Your Non-Surgical Back and Joint Pain Specialists
Diabetes awareness month gray ribbon clip art

November Is National Diabetes Awareness Month

Physical therapy may be your answer for managing diabetes complications in Bradenton

This month is American Diabetes Month, which is a call-to-action put forth each November by the American Diabetes Association, whose mission is to prevent and cure diabetes, and to improve the lives of all those affected by it.  Diabetes is one of the leading causes of death and disability in the U.S., and though many people may not realize it, physical therapy is one of the best ways to address your diabetes complications.

Diabetes occurs when the body either doesn’t produce enough insulin or the cells in the body fail to recognize the insulin that’s there.  Insulin is a hormone that allows the body to use glucose (blood sugar) for energy by transporting it from the blood into cells.  About 26 million Americans have either type 1 or type 2 diabetes, while another 80 million or so have pre-diabetes, in which glucose levels are abnormal but not yet considered diabetic.  Both types of diabetes can lead to similar symptoms such as increased thirst and hunger, extreme fatigue, blurry vision and increased urination, as well as other resulting complications that can interfere with daily life.

About 50% of diabetics will also experience a condition called diabetic peripheral neuropathy.  This complication is the result of poor circulation throughout the body and can lead to pain, tingling and numbness, as well as decreased balance and proprioception, which can cause an abnormal gait and increase the risk for falls.  Unfortunately, peripheral neuropathy can’t be reversed, but physical therapy can help by retraining sensory receptors in the legs to compensate for these changes.  By addressing these impairments, physical therapy can improve balance and function, and reduce fall risk.

Another major problem with diabetes is that poor circulation and other factors significantly increase the healing time for injuries.  This may prevent diabetics from staying as active as they’d like and could discourage them from exercising.  Aside from medication and dietary changes, physical activity is considered a cornerstone of diabetes treatment, and it’s an essential component of any treatment plan, Learn More.

For this reason, we encourage all of our diabetic patients to get regular physical activity and also provide treatment programs that include different types of exercise and soft tissue mobilization techniques.  Most programs consist of aerobic and resistance training, as combining the two of them has been found to be very beneficial for glucose levels.  These interventions increase blood flow to injured areas and will help advance the healing process, which means patients recover from injuries as quickly and safely as possible.

Diabetes can really get in the way of your physical wellbeing, but there are many measures that can be taken to address these problems.  Visit Physical Therapy Doctors of Florida, where we can effectively manage diabetes complications in Bradenton, FL. Call us at 941-264-1414 for more information or to schedule an appointment.



Breast cancer awareness month pink ribbon clip art

October Is Breast Cancer Awareness Month

Physical Therapy Doctors of Florida in Bradenton

can effectively address side effects from breast cancer treatment


In addition to recognizing physical therapy with National Physical Therapy Month, October is also Breast Cancer Awareness Month, an annual campaign intended to increase awareness of the disease and the screening tools and treatments available for it.

As the second most common type of cancer in women, breast cancer will affect 1 in 8 women at some point in their lives, and about 240,000 new cases are diagnosed in the U.S. each year.  In honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, Physical Therapy Doctors of Florida in Bradenton, FL would like to explain the assistance we can offer women during the recovery process from breast cancer treatment.

Many women diagnosed with breast cancer will go on to have some type of surgery, which may include a breast biopsy, lymph node biopsy or removal, lumpectomy, mastectomy or breast reconstruction, in addition to other treatments.  Following these surgeries and other treatments like radiation or chemotherapy, many patients experience pain and stiffness in the chest, shoulder and back muscles, as well as nerve irritation that can cause numbness, pain and a tingling sensation.  These issues are secondary complications from the treatments necessary to resolve the cancer, however the problems that they can cause for women can be resolved under the care of a skilled physical therapist.

Recovery will vary for each patient depending on the severity of their cancer and specific treatments used, but these side effects will often reduce flexibility and range of motion, which can prevent women from returning to their normal daily activities and significantly decrease their quality of life.  In addition, any woman that’s undergone various treatments and hospitalizations in their fight against cancer is usually very deconditioned due to lack of physical activity and will have additional difficulty functioning normally due to limited endurance and strength.

