Category: Physical Therapy Tips

Study Shows New Israeli Treatment For Fibromyalgia

Do you suffer from fibromyalgia? Take a look at this new study from Israel of a hyperbaric treatment for fibromyalgia patients. This hyperbaric medicine showed an improvement in 100% of sufferers. Hyperbaric Centers of Excellence located in Panama City Beach, Fl may be the answer for you!

hyperbaric chamber

Swimmer’s Shoulder

Brannon Chester, DPT at First Choice Physical TherapyAs the dog days of summer are upon us, many of you are finding relief and a way to beat the heat in the joys of swimming. Whether you are a novice swimmer that enjoys time in the water, or an elite swimmer that swims for a local swim team or training for your next Triathlon, you most likely have experienced some sort of shoulder pain. Research shows that 94% of elite swimmers experience some sort of shoulder pain or “Swimmer’s Shoulder.” I have recently teamed up with a local NCAA competitive swimmer to take a look into the world of swimming and the injuries that come along with the demands of the sport. Attached to this blog is a link to a research paper that goes into great detail the biomechanical dysfunctions that produce shoulder pain and how to prevent such injuries. If you or your loved ones are having any shoulder pain that may be related to “Swimmer’s Shoulder” come in and see one of our Doctors of Physical Therapy for a complete evaluation and plan of care to get you back into the water pain free.

Brannon Chester, DPT
Doctor of Physical Therapy

Jamie McDonald
NCAA Swimmer, University of West Florida

Swimmer dysfunction research paper.

It’s just a little tendonitis…Right?

Brannon Chester, DPT at First Choice Physical TherapyA common phrase that people use to describe their pain or injury is, “Oh it’s just a little tendonitis, it will go away soon.” Chronic tendonitis without treatment could ultimately lead to a complete rupture of the tendon sidelining you from any activity for months. In the past 10 years there has been substantial research into tendon pathology and the term “tendinopathy” has replaced the old term “tendonitis” as a result of the research and we now have a better understanding of the pathophysiological mechanisms. Through study and research, it has been concluded that there are 3 stages to tendinopathy: 1) reactive tendinopathy 2) tendon dysrepair and 3) degenerative tendinopathy.

Reactive tendinopathy is the early stage of tendon dysfunction and is a short-term adaptive thickening in attempt to reduce the stress placed upon the tendon. In this stage, the tendon can revert back to normal structure if overload is reduced or sufficient time is given between loading. Tendon dysrepair, there is greater matrix (tissue composition) breakdown of the tendon. We see this in all ages of patients and activity levels. In this stage, the tendon appears thickened with more localized changes. Degenerative tendinopathy is the last and most dangerous stage of tendon dysfunction. There is greater matrix and cell breakdown, with even some areas of cell death in this particular stage. If gone unchecked, this stage can inevitably lead to rupture.

Due to the fact that tendonitis/tendinopathy is an overuse injury, the best course of action is to decrease the stress and overloading of the tendon. In other words, REST. Also, through specific treatment interventions including soft tissue mobilization, eccentric strengthening, and evaluating the ultimate cause of the tendon dysfunction, we can prevent any further damage done to the tendon. If you are experiencing any sort of joint pain or “tendonitis” pain, come in and see one of our Doctors of Physical Therapy for a thorough evaluation to determine the best course of treatment for your particular injury.

Brannon Chester, DPT
Doctor of Physical Therapy

Tennis elbow anyone?

Scott Champagne, PT. Clinic Manager at Panama City BeachTennis elbow is a common catchall phrase for inflammatory disorders of the elbow. However, most of the time it doesn’t have anything to do with playing tennis. Tennis elbow (lateral epicondylitis) is an overuse/strain disorder caused by repetitive contraction of the muscles of the forearm and wrist. In addition to racquet sports, activities such as painting, using a screwdriver or a knife for food preparation can all cause inflammation and pain in the elbow. Conservative treatment would begin with resting the upper extremity, using ice on the affected area and over the counter NSAIds (Advil, Aleve). There are cases where chronic imflammation of the elbow can lead to adhesions or scar tissue to form around the joint which can result in nagging pain or even disability. If this is a condition you may be dealing with that hasn’t responded to conservative treatments, come see us at First Choice Physical Therapy where our therapists can design a treatment program to get you felling better soon.

The importance of running shoes…


Simon Haussmann, PTAWith running as a hobby you do not need much equipment and do not need to spend a lot of money, but it is important to get a good running shoe. To determine what type of shoe you need, you will need to know the characteristics of your running gait. For example, when I run, I slightly pronate so I need a shoe with medial support. Check with us at First Choice about what kind of running gait you have so that you can lace up and get on the road.

Simon Haussmann, PTA

“What A Pain in The Neck”

Brannon Chester, DPT at First Choice Physical TherapyHave you ever suffered from constant headaches that start in the back of your neck and end up feeling like the pain is right behind your eye? What about after a long day at work, do you ever have a dull headache that will not go away until you lay down and try to “relax” with little to no relief? This type of headache is referred to as a “tension headache” and originates in the deep muscles of your neck that attach at the bottom of your head and can result in intense headaches. Due to poor posture, along with myofascial restrictions and cervical immobility, tension headaches are very difficult to relieve with home remedies. If you are suffering from headaches and want to do something about them, come in for an evaluation by one of our Doctors of Physical Therapy to decrease your pain and get rid of that headache once and for all.

