Telehealth Visits Now Offered at Kinetix Advanced Physical Therapy!

During this time of uncertainty as our country navigates through the COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic, the team at Kinetix Advanced Physical Therapy is now offering patients a “virtual” option that ensures both personal safety and continuity of treatment.

Known as Telehealth, or Virtual Physical Therapy (PT) Visits, these online appointments allow patients to directly communicate and follow up with our physical therapists remotely, from the safety of their own homes.

Why Telehealth?

While Kinetix Advanced Physical Therapy is still seeing patients in their Valencia, Lancaster and Santa Clarita clinics, physical therapist and president Tim Eckard says this option ensures those who can’t get out are able to get the PT treatments they need.

“During a time when social distancing isn’t just encouraged, but in some cases mandated, Telehealth is a way those receiving treatment for pain or injury can still meet with a physical therapist,” Eckard said. “Physical therapy remains an essential service, and Telehealth allows us to meet with patients to track progress, review home exercises, and simply ask questions directly to their providers.”

A Telehealth appointment is essentially a video conference between the patient and their Kinetix physical therapist, using a home computer/webcam or a smartphone.

During the visit, patients can discuss treatments and progress, assess function, review rehab exercises, and modify home exercise programs.

Empowering Patients

Telehealth appointments are scheduled just like regular visits, Eckard says. Though with no travel time and expenses, and without the COVID-19 contamination risks involved with leaving one’s home, such appointments can better meet the needs of a certain population of clients.

“With all the unknowns surrounding COVID-19 and the various ways it’s likely to continue affecting our lives moving forward, Telehealth is a way we can ensure all patients – not just those who can make it into the clinic – are empowered to take better control of their health,” Eckard said.

“Not only does it allow them to continue physical therapy treatments,” he added, “but it also allows them the flexibility to determine what appointment best meets personal conditions.”

Eckard added that many private health insurance plans cover Virtual PT Visits.

Schedule Your Virtual PT Visit Today

Kinetix Virtual PT Visits will be hosted through the Doxy.me, a telehealth service. When a Telehealth appointment is made, Kinetix will email patients a HIPAA-compliant link for accessing their virtual session.

For more information about Telehealth and to schedule a Telehealth appointment with the Kinetix Advanced Physical Therapy team, visit kinetixapt.com or call us at 661-288-0300 (Valencia) or 661-974-7033 (Lancaster).

Find Relief from Holiday Tension Headaches with Physical Therapy

The fact that the season of giving, joy and celebration can also be our most stressful time of year is one of the worst kept secrets of the Holidays.

And yet, year after year, we charge forward, often fighting through tension-type headaches to complete our shopping, plan for get-togethers with friends, and fulfill all our family obligations.

But why fight through the headaches, asks Valencia physical therapist Tim Eckard, when a physical therapist can often provide relief from tension-type headaches by correcting the problems that cause the pain?

What is a Tension Headache?

“A tension headache often starts with pain or dysfunction at the back of the head or neck – discomfort that can spread around your head, and even to your eyes,” said Eckard, co-owner and clinic director at Kinetix Advanced Physical Therapy in Valencia, Lancaster and Santa Clarita.

“What we as physical therapists can do, after a thorough examination and a series of questions, is determine the likely causes of your headache. Then, we can treat these causes.”

According to the World Health Organization, a tension-type headache (TTH) is the most common primary headache disorder in the world, typically related to stress or associated with musculoskeletal problems in the neck.

One study published in the U.S. Library of Medicine called tension-type headaches the second-most common illness worldwide, affecting 80 to 90 percent of people at least once in their lives.

Tension headaches, as they’re often called, are frequently described as a feeling of pressure or tightness, often like a band around the head that spreads into or from the neck.

According to the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA), these headaches may be caused by stress, fatigue, poor posture, or problems with the neck or jaw – like an injury.

How Physical Therapy Can Help

“Once we determine the cause of your tightness and pain, a PT can work with you to correct the underlying problem that’s leading you to experience these headaches,” Eckard said.

