Physical Therapy VS Opioids

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Opioids

Physical Therapy VS Opioids

Many Americans suffer through back and body pain. Often times people jump to the conclusion of intense back surgery or masking the pain with opioids. Both of these could have highly dangerous outcomes and could prolong or worsen your problem. Before you jump to conclusions, physical therapy may be able to ease or solve your pain without drugs or surgery.

A study conducted by The University of Washington in Seattle, Washington and George Washington University in Washington, D.C., showed that patients who saw a physical therapist before trying other treatments such as surgery or an opioid prescription had an 89 percent lower probability of needing such treatments. This study also concluded that patients of physical therapy have a 28 percent lower probability of having any advanced imaging done as well as a 15 percent lower probability of making one or more ER visit.

Physical therapists have specialized knowledge in pain management and how to correct your body to relieve yourself of pain, such as lower back pain. Therapists can guide patients through regimens and exercises to strengthen and improve muscles which can ease pain.

If you are deciding if physical therapy is right for you vs other options consider these points.

The risk of opioids outweigh the rewards- potential side effects of include depression, overdose, and addiction, in addition to withdrawal symptoms when stopping opioid use. Because of these risks experts believe that opioids should not be the first option or routine therapy for chronic pain.

Pain lasts 90 days or more- Pain is considered chronic at this point. The CDC guidelines state that nonopioid therapy is preferred for chronic pain and opioids only should be considered if the benefits for both pain and function outweigh the risk to the patient. Try to consider physical therapy as a first option for chronic pain relief.

Pain is related to low back pain, hip, knee or fibromyalgia- Physical therapy has shown high evidence stating that exercise as part of treatment for these conditions can help reduce and heal pain.

If opioids are prescribed for pain- It is recommended to receive the lowest effective dose and still be combined with nonopioid therapies, such as physical therapy.

Before starting any opioid treatments consult with your doctor and physical therapist to find the best treatment for you and your pain.

Elderly women with physical therapist

Goals of Physical Therapy

Physical therapy is sought out for many different reasons, but may have the same end goals in mind. Physical therapy is often the first choice when feeling aches and pains and could be the answer for nagging pain without big surgeries, or constant medication. People see a physical therapists for all types of reasons with the same goal of your relief, often in mind.

Rehabilitation and recovery may be the end goal for you physical therapy visits. Regardless of the reasons that led you to physical therapy, the thought of finally feeling relief is at the top of your mind. Regular visits to your physical therapist will help achieve this. PT will improve your pain or movement restrictions. If prescribed to do so- seek out a physical therapist so you too can feel freedom of your pain.

Prevention of injury may be another goal when visiting your local physical therapy office. While this is a seemingly broad group of people, athletes and people who live an active lifestyle tend to be the ones who have this on their mind. By practicing and learning movement in the proper form can prevent injuries and physical longevity can be improved. Treatment for this can include dynamic stretching and resistance training. Here at Contact Physical Therapy we have therapists who specialize in sports therapy and can get yourself or your young athlete ready for his or her upcoming sports season.

Optimal function and movement of the human body is another goal of those who see a physical therapist. People consider this when they are feeling pain when doing normal tasks such as walking, bending, etc. Physical therapy can help get their bodies back to a normal function without pain. Treatment is personalized, based on the person’s goal. This can even be led to living a healthier lifestyle and become able to improve the longevity of athletic activities.

Finally, prescribing a personalized plan for your individual needs to keep you active and free of pain is a goal of physical therapy. After an assessment of your pain or what you would like to achieve while visiting a physical therapist, he or she will discuss with you a plan to accomplish this. Some plans may take longer than others and require your help out of the office. Most of your daily life is not spent inside a physical therapy office and the therapist will teach you proper ways to move and heal to avoid further injuring yourself or future injuries.

If any of these issues are threatening your way of life, it may be time to seek physical therapy so you too can have freedom of pain and a healthy lifestyle. As always, consult your doctor to see if physical therapy may be the right treatment for you.

