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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.
Low back pain

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

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

athletic trainer

Who is an Athletic Trainer?

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Athletic trainers hold at least a four year degree from a BOC (Board of Certification) accredited institution. They are licensed, certified health professionals working with athletes on and off the field. Generally they are the first responders when injuries occur during sporting events.

Athletic trainers work closely with coaches and parents and will refer athletes to other health care professionals such as physicians, physical therapists and surgeons when needed.

Athletic trainers hours are determined by sports schedules. Typically they are available after school and stay until sporting events have concluded.

IN THE TRAINING ROOM ATHLETIC TRAINERS

  • Prepare athletes for competition by taking preventative measures such as equipment fitting, taping and bracing
  • Assess athletes with acute and chronic injuries to determine their participation status
  • Perform sport-specific rehabilitation on injured athletes
  • Provide opportunities for strengthening and conditioning
  • Work with sports staff on proper warm up, game day preparation and on/off season conditioning
  • Educate athletes, coaches and parents on sports medicine strategies, nutrition and sports psychology

running back

DURING THE GAME ATHLETIC TRAINERS

  • Support athletes during sporting events
  • Manage any type of musculoskeletal issues including:
  • Shoulder, hip, knee, elbow, hand and ankle injuries
  • Facial injuries
  • Neck and back injuries, spinal cord injuries and traumatic brain injuries like concussions
  • Triage and wound care
  • Heat-related illnesses
  • Fractures and dislocations
  • Catastrophic injuries

This information was written by the Center for Physical Rehabilitation, an outpatient physical therapy group with five locations in Western Michigan. The Center specializes in all inclusive physical therapy services, such as: Sports Medicine, Orthopedic Post-Surgical and McKenzie Therapy. Our state-of-the-art facilities are conveniently located around Grand Rapids with extended hours. Independent and locally owned since 1994, we have the freedom to work with the most qualified healthcare professionals. For more information click here.

seniors start exercising

Seniors: It’s Never Too Late to Start Exercising

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For years, seniors have attributed their aches, pains, and illnesses to the normal aging process. Age is often used as a reason to avoid exercise. But a regular exercise program can improve the quality of your life and help you avoid illness, including heart disease, stroke, and diabetes. As always, you should consult with your health care provider before starting any exercise program.

WHAT WE KNOW
Most people know that with age, come certain physiological changes. Studies show that we lose the following as we age:
• Lean muscle tissue—Most of us will lose muscle mass as we get older. We usually hit our peak muscle mass early—around age 20—and begin losing muscle mass thereafter.
• Aerobic capacity—The aerobic capacity is the ability of the heart and the body to deliver and use oxygen efficiently. Changes in the heart and decrease in muscle tissue decrease aerobic capacity.
• Balance—As we age, our ability to balance decreases, making falls and injuries more likely. The loss of muscle is a major contributor to losses on balance.
• Flexibility—Our joints and tendons lose some of their range of motion with age, making it difficult to bend and move around comfortably.
• Bone density—Most of us reach our peak bone density around age 20. After that, bones can become gradually thinner and weaker, which can lead to osteoporosis.

Fortunately, regular exercise can help delay some of these changes and give you the energy you need to do everyday activities like walking, shopping, and playing with your grandchildren. Exercise may even help decrease depression and stress, improve mood and self-esteem, and postpone age-related cognitive decline.

By adding endurance, strength, flexibility, and balance training into your routine, you will be healthier, happier, and more energetic.

senior push ups

ENDURANCE
Decades ago, doctors rarely recommended aerobic exercise for older people. But we now know that most people can safely do moderate exercises. Studies have shown that doing aerobic exercise just a few days a week can bring significant improvements in endurance.

Aim to get 30 minutes of moderate exercise—such as brisk walking, bicycling, or swimming—at least 5 days a week. You do not have to do 30 minutes at once—you can break these sessions up into two 15-minute sessions or three 10-minute sessions. Moderate exercise will cause your heart rate to rise and your breathing to be slightly elevated, but you should still be able to carry on a conversation.

STRENGTH
It is not just aging that makes people lose muscle. One of the main reasons older people lose muscle mass is that they stop exercising and doing everyday activities that build muscle.

Building stronger muscles can help protect your joints, strengthen your bones, improve your balance, reduce the likelihood of falls, and make it easier for you to move around in general. Even small changes in your muscle size and strength—ones that you cannot even see—will make things like walking quickly across the street and getting up out of a chair easier to do.

Aim to do strength exercises (eg, weight lifting) every other day, or at least twice a week. For each exercise, do three sets of 8-12 repetitions.

FLEXIBILITY
Increasing your overall activity level and doing stretching exercises can markedly improve your flexibility.

