Comprehensive and specialised physiotherapy services

Evidence-Based Remedial Massage Therapy

How To Get The Best Out Of It!

Physio West | Physiotherapy, exercise therapy and massage services in Adelaide, South Australia.

Massage therapy is the most popular complementary therapy used by the Australian public. With research in massage therapy gaining significant attention over the last 30 years, clinical evidence exists to support the efficacies of massage therapy on many health conditions, including chronic low back pain. This growing body of research supports massage to become an evidence-based practice.

As a remedial massage therapist at PhysioWest, while pursuing a higher research degree in low back pain, I often wonder what evidence-based practice means in remedial massage. Importantly, what does it mean to you: a person considering remedial massage, or already enjoying remedial massage at our clinic? Let me expand this topic to offer some practical tips to help you get the best out of it!

Evidence-based practice is described as the thoughtful use of the best current evidence in making decisions about the care of the individual patient. In physical therapy, which includes massage and physiotherapy, the approach integrates clinical expertise and takes patient desires, values, and needs into consideration. A study published in the May 2018 volume of the Complementary Therapies in Clinical Practice Journal, states that although massage therapists in Australia have very good access to apply research evidence in their practice, the majority do not. Those that do are often those that undertake continuing professional education and are members with reputable Professional Associations.

In addition to research evidence, another form of evidence, often overlooked, is experiential evidence – that is, the clinical experience gathered by the therapist as well as the experience of the person who receives the treatment. Yes, your experience reflected back to the therapist is of crucial importance to getting the best out of evidence-based treatments!

Tips to get the most out of evidence-based practice of massage are:

  • Find and use a clinic whose practices are professionally accredited (e.g. partnered by health funds)
  • Book your massage with qualified remedial massage therapists (Diploma or higher)
  • Ask your therapist what type of massage he/she is trained in? (you want someone who can clearly explain their knowledge as applicable to you)
  • Ask if he/she is a member of an established professional association for massage therapists? (e.g. Massage and Myotherapy Australia, previously AAMT, or the Australian Natural Therapists Association, ANTA)
  • If all is safe and agreeable to your standards, trial the massage and take note of your experience during and after the massage
  • Afterwards, reflect and evaluate your “experiential evidence” on how you felt following the treatment (sometimes, the treatment plan may include 3 or more treatments)
  • Reflect and answer this for yourself: Is this treatment good for me? Trust your experiential evidence
  • If Yes, book another massage with that therapist at that clinic!

What does the latest research say about treating low back pain?

Finding the right treatment for low back pain can be tricky, especially because there are so many different options from a wide range of health professionals and therapists. A recent study has
outlined which treatment methods have been shown to be effective in treating low back pain and the findings are summarised below:

1. Advice to remain active and education should always be provided regardless if the pain is acute or chronic

2. Exercise should always be prescribed, and it doesn’t matter what type of exercise it is

3. Hands-on therapies such as massage, joint mobilisation and manipulation can be used as an adjunctive treatment

4. Pain medication such as paracetamol and opioids should not be used to treat low back pain, whereas anti-inflammatories can be used as an adjunctive treatment

5. Low back pain should be addressed by primary care practitioners such as a GP or physiotherapist first who can screen for more serious pathologies

6. Imaging such as X-rays and MRIs are rarely necessary for most low back pain presentations

The bottom line is that if you are experiencing low back pain for either a short or long period of time, you should be trying to stay active as much as possible. You should also see a health professional or therapist such as a physiotherapist who can provide education on your condition and pain in general, prescribe exercises based on your individual needs, and treat your acute symptoms with hands-on therapy.

Let us help you find the right treatment for your pain. Make an appointment online today.

Physio West | Physiotherapy, exercise therapy and massage services in Adelaide, South Australia.

Blog produced by Spencer (Physiotherapist, PhysioWest)

Do you suffer from chronic neck stiffness and pain?

Yes?

Many of us do,  but you don’t need to suffer any longer!

 

Neck pain is a significant health problem with 1 in 2 people experiencing neck pain at least once in their lifetime, according to a 2016 worldwide review.  Neck pain is often recurrent and of non-specific in nature. With most of us gazing at computers or staring down at our smart devices most of the day, it’s safe to say that stiff and painful necks are not going to go away.

