Physical Therapy Can Help You Lose Weight!

physical therapy can help you lose weight

By Sukie Nau, DPT/Owner, NAU Physical Therapy & Wellness

Have you successfully tried physical therapy after a car accident, sports injury, or even an old injury that nagged you for years?

Physical therapy can achieve that and more. It can also help you lose weight!

When a person is hurt and stops exercising but still eats the same, they will gain weight. Each pound gained puts four more pounds of force on each knee, which causes knee pain.

In that situation, we treat the knee and the patient with hands-on modalities to allow them to feel better and exercise more. As a result, the patient comes out of a negative mindset and becomes more motivated to take care of themselves.

Sometimes, we need a little push or encouragement to start something new. Once you start and the more you do it, the easier it will get and the better you’ll feel doing it, so you’ll feel encouraged to want to do it on your own.

Your endorphins kick in and help make you feel even better.

At NAU Physical Therapy & Wellness, we’ve helped patients lose weight, gain endurance, and decrease pain through physical therapy treatment.

Our experienced practice teaches patients how to exercise correctly, which gives them more confidence to take control. We can also help them modify their diet and detoxify their system to lose weight.

Eating better can help reduce inflammation, which can be triggered by eating the wrong kinds of foods and can result in pain. Avoiding foods with artificial ingredients and additives and decreasing your intake of sweets can help decrease inflammation as well as lose weight.

Combining physical therapy and diet modification is a simple and effective way to lose weight with long and lasting results.

For more information, or to schedule a free consultation, call our office today.

Pain From An Auto Accident? Whiplash? Pinched Nerve? Physical Therapy Can Help Cure the Emotional and Physical Pain Following a Car Crash

Physical Therapy can help with car accident related injuries

By Sukie Nau, DPT/Owner, NAU Physical Therapy & Wellness

We’ve all been through it. The bang, clang, and crash of an auto accident. We feel fine at first, but the next day, the pain sets in.

You don’t feel it right away because your endorphins kick in as part of your body’s fight-or-flight response.

But later, you feel tightness as well as painful and restricted movement. Muscle tightening and inflammation are symptoms that your nervous system is in high alert – it’s your body’s way of telling you that it’s inflamed.

At NAU Physical Therapy & Wellness, we can help you relieve the pain by initially adjusting your sympathetic nervous system with electric acupuncture. Then, we’ll treat your autonomic and parasympathetic nervous systems.

This process calms the nervous system down from the fight-or-flight response, making it easier for you to heal.

When your muscles release the good endorphins, you’ll gradually feel better. Then, we’ll use hands-on soothing manipulation to loosen the joints with very light corrective strategies, such as stretching, so that the muscles re-learn how to use the body without compensating.

We also have other modalities available, such as cold laser, to help loosen tight muscles and decrease inflammation.

This type of treatment usually takes 30-45 days. During this time, physical therapy allows the body to release its emotional blockage and heal.

We empower our patients to become more autonomous with their minds and bodies, so they can take control of their own healing.

For more information, or to schedule a free consultation, call our office today.

Painful Pinched Nerves? Physical Therapy Can Help You Heal

physical therapy can help with pinched nerves

By Sukie Nau, DPT/Owner, Nau Physical Therapy & Wellness

If you have:

o radiating pain through the neck or lower back,

o shooting pain through the leg or foot,

o shooting pain through the shoulder or arm if the pinched nerve is in the neck,

o muscle spasms, or other symptoms?

Then, you may have a pinched nerve!

A pinched nerve occurs when too much pressure is applied to a nerve by surrounding tissues, such as bones, cartilage, muscles, or tendons. This type of pressure disrupts the nerve’s function, causing pain, tingling, numbness, or weakness.

Other symptoms of pinched nerves also include burning or a sensation of feeling hot and cold in the area, and numbness or weakness in the arms or legs. This is due to the pinched nerve controlling specific muscles.

Physical therapy is often a great option to help deal with the symptoms of a pinched lower-back nerve. At NAU Physical Therapy & Wellness, we’ll assess your unique situation to design a personalized program that includes active or passive treatments depending on the level of your pinched nerve.

Physical therapy works to increase strength and flexibility. Increased strength and more flexibility in your muscles will support the part of the body where the nerve is pinched. Once that starts, the nerve can heal.

