Friday, February 19, 2021

ARE YOU BATTLING OPIOID ADDICTION? THERE’S A BETTER OPTION AVAILABLE!


If you are suffering from arthritis, particularly in a weight-bearing joint like the knee or hip, taking an opioid painkiller for relief can be a powerful temptation for you. All you want is for the pain to subside so that you can get on with your day, right?

Unfortunately, although opioids can temporarily relieve pain, your bones will continue to grind together, making the underlying cause of the condition even worse. Opioids don’t cure the source of your pain, they only mask it. So, rather than turning to opioids for your arthritis, consider the chemical-free alternative to arthritis pain: physical therapy!

Call our office to learn more about how working with a physical therapist can relieve your arthritis or other pain symptoms so that you can stop relying on harmful medications to get through the day.

HOW DO I KNOW IF I HAVE ARTHRITIS?

Arthritis is a very common condition that many individuals of all ages suffer from. Arthritis symptoms can be managed with the help of physical therapy.

Some of the most common symptoms that arthritis sufferers have to deal with include:

  • Inflamed tissues: The pain and inflammation associated with arthritis can cause tissue swelling near the impacted joint. The area surrounding the joint might feel warm to the touch.
  • Sensations of “grinding”: Arthritis is a result of lost cartilage, the material in the joints which acts as a cushion and lubricant between bones. The loss of cartilage can make it feel as if the patient’s bones are grinding together when they move.
  • Decreased mobility: An arthritic joint can restrict your range of motion, to the point where you are unable to carry out daily tasks like you used to. This can make doing the simplest of things difficult and frustrating.
  • Joint stiffness: The joints are especially stiff when you wake up for the day and may feel sensitive or painful when touched.
  • Pain: To put it simply, arthritic joints may hurt during or after physical movement.Physical Therapy is the best option for pain relief

WHY ARE OPIOIDS SO HARMFUL?

In a study published by the American Physical Therapy Association, titled “Beyond Opioids: How Physical Therapy Can Transform Pain Management and Improve Health,” the issue of opioid abuse is discussed. It identifies three important events that triggered what the medical community identifies as the “opioid epidemic:”

  • Increases in deaths involving prescription opioids starting in 1999
  • Increases in deaths involving heroin starting in 2010
  • Increases in deaths involving synthetic opioids since 2013

Both opioid prescription rates and deaths from opioid overdoses have quadrupled in the last twenty years. Given these stark statistics, an obvious conclusion can be made: Opioid dependence has gotten out of hand, and the consequences can be literally fatal.

Beyond extreme physical risk, over-reliance on prescription painkillers can have other detrimental effects on your health. Opioid use can lead to depression, which sets up a vicious cycle of self-medicating in order to feel better emotionally as well as physically.

The Centers for Disease Control offers some frightening statistics from opioid overuse in 2011:

  • Sales of prescription painkillers to pharmacies and providers had increased 300% since 1999
  • In 2010, 12 million people ages 12 and older reported using prescription painkillers “non-medically”
  • More than 40 people were dying each day from overdoses involving prescription opioids

You might be thinking, if these medications are harmful, what other options do we have in order to combat chronic pain? There’s an answer: physical therapy.

If you have been struggling with pain or discomfort, contact us today to find out how we can resolve your issues the natural way.

HOW CAN PHYSICAL THERAPY PROVIDE BETTER RELIEF?

If you have been diagnosed with arthritis, you can work with a physical therapist to learn strategies that will help you manage your symptoms, without having to resort to painkillers.

During your first appointment, be prepared to talk about your medical history with your therapist. You will be asked to describe your symptoms and how they impact your daily life. For example, does your arthritis prevent you from taking your dog on long walks? Are you no longer able to play weekend basketball with your friends?

Your therapist will likely have you do a few simple tests which will vary based on which joints are suffering from arthritis. In general, expect to be tested on your range of motion in the impacted joints, as well as your strength and balance. These tests will be used to determine how far the arthritis has advanced, and to assist the physical therapist in crafting the best possible plan of treatment for you.

