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Debunking Myths behind the Deadlift

how to dead lift properly miami boca raton florida

Research shows that doing proper deadlifts DO NOT lead to lower back injuries.

We have all heard the saying that performing deadlifts is the worst thing you can do for your lower back, or you may know people who have horror stories about deadlifting and how it causes your discs to herniate immediately. This statement is not only an extremely outdated way of thinking but more dangerously, it feeds into the rhetoric that the human body is some weak and fragile thing that can break down at any second. Most exercise (whether performed in the gym or a physical therapy clinic) when performed incorrectly or when inappropriately loaded can lead to a potentially devastating injury. Taking that into consideration, the physical therapy community needs to stop shunning the deadlift as the culprit causing lower back pain and transition to using this movement (hip hinging) as a way to relieve pain and restore function.

What does the research say about deadlifting?

You should never blindly believe something just because it is on the internet, so let us provide you with facts supported by research. (Welch et al 2015.) Published a research study looking at the effects of a four-month free weight resistance training routine on patients with chronic low back pain incorporating deadlifts, squats, and step-ups. Their findings showed statistically significant improvements in fatty infiltrate of the lumbar muscles, a 72% decrease in pain scoring, 76% improves in disability measurements, and increases in quality of life assessments. Another study, Asa 2015, took patients with chronic low back pain. It had one group do deadlift training while the other group did low load exercises to target specific impairments, and both groups saw significant decreases in pain intensity as well as increases in strength and muscle endurance measurements.

The Nachemson Chart, which is a measure of intradiscal pressure (pressure on spinal discs) in response to compressive load, shows that prolonged sitting in a slouched position places almost as much compressive load as a deadlift. However, directly sitting leads us to stop activating our glutes due to constant compression on the soft tissue and reciprocal inhibition of the hip flexors. A proper deadlift builds posterior chain strength, core stability, and allows us to train our glutes to reduce strain on our spine with daily activities.

Overall, the main reason I am an advocate for deadlift training is that it can teach the patients a fundamental movement pattern; a proper hip-hinge (getting our hips to move without our low back flexing or rounding). One of the most important things to address when teaching a proper hip-hinge is the ability of your abdominal musculature to maintain a neutral spine (aka core stability). Educating our patients on how to deadlift incorporates lumbopelvic dissociation, core stability, and glute strengthening, and all 3 of these factors are all essential to any proper treatment of the low back.

Who can perform deadlifts?

I am not advising that a 65-year-old osteoporotic person should be performing deadlifts on day one of physical therapy evaluation. However, with proper treatment, education, and guidance, even this patient should eventually be able to complete an appropriate hip hinge. There are parameters for when a person is ready to begin deadlifting under load, such as patients with lower intensity of the pain (<60mm on the pain VAS) and with better lumbar spine endurance (>60 seconds on the Biering-Sorensen Test). A properly trained physical therapist can help a patient with low back pain progress towards doing deadlifts. The physical therapist should be a biomechanics and movement analysis expert and be able to discern which lower back patients would benefit from deadlift training (a vast majority in my opinion).

As a physical therapist myself, I can personally vouch for deadlifts in terms of treating LBP. I suffered a weight lifting injury in 2018 and was experiencing horrible low back pain and shooting pain down my left leg whenever I tried to get into/ out of my car, put on my shoes/ socks, and sit down for prolonged periods. After reducing my pain levels, my home exercises incorporated a lot of hip hinge training, core stabilization, and glute activation for me to properly learn how to deadlift. With time, patience, and progressively loading my spine via deadlifts and squats, I am now completely pain-free and without question much stronger than I was before my injury.

In conclusion, I think it is time to put to bed the stigma behind that deadlifting (especially heavy weight) is dangerous and should never be done in therapy. On the contrary, I think with proper coaching and progression, this exercise is one that will help strengthen your lower back and reduce the risk of future injury.

Contact us today to schedule a free consultation.

My (insert body part) cracks every time I… Is that bad?

Does your body often make craking, popping, clicking, grinding noises when you move?

