Take Control of Your Personal Health: An Interview with the Founder of Align Health Coaching

Written by:
May 1, 2021

In this interview, I talk with Gail Turner-Cooper, the founder of Align Health Coaching, about taking control of your personal health by making small, sustainable changes to your diet and lifestyle. Please watch the video or read the transcript below it. There are also some links to recommended books and apps.

Me: Hello, my name is Elizabeth Dalrymple and I’m a physical therapist at Activcore Physical Therapy and Performance. Here with me today is Gail Turner-Cooper, the founder of Align Health coaching. She is such a wonderful person, a light in this world, and one of my friends. I’m really excited that she is here with me today. So Gail, thank you for being here.

Gail: Thank you so much for inviting me. I’m so excited.

Me: Great! I’d love to jump right in. So, why don’t you start by telling me about your path to becoming a health coach and how you ended up founding Align Health Coaching.

Gail: Wow, that is such a fun story. So in my previous life I did something completely different and it was time for a change. It was time to mix it up and follow my soul's passion: my love and passion to serve people. And so, I was like, “Okay, what am I going to do?” I had a lot of people ask me for health advice. They knew I led a very healthy life, plus I started taking a deep dive into special needs nutrition for my daughter, who is high functioning Aspergers. I also took a deep dive into GI Health. I suffered from GI conditions that I wanted to figure out. Surely there’s a better way than just popping a pill and going to the doctor every six months to try and figure out what’s going on. Surely there’s a better way.

I started educating myself and taking courses. And then I realized THIS is my true passion. So I went to IIN (Institute for Integrative Nutrition), which is one type of certification. But then the real deep dive was at The School of Applied Functional Medicine where I learned so much. That’s how I became a functional medical trained health coach.

Me: Wonderful. I think I’ve heard pieces of that story, but not the whole thing. So it’s fun to hear how that unraveled over time. And in my world, I think of all of the different providers who are complementary to one another, but also have their differences. What would you say is different with your approach as a health coach compared to someone who is a dietitian or nutritionist? How would someone really know YOU are the person for them?

Gail: That’s such a good question. I really take a more global look at an individual. I want to understand their routines to set their day up for success. I want to understand how they eat, of course, but also stress management techniques. Stress is such a chronic issue, especially in the US, but I do feel like it stretches worldwide. I feel like the badge of honor is to stay at work super late and just drive yourself so hard, living in that sympathetic state nervous system. So I want to understand them as a whole. I also want to understand what their daily lifestyle looks like, so we can look at making sustainable changes to again help them holistically. Whereas a dietitian or a nutritionist (who are extremely valuable people) really tend to focus on just that nutrition piece. So, again, taking a more global look is my style of health coaching. That’s what I’m going to focus on. 

Me: Definitely! And I think you just touched on this. So many of my clients are seeing me for musculoskeletal issues, but they have a lot of else going on: other stresses in their life that are creating an environment that’s hard for them to heal in, because they are in that sympathetic state. At times I realize OK, I can work on pieces of this puzzle; but who else do I need to bring in that can help me address the full picture. And I’m sure the same goes for you. Are there times where you’ve heard from clients how what you do has positively impacted their time with a personal trainer or physical therapist, other areas in their life in a more physical sense?

Gail: Oh, so much so. I’m so glad you brought that up because it is not just one person that makes the biggest difference, right? I know my clients who I have recommended to come see someone, such as yourself, have seen great results. It’s a wonderful marriage to be able to have those beautiful referral partners within your wheelhouse to say, “Okay this is not in my scope of practice, however I would really believe you would be best served by adding something like PT or going to see a psychologist or therapist, to understand and get to the WHY." Being in the functional medical background, I want to get to the root cause of what’s creating someone’s disease, not just put on a band-aid, but really understand and resolve that issue. Someone, such as yourself, does the very same thing. It’s not just a rotator cuff, but WHY is that rotator cuff hurting? It's getting to that root cause and being able to stabilize them. So I definitely think it’s a great marriage. 

Me: Yes, I always talk about the victims vs. the culprits. It’s really easy to find the victim, it’s yelling really loudly. But it’s really hard sometimes to peel back the layers and find the culprit as to WHY that’s happening. I think that applies across all pieces of the health field. 

Gail: Very much so. I think the most common victim/culprit that I see is: the victim is the gallbladder, and the culprit is the liver. So many people come to me that don’t have a gall bladder because it has been removed. So I try to educate that client, saying that the gall bladder was actually the victim of the situation. Now we need to address what the culprit is doing. What is the liver doing? Why are we not detoxifying properly? 

