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)

Remembering Betty

Raising Awareness for Multiple Sclerosis & Moving better with Neurological Physiotherapy

Life is what you make of it, whether you are completely healthy or whether you have a neurological condition. Evidence of this lies with Betty Cuthbert, who was a four time Olympic Gold Medallist who passed away this month at the age of 79. Betty was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis in her 30s and an active campaigner for Multiple Sclerosis. In her 50s, Betty’s mobility was limited to her wheelchair, but that didn’t prevent her from being a final torchbearer at the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games.

Betty was quoted as saying “Never give up, never give up – Think of what you can do.”

This beautifully encapsulates one of the main principles in neurological physiotherapy. Rather than focusing on a persons’ impairment, we look at the whole person and focus on what they can do to help them live their life to the fullest. All physiotherapists integrate this principle from the International Classification of Functioning (ICF).

As shown the in above diagram, there are two sides to every element of health and functioning. For example, take the body structure of your quadriceps (the muscle group in the front your thigh which helps you stand and walk). If you hurt this muscle group, an activity such as standing at the sink to do your dishes might be too hard, and you might not want to participate in going for a long walk down the beach with your friend or partner. But this doesn’t necessarily mean you are bed ridden. You may still be able to go for shorter walks or stand with the assistance of an aid. If you have an acute injury such as a sports injury, the activities you do might change just over the short term. But with a neurological condition such as MS, your activities and participation might change over the long term, and may fluctuate over time; this is understandably frustrating. What is needed here is to analyse what you can do (maybe do a shorter walk) as well as what personal factors (a determined mind) and what environmental factors (good walking shoes, maybe a stick or crutches) will help you keep moving.

 

Betty Cuthbert was an inspiring Australian athlete who followed this principle of looking at the whole picture to make the most of her life. PhysioWest would like to recognise Betty’s inspiring work and send condolences to all who knew Betty.

 

If you would like more information on Multiple Sclerosis, please visit to MS Australia Website: https://www.msaustralia.org.au/

 

If you or someone close to you has a neurological condition such as MS and would like some help to get moving consult at PhysioWest today! I have a special interest in Neuro Physiotherapy and consult Monday to Friday at both our Mile End and Salisbury clinics.

 

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

Published by Laura Hundertmark, Physiotherapist, PhysioWest

 

Credit:

Diagram credit: http://www.arsalis.com/rehab-scales/images/blocks/1176903286/image-1.png?1176975371

Image credit: http://www.nowtolove.com.au/news/latest-news/honouring-golden-girl-betty-cuthbert-39800

 

 

 

 

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