All posts by Teresa Stockton

How physical therapy can treat Rheumatoid Arthritis

How Physical Therapy Can Treat Rheumatoid Arthritis

How physical therapy can treat Rheumatoid Arthritis

What is Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA)?

Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) is a chronic inflammatory and autoimmune disease that has the potential to impact many different joints and organs in the human body. RA can cause inflammation and swelling in the joints. While medications are necessary in most cases to help slow the progression of RA, programs such as physical therapy can relieve the symptoms and improve the overall quality of life when living with RA

How Does RA Happen?

While there are many different types, Rheumatoid Arthritis is the most common form of autoimmune arthritis. This disease occurs because of a faulty immune response that causes the body to attack its tissue. Specifically, RA attacks the lining, or synovium, of a joint, leading to swelling and eventually erosion in the joint itself over time.

While in the early set stages, RA typically affects the smaller joints in your body such as the hand, wrist, and toes. However, as RA progresses, larger joints including the knees, hips, and shoulders along with vital organs such as the heart, lungs, and eyes can also be impacted.

Benefits of Physical Therapy for Rheumatoid Arthritis

While Rheumatoid Arthritis can have an effect on the joints and organs of the body, physical therapy can provide several meaningful benefits. Physical therapy can help ease symptoms and enhance your quality of movement, making everyday life easier for people suffering from RA.

When seeing a physical therapist about pain resulting from RA, a therapist will evaluate your posture, muscle imbalances, and the overall mechanics of your body. They’ll teach you to improve how to move to prevent injury and reduce pain.

Your therapist can also create a customized stretching and exercise plan that helps ease pain, increase your range of motion, and improve your movement patterns.

Things that physical therapy can do to help with RA include:

  • Create a HEP (Home Exercise Program)
  • Improve your overall level of fitness
  • Increase your endurance
  • Help eliminate stiffness in your joints
  • Decrease fatigue
  • Improve your balance and stability
  • Increase coordination

Other Physical Therapy Treatments for Rheumatoid Arthritis

There are passive ways that PT can help with rheumatoid arthritis. A physical therapist performs these treatments.

Massage Therapy
This relaxing treatment can help target specific muscles and release tension. Massage can also stimulate healthy blood circulation and manage stress.
Note that massage therapy is not recommended for painful joints during a rheumatoid arthritis flare-up.

This type of therapy involves submerging the affected area or the whole body into warm water to relieve arthritis pain.
Hydrotherapy can be passive therapy or active therapy. Some physical therapists assist rheumatoid arthritis patients in performing light movements and exercises in the water.

Cryotherapy Therapy
This therapy is performed by putting a cold compress on the affected area to reduce swelling and help alleviate pain.

Heat Therapy
Heat therapy is done by placing a warm towel on the affected area to promote circulation. This therapy may also stimulate blood flow and soothe muscle tension and pain.

Therapeutic ultrasound uses vibrations from sound waves to reduce stiffness and pain, improving joint function.

For help with your arthritis pain please reach out to a physical or occupational therapist near you.  We can work to manage your symptoms and still keep you doing the activities you love most!

Exercises to Help with Rheumatoid Arthritis

Many people with RA tend to avoid exercise, as they are worried that the activity might worsen their pain. However, exercise is a key treatment to help reduce the disability often associated with RA.

Regular exercise can produce stronger muscles that can better support the joints and improve flexibility which can aid joint function. Regular exercise can also reduce fatigue and boost your mood. Better overall fitness helps prevent heart disease and diabetes, two life-shortening ailments that often accompany RA.

Some low-intensity exercises are recommended for people with rheumatoid arthritis.

Low-impact and straightforward exercises are great for rheumatoid arthritis. Make sure to start your pace slowly and constantly drink water to stay hydrated. Walking promotes aerobic conditioning and boosts your mood.

Stretching can help reduce joint stiffness, promoting flexibility among people with rheumatoid arthritis. Developing a stretching routine may help improve your range of motion. You can start your stretching routine with a warm-up for three to five minutes and proceed with mild stretching. Remember to hold the stretch for 10 to 20 seconds before releasing the stretch. You can repeat each stretch exercise two to three times.

Low-impact aerobic exercises like cycling benefit the joints. Cycling may have beneficial effects on your cardiovascular health, which may be at risk when you have rheumatoid arthritis. You can ride a bike outside or cycle on a stationary bike with the supervision of a physical therapist.

Building your strength through these low-intensity exercises may increase your muscle strength and joint flexibility. These activities encourage flowing movements and deep breathing that are also advantageous for balance to avoid falls.

