Kids and Concussions on WZZM's "My West Michigan"

Thursday, October 01, 2015
Sports season is among us and as the kids go back to playing football and soccer we see an increase in the number of student athletes who have suffered a concussion. As a parent, you’re not sure what to do and this can be a very scary time. Our goals is to educate you on the correct protocol and what to expect if your child does suffer an injury on or off the field.

Gina Otterbein and Keith Slenk stopped by the WZZM studios to talk with Catherine Behrendt of My West Michigan (formerly Take Five and Company). We had a great interview and were really excited to be meeting Catherine, Lauren Stanton, and Jennifer Pascua for the first time!

We covered what signs parents should look out for when their child suffers a hit to the head, as well as how the aftermath of the concussion should be handled. You can watch our segment in its entirety below. 

If you have any questions on concussions or sports injuries, don't hesitate to give us a call. 

Q & A about TMJ

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Many people have experienced pain or popping in their jaw, but how common is it, and should we be concerned? As it turns out, TMJ is very common and when diagnosed early many patients can receive proper treatment and kiss that awful popping sound goodbye.

I’ve heard of TMJ, but what is it?
Temporomandibular disorders are medically known as TMD, however, the general public typically refers to issues in this area as TMJ. The temporomandibular joint connects the lower jaw to the skull. Controlled by five muscles and acting somewhat as a hinge, these allow your to move your jaw up and down, side to side, and front to back. As you continue to open wide, move front to back or side to side the round end of the lower jaw slides along the socket. The joint is protected during these movements by a soft tissue disc.

Why do people have problems with their TMJ?
TMJ can be brought on by a number of factors. Trauma from a car accident or a blow to the head or chin may seem obvious, but yawning, gum chewing, or dental treatment can also trigger TMJ symptoms. One of the most common causes of TMJ is nighttime clenching or grinding your teeth, which can be triggered by an uneven bite and is commonly linked to high stress levels. Other causes may be arthritis or a degenerative breakdown of the joint itself.

My joint 'pops" but it doesn't hurt. Should I be worried?

You may not be worried about the actual popping, but chances are, you're worried about something. Here's where that link between TMJ and stress comes into play. Popping in your joint is not normal, it's actually a sign of the protective disc being displaced prior to the lower jaw sliding forward. This could be a sign that one or more of the muscles that control the joint is in constant tension and is causing disharmony with the joint. The frequent popping may cause head, neck and back aches that you may not have associated with your jaw. If you only notice it a few times a year, pass this article on to a neighbor and keep enjoying a stress free life.

When should l seek treatment?
TMJ can be progressive so seek treatment if:

  • your jaw pops frequently (on a weekly basis)
  • it's painful to open, or a grinding sound occurs when opening
  • you experience headaches (especially temporal), back pain, or neck pain
  • you have tender or tight cheek muscles
  • you cannot open wide (more than 4cm - grab a ruler and mirror)
  • you experience tooth or sinus pain
  • you have worn or cracked fillings or teeth

What Next?
The first step is getting your TMJ diagnosed. This can be done by your primary care doctor but it is much more common for your dentist to evaluate, diagnose and begin treatment. Some insurance plans require a diagnosis before treatment may be covered.

Treatment Options
lt's typical to start with an x-ray of the joint so we can rule out deterioration. Most times an acrylic bite guard will be made for nighttime grinding or day wear if you know you clench throughout the day. The splint has to be fitted so that the joint is in the most relaxed position. Over the counter splints can cause more harm than good and should only be worn to protect teeth when the TMJ is asymptomatic. Following your dental treatment you will most likely be given a referral for physical therapy. 

Why Physical Therapy?
Success of treatment is much higher when splint therapy is combined with physical therapy. It is important to be conservative and yet treat symptoms early, because there is a very poor prognosis for patients that have to undergo TMJ surgery. The key to successful treatment is patience and persistence, after all it is the most complex joint in the body!

This article was written by Dr. Scott Robinson DOS. The staff at Robinson Dental have been longtime friends of Northern Physical Therapy. If you're looking for a dentist in the Coopersville or Wayland areas, Robinson Dental is the place to go!

