Physical therapy for gamers

Physical Therapy for Gamers

The Gamer's Guide to Physical Therapy

Scroll through social media and you’ll see endless posts targeted towards traditional athletes, like:

  • Strong Knees for Lifters
  • Core Training for Runners
  • Bulletproof Shoulder Exercises for Baseball Throwers

But when was the last time you saw a post about physical therapy for gamers? If your answer is “a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away,” then this post is for you!

 

How can physical therapy help gamers?

Whether you perform esports professionally or play tabletop role-playing games for fun, you’ve likely experienced body aches and pains at some point, especially if you’re gaming for long stretches of time. Due to sustained static postures and repetitive motions, many gamers suffer from neck pain or back pain, headaches, wrist pain, or carpal tunnel syndrome.

This can make it more difficult for gamers to play the games they enjoy, as well as affect concentration. No one wants to deal with pain when they’re trying to speedrun a dungeon without taking damage!

There are many factors that can help reduce or eliminate pain for gamers. One of the most important factors to take a closer look at is your gaming set-up. Many wrist, elbow, and neck issues can be helped quickly by just optimizing your gaming set-up for your height and ergonomics. Check out this YouTube video for helpful tips on desk ergonomics.

However, even with a 100% perfect gaming set-up, it is still possible to have pain due to the demanding nature of gaming for long periods of time. Due to the extreme concentration needed for most games, we don’t always think about our posture or positioning while gaming. That is why it is important to have a flexibility, mobility, and strengthening routine that you can turn to after your gaming session is complete.

Here are just a few examples of stretches and exercises that can help reduce pain related to gaming:

Chin Tucks:

chin tucks
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Upper Back Extension:

upper back extension
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Tendon Glides:

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Nerve Glides:

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Steps 3

Our doctors of physical therapy specialize in helping people improve their movement and performance as well as manage their pain. If you feel that you need more help with managing pain related to gaming, that’s where we come in!

 

What can I expect during my physical therapy visit?

The first session, what we call the initial evaluation, usually starts out with “What brings you to therapy,” where we then dive deeper into your symptoms. For example:

  • What are your symptoms and where?
  • What makes your symptoms better/worse?
  • What is your gaming setup like? (PC gamer vs. console gamer)
  • What type of gaming do you do (ie, tabletop board games vs. video games vs. card games)
  • How long and often do you play?
  • What have you tried to help the pain/symptoms?

Once these have been clarified, we follow it up with tests to look at muscle length and extensibility, joint range of motion, and muscle strength, endurance, and coordination, as well as tests to reproduce symptoms. It’s essential to assess muscle endurance as many gamers stay in one position for a long time and need the ability to maintain static positions comfortably. Based on these findings, your therapist will outline your diagnosis (the WHAT and the WHY) and a game plan for recovery (the HOW).

At Rise Physical Therapy, we assess each individual and their unique set of symptoms and goals. So if you’re having pain, neck stiffness, pins and needles, or XYZ, we can identify the WHAT, the WHY, and the HOW to get you on the road to recovery, fast!

Get back in the game today! Request an appointment with one of our skilled Doctors of Physical Therapy to start feeling better now.

 

More questions? Give us a call at (479) 442-7473. Check out our Instagram to find more examples of exercises for gamers!

Gabi

Written by Gabi Back-Kremers, PT, DPT 

Featured image by JESHOOTS.COM on Unsplash.

PT Treatment of Cervicogenic Headaches

Navigating the Path to Relief: Physical Therapy for Cervicogenic Headache Treatment

Cervicogenic Headaches- Causes and treatments 

 

What is a cervicogenic headache? 

A cervicogenic headache is a headache that originates from structures in the neck. It is known as a secondary headache because it is a symptom of an underlying problem such as a neck issue or injury.  These headaches usually accompany a reduced range of motion (ROM) of the neck and may be confused with a migraine, tension headache, or other primary headache syndromes.  

Diagnostic criteria must include all of the following points: 

  1. The source of the pain must be in the neck and perceived in the head or face.
  2. Evidence that the pain can be attributed to the neck.
    • It must have one of the following: demonstration of clinical signs that implicate a source of pain in the neck or abolition of a headache following diagnostic blockade of a cervical structure or its nerve supply using a placebo or other adequate controls.
  3. Pain resolves within three months after successful treatment of the causative disorder or lesion. 

