Dry Needling Relieves Headache Pain & Tension

Therapydia Pain Relief Dry Needling Treatment

Many of us know that sitting and having good posture have become a part of our daily lives. Sitting in the same static position on a daily basis can cause a lot of problems with your posture that can eventually cause pain in unexpected locations. Headaches can be caused by issues that aren’t actually in your head. A cervicogenic headache is caused by shortening of muscles in and around your neck and at the base of the skull. Tight muscles can develop painful knots called trigger points and these trigger points can refer pain up from your neck to different parts of your head. Dry needling comes into play as a method of treatment for headaches by releasing tension in those tightened neck muscles and trigger points. Once you loosen those chronically tense neck muscles, you’ll be able to work on getting out of your poor posture and movement habits.

The Tension Around Your Head

Dry Needling Treatment Headache

This type of tightness in your neck muscles usually happens because of incorrect posture patterns. Many of us tend to hold a lot of tension up around the shoulder and neck muscles. This could be due to a lot of different aspects of our daily lives. Tension could result from:

• General stress and muscle fatigue
• Overall poor posture
• Constantly sitting at poorly designed work stations
• Carrying heavy items
• Using a shoulder strap for heavy bag
• Prolonged sitting in car seats while driving

Once you have that shortening of the muscles, your neck shifts into a forward head posture. The pulling at the base of the skull and in the neck is what causes the pain to extend up and around your head. The pain can also refer to different places around your head, like behind your eyes and around your temples. Taking painkillers like NSAIDs (Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs) will help with pain levels, but they won’t ultimately solve the source of the issue. The goal with trigger point dry needling treatment is to release tension in those muscles, restore muscle length, and ultimately decrease pain.

Treating Your Triggers

Dry needling acts as an effective treatment option because it allows tension to be released from the muscles in your neck. Since certain types of tension headaches are caused by muscular issues, they can be solved by directly treating those restrictions. A certified physical therapist can palpate the base of your skull, neck, and upper spine to look for knots in the muscle called active trigger points. Trigger points are tight areas of your muscle that are usually caused by trauma or repeated strain. Once the needle makes contact with those trigger points, they’ll cause a twitch response, or a small contraction. Contact with the needle causes an actual chemical change inside the muscle that releases tension, increases blood flow, and heals the issue. You’ll be getting rid of the trigger points that are causing tightness in your neck while also solving the source of your headaches.

Moving Back Into Alignment

Once those muscles are released, you’re also giving your body the chance to start moving back into correct spinal alignment. Extended periods of sitting or poor postural habits in general might have thrown all the muscles in your neck and upper back out of sync. Some may be too tight and others too stretched out and lengthened. After needling, you’ll able to bring the muscles along your upper spine into their proper ranges of motion. You’ll be able to move your head and shoulders back into the positions they’re supposed to be in. Without treating the restrictions around our neck and upper spine, you won’t be able to improve your posture.

Healing The Source Of Your Headaches

Using dry needling as a treatment method for muscular-based headaches will release the tension at the source of the pain. The goal with dry needling is to decrease the intensity as well as the frequency of your headaches. For example, if you’re used to experiencing a headache for the entire day you might start having a headache for only a few hours a day. After a few more sessions, you may not feel any pain around your head at all. Once you have the necessary range of motion you need around your neck and upper spine, you’ll be preventing any future headaches from happening. Consider dry needling for your headaches by getting rid of them in the present as well as healing the muscles to prevent the issue from happening in the future. If you have any questions about whether or not the headaches you’re experiencing can be treated with dry needling, call us at Therapydia Denver.

Shadowing A Physical Therapist

therapydia denver physical therapy clinic

At Therapydia Denver, we enjoy having PT students shadow us to see what life is like in an outpatient physical therapy clinic. Last month, Taylor, a prospective PTA student, was at our clinic to shadow both Casey and Josh and here’s what her experience was like:

“I’ve always wanted to have a job in the healthcare field. My senior year of high I decided that my career path came down to two options, nursing or physical therapy assisting. After volunteering at a nursing home I realized that I could not do bodily fluids on a regular basis and decided to pursue a career in physical therapy. Over my spring break I shadowed Casey and Josh at Therapydia Denver. While they both had slightly different approaches to physical therapy, what amazed me the most was their knowledge of the human body. They knew exactly what was wrong when a patient described their pain and how to help. It was astounding. Out of the three shadowing opportunities I have done this was the most interactive by far. Both Casey and Josh explained what the patient was coming in for, their techniques for treatment and how this treatment will help the patient. This deepened my knowledge of the human body and also the world of physical therapy. I am definitely grateful for Casey and Josh taking the time to teach me and give me the most hands on experience. I will be applying for the PTA program at ACC this spring for the fall program, with an even greater desire to work in this field. I want to get my life started and have a real job for a while and maybe later on go back to school to further my career in this field.”

