News & Events

Shin Splits, How to Reduce Your Risk – 3 Strategies

I have two words for you.  Two words which give runners everywhere nightmares.  “Shin splints”. Most people are familiar with this diagnosis; and if you have had them before, you know that they are highly irritating!

In this blog, I want to talk about three strategies you can use to help reduce your risk of developing shin splints symptoms. 

1st: Buy a Good Pair of Running Shoes

Just like anything else shoes break down and need to be replaced. How often they need to be replaced depends on how far you are running in a week.

As a general rule of thumb, running shoes should be replaced every 300 to 500 miles, which means you can’t simply replace them once a year (if you are averaging 50 miles a week).

2nd: Slowly Ramp up Your Running Distance

Have a plan for building up your running distance. If you want to run a half-marathon this summer, but have not been putting in any miles during the winter, you should not start off running 30 miles a week.  You should instead begin by building up your walking tolerance, move to walk/run intervals, then build your running distance from there.

Going from spending most of your time sitting on the couch and binge-watching Netflix straight into hardcore run training is a sure fire way to end up with a case of shin splints.

3rd: Stretch Your Calf Muscles 

Finally, make sure you stretch out your calf muscles before and after your run. When stretching out your calves, it is important to ensure you stretch out both of the major muscles which reside there, your gastrocnemius and soleus muscles.

The gastrocnemius is stretched when your toes are pulled toward your head with your knee straight as this muscle spans across the knee. In order to stretch the soleus, you must have your knee bent as this muscle stops short of the knee.

soleus stretch

gastrocnemius stretch

 

Each of these three strategies can play an important roll in helping you to avoid shin splints and helping runners everywhere to get a better night’s sleep!

 

 

If you or someone you know is already dealing with this condition, then set up an appointment today to be seen by one of our physical therapists.  There are many strategies to help speed up recovery!

Written By: Josiah Parker, PT, DPT

Tips for Managing Sleeping After A Concussion

Guest Blogger Introduction: Rebecca Lancaster, MD – Methodist Physicians Clinic

Rebecca is a graduate of Creighton University Medical School and Clarkson Family Medicine Residency.  She is a board certified Family Medicine Physician.  Rebecca began managing athlete concussions in 2010 when she became one of the first ImPACT certified physicians in Nebraska. 

She has continued to assist concussion patients in private practice and more recently at Methodist Physicians Clinic in Omaha, Nebraska. 

Her concussion patients now extend beyond athletes to include all age groups, as is consistent with family medicine, and varying degrees of head injury from acute concussions to post-concussion syndrome. Rebecca continues to be active in Concussion Focus and concussion education in the Omaha community.  Her goal in treating concussion patients is to understand where they are in their recovery,  help them through with the resources we have available and return them to their fullest quality of life after these most unfortunate head bumps.

Ah, sleep!  It is oh so important when you are recovering from a concussion, but what do you do when the injured brain does not want to sleep? 

Sleep habits become more essential post-concussion.  Scheduling regular sleep, wake times, and sticking to them helps. Here are a few tips you can implement to help manage sleep after a concussion. 

Managing a Concussion: Sleeping Tips

Aim for 7-9 hours of sleep per night. Minimize screen usage such as phones, computers, TVs, and reducing exposure to brighter lights before bed will help.

Try relaxing activities, meditation, stretching or reading if tolerated can be helpful before bed.  A short nap can be okay during the day, but if it starts to impair your ability to fall asleep, you may want to limit the duration of the daytime resting or eliminate it all together.  Physical activity is helpful during the day if you can tolerate some, but physical activity just before bedtime can make you more alert.  Decreasing or eliminating caffeine helps as well. 

And what if these tactics still do not work?

Sometimes an over the counter sleep aid like melatonin starting at a dose of 1 mg – 3 mg can be helpful to drift off to sleep easier. If headaches are a bother as well, Tylenol or Ibuprofen, at an appropriate dose for your age, prior to sleep may help.  You may also want to talk with your physician about medications that can diminish headaches as well as assist in sleep. 

