Arthritis Care

Physical therapy can often help to reduce or manage arthritis pain and restore range of motion, allowing you to return to activities that you enjoy. When your joints are painful to move, it’s natural to avoid moving them. It is common for people with arthritis to lose range of motion in their joints and to actually find themselves in more pain because they stop moving.

Physical Therapy Plus can help you to:

-Learn how to exercise your joints so that you regain your range of motion without causing additonal damage.
-Learn techniques that will help you to perform daily activities like driving, dressing, climbing stairs and housekeeping while minimizing the pain from arthritis.
-Learn how to use heat and cold to reduce inflammation, relieve pain and loosen stiff joints.
-Develop a plan to reduce the stress that excess weight or poor posture can put on your arthritic joints.






Your Back Needs Therapy!

In developing a treatment plan, your NY Spine Medicine physician will assess the type of disease or condition you have and its impact. A team approach for the treatment of back problems is often the most effective. Medical treatments include surgical or nonsurgical care and self-care strategies. The goal is to restore function and prevent re-injury.
Self Care: We believe that most back pain resolves with self-care measures such as rest, ice or heat, massage, over-the-counter pain relievers, or gentle stretches. Applying ice and then heat is helpful to relax the muscles and decrease muscle inflammation. We generally recommend that you apply an ice pack for 20 minutes several times a day during the first 48 hours. A warm shower or a heating pad on the low setting may help relax tight muscles. A short period of bed rest is okay, but more than a couple of days does more harm than good. If home treatments aren’t working within the first couple of days, it is time to see one of our physicians.
Medications: We may prescribe non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAID) like ibuprofen or naproxen to reduce inflammation and relieve pain. If you have spasms, a muscle relaxant may be prescribed for 3 to 4 days. If the pain is severe, an analgesic that can be taken with the NSAID or muscle relaxant may be prescribed.
Steroids can be used to reduce the swelling and inflammation of the nerves. They are taken orally in a tapering dosage over a five-day period or as an injection directly into the source of pain, such as an epidural steroid injection or facet injection. Steroids may provide almost immediate pain relief within 24-hours.
Physical therapy: The goal of physical therapy is to help you return to full activity as soon as possible and prevent re-injury. Our professional physical therapists will instruct you on proper lifting and walking techniques, and they’ll work with you to strengthen and stretch your lower back, leg, and stomach muscles. Stretching and strengthening exercises are key elements to your treatment and should become part of your life-long daily routine. Massage, ultrasound, diathermy, heat, and traction may also be recommended for short periods of time.
Surgery: We believe that surgery should only be used after exhausting conservative treatment options. Before major “open back” surgery, we have many minimally invasive procedures that should be tried prior to making a decision to have surgery.






Chiropractor’s Therapy

At your initial visit, your chiropractor will ask questions about your health history and perform a physical exam, with particular attention to your spine. Your chiropractor may also recommend other examinations or tests, such as X-rays.
During the adjustment- During a typical chiropractic adjustment, your chiropractor places you in specific positions to treat affected areas. Often, you’re positioned lying face-down on a specially designed, padded chiropractic table. The chiropractor uses his or her hands to apply a controlled, sudden force to a joint, pushing it beyond its normal range of motion. You may hear popping or cracking sounds as your chiropractor moves your joints during the treatment session.
Additional therapies- Your chiropractor may recommend other treatment approaches in combination with chiropractic adjustment, such as:
Heat or ice
Massage
Stretching
Electrical stimulation
Exercise
Weight loss

After the adjustment- Some people experience minor side effects for a few days after chiropractic adjustment. These may include headache, fatigue or pain in the parts of the body that were treated.
Video: Physical Therapy






Treatments for Sciatica

Sciatica refers to pain that radiates along the path of the sciatic nerve — which branches from your lower back through your hips and buttocks and down each leg. Typically, sciatica affects only one side of your body.
Sciatica most commonly occurs when a herniated disk or a bone spur on the spine compresses part of the nerve.
This causes inflammation, pain and often some numbness in the affected leg.
Although the pain associated with sciatica can be severe, most cases resolve with just conservative treatments in a few weeks. People who continue to have severe sciatica after six weeks of treatment might be helped by surgery to relieve the pressure on the nerve.
If your pain doesn’t improve with self-care measures, your doctor may suggest some of the following treatments.
Medications. The types of drugs that might be prescribed for sciatica pain include:
Anti-inflammatories
Muscle relaxants
Narcotics
Tricyclic antidepressants
Anti-seizure medications

Physical therapy- Once your acute pain improves, your doctor or a physical therapist can design a rehabilitation program to help you prevent recurrent injuries. This typically includes exercises to help correct your posture, strengthen the muscles supporting your back and improve your flexibility.
Steroid injections- In some cases, your doctor may recommend injection of a corticosteroid medication into the area around the involved nerve root.






Can a Physical Therapist Help with Back Pain?

