Blog

Physical Therapy Stretches for Headaches and Migraines

You know the days when your pain splitting headache feels too much to bare? When light and noise are ultra-sensitive and all you want to do is curl up into a dark quite room? Well, did you know physical therapy can help with headaches and migraines?

Headaches come from a dysfunction of the central nervous system (the brain and the spinal cord) that involves the nerves and blood vessels which result in the pain. Medications affect the nerves system in the attempt to reduce the pain, whereas physical therapy works on the muscles and joints to elevate the pain. Those who benefit most from physical therapy for treatment of migraines and constant headaches are those who experience them frequently.

Physical therapy techniques can be applied at the start of a headache to reduce the pain and longevity. Stretching exercises can be helpful when the start of a migraine occurs and to prevent ones in the future.

A good stretch that helps alleviate the tension in your lower neck is to gently tuck your chin to your chest. You can lace your fingers behind your head and slowly rock your head from side to side to loosen up this area.

Another stretch to help alleviate tension is to sit on your left hand while bringing your right hand over your head and touching your left ear. Bring your right ear to your right shoulder. You should feel a stretch on your left side. Holding for 10 seconds and repeating on the other side.

Finally, shoulder rolls will help loosen up your shoulders and your lower neck. Start by rolling your shoulders forward 5 times and then roll them backward.

All these stretches can be performed at the start of a headache to reduce the pain. These stretches can also be performed before bed to ease tension before falling asleep, especially helpful after a stressful day.

Stretching daily can also help reduce the headaches before they even start and doing them twice a day for about 15 minutes can help with headache and migraine prevention.

Regular physical therapy treatments can also help in chronic headaches and migraines. Each headache is caused by different factors and consulting your physical therapist can help you come up with a solution to rid yourself of these painful problems.

5 Tips for Eating Healthy in the New Year

With the new years comes the new year resolutions. Every year we make promise ourselves we will hit the gym more, eat healthier, and better our daily routines. What often happens with these resolutions is they fall to the side when life comes in and we don’t have a set plan for how to accomplish our resolutions we thought long and hard about. So, here are five tips to stay on track with healthy eating in the new year!

 

  1. Up your fiber intake. Chances are, you aren’t getting enough fiber in your daily life. The average American only gets 14g of fiber per day which can be less than half of the recommended daily intake! Adding more fiber into your diet can help you slim down, prevent cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes and a number of cancers. You can find fibers in grains, berries and other fiber rich foods! Fiber can also keep you fuller for longer so no more late night hunger spikes!
  2. Eat more vegetables. Piling on the veggies will be a wonder for your waistline. Adding veggies into your meal will allow you to fill up on nutrient rich foods instead of the bad stuff. Adding a salad before your meal will make you feel less hungry once you get to your main course, keeping yourself from over indulging! You can also add your veggies in your morning smoothie. Many vegetables like: spinach, zucchini and mushrooms can go unnoticed and pack a powerful punch of your daily recommended serving!
  3. Cook at home often. When you cook your own food, not only do you know exactly what goes into it, you appreciate your meals more. So, hop onto Pintrest and whip up something you have been craving! With all the food blogs out there, there is a healthy hack for about every recipe! Have fun with experimenting with new things!
  4. Eat more Omeg-3s. Upping the amount of omega-3s will help keep your blood pressure down and also has been studied to improve your mood. Omega-3’s can be found in seafood and have the good kind of fats! Try to eat two servings of fish per week. If you’re not into seafood add some flax into your smoothies!
  5. Hold the sugar. Get your sweet fix with fruit or try other natural sweeteners such as honey or agave, steering away from refined, processed white sugar. Going on a 30 day sugar detox can help reset the body from craving the sticky stuff! Keeping sweet stuff out of the house can better help you control your sugar intake, so try to stay clear of the donut and candy aisle at the grocery store.

 

Staying on track can be the hardest part of your new years resolutions, but a few small steps can make the task seem more manageable. Take each day one at a time and before you know it your new healthy habits will be second nature.

