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Hands-On Physical Therapy 

We Treat What Other People Don't Treat!


Here is one example... Chronic headaches, knee pain, ankle pain, shoulder pain? Doesn't matter where, a large part of the problem is coming from your spine, and we know how to treat it!

Counterstrain-ing the Spine

Treating the spine is essential for chronic pain and wellness! We treat these structures everyday with our patients and help them in ways that no one else has. 

Sympathetic Nervous System: 


This is the fight or flight part of your nervous system and it is structurally located in your spine. You've probably heard that your sympathetic nervous system turns on or takes over when you're in situations like being chased by a bear, or have a gun to your head. While this is true, your sympathetic nervous system also turns on during stressful times at work, emotionally stressful days at home, close calls on the road, playing or watching sports. ect... The problem occurs when the sympathetic nervous system gets stuck on, and when it does, it causes very predictable vascular problems in your spine, head, arms, legs, and joints. This means you now how poor blood flow to your knee for example. A knee with poor blood flow degenerates. You also have poor drainage of inflammation out of your knee. A knee that is inflamed will hurt, ache, and seem fragile. 

The Sympathetic Nervous System is the most important thing that we treat with Counterstrain that nobody else treats.

Ligaments in the Spine: 


One of the major ligaments in your spine is called the ligament flavum. It runs from the base of your head all the way down to your tail bone. When it spasms, it can cause pain in the spine (commonly neck and low back), but also in joints in your arms and legs. If you've had an MRI of your spine, the imaging report may have used words like ligamentum flavum hypertrophy, or spinal stenosis. These are diagnosis caused by dysfunctions in the ligamentum flavum that are treatable with Counterstrain. When dysfunctional, the ligamentum flavum will also cause very predictable joint restrictions. For example, the knee joint will get tight from a ligamentum flavum spasm at the L3, L4 level of your low back. If any joint in your body is tight and restricted, it's likely the ligamentum flavum in your spine needs treatment.  


Bones of the Spine: 


The bones in your spine, called vertebrae, and your ribs can twist and torsion. When they do, they put tension through your sympathetic nervous system. Anytime tension is transferred through the sympathetic nervous system it will effect blood flow to and from any part of your body including your head, torso, arms, and legs.

Spine and Rib Cartilage: 


The cartilage in your rib cage and spine can also spasm. When it does it again puts tension through the sympathetic nervous system and effects blood flow to the body. Cartilage also specifically effects the function of your internal organs making it a critical structure to treat for wellness!

“If your spine is inflexibly stiff at 30, you are old. If it is completely flexible at 60, you are young. ”

— Joseph Pilates

The Truth About Traditional Physical Therapy

1. The Goal is Not to Get Rid of Your Pain


During a traditional Physical Therapy evaluation, various objective measures like range of motion and strength are recorded. Once these measurements are obtained, therapeutic exercises are prescribed with the goal of objective improvement. By the end of your plan of care, if pain is still present, daily completion of your exercises, injections, or surgery are recommended. 

In many cases, Physical Therapists neglect to perform any manual therapy. The ones that do, often perform the same exact techniques, every time you go in, regardless of their success. These techniques temporarily decrease the pain, but fail to make any permanent changes. With Counterstrain, we have over 1,000 different techniques and once we fix a dysfunction, we do not expect to see that same dysfunction again. Therefore, we can move on to other techniques, making each treatment different. 

2. Your Therapist is Not Responsible for Your Success

If your rehab and recovery fails to provide pain relief, or get you back to the activities you love, your Physical Therapist will not admit fault. The blame is often placed on you, the patient, for not doing your exercises, the presence of pathology, the patient "being a mess," the need for surgery, the patient not being appropriate for physical therapy, ect...

While we can't fairly guarantee success, at Counterstrain San Diego, the onus of your treatment response is largely dependent on us, our manual techniques, and skills. We place your pain in our hands and hope to personally be the ones to help you.  

3. The Focus is on Quantity, not Quality

In a traditional physical therapy clinic, you may be lucky to get 30 minutes of one on one time with your PT. Then you are passed off to an aide, who orchestrates exercises with you and other patients simultaneously. This is done in an attempt to free up the PT's to work with other patients. Prescriptions for attendance can often be 2-3 times a week, for anywhere from 6-12 weeks. Lastly, patients are often double and triple booked to get as many patients in as possible and eliminate the risks of cancellations. 


This is all done to maximize the clinics numbers and profitability. However, it does not allow for an environment that facilitates high quality Physical Therapy. At Counterstrain San Diego, we work with each patient one on one for 55-60 minutes where the focus is on relieving your pain and dysfunction with manual therapy. 

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