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.