Tag Archives: Physical Therapy

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My Physical Therapy Journey

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My Physical Therapy Journey

by: Jeff Hoogmoed

My Physical Therapy JourneyI’ve had a pretty intimate relationship with pain since I was in my early twenties beginning with a major knee injury. Five years later my left shoulder was dislocated and a year after that the right knee was torn.

When I entered my 40’s the ghosts of those injuries came-a-calling, especially in the damp, colder weather.



In the summer of 1997 I suffered a stroke stemming from a congenital lesion. This ultimately led me to a rehabilitation hospital where I remained for 4-5 months undergoing fairly intense rehab therapy. Learning to talk again, learning to walk again, and trying to let go of the many things that I was no longer able to do.

n my mid forties I began to think about working out again. I had worked out in my younger years, in fact I was pretty dedicated at the gym, but it had been years and as I said I’m somewhat limited by my aforementioned stroke.


The “limitations” I have turned out to be a pretty convenient excuse and one that we ALL use often… “I can’t, because…”


If there’s one thing I’ve learned from my time working with computers is that there’s a work-around for just about any obstacle in your path…sometimes it’s through it, many times in my experience its been around it.

I was introduced to Pilates by a girlfriend who had a Pilates machine. Pilates doesn’t necessarily have to be done Pilates Reformeron a machine, I’ve seen the methods applied using just a simple yoga mat and a $25 set of resistance bands available at many stores. But I prefer the machine as it is a stricter method (for me anyway).

I found a Pilates machine in a local penny saver for a very fair price, plus it was assembled!

I began with a few of the forms I learned in the past but gained tons of knowledge from Youtube AND the included DVD’s.

It didn’t happen overnight, in fact I can say that I didn’t really notice anything the first 3-4 months, but my pain seemed more manageable within a matter of weeks. By doing the exercises, and not OVER DOING them, I began to notice going up and down stairs wasn’t quite as bad as it was in the past. My transition from the floor to a standing position didn’t result in my eyes full of water from the pain.


My next purchase, and by far the biggest bang for the buck, was resistance bands.


Resistance BandThe bands were originally purchased to simulate weight training exercises and not much more than that but they’ve proven themselves to be a very versatile rehabilitation tool as well. These REALLY came into play as a rehab tool when a shoulder impingement flared up.

In my opinion free weights used in my younger years have caused a fair amount of joint erosion.



There are a few reasons why I’ve gotten away from dumbbells:

  • They are difficult to control.
  • They are easy to “cheat” with, or do the exercise with improper form.
  • They are somewhat costly, heavy, and large.
  • You can stub your toe on them in a dark room (personal story! lol)

For these reasons I’ve opted for resistance bands, ones similar to the photo. 

There hasn’t been a single free weight exercise that I haven’t been able to recreate using bands. 

Get creative, look on Youtube and Vimeo to see how others have adapted bands into their workouts. I’ve found that many have discovered them after an injury, many times through a Physical Therapist that used resistance bands in therapy sessions. 

Many of the exercises that are now part of my routine I’ve incorporated from my former PT sessions, in fact PT is where I first discovered resistance band training.



Proper stretching and deep breathing have also become part of my exercise routine…


Stretching before and after exercise is incredibly important, but stretching even if you haven’t exercised is important as well, especially as we age.

It can also be helpful for the work related injuries that have become common with the sedentary work that many of us do.


I hope that this was helpful.

This is a story that continues, daily.

I won’t slip easily into that 50-something body that bad diet, disability, or the love of cheeseburgers and fries holds for me! 🙂




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The Many Benefits of Physical Therapy

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The Many Benefits of Physical Therapy

Source: Healthresource4u

Here’s a GREAT post by HealthResource4u about physical therapy and the amazing effect it can have when recovering from injury.

The Many Benefits of Physical TherapyThe practice of physical therapy has been widely used to treat pain and injury since its origin in ancient Greece where it was believed that Hippocrates, the father of medicine, incorporated it into his medical treatments. Today, physical therapy is one of the most promising careers in terms of job growth as more people turn to the holistic form of medicine, and for good reason: With proper application, physical therapy can naturally treat, heal, and prevent a vast array of injuries and disabilities without the need for invasive surgery or reliance on pain medication.

Physical therapy is used to bring relief from many conditions, including back pain, muscle stiffness, arthritis, sports injuries, Parkinson’s disease, and even stroke. By working directly with the body to help it heal itself, physical therapists not only relieve pain and treat injury, but also restore a patient’s body function and movement which improves overall health and well-being. In fact, when the body is functioning at its most optimal level, it can even prevent further injuries from arising in the future. But physical therapy is so much more than treating and preventing pain. Through its natural approach to medicine, personalized treatment plans, and focus on education, physical therapy provides countless benefits for those who utilize it.