Also, simply taking it easy on the affected area can be very effective in allowing the nerve to heal.

For more information, or to schedule a free consultation, call our office today

Cold Laser Your Pain Away in Moments, Without Surgery!

cold laser physical therapy treatment

By Sukie Nau, DPT/Owner, Nau Physical Therapy & Wellness

Before you go under the knife, go under the cold laser.

At NAU Physical Therapy & Wellness, we treat pain with cold laser treatment. The cold laser works particularly well on tissue inflammation and wound healing.

This type of Class 3 cold laser provides .830 nanometers (one billionth of a meter) of a special light energy that goes deep into your skin.

It emits a wavelength of light that penetrates your tissues up to 5 centimeters deep into your body to stimulate the production of more mitochondria in your cells.

The mitochondria produce ATP (adenosine triphosphate), a compound that provides energy for the cells. With more energy, a patient can heal properly on his/her own – it’s a catalyst for the body to self-heal.

A patient came to us with a wound from a past lung surgery. He had a 1.5-ft.-long scar with a portion of about a 1⁄2-3⁄4-in. that hadn’t healed. After two 5-10-minute sessions with the cold laser, the scar healed.

The cold laser also worked on my mother’s tooth pain, and veterinarians often use it on animals for muscle pain.

If you have pain, and you don’t want surgery, the cold laser may be just what you need for fast relief of pain.

For more information, or to schedule a free consultation, call our office today.

Tired of Taking Pain Medication for Your Arthritis? Try Physical Therapy Instead!

arthritis can be painful, find out ways to help manage the pain without medication

By Sukie Nau, DPT/Owner, Nau Physical Therapy & Wellness

Are you one of the more than 54 million people – 23% of all adults in the United States, who have arthritis?

Twenty-four million adults are limited in their activities from arthritis and more than 1 in 4 adults with arthritis report severe joint pain.

Often, doctors prescribe nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAID), which work similarly to aspirin to ease joint pain. Although there are more than a dozen NSAIDs available by prescription, only two are currently available over the counter: ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin IB), and naproxen sodium (Aleve).

But arthritis joint pain can be treated with more than just medication. While it often takes many sessions to achieve optimal arthritis pain management, physical therapy can be an effective option to help manage arthritis symptoms.

Our patients often come in to NAU Physical Therapy & Wellness for physical therapy after they’ve tried medication to manage their arthritis pain, or if the drugs aren’t as effective as they used to be.

Physical therapy can help manipulate damaged joints to make them more mobile, which, in turn, helps them become more active.

Joint pain, and other arthritis pain symptoms can often be managed successfully with a combination of therapies.

Here are the types of physical therapy we use to treat arthritis:

o Physical therapy: This is often recommended for arthritis pain because it really helps. Physical therapy works to lessen the amount of force on the joints that have been weakened by damage and inflammation. Physical therapy exercises can help reduce joint pain and stiffness, as well as improve range of motion, making you more mobile.

o At NAU Physical Therapy & Wellness, we release the tight muscles using manipulation which helps the joint(s) articulate better, move better, and deter more breakdown.

o Massage: A massage therapist can help you to manage arthritis pain by massaging, kneading, and rubbing muscles and joints to boost blood circulation to the painful areas. (Poor blood circulation can contribute to joint pain.)

o Class 4 laser: This wavelength of light can penetrate tissues up to 5 centimeters deep into your body that will stimulate the production of more mitochondria in your cells. The mitochondria produce ATP (adenosine triphosphate), a compound providing energy for the cells. With more energy, the patient can heal

properly on his/her own. It’s a catalyst for the body to heal. The cold laser works particularly well on tissue inflammation and wound healing.

We also teach movement strategies for activities of daily living, like bending forward and lifting things properly to prevent the breakdown of joints.

These treatment options are intended to help you improve and maintain the use and range of motion of your arthritic joints, reduce pain and stiffness, and keep you active and independent. However, no individual arthritis therapy can get rid of your arthritis pain completely, and not every method will be successful for every person who tries it.

Physical therapy in any form is not a one-shot deal. You may have to continue these treatments indefinitely to keep your arthritis pain under control.

For more information, or to schedule a free consultation, call our office today.

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome Bothering You? Try physical therapy instead of surgery!

