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511 Gordon Avenue
Thomasville, GA, 31792
USA

(229) 228-9019

THRIVE Physical Therapy and Fitness: Private Treatment Rooms, Manual Therapy, Women's Health, Chronic Pain, Spine Pain, Fitness Training, Weight Loss, Diabetes, Headaches, Sports Injury, Dance Recovery, Scar Release, Scoliosis, Balance Training, Vertigo, and more.

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Filtering by Tag: stretch

Which Bones, Joints and Muscles Do You Want to Keep? 

Dawn Muller

As one of my professors used to say.  "You only have to work the body parts that you want to keep!"

As one of my professors used to say.  "You only have to work the body parts that you want to keep!"


 Chances are you’ve come across the old dental health adage: “Floss the teeth you want to keep.” The first time you spotted this sign in a dental office or heard the phrase uttered word-for-word by the dentist probably elicited a giggle or a snarky remark. But once the humor of it washed away, you more than likely had an a-ha moment. It just makes so much sense, doesn’t it? 
 
Let’s try to apply this principle to other parts of the human body: What if you only stretched the muscles you wanted to keep? What if you performed weight-bearing exercises to maintain the strength of just a few of your more than 200 muscles? This is an extreme example, of course, but without the guidance of a physical therapist, it’s possible that some parts of your musculoskeletal system may be inadvertently neglected. 
 
Physical therapists are trained to identify and treat a wide range of movement disorders including sports injuries such as sprains and strains as well as conditions including arthritis, Parkinson’s disease and stroke. The rehab professionals work closely with patients to develop individualized plans based on thorough assessments and detailed patient histories. A personalized care plan will include some combination of flexibility, strength, coordination and balance exercises designed to achieve optimal physical function. 
 
Physical therapists can address proper posture and body mechanics to help patients participate in common daily activities, relieve pain and improve function. When it comes to keeping bones healthy and reducing risk, for example, PTs can design an effective exercise program and suggest healthy habits for the patient to adhere to. 
 
And contrary to popular belief, you don’t need an injury or other painful ailment to schedule time with a physical therapist. In fact, the therapy professionals encourage you to consider visiting a PT as often as you schedule regular checkups with your dentist, primary care physician or dermatologist. 

Traveling in Comfort

Dawn Muller

 

Summer is the time when we all pile into the car and hit the open road to travel over the river, through the woods, to Grandmother’s and the beach, and to camp.  While we look forward to vacation, many of us dread the hours spent confined to the small space allotted to us in the car or the airplane.  Basically long hours on the road can be a pain in the behind… or the back, or the neck.

Routinely throughout the summer, I have patients asking for ways to make their car ride less torturous.  It seems that the seat that was comfortable on mile marker one has become a concrete slab and the area meant for our bottom is a size too small.  However, if you know the right tricks, you can arrive at your destination feeling good enough to carry the luggage for the whole gang. 

You see, our bodies were made to move.  When we don’t, they start to squawk.  At first it is just a whisper, but if you don’t pay attention, that sciatic nerve or a joint in your spine is going to shout at the top of its lungs.  It talks in the form of pain.   But wait, pain is not the enemy.  Your body is trying to protect you.  If you continue to sit in that same spot, you may actually damage a vital body part.  So don’t shoot the messenger.  Do something about it. 

When you sit for more than 20-40 minutes, your muscles relax leaving the ligaments, joints, and discs in the spine to carry the load.  Did you know that sitting actually produces more pressure on the spine that walking or standing?  The ligament, joint, or disc will start to ache as it carries the extra load.  However, if you remind those muscles to give a little support, you will notice much less discomfort.  There are some simple, safe exercises that I recommend you do about every 45 minutes in the car.  They are called isometrics.   If you have back pain, you may need to do them more often.  If you are driving, be sure to do these in areas where there is no traffic or at a stop light. If you are the passenger, you can do them anytime you like.  Each exercise is done with good posture.  Maintaining normal posture will also reduce your body stress.  The exercises are held for 5-10 seconds and you will perform 10 repetitions. 

They are:

  1. Squeeze your shoulder blades toward the spine, making sure not to shrug the shoulders. 
  2. Press your shoulders into the back of your seat, keeping your head in line with your spine
  3. Pull in the abdomen, bringing the belly button toward the spine and pulling the abdomen up under the ribs.
  4. Squeeze your buttocks together to the point that it lifts you up slightly

One that is not an isometric, but that can safely be done while driving is to pull in the tummy and rock the pelvis forward and back slightly, which will round and arch your lower back.  This is a small movement, so that it does not affect your leg position.

If you are the passenger, you may also want to try these:

  1. Press your elbows into the seat behind you.
  2. Press your elbows into your sides.
  3. Press your thighs into the seat, as if you were straightening your hips.
  4. Press your feet into the floor and tighten the front of your thighs.
  5. Place your fist between your knees and squeeze your knees to the middle.

These exercises will also improve your blood flow, making you less prone to swelling in your feet and legs and reducing your risk of a blood clot (particularly on a plane). 

Give it a try and see if you don’t notice how much better you feel.  So travel in style….or at least in comfort.  

 

Dr. Dawn Muller, PT, DPT, MTC, Cert DN is the owner of Thrive Physical Therapy and Fitness, LLC.  She has been practicing 30 years.  To make an appointment, call 229-228-9019.