Blog

The Technology World
By: Stacey Isaacson, Certified Occupational Therapy Assistant 
May 24, 2022

Technology is all around us and has so many benefits. However, it may prevent foundational skills children need in order to properly develop. Our young ones need to work their hands, eyes, & brains in certain ways to develop all the amazing skills they will need as a foundation for future learning. Here is a list of some great skills to ensure a strong base is set:  

  • Drawing and coloring
    • Using crayons, markers, colored pencils
    • Work on staying in lines – you can outline and they color inside to begin
    • Using their imagination with drawing all kinds of things
      • Having them tell you about their drawing after
  • Reading books to them and with them when they are able
    • So many skills come from this
  • Crafts – using different materials, adding skills within task such as cutting, coloring, and gluing (focus on using correct amount)
    • Add a tying craft – great to work on the steps of shoe tying
  • Cutting skills – use different thickness of paper, work on straight, zig zags, & curves. Work on proper scissor hold and staying on the lines.
  • Games
    • Board games are so great for all kinds of skills. 
      • Turn taking, counting, winning/losing, ect
    • Control games – games that make your hands control and go slow
      • Jenga, Topple, ect
    • Card games 
      • Work on shuffling, fanning cards, dealing ect.
  • Conversations 
    • Having them talk to you about their day, giving specifics. Talking about the book you just read or picture they drew.
    • Working on concepts: right/left, below/above, upper/lower, center, to side, behind, ect
  • Writing
    • Work on holding the crayon, markers, or pencil the correct way. Starting with tracing and then copying. Depending on age, you can start with shapes, letters of name and work your way to sentences. 
  • Eye work
    • I spy books, hidden pictures and work on coloring in found items.
    • Puzzles – working on matching specific colors/items in pictures, talking about outside/inside and corner pieces. Mazes.

View more ways to develop fine motor skills here. If you are concerned about your child’s development, ask your pediatrician or teacher. You can ask how they are performing within the classroom compared to their peers.  You may also contact your local Family Physical Therapy office for more information.

Dynamic Movement Intervention (DMI) now offered at Family Physical Therapy – Gretna 
By: Samantha Rasmussen, physical Therapist
March 24, 2022

Family Physical Therapy in Gretna is excited to announce that a new therapy treatment called Dynamic Movement Intervention or DMI is now available. DMI is a specialized therapeutic treatment and technique used in both physical therapy and occupational therapy to treat children with motor delay by stimulating neuroplasticity in the developing brain. Gretna physical therapist Samantha Rasmussen, was trained and certified in this therapeutic treatment from one of the co-founders of the program, Jake Kreindler M. Sc. PT, and is the only practicing therapist in Nebraska able to offer this service.

DMI is a new, cutting edge intervention that can aid in progression of motor development with any type of motor delay including conditions such as: Down syndrome, cerebral palsy, global developmental delay, hypotonia, chromosomal abnormalities/genetic disorders, spinal cord lesion or acquired brain injury. DMI is for any child regardless of cognition level and extent of neurological damage. During a treatment session, the therapist will choose exercises that challenge the child at the highest level of skills and also challenge the core and foundational milestones. All the exercises involve movement against gravity and progressively challenges support to provoke desired movements, as well as, postural and strength. Each exercise is completed five times and is repeated from session to session until the movement becomes automatic. This results in improved balance and function and enhances gross motor skills.

DMI focuses on gross motor skills, gradual progression, alignment and postural control, range of motion, balance, functional movements, somatosensory development and modifying tone. In the future, Gretna hopes to offer an intensive based therapy/bootcamp focusing on DMI and progression towards further gross motor skills. 

For more information on DMI, please visit dmitherapy.com. If you have any questions regarding if your child would benefit from this type of therapy or want to set up a consultation, please call 402-932-0747 or visit our website at familypt.com


TMJ
By: Halle Hart, physical Therapist
March 13, 2022

Do you suffer from pain in your jaw, difficulty chewing, clicking, or popping when you open your mouth? Physical therapy can help with this common issue, called Temporomandibular joint dysfunction, or TMJ for short.

