Best Sleeping Positions for your Neck and Back

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Best Sleeping Positions for your Neck and Back

One of the most common reasons people seek out a physical therapist is pain in their spine. There are ways we can reduce pain that we can control and one of those ways in the positions that we sleep. Below are the best sleeping positions for your neck and back to have a restful night and wake up with less pain and more energy.


Best Sleep Positions for your Lower Back

The best position to sleep in to decrease back pain is lying on your back or on your side. It is important to give your lower back proper support while sleeping and allow your spine to rest in its natural curve.

If sleeping on your side, place a pillow between your knees to decrease the amount of rotation. When lying on your back, placing a pillow under your knees allows gives support to the lower back and lessens the gap between the bed and your back. If there is still space between your lower back and the bed, use a smaller pillow.

For those of us that sleep on our stomachs, you can retrain yourself to sleep on your side by using pillows against your body to gradually shift to side or back sleeping. Stomach sleeping is not recommended because it puts too much stress on the lower back. Sleeping on your back is also beneficial for reducing wrinkles.


Best Sleep Positions for your Neck

Just like the sleeping positions for your lower back, side sleeping and sleeping on your back are the best ways to reduce neck pain. These positions help keep the spine in alignment. In either position you want a pillow that supports both the neck and the back. You want to make sure there is no space between your neck and the pillow.

Avoid using a pillow that is too high or too stiff that will leave your neck in a flexed position overnight and causing you to wake up with pain. Also avoid pillow that are too flat. A pillow should allow your nose to align with the center of your body when lying on your side. Similarly, to decrease pain in your back, stomach sleeping is not recommended for your neck.


Sleep plays a vital role in your overall health and wellbeing. You also don’t want to start each day in pain and want to get restful sleep overnight. The body needs sleep so doing so in the correct form will help reduce pain and give you more energy throughout the day.

Smart Phone

Is your smart phone causing you pain?

Is your smart phone causing you pain? Our bodies are meant to adapt to our surroundings and how we use them, but our bodies can’t adapt quickly enough with technology. The new iPad you just got will be old news in a few months, but our hands can’t catch up that fast. Overuse of your hands and thumbs from smart phone and tablets could be the reason you are having pains there.

From early on in age, smartphones, iPads, game controllers all demand high use of our hands and especially our thumbs. Many of us can’t help it, though. In this current time of instant communication, we can’t seem to put our phones down for a second. Whether you’re a baby staying quiet in the grocery store, a gossiping teenage girl, or professional typing out persuasive emails, our world revolves around our devices. You may even be reading this blog on your phone, right now!

Overuse of your thumb can lead to inflammation or tendentious. Overuse could open the door to a number of pains in your thumbs or hands such as, aching, throbbing and cramping. If you are experiencing any of these pains, you should schedule a visit with your physical therapist or give us a call to schedule a consultation, today!

At Contact Physical Therapy we have experienced hand therapists on our staff who can help you through these types of pains.

Some of the following tips or stretches should be done to help ease the pain of overuse or prevent any future issues.

  • Place your phone on a table, pillow or in your lap to use other fingers for typing or swiping. Holding your phone in one hand and having that thumb do all the work is the worst position for these conditions.
  • Take a break. Stop the motions that are aggravating the area. At this time a much needed and well deserved break is usually in order. Your phone doesn’t have the control here. People don’t need immediate response every second.
  • Opening your palm to the ceiling and using your opposite pointer finger to push down on your open-hand’s thumb for a stretch. Repeat on the other side.
  • Open and close your fingertips with a rubber band around them to strengthen these muscles.
  • Avoid doing the same motions for multiple activities. If you felt you have been on your phone a lot that day, try to avoid playing video games.
  • Switch hands so one hand isn’t constantly doing all the work. This will be a nice challenge for your brain as well.
  • Rest and ice is highly recommended.
  • See a physical therapist to asses any issues and give you professional treatment for your pain.

The bottom line is: try to give your hands a rest from time to time. If your job doesn’t require much email exchange on the weekends, try to detox yourself from your phone for a day or two. Try going on an unplugged vacation. The freedom from your phone might surprise you and your hands will be thankful too!


I heart Me

Practicing Self-Love

Valentine’s Day is a day where you can celebrate the loved ones in your life. Often times though we forget to celebrate someone special each year. This year don’t forget to practice self-love. Not sure where to begin when practicing self-love? Well, we have gathered up eight ways that you can celebrate yourself this Valentine’s Day and hopefully continue it throughout the rest of the year.

