Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Concussions and Neck Exercises

Awareness of long-term health risks of multiple concussions and recent changes to the guidelines on diagnosing and managing head injuries by the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention raises new approaches to dealing and preventing concussions.

Iron Neck Exercises Now on PT-Helper App

Concussion research over the past five years has brought more attention to neck strength as a prevention and rehabilitation strategy. Strong neck muscles can help control the motion of the head and control the brain motion inside the skull.

The Iron Neck is a strength and mobility training device that allows isometric training of the neck, back and core across a full range of motion. It is a rehabilitation tool for treating neck and back injuries in everyone from elite athletes to desk warriors to active aging individuals.

"Working with the neck in a consistent, repeatable way is a challenge," says Iron Neck inventor Mike Jolly. "We solved that problem for athletes and large sports teams and over the past two years and have refined many of the design features based on valuable feedback from rehabilitation professionals."

Innovating for Consistency in Treating the Neck

Iron Neck fits comfortably on the head, just above the ears and grabs hold of the head through it's Air Bladder Inflation System beneath a soft foam. The resistance comes from connecting the free-gliding truck on the outer track of the Iron Neck either to a cable pulley or a resistance band (as seen below). What makes Iron Neck unique as a rehabilitation tool is that you can develop neck strength and core stability through a full range of motion against a controlled linear and rotational resistance.



"Iron Neck has been instrumental in our ability to treat our patients, strengthening the neck in ways that were previously impossible," says Trevor Shaw, a New York based chiropractor. "We can now provide protocols for 3 dimensional cervical stabilization which helps decrease pain and improve cervical lordosis."

Consistency in Research

There are several ongoing research studies that have included Iron Neck to implement neck strengthening consistently. A first-of-its-kind clinical trial by a research team at the University of Mississippi Medical Center aims to evaluate the effectiveness of aggressive physical therapy as “sensorimotor” training.


These research studies and the innovation seen this past year from rehabilitation professionals, are revealing new applications and treatment strategies with the Iron Neck. Simplifying the education and training process is important to ensuring proper form and position.

Learn Iron Neck on PT-Helper App

We have added six foundational Iron Neck exercises to the PT-Helper app. These movements are the building blocks to Iron Neck treatment protocols and provide a consistent, repeatable way to build neck strength and improve mobility and range of motion. We will be adding additional Iron Neck exercises later this month.

You can find all Iron Neck exercises within the Neck Category of PT-Helper's exercise catalog.


  • Iron Neck 360 Spin


  • Iron Neck Look Left Look Right


  • Iron Neck Diagonal


  • Iron Neck Protraction-Retraction

  • Iron Neck Figure Eight

  • Iron Neck Lock Neck Body Turn


About Iron Neck

The Iron Neck is a strength and mobility training device that allows for isometric training of the neck, back and core across a full range of motion.  It first hit the market in 2013 and has since been refined from a bulky strength training tool for college and NFL football teams to a rehabilitation tool for treating neck and back injuries in everyone from elite athletes to desk warriors to active aging individuals.

Visit www.iron-neck.com to learn more about Iron Neck for injury prevention, health and fitness, and rehabilitation. Try Iron Neck for FREE for 30 days.



Thursday, September 13, 2018

Create a New Exercise Within the PT-Helper Mobile App

Why would you want to create a new exercise within the PT-Helper mobile app?

We have discovered that therapist, health and wellness professionals each have their own preferred and unique sets of exercises that they prescribe to their patients and clients. Many times these exercises will be similar to an exercise already within our available list of exercises and you would add the exercise to your Favorites list to represent the exercise that you need to complete. When doing the exercise, you would then follow the instructions of your health professional provided to you to do the exercise as they recommend.

However, if you can’t find an exercise that matches up with your prescribed exercise or you want to make an exercise whose name prompts you to easily recall the exercise, you can easily create a new exercise within the PT-Helper mobile app.

To create a new exercise with the mobile app, first select “Exercises by Category” on the home page and then select “Create An Exercise” at the top of the following page.



This will bring up the Create An Exercise form where you can enter the Exercise Name and Exercise Description. In this example, we will name the new exercise “Dumbbell Fly”.



You can then select “Exercise Category” which will identify where the app will place the newly created exercise should you need to find it in the future. For this example, we have selected “Fitness - Shoulders”.


