Woodlyn Physical Therapy - October 2018




Many Paths



The path to a person’s future is rarely direct. Goals change, plans are rewritten, and you can be surprised where life will take you. I was introduced to physical therapy through karate. When I was a black belt, I met Pat Croce. This was before Pat became president of the 76ers basketball team and back when he ran a chain of 40 physical therapy centers. Pat and I became friends, and I started working at his clinic. At the time, I worked at Amtrak in a job

physical therapy, a field that

inspired me. As a physical therapist, I could learn as much

as I wanted and give the best treatment to patients who suffered from the same kind of

pain I experienced after injuring my back. I graduated from electronics school in October, but the courses I needed to take to become a physical therapist did not start until the spring. I took the opportunity to travel the world for six months and returned just in time to enroll in community college. In 1990, I graduated and began practicing as a physical therapist. I had the privilege of working with Kevin Wilk, a brilliant physical therapist from Alabama, who became my mentor. In addition to working full time at his clinic, Kevin spent 40 weekends a year giving talks about physical therapy. I liked the idea of teaching other physical therapists how to give their patients the best possible care, and I started traveling to give talks myself. However, I had just gotten married, and I also wanted to start a family and be there for the important moments. Changing my plans again, I opened my own practice. Since then, I have worked in different states, opened a number of clinics, and helped countless patients. Though my path has never been straightforward, I knew what goal I was working toward. My heart is in physical therapy and I want to provide each patient with a treatment plan that is unique to their injury and lifestyle. I love what I do, and while getting here has not been easy, I can say with confidence that when you are willing to put in the hard work, you will end up where you are meant to be.

I had started right after graduating high school. After I got off work at Amtrak, I would head over to the clinic and spend time learning about physical therapy. While working at the clinic, I found myself really studying the field. I enjoyed reading about the muscles in the body and learning more each day. Additionally, sports medicine was up and coming at the time, and a number of professional athletes from the Flyers and the 76ers would come into the clinic. Physical therapy as a whole was a new, wide-open field where you could be as good as you wanted to be. The possibilities really sparked my interest. One would think this signaled the beginning of my physical therapy career, but I had a few pit stops along the way. At the time, I had plans to leave my job at Amtrak, cycle Europe for a while, and then start college. Unfortunately, I sustained a life-altering back injury that left my future in limbo. Cycling was out of the question, and when I realized I could not go back to Amtrak, I decided to enroll in electronics school full time. This was in the early ’80s, when the technology boom was just starting, so getting into the field seemed like the smart decision.

—Jim Brennan

I was almost finished with electronics school when I realized it was not a field I was truly passionate about. I wanted to dedicate my life to



Physical Therapy May Be the Solution You’ve Been Lookin OPTIONS BEYOND PAIN MEDICATION

If you go to your doctor with pain, chances are they’ll prescribe you pain medication. While pain medication can help in certain situations, such as acute pain, cancer treatment, and end-of-life care, in others, it’s not always the only solution. Relying too heavily on medication for chronic pain can lead to bigger problems. To manage long-lasting pain, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, or CDC, highly recommends seeing a physical therapist. The Benefits of Physical Therapy When you suffer from chronic pain and take pain medications to cope, you’re not solving the problem. The pills only mask the pain, but the issue remains. A physical therapist works to resolve the problems causing the pain and manage pain by strengthening the affected part of the body. Instead of relying on prescription drugs, a physical therapist helps relieve pain through education, hands-on care, and movement. Myths About Physical Therapy You may have heard that physical therapy is painful or that a center will only accept someone who has been injured, but that’s not

true. Physical therapy works with a patient’s range of motion and limitations to heal and restore their body’s proper function. The PT’s goal is to relieve your pain, not create it. Patients include older people experiencing age-related wear and tear, athletes, and individuals hurt in accidents. Physical therapists specialize in restoring mobility and relieving pain as well as detecting and diagnosing problems before they become worse. When to Talk to a Physical Therapist Pain that lasts less than 90 days is considered acute; anything over that is chronic. When a condition becomes chronic, it’s recommended that you speak to a physical therapist about the pain you’re experiencing instead of continuing pain medication. The CDC guidelines note that non-opioid therapies are “preferred” for chronic pain and state, “Clinicians should consider opioid therapy only if expected benefits for both pain and function are anticipated to outweigh risks to the patient.”

Suffering from pain doesn’t have to be part of your life, and there are other solutions than relying on medication.



Hey there!

At 4 1/2 months old, I’m still just a puppy. I can be a bit of a terror, but in the best possible way, I promise! As a Chesapeake Bay retriever, I was born to swim and retrieve, two things I love most of all. I’m already a great swimmer. As soon as I saw the pool at our house, I was ready to jump in! With my thick coat, I bet I’ll even be able to keep swimming in the winter. I don’t think Brice will be joining me for an icy swim, though. She’s not a fan of the cold, but she’s pretty cool in other ways. Brice is 6 years old and she’s lived in the Brennan household for most of her life. She’s been teaching me a lot about what it takes to be a good dog and how to tell when Jim is only pretending to throw the ball — I’m still trying to learn that last one. Brice is an expert on playing fetch. Ball is her life and she can play for hours. I’ll have to be pretty quick if I want to steal the ball from her one day.

