Caring For Arthritic Joints

arthritisOsteoarthritis is the most common type of arthritis. This degenerative joint disease is a chronic condition characterized by the breakdown of joint cartilage, leading to bones rubbing against each other.

Typically, it affects the ‘bigger‘ joints in the body, like the hip, knee, shoulder, even the spine. This leads to progressive stiffness, inflammation, pain and loss of mobility in the joint.

Many people think that exercising with a physical therapist at Monmouth Rehab Professionals in South Amboy, NJ is difficult, even impossible, because of the pain.

The truth is that an arthritic joint needs to get nutrition, and there is no better way to provide joints their nutrients than movement itself.

Exercise is actually beneficial for those with osteoarthritis, but there are some things to remember:
  • Exercise treatment plan provided by therapists at Monmouth Rehab Professionals in South Amboy, NJ will help you feel better, reduce pain, and improve your ability to do daily activities if done regularly.
  • A common symptom is pain after activity, which may make you reluctant to exercise. However, you can help relieve pain with heat or ice to stay active.
  • Ice is a great drug-free pain reliever. It helps decrease joint swelling and pain. If your joint hurts, apply ice for 15 minutes. If you don’t have a cold pack, a bag of frozen vegetables (like peas) will do the trick.
  • Exercise should be balanced with rest and joint care. If your joints hurt or you notice redness or swelling, rest your joints, and then try a little exercise.
  • Sharp or unusual pain may be a sign of injury. Talk to your physical therapist or health professional if you have new or more intense pain.
  • Always check with your doctor before starting an exercise program.

Joints and muscles need to be exercised to prevent stiffness and weakness. Also, exercise will make you feel better and help you maintain a healthy weight. Excess body weight places extra force and pressure on arthritic joints, which helps osteoarthritis progress more rapidly.

Why Should I Exercise?

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Here’s what happens without exercise. Less movement means more stiffness in your joints, making your osteoarthritis progress faster. Research suggests that if your joint is unusually loose or does not line up normally, some exercises may hurt more than help your joints.

Your physical therapist at Monmouth Rehab Professionals in South Amboy, NJ is the right professional to help you determine what exercise is best for you.

Stretching and strengthening exercises will help prevent associated stiffness and reduce stress on the joint.

For example, strong thigh muscles will minimize some of the stress off the weight-bearing joints of the knee and hips.

Exercise for people with osteoarthritis can help to:
  •  Improve joint function and movement
  •  Possibly delay or prevent the need for surgery. (For example, the need for knee replacements due to severe knee osteoarthritis)
  •  Improve strength, posture and balance in older adults, reducing the risk of falls.

Spring Into Group Exercise!

Exercising with a therapist at Monmouth Rehab Professionals in South Amboy, NJ or in a group is a lot easier than exercising alone. People with osteoarthritis who exercise in groups have less pain, less depression, and better joint mobility.

Here are 4 tips to keep your joints healthy:

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  • Watch your weight. That’s the best thing you can do for your joints. Research shows that with every pound gained, a person puts four times more stress on the knees.
  • Strong muscles cushion your joints. If your muscles are weak, your joints take the beating, especially your knees, which support your entire body weight. Talk to your therapist before starting any exercise on your own. You don’t want to strain the very joint you are trying to strengthen.
  • Low-impact exercises like biking and swimming are great for arthritic hips and knees, but this varies from one person to another.
  • Find out what exercises are safe for your joints. Research shows that those who participate in a home exercise program and also attend an exercise class have better gains in function.

So if you don’t know what exercises in physical therapy at Monmouth Rehab Professionals in South Amboy, NJ are right for you, call us today to see what’s best for your joints! We can help you spring into action!

5 Neurological Reasons for Muscle Weakness

exercisemoreWhat would you say if you found out there were legitimate reasons why your exercise program was failing to give you the results you desired?

There are five nervous system related issues that could be hindering your muscle strengthening and injury prevention efforts.  The brain communicates with every part of your body via nerves. This includes muscles, joints and various aspects of your skin.

These nerves run to/from the brain, go down the spinal cord, and then branch off to each and every part of the body. If anything along this path is disrupted, the nervous system communication with the muscles, joints and skin is compromised. This means your muscles will not contract as efficiently as possible!

