NFL Star Safety to Physical Therapist?

“What do you enjoy about being a physical therapist?”

This question was brought up by my mentor and colleague Greg Todd a few days ago. It’s a question I’ve been asked numerous times and I didn’t even have to think twice about my answer: Helping PEOPLE get back to doing what they love to do and helping them see their possibilities! It’s all about the PEOPLE! Physical therapy is something I am passionate about – and not because of the title or because of the monetary benefits – but because I truly care about helping people. I like to think of it as a “calling” rather than just my “job”.

Recently, I came across an article on social media about NFL starting safety David Bruton of the Denver Broncos. After retiring from the NFL, Bruton had decided to get into the field of physical therapy. Why? Because “there’s a rewarding factor to getting somebody back to work, getting somebody back to doing what they never thought they could do again”.

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There’s no better feeling than seeing a patient who was unable to work because of severe low back pain return to work to support their family or a patient who was a track star return to sprinting after injuring their hamstring or seeing someone with a spinal cord injury take their first steps again. It’s REWARDING and that beats any type of monetary gain.

Hope you enjoyed the post! Remember, love what you do and you’ll never have to work a day in your life!

 

Dr. Jomar Farrales, PT, DPT

 

 

Weekly Motivation

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Here is your Weekly Motivation! This is a quote that really resonated with me and I think will resonate with a lot of people. I came upon this quote while reading Jen Sincero’s book, “You are a Badass: How to Stop Doubting Your Greatness and Start Living an Amazing Life”.

If you haven’t read this book I highly suggest you do. It’s an awesome read and it really helps you prioritize things in your life and gives you an amazing way of doing it. The book really helps set you up to action as opposed to just thinking about it.

We all have unique traits and gifts that are unique to US as individuals. I think in today’s day and age we do a lot of comparing, whether it’s through social media, work, school, family, or while casually going about our day; and honestly it’s hard not to compare ourselves with those around us.

We’ve been reprogrammed to do it; it’s something we don’t even really think about when we do. It’s done all type of ways too – comparing yourself physically, monetarily, personality-wise, etc. the list goes on and on. It’s done much easier just because of how big social media is in today’s world.

However, this constant comparison can set us up for failure. When we compare ourselves to others we forget about our own set of talents and who we are as individuals. The important thing is to ALWAYS be true to who YOU are. Don’t let society, other people, or your fears get in the way of setting yourself or your life the way you want it to be. 

JUST BE YOU. You have everything you need to succeed and you don’t have to be someone you’re not. DO YOU. Remember to be true to yourself this week! You will see just how much you have to offer and opportunities will come to you!

 

Dr. Jomar Farrales, PT, DPT

Athletic Focus: ACL Tears

NFL season is coming up soon and teams are starting to prepare and go through practices! While practices are still non-contact in nature in the early stages, players unfortunately still suffer major injuries that impact their season status. I’m using football as one example but ACL tears quite frankly occur in just about every major sport.

A common injury that occurs during non-contact drills are ACL tears. The ACL is the Anterior Cruciate Ligament. This is located within the knee joint itself and assists in stabilizing the knee and prevents anterior tibial translation on the femur.

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This ligament can tear when there is a strong valgus force that occurs at the knee. A valgus force simply means a lateral to medial force. Think of a blow to the knee or a tackle to the outside of the knee.

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However, ACL tears can also occur with hyperextension of the knee or with a planted foot while cutting. The planted foot causes the tibia to externally rotate while the femur internally rotates, causing a “twisting” force. With powerful cuts, the ACL could possibly tear. When the ACL does tear people usually hear an “audible” pop and immediately cannot bear any weight through the knee. In addition, when the ACL tears further injury to the MCL (medial collateral ligament) as well as tears within the medial meniscus can occur, also known as the “Terrible Triad”.

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Following the ACL tear there is immediate swelling of the knee and an inability to bend or extend the joint. Once an ACL tear occurs, surgery is usually warranted followed by intensive Physical Therapy. Early stages involve decreasing swelling, pain, improving gait, while restoring normal quad strength. Eventually the patient performs return to sport activities, agility drills, etc.

A big part of physical therapy is getting the athlete or patient to GAIN confidence within the knee. This is one of the hardest things to do for any patient dealing with any type of painful injury. An ACL tear is traumatic, painful, and can KILL an athlete’s confidence. Many athlete’s are never the same after tearing this ligament. So another BIG part of therapy is to give the patient the CONFIDENCE they once had in performing those cuts, sprints, jumps, etc. It’s challenging but so rewarding to see a patient get back to what they LOVE doing!

