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Physical Therapy

The Month of Moustache Wisdom Part 2: Magnum PI

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i’move continues to celebrate men’s health month by getting advice from guys with great moustaches. Entry number two in this series is perhaps the most famous tv moustache of all time: Tom Selleck.

In a 2014 interview with GQ Magazine, Tom Selleck complained that his body would let him down at times when he had to do his own stunts on the set. Typically, he would spend a lot of time sitting around between takes and then would have to immediately get up and do something athletic like sliding across the hood of a Ferrari or tackling a bad guy. He realized that not taking the time for a proper warm up was the main cause of his aches and pains.

So here are a few components of a proper warm up that you can use before starting an activity.

  • Your warm up should look like your activity. A weight lifter and a marathoner should warm up differently; they are using the same muscles, but they are using them in a very different way.
  • Your warm up should be dynamic, not static. Numerous studies have shown that static stretching (sitting still and holding stretch for 30 seconds) can limit performance and possibly cause injury. Dynamic movements that take your joints through a full range of motion are much preferred. Save the static stretching for the end of your activity where it is still appropriate.
  • Your warm up should get entire body moving. If you look at a runner, there is significant arm motion and rotation through the entire spine. Don’t just focus on the calves and hamstrings and assume you’re ready to go for a run.
  • The goal of the warm up is to get the heart pumping to get the blood flowing and to wake up the joints and the nervous system. Don’t go so aggressively that you can’t talk to your running partner or sing along with Abba on your Spotify mix. If you’re going to go for a run, do a couple minutes of walking. If you’re going to do so lifting on a squat rack, go through a few reps with just the bar before adding weight.

I recall going to a Detroit Tigers game several years ago where before the game started, three Tigers were laying by 3rd base on their backs as they waited for the trainer to stretch out their hamstrings. While that may look like the way the 2018 Tigers performed (sorry, Tom), that’s not how baseball should look. Compare that to Curtis Granderson who was the center fielder at that time. His warm up was getting into the position of winding up to throw the ball into the infield and then doing various motions to get the spine and hips moving. Granderson was also a base stealer, and to prepare for this activity he would get into a small crouch, take a couple big steps to his right and then turn his hips and trunk to the right as if he was making a break for 2nd base.

Proper warm up practices deserve some of the credit for Curtis Granderson lasting 14 years in Major League Baseball, allowing him to function at a high level even at “advanced age” of 37.

And at the end of the workout, don’t forget about a cool down, unless you’re Tom Selleck who couldn’t possibly be any cooler.

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What is Physical Therapy? Empowerment though Listening, Learning and Collaboration.

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What is Physical Therapy? Empowerment through Listening, Learning and Collaboration.
by Andrew Young, DPT, Physical Therapist

Despite previous experiences that might quickly come to mind, Physical Therapy is more than a combination of stretching, strengthening and hands on treatment.

Physical therapy is empowerment.

When someone is empowered, it means they are confident regarding their situation. This concept can and should apply across the healthcare  spectrum and Physical Therapy is no exception.  The way we see it, there are three aspects of Physical Therapy that lead to empowerment.

Listening is the first aspect of Physical Therapy leading to empowerment. Listening is more involved than simply hearing a description of symptoms. It includes learning who you are as a unique individual. It includes learning your likes, your dislikes, and what activities enrich your life. The importance of this point cannot be overstated. Often, the expectation of Physical Therapy is that you will be told to stop participating in activities that you love. When these activities are the ones providing joy or meaning to your life, this request can be downright depressing. Occasionally limiting painful activities is part of the healing process, but, whenever possible, the goal of Physical Therapy is  to keep you active.  It is our responsibility to identify strategies which allow you keep participating in the activities you love. So breathe easy – you can keep moving!

