Physical Therapy News

Treating Vertigo with Physical Therapy

Imagine standing in front of a classroom full of students when you begin to feel dizzy. You lose focus and feel nauseous, sit down, close your eyes, quickly wonder what’s going on and begin to panic. That’s a scary feeling but what if that scenario isn’t just a one-time thing? Vertigo can effect people of any age, even those in perfect health. Ryan Schoenborn is a teacher at Coopersville Public Schools and he experienced these extreme feelings of dizziness so he looked to Northern for help. We thank him for sharing his story with us.

“I knew I had to get my vertigo treated quickly, but I initially had no idea that physical therapy was a viable option. After describing my symptoms to my wife (who is a physical therapist but not with Northern), she suggested I give PT a try. I was willing to do anything to get results so I agreed. Upon my first appointment with Northern my symptoms were so severe that I had to be wheeled into the clinic in a wheelchair. Not only was I unable to walk, but I had to keep my eyes closed to fight the nausea.

Lisa, the therapist who treated me, was very knowledgeable when it came to my condition. She was able to explain what was happening, how she was treating it, and the exercises and tips that were necessary for preventing the symptoms from coming back in the future. We worked together that first day and I was amazed at how quickly I had positive results. I was able to walk to my car and look people in the eyes on the way out. I cannot describe what a relief it was to have my symptoms reduced so quickly.

After physical therapy, the vertigo never came back to the level it had been. Lisa gave me exercises that helped to prevent a relapse. They were easy to do and I feel they helped me to get back to my normal life and work much faster. I left the clinic that day feeling much better physically, but also feeling like I understood my condition and how to prevent it.”

Do Pedometers Really Get You Moving?

Fitness gadgets are all the rage these days, and with so many to choose from, do you really think something as small as a pedometer will affect your overall health? The research is pointing to yes.

Included among the features in many newer smart phones is a built-in pedometer. A small gadget or an app that counts your steps is a novel idea, but how does it really get you up and moving? Well, the answer is simple. It’s a motivational tool that’s always there, reminding you to keep moving. And if you have even an inch of competitiveness in your body, you’re going to want to reach (and even exceed) that goal each day.

Simply start by setting a goal of walking 10,000 steps each day, which equals approximately 5 miles. Yes, it sounds like a lot and if you’re not there yet, keep track of how many steps you are taking and try to increase the amount each day. You’ll find that eventually you can easily walk the 10,000 steps without even trying because of certain habits that have evolved over time.

Take the Step Challenge with us!
A few times a year we offer a step challenge to encourage healthier habits. Its free to enter, plus there are some pretty great prizes. The next one will start in February so get ready to step it up! If you can find a friend to participate with you, it makes it easier because you have someone you’re accountable to.

Easy ways to contribute to the 10,000 step goal
– Clean the house: I recently clocked over 6,000 steps just by cleaning my house and garage
– Park further from the store
– Take the stairs instead of the elevator
– Break it up by taking 3 power walks throughout the day
– Invite a friend for a walking lunch date
– Pace while on the phone or watching tv
– And the most obvious choice – get out and go for a walk!

If you’re not sure where to start when it comes to getting the right pedometer, you can begin with something simple like an app that you download on your phone. The downside to using an app is that you have to have your phone with you at all times to track your steps. The Fitbit is also a great choice, and recommended by many of our therapists. Because it’s worn on your wrist, it’s a constant reminder to get up and walk around. Fitbit also makes it easy to see how close or far away you are from your daily goal.

Benefits of walking include
– Regular walkers have fewer heart attacks and strokes, lower blood pressure, and higher levels of healthy HDL cholesterol than couch sitters do
– Lower chances of diabetes
– Burn calories
– Reduced stress, increased energy levels, and a better mood all the way around
– Boosts your immune system
– Strengthens your bones
– Improves your balance and coordination

Walking is an easy and inexpensive way to help you get in shape, and it can be fun if you invite a friend. If you really want to dig in and make the most out of your walks, we offer gait analysis tests that will check your stride and form, orthotics that will help with balance and comfort, and personal training sessions to establish a routine just for you. But the most important thing to remember is to get up and walk.

Triathlon Training and an Indoor Triathlon

We’ve got two exciting opportunities for people who are thinking about competing in triathlons. Preparing for these events takes a lot of hard work and determination, so proper training is essential.

TriFit Triathlon Training
If you’re a beginner looking for more guidance or an established athlete who wants to improve their performance, TriFit is the program for you. The class begins May 22 and meets every 2 weeks through September 16, when we’ll compete in the Allendale Countryside Triathlon. The program cost is $169 but if you sign up with a friend you’ll save $20 each (race registration is not included).

TriFit participants can expect a varied training schedule where we’ll ultimately prepare you to swim 500m, bike 17 miles, and run 3.1 miles with weekly training plans, cross training with strengthening and core, fueling and recovery, pacing, transitioning, tapering, and support and access to experts in each respective category. Your trainers are top-notch competitive athletes including Boston Marathon finisher Gina Otterbein, competitive swim coach and prior All-American collegiate swimmer Kelsey Wilterink, and sports rehabilitation expert and prior collegiate athlete Diana Painter.

Experience is not required but participants should be able to swim 5 minutes in open water, run 15-20 minutes continuously, and bike 30 minutes continuously. Space in this program is limited so early registration is highly encouraged. You can learn more about the program and register here.


N3 Indoor Triathlon
We’re excited to be sponsoring the first ever N³ Indoor Triathlon, which takes place on Saturday, February 25 at 8am at the Northview Community Fitness Center. It’s a great introduction to a full tri, including a 10 minute swim, 10 minute transition, 30 minute Airdyne bike series, 5 minute transition, and 15 minute run. Medals will be awarded to the top 3 overall and top 3 in each age group. Registration is due by February 23 at noon and is limited to 100 participants. Athletes will receive their designated start time and race logistic info via email 24 hours prior to the event date. The cost is $35 and includes a t-shirt. 50% of proceeds will go to the Northview Education Foundation.


If you’ve been thinking about participating in a triathlon, this event is a great opportunity to get your feet wet, while establishing a base for your performance. Click here to register and get more details.