Postural Interruption Exercises

The following exercises can be performed in just a few minutes per day. The purpose of Postural Interruption exercises is to intentionally change the mechanical stress from one area to the other, to decompress (gently stretch) relatively compressed tissue and decrease the shear forces (stretch) on the opposing tissue. These exercises are low intensity and will greatly improve the way you feel, focus, and perform at work. We are gently altering the mechanical forces of gravity and life to improve circulation and nutrition to tissue.

Chin Tucks

Make sure to keep your back straight while you use one or two fingers to push your chin gently back.

Upper Trap Stretch

Gently try to move your ear towards your shoulder. You should feel the stretch on the opposite side of your neck.

Wrist Extensor Stretch (Version 1)

Make a fist, place your palm down, and then straighten your elbow.

Wrist Flexor Stretch

Place your palm upwards, straighten your elbow, and use your other hand to extend your wrist.

Standing Elbow Squeeze

Make sure not to arch your back as you squeeze your elbows in towards each other.

Tips for Transitioning a Senior Into Assisted Living

Transitiong a senior to assisted living

The following blog post was written by a guest blogger Lydia Chan of AlzheimersCaregiver.net. You can reach out to her directly via email at lydia@alzheimerscaregiver.net.

We all love our senior friends and family members, and we want what is best for their health and well-being. Although aging is a natural process that can make a person become more dependent on others, it can be a tough reality for seniors to grasp. Nobody likes the idea of having some of their autonomy taken away. This is certainly true for seniors who have lived a proud, independent life for decades. But there are times when seniors can no longer live on their own. As the friends and family members of seniors, it’s important that we help them along in this transition. Here are some tips for knowing when it’s time to move a loved one into an assisted living facility and how to have that difficult conversation. 

Monitor a loved one’s physical and mental health.

While some seniors do experience major accidents such as falls or strokes that require an immediate need for assisted living, that’s often not the case. In many situations, there isn’t as obvious a contrast between when a senior is fine living alone and when they need to be moved to an assisted living home.

As a loved one, it’s important to monitor a senior’s physical and mental health. Take note of the changes that occur throughout the years. Some of them will be perfectly normal and benign, but others may be tell-tale signs of a need for dependent living. You can always talk to a senior’s doctor to get the inside scoop on their physical and mental health.

Watch for symptoms of major mental and heart conditions.

Besides the gradual aging that seniors experience, they’re also more susceptible of developing some major health conditions. When it comes to your loved one’s mental health, you should always watch for symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease or dementia. Both conditions share similar early warning signs such as a disinterest in once-loved hobbies, lack of judgement, swings in personality or mood, repeatedly asking for the same information, repeated memory loss, and more. If some or all of these signs are present, talk to an expert about finding an assisted living facility that offers memory care.

You need to also be looking for symptoms of potential heart problems that many seniors could face. Heart disease is a major problem for seniors and is difficult to monitor visually due to the relative lack of early signs. It’s crucial for seniors to visit their doctors routinely to get checked for potential heart issues. If seniors express any feelings of discomfort, pressure, or pain in the chest area, their doctor should be contacted immediately. However, there are many other common symptoms of heart problems, including headaches, confusion, shortness of breath when resting, and more.

Have the difficult conversation with sincerity and firmness.

Once you’ve determined that a loved one is too dependent to continue living on their own and there are no other possible living arrangements, then it’s time to have the conversation about an assisted living facility. This conversation will be hard due to it’s sensitive nature, but it also needs to be productive because of the health needs of your loved one.

Express to them the reasons you feel that they can no longer live on their own while leading a healthy life, and talk about how their situation is impacting you personally. Sometimes, it can help for seniors to see how their move into assisted living will help not only themselves but others. Make sure to make concrete plans after this conversation and allow your loved one to be part of the process. Seniors will be more likely to cooperate when they’re given some decision-making autonomy.

It’s never easy to move a loved one into an assisted living facility. Once you’ve determined that this is the best move for their overall health, try your best to have a productive conversation to illustrate this need to your senior friend or family member. Although the move is difficult, their well-being is what’s most important.

Posture: Simple Fixes to Implement TODAY!

We’ve all heard it before: our posture always seems to need work. We’ve also heard over and over that because we sit all day at work, in the car, and on the couch, we should improve our posture as well as exercise more! Well, we’ve got you covered on one of those topics today, and it doesn’t have to be as complex as you may think. Take note of the situations below that you find yourself in regularly, and take control of your posture today! Here’s how to fix posture with a few quick adjustments:

General Advice for How to Fix Posture

  • If your back aches after a long commute or you get a stiff neck from working at the computer, bad posture may be to blame. Realistically, most do not even consider proper posture until they have pain,. Good posture isn’t about keeping your spine ramrod straight—no one can do that 100% of the time. Instead, it’s important to know what proper alignment (of your head, shoulders, hips, and knees) feels like so you can self-correct when your body starts getting out of whack.
  • Make these quick posture fixes to stop slouching and prevent pain. (Bonus: Proper posture can make you look 5 pounds slimmer!)

