When our joints are working well we don’t notice them but as we get older or as a result of injuries they can become stiff and sore so that simple movements like getting out of a chair or climbing the stairs can be painful. X-rays may show “degenerative changes” or “wear and tear” which sounds alarming but really just means that you are getting older! Many people worry that because a joint has become painful or stiff or they have been diagnosed with “degenerative changes” that nothing can be done to improve things but this is not true. A large amount of evidence exists which shows that the right type and amount of exercise helps the joints to be less painful and stiff. This in turn means that less painkillers are needed and normal activities can be maintained. At Stranmillis Physiotherapy we can help you to manage your joint symptoms so that you can maintain and improve your function.
Maureen is in her sixties and is a keen walker. Over the past few years she has noticed increasing stiffness in both knees especially in the mornings. Her right knee started to hurt when she knelt down or when she used the stairs so she went to her GP who organised x-rays of her knees. These showed mild degenerative changes and she was prescribed pain killers which made little or no difference to her symptoms. Maureen visited Stranmillis Physiotherapy as she was worried that she would have to stop walking and wanted to keep active for as long as possible. Maureen’s knee pain and stiffness was addressed using joint mobilisation, LASER and targeted exercises. Her pain and stiffness settled down within 3 sessions. Maureen was taught easy self-help measures to control her pain and stiffness and she was advised that although “wear and tear” cannot be reversed, these simple measures would keep her symptoms under control. Maureen said she was now less worried about the future because she felt more in control of her situation and knew what to do if the pain and stiffness returned.
Stephen came to Stranmillis Physiotherapy complaining of low back pain and stiffness which had come and gone over the past 10 years but now seems to be happening more often and lasting longer. This most recent episode came on after he had spent a few nights sleeping in a caravan 2 weeks previous to his visit and the pain has persisted ever since. Stephen works as a Sales Rep., so spends most of his time sitting either at a desk or in his car. He used to run several times a week doing around 5km each time but hasn’t done any running for about a year due to work and family commitments and admits to being afraid of making his back worse. Assessment of his alignment and sitting posture revealed marked stiffness in his back, weakness of his deep muscle layers and stooped posture. He was treated with various joint and soft-tissue techniques which settled his pain. He was taught some exercises to reduce the stress on his back and to address his poor sitting posture. A return to running programme was devised and a post-run stretching programme was taught. Stephen was advised on how to manage any symptoms that might arise as he increased his running mileage. On discharge Stephen said that not only was he pain and stiffness-free for the first time in a long time but that he now had the knowledge and confidence to manage his back for the future. Stephen’s pain was gone within 3 sessions and he had 5 treatment sessions in total spread over about 6 weeks.