How healthy are you? Did you know that most men have a functional view of their health?
e.g. “If I can still do the things that are important to me, then I’m healthy”.
We tend to view our health in terms of:
Did you know that men tend to live an average of 5 years less than women and that men lead in adverse health
statistics globally? So… what does men’s health cover? How can a physio help me?
Men’s health is a broad area and consists of:
- Physical health
- Medical health
- Mental health
- Social health
These areas do not exist independently. They are linked.
Neglecting one area can lead to reduced health in another.
Most of us are familiar with physiotherapy. If we have aches and pains, we see a physio. But did you know that
physiotherapists can help with:
- Prostate symptoms
- Sexual dysfunction
- Pelvic Pain
The common reasons that men don’t go for regular check-ups are:
- Threatened masculinity
By the time we decide to seek professional help things are really getting out of hand. Guys, these statistics are
terrible! We are at least 30 years behind women’s health!
If you have any men’s health concerns, please don’t leave it too late and become a statistic. We are here to
help you. We will work with you and become part of the larger multidisciplinary team to help you achieve your
health care goals.
Adolescence can be both a fun and challenging time for the individual and those around them. Changes which occur are not only physical but emotional, psychological and social. It is also around this time that many teenagers and pre-teens are participating or increasing their participation in their chosen sporting pursuits and more time may be being demanded from coaches and teachers.
Every individual will develop differently. Some will grow in a slow steady fashion over a couple of years where as other will experience rapid growth spurts over a period of months. IT is often these individuals who will suffer more from growth-related problems.
As we grow during adolescence the long bones of our arms and legs grow first, followed by our trunk and then the muscles, tendons, and nerves catch up. It is this latency of the muscles and nerves that can give rise to the lanky, uncoordinated teenager who now has difficulty not falling over!
During these periods of growth, it is important to remain active but the activity level may need to change to allow for pain-free sporting involvement. It is also important to remember that if an individual has had a sudden growth spurt and has lost some of their natural coordination, training may need to be adapted while their body catches up to avoid putting them at risk of injury.
Stretching can be helpful during growth spurts although this needs to be done carefully as the muscles and tendons are already on stretch trying to catch up with the bony growth which has taken place. Controlled stretches and strength work can really help during this time to regain strength in the muscles new elongated range. This, in turn, provides protection to the joints and can assist in improving balance and coordination. Your physiotherapist can help advise on which stretches or exercises may be best and can also assist in load modification. During growth spurts, an individual’s training load may need to be adjusted to allow time for their body to catch up and let them perform pain-free. The physiotherapist can assist with advising on appropriate loads and also the reintroduction of activity to allow a full return to sport/performance. Controlled exercises such as Pilates can also be a great way to work on stretching and strength in a safe environment for growing bodies.
What is Whiplash?
Whiplash is a traumatic injury to the neck or back usually caused by a car or motor vehicle accident. Some other causes include sporting injuries or falls.
The doctor has already X-rayed my neck and nothing is wrong! Where is the pain coming from?
X-rays will only show damage to bones, for example, a fracture. Your pain is likely coming from damage to joint surfaces, bones, muscles, nerves, tendons and ligaments in the neck region. It’s a bit like an ankle sprain involving the joints in your neck.
There are several vital structures existing in your neck, so thorough medical examination and physiotherapy assessment is very important.
Why did it happen to me?
Often, not every person involved in a car accident will experience symptoms. Women for example, tend to suffer whiplash injuries more frequently than men, because their muscles, joints and supporting ligaments are smaller and more fragile.
The speed and direction at which you were travelling, the size of the vehicle, whether you were a passenger or drive and what you were doing at the time (turning around to check on children, using a GPS, checking a blind spot) all influence the nature of the injury. Previous injuries to the neck can also influence recovery and pain levels.
What symptoms can I expect?
You may experience any of the following symptoms. Sometimes they are latent, meaning that they do not become apparent until a day or two after the incident. These are very typical whiplash symptoms. Don’t be alarmed by them. It is, however, important to let your Physiotherapist know about any of these:
- Neck, shoulder or arm pain
- Altered sensation (pins and
needles or numbness)
- Difficulty swallowing
- Visual and auditory symptoms
- Difficulty concentrating
These symptoms may change depending on the type of whiplash you have (acute or chronic).
What will your Physiotherapist do?
We know from research that using many different forms of treatment is the best way to treat many conditions, including whiplash. We might try a variety of the following:
- The mobilisation of joints in your neck
- Correct your posture
- Adjunct treatments such as
Western Acupuncture, laser, heat
and cold therapy, ultrasound
- Prescribe Pilates and/ or
generalised exercise programs to
improve strength, posture,
mobility and manage pain
- Talk about work or home
environments and make
What should I do?
- Chat to your physio about pain and symptoms- at Agility, we know that keeping our patients well informed helps them make a speedy recovery
- Try to keep your movements and daily activities as normal as possible (within reasonable pain limits)
- Exercise- discuss with your Physiotherapist as to which type of exercise is best to manage your whiplash.
At Agility, many people will try Pilates (or many continue Pilates they were doing before the accident) to strengthen muscles around the neck and shoulders, retrain the vestibular (balance system in the inner ear) system, or work on specific exercise for return to work or sport after their accident.
We can also provide advice on trying or recommencing other forms of exercise to manage pain and increase mobility.
Be pro- active! Have a daily plan of attack for pain management and exercise. Even simple stretching can help. Have reminders on hand to help you be consistent. Some people find it helpful to talk about the accident or their injury with a psychologist. We can help you find a suitable practitioner to talk to.
Talk to your doctor about taking pain medication in acute situations. It is easier to move normally when you are not in pain.
Do I need a neck collar?
No. Unless you have a serious fracture or instability, they can slow down your recovery.
Do I need time off work?
Like any injury, relative rest is quite important after a whiplash injury. Discuss specifics with your physiotherapist and they can help you plan your return to work. As you start to feel better, maintaining your exercise program, ensuring good work ergonomics and having occasional maintenance treatment is recommended.
Information gathered from:
“Your guide to whiplash recovery in the first 12 weeks after the accident”, Motor Accidents Authority, 2nd Ed. 2007 the University of Queensland’s Online Evidence Based Resource, accessed March 2013.