Monday, October 21st, 2013

Preventative Care

The Importance of Preventative Care With Physical Therapy

When pain strikes unexpectedly, it can affect every aspect of your life. That’s when it’s time to explore how physical therapy services can help. Whether you’re active in a sport and have suffered an injury, or are experiencing pain when moving through your normal activities, it’s important to pay attention to your symptoms – and take care of them before they get worse.

Many people have been taught to ignore pain, work through it or to just “walk it off.” But when you postpone treatment, your problem can get worse. Pain causes your body to adjust and compensate in an effort to minimize discomfort – however, this can actually lead to more serious issues. Here are some examples:

• A runner experiencing knee pain may alter his gait, which could cause new injuries in the hip or back.
• A tennis player who feels her range of motion is declining may ignore the problem, hoping it will get better on its own. She may replace good form with improper mechanics, which can cause back or shoulder strain. And bad form can affect her success on the court, reducing her enjoyment of the game.
• An office worker who repeats the same motions day after day starts experiencing neck pain. He alters his seating arrangement to compensate, but ends up with pain across his shoulders.
• A gardener’s osteoarthritis pain is affecting her ability to bend and stretch during her regular chores. She chalks it up to growing older, and believes she has to live with the pain.

Each of these individuals can benefit from preventative care through physical therapy. Because pain can occur even when you’re taking good care of yourself and keeping fit, going through your normal daily activities, or simply playing with your kids or grandkids, it’s important to know how to handle the problem before it gets worse.

How Is Physical Therapy Used to Treat Pain?
If you’re experiencing discomfort anywhere in your body – your joints, low back, hips, neck, shoulders or knees – a physical therapist can help; especially when you seek treatment at the first sign of pain. Physical therapists are highly trained experts in body mechanics, who possess the education and skills to pinpoint the underlying cause of your pain. Physical therapy services include monitoring motor function, teaching proper form to prevent further injuries, and relieving pain without drugs or invasive procedures.

When you first meet with a physical therapist, your consultation will typically begin with a dialogue about your problem, along with a review of your daily activities and goals for treatment. Your physical therapist will assess your pain, range of motion, muscle strength and overall condition, and then develop a personalized treatment plan that will put you back on the road to wellness.

Physical Therapy Services Can Eliminate and Prevent Pain
Your physical therapist will employ a number of techniques to relieve your pain fast – so you can start improving your muscle strength and return to your activities. Through a combination of manual therapies, such as mobilization and massage, and passive therapies, like heat, cold and electrical stimulation, your body will begin to heal itself.

By relieving the discomfort you’re feeling, your physical therapist can then help you start to strengthen muscles and increase your range of motion through stretching and conditioning exercises. You’ll learn proper form, so you lessen the chance of re-injury. And your physical therapist will coach you on how to enjoy a healthier lifestyle. Soon, you’ll feel stronger and more empowered to take care of your health. And you’ll be able to return to work, the tennis court, the running trail or the garden without pain.

Personal Attention Helps You Recover From Pain
Remember, every individual is different. While you may experience the same type of pain as a friend or family member, the underlying causes could be completely different. In addition, you have your own habits as well as distinct patterns of movement and alignment, so your body will move differently. That’s why it’s important to be evaluated by a physical therapist who will personalize your treatment and address the source of your pain before it gets worse – or leads to even more debilitating problems.

Pain is not normal, and usually won’t go away on its own. Pain is your body’s way of telling you something is wrong. Fortunately, with preventive care through physical therapy, you don’t have to live with pain or let it affect your quality of life. And if you’re interested in exploring physical therapy treatment in Flathead Valley, Montana, you can get started for free!

A Free Physical Therapy Screening Can Be the First Step to Your Pain-Free Life
With physical therapy, you can soon be on your way to pain-free activities and better overall fitness. If you are seeking a qualified physical therapist in Montana, take advantage of a free health and injury screening from Professional Therapy Associates. The free health and injury screening, valued at $100, consists of a consultation with a licensed physical therapist to identify the source of your pain or limited function, and may also include strength, flexibility and functional testing.

Flathead Valley residents may call or register online for this free consultation from Professional Therapy Associates. Owner Blaine Stimac and his team of dedicated, skilled physical therapists are ready to help, and offer four convenient locations: North Kalispell (406-756-7878), Whitefish (406-862-5033), Columbia Falls (406- 892-7999) and Flathead Health and Fitness in Downtown Kalispell (406-257-5610).

