Why are we telling you about this?
Why? Because use of machine treatment has been on the rise for years and because quite simply they don’t really do what they claim to do and are a waste of both yours and our time. We use NO MACHINES in our clinic, except the treadmill!
This article is so that you are not hoodwinked by anyone into thinking that machines will cure your knee pain, back pain or neck pain. We hope this will save you time and money, and we also hope it will mean that you don’t think that all ‘physio’ is the same. Just like all Italian restaurants aren’t the same! Some great, some ok, and some have rats in the kitchen and need shutting down!
AAARGH. Yes it is The Terminator, AKA Rise of the machines, but luckily the machines we are talking about are just a bit rubbish at getting rid of your pain, they shouldn’t actually try to kill you!
What machines are we talking about?
- Ultrasound – the one with the sticky gel stuff
- Heat lamps – yes they still exist in some clinics!
- Interferential – the one with a pad that makes the area tingle.
- Short wave diathermy – A thing that looks like a Dr Who robot cast off.
- Laser – yes LASER!
Why the rant?
Well yet again this week, we have sadly had to explain to someone that it was no surprise that the 6 sessions of ‘treatment’ (having machines put on them) at another clinic did not improve their back pain. This was the same week we also had to explain to another client that the machine treatment they had at a different clinic would not improve their knee pain. We think, quite rightly, they were skeptical of our approach but they had both already started to smell a rat with their previous experience elsewhere, or in other words they’d used the detector below!
The 3 reasons that they won’t work
- The science says they won’t. Contrary to what the companies that make the machines claim, in large scale studies for pain in different areas, they are not very effective at getting rid of your pain. NICE (National Institute for Clinical Excellence) has removed them from many guidelines including the lower back pain and sciatica guidelines.
- Our experience. We have seen far too many people over the years both privately and in the NHS and continue to do so, who have had this type of treatment elsewhere and still have their pain when they come to us. We do some treatment and rehab without machines and guess what, they get better. Now we can’t cure everything, nobody can, but we are confident that if you came to us with your pain you would leave us much better than when you came and would stay that way, without any machine treatment.
- They are just plan weird! If you have had it, did it not feel strange to have a machine put on you? Maybe one which you felt no sensation from at all, and were you left alone in the room with it on until it beeped?! I am sure your mind wondered and thought “is this actually doing anything?”. And if your pain did not get any better then yes you were right, it wasn’t.
What does work then?
Great question, now we are talking! Let’s get away from the machines and look at some basic principles of rehab for everything.
- Understand why you are in pain. This is critical, most of human nature is to answer the question “WHY?”.
- Get the painful area moving, through the pain free range at first and then try to regain full joint motion.
- Regain full muscle flexibility in the area = stretch.
- Improve your muscle strength and endurance, so the area has the capacity to tolerate anything you want to do with it = get stronger.
- Learn to trust the painful bit.
- If you saw no visible signs of tissue injury(visible tissue trauma such as bruising or swelling), it is probably painful but safe. i.e. you are not going to harm or damage the area by doing stuff with it.
- If it’s past 2 weeks of visible tissue injury it is unlikely to be inflammatory. So you can start to do some appropriate exercise, but don’t go crazy, it’s still healing!
- If you did injure it but it’s over 6-8 weeks since that time, it is probably fully structurally healed. So trust it and gradually get going.
Your body has an amazing ability, the ability to heal. Think about it, a cut, bruise, even a broken bone or partially torn muscle will heal. It will heal without anyone having to do anything. That is the structure sorted, but that does not mean it is flexible, strong and has capacity to tolerate everything. That only comes with repetition of doing those things, action by your body will lead to positive changes in the tissue.
So if you still have pain after having machine ‘treatment’, please do not give up. You can get better, there is another way, without machines. Call us to book an appointment and restart your journey to get rid of your pain.
Please share with anyone you know who has had this type of treatment and maybe get them to give us a call! 01625 422825