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All About Arthritis

Nearly 26 million Americans are rendered incapable of engaging in everyday activities because of arthritis. 1 in 4 Americans have been diagnosed with this disease by a doctor, and a third of adults have severe joint pain according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The overwhelming prevalence of this malady has warranted the creation of an entire month’s worth of dedicated focus and awareness generation culminating in the month of May being deemed Arthritis Awareness Month. The lofty title of “All About Arthritis” may be a tad ambitious when broaching a topic as important and pervasive in people’s experience as arthritis, but we can at least give a healthy overview of the subject and offer a solid means of assistance to those who suffer from it.

First of all, what exactly is arthritis? It’s a general term for conditions that affect the joints, tissues around the joint, and other connective tissues, and there are actually more than 100 types of it, the most common of which is osteoarthritis. Osteoarthritis can exhibit symptoms of pain, stiffness, tenderness, loss of flexibility, a grating sensation, or swelling, and these often develop slowly and worsen over time. It occurs when the cartilage that cushions the ends of your bones deteriorates and sometimes can form osteophytes, also known as bone spurs. Rheumatoid arthritis is the second most common type. It’s an autoimmune and inflammatory disease, meaning that your immune system incorrectly attacks healthy cells in your body causing painful swelling in those parts. The specific causes of why the immune system would do this are currently unknown.

What are some ways to manage arthritis? Well, for starters, staying active through routine exercise helps maintain strength and flexibility. Of course, if joint pain is already limiting your movement, you’ll need to choose the right intensity with the appropriate activities. People often find exercise in water as a great way to move your joints without them having to support so much of your body weight. Losing weight in itself can go a long way taking a load off your knees and ankles, potentially affording you more ability to move with less pain.

Helping you move without pain is the specialty of a Licensed Physical Therapist. Importantly, Physical therapy doctors assist you in accomplishing this without the use of prescription opioid drugs or surgery. The New England Journal of Medicine even published an article about a scientific study that found patients with arthritis of the knee who undertook a physical therapy based treatment had less pain and functional disability at 1 year than those who received an intra-articular glucocorticoid injection. But that’s no surprise, research continually demonstrates the efficacy of physical therapy for people with various forms of arthritis. Medical experts recognize physical therapy’s usefulness as a treatment for arthritis, so contact Physical Therapy Doctors of Florida in Bradenton at (941) 264-1414, email info@ptdoctorsfl.com, or send us a direct message. If you’re in or near Manatee or Sarasota Counties, our team will be happy to help you get back to moving without pain!

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Back Pain Basics

Back pain is all too common. In fact, 8% of adults in the US experience persistent or chronic pain in their backs to the point that they can be limited in everyday activities, and well over a third of the adult population reported back pain in the last three months in a study conducted by The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The World Health Organization informs us that low back pain is the single leading cause of disability worldwide and the condition for which the greatest number of people may benefit from rehabilitation. This pervasive problem is what we’ll be examining in this overview of the basics of back pain.

First of all, symptoms can be quite varied. From dull aches to sharp pains, it can even radiate into other parts of the body – most commonly the legs. Spine-related leg pain, often called sciatica or radicular pain, can present itself as numbness, tingling, weakness, a dull sensation, or even a feeling reminiscent of an electric shock. Otherwise normal movement restricted by pain can affect people’s work, school, and community engagement, not to mention recreation like sports, gardening, or playing with the kids or grandchildren. Back pain can be acute, which is to say lasting less than 6 weeks, sub-acute (6-12 weeks), or chronic (more than 12 weeks).

Like symptoms, the causes of back pain are sundry but can generally be divided into specific or non-specific classifications. Non-specific means that the experience of pain cannot be confidently accounted for by another diagnosis such as an underlying disease or pathology.. It is considered non-specific for around 90% of people’s cases, though reliable risk factors include low physical activity, obesity, smoking, and highly physically stressful work. Specific back pain can be explained by damaged tissue as from injuries, or from an underlying disease or organ problem.

