LARD – Heart Healthy: Why You Should Be Cooking With It!!

Lard is made from pork fat. It is clarified or rendered through a process that involves heating the fat.

When used as a cooking fat, nutritionally speaking, lard has nearly one quarter the saturated fat and more than twice the mono-unsaturated fats as does butter. It is also low in omega-6 fatty acids which are known to promote inflammation.

There is a pervasive myth that animal fats increase the risk of heart disease. Our great, great grandparents consumed lard and butter and experienced extremely low rates of heart disease.

  • There is no evidence that saturated fat consumption raises the risk of heart disease.
  • A low fat diet, which is also a high-carb diet, can lead to an increase in blood triglyerides which potentially may increase your risk factor for heart disease.
  • Saturated fat intake raises HDL cholesterol which is associated with a lower risk of heart disease.
  • The diseases of modern “civilization” including heart disease and diabetes skyrocketed as animal fats were replaced by factory fats including vegetable oils and margarine.

Other benefits of lard include its neutral flavor. Some oils such as coconut may flavor your food while cooking with them.

Lard is very economical compared to many cooking oils.

Lard is high in Vitamin D. Lard is the second highest food source of Vitamin D after cod liver oil. One tablespoon has 1000iu's. Also important, is that Vitamin D is a fat soluble vitamin and therefore requires fatty acids-including saturated fatty acids-to be absorbed and utilized by the body. Lard provides the perfect package of Vitamin D along with the required fatty acid cofactor. One catch, however, only lard from pastured hogs contains Vitamin D since they must have access to
sunlight to synthesize the Vitamin D and store it in their fatty tissues. Purchase your lard from a butcher or farmer who can tell you how their pigs are raised.
In addition, providing cholesterol through quality fats reduces the burden on the body to produce cholesterol. Dietary cholesterol from whole foods like lard, supports inflammation management and hormone production.

Simple Advise for Avoiding Unhealthy Food

2 rules of thumb:

  • Avoid any food with a TV commercial.
  • Avoid any food that your great, great grandmother wouldn't recognize.

Recipe for Rendering Lard

  • Use a pot or crock pot.
  • Pour 1/2 cup of water into the pot.
  • Cut the pork fat into pieces.
  • Heat over medium heat.

It may take several hours for the fat to liquefy. When it has liquefied, you will notice some solids remain. You may remove these using a strainer or simply remove these pieces with a slotted spoon. Pour the lard into containers and refrigerate.

Did you know that February is National Heart Awareness Month?

Did you know that February is National Heart Awareness Month? Well, we are so excited to share some interesting facts on how to keep your heart healthy and happy. We have great meal ideas for you and your family to enjoy. Also, well as exercises to keep the blood pumping. There is so much to share that each week we will share a blog from one of our fabulous therapists. Our therapists will release on Monday mornings, along with a chance for you to ask them questions about that week’s blog on our “Live Stream Video” each Friday! How neat is that!?!?!?

I would like to start things off by sharing a great recipe that I found on “Pinterest”. Everyone is using this app and why not? There is so much to look at including heart healthy recipes. This recipe is called “Skinny Cajun Shrimp Skewers”. This is “oh so good” that just the thought of it makes my mouth water. What’s so great about this recipe is not only are you using grill (less dishes at clean up time) but really helps to get those fussy eaters to eat their veggies. One important key is it’s a low sodium meal but PACKS a punch of flavor and only 175 milligrams of sodium and 105 calories per serving. Plus, I just love to have a reason to fire up the grill no matter how cold it is outside.

Something else to really consider is your sodium intake. The 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend an upper limit for sodium consumption of 2,300 milligrams of sodium per day for adults. Because the average American’s sodium intake is so excessive, even cutting back to no more than 2,300 milligrams a day will significantly improve blood pressure and heart health.

Stay tune for next week when Janet Keller, PT from our Spring Ridge office shares her thoughts on healthy heart and how to get the blood pumping. Also, her “Live Stream Video” will be on February 10th at 1:30 pm so mark your calendars!

Physical Therapy and Diabetes

9 Benefits of Physical Therapy
Physical therapy is beneficial for those who have been diagnosed with diabetes and individuals with pre-diabetes, also known as insulin resistance. Pre-diabetes occurs when glucose levels are elevated, but haven't yet reached diabetic proportions.

