Full Potential PT. March Newsletter



April 2020


INSIDE: � The Nose Knows � Exercise Essentials � Practice News � Patient Success Story!

Health & Fitness

April 2020

The Newsletter About Achieving and Maintaining Optimal Well-Being

NECK PAIN+GRAVITY It is an obvious fact that our head and neck sit atop of our body of which there are another 180 or more bones below holding up this 11-14-pound ball. Considering there are 206 bones in the adult body, this is quite a balancing act especially when it has to occur across three planes of movement (forward/ back, side to side, and rotation). It is a wonder it can hold center as well as it does especially when you consider the lifespan of an individual. If you are prone to neck pain and tension, then holding center is a subject of interest for you and it is a most relevant subject because of a number of really important relationships which have a lot to do with why so many deal with ongoing neck and head issues. few strategies on avoiding the unavoidable consequence of a head trying to balance in space. It is an obvious but underappreciated fact that our eyes sit on the front of our face and because of this the world we view and engage is always right in front of us. I said it was obvious, but more serious to the fact is this sets up some significant tendencies for neck tension. Now these tendencies really get amplified as we engage in more static activities with a screen in front of our face (Are you getting the picture here?). Yes, monitors, handhelds, laptops, even the person we are sitting across from and talking to is promoting this nearly unavoidable occurrence.

It is a truism that living on this gravity filled planet and perceiving with our eyes creates a most powerful tendency for our head to migrate toward the object being viewed. If you have any rebuttal on this tendency you need to go visit a local assisted living or nursing home and volunteer some of your time and see if, after 80 plus years, one’s head is in the center anymore. Actually, one does not need to go there, just look to your right or left at a stop light and you will get the picture, just go and observe kids at their desk, or in front of a video game or even how people use a pillow when sleeping on their backs. It really is all over the place, even how we sleep contributes. A forward head is a common postural habit and how often have I heard it said, “I don’t want that big hump on my upper back like my mom when I get older.” Obviously, we cannot change where our eyeballs are located on our face, so what could we do to correct what is a common tendency? This is where “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure” (come to think of it, that statement has a lot of application everywhere in the body) and the younger you get on board with these ideas the more you could reverse this imbalanced state. As I said, the younger one is, the less rigid and over tight the neck and upper back have become. Some of the changes are easier than others, but we all can benefit by learning some simple facts. In light of what has been said thus far, I hope you have a deeper appreciation for how insidious and destructive this migration forward can be on our musculoskeletal health and comfort. And truth be told, if the upper back and head are forward then usually there are postural changes occurring in the ribs, lower spine and pelvis as well. So really the head is just the tip of the iceberg in how gravity is pulling us down.

It would be hard to find a person 20 years of age or older who has not dealt with a neck tightness/tension issue at least temporarily. The truth is the number of triggers for tension has more ways to affect a neck than “how do I love thee” (Elizabeth Barrett Browning poem) and for this it would do us all well to appreciate a few of these “ways” and maybe save ourselves from the bane of many a head and neck – chronic tension, pain and headaches, not to mention jaw problems too. Why the neck and head are so vulnerable to chronic pain and tightness has much to do with holding center. When that hard to keep position is maintained over time, our neck and upper back muscles just work less hard. Have you ever tried to hold 10 pounds in your hand away from your body? Within 30- 60 seconds one’s arm is starting to feel fatigued. This is how our muscles perceive the extra work it takes to hold our heads up when it starts to move forward away from our center of gravity. It really amplifies the muscular work having to be done to hold 11-14 pounds upright when not positioned centrally over our spine. Who does not melt when some generous person comes up from behind and puts their hands on your upper shoulders and begins to squeeze and massage one of the most common tension storage sites in the body? The massage therapist can make a living here in the land of tension and trigger points (localized knots that can be very tender and even refer pain to your head and give you a headache) because tightness here is as common as tulips in May. Why would that be? Well, lets outline at least one fun (not really) fact about this good old human body that can shed some light on this common occurrence and provide a

(Continued inside)


Neck Pain + Gravity (Continued)

Now, some of these suggestions are going to seem too simple. Why is it that as we live in the world of complexity, we tend to not value the simple solutions as if they are too impotent to really change something? Well, when it comes to solutions and the body, the simple answers often are without side effects and actually address the cause of the problem. The simplest recommendation is to just do the opposite of the posture you are persistently in which is usually being flexed forward. Here are a few ideas: a. Stand up and gently reach your arms back behind you, open your hands and squeeze your shoulder blades together, you should feel some stretching in your chest/pectorals (big pulling down muscle). Hold for 5-10 seconds and do often b. While sitting (safer), place your hands behind your lower neck (prisoner position) and look up at the ceiling, hold for 5 – 10 seconds and do this often as long as it does not create pain, dizziness, or numbness. Younger necks tolerate this better, older necks may need PT or guidance due to more arthritis and neck rigidity. c. Go for a walk at lunch and move your arms, look around at the world, move your neck from being forward and straight for hours. d. Come home and lay on the floor with your knees bent 90 degrees and propped on a chair or couch, have enough pillow or towel under your head to feel comfortable and lay there for 10-15 minutes to allow your spine to straighten and head to slowly retract. This is a skillful process for the older neck which may be quite forward, think about having a PT help you.

