Pain Science – How Pain Affects Us

Dr. Justin LaLonde PT, DPT continues his expertise on pain with a video talking about adjusting our state of mind in which pain and stress levels affect us. Learn misconceptions and truths about pain and the science behind it. video by : Justin LaLonde PT, DPT @ Innovative Physical Therapy

Dr. Justin LaLonde PT, DPT continues his expertise on pain with a video talking about adjusting our state of mind in which pain and stress levels affect us. Learn misconceptions and truths about pain and the science behind it.

video by : Justin LaLonde PT, DPT @ Innovative Physical Therapy

Pain Myths & Truths -Here’s What You Need to Know!

Pain often is viewed as a bad thing or a misfortune placed upon us. In reality pain is just an alarm signal that is trying to tell us something about our body – typically that message is that something needs to change. Pain can help drive behavioral changes that help reduce the chance of further … Continue reading “Pain Myths & Truths -Here’s What You Need to Know!”

Pain often is viewed as a bad thing or a misfortune placed upon us. In reality pain is just an alarm signal that is trying to tell us something about our body – typically that message is that something needs to change. Pain can help drive behavioral changes that help reduce the chance of further breakdown or injury.

Without it, we could do some serious harm to our bodies without realizing it. Deciphering what specific pains mean is what we need to do a better job at so that we can embrace it and learn from it. It is impossible to go through life avoiding pain, so when we experience it, let’s try to better understand what our body is trying to tell us.

Here are a few misconceptions about pain followed by some truths that may help change the way you view your pain.Image result for pain charts

Pain Common Beliefs/Misconceptions: 

  1. Pain means something is wrong with me

  2. Pain is always a bad thing

  3. My diagnosis (knee arthritis, bulging disc, rotator cuff tear, etc) explains why I have pain

  4. Medical imaging will tell me why I’m in pain

  5. My body is broken because of my pain

  6. I need someone to fix me

  7. I need to stop activities because I am in pain

  8. Pain can be completely avoided

  9. Only one thing contributes to my pain

  10. Passive modalities will get rid of my pain.

 

Pain Truths: 

  1. Hurt does not always mean harm

  2. Pathology/anatomical changes most likely won’t explain WHY you’re in pain

  3. Pain is not typically caused by a mechanical issue

  4. Pain can’t fully be explained by a medical image (ie: MRI, Xray)

  5. You ARE NOT your diagnosis

  6. There is no quick fix and you will need to make actual changes – commitment and consistency!

  7. A good health professional will not FIX you, but instead give you the tools to facilitate fixing yourself!

  8. You are NOT broken!

  9. YOUR BODY IS RESILIENT!

  10. Pain is a good thing – it tells us something about our body, we just need to be better at analyzing and deciphering what it means

  11. Pain is multifactorial and often requires multi-disciplinary care

Pain is not always a negative, pain is a sign that you need to alter, enhance or strengthen! The human body is a miraculous machine that can heal itself and with the help of professionals, Physical Therapists, personal trainers, etc you can maintain and keep your body pain free!

 

Blog researched and written by: Dr. Justin LaLonde PT, DPT

 

Pain – How can I get rid of it? Will I always be in pain?

These are common questions we tend to ask ourselves when we experience pain. These are also questions we tend to get in our clinic when treating patients. But there is something more we should be asking about pain. What is it? What does it mean? What is my body and brain telling me? The answer … Continue reading “Pain – How can I get rid of it? Will I always be in pain?”

These are common questions we tend to ask ourselves when we experience pain. These are also questions we tend to get in our clinic when treating patients. But there is something more we should be asking about pain. What is it? What does it mean? What is my body and brain telling me? The answer to these questions will give us the power and knowledge to interpret our own pain and give us the knowledge and tools to help us get out of pain.Image result for pain

Pain is a common sensation and experience that nearly everyone experiences at some point in time during their lives. Pain is commonly associated with damage in our bodies, but this is not always the case. In a very short explanation, pain is an unpleasant output created by the central nervous system (brain and spinal cord) that is meant to help our bodies by driving behavior change. This means there are many inputs to our brains that assist in the creation of this output –  these include internal and external factors. 

