Tag Archives: lower back pain

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 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

Elite PT Newsletter August 2017 – solving lower back pain, free screenings, and more…

Hope you’ve been enjoying your summer!  We’ve got some great content covering lower back pain (plus a special offer) for you this month.

Here is what is in this month’s issue:

  • Solving lower back pain (this may sound familiar to a number of you)
  • Exercise tip of the month – fixing the ‘plank’
  • 6 years in business! Check out our special offer – its got something to do with back pain!

___________________________________________________________
“I Can’t Walk more than 10 Minutes!!!”

Sound familiar?

Last month we talked about one of the most common causes of lower back pain:  Spinal Stenosis.  Here is what that usually looks like:

  • 50 years and older
  • Standing and walking are limited
  • Sitting and/or lying down usually relieves symptoms

The title of this article is a direct quote from a frustrated client of ours at his initial evaluation.  He couldn’t stand or walk more than 10 minutes and it was really starting to effect his quality of life and ability to work around the house and yard.  We hear this stories like this one frequently and I’m sure there are a number of you reading this that are having this same experience.

In this case our client began having back pain with symptoms radiating into his hip and down the front of his left leg all the way to his big toe.  He wasn’t sure exactly how it started other than he was doing lots of walking that day.  By the time he came to see us he had been dealing with this pain for 6 months!  He fit the spinal stenosis category to a ‘T’:

  • over 50?  Check (70 years old)
  • limited standing and walking?  Check (10 minutes max)
  • sitting and/or lying down relieve symptoms?  Check

Our client participated in physical therapy for 8 visits over a 6 week time frame.  Treatment consisted of manual (hands on) treatment to decrease pain and relieve tone in the muscles of the lower back and hips as well as exercises to decrease his pain and improve the way he was moving and walking.

He is doing quite well now as he was able to walk around downtown Chicago a few weeks ago with only mild irritation in his leg (“not enough to stop me from having fun”).  He was also able to work outside for 4 hours the day prior to his last PT session without any pain.

Here is what he had to say: “I came in with numbness in my left leg from my groin all the way down to my foot that got worse any time I stood or walked.  I can do whatever I want now with only occasional numbness in my foot.  I thought for sure I was going to have surgery but now I’m doing my exercises to make sure this doesn’t ever come back.” – D.A. Traverse City

We’ve successfully treated numerous patients with similar symptoms over the years.  In fact we see more folks with lower back pain than any other diagnosis here at Elite PT.  Back pain can be severely debilitating but many times we can quickly decrease the pain and get you moving again with physical therapy.

Because of that, and as a way of saying “thanks” to you, our valued clients, I want to offer a free screen on August 24th to the first five former clients suffering from lower back pain.  If you fit the description above, call us now to get scheduled.  It’s only 30 minutes of your time but we’re confident we can get you started on the road to recovery.

The 24th of this month is also our 6th anniversary of being in business so I thought we’d do something fun.

Call 231 421-5805.  I guarantee this will fill up quickly so be sure to take advantage today!

PS – We’ve also been in business 6 years because of loyal clients like yourself referring family members and friends.  If you can think of someone this information might help, please share it with them!  I’d be happy to answer any questions they might have.  My email is joe@elitepttc.com or just call 231 421-5805.
_______________________________________________________

Exercise Tip of the Week

Planks are an extremely popular exercise but it is very often performed incorrectly.

front plank - hyperlordosis

Hint: your lower back shouldn’t arch that much!

I frequently ask patients and training clients where they feel like they are working the most… abs or  the lower back?

More than half the time they respond that they feel it more in their lower back!

I thought the plank was supposed to be an abdominal exercise?

Well it is when done correctly.  Watch the video below for a quick tutorial how to learn the proper positioning for the plank exercise and then how to immediately integrate that into the exercise itself for killer results.

https://youtu.be/gfadQYhckuQ

____________________________________________________________
Coming Soon:

  • We’re bringing a new PT on staff at the end of this month and we’re super excited to have her joining our team.  I’ll have more on Ms. Allie Hoyt in the next issue.
  • September 30th will be our first ever Lower Back Pain Workshop.  I’ll have more on this next month too but start thinking of loved ones suffering with lower back pain that may benefit from this.

Enjoy the rest of your month