Alternative Treatment

October 1 2017

Several months ago, I received a call from an advertiser who wanted to sell ad space in his publication. He gave me the normal spiel of how they reach X number of consumers in X square miles from your business, so your ad really only costs X dollars per potential customer, etc, etc. But then he went for what he thought would be his home run closer: “If you purchase an ad today, I’ll give you an exclusive,” he said. “You’ll be the only alternative treatment in the publication!”

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No, Your Treadmill Is Not Making You Fat

August 22 2014

“Your treadmill is making you fat.” The first time I saw it, I did a double take. “Did I read that right?” I asked myself. A second look confirmed that I had. “That’s the stupidest thing I’ve ever heard!” I thought. “Hopefully it doesn’t last long.” That was months ago, but this nasty myth is still here. Actually it’s everywhere – in the headlines, on Dr. Oz, in the blogs of your favorite Crossfit-loving, Paleo-eating fitness gurus. As more and more people take this absurd concept and spread it like some kind of weight-loss gospel, this myth has turned into an ugly hydra, growing more heads and becoming more difficult to defeat. So hand me my sword, because it’s time I took a swing at this monster.

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Sport Specific Injuries: Cheerleading

July 18 2014

Since modern cheerleaders are 97% female, it might surprise you to learn that cheering was originally a boys’ club. In the early 1900s, cheers and chants at games were lead by male students, and many schools had cheer-oriented fraternities. In fact, it wasn’t until men left to fight in World War II that ladies stepped in to lead their school’s cheers, and it’s a role they have never since left. However, today’s cheerleaders have only a passing resemblance to the sport’s early participants. Sideline clapping and jumping has largely given way to breathtaking routines filled with daring acrobatics and high-flying stunts as squads compete not only to raise their school’s spirit, but also to win against other squads. And with this increased complexity of the sport, the injury rate of participants has also gone up.

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Stretching: Static or Dynamic?

June 27 2014

Even if you’re not a yoga aficionado, pretty much everyone knows how good stretching can feel. Whether it’s that first stretch after waking up in the morning or that epic stretch after working for too long at the computer, stretching relaxes muscles, releases tension, and makes us feel better. It makes sense to think, “Hey, I like stretching! I should do more of that!” If you want to incorporate stretching into your daily life and reap benefits like increased agility, reduced risk of injury, and improved circulation, you’ve made a great decision. But where do you start?

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Sport Specific Injuries: Lacrosse

June 13 2014

Did you know that lacrosse is North America’s oldest team sport? Its aboriginal inventors played ceremonial games that lasted for two or three straight days. Thankfully, modern lacrosse games only last for a couple of hours, and today it is America’s fastest growing team sport. If you or your child is interested in trying out for the team, you’ll need to know what injury risks you face and what you can do to help prevent them.

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Understanding Concussions

June 5 2014

Last year, over 4,000 retired NFL players (many suffering from memory loss, depression, and other issues) sued the league, claiming it had concealed the dangers of concussions and pressured injured players to quickly return to the game. Since news of the lawsuit broke, concussions have become the hot button topic of the sports world. How do you protect players without compromising the fun and excitement of the game? Should kids be allowed to play contact sports? What are the real risks? In order to understand the issues surround this subject, it’s first important to know what a concussion is.

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H.I.I.T. & Crossfit

May 30 2014

You’ve probably seen them at the gym or the park – people sprinting back and forth, banging out sets of squats and pushups, maybe flipping big tires or running with logs in their arms. These are people engaging in high intensity interval training (H.I.I.T.) or its cousin Crossfit, the trend which has taken the fitness world by storm. H.I.I.T. is an exercise strategy that alternates short bursts of anaerobic activity (anaerobic is defined as “without air,” meaning the activity is intense enough to create an oxygen debt in the body) with recovery periods of more moderate activity. Crossfit expands upon this foundation, adding elements like weight lifting, calisthenics, and plyometrics into the workouts.

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Sport Specific Injuries: Gymnastics

May 23 2014

Gymnastics was one of only nine sports to be included in the inaugural modern Olympic Games back in 1896, though contemporary audiences might not have recognized it as such (athletes competed in calisthenics, rope climbing, and track & field events). Since that time, gymnastics has become a sport in which contrasting elements – power and beauty, force and grace – combine to create gravity defying routines of flips, twists, and tumbles. To do this, athletes must be strong, flexible, and fearless, but even the best gymnast will find themselves injured from time to time.

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No Such Thing As Old Age

May 2 2014

Several weeks ago, my colleague Faith was speaking with a new patient about the history of his back pain. When she asked why he was finally seeking treatment after dealing with his pain for six months, he answered, “Well, I turned 50 this year, so I just figured it was old age.” To which Faith replied, “There’s no such thing as old age.”

