Did you hurt your knee or have surgery? Or is it achy and stiff because of arthritis? Either way, you might feel like the last thing you should do is get on your feet and move your joint around. But often physical therapy (PT) is what your doctor suggests to get your strength back and put you on the road to recovery.
PT, or rehab as some people call it, can ease your muscle and joint pain. You'll work with a physical therapist, a licensed professional who uses a variety of methods to help strengthen your muscles and make your body feel and move better.
Some things you might need are:
If you do have an operation, your doctor will likely suggest at least a few weeks of therapy afterward to help you recover. They might recommend a specific physical therapy office, or you can find one near you by checking the American Physical Therapy Association’s website.
What Happens at the First Session?
You'll work one on one with your physical therapist to come up with your treatment plan. They'll discuss ways to rebuild the strength and movement in your leg and knee, so you can feel better and go back to doing the things you love to do.
At your first visit, your therapist will look at your leg and see how well your knee bends, straightens, and moves. They'll also see if:
After the First VisitYou'll start to work on making your leg muscles stronger, which takes some of the stress off your knee and cut your pain. Your therapist will give you exercises to do at home and show you how to practice them safely.
Strength training exercises are a key part of the PT workout. For instance, you may need to do some of these moves:
Tell your therapist if something hurts. You might have a little discomfort, but stop if you feel a lot of pain.
You could feel stiff or sore after your therapy, so plan ahead for some time to rest. Ask your doctor or therapist how to get relief from this achiness.
Your physical therapist may also use electricity to help improve your leg muscle strength and knee movement. It's a method called "TENS," short for transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation.
They'll put sticky patches called electrodes on the front of the thigh above your knee. A wire connects each one to the TENS machine. They turn it on, and when they do, tiny electrical signals tingle the nerves in your muscle. This boosts the flow of your blood and helps ease pain.
How Long Will It Take for My Knee to Get Better?
Your doctor or physical therapist will tell you how often you need to go to therapy. It might be several times a week for 6 weeks or longer. The amount depends on how much your knee hurts and whether or not you had surgery.
Your therapist will stay in touch with your doctor and discuss your progress. Together, the three of you can decide when you feel ready to scale back on sessions.
Low back pain is the most common diagnosis seen in many physical therapy clinics, and it affects nearly 85% to 90% of Americans at one time or another. It is the second leading cause of visits to a doctor, after the common cold.
Low back pain is also the leading cause of lost time at work, and billions of dollars are spent each year diagnosing and treating low back pain.
The low back, or lumbar spine, consists of five bones, or vertebrae, stacked upon one another. Between the bones are soft, spongy shock absorbers called intervertebral discs. The spinal cord and nerves are protected by these bones. Multiple ligaments and muscular attachments provide stability and mobility to the lumbar spine.
Causes Some common causes of low back pain are herniated discs and arthritis, which may be triggered by poor sitting posture, frequent forward bending, and lifting heavy items.
Although trauma may be a cause of low back pain, most often there is no apparent reason for the onset of symptoms. Thus, it is thought that repetitive strain on the structures around the lumbar spine is the main cause of low back pain.
When to Seek Help Remember, low back pain can be a serious problem and it is highly recommended to consult a physician, physical therapist or another qualified healthcare provider if low back symptoms are present and are significantly limiting function and mobility. Also, there are a few signs and symptoms that require immediate medical attention. These include, but are not limited to:
What to Do When Low Back Pain Occurs If you are currently experiencing low back pain, gentle self-care exercises should be started to restore mobility and decrease pain.Since poor posture is a major cause of low back pain, maintaining proper posture is important. Use a small pillow or towel roll to support the spine while sitting. Remember, if pain prevents you from exercising or if pain persists for more than 2-3 weeks, a visit to a physician, physical therapist, or other healthcare provider is necessary.
What to Expect From Physical Therapy When low back pain is persistent or interferes with normal activities, a visit to a physical therapist may be necessary. When you go to a physical therapist, he or she will perform an initial evaluation on the first visit. Be prepared to move around quite a bit, so be sure to wear comfortable clothing and make sure that your low back is accessible.
