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As we navigate the hustle and bustle of modern life, it’s essential to prioritize our health and vitality. In this section, we’ve partnered with local practitioners to offer you a comprehensive guide to physical therapy for every part of your body. From head to toe, we explore the benefits of this holistic approach to healing, revealing the secrets to a pain-free, active, and invigorating lifestyle.
Whether you’re seeking relief from aches and pains, recovering from an injury, or simply looking to optimize your physical well-being, Let’s Start a Movement has you covered. Southwest Louisiana’s experts will provide you with insights, tips, and guidance that empower you to make informed decisions about your health and well-being.
Join us on a journey to a healthier, happier you, right here in your own community. Discover the transformative potential of physical therapy and explore the local practitioners who are dedicated to helping you thrive!
MAXX Physical Therapy
by Taylor Trahan Henry
In the pursuit of a healthy and thriving lifestyle for the whole family, it’s essential to address and conquer those nagging aches and pains that often crop up. Dr. Lauren Pitre, PT, DPT, ATC, Clinic Director at MAXX Physical Therapy, offers these tips for reclaiming optimal function and well-being when it comes to the knee, ankle, and lower extremity areas. From common injuries to diagnostic methods, treatment approaches, and tailored treatment plans, Maxx Physical Therapy offers a comprehensive and individualized approach to your recovery.
“Common injuries in the knee, ankle, and lower extremity include ACL tears, ankle sprains, patellofemoral pain, and plantar fasciitis,” Dr. Pitre says. “Conditions like osteoarthritis and tendinopathies are also prevalent.”
When it comes to planning for rehabilitation of a patient’s injuries, Dr. Pitre says the review is comprehensive. “We utilize a number of assessments and diagnostic tools to create the absolute best plan,” she says. “We understand that no two people or injuries are the same, which is why we create an individualized treatment plan for each patient.”
Maxx Physical Therapy employs a multifaceted approach to evaluate patients with lower extremity pain. The following diagnostic methods and assessments are instrumental in tailoring treatment plans:
Gathering past medical information to understand the patient’s health background.
Assessing movement, strength, posture, and joint mobility to identify issues.
Observing the patient’s ability to perform everyday activities like walking or squatting.
Analyzing walking patterns to uncover abnormalities or issues with the lower extremities.
Gently feeling for tenderness and abnormalities to pinpoint areas of concern.
Range of Motion (ROM) Measurement
Assessing joint flexibility and any limitations in movement.
Evaluating muscle strength to identify areas that may need improvement.
Functional Outcome Measures
Using questionnaires to gauge function and pain, helping to track progress.
Dr. Pitre utilizes a variety of treatment approaches to address knee, ankle, and lower extremity pain. Tailored exercises that may include innovative techniques like blood flow restriction, aimed at improving strength and mobility while reducing pain at the cellular level. Other techniques such as joint mobilizations and soft tissue mobilization can enhance joint function and alleviate pain. The use of modalities like TENS (transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation) and thermal treatments are used to manage pain and inflammation. There are many options available but Dr. Pitre says one of the most important pieces is to ensure the patient is educated and empowered. “As symbolized in a portrait displayed in our lobby, we want to see our patients healed, whole, and enjoying life completely pain free!”
If you’re experiencing mild to moderate pain or functional limitations in your knee, ankle, or lower extremities, physical therapy may be the first line of action. A physician’s referral is often not required in these cases. However, if you have severe injuries, acute trauma, or you notice red flags for systemic issues, consulting a physician first is advisable. When in doubt, the experienced team at Maxx Physical Therapy can guide you to the appropriate care.
Balance is Core to Your Wellness
by Taylor Trahan Henry
Maintaining our sense of balance is something we often take for granted. We rarely stop to think about the intricate system that enables us to walk, run, and move gracefully through life. However, for those who suffer from balance and vestibular issues, every step can be a challenge. These issues can have a significant impact on daily life, causing dizziness, unsteadiness, and increasing the risk of falls. The good news is that the therapists at FYZICAL Therapy & Balance Centers offer effective solutions for those struggling with such problems.
Balance is a complex process that depends on the interaction of three major systems in the body – the visual system, the vestibular system, and the musculoskeletal system. One of the key players in this intricate dance is the vestibular system, situated within the inner ear. This system is responsible for maintaining equilibrium, helping us stay upright, and coordinating our movements.
Vestibular issues can manifest in various ways, such as vertigo, dizziness, and unsteadiness. Common conditions linked to vestibular problems include benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV), labyrinthitis, and Meniere’s disease. These conditions disrupt the normal function of the vestibular system, leading to balance disturbances and other issues, including nausea.
“At FYZICAL, our therapists realize how important balance and walking is for independent living, as well as for work activities, exercise, sports and enjoying life in general,” says Floyd Saltzman, physical therapist and owner of Southwest Louisiana’s three FYZICAL Therapy & Balance Centers. He and his team of therapists have excelled in using physical therapy to treat patients experiencing these issues, specializing in vestibular rehabilitation, balance training, and fall prevention with tailored, proprietary treatment programs.
