Carpal Tunnel Treatment

Carpal tunnel syndrome is a pain-inflicting nerve disorder that has innumerable causes. Many common carpal tunnel treatment options including surgery, anti inflammatory medication, and immobilization fail to correct the root causes of carpal tunnel symptoms where they occur. Orthopedic solutions are an alternative that target the cause of carpal tunnel syndrome and treat it.

Many do not realize it, but carpal tunnel syndrome is one of those diagnoses that orthopedists have tremendous success in treating, despite never receiving referrals from doctors to handle. This is because medical doctors resolve to treat carpal tunnel syndrome by requiring patients to wear night splints on their wrists for six weeks while taking anti-inflammatories. If that does not solve the problem (which is rarely does, and you’ll soon learn why), then surgery is considered.

But why? Why have surgery or take medications to mask or minimize pain or immobilize wounds when specialists like those of us at Orthopedic and Sports PT are figuring out the cause of the problem and treating it?

Understanding Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

Carpal tunnel syndrome is the compression of the median nerve as it passes through the carpel tunnel of the wrist. Common symptoms include pain and weakness when gripping in addition to tingling and numbness in certain fingers of the hand. Symptoms are generally worse during the evening and can ultimately interfere with use of the affected arm.

Carpal tunnel can have many causes.

  • Generally, median nerve compression is an overuse injury caused by excessive, repeated gripping or movements requiring specific, fine movements of the fingers (such as those required to operated a keyboard, a cell phone keypad, or a video game controller).
  • Overuse of the finger tendons as they pass through the carpal tunnel causes swelling and subsequent compression to the median nerve.
  • The underlying cause to the wear and tear on the carpal tunnel is most often due to brachial plexus restrictions as it passes through numerous tunnels between the next and the finger tips.

The brachial plexus is a bundle of nerves that pass through and control the arm. The median nerve is one of the nerves in the brachial plexus bundle.

Diagnosing & Treating Carpal Tunnel

As nerves exit the neck, they can become restricted in the foramen of the cervical vertebrae; from there, they get compressed as the pass through the scalenes under the pectoralis minor as it passes through the pronator teres and finally through the carpal tunnel. The nerve can get compressed at any one of these given areas.

Once the nerve is compressed, blood flow becomes restricted,, which leads to numbness and tingling. So, if you are given night splints for your wrist, but if the compression is occurring anywhere else throughout the arm, then the intervention will not be successful.

Additionally, if the problem is loss of blood flow to the nerve bed, then it makes sense to improve blood flow to the nerve in order to resolve the symptoms. Immobilization of the wrist does nothing to relieve nerve compression nor does it do anything to improve blood flow to the nerve bed.

At Orthopedic & Sports Physical Therapy Center, LLC, our physical therapists are trained to treat carpal tunnel by:

  • Looking at the areas where the nerve may become compressed
  • Mobilizing the peripheral nervous system, which reduces nerve compression and helps improve blood flow
  • Finding a course of action that does not rely on surgery, anti-inflammatories, splints or other invasive or immobilizing treatment regimens that generally result in carpal tunnel relapse.

Orthopedics presents an intelligent, viable option to treating the pain and malfunctioning associated with carpal tunnel. Before you defer to surgery or medication for help with your carpal tunnel pain, consider the alternatives to get you out of pain for good.

With four locations from Crestview to Destin, Florida, the Orthopedic & Sports Physical Therapy Center is the place to go for sports injuries and for expedient therapeutic recovery. Orthopedic & Sports Physical Therapy Center has expertise in assessing, diagnosing, and treating the real issues that cause medical problems.  Let Orthopedic & Sports Physical Therapy Center, LLC help you find a reliable, nonsurgical solution to your carpal tunnel syndrome and other ailments.

The Ability of an MDI to Diagnose Pain

MDIs or Multidirectional Instability injuries are highly common afflictions that occur both as the result of significant trauma and simply in general. Looking at an MDI to diagnose pain can be like trying to find a needle in a haystack; only by getting to the root of the problem through a proper physical assessment can pain be properly assessed and treated.

What is MDI?

