Louisville, Plattsmouth & Hooper Ne 68031

how Physical Therapy can help Mobility Disorders

October 19, 2021

What are they?

Mobility disorders are any disorder that cause abnormal movement patterns or abilities creating dysfunction for you in your daily life. These disorders can make it hard to do simple tasks such as getting dressed or cooking a meal or affect larger tasks such as going to the grocery store or being able to perform you normal work activities.

Information on what causes them?

Mobility disorders can be caused by a variety of factors. Pain, weakness, tendon or ligament abnormalities or disruption, cardiovascular deficits, neuromuscular deficits, or advanced age are just a few reasons that our mobility may become negatively affected.

The signs and symptoms?

The signs and symptoms of these issues could be acute and sudden pain, swelling, inability to bear weight without compensation, altered gait mechanics, hesitation with movement, lack of balance and proprioception, decreased motion and flexibility, decreased power, and strength, are just a few to name.  

Treatment?

Physical therapy will initially focus on finding the cause of the mobility disorder. We will then work to start correcting the cause to fix the mobility dysfunction. Treatment for these disorders can range from improving ROM and strength to working on balance and proprioception to improving coordination among the musculoskeletal, neuromuscular, and cardiovascular systems. The goal is to get you back to doing what you need and want to be doing, help you meet your goals, and to get you set up on a comprehensive home exercise program to at least maintain the gains you have already made in physical therapy.

Expectations?

At your first visit you should expect a physical therapist that is there to get to know you, your current complaints, and your goals. Using this information and the information they gather during their evaluation they will set up an individualized treatment plan that will help you reach your goals and get back to your life faster. Treatments could include modalities for pain control, manual therapy to help with muscle, soft tissue, and joint healing, and exercises to restore motion and strength.

Physical Therapy and Your Lack of Strength

October 14, 2021

What are they?

Issues with strength are defined as anything that causes your strength to be less than it should be. This could be a decrease in strength, a lack of coordination of strength, or the inability to fully utilize your strength.

Information on what causes them?

Strength issues and deficits can be caused by a variety of factors. These include a muscle injury, inflammation, a nerve injury or deficit, or larger issues such as central nervous system disorders such as Multiple Sclerosis, Guillain-Barre, or Parkinson’s.

The signs and symptoms?

The signs and symptoms of these issues could be many different things. When looking at why we have strength deficits the signs and symptoms could be weakness, pain, swelling, numbness, tingling, lack of endurance or energy, just a few to name.  

Treatment?

Physical therapy will initially focus on the decreasing and eliminating any pain and swelling that may be present. Once these are under control or eliminated, we will then work on improving any range of motion issues. Next, basic strengthening will begin, and these steps will be based what caused your strength deficits to start and how you are progressing with your physical therapy program. The final stage will be working on your functional strength and stability and this will be based what your needs and goals are and what needs to be done to reach your maximum potential. Finally, a comprehensive home program will be set up to make sure you have the tools you need to maintain your gains and avoid this injury again in the future.

Expectations?

At your first visit you should expect a physical therapist that is there to get to know you, your current complaints, and your goals. Using this information and the information they gather during their evaluation they will set up an individualized treatment plan that will help you reach your goals and get back to your life faster. Treatments could include modalities for pain control, manual therapy to help with muscle, soft tissue, and joint healing, and exercises to restore motion and strength.

Foot Pain and Physical Therapy

October 5, 2021

What are they?

Foot pain is often caused by a ligament, tendon, or bone issue. A foot sprain is an injury a ligamentous structure of the foot. We often think of spraining the bottom of our foot or the top of our midfoot. A foot strain is an injury to a tendon. We often think of the Achilles, peroneals, or posterior tib tendons in this area of the body as being most often strained. A bony foot injury is often a fracture and usually to one of our metatarsals.

Information on what causes them?

