Pro Tips For Avid Runners

Here are my favorite pro tips for avid runners that will help to get you prepared for all those road races you have signed up for this fall!

1. Hydrate– For runners, tip number 1 is to hydrate! The importance of hydration is paramount when performing at peak capacity during any endurance sport, especially running. Considering that your body is 65% water, any shift toward dehydration will be deleterious to your health. My suggestion is to drink at least 32 oz. of water if you plan on running for more than 30 minutes at a time, especially on a hot summer day. Fruit is also a great source of water and simple carbohydrates that acts as a healthy ‘pre’ or ‘post’ run snack.

2. Stretch these muscles– calves, hamstrings, piriformis. Yes, and in that order too. I always advise my clients who run to perform these three static stretches daily even if they are not in pain. These muscles are part of a tissue system on the back of your body we call the “posterior fascial sling.” Put into layman’s terms these are the structures that control propulsion of gait, especially acceleration. If you have ever suffered a hamstring strain you know how difficult they can be to recover from. Do these stretches today and give yourself a competitive advantage knowing you will be able to train with improved longevity.
3. Cross Train- It is imperative for any level of runner, from novice to advanced, to cross train. What does it mean to “cross train?” Cross training involves working different body parts and muscle groups not commonly recruited during running. I suggest performing a 30 minute total body HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) workout 3-4 times per week. These workouts should target the whole body, not just the lower extremity. A good HIIT workout will include core training, conditioning, lateral strengthening and heavy lifting that will work your anaerobic muscle fibers. Anaerobic fibers are important for strengthening and help provide your muscles resilience against injury and overtraining.
4. Do this to avoid Shin Splints, or worse- If you experience pain in your foot, ankle, shins, knees, hips or low back (yes pretty much anywhere in your lower extremity), reach out to a local doctor of PT. Especially if you have redness, burning or swelling in your shins, as this can be a sign of compartment syndrome which is possible with severe overtraining and an emergency room level situation. It is important to know the difference between compartment syndrome and shin splints, though. Shin splints are micro stress fractures and micro tears along the Tibia (on either side) that can be treated with ice, proper manual therapy, and stretches and exercise. Compartment syndrome is characterized by severe pain and swelling in a particular compartment of the lower leg, with swelling effectively shutting off its blood supply. You need to call 911 if this is happening or immediately go to an ER. Shin splints are typically overuse injuries with pain at the beginning of running and usually after. Shin splints are typically due to a combination of overtraining, improper footwear, your body’s morphology (bow legs or flat feet), and is treated with good effect with Physical Therapy. If you are unsure call your local doctor of PT and they will guide you in the right direction.
5. Consider Orthotics– Foot inserts are expensive and controversial, so let’s chat about them. There are two main types of orthotics that I prescribe to patients. One is rigid, providing the foot with structure and controlling its motion during the gait cycle. The other version of a professional foot insert is accommodative, or supportive. The supportive inserts have a softer core and are more for those with arthritic feet who need both support and shock absorption. The best client who will benefit from orthotics is one who has a new onset of posterior tibialis tendonitis (pain on the inside of the lower leg), or plantar fasciitis. These two conditions are usually due to a flexible forefoot, which responds well to a controlling orthotic device. They don’t come cheap though so do your homework and find a professional who knows what they are doing.
6. Get a yearly gait assessment by a doctor of PT- The most important assessment any runner can get is a yearly gait assessment. Why yearly, you might ask? Well your body changes with the demands of everyday life. At some points in your life you may be more sedentary than others (think of COVID and working from home.) When you are not as active your body utilizes its muscles differently and it can affect your gait. Weight gain or loss can also affect your gait pattern. How about a nagging hip or low back injury? Injuries will commonly throw off your gait for an extended period of time. Luckily, using their magic, a PT can often diagnose what is out of alignment and fix it quickly and easily with some simply manual techniques and exercises to get you back in shape. The PT will also refer you for orthotics should you benefit from those as well.
7. Go anti-gravity- If you have severe arthritis, are overweight, or suffer from chronic pain but  love to run, what better option than running with less impact? In the very least it is worth a try, right? At Concierge PT in Sutton, we have an AlterG Via treadmill which not only will unweight up to 80% of your bodyweight, but can also perform a thorough gait analysis demonstrating your weight shifting patterns and strength deficits. If you love to run but haven’t had the chance due to pain, all hope is not lost! Call and ask about our AlterG treadmill. 

