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Arthritis Pain Sufferers- This Blog is for You!

Monday, September 10th, 2018

Arthritis is a joint disorder, which features inflammation, pain and stiffness. There is also often a loss in movement with arthritis, as the joints are too inflamed to move. When only a single joint is involved it’s known as monoarthritis. If two or three joints are involved it’s referred to as oligoarthritis. To date there are over 100 types of arthritis. Osteoarthritis occurs due to wear and tear of the cartilage and rheumatoid arthritis results from an overactive immune system. Arthritis is the most common chronic illness in the nation. Many people cannot work due to arthritis and have to go on disability. And it affects men, women and children. Arthritic pain can impede one’s mobility and quality of life. If you suffer from arthritic pain be sure to call us to schedule an appointment with our physical therapist. Physical therapy for arthritic pain has been proven by research to be highly effective.

Diagnosing Arthritis and Getting Treatment

Your doctor will examine your joints for deformity and inflammation, look for signs of disease and review your history of symptoms. Blood tests, urine tests, x-rays or joint fluid tests may be ordered. Early diagnosis can prevent disability and irreversible damage. Exercise routines, medications, rest and physical therapy may be recommended. A physical therapist can provide properly guided exercise regimens. It’s important that you do the proper, safe exercises to avoid injury.

The Role of Physical Therapy for Arthritis

Physical therapy is all about engaging in physical activity and exercise. “Physical activity is essential to optimizing both physical and mental health and can play a vital role in the management of arthritis. Regular physical activity can keep the muscles around affected joints strong, decrease bone loss and may help control joint swelling and pain. Regular activity replenishes lubrication to the cartilage of the joint and reduces stiffness and pain. Exercise also helps to enhance energy and stamina by decreasing fatigue and improving sleep. Exercise can enhance weight loss and promote long-term weight management in those with arthritis who are overweight.”

Arthritis pain can be miserable and debilitating for those who suffer from it, and unfortunately, there is no cure for it. A physical therapist will custom tailor a therapeutic exercise program to help mobility and strength. A physical therapist will create a treatment program that addresses all areas of the body. For example, if you suffer from arthritis pain in the knee an exercise program will address the lower back, hip and ankle, in addition to the knee. That’s because all of these areas contribute to proper knee control and mechanics. Carrying objects, lifting and squatting may also be a part of the treatment plan.

Physical therapy also consists of manual therapy. It has been proven that joint and soft tissue mobilization help patients suffering from arthritis pain. Deep tissue massage, TENS, ice packs and heat therapy may also be part of the treatment plan by a physical therapist. All of these treatments are passive modalities that increase blood flow, reduce inflammation, reduce pain and enhance mobility. All around, physical therapy is an effective, noninvasive method for arthritis pain. Plus, you won’t have to rely on those pain meds, which can lead to addiction.

If you’re suffering from arthritis pain, be sure to schedule an appointment with one of our certified physical therapists. Our research-driven treatments will help you get fast pain relief. Get your life back on track with treatment from our physical therapists. Our physical therapy team is your partner in getting you well and committed to your success.

 

Feeling Stiff and Achy? Physical Therapy Can Help!

Monday, August 20th, 2018

Everyone wakes up feeling some pain in their joints or muscles from time to time. But if you find yourself consistently waking up stiff and achy, it might be time for pain-relief work with a physical therapist. Aching or stiff joints may be a minor problem that is easily remedied; in other cases, your doctor may have diagnosed a condition or ailment that will benefit from physical therapy. We’ve worked with a wide range of patients who struggle with aches and pains, and we would be happy to work with you to help you enjoy a better quality of life as well!

Why Am I Stiff and Achy When I Wake Up?

Joint tissues become irritated throughout the day and by the evening, when your mind is tired, you might not even notice it. When you fall asleep and remain mostly immobile overnight, that allows the inflammation to grow thicker and irritate the joints even more. The result is that when you wake up in the morning, your joints are stiff and achy. After you start moving around, the inflammation becomes more liquid-like and the pain will lessen. One common remedy for this, which your physical therapist is likely to recommend, is that you stay properly hydrated throughout the day. Staying hydrated allows your body’s tissues to function at their normal pace, whereas dehydration slows down your chemical processes.

