We frequently hear the question, "is dry needling the same as acupuncture?"
This is a very understandable question because there is some similarity but they are not the same thing.
Something that is the same, is the needle used. The needles used for dry needling actually say acupuncture needles on the package. We use dry needles in may of the same places that acupuncture needles are used.
Now the difference. Acupuncture has an Easternized approach with different areas of the body. For example, different areas of the body are needled to improve corresponding organs. Dry needling looks at myofascial trigger points (knots/tight muscle restrictions) and utilizes needles to help them reduce making the muscle less restricted.
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Dr. Dalin Hansen, PT, DPT
Empower Utah Physical Therapy
Anterior Knee Pain
Anterior is just a fancy way of saying the front of your knee, specifically, around the area of the kneecap or patella. Inappropriate tracking of our patella can cause pain in the front of our knee and the improper tracking can be caused by varying reasons, including: weak thigh muscles, tendons/ligaments/muscle tightness, repetitive stress to the knee, and issues with joint alignment within the knee.
Some key signs that you may have faulty patellar (kneecap) tracking: pain in the front of knee, especially with going down the stairs, squatting, or sitting for extended amounts of time, and possibly a feeling of popping or catching in the patella when bending or straightening the leg.
Lateral Knee Pain
Pain located on the lateral, or the outside, of the knee, is commonly seen in runners and involves the tendon of the iliotibial band (ITB) becoming irritated. Pain is often experienced during running (or other repetitive activities that involve knee bending) and worsens if the activity is continued. Some common causes include: weak hip/gluteal muscles, an increase in mileage training, and/or poor lower extremity mechanics or alignment.
Medial Knee Pain
This pain is felt on the “inside” edge of the knee. Underlying causes could include, however not limited to, an injury to the MCL (the ligament on the inside of the knee), or irritation to the meniscus.
The MCL is a ligament that runs up the inside edge of the knee and assists in stabilization of the knee. Injury to the MCL can occur when there is a force on the outside of the knee, forcing a stretch and possible tear to the MCL. Depending on the level of MCL injury will determine symptoms and complaints.
The meniscus distributes force in the knee joint as we walk and can be injured during activity if a sudden twist has occurred. The meniscus also deteriorates with age and becomes weak and thin over time, increasing the risk of tear. Pain can present as stiffness and swelling, a sensation of catching or locking within the knee, or inability to move the knee through its full range.
If you are having pain or limitation of the knee we would love to evaluate your knee to find out the root cause and help you get the outcomes you want. We are here to help you get back to walking, running, hiking, or any other activity you love.
Call, text, or email today!
Physical Therapy Doctoral Candidate at The University of St. Augustine
Research has reported that individuals 65 and older experience a fall each year! Falls can jeopardize the health and independence of aging adults, as it is the leading cause of injuries among Utahns 65 and older; it is reported that 95% of hip fractures occur due to a fall.
Two of the main reasons falls increase with age is due to balance and strength losses. After individuals suffer from a fall they can become afraid of falling again, even if no injury occurred. A fear of falling can cause a person to live a more sedentary lifestyle; thus, diminishing their health, strength, and quality of life.
Fall prevention is possible! Physical Therapy can help by implementing a balance and strengthening program. Explained below are a few balance exercises you can try at home. Be sure to come see us at Empower Utah Physical Therapy to evaluate your balance and discuss an individualized strength and balance program! Be on the lookout for our free educational seminars on balance training.
Start with feet hip-width apart, hands placed on your hips and maintaining balance for 30 seconds. This exercise can be more challenging by closing your eyes, head turns side-to-side, and changing the support surface to something more compliant (such as standing on carpet, a towel, or pillow).
Single Leg Balance
Stand next to a sturdy table or chair to use for support when needed. Assume shift weight to one leg and lift the other foot at least one inch off the floor, an upright torso, and maintain balance for 10-20 seconds without holding onto the table or chair. This exercise can also be more challenging by the same methods listed above. Be sure to perform on each leg for about 3-5 repetitions.
Slow Toe Touches
Start by sitting on a stable chair, place your feet hip-width apart, hands-on tops of thighs. Move your hands down your legs and slowly roll your spine and upper body down until your hands touch your toes. This can be challenged by performing in a standing position and going as far as you can. Be very mindful of your ability and safety!
