All posts by Teresa Stockton

Protect Seniors from Winter Injuries

5 Ways to Protect Seniors from Winter Injuries

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Protect Seniors from Winter Injuries

While winter is undoubtedly a time of joy – with the holidays and all the Christmas spirit – it is also a time of harsh weather, dark nights, and worsened moods.
Seniors can often feel winter more strongly than younger people do, as the weather conditions can limit their access to shops, family, and even doctors. It’s typically a time when they’re cooped up at home, afraid of harsh conditions and potential injuries, which doesn’t make for an enjoyable experience.

Here are 5 ways to help you protect the seniors in your life from winter injuries.

Bundle up

As we get older, we tend to lose body heat much more quickly, and we can even be unaware of how cold we actually are. This can lead to colds, pneumonia, or even hypothermia, which, in turn, can also lead to heart problems, kidney problems, or even death.

To prevent this, seniors need to dress in layers and stay as warm as possible. Remind them of the importance of wearing layers and make sure they have plenty of winter gear at the ready.

Stay active

On the other hand, the cold weather and snowfall will often mean seniors are stuck in the home for long periods of time, which will have a detrimental effect on their mood and wellbeing. This makes staying healthy in the wintertime that much more of a challenge.

Moving around is crucial, especially as we get older, as is keeping our moods up and eating healthy food. Try to encourage your seniors to do what they can – exercise at home, focus on the positive aspects of winter and the bad weather, and take it as a time to recharge rather than a limiting factor.

Help them move around as much as you can by taking them out, bringing them healthy foods, and encouraging them to stay active in the house as well.

Stock up on the necessities

Stock up their cabinets with food that can last for longer periods of time (for example, canned and frozen foods) well in advance, so that you won’t have to worry in case bad weather comes along and prevents you from getting to them. Also, make sure they have plenty of drinking water, and that their medicine cabinet is stocked up not only with their prescriptions but also with anything else they might need in an emergency.

Ask their neighbors to include them in their weekly shops for the things you can’t reasonably store, like bread, fresh veggies, and fruits. That way, they won’t have to leave the house and risk falling on the ice.

Talk to them about the weather

If there’s a severe storm coming, expected to affect either them or yourself, talk to them about it and help them understand what they can and can’t reasonably do. If you expect to be cut off from them for a while, help them understand it’s due to the weather, and that there is nothing you can do about it.

Have a communications system set up in case the power or phone lines are cut off. Once again, enlist the neighbors to check in on them, just to make sure they are okay and have everything they need.

Prevent falls and potential hip fractures

Broken hips are a common injury in seniors, and they can lead to serious health complications.

To prevent them, make sure they don’t venture outside before the ice and snow have been cleared up from their preferred paths. If they are going outside, try to encourage them to have an emergency kit with them, with a bottle of water, a whistle, a flashlight, and their most urgent medications. Of course, they should also have a cellphone on them, but in case they are not quite sure how to use it, a whistle can draw the attention of passersby.

You can also install a medical alert system in the home, or have them wear an emergency bracelet that they can use to call for help if a fall does occur.

Final words

Preventing an injury or illness is often better than actually treating it. By using the above ways to help protect the seniors from winter injuries, we hope this winter will be full of fun with as little stress and worry as possible.  If you do find yourself in need of a physical therapy team that can help a loved one recover from injury, please reach out to one of our partnering locations and let us help you get your 2020 back on track.

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exercise tips

Exercise Tips to Get You Moving

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exercise tips

Becoming physically active requires a conscious effort for most adults. Develop an exercise program to fit your individual goals. Be sure to consider ways to increase your activity levels throughout the day. Every little bit helps! If you find it too challenging to fit 30 minutes of activity into your day, break it up into 10 to 15-minute intervals and accumulate your activity throughout the day.

Exercise Tips to Activate your lifestyle.

Challenge yourself to move more! Find ways to become more active in your daily living. For example, you can:

  • Take the stairs instead of the elevator or escalator.
  • Take a 10-minute stretch or walk break at work.
  • Turn on the music and vacuum.
  • Wash your own car – and your neighbor’s too.
  • Do strength-training exercises in front of the TV
  • Park in the furthest parking space and walk.

Make Fitness fun!

