Neck Pain

Neck Pain

Neck Pain Guide

Dr. Ryan Hosler & Dr. Jen Hosler

 

Your Guide to Neck Pain Recovery

1. We Understand Your Frustration.

Neck pain is terrible. We get it. We’ve both had random flare-ups of neck pain and it can be debilitating. But the good news is we’ve overcome it. And if we can overcome neck pain, you can too!

We’ve treated hundreds of patients with neck pain. After all, neck pain is a very common complaint in the United States. In fact, it’s the second most common complaint we treat in our office (the first is low back pain). But just because you currently have neck pain, doesn’t mean that you have to live with it. Don’t let your neck pain define you. With the proper guidance and support, you can overcome your neck pain and get back to living the active life you want and deserve.

Having neck pain isn’t just a physical thing. It also takes a toll on you mentally. Being sidelined from your sport or being unable to participate in enjoyable activities can lead to depression and anxiety. It may take away from your social life because you’re not able to partake in group fitness classes or go out running with your friends. It may even keep you in bed with the lights off, away from all human interaction.  If you currently have neck pain, you unfortunately know exactly what we’re talking about.

About 70% of people will experience some sort of neck pain in throughout their life. But here’s the thing: you are much more stronger and resilient than you may think. You will get through this! You won’t live with neck pain for the rest of your life. You may just need some professional assistance and guidance along the way to help overcome it. And that’s the purpose of this guide. To help you along your journey of overcoming your current neck pain complaints and getting you back to the life you want and deserve.

2. Common Causes of Neck Pain.

Before we get into the common causes of neck pain, let us reiterate something: you’re not alone. Again, nearly 70% of the population will experience some sort of neck pain in their lifetime. And about 50% of the population has had some sort of neck pain in the past year! But guess what? Not everyone lives with this pain forever. And you don’t have to either.

When you do the correct things, and in the correct sequence, you can overcome your neck pain. And you may just overcome it way faster than you ever imagined.

Now, you may have heard a list of things that can cause neck pain from your friends or from “doctor” Google. But when it comes down to it, having poor movement patterns is the cause of most neck pain problems (and the cause of most muscle and joint related problems, for that matter). This is why we take a movement-based approach to helping our patients overcome their neck pain complaints.

3. Why Does How You Move Matter?

Unfortunately, most physical therapists and chiropractors only assess and treat the site of pain instead of actually finding the true causes of your pain. If they’re lucky, the site of pain is the true cause, but this is rarely the case. This is because most muscluloskeletal pain is related to a movement problem. And a movement problem requires a movement-based solution.

So instead of guessing what the problem is and solely treating the site of pain like most providers do, it’s important to take a step back and look at the greater picture: how you move.

For example, maybe your neck is overcompensating for your upper back and shoulders, causing too much stress being placed on your neck muscles and joints. Or maybe your thoracic spine (upper back) is stiff and doesn’t move well, leading to your neck moving too much. Or maybe you have an overall lack of neck mobility and range of motion that’s causing your neck pain.

Whatever the case, it’s important to look at the entire body and how it moves because everything in our body is connected and affects its neighboring parts. And as you may have imagined, the human body is amazing at compensating and adapting. But unfortunately, when parts of our body start taking on too much stress and are overworked/overloaded, things like pain and injury can occur. In your case, neck pain.

4. Breaking The Pain Cycle.

The key to overcoming your neck pain starts with breaking the pain cycle early and often.

What does that mean?

Pain is simply a warning sign from the brain telling your body that something is wrong. Think of pain as an alarm. This alarm warns your body of danger (or potential danger) and is asking for a fix. But when you don’t fix what’s wrong and continually perform movements that cause your neck pain, this alarm starts going off more frequently. And eventually if you start ignoring the alarm altogether, it stays on all of the time.

So how do you break the pain cycle?

Initially, you have to avoid movements that are causing your neck pain. When you start experiencing less pain, you interrupt the pain cycle and your body’s alarm returns to normal. It’s that simple once you identify the movements and activities that are contributing to your neck pain.

5. Find Out What Movements Cause Your Pain.

Finding out which movements cause your neck pain is the first step for formulating a game plan to overcome your pain and breaking the pain cycle. Remember, this step is very important can’t be skipped. The earlier you start identifying painful movements, and the more consistent you are avoiding them, the better off you’ll be.

Identifying all aggravating factors is a very important step in our history taking process and within our initial examination. While it can definitely be done on your own, having professional help speeds up the process significantly.

While you’re identifying movements that are painful, it’s important to note which movements aren’t painful. Pain-free movements provide us with fantastic information as well and allow you to keep moving throughout the recovery process in a pain-free manner. They also allow you to continue training in the gym throughout the process in a pain-free manner!

6. Find Out What Movements Are Pain-Free.

Finding out what movements don’t aggravate your symptoms and cause pain is the second most important step. These movements are what will keep you active throughout your rehab and recovery process.

Now, these don’t have to be neck specific movements. In fact, we encourage you to play around with movements that don’t involve the neck. For example, instead of stretching your neck all of the time because it temporarily feels better, how about you start working on your thoracic spine mobility and/or shoulder mobility? Additionally, you may try utilizing exercises that provide your neck with more stability.

If you’re not sure what exercises and movements to try, that’s what we’re here for! We take the guess-work out of the entire rehab process, which often results in time and money saved.

 7. Create Your Game Plan.

Now that you have an understanding of why movement matters, what movements to avoid in your rehab process, and what movements you can still perform, it’s important to make a game plan.

And it’s even more important to stick to the plan that you’ve created! Rehab is a process, so don’t expect your neck pain to resolve in a week’s time.

There are a ton of different ways you can treat your neck pain, including massage therapy, acupuncture, routine chiropractic adjustments, and other techniques, but unfortunately these are just temporary pain-relief techniques. There’s nothing wrong with them, and they’re fantastic tools, but they’re not fixing the root cause of your problem: your movement limitations.

The best and most researched way of overcoming neck pain is through exercise and staying physically active. This is where the true “magic” happens and makes long-term changes in your movement and musculoskeletal health.

It’s important to realize that your game plan and rehab process may have ups and downs (good days and bad days). This is a totally normal part of healing and overcoming your neck pain, but it’s important to take note of what may have aggravated your symptoms. It could have been something you did the day prior or something you did the day of. Either way, it’s important to continually reassess how you’re feeling and make changes as necessary.

Your game plan should include specific exercises that are prescribed from your physical therapist or chiropractor to provide pain-relief, improve your mobility, improve your stability, or a combination of all the above. These exercises are very important to perform, but it’s equally important to make modifications to your daily lifestyle as needed (like avoiding certain movements the cause pain as we talked about earlier).

Let’s address some common questions we hear about neck pain treatment:

“Should I be stretching my neck?”

This is a tricky one. Because some types of neck pain respond well to stretching. And other types of neck pain are made worse by stretching. It all depends on what your individual limitations and causes of your pain are.

So why could stretching your neck not be the best solution? Well, believe it or not, your neck muscles are likely tight for a reason. But just because they’re tight, doesn’t mean that they need stretched. In fact, these muscles could be tight because they’re guarding your neck and providing it with a sense of stability and safeness. If you stretch these tight muscles, you take that stability away and may cause your symptoms to flare-up again.

If you feel that stretching your neck only provides you with temporarily relief for 10-15 minutes, then this may be the case for you. So instead of continually stretching your neck, you may benefit from trying some sort of strengthening/stability exercise for your neck muscles.

“Should I get a massage?”

Absolutely! Massages feel amazing. Who doesn’t love a gentle, relaxing massage? Getting a massage is a great idea to help your neck muscles relax.

But like we mentioned before, it’s not a long-term fix because it’s not getting to the root causes of your problem: your movement.

If you find yourself continually going to your massage therapist for neck pain relief, it’s time to dig deeper to find out the true causes of your problem. And we’re here to help you do just that!

“Should I ice my neck?”

In general, our recommendation is to actually utilize heat instead! We’re not sure about you, but usually cold tends to tighten up the muscles even more. And if your muscles are already tight and stiff, this may just contribute to the tightness and stiffness. It’s a vicious cycle!

On the other hand, heat tends to relax your muscles and make you feel more loose. But if that’s not the case for you, then utilize what works! Everyone is slightly different, but heat tends to be our go-to recommendation for neck pain.

