Effective Physiotherapy Techniques and Exercises for Pain Management and Injury Recovery

A physiotherapy clinic offers a variety of services to help patients manage pain and injuries. The physical therapists in these facilities use techniques such as manual therapy, ultrasound and electrical stimulation to help patients reduce pain, improve flexibility, strength, balance, and endurance.

They can also teach patients healthy lifestyle habits to prevent the pain from returning.

1. Roll Your Spine

Performing foam rolling exercises is an excellent way to alleviate lower back pain. This technique involves lying on the floor and placing a roller across your upper back, just below your shoulder blades. Use the roller to massage the paraspinal muscles and traps, which help with posture and movement. It’s also important to pair the foam rolling with deep breathing. This will help the muscles relax and reduce tension, says Umberger.

Physiotherapy (also known as physical therapy) is a medical profession that promotes, maintains, and restores health and well-being through examination, diagnosis, management, and physical intervention. It takes a ‘whole person’ approach, which includes patient education, manual therapy, and lifestyle advice. Physiotherapists are professionally trained and regulated healthcare practitioners who specialise in the musculoskeletal system.

The benefits of physiotherapy include pain relief, mobility, and improved quality of life. The treatment is also effective in the prevention of injury, illness, and disability. Physiotherapy is available on the NHS and privately, with many physiotherapists accepting self-referrals.

Physiotherapy clinic in Canberra uses a wide range of techniques, including soft tissue massage, stretching to relieve tension, joint mobilization, electrotherapy, and corrective exercise. A physiotherapist will first evaluate your condition to determine what is causing you pain and create a personalized plan of treatment for your specific needs.

2. Leg Lifts

Despite not looking like the most sexy or intimidating exercise, leg lifts are one of the gym’s “uncut gems.” They can be modified to suit your level of fitness, and they help you build a stronger core. They can also help alleviate lower back pain and improve posture.

When done correctly, the leg lift is a great core exercise that targets all of your abdominal muscles. It also hits your hip flexors and back muscles, which are important for spinal stability. The leg lift also works your inner thighs, which are considered part of the core in Pilates. Having strong core muscles is directly linked to better balance and posture. The leg lift is an excellent choice for people with back issues because it is low-impact and can be easily modified to accommodate any mobility restrictions.

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Unlike crunches, leg lifts engage the entire core to improve spinal stability and decrease muscle imbalances. They also target the deep and internal back muscles, including the multifidus and erector spinae. These muscles work together to increase spine strength and prevent back injury by strengthening the core and stabilizing the hips.

When performing the leg lift, it’s essential to make sure your abs are tight. This will help to pull in the belly button and prevent the sagging of the lower back that can lead to discomfort. It is also important to engage the glutes when performing the leg lift. This is the best way to ensure that you are activating your muscles properly and not causing any additional stress on the back. Adding resistance to the leg lift with an ankle weight or a resistance band will increase the challenge for the core muscles.

3. Squats

Squats are a fundamental strength training exercise that can help alleviate lower back pain. This exercise targets a large group of muscles, including the glutes, quadriceps, hamstrings, and calves. It can also strengthen the core. Incorporating squats into your workout routine can also improve your balance and posture. However, it’s important to learn how to perform squats correctly so that you don’t cause injury.

The goal of squats is to get your knees as close to parallel to the ground as possible while keeping your heels stacked over your toes. Many people do not squat properly and end up pushing their knees further out than they should, causing spinal compression. The other major mistake that leads to low back pain is rounding of the spine while squatting. This causes the rib cage to move forward of the pelvis and puts stress on the lumbar discs, which can contribute to back pain.

Adding squats to your regular exercise routine can improve bone density, which reduces your risk of osteoporosis later in life. But, before you start squatting regularly, talk to your health professional about what’s best for your body.

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You may need to modify your squat movements and progression depending on your current fitness level, the type of squats you’re doing, and other factors, says Ambler-Wright. If you have a knee or hip injury, you may need to stand wider or lower your squat to prevent joint discomfort or injury. Women who are pregnant should also consult their doctor about whether squats are safe to do.

Adding squats to your workout routine can also increase your metabolism and burn more calories. This is because squats work multiple muscle groups at once and stimulate the production of anabolic hormones, which help you lose weight and build muscle.

4. Planks

The plank is a core exercise that helps strengthen your whole body from head to toe. This type of isometric exercise (where the muscles are contracted in one position for a long period of time) has been shown to improve core strength, balance, posture and muscular endurance. It can also help reduce lower back pain and increase athletic performance (6,7).

Unfortunately, many people do not perform the plank correctly. This not only negates the core-strengthening benefits of the exercise, but it can cause low back pain. Some common reasons for poor plank form include:

1. Your shoulders are too high (pike plank): You want to try to get into a neutral spine position, with your shoulders stacked directly over your hips. You do this by protracting the shoulder blades. This allows for a more efficient contraction of the abdominal muscle, taking some of the load off the lumbar spine and reducing stress in the front of the body (2).

2. Your hips are too low (sag plank): You want to try and keep the pelvis in a more neutral position during your plank, with the hips about 1 to 2 inches below the shoulders. This ensures that you engage and strengthen the correct muscles, which helps alleviate low back pain by helping to take some of the load off the lumbar spinal discs (3).

In summary, the plank is a great exercise that can greatly reduce lower back pain when performed correctly. It is well worth doing every day to help improve your posture, reduce your back pain and prevent future injuries! The most important thing is to remember that the plank can only be as effective as you make it.

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5. Leg Raises

Leg raises are a great exercise for the lower abdominal muscles. The exercise can also work your hip flexor muscles and hamstrings. It is a bodyweight exercise that can be done anywhere. It is a cornerstone exercise for patients that need to build up their core strength before they are able to place full weight on a joint or limb. Over my 34 years as a Physical Therapist (PT), I have prescribed this exercise to many patients that have injured their shoulder, knee, ankle and lower back.

The exercise puts a lot of pressure on the spine, especially when performing a double leg lift. This is due to the fact that when you raise your legs, you are essentially pulling yourself into a flexed position with your back. This is the same as when you are bending at the waist and pushing your pelvis up into an anterior pelvic tilt. Unless you are using cushioned mats, this will cause your spine to grind into the floor.

In addition to putting stress on the spine, the lumbar spinal nerves are compressed when you raise your legs. This can cause a feeling of pain in the low back, which is known as sciatica.

To alleviate this pain, you can try performing single leg raises at first, and then gradually progress to doing double leg raises. To make the exercise even harder, you can add weight by gripping a medicine ball between your feet during the movement. If you do this, be sure to perform a few sets and start off slow, until you build up your core strength. Alternatively, you can do a variation of the leg lift by bringing your feet closer to your body, which takes less force through your core.