Category Archives: Back

Lifting Safety Tips PTandMe

Avoid Back Pain with These 8 Lifting Safety Tips

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Lifting Safety Tips PTandMe

During the holidays, back injuries become more prevalent as people maneuver themselves up and down ladders and stairways while carrying or lifting heavy objects. A little bit of lifting safety can go a long way to keeping your holiday season bright.

1. SIZE UP THE LOAD

Check to ensure the load is stable and balanced.

2. PLAN THE JOB

Consider all possibilities. Is the path clear? What is the weight of the load? How much stress will be placed on your back? Is there traffic, a tripping hazard, a doorway to go through, or a stairway to go up or down? Avoid carrying an object that requires two hands to hold, either up or especially down, a flight of stairs.

3. ESTABLISH A BASE OF SUPPORT

Use a wide, balanced stance with one foot in front of the other. Make sure you have firm footing and that your feet are a shoulder-width apart. This staggered stance gives you the stability of not falling over and being able to secure the load.

4. BEND YOUR KNEES, KEEP YOUR HEELS OFF OF THE FLOOR AND GET AS CLOSE TO THE OBJECT AS POSSIBLE.

Always lift with your legs and not your back.

Proper Lifting Technique PTandMe

5. BE CERTAIN YOU WILL BE ABLE TO MAINTAIN A HOLD ON THE OBJECT WITHOUT HAVING TO ADJUST YOUR GRIP LATER.

You can use gloves to help maintain an adequate grip, but don’t rely on gloves because they can de-sensitize the fingers making you unable to feel the object.

6. LIFT GRADUALLY

Lift gradually with your legs without using jerky motions.

7. KEEP THE LOAD CLOSE TO PREVENT ARCHING YOUR LOWER BACK.

As you begin the lift, tighten your stomach muscles, and keep your head and shoulders up. The closer the load is to your spine, the less force will be placed on your back.

8. PIVOT

Don’t twist. Move your feet in the direction of the lift. This will eliminate the need to twist at the waist.

Whether at home or at work safe lifting practices can keep your back healthy and safe. Before lifting heavy objects decide how you will lift carry & place the item before you pick it up. If you are experiencing persistent pain, please contact us. We want to help you to be at your best this holiday season.

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Back Pack Safety

Back Pack Safety 101

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Back Pack Safety
With summer coming to an end and the need for school supplies and backpacks returning, here are a few tips to keep in mind when shopping with your child. Continue below for back pack safety tips to make sure your kids don’t have any unnecessary back pain this year.

Size

  • Should Not Extend Above Shoulders
  • Should Rest In Contour Of Low Back (Not Sag Down Toward Buttocks)
  • Should Sit Evenly In Middle Of Back

Fit

  • Shoulder Straps Should Rest Comfortably On Shoulders And Underarms, With Arms Free To Move – Tighten Shoulder Straps To Achieve This Fit
  • Tighten Hip And Waist Straps To Hold Pack Near Body
  • Padded Straps Help Even Pressure Over The Shoulders

ThinkstockPhotos-78779211

Weight Of Pack

  • Should Never Exceed 15% Of The Child’s Weight To Avoid Excess Loads On The Spine

BackPack Weight Charts

Lifting Of Pack

  • Proper Lifting Is Done By Bending The Knees, Squatting To Pack Level, And Keeping Pack Close To Body To Lift First To Waist Level And Then Up To Shoulders

Carrying The Pack

  • Keep Both Shoulder Straps In Place And Pack Centered
  • Spinal Forces Increase With Distance From The Body’s Center

Posture

  • Uneven Stresses On The Spine Can Cause Muscle Imbalances. This Can Lead To Pain And Possibly Functional Scoliosis.

If your child does start to complain of constant back pain, talk to your pediatrician and make sure that it isn’t a more serious issue such as scoliosis.

Scoliosis is a medical condition in which the spine is curved either front to back or side to side and is often rotated to one side or the other. It can occur at birth (congenitally), develop over time having no obvious cause, but often seen related to posture and growth (idiopathically) or due to an injury or the other condition (secondarily), such as cerebral palsy or muscular dystrophy. The most common type is adolescent idiopathic scoliosis. It usually develops between the ages of 10 and 15, during periods of rapid growth. There are two kinds of curves, single or “C” curves and double or “S” curves. “C” curves are slightly more common than “S” curves. The curve can occur in the upper back (thoracic), lower back (lumbar), or a combination of both.

