Five Tips for Taking Care of your Back

About 80% of adults experience low back pain at some point in their lifetime. Low back pain is the most common job-related issue relating to missed work days. To lessen its effect and for preventative care, therapists at Prairie Rehab offer these five tips for taking care of your back.

#1 Lift with your hips and legs.

Your hips and legs are much more powerful than your back and will help protect your spine with proper lifting. Check out the following principles of proper lifting to help prevent injury and avoid back pain.

  • First test the object for weight, load distribution, load stability, and availability of reliable grip points.
  • Position your feet so that they are about shoulder width apart, and one is slightly forward of the other to assist with center of gravity and neutral spine.
  • Bend your knees, tighten your abdominal muscles, and keep your back straight (neutral spine).
  • Lift the load slowly and steadily. Use of momentum can decrease control. Lee Glasoe, OTR, CHT at Prairie Rehab demonstrates how this should look:

#2 Don’t twist – maintain good posture.

Twisting creates more strain on your spine and the cushioning discs between your vertebrae. Proper posture allows for better movement, improved breathing, and decreases pressure on the lower back, middle back and neck. Good posture keeps the three natural spinal curves of your body which include the cervical curve of the neck, the thoracic curve of the upper back and the lumbar curve of the lower back. Overall, good posture will make you feel better.

#3 Get strong!

Strengthening your core can improve your posture and balance. It can also help ease back pain and prevent further injury or strain. Because your core supports your spine, strong abdominal muscles take the pressure off your back and help align your spine. Try the following core strengthening exercises to help you improve your strength.

Core Strengthening Exercises

Side Plank


Jason Rostomily, PTA at Prairie Rehab
  1. Start on your side with your feet together and one forearm directly below your shoulder.
  2. Contract your core and raise your hips until your body is in a straight line from head to feet.
  3. Hold the position without letting your hips drop for the allotted time for each set, then repeat on the other side.

Forearm Plank


Jason Rostomily, PTA at Prairie Rehab
  1. Place forearms on the floor with elbows aligned below shoulders and arms parallel to your body at about shoulder width. Contract your core and keep your body straight!
  2. If flat palms bother your wrists, clasp your hands together.

Squat


Zach Schneider, PT Student at Prairie Rehab
  1. Stand with your feet apart, directly under your hips, and place your hands on your hips.
  2. Standing up tall, put your shoulders back, lift your chest, and pull in your abdominal muscles.
  3. Bend your knees while keeping your upper body as straight as possible while you bend at your hips, as if you were lowering yourself onto a seat behind you. Lower yourself as far as you can while leaning your upper body a few inches forward as pictured.

Wall Sit


Jason Rostomily, PTA at Prairie Rehab
  1. Make sure your back is flat against the wall.
  2. Set your feet about shoulder-width apart and then about 2 feet out from the wall.
  3. Slide your back down the wall, bending your legs until they’re in a 90-degree angle. Your knees should be directly above your ankles.
  4. Hold your position for 30 to 60 seconds, while contracting your abs.
  5. Stand slowly while sliding back up the wall to finish.

#4 Stay flexible by stretching.

Stretching reduces the risk of musculoskeletal injuries by reducing fatigue, improving muscular balance and posture, and improving muscle coordination. It also realigns soft tissue structures, thus reducing effort to achieve and maintain good posture in activities of daily living. Stretching increases joint synovial fluid (lubricant for bones and articular cartilage) that allows greater range of motion and reduces joint degeneration.

Try these stretches to help stay flexible:

Standing Glute Stretch


Zach Schneider, PT Student at Prairie Rehab

Standing Lunge Stretch


Jason Rostomily, PTA at Prairie Rehab

#5 Be in balance with your movement.

Your body is meant to move. If you move in balance, your body functions best. If one side is injured and you favor it for a long time, your body adapts and eventually that becomes your new normal. Much like a car out of alignment, this creates additional wear and tear in your body.

Our therapy team at Prairie Rehab is ready to take the next step with you. To schedule an appointment or get more information, please call our main office at 605-334-5630. We would be happy to answer any questions or concerns you may have.

A full list of our outpatient clinic locations can be found here.

About Prairie Rehabilitation

At Prairie Rehabilitation our Physical Therapy, Occupational Therapy, Hand Therapy and Speech Therapy experts are passionate about helping our patients reclaim their way of life and function. It’s about you; you are unique with distinct qualities, abilities, and needs. At Prairie Rehabilitation we embrace the philosophy of “Patient First” care; treating each individual with precise and personalized care. To achieve the best results and to speed your recovery, we are committed to utilizing the most clinically proven and current concepts in rehabilitation.

About the Private Practice Section of the APTA

Founded in 1956, the Private Practice Section of the American Physical Therapy Association champions the success of physical therapist-owned businesses. Our members are leaders and innovators in the health care system. The American Physical Therapy Association (APTA) represents more than 85,000 physical therapists, physical therapist assistants and students of physical therapy nationwide. For more information, please visit www.ppsapta.org

south dokata dry needling

Dry Needling: Can it help you?

