Happy Wednesday! I may have mentioned this before, but I’m participating in the Elf 4 Health challenge this winter, and as a part of that challenge we signed up to swap guest posts with another challenger! I hope you enjoy Allison’s post today, and be sure to check out my guest post on her blog. If you want to see the other swap posts, you can find the link up on Elle’s blog!
I am Allison from AllisonInWellnessLand and I am a Physical Therapist. I started my blog a few months ago to start sharing my passion for living a healthy lifestyle through eating good for me foods and exercising to keep my body in the best shape possible.
I would like to say I am an expert Physical Therapist and someday I will be, but today I am here to share with you my newbie expert opinion on exercise and some areas that females often forget to exercise.
I went to school for 7 years to get my Doctorate in Physical Therapy and during those last 3 years I lived and breathed exercise, muscles, anatomy, physiology and human kinetics (movement) to be able to sit for a test that told me I was smart enough and competent enough to be a LICENCED Therapist! I have to say that was a literal dream come true! I could not have been more excited when I saw that my score was a passing grade and that I could start treating my very own patients.
In the past 6 months of being a PT I have learned a few important things:
1. When in Doubt look it up! Sound confident then check your work!
2. Chatting is the only way to make patients forget about the pain and enjoy coming to therapy. Its not gossiping its socializing and networking!
3. Monster walks all day everyday – for a killer workout and often a good laugh! This exercise is great for all lower extremity and back patients!
4. Your feet aren’t that stinky…. Unless youre a 12 year-old girl then they probably are!
5. Incontinence is not normal && I can fix your incontinence, pelvic pain and problems if you come to me!
My passion & future area of expertise is the pelvic floor. I am sure most of you are not aware that the pelvic floor is a group of muscles and that there can be pain & dysfunction associated with these muscles similarly to a bicep or hamstring injury. I treat men & women with a wide range of injuries/deficits including incontinence (unwanted leaking or wetting). Pelvic Floor therapy is a great market and very important for people to be aware of as pelvic floor dysfunction and incontinence can significantly impact some ones quality of life.
6 Exercises I prescribe most often:
1. Monster Walks – as I said earlier these target the hips and knees with a strong impact on gluts and abductors as well as hitting the quads & hamstrings.
2. Transverse Abdominis Isometrics – I give these to 90% of my patients and frankly just forget to give them to the other 10% because EVERYONE can benefit from TA isometrics. The TA is the powerhouse core muscle; it’s the muscle we train with planks. AND it acts as a human girdle protecting our back from injury and helping us stabilize our spine during bending, lifting and twisting exercises. I always tell patients I can care less if they have a 6pack or killer oblique’s because they are not nearly as important as the TA. I love testing TA strength on my “bodybuilder” friends at the gym because I can almost always make them sweat & sore within 5 minutes of training.
3. Marble Pick Up – I literally throw a bunch of marbles on the floor and make patients pick them up with their toes and put them back in the bucket. This is great for toe mobility and strengthening after surgery or for patients with plantar fasciitis. It is also fun to watch patients go from frustrated & slow to excited & quick as they gain more strength.
4. Bridging – to progress TA isometrics I have patients start doing a bridge, this is a great core exercise and glut exercise that really enhances stabilization of the back and spine. I have patients start with feet flat, then single leg, then putting feet on a stability ball to alter the exercise making it harder each time.
5. Rebounder – I LOVE THIS EXERCISE. First it is great for patients with all injuries, from shoulder, hand, back, hip, knee or ankle every one can benefit from doing a little rebound ball toss. The rebounder is a trampoline on an incline and I have patients throw a weighted ball at it consistently. For an upper extremity patient I have them perform in a full swing/throwing motion. For a lower extremity or core patient I have them stand on one leg and balance while throwing & catching the ball. I vary this exercise by changing the surface the patients are standing on to make it unstable and more challenging.
6. Stretch, Stretch, Stretch – I don’t stretch enough but I prescribe stretching to every patient to help correct the problems they are having. Sore or injured muscles often tighten up leading to stiff and short muscles leading to more pain and dysfunction. If we all stretch our muscles they will be less prone to injury!
So although I do not deem myself an expert because I am a young therapist I am still an expert in the field of musculoskeletal health and wellness along with having extensive knowledge on exercises and injuries. I love sharing my knowledge of the field of physical therapy and hope that you enjoyed learning a little more about it as well! I encourage you to seek out a physical therapist if you find yourself with an injury and not be afraid of PT. We are all here to help you as a person & athlete get back to where you started!