Injury

A guide to common conditions and how to treat them:

Joint Sprains and Strains
Whether caused by injury or a result of a simple slip, a sprain or strain can be quite limiting and painful. A sprain or strain occurs when a joint exceeds the available flexibility and the soft tissue structures that naturally maintain the joint in proper alignment are injured. Common sprains include ankle, knee, and shoulder injuries. Strains commonly occur at the neck and lumbar areas. Physical therapy emphasizes thermal/ice and electric modalities to increase local circulation, soft tissue mobilization to relax tight muscles in protective spasm, and therapeutic exercises to improve joint mobility, strength and stability.

Temporomandibular (TMJ) Disorders
TMJ stands for temporomandibular joint, or the jaw joint. The TMJ’s are the small joints in front of each ear that attach the lower jaw (mandible) to the skull. They allow you to perform such functions as opening and closing your mouth, chewing, speaking, swallowing, etc. TMJ diseases and disorders refer to a complex and poorly understood set of conditions, manifested by pain in the area of the jaw and associated muscles and limitations in the ability to make the normal movements of speech, facial expression, eating, chewing, and swallowing. Conditions that routinely affect other joints in the body, such as arthritis and trauma, also affect the TM joint.

Low Back Pain
Over 80% of people will experience back pain in their lifetime. While pain or discomfort can happen anywhere in your back, the most common area affected is your low back. This is because the low back supports most of your body's weight. Low back pain is the #2 reason that Americans see their doctor. Back pain can strike at any time and we are well versed in the latest treatments and causes. Your therapy emphasizes pain relief, restoration of movement, strength and function and ultimately prevention of another back pain episode.

Neck Pain
Neck pain caused by a cervical (neck) spine disorder is a very common problem for many adults. The cervical spine is composed of many different anatomic structures, including muscles, bones, ligaments, and joints. Each of these structures has nerve endings that can detect painful problems when they occur. The different parts of the cervical spine are normally well balanced and able to handle all of the movements, stresses, and strains of the body gracefully. However, when the different parts of the cervical spine are injured or start to wear out, your neck can be a significant source of pain and discomfort. Therapy consisting of thermal and electric modalities, joint and soft tissue mobilization, posture training and strengthening exercises can be very beneficial in reducing pain, numbness, spasm, and reduced mobility.

Sports Medicine and Rehabilitation
Sports Medicine is the field of medicine concerned with physical fitness and the diagnosis and treatment of injuries sustained in sports activities. Sports injuries are a form of orthopedic injuries that have a sport specific component. Your injury may be due to a fall, collision or the repetitive nature of the particular sport. Our goal is to return you safely and quickly to your sport. This is accomplished through proper education and training to prevent re-injury. Our interventions are very effective, helping you return and exceed to your previous level of sports participation.

Post Operative Orthopedic Rehabilitation
Post-operative rehabilitation is perhaps the most vital step in returning to normal activities following an orthopaedic surgery. Your treatment will eliminate residual pain, improve range of motion and posture and increase your strength and fitness levels. Physical therapy care can expedite the recovery process in many ways including providing proper education regarding the healing status of the injury, avoiding complications and restoring overall function and quality of life. A number of techniques are employed including but not limited to manual therapy, modalities ( ice, heat, ultrasound and electrical stimulation), therapeutic exercise and activities to maximize your recovery potential.

Acute Injuries
The term acute is often used to describe a type of injury (or illness) that is of rapid onset and progression but of a limited duration. These types of injuries are usually the result of a specific impact or traumatic event to the body. Acute injuries often require immediate medical attention, including first aid treatment with rest, ice, compression and elevation. Acute pain, or pain that is of immediate onset, often goes hand in hand with an acute injury.

Chronic Injuries
The term chronic refers to an injury, illness or disease that develops slowly and is persistent and long-lasting. Because many chronic injuries have mild symptoms, they are often ignored or simply overlooked for months or even years. Chronic injuries are sometimes referred to as cumulative trauma or overuse injuries.

Overuse injuries
An overuse injury tends to have subtle or vague symptoms that develop slowly. They begin as a small, nagging ache or pain, and can grow into a debilitating injury if they aren't treated early. Overuse injuries are the result of repetitive use, stress and trauma to the soft tissues of the body (muscles, tendons, bones and joints) without proper time for healing. They are sometimes called cumulative trauma, or repetitive stress injuries Injury treatments you can do yourself:

Ice or Heat
There have been many confusing guidelines for the use of heat and cold to treat sprains, strains and other orthopaedic injuries. Proper use can decrease your symptoms faster and accelerate healing. Here are some important reminders.

Response to Injury
With all sprains, strains and contusions there will be mild to severe tearing of soft tissues such as muscles, tendons and membranes. This leads to pain, inflammation and swelling which over time cause a loss of motion and weakness. Swelling and inactivity reduce nutritional flow into the area of injury. This leads to a collection of cellular waste and debris which retards healing.

ICE
Ice should be applied with compression and elevation above the heart as soon as possible after an injury. The time requirement may be from 10 to 15 minutes to as long as 30 minutes depending on the depth and severity of the injury as well as the temperature of the air and body part. Gel ice packs often do not provide enough sustained cooling for severe or hot injuries unless you change packs after 10-15 minutes. Icing should continue two or more times per day until the pain, swelling and other symptoms subside. Ice may be used for many days after a severe injury as long as there is enough pain and/or swelling to justify it.. Ice treatment is especially effective later in the day as irritation builds up and immediately after an activity that is stressful or irritating. Be sure to wait at least 45 to 60 minutes between ice treatments. Ice reduces swelling by decreasing blood flow to the injured tissues and also reduces pain and muscle spasm as it slows the conduction of nerve impulses.

HEAT
Heat can be useful to increase blood flow but it can also increase swelling if left on more than 30 minutes even at a low intensity. Heat increases local tissue metabolism accelerating healing, increases soft tissue mobility, improves joint lubrication and speeds up the rate nerves conduct information including pain. Areas of the body that are densely vascularized such as the hands, feet, and spine may react negatively to swelling caused by excessive heat, especially if applied too soon after an injury. The best heating is produced by moist heat usually for 10 to 20 minutes. Dry heat is also effective but it takes slightly longer than moist heat. Never sleep on a heating pad since this can cause excessive swelling and reduction of blood flow. Never continue heating if it increases your pain and/or swelling. The addition of heat should begin when the injury has stabilized. A good rule of thumb to follow is to wait until the pain and/or swelling are 50% improved and usually 5-7 days after an injury.

Injury Assessments
We have also prepared two forms that will help us assess your condition at your initial visit. Feel free to fill them out and bring them to your first appointment.

Lower Extremity
Upper Extremity

(240) 566-2521 Call to schedule an appointment today EMAIL frontdesk@touchstonecolumbia.com