Here's an informative article on how to keep your spine happy and healthy when you must bend over. It was published in NPR online on February 26, 2018.
To see if you're bending correctly, try a simple experiment.
"Stand up and put your hands on your waist," says Jean Couch, who has been helping people get out of back pain for 25 years at her studio in Palo Alto, Calif.
"Now imagine I've dropped a feather in front of your feet and asked to pick it up," Couch says. "Usually everybody immediately moves their heads and looks down."
That little look down bends your spine and triggers your stomach to do a little crunch. "You've already started to bend incorrectly — at your waist," Couch says. "Almost everyone in the U.S. bends at the stomach."
For the rest of the article, click here to be linked to it on NPR online.
Special thanks to Kim Mize, DPT, CSCS, of Alpine Physical Therapy for her specialized work in Pelvic Health. Her work was highlighted in a fantastic article published recently in the Missoula Independent.
Kim Mize holds up a model of the pelvis that she uses to show patients where their pelvic floor muscles are.
It looks a little like she’s about to Poor Yorick the pelvis, and she has been known to make light with patients to get them comfortable talking about the problems she treats: urinary incontinence, pain during sex and pelvic floor problems after prostate surgery. “It’s a bit of a taboo subject,” Mize says. Accordingly, her exam room is as private as she can make it, with an attached restroom so patients don’t have to venture into a hallway once their appointment has begun.
For the remainder of this article, click here.
And for more information on the Pelvic Health program at Alpine Physical Therapy, click here.
Dimitri Donaldson-Govertsen competed in the Solo Contemporary section of the 2018 Ballet Beyond Borders. He made it to the finals where he left it all on stage, earning Silver and a scholarship to a summer intensive in Portugal! To top it all off, Dimitri also won the essay contest!
We’re blown away at that magnitude of Ballet Beyond Borders, and we’re honored that Dimitri leaned on Alpine PT for some of his past aches and pains.
A special Hi Five to Dimitri’s coach Walter Barrera, faculty member at Rocky Mountain Ballet Theatre, coach, and choreographer.
Take two minutes to watch Dimitri’s performance by clicking here.
Alpine Physical Therapy was proud to host a panel discussion on Myth Busters for Dancers this past week. The Panel included Astrid Sherman (the Artistic Director of CatchingART Contemporary Ballet Theatre and Pro Arte Centre Professional Training School in Vancouver, Canada), Colleen O’Callaghan (the founder and Artistic Director of O’Callaghan Moves in California), Ana Soulia, DPT (Alpine Physical Therapy), and Kristi Moore (Alpine Physical Therapy).
Myth: “You must be insanely flexible with incredibly high legs to be a professional dancer”. This topic was introduced by Astrid Sherman. The discussion went into the truth about stretching and who stretching is appropriate for, when it is appropriate, for how long to stretch and other ways to increase motion in dance. There was discussion about the research relating to stretching, as well as a study that was done on the longevity of dancers, comparing dancers with extreme flexibility to those who were less flexible. The end result is that the dancers who made it longer in careers were not the dancers with extreme flexibility. The overall message was to know your body and how to appropriately work to keep it from injury. For example: if you are very flexible, you don’t likely need to stretch, but more likely do strengthening exercises. If you are the less flexible dancer, you may need to stretch but in the best way possible. It was recommended for before dance to stretch a maximum of 15 seconds per stretch, then move through motion to loosen up, after dance class a maximum of 30 sec per stretch 3 to 5 times per week.
Myth: “The myth of the Fifth, perfect turnout”. This topic was introduced by Colleen O’Callaghan. This topic had participation by the dancers with them demonstrating their turnout and Fifth positions, then going through a series of exercises aimed at finding the correct weight bearing points through the feet and then working on a balance of internal rotation to gain external rotation with activation of the deep hip rotators, not the front of the hip. There was demonstration on cheats to improve the 5th that should not be used.