MDI or Multidirectional Instability is a common affliction of the shoulder. It is a joint disorder than can impact anyone –not just those who have experienced trauma or who have dislocated their shoulder, as many commonly believe. Realistically, MDI can afflict anyone who has not used or who has recently started extensively using his or her shoulder joints after a period of non-use.

The result is a sense of looseness or laxity in which the shoulder joint might be subject so sliding in and out of place (hence the assumption about dislocation).

Diagnosing Pain with an MDI

Problematically, MDI pain is somewhat indistinguishable from other forms of pain. For example, signs and symptoms of an MDI:

  • Pain is typically experienced during an activity
  • Pain when lifting or moving objects
  • Pain during or following exercise
  • A sensation of weakness
  • A sensation of shoulder movement
  • Popping or clicking in the shoulder when movement occurs
  • Tingling or numbing to the afflicted arm
  • Fatigue following activity
  • Loss of performance

It is for these reasons –the fact that the problem can so easily masquerade as something else, that a proper diagnosis is necessary. Only through a targeted discussion regarding the pain and with a detailed physical examination can a proper diagnosis be achieved.

Selecting the Right Care

Respective to diagnosis and treatment, it is essential to take your concerns to the correct type of doctor for your ailment. Just as you wouldn’t seek input from a cardiologist regarding a suspicious mole on your forearm, you should also not consult an internist or surgeon or any other type of specialist regarding physical pain other than an orthopedist.

While these medical doctors are very skilled in their areas of expertise, they have a tendency to misdiagnose ailments due to their exclusive reliance on imaging technologies like MRI and X-ray. While imaging is useful in assisting a diagnosis, it should not be the only resource (as is often the case among non-orthopedic professionals).

Further, pain medication and / or surgery are often the prescribed treatment solutions among some medical professionals. This, too, is problematic. Treatment through physical therapy, which is the result of an accurate diagnosis of the cause of pain, is both safer and more effective.

At the Orthopedic & Sports Physical Therapy Center in Florida, your MDI pain will be treated with proper attention and respect. Our mission is to diagnose the source of your pain using a series of healthy, noninvasive assessments proven to adequately understand what is causing your pain and further—to understand the cause of your MDI so continued injury and pain can be avoided.

At OSPTC, we listen to you and invite you to be a participant in your healing and recovery process. If you’re ready to stop hurting, come see the wise, experienced, and conscientious health professionals at OSPTC.

With four locations from Crestview to Destin, Florida, the Orthopedic & Sports Physical Therapy Center is the place to go for sports injuries and for expedient therapeutic recovery. The careful, respectful, and attentive physical assessment of the causes of pain is a specialty of the professionals at Orthopedic & Sports Physical Therapy Center, LLC. Their experienced, comprehensive approach to pain diagnosis and treatment will have you feeling better, longer in no time.

Seeing is Believing: Pain Isn’t Always Visible

Far too often, patients experiencing pain are prematurely convinced of a narrative perpetuated as a result of imaging (ex: an MRI revealed a bone spur); however, some ailments are normal products of aging and other factors meaning they may not be the causes of pain at all. Only by using a skilled observational approach, such as those implemented at OSPTC, can the causes of pain accurately be identified.

Why Musculoskeletal Pain Comes Back

The problem with western medicine or medicine performed in the United States is that there is an apparent failure to or at least a failure to attempt to understand the causes of pain and to treat that pain at its source. Believe it or not, despite their comprehensive training, most doctors receive very little educational support in diagnosing and treating pain-causing disorders. This claim is supported in a recent publication titled, A Nation in Pain: Healing Our biggest Health Problem, by Judy Foreman.

girl-leg-painIn her work, Judy claims, “Pain is a bigger problem than heart disease, cancer, and diabetes, combined!” This is the problem that I experience on a daily basis; patients come in to the clinic with an issue that is causing pain. They have already been processed through a system that merits seeing a medical doctor at which point they get an MRI or X-ray, and taking pain pills; the subsequent prescription is for pain pills for anywhere from four to six weeks, yet the results yield no evident relief.

I find it interesting that when I first meet with a patient and inquire, “What are you here for today?” that the answer is always the same. Responses I receive such as, “I have herniated disc,” and “I have a bone spur,” reveal that the patient has already received professional medical information that leads them to believe they are broken.

