Proper Posture Helps Reduce Back Pain

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Proper posture

Proper Posture Helps Reduce Back Pain

Proper posture

Do you have good or poor posture? Check yourself right now as you are reading this- are you sitting upright or have totally sunk into your chair?

Without the daily reminders from parents or teachers of “sit up straight!” and “don’t slouch!”, it is harder to remember to do just that.

In order to prevent neck and back injuries, strong flexible muscles are a must to support the spine’s natural curves. In order for your back to be healthy, the spine’s curves must be in balanced or neutral alignment at all times in both stationary activities, and with movement. A lot of conditions such as sciatica disc trouble, low back pain, whiplash, neck pain, pinched nerves and arthritis have one thing in common: each condition can feel better or worse by the way you align and balance your head, neck and back as you go about your daily activities.

Proper Posture Checklist

  • Are you holding your head straight?
  • Are your shoulders in line with your ears?
  • Are your shoulders level?
  • Are your hips level?
  • Is your chin parallel to the floor?

Tips for Improving Posture

• Keep your shoulders level and support your arms while sitting

• Change your position when performing an activity for a long period of time

• Pull your stomach muscles in

• Think “tall” while you are standing

• Sit in a chair with a straight back with your back supported and feet flat on the floor

• Keep your weight down and exercise regularly

• Sleep with a pillow that supports your neck comfortably

• Do Planks, Wall Squats and crunches to help you stand and sit with correct spinal alignment.

There are key benefits to improving your posture that will make a world of a difference. Proper posture allows you to breathe properly, increasing your concentration and thinking ability. Most importantly, it will help with avoiding health complications. Over time, bad posture habits can result in structural changes to the body that can affect physical appearance and reduce functioning of joints and muscles. The sooner you begin practicing good posture, the better.

At Contact Physical Therapy, we provide one on one contact and a direct treatment approach with each patient. It is our goal to return every patient to their active lifestyle.

hand therapist

Physical Therapy and Hand Therapy

Patients can have numerous questions regarding physical therapy and hand therapy, what to expect and why it may be the best option for them. So, to help you answer those patient questions, we interviewed Noah Arenson, PT and Karen Thomas, OTR/L, CHT.


physical therapistWhy do you think physical therapy may be the best treatment plan for me?

Noah: The initial evaluation with determine that fact. The advantage of undergoing physical therapy is learning your body’s limitations and discovering how to address them to your

advantage. If we do not identify impairments we can address through physical therapy, we would discuss with your healthcare provider a more appropriate route for care.

How involved will you be in my day-to-day therapy?

Noah: Each session would involve hands-on manual treatments, as indicated, followed by progressive therapeutic exercise specific to your individual goals. I, or your assigned physical therapist, would be involved directly throughout the entire visit every visit.

Will I see the same physical therapist for each appointment, or will I be assigned a different therapist each time?

Noah: You will see the same physical therapist from the initial evaluation until your last appointment. You will not work with anyone but your assigned physical therapist.

What are some things I can do on my own, at home, to improve my condition?

Noah: Depending on what we discover through the initial evaluation, we will identify the specific muscle groups to strengthen, stretch or coordinate. A home exercise program is provided at the first session and progressed throughout your time of care. Open communication with your therapist is important in reaching your rehabilitation goals.

hand therapistWill I experience pain or discomfort during my visit?

Karen: This will depend on your diagnosis. If you have a condition such as a wrist or finger fracture and are coming out of a cast or brace, the wrist and fingers can be stiff or uncomfortable when motion is initiated. Certified Hand Therapists are trained to respect pain and the healing structures of the injury. Most patients tolerate treatment well & note improvement the first session.

How long will each hand therapy session be?

Karen: Sessions are usually 1-1.5 hours, allowing for one-on-one manual therapy, modalities of heat, ice and ultrasound as needed, and exercises and instruction in home exercises and care.

What are the most common injuries or conditions requiring hand therapy?

Karen: Conditions we commonly treat include fractures (shoulder, elbow, wrist & fingers), tendon lacerations and repairs, trigger finger or trigger thumb, carpal tunnel or cubital tunnel syndrome or release, rotator cuff syndrome or repair, deQuervain’s tendonitis, all upper extremity tendonitis conditions, osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis and infections.

How do you determine what course of hand therapy treatment is best for me?

