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10 Things You Probably Didn’t Know about Physical Therapy

PT 1918 PhotoOctober is National Physical Therapy Month! To celebrate we thought we’d provide some interesting facts on the history, practice, and impact of physical therapy. Keep up with the latest news and trends on our blog at www.releasept.com, and follow us on social media.
1.) Many of today’s physical therapy techniques are actually almost 2500 years ago. Hippocrates and later Galenus are believed to be its first practitioners, advocating the use of massage, or manual therapy, and hydrotherapy started in 460 BC.

2.) World War I and the 1916 Polio outbreak, led to a national and international need for rehabilitation to treat disabled soldiers and children. The field provided career opportunities for women at the time, and in 1918 the term “Reconstruction Aide,” was given to those practicing physical therapy.

3.) According to the 2010 US Census, there are about 200,000 physical therapists practicing in the United States.

4.) Physical therapy continues to be a female-dominated career, with about 70% of practitioners in the United States being women.

5.) The American Physical Therapy Association accredits curricula for physical therapists in the United States. Each state regulates the licensing of practitioners for its respective jurisdiction. The most common degree held by physical therapists is a Doctor in Physical Therapy (DPT).

6.) There are almost 450 active-duty physical therapists who treat American troops across the three branches of military.

7.) Studies have shown that physical therapy can be as or more effective than surgery to address a range of knee and back conditions.

8.) Most providers in most jurisdictions do not require the patient to receive a MD’s referral for physical therapy.

9.) Advances in physical therapy leverage ancient Oriental medicine and knowledge. Active Release Techniques™ (ART) and dry needling has its origins in acupuncture, developed in China 2,000 years ago. Modern use of needles utilize long-established techniques to treat patients in new ways.

10.) Innovations in technology have provided for new tools to aid in the treatment process. The K-Laser™s a medical class IV therapy laser, first cleared by the FDA in 2005 and can be used in physical therapy settings to promote healing on a cellular level.

Sources:
American Physical Therapy Association – www.apta.org
Active Release Techniques™ – www.activerelease.com
K-Laser™ – www.K-Laserusa.com

Photo Caption/Credits: Reconstruction Aides, who typically learned military drills prior to being transported to overseas US Army hospitals, on July 4, 1918, in New York. Source: American Physical Therapy Association.

By |October 11th, 2015|Blog, News|Comments Off on 10 Things You Probably Didn’t Know about Physical Therapy

Behold the Laser! Release Offers Innovative New Tool for Patient Care

Elbow-Treatment-2(72dpi)If you’re ever experienced chronic pain or endured the recovery from an injury, you probably wished you could waive a magic wand and make it go away. The therapists of Release Physical Therapy aren’t certified in magic, however they do have a powerful new tool available to alleviate pain and rapidly promote healing. The K-Laser™ is a Class IV, compact laser, which works by stimulating healing and minimizing inflammation on the cellular level. With the pass of a wand, you’ll feel a mild warming sensation. Some clients experience relief instantly, while others see results in just a few short sessions. The treatment is integrated into regular client sessions, and can be paired with a range of other treatments to maximize outcomes.

Laser technology was originated by Albert Einstein almost 100 years ago, and has been used by medical professionals around the world since the 1960’s. In 2003, the FDA cleared Class IV lasers (the most powerful class in the industry) for patient care. Dr. Phil Harrington, a pioneer in the medical field, developed the K-Laser specifically for application in the physical rehabilitation field. Release Physical Therapy is the first and only practice in Washington, DC to offer this exciting new technology as a pioneer in the field of individualized care.

Do you have an experience with the K-Laser™? What kinds of results have you seen? Please share them with info@releasept.com and stay tuned for more stories about this breakthrough technology.

By |August 26th, 2015|Blog|Comments Off on Behold the Laser! Release Offers Innovative New Tool for Patient Care

SMART Goals for 2015 (pencils required!)

smart2015

SMART Goals for 2015 (pencils required!)

Welcome to 2015! We at Release Physical Therapy hope you had a wonderful holiday season and are excited to start the New Year! For many, each New Year is a time to not only reflect on the past 365 days, but also to create new goals for the year ahead.

There are brilliant folks all around the world studying the mental mechanics behind goal-setting, as well as the variables that affect if (and how) people achieve goals after mapping them out. Borrowing from both the business management and psychology worlds, we can all benefit from setting “SMART” goals in 2015.

“SMART” is an acronym for:

S: Specific – a specific goal will answer the questions when, what, where and why?

M: Measurable – how will you know you have accomplished your goal?

A: Achievable – not to be confused with “easy”… challenge is essential to make a goal worth working towards. Goals should, however, be things we have the attitude, skill and ability to achieve.

R: Realistic / Results-oriented – the goal is something that you are willing AND able to work towards. Running a marathon is a great goal, but not if you only have one hour a week to train.

T: Time-bound – when will you accomplish your goal? Simply setting a time and date for achieving a goal significantly increases your likelihood of success.

An example of a SMART 2015 fitness goal might be:

“I will run one 5K race each quarter, and one 10K race this year, lose 15 pounds and be able to ski on December 25, 2015.

This goal is specific, measurable (did you finish the races?), achievable if written by a beginner runner and time-bound. This type of goal is much more achievable than “I want to lose 15 pounds.”

So dig deep, dream big, and figure out what you really want to achieve in 2015. Goals should challenge you! Come with a plan, the first step of which is writing good (SMART) goals. To start, simply write down every goal that comes to mind. As they say, “passing from lips to pencil tips” has a power of its own, and is a great place to begin.

