I used to play sports, what happened to me?

I hear this a lot from older clients. Heck, I’ve heard it from myself when I went through ACL rehabilitation. Once a high level athlete, always a high level athlete. At least in our minds we are. The fact is that muscle takes 1-2 weeks to lose strength if it is not going through a workout program. Muscle responds very specifically to the strains that are placed upon it. Unfortunately as we get older, people do not exercise as often as they should. I’m guilty of this as well.

We tend to forget all the practices and conditioning that we did in order to be prepared to play in these events. We just remember the games themselves. Then we skip all the preparatory exercising that is needed in order to perform at that level. We go straight to playing pick up games.

Unfortunately, our bodies change as we age too. Without properly exercising, the muscle fibers actually change composition. The muscles become more use to long term activation. They get used to just holding us upright because standing and walking are the primary exercises we do. The muscles we use in sport require more faster activating muscle fibers. That means if we try to do fast acting movement with slow moving muscles, we’re going to have a bad time.

This is why it is important to see somebody educated in the performance of muscles to better prepare us for our activities.

Dr. Mark Geise, PT DPT

This is Hard

A lot of times we hear clients say that a seemingly easy exercise is surprisingly difficult. The most common time I hear this is when I ask somebody to hold their balance while they stand on one foot. Seems like an easy enough task right? Go on try it yourself.

Chances are that if you don’t actively practice this then it’s going to be pretty difficult. Wobbling back and forth are normal as long as you’re not at risk of falling over. There are several different reasons for why this easy exercise needs to be practiced. Every time you walk, you should be standing on one foot even if for a moment. If you can’t stand on one foot, you’re at risk for losing balance while you walk. If you’re not standing on one foot while you’re walking, then you’re not taking long enough strides. An important factor in determining if a person is at risk for a fall was the speed they were walking. Slower walking was actually predictive of falling.

Several reasons could be why this exercise is difficult. One is that practice makes perfect. Not trying it occasionally will make it difficult. Secondly, there are 3 systems in play when you’re trying to balance. The musculoskeletal system will try to keep your bones and muscles in position to stay upright. Your muscles need to be strong enough to keep you in a proper position. Your inner ear provides a lot of feedback to your brain which tries to determine how your head is positioned. Lastly, your joints have joint sensors that send feedback to your central nervous system. This keeps your brain informed of where your joints are.

So this is why we provide this exercise to patients. It challenges several systems at once. It helps determine if there are more than one system with problems. If standing on one leg is too easy, try doing it with your eyes closed!

Dr. Mark Geise, PT DPT

Should I be worried that my knees are clicking?

Joints do snap, crackle, and pop at times and this is normal. However, if your knees click or pop EVERY time you do a motion such as going up/down stairs, standing/sitting, or squatting that is something that you need to address before it becomes a problem.

The clicking that you hear is your knee caps pushing against your knee while in motion. This happens due to muscle imbalances in your body, either your hip is weak and your knees are caving in with bending or the arches in your ankles are weak and your knee is again caving in and causing this sound. If you don’t start addressing these muscle imbalances soon the bones wear down and arthritis could begin to form.

Here’s a quick test for you, stand in front of a mirror or have someone watch you, and perform a squat. Watch (or have your friend watch) to see if your knees are staying in line with your feet, or if your knees are moving in between your feet, also listen for any clicking sounds. If either of these are the case you may have ankle instability or hip weakness. You should see your Physical Therapist for an evaluation to make sure that this problem does not get worse.

Do I have to do my exercises for the rest of my life?

People often think, “Do I have to keep doing all of these exercises for the rest of my life?” after coming to therapy and performing weeks of exercises, getting hands on care from your therapist, then getting back to your pain free life. This is a great question, and the answer is both yes and no.

Let me explain: If you are performing 10-20 minutes of exercises on a daily basis, there is no need to continue to perform this many exercises. However, I have a question for you: Do you brush your teeth every day? Why? To prevent you from having cavities, would it make sense to perform a few exercises every day to prevent you from having your pain again?