Karen: During your first visit you will undergo an initial evaluation including questions about your pain, symptoms, functional abilities, range of motion and sensation and strength measurements. Your therapist will identify problems and work with you to set goals. In some instances, your diagnosis may have a set protocol for splint duration and when you will be able to fully move and strengthen your arm/hand. You and your therapist will then review your protocol, goals and plans.

mesa physical therapy

Men’s Health Awareness Month

fathersdayMen’s Health Awareness Month

Men tend to be more aggressively active on the weekend, which can lead to an increased risk of injury. To highlight Men’s Health Awareness Month, and Men’s Health Week (10th-16th), we’ve listed helpful tips on common male injuries to help you, or the men in your life, lead a healthy and safe life.

 

Ankle Sprains

It is common for men to turn or twist an ankle while playing a weekend game of basketball or football. Although these may be difficult to avoid in some cases, proper warm-up and stretches performed prior to activity can help reduce the chances of injury.

Groin Pulls

A quick side-to-side motion can sometimes cause a strain of the muscles on the inner thigh. These are very common in hockey, soccer, football and baseball. To treat a groin pull, ice and rest. These pulls often heal on their own, but if it doesn’t, consult a healthcare provider.

Hamstring Strain

Running sports and activities with a quick kicking motion of the leg can cause hamstring strains. Strains can also occur in water sports when there is a sudden forward bending motion. These injuries can take a while to heal, so it is imperative to ice, rest and consult a physical therapist on how to speed up the recovery.

Shin Splints

If a strenuous and sudden running program is started without proper planning, shin splints can occur. Running on different and uneven surfaces can cause pain down the front of the lower leg. Rest, ice and over the counter anti-inflammatory medications may relieve most of the pain. If it persists, see a healthcare provider to rule out a more serious injury such as a stress fracture.

ACL Injuries

One of the most severe injuries athletes may experience is an ACL injury. A sudden twisting while the foot is planted can cause an ACL tear. An audible ‘pop’ may be heard, followed by discomfort and swelling. Rest, ice, compression and elevation are important during the first stages of this injury. If the injury is sustained, it is important to see a physician for evaluation. To stay active, surgery is often required.

Tennis Elbow

Golfing and tennis are very popular sports for many men. Frequent swings and poor body mechanics can contribute to this overuse injury. Unfortunately, one of the most common remedies for this condition is rest, however there are some other treatments that may be of benefit. Be sure to ask a physical therapist or physician what you can do to manage your elbow pain for a safe return to sports.

baseball injuries

Common Baseball Injuries and Fun Facts

Spring Training is here and we wanted to share some fun facts with you and common baseball injuries to look out for!

common baseball injuriesArizona Baseball Fun Facts

Chicago Cubs

Mesa has been hosting the Cubs since 1952. Previous to Hohokam Park and Fitch Park, the Chicago Cubs Spring Training facility was called Rendezvous Park.

Arizona Diamondbacks

The Diamondbacks have the first Major League Baseball spring training facility in the nation to be built on Native American land.

San Francisco Giants

The original Scottsdale Stadium was built in 1956 and served as the former Cactus League home of the Baltimore Orioles, Boston Red Sox, Chicago Cubs, Oakland A’s and now the San Francisco Giants.


Most Common Baseball Injuries

In Children Eye Injuries are the most common baseball injuries in children, while as many as 45% of pitchers under the age of 12 have chronic elbow pain.

In Teenagers Other than lacerations and bruises, the most common teenage baseball injuries are sprains and strains. However, pitchers suffer the most from overuse injuries. About 58% of high school pitchers suffer from an overuse injury of the elbow or shoulder.

In Professionals Recent studies show the most common baseball injuries among fielders include hamstring & groin strains. While pitchers tend to strain/tear ligaments in the elbow or rotator cuff.


A quote from the Diamondbacks Strength Coach, Nate Shaw!

“From my perspective, the warm up is one of the most important parts of the day. It prepares athletes for a day consisting of reactive movements in every plane. Our goal with the warm up is to have athletes go through a series of planned movements, lubricating the joints and raising the body temperature enough to sweat. A rise in core temperature and preemptive motion in all directional planes are two of the bigger themes for us, especially during spring training.”

To purchase tickets to a Diamondbacks spring training game, visit The Arizona Diamondbacks website.