Stop Aging In Its Tracks

Looking for help forming healthy habits?

Do you struggle to stick with it because life gets in the way. As we age, we all want to know how we can live healthier, for longer. We would love to stop aging in its tracks alltogether! That is why Dr. Lordan wrote this healthy living guide book.

Since we can not avoid the inevitable, we have to do what we can to extend our time here. To live as healthy as we can, for as long as we can.

This new book, published by Dr. Sean Lordan, owner of Concierge Physical Therapy, is filled with practical tips and anecdotes that are easy to understand.  11 Winning Secrets – Stop Aging In Its Tracks is designed to help you form and streamline healthy habits. In this book, Dr. Lordan makes decisions simple and easy to follow. Available in paperback and digital on Amazon.com

Dr. Lordan tells readers that, “the solution to the problems ailing our baby boomer generation and beyond is this:

A holistic total-body approach is the key to keeping your body healthy and active, well into old age.”

  • The 11 Winning Secrets inside this book encompass the nutrition, exercise, mental health, and wellness solutions that will keep you active and healthy well into your golden years.
  • Learn to reprogram your body and mind by making simple changes, stacking healthy habits, and avoiding saboteurs that will impact your life expectancy and quality of life.
  • Use the practical examples in this book to inspire you just as they have done for countless others who decided to take control of how they look and feel.

Remember: It is never too late to stop aging in its tracks!

To order your copy of 11 Winning Secrets to Stop Aging In Its Tracks, click here. 

To schedule an appointment with one of our Doctors of Physical Therapy, contact our offices in Sutton (508)861-1010, OR Shrewsbury

(508) 841-5037. You can also book online, click here to book today.

5 Tips To Improve Your Core For Beach and Pool Season

Beach and pool season is in full swing. Show off a strong core (and ward away low back and neck pain) for the summer season.

Here are a 5 Tips To Improve Your Core For Beach and Pool Season.

  1. Do These 2 Exercises: Plank and Side-Plank. Both planks and side planks truly work your core. If you want that “cut” look at the beach or the pool, you need to work your innermost abdominal muscle group. These muscles are responsible for the corset effect of the core, stabilizing the spine. Side planks will also recruit the obliques, which act as adjust stabilizers of the spine and get rid of love handles.
  2. Hydration Is Key: It is no wonder many of us become slightly dehydrated on hot summer days at the beach or the pool! Our bodies are 60% water and when we’re outside, we’re primarily in the sun. The old rule used to be eight, 8 oz glasses of water per day. Drinking plenty of water will help maximize physical performance, will aid in weight loss and keep hydration levels up. Studies show that drinking a full glass of water before a meal, 3x per day, for 8 weeks, can significantly reduce body weight and fat compared with pre-study measures.
  3. Get a Foam Roller: Rolling out your mid back and opening up your chest by laying on the foam roller length wise is a great way to stretch your muscles and keep your posture in peak shape. It will help on the days you overdid it playing beach volley ball!
  4. Get Active: I talk about this is in my book. Walking, running and swimming are all great aerobic activities that are easy to perform during the nice summer weather. Aerobic exercises in conjunction with cross training are great for building a strong “core.” It is important to note that swimming is a great way to get aerobic exercise and protect the joints at the same time.
  5. Make Smart Food Choices: Do not consume processed foods. Processed foods are often tasty, but are loaded in sugar, sodium, and fat which will trick the brain into a craving. Have you ever had a hard time putting down the bag of Doritos? That’s why. Processed foods not only increase risk for many cancers but also are more calorie dense thus making it easier to put on added weight.

Schedule a core evaluation with one of our Doctors of Physical Therapy, click here. 

You can also call our offices in Sutton (508) 861-1010 , OR, Shrewsbury (508) 841-5037

A comprehensive Physical Therapy Evaluation with a Doctor of Physical Therapy. Dr. Lordan provides you with a specialized assessment on your sports or orthopedic condition.

