There are multiple options in choosing to deal with pain, some safer and more effective than others. Since 1999, Americans have increasingly been prescribed opioids- painkillers like Vicodin, OxyContin, Opana, and methadone, and combination drugs like Percocet. In some situations, prescription opioids are an appropriate part of medical treatment. However, some risks to opioid use include depression, overdose, addiction and withdrawal symptoms. In addition, people addicted to prescription opioids are 40 times more likely to become addicted to heroin.
The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is urging healthcare providers to reduce the use of opioids in favor of safe alternatives like physical therapy. The American Physical Therapy Association cites these four ways that physical therapists help patients manage pain.
- EXERCISE: A study that followed 20,000 people for 11 years found that those who exercised on a regular basis experienced less pain. Among those who exercised more than three times per week, chronic widespread pain was 28 percent less common.
- MANUAL THERAPY: Research supports a hands-on approach to treating pain, with physical therapy strategies including manipulation, joint and soft tissue mobilizations, and dry needling. From carpal tunnel syndrome to low back pain, this type of care can reduce pain and improve movement.
- EDUCATION: A large study conducted with military personnel demonstrated that those with back pain who received a 45-minute educational session about pain were less likely to seek treatment than their peers who didn’t receive education about pain. Physical therapists make sure patients understand their pain histories and help set realistic expectations for treatment.
- TEAMWORK: Studies have shown that developing a positive relationship with a physical therapist and being an active participant in recovery can positively affect patients’ outcomes. Physical therapists work directly with patients and assess how pain responds to treatment.
Source: moveforwardpt.comRead More
Whether you are coming off an injury, or have taken time off from working out and the gym due to the Coronavirus pandemic, it is important to be cautious when returning to physical activity. when we return to the physical activity we might be rushing into our old routines too quickly and trying to start where we left off, which is not always the best idea. Research has found that a rapid loss of muscle mass occurs within the first one to two weeks of disuse. Then the rate of loss slows and each muscle group atrophies at a different rate.
The bottom line is that our muscles are not as strong as they were the last time we left the gym. Therefore, our workouts need to be modified to reduce injury risk.
Return to Cardiovascular Training
Whether you are a runner, swimmer or cyclist, returning to cardiovascular exercise can be a challenge after time off. The key is the begin at a lower level than when training ceased. Exercise physiologists offer the guidelines in this chart for returning to running; they can be applied to all cardiovascular exercises.
The below chart gives a rough idea of the appropriate method of returning back to cardiovasular activity:
From this beginning, you may progress either your pace or your mileage by 10 percent each week but not both to reduce injury risk.
When choosing a running course, look for one that is mostly flat to avoid the additional challenges of hills. Hills can be added as your cardiovascular endurance improves. It is important to ensure proper warm-ups and cool downs before and after cardiovascular endurance. OC Sports and Rehab’s team of experts in Run Mechanics can greatly help you get back to normal cardiovascular activity without injurty.
Return to Weightlifting
Similar to returning to cardio, this requires a decrease in initial weights and a slow progression to return. Initially with returning to strength training, you will see improvements with less weight. To determine your initial weight for return, focus on a challenging weight when you reach repetition seven or eight of a 10-repetition exercise. This indicates an appropriate challenge while being able to maintain good form throughout the exercise.
As you progress, you will require more weight to continue to achieve strength gains. Most studies recommend 80-85 percent of your one-rep maximum for the most effective strength training.
As you return to working out, whether after the lifting of a stay-at-home order or other extended period on the sidelines, the most important thing is to you listen to your body. If you are having aches or pains as you return, please reach out to one of our physical therapists for an evaluation to ensure a safe, individual return.Read More
What is plantar fasciitis?
Plantar fasciitis is a condition that causes heel pain that radiates into the bottom of your foot. It can happen to anyone, at any age, but it’s an overuse injury that is more common in runners and people who are on their feet more often.
The plantar fascia is a thick band of tissue that connects your heel to the ball of your foot and supports the arch. Poor foot positioning can cause the structures in your foot to load incorrectly, which puts pressure on the band. An injury to the tendons in your foot and ankle can also damage the fascia.
