Cracking joints, sore backs and achy knees are common ailments for athletes, both the serious and casual variety. But activities of daily life come with their own risks, too, and you don’t have to be a hardcore athlete to struggle with physical pain from time to time.
Whether it’s playing a casual game of basketball with friends, bending over a backyard garden every weekend or jogging a few times a week, these activities and many more can lead to their own physical issues. Regional One Health’s Center for Rehabilitative Medicine at the East Campus at 6555 Quince Road helps get everyone back in the game of life much quicker.
“I talk to patients about this all the time that it’s about what’s important to you,” said Dr. Christopher Covington, DO, medical director of the Center for Rehabilitative Medicine. “If you can’t do those things you enjoy doing in life you’re getting cheated, whether it’s gardening or sitting in the stands watching your kids play basketball.”
The Center for Rehabilitative Medicine works with patients suffering from an array of ailments, from stroke or a traumatic brain injury to knee replacement and sports injuries. The doctors and therapists work to help patients be able to return to work or school quicker, but not every need for rehabilitative services is an obvious injury. Sometimes rehab works well for those people dealing with simple wear and tear that comes with age.
The most common degenerative pain is in the knees and back. Unless associated with trauma these aches and pains come from the wear and tear of life and do get worse over time.
“Sometimes a person has just been hurting for a while, it might just be on and off,” Dr. Covington said. “They notice it’s getting worse or more frequent. They should take the opportunity to talk to a doctor.”
The Center for Rehabilitative Medicine provides comprehensive therapy options that also includes neurosciences for patients who have suffered a stroke, traumatic injuries, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease, spinal injuries or other issues.
No matter the ailment, patients often get referrals from a primary care provider, but it’s not always necessary. Dr. Covington recommends anyone interested in rehab services should call the Center for Rehabilitative Medicine to discuss the concern and make an appointment. If a patient already has had scans completed by another provider it’s helpful to send those in before an appointment so X-rays aren’t repeated.
The providers will assess the ailment with a comprehensive exam. That includes examining scans or completing new ones if necessary, and then discussing next steps with the patient. Sometimes that might include intervention physical therapy to help shore up other areas of the body near the ailing joint.
“It could be problems with balance or gait, problems with pain from an injury such as in the lower back or knee. We make sure those areas are taken care of the best way the patient hopes they can be,” Dr. Covington said. “If one area is bothered we’re all connected so another area might affect us, too. It’s common for knee pain to trickle to the ankle, back or hip.”
A limp can cause stress or overuse of another part of the leg or back on either side of the body. A comprehensive physical exam reveals any other related issues.
“All of us are typical patients,” Dr. Covington said. “No one can say they don’t have knee, hip or hand pain on and off through the week. Whether you’re a weekend warrior or regular exerciser going to the fitness club a couple times a week or running on the road, we’re all that typical patient.”
Because every person’s ailment is different, every patient receives an individualized care plan with a full complement of services that might include physical therapy, occupational therapy, recreational therapy, social work, pharmacy and nutrition.
“People need to understand that if we can get in earlier and get that area working better for them we have a better chance in helping them feel better and slow down that degenerative process,” Dr. Covington said. “The longer we wait the more we have to go through. It’s about keeping that person functional and sustaining quality of life.”
To make an appointment at Regional One Health’s Center for Rehabilitative Medicine at the East Campus, please call 901-515-5900.