Physical therapy (PT) or physiotherapy is a profession in the health care industry that focuses on more conventional means of medicine related to impairments and disabilities. The practice of physical therapy primarily focuses on mobility, quality of life, functional abilities, and movement potential. Experts in this field are known as physical therapists and physical therapist assistants (PTA). Therapists focus on examining, evaluating, diagnosing, and physical intervention of human ailments that can be rehabilitated or assisted through physical therapy.
Physical therapists are required to have a certain level of education in the field, primarily a bachelors degree from an accredited college certified by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education. A professional in PT must learn significant knowledge in health such as proper diagnosis and prognosis of disabilities and impairments as well as the prevention and management of those disabilities and impairments. The education requires expert understanding of the human body including learning experiences in: cardiovascular, pulmonary, endocrine, metabolic, gastrointestinal, musculoskeletal, sports, pediatric, orthopedic, and neuromuscular systems and other common specialties. At Kleinpeter, our PT’s have a considerable amount of education and certifications in physical therapy including doctorate’s in physical therapy as seen on our about page. When you work with our therapists, you can expect a highly qualified and trained professional whether you are at our Baton Rouge or Zachary locations.
When Do I Need Help?
Many people question when they should see a PT and our answer depends on the ailment you suffer. In many cases, you may need to see a general practitioner or internist prior to work with a therapist. If you have a low quality of life due to pain, mobility, movement, or standard functional abilities, chances are we can help. As defined by the American Physical Therapy Association, medically necessary physical therapy services are considered medically necessary “as determined by the licensed PT based on the results of physical therapy evaluation and when provided for the purpose of preventing, minimizing, or eliminating impairments, activity limitations, or participation restrictions”. If you are unsure if we can help, feel free to give us a call and we can help you make the proper determination. Some common reasons to seek treatment are located in our library.
How PT Helps And The Goals Of Rehabilitation
When you come in for your first time, our goal is to understand you and your body. We will test your body functions and abilities evaluating you for any and all disabilities and ailments. Once we diagnose any injuries or disabilities we work with you to develop a treatment plan for rehabilitation. There are many ways the body can repair itself by manipulating it in certain ways with stretching and strengthening. PT’s are trained to help repair ailments that can reduce pain and improve mobility with lasting effects. The true goals of rehabilitation are to improve your quality of life and keep you healthy. Having maximum functionality and mobility of your body is important to your health and therapists help educate you on your health as well as work through some of the more difficult practices necessary for rehabilitation.
We understand the demands of your sport, how to train for your position and how to assess your individual needs. We may utilize a combination of speed exercises, sports balance, customized strength training and other enhancement techniques to make you stronger and faster in your sport, while decreasing the risk of injury.
Our Sports Performance Enhancement Program is specifically designed for those who have been injured or have had surgery. We’ll work with you to regain your strength and competitive edge.
We can help anyone who wants to improve their game, featuring exercises that help improve balance, coordination and sport-specific training, which may include:
- Dynamic strength exercises
- Multidirectional speed
- Performance enhancement
What’s more, you’ll find special therapeutic exercises designed to protect your body from overuse pain and injuries common in court and field sports. We integrate dynamic stabilization and special techniques that help minimize risk of injuries in your sport.
Our goal is to facilitate the injured worker’s successful return to work in a timely fashion with minimal chance of reinjury. We offer work-injury and industrial rehab programs that can help prevent on-the-job injuries and lost income. We’ll help you get back to work — and back to your life — as quickly as possible. We can help:
- Alleviate pain
- Increase strength, function, flexibility & range of motion
- Educate you on ways to prevent future injury
In addition to having a reputation for excellence in physical therapy and a broad base of experience treating work-related injuries, we promote prevention techniques through education.
The spine is an amazingly complex structure, providing us with strength and stability as well as incredible mobility. The spine is comprised of 24 vertebrae, which are precisely connected to an array of discs, ligaments, joints and muscles. These tissues work together to move the spine in a controlled fashion and to protect the spinal cord and its nerves.
You can experience pain in your neck or back if there is injury or irritation to any of these structures.
We can carefully test and evaluate your condition, determine the source of your pain and then develop a plan to help you return to your usual active lifestyle. Our special training in this complex area allows us to provide you with the tools needed to achieve optimal spinal health.
