Rebekah GlassRunning is a means to good health for many, it can be a stress reliever for some, or pure enjoyment for those running enthusiasts! As a physical therapist and gait analysis specialist I want to keep runners running healthy and for years to come. However, this population tends to see a high percentage of injuries. So I have a question:

To all the runners out there…Do you strength train?

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Early Intervention is the Key to Success

Ben EgglestonThe relationship between longevity of symptoms and healing time is of reciprocal proportion. The longer a person has symptoms, the longer it takes to relieve those symptoms. In my experience, this holds true most of the time. I’m not solely talking about musculoskeletal pain either.  I am talking about all pathologies.

            I was diagnosed with hypertension a few years ago. I was extremely fit and very conscious of diet at the time. That has changed slightly as I am a new father and attending school while working. Nonetheless, my doctor decided it was related to genetics, as most of my family is hypertensive. The point I want to make with this is that I could have continued with slightly elevated blood pressure for a while because I had no contributing factors other than genetics. Instead, with the guidance of my doctor, we decided to employ a very low dose chemical intervention. This decision was made because hypertension is a precursor to cardiovascular disease; even with slightly elevated blood pressure, especially if it is high for a very long time. I think I was 29 at the time and planned on living a long time as we all do. Because I sought early intervention, I have significantly reduced my risk of developing cardiovascular disease. Now I also must make sure I am maintaining a healthy lifestyle in order to keep my blood pressure stable.

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What Is McKenzie Therapy

McKenzieMethod 450x350A very common question I receive from my patients with spine conditions is “What exactly is McKenzie Therapy?” Often, these individuals have been referred to our clinics with instructions to see a McKenzie-trained therapist but they don’t know what that entails. Mechanical Diagnosis and Therapy (MDT or more commonly “McKenzie”) is one of the best researched schools of thought in the physical therapy world and many insurance companies that we deal with are requiring patients to see a PT certified in MDT before referring on

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Is Technology A "Pain In The Neck?"

Text neckTechnology is everywhere. Computers, video games, smart phones, ipods, ipads, and tablets. You name it – it’s all at our fingertips. The advances in technology have been outstanding over the past decade, but so have the rates of neck and back pain. This is already a leader in the largest diagnoses seen in physical therapy. What hasn’t been common in the past is the outrageous number of adolescents who now are in physical therapy because of complaints of back or neck pain.

Let’s think about what the average teenager does nowadays through the week. Let’s take a Monday, for example. Wake up, check their phone for any message they possibly missed through the night. Let’s see, scroll through Kik, Instagram, facebook, twitter, and general text messages. Oh yeah, now it’s time to get ready for school. Once showered (hopefully!) they eat their bowl of cereal, once again starting at their phone on the table with their head in this awful forward bent position. Then they go to school for the next 7 hours sitting in the most horrendous positions in their desk. If they are tall at all, they are already at a disadvantage to how much slumping is required to read and write at their desk. Then they get on the bus, get back to looking at their phones, sit in a horrible posture, walk in the door and “decompress” on their computer or video games! The next several hours they are once again hunched forward and

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Direct Access for Physical Therapy

As we all begin the year with hopes and dreams of getting healthier, it’s important to know how to understand how to do this the smart way. One of the more common ways to get healthier is to begin a new exercise regimen. When a new CascadeBriananklemobs20ishDUathleteroutine is begun we often hear about people experiencing new aches and pains as a result. Sometimes these are nothing more than muscle soreness from a good workout. Other times there is something occurring that should be addressed by a professional.

Physical Therapists are experts in the musculoskeletal system of the body and now you have the opportunity to see them sooner for those aches and pains.

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Be Active In Your Health Care

b0906a69e43b79587413d20be6370accMan with hand on heart cardiac arrestI am 28, eat relatively well, and exercise a few times a week. I am by no means the poster child for health, but I have always been fairly healthy. A year ago, which happened to be a few days before I ran the riverbank run, I was told I was
pre-hypertensive. Basically, my blood pressure (BP) was higher than the accepted range and could become problematic if left uncontrolled. I thought to myself, I could control this. I will increase my exercise frequency, reduce salt and caffeine, drink more water, and manage this on my own. I began taking my BP at home and over time, saw no change in my numbers. There were times it would sky rocket, and it really began to scare me after reading about the “silent killer.”

The “silent killer” refers to hypertension, left untreated, because the person did not know they were hypertensive. Hypertension can lead to heart attack and stroke if left untreated. With my family history of cardiac pathologies, I decided to make some life changes to control this on my own.

