According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), sales of prescription opioids have quadrupled in the United States, even though "there has not been an overall change in the amount of pain that Americans report." In response to a growing opioid epidemic, the CDC released opioid prescription guidelines in March 2016. The guidelines recognize that prescription opioids are appropriate in certain cases, including cancer treatment, palliative care, and end-of-life care, and also in certain acute care situations, if properly dosed. But for other pain management the CDC recommends non-opiod approaches like physical therapy.
Patients should choose physical therapy when:
1. The risks of opioid use outweigh the rewards. Potential side effects of opioids include depression, overdose, and addiction, plus withdrawal symptoms when stopping opioid use. Because of these risks, experts agree that opioids should not be considered first line or routine therapy for chronic pain.
2. Patients want to do more than mask the pain. Opioids reduce the sensation of pain by interrupting pain signals to the brain. Physical therapists treat pain through movement while partnering with patients to improve or maintain their mobility and quality of life.
3. Pain or function problems are related to low back pain, hip or knee osteoarthritis, or fibromyalgia. The CDC cites "high-quality evidence" supporting exercise as part of a physical therapy treatment plan for these conditions. Consistent physical therapy for these diagnoses can be very beneficial in both managing and treating the pain and discomfort.
4. Opioids are prescribed for pain. Even in situations when opioids are prescribed, the CDC recommends that patients should receive "the lowest effective dosage," and opioids "should be combined" with non-opioid therapies, such as physical therapy.
5. Pain lasts 90 days or more. At this point, the pain is considered "chronic," and the risks for continued opioid use increase. An estimated 116 million Americans have chronic pain each year. The CDC guidelines note that non-opioid therapies are "preferred" for chronic pain.
In August 2018 the State of Illinois became a direct access state for physical therapy. That means that you no longer need a prescription or referral from your physician to have physical therapy services. If you are interested in starting physical therapy give us a call today at (815)893-8480 or click below to schedule an appointment.
Dry needling is the process of inserting a thin, filiform (acupuncture) needle directly into an area of a muscle that has developed a trigger point. Trigger points are hyper irritable areas of muscles that can cause significant pain and movement problems. This process is considered “dry” because it does not involve the use of medication or injections. Physical therapists must undergo specialized training beyond their Doctoral degree that allows them to perform Trigger Point Dry Needling. This includes extensive hands-on training and American Physical Therapy Association approved Certification.
You may be a candidate for this type of treatment if you answer yes to any of the following questions:
1. Do you live day to day on pain medications?
Pain can be a good thing because it tells us when something is wrong in our body.However, pain in your muscles that lasts for a long time may be a result of trigger points in your muscles.These can be fixed with dry needling instead of masked with pain medications
2. Do you rely on massage and other forms of brief relief from your pain?
Massage and other forms of manual trigger point release may take a long time to rectify the problem or not be effective at all. Dry needling can directly relax the trigger point and provide significant pain relief and muscle relaxation.
3. Are you looking for pain relief with minimal side effects?
The side effects of dry needling are very minimal and include achiness and general fatigue (much like working out would cause) These symptoms usually last 24-48 hours and ice is suggested to help.
4. Do you have decreased range of motion or freedom?
Often times trigger points (that painful muscle knot) can cause tightness and stiffness. That can then lead to the muscle shortening in length (loss of flexibility). Dry needling along with a stretching program can help you increase your range of motion and flexibility once more helping you become more free and get back to the things you were doing.
5. Do you want to be active and live a healthier lifestyle?
One thing is certain, chronic trigger points do not just go away. And not doing anything about them can have long-term effects on your body that are extremely hard to reverse. Dry needling can help take care of the pain and stretching can help you get the flexibility back and then you get back to living life!
Dry needling is not appropriate for every individual and certain medical conditions need to be taken into consideration. When utilized correctly, dry needling can be a powerful tool in reducing pain and restoring function. This therapeutic intervention is currently only offered in our Crystal Lake office by Alecia Grounds, PT, DPT. Dry needling is not something that is covered by insurance and costs $75 for an hour session. Call Crystal Lake Physical Therapy at (815)893-8480 or click below if you have any questions about whether this service could be a good fit for you or to schedule your appointment.
7 Myths About Physical Therapy
Physical therapists are movement experts who help people reduce pain, improve or restore mobility, and stay active throughout life. But there are some common misconceptions that often discourage people from seeking physical therapist treatment.
It's time to debunk 7 common myths about physical therapy:
1. Myth: I need a referral to see a physical therapist.
FACT: A recent survey by the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA) revealed 70% of people think a referral or prescription is required for evaluation by a physical therapist. However, a physician’s referral is no longer required in order to be evaluated by a physical therapist. The State of Illinois became a direct access state in August 2018 which means you are able to see a physical therapist first to address your pain and improve or restore your mobility.
2. Myth: Physical therapy is painful.
FACT: Physical therapists seek to minimize your pain and discomfort—including chronic or long-term pain. They work within your pain threshold to help you heal, and restore movement and function. The survey found that although 71% of people who have never visited a physical therapist think physical therapy is painful, that number significantly decreases among patients who have seen a physical therapist in the past year. We don't necessarily believe in the no pain no gain theory and often the treatment you receive in physical therapy won't be painful at all but instead will be extremely beneficial in managing or alleviating the pain you are experiencing.
