Laser Therapy in Visalia – A New Approach to Pain Relief

If you’re dealing with a painful condition, laser therapy may provide the relief you’re looking for.

When you think about lasers, physical therapy might not be the first thing that comes to mind.  But with recent technological advances, laser therapy is now emerging as a promising new intervention used by some physical therapists to treat a wide array of painful conditions.

The term “laser” is actually an acronym for light amplification by stimulated emission of radiation, and lasers are devices that emit light through a process called optical amplification.  These lasers 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 to an injury or condition.  LLLT utilizes a 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.

High-Intensity Laser Therapy is What We Offer for Good Reason

High-intensity laser therapy (HILT) is based on the same concepts as LLLT, but as the name suggests, it uses a higher-powered laser.  This higher power and use of a particular wavelength allows the laser to penetrate deeper in the body through bone, soft tissue, and muscle.  As a result, HILT can stimulate soft tissues at a deeper level and treat a wider area than LLLT, which could possibly make it even more effective in speeding up the healing process and alleviating pain.

HILT has been approved by the FDA and there are no known side effects when it is used by a properly trained professional like the physical therapists here at Bacci & Glinn Physical Therapy. Because it is a newer treatment, new studies are starting to emerge about its effectiveness.  In fact, researchers recently performed a powerful two-part study called a systematic review and meta-analysis to determine how effective HILT was for treating painful disorders.  They concluded with the following statement:

The results of this study showed that HILT treatment for back and neck pain significantly improved pain and functional disability compared to controls.

While additional research will help to further define the role of HILT and its potential benefits, this high-quality study supports its use for two of the most common painful conditions out there.

Come Try Our LightForce™ Laser Therapy

We use a specific brand of laser therapy called LightForce™ Laser Therapy.  It’s one of the best units available on the market.  So, if you’re dealing with neck or back pain—or any other type of pain—and have a condition that isn’t responding to conventional medical treatment, you may want to consider HILT.

Contact us for more information on laser therapy and to find out if it’s right for your condition.

The Best Physical Therapy in Visalia – Why We’re On The Cutting Edge

There are many factors to consider when looking for the best physical therapy in Visalia or Hanford.  Here are four reasons why we feel our physical therapists are some of the best in the Central Valley.

  1. One way to judge a practice and its clinicians is by their online reputation – we have a great reputation on Google
  2. Another is how long the practice has been in business – we’ve been here for almost 40 year.
  3. A third is their academic credentials – our staff have earned doctoral degrees in physical therapy.

Then There’s Another Way and Here’s a Great Example…

Another way to judge the quality of a practice is to ask if they are up-to-date on the latest clinical research.  This means considering new information about physical therapy treatment and how to educate our patients based on the new data, so we can continue to deliver the best care possible.

For this post, we are sharing information from a recent research study that challenges social thoughts on the prevention of lower back pain.  Here’s a question that a recent scientist asked:

What if lifting with what has been considered ‘improper form’ isn’t as bad for the back as most people think?

From the first time you’ve ever had to lift anything of substantial weight and been in the presence of someone else with more experience in the field of lifting, you’ve probably been instructed to use “good form” so you don’t “throw out your back,” or something of the sort.  By now, there’s actually a good chance that you have provided the same advice to others as well, so that they may also benefit from the ideal lifting posture and save themselves from back pain.  But a recently published study has investigated the safety of back posture and found that while most people seem to believe in its importance, the evidence to support it as the best approach to lifting is not that strong.

To review, the “good lifting posture” that most of us are taught and try to practice usually consists of the following:

  • Bending from the knees instead of the waist
  • Lifting primarily with the power of the legs
  • Keeping your back straight and avoiding a “rounded” back
  • Always facing towards the object you intend to lift
  • Keeping the shoulders and hips square

There may be some slight variations to this technique, but most lifting guidelines drill the importance of keeping the back straight and lifting with the legs rather than the back to prevent strain.  Knowing this, a team of researchers conducted a study to investigate how deeply ingrained these beliefs on lifting posture were in the average person and what the research had to say about it all.

To perform the study, researchers recruited individuals who did not have any episodes of low back pain (LBP) in the past year.  This search led to 67 participants being included, 11 of which had experienced LBP at least once in their lives, and the rest of which had no history of it.  These participants were then instructed to complete a series of tests and questionnaires that were designed to gain insight into their thought process regarding lifting posture and safety.

Most participants think lifting with a rounded back is dangerous, but it’s not clear if this is accurate

The results showed that most participants displayed an implicit—or automatic—bias towards thinking that bending and lifting with a “round back” were dangerous behaviors.  This suggests that these individuals had pre-existing beliefs regarding how a person lifts and that it was likely to have a negative impact on them.  Additional analysis found that the beliefs of bad lifting posture being dangerous were also represented explicitly, meaning that participants were aware of this position and held it intentionally, too.

The concept that lifting with a straight back is good and a rounded back is bad comes from prior studies on the topic that eventually became common practice.  But when researchers reviewed this evidence, they found that it was not as strong as might be expected.  The author of one of the original studies later stated that the differences between a straight back and rounded back postures were only minor, while other studies have found no significant difference between the two lifting techniques.  In addition, several other studies have been unable to find a connection between lifting and the development of LBP.

This does not necessarily mean that lifting with either a rounded or straight back is better than the other, but it does suggest that the beliefs most of us have on “proper lifting posture” may not be based a great deal of evidence.  Additional studies on the topic will help us to better understand if there is a connection between lifting and LBP, and if the guidelines on how to lift should be changed.  In the meantime, if you are experiencing LBP or any other type of pain right now, the best choice you can make is to see a physical therapist first and fast.  Doing so will address your issue and get you back to being yourself without pain in no time.