Physical therapy is effective for:

  • Better utilization of glucose
  • Lower blood pressure
  • Reduce the risk of heart disease
  • Weight loss
  • Reduced nerve disease
  • Fewer skin problems
  • Improved muscle function and flexibility
  • Pain relief
  • Lower risk of amputations

People with diabetes are at increased risk of numerous problems that accompany the disease. Damage to nerves is common, resulting in pain and disability. High blood pressure, peripheral vascular disease and stroke are very real concerns.

If not controlled, diabetes damages neurological systems that can cause blindness and one of the greatest threats to diabetics is kidney disease. Injuries heal slowly and can quickly transition into life threatening wounds that won't respond to antibiotics and limbs that must be amputated.

Physical Therapy - Your Weapon Against Diabetes
Physical Therapy - Your Weapon Against Diabetes
More than 29 million people in the U.S. have diabetes and it affects both adults and children. Diabetes occurs when the body can't make sufficient insulin, doesn't make any at all, or can't utilize what it does manufacture. Insulin is a hormone made by the pancreas that enables people to use the glucose (sugar) they consume in foods to provide energy for the body to work and play.

There are three types of diabetes. Type 1 is known as juvenile diabetes since it typically begins in childhood. It's an autoimmune condition in which the immune system attacks the pancreas resulting in little, if any, insulin production. Type 1 diabetes requires daily insulin injections.

Type 2 diabetes is often referred to as adult onset diabetes and individuals may or may not require daily insulin injections. Type 2 diabetes can sometimes be managed with exercise, diet and oral medications. It also has a strong genetic component and is exacerbated by high-carbohydrate diets and lack of exercise. It can occur at any age, but is often seen in older adults.

Gestational diabetes occurs during pregnancy and ordinarily disappears after childbirth, but the mother will have an increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes at any time thereafter.

Many of the symptoms of both type 1 and type 2 diabetes can be subtle, often overlooked, and are only discovered after long-term damage to the body has already occurred.

Patients with diabetes may experience:

  • Fatigue
  • Hunger
  • More thirst than normal
  • Increased need to urinate
  • Increased breakage and hair loss
  • Blurred vision
  • Dry mouth and itchy skin
  • Injuries and wounds that heal slowly
  • Yeast infections
  • Pain, numbness or tingling in legs and feet

People with type 1 diabetes often experience unplanned weight loss even though they haven't made any changes in their diet. In type 1 diabetes, the body can't utilize the food that's being consumed and the body begins to burn fat and muscle to produce energy. As the body burns fat, ketones are produced and when they build to dangerous levels, nausea and vomiting can occur.

Physical Therapy for Diabetes
Physical Therapy for Diabetes
Managing diabetes with physical therapy has multiple benefits ranging from more efficient use of glucose and weight loss to improved muscle tone and strength. Aerobic exercise and resistance training are highly effective therapies for managing diabetes and helps relieve pain, expand range of motion, increase flexibility, and improve balance and coordination.

Your physical therapist may choose clinical Pilates, yoga or tai-chi to address movement and weight problems. He/she can also provide nutritional counseling and dietary supplements that are specially designed for your diabetic needs. Assistance is available if you need mobility aids such as crutches, canes, walkers or wheelchairs.

Orthotic devices and shoes can be prescribed to lessen pain, alleviate sores, stabilize the gait and align the body. Your physical therapist can evaluate and care for injuries and show you how to protect your feet from wounds - particularly if you have little or no sensation remaining.

Exercise plans will be adjusted as needed as your overall physical conditioning improves. Your physical therapist has a wide array of therapies that can be used to provide you with the exercise you need to manage glucose levels, lose weight, and improve your health. Hydrotherapy is an effective treatment for improving the body that also relieves the effects of gravity and weight on the body, making it easier to move.

Therapeutic massage may also be utilized to stimulate the immune system, rid the body of toxins and reduce blood pressure. The therapy is beneficial for improving circulation, easing pain, and relieving the stress of dealing with a chronic disease.

