Physical Therapy for Heart Disease

Physical therapy for heart disease in Portland OR - New Heights Physical Therapy.

According to the CDC, heart disease is an all-too-common reality for over 20.1 million adults ages 20 and older. If you’ve recently lived through an episode of what has proven to be one of the leading causes of death for adults in the United States, it can be hard to decide what to do next. Healing from such a distressing incident takes time, and physical therapy can aid the rehabilitation process as well as improve your overall heart health. At New Heights Physical Therapy, we’re dedicated to helping our patients recover and gain back strength after any injury or disease-related complication. If you’ve recently suffered from or have ongoing heart-related issues, we’re here to support you and stand by your side in the recovery period.

Beginning the Rehabilitation Process

Whether you’ve experienced a heart attack, heart failure, angioplasty, or heart surgery, cardiac rehab is essential to properly healing both mentally and physically. Our treatment for heart disease is not unlike the other forms of therapy we offer at New Heights Therapy. Here, we follow a three-phase program that includes: 

  • Reaction, which starts in the first 24-72 hours after your injury. Where most would rely on painkillers to ease the swelling or muscle spasms post-accident, our technicians can help you take advantage of your body’s natural repair process.
  • Regeneration over the course of around 6-8 weeks, when your body begins to create more tissue around the injured area and repair damaged nerve connections.
  • Remodeling up until a year after your initial injury. Even after you no longer feel any residual pain, physical therapy is still recommended in order to create the connective tissue you need to thrive and prevent repeat injuries in the future.

Your doctor will work with you to develop a plan that is best suited for your health and may consult a physical therapist in evaluating any impairments that need to be taken into consideration. Once you are approved to participate in a cardiac rehab program, it’s time to  take the next step toward recovery!

Recovery Through Education

When you begin your rehabilitation, one of the most important steps is education. Your physical therapist is dedicated to helping you better understand your own heart health and will work with you every step of the way. Education methods include:

  • Understanding the current state of your heart and why you are experiencing heart-related issues.
  • Learning about proper exercise procedures and how to safely practice them.
  • Being taught how to monitor your own heart rate and asses your exertion levels during exercise.
  • Knowing what to avoid in the healing process and understanding what will help you achieve success.
  • Identifying stressors that hurt your heart and learning how to tackle sources of stress.
  • Setting goals for your heart health that will give you something to work toward.

Through education, patients are often more confident in their ability to heal and have a smoother recovery period. By getting familiar with your own heart health, you can make better lifestyle choices post-recovery.

Cardiac Physical Therapy Exercises

Because your heart is still in recovery mode, it is crucial not to overdo your exercise regime. This is why physical therapy plays such an important role in cardiac rehabilitation. Working together with your physical therapist enables you to be monitored and learn about what exercises are best for your particular situation. Independent and group exercise can help you gain confidence, and the presence of a physical therapist ensures you are increasing your exercise tolerance safely. An array of activities may be included in your rehab program including flexibility, strengthening, and aerobic exercises. Once you feel confident enough, at-home exercises will continue to help you get back to normal and decrease the risk of future heart disease complications.

Physical Therapy FAQs

Q. Is physical therapy covered by insurance? 

A. At New Heights Physical Therapy Plus, we cover most major insurances in the PNW area. For added security, our team will review and verify your benefits before your initial service.

Q. What is the best physical therapy treatment for heart disease? 

A. The best treatment will differ on a case-by-case basis, but your program may include low-impact physical activities like jogging and cycling, as well as muscle strengthening.

Q. What happens after physical therapy for cardiovascular disease?

A. After you finish your program here, it’ll be up to you to make some crucial lifestyle changes and stick with them. This may include quitting smoking, maintaining a lower blood pressure, or keeping up with a new exercise regimen.

Physical Therapy for a Better Heart

Even if you haven’t suffered from a serious heart-related issue, physical therapy and monitored exercise is essential to adopting a heart-healthy lifestyle. Physical therapists are committed to helping patients lead a healthier life through education and exercise. At New Heights Therapy, we know how life-changing heart disease is and love helping our patients improve their heart health and confidence after a traumatic experience. You owe it to your heart to be committed to anything that helps you live a long and healthy life – so contact us today to get started!

