Tendinopathy Review

Understanding Tendinopathy: Insights from a Physical Therapist

What is Tendinopathy?

Many athletes, people over 40, and workers who perform repetitive tasks experience some degree of Tendinopathy during their lives. Starting out, a healthy tendon is a flexible, rope-like tissue that attaches muscles to bones and allows for movement. Then, at some point, either from a sudden injury or repeating a task countless times, a tendon becomes damaged and causes a person pain, swelling, or movement dysfunctions (tendinopathy).

One of the main problems we see as Physical Therapists when it comes to Tendinopathy is that most people need to recognize how minor or severe the damage to their tendon actually is. Without a proper diagnosis and treatment plan, mild discomfort and stiffness can quickly turn into more chronic pain and disability. For this reason, we decided to provide a comprehensive and easy-to-follow look at Tendinopathy. This article will include:

  • The four stages of tendinopathy
  • Tendinopathy pathology and related symptoms
  • The five most common types of tendinopathies we see at Balanced Physical Therapy
  • How Physical Therapists can treat tendinopathy
  • As well as general guidelines for exercise when dealing with a tendon injury

Tendinopathy Review

Stages of Tendinopathy

As previously mentioned in the intro, a healthy tendon is firm, not painful, has no swelling, and has an average temperature (not warm/hot to the touch). As damage to a tendon begins and continues to compound, a person will experience one or more of the Four Stages of Tendinopathy.

Stage 1: Reactive Tendinopathy

  • This initial stage occurs when the tendon is exposed to excessive or repetitive stress or sudden increases in physical activity.
  • Microscopic changes in the tendon structure occur, including collagen disorganization and increased cell activity.
  • Symptoms may include mild pain, stiffness, and discomfort in the affected area.
  • In this stage, the tendon may still have the potential to heal and recover with appropriate rest and conservative treatment.

Stage 2: Tendon Disrepair

  • If the stress or strain on the tendon continues without adequate rest or treatment, the condition may progress to the disrepair phase.
  • In this phase, there is more significant damage to the tendon tissue, including further collagen disorganization, the accumulation of abnormal blood vessels, and ongoing cell proliferation.
  • Pain and functional impairment may become more noticeable and persistent.
  • Treatment at this stage typically involves a combination of rest, physical therapy, and possibly medications to manage pain and inflammation.

Stage 3: Degenerative Tendinopathy

  • In this stage, there is a more pronounced breakdown of tendon tissue, with the development of degenerative changes, including the formation of tendon nodules or areas of tissue thickening.
  • The tendon structure becomes further compromised, and the tendon may lose some of its elasticity and strength.
  • Pain and functional limitations can be more severe at this stage.
  • Treatment may require more intensive physical therapy focused on eccentric exercises, other specialized techniques, and potential interventions like corticosteroid injections or other regenerative therapies.

Stage 4: Tendon Rupture

  • The final stage of tendinopathy is tendon rupture, where the tendon may partially or completely tear.
  • This can result from the cumulative damage and weakening of the tendon over time.
  • A complete tendon rupture often requires surgical intervention to repair, while partial tears may be managed conservatively or surgically depending on their severity.
  • Recovery from a tendon rupture can be lengthy, and rehabilitation is crucial to restore function and strength.

Most Common Types of Tendinopathies

At Balanced Physical Therapy, the four most common types of tendinopathies that we treat include:

Shoulder/Rotator Cuff Tendinopathy

  • Supraspinatus Tendinopathy is a specific tendinopathy that affects the supraspinatus tendon (part of the shoulder rotator cuff). It often leads to pain and limited shoulder mobility, especially when raising the arm.
  • This type of injury risk factors include poor shoulder mechanics (especially with weight lifters), getting older (risk typically begins at age 40 and peaks around 80), previous shoulder dislocations, or chronic shoulder impingement.

Elbow Tendinopathy

  • Tennis Elbow (Lateral Epicondylitis) is tendinopathy that affects the outer part of the elbow. It is often caused by repetitive arm motions, such as those in tennis or other racquet sports. Pain and weakness in the forearm are common symptoms.
  • Golfer Elbow (Medial Epicondylitis) is similar to tennis elbow but affects the inner part of the elbow. It often occurs due to repetitive gripping or wrist flexion, leading to pain and weakness in the forearm.

Achilles Tendinopathy

  • This affects the Achilles tendon, which connects the calf muscles to the heel bone. It often results from overuse or excessive strain and can cause pain and stiffness in the back of the ankle.
  • This injury is most often a result of a sudden increase in physical activity, overuse, foot pronation, obesity, or excessive training that includes hills and poor shock absorption.

Tendinopathy Progression In Achilles

Patellar Tendinopathy ( Jumper’s Knee)

  • This condition affects the patellar tendon, which connects the kneecap (patella) to the shinbone (tibia). It is common in athletes who engage in jumping sports and can cause knee pain, especially just below the kneecap.

Biceps Tendinopathy

  • The long head of the biceps tendon runs through the front of the shoulder and can be susceptible to tendinopathy. This condition may cause pain and discomfort in the front of the shoulder and upper arm.

Rehabbing a Tendon Injury

If you caught your tendinopathy symptoms early on, either in Stage 1 or 2 of Tendinopathy, you can fully recover as quickly as a few days or weeks. More severe tendinopathies can sometimes take anywhere between two to six months. The good news for many people with tendinopathy is that they can fully recover without surgery. 

Because tendinopathy is a progressive condition, early diagnosis and appropriate treatment will be vital in reaching favorable outcomes. Suppose you are experiencing pain (especially when moving), swelling, stiffness/restricted mobility, muscle weakness, and/or burning/warm sensation. In that case, you should see your primary care physician, physical therapist, or any other specialist who works with muscle and bone injuries.

Your doctor may recommend some self-care treatments that include pausing the activity that triggered your symptoms, decreasing the intensity of the activity causing you problems, and/or icing your affected area to help reduce swelling/pain.

