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Balance Problems? We Can Help!

Balance problems occur when there are deficits in any one or more of the following:

  • Vision: ocular deficits
  • Inner Ear: vestibular deficits
  • Musculoskeletal: muscle weakness, joint restriction
  • Proprioception: awareness of your body in space

Symptoms can be varied and may include one or more of the following:

  • Vertigo, dizziness
  • Motion sensitivity
  • Visual disturbances
  • Loss of balance
  • Falling, fear of falling

All of which can contribute to a diminished quality of life, secondary loss of muscle strength and flexibility, increased anxiety, and depression.

A variety of factors can cause balance and vestibular problems including but not limited to the following:

  • Medical conditions such diabetes, arthritis, CVA, brain injury, concussion, MS, Parkinson’s disease
  • Sedentary lifestyle
  • Muscle weakness
  • Joint mobility restrictions
  • Medications
  • Dehydration
  • General aging
  • Inner ear deficits

How Can Physical Therapy Help?

A physical therapist will conduct a thorough evaluation including an in depth medical history, a physical examination to determine deficits in strength, ROM, sensation, vision, inner ear, balance, gait and falls risk assessment.

Information obtained during the evaluation will be used to develop a personalized plan to address deficits, improve strength and mobility, normalize gait and decrease risk of falls and injury.

Common Physical Therapy Goals:

  • Reduce risk of falls
  • Eliminate or minimize vertiginous symptoms and motion sensitivity
  • Reduce anxiety and fear of falling
  • Improve ROM
  • Increase strength and stability
  • Improve balance and compensatory strategies
  • Improve postural alignment
  • Improve and normalize gait

Breakthru Your Balance Issues,

Schedule Your FREE Balance Screen Today!



“The Power of Aquatic Physical Therapy!”

 Myths and Facts about Aquatic Physical Therapy:

Myth #1: You have to be a good swimmer to do aquatic therapy

Fact #1: Aquatic therapy pools are between 4 – 4 ½  feet deep, which allows individuals to stand comfortably in the water without the need to tread water.


Myth #2: Aquatic therapy cannot help me translate to improved function on land.

Fact #2: Peer-reviewed research has demonstrated long term functional improvements in the ability to complete daily activities for individuals who have completed an aquatic therapy program. (See research article below!)


Myth #3: Aquatic therapy is only done in large group classes and you don’t get individualized attention.

Fact #3: At Breakthru we offer one-on-one treatment sessions under the supervision of a Doctor of Physical Therapy, who performs a comprehensive examination on day-one to learn your individuals needs and create a program that is appropriate for you.

Schedule Your FREE Screen Today!

Peer Reviewed Research on the Effectiveness of Aquatic Physical Therapy:

Article Title: Effects of high intensity resistance aquatic training on body composition and walking speed in women with mild knee osteoarthritis: a 4-month RCT with 12-month follow-up

Date of Publication: August 2017

Journal: Osteoarthritis and Cartilage

Link: https://www.oarsijournal.com/article/S1063-4584(17)30869-5/fulltext

Main Take Home/ Implications:

  • There were 87 female participants aged 60-69 with history of knee osteoarthritis. Treatment program consisted of high intensity aquatic exercises at a frequency of 3 times per week for 16 weeks.
  • Aquatic resistance training resulted in improvements in decreased fat mass and increased walking speed.
  • Participants experienced a gradual decrease in pain symptoms over the course of treatment and in conjunction with increased intensity of exercise.
  • Results were maintained at 12 months post, demonstrating the lasting effects of aquatic therapy.
  • Participants finished the course of treatment with the ability to exercise at a higher intensity of resistance and with less pain in their affected knee!

Quotations from the research:

  • “Pain experienced in affected knee during the intervention was mild…”
  • “At 12-months follow-up, walking speed in the intervention group remained significantly faster compared to the control group.“
  • “…indicates that an intensive aquatic resistance training program is effective at decreasing fat mass as well as improving walking speed in post-menopausal women with mild knee OA.”

