Tag Archives: Physical Therapy

Did you Know Physical Therapy Can Help Reduce Stress Related Headaches? Here’s How.

The work day is almost over, but your inbox is full and your to-do list is long. You are already thinking about the many things you’ll have to handle in the evening, and what will be facing you when you reach your desk again tomorrow. You pinch the bridge of your nose, but to no avail. The headache has already settled in, and is likely to distract you from the last few hours of your day.

Does this situation sound familiar? Stress-related headaches are no joke, and regularly turning to medication to help make the pain go away doesn’t take away from the issue that is causing the headaches in the first place: the stress! Identifying a stress-related headache as indeed being stress-related is the first step, but from there you need to take steps to address the cause of the pain, as well the pain itself. Physical therapy can help you reduce the severity of stress-related headaches, as well as the frequency with which these types of headaches occur.

Stress related headaches develop due to a combination of hormonal surges and physical tension in the body, often the neck and shoulders. You may not realize the way in which you force your body to physically carry stress throughout the day, but a bit of time on a yoga mat in the evening would help you to stretch out some of those kinks and alleviate a bit of the tension that finds its way to your head after a long day. Sitting in an uncomfortable desk chair, being cooped up in the office all day long, a frustrating and overly-long commute in a cramped vehicle—or even more uncomfortable, on public transit!—all of these factors contribute to tension in the body, and all of that tension can manifest itself as debilitating, distracting, and downright painful stress-related headaches.

Physical therapy can help to reduce pain from stress-related headaches by:

  • Reducing tension in the neck and back. Many physical therapists will start with a targeted stretching routine that will alleviate some of the tension that is most frequently held in the back, neck and even the shoulders. These stretches are often simply to repeat at home, and once a physical therapist has guided you through the best form of stretches you can be sure that the stretching you do on your own will be safe and effective.
  • Alleviating tension in the jaw. This is another common area to hold tension, except that this isn’t something that can be stretched out at home. Your physical therapist can use targeted massage and other physical therapy techniques to reduce tension in the jaw, which can help to reduce headaches.
  • Promoting muscle relaxation. Working with your physical therapist can provide you with the opportunity to understand muscle relaxation techniques, which can be helpful in the midst of a stressful situation. Learning how to relax muscles when your inclination is to constrict them means promoting airflow through the body and thereby promoting your ability to stay calm in the face of stress. This can further help support the reduction of tension headaches.

Many people think of physical therapy as a type of treatment to turn to following a car accident or injury, and while these are concerns that physical therapy can help with, this traditional treatment of pain relief if just the tip of the iceberg. Tension headaches are debilitating, and physical therapy can help you overcome that pain. Contact our office in Lexington, KY for more information about using physical therapy to reduce stress-related headaches.

5 Ways Stretching can Improve Your Overall Health

There are a lot of different factors that contribute to maintaining ideal health. Getting a full night’s rest every evening, drinking plenty of water throughout the day, and eating as well-balanced of a diet as possible are typically the top tips that are shared when it comes to living a healthy lifestyle. However, this is just the tip of the iceberg. Staying hydrated and eating healthy goes a long way to help take care of your heart and nervous system, but there are so many other aspects of your body that need support. Maintaining ideal health is a complicated process, and putting a bit of attention towards your stiff joints and sore muscles will go a long way in supporting you on your quest to a healthier way of being.

Stretching is one of the most fundamental aspects of any physical therapy program for this precise reason. While often looked at as the warm-up or cool-down of a more intense workout program, stretching has a whole world of benefits that need to be appreciated as you are looking to improve your health.

Here are a few of the basic benefits of stretching:

  1. Stretching is an amazing way to prevent injury. By stretching every day, in addition to before every big workout, you provide your body with a means of keeping your muscles warmed up and ready for activity, and therefore prevent the likelihood of a muscle strain or sprain.
  2. Stretching helps to alleviate pain and muscle tension. By engaging in targeted stretches you can actually work to alleviate pain and discomfort throughout the body. There are stretches that are designed to help alleviate back pain, and those that are for neck or shoulder pain. It is highly recommended that prior to working with a targeted stretch for a particular issue of pain that you consult with your physical therapist.
  3. Stretching enhances blood circulation. Stretching is beneficial to the heart and musculoskeletal system by increasing blood circulation. When muscles constrict and become tight, oxygen flow is inhibited. Stretching daily improves blood flow to the joints and muscles, further reducing your risk for injury.
  4. Stretching is good for mental health. Alleviating tension in the muscles is helpful in alleviating tension in the mind. Yoga is a particularly popular form of stretching that embraces the mindfulness and meditation of the stretching process.
  5. Stretching improves range of motion. When you stretch regularly, your muscles become more able to extend fully, thereby improving your range of motion and making your body more flexible. Having increased range of motion can be helpful in plenty of daily circumstances, but is incredibly helpful in further preventing injuries.

