Ergonomics 101: Working from home during Coronavirus.

Telecommuting has become the norm in our society today, and with the pandemic we have endured and currently face, we may be at home for much longer into the future. While this may be attainable and even ideal for most of the population, our bodies may be affected in negative ways we have never dreamed of. Many people are unaware of the stress bad ergonomics places on our bodies. People can develop wrist, elbow, neck, or back pain, never concluding the cause to be that of their own doing. Sitting in a chair for long periods places compression and stress on our joints that can cause stiffness, strain, and pain in our bodies. Setting up your workspace correctly can help prevent back issues and problems in the future.

Steps for a properly seated workspace.

– Your eyes should be level with the top of your computer monitor.

– Your shoulders should be relaxed and low, not high or hunched up.

– Your lower arms should be parallel to the floor. They should be resting on a support.

– Your feet should be resting on the floor.

– Your upper back should be straight, and your chair should support your lower back.

– You should avoid slouching in your chair and keep your hips as close to the back of the chair as possible.

– Your upper legs should be at a 90-degree angle from your body.

– You should be sitting up straight, and your screen should be a full arm’s length away from you.

– You should avoid leaning to any one side.

 

There is also the option of working at a standing desk that may increase blood flow, good posture, and decreased stress overall placed on the body.

Steps for maintaining proper posture at a standing desk.

– Your eyes should be level with the top of your computer monitor.

– Your shoulders should be relaxed and low, not high or hunched up.

– Your elbows should be bent to 90 degrees, and the desk should be set to the height of your forearms.

– You should be standing on an even surface with your feet shoulder-width apart.

– You should avoid leaning to any one side.

Sitting for long periods can be detrimental to your body.

Being sedentary has been linked to obesity, diabetes, and heart diseases.  Along with correcting your positioning at the desk, it is also essential to take standing breaks away from the computer every 30 minutes. Going to the bathroom, stretching, getting a drink of water, or grabbing a snack are good excuses to step away from the desk. Taking a lunch break away from the desk is also a good option.  Going for a walk on your lunch break is an excellent way to get your body moving and may even grant you some much-needed energy and concentration to take on the remainder of your day.

If you have experienced wrist, elbow, shoulder, neck, or back pain and cannot find relief from correcting your workspace, physical therapy can help decrease your pain and give you the tools to help it from happening again. You will be taught proper stretching, strengthening, and body mechanics based on your body and individualized goals. You will be able to get back to work feeling good again before you know it!

If you are suffering from pain and poor range of mobility we welcome you as a patient, we have over 20 clinics throughout the valley, request an appointment or come in for a free Rapid Recovery® Injury Assessment.

Yes, it’s true Sciatica is a pain in the butt! Literally. However, the sciatic nerves are not confined to the gluteus maximus, the body’s largest nerves; sciatic nerves extend from the low back to your toes. The nerves exit the spine between two vertebrae in the lower back, travel behind the hip joint on both sides, down the buttock, and back each leg into the foot.

One of the most important things about Sciatica is first identifying you have it and then determining what is causing it, in order to treat it effectively. If you don’t seek help for sciatic problems, over time, the condition may only continue to get worse and cause lasting damage to the lower back and hips.

Dr. Elijah Chiang PT, DPT from Foothills Sports Medicine Physical Therapy (Tempe Location), shows us his top 4 exercises to relieve sciatic nerve pain.

What causes Sciatic nerve pain?

Sciatic pain can be caused by numerous reasons, such as a herniated disc or a narrowing of your spine. However, the most common reason is a pinching of the sciatic nerve as it passes through/around the lower limbs’ gluteal region. This is often caused by a rotation in the pelvis and/or weakness in the glutes. In the most extreme cases, when the nerve is pinched between the disc and the adjacent bone, the symptoms may involve pain and numbness and muscle weakness in the leg because of interrupted nerve signaling.

What are the most common symptoms of Sciatica?

Some of the most common symptoms are radiating pain down the backside of the leg. Symptoms will usually run north to south. If the symptoms are on the outside of your leg or down the front, it is usually a different issue.

Other common symptoms of Sciatica include:

  • General lower back pain
  • A pain in the rear or leg that is worse when sitting
  • Hip pain
  • Burning or tingling down the leg
  • Weakness, numbness, or a hard time moving the leg or foot
  • Constant pain on one side of the rear
  • A shooting pain that makes it hard to stand up

How soon can you find relief after physical therapy?

