Battle Born Health

Freedom from Muscle Pain: It’s Not a Christmas Miracle, It’s Mechanics

Patients often come into the clinic because they are in pain, let’s say their shoulder hurts. When we ask what happened, we often hear answers like “I don’t know, I just woke up with this.” Left untreated, the muscle pain won’t go away and may worsen over time.    

First, the physical therapist will perform an evaluation to determine the issue. We ask a lot of questions, ask you to move in various directions, and build a 3D picture of what is happening inside your body.    

The Mechanics of Muscle Pain in the Body

To understand what we’re looking for, picture the construction of a skyscraper. Cranes move huge beams at all different heights and angles to construct the structure, or skeletal system of the building. This is accomplished by strong cables and pulleys manipulating the beams and structure, similar to the way muscles and tendons act on bones and joints. 

Now, picture one of the beams getting snagged or hung up on something as it’s being moved – the cables will continue to lift and pull, but the stuck area will prevent movement, placing extra strain on the pulleys and cables. In the body, when the tendons or muscles are strained, an inflammatory process begins. This process rushes cell-rich blood to the area resulting in a warm, red and sore joint. Rest is beneficial so that the biological response can perform its functions, but it can’t fix the root cause of the irritation – the mechanical hang-up within the body’s bone and joint structure.    

Physical Therapy Can Restore Joint Mobility

A physical therapist is able to perform manual techniques to get the joints moving, which may feel like an aggressive massage. These techniques allow the physical therapist to unstick the metaphorical beam and restore normal mobility of the joint. After treatment, or a series of treatments, the patient discovers that they’re finally able to move their shoulder without muscle pain, they’ll patient exclaim “it’s a miracle!”  NOPE it’s mechanics! Now the beams and cables are moving freely, no strain and no pain.   

That’s just part one of the solution.   

Part two involves re-educating muscles to move in the correct patterns so the joints don’t get stuck again.  When the joint has improper mobility for an extended period of time, the muscles will find a way to compensate, producing bad habits. Without correcting those bad habits, the hang-ups are likely to just recur, which is why your PT will work with you to help train your muscles to activate and move in the correct sequence to keep the joints healthy and moving properly. 

Neuromuscular Reeducation Creates Lasting Improvements

Physical therapists are specifically trained in neuromuscular re-education. Neuromuscular reeducation is the process of identifying bad movement habits, then training and the appropriate, coordinated patterns of movement.  Exercise with good form will promote strength, speed and pain free range of movement. This is not a quick fix, and requires dedicated work on the part of both the physical therapist and from the patient, but it is the best and only way to create real and lasting improvement toward the goal of becoming pain free. 

If you have a recurring injury, or aches and pains that refuse to go away despite plenty of resting and careful exercise, your body mechanics are likely off.  The physical therapists at Battle Born Health are ready and excited to offer you the one-on-one time and attention that’s needed to properly identify the problem and its root causes, create a personalized plan for recovery and prevention, and get you through your injury with a full and lasting recovery.  Every session puts you in their capable hands, one-on-one, with the goal of reducing your overall muscle pain. 

With Battle Born Health, there’s no techs, no time in another room with another patient while you do exercise. It’s just you and a Doctor of Physical Therapy.   

Call today to schedule a complimentary consultation, and let us show you how we can help you meet your goals.

physical therapist

How to Find the Right Physical Therapist

Ok, you really are injured. Your doctor told you to go see a physical therapist, or maybe you’re realizing this injury won’t heal on its own. Now what? You don’t want to trust your most precious resource, your body, to just anyone, but most people’s first move would be to google physical therapy clinics in the Reno, Nevada area. Is that really how you want to find the person that will be restoring you to your previous glory?

You need to know all physical therapists and physical therapy clinics are not created equally.

If you were to have a surgery, you would most likely have a second opinion. We get multiple estimates before getting our car repaired. Doesn’t it make sense to research your physical therapist? Consider not just price, but quality, convenience, experience, and specialty. There’s no doubt that cost is an important consideration, but remember you only have one body and you want it to feel good. You want to rehabilitate and restore – not just get a rub down with no lasting effect.

