A new, cutting-edge rehab tool is now being used at Atrium Physical Therapy!

A new, cutting-edge rehab tool is now being used at Atrium Physical Therapy! A patient, “D.E.” had both knees replaced over a period of 2 years. Since the surgeries, he was unable to get the strength back in his legs due to pain. He said “My knees hurt so much . . . I couldn’t push hard enough to get stronger.” He is now using a technique that's getting a lot of attention in the physical therapy community.

"It feels like I’m lifting more than I've ever lifted. My legs feel like they will explode - like I've walked 500 flights of stairs. But then I feel fine and now so much stronger" said D.E., a Las Cruces resident who is going through Blood Flow Restriction rehab at Atrium Physical Therapy.

Johnny Owens PT, of San Antonio Texas, researched and applied this technique on Wounded Warriors at the Center for the Intrepid, at the San Antonio Military Medical Center Department of Orthopaedics and Rehabilitation. Owens is published extensively in the peer-reviewed literature. His work has been reported in 60 Minutes, Time magazine, NPR, Discovery Channel and ESPN. In addition to the clinical staff at Atrium, Owens has trained and certified Physical Therapists in professional sports teams, universities, rehab facilities, and private clinics.

BFR rehab is the brief and intermittent blocking of venous blood flow using an FDA approved pressure cuff. To get a growth and strength response in muscle, patients need to lift a heavy load. The value in using BFR is that the body responds to light resistance as if you are lifting a heavy load. It’s not the most comfortable treatment, but patients identify the difference quickly and are eager to continue with the treatment in their next session. “I have strength in my quads that I haven’t felt since long before my knee replacements.” said “D.E.”, a BFR patient at Atrium Physical Therapy. “What’s more, I had a previous injury to one of my legs before, which left me with a very weak calf muscle. I’m now using that calf with much more strength.”

A large and growing body of scientific evidence supports BFR effectiveness and safety. “We are careful to caution that BFR is not for everyone,” said Dennis Prickett, Physical Therapist and co-owner at Atrium Physical Therapy. A trained therapist reviews the risks, and a physician is consulted when necessary. “This is not as simple as putting a strap around the limb and making it tight. If done incorrectly or using improper equipment, an injury may result. That’s why we use the only FDA approved personalized tourniquet system for BFR available.” Atrium is the only certified physical therapy clinic in the state of New Mexico to use this system.

“We are so excited to offer this to our patients. This is a treatment modality with a very large amount of scientific literature to support it. Its potential to transform many people’s lives - to get them stronger and back to normal - is tremendous.”


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3 Things We Do Everyday That Cause Neck Pain... (And How To Ease It Quick!)

Lets play a fun quiz that might help you live with less neck pain… and if you answer “YES’ to any of these questions … read on!


Man Having Trouble Sleeping

When you sleep at night, do you find yourself sleeping on your stomach, or with more than one pillow in a twisted position?

When you’re relaxing at home, do you find yourself looking up at the TV screen because it’s hung up high on the wall?

When you’re out and about do you carry your bag on one shoulder? Or hold your heavy briefcase in one hand?

Chances are, you’ve answered ‘yes’ to at least one of these questions!

I may be wrong, your bag might not be heavy, and you might sleep with just the one pillow, but the reason why I guessed you’d answered ‘YES’ to one of these questions is because over the years, almost every patient that walks into my clinic who has been suffering with neck pain, has been doing one of these things.

So it’s no surprise that during my time as a Physical Therapist that one of the most regular complaints that I hear is ‘neck pain’.

And without even realizing it, things that we do every day can cause it.

So lets take a look at 3 of the most common everyday mistakes I’ve found my patients doing that cause their ‘neck pain’…


1. Watching TV

Watching TV is a habit – not saying it’s good or bad! But the real issue with watching TV, is HOW you watch it!

Are you doing it the way I see many of my friends and family watch it, with the TV hung above the fireplace high on the wall, kicked back with your feet up (and neck!), while watching your favorite TV soap opera?

Even though you might think it’s comfortable and relaxing, the truth is, there could be a problem waiting for you! If you’re watching TV like this it can be strenuous for your neck and head.

A lot of people make the same mistake, they don’t realize that the position their neck is in can actually affect their body and health.

