BAD (BUT COMMON) ADVICE ABOUT PHYSICAL THERAPY ONLY GOOD ON OPPOSITE DAY While you might have thought that Opposite Day was just a joke that some kids made up, turns out someone made it into an actual holiday, on Jan. 25 (look it up if you don’t believe me!). In my years as a physical therapist, I’ve heard a lot of advice and misconceptions about physical therapy and injury treatment in general that would only ring true on Opposite Day. So, in observance of that day, I thought I would share some of the most common “advice” you should avoid the other 364 days of the year. ‘DON’T COME INTO THE CLINIC IF YOU’RE IN PAIN.’ Lots of people think the best way to overcome pain is to just stay at home, lie in bed, and not move at all. While it might seem logical to do that, the body is designed to move, and moving injured muscles and joints in the right way is an instrumental part of the healing process. ‘ALL PAIN IS BAD.’ Pain from an injury is bad. It is, after all, an indication that something is broken, torn, strained, or otherwise out of place in your body. However, the pain you might experience during exercises and stretches that are part of the healing process is not always bad. Sometimes, in order for an injury to heal, you have to push through a little bit of pain. ‘YOUR PAIN WILL EVENTUALLY GO AWAY ON ITS OWN.’ If you feel any sort of pain, and you can tell it’s not run-of-the-mill soreness, don’t wait to have an experienced physical therapist evaluate it. The more time you spend hoping that it’s nothing, but knowing that “I’VE HEARD A LOT OF ADVICE AND MISCONCEPTIONS ABOUT PHYSICAL THERAPY AND INJURY TREATMENT IN GENERAL THAT WOULD ONLY RING TRUE ON OPPOSITE DAY.”
it’s definitely something, the more serious the injury could become. By instead trusting that something is wrong, you can save yourself time and money in the recovery process. ‘JUST SAY WHAT YOUR PT WANTS TO HEAR.’ I’ve had a lot of patients over the years bend the truth about their progress. Maybe they did it because they felt bad they hadn’t been doing their at-home exercises, or they weren’t progressing as fast as they wanted. Whatever the case, though, you should always be honest about your progress with the PT — even if it’s not what we want to hear. We’re here to help you heal, and the only way we can do that is if we have all the details. ‘MEDICATIONS, INJECTIONS AND SURGERIES CAN TREAT YOUR INJURIES MORE QUICKLY THAN PHYSICAL THERAPY.’ Not even close. Painkillers and other medications only mask the pain, instead of actually healing it. Injections and surgery may seem like they get you all the benefits without the hard work of physical therapy, but they both come with their own host of debilitating side effects. Many times, with the right sort of physical therapy, you can avoid surgery altogether! ‘ALL PHYSICAL THERAPY CLINICS ARE THE SAME.’ Even though PT clinics might offer similar services, think of them like pizza places. They might all sell pizza, but they’re all going to make it a little differently, and some are better than others. We like to think we have pretty good “pizza” here at Campus Commons PT, but that’s really for you to decide. If you’re looking for a physical therapist, or you know someone who is, we hope to hear from you soon!
Hunkering down and waiting for the dark and chilly winter season to pass sounds pretty nice. But the reality is, if we deprive ourselves of time outside, we do ourselves a big disservice both mentally and physically. Staying indoors all day affects your energy and mood, which makes it hard to get anything done, so here are four easy tips to make it easier to get a little fresh air. 1. Make it a priority. Getting outside means making the conscious effort to do so. If you want to reap its benefits, you have to decide to make it a priority in your day-to-day schedule. If you make the act important to you, you have more motivation to actually do it. 2. Use mornings effectively. Waking up and getting the day started can be hard. But studies have shown that natural light helps decrease your melatonin production, which means you feel ready to face the day sooner. So, set yourself a second alarm to head outside and take a quick walk around the block just after waking. Don’t even wash your face or grab coffee. Just get out there. 4 TIPS TO MAKE GETTING OUTSIDE EASIER LET THAT FRESH AIR FUEL YOU
especially if you’ll just be an active listener and aren’t required to do any work simultaneously. Attach a note to your meeting reminders to get yourself set up outside five minutes before you start. 4. Create a schedule. It might feel strange to set reminders throughout the day to step outside, but you easily get wrapped up in activities and overlook breaks, and these reminders are exactly what you need. Start with 10-minute blocks three times a day. If you stick to them, soon you won’t need a schedule to get outside anymore. Winter weather may be cold, but even when you’re bundled up under a jacket and scarf, just 5–10 minutes outside can do wonders for your mood and energy for hours.
