When considering the world of physical therapy (PT), many think it is a solution primarily for athletes or those recovering from surgeries or significant injuries. However, this perception barely scratches the surface. Preventative Physical Therapy is essential for people of all walks of life and can be an alternative to medications for specific conditions.

man bending over to rub hurt calf.

Preventative Physical Therapy can lower patient treatment costs by 72%. (TheGoodBody.Com)

What is Preventative Physical Therapy, and how can it improve or maintain a healthy lifestyle? This blog will introduce you to the therapy and provide eight benefits.

What is Preventative Physical Therapy?

PT, a branch of rehabilitative healthcare, employs trained professionals who use specialized equipment and tailored exercise regimes to address abnormal physical functions. These professionals can guide patients in maximizing mobility, managing pain, dealing with chronic conditions, avoiding surgeries, and heavy reliance on prescription drugs.

Preventative physical therapy distinguishes itself as a proactive approach. This strategy involves offering patients techniques and exercises to prevent injuries and discomfort. Preventative PT ensures these issues don't escalate into more significant complications by strengthening the body, enhancing mobility, and detecting potential problem areas.

Golfer with low back pain

Often, the Mckenzie Method of physical therapy is considered preventative physical therapy. The Therapy Network has McKenzie Method licensed providers and incorporates the method's four steps into a comprehensive therapy plan.

The Multifaceted Benefits of Preventative Physical Therapy

We now have your attention with the prospect of lowering your medical costs. But what are some of the direct benefits of Preventative Physical Therapy? Here are eight benefits that can help every patient:

  1. Pain Management: Through therapeutic exercises, pain can be significantly reduced or managed, decreasing the risk of its return.

  • Reduced Dependence on Drugs: Managing or diminishing pain can lessen the need for specific medications, such as opioids.

  • Avoidance of Surgery: In cases where PT addresses pain or injury effectively, surgeries may become unnecessary.

  • Improved Mobility: Age is just a number! PT exercises can rejuvenate movement capabilities for individuals across all age groups.

  • Injury Prevention: Knowledgeable physical therapists can craft prevention exercises tailored to high-risk activities, ensuring maximum safety.

  • Fall Prevention: Improve balance and prevent potential falls with specific PT exercises.

  • Managing Age-Related Issues: Treat conditions like arthritis or osteoporosis through PT techniques.

  • Cardiac and Pulmonary Health: PT can significantly improve the quality of life for those with heart and lung-related conditions.

Is investing time in Preventative Physical Therapy worth it? For many, the answer is a resounding yes, especially considering the long-term benefits and the potential to avoid painful, costly, and debilitating health issues.

Preventative Physical Therapy at The Therapy Network


The Therapy Network has been a beacon of physical therapy excellence in Hampton Roads, Virginia, for over three decades. Established in 1987, it has continuously revolutionized PT in the region with a patient-centric approach. Our dedicated clinics across Hampton Roads provide flexible hours, catering to the bustling schedules of our patrons. With services available from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m., we strive to accommodate all.

For those seeking our expert services, TheTherapyNetwork.com provides all the necessary details. Remarkably, a physician's referral isn't mandatory to initiate your physical therapy plan with us, thanks to Direct Access. Direct Access in Virginia enables individuals to start a therapeutic journey overseen by our licensed professionals immediately.

What sets The Therapy Network apart is our commitment to excellence and specialization. Each of our clinics proudly hosts therapists trained in Preventative Physical Therapy. We are continuously pushing boundaries to offer top-tier care for our valued patients. Schedule an appointment today.

Are you playing pickleball? Did you know it is the fastest-growing sport in Hampton Roads, Virginia? Did you know that Physical Therapy can be a huge help to your Pickleball Game? Not only is it popular in coastal Virginia, but it is becoming a nationwide trend. Here is a current statistic:

“USA Pickleball reported its membership, which reached 70,000 players in February 2023, increased by 30% in 2022. The growth prompted the Sports & Fitness Industry Association to name pickleball the fastest-growing sport in America for the third straight year."  -Pickleball Portal

With so many playing pickleball in your community, you may be wondering how physical therapy can help your pickleball game.

The Demands of Pickleball

Pickleball is fun, social and can be played in many locations in our communities. But the sport can also be physically demanding. Pickleball is a full-body and muscle workout. As an example, here are the muscle groups that will be engaged as you play the sport: 

  1. Lower Body: The lower body is crucial in generating power, speed, and agility during pickleball movements. Muscles include quadriceps, hamstrings, glutes, calves, and hip muscles.

