Recovery

PT Better Than Surgery for Shoulder Impingement and Subacromial Pain

New guidelines for management of shoulder impingement are strongly in favor of physical therapy and away from surgery! These recent guidelines were posted in the BMJ (British Medical Journal) and you can read more here. This is exciting news supporting conservative treatment that physical therapy provides versus more invasive techniques such as surgery.

As the research was examined, the findings revealed: decompression surgery resulted in no significant differences from other approaches—including PLACEBO surgery! The lack of difference was long-term, remaining at 6-month, 2-year, and 5-year follow ups.

Shoulder impingement occurs when structure that pass through your shoulder get pinched between the humerus and acromion that compose part of your shoulder joint. This can lead to irritation, pain, and wear and tear to structures such as the bursa (bursitis), supraspinatus (rotator cuff strain, tears, tendonitis, and tendinopathy), biceps (long head of biceps strain, tears, tendonitis, and tendinopathy).

The following helpful schematic visuals presents the findings for how to management shoulder pain from rotator cuff disease/dysfunction (RCD) and subacrominal pain syndrome (SAPS).

PT better than SAD.jpg

The fact that physical therapy is the ideal way to treat these pain syndromes is not surprising given that the shoulder joint is a complex joint comprising of 4 separate joints and myriad muscles that must coordinate well. Tightness, weakness, poor endurance, control, or posture at any of these points including at the shoulder blade (scapula) can lead to narrowing at the subacromial space and thus impingement. Reversing these problems can then increase the space and reduce the strain, pain, and irritation.

Bottom line?

Having shoulder pain? Come to PT before a surgeon! Please note that these findings are for overuse and non-traumatic shoulder injuries present for more than 3 months.

Thanks for following along as we journey to: Get to the Source, and TOGETHER, get moving.

Liz

Daily Dose of PT (#dailydoseofpt)

Yep, I made a hashtag #dailydoseofpt. Why? Because everyday for 2019 I’ve committed to myself, for my own personal health to do at least one physical therapy exercise. I’m not going to limit myself to one, but I will do at least one.

After some thought, I thought": “why not bring others along?” 365 exercises is a lot and sharing them is a lot, so the daily dose of PT will be shared just on one platform. For ease of use, I’ve chosen Instagram and the live story. It’s not that you won’t find any excerpts or references anywhere else - blog, Facebook, Youtube, Google+, or newsletter, but the journey will be unfolding and evolving on Instagram live and then kept up on the story for 24 hours.

Daily dose of PT - climbing gym edition

Daily dose of PT - climbing gym edition

My hope is that my quest for personal health and well-being will be educational and motivational for you and those that stumble across it. At the time of the writing of this blogpost, I am 9 days into the challenge, with 356 to go. There are lots of opportunities to participate. To not miss out, make sure you follow @artisanpt on Instagram and even allow notifications for live posts from me.

The focus to-date of the #dailydoseofpt has been primarily shoulder, neck, shoulder blades (scapula), and postural stability. Over the course of the year, the whole body will get covered, as needed by my own personal PT intervention needs. If there are regions or parts of the body, that you would like me to focus on, let me know and I’ll do my best to incorporate them sooner rather than later.

Thanks for joining on this journey to optimize health and wellness.

Together, let’s get moving!

Liz

March Daily Fitness Challenge - Hip & Shoulder Stability

I'm pleased to say that the daily fitness challenge that began in October of last year has continued, with a different theme every month. So far we have attempted daily running, seven minute workout, pull-Ups, 8 minute abs, and now.... drum roll please...

BOSU overhead ball toss.jpg

This challenge this month, as the title of the blog post indicates, is hip and shoulder stability. I'm excited about this month because they are very important and foundational to so many activities and preventing injury as well as rehabilitating injuries. I've had my fair share of injuries over the years and they have left they're mark. Now if I had been better about doing all my rehabilitation exercises for these various injuries, I don't think I'd be in the same place. I'm excited of the possibility that the asymmetries I have from side-to-side could diminish, and even, completely resolve!

 Doing all the exercises that your body needs is a lot of work. Can I get an amen? It takes a lot of time, a lot of motivation, and a lot of knowledge. I have the knowledge and a good bit of motivation, but not always enough time in the day. Anyone else have a hard time finding enough time in the day? These monthly-themed daily exercises that I'm exploring are an avenue for me to rotate throughout the body and pay attention to each area and hopefully be better off than the intermittent and sporadic exercise provided otherwise.

Unstable hips or, in other words, hips that lack the strength, endurance, and coordination to control themselves in space, can lead to problems from the low back all the way down to the big toe. Yes, even the big toe! You think you inherited that bunion from your family? Where you born with it? Is it rather from how you've moved and used your body over time? Let's take a look at your hip stability and then let's talk about it.

Knee injuries ranging from patellofemoral pain, runner's knee, ACL tears, meniscal injuries can all arise from a lack of hip stability. Lack of hip strength and control or endurance can also lead to ankle injuries such a sprained ankles and fractures and down the chain into the foot with overpronation, plantar fasciitis, shin splints, or achilles or posterior tibialis tendonitis or tendinopathy.