“This can be fatigued muscles from bad posture, or a lack of strength or mobility in your neck and shoulders.”

Often, treatments will focus on three areas: improved posture, improved strength in the upper back, neck and shoulders, and improved mobility in the neck and spine through stretching and pain-reducing movements.

This is also known as manual therapy.

“We’ll not only provide relief through treatments in the clinic, but physical therapists also work with people to correct the issues which caused the headache in the first place, be it improving posture or simple changes in lifestyle,” said Eckard. “PTs always treat with an eye toward future prevention.”

If the Holiday Season has already become a headache for you this year, schedule an assessment with the Kinetix Advanced Physical Therapy team to learn more about what’s causing your tension headache and how it can be successfully and affordably treated through physical therapy.

No Time for Exercise? Make Time for Movement.

Don’t have time for exercise? Perhaps it’s time to reframe what true exercise looks like, says Valencia physical therapists Tim Eckard. 

“Exercise doesn’t require a gym, special equipment or a high intensity,” said Eckardco-owner and clinic director of Kinetix Advanced Physical Therapy in Valencia, Lancaster and Santa Clarita. “Down to its core, exercise is simply movement. Despite being busy, most of us have plenty of time to move around every day. The key, then, is to optimize these moments to your benefit.” 

With shorter, cooler days ahead of us and the Holiday Season just around the corner, this is often the time of year when exercise is most likely to take a back seat to other obligations – possibly even disappearing for days at a time. 

But with the President’s Council on Sports, Fitness & Nutrition suggesting adults need at least 150 to 300 minutes of moderate activity each week, Eckard advises people to not underestimate both the long- and short-term benefits of movement … especially this time of year. 

“Regular exercise often helps reduce stress and improve focus and energy levels, while also improving your mood during the shorter, darker days leading into the Holiday Season,” Eckard said. “This, of course, is in addition the more wide-ranging health benefits most people are familiar with.” 

What can you do, then, if you find you don’t have time to hit the gym or go for that morning jog? Eckard offers the following tips for turning seemingly typical daily moments into opportunities for exercise: 

Take Mobile Meetings: Walking is one of the best and most inclusive exercises out there. So, next time you have a meeting scheduled with a reasonably small group of people, suggest making it a mobile meeting by walking and talking outdoors, through the hallways of your building, or whatever setting is most pedestrian friendly. 

Rethink the Stairs: It’s a no-brainer that taking the stairs instead of the elevator can offer you a dose of additional exercise each day. Beyond this, though, make the stairs part of a greater routine. Even if you have no place to go, burn off some steam by walking the stairs over breaks and during the lunch hour. 

Take Work to the Gym: While you don’t necessarily need a gym to exercise, it definitely pays to take advantage of the membership — if you have one. But, don’t go there in lieu of work. Go there with work. Catch up on reading, emails or other “housekeeping” tasks while walking, pedaling or using the elliptical. 

Pour Yourself into Housework: Whether indoors or out, don’t underestimate the effectiveness of housework as exercise! Just throw on some music, pick up the pace, and throw yourself wholeheartedly into the efforts of cleaning and maintaining your home.  

Visit a Physical Therapist: If other factors such as pain, endurance or movement limitations are keeping you from making exercise a priority in your life, or you simply need help finding a regimen that works best for you, visit with one of the physical therapists at Kinetix Advanced Physical Therapy. A physical therapist will assess the source of your limitations or discomforts and provide a path toward leading a more active and healthful life. 

5 Exercises for Improving Balance, Preventing Falls 

When we’re young, falls are treated as teaching opportunities. “Get back on your feet, brush yourself off and keep moving toward your goals,” we were told. 

But as we age, falls take on a much greater significance. According to Valencia physical therapist Tim Eckard, when someone of advanced age falls, they tend to suffer greater distress to their health as well as their pocketbooks. 