As stated earlier, the World Health Organization recognizes back pain as the pain that can most commonly be treated. Proper treatments focus on the underlying condition(s) causing the discomfort. Physical therapy improves muscular strength providing a stable structure so that your spine doesn’t have to support so much of your body weight on its own. Of course, weight loss in general also lessens the load, and even quitting smoking may help you overcome back pain, as the risk associated with suffering from it increases with the number of cigarettes smoked per day according to Mayo Clinic. Many scientific studies have demonstrated the efficacy of physical therapy in helping people overcome back pain. This study, for instance, showed that those who saw a physical therapist at the first point of care had an 89 percent lower probability of receiving an opioid prescription. That’s one of many of the great reasons for seeking the expertise of a Licensed Physical Therapy Doctor here at Physical Therapy Doctors of Florida–we help you move without pain, and do so without prescription opioids! Our doctors and therapists also treat your condition without necessarily having to resort to surgery. They can identify and address the cause and treatment for back pain. Sometimes it isn’t what you’d expect, for example, a study in the National Library of Medicine found evidence suggesting that physical therapy interventions targeting the hips may improve outcomes, including pain and disability, for patients with low back pain.

Ready to go beyond the basics of back pain and allow our pain experts to help you move without pain? Call us at (941) 264-1414, email info@ptdoctorsfl.com, or reach out on our direct message page. We’re located in Bradenton, convenient for access from throughout Manatee and Sarasota Counties.

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Spring Has Sprung!

In the Northern Hemisphere, the season of Spring begins at the astronomical vernal equinox. In 2024, this event will take place at 11:06 p.m. on Tuesday, March 19. The equinox is the day wherein daylight and night hours are equal in length because the sun is directly over the equator. As the days are getting longer and the weather warmer, we’ll have more time and opportunity to enjoy our lovely local Bradenton and Sarasota climate. It’s an ideal window of time before it gets too hot & humid in the summer to get out and avail yourself of the many soon coming springtime events. Let’s go over a few seasonal activities coming to Manatee and Sarasota Counties.

Now that nighttime has gotten comfortably warm, Bradenton’s Bishop Museum of Science and Nature (just a few blocks from our clinic!) is offering Sidewalk Astronomy at The Bishop. This free event will provide a powerful telescope view of the moon, the planet Jupiter, and more. You’ll also be given a chance to win a free Celestron StarSense Explorer 10″ Dobsonian telescope so you can search the night sky from your own home. Tacos, edible cookie dough, and drinks will be available for purchase, as well as tickets to the planetarium’s newest show, Big Astronomy.

To combine light exercise, the great outdoors, and some useful and interesting education, consider taking a bird identifying walk conducted by a guide furnished by the Sarasota Audubon Society. This free tour explores the wetlands surrounding the boardwalk at Celery Fields. Enjoy your own backyard by taking up gardening. No experience? No problem. The University of Florida IFAS Manatee County Extension is opening a free series of classes about common plant diseases, so you’ll be ahead of the game when your plants take off. Instead of starting from seed, you can even get a jump start by purchasing ones that are already along in their growth since the UF/IFAS is also hosting a Spring Plant Sale.

For the art enthusiasts, Anna Maria Island will be home to the 36th Annual Springfest Festival of Fine Arts & Fine Crafts. Holmes Beach will be the place to go to for a juried exhibition with entrants from across the United States. Parking and admission are free, and proceeds from a raffle will benefit the Art League’s Scholarship Fund, which provides classes to children and adults.You can even enter your own creations or that of your kids or grandchildren. Another outdoor spring event that the kids can enjoy is the Meadows Farmers Market Spring Market. An Easter egg hunt, pictures with the Easter Bunny, and of course the local goods, fresh food, and artisanal products you’d expect from a farmers market will be there in abundance.

Enjoying the mild weather of our springtime can be difficult if you experience pain or limitation stemming from back or joint pain. Whether caused by arthritis, injury, or overuse, our Licensed Physical Therapy Doctors and Assistants possess the expertise and experience to accurately assess your particular situation and formulate a tailor-made plan to help get you moving again – without pain. We’re right here in Bradenton, and only a phone call or email away from an appointment to find out how we can treat your pain or weakness without opioid drugs or surgery. We can be reached at (941) 264-1414, info@ptdoctorsfl.com, or via direct message. Spring has sprung, so make the most of it by learning how we can help you move without pain.