Pain is caused by sprain or strain to the ligaments or tendons of our feet when they are overstretched, partially torn, or ruptured. Bony issues such as arthritis within the joints of the foot, or a fracture of one of the many bones found in the foot can be a cause of the pain. Foot injuries and pain are often caused by a traumatic event causing one of the above issues, a biomechanical issue affecting how we move, or several smaller issues that may or may need physical therapy to address them.

The signs and symptoms?

The signs and symptoms of these issues are acute and sudden pain, swelling, inability to bear weight without compensation, altered gait mechanics, popping, clicking, decreased motion and flexibility, decreased power, and strength, are just a few to name.  

Treatment?

Physical therapy will initially focus on the decreasing and eliminating the pain and swelling. Once these are under control or eliminated, we will then work on improving the healing of the affected bone or soft tissue. This could include modalities and exercises to improve the healing process and working on regaining the motion and strength needed to return you back to where you were before the injury. Finally, a comprehensive home program will be set up to make sure you have the tools you need to maintain your gains and avoid this injury again in the future.

Expectations?

At your first visit you should expect a physical therapist that is there to get to know you, your current complaints, and your goals. Using this information and the information they gather during their evaluation they will set up an individualized treatment plan that will help you reach your goals and get back to your life faster. Treatments could include modalities for pain control, manual therapy to help with muscle, soft tissue, and joint healing, and exercises to restore motion and strength.

Motor Vehicle Accidents and Physical Therapy

September 23, 2021

What are they?

Motor Vehicle Accidents (MVA) and Injuries occur during a car crash. These injuries can range from whiplash to low back pain to a broken bone. These are just a few of the wide range of examples and severities that can come from an MVA.

Information on what causes them?

The cause of these injuries can be just as varying as the injuries themselves. You can be injured from your own body’s reaction to seeing the crash coming. You can be injured from the sudden deceleration of the vehicle. You can be injured from the impact causing something to hit you inside the car.

The signs and symptoms?

The signs and symptoms of these issues are acute and sudden pain, swelling, inability to bear weight without compensation, altered gait mechanics, popping, clicking, decreased motion and flexibility, decreased power, and strength, are just a few to name.  

Treatment?

Physical therapy will initially focus on the decreasing and eliminating the pain and swelling. Once these are under control or eliminated, we will then work on improving the healing of the affected bone or soft tissue. This could include modalities and exercises to improve the healing process and working on regaining the motion and strength needed to return you back to where you were before the injury. Once your strength has improved, we will work on balance and stability in order to restore function and return you back to the activities you were doing before the accident. Finally, a comprehensive home program will be set up to make sure you have the tools you need to maintain your gains and avoid this injury again in the future.

Expectations?

At your first visit you should expect a physical therapist that is there to get to know you, your current complaints, and your goals. Using this information and the information they gather during their evaluation they will set up an individualized treatment plan that will help you reach your goals and get back to your life faster. Treatments could include modalities for pain control, manual therapy to help with muscle, soft tissue, and joint healing, and exercises to restore motion and strength.

Photo from: istockphoto.com

Returning to Activity After A Pandemic

September 14, 2021 – This blog is from the APTA PPS Section:

During the COVID-19 pandemic, activity levels dropped for a lot of people. Between stay at home orders, gym closures and working from home, people became more sedentary. On top of that, there were shortages of equipment like dumbbells and bicycles, making staying active at home difficult even if you wanted to.

 

But this summer, things look different; vaccines are widely available, restrictions are loosening and people are looking to get active and enjoy the warm weather. That’s all good news, but if you had a long break from activity, your body might not be ready to jump right back in. Here are a few tips to help you get more active without getting hurt:

Start slow

  • If you’re a runner, think about a walk to run program
  • If you’re a weight lifter, start with lighter weights and less reps.
  • Whatever your activity of choice is, start with short periods of activity and gradually work your way back up.

Warm up and cool down

Warming up gets your heart and lungs ramped up and prepares your muscles and tendons for the increase in activity about to come. Include some light cardio like jogging, calisthenics, or cycling, followed by active stretching like butt kicks, high knees, or yoga.