My name’s Mookie, and I’m here with Brice. We’re Jim Brennan’s Chesapeake Bay retrievers, tasked with the important job of tracking down every ball that tries to escape. We’ll be bringing you a dog’s-eye view of the most important topics, like the best places to take a walk in my neighborhood, how to maintain your fetch game in the winter, and what holiday treats can be enjoyed by man and man’s best friend.

I’m so excited to take on this responsibility, I can barely sit still!

Brice and I look forward to sharing more stories with you in the coming months. It’ll be more fun than playing fetch in the pool!

–Mookie and Brice





causing their muscles to get tighter on one side. Sleeping on your side also puts pressure on your hips and lower back. The Problems of 3 Common Sleep Positions THE FREE FALL Sleep experts and physical therapists alike agree that sleeping on your stomach, with your arms spread out or tucked under your chin, is the worst position by far. Sleeping on your stomach flattens the curve of your spine and puts extra strain on your back muscles. It also puts pressure on your joints, which can potentially lead to nerve pain. It is important to pay attention to the ordinary ways you move your body each day, because pain and injury don’t come out of nowhere. They are born out of bad habits that slowly degrade the integrity of our spine and muscles. If you sleep on your stomach every night for 20 years, that means for eight hours a day you are putting pressure on your spine, twisting your pelvis, and holding your neck at an awkward angle. Then, one day you’re outside working in the garden or lifting a heavy box, you move the wrong way, and suddenly your back is inflamed with pain. Holding a pillow between your knees or changing your sleeping position can help protect your back from years of damage. And if you’re already struggling with back pain, give Woodlyn PT a call at 302.366.7600. Get expert advice on treatments that can help you recover and learn how small changes in your daily routine can save you from years of pain.

Few people can say they get enough sleep. Most of us are just happy to find a comfortable position and catch a few Z’s after falling into bed. But there’s a

good chance your favorite sleeping position is contributing to years of back and neck pain.

THE SOLDIER Sleeping on your back is generally considered to be the best sleeping position.

Your spine and neck are able to rest in a neutral position. However, this is

only the case if the head is lined up with the spine. Most people will turn their neck

when they sleep, twisting the spine. Sleeping on your back can also block your airway, making it hard to breathe.

THE FETUS Most people report sleeping on their side, and the “Fetus” position, with the knees bent and tucked up

close to the chin, is the most common sleeping position. While people who sleep on their side do tend to get a more restful sleep, they also put more weight on one side of their body,

This recipe combines pumpkin seeds, a seasonal favorite, with cashews, sunflower seeds, and spices. It’s a perfect homemade snack for the fall. Spiced Pumpkin Seed Crunch Inspired by Bon Appétit magazine



• 1 large egg white • 1 teaspoon light agave syrup • 1/2 teaspoon garam masala or curry powder • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt • 1/4 cup shelled pumpkin seeds

• 1/4 cup shelled sunflower seeds • 1/4 cup raw cashews, coarsely chopped • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper • Nonstick vegetable oil spray


1. Heat oven to 300 F. 2. Coat a baking sheet with cooking spray. 3. In a mixing bowl, whisk

4. Using a slotted spoon, strain spoonfuls of mixture over bowl and transfer to baking sheet. Discard excess egg white mixture. 5. Bake 20–25 minutes, tossing once. 6. Let cool and serve.

together egg white, agave, salt, and spices. Add nuts and seeds and toss until evenly coated.

Solution on pg. 4





Where Are You Going? 1 Physical Therapy vs. Pain Medication The Wisdom of Retrievers 2 Your Sleep Routine May Ruin Your Back Spiced Pumpkin Seed Crunch 3 The Surprising Origins of Trick-or-Treating 4

Solution from pg. 3


The History of Trick-or-Treating

As Halloween looms and

Long before there were young’uns on your porch dressed as Thanos with candy-filled pillowcases in hand,

you load up your grocery cart with candy,

the Celts believed that Samuin marked an overlapping of the realms of the living and the dead. To trick the spirits leaking into our world, young men donned flowing white costumes and black masks — a great disguise when ghosts were about. The Catholic Church was never a big fan of these pagan traditions, so they renamed it “All Saints’ Day” and gussied it up in religious garb. By the 11th century, people were dressing up as saints, angels, and the occasional demon instead of spirits. Eventually, costumed children started tearing through town begging for food and money and singing a song or prayer in return — a practice called “souling.” But when did they start dressing up as Minions? Starting in the 19th century, souling turned to “guising,” which gave way to trick-or- treating in mid-20th-century America, and the costumes diversified. So put on some clown makeup and a big smile, scoop up a handful of sweets, and scare the living daylights out of ‘em — ‘tis the season!

you may ask yourself, “Why do I provide these spooky

gremlins with a sugar high every Oct. 31, anyway?” Well, when your doorbell starts ringing around 6 p.m. this All Hallows’ Eve, you can thank the Celts for this tradition of candy and costumes. Halloween itself is a kind of mishmash of four different cultural festivals of old: two Roman fêtes, which commemorated the dead and the goddess of fruit and trees (not at the same time); the Celtic Samuin or Samhain, a new year’s party thrown at the end of our summer; and the Catholic All Saint’s Day, designed to replace Samuin and divorce it from its pagan origins.



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