Physical Therapy in Tampa, Florida

Physical Therapy in Tampa, Florida

With over 17 million drivers on the road in Florida, there are a lot of opportunities to end up in a car accident. In 2016 alone, 254,155 drivers and passengers were injured in auto crashes throughout the Sunshine State.

Injuries from car accidents can’t always be fixed with an operation or a quick trip to the doctor. Some conditions, like whiplash, can have long-lasting effects and should be treated by a licensed physical therapist.

Read on to find out why physical therapy in Tampa is beneficial after an accident.

Speed Up Your Recovery

Many of us think that the best way to recover from an injury is to get lots of rest. While that’s true to a point, too much rest can actually slow down your recovery.

After the first couple of days, it’s important to start moving again — in the right way. Therapy allows you to get back on your feet in a safe, controlled environment so you don’t do too much too soon.

Physical therapists have an arsenal of gentle exercises and other treatments to choose from. These can help you regain lost range of motion, increase strength, decrease pain, and heal faster.

Prevent Further Injury

If you go right back to normal activity after your injury, you’re at risk of causing even more damage.

After a soft tissue injury of any sort, your muscles, tendons, ligaments, and connective tissues will be weakened until they heal. This weakness can contribute to the development of a new injury, sometimes in a different (but related) location.

For example, if your hip was injured in the collision, you might start to walk differently to compensate for the pain and weakness. This misalignment and change in gait can lead to pain in your knees, ankle, and back.

A physical therapist will identify your weakened areas and give you a specific exercise plan to strengthen them. The exercises are designed to help you heal and protect you from further harm.

Catch Injuries That Are Hiding

Car accidents can cause a lot of trauma that isn’t apparent right at first. Symptoms of concussions, back injuries, whiplash, and nerve damage may take hours or days to appear.

If you start to experience these symptoms up to a couple of weeks after your accident, it may be due to hidden injuries:

  • Headaches
  • Neck pain and shoulder tension
  • Numbness or tingling in limbs
  • Back pain
  • Dizziness
  • Irritability or fatigue

Don’t ignore these symptoms, as they could be signs of a more serious injury. If you start to feel like there’s more going on than meets the eye, ask a physical therapist about it. They can identify and treat hidden injuries to help you start feeling normal again.

Getting Physical Therapy in Tampa, Florida

If you’re looking for car accident-focused physical therapy in Tampa, see Dr. Cruz at AJ Therapy Center. He and the rest of the bilingual team at AJ Center know how to identify and care for the long-term effects of an auto crash.

Don’t wait and hope that your pain will go away on its own. Put your health first and contact us today to schedule an evaluation.

5 Healthy Ways to Improve Circulation and Movement

5 Healthy Ways to Improve Circulation and Movement

Wondering how to improve circulation in your body?

Trying to discover the best ways to increase circulation and blood flow?

If you want to improve your overall health, then it’s important that you have adequate blood circulation. Poor circulation can occur due to many underlying problems including obesity, diabetes, and heart conditions and can lead to symptoms such as pain, numbness, and muscle cramps.

Great blood circulation, on the other hand, can allow more oxygen to reach your organs, improve cell growth, give you healthier skin, and improve your overall wellbeing.

If you’re experiencing poor blood circulation and movement in your body, we’re here to help. Below we’ll tell you how to improve blood circulation in your body.

1. Start Exercising

One of the best ways to improve blood circulation is to start exercising regularly.

Any exercise that makes your heart beat faster can be helpful for improving blood circulation. This means that cardio exercises such as running, jogging, and walking, will be some of the most beneficial. However, other exercises can help as well.

You should aim to create a regular exercise routine if you want to increase your blood circulation and movement as well as experience a variety of other health benefits.

2. Take a Shower

Taking a shower can also improve blood circulation as well. This is especially true when you alternate between both warm and cold water during your shower since both temperatures can affect the blood in your body.

Warm water can bring the blood closer to your skin while cold water can help send it to your body’s organs. Switching from hot to cold hot again will allow you to get your circulation up and your blood flowing.

3. Get a Massage

In addition to helping you relax and feeling great, a massage can also help to improve your overall health and increase blood circulation. Physical therapy services will often include massage as part of a treatment plan to improve circulation in the body

The gentle movements and pressure of a massage can help to get your blood flowing and oxygen your muscles while reducing lactic acid. It’s a great idea to have a massage session if you want to start experiencing increased blood flow and better circulation.