Internal factors include:

  • Sensation, our nervous system’s state (relaxed vs stressed)
  • Inflammation, and hormonal levels

Extrinsic factors include:

  • Emotional responses
  • Our environment
  • Relationships
  • Cultural/societal context.

This means pain does NOT equal damage. In many cases like a muscle tear or ankle sprain, pain is related to  tissue damage, but dissipates as it heals. In other cases, pain is gradual and diffuse without any apparent cause. This is a type of pain brought about our brain’s interpretation of everything going on around us and within our bodies.

There are many instances when something should be painful, but isn’t, and when something shouldn’t be painful, but is. Everyone has experienced a time when they have a small cut and it doesn’t hurt until you look at it – that’s because your brain constructs context around the situation and pain is the output. Think if you were hiking and sprained your ankle, all of a sudden, a mountain lion appears – you bet that ankle isn’t going to hurt and you’re going to run for your life! 

So, pain is all about context and how our brain’s perception of that context. Therefore, pain is not an enemy, but an informant. Unfortunately, when we are in pain, many times it is difficult to get out of that pain.  Understanding where pain comes from and what it means is the first step in getting rid of it.

We need to be looking at all the factors that could be causing our pain:

  • Sources of actual tissue damage
  • Beliefs about pain
  • Emotional responses
  • Thoughts
  • Sources of stress
  • Societal/cultural influences

We live in a time where our brains are processing more data in a day than ever, which is also a major contextual factor in unconscious stress. But remember, pain can be a good thing – because it is the process of our brain’s telling us something needs to change. So the questions of how can I get rid of my pain, and will I always be in pain are much more complicated than we initially think. We cannot avoid pain, so understanding it can help immensely!Image result for pain

Physical therapists can help decipher different aspects of our lives that can be contributing to pain. Luckily for us, science is beginning to understand the many different types of pain and what it means for our bodies. Physical therapists are at the forefront of pain science and can help many people regardless of what type of pain is occurring. Give us a call at Innovative Physical Therapy and schedule an assessment with a Physical Therapist to help you get out of pain and truly understand what it means for you! 

Here are some great references online and a great book to help understanding pain: 

https://www.noigroup.com/about/

https://theprehabguys.com/pain-science/

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C_3phB93rvI

Book: Explain Pain by Lorimer Mosely and David Butler

Blog researched and written by: Dr. Justin LaLonde PT, DPT.

 

An Inside Look into IPT – Get to Know What We Do!

In honor of National Physical Therapy Month, take a sneak peek into the everyday activity of IPT and some of the many modalities used to help rehab, strengthen and support our patients and their everyday lives!

In honor of National Physical Therapy Month, take a sneak peek into the everyday activity of IPT and some of the many modalities used to help rehab, strengthen and support our patients and their everyday lives!

Why Physical Therapy Should be Your First Line of Defense

Seeing a PT first may lower a patient’s total cost of care, bypassing imaging scans, opioid prescriptions, and other therapies that could be unnecessary or even harmful. If you have experienced a soft-tissue injury, you may be a good candidate for receiving care directly from a physical therapist. A soft-tissue injury is an injury that … Continue reading “Why Physical Therapy Should be Your First Line of Defense”

Seeing a PT first may lower a patient’s total cost of care, bypassing imaging scans, opioid prescriptions, and other therapies that could be unnecessary or even harmful.

If you have experienced a soft-tissue injury, you may be a good candidate for receiving care directly from a physical therapist. A soft-tissue injury is an injury that does not affect the bone. These injuries affect muscles, tendons, ligaments and other soft tissues. 

