Tag Archives: Posture

Safe Lifting Practices for Back Injury Prevention

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Whether at home or at work safe lifting practices can keep your back healthy and safe. Before lifting heavy objects decide how you will lift carry & place the item before you
pick it up. Test the weight of the load by moving or tipping it. Figure out if you can break the load down by placing the contents of large containers into a number of smaller ones before moving them. Is the path clear? What is the weight of the load? How much stress will be placed upon your back? Is there traffic, a tripping hazard, a doorway to go through, or a stairway to go up or down? Avoid carrying an object that requires two hands to hold, either up or especially down a flight of stairs. Use the elevator. Plan a rest stop, if needed. Knowing what you’re doing and where you’re going will prevent you from making awkward movements while holding something heavy. Clear a path, and if lifting something with another person, make sure both of you agree on the plan.

KEY STEPS FOR SAFE LIFTING PRACTICES

Establish a Base of Support: Use a wide, balanced stance with one foot in front of the other. Make sure that you have firm footing and that your feet are a shoulders-width apart. This staggered stance gives you the stability of not falling over and being able to secure the load.

Keep Your Eyes Up: Looking slightly upward will help you maintain a better position of the spine. Keeping your eyes focused upwards helps you keep your back straight.

Get a Good Grip: With your palms and make sure you have an adequate hold on the object. Be certain you will be able to maintain a hold on the object without having to adjust your grip later. You can use gloves to help maintain an adequate grip, but don’t rely on gloves because they can desensitize the fingers and make you unable to feel the object.

Lift Gradually with Your Legs: Without using jerky motions. By using your leg strength, your chance of lower back injury is greatly reduced.

Tighten you stomach muscles: As you begin the lift and keep you head and shoulders up.

Pivot – Don’t Twist: Move your feet in the direction of the lift. This will eliminate the need to twist at the waist.

Weight: A lighter load normally means a lesser risk of injury. The weight of the object should be within the capacity of the person to handle safely.

Handling: It is easier to pull or push a load than it is to lift, put down or carry.

Keep the Load Close: Holding a 20lb object with your hands 20 inches from the body creates more compressive force on your low back than holding it 10 inches away. This is because the muscles in your back have to work to counterbalance the weight when it is further from the body. As the compressive force on your low back increases, so does the risk of muscle strains, ligament sprains and damage to the disks in the spine.

Frequency: The more times a load is handled, the more tired the muscles become, making it easier for the person to be injured.

Distance: The farther the load has to be moved, the greater the risk of injury.

Duration (TIME): Where the job involves repetitive movements, reducing the time spent on handling will help to ensure the movements are not causing unnecessary strain.

Forces Applied: Forces should be applied smoothly, evenly and close to the body. Forces exerted should be well within the capacity of the person, and the person should maintain proper posture.

Nature of the Load: Loads that are compact, stable, easy to grip, and capable of being held close to the body are much easier to handle.

Terrain: Rough ground, steep slopes, slippery and uneven floors, stairs and cluttered floors make moving a load awkward and increase the chance for injury.

Environment (Climate & Lighting): If it is too hot, too humid, too cold or the lighting is inadequate, the capacity to work safely is reduced.

Condition of the Workplace: Safe and comfortable working conditions, with adequate space to perform the task, and tools and equipment that are well-maintained, make their job safer.

Age/Gender: Young and old workers alike may be at an increased risk of injury from manual materials handling activities. Ensure abilities of employees are in line with functional job requirements.

Training: Proper training for the specific task is vital to reduce injury.

Team Lifting: If one person cannot lift or move a heavy, large or awkward object safely, organize a team lift. Team lifting reduces the risk of injury, reduces fatigue and makes the task much easier.

Raise/Lower Shelves: The best zone for lifting is between your shoulders and your waist. *Put heavier objects on shelves at waist level, lighter objects on lower or higher shelves.

Avoid Lifting from the Floor: Lifting from the floor can greatly increase your risk of injury for two reasons. Firstly, it is difficult to bring objects close to your body when picking them up from the floor, especially large objects where your knees can get in the way. Secondly, your low back must now support the weights of your upper body as you lean forward, in addition to supporting the weight of the item you are lifting. Lifting the same 20lbs from the floor more than doubles the amount of force on your low back when compared with lifting is from waist height. Even a one pound object lifted from the floor increases you risk of injury if you use a bent over posture.

