165 Lilly Rd NE, Suite B, Olympia • 360.455-8014

Bursitis

Physical Therapy in Olympia, Tumwater and Lacey, Where should I go?

There are many fine physical therapy clinics in the Olympia, Tumwater and Lacey area. How do you chose where to go?

You can choose based on location. A friend of mine told me today she chose to go to physical therapy at a clinic close to her house. What would prompt a close choice versus reputation? Maybe she needed to go 2 or 3 times per week. If someone needs to go to PT 2 or 3 times a week for a month or so, then going close to your house would be very convenient, HOWEVER, ask yourself the question: does your condition warrant 2 or 3 times per week?

Recently a former patient returned for a new session of physical therapy. She is a fairly frail 80 something year old, and was sent for BOTH headaches AND shoulder pain by her physician. Her prescription from the physician was directed to be 2 to 3 times per week for 4 to 6 weeks. She may have thought she needed to come that often, but…….when I evaluated her headache AND shoulder pain, I determined that both problems were mainly caused by the same anatomical structure.

I gave her an exercise program based on this one problem, and added customized and specific exercises for the shoulders and neck. As of Friday (January 30) 100% better in the headache and 75% better in the shoulders. She came for 6 visits at 1 x per week.

So the bottom line is, unless you actually NEED to have therapy 2 or 3 times per week consider going somewhere that uses less visits more effectively and you may save yourself some time and money.

The therapists at Comstock Physical Therapy, Joyce Mills, Lori Waterman and Linnea Comstock have extensively studied the body to make our exercise programs very effective and efficient. Give us a call if you would rather go to PT once per week instead of three times a week!

Walking a lot on vacation? Got sore feet? What to do…

Does the amount of walking you do exponentially increase when on vacation?  Such spots as Las Vegas, Washington DC and New York require a lot of walking and if you have a desk job or don’t walk a lot, your feet will hurt if you don’t  prepare.

How to prepare?

#1:  Do you have flat feet (do your feet pronate).? If so, you can purchase over the counter arch supports and use them on and off during your trip while walking a lot.

#2:  Are you feet week?  Practice single leg balancing for 30 seconds 3 times per day on each foot/leg to build up foot strength and improve your balance.  Better yet, if you have a gel disc at home or the gym use that–it will challenge you more.

#3  Make sure to alternate different types of shoes during the day to stress different parts of your foot.  One day I wore tennis shoes with orthotics in the morning, and wore sketcher flip flops in the afternoon.

#4  Learn how to massage your feet and lower leg muscles to take the kinks out.

 

Happy walking!

Kayaking in the San Juans-Avoid Shoulder Pain

I have been vacationing this past week on San Juan island on the west side of the island.  My husband I went out kayaking (on a guided tour, thank goodness) and had a great time.  We saw harbor seals, a giant jelly fish and beautiful scenery. 

While we were kayaking, I noticed the movements could have caused me some shoulder pain, but I used positions which kept my upper arms down lower than shoulder height, and avoided a rotator cuff strain or impingement. 

As you can see, shoulder impingment and bursitis can be caused when the arm is at or above shoulder height by jamming the ball of the shoulder up into the acromium.

The  correct arm stroke is to keep the elbow a few inches below the shoulder, and push forward with the elbow while pullling back the the other arm.  Use your oblique abdominals to help power your stroke to keep the strain off the shoulder, too.  Here's a video from Youtube about proper kayak technique

http://youtu.be/pz51i1XiniI

Hip Bursitis: How to prevent it

Tensor Fascia LataeStrengthening your hip abductors, hip external rotators and gluts will help prevent hip bursitis. This lady walks with a limp and pain because these muscles are weak.

When you walk with this kind of limp, the front hip flexors that twist the thigh in are tugging the iliotibial band forward, and straining the gluts.

The exercises you can perform to reduce the risk of hip bursitis is to stretch your tensor fascia latae, and strengthening your hip external rotators, hip abductors and hip extensors.

To stretch your tensor fascia latae, lay on your good side, pull your top foot to the buttocks, keeping the foot close to the floor; then put your good lower leg on top of the painful thigh and stretch. To strengthen your hip abductors, lay on your stomach and slide your leg out like a snow angel. Stop at 30. To strengthen your hip extensors lay on your stomach with a pillow under your waist. Bend up the lower leg and lift the thigh to the ceiling. Stop at 30.

 

Happy Strengthening!

 

 

 

 


Do I need an MRI?

Have you ever wondered if you should have an MRI? Did your health care provider tell you that you did not need one and you wondered why not?

I had a patient from Lacey with a shoulder bursitis ask me that question…and I told her "no" I didn't think she needed an MRI. She had come to me with horrible shoulder pain; on her first visit we simply treated her bad pain after performing a few safety tests to make sure these procedures were safe. On her first visit she could only lift her arm 3 inches, had to be driven to PT and had to have help getting dressed.

After a 3 or 4 visits, she had a lot less pain. She could drive herself, get dressed and lift her arm overhead. She still had pain rotating her lower arm out to the side and had some tingling and numbness. I evaluated her and told her I thought she had had a bursitis and possibly an infraspinatus (one of the 4 rotator cuff muscles) strain but not tear. She wanted to know if she should have an MRI, and I told her I did not think so….she wanted to know why not.

I walked her through the process of understanding how a physical therapist sees if a muscle is torn. I took a large theraband, and showed her how a torn or cut muscle cannot bring the two ends of the joint together if it is not attached in the middle. A physical therapist knows what directions a specific muscle moves the joint. Seeing a joint move the in direction of the muscle tells the physical therapist that the muscles is not torn; if it was torn the joint would not move. Once she had that explanation she understood why she did not need an MRI.

If you want to know why you don't need an MRI, take the time to ask your provider why not…so you can understand the process.