All Posts by Back2Action

ELBOW WRIST & HAND PAIN

Because your hands and arms are so interconnected, a task or injury that involves one part, such as your lower arm, can end up causing everything from finger numbness to elbow pain.

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

Typing, writing and jobs that require repetitive lifting continue to be a threat for developing the condition known as Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (CTS). The debilitating syndrome is named for the tunnel surrounding the nerves connecting your wrist, hand and fingers. Overly stressing the median nerve can lead to the aching wrist and numb fingers associated with CTS. Often, hormone fluctuations can put patients more at risk for CTS, so pregnant women, and women between the ages of 34-60, may be more likely to experience these injuries.

Early intervention - especially physical therapy - may help you avoid surgery. Hand and arm movements designed to build flexibility and strength decrease CTS pain and numbness, while easing inflammation and decreasing further pressure on the median nerve.
In addition, our dedicated team of physical therapists will show you techniques to stretch your carpal ligaments and how to perform your repetitive tasks more safely, in order to prevent re-injury.

Additional Conditions

While CTS is a common issue for which patients seek our help, we treat numerous conditions affecting the hands, elbows and wrists. Among them are:

  • Joint pain
  • Arthritis
  • Tendonitis
  • Tennis/Golf Elbow
  • Fractures
  • Sprains

How are these conditions treated?

The first step in dealing with hand, wrist or elbow pain is evaluating the source of that pain. Often that's done in conjunction with your primary care physician, but - especially when the pain isn't connected to an obvious event such as a car accident - our evaluation helps further assess your current strength and flexibility capabilities.

We also note the specific hand and arm positions at which you experience pain.
After your evaluation, the first priority is to use therapeutic techniques to get rid of the pain as soon as possible. After that, we'll begin to focus on building up your range of motion, especially through stretching and other flexibility maneuvers.

Finally, exercises for building strength will be added, so that after your physical therapy course of treatment is over, you can maintain your pain free life.

When you're ready to get started, contact at Lafayette, CO Center to set up an appointment to get yourself on the road to ridding yourself of your hand, wrist and/or elbow pain.

HIP AND KNEE PAIN

Is Hip and Knee Pain Serious?

Your hips and knees: they're the largest joints in your body, connecting a large number of muscles, bones and ligaments. That means that much of the daily abuse that your body takes can ultimately impact your hips and knees. And when these crucial joints begin to show strain, it can become difficult to move much at all - at least without pain.

For that reason, it's important to seek medical attention for hip and knee pain as soon as possible. Often, physical therapy can be the key to avoiding surgery or prescription medication altogether, or rebounding quickly from those less conservative treatments.

How can I decrease hip pain?

Worn joints and pinched nerves are the most common culprits for hip pain. Aging and overuse often cause osteoarthritis, but this painful joint disease can also stem from old injuries. Repetitive motion sometimes leads to hip bursitis, in which fluid-filled sacs around your hips become inflamed. What's another possible reason for your hip pain? Various nerves running to and from your hips can also become pinched, due to anything from pregnancy to poor posture.

Our physical therapists will give you a full evaluation, assessing your range of motion, level of hip pain, and whether the discomfort also radiates into your buttocks, thighs and groin. Based on this evaluation and existing medical tests, we'll work on flexibility and strength exercises, as well as give you movement strategies to manage the pain.

What can I do about knee pain?

Some of the same causes of hip pain can also affect knees, including arthritis and bursitis. In addition, sports injuries such as tearing your anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) can lead to severe knee pain, as can suddenly twisting your knee and tearing your meniscus. "Loose body" is another knee pain cause; this involves bone or cartilage coming loose and getting in the way of joint movement. Finally, it's not uncommon for a hip or foot problem to throw your knees out of alignment.

Our highly trained team of physical therapists will evaluate your knee issues, including the location and level of pain and how far you can bend and move your knees and legs in various positions. In all likelihood, your physical therapy to decrease knee pain will consist of strength-building movements, as well as stretches and other flexibility-enhancing techniques.

