0 comments on “Self Neck Mobilization”

Self Neck Mobilization

Ever wake up with neck pain or do a funny movement and feel your neck immediately kink up? Ever look down at a computer or a book for hours and feel the onset of neck pain? Have headaches? I have a feeling we have all been there and suffered for a few days until you were slowly able to regain some motion and have less pain and not walk around like a stiff robot. I had a surgeon the other day tell me he was hovered over a patient for 6 hours and his neck just hadn’t been the same even though he has been doing the same motion for years. I always tell patients you can do strenuous things and ask a lot of your body until one day it will tell you that it has had enough.

Often the over strain of muscles can lead to a protective mechanism where your neck muscles “clamp” or spasm down to protect the area. Since your neck and shoulder muscles originate from your neck or cervical spine and the base of your skull the joints and nerves can be effected. Other times the joints need  a little help to glide properly again which is why some self mobilization can help along with some soft tissue work and some postural re-education and strengthening. I can’t say I am a big fan of high velocity joint mobilizations particularly of the neck, which is why I like these gently self mobs Mulligan technique.

This exercise targets extension of the cervical spine, but there are additional techniques to target rotation. Give this a shot. If you are having some hand or arm pain your symptoms should get better or “centralize.” This should not be painful or increase any symptoms of pain.

Medical Disclaimer:

The information, including but not limited to, text, graphics, images and other material contained on this website are for informational purposes only. The purpose of this website is to promote broad consumer understanding and knowledge of various health topics. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health care provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or treatment and before undertaking a new health care regimen, and never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website.

0 comments on “Ankle sprains can have lasting effects”

Ankle sprains can have lasting effects

Ankle Sprains are one of the most common musculoskeletal problem effecting all ages and people of all different activity levels.  There are different locations and several different grades depending on severity, with the high and low lateral ankle sprains being the most common.

We have probably all felt the immediate pain of a “twisted” ankle. Sometimes it subsides, and there is not much bruising or swelling and walking is fine in a few days. Other times, your ankle might turn all kinds of interesting colors and swell up more than you ever thought possible. In more severe cases, weight bearing is not possible, and you are in for a long haul of surgery and rehab.

But even the mildest of sprains can leave you feeling “stiff” with a some loss of range of motion at the ankle joint that can have lasting effects not only for your ankle, but have a domino effect all the way up your leg to your pelvis. Once walking is compromised, you begin to lose calf musculature and become less efficient.  Eventually you can even start to have pelvic alignment issues and muscle inhibition. Severe grade 2 and 3 cases can cause chronic pain, stiffness and proprioceptive issues if left untreated, as often the effect of immobilization are almost as bad as the injury.

So the next time you “twist” your ankle, do yourself a favor and seek medical advice from your doctor and physical therapist to make sure you don’t have any last effects. To get on my soap box,  the RICE principle has been proven to prevent healing and icing is best only if you want to reduce pain.  The British Journal of Sports Medicine, for example, investigated 22 separate studies and concluded that “ice is commonly used after acute muscle strains, but there are no clinical studies of its effectiveness.” A report in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research was even more alarming. Not only does icing fail to help injuries heal, the authors found, it may well delay recovery from injury. Think “ARITA” …Active Recovery Is The Answer. More on that later!

So for acute injuries…avoid ice and NSAIDS and let the body go through the healing stages. Your body is much smarter than you are. Compression and warm baths are best, with some active movement around the compromised area to enhance the lymphatic drainage system.

Grades of ankle sprain severity

Severity Damage to ligaments Symptoms Recovery time
Grade 1 Minimal stretching, no tearing Mild pain, swelling, and tenderness. Usually no bruising. No joint instability. No difficulty bearing weight. 1–3 weeks
Grade 2 Partial tear Moderate pain, swelling, and tenderness. Possible bruising. Mild to moderate joint instability. Some loss of range of motion and function. Pain with weight bearing and walking. 3–6 weeks
Grade 3 Full tear or rupture Severe pain, swelling, tenderness, and bruising. Considerable instability and loss of function and range of motion. Unable to bear weight or walk. Several months
Source: Adapted from Maughan KL, “Ankle Sprain,” UpToDate, version 14.3, and Ivins D, “Acute Ankle Sprain: An Update,” American Family Physician (Nov. 15, 2006), Vol. 74, No. 10, pp. 1714–20.

 

My son wanting his ankle taped:)

Medical Disclaimer:

The information, including but not limited to, text, graphics, images and other material contained on this website are for informational purposes only. The purpose of this website is to promote broad consumer understanding and knowledge of various health topics. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health care provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or treatment and before undertaking a new health care regimen, and never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website.

 

 

 

 

0 comments on “Make your health a priority”

Make your health a priority

What can On Track Physical Therapy do for you?

Get you information: I often get calls from patients that have a new pain or issue and want to get some information and a thorough medical evaluation. Many of my patients do not have a primary care doctor, so starting with a physical therapist is a great way to get into the health care system. I am embarrassed to admit, I don’t even have a primary doctor. The good news is, physical therapist are highly trained in orthopedics, neuro and everything in between. Though On Track Physical Therapy specialized in general orthopedic issues, we see clients with all diagnoses including post -surgical and vestibular to name a few.

Help you navigate the health care world: On Track Physical Therapy is happy to work closely with your doctor and prefers to have your doctor informed throughout your therapy. If you do not have a doctor or specialist, we will make sure to refer you to the right specialist if your diagnosis deems it necessary. In almost all cases, your doctor will recommend a course of physical therapy before costly MRIs and surgical procedures.