Acute examples include:

  • Sprain
  • Strain
  • Swelling
  • Contusion / bruising

Soft-tissue injuries resulting from overuse may include:

  • Tendinitis
  • Bursitis
  • ArthritisImage result for benefits of physical therapy

You may be asking, how can PT work for me?

  • PT helps manage pain 
    • Doctor-prescribed opioids are appropriate in some cases, but they just mask the pain without addressing the cause of the pain. Opioid risks include depression, overdose, and addiction, plus withdrawal symptoms when stopping use.
  • PT can help avoid surgery 
    • While surgery is unavoidable in some cases, physical therapy can help avoid surgery for others. By eliminating pain, assisting with healing, and improving physical health, physical therapy can help heal injured tissue and facilitate mobility all on its own, thus eliminating the need to go under the knife
  • PT can help avoid further or future injury 
    • One of the key aspects of physical therapy involves assessing the weak areas in the patient’s body and formulating a PT plan that helps strengthen these vulnerable points. 
  • PT improves mobility and balance 
    • Therapeutic exercises can restore mobility, make walking and moving around safer, and can even improve coordination and balance in patients who are at high risk for falls.
  • PT can help with general health issues 
    • By increasing physical activity, you can also reduce your risk of other chronic diseases.
  • PT can help manage age-related issues 
    • One of the less obvious advantages of physical therapy is that it helps handle and manage many age-related health problems including joint pains, arthritis, and osteoporosis. PT is a safer and more conservative approach for older patients, as it gives them a less traumatic alternative than undergoing joint replacement surgery. 
  • PT can help maximize your movement
    • Physical therapists can identify, diagnose and treat movement related issues. Each treatment plan is custom designed for each person’s individual challenges and outcome goals. The benefit of physical therapy can help you live pain free and increase your quality of life.
  • PT can help manage diabetes and vascular conditions 
    • Physical therapy can help manage your blood sugar through exercise. The exercise mainly consists of the right mix of aerobic exercises and weight strengthening exercises.

Benefits of PT for athletes 

Physical therapists are movement specialists with extensive schooling in order to determine limitations or imbalances of joints. Seeing a PT as an athlete will give a certain edge to your performance and ensure you are working towards your peak potential, improving power, endurance, flexibility, range of motion, etc. 

Learn more about physical therapy and the many benefits, treatments and modalities we at Innovative Physical Therapy use today by asking one of our team members or calling in at 619.260.0750.

Written and researched by : Dr. Monique Lassaga-Bishop
Facts sourced from: www.slsportstherapy.com & www.movementforlife.com

The History of Physical Therapy

National Physical Therapy month is celebrated in October to recognize the impact physical therapy has had on the medical profession and to encourage community awareness on the benefits that physical therapy has on treating chronic or acute pain.   So how did the profession of physical therapy get started?   Little known is how far back in … Continue reading “The History of Physical Therapy”

National Physical Therapy month is celebrated in October to recognize the impact physical therapy has had on the medical profession and to encourage community awareness on the benefits that physical therapy has on treating chronic or acute pain.  

Physical therapists and physicians work together to treat children at a New England poliomyelitis clinic in 1916.

So how did the profession of physical therapy get started?  

Little known is how far back in history the idea of physical therapy goes.   There are documented records as early as 430 BC that Hippocrates recognized the benefits of massage, manual manipulation and water therapy for pain relief.  It wasn’t until much later towards the end of the 19th century with the establishment of orthopedics in medicine, the outbreak of polio  and with women recruited in WWI to restore function to injured soldiers, that modern day physical therapy as we know it was recognized as a profession.    

It is recorded that the Swedish scholar and fitness enthusiast, Per Hendrik Ling, is given credit for being the first to recognize physical therapy as a profession when he established the Royal Central Institute of Gymnastics in 1813 for manipulation and exercise.  He recognized the benefits exercise and manual manipulation had on restoring function and movement in people with disabilities. In 1887 the Swedish National Board of Health & Welfare was the first to register practitioners working in Ling’s institute as physical therapists.   

