming to encourage Australians to get off the couch, get moving, and embrace healthy and active lifestyles.  

Obesity in Australia—what’s the impact?
In the past twenty years, obesity has become the leading cause of premature death and illness in Australia, with 14 million Australians now considered overweight or obese.

In their latest study, the Monash Obesity and Diabetes Institute found that if weight gain continues at current levels, close to eighty per cent of adults and thirty-three per cent of children will be overweight or obese by 2025.

Being overweight or obese puts you at high risk of:

  •   Heart disease
  •   Stroke
  •   Type 2 diabetes
  •   High blood pressure (hypertension)
  •   Kidney disease
  •   Osteoarthritis
  •   Endometrial, breast, and colon cancers
  •   Mental health and eating disorders

How can you tell if you are at risk of being overweight or obese?
By using two well recognised methods of determining if you are overweight or obese, such as the Body Mass Index (BMI) and Waist Circumference.

BMI
BMI= weight(kg)/height (m)2

  •   25 to 29.9 (Overweight)
  •   30 to 39.9 (Obese)
  •   40+ (Severely obese)

Waist Circumference
You are more likely to develop obesity-related health problems if you are: 

  •    Male with > 95cm waist circumference
  •    Female with > 80cm waist circumference

Combatting the issue—it all starts with getting active
Research shows that more than 6.4 million Australians are currently doing less than an hour and a half of physical activity per week. Sitting is associated with weight gain and obesity, unhealthy blood-glucose and blood-lipid profiles, and premature death from heart disease. To combat these outcomes we need to be moving more—not just exercising for thirty minutes, but regularly moving throughout the day; even something as simple as standing up while you’re at work.

Inactivity is not the only cause of weight gain. There may be other determinants at play such as social, environmental, behavioural, genetic, physiological, or psychological factors. Thus, we need a range of resources, education, and support services that can help us to make long-term changes to our quality of life.

How a Physio can help
At Albert Park Physiotherapy, our physiotherapists can: design exercise programs for individuals who are obese or overweight; identify and prescribe programs most suited to your medical condition; develop a program of exercise to increase your physical activity safely and effectively; and help identify necessary and achievable changes in your lifestyle.

An initial referral to a physio can be a good way to get started with short-term goals that will assist you to maintain a healthy lifestyle.

Resources:
100 ways to move
ABC Health and Wellbeing
Australian Institute of Health and Welfare
Baker IDI Heart & Diabetes Institute
Better Health Channel
Heart Foundation
Monash Obesity and Diabetes Institute
Obesity Australia

Australia's Biggest Killer. Australian Physiotherapy Association (APA). (2016, June). Retrieved from http://www.physiotherapy.asn.au/APAWCM/Advocacy/Campaigns/APAWCM/
Advocacy/Campaigns/Australia_s_Biggest_Killer.aspx 

 

SORE KNEES? – IT’S NOT ALL BAD NEWS!

 

Are you middle-aged, a tad overweight, and suddenly experiencing soreness and stiffness in your knee(s)?  This may have come on after a jarring incident, an increase in weight bearing activity, or for almost no reason at all.  Don’t panic! This does not necessarily mean you are on the slippery slide to a knee replacement!

The most common causes of knee pain in later life that comes on without a significant injury, are the normal aging changes that occur in our joints. Just as we look older on the outside – we also change on the inside!

In the knee, the surfaces of our joints and the menisci (‘cartilages’), which normally cushion our joints, undergo aging processes. In the case of the menisci, they stay in place even though they may wear down or even crack and split. Many of us will not experience any symptoms at all. Some will experience episodes of stiffness and aching when they walk or run, use stairs, or even after periods of rest.

The good news is that in most cases, modifying activity, losing weight, and doing some simple stretching and strengthening exercises for your legs and pelvis, can help to settle symptoms and keep you active for longer.

Physiotherapists at Albert Park Physiotherapy can help assess what your ‘sore knees’ need and prescribe advice and a tailored exercise program.

The important thing to remember is that even if your x-rays/scans show ‘tears in your cartilages’ and/or ‘arthritis’, most people can be helped by non-surgical treatment and either significantly delay or avoid joint replacement surgery in the future1,2.

1Yim JH, Seon JK, Song EK, Choi JI, AU: Kim MC, Lee KB, Seo HY. (2013) "A comparative study of meniscectomy and non-operative treatment for degenerative horizontal tears of the medial meniscus." The American Journal of Sports Medicine 41: 7, 1565-70

2Katz JN1, Brophy RH,(2013) “Surgery versus physical therapy for a meniscal tear and osteoarthritis.” N Engl J Med. May 2; 368(18):1675-84