Feel free to reach out to us at Empower Physical Therapy for info on our balance and fall prevention seminars. If you want to avoid falls and improve your balance we can make a program specifically for you with a one-on-one balance program.
Doctoral Candidate at the University of St. Augustine
It is important to cross-train to stay healthy as a runner. It's tricky though because runners want to run but this exercise is quick and easy!
Hip strength is important for running so here is a quick strengthening exercise that can really get you feeling the burn.
Instructions: with an elastic band around your thighs, take steps to the side while keeping your feet spread apart. Keep your knees bent the entire time. Note: if performing it with a band difficult start with no band.
After doing this for a minute or two you should feel a good muscle working/burning feeling right in your gluteal region.
If you have any aches or pains slowing you down don't be shy reach out today. Chatting about what is going on helps us know if we can help you. So contact us today to see what we can do to help you.
Call/Text or email today!
We look forward to hearing from you!
Dr. Dalin Hansen, PT, DPT
Doctor of Physical Therapy
If you are an adult 45 plus in the American Fork, Pleasant Grove, or Lehi area don't delay call us today to see how we can help you with back pain.
There is no way to know if we can help if we don't know your back pain story. We would love to hear the details of your back pain to help you get back to walking, running, hiking or anything else you love to do.
Call or Text today
Adults 45+ With Back Pain, These Are Some Of The Common Symptoms We See At Empower Utah Physical Therapy
It is not uncommon for us to see people who are suffering from back pain. This back pain may have come on for no reason or possibly started while lifting something.
It's common for people to feel a stabbing pain in their back this can be a company to by aching, shooting, or pinching type pain. Back pain symptoms can radiate into the buttock or even down the leg.
Your back pain might be worse when sitting for a prolonged time or bending forward to pick something up. It may make it difficult for you to sleep at night.
It's not uncommon for back pain to feel a little better while standing or moving around.
To find out how we can help you get back to running, hiking, walking and doing the things you love call or text today. We want to hear your back pain story to find out if we're a good fit to help you.
Dr. Dalin Hansen, PT, DPT
We specialize in helping people who are 45 and older who are dealing with back pain. Since we specialize in treating people who are 45 and older deal with their back pain we focus our training on middle-aged and older adults with back pain
We also take the time to listen to your goals. Back pain can really put a damper on living an active lifestyle. We want to know what your goals are so we can help you achieve them.
We know how tough life is as a busy adult. There is little time for you to come into a clinic and work on getting your back pain better. We work around your schedule so even if you are busy you can still get the care you need. We can provide early or late appointments to help you with your back pain needs.
We have a systematic way to look at your back so we can provide a treatment plan that has been proven to work.
We take time to tell you what we are doing and what we think is going on. We take time to educate people about the back and how it relates to back pain. No rushed appointments.
We spend time with you one-on-one. No time with high school students or techs but with a professional physical therapist who has been trained to help people 45 and older overcome limitations from back pain.
We help devise a plan to help you get back to doing what you love. We will create a plan with you to help you overcome your back pain challenges and limitations.
Contact us today to see how we can help you with your back pain!
Dr. Dalin Hansen, PT, DPT
When I first started my career a woman came in to see me reporting a 10 out of 10 back pain. She came in from the emergency room! She said they just wanted to give her meds and injections and she did not want that. They took some X-rays and did not find any major problems so they sent her to physical therapy.
During the evaluation, we talked extensively about her back pain and found some gentle things to get her started and help calm her pain down. Over the course of several weeks her pain calmed down and she was able to finish therapy and get back to her life and back to running/exercising.
The reason I like to share the woman’s back pain story is that this was a turning point for me in my career. I realized the medical model does not have good solutions to back pain for active people like runners. The options are usually medications and/or injections.
I have devoted part of my career and this clinic to help adults improve their lives when they are dealing with back pain. If you are 45 or older and live in the American Fork, Pleasant Grove, or Lehi area and are dealing with back pain talk to us today.
I look forward to hearing your back pain story to see if there is something we can do to help you get back to running and being active. Contact us today!
Dr. Dalin Hansen, PT, DPT
Dr. Paxton Clark is an expert in musculoskeletal conditions having participated in specialized low back pain training. He received his doctorate in physical therapy a the prestigious School of Health Professions at Texas Tech University.
He has given expert advice on back pain in the guest blog post.