Here are 5 nervous system related issues that could be preventing YOU from activating the optimum number of muscle fibers each time you exercise:
  1. Reduced sensitivity of joint receptors. This can impair feedback from the “end-point”(muscles) to the brain.
  2. Muscles imbalances. This can result in POOR movement patterns.
  3. Insufficient rest periods. Not resting enough (or resting too much) between sets can adversely affect recovery.
  4. Poor coordination due to a lack of balance. This results in further muscle imbalances.
  5. Impaired circulation. Nerves have their own circulation too. If this circulation becomes limited, the communication between muscles and nerves is negatively impacted.
Mind Over Muscle – Get Your Control Back!

The nervous system controls all the muscles of the body. Unfortunately, the mind-muscle link tends to weaken over a period of time unless you challenge your muscles on a consistent basis.

Here are 5 solutions to regain control of your muscles:
  • Nurture the right mindset for exercise. Don’t set yourself up for failure. The right amount of concentration helps optimize the results from your exercise routine.
  • Move in functional directions. This means multi-dimensional or 3-D movements. Remember to mix it up!
  • Improve coordination by challenging yourself with new exercises. Every new exercise or movement pattern demands new pathways of “communication” between nerves and muscles. The greater the variety, the better it is for your muscles.

  • Challenge your balance with core stabilization techniques. Ask your physical therapist to teach you the best exercises to improve your core stability.
  • Optimize your rest period between exercises. The right amount of rest between exercises can help optimize muscle recovery.

To determine the correct amount of rest in your therapeutic exercise regimen, give Physical Therapy at Monmouth Rehab Professionals in Englishtown, NJ, a call.

Interval Training Can Boost Muscle Activation

What is interval training?

actionInterval training is a type of exercise training in which you alternate between various intensities of exercise in a single session; switching back and forth between a high intensity phase and a low intensity phase.

An example of this is an exercise session in which an intense phase of exercise like weight training is alternated with a period of walking on the treadmill.

The idea is to challenge muscles in an unpredictable manner and keep the body “guessing” about what’s coming next.

Mixing up different components of your exercise routine (intensity, duration, frequency and type of muscles recruited) boosts the mind-muscle connection.

To find out more about how physical therapy can help you reach your goals, increase strength and reduce pain, get in touch with one of our highly qualified physical therapists at Monmouth Rehab Professionals in Englishtown, NJ.

Get the most out of your therapeutic exercise program with our expert physical therapists in Monmouth Rehab Professionals in Englishtown, NJ.

We’re here to help you become stronger.

Schedule an appointment by calling our therapists at Monmouth Rehab Professionals in Englishtown, NJ.

We look forward to helping you enhance the mind-muscle connection.

Posture Perfect

Poor posture is a direct consequence of a modern lifestyle. Poor posture can add years to an individual’s appearance without the slightest hint to the individual.

The truth is – overcoming poor posture can be challenging, especially if it’s been a long time in the making.

It’s likely that you may have poor posture and not know it, unless a physical therapist at Monmouth Rehab Professionals in Jackson, NJ or an exercise professional points it out.

This is exactly where we, at Monmouth Rehab Professionals in Jackson, NJ help you.

Our experienced staff of physical therapists at Monmouth Rehab Professionals in Jackson, NJ can alleviate poor posture and help restore muscle balance and proper joint alignment.

The causes of poor posture include:
  1. Habit: The unnatural postures of sitting at work (hunched over a computer), standing with uneven weight distribution, leaning forward with a rounded back tend to add up and cause a permanent, unnatural alignment of the spine. Unless we remind ourselves to “sit up straight”, the “bad” posture becomes “normal“.
  2. Injury: If your back, neck, or shoulder muscles have been injured, you may find it challenging to sit up straight. Injury or weakness in certain muscles can force you to slouch due to pain.
  3. Stress: Undergoing physical and/or mental stress can be exhausting on your body. Many people, when stressed, switch to shallow breathing which directly affects overall body posture. Physical stress, where we exert ourselves beyond our capacity can trigger incorrect posture. This can happen quite easily while moving furniture and appliances, or by lifting heavy boxes, or even by picking up infants, toddlers, and children improperly.
  4. Genetics: Unfortunately, poor posture can be passed from generation to generation.
  5. Shoes: Wearing comfortable shoes are essential for most activities. This is not just limited to the gym, running, or sports, but for every situation that requires periods of standing, walking, or moving in general. Inappropriate footwear can lead to generalized back pain, hip / knee pain, and postural problems.
Tips to keep you from getting injured:
  • posture2Try to stretch prior to physical exertion.
  • When pushing, pulling, or lifting, always take advantage of the strength in your legs, taking special care not to rely on your back for power.
  • To lift a box, bend your knees and pull the box close to your stomach. If the box is on the floor, don’t bend over to pick it up; even light boxes pose a hazard if they are picked up incorrectly.

