Hello to our entire patient family in the Michiana Area and on the campus of the University of Notre Dame! It’s the beginning of September, and I am excited about being a part of the sport I enjoy most, college football. As usual, I am also excited about finding treatments for challenging cases, using our extensive examinations to help our patients. 

Did you ever have sharp, excruciating pain in your low back that radiated into your buttocks and hip? Were you ever in the situation where the medical providers you had seen for years always got rid of your pain, but now their treatment is no longer helping? If so, sometimes it could be a result of a rare muscle weakness.

I recently had 3 very worried patients come into our office; ages 15, 48 and 59 with the same complaints. In the past, their back pain and spasms were never this intense and could usually be decreased and solved with a few months of treatment by their usual medical care provider. As a matter of fact, they would see their provider to keep them from having such episodes on a regular basis. For some reason, this particular pain and spasm was not resolving with the usual treatment. As a matter of fact, the treatment itself, unbeknownst to the provider and patient was actually making their condition worse.

During the examination, in every one of these cases, the main problem was not a so-called slipped disc or facet problem. It was a weakness in the hip which was causing their back, buttock and hip pain along with their back spasms. In two of these cases the patients were runners and had been overstretching their hip and weakening it without knowing. In the other case, the person had a sedentary job; sitting and driving a great deal with no exercising. 

The surprising part was how quickly the specific exercises to the piriformis and gluteus maximus got rid of the tingling and spasms. The patients, who did do their exercises religiously, seemed to get immediate relief in 2-3 visits. 

As we try to explain to our patients, our philosophy of treatment emphasizes an atypical perspective which make sense to us. When treating patients with our exercises, joint mobilizations, stretching or with the use of modalities, we are hoping for one of two results; each patient will hopefully get better or they may get worse. We do not want our patients, while we are treating them, to stay the same. 

Let me explain... If the pain is decreasing and the patient is improving, we are treating the injury in the right place and with the correct treatment. If the pain gets worse, we are also treating the patient in the correct area, but we are treating them with the wrong treatment. If the pain stays the same and never changes, we know we are not in the correct area of what is causing the pain, and we have no idea if our treatment of choice is even relevant to our patient’s pain problem!

I hope this makes sense to you all. I also hope, if you have any of these symptoms you will call and get in to see us as soon as possible. Thanks for allowing us to be your family physical therapy clinic of choice. We are honored to still be blessed to serve you over the last 30 years!
Enjoy the journey,

9 Things Your Physical Therapist Wants You To Know About Aging Well
We can't stop time. But with the right type and amount of physical activity, we can help stave off many age-related health problems and live life to its fullest.
Physical therapists are movement experts who can help you optimize quality of life through prescribed exercise, hands-on care, and patient education.
Here are 9 things physical therapists want you to know to age well:
1. Chronic pain doesn't have to be the boss of you.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), in 2016 an estimated 20.4% (50 million) US adults experienced chronic pain, contributing to indirect medical costs, lost work time, and wages. Physical therapist-supervised exercise, mobility, and pain management treatment plans can ease pain while moving and at rest, improving your overall quality of life.
2. You can get stronger when you're older.
Research shows improvements in strength and physical function are possible in your 60s, 70s, and even 80s and older, with an appropriate exercise program. Progressive resistance training, in which muscles are exercised against resistance that gets more difficult as strength improves, has been shown to prevent frailty .
3. You may not need surgery or drugs for low back pain.
Low back pain is often  overtreated with surgery and medications, despite a wealth of scientific evidence demonstrating physical therapy can be an effective alternative—and with much less risk.
4. You can lower your risk of diabetes with exercise.
Nearly 30 million Americans have diabetes , and only 21 million know they have it. Obesity and physical inactivity can put you at risk for this disease. But a regular appropriate physical activity routine is one of the best ways to prevent, and manage, type 2 diabetes.
5. Exercise can help you avoid falls—and keep your independence.
About 1 in 4 US older adults  fall each year. Despite this statistic falling is not a normal part of aging, and you can reduce your risk of falls. A physical therapist can help assess your risk, design an individualized prevention plan to include exercises and balance training, address underlying medical conditions, and more.
6. Your bones want you to exercise.
Osteoporosis or weak bones affects more than half of Americans over the age of 50. Exercises that keep you on your feet like walking, jogging, or dancing, and resistance exercises, such as weightlifting, can improve bone strength or reduce bone loss.
7. Your heart wants you to exercise.
Heart disease is the number 1 cause of death in the US. Exercise is one of the top ways of preventing it and other cardiovascular diseases . Research shows that if you already have heart disease, appropriate exercise can improve your health.
8. Your brain wants you to exercise.
People who are physically active—even later in life—are less likely to develop memory problems or Alzheimer's disease , a condition affecting more than 40% of people over the age of 85.
9. You don't "just have to live with" bladder leakage.
More than 13 million women and men in the US have bladder leakage . Don't spend years relying on pads or rushing to the bathroom. Learn more about treatment from a physical therapist .

MPT Happenings
Proud to support the 18th Annual Secret Sisters Society Luncheon & Style Show

McDonald Physical Therapy
(574) 233-5754