Safety Tips for Exercising with Rheumatoid Arthritis

Exercising is beneficial for RA if you do it safely. Before beginning, consult your physical therapist. They can recommend appropriate exercises and suggest techniques that can subside your pain.

Some safety tips for exercising with RA include:

Make sure to stretch: Warm up before each session and end by cooling down. Stretch all the major muscle groups before working out, especially the joints in your body that are prone to pain and stiffness.

Take it slow:  Start with short workouts, build up your endurance, and work within your limitations. Listen to your body, especially if you are going through a flare-up, and take as many breaks as necessary. Allow yourself plenty of rest between workouts.

Do low-impact exercises:  Low-impact exercises reduce stress and pressure on the joints. These exercises include swimming, walking, cycling, yoga, and many more. Avoid any workouts that cause severe pain or worsen your symptoms.

Here are some helpful hand stretches that you can try.
Patients with RA present differently and may benefit from an appointment with a hand or physical therapist.  Here are some general stretches that may help.
(Images Provided by The Hale Hand Center)

  • Making a Fist
    Start this simple exercise by stretching out your hand with your fingers straight, and then slowly draw them together to form a fist. Make sure that your thumbs are not tucked under your fingers. Hold the fist for a minute and repeat it as many times as you want.

    Rheumatoid Arthritis Stretches  

  • Touching Fingers
    Start by opening your hand again. Move your thumb to touch each finger lightly.

    Hand Stretches for Rheumatoid Arthritis    

  • Lifting Your Fingers
    Place your hand facing down on a flat surface. One by one, slowly lift each of your fingers, starting from your thumb to your pinky. Hold the finger lift for a second or two before lowering it.

    How physical therapy can treat Rheumatoid Arthritis  

  • Stretching Fingers
    You can do this stretch by slowly and gently opening your hand and stretching out your fingers for several seconds. This stretch can strengthen the muscles and reduce the stiffness of finger joints.

For help with Rheumatoid Arthritis, please reach out to a physical or occupational therapist near you. We can work to manage your symptoms and keep you active so you can continue living life to the fullest and doing the activities you love most!

physical therapy near me

reducing holiday stress

Jingled Nerves, Jingled Nerves, Jingled All The Way: Reducing Holiday Stress

reducing holiday stress

Don’t let yourself get overwhelmed with to-do lists. This year find ways to enjoy yourself and get rid of the stress that’s keeping you up at night with our quick tips! Reducing holiday stress is the key to enjoying the holidays – so what are you waiting for? We have some great ideas!

Plan Ahead and Prioritize
Sit down with your family and come up with a list of ideas on how you would like to spend the holidays. Decide which ideas would be the most stressful in terms of cost, time, and energy and cross them off your list.

Choose the things that you enjoy and can accomplish realistically. Prioritize the events that matter most to you and your family, and set a budget.

Clarify Your Values
Reflect on the way you spend the holidays. What is most important to you—spending more money on your loved ones or spending more time with them? Do you believe the idea that “love-equals-money”? Are you driven by perfectionism and competitive gift? Do you take the time to experience joy and the true meaning of the season? What other ways could you show your love? Do you enjoy shopping or is it a hassle each year? Is gift giving really meaningful or do you end up with lots of clutter and gifts that you do not really need? What, if anything, would you like to change about how you celebrate the holidays? Answering these and other questions can help to clarify your values for the holiday season, and result in a much more relaxed and meaningful time.

Here are some tips to simplify your holiday challenges:
• If you dislike traffic jams, crowded shopping malls and parking lots, and waiting in long lines, try shopping online.
• Plan to finish all of your gift shopping well in advance of the holidays.
• Wrap your presents early.
• Cut back on your baking. Do not bake 10 different types of cookies. Make your goodies ahead of time and freeze them so you will have less to do during busy times. If you are looking for dessert variety, try organizing a cookie exchange with your family and friends.
• Take care of several errands in one trip, rather than making multiple trips.
• Consider drawing names rather than exchanging gifts with all your family members and friends.
• Limit the number of social events you host or attend.
• Delegate tasks to family members. Do not feel that you must be responsible for everything.

Take Care of Your Health
You will be at your best and more resistant to stress and possible infection if you take good care of your health. Here are some suggestions:
• Get plenty of sleep each night (at least 8 hours).
• Exercise regularly.
• Eat a well-balanced diet. It is okay to have some goodies at a party, but a few extra calories here and there can add up to holiday weight gain—slowing you down.
• Limit alcohol intake. Alcohol depresses the nervous system and can cause fatigue and sleep disturbances.
• Take time to unwind. Take a hot bath or find a quiet place to enjoy some time alone each day. Even a few minutes can make a difference.
• Stick to your healthy routine as much as possible.

time Xmas

Don’t Forget the Joy
Try to celebrate the holidays in new and creative ways. Remember that you are not a “human doing” but a human being! Enjoy the uniqueness of each special person in your life and enjoy the time you can spend just being together. Seek out the simple joys of the holiday season with your friends and family. Taking a walk around the neighborhood to look at holiday decorations, singing carols, playing games, or just talking are easy and healthy ways to positively experience the holidays.