Me: Yes, that’s interesting to think about and I just put personalities in my head: the gallbladder, the liver. How are they playing their roles in that person’s body? That’s fascinating. What are some strategies that you use in trying to help people through these things? I remember one time we were talking about going to the grocery store with someone. That you’re willing to go with them, help them read labels and understand. I love how hands on and practical that is. What other strategies do you use to help people work through their victims and culprits?

Gail: Well, you definitely hit upon my favorite one. I love going to the grocery store and helping somebody realize that, for the ingredients on the back of the label that you cannot pronounce, you may want to think twice about ingesting them. So that’s hands down my favorite. Other ones that I’ll use are: I often ask for blood work and I’ll map that out using functional medicine lab work ranges, instead of Allopathic (western) medicine ranges. I try to understand a person on a cellular level. I also use neuro-linguistic techniques, helping that client get to their WHY and helping them come to their own sense of ownership within a particular strategy that they’re working with.

Another one is that I teach people how to fall in love with their symptoms. Symptoms are the secret language of everyone’s unique body. So if you have a headache, why do you have a headache? Your body is trying to send you a signal and say, “Hey by the way, something isn’t working or maybe we’re deficient in something; so here’s a symptom for you.” Going back to that not wanting to just put a band-aid on it, I do teach people how to fall in love with their symptoms and say, “Thank you, body, for giving me the headache so now I can stop and reflect on what it is that I need to be changing, so the headache goes away or doesn’t continue to come back.” And that’s just one example. It’s about truly understanding everyone for their uniqueness. No one program that I cover is ever the same, but I do like involving some similar pieces to help people on their wellness journey.

Me: I love that. I think a lot of us have guilt or negative built up associations with our pain or symptoms. And some of them are really long standing symptoms. So to change your mindset and acknowledgement of those is huge. I’m sure you see how that positivity can then impact them, creating a positive cycle toward healing, rather than going in the other direction.

Gail: Very much so. You speak magical words. That HPAGT (hypothalamic, pituitary, adrenal, gonadal, and thyroid) healing access starts with the hypothalamus, which are the thoughts. So it’s important to make sure that you develop a good mindset around you and appreciate you for your uniqueness; moving beyond some of the obstacles that are maybe in your way, but in a positive way. So an example of that is not to say to yourself, “I can’t have chips and salsa anymore.” Instead, you say, “I get to make a better decision, so it helps me feel really good and I can be my best me.” Big mindset shifts there. It really begins that healing cascade, I guess you could say. 

Me: Cascade, I like that word. Your positivity shines through in every conversation I’ve had with you. So I can only imagine how strong that tool is when you’re working with your clients. 

Gail: Thanks so much! I feel the very same about you. 

Me: Well, thank you! And speaking of another way you have inspired me. We all know I am not the best cook, and I’m still very much learning. In terms of the actual act of cooking, do you have any favorite cookbooks or any recommendations for people like me who are novices or beginners?

Gail: You know, I had a hunch you would ask me this question. So I brought some. I really love the Anti-Inflammatory Diet and Action Plans. I think inflammation is definitely a killer and we need to make sure to keep it under control. I also really like the How Not to Die Cookbook. I love this title, it’s hilarious; and it’s got really great recipes in it, really beautiful pictures, it’s lovely. If you are up for a little more of a challenge, or a few more steps involved (both of those are relatively easy) you could try Fit by Bobby Flay. It’s a great cookbook. If it’s on your shelf, and you want to pull out one of his deeper dishes (that will take you maybe 20 minutes extra) the flavor complexity that he builds is delicious! And the last one I’ll recommend is ISA DOES IT. Her cover is a little bit different; and this is a vegan cookbook, but full of flavor, really really easy, and makes wonderful leftovers.

Me: I like that, I always like when my effort can last a couple of days. 

Gail: Sure!

Me: I’m taking notes on all of those and planning to buy them as soon as we’re done with this interview. I also think it’s nice to know if one is simple and more straight forward, or if you’re enjoying the night to cook and try something new that might take a bit longer. You can go down the road of whichever you are in the mood for. 

Gail: Exactly!

Me: I know, kind of on another note, that you specialize in meditation. Especially in the year of 2020, where a lot of us were dealing with levels of unprecedented stress and new challenges that we couldn’t have predicted, we all are having a better appreciation of those self-care measures that are really important. But I know it can also be really hard to get started. And I know, I myself am very critical, thinking “Am I doing it right? Where do I begin?” Do you have any strategies or simple tips that you use with people, or favorite apps, to help people get started to help guide them in that journey?