 

What causes a cervicogenic headache? 

A cervicogenic headache is caused by referred pain arising from irritation of cervical (neck) structures innervated by spinal nerves C1, C2, and C3. Therefore, any structure innervated by the C1–C3 spinal nerves could be the source of a cervicogenic headache. These nerves can radiate pain to the back of the head, behind the ear, and the upper shoulder. 

 

Nerves of the neck

 

 

 

 

 

Image illustrating nerves of the neck and shoulder.

 

Because cervicogenic headaches arise from problems in the neck, different conditions can trigger this type of pain. These include degenerative conditions like osteoarthritis,  disc issues in the neck, or a whiplash injury. An injury to the neck from falling or playing sports can also trigger these headaches. They may also occur due to your posture while sitting or standing.  Falling asleep in an awkward position can also cause these types of headaches.  A compressed or pinched nerve in or near the neck is another cause of cervicogenic headaches. 

 

Cervicogenic headache treatment

Physical therapy is considered the first line of treatment.  Your doctor of physical therapy will ask questions about your symptoms, assess your range of motion, joint mobility, posture, and strength. They will then come up with a treatment plan that will help eliminate the underlying cause of the headache. Our doctors of physical therapy provide evidence-based treatments that are backed by science. 

 

Physical therapy treatment for cervicogenic headaches may include: 

  • Massage
  • Dry needling 
  • Joint mobilizations of the neck and upper back
  • Posture education and retraining
  • Strengthening exercises

 

Most cervicogenic headaches respond very well to physical therapy treatments. In more severe cases, further medical management may be needed. 

Other treatment options include: interventional therapy (injections, ablations, nerve blocks, etc.) which will differ depending on the cause of the headache. 

 

Do I need imaging (x-ray or MRI?)

Imaging of the cervical spine is not sensitive enough for diagnosing a cervicogenic headache. Recent studies show no specific radiologic abnormalities associated with cervicogenic headaches, meaning that your imaging may be normal even if you have headaches. MRIs or CTs can be ordered to help rule out some possible causes such as Chiari malformations, nerve root pathology, or identify spinal cord pathology (e.g., asymmetric facet arthropathy or rheumatoid changes around the atlantoaxial joint) but cannot point directly to a cervicogenic headache.  Surgery is performed only as a last resort

 

If left untreated, cervicogenic headaches can become severe and debilitating. If you have a recurrent headache that doesn’t respond to medication, see a doctor. The outlook for cervicogenic headaches varies and depends on the underlying neck condition. However, it is possible to alleviate pain and resume an active lifestyle with physical therapy treatment. 

 

Our doctors of physical therapy can help screen for the cause of your headache and help you determine if further medical intervention is needed. 

 

Take charge of your health today! Request an appointment with one of our skilled Doctors of Physical Therapy to start feeling better now.

More questions? Give us a call at (479) 442-7473.

 

Carrie Lynch

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Written by Carrie Lynch, PT, DPT

 

 

Image source:

 

 

jaw pain treatment

Taking a Bite Out of TMD: Physical Therapy Treatment of Jaw Pain

Physical Therapy for TMD

Have you ever seen someone on TV clutching their jaw in pain and exclaiming, “I have TMJ!”? Well, the truth is, they’re not wrong–we all have TMJ, two of them to be exact. The TMJ, or temporomandibular joint, refers to the joint between the jaw bone and the temporal bone of the skull. What people are actually referring to when they have pain in these joints (there is one on each side), is TMD, or temporomandibular dysfunction.

 

What is the TMJ?

The TMJ is responsible for opening and closing the jaw, as well as assisting with speech. The TMJ consists of the two joint surfaces that contact a cartilaginous disc in the center, which provides cushioning and stability to the joint. Pain associated with TMD may be felt in the jaw, face, ear, neck or head. Associated symptoms may also include ear fullness, ear pain, tinnitus, headaches, clicking, popping, grinding, or getting stuck with your mouth open or closed.

 

What is TMD?

TMD refers to dysfunction of the TMJ and associated structures. There are several categories of TMD that are culprits for causing pain in the jaw and surrounding areas. 

Muscle Disorders

  • Tightness in the muscles responsible for moving the jaw (primarily closing) can cause pain that may be felt in the temple, cheek, face, jaw, or head.