By: Dr. Ashley O’Rourke

This is one of the most frequently asked questions I get on a day-to-day basis. A patient will be on the table and say to me “my shoulder cracks every time I raise my arm…is that bad?” or “I feel a click in my knee every time I extend it…how do I get it to stop?”. The reality is that there are many explanations for these sounds- most of which are often entirely harmless if not accompanied by pain. There are, however, some cases in which the sounds should be addressed with the general rule of thumb being: any of these sounds occurring in a joint that is not accompanied by pain are typically nothing to worry about.

Let’s Differentiate the Noises:

Popping: all joints are surrounded by synovial fluid. Think of this as your body’s natural oil. It lubricates the joints to decrease friction between the surfaces. Changes are pressure- which can occur with movement- can cause gas bubbles to form within the fluid. When these bubbles implode or “pop” the sound associated with “cracking your knuckles” is produced. To physical therapists and chiropractors, this sound is known as a “cavitation”. They are painless, do not cause damage, and often even relieve symptoms (at least temporarily). It takes time for this gas to build back up, which is why you cannot repeatedly crack the same joint over and over and over again. While one should not be worried about cracking their knuckles from time to time, repeated attempts over a short period of time should be avoided as this can eventually cause changes in the joint capsule or train the brain into thinking they “need” to perform this activity over and over again (forming a habit) when in fact it is not necessary.

That being said, a “popping” sound coming from the lower leg that occurs after landing from a jump shot while playing basketball or in the knee after cutting/pivoting on the soccer field could indicate serious injury such as an Achilles rupture or ACL tear- both of which would most often be heard/felt in conjunction with pain.

Snapping: There are other sounds that are not serious, but over time could lead to chronic injury. An example of this could be snapping in the outside of the knee. In the beginning, this snapping sensation may be quite annoying, but not cause any pain. It is by no means an emergency, however, with repetitive motion and frequent activity this friction that occurs as the connective tissue (iliotibial band) rubs against and snaps over the thigh bone can cause inflammation and irritation of the tissue leading eventually to pain. Similarly, people can experience a like feeling in the hip known as “snapping hip phenomenon.” This can be due to tightness in the muscles/tendons rubbing over the bone.

Clicking: this sound can sometimes be problematic if it is a result of connective tissue abnormalities such as a torn meniscus in the knee or torn labrum in the shoulder/hip. These would both be typically associated with pain. Additionally, sometimes a clicking sensation can be felt in the knee cap which can indicative of a tracking issue where the knee cap does not stay perfectly in the groove that it is meant to stay in. While this may not cause additional symptoms in the short term, it too could cause pain in the longterm like patellofemoral pain syndrome (PFPS) or generalized knee pain caused by muscular imbalances that lead to abnormal stresses to be placed upon the knee.

Shift/Clunk: This sound/sensation can be a little more concerning and indicative of instability or laxity in the joint leading to subluxation or full dislocation. People with joints that are “too loose” may experience clunking when the two joint surfaces rub together. Seeking treatment would be indicated to work on the stability of the joint through strengthening the tissue around it in order to prevent dislocations that could result in tissue damage such as torn ligaments/joint capsule damage etc.

Grinding: This type of sound is most often associated with general degeneration of cartilage within a joint, such as osteoarthritis and occurs when there is bone on bone contact. This sound may increase over time as it is normal for joint surfaces to change with age.

Other Noises: sometimes a painful or non-painful “pop” can be heard during manual therapy- perhaps while a PT is moving a knee after surgery. This sound can be indicative of the breaking up of scar tissue and may be beneficial if it leads to improved mobility.

Free Consultation

If you are uncertain whether you are experiencing a normal joint sound or something problematic, let the qualified doctors at Fox Physical Therapy assess the tissue to determine whether intervention is warranted. Give us a call today for a free consultation.