Diabetes is a systemic problem that affects every organ in your body. Your physical therapist can help you manage the symptoms and health risks associated with the disease, assist in your continued mobility, and aid you in maintaining overall health.

Physical therapy had a wide variety of therapies that can be utilized to manage the symptoms and effects of diabetes.

Exercise is a key component in the management of diabetes and your physical therapist can create a custom exercise program that's tailored to your fitness level and mobility level.

Physical Therapy and Hamstring Health

Non-invasive healing
With proper care and physical therapy, a mild hamstring injury will take 2-10 days to heal, while a severe injury can take up to 10 weeks. Full rehabilitation can take up to six months, depending upon the severity of the injury.

Hamstring injuries are more prevalent in older individuals and adolescents whose muscles and bones grow at different rates, but can occur at any age. Physical therapy is an essential component of the healing and rehabilitation process and has a variety of benefits that include:

  • It's non-invasive
  • Eases pain and discomfort
  • Maintains range of motion and flexibility
  • Re-establishes muscle strength
  • Retrains the body in how to move properly
  • Rehabilitation if a surgical repair is required

Many people try to return to their regular activities too soon or place too much stress on the leg before the injury is sufficiently healed or full strength and mobility has been regained. It's essential that patients exercise patience to prevent re-injury and making the condition worse.

Physical Therapy and Hamstring Health
The body has three muscles (collectively known as the hamstring) in the back of the thigh that can be injured, with the most common cause being participation in sports and athletic endeavors. The hamstring muscle allows people to extend the hip and bend the knee and dancers and skaters are also at increased risk. Once a hamstring muscle has been injured, it can be up to six times more likely to be injured again.

Hamstring muscles are typically injured when an individual:

  • Rapidly accelerates or stops suddenly while running
  • Changes direction quickly
  • When jumping
  • Sprinting, hurdling or kicking
  • During heavy lifting

Individuals are at increased risk if they don't warm up and stretch sufficiently before engaging in new, unfamiliar or strenuous activities. Muscle fatigue, a prior injury and weakness in the hamstring or glutes are all factors that contribute to an injury. The damage can range from mild and feel like a cramp. Some people don't realize they've even sustained an injury until they rest or during the following day.

In a severe hamstring injury, the individual may feel a "popping" sensation or a sharp pain in the back of the thigh that extends into the buttock. The area may be swollen, bruised and tender to the touch and there may be difficulty sitting, lifting the leg or stretching it out fully. If the muscle is torn, surgery may be needed to repair the damage.

Physical Therapy for Happy Hamstrings
The exact course of treatment will depend on the severity of the injury and your ultimate goals. Your physical therapist may recommend alternating heat and cryotherapies, elevation, compression, or immobilization to prevent swelling and further damage until the injury has stabilized sufficiently to begin physical therapy.

Your treatment will typically begin with gentle stretches to maintain flexibility and range of motion. During your rehabilitation, you may require crutches or a brace to keep weight off the leg. As the healing process progresses, specific strengthening exercises will be added, along with those to stabilize posture, balance, and agility.

A wide range of complementary therapies may be employed to speed your healing. Your physical therapist can provide information and training on the proper way to lift, warm up and stretch before activities. If you require aids for mobility, your therapist will assist you in learning to use canes and crutches, walkers or wheelchairs.

Therapeutic massage may be incorporated into your treatment plan to improve circulation and maintain flexibility. It's effective for easing pain, stimulating the immune system, and helping the body expel toxins. It's beneficial for relieving the stress that many patients experience while they're healing and recuperating. Electro-stimulation, hydrotherapy and biofeedback may also be used.

During an injury, many people develop unusual or improper behaviors and patterns of movement as they try to protect the affected leg. Gait training is a critical part of rehabilitating a hamstring injury that helps the body relearn how to move the way it did before the injury.

The focus of your physical therapy will be to ease pain, heal and return your hamstring and leg to full functionality. You'll also receive information and methods to help reduce the risk of injury in the future. Physical therapy provides a pathway to healing and rehabilitation that allows you to return to your activities as soon as possible.

