Denver Physical Therapy & Wellness

How to Reach Your Fitness Goals in 2019 From Your Parker Physical Therapist


January 9, 2019

The new year is upon us and with it comes a slew of new fitness goals for individuals seeking to improve their overall health. The new year is one of the biggest times when people seek to improve their circumstances, whether it’s financially, health-wise, or just general improvement. If you’re one of the many individuals who has made a new year resolution, it’s important to be aware of the ways in which you can make your resolution stick. Here are some of the ways to reach your fitness goals in 2019 from your Parker physical therapist.

Make Your Resolution Realistic


One of the biggest ways in which individuals fail to stick to their new year's resolution is due to the fact that they make resolutions which are completely unrealistic. Sure, it’s good to shoot for the stars and end up reaching the moon, but if your goals are completely out of touch with your current situation and not attainable, you are simply setting yourself up for disappointment and failure. That’s not a recipe for success, that’s a recipe for disappointment. If you want a chance of reaching your goal, it’s important to make your resolution manageable.

Break Up Your Resolution


If you’re seeking to lose 30 pounds by the end of the year, this goal can appear to be a bit too daunting for the average individual, especially if you haven’t worked out in a while. One way of overcoming this is to break up your resolution into more manageable chunks. For example, if you’re seeking to lose 30 pounds in a year, it’s a good idea to break it up into a 3-month segment, planning to lose seven or eight pounds by the end of March. 

Incentivize Yourself


Another helpful tool to be aware of in the battle to achieve your resolution is to reward yourself for reaching certain milestones associated with it. If you have a goal of working out 3 times a week and have managed to do so for a month straight, set a reward that you’ll go out to the movies with friends or have another pleasurable activity which helps motivate you to stay on track towards your resolution. Incentivizing yourself can make a huge difference in staying on track. 

If you are looking to improve your physical health situation and are in need of physical therapy due to an accident or other physical ailments, contact Peak Physical Therapy and Wellness today and we will be happy to assist you with your first steps towards recovery. We have an extensive team of qualified physical therapists and specialists who care deeply about their clients and go above and beyond the call of duty to provide the highest quality treatment in the industry. If you are looking for a therapist who will carefully assess your individual needs and formulate a treatment plan that is specifically tailored to your needs, Peak Physical Therapy and Wellness is your preferred choice for the physical recovery process.
 
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Proper Lifting and Safety Tips for Your Move from Your Denver Physical Therapy Team


December 26, 2018

While the end result is exciting, most Americans dread the moving process. The move itself can be so taxing it is easy to forget how to ensure a safe move. Often times some of the smallest of mistakes can lead to injuries that can last a lifetime. Don’t let that happen! As you gear up for your next home, review these tips from your local Denver physical therapy team. 

Gather Essential Tools 


When it comes to moving, boxes are usually the priority for items to obtain in the weeks leading up the big day. However, there is much more than boxes that are needed. Many movers only think about a few things, but it helps to be fully prepared as you transition into the moving process. Some of these essentials include: 
  • Dollies and other hand trucks:  Items with wheels enable you to easily move larger items, reducing the physical strain that comes with lifting and carrying boxes, furniture and more.
  • Packing materials and tape: Securing your valuables is not just essential for their safety, but yours too. Make sure to wrap items with newspaper, bubble wrap, or other packing material, then secure your boxes with packing tape. This will help your boxes from opening at the bottom, causing the items to fall and break—and avoiding a potential injury on your part in the process. 
  • Sliders: Did you know you can buy pads that can be placed on the bottom of your furniture? This will help you easily move furniture and other heavy items across the floor. This reduces physical stress on your body and protects your floors—a win-win! You can also buy covers to go on your furniture to protect from scuffing and provide a barrier between you and sharp edges. 
  • Scissors and knife: As you pack and unpack, you will be going through several things. Have scissors and a knife handy to cut open boxes or other items.  
  • Moving gloves: You can purchase gloves to wear while moving to help keep your hands safe from cuts, scrapes, and more. 

Packing 101


As you begin the process to move, it is the perfect time to get rid of unwanted or unused items. This can be done in a variety of ways such as having a yard sale, donating to local charities, or simply throwing certain items away. 