If you are in need of any type of back therapy, give us a call. Suffering from chronic back pain can significantly decrease the quality of life. Learning the proper back exercises gives you the best chance for treatment of the pain.
We offer a variety of health education, therapy and rehabilitation programs designed exclusively for seniors. We can evaluate and treat most conditions, including:
- Balance & walking problems
- Postsurgical rehabilitation for hip & knee
- Osteoarthritis & rheumatoid arthritis
- Specific joint mobility problems that keep you from enjoying your favorite activities
- Musculoskeletal & neuromuscular function related to a physical impairment
- Decreased mobility levels that make it difficult to get out of bed, climb stairs or perform routine activities around the house
One of the common issues people come to us for is dizziness or spinning sensations. The medical term for the illusion of motion, usually rotational, is vertigo. As people age, vertigo becomes more persistent and the symptoms increasingly problematic. These are several neurological causes of vertigo but there are a number of other types.
Other causes of dizziness can be imbalance and light-headedness. Many cases where the patient is dizzy can be diagnosed by a clinician and managed by your primary care doctor. However, there are many instances where your condition can be improved by a physical therapist.
The first thing you should do if you have issues of spinning or you’re feeling dizzy on a regular basis is to contact your primary care physician prior to a physical therapy clinic. There you will undergo testing to determine what the cause of your symptoms are. From there they may medicate you or have you undergo physical therapy. If you are located in Baton Rouge or Zachary, give us a call and we can help you walk through your problems.
For certain causes of dizzy spells, there are physical exercises and treatments that can increase your ability to balance and condition your senses to help differentiate types of balance. The treatments provided by our therapists can have varying effects and will need to be coordinated with your primary care doctor to ensure the highest chance of success.
For more information on Vertigo and other symptoms, check out AAFP.
Aquatic Therapy is available at our Baton Rouge location featuring the Endless Pool WaterWell with under water treadmill
Aquatic therapy is performed in the water, aiming to rehabilitate patients after injury or those with chronic illness. It uses the resistance of water instead of weights, taking excess pressure off joints for better outcomes.
Patients who have had difficulty with traditional therapy often show improvement with aquatic therapy. The goal is to transition patients quickly from hydrotherapy to a land rehabilitation program.
Why Is Water Sometimes Better For Therapy?
Aquatic therapy can make exercise easier and less painful, because the forces on weight-bearing joints are reduced. The warmth of the water helps reduce pain by relaxing tight or spasm muscles and increasing blood flow. The water resistance and special jets help patients strengthen muscles and improve cardiovascular performance.
Benefits of Aquatic Therapy Include:
- Accelerated rehabilitation.
- Protects joints during exercise.
- Reduced Stress.
- Decreased swelling.
- Trunk stabilization.
- Improved gait or postural deviations.
- Increased circulation.
- Increased strength and endurance.
- Increased range of motion and flexibility.
- Increased balance and coordination.
- Increased muscle tone.
- Improved body mechanics with work and daily activities to avoid re-injury.
Chronic pain is one of the worst contributors to a decreased quality of life. Pain is a neurological signal to the brain indicating to a person a threat to their well-being. There can be various reasons why this signal is broadcast through the nervous system regardless of any actual tissue damage. Chronic pain can take over your life and alter your focus to hone in on the pain causing major disruption to your every-day life.
There are many different causes of chronic pain. Some can be more severe than others but we have listed some of the main contributors:
- Trauma Injuries
- Limb Amputation
- Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy
- Spinal Related Problems
Some diseases, such as cancer and arthritis, cause ongoing pain. With chronic pain, however, pain is created in the nervous system even after physical tissues have healed.
Chronic pain affects each person experiencing it differently. In some cases, chronic pain can lead to decreased activity levels, job loss, or financial difficulties, as well as anxiety, depression, and disability. Physical therapists work together with chronic pain patients to lessen their pain, and restore their activity to the highest possible levels. With treatment, the negative effects of chronic pain can be reduced.
If you are located in Baton Rouge or Zachary, Louisiana you should contact us to discuss your pain and potential treatments available to you rather than consuming narcotics on a regular basis.
What Is Chronic Pain?
Pain is an unpleasant sensation that we usually associate with injury or tissue damage, but can actually be present in the absence of tissue damage as well. Pain can be acute or chronic.
