Category Archives: Healthy Living

  1. I Stand Corrected! 5 Common Fitness Myths

    When only one in three adults get the recommended amount of physical activity their bodies need each week (according to the President’s Council on Sports, Fitness & Nutrition), it’s difficult for we as physical therapists to find fault when an individual is making an effort to exercise … even if the effort’s slightly misguided.

    But since October is National Physical Therapy Month, and physical therapists are the medical community’s preeminent experts in movement, fitness, and musculoskeletal function and injury, we view this month as an opportune time to correct what we see as a few common misconceptions about exercise.

    Good Intentions

    Some of the more common personal goals people make revolve around health, fitness and weight loss, and we as physical therapists are dedicated to supporting these goals through a number of individualized services.

    In doing so, though, it’s important to us that people work toward these objectives in a safe and healthful manner – one which most efficiently moves them toward their goals.

    In this spirit, here are five exercise myths we finds to be common among many fitness-minded people:

    1) Stretching Before Exercise Prevents Injuries

    Perhaps surprisingly, research suggests there’s no connection between pre-workout stretching and injury prevention. In addition, stretching before an activity or competition can actually weaken performance.

    So instead, warm up dynamically before a workout by walking, jogging, doing lunges and leg/arm swings, etc.

    Stretching is still incredibly important, but do your stretches independent of your workouts.

    2) The More, the Better

    For the more goal-driven crowd, a pedal-to-the-metal approach to fitness can seem the quickest and most efficient way to better health.

    However, it’s critical workout intensity and length remain in line with one’s current fitness levels and limits.

    It’s also important to schedule recovery, or off-days, into your routine. Failing to do so can increase your injury risk as well as the risk of burnout.

    3) Cross Training is for Athletes Only

    Cross training is simply working activities into your regimen that differ from your preferred or usual activities. The goal is to improve your overall fitness level by challenging your cardio, strength and balance in different ways.

    Such “training diversification” will help maximize your workout potential while helping to prevent overuse injuries and burnout, so everyone should do it.

    4) Aerobic is More Important Than Strength Training

    Whether it’s because some are concerned about too much “bulking up” or they feel spending their limited time on ellipticals and stationary bikes will maximize their efforts, cardio is often a focus for those seeking to improve health.

    It shouldn’t be the only focus, however.

    Muscular fitness is just as important as cardio for such issues as weight management, bone health, injury prevention, and so on.

    5) If Sore or Injured, Rest is Always Best

    Wrong again.

    While rest has a long history as a go-to response to soreness, pain and injury, research now suggests movement and “active recovery” can actually speed up the healing process, specifically when guided by a physical therapist.

    If pain or injury is keeping you from getting a full dose of exercise and physical activity each week, visit a physical therapist.

    Highly educated and licensed health care professionals, physical therapists like those at our clinic are experts at helping people reduce pain, improve/restore mobility, and ultimately lead more healthful, active lives.

  2. 6 Common Back Pain Myths, Debunked

    Despite being one of the top causes of disability in the U.S., affecting around eight in 10 people in their lifetimes, back pain is an ailment often misunderstood by those affected.

    Such misconceptions can cause those suffering from back pain to seek solutions, potential treatment paths, and even lifestyle alterations that aren’t necessarily in their best interests.

    Back pain can be as frustrating as it is debilitating, especially if past preventative measures and treatments haven’t been helpful. And, this can lead a person down paths that don’t result in the best and most necessary evidence-based treatments.

    These paths can sometimes lead to treatments that are more expensive or personally invasive – and perhaps even unnecessary – such as MRIs and surgery.

    MRIs, shots, surgery, medication, etc., should mostly be considered last resort-type solutions. The fact is, most back pain issues will go away on their own in a few days. And even when they don’t, most remaining cases can be successfully resolved through safer, more affordable and more effective treatment approaches.

