Physical Therapy News

It’s a Family Affair at Northern

It’s a Family Affair at Northern

After years of pain in my left knee, it finally gave out in 2008 and I had a total knee replacement. That post surgical rehab was my first experience with Northern Physical Therapy and so began a relationship that would grow over the next 8 years. I later returned with a total right knee replacement, left and right shoulder rotator cuff surgeries which required therapy, and help with severe low back pain

When injuries happen you look for a good surgeon to be on your team of experts – someone who can help you get back on the road of recovery. The surgeon is just as important as who you choose to help with your recovery. Northern Physical Therapy is a GREAT choice to add to your support group. I’ve come to trust Northern and rely on their knowledge and expertise when I need help to get well from an injury, get back in shape, and return to work at my physically demanding job.

Northern Physical Therapy has also gone above and beyond in assisting me with referrals to another doctor, they’ve helped with billing through insurance companies, and even assisted in working through the governmental bureaucracy of Federal Workmen’s Comp issues.

Ronald and Nancy Zeerip are pictured with Nancy’s therapist, Terri

Nancy’s Story
My wife Nancy was having ongoing problems with bowel obstructions which ultimately resulted in a perforated bowel with peritonitis that required surgery. In one of my visits to Northern, my therapist Lisa, asked how everything was going and I relayed my wife’s issues to her and asked if physical therapy could help with abdominal surgery. Lisa suggested we see her colleague Terri, who specialized in women’s issues. That advice would change Nancy’s life.

Recovery from surgery and learning to live with a colostomy was not easy. Eventually Nancy got well and a reversal of the colostomy was advised, leading to another abdominal surgery with major incisions.  The surgery and recovery process didn’t go well. The incisions were painful and hard on her mentally.

At Nancy’s follow-up visit for staple removal we asked if she could get physical therapy. We hardly got the words out and we were told, “NO, there is no physical therapy needed for abdominal surgery.” Our efforts for additional discussion were met with negativity. Nancy discussed physical therapy with her Diabetic Physician and Primary Care Physician after problems arose with her left foot and leg. The diagnosis was ‘foot drop syndrome’ from nerve damage during surgery. And again after requesting therapy the reply always was that physical therapy would be of no benefit and that insurance wouldn’t cover it. Nancy and I discussed it at home and even if insurance wouldn’t cover it, I wanted her to try it. We thought it would be helpful and we would find a way to pay for it ourselves.
It’s a Family Affair at Northern

Terri works with Nancy on her physical therapy treatment

At the end of the day we asked Northern to write a request for treatment and submit it to our Primary Care Physician. The request was approved and the road back to health and physical well being began. Words like – helpful – dedicated – highly skilled – caring – just don’t seem sufficient to describe all the people at Northern and the services they’ve provided to Nancy and I over the years.

Northern Physical Therapy has truly changed our lives – you’re a class act and we can’t thank you enough for all you’ve done for our family.
Sincerely,
Ronald & Nancy Zeerip, Coopersville patients

Alternative Ways to Exercise on a Treadmill


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Who said a treadmill was just for running? We’ve got some great ways to work your calves and legs, and build strength. Next time you’re just not feeling up for a run, give these a try.




Ease Back and Neck Pain with the McKenzie Method

Ease Back and Neck Pain with the McKenzie Method

Each of our McKenzie Method certified therapists is highlighting a common exercise designed to reduce or eliminate back and neck pain.

Quick pain relief with very little intervention…sound too good to be true? People suffering from back and neck pain can often benefit from the McKenzie method of treatment where the patient is taught to practices specific exercises, in a specific way, designed to eliminate pain.

The McKenzie Method is based on the idea that self-treatment empowers the patient and reduces their dependency on medical intervention. By promoting the body’s potential to heal itself, The McKenzie Method® assesses, diagnoses, and treats patients without medication, surgery or other passive methods such as heat, ice or ultrasounds. McKenzie allows patients to learn the principles and empowers them to be in control of their own pain management, which can reduce dependency on medical intervention.

Benefits of The McKenzie Method & Physical Therapy

  • Patients who are educated in self-management can practice exercise and treatment methods at the first sign of pain. This means symptoms can usually be relieved before they become severe.
  • The McKenzie Method works quickly, meaning less therapy visits overall, and a quicker route to becoming pain-free. Results are typically seen in as few as two to three visits, meaning you are receiving a cost efficient, non-invasive treatment without expensive tests or procedures
  • The McKenzie Method is backed by years of research, evidence and clinical practice
  • Treatment plans and exercises are designed specifically for each individual patient
  • This treatment method is self-directed and managed. We work with you and teach you so you can be successful in your journey to being pain free
  • Preventative treatment is ideal for lifelong knowledge, skills, and pain management

How does the McKenzie Method work?

The McKenzie Method consists of four primary stages: assessment, classification, treatment and prevention.

Many times musculoskeletal pain is a result of abnormal mechanics occurring in the tissue, meaning that a certain  position, movement or activity caused the pain to start in the first place. It’s safe to assume, in these cases, that if a mechanical issue caused the problem then a counteractive mechanical force may be part of the solution. The McKenzie system is designed to identify the problem and develop a plan to correct or improve it, ultimately decreasing or eliminating the pain.

Fo example, if moving in one direction causes pain, then moving in the opposite direction may eliminate the pain.  This is known as Directional Preference. Other patients may have localized pain with certain movements like throwing or running. The McKenzie assessment explores the different positions and movements, looks at how the patient performs them, and the body’s response to these movements. By interpreting this information, the physical therapist determines which of the movements become the treatment and what the necessary exercise dosage will be.

The end goal of the McKenzie Method is to teach patients who are suffering from neck or back pain how to treat themselves and manage their own pain for life by utilizing certain exercises, designed specifically for your pain. We ultimately want to quickly reduce your pain and get you back to doing the things you love to do, all while minimizing the risk for the pain to return.

We have many physical therapists who are trained and certified in the McKenzie Method. If you have questions, or would like to see if the McKenzie Method is right for you, schedule a free consultation to learn more.