Soothe Sciatica Through Physical Therapy

For people who suffer from the pain of sciatica, finding lasting relief can be a difficult and time consuming journey. Sciatica is a symptom that is used to describe the pain that radiates from the back or buttocks to the lower leg. This pain gets its name from the sciatic nerve, which is the largest and longest nerve in the human body.

The Sciatic Nerve and Sciatica

The sciatic nerve runs from the spine, through the pelvis, down the thigh, and around to the back of the knee where from there it branches out to the tibial and peroneal nerves, which carry on to the foot. While irritation of the sciatic nerve can result in pain, over three quarters of people suffering from sciatica have the symptoms as a result of spinal abnormalities that impact the sciatic nerve. 

Sciatica is typically described as a sharp, achy pain that radiates from the lower back or buttocks into the thigh, and in some cases on down past the knee. Pain distribution varies depending on the location of the irritation, or abnormality that is causing it. This pain generally tends to occur in only one leg and can be more severe than the back pain that commonly accompanies it. 

Physical Therapy Can Relieve The Pain

People who seek medical care for a solution for their sciatica are oftentimes referred to a physical therapist as part of a comprehensive treatment plan. Physical therapy will typically include both passive and active therapies, where the physical therapist treats the cause of the sciatica pain and works to alleviate the pain within the body. 

Physical therapy can help reduce the pain of sciatica as it reduces inflammation, improves physical function, and can prevent recurrence of symptoms. In addition to the actual treatments, a physical therapist can teach you how to exercise and stretch at home as part of an ongoing maintenance program.

Passive Physical Therapy Techniques

Through a variety of deep tissue massages, use of heat and cold compressors, ultrasound and even electrical nerve stimulation, passive physical therapy techniques are personalized and designed around supporting the individual body’s needs. The goal of this part of the treatment process is to gently relieve painful soft tissue tension by getting the body into a relaxed state, preparing it then for more active therapies. 

Active Physical Therapy Treatments

Active therapies are designed to promote flexibility, strength, and long term pain prevention. This treatment plan may involve strengthening exercises such to build the muscles around the spine, aerobic conditioning to increase oxygenated blood flow, and movements that increase range of motion and flexibility in the legs and hips. These exercises will be beneficial in reducing pain and inflammation without adding extra strain and stress on the body. 

For those who suffer from sciatica pain, have debilitating nerve pain in the lower back and legs that can greatly impact normal day to day living. Fortunately, through physical therapy, people are finding that there is a pathway back to health. If you suffer from the pain of sciatica, contact Pure Physical Therapy to find out how physical therapy can help you. 

Texans Can Now Access Physical Therapy Directly Without Physician

Texans Can Now Access Physical Therapy Directly Without Physician

Fortunately, for people who live in the great state of Texas, accessing relief from pain through physical therapy has become easier than ever before. As of September, 2019, Texans can visit a physical therapist for treatment without a physician’s referral. This new “Direct Access” bill, HB 29, offically made Texas the 49th state to pass direct access legislation.

Physical therapists, until now, were only able to evaluate patients without treating them unless prior authorization of a physician was issued. This law has removed this time consuming barrier, allowing patients to bypass the long waiting periods and costly and unnecessary physician visits and go directly to the physical therapist of their choice.

Many physical therapists in clinics across the state have waited patiently to be able to provide patients direct access to the care that they need, having worked diligently to give their patients more power and greater choice. Understanding that many of their patients who seek physical therapy as a first point of care will have an 89 percent lower possibility of being prescribed an opioid as opposed to those who see a physician, physical therapists hail the new law as a literal life saver.

With pain management strategies that carry proven success without harmful use of pain medications, physical therapists are expanding their practices to meet the needs of a growing number of patients. People who seek treatment through physical therapy can expect to receive high standards of care without the hassle of seeing their primary physician first.

This new law cuts down long waits and the unnecessary out of pocket expenses at a doctor’s office and to insurance agencies. Liberating people from the bondage of setting, attending, and paying for multiple appointments, physical therapy can be accessed just by picking up the phone.

Studies have shown that physical therapy may often be as effective as surgery for providing pain relief, making direct access to this form of care a critical component in diverting people from sometimes unnecessary surgical procedures. Since physical therapy is non-invasive, many patients are able to continue working or return to work faster than they would if they had to recuperate from an invasive procedure.

This new law in Texas will allow people to access the most conservative approach to care possible, giving the patient more control over their health and medical choices.  Cutting out the unnecessary prior approval from physicians ensures that people are receiving quality care they need in a timely and cost effective manner. If you have been putting off seaking treatment for pain or other health issues, now is the time to contact Pure Physical Therapy for consultation and treatment planning. Access to physical therapy is easier than ever before, don’t put off healing your pain any longer.

