Low Back Pain?


Low Back Pain? According to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NIH)*, “80% percent of adults experience low back pain at some point in their lifetimes. It is the most common cause of job-related disability and a leading contributor to missed work days. In a large survey, more than a quarter of adults reported experiencing low back pain during the past 3 months.” Low back pain may affect sleep, work, family life, and recreational activities. Yet many individuals do not seek professional medical help for low back pain.

How can physical therapy help? Physical therapy may be beneficial to relieve pain, increase movement, strengthen the back and core muscles, and improve mobility and flexibility. Physical therapists also work with patients to teach them proper positioning, movement, and lifting techniques. At Encore Rehabilitation, we assist patients in recovery and prevention as well as educate patients on how to avoid re-injury.

If you are experiencing low back pain, seek professional medical help. Encore Rehabilitation is ready to help you get back to living!


*NIH Source:


“Amazing result!” Carshala Youse and Encore Rehabilitation Montgomery East

Carshala Youse Photo Montgomery East Revised

Accidents happen! Just ask Carshala Youse of Montgomery. “I was in a car accident and injured my neck, back, and left hip. I came in with serious pain in my neck and back,” she says.

Carshala not only received treatment for her injuries at Encore Rehabilitation-Montgomery East, she received much more. Carshala reports, “I came in with serious pain in my neck and back. I was expecting to feel better in a span of two months. What I did not expect was to develop a bond with my physical therapists, have natural/uplifting conversations with staff, and ultimately feel 100% relief within a matter of 3 weeks. Absolutely wonderful staff with amazing results!”

Thank you, Carshala! Happy National Physical Therapy Month!

5 Tips to Avoid Chronic Pain

1. Know Pain, Know Gain. There is a growing body of evidence suggesting that understanding how our pain systems work is an excellent strategy in managing it. The great news is that you don’t need to know a lot! Simply knowing the basics of how our brain and nerves work, and their role in pain, can help reduce your chance for developing chronic symptoms. Learn more.

2. Keep moving. Gradually and steadily. Living an active, healthy lifestyle not only improves our general well-being and health, but can also reduce our chances of developing chronic pain. Our body was built to move, and we need to understand that not all aches or soreness is cause for concern. Learn more.

3. Spend time with a good PT. If you experience an injury, or develop the onset of pain, seeing a physical therapist (PT) early on can help address and manage your symptoms. PTs are movement experts who can diagnose and treat injuries and help you identify strategies to better manage your pain. The earlier you seek care, the better the chances you have for not developing chronic symptoms. And there’s no reason to wait: you can see a physical therapist without a physician’s referral in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. Learn more.

4. Don’t focus on an image. While most of us want a diagnostic image (ie, x-ray, MRI) to tell us “why we hurt,” images actually give us little information about what’s causing pain. A study performed on individuals 60 years or older, who had no symptoms of low back pain, found that more than 90% had a degenerated or bulging disc, 36% had a herniated disc, and 21% had spinal stenosis. What shows up on an image may or may not be related to your symptoms. Once imaging has cleared you of a serious condition, your physical therapist will help guide you back to the life you want to live!

5. Addressing depression and anxiety helps. Your chances of developing chronic pain may be higher if you also are experiencing depression and anxiety. A recent study in the Journal of Pain showed that depression, as well as some of our thoughts about pain prior to total knee replacement, was related to long-term pain following the procedure. Make sure that you talk to your medical provider about your mental health throughout your treatment; it can help make your journey go much more smoothly following an injury or surgery.

The c launched a national campaign to raise awareness about the risks of opioids and the safe alternative of physical therapy for long-term pain management. Learn more at our #ChoosePT page.

Authored by Joseph Brence, PT, DPT, FAAOMPT, COMT, DAC

*Complete Article can be found here.