Slips and Trips Can Cause More Damage Than You Think

Senior citizen slips on slick linoleum in Portland OR

Slips and Trips Can Cause More Damage Than You Think

Our bodies are incredibly resilient and can bounce back from all sorts of illnesses and injuries. While this resiliency is great for keeping us healthy, it often causes us to shrug off minor injuries like trips or falls. Many people will ignore aches and pains, hoping that they’ll go away on their own. But, failing to properly care for your body after falling can result in long-lasting or worsening problems.

The best way to avoid lingering pain from falling is to prevent accidents from happening in the first place. And, now that we’re in the midst of the rainy Pacific Northwest fall, it’s extra important to be careful around slippery surfaces to avoid slipping or falling. Here are our top tips for staying safe in slippery weather:

  • Use handrails when possible
  • Wear slip-resistant shoes
  • Wipe your feet when coming indoors
  • Avoid distractions like phones when walking
  • Stick to well-lit and maintained pathways
  • Store wet clothes and items away from walkways

While these tips can help you avoid becoming injured, what should you do if you are experiencing pain from a trip or fall? Our recommendation is to receive immediate medical attention for any acute injuries, and then to seek physical therapy so you can avoid long-lasting pain.


Signs Physical Therapy Can Help Relieve Your Pain

It is so common to disregard lingering pain from slips or falls that most people aren’t even aware that they can find relief. With the help of physical therapy, you can reduce or eliminate recurring pain from minor injuries rather than suffering for months or years on end. Here are some signs that you should seek treatment after a trip or fall:

  • You notice swelling or other visible changes.
  • Medications aren’t helping relieve the pain. 
  • You are experiencing persisting, recurring, or sharp pain.
  • You have limited mobility or can’t perform some tasks.
  • You frequently suffer from headaches or traveling pain.

All of these are signs that your minor injury could have long-lasting effects if not properly treated. And, if you are still experiencing any of these signs from a trip or fall that happened a while ago, it isn’t too late to receive help! Physical therapy can help at any stage of the recovery process. 

If you recently fell or are experiencing long-lasting pain from a previous injury, the specialists at New Heights Physical Therapy can help! Our highly trained therapists are dedicated to helping you recover in a safe and caring environment, so you can get back to your daily activities in no time. Call us today to schedule an appointment.

What to Do When You’re in an Accident

Woman in car accident getting help. Blog post from New Heights Physical Therapy in Portland, OR

What to Do After a Car Accident

With school opening back up and new drivers taking to the roads, there has been an increase of car accidents throughout Vancouver WA and Portland OR. And, these accidents aren’t just impacting other drivers; motorcyclists, bikers, and pedestrians are also at risk of experiencing a vehicle-related injury.

Even seemingly minor injuries from motor-related accidents can cause serious pain for months, years, or even a lifetime. Over 75% of people who sought immediate medical care after a car accident reported pain 4 weeks later, making these injuries a leading cause of chronic pain.

What Are Common Car Accident Injuries?

Even a small fender bender can cause injury, which may linger long after the accident is over. The jerking motions of coming to an abrupt stop or being hit can lead to whiplash, muscle tears, and more. Without proper attention, these injuries can cause residual pain for years.

Thankfully, physical therapy can help reduce pain and increase mobility after an accident. Some of the most common car-related injuries that physical therapy can help treat are:

  • Whiplash and headaches
  • Back or neck strains
  • Shoulder strains
  • Wrist injuries

What to Do When You’re in an Accident

If you have been in an accident and endured a severe injury or suspect head trauma, it is important to seek immediate medical attention. Some signs of head trauma include:

  • Loss of consciousness.
  • Sensory issues with light or sound.
  • Persistent or worsening headache.
  • Nausea and vomiting.
  • Loss of coordination or speech issues.
  • Fatigue or drowsiness.

If you do not suspect serious injury, it is still a good idea to see a physical therapist as soon as possible – even if you don’t immediately feel any pain. Car accidents are traumatic and often trigger a large release of adrenaline, which can make it difficult or impossible to notice an injury right away. Additionally, any damaged soft tissue may take several days or weeks to swell up and cause pain.

A physical therapist can help you avoid or reduce pain after a car accident. With over 24 years of experience serving the Vancouver WA and Portland OR area, the experts at New Heights Physical Therapy can help. Our highly-trained specialists can identify and treat accident-related injuries to help keep you pain free – both immediately and weeks or months later. Call us today if you are facing an accident-related injury!

