• Illustration of a man and woman holding their pelvic areas in discomfort.

    Why pelvic health is important for oncology rehabilitation

    While the pelvic floor is a mystery to many, it is important to your long-term health and quality of life.

    But for those who have received a cancer diagnosis, the type of cancer and treatment regime can affect pelvic floor function.

    But first, what is the pelvic floor?

    The pelvic floor is a group of muscles, ligaments and tissue that form a sling to support the pelvic organs and spine. These muscles also help with control and coordination of bowel, bladder and sexual function.

    Muscle control — the ability to squeeze and relax pelvic floor muscles — is key here.

    Pelvic floor muscles contract to prevent bowel and bladder leakage. The muscles also relax to allow the bladder to empty completely when you void, empty the bowel without straining and have intimacy or pelvic exams without pain.

    Therapist showing a patient a model of the pelvic bowl.

    Pelvic floor muscles also support reproduction.

    In women, pelvic floor muscles are the muscles that:

    • Contract with orgasm.
    • Support the uterus.
    • Promote circulation of blood and lymphatic fluids

    With men, pelvic floor muscles help to:

    • Develop and maintain an erection.
    • Support the prostate.
    • Ejaculate during sex.
    • Promote circulation of blood and lymphatic fluids.
    • Prevent incontinence, or increased urgency.

    Now, put it all together and pelvic floor dysfunction (PFD) describes bowel and bladder disorders, sexual disorders and chronic pelvic pain syndromes that affect the pelvic floor muscles’ inability to contract or relax appropriately.

    What are common symptoms of PFD?

    Unfortunately, pelvic health issues may go unrecognized and untreated. Indeed, people are often hesitant to share their concerns and, when they finally do, often wait several weeks or months to make an appointment with their doctor.

    Common symptoms of PFD may include:

    • Urgent or frequent urination or bowel movements. You may feel like you have to go right away or all the time. You may also fear leaving your home so that you can stay close to the bathroom. 
    • Hesitancy or painful urination. You may also feel you need to ‘force it out’ to go or you might stop and start many times.
    • Constipation, or pain during your bowel movements. Up to half of people suffering from long-term constipation may have pelvic health dysfunction.
    • Straining or pushing really hard to pass a bowel movement. You may also find yourself changing positions on the toilet.
    • Leaking stool or urine (incontinence).
    • Feeling pain in your lower back or hips with no other cause.
    • Feeling ongoing pain in your pelvic region, genitals, or rectum.

    If you’re experiencing any of these symptoms, it can feel as though your quality of life has diminished.

    But, there’s no need to accept this as your new normal.

    How cancer and the pelvic floor can go hand-in-hand.

    Many people with cancer simply aren’t told that treatment side effects can impact their pelvic floor. They may believe that their symptoms are a normal part of aging or are so grateful to be cancer-free that they don’t put two and two together.

    Women with gynecological cancers, including uterine (endometrial), ovarian, cervical, vulvar and vaginal cancer, men with prostate and testicular cancer and anyone with bladder, rectal or anal cancer are most at risk for experiencing problems with PFD.

    For example, radiation for gynecological cancers, which are located in the pelvic region, may cause fibrosis, a hardening of tissue that may narrow or shorten the vaginal canal. This may cause generalized pelvic pain and pain with intercourse.

    Men who have radiation therapy for prostate cancer treatment, or who undergo a prostatectomy (the surgical removal of the prostate), may develop incontinence and/or erectile dysfunction.

    Several types of surgery may also affect the pelvic floor, including:

    • Tumor debulking to remove as much of a cancerous tumor as possible. 
    • Hysterectomy to remove the uterus.
    • Salpingo-oophorectomy to remove the ovaries and fallopian tubes.

    Regardless of what caused your PFD, pelvic health therapy and cancer rehabilitation can help you feel your best.

    How can pelvic health therapy help?

    A pelvic floor specialist can help to develop a care plan to achieve the right mix of coordination, control and strength in the pelvic floor muscles.

    Pelvic health therapy, whether it’s physical therapy or occupational therapy, aims to restore function and reduce pain. A pelvic health therapist will give you an assessment of your muscle function, posture, breathing patterns, strength and flexibility of your spine, hip and abdominals to determine contributing factors of any pelvic health issues.