Are you or your child experiencing one of the above listed conditions? Contact Us today to schedule an injury assessment!

construction injuries

Work Comp Injuries and Facts

work comp injuriesEvaluate Year End Workers Compensation Key Drivers

With the end of 2012 approaching, now is a good time to assess your injury data. Unfortunately for businesses, trends are showing a slow incline in claim frequencies since 2008. Are you taking prevention measures to avoid the most common non-fatal work comp injuries? Pay attention to cost drivers such as severity of injuries, lost time and medical costs.

Examining the cause of the injury and injury rates by shift and position may help uncover possible risks and hazards when dealing with injury control information. Read our list below for the most common non-fatal work injuries and interesting facts from 2011.


MOST COMMON WORK INJURIES & INTERESTING FACTS

  • Most common nature of injury – sprains and strains
  • Most common injury by event or exposure – overexertion
  • Most common injury by body part – back
  • Second most common injury by body part – knee
  • Number of work comp injury claims filed in 2011 – 96,480

FACTORS TO KEEP IN MIND FOR WORK COMP INJURY COSTS:

  • Costs of medical services
  • Utilization (number of treatments per claim)
  • Aging workforce
  • Diagnosis mix
  • Rising prevalence of obesity

 

avoid injury this holiday

How the Holidays are like a Sporting Event

avoid injury this holidayThe Holidays are like a Sporting Event, take these Precautions for a Safe and Happy Season.

Remember to always reflect and appreciate what your Holiday Season is all about, and follow these tips to avoid injury this holiday season.

1. Pre-Shopping (pre-game)

Eat right, drink plenty of water, stretch and exercise.

Stay well hydrated. Try to drink eight to ten 8-ounce glasses of water a day. Stay away from sugary drinks.  On your shopping day (game day) you may want to drink even MORE water to be prepared.

Be sure to stretch before and after a long day of shopping. When you are tired and stressed, your muscles are less flexible than normal.

2. Wear the appropriate gear.

Comfortable clothes and shoes with plenty of cushioning in the soles to absorb the impact of walking long hours on those hard shopping mall floors are recommended.

If you carry a purse, leave it at home. Wear a light backpack instead. Pack only essentials, such as your driver’s license and credit card.

3. Injury timeout.

If you start to feel some pain, take care of it quickly. Apply an ice bag to the affected area for 20 minutes.  Take it off for a couple of hours and repeat a couple of times each day over the next day or two.

4. Time Outs Needed.  Plan Frequent Breaks Into Your Shopping Day

During a long day of shopping, most people should take a break every 45 minutes. Those that may be more deconditioned may need to take more frequent breaks.

5. Get a locker to store your gear.

Use your car as your own personal locker.  Don’t carry around more than is absolutely necessary at one time, this can cause extra strain on your body.

6. Water break.

Take breaks, and try to eat light, healthy and hydrating options. A salad and fruit is a much better option that a burger and fries or pizza.

7. Wrapping Your Gifts (Post-game)

Remember to vary your position when wrapping gifts.  Stand at a counter, then sit at a table.  Avoid wrapping presents while sitting on the floor.

Stretch before and after wrapping gifts.  An important recommendation is to stretch the opposite way you are wrapping.  If you are leaning forward, then stretch backward when you are done.

Keep these things in mind this holiday season – since the holidays are like a sporting event – and stay injury free!

 

preventing pain scottsdale

Ouch…Don’t Slouch!

preventing pain scottsdalePreventing Pain at Work

This article includes Tips for preventing pain while working at your desk.

Some people may think injuries don’t occur with sedentary desk jobs, but, unfortunately that isn’t true. Many times bad posture and an improper work station can contribute to aches and pains such as carpal tunnel syndrome, back pain and neck pain. Below are some tips for avoiding these common complaints and work toward preventing pains.

  • Get up and move at least one time each hour.
  • Take an arm break. Shrug your shoulders, raise your arms, stretch your hands and reach for the ceiling
  • Tighten and relax your abdominal muscles while you are sitting
  • Stretch out your hamstring- the back of your leg
  • Stretch your hip flexors- the muscle in the crease of the front of your hip.
  • Squeeze your shoulder blades together by pulling them down and together.
  • Take deep “belly breaths”.
  • Make sure your workstation allows for you to keep your wrists straight, and not flexed upward, to use your keyboard.
  • Check your chair height and keep your hips in a good position. Bent at 90-120 degrees is acceptable.
  • Keep your monitor at eye level.