Tips for Properly Fitting a Bike

Person riding a mountain bike. New Heights provides professional bike fittings.

We don’t have to tell you this; bike riding is big in the Portland OR and Vancouver WA area. Cyclists ride bikes for recreation as well as transportation to work and school regardless of the weather. But did you know simply hopping on a bike and taking off may cause you to suffer pain later? In this article, we’ll talk about how to properly fit a bike so you can ride in comfort.

What is a Bike Fitting?

Before we dig into bike fitting, it’s important to know what a bike fitting is in the first place. A bike fitting is a process performed by a professional. Because everyone is different, they may ask how you use your bike and what your goals are. Then they’ll have you sit on the bike and adjust things like the frame and saddle so you and the bike work in synchronization.

Adjusting Your Bike For You

Cycling should be pain-free. Here are a few ways you can change your experience, so you can ride longer and harder.

Adjust the Saddle Height

This step is probably the easiest and most important one to set. You want the saddle to be at a height that when your leg is extended during a pedal stroke, your heel barely touches the pedal, and is not above your toes.

Adjust the Saddle Setback

To avoid pain in your pelvis, your saddle setback should be adjusted as well. This involves moving the saddle forward and backward until your knee is over the pedal spindle.

Change Bike Stems

The bike stem is the piece that bridges your handlebars to your steerer. It shouldn’t be too long or too short because your reach to the handlebars is important for weight distribution. When reaching for your handlebars, your elbows should have a slight bend.

If you travel and take your bike apart often it’s a good idea to measure and record these adjustments. Keep them somewhere handy so you can use them for a quick and easy reference.

Signs Your Bike is Not Properly Fitted

If your bike is not properly fitted, your body will tell you. Below are some of the common symptoms you may experience.

  • Knee, hip, and ankle pain: if you’re experiencing pain in these lower extremities, it is likely due to your saddle’s position.
  • Shoulder and neck pain: if you suffer pain in these areas this is likely from your stem or handlebar position.

Your Local Source for Bike Fitting

Want help with your bike fit? At New Heights Physical Therapy, our highly-experienced therapists provide professional bike fitting for patients whether it’s a road bike, mountain bike or hybrid bike, we can help. So contact New Heights Physical Therapy today for your professional bike fitting in the Portland OR and Vancouver WA area!

Negative Effects of Inactivity

New Heights Physical Therapy reveals the negative effects of inactivity in Portland OR and Vancouver WA

It’s easy for us to say that physical activity is key to improving your health. This could be running or biking out in nature, doing reps in the gym, or simply going about the house doing your daily chores. You’ve heard it before from countless sources, but have you ever wondered why physical activity is so important? What are the effects of an inactive lifestyle, on both a physical, mental, and psychological level? 

Health Risks of Inactivity 

A recent study by JAMA cites that 80% of US adults and adolescents are insufficiently active. This raises concerns on a number of different levels, as it’s physical activity that promotes healthy growth and development while also reducing the risk of many chronic diseases for people of all ages. Even a consistent rate of moderate-to-vigorous activity can offset many of the risks associated with a sedentary lifestyle. 

Short Term Effects

Some of the short-term effects of an inactive lifestyle can include: 

  • Weight gain
  • Weakened immune system
  • Hormonal imbalances
  • Poor blood circulation
  • A decrease in skeletal muscle mass
  • Higher cholesterol levels

Long Term Effects

Over time, a sedentary lifestyle can lead to more serious health conditions, like: 

  • Coronary heart disease
  • Stroke
  • Type-2 diabetes
  • Certain cancers
  • Anxiety and depression

Physical Activity Guidelines

How do you know how much physical activity you need? The United States Department of Health and Human Services published a helpful guide describing the variety, intensity, and duration of physical activity that people need in every stage of life. 

  • They suggest that preschool-aged children (aged 3-5 years) be physically active in a variety of ways throughout the day. 
  • Children and adolescents (ages 6-17) should get at least 60 minutes of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity that focuses on aerobics as well as muscle-strengthening. 
  • For adults, you need at least 150-300 minutes of moderate activity in a week. 
  • Older adults should, if possible, get 150 minutes per week of moderate activity focusing on balance training and muscle-strengthening. 

Physical Activity FAQ

What are the benefits of physical activity? 

Physical activity can improve bone health and cognitive function. It can reduce the risk of certain cancers, postpartum depression in pregnant women, and prevent fall injuries in older adults. 