    Therapist helping a patient do pelvic floor exercises.

    Every person is different, so pelvic health therapy will look different for everyone. Some interventions you might experience can include:

    • Therapeutic manual (or hands-on) therapy. 
      • Trigger point release: Trigger points are sensitive areas in the muscle or connective tissue that are painful when pressed. Trigger points may cause pain in the pelvic area. Trigger point release is a hands-on technique to relieve chronic pain.
      • Dry needling: This form of treatment uses a dry needle - a needle without medicine - to deactivate trigger points in the muscle, help reduce scar tissue and promote healing in the body. Dry needling is not acupuncture.
      • Connective or scar tissue mobilization: This form of manual therapy aims to break up fibrosis related to cancer treatment that may be causing stiffness, desensitization or pain. Besides gently breaking up the tissue, this type of hands-on therapy helps to stretch and relax surrounding muscles building essential flexibility.
      • Myofascial release: This treatment style helps to lengthen and reduce tension in the connective tissue.
    • Biofeedback, which is commonly used to retrain pelvic floor muscles. This pain-free procedure uses special sensors to monitor pelvic floor muscles as you try to contract and relax them. The sensors provide feedback to you and your therapist about which specific muscles you need to strengthen to gain sensitivity or improve coordination of pelvic floor muscles.
    • Pelvic floor exercises. Your therapist will prescribe exercises to enhance coordination, control and function of the pelvic floor and surrounding muscles like the back, abdominals and hips.

    Talk to an oncology and pelvic health specialist today.

    If you or someone you love has been impacted by cancer that has led to any sort of pelvic health issues, ReVital Cancer Rehabilitation can help.

    Our compassionate clinicians are certified in oncology rehabilitation, and uniquely trained to treat pelvic health issues.

    To request an appointment to work with one of our clinical team members or ask us questions about treatment, fill out our short online form. A member of our team will connect with you to confirm your visit.

  • Exterior of the Hackettstown, NJ building.

    We’re excited to announce our newest location in Hackettstown, NJ! Our new center is conveniently located in Mansfield Commons at 1875-1885 Route 57, Hackettstown.

    Center Manager Randy J. Whitt, P.T., DPT, OCS, and his team are ready to offer a wide array of physical therapy treatments in this brand new location:

    • Post-operative care
    • Neck & back pain
    • Strains & sprains
    • Amputee rehabilitation (lower extremity)
    • Blood flow restriction
    • Concussion rehabilitation
    • Pediatrics
    • Work conditioning
    • ...and more!

    Extended hours and evening appointments available.  No prescription is necessary* to schedule an appointment. We accept most insurance plans, offer flexible scheduling and virtual telerehab services for patients unable to visit.

    For more information, or to request an appointment, please click here or call 866.33.REHAB

    *Restrictions may apply.

  • Soldiers recovering from severe wounds learn basket weaving as a form of occupational therapy

    How the ravages of history launched two profound professions

    Posted 4/19/2023

    When a doctor recommends occupational therapy (OT), rather than physical therapy (PT), many people don't at first realize there are two kinds of therapies.

    It might also not be understood that there's a difference between them, or why a doctor prescribes one over the other.

    As therapists, we get this question a lot.

    For sure, there's a difference between the therapies and how they're used in healing and recovery. And the story is more interesting than you might imagine…

    A short history of modern therapy

    Movement and manual therapies can be traced back to ancient Asia, Greece and Rome. Those early practices included massage and hydrotherapy (water therapy).

    FDR receiving physical therapy or exercising with assistance in an indoor pool

    In the 1920s and ‘30s, Franklin D. Roosevelt found relief with hydrotherapy. FDR receiving physical therapy or exercising with assistance in an indoor pool at Warm Springs, GA, 1928. Courtesy of Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library and Museum.

    Fast-forward to modern-day therapy which began in 18th century Sweden with the practice of orthopedics — the medical focus on bones and muscles.

    A bit later, Hanrik Ling, developed the Swedish Gymnastic System (also known as the Swedish Movement Cure). His motivation? Having experienced the benefit of improved body movement through his practice of fencing.

    At its core, Ling's system emphasized physical conditioning for its ability to improve health and body function. It combined lesser intensive floor-style of gymnastics with manual therapy. Ling's approach brought wide acceptance of his methods.

