5 Things you need to know about Physical Therapy

1. Physical therapy is not just a list of generic exercises

When your physical therapist completes a thorough physical exam of your body, you will be prescribed a specific program to address your specific impairment and your goals. At Gateway Rehab our physical therapists prescribe your exercise and treatment plan based on the latest research findings shown to effectively treat you.

Your physical therapist will work closely with you to ensure you activate the correct muscle groups. Without proper guidance many patients use compensatory muscles to complete the exercise which will actually make the impairment worse instead of work toward resolving it.

2. Treatment doesn’t end when your PT program is completed

We will always emphasize the importance of ongoing regular exercise, and maintaining good health habits. Maintaining the restored physical condition gained while in physical therapy with a regular exercise program is essential. This includes working out to a point of muscle fatigue 1 to 3 times per week to maintain your muscle strength. This along with cardiovascular activity, daily relaxation, and stretching are recommended.

Your physical therapist will help you create a strategy for ongoing exercise after your PT plan has ended.

3. Pain is typically due to trauma that has developed over years

Most patients come into physical therapy with pain in a particular body part without any known reason or specific trauma. This is usually caused by a series of trauma that began years or even decades prior to coming through the door of Gateway Rehab’s physical therapy in Mission Viejo.

These types of trauma are often repetitive movements that are done with poor physical posture or form. Physical therapists can help you pinpoint what these faulty movement patterns are, correct them, and teach you safer ways to move. With practice, this results in less stress on the muscle or joint and help reduce or relive painful movements!

physcial therapy mission viejo

4. Physical Therapy is an effective conservative treatment before pain medication and in some cases surgery

We empower our patients with pain relieving strategies and treatments that have no harmful side effects.  We can prescribe a comprehensive program to replace pain medication and possibly avoid more invasive procedures, like surgeries.

5. Gateway Rehab physical therapy in Mission Viejo for life!

We are all aging and none of us can escape the negative effects that gravity has on our bodies over time. By the time we are adults, most of us have to deal with arthritis, old or new injuries, muscle tension, weakness, stiffness, balance problems, and other conditions that begin to impact our daily lives. 

When your symptoms begin to increase or persist more than a couple days or weeks, it is time to come back in for an examination.  Whether it is a similar problem that you need to re-address or something completely new, think physical therapy first!

5 Things to Help Boost Your Immune System

Our immune systems need to constantly be strong enough to fight off a variety of illnesses and infections. While your immune system is complex there are some simple everyday lifestyle habits we can maintain to help give your immune system what it needs to fight off infection or illness.

Here are 5 ways to ensure your immune system has everything it needs to function at an optimal level.

1. Maintain a healthy diet

As with most things in your body, a healthy diet is key to a strong immune system. This means making sure you eat plenty of vegetables, fruits, legumes, whole grains, lean protein and healthy fats.

In addition to providing your immune system the energy it needs, a healthy diet can help ensure you’re getting sufficient amounts of the micronutrients that play a role in maintaining your immune system, including:

  • Vitamin B6, found in chicken, salmon, tuna, bananas, green vegetables and potatoes (with the skin)
  • Vitamin C, found in citrus fruit, including oranges and strawberries, as well as tomatoes, broccoli and spinach
  • Vitamin E, found in almonds, sunflower and safflower oil, sunflower seeds, peanut butter and spinach

Since experts believe that your body absorbs vitamins more efficiently from dietary sources, rather than supplements, the best way to support your immune system is to eat a well-balanced diet.

2. Exercise Regularly

Physical activity isn’t just for building muscles and helping yourself de-stress, it’s also an important part of being healthy and supporting a healthy immune system.

One way exercise may improve immune function is by boosting your overall circulation, making it easier for immune cells and other infection-fighting molecules to travel more easily throughout your body.

In fact, studies have shown that engaging in as little as 30 minutes of moderate-to-vigorous exercise every day helps stimulate your immune system. This means it’s important to focus on staying active and getting regular exercise.

3. Stay Hydrated!

Water plays many important roles in your body, including supporting your immune system. A fluid in your circulatory system called lymph, which carries important infection-fighting immune cells around your body, is largely made up of water. Being dehydrated slows down the movement of lymph, sometimes leading to an impaired immune system.

Even if you’re not exercising or sweating, you’re constantly losing water through your breath, as well as through your urine and bowel movements. To help support your immune system, be sure you’re replacing the water you lose with water you can use.