National Physical Therapy Month- #ChoosePT

Encore Rehab Choose PT.png

October is National Physical Therapy Month and we want to recognize, and thank, all the Physical Therapists that work for our company! We are proud to be the largest privately owned provider of physical therapy throughout Alabama and Mississippi and we love to see our patients succeed through their therapy treatments.

As we recognize all of our wonderful therapists during National Physical Therapy Month, we also want to promote the #ChoosePT campaign. APTA has launched this awareness campaign about the growing toll of the opioid epidemic and has also provided the safety and effectiveness of physical therapy for pain management.

Physical therapy has been identified as a safe and effective alternative to opioids for long-term pain management and prevention by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the US Surgeon General. Physical therapists (PTs) and physical therapist assistants (PTAs) have a responsibility to understand the full scope of the epidemic and its potential impact on their patients and clients.”

No one wants to live in pain- and we don’t want you to. Choose Physical Therapy for Safe Pain Management.  Don’t just mask the pain. Treat it!


Our therapists from the Ocean Springs Neurological Vestibular Rehabilitation Clinic in Mississippi are actively involved with the #ChoosePT movement and want to encourage you to be a part too. #SayNoToOpioids

9 Things You Should Know About Pain

1. Pain is output from the brain. While we used to believe that pain originated within the tissues of our body, we now understand that pain does not exist until the brain determines it does. The brain uses a virtual “road map” to direct an output of pain to tissues that it suspects may be in danger. This process acts as a means of communication between the brain and the tissues of the body, to serve as a defense against possible injury or disease.

2. The degree of injury does not always equal the degree of pain. Research has demonstrated that we all experience pain in individual ways. While some of us experience major injuries with little pain, others experience minor injuries with a lot of pain (think of a paper cut).

3. Despite what diagnostic imaging (MRIs, x-rays, CT scans) shows us, the finding may not be the cause of your pain. A study performed on individuals 60 years or older who had no symptoms of low back pain found that 36% had a herniated disc, 21% had spinal stenosis, and more than 90% had a degenerated or bulging disc, upon diagnostic imaging.

4. Psychological factors, such as depression and anxiety, can make your pain worse. Pain can be influenced by many different factors, such as psychological conditions. A recent study in the Journal of Pain showed that psychological variables that existed prior to a total knee replacement were related to a patient’s experience of long-term pain following the operation.

5. Your social environment may influence your perception of pain. Many patients state their pain increases when they are at work or in a stressful situation. Pain messages can be generated when an individual is in an environment or situation that the brain interprets as unsafe. It is a fundamental form of self-protection.

6. Understanding pain through education may reduce your need for care. A large study conducted with military personnel demonstrated that those who were given a 45-minute educational session about pain sought care for low back pain less than their counterparts.

7. Our brains can be tricked into developing pain in prosthetic limbs. Studies have shown that our brains can be tricked into developing a “referred” sensation in a limb that has been amputated, causing a feeling of pain that seems to come from the prosthetic limb – or from the “phantom” limb. The sensation is generated by the association of the brain’s perception of what the body is from birth (whole and complete) and what it currently is (post-amputation).

8. The ability to determine left from right may be altered when you experience pain. Networks within the brain that assist you in determining left from right can be affected when you experience severe pain. If you have been experiencing pain, and have noticed your sense of direction is a bit off, it may be because a “roadmap” within the brain that details a path to each part of the body may be a bit “smudged.” (This is a term we use to describe a part of the brain’s virtual roadmap that isn’t clear. Imagine spilling ink onto part of a roadmap and then trying to use that map to get to your destination.)

9. There is no way of knowing whether you have a high tolerance for pain or not. Science has yet to determine whether we all experience pain in the same way. While some people claim to have a “high tolerance” for pain, there is no accurate way to measure or compare pain tolerance among individuals. While some tools exist to measure how much force you can resist before experiencing pain, it can’t be determined what your pain “feels like.”

Read more about Pain and Chronic Pain Syndromes.

The American Physical Therapy Association launched a national campaign to raise awareness about the risks of opioids and the safe alternative of physical therapy for long-term pain management. Learn more at our #ChoosePT page.

Author: Joseph Brence, PT, DPT, FAAOMPT, COMT, DAC

**Article found at:

Elbow pain: Lateral Epicondylitis (aka, Tennis elbow)

The technology boom of the past decade has not only made our lives easier (debateable), but also caused a surge in overuse injuries. Smart phones, i-pads, and laptops (to name a few) have become as common TV’s and cars to every household in America. The age of instant access to information and social media has made keeping up with news, family and friends much easier but has come at a price. Elbow pain, specifically Lateral Epicondylitis, and Carpal Tunnel syndrome (a topic for another day) have become more common and can become extremely debilitating if not treated in a timely manner. Keep in mind that it can take as little as 3 weeks for an injury to become chronic and therefore seeking early intervention can literally be the difference in a successful outcome and months of pain and discomfort. Unlike most injuries, Lateral Epicondylitis is a problem that almost anyone can diagnose, as long as you know what signs to look for.

First, What is Lateral Epicondylitis? Simply stated, lateral epicondylitis is overuse tendonitis of the wrist and finger extensors. Pain and discomfort are felt on the outside of the elbow and can run down the forearm into the various muscles (muscles that make up the back of the hand). The muscles on the back of the wrist are very small and they all come together and insert just above the elbow.

Second, What are the symptoms? 1. Tender to touch, just above the elbow on the back of the forearm. The area will definitely be sore due to the inflammation. 2. Pain with picking up weighted objects such as a jug of milk, coffee cup, etc., and even something as simple as typing on your laptop. The pain noted in this area can run the entire gammit from sharp pain to a dull, achy feeling. The pain generally subsides when the affected hand is at rest. 3. Noted weakness. Noticeable weakness with gripping activities along with pain in the above mentioned area is a sure fire indicator that you may have lateral epicondylitis. It is not uncommon for me to have patients tell me that they have problems with dropping objects (usually making a mess). 4. Pain with resistance. Make a fist on the hurt arm. Push down on the back of the affected hand with the uninjured hand and that can elicit pain in the elbow. If all these symptoms are present, BAM, you have just acturately diagnosed yourself with Lateral Epicondylitis.

Now I know you are extremely proud of yourself and you should be but ultimately I’m sure you really just want to stop hurting. Let’s talk about the important stuff, the steps to recovery. What to do: 1. Ice. But you say, I hate ice. Believe me, early on, ice is your friend. Putting an ice pack on the painful area for 15 minutes 4-5 times a day greatly enhances your chances of saving a copay. 2. Medication. My medication of choice is Aleve. 2 in the morning and 2 at bedtime for a week is where I generally start. Ibuprofen or Motrin is an acceptable substitute. These medications are called NSAIDS and can be affective at fighting muscular inflammation. If you are unable to take NSAIDS, consult your physician for alternative medications. 3. Rest. It’s simple but true. Making a conscious effort to limit the use of the affected hand greatly improves your chance of success. Trust me, I get it. This is easier said than done, but if you don’t use the affected arm, it won’t hurt. Continuing to use the injured arm increases the inflammation in the tendons and delays healing. 4. Bracing. I struggled with whether or not to mention tennis elbow braces but I do feel they can help manage your pain but here is my disclaimer. Make sure you use them correctly. Proper application is key. If you are unsure of how to properly apply the brace, seek assistance from a qualified health care provider.
In conclusion, Lateral Epicondylitis is not something that you have to run to the doctor with. We mentioned that time is important and it is but give yourself 1 week of managing your symptoms with these simple steps and if the pain improves, then give yourself another week, if it doesn’t, seek the advice and counsel of your family physician. Remember, early intervention and treatment is important to kicking that unwanted uncle out of the house before he wears out his welcome.

This article was written by one of our PT, ATC, Matt Moorer.