Adjust Your Expectations
We get a lot of messages about how things should be at the holidays. We have been programmed to believe that the holidays are a time of great joy, love, and togetherness. The truth is that many people may be having a hard time during the holidays, whether they are grieving the loss of a loved one, having financial problems, or experiencing difficulty with their family relationships. Sadness is common during this time of year, which is often referred to as “holiday blues.”

One way to reduce stress and the “holiday blues” is to keep your expectations realistic. Things will likely not be perfect, no matter how hard you try. There may be disappointments, arguments, and frustrations, in addition to excitement and joy. Try to go with the flow, allowing for inevitable delays and setbacks. Do not have the expectation of perfection from yourself, as well as from others around you.

If you are grieving a loss or feeling sad and lonely, accept these feelings. Do not feel guilty about your sadness or try to force yourself to be happy just because it is the holiday season. If this is a difficult time for you, adopt a nurturing attitude toward yourself. Do not be afraid to seek support from family, friends, or a counselor. If the holidays are a lonely time for you, find ways to increase your social support or consider volunteering your services to those in need. Helping others in need is a wonderful way to celebrate the message of the holiday season, as well as an excellent way to help you feel better.

by Amy Scholten, MPH

The American Institute of Stress

American Psychological Association

How to Live with Anxiety 

Anxiety Disorders Association of Canada

Canadian Mental Health Association

North Carolina State University Cooperative Extension website. Available at: Accessed December 3, 2002.

Sleep, sleepiness, and alcohol use. National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism website. Available at:

University of Maryland website. Available at: Accessed December 3, 2002.

Weil Cornell psychiatrist offers advice for reducing holiday stress. Cornell University website. Available at: Accessed June 10, 2007

EBSCO Information Services is fully accredited by URAC. URAC is an independent, nonprofit health care accrediting organization dedicated to promoting health care quality through accreditation, certification and commendation.

Holiday Exercise Routine

Add Some Holiday Fun to Your Exercise Routine

Holiday Exercise Routine

The majority of adults in the United States are not physically active on a regular basis. Only 30% get the recommended amount of physical activity. Lack of time is the most often cited reason for not getting in enough exercise. When the holiday season begins, the lack of time issue only becomes more problematic. For most people, even for those who do exercise regularly, this means that daily exercise slips to the bottom of the long list of things to do during the holidays. You know that list: gift shopping, party hopping, and traveling to see family and friends. Take some time to figure out what you can and can’t control. Then, work on the elements you can control to help with your time management. Here are some ways you can stay on track and have some fun with your exercise routine throughout the holidays.

Find a Holiday Race to Join
Knowing you need to be physically prepared may be the motivational tool you need in terms of keeping you consistent with your workouts. Realizing that all your training will have an additional benefit, other than improved fitness, may also improve your chances of sticking with it. Most holiday-themed races have opportunities to dress up adding even more fun to the mix!

Find or Create the Perfect Holiday Workout Playlist
It’s hard not to love Mariah Carey’s all I want for Christmas is you – it’s also a great song to workout to.  Are you a Spotify user? Try this playlist during your next workout. Is iTunes your jam? They have a holiday classics remix playlist that’s perfect for a holiday workout.

Get a Workout Partner
Some people find that working out with a partner helps motivate them and keep them consistent in terms of getting to the gym or hitting the pavement. Knowing that someone is waiting for you can motivate you on the days you don’t feel like getting out of bed to exercise. Find someone with a similar schedule and treat yourselves after your workouts – Grab a cup of coffee together or plan a trip to a holiday market afterward. You’ll feel great, and be able to check some things off of your to-do list!

Set Some Holiday Related Goals
Rather than dragging yourself to the gym each day to shed those extra holiday pounds, set a fitness goal for the holiday season.

Try writing down what you want to accomplish during the two-month period from November 20 to January 20. Choose a goal such as losing 5 pounds, increasing your strength, or improving your time in a mile run. Don’t make exercise a penance for the holiday cookies you ate. Make it a personal goal unrelated to holiday revelry. Your goals need to be flexible and in line with your capabilities, needs, values, and available resources. They should be challenging, but also realistic. Measure the baseline of where you are now and decide where you would like to be on a certain date in January.