Strength for necessary upright postures of daily life is essential. Sometimes it cannot be maintained due to a “growth spurt,” fatigue from daily postural demands or poor postural habits common among adolescents. A physical therapist can analyze a patient’s history, habits and activities which may be contributing to their curvature and symptoms. Common findings include tightness and decreased motion and strength in the hips and pelvis, causing the lumbar spine to compensate with side bending and rotation. Treatment will include muscular re-educating techniques and manual techniques to restore motion, posture training, specific strengthening and home exercises.

PT News PTandMe

PT News June 2020 Live Edition

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PT News PTandMe

This month in PT News we recap the educational videos that our partnering clinics have been sharing to their Facebook followers. We are happy to share with you some great information on topics that can help you more easily live a pain-free life.

back pain physical therapy

1. What Should I Do for My Low Back Pain?

Produced by Cutting Edge Physical Therapy, located in Richmond, IN.

One of the most common questions physical therapists get it what can I do for my low back pain. Take an in-depth look at what your pain is telling you about your injury, how physical therapists treat low back pain, and what you can do to find back pain relief at home.  View Recording

 

go back to the gym safely

2. How to Stay Safe When Getting Back Into the Gym and Sports

Produced by Grand Oaks Sports Medicine & Rehabilitation, located in Spring, TX

As gyms open up, this video goes over how athletes can safely get back into the gym without the risk of injury. Due to COVID-19, athletes who have not been able to continue their regular training routine will have experienced levels of deconditioning. This video goes over what that means and how athletes can safely return to their prior performance levels.  View Recording

 

Knee Pain While Running

3. Why Do My Knees Hurt When Running?

Produced by Wright Physical Therapy, with locations throughout the Magic Valley, Boise, and Eastern ID.

Why does your knee hurt when you run? The partners of Wright Physical Therapy go over the most common reasons runners have knee pain, where you may sit on the Wright PT performance scale, and ways to fix and prevent injury moving forward.  View Recording

 

How to fix your posture

4. Fixing Your Posture So That it Doesn’t Contribute to Neck and Back Pain

Produced by Kingwood Occupational & Physical Therapy, located in Kingwood, TX

How practicing good posture can help reduce pain in everyday activities. It also goes over how thoracic mobility can cause neck and shoulder issues during your day-to-day and sports activities. View Recording

Physical and occupational therapists work hard to help people get back to what they love doing most. If you are in pain or need help recovering from an injury, please find a pt near you and get started on your path to recovery.

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PT News PTandMe

PT News May 2020

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PT News PTandMe

This time in PT News we recap what our clinics have been posting throughout April & May 2020. We are excited to bring you current physical therapy based posts featuring published articles from PTandMe partnering clinics!

1. COVID-19 Scientific Update and Masks

Written by Mishock Physical Therapy with multiple locations throughout Berks & Montgomery Counties in PA.

The fact that many people are asymptomatic is excellent news; however, it also means that COVID-19 could be spread to those most vulnerable unknowingly. This is why vigilance in continuing the CDC prevention techniques (frequent hand-washing, wear a face mask, clean and disinfect, social distancing, stay home when sick, cover cough or sneeze) is critical as we open up our communities.  Read more

 

2. Keeping You Safe While Serving Your PT Needs

Written by Momentum Physical Therapy, an outpatient physical therapy practice with multiple locations throughout Greater San Antonio, TX 

What are we doing to keep our clinics a safe place to receive care? Below are the steps we have taken to ensure the safety of our patients and staff is preserved. Read more

 

3. Heart Rate Zone Training

Written by The Center for Physical Rehabilitation an outpatient physical and hand therapy practice with locations throughout Greater Grand Rapids, WI.

Wanting to make good use of your extra time at home? Take a look at the facts below to learn how to use heart rate zones to increase your cardiovascular fitness. Modes of cardio: walking, running, biking, swimming.  Read more

Find these locations and others to start feeling better today!