The second aspect of Empowerment is Learning. There are many things to learn in Physical Therapy, most of which are unique to you and your situation. No individual, and therefore no individual ache or pain, is like any other. You are unique and your situation is unique. This is why step one -being heard- is so important. In Physical Therapy you will learn about the strength and resilience of the human body. You’ll learn that our bodies are made for movement. You will learn that pain, although frustrating, might be better described as “sensitivity” to certain movements, positions or activities. Most importantly, you will learn how to provide your body with the environment it needs to achieve your unique goals, and not anyone else’s.

The third aspect of Empowerment is Collaboration. Throughout your sessions, there will be collaboration between you and your Physical Therapist while designing a unique treatment plan. Muscles will not be stretched, and home exercise programs will not be assigned without your input. Your Physical Therapist will bring knowledge and experience to the table – but you will also have a say in the formation of a treatment strategy. Your input is invaluable because treatment plans are most effective when you believe in them.

In summary, a trip to your Physical Therapist can be described by the word empowerment because of the listening, learning and collaboration that will happen during your sessions. Such empowerment has the ability not only to improve your current quality of life, but also give you the tools to better manage future pain or movement limitations – without further reliance on the healthcare system to intervene. In Physical Therapy we don’t want to foster dependence on our services, but instead we want you to be more independent – and empowered – in the management of the aches and pains that life will inevitably throw your way.

“How much do I have to do my home exercises?”

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“How much do I have to do my home exercises?”
by Mike Klobucher, DPT, FAFS

This might be one of the most common questions we hear on a daily basis as physical therapists, and it is undoubtedly an important question to answer. It is important because we most effectively make lasting changes in our bodies through repeated movement. The body responding to this cumulative stimulus is what allows us to get stronger, become less sensitive (i.e. painful), improve flexibility, and refine our movement patterns. It would be lovely if a therapist could lay their hands on you and produce these same outcomes, but unfortunately, that simply isn’t the truth. Now, manual therapy (i.e. hands-on treatment) certainly has a large role in most of our treatment strategies at i’move, but it is typically in an effort to help the patient be more successful with what they ultimately do to change their situation…that being exercise. So, if exercise or movement training is important, how much do you we have to do to reach our goals? Three sets of ten reps sound familiar? How about three sets of nine or eleven reps? Why not eight sets of five or one set of fifty? The most honest answer to this conundrum is: we don’t know for sure. Now that you have ultimate confidence in us, let’s explore a few things surrounding this issue.

First, we can’t know for sure at the outset because it depends what the goal is. If it’s increased power or strength, you’re probably looking at lower reps and higher loads. If it’s increased endurance, you’re probably looking at higher reps and lower loads. If it’s more mobility you’re after, it’s probably going to take even more repetition. And if it’s changing, refining, or improving a certain movement pattern, research would suggest it’s probably going to take thousands, if not tens or hundreds of thousands of reps.

Second, there is plenty of evidence now that no two people will respond exactly the same to any particular exercise regimen. Therefore, the individual and all that makes them unique is going to play a role in determining the right amount of exercise including their personal schedule, pain sensitivity, current fitness level, and past experiences. We prioritize the individual , not a protocol.

Finally, we are usually seeing people in pain, and this needs to be taken into account as well when determining what the right amount of exercise is. It is important to “poke the bear,” so to speak, but crucial not to make it too angry. For example, we don’t consider it effective if someone recovering from an injury grits their teeth to finish their arbitrary three sets of ten but cannot walk normally for the rest of day due to increased pain. Is that effective exercise?

In the end, at i’move we use the general principles that have been researched regarding exercise volume but then really aim to come alongside the individual to test and experiment to find unique strategies that help you reach your functional goals without entering the pain cave. We are patient and committed to taking this journey with you because your goals are our goals, and no one, including us, can honestly say they know the right amount of exercise for you without investing in you and experimenting to find success. We abide in one-on-one individualized care because we believe that only by making this effort can one really discover their movement potential.