This is where we come in, as our physical therapists can perform expert evaluations to identify each patient’s rehabilitation needs based on their condition and the side effects they’re experiencing.  Once a patient is medically cleared for physical therapy—which usually occurs after adequate healing of an incision, if necessary—patients will undergo a program to increase their strength, range of motion and endurance so that they can go about their days more easily and with less pain. Most importantly, the patient will be able to return to their prior level of function, or maybe even better!   Some highlights of our program to address side effects associated with breast cancer treatment include:

  • A series of basic exercises to stretch and strengthen the muscles of the back, shoulder, chest and arms to prevent stiffness and reduce pain; the arms and shoulders are often particularly affected by treatment, and increased flexibility will help to improve posture and reduce pain
  • A supervised, gradual return to exercise, which can also reduce nerve irritation and fatigue
  • Targeted exercises to help reduce the risk for lymphedema, or chronic swelling that usually occurs in the arm on the same side of surgery
  • A focused effort to help patients regain their independence in daily activities by simulating those that they may be having difficulty with

Recovering from breast cancer treatment on top of the breast cancer should be celebrated, and you should not be burdened with the physical side effects that it can cause. At Physical Therapy Doctors of Florida, FL it’s our goal to tend to any side effects you may be experiencing and help you return to your pre-treatment physical activity levels, ultimately “Helping You Move Without Pain.”  To find out more about our program for addressing side effects from breast cancer treatment or to schedule an appointment, contact us at 941-264-1414.



Celebrating national hispanic heritage month clip art

National Hispanic Heritage Month

Physical Therapy Doctors of Florida proudly celebrates National Hispanic Heritage Month!

National Hispanic Heritage Month runs from September 15 until October 15, and here at Physical Therapy Doctors of Florida, we are proud to honor and recognize the Hispanic and Latino community.

The observation started in 1968 as Hispanic Heritage Week and the date of September 15 has been used in recognition of the anniversary of independence for five Latin American countries. Since then, it has grown into an entire month, and each year Americans observe it over the same span of dates. The designation is meant to celebrate the histories, cultures, contributions and important presence of Hispanic and Latino Americans to the country. Hispanics have had a profound and positive influence on our country, and their impact should be acknowledged throughout the month.

Sonia Nina Mullis, our Co-Owner and COO, was born and raised in the Dominican Republic. She believes that growing up in a Hispanic family taught her several valuable lessons that have shaped her into the person she is today, and particularly values the strong commitment to family, faith, hard work and service that’s central to Hispanic and Latino culture. Sonia and her husband Dr. Jonathan Mullis, Owner and CEO of the clinic, have two beautiful bilingual girls that enjoy eating both Dominican and American food and love to dance!

The vibrant role of Hispanic patients at Physical Therapy Doctors of Florida

We also really enjoy serving the Hispanic and Latino population at PT Doctors. In our history of treating many different patients, we’ve noticed that many of our Hispanic and Latino patients are some of the most dedicated to their treatment. We’ve seen that they are hard working and driven by their goals, so they can get back to caring for their family or to their jobs. Seeing this hard work and dedication has made it a pleasure to treat these patients, and their positive impact has also played a role in enriching our culture at the clinic.

Regular physical activity and maintaining good overall health is especially important for Hispanics and Latinos, and we can help with recommendations here as well. At Physical Therapy Doctors of Florida, we can assist these patients in order to prevent the development of many health conditions. We will address any underlying problems they might have and determine which activities are best suited to fit their lifestyle and abilities.

Our therapists will work to empower each individual to get the greatest possible health benefits out of the things they enjoy doing in a manner they are most comfortable with. In addition, we will always consider these patients’ cultural, religious and personal preferences when making any treatment decisions, and communicate openly with them during this process.

We proudly honor the Hispanic and Latino community and encourage all of our other patients and readers to observe the importance of National Hispanic Heritage Month as well. For any injuries or painful conditions you may be having, contact Physical Therapy Doctors of Florida in Bradenton, FL at 941-264-1414 to schedule an appointment. For more information on National Hispanic Heritage Month, click here.

