PAIN…it’s something we’ve all experienced

Pain can help prevent more serious injury.  For instance, it can make you quickly pull your finger away from a hot stove or keep you weight off of a broken ankle.  The causes of muscle and joint pain can usually be diagnosed and treated and the pain ends.  But in some cases when the pain develops slowly or persist for months or even years, then it’s called Chronic Pain and it can be tricky to treat.

Chronic pain is a huge problem; over 115 million people nationwide suffer from some kind of long-term pain.  Not only are drug therapies like addictive opioids not helping, they are harming record numbers of people.

Pain is not an input from the environment, it’s an output from the brain.  Differences in how we think and feel pain involve our personality, mood states, emotions and even our fear of pain itself.  Scientists are uncovering answers and physical therapist direct care can help.  In one study, volunteers were told how pain works in the body and brain which led to significant improvement of their overall pain perception.

New treatment strategies involving pain education, progressive exercise, sleep hygiene and proper nutrition can significantly decrease chronic pain.  There’s hope for people suffering with chronic pain and physical therapy can be part of the solution.

Who do you know that suffers with chronic pain? Do them a favor. Share this with them and you’ll be sharing some great resources that may just help someone finally cure their chronic pain.  We are here to help!

4 TRAINING MISTAKES MOST DISTANCE RUNNERS MAKE

For most runners who participate in marathons (26.2 miles) or half-marathons (13.1 miles), ample time is spent prior to the race engaged in a training regimen to help prepare for the longer distances. In the course of training, or on the day of the race, however, many will commit one of these four common mistakes, which can go on to be detrimental to their performance.

MISTAKE #1: THE WEEKLY LONG RUN

Weekly long runs are considered one of the most important components of training due to the physiological and psychological adaptations they create in the body, which are essential to completing long distances. Experts recommends a minimum distance of 8-10 miles for half marathoners and 15 miles for marathon runners completed at least twice before the race, but ideally further in advance. The following are some of the main adaptations weekly long runs are responsible for:

» Increased storage of glycogen, the primary storage form of carbohydrates in the body; training can raise glycogen stores and allow runners to retain enough fuel to finish the race without “hitting the wall”

» Improved psychological ability to handle long distances

» Improved ability to tolerate “pounding” legs will take while racing

MISTAKE #2: POOR PREPARATION

The majority of marathons take place in the spring or fall due to the preferable weather conditions, and most recommended training programs last for at least 10-16 weeks. What some runners fail to take into account is the fact that the bulk of training for spring marathons will take place in the winter-with much colder temperatures, decreased motivation-and for fall marathons it’ll take place in summer-usually with hot/humid conditions and more social obligations than winter months. What’s suggested is to simply factor in all aspects of training and the time of year one attempts to complete it before beginning a program.

MISTAKE #3: THE RACE-DAY ROUTINE

Trivial details that might go overlooked can cause major setbacks at race time, but if addressed properly, disaster can easily be averted. These are some typical examples:

» Not being used to racing in the morning, when most races begin

» Taking care of transportation logistics (i.e. planning enough time for parking)

» Eating and drinking properly before the race

» Clothing choices, including shoe, sock and outer garment wear

Most of these issues can be test-driven during weekly long runs prior to the race, so that when race day comes, all minor factors have already been experimented with and perfected.

MISTAKE #4: STARTING THE RACE TOO FAST

When running such great distances, it’s easy to go out at an unsustainable pace and wind up not being able to finish the race. Runners should be well aware of what pace they’re capable of, and should bear in mind modifications that must be made on race day such as weather conditions. With that pace in mind, take a conservative approach and shoot for negative splits, which has a greater likelihood of guaranteeing a finish and minimal late-race discomfort.

We hope you find this information helpful as you train for the next big race!

Sports injuries are common at all levels of participation. 

For recreational athletes and weekend warriors, sprains, strains and over-use problems happen all the time.  Here are five injuries that usually respond quite well to conservative care provided by physical therapy professionals. 

