Laser Therapy & Fibromyalgia Treatment in Visalia

Fibromyalgia treatment in Visalia can be more effective with the addition of laser therapy

Although it may sound futuristic, lasers are being used in the medical field right now for a wide range of purposes, and their popularity is growing rapidly. You may have heard of medical professionals like surgeons, dentists and opthamologists utilizing them, but it may surprise you to hear laser therapy can be paired with physical therapy, too. In fact, it might be part of your individualized treatment program if your condition calls for it.

A laser is a device that emits light through a process called optical amplification, and the term “laser” is actually an acronym for light amplification by stimulated emission of radiation. Lasers do not occur in nature, but are created artificially, and they produce a monochromatic (one color) light of a single wavelength in a very tight, narrow beam.

Low-level laser therapy (LLLT) is a non-invasive treatment that makes use of these beams of light for the purpose of reducing pain related an injury or condition. LLLT utilizes red—or close to red—infrared light and directs it to areas that are damaged from injury. When this laser is targeted upon a painful region of the body, particular changes take place within the cells in a process called photobiomodulation. When used properly and appropriately, the expected result of this process is less pain.

In contrast to surgical lasers, the lasers used in LLLT gently pass through the body without breaking the skin or causing any discomfort. For this reason, the risk for side effects after treatment is considered very low.

LLLT is now being incorporated into physical therapy treatment practices with the goal of producing even better outcomes for patients. When applied correctly, LLLT can:

  • Reduce the amount of treatment time needed to recover
  • Safely alleviate pain
  • Reduce swelling from bruising and inflammation
  • Increase circulation to damaged cells

As the popularity of LLLT has been growing, studies are emerging that suggest it can be effective for treating a variety of conditions commonly seen in physical therapy clinics, such as sprains, strains, back and neck pain, osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, carpal tunnel syndrome, plantar fasciitis, tendinitis, frozen shoulder and fibromyalgia. Fibromyalgia affects between 4-6 million Americans with chronic pain and a wide array of other symptoms, often leading to missed days of work or disability. But one study conducted in 2013 evaluated the use of laser therapy on a group of women with fibromyalgia, and had some promising results. Its conclusion states:

This study provides evidence that laser therapy may be a beneficial modality for women with fibromyalgia in order to improve pain and upper body range of motion, ultimately reducing the impact of fibromyalgia.

So if you’re dealing with any type of pain that doesn’t seem to respond to other treatments, it may be time to give laser therapy a try. Contact us for more information on laser therapy and to find out if it’s right for your condition.

Identifying Low Back Pain Causes…an Exercise in Futility for Most

Identifying the cause of your low back pain is usually difficult, but physical therapy is a universal solution to address most cases

When it comes to low back pain, there is an abundance of alarming statistics available that can help put the massive size of the problem in perspective. Here are a few key examples:

  • Low back pain is currently the number one cause of disability in the world
  • Every year, about 37% of the world’s population will experience low back pain
  • At any given point in time, about 540 million people are affected by low back pain globally
  • The amount of years of disability caused by low back pain since 1990 has increased by 54%

No One is Really Immune to Lower Back Pain

Research has also suggested that very few people are completely immune to the impact of low back pain. The number of individuals affected by it is actually highest in high-income countries, but rates are rapidly increasing in low- and middle-income countries throughout Asia, Africa and the Middle East as well. And although low back pain is more common in women and older individuals than in other groups, it can affect just about anyone of any age. In fact, one study showed that 40% of 9-18-year olds throughout the world report having had low back pain.

But despite the incredibly high number of people with low back pain and all that’s known about it, this next fact may surprise you more than anything else: in the vast majority of patients, the actual cause of the pain cannot be identified. In some patients, problems like spine fractures, inflammation disorders, infection and cancer may be responsible, but for everyone else, the cause is not known, and they are classified as having “nonspecific low back pain.”

Additional Factors that Impact the Perception of Back Pain

For these individuals, there are several factors that might play a part in the development of their low back pain. These include:

  • Psychological factors like depression and anxiety,
  • Social factors like income and education levels, and
  • Inherited genetic factors.

