cobra pose

Have you suffered from persistent back pain or discomfort in your extremities for months? Perhaps you have tried physical therapy and are still looking for a better solution. It is time to find out about the McKenzie Method® for back pain.

The McKenzie Method® used in physical therapy is a non-invasive and self-managed solution that may fit your needs today and into the future. Each of TTN’s six locations has a McKenzie Institute®-trained physical therapist.

How Common is Back Pain?

You are not alone. Here are a few statistics about back pain in the US today:

  • Over 72 million Americans will suffer from back pain during their lifetime. That is 8 out of 10 in the United States. —

  • Out of those with mild symptoms, 5% will develop chronic pain if left untreated. –Pain News Network

  • 4 out of 10 employees that sit at a desk will suffer from back pain at some time. --NIH

Usually, back pain builds gradually until the pain is noticed and impacts the enjoyment of your day. Here is a quote that sums up the problem facing many today:

"When back pain suddenly shows up, we are tempted to blame it on the last minor stressor that affected it, such as a soft bed in a hotel. This is like blaming your bankruptcy on the last latte you bought before your account finally went into the red.”—Todd Hargrove.

After reading the quote, you may be nodding your head in agreement. Most suffering from long-term back pain admit to ignoring the initial discomfort.

The Method that Works is Available Now

You may be new to the pain or have been suffering from back pain over an extended period of time.  You may have even tried other solutions, even physical therapy.

Two of the top benefits of The McKenzie Method® is that your therapist will know within a few sessions if another treatment protocol is needed. If successful, it becomes a method you can deploy at the first sign of discomfort.

What if you could turn back time and stop or alleviate back pain before it impacts your day? The McKenzie Method® for back pain gives you the tools and exercises to relieve pain without using pharmaceuticals. The technique relieves pain and lets you continue a productive and enjoyable lifestyle.

It is a method backed by science with a long record of a positive outcome. You can learn about the McKenzie Method® by meeting with a McKenzie Institute®- trained physical therapist at The Therapy Network. In addition, read the latest updates by the McKenzie Method® Institute.
Good Morning America describing McKenzie Method Treatment

The McKenzie Method® at The Therapy Network

You may ask, "What is the McKenzie Method®, and how do I learn about it?"  The method is non-invasive and focuses on the need of each patient. Often, the technique helps where other physical therapy methods have not.

Here is a quote from a TTN therapist that specializes in the McKenzie Method®:

"Specializing in the treatment of spinal patients at our Chesapeake office, I received my Certification in McKenzie Method® of Diagnosis and Therapy in 1999 and have been using it to treat spinal cases ever since. I utilize this method because it is patient-driven and exercise-based, backed by research, and incredibly effective. Many of my referrals come from physicians whose patients tried traditional physical therapy (sans-McKenzie) and failed to see improvement.”—Elaine Comer PT

The McKenzie Method® for back pain includes a tailored routine of exercises and stretches that patients can do at home. It is an active therapy method that is cost-effective. Once you learn the technique and the best steps for your diagnosis, you can self-manage the process.

Schedule An Appointment at The Therapy Network Today

Think of the McKenzie Method® as an investment in a pain-free future. If you are ready to learn more, it is time to schedule an appointment at The Therapy Network. Therapy Network is coastal Virginia's leading physical therapy network. Schedule an appointment online or call 757-496-3700. Let us teach you the McKenzie Method® for back pain today.

Marathon Training - Part 4, Peak Phase

Time to run fast! Repetition and interval training! We discussed the BASE and BUILD phases of our running program utilizing endurance periodization. Next, let’s talk about is PEAK phase. Here, we increase the intensity of running, defined by adding interval or repetition training. Hill training can fall into either category. With an increased workload, adding rest breaks to the run is essential. This peak phase of running should finish one to three weeks before the race. Peak training is completed at an above-threshold rate. The heart rate variability (HRV) should be between 90-99% (ZONE 4-5) or “hard!”. PEAK training improves speed and maximizes aerobic power and running economy. Aerobic capacity is defined as how much blood (carrying oxygen) can be delivered to the muscles and how well that oxygen can be converted into energy. Otherwise known as VO2 Max.

