Monday, June 28, 2021

5 ACTIVITIES TO PUT YOU ON A PATH TOWARD BETTER HEALTH

 Do you spend your days hobbling painfully from your bed to your reclining chair and back? Does the simple idea of taking part in any kind of vigorous activity make you cringe?

Physical activity is most likely the furthest thing from your mind if you suffer from chronic pain. The truth, however, is that getting active can vastly improve your health, your comfort, mobility, and overall quality of life!

WHY YOU SHOULD CARE ABOUT YOUR HEALTH

What does it mean to truly be “healthy?” Essentially, to be healthy means that your body is operating at its highest levels of function in regards to breathing, circulation, digestion, and more. Being healthy doesn’t necessarily mean that you have to be the most athletic person in the room.

Any step you make toward helping your body function at its optimum levels is a step toward becoming a healthier you. There are tons of exercises, stretches, and nutritional tips available to you that can help increase your health and help you feel physically better overall.

Keep reading to learn about five things you can do to get back on a path towards better health.

1. SWIMMING

Do you enjoy being in the water? If even walking hurts too much these days, maybe you should take a dip in the pool instead.

Swimming is tremendously helpful for people with arthritis or extremity injuries because the water eases the forces of gravity on the body. Water has immense healing properties as well.

Even if you can’t swim, try some healthy walking or dog-paddling in the water, or simply hold onto the sides while you try out some stretches. You’ll be pleasantly surprised by how good this can be for you!

2. WEIGHT LIFTING

Lifting weights isn’t just for “muscle-heads” or “gym rats.” Weight training can help you build up the muscle tissue that helps to support your joints.

If your muscles are strong, it means they’ll tire less easily and will be less vulnerable to painful strains. Working with weights also helps you maintain your bone density and avoid age-related muscle wasting.

3. BIKE RIDING

Riding a bike gets you where you want to go while offering a number of health benefits!

This kind of aerobic workout can help you improve your heart health, while the simple act of operating the bike exercises your balance and builds leg strength. If you have back pain or knee problems, cycling is also lower-impact than running, and much easier on your shins.

4. WALKING

Walking requires absolutely no special equipment, and it’s something you literally have to do to get from point A to point B, every day. If you have to make a short trip, why waste gasoline when you can get some fresh air and low-impact exercise instead?

Walking gives your circulation a healthy boost without making excessive demands on your body. It also gets your weight-bearing joints moving — and that’s a huge benefit if you struggle with arthritis.

5. RUNNING

As previously stated, running is more demanding on the heart, lungs, and knees than walking is. However, these demands can turn out to be very good for something causing you pain. The famous “runner’s high” you may have heard so much about seems to offer its own pain-reducing benefits for chronic pain sufferers.

The phrase “no pain, no gain” also seems to apply here. That routine you get from running could encourage your brain to step down its baseline pain sensitivity, making your other aches and pains seem less of a bother.

OTHER WAYS TO MAINTAIN A HEALTHY LIFESTYLE

It’s no secret that maintaining a healthy lifestyle takes work, but once you get into the groove of it, it becomes much easier and even enjoyable.

Starting out by choosing nutritious foods is one of the easiest ways to improve your health (although we know those sweets are hard to kick!) Physical activity is the hardest aspect to get in the habit of doing, especially if you are being held back by chronic pain.

Some people try to mask their symptoms with anti-inflammatory or pain-relieving medications, while others, unfortunately, give up on the idea of being active altogether. This only exacerbates pain problems and makes things worse for you in the long run.

Luckily, there is an alternative option: physical therapy. With the help of a physical therapist, it is possible to reclaim your pain-free, healthy lifestyle, and get back to doing the activities you love!

HOW PHYSICAL THERAPY CAN IMPROVE YOUR HEALTH

A physical therapist is a licensed movement specialist. They know how to properly evaluate your health and prescribe the right activities for your needs and goals. At the same time, you may be able to enhance the benefits of your activities with other safe, helpful modalities such as massage, ultrasound therapy, dry needling, cold and heat treatments, acupuncture, or laser therapy.

It’s up to you if you want to pursue any or all of these activities. You can also ask our physical therapist about integrating them into a full-scale physical therapy program. The latter approach could be a great idea if you’re in the process of rehabilitating an injury, unsure of how much exercise your body can tolerate, or battling a particular chronic pain issue.

