Migraines? We’ve Got You Covered from Your Head to Your Toes!

Suffer from headaches or migraines?  You are not alone.  Headaches are the third most common pain complaint worldwide.  The cause can be anywhere from sinus problems, vascular complications, or tumors.  However, a large majority are caused by muscular and joint issues, such as muscle tension and tightness, disc pathology, lack of neck motion, poor posture, or tightness in the back between the shoulder blades.  Desperate for relief?  Just want to feel normal again?  Consider giving physical therapy a try!

How does physical therapy help headaches? First off, a licensed physical therapist will assess the patient to determine the type of headache: tension, migraine, or secondary pain stemming from an underlying condition. This will allow them to pinpoint the root cause of the problem. Second, dependent upon the type of pain, the physical therapist can manually address the issue using several techniques: heat or ice, soft tissue mobilization/massage, cervical traction, stretching, strengthening exercises, and/or posture education. This will allow them to alleviate a headache or migraine quickly and effectively. From there, the physical therapist can provide the patient with specific, custom exercises to address any future flare-ups on their own. In some cases, a physical therapist can address and relieve headache and migraine pain as quickly as one visit, but results may vary based on the severity of each individual case.

If you suffer from headaches or migraines, give Elite Therapy Solutions a call! With offices in Coatesville (610-466-7060) and West Chester (610-696-3305), our licensed physical therapists are available to see you within 24-48 hours. We are here to address any aches or pains, from your head to your toes!

Sciatica–A Real Pain in the Butt!

What is sciatica?

Sciatica is a term used to describe the symptoms of leg pain, tingling, numbness, or weakness that travel down the low back via the sciatic nerve in the back of the leg. Sciatica describes the symptoms one experiences, not a diagnosis. A herniated disc, spinal stenosis, degenerative disc disease, and spondylolisthesis can all cause sciatica.

What risk factors are associated with sciatica?

  • Smoking
  • Tall height in older age groups (50 to 60 years)
  • Obesity and excess weight
  • Genetic susceptibility
  • Vitamin B 12 deficiency
  • Physical deconditioning from a sedentary, inactive lifestyle
  • Certain types of occupation (such as truck drivers, carpenters, or machine operators)
  • Poor work ergonomics

What are the signs/symptoms?

  • Pain – Sciatica pain may be constant or intermittent. The pain is usually described as a burning sensation or a sharp, shooting pain.
  • Altered sensation. Numbness, tingling, and/or a pins-and-needles sensation may be felt at the back of the leg.
  • Weakness may be felt in the leg and foot. A feeling of heaviness in the affected leg may make it difficult to lift the foot off the floor.

What can PT do to treat sciatica?

  • Restore pain-free functional movement patterns
  • Relieve lower back, buttock, thigh, and leg pain
  • Reduce muscle spasm
  • Restore function of the lumbar spine and the sacroiliac joint
  • Improve mobility of the lower body
  • Prevent future pain flareups and reduce fear associated with movement

Sciatica can be a real pain in the butt! Our physical therapists at Elite Therapy Solutions are here to help! Give us a call at 610-466-7060 to schedule an appointment or speak with one of our therapists.

Time for a heart-to-heart with Elite Therapy Solutions!

February is the month of the heart; from Valentine’s Day with your sweetie to heart health with your medical providers because February is American Heart Month!  Now more than ever, efforts are being made to increase awareness of cardiovascular disease to educate the general public on preventative measures to keep your heart healthy.  In fact, heart disease is the leading cause of death in Pennsylvannia1. Fortunately, 80% of heart disease and stroke events can be prevented by:

  • Increasing physical activity
  • Eliminating tobacco use
  • Adjusting diet and maintaining healthy weight 
  • Getting plenty of sleep
  • Managing stress
  • Getting regular health screenings (monitor for blood pressure, cholesterol levels, and diabetes)

 

Who is at risk?

Cardiovascular issues can affect anyone, but symptoms and risk factors can fluctuate based on several variables such as age, gender, ethnicity, and lifestyle choices. For example, although heart disease is the leading cause of death for both men and women, women are believed to be more at risk than men as symptoms aren’t as easily identifiable.

 

How can PT help?