Benefits of Rest Days

Rest days are just as important as working out. Sometimes the mindset is to go hard every day in the gym to hit your goals, and your body isn’t getting the time to recover from all your hard work. There are many benefits to rest days when you’re toning up, losing weight or maintaining a healthy lifestyle.

We need to allow time for our bodies to rest between workouts. Not giving yourself rest days is doing more harm than it is good. Movement is good every day, but intense training shouldn’t be done every day.

Training your body without giving it the opportunity for rest can lead to many harmful side effects including: decreased performance, fatigue, poor sleeping patterns and more. Studies have shown that two active rest days, weekly is ideal for many people. Consult your trainer or physical therapist to see how many rest days would be best for your body.

One of the harmful side effects to over training is often times; injury. When your body is over worked without given the proper time to recover, you may risk the possibility or injuring yourself, resulting in staying away from gym for much longer than your rest days.

You could also become burnt out from constant training. This can become a prolonged cycle of rollercoaster weight loss from going too hard and stopping and likely doomed to be repeated. Your rest days will fit well within your schedule to keep you living a healthy lifestyle that can be done for the rest of your life.

Resting is just as important as working out as it is an equal part of building muscle, strength and endurance. Working out breaks down your body tissues and the rest days allow your muscles, nerves, bones and tissues time to repair. This cycle is how stronger muscles are made so taking away a part of that, will decrease your strength.

This regeneration process also requires food, water, sleep and the right nutrients like protein and vitamins to grow back stronger. Without the combination of all these things the body cannot function properly within your training process.

Giving your body all the proper foundation, it needs will keep you healthier for longer. Working out is a stepping stone for wellness and with that comes rest days. Keep this in mind the next time you find yourself in the gym for days in a row for an upcoming event, vacation or holiday and remember your hard work will pay off with the rest days.

Why You Should Take Vitamin C Daily

Think vitamin C is only good to take in the winter when you feel the sniffles coming? Think again. Vitamin C is one of the safest and most effective nutrients, some experts say. While you may think it’s only good to drink mixed in your water to avoid sickness, it also has other benefits and reasons why you should take vitamin C daily.

You may know that vitamin C fights off immune system deficiencies, but did you know it helps with prenatal health and eye disease? Experts are even saying the more they study vitamin C the more they are uncovering new benefits to it and are linking it to immunity of living longer.

Vitamin C is also great for muscle recovery. Adding this to your daily vitamins will help your muscles repair quicker after workouts in addition to all the other benefits vitamin C has. If you aren’t already taking vitamins daily, this is a great vitamin to start with. Consult your doctor to see what vitamins are best for your body and health.

Vitamin C has also been shown to improve skin health and wrinkles. Many beauty products have vitamin C in it, that is applied directly to the skin. Taking a daily pill will also be beneficial since good skin starts from within.

Other benefits of vitamin C include:

 

  • Strengthening the immune system after it has been depleted by stress, which affects most of our society. Vitamin C has also been shown to have positive effects for those who struggle with addiction as it is the first nutrient that is depleted from alcoholics, smokers and obese individuals.

 

  • Prevent or decrease the length of a cold. This may be the reason you are currently taking this vitamin, which is a great reason to keep it going. You can reduce your risk of cold and flu by adding a little vitamin C daily.

 

  • Post workout repair. The body breaks down the muscles during a workout and vitamin C can help in recovery. It is necessary for the growth, development and repair of all body tissues, including the formation of collagen.

 

  • Reduces skin aging. Vitamin C affects cells on the inside and out of the body. Studied have shown that those with higher vitamin C intake were associated to those with a lower likelihood of a wrinkled appearance on their skin as well as less dry and better skin-aging appearance.

 

Most people are not getting the essentials vitamins and nutrients from their diets alone and supplement with a daily vitamin regimen. Adding a vitamin C can positively affect many areas in your life from your immune to your skin. Vitamin C can be found in every grocery and health store to keep you healthy, happy and active all year long.

