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Memories from DC

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Do you have a city that holds an emotional place in your heart? They may be positive emotions:

  • where you got married!
  • where your first child was born!
  • where you ran your first marathon!

Or they may be negative:

  • where you got your first speeding ticket
  • where you broke your leg
  • where your parent died

Sometimes, you have a city that just triggers you.  There is a memory or a time that was spent in that place that was either so positive or so negative that you constantly place that emotion on that particular city.

Every time I think of Paris I remember waking my 3 year old up at 11 pm to watch the pretty lights sparkle on the Eiffel Tower.  It is no surprise she dreams of living in Paris to this day.

I should have expected the trigger when I landed in DC after a red eye flight.  But, in my sleepless haze, I found my way to the Metro and figured out which direction I needed to go to reach my destination.  I stood on the platform and enjoyed the sunshine.  When the Metro arrived and I sat down, all the memories came flooding back.

Lorelei and I were medevac’d from Germany to Walter Reed Medical Center 12 years ago.  Since Lorelei was not a big fan of sleeping we arrived in DC pretty groggy.  I remember searching for the shuttle I had arranged to take us to the base while carrying enough suitcases to last us who knew how long.  We had a return ticket for 2 weeks later but there was no guarantee we would be going home then.

The shuttle was only able to drop us off at the gate for the base.  This was post 9-11 and there were civilians on the shuttle.  I had to carry my baby and all our stuff up the ¼ mile long driveway to the hospital.  But it was okay.  I was finding answers for my baby.  We would be fine.

You see, Lorelei was very sick as a baby.  She cried constantly whenever she wasn’t being held.  She didn’t eat very well because she couldn’t poop.  Lorelei had become a ‘failure to thrive baby’.  They had sent us to a specialist in Germany who ran all the big, scary tests.  No, she didn’t have any life threatening disease. Yes, she did have muscles to push things out from that end.  No, we don’t know what’s wrong with her.

Lorelei was so sick that they had pulled Matt out of Iraq to come home and care for Ainsley so Lorelei and I could go to DC.  Okay, let’s be honest, first they told me to leave my 3 years old with friends in Germany while my husband was in Iraq and I took Lorelei to the US.  When I explained (read: yelled) about how I wouldn’t do that, they brought Matt home from Iraq.

I finally found the place in the hospital where we were supposed to check in and get our lodging assignment for our time in DC.  When I explained that Lorelei was the patient and not my husband the lady at the office said those fate filled words “Then I cannot help you”.  This was during the height of the war and this office was focused on helping families of soldiers who had been injured in Iraq and medevac’d to Walter Reed.  My baby didn’t count.

I was alone in DC with a very sick baby and no clue where I would sleep that night.  No clue what answers we would find in this place.  No clue what the next step was.  As I got back on the elevator to go back downstairs my luggage literally exploded all over the place and I started bawling while trying to grab all my luggage and pull it into the elevator.

Luckily an intern walked by and took pity on the crazy woman crying with a baby strapped to her chest and luggage that was all over the place.  He finally got the story out of me and figured out what needed to be done.  He marched me downstairs and had the information desk get me a hotel room for the night with a shuttle to come pick me up.  I continue to offer up thanks to that intern. I was, and am, so grateful for his help.

As it turned out the trip was non-productive.  They ran the same tests they had already run in Germany which led to the same diagnosis that we had received in Germany.  Which was “we have no idea why your kid can’t poop but she needs to be on medication for the rest of her life”.  It would be 5 years before we found the naturopath and nutritionist who would finally give us the diagnosis of celiac disease.  This would allow all the pieces of the puzzle to come together and allow for the healthy teenager we now have.

Therefore, I should not have been surprised when 12 years later the Metro brings about all those fears, anxieties, and tears.  But I was surprised.  I had difficulty breathing.  I became nearly paralyzed with fear.  And I had to figure out how to put one foot in front of the other.

I started with gratitude for how much our lives have changed in 12 years.  That fussy, failure to thrive baby has turned into a beautiful dancer/8th grade President/super fun teenager.  And I was in the DC area for a conference to help me with business development.  Because I own my own business.  Which is so very awesome.