People with chronic conditions like:

  • Asthma,
  • Headaches,
  • Diabetes,
  • Smokers, and
  • Individuals with Previous Episodes of Back Pain…

…are also more likely to experience low back pain than those who are in good health.

This may sound overwhelming and perhaps even dampen your spirits if you’re currently dealing with low back pain, but as physical therapists, we’d like you to know that the cause of your pain is not as important as you may think. Many people get hung up on the specific diagnosis of their pain and go on to have tests to determine the source of their problem. But as you can see, getting an accurate diagnosis is rare, and these tests may lead to unnecessary treatments like surgery for some.

Don’t Focus on the Cause of Lower Back Pain When It Can Rarely be Determined

Rather than focusing too much time on the diagnosis, physical therapy concentrates on addressing the problem starting with your very first session. Throughout movement-based therapies and exercises individualized according to your abilities and goals, we will work with you on a one-on-one basis and target your pain from many angles. We believe that movement is a key ingredient for reducing low back pain, and this is why we promote a more active lifestyle along with your treatment program from the get-go.

Current research is continuing to support physical therapy as an effective means to alleviate back pain, no matter the cause. In one recent study that reviewed current guidelines on the best treatments for low back pain, researchers recommended the following:

For many patients with nonspecific low back pain, simple first line care (advice, reassurance and self-management) and a review at 1-2 weeks is all that is required. If patients need second line care, non-pharmacological treatments like physical therapy should be tried before pharmacological therapies.

So if you’re dealing with low back pain, don’t waste your time worrying about what might be causing it. Instead, take action and see your physical therapist now for an evaluation and treatment plan that will address your issues and get you back to moving pain-free once again.

Take-home Messages:

  1. The cause of lower back pain can rarely be determined.
  2. 99% of lower back pain does NOT require surgery.
  3. YOUR BACK IS STRONG, RESILIENT, FLEXIBLE, AND STABLE
  4. The faster you start physical therapy, the better your outcome in almost all cases.

What are you waiting for?  The clinical research is clear and our expert clinicians here in Visalia and Hanford are ready to help.

Contact us today.

Fall Prevention Program in Visalia

Lifestyle modifications and physical therapy can reduce your risk of falling later in life

If you happen to be over the age of 65 or have a loved one in that age group, you are probably aware of the risk of falls and the damage that can be done if one occurs. Awareness is essential for preventing falls, but all the information out there can be overwhelming and lead to a greater fear of falling, which can actually have a negative effect. With that in mind, we’d like to explain some basic steps that can reduce not only your risk, but your fear of falling as well. Falls are the leading cause of injury for older Americans, and approximately one-third of adults aged 65 and over falls each year. When one falls, there’s a good chance bones will be broken. The femur (the thigh bone that meets with the socket in the pelvis) is often fractured as a result of these falls.  Other common fractures include the spine, forearm, leg and ankle. Falls can occur for any number of reasons, but they are usually due to a combination of internal and external factors. Poor vision and/or balance in an environment with bad lighting, bad footing or slippery surfaces can all be a recipe for a fall. If a fall does occur, many individuals go on to develop an even greater fear of falling, even if they don’t get injured. This can cause them to limit their activities, which leads to reduced mobility and loss of physical fitness. Worst of all, this process can become a vicious cycle that actually increases the risk for falling.

Overcome the Fear of Falling & Improve Your Physical Fitness

What’s most important to realize is that falling should not be seen as an inevitable part of aging. By being aware of your risk and making lifestyle adjustments both in and out of your home, you can significantly reduce your risk of falling. Below are some fall-prevention tips to help you stay on your feet and injury-free:
  • Stay physically active, since good fitness can help prevent falls
  • Wear shoes with nonskid soles, and consider getting Velcro or spyrolaces
  • Conduct a walkthrough of your home (with someone else if you’re uncertain) to identify possible problems that may lead to a fall, then make necessary changes
  • Install handrails on both sides of stairways, avoid clutter and items on the floor
  • Get your eyes checked once a year, and get adequate calcium and vitamin D
  • If you’re taking numerous medications, learn the side effects and if there are any interactions that can increase your risk of falling
  • Take your time, be patient and ask others for help with difficult, risky tasks

