The following articles by Elite Physical Therapy have been published in the Naples Daily News:

What is physical therapy and how can it help me?

Physical therapy is a health care profession that provides treatment to individuals to develop, maintain and restore maximum movement and function throughout life. It is typically indicated when pain or physical restrictions prevent you from living a functional life. Depending on your problem, a physical therapist will evaluate your flexibility, strength, balance, coordination, and posture in order to develop a customized treatment approach to help you return safely to normal daily activities. Treatments may include: exercise (for strength, stability and flexibility), use of modalities (such as ultrasound, electric stimulation, ice, heat), manual therapy, and a home exercise program, depending on what is necessary. To find out if physical therapy can be effective for you, contact us at 239-653-9586.

I was recently diagnosed with lumbar spinal stenosis. My doctor recommended that I see a physical therapist. What is lumbar spinal stenosis?

Spinal stenosis by definition means “a narrowing”. In the lumbar spine stenosis can occur in two places, the central spinal canal (canal stenosis) or the intervertebral foramen (foraminal stenosis). In canal stenosis the central spinal canal becomes narrow and can constrict the spinal cord resulting in symptoms of pain, numbness and weakness in both legs, particularly with standing and walking. In foraminal stenosis, the individual nerve roots are constricted as they pass through the canal that allows exit from the vertebrae. Symptoms of foraminal stenosis are usually felt on the side of the narrow canal. Although the narrowing cannot be reversed, the use of exercise, manual therapy, and modalities can be a very effective of decompressing the nerve root and eliminating the pain. Contact us to see if your spinal stenosis can be treated through physical therapy.

I love to golf but after every round my shoulders, hips, and back hurt. I feel like I am in shape but I just cannot seem to get over the pain afterwards. What can I do so that I can play more golf?

Because of the torque that is produced on the body during golf, a good dynamic stretching routine can be very helpful prior to the round to help warm up your “golf” muscles for the swing off the first tee. As trained golf therapists through the Titleist Performance Institute, we are able to further assess your body’s limitations. Many times, a limitation in external rotation of the shoulders or limitation in internal rotation of the hips can have a dramatic and sometimes painful effect on a different part of the body. It may be that a limitation in hip is causing your back pain. Having a therapist evaluate your body to create an individualized exercise program will allow you to fully interact with your golf pro to create the perfect swing for you. Most importantly, you will have more pain free rounds of golf!

I have this shoulder pain that is keeping me up at night. Will it go away on its own?

It has been documented that rotator cuff pathologies occur in 60% of individuals over the age of 60 and increases as your age increases. In the majority of cases, people require some sort of medical intervention. Treatment for shoulder conditions may include prescribed medication, a cortisone injection, physical therapy, or in some cases, surgery. If left untreated, you may develop a more serious condition. If you are having shoulder or mid arm pain, you should contact a trusted medical professional to determine which course of treatment would be most effective for you.

I have had neck pain for several years and it has begun to affect my posture and my ability to sleep. Recent x-rays revealed spondylosis. Should I see a Physical Therapist?

Spondylosis is a term used to describe degeneration of the spine and can include degeneration of the discs, joint cartilage and ligaments. Spondylosis is a usually a chronic condition that develops over a period of several years typically as a result of genetics, poor postures, daily lifestyle and faulty body mechanics. The range of motion of the spine becomes restricted and painful and subsequently daily function is affected. Physical therapy including joint mobilizations, exercise and education in proper body mechanics and postures can restore range of motion and improve tolerance to daily activities including sleep and looking over your shoulder while driving.

I have frequent, shooting pain in the back of my leg. A neighbor says I have “sciatica” and should see a Physical Therapist. What causes “sciatica” and what can a Physical Therapist do to help me?

“Sciatica” itself is not a diagnosis but instead a description of symptoms, specifically pain in the back of the thigh, occasionally traveling below the knee to the calf or foot. The pain follows the path of the sciatic nerve and is therefore termed “sciatica”. The pain can be caused by any number of structures of the lumbar spine including the discs, joints, muscles or the nerves themselves. Your physical therapist will be able to determine the source of these symptoms through a thorough evaluation which is imperative to derive the appropriate treatment regimen. Treatment may include, but is not limited to therapeutic exercise, manual therapy, massage, or the use of modalities.

I have always had poor balance. I have had all kinds of tests and they show no neurological problems or inner ear problems. What can I do?