TMJ occurs when the joint that helps you to open your jaw has some dysfunction. Whether it be from stiffness in the joint or a dysfunction in the disc contained within the joint. Tight muscles around the joint can cause difficulty and pain with opening your mouth or chewing food.

One trick to try for this pain is keeping your jaw in a relaxed position, with “freeway space” between your teeth, and your tongue resting on the roof of your mouth. Take time several times a day to check your resting posture of your mouth and make sure you are not clenching your jaw.

Treatment in physical therapy for TMJ disorders can include stretching, massage and trigger point release for those tight jaw and neck muscles, and exercises to help improve opening of your mouth. Visit Family Physical Therapy, and one of our experienced Physical Therapists can help alleviate your jaw pain!


LSVT BIG Therapy for Parkinson’s Disease
By: josie lee, physical Therapist
February 17, 2022

LSVT Therapy

Parkinson’s disease is a degenerative, neurological disorder caused by a deficiency of dopamine in the brain. It is progressive, currently incurable, and the second most common neurodegenerative disorder in the United States.  Lee Silverman Voice Treatment (LSVT) BIG is a researched-based exercise approach developed to treat people with Parkinson’s disease.  This article will explain potential characteristics of individuals with Parkinson’s disease, introduce the LSVT BIG treatment protocol, and discuss the benefits of LSVT BIG treatment. 

It is estimated that nearly one million individuals in the United States are living with Parkinson’s disease with approximately 600,000 people diagnosed each year.  Individuals with Parkinson’s may experience slow and small movements, decreased balance and changes in the ability to perform fine motor tasks such as buttoning and writing.  Additional characteristics may include functional mobility challenges such as difficulty rising from chairs or moving safely in bed.  

LSVT BIG is a researched-based exercise approach developed from the principles of Parkinson’s specific speech therapy treatment, LSVT LOUD.  The LSVT programs have been developed and scientifically researched over the past 20 years with funding from the National Institutes of Health.  LSVT BIG is a standardized treatment protocol that consists of 16 sessions (4 days a week for 4 weeks), individual one hour therapy sessions, and daily homework practice.  

Research on LSVT BIG has documented improved ratings on tests of motor functioning in people with Parkinson’s disease following treatment.  Improvements include: faster walking speed with bigger steps, improved balance, improved trunk rotation and improvements in activities of daily living such as dressing and bathing. LSVT BIG treatment translates bigger movements into real-world, everyday activities.

In conclusion, advances in neuroscience have provided evidence supporting the positive impact of exercise-based protocols for people with Parkinson’s disease.  LSVT BIG is one type of physical therapy program that has potential to offer improvements in movement and quality of life for people with Parkinson’s disease.  If you or someone you know has been diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease, please contact Family Physical Therapy at our 620 E 25th Street location for more information or to schedule an appointment. 


Navigating INSURANCe
By: Liane Deines, Office Administrator
January 12, 2022

Physical therapy, occupational therapy, and speech therapy are covered by most Health Insurance Plans. Insurance coverage will vary depending on which plan you have chosen and the insurance company that you have coverage with. Some insurance plans will have a deductible that must be met before they will start paying toward your therapy, while other plans

