Tips To Ensure Kids Have A Healthy Start Back To School

As many kids return back to school, parents can be a bit frantic about making sure their kids get a healthy start and settled back into a routine. 


Here are a few tips to make life a little easier for everyone:



  • Most school-age kids need between 9-11 hours of sleep
  • Encourage a bedtime routine and stick to it!
  • Remove technology from the bedroom - no television, no laptop, no tablet, and no phone! 



  • Healthy food helps kids focus and pay attention compared to foods that are heavy in fat or high in sugar which can lead to feeling sleepy or jittery
  • Keep fruit available for a quick snack-on-the-go
  • Pre-cut carrots and celery at the beginning of the week for convenience
  • Create a meal plan for the week and delegate who is going to prepare each meal



  • Limit the weight of the backpack to less than 10-15% of the child’s body weight. If the child weighs 100 pounds, then their backpack should be a maximum of 10-15 pounds.
  • Insist...
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The Importance Of “Unshrugging”

Many of us hold our shoulders up to our ears, also known as shrugging. Why do we shrug our shoulders?

  • Stress can cause our neck muscles to carry more tension which leads to shoulder shrugging.
  • Sometimes we shrug our shoulders in response to a question or as a nonverbal form of expression.
  • Chronic overuse on a computer, tablet, or other electronic device can cause our shoulders to round forward and shrug.

Regardless of “why” we shrug our shoulders, we should try to focus on “unshrugging.”

Unshrugging is the opposite of shrugging. It’s all about lowering your shoulders - think about hanging your arms by your side, making a fist with each hand, and punching down toward the floor. If you feel a stretch across the top of your shoulders and into your neck, then you probably shrug your shoulders more often than you think.

Unshrugging will stretch the upper trapezius muscles (one of the muscles across the top of the shoulders). This is important because...

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How To Take The “Ouch” Out Of Elbow Pain

If you have ever experienced elbow pain, then you know how it can wreak havoc in your day.


The simple act of typing on a keyboard, using a mouse, opening a jar, or squeezing a ketchup bottle - all can cause pain when your elbow is unhappy.


In my latest video, I provide several options to decrease elbow pain, whether it is on the outside of the elbow (tennis elbow = lateral epicondylitis) or on the inside of the elbow (golfer’s elbow = medial epicondylitis).


Elbow pain does not discriminate. It doesn’t care if you are an athlete, an office worker, or a machinist. When it hurts, it prevents you from doing what you need and want to do.


You have lots of options that you can do from home. Watch the video to learn more.


Or, if you try these options, and your symptoms are stubborn and still don’t want to go away within 7-10 days, then I recommend you contact your local Doctor of Physical Therapy so they can direct you in your next steps....

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How To Recognize Signs And Symptoms Of Tennis Elbow

It’s summertime and many people increase their activity level as they get outside more. Some people may choose to complete more outdoor projects with their yard - mowing, weeding, gardening, and DIY projects. Others may choose more recreational activities like kayaking, cycling, tennis, and golf.


What do all these activities have in common?




That’s right, whether they are gripping hand tools, the oars of a kayak, or the handle of a racquet, everyone participating in any of the above activities must grip.


Excessive gripping or a sudden increase in gripping can increase the risk of lateral epicondylitis - aka tennis elbow. Increased gripping can also increase the risk of medial epicondylitis, or golfer’s elbow, too. What’s the difference?


Tennis elbow is pain on the outside of the elbow whereas golfer’s elbow is pain on the inside of the elbow.


How do you know if you might have either tennis elbow or...

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When this “I Just Slept Wrong On My Neck” Becomes That “When Will My Neck Pain Go Away?”

Neck pain is one of the most common reasons I see people in my office. Patients often say,


“I don't know why my neck started hurting…I think I must have slept wrong.”


“My neck hurts worse in the morning when I get’s just really stiff.”


“My neck is fine in the morning but gets worse throughout the day.”


“I hear all this popping and cracking in my neck when I turn my head. It’s kind of sharp when I turn to check my blind spot.”


Even though every single person has the common complaint of neck pain, the root cause of their neck pain is different in each of their complaints.


