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Physical Therapy Can Help with Balance and Fall Prevention

By Jackie Oliver, DPT
jackie@excelptmt.com

According to the APTA website, one-third of people over the age of 65 and up to half of people over the age of 80 will end up falling this year. Falls can diminish your ability to lead an active and independent lifestyle. Decreased balance and increased risk of falling are two things that inevitably come with aging. Fortunately, there is something you can do about it. 

Balance has contributions from three sources; the inner ear, the feeling on the bottom of the feet, and your vision. If anyone of these is affected it can really decrease your balance. For example, if you suffer from macular degeneration that affects your vision or diabetic neuropathy that affects your ability to feel the bottom of your feet, then you may be at greater risk of falling. Other contributing factors include age, lower extremity weakness, using a cane or other walking device, medical conditions like stroke or Parkinson’s disease or a history of previous falls. If you have any of these risk factors and are concerned about falling, then physical therapy can help. 

Physical therapists are highly trained professionals that can conduct balance assessments to determine if you are at an increased fall risk. If the screening shows that you are at risk, we can design a program tailored to your specific needs to help decrease your risk of falling. Strength, gait, range of motion and balance are all things that may be included in your plan of care to improve balance. 

Staying active is one of the best ways to reduce your risk of falling. Yoga, gardening, Tai Chi or a regular walking program are all things that have been shown to increase a person’s confidence levels, improve body awareness and improve balance. Falling or fear of falling should not simply be accepted as a normal aspect of aging. A lot can be done to improve balance and keep you functioning at your highest possible level and physical therapy can help you get there. 

Jackie Oliver, DPT is a physical therapist at Excel Physical Therapy in Bozeman and Manhattan, Montana.

Joint pain from osteoarthritis? A whole new world of relief!

By Bobby Bemis, DPT, COMT, DIP. MT, FAAOMPT
bobby@excelptmt.com

Imagine a world where joint pain from osteoarthritis has less to do with “overuse” or “wear and tear” of the joint and more to do with lack of exercise, a sedentary lifestyle, one’s diet and systemic inflammation. How would that impact you, your family and your lifestyle? Maybe instead of staying off those painful joints you would move more? Instead of chalking your pain up to “genetics” or “worn out joints” maybe you could have more control over your pain? Maybe you would start to look at your diet and what impact it has on systemic inflammation in your body? Maybe suddenly your whole perception of your joint pain would change? 

I am here to tell you that more and more high-level evidence is reporting that the old notion that osteoarthritis is solely a result of joint overuse is outdated and incorrect. Study after study shows that the world I asked you to imagine above is the world we live in. We should all jump for joy because that means we have more control over joint pain resulting from osteoarthritis than we ever thought before. That means that physical therapy, exercise, diet and overall lifestyle is more important than ever. 

Research has shown that recreational runners have a lower incidence of osteoarthritis compared with competitive runners and sedentary individuals. Research also shows that the link between obesity and osteoarthritis has more to do with inflamed adipose (fat) tissue, elevated cholesterol and lipids (fat) in the blood leading to systemic inflammation and perhaps less to do with increased joint loading. There is even a study that looked at obese mice and showed that running on a wheel in a cage, protected their joints instead of damaging them. The take home message of this study is that exercise alone, separate from the resulting weight loss, promoted joint health! 

If you suffer from joint pain resulting from osteoarthritis or unexplained joint pain, I strongly encourage you to make an appointment with a physical therapist. It might not only help your pain but change your whole life. 

Bobby Bemis, DPT, COMT, DIP. MT, FAAOMPT is a fellowship trained orthopedic physical therapist at Excel Physical Therapy in Bozeman, Montana.

WHAT IS DIRECT ACCESS AND WHY YOU SHOULD CARE?

By Jackie Oliver, DPT
jackie@excelptmt.com

Direct Access. It sounds like an exclusive VIP backstage pass but, in reality, it’s an all access pass for individuals to see their physical therapist without a doctor’s referral. That’s right, you don’t have to spend time and money to go see a doctor before seeking physical therapy treatment. 

A study done by GALLUP, asked individuals which profession was the safest and most effective for treating neck pain. Overwhelmingly people answered physical therapy.  Though surprisingly when asked what profession they sought treatment from first, only 6% said physical therapy.  Most went to their medical doctor first. 

A lot of people are not aware that physical therapy is a direct access profession. Direct access benefits you in many ways. It streamlines your care, by eliminating the time between a physician’s appointment and getting in to see your physical therapist. By seeing your physical therapist first, you can start to improve your function, decrease pain and restore quality of life without delay. Furthermore, you could save hundreds of dollars on care. Medical doctors may do x-rays or prescribe medications that can end up costing a lot of money but don’t really solve your problems. Physical therapy is a great alternative to dangerous opioids and is often more effective than opioids, and in some cases surgery. If you think that your injury or pain is musculoskeletal in nature, a physical therapist should be your first stop. This will promote optimal outcomes and recovery. 

