Monthly archive for February 2019

Injuries In Young Athletes – What Parents Can Look For

Injuries In Young Athletes – What Parents Can Look For

As a parent, it’s tough to watch your student athlete get benched due to an injury. They want nothing more than to get out there and play, and you love to cheer them on. As a new season approaches and we start gearing up for spring sports, it tends to be a busy time of year. More physical activity, more training, more equipment, and more parent taxis taking kids to practice.

Along with those weekend games and after school practices, we see a lot more injuries. More often than not, injuries tend to go unnoticed (or unmentioned by your child) and eventually lead to worsening conditions. These are sometimes referred to as musculoskeletal injuries, usually caused by trauma or overuse. Understanding these possible injuries and their signs is the first step to keeping your child safe, and on the field.

Injuries In Young Athletes – What Parents Can Look For

Coopersville Athletic Trainer Mackenzie Delgado is pictured with the girls volleyball team.

“One of my soccer players injured her ankle playing basketball and it wasn’t healing on its own as quickly as we had hoped. I knew if she didn’t get in for physical therapy that she’d certainly be benched once soccer started. Within a few therapy sessions her ankle began showing significant signs of improvement. At this rate, I’m certain she’ll be ready once soccer practice starts.” Mackenzie Delgado, Coopersville Public Schools Athletic Trainer

Injuries In Young Athletes – What Parents Can Look For

Here are some signs of young athlete injuries for parents to watch out for:

  • Overuse Injury
    Watch for gradual pain, stiffness, aching, visible swelling, and tenderness. Our Functional Movement Screens identify the weak link and correct it by looking at fundamental movement patterns, which are the foundation for proper fitness and performance.
  • ACL Injuries
    Watch for popping sounds, immediate pain/weakness, and loss of motion. Our sports rehab specialists will help your student athlete heal faster and regain strength so they can get back in the game.
  • Sprains
    Watch for general pain, swelling, warmth, bruising, redness, and impaired movement. Our complimentary injury screenings are a great way to talk to a physical therapist, free of charge, to find out what’s causing the issue and the next best steps. Whether it’s a sprain, a twist, or just general pain, we’re here to help. Rather than doing research online and attempting to self-diagnose, come in and talk with a licensed physical therapist who can explain what’s going on and get your young athlete back in the game with the proper treatment.
  • Concussion
    Watch for headaches, lightheadedness, dizziness, nausea, and blurry vision. Because no two concussions are the same, our exam is essential to assess your child’s individual symptoms and limitations. We’ll then design a treatment program especially for you.

Injuries In Young Athletes – What Parents Can Look For

Talk to your kids
It’s important to be as open with your kids as possible. Make it a point to teach them about playing smart and to encourage proper warm-up procedures. By opening the door, children are more likely to talk about their pain without fearing the possible repercussions of sitting out. Be sure to follow up with any major falls and blunt force blows to the body. Regular pre-participation physicals are also vital for sports season and renewed confidence of your child’s wellbeing.

“My son was experiencing unexplained elbow pain and we were worried that it would affect his game. The school’s athletic trainer, Tyler DeBrot, recommended we give physical therapy a try. After just a few treatment sessions the elbow pain was gone and my son’s game was back to normal. Undergoing physical therapy treatment got him back on the court faster – I’m so glad we gave PT a try!” – Grant Parent

Our team of sports rehab experts and athletic trainers are here for your family, at every stage in the game. Young athlete injuries are often easily treated, especially when caught early on. If your child is experiencing any kind of pain, schedule a free consultation to talk with a physical therapist. Because Michigan is a Direct Access state, you don’t need a referral from your physician prior to seeking physical therapy treatment. Contact us with any questions you have, we’re happy to help!

Tips to Reduce Tech Neck Pain

Tips to Reduce Tech Neck Pain

How often do you see your child hunched over their device, sporting poor posture and slouched shoulders with their head tilted forward? “Tech neck” symptoms are easy to spot on teens and kids, but adults are oftentimes just as bad. If you work on a computer all day, then spend time on your phone away from your desk, your posture is likely to be just as affected as your child’s.

As a parent today, I understand how much things have changed since I was a kid. I know, parents say that all the time, but it’s true. My childhood was spent outdoors, riding my bike and playing with friends. The technology in my house consisted of one TV that got four channels (which you had to get up to switch). The phone was something connected to the wall that had only one purpose, and that was to make calls – crazy, I know.

Today, a lot of kids have their own iPads at school, then many come home and ask to play games on their phones or tablets. According to Common Sense Media, the amount of time that kids spend on mobile devices each day is 10 times higher than it was eight years ago. Tech neck is wreaking havoc on their bodies, causing not only neck pain, but headaches, tingling, and eyesight issues.

Tips to Reduce Tech Neck PainWhat is tech neck?

Tech neck, also referred to as text neck, is when the shape of your spine changes due to bad posture, caused from spending hours looking down at a device, or slumped forward on a computer. Tech neck is easy to spot, simply look at a person from the side. Does their head tilt forward? Is there a lump at the base of their neck? Do their shoulders round forward? These are just a few telltale signs.

