Get Back to your Life: How Physical Therapy can help relieve Low Back Pain and Prevent Future Occurrences

Did you know that low back pain is the second most common cause of disability in the United States? Over 80 percent of the US population will experience an episode of lower back pain at some time during life. For most, recovery can happen within a few months, but the incidence of low back pain is on the rise, and so is the costs associated with it – loss of work, visits to the ER, medications, and imaging.  

Low back pain can present itself as a dull ache, a throb, sharp shooting pain, radiating down either or both legs.  Symptoms can be constant, or come and go, come on gradually or appear suddenly with a certain position or movement. Those who have experienced back pain know that it makes everything more difficult. The pain can be completely disabling, preventing you from going to work, standing up straight, sitting in one position, or simply getting out of bed.   Physical therapy (PT) can be a successful method to combat low back pain and prevent future occurrences.  Whatever the reason or onset, PT can help improve your function.

When low back pain comes on, your muscles, joints and nerves can all be affected. Physical Therapy can break the pain cycle created by low back pain and start addressing the muscle imbalance, spasms and tension due to swelling and irritation. PT can help to reactivate your muscles, rebalancing the inhibited muscles and the calming the overactive muscles. Using a series of specific exercises geared toward the muscle imbalance, as well as different methods to break the pain, your Physical Therapist can help can decrease symptoms and improve functionality. Your number of visits will depend on the severity and duration of symptoms.

The sooner you see your Physical therapist, the sooner your symptoms will resolve. During your therapy sessions, you will learn how to move properly to prevent future back problems, exercises to perform to maintain the strength and balance in your back muscles, and maintain full movement in your spinal joints.

If you are ready to do something about your back pain and prevent future occurrences, make an appointment with your Physical Therapist today.

For more information or to set up an appointment to get your life back, contact Active Physical Therapy

Bike Fit Services at Active Physical Therapy

There are many benefits to riding a bike and it can be a fun and easy way to get a little exercise in and enjoy some fresh air. Riding a bike can improve your cardiovascular fitness, strength, endurance and even your mood and mental clarity.  But what do you do if riding your bike causes pain and you just can’t ride that far anymore?  Do you just need a new bike? Should something be adjusted?  How do you know?

The Bike Fit experts at Active Physical Therapy have a solution for you. We will fit your bike  to you to compensate for injuries, pain, or annoyances.  

  • Does your neck hurt on long straight aways?
  • Numbness and tingling in your hands?
  • Knee pain with hill climbs?
  • Low back pain or even saddle soreness that isn’t from first ride of the season?

All of these things can be tied to your position on the bike, and can be addressed and FIXED with a proper Bike Fit.  By assessing how you sit on your bike, your seat position, saddle tilt, handle bar tilt and position, pedal position and even shoes and shorts, we can address some of the most commonly occurring injuries in the biking world.  

What if you don’t have a new bike? Or a nice bike?  

It doesn’t matter what kind of bike you ride, we can make sure that the fit is right for you.  We can fit you to your cruiser bike, road, mountain, cross country, downhill, triathlon bike, tandem, or even unicycle.  We can fit multiple bikes in a session, so just let us know you are bringing in more than one so we can allot enough time to address each bike appropriately.   

How do we analyze you on your bike?

You will get a full evaluation of you and your bike.  We will look at your posture, your gait pattern, flexibility, strength and potential muscle imbalances, range of motion, and watch what happens when you are riding your bike.

