How to Exercise When It Hurts
Exercise is a crucial defense against many diseases and has many additional benefits, stronger bones, longer life expectancy, confidence boosting, and stress relieving. Exercise does more than improve physical health. It gives us the strength to pick up our grandchildren and the endurance to participate in fun activities like hiking and tennis. But if you are dealing with muscle or joint pain that doesn't seem to go away, the ability to exercise is challenging. It can be hard to motivate yourself to continue even when you understand the benefits. So what are your options?
Am I Safe to Exercise?
First, ask your physician or physical therapist if it is safe for you to exercise. You may be surprised to hear that there are very few exercises you should avoid. For most muscle and joint pain, exercise is safe and even recommended. Ph.D. Susan Bartlett from John Hopkins Arthritis Center shares, "Physical activity is essential to optimizing both physical and mental health and can play a vital role in the management of arthritis. Regular physical activity can keep the muscles around affected joints strong, decrease bone loss and may help control joint swelling and pain. Regular activity replenishes lubrication to the cartilage of the joint and reduces stiffness and pain. Exercise also helps to enhance energy and stamina by decreasing fatigue and improving sleep."(HopkinsArthritis.org)
Hurt Does Not Equal Harm
Pain is part of maintaining our health. When our pain receptors are working effectively, pain is a valuable way for our bodies to let our brains know that there is a threat to our overall well-being. However, sometimes pain stops playing a protective role and ceases to be an effective indicator that something is wrong. In essence, the pain alarm becomes overprotective. This is important to understand when exercising. Exercising may still be safe when you are sore or dealing with pain. Hurt does not always equal harm. We recommended asking your physician or physical therapist first what exercises are safe.
The best exercise is one you enjoy. If you enjoy it, you will likely stick with it. Don't choose something you think you should do. If you hate running but have heard it improves your heart's cardiovascular fitness, choose another activity like swimming, riding a bike, rowing, or kickboxing that also improves cardiovascular fitness.
According to the current Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans, Physical activity is anything that gets your body moving. Each week adults need 150 minutes or moderate-intensity physical activity and 2 days of muscle strengthening.
Start a New Routine
Whatever form of enjoyable exercise you choose, begin slowly. The risk of injury and burnout is greatest as your health journey begins, especially if you have been leading a more sedentary lifestyle. Once you have had a few weeks of showing up and exercising consistently, it's time to start pushing on to get the most benefit from your time and effort. Try a new walking route, a heavier weight, or an aerobics class. Get out of your comfort zone.
Dealing With the Pain
You don't need to avoid pain; if you've checked with your physician or physical therapist, you can be confident in your exercise choice. We recommend the following rule: Exercise within tolerable pain that plateaus during exercise and decreases once you have finished. Tolerable pain is something you can cope with and is manageable. You should feel in control.
Exercise is a key defense against many diseases, including heart disease and stroke. It boosts our confidence and lessens our stress. If you are starting your health journey or struggling with pain, come see us. We can guide you on what exercises are beneficial and which ones to avoid. We also offer personal training and Sierra Vista Beats, a group resistance and cardio class that provides an individualized experience through heart rate monitoring. You will optimize your efforts and learn when to push yourself and when to recover, ensuring that every minute of your workout counts.
Do you ever wake up with achy joints? The joint pain may be related to an injury or normal age-related wear changes. Whatever the cause of the pain, it's uncomfortable and makes getting around and participating in life difficult.
Some may take painkilling drugs or choose a sedentary life to compensate for aches and pains. Unfortunately, these options can come with adverse side effects. We have another suggestion, physical therapy. Physical therapy is not just exercise and can help you regain your life and limit joint aches and pains.
Before we address the benefits of physical therapy, let us discuss joint pain and get a better understanding of it. Your beliefs and perceptions of pain can significantly influence how much pain you experience.
