Do you move in all directions?

Most of us move primarily in one direction on a daily basis: forward. We walk forward, we sit and face forward to work on our computer or phone, and when wedrive or eat, we are also facing forward. Do you know that there are 5 other directions of movement that we should be doing regularly? Three planes of movement exist: 1) sagittal (forward and backward), 2) frontal (left and right), and
3) transverse (left and right rotation).

We must incorporate all of these motions on a regular basis to prevent muscle overuse and imbalances. Simply walking sideways, backwards, or doing rotational stretches throughout the day are good activities to do often. Also, incorporating exercises in all 3 planes helps to decrease your risk of developing muscle imbalance or overuse injuries. Some examples are lateral steps with a theraband, side lunges, backward lunges, Russian twists, and side planks.

Start treating yourself to a more balanced body by incorporating a variety of movements into both your daily life and your exercise program. If you need assistance, we’d be happy to perform a comprehensive evaluation to figure out what areas you need to focus on most.

Ryan Kahanu, DPT

Why everyone should be able to stand on one leg

Have you ever performed an exercise on one leg and thought to yourself, “when will I ever do this is real life?” This is a question patients sometimes bring up during their exercise program. Although it seems like we never balance on one leg during our daily life, we actually balance on one leg every moment that we are walking! When we walk, we transfer all of our weight onto one leg while we swing our other leg forward. We keep repeating this process until we reach our destination. If you are unable to balance on one leg for at least a few seconds with your eyes open, you may have compensations when walking. Over time, these compensations may lead to injury. A study by Springer et al showed the normative values of a single leg balance based on gender and age. Across all subjects, the average time for balancing on one leg was 33.4 seconds. In the clinic, my goal for most patients is to work up to performing the exercise for 30 seconds.
An easy way to test yourself is to stand in a doorway or near a stable object. Stand on one leg and time yourself. Also, make sure you are not leaning to the side. Keep your hips and shoulders in line with each other. If you feel you don’t have adequate stability or have a difficult time letting go of the stable object, it is a good idea to be evaluated by a physical therapist. You may have some underlying weaknesses that can be treated to decrease your risk of injury.

By Ryan Kahanu, PT, DPT

Stretch Pro

Article cited in this blog:
Springer, B., Marin, R., Cyhan, T. et al. Normative values for the unipedal stance test with eyes open and closed. Journal of Geriatric Physical Therapy. 2007; 30(1):8-15.

Runner’s Knee

Is your pain really coming from your knee?

Many runners suffer from runner’s knee, also known as iliotibial band syndrome (ITBS). The iliotibial (IT) band originates in the pelvis as the tensor fascia lata (TFL). The TFL can become overused when we don’t use enough of our glutes during activities. The gluteus medius is an important lateral hip stabilizer, but since running is a strictly forward motion, this muscle can become underactive. When the gluteus medius becomes weak, the TFL has to carry the load. Eventually, though, the TFL can’t handle the burden, and runners will start to notice pain at its attachment at the kneecap. The IT band attaches to the lateral patella. If the IT band becomes excessively tight, it can pull on the patella, leading to knee pain.
To treat this condition, the IT band needs to be stretched and lengthened. More importantly, however, the gluteus medius muscle needs to be strengthened. By strengthening your glutes, you decrease the load to the TFL and IT band. Also, when running, keep your knees in line with your toes. Your knees may be falling inward, also placing strain on your knees.
Come to Stretch Pro to have an evaluation by a physical therapist so that we can create the right plan for you to get you back to running pain free!

By Ryan Kahanu, PT, DPT

Stretch Pro

Treating Ankle Sprains

If you have ever had an ankle sprain, you know how significantly the sprain affected every movement you made. Ligaments don’t have as good a blood supply as bone and muscle. Therefore, it takes them longer to heal. Knowing what to do once you get a sprain, all the way through until weeks after, will help to decrease any compensations and injury risk in the future. Because your foot is the first part of your body to contact the floor when you walk, any alteration in your foot mechanics will affect the entire body. As soon as possible after injury, be sure to ice and elevate the foot and ankle in order to decrease pain, swelling, and inflammation. Keep the foot in a brace to provide support and to decrease pooling of blood and fluid into the foot.
It is also a good idea to see your doctor to get any imaging and medication
prescribed. You may be provided crutches as well to help decrease weight bearing to the foot. If you use a cane or one crutch, be sure to use the crutch on the side opposite of the injured foot. Too often people place the crutch or cane on the same side as the injured foot. This, however, may lead the person to bend his or her spine towards the injury. I highly recommend getting an evaluation by a physical therapist to ensure that your gait is as normal as possible to prevent any compensation, and to know what range of motion exercises you should start doing right away to prevent your ankle from getting stiff.

