The Benefits of Balance Training

Balance exercises help to rehabilitate, restore, and prevent ankle and knee injuries. They work to increase the stability of the joints in the lower extremity. Balance training can also help to prevent falls in the elderly population. Balance training improves proprioception, which is the ability to know where your joints are in relation to one another.

An example of a basic balance exercise is standing on one leg and trying to maintain the position for a certain period of time.  To progress this exercise, it can be performed on an unsteady surface to increase the amount of strength/stability required for the exercise.   If you have a chronic ankle or knee injury, you would benefit from physical therapy using balance training to improve the strength/stability of your joints.

single leg stancesingle leg stance on an uneven surface

Tips to Prevent A Back Injury While Gardening

As spring and summer are approaching, we begin to get back to our gardening.  While gardening, many people develop back injuries due to improper body mechanics. Therefore, listed below are tips to decrease the likelihood of a back injury this gardening season.

  1. Before gardening, take a 10 minute walk or warm up with some light exercises to warm up your muscles.
  2. While shoveling, remember to bend at your knees and hips, not at your waist.
  3. When you empty a shovel full of mulch or dirt, make sure you pivot your feet while turning your upper body.
  4. Sit or kneel on a small stool or bucket while weeding and planting so you are not bending over. Use knee pads to kneel to avoid pressure on your knees.
  5. Switch jobs every 30 minutes and take a break every 15 minutes.
  6. Working on raised beds is less strenuous for your back because you are not bending over as much.
  7. Use a cart or wheelbarrow to move things.
  8. Use lightweight hoses for watering.
  9. Keeps loads light. Buy smaller bags of dirt and mulch. They might be more costly but they will save your back.
  10. Use ergonomic tools for pruning and planting. Buy long handled tools so you don’t have to reach as far.
  11. Keep your body straight and get under the wheelbarrow to tilt it. Stand straight while emptying the wheelbarrow.
  12. While mowing the lawn, keep a comfortable distance between your hands and your body.
  13. If you experience any pain while doing lawn work or gardening, stop.
  14. Do gentle stretches when you are finished gardening to prevent tightness/pain the following day.

Frozen Shoulder

What is Frozen Shoulder?

Frozen shoulder has an idiopathic gradual onset resulting in pain, stiffness, and decreased range of motion. Due to pain, the person tends to use the shoulder less.  Frozen shoulder causes the shoulder joint to become inflamed resulting in thickening, scarring, and shrinkage of the joint capsule that surrounds the shoulder joint. Scar tissue and adhesions form around the shoulder joint resulting in chronic stiffness.

 Some reasons people may get a frozen shoulder are from having poor posture, prolonged immobility from a previous injury, diabetes, or disuse from pain. Research shows, frozen shoulder is often the first sign of undiagnosed diabetes.  This is more commonly found in women over 50 years old. 

 Diligent physical therapy is the key to recovering from a frozen shoulder. Rehabilitation from a frozen shoulder can take weeks to months, depending on the severity. Your therapist may apply heat and ultrasound to warm up the joint and instruct you in stretching/strengthening exercises to restore the range of motion and strength of your shoulder. Ice is often applied after exercises to reduce inflammation.

Auto Accident Injury, Do I see a Physical Therapist or a Chiropractor

After an auto accident, it is common to sustain an acute injury to your muscles. An acute injury has a rapid onset and involves an inflammatory process of the soft tissues. Soft tissue injuries consist of the muscles, fascia, and tendons. A neck and back injury is the most common injury sustained from an auto accident.

For an acute injury, it is best to visit your local physical therapist because therapists are trained to rehabilitate injured muscle in a conservative manner. After an auto accident, physical therapy focuses on decreasing muscle tightness and inflammation, which is ultimately causing pain and decreasing function.

If you have tried physical therapy for approximately 6 weeks and have not seen any results, it is recommended you contact your physician. Your physician might at that point suggest seeking chiropractic care and or imaging tests. After an auto accident, most people receive positive results with approximately 6 weeks of physical therapy.