So there’s a little background on the what exactly an ACL tear is, how it happens, and what physical therapists will work on with the patient!

 

Dr. Jomar Farrales, PT, DPT

 

 

Pain When Working? 7 Tips to Help You Improve your Posture.

Do you currently work at a job where you are constantly sitting or working at a computer screen for a long period of time?

When working on your computer or desk for long periods of time, ever notice how sore your neck, mid-back, and low back get? You try and try to find a comfortable position but can never find it?

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After long periods of sitting we naturally tend to lean our necks and heads forward, slump our shoulders and round our lower back. We all have a picture in our minds of “perfect” posture, however, I feel it may be a little overrated. “Perfect” posture is difficult to maintain and almost impossible to keep.

The important part of posture is to perform a “reset” every so often. It’s important to just have the awareness of HOW we are sitting. Having this awareness allows us to constantly keep our posture in mind.

So here are 7 tips to help you improve your posture and to help you when you are having pain or tightness when working:

  1. Always take a standing/walking break every half hour or so. Doing so for even a couple minutes really helps in taking you out of that “bad” posture. Make an excuse to get up every so often!
  2. When sitting, have the computer monitor at eye level. Having the computer at eye level takes strain off the back of your neck from looking down constantly. So even if you have to prop the monitor up with books or papers, make sure it’s not too low.
  3. Place a towel rolled up on the lower part of your back. Doing this will help in maintaining the natural curve of your lower back and will give the tactile cue to sit up a little straighter.
  4. Make sure your feet are flat on the floor. Doing so gives you a solid base and prevents you from leaning too far forward or back.
  5. Keep your knees at 90 degrees. This helps keep you close enough to the desk so that you’re not leaning too far forward with your neck or lower back.

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6. Perform chin tucks every 15-30 minutes. This exercise is EASY to do at your desk and helps to “reset” your cervical posture (aka gets your neck into better position). Check out our IG AlphaPhysios Video for the exercise!

7. Perform the doorway stretch. This will help open up the chest and decrease “tightness” within the front of the shoulders. Hold for 30 seconds for 2-3 reps.

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Try these tips out and you should see a difference in how you feel at the end of your work day!

 

Dr. Jomar Farrales, PT, DPT

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Weekly Motivation

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Here’s your motivational quote for the week!

I feel a lot of us have doubt about what we can accomplish. But how would you ever know if you NEVER got started? There’s always that potential you would have never tapped into because you never tried.

I struggle with this a lot – self-doubt, worries, time commitment, etc. Its happened all throughout my undergraduate studies, during PT school, and even now as a clinician. It’s always the hardest to get started with something but what drives me is my view of my future. What drives you? Is it your family, your health, your friends? Always have your purpose set and this will make getting started much easier!

Don’t wait til tomorrow to get started on what you REALLY want ! Get started today and doors/opportunities will open up to you by DEFAULT!

Dr. Jomar Farrales, PT, DPT

Athletic Focus: Tommy John Surgery

It’s baseball season and I’ve heard this term been thrown around a lot recently. We hear the term all the time within the baseball world, “(blank) is having Tommy John Surgery”. It’s happened to the best of pitchers – Tim Hudson, Jose Fernandez, Matt Harvey, Yu Darvish, etc. The list goes on and on.

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But what is it exactly? Well, the surgery itself was named after the first baseball player to ever receive the surgery, Tommy John, and the surgery involves repairing the Ulnar Collateral Ligament.

This ligament is located on the inside part of the elbow connecting the ulna bone to the humerus. During the pitching motion, specifically during the “Cocking Phase”  the inside portion of the elbow is placed under a high amount of stress  when decelerating and accelerating the arm to throw a pitch.

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Over time, this high frequency of stress can start to cause micro-tears within the ligament, until it eventually becomes fully torn. The surgery involves drilling holes within the humerus and ulna bone where a new tendon is grafted through the bones as so.

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Full recovery takes about 1 to 1.5 years.  During the recovery process, the pitcher is taken through a graded pitching program that limits the amount and velocity of throws. Physical therapy is ESSENTIAL and absolutely required to recover! Physical therapists will focus on reducing pain/swelling, improving joint mechanics of the scapula/shoulder/elbow, improving range of motion, increasing muscular strength, and improving dynamic stability. While the specifics are a lot to cover, those are the main objectives of PT after Tommy John Surgery.

While the recovery process is extensive and long, pitchers usually return to have successful seasons! Just as with any post-surgical process, Physical Therapy is necessary in recovery and healing!

