Old age is more often associated with a progressive loss of muscle mass, strength and functional performance. Climbing the stairs, getting out of a low chair or getting up from the floor can feel difficult. This form of loss of muscle mass is often regarded as a ‘given‘ or ‘normal healthy ageing‘. However, the good news is this is not always or need not be the case. This loss of strength and function can be attributed more to a change of lifestyle as we age and retire. We often becoming more sedentary and reduce the amount of exercise we do, rather than normal changes associated with ageing.
” Use it or lose it”
The loss of muscle bulk and function appears to be a natural ageing process in sedentary adults, not healthy active ones.
8 Top tips for building or maintaining healthy muscle .
Exercise four times per week. Combine the following: Slow controlled resistance training such as weight training or the use of body weight (Squats, Calf raisers, Push-ups) or resistance bands, and brisk Aerobic workouts such as walking, cycling or Swimming.
Seek an achievable and sustainable programme of exercises backed up by a physiotherapist. Avoid generic advice and programmes off the internet.
Make sure exercise is fun and enjoyable. This way you are more likely to stick at it.
Try something new like Dancing or Nordic walking. These forms of exercise, with a group of like minded people can keep you motivated and stimulate you to work harder.
Gardening for 1 hour or longer.
Take a look at your general lifestyle and look for changes you can make. Walking instead of using the car, or just better time management to allow quality time to devote to exercise.
Yoga and Pilates! These are not just a gentle stretch or slow workouts on mats. They can work you very hard and build strength.
Sleep well. Sleep is when the body heals and muscle building is at its greatest. If you are a poor sleeper look at ways of switching off and relaxing your brain before bed. Try to stick to a regular bed time as routine really does help.
Regular activity can lower your risk of heart disease, stroke, some cancers, depression and dementia.
Moving more helps your thinking skills – like problem-solving, decision-making and remembering facts and words.
Being active can lessen aches and pains, help you stay steady on your feet and boost your mood.
Please click here for more information about exercise and aging.
Here at Penn Farm Physio we aim to keep you active. Please click here for a personalised physiotherapy assessement.
NB: It is always wise to get the all clear from your General Practitioner before any vigorous programme of exercise.
There are lots of local running events taking place within Cambridgeshire and the surrounding area. Whether you’re a beginner taking part in your first event or a more experienced long distance runner, there are events to suit everyone.
There is one medicine / intervention whose breath of positive effect is astonishing, it positively influences so many health issues, more than any other medicine.
This intervention can help people with hip and knee arthritis.
It can reduce the progression of Alzheimer’s.
It can Improve the control of diabetes.
It can reduces the risk of hip fracture in post-menopausal women.
It can reduce the effect of anxiety and depression.
It reduces the risk of death!! Although it will not stop it.
It is the primary treatment for fatigue.
Its basically improves peoples overall quality of life – that can’t be bad!
So what is this medicine? What is this wonder drug?
Well, its EXERCISE!!
In fact, its primary walking and not extreme sports!
Please take time to view this very powerful video which puts the above information into real context.
Our South Cambridge Physio’s, here at Penn Farm Physio, can help you with your exercise journey with the aim of ‘Keeping You Active’ so you can achieve your sporting goals or get you more comfortable moving.
Figuring out if and when to see a Physiotherapist for your injuries, aches and pains can be a tricky decision to make. Especially if you’ve never seen a physiotherapist before and aren’t too sure what they do or when you should contact them for treatment.
This post outlines some of the most common signs and symptoms of when you should seek out physiotherapy assessment and treatment to help you get back to the things you love doing.
Physiotherapy can be helpful for people of all ages with a wide range of health conditions, including problems affecting the: bones, joints and soft tissue – such as back pain, neck pain, shoulder pain and sports injuries.You should see a Physiotherapist if:
You’ve been struggling with a recurrent injury.
Your mobility has declined over the years.
You suffer with long term conditions like arthritis or osteoarthritis.
If you’re at risk of developing neck and back issues (such as if you’re an offer worker at a desk all day)
Read on to find out when you may need to see a Physiotherapist and how they can help you feel and move better!
Physiotherapists can help you keep active, whether that be running, tennis, golf or simply being able to walk and sit down more comfortably! In a nutshell, Physiotherapists are experts in injury assessment, treatment, and management, whether your injury is posture-related, exercise-related, work-related…the list goes on and on! Take a look at some of these situations to find out when you should see a Physiotherapist
If you’ve been struggling with the same injury for an extended period, it’s likely an injury that needs more in-depth assessment and treatment to understand the underlying cause of why it continues to happen. For these kinds of injuries, just resting and letting time pass without any specific management or rehabilitation isn’t the best way forward! Get some advice to see if you need treatment.
