Each day we are hearing more and more about the dangers of texting. While we are becoming highly sensitized to the impact of texting while driving, what we are just beginning to discover is the impact texting has on our bodies when we spend numerous hours each day looking down at our phones.
While holding a Smartphone in your hand is easy and seems rather harmless, the minute we look down at our screens, we are impacting our cervical spine. To help you better understand what looking down means to your neck, here are 5 hefty reasons to stop looking down so much…
Reason #1: When looking down just 15 degrees, the force on your cervical spine is equal to having 27 pounds hanging from your neck. To get a sense of this weight, imagine carrying two 14 pound bowling balls from this sensitive part of your body.
Reason #2: Shifting your head slightly lower to a 30 degree angle moves that weight from 27 pounds to 40 pounds. This weight compares to holding a bag of top soil with just your neck.
Reason #3: Looking down just a little further, at a 45 degree angle, the weight increases to 49 pounds, comparable to SIX GALLONS of water pulling your head down.
Reason #4: At a 60 degree angle, the most common position most of us use when reading or texting on our phones, this weight moves up to 60 pounds of pressure on our cervical spine!
Reason #5: Though it may not seem plausible, a study conducted by Surgical Technology International and published by The Washington Post, showed that most of us spend an average of 26 HOURS A WEEK on our phones, looking down!
So how do you counteract the impact?
Look down with your eyes, don’t bend your head, and remember how hefty the price could be for not understanding how convenient technology can lead to less than ideal physical conditions.
Be smart with your Smartphone. Look up for YOUR physical wellness!!!
When we think about back pain, we usually associate that pain with injuries, excess weight, arthritis and other such factors. While all of these factors are causes for back pain, what many don’t realize is that stress is also a major factor that increases and sometimes even causes such pain.
We’d like to offer you a few simple tips for ways you can reduce stress in your life and experience the benefits of relaxation.
Get Some Air & Move Your Body
Movement is one of the best ways to reduce emotional tension. Whenever possible, even if you need to bundle up in the cold, go outside and breath in the fresh air. Take a walk, short or long. Lift up your arms, look up to the sky, and breathe! Time spent in this manner can help clear your mind and relax your muscles.
Learn About Time Management
The level of demand we face in our lives continues to grow despite the many technological advances we are making. When we’re worried about getting everything done, our bodies get tight right along with our perception of time. There are many great books and teaching tools available to help you learn how to manage your time more effectively and even learn to be less demanding and more compassionate with yourself.
Be with People You Enjoy
When we make time to be with people we truly enjoy, the world becomes a sweeter and more relaxing place. Laughter releases stress and tension. Time with people who you care about and who care about you is an excellent stress buster.
When we worry and focus on negative situations or events, our chests tighten, our jaws tighten, our bodies tighten and our minds tighten too. Stress hormones course through our bodies preparing us to be ready to fight and defend. When we focus on positive situations and events, relaxation is a natural byproduct of our decision to focus on what is right rather than what is wrong.
Whenever possible, give yourself the opportunity to release those burdens that maybe can’t be seen with our eyes, but certainly can be seen and felt in our bodies. Using these simple stress reduction tips can help you care for your back and make a real difference in your health.
Whether you are a competitive athlete or a leisurely sport participant, you may need a Physical Therapist at any given time. Most therapists understand the needs of athletes and can provide a standard of care. But for athletes who are in-season or having to delay a training regimen, finding a therapist who is an expert in sports therapy can provide the best care to return to your sport as soon as possible.
What should you look for in a Physical Therapist?
Research a therapists’ biography to determine similar interests or an athletic background. Someone who understands your sport can manage realistic expectations as well as knowledge about your sport and care.
The Right Credentials
A Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS) provides therapists with a comprehensive understanding of strength training, sport specific activities, and injury prevention. A therapist who is a CSCS will work with your training program and provide modifications during your rehabilitation.
Athletic Training Certification (ATC) includes trainers who are licensed individuals that provide medical care, primarily in a sports setting. Many Physical Therapy clinics employee ATC’s to treat patients; but a rarer find is a Physical Therapist who is also an athletic trainer. Although not common, finding a professional who has duel qualifications can consolidate your rehabilitation program.