Physical therapy can help manage carpal tunnel syndrome and serves as a great alternative to surgery

By Sukie Nau, DPT/Owner, Nau Physical Therapy & Wellness

If you suffer from carpal tunnel syndrome, you know the symptoms:

o Numbness, tingling, burning, and pain—primarily in the thumb and index, middle, and ring fingers.

o Occasional shock-like sensations that radiate to the thumb and index, middle, and ring fingers.

o Pain or tingling that may travel up the forearm toward the shoulder.

But you may not know you may be able to treat carpal tunnel sybdrome with physical therapy.

Physical therapy – particularly manual therapy – improves hand and wrist function and reduces pain as effectively as a standard operation for the condition. Ultrasound, the use of high frequency vibrations, also decreases symptoms.

After one month of treatment, physical therapy patients report better results than those who undergo surgery.

You can also make changes at work, home, and in your leisure time to help reduce your symptoms. For example, a special hand-traction device can help make your carpal tunnel area larger through stretching.

One of the best exercises for carpal tunnel include the wrist flexor stretch:

o Extend your arm in front of you with your palm up.

o Bend your wrist, pointing your hand toward the floor.

o With your other hand, gently bend your wrist farther until you feel a mild to moderate stretch in your forearm.

o Hold for at least 15-30 seconds. Repeat 2-4 times.

Here are other suggestions for carpal tunnel relief:

1). Take breaks from repetitive tasks

2). Wear splints on your wrists

3). Lighten up

4). Mind your flexion

5). Stay warm

6). Stretch it out

7). Elevate your hands and wrists whenever possible.

Physical therapy helps relieve the pain of carpal tunnel syndrome without all the extra pain and extended healing time of surgery.

For more information, or to schedule a free consultation, call our office today.

Getting Ready for Marathon Season? Here Are Some Tips to Prepare for the Big Race

marathon training can be intense but physical therapy tips can help

By Sukie Nau, DPT/Owner, NAU Physical Therapy & Wellness

Marathon season is right around the corner.

Whether you’re running in a marathon or just want to get into running recreationally, below are 10 tips for you to prepare for this marathon season.

We at NAU Physical Therapy & Wellness are running specialists who have gleaned this information from our own experience running as well as that of hundreds of our runner patients.

To prepare for your race:

1). Select a 12-16-week scheduled program with a gradual increase in mileage.

2). Write your goals on a piece of paper and post it on the refrigerator or on your bathroom mirror. By writing your goals and seeing them every day, you’ll be motivated to put in the work even on the days you are feeling extra tired and don’t feel like running.

3). Hydrate properly throughout the training cycle, and not just the week of the race. For example, I like to always have two water bottles with me wherever I am (work, driving, etc.), one with water and the other with some sort of electrolyte source. I refill them several times per day.

When you’re running, especially in the Florida humidity, you need more than just water. Sodium, potassium, and calcium are all important for proper muscle contractions and keeping your body in rhythm.

When you sweat, your electrolytes are flushed out of your body. Water is absorbed through the electrolytes. Without electrolytes, your body can’t absorb the water it needs to remain hydrated.

4). Train in intervals: These are periods of hard running and slow running (or walking). Interval training 1-2 times per week can help your fitness by improving your strength and endurance. It can be done anywhere you typically run, whether on the track, treadmill, road, or grass. If you’re training for a specific race or goal, implement it as part of training program through your taper period.

5). Incorporate long runs: Incorporate one long run per week to improve your endurance and get your legs ready to sustain the time it takes to run you race.

6). Cross-train: Incorporating aerobic training other than running into your training program keeps your fitness up but gives your legs a break from pounding the pavement during running. Cross-training includes swimming, aqua jogging, biking, elliptical, etc. Choose an activity that brings you enjoyment. Try to cross-train 1-2 times per week.

7). Foam rolling and stretching help loosen up your muscles and keep your joints mobile. If your joints and muscles become too stiff, your body can’t move through its optimal range while running. This can alter your gait pattern or increase your risk of injury. Foam rolling and stretching help reduce muscle and joint stiffness.

8). Listen to your body: If you have an ache or pain that lasts more than a few days, seek attention. The earlier you get your injury taken care of, the less likely it will become worse. If you need to, take an extra day off training. One extra day off may make the difference in you reaching that starting line healthy or injured.