By Ryan Kahanu, PT, DPT

Stretch Pro


Can your headache be caused by tight neck muscles?

If you are currently experiencing pain in the low back, there may be several reasons for your symptoms. There may be spasms in the muscles, you may have a problem with one or a few discs, you may have a pinched nerve, or your back may be simply moving and working more than it should be.
A common impairment I see in patients who come to physical therapy for low back pain is that their hips are both weak and tight. When we walk, run, bend forward to pick up an object, or stand for prolonged periods, there are certain range of motion and strength requirements from our hip muscles, such as the hip flexors and glutes. If these muscles aren’t supporting our body adequately during these tasks, our spine and spinal muscles will need to compensate. When these muscles work harder or our spine moves excessively, irritation or inflammation can begin, which leads to an onset of pain. This is also a reason why there are failed back surgeries or negative findings in MRIs or Xrays.
When a physical therapist performs an initial evaluation, he or she will perform tests for your back, of course, but will also test other joints, such as your hips, knees, and ankles. More often than not, the site of pain is not where the cause is. By improving flexibility and strength in the hips, you will help to decrease your risk of developing pain. If you currently have pain, I would suggest focusing on hip stretches and exercises. Better yet, set up an initial evaluation to get a full assessment by a physical therapist.

By Ryan Kahanu, PT, DPT

Stretch Pro

Your hip inflexibility or weakness may be contributing to your lower back pain

If you are currently experiencing pain in the low back, there may be several reasons for your symptoms. There may be spasms in the muscles, you may have a problem with one or a few discs, you may have a pinched nerve, or your back may be simply moving and working more than it should be.
A common impairment I see in patients who come to physical therapy for low back pain is that their hips are both weak and tight. When we walk, run, bend forward to pick up an object, or stand for prolonged periods, there are certain range of motion and strength requirements from our hip muscles, such as the hip flexors and glutes. If these muscles aren’t supporting our body adequately during these tasks, our spine and spinal muscles will need to compensate. When these muscles work harder or our spine moves excessively, irritation or inflammation can begin, which leads to an onset of pain. This is also a reason why there are failed back surgeries or negative findings in MRIs or Xrays.
When a physical therapist performs an initial evaluation, he or she will perform tests for your back, of course, but will also test other joints, such as your hips, knees, and ankles. More often than not, the site of pain is not where the cause is. By improving flexibility and strength in the hips, you will help to decrease your risk of developing pain. If you currently have pain, I would suggest focusing on hip stretches and exercises. Better yet, set up an initial evaluation to get a full assessment by a physical therapist.

By Ryan Kahanu, PT, DPT

Stretch Pro

Why you need to stretch your calves
if you have plantar fasciitis

If you’ve ever had plantar fasciitis, you know how debilitating it can be. Pain is usually on the underside of the heel that can be felt with the first few steps in the morning, when standing up after prolonged sitting, or when standing for a long time. The plantar fascia is a ligament that attaches to our heel and the balls of our feet, helping to support our arch. When people have excessive pronation, or flattening of the arch, the fascia experiences increased tension.

What causes pronation? When we talk about cause and effect in the human body, many debatable reasons surface. An impairment that I commonly see in patients who have excessive pronation is calf tightness. When we walk, our calves must lengthen a certain amount in order for our ankles to achieve a certain angle. If we have decreased flexibility in our calves, our ankles may not achieve that angle, and we are forced to move from another area of our foot. This area is the mid foot – exactly where our arch is located. Our joints begin unlocking in order to compensate from lack of movement in the ankle itself, and over time the lack of stability leads to collapsing of our arch.

To see an improvement in your pain, a good start is to stretch your calves very consistently. Although that is not the only treatment needed to eliminate pain completely, this is one of the best ways to help you get through your day with less pain. To get a full treatment plan, it is important to be evaluated by a physical therapist. In addition to increasing flexibility, you may also need to strengthen your foot, ankle, and hip muscles.

By Ryan Kahanu, PT, DPT

Stretch Pro

Frustrated by back pain…

Discover These Amazing Secrets For Living With Less Back Pain and Staying Pain Free

Today I want to share with you 7 ways to help relieve your back pain. Some changes will help immediately and others over time. You do NOT have to let back pain be apart of your daily life. It can be eliminated!

I will provide you with 7 powerful tips and strategies that you can use to help solve your problem. The truth is, without knowing your back pain and medical history intimately it will be hard to determine which strategy will work best for you. But as a Doctor of Physical Therapy, I have years of experience helping patients just like you get rid of annoying back pain! From that experience, I have developed a list of tips to help you today.