Overall it is perfectly reasonable to start examining and modifying sleep habits. It may take some discipline and patience as you try a few nights with your new sleep routine. This course has no side effects and could lead to fewer concussion symptoms. If the concussion, however, has caused more difficult to manage sleep cycles, do not hesitate to seek help.

Sweet dreams!

Guest Blog Author: Rebecca Lancaster, MD


The care and treatment of concussions have become one of the fastest growing priorities in the medical community in the last several years and rightfully so.

An estimated 300,000 sport-related traumatic brain injuries, predominantly concussions, occur annually in the United States. In fact, for young people ages 15-24 years, sports are second only to motor vehicle crashes as the leading cause of this form of a traumatic brain injury. (Journal of Athletic Training)


Our Collaboration with Concussion Focus

What is ConcussionFocus? Concussion Focus is a collaborative group of healthcare professionals in the Omaha and surrounding area that decided to come together to provide a team approach to concussion management. 

Representing the areas of family medicine, pediatrics, neurology, athletic training, physical therapy, and other disciplines allow each professional to offer expertise in their field while communications with each other to best serve the patient’s needs.

Continue reading


What Everybody Ought to Know About: Concussion Protocol Evolution

Around 2004, while the head athletic trainer at a Class A high school in Lincoln, NE, I had the good fortune of being part of a research study that was looking at the use of a computerized tool for assessing concussion. The name of the program was ANAM and it assessed things similar to what we know today as ImPact.  In watching football players take this test after sustaining a concussion and comparing it to their baseline, I started to notice something that made me sick to my stomach.

Kids were not recovering in the 7 day window which we used at the time as the standard for clearing them to play again after concussion.

Especially freshmen and sophomores.

Concussions Early 2000’s.

Dr. Lori Terryberry-Spohr, a phenomenal practitioner and researcher at Madonna Rehabilitation Hospital, was instrumental in helping me understand what this program was finding and why it was starting to concern me.   I was noticing athletes were still symptomatic even after returning to play.  They were struggling with quick and accurate decisions – which is something essential to playing sports effectively and safely.  I was starting to question how I was handling concussions and wondered if we needed to start doing things a little differently.  The other athletic trainers in my school district were wondering the same thing. 

I was starting to question how I was handling concussions and wondered if we needed to start doing things a little differently.  The other athletic trainers in my school district were wondering the same thing. 

 

At the same time, the national landscape was changing drastically in regards to managing concussions and in a very short amount of time we are where we are today.  No longer do we rate concussions in severity and no longer do we use a variety of grading scales that vary from liberal to conservative. You either have one or not.  Terms like bell rung, dingers, and stuns are not used any longer.

Concussions Today

All sorts of technology exists to aid athletic trainers and other sports medicine practitioners with concussion management.  There are state laws in place with the hope of protecting young athletes from continuing play after sustaining a concussion Nebraska LB 923.  Most importantly, we have much better approaches to return to play and now return to learn.

The more interesting point is all of this new information has streamed, really flooded, into mainstream media and the households of America.  Yet I still have to endure the verbal lashing from a parent when I explain why their athlete can’t finish the game and will probably be out for a minimum of 2 weeks. I still have to drum like the Energizer bunny advocating on behalf of the kid whose parents refuse to associate the decline in school with the concussion their athlete sustained months earlier.  I still have to read doctor’s notes clearing kids a day later.  

Yes, I said doctor.

I still have to drum like the Energizer bunny advocating on behalf of the kid whose parents refuse to associate the decline in school with the concussion their athlete sustained months earlier.

 

The good news is the greater majority of athletes, parents, and practitioners get it now and this has led to some really great multidisciplinary approaches to helping athletes recover from concussion.  A great example is the team of providers in Omaha that participate in Concussion Focus.  My colleague Josiah Parker leads that team.  He has immersed himself in knowledge and practice techniques to provide post-concussion physical therapy and for the small percentage of cases that don’t resolve normally he can make all the difference in the world for their recovery.

Obviously I did the best I could back then based on the information we had at hand.  I also feel extremely grateful the kids I sent back out did okay.  Today, though, I know so much more and am appreciative for all of the resources that exist for kids in relation to concussions.

Written By: Danielle Kleber, ATC Director of Marketing & Operations

Question:  Do you know which sport has the second highest incidence of concussion (next to football)?

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How to Pick the Right Physical Therapist

Today’s blog post comes at the request of my father.  My answer to him was to simply call his son! Unfortunately this strategy will not work for most of you reading this post, and the decision may seem daunting. 

It seems over the last 10 years a physical therapy clinic has popped up on every corner in Omaha and the surrounding communities, which gives you a plethora of options. Going with the closest clinic may sound convenient but also may not deliver the results you are looking for. Today, I want to share my thoughts on how to narrow down your search!

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First and foremost,

I would talk to former patients and see what their stories are along with asking several questions.

  1. Did they return to their desired activities?
  2. How long did it take?
  3. Did they get along well with their therapist?
  4. Did the therapist make adjustments if the initial plan was not quite meeting the patient’s needs?

Each of these questions can reveal important information about your potential therapist and what better person to ask than someone who has already worked with that person.

Next, see if you can get along with that potential therapist!

Therapy at times can be a long process. If you are recovering from a serious surgery you may work with your therapist for 6 months or longer. 

Stopping at the clinic and spending five minutes talking to your potential therapist can help you see if your personality meshes well with that person and if you can see yourself putting up with that person for the long haul.

Finally, set up an initial evaluation. 

During that evaluation the therapist should:

  • do a thorough history of your injury
  • take the needed measurements to show deficits and track progress
  • develop a plan of care

At some point during your first appointment the therapist should explain the “why” behind their plan of care.  If they don’t volunteer this information then feel free to ask them.

If the therapist cannot satisfactorily answer this question then I personally would find someone else to treat me. If you don’t understand why you are completing your exercises then it will be very difficult for you to buy in and give 100 percent effort.

Once a therapist has passed all these tests you should feel comfortable that you have a good person on your team to guide your road to recovery!

If you are reading this to start your selection process then I encourage you to give us a try! Stop in with any questions or use our website contact form to send an email.

Written By: Josiah Parker, PT

Your Most Popular Dry Needling Questions Answered

Dry needling is currently one of my favorite manual treatments and I am constantly discussing it in the clinic with my patients. Due to the mildly invasive nature of the treatment, and because many people have not heard of dry needling I end up fielding many questions.

I recently received an email from a patient with several good questions and decided it would make a good blog post! If you don’t know what dry needling is check out our past blog post, “Functional Dry Needling” before reading the rest of this article.

Question 1:
Why do you feel I would benefit from needling and how does it relate to the big picture?

Dry needling is only on piece of the puzzle but it is a powerful piece. I like to explain dry needling as the ability to press the reset button on a muscle. I give the muscle a stimulus through the needle and that stimulus can help to decease muscle tension, decrease pain, increase range of motion, improve muscle activation, and improve function.

Pressing that reset button provides a window that allows us to work on treating the root cause of the dysfunction. I may follow the needling with exercises, stretches, etc which will help to reinforce the treatment and allow those changes to become more permanent.

Dry needling is only one tool in the toolbox, but my experience so far says that it is a very strong tool and one that I will continue to use more and more.

Question 2:
Do you see this as a temporary solution?

No! Needling done only by itself would be a temporary solution, but as a physical therapist I always back up my needling with other treatment so that we address the root cause of the dysfunction and not just the symptoms. I feel like in many cases needling helps to deliver results faster but my goal is not a temporary solution.

Question 3:
I see a massage therapist to help with my tight muscles, would I get the same result from just getting a deep tissue massage?

Massage is another tool in the toolbox and one that I often use, sometimes even in conjunction with the dry needling. However, needling provides a different stimulus and sometimes people respond better and faster to needling than they would to deep tissue massage. I have seen patients who responded terribly to massage respond very well to needling and vice versa. Needling is not the answer for everyone but when it works well the results are undeniable.

Hopefully this answers some of your questions on dry needling! If this has sparked more questions for you then feel free to contact us or post them in the comments section below.

Likewise if you are interested in treatment call our office today 402.932.7111 and schedule an evaluation, we would love to see you! We offer cash based options for Functional Dry Needling, and the treatment may also be covered by your insurance. 

