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WE ALL NEED TO UNPLUG FROM TIME TO TIME THE GOOD, BAD, AND INDIFFERENT OF SMARTPHONES
I graduated from physical therapy school in Florida in 1997. I had to drive back with no GPS or smartphone to guide me. All I had was a map. I had to plan my route and deal with any construction or extreme traffic that appeared on the way. I don’t think my kids could easily read a map if I gave one to them. They’ve never had to learn how to do it. Google and Apple Maps apps on our smartphones have helped make travel almost effortless. While these technological developments have made our lives easier, there have also been some drawbacks. For one, not everyone is confident when it comes to using smartphones. Texting and emailing have replaced phone calls in many areas of our lives, which isn’t necessarily suitable for everyone involved. Sending a text message to confirm an appointment or responding to an email on a smartphone can add extra stress to people’s lives. We also have to keep our physical well-being in mind when it comes to using our smartphones. We’ll often contort our necks to get a better view of our phones, especially if we’re lying down, which can cause discomfort or worse. This is often referred to as tech neck. We’re constantly seeing patients with tech neck issues and will provide various recommendations and exercises to ease their pain or discomfort.
It can help to put your phone in “do not disturb” mode if you find yourself using it during all hours of the day and being drawn back at night. That way, you won’t get constant notifications dragging you back to the screen. It’s okay to put your phone down from time to time to focus on the present and what’s in front of you. It’s also good for our mental and physical health. My wife and I recently took a trip to the beach to celebrate our anniversary. We could put our phones down and just enjoy the ocean’s relaxing atmosphere in each other’s company. It felt great for the soul, and we both returned from the trip refreshed. Unplugging for a few hours helped us refocus our attention on what really matters in our lives. Technology will continue to evolve, and we will need to adapt to keep up with it. While smartphones have made our lives easier, we have to be aware of how it’s affecting our brains and the way we think. Set some time aside each day to put your phones away, and you’ll quickly notice improvements in your overall well-being.
Smartphones and social media have completely taken over how we live our lives. Many of us start our days by checking the time and looking at the banner notifications on our phones. We’ll use our phones to check the weather, send messages and emails, and map our routes to work or other destinations. While our smartphones have brought plenty of convenience into our lives, they have also become a hindrance in many aspects. On March 3, we recognize National Day of Unplugging, which calls on all of us to put down our phones and other devices for 24 hours to unwind, relax, and enjoy the world around us. It’s interesting to see how far technology has taken us while making certain things obsolete in the process. I was recently talking to my kids about my return home to California after “WE’RE CONSTANTLY SEEING PATIENTS WITH TECH NECK ISSUES AND WILL PROVIDE VARIOUS RECOMMENDATIONS AND EXERCISES TO EASE THEIR PAIN OR DISCOMFORT.”
EXPLORE THESE POWERFUL FEMALE-DRIVEN MOVIES
During Women’s History Month
Throughout history, there have been countless women who have performed awe-inspiring feats. From Joan of Arc to Amelia Earhart, there are many women you can research that helped change the world for the better. And there’s no better way to teach your children about these amazing women than watching a movie about their accomplishments. Here’s a list of movies worth watching to recognize Women’s History Month. ‘HIDDEN FIGURES’ Movies about astronauts and space travel usually do well at the box office, but they often don’t focus on the efforts made behind the scenes. “Hidden Figures” flips the script and tells the story of Katherine Johnson, Mary Jackson, and Dorothy Vaughan, three Black women who helped turn the tide of the space race in America’s favor. These women crossed numerous barriers to play fundamental roles in the effort to send John Glenn into space. It’s an inspirational watch that will help your children realize they can accomplish anything. ‘SUFFRAGETTE’ In today’s society, many of us take our rights for granted, but there was a time when many didn’t even have the right to vote. “Suffragette” tells the story of the British women who sacrificed everything to help all women gain the ability to vote over 100 years ago. They used art, debate, propaganda,
and even vandalism in their protests. Their efforts led to the passing of the Representation of the People Act, which granted some women the right to vote. American women gained their right to vote shortly after. This movie is rated PG-13 due to some intense violence, so viewer discretion is advised.
‘HARRIET’ Harriet Tubman is one of the most well-known individuals from the Underground Railroad and the Civil War era. Most of us know she was instrumental in helping hundreds escape slavery, but how much more do you know about the woman behind the actions? “Harriet” takes a deep dive into Tubman’s life by exploring her early life and showing how she became a leader in the Underground Railroad.
Escape the Discomfort of Tech Neck
WITH THESE 3 TRICKS
RAISE YOUR PHONE OR COMPUTER. What angle is your neck bent at when you’re using your phone or computer? If you find that you’re frequently looking down with your neck bent, you could be causing yourself neck pain. When using your phone, hold it at eye level so you can look straight ahead. If your work computer is causing your neck pain, consider investing in an adjustable desk. That way, you can stand or sit while you work without experiencing any neck discomfort. TAKE BREAKS AND PAY ATTENTION TO YOUR POSTURE. It may feel like there’s no escaping tech neck if your job requires you to utilize your phone and computer for hours, but breaks can help relieve pain and discomfort. Set a timer so you can stand and stretch a couple of times per hour. Pay attention to your posture as you work. It’s time for another break and some stretching when you notice your posture changing for the worse. You can control your posture, which in turn, will help prevent tech neck. EXERCISE YOUR NECK. Once tech neck sets in, it may feel like there’s no relief for your pain. If you feel this way, there are several exercises you can perform to ease the pain. Upward- facing dog, bird dog, and thoracic extensions are great exercises and stretches that will help you fight off tech neck. Perform them daily, multiple times per day if needed, and see if it helps relieve some of the pain you’re experiencing.
