Welcome to Health and Fitness 101, a blog for people who enjoy the Montana lifestyle.
The aim of our blog is to interpret, distill, and then deliver to you the threads that bind physical medicine with applicable health and fitness ideas and principles.
It's all about helping to connect the dots that foster optimal human function and, ultimately, superior performance. Feel better. Perform better.
Missoula isn’t what most would consider a “big” city. Yet it has available a support program for cancer survivors that big cities would love to duplicate. It’s a program called Fit to Fight. Their tag line says it all: Stronger than Cancer!
Ironically cancer treatment is often more brutal than the disease. Treatments leave the body diminished in function, affecting one’s state of mind and quality of life. The current medical model of cancer treatment may resolve the disease, but the resulting negative side-effects are often left unaddressed. Medical studies prove that exercise helps minimize the detrimental side-effects of cancer treatment, aiding in the return to a better quality of life. FIT TO FIGHT helps cancer survivors re-establish trust in their bodies and return to daily life as productive members of our community.
Empower cancer survivors to improve their quality of life through a program of fitness and health.
• Provide positive effects of group exercise
• Provide opportunity for social interaction, support, and exchange with others who are fighting or have fought cancer
• Involve the community in supporting cancer patients and aiding survivors in their return to a quality of life that is productive and satisfying
The FIT TO FIGHT program is an exercised based cancer support program and runs three 8-week sessions per year. We meet twice per week on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 5-6pm at The PEAK Main Club. The format is a small organized group exercise session, with individual tailoring. Each session consists of stretching, breathing & relaxation, resistive strengthening, and endurance training. Sessions are led by an exercise physiologist, supervised directly by a physical therapist.
The PT directly oversees the program and is available to all participants for questions or advice. However, this program does not replace the important individual skilled PT that many oncology patients may need initially.
Watch this newly updated video on Fit to Fight.
For more information, visit the Fit to Fight website by clicking here. Or call Alpine Physical Therapy at 406-251-2323.
Dennis McCrea, PT, has joined Alpine Physical Therapy at its South clinic location. Dennis is a graduate of the University of Montana and received his Master’s Degree in Physical Therapy from Northern Arizona University in 1995. Dennis looks forward to working with Missoula’s “working athletes,” “weekend warriors,” and recreational enthusiasts who want to learn how to prevent injuries or would like to return to their work and lifestyle after an injury, accident, or surgery. Areas of interest include orthopedic injuries, post-surgical rehabilitation, and spine care.
Philosophy of Care
“I see my patients as being athletes of all kinds who want to be active again without pain. I believe a combination of using hands-on manual therapy to decrease pain and restore movement and guiding patients in exercises to restore strength will help them to get moving again. And most importantly, I seek to educate and motivate patients so that they have an understanding of how to take care of themselves in the future and maintain that active, healthy lifestyle.”
Dennis can be reached at Alpine Physical Therapy South at 251-2323.
Thanks to the American College of Sports Medicine for their about-face on what’s in store for fitness in 2014. Enter high intensity interval training, or HIIT. For a growing number of fitness enthusiasts, this news isn’t surprising. Why?
Because the folks who have been doing HIIT regularly know the benefits. They see the change in body composition when they look in the mirror. Their belly’s are trim. Their muscles are defined. And they don’t huff and puff when taking the stairs up, the trash out, or the hike higher.
The accompanying article has some great information on HIIT, including the benefits. If you’ve been longing for a fast, effective, and efficient way to get maximal results, this one’s worth the read. Check it out.
Next year, your workout is going to get a lot more intense. Once the domain of fitness fanatics, high-intensity interval training is poised to hit the mainstream in 2014, according to a new survey from the American College of Sports Medicine.
To read the rest of this informative article, click here.
And to help you create a plan and get started doing HIIT today, I invite you to watch my YouTube video from our Alpine PT website below. Clearly from the image captured below, I got a bit excited to share this with you!
Darla commended Tara by writing: “Your successful attainment of the Certificate of Achievement – pelvic floor (CAPP –Pelvic) . . . signifies your dedication to women’s health physical therapy and to patients and clients that you serve.”
Having attained this advanced certification, Tara is the sole physical therapist in Missoula who performs examinations and treatments at this advanced level, enabling her to skillfully address pelvic diagnoses in women (and men) of all ages. Having a certified women’s health specialist in physical therapy working at Alpine Physical Therapy strongly expands our existing outreach in the area of women’s health physical therapy.
Tara is the Director of the Her Health program at Alpine Physical Therapy (www.HerHealthMT.com). Whereas she’s been able to grow this program over the past four years, her attainment of this certification yields numerous benefits. Certification places Tara at the top of her field in our community, enabling her to communicate comfortably and with authority to area doctors and other referral sources. Additionally, her patients are directly benefiting from Tara’s advanced training as a specialist.
For more information on Tara, as well as women’s health physical therapy services at Alpine PT, click here.