4. Get plenty of Sleep

Sleep certainly doesn’t feel like an active process, but there are plenty of important activities happening in your body when you’re not awake, even if you don’t realize it. For instance, important infection-fighting molecules are created while you sleep.

Studies have shown that people who don’t get enough quality sleep are more prone to getting sick after exposure to viruses, such as those that cause the common cold. To give your immune system the best chance to fight off infection and illness, it’s important to know how much sleep you should be getting every night, as well as the steps to take if your sleep is suffering.

5. Try to Reduce Stress

Whether it comes on quick or builds over time, it’s important to understand how stress affects your health — including the impact it has on your immune system. During a period of stress, particularly chronic stress that’s frequent and long-lasting, your body responds by initiating a stress response. This stress response, in turn, suppresses your immune system — increasing your chance of infection or illness.

Stress is different for everyone, and how we relieve it is, too. Given the effect it can have on your health, it’s important to know how to identify stress. And, whether it’s deep breathing, mediation, prayer or exercise, you should also get familiar with the activities that help you reduce stress.

If you have any questions about staying healthy please do not hesitate to reach out to us at Gateway Rehab & Wellness Center, we are here to help you!

Neck Pain Relief and Physical Therapy

Did you know that physical therapy is a common method of treatment for chronic neck pain? Care for neck pain through a physical therapy program typically involves treatment first to reduce pain or neck stiffness, and then creating an exercise plan that enables strengthening and stretching the neck.

Physical Therapy Strategy for Your Neck Pain.

Physical therapy for neck pain typically includes the following goals:

  • Reduce pain and stiffness
  • Improve head and neck range of motion
  • Develop dynamic strengthening of the neck and its supporting musculature
  • Develop strategies to prevent pain from recurring

Even if pain cannot be completely eliminated, physical therapy may play an important role in improving neck posture and function for daily movements.

When is Physical Therapy Recommended?

Physical therapy for the neck might be recommended in a variety of cases, such as:

Unspecified chronic pain. When neck pain lingers or keeps recurring, the exact source or mechanism of pain can be difficult to identify. Even without a diagnosis, increasing the strength of the neck’s muscles may help them to better support the cervical spine and become more resistant to pain.

Recovering from injury. Some injuries, such as whiplash, can damage the neck’s soft tissues and joints, resulting in pain and/or stiffness that can last for weeks or much longer. A physical therapy program can reduce pain and help return the neck to normal functioning.

Recovering from surgery. Some surgeries performed on the neck can result in significant pain and stiffness in the weeks and months that follow. For example, an anterior cervical discectomy with fusion (ACDF) surgery involves the fusion of 2 or more vertebrae in the neck, which can alter how some neck and upper back muscles move. In such cases, physical therapy may help to work through stiffness, increase neck function, and reduce or prevent painful spasms as the muscles are reconditioned.
See 3 Weeks to 3 Months After ACDF Surgery

Physical therapy for the neck may be recommended in other cases as well, such as part of a larger treatment program for other diseases or chronic conditions.

Physical Therapy Treatment Methods

There are 2 common forms of physical therapy:

Passive physical therapy, which involves treatments being applied without effort from the patient. Numerous treatment methods are available, such as applying ice packs, heat therapy, massage therapy, ultrasound, electrotherapy, and others. The goal of passive physical therapy is to help reduce pain and swelling.


Active physical therapy, which involves the patient moving his or her own body through exercises and stretches. By improving strength and flexibility in the neck, these muscles may become less painful and better able to maintain good posture, which reduces stress on the cervical spine.

The initial phase of physical therapy for neck pain might involve more passive treatments, but more and more active treatments are likely to be incorporated as time goes on.

Physical Therapy for Neck Pain is Very Efficient!

Many studies have examined whether or not physical therapy can help reduce spine-related pain, such as in the lower back or neck. Current medical literature suggests moderate to strong evidence supporting the benefits of physical therapy’s role in reducing neck pain and improving range of motion. Some studies have found even more benefits from physical therapy when combined with other treatment methods, such as aerobic activity. Our physical therapists at Gateway will help you every step of the way!

IMPORTANT MESSAGE FROM GATEWAY REHAB & WELLNESS CENTER, INC.

The health and safety of our Staff and Patients are our Top Priority

We are taking the coronavirus (COVID-19) very seriously.

