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Posted by on Sep 13, 2017 | 0 comments

Posture Improvement Reminders

posture improvementIn this video, you will find out from Mark the different posture improvement moves you can do during the day to prevent pain. Watch as he demonstrates the following:

  1. How to stand properly with your legs shoulder width apart
  2. Where to point your feet while you are standing
  3. Turning your knees out very slightly
  4. Squeeze your backside together and tuck your pelvis in
  5. Elongate your spine to make your spine tall and reset your shoulders
  6. Turn your arms back to align shoulder sockets
  7. Align your chin

Make sure you pay attention to head posture. Muscles in your neck can get wore out – especially those of you on computers all day long.

Go through this checklist every day to avoid back, shoulder and neck issues!

Want to learn more from Mark? Check out your YouTube Channel and you can always contact us with questions here!

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Posted by on May 1, 2017 | 0 comments

Training Your Muscles To Fight Rotation

Core stability, or “core”, still seems to be the buzz word. That part of the body is designed to be stable. It is not meant for excessive movement. Core muscles are endurance muscles and need to be trained accordingly. Some also call it the “anti-rotation muscles.” It is important to train the muscles to fight the rotational movements like vacuuming or opening car doors. When people do these movements, most often they are rotating through their spine, instead of rotating through their hips. This should be avoided.

One way to avoid this, or re-train your movements, is to train the muscles that help fight rotation. There are many exercises you can do to stabilize your core – make sure to check out our YouTube channel where we will show you several.

Check out this video where Mark explains several things you can do to help re-train your movements and to fight rotation in your spine.

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Posted by on Jan 9, 2017 | 0 comments

How Do I Decide If I Should Have Back Surgery?

How do you decide if you should have back surgery? This is a very big decision, especially since half of all back surgeries do not work. Mark addresses a few key points you should be considering before making this very important decision, as well as addresses why back surgery will not work. In the video below, Mark will discuss these key points:

  • Have you tried all of the conservative approaches first?
  • What is causing the pain and has it been addressed?
  • Have you found the movements, activities, and postures that do not provoke the pain? Are you allowing the tissue to heal?
  • Are you having any neurological symptoms, such as bowel or bladder problems?
  • Check out your surgeon. How? Ask the nurses and physical therapists. They know who gets results.

If you have not been evaluated by a physical therapist, we encourage you to contact our office for more information.

**additional information can be found from reading works from Dr. Stuart McGill. His book Low Back Disorders guides readers through the assessment and treatment of low back pain, providing evidence-based research on the best methods of rehabilitation and prevention of future injury.

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Posted by on Sep 12, 2016 | 0 comments

Treat The Cause, Not The Symptom

back-pain-bannerImagine if you will, that you want to buy a new car. You’ve worked hard, saved your money, and now, finally, you can buy that new car you have been looking at for months. The car is perfect. It has the right look, style, and color. All of it is just as you imagined it. You look great in it, which is the icing on the cake. And you can just imagine yourself driving around town, feeling good and looking good.

But wait. What you don’t know is that the tires aren’t aligned correctly.  You can’t tell from the way the car looks on the outside, but you know it means trouble for the life expectancy of the car.

So you ask yourself, Will the tires start showing abnormal wear?

Absolutely.

Now you have a problem, because no one wants to deal with problematic tires. So the next question you ask yourself is, How soon will the tires start to show abnormal wear?

But this answer is harder to pin down. The truth is you don’t know exactly when you will have tire problems because it all depends on how much the car is driven. Driving one mile a day to and from work will have a much different outcome on the wheels than driving 60 miles a day.

So. You don’t know how fast the tires will wear out, but it is a foregone conclusion that they will wear out. So when this happens, what do you do? One option is to change the tires. The car looks good again, but did you really fix anything? Common sense says no. You supplied a temporary fix. You helped the symptoms but didn’t fix the problem long-term. If you got the tires realigned as well as changed the tires, then you took care of the symptoms but also fixed the cause of the problem in the first place. Better choice always.

What does all this car talk have to do with anything? Well, your body acts in much the same way. A big percentage of musculoskeletal pain is caused by overuse. The joint(s) and/or muscle(s) break down over time because of improper body alignment, otherwise known as poor movement mechanics. The end result is tissue breakdown and pain.

When this occurs, there are a lot of options at your disposal to help you. And you have a choice: you can either treat the symptoms in order to feel better, or you can treat the cause of the breakdown.

Let’s look at what happens when you treat the symptoms. You know the drill: you played a weekend game of basketball, and now your knee is swollen and tender. You might simply pop a pill – a prescription or over-the-counter pain pill or even a muscle relaxant. And maybe your knee feels better temporarily, but will the pain return? Possibly. Was anything corrected? No. The root cause of the pain is still there.

Massage is a great treatment. It can relax those tired achy muscles and make you feel like a million bucks. You’ll be calmer, more relaxed, and feeling good. You might even be pain free. But what about tomorrow? What happens if your pain comes back? Well, the cause of the stiff achy joint or muscle was not corrected, and it is just a matter of time before you feel its effects again. As great as massage is, it isn’t enough. In can be a helpful and comforting addition to other therapies, but massage alone won’t fix your problem. Similarly, ultrasound, electrical stimulation, topical creams, heat, ice, stretching, and rest can all be a useful part of a rehabilitation program. They help with pain relief on a temporary basis, but none of them used alone will correct the cause of poor mechanics.

My opinion is that too much is made of the above treatments. Commonly, they might be the only forms of treatment applied, whether alone or in combination, and when the patient feels better, he or she is released, and everyone – patient and therapist – believes the patient has been cured. Unfortunately, as I have witnessed many times at some point the symptoms return, and they are usually stronger and last longer. The patient is often confused and discouraged. In her mind, she hasn’t been doing anything differently. She just had the bad luck of bending over and having her back go out. Again.