“The first step is to identify the specific issue causing the dizziness or balance deficits,” says Brandon Soileau, PT, DPT, and Level 3 Trained Vestibular therapist at FYZICAL. “We perform a thorough evaluation to pinpoint the root cause of the patient’s issues. This involves assessing eye movement, balance, and gait, determining which of the three involved systems are not fully functioning correctly.” Once identified, the physical therapists develop personalized exercise programs to improve the patient’s balance and reduce dizziness. They might include head and eye exercises, postural training, and stability exercises combining the visual, vestibular, and musculoskeletal systems to all work properly together again.
“Gait and balance training has a range of benefits, with avoiding injuries being at the top of the list,” adds Brandon. “Beyond lessening your chances of falling or feeling dizzy, you’re also more likely to feel confident with your footing. In addition, those aches and pains from poor posture are likely to decrease as well.”
Vestibular rehabilitation through physical therapy offers numerous benefits. It can significantly improve a patient’s quality of life by:
• Reducing dizziness and vertigo
• Enhancing balance and stability
• Increasing self-confidence in daily activities
• Lowering the risk of falls and associated injuries
• Restoring independence and mobility
It’s essential to note that vestibular rehabilitation is not a one-size-fits-all solution. Each patient’s condition and progress are unique, which is why personalized treatment plans are crucial at FYZICAL.
In conclusion, balance and vestibular issues can be life-altering, but physical therapy provides hope and healing for those affected. By offering tailored solutions, education, and support, FYZICAL can help individuals regain control of their lives and conquer the challenges that come with these conditions. So, if you or someone you know is struggling with balance and vestibular issues, don’t hesitate to seek the guidance of a skilled physical therapist. The path to a steadier, more balanced life is within reach, thanks to the expertise and dedication of the professionals at FYZICAL Therapy & Balance Centers, who are ready to help you love your life again!
Sitting is the New Smoking
In our modern, technologically driven world, a sedentary lifestyle has become the norm for many individuals. “’Sitting is the new smoking ‘has become a popular phrase in our office,” says Jessica Foster, PTA with Thrive Physical Therapy. “It draws attention to the alarming parallels between the adverse health outcomes associated with prolonged sitting and those linked to smoking.” Rest isn’t a bad thing, but prolonged sitting can be a health hazard. Physical therapy can play a crucial role in mitigating its effects.
Sedentary behavior, characterized by prolonged periods of sitting or low physical activity, has reached epidemic proportions in our society. The rise of desk jobs, increased screen time, and the prevalence of technology have contributed to a lifestyle that involves less movement and more sitting. Unfortunately, this shift has far-reaching consequences for our health.
“The comparison between sitting and smoking is not meant to undermine the severity of smoking-related health issues,” says Foster. “Instead, it serves as a powerful metaphor to emphasize the widespread and insidious nature of the sedentary lifestyle.” Research indicates that sitting for long periods is associated with an increased risk of various health conditions, including obesity, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and musculoskeletal problems.
Sitting for extended periods has profound physiological effects on the body. Muscles become inactive, leading to decreased metabolism and compromised circulation. Prolonged sitting is linked to the development of insulin resistance, a precursor to diabetes, as well as elevated cholesterol levels. The cardiovascular system also suffers, with studies showing an increased risk of heart disease in individuals with sedentary jobs.
“We often witness the musculoskeletal consequences of prolonged sitting. It contributes to poor posture, leading to conditions such as neck and back pain,” says Foster. “The spine undergoes structural changes, and the risk of developing herniated discs and other spinal disorders increases. Additionally, sedentary behavior is a major contributor to the weakening of core muscles, which play a crucial role in supporting the spine.”
While the dangers of prolonged sitting are concerning, the good news is that physical therapy can be a powerful intervention. Physical therapists are uniquely positioned to address the physical and musculoskeletal issues associated with a sedentary lifestyle. Through targeted exercises, stretching routines, and ergonomic education, physical therapists can help individuals counteract the negative effects of prolonged sitting.
One of the primary goals of physical therapy in combating the sedentary epidemic is to encourage regular movement. Simple exercises, such as stretching and strength training, can be incorporated into daily routines to offset the harmful effects of sitting. Physical therapists also provide guidance on proper posture and ergonomics, both at the workplace and in daily activities, to prevent musculoskeletal issues.
By taking proactive steps to incorporate movement into our daily lives and seeking guidance from physical therapists, patients can break free from the chains of sedentary living and embrace a healthier, more active lifestyle.
Back & Neck Injuries: How Physical Therapy Is Your Path to Relief and Recovery
by Taylor Trahan Henry
In our quest for an active and vibrant lifestyle, we often encounter common neck and back injuries that can hinder our daily routines and, more importantly, our overall quality of life. According to Drs. Kourtney Kober Ellis and Trent Landry, owners of Superior Spine & Sports Physical Therapy (S3PT), neck and back injuries can affect people of all ages and backgrounds. “These injuries may result from various factors, including poor posture, overuse, muscle imbalances, sudden trauma, or even the natural aging process,” says Ellis. “The pain and discomfort they bring can disrupt our lives, preventing us from fully enjoying daily activities with our loved ones.”
