Knee Pain Treatment in Encinitas

Are you looking for knee pain treatment in Encinitas?  We have over 20 years of experience caring for patients with pain in the knee(s).

According to the American Osteopathic Association, “Knee pain is the number two cause of chronic pain; more than one-third of Americans report being affected by knee pain.” Whether the pain is temporary or chronic, it might be time to see a knee pain specialist in Encinitas.

If you’re wondering how and why knee pain happens, here are six surprising causes:

1. A sedentary lifestyle.  You might simply be someone who spends a lot of time at a desk.  It makes sense that if you fail to use something like your leg muscles, they will get weak and weak legs lead to knee injuries due to improper alignment, especially if you also have bad posture.

2. Cold weather.  Studies have shown cold weather can aggravate knee pain.  It might be the falling barometric pressure or perhaps a tendency to be less active during colder, winter months.  The end result is the same; increased swelling and stiffening of muscles and joints.

3. Bursitis.  This is also known as preacher’s knee.  Bursa is a fluid filled sac that cushions muscles, tendons and bones.  Repetitive bending and kneeling puts an enormous amount of pressure on your knees, resulting in inflammation of the bursa.  Joint pain, tenderness and swelling in the knee are signs you may have it.

4. Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome.  An easier way to say this is runner’s knee.  Problems with your feet due to improper footwear, muscle imbalances and repetitive stresses like the constant impact that runners put their bodies through can deeply impact the joint and tissues of the knee.  You might experience pain behind or around the knee cap that’s worse going downhill.  Also, your knee might feel like it is grinding or popping.

5. Not getting enough sleep.  If you’re tired, you’re more likely to make mistakes in how you land and take off when moving or jumping.  It’s also easy to misjudge distances and jerk your body in a way that is awkward. It’s a fact that athletes who get eight hours of sleep or more are 68% less likely to get injured than athletes who sleep less.

6. It’s not the knee.  Believe it or not, the pain might not be coming from the knee after all.  This is called “referred” pain because even though the pain seems located in the knee, it might actually be reflected from your ankle, foot or hip joints.  The only way to know for sure is to see a specialist.

There is an Affordable, Drug-free Solution

Physical therapist directed treatment has been proven to be effective for a number of knee pain diagnoses as mentioned above.  Patellofemoral pain is common in the 12-35 y.o. age range and physical therapy can help with this condition.  Here’s the reference:

In conclusion, this randomized, double-blinded, placebocontrolled trial provided evidence to support the use of a physical therapy regimen in the short-term management of patellofemoral pain. Further studies could focus on the long-term benefits of physical therapy for this condition and the relative effectiveness of this treatment regimen compared with alternative approaches.
Click here for the complete reference.

Osteoarthritis is also a common in seniors and physical therapy often is as good as surgery.

Bottom Line – Try Us First.

Seeing one of our physical therapists could save you a bunch of time, money, side effects, and might help you avoid surgery.

For more information on knee pain, causes of knee pain and treatment, don’t hesitate to give us a call.

Spinal Stenosis Treatment in Encinitas

We are a Great Drug-free First Choice for Treatment

If you are looking for spinal stenosis treatment in Encinitas, please read on to learn how we can help.

Lower back pain in adults can be debilitating and is often attributed to missed days of work, decreased physical activity, and overuse of pain medications.

One type of lower back pain, called lumbar spinal stenosis, usually results from the degeneration of discs, ligaments, or any of the joints between the interlocking vertebrae (called facet joints) that form the spine. This wear and tear (often due to chronic arthritis) can narrow the space surrounding the spinal cord, drying out spinal discs and compressing the spinal nerves (cauda equina)  and their nerve roots.

This condition mostly appears in patients aged 60 and older and can cause a painful and potentially disabling narrowing of the spinal canal. Specific symptoms of spinal stenosis include:

  • Pain while standing or walking that gets better if you rest (sit or lie down),
  • Twinge in the groin, buttocks, and upper thigh that does not move down the leg (like sciatic nerve pain),
  • Pain that feels worse when you lean back and becomes less intense if you lean forward, and
  • Discomfort that develops slowly over time, with a slow onset.

Lumbar spinal stenosis is frequently treated with surgery. But a recent clinical study funded by the U.S. National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases and published recently in the medical journal, Annals of Internal Medicine, suggests that physical therapy works just as well as surgery, but with considerably fewer complications for the patient.