It takes approximately four weeks to build new muscle, and the change in symptoms usually corresponds to the building of new muscles to decrease compensations. Temporary relief can generally be achieved within a few visits, but lasting changes are highly variable with factors such as how long you have had the sciatic pain.

What is the best treatment for Sciatica pain?

Massages to the hips and lower back are usually a great way to manage symptoms. Icing the hip and lower back when radiating symptoms are severe can generally decrease the symptoms. Acupuncture and dry needling are also suitable alternative treatments. In most cases, Sciatica resolves in a few weeks with conservative treatment such as exercise and physical therapy. However, for some patients, pain can last much longer, and treatment should be individualized.

 

Foothills Sports Medicine Physical Therapy is a group of locally-owned Phoenix Area physical therapy clinics that provide quality, hands-on care to all of our patients, ensuring optimal results with our Full RecoveryFocus™. We offer a free assessment of any injuries you might have; if you would like to be evaluated for sciatic or back pain issues, schedule online today.

by Wayne Foley, MPT and Dr. Dominique Bagby, PT, DPT – Foothills Sports Medicine Physical Therapy (Gold Canyon location)

As we age, our balance will decline, and without maintaining a functional level of strength, flexibility, and balance, you can become prone to an increased risk of falls. Every year more than one in three people age 65 years or older fall, and the risk increases with age. A simple fall can cause a severe fracture of the hip, pelvis, spine, arm, hand, or ankle, leading to hospital stays, disability, and loss of independence.

Many issues can cause balance deficits. Some include feeling lightheaded due to medications, blood pressure issues, and other problems within the inner ear or the brain. The presence of dizziness constitutes the significant predictor of falls in the elderly, which are the leading cause of injury and accidental death after the age of 65 years.

The most common cause of dizziness is a condition called Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo or BPPV.

How is BPPV Diagnosed?

In this video, Wayne Foley, MPT and Dr. Dominique Bagby, PT, DPT from our Foothills Sports Medicine Physical Therapy (Gold Canyon location) show us how they test and treat Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo (BPPV).

Balance Physical Therapy, A Hands-On Customized Approach to Addressing Balance

Physical therapists can offer numerous options for treating balance problems based on each person’s needs. There are several significant components your body uses that assist with your balance.

Vision

Your vision helps your brain to organize where it is in space. Commonly where there are deficits in other areas that affect balance, individuals can become reliant on vision. It is not unusual to have a patient who can stand perfectly still on a single leg with their eyes open and quickly become a fall risk after closing their eyes.

 

Proprioception

(perception or awareness of the position and movement of the body)

Close your eyes and move your arm over your head. Knowing where your arm is without seeing it is proprioception. Issues with proprioception can range from decreased sensation, not uncommon in the lower extremities and a common factor with balance disturbances, to a weakness that limits the patient’s ability to stabilize.

Vestibular system

Your vestibular system is responsible for letting your body know when you are accelerating. Patients may present with issues such as turning over in bed, causing uncontrolled spinning, and a sense of vertigo. This can come from several causes, including problems with the sensory organ itself to the nerves that conduct these signals.

Balance is vital for health, wellness, and happiness. There are things that you can do now to prevent a decline in your ability to balance.

Tips to Help Avoid Problems of Balance:

  • Keep moving and avoid a sedentary lifestyle. Begin a regular fitness regimen and make efforts to take the stairs, walk more, or other daily activities that keep you active.
  • Have yearly check-ups for vision and check for medication interactions.
  • Manage any chronic diseases, such as diabetes, which has long term side effects on balance.
  • Report any falls to your primary care physician or physical therapist immediately.

What to Expect When Coming to Foothills Physical Therapy

Balance is one of the fundamentals of a healthy, active body. Having a strong sense of balance and awareness of the elements around you can help you react swiftly and prevent injuries and accidents from happening.

Depending on your presentation, we will create a hands-on plan to address your specific deficits to improve your balance and stability. A Foothills Physical Therapist will run several tests to determine how unstable you are with dynamic movement and what components are the limiting factors. Whether your limitations prevent you from performing a higher-level activity such as dancing or learning to use an assistive device to help balance, we will always have your Full Recovery Focus guiding your treatment plan.

The Foothills provides an affordable, individualized, and professionally supervised program designed to build and maintain a functional level of strength, flexibility, and balance. Our highly trained staff is here to properly evaluate and quickly identify your balance concerns giving you the confidence to get you back to doing the things you love.