     
You can then select “Exercise Details” to set the default exercise parameters for the new exercise. Hold Time corresponds to the time required to hold a stretch or the eccentric motion for a dynamic exercise. Recovery Time corresponds to the time between stretches or the concentric motion for a dynamic exercise. Rest Time is the rest period between sets.

 

Once you have entered the details of the new exercise, press “Confirm” on the Create An Exercise page to add the exercise to your local list of available exercises. You still need to add the new exercise to your Favorites list by selecting “Add to Favorites”.


Once the exercise has been added to your Favorites, you can use the camera symbol at the top left to add pictures and videos to the exercise to provide additional information on how to do the exercise correctly.


You now have a new exercise added to your Favorites list to help you complete your home exercises.

Happy exercising!

Tuesday, September 4, 2018

5 Reasons Why Your Back Pain Keeps Coming Back

Guest blog by Dennis Treubig

Over 80% of people will experience back pain at some point in their lives.  And many of those people will have recurring episodes of back pain.  The pain subsides, they think they’re out of the woods and then 6 months later it comes back.  And then it goes away….and then only 3 months later it comes back and now it’s not going away so fast.  And so on and so on.
And the person gets increasingly frustrated each time the pain comes back and now they worry about it happening just about every day.  They can’t enjoy the active lifestyle they once had because either they physically can’t do those things anymore or even if they can, they are afraid it will cause the pain to come back.
So why does the pain go away for a while and then come back?  Here are the 5 reasons I have come across most often in my 10+ years of treating athletes and active people:
1. You Haven’t Actually Done Anything To Fix the Problem
This is by far the most common reason people’s back pain cycles on and off.  When I meet people and tell them that what I do for a living (physical therapist), so many people go on to tell me about their back pain and how it’s annoying, frustrating, etc.  And when I ask them what they have done for it, the typical response is nothing…or just take some pain meds!
How can you expect your pain problem to get better if all you do for it is say a prayer at night and hope it will go away on its own!?
And the more people have talked to me about their back problem (really any problem), I realized that a lot of people choose not to do anything because they simply don’t know which of the many options out there is the best choice for them.  And they’re afraid of making the wrong decision or confused of even where to start.  So instead, they live in this paralyzed (not literally) state of indecision and continued pain that limits their active lifestyle. 
This is why I set up my clinic to offer a few different free options to help people BEFORE they commit to us.  It’s a way for people to learn what they can do for their problem and see what option works best for them.
2. The Treatment(s) You Got Didn't Address the Underlying Issue
For those people who got some form of treatment and the pain still comes back, there's a good chance that the treatment they got (i.e. injections, medications, bad PT, etc.) only took care of the symptoms/pain and didn't address the underlying reason for their problem.
It's like having someone help you bail water out of your sinking ship versus having someone help you plug the hole.  It's the difference between constantly having to worry about it happening again and being able to enjoy the things you love to do without worry.
3.You Didn't Follow Through With Your Treatment Plan and/or "Homework"
There are times when someone is getting a good treatment that is working on the underlying cause, but when they start to feel much better, they decide to stop the treatment plan early...and a few months later they're back in with a "flare-up."  And this "flare-up" may have been avoided had they saw their treatment plan all the way through and not quit just when the pain went away.  Remember, addressing the underlying issue is key!
Other times, people don't do their physical therapy "homework" - the tips and advice given to them to do on their own time.  If you see us 2 x week for an hour each time, that's only 2% of your entire week.  What you do in the other 98% will have a HUGE effect on your outcome.
4. You Progressed Your Activity Level Too Quickly
Another classic reason for someone's back pain to come back.  They start feeling a lot better so they decide that a 10 mile bike ride is ok to do...even though they haven't ridden in a couple months.  Or they're feeling good because they're finally back in the gym...and they decide the "boot camp" class that was going on that day was a good idea.  Or a friend asks them to do a charity 5k with them...it's for charity so it's ok, right!?
You're probably chuckling right now...not because the examples are that funny, but because you know you've been guilty of it.
I understand that when the pain starts to go away, you get excited to do things again, but you have to make sure it all makes sense with regards to your treatment plan - both short and long-term.
5. The Rest of Your Life Isn't Healthy
You don't sleep well.  You're stressed.  You work too much.  You don't eat well.  You're overweight.  You're out of shape.  You get the idea.
All those things play a role in your recovery and can affect your expected outcome - both amount of relief expected and the time it will take to get that relief.  If you can't get those things in control, the odds of a successful outcome go down...it's that simple (and I know that simple doesn't mean easy).