“A fall can greatly impact a senior’s ability to live an active, healthful and independent life,” said Eckardco-owner and clinic director of Kinetix Advanced Physical Therapy in Valencia, Lancaster and Santa Clarita. “In fact, where older adults are concerned, a fall can have a spiraling effect on their overall quality of life during years typically set aside for much-deserved rest, relaxation and fun.” 

Unfortunately, though, falls are an epidemic among seniors in the U.S. 

According to the National Council on Aging, an older adult is treated for a fall in a U.S. emergency room every 11 seconds, making it the most common cause for nonfatal, trauma-related hospital admissions among this group. 

In addition, the average health care cost for each of these falls is approximately $35,000 per patient. 

“Older bodies are simply more susceptible to serious injury when falls occur,” Eckard said. “And, while there are some things seniors can do to keep their bonds strong and flexible enough to better absorb a fall, the best course of action is to just prevent falls from happening to begin with. This starts with improving balance.” 

Eckard points out that, like strength and cardiovascular conditioning, balance is something that can and should be improved through regular exercise. He suggests seniors try these five exercises to help improve their balance: 

Standing March: As the name says, march in place for up to 30 seconds, slowly raising and lowering your knees throughout. Vary the surface on which you march (i.e., hard floor to the back yard) for more of a challenge. 

Heel to Toe: Starting with both heels touching the wall, put one foot in front of the other so the heel touches the toes of the opposite foot. Repeat with the other foot, as if you’re walking a chalk line. Go for 20 steps each round. 

Weight Shifts: With your feet hip-width apart, shift your weight to one side, lifting your other foot off the floor just a few inches. Hold this pose for up to 30 seconds, then shift and hold on the other leg. Increase reps per your ability. 

Single-Leg Balance: Starting with the same stance as above, now lift one leg from the floor, bending it back at the knee. Hold for up to 30 seconds, then do the same with the other leg. Increase reps as your balance improves. 

Group Classes: If you feel your balance is strong and you’ve mastered the above exercises, trying a group session that focuses on core strength and balance. Pilates is an example of such a class. 

“If you’re new to any of these exercises, help balance yourself initially by leaning on a table, chair back or wall for safety’s sake,” Eckard said. “Make these simple exercises part of your daily routine.” 

And, if you’re a senior or soon-to-be senior who doesn’t currently exercise regularly, it’s smart to start any new fall-prevention effort by first getting a balance assessment from a physical therapist, like those at Kinetix Advanced Physical Therapy. Through a balance assessment, a physical therapist can determine your level of functional balance while pinpointing areas of concern that can be addressed through an individualized fall-prevention regimen. 

Parents: Be Aware of the Signs of Sports Injuries

As student-athletes train over the summer, preparing to head back to the practice fields later this season, injuries are going to happen. Despite concerted efforts to reduce and prevent sports injuries, Valencia physical therapist Tim Eckard pointed out that it’s impossible to eliminate them from sports. 

In order to ensure injuries are diagnosed and treated quickly, before they worsen, Eckard said it’s paramount parents and guardians are able to quickly identify the signs of possible injury – ailments that aren’t always obvious during practice or competition, but which may manifest later on at home. 

“Whether it’s because they’re concerned about playing time or feel they can tough it out, student-athletes won’t always admit when they’re hurt or injured,” said Eckard, co-owner and clinic director of Kinetix Advanced Physical Therapy in Valencia, Lancaster and Santa Clarita. “But even when a youth or teen is convinced it’s not that bad, that they can walk it off, etc., he or she could still be doing themselves harm by not getting treatment as soon as possible.” 

This is when it’s important for a parent or guardian to get involved, he said. 

“By just knowing some of the obvious signs that a young athlete isn’t just sore but is actually injured, parents can play an active role in ensuring injuries are diagnosed and treated as soon as possible, preventing further damage from occurring,” said Eckard. 

