All posts by Teresa Stockton

Use Exercise to Help Improve Your Posture

How to Use Exercise to Help Improve Your Posture

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Use Exercise to Help Improve Your Posture

Poor posture is sometimes inevitable. With many people working jobs that require long periods of sitting, tension in our muscles isn’t uncommon. Aside from this, poor posture can also be caused by general muscle weakness, technology use, injury, stress, and even genetics.

Failing to correct your posture can ultimately lead to increased health issues—like frequent headaches, spinal dysfunction, difficulty breathing, and indigestion. Good posture can help us breathe easier, digest food more efficiently, and help us feel more confident.

Keep reading to find out how you can easily improve your posture through exercise.

4 Exercises to Try To Correct Poor Posture

To correct your posture, grab your workout clothes, open space, and some water to perform these exercises to help build your core and back muscles, lengthen your spine and stretch your body.

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1. Cat and Cow Pose

Not only does the cat and cow pose help improve your posture, it can also help relieve stress, calm the mind and improve coordination.

Here’s how:

  • Start on all fours.
  • Get into cat position by curling your shoulders downward and pushing your hips toward the ground to curve your back upward.
  • Then, get into cow position by pushing your hips upward and your stomach toward the ground.
  • Alternate between cat and cow post for one minute.

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2. Pigeon Pose

If you tend to sit for long periods of time, your body will naturally build up tension in your back and hips. Pigeon pose is excellent to combat this as it helps open up your hip flexors and lower back muscles. A bonus: it also helps increase your flexibility and supports healthy digestion.

Here’s how:

  • Begin in a downward-facing dog.
  • Bring your right foot forward into a lunge position.
  • Bring your right shin down to the ground, perpendicular to your body.
  • Bring your left leg down flat on the ground.
  • Hold the stretch for one minute, then repeat on the opposite leg.

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3. Side Plank

Side planks help strengthen your core without putting too much stress and pressure on your lower back—the perfect move for correcting poor posture.

Here’s how:

  • Lie on your side with your elbow on the ground under your shoulder to support your body.
  • Push your hips and knees off of the ground.
  • Hold this position for 10-30 seconds or longer if you’re comfortable, then repeat on the other side.

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4. Crunches

Crunches are one of the most popular exercises for improving core strength needed for good posture, but they also help increase the mobility and flexibility of this muscle group.

Here’s how:

  • Lie on your back with your feet on the floor, shoulder-width apart.
  • Cross your arms over your chest or place them at your side.
  • Sit up to engage your core muscles, then lie back down.
  • Repeat for 4 sets of 10 to 20 reps.

Incorporating these simple yet effective exercises into your daily routine can help you stand up straight in no time. For more workouts, you can do to improve your posture, check out the infographic below.

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golf stretches

Dynamic Golf Stretches

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Golf requires strength, flexibility, endurance, and power to create pain-free movement and improve your game. The most common golf injury is low back pain followed by shoulder pain and knee pain. A physical therapist can assist you in improving your pain and correcting your body’s deficits.  These golf stretches will make your golf game less painful and reduce those extra strokes:

hamstring stretch

Hamstring Stretch
(move from upright into stretched position 10x)

back extension stretch

Back Extension Stretch
(hold club backwards overhead, repeat 10x)

hip back shoulder rotation

Hip/Back/Shoulder Rotation Stretch
(hold club behind back and rotate torso to each side 10x)

calf stretch

Calf Stretch
(move from upright into stretched position 10x)

lumbar rotation 1

lumbar rotation 2

Lumbar Spine Rotation
(hold club, plant feet as shown, rotate to each side 10x)

forearm rotation 1

forearm rotation 2

forearm rotation 3

Forearm Rotation
(hold club straight up, then rotate to each side 10x)

Physical Therapy Appointment

This information was written by Mishock Physical Therapy and Associates, a privately-owned, outpatient physical therapy practice operating in southeast Pennsylvania. They actively participate in the community by providing services to schools, retirement communities, and local businesses. Their mission is to provide the most efficacious, state-of-the-art physical therapy services to relieve pain, restore function and return you to the highest quality of life possible. For more information click here.