Your therapist will put your bike on a trainer – this is a small machine that allows your to pedal your bike without going anywhere – and we can see what you look like while riding your bike. Through a series of measurements and  observations of both  you and your bike, using multiple tools and techniques, we can analyze what  the cause of your problem is and from there make adjustments to change it.  In some cases, it may be that the bike adjustments aren’t enough to take all the discomfort away.  There may be more underlying physical issues in your body that may have to be addressed as well. As physical therapists, we are well-suited to address these issues right away.   It may be that you have limitations in movement and strength that are holding you back and causing the pain.  We can determine this and make suggestions about specific exercises and strength that will help you improve those limitations and weaknesses.  There may be a restriction or tension in the muscle or joint that we can address with manual therapy and modalities to improve your mobility and in turn your ride.  Getting you into a structured PT plan if necessary, can greatly improve your comfort, performance and endurance while riding your bike.  It is a combination of all these factors that makes us different from a bike fit performed anywhere else.  We can immediately educate, treat, and alleviate ALL factors associated with your pain while biking. We have the knowledge and skills to not only adjust your bike, but to adjust your body, to improve your riding experience.

So get on your bike and head down to Active Physical Therapy.  Let us assess your biking frustrations and get you back to pedaling.  

Kinesiotaping at Active Physical Therapy

What is that colorful tape everyone is wearing?

You’ve probably seen it on athletes on television. Maybe your friends and family have watched a YouTube video and tried it themselves, or your neighbor went to PT and had a couple of strips on his knee.  Have you ever wondered what it was?  Did it work or was it just a fad?

It all began with Kinesio tape®, an elastic adhesive tape that was originally developed in Japan in the 1970’s. Since, it has expanded to include more than 20 different brands of tape and counting, each with their own niche.  The Kinesio tape® brand has been the most researched, and will be the one discussed most in this article.

Kinesio tape is latex free, hypoallergenic, water-resistant, and wearable for days at a time.  Its uses and purposes vary, including muscle inhibition or facilitation, swelling reduction, pain alleviation, providing correction to some mechanical faults, and reeducating the neuromuscular system. It can do all this by targeting somatosensory receptors within the skin while creating a microscopic lift in the interstitial space, which allows improvement in circulation, reducing swelling and decreasing pain.

Kinesiotaping can be done on all populations, from pediatrics to geriatrics, and Olympic athletes to occasional recreational participants. The tape can be gentle enough on fragile skin  – with specific tape geared for that and for proper skin preparation – and tough enough to last through an intense football game into double overtime, or a long weekend hiking the Appalachian Trail.

There are a lot of resources out there regarding how to tape.  You can find instructions  included the box, and there are also numerous how-to videos on You Tube.  These instructions are usually just are general suggestions on how to tape for an issue.  For instance, the insert in the box may show one version of how to tape for knee pain, and if you go to YouTube and search “kinesiotaping for knee pain” you will get 31,100 videos, step by step instructions on Pinterest, and 241,000 Google search results.  However, the truly best way to know how to tape an injury is to talk to a professional.   A certified professional will do an assessment and decide which taping techniques are best for your individual needs.

Keep in mind that Kinesiotape alone may not fix your problem.  It is important to address the underlying issues and see a professional to get a proper diagnosis to treat the problem effectively. At Active Physical Therapy, we not only have  kinesiotape certified specialists, but every one of our therapists can address the underlying dysfunction and problems that are leading to your need for taping. Call us now for a free consultation or to set up an appointment.

Aqua Therapy Services and Active Physical Therapy

Water has been – and remains – one of the best environments to achieve full function regardless of the injury. Water improves motion and flexibility and has a relaxation effect on the body which decreases pain and muscle tension.  The natural buoyancy reduces compressive forces and impact on the joints, hence making exercises much easier to perform than on land.

What to Expect

When walking into the HydroWorx pool at Active Physical Therapy, you are treated to smells of not the expected chlorine, but to bromine, a chemical not as harsh to the skin or the nose as chlorine. Depending on patient needs, the water is kept at a temperature between 82 and 96 degrees for therapeutic purposes.

A physical therapist or physical therapy assistant will take you through a series of personalized exercises designed to help meet your goal for rehab of your injury. You will work one-on-one with your therapist for 45 minutes to an hour and all therapy is tailored to your abilities and geared to help you gain mobility, strength, balance, and feel more confident doing your day-to-day activities. ­­­Whether you’ve had a recent surgery such as a total knee or hip replacement, a ligament or tendon repair, spinal surgery, or have generalized weakness, pain, or difficulty with your work activities, aqua therapy can be excellent option to address your specific condition in a non-impact environment.

