Pelvic Floor

What combination of muscles is the most active during all activities of daily living, yet tends to be the most neglected or misunderstood? The CORE! Your core is made up of 4 major muscles/muscle groups: possibly the most forgotten of which is the group of muscles that make up the Pelvic Floor.

 

The pelvic floor serves 5 purposes. It stabilizes the lower portion of the core – assisting with stabilization of the LE and the spine. It supports the organs, keeping them from falling with gravity. It helps with drainage of blood/lymph from the legs. It provides control of bowels and bladder – allowing you to either hold or empty. And it is vitally important in sexual appreciation – either allowing or improving the sexual experience.

 

So, what happens if the pelvic floor isn’t functioning correctly? Keeping in the order used above – the pelvic floor functions to stabilize the body/spine. Without it, your body will have to depend on other structures to assist in stabilization. If you ask a muscle that typically would only fire with quick motions to begin firing for a majority of the day…it can lead to pain or dysfunction of that muscle group. This is similar to asking a sprinter to participate in a marathon – without the proper training, that sprinter may not be able to adequately adapt. The pelvic floor supports the organs – instead of the strong hammock that should be the pelvic floor muscles, there’s an inside out tent. This can lead to organ prolapse. The muscles making up the pelvic floor assist in helping move out fluid from the legs back to the heart. Without this function, there could be fluid build-up or swelling in the legs. The pelvic floor assists in maintaining bowel and bladder function. Without the proper control of the bladder, you may feel you need to urinate more frequently – or you may notice that you have a hard time making it to the restroom on time. You could feel that you’re not emptying your bladder all the way or you leak with sneezing, coughing, jumping, squatting, or running. Or it’s possible that you notice you’ve had some urine leakage you weren’t aware of. Very similar issues occur without proper bowel control – including constipation, difficulty with bowel movements, or having a bowel movement without realizing it. The final function of the pelvic floor is sexual appreciation. It is the ability to have sex or engage in any sexual activity. It is not normal for a woman to have pain with sex, nor is it something any female should have to endure. Also, has been proven in the research that individuals who have a strong pelvic floor have better sex overall.

 

So, what if any of these (not exhaustive examples) of dysfunction of the pelvic floor applies to you? Pelvic Floor Physical Therapy can help. It can assist in relaxing the pelvic floor, decreasing pelvic pain, reducing an organ prolapse by at least 1 grade, decrease or eliminate urine leakage, and improve overall quality of life. If you’re reading this blog thinking about yourself – reach out! I’m happy to answer any questions or assist in finding a Pelvic Floor therapist in your state!

 

-Dr. Tristan Faile

 

PBFR Monthly Membership

Vertex PT Specialists is proud to offer Personalized Blood Flow Restriction (PBFR) via the FDA approved Delfi Personalized Tourniquet System (PTS).

We currently have 5 spots available for PBFR monthly memberships at a rate of $50/month.

Your monthly membership includes:

  • Screening to ensure you are appropriate and have no contraindications to use the Delfi PTS
  • Training on operating the Delfi PTS for upper and lower extremity exercise protocols
  • Training on the evidenced based strength, endurance, and cell swelling PBFR protocols

Upon completion of initial training, your membership will allow you to come in and use the Delfi PTS 3 days per week during regular office hours at our Millwood location only.  Please note, PBFR is already included as part of the rehabilitation process, therefore you do not have to be an established patient to sign up for a membership.

In addition to being a powerful tool to improve and enhance the recovery of our patients, the Delfi PTS is also scientifically proven to increase strength and hypertrophy at very light loads (20% of 1 rep max).  This means that an athlete can make considerable gains without causing muscle damage, making the PTS perfect to use as a supplementary tool and/or on rest days.  More info on this topic can be found at vertexpt.com/pbfr.  For well-trained endurance athletes, PBFR has been shown to increase VO2 max by 11.6% in as little as 2 weeks!

If you’d like to sign up for a membership, or need more information on personalized blood flow restriction, please email us at info@vertexpt.com or call us at 803.851.3506.

 

 

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Doc and Jock Podcast

Dr. Vaughn was recently interviewed on the Doc and Jock Podcast.

Some of the topics discussed:

  • The Vertex PT Specialists business model
  • Running gait correctives
  • The pec major tears at this year’s CrossFit Games Regionals
  • Tiger Woods
  • Lumbar spine surgeries
  • The opioid epidemic
  • and more…

Click this link to listen.

Or click this link to download on iTunes.

 

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TMJ Dysfunction Case Study

Temporomandibular Joint Dysfunction Case Study

14 year old male baseball player presented to Vertex with a chief complaint of left sided jaw pain that occurred after being hit on the chin by a ground ball at practice.  Additionally, he complains of his jaw “locking” and “clicking” with end range mouth opening, specifically while eating.