Ask a Physical Therapist To “Screen” Your Movements This Spring

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Ask a Physical Therapist To “Screen” Your Movements This Spring

Let’s talk about the last time you—or someone close to you—interviewed for a new job. Chances are that the first step was a phone screen with your potential employer, and when you passed that portion of the process with flying colors, you were then invited for an in-person interview. At that stage, the employer probably asked you to answer a series of questions and to demonstrate your skills through a test or two. The process is set up in a way that narrows down the options until the most suitable candidate is found. Makes sense, right?

Just as job recruiters screen applicants to find the best fit for an open position, your PT will ask you to perform a series of exercises so that she can observe and understand your body mechanics to uncover any issues or limitations. Used in combination with a full evaluation and assessment, these so-called movement screens are just one tool in identifying the most appropriate treatment or prevention program for you. But unlike that test you may have taken during a job interview, the screen is not testing your skills or abilities, it’s simply a way of identifying how your body functions during a variety of movements.

Now that spring is in full swing, it’s the perfect time of year to make an appointment with your physical therapist for a movement screen. The warmer weather means more time spent outdoors participating in sports and other recreational activities that may be physically demanding. A PT checkup that includes a movement screen will ensure that you’re physically able to engage in popular spring and summer adventures, whether it’s exploring in the woods, tending to your garden, or swimming at your family’s lake house.

Physical therapists perform movement screens for a variety of reasons, including:

• To identify areas of strength and weakness
• To uncover issues or rule them out
• To determine readiness to begin a safe exercise program
• To improve sport performance (for both novice and elite athletes)

A movement screen is something that you can have done whether you have a nagging injury or are simply ready to kickstart your activity level after a long hiatus. Gaining an understanding of how your body performs during basic exercises such as squats and lunges helps your PT ensure that you can safely jump on a bike or into a pool this summer. And just like an employer screens candidates to identify the one individual who is likely to thrive on the job for many years to come, a movement screen can help you develop a lasting and fulfilling relationship with the activities you enjoy most.

How Physical Therapy Helps Retirees Keep Dreams Alive During the Golden Years

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How Physical Therapy Helps Retirees Keep Dreams Alive During the Golden Years

Are you among the millions of Americans who have high aspirations for how you’ll spend the extra time during your post-retirement years? Whether you plan to travel the world, pick up fly fishing, spend more time woodworking or sign up for a golf league, your physical fitness level will be a factor.

One study suggests that the fitness declines we typically attribute to advancing age are largely caused by living sedentary lifestyles—which are on the rise due to the prominence of desk jobs in the workplace and activity-limiting personal technologies including smart phones and voice-activated remote controls in the home. Still, this runs contrary to the widely held belief that any declines in our physical abilities are caused solely by biological aging. Do we really have control over how active we’ll be in our “golden years”?

In a word, absolutely. The study—which examined 900,000 running times of marathon and half-marathon participants aged 20 to 79—found no significant age-related performance declines in those younger than 55 years old, and only moderate declines among the older cohorts. In fact, more than one-quarter of runners aged 65 to 69 were faster than half of the runners aged 20 to 54.

And for those thinking that these runners must have been lifelong enthusiasts of the sport, the study revealed that 25% of runners aged 50 to 69 were relative newcomers—and had started marathon training within the previous 5 years. The researchers concluded that even at an advanced age, people in the “non-athlete” category who engage in regular training can reach high performance levels.

If this revelation is intriguing, then perhaps it’s time for you to get moving! If you aren’t currently active, then you likely have questions and concerns about where to start. And if you regularly engage in physical activities, then you’ve probably set goals that you’d like to achieve. Either way, there’s no shortage of tools and resources to help you live a more active lifestyle but one reliable place to start is with a physical therapist.

The benefits of beginning with a physical therapist consultation are many: PTs are trained to assess your abilities and limitations, consider your health concerns, demonstrate safe exercises and build a plan to increase strength, function and mobility. Whatever your passion is, physical therapy will help you be fit and injury-free so you may enjoy life’s many pursuits.