Joint pain can be discomfort, pain, or inflammation arising from any part of the joint (cartilage, bone, ligaments, tendons, or muscles). Joint pain can be mild or severe. Joint pain and stiffness may develop for several reasons. Some of the most common include:
Physical therapy for joint pain will include:
5 Things You Didn’t Know About Back Pain
Americans spend over $134.5 billion on low back and neck pain (healthdata.org). That's more than treatments for diabetes or heart disease. The good news is that scientific research on back pain has progressed. Receiving physical therapy first for low back pain lowers costs and even can eliminate pain even if there are herniated discs or arthritis.
As physical therapists, we are movement experts. We will improve the quality of your life through hands-on care, education, and prescribed movement. Here are some things you should know about back pain:
Dealing With Hip Pain?
Hip pain can be incredibly uncomfortable and frustrating to ease. The hips help us perform almost everything we do throughout the day, and keeping them strong and in good shape is essential.
The hips can withstand repeated motion and a fair amount of wear and tear. Despite its durability, the hips aren’t indestructible, and with age and use, muscles and tendons in the hip can get overused. Bones can break, and other conditions can lead to hip pain.
Hip pain often decreases your range of motion, strength, and muscle activation and increases pain that limits your ability to walk, run or perform daily tasks. There are many different causes of hip pain. These may include:
There are many ways to relieve hip pain, like maintaining a healthy weight, which puts less pressure on the hips. Stretches and exercises may alleviate pain. Ice, compression, and elevation can also be helpful. But if the pain is severe and affecting your everyday routine, more medical attention is necessary than stretches and ice. We recommend working with a physical therapist if symptoms still interfere with daily activities after two to four weeks. As physical therapists, we help you get rid of pain and also help prevent the problem from happening and slow the progression of issues so you can stay active and happy.
What can you expect at your first appointment? We are looking to gather as many details as possible to take in the whole picture. We will ask lots of questions, “what you’re feeling, when you feel it, where you feel it, what it feels like, what makes it better or worse, what approaches have you already tried, what activities in your life are made difficult by this pain.” We’ll ask you to move, walk, squat, etc., which helps us determine other tests and measurements we may perform. We’ll gently move your leg in all directions to see your range of motion. We’ll also ask you to resist as a physical therapist gently pushes your leg and hip in different directions so we can test your muscle strength.
Treatment options for hip pain include:
Working with a physical therapist will help reduce your pain, improve your leg, hip, and back motion, improve your strength and balance, and help you return to your daily activities.
Don’t delay coming to see a physical therapist. If you delay treatment until the pain is bothering you every day, you run the risk of it becoming a chronic problem that may not entirely disappear. Call us today to start your healing journey.
Diabetes is a serious disease that can affect anyone at any age. Today, people are developing diabetes at younger ages and at higher rates. The National Diabetes Statistics Report notes that 37.3 million Americans—about 1 in 10—have diabetes. They further report that about 1 in 5 people with diabetes don't know they have it, and 96 million American adults have prediabetes. Chances are, you know someone with diabetes. It may even be you.
Some signs and symptoms of diabetes include:
Diabetes can take a severe toll on your quality of life, affecting you physically, mentally, and emotionally. Although there is currently no cure for diabetes, there are many things you can do to manage it and limit its health complications and impact on your life. You may even be able to prevent diabetes with proper care.
Diabetes occurs when the pancreas can no longer make insulin or when the body cannot make good use of the insulin produced. Insulin is a hormone that helps glucose from food pass from the bloodstream into the cells, allowing the body to produce energy. Not being able to produce insulin or use it effectively leads to raised glucose in the blood and, over time, can damage the body, organs, and tissues.
Fortunately, commitment to a healthy lifestyle, including weight control, proper nutrition, regular exercise, and other lifestyle changes, can help manage diabetes. Physical activity and exercise are essential and effective ways to lower high blood glucose levels.
If you have been diagnosed with diabetes or prediabetes, seeing a physical therapist can help you learn to manage blood sugar levels and improve your overall health. Implementation of effective interventions can delay the onset of diabetes.
How can seeing a physical therapist help? We are movement experts. We help people participate in a safe, effective exercise program, which improves the ability to move and helps lower blood glucose levels. We enhance the quality of life through hands-on care, education, and prescribed movement.
