Have you ever suffered from aches and pain in spots you didn't even know existed on your body? Every day people suffer from pain caused from muscle or joint injuries and have no idea how to relieve this pain. I wanted to find out some more information for curing these types of pain, so I sat down with Physical Therapist Denise Buher from Orthopedic and Spine Physical Therapy to ask her some questions about pain relief therapy.
- Let's start off with an easy one, how long have you been a physical therapist?
- What is the most common sports related injury you see with high school students?
Knee injuries are certainly the most common among high school athletes. The top two are ACL (Anterior Cruciate Ligament) tears and Patella Femoral Syndrome, which usually presents pain around the knee cap. PFS can be caused by an imbalance in the thigh musculature, weak on one side and tight on another, or poor bio-mechanics coming from the hip or foot.
- With concussions in sports being looked at more carefully, do you see a way to prevent sports related brain trauma in kids currently?
A bump, blow or jolt to the head can cause a concussion and can occur in any sport or recreation activity. The APTA (American Physical Therapy Assoication) along with the NATA (National Association of Athletic Trainers) have supported legislation to help teach preventing, recognizing and responding to concussions. Even the latest and greatest technology in helmets cannot fully protect the head from injuries.
- What services do you offer at both of your clinics?
Our team consists of the best trained therapists in the area. It has always been my focus to provide the best treatment techniques and the highest trained staff, and I will always encourage educational courses. I employ two Doctors of Physical Therapy, two Certified McKenzie Therapists and one Board Certified Orthopedic Therapist. We work together as a team, but any patient can request a specific therapist if they choose. Most people enjoy working with all of the therapists since each has their own expertise and technique. I recently hired a military trained therapist who specializes in the Aquatic Pool Program.
- How can someone that does physical labor every week day help prevent joint and back pain? For example someone that uses a jackhammer.
Most of our patients need to continue to work while they are receiving Physical Therapy. Our main focus with each patient is education about their bodies and how to prevent injury. We teach them how to interdependently control their own pain and symptoms either through exercise or proper posture and body mechanics. Sometimes it's not what the patient does, but how he or she is doing it. Believe it or not, I have actually had two patients that had to perform duties using a jack hammer. With proper instruction on how to position their body, along with specific exercises to "undo" the stuff their body had to do to perform the job, they were able to continue work with much less discomfort.
- Do you consider sports like golf or tennis as physical therapy for some patients?
I believe sports and physical activity is an important aspect to health. Mind and body working together is so important no matter what age or what level of activity. We will work with patients at the driving range and on the tennis court. My favorite thing about my job is to help someone get back into the sport they love or an activity that makes them happy.
- What are some exercises to help a patient with a torn ACL?
ACL tears that are not candidates for repair suffer from knee instability which can lead to arthritic changes. For this patient population, our focus is to increase strength of the surrounding musculature with focus on the hamstring and then the quadriceps. Post ACL reconstruction patients are specific according to the stage of healing, the type of graph the surgeons uses, and if there are other complications. We frequently communicate to the surgeon if we have concerns regarding the patient's progress.
- If you could describe the feeling after helping somone with pain relief in one word, what would it be?
Honestly, relieving somones pain is what keeps me motivated to succeed. Sometimes I think I am more elated than the patient when I see them pain-free. Sometimes the techniques we learn as Physical Therapists work like magic...I could not have picked a more fulfilling profession. But in one word, elated!
- What does McKenzie Certified mean?
The McKenzie Method is a philosophy based on active patient involvement and education for the treatment of back, neck and extremity problems. The Certified McKenzie practioner has completed over 100 hours of specific educational courses followed by passage of a written and practical credentialing exam. The McKenzie practitioner provides an evidence based approach that through the initial assessment, applies a safe and reliable means to accurately diagnose and treat the cause of symptoms. Pain is a symptom, not a diagnosis.
- What is aquatic therapy used to treat?
"Water Healing," techniques are perfect for physically constrained patients who have difficulty exercising on land. The bouyancy allows patients less weight bearing on injured limbs, reducing the amount of pressure on a joint. At the same time, the resistantice qualities of water help orthopedic patients improve flexibility, strength and muscle tone. Gradually, as a patient progresses, we transition them to land exercises. We also open our pool for fitness programs with affordable membership for those folks that don't need the supervision of a skilled physical therapist.
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