Visit the location nearest you to get your balance back!

By Michael Basten, PT, DPT
President/CEO of Foothills Sports Medicine Physical Therapy

“Good Enough” Means You Won’t Spend Enough Time to Fully Rehabilitate Your Injury

When it comes to physical mobility, are you prepared to settle for a good enough solution? That may work when you are making small decisions, like picking which size band-aid, but when it is your mobility that is on the line you need to have a full recovery focus. This is an extreme example, but the fact remains: if you settle for good enough, you will never do everything you want to do.

When it comes to your physical health and pain-free mobility, full injury recovery should be the target. It is easy to be drawn to the first solution that provides more comfort and functionality than you have today—even if it only offers a marginal improvement. We call this solution good enough. True, this solution will provide basic functionality, but it can also cause doubt and certainly will not help you achieve the best result. When having a full recovery focus you shouldn’t feel:

  • Worried about your recovery
  • Overwhelmed
  • Frustrated
  • Skeptical
  • Stressed (physical, financial, emotional, or mental)

Seeking full recovery is a journey with no shortcuts and no finish line. A journey that will lead to amazing and fulfilling results. At Foothills Sports Medicine Physical Therapy our therapists embrace the journey. We understand that good enough is a dangerous stopping point… to aim for good enough is to end up incredibly mediocre… also keep in mind that good enough is only good enough for so long.

What is a Full Recovery Focus™?

A Foothills therapist will take you, your pain, and your full recovery seriously. We don’t believe a good enough recovery is good enough. In fact, no one deserves just a good enough recovery, no matter what their situation may be, our goal is to do everything we can to help you get your full, healthy life back. Our Full Recovery Focus™ difference is evident from your very first visit. Your enthusiastic and committed therapist takes you, your pain, and your situation seriously as you discuss what full recovery looks like. Together you will map out a hands-on customized plan to get you there. Your therapist will work to prevent unnecessary diagnostics in your recovery that can increase out of pocket costs and impact your long-term well-being. Our therapists can work with your doctor to explore pre-surgery, post-surgery, and no-surgery options for your full recovery.

Pre-Surgery, Post-surgery & No surgery

We know a full recovery starts before your surgery even happens. That’s why we’re with you from the beginning to the end. You can book an appointment without needing a referral from your doctor, and we can work with your doctors to develop a pre-surgery and a post-surgery plan. If it is possible, we will help you avoid surgery altogether. Our goal is always your full recovery.

Locally Trusted & Convenient

No one likes being in pain longer than they have to. With dozens of locations in Phoenix, you can get in to see your therapist quickly. You will never wait longer than 48 hours after booking your appointment. That’s why we’re the physical therapy organization local Arizonans have trusted for over 20 years. We have helped more than 500,000 patients get out of pain and back to doing the things they love. Your recovery sessions will be planned out so that you move through your recovery as soon as possible and get back to feeling like yourself and enjoying your life again.  And you won’t need to worry about insurance. We accept most major insurance carriers, including competitive cash pay options.

Get rid of crippling pain and enjoy full rehabilitation from your injury. 

We don’t give up on our patients once their recovery reaches “acceptable,” whatever that might mean. We make every effort to steer our patients away from a good enough recovery and guide them on their journey to full recovery.

Schedule an appointment today.

Dementia can be a scary, overwhelming, and isolating diagnosis. While there is no known cure for dementia, there are plenty of things patients and loved ones can do to prevent cognitive decline. Dr. Michelle Bogert, clinic director of the Paradise Valley clinic, and Dr. Mayy Deadrick, a family practitioner at Manzanita Medical Center share how doctors and physical therapists can work together to prevent and treat the symptoms of dementia.

What is Dementia?

According to the Alzheimer’s Association, “Dementia is not a single disease; it’s an overall term — like heart disease — that covers a wide range of specific medical conditions, including Alzheimer’s disease.  Disorders grouped under the general term “dementia” are caused by abnormal brain changes. These changes trigger a decline in thinking skills, also known as cognitive abilities, severe enough to impair daily life and independent function. They also affect behavior, feelings, and relationships.

