Whether you have tried physical therapy before without success or this is your first time needing therapy, one thing is always true: Your body and life experiences are unique to you. Therefore, your physical therapy treatment should reflect these differences and be specific to your individual needs. Ten people may be diagnosed with “sciatica”. However, the cause of each person’s leg and back pain can be completely different depending on each person’s history (sports, car accidents, stress level, work environment, etc) and thus needs to be treated differently. At C.A.R.E. Physical Therapy, your physical therapist will analyze your body and its unique mechanics from head to toe to determine the cause of your pain. Sometimes the location of your pain is not the location of the root cause. Therefore, you need a treatment plan that will address your pain while also affecting the core problem. This whole body approach ensures success with a broad range of people whether they have tried physical therapy before or not.

Injuries can occur while participating in any competitive or recreational sport. Whether you are a weekend warrior or a competitive professional, at C.A.R.E. Physical Therapy we understand you have unique needs as an athlete. Most sports injuries are caused by overuse, though they may also be a result of a trauma.

Common areas of overuse:

  • Elbow (Tennis/Golfers’ elbow, tendonitis)
  • Shoulder (Rotator cuff, Biceps
  • Hip (Trochanteric bursitis)
  • Knee (Quads, Hamstring)
  • Ankle (Achilles, Shin splints)
  • Foot (Plantarfascitis)
  • Patellofemoral Pain (Runner’s knee)

As physical therapists, we play a vital role in the rehabilitation process. We help to decrease swelling and pain, achieve full joint motion, restore muscle strength, stability, and balance, and return you to your sport. It is critical that these injuries are fully rehabilitated to prevent further problems as you progress in your sport.


RUNNING At C.A.R.E. Physical Therapy, our physical therapists treat a large number of patients from Chicago’s running community. Whether you are in training for a 5K or a marathon, the repetitive motion of running can place stress on your body, potentially leading to irritation, inflammation, and pain. Common running injuries include:

  • Plantar Fasciitis
  • Shin Splints
  • Achilles Tendinitis
  • Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome (runner’s knee)
  • Iliotibial Band (ITB) Syndrome
  • Hamstring Strains
  • Hip Bursitis
  • Low Back Pain

As physical therapists, not only do we manage and treat the symptoms of your pain, but we determine the cause of pain as well. Because the ankle bone is attached to the knee bone, which is attached to the hip bone, which is attached to the pelvic bone, and so on (this is called the kinetic chain), the cause of the pain can be different than the location of your pain. In order for runners to run pain/injury free it is important that there is a balance between flexibility and strength in all muscle groups. You can achieve this balance through hands-on treatment and tailored functional exercises to return you to running as soon as possible. Additionally, we offer video analysis of your individual running gait to determine the cause of your pain and guide treatment. We understand your need and passion to continue to compete as an endurance athlete. Our therapists are committed to helping to you meet your goals while keeping you running well into the future.

It is estimated that 8 out of 10 people, at one point in their lifetime will experience at least one episode of serious back pain, so it is not surprising that this problem is responsible for millions of lost workdays each year as well as billions of dollars spent in healthcare costs. Some common spinal injuries include:

  • Neck/Low Back sprain/strain
  • Disc Problems (herniations, bulges, degeneration, etc.)
  • Spondylolisthesis
  • Facet Joint Syndrome
  • Sciatica
  • Arthritis/Spurring
  • Stenosis
  • Fractures
  • Osteoporosis

It is important to realize that a spine problem is seldom the result of any one single incident. Occasionally falls, fractures or other traumatic injuries do result in spine problems, however these are less common. Low back and neck pain are more likely due to cumulative trauma resulting from years of poor postural habits, compensatory movement patterns developed after an injury, lack of proper exercise etc. Frequently there is a final incident which leads to back or neck pain, but this incident is rarely the primary cause. Just as the “final incident” is not necessarily the cause of the pain, the location of pain is not necessarily the cause of the problem. Our bodies are amazing compensators; if one part of the system is not functioning properly then another part of the system will take over. This leads to imbalances in the system and, just like any piece of machinery, an imbalance may lead to wear and tear, eventually damaging the parts of the system. The areas which undergo the wear and tear are typically the painful, injured areas, while the areas that are the source of the “breakdown” may be far removed from the area of pain.