As you start to pack, work through items that you rarely use first. Choose a category system that works best for you, whether it is packing room by room, or by other methods. If space allows, contain all of your boxes to one place. 

When labeling your boxes, use a large permanent marker so you can clearly label what is in the box. It helps to label on more than one side, so you can easily identify once you are unpacking.  

As you pack the boxes, be smart. Do not overload large boxes with several heavy items. Find a good balance that is easy to carry and manage. For any clothing hanging in a closet, you can keep them on their hangers, then wrap them in a blanket or with garbage bags-just make sure you do not mistake them for actual trash! You may be able to leave certain items in dressers or cabinets as long as you can safely secure them. 

Create Your Plan


To ensure a successful move, you must have a plan. One of the initial questions you should ask yourself is, “Will I handle this move on my own, or would I like to enlist the help of a mover?” If you can afford it, movers can assist with every step in the moving process, taking some of the physical burdens off you. 

Once you have determined how the move will be handled, create a schedule and set deadlines. For instance, have all non-essential items packed by a certain date, or have all necessary packing items by a specific time. It also helps to have a schedule for moving day, too. While you cannot expect everything to go fully as planned, you can set times to start loading or have the movers arrive and reasonable goals for unpacking. Be sure to take advantage of Real Simple’s moving checklist, which will give you a complete two-month guide on everything you need to do leading up to the big day.  

Proper Lifting Techniques


Moving is a very labor-intensive process. It is exercise, after all! Many people who move often injure themselves due to improper lifting techniques. Your first rule of thumb to remember is to lift using your legs and not putting all of the weight on your back. When picking up boxes, bend and crouch down and hold the bottom and sides of a box. Moving gloves can help you have a better handle on the items. As you bend down, keep your feet at shoulder width. 

Once secure, lift using your legs and not your lower back. Keep the box or items close to your body, reducing strain on your arms. A great way to remember how to do this is to keep your elbows as close to your sides as possible. If you feel an item is too much to carry on your own, ask for help! 

Safety Tips


One can become injured in a multitude of ways during a move—not sure lifting improperly. A common mistake that happens is tripping or stepping on items out in the open. Before moving day, ensure hallways and open walk spaces are clear. This will help protect you and anyone helping you move stay safe. This also includes pets or children. They may be confused or bored, so make arrangements to have them outside the home or out of harm’s way. It is also important to properly dress for a move! Wear clothing that is comfortable and will not get caught on edges or items. Be sure to wear shoes that will support your feet all day. 

Are you wondering how you can make sure you are prepared to handle the physical activity of your moving day? Peak Physical Therapy & Wellness will help. We will show you proper lifting techniques and more or can help if you do sustain an injury after your move. Contact Peak PT & Wellness today to get started. 
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Parker PT: Your Gait Dysfunction Might Be Slowing You Down


December 19, 2018

Nothing is more frustrating when you are training for a race—whether it’s a 5k or a full marathon—than being sidelined by constant injuries. If you are a Parker runner who is constantly plagued with problems in your shins, calves, or hips, you might want to consider a running analysis. 
Also referred to as a gait analysis, once the problem has been identified, you can be treated—and back on the road (or trail) feeling better than ever. Getting a professional gait analysis by an experienced clinician means a more efficient and accurate diagnosis. What this means for you is that you are running pain-free in a shorter amount of time.

What Does It Mean to Have a Gait Dysfunction?

When you have    a gait dysfunction, it means that the way you are walking or running is abnormal in some way. In some cases, they can be related to some kind of disorder of the inner ear, diseases of the muscle or nervous system, or musculoskeletal abnormalities. When these underlying disorders are treated, often the problem with gait is normalized.
There are common classifications of gait dysfunction, as follows:
Anatalgic. This is commonly referred to as a limp, meaning people are putting more weight on one leg than the other. This is usually because they are in some kind of pain.
  • Cerebellar ataxia. This gait dysfunction is displayed by erratic foot placement, such as in someone who is intoxicated.
  • Parkinsonian. These short, shuffled steps are often seen in those suffering from Parkinson’s disease.
  • Steppage. With this dysfunction people cannot lift their ankle so they frequently lift the leg higher at the knee and hip
  • Vestibular ataxia. This is usually related to vertigo or inner-ear conditions and causes people to walk in an unsteady manner. 
  • Waddling. People with this pattern of dysfunction often walk on their toes, with a side-to-side movement.
  • These are some of the most commonly known dysfunctions. Yours might be different than what is listed here. You can find a more comprehensive list of gait abnormalities published by Stanford Medicine that offers a bit more insight.