Your injury is stopping you from exercising
Whether it’s knee pain preventing you from running or a shoulder injury that’s limiting your ability to lift weights in the gym, all the way to an achy hip stopping you from longer hikes at the weekend. As exercise is key to maintaining health and fitness, if an injury stops you doing the exercise you love, you should get some advice on how to maintain your exercise levels and eventually return to normal activity…the perfect job for a Physiotherapist!
Long-term conditions (like arthritis or osteoarthritis)
There are of many myths around arthritis. Many of which strike fear into people who suffer from – making them think they should avoid exercise or certain types of activity. Or even that they’re doomed to have a joint replacement – but this isn’t always the case! Physiotherapists are experts in managing and treating these conditions by helping to build the strength and stability of a joint – this has huge benefits for your pain and function!
If you suffer from osteoarthritis, you may benefit from one of our previous article, where we discuss how you can keep symptoms at bay when you’re not doing physiotherapy.
Certain jobs are more at risk of certain types of injury. Take a desk-based worker for example…neck and lower back pain are hugely prevalent! With the ever-increasing retirement age, we need to make sure we’re doing all we can to reduce the occupational health risks we’re prone to as we get older. Don’t dismiss work-related injuries as inevitable aches and pains – they need to be assessed, addressed, and corrected. And your physiotherapist can definitely help with that!
If you are an office worker wondering how to ease aches and pains whilst at work, our specialist physiotherapist here at Penn Farm Physio, in South cambridgeshire, can give you tailored advice to help you move fordwards. ly.
What happens when you see a Physiotherapist?
When you see a Physiotherapist, you’ll usually start with an in-depth assessment. This will give you a detailed understanding of not only what your injury diagnosis is, but also a good idea of the underlying reasons why your injury came on. That could be lifestyle-related, muscle weakness, joint stiffness, lack of flexibility or incorrect exercise technique for example.
Your Physiotherapist will develop a bespoke exercise and treatment plan, based on your lifestyle and goals, which could include a variety of options to help your recovery such as manual therapy. This plan will aim to gradually build you back into pain-free exercise and pain-free daily life!
Tailored Physiotherapy from Penn Farm Physio
Here at Penn Farm Physio, based in South cambridgeshire, we offer specialist physiotherapy services to help you move better and free of pain. Get in touch with our team to book your appointment so we can help keep you active.
Were you ever told or taught never to bend your back when you lift things, or you’ll “slip a disc”? I’m sure many of you have heard this before and so bend from your knees, keeping your back as straight as possible whe lifting anything. But should you?
There are many myths surrounding the lower back and pain, one being to never let your back bend when lifting anything. Now while your discs are extremely robust, strong structures it is true that they can of course become injured when we don’t take care of ourselves, physically and emotionally.
It is very common to associate bending activities as being more likely to cause injury to our spines and discs. As a result, many try to avoid bending, thinking this is helping protect their backs from injury. Unfortunately, this may not be the best way to approach in reducing the risk of low back pain or injury.
Recent research is demonstrating that those who tried to lift using their knees with a straight back were found to experience more back pain than those who lifted freely and with confidence.
Click here for a news report video highlighting these findings.
Many of our daily activities such as picking up the kids, getting something out from the bottom drawer in the kitchen or your golf clubs out the car, sorting out the flower beds in the garden or performing sporting activities, all require our spine to go into flexed positions. Therefore, avoiding flexion is not training your body physically to get used to these types of positions and movements, nor is it giving you the confidence to explore these movements.
Of course, in order for your spine to remain happy, able to function well, move freely and tolerate load you need to look after it. This means understanding yourself as an individual, looking at all the variables we know are linked with pain and injury, such as:
The physical such as muscle function, movement efficiency, strength and conditioning and general exercise levels.
The psychological such as stress, anxieties, mood, thoughts and beliefs about back pain and injury, and having confidence to move and use your back, even under load.
The social (or lifestyle factors) such as work life balance, fun, enjoyment, social interaction and sleep.
So In a nutshell, your discs can become injured just like any of part of the body. But protective approaches such as avoiding certain positions or movements, like bending, not partaking in exercise and loaded activity is most probably more harmful than beneficial and will NOT reduce your risk of re-injury.
Please click here for a specialist physiotherapy assessment, with one of our South Cambridge Physiotherapists, to help you best manage your back issues.