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Snowbirds in Paradise

People flock to Manatee and Sarasota Counties seeking respite from the cold and snow of less climatically fortunate regions each year generally from November through April. That means that we are currently right smack dab in the middle of our snowbird season. Florida is ideal for winter refugees not only for the comfortable weather and standard of living, but because there are so many activities offered for health-conscious people of all fitness levels. Let’s look at a few options of varying intensities.

If you want to engage in some physical activity with minimal exertion, a walk through the lovely Rye Preserve will be right up your alley. In addition to nature trails, dog walking, and fishing, the preserve also gives you a chance to observe wild birds and learn how to identify them based on their calls while strolling the trails of this natural setting. Hundreds of scientific studies have demonstrated the many health benefits of tai chi, including increased bone density, flexibility, cardiovascular efficiency, and increased strength. Seniors can learn tai chi for free each Tuesday at either 10:00 or 11:00 am. For a child-friendly outdoor experience that doesn’t require any more effort than walking (and perhaps carrying purchased wares), look to the Lakewood Ranch Farmers Market. It has an interactive art corner for kids, yoga, and of course an enriching shopping experience. Other healthy activities in the community of the market can be found on this calendar.

If a slightly more active approach to your Florida winter excursion sounds appealing, check out the tower at Robinson Preserve. Ascending the top brings scenic views and the opportunity to learn from a naturalist about the flora, fauna, and natural history of the preserve. There’s also a series of boardwalks, rope bridges, climbing nets, and slides for the young and the young at heart. On the Sarasota side of things, both the mangrove tunnels on Lido Key and Jim Neville Preserve located on Siesta Key are fantastic areas for kayak or paddleboard exploration. You can even search for shark teeth in the sands of Venice Beach.

The Licensed Physical Therapy Doctors and Assistants here at Physical Therapy Doctors of Florida are all about helping you move without pain. Many commonly experienced physical limitations are not unchangeable sentences to prevent you from engaging in the things you enjoy. Our team can help you with arthritis or injury-caused pain in your neck, back, or joints, and we do it without resorting to surgery or opioids. If you’ve traveled all the way from your hometown to our neck of the woods to enjoy the weather, you may as well also invest in your own health and wellbeing so that you can fully avail yourself of the local fun. Find out what we can do for you by giving us a call at (941) 264-1414, emailing info@ptdoctorsfl.com, or sending us a direct message. Now is your time to enjoy the good life as a snowbird in paradise!

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Get Back on Your Feet

Foot & ankle pain is awful. Standing and walking are two of the most fundamental of human movements, so being denied the ability to readily and unthinkingly engage in them at will is a problem that can negatively impact a great deal of how you live your life. A scientific article in the National Library of Medicine reported that in the over 55 age group, the prevalence of foot and ankle pain was second only to knee pain, and internationally focused research found it to be most common in older, obese women. Though of course, it is also extremely common throughout all people of all ages.

The human foot is a complex structure composed of 33 joints, 26 bones, and more than a hundred muscles, tendons, and ligaments that, when working well together, bear your weight and allow for locomotion. That’s a lot of complicated anatomy in a relatively small part of your body. The joint that makes up your ankle has the talus bone of the foot, the 2 bones that make up the lower leg, called the tibia and fibula, and of course nerves, blood supply, and lymphatics as well. Some common problems with feet and ankles that physical therapy is great at dealing with are:

  • Sprains & Fractures
    • Restoring normal range of motion and strengthening supporting tissues both helps rehabilitate foot trauma and reduces the risk of future injuries.
  • Arthritis
    • Inflammation can happen in any joint, even in your toes.
  • Tendonitis
    • Pain, swelling, or stiffness in the ankle may be inflammation of the tendons due to overuse or improper use. Physical therapy can get you properly moving again without pain.
  • Plantar Fasciitis
    • The thick band of tissue that runs across the bottom of the foot connecting the heel to the toes can also inflame and cause heel pain, or a stabbing sensation in some.
  • General Pain and/or Instability
    • You need not have been diagnosed with anything in particular to be bothered by foot or ankle pain. A pain specialist can determine the cause and, more importantly, the professionally recommended treatment plan to overcome it.

