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

Tips to Help Prevent Pain While Bicycling

Avid bicyclists spend a lot of time on their bikes, which can cause injuries and/or pain. In addition to a good bike fitting at your local bike shop, Jeff Steinberger, PT at Prairie Rehabilitation offers these exercise ideas and treatment tips. Jeff practices at our Sioux Falls Cliff Avenue clinic when he is not riding.

Jeff Steinberger, PT at Prairie Rehab

 

1. Stretch and be flexible. Many muscle groups tend to tighten with long bike rides. Your hips, hamstrings and heel cords are most at risk. Some simple exercises can help to keep the muscles long and add leg strengthening as well. To stretch your hips, try the following:

Standing Hip Flexor Stretch (Jason Rostomily, PTA at Prairie Rehab)

 

Hamstring Stretch (Zach Schneider, PT Student at Prairie Rehab)

For strengthening your quad muscles on the front of your thighs and to stretch heel cords, try this dynamic duo:

Glute Squat (Zach Schneider, PT Student at Prairie Rehab)

 

2. Get strong! Core strength of your hips, pelvic floor, back and abdomen combine to protect your spine. A proper plank exercise works most of these muscles. Do not arch up or sag down. Stay straight.

Prone Plank Exercise
(Jason Rostomily, PTA at Prairie Rehab)

 

3. Be in balance with your movement. Your body is meant to move and if you move in balance, it functions best. If one side is injured and you favor it for a long time, your body adapts. Eventually that becomes your new normal, which creates additional wear and tear in your body. Again, a good bike fitting is important.

If you do develop some knee pain, Jeff has shown many this basic kinesiotaping which may save the day:

 

If these tips do not help, an evaluation by your physical therapist may be just the ticket you need to resolve your pain. 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.

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Physical Therapy: A Safe Alternative to Opioids for Pain Management

No one wants to live in pain, but no one should put their health at risk in an effort to be pain free. Doctor-prescribed opioids are appropriate in some cases, but they just mask the pain – and opioid risks include depression, overdose, and addiction, plus withdrawal symptoms when stopping use. That’s why the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) recommends safer alternatives like physical therapy to manage pain. Physical therapists treat pain through movement, hands-on care, and patient education – and by increasing physical activity you can also reduce your risk of other chronic diseases.

 

Full Article. 

 

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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

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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.

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Pelvic-Floor Dysfunction: Are You at Risk?

June 2, 2017 – The pain began like an odd muscle pull around her groin. “Within days, the area felt like it was on fire,” says Lisa, 36, a New Jersey mom of two and a human resources executive. “I’m a strong woman. But the pain was excruciating. At one point, I was curled in a ball at work, sobbing.”

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7 Myths About Physical Therapy

May 17, 2017 – People everywhere are experiencing the transformative effect physical therapy can have on their daily lives. In fact, as experts in the way the body moves, physical therapists help people of all ages and abilities reduce pain, improve or restore mobility, and stay active and fit throughout life. But there are some common misconceptions that often discourage people from visiting a physical therapist.

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