As the temperature outside transitions into more of a brisk sensation, I have noticed an increased number of patients mentioning travelling somewhere warm! Because of this, I figured I would offer the best tip for managing neck and upper back discomfort while sitting in those luxurious and comfortable airline seats (sarcasm). When I travel back to Minnesota to visit family, I always double check to make sure I have my C-shaped neck pillow with me. Without it, I always find myself struggling to find a way to completely allow my neck and head to rest on the plane. The C-shaped neck pillow allow a person to relax their neck and head entirely! If you prefer leaning your head off to the side when napping, you can also use this pillow to rest your head on instead of the hard surface of the window. Safe travels everyone!
Are you suffering from Upper Cross Syndrome or TMJ Disorder and you can’t find any relief? Look no further. Performance Spine and Sports Medicine will use an integrated approach to help treat your pain so you can live your life pain free, drug free, and surgery free.
From a physical therapist’s perspective, we can evaluate the source of the TMJ pain whether it is a postural, muscular or disc issue or a combination of these. All of these sources can be addressed with a physical therapy program, and each program is individualized to the patient. Any muscular issues would be addressed with hands on manual treatment including trigger point release and jaw mobilizations. Tightness in neck musculature may also contribute to TMJ pain so this area would also be addressed if needed. Another component of TMJ therapy is neuro reeducation of the jaw muscles to improve control of jaw opening and closing. This comes with a home exercise program for patients to work on throughout the day in order to make long term changes. Lastly, we address the postural issues that often accompany TMJ pain. Treatment for postural reeducation includes ergonomic assessments, kinesiotaping, postural muscle strengthening and core work.
Chiropractic can also be a very effective nonsurgical treatment for temporomandibular joint dysfunction. The chiropractor recognizes the relationship between the spine, jaw, skull and nervous system. Evaluation and correction of structural misalignment as well as addressing the myofascial trigger points in these areas leads to better temporomandibular joint function as well as pain relief. Gentle spinal adjustments are performed to the cervical and thoracic spine to improve segmental movement and alignment. Myofascial trigger point release technique is used in the jaw, skull and spine to relieve muscle tension.
Our medical doctors would take this approach after dental issues are ruled out and the patient has exhausted other options including rehab, manipulation, stretching techniques or using a mouth guard. The medical doctor will almost always get an MRI first and then they would then do a workup including ultrasound. Usually TMJ could be one of two types of problems, a nerve problem or a joint problem. If it is a nerve issue, the doctor could use injections from cortisone to Botox and/ or try acupuncture. If it is an unstable joint, the use of regenerative injections like prolotherapy or PRP to stem cells with ultrasound guidance can be used.
Here at PSSM we have the tools to help you break this pattern. We can help you eliminate the negative compensatory factors, teach you proper functional cues to improve the condition, teach proper ergonomics for activities of daily living that are contributing to the condition, rehabilitate the weak musculature in order to stabilize you from a postural standpoint, and reestablish your body’s optimal functional capacity in the correction of these conditions.Let Performance Spine and Sports Medicine help you get better faster and stay better longer!
This blog is going to address carrying a heavy schoolbag, but really the information can be carried to carrying a heavy bag in general.
Carrying a heavy schoolbag can lead to many issues in children, specifically when it comes to the musculoskeletal system. If your child tends to wear her schoolbag to one side, then the bag is putting too much pressure on one side of the body causing a tilting of the spine.
Any outside weight added to the body causes our balance to change. This means that our bodies will automatically make corrections to our posture, so we do not end up falling over. These corrections may seem to be beneficial for remaining standing, but they are not beneficial for our musculoskeletal system.
Down the center of the back is the spine. The spine consists of vertebrae, or bones stacked on top of each other; it’s here where muscles and ligaments attach to cause movement. The spine also has disks in between each bone that help provide cushioning. A heavy schoolbag puts stress on the spine and all of the bone, muscles, ligaments, tendons, and even disks!
Imagine how a heavy schoolbag can put children at risk while their bones, muscle, ligaments, and bodies are still developing.