Professional Therapy Associates Is Focused on Results
Taking care of yourself thorough preventative care with physical therapy means you no longer have to live with pain or limit your activities. Simply contact Professional Therapy Associates for your free personal consultation, and return to your favorite sports and activities pain-free. Find out more about the full range of services and free health and injury screening offered by Professional Therapy Associates by visiting http://www.ptflathead.com.

Tuesday, October 8th, 2013

Are You Waiting Out Pain?

Are You Sick of “Waiting Out” Pain?

Many people believe that pain will eventually subside on its own if they just wait patiently. On the contrary, pain only tends to increase over time, becoming chronic and negatively impacting a person’s life. Living with chronic pain is an immense challenge and physical therapy often gives individuals a chance to return to a normal life free of pain. Physical therapy clinic, Professional Therapy Associates (PTA), takes a clinical approach to diagnose the source of your pain and provide long-term relief.

Physical Therapy Can Stop Pain Before it Becomes Chronic

Pain is often a symptom of an underlying issue that must be addressed in order for the pain to subside. Left untreated, minor aches and pain can become chronic pain, which is known to negatively impact an individual’s life. With the help of physical therapy techniques, the growth of pain can be halted – PTA staff provide the tools and education to improve overall health, while also easing pain and preventing it from becoming chronic.

Physical Therapy Keeps Pain from Returning

PTA prides itself on finding the proper treatment for you and providing long-lasting results. PTA offers a highly trained medical staff adept at diagnosing the cause of pain and then determining the best course of treatment. PTA uses a hands-on approach that consists of both manual and passive therapy techniques, including:

  • Joint and soft tissue mobilization;
  • Electric stimulation accompanied with heat or cold therapy; and
  • Ultrasound.

In addition to manual physical therapy techniques, PTA staff educates patients on how to prevent future pain by using at-home exercises and how to maintain correct posture and flexibility whether at rest or during activity.

PTA offers individualized programs that cater to each patient’s specific needs. Visit PTA today to begin reaching your optimal health and return to a pain-free life.

A Free Consultation Can Help

The best way to determine exactly where your pain is coming from is through a consultation by a trained professional. Professional Therapy Associates treats many different types of problems ranging from acute and chronic pain that has come on over time or due to injury, work related injuries, sports injuries and problems that arise from inactivity.

PTA is helping the community, friends and family by offering free pain relief consultations valued at $100 for residents of Flathead Valley. If you are in pain and in need of help from a professional please register online for your free consultation or call to schedule an appointment at one of Professional Therapy Associates’ four convenient locations: North Kalispell (406-756-7878), Whitefish (406-862-5033), Columbia Falls (406- 892-7999) and Flathead Health and Fitness in Downtown Kalispell (406-257-5610).

 

Tuesday, October 1st, 2013

Physical Therapy is Not Just for Rehabilitation

While many people associate physical therapy solely with injury rehabilitation, Professional Therapy Associates analyzed its physical therapy services to determine the percentage of patients undergoing rehabilitative therapy versus other forms of treatment. The Northwest Montana physical therapy practice found that approximately half of its patients are receiving treatment for injury, illness or post-surgery rehab, while the remaining half are using physical therapy to address a variety of other conditions or attain health, fitness and lifestyle goals.

“Physical therapy is widely recognized for its effectiveness in helping patients recover and regain full mobility after an injury, severe illness or surgery. However, it’s a common misconception that physical therapy is only used for rehabilitative purposes – statistically, one in two patients visit us for reasons other than rehab,” said Blaine Stimac, owner and CEO of Professional Therapy Associates. “Our physical therapists are experts at rehab therapy, but they also treat patients for conditions ranging from chronic pain, arthritis and repetitive strain to headaches, sleep problems and balance issues. They also provide strength, flexibility and endurance training to athletes and individuals looking to improve their overall health and fitness.”

