Get to Know Your PT: Curtis Olivieri, Therapydia NOLA Physical Therapist

New Orleans Metairie Physical Therapy Curtis Olivieri

Therapydia NOLA physical therapist Curtis Olivieri takes some time to talk about the wide variety of care provided by PTs, the importance of one-on-one treatments and the pricelessness of a good couch.

“Movement that you enjoy, in a variety of planes, is a must.”

When did you know that you wanted to be a physical therapist?

I typically give a 3-part answer in regards to this question. Sometime in middle school to high school through sports, a mentor and a drive to help.

1. Growing up, i was (and still am) a thing, under-muscled but coordinated person that wrestled, snowboarded, played baseball and football. This landed me in physical therapy more than a few times.

2. I have a close family member who is a physical therapist. He was an amazing mentor who helped shape me both professionally and personally, including igniting my interest in and passion for physical therapy.

3. I’ve always wanted to pursue a career that involves helping people. There is nothing better, I have found, than having someone who was in years of pain tell me the pain is gone and that they can play with their grandkids again.

What is the biggest challenge involved in being a PT?

In some settings, there is less focus placed on quality treatments and more focus on treating a high volume of patients. This encourages spending less time with someone which means you can’t spend the time needed to treat that person as a whole. Patients are a combination of their beliefs, their daily habits, stress levels, previous injuries, attitudes toward their rehab, education of their own functional anatomy, among many other things. If physical therapists can’t spend more one-on-one time, they can’t address all of these factors. That’s why I’m happy to be at Therapydia NOLA where one-on-one, PT to patient care is the norm and I love it.

How do you like to stay active?

Golf, softball, flag football, ping pong, fishing, hiking. Mostly anything that is fun and competitive and in more recent years has some nature / aesthetic beauty involved.

What’s your favorite song to get you motivated?

Not sure if I have a specific song but in my previous clinic we had “Franky Fridays” on Pandora. We played Frank Sinatra and other big band music and it put some pep in my step.

What has surprised you the most about the physical therapy profession?

Nobody really ever cancels Friday afternoon appointments to go golfing. This was an image of health care workers I had growing up; when in reality, Fridays are really just finishing up your 50th hour of work for the week.

Are you currently pursuing any further education or certifications?

Always. Long commutes at my previous job in Pennsylvania were filled with podcasts and audiobooks. More recently I’ve been diving deeper and deeper into the mechanics of breathing for psychological, physiological and biomechanical health.

What do you wish everyone knew about physical therapy?

I wish people knew that a good physical therapist is many things. They are your guides through functional limitation and physical pain. They address all the layers of you: massage, joint manipulation, nerve stimulation, dry needling, among many other passive treatments to reduce pain but more importantly through movement, education and hard work they progress you along a timeline to bring you back to your previous self. No other healthcare practitioner offers this wide variety of conservative care under one roof.

The phrase “I’ve tried PT before,” is both a dagger to my heart and an opportunity to change a mindset. As not all physicians are created equally, neither are all PTs.

Long story short, I wish everyone knew that a good PT who has the opportunity to spend time with you can be your most valuable tool for your physical health.

What’s your go-to breakfast?

A greek omelet, wheat toast, two pancakes with blueberry syrup, one sausage link, one piece of bacon, water, OJ and half a cup of coffee…split with my wife (Shoutout to the Original Waffle Shop in State College PA – Penn State University).

What is the most important personality trait that a PT must have?

They have to love people. Techniques and methods can be taught, being a person who loves to help and connect can’t be taught.

What do you do to unwind or de-stress?

I love to nap. My speed is zero or 60mph. A good couch is priceless. Don’t get me wrong, I am no couch potato but rest is important for good health and I take advantage of that. 🙂

Finish this sentence: On Saturday mornings, you can usually find me…

Exploring and then gorging at a new breakfast spot. Gorging enough that you have no choice but to take a nice mid to late morning nap.

What is your favorite piece of wellness advice?

