Getting Started

With the cost of healthcare on the rise, I help proactive adults of all ages to understand how to safely self-treat and manage common musculoskeletal, neurological, and mobility related conditions in a timely manner so they can reach their optimal health.

I am old enough to remember the days without the Internet, and I attended higher education during the transition to the Internet.  I can attest that it is much easier to perform research with the Internet than without!  However, online research can be confusing and it may be difficult to find reputable information.  Most of the time, my research is geared toward scientific journals and peer reviewed articles, but the average non-medical person doesn’t typically have the time or training to fully synthesize the information.

This is most evident within the popular news media today.  In an attempt to rush to publish new medical research, the data is often misinterpreted from the true meaning, if any, from the scientific research.  This leads to misinformation and confusion.  My desire is to filter the research and present it to you in a logical, useful and practical way so you may implement it into YOUR life!

The Physical Therapy Advisor web site is a respected resource for individuals who are searching for advice regarding:

  • Physical Therapy
  • Physical Fitness & Performance
  • Health & Nutrition
  • Injury Prevention & Rehabilitation
  • Successful Aging & Elder Care

I provide useful and practical types of “how to” information, including methods to safely self-treat and manage common musculoskeletal, neurological, and mobility related conditions.

The information, from a physical therapist’s perspective, is geared toward the adult and geriatric population.  In addition to the physical therapy related topics mentioned above, successful aging, elder care, and life topics are also featured.  As the population ages in the United States, I desire to see the most physically fit and active seniors in history.  I hope over the next ten to twenty years that the paradigm of successful aging is re-written and that old stereotypes of the elderly, the aged, and seniors will be lost in the dust of a new healthier, long lived population.

Health care costs in the United States continue to increase without actual positive change in health status.  It is imperative that we all take a leadership role in our own health care by continuing to be proactive.

Most importantly, I want to hear from YOU!  What are your pains?  What questions do you have? I look forward to providing YOU with useful and practical types of “how to” information and to answer your health related questions.  You CAN achieve optimal health!  Let’s get started!

If you have a question that you would like featured in an upcoming blog post, please submit it to

Don’t forget subscribe to my e-mail newsletter!  I will send you my blog posts on how to maximize your health, self-treat those annoying orthopaedic injuries, and gracefully age.  To thank you for subscribing, you will automatically gain access to my FREE resources, including a FREE CHAPTER from my eBook, Treating Low Back Pain During Exercise and Athletics.

Be sure to join our growing community on Facebook by liking The Physical Therapy Advisor where you will receive additional health and lifestyle information!

Disclaimer:  The Physical Therapy Advisor blog is for general informational purposes only and does not constitute the practice of medicine or other professional health care services, including the giving of medical advice.  No health care provider/patient relationship is formed.  The use of information on this blog or materials linked from this blog is at your own risk.  The content of this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment.  Do not disregard, or delay in obtaining, medical advice for any medical condition you may have.  Please seek the assistance of your health care professionals for any such conditions.

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

11 thoughts on “Getting Started

  1. Hi Ben,
    Just read your self treatment article (through Marathon Training Academy) on Plantar Fasciitis.
    I believe i do have this.
    About 2 months ago i started to feel some tenderness in my heel toward the inside of foot. I backed off running a tad, and rolled foot with golf ball and ice. I would start my run with this discomfort but after 1 mile it seem to always go away, until the next morning tenderness returned. Anyways I continued with self treatment and was able to run Chicago marathon OK. – again i continued with self treatment and 4 weeks later ran another marathon. This time the pain went away after 1 mile BUT returned at mile 14. I was going to stop but I continue to run putting all the weight on outside of foot. Yes it was very painful but much less than running normally. Now I want to take time off and fix this injury. My heel is very tender and sore, not putting too much weight on it.
    My question to you do I do i continue to self treat, do self strengthening exercises and stop running for 3,4,5,6,7, weeks? My son in law (surgical podiatrist) wants to make me orthotics! Is this something I should do? Or should I continue to self treat and stop the running altogether? Please read this……I really respect & would like to know your opinion!

