Our Blog

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SPINAL STENOSIS AND LOW BACK PAIN

2/7/19 9:46 AM

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Written by Enas Eraqi.

Enas Eraqi is a physical therapist currently working in our Onondaga Hill office.

Topics: Low back pain, spinal stenosis

PHYSICAL THERAPY AFTER A CONCUSSION

12/25/18 2:31 PM
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Written by Julie Berube, PT.

Julie is an Orthopedic Certified Specialist currently practicing as a Physical Therapist in our DeWitt location.

Topics: concussion, tbi

WHAT IS A CONCUSSION?

12/11/18 2:47 PM

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Written by Julie Berube, PT.

Julie is an Orthopedic Certified Specialist currently practicing as a Physical Therapist in our DeWitt location.

Topics: concussion, tbi

EXERCISE FOLLOWING C-SECTION: HOW TO SAFELY RETURN TO YOUR ROUTINE

11/27/18 2:08 PM

 

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Written by Taryn Bader.

Taryn Bader, PT is currently practicing as a Physical Therapist in our Onondaga Hill location.

Topics: pregnancy

PUBIC PAIN DURING PREGNANCY

11/13/18 1:32 PM

What is my pubic bone exactly?

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Written by Taryn Bader.

Taryn Bader, PT is currently practicing as a Physical Therapist in our Onondaga Hill location.

Topics: injury, SORENESS, back pain, pregnancy

PREGNANCY AND CARPAL TUNNEL SYNDROME

10/30/18 1:23 PM

What is Carpal Tunnel Syndrome?

The carpal tunnel is a small space located at the wrist. It is formed by wrist (carpal) bones and a ligament which creates the roof of the “tunnel”. There are many structures that travel through this tunnel, including various tendons and most importantly, the median nerve. Nerves are responsible for the motor (movement) and sensory (your ability to s

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Written by Taryn Bader.

Taryn Bader, PT is currently practicing as a Physical Therapist in our Onondaga Hill location.

Topics: physical therapy, pregnancy, wrist pain

EXERCISING DURING PREGNANCY

10/16/18 11:41 AM
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Written by Taryn Bader.

Taryn Bader, PT is currently practicing as a Physical Therapist in our Onondaga Hill location.

Topics: exercises, physical therapy syarcuse, tips, healthy habits

5 FIVE WAYS TO PREVENT INJURY AT CROSSFIT

10/1/18 11:05 AM

 

 

1.)  CORE: From an air squat, to a heavy back squat, a power clean, to a shoulder overhead press; one’s core should always be engaged. Many CrossFit athletes feel like they activate their core, but in reality many are activating their core incorrectly or not at all. Engaging your core does NOT mean “sucking in.” It is about abdominal bracing. This involves activating transverse abdominus muscle, keeping the spine in neutral, and making sure the pelvic floor is strong. To active transverse abdominus one needs to draw their spine into neutral and pop their abdominal muscles outward.

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Written by Elizabeth Kulik.

Lizzy is currently practicing as a Physical Therapist in our Liverpool office.

Topics: injury, SORENESS, crossfit, risk of injury

SHIN SPLINTS VS. STRESS FRACTURES

8/28/18 10:48 AM

Shin splints refer to pain on the front, outer part of your shin that results from microtears in the muscles that surround the shin. They are more likely to occur in newer runners or those returning from extended time off, and are often related to a rapid increase in mileage, running on hard surfaces or inappropriate footwear. At the first sign of shin splints, it is best to back off on training mileage to a comfortable level and cross train with pool running, biking or elliptical until pain resolves and then increase mileage slowly according to the 10% rule. A physical therapist can help you to evaluate footwear, develop a training program with a safe increase in weekly mileage, teach you how to use elastic therapeutic taping to provide support to the shin muscles, and instruct you in exercises to strengthen muscles of the foot and lower leg. It is important to distinguish between shin splints and tibial stress fractures, as both can result in shin pain, however a stress fracture warrants immediate time off from running and weight bearing exercise for a minimum of 6-8 weeks to allow the bone to heal completely. Stress fractures are unlike a typical broken bone in that they don’t result from an acute injury but rather cumulative stress on the bone, usually from over-training.

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Written by Julie Berube, PT.

Julie is an Orthopedic Certified Specialist currently practicing as a Physical Therapist in our DeWitt location.

Topics: Runner's Knee, taping, Knee Pain, injury

PLANTAR FASCIITIS

8/16/18 10:20 AM

 

Pain experienced in the arch of the foot or underneath the heel is likely due to a strip of connective tissue known as the plantar fascia. This tissue attaches at the base of the heel and runs along the arch all the way up to the big toe, providing support to the arch and acting as a shock absorber during walking and running. With repeated tension and stress, it can undergo microtearing and become irritated and inflamed, resulting in plantar fasciitis. A hallmark sign of plantar fasciitis is stabbing pain in the arch with the first steps out of bed in the morning. It is more likely to occur in runners with very low or very high arch height, poor footwear, heavier weight, those that stand a lot for work or those that have ramped up training mileage too quickly. Self treatment can include rolling the foot over a frozen water bottle for 5 minutes several times a day, wearing a Strassburg sock at night to keep a stretch on the plantar fascia, and gently stretching the plantar fascia and calf muscles. A physical therapist can provide hands-on therapy, help to instruct you in the appropriate stretches if foot or calf tightness are present, evaluate if back issues, tight hip muscles or a weak core are changing your stride, identify appropriate footwear for your arch type, teach you how to use elastic therapeutic tape for arch support and recommend orthotics like Superfeet if you need something more supportive and permanent.

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Written by Julie Berube, PT.

Julie is an Orthopedic Certified Specialist currently practicing as a Physical Therapist in our DeWitt location.

Topics: taping, Runner's Knee, foot pain, injury

Achilles Tendonitis

8/2/18 11:22 AM


 

The Achilles tendon is the thick band of tissue at the back of the heel that connects the calf muscle to the heel. Achilles tendonitis occurs if that tendon becomes irritated and tightened due to chronic stress, usually from a dramatic increase in training mileage, and makes up 11% of running injuries according to a Runner’s World article. It’s best to address this type of injury right away because if the tendon becomes chronically irritated and

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Written by Julie Berube, PT.

Julie is an Orthopedic Certified Specialist currently practicing as a Physical Therapist in our DeWitt location.

Topics: Knee Pain, Runner's Knee, taping

IT Band Syndrome

4/20/18 4:02 PM

Pain experienced at the outer part of the knee is likely to be related to the IT band, the strip of connective tissue that runs along the outer part of your thigh from the hip to the knee. According to a Runner’s World article,

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Written by Julie Berube, PT.

Julie is an Orthopedic Certified Specialist currently practicing as a Physical Therapist in our DeWitt location.

Topics: Knee Pain, Runner's Knee, taping

Runner’s Knee (Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome)

4/6/18 10:57 AM

 

According to a recent article published in U.S. News, 5 Common Running Injuries and How to Heal Them, 50% of running injuries are estimated to occur at the knee. If you are a runner that experiences pain in the kneecap during activities like running, squatting, prolonged sitting, or going down the stairs, you likely have patellofemoral pain syndrome (PFPS), or “runner’s knee”.

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Written by Julie Berube, PT.

Julie is an Orthopedic Certified Specialist currently practicing as a Physical Therapist in our DeWitt location.

Topics: running, Knee Pain, Runner's Knee, taping

Preoperative Physical Therapy:  How to decrease cost

3/15/18 8:25 AM
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Written by Erin Bolowsky, PT.

Erin Bolowsky, PT, DPT is a Doctor of Physical Therapy and currently accepting new patients in our Cicero Office.

Topics: joint replacement

Physical Therapy: Early and Frequent Mobility

3/8/18 8:55 AM

 

The phrase “early and frequent mobility” is being used all across the medical field, from a health and wellness point of view, to patient care in ICU. For many years physical therapists have promoted this treatment strategy. Physical therapists can provide interventions to improve patient quality of life through all stages of healing; acute, subacute and chronic. Why wait until the chronic stage of an injury to get treatment, “current evidence suggests

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Written by Erin Bolowsky, PT.

Erin Bolowsky, PT, DPT is a Doctor of Physical Therapy and currently accepting new patients in our Cicero Office.

Topics: physical therapy

Lumbar disc herniations: Spontaneous healing and the accuracy of MRI

2/8/18 8:54 AM

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Magnetic resonance imaging, more commonly known as MRI, can be a valuable and important tool but how reliable is it? MRI’s are utilized by many physicians in the diagnosis and management of musculoskeletal injuries. An important thing to keep in mind is that 

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Written by Rachel Boccard.

Rachel is a licensed physical therapist currently accepting new patients in our Onondaga Hill and Liverpool locations.

Topics: back pain, Low back pain

Pain: How do I deal with it?

12/15/17 7:55 AM

Pain is a normal experience that everyone has to deal with at some point: it is inevitable. The suffering from pain is what you can control. Research is showing

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Written by Garry Campbell, PT.

Garry is currently practicing as a Physical Therapist in our Cicero Location.

Topics: Knee Pain, back pain, Low back pain

Nutrition for Optimal Fertility and to Support a Healthy Pregnancy

12/8/17 11:00 AM

 

Most of us know that one of the most powerful health and lifestyle changes you can make is to eat a well-balanced, nutrient-dense diet.  But did you know that specific changes to the diet can improve fertility and support a healthy pregnancy?

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Written by Laura Kirkpatrick, PT.

Laura Kirkpatrick, PT is contributing author to our blog. She is a Physical Therapist with a Postgraduate certificate in Nutrition.

Topics: pregnancy, nutrition

Exploring the New Era of Personalized Functional Nutrition

11/24/17 4:00 PM

 

What if you could send messages and instructions to help repair and heal your cells by the foods that you eat? And what if through dietary and lifestyle changes you could decrease and alleviate many of your chronic symptoms and need for medications? A personalized functional nutrition plan constitutes a foundation

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Written by Laura Kirkpatrick, PT.

Laura Kirkpatrick, PT is contributing author to our blog. She is a Physical Therapist with a Postgraduate certificate in Nutrition.

Topics: nutrition

What can be causing my heel pain?

11/19/17 9:31 AM

 

One of the most common causes of heel pain is a condition known as plantar fasciitis (PF). Plantar fascia is a flat thick band of tissue called ligament that connects your heel bone to your toes. This ligament helps support the arch of your foot when you walk. When this ligament gets irritated and swollen, over time it can become weak and develop small tears, in this case it is referred to as

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Written by Enas Eraqi.

Enas Eraqi is a physical therapist currently working in our Onondaga Hill office.

Topics: foot type, foot pain

Why do I feel Dizzy?

9/29/17 8:00 AM

 

Have you recently felt dizzy or lightheaded? Felt like the room you are standing in is spinning? You may be suffering from a possible Vestibular Dysfunction.

 

Dizziness and vertigo symptoms are very common as individuals get older. Finding out where the dizziness and room spinning is coming from is an important factor for treatment.

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Written by Taryn Bader.