We are taking steps to keep our facility clean and safe for you. We are following the guidance from the CDC and WHO, in addition to our standard cleaning procedures we have invested additional labor time for more frequent and more in-depth cleaning.

We have implemented a policy requiring all team members to stay home if they are not feeling well or have a respiratory infection symptoms.

We are doing everything possible to keep our staff and patients safe and our facility clean.

We will monitor the situation carefully and continually and adjust any procedures necessary.

Thank you

Your Gateway Rehab & Wellness Team

Knee Pain and How Physical Therapy Can Help

Knee pain or discomfort is one of the most common orthopedic issues individuals face. Before you start physical therapy for knee pain, your therapist will start with a thorough evaluation and assessment of your entire leg from hip to foot. Once assessed, your physical therapist will prescribe you a personalized treatment plan including exercises and modalities. This will help reduce your knee pain and improve mobility.

3 Different Types of Knee Pain

If you experience knee pain, it is important to determine if the pain is acute, sub-acute, or chronic in nature. This can help guide proper diagnosis and treatment.

  • Acute Pain: Usually the most severe and occurs 1-7 days after injury. During this time, you should rest the knee and let the injured structures heal before initiating any motion.
  • Sub-Acute Pain: This occurs from 2-6 weeks after injury. This is a good time to initiate gentle motion around the knee to help regain mobility.
  • Chronic Knee Pain: Pain lasting greater than 8-12 weeks. Knee pain that is chronic should be evaluated by your healthcare provider.

Your physical therapist will choose the proper treatment based on your knee pain’s location and symptoms. Remember to check with your physician if your knee pain is severe or lasts longer than a few weeks.

If you develop acute knee pain, follow the RICE principle, which stands for Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevation.

What Can I Expect During Physical Therapy for Knee Pain?

If you are referred to physical therapy for knee pain, the initial visit is important to ensure correct diagnosis and proper management. During this visit, your physical therapist will interview you to gather information about the history of your problem, about the aggravating and relieving factors, and about any past medical history that may contribute the overall problem. From the information gathered during the history, a focused examination will be conducted.

Treatment for Knee Pain

After a focused examination has been completed, your physical therapist can work with you to initiate the correct treatment. It is very important for you to be active and engaged in the program. Often, exercises to help strengthen and improve the mobility of the knee will be prescribed. You may be required to perform exercises at home as well as part of a home exercise program.

Exercise should be your main tool for treating your knee pain. Exercises to help your knee pain may include:

  • Quad sets and straight leg raises
  • Short arc quads
  • Exercises to strengthen your hips (Your hip muscles help control the position of your knees. Weakness here may cause knee pain.)
  • Lower extremity stretches
  • Balance exercises

Your PT will tell you how often to perform your exercises at home, and he or she should monitor your progress when you visit the PT clinic. He or she may also perform other treatments while you are in the PT clinic. These may include:

  • Ultrasound
  • Electric stimulation
  • Kinesiology taping
  • Application of heat or ice
  • Soft tissue massages or knee joint mobilization

Keep in mind that passive treatments like ultrasound or estim have not been proven to be the most effective treatment for knee pain. They may feel good, but your focus with PT should be on restoring functional mobility. You should discuss the overall goal of each treatment so you have an understanding of what to expect.

If knee pain persists for more than two to three weeks or occurs as the result of major trauma, a visit to a physician or health care provider is recommended.

From Gateway Rehab & Wellness Center

The knee is a major joint in the body that is responsible for walking, climbing stairs, and rising from a seated position. Pain in the knee can limit one or all of these activities. By working with your physical therapist at Gateway Rehab & Wellness in Mission Viejo, CA, and keeping the knee joint mobile and strong, problems with knee pain may be avoided, and your mobility can be maintained.

5 Shoulder Stretches To Relieve Pain – Physical Therapy

Here are some exercises you can do if you are experiencing shoulder pain.

Shoulder pain is one of the most overlooked problems, and more often than not, we tend to shrug it off as something that gets better on its own. But as with any physical injury, if we leave it alone, it can become a big problem in the long run, which is why you might want to consider getting help from a physical therapist to help resolve your shoulder pain. Typically, one of the main types of exercises a therapist will give you is stretching. Stretches work on improving flexibility and relieving tension in your shoulders, reducing pain and restoring normalcy. For shoulder physical therapy issues, here are five common and effective stretches to relieve shoulder pain that your physical therapist might suggest.