Heal the Heel

Easy Does It
An injury to the heel can have a variety of causes, from arthritis and heel spurs to stress fractures and tendon injuries. It's important for individuals not to overwork the heel. People who aren't accustomed to extensive running, jogging and similar activities should never attempt participation without proper preparation.

Physical therapy can prepare your feet for rigorous usage and relieve the effects of overuse. Physical therapy can help in multiple areas that include:

  • Foot or heel supports
  • Remedy gait problems
  • Reduce plain, inflammation and swelling
  • Identify mechanical dysfunction
  • Increased foot support
  • Improved flexibility
  • Build strength and endurance

Pain in the heel and bottom of the foot may be caused by micro-tears in the ligament that's responsible for supporting the arch. Any type of heel pain may develop over time and it can appear suddenly, representing an acute injury. If left untreated, heel and Achilles tendon pain worsens and can transition into a chronic condition.

Guy stretching his heels

Heel Pain and Injury: The Physical Therapy Solution
The feet bear the weight of the body upon them, but the heel of the foot receives little thought unless it begins to hurt. Pain can originate under the heel (plantar fasciitis) or the back of the heel in the Achilles tendon. Inflammation, swelling and pain are common complaints associated with the heel.

An injury to any part of the heel can be extremely painful, producing inflammation and swelling. Individuals may have difficulty flexing their foot up or down, standing on their toes, or even walking. A heel injury may also result in a tingling sensation indicating the need for immediate medical care that will often require rehabilitation with a physical therapist.

Everyone has an occasional pain in the heel after extensive walking, jogging or sports activities and it typically disappears within a day or so with rest. Heel pain that interferes in standing, walking, or lasts a week or more can be helped with physical therapy.

Plantar fasciitis is the most common cause of heel pain resulting from running and jogging, obesity, and excessive standing. Pain may be present when people take their first few steps in the morning or after sitting down for an extended period of sitting.

Guy stretching his heels

Treat the pain with physical therapy
Your physical therapist can help you reduce the risk of injuring your heel with specific stretches, exercises and warm-ups that will prepare your foot for action. He/she can help you choose the right shoes for specific activities. Footwear varies widely and a shoe that's appropriate for power walking won't be appropriate for jogging or running a marathon.

Many people have developed mechanical dysfunction in their gait that leads to improper foot placement. Your physical therapist can examine your gait while walking, jogging and running to determine if retraining or realignment is necessary. He/she can help if arthritis or chronic conditions are involved.

Orthotic devices can be prescribed to ease pain and distribute weight more evenly for comfort. If you're overweight or your employment requires extensive time in a standing position, your physical therapist can recommend accommodations and ergonomic solutions to relieve stress on the entire foot and the rest of the body.

Manual manipulation may be employed to improve flexibility and mobility. If heel pain is caused by a weakness in the lower leg, hip or core, you'll have access to technologically advanced methods to strengthen those areas and improve endurance. Pain in the heel can originate in the back and spinal adjustments are effective for relieving pain in any part of the body.

Therapeutic massage and electro-stimulation may be used to loosen tight muscles in the calf and foot, relieve pain, and reduce inflammation and swelling. Braces and assistive devices can be obtained to provide support. Your physical therapist may also use dry needling, acupuncture, and joint mobilization to treat and reduce the risk of injury.

You don't have to be a world-class athlete or compete in marathons to experience pain in your heel. It can result from an incorrect step, being overweight, or participating in active endeavors without the proper warm-up. No matter what the source, your physical therapist can help with preventative measures and treatment if an injury has already occurred.

Winter Fitness Secrets

Personalized Plans and Attention

Physical therapists are biomechanical specialists who can develop personalized programs that factor in past injuries, the specific type of activities in which people are involved, and their ultimate fitness and competitive goals ranging from marathons and team sports to running and bicycling.

A physical therapy practice offers a safe and therapeutic environment for patients with chronic disease to stay fit while addressing their particular health issues. Those with heart problems, diabetes and neurological conditions can benefit, along with patients who have diseases of the lungs.

The elderly and people with special health issues often refrain from healthy activities due to fear of falling or aggravating their condition. Physical therapists are specially trained in multiple health conditions and their services are effective and safe for pregnant women. Physical therapy is beneficial for more than treating and rehabilitating injuries – it’s a vehicle for lifetime fitness.

