5 Reasons to See your Physical Therapist, Even When You Aren’t Hurt

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5 Reasons to See your Physical Therapist, Even When You Aren’t Hurt

You may consider yourself a healthy person. You eat the right foods, you exercise regularly, and you don’t smoke, all the things to keep you healthy and living longer. But daily wear and tear on the body may be enough for you to visit your physical therapist. Now that we as a population are living longer, keeping our bodies healthy and conquering pain before it begins can be beneficial.

Here are five reasons you and your family can visit a physical therapist to keep your body active and healthy before any annoying or chronic pain begins.

  1. You don’t want to get injured. Our bodies are powerful and have the amazing capabilities to heal. Sometimes the slightest pain that goes untreated can turn into an injury and become a much bigger problem. Routine maintenance on our bodies will only do good things.
  2. You want to save time and money. Surgery can be avoided with continued physical therapy to improve pain. This, in turn, can save you money from expensive surgeries and time from lengthy recovery. Also meaning you won’t have to miss work due to recovery.
  3. Recover or prevent old sports injuries. Maybe you’re not injured anymore, but an old sports injury can cause problems in your future if not healed and treated correctly. Physical therapists can provide a prevention exercise program specifically tailored to your sport and the wear it may have on certain parts of your body.
  4. Improve your balance. Physical therapists can assist and teach you exercises that can improve your mobility and coordination. This can also help you with fall prevention- no matter your age. Physical therapists can treat and restore proper vestibular functions and can also reduce or eliminate any symptoms of dizziness or vertigo.
  5. You want to improve your ‘athleticperformance. You may be a student athlete or someone who likes to shoot a few hoops with his buddies, but either way physical therapy can be beneficial to your performance. Is everything moving the way it should? A therapist can identify problems that may seem unrelated to your athletic ability, but with simple fixes your running speeds, gardening knees or your zumba steps can move more freely and with confidence.

Seeing a Physical Therapist can benefit you in many ways when you are hurt and when you aren’t. Keep your body healthy and in good shape by frequenting your therapist. Call us today to schedule an appointment for a consultation to see if physical therapy is right for you!

Plantar Fasciitis

What is Plantar Fasciitis?

What Is Plantar Fasciitis?

Plantar fasciitis is a condition causing heel pain. The plantar fascia is a thick band of tissue connecting the heel to the ball of the foot, which supports the arch of the foot. This band of tissue can become inflamed or tear, which will cause you to experience pain when you put weight on your foot. The pain can be felt at the heel, or along the arch and ball of the foot.

Plantar fasciitis is a very common foot condition that can be caused by:

– Activity that requires prolonged standing or other weight-bearing activity.

– Increase in length or level of activity. For example, beginning a new running program or taking a new job that requires more standing and walking than you are used to.

– Increase in body weight.

– Flat feet

– It occurs most frequently to people in their 40s but can occur in all age groups

How Do I Prevent Plantar Fasciitis?

Tips for preventing plantar fasciitis include choosing shoes with good arch support, replacing your shoes regularly, using a thick mat if your job requires you to stand the majority of the day. You can also be sure to warm-up before workouts and gradually build intensity and duration of your exercises when starting a new workout program. Before and after running or walking, be sure to stretch your calves and feet. It would also be great to be sure you maintain a healthy body weight, as added weight can cause strain on the plantar fascia.

How Do I Know If I Have It?

The most obvious sign is a stabbing pain in the underside of the heel, or a sensation of tightness or tenderness along the arch of the foot. Pain will usually occur in the morning, when taking the first step of the day out of bed. Pain can also occur when standing for a long period of time, when standing up after sitting for a while, after weight-bearing activity such as running, or when walking barefoot on hard surfaces. Pain may begin to subside during the day but will usually return at the end of the day due to strain or weight on the foot.

How Do I Recover From Plantar Fasciitis?

It can be quite inconvenient to have to deal with such pain, as it can seriously impact your day-to-day activity. The best way to know for sure if you do, indeed, have plantar fasciitis is to let a physical therapist evaluate your pain. Once diagnosed a physical therapist can put together a treatment program that will put on the road to recovery. Your program may include stretching exercises, a night time splint, selecting proper footwear or shoe inserts, applying ice to decrease inflammation or even taping of the foot to provide you with some short term relief.