If you’re a medical student or medical professional who is interested is seeing what physical therapy is like at Therapydia Denver, contact us at hello@therapydiadenver.com.

FEEL BETTER FASTER: QUICK LINKS TO COMMONLY SUGGESTED ITEMS

 

At Therapydia Denver we strive to help our patients feel better as quickly as possible.  In some cases, regular treatment sessions and a solid home exercise program are not all that is necessary for a speedy recovery.

Here is a list of items the Therapydia PTs often suggest for patients to purchase for home use:

KT Tape

KTtape

KT tape is a specific brand of tape that is used to promote healing, manage swelling and enhance your body’s control of muscles and joints while not limiting range of motion.  It can be worn for 3-4 days at a time and rarely causes skin issues.  With instruction from a Therapydia PT, most people are able to apply the tape in a safe and effective manner.

We like KT Tape specifically because the strips are pre-cut and rounded, ready for application right out of the box.

KT Tape is most commonly suggested for patients with: shoulder pain, golfers elbow, tennis elbow, knee pain, plantar fasciitis

Lumbar Support

lumbarsupport

Many low back, neck and even shoulder issues can be exacerbated by poor Lumbar Support during prolonged sitting.  If the curve in your low back is allowed to flatten out, it essentially starts a chain reaction which can adversely affect structures above and below your spine.

We like this particular lumbar support because it is affordable, portable and durable.

Lumbar Support is most commonly suggested for patients with: low back pain, sciatica, shoulder pain, neck pain, headaches

Stabilizer

stabilizer

Numerous studies show that low back pain is accompanied by absent, poor or incorrect activation of important core muscles.  The Stabilizer  gives the patient immediate and accurate feedback, letting them know if they are doing their prescribed exercises properly.  It essentially increases the quality of core exercises at home.

A standard blood pressure cuff can be used for the same purpose, but they are often too sensitive to give useful feedback.  We like this particular stabilizer because it is durable and just sensitive enough to give the patient only the information they need.

A Stabilizer is most commonly suggested for patients with: low back pain, sciatica, sacroiliac joint (SI joint) pain, hip pain

Foam Roller

foamroller

The Foam Roller has been suggested by healthcare professionals for years and for good reason.  They are extremely helpful for loosening up tight muscles and fascia between sessions with your Therapydia PT.  After careful instruction, they are also effective at loosening up tight spinal joints that make achieving proper posture difficult.

We prefer the 36 inch round roller as it can be used for the widest variety of exercises and activities.  This particular roller is affordable, extremely durable and more dense than others on the market.

A Foam Roller is most commonly suggested for patients with: knee pain, hip pain, upper back pain, shoulder pain, neck pain

Roller Stick

rollerstick

The Roller Stick is essentially used for the same purpose as a foam roller.  The main difference is that this hand-held tool allows the patient to control the amount of pressure, whereas a foam roller usually incorporates body weight.

We like this roller stick because it is much more portable than a foam roller and allows the patient to reach some areas that may be tough to address with a foam roller.

The Roller Stick is most commonly suggested for patients that travel frequently and suffer from: knee pain, hip pain, calf pain, achilles tendon pain, plantar fasciitis

Metatarsal Pad

metpad

A number of aches and pains in the foot may arise from a fallen transverse (or forefoot) arch. A Metatarsal Pad is used to brace this portion of the foot, thus restoring the natural shape of the forefoot and dissipating compressive forces.

We like these particular metatarsal pads because they are affordable, durable and self adhesive.  When applied between the insole and the shoe they tend to stay in position during most activities.

Metatarsal Pads are most commonly suggested for patients with: metatarsalgia, morton’s neuroma, forefoot callus

Heel Lift

heellift

A Heel Lift can be used to treat a leg length discrepancy as well as a variety of achilles tendon issues.  When properly applied, a heel lift can essentially level out a patient’s pelvis which can provide rapid alleviation of hip, knee and lumbar spine pain.  A heel lift can also alter the amount of tension on the achilles tendon to allow for proper healing after an injury.  

We like this particular heel lift because it is affordable and adjustable.  This allows for proper fit and progressive increases in tension to the achilles tendon as healing continues.

