physical therapy

How Physical Therapy Can Cure the "Dreaded Plantar Fasciitis"

Do You Have Plantar Fasciitis Symptoms?

  • You get out bed and feel searing pain with that first step.
  • You dread the first 10 minutes in the morning of standing and almost pee your pajama pants trying to get to the bathroom because your foot hurts so bad and you have to hobble there.
  • You’ve stretched your foot, arch, and calves endlessly with no lasting improvement.
  • You rolled a golf ball under your arch to the point of tears.
  • You bought 16 pairs of ugly shoes only to wear your tennis shoes to work every day.

If you’re familiar with any of these situations, it’s likely that your plantar fascia is in trouble, and with the arrival of summer your symptoms only get worse. For many, summer means flip flops, cute sandals, and walking barefoot on the beach.

For others it means ramping up training to prepare for a race this fall. All of these can put strain on the bottom of your feet resulting in your poor plantar fascia becoming inflamed and irritated.

Here’s a secret…the problem isn’t your plantar fascia. It’s actually your core, your hips, and your butt.

The foot is structured in the shape of an arch with the plantar fascia, a long, flat, wide ligamentous structure like a hammock, across the bottom supporting the arch. If you have weakness of your core, hips and butt or these muscle groups aren’t working properly, they can’t maintain the correct joint position in the leg, thus placing all of the stress through the bottom of the foot.

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Look at your foot when you’re standing – do you have an arch or are your feet flat like a duck? Are your ankle bones pointing inward?

When your weight is evenly distributed through the foot, the body can utilize all the muscles, joints and ligaments to support that weight. The hips and legs can then exert forces upward to hold your body upright.

When weight is unevenly distributed, the feet will rest in pronation (weight on the inside edge) or supination (weight on the outside edge).  Pronation is the most common fault and can occur for a variety of reasons; one is genetic predisposition to flat feet.  Another cause is weakness in the external rotators of the hip, which leads to abnormal rotation of the femur (thigh bone) and creates valgus (knees together) posture. If you follow this down the chain from the hips to the foot, the knees come together the ankles squint in too, resulting in strain on the plantar fascia.

By strengthening the core, hips and thighs and being aware of proper posture, the strain can be reduced and the plantar fascia can begin to heal.

Physical Therapist Approved Activities for Healing 

Finding neutral foot

Sit on a chair with feet flat on the floor, knees bent at a 90⁰ angle with toes forward, and ankles directly under your knees. Try to create an arch by lifting the ankle bones but also keeping the big toe on the floor. The goal is to make the pointy bones inside the ankle to be level with each other (not the inner one lower than the outer one).

Make it tougher

Once you can hold that position, try it while standing. Put your hands on a table or a countertop to decrease the amount of weight on the feet and help balance. Once you can hold that for 30 seconds and repeat it 5-10 times, try on one foot. Do this in front of a mirror so you can be sure your hips stay level when you lift the foot off the ground.

Now practice it – all the time

Pay attention to your arch while you’re standing. For example, while waiting in line at the grocery store, or while brushing your teeth. The more you practice holding that arch, the easier it becomes.

Strengthen with a purpose

Squatting is a great way to strengthen the lower body, if special attention is paid to maintaining proper alignment.  Imagine screwing your feet into the ground, using an outward rotation motion but not actually moving the feet. This motion lifts your arches and direct the knees ever-so-slightly outward.  As you can see in the image, this helps maintain safe alignment of the knees and feet and prevents excessive strain on the joints and ligaments of the leg.

physical therapy

Orthotics, or shoe inserts, are often used to help maintain the arch temporarily. Ultimately though, correcting the mechanics of the leg and building strength will reduce the inflammation at the plantar fascia. So will maintaining a neutral foot position during daily activities thus preventing irritation in the first place.

Try the activities above for a few days to gain awareness of your foot position and note any changes in your symptoms. As with any exercise program, if you feel increased pain stop!  The activities are designed to decrease irritation so if there is pain, it’s a signal that your body doesn’t like what you are doing to it.

