Contrast Baths – DO Try This at Home!

Contrast baths reduce swelling and aids recovery from painful lactic acid buildup caused by excessive exercise.  At Accelerate Physical Therapy, we have developed an application of this technique that is easy to apply at home, and surprisingly effective in comparison to (an in addition to) every other modality we use clinically.  We use it extensively for ankle, foot, elbow and hand conditions to reduce edema (swelling), effusion (excessive joint fluid), pain and ecchymosis (bruising).

Try this (very inexpensive treatment) at home:

Fill up two basins or buckets – one hot and one cold – with water from your faucets.  Soak the effected part in cold water (preferably first and last) for 2-3 minutes, then alternate 2-3 minutes in hot water, 2-3 minutes cold, 2-3 minutes hot water, and finally 2-3 more minutes cold – for a total of  10-15 minutes of treatment.

Two dishpans are easy to find in many stores for less than 5 dollars each. Fill one with cold water and one with hot water from your kitchen faucet.

The use of heat immediately after an injury may cause MORE bruising and swelling.  Therefore, do not use HOT water until 2-3 days after the injury.

Hot water causes vasodilation (widening) of the blood vessels.  Cold water causes vasoconstriction (active narrowing) of the blood vessels.  Alternating this response is therapeutic, and is effectively manipulated by the change of temperatures.  Opening the blood vessels when the injury is fresh will cause more blood to be spilled between tissues.  This blood causes the bruising seen (and not seen).  The less blood and protein substances that are released, the shorter the recovery time will be.  The more bleeding and therefore bruising, the more painful it can be, and the slower the recovery will be.  Use cold treatment, compression, elevation and apply Arnica Montana gel to the skin over the injury to treat the injury for the first 2-3 days.

Sprains, tendonitis, epicondylitis, contusions, and painful nerve conditions all have benefited from Contrast Baths here at Accelerate Physical Therapy, PC.  We strongly suggest that people use it to improve conditions that otherwise be slower to resolve.

Exercise is a Cure!

Accelerate PTExercise is prescribed to assist healing from surgeries, injuries and chronic pain. At every stage, exercise activities aid in your recovery.

Here are some exercise benefits:

· Improve strength and restore range of motion.
· Stimulate soft tissue healing.
· Reduce inflammatory conditions.
· Improve body awareness.
· Reduce pain in joints because muscle balance improves the ability to move correctly. Reduce joint friction, stress and instability in dynamic activities.
· Stimulate bone strength in less active individuals.
· Bowel and bladder functions are enhanced by exercise.
· Improve circulation, reduce swelling in extremities.
· Prevent and reverse atrophy of the muscles.
· Decrease muscle spasms and back pain.
· Improve posture and associated soft tissue pain.
· Heal tendonitis and epicondylitis.
· Adapt support for longer, unloaded training.
· Aquatic exercise allows higher repetitions for accelerated return to athletics.
· Achieve wellness milestones with exercise.

Conditioning programs help physical therapists accomplish faster and more complete recovery with our clients. Evaluation and treatment by a licensed physical therapist can identify muscle imbalance and tightness that, with treatment can resolve problems and prevent a re-injury. A therapist will create a personalized treatment plan for the restoration of your active lifestyle.

Shoulder Impingement

What is Shoulder Impingement?

Impingement refers to mechanical compression and/or wear of the rotator cuff tendons. The rotator cuff is actually a series of four muscles connecting the scapula (shoulder blade) to the humeral head (upper part of the shoulder joint.) The rotator cuff is important in maintaining the humeral head within the glenoid (socket) during normal shoulder function and also contributes to shoulder strength during activity. Normally, the rotator cuff glides smoothly between the undersurface of the acromion and the humeral head.

How is Shoulder Impingement Treated?

The first step in treating shoulder impingement is eliminating any identifiable cause or contributing factor. This may mean temporarily avoiding activities like tennis, pitching or swimming. A The mainstay of treatment involves exercises to restore normal flexibility and strength to the shoulder girdle, including strengthening both the rotator cuff muscles and the muscles responsible for normal movement of the shoulder blade. This program of instruction and exercise demonstration may be initiated and carried out either by the doctor or a skilled physical therapist.

