Foam Rolling: What are we actually doing?

It is now commonplace to see various tools at the gym to improve muscle length and tone, with foam rollers and lacrosse balls being the most prevalent. These tools are used to improve the mobility of the muscle tissue that you are targeting, typically before and after your workout, aiming to reduce muscle or joint pain.

There is not a lot of research to support that you are stretching the fascia, but what you may be doing is improving the muscle quality underneath the fascia if there is what is known as a trigger point or more commonly referred to as a muscle “knot”. Fascia is designed to be resilient to tensile stress, and therefore, does not respond to stretching. A trigger point is a taut band of muscle located within a larger muscle and may be tender to touch, although they don’t have to be. Normal muscle won’t have trigger points and will not exhibit the same tenderness.

The pain associated with trigger points is caused by the release of various chemicals that occur with tissue damage. Strength training will cause small microtears in the muscle, and this damage time after time can develop knots in the muscle and cause subsequent pain. Knots in the muscle can occur for a variety of reasons whether it is trauma, illness, inactivity, or from your workouts. When there are several trigger points within the larger muscle it can affect the tension on the surrounding joints. As you can imagine, if there are multiple trigger points in the muscle, the muscle is effectively shorter, thereby pulling more at the joint.


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So, when you are foam rolling, for example, you are not actually stretching the fascia, however, you are manipulating the tissue to make it more malleable in order to address the muscle knot. Adding sustained pressure to these trigger points can cause a release of these chemicals, improve the underlying tissue length and thereby improve your pain. Therapeutically, it would be beneficial to address both of these concepts. Generally speaking, spending two minutes per muscle region is ideal, both rolling up and down the muscle, but sustaining a hold on the tender areas of the muscle. Rolling before your workout is a good idea to improve the muscle length of the muscles that you intend to work to optimize function, and then roll or mash again after your workout so that the muscle is better able to repair without developing trigger points.
It is important to remember that this mobility work will be uncomfortable at first and that it is uncomfortable because there is dysfunction. However, consistency is the key and the more you perform your mobility work the less uncomfortable it will become.


– Cat, PT, DPT


End of the deductible year is fast approaching!


As the end of the year approaches we wanted to remind you about your healthcare insurance to make sure you get the most out of your benefits.
Most health insurance deductibles will reset to $0 at the beginning of every calendar year. Just a quick reminder, a deductible is the amount you are responsible for before your insurance company will start paying healthcare bills.
We wanted to make sure you are maximizing your health plan as the end of the deductible year is fast approaching.
For those who have met or almost met your deductible, most insurance plans will reset at the beginning of the calendar year, meaning in just a few weeks your deductible will reset back to 0. If this is you, it is wise to consider coming in to see us to take care of that nagging injury you’ve been putting off before the New Year comes!
There are also some things to be aware of if you have FSA. If you have a Flexible Spending Account (FSA) through your employer, don’t forget this is on a ‘use-it-or-lose-it’ terms. Funds from this account will not roll over from year-to-year.
A final reminder is that being pre-emptive with your health is just as important has being pre-emptive with your money. So, as 2018 comes to an end take care of yourself and use all your health care benefits available to you to keep in good health. UBE is here to help with any insurance questions you may have or to get you in to see our Therapist to take care of that nagging injury! You can reach our office on (207) 992-4000 and also find us on the web at

Who’s your workout partner?



This week we wanted to turn the focus of the blog to fitness! And the only thing better than fitness is fitness with a friend. So, I asked UBE employees, “If you could workout with anyone in the world who would it be and why?” and this is how they answered:


Cat: Schaeffer Grierson – Bangor renowned personal training superstar

Will: Kai Taylor, my favorite athlete

Schaeffer: Dirk Nowitzki

He has a hard work ethic, and believes in putting in the work to get the results. He is dedicated to his teammates and his city and has been since joining the NBA. I believe his qualities in both his personal life and work life are something to admire.


Jemily: If there were one person I’d train with it would have to be Stefi Cohen. She currently is a doctor in physical therapy; a 20x all time record holder, and a businesswoman all at the age of 24.

Not to mention she is now one of the strongest female power lifters in the world, with a deadlift that surpasses 4x her body weight. She was able to lift 525lbs for a deadlift with straps at a 125lb body weight and just had her best deadlift performance of 507lbs in competition.

