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BY DR. ARNAN SISSON
If you’re a frequent reader of this column you may have noticed that I put a little phrase at the end of most columns that says, “movement is medicine.” At first glance it may seem that it’s just a good catchy phrase to wrap up everything. But I’d say it’s the basis of what I do to get folks back to playing with their grandkids, walking with their husbands or wives again, or just avoiding a painful/invasive surgery. It is somewhat of a Golden rule anyone should follow that has a recent injury, ache, or pain.
Years ago, it was standard protocol to place folks on bedrest. If you think back even 20-30 years ago if you were to go to the hospital it was a pretty safe bet, you would stay a good bit longer than you would today. Thankfully though, we’ve learned now that bed rest is only good for a very limited amount of conditions. And nine times out of ten, if you have some sort of ache or pain gradually building up your movement will actually get you feeling better much quicker. A good bit of the literature supports that approach. A great extreme example of this was when I worked in the hospital system years ago. On many occasions following a knee replacement, it was very normal for me to do some sort of treatment on the actual surgery day!
So, if you’re like me, you want to know how to apply things to your own life. And a great way to do that is to use pain as your guide. Paying attention to pain while building up your activity levels is the true golden rule.
So, whether you have back, neck, or even knee pain its important that pain levels are minimal with activity. If your pain shoot’s up to moderate-high levels of pain, then that means your doing too much and you need to pull back. If after your activity (beyond 30-60 min) pain shoots up high, then that means you’ve also done too much and you need to reduce the amount of activity or range of motion your doing. If you use those rules, it is very hard to hurt yourself.
To put this into practice for neck pain you can start my simply turning your head in both directions. Only go to the point where you feel minimal pain and return to the starting point. Repeat this over time until your range of motion has gone up and your moving the head more easily.
For knee pain, you can sit on the side of the bed and simply extend your leg out until you hit that minimal level of pain. Once you’ve found it, return to the starting point, and repeat. If you have back troubles you could try to extend backwards or turn side to side and use the same rule.
For knee or back pain, you could do some short walking and go at a speed/distance that produces minimal pain then stop. Repeat this until your distance increases and pain levels drop.
I would say this is a huge game changer for many of my clients, and definitely worth having in your tool box. That’s it for today, remember movement is medicine!
P.S. Do you want some more advanced tips to help ease your back, neck, or knee troubles? If so, feel free to click here or call us at (804) 493-3256 to set up you FREE Discovery Session. During the 20 min session I'll perform some tests and ask a few questions that will let us know what's going on and what treatment stratagies will give you complete relief.