It is that time of the year again... time for New Year's Resolutions! Whether you believe in resolutions or not, most people can't stick with them even through the month of January! We have compiled a list of our "Top 6 Tips" to help keep you on track in the new year.Read More
The holidays revolve around spending time with friends and family creating new memories and partaking in timeless traditions. Much of the holiday season involves time spent sharing a meal together. With all of the parties, get-togethers, and time socializing around the table, it is easy to get carried away while indulging in appetizers, home-cooked meals, and treats native to the season. Below is a list of creative ways to get up and start moving to burn off those extra holiday calories! (Calories burned based on a 150-pound, 65 year old female):Read More
In the home...Read More
Slowing the Progression of Arthritis
It is increasingly apparent that what is healthy for one’s heart is also good for one’s aching joints and knees. Current research links significant associations between the types of dietary fat intake with structural progression of knee osteoarthritis. Osteoarthirits (OA) also known as degenerative joint disease (DJD) is the most common chronic condition of the joints affecting more than 3 million people a year or 27 million Americans. One in two adults will develop symptoms of OA in their lifetime (Arthritis Foundation, 2016). Common risk factors for developing arthritis include increasing age, previous joint injury, obesity, joint overuse, weak supporting muscles, and genes.
However, top researchers in the field of nutrition science affirm that following a healthy diet may be an effective strategy for the management of knee osteoarthritis. Furthermore, following a healthy diet and lifestyle is by far more attractive than medications with respect to (long term) risks/benefits. The results of the following study offer hope for individuals searching for steps to limit the progression of OA.Read More
Do more than mask the pain, reduce or eliminate it.
Exercise and manual therapy (including soft tissue and joint mobilizations) can help relieve pain, restore mobility and function and help reduce or eliminate pain. Pain is often cyclical and can be minimized or eliminated with musculoskeletal mobility.
Learn how to help treat yourself and become empowered with your care
There really isn’t a magic wand at PT! A Physical Therapist will do more than just address your injury or involved body part. We will look at you as a whole person and empower you with your care, giving you plenty of education and ways you can help yourself.
Become more active!Learn to care for your body instead of suffer. There are so many studies that show that activity for 30 minutes per day helps to maintain healthy systems, from head to toe. A Physical Therapist promotes total health and wellness and can often be a good motivator to get you on track with your goals!
Often times, musculoskeletal injuries can be treated by PT and you can avoid surgery all together. The key is to get to know a PT soon after an injury so your pain and limitations do not become irreversible. Talk with your physician ASAP!
Are you looking for a way to further challenge your balance? Check local gyms, churches and senior centers to see what activities are offered. Here are a few ideas to look for in your community to keep you at your best.Read More
To maintain your balance, the body needs to feel which way you are falling, how to move to correct that balance loss and then move in that direction. All of this happens in an instance so it is important to keep you muscles strong and your balance sharp so the body reacts properly. A fall can lead to fractures, head injuries and wounds. If significant, the injury can turn into hospital stays and months of rehabilitation. So lets get this balance thing under control!Read More
The latest research shows the amazing properties of food, proper nutrition and other healthy lifestyle “pillars” as important components related to healing and injury recovery. The relationship of the body systems is one of interconnections; as one system impacts another. An emerging shift in healthcare is recognizing the value of natural influences that provide and support overall health, healing and wellness. Nowadays, we are inundated with advertisements which promise the power of a pill or pharmaceutical to reverse aging or to relieve pain and other symptoms. However, there are numerous reasons and benefits to consider food as a powerful and natural way to improve healing!Read More
Cervical pain is a common musculoskeletal complaint, with greater than 50% of the population experiencing cervical pain at some point in their lives. During a given year time span 30-50% of people are currently living with cervical pain. Cervical pain is a common reason for one to seek care with physical therapy. It is prudent to determine the most effective treatment approach based on the symptoms and examination findings for that patient presents with. Manual therapy directed at both the cervical and thoracic spine has been shown to be an extremely effective approach for people with cervical pain.Read More
What is cupping:
Cupping is an alternative form of treatment which involves placing a cup; whether plastic, glass or silicone, on the affected area. It can be used to treat conditions such as inflammation, soft tissue restrictions, pain relief/reduction, and trigger point relief, by improving tissue mobility a
nd promoting circulation. Cupping works by lifting the skin away from the tissues below; bringing new blood flow and anti-inflammatory properties to the area, assisting in your body's natural healing process.Read More
There are many benefits to massage, both the type of manual massage performed by a Physical Therapist, and also by a massage therapist, to include:
- Analgesic effects
- Increased circulation
- Improved range of motion
- Decreased Trigger Point activity and Muscle hypertonicity
- Increased overall well being
Physical Therapists, Physical Therapy Assistants, and Licensed Massage Therapists all have training in various massage techniques to enhance the desired outcome of your treatment and your Physical Therapy experience.
