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

Hip pain

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.

Do I REALLY need to go to physical therapy 2 or 3 times a week for 4-6 weeks?

Patients never really say it, but I can tell they don’t really want to commit to 2-3 times a week of physical therapy treatment.  I’m not sure I would want to commit to that much time, given my busy schedule.  So…..I often schedule patients 1-2 times  a week unless they hurt really badly or they have an injury, surgery or goal that demands they come in 3 times a week.

If you’ve had a fresh injury like an ankle sprain, knee sprain, etc, PT right away is important to keep you as mobile and strong as you can be without making your injury worse.  This idea applies to some surgeries (see the surgeries mentioned in this post http://comstockpt.com/2014/02/01/physical-therapy-hurt/).   You may wonder, what happens if I don’t go to PT early on?

Let me tell you, it is BAD news!  When you are in a lot of pain from an injury some  muscles shorten up and spasm to protect you and other ones get shut down.  As a matter of fact recent science has shown that the big  muscle on the front of your  thigh (the quadriceps) begins to get shut down by your central nervous system 12 hours after pain begins.

When your pain level is lower, and your condition not as fresh you can cut down to 1 to 2 times a week. Chances are you will do well at 1 x per week if you are consistent in doing the exercise program the therapist has given you for homework.

Talk to your PT, she or he will work it out with you.

Physical therapy- will it hurt?

People often wonder, if I go to physical therapy will it hurt?  Sometimes I’ve heard people say “PT” stands for “pain and torture.”

So, does physical therapy hurt?  This is the good news:  most of the time the answer is NO!

When will physical therapy hurt?   Once in a while the answer is yes, BUT that is because of the surgery you have had and the steps that you need to go through to get past the normal side effects of having a surgery.  What surgeries will be more painful to rehabilitate from?  In my experience as a physical therapist, new knee replacements seem to be the most painful.  Second to that is shoulder surgery.   The worse pain is usually there for a while only then gets better as you recover and move more, usually within a few weeks to a month.

When should physical therapy be comfortable?  Most of the time physical therapy should be comfortable and make you feel better as each treatment progresses.  The old adage of “no pain no gain” does NOT apply.  When you have an injury, working weak muscles until they are tired will be a good limit of exercise;  if you push past the muscle you are working feeling tired (heavy and achey)  you might cause more pain because your body is working in its weak zone and that is when more pain happens.

Will there be soreness after my physical therapy session?  It is pretty common for patients to feel sore after their PT appointment, especially your first visit because we have to have you move a lot to fully evaluate your problem.  Sometimes after introducing a new exercise, or increasing resistance you will be sore too.  You should not be in pain, however and if your soreness is there for more than 1-2 days, speak up on your next PT session because that is too long.

Most of the time physical therapy should be comfortable and leave you feeling good!