More Serious Medical Conditions

If your doctor has diagnosed you with a more serious medical condition that impacts your joints and tissues, physical therapy can probably help. Here are some of the most common ailments that can be relieved with the guidance of a physical therapist:

  • Rheumatoid arthritis.
  • Osteoarthritis.
  • Lupus.
  • Bursitis.
  • Gout.
  • Bone cancer.

All of these conditions can cause aching, stiffness and joint pain. A physical therapist will work with you to help you try to achieve a greater range of motion with affected limbs or joints, and to relieve the pain so you can enjoy a better quality of life.

Tips for Stiff and Aching Joints

Your physical therapy regimen will largely depend on your specific symptoms or diagnosis. However, there are a lot of common recommendations that work hand-in-hand with physical therapy. Here are some tips that your physical therapist will likely share with you on your journey to wellness.

  • Get Good Sleep. Getting enough sleep at night creates a circular benefit with physical therapy exercises. When you get enough sleep, it increases your ability to effectively exercise. When you exercise regularly, it helps you to get better sleep. Better sleep habits and physical exercise are a powerful “one-two punch” for keeping aches and stiffness away.
  • Use Better Posture. If your work requires you to sit at a desk for long hours, or if you stay sedentary for long periods every day, try to get up every half hour for some light stretches. Move around to keep your circulation going, which helps to relieve joint pain. Proper posture when sitting or standing will help your joints to function properly. When we use bad posture, it puts strain on areas of the body that weren’t meant to be stressed.
  • Improve Your Diet. Be sure to consume lots of brightly colored fruits and vegetables. These healthy foods have more antioxidants and vitamins, which fight off the inflammation that can lead to joint pain. A better diet also helps you to get better sleep and helps your body receive more benefit from exercise.

Physical Therapy Exercises

You don’t have to be a bodybuilder or an Olympic-class athlete to work with a physical therapist. Most of the exercises and stretches that your therapist will recommend are simple to perform and don’t require any special equipment — and most of our patients are just regular people (not super athletes).

Contact us today to schedule a consultation on how physical therapy can help you relieve those aches and pains!

 

Tension Headaches: How to Handle Them

Monday, August 20th, 2018

Of the four distinct types of headaches — tension, migraine, sinus and cluster — the tension type is the most common. Of course, stress is a natural reaction to stimuli and can keep us safe from danger. Yet an excessive amount of stress can lead to tension headaches. That’s why learning how to handle emotional and physical stress can help reduce the severity and frequency of tension headaches.

If you’re concerned about your headaches, contact us — and read on, for some helpful tips about coping with tension headaches.

How the Body Reacts to Stress

When the “fight or flight” response is triggered, our bodies become flooded with protective hormones like adrenaline, which leads to a chain reaction of neck and scalp muscles contracting. These physical reactions often result in either tension or migraine headaches.  

Muscular overuse is another factor that leads to tension headaches. Holding your neck or shoulder joints in an unnatural position for too long causes supporting muscles to go into spasm. In turn, the muscles compress the adjoining nerves, sending pain impulses to your brain that result in headaches and sometimes a sore neck.

Working at a computer, bending over a work table or holding a phone to your ear for prolonged periods are all frequent causes of tension headaches from physical sources.

Additional Causes

Along with muscle-bunching activities like desk work, here are a few other factors associated with tension headaches:

  • Emotional stress
  • Fatigue
  • Excess alcohol
  • Fluctuating caffeine levels
  • Eye strain
  • Use of tobacco products

Dealing With a Tension Headache

Here are three of the most common tips concerning how people effectively deal with tension headaches:

  • Stretch your neck muscles regularly. Tense muscles in the neck region are often tension headache culprits. Physical therapy can also help.
  • Practice relaxation techniques. Whether it’s deep breathing, yoga or walking on your lunch break — finding a way to de-stress is key to stopping tension headaches before they start.
  • Adjust your ergonomics. Your workplace setup can cause headaches. Consider simple adjustments like setting up your monitor to a more comfortable position, and getting a headset for your telephone.

If you have a severe headache, especially if it’s an unusual type for you, seek immediate medical attention. Tension headaches, on the other hand, don’t require emergency care — but they can still be painful and interrupt your normal routine. We may be able to give you the tools you need to decrease the severity and frequency of these annoying headaches. Contact Crestview Physical Therapy today for more information.