Taryn Bader, PT is currently practicing as a Physical Therapist in our Onondaga Hill location.

Topics: dizziness

X-Ray Imaging and Arthritis

9/25/17 8:00 AM

 

What is osteoarthritis?

Osteoarthritis, also known as OA, is the most common form of arthritis. This diagnosis describes the degenerative changes that occur in your joints as you age. This includes the gradual break down or “wear and tear” of bones and cartilage. It is extremely common and according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), osteoarthritis affects over 30 million US adults.

 

How do I know if I have OA?

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Written by Rachel Boccard.

Rachel is a licensed physical therapist currently accepting new patients in our Onondaga Hill and Liverpool locations.

Topics: Knee Pain, arthritis

The Big Toe - How Important Is It?

8/24/17 1:33 PM

The forefoot consists of the five toes and their connecting long bones, the metatarsals. Each toe (phalanx) is made up of small bones called phalanges. The phalanges of all five toes are connected to the metatarsals by metatarsophalangeal (MTP) joints at the ball of the foot. During efficient walking and running, the forefoot bears half the body’s weight and balances pressure on the ball of the foot, and the big toe joint (first MTP joint) should take on the majority of the push off force for forward movement.

 

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Written by Michele Gould.

Michele is a practicing Physical Therapist and Athletic Trainer and is a contributor to our blog.

Topics: feet, foot type, running

How your golf swing can lead to increased back pain

8/3/17 12:00 PM

 

Those who play the game of golf know the physical strain it can place on the entire body especially the lower back. The last thing any golfer wants to do is to miss a few rounds of golf  because of pain or injury. Anyone who watches golf on TV can tell you that the days when players were out of shape and overweight are gone. Nowadays, each player follows a rigorous training program to stay at the top of their game throughout the year. Here are a few tips to keep you at the top of your game.

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Written by Garry Campbell.

Garry Campbell, PT is currently practicing as a Physical Therapist in our Cicero office.

Topics: Low back pain, healthy habits, GOLF, strengthening, stretches

Heat or Ice – Is one better than the other?

7/28/17 7:06 AM

 

A very common question that patients ask during their physical therapy treatment is whether they should use heat or ice for pain relief.  The main consideration before deciding which to use, is determining whether or not inflammation is present in the painful area.

 

What is inflammation?

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Written by Lauris Rigdon, PT.

Topics: pain

SYRACUSE PHYSICAL THERAPIST JULIE BERUBE AWARDED ORTHOPAEDIC SPECIALIST CERTIFICATION

7/12/17 5:19 PM

 

Julie Berube, PT, DPT, of Syracuse, New York, was awarded the professional designation of board-certified clinical specialist in orthopaedic physical therapy (OCS) by the American Board of Physical Therapy Specialties (ABPTS) of the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA).

 

To obtain board certification, candidates must submit evidence of 2000 hours of clinical practice in one of nine specialty areas: Cardiovascular and Pulmonary, Clinical Electrophysiology, Geriatrics, Neurology, Oncology, Orthopaedics, Pediatrics, Sports, and Women’s Health Physical Therapy. In addition, candidates must successfully complete a rigorous examination, demonstrating specialized knowledge and advanced clinical proficiency in a specialty area of physical therapist practice. As of 2016, approximately 5% of PT’s in the United States are board certified in orthopaedics, and Julie joins only 2.5% of physical therapists in New York State with an OCS certification.

 

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Written by Lauris Rigdon, PT.

Topics: physical therapist

Physical Therapist Expands Knowledge in Pelvic Floor Evaluation and Rehabilitation

6/8/17 8:38 AM

 

On May 5, 2017 physical therapist Taryn Bader, PT, DPT of Onondaga Physical Therapy attended a full-day seminar in Syracuse, NY titled:  

 

The Fundamentals of Pelvic Floor Rehabilitation

 

The course was six hours of educational material focused on 

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Written by Lauris Rigdon, PT.

Topics: pregnancy

What is a diastasis recti?

6/2/17 9:19 AM

 

Diastasis Recti is a condition that typically occurs following a pregnancy in which the two halves of your abdominal muscle splits.  There may be a gap you can feel between the walls of the abdomen, usually around the belly button.  Occasionally there may be a bulge present, depending on the size of the diastasis.


Can it be fixed?

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Written by Taryn Bader.

Taryn Bader, PT is currently practicing as a Physical Therapist in our Onondaga Hill location.

Topics: pregnancy, back pain

What is a Physical Therapist Qualified to Treat?

5/19/17 3:27 PM

Like most professions, physical therapy continues to evolve as a profession. It is now a 6 year doctorate program. Within that time, we learn to treat people with orthopedic conditions, neurological impairments, cardiac issues, amputations, vestibular issues and more. Physical therapists are trained to work with newborns to geriatrics and everyone in between. After graduation, we have to pass a national test to become licensed to practice. To keep our license active, we have to complete 36 hours of education every 3 years. This is where we can choose courses to better ourselves in our specific setting and learn the most modern techniques! Below is a general (but not inclusive) list of conditions we treat in outpatient physical therapy:

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Written by Courtney Ryer, PT.

Courtney is currently practicing as a Physical Therapist in our Baldwinsville office.

Topics: physical therapist

Why Do I feel Like I'm Spinning?

4/14/17 1:50 PM

 

BPPV, or Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo, is a common cause of vertigo, or a false sense of spinning. It is fairly common among adults, with increased incidence as you age. It usually comes on without an apparent reason, however can occur after a head trauma or after spending time in a head tipped back position (such as in a dentist chair). Usually you will first notice symptoms when turning over in bed or when sitting up from bed in the morning.

 

The spinning sensation occurs due to a mechanical problem in the peripheral vestibular system of the inner ear. This system has calcium crystals called otoconia that sit on a gel-like substance and are sensitive to gravity, as well as three semicircular canals filled with fluid that are oriented in three different planes. In a normal vestibular system, the fluid in the canals moves when your head moves. This displaces hair cells and sends a message to the brain to tell it that your head is moving. Sometimes the otoconia crystals become dislodged into the fluid and give your brain a false signal that your head is moving when it’s not. This results in a spinning sensation, or vertigo.

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Written by Julie Berube, PT.

Julie is an Orthopedic Certified Specialist currently practicing as a Physical Therapist in our DeWitt location.

Topics: vertigo, dizziness, balance

Why am I having knee pain?

4/6/17 1:06 PM

Injuries can happen any time during your training process, it is important to understand the difference between a “good pain” and a “bad pain”.  At Onondaga Physical Therapy we offer Free Injury Screens as well as full evaluations to help quickly diagnose your issue, and help you on the road to recovery. 

 

 

 

 

Knee injuries are very common among active individuals and best treated as soon as the pain starts – waiting typically lengthens the rehab time.

 

  • Causes: Poor stability above or below the knee, poor or old footwear, sedentary lifestyle, poor mechanics, too much training of the “same muscles” without cross-training 
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Written by Taryn Bader.

Taryn Bader, PT is currently practicing as a Physical Therapist in our Onondaga Hill location.

Topics: injury, Knee Pain

Low Back Pain During Pregnancy

3/30/17 11:31 AM

 

Prevelance:

 

It is estimated that approximately 50% of pregnant women will experience some kind of low back pain during their pregnancy, or during the postpartum period.  Of those that experience low back pain, only about 50% of them will seek advice from a healthcare professional; with only 70% of those women actually receiving treatment.

 

Causes:

 

  • Mechanical:  Weight gain during pregnancy, increased abdominal size, shifting of the center of mass forward; all can increase the stress on the low back.  When the abdominal muscles stretch to accommodate the growing uterus, muscle fatigue typically occurs which results in an increased load on the spine.  Another common finding is weakness of their gluteus medius, or the outer glute/hip muscle.
  • Hormonal:  Relaxin is a hormone secreted during pregnancy, and it causes your ligaments to get lax, which in turn can cause your pelvis to become unstable.  This includes not only the SIJ (sacroiliac joint), but the entire low back resulting in instability of the pelvis and poor alignment of the spine.

Symptoms:

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Written by Taryn Bader.

Taryn Bader, PT is currently practicing as a Physical Therapist in our Onondaga Hill location.

Topics: back pain, Low back pain, pregnancy, taping

Physical Therapist Expands Knowledge for Treatment of Dizziness

3/14/17 11:52 AM

 

On January 25th, 2017 physical therapist Julie Dmochowski, PT, DPT of Onondaga Physical Therapy attended a full-day seminar in Syracuse, NY titled: The Hands-on Guide to Vestibular Rehabilitation: Clinical Decision Making to Treat Vertigo, Dizziness, and Balance Disorders. The course consisted of over 7 hours of content and hands-on application of skills in order to most effectively evaluate and manage the dizzy patient.

 

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Written by Lauris Rigdon, PT.

Topics: balance

How can the rotator cuff help my shoulder pain

2/3/17 11:24 AM

Gym Injuries can happen any time during your training process and it is important to understand the difference between a “good pain” and a “bad pain."  At Onondaga Physical Therapy we offer Free Injury Screens for a quick diagnosis of your issue, and help you on the road to recovery.

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Written by Taryn Bader.

Taryn Bader, PT is currently practicing as a Physical Therapist in our Onondaga Hill location.

Topics: injury, shoulder

Living clean in 2017:  6 New Year's Resolution tips

12/29/16 8:53 AM

It is that time of the year again... time for New Year's Resolutions!  Whether you believe in resolutions or not, most people can't stick with them even through the month of January!  We have compiled a list of our "Top 6 Tips" to help keep you on track in the new year.

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Written by Garry Campbell.

Garry Campbell, PT is currently practicing as a Physical Therapist in our Cicero office.

Topics: tips

KNEE ARTHRITIS: RISK FACTORS AND WHAT YOU CAN DO ABOUT IT

11/30/16 1:59 PM

In the physical therapy world, a large percentage of our patients suffer from some form of arthritis.  In the United States, knee osteoarthritis (OA) affects over 30% of individuals over the age of 60.  Knee OA can cause pain, inflammation, swelling, decreased motion in the knee, difficulty walking, and may eventually require surgery such as a total knee replacement.

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Written by Austin Hagel, PT.

Austin Hagel, PT is a contributing author. He currently resides in South Carolina where he is a practicing physical therapist.

Topics: knees, arthritis

THE SANTA CLAUSE WORKOUT CHALLENGE

11/30/16 12:01 PM

Have you heard of the Santa Clause Workout Challenge? Julie Dmochowski, PT demonstrates in this week's video blog.

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Written by Julie Berube, PT.

Julie is an Orthopedic Certified Specialist currently practicing as a Physical Therapist in our DeWitt location.

Topics: fun, holiday, christmas, workout challenge

BALANCING CALORIES AND ACTIVITY AROUND THE HOLIDAYS

11/17/16 1:14 PM

The holidays revolve around spending time with friends and family creating new memories and partaking in timeless traditions. Much of the holiday season involves time spent sharing a meal together. With all of the parties, get-togethers, and time socializing around the table, it is easy to get carried away while indulging in appetizers, home-cooked meals, and treats native to the season. Below is a list of creative ways to get up and start moving to burn off those extra holiday calories! (Calories burned based on a 150-pound, 65 year old female):

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Written by Julie Berube, PT.

