Independence From Pain Through Physical Therapy

Physical therapy can be your answer to independence from joint and muscular pain. Chris Stulginsky from Ayrsley Town Rehab explains how treating the underlying cause of pain is the only way to be truly pain free. No more just treating the symptom, solve the problem that’s causing the pain!
Ayrsley Town Rehabilitation (ATR) provides performance-enhancing, preventative and rehabilitative programs and services that maximize functionality and promote well-being in patients of all ages and abilities.

Visit us online to learn more at: http://ayrsleyrehab.com/

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Knee Pain Doesn’t Always Mean Surgery

As discussed in the video, chronic knee pain doesn’t always mean surgery. Our patient, Rosa Underwood’s* experience demonstrates how physical therapy helped resolve her chronic knee pain, even though she had been advised that surgery was her only option.

Patient Spotlight: Rosa Underwood*

The Issue: I had severe knee pain, constant arthritis pain in my right knee that was affecting my quality of life. The limited mobility affected my ability to shop, play with my grandchildren, garden, enjoy myself in general. I was fearful of being stigmatized professionally because of my limping and the possibility of not working due to needing knee surgery. I was miserable.

How was your physical therapy treatment? The physical therapy felt immediately empowering! I felt that I had an active role in getting better and the better I understood how muscles functioned the more I realized I was not helpless, that a lot of my pain was due to extra stress being put on my knee because of how I moved at many joints and that my knee was not going to crack in half.

The moment things changed: Chris found that I was compensating by clenching my jaw, he treated that and my knee pain decreased significantly. I thought, “What just happened?” My knee pain was decreased significantly, and I was able to garden that weekend kneeling with very little pain, I have not been able to do that in months.

The difference over the past few weeks is incredible… I am walking longer, my attitude is hopeful, I don’t describe my pain as severe…I play with my grandchildren and enjoy myself again. I have not worn a knee brace or wrapped my knee since. My doctor is pleased with my progress and so am I! The ATR team is truly outstanding!

The Therapist’s take: Rosa had significant movement restrictions in her knee, ankle, and hip which piled on top an existing arthritic condition. Her Gluteal muscles were not firing much, and her knee was not able to get straight. It is a common compensation pattern, inhibited gluts put more pressure on the muscles that surround the knee. We tested her glut, it was strong, but she was clenching her jaw. Retesting with a relaxed jaw decreased the glut strength drastically. Palpation revealed increased tenderness at her right masseter, and quick, patient-directed release resulted in the gluteal muscles firing again so they tested strong with a relaxed jaw. With the gluts back on line, it took pressure off of the knee and the patient’s squat test improved dramatically. This is a great example of how the pain is rarely problem, it is the symptom of dysfunction. This is why we examine and treat function, treating structure alone without addressing function rarely leads to long term success.

*Use of quotations and names are with permission of patient

Patient’s Report 35% Pain Relief with New Laser Treatment in Charlotte Physical Therapy Clinic

In May of 2009 Ayrsley Town Rehabilitation debuted the ML830 Laser in their clinic, over the last five months, patient have reported, on average of a 35% reduction in pain with the laser and the implementation of preferred provider protocols.

PRLog (Press Release) – Sep. 30, 2009 – In May, Ayrsley Town Rehabilitation (ATR), a physical therapy clinic in southwest Charlotte, introduced the ML 830 Laser in their clinic. According to the results of the company’s internal study, patients treated with the ML830 Laser have reported a 35% reduction of pain after a 10 minute treatment.  “It has gotten to the point, where I am no longer surprised by the results,” said Christopher Stulginsky, PT who is not only the managing partner of ATR but also the regions only certified premier provider according to the distributor’s website.  “We have had success with people of all ages and with multiple body sites and conditions. Most of our success has been with carpal tunnel, arthritis pain, post surgical rehab, with people who have been in car accidents, and those who have back pain.” Stulginsky has also had success with adolescent sports injuries as well. “They always seem to like the idea of being treated with something that Olympic and NFL athletes use.”