Brannon Chester, DPT
Doctor of Physical Therapy

Balance Lost?

Scott Champagne, PT. Clinic Manager at Panama City BeachWe have all heard people say “My balance isn’t what is used to be when I was younger”. Although this is probably a true statement, losing the ability to balance isn’t necessarily a consequence of getting older. Studies reveal that in non active individuals, balance peaks in the mid 20s, slows into the 30s and sharply declines by the 6th decade. The balance system is comprised of three primary systems: vision, vestibular (inner ear) and proprioception (balance-where our limbs are in space). A 2002 study by Verschueren SMP, et al, revealed that focused practice balance activities, regardless of age, improved overall balance and stability. If you feel like your balance isn’t what it used to be, come see us at First Choice Physical Therapy where a customized stability program can get you on your way to better balance.

Scott Champagne, PT.

Stay on the Baseball field and out of the operating room…

Intensity on the pitcher's moundAs the high school baseball season comes to an end, many baseball players are experiencing the aches and pains and the “normal” shoulder/arm soreness that comes with a long season. In the past, baseball players were able to enjoy 5-7 months off from baseball activity to allow the proper healing and rest that the young athlete needs. However, the sport has evolved into a year- long season with high school baseball starting in January and ending in May, summer ball kicking up and running until late July, and fall baseball starting up as soon as school starts in August. The competitiveness and necessity of year round baseball has not allowed for the young athlete to completely heal and recover from the demands of a baseball season.

Complaints of shoulder and elbow pain are the most common reasons why a baseball athlete seeks medical attention. According to Dr. James Andrews, “Most injuries are a consequence of cumulative micro-trauma from the repetitive, dynamic overhand throwing motion inherent to the sport.” In other words, the constant repetitive demands put on the shoulder from throwing a baseball without the proper strength, mechanics, and rest are the major cause for injury in a baseball player.

Overthrowing and over utilizing the young athlete has become a huge problem in youth baseball today. Doctors have found a link between throwing volume and shoulder/elbow injuries among youth baseball pitchers and these findings have prompted the USA Baseball Medical and Safety Advisory Committee to recommend pitch limits for youth pitchers. According to the USA Baseball Medical team, not only monitoring pitch counts but having pitchers (1) compete NO MORE than 9 months in a calendar year, (2) develop and maintain good mechanics, (3) commit to year-round physical conditioning as their bodies develop, (4) participate in only 1 performance as a pitcher per day, (5) avoid showcase participation, and (6) limit participation to 1 team per season.

Rehabilitation plays a vital part for the athlete, in not only returning to sport, but injury prevention as well as pre-season training to prepare the body for the demands of their respective sport. Traditional rehabilitation is not sufficient and cannot reproduce the speed or the joint forces generated during throwing. According to Journal of Sport Rehabilitation, “The only way to mimic the forces of a baseball throw is to actually throw a ball. Interval throwing programs are progressive, sport specific regimens that gradually expose an athlete to the demands they will experience upon a return to sport.” If not properly prepared, an athlete is vulnerable to injury upon return to sports participation. This is true whether the athlete has a throwing-arm injury, a non-throwing-arm injury, or an injury to any region of the body that has resulted in lost playing time.

As the spring season wraps up, and the summer baseball season begins, make sure your athlete is prepared for the stresses associated with throwing. If you have had any shoulder/elbow pain from throwing come by First Choice Physical Therapy for an in depth evaluation which includes shoulder mechanics, strength deficits, and an interval throwing program instruction.

Brannon Chester, DPT
Doctor of Physical Therapy

Is there a fall in your future?

Scott Champagne, PT. Clinic Manager at Panama City BeachWe have all made the assumption that balance degenerates as we get older and fall risk is primarily due to age related changes. However, loss of balance and decreased gait stability are not necessarily inevitable throughout the aging process. There are key factors to look for which may contribute to a fall. Common factors include dizziness, apprehension, taking more that one medication (poly pharmacy), prolonged bed rest or inactivity and loss of strength in the legs and feet. Falls are not typically the result of a single factor but rather a combination of factors, that is why it is important to be proactive and control the variables that you can. If you feel like your balance is not what is used to be, come see us at First Choice Physical Therapy where our therapists can restore strength in your legs, improve coordination, balance and reduce the likelihood of a fall being in your future.

Scott Champagne, PT

Heel Pain!

Dr. Stephen Peaden, PT, DPTDo you have heel pain that bothers you when you get out of bed in the morning? Are you constantly standing at work? You can’t exercise because you’re afraid your foot is going to hurt after exercise or the next morning? You might have plantar fasciitis. Plantar fasciitis is a repetitive use injury that occurs for several reasons whether it is because of wearing old, worn out shoes, weight gain, or a sudden return to activity. At First Choice, we treat plantar fasciitis almost every day, usually with great results. After following our clinical treatment protocols and home exercises, patients are able to get back to work, running, or other exercise without receiving injections or worrying about surgery. Occasionally, patients will require orthotic fabrication which we do in house, however, the majority of the patients we treat do not require them to return to activity. Our therapists will also look at the patient’s running shoes to determine if they are the correct type of shoe for that patient. If this sounds like you or someone you know, contact First Choice Physical Therapy and get back to living.