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PT News April 2022

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This time in PT News we recap what our clinics have been posting throughout April 2022. We are excited to bring you current physical therapy-based posts featuring published articles from PTandMe partnering clinics!

Fix Bad Posture

1. Picture Perfect Posture

Written by Carolina Physical Therapy with locations throughout South Carolina.

Over the course of my career as a Physical Therapist, one of the biggest issues I see with patients is poor postural habits being practiced on a daily basis. Most of this can be due to the fact that individuals are constantly looking down at their phones, hunching over their desks at work, and sitting on their couches improperly.  Read more

 

Shedding Winter Weight

2. Shed the Winter Weight

Written by The Jackson Clinics, an outpatient physical therapy practice with locations throughout Northern Virginia.

Are you struggling to find the motivation to get back on your workout program and shed the winter weight? You’re not alone! Many of us find ourselves with unwanted pounds after long winter months filled with holiday parties and yummy foods. But worry not: we have ideas for ALL levels of athletes, from walking to running and cross-training.  Read more

 

Low Back Pain Physical Therapy

3. Primary Care Low Back Guidelines

Written by Wright Physical Therapy, an outpatient physical therapy group with locations throughout Idaho.

The cost for low back pain treatment to patients per year approximates $134 Billion for combined insurance and out-of-pocket costs. This does not include the expense of missed workdays or missed opportunities that individuals encounter when managing low back pain. For this reason, improvements in the treatment approach for non-specific low back pain are important.  Read more

We hope you enjoyed our picks for the PT News April 2022 edition.

Find these locations and others to start feeling better today!

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Shoulder Pain Physical Therapy Can Fix

Types of Shoulder Pain Physical Therapy Can Fix

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Shoulder Pain Physical Therapy Can Fix

Shoulder Pain Physical Therapy Can Fix

Carrying the weight of the world on your shoulders? When everything rests on your shoulders, they’re more prone to injury. Constantly carrying your children, overtraining, too much lifting, or throwing your heavy backpack over your shoulders every morning can lead to a painful injury. If you already have pain or difficulty with your shoulders, physical therapy is the way to go.
Whether it’s rotator cuff tears or other injuries to the muscles surrounding the shoulder, physical therapy for shoulder pain is often a successful, non-surgical treatment. It aims to strengthen the muscles around your shoulder to heal and improve its function and your mobility.

Common Causes of Shoulder Pain

Not all shoulder pain is created equally! It is not all caused by the same thing. The anatomy of a shoulder is a bit complex, consisting of many different parts. The shoulder is a ball and socket joint made up of the humerus (arm bone), the scapula (shoulder blade), and the clavicle (collar bone). There are many ligaments that support the shoulder, and many muscles are attached to help you move in many different directions. This leads to many potential causes of the pain you may be experiencing and here are the most common causes of shoulder pain.

Tendonitis

Tendinitis is a very common condition that often sends people straight to a physical therapist for pain relief. A tendon is a cord that connects muscle to bone. Most tendinitis is a result of inflammation of the tendon and usually affects people who take part in many physical activities, or work at a job that requires them to use lots of repetitive motions every day.
The most commonly affected tendons in the shoulder are the four rotator cuff tendons and one of the biceps tendons. The rotator cuff is made up of four small muscles and their tendons that cover the head of your upper arm bone and keep it in the shoulder socket. Your rotator cuff helps provide shoulder motion and stability. If you make the same repetitive motions every day to play your sport or do your job, such as an athlete who plays tennis or a professional painter, you could be at high risk for developing tendonitis in your shoulder. Those who are at high risk for developing this condition should be aware of how important it is to not only visit a physical therapist regularly but also rest their shoulders often to prevent chronic pain.

Tendon Tears

Splitting and tearing of tendons may result from an acute injury or degenerative changes in the tendons due to advancing age, long-term overuse, wear and tear, or a sudden injury. These tears may be partial or may completely separate the tendon from its attachment to bone. In most cases of complete tears, the tendon is pulled away from its attachment to the bone. Rotator cuff and bicep tendon injuries are among the most common of these injuries.