4. Try Deep Breathing Techniques

Focusing on your breath for an extended amount of time and using deep breathing techniques can also be very beneficial for improving circulation. Breathing deeply throughout the day can help you to feel more relaxed and can also reduce blood pressure and help you keep your heart rate regulated.

If you want to learn to start breathing more deeply, it can also be a great idea to add a regular yoga or meditation practice into your week.

5. Change Your Diet

It should come as no surprise that diet affects your body’s circulation to a large extent as well. Because of this, eating healthier is essential if you have poor circulation and want to improve it.

One of the best things you can add to your diet is fish, which contains helpful Omega-3 fatty acids. Leafy greens, spicy foods, and green tea can also be beneficial for improving circulation and blood flow as well.

Understanding How to Improve Circulation and Movement

If you’re wondering how to improve circulation in your body then you should consider using some of the methods listed above. By using some of these techniques you’ll be able to increase your blood circulation while also strengthening your overall health.

Looking for more ways to improve your body and increase blood circulation? Click here to schedule an appointment with AJ Therapy Center now and to learn more about how we can help.

Cold Shoulder? Using Ultrasound Therapy to Get Your Range of Motion Back

Cold Shoulder? Using Ultrasound Therapy to Get Your Range of Motion Back

Shoulder pain is the third most common musculoskeletal ailment. Cold, or Frozen Shoulder, is a condition in which the shoulder freezes up and movement becomes restricted. 

Orthopedic specialists treating Cold Shoulder may sometimes prescribe ultrasound physical therapy as part of the rehabilitation procedure to increase mobility in the shoulder.

If you’re suffering from Cold Shoulder, keep reading to see if ultrasound therapy might work for you.

What Causes Cold Shoulder?

It’s unclear exactly what causes Cold Shoulder, but it is most often seen in patients recovering from a procedure or injury that limits the ability to move over an extended period of time.

It’s also more likely to occur in stroke victims, people suffering from diabetes, and in women during pregnancy.

Cold Shoulder generally starts slowly and worsens over time. Stiffness and pain in the shoulder joint gradually increase. Left untreated, the condition usually resolves itself naturally over a period of up to three years.

How Does Ultrasound Therapy Work?

Ultrasound therapy is a treatment used in orthopedic injuries, including Cold Shoulder. Sound waves are transmitted to the body. Using an ultrasound therapy machine, a qualified physical therapist applies vibrating circular motions to the affected area. The machine’s settings can be changed to adjust the depth and intensity. 


The theory is that during application, sound waves entering the damaged body tissues increase blood flow.

Both processes target muscles, tendons, joints, and ligaments. The process is believed to be therapeutic, enhancing healing and decreasing pain.

Ultrasound physical therapy should be used alongside an exercise program, and not as the primary treatment.

Deep Heating Effects vs Non-Thermal Effects

Physical therapy ultrasound is used in two different ways. Both use sound waves.


Deep heating effects use continuous sound waves to loosen tight muscles and tendons. With Cold Shoulder, ultrasound improves the ability of the shoulder to stretch. Improved blood circulation is believed to quicken the healing process by reducing pain and increasing flexibility and range of motion.


Non-thermal effects send sound waves in pulses, as opposed to continuous waves. Ultrasound introduces energy to the body. In a process called Cavitation, tiny gas bubbles around the affected tissues rapidly expand and contract.

Cavitation is believed to speed up cellular processes and improve the healing of damaged tissue.

Your therapist will work with you to decide which will be the most effective therapy for your particular situation.

When Not to Use Ultrasound Physical Therapy

It is advisable not to apply therapeutic ultrasound if any of the following conditions exist.

  • open wounds
  • metal implants
  • a pacemaker
  • during pregnancy
  • bone damage
  • cancerous cells

Doubts About The Benefits of Ultrasound Physical Therapy

Some doubt exists in the medical community over the benefits of ultrasound therapy. Studies exist that show little to no physical improvement. 

If after a few treatments you feel that this is true for you, it’s important to let your therapist know.

Pain-Free and Mobile

Opinions over ultrasound physical therapy vary. But it may still be well worth trying in cases of restricted mobility.

Your physician or therapist will work with you to decide which form of treatment is most suitable. 

At AJ Therapy Center, we specialize in the treatment of pain and injury. Rather than searching online for “physical therapy near me,” make an appointment or drop by in person at one of our 3 Tampa and St. Petersburg locations. 

