All posts by Teresa Stockton

exercise tips

Exercise Tips to Get You Moving

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exercise tips

Becoming physically active requires a conscious effort for most adults. Develop an exercise program to fit your individual goals. Be sure to consider ways to increase your activity levels throughout the day. Every little bit helps! If you find it too challenging to fit 30 minutes of activity into your day, break it up into 10 to 15 minute intervals and accumulate your activity throughout the day.

Exercise Tips to Activate your lifestyle.
Challenge yourself to move more! Find ways to become more active in your daily living. For example, you can:

  • Take the stairs instead of the elevator or escalator.
  • Take a 10 minute stretch or walk break at work.
  • Turn on the music and vacuum.
  • Wash your own car – and your neighbor’s too.
  • Do strength-training exercises in front of the TV
  • Park in the furthest parking space and walk.

Make Fitness fun!
The secret to a successful fitness program is enjoyment! Choose physical activities that you enjoy doing. This could mean walking, playing tennis, biking or joining a team sport.

  • Consider trying something different, such as yoga or kick boxing.
  • Coach a youth sports team – your rewards will be many.
  • Enter a race – it will motivate you.
  • Plant a garden and share its beauty and bounty.
  • Make Sunday walks or hikes a weekly tradition.
  • Set up a morning walking or biking club; exercise buddies can help you be honest.

Anticipate the unexpected.
Lousy weather, travel (both business and pleasure) and the ups and downs of daily life can play havoc with your best-laid fitness plan. Always have a backup plan. If it is raining have an indoor activity to do, If you are taking a trip, throw in your walking shoes or a jump rope and fit in exercise when you can.

In addition being stronger and more fit aerobic exercise has so many health benefits.  If you need help getting started or need some motivation contact your physical therapist. They can work with you to create an exercise plan that works for you and your ability levels. You are never too old to be more active!

This article was written by the physical therapists at IRG Physical Therapy Group  – with multiple locations throughout Washington State. For more information about IRG Physical Therapy visit them online at www.irgpt.com 

Cervical Headache Physical Therapy

Physical Therapy for a Cervical Headache

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Cervical Headache Physical Therapy

What is a Cervical Headache and How Can Physical Therapy Help?

Cervical headaches are most often found in people around the age of 33, are usually one sided, and begin in the back of the head and radiates. A cervical headache is usually caused by agitation of the nerves exiting the skull or is a result of trauma, sustained postures, stiffness and general neck pain to the upper cervical segments.

Headaches are a common occurrence in daily life, and occur for a multitude of reasons. Usually, they pass without issue, and sometimes they might require Tylenol. However, sometimes the headaches are more severe and either remain present and linger, or recur at consistent (or inconsistent) intervals. When the headache begins in the back of the neck or following neck pain, it is likely a cervicogenic headache.  These headaches occur when there is a dysfunction in the upper cervical spine (upper neck), agitating nerves that share a pathway with the nerves that supply the jaw and temples.  These headaches often accompany stiffness in the neck, usually to one side or direction, and often react to postures (looking down, looking up, sleep, etc.). These headaches are mechanical in nature, meaning the movement and positions of joints are the cause of the headache. Therefore, movements either active or passive in the neck can change the stimulus that alerts the brain, causing pain.

Physical therapy, including manual therapy, repeated movements, exercise and posture education are the most effective treatment for these headaches. Further, and the best news of all, reduction does not take a long time, with relief usually in the initial visit and resolution in 4-5 visits.

How Physical Therapy for a Cervical Headache Typically Works

There are multiple types of headaches. Often a simple exam and a few questions can rule in or out cervical headaches as the cause. Very rarely are expensive imaging and testing needed to achieve a diagnosis. Following an initial evaluation, a physical therapist will have the basis for understanding:

  • How the headache is effecting function
  • Where the headache symptoms are coming from
  • Whether or not a red flag condition may be present
  • A direction to move the patient in to remove pain
  • Whether another headache type is present (migrain or tension headache) and how to proceed

When the initial evaluation is over the physical therapist will:

  • Identify the pain causing movement, posture, or spinal segment
  • Gear treatment around self management and the repetition of movements
  • Provide endurance exercises to help stabilize the neck
  • Use manual therapy may as needed to improve recovery times
  • Educate patients about posture and prevention

As physical therapists, our goal is not just to reduce the patient’s pain now, but to give them the tools to prevent injury and pain in the future. As a result our  headache physical therapy treatment plans include a good bit of patient education, including the best ways to manage headaches that may occur in the future. If you have a nagging headache that won’t go away, call your physical therapist to schedule an appointment and start feeling better today.

