With health in sharp focus as a result of the pandemic, now may be a good time to look at the team of experts you have in place and see if there are any improvements you could make. You probably have a family doctor, dentist, and optometrist. Maybe you have some specialist physicians, a trainer, or a massage therapist. If a physical therapist isn’t a part of your healthcare team, you’re missing out on taking care of a big part of your health. To understand why you need a physical therapist, you need to understand what they do.
Physical Therapists Help You Do Things
The American Physical Therapy Association defines PTs as “health care professionals who diagnose and treat individuals who have medical problems or other health-related conditions that limit their abilities to move and perform functional activities in their daily lives.” So physical therapists help you do things that you have trouble with. That could be going for a hike, playing with your kids, or getting through a day of work without pain.
Physical Therapists Reduce Pain
Chronic pain is a huge problem worldwide. A big part of that is low back pain. Statistically, around 80% of people will have low back pain in their lifetimes. Physical therapists are trained to treat pain without surgery or medications. If you have back pain, an arthritic knee, neck pain, or an old injury that won’t go away, a PT may be able to help.
Physical Therapists Keep You Healthy
The APTA goes on to say that “PTs work with individuals to prevent the loss of mobility before it occurs by developing fitness- and wellness-oriented programs for healthier and more active lifestyles.” That means that a physical therapist can help you determine your risk for injury, choose the right fitness program, and improve the quality of your life by improving your health and ability to move.
Physical Therapists Can Help You Live Longer
It’s well known that the risk of many of the leading causes of death can be reduced by exercise. Some of these conditions would include heart disease, cancer, lung disease, diabetes, and stroke. By helping you move better with less pain, finding the right exercise program, and helping you to make healthy lifestyle choices, a PT could help you live longer.
Physical therapists have a unique set of skills and expertise that can do a lot to improve your health and quality of life. If you don’t have one, consider adding one to your healthcare team.
Get More Active & Avoid Injuries. Talk to Your PTs How
As the year comes to an end, people begin to set goals and make resolutions. Losing weight & getting into “better shape” are all common. These all require increasing your amount of physical activity. More activity is great for your health, energy levels, sleep, and mood. However, ramping up your activity level too quickly after a holiday season of eating, drinking and being merry can lead to pain, injury and disappointment if your body isn’t ready for it.
Your physical therapist is an expert in human movement, and can help you safely reach your fitness goals. People think of PTs as the person to see after an injury, but a visit before you change your activity level could prevent injury in the first place. An evaluation by your PT will include assessment of your strength, range of motion, and functional movement patterns – think jumping, running, squatting, carrying. Some PTs even like to use a standardized assessment, such as the Functional Movement Screen .
Most common injuries from new fitness routines are caused by underlying weakness, range of motion deficits, or compensatory movement patterns. Your PT will find these during your assessment. They can then prescribe exercises or movements to address the issues found and get you safely moving into the new year!
The other common way people get injured working towards their resolution is with overtraining, or doing too much too soon. Physical therapists are also experts in exercise prescription and program design. Your PT can help you create a routine specific to your needs and goals that will progress appropriately and keep you out of trouble.
So stop only thinking of your PT after you’re injured. In this case, it’s true that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Seeing your physical therapist before you start on your resolution can keep you on track, injury free, and help you reach your goals for the new year!
So, get in touch with your physical therapist today and start discussing about your fitness goals and how injuries can be prevented.
We are located in Sterling Heights and we would love to be a part of your fitness journey this coming new year. Call us at 248-432-1618 and schedule your discovery visit and ask for a Functional Movement Screen .
The Holiday Season is a
time for giving, and that includes supporting causes and organizations that
make our communities stronger.
It’s in this spirit that we
share some holiday giving suggestions that offer a more healthful return than
simply writing a check.
After all, as physical
therapists, it’s our goal to improve lives and the community by helping people
move better and live healthier, more active lives.
It’s based on this that we thought to offer some ideas for how people can give back to their communities while, at the same time, also benefiting from various levels of physical activity.