By definition, physical therapy improves quality of life for people of all ages who have medical conditions, illnesses, or injuries that limit their regular ability to move and function. But that is not all! Physical therapy can be utilized as a preventative measure for various conditions—cardiovascular health included. Significant improvements in blood pressure, weight, quality of life, and other health indicators can be made through exercise under the supervision of a licensed physical therapist, in conjunction with other health professionals such as primary care physicians, specialists, dieticians, health and wellness professionals, etc. In fact, studies show habitual physical activity helps reduce and sometimes prevent symptoms in patients with cardiovascular disease.

 

Call us today at 610-466-7060 to discuss how we can improve your heart health!

1Pennsylvania (22 April 2020)  Retrieved from: https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/pressroom/states/pennsylvania/pa.htm

From Back Pain to Back in Action

Low back pain is one of the most common diagnoses our physical therapists treat – and for good reason! Over 80% of Americans will experience an episode of low back pain at some point during their lives1. Physical therapy is an effective, safe, and cost-conscious way to treat this condition and help people get back to living their best lives. While there are many treatment options for handling back pain, physical therapy should be considered a first line of defense.

According to a study published in Health Science Research, patients who saw a physical therapist first when they started experiencing back pain, compared to patients who waited to see a physical therapist or never saw one at all, had the following results2:

  • Lower out-of-pocket costs
  • Lower pharmacy costs
  • Lower outpatient costs
  • 87% less likely to need an opioid prescription
  • 28% less likely to need imaging services
  • 15% less likely to make an emergency room visit.

Not only are there financial benefits to using a safe alternative such as physical therapy, but research shows that the sooner a patient comes in for an appointment, the faster they recover. This can help prevent an acute problem from becoming a chronic one. That is why we always strive to get your patients in quickly – usually within 24 to 48 hours! With 2 convenient locations, we are ready to help your patients all across Chester County get back and better than ever.

1Study: Seeing a PT First for LBP Lowers Overall Costs, Reduces Chances of Later Opioid Prescription. (2018, May 24). Retrieved from http://www.apta.org/PTinMotion/News/2018/05/24/PTFirstForLBP/

2Freburger, J. K., Holmes, G. M., Agans, R. P., Jackman, A. M., Darter, J. D., Wallace, A. S., . . . Carey, T. S. (2009, February 09). The Rising Prevalence of Chronic Low Back Pain. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4339077/

How Physical Therapy Helps with Life After COVID19

It is no secret that COVID19 has changed our world. Patients who have been in the ICU due to COVID may experience post-intensive care syndrome (PICS) which involves health problems from the ICU stay that may persist after the patient leaves the hospital. The second edition of the Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans (PAGA), reports that approximately 80% of US adults and adolescents are insufficiently active. Many of these individuals have mobility issues or aches/pains preventing them from achieving these activity guidelines.

How Can PT Help?

  • Improve aerobic capacity while patients’ levels of exertion are being monitored
  • Break the cycle of inactivity
  • Increase balance/flexibility
  • Lower risk of falls
  • Improve strength and stability
  • Improve gait
  • Raise confidence level in exercise

At Elite, we are committed to providing excellent patient care and education to improve the lives of those in our community. Give us a call to schedule an appointment at one of our 2 convenient locations in Coatesville (610-466-7060) and West Chester (610-696-3305).

Use it or Lose it! Prevention of Deconditioning

What is deconditioning?

Deconditioning refers to a physical decline in function. During this time of isolation and social distancing, deconditioning can occur very easily. Deconditioning causes diminished muscle mass, decreased muscle strength by two to five percent per day, weight gain, changes in joint structure and muscle shortening. This can then result in increased falls, functional decline, increased frailty, and overall limited mobility.  It is important to stay active and continue to move, especially now, to maintain physical abilities and prevent these effects.

How can PT Help?

  • Increase balance/flexibility
  • Lower risk of falls
  • Improve strength and stability
  • Improve gait
  • Raise confidence level in exercise

Staying Active Through COVID

COVID has really put a damper on activities that we would normally do. It is important to stay active and healthy, even if that means doing things inside or by ourselves! Below are some activities that can help to keep you active and safe during the COVID & Winter Season.

Tip 1: Get Busy Moving!

It is important to keep our bodies active and moving during this time in which we can become more sedentary staying inside and away from others. This winter try some new activities like taking a virtual exercise class. Elite Therapy Solutions’ own Occupational Therapist, Maddie, holds free virtual exercise classes which you can tune in live to on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays through Brandywine Valley Active Aging Facebook page. For more information and to get involved, please email jorge@bvactiveaging.org.

Tip 2: Try your hand at a new hobby!