Gail: Absolutely. This is such a touchstone piece for me. I hold meditation near and dear to my heart, mainly because it changed my life for the better. The weight of those words: it changed my life for the better. And I want to impress upon that so people think, “Wait a minute, this really is something: super food for your brain activity!” You’re not alone in thinking that maybe you’re not doing it right, or I just can’t clear my thoughts. But that's secretly not the point. The point isn’t to have this wonderful Buddhist monk clear brain. The point is to allow the thoughts to come out and go away. My favorite saying is thoughts are going to come to visit; but do not invite them in for tea, don’t ruminate on them. Allow them to bubble up and drift away, so you’re not cramming them back down. It may take a little bit to reap the rewards of this beautiful, truly healing activity. It may be 2 weeks before you start to notice something different. It’s a subtle shift that happens: your fuse gets a lot longer.

You may notice that someone cuts you off in traffic and you may no longer honk the horn. You’re like, “Oh maybe I’m a little impressed at myself, I don’t know why I didn’t freak out.” I’m using a traffic example, but maybe someone is sitting at a green light for just five seconds too long and you don’t lay on the horn. You think, “It’s okay, they’re going to eventually move.” Those are some of the first key pieces I personally noticed. And then the trick is when everyone around you starts to notice all of the beautiful benefits. They may say, “Something’s different about you,” or “You seem really calm today.” A client of mine told me that someone had mentioned to him that he seemed really grounded; and he said he had never had someone in his life tell him he was really grounded before, until he started his meditation practice. 

I think it’s important to really impress upon people that it’s not about that perfect crystal clear brain. I want the thoughts to come up and go out. But no ruminating on them, no focusing on them, no getting out of meditation and writing something down on your to-do list. If it’s that important, it will come back. I personally practice Transcendental Meditation, which is a practice I’ve done for years. That’s the one that changed my life. But some people just aren’t ready for such a long duration of meditation, because it really is 23 minutes twice a day. Maybe I’ll start you off with sitting in a chair for five minutes with your feet on the ground, hands in lap, and you’re paying attention to your breath. And then maybe you graduate to 10 minutes, and then maybe it’s 15; and maybe that’s where you stop. And that’s okay too. Or, if you don’t appreciate a silent meditation, maybe you want to go into the Calm app or Headspace or Insight Timer. Or you can do walking meditations and mindfulness practices. Maybe do those by yourself, where you feel the earth beneath your feet; and you recognize each individual leaf and how the leaf looks on the tree; and you bring mindfulness practices into that walking meditation.

Me: Hmm. That's a neat concept: to combine the movement as a piece of the meditation, rather than having them conflict.

Gail: There’s no wrong way.

Me: Which is probably the most important takeaway. As you try to master the practice, know that it’s going to take time. There are ways to start small; and there are ways to get bigger as it becomes a more positive presence in your life. Well, you just gave some very helpful tips for meditation. So thank you. And along with that, thinking of the month of January, where a lot of people try and make these changes and do new things: What would be 3 pieces of advice to help people just stick to those changes? What would you say to people to stick with these commitments they’ve made?

Gail: I would say the first thing is to build a healthy routine. Look into your day. It’s one of the two secret ingredients to the secret sauce of what I say. Routine is number one and then planning (meal planning, some sort of planning) in your life is number two. The second one is to get an accountability partner. If you’re the type of person, like me, for working out; where if I am not held accountable, I may not show up. I need an accountability partner, so I would get one. Very, very helpful.

The third would be to understand and identify what your triggers are for falling off track. Write those down. Bringing awareness to a particular subject matter really helps. Understand what are my triggers and what are my boundaries. How can I stay within myself? Don’t make them too tight, otherwise your inner self may rebel against them. Understand that if my boundaries are here, maybe I’m rebelling. Widen them out a little bit and give yourself some grace. And then if you were going to ask me what would be 3 big things people can do to make a difference in their lives:

1. Cut and reduce sugar with time 

2. Get your sleep (7 plus hours)

3. Stay active: keep moving your body, even in the Winter

Me: Yes, I love that. Very tangible, very approachable. And the last one “Motion is Lotion” in particular. Thank you for sharing all of these gems inside your brain. It’s a gift for you to share with us. 

Gail: Thank you for the invitation.

Me: What is the best way people can reach out to you?


Website: alignhealthcoaching.com

Call: 404.401.6226

Email: gail@alignhealthcoaching.com

Disclaimer:  The views expressed in this article are based on the opinion of the author, unless otherwise noted, and should not be taken as personal medical advice. The information provided is intended to help readers make their own informed health and wellness decisions.