    To help health care consumers make better decisions when considering solutions to their back-pain issues, we’d like to shed some light on the following common back pain myths:

    1. Bed Rest Helps with Relief & Healing: Once a common treatment for back pain, research strongly suggests long-term rest can slow recovery and even make your back pain worse. Instead, treatment involving movement and exercise (i.e., stretches, walking, swimming, etc.) often works better to hasten healing and provide relief.
    2. The Problem’s in My Spine: Back pain can be caused by a wide array of issues throughout the body as well as one’s environment. It can be a response to the way you move when you exercise, how you sit at work, the shoes you wear, the mattress on which you sleep, or simply your body compensating for movement limitations and weaknesses. Back pain doesn’t necessarily mean you have a “bad back,” or are predisposed to back pain.
    3. I Just Need an ‘Adjustment’: Those accustomed to visiting a chiropractor for back pain issues often claim to find relief from having their spine adjusted, or “cracked.” While this process can release endorphins that offer some temporary relief, only about 10 percent of all back pain cases can actually benefit from spine mobilization. Exercise is often more effective, as is determining and treating the pain’s source. (See item No. 2.)
    4. Medication’s the Answer: A popular quick fix, medication should never be viewed as a long-term solution to chronic back pain issues. Over-the-counter pain relievers can help get you through in the short term, but many prescription pain meds can be dangerous, addictive, and even make the pain worse in some instances.
    5. I’ll Probably Need Surgery: Of people experiencing low-back pain, only about 4 to 8 percent of their conditions can and should be successfully treated with surgery, according to the Cleveland Clinic. Even 90-plus percent of herniated discs often get better on their own through a combination of rest and physical therapy.
    6. I Need a Referral to See a Physical Therapist: Multiple studies have concluded that physical therapy is one of the safest and most effective ways to both treat and prevent back pain. And in nearly every state, patients can access physical therapy services without first getting a physician’s prescription.
  3. Tips for Reducing, Managing Plantar Fasciitis Pain

    Studies show about three-quarters of all Americans will experience foot pain at some point in their lives. Of them, more than 2 million people who seek treatment each year will learn they suffer from an overuse condition called plantar fasciitis.

    Fortunately, most cases of plantar fasciitis are both manageable and treatable.

    Plantar fasciitis will typically present itself as sharp pain in the heel or in the arch of the foot, most often when you’re taking the first steps of the day. The pain is the result of your plantar fascia – the thick band of tissue connecting your heel to the ball of your foot – becoming inflamed due to overuse.

    The inflammation that causes plantar fasciitis can come from a sudden increase in activity levels (i.e., walking or running much longer distances) or from sports-related activities that require a lot of running and jumping. Other causes may include a lot of standing, walking or running on hard surfaces, not wearing shoes that properly support your foot type, or being overweight.

    It’s estimated plantar fasciitis affects about 10 percent of Americans at some point in their lives, with most being diagnosed after the age of 40.

    Plantar fasciitis pain may come and go for some without treatment, but we never recommend ignoring pain as this is your body’s way of telling you something’s wrong. Fortunately, there are some things you can do at home to help relieve the discomfort and hopefully keep the condition from getting worse.

    Tips for the at-home management of plantar fasciitis include:

    Rest: As with any overuse injury, rest is a key component of recovery. Decrease your distances when walking or running, and try to avoid hard surfaces.

    Stretching: Stretch the soles of your feet by gently pulling your big toe back toward your ankle and holding for 10 seconds at a time. Also, wrap a towel around the ball of your foot and, from a seated position with your heel to the floor, slowly pull your toes toward you, stretching the arch of your foot. As tight calves may also make you more susceptible to plantar fasciitis, regular calf stretches are a must.

    Massage: A tennis ball can do wonders as a massaging tool. Roll a tennis ball under the sole of your foot, applying weight as comfort allows. Rolling your foot over a frozen plastic water bottle can also work, with the added benefit of helping decrease pain and inflammation.

    Foot Support: When standing for long periods of time, stand on a thick, padded mat. And don’t take your shoes for granted. Make sure they offer good arch support and that you replace them immediately as the shock absorption begins to wear down.

    If pain persists, however, a more individualized treatment plan from a physical therapist is likely needed. A physical therapist can pinpoint the most likely triggers of your plantar fasciitis pain, then customize a treatment regimen that may include flexibility and strength exercises, footwear recommendations and/or custom shoe inserts, and the possible use of taping or splints to help maintain optimal ankle and toe positions.

