Many people spend hours a day sitting at a desk or in front of a computer. While this is necessary for work, the way your chair, desk, and computer are positioned could be having a negative impact on your health. Here are some guidelines for positioning yourself appropriately in order to decrease pain that could be caused from prolonged poor posture:
1. Make sure your chair is at the right height. You should be able to have your feet flat on the floor. If this isn't possible because of your desk height, you may need to put a block under your feet so they are able to stay flat.
2. Your hips should be level with or, ideally, slightly higher than your knees. This allows the spine to stay neutral and aligned, while sitting up tall.
3. Spinal alignment should be tall and neutral. You shouldn't be leaning forward or hunching over to look at your desk-work. Conversely, if you're slouching back, it will send your body into a “C-curve”, causing extra stress on your back and pelvis.
As the weather warms, it's time to get outside to weed, plant, and mow. Gardening is a great workout and can be an enjoyable past time. Good body mechanics is critical when gardening to help prevent injury. Here are some guidelines to keep your back your healthy while performing common gardening activities.
Trigger points are commonly referred to as “knots” in a muscle. They are often an overlooked cause of pain even though they are very common in the musculoskeletal system. They are defined as “a hyperirritable spot in a taut band of a skeletal muscle that is painful on compression, stretch, overload or contraction of the tissue which usually responds with a referred pain that is perceived distant from the spot” (Simone et al 1999). Essentially, they are tender areas to touch, and often can be sending pain signals even when they are not touched. Although any muscle in the body can have trigger points, a muscle that is commonly involved is the piriformis. This is a deep hip rotator muscle that is shown in the picture above. Trigger points in this area can cause pain through the whole glut region, making it difficult to sit, walk, or pick up your leg, as in putting on a sock. Because they contribute to decreased muscle flexibility and strength it may be difficult to perform daily activities.
There has been an increase in the past few years with awareness of gluten and a change in the way people are eating to become gluten free. Gluten is a protein that is found in wheat, and related grains, such as barley and rye. It can also be found in sauces, condiments, etc. For a person with celiac disease, gluten causes severe problems, and they must maintain a gluten free diet. Even without celiac disease, many people have a (known or unknown) gluten sensitivity, and consuming gluten in various amounts can have negative health effects, including inflammation in the body. A gluten free diet may provide decreases in gastrointestinal discomfort, systemic disorders and allergies, including IBS, rheumatoid arthritis, because it could be eliminating an inflammatory trigger for the body. Ideally, a gluten free diet should consist of foods that are naturally gluten free, including vegetables, fruits, meat, fish, eggs, nuts, beans, and rice. While this diet isn't right for everyone, if you feel that you may benefit from a dietary change, try eliminating gluten (wheat, barley, rye) for at least a month and see if you feel any difference in your body. We have a nutritional therapist on staff, Andrea Odewald; who would be happy to explore these issues and much more with you. Call to schedule an appointment with Andrea.
You may have already heard of the FMS, or Functional Movement Assessment, since many physical therapists, chiropractors, and athletic trainers are now incorporating the test into their practice and client sessions. So, what is it, exactly, and what is the difference between the FMS, SFMA, and YBT? This article will give a short explanation of the three and who might benefit from each one.
The FMS is a screen for movement asymmetries designed for a pain free individual. This screen examines seven functional movement patterns and compares the quality of movement to not only a standard of performance, but also a comparison of performance left and right. If asymmetries are detected, the examiner will provide a brief explanation and a few exercises and stretches to help balance out the dysfunction. If pain is detected, the patient can still perform the test and receive guidance, but it would be best to then follow with the SFMA examination.
Have you ever reached for something off the top shelf of your kitchen cabinet and heard or felt a subtle crackling sound in your shoulder? Ever been at the gym about to mount a pullup bar only to feel a crunch or grind around your shoulder blade upon making contact with the bar? Or what about in your hip? If so, you’re not alone. As a physical therapist, we deal these, “snap, crackle, and pop” moments daily when treating our patients.
The most likely explanation for such events is a term called crepitation. This is defined as audible vibrations indicating an underlying fracture, the presence of gas within tissues, or the grinding of arthritic bone surfaces and tendon movement.1 A skilled physical therapist based on an initial examination can rule out fracture or gas in the tissues quite simply. Once this is accomplished, the grinding of arthritic bone surfaces and tendon movement is usually the cause. This refers the compression of bones due to tendon and muscle tightness.
Kinesio tape is a specially designed elastic tape first developed in 1973 by a Chiropractor, Dr. Kenzo Kase. The original brand of Kinesio tape is made of 100% cotton, (no latex), with a wave pattern woven into the cloth to mimic fingerprints. The original concept was to assist the practitioner in the carryover of a treatment. In other words, it works to continually manipulate soft tissues, activate or inhibit muscles to ensure proper muscle firing patterns and alignment of a joint, treat swelling/lymphedema, and decrease both acute and chronic pain after the clinical appointment.
Proper application will not cause any skin irritation and should provide immediate relief to some degree. It can be used for a multitude of conditions such as: frozen shoulder, shoulder impingement/rotator cuff pathologies, thoracic outlet syndrome, low back pain, sacroiliac dysfunction and pain, patellar (knee cap) dysfunction, hamstring strains, achilles tendonosis, plantar fascitis, TMJ, headaches, whiplash, cervical and lumbar radiculopathy, ACL/MCL injuries, and chronic lymphedema, just to name a few.
The American Heart Association has declared February Heart Month in order to raise awareness about heart disease. Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States. Often, it can be prevented with lifestyle changes. Here are some ways that you can improve your heart health:
1. Make an appointment to have your numbers checked: Your heart rate, blood pressure, and cholesterol numbers can give you and your doctor an indication of your overall heart health. If you and your doctor decide that medication is required to manage your high blood pressure or cholesterol, make sure to take it regularly as prescribed. With improvements in diet and increased exercise, you may be able to decrease the use of some medications.
2. Make small changes in your diet. Decreasing sugar, and using spices instead of salt can have a big impact in the long run. Increasing your fruits and vegetables will also improve your heart health.
We wanted to share this recent article published in the Journal of Orthopaedic & Sports Physical Therapy about plantar fasciitis, a common cause of foot and heel pain. At Innovative Therapy & Wellness, we combine manual and exercise based physical therapy treatments in order to address your problems and improve symptoms quickly. This article explains the importance of this approach:
"One out of 10 people in the United States experience persistent pain along the bottom of the foot, a condition known as plantar fasciitis. In this country alone, outpatient clinics receive more than 1 million visits a year from people seeking help for this type of foot pain. In 2014, the Orthopaedic Section of the American Physical Therapy Association published updated clinical practice guidelines on the best treatments for patients with plantar fasciitis. The guidelines present evidence that strongly suggests a combination of manual therapy and rehabilitative exercises to help patients with this foot condition. In a more recent study published in the February 2017 issue of JOSPT, researchers reviewed the records of people with plantar fasciitis who were sent to physical therapy to determine whether this treatment lessened their pain.
There are many causes of lower back pain, a condition that millions of Americans suffer with. Although the structures directly involved in contributing to your symptoms may vary, there are some common things that you should know:
1) Walk- Studies have shown that walking helps to relieve back pain, due to the increase in circulation throughout the body, as well as the low impact nature of the activity. It doesn't have to be a fast walk, but some movement is better than none.
2) Find a movement preference- With most lower back pain, there is a movement preference, meaning that your back feels better with one position or movement compared to another. For example, if bending forward increases lower back pain, extend backward; sometimes it's the other way around.