What kinds of physical activity are there?

The four main varieties of physical activity are aerobic, muscle-strengthening, bone-strengthening, and stretching. Aerobics move large muscles like your arms and legs, muscle-strengthening improves strength and endurance, bone-strengthening helps your bones support the weight of your body and strengthening increases flexibility. 

What is a moderate-intensity exercise?

On a scale of zero to ten, a moderate-intensity exercise would be a five or six. Your hearts, lungs and muscles will work harder, and while you should be able to speak clearly you will be unable to sing.

How can New Heights Therapy help me be more active?

New Heights Therapy focuses both on recovery and training. Whether you aim to bike safer or run with the right form, our therapists can start you on your health journey right.

Simple Activities You Can Do to Prevent Issues in the Future

If you’ve been inactive, you may want to start slow to prevent injuries. Here are some simple activities you can do in your daily life:

At home

  • Housework, cleaning, yard work, and gardening.
  • Stand up while on the phone
  • Stretch or lift hand weights while watching TV
  • Go on a walk around the neighborhood
  • Exercise using a workout video

At work

  • If you sit, get up and move around at least once an hour
  • See if your company can get you a stand-up desk
  • Take the stairs
  • Use your break to walk around the building

Monitored physical exercise and activity can help inactive patients develop new and positive habits. At New Heights Physical Therapy, we help our patients lead a healthier life through movement and education. You owe it to your body to lead the best and most productive life possible! If you’re interested in learning more ways to get active, give the professionals at New Heights Physical Therapy a call today.

Benefits of Pelvic Floor Therapy

Explore the benefits of pelvic floor therapy with New Heights Physical Therapy in Vancouver WA and Portland OR!

Over the years, women may notice that their pelvic muscles are just not as strong as they once were. They may feel pain in the pelvis, overall weakness, decrease in sexual pleasure, or leaking of urine during normal daily activities. It’s a form of Sarcopenia, otherwise known as a weakening of muscle mass across the body due primarily to age. Other symptoms of a weak pelvic floor could include the following:

  • Painful urination
  • Constipation
  • Back pain
  • Pelvic muscle spasms
  • Pelvic pressure

It happens naturally as you get older, but pelvic muscles can also be affected by factors such as pregnancy, physical trauma to the area, or simply through chronic overuse.

Pelvic Floor FAQs

Q. What is the pelvic floor? 

A. The pelvic floor is a term to cover the muscles that support the organs of all human beings. It supports the bladder and colon, as well as the uterus of biological women.

Q. What is pelvic floor dysfunction?

A. Pelvic floor dysfunction is when a person is unable to coordinate and relax their pelvic muscles to do things like process a bowel movement. It’s estimated that nearly half of people live with this condition.

Q. What does pelvic floor dysfunction look like?

A. That depends on your biological sex. For men it may involve erectile dysfunction or a swelling of the prostate, while women may experience pain during penetrative sex.

Q. How do you know if you have pelvic floor dysfunction?

A. This is something that is typically diagnosed by a medical professional. But, if you have a history of UTIs, an overactive bladder or fecal incontinence, these are all major symptoms of pelvic floor distress.

What Can You Do to Strengthen Your Pelvic Floor?

If this has been something you’ve been enduring for a while, you’ve likely seen the tools and equipment that advertise effects through Kegels, or exercises that, in women, are meant to tighten and strengthen the muscles of your vagina. But do Kegels work?

Yes, they do! In fact, they’re a verified form of treatment for both men and women! When done correctly you’ll find that Kegels can help strengthen the muscles needed to reduce incontinence and sexual disfunction. However, it can be difficult to make sure you’re working the right muscles, as it’s calculated that a third of people attempting the exercise are actually tightening their buttocks or inner thigh.

It’s because of this that the team at New Heights Therapy suggest pursuing professional pelvic floor therapy. With us, you can make sure you have the support and insight of the most qualified physical therapists in the area.

Is Pelvic Floor Therapy Right for You?

When pelvic floor therapy is used with the guidance of a physical therapist, you may feel more comfortable, eliminate some symptoms and get back to the activities that you love. There are specific circumstances when a woman can really benefit from pelvic floor therapy.

