This month, we will move up to the upper body! One of my favorite and most prescribed exercises is shoulder external rotation with a shoulder blade squeeze. The muscles around the scapula (shoulder blades) and the rotator cuff are often found to be weak in those with shoulder impingement, rotator cuff pathology, and neck pain. The muscles around the scapulae help the scapulae move properly and provide a stable base for arm motion. The rotator cuff muscles center the ball of the shoulder joint into the socket, again providing stability and allowing for correct motion to occur. To perform this exercise, grab a resistance band and hold it between your hands. Keep your shoulders down and relaxed, and keep your elbows tucked in. Rotate the forearms away from the body and draw in the shoulder blades together. Return to the starting position. This shouldn’t be painful or cause tension in the upper shoulders. Perform until you feel fatigue in the shoulders and then rest. Aim for 2-3 sets to fatigue, every other day. This will help provide a strong foundation for your arms! As always, feel free to contact us with questions anytime!
For the month of December, the exercise of the month is resisted side steps! Along with hip rotator weakness, many people with leg injuries have weakness in their hip abductors. These are the muscles that control the angle of the legs as you walk, run, jump, squat, etc. Many people demonstrate a “valgus” alignment where the upper leg deviates towards the midline.
Strengthening the hip abductors is one thing that may help minimize this movement pattern and optimize biomechanics. To perform resisted side steps, placed a loop of resistance band around above your knees (easier) or above your ankles (harder). Take steps to one side until you feel fatigue in the outside of your hips, then start stepping back the other way. Perform 2-3 sets of steps to fatigue every other day. You’ll begin to notice fatigue later during the workout as you get stronger! As always, feel free to contact us at MOSAIC Physical Therapy with questions about this exercise, injuries, or physical therapy.
The exercise of the month for November is the single leg stance. Balancing on one leg is not always an easy task, especially if you have had prior leg/back injuries or current pain. When you’re balancing on one leg, multiple systems are at work to keep you from falling over. You will feel your ankle, hips, and trunk react to keep you upright (this is called neuromuscular control), and you may feel some muscles burning throughout your legs. Focus on keeping your hips level, your arms and toes relaxed, and your knee slightly bent. Try to balance on one leg for up to 30 seconds without wobbling. Repeat on the other leg, and perform a few times every day. If this is too hard, use a finger or two for support on your countertop. If this is too easy, close your eyes or stand on a firm pillow. Building good control through your body is vital when you’re a physically active person. This is a foundational exercise for many other exercises. Don’t let poor control sideline you! As always, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org with questions or concerns.
It’s time to start a new series of posts here on our blog! Your physical therapists at MOSAIC Physical Therapy will choose some of the exercises which we prescribe most often and share them with you monthly. Our goal is to help keep you strong and healthy. If you have any questions about them, give us a call. As always, listen to your body to determine if the exercise isn’t right for you!
One of my favorite exercises to prescribe to patients is the clam shell. The clam shell may look silly, but it’s effective and simple! Many people have weakness in the external rotators of the hips, and this can contribute to many lower body and back issues. The clam shell works the muscles that keep your pelvis level when walking or running and the muscles that keep your legs from rotating inward and crossing midline. These muscles are part of the core, believe it or not! The exercise is performed by lying on your side with your hips flexed slightly, knees and feet resting on each other. You start by separating the knees by activating the muscles deep in the glutes (your feet should remain touching). You shouldn’t be rolling backwards—you should stay on your side. This can be enhanced by adding an exercise band above your knees. Perform on each side until you “feel the burn” in your glutes. Aim for 2-3 sets, 3-4 days a week or more. This can help during rehab from an injury or even as a preventative measure to reduce the risk of injury. Give it a shot! -Tasha, PT, DPT, OCS
October is National Physical Therapy Month. I’d like to share some information from the American Physical Therapy Association about how physical therapy can help our population #AgeWell.
Check out nine tips on how physical therapists can help you!
If you have any questions about physical therapy, please comment or contact us! We’d love to tell you more about what we do and how we can help you (no matter what your age or injury/illness). Find our contact info at our website.
September is National Healthy Aging Month! I’m all about folks aging well. I firmly believe that aging should not be a dreaded thing—it should be celebrated! Physical health and wellness is my passion within my tiny of scope of healthcare. Therefore, I want to take the opportunity to talk about falls. Falls are way too common, way too costly, and can lead to some pretty serious disability (or worse in some cases)1. The research is there and it isn’t hard to find.
I love being able to help someone recover from a fall and regain their strength and confidence. I would love to prevent falls even more, however. This can save someone a lot of money, and it can save them from a lot of unnecessary pain and disability. I think physical therapists are in a unique position to help reduce falls in older adults.
Physical therapists have the time to really sit down with patients and review medical, social, and fall history. We can talk to them about their vision, their confidence, their home layout, their current diets and exercise routines. We have the medical training to recognize when someone’s falls are due to a more serious pathology and we can refer out as needed. We have a battery of tests and measurements to predict risk and track progress. Our interventions are safe and cost-effective. It is my hope that both healthcare professionals and the public think #getPT1st when it comes to preventing falls.
In honor of the month, please take a few minutes to talk to the older adults in your life about falls. Tell them about physical therapy. And if you have any questions, please leave a comment! In you are interested in an evaluation by one of our doctors of physical therapy, give us a call at 425-673-5220. We would love to be a part of the solution. Learn more about MOSAIC Physical Therapy at www.mosaicrehab.com/MLT.
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention http://www.cdc.gov/homeandrecreationalsafety/falls/
Wanted to take a minute to pass along an announcement from the MOSAIC family! Take a read and share with others!