Starting a daily stretching routine is easy to get started with. Pick an open area where you will have plenty of room to move around. Using a yoga mat is a helpful way to create a safe space where you can easily get traction as you stretch. Wearing loose clothing that will allow you to freely move as you stretch is also important. Finally, as you begin stretching, remember to hydrate. While stretching may not feel like an intense exercise, as say a cardiovascular activity may feel, it is still incredibly important to hydrate to support your muscles. For guidance in getting started with a helpful stretching routine, contact Advantage Physical Therapy in Lexington, KY.

Do You Depend on Opiods to Keep You Moving? Understand how PT can Kick Your Opioid Dependence.

Do you rely on drugs such as oxycodone or hydrocodone to help you get through your day without agonizing pain? Do you worry that these drugs may be placing your health at unacceptable risk? Do you feel anxious or count the minutes until your next dosage of these pain relievers regardless of that risk? If so, you may be on the threshold of opioid dependence — a dangerous, potentially deadly situation. The good news is that you can get away from those opioid drugs without falling into the grip of unmanageable pain, thanks to the benefits provided by physical therapy. Contact our physical therapist at Advantage PT  to get started on this safe, healthy, drug-free approach to pain management!

What Are Opioids?

Opioids are strong painkilling drugs that are often prescribed to combat severe chronic pain. They are traditionally derived from substances in the poppy plant. Opioids such as morphine, codeine, hydrocodone and oxycodone can often deaden pain when milder drugs cannot, making them a common prescription for cancer pain, acute injuries, and severe neurological or musculoskeletal pain. They can also produce euphoria or unconsciousness, making them a highly-abused substance in both legal and illegal forms (such as heroin).

Opioids work by binding to opioid receptors in the brain and other structures of the body. As the opioids occupy these receptors, they prevent the receptors from receiving pain signals. At the same time, the opioids trigger the release of large amounts of dopamine, a substance that evokes feelings of pleasure.

Why Are Opioids Dangerous?

Unfortunately, the painkilling and pleasurable benefits of opioids come at a frighteningly high price. The simple fact that these drugs are so effective at making you feel good creates a compulsion to keep using them. At the same time, the body builds up an ever-increasing tolerance to the drugs, requiring larger and larger dosages to achieve the same effects. This cycle can lead to a strong, dangerous level of addiction. It’s little wonder, then, that more than 11 million Americans abuse opioids. Eventually, escalating tolerance can force users to take a fatal dose.Two-thirds of all overdose-related deaths in the U.S. are related to some form of opioid.

How Physical Therapy Provides Opioid-Free Pain Relief

You have good reason to fear opioid dependence — and equally good reason to seek out physical therapy as a non-toxic alternative to drugs. Our physical therapist can prescribe a personalized mix of treatment methods that loosen tight muscles, help joints move more freely, build up muscle strength, reduce inflammation, and help tame neurological problems such as herniated discs and pinched nerves. You should consider physical therapy if:

  • You suffer from a chronic, incurable pain condition that might otherwise require a lifetime on opioids
  • Your pain is musculoskeletal or neuromuscular in origin (as opposed to cancer pain, for instance)
  • You’re interested in actually treating the underlying cause of the pain, instead of simply numbing the pain itself
  • You’re experiencing issues such as addiction, depression, or physical side effects from opioid usage — or you’re determined to avoid such issues.

Even if your pain cannot be fully relieved through physical therapy, our physical therapist’s methods may still ease your symptoms to the point that you can get by with minimal dosages. But be aware that if you’re currently dependent on opioids, your doctor must supervise any reduction in dosage for your own safety.

You don’t have to place yourself in the grip of opioid dependence. Talk to our physical therapist at Advantage PT about your non-pharmaceutical treatment options!