Woman's right hand holding a cell phone

Physical Therapy Doctors of Florida Warns You Of The Dangers Of Text Neck

Have you ever found yourself in the following situation: you’re in a public place—a doctor’s waiting room, on the bus or train, or even a café—and when you look around to survey the area, most of the people you see are crouched over their portable electronic devices, “in the zone,” with their necks tilted forward and backs arched?

If it seems like these occurrences are becoming increasingly regular, or if you’ve noticed yourself being one of those people staring at a screen, it’s safe to say you’re not alone.

Text neck is a fairly new diagnosis that’s caused by flexing the neck for extended periods of time, usually from too much time spent looking at a smart phone or tablet.  It’s classified as a repetitive strain injury, and in a day when many people spend so much time a day on their devices, the prevalence of text neck is now growing rapidly.

Biologically speaking, our necks were not made for texting.  Neck muscles and joints can handle our normal everyday movements, but they are not built to withstand being overstretched for countless hours every day.  The average human head weighs about 10 pounds in a neutral position (with ears over shoulders), but the further the head tilts forward, the more the pressure increases on the neck.

So when you spend much of your free time sending texts or watching the latest viral video, you’re pushing your neck past its limits, and over time, text neck can result.  Aside from neck pain or soreness, the condition can also lead to headaches, shoulder, arm or wrist pain.  In severe cases, it can even cause muscles to adapt to fit the flexed position, which can reverse the natural curvature of the neck and make it painful to straighten it.  With long-term practice in this position, herniated discs of the spine may also occur.

Though it’s far-fetched and unnecessary to recommend ditching your smartphone or tablet, there are some important measures you can take to reduce your chances of getting text neck.  Here are some basic steps to take next time you pull out your device:

  • Take regular breaks every few minutes while using your phone to look upwards or straight ahead while tucking the chin back towards the neck; sometimes it’s even helpful to set the timer on your phone
  • Dictate messages instead of typing them out whenever possible
  • Put a pillow or something on your lap to rest your arms on so that you are able to hold your phone up and eye level
  • Use the app Text Neck Indicator (only available for Android), which alerts users if the smartphone is being viewed at a dangerous or safe angle
  • Perform postural strengthening exercises, which will build up muscles in the neck and shoulders to better prepare them for the strain from craning; focus on upper back strengthening, like rows, to accomplish this
  • Perform stretching exercises to increase flexibility and range of motion, especially for the chest and side neck (upper trap) muscles

At Physical Therapy Doctors of Florida in Bradenton, FL, we understand the importance of smartphones, but we don’t like to see patients in pain from overusing these devices.  If you’re experiencing pain or soreness that may be from too much texting, we can help with exercises and other advice on minimizing neck strain.  For more information on how to prevent text neck or to schedule an appointment, call us at 941.264.1414.











Woman on an outdoor tennis court lunging for a tennis ball with her racquet

Staying Properly Hydrated In The Hot Weather

So, we all enjoy the beautiful warm weather in the Bradenton and Sarasota area! But do you know the importance of staying properly hydrated in the hot weather?

Water accounts for approximately 60% of our body weight, and every cell, tissue and organ relies on it in order to function properly.  Water is essential for a number of major biological tasks, some of which include maintaining temperature, removing wastes and lubricating joints.  Keeping the body hydrated helps the heart more easily pump blood through the blood vessels to muscles, and in turn, helps muscles work more efficiently.

Of the large amount of water in the body, only about 10% of it is in the bloodstream, and much of this water can be lost through sweating, our body’s natural cooling mechanism.  Exercising in any environment causes the body to sweat, and the warmer the temperature, the more sweat is produced.  Performing intense exercise in hot and humid conditions can lead to sweating up to three liters, which is more than half the water in our bloodstream.

Sweat evaporates quickly in dry weather, so only a small amount of sweat is needed to lower the body’s temperature, but in humid conditions, it takes much longer to evaporate.  This causes you to sweat more, and if you don’t replenish the amount of water your body loses, it leads to dehydration.  The main symptoms of dehydration are little or no urine (or urine that’s darker in color than usual), dry mouth, intense thirst, confusion, nausea, sleepiness/fatigue, headaches and dizziness/light headedness.