Physical therapists undergo extensive training in biomechanics and the musculoskeletal system, which is why they are qualified to help patients increase mobility, alleviate pain and improve fitness. Stimac elaborated on some of the physical therapy services his team provides beyond injury and surgery rehabilitation:

  • Back Pain – “Many people immediately think of chiropractors when they have back pain, but physical therapy can effectively treat back pain as well as pain in adjacent areas, such as the neck, shoulders and hips,” explained Stimac. “Some people find that their back pain returns even after being treated by a chiropractor. This often happens when a chiropractor is correcting the issuing but not providing the necessary stabilization. This is where a physical therapist can help.”
  • Arthritis – Stimac notes that individuals with arthritis often have stiff joints because they avoid movements that may exacerbate their pain. However, by not moving or exercising those joints, arthritis sufferers often find the pain and stiffness only get worse. Physical therapists can teach patients exercises that will minimize pain and stiffness, and strengthen muscles that support the joints.
  • Desk Pain – Professionals who work with computers or at a desk often suffer from a host issues as a result of sitting for hours in a fixed position and performing repetitive movements. Physical therapy can assist with many different types of work-related pain – from back pain and neck stiffness to headaches and repetitive stress injuries. Not only will physical therapists help to ease patients’ pain, but they will also demonstrate how to avoid related problems in the future.
  • Sleep-Related Issues – According to Stimac, many individuals experience fatigue or have difficulty sleeping as a result of chronic pain. Conversely, there are others who may sleep well but in awkward positions that cause neck and shoulder pain during their waking hours. He explains that physical therapists are skilled in determining the cause of such conditions, and can provide treatments, exercises and advice that will help resolve the issue.

“When patients come to us with chronic pain or other complaints, we’ll identify the underlying cause, alleviate their pain or discomfort, and show them how to fix whatever is creating the problem in the first place,” said Stimac. “I would encourage anyone experiencing pain, stiffness or limited mobility to schedule a physical therapy evaluation. Montana residents can request a free consultation at any of our four Flathead Valley physical therapy clinics if they’d like to learn more about our treatments and explore whether physical therapy is the right choice for them.”

For additional information on Professional Therapy Associates – including details on its rehabilitative treatments and other physical therapy services, as well as contact information for its clinics in North Kalispell, Downtown Kalispell, Whitefish and Columbia Falls – please visit http://www.ptflathead.com.

 

Monday, September 23rd, 2013

Is Pain Affecting Your Quality of Life?

Do you find yourself limiting activity with family or friends due to pain?  The side effects of living with pain are numerous:  physical discomfort, emotional problems, and lack of energy—at the very least.  Chronic pain doesn’t just hurt your body; it affects your emotions, too.

Constant aches and pains affect your quality of life, understandably causing mood swings, frustration, anger and anxiety.  Pain can also significantly impact your self-esteem, producing a lack of motivation to exercise, decreasing job performance and leaving you unable to enjoy your favorite activities.

The medical staff at Professional Therapy Associates (PTA) serves the residents of Flathead Valley by not only providing relief from pain, but also empowering its patients to maintain health and mobility and live pain-free without costly drugs or invasive procedures.

 How to Manage Pain and Still be Active

PTA staff consists of licensed physical therapists who instruct and educate patients on techniques to restore flexibility and mobility, strengthen involved muscles, and prevent future occurrences.  PTA lists a number of simple ways to help reduce daily pain and discomfort:

●         Stress causes muscle tension, which can increase the amount of pain you feel.  Reducing stress in your life can lift your mood and make pain more bearable.

●         Exercising produces natural endorphins that improve your mood while blocking pain signals.  Frequent exercise also keeps your joints lubricated and flexible.

●         Proper posture ensures that correct and normal forces are put on the spine.  Be sure to sit, stand or lie down with your ears in line with your shoulders and your shoulders in line with your hips.

●         Seek professional help if pain is persists.

The idea of having to live with pain is a common one.  Many people believe pain is an unavoidable part of life that comes with age or results from injuries.  To the contrary, there are many ways to lessen or even eliminate discomfort and return to a life free of pain.

Physical therapy finds the root cause of the problem and tackles that through hands on techniques, stretching, strengthening and functional training. By first handling the problem of where pain comes from, patients are able to lead a more productive and happier life.

A Free Consultation Can Help

To avoid the casualties of daily pain, a comprehensive pain management plan that minimizes the side effects is necessary.  The best way to determine exactly where your pain is coming from is through a consultation by a trained professional.  Professional Therapy Associates treats many different types of problems, ranging from acute to chronic pain that has come on over time or due to injury, work-related injuries, sports injuries and problems that arise from inactivity.