Contact us today to schedule your complimentary injury screening today!

backpack

Help Your Kids Avoid Backpack Injury

School is back in session, and the back to school supply aisle is packed with parents collecting all the supplies necessary for their child to succeed this school year. On the top of the list is a new backpack. What might not be on the list is a reminder to choose backpacks wisely. Backpacks are a very common cause of pain and injury for school-age children.

Here are some tips to help your kids avoid backpack injury this fall:

  1. Bigger is not always better – The bigger the bag, the more room there is to stuff it with unnecessary items and the heavier it will be. Your child’s backpack should be able to cinch snuggly over their shoulders and sit above the waistline. Logos, brands and cute characters are fun, but finding your child a well-constructed backpack should be most important.
  2. Choose a backpack with multiple pockets – If there is only one pocket all the weight is distributed into one spot and there is a higher chance of the bag being overloaded. When there are multiple pockets, the weight of the bag is less prone to shifting out of balance, which can cause back injuries and even falls.
  3. Pay attention to the weight of the bag – The backpack, when it is packed, should weigh no more than 10-20% of the child’s body weight – 15% would be a good, safe maximum. No matter the weight on the scale, if your child complains of neck, shoulder or back pain then their backpack is likely too heavy.
  4. Pack properly – Only pack the bag with things that are absolutely necessary. Pay close attention to how you pack the bag. Weight shifting in the bag can cause a small child to fall over easily. First, pack the heavier items, such as books. Then, evenly distribute the smaller items throughout the various pockets.
  5. Avoid carrying the backpack on one shoulder – Educate your child on why they should not be carrying their backpack on one shoulder. This will cause stress on their shoulder, in addition to the child holding their shoulder in a lifted position to keep the bag in place. If done on a regular basis, this can lead to shoulder or neck pain. This might look “cool,” but taking care of your body is cooler.

Bonus tip: Shoulder or back pain and neck injuries are all common results of improper backpack safety. But, the most common injury is actually caused by tripping over backpacks. Be sure that your child knows to be aware of their surroundings in order to avoid injury caused by tripping.

Sending your child off to school on their own can be tough, especially for a parent who is aware of all the possible opportunities for injury or accidents. But, by being proactive when it comes to backpack safety and educating your child on taking precautions, your child is sure to have a safe school year. Should your child experience any aches or pains throughout the year, schedule an appointment with one of our experienced physical therapists!

painkillers

Painkillers vs. Physical Therapy For Lower Back Pain

Did you know that lower back pain is a close second to the common cold in a list of ailments driving Americans to the doctor’s office? Yes, that’s right. If you have pain in your lower back that you have been ignoring, you are not alone. In the past, heading in to see your doctor about lower back pain would often lead to costly imaging, opioids and even surgery. Opioids are drugs that act on the nervous system to relieve pain, also known as painkillers. Continued use and abuse can lead to physical dependence and withdrawal symptoms. That’s why many patients today are considering physical therapy in the treatment of their lower back pain as opposed to painkillers.

Recent guidelines have been put in place by the American College of Physicians to steer doctors away from writing scripts for painkillers, in favor of noninvasive treatments such as physical therapy. This is great news not just for physical therapists, but because the use of painkillers puts patients at a high risk of developing an addiction. With these guidelines in place, painkillers will be reserved as a last resort treatment option, and only in patients who have failed other interventions.

Not all lower back pain is created equal, which is why it is so beneficial to work with a physical therapist to relieve pain. Causes and symptoms vary from person to person. A physical therapist is able to put together treatment plans that are tailored specifically to their patient. A physical therapist begins with a patient evaluation to identify the factors contributing to a patient’s specific back program and will individualize the program based on the results and observations.

About 25% of Americans report incidences of lower back pain lasting at least one day in the past three months, according to Annals of Internal Medicine. If you are in that 25%, you know that living with pain can be a real pain, which is why our physical therapists are so passionate about helping their patients relieve pain and get back to living the life they love. If you are currently experiencing lower back pain, schedule a complimentary injury screening with one of our experienced physical therapists today!