After you complete your therapy there are most likely 2-3 exercises that you should be performing to keep your strength up and prevent you from having your problem return. This should only take 5 minutes or so 2-3 days a week. You want to keep the muscles that have a tendency to be weak strong to keep your pain away.

Dr. Christopher Aeschliman, PT, DPT

Chronic Pain

Today, I had another client come in today with lower back pain. She told me she had sciatica symptoms. She felt pain in her back initially however the pain that shoots down her legs is the most debilitating. She feels like sometimes she can’t stand up all the way.

Unfortunately for her, she’s been dealing with this for over half a decade. The pain limits her from walking, standing long periods of time, and at this point she’s afraid to return to work as a nurse. Nursing is a very active highly demanding physical job. The fear is completely understandable and the fear is very rational.

Dealing with chronic pain can be life consuming, altering our lifestyles in ways that people without chronic pain do not realize. I personally have had a ACL reconstruction on my R knee. I went to months of prehab and even more months of rehab after surgery. It still aggravates me to this day. I realized that my knee hurt when I was walking for prolonged periods, or sitting for prolonged periods. I never thought I’d be able to play soccer again so I would skip workouts. I would avoid any activity that may cause pain. I “knew” it would cause pain.

Recently, I came across an article on chronic pain and it helped enlighten my knowledge on the subject. They found that the pain signal to the brain not only was coming from the source of pain BUT was also coming from memory.

Another article was showing how pain pathways from the source of pain may actually interfere with motor output. This means that the pain is actually discoordinating muscles, which is going to lead to more pain.

Given these two thoughts, it makes sense why a client would need more than just strengthening to solve their problem. The client needs solutions that address these other factors as well. This is a common problem that needs to be addressed appropriately.

Dr. Mark Geise, PT, DPT

Back Pain And Sciatica Treatment Options

Stop Spending Money on ineffective treatments and gadgets when managing pain.

Costs of Surgery 100-300K+ (Insurance will cover this if your deductible is Met)

Cost of Injections $150-400/injection ( Short lived and causes more damage)

Cost of Going to The Dr first for Pain (Time, waiting for medications to work, time off work, time back to Dr to say Pain medications are not working, Costly X-Rays, CAT scans and MRI’s that reveal no problem. Or your spine looks like the spine of a 90 year old.) Could be up to 2 months of your time. Pain still continues.

Dr refers you out to see a PAIN Specialist for injections. Cost $150-400/injection. (Typically the injections will last the longest the first time, then future injections cause damage but are still a bandaid and does not FIX the problem. )

Finally you get to see a P.T. in a hospital setting that gives you silly exercises that are temporary and in effective.

Then off to your Ortho Dr. You are a GREAT candidate for surgery. You see where this is going right?

From what my patients tell me, this process can take 6 months to a year. But barely any relief and you have missed so much work and have spent possibly your deductible. This is our current IN-Network system. So now that your deductible is met you want to only see providers that are any in network provider. I understand, you have spent a lot of Time and Money and want your insurance to now cover your treatment.

The problem with this model is that you will only reach the GOALs set forth by your insurance company. Typically if physical therapy is the option of treatment selected you can now be happy to reach a level of 3/10 pain by using your insurance card. Most people believe that PT does not work, because they chose a PT that was an in network provider that chose to get paid a discount from their insurance and because they are reimbursed so low they will need to see several people at one time to cover the expenses they have. This system does not work to effectively FIX your back pain or any other pain for that matter. You will see temporary results in this system. ( BTW, after this many will seek surgery because of the time) Ouch!

The choice that we recommend is much cheaper, saves time and will help you better understand your body and the pain you are experiencing.

Seeing a Therapist that specializes in Hands on Treatment first, followed by neuro re-ed, muscle energy techniques, Laser, Dry needling and cupping followed by some exercise. (Not hours of exercise) Will effectively FIX your pain and help you to return to doing the things you LOVE TO DO. The cost of this Model. Under $2000.00 to be fixed. In most cases it can be under $1000.00 for the total treatment. Better yet, you don’t need to see your Dr first, go in for X-Rays or expensive MRIs and will get relief the very 1st visit. Typically in 10-12 treatments you are done and better understand how to prevent the pain from coming back. Which treatment will you choose? Ready to FIX your pain? Reach out to me today askkim@stretchphysicaltherapy.com A Better You… One Stretch At A Time.

