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What Test Should My Doctor Order?

In this article we will be discussing the one test your doctor must order for you when you are in pain as well as what to expect during your first physical therapy appointment.  You could be a runner, dancer, gymnast, or an aerial circus artist who is having pain in your knee, foot, or shoulder.  You may have googled your diagnosis to be patellofemoral syndrome, plantar fasciitis, or rotator cuff tendinitis.  If this is you then you need to read this article before seeking help from your local medical community!

 

This is a topic that I am very passionate about and for those of you that are more visual and auditory learners, you may prefer to watch the live video below!

 

 

The most important thing a medical provider needs to assess when you have pain is NOT an expense x-ray or an MRI believe it or not.  It is something that is far cheaper and will actually result in you getting better quicker!  What is this secret test?  It is Movement!

 

Movement dictates what is causing your pain and will help your medical provider identify the contributing factors to why you developed pain in the first place so they know how to keep it from coming back!  At SPARK Physical Therapy, every single client we see gets an evaluation of their movement patterns whether it is watching and recording them run or watching them squat.  A common pattern of pain in our aeralists is mid-back stiffness and pain in the back of the shoulder blade area.  As an onsite provider at Air Temple Arts, we get them up in the silks so we can see how they move in their element.

 

Aerialist in the silk apparatus

 

We want to see what their patterns are in the silks.  We want to see which muscles are firing and which muscles are not.  This will help us to better dictate the clinical examination and then come up with a treatment plan that’s best for them!  By assessing this we can even talk about modifications that the athlete can make to their movement to help heal during their injury process.

 

So, what are we saying here?  This isn’t the expensive medical test.  You don’t need an x-ray when you have pain.  You don’t need an MRI.  You don’t need a CT scan.  What you need is a good, detailed evaluation that includes MOVEMENT!

 

For example, if you are a runner and you’re seeing a medical practitioner because you’re having achilles pain or hamstring pain and they haven’t seen you run, that is a problem! With our runners, we take them outside during an evaluation and we watch them run.

Taking a video of runner doing their sport

Analyzing and breaking down running pattern frame by frame to identify root causes of their pain

 

We don’t just put them on a treadmill because the mechanics of running on a treadmill are going to be different than running on the road! We’re lucky to be onsite at Multisports Academy and we are able to utilize the Farmington Canal Line Trail.  If a patient says they don’t really notice pain until the third or fourth mile of their run and they don’t have pain at rest, we have the opportunity to tell them to come early to their next appointment and go for a 2 or 3 mile run so we can do our thorough evaluation following that run when they actually have their symptoms!  This way, we’re able to analyze their mechanics at the end and recognize why they are having pain at that specific point in their movement pattern.

 

With our gymnasts, a common injury we see is low back pain!  It is so important for us to look at their mechanics during a back walk over or if they’re doing a bridge when they’re a younger gymnast.

 

Assessing movement into a bridge position

 

We’re looking at their lumbar spine and checking to see if they’re hinging from one segment only as opposed to the entire spine.  This can be a huge contributing factor to low back pain in gymnasts!  Evaluating that movement gets us down to what the cause of their pain and correcting it will be essential to not only fixing their pain but keeping it from coming back!

 

 

In summary, it is not enough to only provide you with simple “band aid” treatments to alleviate your pain.  There are specific techniques that will make you feel better.  Whether it’s a massage, a soft tissue technique,  dry needling or you seeing an acupuncturist – these things will all help to decrease pain and make you feel a little better.  However, if you don’t get to evaluating movement and getting down to the root cause of why you got your pain to begin with your are just going to keep having this pain come back later in the year.  A detailed evaluation and movement based treatment approach is going to set you up for success in the long run and keep your pain from coming back.  We need to get down to what’s causing that root cause of your pain and you as the patient needs to be diligent is doing the proper corrective exercises to get yourself better.  It’s not simple enough to go to a practitioner once or twice a week for short term fixes!  You may feel better for a few hours but the pain is still there and it will come back with a vengeance once you get back to the workouts and sports you love!

 

What we do at SPARK Physical Therapy is really get down to evaluating your movement and putting you on a plan to empower you to do your corrective exercises so that you can remain healthy and continue to do the activities and sports that you love to do!

 

We hope this article helped to give you some insight on the one test your doctor must order for you when you are in pain as well as what to expect during your first physical therapy appointment.  If you are a runner, dancer, gymnast, or an aerial circus artist we would love to help you not only fix your pain but build up the strength and resilience in your body to prevent it from coming back!

Are you trying to stay healthy but can’t train because pain is stopping you from meeting your goals?Are you worried that an injury will limit you from doing what you love like working out and training?

 

Have you wondered what it will cost you in the long run if you continue to train through pain?

 

Have you seen other medical providers in the past that just tell you to stop your activity?

