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Physical Therapy for Temporomandibular Joint Dysfunction

Physical Therapy for Temporomandibular Joint Dysfunction
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Ever get a painful or uncomfortable clicking in your jaw while chewing? Or stiffness as soon as you wakes up in the morning? If you do, you may have problems with your temporomandibular joint.

The TMJ is located where the mandible (jaw) meets the skull. A thin disc separates the bones and it aids the mouth in opening and closing. When it becomes loose, it can shift more than usual resulting in a clicking or popping sensation. In the worst case scenario, the disc can get stuck causing the mouth to remain locked open.

Another factor in developing problems with temporomandibular joint is Arthritis as the disease can damage the cartilage within the joint. The most common symptoms people with TMJ dysfunction experience are pain and limited movement of the jaw joint and surrounding muscles.

TMJ dysfunction is more prevalent among the younger population and 5 to 12 percent of Americans may suffer from this disorder. It’s important to treat temporomandibular joint dysfunction before symptoms exacerbates because it can interfere with diet and sometimes require surgery to fix. Physical therapy is a great route in potentially correcing many problems that can arise from temporomandibular joint.

Treatment

The physical therapist will start by evaluating the degree of the condition. They may ask you questions about type and duration of muscle, joint, and facial pain, any difficulty with chewing, and any clicking or popping sound present. Manual therapy can be very effective as it helps decrease muscle, joint, and facial pain as well as frequency of spasms.

With this information, they can determine a treatment plan by using a combination of stretching, joint mobilization, soft and deep tissue release, and/or modalities to increase the range of motion and strength of the joint.

They may educate patients on techniques they can practice and good habits to adapt in order to regain normal jaw function. The physical therapist can also help post-operational patients by minimizing scar tissue and tightness of the surrounding muscles.

Good Habits to Remember

  • Posture: Be aware of your posture in any setting where you tend to hold your head forward and slouch your shoulders (i.e. sitting in front of the computer or in your car).
  • Diet and Chewing Changes: Cut your food into small amounts and stray from opening your mouth wider than the thickness of your thumb. Avoid food that would require prolonged chewing (i.e. gum). Chew your food with your molars instead of your front teeth.

Tongue Positioning: Produce a clucking sound by positioning your tongue on the hard palate of the mouth. Placing the tongue in its resting position can provide muscle relaxation and appropriate nasal breathing which aids in reducing pain.

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What is Postural Dysfunction?

What is Postural Dysfunction?
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Postural dysfunction, also known as “poor posture”, occurs when we position our spine in unnatural positions such as rounding our shoulders and protruding the head. This can place great stress on the vertebrae as well as the joints and muscles in the surrounding area. It’s important to correct our posture before too much pressure accumulates leading to the onset of more pain.

Essentially our body is designed for movement. It’s not meant to stay stagnant for long but today, more and more people are adapting stationary lifestyles and habits (i.e. sitting at work for long hours, watching television, or using the computer).

As technology continues to boom, more time is spent looking down at phones and tablets causing our bodies to maintain a flexed posture far longer than what’s appropriate. In fact, the ideal stance is where the ears, shoulders, hips, knees, and ankles should be aligned.

A number of factors can cause posture problems including:

  • Muscle Tightness: If a muscle continues to be shortened, it will eventually accommodate that position by becoming shorter. For instance, sitting for long periods can cause our hip flexors to shorten, thus, interfering with our gait and causing a flexed forward posture.
  • Muscle Weakness: If a muscle continues to be lengthened, it will eventually become weak due to overuse. For instance, sitting for long periods can cause our gluteus Maximus muscle to lengthen which increases the possibility of atrophy. This can cause lower back pain and less hip mobility, ultimately leading to poor posture when we stand.
  • Soft Tissue Shortening or Adhesions: When a joint remains immobile, it can become stiff and lose some of it’s range of motion.
  • Poor Neuromuscular Control: Injury can alter neuromuscular control, thus, affecting joint stability and posture.
  • Inflammation: Inflammation can cause muscle spasms, guarding, and changes in posture.

