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Elite Sports Physical Therapy is one of the few physical therapy clinics in both the Tri-City and Tri-Valley areas that you can follow on social media. You can follow us on Twitter, like us on Facebook, of check us out on YouTube.

In our current world text messages, tweets, updates, and emails, this is the wave of the future and ESPT is not afraid to be a leader. Check in with us on a regular basis to get updates on the clinic, including postings for upcoming events and information about how to best care for yourself.

For more information about ESPT, visit our website at www.espt-ca.com or call us in Fremont (510.656.3777) or Dublin (925.452.4656)

Seeing With Our Hands, Not Just Our Eyes

When I was in physical therapy school, a lot of my professors would tell us that as physical therapists we “see not only with our eyes, but also with our hands.”

For a good manual therapist that is absolutely true. We use our palpation skills to look for soft-tissue tension, check for alignment issues, and assess proper motion/movement. We do more than simply ultrasound and exercise you as a patient. There are in fact a plethora of tools at our disposal. Below I’ll describe a few of them for you.

Soft Tissue Mobilization

Often times muscle tension needs to be addressed or joint dysfunction may persist/return. For example, after an injury or surgery, adhesions and scar-tissue may form in the area, limiting normal range of motion (ROM). With soft-tissue mobilization, those adhesions can be broken down. In addition tissue fluids can me moved so swelling is dissipated and circulation can improve.

At ESPT, we are one of the few clinics in the area that offer Sound-Assisted Soft-Tissue Mobilization. By using special tools to help break down the soft-tissue and fascial restrictions, we can better treat ongoing muscle and tendon issues (tendinosus) in ways our competitors can’t.

Joint Mobilization

Muscle spasms can also respond to a restricted joint, so simply heating and stretching an area may not produce lasting results. By mobilizing a stiff joint, we can restore proper movement and range of motion, thus taking stress off of the surrounding muscles. These mobilizations should be painless, but on occasion can be a little painful if the joint is very stiff. In any case, there should be no lasting symptoms after the mobilizations.

At ESPT, we are the only clinic in the area with the ATM2 by Back Project. You can read more about it in our blog here. With the ATM2, we can “reset” your neurological system so that you do not perceive pain. Muscles often respond with guarding/spasm, when we are in pain. By supporting your body with the ATM2 apparatus and eliminating your pain, your muscles will have a chance to relax and return to their normal function, instead of tightening up to protect you.

Muscle Energy Techniques

This is a special technique using voluntary contractions by the patient to mobilize restricted joints and lengthen shortened muscles. This procedure is a little more active as compared to joint mobilizations, since it requires patient interaction to contract certain muscles against a counterforce provided by the therapist. These are tolerated very well and do not usually stress the joint.

High Velocity, Low Amplitude Mobilizations

This is a more aggressive technique that takes a joint to its restrictive barrier and thrusting with a low amplitude to restore proper joint motion. If it is used properly, increased motion and decreased muscle spasm should be noticed immediately. Therapists have to go through special coursework/training in order to perform these mobilizations.

At ESPT, we are fortunate to have the only Certified Orthopedic Manual Therapist in the area. You can read about it in our blog here. And Joey is qualified to perform these high velocity, low amplitude mobilizations. Come see him if you have back pain/neck pain that has not improved with physical therapy elsewhere.

In today’s health care environment, physical therapy clinics can no longer just be “gyms.” Patients cannot come in and simply run through exercises. Therapists have to show what they are capable of and how they can provide a unique, professional service that others cannot. We need to prove our worth, so that patients know they are getting quality service and care with their insurance dollar.

If you haven’t experienced any of the above techniques in your physical therapy treatment or would like to find out more about them, feel free to contact us at Elite Sports Physical Therapy @ 510.656.3777.

ESPT Offers Innovative Treatment For Pain

For this entry, I’d like to continue the discussion on treating low back pain. As I’ve mentioned before, PT’s that simply focus on treating pain with modalities like ice, heat, e-stim, ultrasound are kind of archaic. That is a wonderful adjunct to a physical therapist’s toolbox, but a good PT never focuses on a painful area and treats that area solely. The goal of treatments should be helping patients gain sustained functional improvements. And I’ve seen that most with helping patients improve flexibility/mobility and increase core strength/stability when treating low back pain.