To Recap, to be considered one of the Best Physical Therapy Clinics in Visalia, You Need Stay Up-To-Date

This is why we are always asking questions about how we treat and educate our patients as well as look for new treatments like our laser therapy as an example.

If you are looking for exceptional care in a family-friendly environment, consider seeing one of our physical therapists.  We bet you’ll have a great experience and hope you will be our next success story.

Click here for to learn more about how to contact us to set up an appointment.

 

Hip Replacement Rehabilitation in Visalia

Physical therapy is crucial for getting back on your feet after hip replacement surgery.  The good news is Bacci & Glinn Physical Therapy specialize in hip replacement rehabilitation in Visalia and Hanford.

Hip Replacement or Hip Arthroplasty Can Alleviate Severe Pain But…

Hip replacements have consistently grown in popularity to become one of the most frequently performed orthopedic surgeries. Since first being introduced in 1960, the technique and the prosthesis used have been continually improved upon and perfected over time. All along, the goal has been to help patients recover more quickly and with less pain, so they can get back to doing the things they love.

Hip replacement surgery—which can be either partial or complete— is used to treat patients with severe osteoarthritis or a hip fracture after all other conservative (non-surgical) treatments have failed. The procedure removes damaged bone and cartilage from the painful hip and replaces it with a prosthetic, or artificial hip. If successful, the end result will relieve pain, improve joint mobility and restore or improve a patient’s ability to safely perform daily activities like walking, standing, and climbing stairs.

The surgery itself, however, is not the end of the story. In order to have a successful recovery, it’s incredibly important that the patient follows a course of physical therapy following the hip replacement. Physical therapy is a necessary component of the recovery process that will help patients regain their flexibility, build back their strength, and gradually return to everyday activities.

Highlights of hip arthroplasty rehabilitation in Visalia

In most cases, a physical therapist will come to the patient’s bedside on the first or second day after surgery to begin post-operative treatment. This period of time is called the acute phase of recovery, and the therapist will help you with tasks like turning in bed and rising to a sitting position, getting out of bed to stand, and walking with an assistive device like a walker or crutches a short distance. The therapists will also begin some gentle exercises to increase flexibility and strength at this time.

Some time after being discharged from the hospital, patients will begin an outpatient treatment program at a local clinic will begin. During this time, physical therapists will continue to focus on helping patients with walking and stair climbing, balance, full movement of the leg and new hip, and transferring to the bed, chair and car. They will also incorporate specific muscle strengthening to improve the patient’s ability to stand and walk safely and independently.

Sometimes a Good Home Program is All That is Needed

In some cases, our physical therapist may have enough confidence in a patient to prescribe an unsupervised rehabilitation program to be performed at home. While less capable patients may require the specific guidance of a physical therapist at the clinic, a recent study has shown that both supervised and unsupervised treatment programs can lead to similar results after surgery:

The results demonstrated that outcomes in response to rehabilitation after hip total replacement surgery are clinically and statistically similar whether the program was supervised or not. The results suggest that early rehabilitation programs can be effectively delivered unsupervised in the home to low-risk patients discharged home after surgery.

Patients who are scheduled to have a hip replacement surgery are therefore encouraged to confirm that physical therapy is part of their recovery plan, and to participate in it fully in order to experience the best possible outcomes.

When a Home Program Isn’t Enough – Give Us a Call

If the home program isn’t enough to get you back to walking normally or you don’t have good pain relief after the procedure, then total hip replacement physical therapy program may be for you.  Contact us for additional information and details.  We accept most insurance plans and can usually get you in within a few days.

Fall Prevention Program in Visalia – Reduce Your Fall Risk

Staying active and physical therapy can help reduce your risk for falls

Falls are the leading cause of both fatal and non-fatal injuries in older adults, and as a result, they threaten seniors’ safety and independence in major ways. This is exactly why we offer a fall prevention program in Visalia.

Approximately one-third of Americans aged 65 and over falls each year, which results in more than 2.4 million injuries treated in emergency rooms. Most fractures among older adults are caused by falls, with over 95% of hip fractures resulting from a fall of some sort.

A fall can occur for a number of reasons, but they are often 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 be a recipe for a fall, and environmental hazards are responsible for at least one-third of all falls, both in and out of the house.

If a fall does occur, many people unfortunately go on to develop an even greater fear of falling, even if they’re not 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 turn into a vicious cycle that actually increases the risk for falling rather than lowering it.

What’s most important to realize is that falling should not be seen as an inevitable part of aging. Making simple changes around your home, as well as improving your balance with some targeted exercises can significantly reduce your risk of falling. Below are some fall-prevention tips to help you stay on your feet and injury-free:

  • Get physically active on a regular basis, as keeping up with your physical fitness is one of the best ways to keep your body strong and prevent falls
  • See a physical therapist for a balance training program to be completed in the clinic and at home; these types of programs focus on improving balance and posture, which will reduce your chances of falling
  • Wear shoes with nonskid soles, consider getting Velcro or spyrolaces if needed
  • Conduct a walkthrough of your home to identify possible problems that may lead to a fall; once identified, make any necessary changes to remove these risks
  • Install handrails on both sides of all stairways, avoid clutter and putting any items on the floor, remove throw rugs and make sure your home is well-lit
  • Get your eyes checked once a year, and get adequate calcium and vitamin D
  • Take your time, be patient and ask others for help with difficult, risky tasks

Balance training programs created by physical therapists have been shown to be effective for reducing the risk for falls in older adults, and the conclusion of this recent study highlights the potential benefits of any type of exercise in the elderly population:

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.

So if you are concerned with risk for falling or that of a loved one, seeing a physical therapist is one of the best choices you can make to do something about it. Contact us to find out more about our Fall Prevention Program in Visalia and how we can help reduce your fall risk so you can lead a safer life.