Why you should be deadlifting

Why you should be deadlifting

Deadlifts - So why are we so terrified of it? Usually it’s something along the lines of “my back is weak/sore/painful” or “that’s how I hurt myself” or “but I might hurt my back”. However none of those are a good reason to avoid it – in fact, those are all reasons you should be doing it! There are many contributing causes to back pain. ...
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Learn to Squat Differently - Part 1

Learn to Squat Differently – Part 1

Squatting enables you to achieve positions for movements needed in everyday life such as getting to the ground to tie our shoes, to crawl under the kitchen table, to pick up a grocery bag, to reach under the couch or even to pick up the couch. Given those examples, there is no one perfect way to perform a squat, but for a specific task there may be an “optimal” strategy to perform a squat involving the least amount of energy expended or the least amount of physical strain/stress on our bodies ...
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Pain: Everything works, but nothing is effective

Pain: Everything works, but nothing is effective

When it comes to the treating a patient in pain, physical therapists often speak highly of their favorite methods and how effective his or her unique techniques are. On the other hand, naysayers will quickly refute those methods, presenting research that shows how that treatment is ineffective. There is simply disagreement on the best practices to improve a patient's pain experience. There are so many different methods that physical therapists have adopted that they state will help with pain reduction, when what should really be emphasized are the principles of how to treat pain. ...
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Weight Lifting for Women with Breast Cancer-Related Lymphedema

Weight Lifting for Women with Breast Cancer-Related Lymphedema

Prior advice to women struggling with breast cancer-related lymphedema involved minimizing stress to the affected arm, which may lead to physical activity avoidance. However, more recent research is demonstrating that carefully progressed strength training routines do not increase the risk or severity of BCRL. In addition, in breast cancer survivors at risk for lymphedema, modest weight lifting does not increase the risk of developing lymphedema ...
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Sport Readiness

Sport Readiness

What is sport readiness? Sport readiness refers to the body's ability to match the requirements necessary for a particular sport or activity. This has become a popular term in the world of physical therapy and physical preparation, and for good reason. In the past, athletes have relied on experience and general “feeling” in order to grade their training volumes and intensities for the day. ...
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Mindfulness

Mindfulness

The world we live in is constantly pulling our attention to a million different things at what seems like a pace of a million miles per minute. We are bombarded with emails, text messages, social media updates in addition to our numerous work projects, home duties, errands, kids, etc. It can be overwhelming to say the least, not to mention stressful ...
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SMART Goals

SMART Goals

SMART Goals for the New Year By Abby Halpin, DPT ACSM January is a time of setting intentions and resolutions. It’s easy to think of objectives, but often difficult to follow through. Here is a step-by-step guide to writing goals you can plan for and complete. Take a moment to jot down an intention or two for 2017. It is important to use positive language. Rather than writing “stop sitting on the couch all evening”, write “walk the dog after ...
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Language matters when it comes to defining pain

Language matters when it comes to defining pain

Experiencing pain is generally not pleasant. If it were, humans would have a very different relationship with pain. Pain can be productive or counterproductive for us as human beings. For example, experiencing pain can be protective in threatening situations. Or, it can become counter-productive quickly when our nervous system becomes overly sensitive. ...
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DIZZY

DIZZY

Ever found yourself feeling off balance, dizzy, woozy, like the world is spinning? It can be really disorienting. How do we know which way is up? The body has three systems which work together through a network of nerves connecting different parts of the brain to tell us where our body is in space: vision, joint position sense, vestibular system ...
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Words That Hurt and Words That Heal

Words That Hurt and Words That Heal

If one thing has become abundantly clear in the past week, it is that what we say matters. The choices we make in our verbiage are not just reflections of our “political correctness;” they have the power to alter our very perception of reality. As a physical therapist, nowhere is this more evident to me than in the language that surrounds pain and injury ...
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"Overcoming barriers to exercise after baby"

“Overcoming barriers to exercise after baby”

Most days, I wake up to the sound of my daughter calling out for me, usually between 6 and 6:15 am. From that moment, it’s like the “go” switch on me gets flipped on, my feet hit the floor, and I’m off. Like most parents, my whole life is structured around my daughter’s routine. I am busy most of the time because there’s always something that needs to get done or someplace we need to be. So striking a balance between work, play and rest is difficult. ...
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Get PT First!