These therapies can promote tissue repair, ease inflammation, reduce pain, and increase your ability to keep moving and living life to the fullest.

Monday, May 31, 2021

Memorial Day Hero WOD: MURPH

If you are unfamiliar with the hero workout "Murph", please read below:

‘Murph’ is named after Navy Lieutenant Michael Murphy, who was killed in action in Afghanistan June 28th, 2005. He was 29-years-old. After graduating from Penn State University in 1998, Murphy rejected offers to attend law school and instead accepted a commission in the United States Navy and became a SEAL in July 2002. For a man whose nickname was ‘The Protector’, the decision made perfect sense. In fact, when Murphy was in the 8th grade, he was suspended from school for fighting with bullies that were trying to shove a special needs child into a locker. And Gary Williams, author of “Seal of Honor,” a biography of Murphy, recounts a story where Murphy protected a homeless man who was collecting cans from a gang of thugs.

In early 2005 Murphy was assigned to SEAL Delivery Vehicle Team ONE as officer in charge of Alpha Platoon and deployed to Afghanistan. In June of that year, Murphy was leading a four-man reconnaissance team in Kunar province as part of a counter-insurgent mission (the other men in Murphy’s team were Danny Dietz, Matthew Axelson and Marcus Luttrell). During the mission the team encountered a group of local goat herders.

A discussion was held among the four SEALs regarding the rules of engagement and what they should do with the herders, who were being held at gunpoint. Eventually the men decided to release them, but not soon after the SEALs were surrounded and ambushed by an overwhelming Taliban force. Murphy, who was trying to reach HQ via satellite phone, willingly exposed himself to enemy fire by stepping into a clearing where he might get a signal to make the call. Murphy was shot in the back, but still managed to calmly complete the call for reinforcements and return to his position to continue the fight with his men. HQ sent an MH-47 Chinook helicopter to rescue the team, but while attempting to set down in rugged terrain, the helicopter was hit by a rocket-propelled grenade, killing all 16 men on board.

Murphy, Dietz, and Axelson were all killed in action. Luttrell was the only survivor and was eventually rescued after several days of wandering the mountain and being protected by the people of an Afghan village.

We honor Muphy's memory by performing "Murph" every Memorial Day:

"Murph"
For Time:
1 mile run
100 Pull-ups
200 Push-ups
300 Air Squats
1 mile run

 
*Rx weighted vest 20lbs/14lbs

Sunday, May 23, 2021

PHYSICAL THERAPY ISN’T ONLY FOR RECOVERY AFTER SURGERY

 Ranging from a dull ache to excruciating, back pain can keep you from performing simple daily tasks you once enjoyed. There are few conditions that are more uncomfortable than back pain. While nearly 80 percent of adults experience back pain at some point in their lives, the treatments used to alleviate it are varied.

Some people automatically think surgery is the best option to relieve back pain, but that’s not always true. Carrying high levels of risk and requiring months of recovery, back surgery is no small matter. That’s why it should not be a person’s first resort when they are struggling with back pain.

Physical therapy can offer a variety of benefits when it comes to relieving your back pain, and it can also improve your overall health in the process. To learn more, call our office today to set up an appointment.

EVER HEARD OF “PRE-HAB?”

If you are planning on surgery to help alleviate back pain, you may already have a recovery plan that includes physical therapy. That’s normal, as most extensive surgeries do require physical therapy to begin shortly after the operation is completed. What you may not know is that physical therapy is a great way to prepare for surgery as well.

Physical therapy can improve your cardiovascular function and strengthen the muscles and muscle attachments in areas that will already be weakened by surgery. Even a few sessions with a physical therapist have been shown to reduce postoperative care by more than 25 percent. Since most back surgery procedures require long periods of recovery, the idea of cutting it down by a fourth is appealing.

A physical therapist will evaluate your current condition and pain level. They will consult with your surgeon for more information and any imaging studies that are available. The physical therapist will then create a treatment plan aimed at immediate pain relief and strengthening the body in preparation for surgery.

Physical therapists will help you strengthen your upper extremities as well. If you need better core strength to hold the structures of your spine in place, the physical therapist will work on strengthening your muscles without causing additional damage.

