You’re in your twelfth week of marathon training, and one morning you wake up to a sharp pain around your knee. You wait a few hours and pop a few ibuprofens, but the pain doesn’t subside. Who should you see? While it’s always a safe bet to consult your doctor, chances are they’ll recommend seeing a physical therapist, too. Physical therapists can help treat injuries and ease joint pain, but they can also help you become fitter and healthier, overall.
Physical therapists are trained to recognize postural distortion patterns and other habits that could predispose you to injury both on and off the field. Doctors of Physical Therapy are movement specialists trained to keep the musculoskeletal system healthy. They are educated to recognize postural habits and biomedical disadvantages of each individual’s unique body.
What Physical Therapists Can Do (That Your Doctor Can’t)
1. Assess your injury risk.The same way you see your primary care doctor for an annual check-up, it is also recommended that you get a full movement screen and postural assessment from a physical therapist. Movement screens can let you know where your weaknesses are, and where it’s most important to focus your efforts. A physical therapist can pick out subtle postural habits that could predispose you to injury depending on your activity. Being aware of these habits, in addition to knowing how to work on them, gives you the tools to stay injury-free all year-long.
2. Find the best type of workout for you. Physical Therapists gather all of your information from prior surgeries, diet, lifestyle, body type, body mechanics and posture to determine what activities would best fit your physique. Everyone has different muscle imbalances, range of motion and alignment issues, but a physical therapist can spot them and make recommendations accordingly. Have tight hip flexors from sitting all day? Cycling — in a similar seated position — might not be the best choice for you. Meanwhile, if you’ve got tight hamstrings from running several times a week, stretching those muscles with yoga could have positive results.
PTs can also prep you for whatever’s in the pipeline. If you’re starting a new type of exercise or trying to increase the intensity of a current exercise routine, a prehab program will help you work through your personal issues. Not everyone may be cut out for running or spinning or even yoga, believe it or not! Targeted prehab before starting a new sport or challenge will help address muscle imbalances to prevent injury. That can include anything from mobility exercises for improved range of motion to mini band work for glut activation and strength.
3. Speed up your recovery.Many physical therapists will recommend massage or compression socks, pants or sleeves to help with recovery, in addition to foam rolling and mobility work. Additionally, physical therapy treatment often utilizes modalities such as ultrasound, infared light and cold laser treatments to help accelerate the healing process by reducing inflammation, improving circulation and reducing pain. Each of these FDA approved technologies are commonly used in an outpatient physical therapy setting.
4. Correct your alignment and postural issues.Feel stiffness in your neck and back, or areas of weakness and fatigue? It might be the result of a postural distortion, which can stem from repetitive movements (think: distance running, or carrying a heavy bag on one shoulder) or from muscle imbalances that send your alignment out of whack.
With a simple assessment, your PT will be able to pinpoint where your specific issues are and how to deal. Someone who incorporates high variation in type and direction of movement will have a different postural presentation than someone who performs the same exercise, such as running. A physical therapist can recommend certain exercises and stretches that help improve your posture and balance.
How to Get Started With A Physical Therapist
If you are ready to take the next step towards health and wellness then please click below on the link to schedule an appointment. As a reminder, you no longer need a prescription or a referral from your physician to see a Physical Therapist in the State of Illinois (as of August 2018). So don't hesitate and give us a call today! (847)582-0050.
2019 is almost here, and it’s the perfect time for assessing the year behind and looking forward to the changes we want to make in the new year to come. Health and fitness are obviously some of the top resolutions people make each year. According to Nielson’s online survey, here are the top 5 New Year’s Resolutions Americans made last year:
Top 5 New Year’s Resolutions
-Stay fit and healthy 37%
-Lose weight 32%
-Enjoy life to the fullest 28%
-Spend less, save more 25%
-Spend more time with family and friends 19%
Your goals are just as important to us here at Huntley Physical Therapy, and tailoring your physical therapy to your personal needs is just one of the ways we help. If any of these resolutions are on your list for the new year, here are some ways you can reach them all.
Stay Fit and Healthy
The best way to stay fit and healthy is to start with a plan. Just like a good chef prepares his menu carefully, listing out all of the ingredients, a healthy lifestyle requires listing the components that will help you the most. If you’ve faced a recent injury, a plan is key to a healthy recovery. At Huntley Physical Therapy we give you the tools to get back to health and doing the things you love most. You can read some of our physical therapy tips to keep you healthy here.
Healthy Physical Therapy Tips
Losing weight is the ever elusive goal for many of us. There are two major changes needed for effective weight loss: changing nutritional habits and an exercise plan. There are numerous diets and exercise routines out there, so it’s really about choosing something that feels comfortable and manageable for you–and sticking to it. Find an accountability partner. And don’t feel like you have to make huge and drastic changes to make a difference, either. Sometimes incremental change is longer lasting. You can read more about the benefits of physical therapy for weight loss here.
