Aquatic Physical Therapy

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We are excited to announce that we are now offering Aquatic Physical Therapy at our Mercer Islappostcard Aquaticnd location!!

We have access to a pool at our Mercer Island facility and there are many benefits to using the water for physical therapy.  The bouyancy of water decreases the amount of weight one puts through joints and applies compression from the outside.  With just these two properties of water, one can begin to bear weight through injured joints, and decrease inflamation.

Aquatic Therapy has been used for arthritic conditions, joint replacement and other orthopedic rehabilitation, sports injury rehabilitation, and low back pain.  All of these, and more, can benefit from physical therapy in the water by decreasing the amount of stress through the joint.

Treatment in the water can include, but is not limited too:

  • Range of motion exercises
  • Core strengthening and stability
  • Strength training
  • Endurance training
  • Gait training

There are so many benefits to being in the water for therapy:

  • Increased temperature in therapy pools can help to decrease inflamation and increase circulation inside the body.
  • The resistance applied by the water can change depeding on the depth of the water, so a treatment can be constantly varied to meet individuals needs
  • Studies show that the copmbination of warm water and bouyancy can decrease sensitivity to pain

To experience the benefits of Aquatic Physical Therapy, please contact Advantage Physical Therapy at 425-883-9631.


Physical Therapy Patients Return to Competition

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In a physical therapy practice, we see many types of injuries.  Some people want to return to pain free living and working, but others want to return to competitive athletics and/or aggressive fitness styles.  From runners to basketball players; tennis players to swimmers; and many others, the goal of physical therapy is to return to the sport they love.  In the last couple of years, crossfit has become the new competitive sport that a lot of people are joining up and doing.

Crossfit is a very strenous workout that stresses “functional movement.” It is widely thought of as an intense workout, but not many people know that there are local competitions.  Advantage PT has 2 clinics (Mercer Island, WA and Redmond, WA).  Working at the Mercer Island clinic, I see many athletes from the local Crossfit gym Mercer Island Crossfit. Recently a husband and wife team of former patients competeted at a local event called the Resolution Revolution 2. Stone Way Crossfit hosted the event for “couples” (any male/female partner).


These 2 patients were exceptional athletes, had some injuries, and became better athletes after following a program of physical therapy.  They were seen for different body parts, but the activies they do require multiple body parts.  Here are a few pictures from the event!

jared press (2) meg clean (2)meg du (2)

New Year, New You

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Two views of local Extension leaders drilling ...

Two views of local Extension leaders drilling in physical exercise in middies and bloomers, … (Photo credit: Cornell University Library)

It is a week into 2013.  We at Advantage PT are curious how everyone is doing.  Remember that getting back into the swing of things following the holiday period can be tough.  After being busy with family and all of the food and decreased time for staying in shape, we wanted to offer some pointers to get back into the swing of things.

This is a short list of ways to stay injury free as you return to your workout schedule:

  1. Pace Yourself – Don’t go too hard too fast
  2. Lighten Your Load – Take a few workouts to get your strength and stamina back to where it was
  3. Eat Well – Pay attention to what you are putting in your body.  The right foods will help you ease back into the workout routine
  4. Find a Friend – A friend can help encourage you to stay on track
  5. Set Goals – Studies show that written goals help you work to achieve them instead of just dropping them
  6. Track Your Progress – Keep a journal or use a phone app to keep track of your mileage or weights on each exercise
  7. Do Something You Enjoy – There are a ton of options out there.  Find one you like doing!!!

Spinal Mobility

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Most of us know that as we age, it is important to keep moving.  Whether that is full on, hardcore exercise, or gentle walking is not important.  What is important is to keep every joint in the body mobile.  This includes not only the joints of the extremities:

  • Toes
  • Ankles
  • Knees
  • Hips
  • Fingers
  • Wrists
  • Elbows
  • ShouldersThe lumbar region in regards to the rest of th...

But also the joints of the spine.  The spine consists of 7 cervical vertebrae each with 4 or more joints, 12 thoracic vertebrae with 6 or more joints and 5 lumbar vertebrae with 4 or more joints.  The spine has over 120 joints, which can tighten with bad posture, overuse, pregnancy, and/or poor technique with exercise.

We are trained as early as pre-school to sit still.  If you look at children today, most are hunched over a desk or table to learn (class), study (homework/library), eat, or play some sort of game.  This continues into adulthood as we tend to work at a desk or watch TV.  All of this time spent in one position can lead to degenerative changes in the joints of the spine.

