Alternative Ways to Treat Headaches Including Dry Needling

October 17, 2018

Headaches can be debilitating. Nearly all Americans have experienced headaches, sometimes on a regular basis, making everyday tasks and activities a struggle. Even worse, a bad headache can lead you to cancel plans and spend time in a dark room medicating yourself. If you are looking for alternative ways to handle your headaches, there are options to treat or aid with your current treatment plan. From oils to dry needling in Denver, consider one of these options for relief. 

Essential Oils

In the last few years, there has been a rise in popularity with essential oils. These oils are made up of liquid of various plant that some people find helpful for many of life’s issues, including headaches. Oils are a natural treatment, which many like when keeping away from traditional medications. Each type of oil can relax an area, helping to calm down tense problematic areas. 

Oils can be bought almost anywhere, from your local drug store, online, or at the grocery. Before buying, read the tips for buying essential oils so you know the oils you are purchasing are quality. Remember—price and quality do not always correlate, and you do not have to buy the most expensive oil for results. 

If you have pets, use caution with diffusers as some of them can cause illness in your pets. Once you are ready to shop for oils, you can find them at affordable prices, so be sure to shop around to get the best price. Some of the best oils to use for headaches are: 
  • Peppermint: The menthol in peppermint is one of the leading reasons it is helpful for those suffering from a headache. Menthol is known for a calming effect, which can ease tension in the head while experiencing a headache. When applying peppermint oil, it can also help promote healthy blood flow, which can reduce the symptoms of headaches. 
  • Lavender: Lavender itself has been used for relaxation in a variety of ways, so it is no surprise that it is a popular oil used for headaches. Whether used topically or used through a diffuser, it is a fast-acting relief method that can actually calm muscle and reduce symptoms within 15 minutes. Lavender is especially helpful for severe headaches or migraines. 
  • Eucalyptus: For those with headaches due to sinus problems, Eucalyptus is a go-to. It is known as an anti-inflammatory, helping to calm muscles and increase blood flow. It also has traits that make it a decongestant, making it a great option for those needing to clear the sinuses for relief. 

Diet Changes

Did you know the food and beverage you consume could be the leading cause for your headaches? Everyone is made differently, which means your body can react differently to certain things that are consumed. This is why it is important to monitor what you eat to figure out what foods could be triggering your headaches. Some of the most popular foods or ingredients that cause headaches include aged cheese, alcohol, artificial sweeteners, bread, caffeine (which for some, can actually help headaches), chocolate, MSG, nitrates, nuts, oranges, pickled goods, pizza, potato chips, sulfites, and much more. 

The best way to approach food is to figure out which foods trigger your headaches. Do this by purchasing a food journal. Begin taking note of what you eat each day and when you get headaches. You must do this for a long duration of time, so you can compare foods against each other once you are at a place to narrow things down. As you determine possible triggers, eliminate them from your diet. Continue to take detailed notes to help you as you narrow these downs. 

On the flipside, certain foods and ingredients have been known to help reduce symptoms of a headache. Some of these foods include: 
  • Almonds
  • Avocado
  • Bananas
  • Brown rice or quinoa
  • Caffeine
  • Cherries
  • Eggs
  • Fish (salmon, tuna, etc.)
  • Lettuce and spinach
  • Melons (water, cantaloupe, etc.)
  • Mushrooms
  • Regular or sweet potatoes
  • Yogurt

Also, dehydration is a leading cause of headaches. The recommended minimum amount of water to consume in a day is 64 ounces. However, depending on your activity levels, you may need to replace water more quickly. Start with at least 64 ounces and increase it depending on how active you are, your type of work, etc.

Dry Needling

At your local physical therapy office, dry needling can be performed to help with your headaches. Often mistaken for acupuncture, dry needling is a technique that uses thin, filament needles that are strategically placed into the soft tissue. The areas are known as trigger points, which are essentially knots. Dry needling is popular to treat a variety of aches and pains and can be especially helpful for treating headaches. 