Signs to watch out for include: 

  • Headaches, lightheadedness or dizziness, which may indicate a concussion. 
  • Limping or an appearance of pain when putting weight on and/or using a particular part of the body. 
  • Difficulty standing, sitting, stepping or moving around normally. 
  • Tingling, numbness or weakness in the limbs, fingers or toes. 
  • Difficulty sleeping. 
  • Sharp pain during practice, games or any physical activity. 

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), around 30 million children and adolescents in the U.S. participate in youth sports. Just the high school-aged students within this group account for around 2 million injuries and 500,000 doctor visits each year. Of those under 14, 3.5 million receive medical treatment for sports injuries. 

“‘No pain, no gain’ doesn’t apply to youth sports, and there should be no such thing as ‘toughing it out,’” Eckard said. “If your child or teen is showing any of these signs, it’s important you get them evaluated as soon as you can.” 

In many cases, visiting a physical therapist can be an ideal starting point for such evaluations. Trained to provide sports injury assessments for athletes of all ages, physical therapists like those on the Kinetix Advanced Physical Therapy team will triage the injury and, if necessary, provide direction if further diagnosis and treatment is necessary.   

6 Common Summer Activity Mistakes, with Solutions

For many, summer is defined by a whirlwind of outdoor activity, a natural response to warmer, brighter and warmer days. 

But as we venture out into the sun for yard work, bike rides, morning jogs, long hikes and swimming at the beach, Valencia physical therapist Tim Eckard warns people to avoid common summer exercise mistakes that can put them at risk of injury. 

“We all get excited when the weather allows us to get outside in the fresh air to do the things we love to do, but this excitement shouldn’t cause us to overlook precautions we should be taking to ensure we stay safe and free of injury,” said EckardCo-Owner of Kinetix Advanced Physical Therapy in Valencia, Lancaster and Santa Clarita. 

Some of these considerations take the heat into account, while others are simply good practices that often get overlooked during this time of year. Either way, Eckard offers solutions for overcoming the following mistakes people often make when engaging in outdoor activities (including exercise) during the summer months. 

Pushing Too Hard, Too Fast: The warmth and sunshine of summer may get your adrenaline going, but don’t take that as permission to overdo your workouts. Abide by the 10 percent rule, which dictates you should ramp up your duration and distances no more than 10 percent per week. And, be sure to give your body plenty of rest and recovery time to prevent potential injury. 

Not Warming Up Properly: Don’t assume the warm weather means your body’s already warm and ready to go. A thorough warm-up is essential before any exercise or activity, despite the temperature outside. It primes the nervous system for exercise so your body’s ready to work efficiently. A simple warm-up can include some brisk walking, light jogging, lunges, arm circles, etc. 

Dehydration: Don’t wait until you’re thirsty to start hydrating. Dehydration came come on quickly when the weather’s hot, so get used to carrying around a water bottle, and always drink water before, during and after all workouts, regardless of intensity. 

Wearing Improper Footwear: You may walk around in sandals or flip-flops most of the summer, but trade them for a quality, supportive pair of shoes prior to working out. This is a no-brainer when going for a run or competing in a sport, but don’t overlook the importance of proper footwear when going for a walk, working in the yard, etc.  

Forgetting Sunscreen: Using a high-SPF sunscreen is critical in the long-term prevention of certain types of skin cancers. In the short term, it protects against sunburn, which could hinder your ability to fully enjoy the outdoors by making movement painful. Also, protect yourself from the sun by wearing a hat and sunglasses with UV protection. 

Ignoring Pain & Injury: If you feel some discomfort, pain or a possible injury, stop what you’re doing. Summer’s typically a time when you want to pack as much activity as you can into a weekend, but don’t do this as the expense of a long-term injury or health issue that, if untreated, can put a damper on the rest of the season. 

“If you feel, say, discomfort in your lower back or a sudden or nagging ache in your muscles or joints, it’s best to stop and get that checked out by a physical therapist as soon as you can,” Eckard said. “A PT will assess the pain, determine its cause, and offer a strategy for getting you back to what you love doing in the summertime.”