At ESPT, we are now excited to offer to the Fremont/Newark/Union City community: The ATM2 by Back Project. The ATM2 is a cutting edge rehabilitation tool used currently by top teaching hospitals, athletic rehabilitation facilities, and professional sports teams. It’s rapid growth in popularity is the result of its unparalleled ability to provide immediate and sustained results for decreasing pain and increasing motion in suitable users.

The ATM concept focuses on eliminating a patient’s symptoms/complaints by normalizing impaired movements. By effectively positioning a patient on the ATM2 device, the clinician is able to find a pain-free position for a patient that may have not been possible previously. When this position is found and stabilized, a series of gentle re-training movement exercises are performed to bring about immediate pain reduction, increased range of motion, and improvement in quality of motion.

In recent studies, it’s been shown that muscular activation strategies are altered when there is pain. This altered activation strategy is a protective mechanism in acute injuries, but it can also become a problem for chronic injuries. When normal muscle activation strategies are restored is usually when individuals are successful at relieving pain and restoring normal motion.

ATM studies have enabled clinicians to help patients achieve an immediate, average of 60% reduction in pain and decrease the number of treatments needed to resolution by over 50%!! There are only a few select clinics in the area with this equipment.

To find out more details about us or the ATM2, feel free to call Elite Sports Physical Therapy at 510-656-3777 or check out our website at www.espt-ca.com.

The Back Pain Epidemic

Did you know hat Americans spend at least $50 billion each year on low back pain? Did you know low back pain is the most common cause of job-related disability and a leading contributor to missed work? And the only neurological ailment more common in the United States than low back pain is headache.

Most incidences of low back pain are temporary and the result of trauma to the low back from sports, overuse with housework/yard work, or a motor vehicle accident. This usually results in inflammation and muscle spasm in the low back, creating a problem that is mechanical in nature. There are situations, however, where the source of pain is a damaged structure like a protruding disk, a fractured vertebrae, or a pinched nerve. In these cases, it’s very important that you seek the advice of a physical medicine and rehab physician or a spine specialist for the next step in caring for your back.

Finding The Right Balance

In treating many patients with mechanical low back pain (and even some of those with structural issues), I have found that there is usually an imbalance in hip flexibility, thoracic mobility, and core strength. In other words, most of my patients have tight hip/leg muscles, they are very stiff in the thoracic spine (usually from poor sitting posture), and have weak abdominal and back muscles due to deconditioning. Most of the time, correcting these imbalances will provide a significant reduction in pain and improvement in function.

For example, I had the opportunity to treat a crew athlete that had been diagnosed with several disc protrusions in his low back. One physician told him that he would never be able to row again. Another doctor said, “Who knows how many of these crew athletes have protrusions. They sit in that prolonged position in the boat for practice and competition. If we did an MRI on all the crew athletes, we might find some with the same thing. But how many of them are actually in pain? Go ahead and treat the imbalances first and see what happens.”

Well, that’s what we did. This crew athlete had very poor hamstring flexibility and core strength. We worked very hard on this for 8 weeks and he started to see improvements in both of these areas. Soon after, guess what: His Back Pain Decreased!!! And before he knew it, he was back in the boat with the crew team rowing!!

Treat The Cause, Not The Symptoms

Fortunately for the crew athlete, his second doctor was able to think outside the box, or should I say the back. (A very good doctor might I add. If you would like more information about him, email me at jchun@espt-ca.com). This is something that we are seeing more and more as medicine (and physical therapy) is evolving. Just because someone has back pain, you don’t just keep treating the back. This can provide relief, but without addressing some of the other issues mentioned above, the back pain will likely return.

Most physical therapists use modalities like ultrasound, electrical stimulation, cold lasers, and traction to address low back pain. But that should not be the only thing they do. If it is, you need to find yourself another therapist. Those things will only address your pain. A physical therapist that looks at the whole person and not just the diagnosis, will help patients find the root cause of their back issues. They will help patients find balance in their bodies. Balance between flexibility, mobility, and strength, so that the low back pain is relief is for longer periods and the occurrences are fewer and farther between.

For more information about how physical therapy can help decrease low back pain or for a comprehensive evaluation, contact us at Elite Sports Physical Therapy at (510) 656-3777.