Get Help When You Need It: Don’t try to lift heavy or awkward loads on your own. Even though the muscles in your upper body may be strong enough to handle the load, the muscles, ligaments and disks in your lower back may be injured because of the additional forces they have to withstand. Get help from a co-worker, and whenever possible, use a cart, hand truck or other mechanical device to move the load for you.

This content was written by Fit2WRK who has partnered with PT and Me to give a comprehensive look into the services physical and occupational therapists provide. For more information on Fit2WRK click here.

crossfit

The Skinny on CrossFit

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If you find going to a new gym nerve-wracking, joining a CrossFit gym might be downright terrifying. Walking into the warehouse-like gym and seeing people flipping tires while loud music pumps out of the stereo system and primal grunts and screams reverberate off the walls can be intimidating. Just take a deep breath, slip on your sneakers, grab your water bottle, and get ready to change your life completely.

Created by Gary Glassman, CrossFit is a high-intensity strength and conditioning program. It uses functional movements and varied workouts to help people lose weight, build muscle, and live healthier lives. While every CrossFit trainer is certified and able to adapt workouts to your needs, it is important that you consult your physician about any pre-existing conditions before beginning a new workout regime.

If you are nervous about going to your first CrossFit class, you can rest easy knowing it probably will not be very intense. Before you can participate in the daily workouts, you need to complete the Foundation Training. This is where you will learn the proper form and technique for the nine fundamental movements. Once you feel comfortable with these movements you can join the masses.

You first week at a Crossfit gym (typically called a “Box”) will be like your first week at a new school. There will be new friends to make, lots of questions to ask, and new skills to learn. You won’t be doing advanced moves in the beginning but you will still be working hard and will find yourself sore and tired by the end of the week.

Each class consists of a 15-minute warm-up, followed by 15 minutes of skill work. This is a great opportunity to improve on a move you are struggling with, or tackle an exercise you are nervous about in the Workout of the Day (WOD). After the skill work segment, you will move on to the WOD. The amount of time to complete a workout varies depending on the objective. Sometimes you will be racing against the clock, while other times you will be aiming for a timed personal best. A cool-down will round out your workout.

10 Components of CrossFit

Doing CrossFit is a full mind and body experience. There are 10 specific elements of physical fitness you will practice during each workout. Your overall fitness level will be determined based on your competency in all these domains.

  • Cardiovascular and Respiratory
  • Stamina
  • Strength
  • Flexibility
  • Power
  • Speed
  • Coordination
  • Agility
  • Balance
  •  Accuracy

 

Building Blocks of CrossFit
There are nine foundational movements every new CrossFit member must understand and master to ensure they get the most out of their workout and avoid injury. The three basic movements are: Squats, Presses, and Lifts. These movements increase in difficulty from Level 1 to Level 3. Once an athlete is comfortable with the form and technique associated with an exercise, they can progress to the next level.

Squats
The first movement you will learn when you join a CrossFit gym is an air squat. This basic movement is the foundation for the next two levels of squats. Squats are excellent lower-body exercises that engage your hamstrings, glutes, and quadriceps. As you progress through the three levels of squats, you will also begin to engage your upper body and core, making the squat a full-body workout.

Level 1 – Air Squat:

  • Stand with your knees shoulder-width apart and your toes angled out at approximately 10 degrees.
  • Keep your back, shoulders, and core tight.
  • Extend your arms out in front of you.
  • Press your hamstrings back and down.
  • As you lower yourself to the ground, press your knees out.
  • At the lowest point of the movement, your hips should be lower than the crease in your knees.
  • Press up through your hamstrings and glutes to return to the starting position.
  • Rest your hands at your side.

Level 2 – Front Squat:

  • Begin in the same stance as for an air squat.
  • Hold a bar in front rack position. (Rack position: Rest the bar on your shoulders across your chest. Your elbows should be up and your triceps parallel to the floor. Loosely grip the bar at slightly wider than shoulder width, with palms facing the ceiling.)
  • Once you are comfortable holding the bar, complete the same downward movement executed in an air squat.

Level 3 – Overhead Squat:

  • Begin in the same stance as for an air squat.
  • Hold a bar over your head with your palms facing forward.
  • Elbows should be locked and your wrist and forearms aligned (no bend or flexion).
  • Complete the same downward movement executed in an air squat.
  • Keep your chest up and eyes forward during this movement. If you feel like you are leaning too far forward you might be compromising the exercise. Reduce your weight and continue.

