Mother Nature has her own timeframe for when you’re going to heal. You can, however, get out of Mother Nature’s way and set your body up for optimal healing by providing the right conditions. Having helped thousands of patients over the past decade heal from a variety of injuries, traumas and surgeries, I have distilled the top 8 ways to facilitate the healing process...
So here’s a very recent article about the use of lumbar fusion for chronic low back pain. The conclusion is very clear: “The present meta-analysis determined that fusion surgery was no better than nonoperative treatment in terms of the pain and disability outcomes either at short- or long-term follow-up.”
For correcting posture, one of the most challenging aspects is maintaining healthy posture throughout the day. There are no devices or postural supports that will fix your posture for you. You’ve got to put in the work if you want posture like a red carpet celebrity. I recommend you make three commitments if you want to improve your posture.
I’ve read countless blogs on posture that display some version of the stretch above. I wouldn’t recommend this stretch for one simple reason: when so much of your time is spent with your head down and forward, why encourage your body to be more flexible in that direction? While it may feel good temporarily, it just perpetuates and often worsens the problem.
Everywhere we go, people are staring down at their phones –– hunched over, shoulders rounded, head forward. The long-term effects of this are shocking. There’s even a study showing people are growing ‘horns’ in the backs of their heads because of this prolonged posture.
Your mother always told you breakfast was the most important meal of the day! Well, my version of this has become: “Win the morning and your back will feel better all day.” My sister taught yoga for several years, which worked out for me well. I got to tag along and take her classes for free! When she taught in the mornings, she would often say, “your spine is most honest with you in the morning.” I would wholeheartedly agree.
“I think I just need some stretches.”This is a comment I hear all the time when people come in for an evaluation. When I ask, “What stretches have you been doing?” They typically describe or show me a collection of stretches they’ve been doing for weeks, months or years. My follow up question is: “Do those stretches seem to help your condition?” Most people express uncertainty when presented with this question. They feel like their stretches help but they’re curious why, if they’re helping, their condition continues to worsen.
Whenever I go to social gatherings and people inevitably ask, “what do you do?” And I proudly reply, “I’m a physical therapist.” A frequent response is, “Well, I have ____ going on. I looked it up on the internet and I think it might be ____. Does that sound right?” Another common question is, “I have back pain, it’s really nothing, but it comes and goes. I like yoga. Is it okay to still do yoga or will that hurt my back?”
I get this question a lot from patients, but also from friends, relatives, friends of friends, etc. There is so much information out there, often conflicting, it can be paralysis by analysis. I think most of us are aware of the adage, “sitting is the new smoking.” I don’t want to spread a fear of sitting. Awareness would be a more useful term for me to use. Here’s a potential surprise for some folks out there. Sitting might provide relief for some spinal conditions... yes it’s true.
How Breathing Exercises Can Help Ease Your Low Back Pain
You may have heard that strengthening your ‘core’ by doing core exercises can help with low back pain. This is true, but what exactly is your core? Most people think of their core as their abdominal muscles, but this is only looking at one piece of the puzzle.
5 Big Mistakes Made By Individuals Suffering From Sciatica
If you’ve ever dealt with sciatica, the very mention of it may give you the chills. It can be rough and nearly mind-bending discomfort –– or you could experience it as “tingling” or “tightness” that comes and goes. I would describe sciatica as symptoms radiating down the back of the glute, thigh, lower leg and foot. This is a gross oversimplification, but at least it embraces many of the phenomena that would qualify as stemming from your sciatic nerve. If you’re like most people, you’ll probably either let it go and think it’ll eventually go away on its own, or you’ll make one of the common mistakes below. Unfortunately, these mistakes can land you in a heap of trouble and you may find your life becomes more limited in the process. Take a look and see if you may be making these mistakes:
Whether it’s on social media or in other forms of advertising, you’re bombarded with appealing figures of individuals with ripped abs. You assume they’re healthy. I’ve treated many of these individuals and I can assure you, many of them are not healthy. Not at all.
5 Exercises to Help You Return to Running Postpartum
So you just had your 6-week postpartum check-up and have been medically cleared for exercise for your doctor. That’s great news! If you were a runner before giving birth, I’m sure you're eyeing your running shoes and feeling eager to get back out there. But not so fast!...
As a pelvic floor physical therapist, I see many new moms with pelvic floor dysfunction who are also breastfeeding. Common postpartum pelvic floor issues include pain with intercourse, pelvic organ prolapse, and urinary incontinence. How does breastfeeding affect these issues?
Why Should I Add Kettlebells to my Workout Routine?
Kettlebell training involves basic, fundamental movements that mimic many of the movements you make in everyday life, such as carrying uneven loads, bending over, squatting and getting up off the ground. Some kettlebell exercises are explosive movements (ballistic), while others are slow and deliberate (grinds).
