Top 5 Impediments to Healing

Top 5 Impediments to Healing. New Heights Physical Therapy in Vancouver WA and Portland OR.

When we become injured or sick, it is often in our nature to think there is a one-solution fix. We see our primary care physicians or our physical therapists in hopes that they alone will rid us of our ailments. However, this is not always possible and although our healthcare team plays a critical part in our healing process, there are often behaviors we practice outside the clinic that stand in the way of optimal recovery.

Here at New Heights, our PTs have identified a number of barriers that prevent optimal recovery. The top five were:

  • Poor nutrition
  • Inactivity or TOO MUCH activity
  • Poor hydration
  • Stress/Anxiety/Depression
  • Poor attitude

Other barriers include environmental toxins and lack of sleep. All play a part in our body’s ability to repair itself. Processed foods, pushing through pain and not giving our bodies enough time to heal can lead to chronic inflammation which in turn leads to degeneration and loss of function in the affected area. Factors such as chronic stress or anxiety cause our bodies to be in a constant state of tension, inhibiting the healing process.

Because our PTs recognize these and many other barriers, New Heights’ Portland Clinic is hosting wellness classes and lectures that focus on a holistic health approach. Every month, we invite experts from around the Portland-Metro area to come and share what they know. A majority of these offerings are free and open to both patients and the community.

This fall’s highlights:

  • Dr. Tyna Moore, ND, DC, will be leading a lecture about gut health and how the foods we eat can either promote or inhibit reactions such as inflammation
  • Dr. Kathy Alvarez, MD, will be speaking on stress management and the importance of understanding the effects stress has on the body
  • There will also be lectures on osteoporosis, concussion awareness, sports injury prevention, bike fittings and many others

In addition to the monthly lectures, weekly wellness classes have been developed to help relieve stress and promote healing. Our new yoga instructor, Heather Beckett, will be leading Yoga Steps every Monday, for those new to yoga or recovering from an injury. She will also be leading a Dynamic Yoga Flow class on Wednesdays for those ready for a bigger challenge. Furthermore, group acupuncture and CHILL classes provide more opportunity to de-stress, while MELT classes work to rehydrate to your connective tissue, reduce inflammation and increase joint mobility.

Our goal in providing these classes and lectures is to help build an awareness for the intricacies of our bodies and to recognize that in order to reach optimal health we must take care of multiple systems. Our hope is that you will take control of your health by joining us. For more information about our wellness classes and lectures visit our online wellness class schedule or call 971-339-3405.

References: U.S. News & World Report, American Psychological Association


Professionals Working Together: A Patient’s Perspective

New Heights values the collaborative relationships it shares with other healthcare providers because we believe a team treatment approach pays big dividends for both patient and practitioner alike. By working cooperatively with practitioners in other disciplines, we are able to share treatment perspectives and use complementary coordinated care to improve our patients’ health.

New Heights physical therapist Brooke Floode enjoys just such a professional collaboration with Portland acupuncturist Boynn McIntire of All and One Acupuncture.  Together they are co-treating a patient who suffers from low back pain. Below, Ryan S. shares his moving account of  how great minds working cooperatively have addressed his health issues and helped him look forward to his treatments and workouts.


“I am one of many who suffer from lower back pain causing mild to intense pain for long durations.  Some days I cannot physically move, and even worse, cannot be a playful dad with my son.   I did the standard routine and saw my doctor, then a few more doctors, none of which had any helpful medical advice so I became a “suffer in silence” patient.  Since I had no empirical evidence but my word and a clean x-ray, I tired quickly from the feeling of being herded like livestock through the clinic, all for a ten minute visit with a pre-determined out-come: nothing.  My eyes started opening up to the realization that something, anything, had to be done before my symptoms took over my life and become permanent.

After concluding the clinical route was not a reliable option for me, through my search for a better quality of life I heard experiences from close friends and colleagues about alternative medicine called acupuncture.  I remember being at work in serious pain when a friend told me about his acupuncturist.  I joked around about the subject being naive, however, my friend told me it helped him for over two years until he medically needed double hip surgery.

