Month: November 2021

Chronic Regional Pain Syndrome – CRPS

What is CRPS?

Complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS) is a term characterised by chronic
persistent pain. CRPS can affect any part of the body, but mainly occurs in the arm
or leg following injury and often involves certain changes to the area including
extremely sensitive skin, reduced function in the hand or foot, redness, warmth,
swelling, and changes to the way nails and hair grow. The onset is mostly
associated with a trauma, surgery or immobilisation however there is no link
between the severity of injury and subsequent CRPS.

What causes CRPS?

It is not clear what causes CRPS however once triggered changes occur in the way
the nerves function. Nerves that carry motor information (nerves that drive
movement), sensory information (nerves that drive feeling and touch) and those
that play a role in other functions including blood flow, which affects temperature
and colour changes within the skin can be affected. This can often lead to weakness
and stiffness.

Who gets CRPS?

CRPS affects approximately 5 out of every 100,000 people with a female to male
ratio of 3.5:1. The lower limbs are generally more affected than upper limbs with
the leg affected in 60% of cases and the arm in 40%.

CRPS symptoms

The diagnosis of CRPS is not based on a single test with a black and white result
however there are a range of symptoms that may lead to the diagnosis of CRPS.
● Constant pain, higher than the normally perceived pain
● Extremely sensitive skin eg painful to gentle touch or numbness
● Temperature changes eg sweating or extremely cold
● Skin colour changes eg blotchy, pale, red, blue
● Reduced or painful range of motion
● Changes in hair and nails
● Swelling

Treatment for CRPS

There is no simple treatment for CRPS and treatment will often involve a number of
different modalities with the aim to restore movement and function of the affected
limb and reduce pain. Some common treatment approaches include:
● Physiotherapy – often involves patient education surrounding pain, manual
therapy techniques to improve range of motion and most importantly
exercises to improve the strength and functioning of the affected limb.
● Pain relieving medications.
● Psychological support – to help cope with stress, sleep disturbances and
chronic pain.

Reducing injury risk post lockdown – Michael Freeman

Top 4 tips to reduce injury risk when returning to exercise post-lockdown

Have you recently returned to sport or the gym since coming out of lockdown and found you could barely move the next day? Don’t worry – me too! This general soreness is completely normal and is a sign your body is responding to a new exercise stimulus and needs to adapt.

 

Different to this general soreness however is an actual injury (more on this in an upcoming post). With the excitement of Victoria opening up and returning to a “Covid-normal”, we have seen a number of injuries in people returning to sport and the gym.

Here are my Top 4 tips to reduce your injury risk during this time!

1) Ease your way back in!

You could be forgiven in all the excitement to start exactly where you left off, and you may get away with it, but unfortunately going from “zero to hero” and the “all or nothing” approach may also bring you unstuck.

A gradual build back towards your pre-lockdown activity levels will greatly reduce your injury risk and can be broken down into four key areas:

Intensity: how hard are you working? How much are you puffing and sweating?
Duration: how long are you exercising for?
Frequency: how many times per week?
Type: is the activity or skill new or different?

If you can avoid a big spike in these areas you’ll greatly reduce your risk of injury. There are simple and effective ways of monitoring your exercise workload, which I’ll cover in an upcoming post.

2) Warm-up!

Getting your body moving before exercise is a quick and easy way to reduce your injury risk. Aim for a more active warm-up rather than static stretches (i.e. sitting down touching your toes). Think squats, leg swings, windmills etc. It doesn’t have to take long and whatever you can do to get your body moving and feeling warm will help prepare the body for what’s to come!

3) Recover! Recover! Recover!

The importance of recovery cannot be understated during this time.

 

This can come in many forms, but by far the most important one is sleep! Of course we all sleep, but how well do we sleep? Do you go to bed quite late or wake up really tired? During sleep is where a lot of our body’s natural recovery and healing occurs, and so good sleep hygiene will help your body to recover in time for the next exercise session. A day in between exercise sessions is in a lot of cases a good idea to help reduce your injury risk.

There are many other recovery strategies that you could utilise and they include:

– Stretching
– Foam rolling/spiky ball use
– Hot/cold showers
– Beach recovery (if you’re game to brave Victoria’s chilly water!)

– Good nutrition

4) Listen to your body!

Last but not least is listen to your body! Sometimes for no apparent reason we feel really great and better than expected during an exercise session, and sometimes we feel really lousy and worse than expected. This is normal. So listen to your body, and if you’re feeling fantastic push yourself a little harder, and if you’re feeling a bit off then look after yourself and consider doing a little less.

So there you have it…

 

My top 4 tips to reducing your risk of injury post-lockdown. I hope you’ve found them useful and help you make a successful return to whichever form of exercise you enjoy! If you’ve succumbed to a post-lockdown injury or have a niggle and feel like you might be on the verge of one, go and visit your physiotherapist today and they can help you get back on track and fit and firing!

Men’s Health – Movember facts

MEN’S HEALTH

Globally, men die on average 5 years earlier than women, and for reasons that are largely preventable. Which means that it doesn’t have to be that way: we can all take action to live healthier, happier and longer lives.

5 tips for men or the men in your lives from the Movember foundation to improve their health:

  • Spend time with people that make you feel good.
  • Talk, more.
  • Know the numbers.
  • Know thy nuts. Simple.
  • Move, move.

More details on the above can be found at the Movember website.