Flex PT - April 2018



973.812.8000 www.flexptnj.com April 2018


Keeping Our Love of Reading Alive

Every year, the world celebrates International Children’s Book Day on April 2. While this isn’t a particularly well-known holiday, it reminds me of reading books with my mom and how I emulate that tradition with my daughters today. Most of you know that I am a first-generation citizen and that my momwas from an Italian family living in Venezuela. Before coming to the United States in high school for a better life and more opportunities, she learned Italian and Spanish in South America. By the time she graduated from high school and went to college, she could speak Italian, Spanish, and English fluently, and she carried those skills her whole life. Up until I was about 4, I was only exposed to Italian. But once I started watching TV, I learned how to speak English. In fact, my mom didn’t even realize I had been learning until she stumbled upon me having a full- fledged conversation with the neighbor. From that moment on, she read me stories in all three languages, and they stuck. I can still speak Italian fluently, though I was pretty

I remember being so intrigued as a little kid, thinking, “Where does the sidewalk end?”

rusty until I visited my family in Italy. My family in South America has helped me keep up on my Spanish, but I ammuch better at listening and understanding than I am at speaking Spanish. My momwent out of her way to read to me and my sister every night. One of the books I remember the most is “Where the Sidewalk Ends” by Shel Silverstein. It’s a book of poems with strange drawings. For some reason, those poems have stuck with me mywhole life, and I remember being so intrigued as a little kid, thinking, “Where does the sidewalk end?”My mom read through that book multiple times, but I never got tired of hearing the stories over and over. As I got older, I started to read on my own. My preference shifted from poems to scary stories and mysteries. I had many Goosebumps books, and I remember having a copy of “Sideways Stories From Wayside School.” My mom actually kept my

Goosebumps books in her apartment her whole life, and I was able to find them after she passed. I intend to give them to Sofia when she gets a little older. Taryn has loved reading her whole life. She preferred the Nancy Drew books and Judy Blume. Sofia is only 6, and she’s already reading chapter books, which I credit to her mom. When I got into high school, I lost my love for reading for a long time, but Taryn retained hers. I’m hoping the girls take after their mom in that way. Right now, Sofia enjoys reading with us and then taking over after a couple of pages to read to Layla. Eventually, if the younger girls take after Taryn, I’m sure Layla will read to Genevieve.

I hope you had a wonderful Easter. We look forward to seeing you soon.

–Raffaele Lagonigro

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Get the Most Out of SurgeryWith ‘Prehabilitation’

While most physical therapists will not recommend surgery unless there is clearly no other avenue for a patient’s recovery, there are certainly a wide array of circumstances that warrant going under the knife. Following surgery, most patients should undergo a bout of rehabilitative physical therapy to steer the postoperative recovery process in a positive direction. However, recent research indicates that although rehabilitation is definitely important, it may not actually be enough to get the most out of a treatment. In addition to postoperative rehabilitation programs, many modern health care providers have begun recommending 4–8 weeks of exercise-based physical therapy before undergoing surgery. This pre-emptive therapy is sometimes called prehabilitation , and it can offer a host of benefits for surgical patients. These advantages include faster recovery times, fewer days spent in the hospital, lower incidence rates of surgical complications, less pain, higher activity levels, and general improved

fitness following surgery. All these benefits converge to bring about a happier, healthier patient who is more likely to return to doing what they love without worry. Though the research on prehabilitation is steadily expanding, displaying benefits for all kinds of conditions, the current data shows that prehabilitation works best for the following procedures:

guided by a professional. The exercises must be rigorous enough to strengthen and prepare the patient in the short window before surgery, but it’s vital they don’t further injure or worsen the patient’s condition. If a therapist is able to maintain this delicate balance, they can motivate and guide their patient toward positive outcomes for years to come.

• •

Joint replacement

Correction of spinal disorders, particularly stenosis

• •

Heart surgery Chemotherapy

In essence, prehabilitative patients are training for their surgery the same way a runner might train for a marathon. Considering the stress most surgeries put on the body, it only makes sense to adequately prepare.

However, it’s important that any prehabilitative measures are carefully

“My experience here has been very good. This is a very friendly and encouraging environment. Since starting here 2 1/2 months ago, I have greatly improved and the pain in my leg is gone. My mobility is so much better. I am able to walk without my cane. I plan to continue in the Step Down Program. My thanks to Steve and the entire staff.”

