Physical Therapy: A Cost-Efficient Healthcare Option

Did you know physical therapy, when used as a first-line of defense, is a more affordable healthcare option than injections or surgery? According to a 2017 study by the Alliance for Physical Therapy Quality and Innovation (APTQI), patients experiencing low back pain were observed incurring lower healthcare costs when physical therapy was used as an initial intervention as opposed to injections or surgery.

Moreover, the study expands on the importance of beginning treatment within 15 days of onset of pain or injury, as recovery time and healthcare costs are significantly decreased with early intervention.

At Elite Integrated Therapy Centers, we understand the options you have as a healthcare consumer and we’re happy to offer a cost-saving option to you and your family. If you have an issue that you’ve been considering scheduling an appointment for, our team verifies your insurance benefits ahead of your first appointment. That way, you will know your financial responsibility before beginning treatment!

 

Pregnancy and Physical Therapy

pregnancy and physical therapy

Pregnancy and Physical Therapy

Did you know a physical therapist can effectively treat many diagnoses both during and after pregnancy? Few people are aware of this option, although the benefits are well worth it. A women’s health physical therapist can treat a large range of diagnoses, including but not limited to: back pain, pelvic pain, incontinence, carpal tunnel, headaches, painful intercourse and diastasis recti (separation of abdominal musculature). Often these symptoms are disregarded because of how commonly they occur with pregnancy. However, you do not have to suffer through these symptoms; we can help you overcome them for improved quality of life during pregnancy.

Why Would I Need Physical Therapy During Pregnancy?

During pregnancy, women experience many changes. As the baby grows, a mother’s ribs must expand, organs slide out of the way and the abdomen stretches. As the baby grows heavier, the pelvic floor also has more pressure being pushed down onto it. This extra pressure can cause pelvic floor symptoms, such as pelvic pain or incontinence. A women’s health physical therapist can work with you during pregnancy to reduce and/or prevent these symptoms altogether. 

Pregnant women may also experience back pain, carpal tunnel and headaches during pregnancy. Poor posture, stress, the additional baby weight and the change in your center of gravity can all contribute to these symptoms. However, these are all musculoskeletal issues that physical therapists are able to address with positioning considerations, manual therapy techniques and gentle therapeutic exercises for optimal posture and strength. Any of these conditions can be effectively treated at any point in your pregnancy. Your physical therapist will evaluate you and provide an individualized plan of care aligned with your trimester of pregnancy. 

Physical therapists can also provide tips and techniques for labor and delivery, while taking into consideration any musculoskeletal pain or impairments. Previous injuries or painful regions, especially in your back or hips, may become irritated or worsened from labor or delivery. To prevent this, you can set up a third trimester appointment with one of our women’s health physical therapists. During the third trimester visit, we will discuss your medical history, perform a thorough musculoskeletal evaluation and discuss potential laboring positions. We will also talk about the functions of the pelvic floor and how to prevent tearing during delivery. Then, following your third trimester visit, you can schedule a postpartum evaluation to ensure you are on track for a good recovery.

 

What About Postpartum Physical Therapy?

In the past few years, studies have shown that women do not feel they are adequately prepared for the postpartum experience, termed “the fourth trimester.” Typically, women are seen for many doctor visits before the baby is born but only one visit postpartum. In 2018, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists published guidelines for postpartum care, which included a referral to physical therapy for urinary or fecal incontinence. It also explained that postpartum care should be an ongoing process, rather than just one visit.

There are many diagnoses a women’s health physical therapist can treat following delivery. A few common examples are: low back pain, pelvic pain, urinary or fecal incontinence, pain with sexual intercourse and diastasis recti (separation of abdominal musculature). Therapeutic exercise and manual therapy techniques are used during treatment of these depending on your individual presentation and symptoms.

A women’s health physical therapist can even be useful for a postpartum checkup to provide you with the necessary knowledge to prevent future issues. This can be especially important if you want to return to working out or running. It is even more highly recommended if you experienced a tear or surgical cut during your delivery to make sure your body heals correctly without any complications. A women’s health physical therapist can help you gradually return to your normal daily activities and manage any pelvic floor symptoms that occur along the way.

