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!

Restless Leg Syndrome

New Heights Physical Therapy provides physical therapy services for restless leg syndrome in Portland OR and Vancouver WA.

Physical Therapy and Restless Leg Syndrome

Restless legs is characterized by by a feeling of itching or crawling on the legs. This sensation makes the individual want to move the legs constantly, and he or she will bounce, jiggle or rub them. It can be frustrating for the person afflicted with the condition, as well as for the people around him or her. It can be particularly brutal at night when the individual wants to get some sleep, but is kept awake with restless legs. September 23 is dedicated to awareness of this condition, in the hopes that increased education can lead to relief and an eventual cure.

What Causes Restless Leg Syndrome?

Restless leg syndrome affects millions of people. Researchers have not been able to pinpoint a cause for this condition. There are some situations that can make it worse or could be linked to restless legs, including:

  • Pregnancy
  • Having parents who had restless legs
  • Being deficient in iron
  • Peripheral neuropathy

Can Home Remedies Help?

The most obvious remedy that people use to stop restless legs is getting up and moving. Leg movement can often only help for a very short period of time. Here are some alternative remedies for reducing symptoms:

  • Hot or cold therapy: icing the legs, or taking a warm bath to relax the leg muscles before bed.
  • Decreasing caffeine intake
  • Decreasing alcohol intake
  • Giving up smoking
  • Taking a vitamin D supplement
  • Massage
  • Regular exercise
  • Deep breathing exercises
  • Yoga

Can Physical Therapy Help Restless Legs?

Exercise is a huge component of any restless leg treatment program, and a trained physical therapist can play a major part in prescribing the right program for getting the joints moving. Gentle joint pressure, hot and cold therapy, and manual manipulation can also be used during the physical therapy session to provide long-lasting relief.

In addition, a physical therapist can teach individuals techniques and exercises that they can use at home to decrease symptoms on their own. Leg exercises in particular can help contract the problematic muscles and can re-oxygenate them with fresh blood. Ellipticals and rowing machines are popular choices for this reason. Physical therapy can also manipulate the pelvis and feet, to increase functionality throughout the entire area.

Professional Help for Restless Leg Syndrome

A physical therapist has a vital role in calming the symptoms of restless leg syndrome to help patients get relief. With regular treatments, individuals can regain good sleep patterns, feel more relaxed when they are at rest, and experience better quality of life overall. At New Heights Physical Therapy, we practice cutting edge and proven methods of relieving restless leg syndrome, and we would love to help you find some relief!

Invisible Conditions

New Heights Physical Therapy provides relief and physical therapy for invisible conditions in Portland OR and Vancouver WA.

If you have been accused of “faking” an illness, you are certainly not alone. Many people struggle with health problems that don’t have a definable cause or currently available diagnostic criteria. While these conditions may be difficult to diagnose, they do create real problems, including pain, fatigue, and other life-altering symptoms. If you have one of these invisible conditions, you may be able to find relief with physical therapy.

Symptoms of Invisible Conditions

Invisible disabilities or conditions can have a variety of symptoms, including the following:

  • Fatigue
  • Dizziness
  • Pain
  • Difficulty with concentration or memory

The symptoms could be related to hundreds of different conditions, and they may even come and go. You may be accused of faking your symptoms, or you might have gone through multiple rounds of testing, only to be told that you’re in perfect health. It can be incredibly frustrating to be told that “nothing’s wrong”, and many patients give up on ever resuming their normal lifestyle. You should know that there are doctors and physical therapists that understand what you’re going through, and new research is being conducted on a daily basis to discover the cause of these invisible conditions. Your symptoms are real, and many studies have shown that these conditions do exist.

What Are the Most Common Invisible Conditions?

  • Chronic fatigue syndrome is one of the most common invisible disabilities with extreme fatigue as its main characteristic.
  • Fibromyalgia is similar to chronic fatigue syndrome but is set apart by the focused tenderness in nine major spots around the body possibly caused by pain receptor issues.
  • Endometriosis is characterized by extreme pain in the lower abdomen especially during a woman’s period. Although you may try to push through these symptoms for a while, believing that they are not really as bad as they seem, diagnosis can reveal extra tissues in your ovaries or Fallopian tubes.
  • A variety of thyroid conditions can also create a host of ambiguous complaints caused by high or low levels of thyroid hormones.

How Can Physical Therapy Help Invisible Conditions?

Physical therapy can decrease your pain in these and other invisible conditions by using a variety of treatment modalities. Therapy can improve mobility in the joints, muscle tone and flexibility, and decrease long-term fatigue. By using your muscles and joints correctly and often, you can decrease the pain, inflexibility, fatigue, and stiffness that often accompanies many of these conditions. Your therapist may use a combination of manipulation, exercise, electrical stimulation, and hot or cold therapy.

