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Matt Bakkum, DPT

Q: What exercises improve balance?

A: Physical therapy does encounter and treat numerous types of balance issues, which can be associated with general lower extremity weakness, poor sensation and the inability to feel your limbs through movement, as well as inner ear, vertigo, BPPV, and a hypofunction in vestibular system.

Strength deficits: The balance issues associated with strength deficits are treated with a specifically curated set of exercises, which are assessed during the initial evaluation. The therapist will challenge the patient in the positions, which created balance issues and then progress from these positions either creating a narrow base of support, adding different surfaces, or creating challenges on uneven surfaces. Strengthening of the weakened lower extremity and core musculature will also be a very crucial part of the treatment process.

Sensation deficits: The balance deficits associated with sensation issues are treated similarly to the strength portion above, with the addition of educating and building compensation techniques to allow for full independence during activities of daily living.

Vertigo/Vestibular Hypofunction/BPPV: The other main culprit of balance issues is having inner ear dysfunctions. It is common for individuals to have residual balance issues following BPPV or vertigo related symptoms, even after the dizziness has been treated or subsided. We have a specific assessment program we put each patient through, which will allow the therapist to locate the positions of the body and head that are creating the balance deficits. The treatment will then consist of performing this movements or positions repetitively to restore normalized balance with activities.

Q: What are some of the most common injuries that FYZICAL treats?

A: The most common injuries of that physical therapist’s at FYZICAL encounter:

  1. Cervical and lumbar spine pain.
  •  Spinal stenosis
  •  Herniated or bulging discs.
  •  Degenerative changes in the cervical and lumbar spine.
  1. Shoulder Pain
  •  Rotator cuff tendonitis
  •  Rotator cuff tear
  •  Post-surgical rehabilitation for rotator cuff repair, labral repair, and total shoulder replacement
  1. Hip Pain
  •  Degenerative hip pain
  •  Post-operative total hip replacements
  1. Knee pain
  •  Degenerative knee pain
  •  Meniscus related injuries
  •  Post-operative total knee replacements
  1. Dizziness and Balance/Frequent Falls
  •  Dizziness related to inner ear, BPPV, or vertigo symptoms
  •  Balance issues related to lower extremity weakness, inner ear hypofunction, and sensation issues

Q: What is my role in treatment and recovery?

A: The patient’s role in recovery and rehabilitation is just as important as the therapy center or therapist you choose. The most important role a patient can have is to stay consistent with therapy appointments and the home program that is provided, as well as being fully committed to improving your ability to return to your daily activities of living, recreational activities, and work duties.

Andrew Johnson, DPT

Q: Are squats bad for my knees?

A: Squats as well as other weightlifting activities are essential to improving your overall fitness level. The American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) recommends weight training to be completed 2-3 times per week.  Proper form while squatting is important to consider especially if you are experiencing pain when attempting this movement. 

Q: I am 21 years old and have pulled my back out twice, both while working out. On both occasions, I went to the emergency room. I have been to countless doctors, physical therapists, and massage therapists and still to this date, for the most part, my lower back is tight and sometimes pain. I have had CT scans, MRIs, and am convinced that my condition is the result of a muscle problem. I have been stretching and working on my core; but, massages have been the most helpful. I feel as if that just “puts a bandage” on the problem, rather than just finding the cause of my issue. I have noticed that my butt also feels extremely tight, especially the muscles right above my butt on both sides, and when I sit, my thighs are extremely tight. It hurts when I arch my back and sometimes when I bend forward. I usually work out five times a week. Recently, I after working out (cycling and elliptical), my tightness and pain have been worse. Can someone help me?

A: Lower back and hip/leg pain are some of the most common issues that we see on a daily basis. A high percentage of lower back pain often stems from a muscular imbalance throughout the lower back, core, and hip muscles. Stretching what is tight and strengthening what is weak is key to correcting this imbalance. There are a lot of good online resources (YouTube or Google) to instruct on stretching muscles such as: piriformis, hamstrings, quads, and lower back as well as strengthening lateral/posterior hips and core (ex: lateral band walks, bird dogs, cat-camel, bridges, single leg dead lifts, etc.). Another great option is trying yoga a couple of times per week (there are also a lot of helpful videos to follow along with on YouTube).

Q: What is Spinal Stenosis?

A: Spinal stenosis is narrowing of the openings within the spinal vertebra which can put increased pressure on spinal nerves that communicate with the arms and legs. This condition is more common as a person ages and is associated with osteoarthritis. Symptoms can include: back and/or neck pain, numbness/tingling/weakness in the hands, arms, feet or legs, bowel or bladder dysfunction, and pain/cramping down the legs when standing or walking for long periods of time which usually gets better with bending forward or sitting down.