We recently corresponded with Justin Sharp, a certified trainer with New Milford Fitness and Aquatics Club. Justin Sharp has a B.A. in Athletic Training from Messiah College (2013). He is an ACSM Certified Personal Trainer, with specialties in 4th stage rehabilitation, sports conditioning, and therapeutic exercise.
How long have you been a trainer and what are your specialties as it relates to injuries suffered as a result of an accident?
I’ve been a trainer for roughly a decade now. I have dealt with many different kinds of injury rehabilitations but I consider myself a little more specialized in shoulders and knees.
Is there a difference between physical therapy and rehabilitation therapy as it relates to injuries caused by accidents? If so, what are they?
Rehabilitation therapy is a catch-all term for the whole process of injury recovery. Physical therapy is done by a trained physical therapist or physical therapy assistant. They have specialized schooling that helps those with injuries and post-surgical to regain basic function like activities of daily living (ADL’s).
What is it about the work that gives you the greatest satisfaction?
I enjoy helping clients get their spark back. Injuries can be quite depressing and put an end to doing things we love, and I really enjoy helping those clients back to their hobbies and living more mobile lives.
What are some of the typical accident-related injuries that you see in your practice? How do you assess what is the proper rehabilitation program for an individual?
As a certified personal trainer, even with my background in athletic training, it is not within my scope of practice to diagnose injuries. I always suggest to my clients to see a doctor or physical therapist if they are unsure of their health and wellness status. Most of my clients come from having seen a doctor or physical therapist so they’ve already been diagnosed and have been, or are in the process of being treated for it. I take over when the client is released for physical activity and I take exercises that you would see in the physical therapy clinic and put a spin on them, such as adding more weight in a safe manner, or in the case of a leg injury, doing it on one foot as opposed to both. Most of my clients I see at the gym have shoulder and knee problems. The therapy pool I work in is great for many kinds of post-injury healing, but it does wonders for knees, hips, and ankles as it allows for less weight to be placed on the body part.
Can you give us some examples of general exercises or techniques that are effective in improving the health of a person injured in an accident?
Since every injury is a little different, I hesitate to paint in broad strokes what is best for someone recovering from an injury. I will however say that proper posture and core work are very important for everyone. People with shoulder injuries tend to slouch, which can cause issues in the long term, and those with knee and hip injuries tend to relax their core. So a great general strategy is for everyone to sit up straight. shoulders pulled back and their belly buttons pulled towards the spine. As a suggestion, I believe doing that for a minute every ten minutes or so is a great way to teach the mind and body how to sit and stand properly. This is just a suggestion, fine-tune it as needed per person.
How can an injured person help in their own recovery?
The best thing someone recovering from an injury can do is listen to their doctor or physical therapist. If they are prescribed exercises to do, they should take the time to learn them and do them. If you need help with these exercises, 4th stage rehab personal trainers such as myself can help with that. Another way to help with recovery is if able, to try to do the things that you love to do, even if it’s heavily modified.
Do you have any other helpful hints for injury recovery?
With your health care provider’s permission, if you love gardening, try to do a modified version of it, or at least sit in your garden and enjoy the fresh air. If you’re a runner with an injury, try cycling or walking just to keep your spirits up. As someone who has had multiple injuries, I can tell you from personal experience that mental wellness is just as important. Injury rehab can be an arduous task and it doesn’t always make us want to smile, but if we can keep our spirits high for the majority of the time, the process will subjectively feel more pleasant and tolerable. It’s easier said than done, but I highly suggest trying to maintain some levels of normalcy when in the recovery process!
Pro Tip: Personal injury cases that involve significant injuries sometimes require rehabilitation and the services of a certified trainer who can help in the speed of your convalescence for a variety of accident cases. Should you have any questions about your Connecticut accident case, please contact us.