It is beneficial to ask your child if they are having any shoulder, neck, or back pain. Ask your child if they feel numbness, tingling, or weakness in their hands.
In the long term, the child could end up with a “hump back” also known as kyphosis.
Here is what you should look out for while buying a schoolbag.
- Buy a sturdy, bag with wide, padded shoulder straps. This will help reduce pressure on the neck and shoulder area.
- Buy a bag with adjustable straps which can be altered as the child grows.
- Check your child’s posture after she has put the bag on. If you notice your child leaning forward or slouching, check if the bag is too heavy or if it has been packed incorrectly.
- Make sure your child is only carrying the items they need for school that day – remove any unnecessary books and equipment.
Loss of hip extension range of motion is a common problem we see in PT. This can be related to symptoms in the lower back, hips, knees or ankles. Modern lifestyles can contribute to this problem. Hours spent in a seated position and decreased use of the gluteus muscles are two common things people who have restricted hip extension often share.
A simple exercise with some pertinent cues can help increase hip extension range of motion. The bridge is a common therapeutic exercise, however when performed in a specific manner can facilitate greater hip mobility.
Start in hooklying position, which is flat on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Before movement begins, drive your heels into the ground. Visualize trying to drag your heels towards your butt. Next think of moving your knees forward (opposite direction of your heels) as you lift your butt off the floor. Hold this position for 2-3 minutes if possible with good form. Continue performing the cues mentioned as you hold your bridge.
Once in this bridge position, you can also straighten the uninvolved leg if your hip extension is limited only on one side.
Doing this on a daily basis will facilitate your posterior chain of muscles and result in improved functional hip extension. As always, stop if there is any pain and consult your MD or PT.
It goes without saying. We’ve all waited long enough for this summer to come along. And if you’re like me, now that summer is here, it won’t take you too long to find the closest pool and jump right in. However, before you hop on in, take a minute to think about swimming safely.
We all know the benefits to swimming. From cardiopulmonary fitness for every age group, to consistent calorie burning for weight-loss enthusiasts, to being a low impact form of exercise for those with aches and pains or orthopedic conditions; there’s a health benefit for just about everyone. But, many of us do not consider the health risks associated with swimming.
For starters, healthy swimming can be divided into three main categories which require attention. These are hygiene, sun-safety, and what swimmers do and do not bring into the pool with them. Remind children to break from the pool every hour for hydration, sunscreen application, and bathroom breaks. Consider UV protective shirts or shorts for the little ones, as 90% of the lifetime sun exposure occurs before the age of 20. This wear those of us who happen to be parents can have a large impact on our child’s lifetime risk for skin cancer.
Constantly remind the young ones not swallow pool water. No swimming when the child has diarrhea. Shower before swimming and wash hands after using the restroom or changing diapers. These are simple reminders that go a long way!
So remember, even though we are all excited to get in the water, we all must swim safe and be courteous of everyone around us!
It’s summer and that means the mad rush is on to slim down right in time for swimsuit season. While there are many “diets” out there to choose from, don’t you think it’s time to make some long lasting progress? Here are a few tips to get you in the right direction:
Make small incremental changes over time for the best results. You have to be realistic about weight loss. It doesn’t occur in week or monthly time increments just because bikini season is here. Healthy habits take 2-3 weeks to form but first you must define where your weakness occurs. Concentrate on this one habit at a time and make it realistic in the “real world.” Whether it’s poor food choices, portion sizes, or eating too little, you have to assess and correct the sticking points before moving on.
Implement a plan that is reasonable and can work with everyday life. Deciding to eliminate food groups or go on a special diet doesn’t work for most people. In most life situations, this just won’t work. Think of family dinners, birthday parties, or special occasions. These overly restrictive diets leave little space for wiggle room.
Stay away from extreme dieting and focus on normalizing eating patterns. Large calorie deficits can lean to hormonal dysregulation if done for long periods of time. Fasts, cleanses, and calorie manipulation do work in the short term but, again, offer little long term effects other than potentially detrimental ones. Focus on a nutritious approach and healthy meal selections when planning your approach.