 

So what can you do about it?

Here are three easy things you can do that will help:

  1. Put your computer monitor at eye level and sit up straight to avoid tilting and twisting your head down or to the side while you are on the computer.
  2. When looking at your smart device, be sure to take frequent breaks and avoid having your neck bent in any one position for long periods of time
  3. The key to relief for a stiff neck is proper and regular stretching. So try doing these simple exercises as often as you can:
    • Roll your shoulders backwards and down, hold for 10 seconds, relax, repeat 5 times
    • Squeeze your shoulder blades together, hold for 10 seconds, relax, repeat 5 times
    • Push your head backwards into car head rest or hands, hold 10 seconds, repeat 5 times
    • Bring your ear to your shoulder, hold for 10 seconds, repeat 5 times.
    • Book a head and shoulders massage and feel the relief

We would love to help you get to the bottom of your neck pain. Book online today or call 8352 3582 and make an appointment.

Physio West | Physiotherapy, exercise therapy and massage services in Adelaide, South Australia.

Blog prepared by: Alan Quek (Remedial Massage Therapist)

Is your car seat driving you up the wall?

When achey pains and niggles pop up, you often find yourself hunting for answers as to what could be causing the problem. One thing that is often missed, particularly with spinal pain, is the importance of your seating position while driving your car.

Driving is something that most people do every day, anywhere from 5 minutes to the local shops, to an hours commute to work. Our body loves to be kept moving, and the longer it’s left in once position, the stiffer things become. If you are poorly set up in the car, this may speed the rate at which those areas tighten up, predisposing you to picking up injuries with simple day to day tasks.

So what to look for? Here are a couple of simple tips to consider in relation to your position while sitting in your car.

  1. Adjust your wheel position
    Reaching for the wheel or sitting to close, can both alter your sitting posture in the car. Have your hands just below shoulder height, with a small bend in your elbows as you place your hands at 10 and 2 o’clock on the wheel. Your shoulder blades should sit comfortably against the backrest of the seat.

 

  1. Adjust your reach to the pedals
    Sitting too close to the pedals can cause your hips and knees to be too flexed, while reaching for them can force you to strain to get there. Similar to the arms, position your legs so they rest in a slightly flexed position, such that your knees and hips are kept roughly level.

 

  1. Adjust the seat angle
    Once again, too far in either direction can create discomfort. Too much recline will encourage your upper back and neck to poke forwards. Sitting too upright will feel rigid and restrictive. Allow a small recline enough that you can keep your shoulder blades against the chair with your bottom in the back of the seat.

 

  1. Lumbar support
    Different backs will need different degrees of support above the pelvis. Play around with the feeling of a rolled up towel in the small of your back to avoid slumping, and giving your back extra support while sitting.

 

Car Assessments are undertaken at both our Salisbury and Mile End clinics. Mention this to reception when making a booking.

 

Physio West | Workplace Injuries & Motor Vehicle Accidents | Physiotherapy, exercise therapy and massage services in Adelaide, South Australia.

Blog prepared by Matt Nowosilskyj (Physiotherapist)

Should I get an x-ray?

Do I need an X-ray for my lower back?

If you’ve ever had lower back pain before, you’ve probably thought about getting an xray. At the time it may seem reasonable given how severe lower back pain can feel in the first few days. The truth is that having imaging of your lower back may be doing more harm than good, and in most cases is entirely unnecessary.

 

If you have imaging such as an X-ray or MRI of your lower back, it is likely that the results will come back with scary words such as disc bulge or joint degeneration. Seeing these phrases can result in harmful behaviours such as avoiding movement in fear of further “damaging” your lower back. This will more than likely increase the level of pain that you are experiencing.

 

The reality is that these age-related changes are completely normal, and can be found in more than a third of people from 20-40 years old, and more than half of people over 40.That means that if I went and had an X-ray of my lower back, there is a good chance that the results would come back with some form of disc bulge or degeneration, even though I don’t have back pain!

 

So what should I do?

Lower back pain is usually very painful in the first few days, but the most important thing to do is to get up and get moving. The worst thing you can do is lie in bed or sit on the couch all day, thinking only about how sore your back is.

