Diagnosis by Technology vs. Diagnosis by Exam

Does it really matter which means are utilized to determine a patient’s diagnosis? When it comes to diagnosing musculoskeletal pain, I certainly think so. The art of performing a physical exam on a patient is missing in the realm of musculoskeletal medicine. I know this because, as an experienced physical therapist, we are the only physicians who rely on extensive physical examinations to diagnose and treat the majority of physical ailments. Other physicians, such as general practitioners or orthopedic doctors, utilize MRIs and x-rays to diagnose. So, why use physical examinations? There are plenty of reasons.

What Actually Is Your Problem?

Seems like a pretty simple question to answer, right? Wrong. All too often I see patients in my office who have a hard time answering this question. Why? Often they find themselves in my office after experiencing pain for several months and after seeing multiple other physicians before me. The first thing that I usually discover is that the patient has yet to have had a comprehensive physical examination. This is what the background of their treatment usually looks like –

  • First, they saw their family physician and verbalized their pain complaint
  • The family physician prescribed pain medication and referred the patient to a specialist, usually an orthopedic surgeon
  • The specialist also listened to the patient’s complaint, maybe even performed a brief exam, and then ordered an MRI or x-rays to determine a diagnosis

That’s when I come into play. The patient arrives at my office and tells me, “I have a bone spur,” or “I have a bulging disc,” etc. To which I reply, “Yes, that is what your MRI/x-ray says, but what actually is your problem.” {cue blank and confused stare} It is amazing to me how many patients, by the time they end up in my office, have lost sight of what their original complaint was due to being so fixated on this diagnosis that has been determined by a machine.

The Art of the Physical Examination

Once the patient realizes that I am actually interested in their original complaints, they are eager to explain things further, such as:

  • When did their pain start?
  • Is there a difference in the origin of their pain vs their pain now?
  • What movements make the pain worse vs which movements ease the pain?

The physical therapists at OSPTC are trained to make a diagnosis by physical examination. We don’t send you out for an MRI or x-ray, and we certainly don’t recommend pills for your complaints. Instead, we will listen to you and examine you thoroughly as only a physical therapist in one of our offices has been trained to do.

Getting to the Root of the Problem

So, what can be determined by a physical examination? First of all, we will look for the cause of the pain by looking at how you move.

  • What is stuck?
  • What is weak?
  • Are there any restrictions in your fascia or peripheral nervous system?
  • Are there restrictions in your joint capsule or just a trigger point in your muscle belly?

Once we find the source of your pain, we will begin treatment right away. When you start to see the results of our treatment, you will rest easy knowing that not only has the problem been diagnosed, but the root of the problem has been discovered and treated as well. It will be then that you realize that diagnosis by exam is a much more efficient way to treat musculoskeletal pain than diagnosis by any machine or technology.

With four locations from Crestview to Destin, Florida, our physical therapists are trained specifically to perform extensive physical examinations to diagnose your problems as well as discover and treat the root of those problems. 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 be your first resort to treatment, rather than your last. We are dedicated to delivering quality treatment that will get you back in shape as soon as possible.

Choosing the Right Exercise

Choosing the Right Exercise

Did you know that there is a right and wrong way to exercise? Everyone’s body is built differently and operates uniquely at different stages of life. Choosing the right exercise regimen is just as important as the exercise itself. So, you read an article in a fitness magazine that illustrated a workout regimen for women over the age of 50 – well, while I’m sure that there were a lot of helpful tips and core principles in that article, it isn’t realistic to think that any one workout regimen is right for all women over the age of 50. I get those same fitness magazines, and even enjoy reading them, but my knowledge of the human body and how it works began to evolve when I went to Physical Therapy school in my early twenties, and has evolved even more now that I have been practicing for 24 years. Take it from me, the right exercise regimen for you is one that is catered individually to you, your health and your body’s makeup.

The Wrong Exercise Regimen Can Lead to Injury

I have always gone to the gym to work out, even as a young man. Now, having been in my profession for as long as I have, when I go to the gym it can be very disconcerting to see people doing exercises that are actually doing their body more harm than good. They believe that these exercises are building muscle and increasing the strength of their joints, but in reality these exercises are ultimately leading to the breakdown of their joints and muscles, potentially leading to injuries in the future. I have tried approaching these people to offer helpful advice, explaining my background and knowledge of the human body and its mechanics, but I am often met with hesitation. They usually have a story about a personal experience and how they were taught these exercises by a ‘professional.’ Oftentimes, the clients of these ‘professionals’ end up being of patients of mine or one of our other therapists.

