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Are You a New Year’s Resolution Newbie, Master or Flunkee?



Turning the page on the new year is a chance to wipe the slate clean—and to be better versions of ourselves. And when it comes to what we want to improve, goals that fall in the health and wellness arena top all other New Year’s resolutions. In fact, three of the top four resolutions in a 2018 YouGov poll were health-related: eat healthier (1), get more exercise (2) and focus on self-care, e.g., get more sleep (4).

There are three types of people who choose a goal from the health and wellness category as a New Year’s resolution: the resolution newbie, the resolution master and the resolution flunkee. Let’s see which category you most identify with—and how focusing on the right strategy can help you get healthier in the new year.

Resolution Newbie. Maybe this is your first time making a commitment to your health and wellness. Good for you! Did a recent event like a health scare or loss of a loved one make you see the light? Or perhaps you want to be more active to enjoy activities with your grandchildren or to carry your own bag on the golf course. Whatever your goals are, taking that first step is a big one so you’ll want to be sure that you’re prepared for the challenge. Particularly when exercising for the first time or returning to an active lifestyle after a long hiatus, it’s important to have the proper information and tools to be successful. And that means tapping the healthcare resources available to you: Clinicians like nutritionists and physical therapists can make sure that your body is prepared to take on new challenges and work with you to a design a program that will help you achieve your goals.

Resolution Master. Perhaps you fall into a different camp: You vowed to get healthy in 2018 and you achieved it! For 2019, your resolution is to continue the work you’ve begun. After all, living a healthy lifestyle is a lifelong commitment; it’s not something you do for a while and then revert back to your former habits. As you prepare to embrace the new year, are there any small tweaks you can make to advance your goals? Maybe you’re thinking about training for and running a half marathon, but don’t know where to begin. A physical therapy evaluation is a great place to start—PTs are trained to assess your movement patterns and identify any limitations or weaknesses. Based on that information, the PT can design a personalized exercise program to help you safely and effectively prepare for the grueling half marathon course.

Resolution Flunkee.Let’s say your plan for 2019 is to get in better shape and improve your overall health (we support that resolution!), but this isn’t your first rodeo. Your 2018 resolution was pretty similar but it’s one year later, and you’re in the same place you were on New Year’s Eve 2017. What stood in your way—was it time? Affordable options? Access to healthy choices and activities? If any of these barriers sound familiar, then along with your resolution, you need an action plan. Without planning ahead, you’ll find yourself staring down the year 2020 with the same goal in mind. But let’s not focus only on the negative—what went right last year? Maybe you made sleep a priority, which in turn helped you to make better food choices at breakfast but by afternoon, you found yourself choosing to energize with a soda and candy bar when all you probably needed was an apple and a 15-minute walk. Take some time to think about the previous year—good and bad—and take with you what you need, and leave the rest behind. Afterall, you can’t plan where you’re going without understanding where you’ve been.

Which resolution type are you?


Published on January 6, 2019 11:05 pm
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Physical Therapy Keeps Hips Healthy for Post-Retirement Activities



Athens, GA December 20 – Pain, soreness and weakness in the hips can interfere with desired activity levels, particularly for men and women 65 years old and older. For active Americans trying to enjoy their retirement years, poor hip health simply isn’t part of the plan—but that doesn’t mean they’re destined to miss out on life’s many pursuits. The good news is that physical therapy can help seniors remain physically active by addressing small issues before they grow.

Many are surprised to learn that when it comes to hip pain, the answer is closer than they think. According to Harvard Medical School, strengthening the surrounding muscles—including the quadriceps, glutes and hamstrings—can take some of the stress off of the hips. Learning to take care of our hips as we age means recognizing when a new pain or limitation arises, and making sure it’s addressed by a healthcare professional to avoid mobility loss and prevent surgery.

According to Jim Mike Hinzman, PT, at East Athens Physical Therapy, physical therapy is usually the first course of action when dysfunctions occur in the hip region. “We see patients all the time who come in with hip pain. Many patients just need some simple stretching and strengthening exercises to correct any imbalances that have occurred in the hip area,” stated Hinzman.

