Tag Archives: Back

How Do I Know If I Should See A Physical Therapist?

Manual Physical Therapy on FootThis article was written by Ann Wendel, PT, ATC, CMTPT and published in northernvirginiamag.com. 

Most people have heard the term “physical therapist,” yet when asked, they can’t answer the question, “What is physical therapy?” After 20 years in this field, I can honestly say that I still love what I do, and I’m excited to share my profession with you. I want to address some common misconceptions about physical therapy and provide information to help you get the care you need. 

1. Who do physical therapists treat and why?

Physical therapists care for people of all ages in hospitals, private practices, outpatient clinics, schools, home health agencies, sports and fitness facilities, nursing homes and work settings. Physical therapists often consult with other health professionals to work to improve your mobility.

2. What types of problems can a physical therapist treat?

Physical therapists can help you regain flexibility, joint range of motion, strength, endurance and balance after an injury, accident, illness or surgery. We can also help you minimize the risk of injury by designing an exercise program for you, and we can help you manage a chronic health condition like diabetes, arthritis or fibromyalgia.

3. What kind of degree do physical therapists have?

All physical therapists are currently required to receive a graduate degree–either a master’s degree or a clinical doctorate—from an accredited physical therapist program before taking the national licensure examination that allows them to practice. State licensure is required in each state in which a physical therapist practices. Most physical therapists have a four-year undergraduate degree and a three-year Master’s or Doctorate level degree.

4. Do I need to see my doctor before scheduling physical therapy?

In Virginia, D.C., and Maryland, patients can access physical therapy directly. This means that you can call a physical therapist to schedule an appointment for an initial evaluation without having a doctor’s visit first. We will review your medical history and conduct a very thorough physical exam at your first visit. If the results of our examination lead us to believe that you need to consult with another healthcare professional, we will refer you to the appropriate provider. Studies show that early access to physical therapy positively affects outcomes, so if you are injured, you may be able to schedule a physical therapy appointment to start treatment without waiting for an appointment with a specialist.

5. How do I know if I should see a physical therapist?

If you have pain or discomfort that limits your daily activities like taking off a shirt overhead, fastening your bra, walking up and down stairs or getting in and out of the car, you may benefit from a physical therapy consultation. If you have nagging pain that prevents you from doing activities you enjoy, we can help you determine the underlying cause for your pain, and help you get on the road to recovery. If you have an acute injury, such as an ankle sprain, neck or back pain, or painful shoulder, we can help you through early evaluation and treatment before your injury becomes a chronic problem.

6. What should I expect at my first appointment?

You may be asked to fill out paperwork prior to your first visit. This helps your physical therapist in understanding your past medical history, and informs us of surgeries you have had and medications you take. You may be asked to change into a gown or shorts and a tank top. Your physical therapist will have a conversation with you to review your history and your reason for seeking treatment; then, he/she will conduct a thorough physical examination. Your physical therapist will discuss the findings from the exam, and explain the plan of care to you. You may receive treatment on the first visit depending on time. I spend one hour with all of my patients, and conduct all aspects of the evaluation and treatment myself. Some clinics utilize other staff to oversee the exercise portion of treatment. Our goal is always to find the source of your problem and provide treatment to get you moving again in as short a time as possible. These are just some of the ways that a physical therapist can help you return to your active lifestyle.

To see the original article on http://www.northenvirginamag.com click here.

To Contact Ann Wendel, PT, ATC, CMTPT use www.prana-pt.com

Scoliosis: The Schroth Method

Schroth-Method-2We are very excited to announce that our Therapist, Carola Monroe is now certified as a Schroth Scoliosis Therapist. There are less than 50 American therapists who are trained in this method and
Carola is one of the few New York based therapists who is a certified Schroth Scoliosis Preactitioner. As a result , we are seeing more and more scoliosis patients around the practice.

What is the Schroth Method for Scoliosis Treatment?

The Schroth method is a conservative physical therapy approach for people with scoliosis. It is used to treat patients of all ages as a measure mainly to prevent surgery, and also before and after surgery.

Used successfully in Europe since the 1920s, the Schroth method was originally developed in Germany by scoliosis sufferer, Katharina Schroth. She developed this program to counteract scoliosis deformities. The program has been the primary treatment method for Scoliosis in Europe for many years.

The method is based upon the concept of scoliosis as resulting from a complex of muscular asymmetries (asymmetric weight bearing or loading of the spine) that can be at least partially corrected by targeted exercises.

The Schroth Method first assesses and classifies the patient’s curve. Following this, the patient is taught exercises that are specific to his or her curve. The exercises are designed to help the patient counter the effects of gravity and uneven muscle pulls on their spines. They learn to correct their postural positions by incorporating exercises during their activities of daily living.

Click here for more information

Common Pregnancy Pains. Did you know..?

shutterstock_82822033 Pregnant backMoms you are not alone!
Did you know “Fifty percent to 70% of pregnant women experience low back pain during pregnancy. In addition, 30% to 50% of pregnant women report low back pain severe enough to cause lost time from work. It’s more manageable, however, than most women (and their doctors) think”.