Beyond Eduction & Lifestyle Modifications, Our Balance Program Can Really Help

Aside from making these important lifestyle adjustments, physical therapy is another positive means to reduce your risk for falls. A physical therapy program will help to improve your strength, flexibility, balance and overall fitness, all of which will make you more capable of navigating your daily life with a lower fall risk. To highlight how physical therapy can help prevent falls in older adults, a recent study compared resistance (strengthening) exercises to aerobic exercises, both of which are commonly prescribed by physical therapists. Researchers concluded with the following:
Adding resistance exercise to aerobic exercise improves factors associated with an increased risk of falls. However, both exercise regimes, combined or aerobic alone, are more effective than no exercise in the reduction of fall risk factors. Reference: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27353246
So if you’re concerned with your risk for falling later in life, contact us for a consultation and find out how we can help you keep your fall risk at a minimum. NOTE: We have more information about our Balance Program if you click here.

Shoulder Specialist Visalia – About Frozen Shoulder Treatment

Looking for a shoulder specialist in Visalia? We can guide you through every stage of treatment if you adhesive capsulitis

The shoulder is a ball-and-socket joint, with the upper arm bone (humerus) serving as the “ball” and fitting into the “socket” of the shoulder blade (scapula). The bones and other structures of the shoulder are surrounded by a structure called the shoulder capsule, which is made up of strong connective tissue that helps hold the humerus to the scapula. Adhesive capsulitis, or frozen shoulder, occurs when scar tissue forms within the shoulder capsule. Inflammation of the capsule causes severe pain, inflammation, scarring and a tightening of the shoulder joint, which means there is less room to move the shoulder normally.

Although frozen shoulder affects up to 5% of the population, it’s not entirely clear why it develops. In general, it’s believed that not moving the shoulder joint normally for a long period of time is one of the leading factors, as most people who get frozen shoulder have kept their shoulder immobilized due to a recent injury, surgery, pain or some other condition. People between ages 40-60, women and those with arthritis, diabetes, cardiovascular disease and other health conditions are also more likely to develop it.

The Stages of Adhesive Capsulitis Development and Resolution

Frozen shoulder usually develops slowly and gets progressively worse with more pain and loss of motion over time. This is typically broken down into four stages:

  • stage 1 consisting of the onset of symptoms, which gradually get worse over 1-3 months.
  • Stage 2 is the “freezing” stage, which generally occurs 3-9 months after symptoms start and is very painful.
  • Stage 3 is the “frozen” stage in which the shoulder becomes even more stiff and difficult to move.
  • Finally, the “thawing” of stage 4 occurs within 12-15 months, in which pain decreases significantly and range of motion begins to improve.

Conservative Care is the Best First Choice

There are a number of treatment options available for frozen shoulder, but physical therapy is one of the best options because it’s effective for addressing symptoms at every stage. The goal of physical therapy is to control pain and improve strength and flexibility to help patients move their shoulder more easily, and treatment will consist of:

  • Heat and/or ice
  • Stretching exercises
  • Manual therapy
  • Strengthening exercises
  • Specific activity training

The benefits of physical therapy for frozen shoulder can be seen in the findings of a recent study, which evaluated if several commonly used physical therapy interventions were effective for patients with this condition. Here are the results:

Adding a structured rotator cuff strengthening program to TENS and joint mobilization in the treatment of frozen shoulder resulted in improvements in pain, range of motion and function. Reference: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27884497

If You Need a Shoulder Expert Here in Visalia, We Provide All Natural Care – No Drugs, Injections, or Surgery

Frozen shoulder is clearly a serious condition that requires a great deal of time to fully recover from, but physical therapy can significantly speed up this process. If you have symptoms of frozen shoulder, contact us for a consultation right away and we can get you started on a treatment program that will safely help you regain your shoulder function.

