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Physical Therapy: Not Just for Injury Treatment, a blog by Heather Wnorowski, PT, DPT, OCS

By July 7, 2017 No Comments

When Nick asked me to write a blog post I thought “Yes!! I get to share what I know with all of you and hopefully help you prevent injury”.

And then, “Oh no! How do I get that all in one post??”

So, I’ve decided to let you know why I think preventative health care is under used in physical therapy and why I think it is so important in self-maintenance. Everyday I hear people talk about physical therapy and how it is only for the injured, old, or impaired. So I ask you, what exactly is impairment (or limited function)? In my opinion, it is anything I can not do with perfect form, technique, or consistency. Do you find that there are things in the gym that you’re plateauing with? Or lifts that you just can’t get right? You don’t need pain to be impaired. You don’t need lack of sleep due to numbness, tingling, or pain to be impaired. Any sub-optimal performance in a desired task can be determined to be an impairment. The more impaired, the higher the risk for injury. So, in this case, if you demonstrated some sort of impairment you would qualify for physical therapy treatment. (In New Jersey you can see a physical therapist without a physician script, if you require treatment for greater than 30 days, you will require a script – this can be from a family practitioner, physicians assistant, orthopedic, podiatrist, etc. etc.).

Why would I need PT without being “hurt”?

Let’s think about how you may be having trouble getting under a snatch or getting the flow of a kipping pull up. Your form might be decent, but it just might not “feel right”…or you may be plateauing with your weights. We moan and groan when we see said lift/activity on the white board. We come up with excuses as to why we can’t do it… “I have bad shoulders”, “My body isn’t made to be that mobile”, “I don’t need to be good at that lift, I’m not going to the games”. But something is causing that problem. Insert PT, a profession that specializes in human movement, an individual that spent years learning and watching faulty biomechanics as well as what can cause those faulty mechanics. As a PT I can help you figure out why you can’t perform something perfectly. Along with the coaches, we can help you to program a plan optimal for you. As a team, you have something at Crossfit Off the Grid that isn’t offered many other places…access to both physical therapy and excellent strength and conditioning coaching/programming.

In my opinion, correcting faulty form both PREVENTS injury and IMPROVES current performance in the gym. If we can stay pain free, we are saving time, money, and our sanity. Although it decreases my business, I would much rather help you stay healthy and avoid injury/surgery/aggravation. If you perform repetitive activity under extra strain or load over time, you will be putting yourself at risk for injury. Don’t have the time? If you find out what is sub-optimal early on, you will have less things to correct. The longer you practice faulty form, the longer the laundry list of things to correct be due to compensatory patterns during movement will be. I prefer short lists. If you have a short list, there may be only a handful of things that you need to do (under 15 minutes) to stay healthy. You don’t need me for that 15 minutes, just for the time we need to figure out what that list needs to entail. I just spent 15 minutes staring at the TV with nothing actually on the TV. If I can do that, I can definitely bang out those 4 exercises I need to do to keep my shoulder healthy. It’s just a matter of making it habitual and part of my normal routine. Just like you meal prep on Sundays, get all your clothes laid out for the early morning workout, or perfect your face for your daily Snapchat photo.

As physical therapists we can help you save time, prevent injury, and improve performance. Our profession is getting there slowly and I love the fact that I am in a field that is growing and expanding in regard to preventative health care. The ability to help the CrossFit Community stay healthy, become better athletes, and have fun teaching you all about your body and how it works is an awesome opportunity. Hopefully you take advantage of the services CrossFit Off the Grid is offering and come visit Ryan and I sometime!

For more information on our Physical Therapy services at CrossFit Off the Grid, visit our dedicated page!