Q & A with two of our physical therapists who are using Rehabilitative Ultrasound Imaging
Angela Listug-Vap, DPT, FAAOMPT
Tara Mund, DPT, Women’s Health Specialist
What is Rehabilitative Ultrasound Imaging (RUSI)?
Quite simply it is a tool we can use to see your muscles in action. For women, it is similar to your OB using ultrasound technology to see your baby. Physical Therapists can use different settings to look at muscle layers and determine if they are working properly.
What muscles do you look at?
Right now we are both using it to look at core muscles including the pelvic floor, transverse abdominus, obliques and multifidus. Over the next several months we will additionally be using it to assess many other muscles around the hip and deep muscles in the neck.
Does it hurt?
Not even a tiny bit. It’s fascinating to see what your body is doing or not doing, then and gain control of these muscles in an accurate way. Gone are the days when you keep wondering – am I doing this right?
How is this helpful?
We all learn differently but for most people vision is a very strong learning tool. For example when we are first learning a new exercise watching ourselves in the mirror helps initially. Learning a motor skill such as contracting the correct muscles is similar. RUSI gives us that visual feedback to know if we did it correctly or incorrectly. It’s our mirror for muscles deeper than the surface.
When would this be appropriate?
It would be helpful in any of the following conditions:
Hip and Groin Pain
After you have healed from any abdominal surgery
Incontinence issues (bowel or bladder)
Any condition that you are suffering in which core strength is an important component
If someone is being treated by another PT would they have to switch?
Absolutely not! At Alpine we are used to collaborating with each other which allows our patients to benefit from the various specialties of individual PTs. We extend this same service to our colleagues around the area. A person can schedule 1-2 visits to focus on training their core using RUSI and incorporate what they learn into their plan of care with their primary PT, wherever they may be. Alpine PT is the only clinic in Western Montana and potentially the state that is offering this advanced training tool and we want to help as many people as possible in their healing efforts.
What should I expect from a treatment session?
Before your visit you are asked to not urinate for 1 hour prior and drink 1-2 glasses of water in that same hour. Wear something with a comfortable stretching waistband. We keep the lights low so you can see the screen easily and you’ll be on your back with your knees bent for part of the time and on your stomach or side to visualize the deep back muscles. We sometimes will use things to help you get a better contraction like a ball or a wedge. By the end of your treatment session you will given a list of things to practice on your own. It takes at least one hour visit and sometimes requires 2 visits depending on how many areas we are examining.
What are some interesting things you’ve seen so far?
None of these are 100% true but we’ve seen a few trends.
More men than women get an automatic co-contraction of the transverse abdominus with pelvic floor contractions (Kegels).
We have to move back and forth from looking at the screen and closing your eyes to feel it in your own body to make change in your muscle activation.
Often the change isn’t drastic in the visit but that evening when you go home and practice; when you return for the next visit there is significant change.
Putting someone in a slightly rotated position often results in a better multifidus contraction on the painful side and then carries over to neutral immediately after.
Will this ‘cure’ my painful condition?
A professor once told me that if someone tells you this cures everything, walk away. After 10 years of practice, I believe that more than ever. Restoring musculoskeletal health to alleviate pain requires a strong foundation, appropriate flexibility and movement strategies that do not continuously over stress tissue. RUSI helps us in the foundations and building strength from the inside out!
For more information, call Angela or Tara at our north clinic at 406-541-2606.
A picture tells a thousand words. The pumpkin pictured here was one of 200 we grew in our pumpkin garden this year. My daughter, Yani, added the drawing of the Alpine Physical Therapy logo . . . perfect in every detail!
When we opened our brand new Alpine Physical Therapy clinic in downtown Missoula back in February of this year, we knew there would be a lot of excitement and new patients. To support this anticipated growth, we allocated two physical therapists for the new venture, Samantha Schmidt, PT, and Jamie Terry, DPT.
It wasn’t long before the opportunity presented itself for us to add another seasoned physical therapist to our downtown professional staff.
Our choice was Matthew Schweitzer, DPT. Matthew returned to Missoula after completing an advanced manual therapy certification and his board certification in orthopedic PT. His interests are in utilizing manual therapy and integrating patients in to functional movement. Matthew recently completed training with Kinetacore in Colorado to provide functional dry needling.
This month, we are also welcoming back from maternity leave Jessica Kehoe, DPT to our south location on Blue Mountain Road. Jess has practiced PT in Missoula since she graduated from the U of M with her Doctorate in 2007. She’s been with Alpine for over a year and sees a variety of folks, including those with back pain, sports injuries, and soccer injuries.
We are also thrilled to announce that on December 9, 2013, a well known physical therapist to the Missoula area, Dennis McCrea, PT will join our professional staff. Dennis will carry a full time schedule at our south clinic. He is known for his skill, care, and compassion. He’s an expert manual therapist and is fully certified in functional dry needling.