About Dr. Lordan:

Dr. Sean T. Lordan is a leading Physical Therapist and author of 11 Winning Secrets – Stop Aging In Its Tracks. His focus is on delivering excellence in medicine and individualized care. His clinical practice is expansive, treating patients from pediatrics to professional and Olympic athletes.

Dr. Lordan is Specialty Certified in Orthopedics by the American Physical Therapy Board of Physical Therapy Specialties (OCS). He is recognized as a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS) through the National Strength and Conditioning Association and is Certified in Spinal Manipulation and Dry Needling.

Telehealth Physical Therapy

The Benefits of Telehealth

The advent of the novel coronavirus has changed medicine tremendously in just a short time span. Physical therapists and medical practitioners alike have needed to pivot their expertise to provide high-value care to their patients and clients via a different medium than the typical “office-visit.” Leading experts in medicine are now turning to Telehealth as the only option to provide medical services to their patients.

Specifically, specialties like physical therapy need to do this to continue to provide their clients with a high quality of care including Concierge Physical Therapy in Sutton where we are “raising the standard,” of care for our patients by being at the forefront of the Telehealth movement.

During this difficult time, the health community is offering Telehealth services to those who are forced to be home bound.

Here are some of the benefits of Telehealth:

  • Convenience: Speak with a doctor or physical therapist from the comfort of your own home.
  • Reassurance: Establish a daily exercise routine that will help you manage aches and pains.
  • Medical Expertise: Get true medical advice regarding your specific diagnosis regarding how long symptoms should last and whether or not they are “normal.”
  • Flexibility: Many varied appointment times to fit your schedule.
  • Secure: HIPPA compliant software ensures your safety and security with regard to your medical information.
  • Simple: You can connect with a doctor through any variety of applications, or even just communicate via telephone, if your prefer.

Many insurances are covering 100% of the Telehealth visit. Call for more details about what your insurance covers. As you can see there are a myriad of ways to get in touch with your care provider during this COVID-19 crisis, it appears in this issue of Grafton News, Grafton, MA.

There is no reason to suffer at home when it is as simple as reaching out to their office including Concierge Physical Therapy at (508) 861-1010.

Fix Achy Shoulders

Three tips to fix your achy shoulders from a Physical Therapist:

I am frequently approached by patients at my physical therapy clinic in Sutton because of painful overhead reaching. Patients want to know how to fix it! Shoulder impingements, and labral and rotator cuff tears are very common. Shoulder aches and pains can happen to anyone, at anytime, but specifically occurs more often in the later stages of life for those 50 and over. In fact, a study reported that 51% to 54% of people between 60 to 80 years old have a rotator cuff tear. The incidence of shoulder pain later in life is higher because your small rotator cuff muscles get less blood flow as you age. Less blood flow to the rotator cuff tissue in combination with fatty infiltrate of the muscle tissue and age-related sarcopenia (muscle wasting) is a recipe for disaster. You probably won’t take action until you either realize that you can’t pick anything up off the top shelf anymore, or the shoulder starts to hurt constantly. So what can you do today to mitigate your risk from dealing with achy shoulders for the rest of your life or fix your already achy shoulders?

Tip No. 1: Get a proper diagnosis

Shoulder pain could be coming from a variety of sources: radiculopathy from the neck and spine, adhesive capsulitis (frozen shoulder), ligament/ tendon tears, impingement, labral tears or potentially something more sinister like a tumor or fracture. It is best to consult with a physical therapist or your primary care physician if you are experiencing constant pain that is unrelenting and unmitigated by non-steroidal anti-inflammatories (NSAIDS) or Tylenol. The course of treatment will typically begin with a few sessions of physical therapy and potentially a cortisone shot if it is nothing serious. More serious conditions may require surgery, but a consult with a physical therapist is always a good place to start.

Tip No. 2: Exercise external rotators of the shoulder

In order to improve your shoulder symptoms, understand that, like any other muscle, your shoulder needs consistent resistance training to stay healthy. Resistance training for the shoulders is of particular importance because often the directions that we move our shoulders in our everyday routines are limited by poor posture and bad habits. The external rotators of your shoulder act to counter the poor postural forces placed on us during life’s everyday stress.

