5 Reasons to See a Physical Therapist Before You Are “Injured”

This article was originally posted on www.321delish.com

Hi Everyone! My name is Ann!. You might have spotted me on Twitter, or check out my website.  I’m excited to do a guest post for Steph here at 321delish. I am a physical therapist in private practice in Alexandria, VA. Like Steph, I was born and raised in N.J. and was a beach lifeguard and competitive swimmer who turned to triathlons after swimming in college. I initially got interested in Sports Medicine because I struggled with chronic shoulder pain throughout my swimming career. After 20 years in this field, I can honestly say that I still love what I do, and I’m excited to share some thoughts with you. Today I want to address the misconception that physical therapy is only necessary as treatment for injury or post-surgery rehabilitation. I will share 5 of the ways that a physical therapist can help you stay healthy to reach your fitness and active lifestyle goals.

5 Reasons to See a Physical Therapist Before You Are “Injured”

  1. You have a nagging problem that gets your attention only during training sessions. You may be fine doing all of your normal activities: walking up and down stairs, driving, strolling through D.C.; but, every time you get into your workout, you get that same nagging discomfort. Don’t wait; come in to see a physical therapist as soon as you are aware that something is not right. You may need joint mobilization, or specific stretching or exercises to get you back to feeling good again. Early treatment can prevent it from becoming a chronic problem.
  2. You are looking to buy a new pair of running shoes, but you are not sure which type to purchase. We can take a look at your overall posture, and then specifically at your hips, knees, ankles and feet to determine what type of shoe may be best for you. We will look at your current shoes for wear patterns and assess your gait to determine if there are any asymmetries that may be contributing to issues you are having. We will make recommendations based on your overall joint structure and your goals.
  3. You are looking for an overall conditioning program. As physical therapists, we are highly trained to assess your current level of function and then develop a program to help you achieve your goals. These goals may be speed, strength or stability related. We are experts at developing exercise programs for you to carry out at your gym or home. Physical therapists are your best resource for wellness programs whether you are a new mom looking to get back into the triathlon scene or a grandparent who wants to kick the soccer ball around with your grandchildren.
  4. You have a chronic health condition such as arthritis, lupus or diabetes which may complicate your body’s response to training. Physical therapists have extensive knowledge of neurological, general health and orthopedic conditions. We can make nutrition and exercise recommendations to help you stay active while preventing inflammation and injury. We can also provide manual therapy to inflamed joints to prevent loss of range of motion and alleviate pain.
  5. You sit all day in your job. People who sit at a desk all day tend to have short hip flexor muscles, tight pectoral muscles and weak scapular stabilizing muscles. These imbalances set you up for injury when your training feeds into the same patterns (swimming freestyle contributes to shortening of the pectoral muscles, hunching over a bike keeps the hip flexors shortened and the upper back muscles overstretched and weak.) A physical therapist can assess your posture as well as the strength of your core and scapular stabilizing muscles. We can then provide manual therapy combined with therapeutic exercises to normalize posture. We can also provide ergonomic recommendations for you to alleviate the effects of repetitive strain injuries such as Carpal Tunnel Syndrome and chronic tension headaches.

These are just some of the ways that a physical therapist can help you lead an active lifestyle. If you live in the D.C./Maryland/Northern Virginia area I would love to meet with you to discuss any further questions that you may have. Here’s to a happy, healthy 2012!

Ann Wendel, PT, ATC, CMTPT

Ann holds a B.S. in P.E. Studies with a concentration in Athletic Training from the University of Delaware, and a Masters in Physical Therapy from the University of Maryland, Baltimore. She is a Certified Athletic Trainer (ATC) licensed in Virginia, a Licensed Physical Therapist, and a Certified Myofascial Trigger Point Therapist (CMTPT).

Over the past two decades, Ann has continually developed as a health care professional. She started her career working with high school, college and professional athletes, and later went on to work at an area hospital treating patients with a wide variety of Orthopedic and Neurological conditions.

In 2003, Ann completed intensive training as a Thai Yoga Therapist, reaching the Advanced Level in her course of study. She owned and operated a private practice in Alexandria, VA from 2003-2006, combining yoga, Thai massage, physical therapy and Pilates. Ann has completed 300 hours of a 450 hour Pilates Teacher Training Program through Core Dynamics Pilates, and enjoys combining Pilates and physical therapy in the outpatient orthopedic setting.  Ann received her CMTPT through Myopain Seminars in 2011 and now utilizes Trigger Point Dry Needling as a treatment modality.  Most recently, Ann has been a staff physical therapist at Commonwealth Orthopaedics since 2007, and in October 2011 she returned to private practice as an independent contractor with Core Wellness and Physical Therapy.


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