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
Be mindful of how you stand, sit, and move throughout the day.
#3- Dr. John Baio, PT, DPT in Holtsville, New York
Just like dieting, it’s important to make lifestyle changes instead of thinking a few reps of a trendy exercise are going to make a difference. Perform a variety of daily exercises (based on your needs) to get the best injury prevention.
#4- Dr. Daniel J. Johnson, PT, DPT in Greensboro, North Carolina
Be around healthy happy people who want you to succeed in life. Birds of a feather...
#5- Dr. Derek Nielsen, PT, DPT of Kaizen Physical Therapy in Durham, North Carolina
Live a life of variety when it comes to movement. Just like a healthy diet doesn’t only consist of protein, a healthy body needs variability to flourish. Run, walk, lift weights, squat, jump, etc. Don’t fall too in love with any one thing. Fall in love with a variety of things.
#6- Dr. Lauren Hebert, PT, DPT in Dixfield, Maine
Take a 5-10 minute walk at break time and take another longer walk after work
#7- Dr. Dalin Hansen, PT, DPT of Empower Utah Physical Therapy in American Fork, Utah
Never say never! I often hear people say they will never be pain-free or they will never get back to doing what they love because their physician or MRI said so. This is simply not the case. There is always something you can do to better your situation!
#8- Dr. Thomas Denis, PT, DPT of Purposed Physical Therapy in Greenville, South Carolina
Preventing an injury is the key to sport longevity. Longevity is the key to success.
#9- Dr. Lauren Stone, PT, DPT in Lafayette, Louisiana
Consistency is key! Whether it’s your posture, exercise, diet, or attitude, you have to be consistent to see results!
#10- Dr. Kyle Womack, PT, DPT in O’ahu, Hawaii
If you have been in one position for a while, spend some time in the exact opposite of that position. But, above all else, move.
#11- Dr. Beverly Helm, PT, DPT in Columbia, Missouri
Keep your feet flat on the floor when sitting rather than having your heels up on the legs of the chair, it shortens the muscles in the back of the lower leg and can cause discomfort/pain.
#12- Dr. Lyle Puvok, PT, DPT in San Diego, California
5 steps to preventing pain onset:
1. Exercise most days
2. Eat a healthy diet (mostly plants)
3. Get at least 7 hours of restful sleep a night
4. Have positive outlets for stress management,
5. Don’t smoke and drink alcohol only in moderation
What is healthy for your heart and your brain will also help prevent sprains and strains.
If you currently suffer from pain or you are unable to do the things you love because of pain contact me to find out if we can help. We help people avoid surgery, live without painkillers, and get back to the life they knew before they had pain.
Call/Text/Email for a free consultation to find out if we are the right people to help you.
Dr. Dalin Hansen, PT, DPT
Okay here's the bad news... You think you need surgery.
There is good news though! You can be an informed consumer of healthcare. Your physician says you need surgery but this does not mean you have to do it. You are in charge of what happens to your body and you should know somethings before you go under the knife.
First, what are the risks, side effects, and ALL the possible outcomes? Fully understand the cons first.
Second, what are the possible benefits? Don't just ask your physician, he will tell you the outcomes are great. Find information on the surgery so you know the pros. Now, compare and contrast the pros and cons.
Third, what is the recovery time like. Are you going to be back at work in 2 weeks or are you going to struggling to get back to basics after a month? Also, are you going to need physical therapy after and if so for how long?
Fourth, the most powerful advice of all. Talk to people who have had this procedure done before. Get first-hand witnesses and get the details of their recovery!
Before you dive into surgery be informed. Empower yourself to know what your options are. If you are unsure where to start I would love to tell you what results I have seen. Feel free to call, text or email me.
To know what to do when you physician uses scary words like arthritis, degeneration, bulging disc, etc. check out this blog post (Click Here)
Dr. Dalin Hansen, PT, DPT
There are things your can do to help yourself. Start by getting educated.
This can be an overwhelming and scary process especially if you just found out you have a herniated disc, a bone spur, degenerative joint disease, etc. Empower yourself to by learning more about your conditions and what can be done.
I am happy to talk with you to help you understand your condition better. Please reach out to me to find out what you can do to take action towards living the way you want to live. Contact me via:
Dr. Dalin Hansen, Doctor of Physical Therapy
After a few weeks of physical therapy, this patient's knee was back to 100% and pain-free.
I share this because an X-ray can give some good information but it does not tell everything. If the knee pain was solely due to arthritis, how is it possible their pain was entirely gone after a few weeks of therapy? Perhaps the arthritis was not the root cause of the pain. In this case, the patient also had tight muscles surrounding the knee, weak hamstrings, and poor control of the knee when stepping down off curbs and stairs. Working on those things resolved the pain.
To find out it if physical therapy will help you call/text or email for a free consultation. I would love to hear your story. If I am unable to help you I would love to try to find someone who will help you.
-Dr. Dalin Hansen, Doctor of Physical Therapy
Hot weather can cause havoc on your body so enjoy outdoor exercise in the morning or evening avoiding the hottest part of the day.
Extra water will help you avoid heat exhaustion. Make sure to drink plenty of water before and after you exercise. Be sure to take a cool water bottle with you while you're out
Avoid clothes that don’t provide protection. It’s tempting to shed layers when it’s hot out but wear clothes that are breathable and lightweight but keep your protected from the rays.
Take care of your skin. Wear sunscreen. A golden tan skin might be beautiful but sunburns and skin cancer are not, so go get a spray on tan and put your sunscreen on.
The best time to take greater control of your health and empower yourself to be active is now. For guidance on things you can do to get more active, contact me. I want to help you to avoid surgery, live without painkillers, and live the life you knew before you had pain! Call/Text or email me:
Dr. Dalin Hansen, Doctor of Physical Therapy
Often people feel like they just don't have time to work out for long bouts of exercises and it is so discouraging. I've even heard people talk about not having time to get more fit. The truth is any kind of movement is better than little or no movement.
What does this mean for you? Instead of worrying about getting long periods of exercise take a brisk walk for 10 or 15 minutes during lunch or break. This is going to have measurable benefits for your brain and body. Doing this 2-3 times a day leads to better health decreased death rates.
Research in the Journal of the American Heart Association showed as long as a person moved around at least 30 minutes per day they fared significantly better than those who did not exercise at all. They also found the 30 minutes of exercise could be in short bouts.
So what does this mean for you? Start moving more! Make plans to walk during lunch or during breaks. Instead of watching YouTube or looking at Facebook in your free minute start moving.
If you are not sure where to start or something is holding you back from moving more then contact us. Our sole purpose at Empower Utah Physical Therapy is to empower you to live a healthier life. Contact us so we can help you get moving:
Dr. Dalin Hansen, PT, DPT
Dr. Dalin Hansen, PT, DPT
Passionate practitioner dedicated to empowering others to take control of their health.