Have fun this holiday season and add some cheer to your regular workout routine. Mixing it up will keep your routine fun, fresh, and will be something you can more easily stick to. Getting started on a new workout routine? We have some great tips to help you get started safely. Need help with an injury so that you can get back to your exercise routine? Look no further. We have wonderful teams of therapists throughout the country that specialize in sports rehabilitation.

physical therapy near me

2020 physical activity guidelines for Americans. US Department of Health and Human Services website. Available at:  Accessed November 17, 2020.

The Surgeon General’s call to action to prevent and decrease overweight and obesity. US Department of Health and Human Services’ Surgeon General website. Available at: Accessed November 17, 2020.

PT News PTandMe

PT News November 2022

PT News PTandMe

This time in PT News we recap what our clinics have been posting throughout November 2022. We are excited to bring you current physical therapy-based posts featuring published articles from PTandMe partnering clinics!

Physical Therapy

1. You’ve Met Your Deductible. Don’t Miss Out on Free Physical Therapy

Written by Momentum Physical Therapy with locations throughout San Antonio

Many people find that they can access physical therapy at low or no cost after their deductible has been met. Most deductibles reset on January 1st, so NOW is the time to take advantage of your access to physical therapy. Not sure if your deductible has been met?  Read more


Work Injury Patient

2. Treating Sports Athletes vs. Industrial Athletes

Written by The Center for Physical Rehabilitation an outpatient physical therapy practice with locations throughout greater Grand Rapids, MI

Over the course of my 25+ career as an Athletic Trainer, I have had the opportunity to see the profession evolve. Athletic Trainers can be found working in a variety of settings. These settings may include high school/clinic settings, college athletics, government agencies, public safety, and essentially any profession that involves physical activity. One area that has become more attractive to athletic trainers is manufacturing and industrial settings. Read more


food is fuel

3. Nutritional Considerations in Recovery from Orthopedic Injury or Surgery

Written by Mishock Physical Therapy, an outpatient physical therapy group located throughout Montgomery, Berks, and Chester Counties, PA.

Nutritional interventions are not commonly used as the standard of care in recovery from injury or orthopedic surgery. However, it is well known that good nutrition is critical to optimizing health and wellness. The nutritional needs become amplified when individuals heal and recover from physical injury or orthopedic surgery. For those recovering from surgery, studies have shown that nutrition strategies can reduce hospital stay, increase wound healing time, reduce the risk of postsurgical infections, and enhance earlier functional return to activity. (Evans et al. Nutr Clin Pract., 2014)  Read more

We hope you enjoyed our picks for the PT News November 2022 edition.

Find these locations and others to start feeling better today!

Physical Therapy Appointment

The Benefits of Custom-Made Splints for Hand and Wrist Injuries

Benefits of Custom-Made Splints for Hand and Wrist Injuries

The Benefits of Custom-Made Splints for Hand and Wrist Injuries

The Benefits of Custom-Made Splints for Hand and Wrist Injuries

Hand and wrist injuries can be surprisingly debilitating if it prevents you from doing your job or daily necessary tasks. Hand and wrist injuries have a very broad range, from mild muscle strains to more devastating injuries such as fractures or deep lacerations. Pain and discomfort can push patients to quickly decide the best way to quickly relieve pain. When this is the case, buying an over-the-counter splint at a local store may sound enticing, but did you know that you can have a custom-made splint built specifically to suit your needs?

We asked one of our colleagues at Desert Hand Physical Therapy, Brittney Moya OTR/L CHT, about the benefits of having a custom-made splint for a hand or wrist injury.

Q: What types of conditions or injuries benefit from having a custom-made splint?

Any injuries that involve the elbow or wrist, such as carpal tunnel, cubital tunnel,(typically post-operative they don’t need them because they want them moving for nerve compression) elbow fractures, hand fractures, metacarpal fractures, P1-P2-P3, any and all tendon & artery repairs need one, nerve repairs also need one. There is also specific positioning [that] has to be adjusted over time to manage the protocol directly.

What are P1, P2, and P3?
P1 is the proximal phalange(lower third of a finger), P2 is the middle, and P3 is the distal phalange(the end of the finger).

Q: What makes custom-made splints better than the standard splints that are sold in convenience and big box stores?

Most importantly, they’re individualized. We like to say that over-the-counter splints are really one-size-fits-none! -there’s a small, medium, and large.

The custom splint will [be] individualized for the left or the right hand, where it fits that person specifically and it won’t fit one person to the next. They’re also individualized in care based on protocol and what that patient needs; so, if we’re making one for a CMC(carpometacarpal) joint, for example, some people have very mobile CMC, where we can put in the right position, some people we really have to work our way out into that more functional position- so they can be individualized in that way also.