There Is a Science to Exercise

exercise-gymThere is more to exercise than just the mechanics of movement. The brain is largely involved in determining which exercises are right for us. In my experience, I have learned that the nervous system likes certain patterns of movement and there are certain patterns that can be detrimental to our bodies. This information may seem foreign to personal trainers and others who consider themselves experts on exercise, but this type of knowledge comes from being educated on the pathology of the human body. That knowledge, paired with 24 years of experience developing individualized exercise regimens for patients of all ages and backgrounds, is how we get our patients on the right track and help to prevent injuries and unnecessary breakdown of muscles and joints in the future.

The Right Exercise for the Right Injury

There are certain exercises that are best for physical ailments that occur over time {without injury} and certain exercises that are best for injury induced physical ailments. These ailments that occur over time can easily be a direct result of the wrong exercise regimen. That breakdown of the muscles and joints will ultimately lead to injuries in the future. Are you following the right exercise regimen for your body? Don’t wander off into the gym and try to figure out these things on your own.

With four locations from Crestview to Destin, Florida, our physical therapists are true professionals that are qualified to get you on the right track with your exercise regimen. 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 determine which exercises are beneficial to your body and which ones to avoid. Take our advice now rather than later and avoid injuries in your future.

Physical Therapy and Fall Prevention

About one third of people over the age of 65 and about half of people over the age of 80 will fall at least once this year. What does this have to do with physical therapy? Well, your physical therapist can actually help you to prevent falls in the future, as well as help you to diagnose the issues that could be causing the falls. Fall prevention in seniors is extremely important, as these falls can severely limit a person’s ability to stay active and independent.

What Are Falls?

Anyone can have a fall, but older people a
e certainly more vulnerable than others. The reasons for these falls can range from simple to complex, and one of the most important factors of fall prevention is diagnosing the problem that created the fall as well as discovering factors that could contribute to falls in the future. Some of the factors that could contribute to falls include, but are not limited to 

  • Leg muscle weakness
  • Vision problems
  • Difficulty walking or balancing
  • Conditions that cause confusion, such as Alzheimer’s
  • Medical conditions that limit your ability to get around
  • Taking multiple medications at the same time, especially psychoactive medications
  • The use of a cane or other walking device
  • Being 80 years of age or older
  • Home hazards
  • Low blood pressure

These are all factors that can be determined by your physical therapist as a first step to fall prevention. If a fall occurs, it is important to let your physical therapist or regular physician know immediately.

The Connection between Physical Therapy and Fall Prevention

Physical therapy and fall prevention go hand in hand for many different reasons. Physical therapy treatment can do worlds of good for fall prevention, treatment of injuries related to falls, and improving overall health to keep these falls from ever happening.

  • Physical exercise regimens implemented by your physical therapists can keep you active and improve your range of motion, decreasing one’s chance of having a fall.
  • If a fall occurs, your physical therapists can assess your health and living situation to determine the cause of the fall and begin prevention treatment.

Fall Prevention Treatment

fallSo, what does a fall prevention treatment plan look like? Well, your physical therapist will take all the necessary steps to develop an individualized treatment plan for each patient. Some of the elements of that treatment plan could include:

  • Home safety assessment – Determining which factors of your home environment could be contributing to a patient’s fall risk, and determining how to eliminate those risks.
  • Perform a simple vision exam and refer patient to an optometrist if necessary.
  • Balance training exercises
  • Activities to improve walking a moving ability
  • Fear management – A patient’s fear of falling can actually contribute to their risk of falling
  • Increase activity levels – staying active increases a patient’s range of motion, which can decrease their risk of falling
  • Education – Educating the patient regarding their own individual fall risks and how to reduce those risks
  • Dual task training program – Training the patient to perform multiple tasks at the same time in a safe manner
  • Recommending Fall Prevention community programs – A physical therapist may be involved in setting up one of these programs or they may be able to recommend programs in the area.

With four locations from Crestview to Destin, Florida, the Orthopedic & Sports Physical Therapy Center is the place to go for fall prevention treatment. 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 determine what your fall risks are and implement a fall prevention treatment plan to help you feel safe as well as improve your overall health.