1. Shoulder Rolls

This is one of the most natural stretches to relieve shoulder tension. To perform this correctly, stand up straight with your feet shoulder-width apart, and let your arms hang loosely by your side. Roll your shoulders forward, then upward, and finally backward in a fluid motion. Repeat this smoothly around ten times, and then perform the rolls from back to front.

2. Arm Circles

Much like the shoulder rolls, arm circles also improve flexibility in the shoulder and relieve tensed muscles. To perform arm circles, make sure that you have enough space around you to hold your arms out straight. Stand with your back straight, and stretch your right arm out in front of you. In a circular motion, lift your arm straight up without bending it at the elbow, then rotate it all the way back to bring it to the initial position. Repeat this movement around ten times on each side.

3. Forward Bends

This exercise helps relax the back of your shoulders, and works wonders after you’ve had a long day at work. Stand with your feet wide apart, stretch your arms backward, and lock your palms behind your back. Open your chest and bend forward at the hips, simultaneously lifting your locked hands over your head. Bend as much as you can and hold this pose for a few seconds before you get back up. This particular exercise is great for shoulder physical therapy pain relief.

4. Shoulder & Neck Stretches

This is one of the most basic stretches, and it’s something most people perform naturally in order to relieve painful shoulders. To perform these stretches, bend your head to the right, trying to touch your right shoulder with your right ear. Exert gentle pressure on your left temple to further stretch your head to the right. Hold this pose till you feel the muscles in your left neck and shoulder stretching, and then repeat this on the other side.

5. Cross-Arm Stretch

Another effective stretch that’s easy to perform, the cross-arm stretch requires you to stand up straight and stretch your right arm across your chest without bending the elbow. Use your left arm to gently pull your right arm until you feel a comfortable pull at your right shoulder. Hold this pose for a few seconds and then repeat the stretch on the other side.

As always, remember that even though most of these stretches can be performed at home, it’s advisable to consult with a physical therapist if your shoulder pain is unbearable or chronic, or refuses to go away over time. A medical professional’s opinion and assistance can help you get to the root of the problem and eliminate it if possible.

What to do if pain continues?

If you are having shoulder pain, you will want to consult your physical therapist. Often times, when we injure our shoulder it might involve shoulder blade injuries or it might involve some issues around external rotation in the shoulders. Again if you want to relieve shoulder pain through physical therapy, try these exercises to relieve pain but if it continues visit us at Gateway Rehab & Wellness Center, we are here to help.

Physical Therapy at Gateway Rehab & Wellness Center in Mission Viejo, CA

Is Physical Therapy Really for Me?

Many people wonder if they are a candidate for physical therapy or if physical therapy can help their ailment. For physical therapists, however, this is an easy question to answer: Most people can benefit from physical therapy, whether their condition varies from a simple ankle sprain to a complex neurological disorder. You may benefit from physical therapy even if you are not injured. Physical therapists, as movement experts, can help you prevent potential injury or illness.

Physical therapy is a conservative treatment method addressing the management, healing, and prevention of injuries and disabilities. I believe this to be very true. Physical therapy uses non-invasive and non-medical tools to help improve total body function.

Physical therapists focus on relieving pain, promoting healing, restoring function and movement, and facilitation and adaptation associated with the injury. Therapy also focuses on ergonomics or body mechanic training, fitness, and wellness. As you can see, physical therapy can play a role in most people’s lives. Regardless of your age, if you have a problem with normal mobility, you may benefit from working with a physical therapist to help you return to optimal function.

A list of some of the most common reasons to seek physical therapy includes:

  • Neck pain and low back pain
  • Arthritis in one or multiple joints
  • Fractures and other orthopedic conditions
  • Bowel or bladder incontinence
  • Problems with balance or mobility
  • Chronic fatigue and weakness
  • Pre- and post-surgical conditioning and strengthening
  • Cancer recovery
  • Fitness and wellness education including weight loss and prevention of osteoporosis
  • Respiratory problems / poor cardiovascular endurance
  • Cardiac rehab
  • Knee, ankle and foot problems
  • Shoulder, arm, hand and wrist problems, such as carpal tunnel syndrome and shoulder tendonitis
  • Pre- and post-partum programs
  • Neuro-rehabilitation, such as post-stroke and spinal cord or head injury
  • Wound care such as diabetic wounds and non-healing traumatic or post-surgical wounds
  • Common sprains and muscle strains
  • Work-related injuries such as repetitive motion injuries, slip, and fall accidents and other trauma
  • Sports-related injuries

If you are still confused about whether you need physical therapy or not, discuss your options with your physician. They will be able to guide you in the right direction.

