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Desk Job Exercises

How could you possibly injure yourself at a desk job?  It seems impossible that your body could be harmed in any way just by sitting at a desk, right?  Sedentary postures particularly the day in/day out kind can put a strain on your body.  I am sure you may have felt your body talking back to you during or at the end of a work day with physical complaints of stiffness or pain.  Why does this happen?  Sitting for long periods of time in one posture will cause the body to shorten certain muscle groups.  For example, your hip flexors (where your body meets your leg) are shortened to let you sit.  Also, your hamstrings on the back of your thigh can become shortened and tight.  You may also experience pressure on the large nerve in the back of your leg (sciatic nerve) that can send pain down the entire length of your leg.   If you assume poor sitting posture by sitting slouched forward, you are also affecting the joints and muscles around your chest and neck and overstretching those of your low back region.  Here are a few simple exercise stretch ideas you can do right at your desk to avoid the above issues. If you have 5 minutes, you can do these stretches! 1.  Sit on edge of your chair with legs together.  Reach arms out to your sides at shoulder level with palms facing down. Slowly rotate your torso and arms to the left followed by turning your head to look to the left.  Hold for a breath in and out.  Then slowly rotate to the...

Physical Therapy for Parkinson’s disease

April is Parkinson’s disease awareness month!!  Did you know that one million individuals in the United States are living with this disease?  Physical Therapy has always been a component of care for individuals with Parkinson’s. The past twenty years of rehabilitative research has revealed several important findings which physical therapists who specialize with this patient population would like patients to know.  The earlier care is initiated, the better the outcomes.  It used to be that persons were not referred for therapy until much disability had occurred or if someone was experiencing falls.  Now, there are proven interventions to address the disease early so that patients can be empowered to know what exercises and habits can help them even in the earliest stages.  Being involved in activity and movement is very important.  Rigidity (a form of muscle tightness) of the axial (spinal) muscles can be present even in the early stages and learning to improve mobility in this body region can carry over to being able to maintain long term functional capabilities.  There is also a sensory/motor disconnect whereby patients feel they are moving as big as they can when in fact they are not.  This change is very subtle over time and the patient is often unaware of it until someone else points it out to them.  Aerobic conditioning is very important to maintain at all stages of the disease and patients can benefit from guidance on how to incorporate this into their lives.   Postural changes can also be a subtle progression with this disease and can be improved with exercise and patient education.  Tremor remains resistant to...

Meeting the Demands of Dancers and Gymnasts

The physical demands placed on dancers and gymnasts are unique from any other type of athlete.  Like other athletes, the hours of training and practice can make an individual susceptible to many types of overuse injuries, but the great amount of flexibility and movement of the joints that is required is often a more common source of injury.  Excessive movement of the joints, also known as hypermobility, is often sought out in dancers and gymnasts.  It can be a great asset to these athletes, but if not achieved slowly and with proper training, can lead to injury in growing adolescents.   Hypermobility allows dancers and gymnasts to achieve the extreme positions required of these disciplines, but if not trained properly can lead to joint, tendon, ligamentous and muscular injury.  These injuries tend to occur at the foot, ankle, lower leg, hip and low back.  Gymnasts also are also especially vulnerable to shoulder and wrist injuries due to the fact that the upper extremity is used as a weight bearing joint.   There are many factors that contribute to the stability of a joint.  The capsule and muscles that surround the joint, ligaments and tendons, and the proprioceptive system all contribute to joint stability.  The proprioceptive system involves sensory nerves that are embedded in the joint capsules and ligaments that constantly inform our central nervous system of position, movement and rate of movement.   The joint capsule, ligaments and tendons are often overstretched in dancers and gymnasts, but both the proprioceptors and muscles surrounding the joint can, and need to be, trained to increase the stability of the joint to prevent injury.   Many...

Free Balance Screening

Are you or someone you know experiencing falls or a fear of falling?  Your balance system is made up of three components: the inner ear, the vision system and the nerve receptors in your joints and surrounding tissues.   All three of these systems are in a continuous feedback loop through the brain to help us maintain our balance on level and uneven surfaces.  Some questions we ask patients with balance deficits are if you have had an ear infection recently and have you had your vision checked or had a change in your lenses recently.  After these are ruled out as a cause, we perform a series of tests in the clinic to attempt to grade any balance deficits that can be addressed through exercises and make sure you do not have positional vertigo (BPPV).   Take advantage of our FREE BALANCE...