To this I ask ‘why?’ Just because one has been told that an MRI or X-ray shows an anatomical variation, which invariably must be the cause of their pain that does not make it so. The reality is that most changes seen on an MRI or X-ray show normal changes within the human body that are the result of aging but that have no bearing on pain.

The Placebo Effect

Considering the following claim that MRIs and X-rays are no good at diagnosing pain complaints. Those are useful only if my therapist and I are unable to find anything wrong during our routine therapy exam. The real problem is that once you have viewed your X-ray or MRI, you start to believe that what is happening is abnormal and the cause of your problems. Once you start to believe this, it is difficult to remove your pain through conventional intervention.

This is because 30% of any treatment is placebo, which means that if something is meant to work, it will work to a degree of up to 30% because you’re relying on the narrative that it is intended to work (and therefore, it must work). On the contrary, if you do not believe the placebo narrative, there is a 30% higher likelihood that any proposed intervention that it will not work.

The Significance

So, why is this issue concerning? It’s problematic because 30% of treatment left subject to the placebo effect is actually the most important part of any treatment you try. In other words, if you visit a surgeon or physician and are made to believe that you have a bone spur, then you will not believe that any treatment for any ailment other than a bone spur is beneficial.

Thus, before you accept the diagnosis resulting from imaging or even another MD or chiropractor, consider the healthy, non-invasive, results-driven alternative approach of a physical therapist at the Orthopedic & Sports Physical Therapy Center (OSPTC), and let their doctors figure out why you are really in pain, and let them help you fix it.

With four locations from Crestview to Destin, Florida, the Orthopedic & Sports Physical Therapy Center is the place to go for sports injuries and for expedient therapeutic recovery. Rather than relying on images, these medical experts read your body’s signals to understand what problematic before treating real issues. Let Orthopedic & Sports Physical Therapy Center, LLC diagnose, treat, and resolve issues causing you pain.

Why Choose Physical Therapy for Noninvasive Back Pain Relief?

While many seek surgical solutions for back pain, the odds of surgery being successful in treating back pain are slim; a noninvasive alternative to surgery that boasts longer success rates is physical therapy. Physical therapy diagnoses back pain and treats issues without surgery, MRI, or injections.

Using Surgery to Treat Back Pain

A commercial during the Oscars portrayed a happy patient who claimed to have suffered from back pain and to have gotten relief from neurosurgery. The patient in the commercial appeared to be about 50 years old. Many with pain end up looking toward surgical solutions, but there’s a thought: what about back pain relief without surgery?

Why Surgery is a Flawed Solution

back-painAs an Orthopedist, in my observation, approximately 90% of back surgeries are done in error. Here’s why I say that:

  • Physical exams are limited. Medical doctors do very little by way of a physical exam to determine what the broke structure is.
  • They rely on MRIs. Medical doctors order Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) to image the broken structure. They base their diagnosis on the image’s information with little reliance on evidence from a physical exam.

I know this to be accurate because I have interviewed thousands of patients in the course of my 24-year career, and this is what they report.

Following the procedure, surgeons offer limited alternatives.

  • Pills: Pain pills and medications are the first course of post-surgery “treatment.” Often, these pills are addictive and do not actually facilitate healing; rather, they mask pain. Patients can become addicted because these are incredibly strong medications and because of the satisfying result of pain being disguised.
  • Injections: If pills are not successful in the “treatment” of pain, then injections are typically offered. As with pills and other medications, injections do nothing to genuinely resolve any issues; rather, they make pain.

The problem with disguising pain following major surgery is that you might believe your body to be doing better than it actually is; this makes you vulnerable to reinjure yourself (and possibly more significantly than before you had surgery) leading you to need more intervention. Because you are already in the care of a medical doctor, you are more like to return to the same doctor for treatment; you will possibly be recommended for another course of surgery, and the cycle will invariably repeat itself.

Back Pain Relief without Surgery, Injections, or MRI

In reality, most medical experts concur that while back surgery can be used in the treatment of some back pain, it is rarely necessary for the treatment of back pain; further, with surgery, in the even the surgery is successful (surgery is not always successful) back pain usually returns within two months.