 

The Unexpected Benefits of Stretching

Friday, August 10th, 2018

Many non-athletes — and even a few actual jocks — are guilty of either rushing through their warm-up stretching, or skipping the cool-down moves after the workout. Yet, along with cardio and strength-training, stretching also delivers significant health benefits.

You probably already know that stretching extends your overall range of motion, while also elasticizing your muscles and enhancing coordination. But those improvements, in turn, bring about other health benefits. We can discuss more of these during your visit, but in the meantime here are some of the frequently-overlooked benefits of stretching.

Increased Circulation

The act of lengthening and loosening your muscles through stretching means that you’re simultaneously opening up their interior blood vessels. This increased circulation is crucial for heart health and lowered cholesterol. It’s also a boon for the muscles themselves, because the improved blood flow results in faster recovery time, and less overall soreness after a workout.

Longer term, improving your circulation is a superior mood enhancer and energy booster. The physiological impact of increased circulation means that your bloodstream is carrying more oxygen and nutrients throughout your body, allowing for higher energy.

Reduced Tension

The most obvious benefit of a decrease in muscular tensing is, of course, that your pain and discomfort is greatly lessened. That alone is a smart reason to add more stretching into your life, because relaxing those contracted muscles will instantly make you feel physically better.

There’s an emotional component to “de-knotting” your muscles, as well. You’ll literally feel as if a weight has been lifted from your shoulders, which can’t help but lift your mood. Optimism is also restored because relaxed muscles allow all-important endorphins to flow, which banishes pessimism — and that dreaded midday fatigue.  

Improved Flexibility and Posture

Enhancing both your flexibility and posture through stretching your joints and muscles are key to avoiding a range of pain-causing conditions.

Range of motion is vastly improved by regular stretching. Not only can you correct any joint stiffness you presently have through regular stretching as you’re extending your limbs as far as they can go, but you can also reduce the risks of future, motion-limiting injuries.

In terms of your muscle groups, stretching keeps the muscles supporting your spin lengthened and in perfect position. This proper alignment improves posture, and usually reduces any incidences of neck and back pain.

 

If any of these health issues sound familiar to you, please call Crestview Physical Therapy today. We’ll work together to put together the stretching routine that’s best for you!

 

How Staying Active at Work Can Increase Productivity

Friday, July 20th, 2018

Picture yourself at work. Hunched over a keyboard, clicking away on a mouse, answering the phone, or having meetings, the most moving around you are likely to do is to and from the copy machine. It is no surprise that our sedentary jobs are causing fatigue and stiffness, both mentally and physically. Fortunately, having a desk job doesn’t exclude you from experiencing more physical activity at work. Give these activities a try and you are sure to find out you feel better physically and experience higher productivity.

Time for a Mental Shift

Somehow, somewhere along the way, Americans got it into their heads that working without breaks is the sign of productivity. Not true! Working without breaks not only causes physical and mental fatigue, studies have shown that people who allow themselves to take a break are more productive than their power-through counterparts.

Use the 1 in 20 Rule

Studies have shown that the mind can only work continuously on a singular task for 20 minutes at a time before productivity begins to slow. Fortunately, it does not take a lot to reset the brain’s ability to refocus. Standing up and moving around every twenty minutes, changing positions, or walking to another office is enough to give your brain the blood flow it needs to be ready for the tasks at hand.

Stay Hydrated

On average, water represents up to 60 percent of our body weight yet many of us walk around chronically dehydrated. In addition to digestive problems, fatigue, muscle aches, and joint pain, chronic dehydration can slow productivity. If you are thirsty, you are already dehydrated. Make sure you are consuming water throughout the day in order to keep your brain firing the way it should.

Stretch

Stretching your muscles is a great way to keep the blood flowing to your brain. You may find that your body has a natural need to stretch when it has been stagnant too long. This does not mean you need to roll out the yoga mat by your desk and do a pigeon pose. You can stretch your arms, legs, back and neck in just a few minutes without special equipment and enjoy greater productivity for hours afterward.

