Benefits of Whole Body Vibration (WBV)

GForce WBVWhether you are an avid runner, soccer mom or weekend warrior – everyone is trying their best in today’s fast pace world to maintain optimal health and fitness through breakthrough technology and exercises. Current fads include dry needling, cupping, tabata/HITT workouts and most recently Whole Body Vibration therapy (WBV). Now WBV isn’t exactly new, but is resurfacing as an effective treatment to increase bone density and maintain/restore muscle strength. Vibration therapy has been used for thousands of years and was first well acknowledged in 2002 when NASA implemented vibration therapy to fight muscle atrophy (wasting) and bone density loss with their astronauts on space missions. Recent research has found that WBV is beneficial for seasoned athletes, pulmonary patients (COPD), neurologic diagnosis (CP and Parkinson’s disease), as well as the aging patient.

Treatments usually consist of the patient holding a static position(s) for 3-10 minutes. The main principle behind WBV is that a patient is exposed to 3D vibrations while standing/lying on the vibrating platform. The rapid vibrations force muscles to contract to maintain your position which ultimately provides a form of exercise. The vibrations stimulate muscle spindles and alpha motor neurons causing relaxation/contraction of muscles to enhance neuromuscular learning. Weight bearing along with vibratory perturbations will help to stimulate bone growth to avoid or reduce the effects of osteoporosis and loss of bone density in community dwelling adults. Significant improvements in gait speed and balance were also noted due to WBV mimicking natural perturbations during ambulation.

Benefits of WBV:

  • Increased bone density
  • Increased muscle and tendon strength
  • Improved muscle performance (power and coordination)
  • Increased flexibility
  • Improved circulation
  • Increased body awareness
  • Improve walking/functional balance
  • Pain reduction
  • Decreased inflammation
  • Decreased spasticity
  • Improved lymphatic drainage

Contraindications:

  • Acute injuries
  • Unhealed/recent fractures
  • Recent arthroplasty (joint replacement)
  • Cancer
  • Kidney/Gall stones
  • Pregnant women

WBV is a newly accepted form of treatment, and research has proven that WBV can be beneficial to a variety of diagnoses and populations. If you are interested in learning more about WBV or starting a WBV therapy program, ask your trusted Synergy physical therapist or check out the ‘Synergy Recovery Room’ for more details and other therapy options.

Kayla Roof, SPT

Student Physical Therapist

Synergy Manual Physical Therapy – South Office

 

 

 

 

 

 

Practical Strength Training and Stretching Tips to Help You Prevent Pain and Injury on the Slopes: Part 2

skiing bannerNow that ski season is nearly over, you may be wondering why we’re posting the second part of this blog.  Well, as PTs we figure it’s never too late to teach folks how to avoid pain and injury—and by now you may have discovered that a full day of skiing or boarding is leaving you with some aches and pains as you start your Monday morning.  So, that makes you a particularly captive audience!  Training (before you ski/board) and Recovery (during the day and before you get in your car to drive home from the mountain) are both important when you’re hitting the slopes.  Here are some tips:

Training

Before and During Ski Season:

Everyone knows that squats and lunges are the key to enduring a full day on the slopes.  But did you know that your quads and gluts aren’t the only muscles that are important to keep strong to ensure an epic day?

  1. Hamstring to Quad ratio:  Don’t neglect your hammies.  Research suggests that the hamstrings should be at least 50-80% as strong as the quads.  Skiing and boarding will naturally work your quads, so during ski season it’s important to continue to strengthen your hamstrings.
    1. Hamstring Curls on a Swiss Ball (see YouTube video)
    2. Hamstring Curls with a cable or theraband  (see YouTube video)
    3. Straight Leg Dead Lifts  (see YouTube video)
  2. Spine and Pelvis Stability:  Abdominals support spine and pelvis.  Latissimus Dorsi support spine and shoulders.  Skiing and boarding will naturally work your gluts, so during ski season it’s important to continue to strengthen your abs and lats.
    1. Swiss Ball Crunch (see YouTube video)
    2. Lat Pull Downs

Grasp tubing with arms wider than shoulder width.  Lean back slightly.  Depress shoulder blades.  Then pull elbows toward waist.

Recovery

During and Après Ski

If you can squeeze a few moments of stretching into your day (while in a lift line or when you’re taking a hot cocoa break) your body will feel much better by the time you get to the last chair.  And since most of us drive (at least a few miles) to get to the slopes, it’s also important to loosen up before you get in the car to drive home.