Presses
Presses are fantastic for targeting and toning your upper body. They will engage your arms, shoulders, back, and, depending on what level you are on, your legs. As with squats, there are three levels of press.

Level 1 – Shoulder Press:

  • Stand with your feet hip-width apart and eyes looking forward.
  • Rest the bar across the front of your shoulders, gripping it slightly wider than shoulder width.
  • Use a hook grip to secure your hands around the bar. (Hook Grip: Cross your middle finger and index finger over your thumb.)
  • Press the bar upwards.
  • As the bar moves straight up, only your head should move back to allow the bar to travel in front of your face.
  • At the top of the movement your arms should be fully extended above your head with elbows locked.
  • Follow the same line to lower the bar back to the starting position.

Level 2 – Push Press:

  • Hold the bar in the same position as for a shoulder press.
  • Keep your torso upright and your core engaged, and slightly lower your body by bending your knees.
  • Explosively straighten your knees and use the momentum in the movement to press the bar above your head.
  • Arms should be fully extended with locked elbows at the top of the movement.
  • Lower the bar back to starting position.

Level 3 – Push Jerk:

  • Hold the bar in the same position as for a shoulder press.
  • Lower your body into a quarter-squat position.
  • Perform a vertical jump.
  • When you are in the air, press the bar above your head.
  • Land with your feet in the exact same spot they took off from and with a slight bend in your knees.
  • Finish the movement by fully extending your hips and knees.
  • Return the bar to your shoulders.

Lifts
The three progressive lifts in CrossFit engage your entire body. These full body movements allow you to make the most out of any workout. If you are short on time, incorporate these exercises into your routine to torch calories and burn muscle.

Level 1 – Deadlift:

  • Place the bar in front of you and stand with your feet hip-width apart.
  • Bend forward at the hips, bending your knees slightly, and grip the bar at a point that is wider than hip-width.
  • The bar should be in contact with your shins and your shoulders should be slightly ahead of it.
  • Keep a flat back as you lower your glutes and pull up on the bar (arms should not bend).
  • Straighten your back and legs while lifting the bar in a vertical line up your body.
  • When the bar passes your knees, fully extend your hips forward.

Level 2 – Sumo Deadlift High Pull:

  • Use a wide stance for this movement.
  • With your hands narrowly apart (about two fist-widths), grip the barbell in front of you with your palms facing down.
  • Keep your arms straight and chest up while you slightly bend your knees into a quarter-squat.
  • Explosively stand up and shrug your shoulders, pulling the bar up in a vertical line.
  • By the time your hips are fully extended, your elbows should be above the bar pointing up and your hands should be aligned with your shoulders.
  • Slowly lower the bar back to the ground by reversing this movement to complete the repetition.

Level 3 – Medicine Ball Clean:

  • Swap out the barbell for a medicine ball.
  • Squat down over the ball.
  • Keep your chest up and gaze ahead.
  • Keep your arms straight and grab the ball on opposite sides.
  • Explode up, shrug your shoulders, and slip your body under the ball so that it lands in front of your face.
  • Catch the ball at the bottom of a front squat with your hips below your knee joints.
  • Complete the movement by standing up with your arms remaining bent, and the ball in front of your face.

WOD are you Talking About?
It’s no secret that CrossFit has a lingo of its own. If you’ve ever heard someone talking about CrossFit, you might wonder what language they are speaking and why they hate their friends Josh and Nancy so much. While they might be talking about a person, it is more likely your CrossFit friends are discussing a tough workout they just did. Each WOD is given a name. WODs are usually named after women (in the same way storms are, because they are so intense they leave you feeling like you were hit by a hurricane) or after fallen war heroes. Here are two notorious WODs that people love to trash.

Six Benefits of CrossFit
CrossFit is a tough workout, you can’t deny that. But, if you are willing to take a shot and get your sweat on, you will reap the rewards. Here are just a few of the many benefits CrossFit will have on your health and life.

The best thing to do if you are considering joining a CrossFit gym is to stop by and check one out. They have certified coaches on site who will be more than willing to answer your questions and put your fears to rest. Who knows, you could be the next breakout star at the CrossFit games!

hand therapy week PTandMe

ASHT: Hand Therapy Awareness Week

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Prevent hand and wrist injuries while cooking. Professional hand therapists promote wrist and hand health in the kitchen.

