Category Archives: Uncategorized

Headaches and TMJ Pain: Elite PT Newsletter Sept. 2018

This month I want to talk a bit about treating chronic headaches and temporomandibular joint pain (TMJ – aka the jaw).

But first I want to use this opportunity to remind you that we do free screenings for high school athletes with nagging injuries.  Sprains and strains as well as aches/pains that just don’t get better or go away with time are a perfect example of the kinds of injuries that we could help with.

If you’re son or daughter has a more severe injury then you should consult with your physician first.

I’m available most Tuesday afternoons after 1pm.  Appointments typically run about 30 minute – within that time I can give you a diagnosis and get your athlete started on the path to recovery.  Other days and times may be an option, it just depends on our availability.  Just call us at 231 421-5805 if you have questions or to schedule a free screening.

______________________________________________________

In other news….

Anniversaries this month:

Allie Hoyt PT/Athletic Trainer -1 year

Allie Hoyt DPT, ATC
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Jesie Bott ATC/Massage Therapist- 5 years

Jesie Bott ATC, LMT

 

 

 

 

 

 

Jesie and Allie have been wonderful employees and we’re blessed to have them practicing at Elite Physical Therapy.

They are also a big part of the reason why we have just passed our 7th year in business.  I’m convinced we’ve done so well over the years because of our employees and their love for our patients and desire to help them achieve their recovery goals.
__________________________________________________

Headaches and TMJ Pain

These may not be the first things that pop into your head when you think of what a physical therapist would treat but we do see folks with both of these conditions.

Headaches and migraines can sometimes be the result of pain being referred from muscles in the neck up into the head.  It’s way more common than you might think.  The pictures below show the common referral patterns from our neck muscles.

Upper Trapezius

Upper Trap Trigger Points - headaches
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Suboccipitals

Suboccipital Trigger Points - headaches

 

 

 

 

 

Sternocleidomastoid

Sternocleidomastoid Trigger Points - headaches
 

 

 

 

Long hours staring at a computer screen or hunched over a desk can strain these muscles causing pain.  Often times the muscle itself just feels tight but it projects the pain elsewhere – in this case into your head and/or face.

Luckily its pretty easy for us to determine if this is the cause of your neck pain or headaches. And if that’s the case these muscles can be treated with a number of manual techniques such as Trigger Point Dry Needling and Graston Technique.

  •  click on Dry Needling or Graston Technique above to see video demonstrations

Many people can also have symptoms in the their jaw, or temporomandibular joint (TMJ), which are common with everyday activities like chewing and talking.  The pain can be local to the joint itself and/or the muscles around the joint can refer pain into the head or face.  Check out the pictures below:

Temporalis Muscle

Temporalis Trigger Points - Headaches

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Masseter Muscle

Masseter trigger points - headaches

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

TMJ symptoms can also be treated with physical therapy techniques including the manual therapy techniques I mentioned above.  It might sound crazy using needles to treat these muscles but over the past month we’ve had 2 clients that achieved complete pain relief with 1-2 treatment sessions.

There is still a bit of work to do in regards to improving the function of the jaw and neck to be sure the symptoms don’t come back but treating the muscles can be a very beneficial strategy.

If you suffer from chronic headaches or TMJ symptoms give us a call and we can discuss if physical therapy would be appropriate (231 421-5805).
____________________________________________________

That’s it for this month.  Talk to you again in October!

Joe Heiler PT
Joe@elitepttc.com
231 421-5805

Elite PT Newsletter August 18′ – Running Injuries: Preventing Lower Back Pain

We’re continuing with our series on running injuries – this month focusing on how to prevent lower back pain.

But first:

I want to welcome our new PT student Charlie Crockatt

Charlie CrockattCharlie is in his third and final year of Grand Valley State University’s doctorate of physical therapy program, and is with us until October for hands-on clinical experience. He grew up in Livonia Michigan, playing football and baseball for the Stevenson Spartans. After high school he completed his undergraduate work at Central Michigan University, studying athletic training. After graduation from PT school, he is interested in working with athletic populations of all ages and hopes to travel outside of Michigan. In his free time, he enjoys the outdoors and also plays drums for an indie rock band called Birdie Country.

Charlie will be a great fit at Elite PT and will be here through October 5th.
_______________________________________________________________
Running Injuries continued:  Preventing Lower Back Pain

Unfortunately lower back pain is a frequent problem for runners especially as distances increase.

