Carpel Tunnel Syndrome is a condition when the median nerve is compressed in your wrist. Symptoms of Carpel Tunnel Syndrome can be numbness in your fingers, tingling or general hand weakness. “carpal tunnel is a narrow passageway located on the palm side of your wrist. This tunnel protects a main nerve to your hand and the nine tendons that bend your fingers” (Mayoclinic). Carpel Tunnel Syndrome can arise because of incorrect posture, over use of your hands, fracture or injury of the wrist and an improper work station setup. If you work at a computer all day make sure you are ergonomically setup. This will help prevent pain in the wrist but also the neck, shoulder, back etc. Your forearms should be parallel to the ground with your elbows at a 90 degree angle. Another tip if you work at a computer all day is to take a break every 30 minutes and if you forget to take a break set a timer on your desk :-). Stretch your wrist out, get some water and allow your hands to relax for a minute. If you have injured your wrist in the past you may want to consider a wrist splint to wear at night while you’re sleeping or during the day to help stabilize the muscles in a neutral position. By wearing a splint it will help you avoid over extending or flexing the wrist which can flare up the carpel tunnel and give you unwanted symptoms. If you notice taking breaks at work and the stretches only alleviate a percentage of the pain or symptoms but not all of the pain, go get a physical examination from a health professional and see what the next best step is for you! The two pictures are wrist stretches that can help prevent Carpel Tunnel Syndrome and ease the pain. Hold each stretch for about 30 seconds each 3 times and take care of your wrists!
Going for a run, eh? Whether a race or just for recreation, make sure you follow these tips to stay healthy and injury-free!
- Perform a dynamic warmup. This does not mean jogging a little slower for the first few minutes of any run. A dynamic warmup involves active movement of large muscle groups in order to wake them up and prepare them for the challenge of running. See examples below.
- Stretch. After running, be sure to include static stretching. This means stretching out the muscles without active movement. For adequate stretching, perform each for at least 30 secs, twice. See examples below.
- Cross train. A good warmup before and stretch session after aren’t the only tools in your injury-prevention toolbox. Cross-training is vital to keep your hips and core (abdominals and back) muscles strong. Try other forms of exercise like swimming, biking, yoga, and strength training to help stave off common running-related injuries.
Dynamic warmup exercises: high skipping, grapevine, squats, hip hikes, trunk rotations and leg swings.
Static Stretches: hamstring stretch, hip flexor stretch,IT-Band stretch, and the piriformis stretch.
Cross Training Exercises: clamshells (for hip and glute strength), bridges, side lying hip abductions, towel scrunches (foot strength) and lots more!
Thank you for your awesome advice and demonstrations Claudia Burns!
Its summertime and we are fortunate to live in Maine where we have plenty of swimming options to cool off! From the ocean, to rivers, pools, and our many lakes we are able to take a dip just about anywhere. Not only is it refreshing to cool off, its fun to swim and it is also beneficial for our health. I know when I go swimming it feels good to flutter my feet in the water and after a little while I feel tired without realizing how much exercising I actually did. By swimming in the water you have less pressure on your feet and joints but an increase in resistance from the water. Swimming is a great way to build muscle strength, stretch out any tight muscles, and gain more flexibility without putting too much stress on your skeletal system. Swimming is an aerobic exercise which means it is a cardio workout. Aerobic exercising helps lower bad cholesterol, strengthen the heart, and uses multiple muscles at once. “American Heart Association reports that just 30 minutes of exercise per day, such as swimming, can reduce coronary heart disease in women by 30 to 40 percent.” The general rule, depending on what swimming stroke you prefer, is for every 10 minutes of swimming you can burn from 60-150 calories. Wow, I bet the swimmers who are signed up for the 2014 YMCA Peaks to Portland Swim have been practicing for Saturday! The course is 2.4 miles long from Peaks Island to the East End Beach in Portland and occurs this Saturday, July 12th. It’s going to be a fun event and an inspiring one too! Go cheer them on, but if you’re busy try to go swimming this weekend and soak up all the great benefits!
It’s that time of year to plant and maintain the gardens but are you approaching your garden with proper body mechanics? Try to think about how you are positioning your body before weeding your garden all day. Are you bending over from the back or are you squatting down using your hips and knees? Save yourself from back pain and bend from your hips and knees. Try to remember to kneel down either on one knee or use your elbow for support in order to keep your back straight and core braced. Look above at the four options shown in the photo, they are all great gardening positions to avoid groaning! You may want to consider wearing knee pads or place a towel underneath your knees for more support. Another important aspect is to warm up before a garden session. Take a walk around the block, do some light arm circles and stretches. Try to be aware of how long you are out in the garden even if you can’t get enough of it; take a break, drink some water and change your position or project, so you stay loose and avoid soreness the next day!
