North County Water and Sports Therapy - March 2021


(858) 675-1133 |

15373 Innovation Dr. #175 | San Diego, CA 92128 | (858) 675-1133 12171 World Trade Dr. | San Diego, CA 92128

LUCK OF THE IRISH? St. Patrick’s Day Is Great — But Most People Make Their Own Luck

I’m half Irish, on my mother’s side, so I definitely feel a tingle this month when St. Patrick’s Day rolls around. The holiday is associated with luck, and there certainly seems to be a lot of promise with spring rolling in and summer a few short months away. But despite that — and despite my family history — I’ve never been able to give luck much credit. In my experience, success comes when we work for it or work to hold on to it. Luck’s role is rather small. Granted, once in a while, life gives you an extra gumball from the gumball machine. I’m certainly not saying that people never have a lucky break. When I look back at the past year, I feel very fortunate to have a business that’s doing well despite the challenges we’ve all faced. It is easy to see the hand of luck in that.

Isn’t it luck when great patients walk in the door every day? Or that when we hire, we get some of the most talented applicants in the San Diego area? After all, I feel lucky, don’t I? But when I stop and examine these things, I often find that the “lucky” feeling is really gratitude. The best way to get great patients is to do great work and build that reputation in your community. It might be luck that causes a particular resume to come across my desk at the right moment, but then comes the work of going through all the other applications. There are always a few applicants who wouldn’t be a good fit, and even the person with the “lucky” resume will be vetted heavily. That’s how I make sure any patient who comes in is taken care of, no matter who will be working with them. I’m grateful for all of these things, and perhaps luck does hand us those opportunities. But they’re only that — opportunities — and without hard work, they’ll never grow into true success.

themselves, we might consider them lucky if it’s not as bad as it could be. Either way, though, there’s no magic wand to wave and make the injury better. For that, we turn to science and hard work and fall back on our medical training. And when the injury gets “all better” long before science and experience say that it should, we don’t thank our lucky stars — we make sure it’s actually healed and hasn’t just stopped hurting. If it’s the latter, the pain will be back, and it will take longer than ever to recover. Better to keep pushing through now. So, this St. Patrick’s Day, I’ll be thinking about everything the Irish have added to global culture and wishing I was spending the holiday in Ireland itself — a place I visited in the past and really enjoyed. It’s hard not to compare and contrast the places we visit with the place we call home, and it really is true that Ireland contains every shade of green you can imagine. Come the holiday itself, there will be plenty of green in our office as the team gets into the spirit of things. But they’ll also get to work, which means that when a lucky break does come our way, we’ll be ready to make the most of it.

We see this most of all in the direct work we do with patients. If someone falls and hurts

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A s we age, we’re told to wear simple as laughter could actually be one of the easiest ways to slow the ticking clock of aging. Scientists have long known that laughter can be therapeutic and help us live longer. It has been shown to reduce wear and tear on our bodies and improve our relationships. A Norwegian study found that those who prioritized humor were more likely to live past 70 than those who didn’t laugh often. sunscreen, eat more vegetables, take vitamins, and even walk more — all in hope that our internal clocks will slow down and we will age better. But something as

At a biological level, laughter can reduce tension in your muscles and activate a powerful stress-relief response from your brain by releasing dopamine. Just one chuckle may even improve your breathing and heart function! In fact, laughing can work wonders for the heart. One study showed that laughter therapy helped reduce the blood pressure and cholesterol levels of its participants. Their blood circulation improved, too. Studies have also found that regular laughter can help strengthen your immune system, and it has long-term benefits for those with respiratory conditions. In addition to your body, laughter is also good for your social life. (And we don’t mean that people will want to spend time with you if you have all

the good jokes!) Throughout history, laughter has been an evolutionary sign of understanding. When there are language barriers, laughing together can create camaraderie and a tighter bond between people of different cultures. The dopamine release that comes with laughter aids in stress relief and creates powerful memories that can improve your mood and strengthen friendships. Of course, laughter has its downfalls, too. Laughing at someone else’s expense is detrimental to their health and can harm your relationships. So, stick to light jokes and actively seek shows, cartoons, or people who make you laugh. You’ll feel good, and your body will be pretty happy, too.