As you’ve learned from our previous articles on running injuries, having good joint mobility and flexibility are very important for injury prevention.  When it comes to your lower back, the more mobile and flexible you are through the joints above and below – specifically ankles, hips, and thoracic spine – the better.

Another important consideration is core stability.  I prefer to use the term ‘stability’ over the more common term ‘strength’ because that’s really what we are after.  Stability, in this case, is the ability of the muscles of the trunk to maintain a safe position of the joints of the spine while you alternately swing your arms and legs to run.  In simpler terms:  to keep your lower back relatively still while the rest of you moves.

One of the best ways to train for stability is to use a variety of plank exercises to challenge the various muscle groups on the front, back, and sides of the trunk.  These are known as Bunke Planks and are pictured below:






Use a small box or chair approximately 12-18″ high (the higher it gets the easier it tends to get).

These exercises were introduced a few years back as a way of developing stability and endurance through the trunk muscles but also to compare how stable a runner was right to left.  Everything is done on one leg and compared to the opposite side.  Competitive runners should be able to hold each position 40 seconds at a minimum on each leg.  Asymmetries right to left (i.e. hold on left leg 40 seconds but only 25 seconds on the right) was thought to put runners at a substantially higher risk of injury.  Not being able to hold the full 40 seconds was not as big a deal but still thought to increase risk of injury.

So that’s the quick and dirty history of the Bunke Planks in one paragraph.  Competitive runners should be able to hold each plank 40 seconds on each leg in each position.  This can be very challenging, and very eye opening as some folks think they are quite ‘strong’ through their core until they try these!

For the rest of us, these planks can be very difficult and in some cases way to advanced.  Luckily there are a number of regressions possible that can be used to build up stability and endurance and maybe eventually work up to the full blown Bunke plank.

The easiest thing to do in some cases is just to do the plank in the pictures on both legs and work up to 40 seconds before trying to lift a leg.

From there alternate lifting legs up to 10 reps each leg.  You will only be holding a few seconds each leg before switching to the other.  If your on your side you would lift the top or bottom leg 10 time then switch sides.

The next step would be to start working in longer holds.

The shoulders can often be limiting factors in performing the Bunke planks – here are some regressions to take the shoulders out completely or at least to decrease the total amount of body weight you must hold up:

Hamstring Bridging

Single Leg Hamstring Bridge

Lift the tailbone but not the lower back!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Side Plank (from the knees)

Side Plank from knees

Hold the hips high and lift the top leg up and down

 

 

 

 

 

Front Planks (from the knees)

Kneeling Front Plank

Keep the hips high and back flat

 

 

 

 

If you have any questions at all or are suffering from lower back pain feel free to email me:  Joe@elitepttc.com

Keep running and stay healthy!

 

Joe Heiler

231 421-5805

Joe@elitepttc.com

Elite Sports Performance – 2018 Athletic Enhancement Programs

It’s nearly summer which means vacations, cookouts, and the beach.  It also means our Elite Sports Performance program is back – this is one of the few times during the year that students actually have a chance to work on maximizing their athletic abilities!

The emphasis of this program will be on the following:

–  Speed and Agility                                         – Proper Running Mechanics

–  Power Development                                   – Flexibility and Injury Prevention

–  Plyometrics (jump training)                        – Strength Training Basics

 

World renown strength coach Mike Boyle made this comment recently: “Between 9th and 12th grades, an athletes skill level in their respective sports will only improve around 10%.”  That’s not much when you think about it!

“What can improve significantly is their strength, speed, and power with the proper training – which will improve their sport skills exponentially”.

Elite Sports Performance Maria Blazejewski will be coaching again this summer.  This is her 5th year with us and she has been an intern strength coach at the University of Nevada-Las Vegas as well.  Maria plays professional basketball in Europe and helps with a number of basketball clinics and camps throughout Northern Michigan.

 

 Where – Elite Physical Therapy and Sports Performance

4177 Village Park Dr. Suite B, Traverse City (next to Wuerfel Park)

 

When – Mondays/Wednesdays (July 9th – August 1st)

9:30-10:45 am – Junior High girls

11:00-12:15 pm – High School girls

 

Registration – email Joe Heiler:  Joe@elitepttc.com to sign up or call the clinic at 231 421-5805.

Cost – $80.  Multiple athlete families: 1 full tuition then 50% discount per child after that.  Payment can be mailed to the clinic or taken over the phone.

 

This is a unique opportunity for athletes to make gains in speed, agility, and power over the summer months that will carry over to fall sports programs.  We’ve had great success with this program in the past, and look forward to working with more local athletes this year.