Julie is an Orthopedic Certified Specialist currently practicing as a Physical Therapist in our DeWitt location.

Topics: tips

PROTECT AGAINST ALZHEIMER'S WITH NUTRITION: HOW TO DECREASE YOUR RISK

11/9/16 11:49 AM

Alzheimer’s disease is a progressive mental decline affecting one’s memory and other cognitive functions.  According to the Alzheimer’s Association (2016) there are over 5 million cases in the US each year and Alzheimer’s disease is the 6th leading Cause of death in the US.  

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Written by Laura Kirkpatrick, PT.

Laura Kirkpatrick, PT is contributing author to our blog. She is a Physical Therapist with a Postgraduate certificate in Nutrition.

MAKING IT THROUGH A CNY WINTER SAFELY!

11/7/16 11:23 AM

In the home...

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Written by Mary Smith.

Mary Smith, PT is currently practicing as a Physical Therapist in our Baldwinsville office. She specializes in (and enjoys) treating injured runners to get them back to their craft, or simply reaching their best.

Topics: tips, SAFETY, injury, fall prevention

SLOW THE PROGRESSION OF ARTHRITIS WITH NUTRITION

10/26/16 8:58 AM

Slowing the Progression of Arthritis

It is increasingly apparent that what is healthy for one’s heart is also good for one’s aching joints and knees.  Current research links significant associations between the types of dietary fat intake with structural progression of knee osteoarthritis.  Osteoarthirits (OA) also known as degenerative joint disease (DJD) is the most common chronic condition of the joints affecting more than 3 million people a year or 27 million Americans.  One in two adults will develop symptoms of OA in their lifetime (Arthritis Foundation, 2016).   Common risk factors for developing arthritis include increasing age, previous joint injury, obesity, joint overuse, weak supporting muscles, and genes.

 

 

However, top researchers in the field of nutrition science affirm that following a healthy diet may be an effective strategy for the management of knee osteoarthritis.  Furthermore, following a healthy diet and lifestyle is by far more attractive than medications with respect to (long term) risks/benefits.  The results of the following study offer hope for individuals searching for steps to limit the progression of OA.

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Written by Laura Kirkpatrick, PT.

Laura Kirkpatrick, PT is contributing author to our blog. She is a Physical Therapist with a Postgraduate certificate in Nutrition.

Topics: nutrition, tips, arthritis

TOP 10 REASONS TO CHOOSE PT FIRST

10/25/16 12:50 PM

 

Do more than mask the pain, reduce or eliminate it. 

 

Exercise and manual therapy (including soft tissue and joint mobilizations) can help relieve pain, restore mobility and function and help reduce or eliminate pain. Pain is often cyclical and can be minimized or eliminated with musculoskeletal mobility.

 

 

 

Learn how to help treat yourself and become empowered with your care

 

There really isn’t a magic wand at PT! A Physical Therapist will do more than just address your injury or involved body part. We will look at you as a whole person and empower you with your care, giving you plenty of education and ways you can help yourself.

 

 

Become more active!

Learn to care for your body instead of suffer. There are so many studies that show that activity for 30 minutes per day helps to maintain healthy systems, from head to toe. A Physical Therapist promotes total health and wellness and can often be a good motivator to get you on track with your goals!

 

 

 

Prevent surgery

Often times, musculoskeletal injuries can be treated by PT and you can avoid surgery all together. The key is to get to know a PT soon after an injury so your pain and limitations do not become irreversible. Talk with your physician ASAP! 

 

 

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Written by Mary Smith.

Mary Smith, PT is currently practicing as a Physical Therapist in our Baldwinsville office. She specializes in (and enjoys) treating injured runners to get them back to their craft, or simply reaching their best.

Topics: tips

VIDEO BLOG: LEARN MORE ABOUT CUPPING

10/12/16 3:15 PM
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Written by Taryn Bader.

Taryn Bader, PT is currently practicing as a Physical Therapist in our Onondaga Hill location.

Topics: tips, cupping

WHY AM I LOSING MY BALANCE?

9/16/16 2:54 PM

Is it because I am getting older? As we age, our body changes. Our reflexes slow down and our nerve signals are not quite as fast to alert us to make a correction when we lose our balance. Balance is essential to our everyday routine - from getting dressed to taking the dog for a walk, to cooking a meal. Most of the time you don't have to think about balance - but when you do, it can become frustrating. The feeling of being unsteady can lead to inactivity. Individuals tend to withdraw from their favorite activities or decline invitations due to a fear of falling. The less you do the weaker balance will become and risk for falls will increase. What a vicious cycle!

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Written by Courtney Ryer, PT.

Courtney is currently practicing as a Physical Therapist in our Baldwinsville office.

Topics: balance

COMMUNITY ACTIVITIES THAT HELP TO IMPROVE YOUR BALANCE

9/16/16 2:29 PM

Are you looking for a way to further challenge your balance? Check local gyms, churches and senior centers to see what activities are offered. Here are a few ideas to look for in your community to keep you at your best.

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Written by Courtney Ryer, PT.

Courtney is currently practicing as a Physical Therapist in our Baldwinsville office.

Topics: tips, balance, fall prevention

REDUCE RISK FOR FALLS IN YOUR HOME

9/16/16 2:24 PM

There are many modifications and changes that you can make around your home to lower the risk for falls. Here are are a few ideas!

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Written by Courtney Ryer, PT.

Courtney is currently practicing as a Physical Therapist in our Baldwinsville office.

8 EXERCISES TO IMPROVE BALANCE AND STRENGTH

9/16/16 2:13 PM

To maintain your balance, the body needs to feel which way you are falling, how to move to correct that balance loss and then move in that direction. All of this happens in an instance so it is important to keep you muscles strong and your balance sharp so the body reacts properly. A fall can lead to fractures, head injuries and wounds. If significant, the injury can turn into hospital stays and months of rehabilitation. So lets get this balance thing under control!

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Written by Courtney Ryer, PT.

Courtney is currently practicing as a Physical Therapist in our Baldwinsville office.

Topics: tips, fall prevention, balance, strengthening

TOP 6 WAYS TO NATURALLY SPEED UP RECOVERY FROM INJURY

9/8/16 1:41 PM

The latest research shows the amazing properties of food, proper nutrition and other healthy lifestyle “pillars” as important components related to healing and injury recovery.  The relationship of the body systems is one of interconnections; as one system impacts another.  An emerging shift in healthcare is recognizing the value of natural influences that provide and support overall health, healing  and wellness.   Nowadays, we are inundated with advertisements which promise the power of a pill or pharmaceutical to reverse aging or to relieve pain and other symptoms.  However, there are numerous reasons and benefits to consider food as a powerful and natural way to improve healing!

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Written by Laura Kirkpatrick, PT.

Laura Kirkpatrick, PT is contributing author to our blog. She is a Physical Therapist with a Postgraduate certificate in Nutrition.

Topics: tips, nutrition, recovery, injury, risk of injury

STUDY SHOWS EFFECTIVENESS OF PHYSICAL THERAPY ON NECK PAIN.

8/26/16 2:23 PM

Cervical pain is a common musculoskeletal complaint, with greater than 50% of the population experiencing cervical pain at some point in their lives. During a given year time span 30-50% of people are currently living with cervical pain. Cervical pain is a common reason for one to seek care with physical therapy. It is prudent to determine the most effective treatment approach based on the symptoms and examination findings for that patient presents with.  Manual therapy directed at both the cervical and thoracic spine has been shown to be an extremely effective approach for people with cervical pain.

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Topics: pain, NECK PAIN, shoulder pain, tips

LOW BACK PAIN AND PHYSICAL THERAPY: WHAT'S EFFECTIVE?

8/26/16 2:04 PM

Low back pain is a very prevalent and costly condition. It is common for people dealing with low back pain to ask themselves “What do I need for treatment and where should I go?” Of the people who seek outpatient physical therapy services, 50% of them seek it for low back pain. But what’s the most effective treatment approach?

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Topics: Low back pain

WHAT IS CUPPING AND WHY ARE OLYMPIANS COVERED IN THOSE RED SPOTS?

8/18/16 3:16 PM

What is cupping:  

Cupping is an alternative form of treatment which involves placing a cup; whether plastic, glass or silicone, on the affected area.  It can be used to treat conditions such as inflammation, soft tissue restrictions, pain relief/reduction, and trigger point relief, by improving tissue mobility a

nd promoting circulation.  Cupping works by lifting the skin away from the tissues below; bringing new blood flow and anti-inflammatory properties to the area, assisting in your body's natural healing process.

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Written by Taryn Bader.

Taryn Bader, PT is currently practicing as a Physical Therapist in our Onondaga Hill location.

Topics: cupping, tips, risk of injury, recovery

MASSAGE THERAPY & PHYSICAL THERAPY: DO THEY WORK TOGETHER?

8/5/16 3:55 PM
We get this question a lot...Do massage therapy and physical therapy work together? How? There are a lot of reasons why the two can compliment each other, especially with certain injuries or cases. 

There are many benefits to massage, both the type of manual massage performed by a Physical Therapist, and also by a massage therapist, to include:
  • Analgesic effects
  • Increased circulation
  • Improved range of motion
  • Decreased Trigger Point activity and Muscle hypertonicity
  • Increased overall well being


Physical Therapists, Physical Therapy Assistants, and Licensed Massage Therapists all have training in various massage techniques to enhance the desired outcome of your treatment and your Physical Therapy experience. 
  • Alleviate pain and discomfort.   It might not sound pleasant, but before, during or after a good Physical Therapy session, you may experience some muscle soreness and pain. Massage therapy added into your treatment can help alleviate some of that discomfort. Not convinced? The term PhysioTherapy was even used back during the Civil War Era. With so many wounded soldiers, there was almost always a shortage of morphine. Massage was used as a substitute to aid in pain management - some of those manual techniques are still used today in Physical Therapy.


  • Give your body a boost toward recovery & healing itself.    Massage can increase blood flow to the affected, or sore area. Improved circulation helps to facilitate the recovery and healing process of the body. It can also help reduce DOMS, or Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness. Endorphines are also released with massage.


  • Help to gain Range of Motion.  In applying manual massage to an area of the body, soft tissue, deep tissue and many other massage therapy techniques introduce a stimulus to the affected areas. This causes a sedating or stimulating effect depending on the desired outcome. The therapist can feel where there is tension & trigger point activity, and the patient is also able to give feedback. With those same pain management & sedating effects also comes more ease of range of motion.
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Topics: tips, MASSAGE, pain, hip pain, back pain, SORENESS

GOLF: A BALANCING ACT

7/29/16 4:24 PM

When I was in PT school I had a professor describe walking as ‘an act of controlled falling’. It takes the coordination of 200 muscles to maintain your balance while walking. Having good strength of the core musculature is vital to maintaining good balance.Not only are they essential for balance with any movement this is particularly true for the golf swing. The core is the foundation of the golf swing because it stabilizes the entire body throughout the swing. It is important to have a strong core and flexible spine to complete a full swing.

