At ReFORM Physical Therapy and Pilates, patients come for help with many different types of issues. Physical therapists are diverse in their knowledge and skills and can provide care for numerous different types of orthopedic and neuromuscular pathologies. To better clarify this point, here is a list of the top 10 most common diagnoses treated by the staff at ReFORM:
With approximately 31 million Americans experiencing it at any one time, low back pain has become an epidemic. Various structures can cause pain in the lumbar spine, including facet joints, intervertebral discs, and small spaces (known as “foramina”) where nerves reside.
2. Neck Pain
Although it can be caused by trauma (such as whiplash from a fall or motor vehicle accident), the majority of cases of neck pain are based in postural demand – most often related to working at a desk. A large number of hours each week spent on a computer without proper positioning and ergonomic set-up can lead to stiff joints and overworked muscles, resulting in chronic pain.
3. Muscle Strains
It is almost inevitable that active people will face a “pulled muscle” at some point in their lives. The most severe strains entail tearing of the muscle, which require the professional care to facilitate healing and regain full function.
When people perform high dosages of repetitive tasks that are uncommon to them or done without proper rest breaks, they can open themselves up to tendinitis, or inflammation of a tendon due to overuse. This tissue heals slowly and differently compared to others in the body and can benefit from the knowledge and skills of a physical therapist.
These can significantly affect a patient’s ability to work, concentrate, sleep, and simply enjoy life. Stemming from a trauma or overuse issues, a headache, itself, is a vague diagnosis that points to an underlying problem, and when that problem is with the neck or jaw, physical therapists can be of great help in decreasing the intensity and frequency through treatment and education.
6. Joint Sprains
“Rolling an ankle” or “twisting a knee” are classic examples of joint sprains involving ligaments – elastic tissue bands that hold bones together and stabilize joints. Unlike muscle, ligaments heal slowly and require relative rest and gradual tension-building exercises to facilitate healing. If not handled properly, sprains can linger and lead to chronic pain, poor joint control, and even balance problems.
Osteoarthritis, which is the most common form of this issue that we see, relates to the degradation of cartilage and irritation of underlying bone tissue. For this condition, patient education is as important as any exercise, and a physical therapist can teach the patient what to do and what NOT to do to control chronic symptoms.
8. Post-Operative Rehabilitation
Any type of joint or muscle surgery, such as ACL reconstructions, total hip and knee replacements, and rotator cuff repairs, should be followed by extensive rehabilitation with a physical therapist. Failure to follow through with a plan of care can slow or even prevent full recovery of important physical attributes like range of motion, strength, muscle coordination, and balance.
9. Balance Problems / Fall Prevention
A person’s ability to maintain proper balance seems to worsen with age, placing one at increased risk for falls. However, there are several factors that can be improved by working with a physical therapist, including posture, trunk and hip strength, and balance activities that challenge both the vestibular and joint feedback systems.
10. Temperomandibular Joint (TMJ) Pain / Dysfunction
Jaw problems can significantly impact one’s quality of life. Not only are they commonly accompanied by headaches and neck pain, but they can also interrupt chewing, singing, and even sleep. Specially-trained physical therapists understand the root causes of TMJ dysfunction and how to treat them through hands-on therapy, exercises, and behavior modification.