But just remember, utilizing heat is not the long-term solution! If you continue to find yourself utilizing heat (or ice) for your neck pain, then something isn’t working. And if this is you, we highly recommend that you dig deeper into finding out the root causes of your neck pain. Remember, we’re here to help you with this!

With all this being said, we won’t leave you without a generalized game plan.

So what should you do?

First, you need to remove the movements/activities that are causing your neck pain. Secondly, you need exercises that are prescribed for your individual movement limitations to help you improve your mobility and stability limitations. Thirdly, you need advice on which movements and activities to modify or regress so you can stay active and moving throughout your rehab process. Finally, you need a rehab professional like ourselves to help guide you along the way, provide you with pain-relieving manual therapies, continually modify your exercises, and set you on your way for living independently.

8. What To Expect From Us.

We’re here for you along your entire rehab journey.

From the moment you walk through our office door for your initial assessment, you’ll be with us one-on-one for at least an hour. This hour will allow us to thoroughly gather a solid medical history, create personalized goals, and assess your neck pain through a detailed movement and physical assessment.

Following the history and physical assessment, we’ll educate you on the causes of your neck pain and formulate a game plan to get you back to living an active, pain-free lifestyle.

We will also provide you with an estimated number of visits (and time frame) for you to completely resolve your neck pain. This will include the number of visits you need per week, which is typically never more than 1-2 times per week.

Your treatment and care will be individualized to your personal goals, wants, and needs. Often, this looks like a mixture of hands-on manual therapies, stretching, joint mobilizations and adjustments, and of course, corrective exercises.

Following your initial visit with us, you can expect 30 minute or 60 minute one-on-one follow-ups with us. Spending this amount of time with us in an intimate, one-on-one setting is how we get the results and outcomes you’re looking for.

If you aren’t sure if we’re a great fit for you, then reach out to us!

We offer all our potential patients the option to have a free phone consultation with us to make sure we’re a great fit to work together.

9. What We Expect From You.

If you’re reading this, we hope you’re already our ideal patient, especially if you’ve made it this far through the guide.

We expect all of our patients to be invested in their health. If you’re experiencing neck pain, you need to prioritize your health above all things. We can only do so much as your healthcare and rehab provider to help you overcome your neck pain.

To get the most out of your rehab (and actually achieve your goals), you have to be invested fully in the rehab process as well. We must work as a team and you must hold your own with your at-home homework and lifestyle modifications. After all, there are 168 hours in a week and you will only be spending 1-2 hours with us each week.

That’s only 0.6-1.2% of your weekly time spent with us!

As you can see, you have to put in the work. You can’t expect us to “magically” fix your neck pain. You must be invested in the process. And if you’ve had your neck pain for months or years, you must not expect it to magically disappear after 1-3 visits. It’s just not plausible for a long-term strategy.

10. Will I Need Diagnostic Imaging?

Believe it or not, diagnostic imaging is overutilized in the physical medicine field. All too often people are running straight to their medical doctor for an MRI or X-ray of their neck pain. Unfortunately, all they’re doing is wasting their time and money.

Instead, your best bet is to see a physical therapist or chiropractor first. They’ll be the one to decide whether or not you’d benefit from having imaging performed based upon the results of your physical examination and history.

In most cases, you won’t need any diagnostic imaging. But if things aren’t adding up in your physical exam, then we may send you out for further imaging and testing.

Here’s when we think it’s a good time to have diagnostic imaging performed:

  • If there are any red flags found in your physical exam.
  • If a solid trial of conservative care has been performed without much success and we feel we need more information.
  • If things just don’t add up in your first visit.

11. Red Flags.

Sometimes neck pain is a symptom of something much more serious.

It’s unlikely you have to worry about these, but about small percentage of the population does. So it’s something we can’t ignore as healthcare providers. If you’re currently experiencing any of these symptoms, don’t ignore them as they can be life-threatening and something much more serious than neck pain. 

If you have any of the following symptoms, you must see a doctor or licensed healthcare professional for help:

  • History of cancer
  • Significant trauma
  • History of vascular disease
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Visual or auditory disturbances
  • Prolonged use of steroids or drugs that inhibit the immune system
  • Ongoing infection or fever
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Bowel or bladder dysfunction
  • Major motor weakness in the upper extremity (such as wrist drop)
  • Gross balance issues (tripping/falling all of a sudden)
  • Neurological findings lasting longer than one month
  • Progressive worsening numbness in the upper extremities
  • Pain that is not reproducible with movement

These red flags, coupled with your physical examination findings and medical history, may warrant the need for diagnostic imaging and further testing. They require immediate attention and intervention.

12. Finding A Good Doctor/Therapist.

You should look for a few things when trying to find the right healthcare provider for you. Especially a rehab provider to help you overcome your neck pain.

These are the qualities we possess ourselves and feel that all healthcare providers should possess as well.

  • They should spend plenty of time with you to find a solution.
  • They focus on your concerns, priorities, and goals.
  • They actually perform physical tests.
  • They allow you to be independent.
  • They find ways to keep you active and moving.
  • They continually progress and modify your rehab game plan as you improve.

13. Final Thoughts.

Thank you for taking time to read our neck pain guide! We’re here for you to help you overcome your complaint and live a stronger, more resilient life.

If we can be of any assistance along your rehab journey, we hope you give us a call or email us. We’re here to get you back to living the life you want and deserve.

Schedule Appointment

If you're ready to eliminate your pain and get back to the active lifestyle you want, schedule your initial appointment online. We'll provide you with the help, knowledge, and tools you need to overcome your complaints and do anything you love, better.

Free Health Consultation

If you want to discuss your health concerns before scheduling, book a free 20-minute consult at our office. We'll give recommendations and guidance, as well as the next best steps to allow you to address your health concerns.

physical therapist tampa

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Address: 3420 W Main St, Tampa, FL 33607

Phone: (813) 563-7301

Email: info@movementupgraded.com

Low Back Pain

Low Back Pain

Low Back Pain Guide

Dr. Ryan Hosler & Dr. Jen Hosler

 

Your Guide to Low Back Pain Recovery

1. We Understand Your Frustration.

First and foremost, we get you. We understand how much back pain sucks. We’ve been there ourselves and we’ve rehabbed each other back to living pain-free lives.

We’ve treated hundreds of patients with low back pain. In fact, treating low back pain is a large part of our practice. After all, low back pain is the number one cause of disability in the United States. But just because it’s so common, doesn’t mean it’s normal. And it doesn’t mean that you have to accept it as a part of your life and just live with it.

Having back pain isn’t just a physical thing. It also takes a toll on you mentally. Being sidelined from your sport or being unable to participate in enjoyable activities can lead to depression and anxiety. It may take away from your social life because you’re not able to partake in group fitness classes or go out running with your friends. If you currently have back pain, you unfortunately know exactly what we’re talking about.

But here’s the thing: you are much more stronger and resilient than you may think. You will get through this! You will not live with back pain for the rest of your life. You may just need some professional assistance and guidance along the way. And that’s the purpose of this guide. To help you along your journey of overcoming your current back pain complaints and getting you back to the life you want and deserve.

2. Common Causes of Low Back Pain.

Before we get into the common causes of low back pain, let us reiterate something: you’re not alone. Nearly 80% of the population will experience some sort of back pain in their life. But guess what? Not everyone lives with this pain forever. And you don’t have to either.

When you do the correct things, and in the correct sequence, you can overcome your pain. And you may just overcome it way faster than you ever imagined.

Now, you may have heard a list of things that can cause back pain from your friends, your doctor, or even on Google. But when it comes down to it, having poor movement patterns is the cause of most low back pain problems (and most muscle and joint related problems, for that matter). This is why we take a movement-based approach to helping our patients overcome their complaints.

3. Why Does How You Move Matter?

Unfortunately, most physical medicine providers (physical therapists and chiropractors) only assess and treat the site of pain instead of actually finding the true causes of the pain. If they’re lucky, the site of pain is the true cause, but this is rarely the case. This is because most musculoskeletal pain is related to a movement problem. And a movement problem requires a movement-based solution.

low back pain treatment tampa
joint by joint approach

So instead of guessing what the problem is and solely treating the site of pain like most providers do, it’s important to take a step back and look at the greater picture: how you move.

For example, maybe your low back overcompensates for your hips, causing too much stress on your lower back muscles and joints. Or maybe your thoracic spine is stiff and doesn’t move well, leading to your lower back moving too much. Whatever the case, it’s important to look at the entire body and how it moves because everything in our body is connected and affects its neighboring parts.