USE THE RIGHT TOOL FOR THE JOB
Use easy-to-grip versions of tools like spoons, knives and bottle/can openers to decrease the stress on your hands and use scissors to open bags (or packages) instead of your thumbs.

SIT OR STAND UP STRAIGHT
Correct posture is important because the nerves that operate your fingers start in neck. During activities which require you to be looking down at what you are doing, like chopping vegetables, take a moment to stand up straight, turn your head side to side/up and down, and stretch your arms over your head.

SLIDE, DO NOT LIFT
When working in the oven, always slide the shelf out so you can get a good, safe grasp of the panhandles.

KEEP YOUR SHOULDERS DOWN
Your arms should be at your sides and the counters you work on should be waist high. Many kitchen counters are too high for the average person. As a result, you may be forced to raise the shoulder you are using to cut the food and lean to the opposite side of your body when preparing food. This causes increased stress on the neck, shoulder and arm muscles and nerves.

TMJ Pain

Physical Therapy Helps With TMJ Pain

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TMJ Pain

Physical Therapy can help those suffering with pain associated with the facial region, head, and/or neck, including those struggling with Temporomandibular (TMJ) disorders.

The temporomandibular joint or TMJ, is a complex joint located in front of each ear. It is responsible for allowing mouth opening and closing. When the TMJ is not working correctly, you may experience jaw pain, clicking, popping, or locking of the joint. You may also experience headaches, neck pain, sinus pain, dizziness, and ear ringing or pain. TMJ pain or Temporomandibular Dysfunction (TMD) is not strictly limited to the jaw, jaw, it can also be influenced by activities, positioning, or alignment of the head and neck.

COMMON CAUSES

  • Excessive grinding or clenching of teeth
  • Joint stiffness
  • TMJ Disorders
  • Poor Posture or Ergonomics
  • Other neck conditions including pain and headache
  • Stress and muscle tension

TMJ Pain

PHYSICAL THERAPY TREATMENT FOR TMJ
Physical therapy treatment includes an in depth evaluation of the structures of the cervical spine, jaw joints and head. Treatment could include manual therapy techniques for the spine, jaw and soft tissues, exercise for the jaw and neck, and modalities. Evaluation focuses on the relationship of the muscles, joints and nerves of the jaw, head, neck and face and how they relate to each other. Manual therapy may be used to improve range of motion and mobility of the jaw and neck. Exercise is designed to restore the proper balance of the spine and head to take unnecessary stress off of sensitive tissues and to support the body so it can perform the activities of daily living efficiently and comfortably. Modalities will decrease the short-term discomfort and joint irritation. We will look at how you interact with your environment to see if there are activates you preform that put increase stress on your body which could cause increased pain. Most importantly, in addition to these techniques, the patient is provided with a home exercise program to aid in symptom reduction. Each treatment plan is based on a patient’s individual needs and the therapist, patient, and referring practitioner work as a team to reach the patients goals.

This information was written by Rehab Associates of Central Virginia, an outpatient physical therapy group with 13 locations in Central Virginia. Their physical therapists have advanced degrees in specialty orthopedic care from head to toe. From musculoskeletal headaches to lower back pain to heel pain syndrome, they can help take away your pain and help you return to normal activity. For more information click here.

Baby Mechanics

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Proper lifting mechanics is important for everyone, especially for a new mom. Caring for a young child/infant significantly increases the strain to one’s low back. Luckily, there are steps that one can make to decrease that strain and reduce the risk of injury.

Always remember to: lift the child/infant close to you and bend through your legs versus your back.

As your baby begins to gain more independence and mobility, lower the height of his mattress to keep him safe. Be aware that the lower mattress height can increase strain on your back, so lower the mattress height as gradually as possible. When lifting your baby in or out of the crib, keep baby as close to your body as possible while keeping your back straight and bending through your legs. For older babies, help him get into a sitting position before lifting him out of the crib. Once baby can stand, lift him out of the crib from a standing position.

Just like lifting baby out of the crib, keep her as close to you as possible, bend through your legs and keep your back straight. Keep your abdominal muscles tight as you lift her up. If possible, get into a deep squat position to lower your center of gravity before picking up baby.

Avoid the “hip shift” position with baby propped on one hip while shifting your body to that side. Instead hold baby in front of you with his legs out on either side of you. If you are going to be holding baby for an extended period of time, use a baby carrier to keep your baby supported in a neutral alignment.