Get PT First!

Get physical therapy first! #GetPT1st is a movement to promote the utilization of physical therapists as your first stop for dealing with injuries or chronic pain. Research has shown that going to your physical therapist first can save you time and money as well as allow you to get the best care first. #GetPT1st has used the findings from recent research to get the word out with examples like the following ...
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A chronic pain case study.

A former patient recently contacted me letting me know she was being interviewed for a podcast called The Voice of the Patient with Dave Reed, PT, MBA (listen to it here). Christy asked me for assistance recalling the history of her case to prepare for the interview. She also agreed to let me comment on her case on our blog after I heard the podcast. It is a story that has to be shared ...
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Yoga and Physical Therapy

Yoga can have many physiological benefits as long as it's practiced safely, intentionally, and with proper breathing techniques. Physical therapy can also have the similar benefit to help increase ROM (range of motion), strength, and flexibility after injury to improve function. The research combining the two has been limited until more recently ...
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Eat well, perform better

If you want to perform well, you have to eat well. Optimal nutrition can enhance physical activity, athletic performance, and recovery from exercise. Each individual has different dietary needs; therefore, it is important to identify the appropriate quantity, quality, and timing of food and fluids to most effectively support what your body needs to thrive ...
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The Downfalls of Early Sports Specialization

What does it take to be the best? There is plenty of evidence showing that early specialization in an activity can result in higher levels of performance. The most commonly touted figures are that committing to high level of practice for 10 years or practicing mindfully for more than 10,000 hours leads to greater task-specific knowledge, greater interpretation of information and recognition of structured patterns of play, more rapid and appropriate decision making, and more ...
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Keep a training log

Your individual experience matters when it comes to gaining strength, endurance, and overall capacity to exercise. Once you have established goals, the steps towards achievement are not as easy as following through on a pre-determined plan. Having a plan is the right way to start, but you can do better by tracking your training and adapting it as you go ...
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Sleep Part 2: Sleep and Pain

In my last blog about sleep, I reviewed how much you should sleep and why. In that post, we reviewed the critical role sleep plays in the brain’s function and total systemic regulation and what < 7 hours of sleep may lead to long term. This week’s post, and part two on the topic of sleep, will focus specifically on sleep and pain ...
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Inner Core Muscle Training

The transversus abdominis, pelvic floor, deep lumbar multifidi, and diaphragm muscles form our inner core muscles as discussed in my April 2016 blog post. Research shows that the transversus abdominis, pelvic floor, and deep lumbar multifidi muscles co-contract to stabilize our spine before movement of the legs and arms occur. However, their activation is often delayed or absent. In addition, they can have too little or too much activation and they often fail to work together correctly ...
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Finding yourself in a rut?

This week's blog post is a guest post (link) from Colorado PT Craig Depperschmidt, PT, DPT. In his blog, he introduces the concepts of patterned behavior and movement variability. This will strike a cord with anyone struggling to find activity balance and be a well-rounded athlete. Thanks to Craig for allowing us to share ...
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Cancer and Exercise

These days, most people either know of someone or they themselves have been diagnosed with cancer. There have been some previous studies performed that suggested that physical activity could help prevent cancer, but the correlative evidence was rather vague and broad. However, in a recent JAMA journal article(3), they have more conclusive evidence from a large scale study. It turns out that moderate-to-vigorous physical activity can reduce the incidence of at least 13 cancers by 20% ...
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Coloring