 

Cooling down transitions your body back to a lower state of stress – it brings your heart rate and breathing down, decreases blood flow to your muscles and back to places like your digestive system, and helps you relax. It’s also a great place for static stretches if you need some work on your flexibility.

Take a day off

Rest days let your body recover and keep you from getting burned out. Not enough exercise isn’t good for you, but too much of a good thing can cause problems too.

Watch for early signs of injury

Some soreness for a few days after activity is normal, especially if you’ve had a long break. But there are a few common issues to watch out for as you return to activity:

  • Swelling or bruising
  • Joint pain, especially in the knees or shoulders
  • Foot pain, which could be a sign of plantar fasciitis
  • Muscle strains – particularly common in the hamstrings
  • Sprains – most common in the ankle

 

Any of these issues justifies a call to your physical therapist. Getting checked out early can prevent an injury that derails your attempt to return to activity. PTs see all of the issues just mentioned on a regular basis and can help safely guide you back into a more active lifestyle.

Improving your Balance with Physical Therapy

September 9, 2021

What is it?

Balance deficits are one of the main conditions physical therapists treat. Our balance helps keep us in a stable posture during walking, standing, and even sitting. Balance is also an important component of higher level activities to help remain coordinated. Balance deficits can mainly affect the elderly, but can affect younger individuals as well.

Information and causes?

Balance deficits are problems that affect our stability and coordination of movement. Our body has 3 balance systems. They are vision, the inner ear (which senses head movements), and our somatosensory system (our muscles and tendons can sense movements). If one or more of these systems is affected, it can cause improper signals to be sent to the brain, resulting in poor balance control. This can affect how we move and how we stay still. Poor balance can be caused by a variety of factors which include, but are not limited to the following:

  • Weakness
  • Aging
  • Neuropathy (seen with or without diabetes)
  • Too much sitting or deconditioning
  • Stiff joints
  • Inner ear conditions
  • Conditions that affect the brain such as a stroke, concussion or, Parkinson’s
  • Certain medications

The signs and symptoms?

People with poor balance may experience:

  • Sway or teetering when sitting to standing
  • Stumbling or tripping often when walking
  • Dizziness or vertigo
  • Blurred vision
  • Falling often or feeling like you are going to fall
  • Feeling lightheaded or faint

Many people have good balance in “static” positions such as while sitting and standing. It is during dynamic activities such as walking, multitasking or performing household chores that a person may notice feelings of imbalance.

Poor balance can lead to feelings of fear and a constant sense of caution. This can lead to decreased activity levels which results in deconditioning.

Treatment?

For someone with balance problems, it is best to learn more about the condition itself and management to help gain control of their personal health. Physical therapy is a common and effective treatment of balance.

Physical therapy will initially focus on educating the patient about the balance deficits. Research shows that people who are knowledgeable about their condition have better coping abilities. This education can include learning how the body maintains balance and coordination and how to regain control. Balance therapy through various types of exercises such as aerobics, static and dynamic training, and postural training can help improve overall function, general health and confidence in patients experiencing poor balance. Your physical therapist will design a program that is right for you and your goals.

Expectations?

At your first visit you should expect a physical therapist that is there to get to know you, your current complaints, and your goals. Using this information and the information they gather during their evaluation they will set up an individualized treatment plan that will help you reach your goals and get back to your life faster. Treatments could include exercises to restore strength and motion, and muscular retraining to improve posture and proprioception, spinal activation and stabilization.

 

References:

https://www.choosept.com/symptomsconditionsdetail/physical-therapy-guide-to-balance-problems

Neck Pain

August 26, 2021

What is it?

Neck pain is pain felt at the base of the head along the spine. If nerves are involved, the pain can radiate down into the shoulders, arms, elbows, and fingers.

Information and causes?