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Written by Garry Campbell.

Garry Campbell, PT is currently practicing as a Physical Therapist in our Cicero office.

Topics: GOLF, tips, stretching, strengthening

7 EXERCISES THAT RUNNERS SHOULD ADD TO POST WORKOUT ROUTINE

7/22/16 11:22 AM

Runners are a hard-working, highly committed breed of athlete. Despite putting in hours of training out on the roads, I find that many runners come into the clinic with surprisingly weak hip musculature, a poor ability to control rotational forces under demand, and tightness that impacts postural alignment. The exercises and stretches below are specifically designed to enhance your running routine in order to counter repetitive training in a sagittal plane.

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Written by Julie Berube, PT.

Julie is an Orthopedic Certified Specialist currently practicing as a Physical Therapist in our DeWitt location.

Topics: running, tips, stretches, stretching, strengthening

QUICK GUIDE TO SHOE FITTING TERMINOLOGY

7/15/16 9:44 AM

Patients frequently ask me “What type of sneaker should I be wearing? Is there a certain brand that is better than others?” You have probably heard of the “Wet Test” as well- where you look at your wet footprint to categorize your arch as low, normal, or high and then try to fit a shoe to your arch type. Many runners have been categorized as an “over-pronator” and dreaded “heel-striker”. Recent evidence has shown that attempts to “fit” your arch to a certain type of shoe is actually no more beneficial than those who pick their sneaker based on comfort. However, there are so many shoe terms out there, it can become overwhelming when trying to determine which shoe to buy and differences between two pairs of sneakers. Where to start? Here is a guideline for basic shoe terminology that you may come across when purchasing your next pair of sneakers.

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Written by Julie Berube, PT.

Julie is an Orthopedic Certified Specialist currently practicing as a Physical Therapist in our DeWitt location.

Topics: running, feet, shoe fitting, tips

HOW TO SAFELY INCREASE MILEAGE

5/11/16 3:53 PM

A question frequently asked by novice and experienced runners alike is “How can I safely increase my training mileage?” Whether you are training for a 5K or your first marathon, it is important to keep in mind a few guidelines. First, think about your training goal- how long is your race? If you are planning to race a 5K you won’t need to build up nearly as much of a mileage base compared to running a marathon, and may want to train with less weekly mileage at a faster pace.

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Written by Julie Berube, PT.

Julie is an Orthopedic Certified Specialist currently practicing as a Physical Therapist in our DeWitt location.

Topics: tips, running

10 RACES TO TRY IN THE SYRACUSE AREA

4/14/16 9:20 AM

We live in a beautiful area! With all four seasons and plenty of hills, lakes, and foliage, Central New York boasts some of the most scenic races and challenging courses around. Below is a list of some of the local road races to be sure to mark on your training calendar for the upcoming year.

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Written by Julie Berube, PT.

Julie is an Orthopedic Certified Specialist currently practicing as a Physical Therapist in our DeWitt location.

Topics: running, races

4 MYTHS ABOUT BACK PAIN

2/22/16 11:22 AM

As a Physical Therapist, I am asked a lot of questions about low back pain. With so much information available to us online from various sources - both reliable and unreliable, both too general and too specific, it is hard to know what to believe is truth or the best practice for most individuals. These are general guidelines to get you started based upon the common questions I am asked.


 

Sitting:

 

I know I have a lot of comfy places to sit at home, couch, recliner, love seat and this is often where I end up sitting at the end of the day. I have had many patients come and say they sit on their couch with their feet on the coffee table or sit in their recliner with their feet up.  They say, it feels great while sitting there, then it is painful getting up due to low back pain. This is because your spine is flexed or rounded especially when you have your feet up. This is one position you want to try and avoid at home. Try to sit with your feet on the floor and try not to slouch when sitting at home.  Try sitting in a more upright chair, kitchen chair or dining room chair. I know these aren’t as comfortable but they are better for your back.

 

 

Ice or heat?

 

If you just hurt your back yesterday, then ice is the answer. Ice is good for new or acute injuries for 24-48 hours. Ice helps to decrease the blood flow to the area which helps to decrease pain and inflammation. If an area is swollen or bruised, use ice.  Now if you have had back pain fo

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Written by Laura Donlan.

Laura Donlan, PT is contributing author to our blog. She has been a Highland Dancer for over 20 years and specializes in treating dancers - getting them back to their sport!

Topics: hip pain, Low back pain, pain, tips, back pain, lumbar pain

3 WAYS TO BEAT BACK PAIN WITH IMPROVED POSTURE

2/12/16 2:02 PM

Back pain is very common in the population and often can become chronic. Our spine has three different curves that occur naturally. Our lumbar spine and cervical spine have the same curve and the thoracic spine has the opposite curve. There is less stress placed on our spine when these curves are maintained. Many times during the day whether we are sitting, lifting or doing activities around the house, we diminish or reverse these curves in our spine. When we repetitively do this, often times it can lead to back pain.

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Written by Laura Donlan.

Laura Donlan, PT is contributing author to our blog. She has been a Highland Dancer for over 20 years and specializes in treating dancers - getting them back to their sport!

Topics: pain, tips, back pain

WORK SMARTER, NOT HARDER TO BEAT LOW BACK PAIN

2/4/16 10:49 AM

Back pain is quite common, around 80% of the population will experience it at some point in their lives. What is causing it? More often than not, too much bending and twisting can create more low back pain. Since everything is in front of us, we bend thousands of times during the day. If we are able to decrease the amount of bending we can do just a little bit, this can make a big difference in developing back pain.

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Written by Laura Donlan.

Laura Donlan, PT is contributing author to our blog. She has been a Highland Dancer for over 20 years and specializes in treating dancers - getting them back to their sport!

Topics: Low back pain, back pain

4 THINGS YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT RHEUMATOID ARTHRITIS

12/22/15 10:47 AM

Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) is an autoimmune disease that is a chronic inflammatory condition usually affecting joints on both sides of the body in the hands and the feet, as well as the hips, knees, and elbows.

As an autoimmune disorder, RA occurs when your body’s immune system mistakenly attacks your own tissues.  In the case of RA, the lining of your joints are attacked leading to damage and erosion of cartilage and bone.  As the disease progresses, pain and deformity of the joints occurs.


1. Cause:

UNKNOWN:  Research has yet to determine the exact cause of the disease. 
It is known that it is not hereditary.  It has been shown that people with specific genes are more susceptible to the disease, but are not guaranteed to have RA.

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Topics: arthritis, pain

BEST WAYS TO WARM UP, COOL DOWN FROM ACTIVITY

12/22/15 10:38 AM

What is the best way to warm up before dance class, a practice or activity?

 

I have been dancing for over 20 years and during that time I have modified and adjusted my warm up routine many times. As I have grown up, gone through school and have done more training I have learned a lot about how to get the most from my warm up.

 

 


First of all, what is the purpose of a warm up? There are many reasons to warm up before any activity whether it is running, dancing or playing basketball...

  • Increases body temperature which reduces the likelihood of injury
  • Increases blood flow to the muscles which helps deliver more nutrients to the muscles
  • Increases blood flow to the heart reducing likelihood of cardiac events
  • Preps the muscles to get them ready for the exercise ahead, which helps with soreness even after the activity
  • Helps increase the speed of nerve impulses which tell your muscles what to do
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Written by Laura Donlan.

Laura Donlan, PT is contributing author to our blog. She has been a Highland Dancer for over 20 years and specializes in treating dancers - getting them back to their sport!

Topics: sport specific, dance

3 SIMPLE WAYS FOR ATHLETES TO SELF-ASSESS FOR RISK OF INJURY

11/17/15 1:25 PM

The purpose of this blog post is to provide people who participate in CrossFit or other high intensity work-outs with an opportunity to self-assess their potential risk of injury and identify any asymmetries or muscle imbalances they may have developed. There have been several studies that demonstrate certain factors correlated with an increase in injuries. These include age, sex, body size, flexibility, history of injury, etc. Although we cannot change many of these risk factors, we can certainly reduce our risk of injury by correcting muscle imbalances and asymmetries when appropriate. There are simple and effective ways to self-assess ourselves, and there are exercises out there that can help to correct them. 

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Written by Kevin Brown, PT.

Kevin Brown is a contributing author and a licensed physical therapist.

Topics: tips, strains, exercises, strengthening, risk of injury

IS CROSSFIT TOO RISKY?

10/19/15 3:13 PM

Over the course of the last year, I have worked closely with CrossFit instructors and participants in the Pacific Health Club.  The CrossFit gym is located across the indoor track from my office, and it has allowed me to develop relationships with these people so that I could become more educated on the trending phenomenon. I have grown to view CrossFit as more of a sport then a workout, where individuals can come together in a community with a common interest to maximize their physical output. I have seen people push themselves further then they thought they could go, and I have seen people transform their physical and mental fitness into something great. Unfortunately, crossfit has developed a reputation especially among health care professionals as being dangerous to one’s health. Many people believe anyone who participates in crossfit is at an extreme increase in risk of not only injury but also rhabdomyolysis.

 

I have spent countless hours scouring through the literature, blogs, etc in attempt to come across any valid and reliable sources that illustrate that risk of injury in CrossFit. Unfortunately, to this date there have been no high-level research articles published on crossfit. I believe this will soon change especially as the popularity of CrossFit and the CrossFit games continues to increase.

 

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Written by Kevin Brown, PT.

Kevin Brown is a contributing author and a licensed physical therapist.

Topics: tips, crossfit, risk of injury

School Backpacks: Hauling Homework Safely

8/28/15 12:30 PM
By this point in the year, school children of all ages are preparing to load up their backpacks with all of those new supplies and textbooks. Study halls can help ease the overwhelming nature of being mid-school year, but what happens when those books & binders need to be hauled home?

In a recent study led by Shelley Goodgold, PT, 55% of the children surveyed carried backpack loads heavier than recommended. These overloaded & improperly fit backpacks can cause various back problems in growing children. In this same study, one third of the children reported back pain that led them to seek medical attention, miss days of school, or abstain from physical activities.



Choose the Right Backpack & Fit it Properly...

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Topics: tips, back pain, tips for children

Quick Guide: When to Use HEAT vs. ICE

8/17/15 12:46 PM
When to use ICE:
  • Ice, or a cold pack, is commonly used following trauma, such as surgery to help reduce swelling and decrease pain.
  • Ice can and should be applied following acute injuries, such as an ankle sprain, in the first 24-48 hours when swelling is persent. Ice is a vasoconstrictor, meaning that it closes off blood vessels and can help to decrease the swelling.
  • Ice also has a numbing effect. Therefore, it can also help to reduce pain. 
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Written by Jeffrey Romans.

Jeff Romans, PT is a contributing author to our blog and a great resource on Physical Therapy.

