The Hip Bridge: A video tutorial
The Hip Bridge: A video guide
Movement expert, Jen Hemond is back with some excellent tips on a foundational movement that EVERYONE should be doing for better movement and muscle activation. The Hip Bridge. Here’s an excellent video that Jen offers some great advice for fixing the bridge. Check it out!
Staff Spotlight: Kristin Franson
Kristin works as the Practice Manager at Dan Wyand, PT & Associates. She grew up in the Northeast Kingdom and after spending several years living out of state, returned to this beautiful area to raise her two daughters.
Kristin holds a degree in Business Management and a Certificate in Human Resource Management, both from Champlain College. She has been with DWPT for 13 years.
Kristin is an avid Celtics fan and in her free time she enjoys watching their games, attending her daughters’ sporting events, or traveling with her husband and two daughters.
Activity Modification: Step by Step
Attention Athletes and Active Individuals!!!
This one is for you! Pain is not weakness leaving the body!
For many of us lifelong athletes, that is not what we were led to believe. However, thankfully our therapist Kelly Wilkins has a great step by step plan for helping us weekend warriors squash old beliefs. Here is your roadmap to Activity Modification- modifying daily tasks to ensure that you are optimizing your recovery from injury.
Vary your activity to avoid repetitive stress. Complete the activity when you are most rested- for some this is in the morning, some in the afternoon. If you can plan your activities on a daily basis, you will feel mentally better about accomplishing more when you are in less pain.
Listen to your body. Change activity regularly as well as your position to avoid pain. This is an important one. You must be in tune to your body and the signals it is trying to tell you. It’s telling you those messages for a reason. And that reason is not because you are a weakling or a wimp.
Plan your day- break up activity to avoid over doing. Break tasks into smaller activities throughout the day or week. If you are like me and enjoy knocking things off your ‘to-do list’, this can be a hard one especially when you are short on time. However, the more you listen to this specific task, the faster your recovery can be and the sooner you can be moving without pain.
Reorganize to avoid repetitious tasks especially overhead. Keep what you use the most accessible at waist height. Minimize lifting heavy loads. Keep items in close avoid lifting with arms out stretched. Watching your posture is a very important component to ensuring your body positioning is optimal.
Kelly Wilkins, MPT
Kelly has been employed at Dan Wyand, PT & Associates since December 2003. She graduated from the University of New England in 2002 with a Bachelor of Science and went on to complete her Master’s in Physical Therapy in 2003.
She has continued her education through multiple courses geared towards women’s health, including Pregnancy & Postpartum, Beyond Kegels I and II and Female Pelvic Floor Dysfunction. She has also received training in various other manual therapy techniques.
Staff Spotlight: Erin Galarza
Erin Galarza, PT, DPT, OCS
Erin graduated with a Doctor of Physical Therapy degree from Pacific University in 2013. She has over seven years’ experience as an outpatient orthopedic physical therapist treating general orthopedic conditions, aquatic therapy, and pelvic health.
As a pelvic health physical therapist, she treats bowel, bladder, and pelvic pain conditions in both male and female clients, as well as female pelvic organ prolapse.
In 2018 she became a Board Certified Clinical Specialist in Orthopedics. She has been practicing as a physical therapist in Washington State prior to her move to Vermont in 2020.
Erin enjoys traveling and taking in the outdoors.
Carpal Tunnel. What is it?
Carpal Tunnel: What is it?
In the United States Carpal Tunnel syndrome affects 1 in 3 per 1000 people. It is an upper extremity condition that affects the median nerve with symptoms of numbness, tingling, burning and aching which affects the thumb, index, middle and ring fingers.
Once symptoms occur, there are multiple different treatment options which include splinting, resting, icing, Occupational and Physical Therapy, cortisone injections by an MD, and surgical intervention. Diagnosis comes from a team of specialists including Neurology, Primary Care providers, Orthopedic Surgeons, and Physical/Occupational Therapists.
