5 Reasons Why Stretching Will Benefit Your Overall Health

Stretching is an important part of physical therapy, and many physical therapists will include specific stretches into their sessions. Strength and endurance are both undeniably important; however, stretching is a crucial part of anyone’s exercise regimen, whether you are an athlete or someone coping with aches and pains. Stretching helps in increasing flexibility, which can alleviate pain and make other aspects of treatment easier – even strength and endurance!

What does stretching do?

Stretching has a lot of benefits that we don’t always think about. Some of these benefits include:

 

  • Improving range of motion.

 

Range of motion consists of how well your joints can move in all directions. This influences every movement you make! If you have a constricting condition, such as arthritis or an injury, your range of motion can be hindered. Whether it’s turning your head to see behind you while driving, or bending your knee freely while running, range of motion is crucial for both daily life and for fitness pursuits. Stretching can help reduce stiffness and increase flexibility, therefore improving your range of motion. 

 

  • Finding relief in unexpected places.

 

Sometimes we forget how interconnected our bodies are. It is obvious that if we experience back pain, we should stretch out our backs. However, sometimes stretching your legs during physical therapy can provide unexpected relief to your back, as well. In fact, your hamstrings, upper thighs, and hips can all play a big part in creating lower back pain relief. Likewise, improving your posture through stretching your torso can provide the kind of support you need to keep your spine from compressing, which helps you avoid shoulder and neck pain. Essentially, stretching different parts of your body can provide relief to places you may not have considered!

 

  • Enhancing performance.

 

This point is especially true for athletes. The more you condition your muscles, joints, and ligaments, the greater advantage you’ll have in your sport. For example, bodybuilders recover from their reps much quicker when they stretch as a cool-down. Golfers can achieve a longer reach by increasing their range of motion in their hips and shoulders. Swimmers can even out their strokes by perfecting their balance through stretching. If you are an athlete, stretching can play a crucial role in your performance.

 

  • Preventing injuries.

 

When muscles are tight or tense, the likelihood of injury increases. This occurs because that particular part of your body isn’t working at its peak performance, even though you might be. When you stretch, you’re loosening up your muscles, in addition to increasing range of motion and improving balance, which all factor into injury prevention. All of these factors can prevent you from making the types of moves that lead to injury, whether it’s coming down too hard on one foot, twisting your back further than you should, or taking a fall due to lack of balance.

 

  • Improving circulation.

 

Stretching can reduce stress, but that isn’t the only reason it’s good for your heart and your musculoskeletal system. In fact, stretching plays a key role in almost every aspect of your physical abilities. Tight muscles constrict available oxygen supply, essentially robbing themselves of the nutrients they need. Stretches help reverse the process. When you stretch frequently, you’ll also get the benefit of increased blood flow to your joints and throughout the body. 

We can help!

There are additional ways that stretching can help improve your quality of life, whether you find a sense of pride in being limber or relaxation in taking time to stretch out your body. When you’re ready to add stretches to your daily routine, consider getting started through physical therapy. Our physical therapists can talk you through which types of stretches may be best for you, whether it be static, dynamic, pre-activity, or post-activity. Contact our office today to learn more about how our team can help you create a stretching treatment plan, and how our services will benefit you!

 

Sources:

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3273886/

https://www.moveforwardpt.com/Resources/Detail/tips-to-recover-from-workout

 

How to Make Your Stress-Related Headaches Disappear

Did you know that headaches are the third most common pain complaint throughout the world? They can impact your quality of life and make it difficult to function normally. Luckily, headache relief can be found through physical therapy. Your trained physical therapist will work with you to provide pain relief from headaches, in addition to any other aches and pains you may be suffering from. In this guide, we’ll outline the different types of headaches and the causes for them, in addition to explaining how physical therapy can help. 

Different types of headaches: 

Any type of pain that occurs within the head can be referred to as a “headache.” Most headaches will resolve on their own without medical intervention; however, severe or recurrent headaches that interfere with one’s quality of life should most certainly be evaluated further. The challenge lies in identifying which type of headache you’re experiencing and then devising a treatment plan accordingly. Physical therapists are adept at diagnosing different types of headaches and can develop pain relief strategies for stress-related headaches. 

