Category Archives: Injury Prevention

  1. 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.
  2. Strength Training Critical for Active, Independent Aging

    To the 43 million Americans who have low bone density, putting them at high risk of osteoporosis, physical therapists have an important message: exercise is good medicine. But not just any exercise – weight-bearing, muscle-strengthening exercise.

    “Essential to staying strong and vital during older adulthood is participation in regular strengthening exercises, which help prevent osteoporosis and frailty by stimulating the growth of muscle and bone,” said David Satcher, M.D., Ph.D., U.S. Surgeon General from 1998 to 2002. “Strength training exercises are easy to learn, and have been proven safe and effective through years of thorough research.”

    And while this benefit of strength training for older adults is a powerful one, it’s simply just one in a list of proven reasons why seniors should make strength training a part of their lifestyles and fitness regimens.

    While a reduction in strength is often considered an inevitable part of getting older, people of all ages should feel empowered to take charge of their overall health (including strength training) as they age.

    Along with diet and regular check-ups with both a physician and a physical therapist, an exercise regimen that includes elements of strength and resistance training can help slow some of the effects of aging – this, while also allowing one to maintain a high quality of life through activity and independence.

    “The work of scientists, health professionals, and older adult volunteers has greatly increased our knowledge about the aging process and how we can maintain strength, dignity and independence as we age,” Satcher said.

    According to reams of medical research, the many proven benefits of weight-bearing and resistance exercise include:

    Rebuilding Muscle: People do lose muscle mass as they age, but much of this can be slowed and even reversed through strength and resistance exercise. And of course, a stronger body has a direct impact on issues related to balance, fall prevention and independence.

    Reducing Fat: We also tend to more easily put on weight as we get older. Studies show, however, that while older adults gain muscle mass through strength training, they also experience a reduction in body fat.

    Reducing Blood Pressure: Studies have also shown that strength training is a great (and natural) way to reduce one’s blood pressure, even for those who “can’t tolerate or don’t respond well to standard medications.”

    Improving Cholesterol Levels: Strength training can actual help improve the level of HDL (“good”) cholesterol in the body by up to 21 percent, while also helping to reduce to levels of LDL (“bad”) cholesterol.

    Strengthening Mental Health: This goes with all exercise, including strength training. Maintaining a high level of fitness can combat anxiety, depression, issues with stress, etc. Exercise is also great for memory!

    Whether walking, jogging, hiking, dancing, etc., experts recommend 30 minutes of weight-bearing activity every day. Guidelines also suggest it’s also necessary to set aside another two to three days of strength and resistance training each week, which can include free weights, weight machines, Pilates, yoga, and so on.

    And for the sake of both health and safety, a thorough strength, movement and balance assessment should precede any new exercise regimen, especially for older adults – assessments that physical therapists are uniquely qualified to perform.

     

  3. Holidays an Ideal Time for Refresher on Proper, Safer Lifting

    Digging out boxes of holiday decorations, hauling packages to and from the car, hiding gifts away on the higher shelves at the back of your closet … the Holiday Season certainly requires its fair share of bending, lifting and reaching. This, coupled with the cooler weather, makes December the ideal time for a refresher on proper lifting methods.

    Back pain, after all, can put a real damper on the Holiday Season.

    As one of the most common conditions treated by physical therapists, back pain and injury will even about 80 percent of all Americans at some point in their lives, making it one of the top causes of disability in the U.S. Fortunately, it’s a condition that’s preventable, and one of the ways of doing this is to learn proper lifting techniques.

    But, preventing back pain isn’t the only concern when we talk about proper lifting. Using the proper techniques for lifting and carrying awkward and/or heavy objects is about minimizing strain on the entire body.

    The goal, in other words, is to put yourself in a position that allows the body’s musculoskeletal system to work as one cohesive unit, without putting too much strain on one area, such as the lower-back or shoulders.

    So without further ado, strongly consider the following tips for proper lifting during this Holiday Season … and throughout your lifetime:

    Warm Up: Don’t ever assume your body’s ready to lift heavy objects without first being thoroughly warmed up. Take the time to stretch you lower back as well as your legs and hips. Also, do a few jumping jacks to get the blood flowing to the muscles in your body.

    Get Close: Avoid reaching for a heavy or moderate-sized load. Get up nice and close to the box or object to minimize the force (in the arms, shoulders and back) needed to lift, and always hold it close to your body.