Dr. Dennis Treubig, PT, DPT, SCS, CSCS
Hello, my name is Dennis Treubig.  Since graduating from the University of Delaware (#1 PT school in the country), I have worked relentlessly to hone my skills and knowledge so that I can be the leading sports injury expert in the area.  Over the years, I have become one of the less than 1% of therapists who have attained the title of Board Certified Specialist in Sports Physical Therapy.
I founded Modern Sports Physical Therapy so that there would be a place where athletes and active people could go to quickly recover from their injury and get out of pain so they could get back to doing the things they love to do.

Thursday, August 16, 2018

Physical Therapy Exercises for Frozen Shoulder

Frozen shoulder is used to describe stiffness and pain in the shoulder joint. One of the common causes of frozen shoulder is immobility of the shoulder as a result of other injuries or illness when the connective tissue around the shoulder thickens and tightens around the shoulder joint.

Treatment of frozen shoulder typically involves physical therapy exercises. Steroid injections and arthroscopic surgery is occasionally required to treat the frozen shoulder.

The Harvard Medical School and University of Washington Orthopaedics and Sports Medicine have recommended home exercises for the stiff and frozen shoulder. We’ve added their exercises into a Home Exercise Program (HEP) using the PT-Helper CONNECT platform and presented on the PT-Helper mobile app. These sample exercises can be quickly downloaded into the PT-Helper mobile app using

HEP code: 3AED5619

You can also find these exercises in the Shoulder category in the PT-Helper mobile app to add to your Favorites which allows you to customize each exercise’s repetitions, sets, and hold time.

Reminder: Please consult your physician or physical therapist before engaging in any physical activity and stop if you experience pain or discomfort.

The recommended exercises include:

  • Passive Range of Motion Flexion - Sit alongside a table with your forearm resting on a smooth surface. Use a pillow case or towel under your arm to make sliding easier. Your thumb should be pointing up. Lean your body forward by bowing at the waist to slide your arm passively until you feel a comfortable stretch. Hold. Slowly sit back up dragging your arm along the table to starting position.


  • Towel Stretch for Internal Rotation v2 - Place a towel over your unaffected shoulder. Hold the front end of a towel with your un-involved hand in front of your chest. Reach behind your back with your involved arm and grasp the other end of the towel with your thumb up. Pull the towel forward and down with your un-involved arm pulling your other arm further up behind your back causing a stretch in your shoulder. Hold and return the towel to its starting position. Repeat.


  • Active Assisted Supine Flexion - While lying down on your back, grasp your hand or forearm with your opposite hand. Raise arms up and overhead as far as comfortable to feel a stretch in the affected shoulder. Hold, then return to starting position.


  • Wand External/Internal Rotation - While lying on your back, hold a wand with your involved side palm up and un-involved side palm down, elbows bent. Using your un-involved hand, move the wand away from your body while keeping your elbow of your involved side at your side until you feel s stretch. Hold then pull the staff back across your body with your un-involved hand. Hold then repeat.


  • ROM Pendulum (Circular - Clockwise) - Let arm move in a clockwise circle by rocking your upper body in a circular pattern.


  • Wall Climbs Abduction - Place your involved arm straight out against a wall at your side. Slowly walk up the wall with your fingers as high as you can until you feel a stretch. Your arm should be slightly in front of you (about a 30 degree angle). Try to keep your elbow straight and shoulder depressed. Step in towards the wall as needed. Hold at the top. Slowly walk fingers back down the wall and lower arm to the side.


  • Posterior Capsule Stretch - Cross one arm over your body and grasp at elbow with opposite arm. Gently pull hand towards opposite shoulder. Hold, then gently release. Your therapist may advise you to perform laying on your side, or leaning against a wall. Do not perform this exercise if you feel a sharp pinch in the front of your shoulder. Stretch should be felt in the back of your shoulder.


  • External Rotation 30 degrees - Attach exercise band to stationary point at waist height. Place towel roll under armpit. Hold the exercise bands with forearm across your body, thumb up, elbow bent at 90 degrees. Smoothly rotate your forearm outward across your body. Pause, then return your arm to the starting position.


  • Internal Rotation 30 degrees - Attach exercise band to stationary point at waist height. Place towel roll under armpit. Hold the exercise bands with forearm out perpendicular to your body, thumb up, elbow bent at 90 degrees. Smoothly rotate your forearm in across your body. Pause, then return your arm to the starting position.

  • Reminder: Please consult your physician before engaging in any physical activity and stop if you experience pain or discomfort.