Enter the Joint-By-Joint Model.

The Joint-By-Joint Model was created by Gray Cook and Mike Boyle and is a very straightforward way of looking at how movement affects the entire body.

Keep in mind, this model is a very generalized approach, but it does a fantastic job of providing a visual of how the human body functions as a whole. 

Take a look at the image above. As you can see, there are areas of the body that should move more (have more mobility), and areas of the body that should move less (have more stability). You may also note that each joint alternates in a sequence of mobility:stability.

Now that you have a great visual of how our body should function, and the role of each of our joints, let’s look back to our example we provided above where lower back pain may be a result of overcompensating for its neighboring parts. 

As you can see in the model, the lower back should be relatively stable and the hips and thoracic spine (upper back) should be mobile. If the hips start becoming less mobile, the lower back often compensates to make up for that lack of mobility. Similarly, if your thoracic spine becomes more stiff, the lower back often takes on excess stress.

The human body is amazing at compensating and adapting, but unfortunately when parts of our body start taking on too much stress and are overworked/overloaded, things like pain and injury can occur. Even if pain isn’t present currently, your optimal human functioning is still hindered.

Hopefully you’re starting to understand why movement matters and why you shouldn’t just treat the site of pain.

4. Breaking The Pain Cycle.

The key to overcoming your low back pain starts with breaking the pain cycle early and often.

What does that mean? Let’s explain.

Pain is simply a warning sign from the brain telling your body that something is wrong. Think of pain as an alarm. This alarm warns your body of danger (or potential danger) and is asking for a fix. But when you don’t fix what’s wrong and continually perform movements that cause your pain, this alarm starts going off more frequently. And eventually if you start ignoring the alarm, it stays on all of the time.

So how do you break the pain cycle?

Initially, you have to avoid movements that are causing your pain. When you start experiencing less pain, you interrupt the pain cycle and your body’s alarm returns to normal. It’s that simple once you identify the movements that are contributing to your pain.

5. Find Out What Movements Cause Your Pain.

Finding out which movements cause your pain is a huge step for formulating a game plan to overcome your low back pain and breaking the pain cycle. Remember, this is the first step in breaking the pain cycle and it can’t be skipped. The earlier you start identifying painful movements, and the more consistent you are avoiding them, the better.

low back pain tampa
low back pain cure

This is a very important step in our history taking process and within our initial examination. While it can definitely be done on your own, having professional help speeds up the process significantly.

While you’re identifying movements that are painful, it’s important to note which movements aren’t painful. Pain-free movements provide us with fantastic information as well and allow you to keep moving throughout the recovery process in a pain-free manner. They also allow you to continue training in the gym throughout the process in a pain-free manner!

6. Find Out What Movements Are Pain-Free.

Finding out what movements don’t aggravate your symptoms and cause pain is crucial. These movements are what will keep you active throughout your rehab and recovery process.

Now, these don’t have to be low back specific movements. In fact, we encourage you to play around with movements that don’t involve the low back.

Think back to the Joint-By-Joint Approach we talked about above. Instead of stretching your low back because it temporarily feels better, how about you start working on your thoracic spine mobility and/or hip mobility? Additionally, you may try utilizing exercises that provide the lower back with more stability!

If you’re not sure what exercises and movements to try, that’s what we’re here for! We take the guess-work out of the entire rehab process, which often results in time and money saved.

 7. Create Your Game Plan.

Now that you have an understanding of why movement matters and what movements to avoid in your rehab process, it’s important to make a plan.

And it’s even more important to stick to the plan you’ve created! Rehab is a process, so don’t expect your back pain to resolve in a week’s time.

There are a ton of different ways you can treat your low back pain, including massage therapy, acupuncture, and other techniques, but unfortunately these are just temporary relief techniques. There’s nothing wrong with them, and they’re fantastic tools, but they’re not fixing your movement problems.

chiropractor low back pain tampa

The best and most researched way of overcoming low back pain is through exercise and staying physically active. This is where the true “magic” happens and makes long-term changes in your movement and musculoskeletal health.

It’s important to realize that your game plan and rehab process may have ups and downs (good days and bad days). This is a totally normal part of healing and overcoming your low back pain, but it’s important to take note of what may have aggravated your symptoms. It could have been something you did the day prior or something you did the day of. Either way, it’s important to continually reassess how you’re feeling and make changes as necessary.

Your game plan should include specific exercises that are prescribed from your physical therapist or chiropractor to provide pain-relief, improve your mobility, improve your stability, or a combination of all the above. These exercises are very important to perform, but it’s equally important to make modifications to your daily lifestyle as needed (like avoiding certain movements that cause pain as we talked about earlier).

low back pain stretches

Let’s address some common questions we hear about lower back pain treatment:

“Should I be stretching my lower back?”

Believe it or not, our answer 9 out of 10 times is NO. While stretching may feel good temporarily and temporarily relieve your pain, it’s not the long-term answer. Believe it or not, your lower back muscles are tight for a reason. But just because they’re tight, doesn’t mean that they need stretched. In fact, these muscles are likely tight because they’re guarding your lower back and providing it with a sense of stability and safeness. If you stretch these tight muscles, you take that stability away and may cause your symptoms to flare-up again.

Instead of stretching your lower back, we recommend looking back at the Joint-By-Joint Model above and providing your lower back with some sort of pain-free and gentle movement to provide it with more stability. Additionally, you may work on mobilizing your thoracic spine and hip joints to improve their mobility.

“Should I get a massage?”

Absolutely! Massages feel amazing. Who doesn’t love a gentle, relaxing massage? Getting a massage is a great idea to help you relax. But like we mentioned before, it’s not a long-term fix because it’s not getting to the root causes of your problem: your movement.

If you find yourself continually going to your massage therapist for low back pain relief, it’s time to dig deeper to find out the true causes of your problem. And we’re here to help you do just that!

massage for low back pain

 “Should I ice my back?”

In general, our recommendation is to actually utilize heat instead. We’re not sure about you, but usually cold tends to tighten up muscles even more. And if your muscles are already tight and stiff, this may just contribute to the tightness and stiffness.

On the other hand, heat tends to relax your muscles and make you feel more loose. But if that’s not the case for you, then utilize what works! Everyone is slightly different, but heat tends to be our go-to recommendation for low back pain. But just remember, utilizing heat is not the long-term solution!

If you continue to find yourself utilizing heat (or ice) for your low back pain, then something isn’t working. If this is you, we highly recommend you dig deeper into finding out the root causes of your low back pain. Remember, we’re here to help you with this!

With all this being said, we won’t leave you without a generalized game plan.

So what should you do?

First, you need to remove the movements/activities that are causing your pain. Secondly, you need exercises that are prescribed for your individual movement limitations to help you improve your mobility and stability limitations. Thirdly, you need advice on which movements and activities to modify or regress so you can stay active and moving throughout your rehab process. Finally, you need a rehab professional like ourselves to help guide you along the way, provide you with pain-relieving manual therapies, continually modify your exercises, and set you on your way for living independently.  

chiropractic adjustment tampa

8. What To Expect From Us.

We’re here for you along your entire rehab journey.

From the moment you walk through our office door for your initial assessment, you’ll be with us one-on-one for at least an hour. This hour will allow us to thoroughly gather a solid medical history, create personalized goals, and assess your lower back pain through a detailed movement and physical assessment.

Following the history and physical assessment, we’ll educate you on the causes of your low back pain and formulate a game plan to get you back to living an active, pain-free lifestyle.

We will also provide you with an estimated number of visits (and time frame) for you to completely resolve your low back pain. This will include the number of visits you need per week, which is typically never more than 1-2 times per week.

Your treatment and care will be individualized to your personal goals, wants, and needs. Often, this looks like a mixture of hands-on manual therapies, stretching, joint mobilizations and adjustments, and of course, corrective exercises.

Following your initial visit with us, you can expect 30 minute or 60 minute one-on-one follow-ups with us. Spending this amount of time with us in an intimate, one-on-one setting is how we get the results and outcomes you’re looking for.

If you aren’t sure if we’re a great fit for you, then reach out to us!

We offer all our potential patients the option to have a free phone consultation with us to make sure we’re a great fit to work together.

9. What We Expect From You.

If you’re reading this, we hope you’re already our ideal patient, especially if you’ve made it this far through the guide.