Winter Fitness Secrets

For those who dread trips to the gym or fitness center during winter’s inclement weather, physical therapy practices offer custom therapies, training and fitness programs to maintain health and fitness levels, reduce the risk of injury, and perform more efficiently.

Winter weather impacts physical workouts and affects mood, resulting in conditions that includes depression, fatigue and seasonal affective disorder. Physical therapists have techniques and methods to beat the winter blues, elevate mood, maintain fitness levels and prevent weight gain throughout the season.

A physical therapist has the experience and expertise to design a fitness program that maintains current fitness levels, prepares individuals for warmer weather and preserves competitive training schedules. Physical therapy practices also offer an effective alternative for the elderly, those with chronic conditions, and people who don’t feel comfortable within traditional gym environments.

Therapies for Fitness

Our physical therapy techniques address physical and emotional needs during cold winter months when activity and drive are at a low point. Therapeutic massage loosens muscles, increases performance and elevates mood. Massage therapy, acupuncture and dry needling increase energy levels, helps flush toxins from the body and boosts the immune system. It promotes restorative sleep, relieves aches and pains, and improves circulation throughout the body.
Aquatic therapy is an effective resistance training method for those with joint conditions, along with amateur and professional athletes. It’s beneficial for losing weight and allows people to perform motions not possible on dry land.

We offer multiple exercise programs including clinical Pilates, aerobics and yoga that build pelvic and core strength, stability and balance. We identify areas of weakness that need extra attention and perform gait assessments that pinpoints movement dysfunction that reduces efficiency.

Physical therapy practices offer the means to obtain professional training and guidance to stay fit during winter months, reduce the potential for injuries when activities are resumed in the summer and maintain professional training. Therapies are beneficial for relieving stress, anxiety, depression and seasonal conditions that often comes with winter, enabling individuals to greet summer with enthusiasm.

Muscles That Help Protect Our Lower Back While Keeping Our Tummies Flat

Many muscles work together to provide stability and movement in our spine. Keeping these muscles healthy and exercised can help reduce the incidence of low back pain LBP.

Let’s review the muscles on the anterior or front surface of our abdomen. Starting with the long, but sectioned rectus abdominus muscle. This is a paired muscle that gives us the proverbial “6 pack”. It is the major flexor of our trunk. It is the most active during sit ups and curl ups.

Next are the 3 muscles that make up the abdominal wall. All 3 help to stabilize our lumbar spine. They also help increase intra abdominal pressure for functions such as coughing, defecation and childbirth.

The first is the external oblique muscle. If you were to place your hands on your ribs with your fingertips pointed at your navel, you would have the idea as to how these muscle fibers are oriented.

The second muscle is the internal oblique. These muscle fibers run diagonally in the opposite direction to the external oblique. These two muscles contract strongly during a sit up when the trunk is twisted to the right or left. When twisting to the right, the left external oblique and the right internal oblique contract to assist the rectus abdominus in flexing the trunk to complete the movement.

The third muscle of the abdominal wall is the transverse abdominus (TrA). It is the deepest of the three and cannot be palpated. You can, however, feel and see the effects of this muscle being exercised by attempting to draw your abdomen back toward your spine which helps to keep your abdomen flat.

To start to exercise these muscles you must first learn how to recruit them and activate them. We will address the last, the TrA. Lie on your back or side in a neutral posture (gentle curve in your low back). Gently lift your belly up away from your pelvis. There should be no movement of your hips, pelvis or spine. Once you can isolate and activate the TrA, you are ready to move on to exercises to strengthen it.

Your therapist will be helpful in guiding you on how to connect to this muscle without activating other muscles. Proper technique is crucial to getting the full benefit from this muscle. Your goal is to teach your brain to remember to use this muscle in your everyday activities.

What is Direct Access?

Stephanie Wilfong, PT, DPT

Direct access can be thought of as self-referral to physical therapy. A doctor’s order used to be a universal requirement to begin therapy. Now, in the state of Maryland, you may begin physical therapy without a script from your doctor under direct access, with certain provisions. Direct access can be utilized if the physical therapist has a doctorate of physical therapy degree. A patient can be treated for up to 30 consecutive days before needing an official script from a doctor, nurse practitioner, chiropractor, or appropriate referral source. States differ in their direct access rules. Please refer to to see if your state of interest allows direct access.