    In 1813, the Swedish government appointed Ling to start the Royal Central Institute of Gymnastics (RCIG).

    Ling's system became wider spread as graduates of the RCIG adopted its four core components:

    • physical education
    • fencing
    • massage, physical therapy, physiotherapy
    • dance performance

    One more fast-forward to the 1920s. The polio epidemic was raging in the United States, especially among children.

    During the epidemic, two schools of thought emerged.

    One used the practice of immobilizing the limbs of patients believing limb movement and stretching would impair muscle recovery and cause more deformity.

    A second practice re-introduced the Roman practice of hydrotherapy. Here therapists used exercise in heated pools to improve a patient's muscle recovery and movement.

    Polio paralysis spurred working with patients to improve balance and regain muscle strength. The benefit of warm water was helpful as well as buoyancy – water supports body weight and reduces stress on the joints.

    The practice – active polio therapy – helped grow a population of physical therapy (PT) specialists who became instrumental in treating polio paralysis.

    These early PTs developed methods for assessing and strengthening muscles – methods still used today.

    This piece of history gave the push to establishing the profession of physical therapy in the U.S.

    Turning now to the topic of occupational therapy (OT), its history doesn't stretch back as far as those of physical therapy.

    But its roots in America began to grown in the late 1800s. This happened primarily as a way to help individuals with mental illness by engaging them in meaningful tasks. Examples include gardening, painting and arts and crafts creation.

    The U.S. military also began recognizing the importance of mental health services for wounded and traumatized soldiers to help them resume daily living.

    This marked an entry for OT services in the treatment of individuals with mental and physical needs.

    Three movements of thought were significant in the development of OT:

    1. The consensus that mental health patients should be treated and not put in asylums or prisons.
    2. The reemergence of the value of manual occupation and vocational skills over mass production.
    3. The rise of thought that working with your hands to produce items of value can be beneficial to a person’s overall health.

    During this time, mental health asylums changed to reflect these new ideas. They were ideas of humane rehabilitation and included craft and recreational activities to help patients return to society through their contributions.

    These ideas were foundational for developing OT.

    About 1915, a social worker named Eleanor Clark Slagle started the first formal OT education program at John Hopkins University in Baltimore.

    Dubbed the "mother of occupational therapy" she trained more than 4,000 therapists and promoted OT within the medical community.

    While PT and OT therapies were in their infancy on the two sides of the Atlantic, it was America's entry into the Great War in 1917 where they came together.

    To summarize some of the above timeframes, it's worth a look at how it happened.

    World War I and its transformation of therapy

    World War I transformed medicine and contributed to the development of today's scope of medical care. 

    The total number of military and civilian casualties in World War I was about 40 million.. and about 23 million wounded military personnel.

    – Wikipedia

    With the staggering number of wounded worldwide, orthopedics and therapists rapidly advanced to meet the need.

    The course of thought was that society had a moral responsibility to help these soldiers return to a normal and purposeful life. Thus, medical specialties developed to fill this need.

    The U.S. military hired a small group of women, calling them "reconstruction aides." In their roles they provided treatment by teaching occupation skills to the wounded. 

    The initial 18 aides were trained in the latest European physiotherapy practices at the time. Aides were chosen from civilian women and women from the newly established profession of OT.

    Both therapy groups expanded rapidly to help the soldiers with recovery.

    Of the original 18 Aides, 16 went on to form the American Women's Physical Therapeutic Association. This later became the American Physical Therapy Association with McMillan as president.

    – The U.S. World War One Centennial Commission.

    Soldiers recovering from severe wounds learn basket weaving as a form of occupational therapy

    Soldiers recovering from severe wounds learn basket weaving as a form of occupational therapy, led by the World War Reconstruction Aides Assocation. Learning basket weaving (Reeve 000290), National Museum of Health and Medicine.

    The work of these aides brought the military to begin seeing disability in terms of capability in function, and not as limitation.

    Their successes were many, helping wounded soldiers learn to walk again and freely move about in their environments.

    These early therapists gave training in the use of arm prosthetics, adapted home and work spaces and taught crafts and vocational skills for mental diversion and future employment.

    The convergence of today's therapies and practitioners

    After WWI, occupational and physical therapy continued to advance.

