June is here and the temperature is starting to rise after a cooler May. Kids are out of school and summer vacation is in full swing. Growing up in Arizona means we are out in the sun a lot during the summer. Being safe in the sun is very important while going on a hike or having a pool day. According to skincancer.org, “more people are diagnosed with skin cancer each year in the U.S. than all other cancers combined.” Bellow you will find the ABC’S of sun safety to help you enjoy your summer with a decreased risk of skin cancer.

Stay AWAY from midday sun.

The sun is the most powerful during the hours of 10 am and 3 pm. Many of us are out in the sun during these hours. This is when it is the most important to limit your contact to the sun’s harmful rays. So, try and get those hikes in early in the morning or save your errands till after 3 pm if possible, to be safe.

BLOCK the sun with sunscreen

The use of sunscreen daily is very important. Sunscreen should be applied 30 minutes before you leave your house and should then be applied every 2 hours to keep your skin safe. The SPF (Sun Protection Factor) tells you how long the UV radiation will take to redden you skin when used as direct. For example, if you are using SPF 30, it should take about 30x longer for your skin to redden compared to not wearing sunscreen. Additionally, SPF 30 allows 3 percent of UVB rays to reach your skin, and SPF 50 allows 2 percent. It is recommended by the skin cancer foundation that you use SPF 30 or higher when outside.

COVER UP when in direct sun

In addition to wearing sunscreen, you can use clothing to protect your body from the sun. Using items like hats and sunglasses can all contribute to added protection of your body from the sun.

Use the SHADE.

When out in the sun for long periods of time, taking time to take a break in the shade can be helpful. Using an umbrella or canopies can be helpful when working outside.

I have lived in Arizona all my life and have always looked forward to summer as a kid. Do your kids a favor and instill in them helpful practices to keep them safe during the summer. Also, don’t forget to check yourself and your kids regularly for skin cancer spots.

With locations all over the valley, we have a convenient clinic next to you. Come in to Foothills Sports Medicine Physical Therapist to get your move back.



In 2017, Arizona had 155 heat-related deaths. Dehydration is a serious issue, and with the 100-degree temperatures arriving this month, it is all the more important to be watching our water intake. Dehydration will occur when you use or lose more fluid than you take in. If you don’t replace these lost fluids, you will get dehydrated. When managing your water intake it is important to be aware of the common signs and symptoms of dehydration. According to Mayo Clinic, the six most common signs of dehydration in an adult are:

  1. Extreme thirst
  2. Less frequent urination
  3. Dark-colored urine
  4. Fatigue
  5. Dizziness
  6. Confusion

So how can we make sure we intake as much water as possible to stay hydrated? Listed below are some helpful tips to help keep you hydrated through the summer months.

  1. Always carry a bottle of water with you.

Whether you sit at a desk all day or you are out and about running errands, always having water with you is crucial for staying hydrated. Make sure drinking from the water container is simple and easy so you are more likely to drink out of it. This may mean having a straw or easy-open cap.

  1. Eat a diet that is filled with water-rich food.

Having a diet that is filled with fruits and vegetables that are high in water can help you easily increase your water intake. Fruits that have the highest water content are watermelon and strawberries. Other fruits high in water include oranges, apples, and blueberries. Common vegetables that are high in water are cucumber, lettuce, tomatoes, and carrots. Yogurt is also high in water content.

  1. Avoid excessive amounts of alcoholic beverages.

Alcoholic decreases the body’s production of an anti-diuretic hormone, which is used by the body to re-absorb water. When this hormone is not present, your body will release more water than it needs to through urination. Alcohol can also cause vomiting, which leads to excess loss of fluid and thus increases your risk of dehydration.

  1. Drink plenty of water while exercising.

Drinking water before, during, and after exercise can help keep you hydrated while working out. Some recommend that you drink about a cup of water before you exercise, half of a cup for every 10 –15 minutes of exercise, and plenty of water after you are done.

Overall, staying hydrated is important for your body to function properly and thus stay healthy. Keep an eye on your water intake throughout the day and do not wait to become thirsty before you take a drink. Following these four easy tips will ensure that you stay hydrated so that you can enjoy your summer just a little bit more safely.



  1. AZ Central, https://www.azcentral.com/story/news/local/arizona-health/2018/05/01/arizona-saw-more-heat-related-deaths-2017-than-any-year-prior/570906002/
  2. Johannah Sakimura, R. (2018). 4 Simple Ways to Stay Hydrated This Summer. [online] EverydayHealth.com. Available at: https://www.everydayhealth.com/columns/johannah-sakimura-nutrition-sleuth/simple-ways-stay-hydrated-this-summer/ [Accessed 29 May 2018].
  3. Mayo Clinic. (2018). Dehydration – Symptoms and causes. [online] Available at: https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/dehydration/symptoms-causes/syc-20354086 [Accessed 29 May 2018].
  4. sfgate.com. (2018). List of Fruits & Vegetable With a High Water Content. [online] Available at: http://healthyeating.sfgate.com/list-fruits-vegetable-high-water-content-8958.html [Accessed 29 May 2018].
  5. Cold, F. (2018). How Can I Prevent Dehydration?. [online] WebMD. Available at: https://www.webmd.com/a-to-z-guides/prevent-dehydration#2 [Accessed 29 May 2018].
  6. com.au. (2018). Dehydration and Alcohol Effects | Gastrolyte. [online] Available at: https://gastrolyte.com.au/dehydration/dehydration-and-alcohol/ [Accessed 29 May 2018].

