Watch the Game, Not Your Back

Can’t get through a 3-hour game because of back or tailbone pain? Passing up chances to see the Bears play live because sitting on bleachers is unthinkable?  

You’re not just getting old, you’re not broken beyond repair, and you’re not getting an award for pushing through your pain. When you don’t take steps to get rid of your pain, you’re at best sucking joy out of your Sundays and at worst setting yourself up for a chronic pain condition that will be more costly and time consuming to take care of later. If they can put Bears players back together again, we can get you back to sitting through a game without pain. 

Game Plan FAQ 

Q: Do I need a scan? 

A: Not right now. A scan is just a single still image of you from one moment in time. It doesn’t tell us anything about movement dysfunction or sitting posture or the mobility of your soft tissues and joints. If there’s an issue with a disc or a nerve or your core muscles, a physical therapist can quickly and easily figure this out without any radiation exposure and get treatment started the same day. Your physical therapist will only recommend a scan if you exhibit “red flags” we’re trained to spot that signify you might require medical rather than rehabilitative services. This is why we offer Free Screes, so we can determine who is a candidate for physical therapy and who needs a further workup, whether it’s with scans or a specialist.  

Q: Do I need a prescription to start PT? 

A: Only those with Medicare require a prescription for physical therapy. However, if you know your doctor well, your physical therapist can complete the initial assessment visit and simply fax this to your doctor to sign, saving you an extra visit and valuable Medicare dollars.  

Q: Do I need to prepare a response to get out of signing up for a lifetime of maintenance appointments? 

A: At Body Gears, our goal is to get you to graduate from physical therapy so that you can forget you ever had pain to begin with. Following your initial assessment, your physical therapist will work with you to create a realistic and concise plan of care. While we ask our patients to schedule out their visits in advance to ensure they get the times that work for their schedules, you will not be paying for these visits in advance (unless you’re taking advantage of our self-pay discount packages) since your plan of care will continue to be adjusted based on your progress. Rather than keep you in PT forever, we’d rather train you up with the tools you need to stay pain-free (including our exercise app that you get to keep beyond graduation) and then continue on to help the next Bears fan in need. After graduation, you decide when you need a maintenance visit. 

Q: Do I need to wait until my pain gets to a certain point before starting PT? 

A: If you experience pain of any intensity when you bend over or squat, when you sit or stand for more than 30 minutes, when you lift or carry objects, when you walk or climb stairs, or when you do anything else that’s a regular part of your day, then insurance will pay for your care. There’s never going to be a convenient time to start PT but starting is easy. Just click here. 

“If God had wanted man to play soccer, he wouldn’t have given us arms”  

Throwing, catching, blocking, and tackling. These are what make football great. These can also do a number on the shoulder joint, whether you’re playing football or not. Below we’ve outlined 4 common shoulder conditions we see as PTs, how you can recognize them, and what to do about them. 

Labral Tears 

Maybe you’ve heard of the SLAP tear or even the Bankart tear. These refer to tears in different zones of the shoulder’s labrum. The labrum is a ring of cartilage around the shoulder socket that makes it deeper and more secure for the head of the arm bone (humerus) to rest in. Trubisky reportedly sustained a slight labral tear back in October, likely a Bankart due to the dislocation. Had his hand broken his fall instead of his shoulder, he would have been more likely to sustain a SLAP tear. It’s more common for PTs to see SLAP tears in the clinic which can also result from repetitive overhead activities like throwing, tennis, and swimming.  

If you’ve experienced one of the mechanisms of injury listed above and if you lift your arm to a specific height it causes a painful catch/click/pop, you might have a labral tear. Don’t worry, Trubisky’s tear didn’t need surgery and you probably don’t need surgery either. If you’re just trying to get back to living your day to day life and doing some recreational activates, PT can restore your shoulder mobility and strength. When you move with efficient mechanics that don’t irritate the injured part of your labrum, it allows painful inflammation to dissipate and proper healing to take place. You would need PT after surgery anyway, so why not try it first and at the very least speed up your recovery? 

Shoulder Impingement 

This is one a lot of people push through because the pain is often tolerable. If you’re a Bears player who just needs to make it to playoffs and has an amazing team of trainers, then you might be ok. If you plan on pushing through your pain well beyond the Super Bowl, then you’ll end up with a chronic problem that’s much harder to get rid of. Similar to the labral tear, people with a shoulder impingement problem will experience pain when lifting their arm at or beyond 90 degrees where in most cases, the head of the humerus will start pinning a muscle tendon against the top of the shoulder joint. However, there isn’t usually a clear mechanism of injury and the pain seems to just gradually increase out of nowhere. If this sounds like you, then PT for shoulder impingement is actually incredibly straight forward and relatively quick and easy to fix. You’ll primarily be learning how to strengthen and then recruit the right muscles to fire at the right time to create efficient shoulder movement that avoids impingement. 

Rotator Cuff Injury 

Severity can range from a strain to a partial or full tear and could be the result of repetitive movement (potentially the tendon was being worn down by a chronic impingement issue) or an acute injury. Unlike labral tears or impingement issues, pain is typically felt when the affected muscle activates and is less dependent on how high the arm is raised and more dependent on how much force the muscle is generating. Weakness is also a major sign which may be accompanied by joint instability depending on the severity. Many patients come to PT thinking they’ve injured their rotator cuff muscles but we often catch them at the impingement stage when we can still prevent injury. However, if you’ve overexerted yourself enough for a Bears first down and suspect a true rotator cuff injury, your PT can still help you fully heal in a way that prevents aggravation or re-injury. 

Frozen Shoulder 

You’ve probably never heard of an NFL player being benched for frozen shoulder (aka adhesive capsulitis, when the shoulder capsule “freezes” and prevents normal shoulder motion). First of all, this condition is more common in women, but more importantly, this condition often arises from a lack of using a previously injured shoulder. Surrounded by some of the best healthcare providers in the nation, football players will not be sitting around idly following even a minor shoulder injury. However, the general public will often self-prescribe rest or “babying” following a minor shoulder injury which has the potential to balloon into frozen shoulder from a lack of movement. If you’re experiencing shoulder pain or even a non-painful lack of shoulder motion, don’t delay! Contact your nearest Body Gears clinic to get treatment started right away! 

To receive an extra 10 minutes on a free injury screen for you or a loved one, email [email protected] with the name of the person who said the quote in the title.