Physical therapy is the best option for treating low back pain during any stage of treatment. Most of the time, acute (new) back pain is mechanical in nature and typically caused by poor body mechanics that we're all subjected to every day. Sometimes, these episodes can come and go before you know it, as back pain often resolves itself on its own. However, if left untreated, back pain will most likely return at some point. During your evaluation, a physical therapist will help identify things in your life that can contribute to your pain. Your physical therapist will help you abolish your current symptoms, show you different strategies that you can incorporate every day, and most importantly - prevent the back pain from returning.
Obviously, I’m a physical therapist, so I’m partial towards conservative treatment... But here is some information I like to share with my patients:
You, the patient (not the physical therapist/physician/chiropractor)are the key to treating your back pain.
We don't want a patient to have to come to our office for relief any time they have pain
Chiropractic care can be very effective in managing back pain. Chiropractors are experts in manipulating and adjusting the spine. This is beneficial, but it doesn’t allow you the independence to manage your symptoms yourself.
Typically acute back pain is caused by the way we sit at our desks, wash the dishes, vacuum the house, or drive our cars. Injections treat chemical issues, not mechanical issues.
For people with back pain, research has shown conservative treatment has better long-term outcomes than more invasive interventions.
Conservative management empowers a patient to overcome their pain and return to daily life without worrying about hardware, incisions, scar tissue, infection, etc. Additionally, conservative management helps people become more conscious of body positioning and demonstrate less fear of movements.
A back brace isn't a valid long-term option because your muscles surrounding your spine will become weak and dependent on external support
X-rays and MRIs can sometimes do more harm than good for back pain. As I've mentioned, back pain is usually mechanical in nature. Studies have shown that asymptomatic individuals can have significant stenosis, bone spurs, disc degeneration, etc. that appear on x-rays and MRIs. It can be scary to learn that your spine can show these signs when it’s often normal wear and tear that occurs with time.
PT is significantly cheaper than surgery, imaging (aka "expensive selfies"), or never-ending adjustments by the chiropractor.
You’ll be able to better manage symptoms in future episodes, making it a good investment
Fight the opioid crisis
Your physical therapist will help you manage your pain without dealing with the side-effects or risking an addiction to opioids. Pain medication is helpful for some conditions in short-term management. Just as back pain can become chronic, so can the need for opioids. These drugs are only masking the issue and aren't addressing the reason for your symptoms.
Patients often experience significant improvements in symptoms right away.
If we discover something in your examination that warrants further investigation from another medical professional, you will promptly be given information on the next step and sent in the right direction
At the very least...
If your back pain isn't responding to therapy, and you've had enough of this back pain, and you're ready to call the surgeon...
The best indicator of how much strength or mobility you'll achieve following surgery is how you're doing prior to the surgery.
Your post-op rehab will be much easier if you've participated in "pre-hab".
Give physical therapy a try. Think about the potential end-results of your treatment: Worst case scenario - you tried PT and didn't reach your goals, but you're more prepared for the next step. Best case scenario - you reach your goals, you've empowered yourself, you know what to do to prevent daily back issues, and you saved tons of money. I may be partial, but that sounds pretty rationale.
Huge thanks to Dr. Paxton Clark, PT, DPT for sharing his words of wisdom about back pain.
If you are 40+ and have nagging back pain and would like to avoid surgery, painkillers, and injections then call, text, or email us today to see how we can help.
To a runner, it is important to run. There are so many things that can set you back. Unfortunately, injuries are far too prevalent. Whether it’s in the hips, knees, or ankles taking time off can be devastating.
There are a few things that can help you avoid injury:
This is by no means a comprehensive list of ideas but there are a few things to start with to avoid injury.
If you have any questions or are dealing with a specific problem we offer a free consult with a doctor of physical therapy so ask us any questions or tell us what's going. Click here for more info on a free consult.
Reach out today for further ideas on injury prevention or on injury rehabilitation so you can stay on top of your running game.
Empower Utah Physical Therapy’s number one goal is to help as many people as possible to avoid surgery, live without painkillers, and get back to a pain-free life. We have some DIY physical therapy tricks that might help you. Click here to check them out.
If you do have questions about your aches and pains, we would are a resource to help you figure out your best course of care. Click here for a free consult so you can get a feel for us and see if we are the right people to help you. If we do a consult and you feel we are not the right people we are happy to try to help you find a provider that will be able to help you
Dr. Dalin Hansen, PT, DPT
"So I went to my doctor and he told me I am at risk of getting osteoporosis. Then he said I need to do weight-bearing exercises. So what does that mean?"