Not injured? No problem. Physical Therapists who have either of the above certifications can offer injury prevention programs for various sports. These programs include strength training, agility, balance, and plyometric exercises to help prevent many non-contact injuries.
Doing your research and identifying a potential Physical Therapist is key in finding the right one that works for YOU.
By: Josh Halas, DPT & Julie Munson, PT, ATC, CSCS
While headaches can be uncomfortable, migraines are debilitating. The sensitivity to light and sound. Nausea and vomiting. An intense throbbing in your head that can last for hours or days. The symptoms can be so severe that, as the Mayo Clinic puts it, “all you can think about is finding a dark, quiet place to lie down.”
Like back pain, treating migraines can be difficult because they can be triggered by many different things. Here are a few reasons you may be suffering from migraines:
Weather. Quick changes in the barometric pressure can cause a migraine.
Stress. Intense demand from yourself and others. Intense feelings.
Diet. Some people have reported migraines triggered by foods high in sodium or after drinking alcohol, especially wine. Caffeine, in particular, has been associated with migraines.
Genetics. Up to 90% of those that suffer from migraines have a family member who also has them.
Sleep. Both too much and not enough sleep have been known to cause migraines. (Don’t worry about one night here or there; doctors say migraine sufferers should focus on keeping a consistent sleep schedule by going to bed at the same time and waking up at the same time each day.)
Hormones. Sorry, ladies: Women are three times more likely to have migraines than men. It’s thought to be a result of hormonal fluctuation, especially with estrogen.
Muscular tension. Tightness in the head and neck has been linked to migraines. (Be aware, though, that this could also be a sign of cervicogenic headaches, especially since the symptoms are often similar to migraines.)
While clearly there are factors that you can control and factors that you can’t control, when migraines are caused by muscular tension, physical therapy may be a real help. Treatment may include trigger point therapy, posture re-education, and joint or soft tissue mobilizations. In addition, your physical therapist may work to increase the range of motion in the neck and upper spine, and possibly the jaw -tension areas most frequently associated with migraines.
If you suffer from migraines regularly, we encourage you to talk your doctor about what could be causing the headaches. He or she can work with you to figure out the best possible treatment plan, whether it involves changes in your diet, adding medication, or working with a physical therapist.
The process of healing a bone fracture is most commonly determined by the type of bone fracture that occurred. Helping us understand different types of fractures, the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA), provides the following descriptions:
• The simplest type of fracture is defined as a non-displaced fracture. This means that the bone may be broken, but the pieces are still properly aligned within the body.
• The more complex fractures range from fractures that only include one break but are not properly aligned (displaced fractures), to a bone having multiple fractures, the fracture(s) affecting the soft tissue around the break, or even the fracture piercing the skin.
The more complex the fracture, the longer it will take for the bone to heal, which will mean activity will be curtailed for a longer time, increasing the possibility that physical therapy will be necessary to regain function.
Another factor that impacts the healing process, is where your fracture has occurred. For example, with a wrist or elbow fracture, it may be easy to walk around, but you will most likely have to limit the use of your wrist and arm. Your physical therapist can be of great help even while your arm is still in a cast, adapting your exercise regimen to remove any stress to the affected bones.
Lower extremity injuries, i.e., fractures below the belt, are more difficult to come back from — when you have a cast on your leg or even a walking boot, your mobility is more limited. Once you have been fitted with your cast, your physical therapist can teach you how best to move around given the limitations of your cast.
After a cast is removed, it’s normal to have some pain and stiffness in the affected area. Physical therapy will include a strengthening regimen to regain any muscle that was lost while the bone was healing and it can help you to regain strength and range of motion, allowing you to return to your previous level of activity.
Keep in mind that every fracture and every patient is different. Be sure to follow the directions from your physician and physical therapist carefully in order to recuperate safely. And if you have any pain for an extended period of time, whether while in a cast or after it has been removed, we encourage you to seek medical attention from your doctor.
Many of our patients who love to garden, are asking if we can share some tips on how to prevent or reduce back pain when they are cleaning out their gardens and getting ready to plant.
It is such a good question, we’ve decided to offer these tips here in our blog.
Without a doubt, good body mechanics is the key to being able to garden without creating back pain. Here are several tips that will help you:
1. Make time to prepare and protect your spine, muscles and joints by learning how to check and correct your posture. Many back issues are due to poor postural habits resulting in a loss of flexibility and decreased physical fitness. Gardening is, in many ways, a contact sport that requires preparation.