Carpal tunnel

5 Tips For Preventing Or Easing Carpal Tunnel Pain

The reality of today’s world is that our lives pretty much revolve around the use of computers and smart phones. In fact, a Nielsen Company audience report released last year reveals that adults in the United States devoted about 10 hours and 39 minutes each day to consuming media during the first quarter of 2016. So, what does this mean for our health? It certainly means an increased chance of developing carpal tunnel syndrome. Along with pregnancy and various illnesses such as diabetes or rheumatoid arthritis, making the same hand or wrist movements over and over, especially if the wrist is bent down, is a leading cause of carpal tunnel.

It can be difficult to avoid the use of these devices, especially if your job requires you to spend most of your day on the computer. We decided to put together a few tips for preventing or easing the pain of carpal tunnel.

Relax your grip –

If you consistently spend a lot of time writing, try using a pen with an oversized, soft grip to help loosen your grip on your pen.

Take frequent breaks –

Take time to gently stretch your wrists throughout the day and alternate tasks requiring different movements when possible.

Watch your form –

Incorrect posture or wrist placement can be damaging. Avoid bending your wrists all the way up or down, a relaxed middle position with your keyboard at elbow height or slightly lower is best. Avoid rolling your shoulders forward.

Keep Your Hands Warm –

Consistently working in a chilly room can lead to stiffness in the hands, which can lead to soreness. Do whatever you can to keep your hands warm, even if it means bringing some fingerless gloves into the office.

Take Up Yoga –

Anything that builds strength or promotes flexibility is great for your physical health in general, yoga is a great option because it is low impact and can help relieve pain and keep your wrists flexible.

It is always best to be proactive when it comes to your physical health. If you already have carpal tunnel these tips are great for helping to reduce pain, if you are unsure if the aches and pains you are experiencing are a result of carpal tunnel, contact us today to schedule a complimentary injury assessment with one of our experienced therapists.
Physical Therapy

6 Ways To Determine If You Need Physical Therapy

Have you ever thought to yourself, “should I wait and see or go visit a PT?” We get it, it is difficult to know if the injury is serious and requires a visit to a physical therapist. Which is why we decided to put together six ways to determine when it is time to see a physical therapist.

  1. Lingering pain – When you first notice an ache or pain, especially if it is a sports injury, spend 20 minutes several times a day icing the affected area. If the pain lingers after three or four days of resting and icing, it is time to see a physical therapist.
  2. Reoccurring dull pain – Pain should subside after rest and icing, but if the injury is more serious symptoms will repeatedly come back until the underlying injury has been addressed.
  3. One traumatic event – Some injuries are easy to spot, like a muscle tear or broken bone caused by one traumatic event – if this is the case, you are going to want to come in and get it checked out.
  4. Pain medication does not help the pain – If over-the-counter anti-inflammatory pain relief drugs are not relieving your pain, it is time to get it checked out.
  5. Pain is acute and sharp – If the pain is sharp and centralized it can be an indication of a more serious injury such as a muscle pull or stress fracture, it is definitely a good idea to see a physical therapist.
  6. Noticeable or visible changes – You know your body best, if something feels off it is never a bad idea to seek professional opinion.

At the end of the day, you have one body to carry you through the rest of your life if you are even considering the fact that you might need to see a physical therapist it is better to be safe than sorry. Here at Contact Physical Therapy we are committed to helping you live your best life, if you are unsure if you need physical therapy come in for a complimentary injury screen. Contact Us today to schedule with one of our experienced physical therapists!

vacation

Tips For Staying Healthy On Summer Vacation

Do you plan on heading out of town on summer vacation? If your answer is ‘yes’, then we have couple tips for you to keep in mind that will help keep you and your family healthy! Whether you’re headed on a quick get-away to the beach or mountains, flying across the country or headed over seas – vacation is a time to relax and enjoy yourself. The only problem is, changing up your usual routine can often lead to poor decisions when it comes to taking care of your body.

You might spend the first few months of the year sticking to your healthy eating habits, walking every day or even every other day, never missing your favorite exercise class, only to go on vacation for week and get completely thrown off. You might be staying up late, waking up early, traveling to multiple destinations, having a few more drinks than usual, and maybe indulging in unhealthy foods more often than usual. Your health can sometimes take a back seat while on vacation.

While you should definitely enjoy yourself, we all know that sometimes our unhealthy vacation habits can affect our routine after we return home. We put together a few simple tips to help you and your family stay healthy, while still making the most out of your summer vacation and returning home feeling good and on track.