You must first correct your posture if you have any chance of eliminating or preventing shoulder pain. You should be seen by a movement specialist if your pain has been going on for longer than two to three weeks. However, if you are comfortable moving forward and trying a few of these exercises, then so be it. They will help you if your shoulder pathology is not too advanced. If you have pain that is intermittent and low on the pain scale (one to five out of 10), I suggest you try some exercises including external rotation of the bilateral shoulder using a band while standing; external rotation of the shoulder while side-lying; and the prone Y exercise.

Tip No. 3: Beware of your posture

If you’ve been spending hours slumped over your computer working from home or on long car rides recently, your posture is surely affected. Your head can weigh an extra 12 to 18 pounds for every inch it lies forward compared to the line of gravity. That’s a lot of extra work for the muscles in the back of your neck to keep up! My advice is to stay on top of your posture and potentially look into a tech option like the “Upright Go 2” device to give you daily feedback via your smartphone. The convenient device is placed on the back of your neck and buzzes every time you slouch.

In conclusion, try these few tips to get off to the right start for winter and football season. As always if you have questions or concerns, please click here to contact us!!

 

What others are saying about us :

“Best physical therapist to which I’ve ever been! The staff are amazing, and they go beyond just bringing you up to normal life mobility requirements. As a CrossFit athlete, my shoulder strength and mobility is key to my success. After working with Concierge PT, my shoulder is even stronger than before my injury!”

Four Ways to Improve Your Balance

Four easy ways to improve your balance at home:

Balance can be improved! A common misconception I hear at my physical therapy clinic in Sutton MA, is that balance is fixed and cannot be changed. This idea couldn’t be more false.

Everyone starts from a different point, but it is relatively easy to make positive changes with the right consistent habits and exercises. I’ve heard countless times, “I’m just clumsy. Can I really improve my balance?” Sure, some people are more “coordinated” than others. Both balance and coordination are modulated by circuitry derived from the cerebellum in the back of the brain. The cerebellum can be upregulated and neuromodulated to improve coordination by stressing any of the three major balance systems (I will get to that next). The key here is by working diligently on a specific exercise program that targets your lower extremity and core you will notice significant improvements and lower your risk for falls.

Balance is determined primarily by three different systems: sensory (touch/ feel) ; visual (eyes); and vestibular (inner ears). In the field of physical therapy, we work on all three in tandem in order to achieve optimal results to reduce your risk for falls and to improve your balance.

Below is an example of an exercise for each system:

  1. For the visual system, try VOR training: Fix your gaze on an object five feet in front of you and while keeping your eyes still on the object, move your head as far to the right as you can and then as far to the left as you can; then repeat. That’s one. Do three sets of 10. If you are dizzy, consult your PCP or local PT. (Note: this involves training your vestibular system, too, so its two-for-one!)
  2. For the vestibular system, try walking with head turns: Ambulate 10 feet in a straight line preferably on a tile floor to keep honest, and while ambulating, turn your head to the left and to the right. On the way back, continue to walk in a straight line, only this time, look up and down. Do that 10 times total, and once per day.
  3. For the sensory system, try SLS on a pillow: In the corner of the room, put down a balance pad or a pillow and balance on one foot. Your goal is to lift your foot 30 inches. If you lift your foot less than 10 inches, you are at risk for a fall, and if you can only hold your foot up five inches or less, you are at risk for an injurious fall (think broken hip, ankle, etc.) Try for three sets lifting your foot 30 inches each leg per day.

Poor balance increases your risk for mortality, especially in the older-than-70 age cohort. The test that I perform on all clients of mine who are septuagenarians or older is the SLS test. If, as above, they can’t hold for 10 seconds on each foot then we immediately tie in a balance program to their physical therapy treatment. Another key indicator of mortality is quadriceps strength. A functional test that I perform to determine quad strength is the five times sit to stand test. Those who are between 70 to 79 years old should be able to perform five sit to stands in less than about 12 seconds. Those age 80 to 89 should be able to perform five sit to stands in less than 15 seconds. This test shows me how powerful the quadriceps are because power is the derivative of speed over time. The faster the exercise is done, the more power the quadriceps tissue has.