Clinical Exam:

Palpable Click with opening and 25mm left mandibular deviation (ipsilateral)

Apical breathing pattern

Decreased left upper cervical rotation (+ left cervical flexion rotation test)

Tenderness to palpation left masseter and left medial pterygoid with patient reported familiar pain

 

Treatment:

HVLAT directed to bilateral C1/C2 with + cavitations.

Upper and mid thoracic HVLAT

DN with electrical stimulation to left masseter, medial pterygoid, and joint capsule.

Manual TMJ distraction

Home Exercise Program:

Cervical SNAGs, cervical retraction with over-pressure applied to maxilla, postural resets, diaphragmatic breathing

Patient Education:

Postural considerations; specifically with school and smart phone use consisting of spending less time in forward head posture in order to minimize mandibular retraction.

Result:

Chief complaint of “click” and “locking” resolved within session. 25mm deviation reduced to <5mm.  Patient followed up 6 weeks later and maintained treatment effect.

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Owens Recovery Science BFR Course

Lifters Clinic and Vertex PT Specialists are partnering up later this year to bring you an Owens Recovery Science Blood Flow Restriction (BFR) course!

The course will be held at Vertex PT Specialists on August 5, 2017. Register here:

www.owensrecoveryscience.com/certification/columbia-sc/

 

Biering-Sorensen Test

 

The Biering-Sorensen test is used for evaluating the isometric endurance of the hip and back extensor muscles. It is a great tool for predicting if a patient/client is at risk for nonspecific lower back pain. This can also act as an important training tool before someone begins a program that involves deadlifting. The two things that you will need for this test are a timer and a GHD machine, which can be found in most gyms. Begin by having the person being tested get on the GHD machine in a horizontal prone position with their arms crossed over the chest, chin tucked, and the upper edge of the iliac crest on the pad. Make sure the person contracts their glutes and abdominal muscles to help maintain a neutral spine. Once they are in this full position, start the timer and see how long they can hold it. Stop the timer and end the test if the shoulders drop, they no longer can hold the position, or when 240s (4min) has been reached. Refer to the table below to see what category they fall in.

– Jeff Spraker

 

Males Females
Healthy 198s 197s
Prior Low Back Pain 176s 210s
Current Low Back Pain 163s 177s

 

Demoulin, C., Vanderthommen, M., Duysens, C., & Crielaard, J. M. (2006). Spinal muscle evaluation using the Sorensen test: a critical appraisal of the literature. Joint Bone Spine73(1), 43-50.

Join Vertex’s 2017 MuckFest Team!

 

Join Vertex and Run with a Purpose

What?       

MuckFest MS, a 5km Obstacle Course Race (OCR) with over 17 obstacles.

Visit www.MuckFestMS.com for more info.

Where?

Concord Speedway

7940 U.S. Hwy 601 South

Concord, NC 28025 (Less than 2 hours from Vertex)

When?

Saturday, May 6, 2017

Why?

The “MS” part of MuckFest MS stands for multiple sclerosis, an unpredictable, often disabling disease of the central nervous system that interrupts the flow of information within the brain, and between the brain and body. Symptoms range from numbness and tingling to blindness and paralysis. The progress, severity and specific symptoms of MS in any one person cannot yet be predicted, but advances in research and treatment are moving us closer to a world free of MS. Most people with MS are diagnosed between the ages of 20 and 50, with at least two to three times more women than men being diagnosed with the disease. MS affects more than 2.3 million worldwide. This is the reason we come together—to rally friends in support of people living with MS in our community.

How Can I Help?

Run, Volunteer, or Donate (or all three!) today.  100% of all donations go directly to the National MS Society, providing research towards treatment, prevention, and a cure for MS.

 

Contact: Dr. Reed Handlery at reed@VertexPT.com

 

You can join or donate by visiting:
main.nationalmssociety.org/goto/Vertex

 

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Sissy Squat Variation for Patellofemoral Pain

Quick video of Dr. Faile experimenting with Donnie Thompson’s sissy squat variation.

One of the reasons why we like this for patellofemoral pain patients is because it allows for a more vertical shin (which = less patellofemoral compression) and you get the added close chained terminal knee extension moment at the top.

Four Exercises to Improve Dance Technique and Strength

 

1. Hip Flexor Pulse
a. Purpose: Improves strength in hip flexors, especially Iliopsoas, to increase leg height. This exercise works best in combination with stretching the hamstrings to allow greater mobility and active range of motion.
b. How to do: start sitting with legs extended and leaning back on hands. Perform a posterior pelvic tilt and lift one leg with the knee bent. Pulse the leg closer to your body for about 4 reps while concentrating on using the Iliopsoas. Repeat 4-6 times.

