Tag Archive for: Portsmouth New Hampshire

Knee Pain Causes

Six Tips to Improve Knee Pain Naturally and on Your Own

When you’ve got persistent, nagging knee pain – it can have quite the impact on your quality of life. But the good news is there is plenty you can do naturally and on your own to help relieve knee pain, even if you’ve been suffering for years.

Here are 6 of my top tips for how you can improve knee pain naturally and on you own:

  1. Strengthen Your Hips and Core:

Your hips and core provide essential support and stability to your entire body, but especially your lower limbs and knees. Strengthening this important muscle group is a key component for not only relieving knee pain, but preventing it as well. When you’ve got weakness or imbalance in your hips and core, it leads to poor alignment and compensatory stress on your knees during movements like walking, running, or squatting. Strengthening your hips and core will improve overall biomechanics, reducing the load placed on the knees and preventing excessive wear and tear.

  1. Get (and stay) Flexible:

One saying you’ll hear me repeat over and over is: “mobility before stability”. That’s because when you’ve got stiffness in your joints, the surrounding muscles will try to compensate. And muscles don’t work as well when the joint they are in charge of moving doesn’t have full and free mobility. Good and optimized joint mobility will enhance the body’s ability to move efficiently and with proper body mechanics, reducing the strain on your knees. By increasing (and maintaining) your flexibility and range of motion – your body will move more freely and distribute forces more evenly throughout your joints and muscles – thus – reducing the risk of overload on your knees.

  1. Interrupt Your Sitting:

Knee pain can come directly from your knee, but also from your spine (even when you don’t have any back pain). When you interrupt your sitting often throughout the day, this addresses both potential causes. For knees in particular, prolonged periods of sitting can cause stiffness, and lead to poor blood circulation in and around your knee joint. Sitting for extended periods can also lead to tightness in the hip flexors and hamstrings, which can negatively impact knee alignment and function. By taking regular breaks to stand up, stretch, or move around, you can relieve pressure on your knees, maintain good joint mobility, and prevent muscle imbalances that will only lead to more knee pain over time.

  1. Get (and keep) Moving:

Regular movement and exercise helps to stimulate blood flow. And if you’ve got inflammation in your knees causing pain, good blood flow helps to reduce inflammation by delivering essential nutrients and oxygen, while also removing waste products. If your knees are on the arthritic side, engaging in low-impact exercises like walking, swimming, cycling, or Pilates can help build strength and endurance around your knees without putting excessive stress on the joints. Regular movement also helps lubricate your knee joints, which can reduce friction and discomfort during daily activities. And perhaps the biggest benefit of regular exercise and movement is the release of endorphins – which are your body’s natural painkillers that can help alleviate discomfort in any joint, not just your knees.

  1. Choose Sensible Footwear:

The right (or wrong) footwear can make a huge difference in how your knees feel with walking, running, or standing. When you’ve got proper footwear, it provides the support and cushioning you need to reduce impact on your knees. Depending on the mechanics of your feet and ankles, footwear can also help to enhance or improve your alignment and stability. By choosing footwear that prioritizes comfort, support, and proper alignment, you can effectively reduce knee pain and improve your overall joint health.

  1. Improve Your Balance:

Good balance is important for a lot of reasons, namely, it allows you to have good stability and control during movement, and it reduces your fall risk. But having good balance can also reduce the strain in your knees. That’s because having good balance requires the coordination and strength of your postural muscles, feet, and ankles to all work together and distribute forces evenly. When that doesn’t happen, your knees tend to overcompensate and suffer. So working to improve and maintain balance can help to decrease the stress on your knees by getting other joints and muscle groups to “join the party”.

If you’ve been suffering from knee pain for awhile and not yet incorporating any of these 6 tips into your daily or weekly routine, get started now and see if it helps.

If knee pain is getting in the way of you even being able to incorporate some of these tips, then it’s time to speak with a physical therapy specialist. They will help you identify the root cause of your knee pain and come up with a treatment plan that is designed to get rid of your pain – and teach you how to keep it gone – naturally and on your own.

Are you local to Portsmouth, NH? Consider speaking with one of my specialists to see if we would be a good fit to help! CLICK HERE to request a free discovery visit.

Dr. Carrie Jose, Physical Therapist and Pilates expert, owns CJ Physical Therapy & Pilates in Portsmouth and writes for Seacoast Media Group. To request a free copy of her Knee Pain Free Report CLICK HERE  or to get in touch, email her at [email protected]

Holding Knee with Arthritis

Torn Meniscus? Is Surgery Worth it?

It’s estimated that approximately 750,000 arthroscopic knee surgeries are performed every year – the majority of them being due to a torn meniscus.

But at a cost of about $4 billion per year – is this surgery even worth it?

Let’s investigate…

Arthroscopic knee surgery is a minimally invasive procedure that’s commonly done to help “clean out” your knee joint if you’ve got degenerative arthritis, or to clip out pieces of a torn meniscus that might be irritating your knee. The biggest set of pro’s for this procedure is that it’s quick, recovery is fairly minimal, and you will typically experience an immediate relief of pain.

Sounds worth it – right?

Not so fast. There are many cons to this procedure as well, many of which are not realized until it’s too late. So it’s worth a second opinion and considering all of your options before you jump in.

