Secrets to Reducing Aches and Pains as we Age (A Physiotherapists Perspective) — John Wood — 11th December 2017

John, ori­gin­ally from Canterbury, trained in Bradford, came to Sheffield to work in the Northern General, and since 1998, has been self-employed, as the Clinical Director of ‘Sheffield Physiotherapy’ on Ecclesall Rd. Acupuncture is also car­ried out at the prac­tice.

Johns descrip­tion of the aches and pains which he routinely treats, res­on­ated with the mem­bers. What fol­lowed were his ‘Secrets’ to help us to ease these prob­lems.

Secret 1

Physiotherapy is a heal­ing pro­cess,  which is built up over time, not an event. It is a rehab­il­it­a­tion, which is pro­gress­ive, and tre­mend­ously power­ful.    So, don’t let prob­lems creep up on you because you are too busy with life.

The solu­tion is to do daily exer­cises on the prob­lem joints or muscles, but don’t do too much too soon and not enough later. Do a bit each day. Action and stim­u­la­tion is needed.

Use it or lose it!

Secret 2

X-rays or MRI Scans don’t pick up pain, which could be coming from a muscle prob­lem, rather than the nervous system or other parts of the body.

Secret 3

Older people tend to use the wrong muscles, the wrong way with poor pos­tures. Shoulders for­ward, stom­ach out, and straight lumber regions. The solu­tion is to envis­age a cord from the top of your head pulling you upright with shoulders back and stom­ach in. Exercise  every day for 3 to 4 weeks to loosen and strengthen all muscles, includ­ing back and neck. The exer­cise will then become a routine.

Secret 4

If we have pain in a knee for example, we tend to stop doing the things we were doing. This is then a slip­pery slope as we deteri­or­ate, put on weight, and go from bad to worse. A vicious cycle should be replaced with a vir­tu­ous cycle. Don’t leave the prob­lem for years, treat the prob­lem now!

Secret 5

Get to the cause of any prob­lem. This is good physio­ther­apy.    When we age, the muscles get shorter and tighter, so we need to loosen up. The body works as one with every muscle depend­ing on every other. Strengthening the weak ones will help all the others; but beware! Doing the wrong exer­cises, espe­cially if you go to a gym­nas­ium and prac­tice anec­dotal or D.I.Y. the­or­ies, advice is needed on the appro­pri­ate suit­able type.

Mechanical energy is used in modern physio­ther­apy on joints and tis­sues such as, I.D.D. Therapy (Intervertebral Differential Dynamics), which involves being strapped to a machine which can twist and flex each ver­teb­ral joint in turn to loosen them.   Theraflex is another tech­nique involving a hand held pulsat­ing device to flex joints in turn.  VIPP (Very Intense Pressure Pulse) Shockwave involves a 25,000V nano­second dur­a­tion shock­wave to activ­ate recov­ery.    Ultrasound  is also used to dis­sip­ate bruises and activ­ate cells to repair them­selves. (UV used to be used to do the same thing).

Bonus Secret 6

Remember, you don’t have a body, you are a body! Human inter­ac­tion is import­ant to us. Use whatever method suits you to ease your pain – mas­sage, physio­ther­apy, yoga, pil­ates….. but remem­ber, the ther­ap­ist is as import­ant as the ther­apy.

Johns’ ver­dict:

Why  should we look after ourselves? — Because we’re worth it!!”

A very encour­aging note on which to end a very enjoy­able and salut­ary talk.