Standing Posture

Do: Check your stance by standing in front of a mirror. Facing sideways, line up your ears, shoulders, hips, knees, and ankles. Notice how your body feels when it’s aligned correctly.
Don’t: Round your shoulders, arch your back, or jut your chin forward.
Don’t: Round your shoulders, arch your back, or jut your chin forward.

Posture In the car

Do: Keep the seat at a 90-degree angle.
Do: Use a small pillow behind your lower back for extra support.
Do: Tilt your rear-view mirror up a little bit. This will help your posture by making you sit up straighter to see out the back window. You should still be able to see clearly out the back.
Don’t: Sit too far away from the steering wheel. Stretching your legs out can strain your back, Your knees should be level with your hips.

Posture when you wear heels

Do: Be more conscious of your posture when you wear heels. Make sure your ears, shoulders, and hips stay aligned as you walk.
Do: Save sky-high pairs (more than 3 inches) for events when you don’t have to stand or walk a lot, especially if you feel unbalanced or experience discomfort after wearing them. Be sure to stretch your heel cords regularly.
Don’t: Walk more than a few blocks in high heels. Wear flats and switch shoes later. Heels negatively affect your gait by making you arch your back, which causes your belly to pooch out.

Postural considerations for carrying a purse

Do: Split a heavy load between two bags, and carry one on each shoulder.
Don’t: Use the same shoulder every day. Your body elevates the shoulder carrying the bag, which throws your spine off-to the side.

Posture At the computer

Here’s one of the big killers! While computers have allowed us infinite possibilities at our fingertips, they have also placed us in the classic “keyboard warrior” pose all day at work. Here’s how to fix posture at the computer:

Do: Keep your feet flat on the floor and your eyes are level with your computer monitor. If you have a tall chair and desk, use a footrest to keep your feet resting flat.
Do: Make sure your chair supports the curve in your lower back and your shoulder blades, says Thielman.
Do: Take regular breaks to walk around the office for 60 seconds—standing improves posture. Do this 5 times over the workday.
Don’t: Keep your legs extended or crossed for long periods. To minimize stress on your joints, Thielman recommends you keep ankles, knees, and hips at 90-degree angles.

Posture in Bed … Does it Matter?

You bet it does! Think about this for a second… you probably sleep 6-8 hours per day! That’s a long time to be in a good (or bad) position.

Do: Place a pillow under your knees if you sleep on your back. By causing knees to bend slightly, this keeps your spine naturally curved, according to Mayo Clinic Women’s HealthSource.
Don’t: Snooze on your stomach— side or back is better. If you have shoulder pain resting on your side may be uncomfortable, try the other side or place a pillow behind your back to be ½ on your back and ½ on your side. For added back comfort place a pillow between your knees for more spinal support. This will relieve pressure on lumbar joints and adjust alignment.

VIDEO: How to Know When it’s Time for Hip or Knee Surgery – In Case You Missed It!

Click below to watch the video of Dr. Michael Sumko’s presentation on How to Know When it’s Time for Hip or Knee Surgery. Dr. Sumko was the third speaker at our Managing Hip Pain Through Diet and Exercise seminar.

To watch Jeff Petersen’s portion of the presentation, click here. His topic was “Practical Exercises for Managing Hip & Knee Pain.”

To watch Kelli Shallal’s portion of the presentation, click here. Her topic was “Inflammatory vs Non Inflammatory Foods.”

VIDEO: Inflammatory Vs Non-Inflammatory Foods – In Case You Missed It!

Click below to watch the video of Kelli Shallal’s presentation on Inflammatory vs Non-Inflammatory Foods. Kelli was the first speaker at our Managing Hip Pain Through Diet and Exercise seminar.

To watch Jeff Petersen’s portion of the presentation, click here. His topic was “Practical Exercises for Managing Hip & Knee Pain.”

To watch Dr. Michael Sumko’s portion of the presentation, click here. His topic was “How to Know if It’s Time for Surgery.”

VIDEO: Practical Exercises for Managing Hip & Knee Pain – In Case You Missed It!

Click below to watch the video of Jeff Petersen’s presentation on Practical Exercises for Managing Hip & Knee Pain. Jeff was the second speaker at our Managing Hip Pain Through Diet and Exercise seminar.