Not only does she work on the big three lifts, but her background as a physical therapist and certified CSCS coach gives her insight on important rehabilitation movements to focus on and how to train your body for optimal recovery and performance all across the board.

Personally, I (Mollie) would choose my mom, and I am fortunate enough to do just that everyday! I like working out with her because she’s not afraid to push me..and she always tells me how strong I am (moms always right, right?!).

We’ve all either experienced or seen it happen before, pushing through that last set of burpees, hitting that last rep on the squat, or simply working out with a smile. According to recent scientific studies, working out with a buddy increases the effectiveness of your workout. A Michigan State University researcher actually did a study that resulted in a 90% (NINETY) increase in the participant’s performance when working alongside a partner.

As these cold months move in and the idea of getting in to the gym seems to be a little further away than usual, phone a friend. Alternatively, check in on your buddy! As human beings, accountability and peer pressure work their magic on us, let this work in a good way. And if your buddy can’t make it one day, no sweat, UBE trainers are usually pretty good company!! We always accept “phone a friend” calls, so call or stop in anytime!

Hope to see you soon.

Stay strong, Mollie

Physical Therapy at the Gym

The UBE gym has a very unique addition to the gym that many other gyms are lacking; a doctorate of physical therapy, highly trained and licensed trainers, as well as a massage therapist specialized in deep tissue and sports massages. This extensive team of experts can help individuals that are medically compromised achieve their fitness and health goals in a safe and manageable way.

Every year, there are individuals that are recovering from a recent injury, come to physical therapy, and then head back to another gym, only to injure themselves once again.

At UBE, the goal is to recover from your injury or ailment, and allow gym members to learn how to exercise and strengthen their body the correct way, allowing members to lead a healthy lifestyle post-rehabilitation.

Another benefit to having your physical therapy and gym membership in the same building is cost benefits. Many times with physical therapy, insurance money ends and there is a therapy cap as to how many times you can have treatment. Here at UBE, gym members can continue through affordable direct pay and/or supervised gym use.

UBE gym allows a smooth transition to the gym after physical therapy sessions have ended, with physical therapists continuing to be involved and stay in touch with patients to help them achieve their goals as well as gives therapy patients that are traditionally uncomfortable with general gym settings an opportunity to get in their best physical shape.


Safety On ICE!

adventure, cold, cross country skiing


Winter has officially arrived! Here in Maine, we have received our first snow accumulation which has caused many surfaces outdoors to be slippery. Walking on the snow and ice can be a difficult task, causing a much higher risk for falls resulting in injuries to the hip, hand, back, etc. Here are some tips on what to do when the ground is icy/snow covered:

  • Avoid locking up your knees; walk with flat foot with knees slightly bent
  • Take short steps
  • Stop by Cadillac Mountain Sports for some ice traction slip-on or metal cleats
  • Keep your hands out of your pockets and if necessary, keep your arms out by your side for balance
  • Walk on less-smooth surfaces if possible (grass, gravel, sand)
  • Keep your body weight with your center of gravity directly over the feet as much as possible for added stability

If a slip-and-fall does unfortunately happen, or if you have any questions about training or physical therapy, contact UBE via phone: (207) 992-4000 or email:

You Are More Than An MRI

Here at UBE Physical Therapy, we work with many patients of varying deficits and limitations. One of the most frequent cases that we receive are patients with back pain.

We have many patients that have come into physical therapy with the immediate want for an image and a concrete diagnosis. While understanding what is wrong and a proper diagnosis is important, there are many times in which imaging may cause more harm than good.

Just because a patient has a “degeneration” reading on an MRI, does not make their presentation a cookie-cutter “back patient”. As shown in the resource below, there is a very high percentage of healthy individuals who have signs of degeneration noted on an MRI. Your physical therapists (and medical professionals in general) should be mindful to focus on the patient, and not just a diagnosis or image reading.


Imaging, and specifically MRIs are not the enemy. Imaging is an appropriate tool used for certain injuries and pathologies. However, it is important to keep in mind, an MRI can show more than the clinical presentation. On the flip side, a patient can have significant pain, receive an image, and be told there is nothing wrong.