I was honest with myself and the people around me about what was going on.  I texted Matt to get some support and I also told my group what was going on.  I acknowledged that these were old memories surfacing which decreased their power.

I moved forward with what I was in DC to do in the first place.  I did let the memories have their time while I went for a walk before the conference started.  But, once the conference started, I let go of those memories and focused on what I was there to do.

Grateful, honest, and moving forward.

Maybe you find yourself in a place filled with fear, anxiety, pain, or overwhelm.  I encourage you to remain grateful for all the good you have in your life.  Be honest about where you are with people you can trust to vault that information.  And then figure out how to move forward.  You are not meant to live in this place.

Movement is Life

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You need to be able to bend over to work in your garden, pick up your grandchild, or do yoga.

You need to be able to squat to give a child a hug at their level, to do home renovation projects, or tie your shoelace on the side of the trail while you are out running.

You need to have foot flexibility to walk so you can go hiking with your friends, take the dog out for a potty walk, or keep up with the kids while they are riding their bikes.

You need to have shoulder motion to play basketball, do Pilates, or paint a wall in your house.

You need to have neck motion so you can check your blind spot while you are driving, lay on your stomach while you are sun bathing, or use your “third eye” to watch the children.

Movement is required for life.  Movement is required to be able to do the things we want to do every day.  They may not feel like amazing things but they are the things that you want to do.  The activities that make up your life.

Perhaps you are a stay at home mom who spends your day reaching down for little ones, picking up their toys, standing while preparing meals, or hauling all of their stuff everywhere.  Those are all movements and they are required for your life.

You may work in an office which requires you to drive to work where you are walking between meetings, standing for discussions, typing to communicate with your team.  Those are all movements and they are required for your life.

Retirement brings a whole new set of movements depending on what that looks like for you.  It may be renovating your forever home, outfitting a boat for sailing around the world, or loading up the fifth wheeler to travel the US.  Those are all movements and they are required for your life.

The tissues in our body need movement to get stronger, to become more flexible, and also to heal.  Muscles need heavy weight applied in order to grow and become stronger.  Bones need the muscles pulling on them to regenerate and avoid osteoporosis.  Spinal discs require rotation to bring in fresh nutrients to remain healthy.

Just as you need motion to live your life, your body needs motion to maintain your life.  If you stop moving then you stop living.  Your body has a harder time healing itself as it becomes more difficult to get the proper nutrition to the proper locations.

Movement is life.  Movement allows you to live the life you love.  Movement teaches your body to adapt thereby allowing you to do the things you love.

If you are not moving, you are not living your life to the fullest.  If you are not moving, you are not helping your body to heal itself.

When a muscle is tight it holds on to all the extra stuff that is meant to be pumped out on a regular basis.  This makes it harder to bring in fresh nutrition for the muscle to feed on.  As you challenge that muscle with your daily activities, it starts to hold on for dear life.  No amount of ice or heat will cause it to release.  It simply can’t because it has gotten into this holding pattern.

That muscle may be compressing a joint.  The joint needs movement in order for the cartilage to get its nutrition.  When cartilage becomes dry it leads to arthritis.  Arthritis leads to pain and decreased movement.

Or that muscle may be compressing a disc.  Spinal discs are like sponges that absorb nutrition when the pressure is released.  If they are constantly compressed they cannot receive the needed nutrition.  This causes degenerative disc disease.  It comes down to a lack of movement.

Movement is life.  Movement allows the tissues in our body to heal. Movement allows us to do all the things we value doing in life.

How is your movement?  How is your life?

If you are having difficulty with movement please reach out to us.  We are movement experts that love seeing you achieve the movement you need for your best life.

Snow Shoveling 101

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Snowpocalypse hit the Pacific Northwest and left behind snow, sleet, hail, slush, and ice.  Last I heard, the groundhog was awaiting extradition from the Bahamas for his poor forecast this year.  As we move forward to finally getting out of the house, here are some key tips to remember while you are shoveling all that snow.

