Mechanical diagnosis and treatment, affectionately known as McKenzie therapy has been around for several years and has revolutionized the way physical therapists approach spinal disorders. So much so, that now most physical therapy education programs will touch on this method at some point in the curriculum. This is due to its simplistic and logical method of evaluating spine pain so that an effective treatment plan can be created.
When I first began my career as a therapist, I was intrigued by the results the McKenzie certified therapists were obtaining with their patients. I decided that this was a treatment style I wanted to explore more and enrolled in the first of a four part coursework. After my first course, I knew I wanted to continue my education in this method. Since completing the full 28 day coursework and sitting through an all day credentialing exam, I have realize the true power of McKenzie, which is its ability to accurately and efficiently classify spinal pain.
McKenzie Prone Press Up
The McKenzie method has helped me tremendously in the short amount of time that I have been using it exclusively with spinal patients. I have seen great success with many people having both acute and chronic symptoms. Some of these successes include patients who were told by their physician that they would definitely need surgery and within 6-8wks were nearly pain free and back to work without limitations. Another was a gentleman who had been experiencing pain for three years in his neck and a year in his back and within 3wks was completely pain free. He was very appreciative to be able to play with his son again without pain.
Although not all patients respond to mechanical treatment, these results are fairly typical and patients learn to manage their own symptoms so they do not have to continue to come for treatment. If you have a spinal condition, especially one that has failed to respond to treatment in the past, I highly recommend seeing someone who is certified in the McKenzie method. At the very least, they will be able to accurately and efficiently classify your spinal problem and help determine the best course of action.
Dan joined the Excel Physical Therapy and Fitness team in August, 2007 and currently holds the position of clinic manager at Excel's Bensalem location. Besides being certified in McKenzie, Dan is also certified functional movement screening. a staff Physical Therapist. He graduated from Nazareth College of Rochester (NY) in 2005 where he earned his Master039#s of Science in Physical Therapy. Prior to joining Excel, Dan worked for an outpatient clinic in Rochester, NY that specialized in orthopedics and sports-specific training.
In December of 2010, NBC launched NBC Local Non-Stop which airs on Comcast XFinity 248 and Verizon Fios 460 and over the air at 10.2. Reporter Marisa Brahney covers “Painkillers” which are short segments that teach viewers how to prevent injuries. Excel's therapists were tapped as injury prevention experts for the “Painkiller” videos and taped five segments which ran in January. They provided safe winter tips such as how to shovel snow properly and how to warm-up correctly when exercising outside. The snow shoveling segment featuring Cam McCormack, PT, MSPT ran the most due to all the snow fall in January!
Desirae Gaspero, PT, DPT was asked to tape four more segments and viewers will be able to learn proper ways to sit at your computer desk, lift heavy objects and prevent injuries like “Blackberry Thumb” from tech use when they air this spring. Desirae was also asked to tape an additional segment on the fad of barefoot running. Be sure to tune in during the spring to watch reporter Marisa Brahney tr Viabrams FiveFingers and provide you with her feedback!
Excel Therapist Desirae Gaspero, PT with NBC reporter Marisa Brahney
A wet snow, such as we had to deal with yesterday, can certainly put people's backs in a world of hurt. Excel's Physical Therapist, Cam McCormack was featured last night on the 5:00 evening news sharing his tips for early treatment for back pain from shoveling and ways to prevent it in the future.
More Cam Tips
Below are tips which may have ended up on the cutting room floor, however we think it is great information for you to know!
Questions from Ali Gorman, ABC Healthcheck Reporter
Answers from Cam McCormack, PT
If people are experiencing pain after shoveling, what can they do to help relieve the pain?
Medication questions should be discussed with your primary care doctor. Often a quick phone call can help. But from a movement perspective, a few stretches and good positioning can help. Given that most shoveling involves repeated forward bending with a load (ie – the snow), restoring the opposite extension pattern can help. Maintaining a nice upright posture in standing is good, but most people benefit from a few minutes lying on their stomachs. One can either lay flat or prop themselves up on their elbows. After 10-15 minutes there, a few press-ups and hip flexor stretches are a good next step. Keep in mind that theses are the most general guidelines and may not be good for those dealing with current injuries.
Is it better to lie in bed or do something to keep moving?
Nine times out of ten, its always better to keep moving. Bed rest and lack of movement can often worsen a condition, especially if done for days at a time. Walking upright is great, as are other upright forms of exercise. Sitting to ride a bike or doing a lot of crunches should be avoided.
Any stretches that may help
Prone press-ups and the hip flexor stretches as mention before are helpful. More detailed or individual stretches should not be attempted until you have be screened or checked out by a Physical Therapist. Some stretches may be great for one person, but not so good for someone else. Your therapist can help you determine what you should do or not do.
What are some signs the pain may be more than just soreness?
A big thing to watch out for is buttock or leg pain, rather than just local back pain. Along the same line, numbness or tingling in the
legs/toes, while not necessarily painful, can indicate a more involved disc or nerve problem. It's also not uncommon to experience stiffness or muscle pain up to two days after strenuous lifting.
Do PTs see more people complaining of back pain, shoulder pain, neck pain during the winter snow months? What is the most common problem related to shoveling?
Immediately after snowfalls, we tend to see quite a bit of back problems. However most are mild and we can often get them fixed up and back to normal in a week or two. Neck and shoulder problems do exist, but not to the degree of low back issues.