    Start your Free 30-day Trial of the PT-Helper CONNECT tool for physical therapists and other therapy providers, so you too may create and prescribe Home Exercise Programs like the one shown above.





    Tuesday, August 7, 2018

    Core Weakness Is The Root Of All Evil

    Guest blog by Julie McGee

    As a physical therapist, this is my motto. This also applies to runners. In running, the idea is to move quickly to propel the body forward while being upright. If you are running, and you core is weak, while your legs are strong you are going to run into some issues. You are going to hurt yourself.

    Think of a pogo stick, that toy from our childhood. A pogo stick is basically a spring attached to a post that is surrounded by a stable base with handles and footrests. If the base is made of a strong, stable material such as steel, or aluminum, the user can propel themselves upwards, and if skillful enough, hop along. If the base is made of a less stable material such as cardboard, it is going to buckle and fold as the user tries to use it to hop and propel themselves forward.

             

    Now apply the concept of a pogo stick, with a strong spring and post to your body. Even if your legs are strong, if your base is weak, when you try to propel yourself forward, your base (aka, your core) is going to buckle. As a result your body will make a lot of aberrant movements that over time will wear down on your body and result in injury.

    There is evidence that core strength may help to prevent injuries in certain athlete groups (here). There is also research to suggest that a good core strength and stability exercise program can help to prevent lower extremity injury in a more general population (here). Specific to those suffering from patellafemoral pain syndrome, is some evidence that improved core strength may help with knee pain (here).

    Before I get too carried away with exercise, let me speak a little about core strength, core stability, and the difference between the two. Core strength is the strength of the muscles in your trunk and hips. Core stability is the ability of those muscles to work effectively in stabilizing the trunk for one to perform functional movement (think lifting, running, and day to day activities).

    Endurance athletes doing longer workouts, may have difficulty fitting core exercises in to their routine. If you only have 45 minutes, or an hour to workout on a weekday, you may choose to spend that time doing the endurance workout of your choice (for me, it’s typically running, biking, or swimming). However, spending a few of those minutes on your core may pay dividends over the course of time as you may experience fewer injuries, and be able to run a little faster.

    Here are a few favorites:
    • Quadraped progression
    • Front and side plank
    • Front and side plank with a leg lifted

    As a challenge, planks can also be done with an exercise ball:




    Since there is a rotational component to running, exercises that involve rotation, and work the obliques can also be effective:

    Supine rotation: Lie on your back, with your arms out to the side so that you look like the letter, “T.” Lift your legs so that your hips and knees are bent. While keeping your shoulder blades on the ground, let your legs fall over to one side. Remember! Keep your shoulder blades on the ground! Otherwise you are just rolling around. Once you get to your limit, bring your legs back to he middle, and repeat on the other side.





    Plank rotations with the exercise ball: Start off on a plank position where the exercise ball is under your feet. Lift one leg up and behind you. Then bring that leg down, and across your midline – almost as though you were going to tap the ground next to the other side of the ball. Repeat, as many times as you can tolerate. Then switch sides.




    There are many more exercises out there. Classes such as yoga and pilates can also help to improve core strength. So look around you, and maybe grab an exercise ball.

    About Julie McGee, PT, DPT, CEAS

    Julie McGee is a physical therapist with over 10 years of experience. During that time she has worked in acute rehab, worker’s comp, outpatient orthopedics, and home health. Through her work, Julie has found that she is passionate about writing and educating others whether they are patients or clinicians.

    Julie received her B.S in Exercise Science in 2003. She then went on to receive her MSPT and DPT from the University of California, San Francisco/ San Francisco State University Graduate Program in Physical Therapy in 2007 and 2008 respectively.

    Julie has had her writing published in Medium, NewGradPT.com, and CovalentCareers.com. She also writes for, and manages runningfrominjury.com, a blog that focuses on running related injuries and their prevention.

    When she is not writing or treating patients, Julie can be found running, cycling, swimming, doing yoga, and reading a good book.

    --

    Julie has recommended some of her favorite core exercises which we have added into a home exercise program on the PT-Helper CONNECT platform and presented on the PT-Helper mobile app. These sample exercises can be quickly downloaded into the PT-Helper mobile app using

    HEP code: 5FB98480

    You can also find these exercises in the Fitness - Core category in the PT-Helper mobile app to add to your Favorites which allows you to customize each exercise’s repetitions, sets, and hold time.