There several different types of headaches that can be treated with physical therapy. These include, but are not limited to:

  • Stress (tension) 
  • Post-traumatic 
  • Migraine or sinus
  • Caffeine
  • Hormone 
  • Exertion
  • Cluster 
  • Rebound
  • Hypertension

What are stress-related/tension headaches?

Tension headaches are some of the most commonly treated headaches by a physical therapist. They occur when the neck and scalp muscles contract or become tense, and they can happen at any age. Stress-related headaches generally start at the back of the head and progress to the top of the head and eyes, sometimes accompanied by facial pain along the jaw and cheeks. This type of discomfort has been compared to having hair pulled or wearing a very tight hat. These types of headaches can occur as a result of:

  • Increased stress.
  • Poor posture.
  • Neck or jaw problems.
  • Fatigue.
  • Arthritis.
  • Anxiety.
  • Depression.

How physical therapy helps:

At your initial visit, your physical therapist will conduct a thorough evaluation of your physical abilities, in addition to reviewing your health history. He or she will ask you a series of questions to determine the type of headache you’re experiencing. After your physical therapist determines what type of headache you’re dealing with you’ll work together to develop a treatment plan for meeting your physical health goals.

During your first visit, you can expect to undergo some of the following:

  • Inquiries about the location of the pain, in addition to any other symptoms you are experiencing. 
  • Questions regarding previous injuries to your neck, head, jaw and/or back.
  • Measurements regarding the range of motion of your shoulders, neck, and other relevant parts of the body.
  • Examination of your posture while engaged in different activities.
  • Tests of your muscle strength and sensation.
  • Manual therapy to ascertain the mobility of joints and muscles in your neck.

A physical therapist’s mission:

While the end goal of physical therapy is pain relief, there are some important steps along the way that your physical therapist will help you with, in order to decrease pain and improve function. These include, but are not limited to:

  • Posture improvement. Your posture throughout the day greatly impacts your likelihood for pain and stress-related headaches. Your physical therapist will teach you methods of improving your posture in order to function more comfortably in your daily life.
  • Strength improvement. You’ll learn exercises to help strengthen the muscles that control your neck and upper back, in order to improve posture and increase your ability to stand or sit comfortably for longer periods of time. 
  • Neck improvement. Using manual therapy, your physical therapist will stretch the muscles in the back of your neck to relieve pain and increase movement.

Different types of physical therapy treatments

Your physical therapist may suggest any combination of specialized treatment services, including but not limited to:

 

  • Heat or ice compressions.
  • Soft tissue mobilization.
  • Muscular releases.
  • Muscle energy techniques.
  • Body mobilization.
  • Cervical traction.
  • McKenzie-based therapies.
  • Stretching.
  • Strengthening.

 

With all treatment plans, you can expect to receive education that will supplement your in-office experience.

Persistent and life-altering headaches may not go away without physical therapy. To experience long-lasting pain relief and improve your quality of life, contact our office today. Our staff would be happy to talk with you and discuss how we can help you achieve a pain-free life. 

 

Sources:

https://headaches.org/2016/10/11/physical-therapy-headache/

https://www.moveforwardpt.com/SymptomsConditionsDetail.aspx?cid=fd8a18c8-1893-4dd3-9f00-b6e49cad5005

 

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4316547/

 

http://www.ihs-headache.org/

 

7 Secrets Toward Motivating Yourself to be Active

For many of us, staying in shape can turn into an “all-or-nothing” attitude. Maybe we had a long day at work, or maybe we have to drive our kids to their extracurricular activities, or maybe it’s dark and cold and we simply don’t want to put in the effort. These are common excuses, and we all feel them. By the time you get home from work, it feels like there aren’t enough hours in the day to work out, on top of everything else you have to do. However, there are some simple tips you can add into your daily lifestyle that can allow for more physical activity, without having to hit the gym!

1. Take the longer and more difficult route.

We generally try to get from one point to another in the quickest way possible. We take elevators, we park close to entrances, we enter and exit the doors nearest to us… But other than saving time, this doesn’t add any long-term value. Try making it a habit to take the stairs at work or to park at the back of your grocery store’s parking lot. These simple acts can add significantly more physical activity to your daily life.

