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2 PT VAGABONDS IN LOVE WHY MY WIFE AND I DECIDED TO BECOME TRAVELING PTS
With Valentine’s Day just around the corner, I couldn’t resist dedicating this issue to my wonderful wife, Melanie. Since we first started dating back in 2000 (writing that is crazy — I can’t believe it’s been 20 years), Mel has been my rock and my partner in everything from physical therapy to the adventures of parenthood. Mel strikes most people as shy at first, but underneath that, she’s independent and tough as nails, and I love that about her. I got a taste of it on the very day we met. It was 1999, and we were both freshmen just starting our journeys through PT school. We had a pre-calc class together, and because the class was covering a lot of the same material I’d had in high school, I spent our first lesson chatting with a friend instead of listening to the professor. That didn’t last long because pretty soon, this beautiful girl (Mel!)
turned around and told me to shut up so that she could hear the lesson. I did, and as they say, the rest is history! Actually, I didn’t ask her out for another year, and I like to tease her by saying that our first encounter was probably why. Still, I couldn’t stay away forever, and I’m so glad I didn’t. We made it through undergrad and grad school together, had a big family wedding in 2006 and bought a house. At that point, I figured we'd gone the full nine yards: We were married, had good jobs, and had a great home, so I assumed it was time to start having kids. Mel saw things differently. She said we were still really young (she was 24, and I was 25) and there was plenty of time to have more adventures before settling down. I’m always up for an adventure, so we packed up the house; loaded our stuff, cat, and dog into two cars; and drove off to Arizona to start a year working as traveling physical therapists. In retrospect, I think spending those months crisscrossing Arizona, Washington, and California and pitching in at clinics along the way was the best thing we could have done. It was a phenomenal experience. We got to do and see a lot, and we met some fun people along the way! The company we contracted for took care of our housing in each city, leaving us free to work hard during the day and explore on nights and weekends. Each contract
was 13 weeks with an optional extension, and between each one, we took time off for ourselves. We went sightseeing, took a cruise to Alaska, and even did a week-long road trip from Seattle to San Francisco. It was a blast, and the day- to-day work in different clinics taught me a lot about the kind of physical therapist and boss I wanted to be when I was running my own office. Valuable skills like thinking on my feet, problem- solving, and making tough decisions started to come naturally, too. We ended our vagabond lifestyle when, during our last week of a contract in San Francisco, Mel called me to tell me that she was pregnant. We were both thrilled, and it was only a little bittersweet to leave life on the road and head back to our house in Avon, where we’ve lived happily since. These days, Mel works in a nursing facility while I run the two Advanced Physical Therapy offices. I’m amazed every day by how well she pulls off being a top-notch PT and mom and still finds time to be endlessly supportive of my career. It would be a heck of a lot harder to do the work I love so much without her. Mel, I couldn’t be a luckier man. Happy Valentine’s Day!
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WHAT IT IS, WHERE IT CAME FROM, AND WHAT IT COULD MEAN FOR OUR SCREEN TIME SHOULD YOU BE WORRIED ABOUT DIGITAL DEMENTIA?
2 • WWW.PHYSICALTHERAPYCT.COM Somatic exercises can offer a solution to long-term pain sufferers. Dr. Thomas Hanna taught the first class on somatics in 1990. He had discovered a disconnect between the industrialized world and healthy, pain-free living. Many people in Studies show that 1 in 10 Americans lives with chronic pain for more than one year. When you’re in pain, you seek a way to cope. Some might attend regular physical therapy appointments to find the source of the pain and resolve it. Others might ignore the pain and adapt their lifestyle to avoid making it worse. Either way, the body continues to sustain real damage with these adaptations, which compounds pain and can make things worse. Fortunately, this doesn’t mean healing is a lost cause. Everyone forgets things. It’s not unusual to have trouble remembering the name of someone you’ve just met or recalling the face of a classmate you haven’t seen in 20 years. But it’s less normal — and a lot more inconvenient — to become chronically absent-minded. If you find yourself struggling to remember the minutiae of daily life, which page of a book you left off on, or when it’s time to pick your kids up from soccer practice, digital dementia could be to blame. The term “digital dementia” was coined in 2012 by German neuroscientist Manfred Spitzer, who studies how our addiction to technology is impacting our brains. According to Alzheimers. net, Spitzer found that “overuse of digital technology is resulting in the breakdown of cognitive abilities in a way that is more commonly seen in people who have suffered a head injury or psychiatric illness.” Because of the shared symptoms, Spitzer called the affliction digital dementia.
industrialized countries have accepted pain as a natural part of aging and don’t understand that the body can heal from everyday pain and ailments. Somatics involve short, hands-on movements to correct the body’s posture and mobility, which can then stimulate proper healing through further movement and therapy. The technique retrains the brain on proper movement, function, and positioning to align your body and your mind so you can heal instead of just living with pain. Somatic exercises come in two forms. The first method is done with the help of a physical therapist — or in some instances, a massage therapist — who pinpoints the areas of tension and guides you through hands-on exercises In the years since, speculation has abounded about the causes of digital dementia and how people can fight it. A 2017 Forbes article theorized that the problem isn’t just time spent with screens but how much we rely on our smartphones to feed us once- memorized information. “In theory, having a device to store phone numbers, dates, maps and directions, and other information like that frees you up to focus on bigger and theoretically more important things,” Tony Bradley wrote in Forbes. “If you just use your device as a memory crutch, though, and you don’t take advantage of the opportunity to put your brain to work on other things, you aren’t exercising your brain, and it will atrophy.” Psychology Today blamed digital dementia in part on the mental strategies encouraged by video games. According to one study, gaming encourages the “response” strategy of following the same rote
movements, while nongamers tend to use the “spatial” strategy of relying on landmarks when they navigate, which is better for mental sharpness. Whatever the root cause, we can take steps to fight digital dementia. As Dr. Carolyn Brockington told Alzheimers.net, the best strategies involve stepping away from screens and relying on brainpower. The next time you’re considering picking up your smartphone, try reading a book, playing a musical instrument, hitting the gym, or learning a new language instead.