Licensed Physical Therapy Doctors and Associates are specialists at treating foot and ankle pain. Whether caused by muscular imbalances, tightness, inflammation, or lingering effects from past injuries, our team can devise a plan of recovery that’s directed to your specific challenge. Give us a call today at (941) 264-1414, send us a message, or email info@ptdoctorsfl.com. Located in Bradenton, Physical Therapy Doctors of Florida serves all of Manatee and Sarasota Counties and is dedicated to helping you move without pain!

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Give the Gift of Physical Therapy This Hanukkah & Christmas

As 2023’s festive season unfolds, we find ourselves again immersed in the rich holidays of Hanukkah and Christmas, each with its own unique history and significance. Both of these great traditions are joyously celebrated with lights and color, song and food, and often involve the giving of gifts. Let’s join this year’s festivities by taking an overview of the customs most commonly associated with these grand commemorations.

Hanukkah arrives first, this year starting the evening of Thursday, December 7, and ending Friday, December 15. The word Hanukkah derives from the Hebrew verb “to dedicate,” as this annual celebration memorializes when the Maccabean Jews regained Jerusalem and rededicated the temple. Hanukkah is observed for eight days and nights, beginning on the 25th day of the Hebrew calendrical month of Kislev. Lighting a candle each night on a nine-branched candelabrum, commonly called a menorah, and eating oil-based traditional foods like sufganiyot and latkes are for the remembrance of when one day’s supply of ritually purified oil lasted eight days. This feast is also known as the Festival of Lights.

Christmas is primarily observed on the 25th of December each year to celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ, though the Twelve Days of Christmas, also known as Twelvetide, extends the celebration timeframe for some observers. The holiday’s name, Christmas, is the shortened form of “Christ’s mass;” mass being a liturgical service in many forms of Western Christianity. Light-adorned trees decked with ornaments, and red & green decor are customarily on display here in the United States, along with merry music and of course, special food. If you’re looking for ideas & inspiration about creating a curated look in your home this holiday season, search no further than our own Sonia Mullis’ @designsbynina1 content on Instagram and Facebook.

With celebrants of both holidays seeking out the best gifts for their family and friends, don’t limit yourself to the common consumables and entertainment based presents. Think about options that will contribute to healthy habits for years to come. Technology has made it easier than ever to prompt and track simple fitness routines, or just being encouraged to move around more. Wearables like smartwatches and similar products are an easy addition to most people’s day-to-day lives that can assist them out of an overly sedentary lifestyle. Smartphone apps are a fine alternative for someone who doesn’t want to have to remember to wear a technology bracelet everyday, as most people are seldom far from their cell phones.

This time of year is not only about exchanging gifts but also about looking forward to the New Year with the hope that it will bring health and peace. Better health and the peace of mind that accompanies it doesn’t come automatically. The incredibly practical value of physical therapy under the care of a Licensed Physical Therapist is a gift that doesn’t lose interest or usefulness over time; rather it opens a person up to once again engaging in activities previously thought lost. That’s why our motto is “Helping You Move Without Pain.” Our Doctors and Assistants know how to identify root causes of back and joint pain and progressively strengthen you out of your pain & dysfunction without the use of opioid drugs or surgery. If you or someone you care about suffers needlessly, consider physical therapy as a gift this holiday season for them, or to yourself. Our friendly staff await your call at (941) 264-1414, email info@ptdoctorsfl.com, or direct message via our Contact page.

