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Appalachian Physical Therapy helps patients with many different conditions. Please see the diagram below for information on common conditions we treat and how physical therapy can help you.

Headaches 
Over 45 million Americans suffer from headaches. There are many different types of headaches and migraines from tension headaches, temporal headaches, cluster headaches, migraines and sinus headaches. While there are many different “triggers” such as alcohol, chocolate, scents and other factors for headaches and migraines, most suffers do have some underlying neck problem that causes their headaches. These are called “cervico-genic headaches”.

Headaches and migraines are often spasms of the arteries in the scalp or base of the neck triggering a whirlwind of abnormal electrical activity in the brain. This can cause a variety of symptoms depending on where this is occurring in the head. Most headaches have a component of stress. When stressed, our neck muscles tense on a chronic basis, and with supporting our head all day long, become very irritated. Along with other triggers, this can start a headache or migraine. It is why many headache and migraine sufferers have symptoms later on in the day.

How physical therapy helps
Our trained physical therapists examine for many different factors that can be adding to the causes of your headache or migraine. They look for correct alignment, posture, muscle strength of the neck, upper back and shoulders, joint movement in the neck and much more.

If there are limitations in movement or strength in the neck or upper back, this will be addressed to restore your normal mobility. This also increases blood flow in the area, reducing the common spasms that can occur. In addition, our therapists will train you on exercises and techniques that you can use to prevent future occurrences.

Headaches and migraines are often spasms of the arteries in the scalp or base of the neck triggering a whirlwind of abnormal electrical activity in the brain. This can cause a variety of symptoms depending on where this is occurring in the head. Most headaches have a component of stress. When stressed, our neck muscles tense on a chronic basis, and with supporting our head all day long, become very irritated. Along with other triggers, this can start a headache or migraine. It is why many headache and migraine sufferers have symptoms later on in the day.

How physical therapy helps
Our trained physical therapists examine for many different factors that can be adding to the causes of your headache or migraine. They look for correct alignment, posture, muscle strength of the neck, upper back and shoulders, joint movement in the neck and much more.

If there are limitations in movement or strength in the neck or upper back, this will be addressed to restore your normal mobility. This also increases blood flow in the area, reducing the common spasms that can occur. In addition, our therapists will train you on exercises and techniques that you can use to prevent future occurrences.

About Vertigo
Vertigo and dizziness can be the result of a variety of different factors. Vertigo or benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV) can occur because of calcium crystals that form in the inner ear labyrinth canals. These canals give feedback about balance to your brain.

About Dizziness
Dizziness can occur for a variety of reasons, including issues with medication. Issues with mobility of the neck joints and muscles can also affect dizziness. When this occurs, the major arteries in the neck which supply the back portion of the brain that control balance and orientation can be affected.

How physical therapy helps
Our physical therapists perform a thorough examination of your balance and vestibular symptoms. We evaluate your visual movements, positioning of your head, neck mobility and balance. At times, we may need to provoke symptoms to determine the exact mechanism of your vertigo or dizziness.

If you are suffering with dizziness and vertigo, you can benefit from physical therapy intervention to improve symptoms and increase your neck mobility. There are specific vestibular and balance exercises that are performed to settle the calcium deposits in the inner ear and improve your balance systems. Call us today to discover how we can stop your vertigo or dizziness and make you feel like yourself again.

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The temporomandibular joint connects the jaw to the skull. If there is an injury to this joint or it becomes damaged, it can cause TMJ syndrome. TMJ can also be caused by a misalignment of the teeth, gum chewing, arthritis, teeth grinding or jaw injury. Symptoms of this TMJ disorder include pain in the jaw, jaw popping, headaches, sore jaw muscles, locking of the jaw, pain in the temple and earache. It’s important to realize that the temporomandibular joint is a complex and important structure comprised of bones, tendons and muscles, and you may have pain on one or both sides of the jaw.

Diagnosing TMJ Disorder

There is no specific method of diagnosing TMJ. A physician will take your medical history and do an exam. Your physician may also send you to a dentist specializing in jaw disorders or to an otolaryngologist. Your symptoms may be due to a condition known as trigeminal neuralgia, salivary gland disease or even swollen lymph nodes. The idea is to rule out other medical problems.

Home Remedies and Treatment for TMJ Syndrome

Sometimes, home remedies can relieve the symptoms of TMJ syndrome. Some people respond well to over-the-counter meds like ibuprofen and aspirin. Ice packs applied to the jaw joint may also help. Sedative essential oils, such as clary sage and lavender may give temporary relief. When home remedies don’t work, medical treatment may be needed. A jaw specialist may use a dental splint to keep teeth properly aligned and to prevent tooth grinding. Other types of medical treatment include trigger point acupuncture, joint replacement or a TMJ arthroscopy. Muscle relaxers and anti-inflammatory meds may be prescribed.

Physical therapy is effective in the treatment of TMJ. A physical therapist will analyze your jaw mobility and release muscle tension in the neck and head area. A comprehensive evaluation is done of the neck, shoulder girdle and thoracic spine to determine if those structures are causing your symptoms. The goal of physical therapy is to restore the interaction of the muscles and joints and to restore normal function. Treatment may consist of different modalities. Active modalities include soft tissue massage, joint mobilization, myofascial techniques and jaw exercises. Electric stimulation and ultrasound may be used to decrease muscle tension and provide pain relief. In addition, a physical therapist can educate you on dietary changes that will decrease stress on the jaw joint.

