View More Conditions

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.

About Mid back pain
Mid back pain refers to pain in the “thoracic” spine. This is the area from the shoulders down to the mid back area. Pain in this area can be for a variety of reasons, but typically occurs from poor posture or a forward slouched posture. With this posture, your back muscles stretch out, causing weakness.

Pain can often feel like a burning or sometimes shooting pain to the mid back area. At times, pain can even feel like it is radiating under the shoulder blade. However, with most mid back pain, it can be difficult to really pinpoint the area it is hurting.

How physical therapy helps
Physical therapy is very important in treating mid back pain. Our physical therapists work with you to discover spinal areas that may not be moving ideally. This limitation in movement can cause strain on the sections above and below that affected area. By improving spinal joint mobility, soothing sore muscles and restoring posture, your mid back pain can be relieved quite quickly.

We then educate you on proper strengthening and postural techniques to maintain your gains in therapy. Call us today to discover how we can relieve your mid back pain quickly and return you to a pain-free life.

Information coming soon!

Gastrointestinal issues is an umbrella term that includes many different conditions that occur in the abdomen and gastrointestinal tract. These conditions include but are not limited to: constipation, diarrhea, gastroesophageal reflux disorder (heartburn), and irritable bowel syndrome. Although these conditions may be caused by dysfunction of the specific organ involved, they may also arise as a result of dysfunction of the supporting connective tissue. Each internal organ is surrounded by a connective tissue capsule. This capsule is connected to a network of connective tissue that supports the organ and allows proper mobility while providing support. This tissue can become damaged due to trauma including purposeful trauma like surgery which can limit the mobility and function of this tissue. Alteration in the mobility of this tissue can result in abnormal forces being placed on gastrointestinal organs which can interfere with normal organ function.

Our physical therapists have extensive training to determine the root cause of gastrointestinal dysfunction. If you, or someone you know, are struggling with gastrointestinal issue and are looking for help, contact us at Appalachian Physical Therapy today to schedule an appointment. One of our Pinehurst, Broadway, or Harrisonburg physical therapists will get you started on the path to recovery and relief.

Information coming soon!

Information coming soon!

Information coming soon!

What is Herniated or Bulging Disc?

A disc is a jelly like, fluid filled sac that acts as a cushion between the bones of your neck (vertebrae). Your discs change as you age, drying out and becoming more brittle. In addition, as the discs dry out with age, the change in height between the vertebrae decreases, causing changes in posture and function. In younger adults, the center of the disc (nucleus) is held in place by many rings of the disc (picture a cross section of a tree trunk). With minor or major injuries, poor posture and strain, these rings can rupture allowing a pressing outward of the disc nucleus. Finally, as the nucleus reaches the outer edges, the disc can begin to bulge, which in turn can rub and irritate nerve roots exiting your spine.

In more severe cases, the disc can become herniated, which further presses into the spaces where nerves are exiting. Symptoms can range from localized pain, to numbness / tingling to a specific part of the shoulder, arm or hands. In more severe cases complete lack of sensation, muscle weakness and paralysis of an area of the upper extremity can occur.

Changes in posture, strength and range of motion can all affect the positioning of the disc and how much bulging or herniation is occurring.

How physical therapy helps

The good news is that the majority of bulging and herniated discs can be treated conservatively with physical therapy. By working with your medical history, symptoms and testing, our physical therapists can determine what areas have been affected.

A thorough plan is then created to relieve pressure on the disc by improving joint function, muscle strength and posture. Modalities, such as ultrasound or electrical stimulation may be used to reduce pain, muscle spasm or inflammation. Our therapists work with you to recover lost strength and range of motion. In addition, we then train you on the correct exercises to maintain good posture and reduce the risk of future episodes. Call us today to discover how we can help relieve your pain quickly and restore your function!

What is Spinal Stenosis?
Spinal stenosis refers to a narrowing of the central spinal canal or the canals where the nerves exit the spine to the lower legs (called foramen). These canals are made up of overlapping spinal bones (vertebrae) over another. With degeneration of the spinal joints, collapsing of the disc height or abnormal bone growth, the canals can narrow. This leads to rubbing and even pressure on the nerves, which can cause a multitude of symptoms.

How physical therapy helps

Physical therapy can have a very positive effect on patients with spinal stenosis. While our therapists cannot revert your arthritis degeneration, we can restore more natural movement to the spinal joints, improve flexibility to increase joint fluid circulation, improve spinal muscle strength and educate you on correct posture and prevention techniques.