 

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Thankful for Physical Therapy

 November 23, 2023 will be the day that we in the United States will observe our federal holiday of Thanksgiving. Although it has been celebrated since the early 17th century originating with the Pilgrims and Native Americans, it wasn’t until October 3, 1863 that President Abraham Lincoln issued a Thanksgiving Proclamation and set the date as the last Thursday in November. Even so, it didn’t become an official federal holiday until December 26, 1941, when President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed a bill into law that officially designated the fourth Thursday in November as Thanksgiving Day. Let’s go over a few reasons why we have so many thankful clients, and why we here at Physical Therapy Doctors of Florida are grateful for the opportunity to help them move without pain; and that without surgery or pain medications.

 Personalized Treatment

             This isn’t some online telemedicine phone call with someone you’ve never met. Dr. Mullis and his team of Physical Therapy Doctors and Assistants will meet you personally one-on-one in a clean, state of the art facility right here in Bradenton. Our office is convenient for people to visit from all over Manatee and Sarasota Counties. Physical Therapy involves hands-on sessions designed to address an individual person’s needs and limitations. It isn’t a cookie cutter program catering to a perceived average. Our professionals know how to assess and incrementally correct your particular issue, whether it be arthritis, injury, or general-pain-related. In fact the link of client testimonials shared earlier was only the tip of the iceberg. You can peruse many dozens of 5-star Google Reviews on our Google Maps listing.

 Freedom From Pain Drugs and Surgery

           Physical therapy may help you eliminate the need to use opiates or other pain medications. This is most people’s preference, as evidenced by a Gallup Panel that found that 78% of Americans prefer to try other ways to address their physical pain before they take medication prescribed by a doctor. Physical Therapy can also eliminate surgical options by offering similar or better results without the risks associated with going under the knife. Physical Therapy’s efficacy compared to surgery has been demonstrated over and again with many commonly affected body parts like knees, rotator cuffs, wrists, and low backs.

 Long Term Wellness & Prevention

             Physical Therapists not only treat current conditions, they also help you build a strong foundation of wellness for a healthy future. Many aches & pains are caused by imbalances or weakness in muscles and joints that can be alleviated through physical training. Of course it’s difficult to even get started on a general fitness plan if you suffer from mobility limitations, which is why the expertise of a Licensed Physical Therapist is needed to plan your progression through successive strength-building exercises. Problems with balance, inability to complete basic tasks like picking up grandchildren or carrying groceries, even just comfort while seated, standing, or laying down, are all issues with which our team can greatly assist. We not only treat the issues, we lay the proper groundwork to decrease the likelihood of future injuries. It’s well attested that physical activity comes with a host of benefits beyond even the reason that brings you to our clinic.

We can all be thankful this Thanksgiving season that we have access to such transformative help as offered right here in Bradenton at Physical Therapy Doctors of Florida. For more information about how we can help you, give us a call at (941) 264-1414, email  info@ptdoctorsfl.com, or send us a message. We look forward to getting you back to moving without pain!

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Hip, Hip, Hooray! There Are Answers to Hip Pain!

Do you experience discomfort in your hips? Does it hinder your daily activities and overall quality of life? Hip pain is an all too common issue affecting many people, but understanding its causes, anatomy of the affected area, and treatment options can pave the way towards relief and recovery. In this month’s blog, we’ll explore hip pain, its incidence, hip anatomy, and how physical therapy can provide effective solutions for alleviating hip discomfort and improving mobility.

 Causes

Hip pain can present itself in many different ways, including stiffness, aching, and limited mobility in the joint. This discomfort can have a significant negative impact on your ability to walk, carry loads, climb stairs, or even sit comfortably. These issues can result from a variety of internal factors, such as osteoarthritis or rheumatoid arthritis, or from falls, sports injuries, or accidents that can lead to fractures, dislocations, or strains in the hip region. Repetitive movements or overuse can cause excessive strain on the hip joint, commonly seen in athletes or individuals with certain occupations that commonly lift and carry heavy loads. Bursitis, which is inflammation of the fluid-filled sacs called bursae around the hip joint, is another common problem which can cause sharp or shooting pain possibly to the point of being incapable of moving the joint.

Incidence

Hip pain is prevalent across all age groups, but it becomes more common as we age. According to research, over 14% of adults over the age of 60 experience hip pain, impacting their daily activities and overall function. Additionally, athletes and those engaged in physically demanding jobs are also at higher risk for hip injuries and subsequent pain.