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Three Year Anniversary

July 5 2013

Today my blog is three years old! I know I don’t post as faithfully as I did when the blog was in its infancy (fortunately it’s because I’m so busy with patients), but I still want to take time to blow out some imaginary candles and share some of my favorite blog posts from the past three years…

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I Used To Be Able To…

May 31 2013

How many push-ups can you do? I bet many of you (especially the guys) answered, “Oh, I can’t do very many now, but I used to be able to do a lot!” That seems to be a common theme for all of us as we get older – talking about what we used to be able to do. Why can’t you do as many push-ups as you used to do? The primary reason is that you simply stopped doing them. Somewhere along the line, you got distracted by work, family, maybe an injury, and doing strength training exercises (such as push-ups) fell off the priority list. But depending on how old you are, another reason you can’t do as many push-ups may have to do with lost muscle mass.

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Don’t Wait For Uncle Sam

January 18 2013

This week, the Clinton Foundation hosted their second-annual Health Matters conference, an event where politicians, industry leaders, celebrities, and others gather to discuss ways to impact the health of our nation for the better. On paper, it sounds great. However, this event and others like it tend to all be the same: People repeat to each other the Americans-are-getting-fatter statistics, congratulate themselves on tackling the Very Important Problem of obesity, and conclude with the shared agreement that “something must be done.” Hands are shook, babies are kissed, money is pledged. But our obesity problem continues to grow.

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Get Back On The Treadmill

December 14 2012

If you’ve been paying much attention to the news lately, you’ve probably noticed an increasing number of articles popping up that question whether cardiovascular exercise will damage your heart. These stories are in response to studies that appear to show heart damage occurring in veteran marathon runners (you can find two such pieces here and here). Although studies on this subject have been around since the 1970s, the media have become more interested in them since the sudden death of ultrarunner Micah True (the “Caballo Blanco” of Born to Run fame) from heart disease earlier this year.

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Why Can’t I Just…?

October 5 2012

October is National Physical Therapy Month! There are so many people who only have a vague concept (or no idea at all) of what physical therapy is, so it’s a good time to explain what it is that I really do. In a nutshell, physical therapy helps you move. When injury or illness takes away your ability to turn your head, bend over to tie your shoes, swing a golf club, walk to the bus, or any of the other thousands of activities you do throughout your day, physical therapists utilize exercise, education, and pain reduction techniques to help build your body back up so you can do the things you need to do.

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My Thoughts On The Olympics

August 17 2012

I love the Olympics! Watching the world’s finest athletes compete in not only your favorite sports, but also many other sports you never really get to see (how cool was the handball?!) is a once-in-a-lifetime-type experience that just happens to repeat itself every four years. Plus there’s great drama – the winners exude elation while everyone else runs the gamut from quiet disappointment to utter agony. And for many athletes (such as Tahmina Kohistani of Afghanistan), just being at the Olympics is the real prize.

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Ready, Set, Recover!

July 20 2012

In my nearly 30 year career as a physical therapist, I’ve seen this scenario countless times. Two people will start therapy at the same time. A few weeks later, one person will be completely recovered (in fact, they’re usually stronger and more flexible than they were before their injury) and ready to return to the activities they love. Meanwhile, the other person feels that they have made little progress in their therapy. They’re frustrated and thinking about quitting. So why do some patients recover faster than others? What factors determine how long your recovery will take?

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National Running Day

June 1 2012

This Wednesday is National Running Day! You may not find it quite as exciting as National Hug Your Cat Day (June 4) or National Waffle Day (August 24), but I think National Running Day is yet another great opportunity to get out there and be active! I know I’ve blogged about running several times before (check out my previous thoughts here, here, here, and here), so I’ll try not to keep repeating myself, but running is such a great health topic that there’s always something new to talk about. Like how do you earn the right to say, “I’m a runner”?

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Play Time

May 18 2012

I love this time of year! The warmer temperatures, the windy yet sunny days that get longer and longer – it can only mean one thing: BASEBALL SEASON! And if you know me at all, you know I love softball just as much, if not more, than baseball because it’s a game I can actually play. For the past three years, our employees, family, and friends have come together each season to form Team IPT, Idaho Physical Therapy’s entrant in the Nampa Rec. Dept’s adult co-ed slowpitch softball league. We may only be a rag-tag group of marginally-talented players in bright orange shirts, but we have a lot of fun, and that’s the whole point.

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The Power of Suggestion

March 23 2012

I’m not known for quoting Buddha, but I do like his statement, “We are shaped by our thoughts. We become what we think.” People really do underestimate the power of their mind. What we think will happen tends to be what actually does happen. We call these “self-fulfilling prophecies,” but in the medical world, they’re known as the “placebo effect” and the “nocebo effect.”