Here’s a Summary of Information Regarding this Study

The study took place from November 2000 to September 2007. A total of 169 participants were randomly assigned and stratified by surgeon and sex (87 to surgery and 82 to PT), with 24-month follow-up completed by 74 and 73 participants in the surgery and PT groups, respectively. Mean improvement in physical function for the surgery and PT groups was 22.4 (95% CI, 16.9 to 27.9) and 19.2 (CI, 13.6 to 24.8), respectively. Intention-to-treat analyses revealed no difference between groups (24-month difference, 0.9 [CI, -7.9 to 9.6]). Sensitivity analyses using causal-effects methods to account for the high proportion of crossovers from PT to surgery (57%) showed no significant differences in physical function between groups.

Without a control group, it is not possible to judge success attributable to either intervention.

Surgical decompression yielded similar effects to a PT regimen among patients with LSS who were surgical candidates. Patients and health care providers should engage in shared decision-making conversations that include full disclosure of evidence involving surgical and nonsurgical treatments for LSS.


Give Us a Try First…We’ve Helped North County for over 20 Years

While non-surgical treatments, such as anti-inflammatory medicine and physical therapy, do not reverse spinal narrowing, they can provide enough pain relief and mobility that you may just decide not to have surgery.

If you’ve been diagnosed with lumbar spinal stenosis, we are is available to help.

Please contact us today, and our team will work with you to devise a program to help you control your back pain and restore your mobility.



Physical Therapy Clinic in Carlsbad Pregnancy Pain Relief

Do You Need Pregnancy Pain Relief In Carlsbad?

Pregnancy takes a toll on the body. While it’s one of the most amazing experiences a woman can go through, carrying around all the extra weight can result in physical ailments that cause discomfort. Most of these issues resolve themselves after the birth of the baby, but if you’re uncomfortable and just can’t wait that long, a physical therapy clinic in Carlsbad … Gaspar Doctors of Physical Therapy can help you find relief.

Lower Back Pain

Lower back pain is one of the biggest complaints we hear from women who are expecting. Extra weight that is not distributed evenly can easily cause some issues. Women who spend a lot of time standing or walking may have even more episodes of discomfort in the lower back muscles.

Causes of Back Pain in Pregnant Women

Pregnancy back pain typically happens where the pelvis meets your spine, at the sacroiliac joint.

There are many possible reasons why it happens. Here are some of the more likely causes:

  • Weight gain. During a healthy pregnancy, women typically gain between 25 and 35 pounds. The spine has to support that weight. That can cause lower back pain. The weight of the growing baby and uterus also puts pressure on the blood vessels and nerves in the pelvis and back. 
  • Posture changes.  Pregnancy shifts your center of gravity. As a result, you may gradually — even without noticing — begin to adjust your posture and the way you move. This may result in back pain or strain.
  • Hormone changes. During pregnancy, your body makes a hormone called relaxin that allows ligaments in the pelvic area to relax and the joints to become looser in preparation for the birth process. The same hormone can cause ligaments that support the spine to loosen, leading to instability and pain.
  • Muscle separation. As the uterus expands, two parallel sheets of muscles (the rectal abdominis muscles), which run from the rib cage to the pubic bone, may separate along the center seam. This separation may worsen back pain. 
  • Stress. Emotional stress can cause muscle tension in the back, which may be felt as back pain or back spasms. You may find that you experience an increase in back pain during stressful periods of your pregnancy.

Sciatica Nerve Pain

Another pregnancy-induced issue some women deal with in the latter half of pregnancy is sciatica. The weight of the baby presses on the sciatic nerve which can cause pain or tingling down one leg. Sometimes it causes pain in the buttocks or hips too. Not only do women find discomfort during the day with this condition, but it can make it hard to get comfortable at night, often resulting in a poor night’s sleep. When it is an ongoing condition, it should be treated so Moms can get the rest they need.

Every woman goes through different symptoms with each pregnancy, and not all of them are routine. Headaches from hormonal changes or urinary incontinence are somewhat common. Then there are those that deal with less popular symptoms, such as TMJ, balance issues, or joint pain.

Pregnancy should be an exciting, hopeful time, but sometimes the discomfort causes women to miss out on some of the joy.