With any activity, it is always a good idea to keep your back straight as often as possible.  There are proper techniques for moving and lifting heavy items.

Poor posture can also be an indicator of a more serious spinal condition, such as Scoliosis, an abnormal spinal curve. Scoliosis may be present from birth, or it may develop over time, although in most cases, its true cause is not fully understood.

Scoliosis can be very painful because it causes misalignment throughout the entire body, but it may be diagnosed as the result of rib, hip and shoulder problems, muscle variations in the back, or nerve dysfunction.

Practice Makes Perfect!

If you experience aches and pains as a result of poor posture, a good starting point is to try and correct your posture one day at a time. At work, place a small reminder on your computer, desk, or work space to keep you aware of your position, especially if you will be sitting for extended periods of time.

Self-awareness is part of the solution. If your body has found its way into an unnatural “comfort zone“, remind yourself that each day you sit up straight brings you one day closer to relief. We at Monmouth Rehab Professionals in Jackson, NJ will evaluate you to determine exactly what must be done to restore optimum posture and to relieve aches and pain, allowing you to function better and breathe more efficiently (plus, it looks better!).

Monmouth Rehab Professionals in Jackson, NJ As A Solution

posture3Monmouth Rehab Professionals in Jackson, NJ is a proven solution for poor posture and associated aches and pains.

Give us a call today and take advantage of our knowledge and expertise. We will teach you the right methods to look ‘posture perfect’.

Our skilled staff of physical therapists at Monmouth Rehab Professionals in Jackson, NJ will provide you with a precise, targeted exercise plan (and tips on exercises to avoid) to restore optimum posture.

We will also teach you the correct ways to sit and stand, move and lift items, get in and out of bed and exercise/breathing techniques to minimize strain on your joints.

Overall, the best way to prevent unwarranted injury is by using common sense and maintaining good posture.

So pick up the phone and give Monmouth Rehab Professionals in Jackson, NJ a call – good posture is what the human body was designed for, and that’s exactly what we can help you achieve!

Exercising Without Injuries

exercise1The intensity at which you exercise will determine what you get out of it.

Do you want to lose body fat? If so, you need to exercise at a different intensity compared to someone who trains to build muscle/tone up.

Unlike bones and joints, muscles have a greater blood supply.

Muscles can regenerate and respond quickly to the demands of exercise.

The goal of all your exercise-related efforts with our therapists at Monmouth Rehab Professionals in Marlboro, NJ should be to strengthen muscles and avoid overload of the bones and joints (likely to cause pain and injuries).

Typically, exercising with weights can cause soreness, which is a dull aching pain in the muscles. This soreness generally subsides in a 2-3 days, during which your muscles get a chance to rest and emerge stronger.

On the other hand, aerobic exercises like walking, cycling, and swimming typically do not cause muscle soreness. They serve a different purpose, and are invaluable in conditioning your heart and lungs.

The Difference between Soreness and Pain

pain againSoreness usually occurs the day after exercise due to an overload of exertion on your muscles, and the release of stored chemicals from your muscles. This is the reason why soreness sometimes gets worse a day or two after exercise.

This is a phenomenon called “Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness” (DOMS).

It is more likely to occur if you try new exercises or exert yourself more than you should.

You will feel mild discomfort and not necessarily pain which should subside with rest. It’s important to remember that if you do the same exercise over a period of time, the level of soreness will decrease as your body adapts to it.

This is why we change your exercise routine every 3 to 4 weeks to help you gain maximum benefit at all times. On the other hand, pain after exercise tends to be sharp and localized around one area. It also tends to persist and sometimes get worse. You should never exercise ‘through the pain’ since this may cause injuries.

If you experience pain during exercise, give our physical therapists at Monmouth Rehab Professionals in Marlboro, NJ a call right away so we can determine the cause of your pain and help you manage it.

