A PT Christmas

December 17 2010

My kids say my wife and I are hard to shop for. They don’t want to get me “just another piece of sports memorabilia” for our clinic walls, and they don’t want to get my wife “just another book” for her extensive fiction collection. But I think I’m pretty easily satisfied, gift-wise. In fact, here’s a list of physical therapist-approved gifts that I think are both thoughtful and useful – perfect for that hard-to-buy-for person on your list:

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Perceived Reality

December 10 2010

As strange as it sounds, reality has very little to do with the way we live day-to-day. Instead, it’s our perceptions of reality that tend to dictate how we process experiences, which people/places/events we remember and for what reason, what products we buy, etc. We act on our perceptions, not reality. If this sounds confusing, here’s an example…

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India, Part 3

December 3 2010

Well, it’s been one week since Bette and I returned from India on our medical mission with Chapel Missions India, and I just want to say, we are sooooo thankful to be home. We love to travel and we love the people we meet abroad, but every trip gives us new reasons to be thankful we live in America.

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You’re a Runner

November 12 2010

This past Sunday was World Run Day, a day designated to promote charitable giving, community, and you guessed it, running (you can tell from the picture that even our IPT Running Man got into the spirit of things)! As I went out for my celebratory run in the rain, I was a little disappointed to see that the streets of my neighborhood were completely deserted. I know World Run Day is far from the realm of top-tier holidays that most people concern themselves with, but I was still surprised to not see more people out and active on a beautiful, if slightly damp, fall day.

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India, Part 2

November 5 2010

In three days, we leave on our third medical mission trip with Chapel Missions India. As we make our preparations, I’m excited and nervous. Some things I’m really looking forward to (seeing our sponsor son P. Ram Kumar – shown here with Bette & I), and others (all the curry)…well, not so much.

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India, Part 1

October 29 2010

For the last several years, my wife Bette and I have been involved with Calvary Chapel’s Chapel Missions India. On November 8, we leave for our third medical mission trip to the poverty and disease-ridden rural south of the Indian continent. We’re traveling with a team that consists of doctors, a dentist, and nurses, as well as several non-medically trained persons. Our goal? To provide free medical services to people who would otherwise likely go their entire lives without ever seeing a doctor.

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Pre-habilitation

October 22 2010

In my career as a physical therapist, I’ve spent most of my time helping people rehabilitate AFTER – after surgery, after an injury, after an illness – and I can say without a doubt that the people who recover best were the ones who prepared their bodies BEFORE the event. This is called pre-habilitation.

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One Change

October 15 2010

In a past post, I’ve warned against products that claim to produce lightning-quick fitness or weight-loss results (sorry to say, most are scams or dangerously unhealthy). Today, however, I’m going to contradict myself a little.

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Slow and Steady

October 8 2010

I don’t really watch TV. With the exception of certain sporting events (BSU games and the softball College World Series!), I’m pretty proud to admit that my time spent in front of the tube is waaaaay below the American average of 4 or so hours a day. However, if I do sit down to watch a little TV, it’s hard to avoid promos for reality shows. Dancing, cooking, modeling, remodeling houses – there seems to be a reality show for every interest. While they’re definitely not my entertainment of choice, I do feel the need to speak up about the influence of one show in particular.

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Active Therapy

October 1 2010

When people come to physical therapy for the first time, they’re often surprised to learn that they will be exercising throughout their treatment (and hopefully beyond). Nearly all of the healthcare we experience in our lives requires little more of us than to simply show up and receive treatment; it’s a passive experience. But unlike a trip to the dentist, chiropractor, acupuncturist, masseuse, or various types of doctors, physical therapy is an active experience. I sometimes think it should be renamed active therapy.

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Pain or Pills?

September 24 2010

Unless you’re one of the 17 people in the US who suffers from CIPA (congenital insensitivity to pain with anhidrosis, also called the “no pain disease”), pain is a sometimes nasty fact of life. It’s alternately a gift and a curse; pain provides us with invaluable feedback for self-preservation (such as “don’t touch that burner, it’s hot”), but sometimes it stays beyond the helpful stage, becoming a chronic challenge.

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Stroke Prevention

September 17 2010

Earlier this week, my father-in-law Arnold suffered a stroke. Though he has been wonderfully healthy throughout his long life, at 93 years old, his prognosis for recovery is not optimistic. This has been a trying time for my family, and I’m reminded that strokes can strike anyone of any age at any time (tragically, I’ve even treated some children who’ve had strokes).