Lower Back Pain

Stretches & Exercises for Back Pain

When back pain has been consistent for two to six weeks it may be time to seek physical therapy to help alleviate your pain. Some spine specialists say sooner may be necessary if the pain is severe or an event happened for the pain to occur. Physical therapy can help you decrease pain, provide a maintenance program, increase functions and educate you on how to prevent from further pain. Stretches and exercises can help reduce your back pain. Be sure to consult your physical therapist or doctor before trying any new moves.

You may feel like resting, but moving may be good for your back pain. Exercises can help strengthen your back muscles to ease your pain and prevent future pain. While some exercises are good for your back, there will be some to avoid. If pain lasts longer than 15 minutes while doing a move or worsens, stop exercising and call your doctor.

Try crunches rather than sit ups if you already have back pain. You may be performing this move incorrectly and put too much pressure on your spine and discs. Keeping your core strong will help with back pain in the future, as well.

A wall sit is a great exercise that will help support your back while strengthening other parts of your body. Your goal for exercising when you have back pain is to reduce any tension and gain strength.

It will be very helpful to stretch your hamstrings at least once daily when experiencing back pain. Tight hamstrings are a common contributor for lower back pain. All hamstring stretches don’t have to be done the same way. You can switch it up by standing, lying on your back or using a towel.

Stretching at the same time everyday can help you remember to do your stretches and get you on the path of a pain free back. Doing so can reduce tensions in your muscles supporting the spine, improve your range of motion and reduce the risk of future injuries. Stretching doesn’t have to only be for when you are pain- it is good to stretch daily to stay limber and prevent future ailments.

Do not force the body into difficult or painful positions. Try to reduce bouncing which can cause additional muscle strain in your back. Don’t forget to repeat your stretches as it may take a few repetitions to reach maximum elongation.

While these stretches and exercises may help decrease your back pain it is very important to seek professional help for any chronic pain you may be experiencing.

Smart Phone

Is your smart phone causing you pain?

Is your smart phone causing you pain? Our bodies are meant to adapt to our surroundings and how we use them, but our bodies can’t adapt quickly enough with technology. The new iPad you just got will be old news in a few months, but our hands can’t catch up that fast. Overuse of your hands and thumbs from smart phone and tablets could be the reason you are having pains there.

From early on in age, smartphones, iPads, game controllers all demand high use of our hands and especially our thumbs. Many of us can’t help it, though. In this current time of instant communication, we can’t seem to put our phones down for a second. Whether you’re a baby staying quiet in the grocery store, a gossiping teenage girl, or professional typing out persuasive emails, our world revolves around our devices. You may even be reading this blog on your phone, right now!

Overuse of your thumb can lead to inflammation or tendentious. Overuse could open the door to a number of pains in your thumbs or hands such as, aching, throbbing and cramping. If you are experiencing any of these pains, you should schedule a visit with your physical therapist or give us a call to schedule a consultation, today!

At Contact Physical Therapy we have experienced hand therapists on our staff who can help you through these types of pains.

Some of the following tips or stretches should be done to help ease the pain of overuse or prevent any future issues.

  • Place your phone on a table, pillow or in your lap to use other fingers for typing or swiping. Holding your phone in one hand and having that thumb do all the work is the worst position for these conditions.
  • Take a break. Stop the motions that are aggravating the area. At this time a much needed and well deserved break is usually in order. Your phone doesn’t have the control here. People don’t need immediate response every second.
  • Opening your palm to the ceiling and using your opposite pointer finger to push down on your open-hand’s thumb for a stretch. Repeat on the other side.
  • Open and close your fingertips with a rubber band around them to strengthen these muscles.
  • Avoid doing the same motions for multiple activities. If you felt you have been on your phone a lot that day, try to avoid playing video games.
  • Switch hands so one hand isn’t constantly doing all the work. This will be a nice challenge for your brain as well.
  • Rest and ice is highly recommended.
  • See a physical therapist to asses any issues and give you professional treatment for your pain.