    And with their evolutions came recognition for the benefits they each provided.

    But sometimes there was division in which to prescribe: occupational therapy vs physical therapy.

    What became clear over time, with advances in the professions, is the benefit to individuals when providing therapies in tandem.

    Today's occupational and physical therapists work together in the shared goal of improving an individual’s function through movement.

    As individual medical treatments, the therapies, when used together, can have profound results.

    Because of this they are recognized as separate but symbiotic professions.

    Similarities include:

    Working in a variety of settings

    • Schools
    • Outpatient rehabilitation centers
    • Home health agencies
    • Hospitals
    • Nursing homes

    Training in key disciplines

    • Science
    • Anatomy
    • Kinesiology

    Using similar therapy techniques

    • Soft tissue mobilization
    • Functional activities
    • Strengthening
    • Stretching
    • Pain relief

    Opposites attract, even in medicine

    Even with similarities between the two professions, there are also key differences.

    Physical therapy focuses on improving movement, flexibility and mobility. This includes improving physical motion required for a task.

    Physical therapy has a unique approach to mobility – movement and muscle balance. It uses prescribed treatment techniques to maximize function, capacity and performance.

    PTs work with patients before and after surgery to build strength and kick-start healing. Therapy uses movement to reduce pain, recover from an injury and promote balance to reduce the risk of falls.

    The occupational therapy profession has a different focus.

    That focus is on functional ability – the ability of an individual to do activities, work and tasks that are normally performed in everyday living and occupation.

    occupational therapist assisting patient

    That focus gives occupational therapy its name.

    Occupation is defined as an activity that is meaningful and purposeful to the individual. It can include basic activities such as dressing, bathing or fixing a meal.

    It can also include specific activities which are unique to the individual.

    For example, you may be a high school teacher, home gardener, pianist or an electrician. Each occupation requires a unique set of activities. If those activities are compromised by illness or injury, OTs can help.

    Your therapist will assess your current function and how to improve your ability to perform a task or modify it to help you complete it.

    Now that you know more about the differences between OT and PT, should you need therapy you'll be able to spot the differences in what your therapist recommends.

    Of course, it all depends on your condition, your needs, and personal goals.

    But thanks to a long history of the disciplines, and more than a century of experience since WWI, PTs and OTs are specialists in your care.

    Our job is to help get you back to enjoying the activities that matter to you.

    If you or someone in your family might benefit from our therapies, request an appointment with us. We're here to help.

  • KRC Milltown building exterior

    Posted 3/8/2023. | 1 min. read

    We’re pleased to announce that Kessler Rehabilitation Center has opened its 103rd center in the town of Milltown, NJ. This new center is conveniently located at 114 Ryders Lane, at the intersection of Tices Lane in Milltown.

    Center Manager Megan Snodgrass, P.T., DPT, and her team are ready to offer a wide array of physical therapy treatments in this brand new location.

    The following care and services are available with extended hours and evening appointments:

    • Physical therapy
    • Sports medicine
    • Orthopedic rehabilitation
    • Post-op care
    • Balance issues
    • Work-related injuries
    • ...and more

    All Kessler clinicians are licensed therapists. No prescription is necessary* to schedule an appointment. Kessler accepts most insurance plans, offer flexible scheduling and virtual telerehab services for patients unable to visit.

    For more information, or to request an appointment, please click here or call (866) 33-REHAB today.

    *Restrictions may apply.

  • Hypervolt 2 percussion massage device

    Posted 2/21/2023. | 1 min. read

    Select Medical, Kessler Rehabilitation Center's parent company, today announced that Hyperice recovery technology has been integrated into more than 70 Select Sports Centers of Excellence across the U.S. to assist in the rehabilitative care of athletes. Additionally, more than 400 Select Medical athletic trainers use Hyperice technology in high school, college and professional team training rooms and on sidelines.

    “The charter of our Sports Centers of Excellence is to help athletes of all levels prevent injury, achieve peak performance and recover quickly and safely,” said John Gilmour, national director of sports medicine for Select Medical’s Outpatient Division. “Our highly trained sports therapists integrate Hyperice technology into rehabilitative treatment plans that are customized based on each patient’s injury and recovery needs and goals.”

