Physiotherapy Blog

Physiotherapy Blog UK

BACKCARE

A unique, free, simple to use, iPhone/iPod Touch/iPad application which provides information on all aspects of back care, and measures to help people with back pain, has been launched by the charity BackCare.

The app is called Back Care – for Back Pain and Bad Backs – and is now available from the Apple App Store.

BackCare’s Corporate Manager Janet Mee, who masterminded the project, said:
“We are always looking for new ways to help the 2.5 million people who suffer from back pain every single day in the UK.  We believe this is the first purpose built app in Europe to address the causes of Britain’s leading cause of disability – affecting 30 million people every year.
“Now, instead of having to search through books or the internet for back care information, it’s available, interactively, at the touch of a button!”

Users of the BackCare app are given basic facts about caring for their backs and how to avoid injuring them, illustrated with exercises shown on screen and videos showing the correct way to do them. The 22 videos show simple exercises, ranging from arm and leg extensions to neck and shoulder stretches. There are factsheets for cyclists, motorists, and office workers, giving them advice on how to avoid back pain.

In addition, another useful section  called “Me and My Back” allows people to keep a diary of their back pain, showing the areas affected and the level of pain. The data is saved and can be sent to the user’s email address or sent to a practitioner of their choice prior to an appointment.

An Expert at your Fingertips

BackCare’s, Janet Mee, highlights another very useful feature:
“By logging their postcode, App users will be able to locate local, qualified BackCare professionals who may be able to help them. Tabs will show full contact details – including name and address and phone numbers and directions using Google maps. So the best BackCare really will be at their fingertips!”

Matthew Sweetapple, of creative consultants Sweetapple, who assisted with the project said:
“With increasing numbers of people looking to their smart phones for everything from entertainment to weather forecasts, it’s great to help create an app which can really make a difference to people.   Back Care is using the latest 21st Century medium to reach their audience and I’m delighted to be a part of the project.”

BackCare’s CEO, Sash Newman, said:
“This app is ad free, uncluttered and fit for purpose. Back pain seriously affects the economy’s chances of recovery with 4.7 million days of work lost every year as the result of back problems.  Only BackCare, the charity for healthier backs, seems to be taking the problem seriously.”

Though free to users, the charity hopes those who make use of the app will make a donation to help BackCare, as the charitable organisation runs entirely on voluntary contributions.  To make this process simple, the app allows donations to be simply added to the user’s phone bill.

Back Care – for Back Pain and Bad Backs – is available now FREE from the Apple App Store and is compatible with iPhone (OS4), iPod Touch and iPad

This project has been kindly supported by Pfizer.

Health care practitioners should contact BackCare on 020 8977 5474

Media enquiries:
All media enquiries to Press Office at BackCare:
Brian Cowan 07752 478549 or 07526 654715
Or email brian.cowan@backcare.org.uk

Physiotherapy 2012: Researcher makes argument for effective cardiac rehab

30 October 2012
CSP WEBSITE

Cardiac rehabilitation is equally effective for heart patients whether it is delivered as a centre-based or a home-based intervention, delegates heard.

 

Rod Taylor, professor in health services research at Peninsula Medical School at the University of Exeter outlined his work heading up a team that has spent three years assessing and updating six Cochrane reviews into the effectiveness of cardiac rehabilitation.
Delegates were given an overview of the findings, which indicate that cardiac rehabilitation improves both the quality of life and the longevity of patients.
The results also show that rehabilitation conducted at home can be of equal benefit to patients as hospital or centre-based care. ‘The end results are similar in terms of mortality and quality of life efficiency,’ said Professor Taylor.
He went on to discuss the implications for the future delivery and practice of cardiac rehabilitation services.
A more comprehensive approach was recommended, with services including education and psychological interventions when appropriate, as well as exercise training.
‘The reason we do cardiac rehabilitation is not just to lengthen life but also to improve quality of life,’ said Professor Taylor

CSP website

30 October 2012

Exercise is the key to preventing weight regain following bariatric surgery.

This was the message from Bethany Aitkin, a senior physiotherapist at Nuffield hospital in Glasgow, where she runs a programme to promote exercise and education as a complement to weight loss surgery.

Delegates heard that most patients are likely to regain weight following procedures such as gastric bands or balloons, unless they adhere to long-term lifestyle changes – including diet, behaviour and exercise.

Bariatric patients who exercise were likely to lose an additional 6kgs, decrease their body mass index by an additional two units and experience a 28 per cent higher loss of fat mass.