Written by, Josiah Parker – PT, DPT

10 Things We Treat Besides Shoulders

As anyone knows who has ever been in one of our clinics, our physical therapists including myself like to chat it up with our patients.  I feel like in the 9 years of Athletes’ Training Center being open I have talked with patients on just about every topic…many times over.  
 
Therefore, most things do not tend to catch me off guard.  However the other day during a conversation with a patient of mine, I heard something I was not prepared for.  
  
Without going into much detail, I have seen this patient and his wife for multiple problems including the one I am treating him for right now. However, about a year ago he did not come to Athletes’ Training Center after his knee replacement.
 
At first when I started seeing him recently for this new problem, I didn’t ask him where he went or why he went to a different rehab facility for his care. But for some reason, today seemed like the right day to ask.
 
 His response completely caught me off guard…
He said, “my surgeon told me that you guys just do shoulders and that I would be better served at his physical therapy clinic.”
 
 
I do not think I have been speechless since my wedding day, but I was at that moment. 
 
My mind was racing. Is this seriously how we are seen in the physician community and in the Omaha community? 
 
Hearing this news, I feel compelled to speak up and destroy this stigma.
But, I NEED your help in doing so. I will get to that part in a minute.
 
The truth is I do see how this surgeon could have thought all we see is shoulders. The fact is we do see a lot of shoulders (over 800 new cases last year) and our shoulder patients do amazing and that word travels. BUT we see so much more than just shoulders! 

 

Top 10 Things We Treat Besides Shoulders:

 

1. Knee Replacements

 
How could I start the list off any differently?  After all, it did motivate this blog.  

I completely understand that when people (physicians and community) see our name, they see “athlete” and think we treat 10 to 18 year old’s who play sports. Being an athlete is not an age. It’s a state of mind. Our knee replacement patients come because they know they aren’t going to be treated like some recliner loving geriatric.  We will challenge and push them to strive for new heights.  That’s being an “athlete”.

 

2. Lumbar Fusions

 
We are seeing a greater number of young adults (<40 years old) having lumbar fusions. 

 
I personally attribute a lot of this trend coming from bad lifting technique and coaching as young athletes which is then continued through into adulthood.  Our lumbar fusion patients are getting back to running, exercising and lifting weights with a great understanding of how to properly protect their spine for the rest of their life.

 

 

3. Tommy John Injuries and Reconstructions

This is the fastest growing epidemic in baseball throughout our country right now and Omaha is no different. 

Right now as I write this, we have 3 surgical reconstructions and 11 sprains hoping not to have surgery.  This injury and surgery is pretty specific to athletes who play sports like baseball and we know baseball.  On our staff, we have 5 people who played college baseball and 2 more that have consulted for Division 1 and/or professional teams. Having a team with that knowledge and knowing how to apply it makes our Tommy John patients know they will get better.
 

4. Post-Concussion Syndrome 

Concussions have been a hot button topic in sports at all levels but they also happen as frequently in car accidents and job site injuries. 

Most people do not realize that prolonged concussion symptoms can be treated in a specific rehabilitation program.  This is our fastest growing service and I attribute that to the revolutionary results we have been getting through our program. Learn more about our rehabilitation concussion program here. 
 

 

 

5. ACL Reconstructions

ACL injuries have been around and will be around as long as people continue to be active in life or sports. 

Coming back from this surgery may be one of the longest and most arduous processes.  Having a facility that allows patients to sprint, decelerate, cut, and jump has been immensely helpful in getting our patients back safely. Learn more about our ACL bridge program. 
 
  

 

6. Foot and Ankle Injuries

 

Jones fractures, ankle sprains, Lisfranc injuries, lateral ligament reconstructions, high ankle sprains, plantar fasciitis, and turf toe are injuries we rehabilitate on a regular basis.  Having a properly functioning foot and ankle is pivotal for our patients to get back to physical activity, recreational or competitive.
 
 
  

7. Hip pain

 
Hip pain does not discriminate on age.  We have see hip pain in kids as young as 10 years old and as old as someone in their late 60’s.

Helping someone recover from hip pain is an art because of how many things affect the muscles around the hip and the alignment of the hip.  I am glad we have a couple hip artists on our team to get these people better quickly.
 
 
 
  

 8. Herniated Discs 

Disc herniations are such a pain in the butt.  No….literally the pain often shoots into the butt.  

Disc herniations happen because the body does not transfer force well through the low back using the core. Knowing how to exercise the core, how to lift weights properly to preserve the discs, and how to manage the risk factors for re-injury is something all of our patients receive.
 
 
 

9.  Achilles Tendon Injuries and Repairs

 
Most people do not injure their Achilles doing sedentary things so why go to a rehabilitation facility that treats mostly sedentary people?  Being able to powerfully sprint, cut, and jump are the goals many of our Achilles patients have. We have a belief that we want our patients to perform all of those things under supervision and in a controlled setting to establish success and confidence.  Having 3,500 square feet of turf in each facility certainly helps us meet our patient’s needs for those things.

 

 

10. Everything Else That Involves A Muscle, Tendon, Bone, Ligament, Exercise, or Sport 

 
I know #10 might sound a little over the top, but the reality is, there is not a diagnosis or a body part we do not rehabilitate and do so to a high functioning level.  I want to make sure our physicians and our community knows this without a doubt.
 
So as I mentioned, I NEED your help.  If we have had the pleasure of treating you for anything outside of a shoulder, will you please leave a comment below?
 
Let’s break this stigma together!
 
Written By: Travis Manners, PT, SCS, CSCS, President and Founder

New physical therapist in West Omaha!

Say hello to Becca Buresh, the newest member of our physical therapy team! 

As a Lincoln native, Rebecca was involved in many youth sports, including soccer, basketball, softball, and volleyball.

She graduated from Lincoln Southwest High School in 2010 and was a part of the 2008 and 2009 state softball championship teams as a junior and senior.

She also excelled academically, graduating in the top 3% academically in her class. Rebecca continued her education at Creighton University, receiving her undergraduate degree in Chemistry while playing for the Creighton Bluejays softball team.

Read More of Becca’s story here!

Recharge Your Body – 3 Step-By-Step Exercises

Defeat the “mid-season slump” that plagues your young athlete.

The dreaded “mid-season slump.” You know, it is that period of time when your kid’s repetitions are high and their practices are sparsely scheduled between their competition dates. 

As a physical therapist, this is the time when we find that the body is over-stressed and not given enough time to recover which may lead to injuries. Today, we are going to cover 3 step-by-step exercises you can have your kid perform to decrease their chance of suffering from front knee pain.

Often, this is the time that coaches and athletes have their mind set on:

  • jumping higher
  • running faster
  • leaping bigger
  • landing stronger

With the athlete completing more repetitions and the motivation for new goals being set high, constant attention to proper jumping, landing, and running mechanics may be inconsistent. That can lead to fatigue, muscle weakness and even front knee pain. 

There are many injuries that can occur during this “mid-season slump.” But today we are going to focus on one common injury that we treat often at Athletes’ Training Center, it is called “Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome” (PFPS).

Understanding PFPS

PFPS describes pain in the front of the knee that occurs with sitting, squatting, going up/down stairs, running, and jumping. Believe it or not, researchers have found that PFPS may actually be coming from weakness in gluteal muscles and improper mechanics during sport-related activities.

Our skeletons are designed with three gluteal muscles; those gluteus muscles are called the maximus, medius, and minimus.

Research has concluded that weakness in the gluteus medius, in specific, may be the main contributor to PFPS. The gluteus medius muscle sits on the outside of the hip. This muscle helps to kick your leg out (as in a jumping jack) and rotate your knee outward.

Front knee pain caused by weakness in glutes? 

Now you may be asking, “how do I know if my child’s knee pain is due to weakness in their gluteal muscles?” First off, if they have knee pain, you may consider having them be evaluated by a physical therapist.

But a good at-home test would be to have them stand in front of a mirror. Have them stand on one foot and perform a single leg squat. If you notice that their opposite hip drops, their standing knee falls inside or they lose balance, they may have gluteal weakness.