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PT News PTandMe

PT News February 2020

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PT News PTandMe

This time in PT News we recap what our clinics have been posting throughout February 2020. We are excited to begin a new year of new posts featuring published articles from PTandMe partnering clinics!

1. 8 Great Pelvic Floor Stretches to do During Pregnancy

Written by Ability Rehabilitation with multiple locations throughout Tampa and Orlando, FL.

Stretching and strengthening your pelvic floor muscles during pregnancy can help relieve your aches and pains — and alleviate stress and tension too. Pelvic floor stretches will also help you have an easier delivery and decrease your risk of urinary incontinence later on.  Read more

 

neck pain

2. Treat Your Back and Neck Pain with Our Advanced PT Methods

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

Did you know that studies say approximately 90% of people will be plagued by back or neck pain at some point in their lives? While it is a common complaint, it can sometimes be difficult to determine where the pain is originating on your own. Read more

 

3. Older is Better: Strength Training for the Aging

Written by Wright Physical Therapy an outpatient physical and hand therapy practice with locations throughout Idaho.

Aging adults often attribute their aches, pains, and illnesses to “getting too old”. Age can be used altogether too much as a crutch to avoid exercise and activity. When it comes to health in general, the aging individual has so much upside to focusing on wellness in their lifestyle.  Read more

Find these locations and others to start feeling better today!

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Can Knee Pain Cause Low Back Pain

Can Knee Pain Cause Low Back Pain?

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Can Knee Pain Cause Low Back Pain

Knee osteoarthritis remains a significant problem among US adults 60 years and older. A recent study suggests knee arthritis rates as high as 37 % with women showing higher rates vs men (42% vs 31%) and higher rates among those with significant weight problems.

As a result, many of these patients opt for a total knee replacement. However, patients often suffer from pain and have difficulty walking for many years before deciding to proceed with such surgery. Living with pain for an extended period typically causes changes in how a patient walks in an attempt to relieve the pain associated with knee arthritis. Sometimes this is even done subconsciously, but it can lead to additional problems, such as low back pain (LBP). An example of how knee pain can cause low back pain would be a knee flexed position that leads to a patient leaning forward when walking. This changes at the pelvis and contributes to low back pain.

Physical Therapy Can Help Your Low Back and Knee Pain

When a patient seeks help from a physician complaining of low back pain, they are commonly referred to a physical therapist for treatment. In treating these patients, physical therapists will provide a complete and individualized assessment of the causes of low back pain, which may include a thorough biomechanical evaluation and gait assessment. Patients that go to physical therapy with knee arthritis/osteoarthritis have likely developed a permanent knee bent posture (osteoarthritis patients almost always keep their knee bent at 10 degrees or more to relieve pressure or to prevent the sheering force on the knee).

Even though back pain and knee arthritis are significant problems there is a solution. Through aggressive physical therapy that is aimed at restoring normal gait patterns, spinal mobility, and conditioning, patients have had significant relief of back pain and are prepared for successful rehabilitation following a total knee replacement. By eliminating the knee bent position before surgery and normalizing gait patterns patients can exercise more effectively, improve cardiovascular conditioning and reduce the energy cost associated with changes in how they walk all while reducing back pain.

If you believe your knee pain is causing your back pain, you may benefit from physical therapy.  Through years of experience, we have seen that comprehensive manual therapy, aimed at restoring normal walking patterns in low back pain patients considering a total knee replacement, can result in a significantly easier recovery of normal function during post-operative rehab.

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Provided by the therapists at Life Fitness Physical Therapy – MD
www.lifefitnesspt.com

Low Back Pain (LBP) Top 5 Exercises to Reduce Back Pain

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How to Reduce Low Back Pain
Over time, we develop arthritic changes in our back due to normal wear and tear. Below is a list of low back pain exercises that can help reduce lower back pain. These exercises will help you, in time, return you to your normal activities and improve your quality of life.

