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Occupational Physical Therapy

Most everyone is familiar with Physical Therapy. You are injured during an accident or rehabilitating from surgery, you work with a physical therapist to continue the healing and recovery process. Not as familiar to some but imperative to your health and well-being, Occupational Therapy ensures that you are able to conduct your activities of daily living in a healthy, pain-free and efficient way. If you have been injured on the job, or your workspace is causing you to experience pain, perhaps it’s time to see an Occupational Therapist.

PT vs. OT

When you see a physical therapist, you expect to see steady improvement in movement, dexterity and reach. You might be asked to do certain exercises, or undergo therapeutic massage or manipulations. To accomplish this, a physical therapist will conduct a thorough physical evaluation and diagnostic testing to customize your unique treatment plan. On the other hand, Occupational Therapy doesn’t use these direct methods to treat injuries. Rather, it uses evaluations and assessments based on your daily and work-related tasks and activities to customize treatment for each patient. Evaluations and assessments can be tailored to both home and work environment to ensure adaptability in each scenario. These evaluations will serve as a guide to reduce or prevent task- and work-related injury and damage.

When Do You Need Occupational Therapy?

In general, Occupational Therapy is recommended for those who are hurt on the job. Some workers may receive workman’s compensation for an acute condition, while others may have experienced a lifetime of wear and tear that finally has taken its toll. A variety of examples of task- or work-related conditions include, carpal tunnel syndrome, back issues, rotator cuff injuries, thumb joint arthritis, DeQuervain’s Tenosynovitis and neck pain. Working with you, your occupational therapist will observe your work postures and habits, and will make recommendations as to how to work more efficiently by reducing strain on your body. Your occupational therapist may make recommendations as to how to make your workspace more ergonomic, or may offer certain accommodations, such as wearing protective or supportive gear or lifting less. Many times your occupational therapist will work with your employer to ensure these adaptations are in place. The goal is to create a goal-oriented plan that will restore your health and productivity, while lessening the risk of chronic pain and/or long-term injury.

Orthopaedic Experts in Colorado Springs

Orthopaedic care, physical therapy and occupational therapy all work hand in hand. If you are hurt on the job, you may require the expertise of an orthopaedist, as well as the support of a physical therapist to help you regain your full range of productivity. Colorado Center of Orthopaedic Excellence is the first choice of active people in the Springs. Hurt on the job? Our occupational therapy staff is part of our dynamic team to ensure every day at work is pain- and injury free.Contact the Colorado Center of Orthopaedic Excellence at (719) 623-1050 or make your appointment online.

Physical Therapy to Treat Injuries

Physical therapy can help people of all ages regain motion or improve their function after suffering any of a variety of injuries and illnesses. The main aim of physical therapy is to get a person back to the point where they can perform normal, everyday activities without difficulty or pain.

If you have an injury, your physical therapist (PT) can design a customized program and work with you to regain your strength, flexibility, and range of motion after your injury. The therapist may suggest and demonstrate a variety of treatments, including aquatic therapy and acupuncture, as well as specific therapeutic exercises and stretches. The PT will also devise a home exercise program to aid your recovery.

Your physical therapist can work with you to find activities and lifestyle changes in order to improve your overall health and to help prevent further injuries. If you suffer from a sports injury, your physical therapist can design an appropriate exercise program to help you get back to your sport as quickly and safely as possible while also helping you to avoid re-injuring that area of your body.

How Can Physical Therapy Treat My Sports Injuries?

Your physical therapist will use a variety of treatments and techniques to aid in your recovery, including the following:

  • Exercising will help you improve muscle function and strength and increase your range of motion. Your physical therapist may also work on strengthening your core muscles (abdominal, back, and pelvic muscles), as this improves balance and stability and helps to reduce further injuries.
  • Stretching can help increase or maintain your range of motion and flexibility, especially after an injury. Stretching can also help you recover from surgery, where scar tissue has formed and has caused the tissue to contract and tighten.
  • Ice or heat helps to warm up or cool down the muscles. Your PT may apply heat therapy to help reduce stiffness and ice therapy to help reduce pain. These therapies can also stimulate blood flow and reduce swelling.

How PTs Treat Other Injuries

Injuries that can also benefit from physical therapy include muscle strains, joint sprains, and repetitive-motion injury. A physical therapist will show you how to do the proper exercises and stretches that you should continue repeating at home in order to heal. Be patient – many of these injuries can take many months to heal completely.

Age-related joint damage, such as in arthritis, can also be helped by physical therapy. Our therapists work with our doctors to ensure you are gaining the most from your therapy, and to determine whether you may possibly need more invasive treatments to alleviate your pain.

Physical Therapy in Colorado Springs

Physical therapy can provide many benefits to patients with injuries, including reducing or eliminating the need for surgery, improving mobility, reducing or eliminating pain, and improving balance and strength. At the Colorado Center of Orthopaedic Excellence, we have a team of specialists providing comprehensive orthopedic care, physical therapy, and sports medicine in a compassionate manner.

