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Posted by on Jan 17, 2022 | 0 comments

How To Prevent Low Back Pain


Something I’ve been seeing a lot of is low back pain. Getting a lot of patients that got the pain radiating down their leg, some of it to the knee, some of it to the ankle, some even into the foot. But this seems to be a big problem right now, based on the type of patients we’re seeing. So that’s what we want to address today.

What we want to go over is some of the causes, and then some prevention exercises that you could do to help prevent this. So not only preventing it in the future, but how to deal with it if you get it.

The biggest culprit nowadays is sitting posture. Sitting rounded specifically. A lot of people tell me, “Well, I’m sitting up straight.” It may look like they’re straight, and we’re going to use this as a demonstration. So normal posture in your lower back, meaning your lower back from the right side, should have a slight curve to the back of it, so you’re bent there. A lot of people, when they sit though, their spine becomes more straight, and that’s what we’re meaning by a straight back.

So it may look like from the side that you’re sitting up tall, but you’ve lost that reverse curve. That is the neutral, relaxed position of your spine. There’s so many people who are working on computers and that nowadays, sitting prolonged in those postures, it is one of the biggest culprits for why backs break down.

So Brian and I are going to demonstrate what we’re talking about. 

When people sit, normally then they start getting a little bit lax and then they start slowly slouching a little bit and their back starts rounding a little bit. They’re hanging on soft tissue, and then typically they can start getting pain while they’re sitting there. Or another complaint is when they’re getting up. So when they stand, because these tissues now are a little bit looser and more lax, when you first stand, they’re not supporting you as well. Then you get pain and then people say, “I have to stand there for a minute or two, or I have to walk around a minute or too for it to start feeling better.” That’s because your back was rounded.

So the big key is, you want to sit up straight. Now, if you are not, if you don’t have a back support, here’s where I want to show you how to find this position. So sit about halfway back in the chair. What you’re going to do, you’re going to slouch, finding the end range of that bent forward position. Then you’re going to take and arch your back to the end range of this position. So you go to the two of extremes of that. So the rounding forward, the rounding back, and then after you’ve round it back, you come forward a little bit, and relax right into that posture there. This is how you want to try to sit when you are sitting with no support, meaning your back is not against the backrest.

The ideal situation is using a backrest and a lumbar support. If you don’t have that, you can make it out of a towel. They have commercial ones you can buy. But you would slide your rear all the way back against the seat. You would put this in the small of your back and lean back against it. It puts you on a slight angle back, puts your back in a neutral position, which not only helps your low back, but your neck and your shoulders, because now all these structures back here are in a relaxed position.

As good as that posture is, though, still every 30 minutes, you need to stand up five, 10, 15 seconds. Do a few back bends. If you can walk around for a few seconds, that’s even better, but at least get up, reverse the posture and sit back down.

We’ve had patients come in and say they haven’t moved out of their desk for six, seven hours. So you’re causing breakdown and you want to avoid that. If you start developing back pain, then you want to try to get that under control immediately. The longer you let it go, sometimes the harder it can be to deal with. 

Back pain, a lot of times, will start in the low back. Then it can spread out to the sides or it go to one side. Then it can start traveling down. It can travel to just above the knee. It can travel to down to the ankle on the foot. It can go to the front of the thigh, down to the knee. The further that the pain travels, the worse the problem.

So one thing people get confused on is that if you’ve got any pain that’s traveling away from the midline, your first goal is you’ve got to get rid of the furthest point of the pain. So if Brian’s pain is to here, if he’s doing anything to start bringing the pain back up, he’s doing the right things and correcting it. If he does any motion, movement or activity that sends the pain down, it’s the wrong thing, he’s making the problem worse. So your first goal, you want to centralize the pain to the mid back. And even if your back hurts a little bit worse, but the pain is gone that was traveling, you’re still better. That’s what you need to keep in mind.

So in our next set of videos, we will show a series of stretches you can use to start trying to manage this. If you have further questions, contact us at

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Posted by on Dec 13, 2021 | 0 comments

Why Strengthening Exercises Make You A Better Runner

A lot of people are out there running and, still, because, at least around here, the weather has been very nice.

So we want to talk a little bit about running. If you are running to become a better runner, you have got to run. But don’t rely on running to be your conditioning tool or your strengthening tool. To run and to have a better chance of avoiding injuries or problems, you want to do some strengthening exercises.  Especially focus on quad strength, lateral stability (which are the muscles on your hips/sides), and your glutes and hamstrings.