To watch Kelli Shallal’s portion of the presentation, click here. Her topic was “Inflammatory vs Non Inflammatory Foods.”

To watch Dr. Michael Sumko’s portion of the presentation, click here. His topic was “How to Know if It’s Time for Surgery.”

Fighting Inflammation With Food

This post is a reprint of information found in a handout used by Kelli Shallal, Registered Dietician. The original handout can be accessed here.

Inflammation is a love/hate relationship. In moderation, it’s a natural process that helps your body heal and defend itself from harm. But too much can become harmful! We can lower inflammation with our diet through a multitude of ways:

  1. Reduce the amount of added sugar and increase natural sugars.
    • Candy, brown sugar, maple syrup & soda are examples of added sugars.
    • Fresh fruit & veggies are examples of natural sugars.
  2. Eat more whole grains to reduce inflammatory response.
    • Brown rice, oats, 100% whole wheat & quinoa are whole grains.
  3. Swap out Omega-6 for Omega-3.
    • Foods such as soybean oil, safflower oil, sunflower, and corn oil are sources of omega-6 fatty acids.
    • Foods such as salmon, flaxseeds, chia seeds, and walnuts are sources of omega-3 fatty acids.
  4. Curb alcohol consumption and increase water intake.
    • Every day, drink half your body weight in ounces of water.
  5. Choose to eat unprocessed meat instead of processed meats.
    • Chicken, beef, pork, and fish are examples of unprocessed meats.
    • Deli meats, bacon, and hot dogs are examples of processed meats.
  6. Go for green tea.
  7. Don’t forget turmeric.
  8. Say yes to dark chocolate.

We can also reduce inflammation by examining our lifestyle choices. Excess stress and lack of sleep affect inflammation, as well as carrying excess weight (particularly in the mid-section), and having unresolved GI issues (suck as leaky gut and/or food sensitivities).

Inflammatory Foods

  • Added Sugar
  • White Bread/Pasta
  • Soybean Oil
  • Safflower Oil
  • Sunflower Oil
  • Corn Oil
  • Vegetable Oil
  • Alcohol
  • Processed Meats
  • Preservatives
  • Added Chemicals

Anti-Inflammatory Foods

  • All Fruits & Veggies
  • Whole Grains
  • Fish
  • Walnuts
  • Chia
  • Flaxseed
  • Water
  • Green Tea
  • Turmeric
  • Dark Chocolate

Save the Date!! Upcoming Seminar on Managing Hip Pain Through Diet and Exercise

Living with hip pain is NO FUN. We just wanted to make you aware that Jeff Petersen, PT will be speaking at an event this month, along with two of our great friends, Kelli Shallal (registered dietician) and Dr. Michael Sumko! This two hour seminar’s topic is “Managing Knee & Hip Pain through Diet and Exercise.”

This FREE event is taking place at the end of the month and you are invited. This event will be great if you:

  • Suffer from any sort of Hip or Knee pain
  • Want your hip or knee pain explained to you in layman’s terms
  • Want to know some practical solutions that can get you free of your hip pain in no time!
  • Would like to have your hip pain management and/or therapy questions answered by professionals who do this for a living

Light snacks will be provided, and three speakers will discuss topics relating to two of the most common types of pain.

The speakers will be:

  • Kelli Shallal, MPH, Registered Dietician
  • Jeff Petersen, MOMT, Physical Therapist
  • Dr. Michael Sumko, DO, Orthopedic Surgeon

Where: Tempe St. Lukes Hospital, MOB Building
When: October 30 at 6:30pm
Cost: FREE

Please click the link below to RSVP in advance:

Click Here to Register for the Event
Click Here to Download a PDF of the Flyer

Is Your Hip Pain Coming From Arthritis?

Dealing with hip pain can be extremely discouraging. Like low back pain or knee pain, it affects every area of your life! If you’re struggling to move the way you used to, pick up your grandchildren, get in and out of vehicles, etc, you are not alone!

Hopefully, by the end of this article, you will have a basic understanding of whether or not arthritis may be the cause of your hip pain, and more importantly, what to do about it!

First, some background on Arthritis

The Arthritis Foundation reports t hat 26% percent of women and 18% of men have been diagnosed with some type of arthritis. Osteoarthritis, the wear and tear type, is the most common. Almost two thirds of these individuals are of working age. Arthritis and other non-traumatic injury joint disorders are among the costliest conditions to treat and manage in the United States. According to the Center for Disease Control, 2016, there are over 100 types of Arthritis. For more information about each type of arthritis, visit arthritis.org.

There are several chronic conditions in which arthritis is commonly associated:

  • 49 percent of adults with heart disease have arthritis.
  • 47 percent of adults with diabetes have arthritis.
  • 31 percent of adults who are obese have arthritis.