An initial evaluation will consist of several different parts. First, a history of your present problem will be taken. Be prepared to discuss your symptoms and what activities or positions make your symptoms better or worse. Some special questions will be asked to help the therapist determine the nature of your problem and to discover anything that needs immediate medical attention.
The physical therapist will also take measurements of how you are moving. This may include measurements of your range of motion and strength. A postural assessment will also be included in the initial evaluation. From the results of the evaluation, a specific treatment plan will be devised and started. It is important to remember to be an active participant in your treatment and ask questions if you are unsure of what to do.
Coping and Management When an acute episode of low back pain strikes, don't panic. Most studies indicate that acute low back pain is short-lived and most symptoms resolve spontaneously in a few short weeks. With that in mind, low back pain, although short-lived, tends to be episodic in nature. Many times, people have multiple episodes of low back pain during their lifetimes. Recurrent episodes tend to get progressively worse with the passage of time. Therefore, it is important to not only treat the symptoms of low back pain but also to have a strategy to prevent future low back problems
One of the most important times to care for your low back is when you have no symptoms. By maintaining proper posture and appropriate strength and mobility in the spine, episodes of low back pain may be avoided completely. Check in with your physical therapist, who can help you learn what you can do for your back pain or sciatica.
Whether you’re experiencing shoulder pain from an injury, tendinitis, arthritis, or a muscle tear, it’s certainly no fun. Our shoulder joints are made up of three sections that offer us the most range of motion out of all of our joints. It’s no wonder then that shoulder pain and injuries are as common as they are. We see well over 100 post-operative shoulder patients every year. Patients visit us for rehabilitation after surgery for rotator cuff repairs, anatomic shoulder replacements, reverse shoulder replacements, anterior and posterior stabilization surgery, and the most complex shoulder fracture care. How can physical therapy reduce shoulder pain? How can physical therapy treat a rotator cuff injury? Find out now.
Causes of Shoulder Pain
A carefully assembled physical therapy plan is the first form of treatment for shoulder pain or rotator cuff injuries. The first stage to assembling a therapy program is understanding the root of your symptoms. The most common reasons for shoulder pain have to do with swelling or damage to the rotator cuff. Some common causes of shoulder pain are rotator cuff tendinitis, arthritis, dislocation, rotator cuff tears, poor posture, and more.
Your physical therapist will start by conducting a thorough assessment to understand exactly where your pain is radiating from. The pain you’re experiencing in your shoulder could actually be caused by a problem with your neck or lungs. It’s important for a licensed professional to examine your shoulder to assess which part of the shoulder is experiencing pain, what motions you’re struggling to perform, and where your shoulder might be lacking strength.
Sudden left shoulder pain can be a sign of a heart attack. If you feel a crushing pain running from your chest to the left jaw or arm, potentially accompanied by shortness of breath, please call
.Treatment for Shoulder Pain
Your Physical Therapist will examine your shoulder’s functionality and combine those findings with your individual goals to create a tailored therapy program. They’ll put together a plan that focuses on strengthening the muscles around your shoulder and improving mobility. Physical therapy is a safe, effective, non-surgical method for treating shoulder pain or rotator cuff injuries. Since physical therapy is based on a combination of stretches, exercises, and ingraining healthy postural habits, it’s effective for preventing further pain as well. The exact exercises and whether they will include other parts of the body depends on the cause of shoulder pain, as well as other patient circumstances.
Physical therapy for shoulder pain will typically include:
found that 75% of people with a full tear in their rotator cuff were able to rehab their shoulder wit
Why Visit a Physical Therapist for Shoulder Pain?
Your physical therapist is there to help you master your technique. With improper form, the same exercises that are designed to heal you could actually harm you. By using the wrong muscles, favoring one side of the body, or improperly balancing your weight, such exercises can have a completely different effect on your body. Your physical therapist is there to guide you every step of the way. An experienced physical therapist knows exactly what questions to ask and signs to look for, indicating you’re executing the exercise properly.
What can physical therapy do for shoulder pain?