If you experience a partial or full tendon tear, the pain can be searing and require regular appointments with a physical therapist -but there’s good news! In a 2013 study, up to 75% of people with a full tear in their rotator cuff were able to rehab their shoulder without the need for surgery (Kuhn et al. Shoulder and Elbow, 2013 October).

Instability

Shoulder instability occurs when the head of the upper arm bone is forced out of the shoulder socket. This can happen as a result of a sudden injury or from overuse. Shoulder dislocations can be partial, with the ball of the upper arm coming just partially out of the socket. This is called a subluxation. A complete dislocation means the ball comes all the way out of the socket. Once the ligaments, tendons, and muscles around the shoulder become loose or torn, dislocations can occur repeatedly. Recurring dislocations, which may be partial or complete, cause pain and unsteadiness when you raise your arm or move it away from your body. Repeated episodes of subluxations or dislocations lead to an increased risk of developing arthritis in the joint.

Non-surgical physical therapy treatment for instability will typically focus on reducing the strain at the shoulder in a downward or backward position during functional task performance. The therapist will likely present a number of restricted motions and ways to perform functional daily tasks without putting strain on the ligaments. In the case of a painful shoulder, the therapist will recommend anti-inflammatory techniques and positions of the shoulder at night and during sustained or repetitive task performance.

Arthritis

Often people will avoid shoulder movements in an attempt to lessen arthritis pain. This sometimes leads to a tightening or stiffening of the soft tissue parts of the joint, resulting in a painful restriction of motion. Two common forms of shoulder arthritis without a previous injury involve osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.

Osteoarthritis

This “wear and tear” condition involves the smooth cartilage that covers the ends of the bones where they form a joint. This cartilage allows the bones to move against each other smoothly. When you have osteoarthritis, your cartilage wears away, causing your bones to rub against each other.

When working with patients that suffer from Osteoarthritis, physical therapists focus on maximizing the amount of safe motion that the shoulder can perform and provide education on how to alter your activities to stay within that motion. Patients are likely to be provided with a home exercise program that includes strengthening the uninvolved muscle groups in order to provide support for those that are inflamed or damaged.

Rheumatoid arthritis (RA)

Rheumatoid arthritis impacts the joint lining, or synovium, that lubricates the joint so it can move easier. Unlike osteoarthritis, RA is an autoimmune disorder. This means the body attacks itself, and in this case, it attacks the synovium. It usually affects multiple joints, typically on both sides of the body, such as both shoulders.

Bursitis

The shoulder is made up of a very complex network of moving parts. One of the main components that make up the shoulder is called the “bursa.” Bursae are small, fluid-filled sacs that are located in joints throughout the body, including the shoulder. They act as cushions between bones and the overlying soft tissues to help reduce friction between the gliding muscles and the bone.
Sometimes, excessive use of the shoulder leads to inflammation and swelling of the bursa between the rotator cuff and part of the shoulder blade and can become painful. Many daily activities, such as combing your hair or getting dressed may become difficult.

Impingement

Shoulder impingement can occur when the top part of the shoulder blade puts excessive pressure on the underlying soft tissues in the arm when it is lifted away from the body. As the arm is lifted, the shoulder blade rubs, or “impinges” on, the rotator cuff tendons and bursa. This can lead to bursitis and tendinitis, causing pain and limiting movement. Shoulder impingement is a condition that occurs when the top part of the shoulder blade lifts away from the body and puts too much pressure on the underlying soft tissues in the arm. As the arm lifts, the shoulder blade rubs against the bursa and tendons. If this condition goes untreated, an impingement in the shoulder can result in bursitis and/or tendinitis.

Not all shoulders are created equal, so an individualized plan for physical therapy treatment needs to be designed and instructed. Many times, there needs to be a certain amount of manual stretching and joint mobilizations provided by a trained and licensed Physical Therapist as well. The vast majority of people who suffer from shoulder impingement are treated successfully with these steps of rest, medications, stretching exercises, and the temporary avoidance of overhead reaching. If symptoms persist or if there is significant weakness present that is not improving the rotator cuff may be damaged and require further assessment from an Orthopedic MD.