As a result, Ms Aitkin and her colleagues have been offering bariatric patient classes consisting of 30 minutes of education and 60 minutes of exercise.

‘We are trying to promote exercise advice of 150-200 minutes per week of moderate to high intensity exercise,’ said Ms Aitkin.

‘It’s the most successful way to prevent weight regain.’

All the patients who had completed the Nuffield Hospital exercise classes had since joined gyms or regularly participate in walks and runs, Ms Aitkin said.

And surveys showed that most patients wanted one-to-one exercise sessions that were agreed to and set-up before surgery, she added.

From CSP website

Research shows exercise reduces depression in cancer patients

30 October 2012

Supervised exercise programmes given to patients while they are being treated for cancer have been found to reduce depression.They also encourage the patients to continue exercising after their treatment has finished.

cancer-care-exercise

Physio Debbi Rowley and her judo instructor brother Chris, with Luke Corran, six, at ‘Do it for you 2012’ in Sheffield. Photo: Sheffield Children’s NHS Foundation Trust

New research, published in the Journal of Cancer Survivorship and commissioned by charity Macmillan Cancer Support, found that patients who took part in a 12-week supervised group exercise programme reported lower levels of depression and a better quality of life five years after their treatment ended.
The research, carried out at the universities of Strathclyde and Dundee, found that the patients, who were undergoing treatment for breast cancer, took between 50 to 350 minutes more exercise each week than patients in a control group who were not given an exercise programme during their cancer treatment.
Macmillan, which has worked jointly with the CSP to produce a new Physio Works briefing on cancer survivorship, is running its own Move More campaign, which encourages cancer patients and those who have had cancer to increase their activity.
The campaign also provides resources on cancer and exercise designed specifically for health and social care professionals. (See below for link).
CSP professional adviser Clare Claridge, said: ‘This research adds yet more weight to the argument for healthcare professionals routinely providing physical activity advice to people living with and beyond cancer. Physiotherapy staff have a responsibility to discuss these benefits and support cancer patients and cancer survivors to develop sustainable exercise behaviours.’

Youngsters with cancer Do it for you

Meanwhile, in a separate initiative, 150 young people who have received treatment for cancer were given the chance to try scores of physical activities under one roof at a huge physiotherapy-led day in Sheffield.
‘Do it for you 2012’, run by Sheffield Children’s NHS Foundation Trust, took over the athletics hall at the English Institute of Sport in Sheffield to give youngsters and their families the chance to try everything from tennis to judo, and ceilidh dance to disc golf. The aim was to encourage young people who have had cancer to be more active.
Debbi Rowley, advanced physiotherapist in neuro-oncology at Sheffield Children’s Hospital, helped run the day. She said an idea to invite a couple of sports clubs snowballed into the huge event, which saw Paralympians and the world squash champion among those helping out the youngsters.
‘Sometimes, young people who have had cancer can be a little bit protected, and we wanted to say it is okay to try these activities and they might make you feel a little bit better,’ she said.
Physiotherapy students from Sheffield Hallam University ran a mini-Olympics at the event, and events staff from the university helped to run the day, which could now become an annual event.
‘It was a lot of hard work to arrange it, but it was such a positive event, and we got so much positive feedback, that it was definitely all worth it,’ said Ms Rowley

Physio-led knee treatments offer NHS money-saving opportunity

5 November 2012 FRONTLINE

A specialist physiotherapist has claimed the NHS could save significant amounts of money by treating anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) damage with physiotherapy rather than surgery.

Richard Norris is an orthopaedic physio specialist for lower limbs at Warrington and Halton Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust.
In a bid to ‘benchmark’ his trust’s approach – in which only one patient in three with an ACL rupture has reconstructive surgery and the rest join tailor-made rehab – Mr Norris asked hospitals in his area about their approach. The survey revealed wide variations in the proportion of patients undergoing surgery for ACL damage.
‘Some trusts operate on all patients with an ACL rupture, some on two in three or three of four, and some didn’t know the proportion managed conservatively.’
Mr Norris works alongside consultant orthopaedic surgeon Mike McNicholas, who helped to conduct an internal audit at the trust in 2002.
This found that around two-thirds of patients with an isolated ACL injury did not need reconstructive surgery if they completed a physiotherapy-based ACL deficient programme.
Mr Norris says that a larger Swedish study published in 2010 in the New England Journal of Medicine reached a similar conclusion.
He estimates that the Warrington ACL deficient programme costs just £90 per patient, whereas surgery costs around £2,500 plus rehab costs.
‘It’s not clear why there’s the variation, whether people do things because that is how they have always done it, or because they’re not aware of the research,’ Mr Norris said.
‘But trusts could save a lot of money and we’re keen to raise the awareness of what we’ve been doing.’
He has helped to develop a programme that aims to reduce the chances of ACL injuries occurring during sports activities, for example. ‘The Liverpool Ladies Football Club have recently implemented the programme into their training sessions,’ Mr Norris added.