Chances are if you do not suffer from regular headaches, you know someone who does. According to a clinical perspective published in the Journal of Manual & Manipulative Therapy, “Headaches are the most common pain disorder, affecting 66% of the global population”.2

There are many different causes of head pain and the most common type are tension headaches, making up 38% of those who experience chronic headaches2. In this post, you will learn about the different types of headaches, what tension headaches are, and how physical therapy can help alleviate pain from tension headaches.

A headache is pain in any part of the head. They can present themselves in different ways and have many different causes. The International Headache Society has developed a classification system to help clinicians determine the causes of headaches. Headaches can be caused by muscle tension, migraines/cluster headaches, and cranial neuralgias, and they can be secondary to another condition such as trauma to the head, neurovascular disorder, fascial pain, and many others3.

Headaches can often be debilitating and affect one’s daily life and recreational activities. Thankfully, they are often a very treatable condition once the cause is known. Physical therapy professionals are trained to evaluate all these conditions and are experts in treating tension headaches. If it is determined that you have another type of headache, your therapist will be able to refer you to the appropriate treating physician.

Tension headaches are caused by muscle spasms in the head and are the most common type of headaches in adults. There are many reasons why the muscles in your head might spasm including poor posture, fatigue, stress, neck pain, and even jaw pain. Tension headaches are often described as starting at the base of the skull and radiating up the back of the head toward the eyes. This is often brought on by certain positions, like sitting at a desk, and are usually alleviated by changing from that position.

So how does physical therapy help you treat tension headaches? First, the physical therapist will perform a comprehensive evaluation to determine the cause of your headache. This evaluation consists of a subjective and objective interview, asking you questions, and performing specials tests.

Once the cause is determined, the physical therapist will work to create a patient-specific plan of care to help alleviate your headaches. This plan will work to improve cervical mobility through specialized manual techniques, and improve your strength and posture through exercises. The therapist will also teach you ways to manage your headaches and prevent them from returning through both postural and lifestyle changes.

Headaches don’t have to be a way of life; there are many outlets available to you to help treat your headaches. Physical therapy is just one easy way to help you alleviate your chronic head pain and get you back to the life that you want to live.

Don’t let headaches stop you anymore, contact your nearest Foothills Sports Medicine Physical Therapy clinic for an assessment of your head pain.


  1. Furto, E. A. (2011, September 20). Physical Therapists Guide to Headaches. Retrieved February 25, 2017, from http://www.moveforwardpt.com/symptomsconditionsdetail.aspx?cid=fd8a18c8-1893-4dd3-9f00-b6e49cad5005
  2. Hall, T., Briffa, K., & Hopper, D. (2008). Clinical Evaluation of Cervicogenic Headache: A Clinical Perspective. Journal of Manual & Manipulative Therapy, 16(2), 73-80. doi:10.1179/106698108790818422
  3. International Headache Society. (2013). The International Classification of Headache Disorders, 3rd edition (beta version). Cephalagia, 33(9), 629-808. doi:10.1177/0333102413485658

Chandler physical therapy provider Foothills Sports Medicine Physical Therapy offers the best possible care to patients of all ages suffering from a wide variety of injuries and conditions. We are dedicated to using the latest, most advanced techniques and individualized care plans to help you achieve your physical therapy goals as quickly as possible. To schedule a free injury assessment, simply go online here today. For more information about our services, follow our blog.

Jenni Ribbens obtained her Bachelor of Exercise Science from Calvin College and her Doctorate in Physical Therapy here in the Valley from A.T. Still University. As a passionate therapist, she describes why it is so important for patients to complete the home exercise programs their PTs prescribe.

Your physical therapy treatment goes hand in hand with a home exercise program, and both are essential in making your rehab more effective. Attending physical therapy 2-3 times a week but failing to do exercises at home is a common reason patients do not achieve the results they hoped for. Not doing exercises at home is like trying lose weight, but only eating healthy 2-3 times a week – it simply isn’t effective. Making sure you follow your home exercise program is imperative for you to achieve ideal results in the amount of time you desire.

Long-Term Goals and Success

The goal of physical therapy is to improve the body, or enable patients to resume activities they like to do without pain or limitations. This is achieved by restoring strength, improving range of motion, correcting movement patterns, and dealing with pain. In general, this process takes a long period of time. Luckily, Foothills provides every patient with a personalized at-home care plan that will help you make the most of your therapy.

Completing exercises at home teaches the body how to operate properly and develop muscle memory, meaning your body will learn to automatically move and function in the right way. You will progress more quickly at office visits and move closer to achieving goals. It might help you to think of doing exercises at home as a way to condition and prepare your body for its next therapy appointment. Practicing exercises allows you to maintain improvements and continue to make progress.

Barriers to Progress

As therapists, we understand that there can be many barriers preventing patients from doing their home exercise program. Problems can stem from a feeling of lack of progress, often causing a loss in motivation, or pain or discomfort when performing exercises.

If you feel there are any issues at all that prevent you from committing to your home program, it is important to communicate them to your therapist. Lacking motivation is one of the most common obstacles patients face. One way to overcome this is finding a friend or partner who can encourage you and hold you accountable. Pain or discomfort is another complaint, and you should discuss this with your PT. Some level of discomfort is expected, but pain can also be a sign that something is wrong. Your therapist can also help you if you think your at-home plan is not effective enough, and they can alter your program if needed.

Overcoming Struggles Together

Doing your home exercise program is a crucial part of therapy and recovery. Although it can be hard to make time to add another activity to your daily routine, it will allow you to get better as quickly as possible, and avoid re-injury. Therapists have your best interests in mind, so talk to them if you are having a hard time performing your exercises at home. Together you can work to pair office visits with an at-home program that effectively brings you back to full health. Contact us at our Chandler physical therapy location if you have any questions about your path to recovery. Looking to find a location near you? Visit our locations page.