 

At Prairie Rehabilitation, many of our physical therapists are utilizing a new specialty therapy that can soothe muscle pain, ease migraines, speed recovery and more – Dry Needling.

 

What exactly is it? Does it hurt? How does it work? Who can it help? Michelle Schuman, PT helps answer these questions.

 

What is Dry Needling?

Dry needling is a specific treatment technique that uses a solid filament needle to treat muscle trigger points that are creating pain. This technique uses a “dry” needle, one without medication or injection, inserted through the skin into areas of the muscle. To learn more details about dry needling, please click here.

 

Does Dry Needling hurt?

First, therapists start by consulting with the patient on treatment preferences.

 

“There may be some discomfort when the needles are placed, but it is often brief. Patient’s often have some soreness in the hours following, but as this subsides relief from pain is often experienced,” said Michelle.

 

Some patients may not even feel the needles going in, and others experience immediate relaxation or relief, as the technique releases muscle tension.

 

How does Dry Needling work?

Patients are evaluated by a physical therapist that is trained in dry needling to see if it would be an appropriate treatment for them. If so, the therapist inserts needles into the tissue or trigger point to stimulate the tissue. This triggers responses from the body including increased blood flow and oxygen to the muscle tissues, the release of tension in muscle fibers, increased flexibility of the tissue, and stimulation of natural pain relievers in the body.

south dokata dry needling
Dry needling being performed on a patient’s hamstring.

Who can Dry Needling help?

 “Dry needling is an extremely effective treatment for patients who have acute and chronic pain, joint dysfunction and/or decreased flexibility,” said Michelle.

Common conditions dry needling is used for include:

  • Neck pain
  • Back pain
  • Shoulder pain
  • Hip pain
  • Post-surgical pain
  • Muscular low back pain
  • Muscle pain
  • Tennis elbow
  • Golfer’s elbow
  • Carpal tunnel
  • Tension headaches and migraines
  • Sciatica
  • Hamstring strains
  • Calf tightness/spasms
  • Scar tissue

south dokata dry needling
Dry needling being performed on a patient’s quadricep.

To schedule an appointment or get more information, please call our main office at 605-334-5630. We would be happy to answer any questions or concerns you may have.  A list of our outpatient clinic locations can be found here.

 

Prairie Rehabilitation 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Michelle Schuman, PT at Prairie Rehabilitation

 

About Prairie Rehabilitation

Prairie Rehabilitation

At Prairie Rehabilitation our Physical Therapy, Occupational Therapy, Hand Therapy and Speech Therapy experts are passionate about helping our patients reclaim their way of life and function. It’s about you; you are unique with distinct qualities, abilities, and needs. At Prairie Rehabilitation we embrace the philosophy of “Patient First” care; treating each individual with precise and personalized care. To achieve the best results and to speed your recovery, we are committed to utilizing the most clinically proven and current concepts in rehabilitation.

 

About the Private Practice Section of the APTA

 Founded in 1956, the Private Practice Section of the American Physical Therapy Association champions the success of physical therapist-owned businesses. Our members are leaders and innovators in the health care system. The American Physical Therapy Association (APTA) represents more than 85,000 physical therapists, physical therapist assistants and students of physical therapy nationwide. For more information, please visit www.ppsapta.org

 

south dakota occupational therapy

Physical Therapy’s Role in Maintaining a Healthy Spine

As we age, regular exercise plays an increasingly prominent role in reducing the risk of developing spine-related problems. For those in or approaching the golden years, it’s important to live an active lifestyle that focuses on healthy posture, function and movement.

It’s normal to experience some functional decline as our bones and intervertebral discs deteriorate over time, but that doesn’t mean that aches, pains and joint stiffness should go unaddressed. And yet, a good portion of senior citizens in the United States are living with spine-associated pain: A European Spine Journal study found that back and neck pain are top complaints among about 20 to 25% of the population over 70 years old.

Full Article. 

 

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Physical Therapy for Psoriatic Arthritis: 6 Things You Should Know

An expert answers common questions about how physical therapy can help people with psoriatic arthritis, and how to get started.

Living with psoriatic arthritis can mean chronic joint pain and swelling, constant fatigue, and a limited range of motion that makes daily activities a challenge. But working with a physical therapist can alleviate some of these symptoms.

Regular exercise helps keep the joints functioning properly. That’s where physical therapy comes in, according to Maura Daly Iversen, doctor of physical therapy, a professor and associate dean of clinical education, rehabilitation, and new initiatives at Northeastern University in Boston.

Full Article

south dakota occupational therapy

Fighting the Fatigue of RA

July 5, 2017 – Symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis (RA) don’t stop at joint pain and swelling. Most people with RA also experience mental and physical exhaustion, a symptom known as fatigue. Studies show that up to 80% of people with RA have at least some sense of feeling run down, and more than 50% have high levels of fatigue.

Terence Starz, MD, a rheumatologist at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, says the feeling can be described as overwhelming or different from just being tired because it is extreme and seems to come from nowhere. In fact, fatigue may have a greater impact on daily life than pain.

Read full article