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5 Keys to a Healthy Spine

Sunday, May 20th, 2018

How Healthy is Your Spine?

Most of us will experience back or neck pain at some point in our lives. It is the price we pay for walking on two legs. If you suffer from the occasional ache or have chronic low back or neck pain, the goal is to relieve the pain without the need for surgery. In fact, recent studies point to the fact that patients who underwent a common fusion procedure for the spine were more likely to have a second surgery within 2 years. The best way to avoid the need for spine surgery is to improve the health of your spine and physical therapy plays a key role in making that happen.

 

Why does my neck or back hurt?

One thing to understand about neck and back pain is that it is mechanical. Just like a car can have problems with moving parts, so can your spine. The daily barrage of strain on our backs with sitting, lifting improperly and poor nutrition can wreck havoc on our spines. Most spine pain comes from the following 4 trouble areas:

 

  • Poor posture and alignment
  • Lack of knowledge on how to bend, lift, sit, sleep
  • Lack of muscle strength
  • Poor flexibility and muscle coordination

 

The good news is that your body is adaptable and you can always improve what you have. With the right treatment and training, your back or neck can usually make a full recovery. Physical therapists are the mechanics of the body and coming to a physical therapist first can often avoid expensive testing and medical procedures.

 

Try These 5 Keys to a Healthy Spine

 

Watch your sitting

Sitting is the position that puts the most pressure on the low back. It is important to break up your sitting time throughout the day and take frequent breaks. If you have the opportunity to do standing or walking tasks during your work day, try to work them into various times throughout the day, limiting your sitting to about 30 minutes at a time.

 

Protect your spine with better posture

How you sit, stand, stretch, lift all play a role on the pressures in your spine. We all know to bend with our knees, not our back when lifting, but do you really do it? Really bend down deep with your knees to pick up objects off low shelves, such as in the refrigerator or shoes off the floor. When standing, walking and sitting, imagine a string pulling you up through the top of your head. This brings your neck, shoulders and back into better alignment.

 

Tighten your core muscles

Your core muscles are made up of your abdominal muscles, spinal muscles and pelvic / hip muscles. It is very common for these muscles to become weak with prolonged sitting, pre/post partum, after surgeries and injuries. Strengthening your abdominal and hip muscles can go a long way to providing the necessary muscle support to your spine. Speak with one of our experts on what exercises are right for you.

 

Improve your nutrition

Your body is a machine and it needs the right fuel to run. Since you use your body all day long, it needs to rebuild itself constantly. The ligaments, tendons, muscles and discs in your spine need the right nutrition to stay healthy. Make sure to eat dark green leafy vegetables, lean protein and stay hydrated. Avoid smoking and fried foods, which actually harm your tissues and make pain more prevalent.

 

Get your spine moving

Your body was made to move, especially your spine. It is common for areas of your spine to tighten up, placing too much strain on other areas. These areas, then become irritated and painful. Restore the flexibility in your spine with gentle, specialized hands on therapy as well as specific exercises. Participate in Yoga and Pilates to improve your stability, strength and spinal balance.

 

Make your back as healthy as it can be this year by investing in it. Physical therapy is the right solution to improving your spinal health and saying goodbye to that aching neck or back. Prevent future arthritis and problems by seeing one of our specialists today. Call Crestview Physical Therapy to speak with one of our experts.

 

Anand Veeravagu, Tyler Cole, Bowen Jiang, John K. Ratliff The Spine Journal, Vol. 14, Issue 7, p1125–1131

Published online: October 14 2013

 

4 Tips to Alleviating Aches and Pains Quickly

Thursday, May 10th, 2018

When it comes to chronic aches and pains, there are many factors that can cause this. However, there is also a lot that you can do to alleviate common aches and pains. Whether it is a sore back or achy knee that gets you first thing in the morning, these simple tips can make a big difference in how you feel and tackle your day.

