Five Physical Therapy Problems That Don’t Need to Be

5 Things We See That We Don’t Have To

If you could read the minds of the physical therapists here at SSOR, from time to time you would hear a “sigh” when we first meet a new patient and they tell us what they’re here for.  We sigh because so many of things we see really don’t need to be or shouldn’t be physical therapy problems.  So heed this as your warning so this doesn’t have to be you!  In no particular order, here are 5 physical therapy problems we see that don’t need to be.
1.  Lumbar disc herniations.  You know you’re not supposed to “lift with your back” like you have probably been told a million times, but people still do anyway.  Lifting and twisting is also a huge reason for these.  Use your legs to lift, don’t lift and twist, and bend from the hips (Figure 1 ), not from the spine.  That’s a good start.

2.  Pretty much any injury due to running.  99.9% of runners are here for one of three reasons:  recurrent injury, training errors, and horrifically weak hips.  Unfortunately, the running community likes to put “band-aids” on things and only do things that are temporary fixes.  So, they let the same injury nag them.  Regarding training errors, most of them are due to too much mileage, too soon.  Sometimes it may be due to surfaces run on as well.  Finally, just about every running injury is an overuse condition, whether it’s a stress fracture or IT Band Syndrome.  The major fix for all of them is a comprehensive hip and core strengthening program.  Magically, many of these conditions disappear with specific, guided training.
3.  The amount of ACL injuries, especially in girls.  We can’t completely reduce anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injuries 100%.  However, 75% of them are non-contact injuries. Numerous studies have shown that an injury prevention program consisting of strengthening, flexibility, jump training, balance training, and education on proper jumping and landing mechanics can significantly reduce ACL injuries.
4.  “Sitting” diseases.  A majority of people are huddled in front of a cubicle all day in front of a computer.   Maybe you travel a lot for your job, either by car or by air.  Either way, the prolonged sitting can cause a whole host of problems from low back pain to neck/shoulder pain.  You know how it is – about 5 pm that low back really starts to ache and you find yourself adjusting in your seat constantly.  Alternatively, around 5 pm, you start to grab your neck and shoulders, then try and stretch it out.  Maybe you feel a gigantic knot in your traps.  Yep, both the low back pain and the neck/shoulder pain are largely preventable.  Being mindful of workstation ergonomics, taking regular breaks from sitting, and regular exercise can help avoid these issues.
5.  Overuse injuries in youngsters.  Kids are playing the same sport year-round now.  They’re jumping/pitching/throwing way too much.  Little time, if any, is left for recovery or for building strength and stability.  As a result, we see lots of overuse injuries.  The way to combat this is allowing both physical and cognitive rest from sports, not specializing in sports too soon, and being on a regular, structured stretching and strengthening program to build the musculoskeletal tolerance to all the demands these kiddos are putting on themselves.
If you have these or any other nagging injury, don’t worry – we won’t sigh in front of you!  In all seriousness, it would be a privilege to serve you and help partner with you in your care.  Don’t be a statistic, give us a call!  Remember, you don’t need a referral from a physician to see a PT in Kansas anymore.