In Occupational Therapy we start with splinting utilizing thermoplastic material to make a custom splint to support and decrease compression to the median nerve.
Interventions such as stretching, pain and edema management, and nerve glides are utilized to minimize symptoms and symptoms are monitored creating a treatment plan which best fits the individual.
The good news is- Carpal Tunnel can be treated, and this is not a pain that you have to live with!
Tiffany Benoit, OTR/L
Tiffany is an Occupational Therapist at Dan Wyand, PT & Associates. She joined the team in the spring of 2013 as a Physical Therapy Aide assisting clients with their workouts in the gym.
She graduated from Lyndon State College in 2103 with a BS in Exercise Science with a concentration in pre-professional Physical Therapy. She completed the Masters in Occupational Therapy Program at Utica College and now provides inpatient Occupational Therapy for patients at NVRH, and outpatient Occupational Therapy for Dan Wyand, PT & Associates.
Tiffany enjoys staying active and spending time with her family.
Coaching the Split Squat
Coaching the Split Squat
Working with clients over the years I have found that most struggle initially with the split squat movement. As a coach I want my clients to be able to perform a split squat before a lunge movement and it was surprising to me how many struggled with this.
Over the past few months I have been working in the clinic with a lot of knee replacement patients and these patients have to re-learn a lot of movements but also retrain their bodies to utilize muscles they may not have previous to their surgery.
For these patients, and honestly for a lot of clients I had in the gym, being able to perform daily activities with relative ease is very freeing to them, especially after a major surgery.
In regards to the split squat, for a patient to get down and back up off the ground is a huge accomplishment and how I teach that is initially for the patient to perform a split squat with or without a modified depth goal (depending on the patient).
The important thing to remember with the split squat is that it is a 2 leg exercise. You MUST use both legs in order for it to work effectively. And this is a common mistake that a lot of my clients initially performed before correction. I want to primarily discuss the back leg in the split squat (this also carries over to the lunge movement).
The first thing I tell my clients is that the back leg initiates the movement of the split squat. I tell them that because it keeps the front knee in a good place and keeps your body weight over your hips where it should be. Bending the front knee first pushes weight forward onto the front knee more than you want. The second cue I tell my clients is to lift the back heel but keep the toes planted. This foot position keeps the back leg engaged and prepared for the lift phase of the split squat (getting off the floor). The video below shows the two foot positions; the first one is a non engaged back leg for lift off and the second foot position is an engaged back foot position for lift off.
So to review:
Once in split position, keep back foot engaged by planting toes and heel elevated of back leg.
To initiate the movement, bend the back leg knee first to keep weight centered over the hips and utilize both legs in the movement.
To lift from the ground push through the front leg heel and the back leg toes to engage both legs.
Ben Warstler, CSCS, NSCA-CPT, USAW-1, KBA, YFS-1
Ben, former owner of Fortitude Fitness Systems, INC (Bens Bootcamps) for 12 years is returning to his roots in rehabilitation. Ben graduated from the University of Maine at Presque Isle with a degree in Athletic Training in 2001.
Expanding his Sports Medicine skill at Amherst College for 2 years working with 40 varsity athletic teams, Ben moved more into the strength and conditioning field but has always pulled on his athletic training background. He enjoys seeing his clients realize their potential and break through previously thought barriers in their movement and abilities.
Ben, originally from Maine, moved to Vermont in 2005 and lives in Lyndonville with his 4 children, and wife Nedah. In his free time Ben enjoys weightlifting, spending time with his family, and upcycling furniture.
Staff Spotlight: Neil Abella
Staff Spotlight: Neil Abella
Neil Abella is our newest Physical Therapy Assistant and is based out of the St. Johnsbury clinic. Neil took units in Master of Physical Therapy from Southwestern University after graduating from his 5-year Bachelor of Science in Physical Therapy course from Misamis University in the Philippines.