Disclaimer: This information is intended for educational purposes only. Individuals should seek consultation in person with a licensed physical therapist or physician prior to attempting aquatic therapy.

Scoliosis: Fighting Curve Progression with Bracing & The Schroth Method

Join Us For An Evening Discussion as we provide the latest information regarding the recent changes in the conservative management of Scoliosis that you need to be aware of!



  • Dr. Jennifer Winell, MD, attending surgeon at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia specializing in non-surgical scoliosis treatment
  • Kathy Abel, DNP, RN APNC, Family Nurse Practitioner in the Division of Orthopaedics at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia
  • Michael Keene, BOCO LO, Certified Orthotist at East Coast O&P
  • Dr. Nate Steltz PT, DPT, Schroth Certified Therapist
  • Dr. Dan Pinto PT, DPT, Schroth Certified Therapist


Seminar Overview:

  • “What to Look for” : Signs, Symptoms, Age of Onset, Family History
  • Understanding the Course of Progression (specific to patient age/ level of maturity) and how this effects risk of curve progressions
  • Bracing 101: Updates to bracing techniques/style & importance of brace compliance
  • Schroth Physical Therapy: What the Schroth Method is, how it is delivered, how can it be helpful in preventing curve progressions

Event Details: 

  • Date: Thursday, November 8, 2018
  • Location: Breakthru Physical Therapy + Fitness (VOORHEES LOCATION) 701 Cooper Rd. Voorhees, NJ 08043
  • Time: 6:30 pm Registration & Refreshments, 7 pm Discussion, 7:45 pm Q&A

*To register for our event please email: mmclaughlin@breakthrupt.com


Breakthru is proud to announce that Dr. Kevin Schnitzer is now recognized as a
Board Certified Pediatric Clinical Specialist.
This is a huge accomplishment as it is a top tier certification, recognizing advanced knowledge in the field of pediatric physical therapy.  Breakthru has already been provided physical therapy care at the highest level for a wide variety of patient populations.  

Kevin has been serving the pediatric population for years, specializing in sports medicine and orthopedics including pediatric strength training, performance enhancement, concussion management, gross motor control issues, and mild neurologic issues.  

Kevin has diverse experiences including clinical and academic experiences in dealing with pediatric sports injuries and orthopedic management.  We would be happy to be involved in helping you manage your caseload, by providing high quality care and excellent patient satisfaction to your patients.

Schedule Today!

The information you are reading matters!

“4 quick tips to shirt busting arms” “5 foods that will boost your metabolism” “10 day instant shred”

We have all seen these headlines that the authors claim to have found the secrets of fitness and performance that we are all looking for.  However, in actuality these headlines are nothing more than click-bait to try and pass someone’s agenda onto the ignorance of the public. Headlines and articles like these lead me into something very important when scouring the Internet for information.  Where you get your information might be more important than what the information says.

So much of the fitness related industry and available information is not backed by scientific literature or proof. You will see through my posts that all of the information is referenced by peer reviewed research or textbooks.  I am going to try and break the trend of this click bait fitness information and provide with you proven information.

Any person who has dieted, worked out, or thought about either can relate to the little narrative I am about to tell, especially in their novice days.  There is one person with a good physique who is doing much more talking than actually lifting. Leaning against the dumbbell rack and shedding knowledge that was passed down from the founding fathers of bro science.  Telling other novice lifters the secrets to gaining muscle similarly to how it was told to them. While there is definitely some truth behind the folklore, some of it is exactly that, just misinterpreted information that has been passed down for generations.  Situations like I listed above occur everyday throughout the country and can be avoided if people payed attention to where they got their information.