If you aren’t finding relief or just can’t get the hang of it, call a physical therapist (check out our blog post How to Find the Right Physical Therapist). A thorough PT will examine the lower back, core, hips, knees, ankles and feet, not just focus on the symptoms at the bottom of the foot. The therapist will work with you to develop specific physical therapy goals and a program to reach them.

Remember the process of healing and retraining takes time and it won’t happen overnight. With work and dedication, you should be able to return to what you love doing without pain.

Battle Born Health, where you can be STRONGER THAN YESTERDAY.

natural energy drinks

Are Energy Drinks a Necessary Supplement for Active Kids?

It’s summer which means our kids are doing camps and running around all day in the sun. Some are in competitive sports camps where they have games, practice and tournaments, plus it’s HOT and our kids are sweating! We NEED to replace those electrolytes; the commercial says so!  We need to get them energy drinks…or do we?

Sports drink commercials run during pretty much every break in televised sports and while they show athletes sweating, moving and looking generally worn out, they fail to actually explain the product’s alleged value. So what exactly are electrolytes and do we need what’s in that sports drink?

Electrolytes are electrically charged ions in our body including inorganic compounds such as sodium, potassium, magnesium, calcium, chloride, and bicarbonate. Their job is to help conduct electrical impulses throughout our bodies that are crucial to a whole host of functions. The three main electrolytes are sodium, chloride, and potassium.

These minerals are responsible for balancing body fluids, maintaining the body’s PH, regulating heartbeat, metabolizing carbohydrates, and are essential in the sodium/potassium pump which allows nerves to conduct messages. This is the process whereby neurons and muscles work to create an action potential. An action potential is the cascade of events that allow for nervous system to communicate, create a muscular contraction and thus movement. In plain English: Brain says run à action potentials make the legs move.

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During intense exercise the body will excrete these minerals through sweat and urine.  Now let’s define this “intense exercise” that warrants electrolyte replacement afterwards.  It is defined at 90 minutes or longer of continuous strenuous exercise. Think about when you have sweated so much your skin has a layer of salt caked on it…that is what we are talking about. Of course temperature and humidity factor into this as well, but the key here is long duration of continuous, strenuous exercise.

There are certainly times when we may need to help the body replace these important electrolytes. The energy drink companies have done a wonderful job of convincing us that they have the magic elixir, and the minute you get off the couch you NEED it.

Most energy drinks are similar, they contain high fructose corn syrup (glucose-fructose syrup), sucrose syrup, citric acid, natural flavor, salt, sodium citrate, mono-potassium phosphate, modified food starch, red 40 and glycerol ester of rosin. An 8 oz. serving of a typical sports drink contains 14 grams of sugar, which is equivalent to 3.3 teaspoons of sugar. If you drink the whole 20 oz. bottle, you’ll be getting a whopping 8 teaspoons of sugar.

Please don’t go out and buy the zero calorie sports drinks, the fake sugars are even worse for growing bodies than the corn syrup.

This isn’t to say that our kids will never need to replace electrolytes and replenish carbohydrate storage. They certainly might in the event of a doubleheader, kids playing multiple sports in a single day or during a busy tournament weekend.  At this point,  it is appropriate and important to replenish these elements in the body.  It’s important to remember that it must be in a useful form so the body can metabolize those minerals and vitamins and put them toward performance.

Our bodies react to high fructose corn syrup, sucrose syrup and chemical sweeteners with an inflammatory response; corn syrup is not natural, it requires a huge surge of insulin to process and remove from the blood stream. Instead of the body working to move leg muscles to run or kick, it’s busy removing the corn syrup from the system.

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Eight teaspoons of sugar will give them a rush and then a huge crash (aka bonking in the 3rd or 4th quarter – watch for it).  Plus, the chemicals used to give the drink it’s day glow colors (and dye all the kids’ tongues) are extremely unhealthy.  Again,  this increases the inflammatory load on the body. Sugar and processed food will further increase the amount of work for the body must do to recover, making a second or third game even more difficult and increases the chance for injury.