Did you know that physical therapy treatment is the best way to get rid of and to prevent back pain while pregnant?

Move Forward PT posted some great tips on how to avoid and treat pregnancy aches and pains:  Click Here


Ergonomic Parenting: Best Ways to Prepare or Adapt Your Nursery

“The months following the birth of a child are some of the most rewarding for new parents—and the most challenging to a new parent’s body”.

Baby LiftingHere are some great tips from an article I helped to write for the American Physical Therapy Association on how using proper body mechanics within an ergonomically friendly nursery can help ease the strains and stresses of parenting.

Click here to read the full article.


Posture Posture Posture…..Is This You?

For years I have tried to educate my patients, friends and family on the importance of good posture.

In our current world, where we seem to spend over 50% of our waking hours either using a computer, texting on our iPhones, or reading our Kindles, most of us complain about headaches, back pain, neck pain and other forms of i Pain”.

Did you know that the typical american teenager sends or reads an average of 3,417 texts a month? (according to a new survey from the analytics firm Nielsen)

Here are 3 fabulous videos on posture. See how you can make some minor changes in your every day activities to reduce the risk of developing back and neck pain, arm and wrist strain, and repetitive stress injuries.
Enjoy and feel free to share with your friends!

Traveling for Business

On Your Cell Phone

At Home

Want a Flat Tummy? Don’t Do Sit-Ups or Crunches (Part 2)

Core ex ball shutterstock_1110926[1]By Marianne Ryan PT, OCS
Clinical Director MRPT Physical Therapy                                 

It’s New Year’s resolution time, and you want a flat tummy. Do you want to learn safer exercises to flatten your tummy?

In a previous post, we’ve talked about why crunches and sit-ups are not such a good idea and how we need to be careful of exercises that cause downward pressure on our pelvic floor and lower abdominal muscles. Our core muscles are very important, and we need them to be strong to support our backs, help with stability throughout our bodies, as well as maintain normal bladder and bowel control.

So, how can we work out our abdominals safely?

The thing to keep in mind is that we have a few different groups of abdominal muscles. We are trying to avoid strongly activating the top group of muscles. This is the ‘six-pack’ group of muscles. It works when you cough and sneeze, and when you do sit-ups or crunches. It is also guilty of pushing our pelvic floor downwards, eventually causing it to fatigue, and losing it’s “trampoline like” support. Fatigued pelvic floor muscles can not support the internal organs, and will hang loosely like a hammock.

We discussed how your pelvic floor muscles act together with your lower abdominal muscles and how they are supposed to contract automatically at the same time. Instead of doing sit-ups, we are going to teach you how to activate your lower group of abdominal muscles. These deep muscles, called the Transverse Abdominus, wrap around the lower portion of our abdomen and act like a natural corset, attaching onto our spine.

How do we activate this deep set of muscles?

(Note: Please read disclaimer prior to performing exercises)


First, we have to find them with an exercise that will “activate” or turn on your core muscles.


  • Lie comfortably on your back on a firm surface. Keep your head relaxed. You may use a low pillow if you like.
  • Bend your knees and hips, keeping your feet flat on the ground, hip width apart.
  • Make sure you have the normal curve in your lower spine – try sliding your flat hand under your lower back to assure there is a small space.
  • Place your hands on the top part of your panty line, just inside your pelvic bones.
  • Now, perform a gentle pelvic floor contraction, as if you are trying to stop the flow of 1 or 2 drops of urine. At the same time feel your lower tummy move towards your spine. Keep breathing normally and quietly. Try to hold that contraction for 10 seconds.
  • Remember to be gentle! If your head has lifted, then the contraction is too strong – you don’t want to get those upper abdominal muscles working.

Got it? If you’re having trouble, try doing the same thing lying on your side. Let your tummy relax and bulge outwards, keep your hands on the top of your panty line, and feel your tummy gently draw in towards your spine as you perform a pelvic floor contraction.

Now, when you have the idea, work up to doing 10 of these in a row, with a 20 second rest in between each contraction.

When you can do 10 of these muscle activations in a row, you are ready to move on to something a little more difficult:

Blog Girl Leg Slide Back

  • Again, lying comfortably on your back with your legs straight.
  • First contract your deep abdominal muscles by doing the “pelvic-core starter” exercise (above). Place your hands on your panty line and feel your lower tummy drawing in towards your spine. Keep your hands there to monitor control, don’t let your pelvis wiggle.
  • Keeping that contraction, slowly slide one heel along the ground towards your buttock, until your knee is bent at a right angle and then slowly back down again.
  • Make sure you don’t wiggle your pelvis and maintain the normal curve in your lower back!
  • Repeat with the other leg.
  • Do this 10 times on each leg and work up to 3 sets of 10.

Well done! You are now well on your way to a strong core, the safe way!

Stay tuned for our next post, we will give you a few more exercises to try in part 3.

If you miss part one of this three part series click here to read it.

Note: Physical Therapy exercise pictures copyright VHI

Reduce Infant Crying at Night by 54%!


Why does wearing  your baby while performing house hold chores or running errands for 3 hours a day have extra added benefits? = The power of touch

To read the entire article from Mothering.com CLICK HERE