Life is a Movement Journey, Here’s How PT Can Help

Now that spring has arrived, temperatures are starting to rise in many parts of the country. And
that means the transition from heating our homes to cooling our homes is right around the
corner. No matter what method you use to cool your home during the warm spring and summer
months (central air conditioning, window units, or fans and dehumidifiers), each spring you cross
your fingers that your approach still works. If not, you might be calling an expert for a tune-up,
or in extreme circumstances, you might need a complete overhaul.

Just like an AC system that has probably been dormant for many months of the year, a body
that hasn’t been physically engaged on a regular basis may have trouble getting started again.
And yet, this time of year, the warm temps draw many people to city and suburban streets,
tracks and trails, ready to take that first run of the season. A good percentage of these spring
runners haven’t kept up their strides throughout the winter. It should come as no surprise that a
4-mile run for a previously inactive person is going to stir up a few aches and pains.

Especially as we age, our ability to move undergoes changes. But whether we’re talking about a
college student or a retiree, returning to an activity without proper planning is a recipe for
disaster. That’s where physical therapy comes in. Physical therapists are trained to treat injuries
and ease pain, but they can also help their patients prevent injuries and safely prepare to
participate in new activities.

Think of physical therapists as “movement consultants” who can ensure that your body is
physically ready to tackle a new challenge—or resume a favorite leisure activity. Here’s another
example to illustrate what we’re talking about: Let’s say that you play in an adult soccer league
and you’re preparing to play in your first game of the season in a few weeks. You probably hung
up your cleats when the last season ended months ago, but expect to pick up just where you left
off. But it’s simply too much to ask for your 2019 debut on the field to be on the same level as
the last game of the previous season, when you likely had reached peak performance.

This is a good time for your PT to step in and help you shake off the rust. The rehab professional
can customize an exercise plan to help you slowly return to sport and avoid an injury that could
sideline you for the whole season. Or like cleaning the filters before firing up your air
conditioner for the first time this year, the rehab expert can help to ensure that your body is
prepared to return to its former activity level following a hiatus

Life is a Movement Journey, Here’s How PT Can Help

Now that spring has arrived, temperatures are starting to rise in many parts of the country. And
that means the transition from heating our homes to cooling our homes is right around the
corner. No matter what method you use to cool your home during the warm spring and summer
months (central air conditioning, window units, or fans and dehumidifiers), each spring you cross
your fingers that your approach still works. If not, you might be calling an expert for a tune-up,
or in extreme circumstances, you might need a complete overhaul.

Just like an AC system that has probably been dormant for many months of the year, a body
that hasn’t been physically engaged on a regular basis may have trouble getting started again.
And yet, this time of year, the warm temps draw many people to city and suburban streets,
tracks and trails, ready to take that first run of the season. A good percentage of these spring
runners haven’t kept up their strides throughout the winter. It should come as no surprise that a
4-mile run for a previously inactive person is going to stir up a few aches and pains.

Especially as we age, our ability to move undergoes changes. But whether we’re talking about a
college student or a retiree, returning to an activity without proper planning is a recipe for
disaster. That’s where physical therapy comes in. Physical therapists are trained to treat injuries
and ease pain, but they can also help their patients prevent injuries and safely prepare to
participate in new activities.

Think of physical therapists as “movement consultants” who can ensure that your body is
physically ready to tackle a new challenge—or resume a favorite leisure activity. Here’s another
example to illustrate what we’re talking about: Let’s say that you play in an adult soccer league
and you’re preparing to play in your first game of the season in a few weeks. You probably hung
up your cleats when the last season ended months ago, but expect to pick up just where you left
off. But it’s simply too much to ask for your 2019 debut on the field to be on the same level as
the last game of the previous season, when you likely had reached peak performance.

This is a good time for your PT to step in and help you shake off the rust. The rehab professional
can customize an exercise plan to help you slowly return to sport and avoid an injury that could
sideline you for the whole season. Or like cleaning the filters before firing up your air
conditioner for the first time this year, the rehab expert can help to ensure that your body is
prepared to return to its former activity level following a hiatus.

The Number One Thing You Can Do to Improve Your Physical Therapy Experience

Dealing with the pain and limited mobility associated with an injury or illness can be stressful for so many reasons. You might have questions like, “How long will I be sidelined?” and “What do I need to do to get better?” Or maybe you’re worried about how you’ll pick your children up from school, walk to the train for your commute or prepare meals for your family.
These are all perfectly normal concerns. Luckily, there are some ways that you can gain control over the situation and ensure that you return to the activities you care most about—especially if physical therapy is part of your plan.

What you can do before your very first appointment—and during physical therapy—to take control of that injury-related stress? First and foremost, it’s important to come prepared for physical therapy. And no, I’m not talking about dressing appropriately and arriving on time (or even better, 15 minutes ahead of your scheduled appointment). That stuff is important, of course, but there’s one thing you can do in the days leading up to your appointment that will set you up for success.

