Blog

sciatica pain

Sciatica Pain and What To Do About It

The sciatic nerve runs from the lower back to the buttocks down to the leg. Sciatica is pain that you feel along this area when something isn’t functioning properly. This could be compression of the nerve and/or the sciatic nerve being irritated.

Sciatica is not a diagnosis, but it is a description of the pain. If you have had it, you will recognize it immediately. It can be unbearable at times. The good news is that by working with a physical therapist at Contact Physical Therapy, you may be able to see relief from sciatica pain.

Ways To Relieve Sciatica Pain

A physical therapist may work with you in several different ways to help you overcome your sciatica pain. This could be through exercising, stretches, strengthening, and more.

Exercises

Exercises such as low impact aerobics might be a good way to help overcome your sciatica pain. Also pool therapy may help.

Stretches

One huge way to overcome your sciatica pain is through stretching. There are specific stretches that your physical therapist can recommend to help you relieve your pain. Stretching may focus on the hamstrings.

Strengthening

Completing strengthening exercises for the supporting structures of your body (the spine, muscles, ligaments, and tendons supporting the back) can help to provide pain relief as well. Your physical therapist will recommend strengthening exercises to help you overcome your pain.

[Related article: Elements For Physical Therapy Success]

More Ways To Relieve Sciatica Pain

What are some other things you can do to help relieve your sciatica pain? Although you may be tempted to rest when you are experiencing this pain, physical therapists recommend not resting for more than a day or two because it could add to your pain. Instead, after a brief period of rest, keep moving to aid your body in healing.

Physical therapy can be effective in helping to treat sciatica pain. A physical therapist at Contact Physical Therapy can help tailor a program that is right for you.

To get started, contact us today.

balance problems

How Physical Therapy Can Help Balance Problems

If you or someone you love is experiencing balance problems, did you know that physical therapy may be able to help? If you are finding it difficult to perform simple tasks such as standing, walking, or sitting, if you find yourself swaying or have difficulty staying stable or upright, you may be experiencing balance problems.

If you are over the age of 70, your chances can be as high as 75% of having balance that isn’t normal. This can be caused by aging, among other things, including problems with the muscles, joints, or inner ear. Sometimes medications can cause the problem, or if you are not active enough, it can be a factor as well.

Medical conditions may also cause balance problems. From diabetes and arthritis, to multiple sclerosis, stroke, and Parkinson’s disease — all of these can cause issues with your balance.

Symptoms of Balance Problems

If you are wondering if your problems might be related to balance, here is what to look for: falling, stumbling, dizziness, tripping, and swaying are all indications that you may have a balance problem.

The good news is that by working with a physical therapist at Contact Physical Therapy, your balance problems may improve. A physical therapist can work with you to help you improve your balance and reduce your risk of falling. This is so important, especially as we age because falling carries the risk of injuring yourself as well.

[Related article: Goals of Physical Therapy]

Your physical therapist can help you improve strength, mobility, flexibility and posture. All of these things will help you to overcome any issues you may be experiencing with your balance.

The best way to deal with balance problems is to do everything you can to prevent them from happening in the first place. Physical therapists recommend staying active and mobile and avoiding a sedentary lifestyle to prevent balance issues. If you have fallen, be sure to talk to your doctor or physical therapist so that he or she can begin to assess your condition and help to determine what caused the fall and prevent it from happening again, thus preventing further injury.

Since some balance problems can be caused by eye and ear conditions, have your vision and hearing checked regularly to help prevent balance problems as well.

Physical therapy can be effective in helping to treat balance problems. A physical therapist at Contact Physical Therapy can help tailor a program that is right for you.

To learn more, contact us today.

physical therapy for concussion recovery

Physical Therapy For Concussion Recovery

Physical therapy for concussion recovery can be a helpful thing to consider if you have been injured. If you have dealt with a concussion and you need help, check with your physical therapist. A physical therapist can direct you on getting the help you need as soon as possible.

[Learn more: Elements For Physical Therapy Success]

What is a concussion? A concussion is a brain injury. It happens when your brain is shaken violently. If your head is directly hit, a concussion might happen to you. The same is true if you are enduring whiplash. Changes in the functioning of the brain might occur when these things take place.

A physical therapist can help you in many ways such as:

  • Recovery and rest. Your physical therapist will let you know the reasons why you need to limit your physical activities.
  • Restoring endurance and strength. Your physical therapist will teach you how to restore the power of your body without making the symptoms of the illness worse.
  • Improving balance and stopping the dizziness. Your physical therapist may use vestibular physical therapy with you to help you recover.
  • Reducing headaches. Your physical therapist will work hard to find out the causes of your headaches so you can get the relief you need.

Remember that your concussion is an injury in your brain. This type of injury might bring about a lot of problems that a physical therapist can help you with.