    Select Sports Centers of Excellence services focus on restoring function, increasing strength and flexibility, optimizing performance and returning athletes back to play. Each center’s clinical teams are comprised of certified sports therapists who employ the most up-to-date, clinically-proven best practices that combine manual and technology-based therapies.

    Hyperice technology devices help prevent injury, accelerate recovery, alleviate pain and enhance muscle and joint movement to meet the expectations of athletes of all ages and ranges.

    To purchase Hyperice technology at the Select Sports Center of Excellence discounted rate, visit: https://selectmedical.performancehealth.com/.

  • Generic male and female figures with indicated pelvic pain..

    Posted 2/14/2023. | 5 min. read

    How we are helping patients access effective pelvic health therapy

    Physical therapy (PT) – as an industry – talks a lot about the benefits of PT, sometimes in general terms.

    It can help with the management of aches and pain.

    It can help you heal from injury.

    It can help you regain strength and improve mobility after surgery.

    It can even help you avoid surgery – read Reason 3 in this popular blog to learn how.

    And while all that’s true, for this blog we’re taking a bit of a departure to talk about a more, well… pressing problem.

    Pelvic floor dysfunction.

    It can literally feel like pressure – or pain – in your pelvic region, either in the front or the rear of your pelvic area.

    This is a condition that’s a growing problem among U.S. adults – about 25 million – women and men.

    And it’s been the elephant in the room that, until recently, no one really wanted to talk about. Let alone admit they knew the elephant was there.

    Woman and man in business clothes being squished in a small room with an elephant with the message Ignore Me written on its side.

    But the American physical therapy community is bringing the elephant into the light to drive conversation, education and new ways to access care and treatment of pelvic issues.

    Now, there’s no need for a show of hands, but if a belly laugh makes you leak urine, if a bowel movement causes you misery or you’re bounding to the bathroom and hoping to make it, this blog is for you.

    Read on to learn more.

    What is the pelvic floor and its function?

    Like many other body parts, the pelvic floor is a mix of muscles, ligaments and connective tissue that fit together to form and support various organs in the body. In other words, this “floor” is the base of your pelvis and home to important organs.

    Picture the bladder, bowel, uterus (women) or prostate (men) within the pelvic area and the pelvic muscles holding them all in place. Now imagine a bowl holding fruit or a hammock holding a peson – that’s what the pelvic floor does.

    The support of the pelvic muscles allows us to go to the bathroom without issue. That’s all thanks to the normal function of the muscles tightening and releasing as they should.

    But when the pelvic floor muscles are weak (hypotonic) or become too tight (hypertonic) – more about these in a bit – it’s called pelvic floor dysfunction.

    That dysfunction can lead to all sorts of uncomfortable or embarrassing things for women and men.

    Pelvic dysfunction: women vs. men

    Every year millions of women and men experience pelvic floor dysfunction.

    In both genders the pelvic floor muscles are attached in two places: the pubic bone (front) and the tail bone (back).

    Both genders can share similar symptoms of pain – internal organs, pelvis, hip, groin and tailbone – incontinence, constipation and declining sexual health.

    But there are key differences and causes for the dysfunction, too.

    Pelvic floor dysfunction: women

    • Reproductive health due to muscle strain during pregnancy or prolonged labor
    • Painful sex due to the muscles’ inability to relax
    • Muscle weakness that causes the pelvic organs to drop through the vagina or rectum

    Women who have had multiple births have an increased chance of developing pelvic floor dysfunction.

    Often, they may feel like their pelvic floor muscles are too weak or loose – a hypotonic pelvic floor. This means your pelvic floor muscles do not have the strength to properly position and stabilize your pelvis. Because of this you may experience symptoms of incontinence when you cough, sneeze, laugh or exercise.

    Alternately, women can have hypertonic pelvic floor muscles. Increased tension in a muscle is created when you hold the muscles tight for a prolonged period of time – like when you have chronic pain. A good example is endometriosis. Symptoms of a hypertonic pelvic floor would be pain with pelvic exams, pain with intercourse and difficulty using a tampon.

    Pelvic floor dysfunction: men

    • Erectile dysfunction that may be caused by muscle tension
    • Extreme workouts or long-term sports due to the core muscles being engaged for long periods
    • Testicular pain
    • Prior prostate surgery

    These are just some of the many factors that can contribute to pelvic floor dysfunction. If you’re experiencing any type of dysfunction of the pelvic region, it’s recommended to seek help.

