Physical Therapist Kansas City


Platelet-rich plasma injections might sound like cutting-edge treatment for hamstring injuries, but according to the APTA, a 2012 systematic review of 10 randomized clinical trials indicates that rehabilitation exercises actually have a superior effect on acute hamstring injuries (“Efficacy of rehabilitation (lengthening) exercises, platelet-rich plasma injections, and other conservative interventions in acute hamstring injuries: an updated systematic review and meta-analysis” – July 21, 2015).

Specifically, lengthening exercises and progressive agility and trunk stabilization exercises have been identified in previous studies as appropriate “for daily practice” to treat acute hamstring injuries. However, the authors of the above study discourage the use of platelet-rich plasma injections, in which a patient’s own platelet-enriched blood is injected into an injured part of the body with the intent to promote healing, finding that the injection is ineffective.

Hamstring injuries are one of the most common lower body injuries, particularly affecting athletes participating in sports, such as football, soccer, or track. After tearing a hamstring muscle, a person is 2 to 6 times more likely to suffer a subsequent injury. Participants from the reviewed studies were all associated with sports.

Physical therapists can design individualized treatment programs for hamstring injuries that may include range of motion, muscle strength, manual therapy, and function training.



UT compensation, or Upper Trap compensation, is the overuse of the upper fibers of the trapezius muscle due to injury or weakness.


Supraspinatus Injury:

The most prominent injury leading to UT compensation is a rotator cuff tear - most often, the supraspinatus muscle. The supraspinatus is primarily responsible for abduction of the shoulder, and stabilization of the humeral head (top of the arm bone) in the glenoid fossa (socket). Abduction of the shoulder joint is the arm moving out to the side, and away from the body - as if you are doing a jumping jack. Once the arm reaches shoulder height, the deltoid muscle takes over and continues abduction by raising the outstretched arm the rest of the way to get entirely overhead. 

When an injury occurs in the supraspinatus, the deltoid immediately becomes responsible for abduction - however, it still is unable to raise the arm in abduction before it reaches shoulder height entirely on it's own - so the UT raises the entire shoulder, not just the arm, to help the arm reach higher without the supraspinatus muscle. 

Scapular Weakness:

The other common reason for UT compensation is scapular weakness and instability. The scapula is the bone that creates your shoulder blade, as well as the socket portion of the ball-and-socket shoulder joint. Multiple muscles attach to the scapula from all different aspects that work together help to control the strength and mobility of the shoulder. 

When there is weakness present in the elevators (function to lift up) and retractors (function to pull back, like you're puffing out your chest) of the scapula, the UT activates to help the scapula maintain it's range of motion, so as to allow the shoulder joint to maintain it's normal range of motion. 


It is not uncommon for UT compensation to go unnoticed for weeks, to months, to even years. Some individuals with plenty of strength elsewhere may get away with it for longer, some individuals with less functional strength may notice it immediately. Common symptoms are elevated shoulders, stiff/tight muscles in the neck/upper back, and residual pain in the shoulder.


The longer you wait to talk to your doctor, the longer it will take to reverse the symptoms and retrain your body to activate your muscles properly. With effort and hard work, prognosis is usually fair to excellent. Talk to your physical therapist about performing a screening or evaluation to identify if UT compensations are occurring due to a larger issue in your upper extremities. 

Ask us at CHAMPION today!


A Patient's Guide to Getting the Best Coverage

The best way to take care of your health is to take an active role in your own health care. To do this, you need to know about your options and your rights as a patient. Patients across the country are becoming better educated and demanding more and better options from their health insurance companies. The right to physical therapist services is an important option, and it is your right as a patient.

Federally qualified HMOs are required to have physical therapy in their benefits packages.

In most states you may see a physical therapist without a doctor's referral, but be sure to check your health insurance plan to see if physical therapist services are covered without a physician's referral.

What You Can Do to Improve Your Physical Therapy Coverage

Talk with your employer/benefits manager. The employers who contract and pay for employee health care plans often have the most influence with insurers. Employers are interested in keeping their employees on the job and their premiums low, so providers who can help employees prevent injuries and avoid recurrence (as well as promote a healthy lifestyle) have particular appeal to them. Arrange a meeting with your human resources director or whoever is responsible for negotiating the terms of the company's insurance plan.

Ask your human resources director or insurance company the following questions to determine if your current benefits package gives you access to appropriate physical therapy services:

1. Is your physical therapy benefit "bundled" with those of other providers of care? Physical therapy services should be listed separately in the benefit language so that access to necessary services is not compromised.

2. Does the benefit language permit access to physical therapists for each condition during the year? Benefit language should permit treatment of more than one condition in a calendar year (eg, ankle fracture in January and low back injury in July).