- Alleviate pain and discomfort. It might not sound pleasant, but before, during or after a good Physical Therapy session, you may experience some muscle soreness and pain. Massage therapy added into your treatment can help alleviate some of that discomfort. Not convinced? The term PhysioTherapy was even used back during the Civil War Era. With so many wounded soldiers, there was almost always a shortage of morphine. Massage was used as a substitute to aid in pain management - some of those manual techniques are still used today in Physical Therapy.
- Give your body a boost toward recovery & healing itself. Massage can increase blood flow to the affected, or sore area. Improved circulation helps to facilitate the recovery and healing process of the body. It can also help reduce DOMS, or Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness. Endorphines are also released with massage.
- Help to gain Range of Motion. In applying manual massage to an area of the body, soft tissue, deep tissue and many other massage therapy techniques introduce a stimulus to the affected areas. This causes a sedating or stimulating effect depending on the desired outcome. The therapist can feel where there is tension & trigger point activity, and the patient is also able to give feedback. With those same pain management & sedating effects also comes more ease of range of motion.
When I was in PT school I had a professor describe walking as ‘an act of controlled falling’. It takes the coordination of 200 muscles to maintain your balance while walking. Having good strength of the core musculature is vital to maintaining good balance.Not only are they essential for balance with any movement this is particularly true for the golf swing. The core is the foundation of the golf swing because it stabilizes the entire body throughout the swing. It is important to have a strong core and flexible spine to complete a full swing.Read More
Runners are a hard-working, highly committed breed of athlete. Despite putting in hours of training out on the roads, I find that many runners come into the clinic with surprisingly weak hip musculature, a poor ability to control rotational forces under demand, and tightness that impacts postural alignment. The exercises and stretches below are specifically designed to enhance your running routine in order to counter repetitive training in a sagittal plane.Read More
Patients frequently ask me “What type of sneaker should I be wearing? Is there a certain brand that is better than others?” You have probably heard of the “Wet Test” as well- where you look at your wet footprint to categorize your arch as low, normal, or high and then try to fit a shoe to your arch type. Many runners have been categorized as an “over-pronator” and dreaded “heel-striker”. Recent evidence has shown that attempts to “fit” your arch to a certain type of shoe is actually no more beneficial than those who pick their sneaker based on comfort. However, there are so many shoe terms out there, it can become overwhelming when trying to determine which shoe to buy and differences between two pairs of sneakers. Where to start? Here is a guideline for basic shoe terminology that you may come across when purchasing your next pair of sneakers.Read More
A question frequently asked by novice and experienced runners alike is “How can I safely increase my training mileage?” Whether you are training for a 5K or your first marathon, it is important to keep in mind a few guidelines. First, think about your training goal- how long is your race? If you are planning to race a 5K you won’t need to build up nearly as much of a mileage base compared to running a marathon, and may want to train with less weekly mileage at a faster pace.Read More
As a Physical Therapist, I am asked a lot of questions about low back pain. With so much information available to us online from various sources - both reliable and unreliable, both too general and too specific, it is hard to know what to believe is truth or the best practice for most individuals. These are general guidelines to get you started based upon the common questions I am asked.
I know I have a lot of comfy places to sit at home, couch, recliner, love seat and this is often where I end up sitting at the end of the day. I have had many patients come and say they sit on their couch with their feet on the coffee table or sit in their recliner with their feet up. They say, it feels great while sitting there, then it is painful getting up due to low back pain. This is because your spine is flexed or rounded especially when you have your feet up. This is one position you want to try and avoid at home. Try to sit with your feet on the floor and try not to slouch when sitting at home. Try sitting in a more upright chair, kitchen chair or dining room chair. I know these aren’t as comfortable but they are better for your back.