  2. Core Muscles: The core provides stability and transfers power between the upper and lower body. The core also helps with balance and agility—two key roles while playing pickleball. Muscles in your core that will be engaged for pickleball include abdominals, lower back muscles, and stabilizing muscles.

  3. Upper Body: The upper body muscles are involved in hitting shots, particularly the serve and volleys. Muscles needed include shoulder muscles (deltoids and rotator cuff), biceps, triceps, and forearm muscles.

Find out how dry needling can help relieve sore and injured muscles

pickleball player at net

Suppose you are already experiencing discomfort within any of these muscle groups or feel sore and fatigued just reading this list. In that case, you can already see how physical therapy can help your pickleball game.

Remember that the intensity and demands on specific muscle groups may vary depending on your playing style, technique, and individual factors. A Therapy Network physical therapist can assess your needs and develop a tailored training plan.

5 Ways to Improve Your Pickleball Game with Physical Therapy

Physical therapy can indeed be beneficial to training for pickleball. TTN therapists are experts in assessing and improving movement patterns, strength, and flexibility. They can provide guidance and exercises and help you prepare for the physical demands of pickleball. A therapist can enhance your performance while reducing the risk of injury. Here is how physical therapy can help your pickleball game: 

  1. Injury Prevention: Physical therapists can evaluate your movement and identify potential areas of weakness and imbalance. At The Therapy Network, we will develop a customized exercise program to address those issues and reduce the risk of pickleball injuries.

  2. Strength and Conditioning: Pickleball involves quick movements, agility, and physical power. Physical therapists can design strengthening exercises to target the muscle groups involved in pickleball. Your therapist will create an exercise plan to enhance your game performance.

  3. Flexibility and Range of Motion: To prevent injury, flexibility and range of motion are essential for pickleball players. A therapist can provide stretching exercises and techniques to improve flexibility and joint mobility.

  4. Balance and Coordination: Pickleball requires good balance and coordination. A TTN therapist can help you improve stability and coordination on the pickleball court.

  5. Injury Management: If you have a prior injury or are recovering from a pickleball-related injury, a Therapy Network therapist can develop a rehabilitation plan tailored to your needs. Your therapist will promote healing, help you regain strength, and safely return to playing pickleball.

Find out how PT can improve your daily life!

If you are playing pickleball or considering the sport, it is time to schedule an appointment with a therapist at The Therapy Network in coastal Virginia.

No Physicians’ Referral or Prescription Needed in Virginia

You have learned how physical therapy can help your pickleball game, but did you know you do not need a physician's referral to visit The Therapy Network? You can schedule an appointment today if you are ready to meet with a physical therapist and improve your pickleball game.

If you live in the Hampton Roads region of Virginia, there is a location of The Therapy Network near your neighborhood or place of employment. If pickleball is your new favorite activity, schedule an appointment 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?

Marathon Training, Part 2

The miles are building! In a good marathon training plan, there should be four focus items for endurance running – we call this Endurance Periodization. Each period has a specific goal and targets a different need for long-term running success. The four periods are BASE, BUILD, PEAK, and TAPER. I built my training plan based on these periods, and my next several blog posts will discuss them and their purpose.

The BASE period in marathon training is where the emphasis is on increasing your volume of running and building anaerobic capacity. This should be your marathon training plan's first several weeks to months based on the goal distance. Most of the running of this phase (about 80% of total mileage) is "easy running" or zone 2 if using heart rate variability.

10% of the mileage is done at the threshold "tempo pace" or zone 3, and the final 10% is done above the threshold "sprint pace" or zone 4. So what is easy running? This run can maintain a zone 2 heart rate and is considered a conversational pace. Breathing should be relatively normal. This type of running strengthens the heart muscle tremendously. It improves the heart's stroke volume (the amount of blood pumped with one beat or contraction of the heart). It allows for improvement without overstressing the system. Easy running also improves muscle fibers. They are shown to have an increase in number and size. The mitochondria (power powerhouse of the cell) move to the periphery of the cell, which is closer to the oxygen supply that comes into the cell. This helps the body exchange fuel for energy and complete oxygen exchange more effectively. These changes in our cardiovascular system and muscle fibers occur with time spent running in this space. Not speed.

We must remember that success with marathon training occurs with consistency - not speed or pace. As my mileage increases, I am cautious about monitoring my heart rate and how I feel. Items such as stress, sleep deprivation, water intake, and dietary changes all impact our heart rate variability and rate of perceived exertion. Now that you are familiar with heart rate variability attempt to monitor your "easy long runs" maintaining zone 2 measures. Check in for the next marathon training post to discuss threshold and above-threshold training changes.

If you missed my first post on max heart rate and tracking exertion.