So I offer you some tips for determining if a therapist is the right match for you:

  1. If you have no guidance from your doctor or friends, check out apta.org/findapt. Look at the specialties, extra certifications, and education. The letters don’t guarantee a great physical therapist, but it does show an effort on the therapist’s part to go above and beyond the status quo after graduation.
  1. Call the clinic or look on the website to learn more about that specific therapist. You should be able to see each therapist’s specialties, educational backgrounds, and years of experience.
  1. Ask about the size and treatment style of the clinic. Are you comfortable in a big open gym or would you prefer to be treated in a private room? Does that physical therapist have 4 patients in an hour or just one?
  1. Ask how long each visit is with the physical therapist. Many clinics have patients see both the therapist and an unlicensed therapy aide or technician. You want to make sure the bulk of your therapy is with the physical therapist (for example 45 min with the physical therapist and 15 with an aide). Aides can guide exercises if you have already been trained well by the physical therapist. The aide should not be teaching the exercises or performing any hands-on techniques to patients.
  1. Will you see the same physical therapist each visit? Consistency is important. As a therapist, having the patient’s full back story helps us put together the puzzle pieces. Without consistency of care, important details are often lost, which can have a significant impact on the extent and speed of recovery.
  1. Will a therapist take the time to talk to you on the phone prior to your appointment or answer questions and concerns between appointments? Now, realistically the physical therapist may not be able to jump on the phone whenever you call, but it is reasonable to expect a call back within 48 hours.

Once you have spoken to or met your therapist, consider a few other factors that will aid in the success of your care:

  1. Do you like the person? Be honest, this person will be in your face and touching your body, if you don’t feel comfortable with them, it could affect your outcome. Do they listen to your concerns? Were you involved in establishing goals for therapy?
  1. You should feel a difference in one to two visits. Notice I did not say you should be better in one to two visits, but there should be some change. That change may be good or bad. If it’s not good, the therapist should be able to answer why your symptoms are not improving.
  1. Often the symptoms that brought you to physical therapy are not the actual cause of the problem (which is a topic for another post, stay tuned). But frequently a knee hurts but it is because the hip is weak. Did your therapist look at your whole body, not just the injured region?

At Battle Born Health, our therapists have over 25 years of combined experience in Orthopedic and Athletic populations. Our therapists have completed post-doctoral certifications and board certifications. We do not employ technicians or aides. We strive for 100% consistency with patient scheduling.

We provide a free 30-minute discovery session for all potential patients. We would love to talk you, answer your questions about what is hurting or limiting your ability to do what you want to do.  We are different from the rest and would love the opportunity to prove it. If we are not the right fit for you, we are happy to direct you to the appropriate practitioner.

Give us a call!

A Good Physical Therapist Is Pro-Active

Many people think of physical therapy as the follow-up activity their GP or orthopedic surgeon often prescribes after an injury, or an inquiry into mystery aches and pains. Certainly that’s one function of PT, but perhaps our most critical function is to be a holistic, preventative health partner for people who want to remain active and healthy throughout their lives.

We loved Dr. Chris Telesmanic’s perspective in his column for The Sentinel.

“The vision for physical therapy moving into the 21st century, as stated by the American Physical Therapy Association, is to ‘transform society by optimizing movement to improve the human experience.’”

Promoting the role of physical therapy as a proactive one focused not only on recovery but on prevention and vitality makes good sense. By nature, human beings are built imperfectly, and even the most fit and athletic among us either suffer from—or very likely will one day—deficiencies in movement based on our unique bone and muscle structure, use (and over-use) patterns, and regular age-related wear and tear. A good physical therapist will take a holistic approach to patient health and mobility, and look closely at the bigger picture to identify these potential problems before they develop.

Including physical therapy in the suite of preventative care services allows us to contribute to a healthier, more functional society—and saves time, money, and unnecessary pain for patients who might otherwise find themselves scrambling to fix and recover from acute problems down the road.

Give our Reno team of physical therapists a call at 775-747-2278 to find out how physical therapy can be an important tool in your arsenal to keep that body active forever!

Personal Stories: Why I Love Being a Physical Therapist in Reno

Becoming a physical therapist was the best decision I’ve ever made. I love working with people who want to improve themselves and their lives, and physical therapy affords a rewarding way to do that. 

I’m also a die-hard muscle geek! Muscles are truly fascinating. They have personality, and can develop bad habits, like being over-achievers, which gets them in to trouble when other muscles slack off and don’t do their jobs. The over-achievers step in and work hard to do both jobs, which—you guessed it—can result in overuse injuries. 