MRI for Lower Back Pain in Visalia – Why You Might Want to Avoid It

Seeing a Physical Therapist First and Avoiding an MRI  for Work-Related Lower Back Pain Will Often Lead to Better Outcomes

Of all regions of the body, the spine is associated with a much higher amount of pain than anywhere else. In fact, low back pain ranks second only behind the common cold for reasons to visit a doctor. Up to 80% of the general population will experience at least one episode of low back pain in their lives, so if your back is bothering you right now, you’re far from alone.  If you’ve experienced a work-related injury, and are looking want an MRI for lower back pain in Visalia, read on.  We think you will find this information valuable.

Lower Back Pain is a Common Work-Related Injury

For the majority of individuals with a history of low back pain, it’s easy to attest to the fact that the pain usually makes it more difficult to complete everyday tasks that you normally complete without even thinking about. It’s for this reason—and particularly when the pain is more intense—that low back pain is also one of the leading reasons that people miss work due to disability.

Low back pain can develop over time in a gradual manner or it may come about suddenly. For some, this leads to symptoms on a nearly constant basis, while for others, symptoms only arise every so often. Symptoms vary in each individual, but typically include the following: pain, tenderness and/or stiffness in the lower back, difficulty bending, lifting or twisting, weak or tired legs, difficulty sitting or standing for extended periods, and pain that spreads to the buttocks or legs.

False Positives with MRI’s are Common…Don’t Get Labelled as Having a Problem When It Doesn’t Exist

When an episode of low back pain first strikes, it’s categorized as acute, which is what most individuals experience.  Of those who experience a work-related back injury, many decide to seek out treatment for this pain… many go straight to their doctor for an evaluation and advice on what to do next. Unfortunately, this decision can prove to have some consequences that you might not expect. Some doctors will order additional tests like an MRI to better visualize what may be affecting your spine. But often times, the results from these tests will not help to improve the quality of treatment, and can instead lead to risky interventions like surgery.

To illustrate what may happen if you see a doctor first, one study investigated the effect of having an MRI on patients with work-related low back pain. Some of their key findings included:

  • A high percentage of people studied THAT WERE PAIN FREE, had a positive MRI
  • Reference here
  • Having an MRI was associated with a worse outcome in all patients who had one
  • Patients who had an MRI spent between $12,948-$13,816 more on medical costs than those who did not
  • Click here for the Reference

Costs are generally higher in patients who have an MRI because not only is the test itself expensive, but these patients are also more likely to be instructed to have treatments like surgery based on their results, which comes with its own set of risks. But there’s a much easier way of avoiding all of these costs in the first place: see a physical therapist first.

MRI Results Alone, Do Not Indicate the Cause of Lower Back Pain

In most cases, a physical therapist won’t send you to have an MRI for low back pain unless they think it’s completely necessary, which is rare. Instead of wasting time, needlessly suffering, waiting for results and being told to have potentially risky treatments first, you should try conservative, natural care first.  Our physical therapist will start treatment during your first visit and immediately work towards addressing your problem and alleviating your pain. So for any low back pain that’s hindering your enjoyment of life, see one of our physical therapists for the fastest and safest path to a full recovery of your abilities.

Call Us to Learn More.  Click here to visit our contact page.

Shoulder Specialist in Visalia – What Rotator Cuff Patients Need to Know

If you are looking for a shoulder specialist in Visalia, because of a rotator cuff injury (a common cause of shoulder pain), seeing a physical therapist first can help you avoid unnecessary treatments like surgery.  This article provides common sense reasoning as to why we can help.

What’s the Rotator Cuff ?

You’ve probably at least heard of the rotator cuff—especially if you play or watch sports—but what you may not know is just how important of a structure it is. The rotator cuff is a group of muscles and tendons in the shoulder joint that allows the arm to lift and rotate.  In addition to permitting movement, it also stabilizes the shoulder and helps the joint maintain good alignment and posture during many daily activities.  So any time you experience one of the countless displays of flexibility in your shoulder, you have your rotator cuff to thank.