Kelli Crosby, PT, COMPT

Owner

Synergy Manual Physical Therapy – South Office

North Office (map)
4105 Briargate Parkway
Suite 255
Colorado Springs, CO 80920
phone 719.282.2320
fax 719.282.2330

South Office (map)
600 South 21st Street
Suite 130
Colorado Springs, CO 80904
phone 719.634.1110
fax 719.634.1112

Practical Self-Care Tips to Help You Prevent Pain and Injury on the Slopes: Part 1

Everyone knows that squats and lunges are great exercises to help you handle the steep and deep.  But did you know that preventing injury on the slopes starts in your bedroom?  Keep reading to find out the three things I teach my patients to prevent pain on the slopes—or even while doing yard work—these tips will help you prevent pain before it begins.

1. Preventing pain on the slopes starts…in the bedroom

The things you do to your body while you sleep at night, determine how your body performs the next day.  If you sleep in a twisted position all night long, it’s not hard to imagine why your back fails you during your 4th run on a powder day.  Sleep position is a common topic at our clinic because it can impact everything from neck pain and headaches to low back and buttock pain.  Here are some things to consider when you hit the sack:

If you are a stomach sleeper:

In order to breathe you must twist your neck to one side.  This is not an ideal position for your neck for a prolonged period (imagine sitting at a desk all day in that position—definitely a violation of ergonomic principles).  So, my usual tip to patients is to try to sleep on your sides or back, if at all possible.

If you are a back sleeper:

Make sure your neck is supported with a pillow that is not too thick or too thin, in order to maintain neutral alignment of the spine.  Try putting a pillow under your knees if your back bothers you in this position.

If you are a side sleeper:

Don’t sleep in a twisted position like the photo on the left below.  Also, the pillow choice advice above applies here too.

2. Preventing pain on the slopes starts…in your chair

We treat so many desk jockeys at our clinic it’s no wonder that when the weekend includes 6-8 hours of skiing (and sometimes falling), Monday arrives with pain.  Even if you don’t sit at a desk for a living, you most likely sit for prolonged periods using a handheld device—gaming, facebook, checking email, etc.  It is absolutely necessary to undo what you’ve done all week, such as prolonged sitting or slouching (ahem), if you want to reduce pain on the weekend and be ready for a powder day.

Posture 101:

Roll your hips forward to reduce pressure on your buttocks and restore the natural lordosis of the lumbar spine.  Don’t stick your chinforward or let your upper back and shoulders roll forward.  Instead pretend the hair on the crown of your head is being pulled upward toward the ceiling

Ergonomics 101:

For Pete’s sake don’t sit on the couch like this!  A laptop should only be on your lap if you are using it for less than 30 minutes; otherwise you need to create a docking station at a desk or table.  In general: sit up straight, support your low back, get the monitor at eye level, and make sure you are typing with your elbows at a greater than 90° angle.

 

3. Preventing pain on the slopes starts…in the home

Whether you realize it or not you are doing things every single day that make your back a target for injury.  Every time you bend improperly to unload the dishwasher or pick up your socks off the floor you are setting yourself up for pain on the slopes.  Don’t curve your back when you bend forward, instead bend your knees and hips and keep your back straight.

There you have it. Now you know simple things that you can change in your daily routine to keep you from setting youself up for a rough day on the slopes. The best way to keep injury and painfree on the slopes is to make sure that your postures and body mechanics off the slopes are not putting your musculo-skeletal system at risk.  This post is a part 1 in a series of 2 blogs that will help you prevent pain and injuries during your winter weekends on the mountains. Stay tuned to our blog or Facebook page to see the second part of this series on injury prevention. In the meantime, stay safe out there and stop in or call us if you have any questions on prevention or a current injury!

Kelli Crosby, PT, COMPT

Owner

Synergy Manual Physical Therapy – South Office

North Office (map)
4105 Briargate Parkway
Suite 255
Colorado Springs, CO 80920
phone 719.282.2320
fax 719.282.2330

South Office (map)
600 South 21st Street
Suite 130
Colorado Springs, CO 80904
phone 719.634.1110
fax 719.634.1112

Pesky Plantar Fasciitis

      You have stretched, braced, iced, rolled, rested, strengthened, changed shoes and prayed to the plantar fascia gods but nothing is helping your chronic plantar fasciitis. You are not alone, it occurs in 10% of the population. Don’t worry your problem is correctable but may be related to more than your foot. Plantar fasciitis causes heel pain in active as well as sedentary adults of all ages. There are many causes that can include overuse, improper foot wear, obesity, sudden increase in duration and frequency of activities. Plantar fasciitis is defined as inflammation of the plantar fascia. With any inflammation, the stress causing the inflammation must be removed to completely treat the problem. In most cases, plantar fasciitis doesn’t resolve or keeps returning because the cause of the problem is not corrected. Common symptoms include, pain in the heel with the first steps in the morning, sharp, localized pain in the heel or arch, and slow decrease in pain with activity. With chronic plantar fasciitis, one must look past the foot and ankle.