Ice or heat?
If you just hurt your back yesterday, then ice is the answer. Ice is good for new or acute injuries for 24-48 hours. Ice helps to decrease the blood flow to the area which helps to decrease pain and inflammation. If an area is swollen or bruised, use ice. Now if you have had back pain foRead More
Back pain is very common in the population and often can become chronic. Our spine has three different curves that occur naturally. Our lumbar spine and cervical spine have the same curve and the thoracic spine has the opposite curve. There is less stress placed on our spine when these curves are maintained. Many times during the day whether we are sitting, lifting or doing activities around the house, we diminish or reverse these curves in our spine. When we repetitively do this, often times it can lead to back pain.Read More
The purpose of this blog post is to provide people who participate in CrossFit or other high intensity work-outs with an opportunity to self-assess their potential risk of injury and identify any asymmetries or muscle imbalances they may have developed. There have been several studies that demonstrate certain factors correlated with an increase in injuries. These include age, sex, body size, flexibility, history of injury, etc. Although we cannot change many of these risk factors, we can certainly reduce our risk of injury by correcting muscle imbalances and asymmetries when appropriate. There are simple and effective ways to self-assess ourselves, and there are exercises out there that can help to correct them.Read More
Over the course of the last year, I have worked closely with CrossFit instructors and participants in the Pacific Health Club. The CrossFit gym is located across the indoor track from my office, and it has allowed me to develop relationships with these people so that I could become more educated on the trending phenomenon. I have grown to view CrossFit as more of a sport then a workout, where individuals can come together in a community with a common interest to maximize their physical output. I have seen people push themselves further then they thought they could go, and I have seen people transform their physical and mental fitness into something great. Unfortunately, crossfit has developed a reputation especially among health care professionals as being dangerous to one’s health. Many people believe anyone who participates in crossfit is at an extreme increase in risk of not only injury but also rhabdomyolysis.
I have spent countless hours scouring through the literature, blogs, etc in attempt to come across any valid and reliable sources that illustrate that risk of injury in CrossFit. Unfortunately, to this date there have been no high-level research articles published on crossfit. I believe this will soon change especially as the popularity of CrossFit and the CrossFit games continues to increase.
In a recent study led by Shelley Goodgold, PT, 55% of the children surveyed carried backpack loads heavier than recommended. These overloaded & improperly fit backpacks can cause various back problems in growing children. In this same study, one third of the children reported back pain that led them to seek medical attention, miss days of school, or abstain from physical activities.
Choose the Right Backpack & Fit it Properly...
- Ice, or a cold pack, is commonly used following trauma, such as surgery to help reduce swelling and decrease pain.
- Ice can and should be applied following acute injuries, such as an ankle sprain, in the first 24-48 hours when swelling is persent. Ice is a vasoconstrictor, meaning that it closes off blood vessels and can help to decrease the swelling.
- Ice also has a numbing effect. Therefore, it can also help to reduce pain.
If you run, you're a runner. Dig into these 11 Things you need to know to run and train at your best and take care of your body while you're doing it.
4 Running Myths DEBUNKED:
1. Hydrating with a sports drink is better than water: WRONG! If your run is less than an hour, water is the better option. If your run is longer than an hour, this is when you should use a sports drink to replace the electrolytes lost during a more intense run.Read More
What can you do to make yourself a better runner? You have to do more than just run.
Running anywhere from 1 to 50 miles (at Onondaga Lake Parkway or Green Lakes?) is good training mentally and physically, but doesn't necessarily make you strong. It does not mean you have the best quads and leg strength. In fact, if that’s all you focus on, you probably actually have very weak legs. (Take a minute to let that soak in...)
Is it ergonomically correct?
What does that even mean?!
According to OSHA, ergonomics is defined as “fitting a job to a person.” It is intended to help lessen muscle fatigue, increase productivity and reduce the number of work-related musculoskeletal injuries. Having the proper ergonomic workspace set up is very important, especially when it comes to maintaining good posture and a healthy spine.
How does your work station measure up?