Topics: Insider, tips

Runners, Here's Why You Need to Stretch AND Strengthen

7/24/15 11:03 AM


 

 

Stretching is a very critical piece of preparing for and cooling down from a run, no matter the length or intensity.

Warm up stretching should be minimal and non-aggressive prior to running; followed by extensive and more aggressive stretching post-run.

Major muscles and muscle groups should be stretche

d at both times. These include: quadriceps, hamstrings, calves, hip rotators, shoulders and upper / lower back. These are all very important muscles involved in running. Keep them happy and they will keep you running happy!

 

Strengthening

Most of us runners like to get out there and just RUN. Right?!...

However, to be a really good runner, there should be a strengthening regime added to your running program to improve your performance and minimize your risk of injury.

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Written by Mary Smith.

Mary Smith, PT is currently practicing as a Physical Therapist in our Baldwinsville office. She specializes in (and enjoys) treating injured runners to get them back to their craft, or simply reaching their best.

Topics: running, exercises, stretching, strengthening

11 THINGS EVERY RUNNER NEEDS TO KNOW

6/11/15 11:42 AM

 

If you run, you're a runner. Dig into these 11 Things you need to know to run and train at your best and take care of your body while you're doing it.

 

4 Running Myths DEBUNKED:

1. Hydrating with a sports drink is better than water: WRONG! If your run is less than an hour, water is the better option. If your run is longer than an hour, this is when you should use a sports drink to replace the electrolytes lost during a more intense run.

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Written by Mary Smith.

Mary Smith, PT is currently practicing as a Physical Therapist in our Baldwinsville office. She specializes in (and enjoys) treating injured runners to get them back to their craft, or simply reaching their best.

Topics: tips, running, stretching, strengthening

Run Smarter to Run BETTER

6/4/15 9:54 AM

What can you do to make yourself a better runner? You have to do more than just run.

 

Running anywhere from 1 to 50 miles (at Onondaga Lake Parkway or Green Lakes?) is good training mentally and physically, but doesn't necessarily make you strong. It does not mean you have the best quads and leg strength. In fact, if that’s all you focus on, you probably actually have very weak legs. (Take a minute to let that soak in...)

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Written by Mary Smith.

Mary Smith, PT is currently practicing as a Physical Therapist in our Baldwinsville office. She specializes in (and enjoys) treating injured runners to get them back to their craft, or simply reaching their best.

Topics: tips, running

Less Low Back Pain is only a Stand up & a Stretch Away

3/17/15 2:05 PM

Do you....

Consider yourself a healthy person? 

Know that even if you get the recommended amount of aerobic exercises (30 minutes per day), by sitting at your desk the majority of the day you can still be considered to lead a sedentary lifestyle? 


Prolonged sitting contributes to shortened or tight muscles....

Sitting for the majority of the day can have a great effect on the health and function of your spine. Have you made the connection that sitting can cause low back pain? 

In the sitting position, your chest is closer to your knees, which only means one thing… all of the muscles in between are shortened or tight. When your muscles are too tight, your body can not move naturally. With prolonged sitting, the muscles at the front of the leg, specifically the hip flexors (illiopsoas group) become very tight. 

If you refer to the image below, you can see that sections of the muscle originates on the lumbar vertebrae and attaches to the top of your femur (the long bone of your thigh).

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Written by Christine Whitney.

Christine Whitney is a licensed physical therapist and contributing author.

Topics: Posture, hip pain, Low back pain

10 Tips for a Better Workstation Setup

3/11/15 10:57 AM
Does your job require you to sit at a desk for the majority of the work day? If so, how is your workspace set up? 


Is it ergonomically correct? 


What does that even mean?!

According to OSHA, ergonomics is defined as “fitting a job to a person.” It is intended to help lessen muscle fatigue, increase productivity and reduce the number of work-related musculoskeletal injuries. Having the proper ergonomic workspace set up is very important, especially when it comes to maintaining good posture and a healthy spine. 


How does your work station measure up?
The next time you are at your desk, use these 10 tips to better your workspace and decrease your chances of injury due to postural faults...


  1. Sit as close as possible to your desk. By sitting closer to your desk, this will allow you to reach your keyboard or answer your phone while maintaining an upright, erect posture. No slouching forward! Your desk should be at the height of your belly button.

  2. Sit with your bottom back against your chair. Do you sit at the edge of your chair? By sitting with your bottom all the way back against the back of your chair, you are providing support to your lower back and you are able to use your arm rests to better your posture.

  3. Ensure you have good lumbar support. Most chairs have some lumbar support, but it may not be enough for everyone. If there is room between the curve of your lower back and your chair consider rolling up a bath towel or purchasing a lumbar roll to support your lower back. You will be surprised how supporting your lower back with force better posture! Not sure where where to get your hands on a lumbar roll? Each of our office locations have them on hand for purchase.

  4. Sit with your Hips and knees bent to 90 degrees. 

  5. Are your feet touching the ground? If your feet are not flat on the ground, use a foot rest (shoe box or telephone book) so that your feet are flat and supported.
  6. Use your arm restsYour elbows should parallel to your shoulders and should be bent to 90 degrees. By resting your elbows on the arm rests you are able to take some pressure off of your shoulders and helps you sit up tall. 

  7. Use your wrist rest only for rest! The wrist rests on your keyboards are great, but only use them when taking a break from typing. Avoid typing with your wrists pulled back (which may be caused when placing your wrists on the rest while typing). Keep your wrists in a neutral position to avoid injuring the tendons and nerves that pass through your wrist to your hand. 

  8. Eyes at the top of the computer screen. ONLY after you have adjusted your chair to fit your body, next, adjust your computer screen. When sitting up tall, your eyes should be parallel to the top of your computer screen. If you are unable to adjust the height of your screen, request a computer monitor lift or use books to increase the height of the screen.

  9. Keep frequently used objects close to your body. The objects that you use the most during the day, like your keyboard should be reached with the elbows bent at 90 degrees. Other frequently used objects, like your phone, stapler or books should be able to be accessed without having to fully straighten your arm. Like my dad always says, “Work smarter, not harder!”

  10. Rest breaks! If you find yourself slouching forward, having aches in your neck, back or shoulders - stand up and stretch! 
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Written by Christine Whitney.

Christine Whitney is a licensed physical therapist and contributing author.

Topics: Posture, Low back pain, healthy habits, tips, proper posture

LOOK UP! 4 QUICK WAYS TO CORRECT YOUR POSTURE

3/10/15 4:52 AM
Right now...as you are reading this, how is your posture? Are your shoulders rounded forward? Is your head forward with your eyes looking down? If so, you may experience neck or shoulder pain in the future (if you are not already). 

We live in a society that is overwhelmed by technology. It is not uncommon that people spend a good amount of their day looking down at their tablet, smartphone or computer screen...



But did you know that contently looking down is affecting your spine, joints and other tissues?


When a patient comes to me with a complaint of neck, shoulder or upper back pain, the first thing I examine is their posture. Poor posture over time can lead to muscular imbalances and unnecessary stress on joints and tissues of the spine and shoulders.  For example...

  • Forward head posture with rounded shoulders yields tight pectorals (muscles of your chest) and upper trapezius and weak or lengthened rhomboids (the muscle that keeps the shoulder blades pulled back) and neck flexor muscles.
  • Forward head posture can lead to the loss of the nature curvature of your cervical or upper spine, causing decreased range of motion, pain and increased risk of damaging the discs and ligaments providing cushion and support to your spine. 
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Written by Christine Whitney.

Christine Whitney is a licensed physical therapist and contributing author.

Topics: Insider

Arthritis of the Shoulder: Top 3 Facts about the Reverse TSA

2/23/15 11:03 AM
While most people associate arthritis with weight bearing joints such as the hips and knees, people often don’t realize the effects of shoulder arthritis. While shoulder arthritis may be less common, it can be just as debilitating. Here are some common signs and symptoms of shoulder arthritis:
  • Pain
  • Limited range of motion
  • Popping in the joint or joint noises with movements
  • Muscle weakness due to pain and disuse of the arm
  • Generalized stiffness

Treatment Options:
  • Physical Therapy
  • Anti-inflammatory Drugs
  • Steroid injections to help reduce pain
  • Surgery

How exactly can Physical Therapy help?
  • Increase range of motion and decrease stiffness
  • Increase muscle strength as the muscles around the shoulder may be weak from disuse due to pain
  • Joint mobilizations to help decrease pain and improve motion
  • The primary goal of physical therapy will be to help decrease your pain and regain function



DID YOU KNOW...

Surgeons are now able to perform what is called a Reverse Total Shoulder Replacement, or Reverse TSA? This procedure is exactly what it sounds like. The anatomy of the shoulder is essentially reversed... Can't picture it? Check out the photo below...

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Written by Jeffrey Romans.

Jeff Romans, PT is a contributing author to our blog and a great resource on Physical Therapy.

Topics: arthritis, shoulder, shoulder pain

Rotator Cuff: Secrets of the Shoulder Stabilizer

2/12/15 11:20 AM

What is Shoulder Impingement?


Your “shoulder” is a very complex joint that is actually comprised of several joints. The primary joint of the “shoulder” is the Glenohumeral joint (where the shaft of the arm meets the socket). Other joints that make up the shoulder complex include the Scapulothoracic Joint (shoulder blade and mid-back) and the Acromioclavicular Joint (this is where the collar bone meets the shoulder blade). These three joints work together to make your arm move. Pain can occur if these three joints do not work together.

One of the most common injuries to the shoulder involves the Rotator Cuff...

The Rotator Cuff is made up of four muscles: Supraspinatus, Infraspinatus, Teres Minor and Subscapularis. These four muscles work together to control the stability of the shoulder during movement, especially overhead, and rotation motions.

The Rotator Cuff injuries can include strains / sprains, tears (mild to severe / complete) and impingement. There are also several other injuries that can occur in the shoulder.

Read More
Written by Mary Smith.

Mary Smith, PT is currently practicing as a Physical Therapist in our Baldwinsville office. She specializes in (and enjoys) treating injured runners to get them back to their craft, or simply reaching their best.

Topics: shoulder, pain between shoulder blades, shoulder pain

What is a Physical Therapist, Anyway?

1/27/15 4:37 PM
A Physical Therapist is defined as a health professional primarily concerned with the remediation of impairments and disabilities and the promotion of mobility, functional ability, quality of life and movement potential through examination, evaluation, diagnosis and physical intervention.

What do they do for their patients?

A Physical Therapist evaluates components of movement including:
  • Strength
  • Range of Motion
  • Flexibility
  • Balance
  • Posture
  • Body Mechanics
  • Coordination
  • Endurance 
  • General Mobility


After evaluation, a Physical Therapist will develop a treatment program unique to each individual patient to help decrease deficits and restore function. The Physical Therapists of Onondaga Physical Therapy in Syracuse, Baldwinsville, Cicero AND Liverpool all complete these assessments during an hour long, one-on-one evaluation.


What are the education requirements to be a Physical Therapist?


