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How Does Physical Therapy Help With Back Pain?

Back pain. Just about everybody gets it at some point.

The question is… how do you deal with it?

Rest, ice, opiates, yoga, stretching, sleeping… there are many responses, ranging from healthy to unhealthy… from pharmaceutical to natural.

Our team at St. Thomas Medical Group proudly partners with Results Physiotherapy in treating many instances of back pain. As we like to say, it’s time to think about physical therapy as a first line of defense. Physical therapy isn’t just for post-operative patients or individuals who have already tried other modalities.

If at all possible, treating back pain naturally through physical therapy is our preference. Of course, there are many considerations to take into account; patient and injury circumstances can vary widely. Talk to your doctor for diagnosis and treatment recommendation.

The Benefits of Physical Therapy for Back Pain

As detailed in a previous post, we recommend seeing a physical therapist first for a number of reasons:

  • It may be faster to go straight to the physical therapist after an acute injury, rather than go to your primary care provider only to get referred to a physical therapist.
  • It’s sometimes easier to get the care you need for a very specific back injury directly from the physical therapist.
  • It can be cheaper to make just one co-pay directly to the physical therapist (as opposed to your primary care provider and your physical therapist).

Also, did you know that as of 2007, Tennessee residents are able to schedule appointments with physical therapists without physician referral? This makes your path to care so much easier!

4 Ways Physical Therapy Can Help With Back Pain

Our friends at Results Physiotherapy share four ways that physical therapy can help with lower back pain. If you’re one of the millions of Americans suffering from back pain and not seeking professional help, give them a buzz!

#1 Stretch – The number one recommendation? Stretch! If you suffer from lower back pain, exercising and stretching those muscles can provide strength and support, help maintain a normal range of motion, and potentially provide pain relief. Oftentimes, back pain is caused by lack of use.

#2 Movement Control Exercises – Whether you have acute or persistent back pain, it’s possible that the pain may be a result of back muscles compensating for poor posture or movement patterns. Movement control exercises help “retrain the spine’s muscles,” as Results Physiotherapy puts it. This can help provide greater support and reduce pain.

#3 Manual Therapy – In the case of non-specific back pain, the experts at Results Physiotherapy often recommend a combination of manual therapy and exercise. Manual therapy may include “joint and soft tissue mobilization, dry needling, passive stretching, and Myofascial release (gentle pressure to Myofascial connective tissue),” according to Craig O’Neil, Vice President of Learning and Affiliation.

#4 Education – Finally, education is a major component of the practice’s approach to using physical therapy to treat back pain. When patients are educated about their symptoms, knowledgable about how to care for themselves, and equipped to do so, better outcomes may be possible! Great physical therapists are able to help remove fear of movement, freeing patients to restore their bodies naturally with healthy stretches and exercises.

Schedule An Appointment About Your Back Pain

If you’re currently experiencing back pain in the Nashville area, you can schedule an appointment with Results Physiotherapy online or by calling +1 (615) 373-1350. Additionally, you can see a provider at St. Thomas Medical Group. Just call +1 (615) 297-2700, or make an appointment online.

How to Help Your Child Deal With Anxiety About Shots

Let’s be honest: nobody likes shots. Parents, kids, providers… vaccines and immunizations is nobody’s favorite part about being healthy. However, a standard immunization schedule can keep children and adults healthy and safe from numerous preventable diseases and illnesses, which is why we all go through the temporary pain.

Of course, that’s hard to understand if you’re two years old. It might even be hard to get through to your twelve-year-old! As a parent, you naturally want your child to not only be healthy, but feel safe and comfortable as they receive the health care they need.

The Nashville pediatricians at St. Thomas Medical Group work with parents and children of all ages to minimize anxiety and make visits as enjoyable as possible – yes, even those combo-shot days!

Below, you’ll find a few tips from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) that may make your next visit with a children’s doctor in Nashville’s St. Thomas Medical Group just a little more pleasant!

Preparing for Your Visit

Here are a few things you can do in preparation for your appointment…

  • Read up on the vaccines your child will be receiving. Jot down any questions you have about the vaccines prior to your visit so you won’t forget.
  • Learn about the benefits of the vaccine(s). Sharing this information with older children may give them some strength and encouragement as they go into the appointment. A “why” can be motivating!
  • Be honest with your kids about what’s going to happen. Tell them in advance that they’ll be receiving shots. Also, don’t tell them, “It won’t hurt,” when you know it will. Instead, tell kids that the shot may sting, but not for long.

