Tag Archives: Neck Pain

dry needling physical therapist

What is Trigger Point Dry Needling?

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TRIGGER POINT DRY NEEDLING uses small, thin needles to stimulate underlying myofascial trigger points, muscular and connective tissues for the management of many orthopedic conditions, both acute and chronic. Physical therapists use dry needling as a safe, effective, and efficient treatment technique to release painful hyper-irritable spots within a band of skeletal muscle. By inserting a needle into the dysfunctional tissue, it often leads to a contraction of the muscle which then stimulates a release. This leads to a reduction of pain, improvements in flexibility and a restoration of normalized movement when combined with corrective exercises.

WHAT IS A MYOFASCIAL TRIGGER POINT?
A myofascial trigger point is a hyperirritable spot within a taut band of skeletal muscle that produces local or referred pain. The trigger point can lead to increased pain, decreased flexibility and decreased muscle function if not treated. Trigger point dry needling is a safe, effective and efficient treatment technique to release these painful spots.

WHAT TYPE OF PROBLEMS CAN BE TREATED?

Muscle dysfunction can be the primary or secondary contributing factor to many neuromusculoskeletal conditions, which can include:

•  Repetitive Stress Injuries
•  Tendonitis or Tendinopathy
•  Muscle Strains
•  IT Band Syndrome
•  Patellofemoral Dysfunction
•  Plantar Fasciitis
•  Neck Pain or Headaches
•  Rotator Cuff Impingement
•  Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
•  SI Joint Dysfunction
•  Sciatica

Dry needling

This treatment is NOT acupuncture. Modern dry needling is based on Western neuroanatomy and modern scientifi c study of the muscles and nervous system. This modality can only be done by trained clinicians.

If you are interested in Trigger Point Dry Needling, find a physical therapist near you and ask for more information.

McKenzie Method

McKenzie Method: Mechanical Diagnosis and Treatment

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The McKenzie Method is a philosophy of active patient involvement and education that is trusted and used by practitioners and patients all over the world for back, neck and extremity problems.

McKenzie Method – Three Steps to Success:

1. A logical step-by-step process to evaluate the patient’s problem quickly. This mechanical examination can “classify” most patient conditions by the level of pain or limitation that results from certain movements or positions. A McKenzie assessment can eliminate the need for expensive and/or invasive procedures.

2. McKenzie treatment prescribes a series of individualized exercises. The emphasis is on active patient involvement, which minimizes the number of visits to the clinic. For patients with more difficult mechanical problems, a certified McKenzie clinician can provide advanced hands-on techniques until the patient can self administer.

3. By learning how to self-treat the current problem, patients gain hands-on knowledge on how to minimize the risk of recurrence and to rapidly deal with recurrence if it occurs. The likelihood of problems persisting can more likely be prevented through self-maintenance.

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.

Protect, Stretch & Rest: General Tips

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These are some general healthy tips to remember during your day-to-day activities.

• If you are doing strenuous, household or outdoor work protect your hands with gloves in order to prevent injury and/or loss of moisture.
• Take frequent breaks or switch to a new activity. Overuse of repetitive motions, such as pressing buttons, can cause tendonitis of the elbow or lead to Carpal Tunnel Syndrome.
• If you find yourself sitting at your computer for hours each day, stop each hour and stretch your fingers, arms and the rest of your body to help prevent injury to your bones, joints and muscles.
• If you have pain during your activity, stop. Pain is one of the ways your body is letting you know that you are overextending a particular muscle group.

PT News

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

old man tennis

1. Tennis and Golf: Keep Swinging as You Age
Written by the Therapy Team at the Jackson Clinics Physical Therapy – Middleburg, VA

It’s a hard fact to swallow: Age eventually catches up with all of us, no matter how active we may be. Unless we work to maintain strength and flexibility, we slowly lose both as we age. Read more

track girl

2. Bridging the Gap
Written by Jess VandenBerg MS, AT, ATC, CSCS at the Center for Physical Rehabilitation – Grand Rapids, MI

If you have ever rehabilitated an athletic injury, you know there is a big difference between completing your rehab, and returning to competition. You are pain free, have full range of motion, and are completely functional, but are you prepared for the true demands of your sport, both mentally and physically? Read more

spine

3. Is There an Association Between Radiological Severity of Lumbar Spinal Stenosis and Disability, Pain, or Surgical Outcome?
Written by the Therapy Team at Oregon Spine and Physical Therapy – Eugene, OR

Last week I wrote a blog about a new research article about the shoulder and MRI. It helps us better understand the role of an MRI when trying to figure out the best plan to deal with a painful or injured body part. The old belief that an MRI is the “gold standard” is rapidly dying when it comes to understanding what to do with muscle and joint pain. Read more

TMJ

There is Hope for TMJ Pain

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TMJ is where the lower jaw meets the skull.