The secret to a successful fitness program is enjoyment! Choose physical activities that you enjoy doing. This could mean walking, playing tennis, biking or joining a team sport.

  • Consider trying something different, such as yoga or kickboxing.
  • Coach a youth sports team – your rewards will be many.
  • Enter a race – it will motivate you.
  • Plant a garden and share its beauty and bounty.
  • Make Sunday walks or hikes a weekly tradition.
  • Set up a morning walking or biking club; exercise buddies can help you be honest.

Anticipate the unexpected.

Lousy weather, travel (both business and pleasure) and the ups and downs of daily life can play havoc with your best-laid fitness plan. Always have a backup plan. If it is raining have an indoor activity to do, If you are taking a trip, throw in your walking shoes or a jump rope and fit in exercise when you can.

In addition to being stronger and more fit, aerobic exercise has so many health benefits. If you need help getting started or need some motivation to contact your physical therapist. They can work with you to create an exercise plan that works for you and your ability levels. You are never too old to be more active!

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PT News PTandMe

PT News December 2019

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PT News PTandMe

This time in PT News we recap what our clinics have been posting throughout December 2019. We are excited to begin a new year of new posts featuring published articles from PTandMe partnering clinics!

nutrition strategies

1. Effective Nutrition Strategies

Written by The Center for Physical Rehabilitation with multiple locations throughout greater Grand Rapids, MI.

How do you stay on target with eating healthy and being active? Between work schedules, kid’s schedules, appointments, and change of plans, finding time to exercise and eat right can sometimes feel impossible. Read more

 

crossfit

2. Is Crossfit Right For You?

Written by Riverview Physical Therapy, an outpatient physical therapy practice with multiple locations in Southern Maine. 

CrossFit is no longer a form of exercise performed in small gyms; it is a phenomenon that has taken the world by storm. At its roots, CrossFit is a popular form of exercise utilizing high-intensity fitness programming that incorporates elements from many disciplines: including weightlifting, traditional cardiovascular exercise (running, jumping rope, biking, rowing), and basic gymnastic movements. Read more

 

lymphedema physical therapy

3. Lymphedema Therapy – You Don’t Have to Live with Chronic Swelling

Written by Mishock Physical Therapy & Associates an outpatient physical therapy practice with locations throughout Montgomery, Berks, and Chester Counties in PA.

One cause of chronic swelling could be lymphedema. This is a condition where swelling occurs in the extremities due to a compromised or damaged lymph system. Lymph is the fluid that bathes the cells with needed nutrients, oxygen, and white blood cells provided by the circulatory system.   Read more

Find these locations and others to start feeling better today!

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concussion in youth hockey

How to Handle a Concussion in Youth Hockey

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concussion in youth hockey

Youth hockey is very much a contact sport so it’s no surprise that concussion is a particular problem that arises quite regularly. It’s a real concern though because while concussion can be quite a mild injury, it can also be serious but it’s difficult to detect the severity of it without medical intervention. The problem arises, especially in youth hockey circles when players don’t report their concussion injury specifically for fear they will lose out on the remainder of a game or any future games. Of course, that is incredibly naïve, but you’re dealing with young people who aren’t mature enough to understand the complexities and possible dangers of the injury.

In youth hockey, the players are exuberant and excited about every moment they get on the ice. If they receive a blow to the head, generally their aim is to bounce back as quickly as possible. However, a concussion in youth hockey can be debilitating and crucially, it requires firstly medical attention and then it requires a huge degree of rest in order to help the recovery. The victim also should be monitored at the early stages by a parent. Education is required also by coaches to make players understand how to avoid or prevent concussion through their skills in the game.

The guys at Tucker Hockey have created this comprehensive infographic below that covers everything you need to know about concussion specific to youth hockey, although the elements are transferable to youth players in any sport. It explains some interesting concussion-related statistics; it outlines the symptoms of a concussion; it details how players, coaches, and parents should react to an instance of concussion and it also looks at recovery from the injury plus lots more. Check out the full graphic below!

Concussion in Youth Hockey

 

If a child experiences a concussion and struggles with recovery, physical therapy can help. Physical therapists that have return-to-play programs are able to guide patients through a stepwise protocol. This helps athletes remain symptom-free and to prevent serious conditions associated with a second head injury due to early return to sport.