A physical therapist will be able to determine where these trigger points are that could be the cause of your headaches. These areas could be in your neck, back, temples, or other areas. 

Don’t worry, dry needling isn’t painful. It is not like receiving several shots. Most can barely feel the needle going in and a common reaction is a small twitch or spasm in the area. After the twitch, which stimulates the muscle, it then relaxes. Some may experience a sensation of a cramp and some soreness, but it is short-term with great results. At most, you could feel sore for a day, which you can calm with hot or cold treatment and stretches. In order to see some long-term relief, you will schedule a series of visits for the treatment—usually six to eight. Once the needles are inserted, it helps to break up the knots in the area, hence causing relief. 

Using Denver physical therapy to help relieve chronic headaches is a great way to live a pain-free life. The team at Peak Physical Therapy and Wellness are experienced in dry needling trigger point therapy. It is a great way many of our patients choose to find relief—not only for headaches, but for bursitis, sciatica, neck or back pain, plantar fasciitis, tendonitis, and more. We have locations throughout the Denver area—contact Peak PT & Wellness to schedule a consultation at an office near you. 

Ways to Use Physical Therapy for Women’s Health

October 10, 2018

Physical therapy for Denver women’s health is a great way to prevent issues and care for existing problems that heavily impact day-to-day. In fact, many women do not realize all the ways visiting a physical therapist can reduce or eliminate health issues. Review all the different ways to take advantage of local physical therapy. 

Prenatal and Postpartum

Physical therapy is great for soon-to-be moms and moms that have just given birth. Through a specific plan and exercises that help with lower back pain common in pregnant women. A physical therapist will also help a woman maintain proper posture during changes in the body. After a baby is born, physical therapy is ideal for any injuries or complications that have occurred. 

Strengthening Adnominal Muscles

Older women, especially those who have given birth, may experience problems with weak abdominal muscles. One of the most common conditions in women is diastasis recti, a separation of abdominal muscles in women due to pregnancy. Women with this condition may experience lower back pain and other issues. A physical therapist can help to strengthen those muscles. 

Working through Incontinence and Bladder Issues

When the pelvic floor muscles are weak, a woman may experience bladder issues or incontinence. Control can be regained when the muscles are strengthened, which can be accomplished by various pelvic floor strengthening exercises. A physical therapist can also help with bladder issues, creating a stress-free life. 

Easing Lower Back Pain

What causes low back pain? It occurs due to a variety of causes. Whether a woman has given birth or not, lower back pain can become an issue. A physical therapist will assess issues that have resulted in pain. From there, stretches and exercises will be used to strengthen muscles. A physical therapist will also help you learn proper form to help you prevent further injuries. 

Pelvic Inflammatory Disease

Women with pelvic inflammatory disease may experience lower abdominal pain, issues with urination, abnormal bleeding, and other issues. It is a common occurrence with those that get a sexually transmitted disease when bacteria enter the body. It is important to work with your primary care physician as well as a physical therapy when working through this condition. 

Treating Endometrioses

Nearly one in every 10 women suffer from endometriosis, a condition where tissue that lines the uterus expands to other parts of the body. It can grow on a variety of organs in the pelvic region causing painful menstrual cycles, fatigue, heavier periods, nausea, pain during sex, and difficulty conceiving. A physical therapist will help a woman suffering from endometriosis strengthen the pelvic area, leading to relief in a variety of ways. It is important for women to understand their endometriosis and using a Denver women’s health expert to treat. 

There is no reason to live with pain, visit the office of Peak Physical Therapy and Wellness to treat your issues. Our team of talented physical therapists will help you live a happier, pain-free life. Contact Peak PT & Wellness today to find a location near you.  