2. Get your steps in during lunch.

We all get a lunch break, and we can easily use that time to make healthy decisions. Instead of eating at the office cafeteria, walk down the street to order food (and make sure to get something healthy!) Or, you can use your entire lunch break to take a walk or go to the gym. By opting to do this, you can bring a bagged lunch and eat at your desk either before or after your exercise. This will give you a designated period of time every day for physical activity.

3. Invest in a standing desk.

This may be one of the easiest ways to get exercise – simply by standing in place! While it may not seem like much, standing is significantly healthier than sitting. You burn more calories by standing, and it is incredibly helpful to your posture as it decreases the ability to slouch or hunch over. It also helps in keeping blood sugar steady after a meal, and it encourages more movement overall.

4. Trick yourself into getting up more often.

Ideally, we’re supposed to get up and move around every 30-60 minutes throughout the day to initiate stronger blood flow, and to allow our bodies to stretch and warm up. But how many of us actually do that? (The answer – not many.) However, you can achieve this by tricking yourself into getting up more often. Maybe you use a smaller glass for your water than usual, so you have to get up and go to the sink every time you finish it. Or, maybe you make a trip to the copy room every time you have to use a stapler or hole puncher, instead of keeping your own on your desk. By ridding yourself of these small “conveniences” that we create for ourselves, you’ll be able to get up and move around much more than you would otherwise.

5. Do chores every day.

By doing chores for 20 or 30 minutes a day, organizational experts believe you can achieve a cleaner and healthier lifestyle. In addition, you can also get a bit of a workout in! Vacuuming, doing dishes, taking out the trash, and doing laundry all demand physical activity. By taking time out of the day to do chores around the house, you’ll be able to get exercise AND do the tidying up that you’ve been putting off. Win/win!

6. Keep your equipment in sight.

Keep workout equipment in an easy-to-see view around the house. Lay your yoga mat out in front of the TV. Keep your 5-pound weights on the side of the desk. By keeping your equipment in sight, it’ll increase the probability of you using them (because let’s face it, who’s going to rummage through their hall closet to find their yoga mat at the end of the day?) Make it a habit of working out around the house while doing your daily activities, such as watching the news, cooking dinner, or even sitting at your computer.

7. Don’t procrastinate getting physical therapy treatments.

Physical therapy is helpful in addressing the aches and pains that may keep you from pursuing your active lifestyle. Many physical therapy sessions are also workouts in themselves, meaning that you’ll be getting physical activity by attending your treatments. Your physical therapist can also be used as a great resource when looking for advice on remaining active and adding more exercise into your daily habits. If chronic pain is an issue, your physical therapist can show you specific moves that streamline the physical challenges.

If you have pain that’s keeping you from maintaining an active lifestyle give our office a call today. We’ll be happy to discuss how physical therapy can help you live a pain-free and more active life.

 

Sources:

 

https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/fitness/in-depth/fitness/art-20047624

 

https://www.moveforwardpt.com/Resources/Detail/four-tips-to-stay-active-independent-as-you-age

 

How to Treat Arthritis Pain Without Medication

What is arthritis?

 

Arthritis can sometimes serve as a bit of an umbrella term. It is used to describe over 100 different types of joint pain and joint disease experienced by millions of people. It is true that arthritis seems to favor the elderly, as it becomes more apparent in people as they age; however, it is possible for people to experience arthritis in their early middle age.

 

According to a study published in the American Journal of Sports Medicine, it actually has a higher probability of affecting elite male athletes than the rest of the general public. It states that about 30 percent of elite male athletes who engage in contact sports will develop arthritis in the knees and hips, due to the wear and tear that the overexertion has on their joints. They are also more likely to be at risk for arthritis later in life.

 

What can I do?

 

A common treatment for arthritis is medication, usually for pain manageability. Your physician may prescribe NSAID pain relievers, corticosteroids, antirheumatic drugs, or antibiotics for your arthritis treatment. Medication is easy – you pop it in your mouth, chase it with water, and your pain subsides shortly afterward. However, they can also cause some unfavorable side effects, and in some cases they can be habit-forming. With NSAIDs, you run the risk of blood clots, heart attack, or stroke. With corticosteroids, you run the risk of cataracts, high blood sugar levels, and bone loss. Luckily, there is a much safer and healthier alternative to treating arthritis: physical therapy.