Don’t Forget to Breathe

We breathe thousands of times a day without even thinking about it, yet becoming aware of your breath is a great way to reduce stress, think more clearly and work better. Take deep breaths that fill your lungs and expel all of the air out. Then, enjoy a more productive work day.

Call Crestview Physical Therapy today and speak to our experts.

Tips to Treat Your Arthritis Pain

Tuesday, July 10th, 2018

If you are like the one in four American adults who suffer from arthritis symptoms, you are looking for options for managing the day to day aches and pains and often debilitating loss of mobility.  Fortunately, there are many things you can do that, when combined with physical therapy, can improve your strength, increase your flexibility and help you manage your arthritis symptoms. While these tips are helpful, they work best when paired with professional treatment, call us today to learn how we can help you live pain-free!

Weight Loss

Since many arthritis symptoms are exacerbated by obesity, weight loss is one of the most effective ways to manage those symptoms without medication. Fortunately, physical therapists are adept at creating weight loss or weight maintenance programs that take pressure off of your joints and increase blood flow for nutrient delivery throughout your entire body.

Time for New Shoes

Many people overlook the effects of footwear on arthritis of the knee. Whether it is special purchasing special footwear or adding insoles or orthotics into your existing shoes, this simple fix can help immediately relieve the pressure on the weight-bearing joints of your lower body. As an added bonus, the correct footwear makes it easier to walk or exercise without pain.

Hot & Cold, Hot & Cold

When it comes to arthritis, temperature matters. Many people discover that a warm bath or heat pack helps ease arthritis aches and pains. Others find that cold packs applied on a regular basis reduce swelling in the joints and relieve discomfort. Alternating between the two has been shown to provide the soothing comfort of heat with the anti-inflammatory properties of cold. However, it is important to consult with a medical professional about the proper procedures for applying both heat and cold in order to avoid skin irritation.

Exercise

As tempting as it is to “rest” when you are uncomfortable, there is nothing better for managing arthritis than exercising on a regular basis. However, many people are reluctant to begin an exercise program with arthritis for fear of injuring themselves. Physical therapy can not only help you discover the exercise program that is right for your condition, it can provide you with a long-term solution to your arthritis symptoms. Your physical therapist will show you proper technique, a variety of exercises and how to wear appropriate accessories like braces or wraps if necessary.

Arthritis should not stop you from living the life you deserve. The combination of physical therapy, a weight loss program, heat and cold, and footwear can help you manage your day-to-day discomfort for the rest of your life. Contact Crestview Physical Therapy today to get started on your personalized physical therapy program and start enjoying a symptom-free life!

 

 

 

Still hurting? Your Diet Could Be Why  

Wednesday, June 20th, 2018

What you put in your mouth can make your aches and pains worse. Like they say, “You are what you eat.” There are many foods that can cause inflammation and actually result in pain. Eating a healthier diet can help you feel better, without those nagging aches and pains.

Foods To Say No To

While it may be difficult to resist sodas, chocolate bars, pastries and desserts, it’s smart to just say no. According to the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, processed sugars release inflammatory messengers. The culprits are known as cytokines. To be on the safe side, avoid any ingredients that end in “ose.” That includes sucrose and fructose.

Saturated fats also trigger inflammation. Cheese and pizza are a mainstay of the American diet, and Americans should definitely reduce their intakes of these foods. Other culprits include full-fat dairy products, pasta, red meat and grain-based desserts.

Harvard School researchers sent out the alarm on trans fats in the 1990s. Trans fat triggers systemic inflammation. You’ll find plenty of trans fats in fast foods, snack foods, cookies, donuts and frozen breakfast products. Be sure to read the ingredient labels and avoid those listed with partially hydrogenated oils.

Skip the white flour products that have refined carbohydrates. That includes white rice and white potatoes. Processed carbs increase fats and fuel the production of advanced glycation, which causes inflammation.

While you may think mono-sodium glutamate (MSG) is only found in soy sauce and Asian food, it can be found in deli meats, fast foods, salad dressings and prepared soups. MSG is known as a chemical that triggers pathways for chronic inflammation.