If you are not treating your back pain with surgery, then what are your options? Well, unlike surgery, which is invasive, physical therapy provides noninvasive solutions focused on achieving an accurate diagnosis and rehabilitating the injury or ailment.

Physical Therapists Diagnose Pain & Treat Problems

therapy-centerThe physical therapists at Orthopedic and Sports Therapy are experts in diagnosing the true causes of back pain. The physical therapists use a series of physical exams to target the part of your anatomy that is not working.

Once a diagnosis has been made, the physical therapists will work with you and will help you use your own body to heal itself through physical activities and hands on manipulation. At Orthopedic and Sports Therapy, we see pain as a symptom, not the problem, which is why we are not in the business of masking pain.

Rather, our expertise is in determining the source of your pain:

  • Muscle
  • Tendon
  • Disc
  • Nerve root
  • Fascia
  • Dural restriction,

and in treating you accordingly. Without the intervention of invasive, painful, and damaging surgeries, MRIs, X-Rays, pills, or injections, we have the ability to diagnose and treat your back pain. Our goal is to keep you whole and make you feel good. Doesn’t that seem like a better way to address pain? We certainly thing so.

With four locations from Crestview to Destin, Florida, the Orthopedic & Sports Physical Therapy Center is the place to go for sports injuries and for expedient therapeutic recovery. When you’re in pain and looking for safe, competent, and complete relief, look no further than the experts at the Orthopedic & Sports Physical Therapy Center, LLC. They’ll get you up and running in no time.

Are Shots Good for Shoulder Pain?

The burden of should pain can often easily be temporarily alleviated with a shot; however, pain always returns, and the shot’s chemicals can lead to more significant problems over time. Physical therapy provides a safe, healthy approach to treating shoulder pain that is proven to be effective over the long term.

The Hazards of Masking Shoulder Pain with Shots

shoulder-painTreating shoulder pain with shots is a common practice because shots provide quick, temporary alleviation of pain; however, this is not a good idea. Shots only function to disguise pain. Given that pain is only symptomatic of the problem and is not the problem itself, treating a symptom is not a lasting or even a healthy way to ameliorate discomfort.

Think of it this way, if you had the flu and that flu resulted in nausea and all you did was treat the nausea but not the flu, provided you could live forever with the flu, you would always be treating the nausea because the flu would never go away because you weren’t treating it. The same concept is applicable relative to shoulder pain. If you are only treating the pain but not the cause of the pain, then you will always be dealing with pain.

Making Pain Leads to Muscle and Tissue Damage

When you have a shoulder injury, you have muscle and joint dysfunction; this is what causes your pain. When you get an injection, as noted, you are stopping the pain; however, the underlying joint dysfunction remains, and the tissue subsequently continues to deteriorate, albeit, pain free, since you have masked the pain with medication.

Further compromises to your muscle and tissues stem from the chemicals used to create the injections as those chemicals:

  • Break down tissues
  • Weaken tissues
  • Makes tissues unhealthy

This leads to further problems that could have otherwise been prevented with less invasive approach that targeted the problem and not just the pain.

The Healthy Way to Treat Shoulder Pain

Physical Therapy Provides Cost-Effective Safe Pain Relief

stretchThe best way to resolve the problem is to accurately diagnose the cause of the pain and discomfort and to eliminate the mechanical issue; this intervention is provided through physical therapy, the result of which is that you will return the joint to its optimal efficiency. As a result of this approach to treatment:

  • The tissue will become healthier
  • Chances for renewed pain are lessened

In addition to the health benefits of using physical therapy to treat shoulder ailments is that physical therapy is less expensive than the more invasive alternative, shots.

The doctors as Orthopedic and Sports Physical Therapy are well-trained professionals with expertise in addressing problems related to shoulder pain. These physical therapists are highly knowledgeable about shoulder function and have several hands-on techniques they can use to help you treat your shoulder pain in a safe, effective, healthy, and noninvasive manner. They will get your joints back to optimal function while preserve the integrity of your shoulder tissue.