 

If you believe you may be experiencing arthritic pain, and you’re looking for relief without the harmful risk of drugs, call our office today. We’ll set you up with a physical therapist who can help you kick the meds and reduce your arthritis symptoms!

The different types of arthritis:

  • Osteoarthritis: This is the most common type of arthritis. It is caused by a reduction in joint cartilage through the “wear and tear” one experiences with age. This process of wearing down cartilage causes bones to rub together, which leads to pain and swelling. Physical therapy can often help to reduce osteoarthritis pain without medication, especially if it is diagnosed as mild-to-moderate.
  • Inflammatory Arthritis: Also referred to as Rheumatoid Arthritis, this occurs when the body’s immune system attacks joint tissues with intense inflammation. Inflammatory arthritis often has a genetic cause, and doctors usually treat it aggressively with drugs. However, depending on the severity of symptoms, physical therapy may be recommended for treatment as well.
  • Metabolic Arthritis: The most common type of metabolic arthritis is gout, a condition caused by uric acid crystals building up in the joints of the extremities, especially in the feet. This is typically a result of reduced kidney function. Physical therapy can help gout patients restore range of motion in the affected area, and it can even reduce the buildup of acidic crystals that accumulate in the joints.

How will physical therapy help me?

A physical therapist’s main goal when treating arthritis is reducing stress on the joints, increasing strength, and preserving range of motion. Some benefits to working with a physical therapist include:

  • Weight control. Your physical therapist will work with you to control your weight through exercise and diet. Controlling your weight helps to prevent added stress on weight-bearing joints.
  • Proper posture. Posture work will help to reduce stress on your joints.
  • Stretching/exercise. Light exercises and stretching will help to increase range of motion in the affected areas.
  • Rest. Your therapist will also recommend a schedule for rest and sleep to complement your exercises. This helps the body to heal and will hopefully reduce your amount of arthritic inflammation and pain.

Every treatment regimen is different based on your body’s needs and your particular type of arthritis. The best way to get started on a natural, safe, and healthy treatment through physical therapy is by calling Advantage Physical Therapy and scheduling a consultation with one of our physical therapists today. We’ll get you feeling comfortable and pain-free after just a few short sessions!

Sources:

https://www.arthritis.org/living-with-arthritis/treatments/natural/other-therapies/what-is-physical-therapy.php

https://www.moveforwardpt.com/Arthritis

 

Stand up to Lower Back Pain – Find Relief Through Physical Therapy

Lower back pain is a very common sensation that affects 60-70% of people across industrialized nations. It can also greatly limit many aspects of your daily life. For example, working, doing the activities you love, spending time with friends and family, or even just relaxing can be difficult if you are ached by lower back pain.  It is the leading cause of inactivity among adults, and it can result in other health issues if left untreated. In fact, according to the World Health Organization, an estimated 149 million days of work are lost due to lower back pain.

If you are suffering from lower back pain, it is important to find relief as soon as possible. Contact our office today to find out how our services can ease your pain and get you back to comfortably living your life.

PT treatments for lower back pain:

The role of a physical therapist is to help patients alleviate pain and regain function. This is done by promoting healing to the affected area and using targeted exercises to restore function and movement. Then you come in for a consultation, your physical therapist will provide you with an extensive evaluation, discovering what form of treatment will be best for your condition.

There are two specific categories of physical therapy – passive therapy and active therapy:

 

  • Passive physical therapy

 

Passive therapy works to manage pain. The main goal of passive therapy is to alleviate pain altogether so the rest of your treatment program will be easier. Lower back pain may impede your physical abilities due to the pain you are experiencing, so passive therapy works to alleviate that pain in order to improve your physical abilities. Passive therapy  can include any combination of specialty treatments, including, but not limited to:

  • Manual therapy.
  • Massage.
  • Ice and heat therapies.
  • Dry needling.
  • Ultrasound.
  • Hydrotherapy.
  • Electrical stimulation, such as TENS Units.
  • Iontophoresis.