Exercise is also an important aspect of the recovery process postpartum. We can create a program focusing on strengthening and stability to improve motor control and overall well-being. A women’s health physical therapist is trained to do this, while also considering any postpartum complications to ensure your safety. If there is a post-surgical scar, this is extremely important so the scar is not re-opened from too much rigorous activity. A therapist can suggest adjustments and specific exercises based on your functional capabilities and limitations.

 

When to Call Us?

If you are experiencing any of the symptoms discussed above, women’s health or pelvic floor therapy may be a great option for you. This includes:

  • Pain during or following pregnancy, especially pelvic pain, hip pain or low back pain
  • Urinary or fecal incontinence (leakage) in general or during exercise
  • Diastasis recti
  • Pain with sexual intercourse
  • Carpal tunnel
  • Headaches
  • Back pain

During your first visit, we will take a subjective medical history and chat with you about your goals. We will also perform a musculoskeletal exam of your trunk & lower extremities and, when indicated, an internal pelvic floor examination. Follow-up visits will include therapeutic exercise and manual therapy dependent upon the findings of your evaluation.

To schedule an appointment with one of our women’s health physical therapists, you can either give us a call directly or you can ask to be referred by your physician. Please don’t hesitate to also reach out if you have any questions or if you would like to learn more about pelvic floor physical therapy & what we can offer. We would love to help!

To schedule an appointment with one of our women’s health physical therapists, give us a call at one of our 12 locations in Greenville, Anderson, Spartanburg, Belton, Boiling Springs, Fort Mill, Powdersville, Seneca and Simpsonville, SC or you can ask to be referred by your physician.

8 Sneaky Reasons Your Back Hurts

Did you know that about 80% of people will suffer from back pain? Sometimes, it’s obvious when you injure your back – whether you’re involved in an accident or simply feel something go wrong when lifting heavy objects. Back pain can sneak up on you through seemingly harmless motions. We’re diving into 8 sneaky reasons your back is hurting:

More Money, More Problems

Especially prevalent with men, storing a wallet in your back pocket is second nature. However, when seated, it causes your hips to be slightly angled and can throw your back’s position off—leading to pain.

Working (Too) Hard

Think of where your phone, printer, stapler, etc. sit on your desk at work. Is there something you grab for often that is ever so slightly out of reach? The repetitious leaning movement can misalign your back and move muscles improperly. Make sure your desk essentials are conveniently placed.

Country Roads

Often long drives are met with an inevitable groan. You spend most of the drive twisting and turning trying to get comfortable. The answer is in your seat position! Make sure your driver’s seat is angled so that it keeps your back upright and your hips at a 90-degree angle. Also, make sure to get out of your car every two or so hours to stretch and get your blood flowing.

Keeping You On Your Toes

While you may stretch your back in the morning or your hamstrings before a run, how often do you think about the flexibility in your big toe? Understandably, not very often. Experiencing decreased flexibility in your big toe and/or ankles can throw off your normal walking pattern. If your feet and ankles are stiff, then there may be too much movement or unbalanced movement in the lumbar spine.

Hips Don’t Lie

We know about Leg Day and Back Day at the gym, but what about Hip Day? A weakness of your hips can lead to straining low back muscles to compensate. Strengthen those hips by throwing a few sets of clam shells or leg lifts into your next leg day regimen.

Sleeping Soundly

While you’re tossing and turning at night, certain positions put the hips and/or low back in a bad position for hours at a time. The best positions for sleeping are on your back or side, making sure your pillows are properly set up to keep your neck neutral all night.

Fresh Kicks

Shoes with proper arch support, rigidity, and the proper size help keep a normal walking pattern that can take the pressure off of your low back. Next time you’re shopping, make sure to check out this post by The Fitness Tribe ranking some of the best shoes for avoiding back pain or go to your local running store to get properly sized!

Labor Pains

Mothers who deliver by C-section see increased side effects post-birth, as they are also recovering from major surgery. C-sections are performed by cutting through muscle groups that important in spinal stabilization. If that muscle is never retrained, the spine is often unstable which can move vertebrae and muscles out of place.

Back pain can be debilitating and make you feel that you’re on the sidelines of your own life. Hopefully, these tips and tricks help get you back on your feet. If you’d like more insight or help with your back pain, give one of our skilled physical therapists a call and get scheduled today!

Wallet in back pocket can lead to misalignment your back!

