10/21/2019 0 Comments
Breathing exercises are powerful tools that are often ignored. Our ability to control our breath and actively alter our breathing patterns can give us a greater control of our stress response, anxiety, and promote our body's natural self-healing abilities. Below are four breathing exercises to help get you started.
Rock and Roll Breathing
Cat and Cow
WHAT AND WHY?
Ergonomics simply means arranging your environment to fit your needs, NOT arranging your body to fit your environment. It's important to prevent injury or promote healing if we've been injured. Too often we don't change our environment until we're already hurting.
Three factors are considered with an ergonomic assessment:
- POSTURE: aiming for neutral.
- FORCE: level of force our body can tolerate is relative to the strength and condition on our tissues (i.e. muscles, joints).
- REPETITION: this can be repeated movement or sustained position, but our tissues need breaks. Breaks can be changing a task so we are putting different stress on our body, it can be taking a quick stroll around the office after sitting for 30 minutes.
WHAT IS NEUTRAL?
Neutral simply means that our joint(s) are in a position where there is the least amount of stress on our tissues on every side of the joint. Examples are:
i. The wrist is in a natural line from the forearm.
ii. The shoulders are not shrugged up to the ears.
iii. The neck isn't turned one direction to look at the keyboard.
iv. The natural curves in our spine are maintained.
BENEFITS OF NEUTRAL POSTURE
i. Provides the greatest strength and stability.
ii. Places the least stress on muscles, tendon, joints, etc.
iii. Results in the lowest risk of repetitive strain injury which are the most common work related injuries.
SETTING UP YOUR OFFICE SPACE
- You want your feet to touch the ground. You can use a footrest if needed.
- Your hips need to be higher than the knees.
- Seat depth is approximately 2-4 fingers from the back of the knee.
- Chair back: Office work is typically forward so chair needs to promote forward work. Position: Neutral or forward, not reclined while working.
- Lumbar Support/Roll only helps if:
1. You sit all the way back in the chair.
2. Pelvis is in neutral position so your spinal curves are maintained. Are you sitting on your 'sit bones' (good) or your tailbone (bad)?
- Armrests: at elbow or slightly higher so you can relax the shoulders.
- Distance: take a piece of paper with print about the sam size as your computer screen and determine at which distance your eyes have to work the least. Measure from the eye to the paper - this is the distance the monitor should sit from your eyes.
- Height: our relaxed line of sight is 10-15 degrees below the horizon (slightly down).
- Elbow angle 90-110 degrees (opened up).
- Same height as your keyboard.
- Limit reaching for frequently used items.
LOOKING FOR ERGONOMIC OFFICE SUPPLIES?
Check out our friends at MT ERGOFIT !
Author: Brace Hayden, DPT
Sleep is something that is vital to the human body. Every system in our body needs sleep to function efficiently. Many people struggle with getting sufficient quality sleep. Getting inadequate or poor-quality sleep is linked to a variety of health-related disorders and reduces your body’s ability to heal. Fortunately, getting more quality sleep is a skill that can be improved with ‘sleep hygiene’ practices. Here are some strategies we have gleaned from the current research (see references below) that can help improve your sleep.
Reduce Anxiety and Stress
Anxiety is a massive sleep killer. Do everything you can to banish it from your bed. There are ample methods to reduce anxiety: counseling, making lists, self-calming techniques (relaxation, meditation, deep breathing, coloring).
Make Sleep a Habit
Set a routine and stick to it. Your sleep clock or circadian rhythm can get off balance with variations in your sleep-wake cycle schedule. Set a desired wake-up time and a bedtime routine that you can consistently stick with 7 days a week. On average, most adults need seven to nine hours of sleep. Seniors (over 65 years) require less sleep and tend to wake more often throughout the night. Training your body for optimized sleep requires a set routine. Go to bed early, as studies have shown that people feel more refreshed and awake when they get more hours of deep sleep before midnight.
“Power napping” during the day for 20 minutes or less can be beneficial if you are feeling sleepy. A nap duration for more than 20 minutes can negatively effect on your sleep routine.
Dark, Cool and No Devices
Keep your bedroom dark and cool. Blackout shade or heavy curtains will help keep you asleep during the longer daylight spring and summer months. Avoid electronics in the bedroom (phones, tablets, TVs, and night-lights).
Regular aerobic exercise will improve sleep. Try to get 5-7 days of aerobic exercise for at least 40-60 minutes (walk, jog, bike, swim, etc.). Avoid stimulating activity and vigorous exercise within three hours before sleep.
Liquid Intake and Caffeine
Limit liquid intake (water, alcohol, milk, etc.) in the evening for the 2-3 hours prior to your bedtime to avoid multiple bathroom breaks during the night. Avoid bladder and brain irritants (alcohol. caffeine) in the evening, especially after 7 pm. Limit eating or drinking caffeinated drinks or food (chocolate, tea, coffee, etc.) after 2:00 p.m.