Physical Therapists are highly trained medical professionals, currently graduating with Doctoral Degrees in Physical Therapy. This degree requires an average of 6-7 years of higher level education. You will often see this abbreviated as DPT or as PT, DPT within post-nominals. 

...Education does not stop there...

Physical Therapists in New York are required to complete 36 hours of Continuing Education (or CEU's) every 3 years to maintain their license to practice. This requirement for hours can be completed through online courses, live seminars, or participation in local or national conferences. You will often see and hear of our therapists working together in what we call "Journal Club." This is Onondaga Physical Therapy's quarterly "pow wow" of therapists in which new techniques, learning and latest research are shared, discussed and practiced between therapists. 

This "Journal Club" came to be because our therapists wanted to share what they learn from these courses with and learn from each other in a meeting of the minds in order to be able to provide top-notch care to their patients. 


How does one get started with Physical Therapy?


By Prescription....The most common way to begin Physical Therapy is to see your doctor - either primary care or any specialist - and obtain a prescription for Physical Therapy. Nurse Practitioners, Physicians Assistants, Podiatrist, and Chiropractors can all refer a patient to PT.

Direct Access... The State of New York allows for Direct Access to Physical Therapy. This means that you are allowed to be seen by a physical therapist for 10 visits or 30 days (whichever comes first) without having to first obtain a prescription from your doctor. Many insurance plans allow coverage for Physical Therapy using Direct Access - more and more are adding this coverage everyday. You can find out by asking if Direct Access is allowed on your plan, or by contacting one of our offices. One of our Office Coordinators will be happy to let you know whether Direct Access is available under your insurance plan. (Worker's Compensation and No Fault cases are exceptions to this rule, as well as Medicare) 


Free Injury Screening...This is a 15 minute meeting with one of our therapists, used to discuss your concerns and decide if PT is the way to go. This is a great option if you are unsure if Physical Therapy is right for you.  If necessary, we can also discuss with and forward these findings to your physician in order to obtain a prescription or come up with a plan together to get you on the road to recovery. After determining Physical Therapy is for you with a Free Injury Screening, it is also possible to get started with treatment right away using Direct Access.  Read More

Information provided by the entire staff of Onondaga Physical Therapy. Have a question? Contact us and pick our brains!

Topics: physical therapist, physical therapy

Frozen Shoulder: Not Related to the Windchill

1/20/15 4:43 PM
What is a Frozen Shoulder?

  • Otherwise known as "Adhesive Capsulitis," is a condition in which your shoulder will feel stiff and painful, especially when moving it.
  • Signs and symptoms often start gradually over time, then worsening before getting better.
  • The bones, ligaments and tendons that make up your shoulder are covered by a fibrous type material. A Frozen Shoulder occurs when this material gets thick and tightens around the shoulder - preventing normal type movements.


How does it happen?

The exact cause of Adhesive Capsulitis is unknown, but certain factors can increase your risk of developing a Frozen Shoulder:
  • Age and Sex.   People over 40, especially women are more likely to experience symptoms.
  • Non-use.    After prolonged immobility, such as after a shoulder surgery or injury.
  • Systemic diseases.  Such as with diabetes, thyroid issues and heart disease.


So what are the symptoms?

The main symptoms are pain, stiffness, and loss of range of motion. These develop slowly and in three stages. Each of these below stages can last a number of months...
  • Painful Stage.    During this stage, pain occurs with any movement of your shoulder and your shoulder's range of motion starts to become limited.
  • Frozen Stage.    Pain may begin to diminish during this stage; however, your shoulder becomes stiffer, and your range of motion decreases significantly.
  • Thawing Stage.    During this stage, the range of motion in your shoulder begins to improve.


What are the possible treatment options?

  • Over the counter anti-inflammatory medication
  • Steroid injections
  • Surgery
  • Physical Therapy.  A physical therapist will instruct you on a course of treatment that will help maintain as much mobility in your shoulder as possible through stretching exercises. A therapist can also help to control pain and gain as much shoulder strength and range of motion as possible.
Read More

Topics: shoulder, pain between shoulder blades, shoulder pain

Straight From a Seasoned Dancer: Prevent Injury and Cross Train!

12/24/14 4:47 PM
I have been a Highland Dancer for over 20 years and have only experienced three injuries during my career. All of these injuries were over use injuries - achilles tendonitis, stress fracture in my foot and a calf strain. No matter what type of dancing you may do, it is important to take care of your body.

What is an over use injury?
  • They are injuries that occur over time.
  • They are a result of repetitive micro-trauma to tendon, bones, ligaments and joints (ouch!)
  • They can happen when you first begin a sport or activity - or even when you do too much, too soon.
  • They can also result from improper technique.
  • With exercise or activity, muscles & tendons get stronger. This happens through the breakdown and build up of tissue. If too much breakdown is happening in comparison to the amount of rebuilding, these type of injuries can occur.


Dancers can prevent this from happening....

There are usually a few times throughout the year that a dancer may take a week or two off for various reasons - vacation, holiday, illness, etc. It is important to remember to ease back into classes or practice when you return. You can even try some strengthening exercises during your holiday when you are not dancing!


These strengthening exercises should use the same muscles you need in dancing, but work them in a different way. When you complete strengthening exercises it helps to keep you in shape and even strengthens your muscles for when you return to class or practice.  This concept is known as cross training...

What is Cross Training and Why is it Important for Dancers?
  • Cross Training is an exercise routine that uses several different activities, which varies your exercise routine
  • Cross Training uses the same muscles in different ways. This helps to strengthen those muscles even more.
  • Cross Training helps to reduce injuries while also maintaining and increasing strength and performance in the activity of choice.


As a dancer it is importance to work on endurance, leg/core/shoulder/upper back strength and flexibility outside of your dance classes and practices...

So instead of dancing 4-6 times a week, try to take a day or two off from dancing and try some cross training! You can work on strengthening, flexibility and endurance during cross training.

Read More
Written by Laura Donlan.

Laura Donlan, PT is contributing author to our blog. She has been a Highland Dancer for over 20 years and specializes in treating dancers - getting them back to their sport!

Topics: pain, exercises, stretching

Exercising with Arthritis: Do it Right

12/5/14 4:54 PM
Arthritis doesn’t have to debilitate or destroy your lifestyle.  Many people with arthritis are able to enjoy the quality of life they desire, escape surgical procedures, and decrease their pain by improving their overall fitness level through exercise.  

When arthritis attempts to slow you down, exercise will help to keep you moving.


Benefits of exercise for arthritic patients include:

  • Helps to decrease swelling

  • Exercise promotes weight loss

  • Increases in energy and drive

  • Reductions in Pain and stiffness

  • Increases in strength, flexibility, and stamina

  • Improved mental attitude and outlook

  • Better sleep

Exercise routines for arthritis should be well balanced including strengthening, flexibility training, and aerobic conditioning.  


Strengthening Exercises:  

Weight training is an example of strengthening exercises that will help build muscle to protect your joints.  By alleviating the pressure on the joints and increasing bone strength, patients may have less pain and experience less effects of the disease.  

Strength training should be done 3-5 days a week, with rest days in between.



Flexibility:

Read More
Written by Jeffrey Romans.

Jeff Romans, PT is a contributing author to our blog and a great resource on Physical Therapy.

Topics: arthritis, pain, exercises

Holiday Shopping: Score the Deals, Not the injuries.

11/24/14 5:12 PM

HDTV’s, laptops, clothes…the amazing deals of Black Friday are upon us, and with all of this comes some potential pain too! While you are busy shopping and taking advantage of all the great deals, we often forget about ourselves and what we are doing to our bodies. Here are some quick tips to help you come out of Black Friday with only financial pain…

Remember it is a marathon, not a sprint! Black Friday is a daylong event and you need to pace yourself. This means you will want to sit and take rests as needed, especially those of you with arthritis in the back who may have increased pain with walking and standing. 

Read More
Written by Jeffrey Romans.

Jeff Romans, PT is a contributing author to our blog and a great resource on Physical Therapy.

Topics: Low back pain, arthritis, back pain, exercises

Nutrition & Hydration for Running: Ready, Set...GO!

3/25/14 4:08 PM
By this point in the month, if you have been keeping up with these running tips you are on your way to proper running training...you have the right shoes, you know how to breathe better and you have stretched & strengthened your body. Now it's time to fuel up.

Treat your body right when you are training and give back what you take from yourself. Proper nutrition and hydration are a HUGE component of running a race at your peak performance.

Nutrition:

  • If you are going to run a long distance (generally greater than 40 minutes) you should bring some sort of fuel with you, such as one of those goo gel packs.
  • Re-fueling should occur every 30-40 minutes along with hydration every mile. Of course, in weather conditions of extreme heat and humidity you should do this more frequently.
  • While you train, eating one hour before a run is ideal. This allows time for digestion and absorption of the nutrients for use during the run. This should include complex carbohydrates, glucose and protein. (It almost goes without saying, but also should include lots of good old fashioned H20!)

Not sure what to eat? Pro-tip: Here's a list of good foods to eat while training...
  • Complex carbohydrates: whole grain bread & pastas, quinoa, starchy vegetables, legumes and potatoes.
  • Protein: Lean meats, legumes, low-fat milks, yogurt, low-fat cheeses.
  • Vitamins & Minerals: Fruits, Vegetables (greens and reds are best), electrolyte beverages

Hydration: 

  • Making up about 70% of your body, water is your best friend. When you exert and sweat while you run (which we all do!), it is critical to rehydrate and restore your supply. Sweat is more than just water leaving your body though. You are also losing and depleting your electrolyte supplies (sodium, potassium, etc). These elements are critical to organ function and to your body's movement capabilities.
  • Ever get that feeling of side "stitches"? That is your body's way of telling you it needs help and is dehydrated. 
  • During your workday, ditch the sugary drinks and sodas. Sip on plenty of water  throughout the day. Electrolyte drinks (sports drinks like Gatorade and Powerade) are great to drink before and after a run to load up and replenish your electrolyte balance.
  • When preparing for a race, start hydrating one week prior to the race - don't wait until the day before. Start consuming electrolyte or sports drink the day before the race to build up an ample supply to start the race with.


Feeling healthier and more energized already? We are too. Ready, set, go! Read More
Written by Mary Smith.

Mary Smith, PT is currently practicing as a Physical Therapist in our Baldwinsville office. She specializes in (and enjoys) treating injured runners to get them back to their craft, or simply reaching their best.

Topics: healthy habits, tips, stretches, sport specific, running

Every Runner Needs Both: Stretching AND Strengthening

3/18/14 4:12 PM
The title for this week says it all -  every runner needs both stretching and strengthening. No one wants to hear it, but deep down we all know it's true.

Let's dig into Stretching...

No matter the length or intensity of a run, stretching is a very critical piece of preparing for and cooling down from that run. 

  • Warm up stretching should be minimal and non-aggressive prior to running. Follow the run up with some more extensive and aggressive stretching.
  • Major muscles and muscle groups should be stretching at both times. These include: quadriceps, hamstrings, calves, hip rotators, shoulders and upper/lower back.
  • Each of these groups are important and involved in running. Keep them happy and they will keep you running happily.