Treating Chronic Pain with Laser Therapy

Treating Chronic Pain with Laser Therapy

Americans are suffering from a chronic pain epidemic. Pain is a major concern for seniors, many of whom are already coping with health problems associated with age, including cognitive issues, a decline in mobility, and other chronic conditions. However, pain doesn’t limit itself to seniors. A 2016 CDC survey found that an estimated 20.4% of U.S. adults (50.0 million) had chronic pain and 8.0% of U.S. adults (19.6 million) had high-impact chronic pain – with higher prevalence associated with advancing age.

There are three main types of pain, classified based on where it originates:

  • Somatic pain is caused when receptors in the body surface or musculoskeletal tissues are activated. Pain usually takes the form of a dull ache and is often exacerbated by activity.
  • Neuropathic pain originates in the spinal cord and peripheral nerves as a result of a malfunction or injury, and manifests as a stinging, tingling, burning, or pins and needles sensation.
  • Visceral pain, the most common form of pain, is caused by damage or injury to internal organs. Visceral pain is often described as deep squeezing, dull, or diffuse which can make it hard to localize.

We all suffer acute pain from time to time; pain becomes chronic when it lasts anywhere from 3 to 6 months or if it persists after an injury has fully healed. Persistent pain can be more than just uncomfortable; over time, it can begin to take a toll on your mental wellbeing and seriously impact your quality of life.

But you don’t have to suffer endlessly. At Pure Physical Therapy, we offer laser therapy for pain to treat a variety of conditions.

Laser Therapy for Pain

Modern medicine has given us many pharmaceutical options to mask the effects of pain by blocking signals to the brain. However, as each type of pain uses a different biological mechanism, no one medication can be effective for all patients.

A growing body of research conducted over the past decade shows that Low Level Laser Therapy (LLLT) produces anti-inflammatory effects which contribute to pain relief.The bio-modulative mechanisms of LLLT address all three known cellular pathways, which means that when the dosage is properly adjusted it can mitigate all types of chronic pain.

Laser therapy is a unique, drug-free, non-invasive and non-immunosuppressive therapeutic modality that reduces pain and inflammation right at the source. The bio-stimulating effects of laser therapy also cause an increase in tissue regeneration and accelerated healing.

To find out more about how laser therapy at Pure Physical Therapy can help you ease the pain, request a consultation today.

Laser Therapy For Pain in McAllen, TX

At Pure Physical Therapy, our team of physical therapists in McAllen, TX, is dedicated to helping people heal. We understand how debilitating chronic pain can be, and we’re committed to providing thorough, compassionate care to those in need. When you come to us, we’ll take the time to assess your condition and develop a customized treatment plan. And you’ll be treated with respect every step of the way. Call today to schedule a consultation and learn more about our laser therapy for pain.

Physical Therapy a Whirl to Resolve Vertigo

Physical Therapy a Whirl to Resolve Vertigo

A recurring case of dizziness and a feeling like the room is spinning can be due to a number of causes. However, one common solution is found in vestibular rehabilitation with a physical therapist. Approximately 40% of people will experience vertigo at some point in their lives. Vertigo is described as feeling lightheaded, unsteady, whirling, spinning, or dizzy.

As a new diagnosis or symptom, vertigo is scary, and often leads people to seek emergency attention. What many don’t realize is that all of these symptoms can easily be treated by a physical therapist. Vertigo is a symptom, not a disease. There are multiple causes for it, but they all fall into four general categories that require different treatments. Once you’re diagnosed, your symptoms can be quickly resolved by our therapists at Pure Physical Therapy who specialize in vestibular rehabilitation.

Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo (BPPV)

Accounting for 33 to 55% of vestibular diagnoses, BPPV is the most commonly reported cause of vertigo. BPPV is characterized by brief periods of vertigo, or a room-spinning sensation, when you change the position of your head. It’s due to your head’s position relative to gravity, so it most commonly happens when:

  • You roll over in bed
  • Get in and out of bed
  • Bend over
  • Make quick head movements

The spinning sensation may be accompanied by an overall feeling of fatigue and nausea or vomiting. Studies show that head injuries cause 17% of BPPV cases and nerve damage accounts for 15%, but 50% of cases have no specific reason for the onset of symptoms.

There are three types of BPPV, with the most commonly diagnosed type occurring in the posterior canal. Our physical therapists can help distinguish the cause and the type of BPPV based on your health history and the results of positional testing. Once diagnosed, BPPV can be resolved typically within one to four treatments, with a physical therapist performing the correct maneuvers to help move the crystals out of the ear canal.