We specialize in quality physical therapy in Tampa and the St. Petersburg area. Our goal is for you to leave here pain-free and with full mobility.

Having a Neck of a Day? Read This Guide Mechanical Traction Therapy

Having a Neck of a Day? Read This Guide Mechanical Traction Therapy

Did you know that over 80% of Americans experience neck or back pain?

If you’re one of them, no doubt you’re eager to reduce or eliminate that pain. Whether you were injured in a car accident or you’re suffering from a chronic health disorder, physical therapy can help.

In fact, neck and back pain is one of the primary reasons people seek care from physical therapists.

Are you familiar with mechanical traction therapy? In this post, we’ll explore this unique modality and determine if it’s the right solution for you.

Read on to learn more.

Spinal Traction 101

A major cause of neck and back pain is spinal compression.

When there’s too much pressure on the spine, it compresses the discs between the vertebrae. This can result in pinched nerves, slipped discs, or spinal stenosis.

Traction therapies–whether manual or mechanical–seek to reverse gravity’s effect on the spine. The goal is to safely and gently stretch the spine to relieve the pressure (and the pain).

Some manual therapies include stretching the neck through spinal traction. Your therapist will use their hands to traction your head and neck and relieve pressure on the spine.

Depending on your condition, your therapist may also recommend mechanical cervical traction.

Why? Studies have found it’s highly effective in relieving neck pain, both immediately and long-term. It can also reduce symptoms associated with headaches, shoulder pain, and carpal tunnel syndrome.

What Is Mechanical Traction?

What should you expect from mechanical traction therapy?

In most cases, you’ll lie on your back on a clinic table. Your physical therapist will attach a comfortable halter or cradle to the back of your head.

The other end of the cradle is attached to a machine, which your therapist will turn on for a set period of time. The machine will apply a gentle traction force to your head to create more space in your spine.

Mechanical traction can be static, applying steady, consistent pressure during the session. It could also be intermittent, alternating between gentler and stronger pressure for set periods of time.

This could be an excellent treatment for you if your body requires more force than your therapist can manually provide. 

Is mechanical traction safe? Absolutely! Some patients experience minor muscle spasms during or after the treatment, but this is part of the body’s natural healing process.

The results include decompressed joints, proper spinal alignment, and–most importantly–pain relief. You’ll be amazed at how much easier it is to move and how much better you feeRest assured that you don’t have to live with chronic pain. You’re also not doomed to go under the knife or take opioids for pain management.

Mechanical traction therapy under the supervision of a skilled physical therapist could be the answer you’re seeking. It’s one of many safe and effective services at AJ Therapy Center.l throughout the day.

Is Mechanical Traction Therapy Right For You?

We invite you to contact us anytime with questions or concerns. Together we can take your health to a whole new level!

The Warning Signs of Whiplash To Watch Out For

The Warning Signs of Whiplash To Watch Out For

Whiplash may not seem like a severe injury, but in one-third of whiplash cases, patients report neck pain up to a decade later. Some of these patients will have persistent neck pain for the rest of their lives.

The best way to prevent lifelong chronic pain is to seek immediate treatment. This treatment may include ultrasounds, massage, cold therapy, manual techniques, and other exercises.

Of course, to know if you need treatment, you need to know the warning signs of whiplash. Check out the guide below to find out more.

What Is Whiplash?

Whiplash is an injury that specifically affects the neck. Other words for whiplash include neck sprain or neck strain.

It can occur when the neck experiences a sudden extension, or straightening movement. It can also occur after a sudden flexion, or bending movement. 

These sudden movements can damage the soft tissue in the neck. This is because the body spasms to protect itself. The impact of sudden movements, combined with body spasm, can cause nerve impingements and other injuries.

1. Your Neck Hurts

The number one sign of whiplash is pain in your neck, although not all whiplash patients feel this pain right away. 

As previously stated, whiplash entails a sudden extension or flexion of the neck. These movements overstretch the neck, damaging the tendons and ligaments in there. These parts are known as soft tissue. 

The pain in your neck may hurt when moving it, but it may also hurt to the touch.

2. Your Head Hurts

Not only will your neck hurt, but you may have a headache as well. This is a common symptom of whiplash.

This headache is related to your neck injury. The damage to the nerves and soft tissue in your neck may also reach your brain stem. This can cause a chronic headache.

It may feel as though the pain in your neck is spreading up to your head.

