Tag Archives: low back pain

PT News

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This Month in PT News. Featuring articles from PTandMe partnering clinics!

back

1. My Back Pain Always Returns! What Can I Do?
Written by the Therapy Team at the Jackson Clinics – Northern Virginia

After the common cold, the most common reason Americans miss work is back pain. Unfortunately, once you have experienced back strain or injury, it can easily become a recurring problem. Read more

uncommon

2. Uncommon Injury and Treatment Process
Written by Steve Retan AT, ATC, the Center for Physical Rehabilitation – Grand Rapids, MI

Having worked as an athletic trainer for the last 23 years, I have treated and rehabilitated countless injuries.  However there are times that athletes sustain injuries that I have not seen before.  One such injury occurred to a high school hockey player after colliding with an opponent during a game. Read more

ankle

3. Tips for Improving Your Ankle Mobility
Written by the Therapy Team at Momentum Physical Therapy – San Antonio, Texas

It’s important for a physically active body to achieve a stable balance between each active joint for maximum performance. In order for all of this to happen, ankle mobility is essential and is the root for several exercises or workouts! Read more

shin splints

PT News

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This Month in PT News. Featuring articles from PTandMe partnering clinics!

flu

1. Resuming Exercise After the Flu Bug
Written by the Therapy Team at the Jackson Clinics – Northern Virginia

Flu season is in full swing, and along with the regular flu, the new H1N1 virus is infecting thousands of people. Influenza can be a serious illness. Symptoms include fever, chills, headache, body aches, sore throat , runny nose, dry cough and a general feeling of exhaustion and sickness. Read more

New Year Resolution

2. The New Way to Resolve
Written by Allison Whitteberry, PTA at the Center for Physical Rehabilitation – Cascade

According to Statistic Brain, 41% of Americans usually make New Year resolutions. However, after six months, less then half of those American’s have maintained their resolutions. Read more

Shin Splints

3. What You Need to Know About Shin Splints
Written by the Therapy Team at Momentum Physical Therapy – San Antonio, Texas

Shin splints is one of those old health terms that pop up from time to time, like “lumbago.” Lumbago refers to low back pain, which actually can be caused by different things. Read more

Safe Lifting Practices for Back Injury Prevention

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Whether at home or at work safe lifting practices can keep your back healthy and safe. Before lifting heavy objects decide how you will lift carry & place the item before you
pick it up. Test the weight of the load by moving or tipping it. Figure out if you can break the load down by placing the contents of large containers into a number of smaller ones before moving them. Is the path clear? What is the weight of the load? How much stress will be placed upon your back? Is there traffic, a tripping hazard, a doorway to go through, or a stairway to go up or down? Avoid carrying an object that requires two hands to hold, either up or especially down a flight of stairs. Use the elevator. Plan a rest stop, if needed. Knowing what you’re doing and where you’re going will prevent you from making awkward movements while holding something heavy. Clear a path, and if lifting something with another person, make sure both of you agree on the plan.

KEY STEPS FOR SAFE LIFTING PRACTICES

Establish a Base of Support: Use a wide, balanced stance with one foot in front of the other. Make sure that you have firm footing and that your feet are a shoulders-width apart. This staggered stance gives you the stability of not falling over and being able to secure the load.

Keep Your Eyes Up: Looking slightly upward will help you maintain a better position of the spine. Keeping your eyes focused upwards helps you keep your back straight.

Get a Good Grip: With your palms and make sure you have an adequate hold on the object. Be certain you will be able to maintain a hold on the object without having to adjust your grip later. You can use gloves to help maintain an adequate grip, but don’t rely on gloves because they can desensitize the fingers and make you unable to feel the object.

Lift Gradually with Your Legs: Without using jerky motions. By using your leg strength, your chance of lower back injury is greatly reduced.

Tighten you stomach muscles: As you begin the lift and keep you head and shoulders up.

Pivot – Don’t Twist: Move your feet in the direction of the lift. This will eliminate the need to twist at the waist.

Weight: A lighter load normally means a lesser risk of injury. The weight of the object should be within the capacity of the person to handle safely.

Handling: It is easier to pull or push a load than it is to lift, put down or carry.

Keep the Load Close: Holding a 20lb object with your hands 20 inches from the body creates more compressive force on your low back than holding it 10 inches away. This is because the muscles in your back have to work to counterbalance the weight when it is further from the body. As the compressive force on your low back increases, so does the risk of muscle strains, ligament sprains and damage to the disks in the spine.