  1. ANKLE SPRAINS – Up to 23,000 ankle sprains occur each day.  A sprain usually involves the strong bands of tissue called ligaments on the outside of the ankle.  The recovery time depends on the grade of the sprain.  Regardless of the severity, specialized neuromuscular  re-education not only assists with recuperation but can also help prevent future ankle sprains.
  2. PATELLOFEMORAL SYNDROME – Knee cap pain is frequently reported by runners and endurance athletes.  Studies suggest that this diagnosis can be successfully treated by improving control of the thigh with a custom therapeutic exercise program.  Distance runners may also benefit from changing their gait pattern as well. 
  3. HAMSTRING STRAINS – Damage to these muscles is common among weekend warriors.  Unfortunately, about 1 in 3 athletes will re-injure these muscles within a few weeks.  Scientists have researched soccer player with this condition and have concluded that following an ordered recovery process or rehabilitation algorithm may result in fewer re-injuries.
  4. PLANTAR FASCIITIS – This painful heel problem may occur when people start walking, jogging or running programs.  The good news is conservative care consisting of stretching, soft tissue mobilization, and foot orthosis usually do the trick.
  5. ROTATOR CUFF TENDINOPATHY – Tendon issues in the shoulder are often experienced by overhead athletes like swimmers and pitchers that repeatedly perform overhead motion.  Like all of the previous conditions, shoulder problems usually respond very well to rest, rehab of the upper quarter and a gradual return to sport.

The American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine has created a great public resource called Stop Sports Injuries. On the site they’ve published a number of injury prevention guides.

Chances are you or someone you know have experienced one or more of the above.  The good news is that most will recover and physical therapist directed care can help.  Watch our video and learn more about how you can avoid injuries while participating in the sports you love.  

If you are battling an athletic injury, please contact us right away; we would love to help.

 

 

8 out of 10 people experience lower back pain sometime during their life.  Moreover, about 4% of people have ongoing or chronic lower back pain.  Here is some important information for people who experience a new episode, also known as an acute case of lower back pain.

  1. YOU’RE GOING TO BE OK – The spine is a strong, mobile and dynamic stretcher.  At times it can be very uncomfortable but the pain almost always goes away.
  2. DON’T RUSH TO GET AN MRI – MRI test show a lot of false positives.  Abnormal findings on an MRI are often nothing more than the normal aging process of your spine.
  3. SEE A PHYSICAL THERAPIST FIRST – Scientific research has demonstrated that patients with a new episode of lower back pain that see a Physical Therapist first have fewer surgeries, fewer spinal injections, fewer expensive test and a decreased need for addicitve opioid medications.
  4. PHYSICAL THERAPY IS EASY TO ACCESS – It may take you days or weeks to see a medical doctor but in most cases you can see a Physical Therapist within 48 hours.
  5. IT COSTS LESS – Multiple studies have concluded that on average care for acute back pain cost significantly less when you see a Physical Therapist first.

As you can see, Physical Therapy has little to no side effects, it’s natural, it’s easy to get treatment and on average, it’s more affordable too.  As expert clinicians in conservative, natural rehabilitation, we provide considerable value to those that have joint pain, muscle problems, and movement disorders.

We hope the message will provide you with confidence and information to advise your family members and friends when it comes to the treatment of joint pain, muscle problems, and movement disorders.

Take our quiz and find out just how much you now know about lower back pain and treatment.

CLICK HERE FOR QUIZ

CLICK HERE TO WATCH OUR VIDEO

Low Back Pain is so common that almost everyone experiences this problem at one time or another.

Conservative care for low back pain is usually in order and the best choice too.  Here are 5 quick tips that might help minimize stress on your low back and help you get back to the quality of life you once enjoyed.

LIKE YOUR MOM SAID – SIT UP STRAIGHT

Sitting usually aggravates low back pain.  It puts an unbalanced load on your discs, joints and the soft tissues of your low back.  If you have to sit for a prolonged period of time, make sure  you are using a lumbar/low back support and it is making contact with your low back just above your belt line.  This will help maintain the normal curve in your low back.

ONE WRONG LIFT COULD RUIN YOUR DAY

Practice Safe Lifting Habits – you’ve heard the tip before.  Bend at your knees, not at your low back, keep things close to your stomach when carrying objects to decrease the torque on your back too.

