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Monthly Archives: December 2014

Physical Therapy: Not Just When You’re Broken

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Physical Therapy:

Not Just When You’re Broken

Physical Therapy has a long and rich history of treating injuries and being an integral part of medical teams focused on recovery from injury. As a result, many assume that physical therapists are who to see with a broken leg, not when personal record marathon times or next-level deadlifts are the goal, right? Wrong! Serious professional athletes will report that their PT is just another part of their  “human performance” team, that typically includes strength coaches, speed specialists, athletic trainers and physicians. Often times, Physical Therapists can be the go-to person for performance enhancement.

Most people are fairly disciplined taking care of their cars, including getting regular maintenance done to keep the old workhorse running smoothly. So why don’t we do the same for our bodies? Physical Therapists are experts in movement, and we can identify subtle changes often missed by patients, because there is no pain…. yet.  And the key word is yet! Injury prevention research shows that the number one predictor of future injury is past injury – and following not far behind as a leading cause of injury are what’s known as “asymmetries”. Asymmetries are any side-to-side difference in how you move. So being super-flexible in a left shoulder and tight as a rubber band on the right, is a sure recipe for future injury.

The body likes to be balanced in order to move well, move powerfully, and with control. When pain occurs, whether it be from injury or workout soreness, the body moves around the pain not through it. This changed movement pattern can become habit, if not identified and corrected. These faulty movement patterns wear down joints over time, and contribute to serious issues such as torn labrums, strained ligaments, and ripped muscles.

At Release Physical Therapy we take a “joint-by-joint” approach to treatment. We understand that a knee problem could easily be caused by dysfunction in the hip or ankle. Examining the entire body and how it moves is what will show us where any mobility and stability issues are. Small changes in movement patterns, if found and fixed early, can prevent future back pain, shoulder issues and possibly surgery.

With the New Year fast approaching and resolutions being made, don’t forget to add some body maintenance to your schedule. As always we offer free 15 minute consults, so come in and see if there aren’t a few tweaks we can make to insure 2015 is a healthy, injury free year…. and one that includes attaining new heights towards your human performance goals!

Stay healthy my friends!

Virginia

Virginia Dula, DPT, OCS

Release Physical Therapy

Washington DC 

By |December 22nd, 2014|Blog|Comments Off on Physical Therapy: Not Just When You’re Broken

Your Hamstrings Aren’t Tight… They’re Weak.

Sport-Physiotherapy-Perth-for-Hamstring-Injury-815x360Your Hamstrings Aren’t Tight… They’re Weak.

So stop wasting your time just stretching them and let’s solve the root cause of the problem! The hamstrings are a group of three muscles on the back of your thigh that work in conjunction with your glutes to extend the hip and help you do day-to-day things like stand up. The problem comes when we live at our desks and sit on our glutes all day. This causes them to “turn off” and leaves their weaker cousins, the hamstrings, to take up the slack.

The hamstrings are not as powerful of a muscle as the glutes. In fact, some would argue that the glutes are your body’s most powerful muscle. So when our glutes aren’t firing, that’s asking a lot of the hamstrings. When a muscle isn’t strong enough to do what the body is asking it will become weak and tight… and invite injuries, regardless of the physical activity you’re pursuing.

The human body is an amazing machine that allows us to perform some pretty astounding physical feats. But when abused, or not working under optimal conditions, it will use the only thing it has to protect us: our muscles. Neurologically, the brain shortens the hamstrings to give our hips and low back some stability that should be coming from the glutes.

Want to fix that pesky hamstring tightness? Start by getting rid of glute amnesia and fully activate the powerhouse muscle that it should be. With just a few simple moves and consistent training, the glutes will be back in action in no time. One of the best exercises to start with is the bridge – check out the video below!

Stay healthy my friends!

Virginia

Virginia Dula, DPT, OCS

By |December 9th, 2014|Blog, Videos|Comments Off on Your Hamstrings Aren’t Tight… They’re Weak.

Give Pain the Cold Shoulder

Give Pain the Cold Shoulder

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Shoulder pain is a common complaint among athletes and racquet-sport aficionados (squash, racquetball, tennis) are no exception. Shoulder injuries in racquet sports are often caused by the high-velocity and repetitive arm movements that characterize the sport; and those motions often lead to overuse injuries. For our indoor racquet sport fans, let us also not forget that concrete walls are typically very unforgiving when you collide with them.

The shoulder is an amazing joint that is able to move in every direction. With that great mobility, or range of motion, comes an inherent lack of stability. The shoulder is not designed to be stable like a knee joint, rather it relies on muscle strength and coordination (not just on bone structure) to stay in a “good” position.

When the muscles that control the shoulder joint become weak, overused, or pinched they stop working well. This changes the way the arm bone, the humerus, sits on the scapula, or shoulder blade. Imagine for a moment that the air is low in your car tires and you don’t notice it for the first hundred miles (hey, it happens!)….but when you do notice, that slight decrease in air has caused bigger problems (tire alignment, shock and strut problems, etc.)….the shoulder is the same way; small changes in muscle strength and coordination may not bother you at first, but given enough time pain is almost certain to occur.

So instead of having to fix shoulder pain, let’s prevent it from occurring in the first place…preventative maintenance! A few minutes, just a couple times a week, will keep your shoulders in tip-top playing shape. I recommend you start with Y’s and T’s.

           

If you already have shoulder pain, seeing a physical therapist sooner rather than later will help solve the problem and prevent it from re-occurring.

Welcome back to the gym, after a (hopefully) great Thanksgiving….Stay healthy my friends!
Virginia

Virginia Dula, DPT, OCS
Release Physical Therapy
Washington, DC

By |December 4th, 2014|Blog, Shoulder, Videos|Comments Off on Give Pain the Cold Shoulder