In addition to teaching teamwork and sportsmanship, athletics can take young people many different places, including college and professional play, as well as other careers. That was the case with Ryan M., whose first exposure to physical

considering a career in medicine — but I liked the vibe of the PT clinic I visited more.” The hook was set, so to speak! With a PT career in mind, Ryan took anatomy and physiology courses and majored in exercise science. Of course, physical therapy requires graduate work, and that’s when Ryan had to choose what to specialize in. “I wrote my doctor’s paper on neurological rehab,” Ryan says. “But, although that’s what I studied in school, I do a lot more orthopedic outpatient therapy today.” Orthopedic care is something else Ryan studied, and he enjoys the work here at the Center. “I actually discovered this place through my wife, who started working here first.

I was always in the orbit, and when an opening appeared, it was a great opportunity.”

Ryan’s work allows him to treat a mix of athletes and people recovering from injuries, as well as patients with chronic problems. It keeps him busy, and when he isn’t working, he and his wife do their best to stay active. “We love to hike and be outdoors,” he says. “It’s a great area to go to the beach, go kayaking, whatever keeps us busy.” And, of course, he still plays basketball — sometimes with the husband of another Center team member! We’re so glad that Ryan is a member of our family and can’t imagine being here without him. If you see him this month, be sure to say hi and thank him for all he does!

therapy was on the court and in the classroom. “I played high school and college basketball,” he says. “At the end of school, I had a chance to tour a doctor’s office — I was already 2

When combating pain, patients tend to think physically. They recognize how much the pain hurts them or hinders their ability to do what they love, and they focus on the physical ways this can be improved. However, researchers have found that this isn’t the only way to deal with and overcome pain. HOW YOUR EMOTIONS AFFECT YOUR HEALING MIND OVER MATTER

happy, sad, or scared, can cause a real, visceral reaction from your body. You can begin to sweat and experience a faster heartbeat when you recall that time you were scared, or you can genuinely smile or laugh as you remember a pleasant memory with a loved one. That same idea can be applied to healing from a physical injury, too. According to researchers at Harvard University, being in a constant state of anxiety, stress, or depression — as is common when experiencing an injury — only heightens your body’s fight-or-flight response. This raises your blood pressure and inflammation, resulting in increased pain. Essentially, your body is trying to survive and is working overtime to succeed. It’s compensating for the area in pain, and all energies are going into what’s wrong, rather than preventing other issues. This is the mind-body connection, and it has a common effect on patients healing from injuries, cardiac events, major surgeries, and other medical events. Without proper intervention, diminished mental stamina can wreak havoc on your body. It’s vital that you prioritize your mental health as you heal from an injury, and you can start with these three tips. Keep a Journal: It might sound cheesy to write

down your thoughts each day, but a journal can be the tool you need to pinpoint specific stressors. You might find you have a consistent diminished mood in the early afternoon or after interacting with a coworker. By identifying these triggers, you can better combat them. Find Social Support: Life’s better with someone by your side, isn’t it? Find and surround yourself with people who motivate you most. Ensure your circle has people you can trust, vent to, and who are honest and supportive. Seek Professional Help: A physical therapist can help you find the relief you need physically, while a psychiatric therapist can help you navigate your emotions and mental hurdles in overcoming this pain. Therapy is not just for those with diagnosed conditions. It can help you sort out your emotions and develop healthy coping mechanisms for improved well-being. Recovering from pain is never an easy road so don’t be your own worst enemy. Our team is here to support you during your physical journey, be the cheerleaders you need mentally, and offer any suggestions we can to increase your mental well-being. Just ask us how!

Psychological researchers have discovered that merely thinking about a time when you were



If you’re looking to get your green on, why not try this light smoothie?