Movement that you enjoy, in a variety of planes, is a must. Movement contracts muscle, stimulates nerves and promotes increased blood flow throughout the body. Continuous exchange of blood flow throughout is the fountain of youth. The more you do it the greater your capacity for work becomes. The larger your capacity / tolerance = less chance for pain and injury.

Click here to learn more about Curtis and the other physical therapists at Therapydia NOLA.

Get to Know Your PT: Jessica Hernandez, Therapydia NOLA Physical Therapist

physical therapy new orleans metairie jessica hernandez

Therapydia NOLA physical therapist Jessica Hernandez takes some time to talk about the range of expertise in the PT profession, her interest in treating runners and how playing soccer led to a career in PT.

“Find something that you enjoy that involves moving your body at a moderate to high level. Then go do it!”

When did you know that you wanted to be a physical therapist?

In high school, I became interested in physical therapy when we had a PT come help out at our soccer games. I then volunteered at their clinic to learn more about the profession.

What is the biggest challenge involved in being a physical therapist?

The biggest challenge I have is to stay on top of the vast amount of information related to my job! I enjoy learning so that helps!

How do you like to stay active?

I train and compete in triathlons. I needed a new outlet for my competitive drive after my soccer career ended, so I chose triathlon.

What is your favorite song to get you motivated?

My favorite song continuously changes! I usually listen to hip hop/dance music to get me going!

What surprised you the most about the physical therapy profession?

I was surprised to learn that you can see two different physical therapists and have vastly different experiences as a patient. We have quite a range of expertise in this profession.

Are you currently pursuing any further education/certifications?

I have also prioritized learning and professional growth through education. Currently, my focus is learning more about how to effectively evaluate and treat runners.

What do you wish everyone knew about physical therapy?

That we don’t just stretch people. I don’t think the general population has any idea of what we do and how much we know.

Whats your go-to breakfast?

Every morning I eat a banana with peanut butter. I would much prefer an omelet and pancakes!

What is the most important trait a that a PT must have?

You have to be able to connect with all types of people and personalities. If you can’t mold to fit what the patient needs, you may not be as successful.

How do you unwind/de-stress?

I go lift weights, ride my bike or float around in my pool!

What is your favorite piece of wellness advice to offer?

Find something that you enjoy that involves moving your body at a moderate to high level. Then go do it!

Click here to learn more about Jessica and the other physical therapists at Therapydia NOLA.

Low Back Pain Exercises

lower back pain exercises physical therapy

These first set of exercises are designed to treat Lumbar Derangement Syndrome, which occurs when disc material in the spine compresses nerve tissue causing pain that radiates into buttock and sometimes into the leg. Start with the first exercise and only progress to the next if you can perform without any pain in your back, buttock or leg. Stop these exercises and consult a Therapydia physical therapist if your pain worsens.

Exercises for Lumbar Derangement Syndrome

Try to perform these exercises 3-5 times per day. We’re looking for the pain in your back, leg and buttock to lessen and resolve.

Prone on Elbows

Prone on elbows helps to strengthen your lower back and neck as well as works to improve your posture.

• Prop on your elbows for 30 seconds.
• Then lower until you are lying flat.
• Repeat for 5-10 repetitions.

Prone Lying

Prone lying helps to strengthen and stretch your lower back and neck as well as works to improve your posture.

• Use a pillow under your abdomen and lay prone for 5-10 minutes.

Prone Press Ups

This is a passive exercise for your legs and buttocks. You want to see the pain centralize, or move, out of the leg.

• Relax your lower body and use your arms to press yourself up to end range.
• Try to keep your hips on the table as you press up.
• Perform this exercise for 10 reps.

Exercises for Lumbar Dysfunction Syndrome

Lumbar dysfunction syndrome occurs when tissues shorten and cause loss of mobility and increased back pain. The goal of these exercises is to lengthen the shortened tissues and increase mobility. Start with the first exercise and only progress to the next if you can perform without any pain in your buttock or leg. Stop these exercises and consult a Therapydia physical therapist if your pain worsens.

Flexion in Lying

Back pain can be caused by a lack of flexibility. This exercise helps with flexibility, muscular pain and general stiffness.

