Can Physical Therapy Get Rid of My Headache?

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Yes, physical therapy can help! Headaches caused by restrictions in the muscles, nerves and fascia can respond well to physical therapy. When muscles of the jaw, neck and upper back are tight or weak, they can compromise nerves and blood vessels resulting in regular headaches that are exhausting and in severe cases, debilitating.

Coach Amy uses a combination of Dry Needling (IDN), Active Release Technique (ART), and functional exercise. IDN and ART can improve blood flow and free the nerves and blood vessels from restriction. For successful long term relief and prevention, therapy includes treatment of muscle imbalances with functional exercise and posture training.

Even with the best treatment, stress and overuse in sustained postures with certain jobs, hobbies and sports can lead to “pop up” headaches; monthly physical therapy “tune-ups” with IDN and ART can keep them at bay.  

Not all headaches are the result of muscle imbalances; other factors can contribute. A thorough physical therapy evaluation can identify if there are muscle imbalances contributing to headaches, and determine the effectiveness of physical therapy for treatment.

Active Release Technique (ART) and Dry Needling Can Boost Recovery

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Nothing is more frustrating than becoming injured during training. Even with a sound training plan, injury can occur and completely derail race plans and goals. Physical therapy early in the injury process with a practitioner that specializes in endurance sports, can keep athletes training and racing with minimal to no disruption in training.

Lauren, a CoachAmyPT patient, shares this story: “I had a glute/hip flexor issue after running the Dopey Challenge. Between dry needling and physical therapy, Coach Amy put me back together...better than ever. Recently, I twisted my ankle on some ice and snow, and I had a race that weekend I didn’t want to miss. Again, dry needling, ART and physical therapy had me running the 10k two days later without any discomfort. I set a PR for that course!

Because Amy is such a talented athlete herself, she understands other athletes. She is part of my “A Team” of practitioners that keep me running at my best, and feeling my best.”

Physical therapy combined with ART and/or Neurological Dry Needling can significantly speed up healing time and reduce the effects of injury. ART is a patented soft tissue technique targeting the interface between structures, allowing them to move independently thus alleviating discomfort. Neurological Dry Needling is a non-pharmacological method of improving blood flow to boost healing. Combined, these treatments produce powerful results.

ART is covered under insurance, and dry needling is a cost effective “add on” treatment.  Both treatments can be incorporated into a regular PT appointment. Coach Amy is proud to offer these state of the art treatments, and like Lauren, get all endurance athletes back to sport ASAP.

Take Care When Riding Upright on the Trainer

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Who’s guilty of warming up on the bike trainer or stationary bike sitting upright, hands free, scrolling through social media?  Me!  Riding upright in the saddle with unintended excessive lordosis (arch) in the lower back could cause back pain and injury (see photos above). 

Mike Irwin, owner of BicycleFit Rx recently weighed in on this subject: "For triathletes, the nose of the saddle is purposefully adjusted in more of a downward tilt for proper fit, so sitting upright will tend to cause even more anterior pelvic tilt.  Once the athlete starts pedaling in the upright position and the hips are moving, it forces the back into more extension (tilt)." 

So, friends, be aware of proper posture when riding upright and use a strong core to stabilize and prevent back injury.  Otherwise set that phone down and lean forward, hands or forearms on the bars!  

Article Co-Contributor: Mike Irwin

Coach Amy Across the Globe

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I was pleased as punch to get a message from Michael in Germany telling me about his Garmin Coaching 5K training, “I’m now in the third week of your training plan and getting better and feel a bit stronger.  I just wanna say thanks, and I’ll keep going forward to reach my personal goals.”  

It puts me over the moon with joy to hear how all of my Garmin Coach, CoachAmyPT patients, and Roadrunners of Kansas City athletes are doing.  Read the full article on the Roadrunners of Kansas City blog to see how our clients and athletes can share their updates and make our community stronger.

Don't Run on a Balance Beam

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Ever have muddy, bruised or bloody shins or ankles after a run? This can happen with a crossover running gait. Not only does it leave unwanted scuffs on your ankle, it is inefficient and can cause IT band pain, knee pain or shin splints. 