How To Reduce Your Risk Of ACL Injury For Athletes

ACL injuries are one of the most common knee injuries for athletes, especially if you play sports like soccer or football or lacrosse. So what is the ACL? The ACL, or anterior cruciate ligament, in one of 4 important ligaments that help stabilize your knee. More specifically, the ACL helps stabilize your knee during cutting and pivoting motions.

ACL Injury Facts:

– ACL injury is most prevalent among young adults between the ages of 15-45, with 70% of injury coming from sporting activities.(1)
-Studies show that females are up to 8x greater risk for injury than their male counterparts (1)
So what does research say?
-Neuromuscular training can successfully reduce ACL injury by up to 81% (3)
-ACL prevention programs that are most successful include elements of stretching, strengthening, flexibility, neuromuscular control, and plyometric jumping exercises (4,5,6)
-The components of these programs can not only reduce risk of ACL injury, but may also improve sports performance (6)

What you can do to reduce your risk:

-The Prevent Injury and Enhance Performance Program, or PEP Program, has many components of the exercises that have been shown to reduce ACL injury. The program typically takes 15-20 minutes and is performed 3 times per week!
-Consult your Physical Therapist! Physical Therapists use screening tools to classify persons at most risk of ACL injury. PTs also provide in-depth prevention programs that you can perform to reduce your risk for injury.
As with any medical condition, it is important to understand that these recommendations are generalized. The most successful way to reduce risk for injury is to consult the proper medical professionals to individualize a program fit to your specific needs!

1) Griffin LY, Agel J, Albohm MJ, Arendt EA, Dick RW, Garrett WE, Garrick JG, Hewett TE, Huston L, et al. Noncontact Anterior Cruciate Ligament Injuries: Risk Factors and Prevention strategies. Journal of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons. 2001;8:141-150
2) Sanders TL, Maradit KH, Bryan AJ, Larson DR, Dahm DL, Levy BA, Stuart MJ, Krych AJ. Incidence of Anterior Cruciate Ligament Tears and Reconstruction: A 21-Year Population-Based Study. The American Journal of Sports Medicine. 2016;44(6):1502-1507. doi: 10.1177/0363546516629944
3) Mandelbaum BR, Silvers HJ, Watanabe DS, et al. Effectiveness of a neuromuscular and proprioceptive training program in preventing anterior cruciate ligament injuries in female athletes: 2-year follow-up. Am J Sports Med 2005;33:1003–10.
4) Hewett TE, Lindenfeld TN, Riccobene JV, Noyes FR The effect of neuromuscular training on the incidence of knee injury in female athletes: a prospective study. Am J Sports Med 1999; 27:699– 706
5) Myklebust, Grethe et al. “Prevention Of Anterior Cruciate Ligament Injuries In Female Team Handball Players: A Prospective Intervention Study Over Three Seasons”. Clinical Journal of Sport Medicine 13.2 (2003): 71-78. Web
6) Hewett, T. E. “Anterior Cruciate Ligament Injuries In Female Athletes: Part 2, A Meta-Analysis Of Neuromuscular Interventions Aimed At Injury Prevention”. American Journal of Sports Medicine 34.3 (2005): 490-498. Web.

Maintain YOUR Gains After Therapy

1. Keep Up With Your Exercises

After your bout of therapy, you hopefully are feeling stronger and more flexible.  This happens by loading the tissues in certain ways to create adaptations which occurs mostly through exercise. During therapy manual work may be needed to reduce pain and facilitate movements, but the main component is the exercise.  If you don’t keep up with them, the gains that you worked so hard for may slowly decline

2. Change Your Habits 

While your body got better with good types of loading, the bad loading is what likely got you into trouble.  This can be sitting too long, sitting with bad positions, poor lifting mechanics etc. You and your therapist should have identified problem behaviors that led up to the problem.  Avoiding these can help prevent a problem from recurring.