Keeping busy and active is important, and what better time to pick up a new hobby than during the cold winter months? Try getting involved in a crafting project like knitting, sewing, or scrapbooking. If arts and crafts aren’t your thing, try a hobby such as indoor gardening. It is a quick way to get involved in something that will keep you active each day and will produce either beautiful flowers or a yummy garden treat.

Tip 3: Get Organized

We typically think of getting organized during the spring season when we do our “spring cleaning”. However, with the colder months approaching, now would be an ideal time to get rid of those old and unwanted items, to make room for the new and exciting. Try starting with just one room or closet at a time – out with the old and in with the new (year)!

Tip 4: A Brisk Walk

Even though its cold outside, that does not mean you need to stay indoors 24/7. Getting fresh air has been shown to improve mood, increase blood circulation, and help in cardiovascular health. A long walk is not necessary, so bundle up, and try just walking up and down the driveway…as long as there isn’t snow and ice that is!

Tip 5: Cook a New Meal

During this time where things can get boring and are often the same thing repeatedly, why not try switching it up and trying a new menu item! New cookie and soup recipes are a good way to stay warm and cozy both inside your home, and inside your body. Don’t forget to stay hydrated as well! Drink plenty of fluids.

With COVID affecting everyone, it is important to find the positives in our lives. Try some of these tips to keep you active and safe during the cold winter and COVID months.

Weight Loss & PT

Physical Therapy and Weight Loss
Often when you see a physical therapist, it is to recover from an injury or help alleviate a painful condition. In some cases, the pain you are experiencing can be linked to weight gain. Weight loss is a hot topic in our society and many people struggle with weight control, making it one of the most popular New Year’s resolutions each year.

Carrying too much weight can have several adverse effects on our bodies, including:
• Limited endurance
• Limited movement and flexibility
• Increased fatigue
• Frequently being short of breath
• Pain in various parts of the body

How Can PT Help?
Two of the major keys to weight loss are eating healthier and staying active. In terms of movement, physical therapy can play a key role.
Your physical therapist will perform a full assessment of your body and health, target areas of concern, and customize an exercise program designed to reduce and eliminate your pain and make you healthier. They will also teach you the correct form for each exercise, so you can perform them with minimal pain. If one of your concerns is carrying around too much weight, a physical therapist can demonstrate specific exercises that will help get rid of the excess pounds.

The Importance of Good Posture

Posture can be defined as a position of the body or the arrangements of body parts relative to one another. Posture is often thought in relation to the spine, but it also includes your extremities. Posture can be good, bad, or somewhere in between. Posture is important when standing, sitting and even when lying down.

So why is good posture so important and poor posture so bad? Well, it all starts with the way we are made. Our body is made a little bit like a puzzle. All our body parts are designed to fit together in way that creates the least amount of stress on the joints, discs, ligaments, and muscles. When we start to deviate from this ideal posture and spend more time in poor postures, we put stress extra stress on the joints, discs, ligaments, tendons, and muscles. Anywhere the body deviates away from ideal posture and alignment stress is put on that area of the body.

So how can PT help? Physical therapy always includes an assessment of posture, analysis of how the patient’s posture is contributing to the current problem, education on how to improve posture, and interventions including hands on treatment and exercises to improve posture.

Fall Prevention

Did you know…

Adults age 65 or older:

  • 1 out of 3 adults fall each year
  • Falls are the leading cause of injury death, and the most common cause of nonfatal injury & hospital admission for trauma

Many people who fall, even if they are not injured, develop a fear of falling. This fear may cause them to limit their activities, which leads to reduced mobility and loss of physical fitness, and in turn increases their actual risk of falling.

Balance: A person can become disoriented if the sensory input received from his or her eyes, muscles, joints, or vestibular organs sources conflict with one another.

  • Joints and Mechanoreceptors– As joints age, mechanoreceptors become less sensitive.
  • Cerebellum and Brain– Movements and neurological function decreases as we age.
  • Inner Ear- Vertigo is a common cause of falls.
  • Sense of Sight– Vision decreases as we age and diabetes is the leading cause of blindness in
  • Sense of Touch– Diabetic neuropathy can mean loss of feeling, which can lead to poor balance.

How can Physical or Occupational Therapy help?

  • Evaluate each patient to find which of these symptoms are affecting the ability to balance.
  • Review the patient’s medical history
  • Review the patient’s medication list
  • Perform a clinical observation
  • Berg balance scale test
  • Specific tests for vertigo