We’ve got some strengthening exercises over this next series that we want to show you, that are very good for runners and can help you when you’re out there doing your running. The idea behind it is you’re running to get in shape. It may be something you enjoy, maybe relaxing to you. But keep in mind that you ought to train your muscles to be a good runner, so when you go out and run, your muscles and joints are more ready for it.

Stay tuned to our YouTube channel as we give you a few exercise suggestions that can help with it. We’ll go over them here in the next few videos. If you’ve got any further questions, contact us at

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Posted by on Nov 16, 2021 | 0 comments

Tips For Recovering From Total Hip Replacement

Mark and Brian here – and today we’re going to talk total hip replacements. The good news about a hip replacement is that is the surgery that they know the most about. Typically it can be the easiest recovery over knees and shoulders, but you have to know what to do. You have to respect what the surgeon tells you. Lot of times there’s precautions that you have to follow too, just to make sure you’re safe. Total hip replacements have excellent outcomes. People are able to return to activities and that after them. 

Two approaches that they use for a total hip replacement are what they call an anterior approach, where they’re going to go in from the front, or a posterior approach, where they go in more from the back. The differences being, with the posterior approach, that is one that is usually most common. Although a lot of surgeons now are going to the anterior approach. The differences are with a posterior approach, they’re cutting through some of the muscles in the back and they have to reattach them. After your surgery, you’ve typically got precautions for six to 12 weeks after, depending on what your surgeon says about that. So you always want to check with them.

The precautions, after a posterior approach, are you can’t flex your knee past 90 or your hip past 90, which means you need to elevate your sitting position usually. You have to be careful trying to put on shoes and socks. The second precaution is you don’t cross your leg over the midline. The third precaution is you don’t rotate your hip inward because with that posterior approach that will put stress on where they went in at, and in instances that can cause damage to the surgery site.

Now for an anti interior approach, they go in the front. With the anterior approach, they don’t have to cut muscles. They separate the muscles to get to the joint. It’s a little bit more difficult, from what the surgeons have said, because they don’t have as clear a view through the anterior, but they do great jobs with this surgery. Anterior approach is especially good for more active people, because you don’t have those hip precautions for the six to 12 weeks.

Your basic hip precautions with an anterior approach is that you don’t want to extend through your hip too far. So you need to be careful bringing your leg back, and you wouldn’t be doing stretches that direction, or turning your foot out. They call this externally rotating. Those would be your precautions for an anterior approach, typically six to 12 weeks. Your surgeon is going to decide which approach is best for you, but those are the options.

After this, one of the things you need to be careful with is putting your pants on. What can make it easier is if you support yourself, hold your pants, put your surgical leg through the pants leg first, pull it up, all the while keeping yourself supported and safe. Then put it through the other leg. Taking it off surgical leg first, let it slide down. That’s the easier way to do it, so you’re not trying to put it on your good leg and then trying to have to bend your leg up to get it on. 

Now with gait, meaning walking, a lot of people forget that they need an arm swing. Depending on what your surgeon says, a lot of times you may start off with a walker and then move to a cane. As you get off of those assisted devices, you want to make sure you have a nice shoulder swing when you walk. Don’t walk with your arms planted at your side, make sure you swing your arms because that helps mobilize the joints and helps everything work a little bit better. Again, especially for the first six to 12 weeks with the anterior approach, you’re not going to overextend that back leg. So walk a little bit slower, a little bit shorter stride starting off.

Another thing people ask is when can I go back to activities, like their normal stuff that they were doing before? Sixty-five percent of the surgeons in 2018 said anywhere from three to six months is when they allow their patients to go back. Now again, saying this means that 35% of them did not agree with that. So as always, and I cannot caution you enough at this, you’re going to check with your particular surgeon because they are going to tell you what they think based on YOU.

Typical activities that the 65% said you could return to are walking, weight training, low impact aerobic classes, cycling, doubles tennis, swimming, hiking, cycling on the road or a stationary bike, weight machines, stair climbers, and ellipticals. So after three to six months, it’s usually safe to go back to those. Things that you’re not going to be doing anymore, singles tennis and martial arts. That’s at least what the majority of surgeons say you should not return to.

If you thinking about total hip and you have further questions, contact us at

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Posted by on Sep 27, 2021 | 0 comments

Tips For Runners To Avoid Injury

Mark and Brian here from Fitness4Life Physical therapy. We want to talk to you about running. Running is very popular with people. It’s a great exercise, great sport. This time of year, I’m sure a lot of people going to be out there running just because as the weather gets nicer, it’ll be very nice to be able to get there and do that. But statistics show that up to 50% of the runners are injured at some time. And up to 80% to 90% of that can be training errors. So, what you want to do is not don’t run to get in shape, you train first to go out and run, so that you are able to handle the stress because running puts a lot of stress on the body.