Activcore is made up of physical therapists and Pilates instructors who are specially trained, fully equipped, and totally committed to bringing out the very best in you. They work together as an integrated team with a common mission to transform how you feel, move and perform. While they all have general orthopedic experience, each provider specializes in a particular area of study (e.g., pelvic health, TMJ disorders, men's health, scoliosis, etc.) so that you get the best care possible for your particular needs, lifestyle and goals.


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“What do you think about chiropractors?” is definitely on the top ten list of questions that I get as a physical therapist. It’s a loaded question because physical therapists and chiropractors are often seen as competitors, but it doesn’t have to be that way. The truth is that working with other healthcare providers that offer complementary services can be powerful in helping clients reach their goals. When I find a good chiropractor or massage therapist, I don’t hesitate to tell my clients about them. This is why I’m excited to introduce Dr. Jill Driver, a local chiropractor who provides innovative care with our friends at Pierce Chiropractic.


What can Activcore Physical Therapists Learn from the Chinese Diving Team

So I have talked to several friends and colleagues about Activcore. It is quite easy for them to see that the most apparent differences between Activcore and your conventional physical therapy are: 1) longer treatment session duration, and 2) use of the Redcord suspension system. However, I would vehemently assert that having more one-on-one time with the client does not simply lead to an opportunity to perform a greater number of sets and reps of each exercise. Rather it provides a more focused, client-centered approach that involves greater attention to detail and a more intimate understanding of each person’s needs.


How Do I Get My Body Back After Pregnancy?

“You don’t even look like you had a baby!” people say, as if it is the ultimate compliment a postpartum woman could receive. After growing a human being for 9 months, our goal is supposed to be to “bounce back” after giving birth as soon as possible. Wait for clearance at your 6 week follow-up, and you should be able to go back to your favorite bootcamp class and lose the rest of that baby weight, right?


How Does Breastfeeding Affect the Pelvic Floor?

As a pelvic floor physical therapist, I see many new moms with pelvic floor dysfunction who are also breastfeeding. Common postpartum pelvic floor issues include pain with intercourse, pelvic organ prolapse, and urinary incontinence. How does breastfeeding affect these issues?


Take your tennis game to the next level: How to avoid injuries this season.

It’s fall in Atlanta, and it’s time to get back out on the tennis court. How are you feeling? Do you feel strong and well prepared? Are you excited to help your teammates work toward another championship? Or are you crossing your fingers that the tennis elbow from last season stays away? Gingerly testing out your knee that feels fine until you try to run? Hoping your sticky shoulder doesn’t impact your serve?


5 Exercises to Help You Return to Running Postpartum

So you just had your 6-week postpartum check-up and have been medically cleared for exercise for your doctor. That’s great news! ‍If you were a runner before giving birth, I’m sure you're eyeing your running shoes and feeling eager to get back out there.‍ But not so fast!...


How Can Dry Needling Help My Tennis Elbow?

Have you ever come off the court and thought “wow my elbow feels tight”? Or you finished your match and noticed your elbow was sore when you grabbed your bag. Or maybe you took a shot and felt a jolt on the outside of your elbow.


Six Pack Abs & Low Back Pain

Whether it’s on social media or in other forms of advertising, you’re bombarded with appealing figures of individuals with ripped abs. You assume they’re healthy. I’ve treated many of these individuals and I can assure you, many of them are not healthy. Not at all.


Learn How to Breathe: Why Yoga Complements Physical Therapy

As a physical therapist and movement specialist, I treat from a holistic approach focusing beyond physical injury. This means that I consider other variables contributing to pain and healing potential including sleep patterns, nutrition, occupational hazards, and possible stressors. This recognition of the complexity of pain and injury led me to seek additional education by becoming a yoga teacher to serve as a way to teach the connection of the mind and the body. This connection is made stronger by having a strong practice in learning how to breathe.


As A Triathlete, How Do I Avoid Neck Pain When Riding My TT Bike?

As any triathlete knows, riding a Time Trial (TT) bike is not the most comfortable position to maintain for 5, 10, 56, 112 miles or more. First and foremost, please get a good fit from a highly regarded certified bike fitter. Fitters can get certified through a variety of organizations such as: International Bike Fitting Institute, Retul, Wobble-Naught, FIST, etc. It is easy to get lost in a sea of bike fitters, so find a fitter affiliated with a local tri club or cycling team where you can ask around about the fitters expertise & experience. Creating a team of a PT, coach, and bike fitter is the ideal scenario for injury prevention.


