The Activcore Blog

What's the Secret to a Pain-Free Backbend? 3 Tips from a Physical Therapist

I can't claim to be an expert yogi, but I have been practicing for over a year with a fantastic instructor (shout out to Joanna Wilson). Yoga has added much value to my life. As a physical therapist and former Division 1 softball player, most of my fitness has come in the more standard forms of weight lifting and running. I also did some Pilates to build core strength and coordination after sustaining an injury of my own.

I always shied away from yoga because I didn't think I was flexible or graceful enough. But, when I started seeing clients for pain they developed in their yoga practice, I had to better understand how they were pushing themselves, and what they were experiencing in their bodies. I also had to find out why people were getting so excited to do a handstand! So I signed up for my first lesson.

Today, a year later I am still at it. After countless hours of training, I can fully appreciate the simultaneous strength, flexibility and balance required for yoga practice. This was something that was lacking from my previous fitness routines.

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Let’s Talk Privates. Why Does It Feel Like There's a Bulge or Heaviness Down There?

Posted by Dr. Rachel Newall, Physical Therapist at Activcore on December 2, 2019 at 2:54 PM

Whether you’ve just had your first child or you’ve had many, let’s face it, it can be pretty unnerving to suddenly feel a bulge or heaviness in your vagina. I often hear, “It feels like a tampon is coming out all the time”.

Fear not, you may be experiencing something called Pelvic Organ Prolapse (POP). This happens when the muscles, ligaments and tissues of the pelvic floor become too weak and elongated to properly support your pelvic organs. Eventually these organs can press or descend into the vaginal canal. 

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What Types of Exercises Can Help Me Throw, Swing or Hit Harder?

So you want to throw, swing or hit harder. But how? I remember playing high school volleyball and one of my coaches used to yell “HIT HARDER!” And all I could think was “Well, if I could I would!”

Sure, there are plenty of things about your throwing, swinging or hitting mechanics that can be tweaked and fine tuned to improve velocity and power. However, much of your ability to do this comes from the strength and muscle control you’ve developed in the off season.

There are literally an infinite number of training regimens and workout ideas to pick from. Likely, you will rely on your coaches and trainers to prepare you in the best possible way.

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How Can Physical Therapy Help My Child with Bedwetting and Daytime Incontinence

Are your kids still having accidents at night? Are they peeing their pants at school? Do they feel embarrassed? Are they missing out on social activities? Urinary incontinence could be normal for their age but there does come a time when children should be dry during both the day and night. A physical therapist who specializes in pediatric pelvic health can determine why they're still having accidents and how to help.

Pediatric pelvic health is an area of specialty within the field of physical therapy. It is not a significant part of a physical therapist’s education. Rather, it is a specialization requiring much further study, training and practice following graduation from PT school. A pediatric pelvic health specialist holds both a degree in physical therapy as well as advanced credentials in the assessment and treatment of children with diagnoses that involve the pelvic floor musculature. Having this additional knowledge gives the physical therapist an even greater understanding of how to help your child from head to toe.

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What is Pelvic Health Physical Therapy? Going Beyond the Pelvic Floor.

As a pelvic health physical therapist, I often see people after they've visited countless other healthcare providers who have overlooked the muscular system. As they come in, I hear them say things like:

  • “I have no idea why I’m here.”
  • “I’m only here because my doctor told me to.”
  • “So what exactly is pelvic health PT?” 
  • “Are we just going to do some Kegels?”

Pelvic health isn't a new type of physical therapy, however it is finally gaining some traction in the health and wellness industry. Physicians are now realizing that it’s not just for pregnant and postpartum moms. Pelvic health is for people of all genders, ages, and activity levels. Everyone has a pelvis, and therefore we all could benefit from better pelvic health. So let's discuss what pelvic health physical therapy actually is and how it can help you.

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The Popping and Clicking Jaw. When Is It a Problem?

Posted by Dr. Tia Totura, Physical Therapist at Activcore on November 6, 2019 at 5:15 PM

Like most joints, things pop, click, grind, and tell us we’re still alive! The jaw joint or TMJ (Temporomandibular Joint) is no different. It may start to make noises or feel differently when opening your mouth. But what are those noises? And when are they bad?

