Frequently Asked Questions

Home Frequently Asked Questions

Pins and needles / tingling down the legs or arms are normally a sign that there is a nerve trapped either in the lower back or in the neck. The nerve can be pinched / trapped along the length of the entire nerve, hence it can be trapped throughout the entire length. Nerves exit the back and neck at many different levels and activate different muscle groups. Hence where the pins and needles / tingling are, can be an indication of where it is trapped.

There are many structures in you neck that allow you to move. The most common issues that are seen in Physio that cause a reduction in range of motion (ability to move the neck) include – a stuck neck / spinal bone (facet dysfunction), a pinched nerve, tight / shortened muscles (tear, tendinopathy), tight / shortened ligaments

The shoulder can be a complicated little joint. It is the most mobile joint in the body (it can move the most) and is a shallow joint (normally unstable). It has a lot of ligaments that keep it in place. Most common issues that arise at the top of the shoulder are; a tight upper trap / neck muscles, a tendinopathy of the Rotator Cuff, an impingement and frozen shoulder.

This refers to the breakdown / micro tears of the tissue that connects muscles to bone. It is normally related to a an over use issue where by the tendon is put under too much force too quickly. Ie going from a sedentary lifestyle to running 5 kms. It is normally around the Achilles or the rotator cuff.

This is a condition of the shoulder that is characterised by pain and limited movement. It normally comes in three stages. Stage 1 is associated with an increase in pain with a reduction of movement. Stage 2 is a reduction in pain but limited movement. Stage 3 is associated with increased pain but increased movement.

The rotator cuff is a group of muscles that surround the shoulder and the shoulder blade. The act to assist in the movement of the shoulder and a stabilisation platform for the shoulder.

An impingement is normally associated with the shoulder or the ankle. What tends to happen is that the tendon rubs against a boney part of the joint, becomes inflamed and hence the area of the joint becomes smaller due to swelling which then reduces movement.

A bursa is simply a fluid filled sac that allows tendons / muscles to glide freely through their movement. Bursitis simply refers to the fluid filled sac becoming inflamed. This is normally due to excessive friction, trauma or inflammatory conditions.

The mid back, or known as the Thoracic region is where your ribs connect to your spine. Common conditions that cause this area to hurt are normally related to the bone connections from the ribs to the spine becoming stuck or rusted up. Hence limited movement which relates to pain. This can often be caused by excessive sitting.

There are many reasons as to why your lower back may hurt. It could be related to muscle strains, a disc issue, nerve related, chronic inflammatory conditions, referred pain from other areas.

This is where a muscle has been over stretched or torn. This usually occurs where the muscle is fatigued, weak or improper use. Muscles are like an elastic band. If they are stretched too far they may tear, or if they can come back shrivelled up and take time to stretch back out to heir normal length.

This is where a nerve in the body is being pressed upon by a disc (shock absorption) in the spine. It normally occurs in the neck or the lower back. It is characterised by weakness of a muscle, pins and needles, numbness or pain.

This is related to the fluid filled discs in the spine that act as shock absorbers. This is usually related to age where one or more of the discs breakdown which leads to pain in the spine. This can manifest itself as pain in the back or neck, pins and needles or numbness.

A nerve impingement is where the nerve is irritated by the disc in the spine. It normally causes pain in the spine, weakness, pins and needles, or numbness. It can also can pain to radiate down the arms and / or legs.

This is a condition in the spine where one of the lower vertebrae slips forward onto the bone below. It creates an instability in the spine as weight bearing can no longer appropriately occur. This normally is diagnosed in the teenage years.

This is where there is a crack or stress fracture in one of the bones in the spine. This is normally caused by repetitive stress that overloads the system.

Some of the most common reasons for hip pain are osteoarthritis, hip bursitis, muscle tear around the hip or a poor alignment of the leg bone. Its important that if there are any pins and needles that you get this checked out as there could be a nerve involved.

Osteoarthritis is the breakdown of the squishy parts between the joints. The cartilage breaks down over time and with use, and hence a condition of bone on bone occurs. Strengthening of the muscles around these joints can be useful to help slow the need for a joint replacement.

Osteopenia is a precondition to osteoporosis. This is where breakdown of the cartilage between joints has started to occur but have not worn away to the point where there is now bone on bone. It is vitally important to build strength of the muscles and the bones surrounding the joints to prevent osteoporosis from occurring.

A fracture is a broken bone. Bones in children are flexible and can bend a fair amount prior to breaking. In adults we become stiff and hence our bones do not bend like in a child and they tend to snap. When you break a bone, as long as it heals correctly – you should never break that bone again as it heals stronger then the structures around where the break occurred.

Hip impingement is where the end of the bone that attaches to the hip is out of alignment. The head of the femur rubs in the hip joint and starts to wear away. This can be a painful condition and normally range of the hip is limited.

A bursa is a fluid filled sac that allows ligaments and muscles to glide through their ranges smoothy. If something stops this fluid movement – such as a change in pull in the muscle, the bursa ma fill with further fluid to protect the area. This increase in swelling can lead to pain.

The hamstrings are the muscles at the back of your leg that attach from your knee to your hips. These muscles are often injured if there is an imbalance between the hamstrings and the quads. If the muscles are pushed beyond their flexible capability they may tear.

The knees are a simple structure that simply bend / hinge. The knee cap sits at the front the knee and is one of the only bones in the body that does not connect to another bone – hence it is free to move. Often clicking of the knee relates to the knee cap sitting out of its correct alignment and hence the click you hear is the knee cap coming back into position.

The structure of the knee is fairly simple. On the inside of your knee you have medial meniscus, medial ligaments, and can have referred issues from the knee cap / other structures of the knee. Normally a twisting motion is what can cause damage to these structures.

The knee is a simple hinge system that is designed to bend. There are not too many structures in the knee. On the outside of the knee you have the Lateral meniscus, lateral ligaments and other structures that can refer to the outside such as fat pad, ACL / PCL.

The knee is a simple hinge joint that is designed to bend. If you are getting pain in your knees when you run, it could be attributed to numerous different factors such as; poor knee cap tracking, tight quads, damage to the meniscus, poor biomechanics of running.

MS is multiple sclerosis which is a condition that affects the central nervous system. It interferes with the signals sent from the brain to the rest of the body by breaking down the signal pathways. Unfortunately there is currently no cure and it is a degenerative disease, meaning it will continue to get worse throughout a person’s lifetime.

Clicking of a joint can be fairly normal and is usually not an issue unless it is painful. Sometimes, like a rusty gate, a joint can get stuck. The click is the joint moving ‘through’ the rusty part of its range of motion. If it is painful it could indicate that there may be a tear or strain of a muscle or ligament.

The ankles take the entire weight of your body. Most people do not look after their ankles well and fail to realise the importance of the ankles. There are many reasons as to why the ankles may be sore. It could be due to swelling, arthritis, the shoes you are wearing, returning to exercise,

Pain and bruising in a rolled ankle are a good sign. It is the body’s natural way of telling you something is wrong. The bruising is broken blood vessels and the pain may indicate that something is broken. If you have had a bad rolled ankle and its bruised and you don’t feel pain, it means that you have most likely damaged nerves.