SPRAINS AND STRAINS— by Jan Chamberlain of First Physical Therapy

March 17, 2014

sprains-and-strains-125667Whether you have been involved in trauma such as a fall or an accident, or have overdone it with a new activity, you could suffer from a sprain or strain of your musculosketelal system.

A strain is defined as localized to a muscle or muscular region within the muscle belly, or a the end of the muscle, where the muscle becomes a tendon, thereby attaching itself to a nearby bone. A sprain is defined as also a localized region, but this time the injured or stretched tissue is ligamentous vs muscular. This source of irritation is much less elastic and tends to have a poorer prognosis as far as healing capacity, but is not an impossible task. A strain can recuperate and replace muscle tissue with connective tissue especially with larger strains. A sprain scars over unfortunately without the same cell type, and has a higher rate of re-tearing or re-injury.

A musculoskeletal injury such as a strain or sprain usually accompanies edema or swelling. Edema is described as protein rich fluid in between the muscle fibers where it should not be. It is essential that edema is controlled in the early stage of trauma for quick and early recovery. If the edema continues for a prolonged period of time, effusion can occur. Effusion is the escaping of fluid from the blood vessels into surrounding tissue, which is diffuse, and is or over a greater area vs localized to the injury site.

Whether you suffer from edema, effusion or both, from a traumatic or repetitive injury, it is wise to seek medical advice. You may be told to elevate you body part above your heart as to increase the assistance of gravity to alleviate fluid accumulation. You may also be advised to use an ice pack to control the swelling. Ice bags or a cold gel pack can be used for 10-15 minutes at a time to reduce edema or swelling to the injured area. This can be done many times during the day; just NOT all day long. Prolonged icing can be harmful causing frostbite if left on too long. Also, the use of dry or moist heat to a new injury which had occurred < 72 hours can be harmful. The reason why is that vasodilatation or expansion of the blood vessels occurs with heat application increasing the blood flow forcing edema to the area, thereby hindering your recuperation overall. However, moist heat / dry heat after trauma or injury can be helpful in recuperating after 4-5 days with an increased movement and pain relief as long as the edema has dissipated to a normal level. No matter what, you can not go wrong with a cold pack for 10-15 minutes.

Activity or exercise specific for the injured area can be beneficial if done with common sense and without pain. The old saying “No pain, no gain” does not apply to injured tissue, only healthy strength building muscles. Therefore, if you are not sure, it may be wise to seek medical attention as to rehabilitation properly. This will give you specific do’s and don’ts depending on your post condition.

A strain or sprain can remain for years if it goes untreated, never giving you the chance to recuperate properly. A person may complain of “low back pain” or a ‘bad shoulder” for years and accept it as part of aging. Our bodies have an incredible capacity to improve conditions no matter how old the injured tissue. It is never too late to try to enhance your function with proper exercises if your injury is greater than 4-7 days old. Even if your initial injury is 50 years old, it is still worth it to trying to recuperate and improve the state of the surrounding tissue.

Musculoskeletal injuries can be debilitating and overwhelming initially and long after the edema subsides. Strains and sprains respond to ice packs, dry or moist heat packs to the region and / or specific exercises with guidance if necessary. Check with your doctor.

Remember, don’t hesitate, participate.



85 Beach Street, Lower Level D, Westerly,RI

phone: (401) 348-8112 / fax: (401) 348-7009

Afraid of Winter Blues? Mix Up Your Exercise Routine— by Jan Chamberlain of First Physical Therapy

February 17, 2014

winter bluesNow is the time to rethink which athletic activity you plan to do in the next season to stay fit and healthy. First of all, let us consider your goal. Is this a time to improve your stamina, your flexibility, your abdominal strength, or simply adapt your current program?

You may wish to scale back the intensity of your workouts or step it up a notch. If you have an old injury that you are fearful of aggravating, it is a good idea to get a check-up first. Then select a modified activity that allows you to exercise possibly in a different context. For example, a nagging back or painful shoulder may do well with swimming versus weight lifting. Stationary bicycling may be just the right medicine for a sore foot. The idea here is to be smart about your revised or new exercise program.