If you’re in the Carlsbad area and want to find relief from pregnancy-related issues, Gaspar Doctors of Physical Therapy can provide you with services such as physical therapy or massage therapy that can help. For more information, contact us at (760) 707-5080.

Encinitas Back Doctor Recommends Posture Exercise

If you are looking for an Encinitas back doctor, there’s one doctor, a doctor of physical therapy, that just could be the best kept secret in health care.

Your mother used to always tell you to stand up straight.  Was it good advice?  As an Encinitas Back Doctor of Physical Therapy, I believe so.  The team here at Gaspar Doctors of Physical Therapy often provide posture recommendations.

While there’s no solid clinical research to support postural education and back pain prevention, we feel it is still great advice.

No Clinical Data to Support Postural Education…Not Yet

Consider this study:


The PubMed electronic database and the Cochrane Library were searched based on a combination of keywords related to low back pain (LBP) and posture education. Only randomized controlled trial (RCT) studying the efficiency on outcomes directly related to LBP of a preventive intervention programme mainly based on education of proper care of the back for subjects not seeking treatment were included. References of the articles meeting these inclusion criteria were also checked to identify other potential citations. Besides, a methodological study assessment of the included RCTs was performed.


Nine studies, all conducted at the workplace were included in this review. Their mean quality level was low (5.1/12) and among the four studies with a huge sample size (n > 400 subjects), only one had an acceptable methodological quality score (6/12). The education interventions differed widely from one study to another. No significant differences between the control and education groups were found at the follow-up in eight out of the nine studies on the incidence of back pain, disability and sick leave.


The results of the RCTs included in this review suggest that educational interventions mainly focused on a biomechanical/biomedical model are not effective in preventing LBP. However, taking into account the methodological quality level of the RCTs as well as the very short and heterogeneous interventions often proposed, additional high-quality studies with a longer education period are needed to conclude that such interventions are inefficient.


Studying Posture Intervention Isn’t Easy

It would be very difficult to create a clinical research study that controlled for all the possible variables and clearly examined the prevention of back pain as it related to posture exercises.

Nevertheless, here’s some advice on how to maintain good posture.
In addition to a generalized flexibility program performed on a daily basis, this one easy tip will help you avoid having shortened muscles and avoid that “hunchback” posture we all never want to see in the mirror.

Give This Exercise a Try

My favorite time to perform this exercise is when I’m on a phone call with a headset, or a online presentation. I can stand and still work.

2-3 times a day, (more if you can) get up from your desk, and find a wall.

With your back to the wall, place your heels about 6-8 inches away from the wall, lean back. Your Gluteals (bottom) , Mid back, Shoulders will all make contact with the wall, hands at your sides. Do not force your lumbar spine flat against the wall just yet.

Roll your shoulders back, and turn your palms so that they face forward, this will rotate your shoulders back. You will feel the stretch in your chest a bit.

Next, while holding the “hands forward” try to tuck your chin a bit and get the back of your head on the wall.

We have now: Back of head on wall, shoulders and mid-back and bottom on the wall, with hands faced forward. Hold for 30 seconds.. Repeat 2-3 times a day.

Hand Specialist In Carlsbad

Do You Need A Hand Specialist In Carlsbad?

It’s easy for athletes to injure their hands. After all, it’s the hands that are the most vulnerable, and often receive the most impact while playing sports. When hands are injured, daily activities become extremely hard. Following are some of the most common sports-related hand injuries and treatments done by a Carlsbad hand specialist.

Basic Types of Hand Injuries and Treatments

Many hand ligament injuries can be treated without surgery. In most cases, strains and sprains heal naturally by a patient getting enough rest, applying ice packs, using compression and elevation. However, in other situations, professional care is needed.

Some of the most common sports-related hand injuries, along with their treatments include:

  • Muscle sprains and strains—If a muscle sprain or strain isn’t that severe, it’s usually treated by using compression and getting adequate rest.
  • Tendonitis—Besides a patient resting, tendonitis treatments typically entail applying ice packs and restricting the amount of repetitive movement. Over-the-counter NSAIDs (nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) are also helpful for relaxing muscles as they heal.
  • Dislocated joints—It’s not hard for the finger joints to become dislocated while playing sports. Treating the problem involves a hand specialist resetting the joint, but in more serious cases, surgery may be needed. Fortunately, most people can use a splint or buddy tape, depending on where the dislocated joint is situated.
  • Ligaments—If you tear a ligament, you probably need to see a doctor to have your hand X-rayed and placed in a cast. Again, in the case of extensive tears, surgery may be needed. Whether or not surgery is needed also depends on the location of the torn ligament.