• Lie on your back, knees bent and pull your knees to your chest and hold for 5 seconds.
• Return to lying position.
• Do 10 repetitions of this exercise.

Flexion in Sitting

This exercise helps to improve range of motion and flexibility which can be a source of low back pain.

• Sit on the edge of a chair with your feet on the floor.
• Bend forward as far as you can comfortably and hold for 5-10 seconds.
• Hold the legs of the chair for extra stretch.
• Return to upright sitting position.
• Perform 10 repetitions of this exercise.

Flexion in Standing

This exercise helps with low back pain and flexibility.

• Stand with your feet hip distance apart and slowly bend forward as far as you comfortably can.
• Hold this position for 5-10 seconds and slowly return to standing position.
• Repeat this exercise for 10 repetitions.

Any pain or discomfort produced by stretching should stop shortly once you release the stretch. Contact a Therapydia physical therapist if your pain worsens with any of these exercises.

Patient Recovery Story: Getting Back to the Box

crossfit injury recovery new orleans

When Kristin Mann first started CrossFit nearly five years ago, she did so at CrossFit Roux in New Orleans. The advantages of CrossFit were massive. Being diabetic, Kristin was able to keep her health in check by working out consistently and it wasn’t long before the exercise regimen became one of her favorite hobbies and a huge part of her life. “I found something that I was pretty good at. I was enjoying it and also seeing growth,” she described. Over the next few years, Kristin began going to CrossFit about 4-5 times per week. “I love the atmosphere and the people. It’s a very supportive environment.”

Cut to May, 2017: One Saturday morning, Kristin woke up in a lot of pain. Her arm was completely numb and she had lost full range of motion in her head and neck. “At first I thought I was having a heart attack,” she explains. “My arm wasn’t moving and my head was sort of stuck. If I moved it out of a certain position, it hurt a lot. It was weird to think that I didn’t have control over a part of my body. No matter how hard I tried, I couldn’t move my arm.” After a few unnerving minutes, Kristin’s fiance asked if she needed to go to the emergency room. “I don’t know, let me text Jonathan,” she replied.

Kristin was referring to Jonathan Burke, physical therapist and Clinic Director at Therapydia NOLA. Kristin had seen Jonathan a couple of times over the years for little things here and there and she knew him well as a trainer at CrossFit Roux. Despite it being a holiday weekend and although he was away attending a seminar, Jonathan quickly replied, asking Kristin to send him a few videos demonstrating her mobility. Thankfully, he was able to give her enough advice and instruction to get her through the weekend.

“I sent Jonathan a video, he sent me one back. He gave me some basic movements so I could stretch my arm out a little bit. He ended up coming in to work at 5AM the following Monday morning so he could help me.”

It turned out that Kristin had a herniated disc in her cervical spine. One of the scarier elements of the injury was that it wasn’t as if she had been mid-workout and felt something tweak, leading to the numbness and pain. The day prior to waking up with pain, she had gone about her business as usual: she did her workout, went out to dinner, saw friends and then went to bed. Nothing out of the ordinary.

Recovery Process

The beginning of her recovery was tough. Kristin spent the first month basically confined to her couch. Once the pain began to subside, she was able to start moving again and with Jonathan’s help, she worked her way up from slow movements to walking to eventually coming back to the gym. Her physical therapy treatment consisted of a lot of exercises, trigger point dry needling and manual therapy. “Eventually I was able to go back to CrossFit but I was modifying everything a whole lot.” As a CrossFit trainer, Jonathan was able to help her out to make sure she didn’t aggravate any of the progress that she had been making during her recovery.

“Jonathan was very persistent that I needed patience and that it would take time and that I would recover.” Kristin was able to put a lot of faith in his word and believed that through doing her exercises, she would get there. “But there were also times that I struggled with it and thought: how long could this take?”

Kristin was incredibly surprised just how difficult it was to come back. With CrossFit being such a huge part of her life, she found that she wasn’t able to lift or perform the exercises that she was used to do doing for so long. That wasn’t going to work for her. With Jonathan’s help and her own resolve, Kristin powered through her recovery even when it was really difficult. For her health and her own personal well-being, Kristin admitted that there were things that she wouldn’t be able to do but she was determined to figure out the things that she could.