Tummy time isn’t just good for babies! During tummy time, get down on your stomach too. Stretching out on your stomach is good for you, and it also allows you to better interact with your baby.

During story time, be aware of your posture and always sit up straight. Place a pillow behind your back for extra support.

Use a nursing pillow under baby to help prop her up closer to you. Bring baby to you instead of leaning forward towards her to avoid strain. Placing a pillow behind your back can provide extra support and help you maintain the proper posture. If you are bottle feeding or for older babies, place a pillow under the arm that is supporting baby’s head to decrease the strain on your shoulder and neck. Although making eye contact with baby during a feeding can help strengthen your relationship with baby, it can cause strain on your neck. Be sure to bring your head to a neutral position throughout the feeding to decrease the tension on your neck.

baby car seat

When lifting a car seat, be sure to keep the car seat as close to your body as possible. Bend through your legs and keep your abdominal muscles tight as you pick up the car seat. Instead of carrying the car seat in one hand at your side, use both hands to hold and carry the car seat in front of you whenever possible.

Getting the car seat in and out of the car can be tricky. Remember to keep the car seat as close to your body as possible, keep your abdominal muscles tight and your back straight. If your car seat is placed in the middle position in your car, put one leg up into the car to protect your back while keeping the car seat close to your body.

This information was written by Metro Spine & Sports Rehabilitation, an outpatient physical therapy group with locations in the Chicago Loop and Lakeview areas. At Metro Spine & Sports Rehabilitation, their number one priority is the patient. For more information click here.

repetitive strain injury

Repetitive Strain Injury (RSI): Prevention Tips for Strain and Injury in the Workplace

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The Following are Seen as Causes of Repetitive Strain Injury:

  • The overuse of muscles in our hands, wrists, arms, shoulders, neck and back
  • The area is affected by repeated actions, which are usually performed on a daily basis over a long period
  • The repetitive actions are done in a cold place
  • Forceful movements are involved
  • Workstations are poorly organized
  • Equipment is badly designed
  • The individual commonly adopts an awkward posture
  • There are not enough rest breaks

RSI

Prevention 101: Nine Easy Ways to Reduce Your Risk of Developing Repetitive Strain Injury:

  • TAKE BREAKS when using your computer. Every hour or so, get up and walk around, get a drink of water, stretch whatever muscles are tight, and look out the window at a far off object (to rest your eyes).
  • Use good posture. If you can’t hold good posture, it probably means it’s time for you to take a break from typing. If you are perpetually struggling to maintain good posture, you probably need to adjust your workstation or chair, or develop some of the support muscles necessary for good posture.
  • Use an ergonomically-optimized workstation to reduce strain on your body.
  • Exercise regularly. Include strengthening, stretching, and aerobic exercises. Yoga and pilates may also be helpful.
  • Only use the computer as much as you have to. Don’t email people when you could walk down the hall or pick up the phone and talk to them. It’s not only better for your hands – it’s friendlier. Think before you type to avoid unnecessary editing.
  • Don’t stretch for the hard-to-reach keys, e.g. BACKSPACE, ENTER, SHIFT, and CONTROL… basically everything but the letters. Instead, move your entire hand so that you may press the desired key with ease. This is crucial when you are programming or typing something where non-letter keys are used extensively.
  • Let your hands float above the keyboard when you type, and move your entire arm when moving your mouse or typing hard-to-reach keys, keeping the wrist joint straight at all times. This lets the big muscles in your arm, shoulder, and back do most of the work, instead of the smaller, weaker, and more vulnerable muscles in your hand and wrist. If you find it difficult to do this, then your shoulder and back muscles are probably too weak. It is OK, and in fact a good idea, to rest your elbows/wrists when you are not typing.
  • Use two hands to type combination key strokes, such as those involving the SHIFT and CONTROL keys.
  • When writing, avoid gripping the writing utensil tightly. Someone should be able to easily pull the writing utensil out of your hand when you are writing. If your pen or pencil requires you to press too hard, get a new one (my favorite is Dr. Grip Gel Ink).

Article provided by Fit2WRK. The information noted above is a summary of one of the components of Fit2WRK.

bike fit

Does Your Bike Fit?

