Articles & News

Low Back Pain

80% of Americans Experience Back Pain, But 100% of PTs Know How to Prevent It

Got back pain? You’re not alone. Eighty percent of Americans suffer from low back and neck pain at some point in their lives. Let that sink in. With such great odds that you—or someone close to you—will one day become a statistic, wouldn’t it make sense to arm yourself with preventive strategies and knowledge? Physical therapy is a good place to start.

By performing a thorough evaluation, a physical therapist can identify the muscular, postural and skeletal limitations that could one day lead to an episode of back pain. As part of the assessment, she will observe as you perform a series of exercises and then gather an account of your daily activity level and environmental factors like operating machinery or working at a desk 40 hours a week.

The PT will then use all of this knowledge to design a personalized exercise program and teach you a few APTA-approved strategies to prevent back pain:

  • Use good body positioning at work, home and during recreational activities.
  • Keep the load close to your body during lifting.
  • Ask for help before lifting heavy objects.
  • Maintain a regular physical fitness regimen—staying active can help to prevent injuries.

Lifestyle can play a big role in back pain. In fact, inactivity and incorrect body mechanics while participating in certain activities are two of the biggest contributors to back pain. In addition to the strategies listed above, it’s also helpful to pay attention to little things throughout your day that could add up to bigger problems down the line. Let’s go back to that desk job for a minute: How often do you get up to walk, stretch and move throughout the day? A good rule of thumb is to stand up or move every 30 minutes. You may get bonus points with your boss, too, as your productivity soars due to the increased activity.

While low back pain rarely becomes serious or life-threatening, it can be quite painful and interfere with our daily lives. Working with a physical therapist can help patients identify the factors that might contribute to back pain and help to develop a prevention plan. But the healthcare professionals are also a great place to turn when you’re seeking treatment for back pain or hoping to prevent a recurrence.

With such good odds that you could one day become a low back pain statistic, why not do everything in your power today to change your trajectory? Seems like another good reason to find an activity (or better yet, two or three activities) that you enjoy, make it a regular part of your day and stick to it!             *Courtesy Private Practice Section APTA

21st Century Rehab congratulates Elizabeth Meyer for becoming a Certified Lymphedema Therapist!

Elizabeth Meyer, DPT, CLT recently attended the Klose Training, 135 hour Lymphedema training course. Elizabeth learned the skills and knowledge necessary to safely and effectively treat patients with lymphedema using Complete Decongestive Therapy (CDT). Components of CDT includes: manual lymphatic drainage (MLD), compression bandaging, skin care, and exercise. MLD is utilized as a way to improve lymphatic flow and function of the lymphatic system, re-route blocked areas into healthy lymph vessels, reduce edema from surgery or sport injury. Compression therapy which is used to increase tissue pressure and improve muscle and joint pump activation. Skin care which is important to  in reducing risk for infection, and finally, exercise, which assists with lymph motility and reducing swelling over time.

21st Century Rehab is dedicated to providing a comprehensive suite of services to their clients and Elizabeth joins a great team of Certified Lymphedema Therapists at 21st Century Rehab. To learn more about Lymphedema and our certified lymphedema therapists please view our Lymphedema handout.