The next time you are at your desk, use these 10 tips to better your workspace and decrease your chances of injury due to postural faults...
- Sit as close as possible to your desk. By sitting closer to your desk, this will allow you to reach your keyboard or answer your phone while maintaining an upright, erect posture. No slouching forward! Your desk should be at the height of your belly button.
- Sit with your bottom back against your chair. Do you sit at the edge of your chair? By sitting with your bottom all the way back against the back of your chair, you are providing support to your lower back and you are able to use your arm rests to better your posture.
- Ensure you have good lumbar support. Most chairs have some lumbar support, but it may not be enough for everyone. If there is room between the curve of your lower back and your chair consider rolling up a bath towel or purchasing a lumbar roll to support your lower back. You will be surprised how supporting your lower back with force better posture! Not sure where where to get your hands on a lumbar roll? Each of our office locations have them on hand for purchase.
- Sit with your Hips and knees bent to 90 degrees.
- Are your feet touching the ground? If your feet are not flat on the ground, use a foot rest (shoe box or telephone book) so that your feet are flat and supported.
- Use your arm rests. Your elbows should parallel to your shoulders and should be bent to 90 degrees. By resting your elbows on the arm rests you are able to take some pressure off of your shoulders and helps you sit up tall.
- Use your wrist rest only for rest! The wrist rests on your keyboards are great, but only use them when taking a break from typing. Avoid typing with your wrists pulled back (which may be caused when placing your wrists on the rest while typing). Keep your wrists in a neutral position to avoid injuring the tendons and nerves that pass through your wrist to your hand.
- Eyes at the top of the computer screen. ONLY after you have adjusted your chair to fit your body, next, adjust your computer screen. When sitting up tall, your eyes should be parallel to the top of your computer screen. If you are unable to adjust the height of your screen, request a computer monitor lift or use books to increase the height of the screen.
- Keep frequently used objects close to your body. The objects that you use the most during the day, like your keyboard should be reached with the elbows bent at 90 degrees. Other frequently used objects, like your phone, stapler or books should be able to be accessed without having to fully straighten your arm. Like my dad always says, “Work smarter, not harder!”
- Rest breaks! If you find yourself slouching forward, having aches in your neck, back or shoulders - stand up and stretch!
Treat your body right when you are training and give back what you take from yourself. Proper nutrition and hydration are a HUGE component of running a race at your peak performance.
- If you are going to run a long distance (generally greater than 40 minutes) you should bring some sort of fuel with you, such as one of those goo gel packs.
- Re-fueling should occur every 30-40 minutes along with hydration every mile. Of course, in weather conditions of extreme heat and humidity you should do this more frequently.
- While you train, eating one hour before a run is ideal. This allows time for digestion and absorption of the nutrients for use during the run. This should include complex carbohydrates, glucose and protein. (It almost goes without saying, but also should include lots of good old fashioned H20!)
Not sure what to eat? Pro-tip: Here's a list of good foods to eat while training...
- Complex carbohydrates: whole grain bread & pastas, quinoa, starchy vegetables, legumes and potatoes.
- Protein: Lean meats, legumes, low-fat milks, yogurt, low-fat cheeses.
- Vitamins & Minerals: Fruits, Vegetables (greens and reds are best), electrolyte beverages
- Making up about 70% of your body, water is your best friend. When you exert and sweat while you run (which we all do!), it is critical to rehydrate and restore your supply. Sweat is more than just water leaving your body though. You are also losing and depleting your electrolyte supplies (sodium, potassium, etc). These elements are critical to organ function and to your body's movement capabilities.
- Ever get that feeling of side "stitches"? That is your body's way of telling you it needs help and is dehydrated.
- During your workday, ditch the sugary drinks and sodas. Sip on plenty of water throughout the day. Electrolyte drinks (sports drinks like Gatorade and Powerade) are great to drink before and after a run to load up and replenish your electrolyte balance.
- When preparing for a race, start hydrating one week prior to the race - don't wait until the day before. Start consuming electrolyte or sports drink the day before the race to build up an ample supply to start the race with.
Feeling healthier and more energized already? We are too. Ready, set, go! Read More
Before you tackle that training schedule and hit the road or trail this spring, check your shoes first!