Frequency: The more times a load is handled, the more tired the muscles become, making it easier for the person to be injured.

Distance: The farther the load has to be moved, the greater the risk of injury.

Duration (TIME): Where the job involves repetitive movements, reducing the time spent on handling will help to ensure the movements are not causing unnecessary strain.

Forces Applied: Forces should be applied smoothly, evenly and close to the body. Forces exerted should be well within the capacity of the person, and the person should maintain proper posture.

Nature of the Load: Loads that are compact, stable, easy to grip, and capable of being held close to the body are much easier to handle.

Terrain: Rough ground, steep slopes, slippery and uneven floors, stairs and cluttered floors make moving a load awkward and increase the chance for injury.

Environment (Climate & Lighting): If it is too hot, too humid, too cold or the lighting is inadequate, the capacity to work safely is reduced.

Condition of the Workplace: Safe and comfortable working conditions, with adequate space to perform the task, and tools and equipment that are well-maintained, make their job safer.

Age/Gender: Young and old workers alike may be at an increased risk of injury from manual materials handling activities. Ensure abilities of employees are in line with functional job requirements.

Training: Proper training for the specific task is vital to reduce injury.

Team Lifting: If one person cannot lift or move a heavy, large or awkward object safely, organize a team lift. Team lifting reduces the risk of injury, reduces fatigue and makes the task much easier.

Raise/Lower Shelves: The best zone for lifting is between your shoulders and your waist. *Put heavier objects on shelves at waist level, lighter objects on lower or higher shelves.

Avoid Lifting from the Floor: Lifting from the floor can greatly increase your risk of injury for two reasons. Firstly, it is difficult to bring objects close to your body when picking them up from the floor, especially large objects where your knees can get in the way. Secondly, your low back must now support the weights of your upper body as you lean forward, in addition to supporting the weight of the item you are lifting. Lifting the same 20lbs from the floor more than doubles the amount of force on your low back when compared with lifting is from waist height. Even a one pound object lifted from the floor increases you risk of injury if you use a bent over posture.

Get Help When You Need It: Don’t try to lift heavy or awkward loads on your own. Even though the muscles in your upper body may be strong enough to handle the load, the muscles, ligaments and disks in your lower back may be injured because of the additional forces they have to withstand. Get help from a co-worker, and whenever possible, use a cart, hand truck or other mechanical device to move the load for you.

This content was written by Fit2WRK who has partnered with PT and Me to give a comprehensive look into the services physical and occupational therapists provide. For more information on Fit2WRK click here.

Baby Mechanics

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Proper lifting mechanics is important for everyone, especially for a new mom. Caring for a young child/infant significantly increases the strain to one’s low back. Luckily, there are steps that one can make to decrease that strain and reduce the risk of injury.

Always remember to: lift the child/infant close to you and bend through your legs versus your back.

As your baby begins to gain more independence and mobility, lower the height of his mattress to keep him safe. Be aware that the lower mattress height can increase strain on your back, so lower the mattress height as gradually as possible. When lifting your baby in or out of the crib, keep baby as close to your body as possible while keeping your back straight and bending through your legs. For older babies, help him get into a sitting position before lifting him out of the crib. Once baby can stand, lift him out of the crib from a standing position.

Just like lifting baby out of the crib, keep her as close to you as possible, bend through your legs and keep your back straight. Keep your abdominal muscles tight as you lift her up. If possible, get into a deep squat position to lower your center of gravity before picking up baby.

Avoid the “hip shift” position with baby propped on one hip while shifting your body to that side. Instead hold baby in front of you with his legs out on either side of you. If you are going to be holding baby for an extended period of time, use a baby carrier to keep your baby supported in a neutral alignment.

Tummy time isn’t just good for babies! During tummy time, get down on your stomach too. Stretching out on your stomach is good for you, and it also allows you to better interact with your baby.

During story time, be aware of your posture and always sit up straight. Place a pillow behind your back for extra support.

Use a nursing pillow under baby to help prop her up closer to you. Bring baby to you instead of leaning forward towards her to avoid strain. Placing a pillow behind your back can provide extra support and help you maintain the proper posture. If you are bottle feeding or for older babies, place a pillow under the arm that is supporting baby’s head to decrease the strain on your shoulder and neck. Although making eye contact with baby during a feeding can help strengthen your relationship with baby, it can cause strain on your neck. Be sure to bring your head to a neutral position throughout the feeding to decrease the tension on your neck.

baby car seat

When lifting a car seat, be sure to keep the car seat as close to your body as possible. Bend through your legs and keep your abdominal muscles tight as you pick up the car seat. Instead of carrying the car seat in one hand at your side, use both hands to hold and carry the car seat in front of you whenever possible.

