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What can Farrell Physiotherapy do for you?

At its most simple, physiotherapy is making the human brain and body work properly, which means movement feels effortless and pain free.

The human body is an incredible thing, but like all complex things, can go wrong. Sometimes this is obvious, such as if we fall and break an arm or tear a muscle whilst playing sports; but sometimes it is less obvious; for example if we sit at a computer for hours every day for years at a time, our body can get ‘stuck’ like this, meaning the hips do not fully straighten, the shoulders do not move fully over the head and so on.

This could lead to what is often called a frozen shoulder, or an ‘impinged’ shoulder – where the muscles around the shoulder have tightened up and then when trying to take your arms over your head – to play badminton, swim, hang clothes on a line or take a box of a high shelf, we stretch the muscles or joint more than it can actually allow now, and irritate the shoulder.

The brain being extremely adaptable, it may well realise the shoulder is now not able to reach up that high, so instead of repeatedly stretching the shoulder to get your hand upwards, you may start to arch your back, to lean the body backwards to ‘cheat’ to lift the arms up and give the shoulder a bit of help. This adaptation works very well, but a few months later your back starts aching as it has to bend a bit more a lot more often now.

Sometimes people can have both problems – they may hurt a body part, and then sit and not move it for weeks because it hurts. For the first couple of days this might be the right thing, but very quickly the body starts to heal, and then the healing tissues will adapt to what they are made to do.

If a torn calf is gently used, it will adapt to walking and the stretching and contracting that a calf should normally do. If the calf does not get used, it will adapt to doing nothing, and then not like stretching or contracting – and become stiff and weak. This then becomes the new problem very quickly, but the brain is still saying “It hurts, you’ve got to rest it!”

What Farrell Physiotherapy can do is diagnose the actual underlying problem. Very often the body part that hurts is actually working really hard for another part, and the pain is it telling you it can’t keep doing that forever. Diagnosing and treating the underlying problem, and so allowing correct and healthy movement to take place will improve your symptoms, but also will keep it improved. Treating the painful bit might help in the short term, but will not stop that body part working hard to help another problematic part! And as a bonus, you might just get better at badminton too!

Physiotherapy for STRESS?

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Physiotherapy for STRESS?

Well the obvious answer is that British people are far too stoic to need to talk to anyone about stress, so of course not :-), but what is stress?

I hear so many people say “When I get stressed it goes to my neck”, or “when ever I get stressed, I get a headache”, and quite often “When I’m stressed at work, my back really gets worse”.

So does stress cause pain? The simple answer to this is “No”. But stress does change what you do, and the more important question is what am I doing as a result of stress that is causing pain?”

So if you can work out what you do differently when you are stressed, you could stop the effects it has on you!

What you need to do for this is be aware of your posture. When you are feeling relaxed, and in a normal working posture with no pain – ‘feel’ and visualise exactly how you sit, where your shoulders are (or where hurts) and how you breath.

When you next noticed that you’re getting stressed, I’ll bet:

  • Your neck gets tighter
  • You clench your jaw,
  • You don’t breath as deeply, which makes you use your neck muscles more instead of your diaphragm,
  • You’ll feel all sorts of muscles being much more tensed that they usually are.
  • You might even hunch forward more, becoming more rounded in the back.

So next time you start to feel your neck tightening, think about your posture, think about your breathing(it should be deep into your lungs, not shallow quick breaths) and take a 10-20 second pause to just breath and consciously let muscles relax away from their tight ‘stressed’ positions.

This will very probably help to control your ‘stressed’ symptoms.

Unfortunately Farrell Physiotherapy can’t help with your stressful boss, children, job or hobbies :-), but what we can do is get to the bottom of your problem, so contact us now if you want a life without pain. Usually you will need to play a role in helping your problem with exercises or changes of some form, but diagnosing it so you can correct it, and that is a lot better than living with ‘painful’ stress.

Can an MRI Scan lie?

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Can an MRI scan lie?

OK, so obviously a scan can’t lie, but, and this is a huge BUT, is they can very, very easily be taken out of context.

An MRI scan is used to see the quality of the soft tissues (ie, not bone although they also show these in great detail) by the different levels of fluid. If you tear a muscle, it bleeds and looks wetter, and so looks different on the MRI scan.

More commonly in the ‘normal’ population back pain is examined by an MRI scanner after referral by a consultant, or sometimes GP. You have the scan, go back to the doctor and they tell you the not so good news very often.

Extremely common things I hear are:

  • “Bulging discs”
  • “Worn out discs”
  • “Arthritic spine”
  • “Crumbling spine”
  • “The disc has been completely squashed”
  • “Degenerative Disc Disease”
  • “Collapsed”

As I said, the MRI scan cannot lie, but…. It is so often taken out of context.

