New Year, New You: Tips for Getting Started with Physical Therapy

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national physical therapy month

National Physical Therapy Month

October is National Physical Therapy Month!

national physical therapy month

Celebrate National Physical Therapy Month with us by learning a little more about how physical therapists can help you recover from injury.

Common Injuries Physical therapists can help patients recover quicker from injuries by restoring movement and decreasing pain.

We can help our patients:

  • Restore strength, flexibility and endurance
  • Control pain more effectively, often decreasing the need for long term use of medications
  • Avoid re-injury both during and after recovery
  • Develop better health and fitness habits

Medical Conditions Physical therapists help reverse the debilitating effects of many chronic conditions such as arthritis and diabetes.

We can help our patients:

  • Restore strength, flexibility and endurance
  • Assist in controlling pain, often decreasing the need for long term use of medications
  • Return to normal activities
  • Stay as independent as possible
  • Develop improved health and fitness regimens

General Motion  Physical therapists can help create happier, healthier patients through a coordination of care with all healthcare providers.

We can help our patients:

  • Decrease pain, and increase motion resulting in a happier patient
  • Improve overall movement allowing patients to perform the activities they love
  • Do the activities they love resulting in healthier lifestyles and enhanced quality of life

Surgery  As a healthcare provider, we would all like to help our patients avoid surgery. If surgery is needed, we can help our patients to:

  • Improve and regain strength, flexibility, and endurance
  • Effectively control pain
  • Return to activities of daily living quicker
  • Educate and prevent re-injury
  • Develop a better health and fitness regimen

Services We Offer:

Don’t forget to thank your physical therapist for what they do!

To learn more about our physical therapy services, contact us today or follow us on Facebook!

 

 

Information modified from www.moveforwardpt.com

Get to Know the Contact Physical Therapy Team: Q&A

We thought it would be fun to give you a chance to get to know our physical therapists a bit better.  Find out what Contact Physical Therapy’s own Noah, Dallas, Jim, Jeff, Brendan Karen and Steven had to say below!

Noah Arenson, PT

Where did you meet your spouse?

I met my wife at church – we have known each other since childhood.  Though being a few years apart in age, we never dated until our college years

If you could pick one song to be theme song to your life, what would it be?

Let it Be. Most times in life we need to let it be…

If you could visit anywhere in the world, where would you go?

Scandinavia and Great Britain. My family is Norwegian, wife’s is Irish. Would take the kids to visit ancestral homelands.

If you could be an animal, which one would you be and why?

An eagle or hawk. The ability to fly would be fantastic. Or a jellyfish – so I can just float and let it be…

Dallas Lato, PT

If you could have one super power, what would it be? If I had one super power it would be to never grow old.  I’m getting the slowdown, aches and pains slowly coming on. It would be great to stop the march of old age.

What is your special talent? I think I am a friendly person.  I find I can connect with patients easily and always have a good time finding out about my patients, their lives and their stories.

If you were going to write a book, what would it be called and what would it be about? Live life laughing. It would be about how life is about good times, family, friends and always laughing when you can.

 

Jim Irvin, PT

Would you rather sky dive or bungee jump?

Sky dive.  I would love to see the view from far up.  Plus, if you crash, it would be quick.  Bungee jumping sounds like a dislocation waiting to happen.

What is the best prank you have ever pulled on someone?

I had a patient give me a coupon to a restaurant which I used. I thanked her and she proceeded to bombard me with 20-30 coupons from the same restaurant. I couldn’t possibly use all of these so I offered one to another PT in our clinic Dallas. He doubted he would use it.  I gave him a second one, and a third one. Finally, he asked how many coupons could I possibly have and to just throw them all away. I told him, “Oh, you’ll know when I run out.” For the next several months I stashed coupons all over Dallas’ work station, his motorcycle helmet, the ceiling of his treatment room, underneath a treatment table. You name the place, I probably stashed a coupon there. I even had his wife in on it to put a couple coupons up at his house.  He finally told me that there was no possible location that I could put a coupon that he would not be able to find. That was a challenge I eagerly accepted. I continued the onslaught of coupons for over two years.  t drove him mad…. The funniest part about the story is that there is still a coupon in his possession that he has no idea about.

Which TV show do you watch that is your biggest guilty pleasure?

I absolutely love 24. Since season 1 that show has got me hooked.  I also like The Following. Kind of dark, but the suspense is great. On the lighter side of things I really like Modern Family. It is the first show that has made me laugh out loud since Seinfeld.

Jeff Gardner, PT

What is your most embarrassing moment?

My most embarrassing moment was when I was 11-12 years old and I would always tease my little brother and one night my older brothers became sick of my teasing, so they taped me to our basketball hoop in the front yard with nothing but my underwear on. All the neighbors taking their nightly walks were pretty surprised what they saw at the Gardner household.