Reducing Back, Knee, and Foot Pain with Orthotics

Wednesday, August 26, 2015
Most people assume that orthotics are only for those suffering from foot pain. But let's take a step back and reconsider that notion. Your feet are the initial support for your entire body and when things are off balance starting at the bottom, it can contribute to overall postural imbalance, leading specifically to back pain and knee pain. In fact, pain all the way up to your neck can stem from your feet.

Biocorrect Pro-Fit Orthotics are fitted specifically to you by a physical therapist

How Can Orthotics Help?

- Orthotics offer support which can change the distribution of, and reduce the force through your foot, ankle, and ultimately, your knee.
- Orthotics can change the alignment of your foot and ankle, which can result in a change of alignment at your knee. When this delicate alignment is off, you'll most likely feel pain in your knees or low back.

Because our staff members wear orthotics and see the benefits, we often recommend them to friends, family members, and patients. However, you don't have to take our word for it - here are two personal stories, shared by friends, highlighting how orthotics have changed them for the better.

"I used to suffer from daily back pain as a result of working on my feet all day. Per the suggestion of a family member, I started using Biocorrect Orthotics in my shoes over 4 years ago and noticed a difference almost immediately. My back pain was gone and to my surprise, there was also reduced pain in my ankles and Achilles tendon. Last winter I purchased a new pair of shoes and since they felt very comfortable I started wearing them without my orthotics. After about a week my back pain had returned so I put the orthotics in my new shoes and my back pain went away within a couple days. I still use the original pair that I purchased over four years ago and have since purchased two additional pair so they are readily available in all my shoes. I would recommend Biocorrect Orthotics to anyone with chronic back or leg pain." John O., Coopersville, MI

"My wife is a physical therapist so she was frequently suggesting I try Biocorrect Comfort-Fit orthotics. I was a bit skeptical at first, wondering how a little extra cushion could really help my common aches. One day she brought them home and inserted them in my shoes. Just give them a try, she insisted. To my surprise, they felt great. So good, in fact, I even had her get a pair for a second set of shoes which I was taking on vacation with me. I wore the shoes with orthotics on Mackinac Island and walked over 5 miles in one day with no back or knee pain! We had taken the same trip 3 years prior and by the end of the trip I was so sore all I wanted to do was sit down. In this case (and often in life), my wife was right - orthotics are great." Tony B., Grand Rapids, MI

Biocorrect orthotics are available for purchase in any of our clinics, or through our online store. We offer Comfort-Fit and Slim-Fit, which can be purchased based on your foot size and there are options for men, women, and children. We also offer Biocorrect Pro-Fit orthotics, which are fitted by our staff specifically for your foot. If you have any questions on orthotic fittings or how they can help you, contact the clinic nearest you.

Buy Local Michigan

Wednesday, August 12, 2015
Janis had the pleasure of stopping by the studios of Buy Local Michigan to film a segment on reducing daily pain and Northern PT. In the video, which was produced by DW Video and Multimedia, Janis chats with host Duane Weed about how physical therapy helps people get back to living pain free, and how they help certain injuries. Check out the segment in its entirety here:

The Benefits of Yoga

Tuesday, July 14, 2015
Yoga is one of the simplest forms of exercise due to the fact that you can do it just about anywhere, its inexpensive, each pose can be modified to your level of fitness, and its incredibly beneficial for all ages and stages. If you think yoga is just for the super flexible and those who meditate, think again.

Yoga uses a combination of stretching, relaxation techniques and breathing to achieve a calming yet active state. The relaxation techniques incorporated in yoga have incredible benefits and are often used to help lessen chronic pain in the lower back, relieve arthritis, headaches and carpal tunnel syndrome. But the potential healing capabilities don't stop there.

Benefits of Yoga
- Increases flexibility, muscle strength and tone
- Improves respiration and energy levels
- Helps achieve a deeper sleep
- Assists in creating a balanced metabolism and helps with weight reduction
- Prevents digestive issues including IBS
- Assists with cardio and circulatory health
- Improves athletic performance
- Protects you from future injury
- Perfects your posture
- Protects your spine
- Improves your balance

But there aren't just physical benefits to yoga, there are mental benefits as well. Yoga is an ideal practice for managing stress, which can have serious effects on your body and overall health. Yoga can also be a conduit to a more positive outlook on life. When you take a moment to relax, quiet your mind, and do something physical for yourself, your body will thank you.