Benefits of Physical Therapy After Surgery

Physical Therapy for Knee Injury

 

 

You finally got the surgery done you’ve been putting off. But what do you do in the days or weeks after this surgery on the road to recovery? Many doctors prescribe physical therapy after your surgery in order to recover properly. Often times though people schedule and go through the surgery and think they are done.

Post operation physical therapy can be very beneficial for an efficient and correct recovery. Physical therapy treatment can also be just as important as the surgery itself. If you had the surgery for a specific pain, you will want your body to heal properly after the cause of the pain has been fixed.

Physical therapy can help you regain mobility after surgery. This can be very important for those who had surgery on their hips or knees. In order to get moving again some treatment may be required. You may need this for just your daily activities like walking, or gardening, or even for extreme activities such as hiking or running in a race!

Physical therapy after surgery will also promote healing. The therapists will make sure your body is healing correctly and avoid any new or worsening pains. They will help build muscles and get you to your post op goals.

Seeing a physical therapist will also help keep you involved in your recovery. They will know what could be too much too soon and make sure nothing is overdone. They will also celebrate with you over small and big victories during your recovery. Surgery takes a lot from the body and can’t be healed in a day. A consistent treatment program will insure you are taking your recovery properly and reaching your goals.

Physical therapy will also help you strengthen your body so It has the power it needs to be able to heal you. Many physical therapy techniques work your muscles allowing you to become stronger in the process. This will increase your strength, improve muscle function and range of motion.

Treatment will also aid in the relief of tight or sore muscles. Stiff muscles and joints make normal tasks such as, climbing the stairs or reaching the cabinet above the fridge, hard to complete. Proper stretching can preserve these functions. Also, after surgeries, scar tissue can form and it is important to stretch these areas to scar tissue doesn’t get in the way of your rehabilitation.

So, the next time you or a loved one have to undergo a surgery, make sure you keep in mind the benefits of physical therapy after your operation. This will allow you to stay healthy and active after your surgery, just as you were before!

Staying Healthy During Fall

 

 

November is here. The air is becoming cooler and crisp. Apple cider always seems to sound good and there is pumpkin in everything you eat. But with the fall months come holidays and parties. The cooler temps may make you want to stay in your sweat pants and eat anything warm and cheesy so staying on track may be difficult. They say “summer bodies are made in the winter” so here are a few tips to staying healthy this fall and into the winter months!

 

Keep your daily plan similar. If this includes waking up and going on a morning walk and eating a protein smoothie, try not to veer too far off your daily path. The same routine will keep your health consistent and help keep you on track.

Don’t fast before big holiday meals. Often times we think that if we are going to be enjoying a big holiday meal of turkey, mashed potatoes and green bean casserole then we shouldn’t eat until then. Well, this way of thinking may cause you to binge eat and load up, in taking way more calories than if you just ate your normal meal size. Try to get a healthy breakfast and lunch in so at dinner you won’t be starving and won’t feel guilty about indulging a little if you stayed on track throughout the day.

Fall superfoods can become a diet staple. This will keep your grocery bill down and allow you to get more creative in the kitchen by throwing in pumpkin or Brussel sprouts into your meals. These fall foods will also feel more comforting and warm, just how you like it with the cooler temps.

Stay hydrated. When it is hot outside it is easier to remember to grab your water bottle. However, in the fall it is just as important to remember to be sipping water. Staying hydrated is crucial to keep your body at its best during these busy months and also to help aid in fighting any sickness.

Wash your hands. Staying healthy also means warding off any sicknesses. Make sure every time you come from somewhere, you wash your hands. Colder temperatures often mean colds and flus will be floating around. Don’t let those stop you. And while you’re at it, don’t forget to take your vitamins!

Don’t skip your veggies. When we think of all the holiday dinners we often think of the main course, but what about all the delicious appetizers before the meal? Fill your plate with veggies and salad before you load on those creamy mashed potatoes. That way you’re getting some nutrients and filling your belly up with veggies before the big meal.

 

Simple steps like these can help you stay on track through these next few months of holiday parties and sweet treats. Enjoying this time with your friends and family will make the season fly by, so staying healthy will ensure you won’t miss a moment of it!

