Performance Pediatrics and Performance Rehabilitation invite you to our…
When: Saturday April 2, 2016, 10:00 A.M. – 2:00 P.M.
Location: 156 State Route 15, Lafayette Township, New Jersey
Come Experience Our NEW State-of-the-Art Sensory Gym!
Let the kids play while you meet the therapists to
discuss treatment options.
• FREE pediatric occupational therapy, physical therapy,
and speech therapy screenings!
• FREE computerized balance-concussion
testing for your young athletes.
• FREE knee injury screenings utilizing computerized
motion capture for your young athletes.
When it comes to low back pain (LBP), who you see first can determine if you have costly imaging, spinal injections, and/or surgery. Researchers looked at one year follow up of patients seeking care for LBP who initially were seen by a primary care provider (family medicine, internal medicine, or ob/gyn), physiatrist, chiropractor, physical therapist, spine surgeon, emergency department, or another specialist (rheumatologist or neurologist).
The results showed that patients seen by a physical therapist first had fewer radiographs (x-rays) and advanced imaging studies (MRI), fewer emergency room visits, and fewer spinal injections. The authors theorize that evidence-based care that correctly identifies the cause of LBP and manual treatment interventions with prescriptive exercises are the reasons for the better outcomes with physical therapy. Call us at Performance Rehabilitation to schedule your appointment and get the relief that you need!
With all of the controversy surrounding concussions and the mismanagement of former NFL players, the debate will only amplify with next week’s opening of Will Smith’s movie, Concussion. And this is a good thing. For too long in sports, it was seen as a badge of courage to get back in the game after sustaining a blow to the head by popping some smelling salts and passing your coach’s “How many fingers am I holding up?” test.
As a former high school football player and college rugby player, I myself subscribed to this mentality. But there is now conclusive evidence of cumulative traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) after repeated concussions, leading to progressive degeneration of the brain where certain parts of the brain atrophy and other parts enlarge. The accumulation of tau proteins in the brain interferes with the ability of the brain neurons to effectively communicate. Depression, erratic/impulsive behavior, memory deficits, loss of balance, and eventually dementia are the typical symptoms of CTE. CTE is the medical term commonly known as “Punch-Drunk” Syndrome given to boxers.
What is a concussion? A concussion is considered a brain injury. It is a complex pathophysiological process that affects the brain from either direct or indirect trauma or blow to the head. There are usually neurological symptoms that demonstrate a functional disturbance to the brain, and they may include the following:
- physical (headaches, nausea, photo-phobia)
- cognitive (difficulty with comprehension, concentration, memory)
- emotional (irritability, sadness, depression)
- maintenance (sleep disturbances, changes in appetite and energy levels) symptoms.
These symptoms are collectively referred to as Post-Concussion Syndrome and may resolve within several weeks to several months.
As I said earlier, awareness is a good thing and we are seeing legislation mandating concussion testing at the youth sports level. This is very important as younger brains are more at risk, because the brain continues to develop until around the age of 23 to 25. Many states now require pre-season cognitive baseline testing for high school athletes. But we need to go further, as this is only half of the equation. Monitoring and gauging recovery form a concussion can become difficult. Cognitive functioning is a great baseline for comparison, but our brain does much more for us—including balance and our kinesthetic awareness. Neuro-physical testing utilizing a balance system to monitor subtle deficits in balance and body sway is an excellent means to do this and is currently under-utilized. Functional return in balance and kinesthesia is often more protracted than cognitive functioning. And this is critical to all athletes returning to sport, as many are cleared to early and are vulnerable to another concussion.
At Performance Rehabilitation, we offer baseline neuro-physical testing with our Equilibrate Balance System. It only takes fifteen minutes and prevents indecision with the critical decision of return-to-play. The most important event following a concussion is a full recovery before a return-to-play decision can be made. Let us remove that doubt.
Get Your Core off the Floor with GravityFit!
We are dealing with an evolving epidemic in low back pain, neck pain, arthritis, and osteoporosis due to how we now live in modern society. As a society, we are more sedentary, do less physical work, commute in cars, and sit at computers. Have you ever experienced this after a weekend of watching college football all Saturday followed by NFL all day Sunday? (I know that I have!). But this pain from sitting at length on a couch and general lack of movement is fortunately short-lived as I recognize the importance of being upright and active and come Monday get back in the swing with my exercise routine. But for many in society, this is not the case and a sedentary lifestyle with minimal to no exercise has lead to a weakening of our spinal joints and loss of axial spinal strength.
And for those in the fitness industry planking away and working your core, take note. This is a good starting point but you (we) need to be upright and against gravity to best activate our core. Actually, our three cores- the cervical, thoracic, and lumbar cores. Carolyn Richardson, B. Phty (Hons), PhD, the physical therapist who actually developed the term “core” in the early 90’s has taken core training to the next level with GravityFit Core Body Performance. Through her research with the European Space Agency, she learned that despite astronauts attempting to prevent osteoporosis, herniated discs, and joint pain in space through exercising on bikes and with weights, the lack of gravity still created the very problems that they were trying to avoid. Dr. Richardson hypothesized that gravity was integral to this core activation and through her study of the human body in micro-gravity on earth, she found that an amazing thing happens when human beings are on extended bed rest and not receiving the vital input of gravity. Our core muscles turn off! The very muscles necessary to have spinal strength deep within the body just stop working. So our larger outer movement muscles, the hamstrings, our quads, the lats, and calves become stiff in an attempt to support our spine. (Think about the last time you had a bout of the flu and were bed ridden for several days. That feeling of shakiness on the inside but just overall stiffness within your joints gives you a pretty good idea of what micro-gravity can do to your body).
Our spine is really a large spring that dampens the effect of gravity. For the spring to work, it needs the alternating S-curve to disperse the force of gravity evenly. But we also need our legs as springs. Dr. Richardson also determined that the sensory receptors in our feet relay critical information to our core to contract appropriately for all of the activities that we perform daily. Here again, the evolution of modern society of walking on concrete, tile, and wood floors in shoes prevents the proper transmittal of this information. We evolved as humans walking barefoot on grass, sand, rolling hills, through forests etc. in bare feet. So this spring and summer, get out to the park and beach and take those long walks. This simple act will facilitate strengthening of your spinal cores.
Since we all live in different levels of micro-gravity based upon the work that we do and the types of sports and hobbies that we participate in, making sure that we have a daily regimen of GravityFit exercise is essential for musculoskeletal health.
Below, Damon Daura PT, DPT, OCS, COMT from Performance Rehabilitation is receiving training from Carolyn Richardson, B. Phty (Hons), PhD in the use of the GravityFit Exercise Model at a recent course in New York City. Here, Damon is working on the uneven simulated surface while lunging and utilizing the Thoracic-Pro to maintain proper mid back alignment. The Core Awareness Belt is giving feedback to maintain the lumbar curve.
In this next picture, Damon uses the Gravity Cap to feed more gravity through the spine by pushing down with his hands at the side. This gentle force through the head and the spine increases recruitment of the core musculature.
This new form of exercise is very exciting in that it can be applied to the sedentary and post-surgical patient as well as the high performance athlete. The goal is to gradually build up tone within the spinal core so that we can function at our most optimal and efficient level. This will lead to less injuries and better performance. If you are interested in hearing more or seeing how this may benefit you for any pain issue or to enhance your performance in your given sport, please contact me at either of our clinics or by email Damon@PerformanceRehabilitationPT.com.