2. Warm-up before you start. Tight muscles are like cold rubber bands, they need to be warmed up to become flexible. Stretching your neck, shoulders, arms, back and legs before you get started can reduce the risk of pain or injury later.
3. Be kind to your body. Take breaks every 15 minutes. Use cool down stretches. For most gardeners, having your hands in the freshly turned soil and feeling the breeze of spring after a long winter is truly enjoyable. Relish the time you have in the garden and don’t push yourself.
There are additional actions you can take to protect your back. These include learning safe methods for transporting gardening materials; learning how to bend, lift and carry properly; and more. If you would like to receive further guidance, contact us, we are happy to provide you individual guidance.
To help you get moving healthfully, here are 6 great tips on how to choose athletic shoes that best support outside walking or running this season.
#1 INSPECT YOUR SHOES
Just because you haven’t been able to use your athletic shoes outside for many months, doesn’t mean your shoes are still supporting you properly. Is the back of the sole worn out? Is there still a cushion of support or is it worn down? Knowing when to replace your shoes is important, especially if you are a runner.
#2 DON’T BE CHEAP WHEN IT COMES TO YOUR MOBILITY
Though it’s great to find a nice pair of athletic shoes for a low price, being cheap when it comes to your feet isn’t wise. The fact is a good quality walking or running shoe can be pricey – but then, again, so can healthcare when you’ve injured yourself. Pay attention to the difference between a well-made shoe and a shoe that is expensive just because it is fashionable or endorsed by a celebrity.
#3 WHEN SHOE SHOPPING, WEAR (OR BRING) YOUR OWN SOCKS
Those nylon things at the shoe store might protect your foot from someone else’s germs – but they certainly don’t give you a chance to learn how the shoe fits when you are wearing your own socks. And, if you use an orthotic, bring this too, since the shoes need to fit with the orthotic inside.
#4 DON’T GO SHOE SHOPPING IN THE MORNING
Given that our feet swell throughout the day, it isn’t a good idea to shop for shoes early in the day. When you go later in the day, your feet will be at their largest and give you the best possibility of finding the right fit.
#5 ONE PAIR OF SHOES DOESN’T FIT EVERY OUTDOOR ACTIVITY
When you run, your foot contacts and wear patterns are different than when you walk. Shoes for walking tend to be stiff while shoes for running tend to be more flexible. Whatever type of activity you are doing, be aware of the difference and purchase shoes that will give you the best support for each type of activity.
#6 COMFORT IS A BIG DEAL
As we’ve looked over the studies, especially in connection with helping runners, we’ve found that the best shoes for your feet boils down to one thing: comfort. While your shoes need to be supportive, your foot also needs to be able to move within reason and restricting motion can cause problems too.
While we know that these tips can be helpful, if you don’t feel comfortable figuring out what is best for you, go to a reputable shoe store and ask for professional help – your body will thank you later!
Whether you’re hurting because of an injury, an accident, an illness, or the normal wear and tear that comes with aging, one thing is for sure; when you’ve got hip pain, you just want it to stop. While hip pain has a number of different causes, determining the cause is key to receiving the most appropriate treatment. Today, we would like to look at the two most common causes of hip pain, explore ways to prevent it and learn how physical therapy can help.
Most Common Cause # 1: Arthritis in the hip region results in pain, stiffness, swelling, and decreased range of motion. The most common type is osteoarthritis, also known as degenerative joint disease. Osteoarthritis is the excessive wearing of cartilage between the ball and socket, and the bone-on-bone contact causes significant pain and loss of motion.
Most Common Cause # 2: Injuries. The most common hip injuries include tendonitis, bursitis, contusions and sprains. These can be caused by a particular activity, repetitive stress, overuse injuries or some type of trauma. All result in inflammation of the tendons and ligaments causing painful movements, swelling, discomfort while resting at night, or possibly a dull ache and stiffness. The joint cannot function properly and without pain when there is swelling or inflammation associated with these injuries.