Disc Displacement

  • Disc displacement is generally characterized by abnormal movement (too much or too early) of the internal disc during opening and closing of the jaw. Normally the disc should slide forward during jaw opening, but sometimes this occurs too early or the disc can remain stuck in a forward position, causing increased pain with jaw opening or closing. Sometimes the jaw can even get stuck in an open or closed position. 

Arthritis

  • Just like any other joint that moves, there can be arthritis in the TMJ. This occurs due to normal wear and tear over time, but it can cause pain and what is known as “crepitus,” or abnormal joint sounds that may sound like crunching or grinding. However, disc issues can also cause noise when opening or closing the jaw. 

 

What to do if you think you have TMD

  • The good news—Physical Therapy is an excellent, though often underutilized first-line treatment for TMD.
  • Your PT will assess your jaw and neck movement and check for any tightness in the muscles and joints.
  • There are many treatment options for TMD. They might consist of stretching, range of motion exercises, stretches for posture, and hands on therapy on your jaw, muscles of mastication (eating) and neck and jaw joints. Dry needling is also well supported by current research as a treatment for TMD.
  • Your PT will also work with your dentist or orthodontist if they think that any mouth guards or other dental intervention is needed. 

 

Take charge of your jaw health today! Request an appointment with one of our skilled Doctors of Physical Therapy to start feeling better now.

More questions? Give us a call at (479) 442-7473. You can also check out additional TMD resources here.

 

rise physical therapy

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Written by Alyssa Lindau, PT, DPT

 

 

Front desk checking your deductible

Fiscal Fitness: Leveraging Your Deductible and HSA/FSA for Year-End Physical Therapy Benefits

As the year draws to a close, it's essential to take advantage of the health benefits you've earned through your insurance plan. Insurance can be confusing, and it’s essential to understand your benefits and how your deductible can be used to your advantage at the end of the year. 

 

What Is A Deductible?

A health insurance deductible is the amount you must pay out of pocket for covered healthcare services before your insurance plan starts to contribute. In simpler terms, it's your initial financial responsibility for medical expenses. Once you meet your deductible, your insurance coverage typically kicks in, and you'll only be responsible for co-payments or co-insurance for the remainder of the year.

 

Why Meeting Your Deductible Matters

For many patients, meeting their deductible means they've reached the maximum amount they need to pay for covered services in a given year. This presents a unique opportunity, especially if you've been considering physical therapy.

 

If you've met your deductible, scheduling a physical therapy evaluation before the end of the year can be a smart financial move. Since you've already fulfilled your deductible, you can take advantage of your insurance coverage without worrying about additional out-of-pocket expenses. This allows you to receive the care you need while maximizing the benefits you've paid for throughout the year.

 

Benefits of Scheduling Physical Therapy Before Year-End

  • Cost Savings: With your deductible met, you can potentially receive physical therapy services at a lower cost or even at no additional expense.
  • Optimal Health: Addressing physical issues promptly can prevent them from becoming more severe, leading to better long-term health outcomes. Addressing your pain now can get you feeling better before your deductible resets at the start of the new year!
  • Maximize Insurance Benefits: By scheduling before the end of the year, you ensure that you make the most of the insurance benefits you've worked hard for throughout the year.

 

Utilizing Your HSA or FSA Before Year’s End

Health Savings Accounts (HSAs) and Flexible Spending Accounts (FSAs) are financial tools that enable individuals to set aside pre-tax dollars for qualified medical expenses. Some plans have a "use-it-or-lose-it" feature, where any remaining funds at the end of the year may be forfeited. Scheduling a physical therapy appointment before the year's end can be advantageous for those with HSA or FSA balances to spare. By utilizing these funds for physical therapy sessions, patients can optimize their health benefits and prevent potential forfeiture of unused dollars. This proactive approach not only promotes well-being but also maximizes the financial benefits associated with these accounts, contributing to a healthier and fiscally responsible start to the new year.

 

Are you ready to take advantage of your year-end health insurance benefits? Request an appointment now and start feeling better before the New Year!

 

rise physical therapy

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Written by Alyssa Lindau, PT, DPT

 

 

apple health app

Unlocking Your Balance: How Smart Devices Can Help Assess and Improve Your Gait

In this era of smart technology, our gadgets are not just for convenience but are becoming indispensable tools for our health. There is an increasing interest in using sensor systems embedded in smartwatches/smartphones for health care purposes. The Apple Health app can now assess your gait and balance and let you know if your gait has changed. 