What was the best present you have ever received?

The best gift I ever received and will always be grateful for is my amazing wife and incredible kids. Cheesy but true!

IF you could play any sport professionally, which one would you play and why?

Ever since I was young, I have loved playing basketball with my older brothers and dreamed about playing in the NBA. Too bad I was born with short genes!

Brendan Cousineau, PT, MPT, CSCS

If you could have one super power, what would it be?  

X-ray vision to help confirm or rule out certain patient diagnoses.

What is your most embarrassing moment?

I was hit in the private area while running to first base by a quick, but errant throw from the shortstop during a men’s softball game.  It took about a minute for the pain to subside as I walked around the baseline while my teammates and the ump were chuckling.

What is your special talent? 

I am a true body mechanic treating a wide range of diagnoses.

If you could play any sport professionally, which one would you play and why?

Baseball, as that has been my favorite sport to play over the years.

Karen Thomas, OTR/L, CHT

If you were going to write a book, what would it be called and what would it be about?

The book would be about all of my wonderful experiences as a hand therapist. I have had the privilege of meeting and treating great people/patients, as well as, working with the best hand surgeons. I have had patients beat all odds and regain their hand function and teach me how to be better in my field.

If you could visit anywhere in the world, where would you go?

Australia

What was the best present you have ever received?

My first cutting horse, Frank (Doc Gunsmoke Jr.)

Steve Kremer, OT, CHT

What is the best prank you have ever pulled on someone? 

I came out of the kitchen with a grenadine soaked towel making it look like I had suffered a major cut to my hand.

If you could pick one song to be theme song to your life, what would it be?

Lunatic Fringe.

Would you rather sky dive or bungee jump? Why? 

Sky dive.  A better view.

 

Thank you for reading! Read more about our therapists here.

We will also be sharing these answers in Facebook, so stay tuned!

Stretching & Exercise

Stretching & Exercising: The Why & How

Stretching & Exercise

Stretching is the unsung hero when it comes to fitness

Stretching is critical towards achieving peak fitness condition. It is ideal to stretch before and after your workouts as you are more prone to injury if you do not stretch before exercise. Stretching prior to exercise warms up your body, making it less prone to accidents and injuries. Stretching following exercise relieves muscle tightness, improves flexibility and cools down the body.

Many people opt out of stretching but it is an important part of any exercise with many benefits:

The Benefits of Stretching

o Increased flexibility and joint range of motion

o Improved circulation

o Better posture

o Reduces stress

o Enhanced coordination

o Lengthens your muscles

o Increases blood flow

o Provides a sense of peace and well-being

 

Proper Stretching Techniques

o Warm up first. When muscles are cold, the risk of pulled muscles is increased. Do a cardio exercise for at least five minutes prior to activity.

o Hold each stretch for a minimum of 30 seconds. It takes time to lengthen tissues safely. Hold each stretch for at least 30 seconds.

o Don’t bounce. If you bounce as you stretch it can cause small tears (microtears) in the muscle.

o Relax and don’t forget to breathe

o Stretch both sides

o Stretch before and after activity

Proper posture

Proper Posture Helps Reduce Back Pain

Proper posture

Do you have good or poor posture? Check yourself right now as you are reading this- are you sitting upright or have totally sunk into your chair?

Without the daily reminders from parents or teachers of “sit up straight!” and “don’t slouch!”, it is harder to remember to do just that.

In order to prevent neck and back injuries, strong flexible muscles are a must to support the spine’s natural curves. In order for your back to be healthy, the spine’s curves must be in balanced or neutral alignment at all times in both stationary activities, and with movement. A lot of conditions such as sciatica disc trouble, low back pain, whiplash, neck pain, pinched nerves and arthritis have one thing in common: each condition can feel better or worse by the way you align and balance your head, neck and back as you go about your daily activities.

Proper Posture Checklist

  • Are you holding your head straight?
  • Are your shoulders in line with your ears?
  • Are your shoulders level?
  • Are your hips level?
  • Is your chin parallel to the floor?

Tips for Improving Posture

• Keep your shoulders level and support your arms while sitting

• Change your position when performing an activity for a long period of time

• Pull your stomach muscles in

• Think “tall” while you are standing

• Sit in a chair with a straight back with your back supported and feet flat on the floor

• Keep your weight down and exercise regularly

• Sleep with a pillow that supports your neck comfortably

• Do Planks, Wall Squats and crunches to help you stand and sit with correct spinal alignment.

There are key benefits to improving your posture that will make a world of a difference. Proper posture allows you to breathe properly, increasing your concentration and thinking ability. Most importantly, it will help with avoiding health complications. Over time, bad posture habits can result in structural changes to the body that can affect physical appearance and reduce functioning of joints and muscles. The sooner you begin practicing good posture, the better.