We expect all of our patients to be invested in their health. If you’re experiencing low back pain, you need to prioritize your health above all things. We can only do so much as your healthcare and rehab provider to help you overcome your low back pain.

low back pain treatment tampa

To get the most out of your rehab (and actually achieve your goals), you have to be invested fully in the rehab process as well. We must work as a team and you must hold your own with your at-home homework and lifestyle modifications. After all, there are 168 hours in a week and you will only be spending 1-2 hours with us each week.

That’s only 0.6-1.2% of your weekly time spent with us!

As you can see, you have to put in the work. You can’t expect us to “magically” fix you. You must be invested in the process. And if you’ve had your low back pain for months or years, you must not expect it to magically disappear after 1-3 visits. It’s just not plausible for a long-term strategy.

low back pain imaging

10. Will I Need Diagnostic Imaging?

Believe it or not, diagnostic imaging is overutilized in the physical medicine field. All too often people are running straight to their medical doctor for an MRI for their low back pain. Unfortunately, all they’re doing is wasting their time and money.

Instead, your best bet is to see a physical therapist or chiropractor first. They’ll be the one to decide whether or not you’d benefit from having imaging performed based upon the results of your physical examination and history.

In most cases, you won’t need any diagnostic imaging. But if things aren’t adding up in your physical exam, then we may send you out for further imaging and testing.

Here’s when we think it’s a good time to have diagnostic imaging performed:

  • If there are any red flags found in the physical exam.
  • If a solid trial of conservative care has been performed without much success and we feel we need more information.
  • If things just don’t add up in your first visit.

11. Red Flags.

Sometimes low back pain is a symptom of something much more serious.

It’s unlikely you have to worry about these, but about 3% of the population does. So it’s something we can’t ignore as healthcare providers. If you’re currently experiencing any of these symptoms, don’t ignore them as they can be life-threatening and something much more serious than low back pain. 

If you have any of the following symptoms, you must see a doctor or licensed healthcare professional for help:

  • History of cancer
  • Significant trauma
  • Prolonged use of steroids or drugs that inhibit the immune system
  • Ongoing infection or fever
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Numbness in the groin area (saddle anesthesia)
  • Bowel or bladder dysfunction
  • Major motor weakness in the lower extremity (such as drop foot)
  • Gross balance issues (tripping/falling all of a sudden)
  • Neurological findings lasting longer than one month
  • Progressive worsening numbness in the lower extremities
  • Pain that is not reproducible with movement

These red flags, coupled with your physical examination findings and medical history, may warrant the need for diagnostic imaging and further testing. They require immediate attention and intervention.

low back pain specialists tampa

12. Finding A Good Doctor/Therapist.

You should look for a few things when trying to find the right healthcare provider for you. Especially a rehab provider to help you overcome your lower back pain.

These are the qualities we possess ourselves and feel that all healthcare providers should possess as well.

  • They should spend plenty of time with you to find a solution.
  • They focus on your concerns, priorities, and goals.
  • They actually perform physical tests.
  • They allow you to be independent.
  • They find ways to keep you active and moving.
  • They continually progress and modify your rehab game plan as you improve.

13. Final Thoughts.

Thank you for taking time to read our low back pain guide! We’re here for you to help you overcome your complaint and live a stronger, more resilient life.

If we can be of any assistance along your rehab journey, we hope you give us a call or email us. We’re here to get you back to living the life you want and deserve.

Schedule Appointment

If you're ready to eliminate your pain and get back to the active lifestyle you want, schedule your initial appointment online. We'll provide you with the help, knowledge, and tools you need to overcome your complaints and do anything you love, better.

Free Health Consultation

If you want to discuss your health concerns before scheduling, book a free 20-minute consult at our office. We'll give recommendations and guidance, as well as the next best steps to allow you to address your health concerns.

physical therapist tampa

Connect with us on social media:

Address: 3420 W Main St, Tampa, FL 33607

Phone: (813) 563-7301

Email: info@movementupgraded.com

Hip Pain

Hip Pain

Hip Pain Guide

Dr. Ryan Hosler & Dr. Jen Hosler

 

Your Guide to Hip Pain Recovery

1. We Understand Your Frustration.

Hip pain can be one of the most frustrating injuries to deal with. In fact, if hip pain is not addressed properly, it can linger for months or even years without much improvement.

Being active weightlifters ourselves, we unfortunately have also experienced hip pain early on in our lifting careers. Thankfully, through the education and knowledge we have, we were able to properly rehab ourselves and even “prehab” ourselves to mitigate future hip pain from recurring.

 

Hip pain is the fourth most common complaint we treat at our practice (behind low back pain, neck pain, and shoulder pain). We’ve successfully treated several patients with hip pain.

Hip pain negatively affects a lot of your life… It’s not just a physical pain you feel. Being sidelined from your sport or being unable to participate in enjoyable activities can lead to depression and anxiety. Your hip pain may take away from your social life because you’re not able to partake in group fitness classes or go out running with your friends. If you currently have hip pain, you know exactly what we’re talking about.

One of the worst things about living with hip pain is that you may start experiencing low back pain as a result of your compensation patterns. Or you may even start feeling pain in your opposite hip or leg as a result of these compensations. This “small” hip pain issue can slowly turn into something much more serious if it starts effecting other areas of your body.

Not only can your hip pain start manifesting in other areas of your body (like your low back), it also limits your activities of daily living. The “simple” tasks that we take for granted daily, all of a sudden become not so simple. Take for example, putting on your socks. If you have excruciating hip pain, you know exactly how challenging it can be to put your socks on your feet in the morning.

But here’s the thing: hip pain is something you can recover from!

You will get through this! You will not live with hip pain for the rest of your life. You may just need some professional assistance and guidance to help you along the way. And that’s the exact purpose of this guide… To help you along your journey of overcoming your current hip pain complaints and getting you back to the life you want and deserve.

2. Key Factors In Overcoming Hip Pain

Before we get into what a solid hip pain recovery program should look like, let’s first discuss some key factors in overcoming your hip pain.

First, you must rule out that your low back is not the actual cause of your hip pain.

That’s right, your low back could potentially be causing your hip pain!

In fact, we’ve had a few handfuls of patients report to our office with unresolvable hip pain for months or years who have been to various medical providers without much success. 

Some of these providers used traditional Western medicine methods (drugs, surgery, etc.) and some of these providers utilized physical therapy and chiropractic care. Some of these providers even utilized similar treatment approaches as ourselves for treating hip pain!

But there was one problem… They were all treating the hip when the problem was actually a low back issue!

That’s right, these patients’ hip pain was a result of a low back problem. You can utilize all the correct tools and treatment methodologies, but if they’re applied to the incorrect area of the body, they won’t work. Unfortunately, that’s what happened to those patients that eventually came into our office.

You see, the lower back houses part of your spinal cord. And from your spinal cord, a ton of different nerves exit and travel into your hips and legs. Even if you don’t have any back pain, these nerves can still cause hip pain. This is similar to sciatica symptoms… Many sciatica patients don’t have any lower back pain at all, but do have leg/foot pain.

Ruling out that your low back is not the cause of your hip pain should be your number one priority. If you’ve been to several medical providers for your hip pain without much success and they didn’t examine your low back, it’s time to find a new doctor.

Here are a few signs that may indicate that your hip pain is coming from your lower back:

  • You currently have hip and back pain.
  • You had a history of back pain around the same time your hip pain started.
  • You have hip pain that also radiates down your leg.
  • You experience pain in the back of your thigh or calf.
  • You have “electric,” “burning,” or “tingling sensations in your leg

 

Secondly, you must figure out what movements and positions are causing your hip pain.

What positions regularly cause your hip pain? This may seem like a silly question, but most people overlook this.

You can’t just expect your hip pain to go away if you don’t remove the causes of the problem in the first place. This is what we call “breaking the pain cycle.”

What exactly does breaking the pain cycle mean? Let’s explain…

Pain is simply a warning sign from the brain telling your body that something is wrong. Think of pain as an alarm. This alarm warns your body of danger (or potential danger) and is asking for a fix. But when you don’t fix what’s wrong and continually perform movements that cause your pain, this alarm starts going off more frequently. And eventually if you start ignoring the alarm, it stays on all of the time.

So how do you break the pain cycle?

Initially, you have to avoid movements that are causing your hip pain. When you start experiencing less pain, you interrupt the pain cycle and your body’s alarm returns to normal. It’s that simple once you identify the movements that are contributing to your pain.