  1. Use the stairs. Always taking the stairs is a super easy way to fit a bit of activity into your fun filled days.
  2. Take the scenic route. If your destination is within a mile (or two) why not walk? Exploring a city or vacation spot by foot is a great way to fit in some exercise without it feeling like exercise. Not to mention, exploring somewhere on foot is a much different experience than by car or tour bus. You might even stumble across a great hidden restaurant or photo opportunity.
  3. Get in the water. Some people like to enjoy the beach or even a nice resort pool, but avoid jumping in the water. Swimming is a low-impact exercise so there is low risk of injury and it is a great, fun way to get active on vacation.
  4. Drink tons of water. Not only is water important for staying hydrated, it can also help stop you from over eating. If you want to eat foods that you usually wouldn’t eat, go for it! But if you’re feeling worried you’ll get too off track, drinking extra water is a great way to help.
  5. Eat protein and vegetables. There is definitely nothing wrong with indulging, but make sure to eat protein and vegetables as often as you can. Your body will thank you!
  6. Take time to un-wind. Relaxing and taking time to stress a little less is so important to your overall health.

Enjoy your vacation, take a break from your day-to-day life and stay safe over this holiday weekend!

BONUS TIP: It may be a good idea to be proactive about any aches or back pain you might be experiencing. There is nothing worse than arriving to a beautiful vacation destination and not being able to fully enjoy it because of aches and pains. Before you head off on summer vacation, schedule an appointment with one of our physical therapists. We want to help you feel your best so you can fully relax and enjoy your time away!

Fall Prevention

Fall Prevention Tips For Seniors

Did you know that falls are the leading cause of fatal and non-fatal injuries for older Americans? It’s true, these falls can result in minor injures such as sprains and bruises, but can also result in more sever injuries. The best way to help avoid this risk is to be proactive, educate yourself on fall prevention and to understand the internal and external risks that can lead to balance problems.

Internal falling risks have a lot to do with having good balance, when stationary and when in movement.

Balance is affected by vision, which allows us to see our environment, and the vestibular system, which provides the brain with sensory information about motion, equilibrium and spatial orientation. The musculoskeletal system, which allows us movement and mobility through the use of our skeletal system, joints and muscles/soft tissue, and the somatosensory system, which provides self-awareness of our body’s position in our environment also have an impact on balance.

These systems become increasingly important to maintain as we age. If any of them become impaired it can lead to dizziness, vertigo, swaying and imbalance. Balance problems can also lead to feelings of fear and frustration, which can affect a persons willingness to participate in daily activities. Frustration can cause a person to avoid activities they once enjoyed, which leads to a less active lifestyle, and a lifestyle that restricts movement will weaken the muscles and can magnify existing issues.

Environmental or external falling risks can also increase an elderly person’s risk of falling.

Examples include cords, rugs, stars, improper or lack of use of needed assistive devices, inappropriate footwear and walking on uneven surfaces such as grass or sidewalks. Proper lighting is also something to consider when examining the safety level of a home. As we age our visual system declines and our need for proper lighting increasingly important. Be sure that your home has proper lighting and that light switches are easily accessible.

How can physical therapy help with fall prevention?

As mentioned above, the best way to help avoid risk is to be proactive. Physical therapists are a great resource for helping improve safety and mobility. They will be able to evaluate your balance, vestibular system, posture, range of motion, flexibility, strength and other factors that may impact your likelihood of being injured by a fall. After collecting this information they will be able to put together and exercise program and treatment plan that targets specific areas in need of improvement.

Our experienced physical therapists have the vital education needed to help decrease both internal and environmental risks, and help older Americans get back to living the life they love with confidence. If you believe that you or someone you know is at risk of falling related injuries, be proactive and schedule an evaluation with us today!

arthritis diet

7 Ingredients To Avoid When You Have Arthritis

Having arthritis means that your body is in an inflammatory state. The foods that you eat have a big impact on increasing or decreasing inflammation in the body. Having a list of things that you are not allowed to eat is not necessarily fun, but in order to ease the pain of arthritis it is worth it to do your best to avoid these ingredients. Here are 7 ingredients to avoid if you have arthritis.