Fracture

Fractures are broken bones. Shoulder fractures commonly involve the clavicle (collarbone), humerus (upper arm bone), and scapula (shoulder blade). Shoulder fractures in older patients are often the result of a fall from a standing height. In younger patients, shoulder fractures are often caused by a high-energy injury, such as a motor vehicle accident or contact sports injury. Fractures often cause severe pain, swelling, and bruising on the shoulder.

Frozen Shoulder

Adhesive capsulitis, also known as frozen shoulder, is a condition that occurs following an injury or alongside another shoulder condition. This is when the shoulder capsule thickens and becomes stiff and tight causing thick bands of tissue, called adhesions, to develop. If left untreated, frozen shoulder can take up to 2 years to go away on its own. Most physical therapists recommend that patients with frozen shoulders rest often in between physical therapy appointments to avoid developing scar tissue in the shoulder. On the chance that scar tissue does develop, the muscles surrounding the shoulder may eventually freeze up as well. This will limit your full range of motion and result in chronic pain.

Physical therapists are specialists and experts in evaluating, treating, and managing patients with an array of shoulder pain problems. If any of these conditions sound familiar, your therapist will examine your strength and range of motion, check your functional abilities (like reaching up and behind your back), and then come up with a personalized treatment plan to relieve your shoulder pain and restore your mobility. Don’t shrug it off and have a physical therapist guide you through your shoulder rehab today.

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how to run with bad knees

How to Run with Bad Knees: Pain Prevention & Care

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how to run with bad knees

The biggest fear of every runner is that their joints will start to ache and prevent them from running. You can actually never know when something like knee or ankle pain could occur, but you should know the most common reasons that happen and how to prevent it.

Maybe you had a knee injury when you were younger and it could start showing up again while running. Also, a meniscus tear is another problem that could make your knees ache as well as the jumper’s knee. There are simply many reasons for this pain to show since knees are gentle and the impact of feet to the ground puts too much stress on them. Luckily, there are many ways to prevent this and take proper care of your knees and tendons around them which will enable you to run without any difficulties.

Wear the Right Shoes

Feet are very complex and if you don’t take care of them while running, you will find more problems occurring in them, your knees, and even hips. It is all connected and you have to protect your foot in order to avoid any further aches and problems. Running is a high-impact sport and puts plenty of stress on your feet, ankles, and knees, and wearing proper shoes will help you run easily and reduce any risks of injury and pain.

Your job is to find the right shoes that will provide proper support for your toes, heel, and arch. Also, the sole should be comfortable and thick enough to provide amortization during running. Not only will running become even more fun, but you will manage to save your knees from stress, provide comfort for your feet and avoid and prevent any ankle pain and injuries.

Don’t Skip the Strength Training

Strength training is good for your entire body. Proper strength exercises will make your muscles more strong and more flexible which is an essential part of preventing any pain and injuries. If your lower-body muscles are weak, you should try to make them stronger. You can perform plenty of different exercises, such as lunges and squats and you will manage to make your thighs and knees stronger and more balanced. Also, don’t forget to work on your core and stability, because those will keep your knees and hips protected while running and even help with performance.

Check Your Posture While Running

If you’re experiencing any knee pain during or after your running session, it could be that your technique or posture is off. In the past leaning forward was thought to help, but a recent study by Human Movement Science found just the opposite. Their study found that the impact your body had on the ground increased significantly when runners leaned too far forward. If you’re unsure of how your running posture is affecting your body, ask your physical therapist for a gait analysis.

Don’t Overtrain

It is essential to know your body, listen to it, and know when it’s tired. Too much intense training will only bring negative effects and increase the risks of injuries and pain. If you’re already experiencing knee pain, think about how much you’ve run in the last couple of days and see if that was maybe too much for your body. Your body needs proper rest in order to stay healthy, injury-free, and make progress. If you run one day, make sure to rest the next day, or adjust the amount of time you spend running in one take. Take care of your body, let it rest, and you will reach your goals fast and avoid pain.

Knees are delicate. No joint in your body will give in eventually if you’re putting too much stress on it every day. So, make sure your running technique is right, invest in proper shoes, and take it easy. You will be able to run faster and longer if you gradually increase the intensity.