When you're ready to begin working on methods for getting rid of your knee and/or hip pain, call us at Lafayette, CO Center.

Our dedicated team of physical therapists will evaluate your condition and suggest a course of treatment.

SHOULDER PAIN

Why can't I figure out how to treat my shoulder pain?

Shoulders: We carry the weight of the world on them, but don't spend a lot of time trying to figure them out. Yet our shoulders are each incredibly complicated joint systems. The positive aspect of this complexity is that your shoulders allow your body to undertake an amazing range of activities. On the down side, when something goes wrong with one or both of them, it can be complicated to treat on your own.

Specifically, each one of your shoulders is made up of four joints, which are connected not only to one another, but form the connecting unit to your shoulder blades, collarbone and upper arms. Because of this interdependence, any problem with your shoulder often means trouble performing functions that require almost any kind of upper-body mobility.

What causes shoulder pain?

The causes of shoulder problems can stem from a sudden injury, a lifetime of poor posture, or conditions which weaken joint tissue. These conditions include various forms of arthritis and other inflammatory disorders.
Aggravating injuries include shoulder dislocation and broken arms, rotator cuff tearing, and falls or blows to your torso. In addition, shoulders tend to carry problems with other parts of your body, so that even heart disease or gallbladder problems can show up as "referred pain" in your shoulders.

What does physical therapy do to stop shoulder pain and stiffness?

Our highly trained physical therapists work with you on a variety of stretching and rehabilitation exercises to bring pain-free mobility back to your shoulder. A complete evaluation will verify exactly where the problem is, as well as its severity.

To be most effective, most physical therapy for shoulder pain will incorporate strength and flexibility in entire shoulder moves. Stretching is key for improving flexibility. Your therapist will likely talk you through stretching moves, as well as gently manipulate your muscles.

For building strength, your physical therapy will probably involve some form of resistance training, such as with free weights, long rubber bands, or even cycles that you pedal with your hands.

Ready to get started?

Whether you're in need of post-surgical rehab or are hoping to avoid surgery, our comprehensive treatment plan is designed to both target the various parts of your complex shoulder system, and to keep you motivated throughout the session.

Call us today at Lafayette, CO Center or make an appointment online to learn how we can help you quickly relieve your shoulder pain.

NECK PAIN & HEADACHES

WHAT CONSTITUTES SERIOUS NECK AND HEAD PAIN?

By the time people seek treatment for their neck pain and headaches, it's not because of the occasional twinge, but rather for problems that have lasted several months. Common complaints include migraines and tension headaches, not being able to turn one's head fully, all-over neck soreness, stabbing pain localized to one spot on the neck, or pain that radiates as far down as the fingertips.
In some cases, the causes of your headaches or neck pain may be obvious - if you've recently been in a car accident or suffered a sports injury, for example. Often, however, problems can develop through poor posture or from having to perform the same action repeatedly. In addition, if you're often obliged to spend too much time at your desk or in the car, the resulting muscle weakness can add to the problem.

What are the consequences of not getting help?

Patients who seek treatment from their neck-centered issues are often surprised to learn that some other problems they've been experiencing might be related. So even if you think you can "live with" not being able to turn your neck fully, other problems can accumulate.
For example, if you have chronic migraines or frequent bouts of tension headaches, a pinched nerve in your neck may actually be the culprit, rather than your diet or your busy schedule. In addition, you may find that the problems you've been having with shoulder mobility - or shooting pains down your arms and hands - often spring from compressed nerves in your upper vertebrae.
Untreated neck pain can even lead to issues you might never expect, such as balance problems or trouble gripping objects. That's because each of the nerve roots located in your upper vertebrae are connected to other parts of your body, from your biceps to each of your little fingers

How can neck pain and headaches be treated?

Once we've pinpointed the main cause of your neck pain and stiffness, as well as headaches that we've determined stem from upper vertebrae issues, we'll develop a treatment plan with you. In your sessions, you'll be taken through moves that build strength and flexibility. Our team of physical therapists will also help you learn how to better position yourself during your daily life to avoid relapses, including ergonomic and posture tips.

