In Motion O.C. - March/April 2020


March/April 2020

MEET DR. STEPHANIE LEVASSEUR Getting to Know the PT’s of In Motion O.C.

17332 Von Karman Ave. Suite 120 Irvine, CA 92614

There probably aren’t many people who can say they knew what career to pursue when they were just 7 years old. Of those few people, I’m probably the only person who has video evidence to back that claim up. When I was really little, my dad had to get foot surgery. In the weeks following the surgery, he had to see a physical therapist, and sometimes I went with him. To 7-year-old me, the physical therapist looked like she was having so much fun. She would play games with my dad and joke with him, all while ultimately helping him heal. I was so enthralled by physical therapy, that from that moment on, I knew it would be the only career for me. Since then, my love for physical therapy has only grown. Today, I work with patients recovering from a diverse array of injuries, and I specialize in working with geriatric populations. I work a lot with patients who have Parkinson’s, and I run the fall prevention program at In Motion O.C. I have a passion for pushing people beyond what they think they’re capable of. Many times, health care professionals will just try to get someone with Parkinson’s to the point where they can function at the minimum acceptable level even when they can do so much more. I love it when one of my patients realizes their condition doesn’t have to restrict them as much as they thought. Of course, if you’re trying to recover from an ankle or shoulder injury, I can be the PT for you, too! That’s what I love about working at In Motion O.C. — the variability. I get to help patients from all age groups and backgrounds, which means I hear all sorts of stories. Not every health care professional

gets to spend as much time with their patients as PTs do, and as I watch my patients heal, I form relationships with them and learn about their lives.


If you’re coming into In Motion O.C. sometime soon, I want you to know one thing above all else: We really do care. It’s easy to get jaded about the health care system and to think no one sees you as any more than a number. At our clinic, you’ll find the opposite is true. We want to know your goals and dreams. Do you want to play with your grandkids more? Do you want to climb a mountain? Our talented and energetic staff can help you get in shape to achieve your full potential, whatever that means to you. At the moment, I only work at In Motion O.C. two days a week. I switched to part-time work after I had my son a little over a year ago (if you ever hear one of the other PTs call me “mama,” that’s why), and when I’m not in the office, I’m either chasing him around my house, or I’m teaching exercise classes for people with Parkinson’s. If you come into the clinic on a Monday or a Thursday, though, please come by and say hello! “To 7-year-old me, the physical therapist looked like she was having so much fun. She would play games with my dad and joke with him, all while ultimately helping him heal.”


– Stephanie Levasseur


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REWARD THE WINNERS WITH PRIZES. Offer prizes to each round winner as well as the overall bracket winner to get the whole family involved. Small prize ideas for each round can include a homemade dinner of the winner’s choice, a week’s supply of their favorite snack, or a coupon for getting out of a chore. Whoever wins the whole tournament (or makes it the furthest with their bracket) deserves a bigger reward. Offer them the chance to see a movie of their choice in theaters or to eat a meal at their favorite restaurant. CREATE A LEARNING OPPORTUNITY. Learning math or geography might not sound

One of the greatest things about March Madness is that you don’t have to be a huge college basketball fan to get in on the fun. Kids of all ages can fill out brackets — or have a parent fill one out for them — and watch their picks duke it out on the court. While healthy competition among family members can be fun all on its own, check out the following tips if you’re looking to go the extra mile and reap as much fun from March Madness as you can. TURN EACH GAME INTO AN EVENT. Not every kid may like watching

basketball, but if they fill out a bracket, then they might gain at least a passing interest in who will win each game. To elevate their interest, turn each March Madness matchup into a little party. It doesn’t have to be fancy; make fun snacks to eat while you watch or bet pieces of candy on who will have the most points to create great family bonding opportunities.

like your child’s idea of fun, but it can be when they learn it through the lens of March Madness. See if your kids would be interested in understanding the inner workings of the ranking system or studying where some of the qualifying colleges are located on a map of the United States. They may find it so interesting that they don’t even realize they’re learning valuable skills.


Often, between physical therapy sessions, your regular life obligations remain as busy as ever. But a busy lifestyle can make it troubling to remember if you’re making the same mistakes your therapist warned against or how your healing is progressing, especially when recovery is slow or you have multiple injuries to consider. Motivation can wane when you’re pressured to balance life responsibilities and self-care. That’s why keeping a journal is such a good idea for physical therapy patients. Writing in a journal gives you a chance to pause and manage your time. The American Psychological Association says keeping a journal can significantly improve the time it takes to fall asleep, leading to more hours of physical rest

in your day. Plenty of people experience anxiety before falling asleep as they worry about the next day’s tasks. Yet, in the study, patients who spent five minutes writing tomorrow’s to-do list were able to fall asleep significantly faster than patients who wrote a list of completed tasks. Also, the more specific the tasks are, the more effective the habit is. That’s right — journaling doesn’t mean you have to write “dear diary” and rehash the tasks you already completed during the day. It can be as simple as a to-do list or as extensive on details as you want it to be. To track your healing process, try taking notes on your pain levels and how you’re feeling that day (happy, sad, determined,

discouraged, etc.). You can also list any prescribed exercises as part of your to-do list. Of course, if you want to include meaningful details about your day, what you ate, or if you finally remembered to complete a task hanging over you, you should do so! In the end, what you’ve written will provide an accurate history for your physical therapist to use in future sessions as well. Keeping a journal is about keeping track of a journey. Design your journal to be a successful record for you, and you’ll always have tangible evidence that your hard work is paying off.


