Columbia Rehabilitation Clinic supplied The State newspaper with helpful articles that may help answer physical therapy and rehabilitation questions. For your reading, they are listed below:

Patients can receive physical therapy for 30 days without a physician's referral. What are the benefits of this?

A recent study of over 440 patients showed that those with neck and back pain saved an average of $1500 by directly seeking physical therapy instead of waiting to get a referral from a physician. In SC we have the ability to receive physical therapy for 30 days without getting a physician's referral. (Medicare is the only exception to this rule.) This allows patients to get in for treatment sooner and therefore feel better sooner.
Study: Direct Access to Physical Therapy Safe, Effective, and Cheaper Than Referral-Based Care

What are the most common diagnoses that a Physical Therapist may treat?

A recent survey by the American Physical Therapy Association shows that frequent diagnoses include (but are not limited to): low back pain, neck pain, shoulder, arm, wrist, and hand problems, knee, ankle, or foot problems, carpal tunnel syndrome, sprains and muscle strains, arthritis, cardiac rehabilitation, rehabilitation after a serious injury, chronic respiratory problems, stroke, problems with balance, disability in newborns, hip fractures, fitness and wellness education, and lymphedema. Physical therapists can treat patients on a physician’s referral or without a referral for 30 days. Any questions, give CRC a call!

My Physical Therapist told me to hold a stretch for 30 seconds and do this 4 times resting in between sets. Why can I not just hold it for 2 minutes consecutively instead of resting in between sets?

A muscle can reach its maximal stretch point by holding for a period of 30 seconds. If you allow the muscles to relax in between stretching sets, it will be able to reach a longer maximal stretch point each time, therefore increasing the flexibility even more. If you were to hold for two minutes consecutively the muscle would only reach one stretch point and not go further.

Are your kids carrying their back pack on one shoulder?

If so, carrying their back packs on one shoulder compresses their thoracic outlet. All the nerves and blood vessels going to their hands and arms travel through this area. When it is compressed, the added pressure to the nerves and blood vessels can cause pain, numbness and tingling in their hands. This tingling is often made worse by overhead activities as common as raising their hands. Compression in this area can also cause neck pain, and even pain into their middle and lower backs by their joints and ribs becoming irritated.

My mother always told me to sit up straight. Is good sitting posture really important?

Yes, it is! Many people come to the Clinic complaining of neck and/or back pain, which has no apparent cause. The first thing we address is posture. With gravity pulling on our bodies all day long we tend to develop poor postural habits. This adds stress to our joints, muscles and ligaments. Simply changing the way you sit will produce amazing results. If you need tips specific to your work or daily activities, please call us today to schedule an evaluation.

My son continues to sprain his ankle playing basketball. Should he wear a brace?

Chronic ankle sprains may be the results of weak ankle muscles, or ligament damage. An ankle brace can be helpful for short term stabilization following an injury. If an ankle does not fully recover in the first place a re-sprain is likely. The best answer for long term support, however, is to stabilize through strengthening. Immediate treatment for a sprain should include rest, ice and elevation. Afterwards, strengthening, balance, and proprioception training will help prevent further injury. Questions, give us a call. More about sports related-injuries.

I have patella femoral syndrome. What causes it and can Physical Therapy help?

Patella femoral syndrome is caused by the continuous rubbing of the back of the knee cap and the distal end of the femur, or the thigh bone. Abnormal wear secondary to mal alignment of the patella because of muscular weakness, or trauma to the patella cause softening of the cartilage of these structures, causing chondromalacia. This condition can lead to femoral pain. Often this condition can be corrected with physical therapy, which would involve strengthening of the extensor mechanism of the leg. Heat, ice or ultrasound may also be helpful.

What can I do to control arthritis pain?

Strengthening and ROM (range of motion) can be helpful depending on the severity of the arthritic joint. Keep your weight under control, as being overweight can produce increased joint stress at the hip, knee, and ankle. Applying ice, especially if pain increases after physical activity, can help control pain and swelling. Heat can be used for pain relief but do not use heat immediately after exercise or physical activity as this may cause increased pain or swelling. Of course consult with your physician for any appropriate medications.

What is the difference between a sprain and a strain?

Very good question. A sprain involves injury to the ligaments and/or the capsule around a joint. Ligaments connect bones together, and the capsule is thick tissue around the joint. Ligaments and capsule around the joint also provide stability to the joint. A strain involves injury primarily to a muscle or tendon. Always treat a sprain or a strain with ice initially to decrease swelling and decrease the chance of bruising. After a few days, heat can generally be used on a strain.

Why does my neck hurt when I sit at my computer for a long time?

Poor posture is often the culprit. It increases stress in your neck, which translates into pain. One way to decrease the stress is to set up your computer station correctly. Your computer monitor should be directly in front of you at eye level. Your arms should be hanging directly at your side and your wrists supported at elbow level, just in front of you. Your chair should allow you to sit with the angle between your spine, hips and knees, all at a 90 degree angle. Give it a try; you will like the results.

I've heard the "Graston Technique" is helpful for plantar facilities. Do you provide this treatment?

The "Graston Technique" is a soft tissue diagnostic and therapeutic technique using stainless steel graston instruments for soft tissue mobilization. The "Graston Technique" has been shown to be helpful in treating carpal tunnel syndrome, neck and back pain, de quervain’s syndrome, tendinitis, fibromyalgia, muscle strain, post fracture pain, IT band syndrome, and painful scar. A large case series found that "Graston Technique" reduces numbness, increases patient functional capabilities both in ADL'S and work related function. CRC provides this service and has the only certified "Graston Technique" therapist in Columbia. Any questions call CRC and ask for Susan Gibbons, DPT. Read More

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