Because the rotator cuff serves such an important role and is used so frequently, it’s also a common site of injury.  Injuries to the rotator cuff most often occur in people who repeatedly perform overhead motions in their profession or recreational activities. Some examples of those affected by rotator cuff injuries include painters, carpenters and athletes involved in tennis, baseball—especially pitchers—and swimming.

Repeated Overhead Activity Leads to Injury Which Might Mean You Need to See a Rotator Cuff Rehab Specialist

When these activities are performed regularly for a long period of time—or through the aging process—the rotator cuff tendons eventually become inflamed from over-stretching or repetitive stress, which can lead to pain or injury.  The most common injuries seen are rotator cuff tendinitis (or shoulder impingement), shoulder bursitis and rotator cuff tears.  The primary symptoms of a rotator cuff injury is a dull ache deep in the shoulder that makes it difficult to reach behind the back or lift the arm.

To investigate just how many people in the general population have rotator cuff injuries, one study (click for the reference) examined the shoulders of 683 individuals, some of which had shoulder pain and others who did not. This is what they found:

  • Overall, 20.7% of participants had a rotator cuff tear
  • 36% of participants with shoulder symptoms had a rotator cuff tear
  • 16.9% of participants without shoulder symptoms had a rotator cuff tear
  • The risk factors for a rotator cuff tear were trauma to the arm and older age

This study shows that rotator cuff tears are very common, and in many cases, a tear may exist even if the individual does not have should pain or other symptoms. Unfortunately, if you have a rotator cuff injury and go to a doctor first for an evaluation, there’s a chance that you may be instructed to have unnecessary treatments like an injection or surgery if they find a tear. But as you can see, tears are present in many people who aren’t even in pain, and surgery is rarely needed to treat it. Surgery is also very risky and expensive.

Why Seeing a Physical Therapist First Makes Perfect Sense…

On the other hand, if you see a physical therapist for your rotator cuff injury first, in most cases they will treat you right away regardless of whether or not you have a tear. As a result, you can begin your path to recovery through various exercises, manual treatments and other interventions during your first session, while avoiding expensive and potentially dangerous treatments in the process.

So if your shoulder is bothering you and preventing you from functioning normally, make the smart choice of seeing a physical therapist first for the best possible outcome.

Click here to visit our Contact Page, then give us a call to learn more about how we can help.

Physical Therapy for Basketball Injuries

Why Physical Therapy Is Ideal For
Treating And Preventing Any Type Of Basketball Injury

Basketball season is now at full tilt on all levels of play, from youth and recreational leagues all the way up to the NBA. As one of the most popular sports in the country that’s continuing to attract players, more and more athletes are drawn to its fast-paced and competitive nature. The only downside of this increased participation is more basketball-related injuries, but physical therapists have you covered. These medical professionals are experts at treating and preventing all types of basketball injuries.

To play basketball competitively, players must perform with extreme displays of speed, agility and tenacity. Though every position requires a different set of skills, each player on the court needs to run, jump, make quick changes in direction, and accelerate and decelerate with and without the ball. Though these rapid movements are integral to the game, they are also what puts competitive players at risk for injury.

As with other sports, basketball injuries are usually categorized as either traumatic or overuse. Traumatic injuries occur suddenly as the result of a single incident, and include ankle sprains and ACL tears. Ankle sprains are most common and account for 25% of all basketball injuries, making them a major concern for all players. Overuse injuries, on the other hand, take place over time due to excessive stress on a body part without enough time to recover. Some of the most common overuse injuries include patellar tendinitis—or jumper's knee—Osgood-Schlatter disease, Sever’s disease and Achilles tendinitis.

