7 Reasons To Use Physical Therapy For Chronic Pain

If you haven’t tried physical therapy before, you may wonder how it could help relieve your chronic pain.

A physical therapist can show you how to perform exercises to will help ease chronic pain.

Physical therapy uses a variety of approaches to tackle pain/chronic pain and boost physical functioning, and is often recommended as part of pain management.

What Physical Therapy Offers
These are seven ways physical therapy can help with chronic pain:

1. Individualized treatment. Physical therapy is all about you. You and the therapist will go over the various aspects of your pain the first time you meet. If you’re anxious about some aspect of physical therapy, this is the time to bring it up. It’s also a great time to bring up any specific goals you have. Maybe you’d like to walk longer distances or ride your bike again, for instance. The more open you can be about problem areas and goals, the better. Once you’ve reviewed everything, the therapist will develop a program tailored specifically to your needs.

2. Safe moves. It’s natural to be cautious in your movement when you’re hurting, but physical activity is needed to decrease stiffness, ease pain, and enhance your overall functional ability. Having a physical therapist direct and monitor your movements will dispel your worries about injuring yourself, allowing you to safely push yourself beyond what you could do independently.

3. An opportunity to avoid surgery. Physical therapy is a nonsurgical treatment often recommended to patients before considering surgery. The combination of manual therapies, specific functional strengthening exercise, stretches, and modalities can often relieve pain and improve functional ability so well that surgery is avoided.

4. Hands-on pain relief. Manual therapy is often used in skilled physical therapy– it involves pressure applied to targeted areas of the body to improve tissue extensibility; increase range of motion, and mobilize soft tissue and joints in effort to reduce pain.

5. Strategies to ease pain. Physical therapists are often a good resource to help you understand physiological factors and neuroscience involved in your pain. They are also able to suggest some ergonomic tweaks to your workstation and/or explain how tobacco use or alcohol could make your pain worse.

6. Support and encouragement. Working closely with someone focused on relieving your pain can offer both a physical and mental boost. Chronic pain can be an isolating experience, and it’s nice to know you’re not alone.

7. Control over your pain. Knowing that there is a way to reduce and manage your pain on your own, without medicines or surgery, can give you a sense of control. That sense of control can ease the release of stress hormones, further reducing pain.

Physical therapy sessions generally run from about 20 minutes to an hour, and usually include more than one visit per week. Over time, most people learn exercises and stretches to perform independently at home, and formal physical therapy appointments are no longer needed.

The Tips You And Your Kids Need To Stay Safe While Playing Sports

It’s no secret that playing sports and other forms of exercise are beneficial to your body and mind. However, all sports and exercise activities come with the risk of injury. While such risks shouldn’t keep you from doing what you love, they should remind you that steps can be taken to prevent and treat injuries as small as blisters and as large as broken bones. These tips for keeping yourself and your little ones safe while exercising and playing sports will ensure you enjoy many more seasons of fun on the field, at the ski hill, in the water and all of the other places you love to play.

1. Know Your Limits

One of the simplest and most important ways to prevent injuries in sports is to know your capabilities and advance them slowly. Start every exercise session with a warmup, and then proceed to exercise within your capabilities, and encourage your kids and workout partners to do the same. Don’t start with a 5-mile run if you haven’t run in decades, and don’t hit jumps on your skis before you’ve mastered downhill turns. The most common sports injuries result from doing too much activity too quickly, overestimating ability levels, pushing your body too hard, and using incorrect techniques.

2. Speak Up and Encourage Others to Do the Same

It’s easy to ignore the symptoms of athletic injuries, and young athletes may not feel comfortable being honest about what hurts. Sit your kids down before they start playing sports, and explain that they need to be open about pain or symptoms they feel before, during or after playing. Adults can be even more stubborn than young athletes, so be honest with yourself about what hurts, and consult a professional about sports injury treatment before the problem gets worse.

The “no pain, no gain,” theory to achieving your sports and workout goals will only exacerbate your pain and muscle or joint-related problems. Sports injury prevention starts with understanding that you feel pain for a reason, and it’s usually because your body is warning you about possible sports-related injuries.