Here are some common movements that we hear cause our patient’s hip pain:

  • Every time I do back squats my hip pinches.
  • Every time I move my leg like this, ouch!
  • Every time I bend over to tie my shoes my hip hurts.
  • My hip doesn’t hurt during leg day, but the next day I can barely move!

Identifying movements and positions that flare up your hip pain is essential so you can remove those aggravating factors while your body heals and desensitizes.

Thirdly, you must find movements that you can perform pain-free.

Finding out what movements don’t aggravate your hip symptoms and cause pain is crucial. These movements are what will keep you active throughout your rehab and recovery process.

This step is just as important as the previous step of finding movements to avoid! This step will help you feel like you have your life back. Like you’re in control and powerful.

This step may take a while and is often challenging to perform on your own. But don’t worry, that’s what we’re here for! Professional help and guidance goes a long way and often speeds up the process significantly.

In this step, you should find modifications and regressions of various movements and daily activities. This way you’re able to complete your daily tasks in a pain-free manner as well as stay active doing the things you love while not setting your pain alarm off again.

Finding pain-free movements is empowering and instills confidence in your hip again. If your current healthcare provider isn’t working with you to find pain-free movements to keep you active and enjoying your life, then it’s time to find one who will help you. We’re here for you!

The fourth step is finding specific movements that reduce your hip pain.

This step is another challenging step for many people. Especially with the abundance of exercises and movements being posted daily on YouTube and Instagram. While social media is fantastic in many ways, information overload is also a terrible problem and leaves you thinking, “What exercises do I need?!”

Here’s the thing, these exercises don’t need to be overly complicated. They just need to work. And they need to be simple enough that you can do them on your own throughout the day without supervision.

That’s right… you’ll need to do these movements throughout the day. Performing them several times throughout the day will help break the terrible pain cycle that we discussed previously.

This is also empowering as you now have movements in your toolbox to combat your pain on your own. No more relying on your healthcare provider to get you out of pain!

If you need assistance finding pain-reducing movements/exercises, reach out to us for a consultation. After all, this is our expertise! We will find movements and exercises for you to perform that help reduce your hip pain.

The final step to overcoming your hip pain is staying as active.

This may seem impossible at the moment since you probably haven’t applied the above steps yet, but…

  • You identified what movements are painful.
  • You identified what movements are not painful.
  • AND, you identified movements and exercises to get you out of pain.

Once you figure out what’s painful, what’s not painful, and what reduces your pain, you have a clear path to staying active. In fact, the best and most researched way of overcoming any musculoskeletal pain is through exercise and staying physically active.

It’s important to realize that your game plan and rehab process may have ups and downs (good days and bad days). This is a totally normal part of healing and overcoming your hip pain, but it’s important to take note of what may have aggravated your symptoms. It’s also important to not that you now have the tools to calm the pain down if you experience any flare-ups. There’s literally no reason you should just be resting on the couch and hoping your hip pain goes away on its own.

If you’re frustrated with your current hip pain and aren’t as active as you’d like, it’s time to reach out to us for a consultation. 

nWe’ll get to the root causes of your hip pain and get you back to living the active lifestyle you want and deserve.

3. What Your Exam and Assessment Should Entail.

If you found solid healthcare professionals like ourselves, you should be taken through a very thorough clinical examination and physical assessment.

This will include a detailed medical history, past and current injury history, physical examination, and comprehensive movement assessment.

Common questions that should be asked in the medical history:

The medical history is your story. The story of your current hip pain complaint and all your previous injuries that may have caused in this complaint to manifest.

It’s said that 80% of the time a diagnosis can be formulated from the history taking process alone. So if your healthcare provider didn’t spend time with you in the history taking process to really dive deep into your complaint, it may be wise to find a new provider who will take the time to have a conversation with you.

If you’re feeling rushed during this process or your provider isn’t paying full attention to you, you may be in the wrong place.

Here are some common questions you should be asked in the history taking process:

  • Where exactly is your pain? Point to it.
  • How intense is your pain on a scale of 1-10?
  • What is quality or your pain (i.e. sharp, burning, stabbing, achy, etc.)?
  • When did the pain originally begin?
  • Was there a certain mechanism of injury or was it a gradual onset?
  • Does the pain radiate/travel anywhere?
  • What movements aggravate your pain?
  • What movements alleviate your pain?
  • Is the pain constant or does it come and go?
  • Do certain medications make the pain better or worse?
  • Have you seen anyone else for this complaint previously?

Taking a solid medical history is an art. And it takes time. You can expect to spend 20-30 minutes in our office just conversing and going through the thorough medical history alone.

Following the history taking process, we then move into our clinical examination and comprehensive movement assessment. The examination and movement assessment is where we spend the other 30-40 minutes of our time.

Throughout this process, be vocal. Ask questions and make sure you get answers to those questions.

4. What To Look For In A Healthcare Provider.

You should look for a few things when trying to find the right healthcare provider for you. Especially a rehab provider to help you overcome your hip pain.

These are the qualities we possess ourselves and feel that all healthcare providers should possess as well.

 

  • They should spend plenty of time with you to find a solution.
  • They focus on your concerns, priorities, and goals.
  • They actually perform physical tests.
  • They allow you to be independent.
  • They find ways to keep you active and moving.
  • They continually progress and modify your rehab game plan as you improve.

5. What We Expect From You.

If you’re reading this hip pain guide, we hope you’re already our ideal patient, especially if you’ve made it this far through.

We expect all of our patients to be invested in their health. If you’re experiencing hip pain, you need to prioritize your health above all things. We can only do so much as your healthcare and rehab provider to help you overcome your hip pain.

To get the most out of your rehab (and actually achieve your goals), you have to be invested fully in the rehab process as well. We must work as a team and you must hold your own with your at-home homework and lifestyle modifications. After all, there are 168 hours in a week and you will only be spending 1-2 hours with us each week… That’s only 0.6-1.2% of your weekly time spent with us!

Therefore, you have to put in the work. You can’t expect us to “magically” fix you. You must be invested in the process. And if you’ve had hip pain for months or years, you must not expect it to magically disappear after 1-3 visits. It’s just not plausible for a long-term strategy.

6. What To Expect From Us.

You can expect everything that we’ve covered in this guide thus far to be covered at your initial visit with us. Additionally, we’re here for you along your entire rehab journey.

From the moment you walk through our office door for your initial assessment, you’ll be with us one-on-one for at least an hour.

This hour will allow us to thoroughly gather a solid medical history, create personalized goals, and assess your hip pain through a detailed movement and physical assessment.

Following the history and physical assessment, we’ll educate you on the causes of your hip pain and formulate a game plan to get you back to living an active, pain-free lifestyle.

We will also provide you with an estimated number of visits (and time frame) for you to completely resolve your hip pain. This will include the number of visits you need per week, which is typically never more than 1-2 times per week.

Your treatment and care will be individualized to your personal goals, wants, and needs. Often, this looks like a mixture of hands-on manual therapies, stretching, joint mobilizations and adjustments, and of course, corrective exercises.

Following your initial visit with us, you can expect 30 minute or 60 minute one-on-one follow-ups with us. Spending this amount of time with us in an intimate, one-on-one setting is how we get the results and outcomes you’re looking for.

7. Final Thoughts.

Thank you for taking the time to read our hip pain guide! We’re here for you to help you overcome your hip complaint and live a stronger, more resilient life.

If we can be of any assistance along your rehab journey, we hope you give us a call or email us. We’re here to get you back to living the life you want and deserve.

Schedule Appointment

If you're ready to eliminate your pain and get back to the active lifestyle you want, schedule your initial appointment online. We'll provide you with the help, knowledge, and tools you need to overcome your complaints and do anything you love, better.

Free Health Consultation

If you want to discuss your health concerns before scheduling, book a free 20-minute consult at our office. We'll give recommendations and guidance, as well as the next best steps to allow you to address your health concerns.

physical therapist tampa

Connect with us on social media:

Address: 3420 W Main St, Tampa, FL 33607

Phone: (813) 563-7301

Email: info@movementupgraded.com

Shoulder Pain

Shoulder Pain

Shoulder Pain Guide

Dr. Ryan Hosler & Dr. Jen Hosler

 

Your Guide to Shoulder Pain Recovery

1. We Understand Your Frustration.

First and foremost, we understand how much shoulder pain sucks. Shoulder pain can be a very tricky problem to deal with. And if left untreated, it can continue to cause nagging problems for several years to come.