Balance is a function of 3 major systems in the body: 1.) Inner ear, 2.) Visual, 3.) Neuromuscular. If you have had testing that shows there are no visual, neurological or inner ear problems, your problem may stem from your muscular system. Loss of balance can be directly related to tightness, weakness and position awareness in the ankles, knees, hips and trunk. A physical therapist’s evaluation and treatment of the tight and weak areas throughout the lower body along with balance training can have a dramatic effect on a person’s sense of balance and well-being, especially when out doing things like shopping or working in the yard.

Why do I need physical therapy before and after surgery?

Therapy prior to surgery is not indicated in all cases although it prepares the patient to be as strong and flexible as possible and provides education on what to expect. The stronger and more mobile the patient is prior to surgery the faster the patient will recover. A therapist will also be able to ease the patient’s anxieties prior to the surgery by answering all questions by the patient and family. After surgery we focus on decreasing pain and restoring prior function to maximize the results of the surgery. Not having therapy may compromise the outcome of your surgery and limit your recovery. Contact our office for more information.

Why does my neck hurt when I sit at my computer for a long time?

In most cases postural abnormalities leads to increased discomfort. It increases stress on many of the structures in your neck, which translates into pain. Setting up your computer station correctly can decrease the stress and pain. Your computer monitor should be directly in front of you at eye level. Your arms should be hanging directly at your side and your wrist supported at elbow level just in front of you. Your chair should allow you to sit with the angle between your spine, hips and knees all at a 90-degree angle. Give it a try; you will like the results. Contact our office if you have additional questions.

Will the supplement glucosamine chondroitin help my knee pain?

Despite its widespread use, large-scale trials did not find evidence to support the use of glucosamine chondroitin supplementation. If you are currently using glucosamine chondroitin and it’s helping, most MDs and physical therapists will recommend continued usage. Although, research shows that with manual physical therapy and specific exercises provided by an experienced physical therapist, patients with knee arthritis frequently report 20-40% relief of their symptoms. Also, the patients that received this treatment were less likely to be taking medication for arthritis. Evidence also suggests that patients with hip arthritis experience similar benefits. Individuals with osteoarthritis should seek treatment from a physical therapist prior to using supplements, prescription drugs and prevent surgery.

Why does my elbow hurt since I started playing golf?

There is a risk of developing elbow pain with repetitive forearm movements. A common swing fault in golfers, which may lead to elbow pain is “casting”. Casting is defined as losing the wrist angle early in the golfer’s downswing. This movement puts strain on the tendons surrounding the elbow, which may cause them to become inflamed. A physical therapist treats the conditions with exercise prescription, soft tissue and joint mobilization, and modalities. An elbow splint can help disburse muscle forces to allow the muscle to function without pain. Recommendations for prevention can be prescribed in regard to exercise, proper posture and technique, strength and range of motion exercise.

Who chooses which physical therapist I go to?

Your physician will give you a recommendation or a listing of physical therapists in your area. Sometimes your insurance company will guide you with regard to who is ‘in-network’ for your insurance plan. Ultimately, the decision as to where you receive your care is up to you. If you have a specific request, you need to let your physician or insurance company know. If your choice of clinics is not in-network for your insurance company most plans have out-of-network benefits that will allow you your choice in physical therapy. In most cases the financial difference is negligible. Call 239-653-9586 to find out what your benefits are for physical therapy.

Why should I exercise regularly?

Exercising regularly will give you improved energy for everyday activities by increasing the efficiency of your heart and assist with lowering blood pressure. Research suggests that we gain one pound of fat per year and lose half a pound of muscle mass past the age of 25. Resistance training is very important in maintaining lean muscle mass each year and fighting the effects of osteoporosis. Most of us feel too tired at the end of the day to exercise. However, once a regular routine is established you will have increased energy at the end of the day to spend with family and friends. Contact our office for more information on how to enroll in an individualized exercise program.

Which should I use: heat or ice?

Ice packs and heat packs are among the most common used treatments in orthopedic injuries. Ice treatment is most commonly used in acute injuries (usually within the first 48 hours) to help minimize swelling. Ice is sometimes used with chronic conditions; however, you should not ice a chronic injury before activity. Heat treatments are generally used for chronic conditions to help relax and loosen tissue and to stimulate blood flow to an area. Heat is commonly used before participating in an activity. Heat is not indicated within the first 48 hours of an injury and should be used at a moderate temperature and for a short time period to avoid burns.