First, as with any surgical procedure, even if it’s minimally invasive, there are risks. Complications include nerve damage, excessive bleeding, infection, reactions to anesthesia, persistent stiffness and swelling, or blood clots. While these risks tend to be rare, they don’t outweigh the other long-term considerations you should be aware of.

Looking to avoid a knee replacement in your future?

Then you’ll definitely want to think twice about getting arthroscopic meniscus surgery. Research tells us that people who undergo arthroscopic knee surgery are likely to have knee arthritis that advances more rapidly – resulting in a total knee replacement that quite possibly could have been avoided. This is because you’re removing vital cushioning and shock absorbing mechanisms (the meniscus) from your knee joint. Plus, a meta-analysis published in Oct 2020 in the Knee Surgery, Sports, Traumatology, Arthroscopy journal revealed a 36% failure rate by year two – and a 13% failure rate by year five for meniscus repairs – resulting in more surgery and eventual knee replacement.

And then there’s the elephant in the room…

It’s more common than you think for knee pain to be coming from somewhere other than your knee, even when your MRI shows a meniscus tear. Knee pain can be caused by problems in your ankle, hip, or back. One study showed that 40% of the time – knee pain comes from a source in your spine – even when you don’t have any back pain. MRI’s add even more confusion to this because degenerative changes, which are normal as we age and very commonly lead to a torn meniscus, make surgeons think your meniscus is the cause of your knee pain when it might not be. The only way to truly determine the cause of your knee pain (in the absence of trauma) is through a proper mechanical exam that involves repeated movement testing to reveal the actual pain generator. 

The truth is – 70-80% of all knee problems can be resolved naturally and without surgery.

An early research study from 2002 by JB Mosely and colleagues, and published in the New England Journal of Medicine, revealed that placebo surgery for advanced knee arthritis was just as effective as actual arthroscopic surgery. Since then, numerous studies have proven similar results. This means that even if you have a torn meniscus or degenerative arthritis in your knee – you can still get better naturally and with conservative treatment. 

So why then – despite all this research – are surgeons still performing arthroscopic knee surgery to repair a torn meniscus?

In some cases it’s just what the surgeon knows, and they haven’t kept up with the research. Other times, it’s due to poor conservative management of knee pain. If you’ve gotten physical therapy and it wasn’t effective, people are led to believe that the physical therapy “didn’t work”. But more often than not, you didn’t get physical therapy from a specialist – someone who understands how to diagnose knee pain properly and get you the customized approach that is required to avoid surgery. 

If you’re young and involved in high-level sports, meniscus surgery is likely worth it for you.

But for most people, especially those over the age of 40, there’s a 70-80% chance you can get full relief of your knee pain, and full restoration of knee function without any type of surgery or procedure. This is not a popular opinion by the way, so be careful who you speak to for a second opinion. But for me, both the research as well as my 22 years of clinical experience tell me that most people (especially those over age 40) can resolve their knee pain naturally and with better long-term results if they avoid arthroscopic knee surgery – even when there’s a meniscus tear.

7 Reasons Everyone over 50 Should be Walking

A meet a lot of folks who think (or have been told) they need to “slow down” once they get into their 50’s and beyond – especially if they have arthritis or an injury. But this can’t be farther from the truth. As we age, regular movement and exercise becomes even more critical – especially if you’re injured or suffering from arthritis. 

If it’s been awhile since you’ve exercised, or you’re looking for something you can do that’s accessible and where you can be consistent, then let’s talk about all the benefits a walking routine can bring you – especially if you’re in your 50’s and beyond.

Here are 7 reasons why I think everyone over 50 should be walking:

  1. It’s good for your cardiovascular health

The leading cause of death in older adults continues to be cardiovascular disease. A regular walking routine can help combat this by improving your heart health, increasing your blood circulation, it reduces bad cholesterol, and raises the good cholesterol. Plus – the rhythmic nature of walking gets your heart pumping at a steady rate – which is great for your overall cardiovascular health.

  1. It makes your muscles and bones stronger

As we age, losing both bone density and muscle mass are normal and common. But there are things you can do to counteract this process – and regular walking is one of them. Since walking is a weight-bearing activity, it’s good for strengthening your bones and reducing the risk of osteoporosis and fractures. Walking also engages several of your muscle groups at once – which helps them to stay active and strong.

  1. It’s boosts your mental health

Ever heard of walking meditation? It’s a thing. Walking has been shown to significantly reduce symptoms of depression and anxiety, and it’s an opportunity to get your mind off the day to day, self reflect, and even meditate as I mentioned above. Plus – if you assume a regular walking routine with friends or loved ones, the social aspect can be so beneficial to your mood and mental health. To further enhance the mental benefits of walking – try to get out in nature. The fresh air – plus tranquil sounds and smells – is not only cleansing for your mind – but for your soul as well.

  1. It helps you manage weight

Along with bone density and muscle mass, your metabolism also takes a hit as you get older. But regular walking can help counteract this. Regular walking burns calories to help you maintain a healthy weight, which is critical for avoiding chronic diseases such as diabetes and heart disease. Plus, being at a healthy weight can increase your energy levels, it’s easier to move around and do your daily tasks, and you’ll have less stress on your joints.

