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back pain katy, tx

How Physical Therapy Can Treat Common Back Problems in Katy, TX

Across our patient population, we have seen an increase in community members suffering from back pain in Katy, TX, and how this persistent ache can disrupt daily activities. Whether you notice the back pain spreading to different areas or staying in one place, you could be suffering from one of the following common back problems discussed below.

Our team of physical therapists in Katy, TX, discuss these issues and how we can help you relieve the symptoms.

Physical Therapy for Common Back Problems in Katy, TX

Sporadic and chronic back pain can develop for myriad reasons, including bad posture, a sedentary lifestyle, and inadequate mattresses or pillows. However, you can also struggle with spinal stiffness and achiness from particular conditions.

Here are some examples of common back conditions that may require physical therapy:

1. Degenerated or Herniated Discs

Discs sit between each vertebra in your spine, preventing the vertebrae from grinding up against each other. Sometimes, the soft tissues that make up these discs degrade, resulting in degenerative disc disease. 

Other times, you might move in such a way that causes a disc to slip out of place, causing a herniation. Both conditions can cause painful symptoms like tingling limbs and recurring discomfort. You might also struggle with leg weakness when moving your limbs.

2. Sciatica

Sciatica is a condition characterized by pain that radiates from your lower back down through your legs. This occurs when the sciatic nerve, which runs from your lower back to your feet, is compressed or irritated. Common symptoms include sharp pain, tingling, numbness, and muscle weakness.

3. Spinal Stenosis

Spinal stenosis is the narrowing of the spinal canal, which can put pressure on the spinal cord and nerves. This condition often leads to pain, numbness, or weakness, particularly in the legs and lower back. It can be caused by aging, arthritis, or other degenerative conditions.

4. Osteoarthritis

As you age, the joints that connect various bones may become inflamed due to a condition called arthritis. Numerous tiny joints make up your spine and can swell if arthritis affects your back. 

You are more at risk of developing back pain because of such inflammatory conditions if you consume inflammatory substances like excessive red meat or sugary foods, struggle to maintain a healthy weight, or use substances like tobacco or alcohol. 

Reducing these risk factors not only helps you avoid developing arthritis but can lessen its symptoms. However, many people need professional guidance to manage their arthritic struggles.

5. Scoliosis

Scoliosis is an abnormal curvature of the spine that often develops during the growth spurt just before puberty. While mild cases might not cause significant problems, severe scoliosis can lead to back pain, reduced lung function, and other complications. Regular monitoring and physical therapy can help manage symptoms and improve quality of life.

6. Previous Back Strains or Muscle Injuries

Spinal injuries are incredibly sneaky, and you may not discover them immediately. One day, you could wake up and take pain relievers to ease an achy back, believing the symptoms developed because you slept in a strange position. In reality, it could be an old misstep coming back to haunt you. 

Back injuries can develop from seemingly benign everyday activities, like playing contact sports, participating in intense workout routines, not stretching before physical movements, or constantly twisting, turning, and bending for your job.

how to manage chronic back pain

How Physical Therapy Can Help You Heal Back Pain

Fortunately, physical therapy in Katy, TX, can provide long-lasting back pain relief and help you recover from these common back problems. Many first-time patients assume their therapeutic regimen will consist of light stretches guided by a physical therapist. However, modern technology and a deeper understanding of the musculoskeletal system have influenced considerable treatment evolutions. 

Here are a few ways we help relieve back pain for our patients:

Strengthening Back Muscles to Improve Posture & Flexibility

Physical therapists still use traditional, manual methods, like PT exercises and stretches, to help patients improve their flexibility and build strength. After all, many effective treatment plans are built on the foundation of getting patients up and moving again. 

Once you increase your core and leg strength, you can better support your spine. You can also supplement your physical treatment with massages and other touch-based therapies. Gentle repetitive movements encourage circulation, helping prevent post-workout pain.

Implementing Lifestyle Recommendations to be Proactive, Not Reactive

Physical therapy doesn’t end when you leave the clinic. You must consistently integrate therapeutic activities into your lifestyle. Your Spero Rehab physical therapist might suggest the following habits:

  • Daily stretches
  • Routines to increase balance, mobility, and flexibility
  • Diet changes to enhance your recovery
  • Monitors and equipment to improve sleep quality

Nutrition, consistent movement, and rest are integral to giving your body the edge it needs to stay ahead of these issues and, when needed, manage back conditions and relieve back pain.

