When To Get Imaging For an Injury?

Maryland is a direct access state for physical therapy. This means that you do not have to see a physician before receiving physical therapy unless your health insurance requires it. As physical therapists, we are trained to be able to determine whether your presentation requires you to also consult with a physician. One of the reasons a physical therapist might refer you to a physician is for you to receive imaging. A physical therapist would suggest this if we feel your injury might have resulted in some type of fracture or tear to a ligament, tendon, or muscle. The only way to determine if this actually happened is through imaging. Your physician will then let you know the results of the imaging and their recommendation for a further plan of care.

Even if you did sustain a fracture or tear, that does not mean surgery is the only option. Depending on the severity of the injury, your physician will recommend your options and many times it is continued physical therapy without a surgical intervention. As physical therapists, we have vast experience with working with patient with positive imaging outcomes that have successful results with only physical therapy. Therefore, it is important to listen to all your health care providers to determine the right course for your treatment.

Benefits of Physical Therapy for Arthritis

Physical Therapy is a great option for patients with arthritis. Physical Therapists will evaluate your joints that are affected by arthritis to determine your baseline level of motion and strength. Physical Therapy will help to ease your symptoms associated with arthritis by improving your strength and stability through prescribed exercises. With increased muscle strength supporting your joints, it will decrease joint stress and improve overall function. Physical therapist might also recommend certain modalities along with exercises to help decrease your discomfort. Examples of these modalities are heat, massage, and electrical stimulation. The most common joints that are affected by arthritis are the hands, knees, hip, and spine. The good news is all these joints can benefit from physical therapy.

Stair Negotiation Physics

Many people with pain in the front of their knee comment that going down stairs is more challenging and painful than going up. Let’s take a quick look at why that is!

In the images below, Dr. Scott compares the forces at work when going up vs. down a step. The yellow arrow indicates the force of gravity and the green arrow is the force placed through the kneecap. A larger arrow = greater force, and as you can see the higher degree of knee bend when going down creates a higher force, and thus more stress, on the knee. This can cause increased pain and make descending steps quite challenging for those with a painful knee condition.

Written by Dr. Scott Newberry

Dr. Scott going up the step
Dr. Scott going down the step

Who can Benefit from Telehealth Physical Therapy?

A lot of people who are used to being seen in-person for PT sessions may be wondering, will telehealth PT still benefit me? The answer is YES!

Reasons that patients come to PT vary widely. Regardless of your diagnosis, whether you suffer from aches and pains, a specific injury or surgery, a neurological condition, or general deconditioning to name a few, there is more often than not an exercise component to your treatment. Exercise is key to improving strength, flexibility, range of motion, and endurance.

The great thing is that patients can easily be instructed on how to do their exercises through video. Even if you do not have any exercise equipment at home, your physical therapist will be able to adapt your exercise program to your specific needs and home environment.

You may still be asking yourself, what about the hands-on treatment I receive during my sessions? Don’t worry! Your PT can provide you with self-manual techniques that you can use to work on your tight muscles or stiff joints.

While the amount of time until we will be able to see you again in-person is uncertain, one thing that you can be certain of is that you don’t want to regress on all the progress you may have already made in PT. If you have never had PT before, you can easily start now from the comfort of your own home regardless of your condition. Our PTs will be able to assess you and provide you with the best treatment plan possible!

If you would like to schedule an appointment, go to www.hpt.machtmedicalgroup.com and click the book now button or call us at 443-524-0442.

Written by: Dr. David Reymann
Staff Physical Therapist at HPT


“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 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.