For others, a more professional approach, like physical therapy, may be necessary to rehab a tendon injury. Specific physical therapy treatments for tendinopathy can vary depending on the location and severity of the condition, but some common approaches include:

  • Education and Activity Modification: The first step is often educating the patient about their condition and how to modify their activities to reduce stress on the affected tendon. This may involve avoiding specific movements or activities that exacerbate symptoms.
  • Pain Management: Physical therapists may use modalities such as ice, heat, or ultrasound to help manage pain and reduce inflammation in the affected area.
  • Stretching and Range of Motion Exercises: Gentle stretching exercises can help improve the flexibility of the tendon and the surrounding muscles. Range of motion exercises are also essential to maintain joint mobility.
  • Strengthening Exercises: Gradual strengthening of the muscles around the affected tendon is crucial. Strengthening exercises help support the tendon and promote healing. This may involve eccentric exercises, where the muscle is lengthening while under load.
  • Manual Therapy: Hands-on techniques, such as massage, myofascial release, and joint mobilizations, can help reduce muscle tension and improve blood flow to the affected area.
  • Taping and Bracing: Taping techniques like kinesiology tape or braces may support the affected tendon and help reduce strain during movement.
  • Ergonomic and Biomechanical Assessments: Evaluating and correcting any ergonomic or biomechanical issues that may contribute to tendinopathy is essential. This can involve analyzing posture and movement patterns and making adjustments as needed.
  • Modalities: Depending on the specific case, other modalities like electrical stimulation, ultrasound, or laser therapy may be used to promote healing and reduce pain.
  • Functional Training: As the patient progresses, functional exercises that mimic real-life activities may be incorporated to ensure that the individual can safely return to daily activities and sports.
  • Home Exercise Program: Physical therapists often provide patients with a tailored home exercise program to continue their rehabilitation outside clinic visits.
Injury Prevention: The Crucial Role Of Leg Strength

Injury Prevention: Strong Legs Is The Key To Staying Healthy

Preventing Injuries By Building Leg Strength

In the pursuit of leading healthy, active lives, injury prevention is a paramount concern for everyone. Whether you’re an athlete, a fitness enthusiast, or simply someone who enjoys staying active, understanding the importance of having strong legs is crucial to safeguarding yourself against potential injuries. Strong legs not only contribute to enhancing your physical performance but also play a pivotal role in providing stability, balance, and resilience to your entire body.

Strong Legs For Preventing Injuries

Strong Legs Are The Foundation of Stability

At the core of injury prevention lies the foundation of stability, which is firmly rooted in strong legs. The lower body muscles, including the quadriceps, hamstrings, glutes, and calves, form a robust support system that helps maintain balance during daily activities and physical exercises. By enhancing the strength of these leg muscles, individuals can significantly reduce the risk of falls, slips, and other mishaps that might lead to injuries.

Absorbing Impact and Reducing Strain

Life is full of unexpected movements and physical challenges. Whether it’s jumping, landing, or running, our legs bear the brunt of these activities. Strong leg muscles can efficiently absorb and distribute impact forces, protecting vulnerable joints such as the knees and ankles from excessive strain. When these muscles are well-conditioned, they act as shock absorbers, diminishing the impact on joints and preventing common injuries like sprains, strains, and ligament tears.

Injury Prevention: Absorbing Impact and Reducing Strains With Strong Legs

Enhanced Athletic Performance

For athletes and sports enthusiasts, having strong legs is not just about injury prevention but also about enhancing overall athletic performance. Explosive movements, quick changes of direction, and agility are all heavily reliant on leg strength. A powerful lower body not only boosts performance in specific sports but also aids in developing greater endurance and stamina for more extended training sessions.

Posture and Alignment

Maintaining proper posture and alignment is essential to prevent injuries, especially in the back and neck regions. Strong leg muscles work in tandem with the core and back muscles to support a healthy alignment, preventing overuse injuries caused by poor posture. Additionally, well-conditioned legs contribute to a balanced body, reducing the risk of muscle imbalances and related injuries.

Reducing the Risk of Overuse Injuries

Repetitive motions or overuse of specific muscles can lead to injuries that can hinder daily activities and athletic pursuits. Strong legs can alleviate the burden on other body parts, such as the lower back and hips, by distributing the load more evenly during movement. This balance reduces the risk of overuse injuries and allows individuals to engage in physical activities with reduced strain on the body.

To learn more about overuse injuries and the signs that are often associated with them, read our “Preventing Overuse Injuries” here.

Injury Prevention in Different Age Groups

The significance of strong legs in injury prevention extends across all age groups. For children and adolescents, developing leg strength is essential for supporting their growth spurts, improving balance, and reducing the risk of sports-related injuries. As we age, maintaining strong legs becomes even more critical. Strong leg muscles can prevent falls, fractures, and other age-related injuries, enabling older adults to lead active, independent lives.

One key finding that supports the importance of leg strength is the Health, Aging, and Body Composition  Study  (Health ABC Study) found that participants (over 3,000 men and women ages 70-79) who exhibited higher leg strength had a lower risk of disability and early death.

The Role of Physical Therapy

Physical therapy plays a pivotal role in helping individuals build and maintain strong legs. A skilled physical therapist can create personalized exercise programs that target specific leg muscles, taking into account individual needs and existing health conditions. Through a combination of strengthening exercises, stretching routines, and proprioceptive training, physical therapy can enhance leg strength, flexibility, and overall stability.


In conclusion, having strong legs is not only advantageous for athletes and fitness enthusiasts but is crucial for injury prevention in all aspects of life. The stability, impact absorption, and enhanced performance provided by strong leg muscles significantly reduce the risk of injuries in daily activities and sports. Additionally, strong legs contribute to maintaining proper posture, alignment, and balanced muscle development, mitigating the likelihood of overuse injuries.

Investing in the strength and resilience of your legs through regular exercise and physical therapy can offer a multitude of long-term benefits. Whether you’re a professional athlete, a recreational enthusiast, or someone looking to lead a healthy lifestyle, prioritizing leg strength will undoubtedly pave the way for a safer, more active, and injury-free journey. Remember, it’s never too late to start working on your leg strength, so take that first step towards a more robust and injury-resistant future today.


SFMA Multi-segmental Rotation

Selective Functional Movement Assessment (SFMA)

SFMA Is An Evaluation Technique

Selective Functional Movement Assessments (SFMA) is a system used by healthcare professionals, including physical therapists, to evaluate and treat musculoskeletal pain and dysfunction. This system is based on the concept that the body’s movement patterns are interconnected and that movement dysfunction in one area can lead to pain or dysfunction in another.

The SFMA evaluation is a comprehensive assessment that consists of seven basic movement patterns. These include the cervical spine, shoulder mobility, multi-segmental flexion, multi-segmental extension, rotary stability, single-leg stance, and overhead deep squat. These movements are evaluated by a trained healthcare professional who assesses the quality and efficiency of the movement patterns.

 Selective Functional Movement Assessment (SFMA) For Upper Body Injury

Selective Functional Movement Assessment (SFMA) For Lower Body Injury

The SFMA system helps identify and treat underlying issues causing pain or dysfunction. It provides healthcare professionals with a holistic view of the body, allowing them to understand how movement patterns in one area of the body may affect other areas.

