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Shoulder Pain Specialist in Surprise

If you have been suffering from shoulder pain, you might be trying to ignore the pain, or you could be trying to deal with it by taking over-the-counter pain medication. However, you should never ignore shoulder pain. Instead, you should see a shoulder specialist in Surprise, such as one of the professionals at Vital Care Rehabilitation physical therapy. These are some of the reasons why.

Taking OTC Pain Medicine is Not a Good Long-Term Strategy

Even though it might provide you with some relief now, it’s not a good idea to take over-the-counter pain medication in the long term. It’s not good for your liver, for example. Plus, you can gain a high tolerance to it and may find that you need to take more and more or that your pain just isn’t going away like it used to, particularly over time. By seeing a shoulder specialist in Flatbush, you can get to the root of the problem instead of constantly taking more and more medication.

Avoid Injuring Yourself Worse

Depending on what is wrong with your shoulder, you could actually injure yourself worse by continuing to use your shoulder without seeking treatment. A shoulder pain specialist in Surprise can help you determine what is wrong with your shoulder and can provide physical therapy and other options to make the situation better rather than worse.

Clinical Research Supports Seeing a Physical Therapist First

Consider this clinical research published by Daniel Rohn, PT.  His study concluded:

One group received physical therapy twice a week for three weeks. The therapists evaluated weakness, mobility and pain and performed stretches, contract-relax techniques and reinforcing exercises on the shoulder or upper spine area. They also prescribed at-home exercises for the patients.

Patients in the other group were offered up to three injections of corticosteroids over the course of a year. They also received printed instructions for gentle exercises to do at home.

Both groups had significant improvement in symptoms after one month, which continued over the one-year period of the study, the research team reported in the Annals of Internal Medicine. Patients’ scores on pain and disability were reduced by half with either treatment.

By the end of the year, 60 percent of the steroid injection group had returned to their primary care doctor for shoulder pain again, compared to 37 percent of the physical therapy group. The injection group was also more likely to end up having more injections or additional physical therapy.


There is no need to continue ignoring your shoulder pain. If you contact us at Vital Care Rehabilitation today, we can help you do something about this chronic pain that you’re dealing with so that you can avoid these problems and start feeling like yourself again.

Osteoarthritis Pain Relief in Surprise AZ

Knee Arthritis – A Very Common Problem

Knee pain is one of the more common musculoskeletal complaints among adults. So if you are looking for osteoarthritis pain relief in Surprise AZ, read more about why seeing one of our clinical experts is a great first choice.

Because the knee is critical to so many movements of the body, this type of pain can be debilitating. In many cases, the source of this pain is the result of torn or degenerative cartilage in the knee.

Knee Anatomy & Osteoarthritis

The knee contains two types of cartilage, articular cartilage and meniscus cartilage. The meniscus cartilage in the knee includes two parts, a medial (inside) meniscus and a lateral (outside) meniscus. Together they are referred to as menisci. In addition to providing lubrication and joint stability, these menisci act as tiny shock absorbers in the knee and provide a critical cushion between the thighbone and the shinbone.

These menisci are particularly prone to tearing, although sometimes they just wear out as a result of degeneration with age. In fact, a torn meniscus is often seen in the nine million Americans with knee osteoarthritis.

Typical symptoms of a torn meniscus may include:

• Stiffness and swelling in and around the knee

• Pain and tenderness along the joint line or general knee pain

• Catching or locking of the knee

Meniscal tears with concomitant osteoarthritis (OA) of the knee are a common source of pain and disability. Until fairly recently, the best course of action for treating these types of meniscal tears has been unclear in the past. However, results from a Meniscal Tear in Osteoarthritis Research (MeTeOR) trial published in the England Journal of Medicine (NEJM) indicate that physical therapy has proven to be as effective as surgery.

At six and twelve month intervals, patients who had standardized physical therapy alone showed similar improvement in pain and functional status of the knee as those who had undergone arthroscopic surgery to repair their torn meniscus.

As the NEJM report points out, not all symptomatic meniscal tears need to be repaired surgically. As a result, knee pain specialists in Surprise have been able to help their patients avoid the often unnecessary risks and expenses of surgery.

Drug-Free Approaches Recommended First for Chronic Pain

Many of our knee arthritis patients have suffered with knee pain for months, even years.  Because of the addictive side effects of prescription pain pills, the Centers for Disease Control are now recommending physical therapy first in this recent publication:

Its first recommendation: “Nonpharmacologic therapy and nonopioid pharmacologic therapy are preferred for chronic pain.”