This is a common conversation. People's Physicians often leave them hanging with little to no information about their conditions.
This can be an incredibly frustrating situation but there are things that can be done.
#1. Ask questions
If your physician has told you that you have osteoporosis or that you are at risk you should ask questions.
Ask what your treatment options are
Ask the pros and cons of these treatments
Ask what conservative management options there are
Ask what some of the alternatives to pharmaceutical management there are, in other words, ask what you can do other than taking medication
If your physician does not have any information other than pharmaceutical/medication information then consider finding another physician for a second opinion.
Keep in mind this is your health, not theirs. You have the right to decide your treatment.
#2. Get educated
What is osteoporosis?
Literally -osteo means bone and -porosis means porous. So osteoporosis essentially means the bones have become more porous.
Osteoporosis is a process that typically takes place in older adults. Most people think this disease process only happens in women. This is not true, it happens in men and women.
There are a few reasons why osteoporosis takes place. One of the reasons most people think it's a disease process that happens to only women is because estrogen production after menopause is significantly decreased which decreases the effectiveness of bone remodeling (which is important for healthy bones). This leads to an increased risk of osteoporosis.
What are other reasons osteoporosis takes place?
One of the biggest reasons is due to a lack of physical stress on the bones due to inactivity.
This leads us to something called Wolff's Law. Julius Wolff was a German scientist who discovered that bones respond to demand. In simple terms, he found with bones use-it-or-lose-it or in other words if you become inactive your bone respond by becoming more porous. Often older adults become less active which makes them more susceptible to osteoporosis.
What is to be done?
What is this mean you ask?
It literally means to put weight through your bones. This is easily done with activities like walking. But you should also weight-bear through your arms with activities like wall push-ups.
Because the bones become porous they are more susceptible to fractures.
Compression fractures are common with osteoporosis. This is where the front part of the vertebrae starts to compress leading to fractures vertebral fractures. It is it is possible to reduce the effects of compression on the spine with spinal extension type activities.
What is spinal extension?
Bending the spine backward.
This can be done by laying on your belly with a pillow placed under your stomach and arching backward. This exercise is called Superman which might give you a visual.
If laying on your belly is too difficult or painful you can do extension exercises while sitting by simply extending your back backward.
Good upright posture also decreases the effects of compression on the spine which decreases the likelihood of compression fractures. Improve your posture in sitting and standing by sitting and standing tall.
There is some basic information about osteoporosis and some basic exercise information to get you started.
#3. Get help
There are resources that can help with those with osteoporosis and those at risk of getting osteoporosis.
Empower Utah Physical Therapy provides a comprehensive evaluation of your body's movements and limitations. Based on these movements and limitations weight-bearing exercises can be provided to fit your personal needs.
If you are interested in talking to us at Empower Utah Physical Therapy for help with weight-bearing exercises contact us for a free consultation to see if we are a good fit to help you.
Dr. Dalin Hansen, PT, DPT
Recently the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (RACGP) strongly warned against knee arthroscopy, meniscectomies, and cartilage repairs.
I recently read this article about some of the Australian guidelines for knee osteoarthritis treatment (Click here for a link to the article). They showed a massive increase in surgeries of the knee from 1994 to 2014 or so.
The number of knee surgeries was doubled, was it because more knee injuries were happening? No!
Truth is surgeons want to do surgery.
As the article goes on they continue to stress that surgery should be your last option for treatment. They also note that fad treatments such as turmeric, stem cell therapy, and insoles are not indicated.
Towards the end of the article, they talk about the most effective treatment for knee pain...
Drum roll, please
You read that correct exercise is the best mode of treatment for knee pain. They gave one exception which was if the knee locks and won't move periodically.
So before you go have knee surgery consider a second opinion and remember the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners and myself urge you to try proper exercise for your knee pain before thinking about invasive treatment like surgery.
If you are experiencing knee pain and you want to avoid surgery, live without painkillers, and get back to the life you knew before you had knee pain, reach out to me. I offer a free consultation so you can get a feel for us if we are the right people to help you.
If you decide we are not the right people to help you we would be happy to help you find someone who is the right fit for you
Don't delay contact us today
Dr. Dalin Hansen, PT, DPT
Passionate practitioner dedicated to empowering others to take control of their health.