How can physical therapy help?

Postural Dysfunction Physical therapy is a great method to correct poor posture and restore proper balance. A physical therapist will observe your posture and educate you on good habits to maintain. Most treatment plans concentrate on reducing compensations and strains while aiming towards the optimal load on muscles and soft tissues.

You may also receive an exercise prescription to strengthen specific muscles and to correct body alignment. It’s important to note that’s everyone’s body is designed and shaped differently; therefore, every treatment plan will be individualized to meet goals and needs.

Your treatment plan may include:

  • Assessment and diagnosis of postural habits
  • Postural education and training
  • Electrotherapy
  • Manual therapy and soft tissue massage
  • Joint mobilization
  • Postural taping
  • Corrective exercises and movements to improve flexibility, strength, and posture
  • Activity modification advice
  • Advice regarding ergonomic work stations

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Get Professional Physical Therapy for Gait and Balance

Get Professional Physical Therapy for Gait and Balance
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Gait defines our manner of walking and any correlated dysfunctions can deviate our walking from the norm. They can transpire from several underlying medical disorders including ones that involve the inner ear, Parkinson’s disease, muscular dystrophy, arthritis, neuropathy, stroke, vertigo, multiple sclerosis, disc problems, and musculoskeletal abnormalities such as fractures.

The onset of gait and balance problems is very common as we grow older. It’s important to treat this issue as it could lead to falling, one of the major causes of injury among the elderly population.

Treatment

Most treatment plans for balance and gait physical therapy abnormalities involves exercises to strengthen the lower extremities. The main goal is to build up muscle back to its original state or above so the patient can perform activities of daily living without difficulties.

The physical therapist will individualize the treatment program based on the patient’s needs, goals, and how much they can tolerate without injury or onset of pain. Every program would be catered to the patient’s specific condition. The best exercise programs will be changed routinely based on the patient’s progress to optimize muscle strength and balance.

Your treatment may include:

  • Pre-Gait Training. Your physical therapist may ask you to perform simple activities that can help improve your gait such as standing on one leg, marching in place, and walking heel first.
  • Gait Training. Your physical therapist will observe, educate, and help you retrain your gait. Since an underlying vestibular, neurological, or muscular condition may be present, training will differ from patient to patient. Also, if your doctor requires you to use crutches after a surgery, your physical therapist will teach you how to use them properly while walking and using the stairs. Ultimately, the program will be modified to ensure the safest training.
  • Balance and Coordination Training. Your exercise prescription may include balance activities to help stabilize your walking pattern.
  • Neuromuscular Reeducation. If any inactive or weak muscle groups are affecting your gait, your therapist may enforce neuromuscular reeducation techniques to activate them.
  • Bracing or Splinting. If your gait dysfunction is caused by the weakness or paralysis of a ligament, your physical therapist may teach you how to use adaptive equipment, like a brace, splint, or cane, to help you move.

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Signs, Types and Treatment of Physical Therapy for Neck Pain

The neck bears a considerable amount of weight; as much as one-seventh of the body’s weight! It’s one of the most unrestrained body parts but pain in this area can limit our range severely. Many people try to alleviate their symptoms by taking pain killers; however, this does not stop the pain from returning. Instead, the best solution is to locate and treat the underlying problem and physical therapy is great in doing just that.

Physical Therapy for Neck Pain

Signs and Symptoms

Neck pain can affect any age group and it ranges from a dull ache to a sharp, intense pain. In more severe cases, it can travel to the arms, shoulders, upper back, chest, and head. In fact, the most common complaint is pain occurring in the form of a headache.

Neck problems can also prevent movement because of muscle stiffness, tenderness, and tension. This can limit our participation in activities of daily living such as looking down to read a book and turning our head to look behind our shoulders.