Do you know all the great benefits of a Foam Roller? At Back In Motion Physical Therapy foam rollers are often used to help with posture and bringing back those shoulders by laying on it along your spine but you can do a lot more with foam rollers. For example if you ever have tight muscles, you can use a foam roller to roll out the muscles and bring relief to that area. Sometimes you have to get uncomfortable and roll out that IT Band that runs along the side of your leg from your hip to your knee. The IT Band is a large contributor to stabilizing the knee and it is important to not let it tighten up too much because it could cause some pain. Yes, it is not my favorite thing to do either but after I roll out my IT Band I feel instant relief from the tight muscle! By applying pressure from the foam roller it is releasing blood flow which brings more oxygen to the tight muscles and helps take away the tension! Another way to use a foam roller is for a core workout. If you lay your spine along the foam roller and tighten up your core, try marching your legs one at a time. You can feel your core working hard to keep you stable on the roller. It is fun and protects your neck from those awkward crunches. Try it out and check out the link above for more tips on rolling out different muscles!
Who loves smoothies?! I know I do and they are fun to make! There are hundreds of yummy recipes that will cater to your taste buds and bring you healthy benefits. Depending on what types of smoothies you like, you also can consume the majority of your recommended daily consumption of fruits and vegetables. By making your own smoothies you can avoid any unnecessary man-made chemicals and start detoxifying your body instantly. Get creative, try out different combinations from bananas, strawberries, blueberries, kiwi, spinach, kale, carrots, apples, peanut butter, cocoa powder, pumpkin, cinnamon, coconut and much more. Another great aspect about smoothies is that you can make them dairy free and gluten free by replacing milk or yogurt with almond milk, rice milk, coconut milk etc. The amounts of health benefits are endless from drinking smoothies. If you make smoothies a part of your diet you may notice easier digestion, weight loss, glowing skin, more energy, sharper brain function, a healthier immune system, and stronger muscles from the easy absorption process of all the vitamins and minerals. My favorite recipe is a green smoothie that is soooo simple! I use one or two bananas, depending on how hungry I am with a cup of spinach, about 8 ounces of vanilla almond milk, a few tablespoons of shredded coconut and a sprinkle of cinnamon. Before you cringe at the idea of a green smoothie give it a chance because it all blends into a sweet delicious healthy smoothie!
Have a good weekend!!
Come join Back in Motion Physical Therapy next week for our month of June Patient Appreciation Day Events!! We will be offering delicious Donuts and Coffee from 7:30-10:00 am in each of our three clinics on the following days!
On Wednesday June 25th, come visit us at our South Portland clinic for an early morning treat!
On Thursday June 26th, come visit us at our Gorham clinic for a delightful breakfast!
On Friday June 27th , come visit us at our Portland clinic for our final yummy morning of Donuts and Coffee!
Everyone loves Donuts and Coffee, stop by and say hello we would love to see you!!
You might be wondering “What is ‘Vitamin N’?” or “Where do I get ‘Vitamin N’?” Well, it is FREE and it is right outside your door! This vitamin is obtained solely through the time you spend outdoors because ‘N’ stands for Nature. I love getting outdoors because it’s fun and it’s my own personal time away from a busy world. Being outdoors clears my mind and allows me to relax whether I’m at the beach, snowboarding, summiting a mountain, or reading on the front porch. Spending time in nature has been clinically proven to reduce stress, increase our attention spans, spark creativity, and boost healing along with happiness. Yes, Maine weather can be unpredictable but it is technically summertime now and I know when I take a walk on my lunch break I feel refreshed for the rest of the afternoon. Try to spend at least thirty minutes to an hour outdoors every day. Whether it is lounging in a lawn chair, walking the dog, biking, or flying a kite, you will reap the health benefits of “Vitamin N”! So clear your mind, leave your cell phones behind and have fun enjoying nature!
The spring time is coming here in Maine…well, it could come faster but as soon as March hits I pretend like it’s already warm. When warmer weather is on the way it really encourages me to be healthier than ever. One thing I’m really bad at (and I’ve mentioned this in previous blogs) is drinking water. There is nothing like a glass of fizzy soda or the caffeinated coffee pick-me-up first thing in the morning… and again around 2pm. While the coffee is okay once in awhile, soda really has no health benefit at all.
How often do you find yourself drinking water throughout the day? This is one of my biggest downfalls and I know there are other people out there who are in the same boat.
Did you know you should be drinking half your body weight (in ounces) of water each day?
That means I’m supposed to drink about 8-9 cups of water per day. It seems like a lot but I guarantee you will feel so much healthier once you start making this change in your life. It also helps in weight loss if that’s something you’re shooting for.
For those of you who prefer some flavor in your water:
This site has a lot of neat recipes for flavored water and they’re delicious! http://greatist.com/health/flavored-water-healthy-recipe
For those of you who “forget” to drink your water:
This thing is crazy but AWESOME! It actually keeps track of your hydration via your smart phone! It’s amazing what our world is coming to! http://dailyburn.com/life/tech/blufit-water-bottle-app-preview/