SFMA Is Beneficial For Many Types Of Injuries and Conditions

The SFMA system is not a one-size-fits-all approach but a customized evaluation tailored to the patient’s unique needs. When developing a treatment plan, the healthcare professional considers factors such as the patient’s age, health history, and lifestyle.

The SFMA evaluation also identifies compensations, restrictions, or pain in the body’s movement patterns. The healthcare professional will observe and analyze the patient’s movements for these issues. Once identified, the healthcare professional can develop a treatment plan that addresses the root cause of the problem.

One of the benefits of the SFMA system is that it can identify movement dysfunction in individuals who are not experiencing pain or discomfort. This can be useful for identifying potential issues before they become more severe. It is a valuable tool for evaluating and treating musculoskeletal pain and dysfunction in individuals of all ages and activity levels.

In addition to identifying movement dysfunction, the SFMA system can also be used to evaluate the effectiveness of treatment. By re-evaluating the patient’s movement patterns after treatment, healthcare professionals can determine whether the treatment plan is working and make adjustments as needed.

SFMA As A Physical Therapy Tool

Physical therapy is one area where the SFMA system is commonly used. Physical therapists use the SFMA evaluation to assess the quality and efficiency of movement patterns in patients with musculoskeletal pain or dysfunction. Based on the findings of the evaluation, the physical therapist can develop a customized treatment plan that addresses the patient’s unique needs.

Physical therapy treatments for musculoskeletal pain and dysfunction may include exercise, manual therapy, and modalities such as heat, ice, and electrical stimulation. Physical therapy aims to restore function, mobility, and quality of life to the patient.

Physical Therapy Evaluation

Summarizing A Selective Functional Movement Assessment

In conclusion, the Selective Functional Movement Assessment (SFMA) system is a comprehensive tool healthcare professionals use to evaluate and treat musculoskeletal pain and dysfunction. 

  • The SFMA evaluation provides critical information about the quality and efficiency of movement patterns, allowing healthcare professionals to develop customized treatment plans that address the root cause of the problem. 
  • This system is not a one-size-fits-all approach but rather tailored to the patient’s unique needs. 
  • The SFMA system can be used by various healthcare professionals, including physical therapists, to evaluate and treat musculoskeletal pain and dysfunction in individuals of all ages and activity levels. 
  • Physical therapy treatments for musculoskeletal pain and dysfunction may include exercise, manual therapy, and modalities such as heat, ice, and electrical stimulation. 
  • Physical therapy aims to restore function, mobility, and quality of life to the patient.

Contact Balanced Physical Therapy

Get an accurate diagnosis and the best treatment by scheduling an appointment with Dr. Robert Litzenburg, PT, DPT, or Dr. Tori Gasperoni, PT, DPT, ATC, BRM. We work individually with all of our patients to ensure you and your family the safest and most professional care in Macomb Country, Michigan.

Joint Pain: Causes, Relief, and Treatments

Joint Pain: Causes, Relief, and Treatment

Joint Pain & PT

Joint pain can be a debilitating condition that affects people of all ages and backgrounds. It can make moving, walking, or even carrying out simple tasks difficult. In this blog, we will explore some common causes of joint pain, the role of physical therapy in treating joint pain, and some of the most effective joint pain relief strategies.

Causes of Joint Pain

There are many possible causes of joint pain. Some of the most common causes include arthritis, injury, overuse, and infection. Arthritis is a condition that causes inflammation in the joints. The most common types of arthritis are osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. 

Joint Pain From Osteoarthritis

Osteoarthritis is caused by wear and tear on the joints over time. It is more common in older adults and can affect any joint in the body.

Osteoarthritis is a degenerative joint disease that affects millions of people worldwide. The condition is characterized by the gradual breakdown of joint cartilage, which can cause pain, stiffness, and reduced range of motion. The physiology behind osteoarthritis and joint pain is complex and involves several factors.

The joint comprises several components, including bones, cartilage, synovial fluid, ligaments, and tendons. The articular cartilage, the smooth, shiny surface covering the bones’ ends, helps reduce friction and absorb shock during movement.

In osteoarthritis, the articular cartilage begins to break down, which can cause the bone to rub against the bone. This can lead to the formation of bone spurs, which can further exacerbate joint pain and inflammation.

Joint pain in the knee from osteoarthritis

Several different factors can contribute to the development of osteoarthritis and joint pain. Some of the most common factors include the following:

  1. Aging: As we age, the cartilage in our joints may begin to break down, which can increase the risk of osteoarthritis.
  2. Genetics: Some people may be more susceptible to developing osteoarthritis due to genetic factors.
  3. Obesity: Being overweight or obese can put extra stress on the joints, which can increase the risk of osteoarthritis.
  4. Injuries: Joint injuries, such as a torn ligament or a broken bone, can increase the risk of developing osteoarthritis.
  5. Repetitive stress: Repetitive stress on a joint, such as overuse or engaging in certain sports or activities, can increase the risk of osteoarthritis.

In addition to these factors, several physiological processes can contribute to developing osteoarthritis and joint pain. These include:

  1. Inflammation: Inflammation plays a key role in the development of osteoarthritis. When the articular cartilage begins to break down, the body’s immune system may respond by releasing inflammatory chemicals, which can cause pain and swelling in the affected joint.
  2. Mechanical stress: Mechanical stress on the joint can also contribute to the development of osteoarthritis. When the joint is subjected to repetitive stress, the cells within the articular cartilage may become damaged, leading to cartilage breakdown and osteoarthritis.
  3. Altered biomechanics: Altered biomechanics, such as abnormal joint alignment or muscle imbalances, can also contribute to the development of osteoarthritis. These factors can put extra stress on the joint, which can accelerate the breakdown of the articular cartilage.

Joint Pain From Rheumatoid Arthritis

Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is a chronic autoimmune disorder that affects the joints and causes joint pain, stiffness, and swelling. It can affect people of any age and often affects the small joints in the hands and feet.

In RA, the body’s immune system mistakenly attacks the synovium, which is the tissue that lines the joints. This attack leads to inflammation and thickening of the synovium, causing it to produce more synovial fluid than normal. As a result, the joint swells and becomes stiff, leading to joint pain and reduced mobility.

Joint pain in knee from rheumatoid arthritis

In addition to inflammation, RA can also cause damage to the cartilage, bones, and other tissues within the joint. This damage occurs due to persistent inflammation, which can wear away at the cartilage and erode the bones.

Injury is another common cause of joint pain. This can include acute injuries, such as sprains or fractures, and chronic injuries, such as repetitive strain injuries. Overuse can also cause joint pain, especially in people who engage in repetitive activities or sports.