We will push you to become the best athlete you can be!

 

Thanks,

Joe Heiler/Maria Blazejewski

joe@elitepttc.com

(p)231 421-5805

Elite PT Newsletter May 2018 – Running Injuries Part 2 – Knee Pain

This month’s newsletter focus is on knee pain.  Things have been getting busier here with summer just around the corner and lots of runners prepping for races.

One thing we’ve definitely noticed with our runners is that prevention is key.  They’re coming in sooner, once they can tell something is not quite right, rather than waiting weeks or months for it to just go away on its own.  Because of that we’ve seen two trends:

1)  They are recovering much quicker than in the past
2)  They’re completing their races – most we’ve checked in on have run faster than in previous races.

So on that note let’s continue with our series on running injuries – this month focusing on knee injuries.

***Just a quick note for you non-runners out there – these injuries are very common in all sports and even in non-athletes so if you have knee pain you will still want to check this out!

The most common knee injuries in runners are:

1)  Patello Femoral Pain (front of the knee)
2)  Distal IT Band Syndrome, a.k.a. Runners Knee (outside of the knee)
3)  Patellar Tendinosis (just below the knee cap)

Last month we talked about improving mobility and stability of the foot and ankle – which will also help to relieve strain on the knee joints so if you have knee pain go back and read that article here:  http://www.elitepttc.com/elite-pt-newsletter-april-2018-common-running-injuries-part-i-foot-and-ankle/

This month I want to focus on a couple of the muscles that are notorious for causing knee pain, and what you can do about them. Check out the pictures below:

Rectus Femoris Trigger Points and Pain Referral Pattern

RF Trigger Point Knee Pain

Vastus Lateralis Trigger Points and Pain Referral Pattern
 

VL Trigger Points Knee Pain
The ‘X’ is the location of common trigger points (tight irritable bands of muscle) and the reddened area is that trigger point’s pain referral pattern.  From the pictures you can see how irritation within the big quadricep muscles can cause pain all the way down to the knee.

The quadricep group frequently gets overworked with running which can cause these hyper-irritable bands of tissue in the first place.  As a result the muscle tissues feel tighter and become less flexible.  This creates a vicious cycle over time and ultimately these tissues can refer pain down to the front or side of the knee mimicking the conditions I listed above.

Luckily these trigger points are usually easy to identify and treat with manual therapy techniques such as Graston Technique and Dry Needling.  Following up with corrective exercises can ensure that these irritable areas don’t flare back up after being treated.  On top of that, most of our clients can manage this in the future doing their own soft tissue work using foam rollers and massage sticks, and warming up properly.

Check out the video below if you’d like to see how we dry needle and treat that outer thigh muscle:

***This video was originally created for physical therapists and posted on SportsRehabExpert.com so there is quite a bit of medical lingo but you’ll get the drift.  Be sure to check out how much better Lydia’s leg moves after the treatment. 

Last year one of our Kingsley athletes was diagnosed with IT Band Syndrome and was experiencing significant pain on the outside of the knee.  His knee had actually buckled on a number of occasions while trying to sprint.

He presented with almost identical range of motion at the hip as Lydia in the video above.  One treatment of dry needling followed by a couple corrective exercises and he was able to return to running the next day without pain.

I can’t guarantee it will always work that fast but sometimes it does (helps to be 16 too!)

SPECIAL OFFER – if you’ve been struggling with knee pain and you’re not sure what to do about it then give us a call for a free screening.  We can quickly identify the cause of the problem and guide you down the right treatment path.  231 421-5805.

Until next time…

Joe Heiler PT
Joe@elitepttc.com
231 421-5805

Elite PT Newsletter April 2018 – Running Injuries Part I – Foot/Ankle

Running Injuries – a Spring time tradition

Like the rest of you I’m done with the cold and snow and ready for some nicer weather. It’s that time of year to start thinking about summer which usually means being more active.

For you runners out there it will mean getting outside more and probably increasing your mileage.

For you athletes, it’s time to start thinking about what you’re going to do this summer to make you a better athlete for next year.

Luckily, we’ve got something this month for both of you!

Common Running Injuries
1. Patello-Femoral Pain Syndrome (anterior knee pain)
2. Achilles Tendinitis
3. Plantar Fascitis
4. Hamstring Tendinitis
5. Shin Splints
6. IT Band Syndrome (pain at the hip or lateral knee)
7. Stress Fractures
8. Patellar Tendinitis
9. Lower Back Pain

These are the most common running injuries I found searching running sites and this order is fairly consistent from site to site. We see our fair share of each of them here at Elite PT.