How Is a Gait Dysfunction Diagnosed?

Although running shoe stores often offer a running analysis to determine the best type of running shoes, nothing compares to a gait analysis screening by a professional physical therapist. When you go in for an analysis, you will likely be asked a series of questions first, including:
Are you experiencing any pain while walking or running?

Did you recently have a fall?

When did you start to notice you were not walking the way you always have?
Is the problem with walking or running getting worse?
The physical therapist will also talk to you about your medical history, including whether or not you are on any medications. 
When you first meet with the physical therapist, be prepared to describe your pain and symptoms in as detailed a manner as possible. Before your first appointment, in fact, it might be a good idea to keep a journal that outlines what activities you are doing when you are experiencing pain—whether it’s just while you are running or if the pain exists while you are walking and doing other things. Try to be as detailed as possible.
  • The physical therapist will conduct certain assessments to help determine the cause of your gait problems, including:
  • The physical therapist will have you walk back and forth so he or she can observe any abnormalities in your gait simply by watching you. 
  • The physical therapist will check your balance to determine if you are at undue risk of a fall.
  • The physical therapist will see how fast you walk.
  • The physical therapist will test your strength and range of motion.
  • The physical therapist will test your reflexes.
  • The physical therapist will conduct sensation screenings.
Based on these assessments, he or she will try to diagnose the reason for the gait problems.

Can I Do Something to Prevent Gait Problems?

Whether or not your issue is preventable depends on the reason for it. But often getting treatment early means further issues can be prevented 

What Can a Physical Therapist Do to Improve Gait?

Physical therapy is crucial in helping people improve their gait so they can walk and run again without pain. Each treatment plan is different, depending on the issues you are having the reasons behind them, but a treatment strategy might include any of the following items:
  • Pre-gait training. These include activities and exercises that have nothing to do with, such as standing and lifting your leg. But they can give you insight into improving your gait. 
  • Gait training. This includes retraining the way you walk based on the underlying condition for your gait problems.
  • Balance and coordination training. These activities can help you get better balance, which will help stabilize the way you walk.
  • Neuromuscular reeducation. Your inactive muscles might need to be activated to improve your walking pattern.
  • Bracing or splinting. If a weakness in a ligament is part of your gait problem, a brace or splint might be able to help.
  • Manual therapy. Depending on the reasons for your gait problems, we might also recommend manual therapy and soft tissue mobilization.
  • Dry needling. Dry needling is crucial for pain control, muscle tension reduction, and improved biochemical motor functions.
Don’t be sidelined because of pain or discomfort. Talk to Peak Physical Therapy & Wellness about a Parker running analysis and treatment plan for runners of all ability levels. Our comprehensive running analysis has three goals: (1) tell you what you need to do to reduce your pain, (2) lower your risk of injuring yourself in the future, and (3) improving your running performance. At Peak Physical Therapy & Wellness, we will also talk to you about an appropriate training plan to help you achieve your running goals with a lot less pain.
Contact us today to find out more about a running analysis. With offices throughout the Denver metro area, including south Denver, Highlands Ranch, Lowry, Parker, Aurora, and Englewood, you can be sure that one is conveniently located near you. We look forward to working with you and helping you live a healthy, pain-free lifestyle!
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Accidents that Happen During the Holidays From Your Denver Physical Therapist


December 12, 2018

The holiday season is upon us and with it comes plenty of time spent with friends and family, travel, lots of food and drink binging, and endless amounts of holiday music you may prefer not to hear. But beyond the cheery moments present around this time of year, there are also some unfortunate instances which can rear their ugly head if you aren’t careful. These occurrences range from minor to serious, and everyone should be mindful of them during this time of year as a way to avoid this from occurring. Here are some of the common accidents and injuries that occur during the holidays from your Denver physical therapist.