Temporary Back Pain Relief

All too often people suffer from low back pain. The first step to treating the back pain is to find a pain relieving position. The pain relieving position is the foundation upon which we can build our exercise routine. No matter the type of back pain, the position as shown above tends to calm down the lower back pain. The position is to lay on your back with arms down by the side. The legs should have a moderate bend in both the hips and knees. Symptoms tend to subside upon getting into this position.

Why does this position tend to relieve lower back pain? Our biggest villain for joint pain is gravity. Gravity is relentlessly pushing down on our bodies all day, everyday. When we are sitting, standing or walking, gravity is putting pressure straight down our spine which takes its toll on our lower spine after a while. When we lie down, gravity is not pushing directly down the spine across the spine so it’s effects aren’t as great.

Now our posture also plays a part in this as well. Even if we had perfect posture, we wouldn’t be able to stand all day long due to gravity pushing on our lower spine all day. But very few people have great posture so our ability to stand or sit for prolonged periods is less than optimal. In this hooklying position, the position of the legs rotates the pelvis back and flattens the spine. The flattening of the spine helps muscles and ligaments relax and decompresses the forces gravity was exerting on the lower spine all day. This helps to get us into a better posture albeit laying down.

So do this next time your back pain acts up to see if you get relief. Just remember, movement is the real treatment to lower back pain so remember to do exercises as well.

Have a great day!

TMJ Prevention techniques

How to Prevent TMJ

If you don’t have any of these symptoms, let’s keep it that way! There are some simple things you can do at home or work to prevent TMD from occurring in your jaw joints:

Relax your face – remember the rule:
  • “Lips together, teeth apart”
  • Avoid grinding you teeth
  • Avoid constant gum chewing
  • Don’t cradle the phone receiver between your head and shoulder – either use a headset or hold the receiver to your ear
  • Chew food evenly on both sides of your mouth
  • Do not sit with your chin rested on your had
  • Practice good posture – keep your head up, back straight, and shoulders square

Body Pain is Your Trigger to Seek Treatment

Pain Is Your Brain’s Way Of Telling You Something Is Wrong, Not Unlike The Check Engine Light In Your Car

When the check engine light comes on in your car, you immediately know that the car engine needs your prompt attention in order to prevent further, often bigger, issues. In order to ensure the safety, effectiveness and efficiency of our vehicles, you have to provide regular maintenance.You change your oil, regulate your tire pressure, replace old tires and wiper blades and stay on top of regular maintenance to ensure that your cars are reliable enough to sustain their purpose.

But what about our bodies?

More often than not, (due to busy schedules or tight budgets) we eat processed foods, drink sugar laden beverages and rush around constantly. We keep our bodies fueled with poor quality foods and often sit for long hours in front of a computer or television screen. In the midst of our chaotic schedules, we often seek what’s most convenient—like fast food to eat, and less than supportive shoes to wear, and we spend most of our time focusing on everything we have to accomplish in a day rather than taking a second to listen to what our bodies are telling us. Regular stress and neglect can wear our bodies down and cause larger problems down the road. Fortunately, our body has a way to inform us of when something is wrong, this convenient signal is known quite well as pain. However, many of us ignore pain and consider it to be normal or insignificant. Although some pain may be fleeting and insignificant, the vast majority of pain is an indicator that something is wrong and requires the attention of a specialist in order to be resolved.

Do you know when your body is alerting you to get checked out?

Usually we go to the doctor when we are pain, sit in a waiting room full of other sore, sick people only to receive medications that will temporarily help us feel better by masking the pain. Or, we ignore injuries and put off seeking help until we can no longer function in our daily lives or jobs. By that point, we’ve ignored our body’s “check engine light” for so long that our only solution is to mask it with more medications or even undergo extensive surgery.

What are some common injuries that cause pain?