PHYSICAL THERAPY AFTER SURGERY

Many people associate physical therapy with a post-surgical treatment plan. While it does play a vital role in helping patients recover once they have been under the knife, it is also an incredible tool for pain relief. A physical therapist can treat acute pain with manual therapies such as heat, ice, electrical stimulation, and massage.

However, what most people don’t realize is that pain relief often requires strengthening the structures around the injury, not just treating the injury itself. If you are experiencing back pain, you may need to strengthen your core muscles in your abdomen and legs to help your back find relief.

This process is not a fast one, but a physical therapist can show you exercises that are aimed at relieving your pain.

WHY CHOOSE PHYSICAL THERAPY?

It is important to remember that a physical therapist is an expert in the way the body moves. We have a natural tendency to rest when we are in pain, rather than move. In reality, many people who experience back pain need to learn how to move better. Physical therapists are skilled specialists who can provide you with the necessary education regarding the prevention of future injuries as well.

Physical therapy can help you regain lost movement in your back and legs while decreasing your pain levels. A physical therapist can also show you how to prevent further injury in your daily life by teaching you how to bend, lift, stretch, sit, stand, or walk in ways that relieve your back pain.

Choosing physical therapy before and after invasive surgical procedures can be one of the best choices you can make for your overall health. You don’t want to end up dependent on prescription medication for pain relief, do you? Of course not! So what are you waiting for? It’s time to start setting yourself up for success.

Friday, May 14, 2021

How Long Will It Take To Recoup Your Home Gym Investment?

An idea of a home gym may sound too expensive for you; however, in reality, it’s a great investment. The best part is that you don’t have to wait too long for your return on investment. You can get it as soon as 7 months! Let us break it down, because everyone likes numbers when it comes to savings, right?

If you’re going to a big box gym like Gold’s or similar, the monthly price is around $50 on average! You might get perks like a sauna and swimming pool with that, but how many times you have used the swimming pool? You’re there for a squat rack, weights, and maybe leg press - all of which you often have to wait on. In the meantime, there is an overwhelming amount of people and machines, while you just want to stick to your simple routine. Things that bothered you at your local gym won’t be a problem with a home gym anymore!

On the other hand, if you choose to go to a CrossFit® gym on an unlimited plan, you will spend AT LEAST $150 per month. That is $1800 every year! With your home gym investment of $1,000, you'd make your investment back in less than 7 months. Think about it, you will have everything you need in your garage gym for the price of your membership. You don’t have to be constricted by the class hours, you can have your CrossFit® or cross-training workouts whenever it works best for you. If you were missing motivation, nothing can motivate you more than the convenience of your gym and your new gym toys! Some people like the social aspect of a group training gym, being a part of the team that pushes you, but you can still invite people to your home gym. Moreover, you can now workout with your family.

So, to sum it up, if you spend $1,000 to start your home gym you would make your investment back in less than 7 months if you were going to a CrossFit® gym or 20 months for a big box gym. However, the beauty of a home gym, besides saving a ton of money, is that you get to have your schedule. Whether you are curious about lifting or have been in this game for quite a while, a home gym can be ideal for you! If you are worried about not knowing what exercises to do? Street Parking is an online workout programmer with a focus on lifting and metabolic conditioning. Only $180 for a year!

Saturday, May 1, 2021

Thought Science

 Disclaimer: I’m not anti vaccine or pro vaccine. Just sharing a story that happened today and it got me thinking.


While at Chipotle. Multiple people
Walk-In Without Masks. The first question instead of bowl or burrito.
“You’re not wearing a mask because you’re vaccinated corrrect?”

As long as you say Yes, whether that’s the truth or a lie, they will serve you. If you say no you aren’t, they will not serve you until you come back with a mask.

Obviously, I got served.

It had nothing to do with my health. Had nothing to do with the safety of those around me. As long as I answered the question correctly. Yes or No.

Now I am cool with this sort of discrimination as long as we make people stand on a scale before served at McDonalds.
And if we are going to carry around a card to let people like restaurants know our health report, Let’s make sure to carry around a card with the full report. Not sure most would be willing to do that, but we care about our health?

Over 2/3 of the American Adult population are either overweight or Obese. Do we want to talk about people’s health? Are we ready to have that conversation? Are we ready to talk about SCIENCE?