We need to move.  Spinal mobility can be improved by standing up and moving around.  I recommend to my patients to get up at least once per hour and move around the office and do some back bends and neck rotation exercises to help keep the spine limber. (click here for some neck exercises)

When your spine is tight, it can lead to the muscles of the spine getting tight as well.  This muscle tightness can lead to back and/or neck pain, shoulder pain, and even headaches and TMJ (temporalmandibular joint) pain.

If you are concerned about back pain and joint mobility, your Physical Therapist can help design a program for you to stay mobile as well as provide manual therapy to increase joint mobility of the spine.


Back to School

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Hey everyone.  School is starting up, and that means that summer is slowly coming to an end!  Fall sports are starting and everyone is returning to the grind. Did you know that one of the riskiest things for children at school is a backpack?  A backpack that is overloaded or worn improperly can cause damage to the spine and the surrounding musculature.  It is extremely important to watch for the risks of backpacks. Our website has some wonderful advice from the APTA on how to wear a backpack.  Here is a list of some of the more important considerations:

  • Wear both straps.  This distributes the weight more evenly across the back and promotes symmetrical posture
  • Make sure the backpack fits. The pack should sit evenly in the middle of the back and not sag.

Left: Improper wearing of a backpack. Right: Proper wearing of a backpack.

When looking to make a new purchase, some features that are beneficial are a padded back, a waist belt, compression straps, and reflective material.

It seems that today, many children are burdened with heavy packs.  Here is how you can tell if a backpack is too heavy:

  • Pain with use
  • Tingling or numbness down the arms
  • Red marks on the shoulders


One of the new “fads” is to have roller bags for school gear.  This can cut on the wear and tear to a childs back.  The drawback to this is that the pack is heavier itself and can cause injury when carrying it over unever surfaces. It is also important to not the size of the roller.  If you or your child have to lean to reach the handle, this can lead to some assymytry in the spine due to extra bending to one side (lateral flexion).

If you feel that you may want a backpack assessment or are having pain due to a backpack or a purse, call your physical therapist.


Low Back Pain Statistics


Many of my friends and family, and even myself, have experienced some sort of low back pain.  As a PT, they all ask me “What can you do to fix my back?”  This is always a tough question.  Sure, there are some exercises that will usually help the majority of the population, but each back issue has a root cause that needs to be addressed.  Finding the cause of the back pain by using a thorough history and examination is how physical therapists can design a treatment plan for each INDIVIDUAL.

The vertebral column - Anatomy Français : La c...

The vertebral column - Anatomy Français : La colonne vertébrale - Anatomie (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Earlier this year, the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA) performed a survey about low back pain.  The results of this survey were very telling.  Here are a few of the key points:

  • 61% of Americans experience some form of low back pain
  • 69% of people with low back pain say it affects some part of their lives (exercise, sleep, and work lead these answers)
  • Men are more likely than women to say back pain affects their ability to work
  • 72% of people with back pain use pain medication to relieve symptoms
  • 55% of low back pain sufferers use heat and/or cold packs for relief

If you are interested in looking more into these numbers from the survey, here is an infographic produced from the APTA

You may or may not know, that most states allow you to see a physical therapist without a prescription.  In Washington State, most insurance companies do allow for and cover direct access to physical therapy services.  Physical therapy can provide exercises for both increased range of motion and spinal stabilization, manual therapy to increase joint mobility and release soft tissue tightness, electric stimulation to help with the pain, ultrasound to help with inflammation, and ice or heat to help treat your symptoms.

It is IMPORTANT to note that proper exercises and stretching can help to prevent lower back pain.  We at Advantage Physical Therapy are always happy to help diagnose and treat your back problems.


Preparing for the Links


Grand Cayman Golf

Grand Cayman Golf (Photo credit: Fevi Yu)

The sun is out in the Greater Seattle Area.  To me, that means time outside; swimming, barbeques, softball, and golf.  For many of us, we haven’t swung a club in 9 months, but the sun will bring us to a golf course.  We want to be careful not to get injured our first time out.  There are many planes of movement the body goes through in order to play golf.To begin the season, it is good idea to head to the driving range and practice your stroke.  The movements involved in the swing of a golf club include rotation of the torso and the transfer of weight to the front foot.  Both of these require good flexibility and balance.  In order to increase your ability in both of these areas, it is important to strengthen the core and the hips.  Here are some good exercises to help you strengthen both.


Trunk Rotation on Floor

Trunk Rotation on Ball


Hopefully mastering these exercises will help you stay healthy for the golf season.  Physical Therapy can be used for preventative measures as well.  We at Advantage Physical Therapy in Redmond, WA and Mercer Island, WA have an expert staff that can help you with an exercise program to get you on the golf course before the season begins, or after an injury arises.  Please give us a call to schedule an appointment. 425-883-9630 (Redmond, WA), 425-883-9631 (Mercer Island, WA)


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