Shoulder stability is also really important and isn't straightforward. Think of all the motions that your shoulder can do and that is a sign that keeping it healthy will similarly take a lot of work. The shoulder joint or complex is actually made up of four joints: 

  • Glenohumeral joint
  • Scapulothoracic joint
  • Acromioclavicular joint
  • Sternoclavicular joint

All of these are controlled by muscle. So once again the strength, the endurance, and the coordination of these muscles results in the control surrounding those joints. In terms of stability, the most important muscles are the rotator cuff and scapular muscles. You can think of your shoulder blade, or scapula, as the foundation of your shoulder. If the foundation is crooked or unstable, this has consequences for the areas attached to it.

As I work on shoulder stability this month, I am emphasizing the rotator cuff - all four of the rotator cuff muscles - and the scapula thoracic muscles - think rhomboids, trapezius, serratus anterior - as well as the scapulohumeral muscles. If these muscles are strong, can work for long periods of time, and can turn on and off at the right time, there should not be clicking in my shoulder with movement, nor am I very likely to injure myself. Bear in mind that as I strengthen these muscles, I will also need to stretch them because strengthening increases the tone of the muscles and often the stiffness of the muscles and sometimes shortens the length of the muscles. And tight muscles can lead to injury and dysfunction.

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Because it is unwise to strengthen the exact same area day after day, I will alternate between hip stability and shoulder stability, doing one one day and the next the other day. Want to learn a great routine to do for these areas, reach out and we can schedule either a visit or a remote consultation for you fitness, wellness and health goals.

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Stay tuned for April's daily fitness challenge of headstands and handstands...

Let's Get to the Source - and TOGETHER - Let's Get Moving

-Liz

Arm Strengthening for Climbers: Hand Sloper Strengthening with Rotator Cuff and Scapular Stability

Are you a long-time rock climber who wants to climb for a lifetime? Do you want to train right and train smart to prevent injury? Do you wish your hand strength was better for slopers and other open-handed grips while rock climbing?
In this video, Dr. Bottrell introduces a quick series of exercises that strengthens your hand and forearm in open hand positioning for slopers while simultaneously strengthening and increasing the stability of the rotator cuff and scapular (shoulder blade) muscles and joints. Incorporating exercises such as these present the opportunity for better performance & longevity of climbing of a lifetime, decreased likelihood of injury.


Bear in mind these are general recommendations, and a certain amount of strength and fitness are needed.
Interested in what weighted ball uses in this video? It's the Gymnic Heavymed 2 kg weighted ball for resistance.

8 Minute Abs

Last month I did a daily physical challenge of running every day - with the goal of being healthy. Success! This month the physical challenge is "8 min abs". I've spent everyday of November (one day to go) targeting abdominal strength, endurance and control for 8 minutes. Now this isn't about aesthetic or beach body abs. Being able to do crunches and sit-ups are important but have been over-emphasized in the fitness industry for years. Having healthy appearing abdominal muscles - a 6 pack - doesn't mean you are in fact healthy. More specifically, it doesn't mean you are preventing injury. Abdominal strength and stability in combination with low back and hip strength and control make up what we physical therapists call "lumbopelvic stability" or "lumbopelvic control." This is something we emphasize in helping and rehabilitating persons with low back pain, sciatica, SI joint (sacro-iliac joint) pain, lumbar radiculopathy, herniated discs, DJD (degenerative disc disease), arthritis in the joints of the back, and stenosis. The back is connected to the pelvis, which is connected to the hips/thigh/femur. I often sing  to my patients and clients about the wisdom of the children's song: "the back bone's connected to the hip bone. the hip bone's connected to the thigh bone" (They love it, as you can imagine).

So me spending on this focused time on this region wasn't just sit-ups and crunches. In fact, it was much more perform leg and arm motions without letting my back move. I spent 8 minutes each day this month emphasizing a variety of challenges to lumbopelvic stability to promote and preserve a healthy back. I brainstormed a list of exercises and invited a friend to join me with this month's challenge. My list is long and varied. I challenged my abdominal muscles - all of them (rectus abdominus, internal and external obliques, and very importantly the transverse abdominus). I rotated through 48 different exercises these 30 days! There's no reason to get bored. And as we strongly recommend here at Artisan PT - variety is good and very healthy for us. 

Want an example of how to train the transverse abdominus? The transverse abdominus is the most important abdominal muscle to prevent back injury and recover from a back injury or back pain. Learn more in our video on a starter transverse abdominus exercise. PS - Side effects of this exercise include flatter stomachs! PPS - I won't be posting pre- and post- 8 min ab challenge photos, but will be enjoying the results.

 

Watch should the next challenge be? December is right around the corner!

Let's Get to the Source, and TOGETHER, Let's Get Moving!

Liz

Is What You Are Eating Keeping You Hurting?

What you eat has a big influence in how you feel. Not too many people will disagree with this statement, however many are not aware the extent that this is true.

