Physical Therapy News Letter October 17, 2016
APT NEWS: Trigger Point Dry Needling (TDN) is a treatment technique that utilizes thin, solid filament needles to deactivate and desensitize trigger points in muscles. Trigger points can contribute to pain, decreased flexibility and decreased muscle function. We perform Dry Needling in both of our offices!
Spondylolysis is the result of defect or stress fracture in the vertebrae of the spinal column. When the defect or injury worsens to the point where the vertebrae can’t remain in its proper position and begins to shift, it’s called spondylolisthesis. If too much slippage occurs, it may require surgery to prevent the bone from pressing on nerves and physical therapy will be needed for a full recovery.
Spondylolysis is the condition, while spondylolisthesis is the advanced form of the condition. It’s most often seen in adolescents, particularly those who participate is sports and athletics. There’s a genetic component to spondylolysis and the rapid growth that occurs during adolescence can increase the risk of the condition developing.
Sports that include football, diving, weight lifting, rowing and gymnastics place additional stress on the spine that can cause pain and slippage without a fracture. Many people don’t have any obvious symptoms, while others experience spasms, pain in the lower back and shortening of the hamstring that can affect posture and gait..
The condition is now termed as active or inactive, depending upon whether the patient is experiencing lower back pain. Spondylolysis may feel like a strained muscle and repeated stress exacerbates the condition. As it worsens, it can press against nerves and cause changes in the way muscles function, along with bowel or bladder dysfunction.
In cases where no pain or other symptoms have been observed, spondylolysis is typically only discovered in the latter stages or long after it’s healed. Traditional treatments were primarily focused on cessation of a wide variety of activities in an effort to avoid neurological damage or paralysis.
Physical therapy provides non-surgical methods of treating spondylolysis. Patients will need to refrain from activities for a time and slowly resume them as pain subsides. Stretching and specific back strengthening exercises are effective in preventing a recurrence or complications. In the most advanced cases, surgery may be required and physical therapy is critical for rehabilitation..
Bracing is effective for many cases of spondylolysis and careful monitoring by our physical therapists ensures that healing progresses as it should. We have multiple treatments to relieve pain, inflammation and promote healing. Physical therapy is a critical element in rehabilitation should surgery become necessary to repair the damaged vertebrae.
We’ll develop a physical conditioning program of gentle stretches and exercises that may include yoga and clinical Pilates to build core and pelvic strength and stabilize the spine. Therapeutic massage and dry needling may be utilized for pain relief, prevent spasms, and as part of the conditioning program.
Ultrasound and electrical stimulation may be employed for pain relief and to maintain the health of surrounding soft tissues. Aquatic therapy may be incorporated for balance, stability and flexibility. If surgery is required, our therapists also assist with ergonomic and environmental accommodations, along with mobility aids, gait assessments and lifestyle changes. Physical therapy provides treatment, pain relief and rehabilitation to avoid disability and maintain quality of life..