If you’d like to see if physical therapy can help you manage your symptoms, call New Heights Physical Therapy today! We’ll work with you to find the best treatment for your body.

Postpartum Physical Therapy

New Heights Physical Therapy provides postpartum physical therapy services in Portland OR and Vancouver WA.

Postpartum Physical Therapy

Doctors are starting to recognize more and more that regular doctor and physical therapy visits are necessary post-delivery. Ongoing care after delivery is typically limited to one visit, six weeks after delivery. A special task force from the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) has recently embraced the idea of a “fourth trimester”, or ongoing care for postpartum mothers that extends beyond one doctor’s visit.

Injuries After Pregnancy

Delivery can have a variety of complications, and not all of them are immediately felt or seen after delivery. Postpartum moms can experience a range of physical injuries or disorders, including:

  • Perineal tearing
  • Pelvic floor dysfunctions
  • Mid-line separation of the abdominals
  • Urinary or fecal leakage
  • Tailbone pain
  • Lower back, hip, or pelvic pain
  • Pain with intercourse/orgasm
  • Constipation
  • Uterine, rectal, vaginal, or bladder prolapse

The Importance of Postpartum Physical Therapy

Any injury, if left to heal itself without proper recovery, can develop further complications, including muscle imbalance, worsening of symptoms, and scar tissue. Depending on the severity of the injury, these complications could lead to chronic pain and other conditions. Postpartum pain is typical, but if you have symptoms of a more serious injury, schedule a doctor’s appointment or treatment with a physical therapist.

How Can Physical Therapy Help After Pregnancy?

If you’re a postpartum mom who’s concerned about injuries or pain, during or after pregnancy, a postpartum physical therapy examination can help determine and identify the injury that was caused. A licensed physical therapist can also help heal and strengthen the underlying structures and muscles involved in the injury.
At New Heights, we understand how important postpartum physical therapy can be for a mother. We’ll work with you to identify any possible injuries, creating a specialized program to heal and strengthen your body. Don’t wait for an injury to heal itself–schedule an appointment for postpartum physical recovery today!

Soreness vs Injury

New Heights Physical Therapy offers healing advice and treatment for soreness and injury in Portland OR and Vancouver WA

Am I Sore or Am I Injured?

It can be difficult to tell the difference between soreness and injury, especially when performing a new exercise or activity. While there are some basic guidelines to differentiate between the two, it’s important to recognize that every body reacts differently to injury. There are basic indications when dealing with any bodily pain or discomfort:

Soreness:

  • General discomfort or dull pain
  • Spread over a large area
  • Goes away within three days or so

Injury:

  • Sharp pain
  • Localized in one area
  • Lingers for more than three days, or gets worse past three days

Remember: every body is different, and every muscle reacts differently too! If the pain lingers, it’s always wise to consult a doctor or physical therapist.

Post-Soreness Damage

Sometimes what starts as soreness can develop into injury. This can happen when:

  1. The sore area causes you to use surrounding muscles differently, like limping with a sprained ankle.
  2. The sore area develops scar tissue as a result of unaddressed inflammation or damage.
  3. The original soreness-causing activity is repeated without rest, and the sore muscle or area isn’t allowed to heal properly.

Preventing Injury

When stretching or performing a physical activity, listen to your body.

  • When stretching:
    • Don’t overstretch. 30 seconds is adequate time to stretch the muscle, and if you stretch an area for longer, you’re actually stretching the ligaments. Unless you’re under the guidance of a professional and experienced physical therapist, do not stretch your ligaments!
    • Be sure to accompany stretching with a strengthening program. When your muscle groups are out of balance (some weaker, some shorter than others) other muscle groups have to compensate. This can cause injury unless address by a strengthening program.
  • When performing a physical activity:
    • Take adequate rest time to avoid overworking muscles. There’s no formula for rest time, but paying attention to aches and pains can help you judge the length of rest time.
    • Use “active recovery” to heal faster from soreness. Instead of being entirely immobile or avoiding using the muscle, use gentle activities (like walking, or non-strenuous physical activity) to keep the muscles moving.
    • Be sure that conditioning is a part of your regimen. This will help prevent you from pulling or straining muscles.
    • Work up to an activity if you haven’t performed it in a while, or if you’re less conditioned. Your muscles need time and conditioning to gain strength.
    • If you feel a sharp pain, stop the activity.

