165 Lilly Rd NE, Suite B, Olympia • 360.455-8014

Exercise Programs

Get your glut muscle workout with every day activity!

Gluteus Maximus

Gluteus maximus muscle-get your workout with everyday activity

Do you want to strengthen your gluteus maximus during day to day activities? Why is it even important? The gluteus maximus is important in preventing hip, knee and foot pain. It supports the thigh, knee and foot when you shift your weight onto your leg when you walk or run. It is absolutely essential for good balance. The gluteus maximus also supports the hip by keeping the ball and socket of the hip held closely tight, instead of allowing larger, longer muscles such as the hamstrings to pull ball towards the edge of the socket. At the image below, from “Diagnosis and Treatment of Movement Impairment Syndromes” by Shirley Sahrmann PT PhD FAPTA, it can be see on the top image, that the

Glut max versus hamstring

Gluteus maximus versus hamstring

that the gluteus maximus, the muscle on the top of the thigh, hugs the ball into the socket. In the lower image the hamstring can be seen pushing the ball forward in the socket, which can cause groin pain in the short run and hip arthritis in the long run.

To strengthening the glut with day to day activity do the following:
1) get in to a sitting position in a chair (or even on a toilet) and tuck your feet under you
2) reach around behind you to your buttocks
3) activate (tighten) your gluts
4) use your gluts to push you into standing
5) when moving from standing to sitting reverse this procedure

If you have in leg or back problems, be sure to check with your health care provider before attempting this exercise.

Physical Therapy in Olympia, Tumwater and Lacey, Where should I go?

There are many fine physical therapy clinics in the Olympia, Tumwater and Lacey area. How do you chose where to go?

You can choose based on location. A friend of mine told me today she chose to go to physical therapy at a clinic close to her house. What would prompt a close choice versus reputation? Maybe she needed to go 2 or 3 times per week. If someone needs to go to PT 2 or 3 times a week for a month or so, then going close to your house would be very convenient, HOWEVER, ask yourself the question: does your condition warrant 2 or 3 times per week?

Recently a former patient returned for a new session of physical therapy. She is a fairly frail 80 something year old, and was sent for BOTH headaches AND shoulder pain by her physician. Her prescription from the physician was directed to be 2 to 3 times per week for 4 to 6 weeks. She may have thought she needed to come that often, but…….when I evaluated her headache AND shoulder pain, I determined that both problems were mainly caused by the same anatomical structure.

I gave her an exercise program based on this one problem, and added customized and specific exercises for the shoulders and neck. As of Friday (January 30) 100% better in the headache and 75% better in the shoulders. She came for 6 visits at 1 x per week.

So the bottom line is, unless you actually NEED to have therapy 2 or 3 times per week consider going somewhere that uses less visits more effectively and you may save yourself some time and money.

The therapists at Comstock Physical Therapy, Joyce Mills, Lori Waterman and Linnea Comstock have extensively studied the body to make our exercise programs very effective and efficient. Give us a call if you would rather go to PT once per week instead of three times a week!

Physical Therapy…May I have a private room please!

When you go to a physical therapist have you been offered a private room or are you treated in an open gym, no curtains to provide privacy, with many other people in the gym?

As a patient YOU can choose what you want. When you go to your first PT appointment, make sure to let the scheduler know that you would like a private room, if you wish.

Many clinics have one or two private rooms and a large gym. It is less expensive to have an large open gym with a few private rooms than to have many private rooms and a smaller gym. Why? It is much more expensive to frame in, sheet rock, putty and paint walls then leave spaces open. Unfortunately you, if you are the patient, may be more likely to gently be guided to an open gym space due to the lest costly nature of this arrangement.

Recently my husband went with his buddies to go get coffee. He came home telling me they watched a lady receiving physical therapy in an open gym with lots of windows. They watched her on her hands and knees stretching her buttocks towards the window. Unfortunately they got quite a show.

What are the positives to private rooms?
1) you can have a candid conversation with your therapist about YOUR needs and wants.
2) You can move in physically awkward positions in privacy with your therapist. This is an advantage to you as you have more privacy; also your therapist may be more comfortable asking you to get into awkward positions (which may be helpful for your therapist to understand your problem) to assess your problem knowing she/he is not putting you in potentially embarrassing positions.

At Comstock Physical Therapy we have 3 private rooms and 2 other rooms in our gym which have full curtain coverage. Here is a video of our clinic on the inside. Take a look, you’ll see our private rooms.

Inside of Comstock Physical Therapy

Please feel free to request a private room as we are ready and able to accommodate your request and keep your needs in mind.

Pelvic Health Physical Therapy–Physical Therapy treats WHAT?

Okay, today we are discussing a very sensitive issue–Pelvic Health Physical Therapy. Having pelvic health issues can be intimidating–because, it is soooo personal. You may be wondering, what issues do people suffer that have poor pelvic health?

Lots of problems can happen down south. There are muscles in the pelvic floor (the levator ani aka pelvic floor muscles or PF) PF muscles can spasm or become weak, just like shoulder muscles, or any other muscle groups. The difference with these muscles causing problems, however, is that spasms here can cause other problems with how the pelvic organs function. Stress incontinence (leakage when you lift, cough, sneeze, run) can happen, often in women but also in men who have had prostate cancer surgery, from weakness.

Levator ani muscles, otherwise know as Pelvic Floor muscles

Levator ani muscles, otherwise know as Pelvic Floor muscles

Urge and frequency incontinence happens when the bladder muscles decide it is time for your bladder to let go, even if You don’t think it is time, and then… you leak. Medicine can be helpful for urgency and frequency, but they leave you with dry mouth side effects.

These muscles can also spasm causing a lot of pain and difficulty with fully emptying your bladder.

A lot of other pelvic health conditions can be treated by pelvic floor physical therapy…more tomorrow

The Movement System–The core of Muscles-In Sync (R)

Joyce Mills and I just finished attending a educational course instructed by Shirley Sahrmann PT PhD.  The course was titled Movement System Impairment Syndromes:  Lower Quarter Advanced Applicatiion.  Two other PTs from Olympia went too.  It was very refreshing and stimulating and gave us new information about treating such difficult problems such as hammer toe, hip pain and back pain

What are Movement Impairments and why should I care?  Movement Impairments mean you are moving with a bad habit… stretching out what is already too loose and keeping what is too tight still too tight.  For example, in previous blog posts such as the one below::  http://comstockpt.com/2011/10/19/chronic-ankle-sprain-weak-hip-making-recovery-difficult-lacey-wa/

the young man with the ankle sprain was a medial femoral rotation impairment.  That means his knee kept rotating in because his inner thigh muscles were too short and gluts were too long and weak. Which out extra weight down through his ankle and made his recovery poor.  

What is new? One of the things we learned is that it turns out hammer toes are sometimes caused by over using the muscles that lift the toes instead of the ankle muscle that is supposed to lift the foot when you clear your foot.  This is often caused stiffness in the movement of the foot up, like you are marching.  How to fix?  Walk with more push off and stretch your calf.