We Are Currently Offering Telehealth

We Are NOW Offering Telehealth PT Services!

Breakthru can now provide Physical Therapy VIRTUALLY from the comfort of your own home!

We are committed to your quality of care and your quality of life. As you know, continuity with your care is crucial to your recovery, therefore, we will be offering Telehealth PT services as an option to work with our patients as we navigate through this pandemic.

Telehealth allows a Breakthru Doctor of Physical Therapy to connect with you virtually on a computer/tablet/smart phone by simply clicking on link here! We’ll be able to demonstrate stretches, exercises and techniques to address any aches and/or pains that you may be experiencing.

For directions, click here.

To make a telehealth appointment, please call our Breakthru Telehealth PT Hotline @ 856-872-7212 or click here to schedule your priority appointment.

Fitness, with a Side of Dysfunction?

This time of year, many people are focused on fitness so it’s worth taking a look at what fitness really means. The dictionary defines fit as “sound physically and mentally, healthy.” Using that definition, many “fitness” routines fall short of the goal. If you don’t enjoy running and dread every workout, you’re probably falling short of the “sound mentally” portion. Exercise should be enjoyable, reduce stress, and leave you feeling better, not worse.

NO PAIN NO GAIN?
Exercise should also leave you feeling better physically. If you can run a good time in a 5k, but have aches and pains for days after, you’re not “sound physically.” If you are increasing your PR in the squat rack, but your joint pain is increasing right along with it, you’re not “sound physically” either. Sure, some muscle soreness and fatigue after a hard workout is normal. But if you’re having pain that doesn’t go away, sore joints, or trouble moving after exercise, you’re probably developing movement dysfunction along with your fitness.

MOVEMENT DYSFUNCTION
Go back to the dictionary and you’ll find that dysfunction is “impaired or abnormal functioning.” So movement dysfunction is impaired or abnormal movement. When someone has a movement problem like a sore joint, limited range of motion, or strength loss, the brain finds a way to get the body to do what it wants. That usually means moving in a way that is less than optimal. For a while, it works. But eventually it leads to injury. As a concrete example, think of someone who has trouble bending one knee doing squats. When one knee bends further than the other, it will cause one side of the pelvis to drop lower than the other. Now that the pelvis isn’t level, the spine bends towards the high side to stay balanced. When that one side of the pelvis drops lower than the other one, it also usually rotates. Now the spine has to bend to the side and twist to keep you upright. This works for a while, but as weight gets added to the squat, and the repetitions add up so does the risk for a back injury.

PREVENTATIVE MEDICINE
Pain during workouts, or pain and soreness that don’t go away after can be warning signs of a movement dysfunction. If you’re experiencing any of these, your physical therapist is a movement expert who can help. PTs are trained to analyze movement, and figure out the root cause of problems. They can then design a program to treat the cause and correct the abnormal pattern. There is no need to wait until you’re injured to see your physical therapist. In fact, it’s preferable not to. Getting minor problems fixed early means fewer visits to the PT, less pain, and not having your workouts put on hold by injury.

Your Physical Therapist Can Help You Keep Your Resolution

As one year comes to a close and another begins, people begin to set goals and make
resolutions. Losing weight, getting to the gym more often or getting into “better shape” are all
common. These all require increasing your amount of physical activity. More activity is great for
your health, energy levels, sleep, and mood. However, ramping up your activity level too quickly
after a holiday season of eating, drinking and being merry can lead to pain, injury and
disappointment if your body isn’t ready for it.

Your physical therapist is an expert in human movement, and can help you safely reach your
fitness goals. People think of PTs as the person to see after an injury, but a visit before you
change your activity level could prevent injury in the first place. An evaluation by your PT will
include assessment of your strength, range of motion, and functional movement patterns – think
jumping, running, squatting, carrying. Some PTs even like to use a standardized assessment,
such as the Functional Movement Screen.

Most common injuries from new fitness routines are caused by underlying weakness, range of
motion deficits, or compensatory movement patterns. Your PT will find these during your
assessment. They can then prescribe exercises or movements to address the issues found and
get you safely moving into the new year!

The other common way people get injured working towards their resolution is with over-training,
or doing too much too soon. Physical therapists are also experts in exercise prescription and
program design. Your PT can help you create a routine specific to your needs and goals that will
progress appropriately and keep you out of trouble.

So stop only thinking of your PT after you’re injured. In this case, it’s true that an ounce of
prevention is worth a pound of cure. Seeing your physical therapist before you start on your
resolution can keep you on track, injury free, and help you reach your goals for the new year!

Black Friday Fitness Sale

 

Burn Calories, without burning a hole in your wallet!

 

 

25% Off Training & Class Packages!

Use BTBeliever2019 at Checkout

 

 

PRIVATE PERSONAL TRAINING PACKAGES

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SEMI-PRIVATE PERSONAL TRAINING PACKAGES

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GROUP EXERCISE CLASS PACKAGES

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15% Off Prepaid Memberships!