Why is My Belly Bulging or Pooching Out in the Middle? It Sort of Looks Like I’m Still Pregnant.
Are you frustrated with trying to get your pre-baby body back? Are you seeing your belly bulge out when you do abdominal exercises or even when you just sit up? Are you nervous and feel like you can’t start exercising because you don’t want to make the bulge worse, have back pain, urinary leakage or just don’t know where to start? If this at all sounds familiar, you may be experiencing symptoms of something called diastasis recti (DR).
Two physical therapy studies here suggest push-ups in Redcord suspension slings are superior to ground based push-ups for improving function of the lumbar muscles. Low back pain patients responded well to this type of muscle activation.
What is Pelvic Health Physical Therapy? Going Beyond the Pelvic Floor.
Pelvic health isn't a new type of physical therapy, however it is finally gaining some traction in the health and wellness industry. Physicians are now realizing that it’s not just for pregnant and postpartum moms. Pelvic health is for people of all genders, ages, and activity levels. Everyone has a pelvis, and therefore we all could benefit from better pelvic health. So let's discuss what pelvic health physical therapy actually is and how it can help you.
What Can Princeton University Athletics Learn From Activcore?
Michelle Cesan, former Princeton University Field Hockey Player and member of the USA National Field Hockey Team, had been dealing with back issues for over a year. She reported, “Though I was able to get temporary relief through heat, massage and chiropractic means, nothing lasted more than a day.” Her coaches, trainers and doctors were unsure of the root cause of her symptoms, since both the MRI and bone scan were negative. Michelle was beginning to think she would have to live with the pain. That was until an Athletic Trainer from Princeton University recommended Activcore.
Squat Misconception #2: Deep Squats are Bad for the Knees
The squat as a foundational movement pattern and exercise is becoming more of a staple movement in physical rehabilitation, fitness and sports performance training. As this type of exercise gains in popularity, we should take a look at not only its benefits, but also its safety.
Squat Misconception #1: My Knees Should Never Go Past My Toes
Keeping the knees behind the imaginary vertical line of the toes is a cue frequently given when instructing someone to squat. This “over-cue” may be the result of certain biomechanical studies — showing compression forces on the patella-femoral joint with a knees forward approach — that have since been extrapolated to all populations. What may be at issue here is the suggestion of a one-size-fits-all approach to teaching the squat.
Should I Be Doing Squats? 3-Part Series on 'The King' of Exercises.
The squat exercise continues to have a dual identity in the realms of fitness, sports performance, and physical rehabilitation. On one hand, an exercise like the barbell back squat is in an elite category for its ability to build full body strength, especially in the legs. It has even been called the “King of exercises” by some enthusiasts. On the other hand, there is a polar opposite perspective in the industry where squatting is misconstrued as a negative exercise that increases wear and tear on the knees.
Not All Physical Therapists Are The Same. When Should You See A Specialist?
You are hurting and you’ve heard that physical therapy can help. A doctor, chiropractor, friend, or co-worker may have recommended that you see one. Okay, now it’s time to choose. So who should you see? How do you find the one most qualified and best suited for your particular needs?
Let’s Talk Privates. Why Does It Feel Like There's a Bulge or Heaviness Down There?
Whether you’ve just had your first child or you’ve had many, let’s face it, it can be pretty unnerving to suddenly feel a bulge or heaviness in your vagina. I often hear, “It feels like a tampon is coming out all the time”.
Let’s Talk About Sex: Why Does My Penis Hurt After I Have Sex?
This article contains sexual content intended for a mature audience.
Let’s clear the air and say that first and foremost, men have pelvic floors. There, I said it. Yes, and aside from two distinct muscles, they function similar to a female’s pelvic floor. The muscles of the pelvic floor serve important roles in urinary and bowel control, sexual function, and act as a supportive system for the body.
Let It Flow: How to Kegel & Why Stopping the Flow Midstream Isn’t Recommended
Have you ever asked a friend “How do you know you’re doing a Kegel correctly?” and they’ve suggested practicing by stopping the flow of urine while you’re on the toilet? It is true that in order to stop the flow of urine, you have to utilize the contraction of your pelvic floor muscles. However, this is not a good idea to put into practice.
Overhead (OH) shoulder exercises are some of the most commonly performed exercises across all exercise and fitness domains. With the ever growing participation in resistance training and functional fitness, such as Crossfit, overhead shoulder exercises have become a staple in developing muscle and strength in the shoulders. These exercises can include a variety of movements from an overhead shoulder press, pull up, overhead squat, handstand, barbell snatch, clean and jerk, and multiple variations of exercises where your arms are in a position above your head.
Why Does It Burn “Down There”? Living with Vulvodynia.
This article contains sexual content intended for a mature audience.
Inserting a tampon is painful. You dread pelvic exams because they hurt. When you have sex it burns and stings. Does this sound familiar? Painful sexual intercourse can be due to a lot of reasons; one of those being vulvodynia.
