By Amy Bates, PTA
If you are experiencing pain and/or a pinching feeling in the top of your shoulder, you may have shoulder impingement. It is a common diagnosis, but can lead to more serious problems if left untreated, such as a rotator cuff tear or further inflammation, pain, and inability to properly raise your arm away from your body. Patients who have been diagnosed with an impingement usually experience a general stiffness, poor ability to maneuver the arm away from the body, and pain in and around the shoulder joint.
The shoulder joint is made up of three bones, which consist of the humerus, the scapula (shoulder blade), and the clavicle (collar bone). The outer, top edge of the scapula is called the acromion. Sometimes, the connective tissue that sits under the acromion can become irritated, inflamed, or even torn. This can result in a shoulder impingement diagnosis.
There are several factors that can lead to this tissue becoming inflamed. Poor postural awareness (rounded shoulders and forward head), repetitive reaching/lifting movements, aging, and shoulder injuries are all common factors that can lead to shoulder impingement.
Physical Therapy can be a tremendous help in restoring range of motion and strengthening the muscles in the back of the shoulder in order to provide improved strength and stability, thus reducing the stress on the connective tissue. PT for shoulder impingement usually consists of safe exercises and manual interventions that can assist in decreasing pain and improving overall movement patterns. Your doctor may also provide anti-inflammatories or recommend a steroid injection.
If you are having shoulder pain with no known mechanism of injury, our team of skilled, compassionate, and knowledgeable physicians, along with our physical therapy staff, would love to be of assistance in helping to decrease your pain and restore your prior level of function. We are one big team, and are ready to get you back to living your best life!
Below are some simple exercises and stretches that can help if you are experiencing this type of pain.
Doorway pec stretch
Stand in a doorway with the affected arm on the door frame in a 90-90 position. Step forward with one foot and shift your weight to the front foot, keeping the shoulders square to the front and without rotating the body. Hold 20 seconds for 5 reps.
Image from www.hep2go.com
Try and squeeze your shoulder blades together, as if pinching a dollar bill between them. Do not let your shoulders lift up towards your ears when you squeeze. Repeat 10-15 times.
Scapular retraction with shoulder ER
Start with squeezing your shoulder blades as in the previous exercise. Keep your elbows in at your sides. After you squeeze the shoulder blades, rotate your arms out as far as is comfortable, keeping the shoulder blades squeezed together. Bring your arms back in and relax the shoulder blades. Repeat 10-15 times.
Lay on your stomach with arms out to the side. Lift the arms up towards the ceiling and squeeze the shoulder blades together. Do not allow the shoulder to hike up towards your ears.
Please join us in congratulating Dr. Peterson on a remarkable career in orthopedic surgery. We are extremely grateful for the contributions he has made to our practice and to the musculoskeletal wellbeing of people in Northeastern Oklahoma.
Dr. Peterson is originally from Minnesota, where he earned his MD at the University of Minnesota. He first came to Tulsa for his undergraduate degree at Oral Roberts University.
He completed an internship in general surgery and a residency in orthopedic surgery through the State University of New York at Stony Brook. Over the years, Dr. Peterson has received several awards, including the Commendation for Humanitarian Services to the Veteran, through the VA Medical Center in Northport, New York, in 1982.
Dr. Peterson’s practice has focused on general orthopedics, giving him an opportunity to build long-lasting relationships with families in Northeastern Oklahoma. Prior to joining Tulsa Bone & Joint in 2010, he was in private practice at Broken Arrow Bone and Joint Specialists with Dr. Marcy Clements. He previously served as partner at Broken Arrow Orthopedics, Green Country Orthopedics and Bone and Joint Surgery Associates, S.C. in Madison, Wisc.
Join us in wishing Dr. Peterson a very blessed and well-deserved retirement.
By Kayla Cheney, PTA, Tulsa Bone & Joint Owasso
The human body has an innate mechanism to promote physical and mental health that is often better than certain pharmaceuticals. Laughing has been proven to help individuals of all ages overcome difficult life situations both physically and emotionally. Thousands of studies have been done all over the world on this very topic. One study from Norway followed over 53,000 participants for 15 years and found those with a better sense of humor that laughed more readily outlived their counterparts by an average of 8 years.
So what does laughter actually do for our bodies? The Mayo Clinic and the University of St. Augustine for Health Sciences have compiled a list of physical and mental health benefits of laughing:
● Laughing is a natural painkiller. When you laugh, your body releases endorphins, the happiness hormone, which decreases the perception of pain.
● Laughing increases the intake of oxygen-rich air which stimulates heart, lungs, and other organs. This increase of oxygen in the blood improves vascular function and decreases the risk of heart attacks.