Myth: “To become a better dancer all you have to do is dance”. This topic was introduced by Ana Soulia. The discussion points on this topic addressed that dancers should address the areas they need improvement on to improve dance through the appropriate cross-training. This may include cardio training, weight training, stretching if their body needs it. It was touched on that Physical Therapy is a great way to find out where a dancer needs to put effort into making improvements outside of dance to improve their dance.
Myth: “All that a Physical Therapist will do is tell you to rest and ice”. This topic was introduced by Kristi Moore. This discussion talked about how Physical Therapists can start to help dancers early on before they have injuries with dance screenings, where each individual dancer can have their range of motion, strength, and flexibility assessed with feedback to each dancer. This information can be used to help a dancer address their specific areas and ideally help to prevent a dancer from injury. It was then turned to when a dancer is injured and how a Physical Therapist will help them to keep dancing as much as is safe while rehabilitating and will help them to work on other areas to keep them in shape while going through the rehabilitation process. The overall message was that Physical Therapists can help dancers at many stages of their dance career providing information and treatment when needed.
Below are links to the websites for both Astrid Sherman and Colleen O’Callaghan, as well as a link to Alpine Physical Therapy’s Dance Medicine page.
There are links below for the International Association of Dance Medicine and Science (IADMS) where many research articles can be found.
www.proartecentre.com or www.catchingart.ca Astrid
www.AlpinePTmissoula.com Kristi and Ana
For more information and research, visit the IADMS website at http://www.iadms.org.
Join us in congratulating Sam Schmidt, MPT of Alpine PT. Sam recently completed and passed the national certification for Pilates Method Alliance.
The Pilates Method Alliance (PMA) is the not-for-profit professional association dedicated to the Pilates field whose mission is to advance Pilates as a profession and to promote and perpetuate the teachings of Joseph H. and Clara Pilates.
Sam is a physical therapist at Alpine PT downtown and Master Instructor for Balanced Body Pilates. She has taught Pilates since 2004 and implemented Alpine PT's Pilates-based rehabilitation program which has been a cornerstone for the Alpine's physical Therapists to treat complex spine and pain.
Sam leads national workshops and courses for movement professionals through Alpine PT and Balanced Body Pilates. Sam is passionate about changing lives though movement and teaching others that movement heals!
Way to go, Sam!
Special thanks to Alpine's Lymphedema Specialist, Antara Quiñones, DPT, for submitting this article for publication.
If you have had breast cancer treatment in the form of radiation, lumpectomy, or mastectomy, you are at increased risk of developing arm lymphedema.
Lymphedema is a failure of the lymphatic system to move lymph fluid out of the extremity. If left unchecked it can lead to skin changes, infection, and decreased function. The best results to avoid the development of lymphedema involve early intervention.
Here are some important items to know when it comes to post-cancer treatment:
Download “6 Things You May Not Know About Lymphedema” Flyer & Poster curtesy of LymphedemaTreatmentAct.org.
Photo courtesy of the mayoclinic.com
Special thanks to Kristi Moore, MSPT, program director for Alpine PT’s Dance Medicine outreach.
As a physical therapist for many years, I want first and foremost to say that I love working with dancers! This population has a unique sense of body awareness and a strong motivation to keep dancing.
In my quest to offer the best possible treatment for our area dancers, I pursued and attained top certification in Dance Medicine from New York Physical Therapy.
I was driven to understand dancers’ needs and to know how best to help them. Doing so helped me realize the unique demands they place on themselves and their bodies.
Knowing the unique needs of my patients and what they want to accomplish is vital and is especially important with my work with dancers.
This can be as simple as understanding the motions that dancers go through, including the terminology they use. Yet it can also be as complicated as understanding how their entire body is working to create a fluid dance motion.
Through my specialized training, along with the experience I’ve gained over the years working with dancers, I’ve become a better observer of movement, especially observing dancers and what is needed to take a less functional dance motion and help it flow into a functional and elegant movement.
I’ve gained a deep respect for dancers and their ability to create movement that is both beautiful and at times extremely difficult. It’s always been my aim to help patients continue doing the activities they enjoy, and dance is no exception.
