Daily archive for April 7, 2013

Living with Pain? Why Physical Therapy Makes Sense

Are you living with pain?
Living with pain is not fun, but some people believe it’s just a way of life. You may think the pain will eventually go away, you might be scared you’ll need surgery, or it may be one of those nagging things that you just haven’t taken care of yet. Physical therapy is a safe alternative to surgery and medication, and the right treatment plan can provide relief from arthritis to back pain to recovering from an injury.

”You trusted what I said about my body and really listened to me.” 

Starting physical therapy for the first time can be intimidating. You’re struggling with pain and not sure if you’ll ever feel better. But a friendly smile and a caring voice from your therapist goes a long way and you soon begin to feel more comfortable. Before the end of your first visit you’re already beginning to build trust in what will become a very close patient/therapist relationship. At Northern, our physical therapists understand the anxiety that accompanies an injury or discomfort. We can help you feel good, get moving again, and live pain free.

If you haven’t yet tried Physical Therapy, consider discussing it with your doctor. Why?

Physical Therapists have a great understanding of how the body works and how to get you moving again. We know how to manage your body to restore and maximize mobility. Many times people are referred to physical therapy with a long prior medical history, which may include prior injuries, hypertension, diabetes, respiratory issues, and cancer. But these are roadblocks for us, they’re simply part of what makes up your personal medical history.

Pain can affect your everyday tasks, your ability to do your job, and life in general. Being properly evaluated by a physical therapist is important in identifying the musculoskeletal relationship of your symptoms and potential paths of recovery through treatment plans, exercise, manual therapy, modality use, aquatics and/or massage therapy.

When you can control or alleviate your pain symptoms, you can move through life freely again, regaining the quality of life that you once had.

If you feel that your pain is holding you back, physical therapy may be right for you. We have five west Michigan locations in Cedar Springs, Coopersville, Grant, Sparta, and Wayland, making it convenient to where you work and live. Give us a call at 616.997.6172 so we can talk about your situation and get you moving in the right direction again.

Make Waves with Aquatic Therapy in Grant and Sparta!

If you have difficulty with weight bearing activities, you might want to consider aquatic therapy. Patients who suffer from a variety of conditions such as knee pain, fibromyalgia, arthritis, neck or shoulder pain and sports injury would benefit from aquatic therapy.

What makes water such a well-tolerated form of exercise and an effective adjunct to land-based physical therapy? “It allows for non-weight-bearing or limited weight-bearing exercises, promotes relaxation, decreases muscle spasms, increases range of motion, improves circulation, increases the efficiency of the respiratory system and cardiac output, and decreases edema and muscle lactate,” says Karen Good, PT, OCS, ATRIC, Senior Physical Therapist at the Kennedy Krieger Institute in Baltimore, Maryland.

Water also reduces the risk of injury and provides security to the patient. “The patients can lose their balance and know they aren’t going to fall immediately [and injure themselves],” says Mike Studer, PT, NCS, CEEAA.

Aquatic therapy can also assist with the strengthening of injured or weakened muscles. As the patient’s strength increases the exercises can be modified to increase the resistance of the water.

Aquatic therapy is offered at our Sparta and Grant locations. Sparta’s clinic features a state of the art SwimEx pool. This pool offers an adjustable resistant current, which can assist with the treating of a wide variety of conditions. Grant’s pool also offers pool fitness classes and open swim sessions on top of the aquatic therapy. Classes run up to 3 days a week and last for 6 weeks. This is a fun activity to do with friends that can help you get into shape and stay active. For more information, click here.

Beating the Michigan Winter Blahs

During the Michigan winter season, it’s not uncommon to get the cold weather blues. Cold temps, less sunlight, and icy conditions tend to keep us indoors. Our bodies also tend to conserve energy to reserve heat, causing us to be less active and eat more.

The best way to beat the winter blahs is to embrace winter and get out in the snow and play! Getting fresh air will not only leave you feeling refreshed, it can also keep you healthy. Spending a lot of time indoors in small places that may be overheated or poorly ventilated can allow germs and illnesses to more easily pass from one person to another.

A healthy attitude about winter can also help. Try to seek out the positives of the season like bright fluffy snow, pretty icescapes, and the many sports that winter allows. Here are some tips to staying safe as you enjoy the winter season:
1 – Always wear a helmet when skiing, snowboarding, and snowmobiling.
2 – To avoid hypothermia and frostbite, make sure you wear layers. Start with an undergarment that will keep away perspiration, followed by a light shirt or turtleneck, then a sweater or fleece. You can always remove layers if needed.
3 – Don’t forget the hat, gloves, sunglasses and even sunscreen!
4 – Stay hydrated. Even though it’s cold, our bodies still lose water the same way they do in warm weather. Remember, if you feel thirsty, have a dry mouth, feel tired, or notice your skin is dry, you need to drink more water.

If you have any questions on healthy winter living, stop by or call any of our five west Michigan clinics and one of our therapists would be happy to help you!