  4. Tips for Keeping the Weekend Warrior Healthy, Injury Free

    A “weekend warrior” is someone who, due to the hectic nature of a typical workweek, opts to cram most of her or his exercise into weekend workouts, activities, games and/or competitions.

    And while most physical therapists would never fault anyone for getting exercise, most would also agree that weekend warriors should be particularly cautious as the sporadic nature of their workout schedule puts them at a greater risk of getting injured.

    Days of downtime followed by sudden bursts of activity over a day or two isn’t ideal, after all. By putting greater stress on the body over a shorter period of time, weekend warriors should be aware that they’re putting themselves at greater risk of acute injuries, such as strains, sprains or worse.

    That’s because inactivity throughout the week can lead to a general deconditioning of the body that may include muscle tightness and imbalances, along with reduced endurance and cardiovascular fitness. A more consistent workout schedule can combat such deconditioning.

    But if one truly does struggle to find time to achieve their expert-recommended 150 minutes of exercise each week without cramming them into just a couple of days, we offer to following tips for avoiding injury.

    Space It Out – Rather than packing your weekly exercise minutes into two back-to-back days at the end of the week, consider spacing these days out. This can help you avoid some of the deconditioning effects mentioned above.

    Warm Up, Cool Down – When the weekend arrives and it comes time to take the field, hit the trails or tee off for 18, always warm up first. Take 5 to 10 minutes for some light resistance and cardio exercises to get the blood flowing. And after you’re done, cool down with some stretching. Also, be sure to drink plenty of water throughout.

    Temper Your Intensity – When you’re packing your workouts into just a couple days a week, don’t overdo it. As you’re not exercising as consistently, stay on the safe side by pulling back slightly on your intensity.

    Mix It Up – Try not to fill your weekends with the same activities. Mix it up, perhaps focusing on cardio one weekend and strength another – or a variation thereof. This helps ensure your entire body remains balanced, reducing your chances of injury.

    Stay Active During the Week – Even if you don’t have time to hit the gym during the week, don’t use that as an excuse to be completely sedentary. Capitalize on brief moments during the week to move around, stretch, and maybe even do some exercising. Take the stairs, stretch during your breaks, stand at your desk, walk during meetings or after work, and maybe even fit 10 minutes of at-home resistance training into your evenings.

    Listen to Your Body – Always know your limits. And, if you feel aches and pains or suspect possible injury, stop exercising immediately and see a medical professional, such as a physical therapist. Don’t try to power through discomfort just so you can get through the weekend.

  5. Good Night’s Sleep Linked to Optimal Physical & Mental Health

    At a time when studies indicate people are getting increasingly less sleep, one thing remains clear: we need to take sleep much more seriously as it is critical to both health and healing.

    Those who don’t get enough sleep are prone to lots of health-related issues that can interfere with quality of life and even life expectancy. This can also interfere with healing, especially when regular exercise, rehab and visits to the physical therapist are necessary.

    Multiple studies show that people who struggle to get enough sleep at night are more susceptible to issues and conditions such as weight gain, diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, a weakened immune system, and even anxiety and depression.

    According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the average adult requires between 7 to 9 hours of sleep every night. School-aged children 6 to 12 years old need 9 to 12 hours per night, while teens require 8 to 10 hours.

    However, when people wake up tired, then spend the rest of the day longing for a chance to take a nap, it goes without saying that they’re not getting enough sleep. Over time, one will likely find this lack of sleep begins to affect other areas of life, whether it’s mood or a lack of motivation and drive to get things done in their day-to-day activities.

    It can become a spiral if the lack of sleep is not remedied.

    Having trouble getting enough sleep at night? Consider the following tips:

    • Keep a Schedule: Maintain a regular bed and wake-up schedule, even on the weekends.
    • Be Relaxed: Establish a regular, relaxing bedtime routine such as soaking in a hot bath, reading a good book or listening to music.
    • Consider the Environment: Create a sleep-conducive environment – on a comfortable mattress – that’s quiet, dark, comfortable and cool.
    • Careful What You Consume: Have your last meal or snack 2 to 3 hours before bedtime, and avoid consuming caffeine, nicotine and alcohol shortly before you go to bed.
    • Cut Off Screen Time: Turn off all lit screens – smartphone, computer, TV, etc. – at least 30 minutes before lying down.
    • Exercise Regularly: It’s no coincidence that people who exercise regularly or who spend their days more physically active often report better sleep than those who are more sedentary.