WHAT TECHNIQUES WILL A PHYSICAL THERAPIST USE?

Body mechanics will be another part of your arthritis treatment. Your physical therapist will teach you the proper way to carry out daily activities with minimal impact on your arthritic joints. This helps to prevent the grinding sensation and helps prevent the arthritis condition from worsening.

Manual therapy will likely be a part of the treatment strategy for managing your arthritis. This specialized type of therapeutic massage not only relieves stiffness and pain in arthritic joints but can also help to loosen tissues up and extend your range of motion. All licensed physical therapists are trained in the use of manual therapy for arthritis.

Depending on the location of your arthritis, your therapist might recommend aquatic exercise in a pool for joint relief (as one possible example). The goal will be to increase your strength so that muscle structures can bear your weight better, without putting undue strain on arthritic joints. Exercise and weight management may also be a part of your course of physical therapy.

Thursday, February 11, 2021

DIY Plyometric Box

How much do you DIY?

When I started my garage gym, I had very little cash, so I built almost everything.
10+ years later, and economies of scale have prevailed. It's cheaper to buy most things than it is to build these days. But we still have many people in our community who have made racks, boxes, etc.
Today, I present the DIY Plyometric Box - One of my first DIY projects. It's one project that will still save a fair amount of money over having one shipped to your house. And, this thing is ROCK SOLID!
This is one of the easiest DIY Garage Gym builds I have completed and one of the most important.
I know many guys like to build their boxes in a slant (kind of like a pyramid with a flat top), but I prefer to keep my DIY projects easy.
People build it that way, so you don't catch your shins on the box, and for plyometric purposes. That does make sense, but I jump higher than the box and land on top. I do not jump at an angle forward and barely make it to the top…and neither should you. A rectangular box is a good practice for keeping good form for a box jump.
Jump. Land. Full hip extension. Land.
Building it my way not only saves you a geometric-math-problem headache but also gives you a 3 in 1 box!
Building a rectangular prism will give you three different sides to jump on that will be three different heights. This is great for different workouts and overall functionality.

Materials Needed:

  • 1 Piece of Plywood (I got the cheap plywood for flooring because it is tough. Get any plywood you want, so long as it is 3/4″ x 4ft x 8ft)
  • 1 box of screws
  • 1 Bottle of Gorilla Wood Glue
First, you must answer this question:
What kind of box do YOU want/need?? I built mine with these dimensions:
L= 30″
W=20″
H=24″
I wish I made the length more like 40″ because I like to do high box jumps sometimes. That is why you need to determine what you can handle and what you would want. You can make it as tall or as short as you want.

How to Build a Plyometric Box, Step 1: Let's start Cutting

You will need the following dimensions cut
  • 2x 30″ x 22.5″
  • 2x 30″ x 20″
The trickiest part of the project
  • 2x 18.5″ x 22.5″ (this cut will be the sides and will fit within the other pieces to make a streamlined box.)

How to Build a Plyometric Box, Step 2: Gluing and Screwing, what all DIY Projects need.

Now, you have all your pieces, just put them together. (Refer to the pic of the box above, it is pretty self-explanatory.)
Anywhere wood will be touching wood, put a thin line of Gorilla Wood Glue.
I recommend starting with the base and two sides, all touching. This will give it immediate stability, and you can let it dry as needed.
I would put a screw spaced about every 2-3 inches around the entire box while putting it together. I tend to overkill things when building, but hey, if it falls apart, you can only blame yourself, so make it STURDY. Mine has withstood a lot of jumping, and I have even used it as an apparatus for floor press with 250lbs. resting on it. Now you have built an item to add to your garage arsenal.

Tuesday, February 2, 2021

Dealing With Tension Headaches? Physical Therapy Can Help.



202Have you ever seen someone at work or in a difficult situation holding their head? What was your first initial thought? Most of us would assume either that they’re under extreme stress, or that they have a headache.