Backcare’s iPhone App

A unique, free, simple to use, iPhone/iPod Touch/iPad application which provides information on all aspects of back care, and measures to help people with back pain, has been launched by the charity BackCare.

The app is called Back Care – for Back Pain and Bad Backs – and is now available from the Apple App Store.

BackCare’s Corporate Manager Janet Mee, who masterminded the project, said:
“We are always looking for new ways to help the 2.5 million people who suffer from back pain every single day in the UK.  We believe this is the first purpose built app in Europe to address the causes of Britain’s leading cause of disability – affecting 30 million people every year.
“Now, instead of having to search through books or the internet for back care information, it’s available, interactively, at the touch of a button!”

Users of the BackCare app are given basic facts about caring for their backs and how to avoid injuring them, illustrated with exercises shown on screen and videos showing the correct way to do them. The 22 videos show simple exercises, ranging from arm and leg extensions to neck and shoulder stretches. There are factsheets for cyclists, motorists, and office workers, giving them advice on how to avoid back pain.

In addition, another useful section  called “Me and My Back” allows people to keep a diary of their back pain, showing the areas affected and the level of pain. The data is saved and can be sent to the user’s email address or sent to a practitioner of their choice prior to an appointment.

An Expert at your Fingertips

BackCare’s, Janet Mee, highlights another very useful feature:
“By logging their postcode, App users will be able to locate local, qualified BackCare professionals who may be able to help them. Tabs will show full contact details – including name and address and phone numbers and directions using Google maps. So the best BackCare really will be at their fingertips!”

Matthew Sweetapple, of creative consultants Sweetapple, who assisted with the project said:
“With increasing numbers of people looking to their smart phones for everything from entertainment to weather forecasts, it’s great to help create an app which can really make a difference to people.   Back Care is using the latest 21st Century medium to reach their audience and I’m delighted to be a part of the project.”

BackCare’s CEO, Sash Newman, said:
“This app is ad free, uncluttered and fit for purpose. Back pain seriously affects the economy’s chances of recovery with 4.7 million days of work lost every year as the result of back problems.  Only BackCare, the charity for healthier backs, seems to be taking the problem seriously.”

Though free to users, the charity hopes those who make use of the app will make a donation to help BackCare, as the charitable organisation runs entirely on voluntary contributions.  To make this process simple, the app allows donations to be simply added to the user’s phone bill.

Back Care – for Back Pain and Bad Backs – is available now FREE from the Apple App Store and is compatible with iPhone (OS4), iPod Touch and iPad

This project has been kindly supported by Pfizer.

Health care practitioners should contact BackCare on 020 8977 5474

Media enquiries:
All media enquiries to Press Office at BackCare:
Brian Cowan 07752 478549 or 07526 654715
Or email brian.cowan@backcare.org

 

CSP website
19 July 2012

Britain has been named as one of the most sedentary countries in the world, according to a new study published in The Lancet.

Gym exercise
The CSP recommends that adults do around half an hour of moderate-intensity physical activity per day

The research reveals that almost two-thirds (63.3 per cent) of the British population fails to meet recommended levels of physical activity.

It also warns that a lack of exercise increases the risk of conditions such as heart disease, diabetes and breast and colon cancer.

Researchers used World Health Organisation survey data to compare 122 countries. Britain was found to have the third-highest proportion of inactive adults in Europe, after Malta and Serbia.

Global deaths

The report’s authors warn that lack of exercise is now causing around 5.3 million global deaths, the same number as caused by smoking.

CSP professional advisor Clare Claridge said: ‘This report provides yet more evidence of the drastic impact that physical activity patterns are having, both in the UK and across the world.

‘Physiotherapy staff  have an invaluable contribution to make, whether through providing advice and support related to physical activity or other health-related lifestyle behaviours.

‘Modern challenges’

‘As a profession we need to ensure our practice is adapting to meet these modern challenges.’