 Anatomy

To effectively address hip pain, it’s essential to understand the complex anatomy of the hip joint. Thankfully, you don’t have to be an expert yourself; Our team of Physical Therapy Doctors and Assistants have the requisite knowledge and experience to identify both the root cause and the best surgery-free solution, but as a point of education, let’s give an overview of the hip’s structure. The hip is a ball-and-socket joint, consisting of the femur (thigh bone) forming the ball and the acetabulum (pelvic socket). The joint is surrounded by a network of muscles, tendons, ligaments, and a protective layer of cartilage that allows for smooth movement and stability. The bones themselves are technically referred to as “Os Coxae,” and are made up of three bones: the Ilium, Ischium, and Pubis.

Treatment

Physical therapy is a non-invasive, highly effective approach for managing and treating hip pain and weakness. Skilled Physical Therapy Doctors, like our own Dr. Mullis, design personalized treatment plans to address the specific needs and condition of each individual. Treatment may include things like:

  1. Strengthening Exercises: Targeted exercises to strengthen the muscles around the hip joint, enhancing stability and reducing pain.
  2. Flexibility and Range of Motion Exercises: Techniques to improve hip flexibility and enhance the range of motion, aiding in pain reduction and improved mobility.
  3. Manual Therapy: Hands-on techniques, including joint mobilization and soft tissue massage, to relieve muscle tension and joint stiffness.
  4. Gait Training: Evaluation and correction of walking patterns to alleviate strain on the hip joint and promote proper alignment.
  5. Patient Education: Informative sessions about proper posture, body mechanics, and exercises to prevent future hip pain and injuries.

You don’t need to assume that now that you have hip pain you’re stuck with it. Find out how our team can help you get back to moving without pain. Call us at (941) 264-1414, email info@ptdoctorsfl.com, or send a message. Hip, hip, hooray – relief from hip pain is within reach!

 

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Celebrate Health & Fitness With Your Family

The last Saturday of September each year is Family Health & Fitness Day, so this is an appropriate time to focus on how you can involve your entire family in taking on new habits that will contribute to a healthy lifestyle. Incorporating exercise and a healthy diet into your family’s routine is great for team building and entertainment. It really need not be a bothersome chore; there are sundry ways to introduce your loved ones to some good old exercise mixed with fun for all ages. Let’s go over a few options that are particularly useful to those of us living here in Bradenton and Sarasota.

Parents can lead by example by taking part in physical activities with their kids. Passing down habits helps ensure that children grow up fostering healthy practices that will increase their quality of life as well as that of their own future children. One way to start encouraging more active time is by limiting screen time. You can determine how much time you or your family members spend using apple or android devices to avoid having valuable activity time being lost to sedentary scrolling.

Our part of Florida is packed with opportunities to engage in light exercise as a family. One such example is a game you may not have heard of before–disc golf. No, it has nothing to do with regular golf courses or clubs. It’s entirely free except for the one time purchase of a disc, more commonly known as a frisbee. Apart from playing catch by throwing the disc back and forth amongst yourselves at home, you can also visit our many freely accessible parks that have disc golf baskets installed to play a proper game of disc golf. A couple of the more notable ones are Payne Park in Sarasota and GT Bray Park in Bradenton.

If throwing and walking isn’t your idea of fun, consider the low-impact and generally joint-friendly pastime of bike riding. The best thing about bike riding with the family is that each can choose their own level of intensity. If the grandparents want to keep a light, leisurely pace, the grandchildren can still steer circles or ride back & forth quickly without getting out of sight of their guardians. Again, our community is superb for this because we don’t have an abundance of difficult hills, but we do have a plethora of level, paved, well-maintained bicycle paths throughout Manatee and Sarasota Counties. Nathan Benderson Park has a 3.5 mile loop that’s considered an easy route to complete in about an hour. Enjoy the seaside by riding the 1.5 mile multi-purpose trail at Coquina Gulfside Trail at the southern end of Anna Maria Island. They have bike racks so you can lock them up and enjoy the rest of the facilities between rides.