Neil graduated from the Physical Therapist Assistant Program from River Valley Community College in Claremont, NH in 2017. He has had various exposures in acute/subacute care, community-based rehabilitation, outpatient, skilled nursing facility, and home health settings in the Philippines and in the US for the past 20 years.
Neil is also a certified First Aid instructor in the Philippines and held an EMT license here in the US. He recently got certified this year for the LSVT BIG Program to help People with Parkinson ’s disease.
Neil greatly enjoys mountain biking, stand up paddling, and hiking with his family. He gets immense pride in defeating his 9-year-old and 22-year-old sons in games of chess and he loves to walk his high energy dog, Rocky twice a day.
What the heck are Kegels?
What the Heck is a Kegel?
What is a Kegel?
A Kegel is the general name for doing a pelvic floor muscle exercise. The pelvic floor muscles are located in the base of the pelvis and are situated like a bowl or sling. There are three main muscle layers. Everyone has pelvic floor muscles and they play an important role in bowel, bladder, and sexual function. The pelvic floor must be able to contract, relax, and bear down for normal function.
When should I do Kegels?
This can vary depending on if any pelvic symptoms are present, like urinary leakage or pain. In the case of urinary leakage with coughing, sneezing, laughing, or standing from chair, you should do a kegel while this is happening to try and prevent the loss. If you want to practice kegels for general strengthening, I encourage them to be done while standing or doing activity and not just with sitting. Many times when I hear about patients leaking, it occurs with more functional tasks and less so at rest. In the case of pain, pelvic floor muscles are often tight or tense, which will make them difficult to activate more. Those individuals may need to address relaxing the muscles first, before worrying about strength.
Why should I do Kegels?
Kegel exercises can be beneficial to strengthen the pelvic floor muscles. By doing these with functional tasks, you can help reduce urinary leakage, bowel leakage, and pelvic organ prolapse. These muscles are also part of the core and help be supportive during increased physical load or stress on the body.
How do I do a Kegel correctly?
A kegel can be properly performed by pretending to stop flow of urine and hold back from passing gas. (Please do not regularly practice stopping flowing of urine as this is a reflex system, but okay to test). This should be a very light activation that does not involve your butt muscles, abdominals, or chest moving. You should also be able to keep breathing while you perform them. The activation should be like a light squeeze and lift. Overall, it should feel isolated to the pelvis and have no movement from an outside perspective (someone at home shouldn’t be able to notice you are practicing).
If you have any concerns related to pelvic floor symptoms or dysfunction, I recommend you follow up with a pelvic health physical therapist. All you need is a referral from your doctor.
Erin Galarza, PT, DPT, OCS
Erin graduated with a Doctor of Physical Therapy degree from Pacific University in 2013. She has over seven years’ experience as an outpatient orthopedic physical therapist treating general orthopedic conditions, aquatic therapy, and pelvic health. As a pelvic health physical therapist, she treats bowel, bladder, and pelvic pain conditions in both male and female clients, as well as female pelvic organ prolapse. In 2018 she became a Board Certified Clinical Specialist in Orthopedics. She has been practicing as a physical therapist in Washington State prior to her move to Vermont in 2020. Erin enjoys traveling and taking in the outdoors.
Staff Spotlight: Melissa Morrison
Melissa is new addition to our office staff at the St. Johnsbury clinic. She has hit the ground running in the office and has fit in perfectly. Melissa is an insurance specialist who also ensures the front office runs smoothly. After a 10 year break from the medical field, Melissa decided she missed it and returned and we are incredibly proud to have her on staff.
Melissa’s favorite food is fruit and coffee. You can always see a large bowl of grapes/raspberries/blueberries next to her desk when she is in the office. It is also important to note that Melissa not only keeps snacks for herself but she also is the stocker of the ‘Life Saver bowls’ that we all have grown to rely on.
Melissa loves spending time with her grandkids, crafting and playing horseshoes and plans to do a lot of traveling in the near future.
Be sure to say hello to Melissa next time you’re in the St. Johnsbury clinic.