3. Check In With Your Therapist 

Pain is not always the first sign of a problem.  Sometimes a problem can be returning without you even realizing it! Its best to head it off as quickly as possible.  The first step is identification. There should be a plan for regular monitoring which you can do yourself to some degree.  I like to recommend my patients to check in a few times a year to screen for changes in their condition. We also identify other issues and can usually make changes to your program and prevent the need for additional therapy.  We offer free screenings to make this process easier for our patients and the rest of the community in order to help improve and maintain your quality of life.

If you have been a patient with us or somewhere else, check to make sure you’ve been doing your homework and avoiding the bad habits.  Stop in for a free screening so we can touch base and make sure things are still moving smoothly.

Tips To Start Running Injury Free

The temperature is rising and days are getting longer. Spring is here and it’s always nice to be able to spend some time outside. While running can be a great way to get in shape while spending time outside, it is important to slowly build up those miles to prevent injury.

Here are some tips to start running injury free:


  • Strength Train/Cross Train


      1. It is important to continue with strength training in order to avoid injury with running.  Including preventative hip and glute strengthening can increase your stability while running and decrease risk of injury. Taking some days off of running to cross train is also important to give your body a break and prevent overuse injuries. Biking, elliptical, and swimming are great ways to cross train.


  • Stick to a gradual increase in running, don’t overdo it.


      1. Following a training plan can be an easy way to make sure you are appropriately increasing your running time/mileage. Increasing running too quickly can increase your risk of overuse injuries.


  • Wear Supportive Footwear


    1. Take a minute to stop by your local running store to see what shoes are best for you. The correct shoes can make a big difference in preventing aches and pains while running.

Below is a “Couch to 5K” training plan that is a good way to get started this spring.

Week Day 1 Day 2 Day 3 Day 4 Day 5 Day 6 Day 7
1 5 min walk
2 min jog
5 min walk
Relax! 5 min walk
2 min jog
5 min walk
Relax! 5 min walk
3 min jog
5 min walk
Relax! Relax!
2 5 min walk
3 min jog
5 min walk
Relax! 5 min walk
4 min jog
5 min walk
Relax! 5 min walk
5 min jog
5 min walk
Relax! Relax!
3 5 min walk
6 min jog
5 min walk
Relax! 4 min jog
5 min walk
4 min jog
5 min walk
Relax! 5 min walk
7 min jog
5 min walk
Relax! Relax!
4 5 min walk
7 min jog
5 min walk
Relax! 5 min walk
8 min jog
5 min walk
Relax! 5 min walk
9 min jog
5 min walk
Relax! Relax!
5 5 min walk
9 min jog
5 min walk
Relax! 6 min jog
5 min walk
6 min jog
5 min walk
Relax! 5 min walk
10 min jog
5 min walk
Relax! 5 min walk
11 min jog
5 min walk
6 5 min walk
11 min jog
5 min walk
Relax! 13 min jog
5 min walk
Relax! 15 min jog
5 min walk
Relax! Relax!
7 15 min jog
5 min walk
Relax! 8 min jog
5 min walk
8 min jog
5 min walk
Relax! 16 min jog
5 min walk
Relax! 17 min jog
5 min walk
8 17 min jog
5 min walk
Relax! 18 min jog
5 min walk
Relax! 20 min jog
5 min walk
Relax! Relax!
9 20 min jog Relax! 12 min jog
5 min walk
12 min jog
Relax! 24 min jog Relax! 25 min jog
10 25 min jog Relax! 27 min jog Relax! 30 min jog Relax! Race Day!


Breakthru Snow Shoveling With These Helpful Tips!

It’s that time of year again! According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, in 2015, more than 158,000 people were treated in emergency rooms, doctors’ offices, and clinics for injuries that happened while shoveling or removing ice and snow manually. Snow shoveling is a common cause for back pain and lumbar injuries, however there are ways to prevent these from occurring. Proper mechanics and technique can help decrease post-shoveling low back pain.