Physical Therapy for Joint Pain

Physical therapy can be a highly effective way to manage joint pain. Physical therapists are trained to evaluate and treat musculoskeletal conditions, including joint pain. They can work with patients to develop a personalized treatment plan that includes exercises and other interventions to help reduce pain and improve function.

Physical therapy can be very helpful for patients with joint pain, as it can address the underlying causes of the pain and help improve joint mobility and function. Some ways physical therapy can help patients with joint pain include:

  1. Pain management: Physical therapists can use various techniques such as heat/cold therapy, manual therapy, and electrical stimulation to reduce pain and inflammation in the affected joint.
  2. Strengthening exercises: Physical therapists can prescribe specific exercises to help strengthen the muscles surrounding the affected joint. Stronger muscles can help support the joint and reduce stress, which can help reduce pain.
  3. Range of motion exercises: Joint pain can sometimes cause stiffness, making it difficult to move the joint. Physical therapists can help patients improve their range of motion with exercises designed to increase flexibility and decrease stiffness.
  4. Education: Physical therapists can educate patients on reducing stress on the affected joint in their daily activities. For example, they can teach patients proper body mechanics, posture, lifting, bending, and carrying techniques.
  5. Assistive devices: Physical therapists can recommend using assistive devices such as braces, splints, or crutches to help support the affected joint and reduce pain.

Overall, physical therapy can be a very effective treatment option for patients with joint pain. By addressing the underlying causes of the pain and improving joint function, patients can often experience significant pain relief and improved quality of life.

Joint Pain Relief Strategies

Many other strategies can also be used to help relieve joint pain. Some of the most effective strategies include:

  1. Exercise: As mentioned earlier, exercise can be an effective way to manage joint pain. Working with a physical therapist or primary healthcare provider is important to develop an exercise program that is appropriate for your specific condition and needs.
  2. Weight management: Being overweight can put extra stress on the joints, which can lead to pain and inflammation. Losing weight can help to reduce this stress and improve joint function.
  3. Heat and ice: Applying heat or ice to the affected joint can help to reduce pain and inflammation. Heat can help to increase blood flow to the joint, while ice can help to reduce swelling.
  4. Massage: Massage can help to reduce muscle tension and improve circulation, which can help to reduce pain and inflammation in the affected joint.
  5. Medications: Over-the-counter pain medications, such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen, can effectively manage mild to moderate joint pain. Prescription medications, such as corticosteroids or disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs (DMARDs), may be needed for more severe cases.
Types of back and neck pain

7 Types Of Pain In The Back and Neck

Pain and Physical Therapy

Physical Therapy is considered one of the best ways to treat multiple types of pain because it focuses so much on treating the root cause and not just the symptoms. Combining hands-on treatments like orthopedic manual therapy with proven pain management techniques like dry needling while progressing through therapeutic exercises brings patients better long-term relief.

The International Association for the Study of Pain (IASP) describes pain as “an unpleasant sensory and emotional experience associated with actual or potential tissue damage or described  in terms of such damage.” When we are presented with something that causes pain, if capable, we rapidly or reflexively pull out. The tactile sensation of pain is called nociception.  

Pain is an awkward inclination that lets you know something might be wrong. It may be consistent, pounding, wounding, throbbing, squeezing, or depicted in many other ways. Now and again, it’s simply an annoyance, like a migraine. At different times it tends to be debilitating  

According to John Hopkins, medical pain can bring about other physical symptoms, like nausea,  dizziness, weakness, or drowsiness. It can generate emotional consequences like anger,  depression, mood swings, or irritability. In certain cases, pain could completely change your way of life and affect your job, relationships and independence. 

There are two categories to classifying pain 

  1. Acute Pain 
  2. Chronic Pain  

Types Of Pain

Acute Pain

It usually happens rapidly and disappears. Acute pain generally comes on abruptly and is brought about by something explicit. It is sharp in quality. For the most part, intense agony doesn’t endure longer than a half year. It disappears when there could be, at this point, not a basic reason for the aggravation. Acute pain ordinarily begins unexpectedly after a physical injury, a cut, wound, or muscle injury. Acute pain can likewise be brought about by fever, inflammation, and menstrual cramps. Acute pain is regularly treated by educating the patient, medication, exercise-based recuperation/physical therapy, chiropractic massage, or dynamic development programs.  

Chronic Pain

Chronic pain is continuous and, as a rule, endures longer than a half year. This pain can continue even after the injury or disease that caused it has recuperated or disappeared.  Certain individuals experience chronic pain in any event when there is no previous injury or issues. According to Cleveland Clinic, Chronic pain is linked to conditions that include:  

  • Headache
  • Arthritis
  • Cancer
  • Back pain 

Chronic pain is normal; it influences 1 of every 5 grown-ups and is the number one cause of disability globally. Chronic Pain is a quiet pestilence that diminishes personal satisfaction, adversely impacts connections and occupations, and causes depression. (Sessle, 2012).  

Types of Back Pain

According to the Health Policy institute, back issues are patients’ most regular complaints to their primary care physicians. Almost 65 million Americans report a new episode of back pain. Approximately 16 million grown-ups – 8% of all grown-ups – experience industrious or constant back pain, which has restricted them from carrying out certain activities in their everyday life.  Back pain is the 6th most exorbitant condition in the United States.  

There are three types of back pain; Axial Pain, Referred Pain, and Radicular Pain. 

Axial Pain:

Also known as mechanical pain. Axial pain is usually restricted to one specific spot or region in the lower back area. Axial pain is patients’ most common type of lower back pain. 

Axial Back Pain

Referred pain

This is a type of pain that is not restricted to one specific region it tends to move around, and the intensity of the pain often varies. Referred pain is the type of pain that a patient faces in one part of the body which is influenced by an injury or discomfort in another part of the body.  

Radicular Pain

According to spine health, radicular pain can be described as electric shock-like or burning; radicular pain follows the way of the spinal nerve as it leaves the spinal canal. This sort of aggravation is brought about by pressure as well as irritation to a spinal nerve root. In the lower back (lumbar spine), radicular pain might go into the leg. Different expressions for radicular pain are sciatica or radiculopathy (when joined by shortcoming or potentially deadness). It very well may be brought about by conditions, for example, a herniated plate,  spinal stenosis, or spondylolisthesis.

Sciatica Back Pain

Click here to read more about Sciatica


Types of Neck Pain

Neck pain is torment in or around the spine underneath your head, known as the cervical spine.  Neck pain is a typical side effect of previous injuries. According to the Cleveland Clinic, Neck pain is extremely normal. It happens in around one out of three individuals no less than one time each year. It is more normal in ladies than in men, and the possibility of developing neck pain increases with age.  

