A Season for New Year’s Resolutions

In the season of New Year’s resolutions, goals for the upcoming year, and losing new_year_2015_clockextra holiday pounds, many of us are hitting the gym and starting new diets. Along with that, we (physical therapists) often see injuries that occur during new workout programs and from nutritional imbalances. Here are a few things that can help you stick to your goals and keep you safe and healthy in this New Year:

1)     Set realistic short and long term goals.

  1. When writing your goals, they should be realistic, attainable, and have a time frame.
  2. If your long term goal is to “lose 10 lbs”, then your short term goal will be the simple every day steps to reach that point in order to avoid a quick, dramatic change that will likely not stick. For example, having a goal to lose 1 lb each week for 10 weeks is more realistic (and healthier!!!)  than trying to lose the 10 Lbs in 2 weeks. A safe amount of weight is 1-2 lbs of weight loss per week.  It also includes steps in how to get to that goal; for example, preparing meals so that you are able to “eat clean”, exercising for 30 minutes each day 3x/ week, and carrying a water bottle so you can drink your minimum of 8 cups of water a day.
  3. Many goals people make as resolutions are unrealistic… if your goal is to lose 20 lbs, and you only have 5 lbs to lose to keep a healthy weight, then 20 lbs is not only unrealistic but also not healthy for your body. Also if you want to work out 5 days a week, and currently don’t have an exercise regimen, it might be more realistic to start with 3 days a week of exercise to avoid excessive muscle soreness, joint pain, or overuse injuries.

2)     Don’t overdo it and listen to your body.

  1. The mind is a powerful thing… when we set our minds to do something, often times it can over shadow what our bodies are trying to tell us. When you are starting a new exercise program some discomfort or “muscle burn” is normal, but pain is your body’s way of telling you that something is wrong. If you are starting to have pain with your new activity or exercise regimen, don’t keep thinking that it will “work itself out”. Physical therapists are available at our clinic to help you recover more quickly so you can get back to working on reaching your goals.

3)     Visualize your goals in action and write it down.

  1. This helps in planning the process and focusing attention on the steps needed to achieve your goals.
  2. Visualization helps to reduce the stress or anxiety (or feeling overwhelmed) about new lifestyle changes/ habits, so you can have that “eye of the tiger” feeling when conquering your new challenge.
  3. Writing things down helps to put plan into action, and gives you a reference you can go back to when you meet goals or make progress.


  1. Instead of making drastic changes and depriving yourself to reach your goals, do everything in moderation. For example, if you really want that cookie, allow yourself a “cheat meal” 2-3x/ week so that you can treat yourself for all your hard work. Just make sure that your meals around that time are “clean” and healthier options.
  2. If you are feeling drained or tired from your exercise program, allow yourself that time to rest. Either go for a walk instead of that run (it’s still healthy) or give yourself a rest day, and just get back at it again the next day.

5)     STICK it out!!! It takes at least 21-30 days (3-4 weeks)  to make a new habit. Whatever you do, determine to yourself that you will do it for at least 1 month. It will get easier after that, and will feel more like a natural part of your routine.

Neck Pain: Combining Exercise and Manual Therapy for Your Neck and Upper Back Leads to Quicker Reductions in Pain

Neck pain is very common, but the good news is that most neck pain is not caused by serious disease.


“Mechanical neck pain” is the name healthcare professionals use when joint and muscle problems result in neck pain. Current evidence suggests that a combination of manual therapy and exercise is effective for patients with mechanical neck pain. A variety of manual therapy treatments for the neck and upper back are currently used to try to lessen neck pain. These treatments include mobilization, which slowly and repeatedly moves the neck joints and muscles, and manipulation, which delivers a single, small, quick movement to the joints and muscles. A research report published in the March 2013 issue of JOSPT focused on finding which combination of exercise and manual therapy was more effective in quickly reducing neck pain.


