Lauren with Duke and Blondie
Physical therapy begins with the word physical for good reason.
For a physical therapist, it’s long days on your feet, bringing virtually every muscle in your body to the task of helping your patients to become strong and flexible, to overcome painful injuries and to resume their daily lives.
Apex Physical Therapist, Lauren Kelly, at our Royersford clinic, knows that in addition to extensive training and education, her job requires diligence and stamina.
“My goal is to ultimately make my patients independent, so they can go on and be active without needing me or additional therapy,” Lauren said. Her focus is hands-on, using manual therapy techniques, like myofascial release, the Maitland approach and the Graston Technique®.
“It’s about quality of life,” she said. “Every person’s quality of life is so different. Each patient has individual needs and goals. For one person, it might be to be able to walk the dogs or do laundry or cook a meal. For someone else it might be to play football.”
The former Division I soccer player at Temple University knows the rewards and rigors of long days and hard physical work. But with her soccer career and its training regimen behind her, Lauren has a new strategy to stay in shape for the job.
Lauren has employed the help of two trainers, who live with her, get up with her in the morning, and wait by the front door for her every evening when she gets home. As a result, she never misses her daily work-out, because there is nothing that motivates her like the big, brown eyes of her furry best friends, Blondie and Duke, begging to play.
Lauren has always been an animal lover. Before finishing her graduate degree in physical therapy from Thomas Jefferson, she spent years volunteering and working at the Lehigh County Humane Society. When she got married, in lieu of party favors, she and her husband made a donation to support the organization’s work. And when the time was right, they chose to rescue Blondie and Duke.
Lauren says in addition to the joy and love that her “babies” bring to her life, they also keep her active. She and her husband love to hike and to camp so they take daily walks and runs with their dogs close to home, and they’re always looking for new, dog-friendly spots where they can enjoy the great outdoors.
Lauren said one of her favorite spots is Evansburg State Park, where she and her husband got engaged. “There’s a beautiful loop all around Skippack Creek,” she said “We love anything rocky and rugged…and along water.” Blondie and Duke love to swim, and when they happy, Lauren is happy.
“They are my babies,” she said.
Where to Romp with Rover
Here are a few of Lauren’s favorite picks for getting out and about with the pooches:
Evansburg State Park - This 3,349-acre in Skippack, PA, has six miles of trails, a few historic buildings and a variety of habitats including forests, meadows, old fields, and farmland.
French Creek State Park – In Elverson, PA, with 7,339 acres, 40 miles of trails, two large lakes for canine swimming, and dog-friendly campsites, this is a fun daytrip or weekend getaway.
Hopewell Furnace – Adjacent to French Creek, this historic site once manufactured coal and processed iron. Lauren said that beyond the historic attractions there are several good trails to explore and lots of nice spots for Blondie and Duke to take a dip.
And here are a few more dog-friendly places to explore around the Philadelphia region.
For more information on how physical therapy can help you maintain the quality of life you deserve, call us to speak with one of our dedicated professional physical therapists.
Our Mission is Your Recovery!
At E&A Therapy, our mission is your recovery, so we love it when our patients take the time to share their stories about how we’ve helped them meet their goals and get back to normal activities. This week, we received a letter from a patient, who was injured by lifting and carrying 50 pounds of weight over a long distance. He sustained a leg injury that put him on crutches and made sleeping difficult. In fact, he could only sleep comfortably in one position on a recliner.
His orthopedic doctor said he had two choices: an MRI or physical therapy. The patient’s wife had formerly received treatment at an Apex clinic, and it alleviated her pain and got her moving again. He was skeptical that physical therapy could do the same for him, but he made an appointment with Alyssa Leddy at our Apex office in Royersford, and began his recovery.
The patient still had some hip pain and stiffness and stiffness, so treatment continued to address a hip misalignment that limited his motion. Eventually, he was able to walk and jog at a local track, and Alyssa worked with him on exercises that strengthened muscles and stabilized his core. He committed to repeating the exercises at home, and eventually he was pain free and back to his regular routine.
He wrote: “I can now say, at the end of four weeks, I am back to normal. The skepticism is gone and replaced with a very, very grateful patient of Apex. Thank you, Alyssa Leddy.”
Alyssa and all of us here at E&A Therapy are proud to once again say, “Mission Accomplished.”
Excel PT, Christine Vanderwyden, in Guatemala.
“By what you get, you make a living; what you give, however, makes a life” ― Arthur Ashe
Giving Back Keeps Her Going
It was several years ago, but Christine VanderWyden remembers it like it was yesterday. As a graduate student working toward her degree in physical therapy, she arrived in Guatemalan, ready to help, but uncertain of what to expect.