Talk to your physical therapist as soon as possible. In the state of Arizona, you have direct access to seeing your physical therapist without first receiving a physician’s referral. He or she understands that every concussion that every person has is different and can work to tailor a treatment program that is right for you.  

Physical therapy for concussion recovery can be an effective way of managing your injury. A physical therapist at Contact Physical Therapy can help.

To get started, contact us today.

Osgood-Schlatter disease

Osgood-Schlatter Disease Causes and Treatment

Osgood-Schlatter Disease is a condition that is characterized by painful inflammation in the area under the knee and can develop in children and teenagers during a growth spurt. Below is what you need to know about Osgood-Schlatter disease causes and treatment if your child is experiencing pain and how physical therapy can help.

Causes of Osgood-Schlatter Disease

At the adolescent period when growth is at a peak in adolescents, the rate of growth of some of their tendons and muscles differ in the sense that they do not grow at the same rate.

When exposed to physical activity, the varying sizes of the quadriceps muscle puts pressure on the growth plate close to the shinbone. As a result of the pressure, the growth plate becomes vulnerable to irritation. The irritation causes a painful swelling below the kneecap which is the start of the Osgood-Schlatter disease.

[Related article: The Truth About Growing Pains]

Treatment of the Osgood-Schlatter Disease

Osgood-Schlatter disease normally ends on its own after the end of a growth spurt. By that time, however, the focus is put on easing the pain and inflammation. It is important to know that self-diagnosis is not recommended and so it is important to consult your healthcare practitioner.

Treatment of Osgood Schlatter disease might also include:

  1. Taking pain relievers such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen
  2. Reducing intense physical activity so as to relive the knee of pressure
  3. Icing the affected area after physical activity
  4. Stretching
  5. Wearing a knee brace
  6. Physical therapy

Restricting intense physical activity is highly advised so as to reduce the inflammation and give the affected area time to recover. Patients can, however, participate in less demanding exercises such as swimming or cycling during their recovery process.

The exercises to participate in will however depend on the practitioner’s advice depending on the extent of the affected area. In some cases, some children are advised to completely quit certain sports until they are fully recovered.

[Related article: Physical Therapy For Babies and Kids]

Physical therapy can be effecting in helping to treat Osgood-Schlatter disease. A physical therapist at Contact Physical Therapy can help tailor a program that is right for your child.

To get started, contact us today.

physical therapy success

Elements For Physical Therapy Success

While your physical therapy program may begin in our office, your physical therapy success ends at home. There are many things that will help you find the results you are looking for from physical therapy. While sessions in our clinic are an important part of that, what you do afterwards is just as important, if not more important to your success.

Your physical therapist will partner with you to help you achieve the results you are looking for. He or she will tailor a treatment plan that may include a combination of education, ergonomics, and exercise to help you succeed. Success is based on an achievement of the physical therapy goals you set for yourself and a return to the quality of life that you experienced prior to your injury or onset of the pain.

Elements For Physical Therapy Success At Home

The information and materials that your physical therapist will provide you, along with ergonomic support at home or at work, plus a home exercise program will all work together to help you succeed. Together with your physical therapist, implementing each one of these things will lend itself to your physical therapy success.

Patient Education

A physical therapist understands how the body moves and how those movements may be impacting your condition, symptoms, or pain. He/she will help you understand this. They are your partner to help you feel better. The information that your physical therapist gives you will help equip you for healing.

Whether this information comes in the form of conversation in the clinic or handouts to take home, make notes of the important points to remember. This information gives you a better understanding of the “why” behind the “what”. When you understand why your physical therapist is outlining the program for you that they are, it will help you to take action on those recommendations.

Ergonomics

Ergonomics refers to how well an environment, usually a workspace, fits you and lends itself to efficiency, productivity, and reduces stress on your body as you complete your work or tasks. Your environment should fit you, not the other way around. When we conform our bodies to fit into an environment (think work environment, such as a desk) it can cause pain and injury, and additional stress on our bodies.

With proper ergonomics, your body should remain in a neutral position. For example, at a work desk this means that your chin is parallel to the floor, your feet are flat on the floor, with elbows bent at a 90 degree angle. You should also have proper back support. Proper ergonomics will reduce stress on the body, prevent injury, and will also help you maintain the results of your physical therapy program.

Home Exercise Program

Your home exercise program is just as important as your physical therapy sessions in our clinic. A home exercise program will help you obtain the best results. The goal of physical therapy, as well as your home exercise program, is to return you to the quality of life you once enjoyed as much as possible. As you progress, your home exercise program may need updated so continue to check-in with your therapist as needed.

Physical therapy success is achieved through a combination of things. Your physical therapist will partner with you to provide education about the “why” and “what” of your condition. Proper ergonomic equipment, tools, and resources will help to maintain the results you have worked so hard to achieve. A home exercise program will keep you on the right track.