Acute pain lasts for a short time – up to 12 weeks. It is a warning that tissue damage has occurred or may occur, or to help us prevent injury or disease. For instance, if we touch a hot stove, the body sends a danger message to the brain that there is a threat to tissues in order to prevent further injury. A sore foot can signal a need to change your footwear. In some cases, the danger messages may be due to some disease process, and your brain may interpret those messages as pain. This can cause you to seek medical attention – diagnosis and treatment – for what may be a serious condition. Signaling pain in this manner is the body’s way of protecting us and is a good thing.
Chronic pain is any discomfort or unpleasant sensation that lasts for more than 3 months – or beyond an expected normal healing time. Often, those who have chronic pain believe they have an ongoing disease or that their body has not healed, when this may not be the case. Chronic pain is likely not warning you of possible injury or danger; instead, the pain centers in the brain may be causing you to hurt even though there are no new causes of pain occurring in the body. Anyone can develop chronic pain, at any age. The brain changes in chronic pain:
- When you are injured or develop a painful disease, nerves send information from the problem area to the brain.
- The brain analyzes this information coming from the body to determine if there is a threat to the body and whether action needs to be taken to prevent harm.
- When pain is constant or chronic, the brain and nervous system go on “high alert,” becoming more sensitive.
- Cells that conduct sensation in the nervous system can also become more sensitive when on high alert, making it easier for the brain to interpret these sensations as a threat and thus cause you to have more pain. These changes in the brain and central nervous system induce and maintain chronic pain symptoms.
- When pain is chronic: Pain sensations are activated in the brain; The brain continues to interpret all sensations from the problem areas as danger, even when there is no more tissue damage occurring. This makes it easier for the pain centers in the brain to activate; Pain messages come from many different areas of the brain – areas that may control fight or fear reactions, movement, emotions, problem-solving, and learning. In fact, almost any system of the body can be affected by chronic pain.
- The brain and nervous system continue reacting by causing you to continue to be in pain. This process increases sensations, emotions, or thoughts about the problem area. At this point, any sensory input can activate the pain centers. Even thinking about it, or reading the word pain can trigger pain sensations. The pain is in the brain: In order to protect you, the brain is making the decision to increase the alert level for sensations you feel.
How Does It Feel?
How chronic pain feels varies with each individual; it is very personal. How often it occurs, how severe it is, or how long it lasts is not predictable from one person to another.
Common complaints related to chronic pain include:
- It may seem as if “everything hurts, everywhere.”
- There may be sudden stabs of pain.
- It may seem as if the pain “has a mind of its own.”
- You feel symptoms even if you are not doing anything to cause them.
- It feels worse when you think about it.
- It feels worse when you experience upsetting circumstances in your life.
- You may feel more anxious and depressed.
- You may feel your symptoms spread from one area to another area.
- You may feel fatigued, and afraid to do your normal activities.
These complaints are common when you have chronic pain. However, it does not necessarily mean that your physical condition is worsening; it may just mean that your system has become more sensitive.
Signs And Symptoms
Research finds the following signs may be associated with a chronic pain syndrome:
- Fearfulness. It is easy to begin to fear increased pain when you have a chronic pain condition. As a result, you may begin to avoid activity. You may find that you rely more on family members to help with daily functions.
- Body stiffness when you try to become more active. Stiffness may make you feel as if your body is less able to perform daily activities.
- Deconditioning. Not moving your body results in less tolerance when you want to become more active. If you are inactive for a long time, muscles weaken and shrink from not being used. This can also increase your risk of falling.
- Decreased circulation. Lack of activity decreases the circulation of much-needed blood to your cells. Tissues in your body may not get as much oxygen as they need. As a result, they may not be as healthy as they can be. This can cause you to feel fatigued, and lack energy.
- Weight gain and/or a worsening of other conditions. Decreased activity can lead to unwanted weight gain. Added pounds and inactivity can aggravate symptoms of other conditions such as diabetes and high blood pressure. Chronic pain conditions are also commonly associated with feelings of anxiety or depression.
- Increased use of medication. Chronic pain patients can have the tendency to increase their medication over time to seek relief.
Individual behaviors can include:
- Seeking out of many different doctors or health care providers and facilities to find relief.
- Difficulties with job performance. Some people with chronic pain even seek work disability.
- Avoidance of social situations or family members.
- When pain is ongoing, you may find you have feelings of bitterness, frustration, or depression. Some people report they have thoughts of suicide. If you are having these feelings, tell your doctor.This is important, so that you can get appropriate medications to help you feel better.