  1. The MRI scan is a very clever ‘photo’ of your body as you lay on your back not moving. When you move, different things happen, and how you move is what needs looking at especially if you get your pain when you move.
  2. Normal wear and tear is a normal process of being alive, and everybody gets it, people in pain, people not in pain, and people whose symptoms come and go. An excellent study iof elite young tennis players found 4% of players had nothing ‘wrong’ despite all 100 players having no symptoms at all.
  3. Perhaps the most important is the language used. Telling someone their spine has crumbled projects a terrifying, but completely untrue perception of their back, instilling real fear.

The MRI scanner is very good at identifying what are called “red flags”, where something has gone very wrong, such as a disc compressing a nerve and causing numbness and then the image is very useful.

What is also crucial however, is looking at the support the muscles provide, and the way that the body actually moves. If the body moves in an inefficient way (and it does very often – for example holding your spine still as much as possible due to a fear of pain), this is considerably more likely to be the cause of the pain, and is not going to be identified by looking at someone looking still in a MRI scanner.

Farrell Physiotherapy looks at how you move, and what is the cause of the problem. Call us on 01245 615051 or email us on infofarrellphysiotherapy@gmail.com if you would like to speak to us about making you feel better.

Why don’t people want to get better?

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Why don’t people want to get better?

We treat a lot of patients here at Farrell Physiotherapy, and personally I’ve treated about 2-3 new patients a day on average – so between 7,500 – 9,000 patients I’ve met, assessed and treated in my career.
One of the most common themes is people don’t take responsibility for their own health. This is illustrated in my (almost) first question – how long have you had this problem…
Incredibly, most people answer in either months or years, which means an awful lot of people are willing to live in pain.

This I do find genuinely amazing. If the tables were turned…

  • If your car was damaged – you’d go to a garage or more than one to fix it.
  • If your child is ill – people go to doctors to heal the child.
  • If your spouse has a really irritating habit, you (nicely) look to change it.
  • If your phone keeps crashing – you fix or get a new one.

All these things people will take responsibility for. If their child is ill, they will see different people until they make them better (which sometimes does have its limits); a car will go to different garages if the original one can’t fix it. You (hopefully) don’t change your spouse, but you do work with them to reach compromises and to fix problems.

So why do people settle for years of back, shoulder or neck pain?

  • Granted we are all busy now, but are we so busy that we can’t make 30 minutes a week?
  • Sometimes people say it costs too much, but often can afford sky, a nice car, holidays, meals out etc.
  • Some people have seen a medical person, and settled for their

We have become physiotherapists because we want to help people feel better. From my patient feedback, I help around 90% of people, and of the 10% I can’t, I usually recognise when (unfortunately) surgery is the better option, and so help to access the right medical people quickly. The few people I can’t make a difference to I will refer to other specialists.
But people do need to come to us – you need to take that first step to take responsibility for your health and pains. If it’s not changing, it’s not going to magically go away, so make an appointment for an assessment and get to the bottom of the problem now.

 Image showing physiotherapy for sports injuries, which can be treated at Farrell Physiotherapy
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What Farrell Physiotherapy can do is diagnose the actual underlying problem. Very often the body part that hurts is actually working really hard for another part, and the pain is it telling you it can’t keep doing that forever. Diagnosing and treating the underlying problem, and so allowing correct and healthy movement to take place will improve your symptoms, but also will keep it improved. Treating the painful bit might help in the short term, but will not stop that body part working hard to help another problematic part! And as a bonus, you might just get better at badminton too!

 Image showing white box with text containing information on sports injuries, torn muscles and joint pain, which can be treated at Farrell Physiotherapy  Image showing blue down arrow to assist with site navigation

Let us help you to get to the bottom of the problem today
Call us on 01245 615 051 or email us at

 Image showing blue box with information about sports injuries, torn muscles and joint pain, which can be treated at Farrell Physiotherapy

Farrell Physiotherapy
Riverside Ice and Leisure Centre
Victoria Road
Chelmsford
Essex
CM1 1FG

01245 615 051
07980 898 212
info@farrellphysiotherapy.co.uk
Opening Hours:
Monday - Friday: 6am - 9pm
Saturday: 9am - 12noon
Sunday: Closed

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01245 615 051

07980 898 212

Riverside Ice and Leisure Centre
Victoria Road, Chelmsford, Essex, CM1 1FG

Monday - Friday: 6am - 9pm
Saturday: 9am - 12noon

Same day and emergency
appointments available