Bone Broth Benefits

 

Bone broth has become a trend among health professionals, but has been around and effective for ages. What do you eat when you’re sick? Chicken noodle soup which is essentially bone broth and usually helps in your recovery.

Bone broth has been known to:

  • Treat leaky gut syndrome
  • Overcome food intolerances and allergies
  • Improve joint health
  • Reduce cellulite
  • Boost your immune system & more

Bone broths are nutrient dense, easy to digest, rich in flavor and boost healing. You don’t even have to stick with beef broth, all broths: chicken, beef, lamb and fish have been used for centuries for healing and are staples in traditional diets.

This is a health trend that you won’t have to search high and low for. Bone broth can be found in most supermarkets or health food stores and are usually kept in the frozen foods or refrigerated section. Make sure that when you are looking to drink bone broth you read your labels and make sure there aren’t any added artificial flavors, chemicals, like MSG, or processed meats. You could even try to make your own! You would be surprised by the simplicity of this savory juice and recipes can be found all over Pinterest!

Bone broth or stock was created by our ancestors who didn’t let any part of an animal go to waste. The simmering of the bones and ligaments release healing compounds such as proline, glycine, glutamine and collagen. Yes, you read that right- even collagen. So, this drink is also good for your skin to keep it from aging and stay looking supple and plump.

Bone broths also contains minerals like: magnesium, calcium, phosphorus, Sulphur and others that are easy for your body to absorb. Many of these minerals are found in expensive supplements that aid in reducing inflammation, arthritis and joint pain.

Regularly drinking bone broth will help promote a healthy gut, reverse the aging skin process and help with joint pains plus much more. You can also enjoy bone broth in your recipes instead of drinking it. So, on your next trip to the grocery store, add this nutrient packed goodie to your cart for glowing skin, healthy joints, and more!

Stretches for a Restful Sleep

Sleep is very important for your body and health. However, living in the fast-paced world where we are always on our phone and computers, sending emails, checking social media, reading restaurant reviews, etc. sleep may be hard to find.

There are many ways you can prepare yourself for a more restful sleep. There are the obvious ways like, lavender, sleepy tea, or a nighttime ritual. But did you know there are stretches that you can do to promote sleep? Another bonus is they can even be done in your bed. Give these following stretches a try before bringing your head to the pillow and see how you sleep!

 

Sitting Forward Fold

Sitting with your legs long in front of you, reach your arms up (keeping your shoulder away from your ears). If this feels too tight on your back and legs, slightly bend knees or sit on a pillow to take some pressure off those muscles. On an exhale, fold your body forward and reach for your toes. Hold this position and breathe, then roll back up to a tall seated position. Repeat 3 to 5 times.

Lying Figure Four

Lie on your back and cross one ankle over the opposite knee. Make sure the knee stays turned out and hips stay on the bed, squared under your shoulders. If this is enough of a stretch, hold this position. If you can stretch more, gently grab under the hamstring of your uncrossed leg and hug into a tighter figure four position, bringing your knee closer to your body. Make sure your lower back and pelvis stay on the bed. Hold here, then switch sides and repeat if needed.

Cat Cow

This motion stretches the muscles of your spine and core. Begin on your hands and knees, in a table top position, with your arms straight under your shoulders. Slowly breathe out as you round through your back like a frightened cat, tightening your abdominal muscles and rounding your neck downward. Then slowly exhale as you arch your back and look up toward the ceiling. Continue to move slowly with your breath for 20 breaths.

Legs Up the Wall

Sit facing wall and lie onto your back. Moving as close to wall as possible. Lift your legs and rest the back of legs against the wall, perpendicular to the ground. Rest with your arms out to sides and your palms up to the ceiling. Hold there for 15 seconds. This move is especially good for anyone who is on their feet a lot. Elevating your legs allows the blood flow to travel back to your heart, reducing inflammation.

 

Many of those moves may seem like you’re just lying there, but you are on your way to a healthier you and a more restful sleep. Try them out and let us know your favorite moves for a better night’s sleep!