Not sure if we can help? Physical therapists are highly-trained professionals that are well equipped to be able to recognize if a problem isn’t musculoskeletal in nature and, if necessary, able to refer you on to the proper health care professional to address your issue. Physical therapists are not meant to take the place the of physicians, in fact, we work very closely with them to optimize your care. Keep physical therapy in mind the next time you have an ache or a pain that just won’t go away. We can help get you back to doing what you love. 

Call us today to schedule a thorough physical therapy evaluation in our Bozeman or Manhattan office.

Advanced Training...we're at it again! Jackie Oliver, DPT completes shoulder and knee course in Seattle

By Jackie Oliver, DPT
jackie@excelptmt.com

Jackie Oliver, DPTphysical therapist with Excel Physical Therapy of Bozeman and Manhattan, recently completed the Kevin Wilk Shoulder and Knee Course in Seattle, Washington. This advanced-training course presented the most recent, relevant and state-of-the-art treatment options for the most challenging and unusual problems of the shoulder and knee joints. This evidence-based course also focused on the most comprehensive and effective information regarding shoulder and knee post-operative treatment as well as rehabilitation tactics for general knee and shoulder pain. Kevin Wilk is our country’s leading authority in sports and orthopedic injury rehabilitation.

Jason Lunden, DPT, SCS attends US Ski & Snowboard Class at the USSA Center of Excellence

By Jason Lunden, DPT, SCS
jason@excelptmt.com

Jason Lunden, DPT, SCS, of Excel Physical Therapy, recently attended the US Ski & Snowboard Team Medical Emergencies in Skiing and Snowboarding (MESS) Course at the USSA Center of Excellence in Park City, UT. The course focused on concussion evaluation, management and rehabilitation, as well as athlete development for ski and snowboard athletes.   Jason is an owner and physical therapist with Excel Physical Therapy of Bozeman and Manhattan, and he volunteers as a physical therapist for the US Ski & Snowboard Teams.

Welcome Bobby Bemis, DPT, COMT, DIP. MT, FAAOMPT!

By Tiffany Coletta
tiffany@excelptmt.com

Welcome Bobby Bemis, DPT, COMT, Dip. MT, FAAOMPT to the Excel Physical Therapy team!

Bobby specializes in orthopedic manual physical therapy of the cervical, thoracic and lumbar spine. Although the spine is his specialty, Bobby has a high level of training in all regions of the body.  After receiving his undergraduate degree from the University of Colorado, Bobby earned a Doctorate in Physical Therapy from Regis University in Denver, Colorado. Post-graduation, Bobby became a Certified Orthopedic Manual Therapist (COMT), Diplomat of Manual Therapy (Dip. MT), as well as becoming certified in trigger point dry needling. Bobby then went on to become Fellowship trained through the Institute of Manipulative Physiotherapy and Clinical Training (IMPACT). Bobby was designated as a “Fellow” with the American Academy of Manual Physical Therapy (AAOMPT) after passing a rigorous oral and practical exam. Only a very small percentage of physical therapists achieve this elite status. The “Fellow” is a physical therapist who has demonstrated advanced clinical, analytical, and hands-on skills in the treatment of musculoskeletal orthopedic disorders and is internationally recognized for their competence and expertise in the practice of manual physical therapy. Bobby’s philosophy consists of using knowledge, skill and experience to provide the best physical therapy possible to help his patients achieve their goals. 

Bobby enjoys cooking, reading, yoga, and adventuring through the mountains and rivers of the west with his Newfoundland, Clarence. 

EXPLANATION OF INITIALS:

DPT: Doctorate of Physical Therapy

COMT: Certified Orthopedic Manual Therapist– A certification that focuses on advanced, localized, and specific spinal/peripheral manipulation techniques. Designed to teach therapists how to effectively manage the difficult patients that most therapists struggle with. This certification is a distinction given to Manual / Manipulative Physical Therapists around the world who have completed post-graduate specialization in the field of neuro-muscular skeletal disorders. The specialization includes “hands-on” techniques used to evaluate muscles, fascia, nerves, and joints.

Dip. MT: Diplomat of Manual Therapy – A certification demonstrating mastery in orthopedic manipulative therapy. It is an intensive training program with a comprehensive oral exam and written case reports. It requires advanced clinical reasoning, advanced theoretical knowledge and advanced technical skills. Only a very small percentage of physical therapists achieve this elite status.

FAAOMPT: Fellow in the American Academy of Orthopedic Manual Physical Therapy– The “Fellow” is a physical therapist who has demonstrated advanced clinical, analytical, and hands-on skills in the treatment of musculoskeletal orthopedic disorders and is internationally recognized for their competence and expertise in the practice of manual physical therapy. Only a very small percentage of physical therapists achieve this elite status.

What exactly is an orthopedic manual physical therapist? Orthopedic Manual Physical Therapy is any “hands-on” treatments such as moving a joint in a specific direction and at different speeds to regain movement (joint mobilization and manipulation), muscle stretching, passive movements of the affected body part, and selected soft tissue techniques used to improve the mobility and function of tissue and muscles. Orthopedic manual physical therapists treat conditions in body regions like the head, neck, back, arms and legs. Advanced examination, communication and decision making skilled that are built on the foundations of professional and scientific education facilitate the provision of effective and efficient care.

