One of the most common side effects of radical prostate surgery is erectile dysfunction. Depressing? But there is some good news. Results from a small trial by researchers in Sao Paulo Brazil, show that men who have pelvic floor muscle physiotherapy with biofeedback training once weekly for three months before prostate surgery, are significantly more likely to have normal erectile function a year following surgery, than those without physiotherapy intervention. For many men however, there will not be the luxury of a three month wait between diagnosis and surgery and so the treatment opportunity is not there. Alternatively it may not be easy to access a specialist physiotherapist in your area. But why wait? Even if you never have any prostate intervention, a strong pelvic floor can improve sexual function. So get practicing: Squeeze and lift from your back passage as if stopping the escape of wind, then let go. Do the same thing but this time using the muscles you use to stop the flow of urine. Now try lifting from the back and front together so that you are lifting up underneath completely. Do clusters of 10 lifts three times per day. Each cluster should comprise 10 lifts held for up to ten seconds each, with a ten second rest between each lift. You may not get the hang of it straight away but practice makes perfect as they say, so keep trying. If you want to see if you are doing the exercises correctly, stand in front of a full length mirror. As you pull up, you should see your testicles lift and draw in slightly. Not sure if it’s happening? Expert physiotherapy can help you get it right, and provide you with your own individualised exercise programme. If you are about to undergo surgery, or have just had prostate surgery it’s not too late to seek out your nearest expert physiotherapist to get you on track. All of you out there: get lifting!
It’s winter (and didn’t we know it earlier last month!). Here at Physiolink it’s the season when we see more whiplash injuries than any other. Why? A slide and tumble on the ice, especially one that is particularly spectacular can result in whiplash injury just as easily as a bump in the car. So for those who have taken a fall and developed whiplash symptoms, there is no need to despair. The misconception that a whiplash injury will produce pain that you are stuck with for life is unfounded (only one in five cases will produce very severe pain). This misconception is largely due to the large number of fraudulent compensation claims by folk in whom recovery is not useful. Criminal gangs are also known to deliberately crash a car in order to make a claim. Fortunately the government is currently attempting to reduce whiplash claims (1500 per day) in order to limit meteoric rises in insurance premiums.
This is not however intended to make completely light of it. The first days following a whiplash type injury can be pretty miserable. The key is to not be frightened by it, and to take on board that it will get better. The soft tissues will be bruised and therefore will need time to settle and recover so patience is required. During this time there will not be any quick fix, but early physiotherapy intervention is recommended by experts. On a case by case basis, physiotherapists provide advice on basic exercises, the amount of rest versus activity required, optimal posture at work, daily activities and for sleeping, and other strategies to help reduce pain. Later on, rehab strategies can be instigated to restore previously painful movement.
However, the best advice of course is prevention, so make sure you have a really good grip on your walking shoes whenever ice threatens. Meanwhile, roll on Spring!