PTA is helping the community, friends and family by offering free pain relief consultations for residents of Flathead Valley.  During your consultation, a physical therapist will conduct appropriate tests to determine if the cause of your pain is related to a form of arthritis or another disorder or injury.  If you are in pain and in need of help from a professional, please register online or call to schedule an appointment at one of Professional Therapy Associates’ four convenient locations:

●         North Kalispell (406-756-7878)

●         Whitefish (406-862-5033)

●         Columbia Falls (406-892-7999)

●         Flathead Health and Fitness in Downtown Kalispell (406-257-5610)

 

Monday, September 9th, 2013

Get Results and Reduce Pain With Physical Therapy

You may be surprised at the wide range of health problems physical therapists can treat. From alleviating pain to restoring mobility, physical therapy results in a greater quality of life for countless patients. Some have experienced an injury or accident, or are recovering from surgery. Others are suffering with arthritis or back pain. And many patients seek help because of a decline in their ability to perform everyday tasks. While their symptoms may differ, people of all ages can benefit from physical therapy treatment.

Physical therapy can help you get moving again, pain-free, and without costly drugs or invasive procedures. When you follow the personalized treatment plan developed by your physical therapist, your body will begin to heal – and you may notice an immediate improvement in your condition.

Physical Therapy Results Can Be Yours

If you are ready to feel better and return to your normal level of activity, physical therapy can deliver the results you want. Physical therapists are specially trained to identify and treat neuromuscular disorders. They apply their training, research and proven techniques to reduce pain, improve joint function and increase range of motion in every area of the body.

By employing the appropriate combination of manual therapies, including massage and mobilization, and passive therapies such as cold packs, heat and electrical stimulation, your physical therapist begins the healing process at the source of your problem. In addition, most patients begin a series of exercises and stretching techniques to improve muscle strength and flexibility.

Your physical therapist will also educate you on proper form to prevent re-injury, and help you understand what’s happening in your body, so you can learn how to protect the injured area as it heals. Much of your program may be done at home, using your body weight, elastic bands or light hand-weights.

Physical therapists are focused on helping each patient find relief from debilitating pain while stimulating the body’s healing power. They also share their expertise, so that you achieve the highest level of physical therapy results in the shortest period of time. Each patient’s program will vary in length, but the goal is to bring significant improvement over progressive visits so you can quickly return to your normal activities.

Physical Therapy Success Stories

On any given day, people from all walks of life and every age group begin physical therapy programs – the first step to improved health and wellness. Here’s what real patients have to say about their physical therapy experience:

“When I first started [physical therapy] I could barely function well physically. I was very limited in mobility and my pain was at an 8. Today, I have complete physical mobility with no pain. … I really feel great and am glad to be back to normal.“ Trina H.

“Pain reduced by 90%, range of motion back to 95%, strength back by 95% in most directions. I’m confident of a full recovery with home exercises.” Will W.

“Since I began physical therapy, I’m able to wake up in the morning without horrible neck pain, cracking and popping. I also have increased strength in my upper body, which has made every day tasks much easier.“ Shelley S.

These stories demonstrate that every patient has a unique story. What’s yours?

  • Are you experiencing pain, weakness or restricted range of motion?
  • Do you want to return to an active lifestyle?
  • Are you having trouble balancing while walking or running?
  • Have you started withdrawing from your favorite activities, due to physical limitations?
  • Do you simply want to feel better and improve your health?

If you answered, “yes” to any of these questions, you could benefit from a physical therapy consultation.

The Professional Therapy Associates Staff Is Dedicated to Your Health

It’s important to remember that pain is not normal – it’s your body’s way of telling you that something is not right. Whether your pain stems from a muscle strain, a chronic condition, an injury or a repetitive action, you owe it to yourself to have it treated so you can get back on the road to good health. If you are seeking a Montana physical therapist, you can trust the skilled staff at Professional Therapy Associates, with four locations in Flathead Valley. The professional physical therapists at PTA have been treating area residents since 1988, and are ready to provide you the highest level of care and service.

So don’t wait for pain to go away on its own. It usually won’t – and the longer the underlying cause goes untreated, the more damage you can do. Professional Therapy Associates is known for getting results with custom-designed programs that fit each individual’s needs and goals. If you’re ready to find out how a physical therapy program can help you, you can get started immediately with a free health and injury consultation.

Discover How Physical Therapy Can Help You With a Free Physical Therapy Screening

Take advantage of a free health and injury screening from Professional Therapy Associates. The health screening, valued at $100, gives you the opportunity to consult with a licensed physical therapist at no charge. Your physical therapist will conduct appropriate testing to pinpoint the cause of your pain or limited range of motion. It’s a great way to find out if physical therapy treatment can help you return to good health.