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manage movement after a hip or knee replacement

How to Manage Movement after a Total Hip or Knee Replacement

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manage movement after a hip or knee replacement

 

After going through total replacement surgery, it can be difficult to move around. Shortly after discharge, but before outpatient physical therapy begins, most patients will be seen by a home health nurse or physical therapist. Their visits with you will focus on making sure the wound heals properly and that you are able to perform essential functions around the home. This can include bathing, getting in and out of bed, and even walking up and down the stairs. In this upcoming series of blog posts, we will be showing you how to safely manage movement after a hip or knee replacement. We would like to begin by preparing your home before you go into surgery. We call it our pre-op prep!

Simple things you can do to make your home safer and more comfortable as you heal from a joint replacement. 

  • Keep a cordless phone near you or carry your cell phone in your pocket.
  • Move furniture to keep a clear wide path to your kitchen, bathroom, and bedroom.
  • Remove throw rugs that may cause you to slip or trip. Tape down any loose edges of large area rugs that cannot be removed. Make sure extension cords are out of traffic areas or tape them down if needed.
  • Wear rubber-soled shoes to prevent slipping.
  • Keep commonly used items in your home at waist level within easy reach. This will prevent you from bending over to reach items. Use a reacher to grab objects and avoid excessive bending at the hip.
  • Make sure there is adequate lighting in the house. Add night lights in hallways, bedrooms, and bathrooms.
  • It may be helpful to have a temporary living space on the same floor if your bedroom/bathroom is located on the second floor of your home. Walking up/downstairs will be more difficult immediately following surgery and could increase your risk of falls.
  • Arrange for someone to collect your mail and take care of pets or loved ones if necessary.
  • Prepare frozen meals in advance to assist you with cooking.
  • Stock up on groceries, toiletries, and any medications you might need.
  • Purchase a shower chair or a tub bench will make bathing much easier. Do not take soak baths until your physician allows you to do so.
  • Install an elevated toilet seat. This will be helpful with toilet transfers and with following post-surgical precautions or guidelines.
  • Purchase assistive devices for dressing such as a reacher, extended shoehorn and/or sock aid may be necessary during your post-operative recovery.

After surgery, your health care provider will show you how to use a walker. Use your walker for as long as directed by your surgeon. This is important since the walker relieves some of the weight off of the leg and can protect it, even when just taking a few short steps.

Steps to take while using your walker on a level surface

  1. Advance the walker
  2. Step up to the walker with your surgical leg
  3. Next, step forward with your nonsurgical leg
  4. Make sure all four legs of the walker are in firm contact with the floor or ground.

using a walker on a level surface

How to use your walker while going upstairs

  • Place your walker sideways with the opening toward you.
  • Firmly grasp the stair rail with one hand and the walker with your other hand.
  • The walker’s legs should be against the stair riser with all four legs in contact with the stairs. (2 legs on the top step, 2 legs on the lower step)
  • Step up with your nonsurgical leg.
  • Follow with your surgical leg to the same step.

how to go upstairs with a walker

How to use your walker while going downstairs

  • Place your walker sideways with the opening toward you.
  • Firmly grasp the stair rail with one hand and the walker with your other hand.
  • The walker’s legs should be against the stair riser with all four legs in contact with the stairs. (2 legs on the top step, 2 legs on the lower step)
  • Step down with your surgical leg. Follow with your nonsurgical leg to the same step.

how to use a walked going downstairs

The tips above will work in most cases, but not all. It is important to follow the advice and restrictions given to you by your health care provider. In our next post about how to safely manage movement after a hip or knee replacement, we will be covering the proper steps for getting in and out of chairs and the bed. We wish you all the best in recovery. If you are looking for an outpatient physical therapy clinic please stop by the Find a PT page.

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PT News PTandMe

PT News November 2019

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PT News PTandMe

This time in PT News we recap what our clinics have been posting throughout November 2019. We are excited to begin a new year of new posts featuring published articles from PTandMe partnering clinics!

low back pain

1. Low Back Pain – A Powerful Guide

Written by Wright Physical Therapy with multiple locations throughout the heart of the Magic Valley, Boise and Eastern Idaho.