So now all parents are thinking, “Crap, now what do we do?  How can we help our young athletes thrive?” I have an answer for you…electrolytes that are found in FOOD! Natural, whole sources are more bio-absorbable and therefore more efficient sources for replenishing the body.

According to Emily Brown from Running Times Magazine “the usual foods we eat contain far more electrolytes than sports drinks. For example, a medium banana contains about 450 mg of potassium, whereas sports drinks provides 30 mg per 8-ounce serving. After a long run, a meal consisting of 8 ounces of yogurt and 16 oz of chicken noodle soup would adequately replace lost electrolytes (potassium and sodium)…”

Easy examples to replenish on the field are: citrus fruits (remember that standard-issue orange half we got as kids?) bananas, nuts, leafy greens, celery, tomatoes, apples, broccoli, avocados, apricots, seeds, carrots, olives and pickles. Eating these foods before and after the game will sufficiently reestablish the minerals and carbohydrates lost during the game. And even better, these foods with adequate amounts of water, will replenish without the fillers or damaging chemicals found in sports drinks.

Believe me, I understand that it’s difficult as a parent to enforce this change in behavior and you can just hear them now, “all the other kids get gatorade, why can’t we?” I encourage you to share this article with the parents on your team, vacation group, or counselors at the camp. When everyone as a group commits to avoiding the garbage, it gets easier to stick to the new plan. Collaborate with the other parents, during tournaments to encourage our kids to replenish their systems in a more favorable way.

Make a snack list prior to the event, parents can sign up to bring fruits (apples, oranges, bananas) nuts, almond butter with celery sticks, and carrots with ranch to the games.  Trader Joes and Whole Foods are usually easy to find and have these already prepared if you’re traveling for games out of town. Meals at home or on the road encourage vegetables consumption (not fried) to decrease the inflammatory processes that were produced during the exertion of the game and summer activities.

Here are a few easy recipes to sip during days out in the sun:

  1. Coconut water + a squeeze of lime, lemon or orange + 1/8 tsp. of sea salt. * for young kids, you can get a young Thai coconut (sold at many health food stores) and stick a straw (maybe with an umbrella) right inside.
  2. Fresh water + a squeeze of lime, lemon or orange with 1/8 tsp sea salt and 1 tsp of honey (to taste).
  3. Smoothies with fresh or frozen fruits and veggies (berries, banana, citrus, spinach, cucumbers, carrots and apples) blended with ice… tell them a leprechaun made it green.

For AFTER a big event, smoothies can include plain Greek yogurt (full fat) or whole milk, include veggies not just fruit to lower the sugar impact and increase the vitamin and nutrient diversity.

I have included a few websites in the references with more recipe ideas.

As a final thought, save the treats for after all of the games have been played, and keep consumption in moderation. Yes, they worked out. Yes, they have burned the caloric equivalent of a jumbo ice cream, but ingesting loads of treats does not allow for complete physical recovery. Their bodies need quality nourishment to adequately restore their muscles and be ready for the next event.  Let’s give our girls the level of support they deserve, so they can continue to amaze us with their success and incredible abilities!

For additional references and recipes please visit:

1. http://thesilverclouddiet.com/2013/02/a-sugary-drink-with-a-toxic-secret/

2. http://www.consumethisfirst.com/2010/05/10/sports-drinks-kids-and-electrolytes/

3. Emily Brown as featured in the November 2009 issue of Running Times Magazine

4. www.wellnessmomma.com

This article originally appeared in the June Issue of The Live Love and Eat Magazine.

physical therapist

How to Find the Right Physical Therapist

Ok, you really are injured. Your doctor told you to go see a physical therapist, or maybe you’re realizing this injury won’t heal on its own. Now what? You don’t want to trust your most precious resource, your body, to just anyone, but most people’s first move would be to google physical therapy clinics in the Reno, Nevada area. Is that really how you want to find the person that will be restoring you to your previous glory?