  1. It improves your joint health

A lot of people don’t realize this – but arthritis is something that occurs naturally as you age and it’s not something to be feared. But because we fear it, we unknowingly avoid activities that are good for us and that actually help arthritis. Walking is one of these activities. Movement is one of the best things you can do for arthritis, and walking in particular helps to lubricate your joints, especially your knees and hips. Regular walking also helps to make the structures and soft tissue around your joints loose and flexible – which is important for successful management of arthritic joints.

  1. It helps enhance your balance and coordination

As we get older, falls become a major concern because lower bone density means you’re more prone to fractures. It gets more difficult to work on balance and coordination after you’ve lost it – so maintaining it is key. A regular walking routine does just that. Each step you take requires coordination of several muscles as well as balance – and the repetitiveness of wal

king helps enhance your body’s natural ability to quickly correct and stabilize itself – all helping you to decrease your risk of falling.

  1. It’s low impact and adaptable

One of the reasons I recommend walking for folks over 50 is because of its low-impact nature. Unlike jogging or other high-impact exercises, walking is gentle on the joints and can be easily adapted to your current fitness level. Whether it’s a slow-paced walk around the block or a brisk hike up a hill, walking can be tailored to suit your individual needs and goals

If you’re over 50 – incorporating regular walking into your routine can be a game-changer. It’s a simple yet profoundly effective way to get and stay fit – and you’ll find it improves your quality of life in ways that are beyond physical. Walking nurtures your mind and soul, is a great way to catch up with friends and stay social, and you can literally do it anywhere. If you’re not already incorporating a regular walking routine – what are you waiting for? And if an injury is what’s stopping you – talk to an expert who can help you get rid of your pain and get started in a way that is safe for your body.

Learn more about our next exclusive free live event – Fit After 50 – HERE.

Dr. Carrie Jose, Physical Therapist and Pilates expert, owns CJ Physical Therapy & Pilates in Portsmouth and writes for Seacoast Media Group. To get in touch, email her at [email protected].

work out

5 Ways Working Out Can Aggravate Your Back

The research continues to show that the best “treatment” for back pain is exercise. But for some, a work out is what actually aggravates their back. This is a common frustration I hear from clients. They know that strengthening their core and working out is good for their back. But when they do – they suffer. 

Here are five ways your work out is aggravating your back:

1. Misguided Exercise Choice

While the research isn’t wrong about exercising and back pain – not all exercises are appropriate depending on the type and severity of back pain you’re experiencing. For example, walking is considered one of the best activities for back pain sufferers, but for some, it’s excruciating. Strength training and lifting weights should be an essential part of back pain rehabilitation (and prevention). But if it’s done haphazardly, you’re going to have problems and likely aggravate your back. “Exercise” is not what causes problems for most people – it’s exercise choice. And when you make the wrong choice and aggravate your back, you tend to do the worst thing possible – rest and avoid exercise altogether. There is a middle ground when it comes to exercise and back pain. Working with an expert who understands this is essential.

2. Premature Stability Training

Stability training is an important part of back pain recovery – but I often see it introduced too soon. “Mobility before stability” is my mantra. If you don’t have full mobility in your spine, there is a reason, and it must be explored. When your spine doesn’t move well, you risk developing compensatory movement patterns that cause structures in and around your spine to get irritated. You don’t want to stabilize this scenario. You want to restore proper mobility first and then stabilize your spine. I can’t tell you how often I see people making this mistake. When it comes to back pain and working out, mobility-first is a must. If you’ve got a stiff back but have been trying to stabilize it – this could be why your back is getting aggravated when you work out. Stability work has been introduced too soon.

3. Poor Core Activation

Knowing how to properly activate your core is different from having good core strength. You can have the strongest abs in the world – but if you don’t use them when they count – your “6-pack abs” are useless.  Knowing how to properly activate your core is essential when you exercise, but especially when you have back pain. If you don’t activate your core properly when you’re lifting weights, or when performing complicated, coordinated movements such as tennis or golf – you’re setting yourself up for injury. The ability to activate your core properly is developed through motor control training. It’s where we teach your mind how to recognize and activate specific muscles, during specific activities, so that it eventually becomes habitual. If you’re constantly having back pain every time you work-out or exercise, it could be that you lack the ability to activate your core properly – and/or when you need it.

4. Poor (or non-existent) breathing technique

Not breathing properly – or not breathing at all – can significantly impact the effectiveness of your exercise routine and impede your ability to perform an exercise properly. As mentioned previously, knowing how to activate your core is crucial when you exercise, and in order to activate your core properly, you must be able to breathe properly. Your deep core is made up of four parts: your deep abdominals, deep back muscles, pelvic floor musculature, and your diaphragm. Your diaphragm is what controls your breathing. Let’s say you hold your breath when you exercise. This means your diaphragm isn’t expanding or contracting, which impacts the other four muscle groups in your deep core. All four muscle groups must work together in order for your core to be functional and strong. Plus – when your diaphragm – or any other muscle group in your deep core can’t work like it should – you get unnecessary pressure and strain on your back muscles. If you’re constantly aggravating your back every time you work out – make sure you’re breathing properly. Or at the very least, not holding your breath.