On hot days—especially if you’re exercising

The most important way to prevent dehydration when exercising is by not waiting until you’re thirsty or notice symptoms to start drinking water.  On hot days—especially if you’re exercising—it’s imperative that you drink plenty of water at all times.  Below are some additional tips to help you stay hydrated while exercising in the summer sun:

  • The exact amount you need to drink depends on your body weight, body temperature, type of exercise and weather conditions, but as a general guideline, drink several glasses of water spaced throughout the day; you are usually well-hydrated if your urine is very light yellow or clear
  • Water is the best option, but if you’re exercising at a high intensity for longer than one hour, a sports drink with electrolytes may also be necessary
  • Drink cool rather than very cold water, which your body will absorb better
  • Wear loose-fitting clothing that will allow air to circulate
  • Avoid drinks with caffeine, as it’s a diuretic and will make you lose more fluids
  • Try to exercise in the shade and avoid direct exposure to the sun if possible
  • Get in the habit of drinking lots of water throughout the day

It is always great to get outdoors and savor the sun with your favorite form of exercise, but it also requires a bit of caution while doing so.  Keep these pointers in mind and avoid any heat-related complications like dehydration, and for any injuries or pain you may be experiencing, Physical Therapy Doctors of Florida in Bradenton, FL can help.  Call us at 941-264-1414 to schedule an appointment.

Happy mother's day floral clip art

Happy Mother’s Day

Happy Mother's Day!We want to wish all mothers a Happy Mother’s Day!  At Physical Therapy Doctors of Florida we keep the interests and concerns of mothers of all ages in mind year-round.  In honor of Mother’s Day, we’d like to remind our patients of how we can address any issues with women’s health in Bradenton, FL that you might have, especially if you happen to be a new mother.

Becoming a new mom

Being pregnant and becoming a new mother certainly comes with its share of changes and possible difficulties.  A common problem that many women experience during pregnancy is back or neck pain that results from carrying around the extra body weight.  This pain usually subsides within a few weeks after the baby has been born, but it can often return as a result of repetitive lifting and carrying your infant around.  Although this may not be much weight in the first few months, it’s an action that’s performed on a regular basis, and eventually your baby will grow and place even more added weight on your spine.  Over time, this repetitive stress on the body can go on to cause spinal pain.

Preventing spinal pain

One of the most effective ways to reduce your chances of developing back or neck pain after giving birth is to ensure you’re using proper technique when lifting your child.  We recommend the following tips:

  • To pick up your child from the floor, bend at the knees—keeping your back straight—squat down, tighten your stomach muscles and lift with your legs
  • Bring your child close to your chest before lifting and don’t outstretch your arms
  • Avoid twisting your body when holding your child

Another way to prevent spinal pain is to perform strengthening and stretching exercises for the hips, back and core muscles. Keeping these areas flexible and strong will better prepare your body for the load of carrying your baby on a regular basis.  We strongly advise exercise for this purpose and also to help new mothers lose the dreaded “baby weight” that is often unavoidable.  Be sure to speak with your doctor before starting up any exercise again, but most mothers can get active within a week or so after giving birth.  As experts in women’s health in Boston, we can assist with the following:

  • Our physical therapists can offer general guidance or create a specific program to get you back into your favorite physical activities
  • We recommend a combination of aerobic activities like brisk walking, biking or even jogging, as well as weight training (you can even use your baby!)
  • When exercising, be sure to never overdo it and progress gradually, drink lots of fluids to stay hydrated at all times, wear a supportive bra and stop if you feel pain

Our services for women’s health in Bradenton don’t end with new mothers.  We can also offer assistance to all mothers trying to get active, no matter their physical condition or age.  For aging mothers, staying in optimal shape can become difficult.  As we age, our muscles become shorter and lose their elasticity, and the structure of our bones also changes.  Together, this can cause pain and reduce flexibility, which will make it a challenge to move normally and keep physically active.  This is why we encourage older mothers to stretch on a regular basis to slow down or even stop this loss of flexibility:

  • Try to stretch 2-3 days per week to maintain your flexibility, and 4-5 days per week to improve it
  • Try to stretch out all areas of your body, and alternate on different days
  • Don’t bounce or hold your breath while stretching, and remember that the stretch should be gentle and not cause you any pain
  • Our physical therapists can in this process by developing a personalized stretching program to help you get and stay limber

As a mother, it’s your natural tendency to put your children first and ensure that they are taken care of.  At Physical Therapy Doctors of Florida, it’s time to let us help you with any concerns with women’s health in Bradenton, FL you may have and return the favor.  Contact us at 941-264-1414 to schedule an appointment, or click here for some additional stretches.