Finally, we are scheduling a start date of December 18th for a long time Alpine star, Leah Versteegen, DPT. She has been on a sabbatical in Tromso, Norway, which has been the home base for her family since February 2013 when her husband entered a prestigious post-doctoral fellowship with the Norwegian Polar Institute as a geophysicist conducting research in Antarctica. Leah has been working in Northern Norway this past year providing physical therapy services and Pilates instruction at Studio Pilates Trening and Fysioterapy. She is excited to return home to Alpine once again providing her services to the Missoula community.
These additions will enable us to uphold our passion to provide excellent physical therapy.
If I told you there was an inexpensive device that improves your cardiovascular fitness, reduces loading and pain in your leg and back joints associated with weight-bearing exercise, AND strengthens your arms while walking or hiking, you’d likely be interested, right? Call them what you want, Trendy Trekkers, Exerstriders, Nordic Walkers, or Pole Walkers, but they are taking over the streets and trails for great reasons. Let me demonstrate with this picture of me in my Alpine Physical Therapy shirt while using poles on one of my recent hikes.
From a Physical Therapist’s perspective, this is the value-added device of the century! People have been using poles, staffs, sticks, and rods of various sorts to help them navigate tricky terrain for hundreds of years. Fortunately, there is mounting evidence to support the benefits of using ski poles or two sticks to double down (or triple down) on your walks or hikes. Here are just a few of the benefits of using these devices:
Improves coordination and walking ease
Increases your average energy expenditure of around 25% without making the walk “harder”
Decreases your lower extremity and spine peak impact forces of around 25%, as significant weight becomes supported by upper body
Reduces possible joint-related aches and pains from your lower extremity joints and spine
Increases your core and upper body muscle fitness as you walk
Improves posture, balance, and confidence
Below are some additional valuable resources on this topic:
Click here for an article comparing the multiple benefits of using various walking poles for fitness pursuits.
Click here for a power point presentation on benefits of utilizing poles for walking from a Physical Therapy perspective.
Click here for a research-based article on the science behind trekking poles and their quantifiable fitness improvement and soreness-reduction benefits.
Missoula, get your hike on with the advantages of using poles on walks or hikes!
Wellness is generally defined as “a healthy balance of the mind, body, and spirit that results in an overall feeling of well-being.” Nothing could be better than that, but how do you do this? Finding ‘balance’ in your life is an every day challenge. There is the quest to find balance between work and family, the balance of your diet, and the goal of balancing your budget. These are all enormous tasks that are ever changing. You can find balance in a single day or week with relative ease, but maintaining that balance over the course of a month, season or calendar year is much more difficult.
We have developed the Wellness Program at Alpine Physical Therapy based on that magical word – balance. Finding balance with your overall health is an enormous task and no two people face the same challenge on the road to wellness. As health care professionals who are experts in the field of physical well-being and who also have the privilege of interacting with our patients on a weekly basis, often over the course of several months, we are in the ideal position to assist our patients in achieving wellness as part of their rehabilitation. Even better, the program is FREE for all Alpine Physical Therapy patients.
So, how does it work?
At your first visit, you will have the opportunity to ask your physical therapist about the wellness program and with their help, determine if you are ready to begin your quest for wellness. Once you have signed up for the program, you will fill out a brief questionnaire covering a variety of lifestyle choices including diet, exercise, stress, drinking and smoking habits then complete a 20 minute wellness screen. The wellness screen will include measurements on BMI, waist to hip ratio, skinfold measurements to determine percent body fat, cardiovascular step-test, blood pressure and resting heart rate, weight and height.
Once a week during the course of your physical therapy sessions, your weight, blood pressure and resting heart rate will be recorded. You will also fill out weekly questionnaires concerning your lifestyle choices for the previous week. You will have the opportunity to discuss your challenges, successes and ask questions about your road to wellness with your physical therapist at each appointment. Every four to six weeks the wellness screen will be repeated and progress results will be explained. If you complete your physical therapy rehabilitation but would like to continue to check your wellness progress, you can return to any one of our three clinics FREE of charge to complete the follow-up wellness screen.
Don’t wait to sign up today. Even if you have been a patient for awhile, ask your PT at Alpine about our Wellness Program. It is never too late to start!
Special thanks to the Missoulian for inviting Alpine Physical Therapy to be a part of their segment on Missoula business involved in recent expansions. That’s us . . . for sure, as we just this year opened our 3rd clinic within the brand new Peak Health and Wellness Center in Downtown, Missoula. Here’s the intro to the article:
Alpine joins Peak in healthy match downtown
Calling it a match made for downtown Missoula, Alpine Physical Therapy this year opened its new clinic in a facility renovated by the Peak Health and Wellness Center.
The center – Alpine’s third location – employs three physical therapists and is ready to expand its hours to 7 p.m. for the benefit of customers.
For the rest of this exciting article, click here.