Participation in sport, recreational activities and exercise brings a risk of injury. injuries to soft tissues are the most common of all. These involve muscles, tendons, ligaments, fascia, nerves, fibrous tissues, fat, blood vessels, and synovial membranes.
The nature and severity of the injury varies – however the most commonly involved structures are:
Muscle – muscles are made up of fibres that shorten and lengthen to produce movement of a joint. Muscles are attached to bone by tendons. •
Tendon – tendons are tough bone of slightly elastic connective tissue that connect muscle to bone.
Ligament – ligaments are strong bands of inelastic connective tissue that connect bone to bone.
During the first 48-72 hours (acute phase), the primary characteristics are pain, swelling, discolouration and impaired function.
The optimal treatment in the first 48-72 and its aims?
The primary aim is to protect the injured structures from further damage, reduce pain and minimise / manage the inflammatory process. Although it is worth noting that inflammation is a necessary part of the early healing process, so the aim is not to completely eliminate it, just to minimise the more unpleasant side-effects.
You may have heard a number of different acronyms (RICE, PRICE, POLICE) mentioned over the years, all with the aim of prompting optimal acute injury management. Guidance follows the anagram of PEACE (for initial soft tissue injury management) & LOVE (for subsequent management) which will be discussed below.
Immediately after an injury – the injury requires PEACE
P – PROTECTION
Unload from weight bearing or heavy use and restrict movement for 1-3 days after injury. This will prevent further injury, reduce bleeding and the risk of injury aggravation. However, complete or prolonged rest and inactivity is unadvised as this can lead to poor outcomes (stiffness, weakness and fear avoidance). Pain levels should help guide your return to movement and use.
E – ELEVATE
When able elevate the injured limb above the heart to encourage circulation and aid swelling management
A – AVOID ANTI-INFLAMMATORIES
Our bodies create an inflammatory response to protect and help us heal. Taking an anti-inflammatory such as Ibuprofen or naproxen can prevent these natural processes from occurring thus negatively affecting long-term healing (especially when high doses are used). Standard acute care of soft tissue injuries should not include anti-inflammatories. Secondly the acute use of ICE which is common practice, has very limited high-level evidence to support its beneficial effects in injury management. Some reports suggest it could disrupt natural inflammation and vascularization leading to impaired tissue repair and healing.
C – COMPRESSION
Pressure around the injury site via taping or bandages may help to reduce local bleeding and swelling. This in turn has been found to help with pain and quality of life.
E – EDUCATION
Active rather than passive approach to recovery is essential in soft tissue injury management. Physiotherapy can aide patient education for patients on the condition and load management will help avoid further injury. This in turn reduces the likelihood of unnecessary injections or surgery, and supports a reduction in the cost of healthcare. We strongly advocate for setting realistic expectations with patients about recovery times instead of chasing the ‘magic cure’ approach
After the first few days – The injury requires LOVE
L – LOAD
Appropriately loading the injured area with movement and exercise benefits most musculoskeletal soft tissue injuries. Gentle, gradual and progressively mechanical stress/load should be added early. Normal activities should be encouraged as soon as pain allows. Optimal loading promotes repair, remodelling and builds tissue tolerance and capacity.
O – OPTIMISM
Optimistic patient expectations are associated with better outcomes and prognosis. Psychological factors such as catastrophisation, depression and fear can create barriers to recovery. Beliefs and emotions are thought to explain more of the variation in symptoms following certain injuries rather than the injury itself .
V – VASCULARISATION
Cardiovascular activity is essential in the management of musculoskeletal injuries. Pain-free aerobic exercise should be started a few days after injury to boost motivation and increase blood flow to the injured structures. Such as cycling, swimming, rowing machine, cross-trainer walking. Early mobilisation and aerobic exercise improve physical function, supporting return to work and reduce the need for pain medication in individuals with musculoskeletal conditions.
E – EXERCISE
There is a strong level of evidence supporting the use of exercise for the treatment of soft tissue injuries and for reducing the prevalence of recurrent injuries. Exercises help to restore mobility, strength and proprioception early after injury. Pain should be avoided to ensure optimal repair during the subacute phase of recovery, and should be used as a guide for exercise progressions
Things to avoid
Heat:Increases swelling and bleeding. Avoid heat packs, a hot bath and saunas.
Alcohol:Increases swelling and bleeding. Plus, it can delay healing.
Massage: Increases swelling and bleeding. Direct massage to the injured area may aggravate the damaged tissues and is normally best avoided for the first 48 to 72 hours. Indirect massage (away from the injury site) may be helpful. Please consult your health practitioner for the best advice for your injury