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Physical Therapy as a Means for Prevention 

By Matt Schumacher, DPT, MTC, CAFS, CSCS
matts@excelptmt.com

What do you think of when you hear physical therapy? Most individuals may have experienced or know of someone who experienced physical therapy with a past injury or surgery. This is the bread and butter of what we do as physical therapists through rehabilitating individuals back to what they love to do; however, most people do not know the benefits of seeing a physical therapist for “prehabilitation” or wellness checkups prior to a possible or potential injury from occurring.  

Just as one goes to the dentist for a biannual checkup for prevention of possible future dental issues, physical therapy has and can be an option for the public in addressing possible musculoskeletal impairments, muscle strength deficits, and range of motion deficits in the body. As most of us all know, exercise has been suggested to aid in multiple health benefits such as preventing chronic disease, boosting mental health, increasing overall longevity, reducing risk of cardiovascular disease, and improving bone health –  just to name a few. As orthopedic physical therapists, we are trained and knowledgeable in rehabilitation and appropriate exercise prescription following injury and/or surgery, but we are also trained in injury prevention by providing patients and clients resources for reducing their chance of an injury. 

As spring is approaching and we are gearing up for the beautiful Montana summer, physical therapy may be of benefit to you or someone you know to increase your chances of a healthy, active, and injury-free year. It is typically easier to address these possible impairments before an injury may emerge versus after an injury has occurred. Most everyone, including you, may benefit from a “biannual checkup” with physical therapy! 

 

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Matt Schumacher, DPT, MTC, CAFS, CSCS received his Doctorate in Physical Therapy from the University of Mary in Bismarck, ND where he was recognized as a nominee for Outstanding Student Award in his physical therapy class demonstrating excellence in academics, volunteering, and servant leadership. Following graduation, he received training from Gray Institute with a Certification in Applied Functional Science (CAFS). Matt also completed a rigorous year-long program with Evidence in Motion (EIM) achieving his Manual Therapy Certification (MTC) gaining advanced training in mobilization and manipulation techniques for common diagnoses of the spine and extremities. Matt specializes in assisting individuals following post-operative rehabilitation, sports medicine rehabilitation, and orthopedic injuries/ailments of the spine and extremities utilizing advanced knowledge and skill with manual therapy and appropriate exercise prescription. 

5 Things I'd Like You to Know Before Your First Visit

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

What is physical therapy? How can it help me? What should I know? What role do I play in it? What if I don’t like going to the gym? Will it hurt? How do I know if I need it? What if I don’t like being touched? What if I don’t like exercising? Is it a quick fix? Maybe I should just get surgery? What if I can’t be helped? Maybe I just need to be tougher? Do I need therapy if my medication helps the pain?

I am guessing that if you are reading this article that you have asked yourself one or more of these questions before. Most of my patients have and it can be incredibly overwhelming. I am here to help you navigate the physical therapy world and maybe even a little of the healthcare world in general.  

Full disclosure. I am biased. I love physical therapy. I love that a generally non-invasive form of healthcare can benefit so many. I love that like so many things in life you often get out what you put in. I love that physical therapists, in general, are empathetic, positive, altruistic people that want nothing more than to see people walk out of the clinic in a better place than when they came in. This blog is for those of you who aren’t quite sure what to expect regarding physical therapy and how you can take advantage of what it has to offer.  

Physical therapy has undergone a major evolution over the past decades. Long gone are the years of using treatment time to primarily administer modalities (e.g. ice, heat, ultrasound, tape, etc.). No longer do we regard injuries as a purely physical experience and ignore all the other components of a person that can impact their pain and dysfunction. Physical therapists and hopefully other healthcare professionals now view patients in what is called a biopsychosocial framework. That means your pain is not only impacted by biological factors (e.g. arthritis) but psychological factors (e.g. anxiety) and social factors (e.g. a fight with your spouse). This framework continues to be supported by more and more high-level research from all over the healthcare world.  