We can reach our goals in the peak phase by incorporating interval and repetition training.

Interval runs: intervals should be HARD running for 1-5 minutes (max of 5 minutes), and the speed should be about the max speed you could race at for 10-12 minutes. If you’re more comfortable picking a distance versus time, start with 800 meters and progress to 1200 meters. Rest in between and repeat. Rests should be no longer than the time you spent running. Interval training targets aerobic power.

Repetition training: short duration than intervals (never more than 2 minutes) at even higher speeds. The speed should be comparable to your current max one-mile time. The rest should be longer – about two to three times the time spent running. Again, if you’d rather distance versus time, start with 200 meters and progress to 400 meters. Elite runners can progress to 600 or 800 meters. Repetition training targets improving the speed and economy of running. Typically, interval training is perceived as “harder” than repetition training. Look for my next post to discuss what tapering for races looks like and the goal of rests.

Marathon Training - Part 3

Increase the workload! I am adding threshold runs for my mid-distance (6-mile) run. Previously, we discussed the first period (BASE) and its main goal of increasing volume. So, let’s talk about the next stage – BUILD.

This phase typically occurs 1-2 months before approaching our priority event, race, or competition. The running volume should change to a slow build or decrease the total volume. During this stage, the focus is on improving the performance of running. We increase intensity during this phase by focusing on increasing our threshold runs. The importance of threshold run training focuses on blood lactate. Lactate is a byproduct of normal metabolism and exercise. At rest and with “easy runs,” our ability to clear lactate is nearly the same speed at which it is produced. With increased intensity of exercise and running, the number of lactate climbs. Your “threshold” is the speed/intensity of running in which the body can keep a steady state of lactate. “Above threshold” means the body cannot clear lactate at the same rate it is being produced.

To increase performance/speed – we need to move where our current threshold is. This improves our ENDURANCE. What does threshold running training look like? To improve at something physiologically, like lactate threshold, we need to stress the system physiologically. Ideally, we want to stress the system at the lowest intensity that causes a change – TRAIN AT THE THRESHOLD. The heart rate variability (HRV) should be between 80 and 90% (ZONE 3-4) or “comfortably hard.” There are two types of threshold workouts: tempo runs and cruise intervals. Tempo runs are steady pace at the goal HRV. Cruise intervals are run at a threshold pace for 5-6 minutes with a short break (1 minute) and then repeated multiple times. If you are having difficulty determining a threshold run pace, an excellent question to ask yourself is: could I keep this pace up for 30 minutes?

woman with cancer in front of lake

Oncology Physical therapy helps cancer patients optimize physical function and their independence. Many feel that it improves the overall quality of life. This blog will explore the benefits of oncology physical therapy and staying in motion.

Any level of exercise during and after cancer treatment can reduce side effects, help your body recover, and fight depression. Research from the American Society of Clinical Oncology has shown that physical activity can also lower the risk of cancer returning.” –Duke Health

The Impact of Chemotherapy

Each year, more than 1.7 million Americans receive a new cancer diagnosis. At that rate, 34% of Americans will face cancer.

There is no doubt that chemotherapy and the range of cancer treatments have improved over the past decades. Diagnostics and therapies are saving lives. The negative of current cancer therapies includes the onset of a new list of physical and mental conditions. Here is a list of symptoms and conditions that cancer therapy patients face:

• Fatigue
• Pain
• Mobility Issues and Loss of Balance
• Weakness
• Inflammation and Swelling
• Neuropathy
• Cramps and Spasms
• Depression

The good news is that the science of oncology physical therapy is providing relief from chemotherapy treatment symptoms and staying in motion.

From The Therapy Network's Mandi Dowdy, PT, DPT, Cert. MDT

"In addition to specializing in spinal conditions, I specialize in Oncology and Physical Therapy. Living through my mother's experience with cancer inspired my passion for helping patients with chemotherapy and radiation-induced fatigue syndrome. Oncology patients improve their energy, strength, and function when involved in a structured, positively enforced rehabilitation program. Diverse cancer types, ever-changing information, and new treatment plans keep me engaged in finding new ways to provide excellence in care for my patients."