Progress Report: Where is she now?

Almost a year later, Kristin has mostly recovered. Not only has she gotten back the full movement of her arm but she’s also been able to gain a little perspective on life and CrossFit:

“Prior to my injury, I wasn’t competing with myself, I was competing with other people. The injury allowed me to take a step back and say, okay, why am I doing this? I’m doing it because I want fitness. It helped me re-prioritize why I was doing CrossFit.”

Kristin is back in action doing CrossFit and finally lifting heavier weights. She just recently started lifting over her head again and still sees Jonathan about once a month to monitor her recovery and to check-in. “I’m so psyched that I’m better.” Kristin is currently planning a week-long bike ride this summer from Germany to Austria. “I told Jonathan: you need to get me in tiptop shape.”

As she continues to progress in her recovery, Kristin maintains an extremely healthy outlook: “At the end of the day, I know that there are things that are way worse that could happen and the fact that I have been able to recover so much, I’m just so grateful for that.”



Have a story you’d like for us to share? Email us at Hello@TherapydiaNOLA.com!

4 Exercises for Neck and Upper Back Pain

neck-pain-back-pain-relief-posture-workplace-exercises

Neck and upper back pain are commonly reported medical conditions in the United States caused by a variety of factors that affect the muscles and ligaments around the base of the skull. The pain can be quite limiting and can cause considerable stress on the muscles in this area. For sedentary workers, poor posture in the workplace can be a big contributor to these pain symptoms and is often a tough habit to break.

Take a few minutes each day to fight back with these neck and upper back exercises:

Upper Trap Stretch

The Upper Trap Stretch helps to stretch and relax the muscle between your shoulder and neck. When tight, this muscle can cause pain and limited range of motion.

1. Slowly tilt your head to one side and hold for 5-10 seconds.
2. Repeat on the opposite side.

Levator Scapulae Stretch

The levator scapula runs along the back and side of the neck and attaches to the shoulder. It functions primarily to help the head and neck rotate and bend to the side.

1. Gently turn your head to a 45 degree angle. Bring your nose to your armpit.
2. Repeat on the opposite side.

Chin Tuck

The Chin Tuck is an effective exercise for combatting neck pain as it helps to strengthen the muscles that pull the head back into alignment over the shoulders. It can also help you to develop good postural habits.

1. Tuck your chin for 2 seconds and then relax.
2. Repeat 8-10 times.

Wall Angels

Wall Angels help to keep poor posture at bay by combatting muscle tightness and weakness.

1. Stand up straight, making sure that your shoulder, elbows, and bottom are touching a wall.
2. Keep your shoulders back as you use your arms to mimic the motion of a “snow angel”.

For more information, visit our pages on Neck Pain Physical Therapy and Back Pain Physical Therapy

Office Ergonomics: Simple Tips to Keep Moving Throughout the Day

sitting-office-neck-pain-back-pain-shoulder-pain

For those who work at an office job, sitting at a desk all day is pretty unavoidable. As most people come to find out, long periods of inactivity day after day isn’t the best thing for our joints and can lead to neck pain, shoulder pain and back pain. Therapydia physical therapist Michelle Fell, PT, offers a few simple tips to keep us all moving throughout the day.

• Park far away from your building to get a brisk walk in before and after work
• Take the stairs instead of the elevator
• Bring a water bottle to work and make yourself get up throughout the day to fill it up at the water fountain. Hydration and movement, great!
• Set a timer to remind yourself to stand up throughout the day and move around!

Visit our Resources page for more information on how to avoid neck pain, shoulder pain and back pain.

Do you know the difference between soreness and pain?

The attached article describes the difference between soreness and pain. People often don’t seek help until they are experiencing pain that limits them from participating in their fitness regimen of choice. We can help you stay injury free on your path to becoming the best version of yourself.

Our bodies move in the path of least resistance, meaning if you have limited range of motion in one area of your body, another area will pick up the slack. This is often referred to as a compensatory movement pattern. Over time with increased training loads and volume this can lead to injury. By having a movement assessment performed prior to starting a fitness program we can help you restore movement patterns and decrease your injury risk while improving your performance.