Vestibular Hypofunction

Due to inflammation, vertigo can also be caused by a one-sided weakness in your inner ears. This imbalance, known as vestibular hypofunction, causes an eye impairment because the eyes have trouble adapting after head movement. Vestibular hypofunction can also be caused by:

  • Viral or bacterial infections that attack the nerve that connects to your inner ear
  • Weakness in the structures of your inner ear due to aging
  • Toxic reactions to medications
  • Blood clots, tumors or brain injuries that impact the inner ear

With vestibular hypofunction, you might feel dizzy every time you move your head — like your eyes cannot keep up with your head movement. Other symptoms include poor balance, difficulty walking, blurry vision and nausea or vomiting. They may appear suddenly or gradually and can be accompanied by mild, one-sided hearing loss.

A physical therapist can do a full assessment of your visual system, gait and balance. They’ll also perform other activities to relieve symptoms and promote a faster recovery, including gaze exercises to improve the coordination of head and eye movements and balance and gait activities. These forms of vestibular rehabilitation are more effective than medication or general exercises.

Central Vestibular Loss

Brain injuries, tumors and conditions can also cause dizziness. Unlike problems in the inner ear, symptoms usually develop slowly.  Symptoms may differ based on the location of the tumor or problem within the brain.

Central vestibular loss means there is an issue that stems from the brain. It’s caused by multiple sclerosis, neoplasms, traumatic brain injury, vascular disease or stroke. Our physical therapy treatments can help through gaze exercises and balance activities that help relieve the dizziness and vertigo.

Cervicogenic Vertigo

Stress causes a lot of problems, vertigo included. Tightness in the shoulders and neck can bring on dizziness that is usually noticed with head movements or prolonged time in one position. This type of dizziness is accompanied by neck pain and headaches. Physical therapy treatments primarily aim to decrease tightness in the muscles and joints of the spine. Mobility and strength exercises can also help relieve symptoms.

Dizziness doesn’t mean you’re going crazy, or you have a medical emergency. Vestibular rehabilitation is a proven way to treat your vertigo, no matter the type or the cause. If these are issues you’ve been experiencing, visit a physical therapist with expertise in vestibular rehab to stop your head from spinning.

Relieve Back and Neck Pain with These Daily Stretches

Relieve Back and Neck Pain with These Daily Stretches

Did you know that within five minutes of waking up in the morning at least 1/3 of us check our phones, and over 2/3 use phones during mealtimes with family and friends? This excessive reliance on digital devices is taking a toll on our bodies. The relative weight of your head can go from 10 pounds to 40 pounds! And, as technology advances and lifestyles change, so do our posture, back, and neck problems.

Using our phones, gaming for fun, and working on computers have caused us to develop rounded shoulders and forward heads. Similarly, this was only seen in the elderly as they would look down more often to watch their steps, causing postural changes and loss of trunk strength.

Is your phone or computer being a pain in the neck and back? If so, we have some daily exercises to help relieve the pain. Check them out!

Daily Back and Neck Stretches

There are six daily stretches that, if performed one to two times per day for five to 10 repetitions, can help maintain a healthy posture.

  1. Tuck your chin to your chest and keep your chest elevated
  2. Stand straight and lower your ear toward the same shoulder, keeping it in line with the shoulder and not leaning the head forward. Repeat each side.
  3. Stand in a corner or a doorway with hands placed at shoulder height and stretch then at should width. Lean forward, allowing arms and shoulders to stretch thoroughly.
  4. Grasp hands together in front of the chest, look downward, and reach forward with hands.
  5. Gently pull the back of your head towards the same side axilla (armpit). Repeat each side.
  6. Squeeze shoulder blades together and slide them down toward your waist.

These daily exercises will help relieve the extra stress put on back and neck muscles, but to help keep a healthy posture, remember to take other precautions. Never stay in the same position for too long. Always try to sit up or stand up tall every 15 minutes for approximately 5 to 10 seconds.

Pure Physical Therapy Can Help

If these simple exercises seem to not help lessen aches, pains and discomfort, it’s time to see a physical therapist. At Pure Physical Therapy in McAllen, we truly are the experts in relieving pain and improving the quality of life for our patients. Contact us today for a free screening and get back to being you!

Six Tips for Chronic Pain Treatment

Are you experiencing pain that you thought would have gone away by now? Chronic pain is not the same as ordinary pain. It doesn’t stop. Months to years after the initial injury, many sufferers still are finding ways to deal with its effects, and chronic pain is definitely one of those effects. If your life is affected, see a therapist to get a complete plan for chronic pain treatment in McAllen that includes not only therapy, but also advice on making positive changes that can help you.