Don’t count calories excessively. They are important but don’t tell the whole story. Our body is a complex system that requires hormones and enzymes to break down the food we eat. The type of food we eat rather than the amount can influence our energy expenditure and fat loss. Fat loss and hunger control are influenced by neuro-peptides that arise from the brain as well as the gastrointestinal tract. Hormones are also released, sometimes in coordination with or because of these neuropeptides. The signaling your body receives from food, from circulating hormones, and from these neuropeptides can lead to feedback loops that can be negative to long term health if the signaling if flawed.
For more information and a look at the most beneficial exercise, join us for a free seminar at NJAC in Lawrenceville, NJ Thursday, June 26th at 6:30.
Are you someone who tends to be more active when the weather gets warmer? Well, you’re not alone, especially after the winter that we’ve had here in the Mid-Atlantic. And between the summer time sports mishaps and the sandals snafus, this heavily anticipated change in weather is the time when we tend to see large increases in orthopedic injuries.
The majority of individuals attempt to go from being completely sedentary over the winter months to no holds barred, full throttle spring and summer activities. This trend has all the makings of accident or injury.
Spring and summer season injuries and conditions can arise from an array of different traumas or repetitive activities. List below are several examples:
- Ankle sprain and knee tendonitis or cartilage/meniscus injury due multiple reasons, from twisting the foot or leg, falling, sports injuries and even wearing unstable footwear such as flip-flops or clogs.
- Plantar fasciitis and stress fractures of the foot from high-impact activities like jumping, track, basketball, etc; all while wearing improper and/or unsupportive footwear.
- Golfer’s and tennis elbow, which are repetitive-stressor based activities.
- Shoulder tendinopathy due to overuse while completing household activities such as gardening, mulching, painting, digging, hammering, etc.
- Wrist, arm and shoulder fractures from various falls.
If you or your loved ones do end up taking a fall or experiencing pain after a warm weather activity, I suggest you do the following:
- Immediately stop the provoking activity, and do not attempt to play or work through the pain.
- Follow protocols consistent with the pneumonic PRICE – “protection, rest, ice, compression, elevation.”
- If 36-48 hours pass and the pain has not improved, schedule a visit to see a physician.
There are several specific warning signs that are good indicators that you may need immediate care – obvious deformity, joint instability, decreased range of motion and persistent joint swelling.
With all of this in mind, hop off of the couch and start enjoying this nice weather. It is long overdue!
America has an obesity problem. And it seems the rest of the developed world is following suit. A question that many people wonder is whether soda consumption increases the likelihood of weight gain. The short answer is YES.
Soft drink consumption has increased globally from 9.5 gallons per person per year in 1997 to 11.4 gallons per person per year in 2010. Simply a 1% rise in simoft drink consumption contributes to an additional 4.8% overweight adults, 2.3% obese adults, and 0.3% adults with diabetes.1 If this trend of increased consumption of caloric beverages continues, it is clear that these rates will rise drastically.
There is an alarming statistic. Consumption of sugar sweetened beverages (SSB) in the United States is increasing.2,3 About half of mothers with children age 2 reported that their children drank SSB’s at least one day per week. Moreover, there is a much higher likelihood that children who drink the highest amount of SSB come from low-income families. These families are the same families that likely have limited access to quality healthcare.
So what does this mean for society in general? Well, SSB consumption is increasing and the obesity epidemic is worsening. Insulin resistance is becoming commonplace. Based on the studies outlined above, we can conclude that soda consumption is certainly contributing to this problem. In fact, as mentioned earlier, soda consumption predicts weight gain.
Therefore, if you don’t want to gain weight, don’t drink soda!
- Basu S, et al. Relationship of Soft Drink Consumption to Global Overweight, Obesity, and Diabetes: a Cross-National Analysis of 75 Countries. American Journal of Public Health. Nov 2013; Vol 103, No. 11: pp. 2071-2077.