With four locations from Crestview to Destin, Florida, the Orthopedic & Sports Physical Therapy Center is the place to go for sports injuries and for expedient therapeutic recovery. When you’re in pain and looking for safe, competent, and complete relief, look no further than the experts at the Orthopedic & Sports Physical Therapy Center, LLC. They’ll get you up and running in no time.

Foods that Reduce Inflammation

Typical Causes & Symptoms of Inflammation

Inflammation actually gets a bad rep. Inflammation is our body’s natural response to ward off dangerous, foreign, or unhelpful organisms; however, there are times where our body –in response to certain other issues (arthritis, to name one) will initiate an inflammatory reaction despite there not being any unnatural presences within the body.

So, while we typically think that inflammation is some kind of swelling problem that is purely problematic, the reality is that there is actually a healthful purpose for inflammation. Additionally, inflammation is more than just swelling.

Signs of inflammation include:

  • Stiffness and lack joint mobility
  • Swelling (this is sometimes accompanied by a warmth to the afflicted area, but it does not have to be)
  • Redness of the afflicted area
  • Fever and chills
  • Fatigue / exhaustion
  • Headache
  • Lack of appetite

Importantly, signs of inflammation closely mimic signs of a blood clot, which means that it is important to take any indication of an episode of inflammation that is not in response to a bacterial or viral ailment seriously.

Using Diet to Reduce Inflammation

Unbeknownst to many, a chronic condition of inflammation can cause a plethora of medical ailments such as stroke (also symptomatic of blood clot disorders), heart attack, cancer, etc. Though genetics absolutely play a role in your tendency toward inflammation, there are ways for you to take control of your physical health.

The first and most important line of defense is in your diet. We have to eat every day, and as it turns out, there are multiple food products that naturally help the body fight inflammation. These defenders are fruits, vegetables, proteins, and alliums; they should be incorporated into your diet on a regular basis.

  • Good Fats: Years ago, fat got a bad reputation, but it has since been discovered that fat is not only essential, but it can also be very, very good. That said, there are healthy fats and unhealthy fats. Saturated fats such as those found in refined sugar products should be avoided. Healthy fats, however, such as those found in fish (like salmon), nuts (such as almonds or walnuts), and cold-pressed oils (like extra virgin olive oil), should be incorporated into the diet.
  • veggie-girlDark, Leafy Greens: When your mother said to eat your vegetables, she was right. Dark leafy greens like kale, spinach, Swiss chard, broccoli, collards, etc. are packed with essential vitamins (E) and with cytokines, which are inflammatory molecules.
  • Whole Grains: If you ever wondered if there was a difference between the food items labeled whole grains and those not, you should know that there is, and those items identified as whole grains can help you (further, they have a higher fiber content). So, start branching out and trying healthy alternatives to rice and pasta like farrow and barley and quinoa.
  • Spices: Many spices like those found in exotic cuisine (turmeric and ginger, for example) are known inflammatory reducers. Other like basil and parsley are also beneficial, so spice up your menu and reduce inflammation at the same time.
  • Alliums: Speaking of spicing up your menu, alliums like garlic and onions are immune-friendly inflammation-reducers. Garlic is known for having similar effects to anti-inflammatory medication while onions have similar mitigating effects.
  • Berries: raspberries, blueberries, blackberries, and strawberries all have distinct positive impacts on reducing inflammation whether it is in the joints or in the digestive tract. Either way, it’s a perfect reason to add a serving of succulent berries to your morning portion of whole grain steel cut oatmeal.
  • LowFat Dairy: Speaking of digestive inflammation, non- or low-fat yogurt and milk are known for fortifying the body in the fight against rheumatoid arthritis.
  • Vegetables: Tomatoes, colored peppers, and other fresh produce selections are beneficial as a part of both a well-balanced diet and as combatants to inflammation. Tomatoes not only provide a delightful burst of umami to the palate, they also contain lycopene and are proven to reduce lung inflammation. Interestingly cooked tomatoes are more healthful than raw ones, though, both are extremely desirable.

A healthy diet can be used preventatively or defensively against inflammation. By eating well, you can reduce your likelihood of suffering from inflammation and suffering the negative, painful effects of inflammation.