Your diet could be perpetuating your back pain, our contributing to your achy knees, or be prolonging that car accident our recent injury pain.

What do we know?

AVOID eating refined carbohydrates, french fries and other fried foods, soda and other sugar-sweetened beverages, red meat (burgers, steaks) and processed meat (hot dogs, sausage), and margarine/lard.

 

EAT MORE tomatoes; olive oil; green leafy vegetables - spinach, kale, and collards; nuts like almonds and walnuts; fatty fish like salmon, mackerel, tuna, and sardines; fruits such as strawberries, blueberries, cherries, and oranges.

Eating this way helps reduce diseases associated with inflammation: e.g. heart disease and cancer. You can read more about this at http://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/foods-that-fight-inflammation.

But eating this way will also contribute time reduce your musculoskeletal and orthopedic pain. (Read -  less pain in your muscles, discs, joints, fascia, and ligaments). Sounds great, right?

If you're not seeing the consistent pain reduction you want from changes in posture, strength, stiffness, and flexibility, consider taking that next step to reduce what my be stagnant inflammation in your body and change your diet to tips towards anti-inflammatory in addition to all the good work your doing with exercise, position, rest, icing, etc.

Every little step towards healthier living counts!

Car accident blues

Were you in a auto accident? Rear-ended? T-boned? Don't relinquish control of your health!

One of the biggest mistakes we see people make after automobile accidents is not taking responsibility for their health. Waiting on payment from insurance and settlements before receiving professional medical care to rehabilitate from whip lash, pulled, strained, and sore, achy muscles, joints, and ligaments is common and results in prolonged injuries, negative outcomes, side effects, and chronic pain.

The best thing to do is to receive professional care as soon as possible, and what better, than a physical therapist? Physical therapists are EXPERTS in musculoskeletal movement dysfunction and rehabilitation.

Make sure to rest, limit extremes of body range of motion and speed, let your body recover, and take steps to reduce inflammation in your body. Don't put off take care of your health. It is your livelihood. It is your life. First get the quality, personal, and focused care you need to deal with your motor vehicle accident (MVA).

At Artisan Physical Therapy, you don't get generic treatments such as lying on hot packs, getting electrical stimulation, and ultrasound. Instead you get quality and focused manual therapy specifically suited to your needs to reduce swelling, inflammation, pain, stiffness and tightness so that you can get back to doing what you love and when you want to do it. We give you things to put you in control of how you feel - education on the specifics of what to do and what not to do in your daily activities and active body movements and therapeutic exercises.

It's not uncommon that people through care with Artisan Physical Therapy can learn more than they even knew about their bodies and live healthier lives than they did even BEFORE their car accident.

A Physical Therapist's Back Pain Confessional

Dang it, even therapist's have injuries, so let's talk about it. In our latest video, Dr. Liz Bottrell shares her personal experience with an acute occurrence of low back pain (aka - lumbar spine pain). Learn what happened and what she's doing about it and what you can do when you experience unexpected pain that lingers.

Back pain can come on suddenly and unexpectedly as it did for our physical therapist, limiting the ability to sit and lift and do normal daily activities. Learn how to recover as quickly and as optimally as possible. Note - you may have to change your behavior!

Exercise recommendations for Minimizing IT (iliotibial) Band Tightness

Did you watch the first video in my 2-part series about IT (iliotibial) band tightness and have been waiting ever since for video 2? Well, wait no longer, for that moment has finally arrived! In part 1, I explained the anatomy of the IT Band and how it can become tight and problematic. It is often muscle imbalances that lead to this or sometimes just shear volume of activity and training.

In this video, I detail some of the practical, basic stretching and strengthening exercises that I recommend for people's whose IT Band and tensor fasciae latae (TFL) are tight, particularly due to the TFL/ITB serving as an "overachiever" muscle in the hip.

Enjoy the video.  Contact me with any questions and/or suggestions for future video topics.

Let's get to the source, and together, get moving!

Liz

Iliotibial (IT) Band Tightness/Syndrome - Anatomy, the Why, & the What

Iliotibial band or IT band tightness effects a large segment of the population and can manifest itself in many negative ways. It can get tight in the sedentary (aka non-active) population but is a common problem with runners, bikers, and cross fit participants or those regularly lifting weights.

Liz created a 2-part video series to help you understand the issue and what to do about IT band tightness and IT band syndrome. In this first segment, Liz talks about what the IT band is and why it becomes problematic. Then discusses some general ways to manage or prevent it. The follow-up to this video will go through specific stretching and strengthening exercises that are beneficial for minimizing IT band tightness.

Subscribe to the blog and the Artisan Physical Therapy YouTube channel to benefit from free advice and education from a movement specialist including part 2 of the IT band tightness series to get the exercise recommendations and demonstration.

Together, Let's Get Moving!

Liz

Explain Pain - A Helpful Resource

Did you know that what you believe about pain and why you feel pain impacts your healing and health? It's true. Your understanding and beliefs can either help or hinder you!

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