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There is a misconception that only competitive cyclists benefit from bike fittings. The truth is that anyone that rides a bike on a consistent basis should ride a bike that fits them properly. Granted, competitive cyclists are looking for every advantage with respect to power and performance. However, fitness and recreational riders can gain the same benefits while also improving comfort and reducing the risk of on-the-bike injuries. Often, a few basic changes to a bike can make a significant difference with respect to comfort, power, endurance and overall performance. In this blog we briefly examine some of the key areas that must be considered to ensure a proper bike fit.

THINGS TO LOOK FOR

Frame Size
Obviously, not all frames are created equal. Frame geometry can vary dramatically depending on material, the manufacturer and overall design. Head tube angles, seat tube angles, top tube length, wheel base, etc. are all factors which contribute to how a bike handles and rides. This is where test riding a bike will pay dividends. For example, having a steep head angle may sound like a good idea to achieve a responsive ride. However, you may find it a bit unnerving on a steep, fast descent or even when you try to take your hands off the bar to eat or drink. With regard to mountain bikes, different suspension and wheel size options also affect the way a bike handles and rides. All are personal preferences that should match your intended use.

For general fit, most manufacturers will have measurements that you can take on yourself to help you decide which frame size will likely be best for you. However, you may also fall within the acceptable range for two different frame sizes. In that case, there is no substitute for going to a shop that carries the bikes and riding them both. In all likelihood, you will quickly feel the difference and easily decide which will work best for you. If you are leaning toward the larger of the two sizes, make sure to check the stand over height before laying your cash on the counter. Keep in mind that your primary concern with respect to frame size is the fit from the waist down. Reach is obviously important as well. However, most upper body adjustment can be achieved by varying bars or stem length/angle assuming the length of the top tube is appropriate.

Crank Arm Length
This is one area where people seem to be content to accept a length simply because that particular crank arm is what they have been told is standard or best. The truth is that many bikes come equipped with crank arms that are too long for the prospective rider. Even when told they should have a shorter crank arm, some feel that if they can push it, they will be a stronger, more powerful rider. This can be a foolish mindset as this can result in knee and/or back problems. Of course, there are also occasions where the crank arms may not be long enough. In this instance, the rider is likely giving away potential power and performance. When deciding on an appropriate crank arm length, we are usually talking about millimeters of difference. However, there are specifications for crank arm length typically based on inseam length and/or seat height.

Cleat Alignment
Pedal choice as well as cleat adjustment are vital components of bike fit. Proper cleat alignment is the starting point for overall fit and essentially aligns the position of the foot in relation to the spindle of the pedal and the crank arm. It can also be one of the most difficult aspects of fit to get accurately established. This is true primarily because it is hard to align your cleat when it is mounted to your shoe which is on your foot and clipped into the pedal. Furthermore, most modern pedal/cleat combinations allow for considerable adjustment with respect to float, rotation, fore and aft, and side-to-side. Equally important is the shoe. People often buy soft cycling shoes that are comfortable on and off the bike. Although these shoes may be more comfortable for walking, you are giving up considerable force production and performance on the bike. Furthermore, on long bike rides, these softer shoes can result in “hot spots” and foot fatigue. Cycling shoes don’t need to be uncomfortable. However, when you are riding a bike, wear the shoe that is made for the job.

Seat Adjustment
This is another area that results in much debate. Do you go higher for better force generation or lower for better control on descents? Once again, improper seat height can result in pain or injury. It can also significantly limit your performance. For most riders, seat height and saddle setback (fore/aft positioning) is crucial for comfort and performance. This is the area where the biggest abuse of the law of averages has befallen bike fit. Seat adjustment is often based on averages and equations. Unfortunately, this is rarely the correct position. Much better than averages are measured angles with the rider on the bike which results in a more exacting fit.

Stem Length/Bar Height
Fitting stem length and bar height should be based on alignment, posture, comfort and performance. These factors can have a great effect on your back, neck, shoulders and wrists.

You may be saying to yourself, “Then tell me how my bike should be set up.” The fact is that an accurate fit cannot be done without looking at the individual on their bike. Many bike fits are based on measurements such as inseam, reach, trunk length, etc. which are then plugged into a variety of equations. Adjustments to the bike are then made according to the resulting numbers. The problem is that these equations often vary and are based on averages. Most of us aren’t average. We all have differing body composition and physique. Strength, flexibility, experience and orthopedic issues all play into proper bike fit. Proper fit must be done with the rider on the bike looking at specific measures and alignments.