Gait (walking) performance is an important marker of functional ability, independent living, and survival. Studies show that a smartphone can be used as an assessment tool to quantify ambulatory tasks while navigating both unobstructed and obstructed surfaces. Smartphone-based assessment using the Apple Health app, regardless of phone placement, is shown to be reliable and valid for all gait parameters across obstructed and unobstructed conditions, both indoors and outdoors. 

How Does the Apple Health App Assess Your Balance?

When you carry your iPhone in a pocket or holster near your waist, the Apple Health app uses custom algorithms that assess your balance, strength, and gait. You can receive a notificationif your walking steadiness becomes low or stays low, and you can automatically share the notification with friends or family. According to Apple, walking steadiness is calculated using factors like walking speed, step length, double support time, and walking asymmetry data that is stored in the Health app. This provides a sense of the way you walk and is also related to your fall risk. As steadiness goes down, your risk of falling goes up. Walking steadiness is not an indication of how likely you are to fall in any given moment but an overall sense of fall risk in the next 12 months. 

 

According to the National Institute of Health (NIH), falls in older adults are an indicator of “frailty, immobility, and acute and chronic health impairment." They can lead to serious health complications and injuries such as fractures and head injuries. However, even if you or a loved one are at risk for falls, a physical therapist can assess your balance and strength and provide interventions to significantly reduce risk of falls.

 

How Can I Assess My Fall Risk?

To assess your fall risk yourself using your Apple Health app:  

  • Open the Health app on iOS. It looks like a small red heart in a white square.  
  • Then tap "Show All Health Data" and scroll down. 

Android also has a version of this feature. 

 

While your device might spot the poor stability in your stride, this is just the first step. Don't wait until an accident happens – take action now! Request an appointment with our expert physical therapists to have your balance and fall risk assessed. Your journey to improved stability begins with a single step.

 

 

Carrie Lynch

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Written by Carrie Lynch, PT, DPT

Photo by Oliur on Unsplash

 

References: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK235613/
shoulder anatomy tendonitis treatment

What Is Tendonitis/Tendinopathy?

Tendonitis Treatment

Before we discuss tendonitis treatment, let's first consider the anatomy! Tendons connect our muscles to bones, and therefore are the main way that we produce force.1  Before the 90s, it was thought that inflammation was the primary cause of tendon pain, so people used to call these issues “tendonitis”. As more research came out focusing on the damage in the tendon (primarily due to degenerative changes) being the main driver for both pain and decreases in function, this terminology shifted to “tendinopathy” (largely based on the work of Mafulli et al.). 2, 3  

 

Stages of Tendinopathy

 

So, there has been damage to a tendon, and the most prominent model currently followed is Jill Cook’s three-stage model (reactive, disrepair, degenerative).4  The first stage, reactive tendinopathy, has also been called the “injury” stage, and is typically an acute response.5 Another way of putting this is you may have jumped into something too rapidly or advanced load or volume too quickly.  An example of this could be starting a new workout routine or doing a lot of repetitive movements. Another potential mechanism is direct trauma – let’s say that you fell directly on your knee or shoulder. This could trigger the reactive stage as well. 

 

The second stage of tendon disrepair has also been called the “failed healing” stage, where changes in the extracellular matrix become more pronounced, and the tendon is thus more susceptible to the damage. Typically, this occurs when that initial stage continues to be handled poorly and advances to this stage. An example of this would be continuing to work out or perform the same repetitive motions once you already have tendon pain. 

 

The final stage is the degenerative stage, also labeled the “clinical presentation,” as this is typically when patients seek medical attention. This is when tendons are most susceptible to ruptures, and also where we start to see large scale degenerative changes in both the extracellular matrix and within the tissue cells (which is what may lead to those ruptures). 

 

Symptoms of tendonitis include difficulty and pain with movement, joint stiffness, swelling, and a “crackling” or grinding sensation.

 

 

I think I have tendonitis/tendinopathy. What do I do now?