Residents of Flathead Valley are welcome to register online for a free consultation from Professional Therapy Associates. Or you may make an appointment at one of their four convenient locations: North Kalispell (406-756-7878), Whitefish (406-862-5033), Columbia Falls (406- 892-7999) and Flathead Health and Fitness in Downtown Kalispell (406-257-5610).

Tuesday, September 3rd, 2013

Avoid Injury with Proper Stretching

Most people don’t seek physical therapy until many years of pain or after an injury has occurred, in which the pain becomes unbearable.  Physical therapists are experts at identifying reasons why this nagging pain even exists and knowing factors that predispose someone to injury.  One of the most common reasons and predisposing factors is tightness in muscles and joints.

The body’s musculoskeletal system is comprised of bones that provide structure and support and muscles that allow the body to move through contraction and relaxation.  A combination of muscles, ligaments and tendons work together to help the bones of the joints to move easily and freely.  Regular stretching allows these activities to continue at optimal levels and offer benefits that far exceed the investment of time and energy required to do it.

So what benefits does stretching provide? For starters, stress relief and enhanced flexibility, posture, coordination and circulation.

Increased Flexibility

Your range of motion tends to decrease as you age. Therefore, doing anything you can do to maintain and even improve your flexibility will improve the quality of life you enjoy as you grow older. Stretching is the best thing you can do toward that end. In turn, flexibility helps maintain muscle function and prevents stiffness and joint degeneration as well as permanent changes in your posture.

Excellent Posture

Good posture encourages internal and external confidence. Frequent stretching keeps your back and shoulder muscles from getting tight, which is key to obtaining and maintaining proper posture. Good posture is how back pain and its related headaches are kept at bay.

Surprisingly, stretching your hip flexors improves your posture. When the hip flexors (muscles in the front of your thigh) are shortened due to inactivity such as sitting for prolonged periods, the hamstrings are forced to take over the weight of the individual when standing. This throws the hips forward and curves the spine, which results in bad posture.

Improved Circulation

When blood flows to your muscles, it carries with it the nutrients needed for optimal performance and carries away waste products that can contribute to injury or illness. Stretching increases blood flow, keeping you healthy and moving easily.

Stretching for improved circulation is particularly important for those with limited mobility, as it helps keep healthy muscle tissue to maintain its vitality and can help injured muscles recover more quickly.

Enhanced Coordination

Coordination is the ability to control your limbs. Stretching requires you to focus attention on movement, thus strengthening coordination between the brain’s impulses and the body’s resulting movements. Stretching also improves your balance by keeping your joints flexible, enabling you to move freely and decreasing the likelihood of falling and injuring yourself.

Stress Relief

Stress causes us to be distracted, which increases the likelihood of injury. Stress also tightens the muscles as well as the tendons and ligaments attached to your joints, causing pain in the form of back pain, tension headaches, a pinched neck and tight shoulders.

Stretching is most effective for getting rid of stress and allowing the muscles to literally release it and get rid of its toxicities through increased blood flow. A relaxed body helps you to think more clearly and rest more easily.

How to Stretch

Every muscle in your body, no matter its size or shape, is composed of small fibers that contract, relax and lengthen as you stretch. To avoid injury, it’s important that stretching is done correctly. Proper form is vital to proper stretching.

To ensure you receive all the benefits stretching provides, follow these tips:

  • Warm up first. Stretching a cold muscle causes injury. Warm up your body with a low impact activity such as walking for a couple minutes to get your heart rate up, increase blood flow and warm your muscles before you stretch.
  • Hold the stretch still. It takes time for a muscle to lengthen. Therefore you need to hold your stretches for at least 30 seconds to allow the tissues to lengthen. Tighter muscles may require more time.  Bouncing while you stretch causes your muscles to tear. As these tears heal, they build scar tissue that ultimately decreases your flexibility and range of motion. Keep your stretches still.
  • Relax and breathe through the stretch. Breathing is critical to proper stretching. Remember, muscle relaxation is part of the cycle of stretching. If you hold your breath you can’t relax. You must relax your body to lengthen the muscle. Breathe freely through stretch, going a little farther, if you can, as you exhale.
  • Pay attention to pain. If you begin to feel pain as you stretch, you’re overdoing it. Back away to a point where you don’t feel any pain and hold that position.
  • Stretch each side equally. Your body is symmetrical by design. To ensure proper balance, range of motion and coordination, it’s important that what you stretch on one side, you stretch on the other as well.
  • Stretch before and after physical activity. While light stretching before an activity avoids injury during the activity, more thorough stretching after the activity provides insurance against future injury. You may find you’re able to stretch just a little further than you did prior to the activity.