Use BTBeliever15 at Checkout

 

 

PREPAID MEMBERSHIPS

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Purchase the gift of a BREAKTHRU today!

 

*Some terms and conditions may apply.  Please see store for details.

 

Monday, September 23rd is Falls Prevention Awareness Day!

Did you know, according to the CDC, at least 3 million older adults visit the ER for fall-related injuries every year?1 Factors such as lower body weakness, difficulty walking, poor balance, and foot pain can all increase a person’s risk of falling, but are preventable with proper rehab therapy.

 

Check out these 5 tips to decrease your chance of falling!

1. Practice Strength and Balance
Strength building programs are key to preventing falls. If a patient’s lower body is weak or in pain, it can negatively effect their balance, leading to a higher risk of falling.
2. Strengthen Spatial Awareness
Many older adults have difficulty performing tasks while remaining mindful of where their body is in relation to other objects or surfaces. This lack of spatial awareness can often result in falls. An effective solution is “dual-task” training, or having your patients practice doing two things at once, like walking while talking, standing on one foot while reaching for an item, or moving while holding an item.2
3. Create an Exercise Routine
Physical activity can improve balance, coordination, and flexibility in your patients. Recommend easy workouts, like walking, swimming, or aerobics to promote exercise without increasing an older adults risk of injury.
4. Adjust Assistive Devices
Assistive devices like canes and walkers are only helpful when they are the correct height for your patient. Make sure that your patients are comfortable with the height of their device and make adjustments if needed.
5. Check for Foot Pain
Foot injuries that heal incorrectly can cause pain and poor balance. If your patient has suffered from a foot injury and is still experiencing pain, they likely have developed restricting scar tissue that is interfering with movement and causing pain. Treat these types of patients with a treatment that is proven to eliminate unwanted scar tissue, like Astym therapy. Astym therapy is proven to remove unwanted scar tissue and regenerate healthy soft tissues, effectively eliminating pain and movement restrictions.

2019 Be Fearless Scholarship Winners

Congratulations to the Class of 2019 🎓
We would like to give a special round of applause to our “Be Fearless” Scholarship Winners — Cherokee Soccer Player, Lauren Gravlin and Lenape Cross Country Athlete, Zaven Kazandjian 👏🏼👏🏼

Breakthru’s scholarship is in remembrance of our friend, ETA Coach, Jason Kilderry. Jason lived life fearlessly and to the fullest every single day! We appreciate his dedication and the high standards he demonstrated within his coaching. Breakthru is hoping to continue to impact future clinicians to ensure Jason’s legacy lives on! ETA Coach Open Water Swims: Camp Ockanickon

#Get PT 1st For Back Pain

Chances are, you or someone you know has had back pain. Each year 15% of the population has their first episode of back pain, and over the course of our lives, 80% of us will have back pain. Even though back pain is common, the medical community does a poor job managing it.  Stories of chronic pain, opioid use, multiple surgeries, and a lifetime of disability are far too common.

Let’s look at some of the common treatments for low back pain and see how they stack up against physical therapy:
Medication Low back pain is the #1 reason for opioid prescription in the US, however in 2106, the CDC recommended against the use of opioids for back pain in favor of “non-drug treatments like physical therapy.”

Imaging

Having an X-ray or MRI for back pain is common, however it’s rarely needed or helpful.
Research has NEVER demonstrated a link between imaging and symptoms. As we age,
degenerative changes on imaging is common.
● 90% of people age 50 to 55 have disc degeneration when imaged, whether they have
symptoms or not
● In 2015 a study that looked at 1,211 MRI scans of people with no pain found that 87.6%
had a disc bulge
● Just getting an image increases the chances that you’ll have surgery by 34%

Surgery

The US has sky high rates for back surgeries – 40% higher than any other country and 5x higher
than the UK. You’d think that with all the back surgeries we do, we’d be pretty good at it but the
outcomes are terrible!

A worker’s comp study looked at 725 people who had spinal fusions VS 725 people who didn’t.
The surgical group had:
● A 1 in 4 chance of a repeat surgery
● A 1 in 3 chance of a major complication
● A 1 in 3 chance of never returning to work again

Physical Therapy

● Current clinical practice guidelines support manual therapy and exercise
● Research proves that early PT lead to better outcomes with lower costs, and decreases the risk of surgery, unnecessary imaging, and use of opioids
● A study of 122,723 people with low back pain who started PT within 14 days found that it decreased the cost to treat back pain by 60%
● Unfortunately only 2% of people with back pain start with PT, and only 7% get to PT within 90 days.

Despite the data showing that PT is the most effective, safest, and lowest cost option to treat low back pain, most people take far too long to get there. Almost every state has direct access, meaning that you can go directly to a physical therapist without a doctor’s referral. If you see your doctor for back pain, and PT isn’t one of the first treatment options, ask for it!

