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Can Your Sleeping Position Affect You Low Back Pain?

Low Back Pain (LBP) is the second most common cause of disability in the U.S. Over 80% of the population will experience a form of lower back pain at some point in their life and one of the biggest complaints that Physical Therapists receive about low back pain is how it can impact one’s ability to sleep through the night.
There are many components that can contribute to low back pain at night such as sleeping surface (mattress quality, mattress pad), pillows, room temperature and sleeping position. Research shows that sleep position can affect the alignment of the spine. Aiming for the proper sleep position can put the body into its neutral, or most natural, body position.
• SIDE SLEEPER: try placing a pillow between your knees. Your knee and hip should be in alignment with each other, so make sure the pillow is not too high or low

• BACK SLEEPER: try placing a pillow or two under your knees. This will put your spine into neutral position.

• STOMACH SLEEPER: try placing a pillow under your hips. This will help take the curve out of your back and put your spine into neutral position.

*Side sleepers can use a regular sized pillow, body pillow, or snoogle which is usually recommended during pregnancy but can be helpful for people with low back pain. For all positions however, the size and thickness of the pillow may vary from person to person based on flatness/density of the pillow. It is best to test out different sized pillows for each position to see which works best for you and your spine.
If none of these positions help relieve your lower back pain after a few nights, schedule an appointment with us at Performance Plus Physical Therapy so our Therapists can help identify the cause of your pain. Other than that, happy resting!

Hydration, Physical Performance & Recovery

With the warmer months rapidly approaching it is important to remember the significance of our daily water intake. Especially combined with physical activity, hydration can play a huge factor in performance and muscle recovery. Approximately 1-2 Liters of water are required to replace obligatory losses for even sedentary adults in a temperate climate. Therefore, almost double that should be consumed for modest amounts of exercise. That means increased activity during sport, a gym workout or even a physical therapy session can further dehydrate our bodies.

Proper hydration can help ensure optimal muscle function and prevent muscle cramps as well as excess fatigue. Along with enough rest, staying properly hydrated can aid in muscle recovery and repair after an injury or workout. Water intake also directly contributes to heat exchange and the demands of body temperature increases with physical activity or environment. This means that when we sweat due to exercise or hot temperatures, we are losing valuable fluids and we should drink extra water to make up for the loss. Studies show that the average male and female should have a water intake of 3.7 and 2.7 L per day, respectively. Although, considering factors such as metabolism, diet, climate and clothing, additional water should be considered for daily consumption.

We also must pay attention to some of the food we eat or the beverages we drink as either helping or hurting our hydration status. When in doubt, enough water can always help meet our bodies’ needs for hydration, peak physical performance, and recovery!

The Benefits of Cupping

The Benefits of Cupping

In its simplest description, cupping involves the direct use of cups on the skin to create suction. But what does the suction do? And is cupping a viable source of therapy?

Cupping originated in China, where it was known to facilitate the flow of “qi”, or life force, throughout the body. Some health problems were thought to be due to poor energy flow or stagnant blood. Enter cupping therapy, which increases blood circulation in the areas where the cups are placed, thus alleviating those problems. Most often dark bruises will arise and a common misconception is that they are the result of damage to the body. Instead, the dark marks are the result of the blood having been moved from deep tissue to more superficial layers.

Materials used vary:
o Glass cups, which use fire to create the suction
o Plastic cups, which utilize an air pump to siphon out the air, thus eliminating the need for fire
o Silicone cups, which alone, when squeezed, create the negative pressure needed to stick to the skin and raise the muscle

Two types of cupping:
o Dry
o Wet
o After a few minutes of dry cupping, small incisions are made to the raised areas, which allow for the excretion of toxic blood and fluids when another cup in placed over the same area for a second round of cupping.