Other countries were soon to follow as they recognized the benefits of physical therapy.  In 1896, nurses in England formed the Chartered Society of Physiotherapy. In 1913 New Zealand started one of the earliest schools of physical therapy at the University of Otago.  In 1914 a school for “Reconstructive Aides”, a term used for those practicing physical therapy was established in the United States at the Walter Reed Army Hospital in Washington DC.   

As the profession continued to gain recognition, the first physical therapy research in the US was published in March of 1921.  That same year, the American Women’s Physical Therapeutic Association was established by American physical therapist Mary McMillan.  Due to her extensive contributions to the profession, Mary McMillan became known as the “Mother of Physical Therapy”. 

Mary McMillan, circa 1921

The demand for physical therapists became even greater during WWII and the polio epidemic during the 1940’s and 1950’s.   By late 1940’s, the physical therapy association changed its name to what is known today as the American Physical Therapy Association, or APTA. The goal of the APTA is to further advancements in physical therapy practice, research and education.  Current membership is over 100,000.

Reconstruction Aides treat soldiers at           Fort Sam Houstan, Texas, in 1919

The month of October is the time physical therapists across the country celebrate and encourage everyone to raise awareness of physical therapy as a cost-effective and safe alternative to medication and in many cases surgery.  According to the APTA, physical therapy is “a safer way to manage pain.”  

If you, a friend or family member is suffering from chronic or acute pain, recent or unresolved injury, please consult with your local physical therapist who will design a plan specific to your needs and goals. 

Written by : Marilyn Johnson PT, facts and references from : APTA and Wikipedia.

Watch & Learn: Ways to Improve Your Balance at Home!

Dr. Justin LaLonde, DPT and Dr. Monique Lassaga-Bishop, DPT demonstrate ways to improve your balance at home! Your balance is managed by 3 systems: Sensory system – where you feel Visual system – using your eye sight Vestibular system – inner part of ear that manages your equilibrium 3 Exercises to try at home for … Continue reading “Watch & Learn: Ways to Improve Your Balance at Home!”

Dr. Justin LaLonde, DPT and Dr. Monique Lassaga-Bishop, DPT demonstrate ways to improve your balance at home!

Your balance is managed by 3 systems:

  1. Sensory system – where you feel
  2. Visual system – using your eye sight
  3. Vestibular system – inner part of ear that manages your equilibrium

3 Exercises to try at home for balance improvement:

  • Tandem balance – put on foot in front of the other and hold for 30 seconds, then switch and put the other foot in front
  • Single leg balance – lift one foot up off the ground, hold for 30 seconds then switch
  • Move and tap – using a stair or item with height ( a book, box, etc) slowly move one foot forward to tap the stair and bring it back, then switch to the other foot.
video exercises by Dr. Justin LaLonde PT, DPT and Dr. Monique Lassaga-Bishop PT, DPT.

Fall Prevention

Falls are often overlooked as a harmless topic. Falls cause more than 95% of all hip fractures, the most common cause of traumatic brain injuries, and number one cause of harm and resulting death in elderly Americans.  While falls are common, they are preventable. These are some signs that you may need to work on … Continue reading “Fall Prevention”

Falls are often overlooked as a harmless topic. Falls cause more than 95% of all hip fractures, the most common cause of traumatic brain injuries, and number one cause of harm and resulting death in elderly Americans. 

While falls are common, they are preventable. These are some signs that you may need to work on your fall prevention strategies in order to keep yourself safe and sound:

  • You find yourself stumbling over objects or your own feet
  • You tend to shuffle your feet when you walk 
  • You hold onto nearby furniture and tall objects to improve confidence with walking
  • You have fallen at least once in the past 6 months  

Here are 5 ways to reduce your risk of falling and potential harm:

  1. PT to improve balance, strength and activity endurance
  2. Fall proof your home
    • Restrain small pets
    • Removed area rugs and any clutter in walkways 
    • Make sure the area is well lit when walking through it 
    • Install handrails in more difficult walking areas such as stairs and bathrooms 
  3. Wear sensible shoes 
    • Avoiding unsafe shoes such as loose slippers of flips flops can reduce risk of falling
  4. Speak with your Doctor about medications which may be causing dizziness 
  5. Use an assistive device 
    • Sometimes an assistive device such as a cane or walker may be necessary based on balance deficits. A Physical Therapist can assess your limitations and help decide which device could best keep you safe.