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I've Always Been Tight, Why Don't My Stretches Seem To Get Me Anywhere?

You stretch, you feel better, and then the tightness comes right back. What gives?

Many of you have been told that your upper traps are like rocks, your hamstrings are like bricks, or your calves are the tightest your trainer has ever seen. Usually these muscles also hurt. And typically the first remedy is stretching. While stretches aren't necessarily harmful, there is a reason why you would seek out a physical therapist for help. You're still in pain even though you've been doing your stretches regularly. But why?

It all comes back to balance. Your body requires balance in many dimensions. You need balance between your left and right sides. You need balance between your core and extremities. You need balance from the contribution of your smaller muscles that stabilize the joints, versus your larger muscles that move the joints. You also need balance between being strong yet flexible, and being stable yet mobile.

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Now That I'm Playing Travel Baseball, Why Does My Elbow Hurt When Pitching?

First, there is a lot of evidence showing that pain on the inside of the elbow is only becoming more common in baseball players, particularly pitchers. So, you’re not alone here. The elbow has several structures that become irritated with overhead throwing:  the wrist flexor tendons, the ulnar collateral ligament (UCL), and the ulnar nerve. The set of symptoms you have will vary depending on which of these structure is irritated, but all will create pain on the inside of the elbow that gets worse with throwing.

We never want to see a trend of increasing injury rates, so let’s unpack what might be going on here. There are a few main reasons why you are experiencing elbow pain...

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5 Reasons to See a Physical Therapist if You’re an Overhead Athlete

Have you ever wondered: What does a physical therapist actually do? Aren’t they just for people who have had surgery? Don't they just do massage? How can they possibly help me with my overhead sport? These are some of the questions we hear all the time from athletes.

Well, let's clear this up. Physical therapists are movement experts who optimize quality of life through prescribed exercises, hands-on care, and patient education. Some physical therapists pursue advanced specialization in helping athletes with overhead sports, like volleyball, baseball, tennis, swimming, gymnastics, and track & field events.

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Why Should I Add Kettlebells to my Workout?

Posted by Activcore Physical Therapy & Performance on October 3, 2019 at 12:23 AM

Kettlebells are relatively new to the United States. Pavel Tsatsouline, once a physical training instructor in the former Soviet Union, is widely recognized as the Modern King of Kettlebells. His 1998 article in the journal Milo, titled “Vodka, Pickle Juice, Kettlebell Lifting, and other Russian Pastimes,” served as the launching pad for kettlebells in America.

However, those weights that resemble cannonballs with handles have been used in Russia since the 1700s. Archaeologists have even found evidence that kettlebells existed in ancient Greece. Originally used to weigh crops and show feats of strength, kettlebells were eventually used as exercise tools as they are today.

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Why is My Belly Bulging or Pooching Out in the Middle? It Sort of Looks Like I’m Still Pregnant.

Posted by Dr. Rachel Newall, Physical Therapist at Activcore on September 23, 2019 at 12:33 AM

Are you frustrated with trying to get your pre-baby body back? Are you seeing your belly bulge out when you do abdominal exercises or even when you just sit up? Are you nervous and feel like you can’t start exercising because you don’t want to make the bulge worse, have back pain, urinary leakage or just don’t know where to start? If this at all sounds familiar, you may be experiencing symptoms of something called diastasis recti (DR).

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My Jaw Hurts. Where Does This Pain Actually Come From?

Posted by Dr. Tia Totura, Physical Therapist at Activcore on September 12, 2019 at 12:37 AM

TMJ. What is it good for? Absolutely everything!

The temporomandibular joint (TMJ) is a fancy word for the space between your jaw and your skull. You have two of them, one on either side of your face.

The TMJ is a wonderful thing when it works correctly. It allows you to talk, eat, drink, chew, sing, laugh, yawn, and breathe through your mouth. You get the point, it does a lot. The joint itself is small but really strong. In fact, it can endure up to 250 pounds!