 

 

We have a unique treatment approach that focuses on solving these problems with our clients. We combine manual hands-on techniques with guided supervised exercises to help you get stronger, pain-free and perform at your peak level to get you back to the workouts and sports you love. Our goal is to help keep you active and training, while recovering from injury by guiding you in ways to modify your training, rather than eliminating it!

 

 

The SPARK Physical Therapy Commitment

 

 

No long waits or multiple trips to providers’ offices every week. We see you either onsite at a partnering gym or in the comfort of your home when it is convenient with your schedule.

One on one for a full hour with your doctor of physical therapy, every visit. We provide you with a customized plan specifically designed for you, based off your unique injury and goals.

Full transparency in what you pay. You will never get a bill from us a couple of months after your visit.

Access and availability to you! Have a question about your pain or exercise program? Get an answer from your therapist directly.

 

 

 

If you’re in the greater Hamden, CT area and are a runner, dancer, gymnast, or aerialist that has been dealing with injuries we can help. We’d love to chat for a few minutes and see if you are a good fit for what we do. Fill in this CONTACT REQUEST LINK  and we’ll set up a free-minute phone consultation with a doctor of physical therapy

 

Are you a runner looking for a community that is dedicated to helping you stay happy and healthy doing what you love?

You could be an active adult starting out with a couch to 5k program or you may be an experienced marathoner!

The FREE Healthy Runner CT facebook group is your answer!

 

Our specialty here is prehab, rehab, recovery, and performance for all types of runners!

 

Our Healthy Runner CT group warmup before the New Haven Road Race!

 

CLICK HERE to join our community http://bit.ly/HealthyRunnerGroup

 

 

Thank you for taking the time to read,

 

 

– Duane Scotti, PT, DPT, PhD, OCS

 

A special thanks goes out to Allie Eldridge, SPT for her contributions to this article

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What Test Should My Doctor Order?
12.04.2019

In this article we will be discussing the one test your doctor must order for you when you are in pain as well as what to expect during your first physical therapy appointment.  You could be a runner, dancer, gymnast, or an aerial circus artist who is having pain in your knee, foot, or shoulder. … View ArticleRead More

“I developed IT band syndrome during my first marathon training cycle last year and ended up in physical therapy for about 3 months. I was told not to run if I had any pain at all. I lost so much time “recovering” that I ended up deferring my registration to the next year. I spent the next summer training for the same marathon when about 6 weeks out, that familiar IT band pain returned. I could barely finish a mile. I didn’t want to go back to my physical therapist because I knew what he was going to tell me. Stop running. I was so frustrated and started to feel like marathons weren’t for me. I stumbled upon the healthy runner podcast and learned that I don’t have to stop running in order to recover from injury! I was skeptical about an online physical therapy session. But I reached out to Dr. Scotti and he was able to give me the tools to mitigate my pain within the first session! I was able to complete my training cycle and made it to the finish line of my first marathon with his help! I highly recommend!”

Kendyl R. (Runner)

“I’d been dealing with Proximal Hamstring Tendinopathy (PHT) for about 4 years and had been doing PT, but still had lingering pains. I just figured I’d have to suck it up and deal with it because that was as good as I was going to get. But then, I came across a podcast of Duane being interviewed by Jason Fitzgerald on PHT and how he overcame the injury, and my curiosity was piqued. I met with him virtually and he has been a GODSEND! I’m able to sit as I type this! I can bend over and get in and out of cars without pain! And, I’m RUNNING again!!! It is amazing to be able to do things that I haven’t been able to do without pain since 2016!!! Thank you so much Duane for being an incredible PT!!”

Michelle D. (Runner)

“I suffered from IT band syndrome for four years before seeing Dr. Scotti in April 2020. Before then, I couldn’t run more than about 10 minutes without stabbing pain near my left knee. I’d seen various orthopedists, physical therapists, and chiropractors looking for some relief. My career needed me to run a mile and a half within a certain amount of time, and it was impossible to do so with the knee pain. I saw Dr. Scotti and he immediately got to work! That first visit, he helped me understand the anatomy and underlying cause of my knee pain (aka IT Band syndrome). Once I understood what was happening, the course of treatment made so much sense. Not only did he have online videos of all the recommended exercises to treat the problem, his “healthy runner” Facebook group, Podcast, and YouTube videos held a wealth of information and supplemented my plan. I soon understood that running wasn’t just a casual hobby – it’s a sport and one that deserves dedication and focus. Without his dedication to the sport and his community, I wouldn’t have realized this! Over the next few months, I had many ups and downs – victories and failures – and even some tears! Two steps forward and one step back. Dr. Scotti always checked in between appointments and tweaked my plan if needed. By August, I was regularly running 3-4 miles with barely any pain! If I did get pain, it was because my dedication and focus were lacking – and I quickly picked it back up and overcame. I’m so thankful I took another chance at having my knee looked at and trusted someone else. I run regularly now and am really enjoying it. I can’t thank Dr. Scotti enough and would highly recommend him to anyone having trouble.”

Tracy G. (Runner)

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