Reduce Sitting Time – Let’s Stand Up

Reduce sitting time- Let's Stand Up
Let’s Stand Up!

In modern society, we sure do quite a bit of sitting.  Actually, as you’re reading this right now, there’s an extremely high chance that you’re doing so while seated.  It’s not rare and it’s not your fault, but most of us seem to be spending most of our waking hours sitting, and it may be one of the worst things out there for our health. Why you should stand Up?

Health professionals have always known that too much sitting is bad for our health, but research is starting to emerge on a regular basis on just how bad it may be.  Studies have linked excessive sitting to a number of health concerns, such as obesity, type 2 diabetes, heart disease and metabolic syndrome, a cluster of conditions that includes increased blood pressure and blood sugar, and abnormal cholesterol levels.

Bad posture and the common “craning” over a computer screen are also known to cause neck and back pain, while the overall lack of activity can lead to slower brain function due to less oxygen and blood flow.  To make matters even more morbid, too much sitting has been found to increase the odds of cancer risk and untimely death.

Experts are not exactly sure why sitting for extended periods of time can lead to some of these nasty effects, but it’s likely due to the fact that sitting stalls many of the important bodily processes necessary for breaking down fats and sugars.  Some people who sit too frequently also don’t get much exercise and have poor diets.

Unfortunately, getting the recommended 30 minutes of moderate physical activity five times a week will help, but won’t offset these risks.  The only solution seems to be standing and moving rather than sitting as much as possible throughout the day.  Here are some suggestions to help you get out of your seat and stand up:

  • Consider one of the many alternatives for a standard desk: use an exercise ball or backless stool to work core muscles, a stand-up desk, or if you’re bold enough, try a putting your desk in front of a treadmill
  • At work, try to stand up and walk around any chance you get; visit coworkers in person instead of e-mailing/calling them, have walking meetings rather than in an office, and do some cardio whenever possible
  • If you work at home (or if possible at the office) take quick breaks every so often to do some yoga or other exercises to keep the blood flowing

    Reduce sitting time- Let's Stand Up
    Do Some Yoga
  • Park as far away as possible, use the stairs instead of the elevator, and always try to squeeze in some extra walking wherever you go
  • After dinner, instead of turning the TV, go for a walk with your family
  • When you do watch TV at home, try getting up during each commercial break or standing and doing chores or exercises for most of the time

Our bodies were built for moving about regularly and staying active, not for sitting most of our lives away.  For more information on how you can stand more or for assistance with any aches or pains, Physical Therapy Doctors of Florida in Bradenton, FL can help.  Call 941-264-1414 to schedule an appointment.

Choose A Physical Therapist Wisely

So, you’ve been experiencing pain or mobility issues, or maybe you’re scheduled for an upcoming surgery, and it’s now clear that physical therapy will be needed in your future.  This predicament may leave you asking yourself: what do I do next? Here is what you need to know to choose a physical therapist wisely.

The most important point you must understand as you navigate this process is that the power of choice is in your hands, and you have the right to select a physical therapist that best suits your needs and goals.  In the state of Florida, patients are entitled to direct access to physical therapy, which means they can see a physical therapist of their choice without a referral from a physician.  This freedom allows anyone seeking physical therapy care to research and explore their options before making any decisions, and it should help them feel confident in the choice they eventually make. Many insurance plans require a referral from your doctor in order for them to provide coverage for your services. Discuss your benefits with your insurance or call our clinic if you plan on attending for information regarding your benefits.

After finding a list of physical therapy clinics online and/or through recommendations from friends, your first step should be to make sure you’ll be receiving physical therapy from a licensed physical therapist and that the clinic accepts your current insurance plan.  From there, it’s up to you to determine which clinic offers services that are best suited for your needs.  For example, many physical therapists specialize in treating specific areas of the body or particular types of injuries, so if you have an injury or back, neck or knee pain, you may want to investigate physical therapists that focus on those areas.