Five Benefits of Oncology Physical Therapy

Oncology physical therapy can benefit individuals undergoing cancer treatment or surviving cancer. Some of the potential benefits of oncological physical therapy include the following:

  1. Improving physical function and mobility: Oncology physical therapy can help individuals maintain or improve their physical function and mobility. The therapy can be essential for individuals undergoing cancer treatment who may be experiencing side effects such as fatigue or muscle weakness.

  2. Reducing pain and discomfort: Physical therapy can help reduce pain and discomfort associated with cancer or its treatment. Therapy can include managing chronic pain related to cancer or side effects such as neuropathy or lymphedema.

  3. Improving cardiovascular and respiratory function: Oncology physical therapy can help improve cardiovascular and respiratory function, which can be important for individuals undergoing chemotherapy or radiation therapy who may be at risk of developing complications such as pneumonia.

  4. Improving the quality of life: Oncological physical therapy can help improve an individual's overall quality of life by enabling them to maintain or improve their physical function and mobility and by reducing pain and discomfort associated with cancer or its treatment.

  5. Facilitating cancer rehabilitation: Oncological physical therapy can play an essential role in reducing cancer rehabilitation, which can help individuals return to their previous level of functioning and improve their overall quality of life following cancer treatment.

Stay in Motion: What to Expect

Oncology physical therapy is helpful before, during, and after treatment. At The Therapy Network, you will work with a therapy specialist at one of our six locations in coastal Virginia.

During your initial visit to TTN, your therapist will review your current and any previous cancer diagnoses, your treatment plan, and your cancer survivorship plan—all established by your cancer specialist physician or oncology team. The TTN therapist will also ask you about your current symptoms, such as, "When did your symptoms start?" and "What makes your symptoms better or worse?".

After reviewing your cancer treatment and recovery plan and discussing your current symptoms, the therapist will custom-create a physical therapy plan to fit your needs. Your therapist will become part of your cancer recovery team.

Your Oncology Physical Therapy Plan

Your therapist will set a physical therapy schedule within your plan. Your sessions at The Therapy Network may include the following goals:

  1. Strength and flexibility exercises

  2. Balance and fall prevention strategies

  3. Breathing and relaxation exercises

  4. Massage and manual therapy

  5. Cardiovascular Fitness

  6. Nutrition Guidance

  7. Job duty re-training
    Your therapy plan will include guidance through cancer treatment and beyond. If you and your cancer specialist team decide it is time to return to work, The Therapy Network will ensure that you are ready. Or we will aim to provide the strength, flexibility, and fitness to enjoy daily life with family and friends.

The Therapy Network in Coastal Virginia

If you live in the Hampton Roads, Virginia region, there is a Therapy Network location near your neighborhood. Appointments are available today. Our professional team will also assist with insurance paperwork and communication with your oncology specialist.

How can we help you today?


Part. 1 Marathon Training

Today begins the first week of my marathon training. I am reminded the number one factor for running success is consistency. We measure consistency with the volume or duration of running. Often, the intensity of the running ( pace or speed) becomes the primary focus erroneously. Grossly 60% of running-related injuries are due to this.

Understanding the difference between volume and intensity is essential to maintain running consistency and decreasing injury risk. The volume of running is our total time or mileage. Intensity is effort. We measure this effort through heart rate variability and perceived exertion (RPE) rate. Heart rate is the measure of how HARD we are ACTUALLY working. RPE is self-feedback about how HARD we FEEL we are working. RPE is rated on a 1-10 scale. See the chart for examples.

Using our max heart rate, we can place ourselves into one of five zones that correlate with heart rate variability. The easiest way to find your max heart rate is by subtracting your age from 220. Each zone correlates to a percentage of the max heart rate. 75% of our total running volume should only be in zone 2 or 3. Use the chart below to determine your heart rate and RPE in each zone.

In the next few posts, we’ll talk about each of these zones in relation to running and what kind of cross-training is good to do during these times. Look at your training plan to determine which zone you spend most of your running time in. Are you at risk for overtraining? Or, if you need to recover now, learn more about running injuries here