New Women's Health Therapist Joins 21st Century Rehab Team

For Brittany McCall, profession stems from the personal. A 2008 graduate of Nevada High School, McCall knew she wanted to pursue women’s health physical therapy after her first contact with the specialty. After her mom, Arlyce Kroese, was diagnosed with breast cancer, she underwent a successful mastectomy but developed a frozen shoulder as a result. Kroese saw a women’s health physical therapist to treat her shoulder, sparking an interest which led Brittany to pursue physical therapy, her specialty already in mind. After completing her undergraduate degree at Iowa State University, McCall went on to Des Moines University, where she studied physical therapy and women’s health, earning her doctorate. This year, she completed an internship in women’s health at the Des Moines University Clinic, a pelvic health physical therapy course certifying her for internal assessments, and a two week course in lymphedema. To McCall, women’s health physical therapy is something of a misnomer.  While many of the conditions treatable under the specialty pertain specifically to women, McCall says she hopes to see patients of all genders, treating for issues such as constipation, lymphedema, back or pelvic pain, and incontinence.  In regards to incontinence, McCall says that “just because its common doesn’t mean its normal”, adding that women who experience leakage following childbirth are common patients to her specialty.  Another common ailment women’s health physical therapy can treat includes painful intercourse, often caused by pelvic muscles that are either too tight or too loose.  Women’s health physical therapy can also provide benefits for women throughout pregnancy, ensuring optimal rebound following birth. McCall is excited to bring her specialties to central Iowa, where she says there is a great need, particularly in regards to her lymphedema training.  The lymph system carries fluid throughout the body alongside blood vessels, but can fail after lymph node removal, often done in treatment of breast cancer.  When the lymph system fails, fluid accumulates and creates swelling in the arms and or legs. McCall uses a variety of techniques to move the fluid manually, reducing swelling.  She will also use her knowledge to educate patients on how to better reduce this swelling on their own, using posturing and exercises.  Utilizing a full-body approach and her extensive training, McCall is excited to treat a variety of patients with 21st Century Rehab at the Story County Medical Center North Campus on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays.  McCall is just as excited to return to Nevada, where she recently bought a home with her husband, Josh. “I saw myself coming back while I was growing up and the opportunity arose and everything fell into place.” In the future, McCall hopes to continue her training for pregnant women and for breast cancer patients like her mom, who brought her to these specialties in the first place.

21st Century Rehab, PC Celebrates 15 Year Anniversary!

Three Staff Members Graduate in Different Programs!

Steve Cassabaum, MSPT,DPT is 21st Century Rehab’s first Post Professional Doctor of Physical Therapy graduate!

On May 15th, 2009, President and Founder, Steve Cassabaum became the first of 21st Century Rehab’s therapist to receive his post professional DPT from Washington University in St. Louis. 21st Century Rehab has made a commitment to the of physical therapy profession by providing the opportunity for therapists to obtain their Post Professional Doctorate in Physical Therapy.

“This accomplishment could not have come at a better time,” commented Steve Cassabaum, “it has been 20 years to the week since I graduated with my Masters from Washington University’s Physical Therapy program.” The Program in Physical Therapy at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis is one of the most respected physical therapy programs in the United States. Their primary focus on the advancement of diagnoses related to movement dysfunction as a basis for choosing among management options is why 21st Century Rehab has committed to sending its therapist to Washington University for their continued education.

Currently, 21st Century Rehab has six other therapists enrolled in the Post Professional DPT program at Washington University and will add a seventh this fall.

Steve Cassabaum, MSPT, DPT and Tracy Porter, MSPT prepare for 24th Annual American Academy of Nurse Practitioners Conference

May 19, 2009 – Steve Cassabaum, MSPT, DPT and Tracy Porter, MSPT, of 21st Century Rehab, P.C. will be speaking at the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners (AANP) 24th Annual National Conference at the Gaylord Opryland Conference Center, June 19-21, in Nashville, Tennessee.

Cassabaum and Porter will be presenting to an audience of nurse practitioners about Sports Medicine Injuries and Diagnosis. The workshop will focus on helping nurse practitioners learn to evaluate and assess common sports injuries from head to toe. The participants will also be trained on specific tests for each joint and body area.

This is the fifth consecutive year that 21st Century Rehab has been asked to present at the AANP conference.

21st Century Rehab announces new clinic opening in Carlisle!

(May 2008) – 21st Century Rehab, PC is pleased to announce the opening of their newest clinic in Carlisle. They are located next to SNAP Fitness at 125 North 1st Street. The decision to open at this particular location in Carlisle was due in large part because of the relationship formed with SNAP Fitness. “It makes perfect sense to have these two businesses together because we hope to serve a lot of the same clients” stated Steve Cassabaum, owner and physical therapist at 21st Century Rehab, PC. “Both businesses strive to improve the health and well-being of their clients so the relatioship is a natural cooperative.”