 

Dr. Jomar Farrales, PT, DPT

The Glorified Massage Therapist

First and foremost this is absolutely NOT a knock on massage therapists or anyone who practices a type of massage as treatment. But I wanted to take the time in this post to talk about how Physical Therapy is perceived and how we as a profession still have a lot of work to do about educating the public about just how valuable physical therapy is and on exactly what we do.

So I was talking to my fianceé one day and she was telling me a story of her interaction with one of her coworkers. At this point in time we were in Pennsylvania and I was in my last semester of PT school at Misericordia University.

She was telling her coworker that I was almost done with school and that I’d soon be a Doctor. After talking back and forth, her coworker proceeded to say something along the lines of “Physical therapists are just glorified massage therapists.”

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After hearing this, I couldn’t help but feel somewhat insulted – and like my opening sentence read THIS IS NOT A KNOCK ON MASSAGE THERAPISTS. But I felt somewhat insulted because I was thinking to myself .. “I haven’t been going to school for almost 7 years to be labeled as a glorified massage therapist.”  But then after thinking about it for a little longer I finally understood, and honestly, I couldn’t blame them for their perception.

Many people have a differing view on physical therapy and the reason why is because there is no standard to how PT is really done. Everyone knows what to expect when going to a physician’s office, dentist, chiropractor, or to a massage therapist. When a patient comes to me for physical therapy I ask them if they’ve ever had PT services before and more often than not they either say “No, I haven’t” or “Yes, but it was so different”.

As PT’s we need to do a better job of educating patients on what physical therapists do and what our role is. We are MOVEMENT EXPERTS. We are PAIN EXPERTS. We know our human anatomy in and out from where a muscle connects, how it works, and what happens when a muscle becomes injured. We are experts on human biomechanics and kinesiology and why a person might be compensating in how they run, walk, or lift. We know so much about the human body from the cardiovascular system to the nervous system. We know how to prescribe exercises for deconditioned individuals, the geriatric population, children, and even powerlifting, CrossFit, and bodybuilding. We are experts on how to make certain movements or motions easier to perform. We literally know EVERYTHING about the human body and as PT’s we need to keep educating our patients on our role and how we CAN HELP.

So as a profession we need to continually educate the public and what it is we do by getting involved in the community, getting involved in social media, and continually educating our patients on a daily basis about our role in THEIR HEALTH. We don’t just give massages (although we do that pretty well! LOL) – we do a host of other things. I’m hoping through this blog and through our social media accounts that you can get a better understanding of the profession that I truly care about!

Dr. Jomar Farrales, PT, DPT

 

Dr. Mike Montalbano, PT, DPT

Hi all! My name is Michael Montalbano and I am the other Alpha Physio. Very excited to be here blogging to all of you so here’s my intro! I received my Doctorate of Physical therapy and Bachelors of Science (Exercise Science) from the University of Scranton in a straight-through 7-year program. I am currently preparing for the National Physical Therapy Exam (NPTE), which is coming up next week!

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I am extremely passionate about Physical Therapy as a profession and I believe in it whole-heartedly. Another passion of mine is weightlifting, just like my colleague, Dr. Jomar Farrales. More specifically, I have been training in power lifting for a few years. I have utilized much of what I’ve learned from DPT school to better my movement patterns and overall improve my lifting capabilities.

We will be creating a very important section for our DPT student followers on advice when it comes to preparing for, and eventually passing the NPTE to obtain your license and begin your PT career! Our mission here with Alpha Physios is to spread knowledge with regard to movement. As humans, we are meant to move! Our jobs as physical therapists are to ensure that our patient’s movement patterns are appropriate for rehab, prehab, and life in general! Thank you for reading and please subscribe to our blog by inputting your email address through the “Follow” button so you can receive notifications on our new posts!

 

 

The First Step is the Hardest.

This is the very FIRST blog post of the Alpha Physios! Like the title says, it’s difficult and sometimes intimidating to put yourself out there especially in the open web where you’re free to criticism. But as an important person once told me and a group of my peers, “Be comfortable, being uncomfortable!” So, I’m finally taking the next step with my personal and professional development.

We are super excited for this opportunity to be able to serve YOU!

I guess the very first blog post should be somewhat of an introduction right?

My name is Dr. Jomar Farrales, PT, DPT. I currently reside in Providence, Rhode Island and work full-time at Elite Physical Therapy. I attended school at Misericordia University in little Dallas, PA where I received a Bachelor’s in Health Care Management and my Doctorate in Physical Therapy all within 6.5 years. I am passionate about helping others and getting them back to doing what they LOVE to do! Continue reading