“The people had heard the ‘American doctors’ were coming, and they were so excited,” Christy said. “On our first day there, they were lined up out front to see us.”
Christy traveled to Guatemala with Hearts in Motion, an organization whose mission is to provide care and medical treatment for children, families, and communities through its programs and sponsorships in the U.S., and Central and South America.
The next two weeks were a whirlwind, Christy said. She and her colleagues provided pro-bono medical care to dozens of patients – seniors with mobility issues and children who struggled with disabilities and developmental delays due to a shortage of the medicine needed to treat debilitating viruses.
It was challenging work. There was the language barrier to deal with, and treatment plans had to be tailored so that the physical therapists could do the maximum amount of good in a short period of time. Their approach was to evaluate each individuals needs and come up with a treatment plan of five things they could do to help each patient meet his goals. “Then, we’d give them one or two exercises they could work on at home,” Christy said. It was a life-changing experience for her.
“It was inspiring to see how little they have and how appreciative they are. And it’s very moving to realize that what we do can have such an impact on peoples’ lives.” she said. “You go there to give, but you get more back.”
Since finishing her degree program, Christy has joined the Excel Physical Therapy team at Glen Mills. She plans to go back to Guatemala as soon as she can, and every year she contributes money to Hearts in Motion to support the work they do.
“If I could get the time off, I would go back in a minute. Hands down,” she said.
In the meantime, Christy continues to impact lives closer to home. In December, she led E&A Therapy in their sponsorship of Kick-Start the Rebuild, a fundraising soccer clinic for Super Storm Sandy relief. Christy, who played and coached high school and college soccer, was approached by her friend, Jillian Loyden of the US Women’s National Soccer Team. Jillian, a New Jersey native, who now works for the event organizer,1Mindset, had toured the devastation from Sandy and wanted to do something about it, Christy said.
“She thought that since E & A is a local company, we’d want to be a part of it,” she said.
The event, which brought together local kids and players and coaches from both the US Women’s National Team and the Philadelphia Union, was a great success. All proceeds went to Habitat for Humanity’s Disaster Response Team. While at the event, Christy was able to talk with parents and answer their questions about physical therapy, including stretching about post-concussive treatments. Christy is passionate about helping people, and she is proud to provide personalized care based on each patient’s personal goals and needs.
“I like to put the puzzle pieces together to come up with solutions to people’s problems. Everyone is different, so every problem is a little different and every treatment is different,” she said.
As in every profession, some days are more challenging than others. But the feeling of accomplishment that only comes from helping others is what keeps her going. “When someone doesn’t get better the way you think they should, it makes for a difficult day,” she said. “But when you see that your patient is getting better; that’s what makes a great day!”
Most physical therapy patients have modest goals – to recover from an injury, to walk without a limp, to run without pain or just to get back to their normal routines.
Not so with Scott Heyd. Last year, he began treatment with Apex Physical Therapy’s Marsha Berger Grant with an eye toward overcoming challenges that were anything but typical.
On his to-do list:
• Sprinting through fields of dangling electrical wires,
• Trekking through fiery, smoldering landscapes,
• Scaling 9-foot walls and slippery mountains of mud,
• Plunging into ponds of frigid water,
• And lugging tree trunks and tires for miles over rough terrain.
In short, Scott planned on competing in the World’s Toughest Mudder.
For the uninitiated, a Tough Mudder is an intense endurance event involving miles of muddy, military-style obstacles. The World’s Toughest Mudder is a 24-hour, invitation-only, championship race that puts the world’s most hardcore Mudders through the ultimate test. And Scott wanted to be tested.
Why does Scott compete in grueling races like this? “I don’t have a lot of rest in me,” he said. “My body is only young and strong once. I love to test its limits. It sounds cliché, but the times I feel most alive are when I’m doing events like this that test my mental and physical limits.”
Before he could tackle the extreme obstacles on race day, however, another obstacle stood in his way. Scott was suffering from an injury that was impeding his training schedule, and he turned to Marsha for help.
Stretching, Strengthening and Stabilizing the Core
Scott has been a patient of Marsha’s since 2005 when she helped him recover from surgery to his peroneal tendons and problems with right and left posterior tibial tendons. At that time, Marsha helped get Scott get back on his feet to train for a marathon.
How did she do it? “The same way we do for everyone,” Marsha said. “We stretched whatever was tight, strengthened whatever was weak and stabilized his core, while working to get him back to his former level of function.”
“I’ve been seeing Marsha for a lot of years,” Scott said. He trusts her, and he counts on her professionalism and passion to help him reach his goals. He says she’s played an important role in his success.
“Scott is very kind to say that he got there (to the World’s Toughest Mudder) because of me,” Marsha said. “It was more like he was able to get back to exercising because of me and the work we did together in physical therapy. But he succeeded in the race because of how hard he worked at exercising and training for it.”