An office job in itself can be challenge enough at times, adding pain on top of your busy schedule can make it unbearable! Anyone can start experiencing these aches and pains, but following the suggestions above will help decrease any tension and tightness you might feel from being seated for most of the day. Still have symptoms? Schedule an appointment with your healthcare provider or give Contact Physical Therapy a call at either of our locations.

Contact Physical Therapy Mesa

Hip Flexor Stretches

Do you have a job that requires you to sit all day? It is very important to get up and stretch! Your hip flexors can become very tight from remaining in a sitting position all day. To avoid common aches and pains, be sure to incorporate a hip flexor stretch into your daily routine. In this video Noah Arenson, with Contact Physical Therapy, demonstrates how to complete two simple hip flexor stretches.

Click on the video below to watch the different hip flexor stretches you can do at work!

Contact Physical Therapy Mesa

An office job in itself can be a challenge enough at times, adding pain on top of your busy schedule can make it unbearable! Anyone can start experiencing these aches and pains, but by following the above mentioned hip flexor stretches and suggestions listed in our Our Don’t Slouch Post you will help decrease any tension and tightness you might feel from being seated for most of the day.

Still have symptoms? Schedule an appointment with your healthcare provider or give Contact Physical Therapy a call at either of our locations.

Back School in Mesa

Back School in Mesa

Back School in MesaWe are excited to announce our Back School in Mesa! Read the details below for information on our presenters and event details. If you have back pain or recently had back surgery, register for the Back School and come out to learn from our therapists. We will have a Q&A at the end for any of your questions regarding back pain.

REGISTER NOW


The Back School in Mesa Arizona: Learn how to live free from pain

The Back School in Mesa Arizona is helping patients prevent back pain through stretches, stabilization exercises, posture and more Reserve your spot for our July Session of The Back School!

PRICE: COMPLIMENTARY

July 11, 2012

6:00-7:00pm

4850 E. Baseline Rd., Suite 114

Mesa, AZ 85206

Presenter: Jim Irvin, PT
Jim graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Exercise Science/Biomechanics from Arizona State University and received his Masters in Physical Therapy from the University of Southern California. He is a Valley native and has been practicing physical therapy in the East Valley since 1995. His specialties include manual therapy, sports medicine and therapeutic exercise. Jim has a strong background in exercise science research and has patented a piece of exercise equipment used for core stabilization and resistance training.
Guest Speaker: Michael McCauley, MD
Dr. McCauley has been practicing pain management in the Valley since 1982. He uses an integrative approach to evaluating and treating his patients and their pain issues. He does a variety of diagnostic and therapeutic spinal injections to diagnose and treat various spine problems, as well as other conditions. He is a firm believer in rehabilitation and encourages patients to always work on integrating this into their daily lives.

Summer Olympics Coming Soon!

Summer Olympics Coming Soon!

We are coming up on the 2012 Summer Games, reflecting back to 2008 we saw there were a high incidence of ankle sprain and thigh injuries. Although these injuries happened to high-level athletes, the general active population is exposed to the same types of injuries through sports such as soccer and hockey. Below are some ways Physical Therapy can help your Weekend Warriors or Olympic Hopefuls get back in their game!

Ankle Sprains

• Acute Care: Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation (RICE) • Recovery, on average, takes about 8 physical therapy visits, depending on severity. • Manual therapy to improve range of motion and decrease any swelling. • Strength exercises to begin to improve overall strength of the lower extremity. • Improve proprioception. The athlete would demonstrate proper ankle control and balance for greater than 30 seconds. The athlete would be progressively challenged with activities in standing. And, the athlete would demonstrate proper control with dynamic hopping and jumping activities. • The athlete would have NO pain or laxity with ankle stress tests. • At therapy completion, we would expect the athlete to demonstrate full ROM and strength. • Athlete can return to play when able to and is cleared by supervising physician.

Thigh Injuries

• Acute Care: Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation (RICE) • Recovery, on average takes about 10 physical therapy visits, depending on severity. • Mild stretching of the hamstrings, quadriceps, achilles, and IT band should be started gently and become more aggressive as pain permits. • Incorporate proprioception activity as pain permits. • Utilize the stationary bike to gently provide range of motion to the injured area. • Begin Progressive Resistance Exercises as pain as motion permit. • Start general and functional activity to improve overall strength. • Return to full activity when bilateral quad strength is equal & athlete is cleared by physician.

Have additional questions or concerns? Contact Physical Therapy is here to help you and your patients. Please contact us at either of our locations.