Friday, April 23, 2021

4 REASONS HIP AND KNEE PAIN DOESN’T HAVE TO CONTROL YOUR LIFE


WHAT IS HIP AND KNEE PAIN?

Hip pain can be caused by a variety of medical conditions as well as from certain injuries. It often occurs when inflamed tendons from over-exertion or an athletic injury. Tendinitis, dislocation, sprains, and pinched nerves can all contribute to or be the cause of hip pain. Hip pain may also result from repetitive injuries or poor posture.

Fractures, tendinitis, and knee bursitis are all common knee injuries. Injuries that include torn cartilage or damaged ligaments can cause knee pain. Medical conditions such as arthritis or gout can cause mild to severe knee pain. You may be experiencing stiffness or swelling in one or both knees, and it might be difficult to stand, walk, or fully straighten your knee. Sometimes knees will make popping or crunching noises.

If you’re experiencing hip or knee pain, don’t assume it will just dissipate over time! Chances are that you do need to see a physical therapist for help.4 Reasons Hip and Knee Pain Doesn’t Have to Control Your Life

WHAT BENEFITS DOES PHYSICAL THERAPY OFFER?

Hip and knee pain can be debilitating – it seems like no matter what you have on your schedule for the day, if you move around too much, you’re going to experience pain. Thankfully there are ways to reduce your pain over the long term.

It may take some time and effort on your part, but physical therapy has proven time and again to help reduce hip and knee pain for patients of all ages and backgrounds.

You might be wondering, “How does the pain relief I can get from physical therapy last for so long? Well, there are a few reasons! We’ve compiled some of the most obvious ones in a list for you below.

  • Physical therapy will prevent future injuries. One of the big frustrations with joint pain is that it never seems to fully go away. Even if you rest for a while and feel better, when you go out and start moving again the injury can flare up all over again. But with physical therapy exercises, you get much stronger than you were before. The added strength allows your muscles to better support your joints, so you are less likely to experience additional irritation in the joint.
  • A physical therapist can teach you how to move in the proper ways. Many times the pain you are experiencing in your hip and knee is related to unhealthy movement patterns. They may have been learned over time or in response to an initial injury. Those unhealthy movements cause added strain on your joints and lead to further pain and injuries. Your physical therapist will help identify unhealthy movement patterns and provide you with education that will allow you to replace those patterns with ones that will protect your joints from further injury.
  • Physical therapy can help you live a healthy and active life. Chronic hip and knee pain can be significantly improved or eliminated through regular exercise and a healthy lifestyle. Of course, you have to be able to move without significant pain to exercise – something that is made much easier by physical therapy. Your physical therapist can help you improve your hip and knee pain and teach you ways to exercise so that you avoid injuring your joints. Through physical therapy, you can regain strength and mobility so that you can lead a more active lifestyle.
  • It will stop your pain problem at the source. If you just treat the symptoms of a hip and/or knee issue, you are almost guaranteed to see the problem pop up again later on. However, if you can determine the true source of the pain problem, you can actually treat what is causing the pain. Physical therapists have a process to identify the causes of hip and knee pain so that they can give you targeted treatments designed to get to the bottom of what is causing your pain.

COMMON CAUSES OF HIP AND KNEE PAIN

A great number of problems can cause hip and knee pain. Some of these are related to musculoskeletal misalignment, poor posture, and/or excess weight gain; others occur as the result of natural aging or unhealthy sports/work habits. Your hip or knee pain may stem from:

  • Osteoarthritis
  • Tendinitis
  • Bursitis
  • Traumatic injuries, such as dislocation of the joint
  • Postural/alignment issues that throw your body off balance, straining the knees or hips
  • Runner’s knee, an instability of the kneecap
  • Infections

A skilled physical therapist can often tell the cause of your hip or knee pain from its location. For example, pain along the inside of the hip is more likely to be caused by a problem with the bones or cartilage. Pain along the outer side is typically caused by a problem in the muscles, tendons or ligaments.