“Based on contextual evidence, many nonpharmacologic therapies, including physical therapy, weight loss for knee osteoarthritis, complementary and alternative therapies (e.g., manipulation, massage, and acupuncture), psychological therapies such as CBT, and certain interventional procedures can ameliorate chronic pain,” the draft states. “In particular, there is high-quality evidence that exercise therapy (a prominent modality in physical therapy) for hip … or knee … osteoarthritis reduces pain and improves function immediately after treatment and that the improvements are sustained for at least 2–6 months.”



Physical Therapy is the Clear First Choice

To learn more about eliminating your pain and improving the functional status of your knee, please contact us today, and our team will work with you to devise a program to help you control your knee pain and get back to your active lifestyle.

Knee Replacement Rehab in Surprise

Vital Care Rehabilitation specializes in joint replacement rehabilitation

We see patients on a regular basis that have arthritis-related knee pain.  Sometimes physical therapy isn’t enough and patients need surgery. For osteoarthritis of the knee, a total knee replacement (TKR) is the most common procedure.  It’s no simple surgery either but the pain relief can be significant.  In fact, most of the total knee arthroplasty (another name for replacement) patients we see are very satisfied once the recover from the post-surgical pain.  However, the recovery process doesn’t end when the pain resolves.  After replacement surgery, you need a good physical therapist that provides knee replacement rehab in Surprise.

Complete Rehabilitation for Total Knee Replacements

While pain relief is the primary reason patients have a TKR, the rehabilitation process involves much more.  Our physical therapists help you recover your range of motion, strength, help you walk again without an assistive device (front wheel walker), and help you recover your function.  The good news is that there is good scientific research to support seeing a physical therapist after surgery (there’s evidence that seeing a PT before surgery is also beneficial).

The Process Starts with Range of Motion

It’s important to recover your range of motion, or your ability to bend and straighten your knee.  You make not realize it but you bend your knee quite a bit when you sit, walk, or bend down to pick up something.  For these reasons, range of motion is one of the first things our clinicians work on with you.  Exercises that you perform at home and in our clinic, in combination with hands-on techniques will help you recover your range of motion.

Strength Training is Critical

Your quadriceps muscles help straight and control your knee joint.  With the chronic pain of osteoarthritis, these muscles become inhibited and slowly lose their strength.  Working on not only your quadriceps muscles along with your hamstrings, hip muscles, and calf muscles are an important part of the rehabilitation process.  In fact, while most patients experience a significant decrease in knee pain after knee replacement, weakness is a very common complaint.  Strengthening is a critical element of the rehabilitation process.

Functional Exercise Should Be Part of Your Program

Functional exercises are those that support the recovery of daily activities like getting out of a chair, ascending/descending stairs, walking on uneven surfaces, getting in and out of a car, etc.  These are the kinds of exercises that we may educate our patients to perform.  Why?  There’s good evidence to suggest that functional exercise should be part of your rehab program.  Consider this research report:

Six trials were identified, five of which were suitable for inclusion in meta-analyses. There was a small to moderate standardized effect size (0.33, 95% confidence interval 0.07 to 0.58) in favor of functional exercise for function three to four months postoperatively. There were also small to moderate weighted mean differences of 2.9 (0.61 to 5.2) for range of joint motion and 1.66 (−1 to 4.3) for quality of life in favor of functional exercise three to four months postoperatively. Benefits of treatment were no longer evident at one year.

Interventions including physiotherapy functional exercises after discharge result in short term benefit after elective primary total knee arthroplasty. Effect sizes are small to moderate, with no long term benefit.


In conclusion, knee pain relief starts with a good surgeon and knee replacement.  However, complete recovery should involve a comprehensive physical therapy program…and that’s what we do very well.

If you are looking for trusted knee replacement rehab in Surprise, give us a call.  We can help.

Call us today at (623) 544-0300

Neck Specialist in Surprise – Neck Motion

Our neck specialist in Surprise, had some comments regarding a recent study in Spine as it pertains to the motion of your neck and pain.

Did you know that neck motion decreases with age but it is usually painless?

Neck pain is a common condition that affects the upper (cervical) spine, and most cases is considered nonspecific, meaning there is no specific cause that can be identified.  Up to 43% of patients with nonspecific neck pain visit their doctor for advice, and about 61% of them are referred to a physical therapist for treatment.  During the examination, physical therapists usually measure the range of motion (ROM) of the neck—how far it can move in various directions—since a goal of treatment is to improve the mobility of the cervical spine.  Unfortunately, there is little information about the normal values for cervical ROM (CROM), which makes it difficult to interpret results.  Therefore, a study was conducted to establish normal CROM values and to examine the effects of age and sex on these values.

100 participants in four decades were measured

A total of 400 people without any neck complaints participated in the study, with 100 people (50 males, 50 females) for each decade of age from 20-59.  A CROM device was used for all measurements because it’s easy to use and very reliable, and works by being placed on the head like spectacles.  Volunteers were given clear instructions on their posture and what movements to make, and made a variety of movements three times in each direction before being measured.

