Get PT, Get Moving, Stay Heart Healthy

Valentine’s Day isn’t the only reason to celebrate hearts in February…did you know it is National American Heart Month?

There are many types of heart disease, including high blood pressure, heart attack, and stroke. Heart disease is one of the leading causes of deaths in Americans. The good news is that most forms of heart disease are preventable by making lifestyle changes, including quitting smoking, practicing good nutrition habits and reducing stress in your everyday life. Still, one of the easiest and most effective ways to reduce your risk of heart disease is by getting active.

While the word “cardio” might invoke horror in some, cardiovascular or aerobic activity is important for cardiovascular health. If you’re not sure where to start, don’t feel overwhelmed–cardiovascular activity includes a wide range of activities that get your heart pumping, such as walking, jogging, biking, swimming and dancing.

Along with cardio, strength training can decrease the risk of heart disease and improve your overall health. Strength training can speed up the body’s metabolic rate, which can decrease fatty tissue in the body. Studies have shown that strength training twice a week, especially combined with regular cardio, can have profoundly positive effects on heart and overall health.

One thing to consider when starting to take control of your heart health is seeing a physical therapist. Physical therapy can get you moving and stay moving for good. Most of us know that exercising regularly is good for our health, but getting started, or re-started, can often be intimidating-and even more so if your experiencing pain or a recurring injury. It is not uncommon that having pain in your back, neck, knee, shoulder or other joints and muscles can sideline a person for an extended period of time, and in many cases being in pain can cause one to slip into permanent inactivity.

At Fast Track, our physical therapists are musculoskeletal experts who are trained to get your body healthy enough to start exercising and getting back into a routine without pain, as well as create and support an appropriate exercise program for people of all ability levels.

PT’s can help you get moving again by:

-Assessing and diagnosing the root causes of pain and injury

-Teaching correct form and posture to ensure that you’re performing exercises correctly to prevent future injuries

-Treating problem areas with customized plans of care that can include a wide range of modern clinical approaches, like manual (hands-on) therapy, exercises and stretches, dry-needling, and more.

Whatever your goals are, don’t let pain stop you from achieving them, especially when it comes to your heart health. Getting back into a routine of cardio and strength training can be a vital part of preventing heart disease down the road, and physical therapy can get you back into action and keep you moving.

At Fast Track Physical Therapy, we can see you without a doctor’s referral, that way we can get you pain free fast and on your way back to a heart healthy lifestyle.

 

Why An Annual Physical Therapy Exam Should Be On Your List of New Year’s Resolutions

The new year is here, making it the perfect time to set new health goals. Millions of people set New Year’s resolutions each year and much of these resolutions for many is to exercise more. 

Scheduling a physical therapy exam can help make this resolution a reality. In an annual exam, physical therapists can help optimize your exercise routine so that you can strengthen your joints and muscles throughout the year.

Many people think that physical therapy is reserved for those with injuries. However, physical therapy can be an important preventive step against common pre-injury symptoms like fatigue, poor balance and inflammation. Routine physical therapy exams can also help strengthen the body and prevent injuries in the first place, both of which help improve your ability to exercise. Physical therapy is also a great way to check on any chronic condition that you may be suffering from. They can also provide you with treatment that can ease your symptoms and make it easier to exercise. 

During a physical therapy exam, patients can share their concerns with their therapist. They may have noticed changes in their daily routine, like a pattern of neck pain while working at their desk or foot pain while walking. Whatever the patient’s concern, physical therapists can examine the area and recommend treatment plans specific to you.

There are many benefits to starting off your year with a physical therapy exam. The benefits of such exams can be especially telling for anyone looking to increase their fitness level. Those benefits can include: 

  1. Reducing inflammation and tension — It’s common for our muscles to tighten throughout the day due to overuse or dehydration. This tension can become painful when performing daily tasks. Physical therapy techniques can help increase blood flow to inflamed areas and release tight muscles. Soft tissue mobilization is a technique that targets tight muscles and the surrounding tissue. Releasing muscular tension can help ease pain and make movement easier and smoother. 
  2. Improving mobility and strength — When sitting for long periods of time or working long hours, joints can become stiff, making movement difficult and painful. However, a lack of mobility can increase joint pain and tightness over time. Physical therapists can recommend exercises that strengthen joints and encourage them into proper alignment. They can also manually and slowly move a joint through a technique called joint mobilization. Through joint mobilization, physical therapists can gently guide the joint from its stiff position. They can also help loosen restricted joints and prevent further damage and injury.
  3. Improving balance — Poor balance can occur for many reasons, ranging from weak muscles and joints to poor spine alignment. During a physical therapy exam, a physical therapist can perform a balance evaluation to determine the source of your balance issue. They can recommend hip and leg strengthening exercises to improve balance and reduce the chance for injury.
  4. Improving quality of life — One of a physical therapist’s vital jobs is to educate their patients on postures and movements that can protect their body. An annual physical therapy exam can remind you of at-home practices that help energize you and prevent pain in daily life. You can therefore learn about your body and the methods of taking care of it outside of the clinic.  