Friday, April 9, 2021

EXPERIENCING BACK PAIN? A HERNIATED DISC COULD BE THE CULPRIT

 

You may have been in this position before. Something feels terribly wrong with your back, but you’re not quite sure what it is. You might be experiencing strange neck pains, back pains, or other symptoms in your extremities. These sensations can indicate a variety of potential problems – including one or more herniated discs in your back.

So, you might be wondering: how can you tell for sure whether you have this specific problem? And if you do have a herniated disc, what can you do about it? These questions don’t have to add confusion and frustration to your pain.

Here are some helpful tidbits of information from our physical therapist about herniated discs, their common symptoms, and how physical therapy can help you get rid of your discomfort.

WHAT IS A HERNIATED DISC?

Your spinal discs are flat discs of tissue that lie between the vertebrae. A disc consists of a fluid-filled center called the “nucleus pulposus”, encased in an outer structure called the “annulus fibrosus”. This arrangement makes the disc both tough enough and spongy enough to absorb shocks.

Unfortunately, that toughness has its limits. Sometimes a disc will lose hydration over time, causing the nucleus pulposus to get smaller. The disc loses its height, which stresses the spinal joints and may cause the disc to bulge outward.

Eventually, these changes can cause part of the annulus fibrosus to balloon and tear open; causing a herniated disc. Herniated discs can also occur suddenly due to an auto accident, workplace accident, or sports injury that traumatizes the spine. They are also known as slipped or ruptured discs, and they do require medical attention.

SYMPTOMS OF A HERNIATED DISC

Herniated discs don’t always cause symptoms in everyone, but on the chance that you are one of the people who experience them, here are some of the most common ones:

  • An inability to walk more than a few steps without pain
  • Pain, tingling, or loss of sensation in a limb (the result of a herniated disc pressing against nerve roots)
  • Back pain that seems to grow worse when you sneeze, cough, stand up, or sit down
  • Neck pain (if it’s a cervical disc)

Some of these symptoms may begin after you gain a lot of weight since obesity is a risk factor for disc problems. You may notice others shortly after an accident that caused extreme twisting of the neck or back, or an attempt to lift a heavy object.

Don’t panic and think that all back pain is the result of a bulging disc. If your symptoms seem to be soothed by massage, heat, or cold, you’re more likely to have a strained muscle. Ultimately, the most accurate way to confirm a herniated disc is through medical imaging. X-rays can reveal not only the abnormal shape of a herniated disc but also whether the herniation is pinching a nerve.

HOW ARE HERNIATED DISCS TREATED?

Physical therapy can successfully treat herniated discs! At your initial appointment, one of our physical therapists will perform diagnostic tests to determine the root of your pain and verify that your pain is indeed being caused by a herniated disc.

Once the cause of your pain is clear, a customized treatment plan will be created for you, based on your specific needs. This typically includes a series of targeted stretches and exercises aimed at relieving your pain, improving your function, and promoting the natural healing process of your body.

Additional treatments may be added as your physical therapist deems fit. These include:

  • Manual therapy
  • Class IV laser therapy
  • Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS)
  • Education on posture and lifting mechanics
  • Ice and heat therapies
  • Traction

Physical therapy is one of the safest, quickest, and most effective ways to treat herniated discs. It is a holistic and non-invasive approach that, in many cases, has been able to eliminate the need for harmful drugs or surgical intervention.

Your physical therapist will also advise you on any lifestyle changes that may be recommended in order to prevent herniated discs from developing again in the future. Our physical therapist can recommend specific exercises to build up the strength in your back or neck. These exercises can counter any atrophy or weakness you’ve experienced due to your herniated disc. Your therapist may also recommend other non-invasive techniques to complement your physical therapy exercises and help you heal.

READY TO GET YOUR LIFE BACK?

A herniated disc can cause a lot of misery — but don’t panic! Most herniated discs can be treated successfully without invasive and expensive surgical operations. Physical therapy can be the key to helping you reduce or eliminate your symptoms.