The temporomandibular joint or TMJ, is a complex joint located in front of each ear. It is responsible for allowing mouth opening and closing. When the TMJ is not working correctly, you may experience jaw pain, clicking, popping, or locking of the joint. You may also experience headaches, neck pain, sinus pain, dizziness, and ear ringing or pain. TMJ pain or Temporomandibular Dysfunction (TMD) is not strictly limited to the jaw, it can also be influenced by the alignment of the head and neck.

The goal of Physical Therapy treatment for Temporomandibular Dysfunction (TMD) is to provide pain relief using a variety of techniques to improve your range of motion through exercise and manual therapy and to improve posture and muscle imbalance. There may be modifications to your activities or work station that would be helpful as well.

man with ear pain

SYMPTOMS
• Face or Jaw Pain
• Ear Pain
• Tinnitis (ringing in the ears)
• Dizziness
• Headache
• Jaw Clicking and/or Popping
• Neck Pain
• Limited Jaw Opening

TREATMENT
Your Physical Therapist will work closely with your Dentist or Physician to establish an individualized treatment plan based on results from a comprehensive evaluation. The most current treatment options will be utilized to ensure the best outcome for decreased pain and improved function.

TREATMENT WILL INCLUDE, BUT IS NOT LIMITED TO:
• Comprehensive evaluation of head, neck, and jaw
• Education regarding the diagnosis and related head, neck and jaw dysfunction. This includes addressing any of your questions or concerns.
• Individualized program specific to your needs including modalities, joint mobilization, soft tissue mobilization, postural education, neuromuscular re-education and TMJ management techniques.
• Collaboration between referring physician or dentist to ensure comprehensive and integrated care.

More Enjoyable Bike Ride

8 Tips for a More Enjoyable Bike Ride

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Optimizing your bike and clothing isn’t just for competitive racers. Even if you’re just looking to ride a few miles recreationally, you can be more comfortable and have more fun by following our tips for a more enjoyable bike ride!

1. Check Tire Pressure
If your tires are too soft, you have a much higher chance of “pinching” a tube, causing a flat. Low pressure also increases rolling resistance, making it more difficult for you to ride at a normal speed. Check the sidewall of your tires for recommended pressure range; it doesn’t need to be at the maximum, but be sure it’s at or above the minimum.

2. Seat Angle
Everyone has a different preference on exact seat angle and position, but it should be roughly level. Deviations of 1-2 degrees up or down are OK, but don’t point up or down too much. This can place unnecessary pressure on pelvic soft tissue or the hands/wrists.

3. Seat Height
An old belief about seat height was that you must be able to touch the ground with both feet when sitting on the saddle. If you are very new to cycling, this does improve your ability to stay upright at very slow speeds. However, a seat that is too low can put excess pressure on your knees and back, and is less efficient. A “proper” seat height has the knee at about 30 degrees of bend at the lowest point in the pedal stroke.

4. Stay Hydrated
Carry water with you on any ride longer than 30 minutes (shorter in hot conditions). You can use a backpack-style hydration pack, or a simple water bottle and cage. Almost all bicycles have bolts to hold a water bottle cage. Whichever method you choose, get familiar with it and get in the habit of using it often.

5. Know How to Change a Tube
Carry the items needed to replace a tube in the event of a flat tire. Your local bike shop can help you with choosing these items. These can all be carried in a bag under your seat. You don’t need to be Nascar pit-crew-fast at it, but you want to know how to fix a flat tire so you don’t end up stranded.

6. Like Lycra
Very few people think of bike shorts as a good fashion statement. However, if you’re riding more miles, especially in warm weather, they provide comfort that can’t be matched with basketball or running shorts.

7. Be Visible
Along with the bike shorts, make sure your t-shirt or jersey is a bright color that will keep you visible in traffic. If there is a chance you’ll be riding near or at dark, be sure to have at least a rear and preferably also a front light on your bicycle.

8. Riding Shouldn’t Hurt
Sure, if you’re looking to get a hard workout or ride fast, your legs will feel the burn. However, if your body and bike are working together properly, riding shouldn’t cause any joint pain. If you can’t ride without getting neck, back, hip or knee pain, consider having a professional look at either your body or your bike fit. Better yet, have a physical therapist who is versed in bike fitting address both at the same time. The answer to most aches and pains is rarely just in one area (bike fit or body work), and a combined approach will usually work best for alleviating pain and getting the most out of your ride.

bike_couple

Let Physical Therapy help you before your pain turns into an injury.

What an ache tells you:
•  It’s the first clue your body is telling you something is wrong.
•  Your body can accommodate to the ache, but eventually a breakdown will happen.
•  While you accommodate to your ache, weakness and lack of flexibility starts.
•  Once you have a breakdown, pain will happen and more than likely you will stop doing the activities you currently enjoy.

How physical therapy can help prevent sports injuries:
•  Modify exercise routines when you have a minor ache and pain (This does not always mean you need to stop exercising!)
•  Get assessed for weakness and flexibility issues to address biomechanical deficits.
•  Educate on faulty or improper posture or body mechanics during exercise
•  Educate and help with technique on exercises that help your muscles stretch farther. Flexibility training helps prevent cramps, stiffness, and injuries, and can give you a wider range of motion.
•  Correct muscle imbalances through flexibility and strength training.
•  Alleviate pain.
•  Correct improper movement patterns.

