Advanced Practice Physical Therapy - January/February 2022

JANUARY 2022 | 406-770-3171


Laughing, sneezing, playing sports — those are just a few of the everyday activities that become difficult and embarrassing when you’re struggling with incontinence. It feels awful to lose control of your bladder, and it’s even harder to manage if you’re dealing with pelvic pain at the same time. If this sounds familiar, you’re not alone! A full 51% of women and 14% of men 20 years or older have experienced incontinence. Older people and women with a history of back pain, vaginal birth, or weakness can be especially vulnerable to it. It’s also a big problem for young female athletes who accidentally “bear down” and leak while playing sports. The good news is that physical therapy can help you manage incontinence and reduce your pelvic pain. Treatment of incontinence and pelvic health requires specialized training. We’ve helped dozens of women strengthen their core muscles and pelvic floors over the years. (The pelvic floor is a set of muscles inside the pelvis and vaginal wall that you never really think about until they’re painful, tight, or weak.)

often needed to effectively contract the pelvic floor. Many of the women I’ve worked with are surprised by how effective exercises can be when they are done correctly with the other education we provide. When I started working in physical therapy, I never would have imagined myself treating pelvic floor and incontinence issues. But the longer I stayed in the field the more obvious it became that there was a real need in this area. Very few PTs offer treatment for pelvic pain, pelvic floor strengthening, or incontinence, even though so many people struggle with it. So, I decided I’d step in to help fill the gap. I already enjoyed working with women’s health issues and treating women during and after pregnancy, so the extra step came naturally! Now, it always makes me smile when I get the chance to tell someone — especially an older woman who assumed, “Well that’s it, I’m just old!” — that their problem is treatable. If you’ve read this far, I’m guessing that you either have some of these problems yourself, know someone who does, or have a daughter or granddaughter you’re worried about. The best thing you can do is make an appointment with me or Andrea! We can help adults already dealing with these problems, or offer coaching and awareness to girls who could be at risk later in life. Until then, it will help if you drink a lot of water and do some yoga stretches. Child’s pose is great for stretching your hips, and you can get the same benefits by lying on your back, bending your knees, then separating your knees while bringing your feet together. When you come into the clinic, we can take that a step further, and I’ll also teach you which foods and drinks are safe to have and which ones might irritate your bladder.

The pelvic floor exercises and stretches we prescribe can help reduce or even eliminate incontinence and pain. Coaching is

I’ll see you soon!

–Donna Vinnedge

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We’ve all been advised to stretch before working out or performing physical activities. However, some recent studies have cautioned against this practice, claiming it may lead to an increased chance of getting injured. Regardless, this does not mean you should cut stretching out of your life completely. Stretching is not just for athletes. Everyone can benefit from this practice, and there are many advantages that come with improving your flexibility. Getting in the habit of stretching after you wake up and before you go to bed can benefit many aspects of your overall health.

at night (or both!), your muscles will stay looser, helping prevent muscle strains and tears. Improved Balance and Posture Strong posture and balance are essential for both everyday activities and athletic performance. Good posture is necessary for spine health, and you need good balance to do everything from walking down the street to standing and sitting. The flexibility gained through stretching improves the muscles that are needed for correct posture, and you will also increase your range of motion. Relaxation and Reduced Pain There are also certain stretches that help lengthen and open your muscles. When your muscles are looser and relaxed, you’re less likely to feel pain or experience muscle cramps. Stretching can work wonders for people suffering from lower back pain. This pain is often caused by tight muscles, and stretching will loosen them and relieve that pain. Stretching can also help your mind loosen up and unwind, which will relieve stress and improve your mood.

Here are our top three benefits!

Reduced Risk of Injury If your muscles are tight and you start working out, your chance of injury increases. Stretching helps to loosen your muscles and allows them to move easier. This still does not mean you should stretch right before working out, but by creating a routine where you stretch in the morning or


