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Qualities to Look for in a Physical Therapist
Have you just suffered a major injury and found yourself in need of physical therapy? Or are you at a point where you are ready to address the chronic pain you may be experiencing? Whatever the case may be, deciding on the right physical therapist for you can be a daunting task. With that in mind, we have compiled a list of qualities you should look for when deciding on your physical therapy care provider.
Empathy and compassion are crucial to the relationship between a patient and a care provider. It’s not just the right thing to do as a human being; it also has been linked to improved results. A study cited in the National Library of Medicine claims, “Clinical empathy has been studied in a number of [healthcare] disciplines suggesting that higher practitioner empathy leads to improved patient health and wellness and improved patient outcomes.” So, when looking for a physical therapist, you should first see if they showcase these characteristics.
You don’t want someone who doesn’t know what they’re doing, quite literally, cracking your bones. One slip-up can turn a simple adjustment into a serious, lifelong injury. For your ability to serve as your own advocate, the American Physical Therapy Association states, “To practice as a physical therapist in the U.S., you must earn a [Doctor of Physical Therapy] degree from a Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education-accredited physical therapist education program and pass a state licensure exam. The length of professional DPT programs is typically three years.” It is your right as a patient to request to see a copy of their credentials. They will probably have their degree hanging proudly in their office, readily available for your reference.
Physical therapy is an intimate process. That means that every individual may require different elements of treatment. For instance, someone who has experienced trauma in the past may be hesitant to allow someone to touch them, while someone else may want you to go as hard as you possibly can. A good physical therapist will take the time to listen to your unique situation and provide treatment that works for you. Fellow experts agree by saying, “Active listening is an essential part of building strong relationships with patients…. Active listening provides superior communication between the health professional and [the] client.” So, if you feel like your physical therapist isn’t listening to you, it’s definitely time to find someone who will.
As we hinted at earlier, physical therapy is not one-size-fits-all. One of the most important things for a good physical therapist to consider is that the skeleton we’re working on is attached to a brain with its own likes and dislikes. Everything in healthcare should be not only consensual but an open dialogue between the patient and the care provider. According to the Mid-American Rehabilitation Network, “Informed consent is an essential aspect of ethical patient care. Documentation of informed consent should show two things: that the PT gave information, and that the patient understood that information and consented to the proposed treatment.” Consent is a non-starter. You give the final sign-off on everything a physical therapist is allowed to do, and if anyone tries to convince you otherwise, run (do not walk) to the nearest exit.
We understand that this list can be a bit intense. However, we have great news. Dr. Michael Hartle, from Allen County Family & Sports Chiropractic, has all of these qualities in spades! We’d love to have you stop by and see how great he is!
Get the Most Out of Physical Therapy
When it comes to your health, there is no such thing as being too prepared. We’ve been operating in this business for a long time, and one of the most common things we experience is people coming into their first physical therapy session with no idea of what to expect. Another occurrence that makes our heads spin is when people have been with us for chronic conditions for months or even years and haven’t made the progress they could have made because they think an hour a week will cover everything.
Come Prepared With Questions
If it is your first session, it is important you research what to expect (some of which can be found right on our blog!) and what questions you may have. Like most healthcare professionals, we can only work with the information others provide us. So forget about TMI, as there is no such thing. WebMD recommends that you “bring a list of your meds to your first appointment and any X-rays or MRIs [and] make notes ahead of time about your symptoms, such as which movements cause pain and when the problem started.” These things will help us identify the problem and work more effectively toward a solution.
It is an Intimate Experience
Speaking of nothing being TMI, you will need to be comfortable with people placing their hands on you. A big element of physical therapy is in the doctor’s need to manipulate your bones and muscles to help relieve the painful symptoms you may be experiencing. If you are averse to things like that, it might be best to mentally prepare yourself prior to getting on the table. In Touch Physical Therapy notes, “Touch can occur for many reasons during a physical therapy session: as a massage, as a stretch, as a way to explore the painful joint or tendon. Each time it occurs; however, it delivers a number of important benefits to patients that help them to gain confidence in their bodies, in their therapist, and in their journey toward health.” We take the trust you place in us to be in a vulnerable position very seriously, and you will be in safe hands every step of the way.