PILLOWS, PILLOWS

Use Pillows for Positioning – when lying down in bed on your side, make sure you put a pillow in between your knees to decrease rotation on your low back.  When lying on your back, put a pillow under your knees so that they are bent.  This puts the hamstrings on slack and lets the pelvis assume a position of comfort.

BED REST ISN’T THE BEST

Keep Bedrest to a Maximum of Three Days – contrary to common sense, lying in a bed for more than 3 days is likely to perpetuate your problem.  Pain is not usually proportional to the problem.  The best course of action is to get out of bed and resume normal daily activities to the best of your ability.  Chances are very good that your acute low back pain will resolve.

SEE A PHYSICAL THERAPIST FIRST

Most low back pain is “non-specific” in nature.  In a vast majority of cases, x-rays and MRIs are of little or no help.  Only your doctor and physical therapist can decide if imaging is appropriate.  However, most will fit into a category of treatment that responds well to hand-on techniques.

Bottom line, if you hurt your back, try to see a physical therapist as fast as you can. Physical therapy treatment is all natural, affordable, effective and has little to no side effects.

We are the experts when it comes to helping you overcome low back pain.  Call and make an appointment today and feel better tomorrow.

Good posture is something we all intuitively know something about, but here is a little more detail.

Ideal posture is something we all strive for.  Imagine if you were looking at yourself from the side and could draw a line from the top of your head down to the floor.  With ideal posture, that line would pass down through the ear canal, over the tip of the shoulder,  just in front of the middle back vertebrae, through the middle of the low back vertebrae, right over the pointy bone of the hip, through the middle of the knee and outer bone of the ankle.

Some people have increased curves and their head is forward. This puts excessive stress on
the neck muscles and can cause pain. Others have too large of a curve in the middle and or
lower back, which can also cause unusual stress on the middle and lower back. Finally, seniors may have a forward bent or kyphotic middle back. Often the bones become wedge-shaped making it impossible to stand up straight.

We can help you with your posture as well as the pains and muscle tightness associated with poor posture. If you or someone you know is having trouble with neck pains, low back pains, or poor posture have them give us a callOur expert staff in both our Morgan City and Thibodaux Clinics are ready to help you overcome the pains and strains associated with poor posture.  

Exercise is crucial to health…what’s your motivation?

The evidence is in, scientist, doctors and physical therapist all agree that a lack of exercise is a major cause of chronic diseases.  A sedentary lifestyle over several years is associated with:

  • Increased risk of Type 2 Diabetes
  • Cardiovascular Disease
  • Premature Death

The question is, “What can you do to motivate yourself to get 30 minutes of exercise each day? Consider the positive benefits of exercise.

  1. It reduces your risk of heart disease and diabetes.
  2. Helps you sleep better
  3. Helps your memory
  4. Helps you manage your weight
  5. Helps with your mood
  6. Reduces your risk of some cancers
  7. Strengthens your bones and muscles
  8. Boosts your energy
  9. Helps prevent falls
  10. Increases your chances of living longer

In a nutshell, it increases your quality of life!

So what’s your motivation?

  • Do you want to go on a dream vacation someday?
  • Do you want to surf, ski or play sports again?
  • Do you want to keep up with your grandkids?
  • Do you want to be a role model for your children?

Whatever your motivation may be, it’s never too late to get started.  Find your motivation, set some goals, remember the benefits and get some help and get 30 minutes of physical activity each day!

Learn more about our Wellness Program and what our personal trainer can do for you.  Alexia has over 4 years of experience in training individuals of all ages and fitness levels. She is certified as a personal trainer through the National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM), Aerobics and Fitness Association of America (AFAA), certified in the Functional Movement Screen (FMS), and in CPR/AED.

If you are experiencing aches or pains that are preventing a physically active lifestyle, call uswe CAN help!

School has been in for several weeks, have you noticed your child struggling with a heavy backpack?  Have you seen your child leaning to the left or right to support a heavy backpack on the opposite shoulder?  If the load is too heavy it might cause the child to arch their back as well.