Many people could not explain to me the process of acupuncture, but all had the same outcome, it worked.  I tossed aside my ignorance and began doing my research for an acupuncturist starting with internet searches, reviews, and ratings.  Over a few weeks of deciding if acupuncture was an alternative medical route I wanted to try, all my research and word of mouth kept leading me to All and One Acupuncture by Boynn McIntire, LAc, MAcOM.  Since acupuncture is not invasive, I had nothing to lose, and my pain was not going to treat itself.  I booked my first appointment.

I had no idea what to expect, I watched YouTube videos and heard stories told, yet, my experience was unlike anything I was expecting.  I had my summary and symptoms listed, just like I had told time and time again at the clinic.  I was ready for my first consultation.  I met with Boynn, quickly gave her the highlights of my back pain and was ready to be on my way.  What I did not expect was her taking time to ask me questions, follow-up questions, and inquire about my previous and current health history.  I got to explain myself without feeling judged or rushed, an unusual experience and a perplexing feeling at first, seeing Boynn take my symptoms seriously.

I have been a patient of Boynn for almost a year and see her weekly, I am amazed every time at her warmth, attentiveness, and professionalism, which is just the starting point to what Boynn brings to the medical community.  Her knowledge of treating the body as a whole instead of pieces promotes the best environment to feel comfortable, voice my opinion on treatment, and give my feedback, thus each visit truly astounds me.  Even better for me, I leave pain free and feel like I’m ready to move boulders.

In January of 2014 I was telling Boynn that my goal for the year was to get my back healthy, starting with gaining insight into the underlying cause of my back pain.  Boynn suggested I try physical therapy, and gave me a couple of options.  I live in Vancouver Washington, and since I found such great care in Oregon I decided it is well worth the travel for good care, so I booked an appointment at New Heights Physical Therapy Plus with Brooke Flood, DPT, COMT, BikeFit Pro Certified, at their Portland clinic.  I assumed I knew more about physical therapy than I did acupuncture being a former weight lifter, I figured resistance training, isometrics, some body weight exercises, no problem.  I was wrong again.

Meeting Brooke showed me how attentive, receptive, and knowledgeable she is in her profession, just to name a few of the many desired qualities in a medical professional.  Brooke walked me through my first exercises, which were completely different than a weight lifter’s mentality.

Brooke is fantastic at explaining and visually demonstrating muscle movements for how my body needs to adjust in order to complete my exercises properly and safely.  

She does a great job of reining me in by preventing me from hurting myself when I try to extend muscle movements full range like a weight lifter.  I am learning a new mentality of thinking smaller but activating a targeted muscle or muscle groups, for instance, all that may be required is a two to four inch resistance stretch, I am not trying to lift a car.  I am constantly learning new exercises, body mechanics, and core stability from Brooke, who is very thorough making me feel better about my exercise program every time I see her.

Boynnleft to right: Dave Murphy, Ryan S., and Boynn McIntire, LAC, MAcOM at New Heights Physical Therapy Plus

Recently Boynn and Brooke were able to schedule a time to sit in with me and observe each other’s methodology for treating my lower back.  For both of these medical professionals to take this kind of interest and dedication in a patient by an on-site face-to-face visit in an effort to co-treat is something I would have never thought possible.  I am still amazed that Boynn and Brooke were able to arrange this and it is hard to describe how grateful I am to both of these women for their time, effort, and inspirational personalities.

Each brings their unique skill sets to complement one another, for instance, I finished a great lower back session with Brooke aimed at activating the smaller muscles (multifidus) then followed up the next day with Boynn where she applied acupuncture to the muscle groups used during physical therapy.  In my experience this process, physical therapy followed by acupuncture, relieved the pain and pressure built up from sore muscles that were activated during physical therapy exercises and aided in a more comfortable recovery time.

With Boynn McIntire of All and One Acupuncture and Brooke Flood of New Heights Physical Therapy Plus I feel I have an immensely knowledgeable, and incredibly capable team, which I am continuously amazed at how well they complement and enrich each other’s abilities.  It is an incredible feeling to get excited for an acupuncture treatment or an exceptional lower back workout.”

 –Ryan S.

Brooke and MasonNew Heights Physical therapist Brooke Flood and her dog Mason