Top 5 Exercises to Reduce Back Pain

1. LOWER TRUNK ROTATION

Lie on your back with your knees bent.
Keep your feet and knees together and lightly rotate your spine.
Stop the stretch when you feel your hips coming off of the table. Only rotate to approximately 45 degrees and rotate back and forth like a windshield wiper.
Repeat for 2 minutes.
Low back pain

2. ABDOMINAL BRACING

Lie on your back with your knees bent. Slightly elevate your hips but not high enough to where it comes off of the table. Simultaneously, squeeze your abdominal muscles down towards the table. Continue to breathe.

Hold this for 10 seconds and rest for 10 seconds. Repeat for 2 minutes.

Low back pain
Low back pain

3. SINGLE KNEE TO CHEST

Bring one knee to your chest.

Hold for 5-10 seconds. Repeat alternating legs to your chest for a time of 2 minutes.
Low back pain

4. FIGURE 4 STRETCH

Cross one ankle over to the opposite knee and press down on the resting leg. You should feel the stretch in your hip.

Hold this stretch for 30 seconds if you can tolerate it. Repeat for 3 repetitions, then switch legs.
Low back pain

5. PIRIFORMIS STRETCH

Cross one ankle over to the opposite knee. Pull the resting knee across your body and up towards your chest. (You should aim for your opposite shoulder as a reference). This stretch should be felt over the crossed leg buttock.

Hold for 30 seconds if you can tolerate it. Repeat for 3 repetitions on each leg.


Written by Laura Cifre, OTR/L, PT, DPT, Director at Green Oaks Physical Therapy – Irving, Texas.
To learn more about Green Oaks Physical Therapy click here.

 

For more information about back pain, physical therapy click the links below.

beware bed rest for back pain  chronic back pain  low back pain relief

low back pain relief

Low Back Pain: There is relief

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low back pain relief

Understanding back pain: You’re not alone & there is relief

Low back pain affects nearly everyone at some stage of life and is one of the most common ailments seen in medical practices. It is referred to by many different names including lumbago, lumbar sprain or strain, slipped or bulging disc, degenerative arthritis, or, when it extends into the leg, sciatica. Research suggests that between 60% – 75% of the population who experience back pain once will experience recurring or chronic problems. Most patients will not consult their physician for first-time problems their back, so you may be one of the thousands worldwide who continue to have recurring problems with their back.

To most people, their low back pain is confusing and frustrating. Many times it starts without warning and for no obvious reason. It will interfere with the performance of basic daily activities and the ability to get a good night’s sleep. Then, often the pain will subside just as unexpectedly as it started. When in acute pain, most people are unable to think clearly about the trouble and simply seek pain relief. When episodes of back pain subside, most will then go on to forget about their back trouble. Due to a lack of understanding of the specific nature of the back problem, we are unable to deal with the problem ourselves and are unable to prevent future episodes.

The majority of back pains are mechanical in nature, meaning that they are caused by problems with the moving parts of the spine. Therefore, certain movements that you make and positions you adopt can lead to the onset or worsening of pain. A very common example of this is patients who complain of worsening pain with bending forward for prolonged periods. Also, sitting for prolonged periods at work or while driving will bother these individuals and they might find it hard to get up from a sitting position. In some cases, it might even take a few minutes to be able to stand upright properly.

If you are like most patients with mechanical low back pain, you are better when you can move around frequently and worse when you have to remain in one position for long periods. You feel better when you are walking or are able to change positions frequently. There are times in the day where you will be much better and might even have no pain at all, and there are times when it is much worse. There are some whose pain will have worsened to the point that it is constant and the changing of positions is necessary to simply find some relief from the pain.

If you are a back pain sufferer, be encouraged that most patients can get significant help with their back pain. Exercise and activity need to be a regular part of your management strategy, but the exercise must be specific to your problem. Your program should include a daily walking program if possible. Management of your back problem is each individual’s responsibility, but we are here to help you. You may benefit from an individualized consultation with a physical therapist with specific training to evaluate mechanical spine disorders if your pain does not subside.

Common Back Problems Seen by Physical Therapists:

  • Strains & Sprains
  • Herniated Discs
  • Degenerated Discs
  • Sciatica
  • Piriformis Syndrome
  • Spondylosis
  • Spondylolisthesis

Low Back Pain Quick Assessment

If 3 or more Yes’s are present then the patient would likely benefit from a Mechanical Diagnosis and Physical Therapy Examination.