When you see one of our physical therapists, we will comprehensively evaluate your strength, flexibility, and endurance. We will measure your hemoglobin A1C, a simple blood test that measures your average blood sugar levels. It's one of the most commonly used tests to help you and us manage your diabetes. We will customize a treatment program that addresses individual problems and needs. Your treatment will improve your motion, strength, flexibility, endurance, balance, and coordination, decrease your pain levels, lower your blood glucose and A1C levels, and increase your ability to perform daily tasks.
Let us help you manage diabetes!
Urinary Incontinence Is Treatable
Leaking urine does NOT have to be a normal part of aging. While it's true that older people are prone to urinary incontinence, many factors increase your risk, including obesity, pregnancy, childbirth, constipation, weak pelvic floor muscles, prostate issues, and menopause. If the pelvic floor muscles weaken, you may have urinary leakage, urgency, and frequency problems. More than 13 million people in the United States deal with urinary incontinence. While urinary incontinence affects more women, men deal with the issue too.
Urinary incontinence is any undesired urine leakage. There are different types of urinary incontinence.
Urinary incontinence can be embarrassing, especially in social situations. Dealing with urinary incontinence may cause you to avoid daily activities or limit your interactions. But you don't have to change or restrict your activities because there are many remedies for urinary incontinence. It is treatable!
Some people may find relief by making simple lifestyle changes like limiting drinking and avoiding caffeine and carbonated drinks. Kegel exercises to strengthen the pelvic floor muscles can help too. But sometimes simple lifestyle changes and kegel exercises are not enough. We recommend pelvic floor physical therapy as a conservative treatment option.
Pelvic floor physical therapy is a form of physical therapy that helps you to engage your pelvic floor muscles. Pelvic floor physical therapy for urinary incontinence is much more than muscle strengthening. While muscle weakness may contribute to the problem, it's often more about coordination and muscle imbalance.
At Rainey Pain & Performance, we have therapists who specialize in pelvic floor therapy. There are a variety of treatment options we utilize to manage urinary incontinence.
It's important to keep the pelvic floor muscles strong to support the bladder and organs properly. Treatment options depend on your type of bladder control problem, how serious it is, and what best fits your lifestyle. We'll help you identify, strengthen and utilize the proper muscles.
Let us help you tackle urinary incontinence. Leaking urine is never normal. We can help you improve it. Give us a call today!
Arthritis is a chronic condition that causes inflammation of the joints. It can cause pain, stiffness, and swelling. The hips, knees, hands, and spine are the most commonly affected joints. Arthritis is not a single disease but an umbrella term that includes a variety of different types. Some of the more common examples are osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, gout, psoriatic arthritis and ankylosing spondylitis.
While physical therapy might not be the first treatment you think of for arthritis, it probably should be. A lot of people with arthritis choose to use medication to manage their pain, stop activities that hurt, and wait for things to get bad enough to have a joint replacement. But this isn't a great plan - all medications have side effects, even over the counter ones. Reducing activity leads to muscle atrophy and even stiffer joints. Even though joint replacement surgery usually has good outcomes, it does come with its own set of risks and a painful recovery.
Physical therapy has been extensively researched as a treatment for arthritis, and demonstrates good outcomes. Physical therapists typically start with exercise as the base for arthritis treatment. Exercise helps to regain lost joint motion, decrease feelings of stiffness, and strengthen muscles surrounding the affected joint. These benefits are all somewhat obvious. What surprises many people is that exercise has been shown to be as effective as medication for pain relief in many types of arthritis, without the side effects.
Physical therapy has more to offer people with arthritis than just exercise though. Education helps people understand their condition, what to expect, and how to manage it. As experts in human movement, physical therapists are especially good at helping people modify the way they perform certain tasks or activities to reduce strain on joints affected by arthritis. They can also suggest ways to modify the environment at work or home to reduce pain and improve function. They may also suggest things like braces, orthotics, or other devices that can help maintain mobility and reduce pain. On top of all of that, PT has been proven to be a cost effective treatment, too.