When the plantar fascia becomes inflamed, irritated or weak, it can tear and cause a stabbing sensation in your heel and other pain symptoms:
- Increased pain in the morning or when taking the first few steps after resting.
- Increased heel pain with prolonged standing, walking and stair climbing.
- Increased pain when standing and walking on hard surfaces or without proper shoe support.
Sometimes, as your body warms up, plantar fasciitis pain decreases — only to worsen once your activity progresses.
How Physical Therapy Can Help Treat Plantar Fasciitis
Physical therapy will help you return to your desired activities by improving the way your foot is loaded, restoring mobility to your tissue and addressing areas of weakness or imbalances in your foot. There are several effective physical therapy treatments, including
- Manual therapy – Physical therapists use their hands and/or ASTYM®/Graston tools® to manipulate the soft tissue in your foot. It’s like a massage for the plantar fascia. Manual therapy loosens the tight tissue and reduces inflammation.
- Dry needling – A common treatment for a variety of overuse injuries, dry needling targets trigger points that cause pain. Placing tiny needles into the fascia causes it to release and the pain fades away.
- Night splints – Wearing a splint while you sleep keeps your foot in a better position throughout the night. So when you wake up, you won’t feel the stabbing pain in your first few steps out of bed.
- Taping – Kinesiology tape, or KT tape, works similar to a night splint. A physical therapist tapes your foot in a position that better supports your foot’s natural arch and takes pressure off the fascia.
- Iontophoresis – Physical therapists can also use iontophoresis, which uses electrical stimulation to send topical pain relievers deeper into the soft tissue.
This week on our blog we’d like to discuss another specific tool used by our therapists, known as instrument-assisted soft tissue mobilization, or IASTM for short. IASTM tools are utilized by many professionals, including physical therapists, chiropractors, massage therapists, and athletic trainers. They look similar to a small scraping tool, and come in various shapes and sizes. It should be mentioned that IASTM tools are made by many brands, and while all are not made with the same quality, shape, or size, their intentions are all the same.
IASTM tools are used on the top layer of musculoskeletal tissue, known as fascia. Fascia covers our entire body, almost like a large thin web holding all of your muscles, organs, and bones in place. When fascia gets tight, it can create pain and discomfort. IASTM tools can be used to release the fascia and muscle tension and alleviate this pain and discomfort. There are specific IASTM tools for each region of the body, including the back, shoulders, hips, knees, wrists, ankles, and feet. They can also be used over scar tissue to break up the adhesions built up underneath the skin that can limit an area’s range of motion or flexibility.
IASTM tools are utilized by our clinicians at our including Foothill Ranch Physical Therapy, Lake Forest Physical Therapy, and Placentia Physical Therapy locations. When used in conjunction with other manual therapy techniques and other types of modalities, they can create a world of difference for patients’ injuries. IASTM tools can be used to treat plantar fasciitis, low back pain, achilles tendonitis, golfer’s elbow, tennis elbow, hamstring pain, and a myriad of other injuries and conditions. The vast majority of professional sports teams utilize IASTM tools, so why not you?! If you are interested in implementing IASTM tools into your physical therapy treatment, please inform your treating therapist so they can determine if IASTM is appropriate for your condition.
If you are interested in attending a physical therapy clinic that utilizes Instrument Assisted Soft Tissue Mobilization tools, then you’ve found the right place! Give us a call today to schedule your first (or next) appointment. For more information about the other cutting-edge techniques and equipment we utilize at OC Sports & Rehab, we invite you to check out the services tab on our website. For our new and existing patients alike, we look forward to seeing you soon!
Look around these days, and you’ll find people, young and old, mesmerized by smartphones and computer screens. It seems that everyone is spending time looking down and tapping away at handheld devices.
Text neck is the newest term for neck pain that is caused by using a handheld device like a smartphone or small tablet. It occurs when our necks are in a forward flexed position for long hours while texting, checking social media or playing on your phone.
What is Text-Neck?
Text neck (or tech neck) is a modern age term used to describe repeated stress injury and pain in the neck resulting from excessive watching or texting on hand-held devices over a sustained period of time.