  • Memory loss
  • Difficulty communicating
  • Difficulty with visual and spatial abilities
  • Confusion and disorientation
  • Difficulty reasoning or problem-solving
  • Difficulty handling complex tasks
  • Personality changes
  • Difficulty with planning and organizing
  • Difficulty with coordination and motor functions
  • Depression and anxiety
  • Inappropriate behavior
  • Paranoia
  • Agitation
  • Hallucinations

Physical Side Effects of Dementia

As dementia progresses, physical complications become more severe. The physical side effects that physical therapy can address are:

  • Stiff muscles
  • Loss of balance or coordination leading to falls
  • Weak muscles
  • Fatigue

How Physical Therapy Can Help

While physical therapy can’t cure or eliminate the symptoms of dementia, there’s a lot we can do to help slow symptoms and improve the quality of life for our patients. When creating treatment plans for dementia patients, we typically focus on:

  • Fall risk. By improving balance, stability, strength, and coordination through physical therapy, we’re able to reduce falls for our patients, keeping them healthy and active, longer.
  • Stiff muscles. Keeping patients active and mobile through age- and ability-appropriate exercises help relieve stiff muscles. This helps them to move more comfortably and enjoy their daily activities.
  • Muscle weakness. It’s vital for dementia patients to keep working on strengthening and utilizing their muscles so they don’t become sedentary and lose the ability to participate in their normal activities.
  • Heart and cardio health. The higher our cardiovascular function, the more capable our body is to fight off disease. Dementia is no different. We’re not marathon training, but giving patients the ability to elevate their heart rate just enough to see improvements in cardiovascular health. This is important for giving them the strength to fight the bigger battle.
  • Cognitive abilities. We’re not playing brain games or anything, but endorphins and neuron development play a large part in keeping our patients sharp. The increase in activities can improve (or slow the decline of) memory, elevate patients’ mood, and improve their overall quality of life.

Physical Activity & Dementia Prevention

Years ago, doctors thought that you couldn’t grow neurons. However, now we know there are many lifestyle factors we can control to generate neurons and combat any possible effects of dementia before it begins. Regular physical activity, through a combination of cardiovascular exercise, balance, and mobility, is one of the best ways to promote healthy brain activity and generate your cognitive reserve.

Final Thoughts

Dementia can be an isolating and terrifying diagnosis for patients and loved ones. What I hope to educate patients and families on is that, if you have a collaborative team, it doesn’t have to be a lonely diagnosis. There are so many preventative things we can do to help improve their overall quality of life. For the patient, I want them to know that even if you have the genetics for dementia, you can make a huge reduction in your chance of getting it. For the family, I want them to know there are things you can do for your loved ones to keep them happy longer.

Are you or a loved one struggling with a dementia diagnosis? Or, are you looking for ways to stay healthy and active to prevent dementia? 

Schedule a free assessment today to see how physical therapy can help you live a healthier, happier life.

Our clinics are CLEAN. Our environment is SAFE. And we are READY to get out of pain and back to doing the things you love

At Foothills Sports Medicine and Physical Therapy, there is nothing more important to us than your health and well-being and we are open to serve you. The coronavirus (COVID-19) is an emerging, rapidly evolving situation, and we are working diligently to keep patients, customers, staff, and referral partners updated on our policies and prevention preparedness.

We have been working closely with the Center for Disease Control (CDC) and state and local health officials to ensure our centers and clinical teams are taking the proper action to keep everyone safe and healthy.

In addition, we offer virtual visits for patients that are unable to come to the clinic for their treatment. 

As an essential health care provider, it is our goal to ensure you can continue receiving care in our centers with the confidence that we have taken every precaution necessary regarding your safety.

Current COVID-19 Policies

  • All patients, employees, and vendors inside Foothills facilities must wear a mask covering their nose and mouth. If you do not have a mask, one will be provided for you by our front office staff.
  • Body temperature screenings will be performed daily for all staff, patients and vendors.
  • Per the CDC guidelines, frequent hand washing is safer than wearing gloves; therefore, gloves will not be worn unless requested. When requested, gloves will be single use only.
  • We will continue to uphold our standard of excellence on cleaning and sanitation between patients.
  • Any patients or staff experiencing Covid-related symptoms (cough, sore throat, fever, shortness of breath, or other symptoms listed by the CDC known to be Covid related) will be sent home and asked to return when they have 3 continuous days, symptom free, and without medication. Confirmed positive Covid patients must self-quarantine for 10 days and be symptom and medication free the last 3 continuous days before we will schedule an appointment.

Outside the Clinic

To ensure the health and safety of everyone in the clinic, we ask that patients and staff follow the following guidelines outside of Foothills, as well:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth.
  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue and throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Clean/disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces

We thank you for your patience as we navigate updates and changes so that we are able to continue to provide you excellent care and a safe environment.