Types of Neck Pain

The source of most neck pain is strained neck muscles. People can place stress onto the area with the most simplest of actions. Common ways that cause strains, sprains, or spasms include poor posture, looking down at your phone, carrying a heavy bag, and sleeping in an odd position.

Falling or whiplash is another way to cause the problem. For instance, in a car accident, your neck may go backward and then forward, in a whip like motion, a movement likely to harm the area. Other impact or force-related trauma can cause similar injuries.

If muscle knots, tension, or stiffness is left untreated, it can lead to chronic neck pain that lasts for three or more months. It’s capable of spreading to the following areas: shoulders, chest, upper back, and/or arms causing weakness, tingling, and/or numbness to develop.

Thus, it’s important to address neck pain in its early stages before it exacerbates and limit our mobility even more. Apart from physical, additional symptoms of chronic pain include fatigue, depression, and anxiety.

Treatment

Physical therapy treatment for neck pain may include:

  • Applying ice, heat, and/or electrical stimulation
  • Muscle energy technique
  • Joint mobilization and soft tissue massage
  • Cervical traction (light stretching of the neck)
  • Postural corrections as well as ergonomics consultation
  • Strength and stretching exercises
  • Neural mobilization

Neck Stretches: It’s optimal to include stretching exercises in the treatment plan to increase range of motion and flexibility of the cervical joints. It can also relieve the stiffness that accompanies the pain.

Neck Strengthening: Strengthening exercises can improve posture, which in turn decreases recurrent flare-ups of pain.

Aerobic Conditioning: Aerobic exercises can benefit blood flow to the neck and upper back muscles and soft tissues, thus, loosening the muscles and increasing range of motion. Also, after 30 minutes of cardio, our body naturally produces endorphins, a “painkiller” that can help relieve symptoms.

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Important Physical Therapy after Car Accident Injury

A motor vehicle accident can be something that will change your day or your life. It is very important that injured victim takes professional help after accident.

Physical therapist is one the key provider in treating many motor vehicle accident injuries. Physical therapy can help to promote healing, decrease pain, increase flexibility, increase mobility and restore function. Physical therapy also is a preferable option to surgery, which should be avoided unless absolutely necessary.

Most common injuries after car accidents are head injuries, neck and back injuries, chest injuries, contusion, lacerations, organ injuries, fracture, sprain, strain.

Car Accident Physical Therapy

Head injuries, injuries to brain can be very severe. Emergency responders will stabilize patient and take them to emergency room to make sure about injuries and extend of injury. Patient might have x-ray, scans, blood work then physician decides treatment plan. Fractures or other life threatening injuries may require hospital stay and or even surgery.

Most common injury is whiplash. Driver or passenger may have neck pain or muscle pain in upper back with or without radicular pain in hand/arm. Weakness in arm can happen in severe cases. This can happen from sudden jerk to neck which moves neck suddenly forward and backward. This causes strain, sprain in muscles. Patient can have disc problem in some cases.

Some patient also develops back pain from sudden jerk and could have numbness and radicular pain in legs if there is disc involvement.

In most cases, Patient will be referred to physical therapy. Physician will refer a patient to physical therapy after car accidents to treat their pain, aches and to get them back to their prior function level.

At New Age Physical Therapy our skilled physical therapist will evaluate your condition and your needs in detail and plan out your treatment which can bring you back to your normal life. Our goal is always to give you quality care and restore your function to prior functional level.

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Tips for Avoiding Lower Back Pain

Is a lower back pain interfering with your life? You are not alone! Nearly four out of five people experience back pain at some point in their lifetime. Lower Back Pain takes various forms, from a persistent dull ache to sudden sharp pain, and has many causes.

Sometimes it results from a sprain, fracture, or other accidental injury. It can stem from a disease or medical condition, such as herniated disc, arthritis, fibromyalgia, or spinal stenosis (a narrowing of the spinal canal through which the spinal cord runs). However, many people develop back pain because they’re overweight or sedentary.