Physical therapists are musculoskeletal experts and gateway healthcare practitioners. What does that mean? When it comes to musculoskeletal issues you will be hard pressed to find another healthcare professional that is better at diagnosis and treatment of these conditions. As gateway healthcare practitioners physical therapists have the ability to see patients without a referral and we are educated on how to screen for other medical conditions that may not be appropriate for physical therapy. In these cases, we can refer to specialists that have expertise in the appropriate area of care.  

Physical therapy can help you organize the complex and confusing world of today’s healthcare resources and options. Do you need to see a surgeon? Do you need to see a non-surgical orthopedic physician? Would you benefit from massage therapy? Would you benefit from consultation regarding a steroid injection? Could you benefit from some mental health counseling? Would a registered dietician be helpful? Or are you just where you need to be…in physical therapy?! 

Here’s 5 suggestions/recommendations regarding your first visit for physical therapy: 

  1. Come prepared. If you feel like you might be anxious, overwhelmed or nervous take the time to write out any questions you may have before your visit. That way you can refer to your notes when your mind goes blank.  
  2. Come with an open mind. Try to put aside any prior experiences you have had with the healthcare system.  
  3. Don’t get too fixated on imaging. Imaging is good at ruling things out but not great at ruling in things that are causing your pain. There is not a good correlation between tissue degeneration and pain…so be careful.  
  4. Remember that all pain is perceived in your brain…so your pain can change depending on the state of your mind. There are techniques and strategies to address neurological pathways that may have developed over time that negatively impact your pain.  
  5. Physical therapy is an active endeavor. It is very rare that a physical therapist can magically fix your pain or dysfunction in one visit. My goal is to get you back out there ASAP…but it will not happen overnight and will not be done passively.  

One of the biggest complaints I hear from patients regarding health care professionals, in general, is that most don’t listen and they lack empathy. Keep in mind that as a physical therapist at Excel Physical Therapy, I have 45 minutes to do the best I can to figure out what is going on and how to best provide you with the tools to improve and get better. To steal a line from the psychologist and author Malcolm Gladwell we must use “thin-slicing” to help us figure out the best path for our patients. That means that a good therapist or healthcare practitioner will skillfully direct the conversation to get the information that will allow them to best figure out a plan of care that can best impact the patient for the better. We want to hear your entire story and we will…over time.

One of the beauties of physical therapy is that we spend more one on one time with patients than almost any other healthcare profession. If you are honest with yourself and take into account your biological, psychological and social factors that may bias your opinion toward your healthcare practitioner and you still feel like you are being treated without empathy or by an outdated biological model, simply find a healthcare practitioner that works better for you. 

How can we help you? We are a specialized physical therapy practice that collaboratively provides the most effective manual, orthopedic and sports therapy treatments, allowing us to efficiently return patients to their highest level of comfort and functionality. 

We deliver one-on-one, direct patient treatment by our licensed, specialty-certified physical therapists to ensure preeminent physical therapy services and patient care. We have served the Gallatin Valley since 2001 and are locally owned and operated by physical therapists.

At Excel Physical Therapy, our entire team–physical therapy team, massage therapy team, front office care coordinators and patient services assistants–ALL work very hard each day to welcome, listen and help you to feel better as a result of our evidence-based treatment plans and services. Your excellent outcome is our sole mission: Superior care from expert clinicians, supported by passionate staff, impacting the Gallatin Valley and beyond.

Thanks for taking that time to read my article. I hope you find this information helpful. See you at Excel PT! 

 

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Bobby Bemis, DPT, COMT, DIP.MT, FAAOMPT is a fellowship-trained physical therapist at Excel Physical Therapy.  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, Bobby earned a Doctorate in Physical Therapy, 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 and was then 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. 