Ready to get your move back? In the clinic, or at home – choose what feels right for you!

In popular culture, the word “access” implies exclusivity—like a backstage pass to a rock concert or high-level clearance to government files. When it comes to direct access to physical therapy, however, the opposite is true. Direct access allows a patient to go to a physical therapist to receive an evaluation and treatment without a physician’s prescription or referral. That’s right; direct access essentially cuts out the middleman—no backstage passes, security authorizations, or physician prescriptions necessary.

Sometimes, when you’re suffering from an ache, pain, or injury, you have a pretty good idea of what you’re dealing with and might be able to pinpoint the cause of it. When that is the case, wouldn’t you prefer to get right to your physical therapist to begin treatment?

Direct access is governed on a state-by-state basis. All 50 states provide some form of direct access to PT, but there are restrictions and limitations depending on which state you live in. Arizona is one of 20 states where patients have unrestricted direct access to physical therapy, with no provisions or limitations for those who seek therapy without a referral. Before we get too deep into the thick of things, here’s a quick disclaimer: We’re not compliance or legal experts. The following data was sourced from the American Physical Therapy Association.

Which states offer limited patient direct access, which states offer direct access with provisions, and which states have unlimited patient direct access?

Limited Patient Access States
Alabama, Missouri, and Mississippi have limited direct access to PT. Meaning, they have access to evaluation and limited treatment. In most cases, this treatment is restricted to patients with qualifying medical conditions.

Patient Access with Provisions States
There are 27 states who have direct access to PT with provisions.

– Arkansas
– California
– Connecticut
– Delaware
– Florida
– Georgia
– Indiana
– Illinois
– Kansas
– Louisiana
– Maine
– Michigan
– Minnesota
– New Hampshire
– New Jersey
– New Mexico
– New York
– Ohio
– Oklahoma
– Pennsylvania
– Rhode Island
– South Carolina
– Tennessee
– Texas
– U.S. Virgin Islands
– Virginia
– Washington
– Washington, D.C.
– Wisconsin

Find provisions for each state detailed here.

Unrestricted Patient Access States
There are 20 states with unrestricted patient access. This means there are no limitations or provisions for patients who seek therapy without a referral.
– Alaska
– Arizona
– Colorado
– Hawaii
– Idaho
– Iowa
– Kentucky
– Maryland
– Massachusetts
– Montana
– Nebraska
– Nevada
– North Carolina
– North Dakota
– Oregon
– South Dakota
– Utah
– Vermont
– West Virginia
– Wyoming

The Many Advantages of Using Direct Access: 

1. It saves time, money, and stress with no need for a time-consuming trip to a doctor’s office.

Going straight to a physical therapist will allow you to get help, lower your costs, eliminate expensive diagnostic testing, and it will decrease wait times at doctor’s offices.

2. It helps patients become more actively engaged in their healthcare decision-making.

The physical therapist is recognized as a licensed professional of choice to manage musculoskeletal and movement disorders in patients.

3. It improves patient access to care.

Can become a part of a patient’s routine for injury prevention, fitness, and health

4. Physical therapy improves conditions that impact the ability to move and perform functional activities, thus improving outcomes and providing increased strength and mobility to help prevent future injury.

Physical therapists can now work as an integral member of the health care team and provide a cost-effective access point for patients with a wide variety of musculoskeletal conditions that impact their ability to move and perform functional activities.

No Referral Needed

At Foothills, we believe that rapid access to our services is an essential factor in efficient healthcare delivery. With direct access in Arizona, you can seek physical therapy services without a prescription from your physician or healthcare professional. Physical therapists have become part of the front-line management for patients’ suffering from musculoskeletal pain or injury. As physical therapists, we’re experts in movement and movement dysfunction, evaluating not only the injury/pain but the underlying conditions and contributing factors. Many needs can be addressed, assessed, and quickly treated without expensive on-going testing or surgery. However, should your injury or condition be outside of our scope of practice, we can refer you for further evaluation with one of the many physicians and medical providers we’re connected with.

Don’t let your health benefits go unused. 

