Managing The Pain Pathway – Are we going far enough?

Managing The Pain Pathway – Are we going far enough?

img20 August 2018

Pain management strategies are great when we are in pain…the relief felt when managing an injury cannot be underestimated as part of the rehabilitation process.  The pain of musculoskeletal injuries is not foreign to a triathlete.  Issues around over use and technique are recognised as being the most significant contributor to injury and pain.

Let’s face it, triathletes know they have to “push through the pain barrier” on so many occasions that sometimes it is hard to know when a niggle may turn into an injury that can take you out of the sport.

Early diagnosis is obviously very important when managing injuries and pain.  More importantly, when looking at the rehabilitation process, the “one size fits all” solution to people’s pain, is rarely that simple.  Add to this the confusion for athletes around the marketing machine of large medical organisations selling “expertise” that is rarely understood or tested by the patient.

Holistic – Long Term Approach

Dr Nick Bryant from Red Radiology, an independent practice that specialises in sports imaging, works with teams such as the Brisbane Broncos, Brisbane Roar, jockeys and boxing.  He highlights that the specific nature of different sports should be considered in the diagnosis and treatment options for an athlete.  The challenge is to extend the management of sports injuries from “quick fixes” towards a more holistic approach to rehabilitation management.

For example, Cortisone injections under ultrasound or CT guidance can be vital to the first stage of recovery in order to manage pain and to provide relief.  His experience is that quite often, once the relief is gained, patients will not address the longer term rehabilitation pathway which can lead to ongoing injections that do not contribute to good long term solutions for the athlete.

Each Patient Responds Differently

The challenge is further complicated by the fact that each patient will respond differently to different rehabilitation solutions.  For example, a Cortisone treatment that is not successful is not a wasted treatment, as it highlights the patient will need greater involvement with a specialist or requires different treatments for that injury.

As a result of this focus on getting the best patient outcome available for his patients, Dr Bryant has established a relationship with BodyPlan to ensure patients have a range of rehabilitation solutions for musculoskeletal challenges all at the same location.  He highlights how while it would be easy for him to inject patients with cortisone and send them on their way, the more ethical approach is focussed on moving away from quick fixes and addressing the pain pathways by extending the approach to consider longer term outcomes.

As a result of this view, Red Radiology offers a full range of services from MRI, Cortisone injections (CT/Ultrasound guided) through to Shockwave Therapy, Dry Needling and Remedial Massage, with the latter being performed by the team at BodyPlan.  This innovative partnership provides the patient with the ability to also receive advice regarding potential exercise rehabilitation programs that can enhance the success of recovery for the athlete.  This helps close the gap on the pain pathway ensuring the management of their injury sustainable.

Dr Bryant sees this as an ethical approach to diagnostic treatment into the future and warns athletes to do their homework before choosing somebody to manage their pain diagnostically.

For Triathlon Queensland Members Red Radiology is offering bulk billed Cortisone Injections, $200 for 3 Shockwave Therapy sessions at Bodyplan with the Exercise Physiologist  and special rates for MRI.  Please ensure you advise that you are a Triathlon Queensland member.

Call (07) 3624 2700 to book an appointment.


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