At Fast Track, we can get you in to see one of our PT’s without a referral, making it quicker and easier for your therapy to begin and get you on to meeting your goals in a fast and safe way.

Are you ready for your annual physical therapy exam?

The Top Things Physical Therapy Can Help You Do This Holiday Season…

Is pain slowing you down and making your holiday season feel less than festive? Physical therapy is here to help you live pain-free so you can enjoy all of the activities that make the season so special. Here are the top things PT can help you do this holiday season:

Whether it’s kids, grandkids, nieces, nephews, or other young family members, scooping up the little ones into bear hugs is a small thing that can bring a lot of joy during the holidays. Over 80% of people will experience back pain at some point in their lives, and it can keep you from something as simple as bending over for a hug. Walking like Frankenstein is so Halloween – get treated and move pain-free again.

Receiving gifts can be fun, but they don’t call it “the giving season” for nothing. Unfortunately, leg and foot pain can keep you on the couch instead of out discovering and delivering the perfect gifts this season. Plantar fasciitis, tendinitis, muscle pain and even spine problems can create leg and foot pain. No matter what the cause, physical therapists have the expertise to help to treat your pain to get you back on your feet. Now, if only they could help you wrap all those gifts…

For many people, one of the warmest ways to show love and appreciation during the holidays is through food. Whether you’re going to a potluck, cooking for a holiday gathering or volunteering at a local shelter, it can be difficult to prepare and serve meals when you’re experiencing shoulder, neck or back pain. If you have pain for more than two weeks, you should seek a physical therapist’s help in determining the cause of your pain so they can create a plan to help you move and feel better. Remember, most people don’t need a doctor’s referral to see a PT!

If dizziness, vertigo or other balance concerns are keeping you from throwing up those festive holiday decorations this year, remember that physical therapy can help treat a wide variety of balance and dizziness issues. These are typically caused by problems in your vestibular system (your inner ear) or by muscle imbalances. Physical therapists can identify the cause of the problem and help decrease symptoms through muscle strengthening and other exercises – because the only fall you should experience this holiday season is snowfall.

The holidays can be jam-packed with activities like family gatherings, religious services and holiday parties, but nagging pain can keep you from fully celebrating the season. Rather than masking pain with medications that can leave you feeling groggy and can wear off too soon, physical therapists can detect and treat the root cause of the problem, so you feel comfortable making plans – and keeping them.

The best way to get into the holiday spirit is to give back, but you can’t help others if you can’t help yourself! Pain can keep us from doing so many things. No matter what kind of pain you’re experiencing, physical therapists are here to help you so you can pay it forward.

If you’re experiencing pain or feeling the effects of a past injury, physical therapists can determine the cause of the problem and create a customized plan to ease and prevent pain through manual (hands-on) treatment, specialized exercises, stretches and other proven, effective, modern techniques.

Don’t let pain become the new normal, especially during the holidays when there is so much to enjoy. Give us a call or request an appointment with us on our website and we’ll make sure that you can have the best holiday season possible!

Happy Holidays!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Do You Know Why You Have Back Pain? Here’s How You Can Find Out…

Is the source of your low back pain a mystery? You’re not alone: Nine out of 10 patients don’t know the primary cause of their back pain. The problem is that most people seek treatment after they’ve begun exhibiting symptoms of back pain. While this may seem logical on the surface, our therapists at Fast Track are here to tell you that there’s a better way.

The key is to go to a physical therapist before you begin to see the signs and symptoms of back pain. I’m sure that right about now you’re asking, “Why would I do that?” One, because our physical therapists are trained to recognize the physical dysfunctions that may one day lead to back pain. And two, because eight out of 10 Americans suffer from low back pain at some point in their lives, so the chances are good that you could become a statistic one day.