 

At PhysioWest, a thorough assessment of your lower back will be performed by a physiotherapist to determine the cause of your back pain, and will refer you for imaging if necessary. Imaging is usually only indicated if we suspect a more serious cause, or if your back pain is caused by trauma.

 

If you are experiencing lower back pain, book an appointment with a physiotherapist at PhysioWest who will be able to offer you some relief and get you up and moving. Book online or by calling 8352 3582.

Physio West | Physiotherapy, exercise therapy and massage services in Adelaide, South Australia.

Published by Spencer Davis, Physiotherapist, PhysioWest

 

 

Physio West | Back Pain | Physiotherapy, exercise therapy and massage services in Adelaide, South Australia.

My back is out… Where did it go?

As physio’s, we hear some really strong and scary language when it comes to describing injuries.

“I’ve thrown my back out”

 “My knee is gone”

“It’s grinding bone on bone”

“I have a pinched nerve”

“My back is out of whack – you need to realign it”

“I was told my nerve is being crushed by a huge buldging disc”

Maybe you’ve been told these things by a medical professional, or maybe you are just describing the way it feels because it really, really hurts. Either way, there are some pretty scary thoughts there. Pinching, grinding, crushing – Makes me sore just thinking about it. As nasty as they may sound, how realistic are they?

 

Pain science research is growing at the speed of knots, with some real shifts in the way we think about pain. One thing is clear:

Pain does not always equal damage.

Pain is our body’s protection mechanism to threat or danger.

When our brain detects a perceived threat, it will send out a pain response to that area as a warning signal. This will cause us to move and behave differently to look after that spot, minimising the risk of damage. So as much as pain sucks, you can see it is actually a very important protective response.

 

Tricky to get your head around, I know.

 

I’m not saying your pain isn’t real, or that it is all in your head, but the power of language cannot be under-estimated, as it often feeds the pain response and reinforces those negative images. Scary language can add to the threat of an injury, increasing your pain.

 

As physiotherapists, we can help you unravel some of those more threatening thoughts like your back being out, to dampen down the threat, leading to less pain.

 

If you are having trouble with pain that you can’t get on top of, come in for an assessment with one of our physiotherapists who will help determine the source of your symptoms, and help you understand them better to assist your recovery.

 

Physio West | Physiotherapy, exercise therapy and massage services in Adelaide, South Australia.

Published by Matt Nowosilkyj

Physiotherapist, PhysioWest

Physio West | Physiotherapy, exercise therapy and massage services in Adelaide, South Australia.

Remedial Massage – More than just a luxury

Massage Myth Debunked

Recently I overheard two mothers chatting while their kids were taking turns on the terrific Flying Fox ride at Bonython Park.  The first mother said that she had been feeling a bit run down of late, feeling sore through her back and was thinking of booking a massage. She asked her friend, “What do you think?”  The second mother replied, “I have always found facials more relaxing for me than massages. But then I have only had a few massages when away on holidays…”

 

Physio West | Physiotherapy, exercise therapy and massage services in Adelaide, South Australia.

While relaxation techniques are very individual, the conversation made me think of how often people I meet view massage as a luxury “relaxation” item that they indulge in only on holidays. The truth is that massages performed by properly qualified remedial massage therapists, offer much more than relaxation. I would even go as far in saying that regular massages are an essential maintenance therapy for your well-being. Remedial massage can be used as a form of ‘maintenance treatment’  to support optimal well-being.

 

In 2016, an American complementary therapy journal published a review on the use of massage therapy. They found beneficial effects on a wide range of varying conditions including prenatal depression, autism, pain syndromes including arthritis and fibromyalgia, hypertension, and multiple sclerosis. The study discussed that the benefits may relate to the stimulation of pressure receptors used in massage therapy that enhances vagal nerve activity and reduces cortisol levels.

Reading this, I smiled and thought, I must go back to Bonython Park soon and share this study with two mothers.

 

 

Use your private health insurance rebate towards remedial massage therapy at PhysioWest. 

Physio West | Physiotherapy, exercise therapy and massage services in Adelaide, South Australia.Alan Quek, Remedial Massage Therapist, PhysioWest