The Amazing Benefits of Stretching

Everyone knows that exercise is a part of healthy living, but do you consider a stretching routine part of your exercise program, or as an afterthought that gets done if “time permits?” Since no one ever has enough time, you may want to reconsider how you view exercise, as there are so many benefits to a stretching program. Everyone can learn to stretch, regardless of age or flexibility. Stretching should be a part of your daily routine, whether you exercise or not. It does not have to involve a huge amount of time, but stretching can end up giving you huge results!

Following are five of the most important benefits of stretching:

  • Reduced muscle tension
  • Increased range of movement in the joints
  • Enhanced muscular coordination
  • Increased circulation of the blood to various parts of the body
  • Increased energy levels (resulting from increased circulation)

How Do These Benefits Help You? 

Stretching helps you in many unusual and amazing ways. Stretching is not a prelude to an exercise program and many physicians recommend that a person does some quick aerobic exercises to warm up or prepare for exercising.

New reports explain that there may be many benefits of stretching on a routine basis, even if you don’t have a workout to do or are not a jogger. Following are some of the most amazing stretching benefits for you to consider on adding stretching to your routine. The following benefits all contribute to a healthier you!


Infuses You with Optimism 

People who are stressed often have muscles contract. In turn, these muscle contractions give you a physiological and emotional feeling of tenseness and overall uneasiness. When you feel these sensations, try stretching since it loosens muscles that are tight and simultaneously increases blood flow. Stretching has also been shown in studies to aid in the release of endorphins, a natural body substance that helps you attain a feeling of joy and serenity. Stretching when you wake up is a great way to start your day; stretching before bedtime will help optimize your sleep.


Stretching is a Great Midday Pick-Me-Up

Most people feel a little lethargic around mid-afternoon. If this describes you, try some stretching at your desk. Often, people who suffer these mid-afternoon groggy attacks find that stretching gives them an energy boost. When we feel lethargic our muscles tighten; stretching loosens these muscles, making standing at your desk and doing a few stretches an effective way to combat afternoon groggy attacks.


Lower Your Cholesterol

People who partake of prolonged stretching exercises and eat a healthy diet can help reduce cholesterol. In turn, reductions in cholesterol can prevent and may even reverse hardening of the arteries. Stretching also serves to aid in avoiding heart disease.


Better Blood Circulation

A stretching routine increases blood flow to your muscles. This, in turn, gives you two benefits that are:

  • Reductions in post-athletic soreness and recovery time; and
  • Improvement of your overall health.

These are functions of greater blood flow helping promote cell growth as well as organ function. Additionally, your heart rate will slow down as it has less work to do, while your blood pressure becomes more uniform and constant.


Makes You More Flexible

True, this is an expected result of stretching that some may argue is not amazing. But, did you know that improved flexibility results in an improved range of motion making your body work less making the same movements you do without stretching? Also, stretching lessens the likelihood of injuries during exercises or sports activities.


Stretching Improves Your Posture 

When you stretch you lengthen tight muscles that tend to pull parts of your body away from their intended positions, keeping your muscles loose, especially in your back torso. This helps keep your spine in the best possible alignment and relieve backaches and back pain. When back pain is alleviated, you tend to slouch less too.

Hold those stretches for a few seconds and see how much better you feel!

How To Treat Arthritis Pain

When it comes to relieving your arthritis aches and pains, you may have more options than you realize. There is a lot you can do to reduce your aches and pains from arthritis while gaining more mobility and function. Arthritis pain and inflammation is what we help our patients day in and day out with. If you want to know how to relieve and reduce the pain of arthritis, try physical therapy first. Patients often experience pain from arthritis because of stiff joints, muscles and other tissues. In addition, muscles become weak, therefore not supporting the arthritic joints. Our customized treatments promote muscle strength, improve range of motion, increase mobility and ease pain. In addition, coupling your physical therapy with the following can help you live life to the fullest and get you back to doing the things you love:

1. Education and self-management
When your physical therapy is over, your therapist will have equipped you with the knowledge and exercises you need to continue progressing on your own.

2. Weight loss
Maintaining your recommended weight or losing weight if you are overweight can lessen your pain by reducing stress on your affected joints. Weight loss specifically helps ease pressure on weight-bearing joints such as the hips and knees.

3. Footwear and insoles
If arthritis affects the knee, special footwear and insoles can reduce pain and improve walking.

4. Knee braces
For osteoarthritis with knee instability, a knee brace can reduce pain. In addition, it improves stability and reduces the risk of falling.

5. Heat and cold
Many people find the heat of a warm bath, heat pack or paraffin bath eases arthritis pain. Others find relief in cold packs. Still others prefer alternating the two. Learn more about what can work best for you by talking to our physical therapists.

6. Exercise
Exercise has been proven to help reduce arthritis pain while increasing strength and function. Knowing the right kind of exercises to do is the key. Talking with our physical therapists will point you in the right direction.

If arthritis pain is preventing you from doing all the activities that you love, we can develop a customized treatment plan to reduce your pain and improve your mobility. Call us today to get started!