They are carefully constructed to fit said protocol and/or person so we take a lot of effort to pad bony prominences, protect vulnerable tissue, and manage incisions and wounds, whereas the OTC would be just what it is, the metal is where it is, slight moveable but not really.

Also, they are more effective. There is research to indicate that because they’re fit for that person they’re made and molded specifically for them and they’re monitored. That’s a big thing, we monitor and modify our splints, absolutely throughout treatments, make little changes, and things like that.

Q: What type/(s) of material/(s) is the splint made out of that makes it comfortable to wear?

It is a thermoplastic material and as we’re molding it, it fits that person specifically so that’s what makes it comfortable. So if their wrist is of a specific girth, it fits exactly into that place and that position. We [can also create] “bubble-out areas” because it’s a plastic material, so we can lay down any foam on, for example on an ulnar stylite.

We usually put something on there and lay the splint over top and then remove that pad so that there’s a bubble and that splint material is never physically touching those bony prominences -that’s the other part that makes it comfortable. All splint material is [made of] thermoplastic, some of it has more/less elastic, it just depends on the provider and what they like to use.

custom splint for hand and wrist

Q: What are the risks of ignoring the importance of not wearing a custom-made splint after an injury has happened?

If we’re dealing with specifically a tendon or a nerve repair of some sort, it could rupture the repair or gap the repair -that’s huge. It’s part of the protocol for healing. It’s protecting structures and recently repaired things. The other risk would be for conservative structures or things that could be used for comfort or pain. It would not really change their pain or not progress their therapy protocol overall. They could stay more plateaued with their goals, or they [would] not be able to progress as fast as they would like to if they’re more intermittent with their therapy schedule versus the schedule we recommend.

We also used splints for progression of mobility, so we’ll use some more dynamic components to do this where if we’re trying to get a finger to bend, we may add something to a custom splint to get it to slowly bend, so in that situation, if the person is not with their wear schedule, then again their goals would be really slow to come by and we may get to a point where we have a joint contracture, or we’re really struggling with our manual component of therapy because the splint is supposed to be an add-on to what we’re doing.

Q: What are some things you can do to protect or stabilize an injury after it has occurred before you can get to a clinic?

Typically, you can use things like popsicle sticks, if you need to, for finger fractures. They also have a thing called AlumaFoam, they have aluminum on the outside and blue foam on the inside. Some people just put their finger in that and just get where they need to go. Big bulky ACE wraps(elastic bandage), just wrap up the injury several times over. They could put a thick sock or sleeve on [over the injured arm] and then put a balled-up sock inside of the other to keep their arm open.

Obviously, there are OTC products are there as well. The emergency room will place people in something called Ortho-glass, it’s a fiberglass component on the inside and soft white foam on the outside. They put it under running water wring it out and when they lay it on the patient, it will harden into whatever position it is in. Note, that’s the temporary [solution] otherwise known as, “soft cast” or “half cast” which is usually the gold standard they’ll use, and then they’ll recommend you go to physical therapy as soon as possible.

In Conclusion:

In many cases, a custom-made splint is a great option for patients suffering from both overuse and acute, hand and wrist injuries. Certified Hand Therapy can develop an individualized hand therapy program with a suitable custom-made splint created for your comfort and recovery.

schedule physical therapy appointment

Triple 3 Work Conditioning

Functional Work Conditioning – Triple 3 Program

Triple 3 Work Conditioning

Functional Work Conditioning 

Preparing workers for safe, sustained re-entry into the workforce.

physical therapy near me

Productive return-to-work strategies are needed to minimize the consequences of occupational injuries and illnesses. Here are the facts:

  • Approximately 1/3 of all injuries in the United States are occupational in nature. 1
  • In 2020, 2.7 million nonfatal workplace injuries and illnesses were reported, with nearly 43% resulting in lost work days (i.e., recuperation away from work or restricted duties at work). 2
  • Focused inter-disciplinary rehabilitation programs have been shown to achieve return-to-work rates as has as 50-88%
  • The longer patients are away from work, the less likely they are ever to return (50% of people who are out of work for six months never return). 4-6

Work Conditioning Statistics

Our Triple 3 Functional Work Conditioning Program

Work Conditioning is a “work-related, intensive, goal-oriented treatment program designed to restore an individual systemic, neuromusculoskeletal (strength, endurance, movement, flexibility, and motor control) and cardiopulmonary functions.” and is an integral part of our industrial rehabilitation physical therapy services.