Call us today to schedule your movement assessment and let us guide you to optimal performance. 504.324.8345

http://www.moveforwardpt.com/Resources/Detail/soreness-vs-pain-whats-difference

Self-Assessment Episode 1: Breaking Down The Deep Squat

CrossFit Injury Prevention

Often times I see athletes in the gym or speak with clients in the clinic that are spending precious time performing mobility drills that aren’t improving their pain or increasing their performance. If your shoulder feels tight while performing an overhead squat, you must have a shoulder mobility limitation, right? There are numerous studies that have linked dysfunction in one part of the body with pain and dysfunction in another part of the body. Without an assessment, we are blindly spinning our wheels in the hopes of improving our performance.

I am very excited to start this assessment series to share with coaches and athletes some of the things I see in the clinic that contribute to pain and dysfunction. This assessment is geared to the pain free athlete to help them move more efficiently, decrease risk of injury, and improve performance. If you are injured or experiencing pain, you should seek medical attention before athletic activity. I encourage everyone to perform assessments and reassessments as part of their daily routine to ensure that the applied mobility is beneficial.

Assess Your Squat Flexibility

I want to kick off the assessment series by breaking down the deep squat. We will start by assessing closed chain dorsiflexion, which is the position the ankle is in during the bottom of the squat. Dorsiflexion describes the movement when you bring the top of your foot and your shin closer together.

When this motion is limited or stiff, an athlete may toe out excessively. They’ll have trouble keeping their knees over their toes or their heels may lose contact with the ground which will force them forward. If you’re not as flexible and it’s difficult for you to move your knee forward align with your toe, you’ll compensate by putting more strain on your knees and hips. Besides pain in your knees and hips, these imbalances could lead to pain in your back as well. Depending on where you feel limited around your ankle, this assessment will give you an idea as to whether you need to improve flexibility. You might need to work on mobilizing a joint or specific muscle around your ankle. The goal is to have no pain and fluid movement when going into your deep squat.

Finding Your Ankle Limitation

Key Points:

• Find the issue that’s affecting your deep squat
• Start four inches from the wall and perform in half-kneeling
• Drive your knee forward and keep it in line with the second toe
• Neutral arch and heel in contact with the floor
• Repeat on opposite leg
• Do you feel a stretch in the calf or above your heel?
• Or do you feel more of a restriction in the front (joint)?

Stretching Out Your Feet & Ankles

Key Points:

• Self-myofascial release techniques with foam roller
• 5 to 10 passes from heel to knee on outside/middle/inside of the back the leg
• 10 to 20 repetitions on each side of half-kneeling ankle stretches
• 10 to 15 repetitions on each side of elevated foot stretches
• 10 repetitions of squatting while elevating balls of the feet
• 5 repetitions of goblet squat

This post was written by Jonathan Burke, DPT, the Clinic Director at Therapydia NOLA. His primary professional focus is sports medicine and treating musculoskeletal injuries and conditions. Jonathan is certified as a CrossFit Level 1 trainer and coaches at a local box in the New Orleans area. Additionally, he’s Manual Therapy Certified, a Certified Strength and Conditioning Coach, and Functional Movement Systems Certified.

Sciatic Pain, Are You Suffering? Louisiana Residents Now Have Direct Access to Physical Therapy!

LOUISIANA RECENTLY PASSED A BILL ALLOWING PATIENTS DIRECT ACCESS TO PHYSICAL THERAPY WITHOUT A DOCTOR’S REFERRAL! CALL US TODAY TO SCHEDULE AN APPOINTMENT WITH ONE OF OUR DOCTOR’S OF PHYSICAL THERAPY AND LET US HELP YOU GET MOVING IN THE RIGHT AND PAIN FREE DIRECTION!! 504.324.8345

Top 10 Most Burning Questions for Sciatica

Therapydia NOLA
504.324.8345
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1. Q. How long is this going to take to go away?
A. It depends…it depends on YOU.