We offer yoga classes as part of our fitness program. New classes start every few weeks and we welcome attendees of all fitness levels. Visit our class page to see the schedule and class nearest you.

Get “Back” to Life and Save Money

Thursday, July 09, 2015
How much do you think low back pain costs you on an annual basis? Let's break it down. Has the pain ever caused you to take time off work? Have you been laid up when you should have been out enjoying life? Did you visit the doctor and get a prescription or maybe even have surgery? Over time these things can really add up.

But what if you would have visited a physical therapist first? Would things be different? Research says yes and the findings indicate that physical therapists provide cost effective treatments for lower back pain.

Low back pain has become a common ailment for many, especially those who work in office environments. Sitting for long hours in positions that disrupt the kinetic chain and make for less than ideal ergonomics increases the risk of low back pain. Up to 44% of adults under the age of 45 have low back pain at any given time in their life. And, in addition to coping with pain in the lower back, people also suffer financially if they don’t pursue, or aren’t informed, on the most cost effective treatment options.

A 2015 Health Services Research Journal study on the costs of low back pain compared to the effectiveness of treatment reveals that initial treatment for patients complaining of lower back pain averaged at about $504, while treatments that relied on magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) averaged at $1,306. In addition, those patients that received physical therapy as their first line of treatment saved 66% on their treatment costs over the next year.

Low back pain not only causes discomfort but it also deprives you of the ability to perform certain daily activities. Physical therapy has helped countless Americans tackle their low back pain and, what’s better, it treats their issue without becoming an economic burden on their household finances.

If you’re suffering from low back pain, there are several treatment options that a physical therapist can provide, including:
- Manual therapy
- Strengthening and flexibility exercises
- Movement mechanics training

Sixty-one percent of Americans complain of low back pain, but there is no reason to let it go untreated. We provide the best treatment and we have payment plans to jumpstart you on the road to recovery. For more information, call the clinic nearest you.

Benefits of a Resistance Band Workout

Thursday, June 18, 2015
Resistance bands are one of the most versatile pieces of exercise equipment around and they're increasing in popularity due to their portability and low cost. You can create a workout for your entire body, and customize it based on your goals, with an entire system that fits right in a portable bag.

Ideal for people who want a quick workout while traveling, don't have room for a home gym, or are just looking for convenience and versatility, resistance bands fit the bill. 

Ideal For All Fitness Levels
Resistance bands typically come in multiple levels of resistance ranging from light to heavy, so you can start wherever you're comfortable, then adjust the level of resistance by placing more or less slack on the band, or by combining multiple bands at once. 

Full Body Workout
Because the number of exercises you can do with the bands is endless, they are ideal for working on your back, abs, triceps, legs, biceps, chest, and shoulders. Most kits come with suggested exercises, and the Bodylastics website shows a wide variety of ways to work each muscle set.

Cost Effective
Imagine getting a complete home gym for around $25. Sounds impossible, right? Its not, get yours here.

Use In Place of Larger Equipment
Resistance bands can often take the place of larger, bulkier equipment, making them easier for the home gym. One common exercise involves standing on one end of the band while curling your bicep. In this case the band takes the place of a set of dumbbells.

Because resistance bands are so light you can easily and safely exercise on your own, without the need for a spotter. And you don't have to worry about dropping a heavy weight on yourself.

A More Effective Workout
Free weights rely on gravity and they feel the heaviest at the beginning of the motion. Resistance bands offer the most tension at the end of the motion, which some argue is a more effective workout.

If you have any questions on resistance band workouts, or want to check out the Bodylastic system, give us a call at 616-997-6172 and one of our personal trainers would be happy to assist you.

All images courtesy of Bodylastics

Juicing 101 : What You Need to Know

Thursday, May 21, 2015
Juicing is a great way to pack a ton of fresh fruits and vegetables into your diet, but before you get started, here's a few things to take into consideration.

