Health Masters PT - November 2017

hen my youngest son, Mason, was 10 years old, he informed me that one day he was going to play college basketball. He’d always been a passionate little kid, especially out there on the court, so I resolved to do anything I could to make my son’s dream a reality. He was highly competitive and talented for his age, always scrapping with the older kids on the court, including his big brother. I’d even go so far to say that he had a bit of a chip on his shoulder, which only motivated him more. It was clear to me that if he kept up this fighting spirit, those college ball aspirations would definitely be within reach. But fairly early on, he began to develop some persistent lower back pain. I had him go through a few diagnostic tests with me and determined that the problem was sacroiliac joint instability, which basically means problems in the joints of the upper pelvis. I treated him with a battery of exercises and stretches, which kept the pain at bay for a while. Eventually, though, it returned, the same as before. We went through this process a couple more times, and despite doing my best to eliminate the pain at the source, it always returned. Luckily, fortune struck. A therapist who was working with me had a friend back from her college days (her basketball strength coach at the time) who had become the strength coach for the Utah Jazz. She was known for employing a therapy framework designed for elite athletes called the Peak Performance Project, or “P3” for short. When I contacted her, thinking maybe she could give me a few methodologies we could add to Mason’s treatment, she suggested I reach out to a team called P3 Santa Barbara, who were located out in California. They were real state-of-the-art, high-performance guys. I gave them a call and spoke to their founder, Dr. Marcus Eliot. When I told him Mason’s situation, he was a little hesitant to help me out, worried that I was just another one of those crazy helicopter parents trying to force their kids to athletic success. W Working With the Best


But when he realized I was earnestly trying to help my kid, he invited me out to their laboratory.

What I saw at their facility was a fundamentally new avenue of learning for a therapist like me. It was totally earth-shattering. This was a team at the absolute peak of their field, backed by a huge body of tried-and-tested research and techniques, and they work with some of the best athletes in the world. Over a few days, they performed a thorough evaluation of Mason and developed a program for his recovery. When we returned to El Paso, the protocol that they’d developed for Mason proved to be effective and the results were dramatic. We continued working with P3 and their techniques all the way through Mason’s high school and college basketball careers. We’d head back to Santa Barbara four or five times a year to reevaluate the course Mason was taking, making sure it was perfect. Meanwhile, they would allow me to shadow and help the therapists who were working with incredible athletes from the NFL, NBA, and MLB. So, not only did P3 help Mason reach the highest level of athleticism and prevent injury, they equipped me with a set of comprehensive rehabilitation methodologies to apply at my own practice, which have proven invaluable in the years since. In the end, Mason did realize his dream from so many years before, playing Division III ball at Lakeforest College. He had an incredible athletic career, and some of the best times of his life were out there on the court. Now, he’s an investment banker in Manhattan, and he works harder than almost anyone I know. There’s no doubt in my mind that the intense physical and mental gauntlet he went through in the gym provided him with the tools that helped him reach his current level of success and happiness. I’ve been deeply proud of him every step of the way.

–Louis Zuniga

NORTHEAST 4758 Loma Del Sur El Paso, TX 79934

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3 Family Activities for Thanksgiving

Unless you have a child auditioning for “MasterChef Junior,” you’re probably not going to let the little ones cook the turkey this Thanksgiving. Just because the kitchen might be off limits, though, doesn’t mean you can’t find a few creative ways to make the holiday extra special for your kids. Spice up Thanksgiving with these fun, family-friendly activities.

Coloring-Book Tablecloths

is great for this. Punch holes in the tops of the circles and

run string through them. Tie the other end of the string to a coat hanger or embroidery hoop and hang it from the ceiling.

grown-ups’ seating arrangement, but it doesn’t have to be any less special. Turn your kids’ table into a canvas for a colorful, creative dining experience. To do this, use craft or art paper to cover the table. Tape everything down tightly and provide crayons and colored pencils for every place setting. If you want to add some extra holiday spirit, put the drawing supplies in empty cranberry sauce and pumpkin cans. Gratitude Mobiles Of course, Thanksgiving isn’t just about delicious food. It’s also about reflecting on the parts of our lives we are grateful for. Teaching kids about gratitude is the most valuable Thanksgiving lesson. Bring that concept to life with a gratitude mobile.

Stuff the Turkey Game Want to get the kids outside so you can get to work in the kitchen? Create a Thanksgiving-themed game for them to play outside while you prep the stuffing and put the turkey in the oven. To create a holiday-themed “Stuff the Turkey” game, all you need is a few paper bags. We’ll bet you have some left over from shopping. Use two small bags stuffed with scrap paper to create legs and glue them to a larger bag folded to look like the body of a turkey. Now that you have your turkey, you need some balls to stuff it with. Anything soft and baseball-sized will work, even some balled-up paper. Kids will take turns trying to toss the balls into the turkey, scoring points for every shot made.

Grab some colored paper circles — or cut them out — and have your children write down things that they are thankful for. A silver Sharpie

SERVICE Highl ight

Check Out Our New Anti-Gravity Treadmill! about falling. But these harnesses are big, unwieldy, and highly uncomfortable, forcing therapists to cut sessions short. The Anti-Gravity Treadmill completely solves this problem. Before a patient begins running on the treadmill, they’re fit into a bag- like harness that then inflates from the pressure of a pump in the front of the machine. This air pressure gently lifts the patient, supporting up to 80 percent of their body weight, reducing stress to the legs and lower body while they run. This comfortable weight-bearing mechanism allows therapists to more effectively rehabilitate injuries of the lower extremities, improve mobility strength and safety for patients with neurological conditions, and enable the patient to lose weight and stay fit while reducing pain, even while injured. This advanced and impressive technology can benefit the entire spectrum of patients, from geriatric patients looking to restore balance to high-level athletes recovering from a nasty injury. We have found that the Anti-Gravity Treadmill is so effective and fun to use that patients wish they could stay on it even after the session is complete! If you’re interested in checking out this incredible new technology, give us a call at 915-313-6331 and schedule your consultation today!