These injuries can result from various factors, including accidents, poor posture, repetitive movements, age-related changes, and underlying medical conditions. The treatment of neck and back injuries typically involves physical therapy, pain management, and in some cases, surgical interventions. The goal is to alleviate pain, improve mobility, and prevent future injuries, enabling individuals to lead active and pain-free lives. It’s essential to consult with a healthcare professional for a proper diagnosis and treatment plan tailored to your specific condition.
Physical therapy serves as a non-invasive, comprehensive approach to address pain and restore function. Expert physical therapists assess your specific condition, design personalized treatment plans, and guide you through a journey of healing and recovery. At S3PT, there’s no one size fits all approach. “A critical first step in your path to recovery is a thorough assessment,” says Landry. “It’s important to consider your medical history, lifestyle, and the nature of your injury to create a tailored treatment plan. This individualized approach is essential for ensuring effective and targeted therapy.”
Physical therapy treatments encompass a range of techniques, such as manual therapy, exercises, and modalities like heat or cold therapy. These interventions aim to reduce pain, enhance flexibility, improve strength, and correct posture. Under the expert guidance of your therapist, you’ll learn how to regain control of your body and regain pain-free movement.
“One of the most significant advantages of physical therapy is its focus on prevention,” says Ellis. “As you recover, your therapist educates you on proper body mechanics, posture, and exercises that help strengthen the muscles supporting your back and neck. This knowledge empowers you to reduce the risk of future injuries, allowing you to enjoy daily activities without the fear of pain.”
Common neck and back injuries may be part of life, but they don’t have to control your happiness. Through the expertise and support of physical therapy, you can regain control of your health and ensure that pain and discomfort no longer stand in the way of your cherished memories.
Finding Relief: A Guide to Sciatic and SI Joint Pain
by Taylor Trahan Henry
Few aches and pains are as debilitating as lower back and hip pain. Sciatic pain and sacroiliac (SI) joint pain are two common culprits of lower back and hip pain, though the two are often misunderstood and sometimes confused.
“Sciatic pain is a condition that arises from irritation or compression of the sciatic nerve, which is the longest nerve in the human body,” says Brandi Stacy, physical therapist and owner of Westlake Physical Therapy. “It runs from the lower back, through the hips and buttocks, and down each leg. Sciatic pain can vary from a mild ache to a sharp, debilitating pain and often presents as a shooting pain down the leg.” Common causes include herniated discs, spinal stenosis, or even muscle imbalances. It’s important to note that sciatic pain is a symptom rather than a diagnosis in itself.
“On the other hand, SI joint pain is characterized by discomfort or pain in the sacroiliac joint, located at the base of the spine where the sacrum and ilium bones meet,” she says. “This joint is responsible for transmitting forces from the upper body to the lower body and plays a crucial role in maintaining balance and stability.” SI joint pain can manifest as a sharp, stabbing sensation in the lower back, buttocks, or legs, and can be exacerbated by activities that involve prolonged standing, walking, or sitting.
To distinguish between sciatic and SI joint pain, it’s essential to pay attention to the location of the discomfort. “Sciatic pain typically radiates down the leg, following the path of the sciatic nerve, whereas SI joint pain is centered around the lower back and buttocks,” says Stacy. Although the symptoms may overlap, understanding the source of your pain is crucial for effective treatment.
Misconceptions surrounding sciatic and SI joint pain are not uncommon. One frequent misunderstanding is that these conditions are solely caused by age. While age-related changes in the spine can contribute to these issues, they can affect people of all age groups. Additionally, many believe that bed rest is the best solution, but in reality, staying active and receiving proper treatment can often yield better results.
Physical therapy plays a pivotal role in managing both sciatic and SI joint pain. It focuses on restoring flexibility, strength, and function while addressing the underlying causes. Physical therapists employ a variety of techniques, such as manual therapy, targeted exercises, and posture correction, to help patients find relief.
“For sciatic pain, we design personalized exercise programs to strengthen the core and back muscles, which can alleviate pressure on the sciatic nerve,” says Stacy. “Additionally, we may use techniques like manual therapy to reduce muscle tension and improve flexibility.”
In the case of SI joint pain, physical therapy aims to stabilize and strengthen the area. Patients are taught exercises that target the pelvic region, alongside manual therapy to address any muscle imbalances or misalignments.
Preventing both sciatic and SI joint pain is achievable through proper body mechanics and regular exercise. Maintaining a healthy weight, staying active, and using correct lifting techniques can significantly reduce the risk of these issues. Physical therapy is a valuable tool in the treatment and management of these conditions, offering patients a path to improved mobility, reduced pain, and an enhanced quality of life.