WESTARM PHYSICAL THERAPY Medical Blog

Make sure that you stay up to date on the latest medical trends and treatments in the Physical Therapy realm! This medical blog is here to inform and educate our patients in their rehabilitation journey for a brighter future.

Blood Flow Restriction (BFR) Therapy NOW AVAILABLE

What is BFR (Blood Flow Restriction) Therapy?
  • Blood Flow Restriction is a technique which helps improve muscular growth, muscle repair, and aerobic capacity in combination with resistance and aerobic exercises.
  • BFR allows the body to respond to low intensity exercise as if it were moderate-to-high intensity exercise.
  • BFR is customized to each individual.
Who can benefit from BFR Therapy?
  • Athletes who wish to train with lower intensities due to injuries 
  • Post-Surgical patients looking to rebuild muscle strength at a quicker rate
  • Geriatric patients who would like to reverse deconditioning 
  • Individuals recovering from a rotator cuff injury, an ACL injury, or total joint replacement such as shoulder, hip or knee
Potential benefits of BFR Therapy:
  • Increased muscle strength
  • Increased aerobic capacity
  • Decreased pain and stiffness

BFR Therapy is a new technique being utilized in professional sports and military training facilities to improve recovery times, reduce stress to athletes, minimize treatment times. If you think you may be able to benefit from BFR feel free to contact us!

Reduce your risk of neck pain by being mindful of your positioning

Although you may not pay it all that much attention, the neck has a pretty crucial job to perform. It provides support for the head and allows movement in a variety of directions so you can better see and navigate the world around you. But as we discussed in our last newsletter, the neck is also an extremely common site of pain on account of how frequently it’s used, and this pain can stand in the way of a satisfactory quality of life.

A wide array of factors can contribute to the development of neck pain in any given individual. Unfortunately, some of these factors are completely out of your control, like the age-related changes to the cervical spine that make certain neck conditions more likely to occur. These are considered non-modifiable risk factors and simply have to be accepted since nothing can be done to alter them. On the other hand, modifiable risk factors are those that each individual has the capacity to change. And in doing so, you have the power to reduce your risk for encountering neck pain.

Two modifiable risk factors that can strongly influence your chances of getting neck pain relate to where you sleep and work. These are the two places that many of us spend the majority of our time on any given day, which means that how you position your body—particularly your neck—in each of them warrants your attention. Below are some of the best tips to improve your posture and positioning at your bed and at your work desk to lower your risk for neck pain.

Tips for better posture while sleeping

We spend roughly one-third of our lives sleeping, so the habits we develop in both our sleeping patterns and in how our beds are set up can have a major impact on the rest of the day. Sleeping in the wrong position or on a pillow that’s not supportive enough can lead to neck pain immediately or may contribute to it gradually over time. Try the following to optimize the setup of your bed:

  • Avoid stomach sleeping: the best sleeping position is on the back, followed by the side, while stomach sleeping turns the neck to the side and can lead to neck pain; sleeping positions are often established earlier in life and can be difficult to change, but trying to start a night’s sleep on the back will increase your chances of remaining in that position
  • Use the right pillow: make sure your pillow is of the appropriate firmness for your neck; different types of pillows are better for different individuals, but a good rule of thumb is to try to use a pillow that keeps your upper spine in neutral alignment, which means the natural curve of the neck is supported and maintained; feather and memory foam pillows may be helpful, while pillows that are too high or too stiff should be avoided
  • Maintain healthy sleeping habits: getting the recommended 7–9 hours of sleep each night is associated with a host of health benefits, one of which is a reduced risk for neck pain

Tips for better posture at your work desk

For the many individuals that work in an office of any sort, another significant chunk of each day is spent sitting at a desk. As with bed setups, the way in which a workstation is arranged affects the neck and can play a part in the development of pain. To ensure that your workstation is not adding any strain to your neck, we recommend the following:

  • Make sure your computer is at eye level and not too close or far away from you; you shouldn’t have to crane your neck down or strain your eyes to look at it
  • When seated, the feet should be flat on the floor and the back of the chair should be in an upright position
  • Keep the keyboard directly in front of you, close by, and at a height so your shoulders are relaxed, elbows slightly bent, and wrist and hands straight
  • Consider using a document holder placed next to your computer to avoid constant neck movement when switching between the two

Other

  • Avoid neck strain when using your phone by raising it to eye level, taking frequent breaks, and minimizing phone time
  • Use a headset or headphones if you are on the phone frequently
  • Use a neck pillow for flights and long car rides
  • Regularly perform stretching and strengthening exercises for the neck to keep it flexible and strong

Four Stretches for Lower Back pain

        Stay loose with these four stretches for lower back pain. Video demonstrations are available if you click on the title:

  • Extended Child’s Pose (Prayer Stretch) Tucking your legs and feet underneath, sit back on the heels and bend forward at the waist, extending arms out over the head onto the floor in front. The goal is to get length in the lower back muscle.

  • Single Leg Knee to Chest –In order to stretch the hips, hamstrings, lower back, and glutes, lie on your back with one knee bent, and one leg straight.  Place hands behind the leg and pull back towards your chest until a light stretch is felt down the back of the leg. You can also place hands over the bent leg on the shin or knee and pull towards your chest.

 

  • Supine Spinal Twist  – While lying down, hug your right knee to your chest. Then take your left hand to the outside of your right knee, and guide the knee to your left. Reach your right arm all the way to the right and turn your neck gently to gaze at your hand while holding the posture. Hold for 20-30 second and repeat on the other side.

  • Reclining Pigeon Pose (Pirformis Stretch) – Lying on your back with your knees bent and soles of your feet on the ground, raise your right ankle over your left knee in a “figure 4” pose. Reach your right hand through the opening between your legs and reach your left hand around the outside of your left leg and grab either your left calf or your left hamstring. Using both arms, gently pull your left leg in towards your chest until you feel a stretch.  *Caution: do not attempt this stretch if you have chronic knee pain*

 

 

 

Preparation and maintenance is the key to having a healthy winter, healthy summer, and a healthy life. As always, if you ever need help, we are here to get you to where you want to be. Did you know that you can seek our guidance without a Physician’s referral? Please contact a Physical Therapist at WESTARM if you need guidance.

**The information on this site is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. All content, including text, graphics, images and information, contained on or available through this web site is for general information purposes only.**

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