The more YES’s that are present, the higher the probability of a successful outcome with a mechanical examination.

  • Are symptoms present for less than 16 days in the most recent exacerbation? Yes or No
  • If the patient has lower extremity symptoms, are the symptoms above the knee? Yes or No
  • Does the patient’s low back pain vary in intensity? Yes or No
  • Do movements or positions change the patient’s symptoms? Yes or No
  • Does the patient have a hard time standing after sitting? Yes or No
  • Are the symptoms worse after bending, stooping, or sitting? Yes or No
  • Are the symptoms usually worse in the morning? Yes or No

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For more information about back pain, physical therapy click the links below.

Low Back Pain Physical Therapy  chronic back pain  beware bed rest for back pain

gardening ergonomics

Gardening Ergonomics

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gardening ergonomics

It’s that time of year again. Time to exchange snow shovels and winter boots with gardening tools and watering cans. While the warmer weather brings on a new sense of happiness and energy, we need to remember to use proper body mechanics and follow general safety to avoid muscle aches and potential serious injuries. The number one injury associated with gardening is low back pain.

Here are a few tips to make your gardening experience more enjoyable and less painful.

LIFTING:
Lifting heavy objects such as bags of soil, planters and mulch improperly can lead to low back strains and/or sciatic pain. Other options include moving half of the soil/mulch to a separate pot before lifting the bag or planting in to smaller pots that are easier to maneuver. Using a garden cart or wheelbarrow can also assist with moving heavy gardening materials. Remember to lift with your legs, avoid simultaneous lifting and twisting and keep heavier objects close to your body to avoid injury.

PLANTING:
Prepping the soil can also be a difficult and tedious task requiring prolonged forward bending and frequent changes in position. Try prepping the planting bed by using long-handled gardening tools. Once the soil is ready, plant from a kneeling position using either a kneeling stool or a cushion. Remember to avoid twisting at the spine. Those with known chronic low back pain may want to consider planting in to pots, flower boxes or raised flower beds to avoid further injury.

WEEDING:
Most people dislike weeding their gardens and flower beds. Options to reduce the need to do so include using plants as ground cover or using mulch in your flower beds to minimize weed growth. If using a weed spray, look for bottles that have a sprayer hose to allow you to stand upright while treating your problem areas.

MOWING THE LAWN:
Another task that most people find tedious. When able, use an electric start mower. The action of pulling a cord to start your mower is the most common cause of low back injuries. If you must use a pull start mower, remember to bend at your knees and maintain the natural curve of your spine while reaching for the cord. Make sure you tighten your abdominal muscles just before pulling the cord in order to support your spine. If using a push mower, remember to maintain proper upright posture and take breaks as needed.

Remember to listen to your body. Take frequent breaks and change positions when you start to experience aching, cramping or fatigue. Stay hydrated and wear sunscreen. If you do happen to experience low back pain or any other injury, remember to contact your physical therapist. They can help alleviate your symptoms as well as educate you on proper body mechanics.

gardening

GARDENING STRETCHES
Stretching before you start gardening can help you from experiencing pain later. Here are some stretching techniques to help get you started!

1.) Fold your hands together and turn your palms away from your body, but this time extend your arms overhead. You should feel the stretch in your upper torso and shoulders to hand. Hold for 10 seconds and repeat eight times.

2.) Place your hand just above the back of the elbow and gently push your elbow across your chest toward the opposite shoulder. This is a stretch for the upper back and shoulder. Stretch both the right and left arms. Hold for 10 seconds and repeat eight times.

3.) Raise one arm overhead. Bend the elbow. Place the opposite hand on the bent elbow and gently push the elbow back further. This is a stretch for the triceps. Stretch both the right and left arms. Hold for 10 seconds and repeat eight times.

4.) Extend an arm in front of you, making sure the elbow is completely straight. With your palm down, take the opposite hand and bend in the wrist downward. Then turn the palm up, and stretch the wrist backwards. This stretches the forearm and wrist muscles. Hold for 10 seconds and repeat eight times.