The result is that you can do more, with less pain. Often, patients report significant reduction in pain and improvement in daily activities from just a few short weeks of physical therapy. Call us today to find out more how we can help you have pain relief from spinal stenosis!

About Back Sprain / Strain

It can be quite easy to sprain or strain your back. A sprain refers to an overstretching injury of your ligaments in your spine, whereas a strain refers to an overstretching injury to your muscles. There are hundreds of small muscles in the spine, which guide the intricate movements of each bone and multi-level joints. This delicate ballet of movement can get into trouble when heavy lifting is involved.

The majority of people sprain or strain their back when they combine lifting with twisting. The best way to avoid an injury to the low back is to use your legs when lifting, bending at the knees and keeping your back fairly straight. If you have to turn while lifting, move your feet, otherwise the strain of lifting while twisting can cause injury.

Tearing of the tissues occurs during a sprain / strain. While this is often not a full complete tear, the resulting damage can cause significant swelling and pain to occur deep in the back. Typical healing times can take at least 6-12 weeks for complete healing.

How physical therapy helps

Physical therapy is very important in your recovery from a back sprain / strain. The sooner we can see you, the better. After the injury, it is important for you to receive therapy to reduce the inflammation process as quickly as possible. Often, the root cause of the problem is limited motion in the hips or pelvis and even mid-back which causes abnormal forces in the low back.

Our therapists work with you to loosen any restricted areas, improve movement, quickly reduce your pain and strengthen your core muscles to prevent injury. It is vital that you complete a full course of therapy to ensure that you don’t reinjure your back again. Studies have shown that people who do not properly retrain their core muscles after a sprain / strain injury are more likely to re-injure their back again. Call us today to discover how we can help you quickly relieve your back pain and get back to the activities you enjoy.

What are Degenerative Diseases?

Degenerative diseases of the spine fall under the categories of Degenerative Disc Disease (DDD) or Degenerative Joint Disease (DJD). In the spine, this is typically due to age and genetics. The wearing down of the joints or discs causes loss in normal height of the bony segments in the back. This can cause excessive joint pressures, bone on bone rubbing and increased inflammation. Typically with DDD or DJD comes stiffening of the spinal joints and weakening of key spinal muscles.

How physical therapy helps

While the degenerative process cannot be reversed, there is a lot that can be done to improve mobility, reduce pain, improve strength and improve function. Physical therapy is the ideal, non-invasive treatment that helps to improve spinal flexibility, core muscle strength, reduce pain and improve posture. All of these contribute to less pain and a return to normal or modified activities. Call us today to discover how we can help your back pain and return you to the activities you love!

What is Sciatica?
Sciatica is the term used to describe radiating pain into the buttock that can travel down the back of the thigh. Often this pain is achy and spread out along these areas. Sciatica is a result of irritation to the sciatic nerve, which travels deep in the buttock and down the back of the leg. In about 20% of people, the sciatic nerve pierces through the piriformis muscle deep in the buttock instead of under it. This can make the sciatic nerve more susceptible to irritation and pressure from the piriformis muscle. The piriformis muscle helps guide hip movement, but can become very tight with prolonged sitting. This increased tightness causes pressure and irritation to the sciatic nerve causing pain.

What is Radiating Pain?
Radiating pain to the leg doesn’t necessarily mean you have sciatica, but it does tell you that something is wrong. Irritated muscles and tissue often can radiate pain. Spread-out, achy pain is often indicative of this type of problem. Sharp, stabbing pain with numbness or tingling is more nerve irritation or compression occurring in the low back or leg. These types of sensations typically occur to specific parts of the leg.

How physical therapy helps
Physical therapy is one of the best treatments for Sciatica and radiating pain into the leg. It first takes a thorough evaluation to determine where your problem is starting. Our physical therapists take time to examine the movement of your spine, hips and legs. Range of motion, strength, joint mobility and muscle condition are assessed by our physical therapists. After we determine the root cause of your problem, we put together a comprehensive plan to quickly relieve your pain, relieve your radiating symptoms, improve your range of motion, improve strength and help you to prevent future episodes.

With gentle, specialized hands-on techniques we work to improve your spinal and hip mobility, reducing pressure on your sciatic nerve. In addition, modalities such as heat, ice, electrical stimulation and ultrasound may be used to reduce inflammation and resolve your pain quickly. We then perform gentle stretching and strengthening exercises to restore your normal motion and strength. This results in lasting effects that will stop your pain from returning. Call us today to find out how we can relieve your Sciatica and radiating leg pain, returning you to the activities you love.