Whether you’re active or not, the odd sprain or injury is inevitable. Many can be cured with painkillers and a couple of nights sleep but occasionally they develop into something more severe, impairing your movement or inflicting unmanageable pain. Seeing a physiotherapist at the right time stops the former becoming the latter.
But how do you know when it’s the right time to book an appointment?
The trick is not to think of muscular, ligament or joint problems any different from other health problems. If you have a headache today and tomorrow a few painkillers, water and rest will usually do the trick. If you still have that headache next week, however, you’ll be rightfully concerned.
Back pain, for example, is no different and shouldn’t be treated differently. Any pain lasting longer than a week needs to be seen to by a professional, otherwise it could become chronic.
The wait and see approach will cost you in the long run. Typically, the amount of time you’ve been dealing with an issue and exacerbating it is equal to the amount of time it takes to cure it.
Take the Achilles tendon. This is a part of the body where problems usually develop very slowly, starting with a slight bit of discomfort or stiffness that you can easily shrug off for months. Then, one morning, you try to get out of bed and can’t walk.
Because you ignored the problem for months it then takes months of rehabilitation to reverse the damage you were doing to your tendon every day without even realising it.
If you had seen us within a few weeks of first noticing the problem, you’d normally be back to normal within a few weeks rather than months. You would also know how to avoid the problem developing in the future with simple, take home preventative exercises. This quick, in and out treatment is the typical patient experience here.
Little bits of personal neglect can add up over time, especially in later years where pain and stiff joints are accepted as natural symptoms of simply getting old.
We’ve had patients in their 70s who come to us struggling to ride their bikes, walk up stairs or simply stand at all. This catastrophic loss of activity usually starts with a far smaller issue that was never seen to, which then snowballed into further problems until their life was no longer enjoyable.
It’s a long road to recovery in these cases but recovery is possible – more than that, it’s transformational. We get patients who could barely stand walking up and down stairs and riding their bikes again. While we always wish we could have seen to them sooner, the important thing is they didn’t accept their condition and took the steps to change their lives.
Small niggles can turn into longer term injuries more commonly after the age of 35. After this age little niggles tend to remain and become significant issues if they aren’t addressed. It’s also around this time when I can say to them, “We’ll help your injury but if you don’t change your lifestyle, it will come back.”
Seeing a physiotherapist won’t just cure all of your aches and pains, their advice can protect you from them developing in the future. Unfortunately, the problem often needs to be debilitating before people take their physical health seriously. Don’t wait until then. Call us today on 0207 9371628 if you have any concerns.
Clinical Director, West London Physiotherapy
For any other questions regarding this topic please do not hesitate to contact West London Physio on 0207 937 1628 or email me at email@example.com