Source: American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine

Conditions We Commomly Treat

Soft Tissue Injuries
A muscle, tendon or ligament tear bleeds and swells. Control swelling and recovery time. Use cold, compression, bandaging, heat and massage.. Clinical treatment with ultrasound and electrical stimulaiton will speed your healing and your return to normal activities.

Athletic and Sports Related Injuries
Athletes are treated to emphasize recovery time. Treatment and exercise decreases recovery time. The development of strength, flexibility and coordination leads to complete recovery.

Inflammatory Conditions
Overuse of a body part which causes tendon and ligament tissue to become irritated in movement and at rest. Treatment and exercise can accelerate your recovery.

Neurological Injuries
Neurological injuries, including stroke, spinal cord injury, Multiple Sclerosis and nerve damage result in pain or numbness, and loss of strength daily functions and mobility. Physical therapists use techniques to restore normal function, control pain and improve strength and reflexes and suggest adaptive equipment to overcome disabilities.

Post-Operative Rehabilitation
After surgery, treatment to reduce inflammation, gait problems, impaired range of motion, muscle weakness and pain are provided. Restoring normal movement patterns and careful progression of activities by a physical therapist accelerates healing and protects surgically repaired tissues.

Chronic Pain and Stress Related Pain
Difficulty in managing postural weaknesses, headaches, musculoskeletal irritation, and long term shortening of muscles can be developed to reduce the frequency and intensity of these personal battles with pain.

Muscle Imbalances and Postural Defects
Postural weakness and muscular strength imbalances effect irregular curves of the spine and chronic pain. Consistent exercise changes muscle strength and joint flexibility to lessen the chance of irritation.

Geriatric Rehabilitation
Thirty two years of Medicare participation has given us a unique perspective and commitment to the management of all geriatric physical therapy needs.

How Can I Prevent My Shoulder From Dislocating Again?

Dislocating a shoulder is a traumatic experience. After having it put back in place (or like Mel Gibson, you smack your shoulder into a wall), there is a good chance you will have some questions about what happens next.

After a short period of time in a sling, you will progress to exercises like pulleys, wall climbing for range of motion; and closed grip pull downs, rowing on a machine and shrugs, for shoulder blade strength.

Patients can compensate for loose ligaments by increasing the strength and control of the rotator cuff and shoulder blade muscles. These muscle groups help pull the ball (humeral head) into the shoulder socket (glenoid) and will pull more tightly if they are strong.

Strengthening programs for the rotator cuff include rotation exercises as shown:

Shoulder RTC Ex

Low, or even no resistance, high repetition exercises can teach and rehabilitate the shoulder all it needs to know for a while. It may take 4 months to feel completely normal again.

Exercises that increase coordination of the shoulder are also important. Contact your physical therapist to learn exercises specific to YOUR needs.

Call Paul O’Brian, PT, CSCS at Accelerate Physical Therapy, P.C. in Arvada, Colorado. (303) 421-2210

Keep It Simple

In her blog post,  “10 Simple Things You Can Do Today That Will Make You Happier, Backed By Science”, Belle Beth Cooper describes how simple things (backed by science) can make all the difference in your personal happiness, well-being, and goes a long way to your overall recovery.

 

 

For more info, see the original blog post:

 

 

I would love to be happier, as I’m sure most people would, so I thought it would be interesting to find some ways to become a happier person that are actually backed up by science.

Written by

10 Simple Things You Can Do Today That Will Make You Happier, Backed By Science

 

http://blog.bufferapp.com/10-scientifically-proven-ways-to-make-yourself-happier

 

 

Relieve Your Back Pain – at Home!

back pain wordle
Manual therapy enhances results for almost all back problems, as well other joints.

Back pain is a frustrating problem, but there are a number of techniques that extend the positive effect achieved in clinical physical therapy sessions. As with so many other problems, the body has the ability to heal. The role of the back pain sufferer and the physical therapist is to:

  • Eliminate aggravating circumstances
  • Engage pelvic, abdominal, buttocks and leg muscles to improve their performance.
  • Relieve mechanical pressure, and restrictions to movement.

Each time an aggravation of spinal tissue occurs, inflammation, tissue pressure and heightened sensitivity of nerve endings slows, or reverses the healing process. Sit up straight. Your mother was right. Stand, and walk with supplemental arch supports in almost all shoes. Don’t lift or pull with straight knees or a rounded trunk.