How Is It Diagnosed?
Your physical therapist will perform a thorough evaluation. He or she will:
- Ask specific questions about your past and present health and use of medication.
- Ask about your symptoms: their location, intensity, how and when the pain occurs, and other questions, to form a clear picture of your individual situation.
- Ask you to fill out pain and function questionnaires, to understand how the pain is affecting your daily life.
- Perform tests and movements with you. The tests help to identify problems with posture, flexibility, muscle strength, joint mobility, and movement. Special tests help to rule out any serious health problem such as pressure on a nerve or an underlying disease.
- Observe how you use your body for home, work, and social/leisure activities. This information helps your therapist prescribe a program that will boost your quality of life, and get you moving your best.
Imaging tests such as x-rays, computed tomography (CT) scans, and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) are often not helpful for diagnosing the cause of chronic pain. However, if your physical therapist suspects that your pain might be caused by any serious underlying condition, he or she will refer you to your physician for evaluation.
Your physical therapist will work with your physician to provide the best diagnosis and treatment for your chronic pain.
How Can A Physical Therapist Help?
Your physical therapist will work with you to educate you on chronic pain, find solutions to improve your quality of life, and get you moving again! He or she will help you improve movement, teach you pain management strategies, and, in many cases, reduce your pain.
Not all chronic pain is the same. Your therapist will evaluate your clinical examination and test results and design an individualized treatment plan that fits you best.
Physical therapy treatments may include:
- Education to improve your knowledge and understanding of chronic pain — how it occurs, and what you can do about it. Your therapist will teach you how to manage your pain and help you work toward performing your normal daily activities again.
- Strengthening and flexibility exercises to help you move more easily with less discomfort. Your therapist will design a program of graded exercises for you — movements that are gradually increased according to your abilities. Graded exercises help you improve your coordination and movement, reducing the stress and strain on your body, and decreasing your pain. Carefully introducing a graded exercise program will help train your brain to sense the problem area in your body without increasing its danger messages.
- Manual therapy, which consists of specific, gentle, hands-on techniques that may be used to manipulate or mobilize tight joint structures and soft tissues. Manual therapy is used to increase movement (range of motion), improve the quality of the tissues, and reduce pain.
- Posture awareness and body mechanics instruction to help improve your posture and movement. This training helps you use your body more efficiently while performing activities and even when you are resting. Your therapist will help you adjust your movement at work, or when performing chores or recreational activities, to reduce your pain and increase your ability to function.
- The use of ice, heat, or electrical stimulation has not been found to be helpful with chronic pain. Your physical therapist, however, will determine if any of these treatments could benefit your unique condition.
Can This Injury Or Condition Be Prevented?
Research shows that treating pain as soon as possible helps to prevent chronic pain. Don’t ignore pain. Serious pain or pain that does not get better as expected should be treated.
Your physical therapist will work with you to develop strategies to prevent chronic pain, such as:
- Keeping up with your normal activities as much as possible.
- Avoiding bed rest. Long periods of bed rest will not improve your pain and may make it worse. Prolonged bed rest puts you at risk of other complications as well, including increased muscle weakness, bone loss, weight gain, and poor circulation.
- Improving posture. Your therapist will help you adjust your posture so your body can work at optimal efficiency to reduce joint stress and help to reduce your symptoms.
- Performing exercises to improve and restore your sense of the involved body area. Your therapist will also teach you exercises to restore movement (range of motion), mobilize nervous tissue (main component of nervous system), and rebuild your strength for performing routine daily activities.
- Introducing meditation, relaxation, and imagery exercises to help reduce stress and muscle tension.
- Learning fully about your condition. This will help you better understand what is occurring in your body, so you don’t worry about every new ache, pain, or symptom.
- Maintaining healthy activity levels and improving your overall health.
TDN is a treatment for muscular tightness and spasm which commonly follows injuries and often accompanies the degenerative processes. This muscular tightness and spasm will cause compression and irritation of the nerves exiting the spine. When the nerves are irritated, they cause a protective spasm of all the muscles to which they are connected. This may cause peripheral diagnoses, such as carpal tunnel, tendonitis, osteoarthritis, decreased mobility and chronic pain. Small, thin needles are inserted in the muscles at the trigger points causing the pain referral. The muscles then contract and release, improving flexibility of the muscle and decreasing symptoms.