Most lower back pain usually gets better within a few days or weeks, and surgery is rarely necessary. However, even small episodes of back pain are the result of weakness in the core muscles and usually lead to longer, more painful episodes in the future if you don’t take care of the underlying problem.

Here are a few tips that are surprisingly effective at preventing back pain and keeping it from returning:

  • Get more exercise. If your back is hurting, you may think the best way to get relief is to limit exercise and to rest. Studies show that frequent changes in position and regular physical activity can help ease inflammation and muscle tension faster in the back.
  • Maintain a healthy weight. Extra pounds, especially in your midsection, can make back pain worse by shifting your center of gravity and putting strain on your lower back. Staying within 10 pounds of your ideal weight may help control back pain as well as all the other health benefits.
  • Quit smoking. Nicotine in smoke, restricts the flow of nutrient-containing blood to spinal discs, so smokers are especially vulnerable to back pain.
  • Sleeping position. If you’re prone to back pain, talk with our physical therapists about the best sleeping position. What is most important is to be in a comfortable position that you can sleep in to achieve the most rest. Sleeping on your side with your knees pulled up slightly toward your chest with a pillow between the knees is best during the first 15-30 minutes in bed. Prefer to sleep on your back? Put one pillow under your knees and another under your lower back. Try to avoid sleeping on your front.
  • Improve your posture. Find a good chair to sit on. Avoid soft couches or chairs that put you in a slouched position. Find a chair that will allow you to keep your feet flat on the floor when you sit. With standing, try to alternate your positions and walk around if possible. Have one foot forward when standing and switch this every 10 minutes.
  • Watch how you lift. Don’t bend over from the waist to lift heavy objects. Bend your knees and squat, pulling in your stomach muscles and holding the object close to your body as you stand up. Don’t twist your body while lifting. If you can, push rather than pull heavy objects.
  • Use supportive shoes. A good pair of shoes, with cushion can reduce pressure on your back. Avoid using high heels as they shift your center of gravity and strain your lower back.
  • Keep your wallet in your front pocket. Don’t put your wallet in the back pocket of your pants. Sitting on a wallet shifts your balance when sitting causing discomfort and back pain.
  • Avoid heavy bags. If you use a briefcase or handbag, make sure you have only what you need to lighten the load. Use a bag that can strap over the opposite shoulder, so the weight is more evenly distributed. When carrying a heavy bag or case without straps, switch hands frequently to avoid putting all the stress on one side of the body.

There is a lot that you can do to prevent back pain and alleviate quickly when it starts. The important part is to work with your physical therapist to address the underlying cause of your back pain. This puts you on the right path to a healthy back that will support you pain free for a lifetime.

To learn more about our back and neck program, helping you attain a strong, healthy back, contact us today!

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6 Easy Steps to Less Pain and More Energy

Our body is meant to move. Many of our daily activity include sitting for long hours it may be driving, at desk, watching TV, using public transportation to and from work. When we sit for long period of time it slows down our circulatory, lymphatic and digestive system. It also alters our posture which contributes to neck, back pain, headache and other pains.

Following some simple steps can reduce those effects on our body. 

Get Into the Mindset

You have to get in to a new routine which can make you more mobile. Get up during TV commercial, take break from your desk and chair and walk around for few minutes. Start slowly with what you can do and stick with it.  Small improvement will lead to big success in long term.

Drink More Water

It might sound very unreal but water helps us increase energy and relieve fatigue. It also helps flushing out toxins, boost immune system. It can also prevent muscle cramps and sprains. So keep that water bottle handy with you and keep drinking throughout the day. Keeping yourself hydrated has many benefits.

Yoga and stretches

Yoga doesn’t improve your flexibility but it improves your strength, stability and over all well-being. You don’t have to join yoga classes there are many basic tutorials are available on internet which you can do at home. If you cannot do yoga start with simple stretching exercises for commonly tight muscles. This may help you to reduce your pain and will prevent future injuries.