Professional Therapy Associates Is Focused on Prevention

Taking care of yourself through preventative care means no longer living with pain or limited activities. To ensure you’re doing all that’s necessary to keep your bones and muscles strong and healthy, contact Professional Therapy Associates for a free personal consultation. Valued at $100, a Professional Therapy Associates screening gives you the opportunity to consult with a licensed physical therapist at no charge. Your physical therapist will conduct appropriate testing to pinpoint the cause of pain or limited range of motion. Residents of Flathead Valley are welcome to come in for a free consultation from Professional Therapy Associates.

About Physical Therapy Associates

Professional Therapy Associates has four locations to serve you in Flathead Valley. Appointments can be made by calling North Kalispell (406-756-7878), Whitefish (406-862-5033), Columbia Falls (406- 892-7999) and Flathead Health and Fitness in Downtown Kalispell (406-257-5610).

 

Monday, August 26th, 2013

Waiting Out Pain?

Are You Sick of “Waiting Out” Pain?

Many people believe that pain will eventually subside on its own if they just wait patiently. On the contrary, pain only tends to increase over time, becoming chronic and negatively impacting a person’s life. Living with chronic pain is an immense challenge and physical therapy often gives individuals a chance to return to a normal life free of pain. Physical therapy clinic, Professional Therapy Associates (PTA), takes a clinical approach to diagnose the source of your pain and provide long-term relief.

Physical Therapy Can Stop Pain Before it Becomes Chronic

Pain is often a symptom of an underlying issue that must be addressed in order for the pain to subside. Left untreated, minor aches and pain can become chronic pain, which is known to negatively impact an individual’s life. With the help of physical therapy techniques, the growth of pain can be halted – PTA staff provide the tools and education to improve overall health, while also easing pain and preventing it from becoming chronic.

Physical Therapy Keeps Pain from Returning

PTA prides itself on finding the proper treatment for you and providing long-lasting results. PTA offers a highly trained medical staff adept at diagnosing the cause of pain and then determining the best course of treatment. PTA uses a hands-on approach that consists of both manual and passive therapy techniques, including:

  • Joint and soft tissue mobilization;
  • Electric stimulation accompanied with heat or cold therapy; and
  • Ultrasound.

In addition to manual physical therapy techniques, PTA staff educates patients on how to prevent future pain by using at-home exercises and how to maintain correct posture and flexibility whether at rest or during activity.

PTA offers individualized programs that cater to each patient’s specific needs. Visit PTA today to begin reaching your optimal health and return to a pain-free life.

A Free Consultation Can Help

The best way to determine exactly where your pain is coming from is through a consultation by a trained professional. Professional Therapy Associates treats many different types of problems ranging from acute and chronic pain that has come on over time or due to injury, work related injuries, sports injuries and problems that arise from inactivity.

PTA is helping the community, friends and family by offering free pain relief consultations valued at $100 for residents of Flathead Valley. If you are in pain and in need of help from a professional please register online for your free consultation or call to schedule an appointment at one of Professional Therapy Associates’ four convenient locations: North Kalispell (406-756-7878), Whitefish (406-862-5033), Columbia Falls (406- 892-7999) and Flathead Health and Fitness in Downtown Kalispell (406-257-5610).

Monday, August 19th, 2013

How Physical Therapy Can Help Keep the Community Healthy

One reason people tend to forego visiting a physical therapist is the thought that only patients with severe pain injuries are eligible for physical therapy. The notion that physical therapy is just for rehabilitation is a common misconception.

Physical therapy (PT) is beneficial for anyone experiencing continuous severe pain. The goal of physical therapy is to make daily tasks easier, such as getting out of bed or climbing stairs. Physical therapy provides a way to keep communities healthy, one patient at a time.

Physical Therapy Useful for All Types of Pain

Physical therapy promotes mobility and quality of life improvement. Experiencing pain is an indicator that something is not normal within your body. Whether you experience constant severe pain, or minor aches and pains, physical therapy can benefit you.