Kinesiotape Helping Athletes in Miami Recover Faster

Learn How Kinesiotape Helps Athletes to Recover Faster

By: Tim Alemi

Kinesiotape is a type of elastic taping technique that has increasingly become more popular since the widespread use by Olympic athletes during the 2008 Summer Olympics. Now, it is common to see professional athletes, cross-fit enthusiasts, weekend warriors, and general population patients wearing brightly colored kinesiotape for both function and fashion. The application of kinesiotape technique is designed to help enhance the body’s healing process, improve stability, and decrease stress load on tissues. It is similar to a brace in that it may provide support to the surrounding structures to decrease the load of impact activities, also, the tape does not restrict the range of motion like a brace typically would. According to RockTape which is a different brand of tape, pathologies commonly treated with tape include achilles tendonitis, plantar fasciitis, jumpers knee (PFS), ACL/MCL issues, rotator cuff injuries, groin and hamstring pulls, lower back issues, shin splints, tennis and golf elbow, pain associated with pregnancy, postural corrections, and skin abrasion protection.

Taping can be used for various reasons, and depending on the application it may have several different proposed benefits. According to RockTape, it is able to decrease the sensation of pain by raising the threshold required for nerve fibers to send an impulse to the brain4. Also, it can decompress an area of swelling, bruising, or inflammation by lifting the skin away from underlying tissues resulting in vasodilation. It is widely proposed that tape can normalize tone by activating or inhibiting appropriate corresponding musculature; as well as support tissues by absorbing and properly distributing stress forces. Patients often prefer this method of treatment because of ease of application, comfort, convenience, and longer wear times (2-7 days) with decreased pain and no loss of range of motion2.

Further research needs to be assessed to make an appropriate determination on the effectiveness of kinesiotape versus alternative taping techniques. However, experts suggest that the application of kinesiotape may provide the immediate short-term reduction in pain2. There is limited moderate level evidence that suggests kinesiotape is no more effective than sham tape or other modalities, but it is difficult to make any definitive conclusions due to a limited number of RCTs included in reviews2, 3. This does not mean that kinesiotape is ineffective, but it does suggest that it may not be more effective than other alternatives. However, kinesiotape is beneficial compared to other modalities because it may provide a safe and immediate reduction in pain for short periods of time2.

Testimonial:
“ I had shoulder instability that would not allow me to workout. The taping helped support my arm while I did my stability exercises until I was able to gain enough strength from the physical therapy”
— Sandra S.

For More Info

Contact us today and schedule a complimentary consultation for Kinesiotape taping at 305-735-8901 or click here.

Why You Want Instrument-Assisted Soft Tissue Mobilization Therapy

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Heal Faster With Instrument-Assisted Soft Tissue Mobilization Therapy

By: Tim Alemi – Fox Physical Therapy

Patients experiencing soft-tissue dysfunction such as the formation of scar tissue, trigger points, or sprains/strains are often treated with manual therapy techniques such as Instrument-Assisted Soft Tissue Mobilization (IASTM), manual soft-tissue mobilization, or many other types of massage techniques. These techniques are used to help stimulate the healing response, promote correct realignment of collagen fibers, and decrease pain. Instrument-Assisted Soft Tissue Mobilization is a manual therapy technique that utilizes specifically designed concave/convex tools to identify and breakdown myofascial restrictions, soft tissue fibrosis, scar tissue adhesions, and chronic inflammation, which should result in improved outcomes for both the patient and the physical therapist when compared to other manual therapy techniques. The shape of the tools allow for ease of use, swift and comfortable adjustment to contours of the body, minimal stress on the PT’s hands, and maximal penetration into soft tissue.

Patients that are typically treated with IASTM include those diagnosed with soft-tissue dysfunctions such as tendinopathies, ligament sprains, muscular strains, and scar tissue adhesions. Further examples of common injuries treated with this technique include Achilles tendinitis, plantar fasciitis, IT band syndrome, medial and lateral epicondylitis, cervical/lumbar sprains/strains, patellofemoral disorders, rotator cuff tendinosis, shin splints, and carpal tunnel syndrome. Further research needs to be completed to appropriately determine which pathologies are most effectively treated with IASTM.