5 Reasons to See your Physical Therapist, Even When You Aren’t Hurt

You may consider yourself a healthy person. You eat the right foods, you exercise regularly, and you don’t smoke, all the things to keep you healthy and living longer. But daily wear and tear on the body may be enough for you to visit your physical therapist. Now that we as a population are living longer, keeping our bodies healthy and conquering pain before it begins can be beneficial.

Here are five reasons you and your family can visit a physical therapist to keep your body active and healthy before any annoying or chronic pain begins.

  1. You don’t want to get injured. Our bodies are powerful and have the amazing capabilities to heal. Sometimes the slightest pain that goes untreated can turn into an injury and become a much bigger problem. Routine maintenance on our bodies will only do good things.
  2. You want to save time and money. Surgery can be avoided with continued physical therapy to improve pain. This, in turn, can save you money from expensive surgeries and time from lengthy recovery. Also meaning you won’t have to miss work due to recovery.
  3. Recover or prevent old sports injuries. Maybe you’re not injured anymore, but an old sports injury can cause problems in your future if not healed and treated correctly. Physical therapists can provide a prevention exercise program specifically tailored to your sport and the wear it may have on certain parts of your body.
  4. Improve your balance. Physical therapists can assist and teach you exercises that can improve your mobility and coordination. This can also help you with fall prevention- no matter your age. Physical therapists can treat and restore proper vestibular functions and can also reduce or eliminate any symptoms of dizziness or vertigo.
  5. You want to improve your ‘athleticperformance. You may be a student athlete or someone who likes to shoot a few hoops with his buddies, but either way physical therapy can be beneficial to your performance. Is everything moving the way it should? A therapist can identify problems that may seem unrelated to your athletic ability, but with simple fixes your running speeds, gardening knees or your zumba steps can move more freely and with confidence.

Seeing a Physical Therapist can benefit you in many ways when you are hurt and when you aren’t. Keep your body healthy and in good shape by frequenting your therapist. Call us today to schedule an appointment for a consultation to see if physical therapy is right for you!

Plantar Fasciitis

What is Plantar Fasciitis?

What Is Plantar Fasciitis?

Plantar fasciitis is a condition causing heel pain. The plantar fascia is a thick band of tissue connecting the heel to the ball of the foot, which supports the arch of the foot. This band of tissue can become inflamed or tear, which will cause you to experience pain when you put weight on your foot. The pain can be felt at the heel, or along the arch and ball of the foot.

Plantar fasciitis is a very common foot condition that can be caused by:

– Activity that requires prolonged standing or other weight-bearing activity.

– Increase in length or level of activity. For example, beginning a new running program or taking a new job that requires more standing and walking than you are used to.

– Increase in body weight.

– Flat feet

– It occurs most frequently to people in their 40s but can occur in all age groups

How Do I Prevent Plantar Fasciitis?

Tips for preventing plantar fasciitis include choosing shoes with good arch support, replacing your shoes regularly, using a thick mat if your job requires you to stand the majority of the day. You can also be sure to warm-up before workouts and gradually build intensity and duration of your exercises when starting a new workout program. Before and after running or walking, be sure to stretch your calves and feet. It would also be great to be sure you maintain a healthy body weight, as added weight can cause strain on the plantar fascia.

How Do I Know If I Have It?

The most obvious sign is a stabbing pain in the underside of the heel, or a sensation of tightness or tenderness along the arch of the foot. Pain will usually occur in the morning, when taking the first step of the day out of bed. Pain can also occur when standing for a long period of time, when standing up after sitting for a while, after weight-bearing activity such as running, or when walking barefoot on hard surfaces. Pain may begin to subside during the day but will usually return at the end of the day due to strain or weight on the foot.

How Do I Recover From Plantar Fasciitis?

It can be quite inconvenient to have to deal with such pain, as it can seriously impact your day-to-day activity. The best way to know for sure if you do, indeed, have plantar fasciitis is to let a physical therapist evaluate your pain. Once diagnosed a physical therapist can put together a treatment program that will put on the road to recovery. Your program may include stretching exercises, a night time splint, selecting proper footwear or shoe inserts, applying ice to decrease inflammation or even taping of the foot to provide you with some short term relief.