#1 – Use the shovel to push the snow – Walk with the shovel in front of you to push the snow out of your way.  Kind of like your very own snow plow.  This puts the snow in a nice pile ready to be lifted.

#2 – Bend your knees – do a squat to pick up the snow with the shovel.  Bend your knees and keep your back straight.  This is critical when the snow is heavy as it is now.  Make sure you have two hands on the shovel to distribute the weight.

#3 – Pivot your feet – when you are getting ready to throw the snow make sure you pivot your feet.  This allows your back to stay in a neutral position.  Twisting of the spine with a weighted load (like snow!) is the most common cause of injury to the low back.

#4 – Make sure to breathe – keep your breathing regular.  Holding your breath while you are lifting increases the pressure on your back.  Breathing also helps to improve your endurance.

#5 – Take a break – we’ve gotten a lot of snow this year and clearing it away will take some time.  Make sure you take regular breaks to head inside, warm up, and drink some water.

Snow shoveling is a great workout when you can’t get to the gym, yoga studio, or Crossfit box.  If you need more of a workout, offer to clear your neighbor’s driveway too!  Be careful with your body if you are not used to performing heavy lifting or endurance type activities.  Give yourself lots of breaks and keep an even pace.

If you have any questions regarding proper snow shoveling technique or if you hurt yourself in the snow, please reach out to us at PT4EB.

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Why more people are choosing to pay cash to eliminate their pain

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We are all familiar with the usual course of treatment when we are dealing with an injury or chronic
pain. First, we go see our Primary Care Physician (PCP) who recommends pain medication and muscle
relaxers. We take those for 4-6 weeks and go back to the PCP when the pain is not any better. The PCP
then orders an X-ray which doesn’t show anything and we are referred to a specialist. It takes a couple
of weeks to get in to see the specialist. Meanwhile, the pain medication is not eliminating the pain and
is upsetting our stomachs. The specialist recommends either surgery or avoiding the activities that
cause pain. This is the assembly line of the modern medical system that leaves many people feeling
frustrated or hopeless.

Did you know that you could bypass this system?

In Washington State, you can see a Physical Therapist directly to deal with your pain issues. You do not
need a prescription. You may even be able to go in for a free consultation to get all your questions
answered and see if PT is right for you.

Don’t I need an MRI?

What if you could avoid the cost, hassle, and exposure of having an MRI? Research has proven that
what shows up on MRI’s is often not correlated to what is causing your pain. Often the pain is caused by
a movement dysfunction that an MRI cannot see. Physical therapists are experts on movement
dysfunctions. They are able to “see” areas that are not moving correctly and help to get them moving
pain free.

How do I know if Physical Therapy will even work?

Often the art and science of Physical Therapy does work, it is the mode of delivery that doesn’t work.
Traditional PT’s in an insurance based model are forced to see more patients in less time. They are
compensated for using things like ultrasound, E-stim, and ice/heat. In this system, the insurance
companies decide how much treatment you get instead of you and your therapist deciding on the best
plan for you. Insurance companies often dictate the schedule you are seen on which may not be the
optimum for your body or for your lifestyle. Having 2-3 PT treatments per week can be a strain on your
already busy schedule.

All of this restraint has caused Physical Therapy to get a bad reputation.

What other options are available to you if you don’t want to take medication, you don’t want surgery, or
you have had a bad experience with Physical Therapy before? You can take matter into your own hands
and pay out of pocket for an experience that is custom tailored to your unique needs.

You want me to pay for Physical Therapy?

Yep.

Here’s why – people will see a chiropractor, massage therapist, and personal trainer in an effort to
manage their pain and move forward with their lives. Physical Therapists are specialist in movement
disorders and have training to move stuck joints, release tight muscles, and teach you specific exercises
to help your body heal. We will also offer you loads of education on how to keep yourself healthy and
pain free in the future.