Ringing the Pain Alarm

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Ringing the Pain Alarm
by Robin Isaacs

Everyone feels pain at some point. It may range from a small paper cut to a broken bone, a headache to a sunburn, a sprain to full blown arthritis. Pain is an output of our brain and nervous system that helps to keep us safe and motivate action or change to protect the body.The latest research suggests the more you know about your pain the less impact pain will have on your longevity and your ability to move and function.

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A Proper Warm-up on Race Day will Save You from Injury

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Renee Przystas, DPT, FAFS here at i’move, recently penned an article for the Grand Haven Tribune. The article gives pointers for a proper warm-up. It was written with triathalon athletes in mind but it’s a solid, quick read for anyone.

Optimizing Your Engine: Get race day ready with the proper warm-up

RENEE PRZYSTAS • JUL 7, 2017 AT 4:30 AM 
It’s mid-racing season for the triathlon world, and many athletes already have multiple miles under their legs. Although it may seem that training is starting to reach peak performance, and you’re feeling confident about your current condition, there is one component of the triathlon that must not be overlooked — the warm-up.

It’s easy to forget about the importance of warming up when you’re already struggling with getting in all the miles required within a week or are trying to cope with pre-race jitters the morning of the race.

Of course swim technique, bike fit, and running form are important, but if no warm-up is integrated during training workouts or races, you’re putting yourself at a higher risk of injury. A dynamic warm-up serves as benefit for prepping your muscular tissue to respond to racing demands and reduce risk of injury. Stimulating the muscles dynamically increases blood flow, activates important receptors in your body, and also excites your brain through the release of hormones. Here are a few quick tips to help you create an appropriate warm-up prior to your next training workout or race:

Create your warm-up to be global and individualized
Integrate all aspect of your body just as the sport of triathlon does. Include movements that get your ankles, hips, thoracic spine, and shoulders moving.

Plan the warm-up movements so they are similar to the movements you’ll perform during the race (or workout).
Swimming preparation could include rotation of the trunk/arms, overhead arm reaching extending side-to-side, and hip flexor stretching to help with kicking. Three-dimensional hamstring stretching, dynamic leg swings, and backward lunges are great for cycling. An example of running prep could include various runs such as high knees, toe in or out running, backward jogging, and lunges in various directions (forward, side-ways, backwards).

Spend time on the warm-ups specific to the duration of the workout
If you are doing a longer workout with less intensity, the warm-up should only be 5-10 minutes. If you are prepping for a fast 5k (short workout of high intensity), the warm-up should last a bit longer.

Take advantage of consistency
Your brain will recognize warm-ups that you have practiced during training. Remain consistent with warm-ups both during training as well as competition, adjusting intensity and duration according to the type of workout.

Be intentional about timing
Optimal warm-up should be completed with 10 minutes left till race start (or closer for a training workout). The physiological benefits of warming up, such as increased blood oxygenation, will still be active within this time frame.

Use Caution
Be sure not to overdue a warm-up. What you don’t want is to fatigue yourself from a warm-up that is too long or intense.

A triathlete is bound to thrive when they are injury-free and feeling confident with their training. During your next workout or race, reap the benefits through creating your own individualized warm-up. You may get a few ‘head turns’ from onlookers, but they won’t be laughing as you speed past them at your next event!

Renee is a sports medicine and women’s health physical therapist who has more than 10 years of experience in triathlons, including competitive participation on Michigan State’s collegiate team. She has competed in sprint distance to half ironman distance as well as multiple marathons.

Ankle Sprains, Part 1

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Ankle sprains are one of the most common injuries in American high school athletes, occurring over 300,000 times per year. Ankle injuries rates are highest in sports that combine jumping near others and rapid direction changes while running. The winter sports of basketball and wrestling certainly place strong and dynamic stress on the ankles, making this a good time to consider how to handle ankle sprains if they occur to you or someone on your team.  Read More