What Is Degenerative Disc Disease?

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degenerative disc disease

What Is Degenerative Disc Disease?

Degenerative disc disease (DDD) can happen in the neck or back. It is often considered a normal part of aging. Some people have degenerative disc disease and do not have any pain or symptoms at all. For other people, pain may be the first sign that you are suffering from this condition.

Degenerative Disc Disease: How Does It Happen?

Discs sit in between the vertebrae in your spine. In this position, they act as a cushion for the vertebrae, and also act to help hold together your spine and allow it to bend and move slightly.

They contain mostly water when we are born. Over time, the discs lose their hydration. Because there is no direct blood supply to the discs, they do not have the ability to heal. That — combined with the nerves that run closely through your spine — is why degenerative disc disease may become painful.

People more at risk for degenerative disc disease include those who are overweight, smoke, demonstrate a lack of exercise, or complete intense physical work regularly.

Signs & Symptoms Of Degenerative Disc Disease

Here are several common signs and symptoms that may indicate you have degenerative disc disease:

  • Numbness, tingling, weakness in the arms and legs
  • Pain that seems worse first thing in the morning
  • Pain that seems worse after staying in a position for a long time
  • Pain that seems worse after sitting, bending, or reaching
  • Pain in the lower back, buttocks, or legs

Degenerative disc disease does not just happen in the spine. It can also happen in the neck. If it does, you may be noticing pain in the neck, arm, and/or shoulder.

DDD can be diagnosed through imaging.

Can Physical Therapy Help Degenerative Disc Disease?

Yes! Physical therapy can help degenerative disc disease in the following ways:

  • PT can teach you how to strengthen your core to take some pressure off of your spine and help reduce pain.

[Related article: 3 Stretches For Lower Back Pain]

  • A physical therapist can show you safe ways to exercise to reduce weight if being overweight has been a contributing factor.
  • A physical therapist can perform manual therapy to help alleviate points of pain from joints and muscles.
  • Your physical therapist can teach you about body mechanics and how you can move differently to help alleviate your pain.

If left untreated, this condition may worsen or your pain may be recurring. Our physical therapists can help tailor a program that is right for you and help to lessen the effects of DDD on your body and help to alleviate pain. 

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.

Making Your New Year’s Resolutions Stick

Every year it’s the same thing. The ball drops and you have every intention to breaking all your bad habits. Then before you know it, your back to your old ways without realizing how you slipped back there. You can change that this year by taking these steps to making your new year’s resolutions stick.

 

Some people find the new year as a fresh start, a new beginning. Maybe that’s not you and you find it to be daunting, but you really want to be successful. You can be! Try these steps to make 2019 your best year yet.

 

Start Small

Make resolutions you can keep. If you want to start exercising and this is new to you, start with 3 days a week. Start with a commitment you know you can keep and won’t become overwhelming by jumping from nothing to thinking you’re going to get to the gym every day. You will become burnt out and it will be easier to stop all together- something you’re trying to avoid.

 

Change Your Outlook

If “new year’s resolution” isn’t working for you, try thinking of them as goals, or visions. Set a goal for yourself and check in every few months to see that you are on track with accomplishing those goals or tackling smaller ones, leading up to the bigger goal in mind.

 

Change One Behavior at a Time

If you have multiple “bad habits” you’re trying to break, you may not be able to accomplish them all at once. Take it one step at a time. You don’t have to go into the new year thinking you must change your entire life, at once.

 

Don’t Beat Yourself Up

Miss a week at the gym? Don’t stress. Start new, without feeling guilty. Guilt will ruin your progress. Don’t spend too much time stressing on things you have stumbled over. Move on and keep moving forward.

 

Talk About It

Let your friends and family in on your goals or resolutions. They may be likely to share theirs and you can keep each other accountable with following through. You may even find they have a similar resolution and you can do them together!

 

Ask For Support

A friend or family may have accomplished a goal you have, in a previous time. Ask them how they got there! Don’t be shy when asking for help. Other people can have a step by step process to reach the end goal and this process could be beneficial to you.

 

Plan Ahead

Mark your calendars with workouts. Plan your computer and phone time during the week, so you can follow through with spending less time online on the weekends, or whatever your resolutions are. Think about how you will accomplish them and make a plan rather than saying you want to change something and winging it. This could make you much more successful in the new year.