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D.I.Y. Pain Management

September 10 2010

It may sound weird coming from someone in my profession, but you don’t always need to visit a medical professional every time something hurts. Though I cannot stress enough the importance of having experienced medical professionals on your healthcare team, believe it or not, the vast majority of everyday aches and pains are completely manageable without the aid of injections, prescriptions drugs, surgery, or other medical intervention.

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Budget Fitness

September 3 2010

These days, most everyone is short on resources – time, money, or both. Unfortunately, many people allow this to impact their exercise plans. Late night infomercials and gym ads have us believing we must join expensive clubs or purchase costly equipment to get the fitness results we desire. And because it takes time to get in shape, our hectic schedules persuade us to give up before we even start.

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Exercising with Issues

August 27 2010

If you’re like most people (myself included), it’s really easy to find excuses why you should skip your workout. I overslept, I didn’t sleep enough, I’m hungry, I ate too much, my favorite show is on, there’s nothing good to watch while I’m on the treadmill – the list goes on and on. But when you combine these everyday distractions with real physical ailments, it can be even tougher to convince yourself to lace up your sneakers and get going. The good news is that with a few precautions and some common sense, it’s possible for almost everyone to be physically active.

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Too Good to Be True

August 20 2010

Despite all the advantages of our 21st century world, you have to admit – society has it out for us. Those duties that used to take up 98% of our ancestors’ time (tasks like food production, housing, cleaning, etc.) have been streamlined by electronics and machinery. Modern jobs and entertainment have us spending long hours in front of computers and televisions while contemporary food industries provide poor, processed foods in amounts our hunter/gatherer forbearers could only dream of. The result is that most of us spend our lives in a sedentary, unhealthy state, never really living up to our physical potential.

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Serious About Stretching

August 13 2010

I think the world would be a better place if people got serious about stretching. One of the unfortunate side effects of our modern, 21st century world is an increase in body breakdowns due to a sedentary lifestyle. This includes weight gain (and its various complications), joint problems, and muscle shortening. When muscles shorten, we feel stiff, lose full range of motion, and become much more prone to injury. Generally speaking, we feel old. Remember the first time you got down on the floor to play with your kids or grand kids and realized it was much harder to get back up than it used to be? Exactly.

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Fall Sports Advice for Parents

August 6 2010

Though it’s still early August and the air is far from crisp, it’s not too early to begin getting your junior high or high school student athlete ready for fall school sports. Football, volleyball, soccer, cross country, and cheerleading are all exciting, fun activities, and although younger children generally do not start their season until school begins, for some older kids, tryouts may only be two short weeks away. Here are my tips for parents to help their athletes get the most out of their sports experience:

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Strength Building 101

July 30 2010

In my last few posts, I’ve discussed the building blocks for a comprehensive fitness program. Such a program should include strength building exercises (or strength training), in which muscles gain power and endurance by working against a form of resistance (like weights, gravity, or body weight). Depending on your goals, there are several ways to approach this, but the primary concern is always to avoid injury (unless you’re eager to be a patient of mine).

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Muscle Man

July 23 2010

If I mention the words “muscle man” to you, what comes to mind? Maybe Speedo-clad weight lifters on Muscle Beach? How about Arnold Schwarzenegger’s Mr. Universe days? Now what if I said that YOU are a muscle man (or woman)? That’s right – you are in possession of approximately 640 skeletal muscles grouped into 320 identical bilateral pairs that range in active function from moving your arms (the deltoids, biceps, and triceps) to raising your eyebrows (the occipitofrontalis). That’s a lot of muscle power!

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Cardio Basics

July 16 2010

After getting your doctor’s okay to begin your fitness program, I know you’re eager to get started, and cardio is an easy place to begin. As I discussed last week, an essential component of a complete fitness program is cardiovascular exercise (also known as aerobic exercise or “cardio” for short). Named for the Greek word kardia (meaning heart), cardio is any activity which raises your heart rate for a period of time. As with any muscle, your heart needs to work to become stronger, and when done properly, cardio strengthens your heart, increases your aerobic efficiency (your body’s ability to utilize oxygen), and boosts metabolism.

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Getting Started

July 9 2010

If it’s been years since you’ve engaged in a regular exercise program, or if you never really learned how to exercise in the first place, the prospect of getting in shape can seem very intimidating. Where do you start? What should you do? If you have other health concerns, how do they fit into the exercise equation? By learning a few basics, you can create for yourself a safe, comprehensive, and effective fitness program. Just remember to get your doctor’s okay before beginning any exercise plan.

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Today

July 2 2010

As I’ve gotten older, I’ve come to realize that I now have far fewer “tomorrows” than I have “yesterdays.” That fact seems to lend a great deal of importance to “today,” because if I don’t make today count – right here, right now – it will soon be lost among the “yesterdays.” As is often said, today is all we really have.

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