To improve the flexibility—or range of motion—of your joints, incorporate bending and stretching exercises into your routine. A good time to do your flexibility exercises is after your strength training routine. This is because you muscles will already be warmed up. Examples of exercises that you may enjoy include Tai chi, yoga, Pilates, and exercises that you do in the water.

By regularly stretching, you will be able to move around easier. You may also feel less stressed, and your posture will improve.

BALANCE
Just becoming more physically active will improve your balance and decrease your risk of falling. If you add some basic balancing exercises to your exercise routine, you will begin feeling more stable on your feet. Balance exercises can be done just about anywhere and usually require no more equipment than a chair.

Keep in mind that if you are having severe problems with balance, a fall prevention physical therapy program can be a great way to regain your balance, increase strength or improve flexibility.

GETTING STARTED
To avoid injury, start slowly. Add one or two sessions a week at first and progress from there as you begin to feel stronger. A physical therapist, or other health professional, can help develop a program that will be both safe and effective. Check with your local fitness or community center, which may offer exercise classes designed especially for older adults. Check with your primary health care provider if you are planning to participate in vigorous activities.

Remember, it is never too late to start exercising. The sooner you start, the sooner you will start feeling healthier, more energetic, and less stressed.

RESOURCES:
American Heart Association
http://www.heart.org

The President’s Council on Physical Fitness, Sports, and Nutrition
http://www.fitness.gov

CANADIAN RESOURCES:
Health Canada
http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca

Public Health Agency of Canada
http://www.phac-aspc.gc.ca

REFERENCES:

Effects of aging. American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons website. Available at: http://orthoinfo.aaos.org/topic.cfm?topic=A00191. Updated September 2009. Accessed April 4, 2016.

Exercise and physical activity: your everyday guide from the National Institute on Aging. National Institute on Aging website. Available at: http://www.nia.nih.gov/health/publication/exercise-physical-activity-your-everyday-guide-national-institute-aging-1. Updated February 16, 2016. Accessed April 4, 2016.

Physical activity: glossary of terms. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website. Available at: http://www.cdc.gov/nccdphp/dnpa/physical/terms/index.htm#Moderate. Updated June 10, 2015. Accessed on April 4, 2016.

EBSCO Information Services is fully accredited by URAC. URAC is an independent, nonprofit health care accrediting organization dedicated to promoting health care quality through accreditation, certification and commendation.

National Athletic Training Month

March is National Athletic Training Month

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March is National Athletic Training Month

Why We ATC?

ATHLETIC TRAINERS are highly qualified, multi-skilled health care professionals who collaborate with physicians to provide preventative services, emergency care, clinical diagnosis, therapeutic intervention, and rehabilitation of injuries and medical conditions. They can work in a variety of settings, including high schools, middle schools, universities, professional sports teams, hospitals, clinics, performing arts, club sports teams, and more. Athletics trainers decrease the liability on coaches, ensure a quicker and safer return to play, and reduce the risk of injuries for athletes of all ages. To learn more about the great things our ATC’s do — search for one of our PT & Me athletic training locations by clicking here!

Game & Practice Coverage:

• Early injury detection and intervention
• Quick referral process to local specialists if required
• Concussion safety injury screenings:
• Evaluation of injury
• Recommendation on immediate care
• Quicker return to play

March is National Athletic Training Month

WHAT IS NATIONAL ATHLETIC TRAINING MONTH?
March is National Athletic Training Month, a time to celebrate the positive impact athletic trainers have on work, life and sport. National Athletic Training Month is sponsored by the National Athletic Trainers’ Association (NATA), the professional members association for certified athletic trainers and others who support the athletic training profession. NATA represents more than 45,000 members worldwide.

ATC SPORTS STATS
All statistics taken from www.atyourownrisk.org

90% of student athletes report some sort of sports-related injury in their athletic careers.
54% of student athletes report they have played while injured.
12% report they have sustained concussions and head injuries from their time on the field.
163,670 middle or high school athletes were reported being seen in the emergency room for a concussion.
300 sports-related deaths of youth anything to prevent injuries.
37% of public high schools employ a full-time athletic trainer.
54% of athletes said they have played while injured.

Sports Drinks

Hydration & Supplements: Sports Drinks vs. Energy Drinks

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hydration, energy drinks, sports drinks, chocolate milk, muscle, cramps, electrolytes, nutrients, supplements, nutrition, water, hydrated

It’s important to stay hydrated during physical activity. While water is still the best choice for hydration, other acceptable options are available. Do you know what is most effective for your workout?