Your UBE physical therapist will treat you and your clinical presentation. If you have any questions about training or physical therapy, contact UBE via phone: (207) 992-4000 or email:

  Consistency with Physical Therapy

There are countless reasons for a patient to come to physical therapy, as well as countless benefits of physical therapy.

At the start of your physical therapy journey, your therapist will develop a “plan of care” at your first session with your personal goals in mind. That plan of care will include how many visits they think will be beneficial to come per week, as well as, duration to reach your goals.

If a patient misses their scheduled appointment, that causes a prolonged time for possible disability/limitations, as well as, a longer period it will take for you to reach your goals.

By missing treatment visits, your therapy will be longer than previously stated during your initial evaluation. This causes an increased time that you have to manage your pain and limitations. While our therapists love to see their patients, they want therapy to be as successful and efficient as possible.

Some benefits of physical therapy include:

1. Decreasing Pain: Pain can severely impact your quality of life. Your UBE physical therapist is trained in hands-on techniques and will instruct you on pain education to reduce pain levels.

2. Avoid Surgery and Opioids: evidence has shown that PT is an effective alternative to both surgery and medication. (

3. Take Full Advantage of Movement: pain-free movement is crucial to high quality of life no matter your age or activity level.

Post-race stretching

Although November is upon us, there are still plenty of upcoming area races to compete in before (and maybe after) the snow flies!  UBE’s Katy Wellman, PT, DPT, demonstrates a few key stretches to help with your post-race recovery.

Complete each stretch below two times, holding for 30-45 seconds per side.

Piriformis stretch: Due to infrequency of lateral movements, the piriformis (located deep in the lateral buttocks) muscle frequently becomes tight.


Calf stretch: With the constant heel-toe movement of running, the calf can become very tight.


Tensor fasciae latae (TFL): the TFL is a frequent culprit of tightness in the hip all the way down the knee due to the TFL continuing into the iliotibial tract (ITB).

Happy racing!


Soreness vs. Pain

There have been many observations made and questions asked about having a physical therapy clinic in a gym. One frequently asked question has been how to determine the difference between soreness and pain.

It is important to understand the difference between muscular soreness and pain. While is a healthy an anticipated result of exercise, pain is unhealthy and an abnormal response. The line between the can be difficult to recognize, and the ability to be able to differentiate between as sore muscle and actual pain is important in decreasing the chance of injury.

Muscle soreness:

  • Tender when touching muscles, tired or burning feeling while exercising, minimal dull, tight and achy feeling at rest
  • Onset occurs during exercise and/or 24-72 hours after activity
  • Improves with stretching, following movement (“warm-up discomfort”)
  • Worsens with immobility


  • Ache, sharp pain at rest or when exercising
  • Occurs during exercise and can last for >3 days if not addressed
  • Improves with R.I.C.E (rest, ice, compression, and elevation)
  • Worsens with continued activity

If you are you’re experiencing extreme pain or pain lasting longer than 1-2 weeks you should seek the advice of a physician or physical therapist.


  1. Accessed Oct. 26, 2017

Why are so many young athletes getting severe, season-ending injuries?

Over the past decade, it appears that more and more athletes are being sidelined with season-ending injuries. While there are many differing reasons for injuries that are out of the athlete’s control, here are a few possible reasons that can be self-managed:

Lack of proper warm-up and/or cool-down

  • There are still many teams that have improper/inefficient warm-ups, causing athletes to be ill-prepared for competition, as well as possibly increasing the athlete’s chance for injury.

Lack of “base/foundational strength” prior to start of season

  • While overall condition and strengthening is important, there are many athletes that go straight into their season (going from couch/computer to court).

Overall decrease in stabilization muscles

  • Technology has benefitted many kids with the knowledge-base for the digital-age; However, this can also have an impact if kids are staying indoors.
  • Because more kids are staying indoors, there are less chances to get outdoors (running/jumping/etc.), causing a decrease in overall strength and stabilization in muscles

Athletes have been using UBE strength training in conjunction with physical therapy, as needed, to prepare for their upcoming sports to gain/maintain strength and stabilization.  If you have any questions about training or physical therapy, contact UBE via phone: (207) 992-4000 or email: