Latest News & Blog

Parker PT: Your Gait Dysfunction Might Be Slowing You Down

March 21, 2018

Nothing is more frustrating when you are training for a race—whether it’s a 5k or a full marathon—than being sidelined by constant injuries. If you are a Parker runner who is constantly plagued with problems in your shins, calves, or hips, you might want to consider a running analysis.

Also referred to as a gait analysis, once the problem has been identified, you can be treated—and back on the road (or trail) feeling better than ever. Getting a professional gait analysis by an experienced clinician means a more efficient and accurate diagnosis. What this means for you is that you are running pain-free in a shorter amount of time.

What Does It Mean to Have a Gait Dysfunction?

When you have a gait dysfunction, it means that the way you are walking or running is abnormal in some way. In some cases, they can be related to some kind of disorder of the inner ear, diseases of the muscle or nervous system, or musculoskeletal abnormalities. When these underlying disorders are treated, often the problem with gait is normalized.

There are common classifications of gait dysfunction, as follows:
  • Anatalgic. This is commonly referred to as a limp, meaning people are putting more weight on one leg than the other. This is usually because they are in some kind of pain.
  • Cerebellar ataxia. This gait dysfunction is displayed by erratic foot placement, such as in someone who is intoxicated.
  • Parkinsonian. These short, shuffled steps are often seen in those suffering from Parkinson’s disease.
  • Steppage. With this dysfunction people cannot lift their ankle so they frequently lift the leg higher at the knee and hip
  • Vestibular ataxia. This is usually related to vertigo or inner-ear conditions and causes people to walk in an unsteady manner.
  • Waddling. People with this pattern of dysfunction often walk on their toes, with a side-to-side movement.
These are some of the most commonly known dysfunctions. Yours might be different than what is listed here. You can find a more comprehensive list of gait abnormalities published by Stanford Medicine that offers a bit more insight.

How Is a Gait Dysfunction Diagnosed?

Although running shoe stores often offer a running analysis to determine the best type of running shoes, nothing compares to a gait analysis screening by a professional physical therapist. When you go in for an analysis, you will likely be asked a series of questions first, including:
  • Are you experiencing any pain while walking or running?
  • Did you recently have a fall?
  • When did you start to notice you were not walking the way you always have?
  • Is the problem with walking or running getting worse?
The physical therapist will also talk to you about your medical history, including whether or not you are on any medications.

When you first meet with the physical therapist, be prepared to describe your pain and symptoms in as detailed a manner as possible. Before your first appointment, in fact, it might be a good idea to keep a journal that outlines what activities you are doing when you are experiencing pain—whether it’s just while you are running or if the pain exists while you are walking and doing other things. Try to be as detailed as possible.

The physical therapist will conduct certain assessments to help determine the cause of your gait problems, including:
  • The physical therapist will have you walk back and forth so he or she can observe any abnormalities in your gait simply by watching you.
  • The physical therapist will check your balance to determine if you are at undue risk of a fall.
  • The physical therapist will see how fast you walk.
  • The physical therapist will test your strength and range of motion.
  • The physical therapist will test your reflexes.
  • The physical therapist will conduct sensation screenings.
Based on these assessments, he or she will try to diagnose the reason for the gait problems.

Can I Do Something to Prevent Gait Problems?

Whether or not your issue is preventable depends on the reason for it. But often getting treatment early means further issues can be prevented

What Can a Physical Therapist Do to Improve Gait?

Physical therapy is crucial in helping people improve their gait so they can walk and run again without pain. Each treatment plan is different, depending on the issues you are having the reasons behind them, but a treatment strategy might include any of the following items:
  • Pre-gait training. These include activities and exercises that have nothing to do with, such as standing and lifting your leg. But they can give you insight into improving your gait.
  • Gait training. This includes retraining the way you walk based on the underlying condition for your gait problems.
  • Balance and coordination training. These activities can help you get better balance, which will help stabilize the way you walk.
  • Neuromuscular reeducation. Your inactive muscles might need to be activated to improve your walking pattern.
  • Bracing or splinting. If a weakness in a ligament is part of your gait problem, a brace or splint might be able to help.
  • Manual therapy. Depending on the reasons for your gait problems, we might also recommend manual therapy and soft tissue mobilization.
  • Dry needling. Dry needling is crucial for pain control, muscle tension reduction, and improved biochemical motor functions.
Don’t be sidelined because of pain or discomfort. Talk to Peak Physical Therapy & Wellness about a Parker running analysis and treatment plan for runners of all ability levels. Our comprehensive running analysis has three goals: (1) tell you what you need to do to reduce your pain, (2) lower your risk of injuring yourself in the future, and (3) improving your running performance. At Peak Physical Therapy & Wellness, we will also talk to you about an appropriate training plan to help you achieve your running goals with a lot less pain.

Contact us today to find out more about a running analysis. With offices throughout the Denver metro area, including south Denver, Highlands Ranch, Lowry, Parker, Aurora, and Englewood, you can be sure that one is conveniently located near you. We look forward to working with you and helping you live a healthy, pain-free lifestyle!

Deciding on the Right TMJ treatment in Denver

March 13, 2018

TMJ is short for temporomandibular joint, and the TMJ is like a hinge that connects your jawbone to your skill. When you have pain in your jaw joint or in the muscles around it, it is called a TMJ disorder. Deciding on the right TMJ treatment in Denver isn’t always easy, and it might depend on the reason behind the disorder.

TMJ disorders can be caused by the bad luck of genetics, an injury to the jaw, or an arthritis condition. Sometimes people who clench or grind their teeth develop TMJ disorders. There are a variety of TMJ treatments available for people who are experiencing pain.

TMJ disorders can manifest themselves in a variety of ways. You may feel pain or tenderness in the joint area, in your neck or shoulders, or even around your ears. You might have issues if you try to open your mouth wide for yawning. Your jaws might get locked into position, or you might hear clicking or popping sounds coming from your jaw joint when you speak or chew. Chewing might be uncomfortable. Your face might become swollen in the area near the TMJ.

Most problems, whether muscular or within the joint, improve with the passage of time, so starting out with the most conservative treatment is usually your best bet.

Tips for Relief You Can Try on Your Own

These tips might help relieve your TMJ pain or discomfort:
  • Try to avoid yawning—or yawn as little as possible. When you do yawn, try to press your fist under your chin to keep your mouth from opening too much.
  • Don’t chew on ice or gum.
  • Stop using extreme jaw movements, such as singing and yelling
  • Yawn and chew (especially gum or ice) as little as possible.
  • Avoid extreme jaw movements, such as yelling or singing.
  • Try to rest your jaw naturally as much as possible. This means keeping your teeth and lips slightly apart.
  • Sleep on your back as much as possible. Especially avoid sleeping on your stomach.
  • Don't rest your chin on your hand or hold the telephone between your shoulder and ear.
  • Try to reduce stress.
  • Eat soft foods that don’t require a lot of chewing. Suggestions include smoothies, cottage cheese, soups, yogurt, and so on.
  • Avoid hard or thick foods that require you to open your mouth wide and are difficult to chew.
  • See a physical therapist who can work with your head and neck simultaneously. A physical therapist can also recommend specific exercises to do to help relieve your pain.
You might want to check out what the TMJ Association—yes, there is an association for this disorder—has to say about TMJ treatments, including its list of recommended resources.

Therapies to Treat TMJ Disorders

Some of the more common therapies to treat TMJ disorders include the following:
  • Oral appliance or mouth guard. If you are clenching or grinding your teeth (bruxism)—especially at night when you sleep—these appliances can be helpful. If you are not sure if you are dealing with bruxism, your dentist should be able to tell you based on the condition of your teeth. If your bite is off, this too can cause TMJ pain, and your dentist can help you address this issue as well.
  • Physical therapy. As mentioned previously, physical therapy can be helpful. Treatments might include ultrasound and moist heat and ice. A physical therapist can also show you exercises to do that will help strengthen and lengthen jaw muscles. Often a regimen of ice, heat, and exercise will relieve symptoms.
  • Counseling. It might sound odd, but if you are performing behaviors such as biting your fingernails or grinding your teeth that are exacerbating your TMJ pain, understanding why you are doing them can you stop. Often this is all you need to stop your TMJ pain.

Medications to Treat TMJ Disorders

When you are trying nonsurgical treatments for TMJ disorders, your doctor might prescribe some type of mediation to go along with it. Here is a list of those that have been shown to help:
  • Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatories—also known as NSAIDs—can provide relief with TMJ pain. If over-the-counter pain relievers such as Advil, Motrin, and others aren’t enough, you can ask your doctor or dentist for a prescription for one that is stronger.
  • Muscle relaxants can be used for a limited period of time to provide relief of TMJ disorder symptoms.
  • Tricyclic antidepressants often have a secondary use other than for depression, and that includes pain relief. Your doctor can give you more information.

Surgeries to Treat TMJ Disorders

Surgery is typically a last resort after conservative measures have been exhausted, but some people with TMJ disorders may benefit from surgical treatments. These procedures might help where other treatments have failed:
  • One option that is minimally invasive is called arthrocentesis. With this procedure, small needles are put into the TMJ so fluid can be used to flush out debris from the joint.
  • Corticosteroid injections into the TMJ might help some suffers. In some cases, Botox injections into the jaw muscle are now being used to relieve some of the pain.
  • Modified condylotomy is surgery on the mandible but not in the joint itself. This procedure is more helpful on those whose jaw locks up.
  • Open-joint surgery (arthrotomy) repairs or replaces the actual join. This is done only in extreme cases because of the risks.
  • Arthroscopic surgery is preferred because there are fewer risks than in open-joint surgery. With this type of surgery, an arthroscope is inserted into the joint space via a small tube. Small surgical instruments are used to treat the joint.
If your doctor recommends surgery, be sure to discuss the potential benefits and risks, and ask what all your options are.
Contact us today to find out more about how physical therapy can help with your TMJ or TMJ. With offices throughout the Denver metro area, including south Denver, Highlands Ranch, Lowry, Parker, Aurora, and Englewood, you can be sure that one is conveniently located near you. We look forward to working with you and helping you live a healthy, pain-free lifestyle!

Parker Women’s Health: What You Need to Know About Pelvic Physical Therapy

March 7, 2018

If you are a female concerned about women’s health in Parker because you are experiencing issues such as pelvic pain, uterine prolapse, incontinence, or anything else involving the pelvic area, we invite you to call Peak Physical Therapy & Wellness. Our experts would be happy to provide you with a pelvic health physical therapy evaluation.

You don’t have to suffer with these often painful and always inconvenient issues. Many of these problems can be fixed quite easily, and you can get back to living a normal life again. Give us a call if you are experiencing any of these problems.


This disorder, in which the cells that form the endometrial lining of the uterus grow outside of the uterus, affects millions of women in the United States. There can be a lot of pain associated with endometriosis, including painful urination and painful intercourse.

Pelvic physical therapy can help when the therapists manipulates the organs affected by hand. This manual work can improve tissue mobility and increase circulation to the areas. A pelvic physical therapist can also offer suggestions for general diet and exercise.


Hernias happen to both men and women, and often it is a physical activity, such as moving or lifting something heavy, that makes people aware of the hernia. It is generally unknown whether the activity caused the hernia or just caused it to become symptomatic. Early diagnosis of a hernia means patients are treated more quickly. (Want to learn more about hernias? Read this article on everything you need to know about hernias from Columbia University Department of Surgery.)

Urinary Incontinence

This is another condition that also affects both men and women. Women who have experienced childbirth are particularly vulnerable because of issues with the pelvic floor. Physical therapy can help strengthen the muscles located in the pelvic floor. Even patients who have been suffering from urinary incontinence for years can benefit from seeing a physical therapist.