Lynne Stockbridge, CSP campaigns and communications director, said the findings echoed the society’s recent report published with Arthritis Research UK, which found only five per cent of adults were meeting recommended  activity levels.

‘This new survey data from over 100 countries confirms that far too few people in the UK are doing the recommended amount of exercise each week,’ she said.

Recommended activity

‘Ideally, adults should be doing about half an hour a day of moderate intensity physical activity, and children should be exercising for at least an hour each day,’ Ms Stockbridge added.

Further information on the Lancet report, the CSP public health resource pack and the CSP/Arthritis Research UK survey can be found via the links below.

Whiplash

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Whiplash

If you are experiencing neck pain or stiffness following an injury or car accident, this summary will help you understand the causes and how physiotherapy can help. Research suggests that in most cases it is best to keep normally active.

What is whiplash?

Whiplash is a common injury in which the soft tissues in the neck are sprained as a result of the body being moved backwards and forwards by an unexpected, strong impact. Symptoms often include stiffness in the neck and back of the head, and headaches. Some people also feel pain in the shoulder, between the shoulder blades, or temporary dizziness.

What causes it?

The ‘backwards and forwards’ movement that causes whiplash most commonly results from a road traffic collision, but can also be due to a fall, a blow to the head, or a strenuous physical activity such as diving, horse riding or rugby.

How can physiotherapy help?

Physiotherapists are highly skilled at supporting people with whiplash. They will explain how you can manage the pain and contribute to your own recovery.

What will happen when I see a physiotherapist?

The physiotherapist will assess how your head and neck are working and affecting your life. They will ask lots of questions, watch your movements and touch the affected area. Recommendations for treatment depend on the length of time that has passed since the injury. Any visit is likely to include:

It may also include:

  • applying heat or cold to the affected area
  • TENS – to help with any pain.

Are there physiotherapists with extra training in this area?

All physiotherapists have training and skills for whiplash, but some may specialise up to Masters level. Physiotherapists with a particular interest in whiplash are likely to be a member of a number of special interest groups.

Meanwhile, how can I help myself?

  • During the first 24 hours after the accident, apply ice to the area (a bag of frozen peas wrapped in a teatowel is ideal), to reduce the inflammation.
  • Try to keep moving: a quick recovery is more likely if you maintain your normal activities
  • Seek early advice from a healthcare professional about how to keep active and to keep your neck moving.
  • Take simple regular pain relief, following the instructions on the packet. If you need something stronger, see your GP.
  • Set your car headrest at the right height for you, to reduce injury from any future collisions.

Note: The following symptoms are very rare, but contact the doctor or hospital immediately if:

  • you have experienced memory loss or unconsciousness since the incident
  • you have severe pain in the back of the head, or numbness and pins and needles in the arms or hands
  • your arms feel unusually heavy
  • you have dizziness, ringing in the ears or blurred vision that does not disappear quickly
  • the pain lasts more than four-to-six weeks

Neck Pain

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Neck pain

Whether you have ongoing discomfort in your neck or are suddenly experiencing pain and stiffness, this summary will help you understand the causes and how physiotherapy can help. Research suggests that in most cases it is best to keep normally active.

What is neck pain?

Neck pain is extremely common. Pain and stiffness can make it difficult to turn round – for example, when reversing a car. Symptoms may appear suddenly, as when someone wakes up with a stiff and painful neck, or gradually. The pain may be limited to the neck or may be accompanied by headaches and dizziness, or pain and pins and needles down the arm or hand.

What causes it?

Most neck pain does not have one simple cause, but is a result of a range of conditions that affect joints, muscles, tendons and the other tissues in the neck. Factors that can contribute include tension and sustained or repetitive activity, such as using the telephone a lot, sitting at computer screens or in front of the television, playing a musical instrument, and long-distance driving.

If the neck has moved suddenly and unexpectedly (as in a car accident), the pain may be due to an injury, commonly known as whiplash.

How can physiotherapy help?

Physiotherapists are highly skilled at helping people with neck pain. The physiotherapist will examine your neck and explain how you can manage the pain, contribute to your own recovery and prevent the problem from recurring.

What will happen when I see a physiotherapist?

The physiotherapist will assess how your neck is working and affecting your life. They will ask lots of questions, watch your movements and feel your neck. Any visit is likely to include:

It may also include:

  • some manual therapy
  • applying heat or cold to the affected area
  • acupuncture, if the physiotherapist has additional training.