Alcohol Related Accidents


The holidays brings many time spent with family and friends, which also can include a significant amount of alcohol consumption as well. While many people engage in drinking responsibly, there are still a handful of individuals who imbibe in a few too many beverages and then get behind the wheel of an automobile. The time between Christmas and New Years tends to see a higher percentage of drunk drivers on the road, which is why many police departments mobilize their units to increase drunk driving policing tactics. 

Slip and Falls


During the holidays, one of the most common injuries individuals can experience is to slip and fall on a slippery surface, as the winter is a time filled with blustery, icey, and snowy conditions. Whether you’re walking into your in-laws home for a Christmas gathering or perhaps you’re climbing up a ladder to deck out your home with all of the festive lighting displays common with the season, it’s critical to be as careful as a possible to avoid turning this holiday season into an unfortunate nightmare.

Fires


Another common incident to be aware of during this time of years is the prevalence of fires which can occur during the holidays. This time of year is marked with a large amount of cooking, as families often spend large amounts of time cooking their holiday feast, often for a larger amount of people than normal. This increase in the amount of cooking also boosts the amount of fires which can occur, stressing the importance for proper safety in the kitchen.

If you are looking to improve your physical health situation and are in need of physical therapy due to an accident or other physical ailments, contact Peak Physical Therapy and Wellness today and we will be happy to assist you with your first steps towards recovery. We have an extensive team of qualified physical therapists and specialists who care deeply about their clients and go above and beyond the call of duty to provide the highest quality treatment in the industry. If you are looking for a therapist who will carefully assess your individual needs and formulate a treatment plan that is specifically tailored to your needs, Peak Physical Therapy and Wellness is your preferred choice for the physical recovery process.
 
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Stretches for a Successful Ski Season from Your Denver Physical Therapist


December 5, 2018

Ski season in Colorado is well underway, as the snow has started to cover the mountains to the delight of skiiers and winter sports junkies everywhere. Indeed, the skiing and snowboard season is seen by many as the highlight of the year, as the thrill of venturing down a mountain at break-neck speeds simply cannot be topped by any other outdoor activity. But with this great activity comes the risk of severe injury for those who aren’t careful. Besides dealing with a collision or some form of broken bone, muscle strains can significantly impact a person’s enjoyment of the sport. That’s why it’s critical to implement stretching as a part of your skiing and snowboarding routine. Here are a few of the ones to stick to from your Denver physical therapist.

Hamstring Stretches


You can perform these vital stretches when you’re in your boots but before you actually hit the slopes. Stand straight and reach down to touch the outside of your boots, trying to keep both of your legs as straight as you can. This stretch targets the hamstrings, but also aids the body to adjust for the additional height you receive when in your boots. The added height you receive when in your boots and skis can cause your body to lean forward slightly, which can lead to a hamstring strain. 

Side Bends


Side bends help to warm up the obliques and the upper back muscles, parts of your body that will likely be working harder than usual when engaged in this activity. In order to prep your body for the additional exertion it will experience, side bends are a great way to prep yourself. To perform this stretch, reach down the side of your leg with one arm while extending the opposite elbow towards the sky. 

Hip Rotations


Keeping your hips limber and loose will make the act of skiing a much more enjoyable experience, as you will be less stiff and more able to make the movements you are required to. Take a small squat position with your knees bent, keeping both feet on the ground, and shift your weight to your left foot as you drive your hip to the left. Rotate from side to side as a way to keep your hips loose and your lower back engaged.

If you are looking to improve your physical health situation and are in need of physical therapy due to an accident or other physical ailments, contact Peak Physical Therapy and Wellness today and we will be happy to assist you with your first steps towards recovery. We have an extensive team of qualified physical therapists and specialists who care deeply about their clients and go above and beyond the call of duty to provide the highest quality treatment in the industry. If you are looking for a therapist who will carefully assess your individual needs and formulate a treatment plan that is specifically tailored to your needs, Peak Physical Therapy and Wellness is your preferred choice for the physical recovery process.
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