have a copay. Our facility will verify your benefits and discuss them with you if you have any questions regarding your coverage. If your plan does require prior authorization before starting therapy, this will be completed by our staff. Please contact the office manager at the clinic you are attending therapy to discuss Insurance coverage if you have any questions regarding your benefits. You can also contact your insurance company for coverage details regarding therapy services.
Our facilities do provide therapy for Medicare and Medicaid patients. A physician must approve therapy services and deem that they are medically necessary. Our therapists will document your therapy progress and goals and refer that information on for your physician to sign and certify continuing care.
Our therapists are also approved to see Worker’s Compensation, Liability (auto accident/third party liability) and self-pay patients.
Below is a list of some of the Insurance Plans that we are in network with and will provide therapy services for you. If you do not see your insurance company on this list, please contact our Business Office at 308-583-0123 to check if we are in network with your current Insurance Plan.
      • AARP MEDICARE ADVANTAGE PLAN
      • AETNA
      • AETNA MEDICARE ADVANTAGE PLAN
      • BCBS
      • BCBS MEDICARE ADVANTAGE PLAN
      • CIGNA
      • HEALTHY BLUE
      • HUMANA MEDICARE
      • MEDICA PLANS
      • MED RISK WORK COMP MANAGED CARE NETWORK
      • MERITAIN HEALTH
      • MEDICARE PART B
      • MIDLANDS CHOICE
      • NEBRASKA TOTAL CARE
      • ONE CALL WORK COMP MANAGED CARE NETWORK
      • PALMETTO RR MEDICARE
      • THE BENEFIT GROUP
      • TRICARE/TRIWEST
      • UMR
      • UNITED HEALTH CARE
      • UNITED HEALTHCARE COMMUNITY PLAN
      • UNITED HEALTHCARE DUAL COMPLETE

Symptoms, Signs, and Treatments of Vertigo
By: Lazaro Martinez Perez, Physical Therapy Assistant
December 15, 2021

Vertigo is a common diagnosis that Family Physical Therapy helps to treat. Patients with vertigo often describe feeling dizzy or having the sensation of the room moving. It nearly makes any of us who do not have these symptoms sick to think about.  With just a couple therapy sessions, Family Physical Therapy is well versed on how to treat and lessen the symptoms of vertigo. See a full breakdown of what vertigo is, what causes it, what symptoms it may include, and what a typical treatment may look like:

What is vertigo?
Vertigo is the sensation of spinning even when staying still. Most commonly described as: feeling like the room is moving around you or feeling like you are moving. Most causes of vertigo involve the vestibular system.

What causes vertigo?
Several conditions can cause vertigo, for example:

      • Ear infections
      • Migraines
      • Have had surgery or injures to the inner ear or its nerves
      • Head injury
      • Stroke
      • Fever

Symptoms related to vertigo:

    • Nausea/Vomiting
    • Dizziness
    • Sweating
    • Abnormal eye movements
    • Ringing in one or both ears
    • Difficulty walking due to imbalance

How can Physical Therapy help with vertigo?
Your physical therapist will evaluate you and based on their evaluation and your goals, the physical therapist will design a treatment plan specific to you. The main focus for physical therapy is to get you moving and managing your vertigo. Treatments may include specialized head and neck movements, exercises to help reduce symptoms, exercises to improve your balance, exercises to improve your ability to focus your eyes and vision, and more depending on your cause of vertigo

If you or a loved one is experiencing these symptoms, you should see your primary physician. If you are diagnosed with vertigo, request Family Physical Therapy for your treatment options and visit any of our locations for a treatment plan curated to your needs.


Adaptive equipment
By: Stacey Issacson, certified occupational therapy assistant
December 1, 2021

Therapists have many roles. Focusing on rehabilitation from injuries, surgeries, disease progression may be a few. We also focus on the important goal of getting patients back to their normal activities. Sometimes rehab needs to be adjusted according to patient’s progression and some specific diagnosis require more adaptations. There are many different tools to help your daily function. Many different things may require adaptive equipment. If you have had a stroke, your arthrosis is making it hard to get dressed, or your Parkinson’s is making you feel less safe in the shower, here are a few examples of things to help your routine or simplify daily tasks:

Sock-Aid
If you have trouble getting socks on, this may be a good tool for you. The sock-aid allows you to get your socks on without bending over. If a surgery will not allow bending, this comes in handy.

Reacher
If you are getting dizzy when you pick up something from the floor or have trouble reaching those high or low spots, a reacher may be a good solution. It allows you to safely pick up items or helps with getting dressed.

