We are excited to announce…we now offer DRY NEEDLING!

What is it?

The American Physical Therapy Association describes dry needling as a ‘skilled intervention that uses a thin filiform needle (an acupuncture needle) to penetrate the skin and stimulate underlying myofascial trigger points, muscular  and connective tissues for the management of neuromusculoskeletal pain and movement impairments.

What that means is that dry needling is used to treat trigger points, muscle tension, and scar tissue in muscles, lining of muscles and connective tissues. We also use dry needling to change the basic elements that your body perceives as painful. The overall goal of dry needling is to improve how your body functions at the most basic level – muscles, nerve and the tissues that connect them all – so that you can be more active.

What conditions can be treated by it.

Common conditions that may benefit from dry needling are neck pain, shoulder impingement, tennis elbow, carpal tunnel syndrome, headaches, TMJ, knee pain, shin splints, plantar fasciitis, and low-back pain.  Dry needling adds to the “tools in the tool box” of a physical therapist.

The science behind it.

Treatment for myofascial trigger points: Trigger points are tight bands of tissues in muscles. This causes less circulation in that spot; which means there is less blood supply and oxygen, and a build up of unhealthy chemicals. This toxic environment is not only present in the muscle, but it extends to the nerves that make the muscle work too. When a therapist inserts a needle into the trigger point it activates the nerve which alerts the brain to send helper cells to improve the health in the local tissues around the needle and expedite the healing process.

Treatment for scar tissue, fascia and connective tissue: A Needle is inserted superficially around the areas of adhesions or restrictions. Needle rotation facilitates mechanicotransduction (the processes through which cells sense and respond to mechanical stimuli by converting them to signals that elicit specific cellular responses – in this case tissue relaxation).

Treatment for excessive muscle tension:  Research has shown that dry needling activates fibroblasts (a cell in connective tissue which produces collagen and other fibers) through the mechanical manipulation of the needle which releases beneficial chemical and other pro-inflammation mediators.

But wait, isn’t inflammation bad?

Not always!!

Inflammation reactions are your body’s natural way of restoring your functionality and healing itself. This process is known as the inflammatory response. This response occurs when tissues are injured by bacteria, trauma, toxins, heat or any other cause. The damaged cells release chemicals (including histamine, bradykinin, and prostaglandins) that cause blood vessels to leak fluid into the tissues, causing swelling. This helps isolate the foreign substance from further contact with body tissues. The chemicals also attract white blood cells called phagocytes that “eat” germs and dead or damaged cells. Basically,  the therapist manipulates your body into restoring itself by triggering this inflammatory response when they rotate the needle after insertion into these areas of muscle tension.

Who should not have dry needling?

This isn’t for everyone, if fact those who are pregnant, afraid of needles, people taking blood thinners and those recovering from a recent surgery should not undergo this treatment.  For the rest of us who need pain or movement restriction reduced, it may be a great option.

For more information, including references, please see: https://www.apta.org/StateIssues/DryNeedling/ClinicalPracticeResourcePaper/

Pregnancy shouldn’t be such a pain.

Pregnancy is a beautiful process, but creating human life is far from easy and comes with many complications. Extra hormones and blood flow combined with weight gain and shifts in center of gravity can lead to a variety of issues such as:

  • Round ligament pain
  • SI joint dysfunction
  • Hip bursitis
  • Joint misalignment
  • Back pain
  • Costal rib pain
  • and more…

Physical therapists can evaluate and treat for prenatal and post natal care, ensuring a smoother pregnancy, labor and delivery process. 50-70% of pregnant women experience back pain, and most view these aches and pains as an unfortunate but unavoidable complication of pregnancy. Staying active greatly reduces pregnancy complications, including back pain, hip pain and postural issues. Physical therapy can help by teaching proper form to stretch and strengthen as well as establishing home exercise programs that patients can feel confident in doing on their own.

Physical Therapy Associates wants to help, we are offering “Mama lunches” every Tuesday at our Conroe location and every Thursday at our Huntsville location. These lunches will provide free lunch and information further detailing the benefits of physical therapy for prenatal and post natal care, as well as allow mom-to-be’s the opportunity to meet the physical therapists and tour the facility before scheduling their evaluation appointments. Call us at our Huntsville office (936-294-0283) or our Conroe office (936-494-1292) to schedule your luncheon.

 

 

Direct Access Legislation, what does this mean for you?

We are excited to announce that as of September 1st, a doctors prescription will no longer be required to begin physical therapy treatment. We have been eagerly awaiting this legislation to be passed in the state of Texas, where we were one of only two states to still have limited access to patient treatment.

Why is this so exciting? Direct patient access allows YOU to be your own advocate and begin therapy sooner without the hindrance of waiting to be seen by your doctor and spending the money on an office visit copay.

A May 2018 study on patients with low back pain found that patients who saw a physical therapist at the first point of care significantly lowered out of pocket costs and the unnecessary use of other costly services including opioid prescriptions, imaging services, and emergency department visits. Results from another 2018 study on patients with neck pain supported these findings with the authors adding, ” current trends in health care costs are becoming unsustainable for payers and patients and are not resulting in improved outcomes…consulting a physical therapist early may provide an opportunity to mitigate downstream health care utilization while containing costs.”

Out of all the states in the nation, Texas was ranked 47th in access to physicians in 2015. In 2017, patients in Houston were waiting an average of 19 days to access a primary care physician.

This is problematic when you consider that optimal physical therapy outcomes are obtained when treatment is started within the first 3 weeks. With the current laws, you would have spent that time waiting to see your doctor.

Some insurances may still require referrals or prescription based on plan types. If you would like to know more about your insurance or would like to start your treatment do not hesitate to call us!

Together We Can Overcome!

 

Back to school doesn’t have to come with back pain!

Back to school time can be hectic. Parents frantically trying to buy school supplies, teachers trying to get their rooms ready and kids fighting the inevitability of Summer ending. The new school year is coming whether you are ready or not, but you shouldn’t have to deal with all the stresses that come with it AND back pain too! Here are some helpful stretches that can help reduce pain and keep you going!

 

 

Pelvic Tilts:

While lying on your back with your knees bent, rotate your hips so that your belly button comes towards you and inwards. Pull in with your abdomen, don’t push with your feet. Repeat 20 times.

 

Lower Trunk Rotation:

While lying on your back with your knees bent, slowly allow your knees to fall to one side until a stretch is felt. Keep your knees together. Hold for 5 seconds and repeat 10 times on both sides.

 

Prayer Stretch:

While on your hands and knees, gently sit down towards your feet until a stretch is felt in your lower back. This is the most comfortable on a bed with your feet hanging off the edge. Hold for 30 seconds and repeat three times.

 

Hip Flexor Stretch:

While lying on your back, pull both knees up to your chest to flatten your lower back. Then slowly lower one leg down until a stretch is felt in the front of that hip. Keep one knee to your chest! Hold 30 seconds and repeat 3 times on both sides!

 

If you have persistent pain or your pain worsens, call Physical Therapy Associates to schedule your evaluation and determine if you’re a good candidate for physical therapy.

Huntsville Clinic: 936-294-0283
Conroe Clinic: 936-494-1292