Annual Check-Ups: Don't Forget a Visit to Your Favorite Physical Therapist
What if we could prevent the majority of injuries, aches, and pains? If we could, it would lead to more mobility, less pain, and improved function in recreational activities, job duties, and daily tasks. For active Coloradans, that means more mountain biking in the mountains, running through City Park or Wash Park, hiking through the Rocky Mountains, or walking through Downtown Denver. Turns out, we can often prevent overuse injuries, aches and pains! Some may expect an annual physical at the primary care physician to address this, but most physicians don't have the time, or the musculoskeletal expertise, to dig deeper into mild joint pain or chronic muscle soreness. If they do, usually generic advice to RICE or "don't do fill in the blank" advice is provided. If you are lucky, you might get a referral to physical therapy. So why not start with a physical therapist before the pain and soreness even starts?
In Colorado, you can make an appointment directly with a physical therapist without a prescription from a doctor; this is called direct access. Physical therapists are experts in musculoskeletal conditions - a perfect fit to address aches and pains! Most mild aches and pains are due to alerted biomechanics and over-use/over-stress of the joint and tissue. Recognizing compensatory, or "off", movement patterns is the first step to fixing them. Usually a combination of joint mobilizations, targeted exercises, soft tissue work, and gradual progression of load (i.e. weight, running distance, etc.) is all it takes to break the cycle and reduce pain.
A 30 year old client presented with weakness through the right glutes (as compared to the left) and complained of right knee pain with running anything longer than 3 miles. He took a 4 week break from running (per his doctor's advice) but when he started running again, the knee pain was still present. Upon evaluation, his right glutes were weak due to lack of hip extension and poor pelvic control. A simple exercise routine to stretch through hip flexors, strengthen the glutes and inner thighs (adductors) in multiple planes of movement, core strength routine, and plyometrics to improve landing control is all it took to fix the movement dysfunction and return to running pain-free!
An active and fit 45 year old client does yoga, runs, lifts weights, and bikes and wants to keep healthy. A thurough musculoskeletal screen indicates mild shoulder and spine limitations as well as end range ankle stiffness limiting squat depth and balance control. A custom home program involving right shoulder self mobilization, thoracic mobility exercises, core stabilization, and ankle mobility/mobilization exercises is the key to keeping him healthy and participating in his recreational activities pain-free.
A 50 year old active recreational athlete increased mountain biking efforts this past month to prepare for a 7 day stage race. Her nagging low back pain with 2+ hours of saddle time presents as mild lumbar disc irritation associated with decreased hip mobility and recent changes to the saddle change and positioning. A few mobility exercises and bike fit suggestion leads to 80% of the pain reduction within 1 week!
All injuries can not be prevented, but preventing what you can means less time away from the things that you love to do. Sitting on the couch doing nothing isn't healthy, but either is suffering through pain that you don't have to!
Schedule a musculoskeletal check-in today!
Click here: https://www.physioyogaandwellness.com/booking-calendar
Dr Jessica Klain PT, DPT, COMT, CSCS, OCS, CNPT
Board Certified Orthopedic Clinical Specialist (OCS)
Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS)
Certified Orthopedic Manual Therapist (COMT)
Certified Nutritional Physical Therapist (CNPT)
Certified Vestibular Specialist
Certified Concussion Specialist