In fact, you may be right on both counts. Both physical and emotional stress can cause tension headaches. They can also trigger cervicogenic and migraine headaches, both of which can leave you effectively disabled for the remainder of your day.

You may struggle with chronic or recurring headache pain yourself, and if you do, you’re probably tired of taking pain-relieving medication all the time just to be able to do things you want to do. Maybe it’s time you found a better answer by consulting with a licensed physical therapist about your pain.

Physical therapy can ease your headache symptoms by treating their underlying causes, giving you a safer, more sustainable headache management strategy.

HOW DOES STRESS CAUSE HEADACHES?

Emotional stress and physical stress go hand in hand, with either capable of causing or aggravating the other. Being in stressful situations can cause muscles to tighten up as the body goes into “fight or flight” mode.Physical therapy can help relieve your stress-related headaches

When tightness affects the small muscles at the base of the skull (such as the RCPM muscle in the neck) those muscles may pull on a pain-sensitive membrane in the head called the dura mater. The dura mater responds by sending out waves of pain, giving you a classic tension headache.

Headaches that begin in the neck are referred to as “cervicogenic headaches.” These headaches are often caused by imbalances or alignment problems in the cervical spine. These imbalances place the neck muscles under physical stress, producing both headaches and neck pain. Emotional stress can also play a role in cervicogenic headaches, since the muscle tightness they create can help to pull the neck out of alignment.

Migraines are the most dreaded of headaches, and knowing that someone has one is sure to make you wince if you’ve ever experienced one yourself. In fact, a migraine attack may go far beyond the crushing headache it is notorious for producing, causing symptoms such as:

  • Sound and/or light sensitivity
  • Faintness
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Visual distortions known as “auras”

While it’s hard to pin down the underlying causes behind migraines, many of the triggers are well known. Stress, various foods, bright lights, loud sounds, weather changes, and hormonal swings can cause migraines, as well as physical overexertion or emotional strain.

HOW PHYSICAL THERAPY CAN RELIEVE STRESS-RELATED HEADACHES

While pain-relieving drugs such as NSAIDs (Aleve, Tylenol, ibuprofen) can relieve the occasional headache, what they can’t do is address the stresses that lead to chronic headache problems. For that level of relief, you need to see a physical therapist.

Our physical therapist will conduct a thorough evaluation that includes an examination of your neck and cervical spine, discussion of your symptoms, and analysis of lifestyle factors that may be sources of stress. This background allows us to create a headache management program largely rooted in the management of stress and its effects.

Your physical therapy treatment program may include:

  • Chiropractic adjustments to correct cervical spinal alignment
  • Ergonomic adjustments such as changing your computer monitor height (to prevent constant neck droop)
  • Mindfulness exercises such as yoga to help you add more serenity to your daily life
  • Suggestions for changing or sleep position or trying a different kind of pillow
  • Dry needling to ease stress-induced tension and pain
  • Massage therapy to relax tight neck muscles
  • Exercises to limber up your neck or strengthen your neck muscles

OTHER CAUSES OF STRESS-RELATED HEADACHES

There may be a physical cause behind your stress-related headaches. An accident or injury to the neck or back can contribute to headaches. Poor posture and arthritis are two other potential causes.

Depression and anxiety are similar emotions to stress that can also lead to headaches. In general, you can expect stretching and strength training to be part of your treatment. The treatment of your stress-related headaches will depend in part on the diagnosis. For example, one course of treatment that would work for correcting your posture and strengthening the neck muscles might not be appropriate if your headaches are the result of a past injury.

Other options that your physical therapist might employ can include:

  • McKenzie therapies
  • Cervical traction
  • Body mobilization
  • Hot and cold compressions
  • Soft tissue mobilization

Besides the treatment you will receive during your physical therapy sessions at the clinic, your therapist will also recommend exercises, stretches, and lifestyle changes that you can make at home, which will all contribute to eliminating your headaches.