These are also known generically as ‘over use injuries’ – meaning that they are caused over time by repetitive stresses that gradually break down the various tissues involved (tendon, muscle, fascia, bone, etc).

These are also the most common injuries we see in high school sports that involves a lot of running, i.e football, soccer, basketball, track and cross country. So if you’re an athlete of any kind, at some point you are either going to be dealing with one or more of the above OR you should be working to prevent them.

Prevention starts from the ground up

How your foot and ankle function are huge for preventing the obvious conditions in that area but also those further up the chain in the knee, hip, and lower back.

The joints of your foot and ankle must move appropriately and the muscles must do their job to stabilize those joints as your foot hits the ground and then progresses to push off. This is a two pronged approach since the joints require adequate mobility and the muscles must stabilize at just the right times.

This month we’ll cover a few ankle/foot exercises you can use to prevent injury or to rehab from it. Sorry if I get a little deep in the ‘why’ sometimes but I do think its important to know ‘why’ you should perform these exercises.

Ankle Mobility

Here’s a great example of what good ankle mobility looks like. The knee should be able to travel 4″ past the big toe without the heel coming up or the arch collapsing.

Athletes need this much ankle mobility to squat deep, sprint, jump, cut, and so on. If you don’t then your body is going to find a way to compensate around that so you can still squat, sprint, jump, etc. Our compensations are usually what get us into trouble. In this case the common compensations are:

  •  arch of the foot collapses (excessive pronation)
  • foot turns out
  • heel comes up too soon
  • knee collapses inward

There are others but these are the easiest to see. Watch anyone with stiff ankles try to squat deep – its not uncommon to see all of the above.

These compensations put the tissues of our foot, knee and even higher up the chain into more stressful positions. With repetition, i.e. lots of mileage, this will eventually catch up with most athletes causing pain.

What to do about it?

There are two main reasons why your ankle joint may not move enough:

tightness through the muscles of the calf (will feel like stretching in the back of the lower leg)
limitations involving the ankle joint (will feel a pinching sensation in the front of side of the ankle when bending it all the way)

Tight muscles are something you can deal with fairly effectively yourself. Using foam rollers or massage sticks to loosen up the calf muscles followed by stretching are the easiest things to do. Working on ankle mobility in a kneeling posture as in the picture below is one of my favorites.

Kneeling Ankle Mobility

The goal is to get your knee as far past your big toe as possible without your heel coming up. Placing the stick at your 5th toe and taking your knee around the outside of the stick forces you to work the muscles of the foot and keep the arch high. I prefer shoes off so you can actually see what your foot is doing. It could also be done standing if kneeling causes knee pain.

If you experience that pinching sensation in the front or side of your ankle – that is going to be a tougher fix. That’s usually not something you can stretch out on your own. It’s actually a good reason to give us a call because you will need some manual therapy to deal with that stuck joint.

In conclusion

What is happening at your foot and ankle affects every other joint in your body so this is a great place to start. See how far your knee can go past your big toe – if it’s not 4″ (heel down and good arch) then it’s time to get to work.

If you want some other ideas, catch the video below featuring our former student Scott McKeel (who just ran the Boston Marathon this week) demonstrating some great ankle mobility drills.

And even if you don’t consider yourself a runner or an athlete, you still need a mobile ankle and stable foot to walk normal, go up and down stairs, and balance. These are for you too!

If you’re struggling to make gains or you do have that ankle pain I mentioned earlier, feel free to give us a call (231 421-5805). We can set up a free 30 minute assessment to determine if you just need more advanced exercises or you may need physical therapy to break through and get moving again.

I’ll leave this offer open through the end of April so get cracking!.

Have a great rest of April and be sure to look for the next article in our series on running injuries.

Joe Heiler PT

Shoulder Pain and Dry Needling

This past Friday we thought we’d have a little fun and treat out Shannon’s shoulder pain as part of our weekly in service.  This is a great way for all of us to put our heads together and solve some of our more challenging cases.

Check out the video below to see how we did:

It’s always cool to see significant improvements in range of motion and decreased shoulder pain – especially when the changes are immediate!

There is quite a bit more work to do here to get that shoulder moving right again but dry needling in combination with electrical stimulation can be the kick start that’s needed.

