Musculoskeletal disorders (MSD’s) are conditions that affect the nerves, tendons, muscles and their supporting structures, such as the discs in your back. Back injuries such as lower back pain and disc degeneration account for an estimated 60% of all MSDs, followed by pain in the neck, shoulders, arms, tendonitis, tennis elbow, carpel tunnel syndrome and repetitive strain injuries. The NHS states that MSD’s affect 1 in 4 adults in the UK (Graham Stringer (2011)).
MSDs usually occur when muscle tissues are damaged from wear and tear, accidents, falls and sprains. Poor posture can also lead to problems, as can over-using specific muscles and performing repetitive movements. Even standing or sitting still for long periods can lead to MSDs.
According to the World Health Organisation (WHO) in the 2016 Global Burden of Diseases Study, musculoskeletal conditions were the second highest contributor to global disability.
Symptoms can vary but pain and restricted mobility are the most common, and may be accompanied by joint stiffness, muscle tightness, redness or swelling of the affected area.
Living with the chronic, long-term pain of an MSD can impact severely on the sufferer’s daily life and can even lead to depression and insomnia. So, what can you do to alleviate the pain and discomfort of a musculoskeletal disorder?
It is a common misconception that Sports Therapy is only for athletes! Let’s put that to bed once and for all and confirm that Sports Therapy deals with musculoskeletal disorders regardless of your athletic prowess!
Often when people suffer with an MSD they are unsure as to what the cause is; they just know that they are in pain. The first thing that the therapist will do in a Sports Therapy appointment is carry out a thorough assessment to identify what musculoskeletal issues the client is experiencing. Once the problem has been identified the therapist will use a range of massage techniques to help reduce pain, increase mobility and reduce the possible build-up of scar tissue within the muscles in the affected area(s).
The therapist will then discuss with the client the recommended treatment plan and may prescribe exercises for the client to continue doing between treatments to further aid recovery.
Sometimes the pain of an MSD is so severe that massage is, initially at least, unsuitable as the sufferer is in too much pain to tolerate physical therapy. In these situations, acupuncture can be an excellent alternative.
Acupuncture is the practice of inserting incredibly thin needles into the skin and is still practiced today in a very similar way to ancient times. The needles used in modern practice are, however, sterile, stainless steel and are single use only, for hygiene purposes. Most people who receive acupuncture feel no pain from the needles, with many reporting feeling a warm, tingling sensation at the needle site.
It is believed that acupuncture helps to relieve chronic pain by stimulating nerves located in muscles and other tissue, which in turn leads to the release of endorphins and changes the way in which the brain processes pain.
As can be seen, relief is available for those suffering from musculoskeletal disorders. If you would like more advice on taking a holistic approach to your health and pain management one of our friendly team will be happy to discuss your options.