In January, most health plans reset, allowing individuals to continue preventive or elective medical treatment. With your Full Recovery Focus in mind come to Foothills to get a hands-on, individualized approach to your evaluation and treatment. With your specific needs in mind, we can restore movement, improve function, and get you pain-free and feeling better than ever so you can start enjoying life again. Most think of physical therapy as a post-surgery requirement, but in reality, Foothills physical therapists are experts in restoring movement and function without surgical intervention!

If you’ve recently been injured or are suffering from a nagging ache or pain that won’t go away, contact us today so you can meet one-on-one with one of our physical therapists.

Schedule your free assessment here.

Knee injuries are quite common among athletes and active adults and one of the leading issues I deal with daily in the clinic. When years of wear and tear take a toll on your knees, you need to turn to strategies to relieve pain. Whether a sharp pain or dull ache, knee pain is a common complaint of nearly two-thirds of active adults. Exercising can strengthen your muscles and protect your knees without exposing them to pain, because your knees require the right balance of flexibility, stability, and care to stay healthy.

Licensed physical therapist, Matt Midkiff, director of our Mesa-Gilbert clinic, is an expert in all things knee pain, specializing in ACL repair and reconstruction. He has created the following videos to address and relieve knee pain.

Here are some additional tips to avoid future knee damage and pain during exercise and everyday activities:

  • Maintain a healthy weight: Being overweight causes considerable strain on your knees. One extra pound of body weight puts an extra five pounds of force on your knee joints. Additionally, if you don’t strengthen the other muscles around your knee, it can cause instability and extra pressure. To prevent these types of problems, eat a healthy diet, get regular exercise, and focus on strengthening your quadriceps, hamstrings, and core muscles.
  • Don’t ignore abnormal pain: A little knee pain is usually nothing to be concerned about and can typically be cured with some rest and recovery. But if the pain lingers or gets worse, don’t ignore it. This could indicate a more severe problem, and you may start overcompensating in other areas (your back, thighs, feet, etc.), which could lead to other injuries. Instead of ignoring the pain or hoping it goes away, see a doctor or physical therapist to diagnose the problem and get a treatment plan correctly.
  • Let your muscles rest to prevent overuse: Disregarding muscle soreness can be just as dangerous as ignoring the pain. Soreness is a sign that your muscles are growing and rebuilding. After a challenging workout or activity, give yourself a chance to recover for a day or two before exercising again. Stretching also helps muscles heal faster, so be sure to take a few extra minutes before or after your workout to warm up or cool down.
  • Get a physical therapist’s or trainer’s help with strengthening and agility: ACL tears (the ligament on the outside of your knee) are among the most common knee injuries due to your knees’ natural instability. Physical therapists and neuromuscular trainers can teach you how to improve your strength, agility, and performance to avoid ACL tears and other knee injuries. If you’ve already experienced a knee injury, seeing a physical therapist can help you recover quicker, regain strength, and return to regular activity as soon as possible.

It’s easy to take our knees for granted, but having an injury can be debilitating, frustrating, and painful. Becoming aware of the dangers and learning better habits now can help you be mindful and avoid problems later. For more advice on how to avoid injuries or to get more information on knee pain treatment in Phoenix, schedule your appointment with Matt Foothills Sports Rehab Physical Therapy.

The Holiday Season is a fun time of year that you get to spend with your family and friends. Holiday preparation begins with festive decorating inside and out, increased time spent shopping, standing, and carrying all of those heavy presents. These activities can lead to aches and pains often in the hips and low back areas.

With the holiday season being a busy time of year, stretching and exercising often gets put on the back burner. Thankfully, these aches and pains can be managed with a few simple daily stretches that only take 5-10 minutes. Also, keep in mind that stretching does not always have to be done in response to pain; it can also prevent the pain.

There are four simple stretches to manage the popular aches and pains associated with the holiday season.

Pectoral Musculature Doorway Stretch

Cooking, cleaning, wrapping presents, and shopping all place us in a position where we are leaning forward with rounded shoulders, which cause tightness in the pectoral musculature.

One way to counteract this tightness is to stretch out your pectoral musculature in a doorway through an exercise called a doorway pec stretch:

  1. Place both hands on each side of a doorway and step into the doorway to feel a stretch along the chest.
  2. Hold this for 15-30 seconds at a time and perform 3 times.

This stretch will help to bring your shoulders back and open your chest.

Pectoral Musculature Doorway Stretch

Piriformis Stretch

With prolonged sitting, standing, and walking, people often report they feel soreness in the “glutes.” Often times the soreness is caused by a tight piriformis.