3 Commitments to Make If You Want Good Posture

For correcting posture, one of the most challenging aspects is maintaining healthy posture throughout the day. There are no devices or postural supports that will fix your posture for you. You’ve got to put in the work if you want posture like a red carpet celebrity. I recommend you make three commitments if you want to improve your posture.


How Breathing Exercises Can Help Ease Your Low Back Pain

You may have heard that strengthening your ‘core’ by doing core exercises can help with low back pain. This is true, but what exactly is your core? Most people think of their core as their abdominal muscles, but this is only looking at one piece of the puzzle.


Stretch The Right Way

I’ve read countless blogs on posture that display some version of the stretch above. I wouldn’t recommend this stretch for one simple reason: when so much of your time is spent with your head down and forward, why encourage your body to be more flexible in that direction? While it may feel good temporarily, it just perpetuates and often worsens the problem.


5 Big Mistakes Made By Individuals Suffering From Sciatica

If you’ve ever dealt with sciatica, the very mention of it may give you the chills. It can be rough and nearly mind-bending discomfort –– or you could experience it as “tingling” or “tightness” that comes and goes. I would describe sciatica as symptoms radiating down the back of the glute, thigh, lower leg and foot. This is a gross oversimplification, but at least it embraces many of the phenomena that would qualify as stemming from your sciatic nerve. If you’re like most people, you’ll probably either let it go and think it’ll eventually go away on its own, or you’ll make one of the common mistakes below. Unfortunately, these mistakes can land you in a heap of trouble and you may find your life becomes more limited in the process. Take a look and see if you may be making these mistakes:


How Do I Know If A Stretch Is Good For Me?

“I think I just need some stretches.”‍This is a comment I hear all the time when people come in for an evaluation. When I ask, “What stretches have you been doing?” They typically describe or show me a collection of stretches they’ve been doing for weeks, months or years. My follow up question is: “Do those stretches seem to help your condition?” Most people express uncertainty when presented with this question. They feel like their stretches help but they’re curious why, if they’re helping, their condition continues to worsen.


4 Breathing Techniques to Relieve Tension

In my previous post, we covered the benefits of learning how to breathe properly, as well as the foundation of our breath outlined by diaphragmatic breathing. Once you have learned the basics of proper breathing, you can move into different breathing techniques to foster a positive healing environment for the body and aid in managing stress. Other prerequisites are to find a comfortable seated posture and a calm, inner focus. My recommendation is to experiment with each and find the technique which resonates with you. 


What Is Good Posture?

Everywhere we go, people are staring down at their phones –– hunched over, shoulders rounded, head forward. The long-term effects of this are shocking. There’s even a study showing people are growing ‘horns’ in the backs of their heads because of this prolonged posture.


Why Morning Is The Most Important Time of Day

Your mother always told you breakfast was the most important meal of the day! Well, my version of this has become: “Win the morning and your back will feel better all day.” My sister taught yoga for several years, which worked out for me well. I got to tag along and take her classes for free! When she taught in the mornings, she would often say, “your spine is most honest with you in the morning.” I would wholeheartedly agree.


Can I Still Do Yoga If My Back Hurts

Whenever I go to social gatherings and people inevitably ask, “what do you do?” And I proudly reply, “I’m a physical therapist.” A frequent response is, “Well, I have ____ going on. I looked it up on the internet and I think it might be ____. Does that sound right?” Another common question is, “I have back pain, it’s really nothing, but it comes and goes. I like yoga. Is it okay to still do yoga or will that hurt my back?”


Is Sitting Bad For My Back?

I get this question a lot from patients, but also from friends, relatives, friends of friends, etc. There is so much information out there, often conflicting, it can be paralysis by analysis. I think most of us are aware of the adage, “sitting is the new smoking.” I don’t want to spread a fear of sitting. Awareness would be a more useful term for me to use. Here’s a potential surprise for some folks out there. Sitting might provide relief for some spinal conditions... yes it’s true.


Is Physical Therapy Safe During a Pandemic?

The only person who can answer that question is you after discussing the risk/reward ratio with your family and your primary care physician. At Activcore Physical Therapy, every precaution is taken to ensure your health and well-being...


8 Tips for Optimal Healing

Mother Nature has her own timeframe for when you’re going to heal. You can, however, get out of Mother Nature’s way and set your body up for optimal healing by providing the right conditions. Having helped thousands of patients over the past decade heal from a variety of injuries, traumas and surgeries, I have distilled the top 8 ways to facilitate the healing process...


How Can Nutrition Help My Physical Therapy? Chatting with Nutritionist Christina Ellenberg.