Seeing a physical therapist is a great place to start for tendonitis treatment. Our skilled doctors of physical therapy will identify contributing factors such as muscle imbalances or improper biomechanics (movement of joints and muscles). Based on this evaluation, a personalized exercise program is developed, incorporating targeted stretches and strengthening exercises to gradually restore the affected tendon's integrity and flexibility. Manual therapies, such as soft tissue and joint mobilization, can further aid in reducing pain and promoting blood flow. Additionally, our doctors of physical therapy will educate you on proper body mechanics and ergonomic practices to prevent future recurrence.

 

I shouldn't start physical therapy for tendonitis treatment unless I have imaging first, right?

Medical imaging, such as ultrasound or MRI, is not always necessary to diagnose tendonitis. In many cases, a skilled healthcare professional, such as a physician or physical therapist, can diagnose tendonitis based on a thorough clinical examination, medical history, and a discussion of symptoms. Our highly trained doctors of physical therapy will assess your pain, range of motion, strength and functional movements in addition to your symptoms and medical history.

 

Tendonitis can often be effectively managed and even resolved with physical therapy alone, especially in mild to moderate cases. Physical therapy plays a significant role in promoting healing, reducing pain, and restoring normal function to the affected tendon and surrounding tissues.

If you think you are dealing with tendonitis/tendinopathy, request an appointment so we can help get you back to the activities you enjoy!

 

 

Matt Harper

Written by Matt Harper, PT, DPT, CSCS

 

 

References
1. Canosa-Carro, Lorena, et al. "Current understanding of the diagnosis and management of the tendinopathy: An update from the lab to the clinical practice." Disease-a-Month 68.10 (2022): 101314. 
2. Khan, Karim M., et al. "Time to abandon the “tendinitis” myth: painful, overuse tendon conditions have a non-inflammatory pathology." Bmj 324.7338 (2002): 626-627. 
3. Maffulli, Nicola. "Overuse tendon conditions: time to change a confusing terminology." Arthroscopy: The Journal of Arthroscopic & Related Surgery 14.8 (1998): 840-843. 
4. Cook, J. L., and Craig R. Purdam. "Is tendon pathology a continuum? A pathology model to explain the clinical presentation of load-induced tendinopathy." British journal of sports medicine 43.6 (2009): 409-416. 
5. Fu, Sai-Chuen, et al. "Deciphering the pathogenesis of tendinopathy: a three-stages process." BMC Sports Science, Medicine and Rehabilitation 2 (2010): 1-12. 

 

 

Photo by Alan Calvert on Unsplash

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Working in an office

Posture Tips for the Office or Working From Home

Everything we do every day–sitting in traffic in our cars, sitting at our desks at work, and scrolling through social media on our phones-can cause major issues for our overall health and well-being.

Our bodies have not been able to adapt to the postural stresses we place on them because we were designed to move rather than to be in static positions for long periods of time. The World Health Organization classifies physical inactivity as “one of the leading risk factors for death worldwide."

Even people who work out every day are still considered “sedentary” if they spend the remainder of their time sitting. Being sedentary increases the risk for a variety of health issues, like diabetes, high blood pressure and cancer, in addition to orthopedic problems like decreased tissue and bone quality, poor joint health, tight muscles and muscle breakdown. This can lead to neck and shoulder pain, back pain, knee pain, as well as breathing problems and headaches.

 

What "Bad" Posture Looks Like

No one is able to maintain perfect posture 100% of the time. The postural muscles that surround the spine and shoulders are made to work at a low level of effort all the while we are upright. These muscles are easily over-worked when we assume poor postures because they get stretched and therefore are unable to work as efficiently. The most common example of postures that over-tax our muscles is working at a computer that is too low for our eye level, such as a laptop. This causes increased stress on the lower back, upper back, and neck and can actually lead to changes in the joints of the spine and lost range of motion, stiffness and pain, including headaches.

 

Benefits of Posture and Mobility Exercises

The spine has several different kinds of support to help keep us upright. The postural muscles are the first line of defense, but these muscles can weaken over time. We then depend on the ligaments that connect our vertebrae together to keep up sitting in an upright posture, but these too can get slowly stretched out and weakened over time from poor posture. Too much sitting can also decrease the overall health and mobility of our joints. All of these effects of poor posture are preventable and most of these effects can be reversed or prevented with a daily mobility program and by alternating between sitting and standing.

 

So, What Can You Do to Help Your Body?

Following a daily mobility routine is an effective way to prevent the effects of static postures. The majority of the following exercises can be easily performed at a desk or at home.