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Exercise Myths

February 17 2012

One of the definitions of a myth, according to Merriam-Webster, is “an unfounded or false notion.” Despite being inherently false, it seems like myths take on a life of their own, circulating for years, even decades after being disproven. Remember being told that if you sneezed with your eyes open, your eye balls would pop out? Or that if you drank soda while you ate Pop Rocks, your stomach would explode? And don’t forget the popular “drink a cup of coffee to sober up” line of thinking (sorry, this just creates a caffeinated drunk, but the person is no less drunk for it).

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5 Things That Keep Us Young

February 3 2012

Last week, I blogged about the top 5 things that make us feel old. This week, I thought I’d do the positive companion piece to that blog, the top 5 things that make us feel young. We’re all getting older, but why do some people seem to age better than others? Based what I’ve seen over my 25 year career as a physical therapist, here are some common traits of the young at heart:

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5 Things That Make Us Old

January 27 2012

Yesterday I was out making a purchase when I noticed a sign advertising the store’s senior discount. I asked the cashier what age qualified you for the price cut. Good news: I’m not there yet, but it did get me thinking about getting older. It’s happening to all of us, continually, and there’s nothing we can do about it. Yet why do some people seem to age better than others? Genetics surely has something to do with it, but are there other factors besides the clock and our genes? The answer is…yes!

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A Different Kind of Budget

January 6 2012

We’re now one week into 2012! How are your resolutions going? If you’re like many Americans, you’ve vowed to lose weight and get in shape this year. Even though these goals are closely related (it’s a kill-two-birds-with-one-stone kind of resolution), they can still be overwhelming. As it turns out, sticking to an exercise plan is not unlike sticking to a financial budget.

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Another PT Christmas

December 23 2011

Happy Friday and Happy Holidays, everyone! Last year, I posted some physical therapist-approved gifts to get that hard-to-buy-for person on your list. I’ve decided to continue the tradition. Here are five more physical therapist-approved gifts. And the best part? Each of these items has a low price, and one only costs your creativity and time!

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Sport Specific Injuries: Volleyball

September 23 2011

While my girls were in high school (three girls over the course of eight years), our household lived and breathed volleyball. They played on their school team (which twice was the Idaho state champion and another year was the runner-up) from August through October, then began the club volleyball season, which lasted from November until July. Between practices, games, and traveling to out-of-state tournaments, it was truly a year-round commitment for the entire family, but it was so much fun, we rarely thought of it that way.

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National Childhood Obesity Awareness Month

September 9 2011

The media love buzz words, and one of the major ones being thrown for around the last several years is “obesity epidemic.” We’re in one, and unfortunately, it’s not just a grown-up problem. Our poor eating habits and lack of exercise are showing up on our kids too, often around their waists. I’m not a doom and gloom kind of guy, so I won’t go into all the negative statistics here. The bottom line is that healthy, active kids have a better chance of growing into healthy, active adults who are less at risk for diabetes, heart disease, arthritis, and all the other ailments associated with being overweight.

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Good Muscle Memories

September 2 2011

What did you do this morning? Maybe you buttoned your shirt and tied yours shoes while getting dressed. Perhaps you walked the dog. After scrambling eggs or flipping pancakes for breakfast, you probably brushed your teeth. Although you may not have realized it at the time, your muscle memory has been busy from the moment you woke up.

Muscle memory (also called motor learning) is a type of procedural learning wherein an action is repeated until the movements required for it can be performed with little conscious effort or attention. Despite its name, muscle memory doesn’t reside in the muscles themselves, but rather in the complex neural pathways that are formed in our brains when the task is learned. The more the task is repeated, the more well-formed and efficient that pathway becomes.

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Sport Specific Injuries: Football

August 26 2011

Even though I have four daughters, football is a big deal in my family. We love to watch college teams (of course, our favorite is BSU), and while I admit I’m not a huge fan of the NFL, I do like to cheer for the Packers (I’m a shareholder, after all). I have been an assistant varsity football coach, and Idaho Physical Therapy used to provide the training services for the Idaho Stallions. Because of the sport’s high injury rate, we were kept pretty busy during the season. It’s the nature of the game.

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Sport Specific Injuries: Golf

August 12 2011

Although we have very mild winters here in the Treasure Valley, sometimes it seems that the cold, damp months go on forever. When the sun finally returns, what better way to celebrate than with a round of golf? By this point in the summer, I hope you’ve enjoyed many great games with friends and have avoided the injuries commonly experienced by golfers.

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Your Own Role Model

August 5 2011

Looking up to a role model is a natural part of the human experience. It comes most easily when we’re children. What little boy growing up in the ‘50s didn’t want to hit a baseball like Mickey Mantle or throw a spiral like Johnny Unitas? Then there are the role models closer to home; maybe you hoped one day to be as strong as your dad or as fast as your big brother. Looking up to a role model gives us something to strive for and a belief that we can be better. But you can only take this so far.