To schedule an appointment, call us today at (719) 623-1050. You can also request an appointment online. We can help provide the relief you need in order to get back to doing the things you love.

Non-Surgical Options Before Considering Joint Replacement

Joint replacement, or arthroplasty, has helped millions of people by restoring pain-free movement and range of motion to severely damaged and painful joints. Most of the time, people undergoing joint replacement surgery have osteoarthritis, caused by general wear and tear from years of use. In some cases, a joint replacement may be necessary due to the effects of an injury or degenerative condition. Joint replacement is major surgery that carries the risk of complications and requires significant time for recovery.

Effective alternative treatments may postpone or eliminate the need for surgery. Osteoarthritis pain is not always constant and can gradually worsen over time. If you are younger or have a condition that could complicate surgery, your best course may be to delay surgery as long as possible. Prosthetic joints may not last a lifetime. You could require revision or replacement of the implant. Before you have a joint replaced, these are some non-surgical treatment options to consider. 

·       Physical therapy – strengthening the muscles around your joint and gently increasing flexibility are among the many benefits of physical therapy. A physical therapist can also help you get used to moving in ways that do not stress your arthritic joints, while allowing you to maintain the activities you participate in for work or play.

·       Weight loss – most joint replacement surgery is for hips or knees. These joints have the job of holding you upright when you stand, walk, or run. Even a little extra weight can put a great deal more pressure on these joints. Losing weight is a great long-term solution for reducing joint pain and slowing or preventing further damage.

·       NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) – available over the counter, NSAIDs like ibuprofen and naproxen are reliably effective in reducing the swelling and pain of arthritis. These medications are considered to be safe, though there are some possible complications from higher doses or long-term use. Check with your doctor before taking them regularly. Some NSAIDs may interact with other medications.

·       Steroids – though not a cure, corticosteroids are extremely effective in treating pain and inflammation in a damaged joint. Because of serious potential side effects and decreasing effectiveness after the first treatment, corticosteroids are only considered a temporary solution. However, the relief they provide can last months or even years.

·       Braces or splints – depending on which joint is damaged, the use of an appropriate assistive device can allow you to carry on with your regular activities with little pain. Holding the joint immobile in combination with other treatments can give it a chance to heal.

·       Supplements – medical evidence is lacking for definitive benefits of supplements like glucosamine and chondroitin, but there are numerous anecdotal success stories. Doctors generally agree that there is no harm in trying this kind of supplement but be sure to let your doctor know if you are taking them.

·        Stretch – before playing sports or participating in another physical activity, take care to stretch and warm up. Preventing an acute injury to the joints can go a long way towards preventing arthritis in your future. 

The orthopedic surgeons at Colorado Center for Orthopaedic Excellence diagnose and treat all kinds of joint conditions, and will look to non-invasive methods first before resorting to surgery – even in the case for a partial or full joint replacement. For expert and compassionate care in the Colorado Springs area, call (719) 623-1050 for an appointment today.

When You Should See an Orthopedic Surgeon for Knee Pain

Knee pain tends to be a common problem for people that are active, have suffered an injury, or have put many years and miles on their legs. The knees bear most of your body weight, every moment that you’re upright, while allowing an extraordinary range of motion. Additional force applied through participation in sports, an auto or other accident, or just wear and tear as we get older can cause knee pain. While some medications and physical therapy can help with pain and reduced mobility, when is it time to see an orthopedic surgeon for knee pain?

If you suffer a sports injury or accident that injures your knee, you should see an orthopedic surgeon right away to prevent further damage and start the healing process immediately. If you have a repetitive stress injury or osteoarthritis, it may be harder to determine when enough is enough. The good news is that there are many treatment options available for knee pain that are extremely effective. And if you do need surgery, your orthopedic surgeon will be able to determine which procedure will be most helpful, with the least amount of disruption and rehabilitation time. 

Here are some of the knee conditions that orthopedic surgeons treat:

·        General knee pain

·        Acute and overuse injuries

·        Sports injuries

·        Anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) tear

·        Posterior cruciate ligament (PCL) tear

·        Meniscus tear

·        Cartilage defects/flaps

·        Chondral defects

·        Patellar (knee cap) tendon tear

·        Bursitis

·        Osteoarthritis

·        Patellofemoral syndrome (pain below the knee cap)

Once you are examined by an orthopedic surgeon, some treatment options include physical therapy, injections (including viscosupplementation), or minimally-invasive surgery options. Arthroscopy can both diagnose and treat many injuries. A small tube-like instrument is inserted into a tiny incision, through which a camera shows the surgeon the inside of the knee. Damaged cartilage and tendons can be repaired by inserting precision tools through the arthroscope. Even partial and total knee replacement are now possible through minimally-invasive means, if necessary.

The Colorado Center for Orthopaedic Excellence in Colorado Springs cares for the world’s elite athletes and all who need the best care. If you have knee pain, our board-certified orthopedic surgeons will diagnose the condition and explain your treatment options. Call (719) 623-1050 today for an appointment.