Dentists and Physical Therapists

More and more, dentists are working with specialized physical therapists to deliver effective treatment for patients with TMJ disorder. This team effort has led to an improvement in over 80 percent of cases. Working with a physical therapist who understands craniofacial disorders is crucial to success. These specialized physical therapists will understand the relationship between the neck and teeth areas. This team effort is successful because the dentist can explain the underlying problems and help the therapist design custom exercises.

When physical therapists treat patients with TMJ, the goal is to improve mobility and alignment along with strengthening the muscles. And if the patient has scar tissue, they can help treat that too.

Are you having difficulty chewing or yawning? Do you have jaw pain? Do you hear a clicking noise when you open and shut your mouth? These may all be signs of TMJ syndrome. Don’t suffer anymore. A physical therapist can help you manage and eliminate symptoms. Be sure to make a request to schedule a one-on-one screening and a complete, thorough evaluation. Our physical therapists have helped many who suffer from TMJ disorder and can help you too. We are patient-centric and committed to your health.

A neurological physical therapist is one who specializes in the evaluation and treatment of individuals with movement difficulties due to an injury or disease of the nervous system. A neurologic clinical specialist (NCS) is a physical therapist who has advanced training in neurological therapy. These specialists develop a plan of care using a variety of treatment techniques to help restore function and help you move better with a neurological condition, such as Parkinson’s disease or stroke. Neurological conditions are challenging and having a team of these specialists on your side is very beneficial. Studies have shown that physical therapy is very beneficial to those who suffer from neurological conditions.

Neuro Therapy and Physical Therapy

Neuro therapy is a non-invasive treatment that allows individuals to gain information about their brain activity and learn how to change it. Brainwave activity is measured with an EEG, and “brain maps” are created. Physical therapists work closely with those who specialize in neurological therapy. Without physical therapy following a neurological injury, patients may be unable to perform certain activities, lose function and lose their independence. Physical therapists who specialize in neurology work with a wide range of patients who may have the following conditions:

Parkinson’s disease

Stroke

Multiple sclerosis

ALS (Lou Gehrig’s Disease)

Parkinson’s disease is a neurological disorder that affects the brain’s nerve cells. It’s a progressive disease. The disease causes slurred speech, severe tremors and irregular facial expressions. Physical therapy has been shown to help those with chronic conditions like Parkinson’s disease. It improves flexibility and strength. As a matter of fact, physical therapy is now an essential part of many treatment plans. Your physical therapist can help address the symptoms of Parkinson’s disease, such as gait, freezing and dystonia.

Stroke is a leading cause of disability in adults. Your physical therapist is part of the stroke rehabilitation team and will develop an individualized plan for the best outcome. Your physical therapist can help you improve walking and balance, train you on how to use assistive devices and provide training for your caregivers. Therapy typically includes constraint-induced movement therapy, functional electrical stimulation, motor image, partial body weight support and neuro therapy like biofeedback. Biofeedback is a type of neurological therapy that helps you be aware of how your muscles work and how you can change things. The therapist will attach electrodes to your skin, so you can see measurements of muscle activity on a screen. The goal of your physical therapist is to help you regain functional skills after a stroke, so you can get back to your life.

With multiple sclerosis, it’s likely that you’ll be feeling weakness, fatigue and pain. Physical therapy can help you manage the symptoms of multiple sclerosis. A physical therapist will help you with stretches to ease muscle spasms, exercises to keep muscles strong and specific range-of-motion exercises for movement. With physical therapy, you can improve balance problems and trouble moving your body. You’ll also be given expert instruction on how to use assistive devices, such as a cane or wheelchair. A physical therapist can help you through all the stages of multiple sclerosis.

Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) is a progressive neurological disease that typically begins in the hands, feet and extremities, then progresses centrally. People may first discover that they have difficulty walking, tripping or poor balance. In addition, people may notice that they have weakness in their hands or legs, along with occasional muscle cramps. As the disease progresses, it affects walking, use of the arms, speaking, swallowing and breathing muscles. While there is no cure for ALS, maintaining independence and function as long as possible is the goal of the rehabilitation team. Safety with walking and adaptation of assistive devices is critical to prevent secondary complications such as fractures from falls. Physical therapy focuses on improving and maintaining range of motion, strength, stamina, walking and balance. In addition, our physical therapists will focus on making recommendations for adaptive equipment such as canes, walkers, wheelchairs, braces and other devices. The goal of physical therapy is to maintain safety with walking and independence for as long as possible.

The field of neurological therapy and physical therapy work together today. It gives patients who suffer from a neurological condition the best of both worlds. Do you suffer from a neurological condition? Is this condition impacting your lifestyle? If so, be sure to contact Appalachian Physical Therapy today for a one-on-one screening and comprehensive assessment. Our skilled and knowledgeable physical therapists can help you manage the symptoms of your neurological condition. Each patient has unique needs, and our therapists will provide you with an individualized treatment plan for success.