We are willing to tell people to put on a mask while you order food but make sure to take it off before you chow down on a Big Mac. You can smoke a cigarette outside the essential gas station but have to put on a mask to go in and buy them. If you are a vaccinated smoker, you don’t have to wear a mask to in and buy cigarettes. You can buy alcohol without a mask as long as you are vaccinated?

Is this what we are considering science? This is logical? Is this truly trying to make the world a healthier place?

Just like the chipotle cashier asked “yes” or “no”? No explanation needed.

Friday, April 23, 2021

4 REASONS HIP AND KNEE PAIN DOESN’T HAVE TO CONTROL YOUR LIFE


WHAT IS HIP AND KNEE PAIN?

Hip pain can be caused by a variety of medical conditions as well as from certain injuries. It often occurs when inflamed tendons from over-exertion or an athletic injury. Tendinitis, dislocation, sprains, and pinched nerves can all contribute to or be the cause of hip pain. Hip pain may also result from repetitive injuries or poor posture.

Fractures, tendinitis, and knee bursitis are all common knee injuries. Injuries that include torn cartilage or damaged ligaments can cause knee pain. Medical conditions such as arthritis or gout can cause mild to severe knee pain. You may be experiencing stiffness or swelling in one or both knees, and it might be difficult to stand, walk, or fully straighten your knee. Sometimes knees will make popping or crunching noises.

If you’re experiencing hip or knee pain, don’t assume it will just dissipate over time! Chances are that you do need to see a physical therapist for help.4 Reasons Hip and Knee Pain Doesn’t Have to Control Your Life

WHAT BENEFITS DOES PHYSICAL THERAPY OFFER?

Hip and knee pain can be debilitating – it seems like no matter what you have on your schedule for the day, if you move around too much, you’re going to experience pain. Thankfully there are ways to reduce your pain over the long term.

It may take some time and effort on your part, but physical therapy has proven time and again to help reduce hip and knee pain for patients of all ages and backgrounds.

You might be wondering, “How does the pain relief I can get from physical therapy last for so long? Well, there are a few reasons! We’ve compiled some of the most obvious ones in a list for you below.

  • Physical therapy will prevent future injuries. One of the big frustrations with joint pain is that it never seems to fully go away. Even if you rest for a while and feel better, when you go out and start moving again the injury can flare up all over again. But with physical therapy exercises, you get much stronger than you were before. The added strength allows your muscles to better support your joints, so you are less likely to experience additional irritation in the joint.
  • A physical therapist can teach you how to move in the proper ways. Many times the pain you are experiencing in your hip and knee is related to unhealthy movement patterns. They may have been learned over time or in response to an initial injury. Those unhealthy movements cause added strain on your joints and lead to further pain and injuries. Your physical therapist will help identify unhealthy movement patterns and provide you with education that will allow you to replace those patterns with ones that will protect your joints from further injury.
  • Physical therapy can help you live a healthy and active life. Chronic hip and knee pain can be significantly improved or eliminated through regular exercise and a healthy lifestyle. Of course, you have to be able to move without significant pain to exercise – something that is made much easier by physical therapy. Your physical therapist can help you improve your hip and knee pain and teach you ways to exercise so that you avoid injuring your joints. Through physical therapy, you can regain strength and mobility so that you can lead a more active lifestyle.
  • It will stop your pain problem at the source. If you just treat the symptoms of a hip and/or knee issue, you are almost guaranteed to see the problem pop up again later on. However, if you can determine the true source of the pain problem, you can actually treat what is causing the pain. Physical therapists have a process to identify the causes of hip and knee pain so that they can give you targeted treatments designed to get to the bottom of what is causing your pain.

COMMON CAUSES OF HIP AND KNEE PAIN

A great number of problems can cause hip and knee pain. Some of these are related to musculoskeletal misalignment, poor posture, and/or excess weight gain; others occur as the result of natural aging or unhealthy sports/work habits. Your hip or knee pain may stem from:

  • Osteoarthritis
  • Tendinitis
  • Bursitis
  • Traumatic injuries, such as dislocation of the joint
  • Postural/alignment issues that throw your body off balance, straining the knees or hips
  • Runner’s knee, an instability of the kneecap
  • Infections

A skilled physical therapist can often tell the cause of your hip or knee pain from its location. For example, pain along the inside of the hip is more likely to be caused by a problem with the bones or cartilage. Pain along the outer side is typically caused by a problem in the muscles, tendons or ligaments.