According to UpToDate Patient education: Neck pain (Beyond the Basics), The most common  causes of neck pain are Cervical strain, Cervical spondylosis, Cervical discogenic pain, Cervical  facet syndrome,  

Cervical Strain

A cervical strain is one of the most common issues that is being faced today. This usually occurs the neck muscles suffer an unusual injury. Cervical strains are usually caused due to sports-related injuries with heavy impact and physical/mental stress in everyday life, including poor nutrition and poor posture. Cervical strains last up to 4-6 weeks; neck muscles’ most common cervical strain symptoms are stiffness and tightness.  

Cervical Spondylosis

Cervical Spondylosis is a condition brought about by unusual cervical spine tears (degenerative changes). The most common symptoms of cervical spondylosis are neck pain, headaches, numbness, and little to no neck mobility. 

Cervical Neck Pain

Cervical Discogenic Pain

This type of neck pain might be the most widely recognized reason for neck pain. It is brought about by degenerative changes in the structure of at least one of the discs in the middle of the cervical vertebrae. The most common symptoms are pain in the neck while turning or shifting your head.  

Cervical Facet Syndrome

The facet joints are situated on the sides of the vertebrae, and arthritis in this space can cause pain in the center or side of the neck; certain individuals additionally notice pain in the shoulders, around the shoulder blades, at the foundation of the head, into the ear and jaw, or in one arm. A typical reason for cervical facet syndrome incorporates a task requiring an individual to expand the neck repeatedly in their daily life. 

Diagnose and Treating Your Pain

There are endless possibilities to modify a physical therapy treatment program in order to relieve your specific back or neck pain. At Balanced Physical Therapy, our Doctors are licensed and certified to diagnose the exact cause of your pain symptoms. We take a unique 1-on-1 approach to each treatment session to ensure that all our patients receive our undivided attention and are properly progressing throughout all phases of the rehabilitation. Visit our contact page to schedule an evaluation or to find out more about our doctors, treatments, and network of insurances.

Orthopedic Physical Therapy

5 Important Questions To Ask Your Physical Therapist Before Starting Treatment

Physical Therapy Questions To Ask Before Starting Treatment

If you are starting physical therapy for the first time or someone returning for another round of treatment but trying a different clinic, ask these five crucial questions before you begin treatment. These questions will help you make more educated decisions about your health while avoiding setbacks, wasting time, and insurance benefits. Ask these questions over the phone before your first appointment or during the initial evaluation to ensure your treatment plan is clear and in line with your goals and expectations.


Best Physical Therapy

Question 1: What specialized training do you have to treat my particular condition?

Each physical therapy practice specializes in different types of rehabilitation, and each therapist that works at the practice also has their own specific education and certifications. Make sure to ask your therapist if they treat your condition or symptoms regularly and what credentials they have that will benefit you during recovery. 

The American Board of Physical Therapy Specialties list ten specialties, which is always great to identify to start:

  • Orthopedics
  • Cardiovascular and Pulmonary
  • Clinical Electrophysiology
  • Geriatrics
  • Neurology
  • Oncology
  • Pediatrics
  • Sports
  • Women’s Health
  • Wound Management

On top of that, there are individual certifications and continued education for therapists, such as:

  • DPT– Doctor of Physical Therapy
  • OCS- Orthopedic Certified Specialist
  • MLD- Manual Therapy Certified
  • ATC- Athletic Trainer Certified
  • PAS- Postural Alignment Specialist
  • COMT- Certified Orthopedic Manual Therapist
  • BRM- Barbell Rehab Method
  • BFR- Blood Flow Restriction Training
  • IASTM– Instrument Assisted Soft Tissue Manipulation

And many more.

Question 2: Who will I be working with for each visit? Will it be the same person each time?

Many people run into this problem in as little as a couple of appointments. They have an initial evaluation with a Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) and return to their second appointment to find out they will be working with a physical therapy assistant or a physical therapy technician.

Technically, this is ok as long as a licensed DPT is present in the clinic area, but it could lead to some problems with the quality of treatment moving forward. A PTA or PT Tech does not attend the same amount of schooling or have the same experience as a DPT.

If you or someone from your family is a fall risk, has new questions at each appointment, or requires special attention, it may be best to find who you will be working with each time. 

At Balanced Physical Therapy, all of our patients get treated by a licensed and certified Doctor of Physical Therapy. We believe this is the best way to provide the safest, most effective care for everyone. Patients experience different symptoms and feel better or worse daily. With Dr. Robert Litzenburg and Dr. Tori Gasperoni working individually with each patient for all appointments, they can adjust treatments quickly, provide timely and accurate education, and notify primary care doctors when necessary.

Mt. Clemens Physical Therapy

Question 3: How much time will I get with my physical therapist? How much time will I spend with an assistant, tech, or aid?

A great follow-up question to question number two is to find out the specific details of how much time you spend with each person. Confirm exactly what your treatment will look like if you are getting treatment from a physical therapy clinic that splits up your treatment time between a doctor, the assistant, and/or aid.

Sometimes certain therapy places will have the DPT or PTA perform manual skills at the beginning or end of treatment and exercises under the supervision of a tech/aid/or assistant.

Question 4: How long will each physical therapy appointment be? And how long will I be attending physical therapy?

These two questions for your physical therapist will give you a better idea of how long your recovery process will take. While an exact time may be difficult for any healthcare professional to provide for new patients, you can still gain valuable insight, even if it’s a general estimate.

Appointment times vary from clinic to clinic and typically range from 30 minutes to 45 minutes, up to an hour. At Balanced Physical Therapy, we always say time is valuable and something to consider seriously (which is why we treat every patient for 1 hour). From the surface, patients can flat out get more done in an hour than they can in 30 minutes, allowing them to progress better and/or more quickly. Other patients recover a little slower and can’t rush through an entire treatment program like others, which is another reason more time should be allowed.

Question 5: What will I do at each appointment with my therapist?

Each patient is different and requires specific treatments more than others. Knowing what you will be doing at a physical therapy session for the first week, month, and months after is crucial.

Pain management, strength, flexibility, mobility, biomechanics, and sports-specific exercises are a few possible things to work on during an appointment. Ask this question to make sure what you are doing is safe, will contribute to better outcomes, and help you achieve your long-term goals.

Mount Clemens Occupational Therapy

Occupational Therapy For Work Related Injuries

Occupational Therapy

A work injury is a common fear for many people across Michigan and the United States. Autoworkers, stockers/order fillers, construction workers, retail associates, and even nurses all have repetitive tasks that make them susceptible to injuries. Looking closer, every workplace has its dangers such as hazardous chemicals, unsafe tools, and poor ergonomics. If an injury occurs at work, it can be difficult for a person to adjust from a pain-free life where a person can make a living; to recovering and returning to a routine.