Maintaining strength in their gluteal muscles may be an important and preventative measure you can have your son or daughter take during this “mid-season slump.” This will ensure that they can achieve all of goals they had set for the season.

Here are 3 exercises you can have your kid perform to decrease their chance of front knee pain. 


Lateral side-step with band

 

Place the resistance band above the knee. Begin with your feet together. Focus on having a slight bend in your knees and try to maintain a flat back. Step out to the side achieving resistance on the band. Slowly bring other foot to meet first foot. *Recommend doing 3 rounds of 10 reps


Hip Abduction

 

Lie on one side. Extend your legs out to make a straight line between your ear, hip, and ankle. Bend the knee that is in contact with the table to make a kick stand. Straighten top leg and lift directly up and back. Make sure to keep your hips forward. *Recommend doing 3 rounds of 10 reps 


Bridge with a band

 

Lie on your back with your knees bent. Place a resistance band above the knee. Make sure that your feet are hip-width distance. Squeeze your glutes and lift up to achieve a bridge position. Slowly lower back down.*Recommend doing 3 rounds of 10 reps


Helping your child stay focused on proper knee alignment while they perform in their sport will decrease their occurrence for PFPS knee pain. Ensuring strong knees may also help your athlete: jump higher, run faster, leap bigger, and land stronger. 

If you have questions about completing these exercises, or know of someone who is experiencing current issues with front knee pain then contact us today! We will get you connected with the right person for your needs.

Written By: Stephanie Wojton, PT, DPT

Stephanie Wojton – My “Why”

Practice after practice, flip after flip, landing after landing, it was only a matter of time before I’d have another minor set back. Participating in a collegiate gymnastics program meant an increase in the amount of time, repetitions, and strength training that was required to be part of this team I had dreamed of being on since I was a young athlete.

Three months into my freshman year at Winona State University, I began experiencing low back pain that was affecting more than just gymnastics.

I was diagnosed with an L5 stress fracture and was told I couldn’t do gymnastics for three months. Instead, the doctor recommended physical therapy three times per week. A recommendation that I’d heard far too many times. Broken arm, fractured foot, sprained ankle, fractured low back; just to name a few.

Throughout my gymnastics career, my physical therapist was the one person whom I could count on to bring me back into the sport that I loved after an injury.

That same person was the one who I could rely on to establish enough strength and stability to be competitive in the physically demanding sport that gymnastics is. It became clear to me after multiple sessions in therapy that I wanted to be part of this support system that I have gained trust in during my time as a gymnast.

“Physical therapy demands an individual capable of connecting with their patients on more of a personal level than many other health care professions. Injuries and disabilities are not only harmful to the body physically but they can do damage mentally.

 

This aspect of physical therapy was intriguing because I know first-hand how overwhelming injuries can be and I can apply what I learned as a patient to my future patients.”

A physical therapist generally works with a patient from diagnosis to discharge, by establishing a clear prognosis and setting goals to achieve the expected recovery. Because there is no definite answer to recovery, I find this task, without an obvious solution, an invigorating challenge. Each patient brings in a distinctive obstacle that would allow me to work independently or collectively as a team to ensure comfort in the patient’s life.

The career of physical therapy also attracted me because it offered an opportunity to work with and treat a broad spectrum of individuals. As a result of this versatile career, I knew I could have an impact on the lives of patients that range from pediatric to geriatric, and everything in-between.

Although challenging at times, I am thankful for each bout of physical therapy that I received, for it opened my eyes to this amazing health care profession. My ultimate goal as a physical therapist at Athletes’ Training Center is to instill the same inspiration and confidence in my patients that my physical therapist did in me.

Josiah Parker – My “Why”

I became a physical therapist really out of a desire to own my own business some day. My dad pushed me to find exactly what kind of business I would like to own and he saw that I am not the type of person who would be happy simply sitting behind a desk without people interaction all day long.

He brought up the occupation of physical therapy which I was familiar with due to all too many injuries through my sports career.