● Laughter stimulates circulation and aids in muscle relaxation, which can be especially beneficial for a postoperative patient.
● Laughing can lower blood pressure by releasing endorphins that negatively affect stress hormones.
● Laughing boosts the immune system by combating the chemical reactions created by negative thoughts and emotions. When you laugh, you release infection-fighting antibodies and neuropeptides that help fight stress.
● Laughing assists in weight loss. Chronic stress causes weight gain. Laughing for 10-15 minutes a day can burn 40 calories.
With so much evidence supporting better heart health, improved immune system, and the release of stress fighting endorphins, we would all benefit from more laughter. Did I mention the weight loss thing? Laughter has no negative side effects and is readily available. Perhaps we should take laughter more seriously in living a longer, healthier life.
Although physical therapy is no laughing matter, at Tulsa Bone & Joint Physical Therapy, we strive to make your experience positive, encouraging, and enjoyable.
By Sara Murray, DPT
October is Physical Therapy month!
Here at Tulsa Bone & Joint, we currently have 24 PTs and 11 PTAs across 5 different locations, all working hard to provide excellent patient care and get people back to living their lives to the fullest. They have a wide range of experience and backgrounds, ranging from 25+ years to new graduates. Our therapists use a variety of adjunctive techniques, including ASTYM, dry needling, and manual therapy.
Below are some FAQs about physical therapy to help you have a better understanding of the profession.
What is physical therapy, and what does a physical therapist do? PTs are movement specialists. We are trained to assess your movement, strength, and functional ability. We provide evidence based care through exercises, hands-on techniques, and patient education. We evaluate patients and create a plan of care based on the person’s impairments and functional limitations. We strive to restore movement, strengthen weak muscles, improve mobility, and manage pain.
How long do you have to go to school to become a physical therapist? PT school is currently 3 years, and you receive a Doctorate in Physical Therapy, DPT, upon completion. In order to apply for PT school, you are required to have a Bachelor’s degree, take the GRE, complete observation hours, and complete all prerequisite courses. After graduating from an accredited university, you must pass a state licensure exam in order to receive a PT license to practice in your state of choice.
What is the difference between a PT and a PTA? A PT is a physical therapist, and a PTA is a physical therapist assistant. A PT will evaluate you, but both PTs and PTAs are capable of carrying out the plan of care in subsequent visits. PTAs complete 2 years of schooling and are skilled in choosing appropriate exercises and manual techniques that are best for you as the patient, all under the supervision of your PT.
What type of settings can I work in as a physical therapist? There are multiple settings and specialties available to you after graduation. The most common PT settings are outpatient, acute/hospital, inpatient, and home health.
Do I need to see a doctor before starting physical therapy? No! Oklahoma has a limited form of direct access, which means you can be seen by a physical therapist without a referral. However, this is limited to 30 days, and after that time, you will need a referral from a doctor in order to continue with physical therapy.
What should I expect during a physical therapy session? Your first session is typically an evaluation, where the physical therapist will ask you questions, take objective measurements, and assess for impairments. Your physical therapist will also give you a home exercise program with exercises and stretches to get you started on your road to recovery. They may also use manual techniques including joint mobilization and therapeutic massage to address your pain. Subsequent visits will include treatments and techniques based on your specific impairments and what you and your physical therapist discuss during the evaluation.
Tulsa Bone & Joint Associates is pleased to welcome Major Christopher Wild, MD. Dr. Wild is a general orthopedic surgeon who will be seeing patients at our main campus in Tulsa. His interests include knee, hip and shoulder replacements, arthroscopy of the shoulder and knee, and fracture care. Dr. Wild has privileges at Ascension St. John Medical Center and Ascension St. John Broken Arrow.
Dr. Wild is a native of Tulsa, graduating from Union High School in 2005. After completing his undergraduate degree at Oklahoma State and medical training at the University of Oklahoma, Dr. Wild spent five years in Orthopaedic Surgery Residency at Wright State University in Dayton, Ohio. During this time, he trained with surgeons at Miami Valley Hospital, the Dayton VA Medical Center and Dayton Children’s Hospital.
Dr. Wild then entered active duty service with the Air Force as a Captain. He was soon promoted to Major and spent most of his time taking care of soldiers, retirees and their dependents as the Orthopaedic Surgery Element Leader at Wright-Patterson Medical Center in Dayton, Ohio. During his service, Dr. Wild was deployed to Afghanistan for six months, where he served as Chief of Orthopaedics at Craig Joint Theatre Hospital at Bagram Airfield during June to November 2020.
Tulsa Bone & Joint is pleased to welcome Dr. Wild back to Tulsa. We are thrilled he has chosen to join our growing practice of musculoskeletal physicians.