What about Strengthening?

Most runners have an urge to satisfy and want to get out there and just RUN, right? However to be a really good runner, you should supplement your running routine with a strengthening regimen to improve your performance and reduce risk of injury. 

  • Forward movement in running is partially generated by bending at the hip to bring your leg forward (pro tip: this is called hip flexion). This movement is accelerated by your gluts/buttocks contracting to extend your leg behind you (another pro tip: this is called hip extension). 
  • These motions also require stability to land on your foot properly with each stride - which is supplied by the total package that is your hip musculature. Good strength and control in your hips (and many other areas of your body) is one of the key components to good, strong running.



Check out the video below for some simple stretching/strengthening exercises you can do at home to get started. These are all compound exercises to improve (primarily) hip and knee strength.

Read More
Written by Mary Smith.

Mary Smith, PT is currently practicing as a Physical Therapist in our Baldwinsville office. She specializes in (and enjoys) treating injured runners to get them back to their craft, or simply reaching their best.

Topics: running, exercises

Breathing Techniques: Maximize your Performance, Decrease Risk of Injuries

3/13/14 4:29 PM
Breathing. You do it every single day, all day long. But did you know that proper breathing makes a world of difference in your running performance? It seems so simple: inhale, exhale and then repeat. But what most people don’t know or even think about is the timing of it all. Aligning your stride and your breathing can significantly reduce your risk of injury and allow your body to perform at YOUR maximum peak level.

Budd Coates, author of "Running on Air," is an inspiring runner, instructor and coach of competitive and non-competitive runners; Olympic hopefuls and everyday recreational runners. In his book, he describes the sequencing of the inhale/exhale and foot strike to avoid injury and improve performance. Simply put, alternate which foot hits the ground with each exhale.

Let's break it down...

When you inhale, your lungs expand and your diaphragm contracts... 
When you exhale, your lungs retract and the diaphragm relaxes... 
As the diaphragm relaxes, so does the entire core...
The core is at its weakest point when it's relaxed...
Your foot hitting the ground is the point of highest impact to the body...

Sequencing your foot hitting the ground with the time of exhale will put the point of greatest impact right when your body is at its weakest point...the perfect storm!


If you tend to inhale/exhale in a pattern similar to your left foot/right foot strike, you are always landing on the same foot with every stride you take. This creates a lot of impact on one side, and none on the other side - putting you at higher risk for injury. Budd Coates touches a lot on breathing techniques. One technique in particular, he likes to call the "Rythmic Breathing Effort" (RBE), which utilizes a 5 count, or a 3:2 ratio.

5 - number of steps in the sequence. Inhale for 3 steps (left--right--left) and then exhale for 2 steps (right--left). Because of the uneven number of steps in the pattern, your first step on the exhale cycle will alternate. This will distribute the impact evenly from left to right and minimize the likelihood that one side is experiencing all of the stress.

You can try it by marching your feet while reading, or better yet...try it out on your next run and report back! Read More
Written by Mary Smith.

Mary Smith, PT is currently practicing as a Physical Therapist in our Baldwinsville office. She specializes in (and enjoys) treating injured runners to get them back to their craft, or simply reaching their best.

Topics: tips for children, running, exercises

Foot Type: Where the Foot Meets the Ground

3/5/14 4:35 PM
At one time or another, most of us have considered taking up running. Some of us have have tried, some have kept it as an annual New Year's resolution, and some of us have become addicted to the sport altogether. With the good weather around the corner (finger's crossed!), most runners in Central New York are itching to break out from under the snow and ice to get some miles in. 

Before you tackle that training schedule and hit the road or trail this spring, check your shoes first!

Do...

    • DO go shopping for and purchase shoes at the time of day you would normally run. Swelling in feet and lower legs can occur throughout the day and can affect the fit of the shoe. Shopping at the time you would normally run will help you get the best fit.
    • DO test out the shoes at the store. The right store will let you do this and offer their tips!
    • DO purchase shoes at a store with a sales rep trained to fit you correctly. We recommend Fleet Feet Sports of Syracuse for a great fit and customer experience. (They have two locations now. Dewitt for the East of Syracuse area and North of Syracuse for the Clay and Liverpool area)
    • DO pay attention to any discomfort in your shoes. If your shoes hurt to weight bear or run/walk in, they might not be the right shoe for you.


Do Not...

  • DO NOT out run a pair of shoes. Shoes should be traded out every 300 to 500 miles to ensure continuous, adequate support. Take a look at your old shoes. Are the wear patterns even from the left to right side? For the most part, shoes should display the same wear and tear on the sides and bottom.
  • DO NOT try to be a trendsetter. We know those flashy new colors look pretty sharp on a new pair of shoes, but do not purchase a pair of shoes based upon looks, style or color. (Believe it not, they won't make you run faster like your inner child wants to think!) Fit and appropriate support are the most important selling points!
  • DO NOT assume what size is best for you. Always try shoes on and if available, have a proper fitting performed.



*Pro Tip:

It helps to know what type of foot you have. Take a look at the types below. On the middle you will see a foot with a normal arch, meaning a typical foot that has a sufficient arch. 

On the top, a high arch, which means just that. A high arch requires adequate support in the right places. It is quite common for those with a high arch to land on the outside of their foot when running which can lead to various issues. The proper support will minimize that asymmetrical foot strike.

And on the bottom, a low arch. It is also possible to have no arch at all (or a flat foot). A low arch or flat foot also requires adequate support. As this foot hits the grounds, it lands flat which leads to over-stretching of the plantar fascia (in the bottom of the foot). This over-stretching can lead to...you guessed it, plantar fasciitis. Sometimes an over-the-counter shoe insert can be a simple solution. 

Read More
Written by Mary Smith.

Mary Smith, PT is currently practicing as a Physical Therapist in our Baldwinsville office. She specializes in (and enjoys) treating injured runners to get them back to their craft, or simply reaching their best.

Topics: tips, shoe fitting, running, foot type

Lumbar Strain: The Need-To-Know's

2/27/14 3:44 PM
Most often referring to a group of muscles called the lumbar paraspinals, lumbar strain is a condition in which these muscles in the low back stretch too far or actually tear from too much stress. These muscles run vertically along the spinal column and suppport the spine, as well as the weight of the upper body.

What causes Lumbar Strain?


  • Poor conditioning
  • Improper lifting/Bending techniques
  • Obesity
  • Smoking
  • Improperly warmed up muscles


Symptoms of Lumbar Strain...

  • Pain around the low back and upper buttocks. This pain is most often aggravated with activity, and alleviated with rest.
  • Low back muscles spasms.
  • If you notice loss of control of bowels or bladder, progressive lower extremity weakness or severe, constant pain - you should contact your physician immediately. These are all signs of a worsening injury to the spine.


The good news, Lumbar Strain can be treated...

  • Physical Therapy.   PT's will instruct you in properly conditioning exercises to recover from the current episode, and prevent another from happening again. Your PT will likely instruct you with some specific stretching and strengthening techniques for the low back, hips and abdomen.
  • Relative Rest.   As lumbar strain is often caused by too much stress to the lumbar paraspinals, your physician and PT will likely prescribe rest or taking it easy, as well as medications. Anti-inflammatory medications and muscle relaxants are the usual go-to's in cases like these.

 

Read More

Topics: Low back pain, back pain, strains

What is Spine Control?

2/12/14 3:59 PM
Sit up straight...

Don't slouch...

Sound familiar? We have all probably heard this a time-or-two in our lives. Really, your mother (or your Physical Therapist coworkers!) had your best interest in mind. So why is posture is so important? Proper posture keeps bones and joints in correct alignment, helps decrease the abnormal wearing of joint surfaces (to prevent arthritis), prevents the spine from becoming fixed in abnormal positions, prevents strain or overuse problems, and contributes to good appearance. 

Spine Control is the concept of maintaining "Neutral Spine Posture" throughout all activities of daily living. In other words, posture is the position in which you hold your body upright against gravity while sitting, standing or laying down.

Tips for Maintaining a Neutral Spine

While Sitting...

  • Keep your back straight, and shoulders back. A lumbar roll behind the small of your back may help to maintain this posture. Don't have a lumbar roll? Contact one of our offices to purchase one, or try rolling up a small towel from home.
  • Avoid crossing your legs or sitting with one leg underneath you. This helps to distribute your body weight evenly over both of your hips.
  • Change positions. Avoiding sitting in one position longer than 30 minutes.


While Standing...

  • Align your ears over your shoulders. Tuck your chin and keep eyes forward.
  • Lift your chest bone and pull your shoulders back.
  • Maintain the natural curve of your low back. Tighten those abs to do so.
  • Keep your knees soft and distribute your body weight over the center of each foot.
  • Standing for long periods of time? Try shifting your weight from side-to-side. Putting one foot up on a stool, leaning o
Read More

Topics: Posture, healthy habits, proper posture

Top 8 Interesting Facts about Low Back pain

2/5/14 4:05 PM
The back is a complex structure made up of bones, joints, ligaments and muscles - this means that there are various ways for one to injure the back and therefore various reasons that you might be experiencing low back pain. You can strain a muscle, sprain a ligament, rupture or irritate a joint to name a few. Certain conditions can also cause back pain, such as stenosis, arthritis and spinal curvatures.

Did you know....
  • 31 million Americans are experiencing low back pain at any given time.
  • 50% of working Americans admit to having symptoms of back pain each year.
  • Low back pain affects 80% of people in their lifetime. Men reports symptoms up to 10 years earlier than women.
  • Back pain is one of the leading causes for missed work
  • Back pain is the second leading cause for MD visits each year behind only upper-respiratory infections.
  • Americans spend $50 billion yearly on issues relate to back pain.
  • Most causes of back pain are mechanical - meaning pain is not caused by arthritis, infection, fracture or cancer.
  • Individuals lifting with a twisting motion are six times more likely to experience an acute disc injury than an individual who lifts properly. (Yikes!)


While it may sound like the odds are against you, you can try to prevent any type of back injury and experiencing low back pain. Keeping your entire body healthy can help! 
  • Avoid prolonged bed rest and remain physically active under the guidance of a therapist, if needed. 
  • Be sure to warm muscles up for physical activity - stretch before & after the activity!
  • Maintain proper posture. Avoid slouched sitting throughout the day.
  • Practice safe lifting techniques. Lift with your legs, keeping objects close to your body. Avoid twisting motions while lifting.
  • Maintain a healthy weight and diet. As a general rule, we each should get 30 mins of moderate physical activity on most days of the week, combined with a healthy diet. The Department of Health & Human Services recommends balancing calorie intake with physical activity to manage weight, consuming more fruits, vegetables & whole grains. They also recommend consuming fewer foods with salts(sodium), saturated & trans fats, added sugar and refined grains. Review the Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2010 or browse for further information by visiting their website with the link provided.


For more information regarding prevention of low back injuries, proper lifting techniques and recommended exercises for the low back, we think you might also be interested in...