1 1/4 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk

1 1/2 cups fresh organic spinach

1 organic apple, peeled and chopped

1 tbsp chia seeds

1 medium frozen banana

1/2 medium avocado


1. In a large, high-powered blender, add in all ingredients. 2. Blend on high for 1–2 minutes, or until all ingredients are well combined. 3. If necessary, add in more almond milk to thin the smoothie. 4. Serve immediately and enjoy!

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Inspired by


Monday—Thursday 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Friday 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. (858) 675-1133

15373 Innovation Dr. #175 San Diego, CA 92128



Do We Make Our Own Luck?


The Easiest Anti-Aging Tactic? Laughter We Talk Athletics and Injuries With Ryan M.


Need to Heal? Check Your Mind First! Green Goddess Smoothie


No Parade? No Problem!



F or the second year in a row, the St. Patrick’s Day annual parade has been canceled by the powers-that-be here in San Diego. It’s a decision reached between Irish heritage organizations here in the area as well as our city and local government, and although it’s certainly the healthiest call, it’s also one more in a long line of public celebrations that haven’t occurred in the past 12 months. But as we round the corner on a year of off-and-on quarantine, we can still enjoy St. Patrick’s Day in style. We’ve broken it down into the two most important parts of any party: what to eat and what to do. CUISINE Although the Irish are well-known for their art, their eating sometimes gets the cold shoulder.

That’s a bit unfair, as the country (and the people who spread across the world) has a storied history when it comes to food, and no, we don’t just mean corned beef and soda bread (although both are tasty). From an Ulster fry in the morning — sausage, tomato, black pudding, bacon, eggs, and a thick slice of Irish brown bread — to a cheese gratin for dinner, there are many options for St. Patrick’s Day eating. Most of them are hearty fare, so you may want to choose just one meal and stick to that. You could also settle for a Guinness chocolate pudding dessert or perhaps an Irish Whiskey Old Fashioned with elderflower cordial instead of orange. ENTERTAINMENT There’s no shortage of options here. Irish trivia is best-suited for a group meeting over Zoom,

Skype, or FaceTime. This bar trivia-inspired event will keep your group laughing, and guessing, long into the night. The rules are identical to regular trivia games, but all the answers must relate back to Irish music, movies, history, or literature. How closely you define that is up to you and your friends, of course. You can make a similar substitution for fill-in-the-blank card games or charades. An activity that involves less engagement is a group watch of an Irish movie — again, defined as loosely as you want — using the same technology. Or, book clubs may set aside a week (or month) for Irish literature. The sky is the limit. Irish spirits are optional, but having fun is not. 4

Eliminate pain! Get back to life sooner with less time away from work and the things you love with physical therapy. Research has demonstrated early access to physical therapy reduces the need for surgery, opioid medication, extra doctor visits, and injections. This research is strong enough to convince two large U.S. insurance companies (Tricare and United Health Care) to waive the out-of-pocket patient responsibility cost (copay and deductible) for some, if not all, therapy sessions for individuals with low back pain. HOW DOES PHYSICAL THERAPY HELP? 1. Our therapists are experts in back pain. As body movement specialists, they will evaluate and explain what is going on with your back, helping you make the best decision for your health in addressing your back pain. 2. Our therapists educate you on ways to protect the area and keep you moving while recovering from a back injury. 3. Our therapists provide individualized treatment plans, guiding you back to the activities you love to do. FAQ 1. Do I need a physician prescription or referral? No: In the state of California, you are allowed Direct Access to physical therapy services. That means you can seek safe, quality physical therapy without the delay of first seeing your physician for a referral. DO YOU OR SOMEONE YOU KNOW HAVE BACK PAIN?


2. Do I have to come into the clinic for treatment? No: At North County Water and Sports Therapy Center, we offer virtual, real-time video visits, referred to as telehealth, so you do not have to put off treatment. This is a good alternative if you have difficulty traveling to our clinic or are quarantined due to COVID-19. 3. How does the therapist know nothing really bad is going on? Our Doctors of Physical Therapy screen for signs and symptoms considered ì red flags.î If any concerns arise, your therapist will discuss recommendations and communicate with your physician, guiding you to the most appropriate treatment.




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