Many physical therapy clients ask their PT about certain diet types or nutritional supplements. Although physical therapists receive some background education about nutrition during their course of study, it is outside of our scope of practice to recommend specific dietary changes or meal plans. As a profession we do strive to be aware of different types of diets, as well as the molecular biology of how food breaks down in our body, which affects our ability to perform physical activity. We are also aware of how nutrition can affect tissue healing which is why we address the topic as an overview for our clients to understand its importance in their recovery.


Are You Ready for the Mountain? 5 Exercises to Determine your Readiness for the Slopes.

With ski season here, most people create a checklist to make sure all their gear is ready to go. Edges are sharpened, boards are waxed, goggle lenses are replaced, and you're ready for the first good snow of the season. With all the attention we pay to the material goods of the sport, we tend to forget about our bodies' readiness to hit the slopes.


How Should I Recover After a Day on the Mountain? Guidance From Two Massage Therapists.

For all you ski enthusiasts out there, you know all too well what it feels like to wake up the next morning after a day on the slopes. Your whole body feels tired, your legs feel like lead, and even sitting down becomes a task. All this is to be expected due to the high physical demands of both skiing and snowboarding. With that being said, there are a few tips to help you recover and decrease soreness.


Top 3 Tips for Preventing Low Back Pain on the Golf Course

It’s February, spring is right around the corner (or so Punxsutawney Phil says), and it’ll soon be time to hit the golf course. It’s tempting to just go straight to the driving range or first tee, because that’s the part of any sport that you love –– the playing part. Instead, consider first taking care of your body to set yourself up for a successful season. A body in pain can never perform at an optimal level, so what can you do to keep yourself injury-free this season?


What Every Beginning Snowboarder Needs to Know. Q&A with Burton.

In addition to figuring out if your body is physically ready to hit the slopes, how do you know if you have the right equipment for optimal performance as a beginner snowboarder? I visited the Burton store here in the Rino District of downtown Denver to answer some of the most commonly asked questions that beginner snowboarders need answered. I was able to chat with the store’s Assistant Manager and avid snowboarder, Tom Ritter. ‍


Mask Wearing Can Be a Pain in the Neck: 5 Movements to Alleviate Muscle Tension

After recently spending 3 days caretaking for my at-risk, elderly family members, I was humbled by the physical toll wearing a mask for 12 consecutive hours each day had on my body. As I was helping with household chores such as dishwashing, laundry and mail opening, about every 30 minutes I became aware of growing tension developing in the back of my neck. This was a result from looking down –– and over my mask –– for extended periods of time.


Diastasis Recti Abdominis (DRA): Part 1, Diagnosis

Whether you’re new to motherhood or a seasoned Mom, I would like you to envision a scenario. You’ve just had your little one and you’re at home navigating through mommahood. As your baby is growing, your body is healing. You’re adjusting to a new life balance and trying to sleep whenever you get a free moment. And to top it off, there’s doming on your core every time you get out of bed. Does this sound familiar?


New Study Uncovers the Truth About Lumbar Fusions

So here’s a very recent article about the use of lumbar fusion for chronic low back pain. The conclusion is very clear: “The present meta-analysis determined that fusion surgery was no better than nonoperative treatment in terms of the pain and disability outcomes either at short- or long-term follow-up.”


Take Control of Your Personal Health: An Interview with the Founder of Align Health Coaching

In this interview, Dr. Elizabeth Dalrymple, lead physical therapist at Activcore, talks with Gail Turner-Cooper, the founder of Align Health coaching, about taking control of your personal health by making small, sustainable changes to your diet and lifestyle.


Diastasis Recti Abdominis (DRA): Part 2, Evaluation

Now that we have a better understanding of what a Diastasis Recti Abdominis (DRA) is, let’s talk about what physical therapy can do for you. Physical therapy is a conservative treatment option, because there is no surgery involved and you allow the body to heal itself with specific exercises. Diastasis Recti are diagnosed measuring how many cm or mm of separation there is on the linea alba (i.e. the midline of your six-pack muscle).


Chip it Close: An Interview with Golf Pro Heidi Mitchell

In this interview, I had the pleasure of chatting with Golf Pro Heidi Mitchell about her career path, her specialized training, and her top tips for golfers eager to improve their game. I met Heidi as a golf student myself. I sought out golf lessons not only to improve my swing, but also to enhance my understanding of the game to better help my physical therapy patients who are golfers. Heidi’s instruction is detailed, coming from years of experience on the golf course, creative, and (maybe most importantly) fun.


How Should I Flatten My Abs During Exercise?