Utilizing Alternative Therapies for Faster Back Pain Relief

As mentioned above, we set our clinic apart from the competition by using advanced technology to help our patients manage their back conditions. 

Based on your back condition, you might benefit from:

  • E-Stimulation: Electric stim devices send electrical impulses into significantly weakened or stiff muscles. They can encourage blood flow and help muscles stay active.
  • Heat or cold therapy: Delivering heat to your muscles expands blood vessels, which may improve nutrient and blood cell delivery. Cold therapy can lessen inflammation in agitated tissues.
  • Aquatic Therapy: Utilizing water resistance and buoyancy to reduce the stress on the back while promoting strength and flexibility.
  • Dry Needling: This technique involves inserting thin needles into trigger points within muscles to alleviate pain and improve mobility. Dry needling can help reduce back tension, improve blood flow, and accelerate the healing process.

Treat Your Back Pain the Right Way at Spero Rehab in Katy, TX

Managing common back problems doesn’t have to be an insurmountable challenge. The physical therapists at Spero Rehab in Katy, TX, will listen to your concerns and address your conditions and symptoms with a custom program built to get results quickly and safely!

Book a consultation today through our appointment request form here.

Managing Chronic Pain with Aquatic Therapy in Katy, TX & Austin, TX

For those living with chronic pain, finding effective low-impact exercises is essential for relieving joint tension and improving overall mobility. 

One of the most popular and effective forms of low-impact exercise is aquatic therapy. This innovative approach harnesses the natural buoyancy of water to support the body, reduce stress on joints and provide gentle resistance, making it an ideal option for individuals with chronic pain. 

>> Learn more about Spero’s Aquatic Therapy Program

How Does Aquatic Therapy Work?

Aquatic therapy is a kind of physical therapy that relies on a pool or similarly submersed workout environment. Exercising or doing other activities while in the water helps support the body due to the natural buoyancy of the water. 

The reasons aquatic therapy has such a low impact include the fact that this buoyancy helps:

  • Mitigate weight.
  • Reduce stress on joints.
  • Provide just enough resistance on targeted body parts.

Aquatic therapy can also provide a tactile sort of resistance for the waist and legs, which helps participants enjoy a good workout while keeping overall strain low.

Benefits of Aquatic Therapy for Chronic Pain

Water-based therapy presents a great alternative when evaluating the effectiveness of various exercise options. Despite being only one way to get a low impact workout, there aren’t many options that offer the same flexibility benefits and ease on the joints as aquatic therapy. 

Take a look at these other benefits of aquatic therapy if you’re thinking of signing up:

Coordination and Balance

For some, coordination and balance during exercise can be a struggle. With aquatic therapy, the buoyancy of the water supports your body and keeps your balance effortless. 

One of the best benefits of aquatic therapy is the protection against falls. You cannot hit the ground with any degree of danger as you would if you toppled over on land.

Joint Impact

For many would-be runners, the dread of joint pain keeps them off the track or disrupts an otherwise fun jogging routine. Naturally, your body protects you with pain. After all, if you contend with aching joints or sciatica, moving your legs a lot in a high-impact exercise like running, jogging, or lifting may not be the best option. 

With aquatic therapy, this isn’t a problem. The natural buoyancy of the water provides exceptional relief from gravity’s impact on your muscles, nerves, and joints.

Improved Flexibility

Lastly, many who participate in aquatic therapy report a significant increase in their flexibility. With aquatic therapy, the movements are more gradual, making it easier for less flexible individuals to keep up with exercises. Essentially, it provides an improved range of motion because it makes it easier to move without pain.

The gradual yet consistent tug of the water during movement builds strength and flexibility gradually. Anyone contending with swelling, inflammation, or sciatica can move freely while also getting a decent workout.

Spero Rehab’s Programs for Pain Relief and Improved Quality of Life

With Spero Rehab, aquatic therapy exercises work at your pace and with your needs in mind. The benefits of aquatic therapy are compatible with plenty of chronic pain types, from back pain to ankle weakness. 

Our skilled physical therapists in Katy, TX and Austin, TX help you pursue a pain-free lifestyle managing the following:

  • And more!

Currently, we offer aquatic therapy at two of our Spero Rehab locations:

North Katy, TX 

Oak Hill Austin, TX

To learn more about your best options for managing chronic pain and injury recovery– request an appointment!

 

how to increase range of motion

Four Top Tips on How to Increase Range of Motion in Austin, TX

Can you bend down and touch your toes easily? Can you raise your arms above your head without pain?