For more information about this and other treatment programs at Ayrsley Town Rehabilitation please contact them at 980.939.1580.

Additionally, the 830 Laser can be used over orthopedic hardware, pacemakers and over adolescent growth plates without side effect, which is not necessarily the case with traditional ultrasound and electric stimulation.  “The laser, which is the first on the market approved by the FDA, uses light to assist the local lymphatic response, it does not use heat or electricity, which can be contraindicated in certain scenarios,” said Stulginsky, who continued, “people need to know this information, they need to know what they have available to them. It is the only way to navigate healthcare today, to be armed with knowledge and explore their options.”

Many patients have been successfully treated at ATR since they opened their doors last October. Amelia is one of them and certainly agrees with Stulginsky’s assessment. She is a grandmother of one and recently had surgery for a torn rotator cuff, “I was going to have to wait for a while before I could get my surgery. I thought there was no point in going physical therapy, and that I couldn’t without a referral.  One day I was just in so much pain, a client recommended Chris to me, and I realized he could see me without a referral; he started working with me and helped the healthy muscles stay strong and help manage my pain with the laser.  I had not slept well it quite some time, but after one laser treatment I slept through the night. I am way ahead of schedule after my operation; I attribute that to Chris, seeing him before surgery and the use of the laser,” said Amelia.

Keith is a full time barber and  works at a local restaurant on the weekend, he has gone to ATR for treatment. “All day I am cutting hair, I can feel it in my forearm and wrist. I need for my hands to work. That laser thing is amazing. I feel relief within the first few minutes.”  Keith was also in a car accident many years ago, and after a busy weekend at the restaurant, he feels his old injury.  “Just the other day, after working on the weekend, I could barely stand up to cut hair, Chris was able to get me in and help lower my pain so that I could get through the day”

Annie is a chronic pain patient with severe osteoarthritis, multiple bulging discs, radiculopathy, entrapped nerves at L4 and L5 with trochanteric bursitis and peripheral neuropathy. She has tried many different treatments including medication, acupuncture and steroid injections.  “After my first treatment I cried in the bathroom the next morning because for the first time in many years I was not experiencing that horrible grinding pain.”

For more information about this and other treatment programs at Ayrsley Town Rehabilitation please contact them at 989.939. 1580.

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Ayrsley Town Rehabilitation (ATR) was opened by Christopher Stulginsky and Alex Gomez in October of 2008 in The Town of Ayrsley, a New Forum community in southwest Charlotte.

Christopher Stulginsky, PT is the managing partner and treating physical therapist at ATR. Christopher is a 2003 graduate of the masters in physical therapy program at The Rangos School of Health Sciences at Duquesne University in Pittsburgh, PA. After graduation he spent 4 years as a travel physical therapist working throughout the United States. His travel background afforded him the opportunity to learn various techniques and about different technologies that were being used around the country. Additionally, Christopher has worked in multiple settings and multiple institutions including: The Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, MD; Friday Harbor Physical Therapy in Friday Harbor, WA; Mercy Hospital, West Suburban Sports and Rehab Clinic and Westlake Hospital’s Outpatient Back and Spine clinic in Chicago, IL.

Local Clinic Introduces New Aquatic Program

Ayrsley Town Rehabilitation offers first aquatic therapy pain relief and therapy program in the Steele Creek section of Charlotte, NC.

PRLog (Press Release) – Jun. 23, 2010 – Charlotte, NC:

(Steele Creek) – On June 1, 2010, Ayrsley Town Rehabilitation started offering aquatic physical therapy to the healthcare consumers of southwest Charlotte.

“Aquatic therapy is a great way to decrease pain,” states Chris Stulginsky, PT of Ayrsley Town Rehabilitation.

“It is the closest thing we can get to being weightless, it unweights the joints and allows people to do more and work on true solutions for their pain relief. Because they are able to move more easily, clients strengthen their muscles to take pressure off of the joints over time.”

Myrtle Williams, a client who participates in the aquatic program agrees.  “I can do more in the pool then I can on the land, it helps me move around better without the pain. I can exercise without soreness the next day.”