Pelvic Floor and Postpartum Therapy

This therapy is perhaps best known for being used in women who have given birth. The pressure that occurs as you push a child through your vaginal canal can stretch and even tear pelvic muscles, leading to weakness. The pelvic muscles, which are meant to hold up the bladder and uterus, soften and sink. Therapy tightens and lifts these muscles again.

Post-Abdominal Surgery and Pelvic Exercises

Therapy is also very beneficial after pelvic surgery. When the muscles are cut, it takes a while for them to grow back together correctly and to regain their former strength. Healing from surgery can also involve scar tissue and flexibility issues, and pelvic floor therapy can help to address these issues. Physical therapy is an excellent choice after a hysterectomy, episiotomy, colorectal surgery, or C-section.

Pelvic Floor Therapy and Incontinence

If you are aging, you may be noticing some bladder weakness. Instead of turning to an incontinence pad, assuming that this is a normal part of aging, choose pelvic therapy. It can strengthen and lift your pelvic muscles, providing better support for the bladder and ureters.

Therapy for General Pelvic Health

Women may also need physical therapy for the pelvic muscles for a variety of other generalized concerns, including the following:

  • Pelvic pain
  • Pain with intercourse
  • Abnormally tight pelvic floor muscles
  • Obesity
  • Nerve damage

While you may need months of therapy, and will continue pelvic muscle strengthening exercises at home, you can turn around the health of your pelvic floor and experience great muscle tone in the area. At New Heights Physical Therapy, we believe in taking care of your total health and well-being. This applies not only to pelvic health, but to a whole range of treatments that we specialize in. So if you think you could benefit from support and experience in your pelvic floor therapy, give us a call today!

Exercise to Recover from Concussions

Exercise to Recover from Concussions - New Heights Physical Therapy - Portland OR

If you have suffered from a concussion, you know the immediate effects it can have on your ability to function physically, cognitively, and behaviorally. Concussions are traumatic brain injuries caused by direct force or a blow to the head that severely rattles the brain. It has been estimated that more than two million people suffer from concussions in the United States each year. If you have or think you have a concussion, it’s urgent to seek immediate help from a medical professional. At New Heights Physical Therapy, we take concussions very seriously and encourage all patients to consult their doctor before we can help you recover.

What Causes Concussions?

Concussions can occur during rapid movement changes or, most commonly, when there is a direct blow to the head. Because the brain is affected by this, there is immediate or delayed changes in the brain’s chemistry and function. There are a number of incidents that are known to cause concussions:

  • Motor vehicle accidents or collisions
  • Sports-related injuries to the head or neck
  • Falling or tripping (the leading cause)
  • Accidents at hard-labor jobs
  • Violent assault or abuse

Signs of a Concussion

Because concussions can cause long-term damage, it’s important to recognize the signs and symptoms of a concussion and seek professional help immediately. It’s also essential to note that symptoms can show immediately or even months after the incident. A few of the symptoms of a concussion include:

  1. Physical symptoms: Nausea/vomiting, difficulty balancing, headache, difficulty sleeping or increased sleepiness, blurred vision, exercise intolerance, sensitivity to light and sound, slurred speech, dazed and confused staring, etc.
  2. Emotional symptoms: Irritability, anxiety or depression, aggression, restlessness, inability to handle stress, mood swings, or a noticeable change in personality or behavior.
  3. Cognitive symptoms: Worsened long-term or short-term memory, confusion, difficulty concentrating/focusing, slower processing, difficulty with decision-making, etc.
  4. Long-term symptoms: Fatigue, weight gain, muscle weakness, chronic headaches, loss of libido, developmental problems in children, low blood pressure, etc.

If you are experiencing any number of these symptoms, you need to contact a medical professional. If symptoms are ignored, the problem can become worse and lead to long-term brain defects.

How Can Exercise Help Treat Concussions?

At New Heights Physical Therapy, we know how distressing a concussion is and are dedicated to helping our patients recover from their traumatic injury. Because we are specialists in sports medicine, we are accustomed to treating athletes that have suffered a sports-related concussion (SRC). No two concussions are the same and we will work hard with you to determine the best course of treatment. There is extensive data suggesting that exercise, especially aerobic exercise, may help patients recovering from a concussion. Some of the ways physical therapy may help treat concussion include:

  • Determining the appropriate amount of time to rest and recover before treatment.
  • Restoring strength and endurance through closely monitored exercises, and overcoming exercise intolerance.
  • Improving balance and confidence through specific monitored exercises.
  • Improving headaches and pain through stretching and strengthening exercises.
  • Helping patients return to normal activity or sport through renewed confidence in endurance and strength.