Direct Access: California is a Direct Access state for Physical Therapy meaning you can refer yourself to Physical Therapy and be seen without a doctors referral. Often insurances require a referral for you to use them, but since On Track Physical Therapy is private- pay, we do not require a referral.

Consierge Treatment: Many of our patients enjoy the convenience of online booking and flexible scheduling. We are also available to talk vie phone or skype if any issues come up before your next appointment. In home visits are are also available.

Save you money in long run: We are private pay, but It is rare that we would need to see you 3x a week for 6 six weeks like many traditional clinics. Once a week or bi-weekly appointments are more usual. Our focused 55 minute ,1 on 1 treatment session is effective, and we use online and video technology for our home programs. We also do not take co-pays which is helpful with many insurance policies that have very high deductibles and co-oays that add up quickly. Lastly, if you are working towards your deductible, we can give you a superbill documenting all your visits.

Bottom line…YOU and your health are worth it!

Blake Russell, PT and Owner of On Track Physical Therapy and Performance

 

 

0 comments on “Pain with Downhill Running”

Pain with Downhill Running

Oh my knees!

If you do a lot of running, you’ve probably experienced some sort of knee pain at one point or another. There can be lots of reasons why your knees hurt…Soft tissue restrictions, joint irritation, spinal alignment, or strength and stability to name a few. Often it may be a hip or ankle issue that is contributing to your pain. It’s a good idea to get your whole body checked out and even assess your running form to make sure you address the route of the problem rather than the site of the pain.

If I find a patient has a stability issue, a good exercise to begin with is a mini squat with your heel elevated. Having your feet in an elevated position will mimic the position your foot is in as you are running downhill. I like to start patients with both heels elevated and have them bend to about 20 degrees (or in a pain-free range). Start first with 2 sets of 15-20 daily, then progress to 1 leg at a time to make it more challenging. Running is an endurance sport, so higher reps with good form are key.

As always, consult your Primary Care Physician with any conditions you are concerned about and exercise in a pain-free range.

 

 

0 comments on “What is “W sitting” and why is it bad for your children?”

What is “W sitting” and why is it bad for your children?

Recently I have been treating a lot of high school patients with hip and knee pain during sports activities, and in more than one case the underlying cause is probably a long history of “W sitting” which is demonstrated in the above photo. I would always correct my children when they got in this position because I know that it can have some serious long-term risks for their developing bodies like the following:

0 comments on “To foam roll or not to foam roll?”

To foam roll or not to foam roll?

There are so many things out there for recovery, it’s easy to get over-whelmed. I admit the roller is not my go-to tool mainly because any time I sit on the floor, my 4 year old decides to sit on me. But, doing some sort of stretching or body work after you have run or worked out is a good thing for muscle fiber health. Rolling has not been proven to give any lasting effects more than a few hours afterwards, but combined with some active movements or trigger point pressure, it’s been shown to be beneficial. It’s probably even best to cut your run a few minutes short if you are pressed for time and allow a few minutes of stretched to elongate the muscles that are prone to tightness so you will feel better on your next run or workout.

Your quadriceps (front thigh), hamstrings (back of thigh) certainly take a beating with any workout. Foam rolling is a great way to address these using your body weight. You can literally roll on it to work these muscles, stopping at any tender spots or trigger points and holding at least 30 seconds. The breathing is important, so take at least 2 deep breaths in and out slowly to send a signal to your brain to relax.

Also, roll with some active movements. For instance, in the below photo I am rolling my adductor (inner thigh) muscles. The longest one (Adductor Magnus) crosses the knee, so adding some knee bending and straightening while holding in the same spot is good for increasing tissue and fascial glide.

If you don’t work your mobility on a daily basis you will slowly loose it. So what, you say? Well, tight hip flexors mean your stride is shorter and can alter your alignment leading to back pain, tight pectoralis muscles (chest muscles) mean your posture changes and your shoulder joint is not as efficient, tight calves effect your ankle mobility and ability to squat to name a few. So, take the time to do a few minutes a day of something. Your body will thank you by feeling better on your next workout. I generally do a few minutes after a run, then about 10-15 minutes before bed. What is your favorite recovery tool?

0 comments on “Can you squat?”

Can you squat?

Our bodies are born mobile, and it’s not until we stop using certain positions that we loose our ability to get in them. Often its sedentary life style, desk jobs, and sitting in cars that slowly robs us of our mobility. Even sports, strength training and our workouts can leave us limited if we don’t constantly work areas that are prone to tightness.

The squat test is a great movement to tell you how well somebody’s body is moving, particularly if you have your arms overhead as you are doing it. A simple quick squat test can tell you some much about the movement quality of someone’s spine, shoulders, hips, and ankle joints and even assess their body control.

Why is important to stay mobile? Because the body is smart, and losing mobility in one area will cause it to find it in another often resulting in an injury. Also, less mobile areas mean other areas work harder and your body is not as efficient. For example, not being able to get low enough to lift something heavy with your legs, means you might round your back and be prone to an injury. Or another example, have a shortened Latissimus muslce (back muscle)  or poor thoracic mobility can effect your shoulder in over-head range of motion leading to pain and inefficient over-head activities. Even being able to get into a good squat is vital for explosive jumping in sports.

The good new is it might take a little time, but you can get your mobility back. Through some functional movement assessment, joint mobilizations, tissue release and corrective exercises, you can increase your mobility and retrain your brain to use your body the way you did as a kid.

Here is an example of good squatting mechanics with hips below knees, knees over toes, torso upright with arms overhead. Can you get in this position?