In general, it takes 4 to 8 weeks to go through the first 2 phases of healing (no pain, all movement and strength back to normal.

It may take another 1 to 4 months to get back to all activities you want to do…depending on how active you are. This is the third phase of healing.

Here are some variables that determine how fast someone can heal;
√ Overall health. Healthy people heal faster. Young people heal faster.
√ Other health issues such as diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, tobacco use, alcohol abuse and body weight all influence healing rates and make the time to heal longer.
√ Diet. People who consume more nutrients in their calories (Dr. Joel Fuhrman calls this “Nutrarian”) heal faster than those who primarily eat processed foods.
√ Rest levels. Our bodies need sleep and rest to rebuild. A lack of sleep slows healing time.
√ Stress levels. People who have high levels of stress heal more slowly.
√ Sedentary lifestyle. People who sit all day for work or to watch TV heal more slowly.
√ People who follow advice and instruction from top level healthcare professionals heal more quickly than those who do not follow through with care.
√ People who are highly aware of their daily postures and habits heal more quickly, because they can adjust habits such as sleep or sitting positions more quickly.

2. Q: How long before I see improvements?
A: Most people we see in the clinic feel better in 2 to 3 visits or within 1 to 2 weeks. If you go longer than 2 weeks without feeling better or moving better, you may be wrong about the cause of your sciatica.
Because we offer one on one care with our patients, your therapist can and will reassess you progress before and during you visit to assure you are getting the care you need to meet your goals.

3. Q: Can I be completely healed or will this come back again:
A: Most people we see who complete the 3 Phases of Healing (meaning they no longer have pain, motion and strength are back to normal and they’re back to doing all the activites they want to do without pain) have a minimal chance the pain will return. The stronger the person is, the less likely the sciatica symptoms will come back.

Your body is a bit like a car. If you take care of it, regularly change the oil and keep it running and fine tuned, there is little chance it will break down. If you ignore it, it is very likely to break down and be in need of repair.

4. Q: Do I need any special equipment?
A: At Therapydia NOLA we use a minimalist approach. We do no use big fancy equipment. [Our model focuses on one on one hands on physical therapy.] We use a variety of techniques including, manual therapy, instrument assisted manual therapy, dry needing, SFMA, and if needed, we have a traction unit in our private treatment room. All patient treatment plans for both in clinic and at home exercises are tailored to each individual and monitored closely by their Doctor of Physical Therapy. Our patients are never handed off to an assistant or tech.

5. Q: Should I use heat or ice on my leg?
A: The cause of most sciatica (pain, numbness or tingling in the leg) is in the lower back. Ice or heat on the leg will not change this.

Consider that sciatica is “inflammation”. So if you’re inflamed, do you want to put heat on it and make it more inflamed? Or ice to calm the inflammation down? We have seen some people use ice on the lower back to calm down the inflammation temporarily.

6. Q: Which exercises should I do:
A: The best exercises for you depend on what the cause of your sciatica is.

We cover the 3 most common causes;
Herniated discs
Stenosis, arthritis
Pelvic or SI joint problem

Each has a series of gradually more advanced exercises. Your therapist will address this and design your exercise program.

7. Q: How often should I do the exercises: And do I need to do them forever?
A: Most people we work with in the clinic for sciatica do the exercises at least once per day, every day. Some will do them up to 3 times per day.

Doing the same exact exercises for years without changing could be a mistake. In general, to get stronger, your exercise should progress and get more difficult. With training your body adapts.

Keep in mind, there are 2 rules for training;
1. Everything works.
2. Nothing works forever.

One of the best programs you can move on to once you complete the 3 Phases of Healing for your sciatica is a consistent walking program. People who walk every day have less risk of reinjuring their back and sciatica.

8. Q: What do I need to do for complete care? Am I going to relapse?
A: The best thing to do for sciatica, if you are worried about it coming back again in the future, is to complete all 3 Phases of Healing.

Phase One is where you focus on getting rid of the pain, numbness and tingling.
Phase Two is where you focus on getting normal movement back and full strength.
Phase Three is where you go back to previous activities you want to do.