To keep the abs flat, you need core coordination. Your pelvic floor, transverse abdominus and thoracic diaphragm need to work together to keep the abdominals flat during exercise. Abdominal coning is when the abdomen bulges upward during an exercise. This points to a difficulty recruiting the deep abdominal muscles. We need the deep abdominal muscles to stabilize the spine and the pelvis.‍ If they are not firing at the right time, it can result in pain, movement dysfunction, and postural changes down the line.


2 Minutes of Diaphragmatic Breathing as an Immunity Boost

"Inhale into the low belly, then exhale"... We hear about diaphragmatic (or belly) breathing in yoga, fitness, relaxation techniques, and improvement in lymphatic flow. But why? There are several anatomically related reasons why, here are two...


Is Dry Needling Like Acupuncture?

Acupuncture and dry needling can use the same, thin filiform needle. However, the mechanism for what each is used for differs. In this blog article, we will explore the differences between trigger point dry needling (TPDN) and acupuncture.‍ Have you ever felt a knot-like band in a muscle? Perhaps an aching pain coming from a particular spot on a muscle that is reproduced when pressure is applied? This may be known as a trigger point defined as a “focal area of hyperirritability that is sensitive to pressure and can refer symptoms to other areas of the body.”


Get to Know Your PT: Dr. Sara Kiyani

I joined the Activcore team in Atlanta, GA in October 2021. I am a Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) who specializes in pelvic health, women's health, running analysis and general orthopedics. I help women address their pain, weakness, and dysfunction in their pelvic floor muscles so that they can engage in all activities they love to do without pain, urinary leakage, or any pelvic discomfort. I became interested in specializing in the burgeoning field of pelvic health...


Physical Therapy for Concussions

We've helped countless people recover from concussions. Here are some of the most common questions that we get on this topic.‍ When should I start physical therapy after sustaining a concussion? What can a physical therapist do to help me recover from a concussion? It’s been a long time since my concussion, can physical therapy still help?


As a New Mom, When is the Ideal Time to Start Running Again?

Although many articles commonly warn new moms that running too early postpartum can cause various complications and is not advised, this does not apply to every woman across the board. Every woman’s body is different and each will not only have a different recovery process, but also variations in their previous baseline of running prior to giving birth.


Relieving Chronic Pelvic Pain with Yoga

Chronic Pelvic Pain (CPP) is a multifaceted condition affecting 20% of women in the United States. Treatment includes pharmacological interventions, physical therapy, and lifestyle modifications. Studies have shown that yoga is an effective intervention to help both improve pain and quality of life in women with CPP. ‍Many times those suffering with chronic pelvic pain experience high levels of both anxiety and stress.


Vestibular Rehabilitation Therapy (VRT): What Is It & How It Can Help You

Dizziness, nausea, headache, feeling off-balanced, or a hard to describe “off” sensation are common symptoms associated with vestibular disorders. If you’re experiencing one, two, or all of these symptoms, you know that going to work, exercising, and socializing can become difficult or even impossible. If you are experiencing a vestibular disorder, you’re not alone. It is estimated that 35% of adults in the United States aged 40 and above have experienced symptoms related to a vestibular disorder.


Suspect a Concussion? Know the FAQs

Over the last several years concussions have been gaining more attention in the sports realm and media. While there is a lot of new information out in the ether about how to treat a concussion; unfortunately, there is also a lot of out-dated advice available. If you think you’ve sustained a concussion from a sports injury, car accident, fall around your home or some other way, you will benefit from physical therapy to address your injury and any concussion symptoms you may be experiencing.


Why Kegels Don’t Always Fix Stress Incontinence

Stress incontinence is when urine leaks while performing an action or activity. This can happen for many different reasons and here’s a hint: it’s not always weakness! There are three main factors that can be happening at the pelvic floor to cause stress incontinence: weakness, increased tone, or lack of coordination. Weakness can result after any injury or trauma to the pelvic floor, or just over time from dysfunctional movement patterns. If there is a lack of strength at the pelvic floor, that means there is not enough tension to combat pressures...


Why Do I Feel Dizzy? The Vestibular System Explained.

Have you ever experienced dizziness, nausea, headache, difficulty with balance, or that hard-to-explain feeling of being "off"? If you have, then you've had experience with your vestibular system whether you’ve heard of it or not. If you’ve experienced any of these symptoms, you know that doing regular everyday tasks like getting ready in the morning, driving, working, and socializing can become difficult or even impossible. But what even is your vestibular system? How does it work?‍


Is Your Physical Therapist the Right Fit for You? 5 Questions You Should Be Asking.