The bottom line is: try to give your hands a rest from time to time. If your job doesn’t require much email exchange on the weekends, try to detox yourself from your phone for a day or two. Try going on an unplugged vacation. The freedom from your phone might surprise you and your hands will be thankful too!

 

Injured Runner

Avoiding Repeat Injuries

Avoiding repeat injuries may sound logical and obvious, but there are certain measures that should be taken to ensure that the same injury won’t take you down for a second time. Injuries take time to heal so avoiding that path again is something you’ll want to take into extreme consideration.

Make sure the injury is completely healed.  The first thing you want to know is that your injury is 100% healed before heading back into strenuous activity. The odds of re-injuring yourself is a lot higher when something is not fully healed. This could leave you with an even worse injury than you started with.

Don’t immediately jump back to full training.  Since the healing process takes time, don’t go back into training at the pace you were at when you were injured. The time spent healing, may require easing your way back into training to build back up to the level prior to the injury. Physical therapy can help you get back as quick and safe as possible.

Are you training correctly?  Injuries can happen when you aren’t using the proper form. A physical therapist can evaluate your movements and exercises to spot weaknesses in the body that are causing your form to be off. This can be helpful to those who have injured that same thing multiple times already.

Resting VS Rehab.  Rest is an important element to keep your body healthy and active especially when trying to heal an injury, but are you also doing the proper rehab? Physical therapists can help you through injuries and show you training techniques to get you back on your feet sooner. With physical therapy, you can train your muscles and become stronger in the weak, injured areas.

Give it time.  You won’t heal overnight. Know that it is going to take a great deal of time to get you back on your feet again. If you’re working with a physical therapist, ask if there are any stretches to help heal your injured area. There may be a lot of things you can do at home to help with the healing process. Ask your physical therapist to show you moves that you can practice alone. Don’t put too much pressure on rushing and focus on proper healing.

No one wants to find themselves reinjuring the same issue they just healed. Staying safe and precautious when returning from your injury is smart. Consult your doctor and physical therapist before returning to strenuous activity.

Woman Stretching

Tips for Muscle Soreness

It’s the New Year and everyone is on the “New Year New You” kick. A lot of people’s resolutions every new year is to hit the gym more and become healthier with the upcoming year. Is this one of your resolutions? Well, we are all for the excitement of starting out a new workout routine, but be sure to take care of your body to maintain this new routine. One thing we forget and tend to get lazy on is our stretching especially on those days we feel extra sore. So, follow along for some tips to help relieve muscle soreness so you can keep your workout game strong!

One of the best ways to prevent and relieve muscle soreness is to stretch. Stretching before and after your workout is ideal. Doing some stretches before your workout prepares your body for exercise and the vigorous routine you may put it through. Stretching after your workout helps your body cool down and stretch out the muscles you just worked on.

Warm ups are important too. Warming up your body before your workout should always come first. Especially right now, in the cold winter mornings, you don’t want to jump right into a workout, which could up your chances for a sore tomorrow, or even worse, injury. A walk with some incline, jumping jacks or jumping rope are some examples of ways to warm up your body prior to your workout.

Hydration is key. Staying hydrated is important before, during and after your workout. This will help muscle cramping, decrease inflammation and help prevent from dehydration from sweating during your workout. It is important to refuel on water, constantly! Water is most likely the most important sports drink there is. So, don’t leave your water bottle at home!

Indulge in some pineapple. Pineapple contain an enzyme, Bromelain, that has anti-inflammatory benefits that can be comparable to medications! So, before you reach into your medicine cabinet, chop up some fresh pineapple to see if that does the trick.

Give your muscles some love. If you have any areas that are extremely sore, giving yourself a massage can help relieve some tension and pain from soreness. When doing it yourself you can control the pressure and you will know how much is too much. A foam roller is a great option too and can be done after every workout to prevent the soreness, stretch and relax your muscles.