We will want to know what your previous activities were before your sciatica, once you are at phase 3 we will guide you back into those activities slowly, after a couple of months we will want to re-check your progress. However, it is very important that you also continue your home program of exercises to insure your body continues to get stronger.

Some people will have a relapse. We will then take a look at the activity and at the program to help them get back on the right track. As mentioned before, people who are stronger recover more quickly. It is usually only one to two visits before that person is on the right track again.

9. Q: How do I know the cause of my pain?
A: There are 3 common cause of pain and here are some general guidelines for each;
-People with sciatica from herniated disc usually have pain bending forward, twisting, coughing or sneezing. The sciatic pain they experience is usually sharp and runs specifically down the back of the leg, possibly into the foot. Herniated disc sufferers are usually 35 years of age or younger.
-People suffering from sciatica because of stenosis or arthritis usually answer yes to these 3 questions;
50 years of age or older?
Pain with standing or walking?
Relief with sitting?
-People suffering with sciatica from SI Joint or Pelvic problems usually have pain with sitting for long periods of time. The sciatica they experience is usually on the outside of the thigh. Symptoms may include heaviness of one leg or feeling twisted.

10. Q: Which position should I sleep in?
A: On your back is best. Next would be on your side. Last would be your stomach.
Regardless, it is best to keep your spine in a neutral position and not twisted to the left or the right, keeping it’s natural curve. Pillows or folded towels can be placed under your knees, side, or feet to help you sleep in the least painful position for you.

Going To Have Surgery? Think Prehab First

Therapydia Pre-Surgery Treatment

Preparing to go under the knife is filled with a lot of to-dos. Scheduling your surgery date, going to pre-op surgery appointments, and talking with others about their surgery experiences. A main concern for everyone is—how long will it take me to bounce back after surgery? What many people don’t know is that going to physical therapy before surgery increases their odds of a having a successful outcome and quicker recovery. 50% of having success post-surgery is due to the surgeon—and the other 50% is the patient’s commitment to recovery. This starts with pre-rehabilitation physical therapy, or “prehab”. One study looked into patient outcomes between groups of patients that underwent ACL surgery. The patients that participated in prehab had better knee strength and range of motion at 12 weeks. On average, those patients returned to sports 2 months before the group who didn’t participate in prehab.

Get In Shape Before Surgery

Research has shown that prehab before surgery helps patients regain their baseline strength levels faster. Those who participated in a prehab physical therapy program were able to stabilize their pain, increase strength, and improve their range of motion before surgery. Therefore, after surgery, the only way to go is up. Prehab is a physical therapy program that can be started 2 to 6 weeks prior to surgery depending on the type of operation you’re having. Patients normally expect physical therapy after their operation. Therefore, prehab may feel like a new concept. Yet, the goal of both prehab and postoperative physical therapy are the same.

Physical therapy for prehab focuses on increasing strength and flexibility of the muscles in your surgery area. After surgery, your muscles can become weaker and stiff. If your muscles are stronger and more flexible before surgery, the post-surgical effects can be less severe.

Here are some surgeries that could highly benefit from prehab:
• Hip and knee surgeries or replacements
• Rotator cuff repair
• ACL/MCL reconstruction (if not completely torn)
• Neck and back surgery

Recovering successfully means having better strength and range of motion going into surgery. For example with knee surgery, you’ll typically need quadricep strength to balance and move your knee joint after surgery. By beginning to build up quad strength before surgery, you’ll see greater knee stability and faster recovery. Prehab extends to preparing you to use assistive devices like a walker or crutches post-surgery. For example, you might need to be shown how to navigate obstacles such as stairs or curbs with crutches and learn how to move with them without putting strain on your injured limb.

The Sooner, The Better

Anyone can elect to go to prehab physical therapy before surgery. If your condition doesn’t require immediate surgery and is scheduled ahead of time, prehab is definitely an option for you. There’s usually a waiting period prior to any surgery to accommodate facility and surgeon schedules, your schedule, preoperative visits, and insurance clearance. Take advantage of this time to be as physically prepared for your surgery as possible. Prehab can and will allow you to have better functional outcomes and the ability to start moving again faster.