In this study, researchers treated 64 patients. All of the patients were prescribed mobility exercises and received mobilization of their neck. About half of these patients also received a manipulation of the upper back. After 1 week, patients who performed the exercises and received both mobilization of the neck and manipulation of the upper back noted greater relief of their neck pain. In the group that received both manual therapy techniques, 75% had significant pain reduction and 70% experienced noticeable improvement in their ability to perform daily activities. When patients only received neck mobilizations, only 19% found that their pain was reduced, and only 23% saw an improvement in their disability. The researchers concluded that the combination of exercise with neck mobilization and upper back manipulation was more effective in reducing pain in the first week of treatment.


Patients with typical neck pain may benefit from a physical therapy program that includes exercises combined with neck mobilization and upper back manipulation. Potential benefits include less pain and improved ability to perform daily activities. Although this treatment is very successful for this group of patients with neck pain, it may not be effective or appropriate for all patients. An Action Rehab physical therapist can perform an evaluation to help determine if you are a good candidate for this treatment. For more information on the treatment of neck pain, contact Action Rehab today. Action Rehab specializes in the treatment of musculoskeletal disorders.

This JOSPT Perspectives for Patients is based on an article by Masaracchio et al titled “Short-Term Combined Effects of Thoracic Spine Thrust Manipulation and Cervical Spine Nonthrust Manipulation in Individuals With Mechanical Neck Pain: A Randomized Clinical Trial,” J Orthop Sports Phys Ther 2013;43(3):118-127. doi:10.2519/jospt.2013.4221.

Kinesio Taping

The Kinesio Taping Method is designed to facilitate the body’s natural healing process while allowing support and stability to muscles and joints without restricting the body’s range of motion. It is used to successfully treat a variety of orthopedic, neuromuscular, neurological and medical conditions.

Kinesio Taping has been breaking new ground in the fields of sports performance, pain management and physical therapy. Education is a one of the key elements of the Kinesio Taping Method and its continued success in the world of therapeutic taping. Here at Action Rehab, Cindy Matsubara, DPT, has just completed the education and is a certified KT practitioner. After completing the certification course she joins a select group of medical professionals who are able to properly use the Kinesio Taping Method.

Kinesio Taping® Method
By Dr. Asdrubel Lopez, DC, CKTP

The Kinesio Taping® Method is a definitive rehabilitative taping technique that is designed to facilitate the body’s natural healing process while providing support and stability to muscles and joints without restricting the body’s range of motion as well as providing extended soft tissue manipulation to prolong the benefits of manual therapy administered within the clinical setting. Latex-free and wearable for days at a time, Kinesio® Tex Tape is safe for populations ranging from pediatric to geriatric, and successfully treats a variety of orthopedic, neuromuscular, neurological and other medical conditions. The Kinesio® Taping Method is a therapeutic taping technique not only offering your patient the support they are looking for, but also rehabilitating the affected condition as well. By targeting different receptors within the somatosensory system, Kinesio® Tex Tape alleviates pain and facilitates lymphatic drainage by microscopically lifting the skin. This lifting affect forms convolutions in the skin thus increasing interstitial space and allowing for a decrease in inflammation of the affected areas.

Based upon years of clinical use, Kinesio® Tex Tape is specifically applied to the patient based upon their needs after evaluation. The findings of the clinical evaluation or assessment dictate the specifics of the Kinesio® Tex Tape application and other possible treatments or modalities. With the utilization of single “I” strips or modifications in the shape of an “X”, “Y” or other specialized shapes as well as the direction and amount of stretch placed on the tape at time of application, Kinesio® Tex Tape can be applied in hundreds of ways and has the ability to re-educate the neuromuscular system, reduce pain and inflammation, enhance performance, prevent injury and promote good circulation and healing, and assist in returning the body to homeostasis.