Any guesses? I’m talking about starting a list. What kind of list? Well, every time that you feel pain in the affected area or notice an activity that is harder than it was pre-injury, add it to the list! And the more specific you are, the better. Here’s an example to help drive this point home: Let’s say that you’re recovering from a moderate meniscus tear and you have an appointment with your physical therapist in three days. Take notes on how your knee feels first thing in the morning after you’ve been off your feet. How does your knee react when you stand up from a chair—does it feel unstable? Or do you find that you need to clutch the back of the couch on your way to the bathroom? Sharing each of these details helps your physical therapist understand your limitations beyond the injury printed on your intake form.

Now let’s take that list a step farther and add some details about the activities that you typically participate in on a regular basis. Let’s say that you normally play a weekly round of golf, spend your mornings weeding your garden or meet up with friends for a four-mile walk two evenings a week. These activities have become an important part of your life so let’s make sure that they’re factored into your list, perhaps in the “what you hope to get out of physical therapy” category. Painting a clear picture of how active you are—and what types of activities and sports you participate in—can help your physical therapist design an individualized treatment plan and to better help you on your road to recovery.

Have you been to physical therapy lately for an injury? Did you find anything else that helped maximize your time in rehab or that improved communication with your physical therapist?

80% of Americans Experience Back Pain, But 100% of PTs Know How to Prevent It

Got back pain? You’re not alone. Eighty percent of Americans suffer from low back and neck pain at some point in their lives. Let that sink in. With such great odds that you—or someone close to you—will one day become a statistic, wouldn’t it make sense to arm yourself with preventive strategies and knowledge? Physical therapy is a good place to start.
By performing a thorough evaluation, a physical therapist can identify the muscular, postural and skeletal limitations that could one day lead to an episode of back pain. As part of the assessment, she will observe as you perform a series of exercises and then gather an account of your daily activity level and environmental factors like operating machinery or working at a desk 40 hours a week.
The PT will then use all of this knowledge to design a personalized exercise program and teach you a few APT-approved strategies to prevent back pain:
Use good body positioning at work, home and during recreational activities.
Keep the load close to your body during lifting.
Ask for help before lifting heavy objects.
Maintain a regular physical fitness regimen— staying active can help to prevent injuries.

Lifestyle can play a big role in back pain. In fact, inactivity and incorrect body mechanics while participating in certain activities are two of the biggest contributors to back pain. In addition to the strategies listed above, it’s also helpful to pay attention to little things throughout your day. That could add up to bigger problems down the line. Let’s go back to that desk job for a minute: How often do you get up to walk, stretch and move throughout the day? A good rule of thumb is to stand up or move every 30 minutes. You may get bonus points with your boss, too, as your productivity soars due to the increased activity.
While low back pain rarely becomes serious or life-threatening, it can be quite painful and interfere with our daily lives. Working with a physical therapist can help patients identify the factors that might contribute to back pain and help to develop a prevention plan. But the healthcare professionals are also a great place to turn when you’re seeking treatment for back pain or hoping to prevent a recurrence.
With such good odds that you could one day become a low back pain statistic, why not do everything in your power today to change your trajectory? Seems like another good reason to find an activity (or better yet, two or three activities) that you enjoy, make it a regular part of your day and stick to it!

One Annual Health Checkup That’s Probably Missing from Your Calendar

Some health habits are instilled in us at a young
age. For as long as you can remember, for example, you made annual treks in the family minivan to both the pediatrician and the dentist. As you entered adulthood, you probably transitioned to a primary care physician, and maybe even a different dentist better equipped to address adult needs. Anytime you’ve moved or switched insurance carriers, one of your first priorities has been to track down new providers. Now you may even choose to schedule visits more than once a year, when necessary. You
probably figure that between the two healthcare professionals, all of your health needs are covered, right?

As it turns out, these healthcare professionals aren’t specifically trained to assess your musculoskeletal system, which is comprised of your muscles, bones, cartilage, tendons, ligaments, joints and other connective tissues.
Then who is the right healthcare professional to ensure that
these essential internal structures are working properly and
helping to support, stabilize and move your body? A physical therapist.

At a yearly physical therapy “checkup,” your PT will gather your medical history and observe as you participate in screening tests and other assessments to establish a baseline of your physical abilities, fitness level and personal health. Physical therapists are educated on how your
musculoskeletal system functions properly and are trained to identify dysfunctions before they grow into bigger problems.

To maximize the encounter with your physical therapist, it’s important to be prepared before your appointment. To ensure that you cover everything and address any issues you may be having, make a list that includes:
• Health issues like diabetes or high blood pressure
• Current medications, including supplements
• Physical fitness activities
• New activities you’re considering
• Fitness goals

The information exchange between you and your PT is critical to forming an ongoing relationship, and to ensuring that you’re functioning and moving at top form. By understanding what sports and recreational activities you’re currently participating in and the fitness goals you’re aiming to achieve, your PT will be better prepared to make recommendations and tailor a home exercise program designed to help you achieve your goals.

Making wellness a part of your everyday life and taking steps to ensure that your musculoskeletal system is functioning at top notch can be very empowering
and rewarding. Why not begin—or continue—that journey with a physical therapist? Now that you know how to
prepare for a physical therapy checkup, and understand what you can expect during the appointment, the next step is us today and schedule your annual visit!