Our functional work conditioning program is tailored to benefit everyone involved.  We help patients recover and achieve functional goals, while congruently meeting the needs of employers, physicians, and case managers. We all know that once a patient has moved from an acute to a sub-acute phase the process of return to work begins. The job specific conditioning is instrumental in ensuring that a re-injury does not occur upon a too-early and unprepared entry back to work. An employer understands that this step is an integral and necessary component of the return-to-work process. By using the same therapy provider for acute and sub-acute therapy, you are assured that the client will be motivated and directed towards the best possible outcomes.

The Triple 3 program used by our physical therapy teams is a functional rehab model that takes place over three weeks with an opportunity for an extended three-week session depending upon outcomes.

Each week the patient will have three sessions lasting on average three hours and each session will be equally divided between cardio, job-specific, and injury-specific therapy. The initial eval will establish a baseline and an FCE can be performed at the end of the treatment program. Treatment involves exercises as well as functional tasks and activities. The work conditioning program aims to restore the injured employee’s physical capacity and function for return to work with an emphasis on the prevention of future injury by teaching correct body mechanics with safe movement patterns.

Functional Work Conditioning Treatment Plan

A functional capacity evaluation post the Triple 3 program may be available to quantify functional abilities prior to return-to-work-related duties. Our goal is to provide a motivated and confident employee back to work safely and functionally sustainable.

The Results of a Functional Work Conditioning Program:

A confident and capable employee ready to undergo the essential and critical demands of the job without concern for safety or re-injury. An employee that is functionally ready to participate in the field of work is our end goal.


Triple Three Functional Work Conditioning

Physical Therapy Appointment


1. Rubens AJ, Oleckno WA, Papaeliou L. Establishing guidelines for the identification of occupational injuries: a systematic appraisal. J Occup Environ Med. 1995;37:151-9.

2. United States Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics. Employer-Reported Workplace Injuries and Illnesses, 2020.

3. National Safety Council. Accident facts. Itasca, Ill.: National Safety Council, 1997.

4. Bendix AF, Bendix T, Ostenfeld S, Bush E, Andersen null. Active treatment programs for patients with chronic low back pain: a prospective, randomized, observer-blinded study. Eur Spine J. 1995;4:148-52.

5. Cleary L, Thombs DL, Daniel EL, Zimmerli WH. Occupational low back disability: effective strategies for reducing lost work time. AAOHN J. 1995;43:87-94.

6. Niemeyer LO, Jacobs K, Reynolds-Lynch K, Betten-court C, Lang S. Work hardening: past, present, and future—the work programs special interest section national work-hardening outcome study. Am J Occup Ther. 1994;48:327-39

PT News PTandMe

PT News October 2022

PT News PTandMe

This time in PT News we recap what our clinics have been posting throughout October 2022. We are excited to bring you current physical therapy-based posts featuring published articles from PTandMe partnering clinics!

breast cancer physical therapy

1. Breast Cancer and Post-Mastectomy Rehab

Written by Mission Physical Rehabilitation with locations throughout San Antonio

Post-mastectomy physical therapy can aid in the overall recovery process by focusing on regaining strength and increasing the range of motion in your shoulder and arm. Early intervention by a physical therapist can help women regain full function following mastectomy surgery, regardless of whether or not a woman has had reconstruction.  Read more


2. Why You Should Care About Your Pelvic Floor

Written by Sport & Spine Physical Therapy an outpatient physical therapy practice with locations in Wausau, WI, and Surrounding Areas.

The pelvic floor is the band of muscles that make up the hammock that supports all your abdominal organs. If you think of the trunk as a soda can, the diaphragm is the top of the can, and the pelvic floor is the base. The pelvic floor needs to be flexible to allow things to pass through it (think #1 and #2), but also be strong enough to support everything in the can (think intestines, bladder, etc.). When things go wrong in that band of muscles, we call it a pelvic floor disorder. Read more


Frozen Shoulder Physical Therapy

3. 3 Reasons to go to Physical Therapy After Surgery

Written by Wright Physical Therapy, an outpatient physical therapy group located throughout Southern Idaho

Whether you’re undergoing a joint replacement, back surgery, or some other procedure, we’re confident that working with a physical therapist can help you heal up and get back to your active lifestyle as efficiently and safely as possible. Every year, our physical therapy team meets thousands of individuals recovering from surgery. Curious about why physical therapy is so important in the post-surgical window? We’ve got three reasons to pique your interest!  Read more

We hope you enjoyed our picks for the PT News October 2022 edition.

Find these locations and others to start feeling better today!