Professional Physical Therapy for Concussion

Rest and monitored physical exercise or activity can help patients recover from a concussion. We know the trauma and life-altering changes a concussion can bring, and are dedicated to helping those who are suffering from the symptoms. If you are interested in learning more about how exercise and physical therapy can help treat the effects of a concussion, give the professionals at New Heights Physical Therapy a call today to set up a consultation today!

How Kinesiology Tape Works

How Kinesiology Tape Works - New Heights Physical Therapy in Portland OR

You’ve undoubtedly seen brightly colored kinesiology tape on athletes, but how is it used in physical therapy and how can it help you? Kinesiology taping involves placing strips of this special tape on areas of the body to help improve mobility and support the joints, muscles, and tendons. The tape is light and flexible, non-restrictive, allows normal movement, improves lymph transport, and increases circulation. At New Heights Physical Therapy, we want to help our patients better understand how kinesiology tape can play a crucial role in their physical therapy routines.

What Kinesiology Tape Does

While there are several theories about precisely how kinesiology tape works, it is generally believed to create balance in the neural circuitry in muscles, tendons, joints, and skin. In effect, this can work to reduce pain, decrease swelling, and improve muscle performance and function.

Kinesiology tape serves several functions that have made it so popular in the past decade:

  • Offers structural or muscle support
  • Corrects postural problems
  • Increases blood flow and lymphatic drainage

When applied directly, kinesiology tape can achieve the above effects as it lifts the skin to create a small space between the muscle and dermis layers. Even within that very small space, pressure is taken off any swelling or injured muscles, allowing for smoother movement.

Using Kinesiology Tape in Physical Therapy

People use this special tape for a variety of reasons. When you meet with your physical therapist, they will assess your current situation to decide on the best use of the kinesiology tape. They can also show you how to properly apply the tape yourself. It is especially helpful in accordance with our sports medicine and dance medicine treatments.

Common uses of kinesiology tape include:

  • Inhibition and pain management. This tape can help decrease pain and muscle spasms that may occur after injury.
  • Facilitation. Using this tape helps improve muscular firing and contraction patterns, which is often helpful in improving athletic performance.
  • Swelling management. As mentioned before, kinesiology tape helps with swelling by decreasing pressure between the skin and underlying tissues.
  • Scar tissue management. If you’ve developed scar tissue after surgery or trauma, this tape can be used to gently pull on scar tissue to provide a low-intensity stretch that may help properly align collagen cells.

Could You Benefit from Using Kinesiology Tape?

When you visit your physical therapist at New Heights Physical Therapy, we’d be happy to discuss how kinesiology tape may be beneficial to your physical therapy routine. Not only can we provide you with vital information on how it works, we can also show you the various ways to apply it that will best serve your unique situation. Give us a call today to set up your next appointment!

Ultrasound Imaging of Musculoskeletal Disorders

Ultrasound Imaging for Musculoskeletal Disorders with tips provided by New Heights Physical Therapy

Ultrasound imaging is a safe and standard procedure that has been used for decades, but is becoming more widely available. This noninvasive approach helps physicians and physiatrists diagnose and treat medical conditions, including musculoskeletal disorders. In addition to a clinical exam, using ultrasound imaging to help diagnose issues is a low-cost, reliable, and painless medical procedure that can aid in managing musculoskeletal disorders. Here at New Heights Therapy, we’re dedicated to aiding our patients and that begins with accurate, reliable diagnoses. Here’s how ultrasound imaging helps us do just that and more!

How Does Ultrasound Imaging Work?

An ultrasound imaging device is made up of a transducer, a transmitter, a receiver, a monitor display, and often a digital storage medium for collecting the images or videos. Ultrasound imaging involves the use of a transducer and ultrasound gel to collect high-frequency sound waves, which travel through the body and encounter acoustic interfaces. These interactions are then reflected back to the transducer and finally formed into images by use of a computer. These images can show the structure and movement of the internal organs as well as blood flowing through blood vessels.

What Can Ultrasound Imaging Help Diagnose?