The ability to exercise a different set of muscles than what you are used to doing is known as cross training. Some examples were mentioned above that indicate a change or reversal of exercise choices. Not only does this prevent your routine from becoming stale, it also keeps you hopping! As in jump roping! Or dancing hip hop! Have your kids join in and make it fun for the family.

Cross training allows muscles that are regularly used for one activity, a given rest period, while other muscles are being utilized in another style or choice of exercise regimens. This can be very healthy if you run the risk of a repetitive injury. Also, this allows you to build a more balanced body, even-toned, and a healthier, stronger you.

If you wish to build your stamina, or your cardiovascular endurance, consider the Nordic Track cross-country ski machine. This machine works your entire body, using your arms, legs, back and trunk muscles. I recommend this for those who have experienced back pain in the past. Another option for stamina enhancing is the elliptical machine. This is a cross between running and bicycling without the pounding. It is a great alternative for those who need to buffer a sore knee or a stiff hip but still crave a good workout.

If your goal is to improve your flexibility, you may wish to try a Yoga class, or Tai Chi instructions. If you wish to work on those forever-tight hamstring muscles, use your own belt. (Your hamstring muscles run along the back of your thigh). Stretch your hamstring muscles by lying on your back, and placing the belt under the ball of your foot. Your hands should now be grasping onto the ends of the belt. Lift your leg slowly straight up with the belt pulling on the ends, while feeling the stretch on the back of your thigh, and even behind the knee. Hold the stretch for 5-10 seconds and stretch each leg 5 times. This is a profound stretch that is great for those who suffer any hip or low back pain.

If you wish to obtain a six-pack from your six-pack flabs, then abdominal conditioning is the workout for you. Any abdominal exercise such as “The Crunch” is beneficial if only you exhale while lifting your head, or your knees, either end. You must exhale to shorten the rectus abdominus muscle that runs up and down the front of your trunk. If you hold your breath when you exert yourself, you will only increase the intra- abdominal pressure. This increase in pressure can be harmful due to the increase in intervertebral disc pressure. This can potentially lead to a bulging disc in the lumbar or low back region. If you perform abdominal exercises properly, this benefit can decrease your back pain and slim your abdominal shape all in one! Remember to exhale with exertion. Abdominal exercises can be done in almost any position, with any machine or with a physioball. There are numerous ways to “crunch the rectus” from a curl-up to the famed Pilates exercise tapes/DVDs.

Exercise with a goal in mind is a big positive for sticking with it, while finding the winter months inviting to a change in sport or venue. This can be very satisfying and pleasing versus drudgery. Enjoy and have fun. Include a family member. Remember, don’t hesitate, participate.


85 Beach Street, Lower Level D, Westerly,RI

phone: (401) 348-8112 / fax: (401) 348-7009

Granite Theatre Open Auditions for Musical Revue “From Stage To Screen and Back Again”

February 4, 2014


1 Granite Street, Westerly, RI 02891

Box Office-401-596-2341


email: thegranitetheatre@gmail.com

From Stage resizedRenaissance City Theatre Inc., the producing entity at the Granite Theatre of Westerly, will be holding open auditions for a musical revue “From Stage To Screen and Back Again”! The auditions are Sunday March 9, 2014 at 2 PM and Monday, March 10, 2014 at 7 PM at the theatre, 1 Granite Street, Westerly, RI. The shows is produced by David Jepson.

This show is created and directed by Stephen DeCesare with choreography by Lisa Clough and runs for 14 performances scheduled between May 16 and June 8, 2014.

A variety show of all your favorite stage musicals that have turned into film and famous movies that have been turned into musical stage productions. This show will feature songs from the early days of SHOWBOAT and OKLAHOMA! to modern movie musicals such as MAMMA MIA, PHANTOM and LES MISERABLES. Come, and see how many you can recognize.

Stephen DeCesare (of 2013’s Three Tenors) directs the show.