Treatment for Soreness and Injury

Depending on the severity of the soreness or injury, ice and heat therapy can help. With a new injury, ice is best, as it reduces inflammation and pain. Heat therapy is typically used for chronic conditions, old injuries, or stiffness. Use ice in twenty minute increments, always put a towel between the ice and your skin, and do not use heat on a new injury.

When to See a Physical Therapist for Soreness or Injury

If your soreness hasn’t gone away after a couple of weeks, or if the pain gets sharp or especially localized, you need to see a doctor or physical therapist. You may have an underlying injury, and until it’s identified and addressed, your body is going to continue to be in pain. Injuries that are not addressed can have serious consequences, like scar tissue, that could permanently affect the way your muscles move. If your pain is lingering or getting worse, call New Heights Physical Therapy today. We’ll help you to identify the issue, working with your body to heal and prevent injuries.

Understanding Golfer’s Elbow

New Heights Physical Therapy provides treatment options for golfer's elbow in Portland OR and Vancouver WA

Golfer’s Elbow vs Tennis Elbow

Golfer’s elbow, or medial epicondylitis, is the strain or damage to the muscles and tendons surrounding the elbow. It can also be referred to as “climber’s elbow”. Golfer’s elbow specifically refers to pain or damage felt on the inside of the elbow. The main cause is repetitive or intense usage, and any movement that strains the inside of the forearm can cause golfer’s elbow. Pain or damage that occurs on the outside of the elbow is called tennis elbow, and while these two conditions occur in different areas of the elbow, they are treated in exactly the same way.

What Causes Golfer’s Elbow?

  • Overuse
  • One-time direct injury, like falling on the elbow
  • Ill-fitting sports equipment, like golf clubs or tennis rackets
  • Lack of general fitness or proper conditioning

The most important thing to remember is that golfer’s elbow is typically an overuse injury. Avoid straining the elbow further by ceasing the activity that caused the injury. If you haven’t done an activity (like golfing or rock-climbing) in some time, take it easy and go slowly. Your elbow needs time to regain strength and conditioning.

Signs and Symptoms of Golfer’s Elbow

Golfer’s elbow commonly begins with a mild strain, with pain being felt on the inside of the upper forearm. Golfer’s elbow can cause pain anywhere from the wrist to the elbow joint itself. As the pain gets worse or progresses further along the forearm, symptoms advance to weakness and stiffness. Movement restriction is common as the pain increases, and you may even experience tingling or numbness.

Treating Golfer’s Elbow

The most important first step is to stop overusing the elbow. Avoid the activity that caused the pain in the first place, and make steps to avoid any movement that continue to compromise the joint. Because golfer’s elbow is a soft-tissue injury involving muscles and tendons, the following steps (R.I.C.E.R) should be taken:

  • Rest
  • Ice
  • Compression
  • Elevation
  • Referral

If the R.I.C.E.R. regimen is followed within the first 48-72 hours, the injury is much more likely to heal faster and without further complication. Once ice has been applied on and off again for three days or so, heat and massage should be used to prevent scar tissue and to speed up the healing process.

When most of the pain has been reduced or removed entirely, the elbow joint, tendons, and muscles should be stretched and rehabilitated to regain their former strength. Your elbow has been compromised, and it needs to be restored to proper conditioning. If pain or stiffness lasts longer than a couple of weeks, it may be time to consider physical therapy.

Golfer’s Elbow Prevention

  1. Listen to your body. Golfer’s elbow is an overuse injury, meaning that at some point pain was produced in the elbow, and the activity was continued anyway. The science of how muscles are formed and are maintained is still being researched, but we do know that if a muscle is not allowed to heal, the injury or strain will continue to get worse. When you feel strain that is intense or sharp, stop!
  2. Strengthen and condition. Your elbow works because of an intricate network of tendons and muscles. When those parts of your body haven’t been properly stretched or strengthened, they are more prone to strain. Make sure if it’s a new activity, or one you haven’t done in some time, that you take it slowly and carefully. It takes time to properly condition muscles, joints, and tendons!
  3. Rest, therapy, and modifications. If golfer’s elbow is a recurring source of pain for you, consider bracing and strapping, modifying or replacing sports equipment, taking extended rests, or going to physical therapy. There may be another injury co-occurring, making it difficult for the elbow to truly heal. Our bodies are made up of a network of interconnected muscles, and every area of the body is affected with an injury–even just on the elbow!

If you’re having difficulty healing, or you feel that the injury is getting worse, it’s probably time to consult a physical therapist or doctor. Repeated or prolonged injuries can produce scar tissue, making it ten times more difficult to heal the next time. By resting and treating the injury, you are respecting your body and preventing a worse injury.