There are now over 300,000 physical therapists (PTs) in the United States. If you’re looking for one in any major metropolitan area like Denver, CO, it might feel like most of them are located near you! With so many, it may be overwhelming when looking for the right fit for you. All physical therapists have similar backgrounds when it comes to the basics. We are all required to graduate from an accredited school, pass the national boards, and hold an active license in each state we practice in.


Should I Get Worse Before I Get Better? Understanding Vestibular Rehabilitation Therapy

If you are experiencing vertigo, dizziness, or headaches and have been diagnosed with anything from BPPV to a concussion, you are not alone! It is estimated that 35% of adults in the United States ages 40+ have experienced symptoms related to a vestibular disorder. [1] If you are looking to address your condition, your doctor may refer you to Vestibular Rehabilitation Therapy (VRT). But what is VRT and why did they make it sound like it’d be awful?!


Prenatal Prep Workshop on March 10th in Denver!

Has anyone taught you how to push your baby out during delivery? Are you experiencing any urinary incontinence, low back pain, pelvic/pubic pain, constipation, etc. and you're pregnant? Come learn the mechanics on how your pelvic floor works, exercises you can be doing during your pregnancy, exercises you can do before your 6 week postpartum check up, and a few other topics you don't want to miss.


Do I Have Pelvic Floor Dysfunction? How to Screen For This.

As a physical therapist who specializes in the pelvic floor, I can assess, diagnose, prevent and prescribe treatment of pelvic floor related conditions. These dysfunctions include urinary incontinence, bladder and bowel dysfunctions, sensory issues and pain around pelvis, pain with sex and other sexual related dysfunctions, pelvic organ prolapse, pregnancy and postpartum recovery and more.


5 Signs of Concussion

Did you know that a concussion is classified as a mild traumatic brain injury? Concussions can be the result of a direct hit to the head, a fall, sports accident, car accident, bicycle accident, or work-related injury. It can also occur from forceful neck motion such as whiplash.


So You Had a Concussion, Now What? Learn the Do’s and Don’ts

If you suspect that you’ve sustained a concussion, fast track your recovery by following these general guidelines. You may not even realize you have signs and symptoms of a concussion until you try normal everyday activities. Early intervention is essential to safely recover. A concussion trained physical therapist can help you.


Is Dry Needling The Same As Acupuncture? Can It Get Rid Of My Pain?

You may have heard friends or family talk about being “needled” as a part of their physical therapy regimen. Some of them may have even described it as a magical cure for getting rid of pain! But what exactly is dry needling? Is it like acupuncture? And could it be helpful for you?


3 Tips For Managing Diastasis Recti During Pregnancy

A diastasis recti (DR) occurs when the rectus abdominis, your 6-pack muscles, separate in the front of the body. This commonly occurs during pregnancy but can also be found in persons with stomach obesity. As the abdomen increases in size, it stretches the front abdominal wall leaving the linea alba (connective tissue between your abdominal muscles) vulnerable to separation.


Activcore Expands Into an OB/GYN Practice in Littleton, Colorado!

We are excited to announce that we have opened a 4th location in the greater Denver area! This Activcore studio is located inside a popular OB/GYN practice known as Women’s Health Care Associates.


Get to Know Dr. Sarah Pucillo from Women’s Health Care Associates

I recently started offering pelvic health physical therapy services at our latest Activcore studio in Littleton, Colorado. It is located within a popular OB/GYN practice called Women’s Health Care Associates. This new venture has given me an opportunity to learn more about this amazing group of medical providers in the Denver area.


Physical Therapist's Role in Osteoporosis Management

Bone density peaks for women around age 18 and in the early 20s for men. Women begin to rapidly lose bone density during menopause. After menopause, bone density losses taper. It is during this time that women are at risk for developing osteoporosis. New guidelines have been released by the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA) on physical therapist's management of osteoporosis...


6 Exercise Principles That Are NECESSARY For Fat Loss

There are many reasons someone might embark on a fitness journey: general health, enjoyment, to build strength, to build endurance, speed training, enhance sports performance, fat loss, and more. Achieving certain fitness goals is more difficult than others. Enhancing sport performance, increasing speed, and building strength are some of the more difficult fitness goals to achieve.


Can I Learn How to Fix My Vertigo on YouTube?

The short answer is maybe, but it will probably be a long shot. Many people experiencing vertigo have resorted to YouTube to cure their condition after seeing the half somersault maneuver developed by Dr. Carol Foster on mainstream news channels. This maneuver treats one type of vertigo, known as Posterior Canalithiasis BPPV...