Your Pain Prevention Plan

Improper technique, absence of warm ups/stretching and inadequate footwear is major causes of pain and consequently injury. When you feel pain, use the RICE method.

otherexercisesRICE is an acronym for:
  • Rest: Avoid anything that may cause an increase in pain.
  • Ice: Use an ice pack to reduce swelling and pain. Do not use the ice pack for more than 10-15 minutes at a time.
  • Compression: A handkerchief or bandage around the injured area helps minimize swelling. It should be firm, but not too tight.
  • Elevation: Keeping the injured body part elevated also helps to minimize swelling.
WARNING SIGNS: Seek immediate diagnosis from physical therapist at Monmouth Rehab Professionals in Marlboro, NJ if the pain:
  • Persists after 12 to 48 hours of ice and rest
  • Is sharp and limits movement.
  • Is accompanied by numbness, weakness, or swelling in the joint.

Don’t let aches and pains affect your gains. Call our expert therapist at Monmouth Rehab Professionals in Marlboro, NJ to see how we can help you with a speedy recovery.

Pain indicates distress to the body – listen to it and take action.

A timely trip to your doctor and/or physical therapist at Monmouth Rehab Professionals in Marlboro, NJ will facilitate recovery.

The Role of Physical Therapy in Women’s Health

Ever since the #1 New York Times bestseller entitled “Men Are from Mars, Women Are from Venus” by John Gray was published, more and more people have asked the question “What makes men and women so different?”.

Gray’s use of analogies and metaphors to highlight key differences between genders has made the book a modern classic.

Women's Health3Although Gray’s work was focused on relationships between spouses, it is important to understand that there are several physical and physiological attributes that are unique to women, and physical therapy plays an important role in women’s health.

Three functions in particular, are unique to women. These are as follows:

  • menstruation,
  • pregnancy,
  • and lactation.

These functions are intricately tied to complex hormonal patterns in women, which also influence behavior.

Some of the fundamental physical differences between men and women include:

  • Men have more muscle mass than women.
  • Women tend to have a higher proportion of body fat than men. This fat is generally stored in the breasts, hips and buttocks.
  • Men tend to have more body hair (especially facial hair)

Physical therapists understand the physical differences (and unique needs) of the female population and are uniquely qualified to assist women to live healthy, pain-free lives.

Women’s Health Issues and The Role of Physical Therapy

 Women's HealthSpecific actions need to be taken to ensure healthy aging for older women. Physical therapy can help identify (and eliminate) risk factors for falls and fractures. Regular strengthening and weight bearing exercise can slow down the reduction in bone density as women age.

You may be asked to visit your physician to learn about the risks and benefits of hormone replacement therapy. Screening for calcium, vitamin D and vitamin B12 deficiency is also recommended. Pelvic floor dysfunction and  incontinence can also be treated with physical therapy.

Here are some of the conditions (some of which tend to be more common among women) in which physical therapy can play an important role:

  • Osteoarthritis
  • Osteoporosis
  • Breast and other cancers
  • Rehabilitation following breast surgery
  • Lymphedema
  • Post-menopausal heart disease
  • Chronic myofascial pain
  • Patellofemoral pain syndrome
  • Hypermobility syndrome
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Sacroiliac (SI) joint dysfunction
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Ailments unique to female athletes

PT in WomenPhysical therapy helps reduce discomfort and recovery before, during and after pregnancy. Pregnancy related issues include heel pain (plantar fasciitis) and associated aches and pains.

Physical Therapy and Women’s Health

Exercises and techniques to treat issues specific to women include:

  • Muscle retraining – This creates body awareness (how you get in and out of your car, how you bend to pick things up, how you sit, overall posture, etc.) and improves movement patterns. Kegel exercises to strengthen weak pelvic floor muscles in addition to Pilates can be very beneficial.
  • Exercise Therapy – helps improve mobility, strength, and endurance. This also strengthens bones and joints.
  • Modalities – Application of heat and/or ice, electrical stimulation therapy, and massage therapy to reduce pain, stiffness, and swelling.
  • Manual therapy – helps improve joint and soft tissue flexibility and mobility by using repetitive and specific hands-on movements and motions.

Every physical therapy program is different, depending upon the issue at hand.  Your physical therapist can work with you regularly and design a program specific to your needs no matter who you are.

Please call us today and we can help make your life less stressful and less painful.

