Category Archives: Uncategorized

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Spring Into Fitness: Functional Strength Training

In the winter, it’s easy to forgo workouts and let exercise fall by the wayside. Weather can keep you indoors, there isn’t much sunlight, and motivation can falter. But as the days start to lengthen again, what are you doing to renew your good habits?

Are you looking at Internet fads and crash diets? Watching late night infomercials about special pills and crazy workouts? You know those never work, and many are unsafe. Before starting any workout program after a period of inactivity or injury, you should consult your medical professional to see if you are ready to begin. If your doctor gives you the “all clear”, the next question to consider is…

Is functional strength training the right choice for you?

Functional fitness programs are all about training your muscles to do your everyday activities more safely and efficiently. Think for a moment about the work you do physically every day: stair climbing, lifting, carrying, balancing, stretching, walking, jogging, running, sprinting, jumping, pushing, pulling, bending, twisting, turning, standing, starting, stopping, and lunging.

Because functional strength training focuses on improving your ability to do tasks you’re already participating in, not only do you quickly see results, but those results are also useful to you on a daily basis and as an athlete.  Functional strength training doesn’t just focus on muscle building. Instead, this practice emphasizes the enhancement of the coordinated working relationship between the nervous system and your muscles.

If your exercise routine only focused on a specific muscle or movement, you’d get really skilled at that one movement only. With the exercises of functional strength training, you develop skills that are cross-applicable to most of your activities of daily living. Functional strength training also reduces your chance of injury. Improvements in balance and resilience make normal activities more smooth and efficient.

To find out about whether functional strength training is right for you, and about classes starting soon, request an appointment today!

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The Truth about Basketball Injuries and Recovery

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No matter how long you’ve been playing basketball, or how talented you are, injuries are a fact. It’s not even a question of if; it is simply when will you 7612278_lbe injured and how long will you take to recover. Moreover, what will the recovery look like? Many players imagine the worst: immobilization, pain, and lifelong changes to skills and abilities. But are those realistic outcomes?


Common basketball injuries involve the knees, ankles, feet, lower back, and even the eyes. The statistics don’t lie–you’re more likely to be injured during practice or when playing for relaxation than during a competitive game. The good news is that most (around 75%) basketball injuries are relatively minor: strains, sprains, and bruises. The bad news? Of the remaining 25% of injuries sustained during basketball, most required a recovery period of one to three weeks. Only about 3% of all basketball injuries required surgery. It is possible, however, that over time, repeated damage or stress to joints may necessitate surgery, even if there is no single injury sustained during basketball participation.


If you are injured playing basketball, it’s likely you will be directed to see an orthopedic or sports medicine specialist. In addition to rest, there are many interventions a specialist may recommend that can increase your function and overall fitness, allowing you to get back on the court faster. These include:


  • Graston Technique©
  • Kinesio Taping™
  • Tai Chi Classes
  • Functional Strength Training
  • Electrical Stimulation
  • Heat or Cold Therapy
  • Massage Therapy
  • Clinical Exercise


All these treatment options take time; there are no quick fixes. Just like in basketball, there are no shortcuts to developing skills. But, with patience and dedication, an injury while playing basketball doesn’t have to end your playing days. With proper diagnosis, treatment, and rehabilitation, it’s possible to come back stronger than ever. Request an appointment today to learn about your treatment options if you have experienced an injury on the basketball court.

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Feeling Hot, Feeling Cold, Feeling Better?

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If you’ve been in physical therapy before, you may remember your physical therapist using hot or cold on the affected area. But why? And how do heat and cold help with injury repair and recovery?


Hot Stuff

The practice of using warmer temperatures to aid healing is called vasodilation. Heat draws blood to an area, increasing oxygen and nutrient availability while more swiftly carrying away waste.21291155_l Heat also relaxes tense muscles, reduces muscle spasms, and prepares those muscles, tendons, ligaments, and joints for exercise and stretching.


There are many ways heat therapy can be applied. Dry or moist heat sources include: heating pads, compresses, paraffin, hydrotherapy/whirlpool (where the affected area is immersed in water), and chemical/gel packs. It’s important not to leave any heat therapy in place too long (no more than 20 minutes) or to use too hot a heat source, as burns or other damage could occur. Heat therapy should feel warm and may dull aches and pains, but never apply anything hot to the point of discomfort.


Cold as Ice

Actually, applying ice directly to the skin is a terrible idea. But cold therapy, or cryotherapy, can be incredibly helpful by producing vasoconstriction, which slows circulation. By slowing circulation, the body is encouraged to decrease swelling in a muscle or joint, or prevent swelling after an exercise.


