In a time when dependency on pain medications is regularly in the headlines, healthcare providers are left searching for alternatives for pain relief. Prowers Medical Center continually assists in educational opportunities for the physical therapy team to learn new methods to relieve pain and improve mobility. Recently, members of the therapy team received training in three unique techniques: TMR Manipulation, CoreFirst Strategies, and Instrument Assisted Soft Tissue Mobilization. Each are used for different reasons, but they all help relieve pain.
As a doctor of physical therapy, Darren M. Robbins, PT, DPT, is trained to work with muscles, bones and joints. That means when a bone or joint is not moving correctly, he can manipulate it, restoring normal function. Robbins believes it’s vital that both the joints and muscles work together for optimal physical performance. Recently, Robbins attended a workshop on Total Motion Release Manipulation and learned some advanced manipulation techniques that he feels will benefit his patients.
“As a PT, we’re more known for working with soft tissues like muscles and tendons, but we’re trained to manipulate bones and joints as well. For your body to work appropriately, bones have to roll, move or glide. When a problem is in the bone or joint itself, that’s when TMR works well,” Robbins said.
The technique is often used to adjust the spine, but it can be used for anyone who is experiencing decreased mobility or pain. Robbins finds it especially useful for helping to relieve headaches and lower back pain. He also uses it to relieve stiffness in joints.
“It’s another tool we can use as physical therapists. The more skills we have, the more we can help patients feel better,” Robbins said.
If you exercise, you’ve likely heard the core is the foundation of your body. If your core (including abdomen, lumbar spine, obliques and lower lats) is not stable or strong, you won’t be able to move optimally.
“All of your movement originates from your core. If you take that mechanism and stabilize it, then everything off of it should be stable and strong,” said Jared Smith, PTA with Prowers Medical Center.
Smith recently received certification in CoreFirst Strategies, a proven approach researched and designed by The Institute of Physical Art in strengthening core stabilization, thereby, improving functional mobility and enhancing posture.
“Exercises need to improve function. CoreFirst is an easy way for us to collect data and see if our techniques are working,” Smith said.
The strategy also emphasizes how people sleep by using pillows or towels to support a neutral position of the body and spine. CoreFirst teaches how to properly provide the support needed. For example, placing a pillow under your knees if you are a back sleeper can help with low back pain.
“How you sleep can make a huge difference in how you feel during the day. Positioning is everything. We implement biomechanics in how we exercise, and in how we work with ergonomics, why not in how we sleep?” Smith asked
Instrument Assisted Soft Tissue Mobilization
Tasha Spencer, PTA, BA, recently became certified in Instrument Assisted Soft Tissue Mobilization, a technique used to improve neuromuscular performance, often used after injury. Simply put, practitioners place small tools on affected muscles to stimulate a response. They then stroke the muscle to increase circulation and improve healing.
“Afterwards, patients say they can move a joint better, or tolerate more pressure on an injured part,” Spencer said. Pre and post testing are performed to support the patient’s report.
It’s used in conjunction with other techniques, like exercises and taping, so it’s not a stand-alone treatment. Patients and therapists are finding it helps improve pain tolerance and mobility. It’s just one more treatment option, among many, offered by physical therapy staff at Prowers Medical Center.
“Hospital leaders support us in receiving ongoing training in the latest and greatest tools and techniques in physical therapy. It’s exciting to use new techniques and to see benefits for our patients. It reenergizes us to do what we do, and to do it well,” Spencer said.
Prowers Medical Center Rehab has recently partnered with The Institute of Physical Art to host high quality continuing educational opportunities in our new rehab facility. To learn more about physical therapy and rehab services at Prowers Medical Center, visit prowersmedical.com or call (719) 336-6728.