You need to know all physical therapists and physical therapy clinics are not created equally.

If you were to have a surgery, you would most likely have a second opinion. We get multiple estimates before getting our car repaired. Doesn’t it make sense to research your physical therapist? Consider not just price, but quality, convenience, experience, and specialty. There’s no doubt that cost is an important consideration, but remember you only have one body and you want it to feel good. You want to rehabilitate and restore – not just get a rub down with no lasting effect.

So I offer you some tips for determining if a therapist is the right match for you:

  1. If you have no guidance from your doctor or friends, check out apta.org/findapt. Look at the specialties, extra certifications, and education. The letters don’t guarantee a great physical therapist, but it does show an effort on the therapist’s part to go above and beyond the status quo after graduation.
  1. Call the clinic or look on the website to learn more about that specific therapist. You should be able to see each therapist’s specialties, educational backgrounds, and years of experience.
  1. Ask about the size and treatment style of the clinic. Are you comfortable in a big open gym or would you prefer to be treated in a private room? Does that physical therapist have 4 patients in an hour or just one?
  1. Ask how long each visit is with the physical therapist. Many clinics have patients see both the therapist and an unlicensed therapy aide or technician. You want to make sure the bulk of your therapy is with the physical therapist (for example 45 min with the physical therapist and 15 with an aide). Aides can guide exercises if you have already been trained well by the physical therapist. The aide should not be teaching the exercises or performing any hands-on techniques to patients.
  1. Will you see the same physical therapist each visit? Consistency is important. As a therapist, having the patient’s full back story helps us put together the puzzle pieces. Without consistency of care, important details are often lost, which can have a significant impact on the extent and speed of recovery.
  1. Will a therapist take the time to talk to you on the phone prior to your appointment or answer questions and concerns between appointments? Now, realistically the physical therapist may not be able to jump on the phone whenever you call, but it is reasonable to expect a call back within 48 hours.

Once you have spoken to or met your therapist, consider a few other factors that will aid in the success of your care:

  1. Do you like the person? Be honest, this person will be in your face and touching your body, if you don’t feel comfortable with them, it could affect your outcome. Do they listen to your concerns? Were you involved in establishing goals for therapy?
  1. You should feel a difference in one to two visits. Notice I did not say you should be better in one to two visits, but there should be some change. That change may be good or bad. If it’s not good, the therapist should be able to answer why your symptoms are not improving.
  1. Often the symptoms that brought you to physical therapy are not the actual cause of the problem (which is a topic for another post, stay tuned). But frequently a knee hurts but it is because the hip is weak. Did your therapist look at your whole body, not just the injured region?

At Battle Born Health, our therapists have over 25 years of combined experience in Orthopedic and Athletic populations. Our therapists have completed post-doctoral certifications and board certifications. We do not employ technicians or aides. We strive for 100% consistency with patient scheduling.

We provide a free 30-minute discovery session for all potential patients. We would love to talk you, answer your questions about what is hurting or limiting your ability to do what you want to do.  We are different from the rest and would love the opportunity to prove it. If we are not the right fit for you, we are happy to direct you to the appropriate practitioner.

Give us a call!

pain management

How Pain Can Make You Fat

This article originally appeared in the May 2016 issue of Live, Love and Eat Magazine. 

You’re trying to do everything right – you have been working out like crazy, haven’t eaten cake let alone bread for ages, you sleep 6 – 7 hours a night, you’re at the gym at 6 AM at least 5 days a week.  Your shoulder bugs you every time but it’s not so bad that a few Advil can’t ease it.  Despite ALL of this, the scale hasn’t budged and your pants aren’t any looser. The classic theory of counting calories in and out is outdated and can do more harm than good. To quote JJ Virgin, “your body is a chemistry experiment not a bank account.”