The Kinesio Benefit

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Massage: A Valuable Tool Within a Comprehensive Treatment Plan

Patients may choose to use both Action Rehab’s physical therapy services and massage therapy. While the physical therapist will perform some massage work, it is not a whole body massage and the therapist will often recommend to the patient that they would benefit from massage. At this point, the physical therapist will talk with the Massage Therapist about what areas or positions to avoid or target during the massage session. In turn, the Massage Therapist reports back on what she has discovered and this helps formulate a more complete picture of what is happening in a patient’s body. While insurance typically does not cover massage, patients may use health savings accounts to cover the cost and find that the benefits outweigh the costs.
The goal of the massage determines what type of massage a patient should schedule. Whether it is to help with stress from pain, occupation, family or personal issues, a general relaxation massage can be very beneficial. When patients have more stubborn issues, a deep tissue massage may be warranted. The therapist may encourage a patient to seek out a massage when we are dealing with regional range of motion restrictions because the added tissue work can help free up tough adhesions. Pain management and pain relief is crucial to a patient’s coping strategies during recovery. Massage is a valuable tool within a comprehensive treatment plan.
Benefits of Massage Therapy

The most common thing we hear about our massage therapist is: “Wow, she is fantastic—she has healing hands!” A massage by a skilled massage therapist can offer many benefits, including:

  • Getting a better night’s sleep
  • Ability to move without pain
  • Improved mental outlook
  • Stress reduction
  • Hopefulness and a sense of overall well-being

Massage Therapy Available for Both ACTION REHAB Patients and Non-Patients

Our initial purpose in offering massage therapy was to offer massage to our patients at a discounted price, with a highly skilled massage therapist, so they would take advantage of this service. The success of this plan was immediate and word of our massage therapy services soon spread, so we expanded our program to include non-patients and kept the great price break. Many clients end up buying gift certificates for family or friends.

Who Benefits From Physical Therapy?

Many people wonder if they are a candidate for physical therapy, or if physical therapy can help their ailment. For physical therapists. However, this is an easy question to answer: Most people can benefit from Physical Therapy, weather their condition varies from simple ankle sprain to a complex neurological disorder.

Physical Therapy Dana Davis describes Physical Therapy as a conservative treatment method addressing the management, healing, and prevention of injuries and disabilities. I believe this to be very true. Physical Therapy uses non-invasive and non medical tools to help improve total body function. Physical Therapists focus on relieving pain, promotion healing, restoring function and movement, and facilitation and adaptation associated with injury. Therapy also focuses on ergonomics or body mechanic training, fitness, and wellness. So, as you can see, physical therapy can play a role in most people’s lives.

A list of some of the most common reasons to seek Physical Therapy includes:

– Sport related injuries
– Work-related injuries such as repetitive motion injuries, slip and fall accidents and other trauma
– Neck pain and low back pain
– Arthritis in one multiple joints
– Fractures and other orthopedic conditions
– Problems with balance or mobility
– Chronic fatigue and weakness
– Pre and post surgical conditioning
– Cancer recovery
– Fitness and wellness education including weight loss and prevention of osteoporosis
– Respiratory problems/poor cardiovascular endurance
– Knee, ankle and foot problems
– Shoulder, arm hand and wrist problems, such a carpal tunnel syndrome and shoulder tendonitis
– Pre and post partum programs
– Neuro-rehabilitation, such as post-stroke and spinal cord or head injury
– Wound care such as diabetic wounds and non-healing traumatic or post-surgical would
– Common sprains and muscle strains

If you are still confused weather you need physical therapy or not, discuss your options with your physician. They will be able to guide you in the right direction.

How can Physical Therapy help me?

In this age of increased focus on wellness and prevention programs, physical therapists are a vital component to the safe development of an appropriate exercise regimen. A physical therapist performs a complete evaluation of your medical and health history including flexibility and strength testing. They assimilate this information into an exercise program customized to your individuals with cretin spinal injuries’ need to avoid poses such as cobra pose or do it with modifications.

If you have any questions or concerns about starting an exercise program speak to your  physician about getting the assistance of a physical therapist in your program development.