At HealthMasters, we’re dedicated to providing cutting-edge solutions for our patients’ pain. We utilize only the most effective, innovative technologies to ensure that every patient receives the best treatment possible. That’s why, this month, we’re excited to announce the newest high-tech addition to our HealthMasters’ repertoire: the AlterG Anti-Gravity Treadmill! When a patient suffers a torn ACL, goes through hip surgery, or experiences a similar catastrophic injury of the lower body, therapists

will often guide the patient through what’s called “body weight support” exercises. Usually, this means the patient will strap themselves into a weight-bearing harness and perform a series of walking and gait training exercises on a

treadmill. This process is great for restoring normal

leg function without further exacerbating the patient’s injuries or having to worry

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covers the tendon at the base of the thumb becomes irritated, it can force the thumb into a permanently bent position. At its worst, the tendon can painfully squeeze through the covering with a loud snap every time the thumb is extended. It sounds like the release of a trigger. Physical therapists can recommend a combination of rest and splinting to help, along with several joint mobilizations that can reduce pain and enable the tendon to glide properly. Then there’s gamekeeper’s/skier’s thumb , which occurs from either blunt trauma or repetitive hyperextension of the thumb. Usually, treatment includes a particular kind of splint for four to six weeks followed by physical therapy. This may help restore healthy thumb function.

Our hands are of the most important tools we use in our daily life. Whether you’re typing emails for work, making a 3-foot putt, or driving the car to your extended family’s home for Thanksgiving, functioning hands are vital for the average person’s well-being. When we suffer damage to our hands or wrists from overuse, an underlying systemic pathology, or traumatic injury, it’s more than a painful nuisance. It can stop you from doing the activities you need and love to do. Luckily, physical therapy can help with most hand and wrist injuries. Take carpal tunnel syndrome , for example. This occurs when the median nerve of the wrist is pinched as it passes through the titular carpal tunnel on the way to the fingers. Often, symptoms include sharp pain, tingling, and even numbness, which often worsens at night. For most patients, hand therapy can relieve the aches and tingling without resorting to drastic and expensive surgery. We can stretch the affected areas while increasing hand, wrist, and forearm strength. Trigger thumb is another common hand injury that can be remedied with physical therapy. When the tissue that

Have a LAUGH

Brussels Sprouts WITH SAUSAGE


• • • • •

2 tablespoons olive oil

3 1/3 ounces fresh, hot Italian sausage

1 1/2 pounds Brussels sprouts

1/2 cup water Salt and pepper


1. Trim sprouts and cut in half. 2. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add sausage and cook, stirring occasionally, 3–5 minutes.

3. Add sprouts to skillet. Add 1/2 cup water. Add salt and pepper. Cover and cook 10 minutes or until just tender. Check them periodically and add a bit more water, if necessary. 4. When sprouts are just about done, remove cover and raise heat to medium- high. Cook, stirring just once or twice, for a couple more minutes. The liquid

should evaporate, and the sprouts should start to brown. 5. Add more salt and pepper to taste. Serve hot or warm. • 3


4758 Loma Del Sur El Paso, TX 79934

INSIDE This Issue

Realizing My Son’s College Basketball Dreams 3 Family Activities for Thanksgiving Check Out Our New Anti-Gravity Treadmill!

Eliminate Hand and Wrist Pain Brussels Sprouts With Sausage

The ‘First Thanksgiving’ of Texas

The ‘First Thanksgiving’ of Texas

From the outset, their travels were plagued with turmoil. First came a seven-day deluge of rain, followed by a pervasive dryness that steadily began to drive everyone mad with thirst. When they finally reached the Rio Grande, humans and their animal charges frantically scrambled to drink as much water as possible. Two horses burst their stomachs, and two travelers drowned in the river. Since the Rio Grande had narrowly saved the party from death by starvation and dehydration, Oñate felt a feast was in order. The expedition held a massive day of thanksgiving, complete with a feast of Spanish game and fish they had received from nearby Native Americans. One member wrote that the meal was “the like of which [they] had never enjoyed.” It was a welcome respite from the hazardous trials they’d endured during their travels. After the food was gone and a mass was held, Oñate made a declaration claiming the surrounding land in the name of King Philip II of Spain. Though the Thanksgiving tradition celebrated across America today undoubtedly sprang from the pilgrims of New England, it was, in fact, the Spanish who held the “first Thanksgiving” of North America, in Texas, years before.

Everyone has heard the story of the English Protestants breaking bread with the Wampanoag tribe in Plymouth back in 1621, but Spanish explorers celebrated a different kind of Thanksgiving, right here in El Paso, over 20 years prior to the landing of the Mayflower.

Juan de Oñate was the member of a prominent, rich family in Spain, with many accomplishments under his belt. Still, he always dreamed of leading an expedition into the uncharted lands of North America. When the viceroy of New Spain finally granted him some land in the Rio Grande Valley, Oñate sent Vicente de Zaldívar to blaze a trail from southern Chihuahua to what is modern-day El Paso. After receiving de Zaldívar’s report, Oñate gathered an expedition of 500 soldiers and colonists, along with their wives and children, and began to trek across the brutal desert of Chihuahua.

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