Though each of these injuries results in a different set of symptoms, they all share one thing in common: the power to sideline players for an extended period of time. The good news is that physical therapy can treat any injury experienced on the court and also help players avoid injury in the first place with targeted training. Most physical therapy programs for basketball players will include the following components:

  • Stretching exercises for inflexible areas of the body
  • Strengthening exercises for weak muscles or muscle imbalances
  • Prevention exercises specifically designed to reduce the risk for ankle sprains
  • Manual (hands-on) therapy to address any sore or painful areas
  • Basketball-specific training that mimics the action on the court

Many basketball teams on various levels of play now use injury-prevention programs on a regular basis, often with successful outcomes and fewer injuries. The potential benefits of these programs is highlighted here in the findings of one high-quality study:

Results indicate that prophylactic (protective) programs significantly reduced the incidence of general lower extremity injuries and ankle sprains, yet not ACL ruptures, in basketball athletes

So if you play or coach basketball and are interested in reducing the risk for injury on the hardwood, physical therapy is a smart choice. Contact your local physical therapy clinic for more information or to make an appointment today.

Physical Therapy for Balance Issues

If You’re Dealing With Balance Issues,
Seeing A Physical Therapist Is Your Best Path Forward

As our bodies age, they go through a number of physical and mental changes that usually tend to make life more difficult. One of the more common issues that comes with older age is impaired balance, which can turn otherwise-normal everyday tasks like walking up the stairs into a major challenge. Fortunately for you, physical therapists are experts at identifying and treating any balance disorders that you might have.

A balance disorder or problem exists when an individual has difficulty keeping a stable and upright position when standing, walking or sitting. Older adults are at a much higher risk for having balance disorders than any other age group, as approximately 75% of Americans 70 years and older have “abnormal balance.” This means that one or more aspects of the person’s balance that is in some way misaligned and can cause issues.

Some of the most common factors that influence balance are muscle weakness, joint stiffness, inner ear problems, side effects of certain medications, keeping a sedentary lifestyle (staying seated frequently), or certain medical complications like stroke, Parkinson’s disease, diabetes, arthritis and cognitive diseases. In order for a balance problem to occur, there must be a problem with the person’s vision, the inner ear, the muscular system or proprioception (knowing the position of one’s body), or some combination of these systems.

When balance issues occur, it feels as if the world around these patients is moving when it’s really not. As you can expect, problems with balance can prevent individuals from getting around and performing daily activities, which can lead additional health-related problems in the future. This is where physical therapists come in, as they can address any balance impairments through what’s called vestibular therapy using these strategies:

  • Mobility exercises
  • Gaze-stabilization exercises
  • Balance retraining exercises
  • Strength training
  • Flexibility exercises
  • Fall-prevention education

The benefits of vestibular therapy for various conditions have been identified in several studies, and the results of one recent paper showed how it can help improve balance in patients who have suffered a stroke:

This study indicated that vestibular therapy might improve post-stroke patients’ vestibulo-ocular reflex (a measure of balance). Moreover, patients might show improved gait performance at least up to 3 weeks after the vestibular intervention by the sensory reweight to coordinate vestibular input

A balance issue may be a bothersome nuisance to your everyday life, but help is on the way, and it comes in the form of vestibular therapy from a physical therapist. Contact your local physical therapy clinic to learn more or schedule an appointment.

Neck Pain Treatment in Hanford

Neck pain can ruin your concentration, your work, and negatively impact personal relationships.  If you live in nearby and are looking for neck pain treatment in Hanford, here’s some information about how a physical therapist can effectively address your neck pain.

Painful symptoms can strike any region of the spine, and although the most common area affected is the lower back, pain in the upper spine within the neck is also quite common.  This type of pain may not get as much attention as lower back pain, but it can be equally disabling and frustrating.  Fortunately, neck pain can also be successfully treated with a course of physical therapy.

Neck pain is the third most common cause of chronic pain—after back pain and headaches—and its overall prevalence in today’s working population is approximately 45%.  This is about half the prevalence of back pain, which means that for every two people that have back pain, about one will have neck pain.

Most cases of neck pain cases are due to a muscle strain or sprain of tendons or ligaments in the neck or areas that support it.  Some of the more typical causes of neck pain include sleeping on your neck wrong, sitting or standing for prolonged periods with bad posture and carrying a heavy backpack, purse or briefcase.  Neck pain can also develop from conditions like osteoarthritis, a herniated disc or spinal stenosis, or from sudden injuries that may cause whiplash or other neck problems.