Here are some exercises you can practice on your own in order to improve your balance:

Single Leg Balance:

Image result for single leg balance

  • Having something sturdy to hold on to next to you in case you lose your balance, stand on one leg. Try to maintain balance for 30 seconds. To make the exercise more difficult try standing on an unstable surface like a pillow, or try closing your eyes. 

Head Rotations:

Image result for head rotations

  • Stand tall with your feet together. Have a wall or sturdy piece of furniture next to you in case you need to hold on. From here slowly move your head from side to side then up and down while you keep your body still. Do this for 30 seconds and repeat. If you become dizzy, try moving your head more slowly. If you still become dizzy, stop the exercise and speak with your PT about your doctor symptoms. To make the exercises easier, stand with your feet hip width apart. To make the exercise more difficult, try performing with your feet in tandem or on one leg.

Foot Taps:

Image result for foot taps on stairs for balance

  • Stand tall with our feet hip width apart in front of a step of bottom of a staircase. Have a wall or sturdy piece of furniture next to you in case you need to hold on. Do your best not to use your hands while you slowly raise one foot to tap the step in front you, then slowly return it to the floor. Perform 15-20 taps then repeat on the opposite leg. 

If you are unable to do each exercise for 4-5 sec try making it a little easier until you are ready to progress to the next level. If you can do 30 sec each time you try, the exercise is probably too easy for you.

Speak with a Physical Therapist if you feel your balance is becoming unsafe and want a professional recommendation to help you best prevent falls.

Blog researched and written by Dr. Monique Lassaga-Bishop, PT, DPT

 

Balance! Use It or Lose It!

BALANCE AWARENESS MONTH September is Balance Awareness Month! Balance is one of the most important aspects of life that most of us take for granted until we begin to lose it. Take a few moments this month to get familiar with balance! Remember when you were a youngster and fell all the time, and bounced … Continue reading “Balance! Use It or Lose It!”

BALANCE AWARENESS MONTH

September is Balance Awareness Month! Balance is one of the most important aspects of life that most of us take for granted until we begin to lose it. Take a few moments this month to get familiar with balance!

Remember when you were a youngster and fell all the time, and bounced up like nothing happened except for maybe a scrape or small bruise? Well as adults, we tend to fall much less until we reach a certain age. As many as 1 in 4 adults over the age of 65 experience a fall every year.  That’s 25% of human beings!  The risks of falls become greater as we age as well – torn muscles, broken bones, and even head trauma. Balance and steadiness on our feet are concepts we often take for granted when we are younger. However, as we age we can become less stable and with that can come the fear of falling. With aging, muscles begin to atrophy, bones become weaker, and our sense of balance diminishes. But it is possible to train our bodies to become more resilient and prevent falls. 

Balance is the process by which we keep our center of mass over our base of support, whether it is stationary or moving (static vs dynamic), and the ability to make adjustments to stay upright in a given environment. This involves an inherent problem-solving process where our brain and our body interact to provide equilibrium between gravity and ourselves. This process is multidimensional based on the interaction of specifics of the task at hand, constraints imposed by the environment, and individual capabilities. Therefore balance strategies are highly variable between individuals. 

