Q&A w/ a Therapist: Do I need surgery if I have arthritis?

Question: My x-ray or MRI shows arthritis; do I need surgery?

Answer: In short, no. Arthritis, also known as osteoarthritis is defined as degenerative changes to the joint surface, or cartilage, leading to irritation of the underlying bone. This is a normal and typical part of aging.  In fact, a human being starts to develop arthritis in their spine in their early 20’s. So, we all may have this to some extent. Meanwhile, studies will show that there is low correlation between findings on diagnostic imaging and pain levels. In fact, up to 70% of people with findings on their x-ray or MRI do not have associated pain (Bhattacharyya et al., 2003; Boden et al., 1990). Therefore, a finding of arthritis just confirms that you are over the age of 20. If you have pain in an area and have diagnostic imaging performed (X-ray, MRI, CT scan) your doctor is using this information to the best of his or her ability to determine a probable cause of pain. However, just like anything else, x-rays and MRI’s have limitations, they are only one snapshot in time. Contributing factors that will not be shown on the image include nerve sensitivities, joint and muscle tension/tightness, abnormal posture, and abnormal movement patterns. That is where a thorough exam from your physical therapist can help (and keep you away from having to get surgery). A finding of arthritis alone does not indicate that this is the definite cause of your pain, and certainly does not necessarily mean that you have to live in pain or need surgery.

If you have questions or concerns, call and schedule a free screening with Choice Therapy today at 218.440.1548! Your life. Your health. Your Choice!

– Jake Kremer (PT, DPT, FIT, CSCS – Bemidji, MN Clinic)

Better Speech and Hearing Month: Finding Help for Communication Disorders

Did you know that according to the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA), 69% say parents of young children are not aware of the early warning signs of speech/language disorders?

So, what can you do? By addressing the symptoms of communication disorders early, treatment is often less expensive and takes less time (ASHA). The American Speech-Language-Hearing Association has provided some helpful tips in identifying speech/language disorders and what parents can do to help. If you have questions or concerns, schedule an appointment at Choice Therapy with one of our expert Speech-Language Pathologists at 218.440.1548!

Identify the Signs (Click the images to expand)

Choice Therapy – Speech Therapy Services:

  • Articulation and Phonological Disorders
  • Fluency disorders
  • Swallowing and feeding disorders
  • Oral motor skills
  • Language disorders
  • Cognitive deficits
  • Autism Spectrum Disorders
  • Auditory processing disorder
  • Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC)
  • Social Skills
  • Apraxia

Choice Therapy – Approach:

  • Choice Therapy offers Speech Therapy and vast knowledge of communication disorders for Pediatrics
  • Flexible scheduling/working longer hours to accommodate family’s busy schedules
  • Family education built into every session to allow your loved one to continue working on skills at home and making progress towards goals
  • Extensive knowledge with functional based goals and ability to effectively target those in therapy to increase their functional skills

Meet our Speech-Language Pathologists (Click on the name to learn more): 

Simple Techniques when Lifting to Help Prevent Back Pain

The following are a few simple lifting techniques to help prevent back pain:

  1. Test the load.
    • Check to make sure you can safely lift the load.
    • If it is too heavy ask for help or use a dolly
  2. Maintain the natural curve in your back.
    • Bend at the hips and knees.
    • By being conscious of this posture the forces are evenly distributed.
  3. Utilize a wide base of support.
    • Will allow for better balance
    • Will decrease the risk for slipping.
  4. Hold and carry objects as close to you as possible.
    • Will reduce stress on your back.
  5. Do not twist body when carrying.
    • Move or change directions with your feet instead of your trunk.
  6. Utilize those 6 Pack Abs!
    • Tighten stomach muscles when lifting.
    • Allows the abs to assist with lifting and helps reduce the strain that is put on the low back.
  7. Plan before you lift.
    • How are you going to lift the object safely?
    • What path will you take and is it clear before you lift and carry the object?
  8. Lift with your legs!
    • Use the larger muscle groups to do the work so it will reduce the amount of force put on the low back.
  9. Communicate with your lifting partners.
    • Communication and good timing will decrease the chances of unexpected movements.
  10. If you can’t lift, Push instead of Pulling a load.
    • This allows you to use the large muscle groups to move the load as well as the weight of your body.
  11. Decrease repetitive lifting is possible.
    • Place items you use frequently at a height easy to reach.