With so many techniques that are proven effective in helping people with arthritis, physical therapy is a recommended first line treatment for many types of arthritis. Now that you have a better understanding of what PT can do, hopefully you'll think of PT first when you think of arthritis too.
Dealing with Neurological Conditions?
If you have a neurological disorder, you know how it affects your life. Your movement may be limited, and you may not be able to work as independently as you wish. Fortunately, there is an option, physical therapy. Working with a physical therapist can help you regain as much mobility as possible and restore as much function as possible.
Neurological conditions span a wide range of presentations, from movement limitations such as Parkinson's, Huntington's, Cerebral Palsy, or a stroke, to central nervous system limitations such as fibromyalgia, overactive sympathetic nervous system, anxiety, insomnia, or chronic pain in general.
A few common neurological conditions:
Parkinson's Disease - Parkinson's Disease is a progressive neurological condition that affects the brain's nerve cells. Symptoms of Parkinson's disease include tremors, slurred speech, and uncontrollable facial expressions.
Multiple Sclerosis - Multiple sclerosis is a neurological disorder that affects the brain and spinal cord. Signs include pressure, fatigue, and exhaustion. As multiple sclerosis progresses, it can be crippling.
ALS - ALS stands for Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis. It is a progressive neurological disease. It normally occurs in the hands, legs, and extremities before spreading to the central part of the body. Frequent cramps or weakness in the hands or legs are common.
At Rainey Pain & Performance, we have physical therapists and functional pain managers who specialize in neurological conditions. Dr. Mike Davis heads up our neurological department with his assistant Brian Kuhn. They are specially trained in the treatment of individuals with neurological disorders. They are dedicated to utilizing the most current, evidence-based treatments so patients can engage in meaningful and purposeful daily life activities.
Dr. Michael Davis routinely speaks and consults with programs around the Cochise and Tucson area delivering best practices including:
First-time visits begin with a detailed, comprehensive examination. Together we look at the entire picture of your health. We work to understand and know the why behind the what to treat and relieve symptoms of neurological challenges. Following the assessment and diagnosis, our therapists will work with you to plan a treatment approach.
Treatment is individually tailored to address your specific problem areas to achieve maximum functional potential. We will work on balance, strengthening, and stretching. We will work on retraining the muscles and the brain to work together.
Our physical therapists use the LSVT BIG program to treat people who have been diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease. While there is no known cure for Parkinson’s Disease, the LSVT BIG program significantly improves fine and gross motor control, allowing people to be more confident on their feet and manipulate objects with their hands.
Physical therapy is vital for patients who have had or currently have neurological injuries or diseases. The nervous system is complex and regulates all the workings of your body. When something goes wrong with your nervous system, you can have trouble moving, speaking, swallowing, and breathing. Physical therapy can help you perform certain activities to avoid losing your independence.
If you're suffering from a neurological disorder that keeps you from living the life you want, give us a call today.
Managing Low Back Pain
Most people will suffer from some lower back pain at some point in their lives. Low back pain is common. Unfortunately, many people with low back pain don't get treatment that aligns with evidence-based practices.
Low back pain is the most common complaint of patients that visit Rainey Pain & Performance. Our physical therapists and functional pain managers treat all types of low back pain and will help improve and restore your mobility and reduce your pain.
Symptoms of low back pain vary. Your pain may be dull, burning, or sharp. You might feel pain at a single point or over a broader area. Your pain could include muscle spasms or stiffness and may even spread into the legs.
It used to be believed that the cause of low back pain was related directly to the tissues of the body, but we now understand that low back pain is more complex. Several conditions may relate to low back pain including degenerative disk disease, fractures, herniated disks, and osteoarthritis.
One common myth about low back is avoiding or limiting physical activity. Proper stretching of the muscles and active exercise will significantly help maintain a normal range of motion and relieve muscle suffering. Physical therapists are movement experts. We will improve your quality of life and help you relieve back pain.
We will begin by determining what kind of back pain you're dealing with. Is it irritation or pressure on a nerve? A disk bulge or spinal stenosis? We will review your health history, ask about your symptoms, and provide a detailed, thorough examination that assesses your movements.