A crossover run gait is a narrow step width. To the trained eye, it kind of looks like the runner is running on a balance beam.  One leg drifts inwards near the front of the other with each step. This tends to happen in runners with weak hips, and with some runners sets in with fatigue towards the end of longer runs.

Runners lose power with this gait because the hips are not in the ideal position for push off, and more energy is required to push off the ground from the crossed over position. Landing in the cross over position also puts added strain on the the lateral line (gluteus medius, ITB, tibia) and can result in pain and injury. 

Most runners don’t even realize they have faulty gait patterns. A professional running gait evaluation can help bring this to light. Changing run gait should be done gradually and with professional assistance to avoid injury.

Experiencing pain while running, or suspicious of an improper run gait? Schedule an appointment with CoachAmyPT for a thorough evaluation and treatment plan.

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Get More From a Strong Core

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In today’s fitness focused world, we’ve all heard a lot of buzz around “strengthening the core.”  Wondering what all of the hype is about?  Having strong core muscles is beneficial for everyone, not just athletes.  A strong core improves posture and stability, and can help prevent pain and injury from an active lifestyle.

With a strong core our movements are more efficient, and we gain more power and function from the upper and lower extremities.  With a weak core, we are like a “rag doll”; our arms and legs move less efficiently, and energy is wasted. 

For endurance athletes, a strong core translates to more power in the arm and leg swing while running, the pull and kick while swimming, and the push and pull while cycling.  A strong core can help everyone prevent back pain from daily tasks such as groceries, gardening, and laundry.

Contrary to popular belief, a strong core isn’t just strong abs.  Our core encompasses the entire cylindrical column of muscles ranging from above the shoulders to below the hips.  The best way to strengthen these muscles is with slow, intentional and controlled, quality movement patterns.  CoachAmyPT offers core strengthening classes designed for both beginners and advanced athletes.  

Join us for the first Spring session of core classes beginning the week of March 4th, and feel stronger and prevent injury at work and play.  Hurry, space is limited.

Watch an interview with CoachAmyPT patient, Larry, who experienced dramatic health benefits from taking Phoenix Core strengthening classes in conjunction with physical therapy.

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How to Treadmill Safely

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Ice, deep snow and sub zero temperatures are driving many endurance athletes indoors to the treadmill this winter. Unfortunately, running a long distance on the treadmill may do more harm than good especially if used as a short term substitute to overground running without adjusting for the fact that it is a different surface. Coach Amy explains why runners should exercise caution when choosing the treadmill and shares tips on how to treadmill safely in this article from the Roadrunners of Kansas City blog:

Top Five Training Errors that Lead to Injury in Runners

Inquiring minds want to know…“When Coach Amy speaks at Rockhurst University, what is it about?”

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Getting to the bottom of a runner’s injury is like solving a puzzle; the four corners are strength, mobility, biomechanics and training. Coach Amy explains how to evaluate the patient’s training history for potential errors that contribute to injury and how to modify training during treatment.

Here are the top five training errors that Coach Amy finds lead to injuries:

  1. Increasing total weekly mileage and long run mileage too quickly.

  2. Lack of recovery between training runs within the building phase, after races and between seasons.

  3. Not enough, too much or the wrong kind of cross training.

  4. Lack of varying intensity of hard and easy runs.

  5. Changing running form, surface, or shoe type without a slow, gradual introduction and without professional guidance.

Personalized coaching can help prevent these errors. If injury does occur, physical therapy with a therapist that specializes in running can speed up and improve success with recovery.

Need for Speed

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Did you know Coach Amy is actually a coach?  Amy is a running coach who owns and operates the running club, Roadrunners of Kansas City.  If you are a distance runner or endurance athlete, there is so much more that goes into achieving your goals than just getting in your weekly miles. 

RRKC offers weekly outdoor speed workouts (Winter and Spring) that incorporate running drills, intervals, fartleks, supersets, hill training, and more.  Workouts are personalized to each athletes' goals and experience level. The purpose of speed training is to improve efficiency and power, and to teach the body to run under fatigue. Coach Amy’s method includes a focus on both running form and the running mind.

RRKC’s first 6-week speed work session starts on February, 12th.  Sessions are held at various outdoor parks on Tuesday evenings at 6:00 p.m.  Space is limited, so act fast to run fast!