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Will Physical Therapy Solve That Problem?

Loduoun Sports Therapy Center, Sterling VA

By Abbey Fecher, DPT

How do you know if you are a good candidate for physical therapy? Physical therapy is not just a treatment option for people who are preparing for, or recovering from, a surgery. Physical therapists are movement specialists who are trained to help you improve your body’s movement mechanics. Using targeted strengthening exercises and stretching, physical therapy can help resolve nagging pain you may feel before it becomes a bigger problem as well as help prevent injuries altogether by addressing deficits.

Try these quick and reliable tests to see of you are at risk for strain, sprain, or injury in your UPPER BODY:

Ask yourself or someone you know the following questions:

  1. Do you find it difficult to check your blind spot when driving?
  2. Do you experience frequent headaches that seem to radiate up from the base of your skull?

Cervical Flexion/Rotation/Extension/Side Bend Test:

  • Sit or stand with good posture.
  • Look down towards the ground as far as you can.
  • Look up towards the ceiling as far as you can.
  • Tilt your ear towards your left shoulder and then towards your right shoulder.
  • Turn your head and look over your shoulder as far as your can without turning your trunk. Repeat on the other side.

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What to look for:

Do your experience pain in your neck or upper back?

Do you have limited motion in one side versus the other?

Does your neck feel ‘stuck’ when you move it?

Do you experience radiating symptoms down your back or arms when you move?

Ask yourself or someone you know the following questions:

  1. Do you have shoulder pain when you reach above your head?
  2. Are you finding it difficult to reach behind your back?

Shoulder Behind the Back Test:

  • Stand with your feet hip width apart
  • Using your right arm, reach behind your neck and try to touch your upper back.
  • At the same time, using your left arm, put your hand behind your back and reach up as far as you can. Note the distance between your finger tips. Reverse your hands and repeat.

physical therapy

What to look for:

What is the difference between your fingertips?

Do you feel pain in one or both shoulders?

Are you unable to move your arms into these positions?

Try these quick and reliable tests to see of you are at risk for strain, sprain, or injury in your LOWER BODY:

Ask yourself or someone you know the following questions:

  1. Do you e pain when you bend over to put your shoes or socks on?
  2. Do you wake up in the morning with lower back pain?

Forward/Backward Reach Test for the Lower Back:

  • Stand with your feet hip width apart keeping your knees straight.
  • Run your hands down the front of your legs while keeping your knees straight. Note how far you can reach forward and how your feel.
  • Run your hands down the back of your legs while keeping your knees straight. Note how far you can reach backwards and how your feel.

physical therapy

physical therapy

What to look for:

Do you experience pain in your back or in the back of you legs?

Do you feel ‘stuck’ or limited with this motion?

Are you unable to perform these motions without bending your knees?

Ask yourself or someone you know the following questions:

  1. Do you experience pain when going up or down stairs?
  2. Do you have trouble getting down on or up off the floor?
  3. Is squatting difficult or painful?

Step Down Test for the Knee/Hip:

  • Stand on a step or step stool.
  • Slowly lower down off the step as if your were going downstairs.
  • Perform this motion as slowly as you can and repeat on the other leg.

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What to look for:

Do you experience any pain in your hip, knee or ankle?

Does your knee cave inwards or go past your toe?

Do you have trouble performing this movement in a slow and controlled manner?

If you are having pain or difficulty while performing any of these exercises, call 703-450-4300 today to schedule an   evaluation with one of our therapists. They will determine the cause of your pain and develop a personalized plan of care to help you reach your goals and get you back to doing the things you love.