That was me (mobile physio) out to another Sunday physio client today in Bondi Junction. Over the last few months I have been servicing a lot more clients in need of a Sunday physio. I have even been giving advice over the phone to clients that live outside my catchment area but really needed some help to get them through the day. So this is why I'm writing this blog, on a sunday!, to help anyone in severe acute pain. First things first, make sure that you don't have any other medical symptoms such as fever, flu symptoms or a general feeling of sickness. For this, go to a GP - there are lots of medical clinics that are open on a Sunday so you're generally feeling ill, then get yourself checked out. Also, a traumatic incident that turns into severe spinal pain must be treated as an emergency.
I am normally called out to one of two scenarios on a Sunday for an acute wry neck (severe stiffness and pain) or severe low back pain. Therefore I will talk about each one separately.
1. Acute Wry Neck
The good news is that this will normally resolve in a week and physiotherapy is very effective in the acute stage. You can get a painful or stiff neck if you sleep in an awkward position, use a computer keyboard for a prolonged period of time, or even from sitting in a draught. Normally there is a sprain in a facet joint in your neck. The first thing you should do is take some pain killers (prescribed from your G.P). Then use a heat pack around your neck and then - while lying flat on your back - slowly rotate your neck side to side in a pain-free range of motion. A hot shower will also help. Avoid sitting for long periods, sleeping on your side and driving if possible. This is a very common condition in younger children but don't worry we can still treat them. If in doubt give our Sunday physio service a call.
2. Acute Low Back Pain (LBP
Unfortunately this is a little more complex as there are many causes of acute LBP. However, the two main problems are a herniated disc or a pelvic mal-alignment.
a) Disc herniation: normally very painful to cough, sneeze or laugh. Worse in the morning and it will be next to impossible to flex forward. Complete rest in the first few days is advisable with physio, medication from a doctor and adopt positions of comfort (the best is usually lying on your back with hips flexed to 90 degrees with pillows or a chair supporting them, see below). There are many levels of herniation/disc disruption so be sure to get it checked out, diagnosed correctly and treated promptly. The cause of the problem needs to be highlighted and treated to gain full recovery.
b) Pelvic Mal-alignment: this too can cause severe low back pain but the visiting physio can make a big difference as this is a more mechanical issue that responds well to treatment. This is common in new mums, hyper-mobile individuals and in soccer players. Pelvic mal-alignment can appear as a variety of different symptoms, but things like flexing forward, getting into a car and turning in bed will be excruciating.
Again, if in doubt give our Sunday physio service a call.
If you would like more information on low back pain then please click here or for acute neck pain please click here. Remember that if it's an emergency then you need to see a doctor but in all my Sunday home visits I have yet to send a client off to the emergency department. Physiotherapists are an excellent resource for treating acute severe spinal pain. It's a pity we are not utilised more in emergency departments, but that is a blog for another time!
Please call 0406766864 for our Sunday physio service.