    Physical therapists like to use the phrase, “movement is medicine,” and exercising for better sleep is one of many examples where this often holds true. Just be sure to complete your exercise regimen a few hours before bedtime.

  6. 5 Exercise Myths for People 55 and Older

    While it’s expected that most older people tend to slow down with age, the notion that seniors and soon-to-be seniors should trade in exercise and their active lifestyles for bingo and rocking chairs is definitely antiquated, say physical therapists.

    And yet, when it comes to exercise for the 55-and-older population, plenty of myths continue to drive people’s actions – or rather, inactions – when it comes to putting in the right amount of sweat equity to stay healthy and active.

    From a physiological perspective, sure, most people are going to start to slow down in various ways as they get older, but that doesn’t mean seniors and soon-to-be seniors should lean into these so-called consequences of aging. Age is just a number, they say. And while one must be mindful about the ways in which they adapt activities to certain age-related limitations, regular exercise remains just as critical later in life as at any other point.

    To help encourage the 55-and-older crowd to continue making exercise a standard aspect of their everyday lives, here is a list of the top five exercise myths when it comes to fitness at an advanced age:

    Myth 1: “It’s Too Late to Start” – It doesn’t matter what you’ve done before now. Even if you’ve never had a regular exercise routine before, it’s never too late to start. “Better late than never” when it comes to exercise isn’t just an adage; it’s a statement backed by multiple studies. Exercising later in life can lower your risk of heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, and some types of cancer.

    Myth 2: “My Body’s Too Frail” (aka, “I Might Break a Hip”) – Unless you’ve been told this by a medical professional (i.e., physician or physical therapist) based on a specific condition or injury, this is likely fear talking. Not only does regular exercise help strengthen your body’s stability, balance and flexibility, reducing the chances of a fall, but it can also help strengthen your bones. (More on that later.)

    Myth 3: “I Have Joint Pain, so I Should Stay Away from Exercise” – Again, the opposite is true. According to medical research, it’s crucial people with arthritis partake in regular exercise. Not only does it improve strength and flexibility, but exercise can also reduce joint stiffness and pain while helping sufferers ward off fatigue.

    Myth 4: “I’m Too Old for Weight Training” – Weight training, also known as resistance and strength training, actually takes on a more critical role as you age. Studies show that not only does a stronger body help seniors stay upright and confident, but weight-bearing exercise can also ward off the onset of osteoporosis by helping maintain bone density.

    Myth 5: “I’m Better Off Focusing on My Mind, Not My Body” – Fact is, focusing on the body is focusing on the mind. According to multiple studies, including one published last month in Nature Medicine, exercise improves brain health, helps ward off dementia, and may even slow the progression of dementia. In addition, exercise reduces stress and anxiety, and staying active often equates to a better social life.

    According to 2018 physical guidelines by the U.S. Department of Health, older adults should shoot for 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity each week, plus weekly balance and muscle strengthening exercises.

    And while fitness levels and certain limitations shouldn’t keep most older adults from exercise, some exercises may require modifications based on such conditions. Fortunately, a physical therapist can provide personalized guidance based on individual health conditions, movement limitations and physician recommendations.

Aurora

Hours:
Monday – Thursday 7:00 am – 6:00 pm
Friday 7:00 am – 4:00 pm

 

Services

  • One on One Care & Attention with a licensed Physical Therapist
  • Orthopedic Rehabilitation
  • Pre & Post- Surgical Rehabilitation
  • Manual Physical Therapy
  • Complex Spine Rehabilitation
  • Spine Instability – Prior Failed Rehab

  • (TDN) Trigger Point Dry Needling Cervicogenic & Tension Headaches
  • Joint injury, trauma and arthritic conditions
  • Physical Therapy for Aging Adults
  • Work Injury Rehabilitation
  • Sports Rehab & Return to Sports