 

This could be your year to shine. This could be the year you accomplish everything you set out to do. Just remember speed bumps are just that- small bumps, plans can lead towards success and take it one day at a time! Happy New Year, everyone!

Essential Oils

Benefits of Essential Oils

Holistic healing has become increasingly more popular and mainstream even though it has been around for centuries. Essential oils are one of those holistic healing practices that has been used for hundreds of years and now seen everywhere. Essential oils can be very beneficial and used many different ways. Find out what the benefits are and how they can help you and your family.

Essential oils have been used for over 5,000 years from many different cultures and can be used for physical, mental and emotional health. Pure essential oils are extracted directly from the bark, flower, fruit, leaf, tree, etc. and one drop can have a powerful health benefit.

There are very many different essential oils with many different uses. They can be used in a variety of ways which include: diffusing, topically and ingesting. Before using essential oils be sure to do your research and using them correctly. They can be very powerful in good, but possibly harmful ways if not used correctly.

Each essential oil has compounds with unique healing and therapeutic benefits. Below are some of the most popular essential oils and how they can be used.

 

Clove: Antibacterial, anti-parasitic and antioxidant protection. Can be used to make vapor rub, homemade cleaning product and more.

Cypress: Improves circulation, reduces varicose veins, helps with rashes and minor cuts, lifts confidence and heal broken bones.

Eucalyptus: Improves respiratory issues like allergies, bronchitis and others. Also purifies the body and can be used for homemade lotion and cleaning products.

Frankincense: Builds immunity, reduces inflammation and helps with healing scars and age spots. Also supports brain and may help fight cancer and detoxifies the air when diffused. Great to diffuse when yourself or someone in your household is sick.

Grapefruit: Supports metabolism and cellulite reduction. Great oil to diffuse before or while working out to support your mood. You can make your own cellulite reduction rub by mixing grapefruit oil with coconut oil and rub on your skin. This oil can also be ingested, if it is pure and food grade.

Lavender: Helps with relaxation and great to include in your sleep routine. You can mix a few drops with water and spray on your pillow before bed. You can also diffuse lavender when you want to relax. It also helps heals burns and cuts.

Lemon: This citrus oil is perfect for homemade cleaning products and will leave your home smelling very fresh and clean. It has antibacterial properties to help disinfect surfaces.

Peppermint: Supports digestion, and boots energy- great oil to start your day with. Also is a fever reducer, headache and muscle pain relief.

Rose: Great for reducing skin inflammation and good for getting glowing skin. A few drops added to your moisturizer could help your skin become even toned, but is known to be one of the most expensive essential oils. It takes over 65 pounds of rose petals to make one 15ml bottle and could cost up to $1000.

Tea Tree Oil: natural anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, reduces bad odors and can help stimulate the immune system.

 

Essential oils can be used in many different ways with different solutions. They have been known to be great for pregnant women who are sensitive to smells. Many of them that poses healing powers can be very beneficial for physical and mental health. Visit your local natural store and find which essential oils may be best for you and your family.

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.

Apple Cider Vinegar

5 Benefits of Apple Cider Vinegar

Does it seem like Apple Cider Vinegar is the solution to all your ailments every time you hop on the internet and Google ways to cure your ‘blank’ issue. Well, even though it seems like it’s all just a hype, apple cider vinegar has been used for centuries. Here are 5 reasons why you should add apple cider vinegar into your life for all its benefits.

Apple Cider Vinegar is apple cider that has been fermented that forms a health-promoting probiotic and enzyme beverage. Don’t let its name fool you though, it is much sourer than apple cider and apple juice and it only takes one or two tablespoons of apple cider vinegar to take advantage of the health benefits it has. Everything from sunburns to gut health can be improved with a little ACV. So, run out now and add this powerful liquid to your medicine and kitchen cabinet.

 

  1. Regulates Blood Sugar Level

Apple cider vinegar’s most well-studied ability is to help maintain normal blood sugar level. It has been studied to significantly lower blood sugar level by 31 percent. To help keep your blood sugar levels stable, dilute one to two tablespoons of apple cider vinegar in 8 ounces of water and drink in the morning or before meals.