At Contact Physical Therapy, we provide one on one contact and a direct treatment approach with each patient. It is our goal to return every patient to their active lifestyle.

hand therapist

Physical Therapy and Hand Therapy

Patients can have numerous questions regarding physical therapy and hand therapy, what to expect and why it may be the best option for them. So, to help you answer those patient questions, we interviewed Noah Arenson, PT and Karen Thomas, OTR/L, CHT.


physical therapistWhy do you think physical therapy may be the best treatment plan for me?

Noah: The initial evaluation with determine that fact. The advantage of undergoing physical therapy is learning your body’s limitations and discovering how to address them to your

advantage. If we do not identify impairments we can address through physical therapy, we would discuss with your healthcare provider a more appropriate route for care.

How involved will you be in my day-to-day therapy?

Noah: Each session would involve hands-on manual treatments, as indicated, followed by progressive therapeutic exercise specific to your individual goals. I, or your assigned physical therapist, would be involved directly throughout the entire visit every visit.

Will I see the same physical therapist for each appointment, or will I be assigned a different therapist each time?

Noah: You will see the same physical therapist from the initial evaluation until your last appointment. You will not work with anyone but your assigned physical therapist.

What are some things I can do on my own, at home, to improve my condition?

Noah: Depending on what we discover through the initial evaluation, we will identify the specific muscle groups to strengthen, stretch or coordinate. A home exercise program is provided at the first session and progressed throughout your time of care. Open communication with your therapist is important in reaching your rehabilitation goals.

hand therapistWill I experience pain or discomfort during my visit?

Karen: This will depend on your diagnosis. If you have a condition such as a wrist or finger fracture and are coming out of a cast or brace, the wrist and fingers can be stiff or uncomfortable when motion is initiated. Certified Hand Therapists are trained to respect pain and the healing structures of the injury. Most patients tolerate treatment well & note improvement the first session.

How long will each hand therapy session be?

Karen: Sessions are usually 1-1.5 hours, allowing for one-on-one manual therapy, modalities of heat, ice and ultrasound as needed, and exercises and instruction in home exercises and care.

What are the most common injuries or conditions requiring hand therapy?

Karen: Conditions we commonly treat include fractures (shoulder, elbow, wrist & fingers), tendon lacerations and repairs, trigger finger or trigger thumb, carpal tunnel or cubital tunnel syndrome or release, rotator cuff syndrome or repair, deQuervain’s tendonitis, all upper extremity tendonitis conditions, osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis and infections.

How do you determine what course of hand therapy treatment is best for me?

Karen: During your first visit you will undergo an initial evaluation including questions about your pain, symptoms, functional abilities, range of motion and sensation and strength measurements. Your therapist will identify problems and work with you to set goals. In some instances, your diagnosis may have a set protocol for splint duration and when you will be able to fully move and strengthen your arm/hand. You and your therapist will then review your protocol, goals and plans.

mesa physical therapy

Men’s Health Awareness Month

fathersdayMen’s Health Awareness Month

Men tend to be more aggressively active on the weekend, which can lead to an increased risk of injury. To highlight Men’s Health Awareness Month, and Men’s Health Week (10th-16th), we’ve listed helpful tips on common male injuries to help you, or the men in your life, lead a healthy and safe life.

 

Ankle Sprains

It is common for men to turn or twist an ankle while playing a weekend game of basketball or football. Although these may be difficult to avoid in some cases, proper warm-up and stretches performed prior to activity can help reduce the chances of injury.

Groin Pulls

A quick side-to-side motion can sometimes cause a strain of the muscles on the inner thigh. These are very common in hockey, soccer, football and baseball. To treat a groin pull, ice and rest. These pulls often heal on their own, but if it doesn’t, consult a healthcare provider.

Hamstring Strain

Running sports and activities with a quick kicking motion of the leg can cause hamstring strains. Strains can also occur in water sports when there is a sudden forward bending motion. These injuries can take a while to heal, so it is imperative to ice, rest and consult a physical therapist on how to speed up the recovery.

Shin Splints

If a strenuous and sudden running program is started without proper planning, shin splints can occur. Running on different and uneven surfaces can cause pain down the front of the lower leg. Rest, ice and over the counter anti-inflammatory medications may relieve most of the pain. If it persists, see a healthcare provider to rule out a more serious injury such as a stress fracture.

ACL Injuries

One of the most severe injuries athletes may experience is an ACL injury. A sudden twisting while the foot is planted can cause an ACL tear. An audible ‘pop’ may be heard, followed by discomfort and swelling. Rest, ice, compression and elevation are important during the first stages of this injury. If the injury is sustained, it is important to see a physician for evaluation. To stay active, surgery is often required.

