Older woman and younger woman walkingPhysical therapists are educated thoroughly in the anatomy and physiology of the body. We have extensive knowledge in the area of bones, joints, muscles, nerves, and how they work together in function of the body.  Most people know that physical therapists treat injuries to the knees, shoulders, neck, back etc.  However, many do not realize that some physical therapists have additional training in the treatment of the muscles of the pelvic floor. 

One out of 7 American women ages 18-50 have pelvic pain. 61 percent of them have “no diagnosis”. 26 percent of women ages 18-59 have involuntary leakage of urine.  85 percent of women who have bladder or bowel incontinence and/or low libido do find significant improvement or even a cure with treatment by a women’s health physical therapist.

People who could benefit from pelvic floor physical therapy include those experiencing tail bone (coccyx) pain, abdominal pain, vaginal pain, pain with intercourse, urinary or fecal incontinence (involuntary loss of urine or stool), or prolapse (feeling of falling out or pressure).  Many people experience these symptoms if they have a history of falling on the buttock or tailbone, have been pregnant or delivered children including c-section delivery, experienced menopausal symptoms, had a hysterectomy, or have had a large weight gain.  Even teens can have incontinence, especially if they are involved in high-impact sports such as gymnastics or running.

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GolfSo, why is fitness training for golf so important, even for someone who only plays a few times a year?  In 2006 and 2007 I have had the opportunity to participate in 2 of the 3 levels for golf fitness training at the Titleist Performance Institute (TPI).  TPI was initially designed to help train professional athletes from all over the world who played the game of golf.  Dr. Greg Rose and David Phillips, both cofounders of TPI, developed a program that would help those training golf clients even at an amateur or novice level.   I have gone through 2 of the 3 levels for the golf fitness program.  The first level is based on the general evaluation of a golfer through video feedback or tests that are done to help determine the physical limitations as well as the mechanics of the golf swing.  The second level is a more advance track and more specific to fitness training for golf.  TPI is a organized with many professionals involved in the medical, fitness, nutrition and biomechanical fields.  Together they help contribute to the success of many golfers at all levels.

From the late 70's, when I began participating in organized sports, and well before, there have been Certified Athletic Trainers working the sidelines, courts and fields.  These healthcare professionals are mostly 'behind the scenes' types of individuals, and are none too often recognized until tragedy strikes or emergency triage is needed. Most Certified Athletic Trainers can be recognized with their khaki pants and polo shirt with aJess Rix Concussion Catholic Central Athlete towel and medical kit draped over their shoulder. It is not an altogether understood profession, but has been growing tremendously over the past two decades. Most High Schools and Universities in the West Michigan area employ Certified Athletic Trainers. My goal with this blog is to introduce you to another side of Athletic Training that you may not know exists.

Many people believe that ATCs (Certified Athletic Trainers) are there to tape, stretch and ice athletes while participating in sports. Accurate as that is, there is so much more to their daily lives. Becoming an ATC requires a bachelor's degree and requires passing a demanding national board certification exam. Many ATCs hold master's degrees in Sports Medicine or Exercise Science. There are requirements for continuing education yearly, and ATCs stay abreast of the latest techniques and technologies in Sports Medicine.

TAP evaluation of high school aged pitcherCoach my arm hurts”.  “Are you feeling ok, can you throw one more inning?”  The scene of seeing a young baseball player complaining of arm pain to their coach or parents is all too familiar.  Not many people are well-trained in HOW to handle a baseball player complaining of pain.  As physical therapists we have seen the alarming rise of sports injuries especially in younger kids.  Especially concerning is the sharp trend of overhead throwing athletes developing serious tendonitis, dead arm syndrome or worst of all the “Tommy John injury”.  I believe a lot of these throwing problems can be avoided with sound education to the athlete, parent and coaches.

Baseball is a passion of mine and I have helped lead our company in developing a throwing video analysis program.  We call our program TAP (Thrower’s Athletic Performance).  We have also expanded into doing community talks and educating local coaches and parents on what is so special about throwing that can lead to minor and major injuries.  Prevention is always the best model (something our whole healthcare system is sorely lacking).  So here goes my two cents on helping our baseball athletes.

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