Pelvic floor exercise, and hip strength combined with improved effort of the muscles in front (abdominals) and behind (extensors of) the spine stabilize the position of its parts to control aggravation while the body resolves the inflammation and heals the injured tissue. Stretching the muscles in your legs and back is an important activity.

The effects of treatment are often remarkable. Manual therapy enhances results for almost all back problems, as well other joints. Decompression can be achieved clinically, but is also effective at home with a swiss ball. Some techniques are available on Accelerate Physical Therapy’s website as videos. Look for the Exercise Videos at  http://acceleratept.com/resources/exercise-videos/

Our summer intern, Jimmy DeAndrea demonstrates decompression and strengthening techniques in these videos. Jimmy has returned to The University of Wyoming for his final year. A graduate of neighboring Arvada West High School , he will pursue a career in physical therapy after graduation.

If you have questions about more specific issues, call a physical therapist. Exercise programs have traditionally provided astoundingly successful results. A number of specific causes, including combinations of joint and nerve irritations are distinguishable, and confirmation by your physician is always advisable. If you have questions about more specific issues, call a physical therapist.

Physical Therapy: Treatment and Training

All of the following describe generally accepted, well established and widely used physical therapy procedures and modalities provided at Accelerate Physical Therapy. These procedures are used as primary or adjunctive techniques in soft tissue treatment for the progressive development of strength, mobility and to improve functional outcomes.

Physical Therapy Procedures

The level of complexity can characterize the following physical therapy procedures and the expertise required to perform the task. These procedures involve training exercises or modalities requiring more specific skill than those characterized as modalities, but may be provided by assistants under the direct supervision of a licensed physical therapist.

Soft Tissue Mobilization is the skilled manual application of techniques designed to normalize movement patterns through the reduction of soft tissue pain and restrictions for the following reasons:
Muscle spasm around a joint
Trigger points
Adhesions
Neural compression

Joint Mobilization is the passive movement performed in such a manner (particularly in relation to the speed oft he movement) that it is, at all times, within the ability of the patient to prevent the movement if they so choose. Skilled manual joint tissue stretching is used to improve, and as possible, normalize joint movement of the spine and extremities and is performed for the following reasons:
To improve joint play/mobility
Improve intrascapular arthrokinematics
Reduce pain associated with tissue impingement or friction
Functional Activities involve the instruction, active-assisted training and/or adaptation of activities or equipment and has the following results:
Improves a person’s capacity for homemaking, including meal preparation
Improves a person’s capacity form communication, utilizing equipment
Facilitates return to work at previous level of function in lifting, driving, climbing, pushing, pulling, etc.
Job site modification to decrease postural dysfunction/pain

Therapeutic Exercise with or without mechanical assist or resistance has the following indications:
Improve cardiovascular fitness
Reduces edema
Improves muscle strength and coordination
Improves connective tissue strength and integrity
Promotes circulation to enhance soft tissue healing/metabolism
Increases bone density
Increases endurance, reduces fatigue

Massage – Manual or mechanical manipulation of soft tissue to achieve:
Reduced swelling
Reduced muscle spasms
Improved outlying circulation
Increased muscle tone prior to exercise
Reduced adhesions
Increased muscle length

Neuromuscular Re-education is the skilled application of exercise with manual, mechanical or electrical facilitation and through its use enhances motor response, strength and recruitment rate with independent control.

Neurodevelopmental Activities/Reflex and Sensory Integration/Proprioceptive Neuromuscular Facilitation (PNF) involves the skilled use of activities and exercises that promote neuromuscular responses through carefully timed proprioceptive stimuli to normal neurologically developed sequences. It also improves neuromotor response and reduces risk of impromptu muscle failure. It improves tolerance and enhances strength, normalizes movement patterns and improves cell waste and bacteria removal, and increases the muscular sense and perception of movement, stabilization and reaction time. These techniques achieve sensitization, or if required, desensitization of joint movement.

Gait Training – Crutch walking or walker instruction to a person with lower extremity injury or surgery:
Promotes normal gait pattern with assistive device
Promotes safety in proper use of assistive device
Instructs in progressive use of more independent devices (platform walker, walker, crutches, an cane)
Instructs in gait on uneven surfaces and steps (with and without railings) to reduce risk of fall or loss of balance
Instruction in the use of equipment to limit weight bearing for the protection of a healing injury or surgery

Straight Plane Exercises with or without mechanical assistance or resistance has the following effects:
Improves strength and coordination
Reduces atrophy
Improves reaction, recruitment and endurance
Supervises safe progression of resistance
Teaches techniques which promote accelerated muscle development
Increases size and strength in musculotendinous tissue and tensile strength

Activities of Daily Living involves the instruction, active-assisted training and/or adaptation of activities for personal care or equipment for mobility and self-care. This includes:
A person’s capacity in mobility and self-care to move from floor or sitting levels to standing, fluently and without pain.
Aids in sleeping without pain, grooming and self care including hygiene.

