Frozen Shoulder or Arm Above Head Syndrome?

Picture the scene. You go to your Doctor or Physiotherapist with a shoulder pain when you put your arm above your head or behind your back. You leave with a diagnosis of frozen shoulder (or a rotator cuff tear, or calcific tendinitis and so on), some painkillers, maybe some stretches and exercises. However, all too often the treatment of these conditions is not successful. If we approach the situation from a slightly different angle, then I believe we can have huge success with minimal stress…

What if instead of being told you have a frozen shoulder, you instead have hand above head (or hand behind back) syndrome. Which is a painful sensation felt when you put your arm above your head.

How do we fix this condition?

Well, and this may sound crazy, BUT, we check the biggest muscles in your upper body whose job it is to raise your arm into the arm (pectoralis major, deltoids), to see if they are doing their job properly. And if they are not, then do some simple exercises to make sure they do their job properly.

And, just like that, your stiffness and pain can disappear, because you are no longer relying on the small muscles of your shoulder compensating for the some of the biggest muscles in your body going on temporary MC.

Shoulder pain for a long time? Please reach out (no pun intended). It really can be that simple…


Sciatica, low back tension and how to fix it

Lower back pain and sciatica are some of the most common issues we see at SG Physiotherapy. They can be incredibly debilitating, and often stubborn to get rid of.

We associate these problems with slipped discs, trapped nerves, tight muscles, poor posture etc. However, there are a couple of simple things to try that may surprise you how easy they are, and how much they can improve your condition.

One way to look at Sciatica is to call it ‘nerve tension’. Sciatica We commonly feel sciatica when we sit in a slumped position or try and bend forward. This usually occurs when your feet are together (or in line with each other). So when we bend forward, there is a pull of the spine as the vertebrae bend forward, and then as both legs are in the same position, you get an equal tension across both sciatic nerves. Pulling sensitive tissue from 3 sides is often pretty painful.

So, how do we fix it? Simply, we remove one of the sides of the tension. By changing your feet position when bending forward, with one foot in front of another. Like standing in a boxing stance. That means that one of the 3 places of tension is removed, and the movement becomes much less painful.

Try it for yourself. Try and touch your toes when standing with your feet together, and then repeat with your legs in a split stance position. See how much more flexible you are, that is less nerve tension…

If you are having long term problems with Sciatica, then give SG Physiotherapy a chance to improve your life. Through targeted rehab, specifically designed to reduce your nerve tension, you will have a great success. Even if you have tried other physiotherapy, we are worth the shot as our simplistic approach is very successful.


The KISS Principle in Physiotherapy

Keep It Simple Stupid…

Life is already very challenging in this modern age. We are bombarded with information through social media, online, school, work. The amount of time we can devote to our health is gradually getting squeezed. Stress can often pile up, sleep can be affected, diet and exercise get thrown out the window. Then, BOOM, an injury often occurs when you least need it. More stress, more things to think about.

What you DON’T need is physiotherapy that makes your life more complicated. You need a simple approach to make sure your condition is treated successfully and does not come back.

You don’t have time for one hour rehab exercise sessions, complicated plans, lying on a foam roller. And here’s the secret……… don’t need to.

Most conditions are easily treated when your physiotherapist is capable of giving a clear explanation for your pain, and provide you with some simple strategies to get you back to your normal level as quickly as possible. Minimal number of exercises, minimal disruption to your day. Simple does not mean easy, it means making you rehab as concise as possible.

Play netball and basketball? Sprained Your Ankles? Next Stop ACL?

ACL injuries are incredibly common, and incredibly serious, taking up to a year to recover (or in some cases not recovering at all). Ankle sprains are the most common injury suffered in most sports. Spraining your ankle and not recovering fully may predispose you to having an ACL tear…

After ankle injuries, especially in teenagers, it is common to see a change in the patients walking and running pattern, in the form of a limp. What often happens, is that this limp goes undiagnosed and ignored for a long time, and the athlete carries this inefficiency in their running and walking as they get older. They become elite at compensating…

What does this look like? You will see that the affected foot lands more underneath the centre of the body, often the feet can clip together. This narrow step pattern turns the person into an object with the stability of a ten pin bowling pin…i.e not very stable. Introduce sporting competition, high speeds, heavy landings, and all of a sudden this way of moving is putting you at risk on an ACL injury…

So, what can be done? It’s quite simple. Address the problem of your landing and running with such a narrow step. Figuring out which muscles should be taking the brunt of your weight when landing, and addressing the asymmetries you have carried over since you sprained your ankle. Get the big muscles of your leg doing their job, and your landing improves immediately…

Don’t be another statistic!


A critical look at modern therapies

In any walk of life, one sometimes has to take a step back and ask if what we are doing is actually working. Physiotherapy should be no different. We owe a duty of care to our patients to make sure what we are doing is actually effective in improving their quality of life.
When we look at the rates of the most common complaints we treat, we see that the rates of back pain(1), neck pain (2), adult ACL injuries (3), child ACL injuries (4), and knee pain (5) are steadily increasing, not mention many other conditions. This is despite advancements in analgesics, medical imaging, new rehabilitation machines and techniques, as well as an increased access to physiotherapists.
So what is going on? Why are the numbers not dropping? These are the difficult questions we must ask as we owe it to our patients to be better for them.
Over the coming blog posts, I will outline how I use some basic knowledge of human anatomy and physiology, combined with some human psychology and looking how we interact with the built environment we find ourselves in, with the aim of finding the simplest answer to why you are in pain.

I believe following the KISS principle is the best way to help my patients recover and get back to normal life…




Tendinitis : What if we are missing the point?

Tendon pain is one of the most common injuries we see in the orthopaedic field. They are generally located in the hand, elbow, shoulder, hip, knee and foot area. Usually these injuries occur after a period of doing too much too soon (spring cleaning, increasing exercise levels more than usual). We focus a lot of our attention to eliminating these pains to allow us to continue our lives as close to normal as we like…

However, in our rush to ‘fix’ the problem, are we missing the evolutionary purpose of tendon pain, and are we in danger of making the problem much worse?

You may note that tendon pain is located in the extremities of the upper and lower limbs. If we think back to a time long before medical care and surgeries, severe tendon injuries would have been catastrophic to our quality if life. Imagine a hunter tearing his achilles tendon, literally his life is over as he cannot move! We know that tendon ruptures are proceeded by some form of tendon pain. Almost as if our tendons are trying to tell us that something is not quite right, and to ignore this would be risky.

A lot of modern therapies are attempting to cheat/hack/fix away the pain you are feeling. Acupuncture, shockwave, injections, painkillers etc. This is like seeing the engine yellow light on your car dashboard, getting the mechanic to turn off the light, and then continuing to drive as normal. Problem solved? Or problem hidden?

So, how does SG Physiotherapy treat tendon pain?

Firstly, we listen to the story that the body part is trying to tell us. Usually there are one or two specific things causing you pain, and resulting in your already angry tendon taking an overload. Almost always, the problem is as a result of the small tendons being asked to perform above their capacities as a result of the larger muscles failing to perform theres. By getting the biggest muscles in your body working in the correct way, your tendons thank you by stop ringing the alarm!

Please get in touch if you have any questions about your tendon pain!