–Carmel N.

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Physical Therapy for Achilles Tendinopathy

Achilles tendinopathy is an irritation of the Achilles tendon, a thick band of tissue along the back of your lower leg that connects your calf muscle to your heel. The Achilles tendon helps balance forces in your leg. Tendinopathy refers to any problem with the tendon and can be a long-term or short-term issue. This condition results when the demand placed on the Achilles is greater than its ability to function, which can happen after an injury or repetitive irritation. The severity of acute injuries is graded based on the amount of damage to the tendon. Grade I injuries are mild strains and disruption of a few fibers, which causes mild to moderate pain, tenderness, swelling, and stiffness. Grade II injuries are moderate strains and disruption of several fibers, which causes moderate pain, swelling, and difficulty walking. Grade III injuries are complete ruptures of the tendon, often

characterized by a popping sound, immediate pain, and inability to bear weight. Grade III injuries typically require surgery to repair. Once your physical therapist has examined your heel, they will be able to determine the severity of your injury and design a treatment plan. It is common for physical therapists to perform movement assessments, which may include watching you walk, squat, step up, and balance on one leg. They may also ask you questions regarding your daily activities, exercise

regimens, and footwear to identify possible contributing factors.

Once your treatment plan is determined, your physical therapist will begin implementing strategies for pain management, range of motion, muscular strength, manual therapy, and functional training. The goal of your treatment plan is to eliminate pain, repair your tendon, and prevent the injury from recurring. If you have been experiencing Achilles tendon pain or irritation, give us a call at 973-812-8000.

Ingredients •

3/4 pound pasta (shells or orecchiette)

2 cloves garlic, chopped

1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper

2 cups broccoli florets

3 tablespoons olive oil


1 pound ground turkey

Parmesan cheese

Instructions 1. Cook the pasta according to package directions. Add broccoli when pasta is 1 minute from done. Drain both and return to pot. 2. Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Add the turkey, garlic, crushed red pepper, and a pinch of salt. Cook while breaking up meat with a wooden spoon for 3–5 minutes. 3. Combine turkey with pasta and broccoli mixture, adding the remaining olive oil as you stir. Serve in bowls topped with Parmesan.


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(Recipe inspired by realsimple.com.)

973.812.8000 www.flexptnj.com


INSIDE 333 Main Street Little Falls, NJ 07424

• Memories of Mom PAGE 1 • How Physical Therapy Can Prepare You for Surgery PAGE 2 • Patient Spotlight PAGE 2 • Are You Experiencing Pain In Your Heel? PAGE 3 • Pasta With Turkey and Broccoli PAGE 3 • The Message Behind Kindness Rocks PAGE 4

A Small Token With a Big Message

Have you ever had one of those days when nothing seems to go right? You wake up late, you can’t find your keys, the kids aren’t ready, and the day continues to unfold in a negative fog. Those difficult days are the reason Megan Murphy started the Kindness Rocks Project. After her parents passed away, she found comfort in finding heart-shaped rocks and sea glass on the beach. She realized that these small tokens might make other people feel better, too. Megan’s friend, one of the first to pick up a rock Megan had left behind, sent her an encouraging message after finding it: “If you did drop this rock, you made my day.”

How to Make Your Own Kindness Rocks

If you want to spread kindness, start with a few smooth 3- to 5-inch rocks. Part of the adventure is in finding the rocks, so take the time to explore outside to find them. Maybe take the kids for a trek to a nearby park or beach. Once you have your rocks, use nontoxic paint or spray paint to color them. Use bright colors so that others can spot them. After the paint has dried, use paint pens to write your messages on the rocks. These can be as simple as one word or as big as an inspiring quote or verse. After you’ve written your message, use a clear nontoxic sealant to protect your artwork so it will be there when others find it. Find an outdoor space to leave your rock — maybe even in the original spot you found it.

Since then, Megan has inspired others with randomly placed messages of kindness. She finds a rock, paints a kind message on it, and leaves it on the beach for others to find. And the idea has spread. As the project has grown, so have people’s stories about finding kindness rocks. When people find a kindness rock, they get a boost to their day, but they also feel inspired to pay the kindness forward.

In a world that often seems dark, your message of kindness will serve as a beacon of hope for others.

“One moment can change a day, one day can change a life, and one life can change the world.” –Gautama Buddha

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