9). Eat properly: Don’t wait until the month before to begin eating right. Eat a healthy, clean diet throughout your training (with a few cheats here and there because training should be fun!). You’ll notice the changes in your body and improvement in your energy level.

10). Strength training and plyometrics have been shown to reduce your risk of injury and make you a more efficient runner. Strength train 1-2 times per week, concentrating on all major muscle groups (including your arms, because these can add power to your running).

Plyometrics work on turnover and neuromuscular control, which allows for your muscles to be activated at the appropriate times while running. Work on plyometrics once per week or once every other week.

You don’t have to follow all these principles to run a strong marathon but, the more you cover the basics, the greater your chance of success!

For more information, or to schedule a free consultation, call our office today.

Pregnant and Uncomfortable? Physical Therapy May Be Your Answer For a Healthy, Happy Pregnancy

pregnancy can be uncomfortable but physical therapy can help facilitate a comfortable and healthy 9 months

By Sukie Nau, DPT/Owner, Nau Physical Therapy & Wellness

Pregnancy creates changes in your body that can make you uncomfortable. As your belly grows, your center of mass and body balance change.

This creates issues which may cause discomfort in a pregnant woman. Also, there are hormonal issues such as a relaxer that is released toward the end of pregnancy which may cause parts of the body to be relaxed that shouldn’t be, such as the sacroiliac joint (SI).

Physical therapy for pregnant women is designed to work on the soft tissue, relieving the knots in the muscles that get tighter than usual and distribute the pressure. At NAU Physical Therapy & Wellness, we work on the trigger points to realign the pelvis and decrease the stress of the body, so that the mother-to-be will be able to bend, twist, and sleep with less pain/discomfort.

Some women may experience diastasis recti, a condition in which their belly sticks out because the space between their left and right belly muscles widens.

Some might call it a pooch. But it’s very common among pregnant women.

About two-thirds of pregnant women have it. Physical therapy can bring the separation closer together.

Other issues may include incontinence and pelvic pain. Physical therapy can release tight pelvic muscles, help prevent prolapse of the bladder and other organs from dropping.

At NAU Physical Therapy & Wellness, we also teach mothers exercises to keep their pelvic floor strong, and we can continue to see them after they deliver their baby, if they’re healthy.

We can also treat newborn babies who might have wry neck, which occurs when the baby’s neck gets stuck in the position it was in inside the womb. Physical therapy can help improve the range of motion in the baby’s neck and create better balance and symmetry.

For a healthy, happy pregnancy right from the start, physical therapy can begin as early as the first trimester, when the musculoskeletal is stiff. It can then continue through each stage of pregnancy right up to the end as a preventative action to ensure the mom-to-be is as pain-free as possible.

For more information, or to schedule a free consultation, call our office today.

Ready to Run? Stretch First!

stretching can prevent sports related injuries for runners, don't forget to skip it in your work out

By Sukie Nau, DPT/Owner, Nau Physical Therapy & Wellness

Skipping pre-run stretches or warm-up sessions can lead to a workout injury. When we run with muscles that aren’t properly prepped, we may cause injuries that can keep us off our feet for weeks or months.

To warm up and help prepare your muscles, start with a 5-10-minute jog or walk. Then, prep your major muscle groups by stretching dynamically.

Remember, it’s important to not overstretch before your workout. Just take the stretch to the point where you feel resistance, not pain or discomfort.

Below are eight stretches you can do before running to prep the major muscle groups you’ll be using: quads, hamstrings, glutes, and hip flexors as well as moves that warm up your abs, back, and calves:

1.Walking Lunges

o Stand with your feet together. Then, take a long step forward with your right foot.

o Bend the front knee to 90 degrees and the back knee until it almost touches the ground.

o Stay here for a few seconds before rising and take another big step forward on your left leg to get the stretch on your left side.

o Do this for about 10 lunges (five on each side).

Not only do walking lunges loosen up the major muscles used while running — specifically, the quads and hip flexors — but they also simulate the forward motion of running, which makes them particularly useful as a pre-run stretch.

2.Side Stretches

o Bring your arms over your head.

o Keeping your abdominals tight, lean to the right, bending at the waist.

o Hold for a few seconds. Then, lean to the left.

o Do this movement dynamically, holding for one or two breaths on each side before switching.