Ned Zerwic, DPT, PT

Why Am I a Physical Therapist?
After going through rehab for my knee as a patient and then running a “Personal Record Best” later that season, I became enamored with the power of physical therapy. I was and still am amazed at the human body, it’s complexity and ability to recover and rehabilitate. I knew early on that I wanted to work with people. What better way to combine my fascination with the human body as well as the human spirit and it’s ability to fight, recover and rehabilitate? It is my mission to partner with patients by educating and putting their body in the optimal position to rehabilitate from injury to return to previous activities, interests and sports in order to live life to the fullest!
Continuing Education Commitment
I plan to pursue certification in Dry Needling and take courses on nerve flossing and myofascial release to further my skill set at relieving pain and restoring function. I plan to study and sit for a board exam to become an Orthopedic Certified Specialist.
Professional and Community Activities
As an Eagle Scout, I got an early introduction into the beauty of wilderness and the outdoors. I am an enthusiastic about backpacking, hiking, camping, kayaking, skiing, rock climbing, etc. I run marathons for charity to benefit some friends of mine that are part of a religious order serving the poor in a rough neighborhood on the west side of my hometown of Chicago. I am an active member of my local church community and recently joined the serving the poor ministry.

Meaghan O’Donnell, PT, DPT

Why am I a Physical Therapist?
I always wanted to be a teacher. Then in high school I injured myself ski racing and had to go to PT for my calf. While at PT I realized it involved a lot of teaching and loved going to my PT sessions every week. The rest is history.  I truly do love my job and get excited to go to work everyday and help people. My goal is that all of my patients achieve their full potential.  

Continuing Education Commitment
I will be pursuing my certificate in dry needling. I also have experience in pediatrics and want to continue learning neuro re-ed techniques to combine my pediatric experience to help my adult patients.

Professional and Community Activities
I received my doctorate in physical therapy at Ithaca College. My professional career started with a position treating adult ortho injuries half the day and pediatric neurological disorders and orthopedic injuries the other half of the day. After working in the outpatient setting for 2 years I worked full time in pediatrics in an inner city school district while also working nights at an outpatient clinic. Through this experience I realized that my passion lies in helping patients in the outpatient world. I love treating pediatric ortho injuries, chronic back pain, and all other orthopedic diagnosis. I use a lot of pain science and neuro re-education techniques in my sessions. I look forward to helping the people of Colorado return to their active lifestyles and enjoy life!

My biggest passion in life is skiing and that is what brought me to Colorado from Massachusetts. I was a ski racer through college then coached collegiate skiing. I am a PSIA level 1 ski instructor and taught in New Hampshire for 3 winters as well. When I can’t ski I like to go to concerts, hike, bike, and play in a kickball league in Denver.

Castle Rock

Hours:
Monday – Thursday: 6:30 am – 7:00 pm
Friday: 7:00 am – 5:00 pm

Services

  • One-on-One Care With a Licensed Physical Therapist
  • Orthopedic Rehabilitation
  • Pre & Post- Surgical Rehabilitation
  • Manual Physical Therapy and Spinal Manipulation
  • Active Release Techniques
  • Prior Failed Rehab
  • Sports Rehabilitation & Return to Sports
  • (TDN) Trigger Point Dry Needlingc
  • Joint over-use, trauma and arthritic conditions
  • Physical Therapy for Aging Adults
  • Work Injury Rehabilitation
  • Tension/ Cervicogenic Headaches
  • Aquatic Therapy
  • Treatment of Neurological Diseases
  • Performing Arts Medicine
  • Vestibular Therapy

Chad Hancock Director, PT, MSPT, CSCS, Cert. DN

Certified Dry Needling
Chad has been practicing physical therapy for over 15 years in an outpatient orthopedic sports medicine setting. He graduated from the University of Evansville, IN with a Master’s degree in physical therapy and has obtained through continuing education certifications in Trigger Point Dry Needling, Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist and selective functional movement assessment. He recently has been promoted to clinic director at the Castle Rock location and has a long history of working with sports-related injuries of all ages. Playing collegiate basketball, Chad really feels passionate about injury prevention and educating the youth on proper mechanic/movement patterns important to keeping athletes healthy. In his spare time, Chad enjoys hiking, mountain biking and spending time with his wife and two kids.