Many people struggle with chronic headaches, causing them to miss work or to suffer through a less-than productive day. Headaches are primarily caused by two major factors: muscular tension and vascular dysfunction. Often times it is a combination of both. Vascular headaches can include a throbbing sensation in the head (i.e. feeling your heartbeat in the head) and frequently occur around menstrual periods or after eating particular foods. Muscular tension headaches involve myofascial restrictions and muscle spasms that cause pain to radiate to the head from the neck, back, eyes, or other muscle groups in the body. A high stress level can also contribute to strain in the upper cervical and cranial tissues. The therapists at C.A.R.E. can not only reduce the intensity and frequency of your headaches, but address the root cause by:

  • identifying the musculoskeletal imbalances throughout your body including the cranium, neck, shoulders and pelvis
  • applying specific, hands-on techniques that balance your circulatory system and relieve tissue tension in the restricted areas
  • strengthening neck and shoulder muscles, enabling your work at your desk and manage activities of daily living with ease
  • instructing you in easy-to-learn biofeedback and relaxation techniques to prevent headaches before they begin.

Based on the findings of your individual evaluation, your therapist will design and implement a tailored treatment that will give you freedom from this chronic and often debilitating condition.

Temporomandibular Joint disorder (TMJ) causes pain to nearly 10 million Americans each year and is often detected by dentists who notice the uneven muscle ability of the facial joint. The TMJ is the joint directly in front of your ear and is made up of the temporal bone of your skull and the mandible of your jaw. Pain and/or clicking of this joint is caused by inappropriate mechanics of the TMJ and can have many different causes. The key to resolving your pain and/or clicking is to find and treat the root cause of the problem, in addition to your symptoms.

Symptoms May Include (not limited to):

  • Ear PainPain/Clicking in the jaw with opening and/or closing (as in chewing or yawning)
  • Locking of the jaw
  • Tenderness of the muscles around the cheek and above your ear
  • Headaches

Causes May Include

  • Poor posture
  • Clenching or grinding of teeth (both during the day or at night)
  • Biting nails, inside of cheeks or lips
  • Neck, shoulder or low back dysfunction
  • Significant dental work
  • Cold weather (constant shrug of shoulders)

Each individual has their own personal habits and medical history, therefore it is important to have a full physical therapy evaluation in order to find the actual cause of dysfunction. We at C.A.R.E. employ manual therapy techniques as well as a tailored functional exercise program to ensure not only short term relief of pain, but long term results including prevention of other injuries.

Do you:

  • Cross your legs when you cough or sneeze? (Stress Incontinence)
  • Know where every bathroom is when shopping? Wake at night “to go” or Have to “go” as soon as you hear running water? (Urge Incontinence)
  • Have low back pain because you are pregnant or just had a baby?
  • Have pain with intercourse?

These things are common, but they are not normal. Help is available!

Women’s Health is a branch of health care dedicated to problems related to the female reproductive system. Pregnancy and childbirth can often times be blamed for “women’s health problems,” however C.A.R.E. Physical Therapy can help resolve these complaints and give you the tools to maintain good women’s health.

Stress Incontinence

If your pelvic floor muscles are too weak or long, the increased pressure in your abdomen from a sneeze or cough overcomes the strength of your pelvic floor muscles and causes urine to leak; this is called stress incontinence. Our therapists can help you strengthen these muscles to achieve greater control and stability.

Urge incontinence

Urge incontinence is also the leaking of urine, though it tends to have triggers (such as running water or cold weather) and can limit the amount of time between bathroom trips. Urge incontinence is also caused by a weakness of the pelvic floor muscles, though there is often a psychological and/or neurological component.


Vestibulitis and vulvadynia both refer to pain in the female reproductive organs. Since muscle spasm and nerve pain aggravate the discomfort of these disorders, physical therapy using biofeedback has been successful in alleviating patients’ symptoms. Whether you have incontinence or any other type of pelvic pain, it is important to have a complete physical therapy evaluation to determine the cause of your problems and to treat them directly and efficiently.