Occupational therapy is a great tool available for any employee injured on the job to help alleviate the confusion about what is wrong with the body and provide rehab expertise so you can return to work without risking another injury or more damage.

Occupational Therapy

What is Occupational Therapy?

Occupational therapy (OT) is an all-natural healthcare specialty focused on helping people of all ages with workplace-related injuries return to a pain-free, active life and improve how a person performs activities at work. The procedure involves diagnosing the injury type, the severity of the injury, what factors at work or throughout the body contributed to the damage, and creating a plan to return to work safely.

Specifically, occupational therapy includes therapeutic activities to improve mobility, body mechanics, coordination, stability, and employability. Patient education also provides workers with practical techniques for managing any symptoms caused by a work-related injury and putting preventive measures to ensure further damage doesn’t occur.

Common Work-Related Injuries

Cumulative Trauma Disorders (CTDs) are injuries caused by repetitive motions. CTD’s can be thought of as minor stress injuries that accumulate and worsen over time. A CTD can result from several things such as muscle imbalances, inefficient workstation setups, or just performing a task a thousand (or more) times a day for many years.

Injuries that fall under CTDs include:

  • Clinical syndromes (inflammations of the tendons such as tennis elbow)
  • Nerve compression disorder (for example, carpal tunnel syndrome)

carpal tunnel from working

Other common injuries that require Occupational Therapy include sudden injuries. These are injuries that happen quickly because of poor work safety standards or accidents such as:

  • Slips, Trips, or Falls
  • Overexertion and Muscle Strains
  • Bone Fractures and Dislocations
  • Neck Injuries (including whiplash)
  • Back Injuries ( such as herniated disc)

Why is Occupational Therapy Important?

Being injured in the workplace, either by an accident or repetitive stress, can severely limit or completely change someone’s life. Occupational therapy benefits injured workers by allowing them to regain function after an injury so they can return to work confidently and safely.

In the process, injured workers learn the specific triggers that put them at risk for re-injury, how to handle a flare-up, and ways to adjust to limitations when returning to work.

Occupational therapy can help workers return to normal after common work-related injuries. It allows them to work more confidently and strengthen/maintain their bodies for many years after discharge.

Occupational Therapy Benefits

Regain Strength and Prevent Further Injury

When a worker sprains, strains, or breaks a muscle, ligament, or bone, the body becomes weakened. Occupational therapy strengthens the injured body part and surrounding areas so that you have better protection from being hurt again in the future. In the case of a CTD, rehabilitation of a tendon or ligament can include implementing proper techniques for repetitive tasks that can cause that injury.

After a sudden injury such as a disc herniation, learning proper body mechanics for pushing, pulling, and lifting is one of the best ways to prevent future accidents. In the process, your therapist will also use natural methods to decrease pain so that you can work on more advanced exercises.

Mount Clemens Occupational Therapy

Avoid Surgery

With CTDs, if you and your doctor can catch an injury early enough, it is possible to reverse sufficient damage to avoid surgery. When a person takes advantage of the therapist’s expertise and comprehensive therapy plan, occupational therapy offers an opportunity to ease pain and regain function without going under the knife.

Eliminate Pain and Minimize Surgery Complications

After a workplace injury, occupational therapy can introduce methods for pain reduction, including splints, taping, and manual massage techniques.

After corrective surgery, occupational therapy will provide you with the best therapy treatments to return to full functionality quickly and safely. Communicating with your therapist, attending every appointment, and following a home exercise program can be critical in preventing setbacks, surgery complications, and re-injury.

Retain Independence

One of the most frightening parts of an injury from work is how it may change a life. No one wants to give up their hobbies or not have a source of income, so losing independence because of an injury is can be a scary thing. Occupational therapy offers ways to help heal your body and provides new methods for adapting the world to your body’s unique needs.

How Balanced Physical Therapy Helps With Worker’s Comp Injuries

After you’ve been hurt, you just want to feel better. We understand your concerns and fears, which is why we provide full 1-hour appointments with a licensed and certified therapist. With no double or triple bookings, we make sure injured workers are our number one priority. Our therapists are known for working with your doctors and worker’s comp case managers so that you get the care and documentation as quickly as possible.

Rest assured that when you work with Balanced Physical Therapy, your health and recovery will be cared for by most professional staff (we do not use techs or aids to provide our treatments for our patients. With flexible appointment times for early morning and late evenings, we are always ready to help anyone in Mount Clemens, St. Clair Shores, Clinton Township, Fraser, and other surrounding areas of Macomb County.

Our primary focus is getting back to living with the joy and confidence you had pre-injury. To find out more about our occupational therapy treatments, insurance coverage, or appointment availability, give us a call at (586) 741-5806.



Physical Therapy For Athletes

Benefits Of Physical Therapy For Athletes

Physical Therapy For Athletes

Physical therapy and sports medicine for athletes focus on the mechanics of your moving body. How an athlete’s body moves, what muscles and ligaments are used in each movement, and what are the strengths and weaknesses to work on in order to fully recover.

Working with a physical therapist will aid athletes in getting back on their feet (metaphorically and literally) quicker, safer, and more efficient.

Sports Injury Doctor


What is Physical Therapy?

Working with a Physical Therapist for athletes is like calling an auto mechanic for your car when you see a check engine light. Just like a mechanic will run the engine, listen for unusual noises, and watch the engine at work, your physical therapist will do the same after an athlete is injured.

In sports medicine, a physical therapist is a diagnostician. First, they assess the movements of your body to provide an accurate injury diagnosis, determine why the injury occurred, and consider other risk factors for future injuries. After your initial evaluation, your physical therapist will make a personalized treatment plan that includes a combination of hands-on orthopedic manual techniques, improving muscle strength, stability of the joints, optimizing mobility, and decreasing pain.

Orthopedic Manual Physical Therapy

For instance, if you’ve injured your Achilles tendon, they’ll examine it by checking the range of motion, level of pain, and how strong the associated muscles are. Then, a treatment plan to get you back on your feet is drawn up, including strengthening techniques, flexibility techniques, and other things designed to bring strength and mobility back.

Physical therapy is designed to bring function back after an injury holistically. What’s more, it’s also meant to prevent sports injuries by educating about proper moving techniques before the tendon ever ruptures.

Why is Physical Therapy Important for Athletes?

Relive Pain, Restore Function, and Prevent Future Injuries are the most important goals for athletes after suffering an injury.

Pain when moving is always unpleasant, but more so for athletes. Physical therapy has techniques for immediate pain relief (such as dry needling, Kinesio taping, or cupping therapy) to make all athletes more comfortable so they can progress to more advanced exercises in order to return to competition.