Ergonomics 101

Everyday Ergonomics

You might be asking yourself what exactly IS ergonomics? Luckily, the word is much less intimidating than it looks. Ergonomics is the science of safely and efficiently doing activities at work or at home. Although Occupational Therapists most often deal with work environments, the tasks and activities that you perform outside of the office are just as important. For instance, do you have problems doing gardening or yard work? What about shoulder, back, or neck pain after working on the computer or your iPad? Do you feel exhausted after trying to cook a meal? Our Occupational Therapists are trained in making ergonomic assessments and adjustments to reduce pain, maximize effectiveness, and help you get back to your daily activities.

Tackling Your Tasks  

Occupational Therapists combine their ergonomic-specific training with a foundation of the body’s anatomy and a passion for improving your performance. For example, many people lean too far forward while working on the computer or a craft, like sewing. Maintaining a straight, upright sitting posture is important for comfort, stamina, and your long-term health. We might suggest equipment like an ergonomic keyboard or a magnifying lamp to help make these tasks easier. Developing the small muscles in your hand, also known as intrinsic muscle strength, will help with your skills and comfort while performing small and detailed tasks.

From the Cubicle to the Kitchen

Our OTs will evaluate your individual case including complaints of pain or injury, difficulty performing certain tasks, and how you function in your environment. The evaluation will include every area that can affect task performance. For instance, many problems with hand pain and weakness can be traced to the shoulder or neck. Like a building with an unstable foundation, poor shoulder function can lead to problems further down the arm. The therapist will ask you to perform the activity that troubles you. If you can bring in tools you use frequently or any kind of examples, it will make our suggestions even better!

Examples of areas we can help with include:

  •         Gardening
  •         Woodshops
  •         Arts and crafts spaces
  •         Home
  •         Kitchen
  •         Garage
  •         Office space
  •         Assembly lines
  •         Retail counters

Basically, our Occupational Therapists can help with any task that you are having trouble completing. We can analyze and develop a custom treatment plan, including ergonomic suggestions that you can start using right away! Also, we will send you home with exercises tailored to your specific situation and needs. These home exercise programs, or HEPs, are key to your progress.

Our Occupational Therapists are skilled in recommending a variety of adjustments to how you work and play to reduce pain, maximize efficiency, and give you more time and energy to do what is important. If you’re interested in learning more or are ready to start your treatments, give us a call today to get set up with one of our skilled Occupational Therapists!

We’ve Got Your Back –Literally!

Did you know…

Half of all working Americans suffer from back pain.
About 80% of the population will suffer from back pain at some point.
Back pain is the leading cause of disability worldwide.

How Can I Treat My Back Pain?

While there are a plethora of treatment methods for back pain, consider physical therapy as the first line of defense. Now more than ever, in the midst of rising healthcare costs and an ongoing opioid epidemic, physical therapy provides a safe and affordable solution to back pain in a comprehensive approach that addresses not only the symptoms but also the root cause of the problem.

What Causes Back Pain?

Often, back pain can stem from a variety of different diagnoses, including the following: muscle or ligament strains, bulging or ruptured discs, arthritis, skeletal irregularities or posture, just to name a few. During an initial physical therapy evaluation, a full assessment is made to determine the cause of back pain before moving forward with the treatment. From there, an individualized plan is built to address the specific needs of the patient. Treatment plans can vary and may incorporate a combination of approaches, such as manual therapy, strengthening exercises, flexibility exercises, education, home exercise programs, modalities, or equipment based therapy (such as dry needling, for example).

How Long Should I Go to Physical Therapy?

While results are unique to each individual undergoing physical therapy, medical research shows earlier treatment equals faster results, which drives down healthcare costs in the long run. Even better, in the state of South Carolina, most patients can see a physical therapist for up to 30 days without a physician’s referral, making it easier to be seen and address any issues quickly.

“Extremely kind and motivated therapists! I could barely get out of my car and walk in because of low back pain, and within 3 weeks I was almost back to 100%, and in 2 months I was in better shape than I’ve been in years. Colby and the crew are fantastic.” -Google review

At Elite, it is part of our mission to accommodate any patients within 24-48 hours, as we understand the urgency of starting the recovery process as soon as possible. If you suffer from back pain, don’t hesitate to give us a call!