Getting the car seat in and out of the car can be tricky. Remember to keep the car seat as close to your body as possible, keep your abdominal muscles tight and your back straight. If your car seat is placed in the middle position in your car, put one leg up into the car to protect your back while keeping the car seat close to your body.

This information was written by Metro Spine & Sports Rehabilitation, an outpatient physical therapy group with locations in the Chicago Loop and Lakeview areas. At Metro Spine & Sports Rehabilitation, their number one priority is the patient. For more information click here.

chronic back pain

Effective Chronic Back Pain Treatment

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For chronic back pain, exercise, physical therapy, manual therapy and mindfulness-based stress reduction have the best evidence for effectiveness.

Chronic back pain is one of the most frequent reasons people visit the doctor — it’s estimated that 31 million Americans experience low-back pain at any given time. Yet doctors are finding drugs should actually often be the last line of treatment for it. A new guideline out Feb 14th 2017, from the American College of Physicians (ACP) suggests doctors recommend exercise and treatments like heat wraps, yoga, and mindfulness meditation to their patients before turning to medications like opioids or even over-the-counter painkillers. “That marks a big departure from previous guidelines,” Roger Chou, a professor at Oregon Health and Science University, told Vox1. (Chou’s evidence review can be found at: https://goo.gl/MWzWvK)

Why Send Patients to Physical Therapy for Chronic Back Pain?

It is the long term benefits of physical therapy interventions such as multifidus, transversus abdominus and pelvic floor neuromuscular reeducation that benefits your patients.
• Multifidus muscle recovery requires specific, localized, retraining.3
• PT + meds 30% recurrence versus 84% meds only (1 year follow-up).4
• PT + meds 35% recurrence versus 75% meds only (2-3 year follow-up).4
• Less likely to have further healthcare costs.4

Back Pain Conditions Commonly Seen by physical therapists include:
• Low Back Pain (LBP)
• Arthritis Pain
• Strains & Sprains
• Muscle Spasm
• Herniated Discs
• Degenerative Discs
• Radiculopathy/Sciatica
• Piriformis Syndrome
• Sacroiliac Joint Dysfunction
• Scoliosis
• Spondylosis
• Stenosis

In physical therapy our goals are to Improve:
Mobility — Knowledge of Safe Positions — Movement Awareness — Functional Strength — Coordination

“Exercise or alternative therapies, the ACP noted, can work as well as or better than medications, but don’t come with the side effects.1” Physical Therapy is a safe, proven way to treat patients experiencing back pain.

Evidence showed that acetaminophen was not effective at improving pain outcomes versus placebo. Low-quality evidence showed that systemic steroids were not effective in treating acute or subacute low back pain2. (ACP Newsroom)

back pain 3

Treatment
We offer a comprehensive approach incorporating manual therapy, prescriptive therapeutic exercise and modalities. Our programs improve the patient’s physical condition and symptoms. We also provide the patient with movement awareness, knowledge of safe positions, functional strength, and coordination. All of this promotes the management of low back pain (LBP).

Treatments offered include:
• Comprehensive Evaluation with an emphasis on determining the source of the problem.
• Individualized & Specific Exercise Programs
• Manual Therapy (hands-on treatment)
• Modalities as Needed
• Progressive Home Program to help restore independence and self-management

Information provided by North Lake Physical Therapy – Portland, OR
To learn more about North Lake Physical Therapy click here.

References:
1. http://www.vox.com/science-and-health/2017/2/14/14609508/doctors-admit-drugs-cant-fix-back-pain
2. https://www.acponline.org/acp-newsroom/american-college-of-physicians-issues-guideline-for-treating-nonradicular-low-back-pain
3. Spine (Phila Pa 1976). 1996 Dec 1;21(23):2763-9. Hides JA, Richardson CA, Jull GA.
4. Spine (Phila Pa 1976). 2001 Jun 1;26(11):E243-8. Hides JA, Jull GA, Richardson CA.

PT News

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This Month in PT News. Featuring articles from PTandMe partnering clinics!