Posture and ergonomics

Lot of pain and ache comes from poor posture, improper body alignment and poor ergonomics. Poor setup of desk, chair and computer can increase tension in your muscles when this happens consistantly you will develop tightness in muscles which may lead to pain and ache. So it is very important to have a good posture a maintain it. Also ergonomically improvement around your work area can help you prevent aches and pain.

Exercises

Do any form of exercise atleast 20 min a day. We all need some form of aerobic exercises to prevent many problems. So take out some time to do exercises. If you are not a gym person you can just do walking or biking.

Doing regular exercises keeps muscle strong and that prevents them to get hurt easily. Keep in touch with expert for physical therapy of postural dysfunction injuries and get better solution there.

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Prevent Injuries and be Healthy with Post-Surgical Rehabilitation

We all have heard the saying “prevention is the key to good health” well that saying is valid when it comes surgeries. Most of us tend to shrug off the mild symptoms thinking I will take some medication and it will go away.

It may go away with pills or reduce symptoms but why not look for long term fix instead of short term. New Age Physical Therapy can help find these fixes. They can teach you techniques and ways to prevent injuries and promote a healthy lifestyle.

Post-Surgical Rehabilitation

But no matter how much we try to prevent these things sometimes it just does not work in our favor. If surgery is necessary and you want to get ahead of the game then talk to your doctor and see if you can get it done. Most patients after surgery require physical therapy to get back to normal activities.

POST-OPERATIVE PHYSICAL THERAPY 

In several orthopedic cases, having quality physical therapy from experienced compassionate professionals can certainly help quicken the recovery process.

These are some examples of surgeries after which patient needs Physical Therapy:

  • Total Joint replacements
  • Spinal Surgeries (Laminectomy, discectomy, Spinal Fusion)
  • Ligament Tears( Shoulder Dislocation/Separation; Elbow-Tommy John; Knee-ACL, PCL, MCL, and LCL)
  • Rotator Cuff Repair
  • Temopomandibular Debridement
  • Arthroscopy Surgeries (Shoulder- Sub acromial Decompression or Laberal Repair; Knee-Meniscus Repair; Ankle Debridement)
  • Bunionectomy, ankle foot reconstruction surgeries

POST-SURGICAL REHABILITATION 

As your surgery approaches, for most people getting through the surgery is the only thing that is constantly crossing your mind. But like everything else in life, surgery comes with a little bit of extra work.

Your physical therapist can have the most skillful techniques, they might even be miracle workers but without proper post-surgical rehabilitation, their work can become meaningless.

At New Age Physical Therapy Bayside NY, the Physical Therapist strives to fulfill your needs as well as your wants for a full recovery. Knowing that they are working with specific limitations, they focus on improving joint stiffness, range of motion, muscle weakness as well as reducing pain and swelling to meet your goals.

Every member of our staff will work their best to get to know you as an individual as well as your needs and wants. They are all here to listen to your questions and answer them to best of their knowledge.

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Simple Hip Exercises and Stretches to Help You Relieve Pain

The hips are one of the many parts that enable the body to work like a well-oiled machine. Our hips are the major weight bearing bones that allow us to perform daily activities, from running a marathon to walking up stairs. These constant stresses can cause pain and injury to the hip joints.

Simple stretches and exercises can help relieve pain by improving the muscles around the hips join for more stability and flexibility. These stretches and exercises can be done at home without expensive equipment.

Hip Exercises and Stretches

In the case of injury, it is important to visit a physical therapist to evaluate your injury in depth and to create a detailed exercise regimen to suit your specific needs. However, you can begin stretching and exercising at home before visiting a physical therapist.

One or more of these common symptoms can alert you to hip injury. Pain or discomfort in your:

  • Thighs
  • Inside or outside the hip joint
  • Groin
  • Buttocks
  • Front or side of hip

There are other causes for hip pain from stress related to medical conditions, such as:

  • Arthritis
  • Hip fractures
  • Tendonitis and bursitis
  • Osteoporosis
  • Pinched nerves
  • Hip Dislocation

Along with pain and other common symptoms, you may also suffer from a limited range of motion which may prevent you from doing simple tasks throughout the day. A physical therapist can help create an effective exercise plan by helping you manage pain and strengthen your muscles around the hip joint.