3. Don’t Over Exercise

We all know that parent who pushes his or her kid’s athletic abilities too far. Yet what many don’t consider is that adults also push themselves too far. Young and old athletes often focus on one or two sports, overusing the same muscles day after day. According to personal health writer Jane Brody, children under age 8, should take part in organized games or practices for no longer than one hour and no more than three days a week. Kids ages 9 through 12, should only do so for a maximum of one and a half hours, four days a week; and kids over age 13 should not practice or play organized games for more than two hours, four days a week.

Parents should be just as cautious about overworking their muscles as their youngsters, and the days between each practice, game or workout session should be used for recovery and rest.

4. Understand Your Exercise Environment

Taking part in athletics is fun, and it makes you and your young athletes feel good. However, your desire to take part in every game or workout session shouldn’t lead you to making irrational decisions about safety. Professional athletes are careful to adapt to new environments before practicing or competing, and that’s a practice you should instill in yourself and your kids. Working out in an air-conditioned gym every day, then running outdoors on a humid, 85-degree day, is an easy way to cause heat stroke — a heat-related injury that can be fatal.

Understand your and your child’s tolerance for heat and always keep plenty of drinks nearby when exercising. Check with event supervisors to ensure water, ice and cold towels are available for athletes.

5. Don’t Do It Alone

You’re not expected to be an EMT or know all of the ins and outs of sports medicine or sports therapy when getting yourself or your kids involved in sports. However, you should always have an expert you can call on your side.

Blue Ridge Orthopaedic & Spine Center is home to the sports injury rehabilitation and sports physiotherapy experts you want on your family’s side. You can find us in Warrenton (540) 347-9220 and Gainesville (703) 743-2814, and same- or next-day appointments are available.

Gratitude for those that have served our country

distressed flag with soldiers silhouettes veterans dayMemorial Day, originally known as Decoration Day, has been honoring the men & women who have died while serving in the U.S. military since May 1868 when it was established by General John A. Logan, commander-in-chief of the Union veterans’ group known as the Grand Army of the Republic wanted to recognize the more than 620,000 soldiers killed in the Civil War. In 1971 it became a federal holiday.

As our lives become busier and busier, we tend to forget why we have this special recognition and often fill the days off with BBQ’s and social gatherings but we should remember to take some time to realize the sacrifice that many men & women made so that we would be able to have these gatherings and for many a much deserved day off!

Blue Ridge Orthopaedic & Spine Center would like to express our gratitude to all those who have served protecting our freedom this Memorial Day. As we all enjoy our family, friends & weekend plans, please know that your sacrifice does not go unnoticed and you will be remembered always.

Evaluation Procedures for Orthopedic Problems


Picture: falmouthortho.com/

Adults – What are standard evaluation procedures?

Before a treatment or rehabilitation plan can be made, your orthopedist must first determine the reason for, and source of, your condition. This typically involves a complete physical exam and a review of your medical history profile, in addition to a description of your symptoms. Be sure to tell your healthcare providers of any other illnesses, injuries, or complaints that may be associated with the pain or condition. Also, tell him or her about any previous treatments or medicines prescribed. Initial tests may then follow.

Advanced evaluation procedures

If you need further evaluation you may have one of these tests:

  • X-ray. This test uses invisible electromagnetic energy beams to make images of tissues, bones, and organs onto film.
  • Arthrogram. This X-ray shows bone structures after an injection of a contrast fluid into a joint area. When the fluid leaks into an area that it does not belong, disease or injury may be considered, as a leak would provide evidence of a tear, opening, or blockage.
  • Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). This test uses large magnets, radiofrequencies, and a computer to make detailed images of organs and structures within the body. It can often determine damage or disease in a surrounding ligament or muscle.
  • Computed tomography scan (also called a CT or CAT scan). This test uses X-rays and computer technology to make horizontal, or axial, images (often called slices) of the body. A CT scan shows detailed images of any part of the body, including the bones, muscles, fat, and organs. CT scans are more detailed than general X-rays.
  • Electromyogram (EMG). This test evaluates nerve and muscle function.
  • Ultrasound. This test uses high-frequency sound waves to create an image of the internal organs
  • Arthroscopy. This test is used to evaluate a joint. It uses a small, lighted, optic tube (arthroscope) that is inserted into the joint through a small incision in the joint. Images of the inside of the joint are projected onto a screen. It’s used to evaluate any degenerative or arthritic changes in the joint. It also detects bone diseases and tumors and may help determine the cause of bone pain and inflammation.
  • Myelogram. This test involves the injection of a dye or contrast material into the spinal canal. Next a specific X-ray study lets the healthcare provider evaluation of the spinal canal and nerve roots.
  • Radionuclide bone scan. This is a nuclear imaging technique. It uses a very small amount of radioactive material, which is injected into the patient’s bloodstream to be detected by a scanner. This test shows blood flow to the bone and cell activity within the bone.
  • Blood tests. Other blood tests may be used to check for certain types of arthritis.