Its main symptoms include pain that is often worsened by holding or lifting your head in place for long periods, muscle tightness and spasms, decreased ability to move your head and headaches.  For some people, neck pain is also accompanied by upper back or shoulder pain, and pain in the shoulder may actually be referred from the neck.

Physical Therapy is Well Established as a Great First-Line Therapy Option

For individuals with neck pain, regardless of its cause, physical therapy is one of the most proven effective methods to address it.  A typical treatment program for a patient with neck pain will consist of the following components:

  • Stretching and strengthening exercises
  • Posture training
  • Pain-relieving modalities like ice and heat
  • Functional training
  • Manual (hands-on) therapy

To illustrate how these types of interventions can benefit patients with neck pain, take a look at the findings of a recent study, which compared physical therapy in general to manual therapy, one type of physical therapy treatment commonly used for neck pain:

Patients with neck pain improved in both groups without statistical significantly or clinically relevant differences between the manual therapy and physical therapy groups during one-year follow-up.
Reference: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28465824

These results show that regardless of whether patients received general physical therapy or manual therapy, they experienced similar improvements in their symptoms.  This is just one of countless studies that points out how physical therapy can help neck pain patients, and should serve as encouragement for you to see your local physical therapist if you are currently dealing with any type of neck pain.  Doing so is likely to be your best option for a overcoming your pain and getting back to a pain-free lifestyle.

Call Us Today & Start Feeling Better Tomorrow  –  Contact Our Hanford Office For More Information

Sciatica Treatment in Hanford

Low back pain, on its own, can be a major nuisance to everyday life.  But for some individuals, pain in the lower back may also be accompanied by pain and other symptoms that radiate out through the leg and possibly down to the toes.  This is called sciatica, which is one of the most bothersome conditions that can affect this region.  If you are looking for sciatica treatment in Hanford, please continue reading.  We hope this will help.

The sciatic nerve is the largest single nerve in our bodies.  It starts in the lower spine and runs through the buttocks and into the thigh, all the way down to the foot.  This nerve serves an important role in communicating messages from the spinal cord to the legs and feet, and when it becomes damaged, sciatica results.

The term sciatica is not exactly a medical diagnosis itself, but instead, it’s used to describe a set of symptoms related to lower back issues.  Common problems affecting the lower back that can cause sciatica include a lumbar herniated disc, degenerative disc disease, spondylolisthesis and spinal stenosis.  When any of these conditions occur, the sciatic nerve may become either compressed or irritated, and this will eventually lead to the development of symptoms.

Sciatica Symptoms Vary Which Makes Treatment Difficult

Sciatica symptoms may differ from person to person, but some of the most common include:

  • Burning or stinging pain in the leg
  • Pain on one side of the buttock or leg pain that gets worse with sitting
  • Decreased muscle strength
  • Pain radiating down the leg that may also go into the foot
  • Weakness, numbness or difficulty moving the leg, foot or toes
  • Difficulty standing or walking due to symptoms

When compared with patients who have low back pain only, individuals with sciatica will generally have more persistent and severe pain, a worse prognosis and are disabled and absent from work for a longer period of time.  This highlights the need to effectively treat sciatica symptoms in addition to low back pain.  In the majority of cases, surgery is not necessary, and a comprehensive course of physical therapy is all that is needed to bring about significant benefits for patients.  These benefits of therapy can be seen in one study that applied a popular technique used by physical therapists called mobilization.  Here’s the conclusion of the study that demonstrated the value of physical therapist directed mobilizations:

Application of mobilization techniques for the sciatic nerves may promote healing of the soft tissues by stimulating the functions of the nervous system to improve nervous system adaptability and decrease sensitivity, helping to alleviate the symptoms.
Reference: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4755972/

So if low back and leg pain are holding you back from enjoying your life, it may be time to try physical therapy.  Contact our Visalia office or our Hanford office and set up a consultation with one of our expert physical therapists to find out more and start a program that will alleviate your pain and improve your function, so you can resume all the activities you’ve been missing out on.