Back pain is something that affects most people at some point in their lifetime. The cause is not always clarified through current medical evaluation and imaging. Often times it is more complex than simply slipping a disc or pinching a nerve. Therefore the treatment must reflect the person's specific deficits that lead to the injury in the first place. This is why many times surgical intervention may relieve pain only initially.
It can be scary and downright unbearable to have debilitating pain in the back or radiating pain into the legs. Most people will assume the best course is to have a MRI performed ASAP. Current research shows this is not a reliable medium to determine what is actually causing the pain. MRI findings only give us a rap sheet of what could POTENTIALLY be causing the problem. Most folks over 30 will show signs of spinal degeneration. Many will have no symptoms. This disconnect leads many people to have spinal surgery and procedures based on a weak assumption.
This is a unfortunate situation and is entirely avoidable by seeking proper conservative treatment and someone that will take the time to address a person's specific deficits. If you or a loved one is experiencing back pain that is interfering with daily activity, give us a call to discuss what treatment might look like for your condition.
Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome (PFPS) is a term for knee pain that is used to describe pain on the front of the knee surrounding the knee cap. Often times, patients will also complain of pain along the medial (inside) part of the knee as well. The pain is typically described as being a dull ache. Often times this type of knee pain increases with activity (sports, running, hiking, cycling etc). The knee will typically swell and become stiff. Young athletes are especially prone to this as they are growing and their musculoskeletal system simply cannot keep up with the additional demands placed on their joints. Females are most susceptible to this due to the wider pelvic structure in comparison to men.
Why does this happen?
Our kneecap glides within a groove normally, however there are instances when it does not track within this groove perfectly. Even the smallest degree of misalignment can cause a great deal of pain and swelling, especially if the activity is repetitive (cycling, running, skiing etc). Usual culprits are muscular strength imbalances and flexibility impairments in the thighs and hips that alter joint mechanics at the knee.
Since the issue is usually caused by things we can influence and improve, it is very likely to see great improvement with personalized treatment. As with most conditions, the sooner it is recognized and treated, the better the outcome.
How we address it
The proper strengthening progression is key to overcoming this situation. Balancing strength training with recovery and minimizing shear within the knee is the key to getting back to the activities you want to be enjoying. Feel free to give us a call to discuss your situation and what treatment might look like.
Have a great day and enjoy the beautiful weather!
Megan Flesch, PT, DPT
Shoulder dysfunction is a condition we treat very often in the clinic. From the mountain biker that has a history of going of the handlebars to a rancher that uses a post hole digger on a regular basis. Our region has a large range of activities that challenge our joints and tissue. At the same time, folks that spend a majority of their time in a poor postural position in front of a computer or at a desk are predisposed to experience the onset of shoulder pain.
Among the most common non-traumatic problems we see is shoulder impingement. This is a scenario where the tip (acromion) of the shoulder blade (scapula) makes irritating contact with part of the rotator cuff. This often starts as a non painful catch or pop in the shoulder. This pop is a sign of microtrauma that when repeated over time leads to rotator cuff tears. As we age, the likelihood of us experiencing this scenario increases. The main symptom of shoulder impingement is pain with lifting your arm overhead.
Contributors to Shoulder Impingement:
The good news is that this problem is best addressed with conservative treatment. Occasionally, a physician will give a patient experiencing similar symptoms a steroid injection to decrease pain in order for the person to perform physical therapy. During this window of opportunity, a patient develops improved shoulder mechanics, postural control, and stability to reduce future shoulder impingement and subsequent rotator cuff damage. This scenario allows for a return to sports and activities and best prevents the need for a rotator cuff surgery down the road. Don't let a painful shoulder keep you from enjoying life. If you have any questions about this particular condition, feel free to give us a call.
Have a great week!
Michael D. Grajeda, PT, DPT
Most people would be surprised to learn that many orthopedic situations can be treated nonoperatively. Most people would be surprised to learn that outcomes are often times no better following surgical intervention than with conservative treatment such as Physical Therapy. How can this be the case when an MRI shows obvious tissue damage? MRIs and other imaging studies don't lie but they also do not tell you what is actually generating your pain. Most people will have spinal stenosis, rotator cuff tears, bulging discs, meniscal tears, and other signs of tissue damage on imaging. Some are symptomatic. Some are not. Pain is very complex and often involves more than just our physical body. So while we may be able to assume what may be causing pain, we are rarely certain.
At High Desert PT, we are more concerned with a persons' movement impairments and compensatory patterns that contribute to an overall presentation. We believe in addressing the functional problem to help establish long term improvement. This approach allows clients to have a better understanding of the extent of their condition prior to serious consideration of surgery.
Some people need surgery. Some do not. I would recommend everyone exhaust conservative options prior to any elective orthopedic surgery.
Do you have a question regarding orthopedic care? We are more than happy to discuss what conservative treatment may look like for you or a loved one.
Thank you for your time.
Have a great day!
Michael D. Grajeda, PT, DPT
We are excited to begin a blog featuring updates and news about our profession that everyone can benefit from. We started a clinic in the Cortez area in August 2018 to offer exceptional care to people in the Four Corners. We look forward to helping people reach their goals in a professional environment!
-Michael & Megan