Sports Drinks
Sports drinks are ideal for athletes looking to hydrate and replenish after long, intensive exercise (usually greater than 60 minutes). Sports drinks contain a combination of electrolytes, carbs, minerals, and vitamins. This combination of nutrients serve to restore lost fluid and sodium levels. Additionally, the sugary carbs found in sport drinks provide athletes a boost of natural energy to aid in recovery.

hydration, energy drinks, sports drinks, chocolate milk, muscle, cramps, electrolytes, nutrients, supplements, nutrition, water, hydrated

Energy Drinks
Energy drinks are never a good option for athletes. While these beverages do provide an apparent energy boost, the effects are temporary. Energy drinks contain few helpful macronutrients, like carbs, and instead use the stimulant caffeine to create an artificial boost of energy. These high concentrations of caffeine can act as a diuretic thus increasing dehydration risks. Too much caffeine can also cause jitters, dizziness and headaches leading to decreased performance. High doses of caffeine have been linked to cardiac emergencies.

Chocolate Milk?
Effectively recover with chocolate milk. Low-fat chocolate milk makes a simple yet effective post-workout snack. Offering just the right mix of carbs and protein, this tasty drink refuels your body and helps muscles through recovery. Drink up!

Out Smart Muscle Cramps:
Painful muscle cramps can quickly sideline an athlete. While the root cause is still being researched, dehydration, muscle imbalances and improper warm-up are likely factors. Follow these basics to help prevent muscle cramps:

  • Stay hydrated, make sure your athlete does not start the practice/game dehydrated.
  • Pack a refillable water bottle to drink throughout the day.
  • Consume a balanced diet with healthy amounts of sodium.
  • Bolster weak muscle groups with functional, plyometric and strength training.
  • Practice foam rolling and static stretching in tight areas.
  • Incorporate a dynamic warmup.

Written by the Therapy Team at the Center for Physical Rehabilitation – Grand Rapids, Michigan.
To learn more about the Center for Physical Rehabilitation click here.

PT News

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This Month in PT News. Featuring articles from PTandMe partnering clinics!

1. How to Deal with Chronic Joint and Muscle Pain
Written by the Therapy Team at Cornerstone Physical Therapy – Gahanna, OH

All of us have experienced pain and discomfort in the muscles and joints at some point, especially with age. In most cases, the use of over the counter medications, hot/cold packs and rest help resolve the problem. Read more

2. Pain at the Mall
Written by the Therapy Team at the Jackson Clinics – Northern Virginia

As the outside temperatures drop, people contemplating undertaking an exercise program often consider walking at the mall. Benefits include a controlled climate, an absence of traffic, security and easily available restrooms and water. Read more

3. Quality of Care in Rehab
Written by the Ian M. Campbell, DPT at Intermountain Physical Therapy – Boise, ID

What does quality care mean in rehabilitation? One can drive through their city and likely notice multiple physical therapy (PT) clinics. Some may be privately owned and operated, others run by local hospitals. Read more

Achilles Tendinitis

Treatment Options for Achilles Tendinitis

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The Achilles tendon is the largest tendon in the body. It connects your calf muscles to your heel bone and is used when you walk, run and jump.  Although the Achilles tendon can withstand great stresses from running and jumping, it is also prone to tendinitis, a condition associated with overuse and degeneration. Achilles Tendinitis causes pain along the back of the leg near the heel. If you suffer from Achilles Tendinitis – try these pain relief methods.

REST: Cut back your training by decreasing your mileage and intensity. Also avoid hills and speedwork. You may substitute running with swimming, running in water and biking to reduce the irritation.

ICE: Apply ice to the affected area for 10 to 20 minutes with at least one hour between applications. Do not apply ice directly to your skin – a pillowcase or dish towel works well as a protective barrier. Frozen peas or reusable gel packs are flexible and conform well to the injured area.

PROPER FOOTWEAR/ORTHOTICS: This situation can be corrected with arch supports or custom orthotics. Orthotics allow your foot to maintain correct position throughout the gait. Avoid walking barefoot and wearing flat shoes. If your pain is severe, your doctor may recommend a walking boot or to cast you for a short time. This gives the tendon a chance to rest before any therapy is begun.

NON-STEROIDAL ANTI-INFLAMMATORY MEDICATION: Drugs such as ibuprofen and naproxen reduce pain and swelling. They do not, however, reduce thickening.

PHYSICAL THERAPY: Achilles tendinitis can be painful, chronic condition if left untreated. Consult your physician to discuss physical therapy options. Licensed physical therapists coordinate with your physician to provide individualized care and treatment options for your specific needs.

CORTISONE INJECTIONS: Cortisone, a type of steroid, is a powerful anti-inflammatory medication. Cortisone injections into the Achilles tendon are rarely recommended because they can cause the tendon to rupture (tear).

strength training

Age Appropriate Strength and Performance Training

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In recent years there has been discussion on training for our adolescent athletes and what is appropriate, whether it be how much, how soon, how specialized? Here are some answers to common strength training questions we hear:

When Can My Athlete Start Lifting Weights?
The NSCA’s position statement states pre-adolescence (7-8 y/o) is a safe age to begin resistance training with graduated modalities and loads. Basically, if the athlete is ready for organized sports, they are ready for some kind of resistance training.