    Bend & Lift with the Knees: We’ve all heard this before, and it’s true. But in doing so, keep your back straight and your body upright as you lower yourself to the object in question, then use your legs to rise back up.

    Get a Grip: This seems to go without saying, but if you can’t get a strong, comfortable grip on the object in front of you – even if you know you can carry the weight – don’t try to be a hero. Find someone to help you or an alternative way of getting the object from A to B, such as a hand cart or dolly.

    Reverse the Steps: When you get to where you’re going, set the item down just as you picked it up – but in reverse. Keep it close to the body, lower with the legs and move slowly and deliberately. You can just as easily injure yourself setting objects down as you can picking them up.

    In addition, keep from twisting or reaching while lifting and/or carrying a load. Don’t rush through the process of lifting, and if you’re tired, put the work off until later

    And finally, if you do feel pain during or after lifting, or you have an injury or condition you feel is holding you back from moving properly, visit a physical therapist for a full assessment prior to trying any sort of heavy or awkward lifting.

  4. Pools Offer Fitness and Relief for Older Adults

    While drinking plenty of water is critical to life, health and healing, simply submerging your body in water (i.e., a pool) opens up opportunities for relief and fitness for those who otherwise may have difficulty exercising.

    This is especially important for aging adults and those with chronic conditions, say physical therapists and other health care professionals.

    “When you do an exercise on land, like jogging, you get an impact on your joints,” said Torben Hersbork, an osteopath from the Central London Osteopathy and Sports Injury Clinic. “But, when you exercise in the water, you don’t have any gravity forcing your body weight down onto your joints.”

    Because of this, experts say water exercise is ideal for people dealing with issues related to strength, flexibility, balance, sore joints and pain. This includes people recovering from injury or surgery, as well as those with chronic conditions like arthritis, osteoporosis and diabetes.

    The buoyancy of waist-deep water, for example, can support around half our body weight, while neck-deep water can reduce body weight by up to 90 percent. Such reduction in weight and impact on the joints can help people who may experience difficulty standing, balancing and exercising on land to move more freely – and often with less pain.

    In addition, water offers 12 times the resistance of the air around us. Because of this added resistance, movement and exercise while submerged in a pool can help build overall strength and stability in the body.

    “If you are over 50, the American College of Sports Medicine recommends moderately intense aerobic exercise for 30 minutes a day, four times a week, plus resistance strength training, plus balance and flexibility training,” said Mary E. Sanders, a researcher at the University of Nevada (Reno). “A swimming pool provides the one place where you can do all of that at the same time without the need for a lot of machines – at your own pace and more comfortably.”

    One study published in Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise back in 2007 showed that older women who regularly participated in a pool-based exercise program performed better in daily tasks than others who exercised similarly on land. The women in the study, for example, improved their walking speed by 16 percent, their agility by 20 percent, and their ability to walk stairs by 22 percent.

    Another study published earlier in the same publication (2002) showed that combining aqua aerobics with strength training while in the pool helped participants increase their strength by 27 percent in the quads, 40 percent in the hamstrings, and about 10 percent in the upper body.

    Even when people suffer from common chronic diseases like arthritis and osteoporosis, water exercise can help improve the use of affected joints while decreasing overall pain.

    “Exercise is an integral part of any arthritis treatment program, as it helps to strengthen and stabilize the joints, preventing further damage,” wrote Andrew Cole, M.D., an author on Arthritis-Health.com. “Water therapy is an excellent option for patients with osteoarthritis of the knees, hip osteoarthritis, and spinal osteoarthritis due to the decreased pressure placed on the joints.”

    Those who feel pool exercise or aquatic therapy may help them improve fitness levels or overall functional abilities should first contact their physical therapist for professional guidance. A physical therapist can help identify your greatest weaknesses and needs, then develop a pool fitness plan that specifically addresses these needs and your personal goals.

     

    SOURCES:

    Arthritis-Health.com: Water Therapy for Osteoarthritis
    https://www.arthritis-health.com/treatment/exercise/water-therapy-osteoarthritis

    AAPR: Making a Splash with Water Workouts
    https://www.aarp.org/health/fitness/info-2007/water_workouts.html

    AARP: Water Works Aquatic Activity: A Painless Way to Stay Fit
    https://www.aarp.org/health/fitness/info-12-2008/water_works_aquatic_activity_a_painless_way_to_stay_fit.html

    “Take It to the Pool: Benefits of Aquatic Exercise for Arthritis”
    https://fox11online.com/sponsored/osmsgb/take-it-to-the-pool-benefits-of-aquatic-exercise-for-arthritis