How it Works

The water provides buoyancy which reduces stresses on your joints, yet the viscous fluid properties of water can be used as resistance to improve strength and speed, the constant motion of the water helps with balance, core strength and proprioception, and the hydrostatic pressure can reduce swelling and joint pain.  Water based programs are great for “active recovery” for endurance athletes who need to reduce stress due to an injury but don’t want to lose their cardiovascular fitness.  With the use of our underwater treadmill we can improve your running or walking gait using non-impact means to address muscle imbalances in gait that usually show up in gravity environments, by retraining them in a supported environment.

The use of equipment such as paddles, noodles, buoyancy vests, kick boards, fins and other pieces of equipment that offer support or resistance depending on your needs. When you are ready, your therapist will transition you seamlessly to land based exercises to further reach your therapy goals.

Best of all, you don’t need to know how to swim to use the pool.  All the exercises can be done without submersion, so if you have a fear of water, this can be addressed during sessions and a gradual approach can be taken.

Want to learn more about the aqua therapy program at Active PT?  Stop in our Fair Avenue clinic or call 906-226-0574.

Physical Therapy business puts down roots in the Country Village

We held a ribbon cutting to celebrate purchasing our building in the Country Village.  Thanks to ABC 10 for attending the ribbon cutting!  You can read the story here.

Active Welcomes Balanced Body Physical Therapy

Join us at our clinic at 1455 Fair Avenue in Marquette as we welcome Jeannie Wagner, PT, DPT, CLT-LANA and Laurie Smith, PT, to Active Physical Therapy. Jeannie and Laurie have provided physical Therapy services at Balanced Body Physical Therapy to the Marquette Community for many years, and now are bringing their expertise to Active Physical Therapy! Light refreshments will be served.

Active Physical Therapists featured in the Kineso Newsletter

Kinesio News Letter – December 13, 2016

Kinesio News Letter
Tuesday, December 13, 2016
“Healthy tissue fluids are like clear streams of water; they move easily.”
-Dr. Kenzo Kase
CKTPs  Excel at Events in their Local Areas
Here’s one example!   Jaime Green writes:
On September 2nd 2016, the expo for the 7th annual Marquette Marathon, ½ Marathon, and 5K race was held in Marquette, MI. In total 1,100 runners were registered and enjoyed a scenic run through the beautiful upper peninsula of Michigan. The course boasts an elevation drop of 1037 feet  for the marathon and is one of the fastest Boston qualifying courses. It is gaining popularity and bringing lots of visitors to the area. 
We were fortunate enough to have a booth to discuss the purposes and benefits of using Kinesio Taping with many of the athletes and some of their family members too. We had two CKTPs on hand from 5-9 pm and were able to help  and tape multiple people the night prior to their event. This served a dual purpose in helping us to promote our business and also helping to educate and promote Kinesio Taping as a treatment option for these athletes. 
Event support is part of your CKTP Elite membership.
Contact us for information  at

Career Opportunity

Our Partner, Superior Rehab & Professional Services is looking for a part to full-time PT for homecare in Marquette County.  This person would join a staff of more than a dozen experienced therapists, have flexibility in their schedule and receive a good wage and benefits package.

Keeping up on Posture

Check out our own Kristy Kerkela who was asked by TV6 to talk about posture issues on the news tonight!  Good job, Kristy – and it sure looked like our partner Wendi Thomas was also making a cameo appearance!

Click here to watch!


Active Physical Therapy Encourages Warming Up Before Biking

Hear what Lisa LaBar had to say about biking in this great community of ours.  We hope everyone has a chance to get active outdoors this coming weekend!

Click here to read or listen to Lisa’s interview on Sunny 101.9!