If you are looking for help with your knee pain or would simply like to improve your running posture please don’t hesitate to reach out to your local physical therapist. Many clinics have running programs that are designed specifically to help keep people on the pavement pain-free!

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gardening ergonomics

Gardening Ergonomics

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gardening ergonomics

It’s that time of year again. Time to exchange snow shovels and winter boots with gardening tools and watering cans. While the warmer weather brings on a new sense of happiness and energy, we need to remember to use proper body mechanics and follow general safety to avoid muscle aches and potentially serious injuries. The number one injury associated with gardening is low back pain. If you have experienced a recent injury or pain, we can help you recover.

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Here are a few tips to make your gardening experience more enjoyable and less painful.

LIFTING:
Lifting heavy objects such as bags of soil, planters, and mulch improperly can lead to low back strains and/or sciatic pain. Other options include moving half of the soil/mulch to a separate pot before lifting the bag or planting into smaller pots that are easier to maneuver. Using a garden cart or wheelbarrow can also assist with moving heavy gardening materials. Remember to lift with your legs, avoid simultaneous lifting and twisting and keep heavier objects close to your body to avoid injury.

PLANTING:
Prepping the soil can also be a difficult and tedious task requiring prolonged forward bending and frequent changes in position. Try prepping the planting bed by using long-handled gardening tools. Once the soil is ready, plant from a kneeling position using either a kneeling stool or a cushion. Remember to avoid twisting at the spine. Those with known chronic low back pain may want to consider planting in to pots, flower boxes or raised flower beds to avoid further injury.

WEEDING:
Most people dislike weeding their gardens and flower beds. Options to reduce the need to do so include using plants as ground cover or using mulch in your flower beds to minimize weed growth. If using a weed spray, look for bottles that have a sprayer hose to allow you to stand upright while treating your problem areas.

MOWING THE LAWN:
Another task that most people find tedious. When able, use an electric start mower. The action of pulling a cord to start your mower is the most common cause of low back injuries. If you must use a pull start mower, remember to bend at your knees and maintain the natural curve of your spine while reaching for the cord. Make sure you tighten your abdominal muscles just before pulling the cord in order to support your spine. If using a push mower, remember to maintain a proper upright posture and take breaks as needed.

Remember to listen to your body. Take frequent breaks and change positions when you start to experience aching, cramping, or fatigue. Stay hydrated and wear sunscreen. If you do happen to experience low back pain or any other injury, remember to contact your physical therapist. They can help alleviate your symptoms as well as educate you on proper body mechanics.

gardening

GARDENING STRETCHES
Stretching before you start gardening can help you from experiencing pain later. Here are some stretching techniques to help get you started!

1.) Fold your hands together and turn your palms away from your body, but this time extend your arms overhead. You should feel the stretch in your upper torso and shoulders to your hand. Hold for 10 seconds and repeat eight times.

2.) Place your hand just above the back of the elbow and gently push your elbow across your chest toward the opposite shoulder. This is a stretch for the upper back and shoulder. Stretch both the right and left arms. Hold for 10 seconds and repeat eight times.

3.) Raise one arm overhead. Bend the elbow. Place the opposite hand on the bent elbow and gently push the elbow back further. This is a stretch for the triceps. Stretch both the right and left arms. Hold for 10 seconds and repeat eight times.

4.) Extend an arm in front of you, making sure the elbow is completely straight. With your palm down, take the opposite hand and bend in the wrist downward. Then turn the palm up, and stretch the wrist backward. This stretches the forearm and wrist muscles. Hold for 10 seconds and repeat eight times.

If you are experiencing pain, trust a licensed professional. Our therapists will help identify the cause of your pain and work with you to help it go away, and prevent pain and injury in the future.

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The warm-up exercises were developed by professional hand therapists who are occupational and physical therapists specializing in the treatment of the hands, arms, and shoulders. These exercises and tips have been designed to supplement more commonly known gardening safety practices that concentrate only on preventing back injuries.
For more information visit: www.asht.org

Sports Overtraining Physical Therapy

Sports Overtraining: Reaching Your Tipping Point

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Sports Overtraining Physical Therapy

Pushing your body to be the best that it can be is a good thing that can yield great results, but sometimes going too heavy on your body’s odometer might be damaging for you in the long run and can even result in injuries that are detrimental to your fitness goals. Overtraining is doing too much, too often, and past the point of your body’s ability to recover quickly.