If you’ve been struggling with shoulder pain – and wondering if there is anything that can be done about it – give us a call (231 421-5805).  We’ve been able to help numerous clients with acute and chronic cases of shoulder pain (including those that have had PT elsewhere without success).

Or email questions to Joe@elitepttc.com

If you’re interested – check out the muscles/trigger points with their corresponding referral patterns below:

Rotator Cuff Trigger Points

Teres Minor Trigger Point

Teres Minor Trigger Point

For more information on shoulder pain and trigger points, please refer to a couple previous articles on our blog:

Trigger Points and Shoulder Pain

Trigger Points and Shoulder Pain – Part II

Elite PT March 2018 Newsletter – Curing Headaches and Migraines

Hi Everyone

Hope you’re surviving the prolonged winter.  Luckily spring is right around the corner – I hope!

Kristy and I recently drove out to Appleton, Wisconsin to take an advanced Functional Dry Needling course with Edo Zylstra from Kinetacore.  Edo is one of the top dry needling educators in the United States – THE best in my opinion plus he’s from Michigan so that has to count for something.

Anyway, we learned how to dry needle some of the more difficult to reach muscles plus how to treat more challenging conditions including headaches and migraines.  We’ve been treating headaches and migraines all along but we’ve definitely picked up some new techniques that will only help with more tougher cases.

Unfortunately I didn’t get any cool pictures this time as Kristy and I were too busy sticking needles in one another 10 hours per day.

Headaches/Migraines

Here are some scary stats:

In the U.S., more than 37 million people suffer from migraines. Some migraine studies estimate that 13 percent of adults in the U.S. population have migraines, and 2-3 million migraine suffers are chronic.

Almost 5 million in the U.S. experience at least one migraine attack per month, while more than 11 million people blame migraines for causing moderate to severe disability.

Migraines and headaches can have multiple causes, some of which are not well understood, but one of the most common causes is referred pain from muscles that have attachments to the head and neck.  I personally think this is very often overlooked by medical professionals as its usually easier to just prescribe drugs to cover up the pain.

Check out the pictures below showing some of the main culprits (muscles) and their referral patterns:

Upper Trapezius 
Upper Trapezius Headaches

Suboccipitals

Suboccipital Headaches

Sternocleidomastoid (SCM)
Sternocleidomastoid Headaches

These are all fairly superficial muscles that are easily treated with a number of manual therapy techniques although I do find dry needling works the quickest and the results are longer lasting.  There have been plenty of cases where a client walked in the door with a headache and left without one.

Case 1
This patient was rear ended 3 years ago resulting in severe headaches (9 out of 10 on the pain scale) 2-3x per week.  Chiropractic and physical therapy in the past gave him short term relief of his neck and back pain but didn’t help his headaches.

At the first visit we dry needled the upper trapezius muscles on both sides and over the course of the next week the intensity of his headaches decreased from a 9/10 to 2/10.

Visits 2-4 included the same treatment to the upper traps plus we hit a few of the upper back muscles (not shown above).  The patient reported no headaches at all after the 4th treatment as well as no longer having neck or upper back pain.

Follow up via phone 2 months after the last visit the patient indicated he was still pain free and had no further headaches.

Case 2

This patient had headaches so painful and frequent that she had to have an MRI/CT scan of her head to rule out serious pathology.  Luckily they didn’t find anything but we did find active trigger points in her upper trapezius and suboccipital muscles that referred pain directly into her head (basically the same patterns as you saw in the pictures earlier).

We dry needled her upper trap and suboccipital muscles 3x over a 2 week period.  Over the course of the following two weeks she had one headache that lasted 5 minutes.

Dry needling was performed only once more and following up three weeks later she had remained symptom free.

___________________________________________________________

These are just two cases recently with very successful outcomes, especially considering the chronic nature of each plus all the other treatments they had been through.

I can’t guarantee that every headache or migraine has a ‘muscular’ cause, but it’s not really that hard to tell during a physical therapy evaluation if that is indeed the case.  We can apply pressure, or just squeeze the muscle, and it will often refer straight to the head.  If that’s the case then that muscle is implicated and needs to be treated.

As you can see in both cases above the results were almost immediate.  One nice thing about dry needling is that is doesn’t take more than a couple sessions to see results.  We can often get good outcomes with other manual techniques as well but in my opinion dry needling usually works the fastest and is longer lasting.

If you’d like to see a quick demo on dry needling, check out the video on our homepage here:  http://www.elitepttc.com/  The subject in the video is actually my dad.  He had intense ‘ram’s horn headaches’ that wrapped around the side of his head – which is typical of the upper trapezius trigger points.