Do Your Homework After Sessions
As mentioned earlier, an hour a week is insufficient for certain conditions. If you are experiencing serious, chronic pain as the result of a traumatic injury, you need to put in the work outside of the session as well. The experts at Arthritis and Sports echo this by saying, “The work you do with your physical therapist can only take you so far, so your plan will often include a number of at-home exercises that you must do each day. This ‘homework’ will help you continue to progress in between your sessions, so it’s very important for patients to commit themselves to the treatment plan.” It’s important to stick to your homework if you want to recover as fully as possible.
Good Things Take Time
Rome wasn’t built in a day. As much as we’d love to make it happen, a traumatic injury or chronic condition can’t be cured with one visit. Patience is a virtue in all areas of life, and recovery is no different. NextAvenue states, “Physical therapy requires patience…. both with the process and yourself.” We understand as much as anyone that it can be incredibly frustrating to suffer pain. We know how badly you wish it could just go away with the snap of a finger. However, practicing patience will take a huge weight off not only your mind but your body as well, as stress only makes the pain worse. Believe in the process. That is the real first step.
We hope these tips will help you get the most out of physical therapy, whether you are preparing for your first session or your fiftieth. If you have any questions about how we can help you, we welcome you to stop by the office anytime.
Spring Into Better Health
With spring right around the corner, most people associate the season with cleaning their homes, warmer environments, and maybe (if you’re a fan) checking out what baseball teams are doing down in the sunshine state. However, it’s also a great time to implement more outdoor activities to improve your health with the sun coming back out. Here are a few easy ways to use the upcoming shifting seasons to your advantage.
Go On More Walks
Longtime blog readers likely saw this coming from a mile away (pun intended), but we will still remind you about it, regardless. Walking is truly the biggest secret weapon we have when it comes to our health. It helps our body in so many invaluable ways and arguably requires the least effort. According to Better Health, “Walking is a great way to improve or maintain your overall health. Just 30 minutes every day can increase cardiovascular fitness, strengthen bones, reduce excess body fat, and boost muscle power and endurance.” There are so few exercises that yield those types of benefits for that little of an investment. You should use the warmer weather as the ultimate excuse to get up and go out for a walk today.
Add More Green to Your Diet
The changing weather also means a whole new menu of fruits and vegetables that become in-season. From asparagus to spinach to broccoli to carrots, there are so many ways to add some much-needed color (and even more-needed nutrients) to your plate! Piping Pot Curry notes, “Eating fresh seasonal fruits and vegetables is always more flavorful and nutritious, and also helps save money…. After the long cold winter, spring is always exciting with the beautiful weather and all the wonderful fresh fruits and veggies in the market to brighten us up.” With all these awesome produce options becoming more available, your overall health will thank you for adding some color to your grocery cart on the next visit.
Speaking of Green, Let’s Talk About Your Thumb
If your home space allows for it, planting a garden kills the two birds we mentioned above with one stone (we’re on fire with the wordplay today, by the way!). First of all, what could be better for your health and your wallet these days than a plate full of vegetables grown right in your own backyard? On top of that, you’ll receive sunlight, mental health benefits, and get a bit more active. AARP echoes this saying, “In addition to providing nutritious veggies and fruits for your dinner table and beautiful flowers to decorate it, gardening offers a variety of health benefits.” So get some dirt under those fingernails today! Your body will thank you!
Try a New Sport
If our original mention of Spring Training got you excited earlier, perhaps picking up a bat for yourself might be just what the doctor ordered this spring. Of course, there’s also a variety of others to consider trying, and almost all of them will help improve your overall health. Don’t just take our word for it (although, one might argue that Dr. Hartle’s word carries much weight here!). The CDC claims, “Being physically active can improve your brain health, help manage weight, reduce the risk of disease, strengthen bones and muscles, and improve your ability to do everyday activities.” So, get active today and enjoy the benefits your health will receive from that choice.
We hope these tips have inspired you to use the incoming spring season as a motivator to make some real changes to your health. We’d be happy to answer any questions you might have about any of this. Just stop by the office. Learn more on the rest of our website.
Simple Exercises for Your Heart
In honor of Valentine’s Day next week, we wanted to share some simple exercises to keep your heart healthy and pumping for many Valentine’s Days to come! After all, there’s more to celebrating Valentine’s Day than just eating chocolate, right? No? Well, we’re still giving you the advice, anyway. It’s valuable year-round, after all.