2. Attitude Raises
a. Purpose: To increase turn out (external rotation of hips) and leg height in second position (to the side).
b. How to do: Start lying on one side. Raise top leg (both knees facing forward and knee bent). Turn out the leg into attitude al second (to the side with knee facing ceiling). Repeat this while bringing the leg closer to the trunk with each rep. Repeat 4 reps 4-6 times.

3. Hip Flexor Stretch
a. Purpose: To stretch hip flexors more efficiently
b. How to do: Start in lunge with both knees at 90 degrees. Perform strong posterior pelvic tilt. Add more of a stretch by bending the trunk to the same side as the front leg. Hold for at least 30 seconds.

4. Calf Raises with ball
a. Purpose: To improve strength and control of plantar flexion in heel raises without inverting at the ankles.
b. How to do: Place small ball in between the ankles. Raise heels off the ground while squeezing the ball. The goal is to not let the ball fall to the ground. This helps train the muscles to not invert, but to remain neutral in plantar flexion.

 

-Lauren Rowell

Words that Harm

How many times have you been given a phrase by a physician that, perhaps, wasn’t phrased as well as it could be? “You’ve got a time bomb in your chest” or “I don’t know how you’re walking around with that spine!” As I venture through all the information that’s required in my Orthopedic Residency, this is the one subject that I wish more healthcare providers understood.

 

Too often, I hear a new patient tell me that their referring physician told them their spine is “riddled with bulging discs” to the point that they “shouldn’t be able to move.” Put yourself in that patient’s shoes. In that moment, how would you feel? You’ve been in pain for a long time, you’ve maybe had failed alternative treatments, perhaps you’re on pain medication that you don’t like taking. And the medical professional you’ve been sent to says they can’t even fathom how you’re able to move based on what they’ve seen on your images. There’s no way in that moment you feel great about your situation. And likely you have no hope for a more conservative treatment to finally get some relief.

 

Why would a medical professional say such words to their patients, if there were the possibility of being more supportive or hopeful? It’s suggested that possibly we no longer hear the words we say; we’ve become desensitized to the anxiety or fear that they cause. Perhaps we don’t have time to think of better phrases or words to say; with the way healthcare has gone in recent years, doctors don’t have a ton of time to spend with each patient. Physical therapists, who would typically have the most time with their patients, in many clinics are seeing multiple patients at a time. So instead of explaining how MRIs have shown bulging discs in patients who are asymptomatic or how patients with debilitating pain have no significant findings on MRI, they rush through the exercises for the day and hope that patient doesn’t have any questions. It was further suggested that maybe we use fear-evoking words as a method of getting compliance out of the patient. If we tell the patient that the only way to make sure “this heartbeat isn’t the last” is if they start exercising or begin taking their medication, the fear becomes helpful to that professional. But none of these reasons are acceptable for using language that has been shown to cause undue anxiety and poor results in our patients.

What we’re learning now is how important the brain is in how we perceive pain. Many new approaches in physical therapy seek to retrain the brain and our thoughts about pain.  One of the best ways I think we can seek to provide that re-training is through better use of language. Instead of getting stuck in these negative connotation words or phrases that cause fear, I think we should seek to determine words that evoke inspiration in our patients.

So, what words should be used by healthcare professionals? Words that allow patients to feel comfortable enough to ask questions are a good place to start. Miscommunication between healthcare professionals and patients due to the patient being afraid to ask a question about their condition is unacceptable. Clear, precise language that helps the patient understand exactly what is going on in their body, while taking into consideration the patient’s understanding and educational level. Metaphors that don’t cause negative emotional reactions can be helpful, too – as the car alarm analogy that is used to explain chronic pain situations (Neuroscience Pain Education). Healthcare professionals should seek to find and use words that will boost a patient’s self-confidence in their ability to control their situation and to inspire hope for recovery or rehabilitation.

As a physical therapist, I hope to never lose the humility that allows me to talk to a patient on their level. I hope to be able to always inspire patients to take control of their situations (within their means) and to be able to manage their symptoms without dependence on me. I hope to never get caught up on medical jargon that evokes fear in my patients, and instead build a trusting relationship where all questions can be asked and answered comfortably.

Bedell, S., Graboys, T., Bedell, E., Lown, B. Words that Harm, Words that Heal. Archive of Internal Medicine, 2004; 164:1365-1368.

Louw, A., Zimney, K., O’Hotto, C., Hilton, S. The clinical application of teaching people about pain. Physiotherapy Theory and Practice, 2016. http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/09593985.2016.1194652

Dr. Tristan Faile, PT, DPT
tristan@vertexpt.com