If one of your resolutions for 2018 is to live a healthier life, make sure you don’t forget about all the factors that go into keeping your body healthy. Stretching is essential for a consistent workout routine. You can better ensure that you’ll be able to hit the gym more and be in less pain!

Physical Therapy Stretches for Headaches and Migraines

You know the days when your pain splitting headache feels too much to bare? When light and noise are ultra-sensitive and all you want to do is curl up into a dark quite room? Well, did you know physical therapy can help with headaches and migraines?

Headaches come from a dysfunction of the central nervous system (the brain and the spinal cord) that involves the nerves and blood vessels which result in the pain. Medications affect the nerves system in the attempt to reduce the pain, whereas physical therapy works on the muscles and joints to elevate the pain. Those who benefit most from physical therapy for treatment of migraines and constant headaches are those who experience them frequently.

Physical therapy techniques can be applied at the start of a headache to reduce the pain and longevity. Stretching exercises can be helpful when the start of a migraine occurs and to prevent ones in the future.

A good stretch that helps alleviate the tension in your lower neck is to gently tuck your chin to your chest. You can lace your fingers behind your head and slowly rock your head from side to side to loosen up this area.

Another stretch to help alleviate tension is to sit on your left hand while bringing your right hand over your head and touching your left ear. Bring your right ear to your right shoulder. You should feel a stretch on your left side. Holding for 10 seconds and repeating on the other side.

Finally, shoulder rolls will help loosen up your shoulders and your lower neck. Start by rolling your shoulders forward 5 times and then roll them backward.

All these stretches can be performed at the start of a headache to reduce the pain. These stretches can also be performed before bed to ease tension before falling asleep, especially helpful after a stressful day.

Stretching daily can also help reduce the headaches before they even start and doing them twice a day for about 15 minutes can help with headache and migraine prevention.

Regular physical therapy treatments can also help in chronic headaches and migraines. Each headache is caused by different factors and consulting your physical therapist can help you come up with a solution to rid yourself of these painful problems.

Benefits of Physical Therapy After Surgery

Physical Therapy for Knee Injury

 

 

You finally got the surgery done you’ve been putting off. But what do you do in the days or weeks after this surgery on the road to recovery? Many doctors prescribe physical therapy after your surgery in order to recover properly. Often times though people schedule and go through the surgery and think they are done.

Post operation physical therapy can be very beneficial for an efficient and correct recovery. Physical therapy treatment can also be just as important as the surgery itself. If you had the surgery for a specific pain, you will want your body to heal properly after the cause of the pain has been fixed.

Physical therapy can help you regain mobility after surgery. This can be very important for those who had surgery on their hips or knees. In order to get moving again some treatment may be required. You may need this for just your daily activities like walking, or gardening, or even for extreme activities such as hiking or running in a race!

Physical therapy after surgery will also promote healing. The therapists will make sure your body is healing correctly and avoid any new or worsening pains. They will help build muscles and get you to your post op goals.

Seeing a physical therapist will also help keep you involved in your recovery. They will know what could be too much too soon and make sure nothing is overdone. They will also celebrate with you over small and big victories during your recovery. Surgery takes a lot from the body and can’t be healed in a day. A consistent treatment program will insure you are taking your recovery properly and reaching your goals.

Physical therapy will also help you strengthen your body so It has the power it needs to be able to heal you. Many physical therapy techniques work your muscles allowing you to become stronger in the process. This will increase your strength, improve muscle function and range of motion.

Treatment will also aid in the relief of tight or sore muscles. Stiff muscles and joints make normal tasks such as, climbing the stairs or reaching the cabinet above the fridge, hard to complete. Proper stretching can preserve these functions. Also, after surgeries, scar tissue can form and it is important to stretch these areas to scar tissue doesn’t get in the way of your rehabilitation.

So, the next time you or a loved one have to undergo a surgery, make sure you keep in mind the benefits of physical therapy after your operation. This will allow you to stay healthy and active after your surgery, just as you were before!