5. Improper form

Perhaps the most common reason working out aggravates your back is because you’re not using proper form. There’s a lot of people out there who think posture and form don’t really matter. But they do. When you lift weights, for example, you’re adding load to your spine. It’s essential you have good form and technique when your spine is under load or stress. The tricky thing about form, however, is that you can get away with poor form for a time. It might not hurt the first time you lift with improper form – or the fourth – but by your 100th rep – your back will start talking to you. Same goes for body weight exercises. Just because you aren’t adding load to your spine in the form of an external weight, doesn’t mean you can’t still aggravate it by doing the same movement over and over poorly. If you’re going to exercise – and you want to exercise daily – do it with proper form and posture. Otherwise – if you haven’t aggravated your back yet – it’s only a matter of time.

If you’re always hurting your back when you work out – it’s likely due to one of these five reasons.

Get expert help to figure out which one it might be – because at the end of the day – exercise is good for your back – and you don’t want to avoid it or dismiss it when there could be a perfectly reasonable explanation

Are you local to Portsmouth, NH and looking for help?

Consider speaking with one of my specialists – we will ask you all about what’s been going on with you and see if we would be a good fit to help! CLICK HERE to speak with a specialist.

Dr. Carrie Jose, Physical Therapist and Pilates expert, owns CJ Physical Therapy & Pilates in Portsmouth and writes for Seacoast Media group. To get in touch, or request one of her free guides for getting rid of back pain – visit her website www.cjphysicaltherapy.com or call 603-605-0402

Neck stretches

3 Reasons Your Neck Stretches aren’t Working

If you suffer from chronic neck stiffness or even pain – and you’ve done your due diligence when it comes to neck stretches – it’s time to consider you might be missing something.

It could be your stretching technique, you could be doing the wrong stretch altogether, or it could be that you shouldn’t be stretching your neck at all…

Let’s go over three reasons why your neck stretches might not be working and help you pinpoint where it’s going wrong…


1. You’re using the wrong stretching technique.

Although research studies are inconclusive regarding how long you should hold a particular stretch, most people feel good when they hold a stretch for 30-60 seconds. When it comes to technique, one of the biggest problems I see is not relaxing enough. If you’re tense, or gripping your muscles at the same time you’re stretching, it won’t work very well. It’s important to breathe and move easily into the stretch. If you try to force it or push through pain, you’ll likely tense up.

Now let’s say you’re doing everything right (not tensing or gripping) but your stretches still don’t seem to work. Some people (myself included) respond better to “moving stretches”. This is where instead of holding one static position for a prolonged period, you repeatedly move through one (or several) end-range stretches. Neck rolls are a great example of this. If your neck stretches haven’t been working, try adjusting the way you’ve been stretching. If you notice a difference right away then you have your answer – you were likely using the wrong stretching technique.

2. You’re doing the wrong type of stretch.

This one could be a little tougher to figure out on your own. There is a difference between corrective neck stretching and stretching to feel good.

For example, let’s say your neck is tightening up because you’ve been under a lot of stress or you just did a lot of activity that stressed your neck out. Generic neck stretches such as bringing your chin to your chest, or pulling your chin to the opposite shoulder (known as an upper trap stretch) may be all you need.

In fact, I do stretches like this regularly because I’m constantly leaning over to help patients. I stretch my neck to PREVENT it from having problems and because it feels good. But let’s say you already have a neck problem, or you have pain or numbness running down your arm. In these instances, generic neck stretching could make you worse. You likely need corrective stretches for your neck. Corrective stretches are specifically prescribed to address a particular problem, and prescribed at a specific frequency. They are different from the generalized stretches that are designed to feel good and relieve tension.

3. You shouldn’t be stretching your neck at all.

This is a very common problem we see here in our office. Folks come in with complaints of chronic tightness and discomfort in their neck and no matter how often they stretch or massage, it doesn’t go away.

Did you know that chronic neck tightness can be a sign of a weak core?

It’s quite common, and if that is the case for you, no amount of stretching will help (and can even aggravate your problem!) The deep, stabilizing muscles of your neck are connected by fascia to the deep muscles of your core. If your deep core is not working properly, then your neck will often kick in and try to help.

Ever notice that your neck is always sore or tight after a good ab workout?

This could be a sign that your neck is compensating for your core. Stop stretching your neck, learn how to strengthen your core the right way, and see a specialist who can help you.

If you’re dealing with chronic neck problems that aren’t responding to stretching, there’s a good chance you could be not stretching correctly, the stretches aren’t right for you, or you’ve completely missed the root cause of your neck pain and you shouldn’t be stretching at all.

Consider talking to a movement specialist who understands how to figure this out so you can get rid of your neck pain and back to all the activities you love!

Are you local to Portsmouth, NH?

Book a free discovery visit with one of my specialists HERE.

They will ask you all about what’s been going on – and help you make the best decision moving forward – whether that’s working with us not!

Dr. Carrie Jose, Physical Therapist and Pilates expert, owns CJ Physical Therapy & Pilates in Portsmouth and writes for Seacoast Media Group. To get in touch, email her at [email protected].

Pain when gardening

Six Ways to Protect your Knees and Back when Gardening

Gardening is a favorite activity for a lot of folks – and lately I have been hearing many people having knee and back pain when gardening. To add more frustration to this topic, you might not even notice the pain until hours or days afterwards, which can make it challenging to address.

The good news is that there are several things you can do to protect your knees and back while gardening.

Here are 6 of my favorite tips to manage pain when gardening:

1. Warm up first

Before diving into any activity that you know you’ll be doing repetitively and for more than a few hours, it’s a good idea to warm-up. It doesn’t have to be anything crazy or excessive and 10 min is plenty.