In the future (if it snows again) how can you prevent back pain?
This is really the question to ask. Almost all over-use injuries can be prevented by clean movement and proper body mechanics. Learning to move and lift properly with the hips is paramount to good health. And that good health goes beyond just being able to shovel snow. Too many people use their backs or knees when they can spare themselves the agony by
using the hips well. Then, to supplement good hip movement, a well-designed exercise program can help 'bullet-proof’ one from common aches and pains. Excel PT & F uses the Functional Movement Screen to identify individual imbalances that can be addressed through exercise. The results of the Functional Movement Screen are used to guide exercise program design. After all, preventing a problem is a whole lot easier than fixing something after its broken!
PHILADELPHIA – Excel Physical Therapy and Fitness, a Delaware Valley physical therapy network, has announced the addition of two clinics, in Media and Phoenixville, PA, bringing the total number of Excel clinics to 10.
“We are happy to expand our reach to more communities within our region and are committed to providing the best treatment by dedicated professionals in a friendly environment,” said Jeff Ostrowski, CEO of Excel Physical Therapy and Fitness.
As part of the Excel network, the newest clinics will offer state of the art rehabilitation facilities and advanced care from the area's most knowledgeable physical therapists. Both clinics in Phoenixville and Media will also offer fitness memberships for patients and non-patients.
The newest clinics are located at 101 N. Monroe Street, Media, PA 19063; 484-444-0135 and 528 Kimberton Road, Phoenixville, PA 19460; 610-933-6232. Excel's other locations include Center City Philadelphia, Northeast Philadelphia, Society Hill, Bensalem, Cherry Hill, Glen Mills, Jenkintown and Villanova.
About Excel Physical Therapy and Fitness.
For 20 years, Excel Physical Therapy and Fitness has been providing physical therapy and fitness programs dedicated to improving quality of life throughout its communities. Excel has grown to become the largest privately owned physical therapy practice in the Delaware Valley with 10 locations throughout the region and home to the area's most knowledgeable physical therapists. Excel is proud to be the only physical therapy network in the country that is 100% certified in Functional Movement Screens (FMS), as well as have the most physical therapists certified in Active Release Technique (ART) on the East Coast.
Excel was recognized by the Philadelphia Business Journal as one of the Best Places to Work in 2009 and was recognized by the Philadelphia Inquirer, the Daily News and Philly.com as one of the Top Workplaces in 2010. In addition, Excel was named one of SmartCEO's Future 50, which recognizes 50 growing companies that represent the future of the region's economy and are exemplary leaders in the industry. For more information on Excel, please call 1.866.88 EXCEL (39235) or visit www.excelphysicaltherapy.com.
The first step is to learn to recognize when you039#re feeling stressed. Early warning signs of stress include tension in your shoulders, or neck or clenching your hands into fists.
The next step is to choose a way to deal with your stress. One way is to avoid the situation that leads to your stress. The second way is to change how you react to stress. Approach on coming stress in a more practical way.
Five Tips for dealing with Stress
Don039#t worry about things you can039#t control such as weather.
Solve the little problems first
Participate in something you don't find stressful, such as sports, social events or hobbies
Try to look at change as a positive challenge, not a threat
Eat regular, well-balanced meals and exercise on a regular basis
Did you know ?
Exercise can help ease stress in a number of ways, for example:
Release feel-good brain chemicals that may ease stress.
Reduce immune system chemicals that can worsen stress.
Increase body temperature which may have calming effects.
The word “exercise” may make you think of running laps around the gym, but a wide range of activities that boost your activity level help you feel better. Activities such as gardening, washing your car, or strolling around the block can be considered exercise and help improve your mood.
Doing 30 minutes or more of exercise per day, for three to five days a week can significantly reduce stress. You don't have to do all your exercise at once. Find ways to fit activity into your routine. Add small amounts of physical activity throughout your day. For example, take the stairs instead of the elevator. Park a little farther away from work to fit in a short walk. If you live close to your job, consider biking to work.
It039#s patients like this that make me glad I chose to become a physical therapist. I039#m talking about Jordan Burnham. It was just another day at the PT clinic in the fall of 2008 when I went to the waiting room to start another new patient evaluation. Little did I know, this patient would have a very powerful impact on my attitude towards life. I met Jordan and his parents, and he proceeded to tell me a story of his long-term battle with depression, which led to his suicide attempt that left him with several traumatic injuries. Jordan, then 18 years old, fell nine stories from his bedroom window, leaving him with several broken bones on the left side of his body. Needless to say, Jordan needed extensive physical therapy to regain his functional mobility. For nearly 2 years, I had the pleasure of working with Jordan as his physical therapist. During this time, Jordan039#s change of attitude towards life was incredibly inspiring. He became involved with public speaking to spread his message about living and coping with depression. Currently, Jordan is traveling all over the country to high schools and college universities, spreading the news of his powerful story and inspiring others to speak out and learn to cope with depression, rather than deny it or be ashamed of it. I had the distinguished honor of working with Jordan in physical therapy. I helped him regain his mobility, strength, and endurance. I helped him learn to walk with a walker, then crutches, then a cane, and eventually without an assistive device. However, Jordan also helped me. He inspired me to cherish the positive things in my life. He educated me on the disease of depression, and to understand that it is something that people can and should be vocal about. Jordan039#s story has inspired me in many ways, and I hope this blog can give you a small appreciation of my experience.