This article was written by the experienced physical therapists at STAR Physical Therapy. STAR physical therapy currently has over 65 locations throughout TN and provide a variety of specialty services to their surrounding communities. For more information about STAR visit them online at www.STARpt.com

Think you may have a Tension Headache instead? Find out in the PTandMe Injury Center

PT News PTandMe

PT News July 2018

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This Month in PT News. Featuring published articles from PTandMe partnering clinics!

1. Early Referral to Physical Therapy for Low Back Pain Reduces Cost and Improves Outcomes
Written by Mishock Physical Therapy with physical therapy locations throughout Montgomery, Berks and Chester, PA Counties.

Low back pain (LBP) is a common and costly medical condition associated with significant physical pain, impaired function, and loss of productivity. LBP is the leading cause of disability in the US exceeding $100 billion per year in treatment, reduced productivity and lost wages. Approximately, 70 million adults have LBP in any given 3 month period of time. (Health Stats, 2015). Read more

 

groin pain

2. Men. Do You Feel Like You’ve Been Kicked in the Groin?
Written by the Therapy Team at Ability Rehabilitation with Physical Therapy locations throughout Central, FL

Are you experiencing groin pain without a known injury? Do you have urinary hesitancy, urgency or frequency? Have you been diagnosed with prostatitis, and given antibiotics but achieved little to no relief?  Read more

hand stretch

3. Improve Your Mobility with These Range of Motion Exercises
Written by the Therapy Team at Desert Hand and Physical Therapy in Phoenix, AZ

Range of Motion Exercises, or ROM exercises, are important movement patterns designed to regain mobility in a joint such as the shoulder, knee, wrist or fingers. Regularly moving your joints can help reduce pain, keep your joints flexible, and improve strength and balance. Read more

Pros and Cons of Carb Loading

The Pros and Cons of Carb-Loading

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Pros and Cons of Carb Loading

Carb-loading diets have recently become popular in the sports and fitness community as a way to improve stamina and boost energy levels by increasing muscle glycogen levels by about 50%. Carbohydrates are your body’s main energy source when exerting yourself, and complex carbs such as legumes and whole grains are an essential part of every athlete’s diet. Carb-loading, however, is not a beneficial strategy for everybody. Loading up on carbohydrates has both its pros and its cons for different athletes.

What is Carb-Loading?

Carb-loading involves increasing carbohydrate intake around one to four days before a sporting event. Excess carbohydrates are stored in the muscle as glycogen, which offers a source of protein during physical exertion. The idea of carb-loading is to maximize glycogen stores in muscles before a competition, helping to improve stamina.

Loading up on carbs before an event works best for endurance sports such as marathon running, long-distance cycling, cross-country skiing, and lap swimming. It’s not as effective, however, for high-intensity team sports and everyday training. In general, carb-loading is best reserved for activities that involve more than 90 minutes of nonstop moderate to high-intensity exertion.

The Benefits of Carb-Loading

When applied to a training routine properly, carb-loading can help athletes to go for longer without experiencing fatigue. Normally, only small amounts of glycogen are stored in muscles, and when this supply runs out, exhaustion sets in. Carb-loading increases glycogen stores in tissues, giving individuals more energy at their disposal to use during a competition. Eating plenty of carbohydrates also helps to build muscle mass and prevent age-related muscle loss.

The Pitfalls of Carb-Loading

Following a carb-loading diet can cause more harm than good for certain populations. Casual gym goers and high-intensity sports teams should avoid too many carbohydrates, as such a meal plan can lead to water retention and weight gain. Not only will this affect physical performance, but may have long-lasting health implications. Carb-loading can also cause digestive problems such as bloating. Many foods that are rich in carbohydrates also contain dietary fiber which, while beneficial in small amounts, can lead to constipation and diarrhea in large doses.