Injured in an Accident? Here's how Physical Therapy Can Help You Recover

October 3, 2018

An accident can be a life-altering and traumatic experience that can bring about an undue amount of stress upon a person’s life. The physical and emotional pain that can come about as a result of an injury sustained through a sports’ accident, a car crash, or another form of injury can be overwhelming and intense. The recovery process can be an intimidating prospect for many individuals who are likely reeling from the event itself. Depending on the severity of your accident, this event can significantly impact your day-to-day life for an extended period of time. It’s important to be aware of how physical therapy can play a vital role in your recovery process from your Denver physical therapist. 

Types of Injuries that Physical Therapists Typically Work With

Physical therapists are trained in the art of rehabilitation, specifically when it comes to the physical ailments of the body. Injuries sustained during accidents can be a very serious set of problems to work through, but these are issues that a qualified and experienced physical therapist is well equipped to handle. The variety of accident injuries that a physical therapist will deal with are diverse. 

Physical therapists deal with injuries sustained during a sporting activity, such as a competitive team sports, running, biking, or skiing. High intensity activities can make an individual vulnerable to experiencing a serious injury, and this is something which physical therapists tend to have a large amount of experience working through. Car accidents are another incredibly common injury type that a PT will be able to treat. If you’ve been in an motor vehicle collision and have sustained significant physical trauma from the event, you will almost certainly be referred to a physical therapist to assist you with your healing process. 

In addition to traumatic sports injuries and car accidents, physical therapists can also help a person recover from injuries sustained at work, such as falling or suffering some sort of strain on a particular part of the body. Back, neck, arm, and shoulder pain are just a few of the common types of injuries that physical therapists are able to assist in the rehabilitation process. 

How Physical Therapy Can Assist the Recovery Process

If you’ve never been to a physical therapist, you may be wondering what physical therapy will actually look like. Physical therapy is the rehabilitation process which aims at returning a person to their optimum level of physical health. This is done through a variety of targeted and specialized exercises and treatments which will strengthen and support whatever part of the body requires rehabilitation. 

When you meet with a therapist, they will work directly with you to set up the best possible treatment plan for your specific needs. Your PT will set a series of goals which treatment will aim to help you reach. These can be things such as improving your level of movement and physical functionality, as an accident will likely set you back in multiple facets. A PT will also assist you in ensuring that you do not re-injure yourself and will prioritize strengthening whatever part of the body requires additional help. 

In terms of the actual treatment portion of your rehab, you will work with your therapist practicing certain stretches and exercises with the goal of gradually working towards increasing the intensity. Starting out with an intense physical exercise routine will make an individual much more vulnerable to further injury, something which would be the least ideal outcome for a recovery process. A well-qualified physical therapist will assess the severity of your particular injury, as well as other factors which need to be taken into account in the overall rehabilitation picture. 

Why Physical Therapy is Preferable to the Alternatives

The prospect of recovering from a serious injury can, admittedly, be incredibly daunting. Having to learn how to use parts of your body that you’ve taken for granted is obviously not a fun or enjoyable activity. This process is intended to improve mobility as well as reduce the amount of pain an individual is experiencing. While physical therapy will require consistent and repetitive work, it is much more preferable than the alternative, that being surgery. 

There are many instances where engaging in the required physical therapy routine will help a person avoid having to undergo surgery. This is much more preferable for the fact that recovery from surgery can last much longer, as well as the fact that surgery is much more invasive and can increase the odds of serious complications occurring. If surgery can be avoided through the use of physical therapy, it’s a no-brainer to contact your local Denver physical therapist.

In our age of instant gratification and a desire to have immediate results from whatever we are engaged in, another aspect of physical therapy to be aware of is the fact that it can significantly improve you recovery time. If you’re stuck on the sidelines or are experiencing a serious amount of pain due to an injury, the best route is to be as proactive as possible and seek out the services of a physical therapist who can speed up your recovery time. Injuries sustained from accidents are obviously unfortunate, but there’s no point experiencing a longer recovery time than is necessary. 