Of course, when you think of heart exercises, your brain probably pictures a treadmill. There’s a reason for that. According to Bronson Health, “Running 30 minutes a few times per week helps reduce low-density lipoprotein (LDL), the ‘bad’ type of cholesterol, and increases the high-density lipoprotein (HDL), the ‘good’ type of cholesterol.” As long as you’ve got both your legs and a killer playlist, running is a great exercise for anyone “on the move” (pun intended). Or, if you want a more in-depth approach, most treadmills offer specific readings that relate to your heart health after an exercise session.
Want to add some extra fun layers to your movement therapy? Look no further than swimming or cycling. The health experts at UPMC agreed with us by saying, “Walking, swimming, dancing, and riding a bike are all excellent ways to achieve these goals.” If running isn’t your style, believe us, you are not alone; swimming or cycling are great alternatives with similar benefits.
Does that sound like too much for you as well? Maybe you’ve got some bad knees, or you’re just really not interested in sweating up a storm? Yoga might be the answer for you to get in a heart workout while enjoying low-intensity exercise. Johns Hopkins Medicine claims, “Practicing yoga may help lower blood pressure, blood cholesterol, and blood glucose levels, as well as heart rate, making it a useful lifestyle intervention.” If you’re looking for a stress-relieving exercise that offers a plethora of benefits for your cardiovascular health, yoga might be the solution.
The Best Secret Weapon
Long-time readers of our blog likely already know where we’re going with this, but it still bears repeating. Walking is an incredible, portable, low-intensity, and high-benefit exercise. So many people underestimate the impact that taking a quick 30-minute walk will yield, especially if you are not physically active in other areas of your life. In fact, according to the Heart Foundation (but what do they know, right?), “Walking for an average of 30 minutes or more a day can lower the risk of heart disease, stroke by 35% percent and Type 2 diabetes by 40%.” If you still need an excuse to walk more, many apps and smart technology tools are available that incentivize you to get those steps in. We truly can’t recommend it enough.
With Valentine’s Day around the corner, use all the heart-shaped items you encounter on your next trip to the grocery store as a reminder that you should take care of that little pumping tool in your chest. You won’t regret it.
Get Active to Reduce Stress
January has been called “the Monday morning of months.” It’s easy to get swept up in a bad headspace because of the shorter days and colder temperatures. However, exercise can be a great natural remedy to help combat that. Here are a few ways that exercise helps reduce stress, both biologically and psychologically.
Often known as the “happy hormone,” why wouldn’t you want to do whatever it takes to get more of those produced? According to MayoClinic, “Physical activity [helps] bump up the production of your brain’s feel-good neurotransmitters, called endorphins. Although this function is often referred to as a runner’s high, any aerobic activity, such as a rousing game of tennis or a nature hike, can contribute to this same feeling.” Have you ever heard people say that they just “feel off” if they don’t get their workout in? They are actually on to something!
Leads to Better Sleep
Often, the secret cause of stress is how you start and end your day. The quality of your sleep directly affects the quality of your mental health. Johns Hopkins Medicine notes, “Recent research indicates that exercise decreases sleep complaints and insomnia in patients. The effects of aerobic exercise on sleep appear to be similar to those of sleeping pills.” Unlike sleeping pills, exercise also helps improve your skeletal and muscular health as well. So, it seems like a no-brainer, in terms of making your decision, to us.
Provides You With Something to Look Forward to
Now that we’ve tackled the biological elements of how exercise can reduce stress, let’s go into the more psychological aspects. To start off, there’s nothing like having an element of your daily routine to look forward to. A therapist quoted in The Huffington Post stated, “During particularly stressful moments in time…. it can be more beneficial to have something to look forward to.” While we are physical therapists, we’ll leave it to the mental health therapists on this one. However, we can attest that having a workout to look forward to is one of the best ways to turn around a stressful day.
It Just Feels Good
We don’t know how else to describe it other than that. It just feels good to get a great workout in. It starts your day off on the right foot and gets your brain out of whatever fog it might be in. CNet is on the same page as us saying, “There are many other ways exercise makes us happier — by lowering stress levels, reducing feelings of loneliness and isolation, and helping people relieve anxiety and depression, among other benefits.” Exercise just makes you feel good, plain and simple.
