How to pack your backpack

Now that summer is here, getting into the mountains is high on all of our lists. Getting out into the wilderness is a top priority for a lot of us but carrying a 40 lb pack on our backs can be hard on your body! Here we’ll give you some suggestions on how to pack your backpack most efficiently.


First of all there is no right way to pack a backpack; but a well packed backpack should be well balanced and the bulk of the weight should rest on your hips. We can think of packing by breaking the pack down into 4 zones:

  1. Bottom Zone

    • Good for bulkier items that aren’t needed during the day

      • Ex: sleeping bags, sleeping pad

    • These soft squishy items help add to your pack’s shock absorption

  1. Core Zone

    • Good for heavy bulkier items

      • Ex: Meals, tent, fuel canisters

    • Packing heavy items here helps to create a good center of gravity

      • If you pack heavy items too low the back will sag and too high will make you feel tippy.

  1. Top Zone

    1. Good for bulky items you may need during the day

      • Ex: Lunch items, rain jacket/fleece, water filter

      • Packing items that are too heavy here will make your pack feel tippy

  1. Accessory Zone

    • Good for small items you need frequently

      • Ex: Snacks, sunscreen, maps

You should also visualize stacking your items like you would firewood; laying down rows not columns and then filing all the nooks and crannies until it feels stable and the weight is even. You can play around with your own gear and find what works best for your pack but keeping these things in mind will help to optimize your load and your hike!

- Kate Dolan, DPT

Running Injury Prevention for the New Year

What are your New Year resolutions? What are your New Year goals? Perhaps you
want to complete your first marathon? Or run an Ultra? Or set a new 5k PR? Complete a trialthlon? Or hike the many fantastic trails that Bozeman has to offer? What
ever your goal may be, staying injury free will assist you in your pursuit.
With the growing evidence that many running injuries result from hip and buttock
weakness, maybe we should all begin our quest to attain our 2018 goals with
firming our booty. David McHenry is a physical therapist with the Oregon Project
who has been charged with keeping their athletes and Olympians (Galen Rupp, Mo
Farah, etc) healthy and strong throughout their training schedules. I invite you to
view the Oregon Project Stability Routine. (see link below)

The professionals at Great Northern Physical Therapy, PLLC can assist you in designing
an individualized injury prevention program.
Here’s to a healthy, successful and injury free 2018!

Pain with nursing?

Back pain and clogged milk ducts are common problems with nursing moms. Many new moms suffer through painful nursing sessions because they are either too tired to seek out help, don't realize help is out there, or just assume this is part of the "joys of motherhood". It is no longer necessary to suffer in silence! We are here to help you!

Proper positioning and support of mother and baby can help alleviate back, neck, or shoulder pain during nursing. Strengthening exercises for the back and shoulders can also help with back pain relief. Sometimes even just a change in the type of bra you are wearing for support can make a difference. Physical therapy could consist of just one or two visits to make appropriate modifications and establish an exercise routine.

Clogged milk ducts are also very common, and can come and go throughout the nursing process as supply and demand changes, with clothing or carrier restrictions, or with changes in diet or exercise. We are having excellent success treating these clogs with a combination of positioning/postural changes, modalities (heat, vibration, ultrasound), and manual lymph drainage. Women are seen for three visits over consecutive days, which is often enough to relieve the clogs. Physical therapy is typically more effective if the nursing mom is treated when the clog is small or only a portion of the breast is involved. When entire quadrants of the breast are involved, or when mastitis is also present, treatment is still helpful, but often takes longer to resolve the issue.

Common.....Not Normal.

Hey you guys!  You need to check out this fantastic TEDx talk by Claire Baker, PT.  While most of us might have low back pain or headaches and may feel comfortable sharing our experiences, there is a silent secret effecting men and women worldwide.  All of us have pelvic floors (of course!) and many of us have pelvic floor dysfunction (gasp!)  Just because a little wee when you laugh, cough, or sneeze might be common, it is not normal.  Check out Claire's great talk.

Pre Ski Mobility Workout

It finally seems like winter is here! Check out this great pre-sking mobility routine to help get warmed up for that epic powder day!

Run through this active mobility series 3-4 times in a row before you hit the slopes. The positions should only be held for a few seconds before progressing to the next exercise.


-       Pull knee to your chest, step forward into a lunge, twist torso toward forward leg. 


-       Stand on one leg, keep knee straight and bend forward toward toes. Option to add a rotation to the back leg.



 - Take a large step forward with left leg and bend your knee into lunge. Drop left elbow to the floor next to your foot.


- Slowly lower your body to the floor hands out to the side.

- Drive your right heel towards your left hand by activating your glutes. Keep your shoulders down. 


- Place your hands under shoulders and press into downward dog.

-Slowly walk your feet back up to meet your hands

-Stand up and repeat exercise 1