That doesn’t mean it’s bad, but you want to be prepared for it. And there’s exercises that you can do to prepare yourself for running. So, you want to get yourself strong enough and healthy enough to go out and run, so you can do your sport and not be one of people that are injured. Stay tuned to our YouTube channel. What we want to do is give you some good exercises that you can do at home to get you ready for running. Because running is basically a single leg sport, everything is done on one leg, you need to be strengthening one leg at a time. So, this month, we’re going to give you different exercises that you can do for running to help get you prepared for it. Don’t be one of those statistics. But if you are, we can help you. If you have any questions or problems, contact us at 

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Posted by on Aug 30, 2021 | 0 comments

What Is The First Step In Healing Plantar Fasciitis

We had a request from Sue Diaz who is a former patient. She asked what you can do to heal plantar fasciitis at home, as well as how to do preventative maintenance. So today, what we want to do is kind of give you some pointers, so if you do have plantar fasciitis there’s stuff that you can start doing on your own at home. See if these tips will help you get rid of it or take care of it. If they don’t, then you may need to call us for further help, but certainly, the suggestions we’re going to give you can help a lot. And like I said, a lot of cases, it will take care of it for you.

So, first thing I want to tell you about plantar fasciitis, is typically as most people know, especially if they’ve got it, it’s heel pain and or bottom of the foot pain. It’s usually worse in the morning when you first get out of bed and put weight on it. Typically we sleep in a shortened position. So whenever our toes and feet are pointed, those tissues are shortened and they start healing in a shortened position. Then you get up and put weight on, or you’re maybe stretching, and that can cause pain. So a lot of times the use of the night splint, which is a little splint you put around your foot to hold your foot in a up position, has been shown to give you some good relief.

The big thing that Brian and I really promote as the number one thing you can do, you need to make sure you’re walking with your feet straight. Most people walk with their feet, turned out. They put the weight on the outside of their foot. Their arches collapse, their plantar fascia gets overused, and then it starts breaking down. So first line of defense always is start walking with your feet straight.

Now here’s where we differ from the main stream. What people are told a lot of times is never go barefoot again. Well, we don’t believe in that because our bodies were designed without shoes and they’re perfectly designed not to need shoes. So we’re big proponents of you need to learn to straighten your feet, correct your mechanics.

So primary goal, number one, start making sure your feet are straight. Spend more time barefoot and correct mechanics. Meaning when you walk, you land on your heel and you push off your big toe, not the little toe side.
So as much time as you can go barefoot, start doing that. If you’re not used to barefoot and you find that five minutes starts aggravating your feet, just because you’re not used to it, spend three or four minutes. Slowly build your time up to where then you can start handling more time. Your body has to adapt to that. But that’s going to be, the best start is feet straight, heel, big toe push off and use your big toe like you would a gun barrel. Point that big toe in a straight line towards the direction you’re walking.

So first line of defense is proper mechanics when walking, because none of the exercises and stretches that we’re going to give you will work if you don’t correct the mechanics first. Make sure to subscribe to our YouTube channel as we release exercises that will help you. So if you have further questions, contact us at

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Posted by on Aug 2, 2021 | 0 comments

Mark And Minnesota Vikings Place Kicker, Riley Patterson

Hi, Mark and Brian here, still two wild and crazy therapists. And we have a special guest of honor today, Riley Patterson. He is the placekicker for the Minnesota Vikings, and he’s home on leave before he has to report back in training camp and he’s gracious enough to come to this clinic and work out to keep his training going. So we thought for all you fans out there of football, and you get a chance to hear from a real-life professional. So we’ll let Riley say a few words. So, take it away.

Hi, I’m Riley. I’m with the Vikings right now. I just finished four years at the University of Memphis. And previous to that, I was here at Edwardsville for four years. And during that time, I had the great opportunity of coming in here and fixing a back issue back in high school with Mark. And he fixed me right up. And I was able to go on and do a lot of good things after that. Things are going really well, getting stronger, just getting myself ready for this next season. And it’s been a really great time here. I had no choice but to go here. Everywhere else was completely full. So this was a last-choice situation, obviously.

Stay tuned as we get ready to show you some specialized exercises we have Riley doing to help him stay in shape and be prepared for the next season.

If you have further questions, or if you or a loved one are and athlete that needs training,  contact us at

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