Typically, you’ll only be gardening during nice weather. So enjoy it by taking a walk around your neighborhood first. Then do some easy light stretching to lubricate your joints before you begin. It won’t take long but your knees and back will thank you.

2. Avoid bending from the waist

Lifting and carrying heavy bags of soil or plants can put a lot of strain on your back and knees. You really want to make sure you’re using proper posture and body mechanics to avoid problems.

When lifting, be sure to use your legs instead of your back and hold objects close to your body. If you hinge only from your hips, for example, which a lot of people like to do, you will put extra strain on the back of your knees and lower back. Get in the habit of bending your ankles, knees, and hips in unison – kind of like an accordion – so that you build good muscle and body memory and don’t even have to think about it next time you’re gardening or lifting.

3. Take frequent breaks

It’s easy to get lost in the activity of planting and weeding. But even if you’re choosing good postures like I mentioned above – your back and knees still need a break. Our joints don’t enjoy anything when done repetitively or for prolonged periods, but especially too much bending or sitting on your knees. When you bend too much and too often, the discs in your lower back can get aggravated, and when you’re sitting on your knees, it’s a lot of pressure and can annoy your arthritis.

I recommend setting a timer and giving yourself a break every 30 min to change positions. Simply stand up and get out of the bent or sitting posture. Your back and knees will thank you and you’ll be able to garden for much longer and without risk of injury.

4. Pivot instead of twist

Your lower back and knees aren’t really designed to rotate, they are designed for bending and extending. So if you’re not careful – you can strain these areas with poor twisting and turning mechanics. When you have to rotate, you’ll want to pivot from your pelvis.

What does this look like?

Make sure your hips are always in line with the object you are moving and maneuvering. Keep your ribs in line with your pelvis and your pelvis in line with your knees and feet – and always move them as a unit. While it’s ok to bend and twist from your waist or legs on occasion – you’ll find yourself in some trouble when you do this over and over again – especially if you’re already prone to back or knee pain.

5. Use ergonomic gardening tools

The right gardening tools can be of significant help when it comes to maintaining good posture and avoiding overuse of your muscles and joints. Long-handled tools can help reduce the need for bending and stooping, which as already discussed, puts strain on your knees and back when overdone. Another consideration is the weight of your tools. It might be worth the investment to swap out your older, heavier tools for more modern, lightweight alternatives.

When you have to lift something heavy – especially repeatedly – use a wheelbarrow. This valuable gardening tool will allow you to lift and move heavy things with significantly less strain on your back. If you’ve got to be on your knees or squatting a lot – consider using a gardening bench and/or knee pads. These tools will make it easier to sustain activities that require prolonged bending or kneeling.

6. Use beds to raise your gardens

Raised garden beds not only look pretty but they are extremely ergonomic. Especially if you suffer from more chronic back and knee problems. Raised garden beds are elevated off the ground. They are easier to maintain and limit the amount of bending you have to do.

Raised garden beds are relatively simple to build and create. Even if you’re not having problems now with gardening, if it’s an activity you love to do, you might want to consider it. Making the investment in raised gardening beds now could go a long way in preventing knee and back problems in your future.

Gardening has so many positive benefits for both your mental and physical health – and the last thing I want is for back or knee pain to get in your way.

If you are experiencing pain when gardening – Give these tips a try.

But if it’s not enough, don’t give up.

Enlist the help of a musculoskeletal pain and movement expert who can help you figure out the source of your problem and provide you with practical solutions so that you can get back to gardening as quickly as possible.

If you are local to Portsmouth, NH – consider speaking to one of my specialists.

It’s a free, no-obligation call where you can tell us everything that’s been going on with you, and determine for yourself if we’re the best people to help you.

Click here to speak with a specialist.


Why the Difference between Tendinitis and Tendinosis Matters

Tendinitis and Tendinosis: Why the Difference between them Matters.

Many patients at our specialized physical therapy practice in Portsmouth, NH, suffer from either Tendinitis or Tendinosis. Tendinitis and Tendinosis sound very similar, and are often used interchangeably but they couldn’t be more different. And neither should their treatment regimen.

Tendonitis is an acute, short-term, inflammatory condition typically caused by repetitive overuse of your tendon.

Tendinosis, on the other hand, is a chronic, degenerative condition of your tendon that involves deterioration of collagen, a structural protein in your tendon.

Tendons are tight, yet flexible bands of fibrous tissue that connect your muscle to bone. Without tendons, your muscles would be useless. Tendons are extremely organized, and the fibers are designed in a way to withstand and transmit high forces of tension so your muscle can function properly.

With tendinitis, your tendon becomes inflamed and irritated, typically due to repetitive overuse, and it will hurt when you try to move. The most common areas for tendinitis to occur are your elbows, rotator cuff (shoulder), patella (knee), and Achilles tendon (ankle).

Tendonitis is an acute condition, and the best treatment is to rest, apply ice, and sometimes take anti-inflammatories to control pain. But this should only be for a short period of time. From there, you want to figure out what caused the tendinitis to occur in the first place and address that.

Typically, it’s due to some sort of mismatch between muscle strength and the activity you need to perform, leading your body to compensate and put unwanted stress on your tendon. Once you figure out and correct this pattern, it’s very easy to get rid of your tendinitis.

When you don’t manage tendinitis properly, and it goes on longer than a few months, it can result in tendinosis.