 

  • Active physical therapy

 

Active therapy focuses on targeted exercises and stretches in order to improve function in the affected area. Many active physical therapy treatments are designed so the patient can perform them on their own, after their PT sessions are over. Once your lower back pain has subsided enough that your physical therapist believes you are ready for active physical therapy, he or she will set up an exercise plan specific to your needs. This may include any combination of strength training, stability training, and stretching. These exercises will help provide support to the painful area and will guide you further in your recovery process. Active therapy is geared toward helping you regain your muscle strength, flexibility, and range of motion.

What to expect from your visit:

At your initial consultation, your physical therapist will conduct a thorough physical evaluation to determine the best course of treatment for your specific needs. You will also discuss your medical history, lifestyle, and any additional symptoms you may be experiencing.

Once your evaluation is complete, your physical therapist will design an individualized treatment plan for you, beginning with passive physical therapy and leading into active physical therapy. You may also be given exercises to do at home, during your time away from treatments. This is all done in order to reduce pain, avoid further injury, and provide you with the quickest recovery time possible.

If you’ve been suffering from aches and pains, don’t suffer any longer – stand up to your lower back pain today. Contact Advantage Physical Therapy to schedule an appointment and get started on your path toward recovery and relief!

Reducing Inflammation with the Right Nutritional Fuels

Does your daily life revolve around chronic pain or inflammation? While this is a common everyday roadblock that many people experience, there are actually some simple ways to avoid it. It is no secret that exercise is a crucial part of any physical therapy regimen, but fueling your body with nutritional meals also plays an important role.

 

Everything you eat works to fuel your body, and eating the right foods can help you recover much quicker from painful or uncomfortable conditions. The three main ingredients that work together to help reduce your pain and inflammation include 1) exercising regularly, 2) decreasing your amount of stress, and 3) maintaining a strict nutritional diet. To learn more about how nutrition can help you live a happier and healthier life, contact our office today!

Why am I experiencing inflammation?

 

Inflammation is your body’s natural response to injury, ailment, or some other sort of harm. For example, if you have sustained an injury, wound, infection, tissue damage, or buildup of toxins in your body, your immune response will be triggered to deal with it. In many cases, inflammation is actually a good thing – without it, injuries would never heal. However, too much inflammation is unhealthy, and if the healing process continues for too long, chronic inflammation can occur.

 

Chronic inflammation can pose some serious health risks, as it can lead to diabetes, arthritis, heart disease, or even some cancers. If you have been experiencing persistent pain, it is in your best interest to consult with a physical therapist as soon as possible, in order to treat any chronic inflammation that may be occurring.

Avoiding chronic inflammation through your diet:

 

While it is still recommended to seek the help of a physical therapist, there are some easy ways you can turn around your inflammation symptoms on your own – such as adopting an anti-inflammatory diet policy.  Inflammation is your body’s way of trying to heal, which can be accelerated through a nutritional diet that complements the removal of toxins.

 

The three basic components of an anti-inflammatory diet are:

 

 

  • Veggies!

 

The best vegetable options for maintaining an anti-inflammatory diet include cabbage, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, and cauliflower. Raw vegetables tend to work better at speeding up the healing process, but it is perfectly fine to cook them if you prefer them that way. Most nutritionists recommend nine servings of vegetables a day for an anti-inflammatory diet; however, it is okay to substitute fruits for a couple of those servings if the veggies become too much.

 

 

  • Fewer grains and dairy.

 

 

Avoiding simple carbs and sugars will help in strengthening your body’s immune response. Unfortunately, this means saying goodbye to pastries, donuts, and white bread. It is also important to try and limit dairy products as much as possible, so try to stray away from cheese or milk. The best grains for an anti-inflammatory diet are wheat, barley, brown rice, and oats.

 

 

  • No red meat.

 

 

Avoiding red meat altogether is best when practicing an anti-inflammatory diet. If this becomes too difficult, red meat is okay in small doses – but it should be an extremely rare treat in your diet. Your kidneys work extra hard to process the proteins found in red meat, which ultimately slows down the body’s natural healing process. It is okay to have one small piece of steak, one time per week, but you should try not to exceed that limit. Fortunately, chicken and fish are perfectly fine sources of protein in an anti-inflammatory diet – and you can enjoy them with all your vegetable servings!

What else can I do?

Following the anti-inflammatory diet tips above should help in quickly reducing your pain and inflammation symptoms. In addition to your diet, a few more ways you can fight inflammation on your own include:

 

 

  • Daily exercise. Exercising regularly helps in keeping the muscles warm, which can alleviate pain, stiffness, and inflammation.

 

  • Weight loss. If you have some unwanted weight, getting down to your ideal body weight will help with your pain and inflammation.
  • Stress management. Mental stress can cause physical stress on the body – causing more inflammation and a longer recovery rate. Taking time to relax can actually allow you to heal quicker!

To schedule a consultation with one of our licensed physical therapists, contact us today. We’ll design a treatment plan for you to ease your pain and inflammation, and we will provide additional advice on how you can live a healthier lifestyle overall!

5 Benefits of Therapeutic Massage for Athletes

As an athlete, you already know that you’ve got to maintain optimal health if you want to keep playing the sport you love. Physical therapy with an experienced physical therapist is a big part of that, especially when you’re recovering from an injury. One of the main parts of a good physical therapy regimen after an injury involves therapeutic massage. Below, you’ll learn five of the best benefits of therapeutic massage for athletes. Call Advantage Physical Therapy now to learn more about how massage can help you live pain-free.

1. Improved Circulation

Regular massage during your physical therapy program can improve circulation considerably. Better circulation means that your muscles get the blood supply needed to prevent stiffness and tension. Your muscles will work and feel better after therapeutic massage.

2. Improved Immune System

Sickness can be extra hard on athletes. Just one bad cold or flu can keep you out of the game you love for weeks — and you might feel less than your best for quite a while after that, too. Fortunately, massage helps boost your immune system’s natural defenses. During massage, your body is prompted to power up its natural cytotoxic capacity, which basically means that you’ll be better able to fight off germs, bacteria and illness more effectively.

3. Less Scar Tissue

When you’re injured, your body forms adhesions — bands of tough scar tissue — around the injury. These adhesions can restrict your movement, cause serious pain, and can delay your recovery for a very long time if they’re not treated. Your physical therapy massage can deal with those adhesions very efficiently. Your physical therapist can use specific targeted techniques that break up the adhesions, which unbinds your muscles. This is a very important component of your physical therapy program because being adhesion-free is important for both pain relief and for your range of motion.

4. Muscle Relaxation

While muscle relaxation is the best-known benefit of massage, it takes on a whole new importance for an athlete. Muscle soreness, tightness and pain are all things that you expect as an athlete — but the good news is that you can greatly decrease these issues with regular therapeutic massage. Even after you’ve completed a physical therapy program following an injury, you might benefit from regular massages with your physical therapist.

5. Improved Posture

Massage, when coupled with other kinds of physical therapy, can do a lot of good for your posture. Massage helps bring your body into an optimal place of alignment, which can naturally improve your posture. Better posture has multiple benefits for athletes. When you’ve got good posture, your body can move at its peak, all the time — and this means that you’re playing your sport with a bit of a natural advantage built in.

 

As an athlete, your body needs to be in the best condition at all times. This means that after an injury, you’ve got to recover with the help of a physical therapy program designed by an expert physical therapist. It also means that you need to recognize the importance of health maintenance. Something as simple as a therapeutic massage once or twice a month can help you feel your very best, and this means that you’ll be able to be at your peak for every game.

 

If you’re looking for noninvasive solutions for pain and injury or if you just want to be the best athlete you can be, call our physical therapy team now to get started with an expert physical therapist.

 

Don’t Let Pain Stop You From Getting Back in the Game!

Get rid of the pain by partnering up with a physical therapist. Give our office a call today to learn more about how our physical therapists can get you on the path to a pain-free life.

Physical Therapy for Pain Relief

According to WebMD, “Physical therapy is often one of the best choices you can make when you have long-term pain (also called chronic pain) or an injury. It can make you stronger and help you move and feel better.” The goal of physical therapy is to reduce and eliminate pain while improving mobility and function.

 

During a physical therapy session, you may engage in low-impact aerobic training, strengthening exercises, pain-relief exercises and stretching. Low-impact exercises go easy on the joints and pump up your heart rate. You might be asked to use a stationary bike or to walk fast. You’ll likely be given exercises to work on your core muscles. Using your own body weight with pushups and lunges may be part of the treatment plan. Pain relief exercises designed to target the areas where you have pain will also be done. And with stretching exercises, you’ll be relaxing those muscles.