Call us today at Lafayette, CO Center so we can help you quickly resolve the debilitating neck pain you're feeling now - and learn how to prevent it in the future.

BACK PAIN AND SCIATICA

HOW DO YOU KNOW IF YOUR BACK PAIN HAS BECOME CHRONIC?

All of us have pulled a back muscle at some point, needing to spend a day or two cozied up to an ice pack and a heating pad. But when serious back and lower body pain, as well as stiffness or numbness problems, make it hard to function, you may well have sciatica.

What is sciatica?

When nerves in your lower back become pinched or compressed, the resulting pain, tingling and numbness affect your back, buttocks, groin and legs. Often, you'll feel it on one side only.

Several underlying causes can result in this nerve compression in your lower back. In most cases, it's a bone spur or herniated disc pressing into the nerve, but sciatica has also been known to occur when a tumor grows in the area, or when there's spinal degeneration and narrowing, which can happen with age.

What types of physical therapy treat back pain and sciatica?

Working on strength, flexibility and circulation are all crucial components to treating sciatic back and lower body pain. Among the most common categories of treatments for sciatica in physical therapy are:

Low-impact aerobics, to encourage circulation of nutrients and body fluids (as well pain-killing endorphins) to the areas that need it most. Most aerobic activity can be done outside of your physical therapy session, including walking or swimming, but your therapist can show you methods to work around your sciatic stiffness and pain as you do so.
Stretching exercises, to boost flexibility. Sciatica often causes spasms, tightness and limited range of motion in your back and legs. Various moves, such as hamstring stretches and lower-back moves like the "cobra" or the sitting torso twist, will loosen muscles and boost mobility.
Strength building moves, to tone the tendons, ligaments and columns that support your spine. Working your abs, hips and glutes will all result in a stronger core that resists lower back pain and sciatica.

Ready to eradicate your pain?

Our patients are often referred to us by their primary physicians or by a specialist, and we'll continue to work with your medical team to treat the specific cause of your pain. Our highly trained physical therapists will also give you a full evaluation, including a spinal alignment assessment, simple tests to evaluate muscle strength in the areas that support your back and lower body, and range-of-motion evaluations.

To get started on your back pain and sciatica relief treatment plan, call our dedicated team of physical therapists today at Lafayette, CO Center.

Regenerative Medicine

Management of orthopedic conditions is often accomplished through rehabilitation, surgery, steroid injections, and most commonly a combination of these treatments. Stem cell and platelet-rich plasma (PRP) treatments have gained attention in recent years as less invasive methods for healing tissue. Together, these treatments are referred to as “regenerative medicine”.

Both stem cell and platelet-rich plasma treatments are aimed at returning damaged tissue to a normal, healthy state by promoting the body’s natural healing process. Small cells in the blood called platelets begin the healing cascade by signaling damage and recruiting other cells to the region. These cells include stem cells which mend damaged tissue and replace it with new, healthy tissue.

PRP treatments use one’s own blood to provide a concentrated source of the platelets to begin the healing cascade. Stem cell therapies use stem cells (often from bone marrow in the pelvis) to repair the damaged area with new tissue. Stem cells have a unique ability to become any cell type in the body, which allows them to heal a variety of tissues from muscle to discs to bone.

Physical therapists have a unique role in stem cell and PRP treatments. Physical therapists guide the plan of care following an injection. A physical therapist will identify and help to improve faulty movement patterns that may have led to injury. Physical therapists also guide the return to activity after regenerative procedures just as they guide the return to activity after a surgery or injury.

Evidence on the effectiveness of regenerative medicine is promising. Research shows that PRP and stem cell treatments can be beneficial for a variety of conditions from chronic tennis elbow to degenerative discs in the spine. The amount of research to support these treatments, however, is still limited so they are rarely covered by insurance at this time.

Regenerative medicine is an exciting alternative to “traditional” management of orthopedic conditions, and it is likely that regenerative treatments will become more widely available in coming years