P.T. Physical Agents (Modalities)

The primary use of thermal modalities is for pain, swelling and to improve the rate of healing soft tissue injuries. Extended use is supported by consistently measured changes. Certain diagnoses and post surgical conditions may require periods of treatment beyond the normal ranges of 3-6 weeks.

Additional procedures are occasionally necessary to help control swelling, pain or inflammation during the rehabilitation process. They may be used intermittently as a therapist believes appropriate, or regularly if there is specific measured improvement during the treatment.

If our patient is not responding within 3-4 weeks, alternative treatment, further diagnostic studies, or further consultations with their physician or another physical therapist should be considered.

Ultrasound is the use of sonic generators to deliver acoustic energy for thermal and/or non-thermal soft tissue treatment. There may be a concurrent delivery of electrical energy. Ultrasound can be used to obtain the following results:
Softening scar tissue and reduce pain associated with scar tissue and adhesions
To soften collagen fiber
Accelerate soft tissue healing process
Increase flexibility of muscles and tendons
Reduce muscle spasms and reduce pain associated with muscle spasms

Hot Packs
Reduce pain or raise the pain threshold before exercise, postural training and gait training
Reduce muscle spasm to promote increased movement
Increases circulation to aid healing

Cold Packs
Lowers body tissue temperature for reduction of inflammation
Lessens pain resulting from injury or exercise by increasing the pain threshold
Reduces swelling and hemorrhage. Used in combination with compression and elevation
Lessens pain and inflammation from tendinitis and bursitis
Diminishes muscle spasm to promote stretching and decreases exercise induced muscle soreness
Increases circulation to aid healing

Electrical Stimulation
Applies electrical current (AC or DC) over skin to muscles, joints or other soft tissue for the following reasons:
Relaxes muscle spasms (including TENS)
Reduces pain (including TENS)

Iontophoresis – The transfer of medication (including but not limited to steroidal anti-inflammatories and pain relievers) through the use of electric stimulation. This procedures has the following results:
Pain reduction
Inflammation reduction
Reduction in swelling
Aids circulatory problems in the extremities
Decreases muscle spasms
Breaks down calcium deposits and softens scars

Phonophoresis – The application of ultrasound using a medicated lubricant that introduces molecules into the tissue similar to those used in iontophoresis.

Contrast Baths – Involves alternating immersion of the extremities; promotes circulation and has the following results:
Reduces swelling in the subacute stage of healing
Improves outlying circulation
Decreases joint pain and stiffness

Paraffin Baths
A form of heat application that uses paraffin wax/mineral oil mixture applied safely at 126 degrees Fahrenheit.
Symptomatic resolution of pain
Elevates pain threshold
Prepares for exercise, mobilization of the distal extremities and gait training

Avoid the Pain of Traveling

Traveling is rough on the body. Whether traveling alone on business or to a sunny resort with your family, long hours in a car or an airplane can leave you stressed, tired, stiff and sore.

Warm Up, Cool Down

Treat travel as an athletic event. Warm up before settling into a car or plane, and then cool down once you reach your destination by taking a brisk walk to stretch your hamstring and calf muscles.

In the Car:

  • Adjust the seat so you are as close to the steering wheel as comfortably possible. Your knees should be slightly higher than your hips. Place four fingers behind the back of your thigh closest to your knee. If you cannot easily slide your fingers in and out of that space, you need to re-adjust your seat.
  • Consider a back support. Using a support behind your back may reduce the risk of low-back strain, pain or injury. The widest part of the support should be between the bottom of your rib cage and your waistline.
  • Exercise your legs while driving to reduce the risk of any swelling, fatigue or discomfort. Open your toes as wide as you can, and count to 10. Count to five while you tighten your calf muscles, then your thigh muscles, and then your gluteal muscles. Roll your shoulders forward and back, making sure to keep your hands on the steering wheel, and your eyes on the road.
  • To minimize arm and hand tension while driving, hold the steering wheel at approximately 3 o’clock and 7 o’clock, periodically switching to 10 o’clock and 5 o’clock.
  • Do not grip the steering wheel. Instead, tighten and loosen your grip to improve hand circulation and decrease muscle fatigue in the arms, wrists and hands.
  • While always being careful to keep your eyes on the road, vary your focal point while driving to reduce the risk of eye fatigue and tension headaches.
  • Take rest breaks. Never underestimate the potential consequences of fatigue to yourself, your passengers, and other drivers.