  1. Improves Skin Health

Apple Cider Vinegar doesn’t just benefit your internal health, but has been shown to help treat acne and reduce scarring, improving your skin. Vinegar is known for its antibacterial properties which can be helpful for acne. You can use apple cider vinegar as a toner morning and night. It is packed with magnesium, potassium, acetic acid and others that will kill bacteria on the skin. You can soak a cotton ball with pure ACV smooth is over your skin. You can also make cleansers and face masks that use ACV. Sounds great for your next ‘self-care Saturday’!

  1. Aids in Weight Loss

Apple Cider Vinegar can help kill cravings and kick start weight loss. It can also help you feel full after meals and reduce your urge to overeat. ACV can also help you control your cravings so you can stop yourself from thinking about that doughnut even before you start. Consuming one or two tablespoons with water before your meals or adding it to your smoothies will be a great way to add this into your daily routine!

  1. Helps Ward off Seasonal Allergies

You can use apple cider vinegar as a natural remedy for allergies. The healthy bacteria found in ACV may promote immunity. The next time you start to feel the sniffles, add two tablespoons to a smoothie or drinking it with water. You can help keep the allergies off before they come on by drinking apple cider vinegar daily.

  1. Enhances Circulation

Some studies have found that applying ACV to varicose veins could help minimize them. Mixing apple cider vinegar with witch hazel and scrubbing in a circular motion can help alleviate symptoms.

 

Apple cider vinegar has many more uses than these and can be one of your go-to items for many natural remedies. Apple cider vinegar is a main ingredient to many online recipes from skin to gut health. Let us know how you use apple cider vinegar for your own health benefits!

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.

5 Tips for Eating Healthy in the New Year

With the new years comes the new year resolutions. Every year we make promise ourselves we will hit the gym more, eat healthier, and better our daily routines. What often happens with these resolutions is they fall to the side when life comes in and we don’t have a set plan for how to accomplish our resolutions we thought long and hard about. So, here are five tips to stay on track with healthy eating in the new year!

 

  1. Up your fiber intake. Chances are, you aren’t getting enough fiber in your daily life. The average American only gets 14g of fiber per day which can be less than half of the recommended daily intake! Adding more fiber into your diet can help you slim down, prevent cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes and a number of cancers. You can find fibers in grains, berries and other fiber rich foods! Fiber can also keep you fuller for longer so no more late night hunger spikes!
  2. Eat more vegetables. Piling on the veggies will be a wonder for your waistline. Adding veggies into your meal will allow you to fill up on nutrient rich foods instead of the bad stuff. Adding a salad before your meal will make you feel less hungry once you get to your main course, keeping yourself from over indulging! You can also add your veggies in your morning smoothie. Many vegetables like: spinach, zucchini and mushrooms can go unnoticed and pack a powerful punch of your daily recommended serving!
  3. Cook at home often. When you cook your own food, not only do you know exactly what goes into it, you appreciate your meals more. So, hop onto Pintrest and whip up something you have been craving! With all the food blogs out there, there is a healthy hack for about every recipe! Have fun with experimenting with new things!
  4. Eat more Omeg-3s. Upping the amount of omega-3s will help keep your blood pressure down and also has been studied to improve your mood. Omega-3’s can be found in seafood and have the good kind of fats! Try to eat two servings of fish per week. If you’re not into seafood add some flax into your smoothies!
  5. Hold the sugar. Get your sweet fix with fruit or try other natural sweeteners such as honey or agave, steering away from refined, processed white sugar. Going on a 30 day sugar detox can help reset the body from craving the sticky stuff! Keeping sweet stuff out of the house can better help you control your sugar intake, so try to stay clear of the donut and candy aisle at the grocery store.

 

Staying on track can be the hardest part of your new years resolutions, but a few small steps can make the task seem more manageable. Take each day one at a time and before you know it your new healthy habits will be second nature.

Staying Healthy During Fall

 

 

November is here. The air is becoming cooler and crisp. Apple cider always seems to sound good and there is pumpkin in everything you eat. But with the fall months come holidays and parties. The cooler temps may make you want to stay in your sweat pants and eat anything warm and cheesy so staying on track may be difficult. They say “summer bodies are made in the winter” so here are a few tips to staying healthy this fall and into the winter months!