Using normal values can help determine if patients lack mobility

Results showed that neck motion decreases significantly in all directions in the decade of 50-59 years when compared to people younger than 40.  Unsurprisingly, the largest difference for all directions was found between 20-29 and 50-59 years, as there was a significant decrease in neck motion from ages that seemed to begin between 40-49 and continued into the 50s.  Aside from these age differences—which may be due to issues like osteoarthritis—no notable differences were found between males and females.  This study now provides normal CROM values for people aged 20-59 without neck pain, and can be consulted by medical professionals during assessments.  A future study that performs the same analysis on patients with neck complaints will be an even greater help by being able to compare values of healthy people to those with neck pain.

Here’s a quick abstract of the reference:

Four hundred asymptomatic persons were included, 100 for each decade of age from 20 years to 60 years and in each subgroup 50 males and 50 females. ACROM was measured with the cervical range of motion (CROM) device. Analysis of variance and the Scheffé post hoc test was used to investigate the differences of ACROM between the decades of age. Linear regression analysis was performed to examine the influence of age and sex on ACROM.

The results of this study show that the ACROM decreases significantly in persons older than 50 years for all directions except extension and side flexion compared with that in the subgroup aged 40 to 50. Age had an overall significant effect on the ACROM for all directions. Sex proved to have no significant effect on the ACROM.

Normal values were established for ACROM in a group of 400 persons without neck complaints. It was demonstrated that age has a significant influence on the ACROM, but sex has no influence.

You don’t need to suffer with spine pain – conservative care is available

The physical therapists at Vital Care Rehab are experts at neck pain treatment.  If you have pain and are looking for a neck pain specialist in Surprise, physical therapy is a great first choice. It is easy to get in to see our specialists, it’s affordable, covered by most insurance plans, is drug-free, and has little to no side effects.  Give us a call today to learn more.

Looking For Sciatica Treatment in Surprise?

If you are looking for sciatica treatment in Surprise, Vital Care Rehab can help.

How to obtain Sciatica pain relief  often mystifies new sufferers.

Patients need help understanding that Sciatica is really “irritation of the Sciatic nerve,” and that this nerve “comes from either side of the lower spine and travels through the pelvis and buttocks, passes along the back of each thigh…(then) divides into branches at the knee, that go to the feet.”

Sciatica pain can flare up due to a rear-end-auto collision, from a blow to the lower back or hip, after a fall, from a sudden twisting of the spine, or from a herniated (ruptured) disc. Each sufferer can have a different pain experience when there is undue pressure on the Sciatic nerve. One person may get shooting pain “down the back of one buttock or thigh.” Another may have “mild aches.” Yet others literally jump from “sharp, burning sensations.” And, Sciatica is known to cause “numbness and tingling” in the affected areas.

Therapeutic Exercise Should Be Your First Choice

Advising exercise to patients with osteoarthritis or sciatica may be a highly recommended approach to treatment, but it’s an approach that may not be widely used by physicians, according to a recent factorial experiment (abstract). Researchers found that out of 192 primary care physicians studied, fewer than a third said that they would advise physical activity as part of a course of treatment for patients presenting symptoms of either condition. The results of the study were published online in early October in Arthritis Care & Research.

In the experiment, the physicians watched 2 videos of (actor) patients who presented with pain from undiagnosed sciatica or knee osteoarthritis that had been diagnosed. Afterwards, the physicians were interviewed to find out what recommendations they would make.

Results showed that 30.2% of physicians would give exercise advice to the osteoarthritis patient, and 32.8% would provide this advice to the patient presenting with sciatica.

As You Can See, Exercise, Isn’t Prescribed as Often as It Should Be

A physical therapist can guide those with discomfort through the following–or similar–exercises for Sciatica pain relief:

EXERCISES FOR THE LOWER BACK–Appropriate “spine alignment”–along with increasing “flexibility”–can  decrease tension/compression on the Sciatic nerve. The therapists at Vital Care Rehab, will come up with a custom treatment plan based on your specific condition and limitations.

STRETCHING FOR THE PIRIFORMIS MUSCLE–This muscle–located “on top of the Sciatic nerve and within the buttocks”–can become so “tight” it irritates the nerve. Relaxing the Piriformis muscle with specific stretching and hands-on techniques, provided by our physical therapists, can help ease Sciatica pain resulting from Piriformis muscle issues.

STRETCHING THE HAMSTRING MUSCLES–These large muscles–which “run along the back of the thighs.”  Given that the Sciatic nerve closely approximates the hamstrings, it’s common for Sciatica pain to increase the tone (or tightness) of the hamstrings.  Specialized stretching techniques can help ease the tightness of these muscles and decrease Sciatic nerve related pain.