Cold therapy is usually applied with commercial cold packs, ice cubes (though never directly against the skin), iced towels/compresses, and forms of hydrotherapy/whirlpool. Like heat therapy, cold therapies should be applied for a limited amount of time, no longer than 15 minutes, to prevent pain or damage. As cold is applied, you may feel cold, then a hot sensation, then an ache, and finally numbness.


For Professional Use Only

When used properly, heat therapy and cryotherapy can be an invaluable part of managing your discomfort during physical therapy and speeding your recovery. It is important to have your hot and cold therapies administered by a physical therapist in order to make sure you get the correct treatment and duration, as well as to maintain your safety. Request an appointment today to start using hot and cold therapies!

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Four Great Ways To Support A PT Patient!

Physical therapy is designed to work weak muscles, enhance functionality, and improve endurance (without causing harm). Sometimes, that means PT can be an uncomfortable process. If someone in your life is going through PT to rehabilitate an injury, it can be hard to know best how to help. Here are our favorite ideas to make a PT patient’s day!


  • The Right Gear. Having the proper equipment makes any job easier, and physical therapy is no different. Anything from a stylish gym bag to a gift certificate for workout-friendly apparel 14336781_lcan be both useful and appreciated.
  • Clean-Up. Let’s face it, no one looks their best fresh from an intense workout. Small items like dry shampoo, quick wipes, hand sanitizer, and sweatbands can mean a lot to someone who is pooped from working hard. An after-the-gym toiletries kit makes a great option.
  • Food and Drink. Depending on the person, you might select a gift card to a smoothie shop, a cheery travel tumbler, or even a subscription to a monthly box of healthy snacks. If your friend doesn’t have as much support at home, they would love it if you brought them a frozen meal they can just pop in the oven or microwave after a long day.
  • Entertainment. Load up an mp3 player for your friend with soothing music during repetitive PT homework, or gift them a subscription to a streaming video service such as Netflix or Hulu. Many people enjoy audiobooks, and many libraries offer free downloads to patrons.


Finally, don’t be afraid to ask your friend or relative what they need, then listen carefully to what they say. PT patients can always use a little extra love and support, often in ways we may not expect. Even offering to help your friend sort their mail might be a great boon. If you’re ready to start your own physical therapy journey, request an appointment today.





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Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD): More Than Just the Winter Blues–How PT Can Help

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While it is common to experience the “winter blues” as the days get shorter and temperatures get colder, Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is a form of clinical depression that interferes with an individual’s ability to regulate mood and function during the winter months. SAD is due, at least in part, to changes in levels of serotonin, a mood-regulating neurotransmitter. As we spend less time in the sun during the winter months, levels of serotonin in the body can decrease. Decreased sunlight and longer periods of darkness can also affect sleep by throwing off your body’s internal clock and decreasing levels of melatonin, a sleep-regulating neurotransmitter.


SAD is diagnosed more commonly in women and individuals who live far from the equator. It is also more common in individuals with a personal or family history of depression or bipolar

disorder. A qualified psychiatric specialist must diagnose SAD. Symptoms of SAD include the following:

  • Marked decrease in energy
  • Loss of interest in activities that previously brought you pleasure
  • Excessive sleep
  • Weight gain and craving for high-carbohydrate foods
  • Depressed mood
  • Heightened feelings of emotional sensitivity, interpersonal difficulties, and irritability


If you experience several of these symptoms simultaneously in the wintertime, consult a psychiatrist or other mental health professional to determine whether you are suffering from SAD.


In addition to proper psychiatric care, physical therapy can have a beneficial impact for individuals with SAD. Exercise has been shown to have tremendous positive effects for individuals with SAD and other mood disorders. Exercise increases mood- and sleep- promoting neurotransmitters and can help to regulate chemical imbalances that result from changes in circadian rhythms and light exposure.


A physical therapist can assist in developing an exercise program that will improve an individual’s neurotransmitter production, thus alleviating symptoms of SAD. Physical therapy should always be used in conjunction with psychiatric care for individuals with SAD or any other mental health condition.


If you have been diagnosed with SAD and would like to learn more about how exercise and physical therapy can improve your condition, request an appointment with Freehold Physical Therapy today.

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Winterizing Your Fitness Routine: When and How to Bring Your Workout Indoors

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As temperatures begin to drop, don’t let the colder weather derail your fitness regimen this winter. Sure, taking a walk or jog or going for a bike ride is far easier, appealing even, when the weather is pleasant. But exercise is necessary and beneficial year round. How will you stay active this winter? Consider the following options to winterize your fitness routine.Untitled design (15)