A Heel Lift is most commonly suggested for patients with: leg length discrepancy, hip pain, sacroiliac joint (SI joint) pain, achilles tendonitis, achilles tendon rupture

 

Peyton Manning’s Plantar Fascia Tear…Is this the End?

Fantasy Football Injury of the Week:  Peyton Manning and his Plantar Fascia

Yesterday we learned that Peyton Manning has a tear in his plantar fascia and will miss at least this week’s game against Chicago.  The fantasy implications of Manning missing time might be minimal (Manning is ranked 30th in my leagues this year for QBs), but as a Denver resident and Broncos fan, this is some serious news.

Depositphotos_61240319_l-2015

This week I want to focus on what exactly is a tear of the plantar fascia, what can be done to treat it, and will Manning play again this season or ever again?

What is the plantar fascia and why is a tear career threatening?

The plantar fascia is a thick band of connective tissue that supports the arch of the foot. In the physical therapy clinic, we most commonly see an acute inflammation or micro-tearing of the fascia near the heel bone, known as plantar fasciitis.  We also see very chronic cases in which there is a buildup of scar tissue at the same location from repetitive micro-tearing followed by healing.  Plantar fascia injuries are one of the more common diagnoses that we see in PT but also one of the hardest to treat, especially the chronic cases.  Even though this band is thick and tough, it’s job is to maintain your arch while supporting all of your body weight.  When the plantar fascia becomes irritated, inflamed or weakened by chronic injury, every step can be painfully perpetuating the injury.

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Manning’s situation is much more severe than the common plantar fasciitis diagnosis we see at Therapydia.  In his case, he has sustained a partial rupture or larger tearing of the plantar fascia.  For any of you who have experienced the pain of plantar fasciitis yourself, that pain is magnified significantly with a partial rupture.  Imagine having a cut on the knuckle of your finger.  Every time you use or bend that finger, the cut painfully reopens and the healing has to start over.  The finger is easy to keep from moving, just buddy tape it or use a splint from the drugstore to keep it from bending.  The foot on the other hand is very difficult to immobilize so the time it takes to heal can be painfully long…..and therein lies the major problem with Peyton Manning’s foot issue.  Will there be enough time for him to return and be effective this year or will this be the end of Manning’s illustrious career?

When will Manning be back and is there anything that can be done to speed up his return?  

Unfortunately, I am not privy to all the details about Manning’s injury.  I can only speculate on what I’ve read or seen on Sportscenter.  The typical time frame for a non-operative recovery of a partial tear of most soft tissue injuries is 12 weeks or more.  This is when we often consider the injured tissue to be back to or near full strength.  However, at 4-6 weeks, the injury could be 80% healed which may be sufficient enough to allow an athlete to return to their sport.  Returning too early though can increase the likelihood of reinjury or lead to another serious problem.  See Arian Foster.

Manning has a few options that may get him back on the field quickly.  Platelet rich plasma (PRP) injections are being used more often these days to speed up the healing process.  Injecting the injured tissue with PRP provides an instant proliferation of growth factors that can quickly stimulate healing. Tenex is a minimally invasive procedure that removes the damaged or injured tissue, allowing the healthy tissue to regenerate and thrive.  Finally, Manning and his doctors may decide to do a plantar fascia release or surgical cutting of the the partially torn fascia.  By fully releasing the partially torn section of the plantar fascia, tension is released and inflamed nerve endings are no longer sending painful signals to the brain.  However, the long term risk factors of this procedure are much greater than other options including nerve damage, instability in the joint of the feet, loss of normal biomechanics of foot and ankle.  The expected recovery from these procedures is 3-6 weeks versus the 8-12 weeks or more of conservative treatment.

Again, I have very limited information on the severity of Manning’s plantar fascia injury.  He is also dealing with injuries to his throwing shoulder and ribs.  As the Denver Post points out, there are also a number of scenarios that could occur in the next several weeks that impact Manning’s return.  Nonetheless, we are here to predict when or if Manning returns from his plantar fascia tear, so here it is….

Prediction: Peyton Manning misses 4 games.  The tear is either mild enough to return in four weeks or he undergoes a minimally invasive treatment that allows him to return for an important Week 15 matchup against the Pittsburgh Steelers.  

Will Blake Bortles miss Week 6 with an AC Sprain?

Fantasy Football Injury of the Week:  How bad is Blake Bortles Grade I AC Sprain?

Blake Bortles has not typically been on the radar of many fantasy players since he joined the league in 2014.  However in 2015 he has had a sneaky good start to the season despite Jacksonville’s 1-4 record.  In my Yahoo league, he is currently the 7th best QB.  He has better numbers this year than our very own Peyton Manning (by a longshot) and fantasy studs like Drew Brees and Matt Ryan.