We hope we have convinced you to make exercise a part of your daily routine. It may just be the secret to getting you out of whatever funk you’re currently in.
Simple Weight Loss Tips That Will Stick the Whole Year
We’re officially past the first week of the new year, and you may already be struggling with the resolutions that you set for yourself. Fear not! We are here to help you with simple weight loss tips that will stick throughout the year. These may be just what the doctor (Doctor Hartle, to be exact) ordered to get you back on track for success.
Small Steps are Still Steps
The answer is not to go from Brendan Fraser in “The Whale” to a swimsuit model overnight. Small steps are still crucial and will lead to more significant steps down the road. According to LifeHack, “Once you’ve established momentum with micro-steps and add it to your schedule before or after an already established habit, you will have a much greater chance of success.” Getting overwhelmed and giving up never helps anyone. Start small and track your success accordingly.
Consistency is Key to Success
On that same note, consistency is the secret to being successful. Doing something once, especially regarding weight loss, will not change anything in the long run. Too often, we have seen people go hog wild on one trip to the gym and 1) hurt themselves and 2) not do it again when they don’t see immediate results. Entrepreneur notes, “Consistency is massively important because it allows you to focus on what you want. Focusing on a goal and working toward it every day allows you to utilize the power of intention.” Doing a simple thing every single day beats doing an insane task once every single time.
Stick to Measurable Results
Speaking of getting results, the only way to stay motivated to achieve a goal is to make it measurable. That means that instead of saying, “I want to lose weight,” you should say, “I want to lose 5% of my body weight by the end of the month.” ClarityChi echoes this by saying, “Making a goal measurable entails setting a deadline and making sure you know what you are looking for once you reach that deadline.” Keep the old acronym of a SMART goal in mind when you make a resolution for yourself, and you’ll be one step closer to success.
Liquid Calories are the Silent Killer
This is a secret that isn’t so secret but is so often forgotten about. When people want to lose weight, they immediately look at their plates, trading high-calorie food items for vegetables, while neglecting to look at the glass next to it. You’d be amazed by how many inches you can drop off your waistline when you remain firm to strictly drinking water (and, yes, that means water, not water with a pouch of something added to it.) Per a study shared by FitDay, “Research suggests liquid calories can be an even bigger diet bust than food. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found a stronger link between cutting liquid calories and losing weight than it did between reducing solid calories, or food, and losing weight.” So, next time you want to lose weight, don’t bring soda along with you for the ride. Don’t even get us started on Gatorade!
Simply put, the secret to being successful on your weight loss journey is to keep it simple, consistent, and easy to measure. We wish you much success with your resolution.
Kettlebells Make the Perfect Gift for the Fitness Junkie in Your Life
While you may be past the point of getting it in time for Christmas, if you need a belated gift for the gym rat in your life, look no further than a new set of kettlebells. The perfect addition to either the most humble workout room or a fully fleshed-out home gym, kettlebells are a versatile and space-friendly option that will add immense value to their next workout session. In case that isn’t enough, we have taken the liberty of offering you a list of the benefits of utilizing kettlebells in your next workout. We figured it would also help this article be useful to those who are already on the kettlebell train.
They’re Great for Cardio
We all know the typical cardio exercises involving a treadmill or a walk around the town. However, did you know kettlebells offer benefits just as valuable for your cardiac health? According to BarBend, “Many kettlebell exercises are ballistic in nature, making them ideal for low-impact cardiovascular training. Kettlebell circuits and flows don’t take up a lot of time, are performed at submaximal loads, and will place a lot of positive demand on your cardio system.” Taking up less space than a treadmill but still offering similar benefits? Sounds like a win-win to us.
They Improve Core Strength
Is a six-pack on your list of New Year’s resolutions? First of all, join the club. Second, look to kettlebells for help in that department. GymReapers notes, “An amazing benefit of kettlebell workouts is that it engages your core muscles. When performing a goblet squat, for example, having a firm core improves your overall form while strengthening the muscles.“ The secret to tightening those core muscles may very well be in the power of the kettlebell.