 

Improving Connections Between Nerves and Muscles

Most people have heard about multiple sclerosis (MS), but don’t know much about this autoimmune disease. It’s a debilitating and progressive condition that affects the brain and spinal cord.

v1Normally, nerves are encased in a thin and protective insulating coating called myelin. Multiple sclerosis causes the immune system to ‘turn on itself’ and eat away at the myelin. In the early stages, MS is difficult to diagnose. Symptoms may come and go over a period of time. Depending upon the extent of damage, patients may experience tingling or pain, electric shock-like sensations, vision issues and slurred speech, along with tremors and lack of coordination. Symptoms range from mild to severe. Patients are extremely sensitive to changes in temperature and fluctuations can trigger symptoms.

The cause of multiple sclerosis isn’t known, but the disease has been linked to a variety of viral infections. MS can strike at any age, but typically appears between the ages of 20 and 40. Multiple sclerosis primarily affects women and is associated with a family history. Severe complications include loss of bladder and bowel control, muscle paralysis, depression and epilepsy.

 

Improving Quality of Life

 

With any condition involving the nervous system, it is imperative to start working with a physical therapist as soon as possible. Physical therapy techniques to improve quality of life include: 

v2Electrical Stimulation – When a patient is unable to initiate muscle contracts, electrical stimulation provides the means to help keep muscles mobile and toned.

Gait Training – This treatment technique prevents muscle atrophy and conditions patients to walk again. It is effective for individuals experiencing numbness in the extremities and helps improve balance.

Aqua Therapy – Performed in warm, shallow water, this is a relaxing and rejuvenating form of treatment. Exercises and motions are easier to accomplish and strength and coordination is improved.

Progressive Strengthening – Improving strength and mobility through gentle, flowing motions helps build core and pelvic floor strength. This helps prevent falls due to unsteady gait and muscle weakness.

Individualized Training – A training program is tailored to each individual, and independent home exercise is encouraged. Exercise is appropriate for MS patients at all levels, and a physical therapist can prescribe the correct level of intensity and frequency.

Movement Adaptations – Minor adjustments to the home and work environment can help the patient adapt to fatigue and temperature sensitivity. Assistive technology such as canes, crutches and wheelchairs are used to improve quality of life.

 

Freedom is one Phone Call Away…

 

v3Physical therapy is an essential part of an overall treatment plan for patients with multiple sclerosis. In fact, physical therapy can help most individuals recover from diseases / injuries affecting bones, joints, muscles and nerves. The scope of physical therapy is significant, and we can help most people improve their quality of life.

A physical therapist uses an arsenal of treatment techniques, procedures and modalities to help improve strength, mobility and stability. This is invaluable for patients with MS, as they learn adaptive techniques to mitigate the symptoms of the disease. The end result of less pain and discomfort, more freedom of movement and higher quality of life.

Multiple sclerosis is associated with unique challenges for the patient, both physical and emotional. Physical therapists use a combination of modern treatment techniques, old fashioned encouragement and moral support. Call us today to learn more about how we can help you, and your loved ones enjoy a higher quality of life. Freedom is one phone call away. We look forward to hearing from you.

Vestibular Rehabilitation Therapy

The loss of any of the five senses is especially distressing, and one of the most frightening for any individual is the loss of balance and equilibrium due to a vestibular disorder. The condition occurs when there’s a disruption of the vestibular system that encompasses the inner ear and brain that controls eye movement and balance. When the vestibular organs are damaged from disease or injury, the brain can no longer rely on them for accurate information about equilibrium and motion, often resulting in dizziness, vertigo, balance problems, and other symptoms.

Physical therapy can help. The goal is to retrain the brain to recognize and process signals from the vestibular system in coordination with vision and proprioception.

An estimated 35 percent of all adults in the U.S. have suffered from some type of vestibular dysfunction, but it can also occur in children. The nature of symptoms and potential causative factors make it a difficult condition to diagnose.

 

There is Always Hope

A Vestibular disorder can result from an injury, stroke or neurological problem, but it’s also common in chronic diseases that include diabetes. It can result from cataracts, aging or a viral infection, causing a distorted sense of touch, the sensation of floating or that the world is spinning. Symptoms can range from mild to severe and have a significant impact on a person’s quality of life.

When the condition appears in children, it affects the child’s balance; motor development and unstable eye focusing makes it difficult to learn to read. Many children go undiagnosed since it’s not a condition for which youngsters are typically screened. It’s extremely frustrating for individuals seeking a quick diagnosis and for parents trying to find treatment for their child.