The problem is that her back didn’t go out as a direct result of bending over that one time. It has been breaking down for a long time. She had been functioning with poor mechanics and, like we have seen, it is just a matter of time before the structure will break down. If the same symptom-relieving approach is taken, the results will end up being the same over time. And thus begins a vicious cycle: the patient feels better for a while, but then there is another breakdown so she needs more symptom relief, etc. Not coincidentally, back pain is the best predictor of future back pain, and back pain in particular usually gets more intense every time there is an episode.

I say, let’s treat the cause. Many people breakdown because of excessive sitting; poor sitting, standing, and lifting postures; and/or overuse on the athletic field. If the cause of your pain is addressed, the pain will go away, and, more importantly, you will actually give yourself a much better chance of not having a recurring problem. You corrected the mechanism of breakdown.

Does it make sense to sit at a desk all day and then with the best of intentions go workout in the gym only to find yourself sitting again on an exercise machine?

No. We need to exercise on our feet.

Standing requires 59% more muscle activity than sitting does, which is a big plus both from the perspectives of biomechanics and caloric burn.

Also consider: how many daily activities in the home, yard, or garden are performed sitting? Very few. We are on our feet for the majority of our functional activities. Train for it, but only with good body mechanics. Learn how to move correctly and safely. This will maximize results, protect your body from breaking down, increase body awareness, and help you move more efficiently; the list of benefits is long.

Another bonus is that the more you understand how to use your body, the better control you will have over it. No one wants to always have to run to the physician or therapist for every ache or pain. Learn to become your own body mechanic. It isn’t as hard as you think. Utilizing a few postural and mechanical rules, you can take charge of your body.

Does this guarantee you will never have a pain issue again? Unfortunately, no. That would be like saying that if you play on the sidewalk instead of the middle of the road, you will never get hit by a car. A car could jump the curve and hit you, but certainly your chances are much better on the sidewalk than in the middle of the street. And if you do have a setback, it will be easier on your own to correct it by following the body rules you have learned.

My rule of thumb is that a patient should feel as though he is making permanent progress within two weeks. If there isn’t any solid improvement in two weeks, it might be that we are doing the wrong thing or it might not be a problem that can be corrected with therapy.

Think about it. If all you can say is that you feel better for a few hours after a treatment, but then the pain returns at the same level as before, then you haven’t corrected or changed a thing. You aren’t healing; you are simply changing the tires. Since the problem isn’t fixed, it is not a matter of if you are going to break down again, It is only a matter of when. When dealing with musculoskeletal pain, make sure you are being treated by someone who is interested in figuring out the cause of the problem. Take as good of care of your body as you do of your car.

 

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Posted by on Feb 9, 2016 | 0 comments

Low Back Pain: Are You Addressing The Symptoms Or The Cause?

Low Back PainRoughly 85% of the population suffers from low back pain. How you deal with it depends on if you are addressing the symptoms or the cause. Let me see if I can explain it another way:

Let’s say you are enjoying your brand new car, but after a couple months of driving you notice that the car isn’t steering quite right and the tires are beginning to wear. What to do? Option one: changing the tires, but will that solve the problem? It will only be a matter of when, not if, the tires wear out again. Option two, correct the alignment. Ah ha – now you have addressed the cause instead of addressing the symptom.

Like the car in this analogy you have choices of how to address problems with your back. You can treat the symptoms which could mean medications, injections, ultrasound, electrical stimulation, etc. But did this correct the problem?

No.

Again, you have only treated the symptoms, not the cause. When your back gets painful, you are being warned that something isn’t right. Your back is starting to break down. Understand that it just doesn’t happen due to one event. Your back has been breaking down for some time. I often hear “But I didn’t do anything different, I just bent over and picked up a Kleenex and my back went out.” Really? All of a sudden this is too much of a load for your back? NO. Your back has been slowly breaking down for months, even years, and when it hits it’s breaking point it is going to break down no matter how big or little the load.

Okay, but what are possible causes of your back breaking down? One of the biggest problems facing low backs today is too much flexing of the spine. This can be in the form of rounding of the back, bending forward statically, being in the same position too long, sitting for long periods (the biggest culprit), lifting improperly, stooping, getting up/down from seated postures, leaning over the sink, the list goes on. Spines are designed to be stable; the back should not move but rather be locked down. What should move then? Well the shoulder is the most mobile joint in the body, the hip being the second most mobile. These joints are designed for movement along with the elbows, knees, wrists,hands, feet and ankles. Dr Stuart McGikk said: “The back is not like any other joint or area of the body. It follows different rules – learn the rules and you will rule the back.” Very well said.

A few common myths about the back:

  • The back needs to be strengthened. No, the back is an endurance set of muscles. Trim it for endurance.
  • Sit ups help the back. No, sit ups put excessive loads in the spine.
  • I need to stetch the back. No. Too much flexing the back or rounding motions breaks it down. It has to remain stable.
  • Tight hamstrings causes back pain. Never been proven.

The biggest predictor of low back pain is a prior history of low back pain. Thus prevention and maintenance programs are critical. Healing means getting rid of the pain. Knowing the cause and eliminating it means implementing prevention and maintenance programs for your back. This is where we come in. At FYZICAL, we have many programs that identify the cause, which will allow us to put together exercises that will get you on the right track for maintenance and prevention – all under the watchful eyes of professionals. Once we find the cause and correct that, this will allow your back to heal. Contact us to learn more.

You’re on your own with your car though.

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