Tendinosis is a very different condition where the fibers in your tendon actually start to break down. An important thing to note is that tendinosis no longer involves inflammation of your tendon. So using ice every day, resting it, and taking anti-inflammatories will not help you, and could even worsen the condition.

Second, since tendinosis involves disorganization and degeneration of the fibers that make up your tendon, you have to “re-organize” those fibers and get blood flowing to the tissue (actually create some inflammation). Unresolved tendinosis leads to progressive weakening of your tendon over time – making it easily susceptible to full blown tears. This is how so many folks tear their Achilles or rotator cuff, for example, “out of nowhere”.

So how do you treat tendinosis and prevent more serious problems from happening down the line?

You have to get blood flow to the area and re-organize those fibers so your tendon can work properly again. Passive treatments like ice, rest, and medicine will not help tendinosis.

The only exception is shockwave therapy (also known as Extracorporeal Pulse Activation Technology).

With shockwave therapy, high-energy sound waves stimulate the body’s natural healing mechanisms by increasing blood flow to the injured, affected area. The increased blood flow delivers oxygen and nutrients to the damaged tissue to help accelerate healing and reduce inflammation.

With pain reduced and the healing process promoted, your tendon is now primed for physical rehabilitation and re-organization of the tendons, the next most essential part of getting rid of your tendinosis.

The only way to truly re-organize tendons is to put stress on them so they can “remodel”. To do this, you have to put just the right amount of stress to cause a little bit of pain (inflammation) – but not so much that your tendon gets inflamed again.

This is literally one of the few times where “no pain no gain” actually holds true. A properly trained physical therapist who is well-versed in tendinosis rehabilitation will know how to do this and can guide you through it.

You have to retrain the fibers in your tendon to withstand normal forces again – and this process takes both time and careful loading strategies.

The good news, however, is that if you rehab your tendinosis properly, you can get back to all the activities you love again as if nothing ever happened. You don’t have to accept this as a chronic condition.

If you’re confused on tendinosis and tendinitis after reading this don’t worry – so is half the medical community.

The take home points to remember are that tendinitis involves pain and inflammation. There is no damage to your tendon, and it only lasts about 4-6 weeks.

Treatment for tendinits should involve passive modalities like ice and rest. The focus should be on what caused your tendon to get irritated in the first place. Then, you can get rid of it before it turns into tendinosis.

If the problem in your tendon has gone on longer than 3 months, you must suspect tendinosis. This no longer involves inflammation but instead, a breakdown of your tendon. Passive treatments (with the exception of shockwave therapy) will not work. They could actually prolong your problem – so stop icing and resting.

To get rid of tendinosis, it requires carefully prescribed loading strategies, aka strengthening. That will properly re-organize your tendon so that it can be strong and functional again. This is extremely challenging to do on your own.

So it’s a good idea to talk to an expert about this. If you are local to and looking for physical therapy in Portsmouth, NH, reach out to schedule a FREE 30 minute discovery session.

Want to lose weight in the New Year? Don’t let knee or back pain get in your way.

If you google “Top 3 New Year’s Resolutions” – you’re sure to find “losing weight” as one of them. While I’m not a dietician or nutritionist, I know that the majority of weight loss has to do with what you eat. However, exercise plays a role too, and that I am an expert in. 

Exercise stimulates endorphins and makes you feel better all around. The better you feel, the easier it will be to stay motivated about your weight loss goal.

Exercise also helps you burn more calories – which certainly isn’t going to hurt your weight loss journey.

But if you’ve got unchecked knee or back pain, not only will you find it challenging to exercise, you are going to be more stressed about it. Stress increases cortisol which interferes with your ability to manage weight. And if you can’t exercise at all because of pain, that will make it even harder to manage stress, never mind your weight. You can see how this vicious cycle from unwanted knee and back pain could completely derail your New Year’s goals.

Here are four tips to help you not let knee or back pain get in the way of your weight loss in the New Year:

1. Mobility Before Stability

Your muscles can’t function at their best if you don’t have optimal joint mobility. In other words, you don’t want to strengthen around a joint that isn’t moving at its best, or you’ll encourage compensation. If your nagging back or knee pain is due to inadequate mobility, you’ll run into problems. You will be in more pain if you suddenly increase your exercise or activity level. We saw this happen at the beginning of the pandemic. People started walking and exercising more and we saw a huge influx of unexpected back and knee pain as a result. Their joints weren’t accustomed to moving so much and it highlighted the lack of mobility and compensations. Don’t let the same thing happen to you. Make sure all of your joints, including your spine, can move fully and freely without any pain before you begin a new exercise program.

2. Pace Yourself

It’s very tempting to go “all in” on your new exercise or weight loss goal… but remember… the tortoise (not the hare) won the race. It’s important to not beat yourself up if you’re not seeing immediate results. If you’ve been out of shape for a while and doing something completely new, expect to be sore. But if you’re limping around for days or experiencing sharp pain in your back or knee, there is a chance you overdid it or worse case injured yourself.

My general rule of thumb is to monitor your soreness on a scale of 1 – 10. I tell my clients to not let their pain go above a five when they are pushing themselves or returning to an exercise they haven’t tried in a while. If you find that your pain level goes above a 5, or persists at that level (or higher) for more than a day, there’s a chance you’re overdoing it and setting yourself up for an unwanted injury. When in doubt, listen to your body. And if you’re not sure what it’s saying – enlist the help of an expert.