The proposed mechanism of IASTM utilizes controlled microtrauma resulting in increased fibroblast production to the treatment area, stimulating an inflammatory response triggering the healing process of affected tissues. Also, this technique is believed to increase blood flow to the area, as well as facilitate the breakdown of cross-link adhesions found in collagen fibers of myofascial soft tissues and scar tissue. However, perhaps the greatest proposed advantages of IASTM is that the tool helps to protect the PT’s hands from injury, and provide the clinician with greater palpation skill to specifically identify an area that needs to be treated.

Although further research needs to be completed to determine if IASTM is truly any more beneficial than other manual therapy techniques, much of the evidence supports IASTM as an effective treatment to determine. Burke et al proposed that the primary benefit of IASTM over other manual therapy techniques may only be the decreased stress on the hands of the physical therapist2. However, according to Loghmani et al, injured ligaments treated with instrument-assisted soft tissue mobilization were “43% stronger, 40% stiffer, and 57% more able to absorb energy” than the untreated contralateral injured side3.

The jury is still out if this is a more effective treatment than traditional manual therapy, IASTM continues to make a strong case to be greatly beneficial for both the patient and the clinician. In our clinic, we have seen great results with patients that have soft tissue restrictions. Within one treatment session patients are able to move better after use of IASTM. Some common areas we see great results with are low back, knee, neck, and ankle.

For more information on IASTM Therapy and to schedule your free consultation contact us at 305-735-8901 or click here.

AlterG® Anti-Gravity Treadmill®

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Get Faster and Safer Results with the AlterG Anti-Gravity Treadmill

Fox Physical Therapy in Miami, Florida is proud to announced the arrival of our newest rehabilitation technology, the AlterG Anti-Gravity Treadmill, the world’s first and only treadmill using NASA based anti-gravity technology, has been installed to help patients in their short-term rehabilitation programs.

The AlterG treadmill will be a huge asset to our facility and our patients will benefit the most. Patient’s recovering from all lower extremity injuries, surgeries, and back pain will get relief with the Alter-G treadmill.

AlterG Anti-Gravity Treadmills enable faster rehabilitation, safer conditioning for the geriatric population, and weight loss, which can help remove major obstacles associated with these activities. Impact on the body and the pain of recovery are reduced, which helps people achieve better results. Patients at Fox Physical Therapy can now rehab better, train smarter, and exercise safer with the AlterG.

With the AlterG, patients can run and walk without bearing their entire weight, reducing the impact on the body to optimize rehabilitation and physical therapy outcomes. Its Differential Air Pressure (DAP) technology applies a lifting force to the body that reduces weight on the lower extremities and allows precise unweighting – up to 80% of a person’s body weight, so people can find exactly where the pain stops and natural movement feels good again.

There are a multitude of benefits when training and rehabilitating on the AlterG. Patients can use the AlterG Anti-Gravity Treadmill to recover from injury and surgery and it allows them to immediately do partial weight bearing exercises. Patients with neurological disorders maintain, and in some cases even regain functionality and mobility working with the AlterG. It is also used as a motivational tool for obese patients, as users can immediately experience what it would feel like to weigh less, exercise with less joint impact and stress, and improve their cardiovascular health.

“With AlterG you get all the gain, without the pain,” says Steve Basta, CEO of AlterG. Adopted initially by nationally renowned hospitals and rehabilitation facilities, most recently nursing facilities are seeing the benefits the AlterG can provide for their patients. “We are pleased that Fox Physical Therapy is one of those pioneers,” he said. “Our unique approach to unweighted physical therapy preserves natural body movement, helps with fall prevention and benefits a broad range of medical conditions.”

AlterG Anti-Gravity Treadmills are designed to be used for lower body injury and surgery rehabilitation, aerobic conditioning, weight control and reduction, sport specific conditioning programs, neurologic retraining, and geriatric strength and conditioning.

Contact us today to schedule a consultation with Dr. Fox and learn if the AlterG Anti-Gravity Treadmill is right for your rehab. Call 305-735-8901 or click here.