Close Your Eyes
If you wake up in the middle of the night or can’t fall asleep after 30 minutes of winding down. Get out of your bed, go into another room, and reset your pre-bed relaxation routine. Try to do something that is not too interesting or stimulating for 30-45 minutes (listen to relaxing music, meditate, practice taking long slow deep breaths, color, or read something dry). Tossing and turning trains your body and brain have a negative relationship to being relaxed and sleepy in your bed. Beds are for sleeping (and sex).
REFERENCES (available online or at your public library):
The sleep solution: why your sleep is broken and how to fix it
Author: Winter, W. Chris
Quiet your mind & get to sleep: solutions to insomnia for those with depression, anxiety, or chronic pain
Author: Carney, Colleen
Fall is upon us, but there is still time for numerous adventures and sites to explore. For those recovering from injury or suffering from pain, it can be hard to find a hike that fits your fitness capabilities. The last thing you need is to get there and realize that this outing is doing more harm then good. Fortunately for Missoulians, we have access to a wide variety of trails ranging from short trails with minimal inclines to long steep hikes up nearby mountains. Here are a few trails to check out.
Bolle Birdwatching Trail – Greenough Park
This is the prefect trail for those who are recovering from injury and need a hike with very little elevation gain. This trail is located in the Rattlesnake area and is a loop design. Since this trail is only one mile, it takes about 30 min to do.
Blue Mountain Saddle to Blue Mountain Lookout
This trail is a there-and-back hike with a 660 foot elevation gain over the 2.2 miles. Thus, it is an easy hike for those who want to ease into hiking. The full hike takes about 1.5 hours, but due to its design you can turn back at anytime to make the trial fit your time requirement.
Main Rattlesnake Trail
This is another great trail in the Rattlesnake area. This trail has a little elevation change, so it’s a good hike if you are looking for a longer hike. This one is a there-and-back hike of up to 4.8 miles. So you can make it as long as you’d like.
Hiking is a great way to get in your daily exercise while exploring the outdoors. Capitalize on the great weather by exploring some of these easier trails. They are great for beginners and those faced with the challenges of knee and back pain.
I recently had the privilege to finally attend the Master Instructor Training for CoreAlign at Balanced Body headquarters in Sacramento. I am grateful for an amazing 4 days of learning and interacting with other instructors, Master trainers and the opportunity to visit the Balanced Body facility.
No matter how much you know, there is always more to learn. I started my CoreAlign journey back in 2012, first as a participant, then a teacher and now a trainer of teachers. I continue to appreciate the nuance of the repertoire and the ingenuity of the design of the CoreAlign unit itself, mostly as a conduit to allow movement assessment and exploration. Novel experiences and movement sequences can be powerful on the CoreAlign, and can provide "a-ha" moments for both the practitioner and client alike. It's not about mastering "exercises", but providing a unique and different platform to provide a movement experience that will translate into meaningful and functional tasks.
Movement transcends language. Out of 8 Master Instructor students, half were international instructors, speaking little English. It was both challenging and inspiring to bridge the language barrier with shared movement experiences. Non verbal communications, demonstrations, and tactile cueing were necessary when language was not available. I feel that this made me a better communicator when I had to choose other mediums for communication. Laughter and pantomime bridged the gap, and reinforced the concept that sometimes, less=more.
I look forward to bringing more CoreAlign content and explorations to the Alpine and Missoula community. - Lisa Hamilton, DPT
8/21/2019 0 Comments
IASTM is short for Instrument Assisted Soft Tissue Mobilization and just might be the answer if you have been dealing with nagging, recurrent muscle or “soft tissue restrictions”. Ideally layers of muscle and fascia glide over one another as move through a range or contract muscle tissue.
Runner’s often end up with injuries that restrict that normal tissue mobility. This lack of mobility often causes pain and inability to run with proper form. Common examples include iliotibial band syndrome (ITB), plantar fasciitis, achilles tendinitis, chronic tight calf muscles. and hamstring strains.
IASTM is a technique physical therapists use to break up the adhesions between the tissue layers and bring blood flow to the area. The treatment is often intense at the time but is quick and highly effective if followed with good stretching and correction of faulty movement patterns.
Want to try it out? Schedule a free 15 minute consultation and ask a Physical Therapist if IASTM might be right for you.
8/8/2019 0 Comments
Author: Madison Small, DPT
The TRX is a valuable tool to construct an individualized program with implications depending on one’s needs. Various uses are to promote range of motion, increase strength, progression of weight-bearing tolerance, enforce functional movements, and improve confidence, all with an individualized challenge.
Author: Jed diehl
Outreach and Marketing Director at Alpine Physical Therapy
Like many of you, I was an active kid. I played multiple sports through high school including lacrosse and swimming and continued with lacrosse through college. During these, what I would call my 'more active years', I spent a considerable amount of time training for competition and focused on the physical skills I needed to develop to get to the next level. What I neglected to realize was the importance of the fuel that my body required to perform optimally. I would later learn just how large a role nutrition plays in an athletes performance and, through the advice of my co-workers here at Alpine Physical Therapy, start to develop better eating habits that have helped me maintain a higher level activity today. Below are the sports nutrition tips that I wish I had known when I was competing but are still valuable to me today!
During Exercise: 8-10oz for every 15min. (If exercising >10min, drink 8-10oz sport drink)
Average Recovery Day: Half your body weight in ounces should be consumed in an average non-competitive day.
VITAMINS & MINERALS
Eat like a jungle animal! Load up on colorful vegetables and fruit to speed up muscle and ligament recovery and reduce post-exercise inflammation.
Simple carbohydrates are absorbed and converted into energy quickly.
-Examples: fruit, juice, energy bars, energy drinks.
Complex carbohydrates take longer to be absorbed and best 4-5 hours before exercise.
-Examples: whole grain bread, cereal, pasta, and rice.
Building blocks of the body, especially muscle, necessary in an athletes' regular diet.
-Examples: lean meat, chicken, fish, eggs, tofu, milk, nuts, fruit and vegetables.
Largest energy reserve in our body that is a main fuel for long duration, moderate intensity exercise.
Saturated 'bad' fat: consume less than 10% of total calories.
-Examples: red meat, cheese, butter.
Unsaturated 'good' fat: to fuel your body for sport.
-Examples: olive oil, fish, avocado, almonds, soy beans.
Pre-exercise: Complex carbohydrate meal balanced with healthy proteins and fats >5 hours before competition. Simple carbohydrates within 2 hours pre event such as an energy bar or banana.
Post-exercise: Within 2 hours 4:1 carbohydrate-to-protein combination to refuel and rebuild muscle.
-Suggestions: chocolate milk, fruit smoothie with low-fate yogurt, energy bar accompanied by water.
Authors: Jess Kehoe, dpt & Josie Stokken, dpt
Being pregnant and giving birth changes the female body in many ways. These changes can affect one’s ability to return to sport, especially high impact activities such as running. However, the body is resilient and with training and guidance this can be done safely. Exercise is an important component of a healthy lifestyle both physically and mentally after having a baby. Generally it is advisable to return to or begin a regular exercise program as part of recovery from pregnancy and birth. As physical therapists we are in a position to really help women who are interested in this goal. Here are some basic guidelines to consider, but really the best thing is to gain individualized guidance by a PT.
It is important to first gain clearance from your OB, based on individual symptoms, before beginning with exercise. However, it is important to note that many structures in the pelvic floor take 4-12 months to return to their normal position, and some things never return to pre-natal positions. This means that you may be cleared to exercise before your body has recovered from pregnancy and birth. This is a reminder to start easy and build up to successfully reach your goals.
Begin core, pelvic floor and lower extremity exercises to regain strength needed for running and supporting the internal organs. This is a HUGE step and progresses differently for every new mom. Pelvic floor exercises can be difficult, and even more so shortly after pregnancy. We recommend guidance from your PT to learn appropriate Kegel exercises and deep core exercises, especially if you feel they are difficult or challenging, or you have no experience with them.
Begin with a walk/run progression, taking time to work up to 15 minutes of continuous running. It is important to set realistic goals and progress slowly. It is better to increase the time of exercise before increasing intensity of effort. This slow progress can help reduce the chance for overuse injury, which happens when we increase exercise load more quickly than our tissues can recover. This could take time, so be patient with yourself. Every mom recovers differently. Involve your newborn! Exercise at home or outside with your infant. Use a stroller and stop at the swing as the infant reaches the age that these activities are safe.
Don’t forget that recovery from exercise requires rest and adequate nutrition. These things can be challenging for new moms, but to be successful with return to running, at any level, they are important not to overlook.
The Soft Landing Soccer Tournament last Sunday was an overall successful outreach event for Alpine PTs Logan Rossmiller & Brace Hayden. The 3rd annual Soft Landings tournament is held as a fundraiser to support Missoula's refugee community and a celebration of soccer and sporting camaraderie. Alpine Physical Therapy was a sponsor, had two PTs participate in the soccer games, and provide consultations for injuries and education on injury prevention. Alpine's presence at the event helped participants feel more at ease during a long day of soccer games in the heat and provided a conduit to quality professional care as needed. Most importantly, this event demonstrated the profound impact that sports play has in developing cross-cultural friendships and improving our community. Though the participants came from different parts of the world, we all found unity through semi-competitive sport, laughter, and a fantastic party at the end of the day.
Brent Dodge is the founding owner of Alpine Physical Therapy and is a board certified orthopedic specialist. He holds additional certifications in Functional Dry Needling, Manual Physical Therapy, and Strength and Conditioning.
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