e. Learn how to use pillows correctly so you are not contributing to a forward head while you sleep. We do that here too. Each of these suggestions just use the opposite positioning concept in different ways. The short-term actions are good to help avoid the effects of work on your neck, but laying for 10 minutes with the right understanding really gives one some opportunity to assist in the reversal of a forward head. There are many other tactics to help you and gravity get along better and help you maintain or improve your posture. The more centered your posture against gravity, the less hard your muscles have to work to compensate for what usually is occurring unconsciously until it is too late and we then are forced to use pain to motivate us to take action. At Full Potential, we believe the body is made right. You know, a really good engineer put this thing together, unfortunately we just use it incorrectly over time. We have the answers, techniques and tools for you to maximize the engineer’s design over your lifetime. We are here to help when you are ready to learn. Knowledge is understanding, and understanding is everything when it comes to prevention. If you have a neck or musculoskeletal problem that is robbing you of your enjoyment of life, family and friends, call us today, get a free consult or get a referral from your doctor; get some help, life is too short to live it in pain.Health and Happiness,

Vincent Hanneken, PT

Healthy Recipe


INGREDIENTS • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil • 3 tbsp. freshly chopped cilantro • juice of 3 limes, divided • kosher salt • 1 lb. large shrimp, peeled & deveined

• freshly ground black pepper • 1/4 head red cabbage, shredded • 1/4 c. mayonnaise • 1 tbsp. sriracha • 4 medium tortillas

DIRECTIONS In a small bowl, mix together olive oil, cilantro, and 1/3 of the lime juice. Season with salt and pepper. Add shrimp to a baking dish and pour over mixture. Toss until completely coated and let marinate 20 minutes. Meanwhile, make slaw: In a large bowl, toss cabbage with mayo, remaining lime juice and sriracha. Season with salt. Heat grill to high. Skewer shrimp and grill until charred, 3 minutes per side. Grill tortillas until charred, 1 minute per side. Serve shrimp in tortillas with slaw.



Practice News!

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The Nose Knows


There is a notable amount of concern with the coronavirus presently. Infection control is on themind of many, hand sanitizers are flying off the shelves, as well as surgical masks. With all this concern, it is important to keep inmind we have one of the most effective filtration systems on the planet right on the front of our face. In all the news, I have not heard it mentioned as an important defense to infection. Who could be the helpful adjunct to infection control? Our nose! Our nose is an amazing organ that does not get the attention it deserves for its ability to filter viruses, bacteria, allergens and other airborne substances. If you were to look up the benefits of nasal breathing versus mouth breathing you would find a lot of information touting its value to our health. Listed below are just a few benefits which can give people another very effective layer of defense to getting sick. 1. The nose produces nitric oxide, which improves your lungs’ ability to absorb oxygen. 2. Nitric oxide increases the ability to transport oxygen throughout your body, including inside your heart. It relaxes vascular smooth muscle and allows blood vessels to dilate. 3. Nitric oxide is also antifungal, antiviral, antiparasitic, and antibacterial. It helps the immune system to fight infections. 4. In addition to nitric oxide’s benefits to prevent infection, the nose has small hairs called cilia which hold mucus which are arranged on multiple folds (turbinates) to expand the surface area of the nasal cavity and so trap foreign materials (viruses and bacteria). These substances then slowly 1. Use the camera app on your phone to scan the QR code on the right. We Make It Easy To Leave A Review!

migrate down your eating tube, (esophagus) versus your breathing tube (trachea), and end up in your stomach. Which being acidic is unfriendly to germs = advantage to your immune system. Alternately, mouth breathing gives no advantage with the stimulation of receptors to release nitric oxide, nor any of the other benefits with filtration and avoidance of infections of the throat, lungs or systemically. Literally, we need to shut our mouths and breath through our nose to filter all incoming air. It is actually a skill to breath with your nose and this is especially true when talking and taking breaths. Watch yourself talk and how you get your air for the next sentence? Most people breathe through their mouths with a large chest breath. Mouth breathers have a lot more health problems than nose breathers. Check online and read about this very important subject for health, especially now. Link to a good article to read: http://hdl.handle.net/10147/559021 At Full Potential, we teach people how to breath correctly, use their nose, talk and alternately inhale through their nose. Like it is stated in the feature article of this newsletter, we are built right but we use our crucial systems (respiratory and postural) incorrectly with notable negative consequences. When one considers we breathe over 20, 000 times a day, this is no small influence. The value of this skill cannot be overemphasized to avoid infection and promote health.

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Relieve Your Pain Try these simple exercises to relieve neck pain! Exercise Essentials

Relieves Upper Neck Pain

Relieves Neck Pain

CHIN TUCK SUPINE Lie with roll under neck. Without lifting head, tuck chin gently. Keep the large muscles in the neck relaxed. Repeat 3-6 times as needed.

BILATERAL SUBOCCIPITAL STRETCH While lying on a flat surface, put both hands behind your head, cupping the base of your skull with your thumbs. Tuck your chin downwards and apply a firm force up your skull with both thumbs to feel a moderate stretch in the back of the upper neck. Hold for at least 30 seconds.



Always consult your physical therapist or physician before starting exercises you are unsure of doing.

Patient Success Story!

“I can exercise now!” “The biggest change since starting PT is that I can exercise. I can even run on my treadmill! The strengths of the clinic are that they are very positive, explained everything to me, very caring, and fun to talk with!”

“I got the knowledge and tools I needed!” “Not only was my neck and shoulder pain better, I was given the knowledge and tools to continue to have less pain. The strengths at Full Potential include: • Very friendly staff, called me by name • Answered all my questions • Gave me knowledge about my condition • So very caring Great job everyone!” -Brenda G.

-Susan Z.

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