 

Chin Tucks

Sitting in a chair, tuck your chin straight back.

Upper Back Extensions

Sitting in a chair, support your lower neck with your hands and extend your upper back as much as you can.

Press Ups (Cobras)

Lie on your stomach with your hands under your shoulders and push yourself up, letting your back relax.

Foam Roller Chest Openers
Lie on a foam roller and let your arms relax in a "T" shape.

Try to limit sitting to 30 minutes at a time. For every 30 minutes you spend sitting, spend 2 minutes standing or walking around. This will give your body a break, give your muscles a chance to move and give you an energy boost! Use a lumbar support roll whenever seated. Perform the suggested daily mobility exercises 1-2 times per day. Strengthening the body’s postural support muscles can also be very helpful for helping you maintain better postural health. Check out our YouTube channel for helpful tips on how to optimize your desk setup.

Click here to schedule a visit with a PT. We can develop an individualized strength and mobility plan to keep you healthy and moving well.

rise physical therapy
Written by Alyssa Lindau, PT, DPT
Fayetteville, AR

 

Photo by Tim van der Kuip on Unsplash

Maintaining Balance as We Age

Balance is the ability to distribute weight in a way that will let us hold a steady position. Balance begins with a nonstop stream of information gathered by several systems in the body. The visual system (your eyes) helps you to orient yourself in space. The musculoskeletal system (muscles, joints, tendons) contains special sensors that provide you with awareness of your body and movements in space (proprioception or kinesthesia). The vestibular system (inner ear) provides information about head position, spatial orientation, and motion. All three of theses systems are continually sending their findings to the brain. This flood of data gets processed and the result is the ability to stand, move, perform tasks and remain balanced. Strength and flexibility are also other important components of balance. They are required to keep the body upright and under control. Good balance relies on the muscles of the feet, legs, buttocks, abdominals, and torso.

As we age, we lose the function to balance through loss of sensory elements, decreased ability to integrate information and issue motor commands, and loss of musculoskeletal function. What can you do to fight this loss? Resistance training and weightlifting will build strength and stamina. Yoga, tai chi, and Pilates will help with flexibility. Simple activities, such as standing on one foot while brushing your teeth or cooking, always rising from a chair without using your arms, practicing walking backwards or heel-to-toe in a straight line all directly target balance. Researchers have found that balance begins to decline in midlife, starting at about age 50. In one recent study, adults in their 30s and 40s could stand on one foot for a minute or more. At age 50, the time decreased to 45 seconds. At 70, study participants managed 28 seconds. By age 80 and older, they lasted less than 12 seconds standing on one foot.

Because the aging process can affect vision, strength and balance, adults 65 and older are at elevated risk for falls. However, falls are not a natural part of aging and can be prevented.

Balance and Fall Risk Assessment

Physical Therapists can examine you and assess your balance and risk of falling. Guidelines published by the American Geriatrics Society and British Geriatrics Society (AGS/BGS) recommend screening adults 65 and older for fall risk every year. A balance and fall screen may include questions about your history of falling in the past year, and if there was a need for medical attention. Even if you have not fallen, a comprehensive evaluation and balance training are key in preventing potential slips and trips, helping you live without the fear of an accidental fall. Physical therapists will use balance re-training exercises, gait training, safety training, and muscle strengthening to help those who are struggling with balance issues due to injury or aging.

Request an appointment to have one of our Doctors of Physical Therapy assess your balance and help prevent falls.

Written by: Carrie Lynch, PT, DPT
Fayetteville, AR

Photo by Raphael Renter on Unsplash

Debunking Myths: The Truth About Physical Therapy

Physical therapy is often misunderstood as a passive process that only helps relieve pain. However, there’s so much more to it than that! We’re dedicated to educating people about what physical therapy is really all about, and what is can do for you. Physical therapy is a valuable tool for reducing pain, improving function, and enhancing your quality of life.

Myth #1: Physical therapy is only for those who have suffered an injury.

While physical therapy is certainly beneficial for those who have sustained an injury, it can also help individuals who are dealing with chronic pain, movement difficulties, or other conditions that impact their physical function. Whether you’re an athlete looking to improve your performance or someone who simply wants to feel better, physical therapy can help.

Myth #2: Physical therapy is passive and boring.