Addressing pain or weakness at the first sign of a problem is important at any age, but it’s particularly important for seniors as concerns including fall risk and bone loss increase as we age. According to a recent study in The Journal of Orthopaedic & Sports Physical Therapy, hip weakness and poor hip motion can lead to other problems, including knee and back pain. To prevent pain from worsening or moving to other areas, make an appointment with a physical therapist who will assess and address mobility issues and associated pain with a customized treatment plan.

When devising an exercise program, the physical therapist begins with an evaluation of the patient’s pain, functional ability, strength, balance and endurance. In addition, the PT will gather a thorough medical history and request a complete picture of the patient’s current activity level as well as goals for participating in additional recreational, sports or leisure activities.

“Each patient is treated as an individual with specific exercises targeting areas of concern. Patients are often surprised to see quick results as in decreased pain after only a couple weeks or physical therapy.” stated Hinzman.

Once the hip pain and any surrounding weaknesses have been adequately addressed under the supervision of a physical therapist, patients can often return to challenging their joints, bones and muscles in a controlled, progressive manner—and resume the level of activity they’re accustomed to. Upon discharge, the prescribed home exercise program is critical to maintaining good hip health and strength into the foreseeable future.


Published on December 20, 2018 10:07 pm
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Some Americans Pay More for Back Pain Relief, But Are They Really Getting Less?



Payless recently conducted a very telling social experiment. You probably heard about the shoe chain’s stunt in the news but just to recap quickly, “The Payless Experiment” tricked consumers into buying their typically budget-friendly shoes at sky-high markups. To carry out the clever ruse, the discount retailer invited style influencers to a (fake) launch party for a new high-end label in one of Los Angeles’ glitziest shopping areas. The attendees believed that they were buying fashionable, high-quality footwear and therefore didn’t object to the three-figure price tags.

Aside from being a brilliant marketing ploy for Payless, what lessons does “The Payless Experiment” have for our current healthcare system, and specifically for patients suffering from low back pain? The experiment is a commentary on perceived vs. real value but also how easily people can be swayed into believing that something is reliable as presented. Think about someone who has had weeks of pain and dysfunction stemming from low back pain: she wants to find a solution that will relieve her symptoms. If a physician presents surgery as the best option—and she’s assured that her pain will go away—then it’s going to sound appealing, right?

Today’s consumer has so many choices when shopping for just about anything from apparel to healthcare. But while it’s customary to shop for the best price for a goose down jacket (without sacrificing quality), shopping around for the best solution (and value) for our ailments is less typical. Doing our due diligence in healthcare may ultimately bring us back to the first proposed solution, but it also may introduce us to solutions that we didn’t know existed.

In the case of low back pain, one such under-heralded solution is physical therapy. Physical therapy, yoga and acupuncture are gaining in popularity as equally (or more) effective and less costly than surgical procedures, injections, MRIs and pain relievers—and for good reason.

Physical therapists are trained to restore and improve patients’ mobility, reduce soft tissue pain, improve function and build muscle strength. They not only develop custom strategies to treat persistent or recurrent low back pain, but educate patients on the prevention of future issues. Some preventive techniques include adopting and following a regular exercise program and learning to lift correctly by keeping the object close to the body.

As the holidays kick into high gear, you likely have a long list of gifts to buy. I’m willing to guess that you have a strategy in place for selecting appropriate gifts for each recipient. As you match the right price point, size and color to each person on your list this holiday season, think about approaching your healthcare needs with the same level of scrutiny. After all, finding the right solution at the right price for our health needs contributes to improved long-term outcomes and better piece of mind.


Published on December 17, 2018 11:19 pm
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Comeback Players: Ben Bray



We love to post Comeback Players! Comeback Players are our student athletes that have worked hard to graduate from physical therapy following an injury and return to their sport. We wish them all the best in their upcoming seasons!

This post is dedicated to…

Ben Bray from Madison County Middle School (with Stephanie Woodall, DPT)


Published on December 4, 2018 9:13 am
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Comeback Players: Morgan Armour



We love to post Comeback Players! Comeback Players are our student athletes that have worked hard to graduate from physical therapy following an injury and return to their sport. We wish them all the best in their upcoming seasons!

This post is dedicated to…

Morgan Armour from Morgan County High School (with Jim Mike Hinzman, PT, Cert. MDT)


Published on November 29, 2018 11:42 am
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