Your physical therapist can help you improve or restore mobility and reduce low back pain—in many cases, without expensive surgery or the side effects of medications.
If you are having low back pain right now:
-Stay active, and do as much of your normal routine as possible (bed rest for longer than a day can actually slow down your recovery.)
-If your pain lasts more than a few days or gets worse, schedule an appointment to see your physical therapist.
Not all low back pain is the same, so your treatment should be tailored to for your specific symptoms and condition. Once the examination is complete, your physical therapist will evaluate the results, identify the factors that have contributed to your specific back problem, and design an individualized treatment plan for your specific back problem. Treatments may include:
-Manual therapy, including spinal manipulation, to improve the mobility of joints and soft tissues
-Specific strengthening and flexibility exercises
-Education about how you can take better care of your back
-Training for proper lifting, bending, and sitting; for doing chores both at work and in the home; and for proper sleeping positions
-Assistance in creating a safe and effective physical activity program to improve your overall health
-Use of ice or heat treatments or electrical stimulation to help relieve pain






Physical Therapy of Back Pain

Physical therapy is the cornerstone of back pain treatment. A physical therapist can apply a variety of treatments, such as heat, ultrasound, electrical stimulation and muscle-release techniques, to your back muscles and soft tissues to reduce pain. As pain improves, the therapist can teach you specific exercises that may help increase your flexibility, strengthen your back and abdominal muscles, and improve your posture. Regular use of these techniques can help prevent pain from returning.
A number of alternative treatments are available that may help ease symptoms of back pain. Always discuss the benefits and risks with your doctor before starting any new alternative therapy.
Chiropractic care. Back pain is one of the most common reasons that people see a chiropractor.
Acupuncture. A practitioner of acupuncture inserts sterilized stainless steel needles into the skin at specific points on the body. Some people with low back pain report that acupuncture helps relieve their symptoms.
Massage. If your back pain is caused by tense or overworked muscles, massage therapy may help.
Yoga. There are several types of yoga, a broad discipline that involves practicing specific postures or poses, breathing exercises and relaxation techniques. Results of a few clinical trials suggest that yoga offers some benefit for people with back pain.






Therapy for Spinal Cord Injury

Unfortunately, there’s no way to reverse damage to the spinal cord. But, researchers are continually working on new treatments, including prostheses and medications that may promote nerve cell regeneration or improve the function of the nerves that remain after a spinal cord injury.
In the meantime, spinal cord injury treatment focuses on preventing further injury and empowering people with a spinal cord injury to return to an active and productive life.
Emergency actions
Urgent medical attention is critical to minimize the effects of any head or neck trauma. So treatment for a spinal cord injury often begins at the scene of the accident.
Emergency personnel typically immobilize the spine as gently and quickly as possible using a rigid neck collar and a rigid carrying board, which they’ll use to transport you to the hospital.






Physical Therapy for Back Pain

Physical therapy with a trained professional may be useful if pain has not improved after 3 – 4 weeks. It is important for any person who has chronic low back pain to have an exercise program. Professionals who understand the limitations and special needs of back pain, and can address individual health conditions, should guide this program. One study indicated that patients who planned their own exercise program did worse than those in physical therapy or doctor-directed programs.
Physical therapy typically includes the following:
-Education and training the patient in correct movement.
-Exercises to help the patient keep the spine in neutral positions during all daily activities.
Incorrect movements or long-term high-impact exercise is often a cause of back pain in the first place. People vulnerable to back pain should avoid activities that put undue stress on the lower back or require sudden twisting movements, such as football, golf, ballet, and weight lifting.






What is Manual Therapy?

Manual therapy is a general term for treatment performed with the hands and not with any other devices or machines. The goals of manual therapy include relaxation, less pain, and more flexibility. Manual therapy includes:
-Massage, which applies pressure to the soft tissues of the body such as the muscles. Massage can help relax muscles, improve circulation, and ease pain in the soft tissues.
-Mobilization, which uses slow, measured movements to twist, pull, or push bones and joints into position. This can help loosen tight tissues around a joint and help with flexibility and alignment.
-Manipulation, which uses rapid, forceful movements to position the bones and joints. This is a more aggressive treatment. Discuss the pros and cons of manipulation with your doctor or physical therapist.






The Importance of Physical Therapy

Physical therapy is a treatment method involving exercises to treat and help in the recovery of musculoskeletal disorders. The main aim of physical therapy is bringing back the patient from painful and motion limiting conditions after an injury or sickness to his or normal state of health in order to resume a normal way of life. Physical therapy is very essential for patients who are suffering from cardiopulmonary and neurological problems as it help in the recovery process.
Is also important to persons with permanent disabilities. The therapy teaches them how to cope and function within their limitation in the event that they will live with the situation for the rest of their lives. Major injury and accident survivors who are in the phase of recuperation or people suffering from crippling diseases such as arthritis, lower back pain, or even cerebral palsy should opt for physical therapy due to its rapid curing and healing abilities.
A patient can regain full or a major share of his/her mobility and achieve flexibility, balance, and coordination through physical therapy under the supervision of a physiatrist expert. Physical therapy will help a great deal in improving the overall fitness and health of the patient.
In order for the therapy to be effective, it is important that the patient shows positive response to the treatment. This can be achieved if the patient is psychologically prepared and is in a positive frame of mind before the treatment commences.