Common Cycling-related pain and injuries that Physical Therapy can treat:
•  Low Back Pain
•  Neck Pain
•  Foot numbness
•  Shoulder pain
•  Muscle strains
•  Hand pain/numbness

This information about having a more enjoyable bike ride was written by Advanced Physical Therapy, a physical therapy group that uses progressive techniques and technologies to stay on the forefront in their field. Their staff is committed to providing patients with advanced healing techniques. For more information click here.

physical therapy during pregnancy

Physical Therapy for the Pregnant and Postpartum Woman

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If you are encountering problems during your pregnancy, don’t stress. Many women are able to find pain relief by going to physical therapy during pregnancy. A licensed physical therapist, specifically trained in women’s health, can evaluate and address the physical issues affecting you. Some of the techniques a PT would use in alleviating these discomforts are postural awareness/education, individualized stretching and strengthening programs, soft tissue mobilization/myofascial release (types of massage), breathing exercises, bladder education and pelvic floor strengthening. A PT can also assist you in implementing an exercise regimen that is safe and easy to take part in no matter what your level of fitness. All of this is performed in concurrence with your OB/GYN’s care.

Musculoskeletal complaints of the Pregnant Woman:
• Postural stresses (accentuated lordosis)
• Pelvic girdle instability pain
• Back pain or SI joint dysfunction
• Round ligament pain
• Nerve entrapment syndromes: carpal tunnel, tarsal tunnel, thoracic outlet syndromes
• Neck pain
• Foot or Ankle pain (especially overuse of the gastrocnemius muscles due to COG shifted anterior)
• Tendinitis: lateral epicondylitis and trochanteric bursitis
• Circulatory problems:
• Lower leg cramps
• Edema in lower extremities
• Groin / coccyx pain
• Urinary complaints (due to reduced bladder capacity as the fetus pushes on the bladder ): stress or urge incontinence

Musculoskeletal complaints of Postpartum Woman (effects of hormonal laxity):
• Diastasis Recti
• Symphysis pubis separation
• C-section scar or episiotomy scar adhesions/pain
• Pelvic floor Dysfunction: pain with sexual activity
• Postural stresses: nursing, holding and carrying baby
• Low back pain or SI joint dysfunction
• Urinary complaints (due to weakness of the pelvic floor muscles / trauma during labor and delivery)
• Stress Incontinence
• Urge incontinence

baby

EXERCISE CONSIDERATIONS:
Goals and benefits of exercise for the Pregnant Woman:
• Promotes good posture
• Increases or maintenance of aerobic fitness
• Improves muscle tone
• Improves sleep
• Prevents low back pain
• Reduces risk of gestational diabetes
• Improves physiological and psychological health
• Prepares mom for labor and delivery

Goals and benefits of exercise for the Postpartum Woman:
• Faster recovery from labor and delivery
• Increases endurance for taking care of self and baby

Make the right choice today. Ask your doctor how physical therapy can help you!

This information about physical therapy during pregnancy was written by by Rachna Mehta, PT, DPT, CIMT – Hamilton Physical Therapy Services, L.P. in Hamilton, NJ. Hamilton Physical Therapy Services is a well established provider of rehabilitation services in Mercer County since 1978. They take pride in offering personal and compassionate care with a patient-centered approach helping transform lives, one life at a time. For more information click here.

PT News

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

1.Is Technology A “Pain In The Neck?”
Written by Robyn Smith, Director of Sports Physical Therapy Services – The Center for Physical Rehabilitation

Technology is everywhere. Computers, video games, smart phones, ipods, ipads, and tablets. You name it – it’s all at our fingertips.  Read More

 


2. Keep The Tingle Out Of Your Arm 
Written by the Therapy Team at The Jackson Clinics Physical Therapy

One of the main nerves in the arm, the ulnar nerve runs from the neck to the hand. At various points along this path, the nerve can become irritated or compressed, causing tingling in the elbow, wrist, hand or fingers.   Read More

 

3. Massage Therapy – A Relaxing Way To Promote Health
Written by the Therapy Team at Oregon Spine and Physical Therapy

If you are wondering what does massage has to do with your health, think again… Several studies and research have confirmed the beneficial effects of massage. Read More

 

 

Posture is a leading cause of Neck Pain.

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Neck pain is a common problem among adults and with the help of smart phone and tablets, is becoming more frequent among young adults.  Studies have shown that the incidence of neck pain is increasing making it second only to low back pain in worker’s compensation costs.  Seventy percent of adults will experience neck pain in their lifetime and over fifty percent of adults have experienced neck pain in the last six months.  Symptoms of cervical dysfunction may include dizziness and headaches as well as neck pain. Neck pain may be a result of trauma, stress, poor posture, static or repetitive movements.

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