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Low Back Pain

Posture Check

Lisa Folden No Comments

low-back-series-photoPOSTURE CHECK!!! Are you looking like any of of these pictures (other than the ‘good posture’ ones)??? If so, check yourself right quick!

“GOOD” posture is defined (physically) as proper and neutral spinal alignment which maintains the soft curves of the spine and results in parallel alignment of the ear, shoulder, hip bone (greater trochanter) and ankle bone (lateral malleolus).

If you have trouble or PAIN assuming and maintaining this proper alignment, then you might benefit from seeing a physical therapist! A good PT can help you strengthen your weakened postural muscles and stretch or elongate those tighter muscles. Quite often, this task can be completed in just a few short therapy visits. With continued postural awareness and regular stretching and exercise, you may have the best posture ever AND never experience back/neck pain as a result of poor posture!

Give us a call to discuss in greater detail and set your appointment!! 704-462-6720

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Pregnancy Related Back Pain

Lisa Folden No Comments

So many people are unaware of the numerous pregnancy related injuries that often occur with us new (and seasoned) mommies. Upper back pain is a very common side effect of a frequently nursing mommy. Just like in regular life, we all tend to lose our nice upright posture and fold forward a little bit…especially when we’re trying to nourish a hungry infant. But we can’t allow this wonderful experience to cause us long term pain and suffering.

A very simple solution is a good nursing pillow. It will bring baby closer to you, decreasing the pressure on your upper back from folding too far forward.

If the pain has progressed beyond the point of fixing on your own, come see your favorite physical therapist. We will help you regain your spinal range of motion, strengthen your upper back muscles, stretch your anterior chest wall muscles and give you the postural stability and education to rid yourself of this unnecessary pain.

Give us a call to set up your evaluation/consultation. 704-462-6720.

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phit-research

Phit Research – Committed to Your Health

Lisa Folden No Comments

Healty Phit is Working on some new research!

Most people don’t realize how many musculoskeletal injuries/issues are directly related to pregnancy (during and after). Healthy Phit PT & Wellness Consultants is on a mission to identify the risks, address the causes, rehabilitate and prevent many of these injuries from ever occurring.

Our Mission

  • Identify risks
  • Address causes
  • Rehabilitate
  • Prevent

Our Committment

We want to ensure that you are truly a Phit Mom!

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A Walk Down The Aisle

Lisa Folden No Comments

See how important Physical Therapy really is!?!

This is why we love what we do at Healthy Phit PT & Wellness Consultants! Seeing people through challenging times and coming out on the other side victorious! It’s about more than walking or standing or reaching…it’s about DOING! Doing whatever is important and valuable to YOU!

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Low Back Pain Series: Helpful Exercises & Tips (Exercise #3)

Lisa Folden No Comments

Okay, we’re at it again for another week discussing helpful exercises to prevent and/or remedy low back pain. Let me be clear first, though: the exercises that I am posting are not being suggested to “HEAL” low back pain. These exercises simply help to establish a core that is so well-equipped that a mild low back injury (like the ones we encounter in our regular daily lives), will have minimal to no effect on your ability to continue on with regular daily tasks. Additionally, if you do experience a back injury, these exercises will likely be included in your rehabilitation program. Therefore, in that way, these exercises are very typical for preventing and relieving low back pain. 🙂

Now that that’s out of the way…let’s look into some additional exercises to help reinforce your core which includes the muscles on the front, sides and back of your trunk as well several muscle above and below your trunk.

Le’t begin with the Superman. This exercise is great for strengthening the posterior muscles. Squeezing gluts tightly, simply lift your arms and legs as high as you can. Try holding for 3 sec, then 5 sec and all the way up to 10 sec if possible.

Superman1

Next, let’s make this movement more dynamic and try Quadruped Alternating Arms/Legs. Long name, I know…but it helps to explain the name. From all fours or hands and knees (quadruped), assume and maintain a neutral (flat or minimally curved) spine. Slowly reach one arm out in front of you, then add the opposite leg. Hold up to 10 sec, then lower and repeat on opposite arm and leg. This is a great one for challenging the core. The idea is to not allow your trunk to move/rotate much while transitioning between leg/arm lifts. I sometimes add a tennis ball to my patient’s low back to see if they can keep it from falling off of their back while performing this exercise. Sounds fun, right? 🙂

superman2

What’s next, you ask? Well that’s a loaded question, as there are at least 5 modifications to this exercise that challenges the core far more than the previous. For example, adding a “Fire Hydrant” component, by rotating the lifted arm and leg outside to create a more difficult balancing situation…or by adding an inverted crunch by bringing the opposite elbow and knee together in between each reach. There are soooo many ideas, but I digress. Instead, I’ll move on to another exercise altogether.

Let’s look at Trunk Rotation exercises (sorry, no picture). These exercises offer a vast amount of variety and can be very effective at engaging the internal corset to not only strengthen the core but cinch the waist! My preference for starting position is in high kneel (standing on your knees only) with only your toes (and knees) in contact with the floor. Holding a weight (5-7#) or a large stability ball, rotate to the right and left alternating as far as you can. Keep your stomach muscles tight and engaged the entire time. Try 10-15 rotations and see it feels. This exercise can be modified to standing, long sitting, from a squat position, half kneeling, etc. It can also be done using a resistance band or a medicine ball for added challenge.