I want to challenge you to try at least one of the following tips each day. Just imagine how great it would be to have all of these incredible strategies working for you, giving you back the active and healthy lifestyle you have lost or are in danger of losing.

I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised by how much better and healthier you will feel for doing so.

1. Avoid sitting more than 20 minutes at a time.

Sitting at work for hours can lead to injury or pain. It is best to avoid prolonged sitting by getting up every 20 minutes for a quick stretch or short walk.

2. Sit up and Stand Up Straight

Slouching puts additional stress on joints and soft tissues. Maintaining optimal posture will decrease wear and tear on your body. When you slouch, your blood flow to soft tissues is compromised. This increases your risk of injury. In other words slouching leads to PAIN!

3. Apply a cold or heat pack

When to use heat -> If your back is feeling stiff or tight, maybe after a long night of sleep, applying a heat pack x 10 min will do the trick to warm your tissues up and avoid that “morning stiffness”

When to use a cold pack -> If you are feeling achy or painful, maybe at the end of a busy day, applying a cold pack x 10 min should help relieve some pain.

4. Avoid sitting cross-legged

Such a bad habit! No other way to put it, just don’t do it. Sitting cross- legged puts your spine in a twisted position and muscles in a stretched (strained) position. Your low back is now at a disadvantage causing weakness and increasing your risk for injury. Spending an excess of time in this position will catch up on you!

5. Bend at your knees instead of your waist

Use those legs! Having good body mechanics will protect your low back from strain and injury. When lifting, assume a squat position and engage your core.

6. Incorporate a Stretch program into your life

Limited mobility and flexibility are directly correlated with low back pain. The most effective way to improve muscle length and joint mobility is to incorporate a stretch program into your life.

Stretching will transform your life. Now that you are aging, everyday you wake up your body is tightening and losing flexibility. So you must do something to reverse it or at the least slow it down.

At StretchPro, our professional stretch therapists will help guide you through a stretch program specific to your needs. You will feel

immediate relief as this special technique will break up adhesions, increase mobility and reduce muscle tension. Bye-bye back pain!!

7. Get physical with Physical Therapy

There isn’t a faster way to END your back pain than by going to see a physical therapist. A physical therapist will take the time to get to know your injury personally by identifying the underlying cause and developing a treatment program to resolve your pain.

At Stretch Pro, our hands on physical therapist, will provide you with fast access care to relax tight muscles, loosen stiff joints and strengthen your body so you can return to what you love, pain free.

Combine all of these strategies above with a physical therapy visit and you are guaranteed to see a dramatic drop in pain and stiffness in your low back.

__________________________________________________________

So there you have it! 7 things that you can do TODAY to improve your health and ease your back pain. There is obviously so much more you can do too and I could go in much more depth on ending your back pain, but these principles, if applied rigorously, will make a huge difference to the quality of your life.

I hope this is the beginning of a great, long-term relationship where myself and my colleagues at StretchPro become the source of leading edge health advice for you and make a real difference to your life.

Dedicated to restoring your health,

Dr. Kelley London PT, DPT

Stretch Pro

7 Ways For Runners To Live With Less Knee Pain In Two Weeks

 

Do you suffer from pain in the front of your knee while running? Does it get worse when going up or downhill? Maybe you are experiencing a clicking noise in your knee? If you answered yes to any of these questions, this article is specifically for YOU!

Today I want to share with you 7 ways to help relieve your knee pain. Some changes will help immediately and others over time. You do NOT have to let this knee pain interfere with your running routine. It can be eliminated!

 

1. Respect your rest days

2. Vary your running surfaces.

3. Strengthen your hips.

4. Strengthen your core.

5. Choose Sensible Footwear for your specific foot type.

6. Incorporate a Stretch Program specific for recovery and enhanced performance.

7. Get evaluated by a licensed Physical Therapist to determine the underlying cause of your knee pain and establish a rehabilitation program specific to your needs.

 

I want to challenge you to apply these 7 powerful tips starting TODAY. Just imagine how great it would be to have all these incredible strategies working for you to restore your happy, active lifestyle. Combine all of these tips above and you are guaranteed to see a dramatic drop in your knee pain as well as improvements in your running performance.

I hope this is the beginning of a great, long-term relationship where myself and my colleagues at Stretch Pro become the source of leading edge health advice for you and make a real difference to your life.

 

Dedicated to restoring your health,

Dr. Kelley London PT, DPT

Stretch Pro