You can stretch your piriformis while laying on the ground, the couch, or bed:

  1. Lay on your back, with one knee bent up towards your chest.
  2. Place the bent leg’s foot over the other leg.
  3. Place your hands on the bent knee and pull the leg across your body, towards your opposite shoulder, until you feel a stretch in the gluteal region.
  4. Hold the stretch for 15-30 seconds at a time and perform 3 times on both legs.

This stretch can also be performed in a sitting position (see image below).

Piriformis Stretch

Hamstring Stretch

With increased activity, like walking the mall for holiday gifts, tightness is often felt in the back of the legs (hamstrings).

To stretch your hamstrings:

  1. Start by finding a place you can lay on your back, like your bed or a spot on the floor.
  2. Next, place a dog leash or beach towel around one of your feet. While lying on your back and your legs extended straight, use the leash or towel to pull the leg up while keeping the knee as straight as possible.
  3. A stretch should be felt in the back of the leg. Hold for 15-30 seconds and perform 3 times on both legs.

This stretch can also be performed sitting on the side of the bed or couch, see image below.

Hamstring Stretch
Hamstring Stretch

Seated Prayer Stretch

The final stretch is called a seated prayer stretch and it stretches the muscles of the low back.

  1. If comfortable, go into the kneeling yoga pose, child’s pose.
  2. Lean forward so you can place your hands on the floor.
  3. Walk your hands to the left. You should feel a stretch in the low-back musculature on your right side.
  4. Hold for 15-30 seconds and then move to the right side where a stretch should be felt in the left low back region.
  5. Repeat these steps until you’ve done this 3 times on both sides.

Seated Prayer Stretch

If you are unable to get into the kneeling child’s pose position, this lower-back stretch can also be performed standing at a counter:

  1. Lean forward and place both hands on the counter.
  2. Walk your hands to left.
  3. You should feel a stretch in the low-back musculature on your right side.
  4. Hold this for 15-30 seconds and then go to the right side where a stretch should be felt in the left low back region.
  5. Do this 3 times on both sides.

You can also do this stretch by sitting in a chair and placing hands on a table and then sliding the chair back to feel a stretch in the lower back musculature.

If you still feel pain after performing these stretches regularly, make an appointment at one of our physical therapy offices. We’ll provide a tailored exercise and stretching plan to help manage your pain so you can fully enjoy the season.

As we age our balance will decline, and without maintaining a functional level of strength, flexibility, and balance you can become prone to an increased risk of injury like twisting an ankle, tripping or even a fall.

Balance is one of the fundamentals of a healthy, active body. Having a strong sense of balance and awareness to the elements around you can help you react swiftly and prevent injuries and accidents from happening. We are so lucky that Dr. Jonathan Seidberg from our Biltmore clinic specializes in all things balance.

We asked him about his favorite exercises to use with beginners to help improve balance. He recommended his top 3 exercises that you can do just about anywhere!

1.Single Leg Balance:

Balancing on one leg can help improve your strength, stability, and body awareness, all in one exercise. To perform it correctly, stand on a surface, bend one of your knees, and squeeze the buttock of your standing leg.

Be careful that your legs do not touch and try not to hold on to anything with your hands.

2. Ankle Sways:

There are three strategies for balance, and our ankle strategy is the first line of defense against falling. This is a great neuromuscular activation activity to improve your ankle strategy.

Stand with your feet together or with one foot in front of the other (tandem). Slowly, move your weight forward and backwards or side‐to‐side. Be careful not to bend at your hips and only move at your ankles.

3. Standing Hip Abduction:

This is a multifaceted activity that improves your balance and strengthens your gluteus medius, a vital hip muscle necessary for daily mobility.

Stand with your feet together, lift one leg out to the side without touching the ground, then return to your starting position.

Be careful not to lean your torso.

Scale up: You can make any of these exercises more challenging by placing a more pliable object underneath your feet.

Do you need help improving your balance? Schedule a free injury assessment (no referral necessary!) to see how we can help keep you healthy and active.

Foothills Sports Medicine Physical Therapy provides an affordable, individualized, and professionally supervised program designed to build and maintain a functional level of strength, flexibility, and balance. Our highly trained staff is here to properly evaluate and quickly identify your balance concerns giving you the confidence to get you back to doing the things you love.

Jonathan Seidberg PT, DPT

Education – University of Arizona, A.T. Still University

Jonathan is a proud member of the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA) and the Orthopedic and Sports Therapy Section.