Direct access can allow the patient to stream line the process and likely be able to begin PT more quickly, as they don’t have to wait to get in to the doctor and then wait to see the physical therapist. Although physical therapists lack the ability to order certain diagnostic tests, such as an MRI, or prescribe medication, we are extensively trained in musculoskeletal and movement disorders. The education PT’s receive and the clinical training they undergo include the areas of examination, diagnosis, prognosis, and intervention. We are trained to recognize certain “red flags,” which may indicate the need for referral to a physician.

If you have any additional questions about direct access and how you may utilize this in regards to your care, please give us a call.

Can A Genicular Nerve Ablation Treat My Knee Pain?

Dr. John O’Neil, DPT meets with Dr. Chirag Sanghvi, MD to discuss a less invasion option for arthritic knee pain

Dr. Sanghvi is a board certified Anesthesiologist and Pain Management physician that practices out of Newbridge Spine & Pain Center in Leesburg, VA. Dr. Sanghvi completed his fellowship in Pain Management at the Cleveland Clinic in Cleveland, Ohio, after fulfilling his residency at Loma Linda University, in Loma Linda, California, where he served as an anesthesia and trauma clinical research specialist. I had the opportunity to sit down with him and talk about the ins and outs of this physician’s view of the genicular nerve block and ablation procedures.

What is a Genicular nerve ablation, and who could benefit from this?

A genicular nerve ablation is a procedure in which the nerves that give pain signals to the brain from the knee are made temporarily (4-9 months, with an average of 6) unable to send a pain signal. The genicular nerves are a group of six sensory nerves, of which, three are able to be treated with this procedure. Fortunately, 70-80% of the pain due to osteoarthritis of the knee is due to these three nerves. If this procedure is found effective, and deemed appropriate, genicular nerve ablations are able to be repeated indefinitely without ill effect.

Conditions treated: chronic knee pain, degenerative joint disease of the knee, osteoarthritis of the knee, or prior to or after a total or partial knee replacement. Also, it can be very effective for individuals who are either not able or wish to avoid a knee replacement. For example, if someone is too young for a knee replacement, or has comorbidities that would prevent a knee replacement.

This procedure is performed in two steps:

  1. Diagnostic: Genicular Nerve Block – Not all knee pain is due to the genicular nerves, so before Dr. Sanghvi ablates the nerve, he tests the genicular nerve to see if it is the pain generator. This procedure consists of placing a small amount of a very short acting (6-8 hour) local anesthetic on the genicular nerves. If there is at least a 50% decrease in pain from this procedure, performed at two separate times to double check, the patient is deemed likely to benefit from ablation of these nerves.
  2. Treatment: Genicular Nerve Ablation – in this process, the genicular nerve is cauterized by heating a very small area around the nerve for 90-120 seconds. This heat is usually not felt by the patient. After this, the nerve will be unable to transmit sensory information to the brain, and thus the individual will not feel pain if the genicular nerve was the source of the pain.

Questions with Dr. Chirag Sanghvi, MD

When do you recommend a Genicular Nerve Ablation over other procedures?

Although a genicular nerve ablation is an effective procedure for reducing knee pain due to degeneration of the knee, it is not a first line treatment. If someone has advanced arthritis of the knee, and is a candidate for a total knee replacement, this should be considered first. A genicular nerve ablation is best utilized when a person is either too young/too old to benefit from a knee replacement, or has comorbidities that would prevent a knee replacement from taking place. Of particular benefit is when someone has pain on the inside, or medial aspect, of the knee.

It can also be effectively utilized if a patient has to wait for a period of time prior to receiving a knee replacement. Sometimes an orthopedic physician will want an individual to lose weight prior to a performing a knee replacement, and this procedure can greatly help with pain while the individual is becoming a candidate for a knee replacement. Or, sometimes an individual has to wait to get a knee replacement for other reasons, such as wanting to go on a scheduled vacation or prefers a certain time of year to have the replacement done. This procedure can help with pain during this waiting period as well.