 

  1. Improve your pain threshold – Our bodies take a daily beating and sometimes you can have a good day where you may feel a little tired and others when everything hurts. Why is this? Your pain threshold can actually fluctuate quite a bit daily and everyone’s pain threshold is slightly different. A pain threshold is where the stimuli of inflammation and daily trauma to an area have elevated to a point where certain pain receptors are triggered. Many factors go into lowering your pain threshold, including lack of adequate sleep, poor nutrition, stress levels and breathing. By simply improving these factors, you can restore your pain threshold and thus not trigger pain receptors when doing daily activities.
  2. Stay hydrated – If you are thirsty, then your body is actually quite deprived of water. You should never feel thirsty, because you should be drinking water many times throughout the day. When you are properly hydrated, your tissues are lubricated and can perform more daily tasks, with less trauma. Water also flushes out the daily metabolic wastes that are produced. A build up of metabolic wastes can occur when an area is under stress or injured. This in turn will cause pain.
  3. Calm yourself – Your body has a self-regulating system called the autonomic nervous system. There are two parts to this, the sympathetic (fight or flight) and parasympathetic (more calming, digestion, reproduction, etc.). In our daily lives, we are under tremendous stress and pressure. This keeps our sympathetic nervous system on overdrive. You can’t keep an engine at high RPM all the time and not expect parts to start breaking. One of the simplest things you can do to de-stress is to breathe. Take time in the evening, to lie on your bed and just take deep breathes in for 6 seconds and out for 8. Place your hand on your upper abdomen to make sure that you are using your diaphragm muscle.
  4. Be physically active – staying physically active helps improve blood flow, lymphatic flow, endorphin levels, serotonin levels and more. However, for many people, knowing where to start or exercising with an old injury or pain can be a daunting task. It doesn’t have to be this way and physical therapists are the true medical physical experts to turn to.

 

Try these simple tips to quickly relieve your pain and get back on the road to good health. If you have questions about how to help restore pain free movement with activities, call Crestview Physical Therapy today and speak to one of our physical therapists.  

The 5 Natural Ways to Relieve Arthritis Pain

Friday, April 20th, 2018

Do you find your knee or hips hurting after sitting for too long? Has bending or squatting, become difficult or even painful? This is a common complaint of people with knee or hip osteoarthritis. Did you know that the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) says that 1 out of every 2 people will have symptoms of knee osteoarthritis sometime before 85?

 

The incidence of osteoarthritis generally starts to increase after age 35 and decreases one’s ability to perform walking, bending and every day tasks.

 

Osteoarthritis can occur for a variety of reasons:

  • Normal or abnormal wear and tear on joint cartilage
  • Injuries that damage cartilage and joints
  • Diseases that damage cartilage
  • Lack of joint support from poor muscle strength and tissue flexibility

 

What is Osteoarthritis?

Osteoarthritis describes the condition of abnormal wear and tear of cartilage from a joint surface causing bone on bone rubbing. This can be quite painful and occurs more in the knees, hips and ankles. This is due to the fact that these joints bear the weight of your body and have to endure an average of 3,000-6000 steps a day. That is over one million steps / bending and movements a year!

 

Knee osteoarthritis pain is generally felt under the kneecap, but can travel up the thigh or down your lower leg. The pads below your knee generally become thicker and more swollen. At times, your knee may even become slightly swollen or even red. Hip osteoarthritis pain is generally felt in the groin on one side or deep in the buttock. Pain may actually feel better with walking, but become worse after sitting for a few minutes, then trying to move again.

 

What can be done?

Poor joint movement and strength of the muscles around the joint causes most pain. This instability to the joint and greater pressure on the cartilage causes more inflammation and pain. Physical therapy is the preferred method of treatment, because it discovers the abnormal movement in the joint and naturally corrects it. With hands-on therapy, special strengthening and balance exercises, knee or hip pain can typically be completely relieved. For more information on natural ways to relieve arthritis pain, call us today!

