Achieving Health and Longevity through Physical Therapy

By Connie Jeon | Blog

Aug 08

Hello,

Our bodies function best when they’re able to leverage proper alignment and posture.

Due to highly stressful demands of living in this day and age, we could all use a reminder to sit up taller and stand straight.

This is what I constantly have to tell my two boys and of course my patients.

There’s an increased interest in health and wellness lately, as most people are realizing that we must take responsibility of our own health.

But knowledge doesn’t translate into behavior.

So today I want to dive deep into the importance of paying attention to your posture and alignment.

Why Proper Alignment and Posture are Key

Most of us are unaware of the degeneration that occurs with simple aging.

As we age, we all degenerate as the body experiences wear and tear.  Most of us get regular alignment checks and oil changes for our cars, but when it comes to our own body, we don’t apply the same care.

I’ve been practicing physical therapy for over 19 years, and I’ve witnessed patients who lose their ability to move due to sudden low back pain, motor accidents, or even a fall.

Many people are in this category where they were injured and received physical therapy. They made some improvements, but were discharged because their insurance benefits were exhausted or it became too expensive.

Then they go back to their normal lives and forget about the injury until it comes back.  The pain and injury comes back because too often, we don’t take the time to properly heal.

With increased deductibles and higher copays, the insurance model makes the service of physical therapy a commodity, where most physical therapists treat patients within a short window of time dictated by the limits set by the payers.

It’s all too common for us to treat the patient until the pain subsides, but the follow through of fully healing and establishing proper muscle memory is so important for overall longevity and health.

How do I know?

I’ve witnessed the results of poor physical therapy and rehabilitation in the assisted living facilities that I’ve worked in.

Our muscles are the organ of youth.  It’s in our best interest to make our muscles strong and stable to the point of hypertrophy. This means actively building muscles to prevent atrophy, or shrinking of our muscles.

Everyone will be subject to injury at some point in their lives.  Many of you have never been assessed, therefore you are probably unaware of your dysfunctions.

So I’d like to talk about our bodies by providing an overview of tissue healing, as well as defining the phases of physical therapy and rehabilitation so that you understand how to take better care of your body to allow it to heal.

Three Essential Phases of Physical Therapy and Rehabilitation

First Phase: Inflammatory Phase

This phase can last from 1-7 days. At this phase, your body activates chemical and vascular responses that promote increased blood flow to the injured area.

The main goal at this phase is to decrease swelling and pain.

Second Phase: Repair Phase

This phase can last from 4 days to 6 weeks. You should be working with a licensed physical therapist at this phase.

During this phase, your body starts to settle down and begins the repair process by laying down new collagen. But it’s so important to remember that the new collagen is weaker and less flexible.

There’s less pain, but it is important to be cautious because this is where one can be at increased risk for re-injury.

The main goal at this phase should be to regain ROM (range of motion), do exercises that promote realignment, and focus on neuromuscular reeducation to avoid compensation and encourage proper muscle memory.

Third Phase: Post Rehab Phase

This final phase can last between 6 weeks up to a year depending on the injury. You should be focused on improved quality, motor control, and proper dynamic movement patterns.

It’s important at this phase to add adequate stress to the tissues to ensure that muscle is growing.

Main goals at this phase are to improve strength, increase muscle size, increase resistance, and ultimately return to functional ability prior to the injury.

If working with a proper team of professionals, your progress should exceed your expectations.

How to Avoid Reinjury

We believe the Post Rehab Phase is where most injuries occur.

Many people go back to the gym and hire a personal trainer, only to be injured again and return back to square one.

I’ve seen many patients fail to gain traction out of this phase to a point where it’s become the turning point for their physical decline.

They’re in too much pain to move, so they stop moving, gain weight, become a metabolic mess, and end up dependent on an assistive device.

I am hoping that this won’t be you.  So let’s talk about the importance of building muscle mass.

Alkaline Method Physical Therapy…What Makes Us Different?

First off, it’s important that physical activity becomes a habit or lifestyle. Building muscle and changing your body composition is very possible, but it takes time and commitment.

Initially when beginning a training program, your brain will become smarter.

Your brain is your connection to your muscle and when the brain learns, the connections grow and the body becomes more efficient. This happens in the first 1-2 weeks and as a result, you will feel stronger.

Then, we must build muscle.

You need to train consistently for 6-12 weeks to allow your muscles to physically grow. This is called muscle hypertrophy, where the muscles experience micro tears in order to repair with new tissue, increasing your lean muscle mass.

As long as you keep progressing, you will keep getting stronger.

Along with progressing your workouts to challenge your muscles, it is also important to have the right diet so that your body has the nutrients it needs to build muscle and give you energy!

Our post rehab protocol is created in a way that a physical therapist will guide you through the process, applying the different stages of healing and adjusting your program so that your body is optimally challenged without risk of injury.

We have three types of programs for every phase.

Alkaline Recovery

This is where you begin to take back your life and take responsibility for your health. We get you on a individualized program specific to your needs.

Alkaline Rehab

This is where you learn how to strategically take care of your body and begin to own your health. During this stage, we provide you with the tools to take your recovery into your hands, while still being supervised and instructed by a licensed physical therapist.

Alkaline Revival

This is where you’ll find that living Alkaline is a lifestyle. You now have full control over your health and body to a point where you now feel younger and stronger than ever before.

You can now understand the difference between chronological age and physiological age.

This is our goal and commitment to you. This is why we’re different.

We want to be the liaison between sickness and health and help you to shift Alkaline so that you can be the best version of yourself.

We hope to see you at our center. Call us at 678-335-5566 to make an appointment with our Alkaline Health Advisors today!

About the Author

Dr. Connie shares her expertise on lifestyle factors that can drastically improve your health. She continues to strive to maintain her health despite her Lupus diagnosis and as a result, lives a thriving life helping others do the same.