Let me walk you through my brain when I hear these complaints:


“I think I slept wrong on my neck” - Most of the time this complaint is going to be related to a muscle strain, specifically the levator scapulae muscle. One end of the muscle attaches on the cervical vertebrae closest to...

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Check 1, Check 2, Check 3...For Your Posture Check

One of the most common injuries I see in my office is poor posture. In fact, regardless of the primary reason a patient comes to see me for physical therapy, I could argue that 99% of my patients have “abnormal posture” as a secondary injury.


A twenty-something-old started physical therapy a few weeks ago. His primary complaint was shoulder blade pain with reaching forward. His secondary problem was occasional low back pain.


Guess what the root cause of his problem is?




Yes, I am screaming at the top of my lungs because posture affects EVERYTHING!


If your shoulders are rounded forward, your neck is forward, your mid-back is slumped, and your lower back lacks its normal curve, then you will have problems.




Because your entire body is more forward than it is supposed to be so your center of gravity is also forward. Your body does not work as efficiently when our center of gravity is in front of hips and...

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5 Steps To Getting Rid Of Pain...Regardless Of What That Pain Is!

What’s the biggest pain you have experienced?


A broken bone?

A sprained ankle?

A splinter?

A root canal?




Regardless of the type of pain or the cause of the pain, I anticipate the #1 thought you are thinking of is “How do I get rid of the pain?”


Here’s 5 Steps You Can Take Immediately When Pain Begins?


  • Take Action - Doing nothing will not work. Even if you decide to rest and apply ice, you are still taking action
  • Pay Attention To What You Are Feeling - Do not ignore your pain. Pain is your body’s way of screaming for your attention. Pain is your body telling you something is wrong. If you just fell and your wrist is painful and shows a deformity, your body is shouting at you to get an x-ray! If you have a splinter, your body is telling you that your finger hurts and the splinter needs to be removed. If you are experiencing labor pains, your body is telling you the baby is on the way! Pay attention to your...
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How To Improve Knee Strength

Have you ever had difficulty standing up from a chair or squatting down to pick up a laundry basket?


Have you ever felt weakness in your legs and struggled to go up and down stairs?


If you answered “Yes” to any of these scenarios, then it’s very likely that your legs aren’t as strong as they should be.


In a recent video, I describe three exercises that can help increase knee strength so that your legs can start feeling stronger.


Strengthening the muscles in your legs is key to protecting your knee joint. When your gluteal, quad, and hamstring muscles are weak, they cannot accept the forces you place on your body during daily activities like walking, going up and down steps, and squatting to lift a laundry basket from the floor. If your muscles don’t do the work to absorb those forces, then your joints will. Strengthening + flexibility promotes bone health, joint health, and easier mobility.


If it is a constant battle...

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How To Recognize Signs and Symptoms of Patellar Tendinitis

With Spring arriving and the weather getting warmer, I tend to see more injuries related to overuse activity. For example, many people increase their walking or running distances. They also may do spring cleaning around the house which translates into more trips up and down the stairs. An increase in yard work naturally occurs too as the snowblower is winterized and the lawn mower is powered up.


Whichever activity you are getting more involved in, it is important to recognize when your activity is too much or you did too much too quickly. In one of my recent videos, I discuss the signs and symptoms of patellar tendinitis. If you are having knee pain, this video will walk you through what to look for and what your next steps should be.


You don’t have to live with pain. Pain doesn’t have to be part of the aging process or something you have to experience as you increase your activity level or get back into sports. Pain is present to let you know something is...

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How Building a Garden Box Created Motivation

As I watched my husband measure the wood, cut, piece together, and hammer our new garden box, I was motivated by his work. He took scraps of wood that we had tucked away in the rafters of our oversized garage and created a very utilitarian garden box that would save our backs for summers to come.


My biggest motivation from observing him was that we often overlook the tools we already have to start a project. Prior to him building the garden box, I had searched the internet to see if we could buy a few pre-made garden boxes or kits for garden boxes. I instantly received sticker shock! 


We are not trying to break our bank to grow some veggies!


My husband decided to be resourceful and look around at what we already had available. We already had enough wood to make a single large garden box about 7 feet long and 40 inches wide.


No, it’s not super fancy, but it will get the job done!


The same approach can be taken towards tackling other...

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