If you are looking to improve your physical health situation and are in need of physical therapy due to an accident or other physical ailments, contact Peak Physical Therapy and Wellness today and we will be happy to assist you with your first steps towards recovery. We have an extensive team of qualified physical therapists and specialists who care deeply about their clients and go above and beyond the call of duty to provide the highest quality treatment in the industry. If you are looking for a therapist who will carefully assess your individual needs and formulate a treatment plan that is specifically tailored to your needs, Peak Physical Therapy and Wellness is your preferred choice for the physical recovery process.

Helpful Stretches to Combat Stiff Legs from Your Friendly Physical Therapist

September 26, 2018

More and more, people are sitting down for long periods of time, leading to an increase in the prevalence of stiff legs. This unfortunate condition can often be the result of inactivity, which has become more common in a world that is primarily focused on digital activities. Our work has a greater percentage of stationary actions and, in general, we could all use a bit more physical exercise and motion as a way to improve our health. One useful and productive action to take is to continually stretch our legs as a way to prevent overly stiff legs. Here are a few helpful leg stretches from your Parker Physical therapist.

Calf Stretch

Your calf muscle is located at the lower back part of your leg, and plays a role in determining how far forward or backwards your foot is able to bend. One way to keep your calf from cramping and restricting your mobility is to perform regular calf stretches. A very common calf stretch involves keeping both feet flat on the floor with one foot in front of the other. Bend the forward leg with your hands on the wall while keeping your back knee straight. Lean forward on to your front knee in order to stretch your back leg and hold the stretch for at least 30 seconds. 

Perform this stretch on both legs for a full, balanced stretch. Calf muscles are a critical component for any physical activity which involves your legs, as they provide your legs with more power and allow your legs to move faster with stronger muscles. Weak calf muscles leave an individual prone to injury, such as achilles tendonitis, shin splints, and even plantar fasciitis, which can certainly incapacitate you from activities such as running. A pulled calf muscle is an incredibly common injury which can show up in the form of mild swelling, bruising, or even an inability to stand on the ball of your feet. Utilize proper calf stretching as a way to reduce the possibility of experiencing such an issue. 

Simple Hamstring Stretch

The hamstrings are located in the back of your thigh and is used for bending or flexing your knee. Tight hamstrings are incredibly common occurrence and can be prevented by performing consistent stretch exercises. A person is also able to improve and increase their overall mobility with regular maintenance. If you have stiff hamstrings or are dealing with lower back pain or sciatica, consider performing a simple hamstring stretch as a way to reduce these feelings.

In order to perform a simple hamstring stretch, sit on the floor with both legs straight. Extend your arms forward by reaching in front of you, bending your body at the waist as far as you can while continuing to keep your legs straight. Once you cannot move forward any further, hold the stretch for anywhere from 15-30 seconds. Rest and then repeat the stretch at least another two times. You should not feel any excessive pain from this activity, and if you do you should halt the exercise immediately.

Simple Quad Stretch

Your quadricep muscles are made up of four different muscles: the vastus medialis, vastus intermedius, the vastus lateralis, and the rectus femoris. This particular muscle group has a primary function of helping with your knee motion and are involved in practically every movement of your leg, as they work alongside other leg muscles to promote healthy and effective movements. Our quadriceps often become tight, painful, and inflamed and can lead to knee pain if not properly addressed.

A simple quad stretch can be an easy and effective way to help address issues with this specific muscle group, regardless of where you are. To perform a simple quad stretch, stand on one leg and with the interior of both knees touching each other. Grab your foot from the leg you are not standing on and pull it towards your butt, making sure that you keep your chest pushed up and have your hips forward. When you begin to feel a strong stretch, hold it for around 20-30 seconds before performing the same stretch on the other leg. 

Seated Spinal Twist

The glute muscles are located in your butt and are absolutely critical to healthy leg function. If you’r someone who spends an excessive amount of time sitting throughout the day, stretching your glute muscles is important for reducing tightness as well as preventing further injury. Issues such as knee injuries and lower back pain can result from glute muscles which are not properly stretched. One way to address this concern is to perform a seated spinal twist stretch.