The foot has 33 joints and 20 muscles, with the muscles and fascia attaching to the bones that make up the joints. The plantar fascia has many attachments throughout the foot. A lot can go wrong in such a small space. A joint that doesn’t move properly can cause a host of compensatory reactions in other joints and soft tissues in and around the foot. Joint restrictions can lead to changes in the way your walk, asymmetry in flexibility or limitations in your nerve mobility all the up the kinetic chain. These problems will turn an acute situation, into a chronic problem quickly if not corrected. So it is important to treat all systems to effectively heal the plantar fascia. The biggest problem may actually be in your lower back. The nerves that exit your lower back area are the ones that control the foot and ankle. A joint restriction in your lower back may be the actual cause of your plantar fascia. Restrictions in the lower back cause biomechanical alterations to the joints down the kinetic chain and can limit normal nerve mobility. All this can create abnormal stress to the foot and ankle, especially if combined with an activity like running.

Manual physical therapists will assess strength, flexibility, joint and soft tissue mobility, and nerve mobility of the entire lower quadrant to include lower back, pelvis, hips, knees and feet. We will correct for any joint restrictions throughout the kinetic chain to ensure a quick return to pain free living. Modalities may be appropriate to treat swelling, pain or inflammation. These can include ultrasound, iontophoresis, electrical stimulation, infrared and/or cold therapy. Exercises will be prescribed to normalize mobility and prevent further issues. Research shows that most cases of plantar fasciitis improve over time with these conservative treatments, and surgery is rarely required. So, if you are still dealing with plantar fasciitis, it is time to see a manual physical therapist at Synergy Manual Physical Therapy. In the meantime, be sure to rest as much as possible, perform stretching of the hips, plantar fascia and calf, massage the bottom of the foot and ice multiple times throughout the day. Hang in there; it will improve with the right care.

Kelly Haddock PT, COMT, ATC
Owner
Synergy Manual Physical Therapy – South Office

North Office (map)
4105 Briargate Parkway
Suite 255
Colorado Springs, CO 80920
phone 719.282.2320
fax 719.282.2330

South Office (map)
600 South 21st Street
Suite 130
Colorado Springs, CO 80904
phone 719.634.1110
fax 719.634.1112

Functional Movement Screen: Assessing your injury risk before it happens

You are in great shape. You train hard. And you feel invincible! But even the top elite athletes get injured. Why is this? As most people train or workout we do the exercises or activities that we feel will benefit us the most given our sport or goal that we are trying to achieve. If you are a running you are likely working your legs the most, getting those quads strong, hamstrings loose, and glutes powerful. But we often get tunnel vision when it comes to our training regimes and do not look at our bodies as a whole functional unit. This is when injuries can occur and where a complete functional movement screen (FMS) can help to identify those areas your body is weak or restricted, putting you at risk for an injury down the road.  If you are able to identify and address these limitations early on, it can lead to improved performance and decrease your chances of an injury substantially.

What is a Functional Movement Screen?

A Functional Movement Screen is a patented assessment system that has been used by trainers, coaches, and physical therapists for years to evaluate the injury risk in elite and collegiate athletes. It is a tool and assessment that focuses on key functional movements that will address issues in mobility, stability, and combined movements to give us a look at how your body functions as a whole. On the FMS website they describe their system as:

“FMS is the screening tool used to identify limitations or asymmetries in seven fundamental movement patterns that are key to functional movement quality in individuals with no current pain complaint or known musculoskeletal injury.

These movement patterns are designed to provide observable performance of basic loco motor, manipulative and stabilizing movements by placing an individual in extreme positions where weaknesses and imbalances become noticeable if appropriate mobility and motor control is not utilized.”

What movements does the FMS look at?

The assessment looks at 7 key movements that look at both mobility and stability of the body in a functional way that directly corresponds to everyday and athletic movement patterns. See the picture below for the 7 tests.

For a more in-depth look at the test and movements performed during an FMS test you can click on this link or copy and paste it into your browser: http://www.advanced-fitness-concepts.com/fms.pdf

How do I get assessed using the FMS?

This is typically a screening tool that until now only select trainers and therapists are have been using, and has not been widely used to assess the public. But at Synergy Manual Physical Therapy we have recently brought in and trained our therapists to be able to perform and properly assess individuals using the FMS system at our North office. So to kick off this new service that we will be providing to the Colorado Springs community we will be offering the assessment for FREE at our North office (see below for details). This is a one-time offer that is open to everyone in the community and is beneficial for all age groups and activity levels.