The warm-up exercises were developed by professional hand therapists who are occupational and physical therapists specializing in the treatment of the hands, arms and shoulders. These exercises and tips have been designed to supplement more commonly known gardening safety practices that concentrate only on preventing back injuries.
For more information visit: www.asht.org

winter injuries

Winter Is A Great Time To Take Care Of Injuries

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winter injuries

As Mother Nature keeps bringing on the winter wind, now is the time to think about spring and summer!  We were promised an early spring by Punxsutawney Phil, so it must be right around the corner.  Nagging winter injuries that you don’t address now, could end up hindering your return to the great outdoors. Waiting to take care of these injuries when the first fair day arrives can be too late. No one wants to lose weeks to months of fun in the sun because of  a lengthy rehabilitation. By taking care of these injuries now, you can have plenty of time to enjoy your favorite activities in the best kind of weather.

BACK INJURIES
From picking up leaves in the fall to shoveling snow, low back injuries are common this time of year. While a simple back ache may dissipate in a day or two after shoveling out after a winter storm, if it lingers longer than a week, chances are it’s not going away on its own. Waiting until the first round of golf to find out that you can’t complete the back swing due to low back pain not only severely hinders the golf game, but can also severely hinder the recovery. The more chronic the pain is, the longer it takes to eliminate the pain once treatment is started. Pain management becomes more complex; muscle strength atrophies; and bad spinal mechanics become a difficult habit to break. Fortunately, from a simple muscle strain to a herniated disc, all low back injuries have the opportunity to be conservatively managed quickly if treatment is sought out quickly.

JOINT REPLACEMENTS
Fear of slipping and falling is often the biggest rationale people wait to have their much needed joint replacement surgeries. While a legitimate concern, the process of recovery and length of time for recovery is often overlooked by patients. For a typical total hip replacement, it can take 12 weeks or more to feel “normal” again. For a total knee replacement, that time line can extend to six months. By waiting until spring to have the surgery, patients forego their fun-in-the-sun for recovery and rehabilitation. However, if that same surgery were elected to be performed in the late fall or winter, then plenty of warm weather is still left in the year to enjoy the capabilities of the new joint. To address the fear of falling, simple precautions can easily be taken to minimize the risk of slip and fall in the snow following the surgery. As an added benefit, patients in the winter often experience less swelling then those in the summer, as a result of the reduced humidity.

ROTATOR CUFF REPAIRS
Similar to joint replacement surgery, shoulder surgeries are often avoided in the winter due to the fear of falling. However, again, similar to joint replacement surgeries, the length of time for recovery from this surgery is grossly underestimated. Returning to swing a golf club, throwing a ball, or even swimming laps in a pool will take a
minimum of 12 weeks of physical therapy. While a neighborhood teenager may need to be hired to shovel the snow, the winter hibernation season is an idea for resting and mending from a rotator cuff repair surgery. After completing a comprehensive rehabilitation program with your physical therapist, you will be ready to tee off with your regular golf league and enjoy your planned summer vacation without restrictions.

SPORTS EVALUATIONS AND CONDITIONING
Winter is not only the time to remedy nagging injuries, but it’s the perfect time to prepare for the athletic season ahead. Whether you are a runner, a golfer, or an over-40 league softball player, preparing for the upcoming outdoor activities can help prevent future nagging injuries. During the “off-season” is the best time to undergo performance and biomechanical evaluations with physical therapist trained in motion analysis. From this evaluation deficiencies can be addressed and a plan for improvement implemented. Furthermore, winter is a perfect time to re-strengthen after the holidays and to condition yourself into the shape you need to be in in order to enjoy those outdoor activities and minimize the concern for strains and sprains. In just a few simple visits to physical therapy, conditioning tips and technique changes can help make the warm weather even more rewarding and enjoyable.

The winter is long and it would be unfortunate to miss enjoying any of the warm, sunny weather heading our way in a few months. Addressing lingering winter injuries now will help ensure a fun spring and summer without restrictions. Always discuss your medical options with your Doctor first. Then, call your physical therapist to help accelerate your recovery and be a picture of health.