Metabolism is what drives the body’s fat burning system. How your body burns calories, uses energy and loses weight, is dependent on multiple factors. Metabolic function, and thus weight loss, is based on our hormones. Hormones are chemical messengers of the body; they send the signals to promote cellular function.  These hormones produce the chemical reactions that govern everything!

Long ago in the evolutionary process, our bodies held on to weight whenever it was under stress. This allowed our ancestors to survive periods of famine. Those who were able to hold on to fat survived and those people became our ancestors. That means you can thank your Great Grandma for making you SO very good at holding on to fat. Nowadays, if our hormone levels get out of whack (from illness, medications, diet, etc.) our body goes into that same protective mode as if it were preparing for famine, thus it holds on to weight

Now you’re probably thinking “what can I do to control this stress reaction?” First, you need to understand the connection between the brain and the body.  Imagine our nervous system as a 2-sided coin – one side is the sympathetic and the other is the parasympathetic. The sympathetic nervous system controls our Fight or Flight response (FoF) which shifts into gear when we are stressed. The parasympathetic is responsible for our Rest & Digest (R&D) phase.

Imagine this scenario: You’re out on a walk and you encounter a tiger. Your body immediately kicks into Fight or Flight mode and floods your system with cortisol, which is a stress hormone that helps mobilize glucose to the muscles so you can run, jump or fight. This rush of cortisol increases your heart rate and helps push more blood and energy to the muscles so you can dart to a tree and climb like your life depends on it.  When cortisol rises it stops the non-essential hormones from working. As you run from that tiger you really don’t need to ovulate, digest your food or regenerate healthy skin – you just need to get the hell out of there.

That’s the way it’s supposed to work. Once you get to the tree, the tiger goes to find someone else for dinner. Now it’s time for R&D so I hang out drink some coconut water and relax. The cortisol will drop and everything else starts to work again.  Cortisol is important for short-term stress, but when we have chronic stress, the continual release of it becomes a problem.

Exercise is important, our bodies were built to move AND rest. When we move correctly our body will increase metabolic processes, allowing it to use energy and produce metabolic waste. Detoxing this waste is a crucial part of weight loss, so if we don’t rest and digest the liver can’t access the nutrient chemicals needed to detox the body. These metabolic toxins build up and the body thinks “I need to get this toxic stuff far away from my brain, my heart, and my lungs!” If the body can’t break down the fat-soluble toxins, it wraps them up safe and sound in a fat molecule and stores it somewhere safe, far away from the brain and heart…like on your ass.

In our society today, we tend overdo things. The first person to complete the 26.2 mile run to Marathon died, but for some reason we all think it is a rite of passage as an “athlete.”  It’s important to understand that stress to the system in small doses allows us to grow stronger; too much stress and we break down.

Physical stress such as exercise produces a spike in cortisol, which can be good. We need to exercise to break down tissues and encourage it to heal bigger and stronger. The problem occurs when we keep stressing the system without rest. The body cannot keep up with cortisol production and the adrenal system starts to fail (exhaustion).  When the adrenals are exhausted, sex hormone production is lessened so you can say goodbye to the idea of six pack abs.

Pain is also seen by the body as a stressor, depending on the intensity and frequency, a chronic stressor. Therefore, the body responds by increasing cortisol production and goes into flight or fight mode whenever it’s stimulated. Physical pain can continue to increase and spike cortisol which ultimately changes our body’s healing process and starts a chronic pain cycle.

pain management

As a physical therapist, I work to figure out why pain keeps occurring, then we work to change the patterns of muscular strain. Other important variables to address are diet and stress relieving activities to increase healing process and stop the downward spiral.

Remember: train smarter not harder. Pain is a signal from your body, begging you to stop (we’re talking about sharp, localized pain, not the muscular burn of activity). Your body will not get stronger through pain, it gets weaker, less tolerant and less efficient.