Physical Therapy Appointment

Stretches to Relieve Sciatica Pain

Stretches for Sciatica Pain Relief

Stretches to Relieve Sciatica Pain

What is Sciatica and the Sciatic Nerve?

The sciatic nerve is the longest and thickest nerve in the body.
It starts with five nerves in the lower back that come together and form one nerve that runs through the buttocks and down the leg. When there is inflammation of the sciatic nerve it is called sciatica. It can cause a burning or shooting pain in the buttocks or a pain that goes all the way down the leg and usually occurs only on one side.

Common Signs and Symptoms

  • Pain in the back of the thigh, usually traveling below the knee; may be worse with bending, sneezing, coughing, straining, or prolonged sitting
  • Numbness or weakness affecting the thigh, lower leg, ankle, or foot
  • Occasionally, pain in the back or buttocks

Common Causes of Sciatica 

Inflammation of the sciatic nerve because of irritation from a variety of sources, which include:

  • Trauma
  • A ruptured disk
  • Arthritic spurs of the spine
  • Spondylolisthesis (slippage of the vertebrae)
  • Pressure from muscles of the pelvis (hamstring, piriformis)
  • Prolonged sitting on a wallet

5 Simple Stretches to Relieve Sciatica Pain:

Pigeon Pose (Reclining)

This is a great pose for opening the hips and stretching the back (this is also used in yoga).
1. Begin by lying on your back. Bring one of your legs upward, to a right angle. Lock both of your hands behind your thigh.
2. Bring up your other leg, placing the ankle on top of the opposite knee.
3. Hold the position. This helps stretch the piriformis muscle, which is often a cause of sciatic pain.
4. Switch legs and repeat the exercise.

Pigeon Pose (Sitting in Chair)

Sciatica Stretches

This exercise is recommended if you can easily perform the pigeon pose. Try it out!
1. Sit on a stool or chair, with your legs directly in front of you.
2. Bend your right leg. Put the ankle on top of your left knee.
3. Lean forward, pushing your upper body towards your thighs.
4. Hold this position for 15-30 seconds to stretch out the muscle in the lower back and glutes.
5. Repeat on the other side.

Knees To Opposite Shoulder

Sciatica Stretches

This stretch offers sciatica pain relief by stretching and loosening both the piriformis and gluteal muscles.
1. Begin by lying on your back, and extending your legs.
2. Bend your right leg gently, clasping your opposite hand around the knee.
3. Pull the right leg across your body towards the opposite shoulder, holding it for up to 30 seconds. Pull only hard enough to feel a stretch – if you feel pain, reduce the force you’re using.
4. Push your knee down, returning to the starting position.
5. Repeat for a total of 3 reps, alternating each leg.

Sitting Spinal Stretch

Spinal Stretch for Sciatica Pain

This stretch helps relieve back pain and decompress the spine. It’s quite simple!
1. Sit on the ground in a neutral position, with your legs stretched outward.
2. Bend your right knee until you put your foot flat on the floor, past your opposite knee.
3. Place your left elbow on the right knee. Gently turn your body toward the right, flexing the spine.
4. Hold the position for 3 seconds and repeat for 3 reps on either side.

Standing Hamstring Stretch

This stretch helps relieve hamstring tightness caused by sciatica.
1. Find a flat, elevated surface such as a bench or a chair that’s at (or below) hip level. Place your right foot on this surface.
2. Keep your leg and toes straight. Bend your body forward, towards your foot, like you’re trying to touch your toes. The deeper you bend, the more intense the stretch.
3. Push the hip of your raised leg downward. Hold for 30 seconds and repeat on the opposite side.

There is no one-size-fits-all exercise for sciatic nerve pain. Never force yourself through an exercise that doesn’t feel right. Instead, focus on finding the ones that work for you! As you improve, you may be able to do some movements that didn’t work at first. Anyone experiencing pain for more than a month could benefit from seeing a physical therapist. Physical therapy and exercise help strengthen and mobilize tissues in the lower back, pelvis, abdomen, buttocks, and thighs. Commitment and frequency are important attributes of a successful treatment outcome when using physical therapy and exercise for sciatica.