Read More

Topics: Low back pain, healthy habits, pain

Pregnancy & Back Pain: Is there any Relief?

1/15/14 3:07 PM
50-70% of all pregnant women experience some type of back pain during their pregnancies. Back pain, lumbar and pelvic pain are all common complaints. An expectant mother's body is going through hormonal and postural changes, as well as a shift in the center of gravity - all of which contribute to these complaints. Anticipation and making room in homes, in life and in finances for that bundle of joy can be stressful. These increased levels of stress can also contribute to the aches & pains experienced.

Pregnancy-related back pain should also be taken seriously by mother-to-be and physician as there is potential for endangering mother and fetus if not handled appropriately. Luckily, low back pain usually resolves postpartum, but in the meantime there are some simple things to try to get some relief and enjoy the rest of the pregnancy. 

Reducing Pregnancy-Related Back Pain on your own...

  • Avoid sleeping on your back. Add in a pillow between your legs, and shift to sleeping on your left side. This will help alleviate low back symptoms and ensure the baby and the placenta is receiving the most blood flow.
  • Elevate your feet whenever possible. Getting plenty of rest and elevating your feet will help to reduce swelling and low back symptoms. 
  • Shoes, shoes, shoes. Choosing footwear with adequate support can work wonders for reducing low back pain. Avoid high heels during pregnancy as they exaggerate postural changes that are contributing to your back pain.
  • Wear a support brace. There are various types of abdominal support braces available for expectant mothers. These are sometimes called Sacro-Iliac Joint Belts or a prenatal cradle. A Physical Therapist can help you choose one appropriate for your symptoms, and issue one to you as well.

How Can a Physical Therapist Help?

  • A Physical Therapist can instruct an expectant mother on ways to relieve pressure from the low back.
  • While each stage of pregnancy is different, a Physical Therapist can guide you through specific exercises tailored to each stage. They can also help to accommodate pregnancy complications if needed.
  • Pain relief. A PT can help to relieve aches and pains through various manual therapy techniques. Many women also find relief from their pregnancy-related aches and pains with Aquatic Therapy.
  • Strengthening. A PT can instruct you on strengthening exercises to prepare for labor and delivery.

 

 

We think you might also be interested in...

 

Work Smarter, Not Harder to Beat Low Back Pain

 

School Backpacks: Hauling Homework Safely

 

Less Low Back Pain is Only a Stand Up and Stretch Away

 

 

Still wanting some advice? Ask one of our therapists a specific question or request a Free 15 Minute Screening below.

 

Get Help with Low Back Pain


 

Read More

Topics: Low back pain, pain, pregnancy, sciatica

8 Tips for Safe Shoveling

1/8/14 3:34 PM
We know the routine all too well. A foot of snow has moved in, created a winter wonderland and it must be moved before you can even think of getting anywhere on time. Hey, look on the bright side -  The American Heart Association recommends we each get 30 minutes of moderate cardiovascular exercise on most days of the week. Shoveling snow for at least 15 minutes counts as a moderate physical activity and puts you that much closer to a healthier heart.

Unfortunately, an increased number of heart attacks are reported after heavy snowfalls. What's the connection? Shoveling can be a demanding task for the body. Some bodies are just not ready for it!

To be sure you're shoveling safely, keep a few things in mind...

  • Avoid stimulants such as caffeine or nicotine before tackling the job. These can increase your heart rate, causing blood vessels to constrict and placing extra stress on the heart.
  • Drink plenty of water - before and after shoveling! Dehydration is just as important to avoid in the winter as in the summer.
  • Dress in layers. We know that it's tempting to bundle up before going outside, but as you shovel and body temperature rises you might want to remove layers as you go. Synthetic fibers (in a lot of athletic-type clothing) help to wick away perspiration better than natural fibers (such as cotton).
  • Find the right shovel for you. Choosing a shovel with a smaller blade will require lifting less snow at a time and put less strain on your body.
  • Pace yourself. Begin shoveling slowly to avoid a sudden demand on your heart. Take breaks as needed.
  • Protect your back from injury. Lift correctly - stand with your feet about hip width apart and keep the shovel close to your body. Bend from the knees (not the back!) and tighten your stomach muscles as you lift the snow. Avoid twisting movements - if you need to move the snow to one side, reposition your feet to face the direction you need the snow to go.
  • Try to shovel right after the snow lands. Shoveling wet, hard-packed snow is a much harder task than shoveling light, fluffy snow. 
  • Most importantly, listen to your body! If you feel pain, that's a sign to stop. If you are typically inactive or have a history of heart trouble, talk to your doctor before you take on the task.

 

 

We think you might also be interested in...

 

Work Smarter, Not Harder to Beat Low Back Pain

 

10 Tips for a Better Workstation Set Up

 

Arthritis Pain: Are you at Risk?

 

Read More

Topics: Low back pain, healthy habits, tips

Web Searching your Symptoms: 3 Ways to Do it Right

12/27/13 4:54 PM
Between computers, tablets, smartphones, an app for this and app for that - we have a wealth of health information available to us - literally at our fingertips. Why sit, wait and wonder what your diagnosis could be if you could simply search the internet and try to figure it out on your own? It sounds like a no-brainer, right? 

It might be hard to resist, but it’s important to remember that there is A LOT of information available - through many sources. Before you dig into web searching, keep a few things in mind...

  • Use sites or sources you can trust…
If you’re searching for symptoms or health care terms in a search engine, select the links to reputable health care information websites. There are a lot of sites with user-written content, and sites where web users respond to questions posed by others on the web. This does not mean not that these sites are necessarily unreliable, however there is no guarantee that a qualified health care professional has provided the content - or that it has even been reviewed. To be safe, stick to the well-known sites with contributions from professionals. Many health providers themselves are also offering their tips & expertise on the web for all to learn from.

Looking for information on the benefits of aquatic therapy? Experiencing low back pain? Sources you can likely trust are websites and blogs written by physical therapists, orthopedic specialists & other provider groups in your area. 

  • Take it with a grain of salt…
There is a good chance you will be overloaded with information, and maybe a little scared by what you read on the web. Take it with a grain of salt and bear in mind that your health care providers are highly educated, experienced, have many tools at their disposal - and also know your medical history! They will be able to give you the best insights regarding your particular case. Remember, one or two matched symptoms does not necessarily mean you have found your diagnosis!

  • Educate rather than self-diagnose…
Rather than hopping onto the web determined to figure out what might be wrong with you, try to absorb the information and make use of it. Researching your symptoms and body systems can help you be prepared to communicate with & understand your provider as well as what is happening in your body -  and why. You will then be able to discuss possible treatment options and make an informed decision having done some research on your own.

Ever felt that you had not keyed your provider in on all that you had wanted to during your time with them? Communication is key! Think about it ahead of time to make the best of your visit - In your research on the web, think about how symptoms and sensations are described? What key terms are used? Use what you have learned to effectively relay what you are experiencing to your provider. 
Read More
Written by Colleen Schutt.

Colleen is currently pursuing a BS in Health Services Administration.

Topics: healthy habits, physical therapist, tips

10 Most Loved Forms of Exercise for Arthritis

12/19/13 4:50 PM
10. Jogging

9. Dance/Zumba

8. Golf

7. Strength/Resistance Training

6. Yoga

5. Tai Chi

4. Walking

3. Biking

2. Aquatic Exercise or Therapy

1. Physical Therapy





Have an injury, concern or question regarding any of these forms of exercise? Contact one of our offices. A Physical Therapist will be happy to answer any of your questions - or even perform a Free Injury Screen! Read More
Written by Garry Campbell, PT.

Garry is currently practicing as a Physical Therapist in our Cicero Location.

Topics: Low back pain, healthy habits, arthritis, pain

GUEST BLOG: 4 Key Nutrients for Arthritis Prevention & Control

12/9/13 4:41 PM

Substantial research has been done to investigate the link between dietary habits and Arthritis. Learn about these 4 key nutrients, why they're important and how you can be sure you are getting enough of them in your diet.

Read More
Written by Jennifer Guzelak.

Content contributed by Jennifer Guzelak of Champions Fitness Center. Jen is an ISSA Certified Trainer and provides nutritional advice.

Topics: healthy habits, arthritis

VIDEO BLOG: Top 3 Stretches for an Arthritic Low Back

11/23/13 4:35 PM

 

Read More
Written by Garry Campbell.

Garry Campbell, PT is currently practicing as a Physical Therapist in our Cicero office.

Topics: Low back pain, arthritis, pain

8 Ways to Beat Arthritis

11/11/13 4:23 PM

Joint pain can have a variety of symptoms as well as treatments. Most are chronic (long-term) conditions and the goal of treatment is to control pain and minimize further joint damage. 

Combating arthritis most often involves a multi-pronged treatment approach, based upon your specific case. With the right health care provider, such as a Physical Therapist, and the know-how, you can battle the effects of arthritis! 

Read More
Written by Garry Campbell.

Garry Campbell, PT is currently practicing as a Physical Therapist in our Cicero office.

Topics: healthy habits, arthritis, pain

Arthritis Pain: Are you at risk?

11/4/13 4:00 PM

Arthritis is a broad term that encompasses more than 100 diseases that cause pain, stiffness and swelling. These range from inflammation of a joint itself, to involvement of the area around the joint as well.

In other words, it involves the breakdown of cartilage within joints which causes pain, swelling and restricted movements.

Read More
Written by Garry Campbell.

Garry Campbell, PT is currently practicing as a Physical Therapist in our Cicero office.

Topics: arthritis

What is Sciatica, Anyway?

1/31/13 2:41 PM
Sciatica is a condition caused by irritation to the Sciatic Nerve. Sciatica is a symptom rather than a diagnosis - so treatment will vary depending on the underlying cause of the symptom. The main causes of Sciatica are: a Bulging Disc, Spinal Stenosis and Piriformis Syndrome.

The Symptoms...
  • Pain in the buttocks, with or without burning/tingling down the leg.
  • Weakness, numbness or difficult moving the leg or foot.
  • A sharp pain in the low back that may make it difficult to stand or walk.
  • Pain often starts slowly and may worsen after prolonged sitting, standing, at night and when sneezing, laughing or coughing.

What to Expect if you're experiencing Sciatica...
  • Most Sciatic Symptoms result from inflammation and will resolve in two weeks to a few months.
  • Because nerve pain can be difficult to treat, severe cases may cause the pain to be quite severe and persist for a longer period of time.
  • A full recovery is possible if the underlying cause of the Sciatica is correctly identified and treated.

Treatment Options...
  • Apply heat or ice to the area. This can help to control the pain and inflammation. Not sure which one to apply? Check with one of our therapists.
  • Over-the-counter pain relievers or anti-inflammatory medications. These can also help to reduce the pain and inflammation.
  • In chronic or more severe cases, a physician may recommend injections to help to reduce inflammation around the nerve.
  • Physical Therapy. A physical therapist can develop a program of exercises and stretches specific for your symptoms. These can provide immediate relief of pain.

 

 

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Topics: Low back pain, pain, sciatica