    Can physical therapy help pelvic floor dysfunction?

    In a word, yes.

    Physical therapy can be an effective and non-invasive, non-surgical way to help with pelvic floor dysfunction.

    It may be key in finally finding relief and getting back to a better quality of life. So if you’re one of the more than 25 million U.S. adults whose laughter, coughing or sneezing we referenced at the top of this article – or whose pelvic area is in constant pain – impacts your day-to-day, you may want to talk with one of our pelvic floor therapists.

    Of course, depending on what your symptoms are and how long you’ve had them will determine the best type of therapy and its length.

    With all the DIY self-help on the internet and apps to download for pretty much anything, you may think there are plenty of ways to find improvement without working with a specialist. Or you may think it too embarrassing to talk about. But the reality is that a pelvic health specialist is trained in how the body functions and can determine the nature of your pelvic floor condition and work with you one-on-one.

    You’ll benefit from a professional assessment and a program of therapy and exercises we’ll put together just for you and your needs.

    Woman squeezing a therapy ball between her legs.

    Without an assessment, there’s no way of knowing which muscles or body parts you need to focus on. With DIY you’ll be guessing, which could lead to bigger problems.

    Working with us, you’ll have the benefit of immediate feedback to adjust your exercise and monitor your progress.

    If you’re experiencing pelvic pain or any of the symptoms we’ve highlighted, it’s important to seek medical attention. A physical therapist can provide the necessary treatments to help reduce and eliminate your pain and discomfort.

    To request an appointment to work with one of our clinical team members or ask us questions about treatment, fill out our short online form. A member of our team will connect with you to confirm your visit.

  • Posted 2/13/2023. | 1 min. read

    Select Medical, Kessler Rehabilitation Center's parent company, has appointed Colleen Hickey, MHA, M.S., P.T., as the national director of its outpatient pelvic health rehabilitation program. Colleen previously served as pelvic health program director in the mid-Atlantic region.

    She has more than 30 years of experience in the physical therapy industry, including 10 years in pelvic health therapy. Prior to her national role, Colleen developed and implemented a pelvic health program for the Select Medical-UPMC joint venture in central Pennsylvania. The program currently has 63 clinicians in 52 centers.

    “Pelvic floor dysfunction negatively impacts the quality of life of millions of Americans, and while conservative care has shown to be effective in treating this condition, access to these services remains limited and therapy is underutilized,” said Colleen. “I’m passionate about pelvic health and honored to take on this leadership role to bring the highest level of pelvic floor therapy to those who need it.”

  • Woman bending her neck to look at her mobile phone.

    Originally written on 10/18/2021 by: Joe Zucco, P.T., DPT, FAAOMPT, center manager for Select Physical Therapy. Updated 1/30/2023 to include new data and information. | 5 min. read

    For many of us, our smartphones are an indispensable part of our lives.

    We use them to stay connected to family and friends, get information in seconds and tap our way through our favorite music, news, social pages, sports stats and recipe sites. We also use them to keep our personal and work appointments organized.

    But, with all our tech device touchpoints each day, there’s a very real and painful side effect.

    Studies show that we’re spending too much time hunched over our devices, creating tech neck, also called “text neck”.

    Fortunately, physical therapy exercises can help you get rid of tech neck pain.

    In this blog post, we’ll cover what tech neck is and the side effects of spending too much time on your phone.

    We’ve even thrown in a surprising look at the pressure you’re putting on yourself that’s causing tech neck. Then we’ll leave you with five essential exercises to get rid of it.

    What is tech neck?

    Tech neck is a term used to describe the neck pain that has become increasingly more common due to our overuse of technology.

    It’s caused by the strain on the neck from looking down at our phones and tablets for long periods of time.

    This strain can cause pain, stiffness and even limited range of motion. And it’s becoming increasingly more common in younger generations due to the amount of time they spend on their devices.

    Side effects of spending too much time on your phone

    The yearly climb in how many hours US adults – and kids – spend on their mobile phones, feature phones and tablets will reach 4 hours, 35 minutes per day in 2023.

    - research from Insider Intelligence

    That’s a 2.5% increase since last year! Up from 3 hours, 42 minutes in 2018.