3. Your Shoulders Hurt

If the nerve damage can affect your brain stem, it can also affect your shoulders. The worst part about whiplash is how many other parts of the body it can affect. 

If you feel pain in one shoulder, both shoulders, or between the shoulders, it is likely a part of your whiplash.

4. You Feel Dizzy

Sudden movements are not only bad for your neck, but other body parts as well. Whiplash may even cause persistent dizziness for years. 

Doctors believe the dizziness is not caused by brain injury, but inner ear injury. Vestibular nerve injuries can be difficult to recover from.

5. You Can’t Focus

Some whiplash patients complain of neurological problems after their injury. These include concentration problems and memory problems.

These indicate a more serious brain trauma that may have accompanied the whiplash during the traumatic event. You should seek immediate medical treatment should you experience this symptom.

Get Whiplash Treatment

If you or a loved one may have whiplash, it’s important to have a physical exam as soon as possible. After the condition is confirmed, seek out a medical professional for whiplash treatment. 

At AJ Therapy Center, we have bilingual doctors, physical therapists, and staff ready to help with neck-related injuries. To start your treatment right away, don’t hesitate to contact us

5 Signs You Need Physical Therapy in St. Petersburg After an Accident

5 Signs You Need Physical Therapy in St. Petersburg After an Accident

Every year in America, an estimated 2.35 million people are injured or disabled in an automobile accident. If you’re one of them, your doctor has probably recommended that you seek  physical therapy.

You may be thinking, “My injuries aren’t that bad. How could physical therapy possibly help me? I can do exercises on my own.”

While that may be true, physical therapy is geared to help deal with the hidden injuries that go along with car accidents. So whether you’re looking into physical therapy in St. Petersburg, Tampa, or another part of Florida, keep reading to find out the five signs you need to seek physical therapy.

What to Expect Physically After a Car Accident

Even minor car accidents can cause serious injuries. Even if you escaped without any broken bones, there may still be damage to your joints, muscles, and connective tissue. If you experience any of these five symptoms after an auto accident, physical therapy may be necessary for your recovery.

1. Significant Injuries

Car accidents often result in bone fractures, muscle tears, and dislocated joints. If you received any significant injuries like these, especially any ones that needed surgery, you’ll definitely need to see a physician. Leaving injuries like these untreated can cause significant long-term pain and weakness.

2. Sharp Pain

If you have consistent sharp pains after an accident, it’s important to schedule a physical therapy evaluation. Sharp pain can be a sign of serious muscle tears, stress fractures, or joint damage that may worsen over time.

3. Dull, Lingering Pain

Some soreness is normal after a car accident and can generally be treated with ice, heat, and rest. But if you still have dull, lingering pain that medication doesn’t help, you may have an invisible injury.

Car accidents can cause injuries that take hours or days to cause pain. These include whiplash, micro-tears, and scar tissue formation. Even though they’re not visible on an x-ray, they can lead to chronic pain and inflammation if left untreated.

4. Weakness, Numbness, or Tingling

While you may think that you can just tough out these “minor” symptoms, they’re signs of a larger problem that will only get worse if ignored.

Some weakness is to be expected after an injury. But if it doesn’t improve naturally, or if it comes with numbness and tingling, it may be a sign of inflammation or misalignment. Our physicians are trained to treat these conditions with specialized therapy techniques and equipment.

5. Decreased Range of Motion

Have you noticed that you can’t lift your injured arm above your head anymore? Or that you’re unable to straighten your knee all the way? This common side effect of car accident injuries is called decreased range of motion, or ROM.

One of the main goals of physical therapy is to restore ROM and mobility. Working with a licensed therapist will help you increase your ROM back to normal levels without causing more injury to the affected tissue.

How to Tell if Physical Therapy Is Working

Physical therapy won’t cure you after one visit. It takes time, dedication, and a lot of hard work—but the results are worth it.

Our therapist will design a personalized plan for you that may include a combination of manual therapy, therapeutic exercises, massage, and other treatments. If you’re diligent and follow their instructions, you’ll likely see a huge decrease in pain as your strength and mobility returns.

Physical Therapy in St. Petersburg

Instead of searching the web for “physical therapy near me,” give AJ Therapy Center a call. We provide high-quality physical therapy in St. Petersburg and the greater Tampa Bay area.

Our experienced bilingual staff is here to help you recover from any and all auto accident injuries. If you’ve been injured in a crash, contact us today for a free consultation.