3. Stay Hydrated

Most people don’t drink enough water during their regular day, never mind when they increase their activity level. Drinking lots of water has two great benefits: It will give you the extra hydration you need if you’re planning to be more active; and it will help you lose weight by curbing your appetite. Some additional benefits of staying hydrated include increased muscle strength and stamina, more lubrication in your joints, more supple skin, better cardiovascular function, and improved energy and mental alertness. One really easy tip to jumpstart your day is to begin with 10 oz of water first thing upon waking. And a good rule of thumb when you’re trying to stay adequately hydrated is to drink at least half your body weight (in ounces) of water every day.  

4. Get Assessed by a Mechanical Pain Expert

If you’ve got nagging back and knee pain, see a mechanical pain expert before you begin your new exercise routine. Your first thought might be to go see your medical doctor. However, it’s important to understand how different medical professionals assess different problems. Medical doctors are trained to screen your whole body and typically rely on imaging to make their diagnosis. This is a great approach if you’ve had an accident or trauma. Or if you are presenting with what could be a serious pathology. But for 80% of musculoskeletal pain – including knee and back pain – X-rays and MRI’s are overkill.  They put you at risk of being led down a path of unnecessary referrals, treatments, and procedures. They will definitely put you at risk of being told not to exercise at all.

A mechanical pain expert, on the other hand, is trained to assess your pain with movement tests – not imaging. This is going to reveal a much more realistic picture of what you can and can’t do. It will also reveal what movements will make you better or worse. This allows you to go into a new exercise routine with a more informed approach. Also, with a plan to exercise around your pain and make it better.

Is exercising and losing weight is part of your New Year plan? If so, I hope these tips help you go into 2023 with confidence. If you’ve got lingering or unwanted knee or back pain that’s not going away on its own – get it checked.


Are you local to Portsmouth, NH? – CLICK HERE to speak with one of my specialists. We will ask you about what’s been going on – and see if we would be a good fit to help!

Dr. Carrie Jose, Physical Therapist and Pilates expert, owns CJ Physical Therapy & Pilates in Portsmouth and writes for Seacoast Media Group. To get in touch, or request a free copy of one of her guides to back, neck, knee, or shoulder pain, email her at [email protected].

work out

Why More People are Paying out of Pocket for Healthcare…even during an economic downturn

More People are Paying out of Pocket for Healthcare…even during a recession

If you’ve ever had an injury or dealt with chronic pain, you’ve probably followed a pretty traditional course of action to address it that might have looked like this:

  • You went to your primary care doctor and they sent you to the lab for x rays, prescribed medication, or both.
  • You may have gotten a referral to a specialist or even a surgeon.
  • You went to that appointment and were either told that you needed surgery or that you needed to modify your physical activity and avoid certain activities in order to not exacerbate the problem.

Basically, you were thrust into the assembly line that has become “modern healthcare”.

But did you know that you could bypass all of this hassle – and get faster results – by going directly to a physical therapist?

Physical therapists are trained to diagnose your problem and provide a fully customized treatment option. One that doesn’t involve prescription medications or procedures.

In almost all states (including NH) you don’t even need a prescription to see a physical therapist.

The problem is that for many people, traditional physical therapy has not produced the results they are looking for.

Physical therapy DOES work. But what often doesn’t work is the model of care.

There have been many limitations insurance companies have placed on reimbursement over the years. Most traditional physical therapy clinics (those that take insurance) have been forced to see more patients. Just so they can pay the bills and keep the lights on!

Additionally, insurance companies and healthcare have essentially taken over your care.

They decide who you can see, what type of treatment you will get, and how many visits you are allowed to have.

These decisions are being made by someone who’s never even spoken to you, met you, or actually looked at you.

Because of this, “physical therapy” has gotten a bad reputation and a lot of people find that it’s a waste of time, or that it consists of just a bunch of exercises.

It’s not the physical therapist’s fault, it’s the insurance company’s fault.

The good news is that you’ve got options and alternatives when it comes to taking care of your back or knee pain.

You don’t want to be prescribed medication and you don’t want to deal with procedures like injections or surgery. Or you don’t want to go to traditional physical therapy and feel like you’re wasting your time. The answer is to go outside of your insurance and pay out of pocket.

This is known as going “out of network”.

More people are doing it because they are fed up with the traditional models. Models of healthcare and physical therapy that don’t give them the results they are looking for.

But isn’t that expensive? Not at all, and it really depends on what you value.

For me, and for most of the folks that we work with, it’s far more costly to live with chronic back pain. You have to miss out on activities you love, and end up with a surgery you never even wanted.

It’s also far more costly to spend years going to weekly chiropractic and massage therapy appointments. Just so that you can function and manage your pain.

When it comes to musculoskeletal problems, you NEED a physical therapist in your corner and as part of your healthcare team.

But it can’t be the traditional kind where all you get is cookie cutter treatment plans. Physical therapists who don’t contract with insurance companies are able to spend more time with you. Allowing them to create a truly customized plan of care.

We focus on getting to know you and your body. Not what paperwork needs to be filled out for your next healthcare insurance authorization.

Our clients like this model because they get long-term success instead of short-term pain relief. Our therapists like this model. They are free to use their brains and actually do what they were trained to do.