 

  1. Exercise

This is essential for people suffering from arthritis. It is vital to strengthen muscles, increase flexibility and improve blood flow. Cartilage actually receives its nutrition from joint fluid, so the more you can exercise the better. It is also important to mix between weight bearing and non-weight bearing exercises, such as aquatic exercises or bicycling. A balance between aerobic and strengthening exercises is highly recommended. It is highly recommend that you see a physical therapist first before starting an arthritis exercise regime. Our physical therapists are medical specialist in prescribing the right exercises for individuals with arthritis and can teach you how to protect your joints.

 

  1. Vitamins

According to the Arthritis Foundation, there are a mix of studies showing some benefits to using glucosomine and chondroitin. Glucosomine is naturally made in the body and helps support the cartilage by retaining water and preventing wear. Additional supplements may help. Some studies show that glucosomine may slow down joint damage.

 

  1. Avoid inflammatory foods

There are foods that increase the body’s natural inflammation response. Arthritis is a condition of joints that become inflamed. Therefore, by avoiding foods with high fat, fried foods, sodas, high sugar content and processed foods, you help to naturally relieve the inflammation in your body. This helps a number of other systems in your body too.

 

  1. Calcium and Magnesium

Many people are deficient in calcium and magnesium. These are vital minerals needed for hundreds of processes in your body. Having enough calcium and magnesium, builds strong bones and reduces irritated nerve endings, decreasing pain. If possible, find supplements that are in powder form that can be easily digested and help your body’s intake of these essential minerals.

 

  1. Sleep

Sleep is a time for our body and brain to repair itself. It is important to make sure you are getting enough sleep 7-8 hours at least to allow your body to repair and decrease pain. When you are tired, your body does not function as well, increases the inflammatory response and reduces your pain threshold.

 

Physical therapy is one of the best ways to improve your arthritis pain. We help your joints feel better by reducing pain and inflammation. Then we increase your strength and flexibility so your joints are healthier. Call Crestview Physical Therapy today for more information on our Arthritis Program and discover how you can live life pain free!

4 Ways to Quickly Relieve Sciatica

Tuesday, April 10th, 2018

Sciatica is a very common condition that affects 10% of the population. However, many more people suffer with sciatica like symptoms from low back pain to numbness in the leg. These symptoms can be signs of other back problems such as mechanical low back pain or even herniated discs.

 

How do you know if you have sciatica?

  • Tenderness to the deep gluteus muscles
  • Numbness, tingling or pain that travels broadly down the thigh
  • Constant pain that may originate in the low back, but travels mainly down the back of the buttock and thigh
  • Pain that feels better when lying down or walking, but worsens with sitting

 

Relieving Sciatica

  1. Get properly diagnosed by a physical therapist. Other low back conditions can present as sciatica symptoms and it is important to determine the exact origins of your symptoms. Seeing a physical therapist sooner, rather than later means faster recovery and less potential for damage that can occur to the spinal joints and nerves.
  2. Alternate heat and ice to the low back and buttock area. Ice helps to relieve inflammation, while heat helps relax muscles and improve blood flow. Try 10 minutes on, 30 minutes off when alternating. Make sure to check your skin frequently to prevent injury. Speak with one of our specialists if you have questions on what will work best for you.
  3. Position yourself to relax your piriformis muscle. A simple position to relieve pressure on the piriformis muscle is to lie face down with a pillow under your hips. Slowly bend your affected leg up as far as you can comfortably to the side in a figure 4 position. Your knee should be ideally level with your hip or pelvis. Hold this position for 2 minutes, and then slowly bring your leg down, keeping your muscles as relaxed as possible. Repeat frequently throughout the day.
  4. Stretch your hips, back and legs. Do exercises to gently stretch your low back, open your hips and stretch your hamstrings. Speak to one of our specialists if you have questions on which exercises you should do.

 

While sciatica can literally be a pain in the backside, it doesn’t have to stay with you. Simple strategies and seeing the right physical therapist early can make a big difference in quickly healing and returning to the pain free activities you love. Contact Crestview Physical Therapy today and speak to our experts.

How to Relieve Pain and Prevent Injuries with Better Balance

Tuesday, March 20th, 2018

When we think of poor balance, we typically think of seniors using canes or walkers to get around, because they may fall. However, poor balance is actually a big contributor to sports injuries, common backache, neck pain, and headaches in younger people. In order to walk on two feet, adapt to bumpy surfaces such as grass, quickly run, turn, recover from a trip and more, we need a finely tuned balance system at all stages of life.