Having shoulder pain can seriously impact your daily life and productivity. And it definitely affects your ability to train in the gym and fully partake in sports. Not to mention the impact it has on simple daily tasks such as reaching overhead in cabinets!

We’ve treated several patients with shoulder pain in our office. In fact, treating shoulder pain is a large part of our practice and the third most common complaint we treat (behind low back pain and neck pain). Shoulder pain is so common that some studies report that nearly 50% of the population has experienced shoulder pain in the past year.

But just because shoulder pain is so common, doesn’t mean you have to live with it and accept it as “a part of life.” Having shoulder pain is something you can recover from!

You’re much more stronger and resilient than you may think. You will get through this and conquer your shoulder pain. You won’t live with shoulder issues for the rest of your life. You may just need some professional assistance and guidance along the way. And that’s the purpose of this guide. To help you along your journey of overcoming your current shoulder pain complaints and getting you back to the life you want and deserve.

2. Common Causes of Shoulder Pain.

Before we get into the common causes of shoulder pain, let us reiterate something: you’re not alone. Nearly two-thirds of the population will experience some sort of shoulder pain in their life. But guess what? Not everyone lives with this pain forever! And you don’t have to either.

When you take the correct approach, you can definitely overcome your pain. And you may just overcome it faster than you ever imagined.

Now, you may have heard a list of things that can cause shoulder pain from your friends, your doctor, or even on “doctor” Google. But when it comes down to it, having poor movement patterns is the cause of most shoulder problems (and most muscle and joint related problems, for that matter). This is why we take a movement-based approach to helping our patients overcome their complaints.

3. Why Does How You Move Matter?

Unfortunately, most physical medicine providers (physical therapists and chiropractors) only assess and treat the site of pain (your shoulder) instead of actually finding the true causes of the pain. If they’re lucky, the site of pain is the true cause, but this is rarely the case. This is because most muscluloskeletal pain is related to a movement problem. And a movement problem requires a movement-based solution.

So instead of guessing what the problem is and solely treating the site of pain like most providers do, it’s important to take a step back and look at the greater picture: how you move.

For example, maybe your thoracic spine is stiff and doesn’t move well, leading to your improper shoulder movement. Whatever the case, it’s important to look at the entire body and how it moves because everything in our body is connected and affects its neighboring parts.

Enter the Joint-By-Joint Model.

The Joint-By-Joint Model was created by Gray Cook and Mike Boyle and is a very straightforward way of looking at how movement affects the entire body.

Keep in mind, this model is a very generalized approach, but it does a fantastic job of providing a visual of how the human body functions as a whole.

Take a look at the image above. As you can see, there are areas of the body that should move more (have more mobility), and areas of the body that should move less (have more stability). You may also note that each joint alternates in a sequence of mobility:stability.

Now that you have a great visual of how our body should function, and the role of each of our joints, let’s look back to our example we provided above where shoulder pain may be a result of overcompensating for its neighboring parts.

As you can see in the model, the shoulder joint should be mobile and the thoracic spine should be relatively mobile as well. But if the thoracic spine becomes stiff and less mobile, then something has to make up for it’s lack of movement. Often times, it’s the shoulder that takes on too much stress and load, leading to shoulder complaints. There are other scenarios that may play out as well. For example, many times the shoulder blade (which should be stable), loses its ability to stabilize. And when the shoulder blade loses its ability to properly stabilize, the shoulder joint is often put in vulnerable positions that can lead to pain and injury.

As you can imagine, the human body is amazing at compensating and adapting. But unfortunately when parts of our body start taking on too much stress and are overworked and overloaded, things like pain and injury may occur. Even if pain isn’t present currently, your optimal human functioning is still hindered by these movement compensations.

Hopefully you’re starting to understand why movement matters and why you shouldn’t just treat the site of pain!

4. Breaking The Pain Cycle.

The key to overcoming your shoulder pain starts with breaking the pain cycle early and often.

What does that mean? Let’s explain.

Pain is simply a warning sign from the brain telling your body that something is wrong. Think of pain as an alarm. This alarm warns your body of danger (or potential danger) and is asking for a fix.

But when you don’t fix what’s wrong and continually perform movements that cause your pain, this alarm starts going off more frequently. And eventually if you start ignoring the alarm, it stays on all of the time.

So how do you break the pain cycle?

Initially, you have to avoid movements that are causing your pain. When you start experiencing less pain, you interrupt the pain cycle and your body’s alarm returns to normal. It’s that simple once you identify the movements that are contributing to your pain.

5. Find Out What Movements Cause Your Pain.

Finding out which movements cause your shoulder pain is a huge step for formulating a game plan to overcome your pain and breaking the pain cycle. Remember, this is the first step in breaking the pain cycle and it can’t be skipped. The earlier you start identifying painful movements that aggravate your shoulder, and the more consistent you are at avoiding them, the better.

Finding out which movements aggravate your shoulder is a very important step in our history taking process and within our initial examination. While it can definitely be done on your own, having professional help speeds up the process significantly.

While you’re identifying movements that are painful, it’s also important to note which movements aren’t painful. Pain-free movements provide us with fantastic information as well and allow you to keep moving throughout the recovery process in a pain-free manner. They also allow you to continue training in the gym throughout the process in a pain-free manner!

6. Find Out What Movements Are Pain-Free.

Finding out what movements don’t aggravate your symptoms and cause pain is crucial. These movements are what will keep you active throughout your rehab and recovery process.

Now, these don’t have to be shoulder specific movements. In fact, we encourage you to play around with movements that don’t involve the shoulder!

Think back to the Joint-By-Joint Approach we talked about above. Instead of continually stretching your shoulder because it temporarily feels better, how about you start working on your thoracic spine mobility and/or shoulder blade stability?

If you’re not sure what exercises and movements to try, that’s what we’re here for! We take the guess-work out of the entire rehab process, which often results in time and money saved.

 7. Create Your Game Plan.

Now that you have an understanding of why movement matters and what movements to avoid in your rehab process, it’s important to make a plan.

And it’s even more important to stick to the plan you’ve created! Rehab is a process, so don’t expect your shoulder pain to resolve in a week’s time.

There are a ton of different ways you can treat your shoulder pain, including massage therapy, acupuncture, and other techniques, but unfortunately these are just temporary relief techniques. There’s nothing wrong with them, and they’re fantastic tools, but they’re not fixing your movement problems.

The best and most researched way of overcoming shoulder pain is through exercise and staying physically active. This is where the true “magic” happens and makes long-term changes in your movement and musculoskeletal health.

It’s important to realize that your game plan and rehab process may have ups and downs (good days and bad days). This is a totally normal part of healing and overcoming your shoulder pain, but it’s important to take note of what may have aggravated your shoulder symptoms. It could have been something you did the day prior or something you did the day of. Either way, it’s important to continually reassess how you’re feeling and make changes as necessary.

Your game plan should include specific exercises that are prescribed from your physical therapist or chiropractor to provide pain-relief, improve your mobility, improve your stability, or a combination of all the above. These exercises are very important to perform, but it’s equally important to make modifications to your daily lifestyle as needed (like avoiding certain movements the cause pain as we talked about earlier).

Let’s address some common questions we hear about shoulder pain treatment:

“Should I be stretching my shoulder?”

This is a tricky one! Because some types of shoulder pain respond well to stretching and mobility work. And other types of shoulder pain are actually made worse by stretching. It all depends on what your individual limitations and causes of your pain are.

 

So why could stretching your shoulder not be the best solution? Well, believe it or not, your shoulder muscles are likely tight for a reason. But just because they’re tight, doesn’t mean that they need stretched. In fact, these muscles could be tight because they’re guarding your shoulder joint and providing it with a sense of stability and safeness. If you stretch these tight muscles, you take that stability away and may cause your symptoms to flare-up again!

If you feel that stretching your shoulder only provides you with temporarily relief for 10-15 minutes, then this may be the case for you. So instead of continually stretching your shoulder, you may benefit from trying some sort of strengthening/stability exercise for both your shoulder joint and the shoulder blade. Additionally, you may benefit from some sort of thoracic spine mobility exercise.