Increase Joy, Reduce
Such an approach to
holiday giving isn’t just about contributing to one’s 150 minutes of moderate
aerobic activity per week, as recommended by the Department of Health and Human
The holidays are a pretty
stressful time for a lot of people, and exercise is a proven way to reduce
stress and anxiety while improving overall happiness. It just so happens giving
and volunteering provide similar health benefits.
Put them together, and
you’re likely to experience a more joyful and relaxing holiday season.”
With this in mind,
consider following five ways to give back and be fit this Holiday Season:
Volunteer ‘Sweat Equity’
There are lots of ways to
volunteer during the holidays, and many involve various levels of physical
Collecting gift donations
for a local children’s charity, for instance, or helping sort and deliver food
donations for a food pantry, requires time, muscle and (if it’s a charitable
year) good endurance.
Do a Charity Fun Run
Running continues to grow
in popularity, and so do charity fun runs – even during the colder months of
Registration for these
runs typically goes to local charities, and some allow for added individual or
team fundraising so you can maximize your donation.
Check your local event
calendar for options.
Lend a Neighbor a Hand
Most of us have neighbors
who could use a helping hand on occasion, be they elderly, disabled, alone, or
short on time or money.
The holidays are a great
time to check in with them and see if they could use some help with physical
tasks like yard work, clearing the driveway of snow or ice, putting out
Christmas decorations, or even childcare.
Walk Your Best Friends
Are animals your passion?
Perfect! Animals need exercise just like people do, and most animal shelters
welcome volunteers eager to play with and walk the dogs and cats.
Not only is walking great
exercise for both people and pets, but spending time with animals can also
lower stress and blood pressure.
Arm Your Smartphone
If the interpersonal
aspect of volunteering doesn’t quite fit your personality, you still have
Some smartphone apps
exist (Charity Miles is the most prominent) that allow you to convert workout
miles and/or daily activity into donations to reputable nonprofit
Of course, if one or more
of these ideas sound appealing, but discomfort, pain or a movement limitation
is holding you back from giving back in this way, come by the physical therapy
At our clinic, we can
assess the issue and put you on a path toward being more active – both
physically and as a contributor to your community.
Medical diagnoses don’t need much of an introduction. They’re what you get from your doctor when you’re sick. Examples would be influenza, diabetes, or hypertension. They describe the underlying problem that is causing your symptoms.
When people feel sick, they know they need to go to the doctor and find out what’s going on to get treated. We should treat movement the same way. If you’re having pain when you move, can’t do things you used to be able to – like get on and off the floor easily, or can’t do things you want to do – like go for a bike ride or pick up a grandchild then you need to get a movement diagnosis.
A movement diagnosis does the same thing as a medical diagnosis; it describes what’s causing your difficulty with movement. Some examples would be difficulty standing from a chair secondary to decreased force production, scapular down rotation syndrome, or lower crossed syndrome.
Diagnoses set the roadmap for treatment, so getting them right is crucial. Human movement is complex and is influenced by more than just your muscles and joints. According to the APTA, movement is impacted by the following systems:
Because of the complexity and interplay between these components of the movement system, getting a movement diagnosis correct is often very difficult. Physical therapists are experts in human movement with doctoral level training and should be your first stop for movement issues. Not only can a physical therapist provide an accurate movement diagnosis, they will also design a treatment plan to correct the underlying issues and help get you moving well again.
As cold and flu season approaches, so does the season of illness prevention.
From getting flu shots to adding a little extra Vitamin C to our diets, prevention often becomes a focus for those concerned with getting sick, missing work and/or school, and optimizing the joy of their upcoming Holiday Seasons.
It’s based on this mindset that medical professionals such as physical therapists are most likely to get some version of the question: Can exercise boost my immune system?
The answer, however, is broader than the question itself.
Boosting the Immune System
On a more general level, healthy living is the true key to building and maintaining a strong immune system. Habits like eating right, staying hydrated, getting plenty of sleep, and reducing stress account for some long-lasting, immune-boosting benefits.