Since it’s always better to prevent an injury than to have to treat it after the fact, we thought it would be helpful to share signs you can look out for if you think you’ve reached your tipping point.

Signs and Symptoms of Sports Overtraining

  • Persistent aches, pains, or muscle soreness
  • Elevated resting heart rate
  • Decreased agility, strength, endurance, and overall performance
  • Increased susceptibility to infections
  • Chronic or overuse injuries
  • More frequent bouts of illness
  • Feeling irritable, agitated, or depressed
  • Loss of appetite or excessive thirst
  • Headaches
  • Excessive fatigue, sluggishness, or insomnia
  • Becoming restless and losing focus

Although sometimes your body may not be able to keep up with the level of fitness you’d like to perform, it’s important to remember that there is a delicate balance between achieving optimal conditioning and overdoing it.

How to Avoid Sports Overtraining

  • GET ENOUGH SLEEP – This is when our bodies rebuild & repair and our immune system recovers
  • PROPER NUTRITION – Make sure to eat proper nutrients, including plenty of lean meats, fruits, and vegetables
  • EXERCISE SMARTLY – Find a balance & avoid workouts that are too intense for you
  • EASE INTO IT – Follow a structured plan that increases your activity incrementally and safely
  • MONITOR STRESS LEVELS – Remember to breathe during any rigorous activity to remind your nervous system to keep your body calm
  • PROPER RECOVERY TIMETake one or two days between workout sessions or alternate intensity levels for each workout
  • ACTIVE REST – Try less intense exercises such as yoga, stretching, or foam rolling

Even the healthiest of activities should be enjoyed in moderation. If you’re noticing that you’re feeling run down, your performance is suffering, you’re getting sick more often, and you keep getting injured, it’s time to change your routine. Take time off, dial back your intensity, cross-train to add variety once you’re adequately rested, and visit a physical therapist to deal with an injury.

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shin splints

7 Ways Physical Therapists Treat Shin Splints

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shin splints

Here are 7 ways a physical therapist can help treat pain and symptoms associated with shin splints:

Pain Reduction: The RICE principle is the first step to recovery (rest, ice, compression, and elevation). Manual therapy and Kinesiotaping may also speed up recovery and reduce swelling.

Gait and Footwear Analysis: An analysis of how a person walks and runs is an important part of treatment. The wrong mechanism of walking can transmit a great deal of force through the shin to the knee and hip. In such situations, physical therapists will correct gait patterns and recommend footwear with shock-absorbing capacity.

Muscle Stretches and Strengthening: The tibial and peroneal muscles are attached to the shin and must be stretched adequately before any form of exercise. Physical therapy includes various stretches of the foot that will help stretch and warm up these muscles. Strengthening damaged muscles can also help.

 Activity Modification:  Physical therapists may suggest alternative activities to minimize stress on the shinbones. These can include swimming and cycling.

Increase Range of Motion (ROM): Exercises for the hip, knee, ankle, and foot improve blood circulation, reduce inflammation and relieve pain. A home exercise program may also be implemented.

Arch Support:  The absence or collapse of a normal foot arch can lead to shin splints. Physical therapists will recommend appropriate orthotics that can be custom-made for the patient and provide the proper amount of arch support.

Return to Sport: If you are an athlete, your therapist may tailor exercises that are specific to strengthening the areas needed to perform your sport. Modified use of your muscles may also be discussed and implemented. Return to your sport may be gradual to prevent re-injury.

To learn more about shin splints please visit our PTandMe injury center on this website by clicking here.

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PT News PTandMe

PT News February/March 2022

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PT News PTandMe

This time in PT News we recap what our clinics have been posting throughout February and March 2022. We are excited to bring you current physical therapy-based posts featuring published articles from PTandMe partnering clinics!