The cast needed is 5 women, 5 men, 5 children (3 girls and 2 boys) and one non-singing male role. This is an open audition – no appointments are necessary. Prepare an up tempo and a ballad and bring your own sheet music. Come prepared to move! Bring your head shot and resume if you have not auditioned with us previously.

All cast and crew receive stipend payments for performances. For further information you may contact Stephen DeCesare 401-226-7810 and David Jepson at 401-348-0555. Directions to the theatre are available at our website www.granitetheatre.com or by calling the Box Office at 401-596-2341.

AQUATIC THERAPY— by Jan Chamberlain of First Physical Therapy

August 30, 2013
Join us in the pool for aquatic therapy!
First Physical Therapy’s pool program is one of our newest and most exciting additions to our care!
We offer aquatic therapy to our current patients every Tuesday and Thursday at the Westerly YMCA from 7:30-8:30 a.m.
Speak to your doctor today to see if aquatic therapy is right for you!


85 Beach Street, Lower Level D, Westerly,RI

phone: (401) 348-8112 / fax: (401) 348-7009

Backpack Back Attack— by Jan Chamberlain of First Physical Therapy

August 16, 2013

backpackIt’s that time again when the kids return to school…and when they return to wearing backpacks. By “hitting the books” students who carry backpacks greater than 10% of their body weight are contributing to the hottest epidemic: Low back pain in children.

80% of adults suffer low back pain. It has been estimated that 60% of youths will experience a low back pain episode. This is due in part to the improper use of backpacks on a young, growing spine.

Backpacks are a fashion statement for kids in elementary school, high school, and college. From an education standpoint, we need to teach our kids that it is cool to take care of your spine. This could eliminate pain and grief later in life. So, if your child complains of neck or back pain, listen up. The solution may be as simple as changing the way the backpack is carried, or eliminating some unnecessary items reducing the overall weight in the pack. In either case, you will want to do some checking into.

It has been recommended by many health care professional organizations to NOT carry a backpack > 15% of your body weight. That means if your child weighs 50lbs, their pack should weigh 7.5 lbs or less! For an 80 lb youngster, 12 lbs is the max. Also, a 100 lb adolescent max weight is 15 lbs. However, research is undergoing and reports are coming out from the American Orthopedic Association stating only 10% of your body weight is safe to carry on your back. So, for the 100 lb adolescent, 10 lbs is the max weight to be carried to avoid back pain. This may seem impossible to get your student to adhere to. Help your youth organize their pack to only carry what is needed. These habits are learned early on and bad habits can be prevented at an earlier age.

So, how can you make sure your child’s backpack is of a proper fit? Not only does the weight of the pack need to be monitored, but also, the placement of the pack should rest at the low back, not over the buttocks, and not at the mid spine near the shoulder blades. This proper fit will allow the greatest weight distribution. Urge your youngster to not only use both shoulder straps, but also, most importantly, to use the waist strap which helps distribute the load to the pelvis. Purchase a backpack that has wide shoulder straps preferably padded to prevent indentations on the shoulders. Also, by using the compression straps on the sides of the backpack prevents movement of the articles inside.

It may seem obvious to most of us that if the weight of the backpack is too great for a spine, the body will compensate by leaning forward causing a harming posture. Teach your kids how they should look and feel with the proper and improper fit of the backpack. If by the day’s end, the pack is too heavy to carry home on the bus, creating this forward leaning, tell your kids to carry heavy books in their arms to avoid carrying over and above the proper weight of the pack. This will allow them to walk upright and be balanced with books etc in front of them.

If the backpack is carried off one shoulder, the increasing likelihood of creating uneven stress of the shoulders and spine is obvious. The postural imbalance can trigger vertebral changes creating serious postural malalignment. This malalignment is a precursor to pain and dysfunction which can affect a child well into their adult years.

Now, there are the rolling backpacks that prove to be difficult to lift up the steps into the bus, only to tip on the way down the bus steps. They are great on uneven ground, but most kids fear they are not cool. Trying to get them to use them proves very challenging.