 

Whether you are an active runner or just your average Joe, your balance systems are used thousands of times a day. How well tuned they are, dictates whether your muscles have to work too hard to do ordinary tasks or whether you can adapt to the strains of running, jumping and more. Most of the common declines in balance we experience are not noticed until they are quite severe.

 

Common problems that occur because of poor balance systems:

 

Important balance systems you use everyday:

  • Visual systems – Your eyes work with your vestibular system to keep your head level, track objects and determine distance / speed of objects. Just try to balance with your feet together and close your eyes to see how important your visual system is with balance. Your vestibuloccular reflex (VOR) is an important reflex for sports and everyday life. This naturally declines after your mid 20’s, and can cause dizziness, headaches or even vertigo when it is not functioning properly. Want to do better at sports? Improve your VOR!
  • Vestibular system – This consists of special fluid filled canals in the middle ear that help your brain know which direction your head is tilted or moving. Problems with this system can cause dizziness, vertigo, poor balance and headaches.
  • Your joints – There are nerve endings within the capsules surrounding all of your joints. These give you the senses of proprioception (sense of where your body is in space) and kinesthesia (sense of which direction and speed your joints are moving). These senses decline with inactivity, sedentary lifestyles and old or new injuries. The decline in these senses is a major factor for most joint pain, back pain and neck pain.
  • Touch – You use the sensation of touch everyday, especially on your feet to give your brain feedback about the surface you are walking on, even through shoes. Common problems with poor circulation in the legs, diabetes and more effect the functioning of sensory nerves in your legs and feet, affecting your balance.

 

Use it or lose it

The wonderful thing about your balance system is that you can always improve it. Most problems are caused by lack of use of your balance system when you don’t live an active lifestyle. Whether you want to get rid of ordinary aches and pains, or are a high level athlete, focusing on proper balance and postural exercises can make a dramatic difference in your overall health and function.

 

The experts in balance

Physical therapists are the medical experts in evaluating and treating balance. We treat patients everyday for their balance. Whether you need help with back pain, neck pain, headaches, knee pain or dizziness, our physical therapists will address your balance systems. By testing what systems you are using, we can determine where there is a weakness and then provide comprehensive treatments that will fix the problem. To learn more about how we can help you balance and move freely without pain, call Crestview Physical Therapy today.

5 Powerful Steps to Relieve Headaches

Saturday, March 10th, 2018

The World Health Organization determines that 47% of the population will suffer from headaches at least one time this year. For many, headaches become a way of life, having to take over-the-counter medication on a frequent basis just to get through the day. However, it does not have to be this way, if you understand some of the fundamental concepts that trigger headaches.

While a headache is in itself a complicated condition that involves the misfiring of thousands of nerve endings, the most common causes of headaches are actually problems with the function of the muscles in the upper neck. The upper neck is one of the most complicated areas of the body with many muscles, complex joints, major arteries, spinal cord, and balance sensors.

 

What can go wrong


With our everyday chaotic lives, huge stress is demanded on our body, not only mechanically, but mentally also. Mental stress changes hormone production in the body, increases muscle tension, and decreases the threshold for pain tolerance. Mechanical and mental stresses go hand in hand to set you up for common neck pain and headaches.

 