Whether it is due to injury, pain, or another condition, a physical therapist at Contact Physical Therapy can help tailor a program that is right for you.

To get started, contact us today.

direct access physical therapy in Arizona

Direct Access Physical Therapy In Arizona

There are many benefits of direct access physical therapy in Arizona, yet many patients are not aware of this option. Direct access means that you are able to seek care and treatment from a practitioner, such as a physical therapist, without first needing a referral from your primary care physician to do so.

In other words, you do not need a referral from another medical specialist in order to see a physical therapist.

Physical therapists are required to complete a state licensing exam. A physical therapist is a trained healthcare professional and expert. They can evaluate you and recommend a treatment plan. Then, they will help you carry out your treatment plan. You do not have to wait for or pay for another appointment first. Also you do not have to wait for a referral. If physical therapy is not an appropriate course of action, they will let you know as well. If this is the case, your physical therapist can refer you to the appropriate healthcare practitioner.

Benefits Of Direct Access Physical Therapy In Arizona

In Arizona, direct access allows you total and unrestricted access to your physical therapist. There are many benefits of direct access. These include:

  • you can be your own best healthcare advocate
  • you have access to more choices for your healthcare
  • your treatment options are less expensive
  • you can receive the care you need more quickly

Your physical therapist is an advocate for you and your health and can help improve your healthcare outcomes. Your physical therapist can be the first line of defense when it comes to any pain affecting the muscles, bones, ligaments, tendons, and more. Visiting a physical therapist first can save you time and money by accessing them directly instead of waiting on a referral.

Now that you know more about the benefits of direct access physical therapy in Arizona, for an evaluation by a licensed physical therapist contact us today.

hand therapy for de quervain's

Hand Therapy For de Quervain’s

If you are experiencing pain along the side of your thumb or if your thumb feels like it “sticks” from time to time, you may be interested to know about hand therapy for de Quervain’s tenosynovitis.

Long-term overuse of the fingers, hand or wrist can cause this. This condition is most likely caused by activities that require repetitive motions such as lifting a child, gardening, golfing, racket sports, carpentry, typing, or piano playing. It can also be caused by rheumatoid arthritis or injury where scar tissue has restricted tendon function.

All of this can have an impact on the tendons found on the side of your thumb and your wrist. When this happens, you may begin to experience symptoms such as pain, swelling, inflammation, and/or difficulty or pain when using your thumb and wrist or trying to grasp hold of or pinch something.

Catching this condition early can help allow hand therapy to be more effective and prevent it from getting worse. If this condition worsens, it can spread to your forearm. The worst case scenario, if left untreated, is that this can lead to permanent damage, or lead to the tendon sheath bursting. Treatment is important.

Hand Therapy For de Quervains Tenosynovitis

Your tendons have been overworked and need to rest as much as possible. Your hand therapist will have suggestions on how to use your thumb, wrist and hand in a way that does not aggravate the condition. He or she will want you to avoid movements that aggravate it. They will also encourage you to take breaks during repetitive motion, such as typing. The wrist may need to be splinted to keep the thumb and hand in a neutral position.

Hand therapy will focus on strengthening exercises. This can help to prevent the condition from getting worse, decrease inflammation, improve mobility of the thumb and prevent this condition from recurring.

If you have already had surgery for this condition, physical therapy can aid in your recovery. Whether it is recovery from surgery, or enlisting the help of hand therapy for de Quervain’s to avoid surgery, you will benefit from working with a hand therapist who can show you ways to treat the condition or prevent it from getting worse.

If you find yourself experiencing any of the symptoms of de Quervain’s listed above, contact the team at Contact Physical Therapy to find a course of therapy that is right for you.

physical therapy for total knee replacements

Physical Therapy For Total Knee Replacements

After surgery, it is recommended that you have physical therapy for total knee replacements (TKR). Physical therapy will start soon after TKR.

The most common reason for a total knee replacement is osteoarthritis. Osteoarthritis is a condition in which the cartilage in your joints deteriorates. Often, this happens in the knee. When it does you may notice pain, stiffness, and swelling. Rheumatoid arthritis and/or being overweight may also contribute to the need for a total knee replacement.

How do you know when a total knee replacement is needed? A doctor can evaluate and diagnose your condition, but here are some telltale signs:

  • trouble standing up from a seated position
  • pain in your knee or knees, even when resting
  • trouble with walking
  • difficulty going up and down stairs

What can I expect during physical therapy for total knee replacements?

Physical therapy is important to your recovery from TKR. It will focus on strengthening the muscles in your leg. It will also help you get used to the new knee by teaching it to move and helping you learn to walk on it. Physical therapy will also walk you through climbing stairs again.