What are the symptoms of tech neck?
When you tilt your head forward just 45 degrees, your neck muscles are doing the work of lifting approximately 50 pounds. Headaches, neck pain or spasms, and shoulder pain are the most common complaints. Oftentimes people also have a hard time focusing or looking up after they’ve been looking down for a long time. In some cases a pinched nerve in your neck could cause feelings of numbness, tingling, neck pain, or weakness in your arms.

In severe cases, the muscles work so hard to hold your forward bending head up, they tighten, then put more pressure on the discs. This process makes the discs wear out faster, leading to a potential bulge or disc rupture. When a ruptured disc pinches a nerve it can cause severe pain, weakness, or numbness in the arm.

Tips to Reduce Tech Neck Pain

Tips to avoid tech neck pain

  • Practice Good Posture – Hunching over a computer all day or playing video games for hours on end almost guarantees a slouching posture, which is a major cause of tech neck pain and back pain. Trying to overcome bad posture might bring you back to your adolescent days when your mother always told you to sit up straight. We needed a reminder back then and we still need one today. Kids might respond to a quick sticky note that’s placed somewhere visible. A reminder for you might be a lumbar roll between your lower back and office chair.
  • Keep Devices at Eye Level – Tech neck pain is caused when you place your head at a forward position to look down at your device. Teach your child to hold their tablet or phone up so they’re looking straight at it at eye level – this will help reduce the pressure placed on the neck. Also, a monitor stand for your computer will help reduce neck pain. If you want to take things a step further, consider a standing desk, which has other health benefits due to the reduced amount of time sitting.
  • Limit Screen Time – Especially when it comes to kids, limit screen time and help them find a balance between the virtual and real world. The American Academy of Pediatrics suggests no more than 2 hours per day of screen time for children over the age of 2. Kids needs to be active throughout the day.
  • Stretch – This is a quick and easy solution that you can use all day long. See our tips for stretching while at your desk. You should also get up and walk around once every hour that you’re at your desk. Encourage the same of your children if they’re spending extra time at the computer doing homework.

If your student (or you) are experiencing back, shoulder pain, or neck pain that you think may be associated with tech neck, schedule a free consultation with a physical therapist. You’ll have an opportunity to discuss what you’re experiencing and based on your symptoms we can recommend the next steps to alleviate your pain.

Fight Parkinson’s disease with LSVT BIG

Fight Parkinson’s disease with LSVT BIG

It starts out slow with a slight shake in your hands and fingers. You begin to notice things like your handwriting getting a bit smaller, and your sense of smell just isn’t what it used to be. Overall you seem to be moving a little slower and you’ve been having trouble sleeping. What may seem like simple signs of aging could actually be the onset of Parkinson’s disease.

Learn how to fight Parkinson’s disease
While there is no cure for Parkinson’s, there are ways to treat the disease, keeping symptoms to a minimum. The LSVT BIG program encourages people to do different activities in their everyday lives that focus on BIG and quick movements. It’s based on the concept of neuroplasticity, which is when the brain reorganizes itself by forming new neural connections. By adjusting activities in response to new situations or changes in their environment, neuroplasticity allows the brain to compensate for injury and disease.

The LSVT program began as a form of speech therapy, now known as LSVT LOUD. Initially clinicians and researchers found that patients with Parkinson’s spoke quietly, but with increased voice amplitude their speech significantly improved. They applied that same concept to the patient’s ability to move and the LSVT BIG program began. Essentially, when a patient learns to make bigger movements with increased amplitude, it becomes easier to conduct what would be considered normal walking and movement patterns.

LSVT BIG treatment should begin as early as possible after diagnosis, but it’s never too late to start. With this intensive four week program, the goal is to recalibrate the patient’s movement patterns in order to help them move with increased safety and efficiency.

Research has shown positive effects on patients who have concluded LSVT BIG treatments. Patients have a better and faster gait while being able to take larger steps, stronger balance which reduced their risk of falls, and an increased range of motion in the back and joints.

In order for a physical therapist to administer LSVT BIG treatment, they must first get certified. While studying at Grand Valley State University, Amanda Kushba became exposed to the LSVT treatment method and was amazed at how something so simple could have such a profound impact on someone with Parkinson’s disease.

Kushba’s experience with LSVT BIG proved successful with nearly every patient in one form or another. Seemingly small changes eventually became big changes.

Fight Parkinson’s disease with LSVT BIG

Physical therapist, Amanda Kushba, is an LSVT BIG certified therapist with Northern PT. 

“People are often devastated by the news that they’ve been diagnosed with Parkinson’s because there is no cure, and it’s a progressive disease,” explains Kushba. “Although I can’t provide a full recovery for these individuals, being able to help them gain more independence and confidence to do some of the things that they love, and improve their overall quality of life, is absolutely priceless.”

If you or a loved one is suffering from Parkinson’s disease, LSVT BIG may be an ideal program. You can schedule a free consultation with Amanda to determine if physical therapy and LSVT BIG treatment is right for you.


The video below shows how one man is learning to live with Parkinson’s disease by utilizing the LSVT BIG principles.