Stay healthy my friends,

Virginia

Virginia Dula, DPT, OCS

By |January 5th, 2015|Blog|Comments Off on SMART Goals for 2015 (pencils required!)

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

To Stretch or Not to Stretch?

stretchTo Stretch or Not to Stretch?

A fantastic question with no simple answer.

We have been told since we were young to stretch before we work out, practice, or play in a game. But is that true? And if so, why? And if we should, for how long and when? These are questions athletes, coaches, trainers and therapists have been asking for years. Only recently has research caught up (sort of) with this issue.

The research that’s published is far from perfect. But it does give us some insight into how flexibility affects performance and injury prevention… both of which are goals most of us have, whether we are gym-rats training for “life” or elite athletes whose career depends on performance.

What we do know is that static stretching, those long-hold, “count to 30” sort of stretches, have a negative effect on immediate performance.  Plainly put, if you perform static stretches before a workout or a run, you won’t be able to lift as heavy, or run as fast.  However, those same stretches when performed after a workout (or at the end of the day) can have long-term benefits, including increased flexibility.

If “traditional” long/static stretches hurt, rather than help, before you work out, then what should be done? You want to prepare your body the way you’re going to perform. The body needs to be put into positions that reach the end range for a joint, but those positions should only be held for a few seconds. This way, blood flow will increase and get your body used to moving through all the available range it has.This technique is called a dynamic warm up, and it prepares your body for the work it’s about to do.  Stretching in this way has been shown to improve immediate power and agility as long as you do it within an hour of working out.

A great place to start is with the “World’s Greatest Stretch.”  Equinox has done a fantastic job breaking down this movement pattern with simple instructions and pictures…check it out here.

Don’t forget to also check out Release Physical Therapy’s very own exercise videos!

Stay healthy my friends!

Virginia

Virginia Dula, DPT, OCS

By |November 12th, 2014|Blog, Videos|Comments Off on To Stretch or Not to Stretch?

Running Away From Injury

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Running Away From Injury:

3 Exercises for Runner’s Injury Prevention

Distance running has taken off in popularity over the past few decades and there is no indication the trend will end anytime soon.  And why would it?  Running is a low-maintenance, throw-on-some-shoes and go kind of workout.  It doesn’t require fancy machines, a specific location or special equipment. Washington D.C. is a particularly beautiful place to run, whether along the Mall and its monuments, or on the city’s hundreds of miles of trails and paths.

Although running is a great form of exercise, it comes with risk of injury when performed by those unprepared for the training.  The statistics are all over the map, but anywhere from 19%-92% of runners will suffer a running-related injury.  Even if the statistics aren’t clear, when Runner’s World has a specific website dedicated to the topic of injuries you can be sure they are common.

Many new runners fall into the “Terrible Toos”: too much, too soon, too fast.  Despite being warned to avoid this, we repeat the mistakes of past runners and get injured.  Recent studies have shown that if the 10% rule is not followed, you have a higher risk for injury.  Meaning, increasing distance, time and or speed by more than 10% per week sets you up for injury.

Seasoned runners are not immune to running injuries, and as the saying goes: an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.  Purist runners like to run; not lift weights, not go to group classes…just run. And like most, we do what we like in the gym not always what we need.  Solely focusing on running, while ignoring strength training, is an invitation for injury.  Core strength and hip strength are vitally important to keep the purist runner running.

Check out the Release Physical Therapy, Washington DC website for hip and low back exercises you can perform to prevent running injuries. We recommend clam shells, side lying hip abduction and bird dogs as a starting point.

Stay healthy and stay running, my friends!

                 

By |October 28th, 2014|Blog|Comments Off on Running Away From Injury

New! Clam Shells (2-step) Exercise Video

Clam Shell (2-step) for Hips

From the NEW! Release PT Video Series

The Clam Shell (2-step) exercise is an effective exercise to target the outer hip and glute muscles. Here’s how it’s done:

1. Lay on your side with your hips and knees bent, so that your heels are in-line with your head, torso and hips.

(It may be helpful to position yourself with your back against a wall to insure correct form.)

2. Open your hips by rotating your top knee up toward the sky, while maintaining contact between your heels.

3. Then with control, lower your leg to the starting position.

Complete a full set on one side then repeat on the opposite side.

Tip: Make sure that the top hip stays parallel to the ceiling, and does not roll forward or backward. Do not allow any movement through your torso.

You should feel this exercise working the outer hip of the top leg.

Check out the RPT Blog for health & wellness resources, videos and more.

Subscribe to our YouTube channel for weekly exercise videos!

By |October 9th, 2014|Blog, Hips, Videos|Comments Off on New! Clam Shells (2-step) Exercise Video

New! Clam Shell Video

Clam Shell (single step) for Hips

From the NEW! Release PT Video Series

Clam Shell is an effective exercise to target the outer hip and glute muscles. Here’s how it’s done:

1. Lay on your side with your hips and knees bent, so that your heels are in-line with your head, torso and hips.

(It may be helpful to position yourself with your back against a wall to insure correct form.)

2. Open your hips by rotating your top knee up toward the sky, while maintaining contact between your heels.

3. Then with control, lower your leg to the starting position.

Complete a full set on one side then repeat on the opposite side.

Tip: Make sure that the top hip stays parallel to the ceiling, and does not roll forward or backward. Do not allow any movement through your torso.

You should feel this exercise working the outer hip of the top leg.

Check out the RPT Blog for health & wellness resources, videos and more.

Subscribe to our YouTube channel for weekly exercise videos!

By |October 9th, 2014|Blog, Hips, Videos|Comments Off on New! Clam Shell Video