Hope that was some helpful information.  If you suffer from chronic headaches or migraines please contact us with any questions (231 421-5805).

Have a great finish to March!

Joe Heiler PT

Elite PT January Newsletter – Therapist Spotlight: Kristy Ockert

Hi everyone

Hope you had a great Christmas and New Years.

2017 was a great year for us at Elite Physical Therapy and hopefully 2018 will be more of the same.  It’s a blessing for us to be able to work closely with clients like yourself.  We really love getting to know our clients and helping them to achieve their rehabilitation and training goals.  It’s awesome to be able to do something you love for a living, and hopefully it shows!

Free Screening Day

We’ll be hosting another free screening day coming up in February (date to be announced soon).  This is an annual service we’ve started providing to the following:

  • All past physical therapy clients
  • All present clients who have another problem currently not being treated
  • All loved ones, family, friends, neighbors and co-workers of our past and present patients

If you are having pain or problems with day to day activities such as walking, standing, sitting for long periods, going up or down steps, getting in and out of the car, sleeping or driving, then this is an excellent opportunity to see one of our world-class therapists, find out the cause of your problem, and get some treatment ideas.

I’ll be sending out an email soon with more information on how you can take advantage of this free offer.

Therapist Spotlight – Kristy Ockert MSPT

Kristy Ockert began working at Elite Physical Therapy 2 years ago and overall has been practicing since 2002 in the outpatient setting. She earned her Bachelor’s degree in Kinesiology with a specialization in Health Promotion from Michigan State University and her Master of Science in Physical Therapy degree from the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center. Kristy is a Certified Kinesio Taping Practioner (CKTP) and enjoys treating a wide variety of patient populations including post-operative, athletes, and patients with spinal dysfunctions.

She has enjoyed furthering her education with a Pilates specialization and various manual techniques including Graston Technique, Functional Dry Needling, Muscle Energy Technique (MET), Muscle Release Technique (MRT) and Myofascial Release (MFR). Kristy is passionate about providing one on one care to her patients and taking into account all pieces of their individual health puzzle for restoring optimal wellness and return to function.

Q & A:

What got you interested in physical therapy as a career?

It’s a long story!  When I was younger, I wanted to become a teacher, like my mom.  As I got into high school, I knew I wanted to be a doctor – either a pediatrician or sports medicine physician so I could focus on optimizing health for kids and athletes.

My first glimpse of PT was as a patient when I was injured during my high school senior year softball season.  I had a great PT and PTA work with me, but I didn’t think much of it until my senior year of college at MSU.  I decided that I did not want to go to medical school any longer and was looking for a new career path.

After some research and lots of deliberation, I changed my major from Human Biology to Kinesiology, which is the study of human movement.  I finally loved my classes – movement throughout the lifespan, biomechanics, adaptive movement, etc.  It all seemed to fall into place after that.  I got in touch with my former PTA and asked if I could interview her for a class assignment.  It turned into shadowing and weekly volunteering in a small outpatient clinic.  I was hooked!  If I were to become a physical therapist, I could work in the health care field with people of all ages and teach them about how to optimize their movement for improved quality of life.

Over the past couple years you’ve become certified in Graston Technique and dry needling.  Any other techniques you really like to use?

I also enjoy being a Certified Kinesiotaping Practitioner.  Whether it is to help with swelling, bruising, or scar tissue, working on retraining a muscle with proper activation or even unloading an injured area, Kinesiotape has so many uses.

What are your favorite things about being a PT?

I enjoy working with closely with people whether it’s younger athletes, weekend warriors, middle aged or even geriatric patients interested in remaining active.  If there are a few exercises, hands on techniques, and instruction in daily modifications that can make someone’s life more functional and optimize their movement, I’m happy!  I love seeing the changes that people go through from the start to finish of therapy.

Outside of working at Elite, what kinds of things do you and family enjoy?

I enjoy spending time with my husband of 16 years, Ken, and our three kids Carter (14), Peyton (11), and Emma (8).  We love watching movies, going to the beach, bowling and skiing as a family.  I also have a love-hate relationship with winter running, so I’m going to try snowshoeing with my running buddies this year for our longer distances to gear up for the 2018 racing season!

