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! (815)893-8480
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 Crystal Lake 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 Crystal Lake 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.
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.
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 (815)893-8480 or you can click below to schedule an evaluation.
Physical therapy is about living a happy, healthy life free of pain. Our team works with each patient to provide them with a personalized plan. These plans are put together with a lot of thought and consideration and since every patient is different, no two plans are the same. We want to help you to be healthy for life. This includes the life you have now, the life you want, and the future. No one wants to sit on the sidelines while life passes by.
While we encourage everyone to ask about physical therapy before committing to surgeries or taking strong medications, we also always value your physician's opinion. In August of 2018 the State of Illinois became a Direct Access state for physical therapy services. That means that you no longer have to visit your physician for a referral before coming to physical therapy. You can now visit your physical therapist FIRST.
What’s great about Physical Therapy is that it’s not just for recovery but should also be looked at as a method for pain prevention. It’s never a bad idea to include a Physical Therapist on your team if you’re starting a new workout program, diet, or looking to lose weight.
Physical Therapy Tips
Wear an activity tracker: Okay, this one is not necessary, but it does make a difference to most people when you can see yourself get faster, stronger, and able to endure more. Tracking your workouts allows you to see your progress, pinpoint what might be causing pain/discomfort, and report to your wellness team (doctor and physical therapist). Today’s modern trackers connect with your phone and a website (dependent on model), and will allow you to see your progress over a period of time, allowing you to make adjustments where necessary.
Never let chronic pain be the boss of you: If you’re experiencing any kind of pain, whether before, during, or after your workout, or no workout at all, it is important to determine/understand the root of the problem. This is the perfect time to visit your Physical Therapist and speak with them about your symptoms. A Physical Therapist can help you get pain free and identify ways to prevent relapsing.
Strength training isn’t just for the young: Too often our patients in their 60’s and 70’s don’t see themselves lifting weights (appropriate for their level) and getting stronger. It is a misconception that only the young can build muscle and get stronger. Strength training is a great idea for most ages. As with any diet/exercise change, it is important that you speak to your wellness team prior to doing anything new, because having a good plan in place is the best way to prevent injury.
Do your homework: Your Physical Therapist will create a plan and it will include homework for you to complete to continue your path to a healthy life. It’s important to do that homework. Surprisingly, your therapist will be able to tell if you’ve been doing it or not, so stick to the plan!
Never give up: Physical Therapy has the key word physical in it, so there will be some work involved. Don’t worry; your physical therapist is there to work with you to achieve success. It’s important to stay focused on the end goal and work towards it. Giving up only sets you back and prevents you from achieving that healthy life you deserve.
If you are ready to start a journey toward a healthier YOU then don't hesitate to call us at (815)893-8480 or click below to set up an appointment for an evaluation.
Physical Therapy And Weight Loss
Many people across America struggle with weight, especially in a society where we are constantly bombarded with advertisements for food from fast food, restaurants and food brands at our local super market. It’s easy to fall into bad habits with our nutrition, and if you’re workday is mostly sedentary, weight gain will quickly follow.
Our team works hard daily to help our patients get healthy and weight plays a big role in a person’s overall well being. Our physical therapists can work with you on your journey to lose weight, so be sure to communicate your goals to your PT so you can work on this very important goal together.
Weight Loss Decreases Body Pains
Our bodies are amazing machines that can do so much, but only when we challenge it and keep it in shape. Like anything else, if you neglect it, it can fall into disrepair. In this case, your body will start to react differently depending on how much weight you gain and there might be limitations to what activities you can tolerate.
Some common issues that those overweight might experience include:
The other part of weight loss is an exercise plan. Movement is important. Your body will thank you for it, and you’ll feel better about it too. Our PT’s can work with you to create an individualized exercise plan that will lead to success. Not only will they help you with the plan, they can show you how to properly exercise and how to prevent injury. Many people assume that physical therapy is just for injuries or post-surgery, but this is not true. PT’s are there to help our patients get the most out of life and live pain free.
If you are currently experiencing pain and would like a professional opinion/assessment please contact us at (815)893-8480 or you can click below to set up a personalized evaluation.