Anyway, how to fix it? There’s a reason why TV stands are almost always the same height, and any decent one will mean that if you’re sitting on the sofa watching TV, the TV will be at eye level.

Watch TV so your head isn’t looking upwards, or reaching out, and this should help you avoid headaches, eye trouble and muscle tension.


2. Your Bag

Carrying your bag on one shoulder, or holding a heavy briefcase in one hand is something most of us are guilty of doing, but did you know that’s also one of the main causes of aches and pains in your neck and shoulders?

You see, since all of the weight of your bag is on one shoulder, or on one side of the body, it can throw your muscles and posture off balance, which is why you sometimes see people with one shoulder higher than the other!

Another thing, the way we carry our bags can cause our muscles to become stiff too.

So the way to solve this problem is reduce the weight of your bag, and to  periodically switch up the side you carry it.

Switching your bag over to the opposite side will help to balance out the way your body carries the weight, relieving any tension built up in your muscles, and solving any posture problems too! Switch it up every 10 minutes, or every time you walk a couple hundred feet.


3. How We Sleep

Another daily habit that brings on neck pain is the way we sleep. You see, if you sleep with your head propped up on more than one pillow, your neck and back aren’t going to be nicely in line – meaning more pressure on your muscles and spine.

And if you find yourself sleeping on your stomach, your head is most likely going to be turned on it’s side – meaning your body is in a twisted position for hours!

Now, can you see why you might wake up with a bit of a sore neck?  Although your neck is built to rotate from side to side, it’s not designed to stay in that position for hours on end. So if you choose to sleep on your side, use a pillow that doesn’t prop your head too high up, but in-line with your shoulder instead. And if you choose to sleep on your back, sleep with one thin pillow so your neck and spine are nicely straight!

Back Pain (Client Experience)

Do you suffer from back pain Click the picture for more info

Do you suffer from back pain Click the picture for more info

I’d like to tell you a bit about one of our clients who finished her physical therapy a few weeks ago.  Pam, aged 54, of Las Cruces came to us about 6 weeks back.  She had been out in her garden trying to keep ahead of the forest of weeds coming on after one of those heavy summer rains.  One of the bigger weeds was especially confident that it could keeps it’s roots in the ground, so she gave it an especially strong pull and BAM! - immediate onset of back pain, along with a burning, searing shock all the way down her right leg to the foot.  Pam barely made it into the house, and eventually found some relief lying face down flat on her bed.

After many days of pain and difficulty moving - one friend told her to rest even longer - Pam decided to see her doctor, who sent her to us.  [She didn’t actually have to see her doctor first, but that can wait for another day.]  It didn’t take much time for her physical therapist to identify the problem.  It seems that she suffered a bad strain of the muscles in her low back, and there may have also been some involvement of a disk there as well. It didn’t take too much time to get the muscles to calm down, though she continued to have the shooting down the leg anytime she spent to much time sitting, and driving in the car was awful!  This was a big problem since Pam works in El Paso, so that hour-long drive didn’t help matters any.  What’s more, Pam spends much of her time in her garden, and the weeds were getting higher!  She so much wanted to get back in there and tend to her beans and tomatoes.

The fun part about practicing as a physical therapist is that very often, pain onset and relief is tied to body position.  We change positions, and the presence or absence of pain in those positions tells us a lot about what structures in the body are involved in the problem. But Pam didn’t care about that!  “JUST GET ME BACK IN MY GARDEN” she said.  Well, we sorted out the problem, and got her started on a daily program focused on reducing her pain.  It was a bit of a challenge, as the drive to work bumped up her symptoms a lot, but we worked with her on her position in the car, as well as some simple movements to do before and after she got to work.

It didn't take much time before Pam was feeling a lot better, and at the end of the treatment period not only was Pam in the garden (bending and lifting the right way, I might add), but she was also doing the right stretches and exercises each day.  They don’t take a lot of time, and she says that they help her feel limber and warmed up for the day.

Pam called me the other day and told me how thankful she was that she didn’t listen to one friend’s advice to just stay home and rest.  She said that she’d never been to physical therapy before, and before this really didn’t understand what PT is all about, but now she understands that her PT was completely focused on getting her back into her garden.