  1. Lift with your legs, not your back!
  2. When shoveling snow we tend to bend forward putting a lot of stress on the lumbar spine, which increases the risk of injury or flare up of low back pain. In order to prevent this, try to squat down by bending at your knees lift the snow using your legs instead of your back.
  3. Turn with your feet
  4. When we twist with our feet planted we are mostly twisting using our low back. A better way to turn with a heavy load is to keep the core tight and lock the arms into your side while pivoting using your feet. Using these mechanics will help decrease load on the spine and help prevent injury.
  5. Grip snow shovel with hands apart
  6. Gripping the shovel with your hands together can create a longer lever arm, which in turn makes it harder to lift the shovel filled with snow. Having one hand toward the handle and one hand further down towards the shovel will improve force distribution and decrease stress on the body while snow shoveling. It will make the pile of snow seem like less than it is.
  7. Take breaks
  8. Muscle fatigue can cause our mechanics to break down, putting us at risk for injury. Be sure to take plenty of breaks in order to keep your muscles in good condition and maintain good mechanics.
  9. Shovel smaller loads of snow
  10. Only shovel a load you can handle while maintaining all the mechanics above. If the load is too heavy and compensations are occurring, your mechanics suffer. When mechanics suffer, the risk for injury increases. Only shovel loads you can handle!

Safe snow shoveling is important to prevent injuries that will affect the ability to participate in daily life. It is important to maintain proper mechanics and decrease risk of injury in order to stay healthy and active throughout the winter.

Concussion… now what?

Your son, daughter, athlete, or friend is in the middle of an intense game and they take a hard hit.  You see them stumble off the field looking unsteady, you can tell something is wrong.  What happens next?

The initial recognition of a concussion is critical to proper management. If the initial detection of a concussion is missed, and a player goes back in too early, they are at increased risk of cerebral edema or second impact syndrome which can have catastrophic implications.  Players don’t always mention when they’ve “had their bell rung,” so it is often up to the coaches and athletic trainers to notice when something isn’t right.  They will perform some sort of screening on the field to determine if there is a possibility of a concussion.  If it is determined that there might be a concussion, the player should be out of the game and not cleared to return to any athletic activity within the same day.


After a concussion, there should be a follow up with a physician skilled in managing concussion symptoms, you usually a sports medicine doctor.  Usually this happens relatively soon after the initial injury, within a few days. If there are more severe symptoms, such as worsening headaches, weakness or loss of coordination, slurred speech, repeated vomiting, or loss of consciousness a trip to the emergency room is needed for more urgent evaluation to reduce the risk of brain damage.  If these symptoms are not present imaging is usually not needed.  

Once the athlete is cleared from serious pathology a treatment plan is determined based on the level of symptoms and evaluation findings.  Cognitive rest is important as it will allow the brain to reduce its activity and start to heal.  Some people require complete cessation of all activity including school, reading, TV, phones, video games etc which is usually only a few days.  Others may be able to continue functioning, but at a lower level as in half days or limited homework.  Symptoms usually resolve mostly within 7-10 days.  When symptoms have not resolved in 3 weeks, further evaluation may be needed by a physical therapist or other professional depending on the type of symptoms to determine what additional interventions may be needed as the concussion is not resolving on its own.  Interventions may include further medical management, vestibular treatment, vision exercises, manual therapy, or graded exercise.      

As symptoms resolve, the athlete will want to start getting back to activity.  Although we want to get them back quickly, we also want this to be done safely.  Athletes can only return to athletic activity after being cleared by a physician.  If there is no physical testing done by the physician, it is up to you to pursue testing.  There is a systematic process of increasing the exertional load and monitoring symptoms that can be performed to assess readiness to return to sports.  Usually this occurs over the course of 5 days and gradually increases the intensity of exercises as long as there are no increases in symptoms and ends with activities simulating play.  Then the athlete will resume play with practice, simulated play, then competitive play.  Most athletes make a full recovery, but remember the history, as repeated concussions are more likely to lead to long term disability.