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PT Myths that drive us crazy

We’ve listed the 5 whammies of misinformation.  We hear them all the time. These untruths cause more damage than most accidents and sports injuries.

Myth #1: I need an MRI to be treated.

You can see an abnormality in a static picture, but that doesn’t mean it’s the problem. It means you are human. For example, multiple studies and our 20+ years’ experience show that a herniated disc problem on an MRI may not be the cause of your pain. We look at the multiple possibilities, such as the more than 31 muscles involved in flexing your hip (not something you can spot on an MRI). We treat your whole body and not just the MRI.

Myth #2: Doctors know everything.

Doctors know their own fields.  And as Doctors of Physical Therapy, we’re the experts on the musculoskeletal system.  More importantly, we are “limitation removal specialists.”  That means we address tight and shortened muscles, identify faulty movement patterns and prescribe corrective exercises that often eliminate the need for surgery or medication.  In many cases, physical therapy helps you heal faster (and less costly) than going under the knife.

Myth #3: Squats, running or anything with impact is bad.

Impact is great. If done correctly, that compression and decompression of your joints keeps them healthy and strengthens your bones. Doing any of these things (or anything else) when your alignment is off, that’s bad. To prevent that, we work with you to ensure the right muscles are activated. That way, any cross fit or running activities you may do are correct and pain-free.

Myth #4: I’ve had this pain for years. Nothing can be done.

Not true! Chronic pain is often a matter of repeating a poor movement pattern over months and years. Armed with a simple movement screen, Physiofitness finds those achy areas. For instance, lower back pain may be from tight hip flexors that keep your pelvis tilted forward (probably due to lots of sitting).  We correct this pattern through glute and core strengthening exercises that then release that tilt.

Myth #5: I need to have an injury to come to Physiofitness.

That was true 20 years ago.  Now everyday we screen athletes to prevent injuries. It’s actually best to see us at the beginning of an exercise program. We’ll do a thorough screening to identify your risk areas.  Similar to a cardiologist that regularly checks your blood pressure to reduce the risk of heart attack, we regularly check your movement patterns to make sure you don’t pull a muscle.  Before you move more, you need to move better.

Don’t get fooled by bad information.  Medication and surgery should be your last resorts. We’re here to help you heal and happily share our knowledge. The only bad question is the one not asked.

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Tips for Avoiding Injury

We are what we do at Physiofitness.  Whether we’re training hard or just having fun, movement is always a part of our lives. Here are a few of our favorite go-to exercises with you. Check them out to spice up your workouts!

1. Dead Lifts

With this classic move, you get a great return for a small effort. Therapist and runner Will Drew loves how it works the hamstrings, butt, shoulders and back.

2. Hip Flexor Stretch

Owner and surfer Chris Delehanty favors this quick and easy stretch to release those perennially tight hip flexors. In a half-kneel position, tighten the glute on the side where the leg is behind you. You should feel the stretch from your knee to butt. Hold for a few seconds. No matter if you have a desk job or you’re on your feet all day, hip flexors get tight.

3. Squats

Trainer and soccer ace Dariusz Stankiewicz relies on this simple do-it-anywhere move that has far-reaching benefits. A total lower body workout – including toning legs and strengthening core – it also aids digestion and increases flexibility.

4. Sun Salutation

For trainer and yoga teacher Haley Jo Harrison, this move combines fluidity of motion with spirituality. This multi-step routine helps her focus on breath as well as proper alignment.

5. Bear Crawl

To work his core and legs, therapist and softball player Brian Goonan practices the bear crawl (different from a beer crawl). Take a table position. On your hands and toes, crawl forward and then backwards. To do it right, you’ll have to engage your core fully.

6. Kettlebell Swing

Therapist Shawn Monahan is a fan. In just one motion the swing helps build strength and stability while working the entire body. The efficiency and power of this single move makes it a standard part of his gym routine.