    Reminder: Please consult your physician before engaging in any physical activity and stop if you experience pain or discomfort.

    Start your Free 30-day Trial of the PT-Helper CONNECT tool for physical therapists and other therapy providers, so you too may create and prescribe Home Exercise Programs like the one shown above.





    Click here to view Fitness - Core exercises currently available within the PT-Helper Exercise Library.




    Tuesday, July 31, 2018

    PT-Helper's July Blog Posts for Physical Therapists

    In-Home Physical Therapy Exercises for Fall Risk and Prevention
    Published On July 17, 2018
    According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, one in every four Americans age 65+ fall each year. Working with your physical therapist can identify strength imbalances and weaknesses to prevent falls and improve independence. PartnerMD Health Coach created a simple exercise plan that can easily be done in your home to improve leg strength. 

    This home exercise plan can be found in the PT-Helper mobile app by using this HEP code: 2974C248
    .
    Reminder: Please consult your physician before engaging in any physical activity and stop if you experience pain or discomfort. 


    Published On July 10, 2018
    PT-Helper provides an easy mechanism for the physical therapist or wellness professional to create their own exercises. This blog will walk through the process of creating a stretch exercise and a dynamic motion exercise.


    How YOU Can Benefit from Physical Therapy
    Published On July 3, 2018
    By guest writer Ben Shatto, PT, DPT, OCS. 
    Physical therapists can help guide you through any array of recovery or rehabilitation: return to work, sport, running, and CrossFit.  Whatever your desired activity may be, a physical therapist can help you get moving and “living” again!  Fundamentally, movement is life!


    Subscribe to the PT-Helper Blog here so you don’t miss these helpful compilations and BONUS, you’ll receive Our Secret Guide, unveiling the secrets your patients are keeping from you.

    Tuesday, July 17, 2018

    In-Home Physical Therapy Exercises for Fall Risk and Prevention

    Physical Therapy is often prescribed for rehabilitation after an injury or surgery. However, physical therapy can also be useful prior to surgery to maintain strength, mobility and flexibility. Another area that physical therapy can be applied is Fall Risk and Prevention.

    Fall Risk and Prevention

    According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, one in every four Americans age 65+ fall each year.

    Working with your physical therapist can identify strength imbalances and weaknesses to prevent falls and improve independence.

    PartnerMD Health Coach created a simple exercise plan that can easily be done in your home to improve leg strength. We’ve added their exercises into a Home Exercise Program (HEP) using the PT-Helper CONNECT platform and presented on the PT-Helper mobile app. These sample exercises can be quickly downloaded into the PT-Helper mobile app using


    HEP code: 2974C248

    You can also find these exercises in the Knee and Hip category in the PT-Helper mobile app to add to your Favorites which allows you to customize each exercise’s repetitions, sets, and hold time.



    Reminder: Please consult your physician or physical therapist before engaging in any physical activity and stop if you experience pain or discomfort.


    The recommended exercises include:

    1. Knee Extension (sitting)

    2. While sitting, raise your leg by straightening your knee fully while contracting your quad. Slowly lower your leg. Weights may be placed around your ankle.

    3. Seated Knee Flexion

    4. Sit on the edge of a chair or bench. Extend one leg to the front so that your foot is further out in front of the remaining bent leg. While pushing your foot down into the ground, drag your extended foot back towards your other foot. Repeat.

    5. Chair Rise

    6. Sit on the edge of a chair with both feet flat on the floor. Stand upright without using your hands. Return back to the seated position using the "nose over toes" posture, leaning forward so that your nose is over your toes while slowly bending your knees.

    7. Hip Abduction with Support

    8. Stand with good posture beside a solid table, bench or kitchen sink. Look straight ahead. Rest your hand on the bench. Keep both thighs tight. Kick out to the side keeping toes straight ahead and both legs straight, then return to starting point. If you loose balance, grasp the table, bench or kitchen sink to regain your balance.

    9. Leg Cross

    10. Stand with good posture beside a solid table, bench or kitchen sink. Look straight ahead. Rest your hand on the bench. Lift one foot off the ground slightly in front of you. Cross your lifted foot across the mid-line of your body so that it is on the outside of the planted foot. Hold. Return to your starting point. Repeat. If you loose balance, grasp the table, bench or kitchen sink to regain your balance.


    Start your Free 30-day Trial of the PT-Helper CONNECT tool for physical therapists and other therapy providers, so you too may create and prescribe Home Exercise Programs like the one shown above.