CONNECTING MIND AND BODY HOW SOMATICS CAN OFFER HEALING FOR LONGTIME PAIN SUFFERERS
that relieve the pain and align the body. The second method involves exercises patients can do at home according to their physical therapist’s guidance. You don’t have to live with pain. Healing is possible, and somatics may help you get on the road to recovery. To learn more about this therapeutic technique, visit Somatics.org or talk to your physical therapist.
CAN YOU FEEL THE LOVE? THE SECRET TO LIVING A LONGER, HEALTHIER LIFE
The human brain is an incredibly powerful organ. It solves complex problems, recalls forgotten memories, and triggers a dizzying array of emotions. But its most incredible power is the effect it can have on the rest of the body. When it comes to love, well, our brains certainly love it, and our bodies reflect that.
who is surrounded by supportive and caring friends, family, and loved ones.”
So, it seems the results are in: Loving someone is a healthy lifestyle choice. Even having a strong network of friends and family boosts your odds of living a long life by 50%. So, get out there and make the healthy choice for yourself and those around you by leading a life full of love.
LESS STRESS Human beings thrive on a sense of connection and belonging, and studies have shown that love actually has positive effects on a person’s physical health as well as mental. The security and commitment felt in a loving relationship are shown to reduce stress by stunting the production of cortisol, the body’s stress-inducing hormone. Less stress means lower blood pressure, a healthier heart, and a lower risk of stroke, especially in men. HEALTHIER IMMUNE SYSTEMS Researchers at Carnegie Mellon University found that calm, happy people can fight common colds and the flu more easily than those who are anxious or depressed. The physical benefits of love even go as far as healing wounds quicker. Small
injuries inflicted on a wide test group at Ohio State University Medical Center healed nearly twice as fast on people who experienced consistent warmth and care than those who experienced hostility. In fact, the latter group needed almost a full additional day to achieve the same amount of healing as the first group. LONGER, HAPPIER LIVES Being surrounded by love may even save your life. A statistic from the National Health Interview Survey states that single people face a 58% higher risk of mortality. Further bolstering that claim is the Harvard Health Blog, which claims happily married participants experience better health as they age when compared to peers in unhappy partnerships. In fact, the blog asserts, “People in stressful, unhappy marriages may be worse off than a single person
HOMEMADE PALEO BREAD
TAKE A BREAK!
Inspired by Delish
• 1 2/3 cups almond flour • 2 tbsp flaxseed meal • 2 tbsp coconut flour
• 5 eggs • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil • 1 tbsp agave syrup • 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
• 2 tsp baking soda • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
1. Heat oven to 350 F, and line an 8x5- inch loaf pan with parchment paper. 2. In a large bowl, combine almond flour, flaxseed meal, coconut flour, baking soda, and salt. 3. Add eggs, olive oil, agave syrup, and vinegar and whisk until smooth.
4. Pour mixture into prepared 8x5-inch pan and smooth top with a spatula. 5. Bake for 35 minutes or until top is golden. Remove from pan and slice when cooled.
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1. COVER TITLE 1. 2 PT VAGABONDS IN LOVE INSIDE THIS ISSUE 2. SHOULD YOU BE WORRIED ABOUT DIGITAL DEMENTIA? DON’T LIVE IN PAIN ANY LONGER WITH SOMATICS 3. THE EFFECTS OF LOVE ON YOUR PHYSICAL HEALTH HOMEMADE PALEO BREAD 4. YOU CAN HAVE FUN WHILE WORKING OUT
THIS WORKOUT ROCKS! 3 REASONS TO START ROCK CLIMBING
works out your back muscles, biceps, abs, and legs. Research published in The Scientific World Journal found that climbers can burn up to 10 calories a minute — without even getting drenched in sweat during their workout. IT IMPROVES YOUR SHOULDERS AND YOUR MIND! Physical strength alone won’t get you to the top of a wall. Rock climbing is a physical and mental challenge. Some problems call for fancy footwork, creative problem-solving, or going for a rock that seems out of reach. Teaching your mind and your body to work together while rock climbing can also build endurance and reduce stress.
a harness, tie yourself to a rope, and climb up a wall while your partner holds the rope, ready to catch you. In other
No, these aren’t strange magic spells. They’re basic safety commands rock climbers use before they start their ascent. Rock climbing as a hobby and a workout has been growing in popularity over the last few years, thanks in part to popular documentaries like “Free Solo” and “Meru.” But if you’re still not ready to chalk up and start climbing, here are a few more reasons to add “belay on” to your vocabulary. IT’S A FUN FULL-BODY WORKOUT. Getting a full-body workout usually means hating every second of it. This isn’t the case with rock climbing, though. Most people take up rock climbing because it’s fun. Reaching the top of a wall is like solving a puzzle with your whole body. That said, fun doesn’t mean easy. An intense climb
words, your partner “belays” you. It’s the ultimate trust fall.
Facing the challenges of rock climbing with your partner also teaches you how to overcome adversity together and improves communication as you both work to conquer the wall. The best part about rock climbing is that it’s easy to try out. Most climbing gyms rent out the supplies you need for a small fee. And with hundreds of climbing gyms open across the United States, there’s no wall blocking the way of you and your favorite new workout.
IT STRENGTHENS YOUR RELATIONSHIPS.
Rock climbing, especially top rope climbing, is one of the best workouts to do with a partner. Top roping is a type of climbing where you strap into
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