The training paid off. On Nov. 17 at Raceway Park in Englishtown , NJ, Scott ran 28.5 miles and conquered 90 grueling obstacles. He said the icy swimming obstacles were “certainly chilly” in the evening hours of a cold November day, but the toughest hurdles were dragging two large tires for about 200 meters and the Berlin Walls (9-foot high walls with only one small step for propulsion).
He raced for more than 11 hours, when his upper body would not permit him to make it over another obstacle. He finished ahead of about 50 percent of the other racers, and with this race behind him, he is already looking for new challenges.
Scott says he is grateful to have Marsha to help him overcome physical obstacles that stand in the way. And E & A Therapy is proud to have sponsored Scott in the race and to have helped him to meet his goals.
Stretch for a healthy back.
Our mission is your recovery, and we are committed to helping you to do all you want to do. In support of that goal, we are rolling out two new E&A Therapy features: Motion Monday and Meet the Therapist Thursdays.
On Motion Mondays, we’ll be using Facebook to highlight a variety of exercises and stretches, aimed at maximizing your mobility and reducing stiffness and pain so you can reach your personal fitness goals. Through both video demonstrations by our licensed PTs and step by step instructions, we’ll focus on ways to help you get more out of your workouts and to avoid injuries as you become more active. Whether you are a serious athlete, preparing for a milestone event, or a couch potato working to embrace a more active lifestyle, Motion Mondays can motivate you to start your week off the on the right foot. Like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter to see how we can help you get moving.
“Meet the Therapists” Thursday
If you are struggling to keep moving because of inflexibility or pain, a licensed physical therapist can help, and Excel and Apex physical therapists have the qualifications and advanced skills necessary to provide you with the care you need to get moving again. Our therapists lead the industry for continuing their professional education and achieving advanced degrees and certifications, but in addition to that, they are truly exceptional people. Our PTs continually strive to do their best, and in doing so they accomplish amazing feats and contribute to their communities and to their patients in meaningful ways. That’s why every week, we’ll be highlighting a different Excel and Apex physical therapist as part of our new feature, “Meet the Therapists” Thursday. Excel and Apex Physical Therapists inspire us, and we know they will inspire you, too.
Small changes have big impacts on health and longevity.
Before you fade into a winter fog and give up on those big plans to lose 20 pounds or work out every day, consider this: it’s moderate, easy-to-acquire habits, not drastic New Year’s resolutions that can transform your life. 2012 may be gone, but two studies published last year indicate that little changes make a big difference in maintaining long-term health.
15 Minutes a Day
Have you been holding out on exercising because you just don’t have time to “spend hours” at the gym? According to a study published in PLOS Medicine in November, you don’t need hours at all. Just 15 minutes, five times a week of brisk walking can improve how you feel and add to your life expectancy. The study of more than 650,000 subjects found that those who walked briskly 75 minutes a week lived 1.8 years longer than those who didn’t. And those who walked twice as long, 150 minutes per week, lived as much as 4.5 years longer than those who were sedentary.
Resolution #1 – Take a quick 15 minute walk around the neighborhood before and/or after work.
Love Your Love Handles?
We’ve been hearing for years about the health hazards associated with being overweight, but a controversial review of 100 studies by the Journal of the American Medical Association indicates that your love handles might not be so bad after all; in fact they might even be good for you.
The study found that being slightly overweight or even moderately obese, as measured by Body Mass Index (BMI) may be a factor in helping you live longer. Researchers found that people with a BMI between 25 and 30 (about 30 percent of the population in the U.S.) had a 6 percent lower risk of death than those with BMIs in the normal range. (This handy tool can help you calculate your BMI.)
The study concluded that people with a BMI over 35 were 29 percent more likely to die than those in a normal weight range. So it confirmed, as expected, that being morbidly obese has drastic negative health effects. Beyond that, researchers are bound to be investigating what these numbers mean for quite some time. Some critics say BMI is an imperfect measure of body fat percentage. Others say terminally ill patients, who have lost weight, might skew the results. But for now the takeaway is that while weight loss for a morbidly obese person will likely improve longevity, being slightly overweight won’t kill you.
Resolution #2 –Stay active and fit and eat healthy foods rather than focusing on a number on a scale.
If an old injury is keeping you from being as active as you’d like, consider seeing a physical therapist. Physical therapists can work with you to help you regain flexibility, strength, endurance, and coordination. In short, physical therapy can help remove obstacles to your personal fitness goals and can be an important first step toward a healthy, happy new year and the beginning of the long, healthy life you deserve.
Resolution # 3 – Call us at 866-883-9235 to talk to a licensed physical therapist about how he or she can help you meet your goals.