Our goal is to improve and restore mobility. Treatments may include manual therapy, specific strengthening exercises, education about taking better care of your back, and proper training for lifting, bending, and sitting.
Physical therapy can be a more holistic alternative to surgery, medication, and other treatment methods. One of our patients shares her story, " I am a 61-year-old active female. I saw Dr. Rainey for lower back pain that had exacerbated to the point where I was unable to stand for long periods of time. I had approximately six sessions with him and the pain was mostly gone. During these sessions, Dr. Rainey was attentive, concerned, and answered all of my questions. He appeared to put a lot of thought into his work. During my last session, he massaged my lower back in a manner best described as feeling like a little bit of heaven. I was able to return to the gym and continue walking in my neighborhood and in the Huachuca Mountains. I even hiked the Grand Canyon in November 2019." ~Leslie S.
We look forward to helping you find relief from low back pain. Schedule an appointment today and improve your quality of life!
You may typically think of physical therapy as a treatment for injuries or muscle pains, but did you know that it can also help get rid of your headache pain? Headaches affect 47% of the global population. Many headaches are harmless and resolve gradually. However, frequent headaches and migraines can severely impact your quality of life and your ability to participate in daily activities.
There are different types of headaches, including tension (muscular), neck joint related (cervicogenic), migraines, and secondary headaches from underlying conditions.
Tension headaches are rarely debilitating, but there is no need to prolong suffering. Tension headaches are caused when neck and shoulder muscles tighten up. Constant stress is the leading cause of tension headaches. Women are more likely than men to suffer from tension headaches.
Cervicogenic headaches stem from the structures in the neck and radiate into other areas. This type of headache may occur gradually or due to an injury. Cervicogenic headaches symptoms include decreased ability to move head or neck, neck pain, muscle tenderness, shoulder/arm pain on the side of the headache, weakness, dizziness, and nausea.
Migraines can be severe and disabling. Migraines are disorders in the central nervous system and involve the nerves and blood vessels. Migraines can be triggered by light, noise, odors, dehydration, lack of sleep, and many other factors. Neck pain is a large trigger.
There are many treatment options for headaches, but physical therapy is one of the best treatments. It is natural and holistic and comes with no harmful side effects. Medications affect the central nervous system to address dysfunction, while physical therapy works on the muscles and joints and also affects the central nervous system. Physical therapy can provide relief and a long-term solution for headache and migraine sufferers.
Headaches are often connected to other injuries that can be treated concurrently if needed. Working with a physical therapist helps decrease or resolve the intensity and frequency of headaches. It reduces medication use, improves function and mobility, and improves motion in the neck.
When you see one of our physical therapists, we will perform a clinical examination to diagnose the type of headache and develop an effective treatment plan. We begin with in-depth testing to rule out serious causes and ensure appropriate treatment methods. We will help you uncover the underlying sources that may be leading to your current pain and look for any connections like poor posture or spasms of the face muscles.
Treatments vary and are combined. Some treatment options include neck manipulation, dry needling, identifying headache-producing trigger points and applying the correct pressure to help the muscle soften, and specific neck exercises.
We will show you how to relieve muscle tension, to further prevent headache pain from returning. We will recommend exercises and demonstrate/teach correct posture so you can alleviate pressure and pain between treatment sessions.
We have had patients see immediate improvements, while others need to attend more treatment sessions, this all depends on the severity and root of the pain.
One patient shares her experience with physical therapy, "I made an appointment with Dr. Rainey after dealing with chronic migraines for years. I've used all sorts of medications and injections, but physical therapy probably has helped the most. I have never felt rushed or unheard with Dr. Rainey and the staff; they are all very nice and pay attention to what you are saying. If one thing doesn't work, they will try something else. My headaches, neck aches, and tension issues decreased substantially after a few visits and recommended exercises. Super happy with my experience here, and will continue to use the office when my family or myself need PT." ~Rachel S.
If you are experiencing recurrent headaches, have tried other remedies with no success, and are looking for more natural treatment, schedule an appointment today with one of our physical therapists.