 

Keep your daily plan similar. If this includes waking up and going on a morning walk and eating a protein smoothie, try not to veer too far off your daily path. The same routine will keep your health consistent and help keep you on track.

Don’t fast before big holiday meals. Often times we think that if we are going to be enjoying a big holiday meal of turkey, mashed potatoes and green bean casserole then we shouldn’t eat until then. Well, this way of thinking may cause you to binge eat and load up, in taking way more calories than if you just ate your normal meal size. Try to get a healthy breakfast and lunch in so at dinner you won’t be starving and won’t feel guilty about indulging a little if you stayed on track throughout the day.

Fall superfoods can become a diet staple. This will keep your grocery bill down and allow you to get more creative in the kitchen by throwing in pumpkin or Brussel sprouts into your meals. These fall foods will also feel more comforting and warm, just how you like it with the cooler temps.

Stay hydrated. When it is hot outside it is easier to remember to grab your water bottle. However, in the fall it is just as important to remember to be sipping water. Staying hydrated is crucial to keep your body at its best during these busy months and also to help aid in fighting any sickness.

Wash your hands. Staying healthy also means warding off any sicknesses. Make sure every time you come from somewhere, you wash your hands. Colder temperatures often mean colds and flus will be floating around. Don’t let those stop you. And while you’re at it, don’t forget to take your vitamins!

Don’t skip your veggies. When we think of all the holiday dinners we often think of the main course, but what about all the delicious appetizers before the meal? Fill your plate with veggies and salad before you load on those creamy mashed potatoes. That way you’re getting some nutrients and filling your belly up with veggies before the big meal.

 

Simple steps like these can help you stay on track through these next few months of holiday parties and sweet treats. Enjoying this time with your friends and family will make the season fly by, so staying healthy will ensure you won’t miss a moment of it!

Stretches for a Restful Sleep

Sleep is very important for your body and health. However, living in the fast-paced world where we are always on our phone and computers, sending emails, checking social media, reading restaurant reviews, etc. sleep may be hard to find.

There are many ways you can prepare yourself for a more restful sleep. There are the obvious ways like, lavender, sleepy tea, or a nighttime ritual. But did you know there are stretches that you can do to promote sleep? Another bonus is they can even be done in your bed. Give these following stretches a try before bringing your head to the pillow and see how you sleep!

 

Sitting Forward Fold

Sitting with your legs long in front of you, reach your arms up (keeping your shoulder away from your ears). If this feels too tight on your back and legs, slightly bend knees or sit on a pillow to take some pressure off those muscles. On an exhale, fold your body forward and reach for your toes. Hold this position and breathe, then roll back up to a tall seated position. Repeat 3 to 5 times.

Lying Figure Four

Lie on your back and cross one ankle over the opposite knee. Make sure the knee stays turned out and hips stay on the bed, squared under your shoulders. If this is enough of a stretch, hold this position. If you can stretch more, gently grab under the hamstring of your uncrossed leg and hug into a tighter figure four position, bringing your knee closer to your body. Make sure your lower back and pelvis stay on the bed. Hold here, then switch sides and repeat if needed.

Cat Cow

This motion stretches the muscles of your spine and core. Begin on your hands and knees, in a table top position, with your arms straight under your shoulders. Slowly breathe out as you round through your back like a frightened cat, tightening your abdominal muscles and rounding your neck downward. Then slowly exhale as you arch your back and look up toward the ceiling. Continue to move slowly with your breath for 20 breaths.

Legs Up the Wall

Sit facing wall and lie onto your back. Moving as close to wall as possible. Lift your legs and rest the back of legs against the wall, perpendicular to the ground. Rest with your arms out to sides and your palms up to the ceiling. Hold there for 15 seconds. This move is especially good for anyone who is on their feet a lot. Elevating your legs allows the blood flow to travel back to your heart, reducing inflammation.

 

Many of those moves may seem like you’re just lying there, but you are on your way to a healthier you and a more restful sleep. Try them out and let us know your favorite moves for a better night’s sleep!