If you have a limited range of motion, performing these simple tasks can be painful or even impossible. Your range of motion refers to how well you can move a joint or muscle in terms of how far and in what direction. While everyone is different, flexibility is important to your overall well-being.

Learning how to increase range of motion is often part of the injury recovery process. However, you can always work on improving flexibility to prevent injuries and the aches and pains so often associated with our modern sedentary lifestyle.

Spero Rehab provides physical therapy in Austin, TX, that helps patients become stronger and more mobile after an injury or surgery. Below, our team shares some simple tips for increasing range of motion and flexibility.

Why You Need to Increase Your Range of Motion

Before getting into how to increase range of motion, it’s useful to understand why improving your range of motion is so important.

While many people associate flexibility with athletes, the fact is that everyone needs flexible joints to enjoy the best quality of life. Completing many tasks of daily living, like getting dressed and tying your shoes, requires joint mobility. If your joints are stiff and inflexible, everything becomes more difficult — and potentially painful.

The effects of a limited range of motion can worsen over time. When the joints lack flexibility, the result can be imbalances in the surrounding muscles that affect the joint function. If your joint doesn’t move the right way, you not only have a higher risk of injury, but you’re also more likely to experience stiffness and pain.

Compensation is another potential issue that can stem from a limited range of motion. Without adequate flexibility in one joint, other parts of your musculoskeletal system work harder to support your movements. This extra strain can cause pain and put other joints or muscles in danger of injury due to overworking or improper mechanics.

Ideas From a Austin, Texas, Physical Therapist for How To Increase Your Range of Motion

Everyone’s range of motion is different. Some people can easily flow into the most complicated yoga poses or slide into the splits, while others have tighter joints that only allow them to go so far. However, you can improve your flexibility and range of motion with practice.

A physical therapist in Austin, Texas, can show you how to increase your range of motion safely. One of the most essential elements of improving your flexibility is to go slowly and focus on making progress over time. Pushing your body too hard and not listening to its cues can do more harm than good.

The typical program to improve range of motion includes the following elements.

1. Stretching

A stretching routine that incorporates dynamic and static stretches is the foundation of flexibility. While many people stretch before a workout, performing a series of flexibility exercises at the end of the session while your muscles are still warm is better for increasing flexibility and preventing injuries.

Physical therapists recommend several types of stretches for the maximum benefits to range of motion, such as:

  • Static stretching, which involves holding the stretch for as long as possible
  • Dynamic stretching, in which you move the joint within its normal range of motion, such as arm circles and side stretches
  • Proprioceptive neuromuscular facilitation, or stretches where you contract and relax muscles against a prop or partner

Regularly performing different types of stretches will improve flexibility and help you gain more balance and mobility to prevent injuries.

2. Foam Rolling

Myofascial release is a therapy that helps release tension in the fascia, the connective tissues that run over and through muscles. Using a foam roller is one way to accomplish this. Moving back and forth over the roller puts pressure on soft tissues and uses your body weight to help soften the fascia and release the tension that limits flexibility and range of motion.

3. Hydration

If you needed one more reason to drink plenty of water throughout the day, now you have it. Staying hydrated can help increase your range of motion by keeping your soft tissues pliable. Water can also help lubricate your joints and support collagen production, which can reduce stiffness and soreness after a workout.

For further evidence that your muscles need plenty of water, consider that dehydration is a major factor in muscle cramps. Without adequate water, muscle fibers can shorten and contract. Drinking water alleviates this pain, so it only makes sense that staying hydrated is important to preventing tension and keeping your muscles flexible.

4. Massage

One of the best tips to keep in mind when learning how to increase range of motion might also be one of the most enjoyable for many people. Regular professional massages can help muscles relax and maintain flexibility by increasing blood flow and decreasing tension in the fascia. Massage can also help decrease the inflammation in muscles that causes tension and reduces flexibility.

Massage is just one form of soft tissue manipulation that can reduce the restrictions within your muscles and ligaments that reduce your range of motion and restrict circulation. Myofascial release, trigger point therapy, and joint mobilizations also help loosen tight tissues.

Get Help Increasing Your Range of Motion From a Physical Therapist in Austin, TX

If a limited range of motion in your shoulders, back, hips, or any other joints keeps you from doing things you enjoy or causes pain, the physical therapists of Spero Rehab in Austin, Texas, can help.