Physical Therapy for Seniors

How many of you have a grandparent or even a parent who just doesn’t get around very well? Well, did you know that physical therapy could help them? A lot of people don’t. Physical therapy can be very beneficial for seniors, and not just for treating a specific injury – it can be beneficial for all kinds of reasons. From a hip injury to simply treating decrease in mobility and daily functionality, physical therapy treatment can benefit all seniors and can even be used as a prevention treatment.

What are the Physical Therapy Treatments for Seniors?

There are many different types of physical therapy treatments for seniors that depend on the needs of each individual patient. There is no one universal treatment plan, even for the same injury – one of the great things about physical therapy is that therapists
cater to each patient, developing a treatment plan that is unique to their individual needs. These treatment plans can include –

  • Stretching
  • Walking
  • Heat therapy
  • Hydrotherapy
  • Massage
  • Electrical stimulation of the muscles
  • Developing daily exercise routines catered to the patient’s physical abilities
  • Ultrasound
  • Cold therapy

The purpose of these treatment plans are to increase the mobility of senior patients, treat certain injuries, and/or to make daily tasks and activities easier for them. The goal is to make seniors as independent as possible, leading to healthier and happier lives.

Who Benefits from these Treatments?

As mentioned before, physical therapy treatment can be beneficial to all senior patients, but there are certain conditions that physical therapy can be especially beneficial for, and some of them may surprise you. Some of these conditions include, but are not limited to –

  • Pain in all parts of the body – neck pain, back pain, joint pain, etc.
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • Injuries such as a broken hip
  • Alzheimer’s disease
  • Incontinence
  • Strok
  • Osteoa
    thritis
  • Vertigo
  • Multiple Sclerosis
  • Cerebral palsy
  • Other conditions


When conditions like these develop or occur, seeking proper treatment, and in a timely manner, can make all of the difference. It is important to stay ahead of these conditions in order to have the best prognosis possible. A physical therapist can develop a treatment plan especially catered to your beloved family member, keeping them as active as possible, which is crucial to their overall well-being.

Why is Physical Therapy Treatment for Seniors Important?

It is all too common for people to believe that a lot of the symptoms and physical ailments that seniors experience are simply a result of old age and cannot be treated. This couldn’t be farther from the truth. Physical therapy treatment can also be used as a preventative measure for seniors – maintaining their flexibility, range of motion in their joints, and improving their circulation, which helps to prevent the decrease in mobility.

  • By implementing a preventative treatment plan developed by your physical therapist, you can help to prevent injuries down the road.
  • Utilizing physical therapy treatment for some of these conditions can lower the amount of medication taken by seniors.
  • The goal of physical therapy treatment in seniors is to ultimately help them to be as independent as possible – this will lead to a healthier and happier life for your loved ones.

With four locations from Crestview to Destin, Florida, the Orthopedic & Sports Physical Therapy Center is the place to go for seniors experiencing limited mobility or seeking treatment for other medical conditions. 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 increase your daily functionality and improve your overall health and well-being.

Back and Neck Pain: The Benefits of Venturing off the Beaten Path for Treatment

Most of us are no stranger to the discomfort of back and neck pain. I won’t bore you with the superfluous statistics, but the majority of us have experienced symptoms in these areas throughout the course of our lives. How will you choose to deal with these common problems? The path of treatment that you choose can play a huge role in your outcome – the outcome of your health as well as the size of the dent in your bank account. It is important to know what to expect from different treatment options so that you can make sound decisions regarding your health and financial situation. Sometimes choosing the path less taken can make all of the difference.

The Fork in the Road:
Which Path of Treatment to Choose

So, you are experiencing some level of pain in your back or neck – maybe this is the first time, or maybe this has been a recurring problem. The majority of people will choose to see a regular physician, in hopes of getting medication to treat the pain and an MRI to diagnose the problem. But, is there a better way? Let’s talk about why this may not be the best path to choose, and explore why seeking treatment at Orthopedic and Sports Physical Therapy Center may be right for you.