Helping Infants & Younger Children

  • Infants and younger children may be soothed through soft singing, cuddling, and comfort.
  • Hold your child firmly in your lap to help the process go as easily as possible.
  • Let your child know that everything is going to be okay. Be present and there for them throughout – and especially after – the process.
  • Infants may be soothed after the shot with breastfeeding, skin-to-skin contact or swaddling.

Older Children & Adolescents

  • For older children, you may wish to come up with a distraction. Telling or reading stories can also be helpful for redirecting focus and reducing anxiety during immunizations.
  • You can also encourage your child to take deep breaths to “blow out” the pain.
  • It’s important to always be supportive and to not criticize children for crying.

Know that fainting is not atypical among teenagers and preteens following a vaccination. Let your child have a 15 minutes or so to sit and rest after a shot. Mild reactions, such as pain, swelling, rash, or fever are also normal and will typically resolve rather quickly on their own. You may also notice that your child has a reduced appetite after receiving immunizations. This, too, is fairly common and should not be anything to worry about.

A cool wet cloth, sponge bath, plenty of liquids, and non-aspirin pain reliever (with doctor’s approval) can help reduce these mild side effects. Talk to your child’s pediatrician if you have any concerns.

For more information about vaccine schedules, view this resource from the CDC.

See a Pediatrician Near You at St. Thomas Medical Group

For more information or to schedule an appointment with a Nashville pediatrician at St. Thomas Medical Group, please call the Children’s and Adults Department at St. Thomas Medical Group at +1 (615) 301-7040.

Being Able to Hear Promotes Cognitive Health

Over the course of a lifetime, there are millions of reasons why you want to have the ability to hear: a beautiful piece of music, the words of a loved one, or a life-saving alarm. It’s no overstatement to say that hearing is an absolutely critical and integral part of human life.

The relationship between hearing and our overall health is highly complex, affecting the physical, mental, social, and emotional. Researchers have even pointed out a connection between hearing loss and cognitive decline, which may contribute to dementia. As it would seem, hearing – or lack of hearing – can affect our health in a multitude of ways.

Hearing Impairment & Cognitive Impairment

While a variety of studies from over the years have examined the relationship between hearing loss and cognitive health, a meta-analysis published in February 2018 examined the results of 11 studies conducted in recent years.

The meta-analysis found that older adults with moderate to severe hearing impairment had a 29 to 57 percent increased risk of cognitive impairment when compared to their peers with normal hearing.

Another study published in JAMA by researchers at Johns Hopkins notes that cognitive decline happens faster among people with hearing loss. A study of nearly 2,000 volunteers over the age of 70 found that cognitive decline occurred within an average of eight years among those with hearing impairment, while adults with normal hearing did not begin to experience cognitive decline for approximately 11 years.

The nature of the relationship between hearing impairment and cognitive impairment is not fully understood, however it may be fair to at least speculate that…

  • …reduced hearing limits a person’s ability to engage in social activity.
  • …hearing loss may result in less brain stimulation and engagement with the environment.
  • …the extra effort directed toward attempting to hear may detract from other cognitive activities.

Can Hearing Aids Help?

Research surrounding the question of, “Do hearing aids help prevent cognitive decline?” can be a bit conflicting. Some studies have reported that hearing aids do not reduce risk, while others report that use of hearing aids can delay or prevent the development of dementia. In the case of both sides, however, it’s extremely difficult for researchers to know whether or not study participants are using their hearing aids as reported, as well as whether or not the hearing aids are properly calibrated and serving patients to the best of their potential.

Whether hearing aids reduce risk of dementia or not, there’s no arguing that their role in improving a patient’s hearing can be quite beneficial. Furthermore, it’s reasonable to believe that adults who can hear better have more opportunity to engage with other individuals and their environment, thereby stimulating the brain and cognitive activity.

Want to Learn More About Your Options for Dealing With Hearing Loss?

If you answer “yes” to any of the following questions, it may be time to schedule a hearing test.

  • Are you 60 years of age or older?
  • Have you recently experienced trouble with hearing?
  • Do you hear sound even when no external noise is present?

Schedule an appointment with one of our audiologists at St. Thomas Medical Group in Nashville by calling +1 (615) 292-5191. There are many options available today. Much has changed in hearing aid technology – these aren’t your mother’s hearing aids! Whether you’re looking for something discreet, affordable, or powerful, our audiologists can offer assistance.

Bonus Resource: Understanding Hearing Loss

Nashville audiologists at St. Thomas Medical Group have created this guide to help patients understand how hearing works, as well as some of the distinctions between different types of hearing loss.