Benefits For Weight Loss
Enjoy Life to the Fullest
We all want to make the most of life, but oftentimes we let things get in the way. Sometimes the things we most want to do won’t happen unless you plan them. So get specific with what enjoying life to the fullest actually means for you. Is it finally taking those dancing lessons? Traveling? Or is it planning out that garden in your yard? Regardless of what a full life looks like for you, a strong, healthy body will enable you to do it. If you’re living in chronic pain, it’s going to prevent you from truly enjoying life to the fullest.
Spend Less, Save More
Making a savings plan takes discipline, but incremental planning is just as effective with finances. If you don’t already track and budget your expenses, start there. Give each dollar a job before you spend it. Planning a vacation for the summer? Break down a savings plan to know how much you need to put away each month until then. One big way to save money with healthcare costs is to take preventative measures with your health and fitness–and physical therapy can be one of those measures.
Spend More Time with Friends and Family
There are any number of things that can prevent us from spending more time with loved ones. Sometimes it’s work, long distances, or schedules just not matching up. See what you have on your plate that you can lighten up to make a little more room for friends and family in your life. Spending time and being social can be an integral part of self care. Living in pain is another obstacle that can prevent us from spending the time we want with those who mean the most to us. Find out what’s keeping you from making the time, and make plans to overcome those obstacles where you can.
Whatever your resolutions are for the new year, we’re here to cheer you on and support you. We love nothing more than to see our patients living life as their best selves.
This new year ahead also brings some new exciting changes for physical therapy as an industry! On August 16, 2018 our Governor Bruce Rauner signed new direct access legislature into law. That means that you no longer need a prescription from a physician in the State of Illinois to see a physical therapist. So there is no need to put off your New Year's resolutions! Get started today by contacting our clinic at (847)582-0050 or you can click below to schedule an evaluation.
A typical New Year’s resolution is doomed to fail – that is, if you believe in statistics alone. In fact, research shows that around 80 percent of people who make resolutions on the first of the year have already fallen off the wagon by Valentine’s Day.
That includes two of the most popular resolutions made throughout the U.S. each year: to work out more and to lose weight. Fortunately, statistics don’t control the success or failure of any life change. Medical professionals across the spectrum agree that success comes through methodical goal-setting that helps you ‘see the change.
One way to achieve “resolutionary success” is to mirror the process of goal setting and achievement long held by the disciplines of physical therapy and rehabilitation. Why? Physical therapy is a health profession that’s results-driven based on processes that depend on setting individual goals that are specific, clear and personal to each patient. Even the most earnest and motivated person can fall into the trap of setting goals that are too vague. So in physical therapy, we opt for and practice a method of goal-setting that focuses on being incredibly specific.
The method often advocated by physical therapists, that you too can use, is the SMART method of setting goals.
A simple acronym, SMART advocates for the setting of goals that are specific, measurable, attainable, realistic/relevant, and timed. Here’s how you can break down each step:
Specific: Don’t just throw out a general goal; be sure to include all the important W’s in your goal: who, what, where, when and why. Rather than saying, “I’d like to lose weight” be more specific by stating, “I want to lose 30 pounds by summer so I can go backpacking without experiencing joint pain.”
Measurable: Always set concrete marks that allow you to measure your goal. Include a long-term mark (e.g., lose 30 pounds by summer) as well as benchmarks along the way (e.g., lose 8 pounds by the end of January, 13 pounds by the end of February, etc).
Attainable: Your goal shouldn’t be easy to achieve, but you must have the attitude, ability, skill and financial capacity to achieve it. Starting with a solid foundation, attainability is something that can develop over time.
Realistic/Relevant: Anyone can set a goal, but are you willing and able to work toward this goal? In other words, are there any irrefutable road blocks that can and will hinder your progress? Typically, if you believe it, then it’s more than likely realistic.
Timed: Don’t just set your goal for “whenever.” Set a challenging yet realistic timeline, be it to lose a specific amount of weight by your sibling’s wedding or to be in shape by the spring’s first 5K race. Make your goal tangible.
Along with utilizing the SMART method, we suggest you share your goals, benchmarks, successes and failures with others. Surrounding yourself with a circle of support can help you stay the course and battle through difficult stretches. This circle can include your physical therapist, who can be there to help you conquer physical limitations, such as weakness, injury and pain, that can keep you from reaching success.
Our staff at Huntley Physical Therapy are excited to help you tackle your New Year's resolutions for 2019! We have even more exciting news for you! In August of 2018, the state of Illinois became a direct access state for physical therapy services. That means that you no longer need a physician's referral to see a physical therapist! Feel free to contact us at (847)582-0050 or click below to schedule personalized evaluation.