Here’s how – at PT4EB we spend more time with you. Most sessions are one hour. You are given our
complete attention for that one hour. We usually only see people once per week for 6 sessions and
then we spread sessions out. Often people require a total of 10-12 sessions. During and after your
treatment, we can check in over E-mail if you have any questions. Traditional PT clinics blow through
your 12 visits in 4-6 weeks. This is long enough to get you feeling better but not long enough to make
real changes in your body. The real changes you need for long term results. This costs you more in the
long run as the problem comes back.

Since the insurance companies do not decide on your course of treatment, we are able to spread your
visits out. We are able to give you undivided attention. You have time to get all your questions
answered. You have complete access to us both during and after your treatment for any questions that
come up.

Many times sessions can be paid for by submitting your claims to your insurance company. Please let us
know and we will provide you with a superbill – the paperwork needed to submit your claims. We also
accept Flexible Spending Accounts (FSA) and Health Savings Accounts (HSA)

People often come to our clinic as a “last resort” after exhausting their other options. They refuse to
have surgery which is the only medical option provided to them. People are tired of taking medication
because they realize that it only masks the symptoms. They are frustrated, disheartened, and
sometimes depressed over their lack of activity. The biggest question I hear is – how come I didn’t find
you earlier?

Are you curious if this model is right for you?

If you are local to the Maple Valley area, please feel free to give us a call. We are happy to answer all
your questions or have you come in for a free Discovery Visit to see if we are a good fit for your needs.
Please click here to fill out a brief contact form (link to contact form).
If you are not local please feel free to give us a call. We have a network of other providers throughout
the US that we can connect you with who hold these same values.

Your health is at least worth a conversation, right?

Traveling to Kenya

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I recently returned from a two week teaching trip in Kenya. I volunteer with a program that teaches Physiotherapists in Kenya hands on skills and clinical problem solving.

So, what was I doing there? This trip I was able to go into the clinic with the Physiotherapists and treat patients. This is a great opportunity for the wheels to hit the pavement with everything the students have learned in class. And, it gives us a chance to really check out their skills in a clinical environment.

Many people have asked me why I travel so far away to help a group of people that I had no direct connection with before I started traveling there. I have boiled it down to two reasons.

Reason #1 I travel to Kenya to teach – I WAS ASKED!

About 5 years ago, this program had a teacher drop out at the last minute. They threw the net wide trying to find someone who could go to Kenya for two weeks at the last minute. I happened to be transitioning to a new job and could take the time off work. So I volunteered.

How many times in our lives are we stuck, frustrated, overwhelmed, in pain, unsure of how to move forward in a situation? And, how many times do we ask for help? Our society prides itself on being independent and not needing help from anyone else. But, a beautiful thing happens when we open ourselves up to help from others. Not only are we blessed with their assistance, they are blessed to assist us.

I encourage you to think about any situations where you feel stuck and may need to ask for help. It may be in preparing for the holidays, it may be in getting through the holidays, or it may be a need you have had for a while. Find the person that can unstick you!

Reason #2 – I AM UNIQUELY QUALIFIED TO SERVE

The program I teach with requires an OCS or FAAOMPT. I have both. I also have my PhD which is kind of like an advanced teaching certificate. There are very few people who have all three of these qualifications so I fit their unique profile of instructors.

I enjoy traveling – especially when I get to meet new people. I lived in Germany for 3 years with the US Air Force and I realized that I LOVE to travel. But, I prefer it when I get to meet the local people and spend time with them. The trip becomes way more meaningful when you are able to break bread and have true discussion.

I love being a Physical Therapist and want to see the quality of PT improved worldwide. I believe that Physical Therapists offer a unique perspective as movement specialists. We understand how things are supposed to move and what can happen to the body when things aren’t moving correctly. PT’s are qualified to work on joints, muscles, ligaments, fascia -the entire body.

I am uniquely suited with these aspects of my personality and education to serve the Physiotherapists of Kenya. You are uniquely suited with aspects of your personality and education to serve a certain group of people. It may be your neighbors, it may be at the school your child attends, it may be at the home where your parent is living because they are no longer safe alone. Your people are out there and they need you.

I encourage you to take some time to think about all the people you serve in your life. And, think if there is anyone else you might be uniquely gifted to serve.

 

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