Everyone should have their own, personal physical therapist to call and come see anytime you need. Just like you would a chiropractor, dentist, doctor, or massage therapist.

The only way to do this, is to go outside your insurance. If you are curious about whether or not this model of physical therapy is right for you just give us a call!

It’s not for everyone, but more and more people are finding that it is.

Most of the folks we meet and work with say: “I wish I had found you first”.

If this is something you are interested in – or are seeking more information on – CLICK HERE to speak to one of my specialists.

They will give you all the information you need to make the BEST decision for YOUR health. Whether that’s working with us or not!

Dr. Carrie Jose, Physical Therapist and Pilates expert, owns CJ Physical Therapy & Pilates in Portsmouth and writes for Seacoast Media Group. To get in touch, or request a free copy of one of her guides to back, neck, knee, or shoulder pain, email her at [email protected].

Knee Pain Causes

Top 3 Causes of Knee Pain and What To Do.

Knee pain is the second most common complaint when it comes to musculoskeletal problems. Right behind back pain. It impacts one-third of all Americans at any given time. I speak to a lot of folks in their 50’s and 60’s who love to ski, run, hike and bike. Their biggest fear is that ongoing knee pain could bring an eventual end to their active lifestyles. The good news is that eighty percent of all knee problems can be resolved without procedures or surgery. But, it starts with accurately identifying knee pain causes.

Here are three common Knee Pain Causes and what you can do to resolve it.

1. Patellofemoral Knee syndrome

Also known as “runner’s knee”, Patellofemoral Knee Syndrome (PFS) is characterized by pain in the front of your knee. Usually just below or behind your knee cap.

With PFS, the source of the pain typically comes from unwanted pressure around your knee cap. That eventually results in inflammation and pain. It’s very tempting to just get a cortisone shot or take pain pills to quickly reduce the inflammation and relieve your pain. But unless you’re certain where the inflammation is coming from, you’re really only addressing the symptoms of your knee problem.

In other words, what causes the pressure in your knee cap to begin with?

It doesn’t just happen spontaneously. If you truly want to put an end to PFS, you’ll need to find the root cause of your problem.

Typically, PFS is the result of an imbalance somewhere in your body. Over time, it has resulted in poor form and movement habits that ultimately cause more pressure at your knee.

If your hips, quads, and hamstrings aren’t balanced and working together harmoniously, you could end up with problems in your knee.

Once you figure out the culprit behind the pressure and inflammation at your knee cap, you’ll be able to resolve and manage PFS naturally and for the long-term.

2. Iliotibial band syndrome

The causes of iliotibial band syndrome are very similar to that of PFS. Except that your pain and symptoms will be experienced on the side of your knee instead of the front.

Your iliotibial band (ITB) is a large, thick band of tissue that runs along the side of your thigh to the bottom of your knee. Your ITB is formed from a muscle in your hip called the tensor fascia latae (TFL). When your TFL gets overworked, your ITB suffers, and will result in what often feels like stabbing pain at the side of your knee.

The most common treatment I see for this is foam rolling and massage. While these are great modalities to relieve your symptoms, they don’t address the root problem.

You must figure out why your TFL is being stressed and overworked if you really want to get rid of your pain. Typically, it’s due to weak glute muscles, the deep ones designed to stabilize your pelvis.

Your TFL is neighbor to your glutes. So, when they decide to be lazy, your TFL loves to help out, and eventually overdoes it. When you can get these two groups of muscles working properly together, you’ll put an end to ITB syndrome.

3. Osteoarthritis

Many people find out they have osteoarthritis in their knees and think there’s nothing that can be done. They either have to “live with it” or get a total knee replacement.

First, arthritis is normal and it happens to everyone as they age. What is not normal is for you to think you’re helpless or have to avoid your favorite activities because of it.

Arthritis occurs when the protective cartilage that cushions the ends of your bones wears down over time. While there isn’t anything you can do to reverse this process, there is plenty you can do to minimize the symptoms you get because of this condition.

It all comes down to balanced joints and movement. The more mobility you have, and the more stability you have around your knees, the less symptomatic your arthritis will be.

Some key areas to focus on when you’ve got arthritis in your knees is good core and hip strength, and good flexibility in your hips and ankles.

If anything is off in these areas, your knees will  compensate, which could result in compression at your knee joint. This will aggravate your arthritic symptoms.

“Motion is lotion” isn’t just a saying.

It very well could be the difference between you suffering from debilitating knee symptoms versus living an active lifestyle despite your osteoarthritis.

If you’re suffering from knee pain, remember that there is a very good chance you fall into the eighty percent of people who can successfully get rid of it completely on their own.

There is no need to rely on pain pills, or believe that procedures and surgery are your only options. As you can see, three of the most common causes of knee pain are due to movement problems.

Therefore – movement should be your solution – not something you avoid.

Are you Local to Portsmouth, New Hampshire and experiencing knee or any other type of pain?

CLICK HERE to book a discovery visit with one of my specialists. Someone from my team will reach out to you. They’ll find out what’s been going on, and see if we’re a good fit for you to get you back to doing the activities that you love.

Dr. Carrie Jose, Physical Therapist and Pilates expert, owns CJ Physical Therapy & Pilates in Portsmouth and writes for Seacoast Media Group. To request a free copy of her Knee Pain Free Report CLICK HERE  or to get in touch, email her at [email protected].