Coloring is an activity which dates back to the 1800s, when the psychotherapist Carl Jung prescribed therapeutic coloring for his patients to improve their focus. Coloring has similar effects to meditation in that it allows us to “stay in the moment” in order to promote calmness of mind. Concentrating on coloring in an image also facilitates one’s ability to replace negative thoughts with pleasant ones. Recreational coloring for adults began in the 1970s and is enjoying a resurgence today. ...
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The Importance of Balancing Load and Recovery in Athletes

To train is to stress or overload the body to create a positive adaptation for improved performance. By successfully implementing recovery time into the training schedule, you allow for the positive adaptation to occur after the training session. Athletes often experience short-term muscle soreness or fatigue after an overloading training session ...
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Best Exercise for Knee Osteoarthritis

May is National Arthritis Awareness month. In recognition of this important cause, I have decided to blog about Arthritis, particularly knee osteoarthritis (OA) and…wait for it…EXERCISE! As a physical therapist, I can barely get through the grocery store, cocktail party, sideline viewing of a kids sporting event, etc. without being asked a myriad of questions related to aches and pains ...
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Understanding breathing to become a better runner

Understand breathing and become a better runner. By Erik Bies DPT, MS Does your ability to breathe limit your capacity to run without stopping? If you’re running “aerobically,” this should not happen ...
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Inner Core Muscles

The Inner Core Muscles By Robin Angus PT, MS, Cert. MDT “Inner core strengthening” is a popular term used in all sorts of wellness and fitness settings, including physical therapy clinics. However, if you Google, “inner core muscles,” you will find many different descriptions as to which muscles actually make up the inner core ...
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Sleep Part I: How much should you sleep and why?

Sleep Part I: How much should you sleep and why? By Kendall Wisehart DPT, ATC Whether you’re tired from pushups, striving for a fitness goal or just moving in general sleep is vital to human health and, simply put, necessary for life. It serves critical roles in brain functions including neurobehavioral, cognitive and safety-related performance, memory consolidation, mood regulation, nociception (the nervous system's response to threatening stimuli), and the clearance of brain metabolites. Sleep is also involved in systemic physiology, ...
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Insurance blog post

What you should know about health insurance By Kerry Elliott Lets talk about America’s hardest language to learn.... INSURANCE. The most common complaint I hear from patients is their frustration with their health plan. I firmly believe that the root of the issue is simply a lack of understanding how their insurance works and specific coverage within plans ...
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Urinary Incontinence

Urinary incontinence?  Talk to a physical therapy specialist By Terri Sullivan DPT, OCS There seems to be a social stigma regarding urinary incontinence and even when a patient sees their medical provider, they are reluctant to divulge it is a concern. Many patients may write in their health intake that they have urinary incontinence, but they usually won't speak of it during their initial examination, because they feel like it's not important to their overall function ...
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A pushup by any other name…

A pushup by any other name... By Jill McVey DPT, ATC I’m going to write a phrase and I want you to visualize a matching image. "Girl push up." You thought of a knee-down push up, yes? ...
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What’s your fitness Goal?

What's your Fitness Goal? By Corley McBeth, DPT Far too often people associate being fit with being thin. But saying “I want to lose weight” isn’t a great goal, especially not as it relates to fitness. For starters, it’s not specific enough and there is no set time frame (more on that later). But more than that, it misses the mark because it fails to convey a positive association or action related to strength, vigor, or stamina. “Losing” is an ...
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Community Outreach Update: Highline College Soccer

Community Outreach Update: Highline College Soccer By Abby Halpin, DPT Physical therapists work with people who have been injured to return to their goals. But PTs know that the ideal person to work with is one who is not yet injured. By the time someone is injured, his or her movement system (See "Move" ) has likely needed work for some time. One of the best arenas to prevent potentially problematic movement patterns for large groups of people is in ...
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Move