 

Physical therapists also use other modalities to achieve pain relief for the patient. Heat packs or ice packs may be applied to the affected area to reduce pain and inflammation. Massage therapy is a gentle therapy that helps reduce muscle spasms and helps your body to relax. Soft-tissue mobilization is used to increase mobility by addressing fibrous areas of muscle tissue. Direct manipulation of the joints can be done to improve functioning and maintain proper alignment. Electric stimulation therapy sends an electric current to the affected area to reduce pain. Ultrasound therapy sends sound waves to the affected area and blocks pain messages that are sent to the brain.

 

In addition, a physical therapist can educate you about sensory re-education for chronic pain. Even after an injury has healed, the nervous system may still send pain signals. Sensory re-education helps desensitize the nervous system and decrease sensitivity to the affected area.

All around, physical therapy is a noninvasive and holistic approach to pain management. You can avoid having to go under the knife or getting addicted to those pain meds with physical therapy. A physical therapist will do a comprehensive evaluation to determine the root cause of your pain and develop an individualized treatment plan that targets the root cause.

Some Stats on the Efficacy of Physical Therapy for Pain

According to the APTA, “Studies have established the efficacy of physical therapy in treating and reducing pain as well as preventing chronic pain.

  • Low back pain: A review of more than 60 randomized controlled trials evaluating exercise therapy for adults with low back pain found that such treatment can decrease pain, improve function and help people return to work. The American College of Physicians states that “non-pharmacologic interventions are considered first-line options in patients with chronic low back pain because fewer harms are associated with these types of therapies than with pharmacologic options.”
  • Before and after surgery: A review of 35 randomized controlled studies with a total of nearly 3,000 patients found that in patients undergoing total hip arthroplasty, preoperative exercise and education led to significant reductions in pain, shorter lengths of stay postoperatively and improvements in function.
  • Arthritis: Studies have shown that therapeutic exercise programs can reduce pain and improve physical function among individuals with hip and knee osteoarthritis.

Are you in pain? Be sure to call our Lexington office and discover how our physical therapists can help.  

 

Did You Know That a Herniated Disc Can Cause You Serious Back Pain?

One of the most common reasons people visit our physical therapist each day is to get relief from chronic back pain. While back pain can be caused by a variety of medical conditions, in many cases, it is the result of a herniated disc. Herniated discs can occur anywhere along the spine but typically affect the lower back area. Physical therapy patients may also be familiar with other terms used to describe a herniated disc including ruptured disc, bulging disc, or protruding disc, but the treatment for the condition is the same. It is estimated that about 60 to 80 percent of people will experience some level of lower back pain in their lives, and many may experience the issue due to a herniated disc. While they can be very painful, with the help of our experienced physical therapist, patients of all ages can find fast relief and learn to manage their pain with regular physical therapy appointments.

Ask Our Physical Therapist: What Causes a Herniated Disc to Develop?

Spinal discs are soft and rubbery pads, designed to work as shock absorbers, located between the bony vertebrae that help make up the spinal column. Made of a thick outer ring of cartilage and an inner gel-like substance, spinal discs work to allow the back to bend with ease. Additionally, your spinal column helps protect delicate nerves and your spinal cord. If the cartilage in your spinal disc somehow tears or develops a defect, the gel-like substance or nucleus can break through. This bulging or herniation can then put pressure on the nerves, resulting in intense pain. In fact, even small amounts of pressure on your spinal nerves can cause weakness, numbness, and pain.

 

Herniated discs in the lower back can be particularly painful because they put pressure on the sciatic nerve, resulting in sciatica. The sciatic nerve is actually made up of several spinal nerve branches that travel from the spine and down into the leg. If the sciatic nerve becomes pinched, pain can radiate from the buttocks area, down throughout the back of the leg, and into the shin and foot. Luckily, physical therapy can work to reduce the pain caused by the condition.