The Importance of Gait Analysis

New Heights Physical Therapy offers Gait Analysis in Portland OR and Vancouver WA

What is Gait Analysis?

Gait analysis is a commonly misused term. Most people think of being fitted for running shoes in a sports-footwear store as gait analysis, but gait analysis should be a carefully monitored, scientific evaluation of gait–in other words, an analysis of the patterns, angles, and positions of hips, knees, and feet while walking or running. While sports-footwear stores can offer a generalized recommendation, they lack the scientific equipment necessary to make a true evaluation of your body’s patterns and functions.

Do I Need My Gait Evaluated?

When a physical therapist evaluates your gait, they are evaluating much more than how a shoe fits: they’re evaluating your injury history, your present physical condition, and the steps you may need to take to properly train or condition your entire body.

Gait analysis is used to identify past or present injuries or issues, repeated habits that may lead to injury, and preventative therapies to strengthen and condition the lower half of the body. It’s an important step for anyone with a present injury, recurring injuries, or future plans to train seriously for an activity or sport. Areas of the body considered during gait analysis:

  • Hips
  • Knees
  • Ankles
  • Feet

Your body is a network of interconnected muscles, tendons, and joints. Any injury or bad habit in one area of the body can lead to overuse, strain, or more serious injuries in another part of the body. Gait analysis is the first step to identifying and changing harmful patterns before they can cause serious damage.

New Heights Physical Therapy Offers Running Evaluations

We offer gait analysis in the form of running evaluations, as part of our wide range of physical therapy services. By identifying problem areas, habits, and recurring injuries, we can help you walk or run in a way that is helpful, rather than harmful, for your body. It’s always best to prevent an injury before it occurs, and our running evaluations can help to determine the best training and habit-changing methods for you.

If you’re having difficulty healing from a current injury, it’s probably time to consult a physical therapist or doctor. Repeated or prolonged injuries can produce scar tissue, making it ten times more difficult to heal the next time. By resting, treating, and evaluating the cause of an injury, you are respecting your body and preventing more damage from occurring.

Understand and Avoid Workplace Injuries

Avoid Workplace Injuries in Portland and Vancouver - New Heights Physical Therapy

Understand and Avoid Workplace Injuries

Although workplace injuries may seem infrequent, they are actually incredibly common. In a recent year, over 600,000 workers were injured on the job in the United States and reported their injuries. These injuries can equal a huge loss of job hours and countless dollars spent on insurance payments by companies. More importantly, they can significantly change the lives of those who are injured.

What Are the Most Common Workplace Injuries?

The most common type of injury in the workplace can generally be categorized as accidents. Slips, trips, and falls happen quite often due to new items in an area, cords placed across walking paths and spills. Muscles strains and sprains are also quite high especially in workers who frequently lift, push or pull something. Repetitive stress injuries may creep up slowly but are no less concerning as they can lead to great discomfort, especially in the joints. Back pain, carpal tunnel syndrome, and elbow, knee and shoulder complaints are high in certain professions.

Other common workplace injuries include the following:

  • Injuries from heavy lifting or moving machinery
  • Vehicle-related accidents
  • Cuts and scrapes
  • Injuries from noxious fumes
  • Auditory injuries from loud noises
  • Workplace fights

How Can Workers Prevent Injuries from Poor Posture?

Those who work at a desk for most of the time may believe that they are nearly immune to injuring themselves at work. However, the simple inactivity of a desk job can lead to huge problems in the neck and back, which are supported by the spinal column and the surrounding muscles. Poor posture while sitting can lead to a great deal of pain and even chronic problems.

When sitting at a desk, individuals should sit up straight with their backs against the back of the chair. The feet should be firmly planted on the floor with the knees level or slightly higher than the hips. When typing at a computer, the arms should be at 90-degree angles at the elbows, and the computer should be directly at eye level.

How Can Workers Prevent Injuries from Lifting and Moving Items?

Upper and lower back pain, muscle strains and sprains can all result from improper body mechanics when lifting or moving heavy items. Very heavy items should be lifted with a team approach. However, when lifting something oneself, the chest should always be forward, and the individual should crouch at the hips rather than bending down with the lower back. This will keep the weight close to the body.

How Can Workers Prevent a Variety of Accidental Injuries?

While poor body mechanics are often a huge cause of injuries, some simply occur due to problems with equipment, accidents or confusing instructions. Managers have a clear role to play in preventing injuries by educating employees. However, all employees must also take the time to put items back where they belong, clean up after themselves and always keep their minds on the job.

Consider these tips for preventing all sorts of workplace accidents.