Daily, we see patients who are concerned about the course they should take to heal their back pain.  Our aim with these individuals is to utilize a skilled classification system and evidence-based treatments to aid in identification and treatment of Low Back Pain (LBP). Read more

 

Snow Shoveling

2. Prevent Low Back Pain While Shoveling Snow

Written by Rehab Associates of Central Virginia, an outpatient physical therapy practice with multiple locations throughout Central VA. 

As I was shoveling the snow off my driveway this week, I quickly realized that I needed to adjust my technique or I was going to pay for it later. Injury can result from repetitive movements with a general lack of awareness and variability in movement and may be prevented with some easy steps. Read more

 

physical therapy

3. Relieving Your Pain the Natural Way – Physical Therapy as the Safer Relief Alternative

Written by Cornerstone Physical Therapy an outpatient physical therapy practice with locations throughout Greater Columbus, OH.

It is no secret that the United States is a country with very high levels of medication. It is also a common practice for physicians to prescribe heavier pain relievers, such as the opioids that have resulted in a country-wide epidemic. While the effects of these drugs can be frightening, there is a safer solution available: physical therapy.  Read more

Find these locations and others to start feeling better today!

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how to choose the right safety shoes

How To Choose the Right Safety Shoes (Infographic)

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how to choose the right safety shoes

In the market for a new pair of safety shoes? Read this guide to find out everything you need to know about how to choose the right safety shoes for your needs.

Why Wear Safety Shoes?

If you work in a hazardous work environment, then it’s important to protect yourself against injury. In fact, 7% of wounds caused by workplace accidents are foot injuries. Yet, data from the National Safety Council reveals that many workers tend to overlook their feet with only one out of four victims of job-related foot injury wearing any type of safety shoes or boots.

Risks to Feet in the Workplace

There are two main types of foot injury that may occur as a result of a workplace accident:

  1. Slips and falls
  2. Trauma e.g. burns, cuts, punctures and impact

Depending on your workplace, your feet may face a range of different hazards. For example, electricians may be at risk of electric shock or those who work in a foundry may need protection against extreme heat. As such, the type of footwear required will depend on the particular risks associated with your working environment.

Choosing Safety Shoes

Like most shoes, you will need to pay attention to fit, comfort and support. Additionally, you will also want to look at the shoe material and the type of protection offered. Before shopping, always consult your employer for specifications and check if there are any specific safety features that you will need.

Learn More About Safety Shoes

This infographic from Walsh Brothers Shoes looks at the most common foot injuries in the workplace and outlines some of the most common risks to our feet in the workplace. It also goes on to offer advice on how to choose a pair of safety shoes that will give your feet the protection they need at work.

Scroll down to the infographic below to find out more.

how to chose the right safety shoe

 

 

PT News PTandMe

PT News October 2019

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PT News PTandMe

This time in PT News we recap what our clinics have been posting throughout October 2019. We are excited to begin a new year of new posts featuring published articles from PTandMe partnering clinics!

sport specialization

1. Sports Specialization Vs. Sports Diversification in Youth Athletes

Written by The Center for Physical Rehabilitation with multiple locations throughout greater Grand Rapids.

Early specialization in one sport has become a trend in youth athletes across the country. This shift is one that has young athletes training year round to develop a specialized skill be able to play at the highest level of competition. Read more

 

food is fuel

2. Food is Your Fuel

Written by Rebound Physical Therapy, an outpatient physical therapy practice with locations throughout greater Bend, OR. 

Truth: we are not nutritionists. That said, after a bit of trial and error and working with patients and various health professionals, we have picked up on these and common do’s and dont’s. Lindsey Hagen, PT, and healthy running nut discusses the importance of balance in your diet and making sure you do what is best for your body, as they say, “You do you…” Read more

 

walking up stairs

3. Climbing Stairs – One Step at a Time

Written by The Jackson Clinics an outpatient physical therapy practice with locations across Kansas, Missouri, and Iowa

Although going up the stairs may feel challenging, some people experience more pain going down. This is because your muscles have to work hard to control your weight as you descend. If you have suffered from knee problems in the past or continue to have problems, it is probably time to look at increasing strength to make navigating stairs less difficult. Read more

Find these locations and others to start feeling better today!