Unfortunately, Bortles may suffer a bit of a setback if he is forced to miss Week 6 against Houston.  Bortles suffered a Grade/Type 1 acromioclavicular (AC) joint sprain of his throwing shoulder at some point during Jacksonville’s week 5 loss to the Buccaneers.  Anytime a quarterback sustains an injury to the throwing shoulder it can be a scary situation.  Fortunately for Bortles, a grade one AC sprain leaves us optimistic that he will be able to play this week and here’s why.

What’s the difference between Grade 1, 2, and 3 AC Sprains?

An AC sprain is typically graded in its severity from a one to a three.  It easy to visualize the severity of an AC sprain in the graphic below:

ACJointSeperation-pic2©

A grade/type 1 sprain is mild or partial injury to the joint ligaments or capsule.  In this grade there is a slight tear or sprain of the acromioclavicular ligament.  This ligament helps to stabilize the AC joint and ultimately the shoulder itself.  Bortles likely will rest the shoulder this week and participate in physical therapy everyday to retain his range of motion, strength, and help control the pain with modalities like the Gameready ice machine:

File_000(note: this is not Blake Bortles)

A grade/type 2 sprain is a more significant tear of the acromioclavicular ligament as well the ligament below the clavicle called the coracoclavicular ligament.  

A grade/type 3 sprain is a severe injury to the shoulder.  In this situation, both acromioclavicular and coracoclavicular ligaments are completely torn.  The shoulder is very unstable and an athlete will often choose to have surgery to stabilize the joint by placing a screw or looped suture into the collar bone to anchor it back down.  This grade of injury will mean the player misses weeks or months of their sport.

So What’s the Prognosis?

Fortunately for Bortles he has been diagnosed with the most mild form of an AC sprain, a grade one.  Early in the week his shoulder probably felt sore and a little weak or unstable  He may have had some difficulty reaching overhead or across his body and lifting activities might have been uncomfortable.  Kinesiotaping can be helpful in giving stability and pain relief during this phase of recovery.

 

With daily physical therapy rehab, Bortles’ symptoms will likely improve significantly or resolve completely by Sunday.  

Prediction: Blake Bortles is able to play in Week 6 against Houston

 

Performing At Your Highest Level Starts With a Good Night’s Sleep

good nights sleep morning run

Whether you are a high level athlete, weekend warrior, or simply trying to make it through the work day, sleeping is an integral part of being a highly functioning individual. For many, the challenging part of sleeping well is simply finding and staying in a comfortable position. Difficulty sleeping due to pain or discomfort may stem from underlying musculoskeletal issues. If the problem is due to positioning, changing your preferred sleeping position can be extremely difficult, as most people have been in the habit of sleeping a certain way for years. Here are some easy tips to modify your preferred sleeping position in hopes of getting a better night of rest and performing at your optimal capacity during waking hours.

Side Sleepers:

When sleeping on your side, major pain generators are often related to lower or upper spinal rotation. If your top knee slides forward coming to rest on the mattress you may experience discomfort stemming from lower back rotation. This can be easily remedied by placing a pillow between your knees, shins and feet. This will help decreased rotation of your low back, while relieving potential pressure points between your knees and ankles.

side-sleeping-position-pain

Side sleepers may also suffer from pain associated with upper spinal rotation. This may occur if your top arm and shoulder slide forward. This can be corrected by sleeping with a pillow just in front of your chest, with your top arm resting on it.

side-sleeping-pain-management

Another problem with side sleeping can be related to your mattress. Soft or worn mattresses and box springs can allow sagging of your torso between your hips and your shoulders, thus putting your back in a side-bent position (a). This can be remedied by actively bringing your down-side hip and shoulder closer to one another (b), and then relaxing (c). The active arch in your back (think of making a space between your side and the mattress), followed by relaxing your core will allow your spine to rest in a more neutral position.

a)side-sleeping-posture b)side-sleeping-good-posture c)side-sleeping-posture-pain-relief

Back Sleepers:

When sleeping on your back, the most likely pain generator is prolonged excessive low back extension. Resting with both legs straight slightly tilts your pelvis forward, causing an increased bend in your low back. This can be relieved by placing a pillow underneath your knees. This minor elevation of your lower extremity will place your pelvis in a slight backward tilt, thus flattening out your low back and easing tension due to prolonged excessive extension.

back-sleeper-pain-relief

Stomach Sleepers:

When sleeping on your stomach, the most likely contributor to pain is rotation of your neck. In order to breathe effectively, a stomach sleeper must turn their head one way or another. This prolonged rotation can cause skeletal or muscular restrictions to take hold. An easy way to decrease the amount of neck rotation is to place pillows under the side of your body that your head is turned towards. This elevation of half of the torso and shoulders results in a relative decrease in rotation of you neck.

stomach-sleeper-pain-relief

Still having trouble getting comfortable?