3. Take your work outside. If you’re working from home, take some work outdoors. Phone and virtual meetings are a great outdoor option,
WHY PROPER BREATHING DURING EXERCISE IS SO IMPORTANT TAKE A DEEP BREATH AS YOU HEAD INTO 2021
Since breathing is something most of us do without thinking, it’s easy to neglect proper breathing during exercise. Breathing properly during intense exercise can help you move and work more
breaths that begin and end in the chest. However, proper breathing for more intense movement comes from a muscle along the bottom of
your chest cavity, known as the diaphragm. To know if you’re breathing from the diaphragm and not just your chest, feel your lower ribs to see if they’re rising and falling as you take deep breaths. If they are, then you know you’re using the diaphragm.
efficiently, comfortably, and safely. So, knowing how to breathe properly during exercise will benefit anyone who wants to get the most out of their workouts. Whether we’re at rest or moving with intensity, breathing is how we get oxygen from the air around us to fuel our muscles and help them move. Without going into every component of your body that helps you breathe, the basic process goes like this: When you take a breath, air moves into your lungs, where tiny air sacs called alveoli separate the air into oxygen and carbon dioxide. The oxygen is pumped to the heart, brain, and muscles, while the carbon dioxide is expelled when you breathe out. The deeper your breath, the more oxygen fuels these components of your body.
So, how does proper breathing look in practice, and how can you get better at it? Well, your body posture plays a big role in that. Stand up straight, relax your chest, and lift your chin to take deep, even breaths while warming up. If you’re doing any aerobic exercises, like running, cycling, or swimming, make sure your inhalations and exhalations are equal. If you’re lifting weights, inhale to stabilize your core muscles before exhaling as you exert yourself.
Proper breathing is an important part of exercising well, which, in the context of PT, can help you heal more quickly and efficiently. For any questions about proper breathing during
That means that taking deep, measured breaths are incredibly important for exercise. The better you are at breathing, the more fuel your body has for movement. When we’re at rest, we typically take shorter
PT exercises, just ask us if you’re ever in for an appointment!
HOWMUCH DO FOAM ROLLERS REALLY HELP YOUR RECOVERY?
You can probably find at least a couple foam rollers at any local gym across the country, and typing in “foam roller” on Amazon will give you thousands of results. They’re a popular tool for preventing and alleviating aches and pains before and after workouts — but do you understand exactly how they work or how they benefit our muscles as a part of our workout? Chances are that if you use a foam roller, you’re doing so because someone else told you to. They’re not harmful by any means, and they can feel very relaxing when you’re warming up or cooling down from a workout. That said, understanding why this tool is so popular among fitness buffs and physical therapists can help you discern how helpful it can be for your workout. The primary reason foam rollers are so popular is because they seem to make muscles more receptive to stretching and moving. The sustained pressure of the foam roller on your muscles signals your central nervous system to reduce tension, kind of like a deep tissue massage — at least, that’s the running theory. While foam rollers do seem to relieve tension and soreness in the muscles, the truth is that no one quite knows how it happens. So, if it’s unclear exactly how foam rollers work, how did they end up in every single gym and millions of homes? In the early 20th century, engineer and physicist Moshe Feldenkrais pioneered what’s known as the “Feldenkrais method,” intended to help people improve their posture.