While it may seem a little far fetched, wearing a heavy backpack day-in and day-out over the course of months or years may increase the risk of spinal injury.  Carrying heavy loads will cause your child to adopt compensatory and faulty postures.  These compensatory postures cause undo strain on the neck, shoulder and back soft tissues.  Spine disks are compressed unevenly, more muscular energy is required which can lead to fatigue and possible soft tissue damage.

In 1999, more than 3,400 pupils between the age of 5 and 14 years went to emergency rooms for injuries related to backpacks according to the United States Consumer Product Safety Commission.

So how do you avoid back pain by backpack?  Here are some simple backpack safety rules:

  1. Wear the backpack over the middle back, not high around the neck or low around the waist.
  2. Wear both straps.  Don’t let your child carry the weight of the backpack on one shoulder.
  3. Minimize the contents in the backpack.  The weight of the backpack should not exceed 10% of your child’s body weight.
  4. Keep the heavy objects closest to the body.

It is also important to recognize these backpack warning signs:

  1. Your child has difficulty lifting the backpack.
  2. Side bending, forward bent or arched spine postures to adapt to the weight of the backpack.
  3. Pain when wearing backpack.
  4. Tingling or numbness.

If your child is feeling the aches and pains of carrying a heavy load, we can help.

 

OBESITY: More Good Reasons To Avoid The Epidemic

According to a survey sponsored by ABC News, USA Today, and Stanford University Medical Center, over 50 percent of Americans are spending their lives dealing with reoccurring and chronic pain. If you’re one of those people, you just might want to check your waistline.

The survey showed that while about half the participants could pinpoint a condition or injury as a cause of the pain, just as many couldn’t come up with a specific cause. Other research suggests that pain may be the result of excess pounds. Among the most common areas that those surveyed indicated as a source of pain is the knee.

A study reported in the Journal of Arthroscopic and Related Surgery looked at how a person’s weight affected how well they responded to treatment for osteoarthritis of the knee. The study specifically looked at how women between the ages of 30 and 55 responded to knee surgery since the condition is more common in women than in men. The study showed that women who were overweight were much more likely to report less satisfaction with the results of the surgery than women of normal weight. This was especially true in relationship to their ability to perform everyday physical activities, like walking and climbing stairs, and in their general attitude toward life.

Sadly, it’s not just adults who are suffering the ill effects of excess weight. More and more children are being classified as overweight and even obese. In fact, another study published in Pediatric Physical Therapy states that the number of children and teens who are overweight increased threefold between 1980 and 2000, and that number just continues to rise. Childhood obesity poses many risks. Among the many problems that may occur in obese children are:

  1. SPINAL ISSUES:  Overweight children don’t develop enough spinal bone mineral content to support the extra weight they carry.  This may lead to a weakening of the spine and increased incidence of back pain.
  2. HIP PROBLEMS: Children who are overweight are at greater risk for a condition called Slipped Capital Femoral Epiphysis, or SCFE, which occurs when the growing end of the femur (the thigh bone) slips from the hip socket. Overweight children may experience the condition more frequently because of the excess pressure placed on the hip joint.
  3. BLOUNT DISEASE: Blount disease is a disorder of the skeleton that causes the legs to bow. There are two types of Blount disease -infantile and adolescent. Studies have shown that obese infants (between one and three years of age) are much more likely to have Blount disease than are infants of normal weight. Adolescent Blount disease is also most prevalent in those who are overweight. In fact, approximately 90 percent of all reported cases occur in black males who are classified as morbidly obese.
  4. INCREASE IN BROKEN BONES: Obesity has also been linked to a higher rate of broken bones in children. Fractures are most common in children during growth spurts. Children who are overweight may not have sufficient bone development to withstand blows that wouldn’t cause breaks in children of normal weight. This may be because of a lack of physical activity, which helps increase bone density, or it may simply be because an overweight child falls harder than one who is not overweight.

Although we know that obesity is caused by overeating, it’s a challenge to reduce weight in a healthy manner without following proper exercise. Your physical therapist will be able to suggest exercises that you can safely perform to help strengthen your body while reducing your weight.