Every patient has a unique story and Professional Therapy Associates (PTA) wants to help with yours. PTA provides individualized plans which consist of four basic parts: identify the actual problem and its exact location, improve mobility in the problem area through manual therapy, strengthen the weak areas and stretch the tight areas and educate the body and patient by teaching correct movement patterns to prevent future dysfunction.

No pain is too insignificant or severe for PTA. The staff encourages patients to visit at the slightest indicator of pain: “Whether you are experiencing a problem that is recent or a problem that has gone on for too long to count, come see us.”

Professional Therapy Associates Techniques

Professional Therapy Associates offers a wide range of therapy techniques that are customized for each patient’s needs to alleviate your pain fast. Using a combination of manual therapies, such as mobilization and massage, and passive techniques, such as using heat, cold and electrical stimulation, therapists will encourage your body to begin healing itself.  PTA takes a hands-on approach with its techniques to help eliminate current pain, while also preventing future pain. PTA offers a well-rounded staff that will cater to your specific needs. Because each individual is different, each physical therapy program is different.

PTA lists a number of simple ways to help reduce daily pain and discomfort. PTA instructs and educates patients on techniques to restore flexibility and mobility, strengthen involved muscles, and prevent future occurrences. To limit strain on muscles, PTA suggests maintaining proper posture throughout the day and frequent stretching as the day wears on.

A Free Consultation Will Provide More Answers

If you are unsure whether or not physical therapy is right for you, Professional Therapy Associates offers free consultations for residents of the Flathead Valley. If you are in pain and in need of help from a professional call today and make an appointment at one of Professional Therapy Associates’ four convenient locations: North Kalispell (406-756-7878), Whitefish inside The WAVE (406-862-5033), Columbia Falls (406- 892-7999) and Downtown Kalispell inside Flathead Health & Fitness (406-257-5610).

Monday, August 12th, 2013

Addressing the Real Costs of Pain

Pain is more than a signal from your body that something is wrong. It is also an emotional experience.  How one person experiences and responds to pain differs from how another may experience and respond to it. But there is one commonality shared among those who are living with pain. It takes a tremendous toll in terms of physical, mental and financial health. Improving quality of life for those living with it benefits not only the patient, but his or her community as well.

Pain by the Numbers

The following statistics provide a quick glimpse of pain’s dramatic influence:

  • The American Academy of Pain Medicine says that pain affects more Americans than diabetes, heart disease and cancer combined.
  • An Institute of Medicine Report entitled Relieving Pain in America: A Blueprint for Transforming Prevention, Care, Education, and Research says that pain costs society at least $560-$635 billion annually, an amount equal to about $2,000.00 for everyone living in the U.S.

A survey from the National Institute of Health Statistics shows that:

  • Back pain is the leading cause of disability in Americans under 45 years old
  • 51% of adults reporting chronic pain felt they had little or no control over their pain
  • 77% reported feeling depressed
  • 70% reported trouble concentrating
  • 86% reported an inability to sleep well

A study entitled Pain in America: A Research Report found that:

  • 60% of the respondents said that pain was just something one has to live with
  • 28% of adults living with pain indicated that they felt that there was no solution for their pain

So if you or someone you know are suffering pain, do you simply learn to live with it or, if you decide to fight it, how do you do that effectively?

How to Deal with and Treat Pain

While pain medication provides quick relief, it does not address the underlying cause of the pain and can become addictive. A more natural approach such as physical therapy will identify the source of the pain and then work in alliance with you to develop an action plan of techniques and remedies to provide long-term relief.

The first step is to embrace the fact that pain can and should be dealt with as quickly as possible to avoid further injury and decline. Improper lifting of equipment at work or toddlers at home is a common cause of prolonged bouts of pain. Left unchecked, these injuries can damage the spine that may require surgery to repair. A patient suffering pain or restricted movement over a prolonged period of time without seeking treatment is likely to adapt their movements to compensate for the issue. This creates patterns that don’t follow proper body mechanics and can increase further risk of injury.

If you experience pain while lifting things such as equipment at work or toddlers at home this also can lead to further injury. You may be lifting the wrong way or have insufficient flexibility due to your pain. In either case, your spine will suffer the effects of using improper form and will further increase your experience of pain.

A Free Pain Relief Consultation Is a Great Start

The best way to determine exactly where your pain is coming from is through a consultation by a trained professional. A licensed physical therapist can diagnose the cause of pain or limited mobility and provide the treatment needed to provide long-term relief.