In an Airplane:

  • Stand up straight and feel the normal “S” curve of your spine. Then use rolled-up pillows or blankets to maintain that curve when you sit in your seat. Tuck a pillow behind your back and just above the beltline and lay another pillow across the gap between your neck and the headrest. If the seat is hollowed from wear, use folded blankets to raise your buttocks a little.
  • Check all bags heavier than 5-10 percent of your body weight. Overhead lifting of any significant amount of weight should be avoided to reduce the risk of pain in the lower back or neck. While lifting your bags, stand straight, away from the overhead compartment so the
    woman in obvious neck  pain
    Read more from La Prensa Travel

    spine is not rotated during the process. Do not lift your bags over your head, or turn or twist your head and neck in the process.

  • When stowing belongings under the seat, do not force the object with an awkward motion using your legs, feet or arms. This may cause muscle strain or spasms in the upper thighs and lower back muscles. Instead, sit in your seat first and using your hands and feet, gently guide your bags under the seat directly in front of you.
  • While seated, vary your position occasionally to improve circulation and avoid leg cramps. Massage legs and calves. Bring your legs in, and move your knees up and down. Prop your legsup on a book or a bag under your seat.
  • Do not sit directly under the air controls. The draft can increase tension in your neck and shoulder muscles.

Safe Travel For Children:

  • Always use a car seat in a car or in a plane when traveling with children below the age of 4 and weighing less than 40 pounds.
  • Make sure the car seat is appropriate for the age and size of the child. A newborn infant requires a different seat than a 3-year-old toddler.
  • In the car, the car seat should always be rear facing as the forces and impact of a crash will be spread more evenly along the back and shoulders, providing more protection for the neck.
  • Car seats should always be placed in the back seat of the car. This is especially important in cars equipped with air bags. If an air bag becomes deployed, the force could seriously injure or kill a child or infant placed in the front seat.
  • Make sure the car seat is properly secured to the seat of the vehicle and is placed at a 45-degree angle to support the head of the infant or child.
  • Ask the airline for their policy on child car seat safety. Car seats for infants and toddlers provide added resistance to turbulent skies, and are safer than the lap of a parent in the event of an unfortunate accident.

Exercise/Jog/Run Off Your Heels

Nearly 75%  of runners land on their heels. Joggers, runners, even walkers should not to land on their heels with great impact.  To prevent shin splints, ankle, knee, hip and back pain, all field athletes should try to land on the midfoot and avoid heel striking, especially in football, baseball and softball. In more enduring athletic efforts like soccer, rugby and distance running, landing on the flat foot, minimizing the intensity of heel contact protects the leg from destructive and compressive joint impact.  Players are victims of over striding. The angle of heel strike may be the physics problem we must solve.

Recent discussion suggests the need for firmer soles, based on the premise that running shoes offer too much cushion.  Changing your running style to foot flat or forward on the foot may take concentration, but improves the whole leg’s ability to absorb shock.  If you exercise on a treadmill, elevate the incline 5% to easily learn this technique, and perhaps instantly reduce your pain.

When you land on your heels, you are decelerating, or braking. Stay off your heels, and avoid slapping your feet. To run faster, lean forward, leading with your chin, holding your spine straight with core muscles. This puts the center of gravity in front of the planted, or stance leg. The more you lean, the faster you MUST move.run off your heels

Learning to run is well managed by speed coaches who help teach athletes to recognize inefficient running in others and to take responsibility for their own peculiarities. Some people say you can’t coach speed, but athletes with talent and horrible techniques are prime arguments to the contrary. Becoming stronger while the season progresses (with speed training and progressive weight training) are the key elements of our most famous success stories.

11651 W. 64th Ave, Ste. A-5, Arvada, Colorado 80004-4321