Give these slight alterations to your preferred sleeping positions a try. If you are still experiencing difficulty getting comfortable you may need further musculoskeletal evaluation. Physical Therapists at Therapydia have undergone extensive training and possess the skills to evaluate and treat what may be causing your neck or back pain. If you are not getting quality sleep due to discomfort in your muscles and joints, don’t hesitate to contact Therapydia. We’ll help you get back to sleep so that you can tackle the day, able to perform at your highest level.

Prevent Winter Sports Injuries With FMS and Never Miss a Powder Day

FMS denver

One of the main reasons so many people who love to ski, snowshoe and ice skate move to Colorado is for our amazing winters. These winter sports are thrilling, relaxing and everything in between, but lower body muscle weakness, balance issues on slippery surfaces and poor flexibility can cause injuries and most commonly we tend to see a significant number of knee and shoulder injuries. Treatment for these injuries tends to be costly both from a financial and time perspective. It is not unusual for someone to miss the entire winter sports season from one injury, but these injuries can be prevented. The Functional Movement Screen (FMS) can help those who are at risk of injury know what their weaknesses are to improve them.

Functional Movement Screen 101

FMS was developed in 1995 by physical therapist Gray Cook and his colleague Dr Lee Burton, a certified athletic trainer with a doctorate in health performance and wellness. The screen looks at 7 integral human movement patterns to identify dysfunctions or imbalances between right and left side of the body. Weakness, asymmetry and limited flexibility of muscles are common sources of musculoskeletal injury. Each of these seven movements are graded on a 0-3 scale with 0 indicating pain during the movement and 3 being a normal/non-dysfunctional movement pattern. The highest score you can get is 21, and the key benchmark is 14. Some examples of the movements are shown below.

FMS Therapydia Denver functional movement screen denver  

14 or Below Scorers Are 50% More Likely To Be Injured

Several studies have shown that if a person scores 14 or lower, they have a 50% higher chance of suffering an injury. One study looked at 38 female collegiate athletes at the start of their fall or winter sport and found that 69% of the athletes that scored 14 or less suffered an injury during the season. A 2nd study looked at an entire professional football team and again 14 was the magic number that indicated who was most likely to get injured during their season. The likelihood increased from a pre-test probability of injury of 15% to just over 50% when the player scored 14 or less .

Taking Action Based On Your FMS Results

A big reason why we like to use the FMS is because they have a software program that let’s us tailor a specific home exercise program that is individualized to you based on your specific score and movement dysfunctions. You will be emailed directly with your results along with descriptive pictures and videos of each exercise.

FMS results

Most FMS clients make a one-on-one physical therapy appointment to review the exercises and address any pain or dysfunction that was encountered during the FMS. Our PTs use the information from FMS, along with a PT evaluation, to create a custom workout that is specific to your winter sport. Schedule your FMS appointment today to stop injuries before they can happen!

We’re open!

therapydia denver physical therapy

Therapydia Denver is excited to join the Therapydia network! We opened our doors at the beginning of March at 800 Lincoln Street, conveniently located in central Denver (can’t find us? we’re located within the Vital Strength and Fitness facility). Therapydia is a national network of Physical Therapy clinics that emphasize ongoing wellness programs like Yoga, Pilates, and TRX. We strive to create an environment that is conducive to wellness with clinics that are well-appointed, well-equipped and well-staffed.

Led by expert Clinic Director, Casey McNitt, Therapydia Denver offers a range of physical therapy and personal wellness services.  Therapydia picks top physical therapists in each city through a selctive screening process. We look for PTs who have extensive clinic experience, studied at top schools and who continually expand their knowledge base through evidence based continuing education. Our PTs have unparallelled experience in specialized areas of treatment and are highly trained in cutting-edge wellness practices.

Most importantly, Therapydia clinics use state of the art technology to improve patient satisfaction and outcomes. Our clinics take patient satisfaction very seriously, in fact, Therapydia clinics have an average national satisfaction score of 9.7. With our proprietary patient relationship management software, ReferralJETSM, we are able to track satisfaction and assure we are providing the best quality of care possible.

Want to learn more or schedule an appointment? We’d love to hear from you! Send us a message and we will be in touch shortly.