3. Myth: Physical therapy is only for injuries and accidents.
FACT: Physical therapists do a lot more than just stretch or strengthen weak muscles after an injury or surgery. They are skilled at evaluating and diagnosing potential problems before they lead to more serious injuries or disabling conditions—from carpal tunnel syndrome and frozen shoulder, to chronic headaches and lower back pain, to name a few.
4. Myth: Any health care professional can perform physical therapy.
FACT: Although 42% of consumers know that physical therapy can only be performed by a licensed physical therapist, 37% still believe other health care professionals can also administer physical therapy. Rehab technicians are usually unlicensed individuals who are legally allowed to help assist a licensed practitioner in the delivery of physical therapy services. However, at Crystal Lake Physical Therapy you will only be treated by a licensed physical therapist because we don't hire or utilize any unlicensed staff for treatment. Many physical therapists also pursue board certification in specific areas such as neurology, orthopedics, sports, or women’s health, for example.
5. Myth: Physical therapy isn't covered by insurance.
FACT: Most insurance policies cover some form of physical therapy. Beyond insurance coverage, physical therapy has proven to reduce costs by helping people avoid unnecessary imaging scans, surgery, or prescription drugs. Physical therapy can also lower costs by helping patients avoid falls or by addressing conditions before they become chronic. If you are unsure about your insurance coverage, we would be more than happy to check your benefits for you!
6. Myth: Surgery is my only option.
FACT: In many cases, physical therapy has been shown to be as effective as surgery in treating a wide range of conditions—from rotator cuff tears and degenerative disk disease, to meniscal tears and some forms of knee osteoarthritis. Those who have recently seen a physical therapist know this to be true, with 79% believing physical therapy can provide an alternative to surgery.
7. Myth: I can do physical therapy myself.
FACT: Your participation is key to a successful treatment plan, but every patient still needs the expert care and guidance of a licensed physical therapist. Your therapist will leverage his or her specialized education, clinical expertise, and the latest available evidence to evaluate your needs and make a diagnosis before creating an individualized plan of care.
If you are interested in setting up a complimentary consultation or would like to schedule an evaluation you can click the link below or call us at (815)893-8480.
You’re in your twelfth week of marathon training, and one morning you wake up to a sharp pain around your knee. You wait a few hours and pop a few ibuprofens, but the pain doesn’t subside. Who should you see? While it’s always a safe bet to consult your doctor, chances are they’ll recommend seeing a physical therapist, too. Physical therapists can help treat injuries and ease joint pain, but they can also help you become fitter and healthier, overall.
Physical therapists are trained to recognize postural distortion patterns and other habits that could predispose you to injury both on and off the field. Doctors of Physical Therapy are movement specialists trained to keep the musculoskeletal system healthy. They are educated to recognize postural habits and biomedical disadvantages of each individual’s unique body.
What Physical Therapists Can Do (That Your Doctor Can’t)
1. Assess your injury risk.The same way you see your primary care doctor for an annual check-up, it is also recommended that you get a full movement screen and postural assessment from a physical therapist. Movement screens can let you know where your weaknesses are, and where it’s most important to focus your efforts. A physical therapist can pick out subtle postural habits that could predispose you to injury depending on your activity. Being aware of these habits, in addition to knowing how to work on them, gives you the tools to stay injury-free all year-long.
2. Find the best type of workout for you. Physical Therapists gather all of your information from prior surgeries, diet, lifestyle, body type, body mechanics and posture to determine what activities would best fit your physique. Everyone has different muscle imbalances, range of motion and alignment issues, but a physical therapist can spot them and make recommendations accordingly. Have tight hip flexors from sitting all day? Cycling — in a similar seated position — might not be the best choice for you. Meanwhile, if you’ve got tight hamstrings from running several times a week, stretching those muscles with yoga could have positive results.
PTs can also prep you for whatever’s in the pipeline. If you’re starting a new type of exercise or trying to increase the intensity of a current exercise routine, a prehab program will help you work through your personal issues. Not everyone may be cut out for running or spinning or even yoga, believe it or not! Targeted prehab before starting a new sport or challenge will help address muscle imbalances to prevent injury. That can include anything from mobility exercises for improved range of motion to mini band work for glut activation and strength.
3. Speed up your recovery.Many physical therapists will recommend massage or compression socks, pants or sleeves to help with recovery, in addition to foam rolling and mobility work. Additionally, physical therapy treatment often utilizes modalities such as ultrasound, infared light and cold laser treatments to help accelerate the healing process by reducing inflammation, improving circulation and reducing pain. Each of these FDA approved technologies are commonly used in an outpatient physical therapy setting.
4. Correct your alignment and postural issues.Feel stiffness in your neck and back, or areas of weakness and fatigue? It might be the result of a postural distortion, which can stem from repetitive movements (think: distance running, or carrying a heavy bag on one shoulder) or from muscle imbalances that send your alignment out of whack.
With a simple assessment, your PT will be able to pinpoint where your specific issues are and how to deal. Someone who incorporates high variation in type and direction of movement will have a different postural presentation than someone who performs the same exercise, such as running. A physical therapist can recommend certain exercises and stretches that help improve your posture and balance.
How to Get Started With A Physical Therapist
If you are ready to take the next step towards health and wellness then please click below on the link to schedule an appointment. As a reminder, you no longer need a prescription or a referral from your physician to see a Physical Therapist in the State of Illinois (as of August 2018). So don't hesitate and give us a call today! (815)893-8480
Emily Craigen, owner of Crystal Lake Physical Therapy, is a Doctor of Physical Therapy and a local Crystal Lake resident who is excited to bring health and wellness to her community.