Symptoms of Text Neck
Flexing the head forward to use a smartphone directly affects the spine. Tilting the head forward to 15 degrees places about 27 pounds of force on the neck. This increases to 40 pounds at 30 degrees, 49 pounds at 45 degrees, and 60 pounds at 60 degrees. Damage caused by untreated text neck can be similar to occupational overuse syndrome or repetitive stress/strain injury.
Text neck most commonly causes neck pain and soreness. Also, looking down at your cell phone too much each day can lead to:
- Upper back pain ranging from chronic, nagging pain to sharp, severe upper back muscle spasms.
- Shoulder pain and tightness, possibly resulting in painful shoulder muscle spasm.
- If a nerve becomes pinched, pain, and possibly neurological symptoms can radiate down your arm and into your hand.
- May cause issues in your arms and hands
- Other health issues
If you are experiencing “text neck” or “tech neck” OC Sports and Therapy can help!Read More
People may seek physical therapy to recover from an injury, prevent an injury, manage an existing condition, or improve their general health. While general physical therapists can help patients with many issues, it is also possible for them to undergo additional training and specialize further. There are seven main areas that a physical therapist can specialize in.
1. NEUROLOGICAL PHYSICAL THERAPY
Nerves control every function in the body by allowing the brain to communicate with the spine and other body parts or systems. Conditions that are neurological in nature break down this communication and can have serious impacts, both physical and mental. A patient recovering from spinal and brain injuries or neurological conditions like a stroke or Alzheimer’s may see a neurological physical therapist.
Almost all neurological conditions are chronic and unable to be easily treated with medication or a simple procedure. Instead, physical therapy is able to use a series of sessions to improve mobility and coordination in those with neurological problems.
This physical therapy may be less intense than other forms of treatment, instead focusing on small physical exercises that gradually reduce the impact of a neurological condition. Patients may significantly improve or regain full autonomy as a result of treatment.
2. OCCUPATIONAL PHYSICAL THERAPY
Occupational physical therapy focuses on the ability to complete tasks related to work or recovering from injuries sustained at work that are not accidents. For example, an occupational physical therapist may teach manual laborers to properly lift an object without damaging the back.
This therapy may also focus on building core and body strength that facilitates safer physical activity. However, it is also very holistic and ensures the entire body is able to properly perform their job duties.
3. GERIATRIC PHYSICAL THERAPY
Aging people have unique sets of physical needs that can cause problems, from degenerative conditions to deterioration in natural movement. A geriatric physical therapist works specifically with the older population to address mobility and movement issues.
This therapy may address natural issues, helping senior citizens to maintain their strength and ability to move for as long as possible, as well as conditions like arthritis, osteoporosis, and even certain cancers. Goals may include reducing pain and increasing range of motion through small, manageable exercises.
4. PEDIATRIC PHYSICAL THERAPY
Age-based pediatric physical therapy is aimed at children, helping to facilitate the growth and mobility needs of infants, toddlers, and adolescents. Any child who has problems with body movement that impede their lives can benefit from this therapy. A pediatric physical therapist can work with children who have genetic conditions, congenital disabilities, severe injuries, head trauma, or limb disabilities.
Early intervention is critical in all forms of development, and parents that catch these issues early on and begin physical therapy can increase a child’s chances of becoming a strong and healthy adult.
5. REHABILITATIVE PHYSICAL THERAPY
Rehabilitative physical therapy will be used after a major event like an injury or surgery in order to regain strength and ease of movement.
For surgical patients, mobility and movement are often limited in the body part being operated on. A rehabilitative physical therapist will usually begin working with them immediately after their procedure to strengthen certain body parts, continuing to support their recovery at home until the patient can take care of themselves properly.
Injuries, especially sports injuries, are also commonly treated by these physical therapists. The earlier therapy begins, the better the recovery chances are. Physical therapy not only addresses these injuries through strength building and pain management but can also help prevent future injuries.