Okay, I’ll stop there. We’ll get into Planks and Pikes next week!

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Low Back Pain Series: Helpful Exercises & Tips (Exercise #2)

Lisa Folden No Comments

And…we’re back. Time for the next progression of exercises to help manage and/or prevent low back pain. We go back to that posterior pelvic tilt and continue to build upon it.

Hold that same position and (pull lower abdomen in, flatten back into the floor and DON’T HOLD YOUR BREATH) slowly lift your buttocks off of the floor. Hold for 5 sec, then lower. This is what’s known as a bridge. Easy, right? Well, try doing 20. You’ll feel it but love it all at the same time.

3d288-hamstrings-buttocks-bridge

To take it step further, perform the bridge and while holding, slowly lift one leg, then the other as if you’re marching. Maintain a neutral core, moving your trunk minimally. The better you get at this, the more marches you will be able to perform while holding the bridge position.

heller_02__1_1_6231

Next? Replace that march, with a full leg extension. As you get stronger, hold each leg extension for 3-5 seconds.

You will notice a trend here…these exercises will address your lower abdomen and gluts equally. Don’t fret…your hip muscles are a very important part of your total core. 😉

Next week, we’ll move on to prone position and exercises from kneeling to really engage your abdominal muscles. The thought process is that at this point, you will have developed the strength and endurance needed in your smaller core muscles tolerate these higher level, more intense exercises.

See ya next week!

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Low Back Pain Series: Helpful Exercises & Tips (Exercise #1)

Lisa Folden No Comments

Okay…so now that we know that low back pain is GREATLY (and sometimes solely) a result of poor posture and/or weak core muscles (especially along the front and sides of the trunk), let’s talk about some exercises that can help strengthen the core.

I’m sure we all know a few. Planks, anyone? What about pikes or side planks? All GREAT exercises, but let’s back up a bit. The cold, hard truth is that most people have such profound weakness in their core muscles that they aren’t quite ready for such intense exercises and will likely even injure themselves resulting in LOW BACK PAIN. It can be quite the cycle…trust me.

So, let’s start at the basics. And by basics, I do not mean SIT-UPS. As a matter of fact, sit-ups are basically banned in my clinic. Least functional and least beneficial exercise EVER for the core. They can help establish a more profound “six pack…” meaning one that protrudes out from your abdomen more, but doesn’t do what’s really needed in our abdominals and core. We have to learn how to awaken the other, less popular muscles in our lower abdomen and our wonderfully made (thanks God) internal corset…the transverse abdominis!

So we begin at the not so exciting Pelvic Tilt. Lying on your back with both knees bent, contract the muscles in your lower abdomen pulling your stomach in, flattening your low back into the floor. The hard part? Don’t contract the upper abs and diaphragm and KEEP BREATHING NORMALLY. Can you do it? Sure you can, with some practice. Once you’ve mastered the technique, try holding it for 10 sec. Then, try holding it while you march your feet up and down. After that, try alternately moving your arms and legs while holding it. You’ll begin to feel the burn shortly…believe me. :o)

pelvic_tilt

Now get to it! And check back next post for the next progression of exercises!

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Low Back Pain Series: Helpful Exercises & Tips

Lisa Folden No Comments

In referencing my last post regarding low back pain (one of the most common physical or injury-related complaints among Americans), there are some simple things that you can do to reduce your risk of developing low back pain or increase your chances of eliminating it before aggressive surgical intervention or even physical therapy is necessary.

First things first…let’s watch that posture! If you stand in a mirror and look at your profile, you want your spine to be a very soft “S” shape. What I mean by this is, you want slight concave curves in your cervical spine (upper neck) and lumbar spine (lower back) and a slight convex curve in your thoracic spine (mid back) and sacrum (above the tail bone area). Pretend there’s an imaginary plumb line hanging from the ceiling…that straight line should dissect your profile equally and run down the center of your ear, shoulder, greater trochanter (knobby bone that sticks out the side of your hip) and lateral malleolus (knobby bone that stick out the side of your ankle). If you are in this most upright, erect posture for at least 75% of your day (in standing AND sitting), it is logical to argue that your postural muscles are strong and balanced and your chances of postural injury are very low.

So, check yourself out in a long mirror today…why not take a “selfie” and see what you find! ;0)

skeleton
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Low Back Pain…more about your FRONT and less about your BACK

Lisa Folden No Comments

Believe it or not, the root cause of most low back pain is related to weak abdominals. Most people carry around extra weight in our abdominals, impairing our posture and increasing the load on our lower lumbar muscles. This creates an imbalance from front to back where the abdominal muscles (front and sides of trunk) are elongated and weak, while the lumbar/lower back muscles are shortened and strong (atleast temporarily). Ultimately, the lower lumbar muscles become over worked, inefficient and the source of pain, tension, spasms.

The epidemic of low back pain, specifically in the United States is a nearly avoidable one. By focusing on developing and maintaining abdominal strength with lumbar flexibility, the incidence of low back pain can be reduced drastically.

Stay tuned for simple, effective exercises to promote abdominal strength and lumbar flexibility to help decrease your chances of low back pain!

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