Shoulder injuries affect one in three people and one in two later in life. The shoulder is the most mobile joint in the body and has a high degree of complexity as it includes 4 joints. There are 26 muscles attaching to the shoulder blade alone requiring a high degree of balance and automatic coordination between the muscles. Additionally, the joints may become arthritic with the normal aging process as well as through injury and trauma.
Physical therapy has shown to be one of the most effective forms of treatment for the shoulder and Joshua Wies has contributed to the evidence base with his Cambridge research on the rotator cuff and frozen shoulder. Treatment of the should must include specific exercises to re-establish normal function and control of the shoulder and to improve the quality of the soft tissues (muscles, ligaments and tendons). Soft tissue degeneration due to a breakdown in the protein collagen is a problem that can cause significant pain and loss of shoulder function as well as loss of sleep. Exercise can help to promote the production of healthy tissue, relieving the problem and returning to normal pain-free function.
Manual therapy is an important component of physical therapy based on evidence-based science as well as the therapeutic art of healing. Massage, myofascial release, joint mobilization and Strain-Counterstrain are some of the types of manual therapy you can expect to experience at Mount Washington Physical Therapy.
The aim of massage and myofascial release is improve the quality of the muscles and connective tissues as well as to sooth and improve the function of the nerves embedded within the soft tissues. With injury and aging there can be formation of scar tissue, loss of length and loss of mobility of the individual muscle cells or fibers. Normal gliding of the layers of connective tissue can also result in pain and stiffness as well as constriction of the blood flow and lymphatic circulation. Massage can help to break down adhesions and scar tissue while improving circulation and blood flow helping to deliver healthy oxygen while removing build up of cellular waste.
Joint mobilization is a technique to reduce pain and improve normal joint motion and freedom of movement. Joint stiffness, a result of arthritic conditions, aging and the modern sedentary lifestyle can lead to muscle weakness and painful movement. Regaining normal joint mobility is an important aim in physical therapy. Normally, we do not employ the type of manipulations such as those performed by chiropractors. Physical therapy tends to use the more gentle approach without the 'crack' associated with chiropractic manipulations. In some instances, however, we will use manipulations with your permission in order to free up stuck joints.
Strain Counterstrain is a very gentle but powerful technique to re-educate muscle and resolve spasms and tender points located throughout the body. When massage is not indicated or tolerated this gentle approach can achieve equally successful results.
Both Bonnie and Joshua are highly skilled manual therapists with the many years of experience required to achieve the ability to heal through the laying on of hands.
Orthopedic physical therapy treats, or rehabilitates, injuries to the muscles, bones, joints, tendons, and ligaments. Often sought to treat conditions that cause pain, decreased strength or range of motion, and swelling, orthopedic physical therapy is helpful for a wide variety of issues. Some of these issues include acute sports injuries, back and neck pain, spinal conditions, arthritis and orthopedic post-operative discomfort and recovery. Our orthopedic physical therapists can diagnose, manage and treat musculoskeletal injuries and disorders.
Working to restore patient’s motion, strength and activity, orthopedic physical therapy is essential after injury or surgery, as they often have weakness or deficiencies. These are addressed through specific workouts designed to enhance function and mobility and are designated by our clinicians. Our orthopedic therapists work with patients to adapt treatments on a case-by-case basis.
Sports therapy specifically focuses on the prevention of injury and rehabilitation of a patient so they return to optimum levels of performance and function. Athletes often benefit from sports therapy due to the strain placed on their bodies during competition and training. Utilizing the principles of sport and exercise sciences, sports therapy readily assists with the preparation of these competition and training practices.
Sports therapists provide immediate care of injuries and support patients during the recreational, training and competitive environment. Whether an injury is being prevented or rehabilitated after the cause, sports therapists provide patients with massage, exercise and appropriate intervention on a case-by-case basis. Working to get the athlete back to optimal performance, a sports therapist is often the first line of defense when injury occurs.
Spinal therapy is a non-surgical approach that treats low back, neck and radiating arm and leg pain. Patients seek spinal therapy for issues such as degenerative spinal discs, facet joint syndromes and spinal disc hernias.
Treatment of spinal disc problems and facet joints is aimed at taking pressure off of nerves and the overall structure of the spine which assists in the movement of oxygen and nutrient-rich fluids to promote healing. Daily activities can often create compression on facet joints and spinal discs, which could lead to herniation, spinal disc protrusion or bulging discs. Decompressing these areas, spinal therapy works by strengthening the supporting muscles, reducing muscle spasm, altering the patient’s body positioning, applying traction and distracting the areas to encourage recuperation.
Injury prevention helps athletes avoid the long term pain and discomfort that could lead to their inability to participate in sports – permanently or temporarily. Various issues, some including inadequate training methods and conditioning, improper warm-up times, or overuse and fatigue can cause sports injury. Injury prevention works to enhance and condition an athlete’s performance.
Working with a physical therapist for injury prevention allows athletes to rebuild movement and strength that may have been lost from a previous injury so that the issue does not remain stagnant or recurring. Without injury prevention, athletes often overuse and misuse their muscles due to a lingering muscular or physical issue. Physical therapists work with patients to determine the injury prevention required based on their sports involvement level and injury history.
Physical therapists often use various electrical and thermal modalities to reduce your pain, improve healing and aid in the therapy process. At Mount Washington Physical Therapy, we offer modalities including electrical stimulation, ultrasound, laser and moist heat.
Electrical Stimulation is used to reduce pain by calming the nerve impulses that carry the pain signal and stimulating your body to release its' natural pain-relieving endorphins. Electrical Stimulation can also be used to help reduce swelling and improve circulation in order to provide healing cells with oxygen and clearing build up of toxins. Finally, we use Functional Electrical Stimulation to aid in muscle contraction and strengthening where muscles may be weakened from illness or injury.