To perform a seated spinal twist, begin seated, preferably on a mat, with your legs extended straight in front of you. Bend your right knee and bring it over your left leg, moving your right heel as close to your left sit-bone as you can. Move your right arm behind you and place your fingertips on the floor. Bring your left hand to your right knee or thigh and use it to pull your knee to the left until you feel a stretch in your glutes. Hold this stretch for at least 30 seconds before you release it and repeat the stretch on your left side. 

If you looking to improve your physical health situation and are in need of physical therapy, or are interested in receiving a functional movement screening, contact Peak Physical Therapy and Wellness today and we will be happy to assist you with your first steps towards recovery. We have an extensive team of qualified physical therapists and specialists who care deeply about their clients and go above and beyond the call of duty to provide the highest quality treatment in the industry. If you are looking for a therapist who will carefully assess your individual needs and formulate a treatment plan that is specifically tailored to your needs, Peak Physical Therapy and Wellness is your preferred choice for the physical recovery process.

Using TRX Training to Get Fit

September 19, 2018

When choosing healthy ways to lose weight and become fit, it can be hard to decipher what is best and safest. From calorie restriction and cutting carbs, to running and strength training, it can be overwhelming trying to find a place to start—or pick up if your current plan hasn’t worked for you. Intermittent fasting and TRX training in Denver are two of the ways that can help you reach your goals in a safe and healthy manner.  

Establishing Fitness Goals

As you are working to lose weight, it is important to set goals. Just as you do at work or with a project, it is important to understand the reasoning for your work. Even more important, set goals. While so many factors play into results, you can set goals for the work you will do. For instance, being able to maintain your momentum running a 5K or doing a certain set of reps during exercises. From there, set milestones to hit. Goals can include: 
  • Reduce body mass index (BMI)
  • Get healthier
  • Have more strength
  • Prepare for an upcoming activity

Once you achieve one of your goals, move on to the next! It always helps to set new goals when you conquer one of them. 

What is TRX training? 

If you haven’t had the opportunity to swing into your next workout with TRX suspension training, you are missing out. TRX suspension training is a relatively new way to work out with just your body weight. It forces just about every muscle in your body to work in a pull or push motion like no other exercise does. At Peak Physical Therapy & Wellness, we have embraced TRX suspension training in Denver (We include a comprehensive list of some of the benefits of TRX training here.)

Are you looking for a way to increase your strength and get fit, that is not cardio-heavy? TRX training is a great way to go. TRX training is a form of suspension training, which allows you to use your own weight. When working against gravity, you become stronger. Those who participate in this type of training especially notice a difference with the strengthening of their core. During TRX training, you can work all areas of your body: arms, back, core, and legs. Over time, you will notice a tone, lean body. 

When working alongside your local physical therapist, you will put your hands or feet onto its handles connected to bands, then begin your workout. The physical therapist will guide you through each exercise to ensure you have proper form. These bands will work all of the muscles in your body. The great thing about TRX is how easy and sustainable it is. Even if you can’t always make it to the gym or for an appointment with your physical therapist, you can still practice TRX at home. 

It is suitable for everyone, regardless of your current level of fitness.
Olympic athletes and couch potatoes alike will benefit from this exercise. The body weight load can be increased or decreased by just slight shifts in position. This type of training works for everyone.

It can help you achieve any health or fitness goal.
Regardless of your goal, whether you want to get stronger, lose weight, or run a marathon, TRX suspension training can help you achieve it.

It can be used to improve cardiovascular health as well as to increase strength.
There is an old adage when it comes to lifting weights for a cardio workout that says, Just lift faster! And this same theory holds true for TRX training. You can speed up your performance of an exercise and make great gains from a cardiovascular endurance standpoint.

For all of your health and fitness goals, Peak Physical Therapy & Wellness will help. As your local physical therapy specialist, we work hard to find the root of any problems and help you achieve your desired results. With more than 20 years of experience, you will love working with our team to accomplish your health and finesse goals. With locations all across the Denver area, contact Peak PT & Wellness to find the office nearest you to get started.