Benefits of Juicing
  • It's very easy to get a wide variety of nutrients and vitamins in your diet because you can mask foods that you aren't crazy about with others that you love. For example, if you're not a fan of kale, you can throw a few stalks in and hide the taste with something sweeter like an apple or some fresh berries.
  • If you're not a big veggie eater, you can easily consume your entire recommended daily intake in one glass of juice

Because the juicer extracts the juice, leaving behind all the pulp, you're missing out on all the fiber in the produce. To get around this, you can add a little of the pulp back into the juice, or use it for cooking. Vegetable pulp is a great addition to soup, and fruit pulp can be used in muffins and baked goods.

Calories and Cleansing
Everything you're juicing is very good for you so you don't have to be too worried about calories, but if you juice mainly fruits you will intake a higher calorie and sugar count. Vegetables, on the other hand, are pretty low in calories and sugar, so its good to mix both varieties in each glass of juice you consume. 

You've probably heard of people doing liquid diets where they consume nothing but juice. We don't recommend this because you are losing out on fiber and some other important nutrients. And because the loss of fiber might not make you feel as full, your diet could backfire, causing you to crave a dessert in return.

The Juicing Machine
There are a lot of options out there, but we personally like the Breville brand. The Juice Fountain Compact is a great machine to start with and one of Breville's lower priced options. You can always graduate up if you end up needing something more, but we think this model will work well for beginners and those who already juice regularly.

Overall, juicing is a wonderful addition to your diet, and one that we definitely recommend as a way to up your fruit and veggie intake. Just remember that no matter what you eat, you should always stick with a balanced diet, low in fats, high in plants, and always drink a lot of water.

If you have any questions on food plans, dieting, or your health in general, our personal trainers are happy to help. Give us a call at 616.997.6172 and we'll talk you through your concerns and see what options are best for your weight and body goals.

Talking About Healthy Kids and Teens on eightWest

Tuesday, May 19, 2015
It’s never easy to see your child in pain. Whether they’ve had an accident, an injury on the field, or are having trouble with fine motor skills, you want to do everything you can to protect them and keep them safe. When we treat kids and teens, we try to make the experience fun so it’s enjoyable and kids can get back to feeling good again. In the process, we always educate families on how to keep their kids safe, while still allowing them to have fun and do the things that kids do.

We talked about this very topic with the delightful Terri DeBoer when we stopped by WOOD TV's eightWest this week.
Gina Otterbein and Diana Painter talk with Terri DeBoer about kids, physical therapy, and health.

Some of the most common injuries that bring young children to us include sprains and strains, broken bones, and what’s commonly called growing pains or muscle imbalances. We can also help with fine motor challenges in school like cutting paper and handwriting. Teens tend to come in for things like concussions, sprains and strains from playing sports, back and shoulder pain due to poor posture, and strains due to texting and gaming.

We also offer free helmet and backpack fitting assessments at all six of our locations. All you have to do is stop by with your child and their helmet or backpack.

View our entire eightWest segment here.

If you have questions about kids' safety, health, or pain they are experiencing, feel free to contact us at the location nearest you - Cedar Springs, Coopersville, Grand Rapids, Grant, Sparta, or Wayland. And, check out our previous segments on eightWest where we talked about running and stretching, direct access and women's health.

How to Use a Foam Roller

Friday, April 10, 2015
Foam rollers have the ability to alleviate tight muscles and soreness because they increase blood flow and flexibility. They've become popular over the last few years because they're lightweight and portable, and they can be used to work so many areas of the body like a sore back or tight hips or hamstrings.

Similar to traditional stretching, a foam roller is great for lengthening and elongating muscles, but unlike stretching it adds a massage effect into the mix. By utilizing your own body weight the foam roller allows you to perform a myofascial release, which is much like a self-massage, because it breaks up trigger points and helps stimulate blood flow and circulation to your muscles and tissues.

Using the foam roll
A foam roll should be used as part of your daily routine, not just when you have a sore spot. A lot of people wait until they feel tightness and simply roll it out, but it is ideal to think of the roll as a preventative measure to reduce your chances of a future injury or tightness.

Here are a few methods for using the foam roller effectively. If you have any questions on which foam roll is the right size for you, exercises, aches, or pains, feel free to contact our personal trainer at 616.997.6172.

Image via Health Central