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8 Tips for Staying Safe This Winter

warningWinter is upon us with conditions quickly becoming slick. Falls are a major danger in this weather, with the potential for serious injury. This winter could be a long one, so be sure to practice these 8 tips for a safe and enjoyable season. If you
 would like a more information, be sure to contact the friendly staff at your local resource, The Center for Physical Rehabilitation.

1) Leave those comfy shoes at home
You may want to think twice about wearing out those house slippers. Smooth-soled comfort shoes, like moccasins should be avoided when venturing outside this winter. Smooth-soled comfort shoes, as well as shoes made of leather and plastic, don't offer the grip you need in icy conditions. Choose rubber or neoprene soled shoes instead for better stability and a surer step.

2) Grab that Gore-Tex
Wear layers, get that poofy coat on, and wrap yourself up nice and warm when venturing out. Even if you think your stint outside will only take a minute, remember it takes far less than a minute for an injury to occur. Bundling up decreases the tendency to hurry and to tense your muscles from the cold, both of which greatly increase your chances of falling. So be sure to bundle up super snug this season and don't forget your hat. Mom really was right.

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Three fit women walking and talkingMany women at some point in their life begin to feel like “something is falling out” or “heaviness in the pelvis”.  They complain of back pain at the end of the day, needing to use finger pressure to support a bowel movement, difficulty starting to urinate or having a weak stream of urine or not fully emptying the bladder.  Leakage of urine or frequent need to urinate and pain with intercourse are also common. 

These complaints are typical of women with pelvic organ prolapse.  Pelvic organ prolapse is defined as the descent of one or more of the anterior vaginal wall, the posterior vaginal wall and the apex of the vagina or vaginal vault after hysterectomy.  Essentially the muscle and fascia that support the pelvic organs weaken.  The pelvic organs then begin to descend into the vagina.  Organs that can descend into the vagina include the bladder, the uterus, the intestines, the rectum or the vagina itself.

Nearly 50 percent of women between the ages of 50 and 79 have some type of prolapse. Risk factors associated with prolapse include genetics, ethnicity, injury to pelvic floor during delivery of baby, surgery, pelvic radiation, hysterectomy, constipation/straining, chronic coughing, smoking, chronic heavy lifting, joint hypermobility, obesity, poor posture, and hormonal changes affecting pelvic floor muscles.

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Staying Active Year Round

We can’t deny it, cold weather is (unfortunately) just around the corner. Some of you may love this touch of cold weather and are inspired to be outside.  Others may have already started preparing for or began hibernation. Regardless, Older woman and younger woman walking resmany of you will soon begin to struggle with staying active and fit when this long, cold, hard winter strikes again in West Michigan. This blog edition is to inform readers on ways to stay active and engage in adequate exercise when the weather is less encouraging of healthy, active lifestyles. If staying healthy is important you, there is bound to be a way our team can help you reach your goals.

Staying Active

Each season offers its own variety of ways for you to engage in exercise. For those of you who are looking to remain active this season, there are many ways to do so even when leaves and snow are on the ground. Activities such as raking leaves, shoveling the snow, using the stairs at home, or walking at the local mall are simple ways to get exercise. These are activities you can do to increase your heart rate and in turn burn some extra calories that so many of us consume during the cold-weather season. Other ideas include participating in a winter hobby like snow hiking, downhill or cross country skiing, working out at a gym, or using an exercise video to get moving. Pick an activity you enjoy and get started! The reason most fail to remain active and fit is because they don’t engage in activity that is fun for them to participate.  Set goals for yourself to help stay on track and instead of catching the winter blues, you can remain motivated to stay fit, year-round.

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Anti-Inflammatory Nutrition

Anti-Inflammatory Nutrition

Physical therapy is a profession that is often dominated by a category of patients that share a similar complaint on the seemingly broad spectrum of pain.  Although every patient presents a different explanation as to how they interpret their own discomfort, it often can all be directed back toward one primary cause, and that is inflammation. 

In medical terminology, inflammation is identified as a localized, physical condition in which part of the body becomes reddened, swollen, hot, and often painful, especially as a reaction to injury or infection.  In much simpler terms, inflammation is the body’s attempt at damage control.  A common outlook toward an injury is that the impacted area of the body is what is causing physical pain.  In-fact, the actual cause of pain following an injury can, in most cases, be attributed directly to the inflammation set in by the body in a rapid attempt at self-healing.  Physical therapy is a heavily researched area of the medical sciences that has placed great emphasis on the ability to decrease and/or abolish pain caused by this natural healing process.  Although therapy is an absolute necessity in the battle against inflammation initiated pain, there are multiple tools an individual can implement on the roadway to recovery. 

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