After the evaluative information is collected and reviewed, the orthopedist will discuss the treatment options with you to help you select the best treatment plan that promotes an active and functional life.

Children – What are standard evaluation procedures?

Children will be treated much like the adults are with a full physical exam and a detailed medical history. At this time, be sure to tell your child’s doctor of any other illnesses, injuries, or complaints that have been associated with the pain or condition, as well as any previous treatments or medicines prescribed. Some early tests may then be done, including:

  • Blood tests
  • X-rays.A diagnostic test that uses invisible electromagnetic energy beams to produce images of internal tissues, bones, and organs onto film.

Advanced evaluation procedures

Children who need further evaluation may undergo 1 or more of the following:

  • Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). A diagnostic procedure that uses a combination of large magnets, radiofrequencies, and a computer to produce detailed images of organs and structures within the body.
  • Computed tomography scan (also called a CT or CAT scan).A diagnostic imaging procedure that uses a combination of X-rays and computer technology to produce horizontal, or axial, images (often called slices) of the body. A CT scan shows detailed images of any part of the body, including the bones, muscles, fat, and organs. CT scans are more detailed than general X-rays.
  • EMG (electromyogram).A test used to evaluate nerve and muscle function.
  • Bone scan.A nuclear imaging method to evaluate any degenerative and/or arthritic changes in the joints; to detect bone diseases and tumors; to determine the cause of bone inflammation.
  • This is becoming a common test for evaluating musculoskeletal complaints.

After the evaluative information is collected and reviewed, your child’s orthopaedist will discuss with you all treatment options and help you select the best treatment plan to enable your child to live an active and functional life.

Blue Ridge Orthopaedic & Spine Center has two convenient office locations in Warrenton (540) 347.9220 & Gainesville (703) 743.2814 to serve all of your Orthopaedic needs.  Call us today to schedule an appointment.  Same day/next day appointments available.  For more information on all comprehensive services we offer, visit www.broava.com.

Courtesy: Krames Staywell

Online Medical Reviewer: Ogiela, Dennis, MD
Online Medical Reviewer: Banerjee, Rahul, MD 

Injectable Corticosteroids


Corticosteroid injections are powerful drugs used to decrease inflammation in the body’s tissues.  Corticosteroid injections can treat a range of muscular, skeletal, and spinal conditions.  This article from KRAMES STAYWELL shows us the most common uses of corticosteroid injections:

  • Lower back pain – Lower back pain from strains, spinal stenosis, ruptured disks, and other common conditions may be treated with injectable corticosteroids to provide some reprieve from pain. Lumbar radiculopathy is pain in the buttocks, hips, or legs that stems from a pinched nerve in the lower back.  This kind of pain can usually be treated with corticosteroid injections near the pinched nerve.  If a patient is having excruciating pain, the injection may target the spinal cord area through a catheter.  Sometimes other drugs such as local anesthetics or narcotics are given in conjunction with the corticosteroid.
  • Osteoarthritis – Osteoarthritis suffers often develop inflammation and pain in their joints. An injection of corticosteroids into the affected joint can provide temporary pain relief for several weeks or even months.  After the treatment, you will need to rest the joint for at least 24 hours for the best results.
  • Carpal tunnel syndrome – Carpal tunnel syndrome may occur when a nerve in the wrist becomes compressed or pinched, causing pain and weakness in the hand. Infecting a corticosteroid in the wrist can provide immediate relief.
  • Cervical radiculopathy – This is neck pain that radiates to the shoulder and arm. It occurs when the vertebrae in the spine moves closer together, pinching a nerve in the neck.  Injecting corticosteroids near the pinched nerve may reduce pain and swelling allowing for time to heal .

Blue Ridge Orthopaedic & Spine Center has two convenient office locations in Warrenton (540) 347.9220 & Gainesville (703) 743.2814 to serve all of your Orthopaedic needs. Call us today to schedule an appointment. Same day/next day appointments are available. For more information on all comprehensive orthopaedic services we offer visit www.broava.com.