When you are young, your spinal discs have a high water-content level, made up of almost 80 percent water. However, as you age, the water content in your spinal discs lowers. This causes the discs to become less pliable and increases the risk of tears or other defects. Some of the other common causes of herniated discs include:

 

  • Excessive body weight or obesity
  • Traumatic injury
  • High-impact sports
  • Repetitive twisting movements (workplace injuries)
  • Heavy or incorrect lifting

Common Symptoms of a Herniated Disc

Symptoms associated with a herniated disc may vary depending on where the injured disc is located. Some of the most common symptoms you may experience include:

 

  • Pain when bending or twisting
  • Burning, numbness, or tingling in the back, buttock, legs, and/or feet.
  • Weakness in the legs
  • Pain that intensifies when sitting, coughing, sneezing, or bending

 

If you think you may have a herniated disc or other back pain issues, physical therapy can help. We recommend scheduling a consultation with our physical therapist as soon as possible.

How Can Physical Therapy Help Lower Back Pain?

Physical therapy is a safe and non-invasive pain treatment option designed to help patients of all ages heal from the inside out. By using targeted physical therapy treatments, our skilled physical therapist can work to relieve back pain and reduce inflammation, stimulate blood flow, and restore your range of motion.

 

Call Advantage Physical Therapy today to learn more and schedule an appointment with our knowledgeable and highly skilled physical therapist.

 

Relieve Hip and Knee Pain For Good with Physical Therapy!

Both the hips and knees are areas in the body where several muscles, tendons, and joints are joined together to help you achieve complex movement. If there is damage and subsequent pain in these areas, it can be difficult to perform daily activities. There are several specific ways that physical therapy can help relieve hip and knee pain. Call Advantage Physical Therapy to find out how a trained physical therapist can help you relieve the pain in your hips and knees!

Common Hip and Knee Conditions

There are several specific conditions that often affect the knees and hips. These conditions can occur due to repetitive motion, traumatic injury, or chronic disease.

  • Arthritis – Arthritis is a condition that involves inflammation of tissues that surround the joints. This condition can cause knee and hip pain. A physical therapist can teach you correct posture and proper movement techniques to protect your joints.
  • Strains & Sprains – Strains happen when a muscle or tendon is stretched excessively or torn. A sprain is a stretched or torn ligament. Ligaments may even rupture, causing bruising, pain and limited mobility. A physical therapist can help you recover more quickly while showing you exercise techniques to reduce pain.
  • Meniscus Tears – This is one of the most common knee injuries people experience. A torn meniscus can cause stiffness, swelling, and varying degrees of pain. This condition could be the result of a sudden injury or repetitive motions. You’re at higher risk if you’re engaging in aggressive pivoting and twisting of your legs. A physical therapist can provide non-surgical treatment for a torn meniscus.
  • Bursitis – Bursitis occurs when a small sac of fluid known as the bursa becomes inflamed. This is often caused by overuse or repetitive injuries. Bursitis can occur in a variety of locations in the body including the knees and hips. Physical therapy can aid in recovery and the reduction of pain.

How Physical Therapy Can Help

No matter what condition you have, a physical therapy program can help relieve your pain. Your physical therapist will evaluate your condition and create an individualized program to meet your specific needs. Range of motion and strength measurements may be taken during the physical therapy evaluation. The following are several treatment methods a physical therapist may use to help limit or relieve both knee and hip pain.

  • Manual Physical Therapy –  A physical therapist might use several hands-on techniques to reduce pain in your hips and knees. This could include stretching exercises or a variety of massage techniques.
  • Heat & Ice Physical Therapy – Heat is often used during physical therapy to help increase mobility and lessen pain. A physical therapist may also use ice to reduce swelling and inflammation.
  • Ultrasound Therapy – A physical therapist may use ultrasound to provide deep heating in the tissues. A trained physical therapist can also more easily identify problem areas by using ultrasound.
  • Laser Therapy – Laser therapy is increasingly being used in physical therapy for pain management. It can help increase circulation, improve the growth and reproduction of cells, and can reduce swelling.
  • Home Exercises – A physical therapist can teach you exercises to do at home to alleviate hip and knee pain. Physical therapy techniques can be incorporated into a home exercise program that can become part of your daily routine.

 

Physical therapy treatment may be able to help you remain pain-free and as active as possible. A physical therapist can create a customized program to treat your particular condition.

 

Contact our Lexington office to schedule an evaluation with an experienced physical therapist. Find out today how physical therapy can reduce or even eliminate your knee or hip pain!