While carb-loading can be beneficial for some individuals, it’s not necessarily an ideal strategy for all athletes. Eating an excess of carbohydrates only increases stamina for those who are competing in long-distance or endurance events. For daily workouts and most popular sports, carb-loading can actually detract from performance and lead to weight gain and digestive issues.

beware bed rest for back pain

Beware of Bed Rest for Back Pain

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beware bed rest for back pain

In the old days, when you hurt your back, your doctor told you to go on bed rest for back pain until it felt better. However a lot has been discovered since then and gone are the days of prolonged bed rest.  Most often, engaging in proper movements and postures are well as a gradual return to activities has been found to be much more successful in terms of controlling pain and allowing patients to return to normal activities faster.

Consistent findings show that bed rest for back pain is not an effective treatment for pain, but may actually delay you from recovering. Advice to stay active and continue modified ordinary activity results in a faster return to work, less chronic disability and fewer recurrent problems.

It has also been found that exercise and aerobic activity, like walking, assists in bringing nutrients to structures in the spine. Some of these structures, like the discs between your vertebrae, have a relatively poor blood supply and rely on body movements and aerobic activity to circulate nutrients. When a person is inactive, less of these nutrients are able to get to the structures in the spine to keep them healthy.

Bed rest and inactivity have been shown to weaken muscles and bones. Exercise in general, increases strength and flexibility of the muscles and aids in healing by increasing blood flow to the affected area. In treating back pain, physical therapists with patients to put a plan together to ease them back into doing pain-free activities. PT’s use individual health history, abilities, interest and availability to create a unique rehabilitation plan.

In addition to exercise, physical therapy for back pain utilizes a variety of gentle modalities, such as ultrasound, electric stimulation, massage, and thermal therapy to help relieve muscular spasms. Physical therapy excels in the use of muscular strengthening exercises to build stability. Going to physical therapy instead of choosing bed rest for back pain will help relieve pain faster, which means fewer repeat visits to the doctor with same complaint.

A physical therapy program for back pain is designed to be active in nature and is can often times be geared towards instructing patients in self care techniques and back injury prevention. With all of these tools available patients can get back to being pain free and enjoying every day activities.

This article was written by the staff at Agility Spine and Sports Physical Therapy with locations throughout Tucson, AZ. If you need physical therapy for back pain make sure to find a PT near you.

Find a physical therapist near me

For more information about back pain physical therapy click the links below.

Low Back Pain Physical Therapy  chronic back pain  low back pain relief

PT News PTandMe

PT News June 2018

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PT News PTandMe

This Month in PT News. Featuring articles from PTandMe partnering clinics!

1. Walking: An Effective Tool for Weight Loss and Maintenance
Written by The Jackson Clinics with locations throughout Northern VA.

The simplest exercise available is placing one foot in front of the other and walking. Because this is something we do every day, it is often overlooked as a valuable tool for weight loss. Read more

 

athletic trainer

2. The Roles of an Athletic Trainer
Written by the Therapy Team at The Center for Physical Rehabilitation with locations throughout Great Rapids, MI

Athletic trainers not only help individuals return to the athletic field or a respective line of work but it also allows these athletic trainers to practice in a setting that best suits them and their interests.  Read more

physical therapy

3. Why Should I Try Physical Therapy
Written by the Therapy Team at Excel Physical Therapy in Palmer & Wasilla AK

Do you suffer from aches and pains in your joints? Physical therapy can help! Most people who suffer from pain wait it out to see if it will subside on it’s own, but what is the cause of the pain? Read more

How to Stay Active When You Work a Desk Job

How to Stay Active When You Work a Desk Job

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How to Stay Active When You Work a Desk Job

As the years go on, more and more jobs require sitting behind a desk or connecting with your computer screen, for what feels like infinite hours during the work week. It has been determined that desk workers sit for more than 1,000 hours per year due the sedentary lifestyle many businesses and jobs now require. An increase in stress levels, back and hip pain, digestion issues, and poor posture are all examples of health problems employees experience at their desk. In order to eliminate the aches and pains, motivate yourself and your coworkers to to increase their active lifestyle both inside and outside of your work shift! With these helpful tips, you and your colleagues will want to hop out of that desk chair more often!