Foods To Say Yes To

Think of a more natural diet like veggies and fresh fruits. And start drinking water. By just switching to water, you can reduce pain caused by inflammation. Greek yogurt is a good choice and so are foods with natural probiotics. Just by making better food choices can put you on the road to less pain and less need to rely on medications. Be a part of the solution instead of the problem by changing up your diet. Another plus to eating better is that you just may wind up losing a few of those stubborn pounds. So, the next time you feel a nagging ache, do some thinking about what you’re actually putting in your mouth. It just may be a food that you should say no to or give Crestview Physical Therapy a call to see how we can help assess your aches and pains!

 

Without Intervention, Your Lower Back Pain Could Be Here to Stay

Sunday, June 10th, 2018

Ask any physical therapist, and you’ll get confirmation that lower back pain is the most frequent complaint they’re asked to treat. Often, back strain goes away on their own, especially with the classic “RICE” treatment. But when rest, ice, compression and elevation just can’t cut the pain, physical therapy is often your most reliable path back to a pain-free life.

Where Does LBP Come From — and What Can Prevent it?

Among the most common causes of lower back pain (LBP) is an improperly aligned spine, stemming from incorrect posture. Most office desk setups don’t provide lumbar support or ergonomic positioning, while poor work habits keep us from giving our spines much-needed relief by moving around during the day.

Non-desk jobs have their own perils. Standing all day, especially when combined with heavy lifting or frequent bending, is also bad for spinal health. The muscles surrounding the abs and lower back may not get the support they need as you pace, bend and lift, resulting in LBP.

In either case, supporting those back muscles is key to reducing the risk of chronic lower back pain. Insist on an ergonomic desk chair, or at least take the opportunity to stretch and move around more frequently. If you’re a cashier, wait staff or warehouse worker, invest in shoes with good arch support, which helps keep your entire body better aligned. If needed, wear a specialized brace to help support heavy lifting.

How Physical Therapy Can Help

Physical therapy is one of the most effective ways for easing lower back pain. Medical professionals generally urge their patients to try PT before turning to prescription medications or surgery. The reasons are obvious: Some medications can have long-term health consequences, despite the advantages of delivering temporary pain relief, while invasive procedures carry risk of complication and prolonged recovery time.

Lower back pain PT typically takes the two-pronged approach of using both active and passive physical therapy, unless the therapist has a reason to recommend one over the other.

  • Passive PT includes the application of specialized ice packs and heating pads. The therapist may also use various types of pulsing equipment, which stimulate nerves and release pain.
  • Active PT involves the patient performing stretches and exercises that build the kind of flexibility and strength needed to both prevent future flare-ups and reduce current pain. Some of these are done under a physical therapist’s supervision, on specialized equipment, while others can be carried out at home after the patient learns the basics.

Call Crestview Physical Therapy today and speak with our experts!

5 Keys to a Healthy Spine

Sunday, May 20th, 2018

How Healthy is Your Spine?

Most of us will experience back or neck pain at some point in our lives. It is the price we pay for walking on two legs. If you suffer from the occasional ache or have chronic low back or neck pain, the goal is to relieve the pain without the need for surgery. In fact, recent studies point to the fact that patients who underwent a common fusion procedure for the spine were more likely to have a second surgery within 2 years. The best way to avoid the need for spine surgery is to improve the health of your spine and physical therapy plays a key role in making that happen.

 

Why does my neck or back hurt?

One thing to understand about neck and back pain is that it is mechanical. Just like a car can have problems with moving parts, so can your spine. The daily barrage of strain on our backs with sitting, lifting improperly and poor nutrition can wreck havoc on our spines. Most spine pain comes from the following 4 trouble areas:

 

  • Poor posture and alignment
  • Lack of knowledge on how to bend, lift, sit, sleep
  • Lack of muscle strength
  • Poor flexibility and muscle coordination

 

The good news is that your body is adaptable and you can always improve what you have. With the right treatment and training, your back or neck can usually make a full recovery. Physical therapists are the mechanics of the body and coming to a physical therapist first can often avoid expensive testing and medical procedures.

 

Try These 5 Keys to a Healthy Spine

 

Watch your sitting

Sitting is the position that puts the most pressure on the low back. It is important to break up your sitting time throughout the day and take frequent breaks. If you have the opportunity to do standing or walking tasks during your work day, try to work them into various times throughout the day, limiting your sitting to about 30 minutes at a time.