Why is this all important and how does it tie to mortality you might ask? Good question! Simply put, when you can’t balance on one leg for very long and your quads are weak, it greatly affects your gait. Effects of poor balance on gait are well documented and include shuffling, decreased stride and step length, the phenomena of “staring at the ground,” to avoid obstacles, and ambulating with a bent knee posture. Have you ever tried to walk with a shorter stride length? Probably not because it feels uncomfortable, but I will tell you, it is much easier to trip when you are not getting your heel down to perform a full stride.

With a trip comes a fall, with a fall often comes a broken hip. Statistics vary, but hip fractures as the direct result of a fall can result in an 80% mortality rate within one year. Why so high, you may ask? Think about what happens after the fracture. A trip to the hospital where nosocomial infection (MRSA, STAPH) runs rampant. Plus, most likely a trip to a skilled nursing home and potentially a prolonged bout in a wheelchair and in bed which results in muscle atrophy. It is well documented that up to 12% of your muscles can waste away from lying in bed for just one week! So, what would you rather choose — some balance exercises in the corner of your room once a day, or a hip replacement?

Two types of dizziness: Lightheadedness and vertigo, and how to solve each:

We commonly see patients with vertigo at my clinic, and most often they are sent home that same day feeling 100% better from a simple maneuver we do after some testing to rule out other causes. Vertigo is a sensation of the room “spinning” around you. Similar to the sensation after getting off of a boat or a rollercoaster, it is due to an imbalance in the inner ear created potentially by a little crystal lodged where it shouldn’t be.

Lightheadedness is a different phenomena altogether. Lightheadedness, especially when felt from sitting to standing or from lying flat to standing, is from what we call orthostatic hypotension (OH). This, at times, occurs in older adults with poor peripheral blood flow and aerobic conditioning (or with a cardiovascular hx significant for another disease). The key is to be able to tell the difference and know where to go to get help. In both of these cases, I find it helpful to consult with the patients PCP in order to make sure we are not missing anything. If things are clear and we can move forward for those with vertigo, I perform the epley maneuver, and for those with OH, I move to condition their muscles and aerobic systems to improve their function and venous return.

If you suffer from impaired balance, perhaps a trip to your local physical therapist is in order. You will receive a bounty of exercises and hands-on therapy to improve your balance and reduce your risk for falls. Many times you are able to see a PT without a trip to the doctor first. If you have any questions, please, feel free to contact us by clicking here!

What others are saying about us:

Google 5 star review

“I cannot say enough about Concierge Therapy. Beginning with the receptionist who is so pleasant and always smiling! Cheryl, my therapist, is the very best (and over the years, I have had many)!! She has tailored my treatment plan to what I am physically capable of doing at a pace I can handle. She builds on that with every visit. Her supportive nature and guidance gives me the needed confidence AND motivates me to work hard on my home exercises. Highly recommend Concierge Therapy.”

How to Live a Happier Life

How do we live a happier life?

When we sit down and write out what we are grateful for, it almost always requires a moment of pause to think about what is pursuant to family, friends, and your relationship with God (if you’re religious). The old saying goes, “You never truly appreciate what you have until it’s gone.” Imagine losing everything: your possessions, your friends and loved ones, perhaps even your health and independence. Now imagine slowly getting all of those things back one at a time. How grateful would you be?

My point is, you should not have to lose things that matter in order to be grateful for them. Unfortunately, most of us are consistently in a state of reaction. Instead of being grateful for all of the positivity in our lives, we react and look for anything to bring harm to our way of life. Gratitude is tied directly to happiness.

Many of my clients take their health and independence for granted. As both a physical therapist and a business owner, I see this all too often. It can take up to one year to recover from a spinal fusion surgery or a joint replacement. Do clients truly appreciate getting into and out of their retirement sports cars or spending a weekend hiking with their grandchildren on Mount Monadnock in New Hampshire? Probably not, until those activities are put on hold for 365 days. My point is to appreciate what you have, because tomorrow it could be gone!