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Special thanks to North Lake Physical Therapy in Portland, OR for posing for our stretches!

physical therapists are musculoskeletal experts

Physical Therapist are Musculoskeletal Experts

physical therapists are musculoskeletal experts

According to the World Health Organization, Musculoskeletal conditions are the leading contributor to disability, with approximately 1.71 billion people having musculoskeletal conditions worldwide. With numbers like that, it’s probably safe to say that you or someone you know suffers from musculoskeletal pain, discomfort, or disorders. Pain and dysfunction cause many disruptions to daily lives, and that is where physical therapists, THE musculoskeletal experts, step in to get your body back to being pain-free.

physical therapist is a licensed health specialist in treating musculoskeletal disorders. In fact, physical therapists must complete a Clinical Doctorate degree before obtaining their license. Physical Therapists help not only manage illnesses and injuries to your musculoskeletal system but can prevent them. The first visit to physical therapy begins with a physical evaluation. Evaluations take around an hour and provide physical therapists with the information needed to understand the injury, what’s causing it, and how to develop a treatment plan to fix it. 

What to Expect from My Physical Therapy Treatment Plan:

Physical rehabilitation programs designed by physical therapists improve strength, flexibility, and independence by working to remove pain, injury, and weakness. Physical rehabilitation programs often improve a patient’s ability to function, reduce symptoms, and improve their overall well-being. 

The result is a patient that has returned to the highest level of function and independence possible. 

Physical Therapy Programs from a Physical Therapist May Include:

  • Exercises that increase range of motion and strength, improve flexibility and mobility, and increase endurance.
  • Pain management.
  • Ergonomic assessments and work-related injury prevention.
  • Help with obtaining assistive devices that promote independence.
  • Fitting and caring for braces, splints, or artificial limbs.

What Makes Physical Therapists THE Musculoskeletal Experts?

Physical therapists are musculoskeletal experts who help patients with pain, stiffness, disease, injury, and rehabilitation after surgery. They can also help people move better and reduce the risk of getting hurt.

Most people think of physical therapy as a practice strictly for injuries, but patients can see a physical therapist to relieve lingering pain, practice injury prevention, and improve overall health and performance. 

Not Convinced that Physical Therapists are Musculoskeletal Experts? 

Here are a few more reasons why physical therapy is an excellent choice for dealing with musculoskeletal pain.

  • Physical therapists can improve the tolerance to physical activity, which can have a positive impact on: sleep, mental health, and chronic conditions such as arthritis, cardiovascular disease, and diabetes.
  • Physical therapists can treat multiple health conditions and incorporate “Lifestyle medicine” alongside musculoskeletal rehabilitation. Rather than just treating the injury, physical therapists encourage overall lifestyle changes to prevent failure issues.
  • Physical therapists get to know the daily demands of their patient’s jobs and activities, so they can understand how to formulate a plan to best prevent and treat musculoskeletal injuries.

Whether you are in pain because of traumatic injury, overuse, or a disease, physical therapy can help relieve your musculoskeletal pain and reduce the need for surgery and opioids. Physical therapists are musculoskeletal experts and have an assortment of tools to manage and relieve musculoskeletal pain. If you need physical therapy due to musculoskeletal pain, please schedule an appointment to get you on the road to recovery.

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PT News PTandMe

PT News September 2022

PT News PTandMe

This time in PT News we recap what our clinics have been posting throughout September 2022. We are excited to bring you current physical therapy-based posts featuring published articles from PTandMe partnering clinics!

Diastasis Recti

1. How Can I Heal My Diastasis Recti? 

Written by JACO Rehabilitation with 4 locations in Oahu

Have you ever been told by a doctor or healthcare provider that you have separation of your abdominal muscles? This condition is known as diastasis rectus abdominis (DRA), or diastasis recti. Diastasis recti is a condition in which the connective tissue in the center of your abdominal muscles, the linea alba, becomes overstretched or torn. You may be able to see a visible dip or bulge in the center of the abdominal region when trying to perform abdominal exercises.  Read more



2. What are Functional Capacity Evaluations (FCEs) for Employers?

Written by ARC Physical Therapy+ an outpatient physical therapy practice with over 25 locations in Kansas, Missouri, and Arkansas.

FCEs help determine a patient’s physical capacity and ability to safely return to work after a work-related injury or extended medical leave. These are evidenced-based and legally defensible XRTS tests that provide safe return-to-work recommendations. ARC Physical Therapy+ performs these evaluations to help employers decrease lost time and prevent future injuries. Read more


Mountain Biking

3. Mountain Biking Tips to Keep You Riding

Written by Rebound Physical Therapy, an outpatient physical therapy group located throughout Greater Bend, OR.

Central Oregon is a phenomenal region to explore on a mountain bike. We have an expansive trail network, fantastic weather, and a large cycling community that is excited to adventure with other riders. While this sport is incredible, there is the risk of injury just like there is when participating in other sports. This risk of injury is present regardless of if you are a novice vs. expert rider or seek cross-country trails vs. downhill trails.  Read more

We hope you enjoyed our picks for the PT News September 2022 edition.

Find these locations and others to start feeling better today!

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