The following tips may prevent finger, hand, and wrist injuries:

  • Do exercises that strengthen your hand and arm muscles.
  • Learn safe hand and wrist movements to avoid an injury.
  • Reduce the speed and force of repetitive movements in activities such as hammering, typing, knitting, quilting, sweeping, raking, playing racquet sports, or rowing.
  • Change positions when you hold objects, such as a book or playing cards, for any length of time.
  • Use your whole hand to grasp an object. Gripping with only your thumb and index finger can stress your wrist.

Considerations and Warnings

Clinical mobilization and stretching is frequently used for making a restricted area more mobile so that normal motion returns, which helps eliminate pain and other discomfort.

Physical therapy may be needed to strengthen an injured hand, so it can function better. A completely torn thumb ligament may require surgery.

Preventing sports-related injuries is a vital part of sports performance training. Often, injuries occur because of improper coaching and warm-up techniques.

At Gaspar Doctors of Physical Therapy, we offer sports performance training, as well as physical therapy, chiropractic and other services.

If you need a hand specialist in the Carlsbad area, or any other of these aforementioned services, please contact us at (760) 707-5080.

ACL Tear? – See a Knee Specialist in Carlsbad

Need a knee specialist in Carlsbad?

Sports injuries are part of the game. Players usually don’t plan to get hurt, but eventually it does happen. One of the seven most common sports injuries is an Anterior Cruciate Ligament tear, most commonly known as an ACL tear. If you do suspect you might have a serious ligament problem, it’s important to see the right healthcare provider. Fortunately, Gaspar Doctors of Physical Therapy has a knee specialist in Carlsbad.

More About ACL Injuries

What is an ACL injury and why does it happen? Each of our knees is stabilized by cruciate ligaments. When we walk, it’s easy to maintain stability at a comfortable pace, and we have great control over the level of impact our knee feels from the surface we’re walking on. However, not only does playing sports increase the impact on our knee, some sports involve sudden stops or turns. It’s usually these stops and turns, at increased speeds, that cause ACL tears. Many athletes hear a ‘popping’ sound when they suffer this type of injury, followed by severe pain and swelling.

Female athletes are more than twice as likely to suffer ACL tears then male athletes playing the same sports.

It’s Easy to Tear an ACL

ACL sprains and tears are among the most common knee injuries. They happen to about 200,000 people a year in the U.S., racking up an annual health care cost of more than $2 billion.

They put weekend warriors and pro athletes side by side in the ranks of the walking wounded.

“We’re talking about a huge cross-section of society,” says Andrew Cosgarea, MD, an orthopedic surgeon who leads the Division of Sports Medicine at Johns Hopkins University, where he serves as head team doctor for the athletic department.

Cosgarea says he’s treated ACL tears caused by roughhousing with friends after school, dancing at a party on a Friday night, or jumping on a trampoline.

“The risk is highest for people involved in cutting and pivoting sports,” he says. “But basically, everybody who is involved in physical activity is at risk.”

What to expect from a knee specialist in Carlsbad:

  • A thorough evaluation to assess your pain, ligament involvement.
  • In-depth patient education about your treatment options and goals.
  • Cold therapy depending on the stage of your injury.
  • Help with recovering your ability to painlessly walk.
  • Exercises to improve range of motion, flexibility, strength and power.
  • A home program.
  • Regular assessments to measure progress.
  • If necessary, a referral to a surgeon if conservative care fails.

We Also Provide Post-surgical Rehabilitation

Sometimes conservative care is not enough. At times, you need surgery to reconstruct the ACL and reestablish stability in the knee.
If you’ve had surgery, we have considerable experience providing both elite athletes and weekend warriors treatment to help you avoid postoperative complications as well as get your knee back to full function.

If you are looking for a knee specialist in Carlsbad, look no further than Gaspar Doctors of Physical Therapy. Contact us today at (760) 707-5080 to schedule a consultation. Our highly skilled, trained staff are ready to help.