 

Protect your spine with better posture

How you sit, stand, stretch, lift all play a role on the pressures in your spine. We all know to bend with our knees, not our back when lifting, but do you really do it? Really bend down deep with your knees to pick up objects off low shelves, such as in the refrigerator or shoes off the floor. When standing, walking and sitting, imagine a string pulling you up through the top of your head. This brings your neck, shoulders and back into better alignment.

 

Tighten your core muscles

Your core muscles are made up of your abdominal muscles, spinal muscles and pelvic / hip muscles. It is very common for these muscles to become weak with prolonged sitting, pre/post partum, after surgeries and injuries. Strengthening your abdominal and hip muscles can go a long way to providing the necessary muscle support to your spine. Speak with one of our experts on what exercises are right for you.

 

Improve your nutrition

Your body is a machine and it needs the right fuel to run. Since you use your body all day long, it needs to rebuild itself constantly. The ligaments, tendons, muscles and discs in your spine need the right nutrition to stay healthy. Make sure to eat dark green leafy vegetables, lean protein and stay hydrated. Avoid smoking and fried foods, which actually harm your tissues and make pain more prevalent.

 

Get your spine moving

Your body was made to move, especially your spine. It is common for areas of your spine to tighten up, placing too much strain on other areas. These areas, then become irritated and painful. Restore the flexibility in your spine with gentle, specialized hands on therapy as well as specific exercises. Participate in Yoga and Pilates to improve your stability, strength and spinal balance.

 

Make your back as healthy as it can be this year by investing in it. Physical therapy is the right solution to improving your spinal health and saying goodbye to that aching neck or back. Prevent future arthritis and problems by seeing one of our specialists today. Call Crestview Physical Therapy to speak with one of our experts.

 

Anand Veeravagu, Tyler Cole, Bowen Jiang, John K. Ratliff The Spine Journal, Vol. 14, Issue 7, p1125–1131

Published online: October 14 2013

 

4 Tips to Alleviating Aches and Pains Quickly

Thursday, May 10th, 2018

When it comes to chronic aches and pains, there are many factors that can cause this. However, there is also a lot that you can do to alleviate common aches and pains. Whether it is a sore back or achy knee that gets you first thing in the morning, these simple tips can make a big difference in how you feel and tackle your day.

 

  1. Improve your pain threshold – Our bodies take a daily beating and sometimes you can have a good day where you may feel a little tired and others when everything hurts. Why is this? Your pain threshold can actually fluctuate quite a bit daily and everyone’s pain threshold is slightly different. A pain threshold is where the stimuli of inflammation and daily trauma to an area have elevated to a point where certain pain receptors are triggered. Many factors go into lowering your pain threshold, including lack of adequate sleep, poor nutrition, stress levels and breathing. By simply improving these factors, you can restore your pain threshold and thus not trigger pain receptors when doing daily activities.
  2. Stay hydrated – If you are thirsty, then your body is actually quite deprived of water. You should never feel thirsty, because you should be drinking water many times throughout the day. When you are properly hydrated, your tissues are lubricated and can perform more daily tasks, with less trauma. Water also flushes out the daily metabolic wastes that are produced. A build up of metabolic wastes can occur when an area is under stress or injured. This in turn will cause pain.
  3. Calm yourself – Your body has a self-regulating system called the autonomic nervous system. There are two parts to this, the sympathetic (fight or flight) and parasympathetic (more calming, digestion, reproduction, etc.). In our daily lives, we are under tremendous stress and pressure. This keeps our sympathetic nervous system on overdrive. You can’t keep an engine at high RPM all the time and not expect parts to start breaking. One of the simplest things you can do to de-stress is to breathe. Take time in the evening, to lie on your bed and just take deep breathes in for 6 seconds and out for 8. Place your hand on your upper abdomen to make sure that you are using your diaphragm muscle.
  4. Be physically active – staying physically active helps improve blood flow, lymphatic flow, endorphin levels, serotonin levels and more. However, for many people, knowing where to start or exercising with an old injury or pain can be a daunting task. It doesn’t have to be this way and physical therapists are the true medical physical experts to turn to.

 

Try these simple tips to quickly relieve your pain and get back on the road to good health. If you have questions about how to help restore pain free movement with activities, call Crestview Physical Therapy today and speak to one of our physical therapists.