A Natural Approach to Healing and Pain Relief

A key benefit that differentiates physical therapy from traditional medical treatment is the focus on working with the body to naturally heal itself. Studies show that physical therapy can be just as effective at treating injuries that were once believed could only be healed through surgery. Rather than cover up the symptoms with pain medication or endure invasive surgery, physical therapy treats the causes of the pain at the source. This not only helps the body heal itself naturally on its own, but also helps the body grow stronger as a whole. Physical therapists understand the body’s amazing ability to heal itself, and with the right guidance and treatment, it can relieve pain and improve function without the need for traditional medical treatment.

A large number of injuries are caused by misalignment of the body and improper body function, including poor posture, irregular muscle development, and improper body mechanics. The physical therapy approach will make sure the body itself is functioning as it should.  In the end, a healthy body is a body that will be less inclined to become injured and more able to heal itself.


Individualized Treatment

In addition to working with the body to naturally heal itself, another significant benefit of physical therapy is individualized treatment. Each patient has certain needs that need to be taken into account when being treated for an injury, and each person may respond differently to physical therapy. Depending upon the patient’s body type, habits, range of motion, and injury, a physical therapist will develop a personalized treatment plan and will closely monitor each patient to ensure they form the correct habits, alignments, and movement patterns. This personalized approach helps patients heal properly the first time without the need for surgery or further medical attention at a later time.

There are two forms of therapy physical therapists will employ during the treatment process: active and passive therapy. Depending upon the patient’s injury and medical history, either one or a combination of both methods are used to treat a patient’s pain or injury.

Passive therapy: includes treatments that do not require patient participation, such as spinal manipulation, heat/ice therapy, myofascial release, or ultrasound therapy.  These treatments are usually used to relieve pain by reducing inflammation and improving blood flow and typically require direct assistance from the physical therapist.

Active therapy: on the other hand, involves treatments that require active participation from the patient, such as therapeutic exercise, stretching techniques, and aquatic therapy. These treatments help rebuild muscles that support vital areas of the body, in turn improving range of motion and decreasing pain. Furthermore, active therapy can typically be done by the patient on their own without the aid of a physical therapist.

Incorporating both passive and active therapy into a patient’s treatment process is a critical part of a person’s recovery from their unique injury or ailment. This allows physical therapists to treat patients naturally, efficiently, and without further harm being done to the body. This also helps the body grow stronger as a whole, which can prevent re-injury to the affected area while reducing the probability of other injuries in the future.



Although the treatment of an injury or ailment is what brings a person to seek help from a physical therapist, one of the primary goals is to educate the patient to help them take care of themselves. In fact, a physical therapist’s greatest hope is to never need to see you again once treatment is complete.

Now don’t take that the wrong way, it is meant in the most positive and endearing way possible. You see, physical therapists want to give patients the power and the tools they need to be as functionally independent as possible. This means that although they treat pain and symptoms through hands-on therapy, they want to make sure the patient has the education and means to care for themselves once they go back to their normal life.

So although they love working with you, their greatest achievement is to have you never need to see them again for your ailment or injury. This will be achieved by educating patients in developing a healthy lifestyle, understanding what caused their injury, and incorporating exercise methods that can help prevent their injury from occurring again in the future.

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Physical Therapy Doesn’t Stop When You Leave Therapy

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Physical Therapy Doesn’t Stop When You Leave Therapy

By: Jeff H


Physical Therapy Doesn’t Stop When You Leave TherapyThis is something that a lot of us, including me, have been guilty of. 

We get prescribed by our doctors to go to PT three days a week. 

We go, we want to get better, we work hard. 

But then once we say goodbye to the physical therapist life tends to take over, we get caught up with work, bills, kids, laundry, life happens! We miss a day or two, the aches and pains creep back in, and we have a REAL hard time getting back to our healing exercises. 

In my personal experience if I don’t do some sort of stretching, range of motion, or resistance training every day I wind up paying with aches-n-pains and stiffness. 

Aside from regular exercise, I’ve found that you can combine stretching/range-of-motion/resistance training into a 10 minute routine that you can do three times a day. 

The only equipment that is required is a resistance band that you can purchase on Amazon or most of your favorite stores. 

I’ve also found that since many of us are working at a desk, regular breaks are VERY necessary a few times an hour.


These breaks can be quick and simple:


  • Standing up and reaching for your toes
  • Sitting up straight and stretching/straightening your shoulders
  • Walking across the room breathing deeply
  • Standing up and twisting your torso


Literally takes a minute…your boss won’t mind (if he does excuse yourself to the rest room) 🙂

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