“I Slipped and Fell on Ice, What do I do?”

1. Carefully and slowly get up.
2. Use ice on sore muscles for 24 to 48 hours. If you continue to have discomfort, switch to heat after 48 hours.
3. Most muscle strains resolve in several days and or weeks. Consult your doctor if you have persistent severe pain that makes standing, walking, and or breathing difficult.
4. If pain persists for weeks, your doctor may send you to a physical therapist. A physical therapist can perform manual techniques to reduce muscle tightness and instruct you in a home exercise program to decrease your pain and difficulty with daily activities.

Please contact Harbor Physical Therapy, if you have fallen and require physical therapy or you are unsure how to proceed with medical care.

Muscle Stiffness

Causes of Muscle Stiffness:
1. muscle strains
2. arthritis
3. vitamin deficiencies
4. injuries
5. poor sleeping posture
6. obesity
7. illness
8. inactivity
9. dehydration

Treatment for Muscle Stiffness:
1. Apply heat
2. Massage
3. Stretching

Harbor Physical Therapy can provide treatment and education on specific exercises to decrease muscle stiffness. Please contact Harbor Physical Therapy for more information.

Headaches

Headaches can be related to muscle tightness.  Tension in the neck muscles can radiate symptoms to the jaw, shoulder, or head. For example, tightness in the upper trapezius muscle (on the top of the shoulder) is a frequent cause for pain in the temples. Tight muscles in the back of the head underneath the skull can cause headaches in the back of the head or radiate pain to the forehead. Cervical spine tightness can also trigger migraines. Poor posture, muscle weakness, and spinal alignment can all contribute to headaches.

Physical Therapy will decrease muscle tightness, restore mobility to the joints, improve postural awareness, improve body mechanics with daily activities, and improve strength and stability. Physical therapist use modalities such as moist heat, ice, soft tissue massage, manual techniques, ultrasound, electrical stimulation, stretching, and postural strengthening exercises to provide treatment for headaches.

If you suffer from headaches, tight neck muscles might be the cause. Contact Harbor Physical Therapy for an evaluation to determine if your headaches are related to muscle tightness.

Types of Physical Therapy

Physical therapists treat a large variety of conditions. Therefore, there are many specialties within the field of physical therapy.

Orthopedic physical therapy includes any musculoskeletal condition due to overuse, injury, accidents or poor body mechanics. This includes post-operative conditions from hip and knee replacements to surgeries on the shoulder, ankle, knee, neck or back. This category also includes any type of acute or chronic pain which have no apparent cause.

Neurological physical therapy includes working with patients that have Alzheimer’s, brain injuries, spinal cord injuries, cerebral palsy, multiple sclerosis, and strokes.

Women’s health physical therapy includes treating women with incontinence, pelvic pain, weakened pelvic floor muscles, and conditions related to pregnancy.

Geriatric physical therapy includes cardiovascular training, balance training, post-operative treatment, and acute/chronic pain conditions. This therapy can take place in outpatient orthopedic facilities, nursing homes, and rehabilitation centers.

Cardiovascular and pulmonary physical therapy rehabilitates patients who have recently had heart or pulmonary surgery and need to regain their strength and cardiovascular fitness.

Harbor Physical Therapy is an outpatient orthopedic rehabilitation facility. Therefore, we fall under the orthopedic category. We also treat patients that might fall in some of the other categories listed above. If you are unsure what type of physical therapy facility you need, please contact us for more information.

Can stress lead to pain?

Are you wondering if your back or neck pain can be related to stress? Many times stress alone can cause pain and if your spinal nerves are already irritated due to a previous injury, degenerative changes or scar tissue, it may only take a little extra muscle tension to increase your pain.

Stress creates muscle tension. This can cause compression to the nerves that run through your muscles. The compression of the nerves can result in symptoms such as aching, numbness, tingling, and sharp pains. Muscle tension reduces blood flow through the tissues robbing them of nutrients and oxygen. Sciatica is one of the most common problems that can be worsened with stress.

Try to manage your stress with techniques such as meditation, progressive muscle relaxation, guided imagery, massage therapy, walking or warm baths. Also, see your physical therapist as soon as your symptoms worsen. Physical Therapy will provide you with exercises and manual techniques to reduce muscle tension.

Back Pain and Physical Therapy

An episode of back pain can last anywhere from 2 to 8 weeks. Seeing a physical therapist can decrease your healing time and prevent further injury.

Typical treatment will consist of heat or cold packs, electrical stimulation, ultrasound, massage, stretching, postural education, and lumbar stabilization exercises.

Stretching exercises are performed to restore your flexibility and motion. Strengthening exercises are performed to increase the muscular support of your spine to prevent further injury.

Frozen Shoulder

What is Frozen Shoulder?

Frozen shoulder has an idiopathic gradual onset resulting in pain, stiffness, and decreased range of motion. Due to pain, the person tends to use the shoulder less.  Frozen shoulder causes the shoulder joint to become inflamed resulting in thickening, scarring, and shrinkage of the joint capsule that surrounds the shoulder joint. Scar tissue and adhesions form around the shoulder joint resulting in chronic stiffness.

 Some reasons people may get a frozen shoulder are from having poor posture, prolonged immobility from a previous injury, diabetes, or disuse from pain. Research shows, frozen shoulder is often the first sign of undiagnosed diabetes.  This is more commonly found in women over 50 years old. 

 Diligent physical therapy is the key to recovering from a frozen shoulder. Rehabilitation from a frozen shoulder can take weeks to months, depending on the severity. Your therapist may apply heat and ultrasound to warm up the joint and instruct you in stretching/strengthening exercises to restore the range of motion and strength of your shoulder. Ice is often applied after exercises to reduce inflammation.

Hip Bursitis

According to the AAOS (The American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons), hip bursitis is the inflammation of the bursa, a small jelly-like sac that contains a small amount of fluid. Bursas are found in several joints of the body, such as, the shoulder, elbow, hip, knee, and heel. The bursa provides a cushion within the joint.  This helps to decrease the amount of friction between the muscles moving around the joint.

Symptoms of hip bursitis include pain at the outside of the hip joint and side of the leg. The pain can be sharp initially and become achy later. Pain increases at night when side-lying on the affected hip and transferring from a chair after sitting long-term. Pain can also be present with walking, stair climbing, and squatting.

Some causes for hip bursitis can include repetitive stress, landing on your hip during a fall, a leg length issue, and rheumatoid arthritis.

Treatment for hip bursitis may include modifying activities that cause pain, anti-inflammatory medication, using a cane or crutch to take weight off of the affected leg, physical therapy, and possibly cortisone injections.

Physical therapy helps to reduce inflammation in the bursa by the use of ice, ultrasound, stretching, and strengthening exercises.