A variety of systems work together to maintain an upright posture: 

  • Musculoskeletal: muscle strength, endurance of muscles, range of motion of specific joints
  • Neuromuscular: the coordination of strength, timing and sequencing of muscular contraction
  • Somatosensory: nerve receptors and the ability to feel and detect changes in surface
  • Visual: provides info about body position and environment
  • Vestibular: our equilibrium system! This serves to stabilize our gaze during head movement and provide info about our head position relative to gravity
  • Cognition: individual awareness, attention, memory, emotion, and judgement all have an effect on postural control and balance

It is the sum of these systems that provides our balance within our environment! Balance impairments begin to occur when pathology or dysfunction is present in one or more of the above systems that alters the relationship between them. Common causes of balance dysfunction include weakness in trunk and legs, tightness in hips and ankles, loss of visual acuity, decreased sensation (especially in the feet and ankles), vestibular disturbances such as vertigo or dizziness, and any change to the nervous system that involves control of our muscles. Many of these balance impairments can be addressed by physical therapy or regular exercise/practice. 

Balance can be broken down into static and dynamic balance. Static is when the body is not moving and dynamic is when the body is in motion. It is important to address both of these in order to keep balance sharp and prevent falls. Here are a few strategies to help keep those systems up to par!

Image result for balance exercises examples

Static Balance Practice: 

  • Standing Feet Together
  • Standing Feet Staggered
  • Standing Feet one in front of the other (tandem stance)
  • Standing on One Leg

* These can all be made harder or easier with closing the eyes, moving the head back and forth, or changing the surface you’re standing on!

Image result for balance exercises examples

Dynamic Balance Practice:

  • Walking
  • Marching in Place
  • Marching while walking forward
  • Walking heel to toe (one foot in front of the other)
  • Turning around in space
  • Walking sideways
  • Walking backwards

Keep in mind everyone will be at different levels of where their balance capacity is. Some things may be easy, some things may be difficult. It really depends on what systems are dominant versus underutilized. Just remember balance is something that CAN BE IMPROVED if practiced. It truly is a USE IT OR LOSE IT kind of deal! 

If balance is a concern for you, come see one of our Physical Therapists at Innovative Physical Therapy. They can help decipher which systems are working well, and which systems may need some work to help improve balance. Life is all about balance, so let us help you stay upright and healthy!

Blog researched and written by Dr. Justin LaLonde PT, DPT

Video: Exercises to Strengthen and Stretches to Relieve IT Band Pain

Dr. Brandon Brym, PT, DPT takes us through some exercise techniques and important stretches that help alleviate pain in the IT Band area and help build the muscles surrounding it. Your IT Band is connective a band of tissue that runs from the top of the hip to past your knee, the muscles connected to … Continue reading “Video: Exercises to Strengthen and Stretches to Relieve IT Band Pain”

Dr. Brandon Brym, PT, DPT takes us through some exercise techniques and important stretches that help alleviate pain in the IT Band area and help build the muscles surrounding it.

Your IT Band is connective a band of tissue that runs from the top of the hip to past your knee, the muscles connected to this are the TFL ( Tensor Fasciae Latae) and the Gluteus Maximus.

Pain attributed to this area from tightness or weakness in your hips or alterations in your foot mechanics.

Stretching and strengthening your TFL muscle and Gluteus Maximus will reduce pain as these muscles connect the IT Band to the hip joint.

Exercise #1 for TFL -Half kneeling position, lung forward till you feel a nice stretch down your leg. For more of an intense stretch raise your opposite arm up and bend slight over to one side. Hold for 30 seconds and repeat 3x daily to help loosen up.

Exercise #2 for both TFL and Gluteus Max – Use foam roller to roll out the TFL and Gluteus Max. Roll out each for a few minutes, putting a little pressure to loosen the muscles up. 

Great to do pre-workout and post workout!

Exercise #3 – Single Leg Stance – a version of the Romanian deadlift. Doing one leg at a time, standing upright with knees slightly bent, slowly lift one leg back, hold for the stretch, then release and switch to the other side. This is not only a great stretch but can be used as an exercise with weights to strengthen your muscles around the IT band as well!