Irritable Bowel

Since the bowel and pelvis are located so closely to one another, it is not surprising that issues of the pelvis could lead to problems with the bowel. Researchers have continued to examine the connection between the two, and have become more inclined to believe there is indeed a connection.

Because of the role of the pelvic floor muscles in coordinating bowel movements and controlling the action of the anal sphincter, problems with these muscles can lead to bowel problems, including irritable bowel syndrome.

Painful Bladder Syndrome

Painful bladder syndrome, also called interstitial cystitis, presents itself in a number of ways, including urinary urgency, constipation, unexplained back pain, and pain during or after intercourse. Patients suffering from this syndrome often have very tight or spasming muscles in the pelvic region. There are trigger points that set off bladder symptoms. Physical therapy can help relax and lengthen tight muscles and release the trigger points, offering patients relief.

Pelvic Floor Muscle Over-Activity

When pelvic floor muscles are overactive, this can cause pain much like having tight neck muscles. But with physical therapy, patients learn techniques to relieve the tight muscle tension.

Pelvic Inflammatory Disease

Pelvic inflammatory disease is a condition wherein the ovaries and fallopian tubes develop an infection. This is usually the result of a sexually transmitted disease. This is a painful condition that can actually be fatal if it is left untreated. Of course, antibiotics are needed immediately to get the infection under control and to keep it from spreading. In addition, physical therapy can be beneficial to help with the pain and to promote healing in the area.

Lower Back Pain

If you are a woman suffering from unexplained lower back pain, it could be because of problems with the pelvic floor. Women who have experienced childbirth are particularly susceptible to unexplained lower back pain occurring as a result of a weakened pelvic floor. Physical therapy can improve muscle strength, relieving back pain and other symptoms.

Post-Surgery Problems

Patients who undergo pelvic or abdominal surgery can benefit from physical therapy in the months immediately following the surgery. Physical therapy can help break up any scar tissue that has formed. It can help patients regain their strength and range of motion. Just as in knee surgery, where physical therapy is mandated, after abdominal surgery, patients who have physical therapy will enjoy an improved range of motion much sooner than without physical therapy.

Postpartum Issues

Having a baby is natural, but it can also be hard on the body. Oftentimes after childbirth, women find that their abdominals are weak because of muscles that have been over-stretched, resulting in lower back pain. Other problems postpartum can include urinary incontinence and painful intercourse. There can also be scarring from a C-section or episiotomy. Sometimes just a few sessions of physical therapy can make all the difference, resolving these problems relatively quickly.

Weak Abdominals or Muscle Separation

During pregnancy, abdominal muscles are put to the test. Sometimes, these muscles not only stretch but they become fully separated. In some people, this condition doesn’t heal properly, resulting in a condition called diastasis recti. The condition leads to a weak core and back pain, not to mention a stubborn postpartum belly that lingers. Physical therapy can often completely heal this condition with a series of core-stabilizing exercises. A physical therapist can also advise patients on the proper core exercises to do; some gym exercises such as crunches, planks, and sit ups can actually be counterproductive when it comes to healing this condition. These should be avoided.

You don’t need to suffer alone. Contact us today to find out more about pelvic physical therapy or any of our other services. We offer TMJ treatment, dry needling, hand therapy, injury risk assessment, kinesio taping, manual therapy, running analysis, and TRX training among others. With offices throughout the Denver metro area, including south Denver, Highlands Ranch, Lowry, Parker, Aurora, and Englewood, you can be sure that one is conveniently located near you. We look forward to working with you and helping you return to a normal, pain-free lifestyle!

Preparing for Your Denver Physical Therapy Appointment

February 28, 2018

If you’ve had an injury that continues to cause you pain and discomfort, and limits your mobility, it might be time to see a professional for physical therapy in Denver. In many cases, seeing a physical therapist for an injury means you can avoid surgery as well as medications. A physical therapist will address any condition that is limiting your ability to move and function properly on a day-to-day basis. Take a look at some of the comments from our patients who found relief with our services, including physical therapy.