Approximately 55% of the population over 50 will be affected by osteoporosis, which thins and weakens the bones. In the U.S. alone, the condition is responsible for about 1.5 million fractures per year. You may not think exercise can help with bone loss, but prepare to be surprised. A comprehensive physical therapy plan can not only promote bone growth but also improve balance and posture, which lowers the risk of falling or sustaining fractures. Bone is living tissue. Just as with other parts of our bodies, cells are constantly dying and being replaced. With osteoporosis, not enough new bone is created to make up for the bone lost, so it becomes weak and brittle. Women and older people are especially prone to osteoporosis, but an inactive lifestyle, smoking, excessive alcohol, or low weight can also contribute to development of the condition. Often, people with osteoporosis don’t experience symptoms. That sounds like a good thing, but unfortunately, it results in the condition not being diagnosed until after a broken or fractured bone. Telltale signs of the condition include a loss of height, pain between the shoulder blades, or pain above

the pelvis. But frequently, the first indication of a problem is when a bone breaks during normal activity, such as receiving a hug or stepping off a curb. A physical therapist’s treatment of osteoporosis depends on each patient’s unique situation. Just like muscles become stronger from exercise, so do bones. Most physical therapy regimens will involve specific exercises to help build bone mass. To avoid falling or injury, physical therapists will also work with patients to improve balance, correct posture, and adapt to daily activities while protecting their bone health. If the bone is still fractured, a physical therapist can also help relieve pain without medication through positioning and other techniques. If you’ve been diagnosed with osteoporosis, contact a physical therapist today to help regain your strength and quality of life. A customized physical therapy plan can help you get back to safely doing the things you love — no bones about it.


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3 Things to Include in Your Post-Workout Meal

There’s plenty of emphasis lately on what you should eat before a workout, but not so much about after a workout. What you eat after exercising is just as essential for maximizing your workout’s effectiveness. After intensive exercise, many of us will feel hungry and turn to just about anything to satiate our hunger, but the wrong food could negate the effects of our workouts. During your workout, you will use up your body’s carbohydrates and the glucose stored in your muscles. A proper post-workout meal, including the right fluids, is necessary to replenish these nutrients. When preparing the perfect post-workout meal, there are three areas you should focus on. Protein Including protein in your post-workout meal is important to repair and build muscle. Muscle tissues get broken down during exercise, and protein helps

put them back together stronger than before. Eggs, tuna, chicken, and Greek yogurt are great sources of protein and should be implemented into your post- workout meal.

Carbs Carbs are essential for replenishing your body’s glycogen levels. Glycogen is the fuel that helps keep us moving and active. If you feel exhausted

and hungry after a workout, it’s usually your body telling you that your glycogen levels are low. Including carbs such as sweet potatoes, rice, oatmeal, pasta, and chocolate milk in your post-workout meal will help you feel energized and ready to continue with your day. Fluids You should always drink water while working out and continue to do so after your exercise is complete. Water regulates your body temperature, lubricates your joints, and transports nutrients throughout your body. In one hour of exercise, your body can lose more than a quarter of its water. Continue to drink water or other hydrating drinks after your workout to replenish your missing fluids. Lastly, avoid having a giant fast-food meal after exercising. There are plenty of options for preparing a truly beneficial post-workout meal, so find what makes you feel your best and what you enjoy most and run with it.



Inspired by


• 1 small mango, skinned and chopped • 1 avocado, chopped • 3/4 cup cherry tomatoes, halved • 1 red chile, seeded and chopped

• 1 medium red onion, chopped • 2 cans black beans, drained • Cilantro, chopped and to taste • 1 lime, for zest and juicing


In a large bowl, mix the ingredients together. Serve and enjoy!

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As we enter 2022, many people are putting their New Year’s resolutions into place. Getting in shape and going to the gym on a regular basis are popular goals every year. But we all know getting in shape is much easier said

experience pain, stop working that muscle or joint. If the pain does not subside after your workout, seek a doctor’s advice.

Shortness of Breath When doing cardio, endurance training, or any form of intense exercise, you may feel

than done. We need determination and an extensive routine to meet the fitness goals we set up at the beginning of the year. For many people, exercising is not part of their daily routine, and their workouts in the beginning can be too intense. Not only will this potentially lead to gym burnout, but it can also bring on a slew of health issues. If you start noticing any of the following signs, you should stop your workout immediately. Muscle/Joint Pain Soreness is normal when working out, especially in the early days of developing a

shortness of breath. If you do, take a break until you can catch your breath. Your breathing should return to normal shortly after you stop exercising, but if it doesn’t or you find yourself gasping for air at any point, stop your workout. This could be a sign of a respiratory or heart problem.

Chest Pain Chest pain is possibly the most severe warning sign you could experience while working out. It might mean you have an underlying heart condition. If you experience chest pain while exercising, stop immediately. The best way to avoid this issue is to see a doctor before you begin an exercise routine. They can inform you of any health conditions you may have that could impede your workout.

workout routine, but the soreness should never turn into pain. If you start to feel a sharp pain or swelling in a specific part of your body, stop exercising immediately. This may mean you are doing the exercise wrong, but it could also reveal a deeper problem, including injury. If you start to

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