Conservative Care Starts with Vital Care Rehab

Contact us to learn more about Sciatica, and about other exercises and treatments to decrease your pain and promote healing.


Physical Rehabilitation Specialist In Surprise

Be The Best You Can Be With
A Physical Rehabilitation Specialist In Surprise

When you need a physical rehabilitation specialist in Surprise, the area offers several choices. Certainly, your schedule and recommendations will help you narrow those choices, but selecting a specialist who will best help you should be the force that drives your decision.

Physical therapy services are sometimes focused just on the injured area. We take a broader approach to help treat the whole person and improve the way you move. Taking the whole body into account tends to give a patient greater overall mobility, and faster results, than focusing just on a single part of the body (even if that’s where the pain is centered).

We focus on your overall physical health while treating an injury. This leads to more long-lasting improvement. Translation: you’re less likely to have continuing bouts of pain after professional physical therapy.

Fitness Magazine has this to say about how physical therapy can help:

Many clinics offer preventive evaluations to determine muscle weaknesses or other imbalances that could lead to injury. If a problem is identified, the therapist will provide exercises to keep an issue like tight hamstrings from turning into something more serious, such as a hamstring tear. “Most injuries are the result of long-standing weaknesses,” says Kim Wallace, vice president of clinical operations for Excel Physical Therapy and Fitness in Philadelphia. “Correcting those problems now can save you a lot of stress and money later.” Indeed, in one study, PT reduced ACL injuries by 41 percent.

If you can’t touch your toes or complete a deep squat without pain, you should definitely consider making an appointment, says Kyle Kiesel, PhD, associate professor of physical therapy at the University of Indiana at Evansville. These are often signs of an underlying problem, such as tight hamstrings or underdeveloped glutes.

Even when the source of pain is limited to one area of the body, physical therapists and rehabilitation specialists are trained to help your whole body move better. This helps prevent the surrounding muscles and joints from getting injured and causing more pain. Obviously each part of the body is connected to another part. Oftentimes, pain will develop in one part of the body (headaches) that is caused or made worse by pain in another part (the jaw, for example).

Our therapists have many hours of specialized training and experience in treating pain and disorders related to the:

  • Head and neck
  • Shoulder and elbow
  • Ankle and foot
  • Hand and wrist
  • Back and hip

Our physical therapists will work with you to help take care of your pain or injury. We also supply specific home exercises that you can do to continue the healing and strengthening process. Exercises designed for you will make a huge difference in your overall health and help to shorten the time of recovery.

If you’re looking for a physical rehabilitation specialist in Surprise or the surrounding area, please contact us today at (623) 544-0300. We’re here to help keep you moving!

Looking For A Hip Specialist in Surprise?

Vital Care Rehab is Your Conservative Hip Specialist in Surprise

Other than a surgeon, is there a hip specialist in Surprise that understands how to treat one of the most common causes of hip pain, Trochanteric Pain Syndrome, or Greater Trochanteric Bursitis? If you have recently made a big change in your activity level you may be susceptible to this type of bursitis. It is usually felt as pain on the outside of your hip. This can give you pain when you lay on that hip, walk, or squat.

CyberPT lists some of the more common causes of this condition:

There are many factors which could contribute to trochanteric bursitis. The most common are overuse, acute injury, chronic microtrauma or regional muscle dysfunction. Overuse injuries could result from overtraining or participation in various activities such as running, skating, cycling, climbing, etc., while an acute injury could result from direct trauma to the region of the lateral hip or hip surgery. Chronic microtrauma results from small levels of strain to the lateral hip region as a result of repetitive motions, abnormal gait, altered biomechanics or abnormal posture. Regional muscle dysfunction involving tight or weak muscles could contribute to the development of trochanteric bursitis as well.
Reference –

Our clinical specialists know that Greater Trochanteric Bursitis is an irritation of the bursa, a fluid-filled sac. The bursa is next to the Greater Trochanter. This is the bone you feel on the side of your hip. The bursa works to help limit rubbing between the outside of the hip bone and nearby muscles. Bursitis is made worse by:

  • Muscle weakness
  • Tightness
  • Overuse
  • Poor form with activity

Our physical therapist will take time to completely examine your painful hip, lower back, knee, and foot and will ask questions about your daily activities (and exercise level) to help figure out what could be the cause. Your physical therapist will also check the strength and mobility of your hip by watching you walk and perform a variety of tests. In this way, your therapist can assess without the need for X-rays.

We will help you develop a treatment plan that will include:

  • Exercises to strengthen specific muscles
  • Stretches to improve flexibility
  • Hands on manual therapy to decrease pain and help you move
  • Ways you can help control the pain on your own

If you’re suffering with hip pain, call Vital Care Rehab today at (623)544-0300. We have the hip specialist in Surprise that you’re looking for. You don’t have to live with it, we can help.