Tennis Elbow

Golfing and tennis are very popular sports for many men. Frequent swings and poor body mechanics can contribute to this overuse injury. Unfortunately, one of the most common remedies for this condition is rest, however there are some other treatments that may be of benefit. Be sure to ask a physical therapist or physician what you can do to manage your elbow pain for a safe return to sports.

physical therapy function

What does Function Mean to You?

physical therapy functionFunction means different things to different people. When a patient has a functional limitation, they have a restriction of the ability to perform a physical action or activity in an efficient manner. The goal at Contact Physical Therapy is to return patients to their level of function.

Children

Sprains and strains can affect children, but if treated correctly, we can get them back to playing their sports with little to no down time. Our physical therapists first concentrate on controlling any pain & swelling associated with the injury. Then, they may start functional activities such as running, jumping and climbing. Returning children to playing is returning them to function.

Young Adults

Young adults can be plagued with a variety of injuries. Whether they are a high school or college athlete, or the occasional runner, swimmer or hiker, injuries can occur & they need to return to function. Function for the young adult could mean returning them to their active lifestyle including sports specific activities or drills.

Adults

The adult may define function in a very different way. Sometimes the adult needs to work or drive ‘pain-free’. While working with the adult population, special attention may be made on postural exercises & activities and strengthening exercises. By the age of 40, adults begin to lose 8% of muscle every 10 years – therefore concentration on exercise & posture is critical in returning adults to function.

Geriatrics

By the age of 70, we have lost over 15% of our muscle, and oftentimes balance has significantly decreased. For the geriatric patient, we pay special attention to gait & balance activities, allowing them to be functionally unassisted while performing activities of daily living such as getting in & out of bed or a chair, up & down stairs, or simply navigating uneven surfaces.

noah arenson physical therapist

Noah Arenson Interviewed by Masters in Healthcare

Noah ArensonNoah Arenson from our Mesa Contact Physical Therapy clinic had the privilege of being interviewed by Masters in Healthcare to discuss his career as a physical therapist, and he was featured on their website!

Below is Noah’s interview:

What is it about your job that keeps you at it day in and day out?

Arenson: “There is an incredible variety of conditions that we treat at Contact Physical Therapy. I enjoy the investigative approach of rehabilitation to determine the unique origin of each patient symptoms and creating a treatment plan to meet their goals. It is very satisfying to assist patients on their journey to effectively diminishing their pain and restoring their function.”

How do you stay up-to-date in the field and maintain professionalism?

Arenson: “I am blessed to have colleagues around me to bounce ideas off and review my documentation. We also live in a state that offers a variety of continuing education opportunities to expand our treatment approaches.”

What’s one of the most memorable experiences you’ve had, either as a student or in your professional career?

Arenson: “There have been several instances in my career where a patient initially is very doubtful that physical therapy would have any impact on their particular issue. To see them leave the clinic with appreciable improvement and knowledge to continue gains on their own is very rewarding.”

What advice do you have for people just starting their education or their professional career?

Arenson: “Volunteer at a variety of health professional settings. Get an appreciation of the demands of a variety of professions and see if they match your individual strengths and interests.”

Click here for more on Noah’s feature on Masters in Healthcare.

For more information on Contact Physical Therapy, or to schedule an appointment, please contact us today!

sport safety

We Love our Children!

sport safetyWe Love Our Children!

Contact Physical Therapy wanted you to know how much we love our children, and how it is our passion to keep them safe and happy, by highlighting the National Awarenesses throughout April.

 

SPORTS SAFETY TIPS (National Awareness: 4/1-4/30)

• Be mindful of hot temperatures and cancel practice if the heat is too extreme

• Have your kids participate in flexibility and fitness programs to learn proper exercises.

• Make sure your kids are provided with adequate rest periods to prevent overuse injuries. (Modified from Healthline.com)

PLAYGROUND SAFETY TIPS (National Awareness: 4/21 – 4/27)

• Make sure playground equipment is inspected frequently and kept in good repair. If it’s not, report this to your local parks and recreations office.

• Remove hood and neck drawstrings from children’s clothing and outerwear and don’t let kids wear helmets, necklaces, purses or scarves on the playground.

• Keep toddlers under age 5 in a separate play area, away from equipment designed for bigger kids.

• Actively supervise kids on a playground. Just being in the same area isn’t good enough – they need your undivided attention while playing on or around the equipment. Stay active and spend time at playgrounds, but always remember these tips not only during National Playground Safety Week! Modified from Safe Kids USA

NATIONAL SIBLING DAY (4/10)

Whether you are a brother or sister or have more than one child, celebrate that special relationship, not only this day, but every day!

TAKE OUR DAUGHTERS & SONS TO WORK DAY (4/25)

“Take your Daughters & Sons to Work Day®”, focuses on the ongoing challenges parents encounter while trying to integrate work and family. This day was designed to allow parents, guardians and mentors to share their work lives and introduce solutions these issues for our nation’s daughters and sons.

For more tips and information, please contact us today!