The thoracic outlet is the area between the neck and the shoulder. Thoracic Outlet Syndrome (TOS) is a collection of symptoms caused by abnormal compression of all, or parts of the brachial plexus (a group of motor and sensory nerves that exit the neck and innervate the upper extremities), the subclavian artery and vein, and various other neurovascular components that pass between the neck and shoulder. Compression can be cause by bony, ligamentous, muscular or fascial restrictions and can occur when the size or shape of the thoracic outlet changes. The outlet can be altered by trauma, pregnancy, exostosis (abnormal bone growth), congenital structural abnormalities, poor posture and postural weakness. Thoracic spine abnormalities such as decreased range of motion and asymmetries may also contribute to TOS because it houses the majority of the sympathetic nervous system. The sympathetic nervous system can alter the blood flow and nerve function of the upper extremities, as well as produce bizarre sensations in the arms in hands.

Signs and Symptoms of TOS:

Puffiness or swelling of the arm or hand

Bluish discoloration of the hand

Sensation of heaviness in the arm or hand

Deep, toothache-like pain in the neck, shoulder arm or hand that increases at night

Easily fatigued arm/hand

Bizarre sensations, such as bugs crawling, pins and needles or numbness in the arm/hand

Difficulty with hand fine motor tasks Activities that can cause compression: It is most often the result of static poor posture (forward head, rounded shoulders and back), strenuous postures (continuous or repetitive overhead activities), and compression caused by carrying heavy loads such as heavy briefcases, shoulder bags and purses. Treatment usually includes manual therapy to release soft tissue restrictions and mobilize bony structures, as well as strengthening and education to correct postural asymmetries.

Alicia Bien, LMT

Alicia Bien is a Licensed Massage Therapist and has been treating patients at C.A.R.E. since 2003. Alicia was trained as a physical therapist in Poland and graduated from the Krakow Physical Education College in 1984 with a degree in Physical Therapy. She spent six years working with inpatient orthopedic and post-surgical patients at the Tarnow Hospital in Poland. In 1998, she moved to the United States, learning English at Triton College. Four years later, she received her Massage Therapy licensure through the European Massage Therapy School. Alicia uses a number of bodywork techniques including trigger point massage, craniosacral therapy, lymphatic drainage, zero balancing, myofascial release, and pregnancy massage. Alicia’s extensive training and background in manual therapy allows her to offer her clients a higher level of expertise that most massage therapists.


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What is the Feldenkrais Method?The Feldenkrais Method is a form of somatic education that uses gentle movement and directed attention to improve movement and enhance human functioning. Through this Method, you can increase your ease and range of motion, improve your flexibility and coordination, and rediscover your innate capacity for graceful, efficient movement. These improvements will often generalize to enhance functioning in other aspects of your life.

The Feldenkrais Method is based on principles of physics, biomechanics and an empirical understanding of learning and human development. By expanding the self-image through movement sequences that bring attention to the parts of the self that are out of awareness, the Method enables you to include more of yourself in your functioning movements. Students become more aware of their habitual neuromuscular patterns and rigidities and expand options for new ways of moving. By increasing sensitivity the Feldenkrais Method assists you to live your life more fully, efficiently and comfortably.

Who Benefits from the Feldenkrais Method?

Anyone—young or old, physically challenged or physically fit—can benefit from the Method. Feldenkrais is beneficial for those experiencing chronic or acute pain of the back, neck, shoulder, hip, legs or knee, as well as for healthy individuals who wish to enhance their self-image. The Method has been very helpful in dealing with central nervous system conditions such as multiple sclerosis, cerebral palsy, and stroke. Musicians, actors and artists can extend their abilities and enhance creativity. Many Seniors enjoy using it to retain or regain their ability to move without strain or discomfort.Through lessons in this method you can enjoy greater ease of movement, an increased sense of vitality, and feelings of peaceful relaxation. After a session you often feel taller and lighter, breathe more freely and find that your discomforts have eased. You experience relaxation, and feel more centered and balanced.What Happens in a Feldenkrais Method Session?Feldenkrais work is done in two formats.In group classes, called Awareness Through Movement, the Feldenkrais teacher verbally leads you through a sequence of movements in basic positions: sitting or lying on the floor, standing or sitting in a chair.Private Feldenkrais lessons, called Functional Integration, are tailored to each student’s individual learning needs; the teacher guides your movements through touch.The Feldenkrais Method is named after its originator, Dr. Moshe Feldenkrais, D.Sc. (1904-1984) [about], a Russian born physicist, judo expert, mechanical engineer and educator.

Phenomenal. I’ve seen many different doctors and received many different treatments, and nothing has come close. My daughter also comes here. She suffered from migraines, and after coming to CARE, she has also found great relief.

-Nancy M., Chicago