While there are factors that you may not be able to control, here are 4 powerful steps you can take to reduce or prevent the hip pain:
Physical therapy aims to reduce pain and help you regain mobility by building strength and increasing flexibility. It’s all about reducing the amount of stress placed on the joints. By strengthening the muscles around the hips, the joints get extra support and absorb less stress. Increasing and maintaining flexibility avoids any abnormal and unnecessary stress on your joints that often goes hand in hand with the loss of elasticity.
To learn more about how physical therapy, we encourage you to contact us with your questions.
We all have skips in our memory from time to time — misplacing our keys, forgetting an event or appointment, or failing to remember the name of an acquaintance. But as we age, particularly as we reach and pass the age of 65, it is easy to wonder if such small lapses in our memory can be signs of something more serious, like Alzheimer’s disease, or dementia.
The good news is that most of us won’t develop such serious diseases, the tough news is that some memory loss is common as we age — the American Psychological Association says that both our “episodic memory,” which remembers the small things in our daily lives, as well as our long-term memory, which stretches back to childhood, often declines as we grow older.
That being said, recent studies point to a variety of ways that we can reduce age-related memory loss and improve how our brain works from day to day. Here are 6 excellent tips from the Mayo Clinic and the American Psychological Association:
Stay mentally active.
Mental activity can keep your brain in better shape, and this can be done in a variety of ways. You can do mind games, like crossword puzzles, or computer training games designed to improve mental acuity. You can learn how to speak a new language or play an instrument. Even volunteering at the local school or library can help you keep your brain active.
Participating in social activities can help to reduce depression, which can contribute to memory problems. In addition, being social has been shown to improve longevity of life and overall health.
Train your brain.
When you learn new things, try using mnemonics, acronyms and associations to help remember them. Mnemonics use words to remember a sequence. Acronyms simply use the first letter of every word. And associations create a visual link to a name or location, like picturing a night sky when wanting to remember, Eve, the new nurse’s name.
A lack of sleep can create cognitive problems and it is always in your best interest to seek help if you have frequent problems with this important activity.
Eat a balanced diet.
Studies have shown that people who eat more fish, fruits and vegetables (also known as the Mediterranean diet) have lower risks of heart disease and diabetes, as well as healthier brains. In addition, diets heavy in omega-3 fatty acids, found in salmon and other fish, have been shown to improve the networking in your brain.
Be physically active.
There are many reasons to exercise — physical activity can reduce the risk of a variety of diseases, and it makes you feel better both physically and mentally. In addition, however, it has been shown to provide a variety of mental benefits, including improving memory, increasing cognition in older patients, and reducing brain shrinkage. A physical therapist can help you identify exercise activities that are a match for your fitness level and physical condition.
Why is good balance so important?
The reason can be summed up in one word: CONTROL.
Think about it… we balance our checkbook – or lose control of our finances, we balance our diets – or lose control of our good health, we balance our schedules – or lose control of our time, we balance our bodies – or risk injuries and accidents. To maintain control of our bodies is foundational to our ability to maintain control of our lives. To move safely and comfortably in our lives, we need to maintain a solid awareness of where our bodies are in relation to the things around us.
Do you know what causes balance problems?
While balance problems are common with aging, there are other factors and events that can impact your physical balance. Among these are medications, head injuries, bacterial and viral infections, blood circulation disorders, arthritis, and more.
Do you know how to prevent balance problems?
Here are 4 things you can do:
1. Get your vision and hearing tested annually.
2. Monitor your medications. Ask your doctor or pharmacist if your medications can affect your balance.
3. Manage chronic diseases, like diabetes, carefully.
4. If you fall, let your doctor or physical therapist know about it.
Do you know how Physical Therapy helps with balance problems?
First, your Physical Therapist can help reduce your fear of falling by addressing the specific problems that have been discovered.
Using an individualized treatment and exercise program, you can improve your mobility, and regain your ability to move with more ease, coordination and confidence.
As you work with your Physical Therapist, you will see an improvement in your strength, a reduction in muscle weakness, especially in those muscles most important to your balance (your trunk, hip and core muscles).
You will be able to increase your activity, as you learn how to identify muscles that are tight and learn to stretch them properly, resulting in an overall improvement in your flexibility and posture.
Physical Therapy is highly successful in helping you improve both static balance (standing or sitting) and dynamic balance (keeping your balance while moving).
Considering how important good balance is to our overall well-being, we encourage you to check your balance regularly and seek out help if you feel unable to sit or stand upright comfortably.