Neck pain affects about 30% of the population each year and is common with those who work in an office, classroom, or manual labor setting. These jobs are known to cause repetitive motions and constant postures that can develop overuse injuries in the neck, shoulders, and upper back region. Other causes can include random incidences of muscle strain (pulled muscles) which can happen with poor sleeping postures, sudden, quick movements, or motor vehicle accidents (whiplash).

The signs and symptoms?

People with neck pain may experience stiffness in the neck, and may describe the pain they feel as:

  • Sharp
  • Stabbing
  • Dull
  • Aching
  • Throbbing
  • Tingling

Neck pain can cause any of the following signs:

  • Inability to bend at the neck or turn the head left and right
  • Difficulty looking up
  • Difficulty looking over the shoulder
  • Weak arm and shoulder muscles
  • Muscle spasms

Neck pain can cause any of the following symptoms:

  • Pain in the neck, upper back, shoulders, arms, or hands
  • Numbness or tingling in the neck, shoulders, arms, or hands
  • Weakness in the arms
  • Increased pain when coughing, sneezing, reaching, or sitting
  • Inability to stand straight or sit up straight
  • Stiffness when trying to move, or a feeling of being “stuck” in a position such as stooped forward, or with the head leaning to the side
  • Tight muscles
  • Headaches
  • Inability to remain in one position for a long period of time, such as sitting or standing, due to pain
  • Pain that is worse in the morning or at night
  • Difficulty sleeping due to pain

Treatment?

For someone with neck pain, it is best to learn more about the disease itself and management to help gain control of their personal health. Physical therapy is a common and effective treatment of neck pains and strains. A recent study showed that physical therapy in conjunction with heat and ibuprofen use proved to be the most effective in neck rehabilitation (DOI: 10.3233/BMR-160577)

Physical therapy will initially focus on educating the patient about the disease. Research shows that people who are knowledgeable about their condition have better coping abilities. This education can include learning how the body perceives pain and how to take control of the pain. Pain management through various types of exercises such as aerobics, manual therapy, stretching, and postural training can help improve overall function, general health and sleep quality in patients with neck pain. Your physical therapist will design a program that is right for you and your goals.

Expectations?

At your first visit you should expect a physical therapist that is there to get to know you, your current complaints, and your goals. Using this information and the information they gather during their evaluation they will set up an individualized treatment plan that will help you reach your goals and get back to your life faster. Treatments could include modalities for pain control, manual therapy to help relieve muscle tension and promote healing, exercises to restore strength and motion, and muscular retraining to improve postural and overuse symptoms, spinal activation and stabilization.

 

Sources:

https://www.choosept.com/symptomsconditionsdetail/physical-therapy-guide-to-neck-pain-57

https://content.iospress.com/articles/journal-of-back-and-musculoskeletal-rehabilitation/bmr160577

www.marylandbackandneckpaindoctors.com

Running Tips

Running Safety Tips

 

            As fall weather nears and cool temperatures set in, seasonal runners might increase their outdoor jogs before winter temperatures set in. There are many important tips to follow to help you run smart and safe. The following are 10 reminders:

  1. Plan your run ahead of time. Be prepared for inclement weather conditions. Avoid running if there are threats of lightning or dangerous storms. If there is lightning, find a low area to run and tree cover to be as protected as possible. It is also important to know where you are going to run so that you can have the most efficient run possible and avoid getting lost.
  2. Only use one earbud if listening to music. This will help you to be aware of your surroundings including traffic, other runners, bikers, even animals.
  3. Carry your ID. It is important to have your ID on you in case of emergencies. A card holder on your phone allows for compact storage during activity. 
  4. Have your phone on you. If you prefer to run without your phone, make sure someone knows where you plan to be running. If the phone seems too cumbersome to take on a run, try clothing with pockets or a lightweight secure bag.
  5. Run against traffic. This allows oncoming drivers to see you in advance especially around bends in the road. If you are running on a sidewalk or trail run on the right and pass on the left. 
  6. Be visible. Wear bright colored clothing or wear light reflecting accessories to allow others to see you more easily and avoid an accident.
  7. Be aware of animals. Depending on your location, wild life or dogs may be a threat while running.
  8. Run with others. This can help time pass by quickly and allow for help during an emergency. Dogs can make great running buddies as well!
  9. Follow basic traffic laws. It is best to be defensive while driving. Make sure oncoming drivers see you. Just because you can see them doesn’t mean they can see you. Don’t run through stop signs until you are sure oncoming traffic is stopped. 
  10. Avoid rush hour. If you run or bike in a busy area of town, avoid rush hour if you can for best conditions. 