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In Motion O.C. |


Sometimes, cells can carry far more pain signals than normal. Minor bumps and bruises might be unusually painful, and people can experience pain all over even when not injured. This pain will often feel long-lasting or permanent. If you experience this, you may have fibromyalgia. Fibromyalgia ( fai-bro-my-al-juh ) is a very common disorder with over 3 million cases diagnosed in the U.S. every year — and yet, the cause is surprisingly obscure. Doctors suspect that it’s caused by a variety of factors working together, such as genetics, infections, PTSD, gender (women are more susceptible), not moving enough, anxiety and depression, and physical or emotional trauma. Worse yet, the diagnosis of fibromyalgia can take up to three months; there are no labs

that can easily confirm it. Instead, doctors often have to take a variety of tests, such as blood tests, to ensure no underlying condition could be causing the pain. Other diagnostic criteria include fatigue (waking up tired, having trouble thinking). Currently, the disorder has no cure, but lifestyle changes, natural remedies, and medication can help alleviate symptoms. Patients with fibromyalgia are often prescribed proper sleep and exercise. Medication, such as pain relievers, antidepressants, and antiseizure drugs, are sometimes prescribed as well to treat fibromyalgia. One easy way to get exercise and relief is through aquatic physical therapy.

been shown to provide relief to these patients. Flotation therapy is stationary soaking in salt-dense water, and aquatic physical therapy exercises the patient’s body through the water. While both are effective, aquatic physical therapy offers more long- term effects on a patient’s health than just temporary relaxation, such as increased energy and better sleep. The buoyancy of water also reduces the impact of land-based movement. In Motion O.C. offers an indoor pool at a perfect 92-degree temperature for its patients. If you or a loved one suffer from fibromyalgia, please consider giving our offices a call. We can help reduce your pain with every session.

Any water-based therapy, such as aquatic physical therapy or flotation therapy, has

Inspired by

PESTO CHICKEN With Blistered Tomatoes


• •

2 1/2 tbsp olive oil, divided 4 boneless and skinless chicken breasts, pounded to a 1-inch thickness Salt and pepper to taste 1/4 cup whole-wheat panko

• • • • • •

2 tbsp Parmesan cheese

1 tbsp unsalted butter, melted 6 tbsp spinach pesto 2 cups cherry tomatoes 1 garlic clove, thinly sliced

• •

1 tsp red wine vinegar


1. In a large ovenproof skillet over medium-high heat, add 1 tbsp olive oil. 2. Season chicken with salt and pepper, and add it to pan. Cook chicken for 5 minutes on each side, then remove pan from heat. 3. In a bowl, combine panko, Parmesan cheese, and butter. 4. Spread pesto over chicken and top with panko mixture. 5. Broil chicken for 2 minutes on high heat until browned. 6. In a skillet, heat remaining oil over medium-high heat. 7. Add tomatoes and cook for 6 minutes. 8. Add garlic and cook for 30 seconds, stirring constantly. 9. Season tomato mixture with salt and pepper, and add red wine vinegar. 10. Serve tomatoes with broiled chicken.

3 In Motion O.C. |



17332 Von Karman Ave., Suite 120 Irvine, CA 92614

Getting to Know Stephanie Levasseur

March Madness Fun for the Whole Family

How Journaling Helps Your Recovery

Fibromyalgia Awareness and Treatment

Pesto Chicken With Blistered Tomatoes

3 Eco-Friendly Home Swaps to Make During Spring-Cleaning


It takes a special kind of person to enjoy spring-cleaning. For most of us, the satisfaction of a clean house doesn’t quite outweigh the hours of scrubbing, sorting, and slogging through heaps of unnecessary stuff. If you’re struggling to find the motivation to start your spring-cleaning, try flipping the paradigm: Instead of spring-cleaning, think of what you’re doing as spring- greening , and make some eco- friendly swaps along the way. Here are a few ideas to get you started. 1. SWAP YOUR PLASTIC SPRAY BOTTLES FOR BULK OR DIY CLEANING PRODUCTS. According to a Statista report, in 2019, the household cleaners market was worth more than $31 billion, and it’s continuously growing. You can save money on cleaning supplies by taking the green route. When

your current stock runs out, try buying bulk cleaners or making your own. Both options will save plastic because you can reuse your bottles, and they can help you avoid the harmful chemicals found in most cleaners. Visit and read the blog post “Zero Waste Cleaning Supplies + Recipes” to get started. 2. EXPLORE ALTERNATIVE LAUNDRY DETERGENTS. If you’re used to using a plastic jug of liquid laundry detergent, it’s time to step out of your comfort zone. This spring, try exploring greener alternatives like plant-based bulk laundry powder (Molly’s Suds is an excellent source). Or, if you’re feeling really adventurous, you can even try adding all-natural cleaners like soap nuts or English ivy to your laundry loads. For more on the former, search “soap nuts” on, and read up on ivy detergent at Ivy-Laundry-Detergent. 3. SAY GOODBYE TO PAPER TOWELS. Paper towels are a mainstay in American homes, but do we really need them when a good old-fashioned rag can do the job? According to the Ocean Conservancy, 13 billion pounds of paper towels are tossed in the U.S. each year! This spring, quit paper towels and keep a stash of dish rags under the sink to do your dirty work. When you’re cleaning out your closet, you can even cut up old T-shirts and add them to your rag stash! If you’re brave, try giving up tissues, too — an old-school hanky does the trick. If you’ve made all three of these swaps, don’t stop there! To continue your green journey, visit any of the blogs mentioned above and start browsing.

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