And So Much More
The benefits we listed above are only a few of the countless benefits that implementing kettlebells into your next workout can have for your health. SetForSet echoes this point by saying, “Kettlebells can be used for strength, endurance, flexibility, and balance training…the four main aspects of fitness.” Whether your goal is more muscle volume, better posture, improved balance, or anything else, kettlebells can help you get there. It truly is the all-in-one gift this holiday season.
Where Can You Get One?
By now, we have hopefully convinced you of the immense benefits of implementing kettlebells into your workout routine. With so many options on the market, where are you meant to start looking for one? We’ve got you covered there, too. Our shop offers top-of-the-line kettlebells at an affordable rate so that, no matter your budget, you can make a real impact with the gift of kettlebells this holiday season. Check them out by clicking here.
We want to take this opportunity to wish you and your loved ones a very happy and healthy holiday season. We’ll be back with another new blog article in the New Year, so stay tuned for more!
Benefits of Exercise for Mental Health
While this time of the year can be a favorite season for many, for others, it can be a tough time. Whether you have experienced a loss that hits a little harder during the holiday season or the changing seasons cause you to experience Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), it’s important to keep extra attention on your mental health during this time of year. Exercise is by no means a substitute for personalized treatment from a mental health professional, but it still comes jam-packed with benefits for your brain. Below, we’ll go over a few of the most prominent ways that explain how exercise can provide you with a much-needed boost of serotonin this holiday season.
There’s a genuine biological reaction.
Speaking of serotonin, exercise has a bona fide chemical reaction that has been proven to better position you for good mental health. You may have noticed firsthand (or seen other people) the post-workout glow that people have. No, we’re not talking about sweat. We’re talking about the good mood that is visible right on their faces after an excellent workout. According to HealthDirect, “Exercise releases chemicals like endorphins and serotonin that improve your mood… [it also] pumps blood to the brain, which can help you to think more clearly.” So, if you don’t want to take our word for it, given that we’re a bunch of gym rats, listen to the scientists.
It improves your memory.
While not related to how you’re feeling, memory is still an element of your mental health. Luckily, exercise is one of the best natural supplements for your memory. Findings from Brigham Young University found, “Exercise improves memory by increasing molecular targets like the brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF). This molecular factor increases synaptogenesis, forming new synapses that mediate learning and memory, making it easier to absorb information and form long-term memories.” Get that blood flowing into your brain and experience the memory benefits for yourself.
Exercise helps combat anxiety and depression.
Regarding mental health disorders, let’s talk about the two biggies: anxiety and depression. Especially in a post-COVID world, there’s seemingly no way that you, or someone in your immediate circle, are not impacted by one of these two insidious conditions. As we mentioned at the beginning of this article, no amount of exercise will be able to compete with the assistance a mental health professional can offer. However, MayoClinic noted, “Research on depression and anxiety shows that exercise and other physical activity can help improve mood, reduce anxiety and improve other health problems.” As a disclaimer, if you are experiencing suicidal thoughts, please contact your local emergency mental health services or dial 911.
Finally, it relieves stress.
Last but not least, it’s just an all-around stress reliever. It’s really as simple as that. After you work out, you just feel better. The geniuses at Harvard have echoed this point by saying, “Exercise reduces stress hormones and stimulates the production of endorphins, which together help foster relaxation.” We second that statement!
We hope you find these tips helpful, especially if you are struggling with your mental health as the days get shorter and the holidays come around. A nice workout at the gym may be just what the doctor ordered.
Healthy Options for Thanksgiving Dinner
We understand the big feast’s temptation on you to drown your insides with the most carb-heavy options available. Gooey mac and cheese? Two scoops, please! Mashed potatoes? Keep them coming my way! However, your body will thank you for considering some healthy options to help balance the meal and ensure your Black Friday isn’t spent in a food coma.
Broccoli: the Tastiest Green Option.
Argue with the wall on that. Broccoli is one of those foods that may have repulsed you as a kid, but as adults, you find a newfound appreciation for it. The best part is that, when you are eating it, you won’t even miss the butter-coated corn a few bowls down. According to Healthline, “Broccoli is high in many nutrients, including fiber, vitamin C, vitamin K, iron, and potassium. It also boasts more protein than most other vegetables.” So it looks like its taste isn’t the only superior element of broccoli after all.