How to Stay Active at Work

Having a desk job will naturally keep you from moving about in a natural fashion. The less you are active, the more you will experience fatigue and stiffness, both mentally and physically. Taking the time to move around and create a more comfortable environment for yourself may seem like wasted time, but your productivity will actually increase if you trust yourself to perform. Here are just a few of the activities that you must take the time to perform routinely in order to keep your blood flowing and your productivity high in the office.


Change Your Mentality

You must first break yourself of the mentality that says working without breaks is the most productive schedule that you can make for yourself. As a matter of fact, this is not true! Staying active will allow you to work more quickly, meaning that you can actually spend less time on work and accomplish more.


Break Every 20 Minutes

That’s right: You should get up to break from your job at least three times per hour. 20 minutes is just crossing the limit of the mind’s ability to work in a continuous manner. If you continue to work beyond this point without giving the brain the extra blood that it needs, you will slow your productivity. This is a physical reality, not a mental trick, so do not think that you can somehow will yourself to work faster. Take the breaks.


Exercise At Least 30 Minutes Per Day

Exercising at least half an hour per day will help the body get started. You should try to take this extended exercise break at a different time each day so that you can surprise your body into a higher mode of productivity. However, if lunch is the only time that you can get this done, then take it at lunch. Use that time for a brisk walk outside, and make sure that your lunch is healthy.


Stay Hydrated

Alongside blood, water is the most important element of productivity that you can give yourself to keep your productivity high. You do not have to worry about water with electrolytes or any special treatment other than purification. However, making sure that your body always has enough water is a physical reality, not a mental trick, and depriving yourself is doing you no favors. Take the time to ensure that you have the proper hydration to keep blood flowing to your brain and your joints loose.



Another way to keep your blood flowing is to stretch whenever you feel the urge. The body naturally gives you the feeling that you should stretch when it is feeling cloistered, and that means that blood is not moving as well as it should. The great thing about stretching is that you do not have to take a huge break to do it; the most that you may have to deal with is looking a bit weird at your desk. However, your productivity will speak volumes when it comes to your employee review, so do not worry about what people think of your looks.


Breathe Deeply

Breathing deeply helps to reduce the amount of stress that you feel. You will be able to think more clearly, and you will also work faster. Stress is not a productivity inducer for most people, regardless of how you think you perform under pressure.


Move Your Muscles

Finally, move your muscles constantly throughout the day, and take special pains to take a challenging class such as yoga or zumba. If you are improving your body, you cannot stay stagnant.

Causes of Low Back Pain & How Physical Therapy Can Help

Lower back pain is one of the most common reasons people cite for making an appointment with a physical therapist. Most people suffer from lower back pain to varying degrees at some point in their lives. Sometimes, lower back pain is more of an annoyance than anything else, but when lower back pain becomes severe, it can be seriously debilitating and prevent you from living your life. Typically, the sooner you seek treatment for lower back pain, the sooner you can find lasting relief.

Common Causes of Lower Back Pain

There are numerous potential causes for lower back pain. These days, poor posture and alignment of the spine is becoming an increasingly common cause—likely due to the fact that more people work in sedentary desk jobs than ever before. Without the proper lumbar support from an ergonomic desk chair, lower back pain can quickly occur as a result of poor posture and limited movement of the spinal joints throughout the day. Even those who are on their feet most of the day can suffer from lower back pain due to poor spinal and abdominal muscle support and lack of proper coordination of the spinal muscles.back-pain-female-

While lower back pain cannot always be prevented, it is possible to reduce your risk of lower back injuries and pain by making sure your back is well supported with proper posture throughout the day. For desk workers, this could mean investing in an ergonomic desk chair. For others, it may mean purchasing a quality pair of athletic shoes that will provide the proper level of foot and back support throughout the day.

Physical Therapy for Back Pain Relief

The good news is that if you’re suffering from lower back pain, physical therapy may be able to help. Seeking physical therapy as treatment for your lower back pain is always recommended before you decide to start taking any prescription medications. After all, anti-inflammatory and other medication may relieve your back pain in the short-term, but can also lead to long-term side effects. With physical therapy, you can enjoy a non-invasive and drug-free approach to long-term back pain relief. And physical therapy should always be attempted before taking any drastic measures, such as having back surgery done.

There are two common forms of physical therapy used for the treatment of lower back pain. These are passive and active physical therapy, and they differ greatly in their techniques and methods.

Passive physical therapy relies on techniques performed directly on the patient. This can include anything from applying heat or ice packs to the affected area or even stimulating the area with controlled electricity. Other modalities used here may include ultrasonography, TENS units, and iontophoresis.

Active physical therapy, on the other hand, refers to steps the patient will take (as instructed by a therapist) to treat and reduce lower back pain. Typically, this comes in the form of different exercises and stretches that are designed to reduce lower back pain and minimize future flare-ups as well. Some common examples of active physical therapy may include low-impact aerobic conditioning and back strengthening exercises. These can be done in your physical therapist’s office or at home, depending on your specific needs.