Our compassionate and experienced team will teach you how to increase range of motion through multiple treatments, including strengthening exercises, soft tissue release, joint mobilization, heat and cold therapy, and functional electrical stimulation. We’ll help you address the underlying issues contributing to a lack of flexibility so you can move easily and without pain.

Request an appointment at Spero Rehab using the online form, and let us design a personalized holistic treatment plan for your health and well-being.

aquatic therapy

Exploring the Benefits of Aquatic Therapy for Rehabilitation

Are you trying to strengthen your muscles and reclaim mobility after an injury or chronic diagnosis? You’re probably wondering about the benefits of aquatic therapy. Keep reading to learn about the advantages of water therapy and whether it’s a good treatment option for you.

What Is Aquatic Therapy?

Also known as hydrotherapy, or sometimes pool therapy, aquatic rehabilitation involves exercises and movements performed in water for therapeutic purposes. A physical therapist or occupational therapist oversees the treatment to ensure its safety and effectiveness. While it takes place in a pool or other body of water, it’s often paired with land-based treatments for a more effective and holistic approach.

Aquatic Therapy Benefits

Aquatic therapy is a popular rehabilitation approach because it reduces the stress that gravity puts on the body, allowing for more pain-free movement. It also grants several advantages for your long-term health. Our physical therapists, occupational therapists, and patients love the following benefits of hydrotherapy.

Improved Joint Function

One of the most positive effects of aquatic rehabilitation is that it can improve joint function, including reducing pain and increasing mobility. The low buoyancy of water means it can support your joints, so you can complete movements that might feel painful or uncomfortable on land. This strengthens the injured joint and helps you obtain a wider range of movement.

Enhanced Balance

The benefits of aquatic therapy are for more than just your joints and muscles. The instability of water requires constant adjustments in posture and balance, thereby enhancing proprioception and stability. 

With poor proprioception, you’ll have trouble balancing or walking because your brain doesn’t have the appropriate level of awareness. Since water is naturally unstable, it retrains your brain to enhance positional awareness. This has the long-term benefit of reducing your chances of falling and injuring yourself.

Cardiovascular Fitness

Don’t underestimate the importance of water-based therapy in facilitating long-term enhancement of cardiovascular fitness. Aquatic exercise can improve cardiovascular fitness through activities such as water walking, jogging, or swimming. The natural resistance of the water can increase your heart rate and provide long-term support for your entire cardiovascular system. It’s also a great option for individuals who have limited mobility from a specific injury or chronic  pain.

Pain Reduction 

The warmth and buoyancy of water can help alleviate pain by promoting relaxation and reducing muscle tension. Aquatic therapy is an effective way to reduce pain and improve function in individuals with chronic low back pain, and can improve muscle strength and endurance in individuals with conditions such as osteoarthritis and fibromyalgia.

Personalized Approach 

One of the advantages of pool therapy over other forms of treatment is its high degree of personalization. From walking or jogging to water yoga or weight lifting, the treatment can take almost any form, depending on your needs and treatment goals.

Seek Reliable Aquatic Therapy for Your Rehabilitation

Are you ready to claim all the benefits of aquatic therapy? When you reach out to Spero Rehab, you’ll find a team of friendly and qualified physical and occupational therapists passionate about your healing and rehabilitation. Our patient-centered approach and family-friendly environment mean you can feel comfortable and confident enough to continue your healing journey.

To book an appointment, contact us today.

sciatica pain

Does Physical Therapy Help Sciatica Pain?

If you’ve been struggling with sciatica pain and feel like you’re losing the battle, you are definitely not alone. According to Harvard Health, sciatica pain is one of the most common types of pain, and approximately 40% of people will experience it at some point during their lifetime.

You might have turned to numerous solutions to try to finally rid your body of sciatica pain once and for all, only to come away with little to no pain relief. All hope is not lost, however. If you’ve ever asked yourself, “Does physical therapy help sciatica pain,” you might be reassured knowing that the answer is often a resounding yes.

What Actually Causes Sciatica Pain?

The first step toward being able to truly conquer sciatica pain is understanding what it is and what causes it. Put simply, sciatica pain is caused by pressure on or irritation of the sciatic nerve. Of the 7 trillion nerves in our body, this nerve is both the longest and thickest, and it extends from the lower back down through the back of each of your legs.