Stulginsky continues on, “The aquatic program assists us in providing comprehensive pain solutions. It is an added plus to our already established Back Pain, Fibromyalgia, Orthopaedic Rehab and Prehab for Pregnancy Programs. Though it varies from plan to plan, in most cases the therapy is covered by health insurance, including Medicare.”

Stulginsky adds, “The aquatic program is another component to assist us in addressing the pain and rehabilitation needs of the people of south Charlotte and the Lake Wylie corridor.”

Clinic Draws from Experience in Preventing Injuries & Reducing Factors Leading to Concussions

 

Jun. 6, 2012 – Hillary Neal started playing soccer at the age of 8 and played at Olympic High School from 2004 to 2008.  During that time, it was unfortunate injuries to her ankles and knees that introduced her to her career in physical therapy. “I hated being injured on the sidelines, but it showed me how I can help others that were,” says Neal.

Recent media coverage has brought attention to the situation in girls’ soccer; female soccer players are second to football players in the occurrence of concussions. “Hillary brought up the importance of neck stability which has been added to our Prehab for Soccer Program,” says Chris Stulginsky, PT who is managing partner at Ayrsley Town Rehabilitation in Southwest Charlotte. “Our injury prevention programs are grounded in research but they have really taken shape with our clinical team’s athletic and professional experience. Not only are we looking at it from a biomechanical standpoint, but from the athlete’s perspective as well.”

Neal’s experience in high school soccer helped to guide program development. “Many think that doing traditional neck strengthening will help. Though it can, it is often uncomfortable and may not be the best way to address this issue.”

She explains that a specific type of strengthening best simulates the sport specific demands placed on the body in soccer. “Our program focuses on neck stability. Many of the injuries are occurring because the athlete cannot stabilize their neck when the contact occurs.” Neal continued to explain that stability is important for many aspects of the game. “There has been a lot of focus on heading the ball, but if the stability is lacking, issues can occur without any contact to the head.  Even without direct contact, an attempt and a miss could result in whiplash like movement which could also lead to a non-contact concussion.”

Stulginsky states that people are often surprised to hear about the different processes in which concussions can happen. “Many feel that concussions require a direct blow to the head, and always result in loss of consciousness, ninety percent of concussed athletes never lose consciousness.  A great deal are a result of quick rotation or movement that results from contact to areas other than the head. Those numbers go up, the younger the athlete.”

Other aspects of the program focus on injuries in which many have more knowledge. “Thirty percent of the injuries at the collegiate level are due to overuse. Our program addresses many of the structures that commonly fail in ACL injuries and with ankle sprains,” says Stulginsky.

But for now, the focus of many parents and athletes is on concussions. “Between neck stability and offering the same baseline concussion testing utilized by the NFL, we really feel we can help a lot of young people be as safe as possible,” concluded Stulginsky.

Pregnancy and Physical Therapy

ImagePhysical therapy during pregnancy can prove to be useful for remedying common discomforts like back pain or for enhancing your body’s ability to have an easier and smoother pregnancy and birth.

Physical therapy is not just for recovery. Talk to your health care provider about incorporating physical therapy into your prenatal care.

Pregnancy and Physical Therapy: Back Pain

The number of pregnant women who experience back pain is somewhere between 50 to 70 percent. The reasons for back pain vary from person to person, but the majority of back pain concerns can be accounted for by one of the following reasons:

  • an increase in hormones
  • a change of the body’s center of gravity
  • gaining additional weight
  • a decline in posture
  • added stress

Over the last 40 years, the average age of women having their first child has risen from 21.4 to 25 years of age. Due to the fact that many women are juggling both the demands of pursuing higher education and the competitive nature of today’s workforce, more and more women are having their first child after the age of thirty five. As a result, many women becoming pregnant are less physically active in their daily lives. This decreased activity, along with the increasing national prevalence of a sedentary lifestyle, leaves an alarming number of women less prepared for the strenuous journey of carrying and delivering a baby.

Pregnancy and Physical Therapy: Relieving Pain

Women searching for ways to cope with this reality may be surprised to know that four of the above factors can be directly addressed with a proper physical therapy program.