Knee Pain, What Does It Mean?

When it comes to dealing with any type of injury, the knee is often one of the biggest problem areas of the body. The first thing to understand about knee health is that the knee is a stable joint that functions and exists directly between two very mobile joint the hip and the foot. If the hip or foot is injured, mobility of the knee is limited.

If you’ve ever had any sort of injury, especially a knee injury, you may have grown to appreciate how your knees power you through various sports and activities: kicking, jumping, running, and pivoting. To avoid knee injuries, it helps to understand how your knees work and what you can do to protect them.

The knee is a joint, the largest joint in the body. Your knees provide stability and allow your legs to bend, swivel, and straighten. The knee is made up of bones, cartilage, muscles, ligaments, and tendons, all working as one. What makes knee injuries complicated is they can be caused by stress or damage to any of these parts. The knee sits in the middle of three bones: the tibia (your shinbone), the femur (your thighbone), and the patella (the kneecap). The patella is a flat and round bone that protects the knee joint.

As we age, strain on our knees becomes compounded, and the pain becomes more common and persistent. With that said, the pain can come from so many different sources, whether by aging or injury. Understanding what is causing your knee pain may be a simple task, or more complicated. A skilled physician can use clues to determine the cause of knee pain.

  • Front of Knee: Pain over the front of the knee is most commonly related to the kneecap. Kneecap pain can be caused by several different problems.
  • Inside of Knee: Pain on the inside, or medial side of the knee, is commonly caused by medial meniscus tearsMCL injuries, and arthritis.
  • Outside of Knee: Pain on the outside of the knee, or lateral side, is commonly caused by lateral meniscus tears, LCL injuries, IT band tendonitis, and arthritis.
  • Back of Knee: Pain in the back of the knee can often be due to the collection of fluid, called a Baker’s Cyst.

The knee is a complicated and critical part needed for your everyday life activities. So, when you have pain that comes with serious symptoms or lasts for more than a week or two, seek the right diagnosis by getting a physical exam and any necessary imaging that comes with it.

If you are experiencing knee pain, call Colorado Center of Orthopaedic Excellence at (719) 623-1050 to request an appointment.

Physical Therapy Can Eliminate the Need for Medication

Have you ever suffered from such bad and long lasting pain that you just reach for your medicine cabinet and take whatever will relieve your pain the fastest? Truth is, that pain medications such as Tylenol and Aleve usually only offer temporary pain relief, meaning, it is not going to stop the pain or cure what’s causing it. Fortunately, there are many alternative approaches available through pain management specialists who can provide you with better pain management strategies. When it comes to pain management, medication isn’t the only solution.

In many cases, physical therapy has been shown to be as effective as surgery in treating a wide range of conditions, from rotator cuff tears to degenerative disk disease and knee osteoarthritis. Physical therapists are evidence-based health care professionals who offer cost-effective treatment that can improve mobility and relieve pain. They will try to reduce the need for surgery and prescription drugs, and allow patients to participate in a recovery plan designed for their specific needs.

Avoid Surgery and Prescription Drugs

While surgery and prescription drugs can be the best course of treatment for certain diagnoses, there is increasing evidence demonstrating that conservative treatments like physical therapy can be equally effective and much less expensive. Prescription pain medication will often only mask the pain, and can have unfortunate side effects such as constipation, and the potential for addiction. In some cases, surgery may be the only way to fix the injury, but the best protocol is often to try a non-invasive approach first. The one thing that surgery cannot do is strengthen your muscles and increase flexibility, and physical therapy is often prescribed after many orthopedic surgeries.

Most importantly, unlike medication, physical therapy can help treat the underlying source of your pain, whether it’s arthritis or another condition, and will help to reduce chronic pain over time. Physical therapy may include stretching, aerobic exercise, yoga and pilates, and even water therapy – such as working muscles in a pool or whirlpool to reduce impact and stress. Physical therapy also includes regular exercise, and working with our trained physical therapists will teach you the right way to exercise to alleviate and avoid pain, rather than increasing it.

Benefits of physical therapy:

The main goal of physical therapy is to restore your function and mobility, and eliminate or minimize your pain so you can get back to your active lifestyle. People everywhere are experiencing the transformative effect physical therapy can have on their daily lives. In fact, they are experts in the way the body moves, and they help people of all ages and abilities reduce pain, improve or restore mobility, and stay active and fit throughout life.

A customized physical therapy program can help individuals return to their prior level of functioning, and encourage activities and lifestyle changes that can help prevent further injury and improve overall health and well-being. Primary care doctors often refer patients for physical therapy at the first sign of a problem, since it is considered a traditional approach to managing problems.

If you are experiencing chronic pain or reduced mobility and would like to learn more about the benefits of physical therapy, call Colorado Center of Orthopaedic Excellence at (719) 623-1050 to request an appointment.