So how does something so strong get hurt so often? TMJ disorder (TMJD) actually ranks second only to low back pain, as the most prevalent musculoskeletal problem in the United States!

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Is the Overhead Shoulder Press Safe?

Overhead (OH) shoulder exercises are some of the most commonly performed exercises across all exercise and fitness domains. With the ever growing participation in resistance training and functional fitness, such as Crossfit, overhead shoulder exercises have become a staple in developing muscle and strength in the shoulders. These exercises can include a variety of movements from an overhead shoulder press, pull up, overhead squat, handstand, barbell snatch, clean and jerk, and multiple variations of exercises where your arms are in a position above your head. For the sake of this article, I am going to specifically address movements where you are pressing or holding a weight overhead.

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As a New Mom, Why Am I Peeing My Pants?

You are a tired new mom, finally out for a run. This is your time - you get a small break - a little time alone. It’s finally fall and beautiful out. You tie your shoes and start down the block. All is right with the world, UNTIL - hard stop. Wait….Was that PEE?? 

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How Much Do You Value Physical Therapy?

Posted by Activcore Physical Therapy & Performance on August 27, 2019 at 1:09 AM

As co-pays for physical therapy visits approach $50, it’s only natural to start questioning if you’re really getting your money’s worth.

Was my physical therapist prepared, ready, and on time for my session? Did I feel like I was the center of attention, or just a number? Did my physical therapist really listen to me and address my needs? Did I get pushed off to a technician or aide? Could I have just done those exercises at home? Did I get any closer to reaching my goals?

These are some of the questions you should ask yourself after each session in order to help determine the value of your physical therapy. You shouldn’t leave an appointment wondering if it was worth your time. After all, you have enough to worry about. Instead, you should feel totally confident that you made the right choice when it comes to your health.

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What Can Princeton University Learn From Activcore?

Posted by Activcore Physical Therapy & Performance on August 19, 2019 at 1:02 AM

Michelle Cesan, former Princeton University Field Hockey Player and member of the USA National Field Hockey Team, had been dealing with back issues for over a year. She reported, “Though I was able to get temporary relief through heat, massage and chiropractic means, nothing lasted more than a day.” Her coaches, trainers and doctors were unsure of the root cause of her symptoms, since both the MRI and bone scan were negative. Michelle was beginning to think she would have to live with the pain. That was until an Athletic Trainer from Princeton University recommended Activcore.

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Activcore Discusses the Topic of Pain

Posted by Activcore Physical Therapy & Performance on August 12, 2019 at 11:48 PM

The War on Pain has begun! But in order to defeat this enemy, we first have to understand it.

Many people simply mask pain by avoiding activity and taking increasing amounts of medication like opioids. However, there is a growing body of evidence that suggests having increased knowledge of pain can help the recovery process.

At Activcore, we want to share some of our thoughts on pain management. We hope that, with this new arsenal of information, you can conquer your pain and return to whatever it is that you love to do.

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How Do We Help Professional Hockey Players Develop a Smarter, Balanced Body?

Posted by Dr. Nick Passe, Physical Therapist at Activcore on August 6, 2019 at 3:38 PM

Three times a year, I have the exciting opportunity to teach about the power of neuromuscular activation to the Washington Capitals NHL Hockey Team.

The Capitals first installed Redcord suspension systems into their athletic training facilities in 2011; and since then, they have been utilizing the equipment and my training methods as part of their workout routine for NHL and farm team players.

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How Can Push-Ups Relieve Low Back Pain?

Posted by Activcore Physical Therapy & Performance on July 23, 2019 at 9:19 PM

Two physical therapy studies here suggest push-ups in slings are superior to ground based push-ups for improving function of the lumbar muscles. Low back pain patients responded well to this type of muscle activation.

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What Can a Functional Movement Assessment Do For You?

When evaluating clients early in my career, I would always focus just on their painful areas. When treating those painful spots, I would sometimes be successful, but often I would have to search elsewhere on the body in order to achieve any significant relief of pain. I had no clear cut path or system to zero in on the actual source of their pain. That was until I took the Selective Functional Movement Assessment (SFMA) a few years ago with Mike Voight as the head instructor.

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