Exercising with pelvic floor dysfunction can be scary, whether you are a mom who just had a baby, a dad who is recovering from prostate cancer surgery, or a CrossFitter who began leaking urine during certain lifting exercises. Regardless, you want to lead a healthy, active and strong lifestyle, but instead you are fearful of making things worse.
What Can I Do To Reduce The Urge To Urinate? Gaining Control Over Your Bladder
You just pulled into your driveway and all of a sudden you have to pee, right now! You make a beeline into the house and to the nearest bathroom. Typically you make it, but sometimes you leak a bit on the way. Does this scenario sound all too familiar?
Treatment for Ehlers Danlos Syndrome: A Chiropractor's Perspective
“What do you think about chiropractors?” is definitely on the top ten list of questions that I get as a physical therapist. It’s a loaded question because physical therapists and chiropractors are often seen as competitors, but it doesn’t have to be that way. The truth is that working with other healthcare providers that offer complementary services can be powerful in helping clients reach their goals. When I find a good chiropractor or massage therapist, I don’t hesitate to tell my clients about them. This is why I’m excited to introduce Dr. Jill Driver, a local chiropractor who provides innovative care with our friends at Pierce Chiropractic.
Return to Running Postpartum, PART 2: What Types of Stroller and Shoes Should I Use?
Running is a wonderful activity for a new or seasoned mom to burn off steam, get some aerobic exercise, and have time to yourself. However, there does come a time when running alone isn’t practical and you need to bring your little one with you. So you pull out that jogging stroller, tie up those running shoes, and start running down your block with baby in tow. Then you quickly realize this is a lot harder than you thought!
I’m Backed Up and Bloated. How Can Physical Therapy Relieve My Constipation?
As much as we would like to avoid the topic, poop happens. Or in many uncomfortable cases, it doesn’t. According to the statistics, approximately 20% of adults between 40-75 have constipation. And those numbers are just the base level, run-of-the-mill, stopped-up versions.
If I've Sustained A Concussion, Should I Be Concerned About Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy?
Have you ever had a concussion? Even if you haven’t, chances are you've heard the term CTE. But what do we really know about Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy? Is this something you should worry about if you've had a concussion?
As a New Mom, Why Am I Peeing My Pants When I Run?
You are a tired new mom, finally out for a run. This is your time - you get a small break - a little time alone. It’s finally fall and beautiful out. You tie your shoes and start down the block. All is right with the world, UNTIL - hard stop. Wait….Was that PEE??
“You don’t even look like you had a baby!” people say, as if it is the ultimate compliment a postpartum woman could receive. After growing a human being for 9 months, our goal is supposed to be to “bounce back” after giving birth as soon as possible. Wait for clearance at your 6 week follow-up, and you should be able to go back to your favorite bootcamp class and lose the rest of that baby weight, right?
Return to Running Postpartum, PART 1: How Do I Get Back To Running After Having a Baby?
You just had a baby, or maybe your child is grown — and now you have a desire to take up or get back into running. First off, congratulations. Taking any step towards leading an active lifestyle is a wonderful thing. Running can have a positive effect on your mental, physical and emotional well being!
How Can Kettlebells Help You Every Day? 4 Kettlebell Exercises Fully Explained.
In a previous post, we discussed how kettlebells allow you to replicate many of the basic movements you make in everyday life. This type of strength training helps you re-establish natural movement patterns, learn how to handle unstable loads without thinking about it, and reduce the risk of injury.
As a tennis player, whether you’ve been spending the winter season playing indoor tennis, paddle tennis, pickleball, running, skiing, or just binge watching shows on Netflix — it’s now time in Colorado to get ready for the outdoor tennis season.
Carla's Inspiring Story: Overcoming A Kickboxing Injury
Initially Carla came in — and in her past she had been a very active individual, very fit and she wanted to continue this throughout her life. She had been told she would never be able to achieve that again.
Can Physical Therapy be a Viable Alternative to Opioids? Activcore Discusses the Topic of Pain.
The War on Pain has begun! But in order to defeat this enemy, we first have to understand it. Many people simply mask pain by avoiding activity and taking increasing amounts of medication like opioids.
A Physical Therapist's Journey Back To Natural Movement, Step 1: The Plan
With the start of a new calendar year, many people set new year resolutions or goals. I have chosen to set a physical performance goal for myself. This year I want to successfully do a strict “muscle up” by June.
After Sustaining a Concussion, Should I Stay in the Dark?
Treatment and acknowledgment of concussions have drastically changed over the past few decades. In the 1970’s and 1980’s athletes weren't accurately screened, nevermind diagnosed with a concussion. A “stinger” or “hard knock” were common ways to describe those who took a hit to the head or appeared dazed. The injured athletes were commonly held out for a short period of time. As soon as they started feeling better, they were sent back into the game.