Feel Festive with Pumpkin Soup.
It is fall, after all. Being healthy doesn’t mean you have to ditch the fun elements of Thanksgiving. Pumpkin soup is a great substitute for the pie you might have had on the lineup, which still keeps with the theme. The experts at Possible agree that, “Pumpkins and pumpkin soups are a powerhouse of vitamins and nutrients…Soups are a powerhouse of all kinds of vitamins, minerals, proteins, and various nutrients that promote weight loss, better gut health, and a good boost of micronutrients.” All the pumpkin greatness, without the health ramifications.
Skip Wine for Water.
Depending on what you believe in, this could be sacrilegious on Christmas. However, it’s safe to say you get a pass on Thanksgiving. Liquid calories (especially alcohol) are the easiest way to screw up progress on a diet/workout plan without even noticing it. Alfa claims, “As a natural remedy that helps you lose weight, water has zero calories, sugar, or fat as opposed to drinks like sweetened beverages and alcoholic drinks that are full of calories.” So keep passing the white wine around the circle and opt for a glass of refreshing water instead this Thanksgiving!
Turkey. Yes, That Can Stay.
We aren’t insane, after all. Luckily, turkey is actually a very low-carb and healthy protein that you can indulge in. Heart.org states that, “Turkey is a great source of protein, rich in many vitamins and minerals, and is low-fat…It’s rich in B-complex vitamins, niacin, B6 and B12, and the essential nutrient choline.” So, yes, gobble up that turkey this Thanksgiving.
We hope you take our advice and give these choices a spot at the feast this year. Have a great holiday!
Burn Those Post-Halloween Calories with these Simple Tricks
Now that spooky season is officially behind us, you may be feeling a bit of “Post-Halloween Guilt” about eating too many calories. While it’s healthy to let loose a little bit during this time of year, it’s equally important to your health that you keep your body in top shape. Luckily, unless you went absolutely crazy, the calories eaten during a fun-filled night of trick or treating can easily be burned off. In that spirit, here are some easy ways to give your body a healthy kick in the right direction.
We’ve said this a few times now, but it really does bear repeating that walking is the secret weapon for a healthier lifestyle. Too many people think that unless you’re benching two-hundred pounds at the gym, then you aren’t getting a valuable workout. According to experts at BetterHealth, “Just 30 minutes (of walking) every day can increase cardiovascular fitness, strengthen bones, reduce excess body fat, and boost muscle power and endurance.” We’re all busy, but you can find 30 minutes to invest in your health. Your body will thank you.
For Every Cheat Day, Balance it with a Healthy Day
We’re not gonna spout out the same stuff when it comes to diet that you’ve heard a million times by now. Yes, you’re supposed to be eating more fruits and vegetables while keeping away from those McDonald’s fries. But, let’s face it, sometimes those fries are too tempting. The key to health is balance. When discussing cheat days, Samantha Cassetty, MS, RD stated, “There is no best time of day, week, or month to return to healthy eating, so after a cheat day, take the next chance to re-establish your healthy routine. If you had an indulgent brunch, have a balanced dinner that evening.” We definitely agree with that sentiment.
At-Home Light Workouts
Don’t go hurting yourself but simple, light workouts at home can be a great way to easily burn some of those Halloween calories. When we say simple, think living room yoga, a few pushups, situps, or jumping jacks. Fatherly shared this view by saying, “The best at-home workouts will help you drop weight, build muscle, and avoid those recurring monthly gym fees.” If you’re looking for the perfect kettlebells to add to your home gym routine, we’ve got you covered there too.
Drink Tons of Water
All of these activities will be slightly strenuous on your body, and you will need to be sure to keep hydrated. We truly cannot stress the importance of keeping hydrated enough. The brainiacs over at Harvard went so far as to say, “Drinking enough water each day is crucial for many reasons: to regulate body temperature, keep joints lubricated, prevent infections, deliver nutrients to cells, and keep organs functioning properly. Being well-hydrated also improves sleep quality, cognition, and mood.” So, remember to keep drinking plenty of water as you practice all these strategies.
We hope these tips will put you in good shape (literally) to burn those Halloween calories. Feel free to stop by our office and tell us all about your progress.