Are there physiotherapists with extra training in this area?

All physiotherapists have training and skills for neck pain management, but some specialise up to Masters level. Physiotherapists with a particular interest in neck pain are likely to be members of a number of CSP special interest groups.

Meanwhile, how can I help myself?

For most types of neck pain rest does not help recovery, and it is better to keep moving. Tips include:

  • Keep as active as possible, changing positions regularly.
  • Take simple pain relief and any prescription medicines regularly. Follow the instructions on the packet, or ask your pharmacist.
  • Notice when your neck and shoulder muscles start to tense up, and learn a relaxation technique that works for you.
  • Consider using an electric hot pad to soothe the affected area.

Note: Go to the doctor if your pain is severe or is the result of an injury, or if it lasts more than a few days, spreads into your arm, or is accompanied by dizzy spells. They may prescribe medication to reduce the symptoms, or may refer you to a specialist or physiotherapist.

Where can I get more information?

The Neck Book

By Gordon Waddell et al, published by The Stationery Office (2002). Booklet providing advice and information on how to cope with neck pain.  W The Neck Book, on Amazon.co.uk

Pain in the Neck

Online information produced by the Arthritis Research Campaign that explains how the neck works and the common causes of neck pain and related conditions.

Multiple sclerosis

Multiple sclerosis is one of the most common disorders of the nervous system and affects about 85,000 people in the UK. This summary explains what causes it and how physiotherapy can help.

What is multiple sclerosis?

Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a disorder of the brain and spinal cord that often appears first in early adulthood. It is unpredictable, and affects different people in very different ways. Symptoms may include any of the following: muscle stiffness or spasms, weakness, difficulties with walking, poor balance, fatigue, tremor, depression and incontinence. Some people will have one or two episodes, recovering completely in between, while others have repeated relapses, and some see a gradual progression in their symptoms, leading to more severe disability.

What causes multiple sclerosis?

MS is thought to be due to a combination of genetic and environmental factors, although the chances of MS arising twice in the same family are very low. The symptoms are caused by damage to the covering of the nerves. When the condition is active, parts of the brain and spinal cord become inflamed, then scarred and hardened (the word ‘sclerosis’ means hardening). This interferes with the transfer of messages between the brain and other parts of the body.

How can physiotherapy help?

MS is treated by a team of healthcare professionals, of whom physiotherapists play a key role. As the ‘movement expert’ on the team, the physiotherapist’s main aim is to help the person achieve their potential for physical independence, flexibility, strength and fitness levels, and can be a useful source of advice and practical tips on any new movement problems that arise. Physiotherapy is particularly useful when the physical symptoms are changing, or during the recovery phase after a relapse.

What will happen when I see a physiotherapist?

The specific treatment will depend on which symptom you are experiencing at the time, but any visit is likely to include:

  • advice about a range of exercises or physical activity
  • advice on posture and relaxation

It may also include:

  • specialised stretches to relieve stiffness or spasms. (With your permission the physiotherapist can train a relative or carer how to do these for you)
  • advice on walking aids.

In the meantime, how can I help myself?

  • Eat a well-balanced healthy diet, with plenty of fruit and vegetables.
  • Try to keep as active and physically fit as possible. After a relapse, see a physiotherapist for an assessment and review of your exercise programme.
  • Learn to recognise the symptoms of fatigue and try not to get overtired.
  • Draw on support when you need to – this will help you stay motivated to maintain a healthy lifestyle as far as possible.

Are there physiotherapists with extra training in this area?

Physiotherapists with a special interest in treating people with MS are likely to be members of the Association of Chartered Physiotherapists Interested in Neurology.

Where can I get more information?

Multiple sclerosis: Understanding NICE guidance – information for people with multiple sclerosis, their families and carers, and the public

By the National Institute for Clinical Evidence, with the MS Trust and MS Society (2003). Booklet (available to download online) providing advice and information about MS and current treatment.  www.rcplondon.ac.uk

MS Society

UK charity that provides support and services for people with MS and those who care for them. It offers a range of advice and runs information centres, support groups, respite care and a telephone helpline. T 0808 800 0888 (helpline) W www.mssociety.org.uk

MS Trust

UK charity that provides information, education, research and support for anyone affected by MS, education programmes for health professionals, funding for practical research and campaigning for specialist services. T 01462 476 700 (information service) W www.mstrust.org.uk

Association of Chartered Physiotherapists Interested in Neurology (ACPIN)

http://www.acpin.net/