    The side effects of spending too much time on your phone can range from mild discomfort to severe pain and stiffness.

    The most common side effects include:

    • neck and shoulder pain
    • headaches
    • poor posture

    Other side effects can include numbness and tingling in the arms and hands, as well as blurred vision.

    It’s not something we think about often, but the human head is between 10 and 12 pounds.

    That’s a bowling ball!

    When you lean your head down, the lower the angle, the more pressure and strain that’s put on the head. That can feel like 10 bowling balls.

    Series of women bending their necks a various degrees to look at their mobile phones.

    If you’re experiencing any symptoms of tech neck, physical therapy can help.

    5 essential exercises for tech neck

    Chin retraction

    Hunched over, staring at your phone? Your head pushed out in front of your shoulders? This is the starting position for retraction.

    When you realize you’re hunched over, pull your chin backward while looking directly forward. You should feel a “double-chin” forming under your jaw.

    Repeat this forward/backward exercise 10 times once an hour or two while working or catching up on texts.

    Trap stretch

    Tension in the upper trapezius muscles is common. These muscles span the back of the neck and shoulders, working in tandem to move the head and shoulder blades. The trap stretch can be performed any time you feel tight.

    Just 20-30 seconds for each side of the neck to release tension.

    To stretch the right side, place your right hand on your waist or lower back, tilt your head to the left while looking back to the right. Place your left hand on top of your head and gently pull toward the left until you feel a comfortable stretch. Don’t overdo it.

    Repeat on the other side.

    Thoracic extension

    Okay… let’s be honest. This one might look a bit odd if your cubicle mates walk by while you’re doing this stretch.

    But the Ah-hhh factor will be worth it!

    Lean forward in your chair. Pretend you’re smashing a pillow between your belly and thighs. Place your hands with fingers crossed behind your head.

    Do this one every couple hours while sitting at your work space. Who knows? You might convince others to join in. 

    Prone retraction

    The next two exercises might be better done at home… curious onlookers and all.

    Lie face down on the floor with your arms at your side, hands near the hips.

    Keep your neck straight (do not look upward).

    Lift your chin, arms and knees slightly off the floor.

    Hold the position for 2-3 seconds and release to the floor. Repeat 10 times for three sets.

    Prone scaption

    Lie face down on the floor with your arms reaching upward and slightly outward from your head.

    Keep your neck straight and lift your chin, arms and knees off the ground.

    Hold the position for 2-3 seconds and release to the floor. Repeat 10 times for three sets.

    With the overhead arm position, this exercise emphasizes the lower trapezius muscle between your shoulder blades. The prone scaption can be performed 2-3 days each week to promote strengthening of the muscles across the back of your neck, shoulders and torso.

    Strengthening your neck posture

    In addition to the exercises listed above, it’s important to pay attention to your posture while using your phone or tablet.

    Keep your chin parallel to the ground, and make sure your neck is in line with your spine. This will help reduce the strain on your neck and reduce tech neck pain.

    Tech or text neck and how to avoid it

    If you’re looking to avoid tech neck pain in the future, the best way is to limit your use of technology.

    Set limits on how much screen time you spend on your phone or have your apps running.

    Take regular breaks from looking at your screen.

    You can also invest in a stand for your phone or tablet that angles the screen toward you, so you don’t have to look down as much.

    And now, armed with these exercises, stay active and stretch regularly to keep your neck and shoulder muscles flexible to reduce the strain on your neck. Save the bowling balls for when you go bowling.

    If you’re experiencing neck pain, it’s important to seek medical attention. A physical therapist can provide the necessary treatments to help reduce and eliminate pain. Request an appointment to work with one of our movement experts near you.

  • Posted 1/24/2023 | 1 min. read

    Kessler Rehabilitation Center is proud to announce the opening of our new location in Morganville, New Jersey.  Our new center is conveniently located at Lloyd Road Commons, 483 Rt. 79, Building A (behind QuickChek).

    Our Morganville team, led by center manager and physical therapist Debbie Arrington, is ready to give you the individualized care, healing, strength and confidence you need to get back to living the kind of life deserve.