Contact us today to schedule your complimentary injury screening today!

backpack

Help Your Kids Avoid Backpack Injury

School is back in session, and the back to school supply aisle is packed with parents collecting all the supplies necessary for their child to succeed this school year. On the top of the list is a new backpack. What might not be on the list is a reminder to choose backpacks wisely. Backpacks are a very common cause of pain and injury for school-age children.

Here are some tips to help your kids avoid backpack injury this fall:

  1. Bigger is not always better – The bigger the bag, the more room there is to stuff it with unnecessary items and the heavier it will be. Your child’s backpack should be able to cinch snuggly over their shoulders and sit above the waistline. Logos, brands and cute characters are fun, but finding your child a well-constructed backpack should be most important.
  2. Choose a backpack with multiple pockets – If there is only one pocket all the weight is distributed into one spot and there is a higher chance of the bag being overloaded. When there are multiple pockets, the weight of the bag is less prone to shifting out of balance, which can cause back injuries and even falls.
  3. Pay attention to the weight of the bag – The backpack, when it is packed, should weigh no more than 10-20% of the child’s body weight – 15% would be a good, safe maximum. No matter the weight on the scale, if your child complains of neck, shoulder or back pain then their backpack is likely too heavy.
  4. Pack properly – Only pack the bag with things that are absolutely necessary. Pay close attention to how you pack the bag. Weight shifting in the bag can cause a small child to fall over easily. First, pack the heavier items, such as books. Then, evenly distribute the smaller items throughout the various pockets.
  5. Avoid carrying the backpack on one shoulder – Educate your child on why they should not be carrying their backpack on one shoulder. This will cause stress on their shoulder, in addition to the child holding their shoulder in a lifted position to keep the bag in place. If done on a regular basis, this can lead to shoulder or neck pain. This might look “cool,” but taking care of your body is cooler.

Bonus tip: Shoulder or back pain and neck injuries are all common results of improper backpack safety. But, the most common injury is actually caused by tripping over backpacks. Be sure that your child knows to be aware of their surroundings in order to avoid injury caused by tripping.

Sending your child off to school on their own can be tough, especially for a parent who is aware of all the possible opportunities for injury or accidents. But, by being proactive when it comes to backpack safety and educating your child on taking precautions, your child is sure to have a safe school year. Should your child experience any aches or pains throughout the year, schedule an appointment with one of our experienced physical therapists!

painkillers

Painkillers vs. Physical Therapy For Lower Back Pain

Did you know that lower back pain is a close second to the common cold in a list of ailments driving Americans to the doctor’s office? Yes, that’s right. If you have pain in your lower back that you have been ignoring, you are not alone. In the past, heading in to see your doctor about lower back pain would often lead to costly imaging, opioids and even surgery. Opioids are drugs that act on the nervous system to relieve pain, also known as painkillers. Continued use and abuse can lead to physical dependence and withdrawal symptoms. That’s why many patients today are considering physical therapy in the treatment of their lower back pain as opposed to painkillers.

Recent guidelines have been put in place by the American College of Physicians to steer doctors away from writing scripts for painkillers, in favor of noninvasive treatments such as physical therapy. This is great news not just for physical therapists, but because the use of painkillers puts patients at a high risk of developing an addiction. With these guidelines in place, painkillers will be reserved as a last resort treatment option, and only in patients who have failed other interventions.

Not all lower back pain is created equal, which is why it is so beneficial to work with a physical therapist to relieve pain. Causes and symptoms vary from person to person. A physical therapist is able to put together treatment plans that are tailored specifically to their patient. A physical therapist begins with a patient evaluation to identify the factors contributing to a patient’s specific back program and will individualize the program based on the results and observations.

About 25% of Americans report incidences of lower back pain lasting at least one day in the past three months, according to Annals of Internal Medicine. If you are in that 25%, you know that living with pain can be a real pain, which is why our physical therapists are so passionate about helping their patients relieve pain and get back to living the life they love. If you are currently experiencing lower back pain, schedule a complimentary injury screening with one of our experienced physical therapists today!