1. Exercise after Knee Replacement Surgery
Written by the Therapy Team at Cornerstone Physical Therapy – Gahanna, OH

If you’ve been undergoing treatment for knee arthritis and haven’t gotten any pain relief yet, your doctor may recommend a total knee replacement surgery. Read more

2. Low Back Pain and Sciatica Workshop
Written by the Therapy Team at Oregon Spine & Physical Therapy – Eugene, OR

If you are suffering with chronic back pain or sciatica and you’re looking for some help… why don’t you start by attending one of our Educational Workshops so you can make a better, more educated and more informed decision about your options to ease it. Read more

3. Inflammation and Your Diet
Written by Cheryl Schwieters, Physical Therapist Assistant at the Center for Physical Rehabilitation – Grand Rapids, MI

Throughout the day the body is constantly being bombarded with substances that can trigger inflammation. Read more

PTandMe therapists

Clinic Spotlight: PT & Me Therapists

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This month we are featuring stories from some of our PT & Me therapists. We asked them how they got into the awesome world of physical therapy and what they enjoy about it. These are their stories…

Kelly_wilson
Name:
Kelly Wilson, PT, DPT at University Physical Therapy – 8 locations conveniently located throughout the New River Valley in Virginia

Why did you chose physical therapy as a career?
I took an anatomy class in high school with a teacher who absolutely changed my life. I could not get enough of the curriculum and wanted to learn more about how we work and how we can make ourselves better. I stayed after school one day to ask how I could learn about this topic forever. My teacher suggested that I look into physical therapy. I started shadowing a PT in my hometown and loved it! I was hooked!

What is your favorite thing about going to work each day?
I get to work with the absolute best people on the face of the planet.


Name:
Lea Ann Rumlin, PT, Clinic Owner at DeKalb Comprehensive Physical Therapy – Lithonia, Georgia

Why did you chose physical therapy as a career? 
I had an opportunity to observe a PT in high school and found it was very interesting. I thought it was cool to observe a diverse variety of ailments in people.

What is your favorite thing about going to work each day?
I’ve been doing physical therapy for a long time, but it still feels new. I feel blessed to have the opportunity to help people.


Name:
Wendy Richards, MSPT, DPT at Port City Physical Therapy – Portland, Maine

Why did you chose physical therapy as a career? 
I wanted to be in a helping profession. Growing up in rural Maine most of the careers were either in healthcare or nursing. That is why I was drawn to physical therapy. I especially liked the stroke patient rehab and spinal rehab aspect of it. Helping people with paralysis was especially fulfilling.

What is your favorite thing about going to work each day? 
I enjoy working in a team environment. Working in an outpatient climate and helping patients to get better. Being able to resolve their limitations and improve their lives.


Name:
Jocelyn Zolna-Pitts, PT, Director at Metro Spine & Sports Rehabilitation – Chicago, Illinois

Why did you chose physical therapy as a career?
It combined my interest of medicine with sports. I was always interested in medicine and helping others.

What is your favorite thing about going to work each day?
The daily satisfaction of watching people get better. The challenge and variety of problems patients face and solving their problems through critical thinking with them. I enjoy the fact that you get to play every day at work and it’s a lot of fun!

Seeing a Physical Therapist After an Accident

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Anyone who has been involved in an accident and is now struggling to cope with a resulting injury should seriously consider visiting a physical therapist. The documented benefits of physical therapy are numerous, and in many cases physical therapists are able to greatly improve their patients’ quality of life. Whether you are mildly hurt or are suffering from a long-term debilitating injury, read on to learn what physical therapy is, which types of accident injuries physical therapists commonly work with, and about the numerous benefits of physical therapy

What is Physical Therapy?

Physical therapy is a type of rehabilitation aimed at bringing injured patients back up to their optimal level of health via various treatments and exercises. Physical therapists create patient specific plans designed to enable the patient to perform their daily tasks at the highest possible level of function. While a physical therapist will set different goals for different patients, common goals of therapy include:

  • Improving physical function and movement
  • Decreasing/managing the patient’s pain
  • Preventing re-injury
  • Increasing the patient’s strength, endurance, range of motion and flexibility

Wondering how physical therapy helps achieve these goals? While different therapists may approach these goals in slightly different ways, physical therapy programs rely mostly on progressive exercises and manual therapy in order to reach a patient’s goals. For example, a therapist will generally start you out with simple stretches and gradually work towards more challenging exercises tailored to suit your injury, limitations, and recovery goals. Additionally, manual therapy, such as soft tissue mobilization and joint mobilization, can help decrease a patient’s pain, reduce swelling, and restore motion.