Kristy Ockert
 

 

 

 

 

 

Testimonial

Thank you, thank you, thank you!! After 5 years of physical therapy at numerous other locations, false diagnosis and lack of improvement, MRI’s that showed nothing, Kristy and Lydia correctly diagnosed the problem with my daughters knee and have fixed the problem! You have got her active again with little to no pain. You have brought a smile to her face and to her parents face as well! Thank you for getting her back to healthy! 5 stars isn’t enough! – M.R. Ludington

Sore Knees???
Pain site does not always equal pain source!

Just because your knee hurts doesn’t necessarily mean that the problem lies only with that knee.  You’ve got numerous joints above and below that must move correctly to take the pressure off the knees.

One of the prime examples (or prime offenders) is the ankle joint.  A stiff ankle will negatively affect your walking and running stride, ability to squat down, walk up/down stairs, balance, and more.

The client from the testimonial above was a great example of this.  Resolving her ankle mobility limitations went a long way toward making her knees feel better.

Check our the link below for a short article/video on how we assess and solve the problem of ankle mobility:  http://www.elitepttc.com/ankle-mobility-update/

This is exactly the kind of thing our free screening day is for!

Til next month

Joe Heiler PT

Elite PT November Newsletter – What PT Should Look Like

Hi guys

Hope you’re having a great week so far!  It’s time for another monthly newsletter so here is what’s going on this month at Elite PT:

  • What High Quality PT Should Look Like (my rant for the month)
  • Manual Therapy – What Can It Do For You?
  • Exercise of the Month – Bird Dog for Lower Back Pain

What High Quality PT Should Look Like

This is my rant for the month.  Twice in the past week we’ve had patients come to us that have failed PT elsewhere and were pretty much ready to give up and ‘just live with it until they were talked into giving us a try by previous clients of ours.

In both cases these folks actually saw their PT’s only briefly then were passed off to the tech, were left to do their exercises on their own most of the time (since the therapist was busy with other patients), and received little to no manual (hands-on) therapy.

Needless to say the results were not what these folks were hoping they would be!

I know I’m tooting our own horn here and I don’t normally like to do this but it really bothers me when the PT factories out there give us smaller practices a bad name.  High quality physical therapy practices should look like this:

  • One-on-one treatment sessions
  • Working closely with a PT, PTA, or Athletic Trainer.  No Tech’s!
  • A healthy dose of hands on manual therapy when needed
  • Exercise is closely supervised by your therapist
  • You know exactly what you need to do at home to make the treatment process a success

At Elite PT, we guarantee all of the above.  If you’re going to spend your hard earned money on physical therapy services then it should be somewhere where the focus is on YOU!

I feel better now.  Thanks for listening!

Manual Therapy – What can it do for you?

Manual therapy can be described simply as hands-on therapy.  Most patients are familiar with massage but there are many beneficial techniques to decrease pain and improve mobility.  There are a number of hands-on techniques we use in addition to using instruments like Graston Technique and Dry Needling.

Exercises and stretching are great but often aren’t good enough to stand alone.  Manual therapies can quickly decrease pain and get you moving again much faster when combined with exercise.

Case in point:  One of our clients,struggling elsewhere, came to us with a very stiff and painful ankle post-surgery.  He was very limited with his motion which was making it difficult to walk and do stairs.  He reported only one session of light massage in his previous 3 weeks of physical therapy and the rest of the time was spent working on stretching and balancing.

Check out the picture below to see how much ankle bend (dorsiflexion) he had walking in the door on day 1:

Ankle Dorsiflexion

The knee is stuck 2″ behind the big toe!

Now check out how much ankle bend he had after one treatment session with us:

Ankle Dorsiflexion 2

The knee is a 1/2″ past the big toe now

He came back for his second visit reporting that pain was reduced significantly and he was walking much better.

This is just one example of how quickly things can change with a little focused hands on therapy and exercise with a purpose.

If you want to learn more about how we use Graston Technique (one of our favorite manual therapies) to treat the foot and ankle then click the link here:  https://youtu.be/Ah2ZUpMuUjk

Exercise of the Month – Bird Dog

The bird dog is a very popular PT exercise plus you’ll find it in a lot of Yoga and Pilates classes as well. It can be used to address strength and stability from the neck down through the hips but there are some very specific things that need to be done to make it truly effective.

Check out the video below to see how we get the most mileage out of a seemingly simple exercise (and another reason why your therapist needs to be working with you one-on-one).  The corrections in this video are specifically for those who are dealing with lower back pain but can also be used to enhance stiffness and strength through the muscles of the core.

https://youtu.be/BC7iSY9PtP4

_________________________________________________________________

Have a great Thanksgiving and enjoy the rest of the month.  Talk to you in December!