Seeing one of our physical therapists at Fast Track is one of the most effective ways to prevent back pain from occurring in the first place. Doesn’t that sound like the better alternative? Great, now that you’re on board, let’s talk about what you can expect during that physical therapy appointment. The first time you go, your physical therapist will collect a complete picture of your medical history. During subsequent visits, it’ll be important to update your physical therapist about any changes in pain that you are experiencing.

Next, your physical therapist will perform an examination using a variety of tests and measures. This gives your PT the ability to see how your back, hips, core, shoulders, knees and ankles perform during a series of carefully selected exercises.

The information gathered during an evaluation helps your physical therapist to identify changes from one appointment to the next, a critical step in assessing your back pain and a host of other debilitating conditions. If a problem is identified early enough, then your physical therapist is better equipped to discuss preventive measures and will design a personalized plan of care just for you.

Treating back pain is only one of the multiple conditions we treat at Fast Track Physical Therapy. If you or someone you know is dealing with back pain and cannot contribute it to an injury or specific cause, we can help!

Experiencing One of These Scenarios? It May Be Time To See a Physical Therapist…

Neck or Back pain

Physical therapists are very skilled at evaluating and treating spine ailments.  It’s hard to make it through regular activity if you have a neck or back issue.

Treatment options for the spine include:

  • Dry needling
  • Electrical stimulation
  • Heat /cold
  • Traction
  • Hands on work (tissue loosening and spinal segment movement)
  • Exercises like stretching, strengthening, and postural stabilization

Headache or jaw pain

There has been a huge increase in patients with headaches, jaw pain, and TMD disorders this year at Fast Track.

Examples of these behaviors include:

  • Grinding their teeth more
  • Moving their jaws in different ways
  • Getting headaches

Many dentists report increased numbers of patients having these symptoms.  Choosing to see a physical therapist can help with many of these ailments by teaching patients effective coping strategies and hands-on manual therapy.

Tendinitis of the ankle, knee, hip, shoulder, elbow, and wrist

Returning to the gym for the first time in months? It’s common to experience aches and pains that won’t go away.

These symptoms typically indicate tendinitis or overuse syndrome.

Physical therapy works to get your pain levels down. It also helps to get your range of motion back, before beginning strength work. This is the right formula to get you back to the gym, your yoga studio, and doing Pilates, or CrossFit safely.

Deconditioned people of all ages

The lack of physical activity can result in the following consequences.

  • Joint and muscle stiffness
  • Weakness and fatigue
  • Decreased flexibility
  • Weight gain
  • Decreased cardiovascular condition

Physical therapy can help you get started on the right exercise program, in the right way. All it takes is the motivation to begin the process.

Balance or fall issues

Many physical therapists believe in the mantra “balance is strength, strength is balance.”

Increased strength and balance can decrease the risk of a fall. The stronger you are and feel– the stronger your body becomes. Many injuries and illnesses result in decrease of balance over time, and inactivity only adds to it.

Seeing a physical therapist helps decrease the risk of falling and gives patients confidence when performing everyday tasks. Finding balance requires finding and building strength, too.

Decrease use of medicine like narcotics, anti-inflammatories, and muscle relaxers

For people recovering from serious illnesses and injuries, these medications are necessary to provide pain relief and allow the body to heal. Physical therapy can help in these areas, too, and even help reduce the use of medications.

A physical therapist uses many tools that use the body’s natural healing processes. These include:

  • Dry needling
  • Heat/cold
  • Electrical stimulation
  • Ultrasound
  • Manual, hands on work to move spinal segments, tissues, and muscles

Of course, exercise, accessing your body’s natural endorphins as you start, and showing patients how to move their body in the right ways, also matter.

It’s important to note, though, that you should never eliminate the use of medications like this without consulting your doctor. Doing so too quickly may be unsafe, which could lead to future complications and additional health issues.

The end of the year is quickly approaching, and your deductible is likely or could already be met…

If you’ve sought medical care throughout the year, it’s likely that by now, any additional procedures and visits won’t cost you anything out of pocket. Why not let insurance help pay to get you back on track?

When you see a physical therapist, the goal is to get out of pain, get stronger, and get you back to exercising regularly. This is much less stressful when you know that your sessions won’t result in large, unexpected bills – especially for consultations and functional assessments.

You pay for medical insurance – so why not utilize it and reap the benefits?

