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

Where Do I Go To Stay Fit After PT?

Looking for a place to keep yourself active because your living room floor just isn’t cutting it anymore? Look no further than this blog post because I have the answer. Huntsville has tons of hidden gems just waiting for you to explore and find your exercise niche. Like I mentioned in the previous blog post, we do offer a maintenance program here at the PTA clinic for former patients that allows them the freedom to use our clinic as their very own personal gym. The details on that program can be found in my previous blog or give us a call if you have questions about that (936) 294-0283.

I would also like to let you know of all the gyms located in Huntsville along with their phone numbers, websites and addresses so you can find out more information about each of them to pick the one that best fits you and your workout needs!

Ironworks:

Life After PT

So you have finished your weeks or months of exciting physical therapy and you are feeling pretty good about your body and the issue that brought you to us in the first place. Now what? What do you do every day during that time you used to come see us? How will you maintain all of the function and strength you’ve gained during your treatment at Physical Therapy Associates? We have the answer! I will give you a monthly blog of information on how to maintain the progress you’ve made with us through various programs.

Firstly, it is imperative that you receive a home exercise program from your therapist at the end of your treatment just before you are discharged. Make sure any questions are cleared up regarding your program before you leave. STAY ACTIVE! Do the exercises that were given to you on a regular basis (2-3 times a week) at least. Please call us if you have any questions or concerns about your home exercise program in the weeks following your last visit with us!

Another wonderful option we offer is our maintenance program. This provides a great opportunity for former patients to continue their treatment plan while being in our facility! With this program you are able to use our clinic as your very own gym. Our staff is available for questions and some assistance occasionally, however you are mostly on your own and do not receive any special care from therapist or technicians unless specified prior to beginning your maintenance program.

Maintenance Program Info:

  • >$50 per month
  • You do not have to have appointment
  • >Must come during patient hours
  • Current patients get priority with all equipment and machines
  • No massage or modalities
  • >Exceptions for specific wants or needs that will be discussed upon registering

This blog will be your informational guide to continuing a healthy and active lifestyle long after you are finished with physical therapy. I will incorporate places in Huntsville and the surrounding areas for you to work out as well as some easy to do home workouts for all levels of experience and ages.

OVERCOMING Fear

Scenario:

You are now out of the acute/passive phase of your post op surgery.

You can now move your shoulder actively, bear weight through your lower extremity, and can stop using your walker, cane and crutches.

But…something is keeping your from moving your arm, bearing weight on your lower extremity, and from using your assistive device.

It is called FEAR.

Fear of pain, fear of re-injury, and fear of movement are common barriers in returning to normal life, work, or sports related activity.

“Everything you want is on the other side of fear.”- Jack Canfield

This type of fear is one of the most common emotions that our patients deal with.

Fear can limit full ROM, muscle guarding, hinder balance, and increase falls.

After having a rotator cuff repair, a patient told me, “It is hard for me to relax, because the fear of pain is hindering me from moving my shoulder.”

I was able to listen to my patient’s concern as well as provide comfort, and encouraging words to help my patient move their shoulder without fear of pain.

It is a process that takes time. That is one reason why coming to physical therapy and finishing the plan of care customized for you, is so important to your overall health physically, mentally, and emotionally.

 

Practical Ways to overcome Fear in Physical Therapy:

  1. Come to your appointments planed out by you and your Therapist
  2. Discuss your fears/concerns/goals with your Therapist
  3. Participate and engage in your plan of care each session
  4. Ask questions
  5. Take part in your home exercise program customized for you
  6. Finally Smile, laugh and have fun!!

 

As a staff of Physical Therapy Associates, one of our main goals is to provide a safe, confidential environment to discuss your fears and concerns, and together work towards providing you with the utmost care to meet your goal.

You should not have fear keep you from living your life to the fullest!!!

Together we can overcome Fear!

“For God has not given us a spirit of fearfulness, but one of power, love, and sound judgment.”

2 Timothy 1:7

YOU Deserve It!!

Overheard in the clinic yesterday: “I’m really not as bad as some people in here, I’m not sure I should be here.”

If this is how you feel about physical therapy I want to let you know that you DESERVE to be here.

  • You deserve to not be in pain.
  • You deserve to be able to sleep through the night.
  • You deserve to be able to get your clothes on and off without help.
  • You deserve to be able to get in and out of your car.
  • You deserve to feel strong and secure.

This is something you are doing for yourself. And we are here to help.

Dream BIG!

We all have dreamed of being something when we were younger. It could have been an astronaut, an NBA player, or even something as simple as an artist. But as we age, suddenly these big dreams transform into ideas we simple consider unrealistic, and we push them to the side. But why is that? We should never quit dreaming big in the first place. Although these dreams may seem unrealistic to others, life is full of opportunities to secure these goals.

Think of it in this context. It’s the right thing to do for the world. Imagine an earth without the dreamers and innovators who made such huge contributions. There would be no cures for diseases. There would be no technology for our entertainment. There would not even be any electrical lights for us to observe each other with. Our world would not be remotely the same if those individuals had not dared to dream big. Dreaming big not only allows us to explore the deepest corners of our minds, but it gives us the tools to really leave our mark on this planet. Without our dreams, we have lost our biggest asset in order to achieve success.

Big dreams are what make the world go around. They are the reasons why we live in such a modern society today and are the driving forces behind so many successful people. We all have dreams and goals inside of us; do not let them fade away. There is too much of an opportunity to them actually coming true.

PT can treat the tailbone????

Being healthy from head to tail may be harder than it appears!  You can eat well, exercise and try to live stress free (or stress reduced!), and then something derails you. Like falling on your bottom. Jane was walking down the stairs and one foot went right out from underneath her! Months later her tail bone still ached and she couldn’t sit still for more than 2-3 minutes. She also noticed headaches came more frequently since her fall and her pelvic floor wasn’t quite as strong as it once was (those embarrassing urine leaks). Pills from her doctor didn’t help and as much as she tried to exercise the pain away, nothing was working. A friend suggested physical therapy to help and she decided to give it the good ol’ college try.

“I didn’t realized PT could treat the tail bone!”

When she came in to see us she said, ‘I didn’t realize PT could treat the tail bone!’ Of course we can!  Interestingly, her headaches were reduced and pelvic floor problems were fixed with treatment to the coccyx. You see, the tail bone works as a keystone for the pelvic floor muscles and provides the base for ligamentous attachments that run the length of the spine. PT for the tail bone has helped our patients with pain running down their legs, buttock pain, low back pain, abdominal pain and rib/thoracic wall pain as well. Don’t forget, everything is connected! If you want more information about tail bone pain call for a free 15 minute consultation with one of our therapists today!

One Life. One Body.