Noisy Necks

By Matt Heyliger, DPT
matt@excelptmt.com

I am frequently asked about whether it is normal for a neck to make a lot of noise. Some of the more common adjectives I hear from patients describing these sensations are creaking, grinding or crinkly noises…the kind of noises you hear on the inside but are not generally audible to others. The short answer is yes, some increase in neck noise is to be expected as we age. However, certain noisy necks deserve a bit more attention. 

To clarify, the noisy necks described above should be distinguished from other common neck noises including popping, cracking, clicking or snapping sensations in the neck. The importance in this distinction is that the former is most likely associated with normal wear and tear as long as there is not pain associated with the noise, where the latter may indicate some problems brewing in your noisy neck. Necks that tend to pop a lot, especially those that need to pop to relieve tension or pain, are likely experiencing increased stress in the joints and/or disc at the level of the popping. This should be seen as a warning sign. For the owner of that noisy neck, there is likely some degree of asymmetry in the mobility of the joints in the neck. This can lead to degeneration of those segments of the cervical spine that may lead to more problems than just neck noise down the line. 

If your noisy neck is associated with pain and/or ever increasing stiffness and loss of mobility then you should consider consulting with your Physical Therapist. While some loss of motion in you neck is common with aging, especially in your later 60’s and beyond, earlier onset of a significant loss in mobility could be a tipping point for your neck. Many folks who bring this up during a physical therapy appointment are relieved to learn that certain neck noise is normal. In situations where neck noise may be indicative of a neck that’s going south, taking action and making a plan may really make a difference in your quality of life a few years around the bend.

 

 

Matt Heyliger, DPT of Excel Physical Therapy completed his Doctorate in Physical Therapy at Eastern Washington University in Cheney, Washington. He has a particular treatment focus in the relationship of cervical/thoracic spine mechanics and upper extremity conditions. An avid rock climber, telemark/backcountry skier and mountain biker, Matt regularly practices yoga and enjoys frequent adventures in the mountains with his family and their two labs.

Posture Matters! Seminar 10/5/2016 @ Bozeman Library

By David Coletta, MPT, CMPT
david@excelptmt.com

Community Education Series   |   Free & Open to the Public

Posture Matters! Seminarpoor posture at work

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

6:30-8:00pm

Bozeman Public Library

Large Community Room

seating limited to first 100 attendees

Presented by David Coletta, MPT, CMPT

 

What You Will Learn:

  • Learn why your posture matters, how it can lead to health concerns, and what you can do to improve yours now.
  • Please bring your older kids! Learning to optimize posture at an early age can have life changing results.
  • With the popularity of personal electronic devices, poor posture is an increasing problem. People of all ages are at risk for developing a multitude of musculoskeletal problems, including neck pain, back pain, headaches, shoulder impingement, elbow tendonitis, thoracic outlet syndrome, TMD, etc.
  • Bring your questions! Q&A with David Coletta, MPT, CMPT during and after the talk.

 

David Coletta, MPT, CMPT specializes in the treatment of back and neck pain, spinal issues, whiplash, headaches, TMJ/jaw pain, postural dysfunctions and professional bike fitting. As the founding owner of Excel Physical Therapy, David established Excel PT in 2001 on the principles of specialization, advanced education and customer service. He enjoys finding long-term solutions for his patients — solutions that involve a fine-tuned combination of manual manipulative therapy and a targeted exercise program that address even the most difficult patient presentations.

 

"What Is That Ringing In My Ears?" by David Coletta, MPT, CMPT

By David Coletta, MPT, CMPT
david@excelptmt.com

Although tinnitus, or ringing in the ears, can be a sign of serious brain pathology, tumors, and hearing loss, this condition can also be often diagnosed by your physician as idiopathic tinnitus.  Such a diagnosis indicates no known or verifiable cause to the ringing in your ears.  Ruling out the more concerning problems through brain imaging, neurological testing, and hearing tests is helpful, but often leaves the patient with no real answers about how to decrease or eliminate the annoying sound.  One theory regarding the source of idiopathic tinnitus centers on the musculoskeletal system as a trigger for ear ringing.  (more…)

"Conquering Neck Pain" Seminar | 12/3/2014 6:30pm

By David Coletta, MPT, CMPT
david@excelptmt.com

Community Education Series – free and open to the publicjoin us!