One of the biggest misconceptions about physical therapy is that it’s a passive process that simply involves lying on a table while a therapist applies heat or ice. However, the reality is that physical therapy involves active participation by the patient. Our therapists work closely with each patient to develop an individualized treatment plan that includes a variety of exercises and activities designed to improve strength, flexibility, balance, and overall function.

Myth #3: Physical therapy is painful.

While physical therapy can sometimes be uncomfortable, it should never be unbearable or cause excessive pain. We prioritize patient comfort and always take care to adjust our treatments to meet the needs and comfort levels of each individual patient. Our goal is to help you feel better, not to worsen your pain.

Myth #4: Physical therapy is only for older adults.

Physical therapy is not just for older adults! In fact, it can be beneficial for people of all ages, from children to older adults. Whether you’re an athlete looking to reduce risk of injuries or someone who simply wants to maintain good physical health, physical therapy can help you reach your goals.

At Rise Physical Therapy, we’re committed to providing our patients with the highest quality care and the best possible outcomes. Our team of expert therapists are here to help you achieve your goals and get back to the activities you love. If you’re looking to reduce pain, improve function, and enhance your quality of life, don’t hesitate to contact us today to schedule a consultation!

 

Written by: Dr. Kyler Offenbacker, PT, DPT, OCS, CSCS
Fayetteville, AR

The Amazing ACL

With a total of roughly 250,000 ACL ruptures annually in the United States, it is time we begin to understand more about this important, yet easily misunderstood, ligament.

The ACL, or Anterior Cruciate Ligament, originates at the end of the femur (thigh bone) and inserts at the top portion of the tibia (shin bone). It has two major fiber bundles that combine to provide stability in the knee. The ACL is responsible for resisting anterior translation of the tibia (forward movement of the shin bone) and internal tibial rotation (torsional forces).

It is most injured in a non-contact mechanism. In fact, 70% of all ACL injuries are non-contact. This means that the ligament fails without any external force to cause the injury. This happens, most commonly, from a pivot, quick change in direction, or twisting of the knee.

The other mechanism of ACL injury can occur by means of contact, which most commonly happens when the knee goes into hyperextension with a direct blow to the joint. In both circumstances, the person will feel a “pop” in the knee which is due to the ACL tearing. There are many reasons the knee joint may “pop” that may not be of concern but are felt with ligamentous rupture most of the time when the injury occurs.

Generally, a person sustaining an ACL injury does not experience much pain or discomfort immediately, as adrenaline and protective mechanisms of the brain take over. However, in the circumstance of true ligamentous rupture, the knee will begin to swell, bruise, and become stiff over the next several hours. It may become more difficult to bear full weight through the joint, and most typically will be associated with feelings of instability, such as the knee “buckling” or “giving out.”

Unfortunately, ACL tears are very debilitating for the function and performance of the knee. It is likely that an athlete will be unable to participate in their sport at peak performance or without risking further injury to the knee. Time spent in rehab is typically 9+ months from the date of surgery and requires extensive effort, drive, and determination. However, with the motivation and encouragement in therapy, anyone can overcome this injury to safely return to sports, and/or do the things they love.

If you or someone you know is concerned about an injury to the ACL, it is best to schedule a visit to see your provider. There is non-invasive special testing that is sensitive and reliable to assess for ACL injury before you schedule any imaging.

If your therapist believes you have ruptured your ACL, they will explain your options and guide you in the next steps to start your journey of recovery. You will likely undergo magnetic resonance imaging, or MRI, to confirm your diagnosis while also assessing other anatomical structures within the knee that may be involved. From there, your goals and outlook will be discussed between your physical therapist, orthopedic surgeon, coach, parent, athletic trainer, etc. Collaboration is key, and your care should be individualized by an expert in ACL rehab and recovery.

Want to learn more about ACL rehabilitation? Stay tuned for more information in the future on what happens next following surgical reconstruction of the amazing ACL.

My daughter tore her ACL in September and started her post-op ACL Journey in November! Jacob has been great. He is very knowledgeable about the process! He is very kind and patient with her. He makes PT fun! He has been able to answer all questions thoroughly to my daughter’s understanding. We are almost 5 months post-op and the improvements from day one we have seen are remarkable! Kudos to Jacob, he is the best!

Written by: Jacob Davies, PT, DPT
Fayetteville, Arkansas

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