Friday, April 9, 2021

EXPERIENCING BACK PAIN? A HERNIATED DISC COULD BE THE CULPRIT

 

You may have been in this position before. Something feels terribly wrong with your back, but you’re not quite sure what it is. You might be experiencing strange neck pains, back pains, or other symptoms in your extremities. These sensations can indicate a variety of potential problems – including one or more herniated discs in your back.

So, you might be wondering: how can you tell for sure whether you have this specific problem? And if you do have a herniated disc, what can you do about it? These questions don’t have to add confusion and frustration to your pain.

Here are some helpful tidbits of information from our physical therapist about herniated discs, their common symptoms, and how physical therapy can help you get rid of your discomfort.

WHAT IS A HERNIATED DISC?

Your spinal discs are flat discs of tissue that lie between the vertebrae. A disc consists of a fluid-filled center called the “nucleus pulposus”, encased in an outer structure called the “annulus fibrosus”. This arrangement makes the disc both tough enough and spongy enough to absorb shocks.

Unfortunately, that toughness has its limits. Sometimes a disc will lose hydration over time, causing the nucleus pulposus to get smaller. The disc loses its height, which stresses the spinal joints and may cause the disc to bulge outward.

Eventually, these changes can cause part of the annulus fibrosus to balloon and tear open; causing a herniated disc. Herniated discs can also occur suddenly due to an auto accident, workplace accident, or sports injury that traumatizes the spine. They are also known as slipped or ruptured discs, and they do require medical attention.

SYMPTOMS OF A HERNIATED DISC

Herniated discs don’t always cause symptoms in everyone, but on the chance that you are one of the people who experience them, here are some of the most common ones:

  • An inability to walk more than a few steps without pain
  • Pain, tingling, or loss of sensation in a limb (the result of a herniated disc pressing against nerve roots)
  • Back pain that seems to grow worse when you sneeze, cough, stand up, or sit down
  • Neck pain (if it’s a cervical disc)

Some of these symptoms may begin after you gain a lot of weight since obesity is a risk factor for disc problems. You may notice others shortly after an accident that caused extreme twisting of the neck or back, or an attempt to lift a heavy object.

Don’t panic and think that all back pain is the result of a bulging disc. If your symptoms seem to be soothed by massage, heat, or cold, you’re more likely to have a strained muscle. Ultimately, the most accurate way to confirm a herniated disc is through medical imaging. X-rays can reveal not only the abnormal shape of a herniated disc but also whether the herniation is pinching a nerve.

HOW ARE HERNIATED DISCS TREATED?

Physical therapy can successfully treat herniated discs! At your initial appointment, one of our physical therapists will perform diagnostic tests to determine the root of your pain and verify that your pain is indeed being caused by a herniated disc.

Once the cause of your pain is clear, a customized treatment plan will be created for you, based on your specific needs. This typically includes a series of targeted stretches and exercises aimed at relieving your pain, improving your function, and promoting the natural healing process of your body.

Additional treatments may be added as your physical therapist deems fit. These include:

  • Manual therapy
  • Class IV laser therapy
  • Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS)
  • Education on posture and lifting mechanics
  • Ice and heat therapies
  • Traction

Physical therapy is one of the safest, quickest, and most effective ways to treat herniated discs. It is a holistic and non-invasive approach that, in many cases, has been able to eliminate the need for harmful drugs or surgical intervention.

Your physical therapist will also advise you on any lifestyle changes that may be recommended in order to prevent herniated discs from developing again in the future. Our physical therapist can recommend specific exercises to build up the strength in your back or neck. These exercises can counter any atrophy or weakness you’ve experienced due to your herniated disc. Your therapist may also recommend other non-invasive techniques to complement your physical therapy exercises and help you heal.

READY TO GET YOUR LIFE BACK?

A herniated disc can cause a lot of misery — but don’t panic! Most herniated discs can be treated successfully without invasive and expensive surgical operations. Physical therapy can be the key to helping you reduce or eliminate your symptoms.