During the consultation, the therapist may ask the individual to perform specific movements to evaluate your body’s mechanics and patterns and may recommend exercises or stretches to address problem areas. The goal of the consultation is to determine the appropriate next steps in treating your pain—whether it is a visit with a specialist or a full evaluation and wellness plan for those who could benefit from physical therapy treatment.

Natural, hands-on approaches such as physical therapy help make the community a healthier place and promote overall wellness for those who live there. Professional Therapy Associates is dedicated to providing such approaches to all residents of the Flathead Valley.

Professional Therapy Associates offers free consultations valued at $100 for residents of Flathead Valley. If you are in pain and in need of help from a professional call today and make an appointment at one of Professional Therapy Associates’ four convenient locations: North Kalispell (406-756-7878), Whitefish (406-862-5033), Columbia Falls (406- 892-7999) and Flathead Health and Fitness in Downtown Kalispell (406-257-5610).

Monday, August 5th, 2013

A Few FAQs about PT from PTA

Physical Therapy is more than a few exercises to restore mobility and alleviate pain. Quality treatment includes patient education to prevent pain and injury in the future. The medical staff at Professional Therapy Associates serves the residents of Flathead Valley by not only treating conditions caused by injury and illness but by empowering their patients to maintain health and mobility and live pain free without costly drugs or invasive procedures.

Having been in practice for nearly 25 years, the PTA staff has gathered a handful of frequently asked questions they hear from first-time patients. They share these questions and their answers online to help alleviate some of the anxiety and confusion that often accompanies a painful condition.

Frequently Asked Questions about PT

  • Is there a certain amount of time I should be in pain before seeking help from a physical therapist?

No. You should consult a physical therapist at the first sign of a problem, be it pain or a change in your ability to move or function normally. The sooner you come in, the better your long-term prognosis.

Allowing pain to continue can cause more problems as your body begins to compensate by using other muscles to lessen pain while moving the afflicted area. An individualized physical therapy plan addresses the actual problem before other parts of the body are affected by compensating actions.

We tell our patients: If it is a pain or problem that pops up out of nowhere, come see us. If it is a pain or problem that has gone on too long, come see us.

  • What types of exercises can a physical therapist provide that I cannot provide for myself at home?

Because a physical therapist can recognize the exact cause of the problem and/or source of the pain, they can target exercises designed specifically to stretch or strengthen the problem area. More “general” exercises such as those commonly done to alleviate pain at home can actually strengthen the muscles that are doing all of the compensating, thus exacerbating the problem.

  • You mentioned earlier “an individualized physical therapy plan.” What does an individualized plan involve?

An individualized plan has four basic parts:

  1. Identify the actual problem and its exact location
  2. Improve mobility in the problem area through manual therapy
  3. Strengthen the weak areas and stretch the tight areas through targeted exercises
  4. Educate the body and patient by re-teaching correct movement patterns to prevent future injuries or dysfunction
  • At what age can a person begin receiving physical therapy?

At any age. Physical therapy provides benefits to a patient from birth until death.

  • What condition does your practice, Professional Therapy Associates, treat most frequently?

Approximately 65 percent of our patients are treated for back pain. The spine is the most challenging part of the body to treat. Approximately 85 percent of people experience back pain at some point in their lives, so we have taken it upon ourselves to be the spine experts of our part of the U.S., the Flathead Valley of Montana. This means that we know what to do to identify the actual cause of a patient’s back pain and resolve it so that patient can live a happy, productive life.

A Free Screening Can Provide More Answers

If you are still unsure about whether physical therapy is right for you, a free health and injury screening is an excellent way to find out.

Residents of Flathead Valley can take advantage of a free screening from Professional Therapy Associates. The screening gives you the opportunity to consult with a licensed physical therapist at no charge who will conduct appropriate testing to pinpoint the cause of your pain or limited range of motion.

Register online for your free consultation or make an appointment at one of Professional Therapy Associates’ four convenient locations: North Kalispell (406-756-7878), Whitefish (406-862-5033), Columbia Falls (406- 892-7999) and Flathead Health and Fitness in Downtown Kalispell (406-257-5610).

When practiced properly, physical therapy can help you avoid permanent damage and prevent recurrent pain. You will be amazed at how quickly the body heals itself and how much better you will feel.