Montana Physical Therapy Practice Shows Benefits of Physical Therapy in Treating Symptoms of Chronic Pain, Which Affects Millions of Americans
(KALISPELL, Mont.,) – Professional Therapy Associates has reported the results of a new case study that demonstrates how physical therapy treatment can provide relief from chronic pain, and allow patients to return to normal work and functional activities. Physical therapists at the Flathead Valley physical therapy clinic documented the diagnosis, treatment plan and subsequent results for a patient suffering from chronic pain.
Chronic pain is often described as pain that lasts longer than six months. It can result from trauma, injury, surgery or an ongoing medical condition. Chronic pain may range from mild to acute; severe chronic pain can be incapacitating to sufferers. According to a review from the Institute of Medicine, the medical branch of the National Academy of Sciences, chronic pain afflicts approximately 100 million Americans, with an estimated annual national cost ranging from $560-635 billion.*
Blaine Stimac, owner and CEO of Professional Therapy Associates, noted that the practice’s recent case study shows how physical therapy can provide numerous benefits to patients suffering with chronic pain. The case study subject is a 49-year-old female who suffered neck pain as well as mid- and low-back pain following an injury that occurred when she was exiting a car. Her MRI revealed a bulging disc between two vertebrae in her spine. A bulging disc can press on nerves, causing pain, numbness and impaired movement. This patient was unable to stand, bend or walk without pain. In addition, severe pain prevented her from exercising, including using an elliptical training machine, for more than four minutes.
At Professional Therapy Associates, a physical therapist first examined the patient to determine the cause of her pain and any other existing conditions that may have predisposed her to this injury, and found that one leg was shorter than the other and her pelvis and low back was out of alignment. As a result, the patient experienced severe pain with all activities, including bending. To address these issues, the physical therapist devised an individualized physical therapy treatment plan. A heel lift corrected her leg length discrepancy, while manual therapy and therapeutic exercises improved motion in the joints and muscles surrounding the troubled area. In addition, strengthening exercises helped to stabilize the patient’s spine, while education on proper body mechanics helped to improve her ability to perform daily activities, such as walking, bending, standing up from a seated position and working at a desk.
After 16 physical therapy sessions, the patient was able to perform all work and functional activities without pain. She was also able to resume a 45-minute exercise routine three times each week, including using an elliptical trainer, pain-free. Upon completion of her treatment, she remarked, “When I came [to Professional Therapy Associates], I was afraid to bend in any direction other than straight forward. Now I can bend sideways, backwards and pretty much any direction I choose with virtually no pain.”
“There’s no need for millions of Americans to endure chronic pain when physical therapy can effectively treat a wide range of conditions,” said Stimac. “Whether a patient is suffering from headaches, joint pain, backaches, carpal tunnel syndrome, or general muscle or nerve pain, our therapists can help minimize or eliminate their pain. Physical therapy provides non-invasive, long-term relief, because it focuses on identifying and correcting the causes of pain, not just covering up the symptoms.”
Physical therapists help patients with chronic pain by setting up individual plans of care that may include stretching and conditioning exercises to increase range of motion, manual therapy, flexibility and muscle strength, as well as passive forms of therapy such as application of heat and cold. Stimac asserts that his team of Montana-licensed physical therapists has achieved measurable results with patients suffering pain from osteoarthritis, degenerative disc disease, sports- and work-related injuries, and automobile accidents, among other causes. “Our focus is on returning patients to their normal, everyday activities as quickly as possible, and to helping them achieve their health and fitness goals through personalized physical therapy treatment plans,” he said.
As a service to Flathead Valley residents, Professional Therapy Associates is offering free health and injury screenings to anyone suffering from chronic or acute pain, muscle weakness, joint stiffness or other complaints. A licensed physical therapist will perform a brief musculoskeletal screen and answer questions about injuries, symptoms and physical therapy treatment. Individuals interested in scheduling a free health and injury screening, a $100 value, may register online at http://www.ptflathead.com/free-consultation.
Learn more about the physical therapy services provided by Professional Therapy Associates by visiting http://www.ptflathead.com.
About Professional Therapy Associates and Blaine Stimac
Professional Therapy Associates (PTA) is an established provider of physical therapy in Montana. Founded in Kalispell in 1988, the practice has expanded to include four convenient locations throughout Flathead Valley. In addition to its flagship Kalispell North facility, PTA also has clinics in Downtown Kalispell (Flathead Health and Fitness), Whitefish (The Wave) and Columbia Falls (Columbia Falls Clinic). Owner and CEO Blaine Stimac is a licensed Physical Therapist in Montana, and holds a Master of Science in Physical Therapy from the University of Montana. He and his team offer a full range of services, including manual physical therapy, sports medicine, therapeutic exercise and biofeedback, as well as treatment for back and neck injuries, motor vehicle injuries and work-related injuries. For more information, visit http://www.ptflathead.com.
* National Research Council. Relieving Pain in America: A Blueprint for Transforming Prevention, Care, Education, and Research. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press, 2011.