Benefits vary from the type of cupping, wet versus dry. Overall, the suction created by the negative pressure inside of the cup draws blood toward the affected area, which can
o Relieve muscle tension
 Loosen muscles
o Improve circulation
 Encourage blood flow
o Reduce inflammation
 Attracts immune cells to the area in order to help aide the recovery process and decrease swelling
o Reduce pain
o Help with anxiety and depression
o Reduce the appearance of cellulite

Who should cup?
• Anyone suffering from chronic pain:
o Back pain
o Shoulder pain
o Other musculoskeletal pain

o Headaches or migraines
o Rheumatism
o Stress

 Tension builds up throughout our daily activities, whether it’s from manual labor at work or as a student hunching over a computer while writing an essay

• Athletes
o Post-workout recovery
o Although an ancient technique, cupping most recently blew up during the 2016 Olympics when swimmer Michael Phelps was seen with intense, purple circle bruises. He swore that cupping was the key to dealing with soreness and pain throughout the competition.

• Those suffering from
o Hypertension
o Diabetes
o Anxiety
o Depression

“Did you take a weekend course to become a Physical Therapist”

I am often asked “do you have a certificate to practice physical therapy?” or “did you have to take a weekend course to do this?” I can’t help but chuckle and remind the patient that they are in good hands and in fact, most licensed Physical Therapists now hold a doctorate degree. To be clear, the profession has evolved over the years and at one time a bachelor’s degree was the norm. Next came a master’s degree and currently most accredited universities offer a doctorate degree. A Physical Therapist now completes roughly 7 years of education. All Physical Therapists complete a rigorous doctoral program and are equipped to begin to treat patients. However, Physical Therapists vary in their skill sets, post doctorate educational levels and certifications as well as experience. We highly recommend you seek a licensed Physical Therapist that performs hands on, manual physical therapy and holds a Board Certification or regularly participates in continuing education. Do your homework and don’t be afraid to ask about your therapist prior to your evaluation. Like any profession, therapist vary greatly in their experience, techniques, skill level and of course personality. Find a therapist that you connect well with and most importantly feel comfortable with. It may help to ask to have a brief phone conversation with your potential therapist to get an idea if he or she is the right fit for you. At PPPT, we will gladly jump on a phone call with any potential new patient. We feel it’s also important on our end to assure the patient that their condition, or complaint is something we can handle. We understand that physical therapy may not only be a financial commitment, but also a time commitment and it is important that the patient understand the value of what they will be receiving prior to committing.

4 Myths About Physical Therapy

Four Myths About Physical Therapy

1. Physical therapy is painful.
If I had a dollar for every time I’ve heard someone say, “does physical therapy stand for physical torture?” I would be a rich man. Physical therapy should in fact very rarely be painful. Contrary to popular belief, Physical therapy is intended to reduce or abolish pain and not create or increase one’s level of pain. Yes, there are times and treatments that may cause brief periods of discomfort or residual soreness, but you should experience very little pain at the time of treatment or anytime after your session. If you do experience an increase in pain, it is important to communicate this to your therapist immediately.

2. Physical therapy treatments provide only temporary changes.
There is nothing further from the truth. Physical therapy does in fact result in long term changes in pain, mobility and function. In addition, Physical therapy can allow you to stop taking pain medication and reduce unnecessary injections or surgeries. Now, lets be clear, a few hours of physical therapy a week is not enough. You must supplement your physical therapy with a complete, individualized home exercise program and a daily commitment to your health.

3. Any healthcare professional can perform physical therapy, or all Physical Therapists are the same.
There are many different healthcare providers claiming to be able to perform physical therapy. However, did you know that to become a licensed Physical Therapist in the United States, you must hold a Doctorate Degree. A Physical Therapist completes 7 years of education. All Physical Therapists complete a rigorous Doctoral program and are equipped to begin to treat patients, however, Physical Therapists vary in their skill sets, post doctorate educational levels and certifications as well as experience. We highly recommend you seek a licensed Physical Therapist that performs hands on, manual physical therapy and holds a Board Certification or regularly participates in continuing education. Don’t be afraid to ask about your therapist prior to your evaluation.

4. A Doctors referral is necessary prior to seeing a Physical Therapist.
In most cases, a Physicians referral is not necessary to be evaluated by a Physical Therapist. Although some insurances require a referral, many do not and often an initial evaluation is allowed prior to obtaining a referral. If you are not using your insurance, a referral is not necessary for the first 12 visits or 45 days, whichever occurs first. Laws vary from state to state, so be sure to consult your local physical therapy office.