  1.     Sugar – It can be one of the hardest ingredients to give up because most of us are addicted to the taste of our favorite desserts, chocolate bars, sodas or even fruit juices. However, processed sugar is a huge culprit of inflammation in the body. Be careful to read the ingredients of your favorite foods. Sugar goes by many names, including sucrose and fructose.
  2.     Saturated Fats – Pizza, cheese, full-fat dairy products, pasta dishes, grain-based desserts and some meat products are some of the biggest sources of saturated fats in the average American diet. Studies have shown that saturated fats trigger fat tissue inflammation, which can be an indication of heart disease and can increase arthritis inflammation.
  3.     Trans Fats – They are known to trigger systemic inflammation. Trans fats are found mostly in fast food, fried products, processed snack foods, frozen food products, cookies, donuts and stick margarines. Look for “partially hydrogenated oils,” on the ingredients labels to indicate trans fats and avoid these products.
  4.     Omega-6 Fatty Acids – Not to be confused with omega-3 fatty acids. The body needs a healthy balance of omega-6 and omega-3. But, excess consumption of omega-6 can produce pro-inflammatory chemicals in the body. It can be found in certain oils such as sunflower, grapeseed, peanut and vegetable. It is also found in mayonnaise and many salad dressings.
  5.     Refined Carbohydrates – White flour breads, rolls, crackers, white rice, white potatoes and many cereals are examples of refined carbohydrates. These are quite possibly worse than fats; they are high-glycemic index foods and stimulate inflammation.
  6.     MSG – Monosodium glutamate (MSG) is a flavor-enhancing food additive that is most commonly found in Asian food, soy sauce, fast foods, soup mixes, salad dressing and deli meats. MSG can affect liver health and trigger chronic inflammation.
  7.     Aspartame – Get rid of those diet sodas and don’t fall for any sweets that say “sugar free.” Aspartame is an artificial sweetener with zero nutritional value, and is a neurotoxin that affects the brain. It is a foreign substance that your immune system will react to by attacking if you are sensitive to this chemical. When the immune system triggers an attack it will also trigger an inflammatory response.

Cutting out or even just cutting back on these inflammatory ingredients, while increasing your intake of whole foods, fruits, vegetables and getting more omega-3 can make a world of difference for your arthritis pain. Don’t let arthritis stop you from living your life.

If you believe you are in need of further assistance in managing your pain, or are unsure if physical therapy would be beneficial for you, schedule your free consultation with one of our experience physical therapists.
youth athlete safe

8 Tips To Help Keep Your Youth Athlete Safe

April is Youth Sports Safety Month! We highly encourage kids to participate in physical activity. Keeping your child active and strong can help set them up for a healthier future. We wanted to take some time this month to share a few tips for keeping your youth athletes safe.

  1. Be prepared:

    Before enrolling your child in a sport, make sure they receive a pre-participation physical.

  2. Meet the coach:

    Make sure that your child’s coach is appropriately experienced in supervising the sport, can provide proper direction in conditioning and injury prevention, and that they are prepared to perform first aid and CPR in case of emergency.

  3. Adequately train:

    Be sure that your child is in the right physical and psychological condition to play their chosen sport.

  4. Play by the rules:

    Be sure that your child is clear about the rules of the game. They are designed to keep athletes safe and organized.

  5. Wear protective equipment:

    Do not allow your child to play without the proper protective gear. Parents, do your research. Be sure that the equipment meets national standards, is in good condition and is properly fitted.

  6. Warm up, stretch and cool down:

    Be sure that your child is participating in low intensity cardiovascular activity to warm up their muscles, and that they properly stretch. Stretching can help minimize the chance of muscle strain or soft tissue injury. Cool down is necessary to loosen the muscles that may have tightened during exercise.

  7. Stay hydrated:

    Make sure your child is prepared with plenty of water during practice and games. It is also important that you help your child understand the importance of staying hydrated outside of practice and games. Click here for a few tips on ways to keep your kids hydrated.

  8. Don’t play if tired or in pain:

    Pay attention to how your child is feeling before practice or games. Be sure that they are properly rested, as fatigue can lead to injury or poor judgment. If they are experiencing pain, be safe and be sure to seek medical attention. If injured, make sure that they take enough time off – or they will run a greater risk for reinjury.

These are just a few of the things you can do to be proactive about your child’s safety. Being proactive is the best way to keep your child safe, and to avoid injury. If your little athlete is injured or in pain, do not hesitate to CONTACT US. Our experienced physical therapists can help them get back to feeling their best and participating in the activities that they love!