Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Physical Therapy or Chiropractic

This question comes up very frequently and if you have ever experienced musculoskeletal pain you have probably considered both options. In general, the research of current times has shown that manual therapy, which includes any type of “hands-on” technique provided by a physical therapist or a chiropractor, can be beneficial for many conditions. Manual therapy, however, has its limitations and must be accompanied by an individually tailored exercise program in order for progress to be maintained and to prevent symptoms from reoccurring. Numerous studies have shown that if an exercise program addressing movement dysfunction is not implemented the patient will often come to rely on the practitioner for continuous treatment and never fully achieve complete symptom resolution.

It has been my observation that physical therapy practices tend to implement manual therapy and exercise together more often, whereas, many chiropractic offices rely mainly on manual therapy. In a situation in which exercise is not used, the patient will many times need to continually receive treatment in order to be symptom free. By no means does this observation apply to all practices, but I would definitely encourage anyone in pain to seek out a practitioner that communicates openly and implements both manual therapy and exercise interventions together.

I hope this helps!

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Check Your Posture to Decrease Pain

I know we have all heard it a million times or more, but I would really like to reiterate how crucial correct posture is for optimal musculoskeletal health. This is even more important in jobs that require a great deal of time spent in static positions such as sitting. I would say that approximately 50% of the patients I see on a daily basis are having pain related to prolonged sitting while working at their computers! The question I always get is "I've been doing this job for a long time, so why would I have pain now?" My answer always relates to the "smart line" phenomenon, which basically states that each of us as unique individuals has a unique perception of how much and what kind of stimulus can be tolerated before the nervous system tells us that pain is occurring. For one person, sitting in a dysfunctional position for 4 hours my cause pain, whereas, another individual may be able to tolerate the same position for years before experiencing pain. Either way, most people will experience pain at some point and all will suffer from increased levels of tissue degeneration as compared to their more ergonomically correct counterparts if behavioral adjustments are not implemented.

Use this diagram as a guide to making your workstation more ergonomically friendly, which will reduce dysfunction and the pain that often follows.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

How to Prevent Ankle Sprains

Nearly 25,000 people in the U.S. suffer an ankle sprain everyday and up to 70% of these individuals will go on to have recurrent sprains and other chronic symptoms. Recurrent ankle sprains can lead to joint laxity, weakness, diminished balance and impaired performance overall. A recent study published in the Journal of Orthopedic and Sports Physical Therapy identified four exercises that were proven to improve balance and performance and decrease one's risk for future ankle sprains. The exercises involve securing elastic band to one ankle and balancing on the injured leg while performing the four movements pictured below.

So, try these exercises to keep your ankles healthy and improve performance.

Han K, Ricard M, Fellingham G. Effect of a 4-Week Exercise Program on Balance Using Elastic Tubing as a Perturbation Force for Individuals with a History of Ankle Sprains. J Orthop Sports Phys Ther. 2009;39:246-255.