In addition, there are certain components of care that will set one physical therapy clinic apart from the next, and make them a much more attractive option for you.  Your first visit should include a one-on-one appointment between you and your physical therapist, in which updated and thorough diagnostic exams are given.  These tests help determine the proper course of care and they are an essential foundation for the physical therapy that follows.  Clinics that don’t hold value in this step should raise a red flag for you.

Physical therapists should also never use physical agents like heat, ice, ultrasound and electrical stimulation alone. These “modalities” should be used only when in combination with prescribed exercises and other “hands-on” treatments in order to improve their effectiveness.  It’s also necessary that physical therapists progress and change the treatment program as time goes on according to the response of each patient.  All the while—and perhaps most important of all—the physical therapist should be engaged in an open dialogue with each patient, explaining the “why” and “how” of treatment and listening to their feedback in order to ensure they are both on the same page.

At Physical Therapy Doctors of Florida in Bradenton, FL, we pride ourselves on providing exceptional physical therapy services that feature the most important qualities desired by you.  We carefully plan our treatment plans based on the initial visit, which include the most effective strategies out there, and value the input of each patient as they go through the treatment process.  We guarantee your voice will be heard.

So if want to choose a physical therapist in the Bradenton area, look no further.  Physical Therapy Doctors of Florida, FL is your best bet to get you moving again with less pain in your life in a manner that’s ideal for you.  Call us at 941-264-1414 for more information or to schedule an appointment.



Physical Therapy Represents A Safer Alternative To Pain Medications

Alarming statistics on opioid use and abuse

Any amount of pain can be a nuisance to your life, especially when it lasts for a while. There are many options available to treat it.  One of these options is narcotics and pain medications like opioids, which are garnering loads of national attention these days due to the wide-ranging problems they’ve created.

The U.S. is currently experiencing an epidemic due to the over-prescription of opioids. Our country consumes more than 80% of the global supply of opioids.  The number of opioid prescriptions increased by 600% from 1997-2007.

These shocking figures show just how big of a problem opioid use is in the U.S. There are many patients that truly need opioids because they are in pain that can’t be treated with anything else, there are many others who use them for the wrong reasons.  These individuals are usually looking for a “magic bullet” to immediately fix them, and opioids can often give them the most immediate short-term relieve, even if it doesn’t solve their problem.  In other cases, patients are prescribed opioids to help them deal with pain following surgery.  Sadly, this can also have some negative effects.

Studies have shown that patients who continue to use opioids after surgery have worse outcomes than those who don’t.  This has been seen with a greater number of symptoms, more stress, more disability and higher tolerance for opioids.  This higher tolerance for opioids is very dangerous and can lead to addiction if the drugs are taken for long enough.  This is why many people who are prescribed opioids after surgery or for an injury eventually develop addictions.  They often get too reliant on the drugs during their recovery to mask their symptoms, and aren’t able to stop taking them afterwards.

How physical therapy approaches the problem from a different angle

Physical therapy, on the other hand, offers a wide range of possible benefits that far outweigh any risks involved.  This is primarily because all good physical therapy Doctors are always focused on finding the origin of a patient’s pain and properly addressing it.

Unlike narcotics, which are only meant to mask someone’s perception of pain, physical therapists treat pain by improving the mobility and stability of painful the area.  In effect, this leads to a far superior long-term solution.

Physical therapy is not a temporary solution.  It’s the best possible option for managing your pain; however, not all physical therapy Doctors and physical therapy practices are the same.  The most important factor in choosing a practice should not be the proximity of the facility to your home or work, which does not guarantee good services.  Instead, one critical detail is to make sure that most of the physical therapists at the clinic are licensed Physical Therapy Doctors.  This means that they have each completed at least 6-7 years of education and several clinical rotations before passing their licensing exam, and therefore have the necessary experience to properly treat you.

At Physical Therapy Doctors of Florida, we are committed to Helping You Move Without Pain.

For more information or to schedule an appointment, call us at 941-264-1414.