Physiotherapists manage and prevent many physical problems caused by illness, disease, sport and work related injury, aging, and long periods of inactivity.
Physiotherapists are skilled in the assessment and management of a broad range of conditions that affect the musculoskeletal, circulatory, respiratory and nervous systems. Here are some of the ways physiotherapy can help:
- Address physical challenges associated with back pain, arthritis, repetitive strain injury etc.
- Attend to sports injuries and provide advice on prevention and recurrence
- Get you back on your feet after surgery
- Treat neck and back pain and other joint injuries
You may require manual therapy, including joint mobilization or manipulation, electrical modalities, including ultrasound, TENS and other specialized techniques such as IMS or Acupuncture. Manual therapy and rehabilitation exercise are universally recognized as very effective treatment for musculoskeletal problems. Our approach emphasizes treatments which are shown to be safe and effective through evidence based research.
Response to treatment depends on the nature of the problem; many patients see rapid changes and pain relief, while others with more complicated problems will improve with work and time. Regardless, you can be sure that you will have the best quality of treatment for your problem, and the tools to help yourself get better!
What is Intramuscular Stimulation (IMS)?
Intramuscular Stimulation (IMS) is an effective treatment for pain of neuropathic origin. This technique uses needles similar to the needles used in acupuncture to find and diagnose muscle shortening in deep muscles. This technique has few side-effects. When muscles become shortened, causing tension or further pain in other muscles and tissues, IMS directly treats the cause of the pain by relaxing the shortened muscle and allowing it to return to its normal state.
IMS was developed by Dr. Chan Gunn while he was a clinic physician at the Worker’s Compensation Board of British Columbia. He is presently President of iSTOP and clinical professor at the University of Washington’s Multi Disciplinary Pain Center in Seattle. Dr. Gunn has been awarded The Order of British Columbia as well as The Order of Canada, the nation’s highest honor, for his contributions towards solving chronic pain. He has also been elected Honorary Fellow of Peterhouse Cambridge University.
IMS uses implements adapted from traditional acupuncture, it is based on scientific, neurophysiological principles. A trained physiotherapist inserts very fine needles, like those used in acupuncture, into the shortened muscle at the points where it is tight. You may not even feel it penetrating the skin, and if your muscle is normal, the needle is painless. However, if your muscle is supersensitive and shortened, you’ll feel a peculiar sensation – like a muscle cramp or Charlie Horse. This is a distinctive type of discomfort caused by the muscle grasping the needles. Patients soon learn to recognize and welcome this sensation. They call it a “good” or positive pain because it soon disappears and is followed by a feeling of relief no longer tight, you no longer feel it. What has happened is that the needling has caused your abnormal muscle shortening to intensity and then release.
The effects of IMS are cumulative – needling stimulates a certain amount of healing, until eventually, the condition is healed and the pain disappears.
The number of treatments you require will depend on several factors such as the duration and extent of your condition, how much scar tissue there is and how quickly your body can heal. If the pain is of recent origin, one treatment may be all that is necessary. In published studies of patients with low back pain, the average number of IMS treatments required was 8.2.
Supersensitivity and muscle shortening cannot be operated on and “cut away”. “Pain killers” and other analgesic pills only masks the pain. The goal of treatment is to release muscle shortening which presses on and irritates the nerve. Supersensitive areas can be desensitized and the persistent pull of shortened muscles released.
What is acupuncture?
Acupuncture is a therapeutic method used to encourage natural healing, reduce or relieve pain and improve function of injured areas of the body. Classical acupuncture was developed in China as a system of diagnosing and treating pain and disease. Acupuncture is safe and effective and is often successfully used as an alternative to medications. The procedure involves the insertion of very fine needles through the skin and tissues at specific points on the body. There is no injection of any substance and the treatment itself causes minimal discomfort. Is it safe? Acupuncture is safe when practiced by someone with appropriate training. Acupuncture Foundation Of Canada Institute (AFCI) members are trained to use the strictest hygiene; we use sterilized needles in sealed packages. These needles are used only once and then disposed of. Any side effects are extremely rare. There are a few cases in which acupuncture is inappropriate. Your physiotherapist will run through a series of questions with you before treatment is started to discover whether there are any contraindications to the use of acupuncture.
Does it hurt?
This is the most common question asked by patients when needles are used. Acupuncture needles are so fine that the prick of the needle as it goes through the skin is barely felt. Most patients feel only minimal discomfort as the needles are inserted: some feel no pain at all. Once the needles are in place, there should be no significant discomfort. How many treatments will be required?
The number of treatments will vary with each individual and the condition being treated. For acute problems, only a few treatments may be required. In some cases, one treatment will be sufficient. For complex or chronic conditions, one or two treatments a week for several weeks may be recommended with less frequent treatment as improvement occurs. Treatment sessions usually last between 15 and 20 minutes. Relief may be immediate or occur within a few hours, or after a few days. In some conditions, several sessions may be required before improvement is noticed. Eighty to ninety percent of patients respond well to acupuncture with noticeable improvement. Acupuncture can be used as the only form of therapy or it may be combined successfully with other forms of physiotherapy.Is there any special advice to follow before an acupuncture treatment? Acupuncture treatment can be done at any time. Patients are advised to be will rested and have a light meal before treatment. It is best to avoid alcohol or sedatives for four hours prior to treatment and tobacco one hour prior to treatment. Pain medication may be taken as required. What about after treatment?
If possible, a short rest after treatment is desirable, but not essential. Some patients feel unusually relaxed and prefer to plan activities accordingly. Strong exercise is not recommended immediately after treatment. For painful conditions, avoid strenuous activity for 48 hours after treatment. Alcohol and ideally caffeine and cigarettes, should be avoided for at least two hours. Medication as directed by your physician, may be taken as required.Why a Physiotherapist?
Registered physiotherapists with acupuncture certification combine traditional treatment methods such manual therapy, electrical modalities and exercise as well as acupuncture to treat musculoskeletal conditions.
Massage therapy is a hands-on treatment that involves manipulation of the soft tissue structures of the body (muscle, skin and connective tissue, tendons, ligaments, and membranes) to prevent and alleviate pain, discomfort and muscle spasm.
Massage therapy also promotes health and wellness. It improves the functioning of the circulatory, muscular, skeletal, and nervous systems, and helps increase recovery from injury and illness.
W hat are the benefits of massage therapy?
- Post injury and post operative rehabilitation
- Provides relief from pain
- Strengthens the immune system
- Relieves stress and promotes relaxation
- Reduces muscle spasms, tension, and stiffness
- Helps to relieve tension related headaches
- Enhances circulation and skin health
- Provides greater joint flexibility and range of motion
- Promotes deeper and easier breathing
- Improves circulation and posture
- Helps heal strained muscles and sprained ligaments
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Are you looking to continue your rehabilitation outside of the clinic? Having a personal trainer at your side is a safe and successfull way to achieve your health and fitness goals. Our personal trainer will customize your rehabilitation program to the exercise equipment available at a gym, community center or your home exercise equipment.
HOW TO GET STARTED: Please contact the exercise therapist directly at 604-532-5722 to schedule an appointment.