    • Hi Judy,
      Congratulations on finishing the Chicago Marathon! I’m so sorry you are having so much pain in your foot. It does sound like you may have plantar fasciitis. It’s a good decision to work on fixing the issue now. The off season is a perfect time to get this addressed prior to next spring’s marathon season.

      As far as treatment recommendations: Yes, I would stop running for the time being. If you are concerned about maintaining cardiovascular fitness, then you may consider aqua jogging. It has been proven to be one of the best ways to maintain cardiovascular capacity. The length of time you need to take off will vary according to how fast the condition resolves. I would plan on at least 4 weeks.

      Questions for you to consider: “Why have you developed this condition? What is happening with your body that would lead you to develop plantar fasciitis? Is it weakness in the foot or hips? Is it improper foot wear?”

      These are the questions you need to have answered. I recommend that you see a physical therapist (PT) in your area that specializes in feet and is a runner.

      Although orthotics can be very helpful for many, I would not have any made until you know the cause of your condition. It may be that you need them or they could just mask a problem elsewhere.

      For now, my recommendation would be to stop running and have a consult a PT for an assessment. The PT needs to be very thorough–looking at your hip and pelvic strength, range of motion, and lower leg strength (all the way down to your feet).

      Once you have determined the reason for the plantar fasciitis, address that problem while working through the entire treatment protocol. Be sure to focus on foot strength (starting with the exercises demonstrated in Toward the end of your recovery, you may even consider running barefoot on a soft surface like grass as part of your rehabilitation.

      Once you have determined the cause of the pain and eliminated it, take an extended amount of time to taper back into running. Use this time to address any flaws in your running mechanics. My hope would be that by next spring you will be running pain free and be a better runner than you were previously. Good luck!


  2. Hi Dr. Ben,

    I was recently diagnosed with moderate COPD. I “knew” I had it for a few years but didn’t want to admit it. What exercises do you recommend that I do to keep my lungs functioning at their best capacity.? I know I need to keep active, gave up smoking last week when I was diagnosed, keep a healthy lifestyle, and “keep going”!! I am not on oxygen at this time. Inhalers are being used to manage my COPD at this time.

    If you would like to use this in one of your blogs please do so…. If it will help anyone from being stubborn, give up the smokes and “get real” because this DOES happen to YOU (me)!!

    Thanks, Ben

    • Hi Linda,

      I’m sorry to hear about your recent COPD diagnosis. It sounds like you are already making some appropriate and much needed lifestyle changes to help you to manage the disease. I am really glad you asked me this question. I think you are on the right track, but I have a few specific thoughts on how a person can best manage the disease from a physical therapy point of view. I’m not sure it is the “typical” advice. I will write a detailed response in an upcoming blog post. It is an important topic and pertinent as cold and flu season often causes those with COPD even more difficulty. I’ll let you know when the post is available.


  3. Hi, I have started running barefoot since last one month but I am facing foot problems like soreness in the foot sole in the morning and metatarsal pain in my left foot. What can be going wrong?

    • Maulik, barefoot running can be a tricky thing. It sounds like you are experiencing the beginning symptoms of metatarsalgia and/or plantar fasciitis pain.

      The following variables can increase the risk of pain: the type of running surface you are running on; how quickly you have progressed from shoes to barefoot; and the amount of running you are doing.

      I always advise clients to take three times as long as they originally planned on to progress from shoes to barefoot. I recommend going very slow as your body adapts to the new way of running.

  4. I have been diagnosed with a T-6 spinous process fracture. An aggressive acupuncturist caused it right before Thanksgiving, but it was only diagnosed a week ago. It has only gotten worse pain-wise since it happened six weeks ago. I have been prescribed a thoracolumbar brace for 12 weeks. If it takes away this pain, I’m willing to try it, but what do you think generally of braces? I am a very active 61-year-old woman. I like swimming, walking, Pilates and yoga. All of that is out right now except the walking, which is killing me! I have osteoporosis and compression fractures at T-6/7 and T-11/12, and they found a chronic T-5 spinous process fracture also on the CT. I would love your insight on healing time or ability to get back to the activities I love. I was encouraged to read the Q&A on the teenager that had the C-7 spinous process fracture, but my story is quite a bit different. Thank you!