This is a serious epidemic and the place to make change is first with the manufacturers. If only they made a backpack like a hiking pack, one that rests on the hips with aluminum bars to take the weight off the back completely. The second place is with the marketing directors. If only the advertisement was of a briefcase instead of an “off the shoulder pack”. Your best bet is to teach your child what fits best for them, and to monitor the weight in the pack as well as posture and pain complaints. It may be properly justified to have them take a “vacation” from their backpack and go without one to give their back a rest. Either way, keep your kids healthy by exercising regularly. This will help too. Remember, don’t hesitate, participate.



85 Beach Street, Lower Level D, Westerly,RI

phone: (401) 348-8112 / fax: (401) 348-7009


June 27, 2013


Thrifty Thursday – $699 Clayton Marcus floor sample sofas. Up to 80% off today only. All are 8-way hand-tied coil spring construction and retail for $1000 to $2000 more than we are selling them off for today! All are one only and this offer ends at 7:00 p.m. Thursday, June 27th 2013


10 Richmond Townhouse Road

(Junction of Route 112 & 138)
Richmond, RI 02898
phone: 401.539.9043
fax: 401.539.9045

“BOEING BOEING” Opens June 21st at The Granite Theatre

June 9, 2013

New Logo1 Granite Street, Westerly, RI 02891

Box Office-401-596-2341


email: thegranitetheatre@gmail.com


Boeing Boeing 1Renaissance City Theatre Inc., the producing entity at the Granite Theatre of Westerly,  announces the opening of Marc Camolletti’s hilarious comedy “Boeing Boeing”.  The show opens Friday June 21, 2013.  The show runs Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays at 8pm and Sundays at 2pm through July21, 2013.   Producer/ Artistic Director for the theatre is David Jepson. 

Brian Olsen (Westerly, RI) directs.  The cast features Anna Armagno (Colchester, CT),  Ed Benjamin III (Cumberland, RI), Lisa Clough (Westerly, RI), Carrie Heise (Westerly, RI), David LaRocque (Wakefield, RI) and Christine Reynolds (Gales Ferry, CT).


This mega-hit set attendance records for a non-musical, capturing the 2008 Tony Award for Best Revival of a Play and Best Leading Male Actor as well as four other nominations.  It starred Bradley Whitford, Christine Baranski and Gina Gershon.  This adaptation of the 1960’s French comedy adapted for the English-speaking stage features self-styled Parisian lothario Bernard, who has Italian, German, and American fiancees, each beautiful airline hostesses with frequent “layovers”. He keeps “one up, one down and one pending” until unexpected schedule changes bring all three to Paris and Bernard’s apartment at the same time.  The appeal of the show is the very opposite of what you might expect.  It’s deliciously, deliriously innocent!  “This latest edition of a play named for an aircraft soars right out of its time zone and into some unpolluted stratosphere of classic physical comedy.  Propelled by the same gusty spirit that animated Commedia dell’Arte and the silent films of Keaton, Chaplin and Lloyd; this may be earthy, but it’s seldom earthbound.” – The New York Times.

Patrons may enjoy a selection of wines, beers and soft drinks from the theatre’s cash bar at all performances in the comfortable, spacious lobby of the beautifully refurbished, historic theatre.  Opening nights of each new production feature a special post-show party and mixer of patrons and performers with special treats by Cecilia Santana.

Reservations are also being taken for the hilarious Norm Foster comedy “Skin Flick” opening July26, 2013 at The Granite!  Marc Camoletti’s “Boeing Boeing” performances are Thursday through Saturday evenings at 8 pm except Saturday June 22 and Thursday July 4  and Sunday Matinees at 2 pm.   Tickets for this show are $20, 62 and older is $17 and children 12 and under are $12. Gift certificates are available year-round.  For reservations, directions or other information, call the Box Office at 401-596-2341.  Tickets are also available online – please see our website for information – http://www.granitetheatre.com.


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 169 other followers