While it’s not clear if the Feldenkrais method itself is beneficial, practitioners of his method first used foam rollers to improve posture and balance. Then, in the 1990s, physical therapist Mike Clark brought them to the gym floor, advocating for their use in much of his writings. His words had an impact on the fitness community, because 2004 saw the first foam roller
patent. After that, their popularity only grew.
Even if there’s not a clear scientific answer as to why foam rollers work so well for alleviating soreness, their popularity indicates that they do have their benefits and that they’re not going anywhere.
KOREAN BEEF RICE BOWLS
TAKE A BREAK
This sweet and spicy rice bowl comes together in just 30 minutes and serves four.
• • • • • • • •
1/4 cup low-sodium soy sauce
2 tbsp gochujang sauce, or more if desired
2 tsp light brown sugar
1 tsp sesame oil
• • •
3 cups cooked brown rice 1 small cucumber, sliced
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes 1 lb lean ground beef
1/2 tbsp sesame seeds, plus more for topping
1/4 cup yellow onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, crushed 1 tsp fresh ginger, grated
2 scallions, thinly sliced
1. In a small bowl, combine soy sauce, 2 tbsp water, brown sugar, sesame oil, and red pepper flakes. 2. Spray a deep, nonstick skillet with cooking oil and place over high heat. Add the ground beef and cook until browned. Break up the meat with a wooden spoon as it cooks. 3. Add the onion, garlic, and ginger to the meat and cook for 1 minute.
4. Pour sauce over the beef, then cover and simmer on low heat for 10 minutes. 5. Divide rice evenly into four serving bowls. Top each with scant 2/3 cup beef, cucumber slices, sesame seeds, scallions, and gochujang, to taste.
Inspired by SkinnyTaste.com
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Don’t Listen to This PT Advice!
Give Yourself the Boost of Getting Outside
Why Proper Breathing During Exercise Is So Important
How Foam Rollers Help Your Recovery
Korean Beef Rice Bowls
Essential Stretches to Start Your Day
h e s
Exercise and diet are the foundation of any healthy routine, but there’s often a vital component to wellness many of us forget: stretching! Start your day off right with these essential stretches. NECK STRETCHES Neck pain or tightness can lead to chronic headaches and even difficulty concentrating, but in just two moves, you can loosen the muscles in your neck. • Neck Pull: Start by raising your right hand above your head. While looking forward, bend your arm down toward your head and place it near your left ear. Then pull your head toward your right shoulder, placing minimal force on your head. Repeat as needed on both sides. • Neck Push: Sit cross-legged on the floor. Place one hand flat on the ground, as if you were pushing the ground away. While looking forward, tilt your head in the opposite direction of that arm. Hold the position for 20 seconds and switch sides, repeating as needed. LEG AND HIP STRETCHES A tight torso can be painful, no matter what your daily activities are. Taking a few moments each morning to loosen your muscles after waking up can combat chronic pain and stiffness.
• Hamstring Hang to Downward Dog: Start with your feet shoulder- width apart and bend forward until you’re folded in half. Grab your elbows and lightly swing side to side. After a few moments, lay your hands on the floor and walk your hands forward until your body is in a triangular shape. Stay there for a few seconds and pedal your feet for a deeper stretch. To end, either lower your knees down or walk your hands back to your feet and stand up. BACK STRETCHES Your spine carries you all day long. Give it the proper foundation to avoid pain throughout the day. Here are two exercises to get you started. • Cat/Cow: Start on your hands and knees. Inhale and arch your back upward (cat) and as you exhale, lower your spine below neutral and look upward (cow). Repeat as necessary. • Child’s Pose: After cat/cow, lower down onto your forearms and keep your neck neutral, staring down at the floor. Sit your butt down onto your ankles and breathe deeply for a few moments. As with any form of exercise or stretching, always consult with a professional before you begin. In fact, a physical therapist can help you develop a routine that targets your troublesome areas!
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