The Importance of Physical Therapy Before the Season Starts…

Fall is on the horizon, which means football season is almost in full swing. One of the best ways players can reach peak performance and decrease the chance of injury is by seeing one of our physical therapists at Fast Track Physical Therapy and Sports Med. 

Due to the physicality of the sport, injuries can be pretty common for football players at any level. Some of the most common football injuries can include concussions, sprains, and ligament tears. While the majority of injuries consist of orthopedic trauma from physical contact, players also increase the risk of injury with poor training, fatigue and dehydration. Our team at Fast Track Physical Therapy is equipped to help football players and athletes alike, take the necessary measures to lower the risk of these injuries and can treat injuries when they happen. Our goal is to help athletes return safely to the game.  

When a player wants to improve by getting faster and stronger, the first thought might be more physical training and strength and conditioning. However, seeing a physical therapist should be considered for improved performance. Physical therapists, especially those with a focus on sports medicine like us at Fast Track, are able to incorporate specific techniques relevant to a player’s movements on the field. Improving flexibility and muscle strength is a major focus during physical therapy appointments. Not only will visits with a physical therapist help improve performance, but it can also decrease the chance of injury.  

Give us a call before the fall season starts! 

Avoiding Injuries During Your Workout

At Fast Track Physical Therapy, we see all kinds of injuries. It is common for people and athletes that exercise, to have a fear of getting injured. Beginners that are new to exercise, also have fears of getting injured when they finally have the motivation to start a new program. As physical therapists, we know the body’s musculoskeletal system better than anyone.

Here are some tips and suggestions on how to keep the body going without breaking it down in the end:

Warm Up. It is never a good idea to workout muscles that are cold. Make sure you are warming up to increase your body’s core temperature to get blood flow to the working muscles, and also to mentally prepare yourself for the workout ahead.

Cross Train. Your body will thank you when you change up your routine by engaging in different activities. This will not only help you avoid hitting a plateau in your workouts, it will give your muscles a much needed break from the same routine, day in and day out. Plus, not only will your body benefit from diversifying your exercise routine, so will your metabolism. Studies show that switching up your daily exercises can rev-up your fat burning.

Be Smart About Your Training. Just because you could do a specific exercise 10 or 20 years ago, doesn’t mean you can exercise with the same speed and energy today. Be realistic about your training and not focus on what you used to do. “Too much, too soon” can be the number one reason why injuries occur. Gradually increase your time and the intensity of your workouts to prevent those nagging injuries.

Wear Proper Workout Attire. If you have to think about how long ago you purchased a new pair of running shoes, then it is definitely time to head to the store. Going to a specialty store for expert advice on what shoes you should be wearing is the first step, because they can gauge what shoe fits best with your arch, gait, and body weight. So many injuries come from wearing worn out shoes without any support. Your poor feet!

Eat a Balanced Diet and Hydrate. What you eat and drink is just as important as your workout. Not only will carbohydrates give you energy for your workout, they will replenish those glycogen stores for your recovery and for the next workout. Protein after your workout is just as important as this will help repair those muscles you just broke down. Work with a sports nutritionist to understand when, how much, and what foods you should be eating to keep you healthy and energized for your workouts.

Add Strength Training and Core Work to Your Routine. Having a strong, fit body is a great way to keep the injuries away. If your muscles are balanced with a strong core, then your body will not wear down or have to compensate for being weak or tight.

Listen to Your Body with Rest and Recovery. Your body will give you the signals you need to know when to back off. If that knee is feeling a little achy, your soreness lasts for more than the recommended 24 to 48 hours, or you are just plain tired, then it is time to look over your exercise routine. Rest and recovery might be what your body is looking for. Make sure you take those rest days as your body is making actual gains during this time.

Don’t Push It. We all want to have goals, and sometimes we push ourselves out of our comfort zone. But you have to make sure you are not pushing your body too much where it can’t handle it. Often times, that is how injuries occur.

If a pre-existing injury or pain is keeping you from working out, call us!

Your Smart Phone Could Be Rapidly Aging Your Spine…

Chances are that you probably haven’t given much thought to how your neck and back are faring in the era of the smart phone, but studies show that you most certainly should. It’s practically a reflex these days to pull out our smart phones when we’re standing in line, sitting at the airport or riding in the car. And while it’s great that we rarely need to venture beyond our pockets for entertainment, our bodies are beginning to retaliate—and mourn the pre-texting days.