    Kessler is proud to offer the following care with extended hours and evening appointments available:

    • Physical therapy
    • ReVital Cancer therapy
    • Post-operative care
    • Cupping & taping
    • Blood Flow Restriction
    • Fall Prevention/Balance

    No prescription is necessary* to schedule an appointment. We accept most insurance plans, offer flexible scheduling and for those who cannot make it to our center, virtual telerehab services.

    For more information, or to request an appointment, please click here or call (866) 33-REHAB today.

    *Restrictions may apply.

  • Room length view of a therapy gym.

    Posted 1/12/2023 | 4 min. read

    You may think about physical therapy as a way to get back on your feet after an injury or regain strength after surgery.

    And you would be right.

    A typical idea of what physical therapy looks like might include a room with padded tables, balance balls and exercise equipment. These are traditional items well-known to those working through movement issues with the professional help and guidance of a physical therapist.

    Treatments using these items are pretty standard for improving strength and restoring movement.

    But did you know there are other types of treatments – and equipment – that while maybe not be as common are also effective in improving movement?

    As a movement expert, your physical therapist can evaluate the type of treatment or treatments that can benefit your condition. Chances are, there may be a mix of traditional and not-so-traditional treatments to:

    • Increase your range of motion
    • Decrease pain and discomfort
    • Build endurance
    • Lower or avoid the need for medication
    • Recover quality of life

    Depending on your condition or diagnosis, the success of some less familiar physical therapy treatments can make them a consideration for your care plan.


    Cupping treats muscle and soft tissue dysfunction, like spasms, swelling and pain.

    This manual technique uses small silicone “cups” or “domes” (sometimes glass) pressed against the flesh to create suction.

    The technique stimulates blood flow as the suction pulls the skin upward into the cup. This expands tiny blood vessels under the skin to increase blood flow, turning the cupped area a reddish or pink color.

    A cupping disc being depressed on the skin.

    Cupping has been around for thousands of years, but is one of the lesser known techniques employed to ease:

    • Back and neck pain
    • Headache relief
    • Arthritis

    Dry needling

    Much different than cupping, which targets broader areas of the body, dry needling is a micro treatment.

    As the name implies, dry needling uses thin needles inserted into the skin at precise points in the muscle where there is pain or sensitivity. These points in the muscle, when touched or stimulated, can trigger pain, which is why this treatment is also known as “trigger point dry needling.” There is no medication delivered through the needle, like with a vaccine, which is why it’s called a dry needle.

    When inserted into the skin, the needle shuts down the trigger point, easing or eliminating the pain.

    Hands of physical therapist inserting dry needle in a man's shoulder.

    Though it uses needles, this alternative method of pain relief is not acupuncture, a common misconception.

    Dry needling is a technique for stimulating and releasing trigger points, while acupuncture is a practice that’s focused on restoring energy flow in the body.

    In the dry needle procedure, the length of the needle will depend on the area of the body being treated. Most people feel little or no pain, and the procedure lasts about 15 minutes.

    If appropriate for your type of pain, our therapists will create a treatment plan that includes dry needling along with other therapies.

    Dry needling is not a service provided in every state. Find a location near you that provides dry needling services.

    Instrument-assisted soft tissue mobilization (IASTM)

    Ever had a deep tissue massage? That firm pressure targeting a deep ache or an area of chronic pain?

    Ahhh… right?

    Well, IASTM is a technique that gets deep into the tissues, including the muscles.

    Similar to deep tissue massage, soft tissue mobilization works like standard massage, but using specialized instruments. Used quite often in physical therapy, it allows for more direct treatment than just using the hands.

    IASTM produces good results for large muscle groups as well as smaller, targeted areas.

    Angle and pressure in using the instruments help your therapist work on a specific layer of soft tissue during treatment. Often, these are areas where prior injury or long-term overuse has contributed to a build-up of scar tissue that IASTM can help break down.

    Hands pulling a curved metal rod with handles up a man's calf.

    IASTM is a good choice for many who have soft tissue pain or injury contributing to movement restriction, including:

    • Arthritis sufferers
    • Athletes
    • Workers who perform long-term repetitive tasks or whose job has them on their feet a lot

    Read more to find out if you’d be a candidate for IASTM.

    To request a consultation for any of our specialty services or ask us questions regarding treatment, fill out our short online form. A member of our team will connect with you directly.

    If you’d rather speak with someone personally, call our toll-free scheduling line at (800) 779-6682.