What's The Best Medicine For Your Back Pain?

By Jackie Oliver, DPT
jackie@excelptmt.com

It’s summer time and all you want to do is to be outside enjoying the weather and many outdoor activities that Bozeman has to offer. The only problem is, you have this nagging low back pain holding you back. You keep thinking, should I stay home and rest it or do you push forward and continue participating in the activities that you love? Will you hurt your back more if you charge full steam ahead? 

Statistics show that up to 80% of people will experience low back pain at some point in their lives. It is considered the leading cause of activity, limitation and work absence throughout much of the world. The good news is that most of the time, low back pain has a favorable diagnosis. The question remains, what do you do in the meantime? 

Research shows that even though it might feel like you are doing your back a favor by taking a few rest days. In reality, you are doing yourself a disservice. It has been demonstrated that best rest after an acute onset of low back pain can lead to secondary complications such as depression, blood clots and decreased muscle tone. 

Studies show that moving is the best medicine for your low back. Early resumption of normal or vocational activities will help you get back on your feet sooner.  Promoting movement, such as stretching, while avoiding aggravating activities will help your back feel better. By incorporating low intensity, submaximal fitness and endurance type activities into your daily routine, you will help keep your back strong and decrease your chance of suffering from reoccurring low back pain. Specifically, exercises that target your core, low back and legs will help support your spine. 

The thing to remember is that there are many different causes of low back pain and many ways to treat it. If movement and exercise doesn’t decrease your low back pain and it continues to persist, a visit to your local physical therapist may be beneficial to help get you on the fast track to feeling better.

 

Jackie Oliver, DPT completed her Doctorate in Physical Therapy at the University of Utah in Salt Lake City, Utah. Jackie is a certified dry needling provider with advanced training from Evidence in Motion and KinetaCore. Jackie has an intense passion for helping and educating others as well as preventative medicine. Because of her college sports background, Jackie loves working with athletes and has experience with biomechanical training and injury prevention in sports. Prior to completing her Doctorate in Physical Therapy, Jackie played basketball for Carroll College in Helena, Montana, while also obtaining a Bachelor of Arts degree in Health Science. Jackie was Academic All-American her last two years at Carroll. Jackie enjoys outdoor activities such as downhill skiing, trail running, disc golf and especially enjoys hiking with her husband and two dogs. 

Advanced training...we're at it again!

By Tiffany Coletta
tiffany@excelptmt.com

Megan Peach, DPT, OCS, CSCS
Jackie Oliver, DPT

Megan Peach, DPT, OCS, CSCS and Jackie Oliver, DPTphysical therapists with Excel Physical Therapy of Bozeman and Manhattan, recently completed the North American Institute of Orthopedic Manual Therapy (NAIOMT) Lumbopelvic Spine Course in Seattle, Washington.

The main objective of this course was to guide evaluation and management of treatment programs for people with low back pain or other serious pathologies in the lumbopelvic region. NAIOMT is dedicated to providing physical therapy continuing education coursework that emphasizes biomechanics and mobilization/manipulation while providing a diverse education on interventions for manual physical therapists.

Running Shoes: Comfort vs. Function

By Megan Peach, DPT, OCS, CSCS
megan@excelptmt.com

Have you ever stood in front of a wall of running shoes wondering which shoe is right for you? Maybe the Hokas with the super cushioned sole that feel like you’re running on clouds? Or the Brooks trail runners since the trails have cleared up and you’ve been wanting to try out the North Cottonwood trail? Or maybe the Saucony minimalist shoes because you’ve recently read about the benefits of minimalist running? Or my personal favorite, the hot pink shoes with tie-dye laces?! 

You may think that based on the available technology for running shoes and advancements in materials used to create modern running shoes that a plethora of running shoe research would be available. However, this is not necessarily the case.

Although the modern running shoe has been around for the past 40 years since the running boom in the 1970s, research specific to running shoes and injury is relatively new within the past few years. A wide variety of shoe functions exist in running shoes from a cushioned sole for shock absorption, motion control to decrease over pronation, a trail runner, or a minimalist shoe. While some runners may benefit from a specific type of shoes, recent studies on footwear for runners suggest that when shoes or orthotics are selected for comfort rather than function this results in a decreased frequency of running related injury.

So, unfortunately, you can’t base your choice on shoe color alone, but if the pink shoes with tie-dye laces have the best fit and are the most comfortable, they are also the most likely to keep you out of an injury!

Megan Peach, DPT, OCS, CSCS specializes in manual treatment of spinal dysfunction, as well as knee and shoulder pain and is a member of the Excel Physical Therapy running specialist PT team. Megan’s philosophy for physical therapy treatment embraces educating patients about the tools they need for enhancement of proper body movements during work and play to promote a pain and injury free active lifestyle. 

"Legit. Da best." --E.H., Bozeman Patient

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