Herniated Disc- Discs are found between each vertebrae in your spine. They act as a cushion to prevent the bones from rubbing together. A herniation can occur with undue stress is placed on the spine causing the disc to burst or leak. This herniation causes pressure on a nerve and can cause the nerve to be injured or irritated. Disc herniation is found most in the neck and lower back.

  • Scoliosis– A curvature of the spine opposite your natural curve. A normal spinal curve is distorted with scoliosis, causing a side shift of bones and the other structures in the spine. With this shift, the muscles try to balance usually causing myofascial restrictions that create a holding pattern to prevent pain.
  • Arthritis/Osteoarthritis– Arthritis can affect the spine and other joints in the body. As you age, the friction from gravity, and poor posture as well as how your body corrects itself can cause pain. You may find that you are stiff after sitting or when waking.
  • Muscle and ligament injury– These are the most common injuries and are usually caused be performing a task in poor posture when muscles are weak and the joints do not have their proper range of motion. Most of these injuries heal with in a few days to a couple of weeks.
  • Osteoporosis- Called in the medical field “The Silent Killer.” As you age, the rigidity of the bone is weakened causing fractures to occur. You do not usually know that you have fractured until after the fracture happens and you have muscle pain from the fracture.
  • Tendonitis– This is an inflamed tendon. Your tendons attach to your muscles and then to your bones. Usually these tendons are strained and become inflamed, causing pain with movement or walking.
  • SI pain- Sacroiliac dysfunction “Literally a pain in your butt,” causing intense pain when standing or going from a sitting position to a standing position. The pelvis is usually rotated in one position causing this inflammation.
  • Plantar Fasciitis– The plantar fascia is found in the arch of your foot. Pain is usually most intense when waking in the morning, usually causing you difficulty in bearing weight. In most cases plantar fasciitis can be prevented and healing can start with the use of properly fitted orthotics.
  • Sciatica/Low Back pain– The nerves in your low back are affected by the vertebrae shifting and pressing on the nerve. You will feel this in your butt and running down the back side of your leg. Long periods sitting can cause more pain.
  • Carpal tunnel/tennis elbow– These are typically overuse injuries that stem from prolonged poor positioning and overuse. Numbness/pain occurs due to the inflammatory process. Weakness and loss of muscle usually occur in more chronic cases.
  • Headache/Migraine– Usually related to weakness in the upper back and increased myofascia in the neck. Diet can effect headaches. Headaches are very complex and require one on one attention as they are usually more chronic in nature.

We have an “indicator signal” in our bodies for a reason, not unlike the one we have in our cars. These signals are there to help us, and are not meant to go unattended. If you have muscle or joint pain—no matter how mild or intense— the best alternative is to seek an evaluation from a licensed Physical Therapist.

How can we help?

At Stretch Physical Therapy & Total Wellness, we specialize in resolving, relieving, and preventing pain. A simple trip to our local physical therapy clinic can often help you avoid costly trips to the doctor and expensive surgeries. At Stretch, we offer pain relief and physical therapy. We thoroughly assess the area of pain to accurately locate the root cause of the problem. We, then, tailor a plan of care for you in order to start fixing (not masking) that problem. In fact, the earlier you seek treatment, the shorter the time necessary to resolve and put an end to the pain. Call us today if you experience any sort of pain. We’re here to help.

Treatment for Spinal Stenosis

Choose Physical Therapy first for Spinal Stenosis

Here is a good article that shows that Physical Therapy treatment for Spinal Stenosis is as effective as the more popular decompression surgery. In healthcare today, surgery seems to be the first option. If you are looking to prevent or fix your spinal stenosis without an expensive surgery or the use of pain medication,then read this article.

PT and Surgery Equally Effective for Spinal Stenosis

Physical Therapy is a great non surgical option for those clients who prefer not to undergo surgery. Stretch Physical Therapy & Total Wellness in West Chester Township Ohio has helped many patients avoid and cancel surgeries.

What can you expect from an appointment with a Stretch Physical Therapist? Learn more about what stenosis is and how to start healing from the pain. If you have any questions about the article or how we can help you heal quickly with simple exercises and manual therapy, call us Today at 1-513-874-8800.

Enter Your Information for Free Tips