 

A Hip Flexor stretch you’ll truly love

Whether you run long distance, sit in a chair all day, or find yourself somewhere in between, our challenging modern lifestyles guarantees you may find yourself with tight hip flexors or living your life with an anterior pelvic tilt.

When your hip flexors become overly tight, everything may seem out of sync.  You may feel like you walk funny, can’t run without knee pain, your lunges and squats are “off”, and your low back may ache or fatigue easily.  Sound familiar? You may have tight hip flexors.

Hip Flexor Anatomy and Biomechanics

The hip flexors are a group of muscles on the front of the body that crosses the hip.  These muscles include the iliopsoas group, and the quadriceps group (specifically the Rectus Femoris).  The hip flexors work in concert with your legs while walking or running and are responsible for flexing (bending) your hip, or drawing your thighs toward your torso. Sitting up, kicking a ball, marching, and lifting a leg to climb a ladder are all activities that involve your hip flexors.

Issues and Symptoms

You might imagine that your hip flexors get tight from overuse, while this is true, your hip flexors can actually get so tight from underuse that they stop or inhibit other muscles in your body from working.

You may have tight hip flexors if you feel discomfort in the front of the hip that feels worse when moving your leg toward your chest or if you have difficulty taking your leg behind your body and feel your low back working in order to do so.

Chronic sitting also leads to short and tight hip flexors. Tight hip flexor’s pull on the pelvis rotating it forward (anteriorly).This changes your posture by causing excessive curvature of the lower back (lumbar lordosis), a protruding belly (we all want that right?), knee dysfunction, and altered weight bearing through the spine.  Tight hip flexors can even inhibit your glutes from activating when you walk. If this happens, not only can your bottom become flat and flabby, but back pain and or discomfort generally follow.

A true stretch for those tight hip flexors

Hip flexor stretching has become very popular in the fitness and sports performance world, and rightly so.  However, this seems to be one of those stretches that either is performed incorrectly or too aggressively.

So here’s a stretch for those hip flexors that has increasingly become one of my favorites. IT is the half-kneeling hip flexor stretch. It is a true hip flexor stretch because when done correctly it truly stretches the hip flexor and doesn’t just torque your body into hip and lumbar extension.

Key Points to the Half-kneeling hip flexor stretch

  • There is a difference between a quadriceps stretch and a hip flexor stretch. When your rationale for performing the stretch is to work on stretching the hip flexor, focus on the psoas and not the rectus femoris muscle.
  • Keep it to a one joint stretch.  Many people want to jump right to performing a hip flexor stretch while flexing the knee.  This incorporates both the rectus and the psoas, but I find that there are far too many people who cannot perform this stretch appropriately. They compensate by usually stretching their anterior capsule too much or hyperextending their lumbar spine.
  • Stay tall. Resist the urge to lean into the stretch and really extend your hip.  Most people are too tight for this, trust me.  You will end up stretching out your anterior hip joint and abdominals more than the hip flexor.
  •  Incorporate a posterior pelvic tilt.  Contract your abdominals and your glutes to perform a posterior pelvic tilt.  This will give you the “true” stretch you are looking for. Most people won’t even need to lean in a little; they feel it immediately in the front of their hip.
  • If you don’t feel it, squeeze your glutes harder.  Many people have a hard time turning on their glutes while performing this stretch, but it’s key to this stretch.
  • Use your hands to guide your hips.  I will usually start this stretch with my hands on my hips so I can feel the posterior pelvic tilt.  Place your fingers in the front and your thumbs in the back and cue them to posteriorly tilt to make your thumbs move down.
  • Engage your core.  Once you can master the posterior pelvic tilt, progress to assist by cueing core engagement. Do this by placing both hands together on top of your front knee and push straight down, or hold a “massage” stick or dowel in front of you and push down “into the ground”. The key is to have your arms straight and to push down with your core, not your triceps.

So there you have it. The half-kneeling hip flexor stretch is a great stretch for those tight hip flexors and requires no equipment other than your own body. This works great for those with low back pain, hip pain, and postural or biomechanical issues related to having too much anterior pelvic tilt.  Give it a try and if you still need guidance, stop by and talk to one of the therapists atSynergy Manual Physical Therapy.

 – Albert Song Levingston, LPTA  

Synergy Manual Physical Therapy

North Office (map)
4105 Briargate Parkway
Suite 255
Colorado Springs, CO 80920
phone 719.282.2320
fax 719.282.2330

South Office (map)
600 South 21st Street
Suite 130
Colorado Springs, CO 80904
phone 719.634.1110
fax 719.634.1112