    Daily Mail: How Can Aqua-Exercises Help You Slim?
    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-105285/How-aqua-exercises-help-slim.html

    Cleveland Clinic: Benefits of Water-Based Exercise
    https://health.clevelandclinic.org/benefits-of-water-based-exercise/

    CDC: Health Benefits of Water-Based Exercise
    https://www.cdc.gov/healthywater/swimming/swimmers/health_benefits_water_exercise.html

    WebMD: Water Exercise for Seniors
    https://www.webmd.com/healthy-aging/features/water-exercise-seniors#1

     

  5. Mind your back(pack) during back-to-school

    From homework and tests to extra-curricular activities, students already shoulder plenty of weight during back-to-school time. Their backpacks should be the least of their worries.

    Unfortunately, due to the lack of awareness or simple disinterest (or both), backpacks can pose a health risk to kids and students of all ages.

    “Wearing a backpack incorrectly or wearing one that’s too heavy can be a contributing risk factor for discomfort, fatigue, muscle soreness and pain, especially in the lower back,” said Karen Jacobs, EdD, OTR/L, CPE, an expert on school ergonomics and the healthy growth and development of school-age children.

    Statistics back her assessment.

    The American Occupational Therapy Association estimates that about 79 million students across the U.S. carry school backpacks. Among these, nearly 22,000 strains, sprains, dislocations and fractures – ailments caused by improper backpack use – were reported by medical providers in 2013, according to the U.S. Consumer Safety Commission.

    “I put backpack problems into the ‘overuse injury’ category,” said pediatric orthopedist Robert Bruce of the Emory School of Medicine. “Many attribute their back pain to heavy book bags.”

    And while weight is certainly a key factor, the way backpacks are designed, lifted and worn can also contribute to discomfort, pain and injury in students. The good news: much of this is preventable.

    In this spirit, the therapists at the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA) and the American Occupational Therapy Association, Inc., offer the following tips for kids, parents and teachers:

    Select the Right Pack: Choose a pack that’s no larger than 75 percent of the length of your child’s back. Wide straps keep the pack from digging into the shoulders, and a padded back adds comfort and protection.

    Lighten the Load: A loaded backpack should never be heavier than 10 percent of a child’s weight.

    Distribute the Weight: Use multiple pockets and compartments to distribute the weight of the items inside the pack. Keep heavier items closer to your child’s back, while light and/or sharp items (pens, scissors, etc.) should be stored away from the back.

    Lift with the Knees: Teaching your child about proper lifting will offer a lifetime of protection for his/her back. Children should always lift their backpack using their knees, not their waists.

    Adjust and Carry: Insist your child always carry his or her pack using both shoulder straps, with the sternum strap and hip belt (if part of the pack) tightly secured. Adjust the shoulder straps so the backpack rests snugly against the back, below the shoulders yet above the hips.

    Watch for Warning Signs: Signs your child’s backpack is too heavy or not fitted properly include difficulty picking up and/or putting on the pack, pain when wearing, tingling or numbness in the arms or legs, strap marks left behind on the shoulders, or a change in posture while wearing the backpack.

    Seek Advice from a Physical Therapist: Licensed physical therapists (PTs) are specially trained to prevent injury, reduce pain and restore mobility. Seek the advice of a physical therapist to learn more about properly selecting and wearing a backpack.

    “I think the backpack is a nice tool, but investigate which type of pack seems to be the most comfortable for your child,” summarized Dr. James Weinstein, chair of orthopedics at the Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center. “And don’t put everything, including the kitchen sink, in it. It can’t be their home away from home.”

     

    SOURCES:

    AOTA: 1, 2, 3’s of Basic Backpack Wearing
    http://www.aota.org/-/media/Corporate/Files/Backpack/meet-your-backpack-8-2014.pdf

    AOTA: Back Facts: What’s All the Flap About
    http://www.aota.org/-/media/Corporate/Files/Backpack/Whats%20All%20the%20Flap%20About.pdf

    Everyday Health: Is Your Child’s Backpack Causing Chronic Back Pain?
    http://www.everydayhealth.com/hs/back-to-school/backpack-causing-chronic-back-pain/

    NPR: Surgery & Back Pain
    http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=5252993

    APTA – More Forward: Backpack Safety
    http://www.moveforwardpt.com/Resources/Detail.aspx?cid=ec576128-8e7e-4afc-87a0-e6ace64bcf0a#.Vbq2ZflVg5s

     

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.