But, regular exercise definitely plays an important role, as well.
Some studies have shown, for instance, that exercise on its own can play a role in reducing the length and intensity of colds and flu. Such research often points to many of the benefits inherent in regular fitness routines as factors that also help ward off illness:
Lower blood pressure
Reduction in stress
Other studies have concluded that regular, mild-intensity exercise can help reduce illness while prolonged, high-intensity exercise can have the opposite effect by making one more susceptible to catching a bug.
Based on this, if you feel you may be catching something – a cold, a flu or whatever may be going around – the best initial advice is to pull back on the length and intensity of their exercise routine just to be on the safe side.
Keep getting your exercise, but also take greater care to make sure you’re staying hydrated, eating well and giving your body time to recover.
If you do get sick?
According to advice from the Mayo Clinic, that doesn’t necessarily mean you can’t continue to exercise. They offer the following two rules of thumb:
The Neck Rule
If you catch a cold and find that all the symptoms are concentrated above the neck (i.e., nasal congestion, runny nose, sneezing and/or a minor sore throat), it’s typically OK to exercise. Simply reduce your intensity. Instead of going for a jog, for instance, opt to go for a walk.
In contrast, if you find that you’re experiencing symptoms below the neck – things like a congested chest, a hacking cough or an upset stomach – it’s best to not exercise at all.
The Fever Rule
Also, if you have a fever or are experience muscle aches and fatigue throughout your body, take a break from exercising. Instead, get some rest, stay hydrated and, if things don’t improve over a couple of days, visit your doctor.
The bottom line: it’s always your best bet to listen to your body, and don’t overdo it. Pushing your body too hard when it’s fighting an illness could potentially do you more harm than good.
As student-athletes train over the summer, preparing to head back to the practice fields later this season, injuries are going to happen. Despite concerted efforts to reduce and prevent sports injuries, Sterling Heights physical therapist Ashesh Vyas pointed out that it’s impossible to eliminate them from sports.
So in order to ensure injuries are diagnosed and treated quickly, before they worsen, Vyas said it’s paramount parents and guardians are able to quickly identify the signs of possible injury – ailments that aren’t always obvious during practice or competition, but which may manifest later on at home.
“Whether it’s because they’re concerned about playing time or feel they can tough it out, student-athletes won’t always admit when they’re hurt or injured,” said Vyas, owner of Active Kare Physical Therapy in Sterling Heights. “But even when a youth or teen is convinced it’s not that bad, that they can walk it off, etc., he or she could still be doing themselves harm by not getting treatment as soon as possible.”
This is when it’s important for a parent or guardian to get involved, he said.
Identifying Sports Injuries
“By just knowing some of the obvious signs that a young athlete isn’t just sore but is actually injured, parents can play an active role in ensuring injuries are diagnosed and treated as soon as possible, preventing further damage from occurring,” said Vyas.
Signs to watch out for include:
Headaches, lightheadedness or dizziness, which may indicate a concussion.
Limping or an appearance of pain when putting weight on and/or using a particular part of the body.
Difficulty standing, sitting, stepping or moving around normally.
Tingling, numbness or weakness in the limbs, fingers or toes.
Sharp pain during practice, games or any physical activity.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), around 30 million children and adolescents in the U.S. participate in youth sports. Just the high school-aged students within this group account for around 2 million injuries and 500,000 doctor visits each year. Of those under 14, 3.5 million receive medical treatment for sports injuries.
The Next Steps
“‘No pain, no gain’ doesn’t apply to youth sports, and there should be no such thing as ‘toughing it out,’” Vyas said. “If your child or teen is showing any of these signs, it’s important you get them evaluated as soon as you can.”
In many cases, visiting a physical therapist can be an ideal starting point for such evaluations. Trained to provide sports injury assessments for athletes of all ages, physical therapists like those on the Active Kare Physical Therapy team will triage the injury and, if necessary, provide direction if further diagnosis and treatment is necessary.