Move By Carrie Hall PT, MHS For those of you who know me…my family, friends, colleagues, and patients - you know I am pretty much evangelical in my passion for movement. My kids know that whatever ails them, my “go to” solution to nearly every problem is movement and exercise. I even named my company Movement Systems Physical Therapy ...
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Early Concussion Management: How to Head in the Right Direction

The Early Concussion Management: How to Head in the Right Direction By Nate Hadley DPT The 2015-2016 NFL season was a season marked by change, especially in rules affecting player safety. One of the most significant changes made to the game can be seen through the NFL’s evolving management of concussions. No longer written off as “getting your bell rung” or “seeing stars”, professional football teams now employ myriad health care practitioners to recognize, diagnose, and treat concussions. Changes in ...
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The Workaround Effect

The Workaround Effect By Erik Bies DPT, MS To say your mind is your most valuable asset is an understatement. The workaround effect is just another example of how powerful the human brain is. While reading the book How Bad Do You Want It? by Matt Fitzgerald, I was introduced to the term for the first time. I have witnessed examples of the workaround effect for a long time, but giving the phenomenon a descriptive term generates more awareness and ...
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The Thoracic Ring Approach

The Thoracic Ring Approach By Robin Angus PT, MS, Cert. MDT Have you ever wondered why your physical therapist puts her hands high up into your armpits, feeling your ribs while you are still and when you are moving? She may be using assessment and treatment techniques from “The Thoracic Ring Approach,” which was developed by international lecturer and Canadian physiotherapist, LJ Lee PhD, BSc, BSc(PT), FCAMT, MCPA ...
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Mental Hurdles for New Runners

Mental Hurdles for New Runners by Erik Bies, DPT, MS 1) Creating the habit. The first big hurdle is the mental and behavioral aspect of starting something new and sticking to it. Let’s face it, running is an absurd activity. But so is anything that is challenging. Like anything though, the more you practice the activity, the easier it gets. Creating the habit requires mental toughness and a plan. There are no shortcuts, but you can make a new habit ...
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Manual Therapy

MANUAL THERAPY  By Robin Angus, PT, MS, Cert. MDT Manual therapy, also known as orthopedic manual therapy, is a clinical approach used by physical therapists that incorporates skilled hands-on techniques to evaluate and treat spinal and extremity joints, muscles, tendons, and ligaments. During the first visit, a patient’s history is thoroughly reviewed and a comprehensive physical exam is completed. A treatment plan of care is then designed and commenced that incorporates specific techniques to help modulate and reduce pain, decrease ...
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The McKenzie Method Keeps You Pain Free, Saves Money

The McKenzie Method Keeps You Pain Free, Saves Money By Robin Angus PT, MS, Cert. MDT No one likes to be in pain, especially during the beautiful summer days that we are enjoying in Seattle this year. The McKenzie Method® of Mechanical Diagnosis and Therapy® (MDT) is one of the world’s most effective physical therapy approaches to help people with musculoskeletal disorders become pain-free. As an alternative to medical interventions such as MRIs, spinal injections, and in some cases, surgery, ...
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Medical Imaging and Pain

Medical Imaging and Pain By Erik Bies, DPT, MS I recently came across an acronym I’d never seen or heard before; thanks to Twitter believe it or not…VOMIT! Seriously, that was the term. VOMIT or (Victim of Medical Imaging Technology) was first coined in the British Medical Journal in 2003 by Richard Hayward. In his article, he discusses the anxiety that medical imaging can cause patients and their families. A link to the article can be found here. VOMIT (victims ...
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What is the McKenzie Method for Back and Neck Pain

What is the McKenzie Method for Back and Neck Pain By Robin Angus PT, MS, Cert. MDT Have you heard a friend, colleague, or loved one say that she had back or neck problems and worked with a physical therapist who helped her resolve her pain using the McKenzie Method? Did this leave you wondering what the McKenzie Method is about and whether it could help you or a friend with spinal or extremity pain? ...
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PT Spotlight: Robin Angus

