As a member of The Irish Association of Physical Therapists and like all primary healthcare professionals, we are obliged to make sure we keep our skills up to date. This is formally called continuing professional development (CPD) and has been revised recently to be in line with similar healthcare providers. Over the last year I have completed a number of courses that I hope will add to my ‘toolbox’ and improve my skills and outcomes as a Physical Therapist. I have used all of these skills over the last few months depending on the client and their presentation. Here is a few of them and a brief explanation of what it is and how it can help you.
During the 2012 Olympic games, numerous athletes wore a bright colored tape on their shoulders, knees, and backs called kinesiotape. David Beckham, Lance Armstrong and Serena Williams are also fans of the tape. The Kinesio Taping method involves taping over and around muscles in order to assist and give support to muscles or to prevent over-contraction of muscles, depending on patient presentation. Kinesio Taping can easily be integrated into a patients’ existing treatment plan. It also can be used on clients with postural problems and tightness in typical areas (neck shoulders and back).
Dry Needling involves multiple advances of a fine filament needle into the muscle in the region of a “Trigger Point” (muscle knot). The aim of Dry Needling is to achieve a local twitch response to release muscle tension and pain. Dry needling is an effective treatment for chronic pain of neuropathic origin with very few side effects. This technique is unequalled in finding and eliminating neuromuscular dysfunction that leads to pain and functional deficits.
The needle used is very thin and most subjects do not even feel it penetrate the skin. A healthy muscle feels very little discomfort with insertion of this needle. However if the muscle is sensitive and shortened or has active trigger points within it, the subject will feel a sensation like a muscle cramp -‘the twitch response’. The patient also may feel a reproduction of “their” pain which is a helpful diagnostic indicator for the practitioner attempting to diagnose the cause of the patient’s symptoms. Patients soon learn to recognise and even welcome this sensation as it results in deactivating the trigger point, reducing pain and restoring normal length function to the involved muscle. Dry needling is similar but not the same as acupuncture.
Spinal Mobilisation Course
Spinal mobilisation is the gentle manual manipulation of the joints in the spine to release the body’s own healing powers which then are able to restore the joints or tissue being treated to normal functioning. This is done in the right place at the right time in the right way. If done correctly it can improve the faulty functioning of body structures such as joints, muscles and tendons.