Instead of stretching your lower back, we recommend looking back at the Joint-By-Joint Model above and providing your lower back with some sort of pain-free and gentle movement to provide it with more stability. Additionally, you may work on mobilizing your thoracic spine and hip joints to improve their mobility.

“Should I get a massage?”

Absolutely! Massages feel amazing. Who doesn’t love a gentle, relaxing massage? Getting a massage is a great idea to help you relax. But like we mentioned before, it’s not a long-term fix because it’s not getting to the root causes of your problem: your movement.

If you find yourself continually going to your massage therapist for low back pain relief, it’s time to dig deeper to find out the true causes of your problem. And we’re here to help you do just that!

“Should I ice my shoulder?”

In general, our recommendation is to actually utilize heat instead. We’re not sure about you, but usually cold tends to tighten up muscles even more. And if your muscles are already tight and stiff, this may just contribute to the tightness and stiffness.

On the other hand, heat tends to relax your muscles and make you feel more loose. But if that’s not the case for you, then utilize what works! Everyone is slightly different, but heat tends to be our go-to recommendation for shoulder pain. But just remember, utilizing heat is not the long-term solution!

If you continue to find yourself utilizing heat (or ice) for your shoulder pain, then something isn’t working. If this is you, we highly recommend you dig deeper into finding out the root causes of your pain. Remember, we’re here to help you with this!

“What about PRP and/or stem cell injections?”

While both PRP and stem cell injections can be beneficial, they’re not very beneficial on they’re own. We like to explain to our patients that PRP and stem cell injections provide your tissues with the ingredients they need to heal, but not the instructions. What do we mean? Well, tissue healing and remodeling happens through a process called mechanotransduction. Simply put, this is the process of your cells responding and adapting to mechanical force, such as the force provided by specific rehab exercises.

Essentially, the specific rehab exercises are the “instructions” that start the mechanotransduction process.

So providing your tissues with the ingredients to speed up the healing process through PRP and/or stem cell injections is pointless if you don’t change your movement habits and provide your tissues with instructions/stimuli to change and remodel (rehab exercises).

With all this being said, we won’t leave you without a generalized game plan.

So what should you do?

First, you need to remove the movements/activities that are causing your pain. Secondly, you need exercises that are prescribed for your individual movement limitations to help you improve your mobility and stability limitations. Thirdly, you need advice on which movements and activities to modify or regress so you can stay active and moving throughout your rehab process. Finally, you need a rehab professional like ourselves to help guide you along the way, provide you with pain-relieving manual therapies, continually modify your exercises, and set you on your way for living independently.

8. What To Expect From Us.

We’re here for you along your entire rehab journey.

From the moment you walk through our office door for your initial assessment, you’ll be with us one-on-one for at least an hour. This hour will allow us to thoroughly gather a solid medical history, create personalized goals, and assess your lower back pain through a detailed movement and physical assessment.

Following the history and physical assessment, we’ll educate you on the causes of your shoulder pain and formulate a game plan to get you back to living an active, pain-free lifestyle.

We’ll also provide you with an estimated number of visits (and a time frame) for you to completely resolve your shoulder pain. This will include the number of visits you need per week, which is typically never more than 1-2 times per week.

Your treatment and care will be individualized to your personal goals, wants, and needs. Often, this looks like a mixture of hands-on manual therapies, stretching, joint mobilizations and adjustments, and of course, corrective exercises.

Following your initial visit with us, you can expect 30 minute or 60 minute one-on-one follow-ups with us. Spending this amount of time with us in an intimate, one-on-one setting is how we get the results and outcomes you’re looking for.

If you aren’t sure if we’re a great fit for you, then reach out to us!

We offer all our potential patients the option to have a free phone consultation with us to make sure we’re a great fit to work together.

9. What We Expect From You.

If you’re reading this, we hope you’re already our ideal patient, especially if you’ve made it this far through the guide.

We expect all of our patients to be invested in their health. If you’re experiencing shoulder pain, you need to prioritize your health above all things. We can only do so much as your healthcare and rehab provider to help you overcome your shoulder pain.

To get the most out of your rehab (and actually achieve your goals), you have to be invested fully in the rehab process as well. We must work as a team and you must hold your own with your at-home homework and lifestyle modifications. After all, there are 168 hours in a week and you will only be spending 1-2 hours with us each week.

That’s only 0.6-1.2% of your weekly time spent with us!

As you can see, you have to put in the work. You can’t expect us to “magically” fix you. You must be invested in the process. And if you’ve had your shoulder pain for months or years, you must not expect it to magically disappear after 1-3 visits. It’s just not plausible for a long-term strategy.

10. Will I Need Diagnostic Imaging?

Believe it or not, diagnostic imaging is overutilized in the physical medicine field. All too often people are running straight to their medical doctor for an MRI for their shoulder pain. Unfortunately, all they’re doing is wasting their time and money.

Instead, your best bet is to see a physical therapist or chiropractor first. They’ll be the one to decide whether or not you’d benefit from having imaging performed based upon the results of your physical examination and history.

In most cases, you won’t need any diagnostic imaging. But if things aren’t adding up in your physical exam, then we may send you out for further imaging and testing.

Here’s when we think it’s a good time to have diagnostic imaging performed:

  • If there are any red flags found in the physical exam.
  • If a solid trial of conservative care has been performed without much success and we feel we need more information.
  • If things just don’t add up in your first visit.

11. Finding A Good Doctor/Therapist.

You should look for a few things when trying to find the right healthcare provider for you. Especially a rehab provider to help you overcome your shoulder pain.

These are the qualities we possess ourselves and feel that all healthcare providers should possess as well.

  • They should spend plenty of time with you to find a solution.
  • They focus on your concerns, priorities, and goals.
  • They actually perform physical tests.
  • They allow you to be independent.
  • They find ways to keep you active and moving.
  • They continually progress and modify your rehab game plan as you improve.

Schedule Appointment

If you're ready to eliminate your pain and get back to the active lifestyle you want, schedule your initial appointment online. We'll provide you with the help, knowledge, and tools you need to overcome your complaints and do anything you love, better.

Free Health Consultation

If you want to discuss your health concerns before scheduling, book a free 20-minute consult at our office. We'll give recommendations and guidance, as well as the next best steps to allow you to address your health concerns.

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Address: 3420 W Main St, Tampa, FL 33607

Phone: (813) 563-7301

Email: info@movementupgraded.com

Best Exercises for Shoulder Pain

Best Exercises for Shoulder Pain

Best Exercises for Shoulder Pain

If you are struggling with shoulder aches and pains or recurring shoulder injuries, then this article is for you. When it comes to being strong at the push and pull movement patterns such as the bench press, pull-up, push-up, dumbbell row, or any other movement that involves the shoulders, it is imperative to have adequate shoulder mobility and strength.

Many people injure their shoulders with the above listed movements. And it is not because the movements are “bad” exercises. It is because these people are not prepared for the exercises they are performing. Their muscles and joints are not prepared for the exercise, or the combination of exercises at hand.

  • Injury = demands placed on tissues > tissue capacity
  • Rehab = demands placed on tissues < or = tissue capacity
  • Prevention = tissue capacity >> demands placed on tissues

Taking a quick look at the above equations should really shed light on how injuries and aches/pains occur. However, just “getting strong” and building tissue capacity is not enough. You must train smart and through your entire ranges of motion. You cannot just get strong in one part of your range of motion and expect to be strong in other parts of that range. That is just not how our body works. Strength is angle specific.

So to really mitigate your chance of injury, you must make sure you have full ranges of motion in your joints. Secondly, you must create strength, control, and stability throughout all of those ranges of motions. This is the recipe for bulletproofing your shoulders and overcoming your shoulder pain.

Here are 5 of our favorite shoulder exercises for combatting achy and painful shoulders, especially stubborn anterior shoulder pain.

1. Sleeper Stretch for Shoulder Internal Rotation

Shoulder internal rotation is the most common shoulder joint range of motion lost. Normal range of motion for shoulder internal rotation is 70-90 degrees. Having a lack of this internal rotation range of motion puts your shoulder at a greater risk for injury. This range of motion is necessary for various movements and without it, compensations often occur throughout the shoulder girdle. Most commonly seen is tipping/dumping of the shoulder blade forwards, compromising the anterior structures of the shoulder joint. This is especially true in vertical pulling exercises such as the barbell clean.

PRO TIP: The sleeper stretch is often criticized, but when executed properly and safely, it is a phenomenal exercise to normalize shoulder internal rotation. Do not push through pain or pinching with this exercise. You should only feel a deep stretch on the outer part and back part of your shoulder.