6. HAND PHYSICAL THERAPY
Despite the name, hand physical therapy is actually focused on the entire arm. While the hand or fingers could be impacted, conditions like arthritis or carpal tunnel may also affect the wrist and forearm. This physical therapy will use simple hand exercises to maintain or regain range of motion in the hand.
7. ORTHOPEDIC PHYSICAL THERAPY
When there is damage to the musculoskeletal system, an orthopedic physical therapist will be able to help by reducing muscle atrophy and building strength. This can include recovery from orthopedic surgery, as well as arthritis, sports injuries, amputations, and other conditions. These physical therapists will craft exercises specific to the area of your body that is injured and what your goals for recovery are.
“Does Insurance Cover Physical Therapy?” is a common question we get asked. For many people, physical therapy is a critical component of their medical care, whether it’s to recover from an injury or prevent degenerative conditions from worsening. Unfortunately, the effectiveness and importance of physical therapy don’t always mean it is affordable, and many Americans will have to rely on their insurance provider to be able to access this care. It can sometimes be difficult to understand what exactly your plan covers and how much you may owe for physical therapy. While the answer is different for everybody, there are some questions you can ask to determine what this coverage may look like for you.
Physical Therapy and Insurance Plans
Any health insurance plan that is compliant with the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and other state-marketplace regulations is required to offer ten “essential benefits.” By law, these plans must cover anything that counts as one of these ten benefits. One of these categories is rehabilitative services, which can include physical therapy. In addition to these plans, any federally qualified HMO plan should cover physical therapy.
When it comes to other private insurance, there are three possible scenarios: physical therapy is covered with a co-pay from you, physical therapy is covered and you pay a co-insurance and/or deductible, or physical therapy isn’t covered and you will have to pay out of pocket. In some cases, which scenario applies to you will depend on the reason for your physical therapy.
For example, your plan may not cover physical therapy as a preventative treatment related to athletic endeavors, but it may cover the service if you are recovering from surgery.
Questions to Ask Your Insurance Provider About Physical Therapy
Health insurance plans can be difficult to understand. Before you begin any treatment, it’s a good idea to reach out to your insurance provider for clarity on what exactly your coverage will look like. This can help you avoid surprise bills or even a denied claim.
- What providers are in-network?
- What is the maximum amount they will pay?
- What is the deductible and out-of-pocket maximum?
- Is there a limit to the number of visits?
- Do you need a referral?
Concussions have become a topic of much debate and research in competitive sports due to concerns about their long-term consequences. This is even more of a concern for parents with children who are active in sports from an earlier age.
How Do You Get a Concussion?
A concussion is considered a mild brain injury that occurs when a head impact causes the brain to quickly move back and forth inside the skull. A concussion can injure brain cells and disrupt chemical and hormone release in the brain. These changes can have physical, cognitive, and emotional impacts on someone within seconds, minutes, or hours.
What Are the Signs of a Concussion?
Below are some of the more common signs of a concussion.
- Memory and concentration problems
- Feeling sluggish and foggy
- Nausea and vomiting
- Changes in vision
- Light sensitivity
- Altered emotional state (emotional, anxious, depressed)
- Altered sleep patterns (insomnia or hypersomnia)
If you suspect that your child has a concussion, it is pivotal they are examined by a physician and physical therapist that is familiar with treating concussions to optimize recovery. OC Sports and Rehab are Concussion Therapy specialists.Read More
Sciatica pain can be brutal and it can sideline you without warning for days or weeks. If you are searching for long-lasting relief from sciatica pain, you may have wondered if you should seek the expertise of a physical therapist. If you’ve already received a sciatica diagnosis for your back and leg pain, a physical therapist can develop a plan that includes treating your pain, managing your symptoms, and preventing future flare-ups. Some doctors may prescribe pain medications that mask the pain symptoms for short periods at a time, which may be necessary from time to time. But when you go to physical therapy for sciatica, you will get long-term relief that starts with the core issue causing your pain. Our trained physical therapists will take a comprehensive look at your body’s functioning and how your pain is affecting you from head to toe. In order to fully heal and prevent future recurrences of sciatica, a physical therapist will work with you through your entire treatment and recovery process.
Benefits of Physical Therapy for Sciatica
In order to properly address sciatica, your doctor must first determine the root cause of your pain. Medication can help to temporarily manage your pain, but the cause of your sciatica must also be addressed for optimal healing and sciatica relief. A thorough and effective treatment plan for sciatica will address the possibilities of disc herniation, spinal stenosis, misalignment, or other causes of your sciatica while also managing your symptoms. Physical therapy can address all of these causes and will get you on the road to feeling better and living pain-free. Here are four ways you can benefit from physical therapy for sciatica.
• RELIEVE PAIN
Part of the rehabilitation process with a Foothill Ranch Physical Therapist will involve reducing or eliminating your pain. Physical therapy employs a combination of treatment approaches that aim to reduce the cause of your pain through biomechanics. Your physical therapist may incorporate ice and heat therapy, stretches, and therapeutic massage to help relieve your pain and discomfort. Exercises can also help to promote healthy movements and the release of endorphins that act as natural painkillers inside the body.
• REDUCE INFLAMMATION
An important aspect of managing your sciatica pain is reducing inflammation in the area around the sciatic nerve. When swelling and inflammation occur, it can put additional stress and pressure on the nerve as well as any muscles impacted by sciatica. Physical therapy can help address inflammation so you can also begin to improve your mobility and reduce your pain naturally.
• IMPROVE MOBILITY
Physical therapy is often more recognized for how your doctor helps you to improve your mobility and strength after an injury. In fact, physical therapy can help improve your mobility by strengthening affected or damaged muscles and straightening the spinal column to help relieve pain. Restoring proper posture and spinal functioning can help to reduce the pressure and tightened muscles around the sciatic nerve, allowing you to move more easily with less pain.
• PREVENT RECURRENCE
In addition to treatment and rehabilitation, your physical therapist will also work with you to focus on preventing a recurrence of sciatica. By strengthening the muscles and tendons that support your spine, you develop more flexibility and support for a healthy, functioning spine.Read More
Here are some of the top reasons why you need Physical Therapy and how it can help:
- You have pain that you do not know how to manage. A Physical Therapist will evaluate your areas of pain and discomfort and then tailor a plan that works to restore function, improve mobility, and increase strength all at a pace you are comfortable with. Physical Therapy is a 1:1 approach to a program that works specifically to target your pain. There is no generic plan that works for everyone. It is our goal to find what works for you! Therapeutic exercise and manual therapy combined with modalities like ultrasound, electric stimulation, and Kinesio taping are all techniques used in Physical Therapy to help relieve pain, restore mobility, and help pain from returning while providing an education and instruction through the entire rehabilitation experience.
- You don’t have a stretching routine. A Physical Therapist can provide a complex stretching routine that targets all areas of the body and fits into your pre-existing daily routine that helps benefit your overall health and mobility. Tight muscles tend to cause other muscles to work harder and may lead to injury. Stretching gives the muscles time to relax and increases blood flow which promotes proper blood circulation. Stand up to stretching. Physical Therapy can show you how!
- You want to improve posture. Poor posture is an easy bad habit to fall into. It can often lead to head, neck, back, and shoulder pain. The good news? Physical Therapy can help. Physical therapy can provide assistance with proper workplace ergonomics, corrective exercise designed to decrease pain and increase flexibility to help you get up and move around, and improve overall health avoiding your risk for chronic and painful conditions from poor posture over a long period of time.
- You have fallen more than one in the last year. A PT will then tailor an exercise program designed to improve coordination, educate proper use of assistive devices, and practice balance techniques that carefully challenge the mind in body all under the direction of a healthcare professional. Over a period of time, Physical Therapy will help you to get the right muscles to facilitate with standing and walking and improve strength in areas of weakness that may contribute to previous falls.
- You are planning to have or want to avoid surgery. Physical Therapy is designed to eliminate pain and heal injury. In ideal circumstances, Physical Therapy can help you avoid surgery all together. In cases where surgery cannot be avoided, Physical Therapy can benefit you by assisting you be the strongest version of yourself going into surgery which can lead to overall faster and healthier recovery time.