While no single imaging method can diagnose all musculoskeletal disorders, ultrasound imaging can aid physiatrists in the first steps of diagnosing a variety of problems, including but not limited to the following:

  • Tendon tears or tendonitis of the rotator cuff, patellar tendon, Achilles tendon, and more
  • Ligament sprains or tears
  • Masses or fluid collections and inflammation or effusions in the joints
  • Nerve entrapments, including carpal/tarsal tunnel syndrome
  • Chronic or acute muscle injury


What are the Advantages and Limitations of Ultrasound Imaging?

The benefits of using ultrasound imaging in diagnosing musculoskeletal disorders are plentiful.

  • Ultrasound examinations do not use ionizing radiation (as used in x-rays), so patients are not exposed to any radiation.
  • An ultrasound exam is noninvasive and not painful to patients, and patient comfort is of the utmost importance to any physical therapist carrying out the exam.
  • The procedure yields high-resolution imaging, which in some cases is even more productive than MRI or CT in assessing soft tissue structures (tendons and nerves).
  • Ultrasound imaging is a faster procedure than taking an MRI and allows for quicker, real-time examinations.

As with all procedures, there are a few limitations to ultrasound imaging, such as its inability to penetrate bone/intra-articular structures or deeper structures inside some patients. However, ultrasound imaging is a great procedure for physical therapists in treating their patients due to its ability to diagnose musculoskeletal disorders.

How Can Physical Therapists Use Ultrasound Imaging?

With ultrasound imaging becoming more readily available for physical therapists to use in helping their patients, it is becoming very common in the practice of physical therapy. That said, some special training is required for physiatrists to incorporate it into their practice. Not all ultrasonographic transducers yield high enough resolution for musculoskeletal evaluation, and not all physical therapists or physicians are as familiar with specialized techniques necessary for this type of imaging. At New Heights Therapy, we’re dedicated to ensuring physical therapists are as knowledgeable as possible when it comes to diagnosing patients. Our upcoming two-day seminar on medical imaging will cover the basics of ultrasound imaging for local physical therapists interested in this innovative practice.

Physical Therapy for Hip Replacements

New Heights Physical Therapy provides exceptional physical therapy for post-op hip replacement in Portland OR and Vancouver WA.

Hip replacements are necessary in a variety of situations, whether because of direct physical injury, or because of cartilage degeneration. If you’re about to receive a hip replacement, or in the post-operative stage of recovery from a hip replacement, you may be concerned about your recovery process. At New Heights Therapy, we’re committed to providing helpful information for all of our patients, and committed to providing the best in physical therapy services! Hip replacement surgery is a major one, and requires proper care and support.

We want to encourage everyone who is recovering from a hip replacement to consult their surgeon before structuring a recovery plan. While we can give general information about hip replacement recovery, you should always have the guidance of a medical professional who understands your specific surgery before any exercises should be done. Every hip replacement is different, and requires a different recovery plan!

Movement After Hip Replacement

Depending on why you got the hip replacement, the specific surgery, and the type of replacement, your needs post-op are going to be different from another patient’s.

  • We recommend asking your surgeon exactly what kind of movements, and how soon, you should start doing after surgery.
  • Again, because everyone is different, we cannot recommend a specific timeline–but your surgeon will be able to!
  • Movement is an important component of healing, because it circulates blood and other healing mechanisms or the body, and it also prevents muscle atrophy or stiffness.
  • While most surgeons will give you a detailed recovery sheet, make sure you understand when and how post-op movement is going to be incorporated into your recovery plan.

Retraining Muscle Memory After Hip Surgery

After a hip replacement, your other muscle groups are going to naturally work in different ways. Depending on the type and placement of your hip replacement, you may find that your hip is in a slightly different place, or at a slightly different angle, than you’re accustomed. In order to prevent further injury, it’s important to have a physical therapist or other medical professional examine your muscles, how they’re moving, and how your muscle memory is changing or should change.

Professional Help for Hip Replacement Recovery

Reports vary on the efficacy and importance of formal physical therapy as a post-op treatment for hip replacement. While some patients find they need the emotional and physical support of a structured program, other patients are content to perform exercises at home without the aid of a therapist. Whatever your preference, we want to help make your hip replacement recovery as easy and as pain-free as possible! If you would like to explore physical therapy as a part of your recovery from hip replacement surgery, give New Heights Physical Therapy a call. We’d be happy to consult with you, detailing helpful exercises and supporting you through recovery!