  1. Love your body. Treating your body with the kind of love and respect it deserves. This will help boost your self-love as well as your confidence, and energy. Feed it the proper nutrition, stay active and take care of the areas that are hurt or need extra attention. You shouldn’t ever be punishing yourself or your body. Loving your body will better help you stay on track and get you closer to your fitness and health goals.
  2. Create a ritual. Use this as sort of a meditation while recognizing all the greatness you have accomplished. Don’t forget about the little things. Be grateful for your feet for getting you places, and your hands for creating. Thank your mind for being focused and your heart for keeping you passionate, in all areas of live. This is a great way to unwind from your day and help clear your head.
  3. Stop comparing yourself. In today’s world of constant social media bosting, it’s easy to get lost in someone else’s life and compare it to the accomplishments of your own life. Be appreciative for what you have and where you are at in life. Comparing yourself is usually never beneficial and most likely destructive to your confidence.
  4. Do something you’re good at. Boosting your self-esteem usually goes hand in hand with boosting your self-love. Are you a good artisit? Find somewhere inspiring to draw. Is yoga your thing? Roll out your mat and practice your strongest poses. Reminding yourself of all your strengths will lift your mood and help in your quest for self-love.
  5. Go unplugged. Turn off your cell phone and email for at least an hour. The need to constantly check social media or your inbox for work can often bring you down. Try to unwind the old fashion way with no phone. Turn on some music, light a candle and just relax for a bit. Try doing this a couple times a week to bring you back to the things that are most important to you.
  6. Clean and organize. Cleaning out your closet or organizing your desk is very therapeutic. Clutter can often lead to stress. So, taking the time to decide what is truly valuable to you will help simplify your life, leaving you feeling much happier.
  7. Start a journal of things you are grateful for or quotes that inspire you. Take a few minutes each day to write down things you love about yourself rather than focusing on things you wish to change. You can refer back to these writings when you are having a particularly hard or rough day.
  8. Pamper yourself. Take some time with a self indulging activity. Does that mean taking a nap without feeling guilty? Is that a massage or a nail appointment? Whatever pampering means to you, take some time for it. Your future relaxed and happy selt will thank you.


So, this year while planning out your gift for the special loved ones in your life, don’t forget about yourself. Loving your self will help you love others.

Injured Runner

Avoiding Repeat Injuries

Avoiding repeat injuries may sound logical and obvious, but there are certain measures that should be taken to ensure that the same injury won’t take you down for a second time. Injuries take time to heal so avoiding that path again is something you’ll want to take into extreme consideration.

Make sure the injury is completely healed.  The first thing you want to know is that your injury is 100% healed before heading back into strenuous activity. The odds of re-injuring yourself is a lot higher when something is not fully healed. This could leave you with an even worse injury than you started with.

Don’t immediately jump back to full training.  Since the healing process takes time, don’t go back into training at the pace you were at when you were injured. The time spent healing, may require easing your way back into training to build back up to the level prior to the injury. Physical therapy can help you get back as quick and safe as possible.

Are you training correctly?  Injuries can happen when you aren’t using the proper form. A physical therapist can evaluate your movements and exercises to spot weaknesses in the body that are causing your form to be off. This can be helpful to those who have injured that same thing multiple times already.

Resting VS Rehab.  Rest is an important element to keep your body healthy and active especially when trying to heal an injury, but are you also doing the proper rehab? Physical therapists can help you through injuries and show you training techniques to get you back on your feet sooner. With physical therapy, you can train your muscles and become stronger in the weak, injured areas.

Give it time.  You won’t heal overnight. Know that it is going to take a great deal of time to get you back on your feet again. If you’re working with a physical therapist, ask if there are any stretches to help heal your injured area. There may be a lot of things you can do at home to help with the healing process. Ask your physical therapist to show you moves that you can practice alone. Don’t put too much pressure on rushing and focus on proper healing.

No one wants to find themselves reinjuring the same issue they just healed. Staying safe and precautious when returning from your injury is smart. Consult your doctor and physical therapist before returning to strenuous activity.

Woman Stretching

Tips for Muscle Soreness

It’s the New Year and everyone is on the “New Year New You” kick. A lot of people’s resolutions every new year is to hit the gym more and become healthier with the upcoming year. Is this one of your resolutions? Well, we are all for the excitement of starting out a new workout routine, but be sure to take care of your body to maintain this new routine. One thing we forget and tend to get lazy on is our stretching especially on those days we feel extra sore. So, follow along for some tips to help relieve muscle soreness so you can keep your workout game strong!

One of the best ways to prevent and relieve muscle soreness is to stretch. Stretching before and after your workout is ideal. Doing some stretches before your workout prepares your body for exercise and the vigorous routine you may put it through. Stretching after your workout helps your body cool down and stretch out the muscles you just worked on.

Warm ups are important too. Warming up your body before your workout should always come first. Especially right now, in the cold winter mornings, you don’t want to jump right into a workout, which could up your chances for a sore tomorrow, or even worse, injury. A walk with some incline, jumping jacks or jumping rope are some examples of ways to warm up your body prior to your workout.

Hydration is key. Staying hydrated is important before, during and after your workout. This will help muscle cramping, decrease inflammation and help prevent from dehydration from sweating during your workout. It is important to refuel on water, constantly! Water is most likely the most important sports drink there is. So, don’t leave your water bottle at home!

Indulge in some pineapple. Pineapple contain an enzyme, Bromelain, that has anti-inflammatory benefits that can be comparable to medications! So, before you reach into your medicine cabinet, chop up some fresh pineapple to see if that does the trick.

Give your muscles some love. If you have any areas that are extremely sore, giving yourself a massage can help relieve some tension and pain from soreness. When doing it yourself you can control the pressure and you will know how much is too much. A foam roller is a great option too and can be done after every workout to prevent the soreness, stretch and relax your muscles.

If one of your resolutions for 2018 is to live a healthier life, make sure you don’t forget about all the factors that go into keeping your body healthy. Stretching is essential for a consistent workout routine. You can better ensure that you’ll be able to hit the gym more and be in less pain!

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!