3. Does the benefit language permit access to physical therapists for each episode of care? A person may require more than one episode of care for the same condition. For example, someone with arthritis may receive physical therapy intervention for knee weakness in an attempt to avoid surgery. While this is often successful, some patients may still require surgery for the knee condition (eg, total knee replacement), which may require post-operative physical therapy treatment. The benefit language should support each "episode of care."

4. Does the benefit language ensure coverage that facilitates restoration of function? Benefit language that restricts physical therapy care to a 60- or 90-day period imposes an arbitrary limit on recovery. In determining an appropriate physical therapy benefit that will allow an individual to return to his or her previous level of function, benefit language should reflect the normal amount of time that it takes to recover from an injury or from surgery.

5. Does the benefit language ensure coverage that promotes functional independence for those with chronic conditions? Someone who has a chronic condition may need to be seen periodically by a physical therapist. The physical therapist will determine if the individual's home program, equipment, or adaptive devices should be modified. (For instance, children requiring orthotic devices will need modifications to those devices as they grow.) Benefit language should ensure that someone with a chronic condition may receive the kind of care that promotes personal safety and the greatest degree of function possible.

Choosing a Health Plan

Millions of Americans are offered a choice of health plans through their employers, but the question is "What makes a good health care plan?" Here are some things to consider when choosing a health plan.

  • Are you choosing a plan simply because it is the cheapest? This may not be the best way to go. Some inexpensive plans have a high deductible and no comprehensive coverage.
  • Is the plan accredited by the National Committee on Quality Assurance? This is a good indicator of quality.
  • Are your current doctors and specialists in the plan? If not, make sure you will be able to see a certain provider or specialist, such as a physical therapist, without too much added expense and difficulty.
  • Is physical therapy coverage adequate? If you should have an injury or illness requiring rehabilitation, you will need a plan that offers an unlimited number of visits to a physical therapist or that allows for the number of visits to be extended if needed.
  • Are there lifetime limits on benefits? If so, you could face a serious financial crisis if you or a covered member of your family suffers a major illness or injury.
  • Does the plan have an out-of-pocket maximum? In this case, once you have paid a certain amount (usually several thousand dollars) the plan would cover the rest.
  • How does the plan handle grievances and appeals? The procedure should be simple, timely, and accessible.
  • Does the plan permit use of out-of-network doctors, specialists, or hospitals? Called "point-of-service" option, this would allow you to see a provider, such as a physical therapist, who is not in your plan. There may be an additional cost, but it may be worth it.
  • What is the plan's disenrollment rate? A high rate of members leaving the plan annually may indicate customer dissatisfaction.


A recent study published in The Journal of Orthopaedic & Sports Physical Therapy suggests that pregnancy causes biomechanical changes to a runner's stride that can linger after childbirth.

As reported in the New York Times (How Pregnancy Changes a Runner's Body - June 10, 2013), these changes have the potential to cause injury, although some runners participating in the study reported no pain as a result of the changes.

In an August 8, 2013 episode of Move Forward Radio, physical therapists involved in the study discussed their findings and provided tips for women hoping to run during or after pregnancy.

See a pelvic floor specialist of physical therapy here at CHAMPION to learn how to strengthen the pelvic muscles affected by pregnancy, or an orthopedic physical therapist here at CHAMPION for a running analysis. 


According to the APTA, among high school athletes, girls are at greater risk for overuse injuries than boys, according to a recent national study published in the Journal of Pediatrics (“Epidemiology of Overuse Injuries among High-School Athletes in the United States” – March 2015).

In analyzing 3,000 male and female high school athletes participating in 20 different sports, researchers found that overuse injuries represented 7.7% of injuries overall, but rates among girls and boys differed significantly, with overuse injuries representing 13.3% of all injuries for girls compared to only 5.5% for boys.

Girls and boys also differed in terms of when the injuries were likely to occur, with the proportion of overuse injuries decreasing in females from freshman to senior year, while it increased in males.

The highest overuse injury rates for girls were seen in track and field, field hockey, and lacrosse.

"This finding may be solely due to differences between males and females or that these girls’ sports have larger teams with younger, skeletally immature girls who were not physically ready to handle the repetitive motion associated with these sports," the researchers summarized. "Athletes in these sports may benefit most from overuse injury assessment and prevention."

In a video produced by Ohio State University, lead author Thomas Best, MD, also theorized that single-sport specialization could be a contributing factor.

"Many of these youngsters are playing a single sport, and that may in fact be a major risk factor for these overuse injuries because their bodies are seeing the same repetitive blows with one sport," Best said.

What can you do? Preventative measures are your best option. Although there's no guarantee, you can make a significant impact on yourself by working against nature to prevent it. 


Sir Hartzell Leo is in the 95th and above percentile for height, weight, and head circumference at age 3 months (September 14th!) 

Too cute for words? We know. It's no secret - It's those little thigh rolls that make him extra adorable. 

Check out some of our photos from the holiday party, who do you think he looks more like? Hope or Nick?