Greetings to you all! It is wonderful to see welcoming signs of spring! That is always such a hopeful sight!
I want to share with you a concern I recently experienced, as it is deeply troubling to me. For over 28 years I have been treating patients in this community. Whether it's a patient with a herniated back, rotator cuff tear, sprained ankle, knee surgery, the list goes on and the injuries are varied. Over the years I have been open to visiting these patients at whatever work out facility they attend. I do not know if this is a trend, but until this year, every workout facility from Notre Dame, to Health and Lifestyles, to World Gym to Fit Stop, and beyond, have opened their doors to me when I explain that I am visiting my patient to put them on a safe exercise program. I have done this as a courtesy to our patients. Part of this is my own selfishness. I do not want them to re-injure themselves working out incorrectly.
That said, I would like to share a recent experience with you. In the last 6 months I have shown up at two different facilities, ready to help my patients with their workout routines. At
these two facilities
I have been told by their staff members that their personal trainers would be taking
of my patients that had asked me to help. I tried to explain to the staff members the severity of the particular patient's injury, but was told, "Our trainers are very knowledgeable and know what they are doing." I even asked if I could at least speak to the trainers to make sure they understood my patient's injury. This was followed up with, "They are more than qualified and there was no need to speak to me." On both occasions, I was sent home, not allowed to go in and help my patients.
As I mentioned, this has never been the case over the last 2
years. Maybe, these two experiences were just a fluke? Maybe just a mistake? Maybe the Niles YMCA (which I have visited over the past five years helping five separate patients without any difficulty) forgot to think their new policy through? Maybe they forgot the importance of their post injury client being different from a person without injury? I explained to them that I was seeing this person on a Sunday, free of charge, knew their injury and how to rehabilitate it. But that did not matter to them. They informed me, once again that my patient, who would need to pay for this personal trainer's help, "would be in very capable hands."
Are you kidding? A person can become a certified personal trainer with a high school degree! I obviously did not know these personal trainer's qualifications and was extremely concerned for my patient's safety. Every personal trainer I know and respect
will call and ask our physical therapists about their client. They are deeply concerned and know their limitations, particularly when dealing with someone who has just finished their time going through physical therapy for an injury. If we stop and think about the big picture, we are all here to help our patients get safely stronger and more independent every day. To accomplish this we must work together.
I have never been one to write that more degrees mean better care. However, I would rather have a cardiologist examine my heart than a physical therapist. Why? Because the cardiologist went to medical school for years of training in the heart and the physical therapist has not. I would rather have a physical therapist put me on a safe exercise program than a personal trainer. Why? Because the physical therapist has gone through many more years of training in rehabilitating injured patients than a personal trainer. If gyms begin to forget about the safety of their clients and start pushing the importance of making money, our patient and/or their clients will suffer in the end. As will their lifestyle because they will re-injure themselves exercising improperly.
I see countless patients come into our clinic with injuries because they went to a personal trainer, step class, bar class, etc. and weren't properly educated, as each individual has different strengths and weaknesses. After these patients regain their strength and pain free function they are asking for proper direction because they are rightfully fearful of going back to their previous work out regimes. All we need to do is be open to allowing those with expertise in their particular field
assist in putting together a safe exercise program for each person. If we put the person first and think about what they are trying to accomplish we all win and will be a lot more joyful and healthy in the end!
Unweighting Can Improve the Weight of Recovery
Hate to lose a registration fee due to a blown hammy mid-training? NASA technology allows you to train while you heal.
Some say it feels like flying-yet defying nature even more because you are injured and still running.
The unweighting technology of the AlterG Anti-Gravity Treadmill was originally a product of NASA engineers, developed as a way for astronauts to gradually adapt back to their body weights. For injured athletes, unweighting is a way to keep training at same speeds and intensities while healing. It is the latest recovery technology of professional and high division-1 athletes-from the Fighting Irish to the Seattle Seahawks.
"First, you zip yourself in," says Fran McDonald "Then you have the ability to run suspended, at a reduced impact by selecting any weight between 20 percent and 100 percent of your body weight." Local runners and triathletes have been using the Alter G at McDonald PT, and Fran, has had fun watching the results. "They can continue to run while we are treating them," he said. "With less impact comes less pain." Treatment may start a patient running on only 20 percent of their body weight, but then they progress-at increments as small as one percent at a time-as they heal.
"Runners love it because they see the percentages of their body weight increasing so they know they are getting better." When the injury is healed, the athlete has not lost out on cardio or muscular training.
Running or walking unweighted can be beneficial for anyone with a musculoskeletal injury, from a pulled hamstring, knee pain, IT band issues, strained calf, even back issues, Fran said. Many people with musculoskeletal injuries may turn to pool running/walking. While that does continue to build running muscles and cardio while healing, Fran said, there is no transitioning. "With Alter G, they are transitioning as they improve-at increments as small as 1 percent of their body weight-and all the time running at their normal speeds."
Beyond Athletes: As a therapy tool, the AlterG is an equally innovative option for people who are too heavy to exercise with the impact of their own weight. "For them, the unweighting provides a safe way to lose weight and exercise more intensively." The unweighting is also an ideal way to improve mobility, strength and safety for people with neurological conditions."I love it. People with knee replacements, people who couldn't exercise to get weight off, they see progress. I love anything that gets people interested in exercise."
The AlterG Anti-Gravity Treadmill at McDonald Physical Therapy is for physical therapy patients who can rehab through a treatment program and be able to continue on with an independent workout program.
**article from Race, Play, Michiana Feb/March 2015 issue