Come See Us At Gateway Rehab & Wellness Center

If you are having difficulty moving around due to pain, loss of range of motion or decreased strength, you may benefit from working with a physical therapist. If you are looking to avoid getting injured, checking in with your physical therapist is a good idea. We can help devise strategies to prevent future episodes of pain or injury.

Trigger Point Therapy Treatment in Mission Viejo, Ca.

The human body is made of a network of muscles, joints and tendons. Trigger point therapy taps into the bodies internal network of muscles and tissue to unlock common chronic and injury related pain caused by tension and stress. Continuous movement can irritate tissue, and over time may lead to trigger points developing.

Ultimately when muscle tissue remains contracted for long periods of time they can harden and create little nodules that massage therapists can feel for during a trigger point massage. trigger point therapy helps reduce pain, relive tension and asissts in promoting better range of motion. Not only is this form of therapy great for releasing an area that is knotted up, but it also promotes healthy circulation and help muscles regain full function.

Is trigger point therapy right for me?

Simple activities like driving in your car for an extended period of time, poor posture, overdoing a daily exercise routine as well as other daily actions can cause strain and promote the buildup of stress and tension in your muscles.

There is a common misconception that people who do get trigger point massage undergo high levels of pain during the treatment and will be sore for days following the massage in order for the therapy to be helpful. However, the reality is the purpose of trigger point therapy is not to provide more pain but rather help reduce pain and heal injured tissue.

Our massage therapists incorporate deep tissue massage during trigger point therapy, so you can enjoy the relaxation of the massage experience coupled with the rehabilitative benefits that trigger point provides.

Here are some of the primary benefits of trigger point therapy.

Trigger point therapy can be extremely effective in treating many common muscular conditions and injuries such as:

  • Sciatic pain
  • Migraines
  • Shin splints
  • Plantar fasciitis
  • chronic pain in joints like a stiff neck or back
  • rotator cuff injuries

Start your trigger point therapy today!

Have questions about trigger point therapy? We are here to help! Contact Gateway Rehab & Wellness Center in Mission Viejo today! Schedule a consultation and see how we can help you get relief from pain!

What Is Regenerative Therapy (Stem Cell Therapy) And How Does It Work?

So you’ve heard about stem cells on TV, you’ve heard reporters talking about stem cell research, tests and even experiments with cloning.

At this point you may be wondering what exactly is regenerative medicine(stem cell therapy), and what are the practical applications for stem cell therapy? Is it something that you or a loved one could benefit from?

Stem cell therapy is a new and innovative therapy process that has the potential to not only treat
symptoms but also heal tissue by regenerating healthy cells.

Regenerative medicine, also called stem cell therapy, is a process that promotes the repair of
diseased, damaged or dysfunctional tissue.

At Gateway Rehab & Wellness center in Mission Viejo, CA, we offer regenerative therapy for our patients who have meniscus tears, arthritis, chronic knee pain, ligament and tendon injuries.

So How Does Stem Cell Therapy It Work

Stem cell are simply the body’s raw materials, from which all specialized cells and their functions are generated. These cells whether in a lab or in the body can be used to divide and form more of that same cell call daughter cells.

Daughter cells either self-renew and become new stem cells or become specialized cells with a specific functions. The unique thing about stem cells is they are the only type of cell in the body that can generate new cell types.

The cells used in regenerative medicine are grown in a lab. These stem cells are converted to specialize into a specific type of cell. In our case, orthopedic related illness and injury such as osteoarthritis.

By actually manipulating stem cells in a lab setting to act as a particular cell. The specialized cells are then used to implant into a patient and the diseased or injured tissue can begin healing or regeneration.

Stem Cell therapy in Mission Viejo

Here at Gateway Rehab & Wellness Center we are proud to offer regenerative medicine to our patients. Stem cell therapy can be an alternative choice to surgery and should be discussed with your doctor.

If you have any questions about regenerative medicine at Gateway please don’t hesitate to call us call now (949) 454-8811.

Holiday Raffle is Back!

Don’t forget to get your raffle ticket on your next visit to be entered into a weekly drawing during the month of December. You will be given a raffle ticket at each visit and receive five tickets for each new patient you refer.