1. Take Walks Outside
Being static at your desk all day forces your body to not only adjust itself to sitting position, but a restraint to the outside world as well. Taking the time to step away from your desk to take walks outside can increase blood flow and allow your body to shake out any tension or pressure caused by sitting down. As your blood is flowing faster, your energy levels rise. This ultimately helps with alertness and concentration so you’re performing to the best of your ability while working. If your company has some strict guidelines when it comes to leaving the office, boost your activeness by walking a few extra blocks during your daily commute. This will give you several more minutes of exercise before going into work!

2. Participate in Fitness Events
Another fantastic way to motivate yourself and other employees in your workplace is by participating in different fitness events within the community! 5K walks and runs, fitness classes, and many volunteering opportunities all include a good amount of physical activity. Also, they’re a great way for you and your coworkers to not only be active, but to support a charitable cause as well! If there aren’t any fitness related events in your town who can host your work crowd, organize one! Be sure to register your event online to skillfully keep track of your RSVP’s.

3. If Possible, Work at a Standing Desk
This might sound crazy to some, but remaining in a sitting position for numerous hours can be kind of exhausting. Your body might feel fine within the first hour or two of your day, but when the forth and fifth hours hit, pain and pressure become prominent in areas such as your neck, back and shoulders. Worrying about your discomforts at your job can be stressful. To reduce the built up soreness, try working to a standing desk for a while to switch your bodies normal sitting position to lessen those body aches. Standing at a desk can also assist in lowering blood sugar levels, which can be quite valuable to your health!

4. Take the Time to Stretch
Stretching your muscles can relieve a lot of stress placed on the body from sitting for long periods of time. Lengthening your joints can reduce the tightness that you might be feeling throughout the day. During your stretching session, hearing strange cracks or noises is normal. These are actually little “bubbles of nitrogen” that form around your joints that can pop when you extended your muscles.

The improvement of your mental, physical and metabolic health comes with changing your daily routine from consistently inactive to a day full of movement. It is vital to spread awareness about the harmful effects that can come with working a desk job, and how exercise can benefit the way your body feels and make going to work less immovable. Make sure to motivate other desk workers to pursue an active lifestyle to help boost the amount active workplaces!

Top 5 Exercises for Frozen Shoulder

Top 5 Exercises for Frozen Shoulder

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Top 5 Exercises for Frozen Shoulder

Adhesive capsulitis is more commonly known as frozen shoulder, and with good reason: It can render your shoulder so stiff, it’s almost impossible to button your shirt — that is, if you aren’t in too much pain to get dressed in the first place. In general, frozen shoulder can come on after an injury to your shoulder or a bout with another musculo-skeletal condition such as tendinitis or bursitis. Quite often its cause can’t be pinpointed. Nonetheless, any condition that causes you to refrain from moving your arm and using your shoulder joint can put you at risk for developing frozen shoulder.

Physical therapy exercises for frozen shoulder focus on controlling pain and getting movement back to normal through physical therapy. When trying out the exercises below please perform them to your tolerance. If you experience pain – stop immediately.

Exercises for Frozen Shoulder

1. Internal Rotation Belt Stretch.
Exercises for Frozen Shoulder Internal Rotation Belt Stretch

Grab an old belt or dog leash. Place the involved hand behind your back and start by pulling the belt across your buttocks. Hold for 5-10 seconds. Repeat for 1 minute 2 sets.
Progression: Place involved hand behind your back and pull the belt with the non-involved to progress the back hand upward along the spine. Repeat for 2 minutes.

2. Posterior capsule stretch
Exercises for Frozen Shoulder Posterior Capsule Stretch

Cross your involved arm across your chest and apply overpressure with your non-involved side. Hold for 1 minute, 2 repetitions.

3. Pectoralis Stretch
Exercises for Frozen Shoulder Pectoralis Stretch

Stand in a door frame with arms by your side. Clasp onto the door frame and take a few steps forward until a stretch is felt in your bicep and shoulder area. Hold for 5-10 seconds for 1 minute, 2 repetitions.