Hip Exercises and Stretches

Here are some simple hip exercises and stretches that can be done at home to help you relieve pain from hip injuries.

  • Hip Flexion Exercise – Support yourself with a chair or table ledge and march in place by bringing your knees up in front of you. March for one minute.
  • Hip Abduction Exercise – Start by laying on one side of your body on a flat surface with your legs straight and your toes pointed. Raise the leg not touching the surface straight up and hold for 5 seconds then return back to starting position. Repeat this 10 times for 2 sets. Do the same on the other side.
  • Prone Hip Extension – Start by laying on your stomach on a flat surface. Raise one of your leg straight up and hold it up for 5 seconds then return your leg slowly back down. Repeat this 10 time for 2 sets. Do the same on the other leg.
  • Bridge – Laying on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Lift your hips up while tightening your abdominal and buttock muscles. Make sure your shoulders to your knees make a straight line. Hold this position for 5 seconds then slowly lower yourself back down. Do this a total of 10 repetitions.
  • Single Leg Bridge- Laying on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Straighten and raise one leg then lift your hips up while tightening your abdominal muscles. Make sure your shoulders to your knees make a straight line. Hold this position for 2 seconds then slowly lower yourself back down. Do this a total of 10 repetitions for each leg.
  • Frog Stretch- Begin by getting on your hand and knees in tabletop position. Widen your knees as far as you can go feeling a stretch. Also making sure the inner part of your feet are touching the ground while your knees and heels are aligned. Ease yourself forward onto your arms and hold for 10 seconds. Repeat for 3 repetitions.

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What is Good Posture? Know Reason behind Unnatural Positions

If you want an example of good posture, just look at a young child – their back shows a graceful ‘S’ curve and their movements are easy and effortless. We are sure all of us remember being scolded by our mother to sit straight and don’t slouch.

Most of us ignored those comments but definitely regret it now. Correct posture is important to keep our back and spine healthy. It’s not just about being confident. Being in good posture you are properly aligned anatomically and putting less strain or stress on supporting muscles and ligaments.

Postural Dysfunction

As we get older inactivity, slouching causes muscle fatigue and tension that ultimately leads to poor posture. Our body is designed for movement. In modern era we do lot of work sitting and in flexed position. From morning we get up most of the activity we do is in sitting. For example sitting for breakfast, driving to work or using public transportation to work, sitting at work, eating dinner, watching TV and sleeping.

Constantly being in flexed position we strain certain muscles and shorten certain muscles. This creates imbalance in muscles and that can lead to pain. We compressed some joint more than usual which may lead to joint pain.

Over the period of time you get adaptive muscle shortening which can cause postural dysfunction and injuries. Body will adopt new posture and new pattern of movement which can cause improper strain on muscles and joint which in turn lead to pain.

These are possible symptoms from postural dysfunction.

  • Headaches
  • Muscle pain and the feeling that there are knots in the muscle.
  • Sore, stiff achy joints.
  • Feelings of weakness or instability.
  • A burning type sensation in the muscles.
  • Pain in neck, mid back, lower back area
  • Difficulty straightening up after sitting.

What can cause this?

Overuse is one of the most common causes for an example sitting in one position for longer period, sitting in front of computers, constantly looking down into your phones, working out one group of muscle more than other, using heavy back packs all the time.

Improper sitting and standing habits which can lead to postural problems. Other medical problems like muscle imbalance, weakness, joint stiffness can also lead to poor posture.

If you think that you might have problems with your posture or want some advice on why it has happened and how to fix it, you can call us and schedule consultation with our experienced physical therapist.

At New Age Physical Therapy our physical therapist will evaluate you and your lifestyle and will plan your treatment to bring you back to prior pain free functional level.

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