Button Hook
Buttoning a shirt can be a challenge for some with minimal hand function. A button hook can help those arthritic hands button with greater ease.

Jar Opener
If you have problems with grasp, a jar opener may be needed to function when opening jars or containers. There are many styles of jar openers depending on your need.

Sock-eez
If you have to wear compression socks, you know how difficult they are to get off. The Sock-eez is a great product that will help remove them.

Handle Build Up
If you struggle writing, combing, or eating, build up for handles of common items can allow a greater grip and ease the task.  Handle build ups are easily added to any item to allow more surface to grasp.

Toilet Handles
If getting up and down from the toilet is difficult, adding handles can make it easier and you can also pair a riser with handles as well. Making your transfer easier will decreased your fall risk and is a great energy conservation technique as well.

Long-Handled Equipment
If you are having trouble reaching, long handled equipment is the answer. So many different options to allow continued completion of tasks, just with a little extra help.

Shower Chair
Not feeling safe in the shower? Adding a chair allows you to sit and decreases your fall risk. There are some styles that will go over a tub and allow you to slide in from the outside for those who have a hard time getting in an out.

Aiding your rehabilitation journey, these products may help to make your life and simple tasks a little easier. Family Physical Therapy can help to suggest adaptive equipment based on your diagnosis. Please contact any of our clinic locations to schedule an appointment or if you would like a consultation from a therapist for adaptive equipment.


staff highlight: stacy reynolds
April 8, 2021

After helping a family member with their rehabilitation from a brain injury, Stacy Reynolds knew this was a career path she wanted to pursue. Drawing from inspiration from her own family, today Reynolds serves as an Occupational Therapist and Clinic Director at Family Physical Therapy’s Lexington location where she specializes in orthopedics, hands, pediatrics, and women’s health.

Growing up in Paxton, Nebraska, Reynolds is familiar and knows the importance of community and relationships as she treats her patients. “I love how, in this community, you can always find common ground with your patients. Whether you enjoy the same restaurants, go to the same church, or know mutual people. With the amount of time we spend together during sessions we get to know each other really well.  I love when they show me pictures of their pets, or tell me about a vacation they are planning, we really become friends in the short time we work together.”

Community and relationships have proven to be important to the Reynolds family. She and her husband Blake have served the Lexington community in a variety of ways aiding as Teammate mentors, serving on the YMCA board of directors, PEO, and Operation Santa Claus to name a few. By staying involved in the community, Reynolds has been able to interact and see how far her patients have come. “By far, the most rewarding part of my job is when a patient tells me about an activity they can do now that they were unable to do before therapy.”

Get connected with Stacy or learn more about all the services offered at the Lexington location.


staff highlight: Ellie Connely
March 24, 2021

Suffering from third degree burns, a torn ACL, and multiple broken bones Ellie Connely came full circle at Family Physical Therapy where she was once a patient on multiple occasions and is now working to help patients learn to regain prior mobility and function.

“I remember the frustration of attending therapy day after day to work towards getting back into the activities that I was passionate about. I try to empathize with patients to understand that these physical difficulties can be mentally exhausting as well,” Connely recalls.

Empathy runs throughout the Connely family as her father works as an ear, nose, and throat physician while her mother is a teacher. Occupational therapy was a perfect fit combining her parents two passions, and once Connely shadowed an Occupational Therapist she found her calling.

Today, Connely loves incorporating music and dance into her therapy with pediatric patients to keep her patients engaged and enjoying therapy. Working with her adult patients, she credits them for teaching her so many life lessons that she cherishes.

Connely is motivated by her family, coworkers, and fellow Occupational Therapist classmates to challenge her to be a better therapist. Frequently reaching out to her fellow therapists to see what fun treatments to incorporate for her patients. Connely’s coworkers could agree, she can often be found smiling and laughing during work. “I feel lucky to work in a job that brings me so much joy. I always leave at the end of the day with a happy heart.”

Visit Ellie at Gretna’s Family Physical Therapy location or visit any of the 13 locations.