Physical therapy is a medically based profession specializing in pain relief. Physical therapists (PTs) work with individuals to develop a treatment plan to decrease pain by identifying and addressing its causes.

Though it varies from state to state, many don’t require a doctor’s referral or prescription to see a physical therapist. PT’s can begin treating your pain on the first visit, so you walk out the door feeling better than when you walked in.

Additionally, since physical therapy is a medically based profession, the services are covered by most medical insurance plans with limited out of pocket cost. Treatment plans take a comprehensive approach by working on pain’s typical triggers:

  • posture
  • joint alignment
  • muscle strength
  • flexibility
  • nerve involvement.

Additional weight, decreased posture, stress and control of the center of gravity are not independent from one another.

A change in your center of gravity affects your posture which causes the muscles to work harder. Increased exertion creates fatigue which leads to decreased motivation to be active. The absence of an athletic release often results in increased stress. Though it is difficult, the domino effect can be slowed greatly with the help of physical therapy.

Lower back pain is an all too common reality for many expecting mothers. As the uterus and baby grow, the mother’s center of gravity moves forward. This shift increases the amount of force the muscles must generate for everyday support causing women to slump forward. Over time this poor alignment creates muscle tightness in the pectoral muscles, rolling the shoulders forward and creating increased stress on the muscles of the neck, shoulders and mid-back. If these muscular factors are not addressed, these forces will ultimately be translated down to the low back, an area which is already under a great deal of stress because it is supporting the increased center of gravity.

Additionally, exercise increases physical endurance and muscle strength, especially in the hips, back and abdomen. Improving these areas can prepare the body for the physically demanding event of delivering a baby, positioning oneself for a better labor experience. Finally, therapeutic exercise during pregnancy can assist the recovery after the delivery. It tones muscle which will improve metabolism, decrease the severity of fatigue, and assist in reclaiming your pre-pregnant weight.

I thought physical therapy was limited to recovery after surgery?

There is a general impression that physical therapists are similar to personal trainers or only work with people after surgery or catastrophic injury. While that is a component of what physical therapists do, it does not entirely encompass the scope of the profession. As stated previously, physical therapy is a medically based profession specializing in pain relief by identifying and treating the causes of pain in each individual.

A good program will take both an active, exercise based approach, as well as a passive one. The ultimate goal is to educate the client so that they can be independent in their program and continue to treat themselves at their own convenience.

Physical therapy and home exercises during pregnancy

There are no guarantees, but it is fair to expect your pregnancy and labor to go easier and possibly even quicker following any strength and flexibility enhancements. Although a few visits with your physical therapist is a good start, it is essential to incorporate home exercises into your physical therapy program. Your physical therapist is going to provide you with specific exercises that target what you need to make your pregnancy easier and even healthier. You can also rest assured that your physical therapist will guide you through proper usage of these exercises so that you can reap the most benefits.

Tips for choosing the right program

Today’s expectant mothers have a wide variety of options to consider for pre-natal care. The key is finding the appropriate program. Be wary of treatment programs that are passive, place increased stress on the joints and do not address muscle strength and flexibility with exercise. Here is what you should look for in a physical therapy program:

  • Managed by a certified professional
  • Focused on building strength, increasing flexibility and improving posture
  • Encompasses home based elements for you to do yourself
  • Proactively looks for any weakness which may become a problem later

Pregnancy is the ultimate strain on one’s body, and is a condition that physical therapy can intervene to lessen this strain. A proactive strength, flexibility and stabilization program can be very beneficial to preventing or decreasing the intensity of painful symptoms, thus making your pregnancy experience a more positive one.

 

Christopher Stulginsky, PT is the managing partner of Ayrsley Town Rehabilitation, in Charlotte, NC. He is a Prehab Network Specialist, an 830 Cold Laser Certified Premier Provider and certified by the prestigious Titleist Performance Institute.  Christopher has provided injury coverage to numerous websites most notably Deadspin, Redskins.com and NFLSportchannel.