I initially was hesitant to the idea, but the idea caught on during my senior year of high school. I then got a scholarship which guaranteed me a spot at UNMC if I kept my grades during my undergraduate work. I haven’t looked back since receiving that scholarship!

My favorite part of my job at Athletes’ Training Center is seeing the difference that improved function makes in peoples lives. I love getting to know people and forging lifetime friendships.

Outside of work I am an assistant coach for grade school select basketball.

I coach an 8th grade basketball team called Elkhorn Attack. It was my first time coaching for a full season and I had a great time getting to know the kids on the team and helping them to improve their skills in the game that I have come to love.

3 Unexpected Treatments for Concussions – That Work!

I often get asked about what I do for a living and when I respond that I am a physical therapist many people ask me what kind of injuries I see. My response usually begins with the orthopedic injuries, which everyone kind of already expects, but one area in particular that almost always catches people off guard is when I tell them that I treat concussions.

What can a physical therapist do for a concussion?

That is a great question! Let me share with you the basics on what a concussion actually is.

Concussions: A mild form of traumatic brain injury, which is caused by a bump, blow, or jolt to the head. These injuries may be classified as mild but the symptoms they cause can be devastating to the people who are experiencing them.

Symptoms: Dizziness, headaches, poor balance, trouble concentrating, depression from lack of participation ability. Surprisingly, the symptom most correlated with a lengthened recovery is dizziness. For more information on the basics of concussions visit www.concussionfocus.org.

Now that you understand the basics of a concussion, I promised that I would begin to reveal the three unexpected concussion treatments…and here they are!

  1. Exertion therapy is used to help get the body back to regulating its normal functions like heart rate, and also returning the patient back to sport or work.
  2. Finally, the musculoskeletal piece is used to help with neck or back pain, which often goes hand in hand with a concussion.
  3. Vestibular therapy is used to help address dizziness, headaches, and lack of balance.


In order to avoid getting too long winded, I will be breaking down each one of these three main areas in future blog posts. For now I know this is a very general overview so if you have any further questions feel free to contact me!

Written by, Josiah Parker – PT, DPT

Question:  What do you want to know about concussion therapy?

Understanding Cupping: Ancient Chinese Technique

Some of you may remember last year during the coverage of the Rio Olympics there was a lot of hype surrounding these strange circular shaped marks on the shoulders and back of the most decorated Olympian of all time, Michael Phelps.

These marks were made by a technique called cupping. It is an ancient form of Chinese medicine. This technique has again recently popped up in the news and today I thought it’d be a good time to answer some questions surrounding this technique.

Undeniably Phelps is a seemingly ageless beast in the pool, so why do he and many other professional athletes use the cupping technique and how does it work?  

Cupping is another tool in the toolbox that a physical therapist or a trained professional can use to help alleviate pain or speed up the recovery process. 

How does it work?

Cupping involves cups made of glass, bamboo, or plastic which are used to create suction over the skin. This suction draws up the skin, facia (connective tissue), blood vessels, etc in an attempt to mobilize the tissue, increase blood flow, stimulate the nervous system and decrease pain.  Cupping has been reported to help a plethora of conditions including pain, stroke and hypertension. 

In my review of the literature all of these uses have been poorly studied but the most well researched area was pain and there appears to be support to using cupping for treatment of musculoskeletal pain.

What to take away

At the end of the day, I think we all know that cupping is not what makes Phelps a great Olympian but clearly he believes cupping helps speed his muscle recovery between events. 

Personally I don’t believe the tool is the most important factor, it is the skill of the practitioner using the tool. Therefore my belief is that cupping is another tool in the toolbox for those looking for soft tissue mobilization and increasing blood flow to different areas. Other tools in this toolbox include instrument assisted soft tissue mobilization, dry needling, massage, and foam rolling.

If you have a condition you feel would benefit from some of the above tools, or if you have tried on your own and aren’t getting anywhere then set up an appointment today and add an expert to your team!

Written By: Josiah Parker, PT

Jennie A., Collegiate Track & Field Athlete

Athletes’ Training Center has worked to specialize workouts to fit my athletic needs. The strength coaches have a one on one personal connection to fix minor details that have had a major impact on my athletic performance.