  • Bundle Up. Dropping temperatures don’t necessarily mean you can’t exercise outdoors, especially if it’s something you truly love. Invest in warm athletic wear, such as Under Armour. Try to schedule your outdoor workout closer to noon when the sun is at its peak. Push through the first ten minutes or so of your routine, and your body temperature will quickly rise. Still, there reaches a point where it is just too cold, and for those with certain medical conditions, that point may be at a higher temperature. Consult with your doctor to find out if you are healthy enough to exercise in the cold.
  • Build Your At-Home Gym. Fitness equipment can be found for very low prices at garage sales and on websites like CraigsList. Even just a few weights and resistance bands can be the beginning of your home gym collection. Such items are available at stores like WalMart or Target, or at sporting goods stores. A treadmill can be an excellent investment if you have the room to set it up somewhere in your home, such as the basement.
  • Gift Yourself a Fitness Club Membership. Gym memberships can be expensive, but your health is priceless! There are many different kinds of gym memberships available. Facilities with basic equipment like treadmills and weights are generally less expensive than bigger facilities with indoor pools and fitness classes. However, choose the membership that will serve your needs. If you know that the draw of an indoor pool will get you to swim several times each week, the extra expense will be worth it.
  • Switch Up Your Routine. If you are used to doing a lot of outdoor activities like walking, jogging, or bicycling, consider trying out some different cardiovascular exercises that are more conducive for indoor workouts. You can buy DVDs or stream episodes online of different at-home workouts that involve dancing, marching in place, and other forms of cardio. Bringing your workout inside might also be a great way to incorporate strength and resistance training if that was missing from your outdoor workout.

Consult with your medical professional before beginning any new physical activity. Request an appointment at Freehold Physical Therapy to make sure your body is fit for exercise, and to find out what kinds of exercises will have the greatest impact on your health and fitness.

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Four Easy Exercises to Help Avoid Winter Falls

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Falling snow can be quite picturesque while looking out the window, warm next to the fireplace. But outdoors, the winter weather can be quite treacherous. All throughout the winter months, we move a bit more slowly than usual to avoid the risk of slipping and falling on ice. In addition to taking care, take action to strengthen your body and prevent your risk of falls by exercising. Here are some easy and gentle exercise regimens you can undertake that have been shown to reduce fall risk. Always consult with a medical professional before undertaking any new exercise regimen.


  1. This simple but effective exercise routine, when done consistently, can strengthen the legs and promote balance, giving you a firmer footing in slippery conditions. Walk outside at the park or around your neighborhood, or march in place while watching television.11019575_l
  2. If you are lucky enough to live in a community with an indoor pool, take advantage of this balance-promoting exercise. If you don’t know how to swim, consider taking a class at your local fitness center.
  3. Balance Exercises. The Mayo Clinic has recommends a series of whole-body toning exercises that promote balance. Balance and strength are the best defense against falls in winter conditions. If you are new to balance exercises, start off holding onto a chair or countertop to get accustomed to being “off-center.”
  4. Tai-Chi. This slow moving exercise may look easy and frankly, a bit strange. However, when done properly, tai chi is a strenuous, strength-building exercise routine. It has been found to substantially improve balance and coordination. Find a class at your local gym, community center, or join our classes here at Advanced Physical Therapy of Freehold. Call 732-720-2566 to secure your spot.


If you have concerns about your stability in winter weather conditions, request an appointment with a physical therapist today to learn what exercises and techniques are best for your body.

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Three Mobile Apps To Make Physical Therapy Easier

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Physical therapists can pack a lot into a session–enough that remembering just how, or what, or how many reps of an exercise to do can be tricky (especially if you’re on certain medications as part of your treatment plan). If, like so many of us, the app store is a go-to source for solutions, you may be disappointed. The FDA and legal teams alike must carefully scrutinize apps designed for patients dealing with medical treatment before launching in the American market. On one hand, this means apps are more secure and well researched; on the other, there just aren’t many options–and the legalese employed to make sure patients don’t “go rogue” and use these apps without any professional guidance can make it hard to understand what an app even offers.

That said, there are definitely some gems out there, which can, when used appropriately, potentially help you get more from your physical therapy program. Here are our picks.


Rehab Minder

Free (but lots of in-app purchases)

Rehab Minder is a collaborative tool you can use with your PT. The app comes programed with a variety of injury types, and a long list of potentially helpful exercises commonly prescribed to people recovering from these injuries. Your PT can guide you through which exercises you should do at home. When you do each exercise, you simply go to it on the list, set a time, and write notes before and after each set. Then, your PT can review the notes for more accurate insight into how your at-home program is working for you.



PT exercises won’t work well if you are running on too little sleep. Your body needs time to recover and rebuild. There are a variety of decent sleep apps out there, many of which focus on sleep tracking or “smart alarm” systems–which are fantastic, but can sometimes fail to address issues with falling asleep at all. We like pzizz because it focuses on helping users actually get the kind of deep, restful sleep they need. The app provides customized soothing sounds, and voice instructions to help guide users to sleep. The audio element is backed by solid research making it a very effective tool for anyone who knows how much sleep they need but struggles to conk out early enough.



