Injuries are part and parcel of sport, exercise and running. But when is it OK to manage the injury yourself and when do you need to get help?
Firstly, our bodies are designed to heal naturally from injury over a period of a few weeks, depending on the severity of the injury and nature of the condition.
However, being sensible is the key. If we fall and suddenly we have a swollen, painful, red/bruised limb, then we should seek immediate attention in A&E or a walk in centre. If you’re unsure which to use, calling 111 to get a healthcare professional to help you with all your enquiries.
However, if you’re suffering with a less severe or ongoing overuse injury in your soft tissues (muscle, tendon, ligaments) or joints, which is taking a long time to settle i.e. lower back pain, knee pain, or a sports injury, then seeing your G.P. or a Physiotherapist, is your best option.
Unfortunately, the reality waiting to see your GP if you’ve got an injury only serves to delay your recovery. Most will advise rest in the first instance and maybe painkillers, and ask you to come back in 6 weeks if it isn’t better (sound familiar?). Have a look at a previous blog post we wrote ‘The magic 6 weeks‘.
Eventually they may refer you to an NHS physio, and there’ll be more waiting for an appointment, which can be up to 18 weeks or more locally! That’s 6 months plus of potential pain, suffering and not doing some of the things you enjoy.
However, most private Physio’s accept direct referrals, minimising any hold ups in your treatment, giving you peace of mind and a positive action plan, without any delays. Clinically, physiotherapy is justified from day 1 of an injury – competitive and elite sports men and women will have immediate physio.
However, for the general population, the ideal time to see a physiotherapist will depend on the severity and nature of your condition and your aims and goals.
If you have a severe painful injury that stops you from running (or exercising) and you’re due to run a marathon event in 4 weeks – immediate Physio is crucial.
If an injury stops you from going to work and you’re self employed – immediate physio is highly cost effective! We see so many people that can’t work because of an injury and if they aren’t getting paid, the cost of private treatment to get them back to work quicker is actually very cost effective.
If you have minor injury that is improving steadily, you can avoid the aggravating factors and don’t mind not being so active for a while, then you could attempt to self treat your injury. However, with this comes the potential risk of re-injury when you return to the causative activities.
If your injury isn’t improving and you want to get back to a high level of activity, i.e. golf x 2 weekly or gardening, then Physio is important to help you return to your activities and prevent re-injury.
There’s an old, well known saying “time is the best healer”, but where injury is concerned, this is a myth!
Essentially, if your injury is not improving within 5-7 days, you need to see an adequately qualified and experienced physiotherapist. The longer you delay seeing someone, taking the ‘wait & see approach’, the longer it will take you to get better and the more it will cost you in pain, effort, time, money and frustration at not doing the things you enjoy.
Who to see?
We understand there’s an overwhelming choice of healthcare providers and it can be a stressful experience choosing which therapy or clinic is best for you. The lines between different therapies are merging, making your choice of therapy and clinic more complex as Chiropractor’s give exercises, Physio’s do manipulations and Personal Trainers do rehabilitation.
From your perspective we’re all the same – you just want to see someone who can get you better! A good clue when deciding which profession to see, is to consider who the professionals use to look after their bodies? In professional sports, from cycling to football, rugby to the Olympics, it’s a Chartered Physiotherapist that is trusted to sort out injuries, they’re the ones you’ll see run out onto the pitch. There’s obviously a good reason for this. Physiotherapy is also the 3rd largest health profession in the UK after Doctors and Nurses.
Physiotherapy is a proven strategy for in the first instance, easing the worries and concerns of people suffering from aches, pain and stiffness. And then helping that person move freely again, bending further, stretching easier, feeling healthier and stronger and living an active, fulfilled lifestyle into their 40’s, 50’s, 60’s, 70’s and beyond.
Here at goPhysio we will offer you an appointment within 24 hours of you getting in touch. It’s YOU that matters and for that reason our care is focused on listening to you, solving your injury problems and achieving your goals.
The sooner you take the time and effort to invest in your health and wellbeing with physiotherapy, you’ll be back doing all the things you enjoy.
If you need a solution to your running injury, don’t delay – you can book your appointment online here now.