Andrew Trevino PT, DPT

Andrew is originally from El Paso, Texas but moved to Colorado at a young age and has never left! After completing a Bachelor’s degree in Sports Medicine and a Master’s degree in Human Anatomy and Physiology from Colorado State University, Andrew decided to pursue physical therapy. He recently graduated with a Doctorate in Physical Therapy from the University of Colorado Denver. He enjoys treating various orthopedic and sports related injuries, as well as helping people of all ages. Andrew has special interests in treating overhead athletes and golfers. In his free time, Andrew enjoys weight training, playing sports, spending time with his wife and dogs, and exploring the Colorado craft beer scene.

Jennifer Molner PT, DPT, Cert. DN

Jennifer has been a Castle Rock resident since 1999 and loves the small town feel of the growing city. She completed her Bachelor’s degree in Health and Exercise Science with a concentration in Sports Medicine at Colorado State University and continued on to obtain her Doctorate in Physical Therapy from the University of Colorado Denver in 2013. She has also obtained certification in Trigger Point Dry Needling through continuing education. Jennifer is passionate about prevention of sports and working-related injuries. She enjoys treating various orthopedic injuries, rehabilitating individuals following orthopedic surgeries, and has a long history of treating lower extremity injuries. In her free time, she enjoys training in various forms of martial arts, mountain biking, off-roading in the Rockies, playing piano, and spending time with her husband and daughter.

Downtown

Hours:
Monday – Friday: 7:00 am – 6:00 pm
Services

  • Orthopedic Rehabilitation
  • Pre & Post- Surgical Rehabilitation
  • Complex Spine Rehabilitation/Spine Instability
  • Prior Failed Rehab
  • Sports Rehabilitation & Return to Sports
  • Joint over-use, trauma and arthritic conditions
  • Balance and Gait Training
  • Work Injury Rehabilitation
  • Tension/ Cervicogenic Headaches
  • Cupping
  • Trigger Point Dry Needling

Erika Jacob PT, MTC, Cert. DN

Erika has been practicing physical therapy for over 25 years, all in outpatient orthopedics. She graduated from Ithaca College, and went on to obtain certifications in manual therapy and trigger point dry needling. Erika loves to educate her patients about their injuries and their role in the rehabilitation process. Empowering patients to take care of themselves is one of the most rewarding parts of the job for her. She is a true believer in the importance of continuing education in order to have a varied skill set to treat each patient individually, and to stay up on current concepts in the field.

Eric Skarda PT, DPT, OCS, COMT, FAAOMPT, Cert. DN

Eric Skarda has been practicing physical therapy in an orthopedic setting for the last ten years. He has developed a focus on spine rehab as well as chronic overuse injuries, but enjoys treating the entire spectrum of orthopedic conditions. Eric graduated from Regis University in 2008, then complete manual therapy certifications in both 2010 and 2011 with the North American Institute of Orthopedic Manual Therapy (NAIOMT), as well as receiving his Specialist Certification in Orthopedics (OCS) through the APTA in 2011. In 2012 he graduated from the NAIOMT Fellowship Program and at the time was the youngest manual therapy fellow in the country. Currently, he serves as teaching faculty with the Institute of Manual Physiotherapy and Clinical Training (IMPACT), as well as acting as a clinical fellowship instructor and examiner for the IMPACT certification programs.

Aaron Castonguay, PT, DPT, OCS, CSCS, Cert. DN, Medical Bike Fitter

Aaron has worked in outpatient orthopedics since he began as a physical therapist in 2013. Originally, he grew up in New England where he was an avid skier, biker, and traditional sport athlete. He received his undergraduate and doctoral graduate degrees in upstate New York, at Ithaca College, where he also competed in collegiate football and track & field. He moved to Colorado in 2014 for the mountains and sunshine. Aaron brings an eclectic treatment approach through his array of educations. These include a functional exercise and manual approach from the Gray Institute’s applied functional science certification in 2014, qualifying to be a strength and conditioning specialist through the NSCA in 2015, training and treating as a medical bike fitter from Specialized and RETUL trainings since 2016, earning his Level 2 dry-needling from Kietacore in 2017, and studied up on current clinical research through the APTA to be a certified orthopedic specialist in 2018.