21st Century Rehab, PC believes that all people of Iowa should have local access to basic health services and therapy is no exception. Carlisle is fortunate to have access to quality services and believe therapy will be a great compliment to the great healthcare and sense of community that is currently being provided to the residents of Carlisle. It will be convenient for people to stay in Carlisle for therapy versus driving all the way into Des Moines. Patients should always be aware that they have a choice in their therapy provider. We always strive to provide high quality one on one therapy to our patients and work on helping the community through our involvement in the Chamber, school, and local civic groups.

The clinic will initially be primarily staffed by Steve Cassabaum who is the president and owner of 21st Century Rehab, PC. Initially the hours of operation will be Tuesday and Thursday from 8:00 to 4:00 and Friday’s 1:00 to 4:00 and by appointment. 21st Century Rehab plans to find the perfect fit of a permanent clinic director who will reside in the community and staff he clinic full time

Steve has almost 20 years of physical therapy experience and obtained both his B.S. and M.S. in Physical Therapy from Washington University in St. Louis after finishing his undergraduate degree at Wartburg College. Steve also is on track to graduate with his post-professional, Doctorate in Physical Therapy from Washington University in 2008-09. Originally from New Sharon, Iowa, Steve practiced in St. Louis from 1989 to 1995 primarily in outpatient orthopaedics with a specialty in TMJ, facial pain and chronic pain physical therapy. In 1995 Steve and his wife, Michelle moved back to Iowa and started 21st Century Rehab, which provides physical, occupational, and speech therapies in 9 different communities throughout central Iowa, including four county hospitals and 5 free-standing private clinics in Altoona, Grimes, Indianola and Madrid and now Carlisle. 21st also provides athletic and sports coverage to eight central Iowa high schools as well as occupational medicine services to many community businesses.

“We have been so welcomed to Carlisle by its businesses and residents and look forward to being a strong community member for a long time."

Be well. 21st Century Rehab, PC Launches Corporate Wellness Program

(October 2007) –Many businesses and organizations have recognized the value of healthy employees. At least 25% of a company’s healthcare costs are attributed to modifiable health risks such as employee’s poor diet and lack of exercise. Studies have shown for every $1 the average company spends on worksite wellness programs, it receives an average net benefit of $3.40 to $7.88.

Companies that have a worksite wellness program can expect reductions in healthcare costs; will have a reduction in short term sick leave; and experience increased productivity. Employees will reduce their risk of premature death, reduce their risk of disease, reduce or control blood pressure and cholesterol levels and reduce or maintain body weight and/or fat. The Employee will build and maintain healthy muscles, bones and joints which will in turn enhance their work, recreation, and sport performance. By reducing depression and anxiety, the employee will improve their psychological well being.

Last year 21st Century Rehab partnered up with Lighten Up Iowa to springboard their corporate wellness program. This year we are celebrating our first annual Employee Wellness Day to encourage our employees to Be well. If you are interested in finding out more about our program or would like information about how we can help you or your organization Be well. Please click here to email us your contact information or call us at 1-877-21REHAB.

Nevada Physical Therapist, Steve Cassabaum, Receives 2007 Outstanding Alumni Award from Washington University

September 27, 2007 – Nevada physical therapist, Steve Cassabaum, MSPT was awarded the 2007 Outstanding Alumni Award from Washington University’s Program in Physical Therapy on September 15, 2007. This award is given to former graduates of the program.

Steve graduated from Washington University in 1989 with a Masters of Physical Therapy and is currently enrolled in the Doctorate of Physical Therapy curriculum and will graduate in 2008. Cited at the award presentation were Steve’s extensive community and church involvement as well as his commitment to the profession of physical therapy by promoting the DPT status for all physical therapists. Steve’s commitment includes paying for all his physical therapy staff to receive their Doctorate of Physical Therapy Degrees. 21st Century Rehab’s physical therapy staff are also 100% members of the APTA – American Physical Therapy Association.