Using Pilates to Ease Rheumatoid Arthritis

The real benefits of doing Pilates go way beyond the holy grail of six-pack abs.  For people with rheumatoid arthritis (RA), strengthening abdominal muscles can take pressure off painful joints and help maintain mobility.  Individuals with RA need to stay active, and Pilates can provide many benefits, like better postural balance, spine stability, flexibility, strength, better breathing, and movement control.  This low-impact technique is designed to improve posture through a series of small, targeted movements.

The strength and flexibility you gain from Pilates will help you handle RA episodes better and can lessen the risk of loss of mobility.  By gently exercising the surrounding muscles you help to regain alignment so that muscles work properly and you get range of motion back.

Pilates Class at L A R PT

Thinking about taking a class?  Dr. Leigh Roberts is a Physical Therapist and also a certified Pilates instructor.  She teaches a class Monday evenings at 6:45-7:45 pm at the Amherst House.  The new session begins September, 11th.  Call L A R Physical Therapy 410.381.1574 for more information.  Or call the Amherst House at 410.381.9600 to register; space is limited, so contact the Amherst House to reserve your spot.

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Dr. Leigh Presents at Summer Dance Intensives

Every summer Dr. Leigh Roberts travels to local dance studios to teach young dancers about their bodies.  This year’s topics are Foot/Ankle and Stretching.


Each year the dancers learn a lot and have fun.  If you are interested in having Dr. Leigh come to your studio, please email or call 410.381.1574.

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The Side Stretch You Should Be Doing!

The obliques are underrated. If they’re tight, everything else can be affected. Your obliques are responsible for both good hip function and shoulder function. If they’re not able to do their job correctly, you’ll experience a loss of strength, loss of performance and, in some cases, nagging pains that soon become injuries.

This stretch can help improve shoulder mobility, leg length discrepancies, and chronic lower back pain. Even if you have none of these issues, doing this stretch at the start and end of your workout will get you more mobile and help with recovery.

How To Do It

  1. Stand close to a rig or doorframe.
  2. Place the inside hand on the rig/wall beside your hip, knuckles forward.
  3. Reach up and over with the outside hand and grab behind the pole/doorframe.
  4. Lean out away from the rig/wall into the area you wish to stretch. Breathe.
  5. Hold, sway, or change hand or foot positioning slightly to get the best out of it.
  6. Repeat on the other side.

This is just one stretch Dr. Roberts might send you home with when you see her for a hip, shoulder or a back injury.  When you schedule a physical therapy appointment at L A R Physical Therapy, Dr. Roberts will perform a thorough examination, give you a correct diagnosis and send you off with a detailed home exercise plan.  Dr. Roberts wants to empower her clients to take ownership of their well-being with exercises to do at home to progress treatment and return clients to their daily and recreational activities more quickly.  If you would like to schedule an appointment, please call 410.381.1574.

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Personalized Physical Therapy is Proven to be Better Than Generic Exercises

A study was done on 70 patients who had been suffering from low back pain and split them into two groups. The first received personally tailored exercise regimens that focused on targeting their condition, while the second were given a generic exercise program. Patients were observed over the course of three months and were asked to report on their condition after each of five physical therapy sessions by filling out a questionnaire that tracked their level of disability caused by back pain. They were also monitored over a 12-month follow-up period, and it was found that both groups experienced improvement in symptoms that lasted through the 12 months. However, those who participated in the personalized physical therapy saw statistically better improvements in their level of disability and their functional ability.

While physical therapy has proven beneficial for treating lower back pain, this study highlights the need for more personalized treatment and diagnosis options. Better understanding the specifics of your condition could allow for more tailored therapeutic options and, as a result, expedite and improve the efficacy of treatment.

If you are suffering from low back pain, Dr. Leigh Roberts can help.  At your initial visit Dr. Roberts will perform a through evaluation, obtain an accurate diagnosis and design a specific treatment plan to meet your rehabilitation needs.  Please call 410.381.1574 or email us to schedule your appointment today.

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Can Physical Therapy Treat Chronic Pain?

Chronic pain occurs as a result of mixed signals from the nervous system for an extended period – it can be weeks, months or even years.  A chronic pain may have started as a single episode, injury or no injury at all.

A physical therapist may use several techniques for pain management:

• Exercises to increase muscle strength and flexibility and endurance

• Assessing and improving posture and body mechanics such as gait

• Manual therapy which involves various techniques for moving muscles or manipulating and moving joints

• Teaching self-management strategies to reduce need for care and medication down the road

• Work towards goals which are important to you and your lifestyle

Manual therapy consists of specific, hands-on techniques that may be used to manipulate or mobilize your skin, bones and soft tissues. A therapist also can teach a patient how to become more aware of his or her posture and improve posture to reduce impact on different parts of the body.