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help parents with their physical therapy

Helping Your Parents With Their Physical Therapy

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help parents with their physical therapy

As our parents get older, they are faced with all kinds of challenges, mostly pertaining to their health. These challenges include reduced mobility and increased pain in the limbs, joints, and muscles, as well as an increased risk of injury.

Many senior adults are in physical therapy to recover from surgery, a fall or other accident. A significant number of seniors will also choose physical therapy as a way to improve their overall mobility and actually prevent falls from happening. If you have a parent who is undergoing physical therapy, here is how you can help your parents with their physical therapy and make the most of recovery.

Be aware of the benefits

If you have ever suffered an injury that has kept you more or less tied to your house for over a week, you know just how frustrating it can be to have a limited ability to move.

Improved mobility is not the only benefit of physical therapy – there is also pain relief. If your parents suffer from chronic pain, PT can help them manage it, or even significantly improve it.

In elderly patients, especially, this kind of improvement can have a tremendous effect on the quality of life, helping them cope with all aspects of life better. As chronic pain often limits the elderly from getting out and about, they can become isolated, and even sink into depression. PT is a great way to help them find relief and improve their life

This is why physical therapy is so important, and why you need to encourage your parents not only to attend every session but also to adhere to the advice and guidelines the therapist prescribes. Even if this is an inconvenience at times – especially in that case – you need to ‘be the parent’ and keep on encouraging them to stick to the prescribed regime. Do what you can to help your parents manage through their PT sessions until the benefits are clear to everyone.

Help them get there

When it comes to physical therapy, one of the biggest challenges for elderly patients, is actually getting from their home to their appointment.

And while they can certainly perform some, if not all, of the exercises at home, it is important that they are seen by a therapist. Professional help is there to monitor progress, make sure that the exercises are performed correctly, correct the exercise plan when necessary, and prevent any injuries.

To help your parents from missing an appointment here or there, the best thing you can do is set up a plan for them to make it to each session. If you or a family member can’t drive them every time, arrange a taxi or an Uber to help them get there. You can even establish a schedule with a specific driver, so you always know there will be someone to get them there. There are also specialized services for the transportation of elderly patients, so you can check them out as well.

Understand what is covered by insurance, and what isn’t

Insurance can be difficult to understand, and you might need to double-check what your parents’ plan will cover, and what is not included. Make sure to inform yourself on the issue well, as there may be certain aspects of therapy that are not covered by the insurance company.

Once you have all the facts, talk to your parents’ PT and their doctor and come up with the best plan that is either covered by insurance, or which you can pay for yourself. Be honest with them about your means, but make sure your parents are getting what is best for them.

Make sure they are safe at home

If your parents have difficulty moving around, you need to make sure they don’t injure themselves further. This can be tricky, as some elderly patients will be stubborn and try to act as if the injury is simply not there.

Try to fall-proof your parents’ home as much as you can. If they need to adjust their bathtub or shower, or the layout of the furniture, help them do that and get rid of any carpets or clutter that might trip them up.

You should also equip them with a walking cane that will help support them while walking around, especially when they are going out of the house. Also, try to help them understand that all these precautions are there to help them, not make them feel less like themselves.

The most important thing you need to keep in mind is that the more you communicate with your parents about their physical therapy, the better you will be able to help them. Talk to them often, and be there when you can – they will appreciate it, even when they don’t say it outright.

Find a physical therapist that is convenient for your family.

physical therapy near me

 

Choosing the Right Physical Therapist

Choosing the Right Physical Therapist

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Choosing the Right Physical Therapist

Whether it be from radiating pain down your leg from a herniated disc, or a frozen shoulder insidiously appearing, physical therapists provide non-invasive treatments that can give patients their life back when pain and dysfunction dominate their day-to-day happenings. Physical therapists manage a wide variety of ailments,
often quickly transitioning between rehabilitation for a reconstructed knee or shoulder, to eliminated debilitating cervicogenic headaches, to helping your newborn infant right their head when torticollis develops. When it comes to choosing the right physical therapist, most people have no idea what qualifies them to manage such a wide variety of diagnoses so efficiently and effectively.