Vestibular rehabilitation therapy (VRT) offers hope for those suffering with vestibular disorder. The physical therapist will create a treatment and management plan of exercise that addresses the underlying causes and alleviates any compensatory behaviors an individual may have developed. VRT can be used alone or in conjunction with other therapeutic techniques.

 

Regain Your Balance

Patients will learn ways to compensate for the sensory deficits that they have experienced. Individuals learn new ways to move and perform tasks that reduces the potential for falls and injuries. Virtual reality is being utilized in some practices to improve control and balance. Therapists also monitor individuals for signs of emotional disturbances, anxiety and depression, all of which are common for those with this disorder.

Vestibular rehabilitation therapy is a proven method for addressing the underlying causes of the condition and assisting individuals with the disorder to learn how to live, work and play safely. Vestibular disorder can be temporary or long-term and the techniques available through physical therapy improve overall quality of life.

STROKE RECOVERY WITH PHYSICAL THERAPY

A stroke occurs when a clot blocks blood flow to an area of the brain, resulting in death of brain cells and damage to the brain. This can result in a variety of symptoms. These can range from weakness and altered sensation to paralysis and complete loss of sensation.

 

While traditional medicine helps in the immediate management of patients and prevents further injury, the best way for a patient to regain independence and quality of life is progressive, supervised exercise under the guidance of a licensed physical therapist.

 

Why Physical Therapy?

Physical therapists can help a stroke patient to learn or restore movement patterns essential for day-to-day activities. In addition to motion, a therapist can help improve muscle control, regain balance and stability and boost confidence. A therapist will also help a stroke patient avoid exercises and activities that can be potentially harmful, while creating a safe home environment conducive to rapid recovery.

 

A New Beginning – New Movement Patterns

 

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A stroke is almost like a bolt of lightning to the nervous system. The effects are difficult to predict. The objective with physical therapy is to make the most out of the given situation, and focus on the basics of motion, strength, balance and environmental awareness. A stroke can forever alter the patient physically and emotionally. Physical therapy plays a critical role in recovery by facilitating:

 

 

 

1 – The programming of new movement patterns – Physical therapists will encourage patients to perform both active and passive movements with the upper and lower extremities. This will help the patient regain independence, starting with simple tasks like sitting upright in bed, and getting out of bed independently. These are essential aspects of a happy, healthy and independent life.

2 – The importance of environmental awareness – Simple measures such as stroking the skin or tapping the joints can help regaining awareness of the senses. Orientation between the body and surrounding objects is often impacted.

3 – Continued rehearsal at home – A home exercise program involves repetition and self-training for the patient. In most cases, support from a family member goes a long way for the patient

 

The Freedom Everyone Deserves…

There are things that some of us take for granted in life. It’s part of the fabric of human nature. A stroke can rob an individual of fundamental things like muscle control, sensation and balance and shatter the patient’s lifestyle. Physical therapists help patients to cope with the aftermath of the neurological impact of a stroke. They provide the patient (and the family) with the tools (and the courage) needed for recovery.

 

 

If you or someone you know has any movement problems, then don’t hesitate to contact us. As your chosen experts of movement and function, we appreciate the opportunity to serve you.

You’ll be amazed with what physical therapy can do for you. Regular sessions with a therapist can help every individual live life to the fullest. Don’t let a stroke (or any limitation) hold you back. Reach out to us. We will help you get the freedom you deserve by helping you get rid of pain and limited motion.

What I Have Learned From Marathon Training…

In preparing for my 6th marathon which I will be running at the end of the month, I have stubbornly come to realize a few things which should have been obvious to a health professional such as myself.  It is with a bit of embarrassment that I am sharing this information with you!

While many of the items on this list will seem very obvious, it doesn’t really hit home until you personally experience the side-effects of not following “the rules.”  So without further ado I present to you Brian Paul’s Obvious Tips for Successful Marathon Training

1. Get Enough Sleep – I can’t emphasize this one enough.  With a family of eight to care for and 2 physical therapy clinics to run, extra time is not a luxury that I am afforded!  In trying to do everything I need to do, I am oftentimes awake well past 1 AM and then trying to wake up at 6 AM to do my training runs.  The National Sleep Institute recommends a minimum of  7  hours of sleep per night in order for your body to function optimally.