You don’t even need a gym membership to utilize basic fitness equipment. Bennett Park in Bradenton, and Gillespie Park and Ernest “Doc” and Eloise Werlin Park in Sarasota all have outdoor fitness centers. Arlington Park & Aquatic Complex also has pools for aquatic exercise and a dog park if you want to involve the furrier members of your family in your healthy outings.

Sometimes pain from injuries or arthritis leaves you feeling like you can’t enjoy the kinds of things we’ve discussed above. The Licensed Physical Therapy Doctors and Assistants at Physical Therapy Doctors of Florida are experts in helping you move without pain, and they accomplish this without the use of prescription opioid drugs or surgery. Find out how we can help you with back or joint pain, sciatica, or any other orthopedic limitation or difficulty by scheduling an appointment. We can be reached at (941) 264-1414, email info@ptdoctorsfl.com, or by sending us a message.

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Get Back to Moving Without Pain

Your spine and back muscles are foundational to everything you do. Even if you’re merely sitting on the couch trying to enjoy a television program, your back may cause you pain, let alone while attempting to lift a heavy object or engage in anything athletic. Issues with pain involving the back and spine are incredibly common, possibly occurring in nearly a quarter of the human population worldwide. Apart from detracting from your ability to enjoy normal life activities, back pain also costs us a terrible amount of work-productivity. It’s actually a leading cause of work-loss days. As such, back problems are not something to leave to hope that they’ll go away on their own. Before we look at some practical steps we can take to lessen the likelihood of further injury and to elicit recovery to whatever pain we may already be experiencing, let’s take a brief overview of what’s going on back there.

There are four regions of the spine:

  1. Cervical

This region comprises the seven vertebrae (spinal bones) in your neck called C1-C7.

  1. Thoracic

This is the middle segment of your spine, made up of the twelve vertebrae T1-T12.

  1. Lumbar

L1-L5 are the vertebrae in your lower back.

  1. Sacrum and Coccyx

The lowest part of your spine with two parts: a triangular vertebra (S1) that’s actually five fused vertebrae in adults, and the coccyx commonly called the “tailbone,” which is also 3-5 fused vertebrae.

The vertebrae are separated by discs that function as cushions between the bones to absorb shock. The nucleus of each disc has a very high content of water, which brings us to our next point.

What are some practices in which we can engage that will decrease the probability of further injury or pain to our backs? Having learned that the shock absorbing discs have a high percentage makeup of water, an easy and obvious solution is to ensure that we are properly hydrated. The water you drink is the water that supplies these critically important structures with the springiness that they need to protect each individual vertebra. Of course, drinking healthy amounts of water has many carryovers to other important facets of health, so it’s a great habit regardless of back issues. How much to drink certainly varies by person, but a general rule of thumb is four to six cups of water per day.

The less weight your back is required to support, the easier a time it will have moving and recovering. Losing excess body fat is another general life tip that is conducive to health in general, but as it pertains to the back, multiple studies have shown a significant correlation between obesity and lower back pain, so maintaining a healthy body weight may be one of the factors preventing the occurrence of back pain.

Get stronger all around. The muscles supporting and assisting your spine can help take the load off, allowing you to maintain a proper, painless curvature. Stronger arms and legs also can bear more weight of heavy objects so that your back doesn’t have to be relied upon as much for support. At least 2 days a week of strengthening exercise is recommended by the US Department of Health & Human Services.

While the above basic steps can help and should be employed, sometimes injuries, pain associated with repetitive motion, or arthritis can take your back into areas of pain that are beyond the reach of general health practices. That’s when you can rely upon the expertise of our Licensed Physical Therapy Doctors and Assistants. Our team has the training and successful client experience to assess the best treatment for your condition. It’s not a preset, one-size-fits-all program. We evaluate your limitations and develop a routine that will increase strength, correct your posture and imbalances, and get you back on the road to moving without pain. You can schedule an appointment or get more information by calling us at (941) 264-1414, or you can contact us directly, or email info@ptdoctorsfl.com.