The size of the nerve and the degree of wear and tear it is subjected to can all lead to intense pain. The most common causes of sciatica pain include:

  • Herniated discs in the lower back
  • Degenerative disc disease
  • Spinal stenosis
  • Spondylolisthesis
  • Piriformis syndrome
  • Physical trauma and injuries
  • Tumors
  • Pregnancy

Sciatica pain can also become more prevalent with age as we tend to put our bodies through a lifetime of rigorous activities that can lead to injuries and disc damage.

Symptoms of Sciatica

Not all pain is created equal, so you may have difficulty distinguishing sciatica pain from other types of pain. To determine whether your pain is related to the sciatic nerve, be on the lookout for the following sciatica symptoms:

  • Low back pain
  • Pain in the leg or buttocks region
  • Tingling or numbness ranging from the low back down to the foot
  • Muscle weakness
  • Difficulty standing or sitting
  • Pain when bending over, coughing, or sneezing
  • Increased or decreased sensitivity in the leg or foot
  • Difficulty walking

Depending on the root cause of your sciatica pain, the symptoms could be constant or intermittent. It is important to consult with a health professional, like a physical therapist in Katy, TX, to determine what is causing the pain and develop a custom treatment plan.

How a Physical Therapist Can Help Sciatica Pain

There are various methodologies to both relieve and reduce pain associated with sciatica, including steroid injections, medication, massage, and even surgery. Working with a physical therapist can be particularly effective because they will develop specific exercises for you that can strengthen surrounding muscles, improve your flexibility and range of motion, and correct postural issues that exacerbate pain.

Contact a Katy, TX, Physical Therapist for Sciatica Pain Relief

At Spero Rehab, our team of skilled, compassionate therapists has been helping patients in Katy resume living a pain-free lifestyle since 2005. We believe in taking a holistic, patient-centered approach to help you get back to where you want to be. To explore your options for relieving sciatica pain, contact us to request an appointment.

bad posture

How Can Physical Therapy Help Correct Bad Posture?

Thanks to modern technological advancements, Americans are spending more time sitting and being sedentary than ever before. Staring down at smartphones, sitting at desk jobs, and binge-watching Netflix can all lead to bad posture.

Over time, poor posture can lead to serious, long-term health effects, including upper back and neck pain, weakened muscles, poor circulation, difficulty sleeping, and even respiratory issues. Further, failing to correct your posture can increase your risk of injury when you are active, and that includes bending over to tie your shoes!

The good news is that a physical therapist can help you improve and achieve proper posture. This article provides a brief overview of how physical therapy can help.

What Causes Poor Posture?

Poor posture can happen at any time in our lives, though it tends to become more pronounced as we get older. This is because we can develop bad habits that lead to poor posture, and we are also at a higher risk of losing muscle strength and flexibility.

Some of the most common bad habits that can lead to poor posture include:

Sitting at a desk job all day without taking breaks to stand up or walk

  • Leading a sedentary lifestyle
  • Slouching
  • Having a lack of strength or muscle tone
  • Lingering injuries

In addition to experiencing health complications, the signs of having poor posture can begin to manifest themselves with changes to your physical appearance. If you begin to develop a protruding belly, rounded shoulders or a hump on the upper back area near the shoulder blades, you likely have poor posture that should be corrected.

How Physical Therapy for Posture Improvements Works

It can be difficult to correct poor posture on your own, and a Katy physical therapist can help you improve your posture by developing a systematic strategy that incorporates a blend of functional movements, stretching, lifestyle changes, and postural retraining.

If you’re wondering, “How can physical therapy help correct bad posture?”, this list includes some of the ways that patients use physical therapy to make significant postural improvements:

  • Teaching helpful exercises: A physical therapist can show you simple exercises to do in the office and at home. This can include movements to improve core muscles and stretching to improve flexibility.
  • Providing lifestyle modifications: Based on the root cause of your poor posture and current lifestyle, a physical therapist can develop an improvement plan and offer ongoing guidance for maintaining good posture.
  • Creating long-term habits: It took years to develop poor posture, but the damage can be undone once you are aware of the issue. A physical therapist can educate you about good postural habits and increase your mindfulness so that you can self-correct when you notice that you’re slouching.

Contact a Katy, TX, Physical Therapist for Help Correcting Bad Posture

Poor posture can typically be corrected, and a physical therapist in Katy, TX, can work with you to address the underlying musculoskeletal imbalances, weaknesses, and flexibility issues to help you improve mobility and movement.

At Spero Rehab, we take a holistic approach that is tailored to each patient for optimum results. Contact us to request an appointment.