Thursday, January 28, 2016

Who Cares??

Shoveling Back Pain

From the desk of Robert Babb, PT, MBA

We noticed an increase in low back pain customers over the past 2 weeks, guessing the 25 inches of snow had something to do with it.  From the evidence, we look to the Journal of Orthopaedic & Sports Physical Therapy®, to learn what best interventions (strong evidence they work) are out there for your back pain.

1.     Education and counseling makes a difference:
a.     A good PT does not promote extended bed-rest, we are enablers not disablers
Its good exercise to shovel, just do it right!
b.     Evidence drive PTs will provide in-depth, explanations for the specific cause of the patient’s low back pain, including discussions regarding;
                                               i.     The anatomical/structural strength inherent in the human spine
                                             ii.     Explanations of pain perception and the science behind it
                                            iii.     The prognosis of low back pain, which in most cases is favorable
                                            iv.     Strategies on how to stay enabled, including coping strategies that decrease fear and self disability
                                              v.     Encouragement of early resumption of normal or vocational activities, enabling even with some pain.
                                            vi.     Education on pain relief as short term to help function long term

2.     Other areas discussed that have strong evidence include
a.     Manual Therapy and mobilizations
b.     Trunk strengthening, coordination, and endurance exercises
                                               i.     Postural muscles are red, build for endurance (vs. White muscle fibers)
c.     Traction

If you are going or considering going to Physical Therapy for new or chronic back pain, ask yourself:
            How do you know you are getting best practices?   Is the PT and practice;
a.     Engaging; 
                                               i.     Understanding your specific work and play expectations, limitations?
b.     Respectful of your time? 
                                               i.     Did they review your case before your first visit?
See PTW first for your back pain, new or old!
c.     Solution based? 
                                               i.     Do they offer solutions, pain relief, prognosis, manuals, and exercise specifically for you?

Find another physical therapist provider if they are not.

At PTW, we ask our patients (customers) to challenge us if we are not challenging them towards restoration of function, every exercise, every visit, and every minute they spend with us.  We challenge ourselves to strive for industry best care, evidence based care, all to make your time with us worthwhile and meaningful.

If the shovel got the best of your back, are you getting the best PT practices to get you back?

Bob is the founder and President of The Physical Therapy & Wellness Institute. He is a licensed Physical Therapist with over 33 years of experience in the Physical Therapy field, starting as a Physical Therapist technician/assistant in the U.S Navy in 1983. Bob has lectured nationally the business of physical therapy and has authored numerous industry articles on the subjects of aquatic therapy, orthopedic skills, and management principles.  He is a graduate of Temple University, and served 6 years in various physical therapy centers while in the United States Navy. Since 2002, his work at PTW has helped the team treat over 29,000 new patients, open five locations, and employ over 45 local residents. 

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Spiderman, Tobey Maguire, PTW, and SFMA, all have this in common...

Doctor Stephanie McDougal, DPT, working on Functional Movements
Several years ago, during filming of  the movie Seabiscuit., Tobey Maguire, suffered a herniated disc in his spine, preventing him from filming Spiderman 3.    

Pain from a herniated disc generally causes numerous problems, including loss of strength, muscle spasms, and loss of function.  Debilitating as it might become, there are many tools in a PT skill set to help, including training in Selective Functional Movement Assessments. 

So what is SFMA?
The Selective Functional Movement Assessment (SFMA) is the movement based diagnostic system, designed to clinically assess 7 fundamental movement patterns in those with known musculoskeletal and joint pain. 

The assessment provides an efficient method to systematically find the cause of symptoms, not just the source, by logically breaking down dysfunctional movement patterns and diagnosing their root cause as either a mobility problem or a stability/motor control problem.  For a PT, this takes significant training and lots of reps to fully utilize on a regular basis. 

How is this applicable to therapy?
In many cases involving Physical Therapy, the source of pain is addressed and treated, with positive results.  Often for chronic pain, especially those more active, it is not broken down far enough to understand why they are susceptible to re injury.

The SFMA assessment looks at the entire body to assess each region and decipher if there are mobility and/or motor control/stability problems leading to a breakdown in the movement pattern and contributing to your risk of injury/re-injury. 

Where to read more?
See more at:

Where to find certified providers?
see more at:

PTW’s Stephanie McDougal, PT, DPT provides expert clinical care and is a SFMA specialist at our Montgomeryville Clinic, located in the Costco Shopping center on Upper State Road, just off route 309.   For an SFMA assessment and treatment based therapy program, call Steph or Andrew at 215 855 1160 today for an appointment tomorrow.