5 Steps to Relieving Headaches

  1. Improve blood chemistry with proper breathing –Without knowing it, daily stress causes you to breathe shallower. This increases the carbon dioxide concentration in your blood, changing the pH of your blood slightly. This can throw off the delicate balance of thousands of normal chemical processes in your body. Take time throughout the day to stop what you are doing and focus on taking breaths in for 6 seconds and out for 8. Use your diaphragm muscle instead of your shoulder muscles, by making your belly expand.
  2. Stretch your chest and neck – In sitting positions at a computer, the tendency is to slouch, bringing the shoulders forward, weakening the upper back muscles, while tightening the chest and neck muscles. Take time to stretch your chest by squeezing your shoulder blades together gently, while keeping your neck relaxed. Hold for 30 seconds and do at least 5 repetitions repeating this exercise throughout the day.
  3. Strengthen your mid and lower back muscles – With prolonged sitting the mid and lower back muscles weaken. This causes additional strain on the neck muscles and makes you prone to cervicogenic headaches. There are specific exercises to help you build these weakened areas. Talk to your physical therapist about which exercise program can help you target and strengthen these areas.
  4. Hydrate – The vast majority of Americans are chronically dehydrated. Many sodas, coffees and teas are diuretics, which cause your body to eliminate water. The brain requires a certain level of hydration to function properly and remove normal wastes. Being dehydrated causes these toxins to back up, increasing the tendency for headaches. Don’t wait until you are thirsty, as this is a sign of severe dehydration. Drink water consistently throughout the day in adequate volumes for your weight and size.
  5. Improve your posture – The further protruded your neck becomes, the greater the weight and tension on your neck muscles. In proper posture, your head is balanced on your neck at about 10-12 pounds. With forward head posture, this can actually increase to the equivalent of 60 pounds of strain on your neck muscles throughout the day. No wonder you get a headache at the end of the day! Physical therapists are trained to examine your posture and work on specific hands-on techniques and exercises to restore normal alignment of your spine.

 

These 5 steps can go a long way to prevent your headaches from starting, and the need for taking medications that have long-term side-effects. To learn more about how we help relieve headaches and neck pain, while improving your neck mobility and strength, call Crestview Physical Therapy today.

How to De-Stress Your Body For Better Health

Tuesday, February 20th, 2018

We live in a fast paced world filled with deadlines, endless hours staring into a screen, sleepless nights and battling traffic. What does this do your body and most importantly, what can you do to change it? Ultimately, your health is in your hands. Depending on pills to handle aches, pains and stress is not a long-term solution and the many side effects can have a debilitating effect on your body.

 

Here are natural solutions that you can work on to feel your best:

 

Regulate your breathing

When you are under a constant state of stress your autonomic nervous system operates on a flight or fight response for extensive periods of time. This is not good for your body, dumping in adrenaline and other stimulant hormones. While this is good for handling quick situations, it hurts your body long-term with complications such as chronic pain, heart disease, diabetes and more.

 

Breathing is one of the easiest ways to calm down your autonomic nervous system and activate a part of it call the parasympathetic nervous system. This sends out endorphins and other soothing hormones to calm your body down. Try the technique of breathing in through your nose for the count of 6 and out with your mouth for the count of 4. Place your hand on your upper abdomen and try to gently expand that, being conscious of not using your shoulders or upper trapezius muscles to breathe. Try this multiple times a day, especially times when you feel stressed. It will help you relax.

 

Improve your posture

Posture is key to the proper functioning of your breathing, digestion and musculoskeletal systems. How is the setup of your workstation, home computer and other daily areas you sit or stand in? Do you find yourself slumping and slouching throughout the day? Take time to lie on the floor in the morning or evening and stretch your hands over head, stretching your back. Do upper and mid back strengthening exercises to strengthen your postural muscles. Be conscious of how you hold yourself in the day, bend down to pick up objects or reach overhead.

 

Exercise regularly

Even going for a walk 10-20 minutes a day, can make a big impact on your stress levels and overall health. However, try to perform more regular aerobic exercise and also incorporate strengthening exercises of your arms, torso and legs to help you cope with daily activities. The number one reason that people stop exercising or don’t keep it up is that they get bored. Make it fun, participate in a class, be with others, try sports and set goals for yourself.

 

Eat better

We all know we should eat better, but it takes discipline and making meal preparation a part of your routine. Incorporate more vegetables, fruits and nuts into your diet. Make sure you prevent hunger by eating small snacks though out the day to keep your blood sugar levels normalized. Maintain portion control and eat slower to feel full and not crave a large meal. Drink more water to keep a feeling of being full and help your body operate properly. At restaurants, cut your portions in half and ask for a to-go box right away so you don’t eat the whole meal in one serving.