Side stitches are a common complaint among runners, but you can help prevent them by doing a torso stretch before running. You can perform this from a standing position, or you can add a side stretch to the hip flexor stretch from the previous stretch.

3. Dynamic Pigeon Pose

o From a seated position, fold your right knee in front of you on the floor so your knee is pointing out to the right slightly and the outside of your thigh and shin are on the floor.

o Extend your left leg behind you, keeping your leg straight and the top of your thigh, shin, and foot on the ground.

o Add a torso twist by bringing your right hand up behind your right ear. Then, twist to your left so your elbow comes across your body.

o Repeat five to eight times on each side.

Do a variation of yoga’s classic pigeon pose to stretch the glutes and the iliotibial (IT) band that runs along the outer thigh.

4. Hip Circles

o Stand with your hands on your hips and your feet hip-width apart.

o Circle your hips in one direction, almost as if you’re Hula-Hooping. Make the circles wider and wider until you’re working your full range of motion.

o To deepen the stretch, on the last round, pause briefly at the front, back, left, and right points in the circle.

o Repeat for six to 10 rotations in one direction. Then, switch directions.

Your hips bear a lot of force while you’re running, so opening the joints and muscles of that area before hitting the pavement can help prevent injury. A few minutes of hip circles is an easy way to do this.

5. Leg Swings

o Swing your legs forward and backward several times

o Swing your legs from side-to-side several times

For more information, or to schedule a free consultation, call our office today.

Chronic Pain in Your Shoulders, Neck, Arms, and Back? Before resorting to surgery or taking pain pills, target your trigger points!

chronic pain can be resolved with natural methods other than medication and surgery

By Sukie Nau, DPT/Owner, NAU Physical Therapy & Wellness

Have you been bothered by chronic pain for many years, and believe nothing helps? Have you popped pain killers and opted for surgery, but still no relief?

Have your physical therapist check your trigger points!

Trigger points are hyperactive muscle spasms caused by strain and muscle overuse. The symptoms are caused by the muscle trying to protect and guard itself.

Targeting trigger points helps with vertigo, headaches, sciatica, frozen shoulder, and other symptoms.

With chronic pain, for example, a patient has latent trigger points which flare up with stress. Likewise, if someone has a rotator cuff injury, that means that there are active trigger points.

At NAU Physical Therapy & Wellness, the most effective work we do is with trigger points after pain gets misdiagnosed. In most cases of pain, trigger points are not properly addressed.

Many people resort to medication, opioids, injections, surgery, or spinal manipulation. But pain relief from spinal manipulation is short-lived because of the underlying trigger points.

Surgery is only needed in rare cases such as massive, herniated discs pushing on a nerve, such as severe trauma after a fall and/or accident. But most people can get help with conservative management over time.

Trigger point treatment allows the patient to come off meds and avoid surgery. In our experienced physical therapy practice, we’ve seen the most ‘aha’ moments when we treat the trigger points.

The treatment methods we use are designed to release the painful, tight tissues through a blend of Eastern and Western healing philosophies to promote complete and deep healing.

In addition to joint mobilization techniques and other soft tissue release methods, they include:

  • Targeting trigger points (Western medicine)
  • Targeting acupressure points (Chinese medicine)
  • Activating marma points (yoga/Ayurvedic medicine in India)

While trigger points can be elusive, people tend to have the same trigger points. When the trigger points are targeted, there’s an 80%-90% reduction in pain.

The satellite trigger point starts at the shoulder, runs down the arm, and into the hand. Targeting the central point can help alleviate symptoms following therapy, surgery, injections, and constant pain.

You can even learn how to self-diagnose and self-treat. You just need guidance and effort.

At NAU Physical Therapy & Wellness, we treat trigger points by:

  • Identifying what the trigger point feels like
  • Identifying which trigger points to work on based on symptoms
  • Knowing how to treat actual trigger points (which don’t respond to a massage) by:
    • Finding the spot in the muscle (knot)
    • Finding the apex of the knot and put the same pressure on the knot
    • Moving it in a small range motion 1⁄2 inch in diameter. This allows the milky tissue to release the fluids of muscles.

For more information, or to schedule a free consultation, call our office today