Recovering from an injury or surgery can be as difficult emotionally and psychologically as it is physically. Happier is basically a social media site where users can only share positivity. It’s cheesy, sure, but scrolling through it offers a great reminder of how much there is to be excited about. You can add in your contacts, or just scroll through featured posts for a big dose of cheer.

In need of some PT? Request an appointment here!

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Abnormal Gaits

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Abnormal gaits may have been humorously immortalized in Monty Python’s The Department of Silly Walks sketch, but in reality can be a serious issue for many patients. Even subtle issues can, over time, lead to injuries or damage that inhibit mobility. Changes in gait can also be symptomatic of neurological or degenerative diseases. It’s important to see a professional if you have an abnormal gait, to diagnose any underlying causes, treat any damage incurred so far, and to correct the problem if possible.




There are many, many potential causes of abnormal gait. Here are some of the more common ones.


  • Arthritis of any variety affecting the lower extremities.
  • Dermalogica-type issues, such as ingrown nails, calluses, etc.
  • Having legs of different lengths.
  • Injury or trauma, i.e. break, sprains, bruising
  • Tendonitis – inflammation and/or irritation of tendons
  • Myositis – swelling of muscles
  • Infection

Less common–but potentially more serious causes:

  • Neurodegenerative disease, such as Parkinson’s
  • Brain trauma, tumors, abscesses, or other brain damage
  • Stroke
  • Cerebral Palsy
  • Developmental dysplasia of the hip (a condition present at birth)
  • Spinal cord injury or infection
  • Poisoning (carbon monoxide and manganese, in particular)


This is by no means a comprehensive list–which is why it’s very significant to see a physician if you notice any chance in your gait, or notice consistently that the soles of your shoes wear down in a clearly asymmetric way.



Treatment options obviously vary dramatically based on the cause of the issue. Some of the more common non-invasive treatments include assistive devices or bracing and corrective exercises.


For more information regarding diagnosis and treatment of abnormal gait, please contact us.

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woman recovered from sciatica

Recovering From Sciatica

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Sciatica describes a pain that shoots down the lower back through one or both legs, following the path of the sciatic nerve. Anyone who has had the misfortune of suffering sciatica can tell you: it’s not something one wants to experience twice. Unfortunately, without making some lifestyle changes, sciatica may very well return.

Relaxed business man stretching his arms

Why It Happens–And Can Happen Again

There are a number of lifestyle and physiological risk factors that contribute to sciatica. Some of these, like age or being diabetic, aren’t things a patient can control. Quite a few, however, are things a patient may be able to change. These include weight (obesity is a big risk factor), prolonged sitting, and occupational behaviors (i.e. if your job involves a lot of heavy lifting). Addressing these factors will help reduce the risk of experiencing sciatica again.

Initial Treatment Options

Patients experiencing the first signs of sciatica should seek medical attention ASAP. Sciatica is the result of something pinching the sciatic nerve. A physician or specialist will attempt to first diagnose the source of this pressure. Usually, it’s a herniated disk or bone spur (a growth on the vertebrae), but it can be the result of diabetes or other disease related complications, or even a tumor on the spine.

Regardless of the cause, the first step in treatment is to address the symptoms, specifically the debilitating pain–usually through medication. Narcotics can be a short-term solution to provide the patient with some relief and allow them to perform basic daily functions. Anti-inflammatories are often used to relieve swelling, muscle relaxants and even anti-seizure medications to reduce painful contractions, and even certain antidepressants may be helpful.

In the majority of cases of sciatica, this symptom-treatment strategy coupled with bed rest can be enough to get patients through the few weeks the pain is usually most intense; after, the condition, in many cases, resolves itself.

Physical Therapy To Prevent Recurrence

A physical therapist can help patients make the lifestyle and fitness changes that will reduce the risk of a recurrence. Generally, physical therapy works best after the initial episode is over–the combination of the need for adequate rest, pain, and medications make it difficult to have a quality session before.

One of the most direct ways a PT can help is by leading the patient in exercises to build a better support for their spine. It’s important to work with a medically trained professional on these exercises to avoid poor posture, which can exacerbate pain in an already stressed spine. They can also help develop a home exercise program that will make it easier to incorporate fitness into a patient’s day-to-day routine. This includes ways to aid in weight loss, if extra pounds may be a contributing factor. Finally, a PT can discuss occupation duties and how to perform them more safely.

If you’ve recently dealt with sciatica, we encourage you to contact us. Our team of NJ physical therapy experts would be happy to help you reduce your risk while also improving your overall health.

Sprains, strains, fractures, oh my! Pain and impaired mobility are serious business, but there is hope. At Advanced Physical Therapy of Freehold, our professional therapists collaborate with physicians to provide care that alleviates pain, restores function, and gets you back in the game faster. We encourage you to learn more about our team — and what we do best.