Ultimately, a good bike fit is well worth the money and can go a long way toward improving comfort on the bike, improving your performance, and reducing the risk of injury. There are obviously many approaches and “schools of thought” when it comes to bike fit. The point here is that the most accurate fits are accomplished by evaluating you on your bike. Remember, depending on your effort and ability, cycling can be a very intense form of exercise. However, that doesn’t mean you have to hurt. If you have pain on the bike, something is typically wrong. More often than not, the problem can be addressed by improving fit. The bottom line is that you want to be sure the bike you ride is fit specifically to you. You should never be forced to fit yourself to the bike.

Written by Michael Choate, MSPT, USA Cycling Certified Coach at North Lake Physical Therapy & Rehabilitation in Portland, Oregon.

North Lake Physical Therapy & Rehabilitation clinics use progressive techniques and technologies to stay on the forefront in their field. OTheir staff is committed to providing patients with advanced healing techniques. To learn more about them click here.

reduce back pain

No Turning Back: Reduce Back Pain with These Spine-Stabilizing Exercises

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We take so many things about our bodies for granted. They feel good, we go about our daily activities and we never think about the complex mechanisms at place. That is until something goes wrong. Take your back: it serves as stabilizer, flexor, movement and relaxor too. But unfortunately, back pain troubles many of us — about 8 in 10 people in their lifetime will experience back pain. But you don’t have to rely on pills to relieve symptoms or even countless trips to a doctor. Exercises offer a proactive approach to reduce back pain, and this graphic can help with ideas.

reduce-back-pain-with-these-spine-stabilizing-exercises-web-1

PT News

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

1. Simple Steps to Starting a Weight-Training Program
Written by the Therapy Team at The Jackson Clinics – Middleburg, VA

One of the challenges of weight training is determining how much effort to put in for the most benefits. Read more

2. Sit Up Straight! Avoid Sitting with Bad Posture
Written by Megan Russo, PTA at The Center for Physical Rehabilitation – CPR – Grand Rapids, MI

Do you ever find yourself sitting in a slumped position while at work or driving in the car? Read more

3. Minimizing the Risk of Ski Injury
Written by the Therapy Team at The Jackson Clinics – Middleburg, VA

If winter weather has you prepared to hit the slopes, be sure to take the necessary precautions to keep yourself injury-free this season. Read more

Increased Risk Zones

Work Related Stress & Increased Risk Zones: Part 1 of 2

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INCREASED RISK ZONES
All Risks Increase with Duration, Frequency and Magnitude.

• Excessive Force

• Repetition of Activity (Can irritate tendons and increase pressure on nerves)

• Awkward Posture (Can compress nerves and irritate tendons)

• Sustained Static Posture (Can restrict blood flow and damage muscles)

• Unsupported Positions

• Motion (Increased speed or acceleration when bending / twisting, can increase the amount of force exerted on the body)

• Compression (Grasping sharp edges like tool handles, can concentrate force on small areas of the body, reducing blood flow and nerve transmission, and damaging tendons and tendon sheaths)

• Inadequate Recovery Time (Overtime, lack of breaks, & failure to vary tasks)

• Vibration of Tools (From vibrating tools, can decrease blood flow, damage nerves, and contribute to muscle fatigue)

• Whole Body Vibration (From driving trucks or operating subways, can affect skeletal muscles and cause low-back pain)

• Effects of Temperature (Cold temperatures can adversely affect a worker’s coordination and manual dexterity while Heat stroke can be very serious as when the body becomes unable to control its temperature, it rises rapidly, the sweating mechanism fails, and the body is unable to cool down.)

• Environment (Slip/Fall hazard-Uneven Floor Surfaces)

• Material Handling Guidelines:
Weight Loading over 50lbs
Lift Speed greater than 5/minute
Vertical Lift Exceeds 3ft
Carry over 1 minute
Sustained Push/Pull over 30 seconds
Static reach holding tasks over 1 minute

Part two of our Work Related Stress & Increased Risk Zones can be found here

work related stress

Sources:
1) Ergonomics: The Study of Work, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Safety and Health Administration, OSHA 3125, 2000 (Revised)
2) T. R. Waters, “Manual Materials Handling”, in: Physical and Biological Hazards of the Workplace 2nd. Edited by P. Wald and G. Stave. New York: John Wiley and Sons, 2002.
3) Ergonomics and Musculoskeletal Disorders, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention/ National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) © Fit2WRK 2015 R.Gagne