PROGRAMMING: 2-3 rounds 3-4 days/week. This is a safe exercise to perform in your warm-ups prior to upper body pushing or pulling days.

2. Seated Dumbbell Shoulder External Rotations

Those with anterior shoulder pain often have “weak” or under-trained shoulder external rotators. Relatively speaking, most training programs do not implement much (or any) accessory training exercises for the shoulders. They target the large prime movers of the shoulders, but neglect the smaller shoulder stabilizers, especially the shoulder external rotators (the teres minor and infraspinatus). Seated dumbbell shoulder external rotations are a fantastic way to isolate these muscles and build strength and endurance. Go light with this exercise and do not use momentum to power through this exercise.

PRO TIP: Keep your elbow that is resting on your knee slightly lower than shoulder height. Do not push into any pain or pinching at any time during this exercise. Additionally, you can slowly lower the dumbbell to work on eccentrically stretching the posterior shoulder to improve shoulder internal rotation range of motion. At no time during this exercise should your shoulder blade tip/dump forwards (keep your shoulder blade stable and immobile).

PROGRAMMING: 2-3 rounds of 15-20 repetitions, 3-4 days/week. This exercise is safe to perform in your warm-up, during rest breaks in betweens sets/exercises, or on its own.

3. Banded Face-Pulls

The banded face-pull combats that nasty posture we all exhibit throughout the day, especially those of us that work desk jobs: internally rotated, adducted, and protracted shoulders with an overly flexed thoracic spine. By working the upper back and posterior shoulder with the banded face-pull, you are working on maintaining an upright/extended spine, while pulling your shoulders into external rotation, horizontal abduction, and retraction. As with all exercises, you should feel no pain or pinching with this.

PRO TIP: While pulling the band towards your face, also think about pulling the band apart horizontally. Keep your elbows high throughout and really focus on hammering your posterior shoulder and upper back. Go light with these. Again, we are working accessory movements and shoulder joint stabilizers, so we are training for endurance with this exercise.

PROGRAMMING: 4-5 sets of 15-20 repetitions, 3-4 days/week. This is a fantastic exercise to implement into your warm-ups to prep your shoulders for upper body days, or to superset with a heavy pushing exercise.

4. Band Pull-Aparts

Banded pull-aparts again are a great exercise to hammer the posterior shoulder and upper back musculature. They again help reverse that poor posture we all unfortunately exhibit by training shoulder external rotation, horizontal abduction, and scapular retraction. Hold on to the band in a supinated grip (palm facing upwards) to really target shoulder external rotation. From here, you can vary your grip width to make the exercise easier or harder. Pull the band apart only until it taps your chest. Slowly and controllably return to the starting position.

PRO TIP: Keep tension in the band at all times. Perform these slowly or you are short-changing yourself. There is no need to pull your arms back farther behind your back, just tap the band to your chest.

PROGRAMMING: 4-5 sets of 15-20 repetitions, 3-4 days/week. Like the banded face-pull, this is a fantastic exercise to utilize in your warm-ups or to superset with heavy pushing exercises.

5. Kettlebell Arm-Bar

The kettlebell arm-bar is fantastic for improving shoulder joint stability, especially reactive stability due to the offset weighted nature of the kettlebell. This exercise really works on maintaining shoulder joint centration (joint alignment/spacing from optimal co-contraction of all the shoulder joint stabilizer muscles). Once holding the kettlebell in this position becomes easier and more second-nature, you can add in axial shoulder joint rotations to further challenge your shoulder joint reactive stability.

PRO TIP: Do not go too heavy with this exercise. This is a common fault we see and contradicts the purpose of the exercise. Remember, we are training reactive stability and endurance of the shoulder joint, not brute strength.

PROGRAMMING: 3-4 sets of 5-6 repetitions, holding each repetition for 15-30 seconds. Perform 3-4 days/week. This is fantastic for prepping the shoulders in your warm-ups or performing it on its own.

There you have it! 5 of our favorite exercises to combat painful and achy shoulders.

As always, we do not recommend you taking this information as medical advice. Always consult with your doctor before implementing strengthening exercises or starting a training program. For optimal results, we recommend consulting with a qualified physical therapist or chiropractor who understands human movement and strength training. This is because musculoskeletal pain requires a thorough physical/movement-based assessment to identify your individual limitations and needs before specific rehab exercises are prescribed.

Frustrated with your painful or achy shoulders and have tried these exercises without much success? Reach out to us for help! We can even help find you a qualified healthcare professional to help you in your area.

Top 5 Thoracic Spine Mobility Exercises

Top 5 Thoracic Spine Mobility Exercises

Top 5 Thoracic Spine Mobility Exercises

Thoracic spine mobility is essential for the overhead athlete, anyone lifting overhead, and even the everyday person. Having adequate amounts of thoracic spine mobility can help prevent nagging muscle and joint issues up and down the kinetic chain. Frequently, a lack of thoracic spine mobility (especially thoracic extension) can lead to shoulder pain and impingement.

Here are our top 5 thoracic spine mobility exercises (in no particular order).

1. Downward Dog

The downward dog is a phenomenal thoracic extension mobility exercise that is underutilized. It is a great drill to work on overhead shoulder flexion, thoracic extension, and shoulder strength all at the same time. This should be a pain-free exercise and should not cause any pinching in the back part of your shoulder joint.

PRO TIP: To really get the most out of this exercise, really work on pressing your hands through the ground, pushing your chest away from your hands. At the same time, use your thoracic paraspinals (the muscles that run along your upper back) to pull your spine into more extension.

PROGRAMMING: 15-20 repetitions holding each rep for 2-3 seconds, 3-4 days/week

2. Brettzel

The brettzel is one of the more complex thoracic spine mobility exercises we utilize. It is definitely not for everyone as it may cause some pain/discomfort in some people’s lower back. If that is you, check out our other thoracic spine rotation stretch below that is less advanced.

PRO TIP: Do not push through any pain or discomfort with this exercise. Focus on your breathing. Prior to each repetition, take a deep breath and then fully exhale while pulling yourself into the stretch.

PROGRAMMING: 5-10 repetitions per side, 3-4 days/week

3. Elevated Prayer Stretch on Bench

The elevated prayer stretch is fantastic for improving thoracic spine extension while also working on shoulder flexion mobility. With this exercise, really focus on moving through your upper back in between your shoulder blades.

PRO TIP: Think about reaching your elbows off of the bench towards to ceiling while simultaneously pulling your chest closer to the ground. Really focus on using your thoracic spine paraspinals to extend your upper back. Do not jutt/push your neck forwards towards the ground.

PROGRAMMING: 10-15 repetitions holding each rep for 2-3 seconds, 3-4 days/week

4. Kettlebell Pullover on Foam Roller

This is a common thoracic spine mobility exercise commonly seen performed in the CrossFit world. Unfortunately, too many people perform this drill without much success because they execute it improperly. This is because when most people extend over the foam roller they let their ribcage flare upwards as well.

PRO TIP: Lock your ribcage down with your abdominals. Take a big diaphragmatic breath and brace your core 360 degrees. Maintain this stacked ribcage and pelvis position while extending your spine and pulling the kettlebell over the foam roller.

PROGRAMMING: 5-10 repetitions, 3-4 days/week

5. Thoracic Spine Rotation with Rib Pull

The thoracic spine rib pull in the sidelying position is one of our favorite exercises to improve thoracic spine rotation. The rib pull aids in more rotation in the upper back and the locking the knee to the foam roller helps eliminate movement from occurring in the lower back.

PRO TIP: Do your best to move only through your upper back in rotation. Squeeze your top knee into the foam roller to lock your lumbar spine down to prevent movement from occurring there. Prior to each repetition, take a deep breath and fully exhale while rotating and pulling your ribcage to the ground. As with all exercises, this should not be painful.

PROGRAMMING: 10-15 repetitions per side, 3-4 days/week

And there you have it, our top 5 thoracic spine mobility exercises!

If you continue to not have any luck with your thoracic spine mobility after diligently following these exercises, then reach out to a qualified healthcare/movement professional. Mobility exercises should be individually prescribed to you and your needs, especially if there is pain or discomfort involved.

If you need assistance finding a physical therapist or chiropractor who understands movement and strength & conditioning locally, then reach out to us. We’re happy to help you!

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