Here are six tips for chronic pain treatment.

1) Eat the best diet that you can

Pain is made worse by some of the things in our diet that we don’t suspect could be the problem. Sugar, grains, and processed vegetable oils increase inflammation, and that makes pain worse. In addition to removing some of the things from your diet that aren’t helping, also bring in some foods that help with inflammation, such as more healthy fats and vitamins and minerals, including a proper balance of omega-, omega-6 and omega-9 fatty acids. But before making any changes, be sure to discuss your food and vitamin choices with your chronic pain treatment in McAllen therapist or doctor.

2) Take natural herbs and supplements

Many of the herbs that are found in the vitamin stores and health food stores can be very helpful for chronic pain treatment in McAllen. There are many supplements to be found, as well as vitamins and minerals that are naturally found, but Vitamin D, Vitamin B12, and Magnesium are needed. Those three are often deficient in the human diet today, and taking more can help you feel better; however, be sure that you discuss any changes to the pills or foods that you take with your therapist.

3) Don’t continue with harmful behaviors

Your chronic pain treatment in McAllen will recommend you quit smoking, drinking alcohol, and overworking the areas that are giving you pain. Continuing with these behaviors can interfere with sleep and mental relaxation.

4) Change your shoes

If you have been wearing an older pair of walking shoes that you have been using for a long time, consider buying a new pair, especially if you walk a lot, or if the pain is in your feet and is aggravated as you walk. You will be amazed at the difference a good pair of shoes can make. For pain from plantar fasciitis, for instance, just changing the angle of the foot can help. Your chronic pain treatment in McAllen will recommend that you wear a shoe with arch support and a slightly elevated heal.

5) Relax and get plenty of sleep

Healing can only be done through resting. Don’t try to do everything you have always done. Chronic pain often leads to depression, and that threatens mental health. Any program for chronic pain treatment in McAllen should include a plan for making positive lifestyle improvements. Getting enough good quality sleep is essential for managing and coping.

6) See an expert

See a therapist from Pure Physical Therapy about chronic pain treatment in McAllen, TX, for advice about a complete treatment that is right for you and that takes into consideration your situation. Chronic pain treatment includes the whole body and mind. There are things that can help you, but an expert can show you how everything fits together.

Why It Is Important to See a Physical Therapist for Injuries

If you have ever asked, “is there physical therapy near me?” then you are probably in need of their help. Since injuries can be multifaceted and far-reaching, a physical therapist is your best chance at getting you and your body back to normal. Here are just a few of the benefits of visiting a nearby physical therapist to treat your injuries.

1. Reduce Your Pain

Physical therapy can help reduce the pain of an injury by getting your body back to working order. Many injuries result in soft tissue and joint damage that can be repaired or minimized by visiting a physical therapist near you. When you look for “physical therapy near me,” be sure to discuss your pain. Be honest about the pain’s frequency, intensity, and anything that sets it off. That way, your physical therapist will be able to make the right plan to help relieve you of your pain.

2. Regain Mobility

Physical therapy can help you recover and increase mobility after an injury. Depending on the nature of the injury, it is sometimes even possible to regain full mobility, even in serious injuries. Since treatment focuses on getting your body back into working order, your physical therapist can help give you a better range of motion after your injury. If you have searched for “physical therapy near me,” then be sure to contact a physical therapist that will help you get your mobility back.

3. Prevention or Recovery from Sports Injuries

One of the most common reasons why people search the internet for physical therapy near me is related to sports injuries. These injuries can not only be quite serious, but many of those suffering from sports injuries also want to get back to playing. Physical therapists are experts in helping athletes make speedy recoveries from their sports-related injuries. They can help you recover, reduce your pain, and ensure that you are back in fighting form more quickly after your injury.

4. Avoid Surgery

No one wants to go under the knife. One of the most proven ways to avoid surgery is to type “physical therapy near me” into a search engine and then start your physical therapy. Many successful physical therapy treatments can actually address the reasons for surgery, including pain problems and mobility issues. By doing regular physical therapy, you may not need surgery. And since surgery is expensive, time-consuming, and potentially dangerous, physical therapy is often a safer, better choice. Just be sure to work with your physician to see if physical therapy is a viable alternative to surgery.

By the time you type “is there physical therapy near me?” into a search engine, you are probably in need of one. The right physical therapist can ensure that your injury is healing properly while ensuring that you are getting back to working order. Healing is a long journey, depending on the injury, and the right physical therapist is essential to reducing pain and getting you back to normal.

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