- DO go shopping for and purchase shoes at the time of day you would normally run. Swelling in feet and lower legs can occur throughout the day and can affect the fit of the shoe. Shopping at the time you would normally run will help you get the best fit.
- DO test out the shoes at the store. The right store will let you do this and offer their tips!
- DO purchase shoes at a store with a sales rep trained to fit you correctly. We recommend Fleet Feet Sports of Syracuse for a great fit and customer experience. (They have two locations now. Dewitt for the East of Syracuse area and North of Syracuse for the Clay and Liverpool area)
- DO pay attention to any discomfort in your shoes. If your shoes hurt to weight bear or run/walk in, they might not be the right shoe for you.
- DO NOT out run a pair of shoes. Shoes should be traded out every 300 to 500 miles to ensure continuous, adequate support. Take a look at your old shoes. Are the wear patterns even from the left to right side? For the most part, shoes should display the same wear and tear on the sides and bottom.
- DO NOT try to be a trendsetter. We know those flashy new colors look pretty sharp on a new pair of shoes, but do not purchase a pair of shoes based upon looks, style or color. (Believe it not, they won't make you run faster like your inner child wants to think!) Fit and appropriate support are the most important selling points!
- DO NOT assume what size is best for you. Always try shoes on and if available, have a proper fitting performed.
It helps to know what type of foot you have. Take a look at the types below. On the middle you will see a foot with a normal arch, meaning a typical foot that has a sufficient arch.
On the top, a high arch, which means just that. A high arch requires adequate support in the right places. It is quite common for those with a high arch to land on the outside of their foot when running which can lead to various issues. The proper support will minimize that asymmetrical foot strike.
And on the bottom, a low arch. It is also possible to have no arch at all (or a flat foot). A low arch or flat foot also requires adequate support. As this foot hits the grounds, it lands flat which leads to over-stretching of the plantar fascia (in the bottom of the foot). This over-stretching can lead to...you guessed it, plantar fasciitis. Sometimes an over-the-counter shoe insert can be a simple solution.
Unfortunately, an increased number of heart attacks are reported after heavy snowfalls. What's the connection? Shoveling can be a demanding task for the body. Some bodies are just not ready for it!
To be sure you're shoveling safely, keep a few things in mind...
- Avoid stimulants such as caffeine or nicotine before tackling the job. These can increase your heart rate, causing blood vessels to constrict and placing extra stress on the heart.
- Drink plenty of water - before and after shoveling! Dehydration is just as important to avoid in the winter as in the summer.
- Dress in layers. We know that it's tempting to bundle up before going outside, but as you shovel and body temperature rises you might want to remove layers as you go. Synthetic fibers (in a lot of athletic-type clothing) help to wick away perspiration better than natural fibers (such as cotton).
- Find the right shovel for you. Choosing a shovel with a smaller blade will require lifting less snow at a time and put less strain on your body.
- Pace yourself. Begin shoveling slowly to avoid a sudden demand on your heart. Take breaks as needed.
- Protect your back from injury. Lift correctly - stand with your feet about hip width apart and keep the shovel close to your body. Bend from the knees (not the back!) and tighten your stomach muscles as you lift the snow. Avoid twisting movements - if you need to move the snow to one side, reposition your feet to face the direction you need the snow to go.
- Try to shovel right after the snow lands. Shoveling wet, hard-packed snow is a much harder task than shoveling light, fluffy snow.
- Most importantly, listen to your body! If you feel pain, that's a sign to stop. If you are typically inactive or have a history of heart trouble, talk to your doctor before you take on the task.
We think you might also be interested in...
It might be hard to resist, but it’s important to remember that there is A LOT of information available - through many sources. Before you dig into web searching, keep a few things in mind...
- Use sites or sources you can trust…
Looking for information on the benefits of aquatic therapy? Experiencing low back pain? Sources you can likely trust are websites and blogs written by physical therapists, orthopedic specialists & other provider groups in your area.
- Take it with a grain of salt…
- Educate rather than self-diagnose…
Ever felt that you had not keyed your provider in on all that you had wanted to during your time with them? Communication is key! Think about it ahead of time to make the best of your visit - In your research on the web, think about how symptoms and sensations are described? What key terms are used? Use what you have learned to effectively relay what you are experiencing to your provider.