If you are suffering from chronic pain or any type of injury physical therapy can help you!  Please call 410.381.1574 or send L A R Physical Therapy an email to schedule an appointment.

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Summer Dancer Special

Dance sessions at a lower price all summer long!
Do you want to improve your turnout or get higher on your toes or improve your flexibility?  L A R Physical Therapy is running a special on Dance and Technique Enhancement sessions through the summer!  An individual session will cost only $80; this is a savings of $10 per session. This allows you to pay the package price without having to commit to a certain number of visits!
Leigh and turnout

Dancers first must have a dancer evaluation ($130) before scheduling these

follow-up sessions.  The evaluation assesses areas posture, strength, flexibility and functional movements to establish a plan for improvement. Evaluations within the past two years are acceptable.
We look forward to seeing you soon! Please call 410.381.1574 or email the office to schedule. Promotion ends 8/31/17.
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Everyone Should be Doing This Foot Stretch

Even if you don’t have plantar fasciitis, you are going to love how your feet feel after giving them this massage!  Be sure to subscribe to our YouTube channel for more exercise videos and tips.
If you have questions or would like a specialized routine, call 410.381.1574 or email us to schedule an appointment.
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Pronator? Supinator?

When was the last time you thought about how you stand on your feet?  If you think about it, you probably know that you want to center your weight between the ball of your foot and your heel, and stand with equal weight on both feet.  In reality, we rarely think about how we stand or how our feet hit the ground when we walk.

However, the repetitive strain of walking and standing can make a small problem into a major source of pain.  Pronation, when our feet fall inward flattening the arch, can cause plantar fasciitis, shin splints, or other aches and pains up through the knee and/or hip.  Supination, when the feet fall outward causing an excessively high arch, is less common, but can also result in ankle, knee or hip pain. Understanding the way our feet move is helpful in assessing weaknesses in our muscles that can exacerbate the problem.  Strengthening ankles, calves, and hips are all excellent ways to help support the foot and ankle.
Pronation and supination are normal movements that our feet move through with each step we take.  If you have excessive pronation or supination, custom made orthotics can help correct these dysfunctions. Before getting orthotics, you may be able to correct pronation or supination with some regular exercises to strengthen and / or stretch the area.  To learn more about how orthotics work with the foot, check out this video.

L A R Physical Therapy offers orthotics fittings, so we can help you find the right solution. If you have questions, or would like an appointment, please call 410.381.1574 or email to schedule.

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Weekend Warriors

Spring brings the return of activity, as we eagerly get out and about to enjoy the nice weather.  Make sure to ease into activity and start each workout with a warm-up.  You can also begin doing a little training so that your favorite activities are easier.  Whether it’s running, cycling, hiking, or camping, adding a few strengthening and stretching exercises is a great way to give your body a tune-up for spring! jogging-women.jpg
Start performing these exercises for a great start to your favorite warm weather activities.  Or join Leigh’s next session of Pilateswhich starts March 20.  There are now 2 Pilates classes on Monday nights: 6:30 Mat with Props (Theraband this session) and 7:30 All Level Mat Pilates. Classes are held at the Amherst House in the Kings Contrivance Village Center.
If you’d like help creating a personalized workout routine, call 410.381.1574 to schedule an appointment.  For Pilates classes, register at the Amherst House or call 410-381-9600 for more information.
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Mechanical vs Neurological Tightness

Muscle tightness can be caused from a mechanical shortness or a neurological perception of tightness.  Hamstrings are a great example of the difference between mechanical or neurological tightness.  To test hamstring tightness, lay on your back, if you can raise a straight leg to 80-90 degrees, you do not have mechanical tightness.  If you cannot raise your leg that high, then a stretching routine and soft tissue massage can help lengthen mechanically short hamstrings.
If you can raise your leg 80-90 degrees, but still feel a tightness, this may be due to overly lengthened muscles.  Muscles that are overly stretched can also feel tight.  Tension in overly lengthened muscles is a protection tactic to prevent strains or tears.  This is called neurological tightness.
Neurological tightness is frequently caused by a muscle imbalance in which excessive pelvic tilt lengthens the hamstrings and keeps the hip flexors shortened.
To correct neurological tightness in the hamstrings, don’t stretch the hamstrings.  Instead focus on stretching the hip flexors and strengthening the glutes.  Stretching after periods of prolonged sitting is especially helpful.
If you have questions or would like a specialized routine, call 410.381.1574 or email us to schedule an appointment.
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