Betsy Graney

If you’re going through physical therapy or considering physical therapy, here are a few tips to get the best outcome. These are general recommendations. Be sure to talk to your healthcare provider about specific recommendations.

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Jessica KuipersThe answer is NO! When it comes to exercise and strengthening, I have heard this question countless times from my elderly patients. They think, that because, they are in their later stages of life, strength training won’t be beneficial. That is far from the truth! Yes, with aging comes a loss of muscle (called Sarcopenia) and consequently a decrease in strength. There are a number of reasons why we lose muscle as we age, but the big question is, can we gain strength in our later years? The answer is YES!

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CPR in the Community

Brian GilbertI have been working as a Physical Therapist in the Forest Hills area for 17 years now. I’ve seen a lot change over the years especially in the health care arena during this time. What I’ve come to appreciate during this is the consistency of our communities in which we serve. Here at The Center for Physical Rehabilitation we have worked alongside many schools and organizations to deepen our connections to the people we live with and work with. Many may not know that we have provided the Athletic Training services to all the Forest Hills Schools. We also do this for Byron Center schools, Catholic Central, and Cornerstone University.

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Everything Happens for a Reason

NancyryanAs a middle school student, I thought I heard the worst news of my life when I was told I needed a back surgery.  That news led to an event that would change my life forever.

My love for sports whether watching or playing started at an early age for me.  I was classified as the athlete and occasional “tomboy” by my family. I played teeball then softball for as long as I can remember along with trying any other sport that was thrown my way including basketball, volleyball, tennis, and track & field.  I enjoyed being active and was really looking forward to competitive team sports during middle school. 

In order to participate in middle school sports, an official sports physical was required by the MHSSA.  During my sports physical, I completed the forward bend testing to examine my spine.  It was brought to my attention that I needed to be further evaluated for Scoliosis by a spine specialist.

Scoliosis is a lateral curvature of the spine that can present like a “C” or “S” shape in the thoracic and lumbar spine.  It can have many degrees from very mild with just needing to be monitored, moderate with bracing, and severe with surgical intervention.

Upon further examination over many consecutive x-rays and spine specialist appointments, it was determined that my “S” shaped curve was growing rapidly and more severe.  Surgical intervention would be the best recommendation in order to prevent significant functional impairments for my future.  At first, I thought it would be no big deal until things were further explained to me.  They wanted to try a newer procedure with fusions versus placing rods in my spine.  It would be a lengthy surgery and recovery requiring a back brace and months of physical therapy following surgery.  There were many risks to the surgery that at the time I felt invincible and would never happen to me.  However there was one thing that frightened me and that would be not being able to participate in sports during recovery and the possibility of not being able to return to a competitive athlete especially with contact sports.

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Are You a Well-Balanced Individual?


Can you stand on one leg without falling over? If not, we’ve got a lot of work to do.  If so, that’s great.  But let’s try challenging you a bit.  How about standing on one leg while turning your head from right to left, or closing your eyes.  Too easy?  Try doing those activities while standing on a pillow or unstable surface.  If you are truly a balance master, make it even more challenging by adding some trunk, arm or opposite leg movements and see if you’re still standing.

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Have a Jolly, Less Jiggly Holiday!

I love this time of year.  My family always gets a little bounce in their step.  We have school concerts, family gatherings, sneaky gift planning, and all the running around needed to accomplish these things.  It’s a hectic time full of conflicting emotions and lots to do.  It’s also the most intimidating time of year from a fitness stand point.  We have temptations galore on the calorie front and less time to squeeze in exercise.  I have tried all kinds of ways to combat the holiday pitfalls from treat abstinence to exercise frenzies with varied levels of success.  I have also just ditched it all and indulged in all the goodies and stopped exercising for a few months with the thought that it would make New Years resolution weight loss easier when I started a healthy lifestyle again.  I can tell you first hand that that thought process, while fun for a while, leaves you with 5 extra pounds and a belly ache until summer. 

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Preventing Winter Related Injuries

When the winter weather arrives, there is no need to stop exercising outdoor; it just needs to be done the right way in order to prevent an injury. Following is a list of steps that will help you get the fresh air you crave and the exercise your body needs; while minimizing the risk of an injury:


  • Snow RunningDress in layers (loose clothing) and either add or remove when your body temperature changes.


  • Wear the proper shoes for the activity.


  • Drink plenty of fluids; water is preferable.


  • Know your surroundings: when you know your surroundings, you know where the sidewalks are uneven, the trails marked for running or walking, hills, closed roads, and construction areas. This will help you to avoid such areas.


  • Warm-Up: a gentle and short stretch is needed to prepare your muscles for the activity that will follow. After the warm-up, follow with some stretching.
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Have you ever wondered why you have done 100 crunches and sit ups
and yet your abdominal muscles still look flabby andIMG 0049 your low-back still hurts?  If so, you may have a diastasis recti. 

After delivery of a baby or after a c-section surgery this issue can occur. A diastasis recti is the separation of the rectus abdominus muscles (6-pack abs) that are situated vertically extending from the rib cage to the pubic bone.  If there is a space between the abdominal muscles greater than about two finger lengths when a person is lying on their back with their knees bent and head lifted from the floor, this could be the problem.  Additionally if a “hump” is seen in the abdomen between the “6 pack abs”, this could also indicate that a diastasis is present.  In the case of a diastasis, the connective tissue between the abdominal muscles has been lengthened and has not returned to the original length, creating limited ability to produce force with the rectus abdominal muscles.  Many abdominal exercises done in the gym could actually worsen this condition.

Diastasis recti can occur in anyone, but the chances of having a diastasis are greater in women over 33 years of age, have been pregnant or delivered multiple babies, women who have carried large babies or gained greater amounts of weight in pregnancy, and those who have had a c-section.  Individuals who have had multiple abdominal surgeries could also be at risk for this problem.

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