After a knee replacement, many individuals still struggle with some pain in the knee, and this procedure can be performed then as well.

Are there any serious complications associated with this procedure?

As with any medical procedure, there are risks, but for this procedure, the risks are quite low. It is possible that you can injure the blood vessels around the knee during the procedure, but if proper utilization of imaging techniques are used during the procedure, it is very uncommon for this to occur. Also, there is a rare complication of irritating the nerve, which could cause 3-6 months of nerve pain that can be treated with nerve pain medications.

Does a Genicular Nerve Ablation hurt?

Most of the pain is from the placement of the needles, with the procedure itself not causing much pain. If the individual is concerned with this, they can be sedated during the procedure.

Are there other ways to treat the nerves in the knee?

There is ongoing research on dorsal root ganglion stimulators to affect the nerve at the spinal level. Nerves from the spine control sensory and motor information to the legs, and most of the sensory and motor information for the knee is from the third and fourth lumbar vertebrae. In this procedure, the sensory nerves are selectivity stimulated to not cause pain in this individual.

Preliminary results are showing good promise, although more research needs to be performed before this technique becomes more mainstream.

Time to Take a Stand!

Physical therapists use sound, scientifically proven principles of human anatomy, physiology, movement and psychology to help patients lead healthy, pain-free lives.

The therapist will conduct an initial evaluation followed by several progress notes to document progress over time. A comprehensive analysis establishes a ‘clinical baseline’ and identifies muscle imbalances, causes of pain and joint alignments. This is the foundation for short and long-term goals designed to help individuals recover completely. In fact, physical therapy can address every aspect of recovery including:

  • Gait
  • Biomechanical aspects like spine/hip/foot alignments
  • Lower back strength
  • Pain levels
  • Functional capability

Lefties Have Rights Too!

My 8 year old son was struggling to tie his shoes, despite hours of patient practice and YouTube instructional videos. Granted, all kids struggle with that fine motor task; however, I could tell he was behind compared with his peers. One day it struck me- my left handed son was being taught by his right handed mother! I raced home that night to try a reverse “leftie” strategy and… boom! He got it instantly!

That parenting experience also made me think about the right handed world we ALL live in. Left handed people still drive vehicles and reach with their right hand to adjust the radio or grab a cup from the center console. Reaching for the phone, refrigerator, or doorknob is often designed to be done with the right hand as well. Living in a right handed world develops muscle imbalances within all humans, despite handedness, and these dominant muscle patterns can possibly lead to musculoskeletal injury.

Left can also be oh so right! Consider that humans prefer to “move” to the left, or counter-clockwise. Its baseball playoff season right now, which way do the batters run the bases to score? NASCAR is currently in the chase for the cup- which way are the drivers going around the track? We just finished watching the summer Olympic games- shot put and discus is launched from an athlete rotating which direction? Even something as simple as riding a bicycle or motorcycle- we notice that it’s a little more hairy making a right turn. There are lots of daily examples of left directionality.

The human body has an asymmetrical design that promotes better counter-clockwise performance. We have a liver on the right side that weighs approximately three to four pounds, with a spleen on the opposite side weighing less than a pound. We have three lobes of lung on the right and only two on the left. The heart lies more to the left, and the diaphragm has more attachments to the spine on the right. This organ asymmetry coupled with visual/cerebral cortex asymmetry and vestibular imbalances, etc. contribute to the formation of dominant muscular patterns that without opposition can again, lead to injury.

The science of Postural Restoration™ recognizes and restores human muscle imbalances and faulty movement patterns in order to allow for a more symmetrical state of well-being. As a Postural Restoration Certified physical therapist, I evaluate patients through an asymmetrical lens, and apply treatment principles that improve symmetry through exercises, movement patterns, and functional positions that can be done during everyday activities.

Whether we acknowledge it or not, we are all asymmetrical beings living in a right handed, counter-clockwise world. Our occupational habits, recreational activities, and environmental factors all play a role in the development of faulty movement patterns that can lead to injury, and physical therapists can balance out these patterns. Next time you go for that walk around your neighborhood or on your trick-or-treating route, perhaps you should lead off by taking a right. It’s not a wrong direction!