PT Spotlight: Robin Angus What inspired you to become a physical therapist? I grew up playing with two athletic brothers in the Southern California sunshine. As a result, I took many trips to our local hospital’s Emergency Department for treatment of cuts and sprains. When I was three years old, I broke the two bones in my lower leg, was hospitalized overnight, and the next morning proudly proclaimed that I wanted to become a “Nurse-doctor Kramer” when I grew up ...
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MSPT Launches the Transformative Running Project

MSPT Launches the Transformative Running Project What is the motivation behind the Transformative Running Project (TRP)? Inspired by the over-generalization of running related training and injury prevention information, Erik endeavors to provide an individualized experience for those looking for answers to their unique training questions. He prefers to coach and provide skilled intervention at the individual level relying upon assessment rather than conventional mythology and cookie cutter training programs ...
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Female Athletes and ACL Injuries: Why the Warm-Up Matters.

Female Athletes and ACL Injuries: Why the Warm-Up Matters The anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) is one of four main ligaments within the knee. It crosses the center of the joint and plays an important role in providing knee stability. Unfortunately, it is also a common injury site in many popular sports, such as soccer, skiing, basketball, and football. An estimated 200,000 ACL injuries occur every year in the United States. Of these injuries, 70% are non-contact in nature and tend ...
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Health Insurance FAQ’s

Health Insurance FAQ's 1. Why do I have to pay a copay? Is this different than co-insurance? Do I pay this to the insurance company or to the provider’s office? A copay is a fix fee you pay when you have an appointment. A coinsurance is a percent of the charges that are submitted to the insurance company. Copays, coinsurance and deductibles are paid to the provider’s office because these are related to the appointments you have with them ...
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Functional Fitness Training

Functional Fitness Training by Corley McBeth, DPT The terms “functional fitness” and “functional strength training” are popular buzzwords in the fitness industry. But what do they mean? The answer is open to wide interpretation. To put it simply, functional training is the idea of building strength that matters for daily life by doing exercises that stem from natural, every day activities like bending, pushing, rotating. For example, squatting mimics getting into and out of a chair, while deadlifting is used ...
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How Hip Flexor Stretching Relates to Running Economy

How Hip Flexor Stretching Relates to Running Economy by Erik Bies, DPT, MS Runners, coaches, and other athletes are always looking for ways to prevent injury and become more efficient and economical while running. In this example, let’s consider our athlete is the weekend warrior with a 40 hour/week desk job or high school student-athlete. This person sits several hours a day, with maybe a 10-minute walking break every hour. Conventional wisdom is that this person will develop a lack ...
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PT Spotlight: Nate Hadley, DPT

PT Spotlight: Nate Hadley, DPT Q:  How did you become a physical therapist? A: I always thought physical therapy was an interesting profession, but it wasn’t until my freshman year of college that I sustained a knee injury while playing football.  Going through the rehabilitation process was a really valuable experience.  I learned a lot about myself and finished the process wanting to help others in the same way that my physical therapist had helped me.  I graduated from of ...
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Hydration

Hydration By Jill McVey DPT, ATC Here in the Pacific Northwest, we are lucky to have easy access to hiking, swimming, paddle boarding, running, and more. As the weather continues to improve, more of us will spend our free time outdoors. Don’t let the usually temperate weather here fool you—heat illness is a very real consequence of exercise in even a slightly warm environment. Prolonged exercise with consistent sweat loss leads to progressive dehydration, which can impair physical performance. Without ...
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The Therapy of Breathing

The Therapy of Breathing By Jill McVey, DPT, ATC As any softball or baseball player can tell you, one does not need to be highly conditioned to play the sport. Highly skilled and strong, yes, but not aerobically conditioned the way a soccer player needs to be. As a former softball player, I assumed I would experience some growing pains when I decided at the age of 30 to try out for the Rat City Rollergirls ...
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