 

“Conquering Neck Pain: Self-Help Techniques & Treatment Options”

Presented by David Coletta, MPT, CMPT, Certified Manual Therapy Specialist

 

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

6:30pm-7:30pm

Bozeman Public Library Community Room

                                                                                                      

What You Will Learn:

  • How neck pain develops and becomes chronic.
  • What the anatomic sources of neck pain are.
  • How a specialized physical therapist utilizes manual therapy, patient education, exercise, and dry needling techniques to treat neck pain.
  • How improving posture can alleviate neck pain.
  • Which exercises are most effective in self-treatment of neck pain.
  • Other self-treatment techniques.
  • There also will be time at the end of the seminar to speak with David regarding your specific neck problem.

David Coletta, MPT, CMPT has specialized in the treatment of back and neck pain, spinal issues, whiplash, headaches, TMJ/jaw pain, and postural dysfunctions for over 15 years. David received his masters in physical therapy from Mount St. Mary’s College in Los Angeles, California. He enjoys finding long-term solutions for his patients — solutions that involve a fine-tuned combination of manual manipulative therapy and a targeted exercise program that address even the most difficult patient presentations. A considerable amount of David’s training from leading physical therapy clinicians has occurred through the North American Institute of Orthopedic Manual Therapy (NAIOMT). He has completed advanced certification in manual therapy (CMPT) with NAIOMT and has received advanced training in dry needling techniques for the spine and extremities. David is also a Certified Clinical BikeFit Pro Fitter.

 

Proper Computer Ergonomics for a Healthy Neck & Back

By David Coletta, MPT, CMPT
david@excelptmt.com

Proper Computer Ergonomics for a Healthy Neck & Back

Using computers have become a normal part of most people’s daily lives.  For many of us, sitting at a desk top or laptop computer can last several hours every day.  Do you suffer from neck pain, upper back pain, or headaches?  Could poor posture at the computer be a contributing factor to such complaints? A 2012 study (Cho et al) found that 254 surveyed Chinese office workers, between 25 and 40 years old, working 3+ hours per day at the computer, had a 71%-76% prevalence of neck pain and a 60%-64% prevalence of upper back pain.       

 How often do we find ourselves stuck in postures such as this?  Poor positioning, most often producing a forward head, causes undue stress on the neck and upper back muscles and joints.  Over time, the soft tissues cannot bear the burden without developing tightness and inflammation.  Such complaints lead to pain and a visit to the physical therapist, massage therapist, or doctor in search of relief.

 A proper desktop set-up starts with a higher quality supportive computer chair, which securely supports the lower back lordosis, has great deal of adjustability, and comes with padded arm rests (forearm rests on padding).  A large computer screen, with the top edge placed just above eye level, is optimal.  The keyboard and mouse should be easily accessible to the hands so that the elbow can rest under the shoulder.  The ultimate goal is to have the ear, shoulder, elbow, and hip almost in a perfect vertical line.

 Posture Photo 2 3-28-2014If the top of your desk is too high, then your keyboard and mouse can be placed on an adjustable external tray that is secured underneath this surface.  Obtaining proper ergonomics can be a good deal more challenging with a laptop computer, but purchasing an external keyboard and mouse or a laptop stand can be helpful.  These and other computer ergonomic products can be found online at ergopro.com

 

If you have specific questions about how to improve your computer ergonomics, contact David Coletta, MPT, CMPT at Excel Physical Therapy, 406-556-0562 in #Bozeman, Montana.

"David is great and extremely knowledgeable. Excited to begin treatment with him again."  --Bozeman Patient

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