    • Hi Kathy,
      Thanks for reaching out! There are several topics here that warrant discussion.

      Braces can be a good tool for the right circumstances. In your case, it would be only there to stabilize the area in the hope of reducing pain. The spinous process will likely not heal back like a normal fracture, but it will develop scar tissue and fibro cartilage which should be fine and not give you any issues. 12 weeks seems like a long time, but it sounds like you have other compounding factors. The brace will definitely weaken the surrounding musculature which is a big problem given your history of compression fractures.

      Your history of compression fractures is concerning. You need to be very proactive in dealing with your osteoporosis or you will continue to have fractures and issues. There are medications that can help, but all have significant potential risks. We do know for sure that proper nutrition and weight training is the best way to address the issue. There is research out of Japan and from Sara Meeks about the topic. You need to see a functional medicine practitioner to dial in your nutrition and a very competent physical therapist (PT) to start weight training. Initially, focus on your back extension strength which will also help your current issue and the compression fractures.

      Healing times will vary tremendously and are based on your health status. With poor bone health, it could be prolonged. I would suspect full healing in 4 months or so. Pain is highly variable. It could only be a couple of weeks or 4-6 months. As soon as the pain levels decrease, I would definitely recommend starting with a rehabilitation program. It needs to be slow and steady, but should start well before the 12 week period in my opinion.

      I hope this helps! Let me know if you have more questions! In the meantime, here are a couple of blog posts for you to read.

      I recommend that you read the entire series on Why You Won’t Heal, but this one in particular should be helpful.

      Ben Shatto, PT, DPT, OCS, CSCS

  5. Hello,
    I am an older male, recently (2017) diagnosed with osteoporosis.
    Beginning is 2013 I began to notice height loss, then I experienced several separate events of severe lower back pain. These events would last 3-4 months and were lifestyle altering as I lost at times almost all freedom of movement. During these times, and before being diagnosed with osteoporosis, I went under the treatment of a physical therapist, and we finally isolated at least one cause or trigger of these LBP events to be any waist-twisting movements. If I avoided those movements, though still having LBP, it was not severe. I also began to use your LBP guides and exercise references and experienced relief from my LBP. So thanks you!
    In the later half of 2017, and now into early 2018 I am LBP free. Having the ability to freely move is wonderful! I should mention that I still avoid twisting movements, not wanting to push my luck!
    Here is my question: Was the primary cause of my severe LBP the on-going age-related height loss and osteoporosis? Is this a recognized condition / syndrome within the discipline of Physical Therapy?

    • Hi Lance,

      I’m glad that you have been finding relief from the low back pain. Low back pain is a difficult condition to manage as there are many possible pain generating sources in the lumbar spine. And yes, sometimes the associated symptoms of osteoporosis can be painful. This is most commonly noted when someone experiences a compression fracture due to the osteoporosis and concomitant loss of bone. Degradation of the spinal discs can also lead to height loss, and it can also lead to pain (depending on the individual).

      Treatment of osteoporosis (and its associated effects) as well as low back pain are within the treatment realm for physical therapists. In nearly all cases of osteoporosis and especially low back pain, exercise and therapy should be incorporated. The research is very clear that the stronger the muscles are in the low back, the less likely a person is to experience pain. The back muscles are critical to support and stabilize the spine. This is particularly important when other pathology is present such as osteoporosis, disc degeneration or any other spinal related injury (from disc herniation to bone fractures).

      To specifically answer your question: Was the loss of height and osteoporosis the actual cause of your back pain? That is very hard to say. The answer is maybe. However, it could have been completely unrelated or in some way associated to it.

      Either way, the best course of action to take in order to avoid ongoing episodes of low back pain and to prevent/treat osteoporosis is to engage in regular weight bearing and strength training exercises (particularly, those targeting the back extensors and posterior chain of the body). The posterior chain is loosely being defined as the back extensors, glutes, and hamstrings.

      Thanks for the comment and question! Stay healthy!