Muscles are also great cooperators. They work well in groups, each doing their part to achieve a coordinated movement (like reaching for a glass in an overhead cabinet). The coordinated effort of a movement pattern from a group of muscles is like a beautiful ballet dance—the choreography and timing must be perfect to pull off the desired effect. One small slip-up can result in disaster. The same is true for the body. Things can go wrong quickly when even one muscle isn’t working properly or firing on time. Even issues that seem small, like a sleeping pattern that slowly tweaks a shoulder muscle over time, can result in behavioral changes that may be subtle at first, even subconscious, like holding the steering wheel differently to avoid discomfort in a certain position. But even these small changes in posture and movement can result in overcompensation habits that compound muscle problems, increase pain, and end in injury. 

Sometimes we ignore these issues for so long that we layer compensation over compensation until the original problem is obscured. I never get tired of playing detective to sleuth out an underlying problem, and developing custom, client-focused mobility techniques and therapies to retrain those muscles and return their bodies to that natural, beautiful, strong, well-orchestrated function. Who couldn’t love a job like that?

Battle Born Health’s team of certified physical therapists in Reno are ready to help you get back into life—pain free. Give us a call today at 775-747-2278 to schedule your appointment.

Pro Tip: Don’t Sacrifice True Health for a Fast Fix

Microwaves, remote controls, TiVo, cell phones, email and instantaneous Internet —the Millennial generation and even the generation before it have never had to think much about waiting. We have so many tools at our disposal to rush just about any process along, that we forget there can be a value to giving things time.  We’re so anxious about saving time, we’ll readily develop technology to help us do it.

Thankfully there’s not an app (yet) for fast-forwarding a sunset, a relaxing glass of wine, or a perfect fall day!

But even those of us who grew up without cell phones and Internet have our hurry-up crutches. Medications like pain-relievers and antibiotics are among them. These treatments can be helpful and sometimes even critical, but as a culture, we’ve gotten ourselves into a habit of popping a pill at the first sign of even minor issues. This can come at a price to our overall health. Antibiotics make us feel better quickly, and we all want to feel better quickly when we’re sick. But antibiotics can also change our gut ecosystems, compromising our immune systems and making us less able to fight off viruses and infection next time. These things can also mask pain and dysfunction, making it difficult to pinpoint the true problem and its behavior.

Our bodies have built-in tools that, paired with help from us, are finely-tuned to help us succeed. When we interrupt those natural processes with medicated shortcuts, we undermine our bodies’ ability to be self-sufficient in healing, and to build up our natural defenses.

At Battle Born Health’s physical therapy center in Reno, our role in healing is working with the body’s natural tools to identify the true source of an injury, learn how it’s affecting the body, and to re-train muscles to perform the way they’re supposed to. In other words, taking time to do things the right way. At Battle Born, you always work directly with a certified physical therapist—no technicians here—on your self-designated goals for getting back on track with sports, work, and other activities you’ve been missing out on. 

Give us a call at775-747-2278 to find out more information about how physical therapy can help you.  

Physical Therapy Lingo: "Aggs and Eases"

In PT-speak, “aggs and eases” refer to the activities and circumstances that aggravate or ease pain. For instance, an “agg” for some patients might be running a mile. An “ease” might be lying down on the couch with an ice pack. In some patients, that might be reversed—a short, easy run might help stretch out tense fascia, or lying down in certain positions might actually increase pain in specific areas.

Part of effective physical therapy is learning what each patient’s own unique aggs and eases are. Paying attention to these factors and their patterns will help your physical therapist learn more about your injury.  

Health care professionals get excited when a patient comes in with textbook symptoms—these are easy cases to solve. Unfortunately they’re also very rare. Most patients exhibit an array of symptoms and issues that we have to work at piecing together in order to start working on solutions. That’s why articles and social media video clips that promote one-size-fits-all cures aren’t helpful, and can sometimes even be dangerous. They don’t take into account the millions of unique sets of “aggs and eases” in a diverse population.  

Fiber is a terrific example. Most studies suggest that everyone should consume 25-30 grams of fiber daily. While many people do just fine and improve their health with higher fiber diets, some people experience painful and debilitating gas and diarrhea when consuming that much fiber, which can then lead to dehydration and other issues.

Exercise is another good example. We all know exercise is a key factor in overall health, but not all exercises are created equal, and not all exercises work for all people. If a 30-minute run sends you straight to the couch with an aching back and a swollen knee, it’s safe to say that running isn’t good for you at this point in time. And a good physical therapist will help to determine why, and based on your unique circumstances, recommend other exercises that can serve as “eases” instead of “aggs.” In essence, a skilled physical therapist can help you investigate the root of your problem and take back control over your own comfort and function—which in turn puts you back in control of your life—through careful consideration of your own set of aggravating triggers and easing activities.