 

These simple actions can go a long way to helping you lead a healthier life, managing your stress levels and making you feel better. If you want to feel better, get rid of pain, walk and move better, then call Crestview Physical Therapy and talk to one of our physical therapists today. Think of us as the mechanics for your body, keeping you running at your best shape. Just like you need routine tune-ups at your dentist, you should see your physical therapist every 6-8 months. Call us today.

 

3 Easy Steps to Healthy Knees

Saturday, February 10th, 2018

For many people, knee pain can be a way of life, limiting their ability to climb stairs, squat down to get something off the floor, enjoy long walks, shopping and a host of other daily activities. The knee joint is one of the most complicated joints in the body and has to bear up to 6 times your body weight with running or jumping.

 

This incredible joint has to move over a million times each year and over 80 million times over a lifetime. This is also the reason why things can go wrong, causing injury and pain.

 

How to Take Care of Your Knees

Just like taking care of your heart, your joints need attention to maintain a healthy state. Here are 3 easy ways for you to take care of your knees, avoiding arthritis and other joint problems:

 

  1. Stretch your hamstrings, quadriceps and adductor muscles each day. By keeping these muscles flexible, the forces on your knee joints can be balanced, allowing your joint to bend, rotate and for your patella (kneecap) to track properly.
  2. Keep the muscles around your hips and knees strong. Especially the gluteals and quadriceps muscles. Studies show that those adults, especially over 55 who have stronger gluteals and quadriceps, tend to have less back pain and more ability to do daily activities.
  3. Exercise regularly. While this is good for the whole body, the knees especially need exercise to keep their cartilage healthy. The cartilage does not have much blood supply and requires its nutrition from joint fluid. Most of the joint fluid absorbs into the cartilage only through movement and compression of the knee. Therefore, it is important to do weight bearing exercise such as walking, running and other sports. However, if you have arthritis, it is advised to do less impact activities such as biking, elliptical machines, aquatic exercises, etc.

 

Having a regular physical therapy checkup ensures that your joints are working

at their peak performance. In addition, any problems will be discovered early, preventing the onset of arthritis and joint injury.

 

If you have arthritis or have had surgery, then a regular physical therapy check up is especially important. If your attention is on that sore knee, then it is time you called us for a free knee joint analysis. Call Crest view Physical Therapy and talk to one of our expert physical therapists today and see how life can be with freely moving knees.

Back or Neck Pain? What Different Types of Pain Mean

Saturday, January 20th, 2018

When you have an ache or pain it can leave you scratching your head as to where the pain is truly coming from. Just because it hurts in that part of your leg or arm, doesn’t mean that is where the problem is coming from. Is it a bulging disc, muscle strain or did you just plain over do it?

 

Being a physical therapist is much like being a mechanic for the body. Where is that pain coming from, what type of pain is it, are you out of alignment, what are you not able to do that you want to get back to, how is your body moving incorrectly, etc.?

 

If you are suffering from back pain or neck pain, here are questions that help determine the origins of your pain:

 

How long have you had your pain?

For example, acute low back pain may be because of a muscle strain. Chronic low back pain is typical of restricted spinal joints, tight muscle tissue and weakened muscle strength.

 

How is the pain? Achy, sharp, tingling?

Achy pain is typically a problem with movement due to poor functioning of muscles and joints. Sharp pain can be a muscle spasm or even an impingement of a joint. Tingling sensations and pain can be irritation to a nerve either from compression or inflammation of that area.

 

Does the pain travel to a specific part of the leg or arm, or does it spread over a wide area to the buttock, back of the leg or arm?

Widespread pain is typical of muscle strain, inflammation and weakness. People will typically relate this pain to prolonged standing, walking and other physical activities. The muscles cannot support the spine or hips and thus become strained. Specific pain to a part of the leg or arm can possibly be nerve related. In either of these cases, it is important for you to seek out the right professional help.

 

Is the pain worse at a specific time of day?