With four locations from Crestview to Destin, Florida, the Orthopedic & Sports Physical Therapy Center is the place to go for sports injuries and for expedient therapeutic recovery. Safe, informed, comprehensive care and preventative treatment are priorities at Orthopedic & Sports Physical Therapy Center, LLC, so if you think you’re suffering from inflammation, schedule a visit to learn more about your health as well as how you can control inflammation through diet and a healthy level of activity for your body.

Why Physical Therapy & Exercise Should be Used to Treat Ankle Sprains

Though ankle injuries are extremely common, knowledge regarding how to treat a sprained ankle is less common. While immobilization is an important part of the early stages of healing, without exercise to improve strength and flexibility, you run a significant risk of reinjuring yourself.

How Physical Therapy Treats Ankle Pain

Sprained ankles are one of the most common injuries with as many as 25,000 incidents occurring per day. Sprained ankles are classified in three “grades” with one being the lowest and three being the highest. Grade one sprains need no medical intervention and should be treated via tolerable stretching and strengthening, isometric exercise, and weight bearing provided none of these actions exacerbate the condition.

Grade two and three sprains necessitate physical therapy as more damage has been done to the ankle. In these situations, physical therapists help you to strengthen your injured ankle and to regain full functional range of your ankle.

The Phases of Ankle Sprain Recovery

When injuries occur, it is because the ankle’s ligament fibers have been damaged.

  • ankleGrade 1: Ligament fibers have sustained some slight stretching and some damage
  • Grade 2: Ligament fibers have been torn partially.
  • Grade 3: Ligament fibers have been torn completely.

In Grade 1 and 2 injuries, there is a method of treatment called the RICE treatment. The acronym RICE stands for rest, ice, compression, and elevation.

  • Rest: Do not walk on the ankle following injury.
  • Ice: Apply ice immediate after injury to suppress swelling; ice can be applied for 20-30 minutes per day three to four times per day. Wrapping should also be used to minimize swelling and pain.
  • Compression: Wrap the ankle with bandages to provide support.
  • Elevate: Lift the ankle above your heart level for 48 hours.

This is the first phase of the rehabilitation process for all ankle sprains; sprains recover in a three-step process.

  • Phase 1: This is the resting, protecting, and immobilizing stage of recovery. The purpose of this stage is to reduce swelling and to protect the ankle while it is still fragile. This stage lasts one week.
  • Phase 2: This is the very important stage in which the ankle regains movement and functionality including flexibility. Range of motion and strength are also regained during this stage. This stage lasts one to two weeks.
  • Phase 3: This final stage involves returning to normal. Patients start with activities that do not involve turning their ankle, and they build up to ‘normal’ activities that do put increasing demands on the ankle (sports like tennis or basketball). This stage lasts for weeks to months.

Immobilize then Exercise

You will note that immobilization is a part of the healing process; however, it is only a component of the first phase of the process. Many people believe that protocol in treating a sprain is to immobilize the injury, which is why when a person has a sprained ankle (even a Grade 1 sprain), they will have the injured apparatus wrapped and will avoid using it even for walking short distances (even after the first week of injury). The misconception is that the ankle has to rest in order to heal; they neglect to respect exercise and stretching’s role in healing.

jogging-coupleThe reality is that extensive immobilization after an ankle sprain can actually increase the risk of re-injury. Exercise and physical therapy are thus essential for avoiding chronic pain and for mitigating the risk of re-injury. Additionally, it is important to complete the entire curriculum of care and healing recommended by your physical therapist. This includes trusting your physical therapist when they say that it is time to transition from immobilization to stretching and regaining strength and range of motion.

The physical therapists at the Orthopedic & Sports Physical Therapy Center are fully trained and have years of expertise in assessing and treating sprained ankles, so trust them to tell you when it’s time to start moving again because you can also trust them to help you every step of the way.

With four locations from Crestview to Destin, Florida, the Orthopedic & Sports Physical Therapy Center is the place to go for sports injuries and for expedient therapeutic recovery. When you’re in pain and looking for safe, competent, and complete relief, look no further than the experts at the Orthopedic & Sports Physical Therapy Center, LLC. They’ll get you up and running in no time.