physical therapy

What Is Physical Therapy?

October is the national month of Physical Therapy. This profession has been around for over 100 years. With the increasing growth of the aged population, physical therapy is more in demand than what it has been. However, I wonder how much people actually know about physical therapy.

What is Physical Therapy?

As the name applies, physical therapy uses the physical means to achieve the purpose of rehabilitation. It can be in the form of manual therapy (use of hands), electrical therapy (such as ultrasound, iontophoresis, SWD, IFC, TENS, etc), hydrotherapy (use of water), traction (use of mechanical force), and all kinds of exercises. The goal is to rehabilitate a person to his maximum potential.

Types of Physical Therapy

Physical Therapy can also be divided into different categories, according to an area of specialty or age group. The following list has some examples:

Physical Therapy Month 2015

Join us in celebrating National Physical Therapy Month this October.

Pain Assessments

Is pain or discomfort holding you back? Meet with a therapist who will assess your pain and provide options for care. Complimentary assessments to evaluate:

  • Neck & Shoulder
  • Headaches
  • Hip & Back
  • Arm, Elbow & Wrist
  • Knee, Ankle & Foot

Take the first step toward recovery with a complimentary 30-minute pain assessment. Schedule at the physical therapy desk.

Proper Lifting Technique

Most people experience some sort of back pain in their lives. In many cases, the problem can be traced back and related to the way a person carries their bodies and their habit of doing things. I will write more in-depth about the ways to take care of the back next month. This month I will focus on the proper lifting techniques, since people suffer micro- and macro-injuries from lifting.

Benefits of Aquatic Therapy

Does pool therapy or aquatic therapy sound like a strange concept? Hydrotherapy (also known as aquatic therapy or pool therapy) basically means "therapy in water," and has been around for a while. However, its use may not be as popular as it should be. (I think one reason is the maintenance of a pool can be costly.)

Property of Water

Water has two great properties which can be used in therapy. One is the buoyancy and the other is its isokinetic resistance.

Buoyancy
Because the human body is slightly less dense than water, our body's weight is supported in a pool. The more the immersion, the more supported it will be. This "low-impact" activity is very helpful for those people who cannot walk because of pain upon weight bearing activity, such as those with arthritis in the knee or hip.

Fibromyalgia, Part 2

Last time I talked about the diagnostic definition of fibromyalgia. This time I will continue to discuss another unique clinical feature of this syndrome, and that is the low pain tolerance of this patient group, especially toward pressure. This will further lead us to discuss the concept of central sensitization.

Total Psychological?
When a heavy coat is put on our shoulder or someone puts their hand on our shoulder, we feel an associated weight or pressure. However, people with fibromyalgia may feel the pressure painful. The perception of the same amount of physical stimuli is different between normal and fibromyalgia. Is it psychological? Or, is there any physiological explanation?

Sensory Stimulus to Interpretation

Fibromyalgia, Part 1

The term Fibromyalgia is widely used nowadays. Quite a number of people say they have fibromyalgia, especially with chronic pain over multiple parts of their body. However, how much do you understand this condition? We know it's meaning, derived from three words: "fibro" (fibrous tissue), "myo" (muscles), and "algia" (pain). However, medically, there is still a lot we do not know about it.

Not a Disease
Fibromyalgia affects middle aged women. The incidence is much more in female than male. We still do not know either the cause or the course of it. Therefore, fibromyalgia is considered a syndrome, not a disease. A syndrome is a collection of symptoms. The hallmark of fibromyalgia is the generalized, chronic musculoskeletal pain. However, it is commonly associated with psychologically-related symptoms such as anxiety and stress. 

Injury in Musicians: Flutist

Sports injury is not a new term and everyone can understand the relationship between sports and injury. However, do you realize injury to musicians is common as well?

Association with the Amount of Practice
It may sound strange at first to hear of injuries being associated with the playing of music. But it's less difficult to understand when comparing it to marathon runners. Statistics show injuries increase tremendously when the runners run more than 19 miles a week. It's obvious there is a limit to how much physical stress our bodies can withstand before injuries occur. My daughter practices 1–2 hours a day, and she is already in pain. Many musicians practice over six hours a day, and I believe most of them live with pain to varying degrees.

What is the Physical Stress in Musicians?

The Forgotten Joint, Part 2

Last month, we talked about what the patellofemoral joint (PFJ) is and where it is located (The Forgotten Joint, Part 1). This month, we will continue with how to differentiate pain from the knee area and pain from the PFJ. But first we need to understand the biomechanics of the PFJ.

Biomechanics of the PFJ
The knee cap works as a single pulley with the quadriceps and the patellar tendon being the ropes attached to the top and bottom ends, respectively. Its function is to increase the efficiency of the quadriceps muscle in stabilizing the knee, especially in weight bearing position. The resultant force from the pull of these two ropes is the compression force to the PFJ. Just like in other joint pain, the more compression is at the joint, the more pain a patient will experience. At the PFJ, the compression increases as the knee goes into more bent positions.

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