Achy, stiff pain in the morning can be due to muscle and tissue tightness. Severe radiating pain to the lower back, buttock and leg with bending in the morning is an indicator of a potential herniated disc. Widespread pain is typically related to the lack of flexibility and guarding in the spine. Whereas, pain towards the end of the day after moving and activity is an indicator of spinal muscle weakness, as the muscles fatigue during the day.

 

Do you have difficulty with prolonged sitting, standing or walking?

Pain with prolonged standing and walking is usually a sign of muscle fatigue of the spine as well as the hip muscles. It is typical to complain of pain to the low back and buttocks as your muscles cannot tolerate the activity. An easy test to check your hip strength is to lie on your side and lift your leg up 15 times. If you struggle with this, you most likely have hip muscle weakness, which will cause a lot of strain to your spine. Most people with back pain have weakness in the gluteus and core muscles.

 

The good news is that with the right physical therapy treatment plan, you can quickly treat these problem areas and prevent the pain from returning. There is a lot that can be done to help pain and the fastest way to relieve it is to find out the true source and treat it. With our years of medical training, specializing in muscles, joints and nerves, we determine where your pain is coming from. Then with specialized hands-on therapy, structured easy medical exercises and modalities, we can relieve your pain, get you stronger and put you on the right path to return to activities. Call Crestview Physical Therapy today to learn more and say goodbye to your pain.

3 Ways to Beat Achy Shoulders

Wednesday, January 10th, 2018

Do you find your shoulders aching at the end of the day or when having to lift your arms? Whether your pain is from an old injury or just from moving all day long, try these simple techniques to feel better and stronger.

 

Why Your Shoulders Hurt

Your shoulders are the most complicated joints in your body and one of the most easily injured. They have to move through an incredible 180 degrees of motion, while still maintaining stability and strength. Some of the most important muscles in the shoulder are actually the smallest.

 

The rotator cuff is a series of 4 muscles that form a cuff around the shoulder (glenohumeral) joint. Although they are small, they are vital to guiding how the shoulder joint moves. When these muscles are weak or injured, the head of the humerus bone can jam up into the socket of the shoulder blade, causing inflammation and pain.

 

Try these simple actions to improve the health of your shoulders and alleviate that nagging ache or sharp pain for good.

 

  • Keep your shoulders aligned by doing postural exercises – The number one reason for repetitive injury and pain in the shoulders is poor posture. With prolonged slouching, the shoulders protrude forward changing the mechanics of the way your shoulders move. This weakens your rotator cuff and shoulder blade (scapula) muscles. It predisposes you to injury.  
  • Strengthen your rotator cuff muscles – By keeping your rotator cuff muscles strong, you help guide your shoulder joints throughout the day, lessening the chance for injury and inflammation to occur. A simple exercise to perform is lying on your side with your top arm straight up towards the ceiling. Now slowly lower the arm down towards your hip, but not all the way, then back up to the ceiling. Repeat 10-15 times for 2 sets every other day. Stay within a pain free range of movement. Stop if you have any pain or talk to one of our physical therapists if you have any questions.
  • Improve your scapula stability – The scapula (shoulder blade) is a part of your whole shoulder complex. It has many different muscles attached to it, pulling at just the right time for proper shoulder movement. Every time you reach, pick up or pull, you use your scapula. Improve the stability of them by performing scapula exercises. A simple exercise is standing against a wall and gently trying to pinch your shoulder blades together, while keeping your arms relaxed. Perform 10-15 repetitions, holding the contraction for 5 seconds.

 

By working on these 3 simple actions, you can dramatically improve the performance and feel of your shoulders. You should also consider making an appointment with a physical therapist, to evaluate your shoulder mechanics and prevent injury. At Crestview Physical Therapy, our physical therapists are experts at analyzing the complex movements of your shoulders to determine the exact cause of your achy or sharp pain. If your shoulders feel weak, achy, painful, or if you had previous surgeries, give us a contact today at Crestview, FL center. We will definitely get your shoulders feeling limber, stronger and allow you to get back to doing life’s everyday activities pain free.