Pain Meds & MRIs

There are many reasons why seeking treatment from your regular physician for back and neck pain isn’t always the best idea. Often people choose this path without realizing the disadvantages that it will present. Here are some common disadvantages of this path of treatment –

  • If you choose this path, you can expect to spend an estimated $6,664 on your problem in the year following the onset of your symptoms. These costs will include –
    Initial doctor’s visit
    A referral to a specialist
    Cost for pain management/medication throughout the entire year
    Cost of an MRI or other expensive tests
  • When you choose the route of pain medication, you are only temporarily relieving the pain rather than treating it, leaving you with a higher chance of a recurring problem.
  • With this chosen path you have a higher risk of surgery. This should always be your last resort of treatment, as it is very hard to recover from.

Physical Therapy Treatment

When you seek the advice of one of the expert physical therapists at Orthopedic and Sports Physical Therapy Center, you are seeking quality care at a much more reasonable price. Here are some of the advantages of choosing the path of physical therapy treatment –

  • As a first intervention, you are likely to spend an estimate of $1871 during a year’s worth of treatment. That is only a fraction of what you would spend by going the other route.
  • By going directly to your physical therapist at the onset of pain, you decrease the chances of the pain becoming progressively worse or extending further from its original point of origin.
  • Physical Therapy treatment will leave you with a higher chance of getting better and back to work faster.
  • You will avoid the cost and risks of taking pain medication for extended periods of time.
  • Your physical therapist will provide you with a personalized plan of care, catered only to you, to not only treat the existing problem, but also improve your strength, posture and mobility, preventing any recurrent injuries.

As the consumer is being asked to pay more out of pocket for their health care costs, it will become more important that you make the right choices when entering the health care arena. Quality care should be your top priority, and when it comes to back and neck pain, our expert team of physical therapists can provide you with that quality care at a fraction of the cost compared to other treatment options. When it comes to your health, sometimes it pays to venture off of the beaten path.

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 back and neck pain, as well as any other ailments.

Paying For What Is Important

Driving down the road this week, I spotted a billboard that stated, “Brazilian Butt Lift – Starting at $7,000.” That sign really got me thinking about the value, or lack thereof, which our society is placing on what should be most important to us – our health. As a physical therapist, I provide quality care to rid patients of their pain, improve their overall quality of life, and help them to maintain functionality as they age – yet patients still choose to forego that treatment with the excuse that it is unaffordable. Which leads me to this question – Are we getting it all wrong?

Superficial Beauty vs Health Improvement

Why is it that people will pay thousands of dollars without question on an elective procedure that carries multiple risks, but when asked to pay a $30 co-pay, somehow that is unaffordable? I fully support anyone who wants to better themselves to support a happier lifestyle, but do you know what really provides you with your happiest lifestyle? Your health – good health that is. Make sure you are investing in the kind of care that not only will improve your overall health, but will lead you to that happier lifestyle you have envisioned – investing in your health should be top priority.

Invest in Your Health

At Orthopedic and Sports Physical Therapy, when you invest in our care, we consider that our investment as well.

  • Physical therapy treatment is an investment in the future of your health – the time and money that you put in now will continue to be beneficial to you years down the road.
  • Back pain making it harder for you to get out of bed every morning? We are invested in getting you up and going – making you the early-riser that you once were.
  • Is your job literally a pain in the neck? If you are experiencing ailments that are keeping you down at work, we are invested in getting you back on track and performing your duties comfortably.
  • Being inactive for long periods of time can make it harder for some to jump back in to a more active lifestyle. We can help you find the flexibility and strength that you need to get back into your favorite exercise routine or sports activity. Your happiness is our investment.

Making room in your budget for treatment for these types of ailments can be the difference in what the future of your health looks like. That Brazilian Butt Lift won’t do much good if you can’t make it to the beach to show it off.

Aging vs Neglect

People often mistake certain muscle and joint pains as a natural part of the aging process, when in reality it is mostly a decay of your musculoskeletal system due to lack of attention to certain muscle groups.

If you are experiencing things such as –

  • Fatigue during normal day to day chores or hobbies
  • Trouble sleeping at night
  • Lack of flexibility to perform routine tasks
  • Muscle or joint pain due to certain movements

This shouldn’t be considered your ‘new normal’ simply because you are getting older. These are ailments that can be treated by your physical therapist, and with your investment, we have the power to improve the quality of your daily life.

When it comes to physical therapy, you are actually getting much more than what you pay for – you are getting a lifetime investment in your health. Treating pains and ailments that are keeping you down, improving the quality of your overall health, and INCREASING your functionality as you age – these are the things that are worth paying for.

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.

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.