If you read our cover article, you probably saw the phrase “tech neck” and wondered what exactly it is. Tech neck is neck pain or discomfort caused by repetitive strain to your muscles, often caused by slouched posture and looking down at a smartphone, tablet, or computer. Your neck will feel stiff, and you may even develop headaches. Tech neck is something you want to avoid if you want to live comfortably and pain-free. Thankfully, there are some quick adjustments you can make to relieve neck pain or prevent it entirely.
Here are three ways to lessen the pain or discomfort of tech neck.
PREVENTING AND RECOVERING FROM SHIN SPLINTS
Picture this: You’re going for a two-mile jog through your neighborhood. You hit your halfway point when, all of a sudden, you notice a dull pain forming in your shins. You try to power through, but the pain increases until it’s too much to bear, and you have to stop your workout. This pain can last for days or longer and is commonly referred to as shin splints. There are two types of shin splints that runners often experience. Anterior shin splints are caused by irritation to the tibialis anterior, and pain is often felt at the front of the shin. Posterior shin splints are caused by irritation to the tibialis posterior, and the pain will be felt along the back of the shin. Shin splints usually start as dull pain before turning worse. You may notice some swelling, and you may experience pain in your shins by simply pointing your toes or stretching your ankle. In most cases, shin splints occur due to overuse of the muscle during high-intensity or impact exercises.
key when recovering from a shin splint, so don’t partake in any activities that may worsen your condition. You can also apply ice to the area, which
will help reduce inflammation and ease the pain. Stretching the area and rolling a tennis ball or foam roller in massage-like patterns can help as well. After you’ve recovered from your shin splints, you might want to take some extra precautions to ensure they don’t return. Check your shoes to ensure they’re still providing proper support. Warm up before you exercise, and don’t go too extreme too quickly. If you try to do too much before your body is ready, you risk re- injuring yourself. Shin splints can be debilitating, especially if you’re a regular runner. Do what you can to prevent them, and give us a call if you start to experience pain or discomfort due to shin splints. We’d be glad to help you free yourself from shin splint pain.
If you’re dealing with pain from shin splints, there are some things you can do for relief. First, you need to get off your feet. Rest is
TAKE A BREAK
Classic Cabbage Rolls
Inspired by TasteOfHome.com
INGREDIENTS • 1 medium head cabbage • 1 1/2 cups chopped onion, divided • 1 tbsp butter • 2 14.5-oz cans Italian stewed tomatoes • 4 garlic cloves, minced
• 1 cup cooked rice • 1/4 cup ketchup • 2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce • 1/4 tsp pepper • 1 lb lean (90%) ground beef • 1/4 lb Italian sausage
• 2 tbsp brown sugar • 1 1/2 tsp salt, divided
DIRECTIONS 1. In a Dutch oven, cook cabbage in boiling water for 10 minutes; drain. Rinse in cold water; drain. Remove 8 large outer leaves; set aside. 2. In a large saucepan, sauté 1 cup onion in butter. Add tomatoes, garlic, brown sugar, and 1/2 tsp salt. Simmer sauce for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. 3. In a large bowl, combine rice, ketchup, Worcestershire sauce, pepper, and remaining onion and salt. Crumble beef and sausage over mixture and mix. 4. Remove thick vein from cabbage leaves for easier rolling. Place 1/2 cup meat mixture on each leaf; fold in sides. Starting at an unfolded edge, roll leaf to completely enclose filling. Place rolls seam side down in a skillet. Top with sauce. 5. Cover and cook over medium-low heat for 1 hour. Reduce heat to low; cook 20 minutes longer or until a thermometer inserted reads 160 F.
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Unplugging From Our Devices
Movies Featuring Prominent Women in History
Preventing Tech Neck
What You Need to Know About Shin Splints
Classic Cabbage Rolls
Chronic Headaches? Maybe PT Can Help!
We all experience headaches now and then, and we usually consider them a mild problem, easily handled with over-the-counter medications. But when headaches become chronic, they can upend a person’s life. Perhaps surprisingly, physical therapy can help in many cases. After determining the type of headaches a person is experiencing, a qualified physical therapist can often construct a treatment plan to reduce the pain and improve a patient’s quality of life. Tension headaches are the most common cause of head pain, and many believe they are caused solely by stress or anxiety. But while your emotional state can undoubtedly contribute to the intensity of a headache, your neck muscles are the real culprit. Neck muscles just beneath the base of your skull can spasm when placed under stress by poor posture, osteoarthritis, or injury. The spasms initiate a tugging movement, which causes irritation and leads to a pounding or aching sensation in the head. The amount of stress on the muscles may seem small — like working at a computer or frequently looking down at your cellphone — but it can significantly impact your ability to comfortably complete daily tasks.
Cervicogenic headaches are another common type of headache that originates in the neck, this time in the upper spine. Damage to the spine’s nerves, discs, and joints can cause pain that spreads upwards. While these headaches often start as occasional events, they can become more frequent with time. Since musculoskeletal issues cause these headaches, physical therapy can help relieve the strain. Depending on your specific condition, your physical therapist may work with you to improve your neck mobility, strength, or posture. With better spine alignment, tension and cervicogenic headaches typically become less frequent. Meanwhile, myofascial release therapy can help loosen your muscles to reduce the impact of a headache. Physical therapy cannot treat every type of headache, but it can probably help more than you imagine. For example, physical therapy techniques can help lessen pain during a migraine, and manual therapy may help treat cluster headaches. Your physical therapist will also refer you to another health care provider if physical therapy is insufficient to address the problem. In the end, you’ve got nothing to lose by trying physical therapy — except, perhaps, your chronic head pain.
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