What can you do about all of this?
  1. Modify the movement or amount of resistance to reduce the pain
  2. Rest! Sleep at least 8 hours, try for that 7 days a week. If you are getting less than 7 hours a night, it isn’t worth it to get to the gym.
  3. Workouts should be short and intense, but not every day. Studies recommend 2 to 3 days consecutively then 1 to 2 days of rest. You can have active rest days using a walk outside or yoga for recovery.
  4. If you notice on an exercise day you are more exhausted, your body is showing signs of adrenal fatigue, force yourself to take a break.
  5. Eat nutrient dense whole foods – not processed bars, or shakes. Clean, organic proteins and LOTS of veggies for the nutrient profile that helps with anti-inflammation and detox.
  6. See a physical therapist to evaluate the movement dysfunction that is causing the pain. A good therapist can determine why the pain is continuing. With a good rehab program, the muscles can be re-trained and restored.
  7. Remember self-care is not selfish. When you spend time caring for yourself, you can recharge your own battery and then have time and energy for others.

Danielle is a Doctor of Physical Therapy and a Health Coach.  She is the co-owner of Battle Born Health in Reno, NV and has been practicing physical therapy for 20 years. Driven by her personal health issues, she completed training under the Kalish Functional Medicine Mentorship program and is certified as a Transformational Nutrition Coach. Danielle is passionate about finding the root cause of the problems, whether they are muscular, hormonal or dietary (and usually they are a combination of all) and helping people find the answers on how to become stronger than yesterday.

A Good Physical Therapist Is Pro-Active

Many people think of physical therapy as the follow-up activity their GP or orthopedic surgeon often prescribes after an injury, or an inquiry into mystery aches and pains. Certainly that’s one function of PT, but perhaps our most critical function is to be a holistic, preventative health partner for people who want to remain active and healthy throughout their lives.

We loved Dr. Chris Telesmanic’s perspective in his column for The Sentinel.

“The vision for physical therapy moving into the 21st century, as stated by the American Physical Therapy Association, is to ‘transform society by optimizing movement to improve the human experience.’”

Promoting the role of physical therapy as a proactive one focused not only on recovery but on prevention and vitality makes good sense. By nature, human beings are built imperfectly, and even the most fit and athletic among us either suffer from—or very likely will one day—deficiencies in movement based on our unique bone and muscle structure, use (and over-use) patterns, and regular age-related wear and tear. A good physical therapist will take a holistic approach to patient health and mobility, and look closely at the bigger picture to identify these potential problems before they develop.

Including physical therapy in the suite of preventative care services allows us to contribute to a healthier, more functional society—and saves time, money, and unnecessary pain for patients who might otherwise find themselves scrambling to fix and recover from acute problems down the road.

Give our Reno team of physical therapists a call at 775-747-2278 to find out how physical therapy can be an important tool in your arsenal to keep that body active forever!

Personal Stories: Why I Love Being a Physical Therapist in Reno

Becoming a physical therapist was the best decision I’ve ever made. I love working with people who want to improve themselves and their lives, and physical therapy affords a rewarding way to do that. 

I’m also a die-hard muscle geek! Muscles are truly fascinating. They have personality, and can develop bad habits, like being over-achievers, which gets them in to trouble when other muscles slack off and don’t do their jobs. The over-achievers step in and work hard to do both jobs, which—you guessed it—can result in overuse injuries. 

Muscles are also great cooperators. They work well in groups, each doing their part to achieve a coordinated movement (like reaching for a glass in an overhead cabinet). The coordinated effort of a movement pattern from a group of muscles is like a beautiful ballet dance—the choreography and timing must be perfect to pull off the desired effect. One small slip-up can result in disaster. The same is true for the body. Things can go wrong quickly when even one muscle isn’t working properly or firing on time. Even issues that seem small, like a sleeping pattern that slowly tweaks a shoulder muscle over time, can result in behavioral changes that may be subtle at first, even subconscious, like holding the steering wheel differently to avoid discomfort in a certain position. But even these small changes in posture and movement can result in overcompensation habits that compound muscle problems, increase pain, and end in injury. 