4. Sleeper stretch
Exercises for Frozen Shoulder Sleeper Stretch
Roll onto your involved shoulder. Place your elbow in line with your shoulder. With your non-involved side, push your forearm down towards the floor. Hold for 30 seconds, 3 repetitions.

5. Upper thoracic stretch
Exercises for Frozen Shoulder Upper Thoracic Stretch

Stand about arms length away from staircase banister or kitchen sink. Hold onto the banister and lean your body forward until a stretch is felt in your upper shoulders and back. Hold for 1 minute, 2 repetitions.

More information about frozen shoulder (adhesive capsulitis) and other shoulder injuries can be found in the PTandMe injury center. These exercises while designed to help a patient experiencing frozen shoulder may not be beneficial to patients during all stages of recovery. For the best results, please find a physical therapist in your area to schedule an appointment. They will be able to tailor a treatment program designed specifically to meet your needs and ability levels.

These exercises for frozen shoulder were compiled and demonstrated by the staff at Green Oaks Physical Therapy – Irving. Green Oaks is located throughout the greater Dallas and Fort Worth areas. More information about Green Oaks physical therapy can be found here.

 

Whiplash after a car accident

How Serious is Whiplash After a Car Accident?

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Whiplash after a car accident

Whiplash is a common injury typically brought on by a car accident or rear-end collision that causes a person’s neck and back to jolt rapidly due to a large amount of force. Whiplash injuries can be caused by automobile, truck, motorcycle or any other type of vehicle collision. In most cases, whiplash may not initially seem too severe, but the amount of pain can increase after several hours or days after an accident. Depending on the injury, physical therapy or surgery can be required as a last resort.

Signs of Whiplash after a car accident
Whiplash injuries can range in severity depending on the impact of the crash. Some victims may not notice much more than slight discomfort. In other cases, you may experience:

  • Neck, jaw, back and shoulder pain or stiffness
  • Feelings of fatigue
  • Blurred or fuzzy vision
  • Severe headaches
  • Ringing in the ears
  • Muscle spasms/numbness

At any of these signs of pain, you should seek medical treatment from your primary care physician who can properly diagnose and treat your injuries and provide medication to dull the pain. In more serious cases of whiplash, your doctor can recommend physical therapy as well or provide next steps based on your specific case.

How Physical Therapy Can Help Whiplash Injuries
Physical therapy is a popular and effective option for anyone experiencing pain after a car accident. Your physical therapist can recommend exercises and stretches that can lessen the pain and increase motion of your neck and back to their original level. Certain exercises can increase blood flow and contribute to faster healing. Physical therapists can provide exercises to regain strength and mobility that you can work on in the privacy of your own home. Your therapist may recommend hot or cold compresses for minor pain. Other types of therapy including massage therapy can help reduce pain in your muscles and tissues. This is an effective way to heal from whiplash pain. Be sure to listen to the advice of your physical therapist for best outcomes and to let your therapist know if you are experiencing more pain or discomfort during physical therapy.

After Your Car Accident
After your car accident, it’s important to seek medical attention right away to determine the severity of your injuries and properly diagnose whiplash. If you were involved in a car accident due to no fault of your own that caused serious injuries and required physical therapy, it’s not a bad idea to consider speaking to an experienced car accident lawyer. An attorney can likely help you recover compensation to aid in your recovery.

*Sponsored post

PT News PTandMe

PT News May 2018

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PT News PTandMe

This Month in PT News. Featuring articles from PTandMe partnering clinics!

1. 4 Common Signs of Concussions
Written by the Therapy Team at IRG – Sports Physical Therapy Kirkland, WA

It’s important to be able to recognize the signs and symptoms of concussions in order to prevent further injury Read more

 

2. Hands-on physical therapy effective for common shoulder conditions
Written by the Therapy Team at Rehab Associates of Central Virginia 

Shoulder problems are one of the more common issues that affect the musculoskeletal system, as its prevalence in the general population has been reported as high as 4.8%.  Read more

3. What to expect on your first visit with a pelvic Physical Therapist
Written by the Therapy Team at Ability Rehabilitation – Central Florida

You may be wondering how this will help with your concerns and symptoms. You may be wondering “how does this work”. What will happen during the first visit and follow up treatments. Read more