Why Can’t I Just Buy a Blu-Ray Workout for My Adolescent to Train By?
No athlete is the same, and doing a cookie-cutter workout without properly screening for potential injury risk would be negligent. The risk is too great to potentially hurt an athlete by trying to perform exercises their bodies cannot physically handle.

What Should I Look for with Overtraining?
Ongoing decreased performance on field. Often injured or sick. Disengagement from sport and school. Mood swings. Physically tired all the time. Sleep issues. Overreactive emotional response to failure. Depression. Nutrition issues.

A strength training and conditioning specialist can screen each athlete’s movements in order to determine a baseline level of movement and strength. They then develop exercises and drills that will enhance the good movement qualities while addressing any bad motor patterns that may exist. Main components that are often noticed by trained professionals are mobility(flexibility) and stability (strength) issues.

For more on strength & conditioning or to inquire about training with the Center for Physical Rehabilitation at the Academy for Sports & Wellness, please visit: www.pt-cpr.com/academy

throwing injuries PTandMe

Guidelines to Prevent Throwing Injuries

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In this monthly series, we examine the proper ways to exercise and prevent throwing injuries in baseball. If you have any sudden significant increase in pain, swelling, or discoloration while performing or following exercise, discontinue immediately and contact your primary care provider.


WRIST EXTENSION
Start with the arm supported on a table and your wrist facing toward the ground. Hold the weight off the edge of the table and bring the back of your hand toward the ceiling.


WRIST FLEXION
Start with the arm supported on a table and your wrist facing toward the ceiling. Hold the weight off the edge of the table and bring your palm toward the ceiling.

ASMI GUIDELINES TO HELP PROTECT PITCHERS FROM SHOULDER & ELBOW THROWING INJURIES:

Don’t throw too much:
Daily, weekly and annual overuse is the greatest risk to a pitcher’s arm health. Numerous studies have shown that pitchers who throw more pitches per game and those who do not adequately rest between appearances are at an elevated risk of injury. While medical research does not identify optimal pitch counts, pitch count programs have been shown to reduce the risk of shoulder and elbow injury in Little League Baseball by as much as 50% (Little League, 2011). The most important thing is to set limits for a pitcher and stick with them throughout the season.

Don’t pitch through arm fatigue:
Individuals are 36 times more likely to develop shoulder and elbow injuries when routinely pitching with arm fatigue.

Don’t pitch more than 100 innings per year:
If an athlete throws over 100 innings they are 3.5 times more likely to be injured than those who did not exceed 100 innings pitched.

Don’t throw more than 8 months per year:
Athletes who throw > 8 months per year are 5 times as likely to suffer an injury requiring surgery of the elbow or shoulder. Pitchers should refrain from throwing for at least 2-3 months per year and avoid competitive pitching for at least 4 months per year.

Don’t pitch on consecutive days:
Pitchers who pitch on consecutive days have more than 2.5 times greater risk of experiencing arm pain.

Don’t play catcher following pitching:
If the player catches following pitching they are 2.7 times more likely to suffer a major arm injury.

Don’t play on multiple teams at the same time:
There is increased risk of injury due to the difficulty in monitoring pitch limits and rest time. If the player is on multiple teams, make meticulous efforts to keep track of the amount of pitches thrown to allow adequate rest.

Don’t forget the shoulder in strength and conditioning programs:
Numerous studies have shown that deficits in upper extremity strength and mobility are strongly correlated to serious arm injuries. Shoulder and forearm strengthening exercises can build strength, endurance and motor control which can prevent injury.

Be cautious with throwing curve balls and sliders:
While existing research has not consistently shown a strong connection between the curveball and injuries, Yang et al., found that amateur pitchers who threw curveballs were 1.6 times more likely to experience arm pain while pitching and Lyman et al, found that youth pitchers who throw sliders are 86% more likely to experience elbow pain.

Be cautious with the radar gun:
Radar guns do not directly cause harm to a pitcher, however, the gun may cause the pitcher to over throw beyond their normal comfort level. This could possibly create arm strain.

Following these guidelines may keep the throwing athlete safe from the debilitating shoulder and elbow throwing injuries seen on a regular basis in physical therapy clinics.

Pitching Guidelines Chart

This information was written by Advance Rehabilitation Physical Therapy, an outpatient physical therapy group with 24 locations in Georgia and Florida. Advance Rehabilitation is a physical therapy practice that focuses on providing the highest quality rehabilitation services. They specialize in physical therapy, sports medicine, industrial rehabilitation and athletic training. Their staff includes highly-trained professionals that serve as a bridge between injury and recovery to help patients get back to pre-injury status as quickly as possible. For more information click here.

See the entire Guidelines to Prevent Throwing Injuries series here:

   Prevent Throwing Injuries

   prevent throwing injuries

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