We have the most control over our own happiness. Instead of external pursuits and seeking happiness from material belongings, my suggestion is to look from within. What can you change about your perspective in order to enjoy life more today?

Long-term happiness does not come from things which we can not control, such as the stock market, jobs, relationships, or life-changing events, good or bad. Happiness is grounded in what you are able to control; namely your perspective on the world and your relationship to everything in it.

My two principles of happiness are:

  • Stay grounded in the present.
  • Have a positive outlook on the world.

By focusing on well-being and personal fulfillment (instead of wealth and power, for instance) you will be well on your way to living a healthier life. The good news is that wherever you are on your journey, it is relatively easy to focus on your well being and personal fulfillment. Just choose one or two activities you love and make sure you practice them on a weekly basis. You might take pleasure in going to church, traveling, gardening, or playing tennis or pickleball. Whatever your hobby is, please choose something and stick to it! Make a time-block for your favorite hobby, put it on your schedule, and guard it with your life. For instance, I time block my Tuesday afternoons for golf. Golf allows me to enjoy the outdoors and clear my head, while giving me a fresh perspective on patient care and business goals.

We all have one or two things we love to do. The hard part (amazingly!) is putting our passion into practice in order to improve our lives. Like any habit, the longer we stick to something, the better the effect. Please allow 60 -70 days to form your habit.

I encourage you to take my advice: Find your passion and enjoy life a little bit. You never know what a fresh perspective and gratitude may do for your personal well-being. Want to chat more about how physical therapy can help, click here to contact us!

What others are saying about us:

Google 5 star review

“I’ve been a patient at Concierge PT for close to 6 weeks because of a sports related overuse injury…. it’s been a wonderful experience at Concierge….the team is talented and patient-centered…they greet you with a smile and positivity. My pain has reduced from 7/10 to almost 0 at times. I’m learning more about my body and how it responds. Thank you to my PT team!”

Five Tips to Improve Health with Self Care

Five Tips Improve Your Health

I would like to take the time to discuss a topic we could all take more seriously : self care. When patients visit my physical therapy clinic in Sutton, I share these five tips for rapid improvement to their health. These five tips for health improvement will keep you at the top of your game and ready for whatever life throws at you!

  1. Eat an apple a day. Apples are high in fiber and keep your GI tract healthy as well as your colon in good shape. Fiber also acts as an appetite suppressant, so if you are a few pounds overweight, try adding more fiber to your diet. (You can use a “BMI scale” on the internet to check your obesity risk).
  2. Consume food in an eight-hour window. When you eat during an eight-hour window, your body has 16 hours to digest and heal. If your gut is unable to heal and repair (it ’t do this while digesting), you are more likely to develop “leaky gut” or damage to the intestinal lining. (Source: https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/leaky-gut-what-is-it-and-what-does-it-mean-for-you-2017092212451)
  3. Get eight to nine hours of sleep at night. The first step to getting a good night sleep is to establish a consistent routine and follow it religiously! Not only does sleep allow for muscles and tissue repair, but sleep also improves mood, memory consolidation and your body’s immune response in order to fight and prevent disease. Pro tip: No alcohol before bed! Alcohol reduces the amount of REM (rapid eye movement) sleep, the stage during which your body experiences the most healing and benefits.
  4. Do this stretch every morning. My favorite stretch for improving low back flexibility and general health is referred to as the prayer pose or child’s pose. This stretch hits your posterior longitudinal ligament that tends to become calcified over time and is a contributor to back pain for many. To perform correctly, stretch for one minute within the first 10 minutes of waking up. First thing in the morning, your spinal discs have the most fluid. (Yes — you are taller in the morning!) So, you will get the most benefit then.
  5. Reflect and practice gratitude. Buy a notebook. Yes, the tangible one you can feel, not the one on your iPhone or android device. In this notebook you will write down three things that you are grateful for every day for seven days. Especially amidst current events, no time is better than the present to be grateful for every breath we take and who we are blessed to enjoy our lives with. Write down what and who you are grateful for, and let them know!

If you have any questions of how you can further improve your health or wellness with physical therapy, (or you just want to say hello!), click here to contact us!