In each of these conditions most people are limited in their level of activity and movement. But don’t stop moving! What we know is that physical activity can reduce pain and improve physical function by about 40 percent. Hopefully, the exercises listed in this article will help reduce your pain enough to return to an active lifestyle.

Osteoarthritis (OA) affects more than 30 million Americans. It is the most common arthritis and is not limited to older adults. In normally healthy individuals OA can develop in joints that have sustained an injury and/or required surgery. High demand jobs and involvement in athletics makes one vulnerable to wear and tear of joints, leading to OA. OA is a chronic condition that can affect any joint, but it occurs most often in knees, hips, lower back, neck, small joints of the fingers and the bases of the thumb and big toe. Currently, there is no cure for OA.

In normal joints, cartilage covers the end of each bone. Cartilage provides a smooth, gliding surface for joint motion and acts as a cushion between the bones. In OA, the cartilage breaks down, causing pain, swelling and problems moving the joint. As the condition worsens over time, bones may break down and develop growths called spurs. Bits of bone or cartilage may chip off and float around in the joint. This can cause inflammation and further damage the cartilage. In the final stages of OA, the cartilage wears away and bone rubs against bone, leading to joint damage and more pain. When OA becomes severe, one may need a joint replacement surgery.

How can one identify the root cause of hip pain and deal with it before needing to resort to surgery?

Even with an X-ray that shows minimum to moderate hip joint degeneration (another name for arthritis), often the pain is associated with the tissues surrounding the joint. In the case of hip arthritis, that would mean ???[JW1] .Additionally, other structures such as the sacroiliac joint [JW2] and the low back can cause pain that seems to come from the hip.

Common ways to differentiate whether your hip pain is coming from arthritis in your hip.

A progressive loss of mobility in your hip will be our first clue. If the following motions are limited and/or painful, it may indicate issues in your hip joint.

  • Lie on your back, pull your pain free hip to your chest as far as it will go. If your painful hip comes off the bed or floor, this indicates tightness in your hip flexors.
  • Pull your involved hip up toward your chest. If it is tight and limited, this indicates hip joint involvement.
  • While seated, keeping your knees together, roll your feet out.
  • Increased joint stiffness and pain with prolonged sitting and inactivity.
    • Moderate movement decreases your hip pain and stiffness.
    • Early in AM worse pain and stiffness.
    • Prolonged standing and walking may increase your pain and stiffness.
    • End of a long day walking will increase your pain and stiffness.
    • Your Doctor may inject your hip with pain medicine. If the pain disappears, even for only a couple of hours, then the source of your pain is likely your hip.
    • You might try using a cane in the opposite side as your hip pain. If this increases your tolerance to activity, the hip may be the source of your pain.
    • The location of your pain can implicate the hip.
      • Pain from Osteoarthritis of the hip usually will be localized to the front and outside of the hip as well as the groin. Pain low in the buttocks, up on the flair of your hip, (at or below the belt line) or in the back of the hip near the sacrum are usually caused by other structures.
      • Ironically knee pain described as an ache may be from arthritis in the hip.
      • Sharp burning pain, shooting down into the buttocks and back of the leg is likely not arthritis of the hip.
      • Some pain in the buttocks may be related to a group of muscles in the hip, with the piriformis being a likely culprit.

What is one to do?

Irrespective of the type of Arthritis or the likely cause of your symptoms, beginning a flexibility and strengthening program will help reduce the level of pain and allow you to be more active. However; if your pain gets worse and there is no improvement please consult your physician or physical therapist.

Flexibility Stretches:

1. Piriformis Stretch

2. Hamstring Stretch

3. Calf Stretch

4. Hip Flexor Stretch

5. Opposite Arm Leg

Strengthening:

  1. Bridging

2. Short Arc Quadriceps Sets

3. SLR

4. Hip abduction

Camp with a Ramp 2019

Our East Mesa location, Neuro & Brain Performance Centers, is highly involved in the spinal cord injury community. They have created Neuro & Brain Community Foundation to help provide funding for therapy services & continuing research for individuals affected by neurological disorders. One of the great events they sponsor is the annual Camp with a Ramp trip for those living with spinal cord injuries.

The Camp with a Ramp provides three full days of activities that include; horseback riding, fishing, kayaking, archery, crafts, animal interaction, basketball, over-the-line, quad rugby, morning hikes on the rim, lacrosse, hand-cycling and educational discussion groups.

This year we will be hosting the trip on August 1st-4th. Please visit the Camp with a Ramp website to learn more about how to join us. We are also looking for sponsors and donations to help make this an experience of a lifetime for the campers!