Your physical therapist will have you complete exercises to increase range of motion, strengthen the muscles in your leg, and keep the blood flowing throughout your body. Exercises might include quadriceps sets, straight leg raises, ankle pumps, and knee straightening exercises, supported knee bends and unsupported knee bends.

Physical therapy will also focus on soft tissue treatments to prevent issues with being able to fully extend the knee and help minimize scar tissue.

If your condition is caught early enough, physical therapy can help prevent or delay the need for surgery. However, after surgery physical therapy is an important part of your recovery and healing from a total knee replacement.

Our physical therapy team is experienced in physical therapy for total knee replacements and has several convenient locations in the valley to help you through the rehabilitation process after surgery.

To learn more about physical therapy for total knee replacements, or begin your program after surgery, contact us today.

Family in airport

Healthy Happy Traveling

Traveling can be a lot on your mind and your body. Keeping it as smooth as possible is important to keep your stress down with all the other factors that could go wrong. Delayed flights, crowded planes and long lines everywhere, so investing in your health and wellbeing well traveling can make all the difference. A healthy traveler makes a happier traveler. Use these steps to stay healthy during all your future travelers.

 

Staying healthy can dramatically reduce your stress, which is always a beneficial factor when you’re traveling.

 

Take Stretch Breaks

Sitting for too long will cause stiffness and fatigue. Neither of which you want to bring to your destination. Take time to get up and walk around if room and flight conditions permit it. If you aren’t able to walk around, at least switch positions when possible.

 

Stay Hydrated

Dehydration can lead to many ailments including headaches, muscle cramps, reduced attention span, fatigue and more. It also can make your skin look tired and aged, which no one wants to look back on in vacation photos. Drink plenty of water. When you think you have drank enough, drink more. Bring your own water bottles on the plane so you don’t have to rely on the little cups and the flight attendants to keep you hydrated.

 

Snack Wisely

Bring your own in-flight snacks. Think protein, healthy, and filling so the tempting, salty potato chips don’t bring you and your hydration down.

 

Wash your face, hands and seat

Traveling is a breeding place for germs. Wash your face and keep it clean during your flight. Try to avoid wearing your makeup. Keep your hands clean and wash them constantly. Transferring germs from your hands is the quickest way to get sick. Finally, keep sanitizing wipes handy so you can wipe down your seat, tray table, and arm rests. Wiping down these areas is one of the biggest tips from flight attendants- they must know something we don’t.

 

Watch your knees

Try to keep your knees at a 90-degree position. If you’re too short, use your carry on to rest your feet on. This will help your posture and blood flow.

 

Breathe

Find breathing exercises that bring you to a calm, relaxed state. When you are traveling you can call on these exercises to keep you calm, give you some resting time and allow you to clear the toxins from your body by breathing. You could also use these exercises if you experience any anxiety of fear from flying. These can help relax you and get your mind to a calm state.

 

When you are traveling for work or play, the last thing you want when stepping off the plane is the beginning of a sickness. Following these simple tips can keep you healthier while flying and traveling.

child and adult holding red heart with stethoscope, heart health

Staying Heart Healthy

During this month that is often times associated with love, we wanted to keep the love flowing and pumping in all the right places. This means taking care of your heart. Are you taking the steps for keeping your heart healthy? Let us help with these daily tips to give your heart the love it deserves.

 

Heart disease is the leading cause of death in both men and women in the United States. There are steps you can take to help lower your risk or prevent heart disease.

 

Eat Healthy- This is a common cure for many diseases and ailments, but very important for overall health. It is important to have a balanced diet filled with wholesome foods.

 

Get Active- Go outside, take walks, hit the gym or do whatever activity it is to keep your body looking and feeling good. Exercise not only helps you look good on the outside, but keeps you feeling good on the inside, as well. Remember that every time you are active you are doing good things for your body.

 

Stay at a healthy weight- Applying the above tips will help keep your body at a healthy weight, keeping your heart healthy along the way.

 

Manage your stress levels- stress can be a huge factor to many health problems, but is hard on your heart. Recognizing you may be stressed, what is causing that stress and managing it is important for a healthy heart and lifestyle.

 

Quit smoking- Smoking doesn’t have any health benefits and this includes being hard on your heart. Quit smoking and stay away from second hand smoke. Your heart will thank you by lowering your risk for heart disease.

 

Control your cholesterol and blood pressure- Knowing and controlling your cholesterol and blood pressure is an important factor for being heart healthy.

 

Know your risk- Everyone is at risk, but if you aren’t following the above steps, your risk may be greater for heart disease. Your may also be at a greater risk if you are a woman older than 55 or a man over the age of 45. Family history could also put you at risk if your father, mother, brother or sister had heart disease.

 

The good news is, there are plenty of simple steps you can do to take control of keeping your heart healthy and reducing your risk for heart disease.