1. Worker’s Compensation: What Is A Job Analysis?

Written by ARC Physical Therapy+ with locations throughout  Missouri, Kansas, and Iowa.

A functional job analysis is the first and most critical step of a comprehensive injury management program. The job analysis is the cornerstone for determining the essential functions of the position and associated physical demands required as well as for developing testing to determine the physical capabilities of an employee.  Read more

 

physical therapy for headaches

2. Physical Therapy Tackles Cervicogenic Headaches Head-On

Written by Jaco Physical Therapy, an outpatient physical therapy practice with locations throughout Oahu, Hawaii.

Are you noticing headaches on one side or the back of your head? Are you feeling worse at the end of your workday or headaches that worsen with computer usage or driving? You may be suffering from cervicogenic headaches. Thankfully, they are treatable with physical therapy!  Read more

 

How to Sleep Better

3. How you sleep matters.

Written by Riverview Physical Therapy, an outpatient physical therapy group with locations throughout Maine.

How you sleep matters. Are you waking up with lower back discomfort or neck soreness that you didn’t go to bed with? You may be sleeping wrong.

Try sleeping on your back or on one of your sides. Sleeping on your stomach is never advised. Just think about it, would you spend your workday with your head turned 90 degrees to the side for 6-8 hours? Of course not.  Read more

We hope you enjoyed our picks for the PT News February/March 2022 edition.

Find these locations and others to start feeling better today!

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Ice or Heat When in Pain

Ice vs. Heat When in Pain

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Ice or Heat When in Pain

A question physical therapists get frequently asked is whether to use ice or heat on an injury. Here are some general guidelines to help in many scenarios. If you have certain conditions such as fibromyalgia, Reflex Sympathetic Disorder (RSD), or rheumatoid arthritis, your sensory pathways are affected and don’t fall into the typical response patterns.

Ice is for injuries and after activity and heat is for loosening and relaxing tissues, used before activity.

ICE

  • The first 24 – 48 hours after an acute injury onset, use ice. This is true even for simple muscle sprains or pulls.
  • After an activity, at the end of the day or when swelling is present, use ice. When things are inflamed, the more you do throughout the day, the more inflamed the area will get. Ice will assist in decreasing pain, inflammation, and swelling.
  • Ice can also be used for chronic conditions like overuse injuries to help control inflammation.

Ways to Ice:

  • Ice cubes in a plastic bag
  • Wet, frozen towel
  • Gel ice packs

Things to know about icing:

  • Don’t ice for more than 20 minutes
  • Let your tissues fully re-warm before re-icing
  • 20 minutes on, 40 minutes off is a good rule for icing multiple times
  • If you’re icing in an area with superficial nerves (elbow), don’t ice for more than 10 minutes
  • You never want to ice before an activity. You want your muscles warm, not cold!
  • Ice can aggravate symptoms of tightness and stiffness.

HEAT

  • Heat is typically used to help relax or loosen tissues.
  • Heat will bring more blood flow to the area.
  • Heat is usually used in conditions that are more chronic. This helps stimulate blood flow to the area.
  •  Heat, when needed, is used before activity assisting more blood flow to help loosen and relax the muscles.

Ways to Heat:

  • Heating Pad
  • Hot, wet towel

Things to know about heating:

  • Avoid heating for long periods
  • Don’t use heat when sleeping to avoid burns
  • Heat can make inflammation significantly worse.

If your pain doesn’t subside after a few days, don’t hesitate to reach out and ask for help. We can evaluate your injury or pain and get you back on your path to recovery.

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BONUS!

Looking for an ice pack and can’t find one? No worries. Making your own ice pack at home is practical and easy.

hand in ice pack

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups of water
  • 1 cup of rubbing alcohol
  • gallon-sized Ziploc bag

Directions:

  • Pour the water and rubbing alcohol into the bag ** Double the bag for extra protection against breakage.
  • Zip the bag shut removing as much air as possible.
  • Place the bag in the freezer until the liquid reaches a slushy mixture.
  • When ready, wrap the bag in a towel or pillowcase before applying it to the skin. (DON’T NOT APPLY BAG DIRECTLY TO SKIN)