References:

https://www.runnersworld.com/beginner/a27559884/running-safety/

https://blog.mapmyrun.com/top-running-safety-tips/

https://wallsheaven.com/wall-murals/running-people,-vector-runners,-group-of-isolated-silhouettes,-side-view-E385687232

Bursitis

August 10, 2021

What is it?

                Bursitis is the inflammation of a bursa. A bursa is a small fluid filled sac that sits between muscles, tendons and bones to reduce friction. Bursitis can occur in the shoulder, elbow, hip, and knee.

Information and causes?

When a bursa sac gets inflamed, it swells and can cause friction in the joints causing pain and more inflammation.

Bursitis can be caused by a variety of factors including:

  • Overuse from vacuuming for hours (for example)
  • Repetitive strain such as lifting heavy boxes at work
  • Trauma from falling on the joint
  • Pressure from leaning on the elbow for instance when working at a desk
  • Infection from an unattended wound
  • Inflammatory disease, such as gout, which could for in the bursa

                Bursitis is typically caused by repetitive friction which can take place due to tight muscles during activity. It often occurs in conjunction with tendonitis. It can also occur after a forced period of rest.

The signs and symptoms?

The signs and symptoms of bursitis can vary based on the location of the bursitis.

With hip bursitis, you may experience:

  • Pain on the outer side of the hip, thigh, buttock, or outside of the leg.
  • Pain when you push on the outer side of the hip with your fingers.
  • Pain when lying on the affected hip.
  • Pain when climbing stairs.
  • Pain that worsens when getting up from sitting, such as from a low chair or car seat.
  • Pain when walking or running.
  • Pain when lifting the leg up to the side.
  • Pain when sitting with legs crossed.

With knee bursitis, you may experience:

  • Swelling on the front of the knee
  • Redness on the front of the knee
  • Pain when you push with your fingers on the front of the knee
  • Pain when kneeling
  • Stiffness in the knee joint, or difficulty straightening or bending the knee

With shoulder bursitis, you may experience:

  • Pain on the outer side or tip of the shoulder
  • Pain when you push with your finger on the tip of the shoulder
  • Pain when lying on the affected shoulder
  • Pain that worsens when lifting the arm to the side
  • Pain when rotating the arm
  • Pain when pushing or pulling open a door

With elbow bursitis, you may experience:

  • Swelling on the tip or back of the elbow
  • Redness on the tip of the elbow
  • Pain when you push with your fingers on the tip of the back of the elbow
  • Pain when leaning on the arm, as when the arm is resting on an armrest or on the edge of a desk or table
  • Stiffness in the elbow joint, and difficulty bending the elbow

 

Treatment?

For someone with bursitis, it is best to learn more about the disease itself and management to help gain control of your personal health. Physical therapy is one of the main treatments of bursitis. Although it is not a “quick fix”, physical therapy can help you gain control of your physical health and learn how to prevent the bursitis from coming back.

Physical therapy will initially focus on educating the patient about the disease. Research shows that people who are knowledgeable about their condition have better coping abilities. This education can include learning how the body perceives pain and how to take control of the pain. Pain management through various types of exercises such as aerobics, manual therapy, stretching, and deep breathing can help improve overall function, general health and sleep quality in patients with fibromyalgia. Your physical therapist will design a program that is right for you and your goals.

Expectations?

At your first visit you should expect a physical therapist that is there to get to know you, your current complaints, and your goals. Using this information and the information they gather during their evaluation they will set up an individualized treatment plan that will help you reach your goals and get back to your life faster. Treatments could include modalities for pain control, manual therapy to help relieve muscle tension and promote healing, exercises to restore strength and motion, and muscular retraining to improve muscle activation, core activation and stabilization.

 

Sources:

Image: https://www.msk.org.au/bursitis/

https://www.physio-pedia.com/Bursitis

https://www.choosept.com/symptomsconditionsdetail/physical-therapy-guide-to-hip-bursitis

https://www.choosept.com/symptomsconditionsdetail/physical-therapy-guide-to-knee-bursitis

https://www.choosept.com/symptomsconditionsdetail/physical-therapy-guide-to-shoulder-bursitis

https://www.choosept.com/symptomsconditionsdetail/physical-therapy-guide-to-elbow-bursitis

Neuropathy and Physical Therapy

August 3, 2021

What is it?

Peripheral neuropathy (PN) is a condition affecting the nerves of the body that results in a variety of symptoms including pain, changes in sensation, and changes in muscle activity. PN typically affects nerves in the extremities such as the lower legs and feet.

Information and causes?

PN can be associated with other diseases such as diabetes, injury, and overuse. It can also be associated with medication use. Neuropathy can also occur for reasons unknown. Some of these symptoms have been shown to improve over time, but many do not. It can affect the nerves in the body in various ways. It is generally classified by the number of nerves affected. The more nerves affected, the more severe the case.

Examples:

  • Mononueropathy affects 1 nerve. For example, carpal tunnel affects the median nerve resulting in altered sensation and weakness in the hand.
  • Polyneuropathy affects 2 or more nerves. This is usually caused by a disease process and can affect nerves in multiple body parts, on both sides of the body.
  • Neuritis results from nerve inflammation. This can be caused by infection or injury. It can even be caused by chemical exposure.

The signs and symptoms?

The signs and symptoms of PN can vary. The location and type of nerves affected determine the symptoms. Those with PN may experience:

  • Numbness and tingling sensations typically beginning in feet and hands, and can spread up into legs and arms
  • Loss of sensation (inability to feel objects you encounter)
  • Increased sensitivity to light touch
  • Pain (burning, sharp, electric)
  • Falls
  • Poor wound healing
  • Decreased ability to participate in usual functional activities
  • Weakness and paralysis of muscles
  • Clumsiness and decreased coordination
  • Decreased balance

Treatment?

Treatment by a physical therapist can help reduce symptoms of PN in some cases and reduce the effect the symptoms have on movements and activities to improve an individual’s quality of life. Because the cause, type, and symptoms of PN can vary, the therapeutic approach will also vary. For instance, if you have loss of sensation in your feet, education and recommendations about proper footwear is imperative if not already addressed by another provider.

It is key that a person receive physical therapy as soon as possible after being diagnosed, particularly if physical function is impaired. The Physical Therapist will initially focus on educating the patient about the condition and expectations. Research shows that people who are knowledgeable about their condition have better coping abilities. Furthermore, your therapist will work to initially decrease any pain and improve mobility and gradually improve strength and function to return to life pain free and with full function. The physical therapist will design a program that is right for you and your goals.

Expectations?

At your first visit you should expect a physical therapist that is there to get to know you, your current complaints, and your goals. Using this information and the information they gather during their evaluation they will set up an individualized treatment plan that will help you reach your goals and get back to your life faster. Treatments could include modalities for pain control, manual therapy to help relieve muscle tension and promote healing, exercises to restore strength and motion, and muscular retraining to improve core activation and stabilization. These can include but are not limited to nerve gliding techniques to improve nerve function, exercise as tolerated to improve strength, balance and coordination training to reduce fall risk and improve function.

References

https://www.news-medical.net/health/Peripheral-Neuropathy-Symptoms.aspx

https://www.choosept.com/symptomsconditionsdetail/physical-therapy-guide-to-peripheral-neuropathy