Accident Injuries that Physical Therapists Commonly Work With

While physical therapists are well equipped to assist patients with minor as well as serious injuries, many people who visit a physical therapist in Houston do so because of a long-term debilitating injury that they suffered as a result of a boat, truck, or car accident. For example, physical therapists commonly work with patients who have been involved in an accident and are suffering from:

  • Back and neck pain
  • Arm and shoulder pain
  • Leg and knee pain
  • Foot and ankle injuries
  • Hand injuries
  • Decreased range of motion

car accident

The Benefits of Physical Therapy

Individuals who are injured in an accident often find that attending physical therapy improves their well-being in a number of different ways. While each case and each patient are different, the benefits commonly associated with physical therapy include:

  • Pain Management: Many people who are injured in an accident attend physical therapy primarily in order to reduce or eliminate the pain caused by whiplash, disc herniation, fractures, and other injuries. The therapeutic exercises and manual therapy techniques utilized by physical therapists are often able to help reduce a patient’s pain and allow them to rely less on pain medication.
  • Can Help Avoid Surgery: In some circumstances physical therapy has been known to help a patient avoid having surgery altogether. This can be beneficial as surgeries sometimes involve a lengthy recovery, not to mention the inherent risk of undergoing the surgery itself.
  • Quickens Recovery: Individuals who attend physical therapy after an accident often recover much faster than they otherwise would have. Additionally, these individuals also tend to ultimately achieve better range of motion and muscle strength than those with comparable injuries who did not attend rehab.
  • Helps Prevent Chronic Pain: People injured in car accidents often suffer from chronic pain and other symptoms long after the accident occurred. Additionally, some car accident injuries, if left untreated, will worsen over time. Fortunately, accident victims who promptly attend physical therapy tend to experience much less chronic pain than they otherwise would.

Of course, if you have been injured in a wreck due to another person’s negligence, you may wish to speak with a car accident lawyer for help. Indeed, an attorney can help advocate on your behalf to ensure you receive the compensation necessary to pay for your recovery.

reduce back pain

No Turning Back: Reduce Back Pain with These Spine-Stabilizing Exercises

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We take so many things about our bodies for granted. They feel good, we go about our daily activities and we never think about the complex mechanisms at place. That is until something goes wrong. Take your back: it serves as stabilizer, flexor, movement and relaxor too. But unfortunately, back pain troubles many of us — about 8 in 10 people in their lifetime will experience back pain. But you don’t have to rely on pills to relieve symptoms or even countless trips to a doctor. Exercises offer a proactive approach to reduce back pain, and this graphic can help with ideas.

reduce-back-pain-with-these-spine-stabilizing-exercises-web-1

ice hockey injuries

Common Ice Hockey Injuries

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Ice hockey is one of the most popular sports played in North America. Physical therapy can provide specific treatment to a number of specific ice hockey injuries. Here are a few injuries that can happen during a hockey game or practice:

Common Ice Hockey Injuries

BACK INJURIES
Hockey players are at risk for low-back injuries due to the flexed (forward) posture of skating and the frequent hyperextension (backward) stress. Low-back pain and/or a pulled muscle are the most common injuries. Stretching of the hip flexors along with strengthening of the back and abdominal muscles will help avoid these injuries.

HIP INJURIES
The hip joint and groin muscle are susceptible to injury due to the mechanisms of the skating stride. Some of the most common soft tissue injuries in hockey players include a groin strain and a hip flexor strain. Off-season strengthening and dedicated stretching before and after practice are important to prevent these injuries. In addition, a direct blow to the outside of the hip can cause a hip pointer or trochanteric bursitis. Hockey pants with reinforced padding over these areas may help protect them.

KNEE INJURIES
The medial collateral ligament is the most susceptible to a sprain because of the leg position – pushing off the inside edge of the skate blade – and contact to the outside of the knee. Anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) disruption and meniscus tears (torn cartilage) can also occur but are less common in hockey that in other sports such as football, soccer and basketball.

hockey_goalie

SHOULDER INJURIES
The most common shoulder injuries in hockey are a shoulder separation and a broken collarbone. These injuries occur from direct contact of the shoulder with another player, the boards or the ice. Treatment can include a sling, rest and in serious cases surgery.

ELBOW INJURIES
The point of the elbow is a frequent area of contact, which can result in the development of bursitis. Thick and scarred bursal tissue (which feels like bone chips, but isn’t) can be a source of recurrent inflammation. The best prevention method is wearing elbow pads that will fit well and have an opening for the elbow, soft padding and a plastic outer shell.

WRIST INJURIES
A fall on the outstretched arm or contact with the boards that forces the wrist up or down, may cause a fracture. Players should try bracing themselves against the boards using their forearms instead of their hands.