So, what exactly are these contemporary conveniences doing to our bodies? A surgeon-led study that was published in Surgical Technology International assessed the impact of surgeons’ head and neck posture during surgery—a posture similar to that of smart-phone texters—has on their cervical spines. With each degree that our heads flex forward (as we stare at a screen below eye level), the strain on our spines dramatically increases. When an adult head (that weighs 10 to 12 pounds in the neutral position) tilts forward at 30 degrees, the weight seen by the spine climbs to a staggering 40 pounds, according to the study.

How pervasive of a problem is this? According to the study, the average person spends 14 to 28 hours each week with their heads tilted over a laptop, smart phone or similar device. Over the course of a year, that adds up to 700 to 1400 hours of strain and stress on our spines. As a result, the number of people dealing with headaches, achy necks and shoulders and other associated pain has skyrocketed. Trained to address postural changes and functional declines, physical therapists are well-versed in treating this modern-day phenomenon, widely known as “text neck.”

Over time, this type of poor posture can have a cumulative effect, leading to spine degeneration, pinched nerves, and muscle strains. Scheduling an appointment with a physical therapist can help people learn how to interact with their devices without harming their spines. The PT will prescribe an at-home program that includes strategies and exercises that focus on preserving the spine and preventing long term damage.

Exercise is an important part of taking care of our spines as we age, but what we do when we’re not in motion matters, too. So next time you pick up your smart phone or curl up with a book on your iPad, do a quick check of your head and neck posture. Your body will thank you for years to come.

Why Physical Therapy First?

There are many choices in healthcare. Here’s why you should see a physical therapist first:

If you or a family member are dealing with pain and aren’t quite sure who you should go see, a physical therapist might not be the first person you think of. Hopefully after reading this, it’ll help you understand why a physical therapist should be who you see first.

Physical therapists are specialist in musculoskeletal issues. Whether you are having trouble getting out of bed, picking up your kids, having difficulty reaching into the cupboards, or any other daily tasks that you’re having trouble doing, a PT can help. A physical therapist will do an extensive evaluation, giving you a game plan that will help you get back to what YOU want to do, which is the whole point right? A physical therapist can help facilitate your recovery by giving you the tools to be successful. We want to empower you to be able to do things needed to keep you healthy for the long run without relying on medications, injections or surgery.

Many people know physical therapists treat backs, knees, shoulders, and all orthopedic issues, but did you know a PT can also treat migraines, TMJ/TMD and vertigo? If you choose PT first, you’ll feel better faster and could potentially save money in the process! Who doesn’t love to save money? In Indiana, you don’t need a physician’s referral to see a physical therapist. Most people don’t know that, so we’re trying to make sure people understand they have a choice in where they want to go to get better.

I like to compare physical therapy to when something goes wrong with your car. If you need to invest in parts or get work done to keep your car running properly, why wouldn’t you do the same thing in regard to your health? There are many places you can go for an injury. Hopefully, you know now that you can choose physical therapy first!

Why Choose Physical Therapy First?

There are many choices in health care. Here’s why you should see a physical therapist first:

If you or a family member are dealing with pain and aren’t quite sure who you should go see, a physical therapist might not be the first person you think of. Hopefully after reading this, it’ll help you understand why a physical therapist should be who you see first.

Physical therapists are specialists in musculoskeletal issues. Whether you are having trouble getting out of bed, picking up your kids, having difficulty reaching into the cupboards, or any other daily tasks that you’re having trouble doing, a PT can help. A physical therapist will do an extensive evaluation and give you a game plan that will help you get back to what you want to do, which is the whole point, right? A physical therapist can help facilitate your recovery by giving you the tools to be healthy for the long run, without relying on medications, injections, or surgery.

Many people know physical therapists treat backs, knees, shoulders and all orthopedic issues, but did you know a PT can also treat migraines, TMJ/TMD and vertigo? If you choose PT first, you’ll feel better faster and could potentially save money in the process! Who doesn’t like to save money? Also, in the state on Indiana, a law was passed that does not require a referral to see a physical therapist. Most people don’t know that, so we’re trying to make sure people understand they have a choice in where they want to go to get better.

I like to compare physical therapy to when something goes wrong with your car. If you need to invest in parts or get work done to keep your car running properly, why wouldn’t you do the same thing in regards to your health? There are many places you can go for an injury. Hopefully, you know now that you can choose physical therapy first!