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The Dangers of Dehydration

July 22 2011

I used to coach a fast pitch club softball team. During the summer, we’d travel to tournaments where we’d play two to five 7-inning games every day. While these tournaments were always tons of fun (all softball, all day, right?!), dehydration was a constant threat. Sweat, heat, lack of shade, exercise – the other coaches and I had to constantly monitor not only the players but also ourselves for signs that we needed more fluids. I’m thankful we never had anyone become dangerously dehydrated, but there were a few close calls.

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Sport Specific Injuries: Bowling

July 15 2011

I love it when my kids and I can have something in common. When I was growing up, I enjoyed watching the 1960s cartoon The Flintstones. Twenty or so years later, I watched the syndicated reruns with my girls. One of the more memorable things about the show was the way Fred Flintstone bowled. He would run on his toes, the rest of his body motionless, ball held in outstretched arm behind him. Then he would fling it, almost side arm, as effortlessly as if it were a golf ball. Try as we might, none of us could ever quite duplicate his approach. The truth of the matter is, despite how easy Fred might make it look, bowling is a complex activity that often leads to injury.

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Put Me In, Coach!

July 8 2011

If you know much about me, you know I love coaching! The first team I ever coached was a “little guy” basketball team when I was a sophomore at Vallivue High School. I remember how fun it was to watch kids improve, implement the things they had been taught to the best of their ability, and to watch them have even more fun as their skills grew. I was hooked. Since then, I’ve coached dozens of teams for girls and boys of various levels in many different sports. Varsity fast pitch softball, basketball and football; junior high basketball and volleyball, and youth league baseball, softball, and basketball – my coaching resume is diverse, to say the least.

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One Year Anniversary

July 1 2011

Well, today marks the one year anniversary of the day I started this blog. The time has really flown (they say it does when you have fun); it seems like just the other day I sat down to write my very first post. I want to thank everyone who has taken time to read my advice, opinions, and random thoughts. I never have to worry about writers’ block because it’s easy to figure out what to say to your friends!

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Sport Specific Injuries: Swimming

June 17 2011

As a farm boy growing up in Canyon County, I never had much reason to know how to swim. We might go wading in a ditch on hot summer days, but that was pretty much the extent of my aquatic experience. Then years later in college, I had an epiphany – what if my child was drowning? Would I be able to save them? I had aspirations of being a father someday, and that thought brought me to a cold sweat. Immediately I sought help from a friend who worked as a lifeguard. Three days a week for several months, we met before classes, and he taught me every stroke he knew. In learning to swim, I felt I’d taken an important step in my journey towards fatherhood. And I’m proud to say that when I finally did become a father, each of my kids learned to swim at a young age.

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Should You Try a Tri?

June 10 2011

This Saturday marks the fourth racing of the Ironman 70.3 Boise triathlon. Starting at Lucky Peak and ending in downtown Boise, this race challenges competitors to 70.3 total miles of swimming, cycling, and running through some of Idaho’s beautiful yet grueling landscapes. If you’ve never been, the event is a ton of fun for spectators, but the most fun is really had by the competitors. Even if you’re not ready to tackle 70.3 miles, that doesn’t mean you can’t try your hand at the booming sport of triathlon.

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National Trails Day

June 3 2011

Saturday, June 4, is National Trails Day. If you’re not normally the outdoorsy type, you may not realize that the Boise Foothills are known for having some of the best trails in the country with miles of beautiful paths perfect for hiking, running, biking, and horseback riding. With such a wonderful resource right in our back yard, there’s really no excuse not to get out and enjoy it. However, it’s good for both newbies and trail veterans to review safety and etiquette guidelines for trail use before heading out:

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Graduation Thoughts

May 27 2011

Graduation is always an exciting, emotional time – the joy of your accomplishments, the sorrow of saying goodbye to friends, the nervousness about the future. As I make the rounds of graduation ceremonies and parties, I’m reminded of my own graduations and of the graduations of my children. Each is a proud memory that I will never forget.

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The Little Finish

May 20 2011

J. R. R. Tolkien once said, “Little by little, one travels far.” It’s really true. Babies learn to walk one step at a time. Novels are written one word at a time. Mountains are climbed one foot at a time. But unfortunately, when we are faced with what seems like an insurmountable task, many of us quit before we even start. “It’s too much work” or “I have so far to go” or “I can’t” become our mantras when instead we should be reminding ourselves, “Just one step at a time.”

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Bike to Work Week

May 13 2011

May 16-20 is Bike to Work Week. During this time, people are encouraged to try out a more car-free lifestyle by biking to work and other errands rather than driving. The economical and ecological benefits of cycling over driving are huge (less wear and tear on your car, cheaper fuel costs, and a smaller carbon footprint), but perhaps the biggest bonus comes from the healthful profits of being active.

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