In the event I am working with an injured dancer, I design the therapy plan such that she is able to continue dancing, often by making some modifications in the rehabilitation and training program. If the injury requires that the dancer take time off to heal, I do all I can to get her dancing again as soon as possible.
On a final note, I’m also a huge proponent of injury prevention and education for dancers and attempt to help dancers understand how they can be better aware of ways to prevent an injury from occurring.
For more information on our Dance Medicine approach at Alpine, click here.
Special thanks to Claire Antonioli an avid dancer who is also currently in her final internship at Alpine Physical Therapy in preparation to become a physical therapist.
Having been a dancer for many years, I have had a lot of physical therapy . . . some good, some bad. In many ways, dancers are without question athletes. We use our bodies every day in a physical capacity and push ourselves to our limits. However, unlike many other athletes, there is also an artistic component to our physical outlet. Yet we also need our health care providers to acknowledge our differences from other athletes.
As in all populations and professions that are physically demanding, dancers end up with a lot of injuries and live with a certain amount of pain on most days. Resultantly, our pain tolerance is high. In the event we seek medical help, it’s likely because we honestly think something is terribly wrong. Over my dancing career, I have sought out physical therapy at least five times. From these experiences with the good, the mediocre, and the bad PT experiences, I’ve generated a few do’s and don’ts for those who intend to treat dancers.
There were a few common characteristics in the physical therapists that I bonded with and felt gave me excellent care. They treated the physical therapy session like a conversation where I learned from them, but they also learned from me. We negotiated about time spent doing exercises and how much I was able to participate in class and other aspects of care. It was not just the PT telling me what to do; rather, they looked for my input and made an effort to compromise.
In summary, dancers like all people just want someone who understands where they are coming from and who provides excellent care. In some ways, we might be harder to understand than the general population. When you help get us back to what we love the most, you’ll have a dedicated patient for life.
For more information on our Dance Medicine approach at Alpine, click here
Special thanks to Alpine's Lymphedema Specialist, Antara Quiñones, DPT, for submitting this article for publication.
While cancer treatment is the leading cause of Lymphedema in the United States, it is not the only cause. Other cases of lymphedema arise due to hereditary conditions, venous issues, and even a mosquito-born parasite called filariasis.
Congenital lymphedema effects five to 10 percent of the United States population and impacts females more than males. It typically presents at puberty and can (rarely) show up later in life.
Chronic Venous Insufficiency if left unchecked can eventually overwhelm the lymphatic's buffer system. If caught early enough and treated with venous intervention therapies and compression garments, the lymphatic system can correct itself.
However, if vein treatment, diuretics, and compression are no longer working then the lymphatic system is likely overwhelmed and would benefit from Complete Decongestive Therapy.
Fortunately for the United States, filariasis has been eradicated and is not typically an issue.
If you have questions regarding chronic swelling, you are invited to schedule a free 15-minute consultation with our lymphedema specialist by calling 406-541-2606.
For more information on Alpine’s approach to Lymphedema Management, click here to visit our webpage devoted to this topic.
Cancer treatment is the leading cause of lymphedema (limb swelling) in the United States.
Alpine Physical Therapy's Lymphedema Management Program is helping survivors better manage their risk by providing the gold standard treatment of Complete Decongestive Therapy (CDT).
There are two phases of Complete Decongestive Therapy (CDT):
Phase 1: Intensive CDT
Phase 1 CDT focus is moving lymph fluid out of the arm, hand, or other part of the limb to reduce swelling and other symptoms of lymphedema.
Phase 2 CDT focus is maintaining the results of Phase 1 on your own.
To learn more about CDT we invite you to stop by for a free 15-minute consultation. Antara Quiñones can be reached at Alpine’s North Clinic (406-541-2606) or click here for a full description of Alpine Physical Therapy's Lymphedema Management Program.
Brent Dodge is the founding owner of Alpine Physical Therapy and is a board certified orthopedic specialist. He holds additional certifications in Functional Dry Needling, Manual Physical Therapy, and Strength and Conditioning.
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