While I understand the benefits of a good nights sleep, I never really felt that it would affect my performance.   Boy was I wrong.  All year I have been complaining to my wife that I feel like I am running in mud.  I figured that much of my sluggishness was due to the fact that I would start running about 10 minutes after I got out of bed in the morning.  She had been telling me all along that I wasn’t getting enough sleep.  Eventually I decided to listen to her and started going to sleep earlier and let me tell you it has made a tremendous difference.  Those early morning runs have gotten much easier and I have had a lot more energy.

2. Stay Well Hydrated – This is another obvious one that you don’t realize how detrimental the effects of lack of hydration are until you have dehydrated during a run.  Many times I have gone out on a run and either forgot to bring along a drink or didn’t drink enough beforehand.  After a few miles you begin to experience the feelings of dehydration – nausea, lack of energy, headache, etc.

The problem with dehydration is that once you have experienced the effects of dehydration it is usually too late to reverse the effects.  I have personally felt the effects of dehydration for hours and sometimes days after not properly hydrating during a run.  I recommend wearing a hydration pack or putting out drinks along the course you are running for any run longer than 6 miles.

3. Change Your Shoes – While I recognize that everyone is in a different position financially it is still very important to change your shoes every few hundred miles.  The negative effects of wearing worn out shoes can be disastrous for your training and more importantly for your legs in general.  I realized a few weeks ago that I have been running with the same sneakers since last spring which probably equals well over 1,000 miles.  This is way too many miles.  I felt the difference in my running, as I constantly felt like I wasn’t running at my best, and I felt the difference in my legs, as my knees and ankles were always achy.

After switching sneakers I feel much lighter on my feet and I haven’t experienced the achy pains in my legs. I realize that these may seem like obvious suggestions, but I have finally come to the realization that I am no longer 20 years old, and can’t just roll out of bed and perform at my best. As I get closer and closer to 40 I have to listen to and take care of my body if I am going to continue training for and running marathons.  Lets hope these changes that I have made help me have success at the Buffalo Marathon on May 25th!

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Work Conditioning

Work Conditioning is an exercise-based program developed for workers, which equal the pursuit of injured employee to the physical requirement of his/her job. For an individual’s conditioning program, it is designed to meet the worker’s job demands, which are recognized during the first assessment with the physiotherapist, established with the employer or the company and when available through a special study of a physical requirement analysis report.

Work conditioning is considered very important in our present society. The objective of work conditioning is to ensure that injured workers are safely returned to productive work in a sensible manner.

Education is a major component of this work conditioning program.

The Monmouth Rehab Professional Work Conditioning program was basically developed as the final phase in the rehabilitation process. The Work Conditioning program is a coordinated continuation to both acute and chronic rehabilitation programs. What we do in our Work Conditioning program is providing the strengthening, stabilizing and conditioning essential for work simulation and return-to-work.

Criteria for Work Conditioning/Work Hardening:

As earlier said, work conditioning program is the final stage of rehabilitation exercise. Certain criterial are important in work conditioning program, and they are important for optimum outcome. Patients will be measured eligible for the Work Conditioning program when all necessary acute and chronic rehabilitation objectives have been attained and the patient has regain its fitness, has a pain-free, and restriction-free range of motion.

In standard work conditioning, all possible improvement has been made in both the acute and chronic rehabilitation stage, yet left over pain and dysfunction does exist for which the therapist or physician requires additional treatment to ensure the worker is fully competent to return to work.

Patients who undergo work conditioning program have strong return-to-work goals and they should be able to prove a willingness to participate.

Advantages of work conditioning:

Work conditioning programs have some great benefits for both the worker and the employer. The benefits may not be fully compiled in this article, but few well recognized advantages are:

Aggressive, one-on-one conditioning program

Recognized physical requirement critical to the patient’s pre-injury job, which help to monitor whether a worker is healthy enough to return to work or not.

Assessment and forwarding of patient’s progress in biweekly basis to help the worker perform better at work.

Realistic and useful return-to-work objectives that address the patient’s specific needs.

Patients of different diagnoses can be efficiently treated through Monmouth Rehab Professional Work Conditioning program. Diagnoses include but are not limited to: fractures, low back pain, strains, post-surgical, sprains and other complaint resulting in a loss of minimum 6 weeks of work

At Monmouth Rehab Professionals, we help both workers and employers get the best by planning a standard work conditioning program and follow up assessment.