In addition, a physical therapist specializing in sports medicine has methods for bringing your body back from injury to get your body back into peak performance. Assessing what went wrong in your body allows them to formulate how to fix it and give tangible methods for strengthening the injury.

After an injury, strength, and mobility can be compromised. For instance, rolling your ankle on the field means it’s tender for a long time afterward and not supporting your weight as well. Maybe it won’t support your weight to run down the field anymore, or it supports your weight but hurts so much you can’t see the ball anymore. 

Physical therapy will help build the strength in that ankle back to where it was before the injury, eliminating the pain of that injury, as well as safeguarding against future damage. 

Sometimes an injury can take a long time to heal. In the meantime, strength is lost, and it can feel insurmountable to get it back. In physical therapy, we focus on regaining that strength safely and healthily to protect against re-injury. As a result, some people even feel stronger than before the injury.

Reducing Pain and Understanding Your Body

A physical therapist has specific training to understand your body and how sports injuries can happen. In physical therapy, we focus on fixing pain and reducing and preventing it. Physical therapists can suggest correct techniques and help you determine what works best for your body to keep it strong.

Sports Medicine Doctor

Then, we’ll work one-on-one with you to show you the proper procedures so that these sensitive areas of your body are taken care of so well you won’t have to worry about them. These strengthening techniques don’t only fix what’s broken but also help keep them from breaking.

The Value of Balanced Physical Therapy

When doing physical therapy, you want to choose professionals at the top of their field. Our doctors are movement specialists who understand how your body moves during your sport and all the stresses that come with training and competing at a high level.

With Balanced Physical Therapy, you are treated as individuals with unique needs. Our athletes work one-on-one with a certified Doctor of Physical Therapist and are not passed around between assistants, techs, or aids. Each treatment is 1 hour, allowing for the safest, most professional care.

Our doctors also have experience working with male and female athletes of all levels in a vast range of sports, including:

  • Track-and field
  • Football
  • Soccer
  • Basketball
  • Swimming
  • Gymnastics
  • Wrestling
  • Performance Arts
  • ..And more

Physical Therapy Prevents and Heals Sports Injuries

There are multiple disciplines in sports medicine. Depending on age, sports, and injury type, Balanced Physical Therapy has options that are proven to get you back to competing. Contact Us Today to speak with one of our licensed and certified Doctors of Physical Therapy or to get started with an initial evaluation.


Instrument-Assisted Soft Tissue Mobilization

IASTM: Manual Therapy For Movement Restrictions, Tension, and Pain

What is IASTM in Physical Therapy?

Instrument-Assisted Soft Tissue Mobilization (IASTM) is a type of manual massage therapy used by physical therapists. Commonly known as the Graston Technique, this type of treatment can be beneficial for many people with movement restrictions, tension, and pain.

The Taylor and Francis journal defines IASTM as “a skilled intervention that includes using specialized tools to manipulate the skin, myofascia, muscles, and tendons by using various direct compressive stroke techniques.”

Tightness, tension, and pain while sitting at office

What does IASTM Do?

Instrument-Assisted Soft Tissue Mobilization helps break down restrictions, reduce pain, and facilitate healing by addressing musculoskeletal problems at the cellular level.

At the musculoskeletal level, a facial restriction is often a combination of scar tissue and adhesions built up over time. Ortho Bethesda does a great job explaining that “Scar tissue and adhesions essentially act like superglue in your body. When scar tissue is created after injury, new cells are laid down excessively and in a disorganized manner. Scar tissue/ adhesions prevent the muscle or other tissues from lengthening appropriately.” 

IASTM is a way for physical therapists to use controlled microtrauma to stimulate a natural inflammatory response. When your body produces an inflammatory response, it triggers a series of events that include reabsorption of excess scar tissue and fibrosis that is causing restriction.

Additionally, IASTM also triggers a vascular response resulting in increased blood flow and improved healing. There is even a neural effect throughout pain receptors along the skin responsible for managing pain.

Who can benefit from IASTM?

IASTM treatment can be beneficial for a variety of impairments and conditions. It can be beneficial for many people undergoing orthopedic surgery, people that sit for long hours in an office, and athletes after intense training or injuries. Your physical therapist may provide you this manual therapy for impairments such as:

  • Limited mobility
  • Pain with motion
  • Loss of range of motion
  • Decreased muscle recruitments
  • Excessive scar tissue formation 

More specific conditions that benefit from the application of IASTM include:

  • Plantar Fasciitis
  • Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
  • Neck Pain
  • IT Band Syndrome
  • Heel Pain/ Achilles Tendinitis
  • Ankle Sprains and Strains
  • Back Pain
  • Shin Splints
  • Post Surgical Hip and Knee Replacements
  • Musculoskeletal Imbalances
  • Rotator Cuff Tendinitis
  • Myofascial Pain and Restrictions

Physical Therapy for Neck Pain

For certain conditions, instrument-assisted soft tissue mobilization may not be recommended. These can include having:

  • Unhealed Fracture
  • Hematoma
  • Hemophilia
  • Uncontrolled Hypertension
  • Open Wound
  • Patient Hypersensitivity 

What to expect during and after an IASTM Treatment

IASTM treatments during physical therapy sessions are often paired with a warm-up such as heat, stationary bike, elliptical machine, or light jogging to make the tissue more pliable. After a warm-up, your therapist can begin working with stainless steel, plastic, or titanium instruments that contour to your body in order to find the specific tissue and muscles that are restricted.

Tools used by Physical Therapist for IASTM

Instrument-Assisted Soft Tissue Mobilization starts with gentle pressure and steadily increases in order to effectively treat the areas causing pain and movement restrictions. At Balanced Physical Therapy, we encourage open communication and let our therapists know when the pressure becomes too uncomfortable to tolerate.

After the IASTM treatment, most patients follow up with more exercise to help restore better movement patterns. Some soreness after treatments is considered normal; patients should not panic because it does go away and gets less severe with multiple treatments. If you are attending physical therapy anywhere from 2-3 times per week, a noticeable result can be felt by the 3rd or 4th appointment (sometimes even on the first treatment). When IASTM is combined with exercise, stretching, and a focused effort on home exercises, patients can progress reasonably quickly through their recovery.

If you would like to learn more about IASTM or are experiencing pain, tension and movement restrictions give us a call to speak with a therapist. Our team is always ready to help you make the best decision with regard to your overall health and wellness.

Back Pain: Causes, Treatments, and Costs

Back Pain: Causes, Treatments, and Costs

A review of some common acute and chronic back pain conditions. We cover ways to manage minor back injuries at home, finding medical professionals to diagnose and treat back pain, and physical therapy treatments available to help you recover.

