This is often the first question people ask themselves when they suffer from chronic pain or have an acute injury. The truth is, you cannot go wrong visiting either a doctor or physiotherapist. The main difference is the experiences you have during the assessment and treatments provided by a physiotherapist and the assessment and advice of a doctor.
Here is a simple guideline that may help you make your decision.
You should see a physiotherapist if:
You should see your doctor if:
1. Help prevent injuries
Building a strong core is not a quick process. Strengthening your torso means building core stability as well as core strength. It is recommended that you begin with your stability, and work towards strength. Having your deeper muscles working first makes it easy for strong abdominal muscles to develop on top, making you less prone to injury down the road. A solid core will help ensure that your movements are strong and pain-free.
2. Protect your inner organs and central nervous system
Staying healthy also means protecting those vital systems below the surface. Your core is where your organs and central nervous system do their work and is where your body’s largest veins and arteries are based. Keeping strong core muscles will help ensure everything stays protected as you move through your day.
3. Banish back pain
Back pain is a common side effect of a weak core. Many of us make the mistake of sitting for long periods with a tilted pelvis and an arched back, rather than sitting tall. Building core strength will help bring balance to the front and back of your body and support your spine.
4. Build better posture
Good posture is essential for combating chronic neck and back pain as it reduces the pressure on your spine. In addition to preventing pain, having a good posture exudes confidence and strength to help you be successful. You look taller, slimmer and more successful when you sit and stand tall.
5. Reduce belly fat
Making changes in your diet is a good way to lose belly fat as well as doing core strengthening exercises which burns fat faster than cardio. Not only do you feel great with a more toned stomach, but the reduction of belly fat drastically increases your health and lowers your risk of diseases, including diabetes, heart disease and colon, kidney or digestive tract cancer.
Always talk to your physiotherapist or doctor before starting a new exercise regime. Check out this slideshow on Mayo Clinic to learn abdominal exercises to help you build stability and strength in your core.
Physical therapy for balance focuses on the ability of the joints and brain to communicate, the balance system in the ear, and vision. Physiotherapy works to coordinate all three areas in one exercise such as standing on one foot, first with the eyes open, and then with the eyes closed. In addition, physiotherapy improves balance with increased joint flexibility, walking, and lower-extremity exercises.
"Core strength is very important for balance. If the abdominal muscles in your core are weak, they cannot support your limbs, especially when you're walking. If the gluteal muscles in your buttocks and hips aren't strong, they won't be able to propel you forward,"
Two exercises that will improve muscle strength is bridges and wall planks. Consult a physiotherapist before adding any exercise into your balance program.
Tai Chi and Yoga
Tai chi and yoga are exercises that make you pay attention to the control and quality of movement, rather than the quantity, which improves your balance. In tai chi, you practice slow, flowing motions and shift your weight from one limb to another. Yoga incorporates a poses that focus on correct postures and breathing. Both exercises increase flexibility, range of motion, leg and core strength, reflexes and your ability to balance in multiple stances.
If you can't see where you're going, your fall risk goes up. The solution may be as simple as a new eyeglasses prescription. If you have an increased risk for other eye conditions, you may need an eye exam more often.
Assistive walking devices
A cane or a walker will provide more stability and confidence when walking. Walkers are available with wheels intended for different terrain, lockable brakes, seats, baskets, and other features such as headlights. Canes are available with various handgrips and bases. Seeing a physiotherapist is the best way to get trained on how to effectively use these devices to help improve your balance.
Now that summer is here, physical activity outdoors can be much more difficult with the humidity and heat factoring in. Here are a few low-intensity activities that are fun and manageable.
1. Swimming and Water Aerobics
Calories burned: 333 doing freestyle at a slow to moderate pace for 45 minutes.
Swimming is the best exercise you can do in the summertime. Not only is it fun and refreshing, your body does not sweat and the impact on your joints you would normally have on land is reduced. In addition to cardio, lakes and pools are a great spot for strength training exercises and stretches with water aerobics.
2. Water Sports
Calories burned: 340 kayaking for 1 hour at 4mph.
Canoeing, kayaking, stand up paddle-boarding, and pedal boating are fun cottage activities that keep you active and fit without sacrificing enjoying your summer away from the city.
Calories burned: 216 walking at 3mph for 1 hour.
Walking at a steady pace for an extended period of time is just as effective as jogging with the benefit of being able to carry water bottles and manage your breathing easily in the heat.
Calories burned: 200 calories for 1 hour of Hatha yoga.
Yoga combines endurance with stretches, strength training and balance without pushing your body to its limit. You may begin by taking a class in a studio until you find your favourite poses and flows which you may do in your backyard, in a park, or by the water as a way to relax your mind and be fit in the summer.
1. Stay hydrated
The discs between the vertebrae in your spine require water to maintain disc height and spinal alignment and to take pressure off the spine.
2. Increase magnesium intake
Neck pain is most frequently the result of a muscle strain or sprain. Increasing your intake of magnesium, a mineral that aids in the contraction and relaxation of muscles, may help avoid these pain causing problems.
3. Avoid cradling the phone in your neck
One way you may not even realize that you’re aggravating your neck is through angling it while speaking on the phone. Do not cradle the phone between your ear and shoulder, as this puts unneeded strain on your cervical spine.
4. Consider acupuncture
Acupuncture stimulated nerves, muscles and connective tissue. This stimulation boosts your body's natural painkillers and increases blood flow, which is proven to help some people with pain management.
5. Try remedial massage
Remedial massage differs from traditional massage in that it involves oil being applied and rubbed into the skin. Over time, the oil is intended to penetrate the muscles and joints, removing toxins and improving joint mobility while relaxing the muscles. A targeted remedial massage may offer relief for your neck pain.
6. Visit a physiotherapist
It is common to think of physiotherapy as a treatment aimed at reducing symptoms from a given injury. In addition to this, physiotherapy for the neck can also have other benefits, such as:
7. Place ice on certain areas of the body
Neck pain may also be joined by nagging headaches and numbness or tingling in the back of the head, neck, shoulders and hands.
8. Use a water pillow
Water pillows allow you to dictate the firmness of the pillow to reach the ideal firmness that reduces neck pain while sleeping. More water equals a firmer pillow; less water provides a softer pillow.
9. Incorporate swimming into your exercise routine
Swimming has therapeutic effects on neck pain, specifically in reducing inflammation, providing quick pain relief and easing neck stiffness.