Shoulder Stability in the Overhead Athlete

The shoulder is one of the most complex parts the body. It consists of four separate joints that are linked together by multiple muscles, tendons, and ligaments that provide both mobility and stability to the shoulder. The shoulder is a “ball and socket” joint with the socket portion being shallow and therefore providing very little stability via the bony anatomy. As a result, you have to rely on other structures to keep your arm securely inside the shoulder blade. When your arm is at rest your shoulder is primarily stabilized by the joint capsule that fully encloses both the ball and the socket. During arm movement the stabilization process is much more complex and requires the four muscles of your rotator cuff to fire to maintain proper positioning of your shoulder joint. 

The action of lifting your arm up above your head requires movement from both your shoulder blade and your arm in order to reach your full range of motion. For this movement to be performed correctly, it requires the proper muscle firing patterns in the shoulder complex. Athletes tend to forget about the small stabilizing muscles of the rotator cuff during their workouts and instead focus on the larger muscle groups, i.e. the pecs, deltoids, lats, etc. These big muscle groups, especially the “pushing” muscles which are used frequently in sports, can become overdeveloped in comparison to the small stabilizing muscles and result in injuries from this muscle imbalance. One of the most common issues from a muscle imbalance like this is that the small rotator cuff cannot compete with the larger muscles and is unable to perform its job of providing small rotational movements to the ball part of the joint to prevent it from hitting into the socket during arm movements. 

It is important to remember that the rotator cuff is not only firing during athletic activities, it is also responsible for proper positioning of your arm and shoulder blade while you sit with good posture. Since these muscles are required to fire constantly throughout the day it is important that they are trained in very high repetitions to increase endurance. Increasing the endurance of the rotator cuff during the offseason will also assist in maintaining the integrity of the muscles throughout the season of an overhead athlete. During the season, the rotator cuff experiences plenty of stress through the deceleration portion of throwing or shooting. This repetitive stress causes the rotator cuff to “stretch out” and lose the ability to function at 100%. This is why it is important to remember that overhead sports require full kinetic chain movements for maximum power.  It is vital to keep the core and hips strong and mobile as well in order to decrease the stress placed across the shoulder during the throwing or shooting motion. 

A proper off season strengthening program is necessary to minimize an athlete’s risk of injury and to maximize his or her success during the season. There are various “prehab” shoulder programs available for athletes to follow online, but it is important to remember that not all shoulders are created equally and different sports place different demands on the body. The shoulder must be managed differently while the athlete is in season and after the season to allow for proper recovery of the muscles in the joint. In conclusion, each and every shoulder is created differently and must be managed following specific guidelines catered to each individual. It is crucial to find the correct balance of mobility and stability for the overhead athlete to be able to reach his or her peak performance.

Click HERE to check out a short video of exercises that you can do at home to help improve your shoulder stability!

  • Use a light weight and keep your elbow tight in against your side as you rotate your arm until your palm is parallel to the ground.
  • If you want to challenge your athlete and add core strengthening into the exercise; have them perform this exercise in a side-plank position to increase the difficulty of the exercise by incorporating oblique and glute activation.

By: Dr. Abigail Dingle, PT, DPT, OCS, SCS, CSCS

Getting ‘Back’ to Spring Sports

With warmer weather right around the corner, spring sport athletes are gearing up for their seasons.  The majority of spring sports consist of overhead movement patterns, which require a series of complex movements throughout the body. Thoracic spine, or upper back, rotation is one of the most important components for maintaining a healthy lower back and shoulder throughout the season.

Proper mobility through your thoracic spine allows for the transfer of power from your legs and core. It is easy to compensate for rotational range of motion through your lumbar spine, or lower back. However, if the middle of your back isn’t moving properly it is easy to lose the majority of your strength and power generated by your hips and core for your throwing or shooting motion before it ever reaches your shoulder. If you want to obtain the maximum speed out of your throw or shot, it is vital that you have full rotation through your thoracic spine. 

 

If an athlete is lacking proper rotation through his or her thoracic spine the body will have to find a way to make up for that missing motion somewhere else. Most often the body will “make up” this range of motion in the shoulder. The front of the shoulder is stabilized by a group of ligaments that help to keep the head of the humerus in its proper position against the shoulder blade, or the ball in the socket. These soft tissue structures are prone to stretching out if repeatedly stressed from excessive external rotation of the shoulder. If the ligaments in the front of the shoulder become too loose, additional stress can be placed on the biceps tendon and nerve structures causing irritation or injury for the athlete. 

 

 

 

There are various exercises to address limited rotation through your thoracic spine that can easily be added into your daily routine. One of the most common is called an “Open Book”. To perform this exercise begin by laying on your side with your bottom leg straight, your top leg bent to 90 degrees through your hip and knee, and your arms straight out in front of you. Begin by slowly lifting your top arm and rotating your trunk to bring it towards the floor on the other side of your body. If you have limited motion, you should feel a stretch in the middle of your back. Only go as far as you can without lifting your top knee or arching your back!