Knee Pain

Do you suffer from knee pain during an activity? Have you tried every brace, cream, footwear, and gimmick out there? Are you ready to get better by strategically attacking the cause instead of looking for a quick fix? See our Doctors of Physical therapy, let us perform a detailed assessment to identify your problem, and implement a treatment plan geared towards helping you get where you want to be.

Knee pain is common among all age groups and genders. The pain can be caused by a variety of biomechanical factors that are causing your dysfunction. In fact, knee pain tends to be a multifactorial problem commonly associated with strength deficits throughout the posterior chain (muscles in the back of your leg). These deficits can create an improper angle at the hip in relation to the knee or simply create muscle imbalances with increased shear forces on specific structures of the knee. Our bodies were made to move, and it will find ways to move even if the proper muscles are not being utilized, which creates compensatory movement strategies. If this occurs over a long period of time or through a repeated functional task such as walking, running, or climbing stairs, then these maladaptive movements are magnified, and you can end up with pain.

Another plausible cause to knee pain is the type of footwear and the support it offers in relation to your native anatomy, more specifically, the arch of the foot and position of the heel to the lower leg. Footwear can be a two-sided coin depending on whether the shoe offers too much or too little support. The position of the foot during weight acceptance, mid stance, and push-off are similar to how the angle of the hip affects the knee. It does so by the way the forces are transferred up the chain through the knee.

The big picture here is that many different factors can cause knee pain. Sure, you can have arthritis and tendonitis, but what is the cause of this? How do you know where to start? That’s where the experts at First Choice Physical Therapy come in. Let us analyze your problem so that we can help you get better.

Call today, and let’s get your problem solved! 850-248-1600 – Dr. John Gray PT, DPT

Ice or Heat?

It’s Saturday afternoon and after working in the yard your lower back is sore and tight, what do you do? Do you lie on a heating pad or do you brave the cold and lie on an ice pack? We get asked on a daily basis, “Which is better? Ice or heat?” That is a loaded question. In my opinion, you can never go wrong with ice. Applying ice to the affected tissue will vasoconstrict the blood vessels which will decrease inflammation, numb sore tissues, acting as a local anesthetic, and slows down the pain messages being transmitted to the brain. Ice is also best utilized during the acute phase (0-48 hours after injury) while heat may be best used for chronic pain.

A good rule of thumb to go by is that you can never go wrong with ice. So after any physical activity, applying an ice pack to the affected area will be your best bet for avoiding increasing pain. If your pain persists or even gets worse, then you may want to come see us and let one of our Doctors of Physical Therapy perform an extensive examination of the injury.

Brannon Chester, DPT
Doctor of Physical Therapy

Does your neck pain prevent you from…

Traveling, give you headaches, interrupt your daily activities, or interfere with sleeping through the night? Your pain can be brought on by a few different sources but can often be alleviated by addressing one key factor. That key factor is posture, and it can alter the length of muscles and create changes in spinal curvature, affecting the biomechanics of the cervical spine. The classic case of postural deficits creates what is referred to as “upper cross syndrome.” The diagram used to depict this syndrome is an X drawn over the head, neck, and shoulders of an individual as you examine them from the side. Each axis indicates the muscles that are weak or lengthened and those that are tight or shortened. Commonly the muscles lengthened are the deep neck flexors underneath the chin and the scapular (shoulder blade) adductors or rhomboids and middle trapezius. In contrast, those that become tight are the pectorals (chest muscles) and the suboccipital group (small muscles at the base of your skull). These changes create that classic forward head and rounded shoulder appearance we see all too often. If you stretch the muscles that are tight and strengthening, those that are weak, you can alleviate your symptoms. However, repetitive activities or sustained postures likely create these postural abnormalities in the first place. Among the top of the list of activities to avoid is sitting at a desk for a long duration. Self-treatment strategies would include a doorway stretch targeting the pectorals and performing resisted rowing exercises targeting the scapula adductor group. In addition to focusing on those major muscle groups, chin tucks or head lifts would be ideal for helping address the deep intrinsic neck flexor tightnesses. We understand that this can be confusing, especially when you don’t know the anatomy-much less the physics involved.

Let our Doctors of Physical therapy help diagnose the source of your neck pain and develop an individualized treatment plan to get you back to living a pain-free life. Call today to get started! 850-248-1600 – Dr. John Gray PT, DPT

New Year, Same Pain?

The new year brings a lot of new beginnings. The beginning of a new decade, the beginning of weight loss challenges among friends and family, and a chance to become a better “you.” However, if chronic pain is hindering you from living a healthy lifestyle, if the nagging back and knee pain is keeping you from exercising and losing the weight you desire, there is hope!


At First Choice Physical Therapy, we specialize in restoring pain-free joint mobility, increasing strength and stability as well as returning you to the high quality of life you want and deserve. If you are suffering from pain, struggling with not being able to exercise and move the way you desire, then give us a call and make an appointment to see one of our Doctors of Physical Therapy and start your journey to recovery today!

Brannon Chester, DPT
Doctor of Physical Therapy
First Choice Physical Therapy