Before you go to a physical therapist, here’s what you should know about ahead of time.

Be Prepared Before Your First Appointment

Make a written list of questions you have for your physical therapist. It’s easy to forget what you want to ask while you are in the appointment, so having a list you can refer to is key.

Also make notes for yourself for information to share with the physical therapist. For instance, what symptoms have you been suffering from and for how long? If you have multiple symptoms, which one is bothering you the most? Share information too on when the symptoms are bothering you most, including what activities are giving you the most pain or discomfort. Other considerations include:
  • What time of day are you most bothered by your pain or symptoms?
  • Are there physical positions that bother your pain or symptoms more than others?
  • Does resting provide you with any relief from your pain or symptoms?
Jot down some notes about your medical history to share with the physical therapist. Even medical conditions that seem unrelated to your current pain or symptoms could be important. If you are currently taking any medications, be sure to share that information with your physical therapist. Include a list of all supplements you might be taking.

If you have recent lab work or diagnostic reports from other health professionals, take that along. If you have been working with other healthcare professionals regarding your pain or symptom, and if you would like them to share information with the physical therapist, bring along that information.
Think about your family history, such as medical conditions your siblings or parents might be experiencing. If you have had any injuries or stress, or are dealing with unique environmental circumstances, share this information with your physical therapist.

It’s not a bad idea to take along a family member or close friend to your first appointment with the physical therapist. It can be helpful for someone else to hear the information to ensure you don’t forget anything. Another person might also think of good questions to ask that you hadn’t considered.
When making your appointment, ask whether or not you will be engaging in any physical activities at your initial visit. If so, be sure to wear comfortable clothing so you can move freely.

Considerations About Finances

Ask about the clinic’s financial policies before you go in for your first appointment. Make sure you understand exactly what your responsibilities will be. Find out what might be covered under your insurance and what you will likely be responsible for paying. Read any financial agreement closely before signing it.

Be prepared to pay any deductibles or copays each time you go to physical therapy so you can avoid getting a large, unexpected bill. Be sure to find out what is covered under your insurance as far as frequency of visits. If your insurance coverage changes at any time during treatment, be sure to let the office know this.

Your First Visit to the Physical Therapist

Now that you have done the legwork prior to coming in, it’s time for that first appointment. Here’s what you can expect.

Be prepared to answer lots of questions, both about your overall health as well as the specific pain and symptoms you are being seen for. The more detailed you can be, the better the plan your physical therapist can devise for your treatment. Be sure to talk about your home and work environment, how healthy a lifestyle you live, what your activity level is, and any leisure activities you might be involved in.

Your physical therapist will conduct a physical exam that will vary from patient to patient, depending on your individual circumstances. These might include:
  • Blood pressure
  • Heart and respiration rates
  • Strength and flexibility tests
  • Flexibility and balance
Your physical therapist will probably touch the area in question as well.

Other parts of the evaluation might include a close look at how you walk, how you get up from lying down, how you stand up when getting out of a chair, how well you can bend and lift things.

Goals of Your Physical Therapy Treatment

At your first visit, your physical therapist will go over your goals for treatment. In most cases, your physical therapist will make a diagnosis at that first appointment and make a plan that will improve your ability to function on a daily basis. Depending on your pain or symptoms, this might include improving motion or reducing pain. (Find out more here about who can benefit from physical therapy.)

As you go through treatment, your physical therapist will constantly be making adjustments, based on what does and doesn’t seem to be working.
If you need any special equipment, such as a splint or crutches, your physical therapist will make a recommendation. If you at risk for falling, he or she may also make recommendations for equipment that can make your home and work environment safer.

Be prepared to have “homework” as your physical therapist may assign exercises for you to do at home in between visits.

Make a commitment before starting physical therapy to be an active participant in your treatment. Also go in with a positive attitude, which has been shown to improve patient results. Don’t hesitate to ask any questions about your physical therapy.