Overall, physical therapy can be a great option for treating just about any level of lower back pain. Through a combination of active and passive physical therapy, you can work towards reducing your pain and increasing your lower back strength to avoid future problems. Contact our team today to find out more about how we can help you overcome lower back pain.

What You Eat Can Make You Hurt More…

How Your Diet Can Make Your Aches and Pains Worse 

Do you suffer from chronic aches and pains? If so, then you’re not alone. Often times, “mystery” aches and pains are actually caused by localized inflammation in the body, which can occur as a result of overuse or even injury. And while there are anti-inflammatory medications available to help relieve pain, these come with their own potential for adverse side effects. What many people fail to realize is that inflammation can be hugely impacted by your diet and nutrition. By avoiding certain foods, you can prevent inflammation from occurring in the first place. And by eating the right foods, you can not only rid your body of toxins, but reduce inflammation as well.


Top Foods to Avoid

There are numerous foods and drinks that you should actively avoid if you’re suffering from pain caused by inflammation. Caffeinated beverages rank among the top of the list due to the affect that it can have on your body; unhealthy-foodspecifically, caffeine can alter your body’s pH balance, resulting in an increase in acidity. This increases inflammation by changing your body’s natural chemical processes.

Sugar and artificial sweeteners (such as aspartame) should also be avoided. Sugar, for example, causes your body’s insulin levels to spike and thus makes you even more sensitive to pain. Aspartame has a similar effect on the body. This means you should avoid any foods and beverages with added sugars and artificial sweeteners (including diet sodas). Even some seemingly healthy fruit juices have sugar added, so it’s important to avoid them.

Nightshade vegetables are another type of food worth avoiding if you face pain caused by inflammation; unfortunately, these vegetables are known to increase the inflammatory response in a person’s body. Some examples of these include eggplant, tomatoes, and potatoes.

Some other foods and drinks to avoid include:

  • white breads
  • coffee creamer
  • alcohol


Tips for Reducing Pain Through Nutrition

Now that you know which types of foods you should avoid if you suffer from pain due to inflammation, what kinds of changes can you make in your diet to promote a healthier and pain-free lifestyle? For starters, opting for a more natural diet of greens, fresh fruits, and certain vegetables (not nightshade) is a great way to reduce inflammation and pain. And perhaps one of the best things you can do for yourself is to simply drink more water. If you’re the type of person who drinks a lot of juices, sodas, and other questionable beverages, you might be amazed at how much better you feel just by switching to water. That’s because water can help flush toxins out of your body, which can in turn reduce pain caused by inflammation.

If you’re not doing so already, now is also a good time to start working to improve your gut health. Consider, for example, taking a daily probiotic, which will help balance out the bacteria in your gut. There are also foods you can eat that contain natural probiotics, such as yogurt. Just be sure to avoid yogurts that have a lot of added sugar and flavoring. Plain, Greek yogurt is typically your safest option here. You can always add a little granola or even fresh berries for more flavor.

Dealing with pain due to inflammation is something nobody should have to deal with. Unfortunately, this is a problem that plagues a large portion of the population. By understanding what foods worsen your inflammation and how you can reduce it through a healthier and more natural diet, however, you can find ways to reduce pains without the need for medications.


Don’t Let PAIN Ruin Your Summer

Sfishingummertime for both kids and adults is always an exciting season of longer days, and beautiful weather. It gives us an excuse to get   outdoors, go on vacation, and try to not work as hard. But, for those with chronic pain, summer isn’t always a time to look forward to. Chronic pain sufferers don’t always have the same luxuries when it comes to summertime fun, and can find themselves sitting on the sidelines while watching their friends and family enjoy themselves.

There is still hope for everyone though, including those who deal with chronic pain on multiple levels. You don’t have to give up your summer to chronic pain, you just need to find balance! While you may not get to experience everything to the full extent, you can however find ways to still get out and enjoy your summer. Here are some ways to still enjoy summer activities while living with chronic pain.




Camping:  While sleeping on the ground inside a tent in the heat is almost impossible for anyone with chronic pain, consider camping with a motorized camper/RV. This will allow you to still enjoy the experience of sitting around the campfire with your family, while still enjoying a cool and comfortable night’s sleep.

Hiking: If you have a love for hiking and experiencing the outdoors, chronic pain doesn’t have to stop you. A simple walking stick can make a huge difference in your ability to hike, without pain taking over too quickly.

Swimming: Going to the beach and pool are synonymous with summertime and nobody wants to miss the chance to cool off and relax in the sun. With the help of floatation devices such as noodles, or paddle boards, you can enjoy the water without the work that can flare pain. Relaxing like this in the water is also a good remedy for pain!

Vacations: Traveling is hard for those with chronic pain due to being crammed in a car during long distance drives.  Consider buying or renting an RV for long distances so you can rest with plenty of room when pain decides to act up.

Don’t let pain stop you from enjoying your summer. No matter how old you are, we all deserve a little summer vacation fun!


Resource:  Advanced Pain Management