Physical therapists are often considered to be an insurance-reimbursed personal trainer. So many times, patients enter my clinic asking for a “few stretches” so they can get back on their way. Therapy, however, encompasses more than providing patients with a workout. A physical therapist’s knowledge and education provides them with the foundation to not only treat your immediate diagnosis but to identify secondary diagnoses that may have been missed in your initial physician’s examination and to manage all of the concurrent problems that develop during your recovery. To do this, extensive knowledge and understanding of anatomy and all of the body systems is necessary.

Collegiate Physical Therapy Degrees

Physical therapists now need to attend school for a minimum of 7 years. This includes 4 years of prep work for the highly competitive application to graduate school, which tacks on the addition 3 years, at minimum. While in graduate school, a physical therapy student gains extensive knowledge of every system within the body. In addition to the obvious musculoskeletal system, the cardiovascular, neurological, and pulmonary systems are studied at length. This gives physical therapists the foundation for caring for a wide variety of patients including those with cystic fibrosis, acute heart attacks, spinal cord injuries, and ACL reconstructions. Clinical rotations are also fundamental to a physical therapist’s education. 20 percent of the physical therapist’s education is spent on full-time clinical rotations through most fields of practice. At the completion of graduate school, a physical therapist is awarded their degree, qualifying them to sit for the national physical therapy board examination. Some of the most common degrees that physical therapists have earned are:

PT (Physical Therapist)

A bachelor’s degree in physical therapy. This was the degree offered for years before physical therapists could become be licensed.  Colleges and universities then transitioned the program into a master’s degree, which ultimately turned into a  3-year post-baccalaureate degree.

MPT (Masters of Physical Therapy)

A 2-year post-baccalaureate degree that provides graduates with the entry-level education necessary to be eligible for the board examination. This degree is no longer offered, in favor of all exiting students now receiving the DPT degree.

DPT (Doctor of Physical Therapy)

A 3-year post-baccalaureate degree that provides graduates with the entry-level education necessary to be eligible for the board examination. The added year in school is meant to provide students with more time in clinical rotations, exposure to business and management practices, and further education in research methods. This degree is now the standard for entry-level education and prepares students for direct access to physical therapy.

Additional Certifications

Much like physicians and nurses, school and learning do not stop when the graduation hat is tossed in the air; school is only the beginning of a life-long education process. Continuing education is the cornerstone of a therapist’s career. New research is always being published and medical techniques are always evolving within the broad field of medicine. Staying knowledgeable of these changes is necessary for a therapist to continue to provide their patients with superior care. Continuing education not only provides physical therapists to further their education on the latest and greatest but allows them to develop specializations in specific areas within the field. While every therapist takes a board exam at the end of school to become board-certified, therapists can also receive additional board-certifications when mastery of a subfield
is obtained. A few of the common additional certifications in the outpatient physical therapy field are listed below.

OCS (Orthopedic Certified Specialist)

A board-certified specialization in orthopedics that is earned beyond the entry-level degree which recognizes advanced clinical knowledge, skills, and abilities
in the orthopedics field. Candidates need to log a minimum of 2,000 direct patient care hours in their specialization field of practice and pass a
board examination to earn the distinction.

CSCS (Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist)

Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialists apply scientific knowledge to improve an athlete’s individual training and performance. They may also make recommendations regarding nutrition and injury prevention. This certification is offered by the National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA).

Cert. MDT (Certified in Mechanical Diagnosis and Therapy)

This certifies a physical therapist in providing mechanical diagnosis and therapy of the spine, a method that has been proven to be both effective and efficient in the treatment of spinal pathologies. This certification is offered through the McKenzie Institute and requires candidates to participate in a four-part certification course, as well as pass a written and clinical examination upon completion of the course.

In an every expanding medical field with alternative treatments growing by the day, it is important to know your professional’s qualifications for their treatments and the knowledge they bring to each individual case. Mastery in a field often requires years of education and years of experience. While your therapist may provide a relaxed environment filled with what seems like simple exercise and manual techniques, he or she brings to your individual situation skills that have taken years to develop.

If you need help choosing the right physical therapist, find a physical therapy clinic near you and ask them about their specialties.  Many physical therapists are proud of their skill sets and will be happy to go over any questions you may have!

physical therapy near me