Sometimes we ignore these issues for so long that we layer compensation over compensation until the original problem is obscured. I never get tired of playing detective to sleuth out an underlying problem, and developing custom, client-focused mobility techniques and therapies to retrain those muscles and return their bodies to that natural, beautiful, strong, well-orchestrated function. Who couldn’t love a job like that?

Battle Born Health’s team of certified physical therapists in Reno are ready to help you get back into life—pain free. Give us a call today at 775-747-2278 to schedule your appointment.

Pro Tip: Don’t Sacrifice True Health for a Fast Fix

Microwaves, remote controls, TiVo, cell phones, email and instantaneous Internet —the Millennial generation and even the generation before it have never had to think much about waiting. We have so many tools at our disposal to rush just about any process along, that we forget there can be a value to giving things time.  We’re so anxious about saving time, we’ll readily develop technology to help us do it.

Thankfully there’s not an app (yet) for fast-forwarding a sunset, a relaxing glass of wine, or a perfect fall day!

But even those of us who grew up without cell phones and Internet have our hurry-up crutches. Medications like pain-relievers and antibiotics are among them. These treatments can be helpful and sometimes even critical, but as a culture, we’ve gotten ourselves into a habit of popping a pill at the first sign of even minor issues. This can come at a price to our overall health. Antibiotics make us feel better quickly, and we all want to feel better quickly when we’re sick. But antibiotics can also change our gut ecosystems, compromising our immune systems and making us less able to fight off viruses and infection next time. These things can also mask pain and dysfunction, making it difficult to pinpoint the true problem and its behavior.

Our bodies have built-in tools that, paired with help from us, are finely-tuned to help us succeed. When we interrupt those natural processes with medicated shortcuts, we undermine our bodies’ ability to be self-sufficient in healing, and to build up our natural defenses.

At Battle Born Health’s physical therapy center in Reno, our role in healing is working with the body’s natural tools to identify the true source of an injury, learn how it’s affecting the body, and to re-train muscles to perform the way they’re supposed to. In other words, taking time to do things the right way. At Battle Born, you always work directly with a certified physical therapist—no technicians here—on your self-designated goals for getting back on track with sports, work, and other activities you’ve been missing out on. 

Give us a call at775-747-2278 to find out more information about how physical therapy can help you.  

Physical Therapy Lingo: "Aggs and Eases"

In PT-speak, “aggs and eases” refer to the activities and circumstances that aggravate or ease pain. For instance, an “agg” for some patients might be running a mile. An “ease” might be lying down on the couch with an ice pack. In some patients, that might be reversed—a short, easy run might help stretch out tense fascia, or lying down in certain positions might actually increase pain in specific areas.

Part of effective physical therapy is learning what each patient’s own unique aggs and eases are. Paying attention to these factors and their patterns will help your physical therapist learn more about your injury.  

Health care professionals get excited when a patient comes in with textbook symptoms—these are easy cases to solve. Unfortunately they’re also very rare. Most patients exhibit an array of symptoms and issues that we have to work at piecing together in order to start working on solutions. That’s why articles and social media video clips that promote one-size-fits-all cures aren’t helpful, and can sometimes even be dangerous. They don’t take into account the millions of unique sets of “aggs and eases” in a diverse population.  

Fiber is a terrific example. Most studies suggest that everyone should consume 25-30 grams of fiber daily. While many people do just fine and improve their health with higher fiber diets, some people experience painful and debilitating gas and diarrhea when consuming that much fiber, which can then lead to dehydration and other issues.

Exercise is another good example. We all know exercise is a key factor in overall health, but not all exercises are created equal, and not all exercises work for all people. If a 30-minute run sends you straight to the couch with an aching back and a swollen knee, it’s safe to say that running isn’t good for you at this point in time. And a good physical therapist will help to determine why, and based on your unique circumstances, recommend other exercises that can serve as “eases” instead of “aggs.” In essence, a skilled physical therapist can help you investigate the root of your problem and take back control over your own comfort and function—which in turn puts you back in control of your life—through careful consideration of your own set of aggravating triggers and easing activities.