  • Wear protective equipment, including earplugs in certain environments
  • Use appropriate staffing measures to ensure that no one is overworked
  • Inspect company vehicles and machinery regularly
  • Keep the workplace clean and tidy with clear walkways

It is the job of everyone in the workplace to stay aware of the environment and to work wisely and safely to avoid injuries. Because many injuries are due to accidents, staying awake and alert on the job can help individuals avoid all sorts of injuries. Plus, good posture, smart body mechanics and frequent breaks for those doing repetitive tasks can be incredibly helpful.

Relieve Stress with Pilates

Relieve Stress with Pilates, Stress Relief at New Heights Physical Therapy Portland OR Vancouver WA

At first glance, Pilates may seem to be similar to yoga, yet those who study it more closely or who participate in several sessions will quickly see the differences. This method was originally designed by a man of the same last name who firmly believed that flexibility, spinal health and core strength were all integral for a healthy body and healthy aging. His practice typically used a special apparatus known as a reformer, which is still used today in many exercise studios. However, people also turn to this workout at home, using only mats for a series of flowing exercises.

What is Pilates?

This low-impact workout is an excellent solution for those who are looking for a strength-based regimen that does not have a lot of cardio involved. It works every muscle in the body but especially focuses on the core, which includes the muscles of the abdominals and lower back. Those who want to gain strength while improving posture and balance will love this type of class, which typically lasts from 30 to 45 minutes. It is good for people of all ages and fitness levels.

Not only does this activity improve physical strength, increase balance and tighten and tone all the muscles, but also it is a powerful stress reliever. Cortisol is the hormone most frequently associated with stress, and some types of exercise, particularly those that are very intense, can actually raise cortisol. However, this routine can calm your mind using flowing exercises that slow the breathing, lower the blood pressure and improve restfulness. It does this by helping individuals focus their minds on just one thing, namely, their breathing connected with their movements.

Importance of Stress Relief

Stress relief is vital because unresolved stress can lead to numerous physical and mental issues. Unrelieved stress can quickly manifest itself in the body by causing sleepless nights and by lowering one’s immunity, leading to frequent sickness. Stress has also be tied to such diseases as cancer, liver disease and heart disease. It can even lead to weight gain and faster aging of the body overall. On the emotional side, it can promote long-term anxiety and depression, decrease critical thinking skills, lead to poor memory and decrease mental concentration.

Pilates is an amazing way to work out one’s entire body, leading to improved physical health, while also helping to relieve stress and improve the mental and emotional side of one’s health as well.

7 Tips for Your First Marathon

Tips for Your First Marathon, New Heights Physical Therapy Portland OR Vancouver WA

Marathons are a great way to test one’s strength, stamina and endurance. They are also used by many who want to get in shape or who want to test their bodies. A marathon is a long-distance running course that is just over 26 miles long. Many popular marathons are hosted around the world every year, and many smaller cities are beginning to take part too as people become more invested in their health and are looking for ways to enjoy group exercise in their own communities.

7 Tips for Marathon Training

  1. Take your time training. However, marathon training is not just a spur of the moment activity done shortly before the scheduled event. Instead, those who want to run in a marathon must begin training months before the big day to build up their muscles and get their bodies used to the strain of long-distance running. Marathon preparation should last a minimum of 12 weeks to give individuals time to add longer running sessions in slowly over the following weeks. Individuals should run at least three times per week with one long training session every 7 to 10 days.
  2. Don’t forget to rest. Rest and recovery are a necessary part of training to prevent muscle injury.
  3. Invest in the right gear. Of course, runners will need the right gear to stay comfortable while exerting themselves. Comfortable, worn-in running shoes are a must along with comfortable clothes that can be layered if necessary and that allow for good circulation around the body. Runners should always be sure to wear socks to prevent blisters.
  4. Eat extra carbs for a week leading up to the marathon. On the day of the marathon and a few days prior to the marathon, runners should be careful about what they eat. In the week before the race, individuals should begin eating more carbohydrates than usual, focusing on pasta and rice especially.
  5. Drink extra water. In the day leading up to the race, individuals should eat balanced meals while paying special attention to consuming plenty of water.
  6. Do not run on a full stomach. No one should run on a full stomach.
  7. Maintain correct running posture. It is vital to understand good running style during the day of the marathon. Runners should maintain a tall posture while looking straight ahead. Bending at the waist will lead to back pain before the end of the race.

A marathon is an excellent way to test one’s body, prove one’s strength and endurance and enjoy a favorite activity with hundreds of other runners. Taking the time to prepare thoroughly will help runners succeed while also keeping their bodies safe throughout the event.