Back Pain Review

Back pain encompasses many different experiences and levels of debility for people who suffer from it. The basic term can encompass acute pain or chronic issues that get in the way of enjoying life or working. The one constant for people who suffer from painful back problems is that they wanted to stop as soon as possible. Once you understand the different types of back pain and have your specific problem diagnosed, there are multiple ways to manage it so you can go back to your regular, positive lifestyle.

Back Pain: Causes, Treatments, and Costs


Types of Back Pain

Categorizing back pain can be done in multiple ways. Is the pain temporary or permanent? Where does the pain come from? How much does it hurt, and does it impede physical functionality in any way? Answering these and other questions are important parts of identifying the cause of your back pain and potential treatment options.


Acute Back Pain Caused by Minor Injury

Injuries cause the most specific and short-lived types of back pain. These include bruises due to an impact of some kind in most cases. Like with any other minor injury, rest, ice or heat, and time will help you recover. Of course, more serious accidents can lead to chronic problems. When your back is involved, always seek medical diagnosis and treatment as soon as possible.

When most people talk about back pain, they mean chronic discomfort that gets in the way of their ordinary activities and enjoyment of life. This is caused by a variety of problems.


Muscle Strains and Soreness

The most common types of back pain reported by Medical News Today include general soreness and ache from pulled muscles, tension, damaged ligaments, and other strains(Back Pain: Causes, Symptoms, and Treatments). These can create everything from an unpleasant ache at the end of a hard day to constant discomfort that leaves you lying on the couch and reaching for over-the-counter pain relievers more often than not.

This type of muscular pain issue may come from one instance of slipping and falling, lifting a heavy object improperly, or otherwise experiencing abrupt trauma. A lot of back pain comes from repetitive stress injuries, however. Regular heavy lifting, bending and stretching, poor posture, long periods of driving, and even poor sleep habits can cause ongoing discomfort.


Spinal Structural Problems

Back pain’s other main cause comes from physiological problems related to the spinal column. These include bone- and nerve-related issues. In most cases, wear and tear over time and age-related conditions make up the bulk of these problems. (NIDH: Low Back Pain Fact Sheet) They include:

  • Bulging, herniated, or ruptured disks
  • Arthritis including osteoarthritis and spondylosis
  • Spinal stenosis – narrowing of space for nerves
  • Osteoporosis or other vertebrae fractures
  • Sciatica – Pressure specifically on the sciatic nerve

Issues with the kidneys, uterus and other internal organs can also cause lower back pain. In some cases, things like tumors or blood clots are also at fault.

Managing Back Pain

Eliminating and managing back pain involves either fixing the problem that caused it or finding a way to minimize discomfort going forward.

Lifestyle Changes

Eliminating the causes of muscle and ligament strain is the first step in recovering comfort. Minimize picking up heavy objects, minimize sitting or driving time, and reduce strenuous physical activity that puts tension on your spinal column and back muscles. Also, get a better mattress and use foam wedges or pillows to align your spine more positively.

Ice Packs and Hot Compresses

Both hot and cold treatment options can reduce pain temporarily. This is the same type of treatment you would use if you sprained your wrist, twisted her ankle, or strained any other large muscle in your body.

OTC Medication and Prescription Drugs

For temporary pain, simple over-the-counter pills and topical creams or ointments can help you feel better. Anti-inflammatory medications are specifically designed to target the type of pain that frequently occurs with muscle strains. Your physician may prescribe more serious anti-pain drugs or muscle relaxants for acute injuries, surgery recovery, and chronic problems.

Moving, Stretching, and Strength

Although it may seem contraindicated, certain types of careful exercise actually help with back pain. This includes everything from gentle stretches to help align the spine and work out tense muscles to core strength building for longer-term back support. Make sure your physician or care team approves any type of physical activity or therapeutic movement before you begin.

Back Stretch

Types of Doctors for Back Pain

The type of physician you use for back pain depends entirely on its cause and ongoing management options(Very Well Health: 10 Types of Back Pain Specialists). Receiving an accurate diagnosis is essential for continuing with an effective treatment plan. This matters for both acute, short-term discomfort and chronic pain.

General Practitioners

Due to the structure of the healthcare industry and access, most patients who experience back pain go to a general practitioner, primary care physician, or family doctor first. This is the person who can usually identify the cause of back pain and refer you to a specialist who treats the specific issue. If your pain stems from repetitive stress or an accident, they will undoubtedly handle your treatment directly.

Orthopedic Doctors

More serious issues with the spinal structure get handed over to orthopedists. These surgeons specialize in musculoskeletal problems like scoliosis, ruptured discs, vertebrae fractures, and similar problems. In some cases, surgery is the final option for alleviating pain and minimizing the risk of further issues after you and your care team exhaust other treatment options.


These specialists deal with the nervous system, which obviously involves the spinal column. In the process of alleviating back pain, these positions will diagnose chronic, nerve-related pain. Their primary roles include diagnosis, prescribing medication, and referrals to neurosurgeons or other specialists.


If arthritis or osteoarthritis is the main cause of your back pain, a rheumatologist will help solve the problem. For extremely serious problems that affect the spinal nerves or bones, you will probably get a referral to another type of doctor.


Physical Therapy: Effective for a Variety of Back Pain

Broken vertebrae need mending, arthritis may need anti-inflammatory medication, and all types of back pain can benefit from a proper mattress, good posture, and more careful bending and lifting practices. If surgery or other serious treatment options are not good options for you, physical therapy can alleviate a lot of back pain for many sufferers.

What Can a Physical Therapist Do?

For chronic back pain, therapists present a variety of options. They can help with simple treatments, help release muscle tension, and teach you ways to position yourself and move to reduce discomfort. This may include flexibility and strength training, help with posture and sleeping positions, and proper lifting or work techniques to minimize the risk of making back pain worse.

Back Pain Treatment Options


Physical Therapy is Cost-Effective

When exploring options of any type of medical treatment or ongoing therapy, the cost depends a lot on your personal insurance plan. While the actual monetary numbers differ, the value of a physical therapist when it comes to acute or chronic back pain cannot be understated. Taking medication or using special creams costs a lot with no end in sight. Surgery not only costs a lot upfront but also carries the risk of additional problems in the future. Also, you have a much greater risk of missing more work if you go that route from the start.

Physical therapy provides ongoing help in an affordable way that usually does not impact your ability to do your job and maintain your income. Insurance reimbursement is common with a referral, but even out-of-pocket expenses become manageable when you regain a pain-free or reduced-pain lifestyle you can enjoy.