Joe Heiler PT

Elite PT October Newsletter – Therapist Spotlight: Lydia Case

I can’t believe another month has flown by and it’s time for another newsletter.

Here is what you’ll find in this month’s issue:

  • Therapist Spotlight:  Lydia Case ATC
  • Back Pain and Sciatica Workshop has been moved to November 4th
  • Sports Medicine Clinic for High School and College athletes

Therapist Spotlight
Lydia Case joined Elite Physical Therapy back in July of 2015 and has been an invaluable part of our team ever since.  She works full time in the clinic plus during the school year she goes out to Kingsley High School two afternoons per week. She has been the athletic trainer at Kingsley for 11 years now.

Lydia has been practicing Athletic Training since 2006 in physical therapy and high school settings. She received her Bachelor’s degree from Northern Michigan University, where she had experience working with the Men’s football and hockey teams. Before transferring to NMU Lydia ran track & field at Aquinas College, but also worked with the Women’s volleyball and Men’s basketball teams at Aquinas. Lydia is a certified Kinesio Taping Practioner(CKTP). She believes that every patient and athlete is unique and that their treatment and workouts should be tailored specifically for their individual needs in order to achieve their best outcome.

1)  What got you interested in athletic training?

My love for sports is what initially got me interested in athletic training- I thought what a great fit- you work with athletes out in the field and can also work with the general public in a PT clinic- NO day is ever the SAME.

2)  What do you like best about being an athletic trainer?

I get excited about helping people and seeing how each patient/athlete is unique. I have worked with people from ages 3 to 98 and everything in between and have so much fun because everyone is so different as well as their injury.  I find it so rewarding to help someone accomplish their goals.

3)  What do you do for fun other than just work at Elite?

I enjoy spending time with my family – we love to be outside especially tubing down the Boardman River, taking our dog Gus for a walk in the woods, and riding 4-wheelers. I also like to play games, mostly card games like euchre. I also enjoy running with my friends and have completed 5 half-marathons, but prefer to run the 10k distance. I have been married to my husband Dave for 11 years and have two kids, Delaney (8) and Owen (5).

Testimonial:

“When I first came to Elite PT I was devastated because I had a running injury that literally prevented me from doing anything.  I was going from exercising 6 days a week, running 3-4 days per week, to barely being able to walk!

I felt like Lydia and Kristy were as excited as I was to get started with strengthening exercises.  I experienced such relief from my treatment, and the exercise plans they put in place for me helped support rebuilding my strength.

I felt like I had my own cheering squad every step of the way.  I am now back to my regular exercise program!”  – L.T. Traverse City

_________________________________________________________

Back Pain and Sciatica Workshop moved to November 4th!

We will be hosting our first workshop on back pain and sciatica on Saturday November 4th from 10 – 11am.  If you know someone who has been suffering from back pain and/or sciatica then be sure to let them know about this workshop!

Lower back pain is a huge problem in this country, but unfortunately most people feel like there is no ‘cure’ and they just have to live with it.  Check out this short video for more information on the workshop and to listen to how this is one of the biggest ‘myths’ in the health care industry.

The workshop is technically for those who have not been clients of ours in the past.  Past clients receiving this newsletter are welcome to call us with questions ANYTIME!  We are more than happy to answer any questions you may have and set up a time to get you in for a free screen if that is what is necessary.

Like I said, call us anytime!  231 421-5805
_________________________________________________________

NEW Sports Medicine Clinic Tuesday Afternoons

Many schools in our area don’t have access to athletic training services or team doctors at their games, so many young athletes with injuries don’t get the medical care they need.  We currently provide the athletic training services at Kingsley High School which has been extremely beneficial for our athletes.  The goal is to treat them early to keep them playing and also to keep them from more serious problems and costly treatment down the road.

Unfortunately, we can’t be everywhere, so on Tuesday afternoons we’ll be offering free screenings to athletes with nagging injuries affecting their performance or keeping them from playing altogether.  We can diagnose the injury and get the athlete started down the road to recovery.  Athletes with more serious injuries should see their family physician!

Appointments will be available between 3 – 5pm.  Parents should call to make the appointment as we will need your contact information and at least verbal permission to examine your child. We prefer that a parent be able to make the appointment especially if the athlete is under 18 years of age.

Give us a call at 231 421-5805 to schedule a time.

See you next month!

Joe Heiler PT