Contact us today to find out more about physical therapy or any of our other services. With offices throughout the Denver metro area, including south Denver, Highlands Ranch, Lowry, Parker, Aurora, and Englewood, you can be sure that one is conveniently located near you. We look forward to working with you and helping you live a healthy, pain-free lifestyle!

TRX Training in Parker, CO: Why It Hurts So Good and Is So Good for You

February 21, 2018

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 Parkerr, CO (We include a comprehensive list of some of the benefits of TRX training here.)

What Is TRX Suspension Training?

This fitness tool is made up of high-quality nylon that is highly durable. It has the ability to hold up to 1,400 pounds. It has handles into which you can put your hands or feet—depending on the exercise you are doing—and can be set up almost anywhere. It strongly engages your core as well as your strength, agility, and balance.

It’s fairly simple with just six main body positions that give you options for hundreds of exercises, regardless of your fitness or skill level. All are variations of either standing up or lying down.

Many of the big box gyms now have TRX suspension trainers in them as well.

What Makes TRX Training Such a Great Option?

TRX training was invented by a Navy Seal. He used it to help maintain fitness of his fellow troops—regardless of where in the world they happened to be located. The hanging bands use only your body weight to engage all the muscles of the body. You can even incorporate TRX training into your next vacation! Read more here.

It’s a great overall fitness method for the following reasons:

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.

It is incredibly versatile.
With just two adjustable bands, you can create a workout that will hit on every muscle in your body. (You might even feel muscles you never knew existed!) They are easily transportable so you can take them with you anywhere for a full workout—even in your hotel room. They pair only weight about 2 pounds, so you will not even notice them in your suitcase.

It is safe.
Because the bands are suspended, a workout with TRX suspension bands is low impact, so you are able to give your joints a break from stress. This means the risk of injury is very low, so you can train hard—even if you are a newbie. If you are training with another injury, TRX suspension training makes it easy to train around it.

It engages your entire body.
This is particularly valuable for enthusiasts who participate in another sport, such as running. It makes a great adjunct to training for any sport because your entire body, including your core, is constantly being activated. You’ll get a whole-body workout that is very comprehensive.

It is fresh and different.
Tired of going to the gym and phoning it in on the elliptical machine—and seeing minimal results for your efforts? Let’s face it: Going to the gym and doing the same thing over and over can get pretty boring and undermine your fitness goals completely. TRX training livens up your training regimen, making working out feel fun again!

What Are the Benefits of TRX Suspension Trainer Workouts?

Professional athletes, including Major League baseball players and MMA fighters, are becoming fans of this way of training. Why? It offers a number of excellent benefits:
  • You don’t need a gym membership so you can work out when it’s convenient for you to do so. This is both convenient (no waiting for equipment) and inexpensive (no paying of monthly gym membership fees).
  • They are affordable if you want to buy your own set to use at home. Although they are an investment, buying a set is still much cheaper than having to buy free weights.
  • They take up less space in your home gym than a weight bench or other fitness equipment.
  • They are long-lasting and durable, so after you purchase them, no other investment is required.
  • As with many home guys, you don’t have to spend time adjusting machines or weights. You set up the bands once, then you can do an entire workout without have to move them again.
  • They are excellent for building core strength, which is a weakness for many people and related to many other aches and pains in the body.
  • It improves muscle endurance with high reps and low weight (bodyweight).
  • It will help you grow strong so you can avoid injuries in the future or with other activities.
  • It provides participants with a great workout that gives you a variety of range of motions. You can get creative with what you do, and you can push yourself.
  • TRX suspension trainers are also useful for rehabbing if you have become injured and are slowly trying to become mobile again.
Contact us today to find out more about how TRX training can use gravity and your own body weight to safely and effectively get you into great shape. With offices throughout the Denver metro area, including south Denver, Highlands Ranch, Lowry, Parker, Aurora, and Englewood, you can be sure that one is conveniently located near you. We look forward to working with you and helping you live a healthy, pain-free lifestyle!