Latest Physical Therapy News

What do tight ballcaps, hairbands and glasses all have in common?


August 29, 2018

Headache ..? It might be your headgear.

So, it occurred to me, that most people actually do not know the answer to the question: What do tight ball caps, hairbands and glasses all have in common?   We could add more items to that same list…
  • Leaning your chin in your hands
  • Sleeping with your hand against your face
  • Wearing tight earmuffs
  • Using over the ear headphones for a long period of time
We can sometimes do all of the things above and have no issues at all that we know of, and then, one day, suddenly have a lot of issues.  The symptoms of something going wrong can be:
  • Headaches
  • Ear pain
  • Vision changes
  • Sinus changes ( been having sinus infections?)
  • Tinnitus (if you have to ask what this is…you do not have it)

Mechanical Changes Throughout Bones

If you have been following our articles over the years, you might recognize this list as the list of issues that can be tied to craniosacral problems. If you are having any of these problems we can help. Any pressure, especially prolonged or repeated pressure to any part of the head can cause a mechanical change throughout the cranial/head bones, that can then become things  like headaches and earaches, and sinus infections. These changes do not necessarily happen over night like brain injuries or concussions, but the wear of your glasses or hats does make an impact on the skull. It may take years for the effects to take place but we can help relieve some of the pressure  and symptoms with craniosacral therapy.

Some of the pressure points to be aware of include:
  • temples
  • forehead
  • ears
  • jaw
  • eyes
  • chin

Increased pressure on any of these areas can cause craniosacral shifts over time. These small shifts can lead to later issues like those listed above. We at Body Image Physical Therapy & Fitness, P.C. can help you with your headaches and other craniosacral problems.

For Those of You Who Are New To Craniosacral Therapy

Craniosacral therapy (CST) is a gentle, hands-on method of evaluating and enhancing
the functioning of a physiological system called the craniosacral system. This system is
comprised of the membranes and cerebrospinal fluid that surround and protect the brain
and spinal cord. When something goes wrong in this system, it can cause issues
throughout the body. Even some odd issues that don’t seem connected like neck problems leading to hip pain.

When pressure is being applied to your head’s pressure points it can create issues as well. Some headgear may seem more common for causing these headaches and they can even lead into long term migraines without proper care and treatment.

Like mentioned above ball caps can cause issues. If you are frequent hat wearer taking a break from wearing hats or find hats that fit more loosely. This can help reduce the amount of pressure on your skull, therefore helping to reduce migraines. It might also be a nice break from that hat hair. But hats are not the only headgear that can cause issues.


The Shocking Cause Behind Your Headache

Tight glasses seem to be the one item on this list people are most surprised about.  When you feel around the curve of your ears, do you feel a deep ridge where your glasses sit?  Is this area tender to touch? This might be a sign you need new glasses. Especially if you just got new glasses and you are already feeling pain or discomfort from them. They won’t wear in but your skull might change around your glasses and make feel more comfortable.

Vision specialists want our eyes to be centered a certain way with our glasses, that may mean the frame needs to be small to keep our glasses properly positioned for our eyes. Or that they are tight and put continued pressure on our ears. Even smaller frames with spring loaded ear pieces are a problem because they are still applying pressure, though this is a step up from frames that are simply too tight.

As a PT, I would like to see everyone with lightweight, extra wide frames (not smaller frames with spring loaded ear pieces, because  that still creates pressure) where the earpieces sit softly about the curve of the ear. It is an even bigger issue if the ear pieces are causing pressure at the temples before they even get to the ear. So I want everyone to consider getting wider glasses to prevent craniosacral problems in the long run. After all an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.

So following this line of logic, looking at things like leaning into your hands, tight earmuffs, ball caps, etc, the pressure that is exerted on the head can cause a variety of problems that are preventable.  So…..loosen that cap, buy wider glasses and stretch out those earmuffs! No more ridges may mean no more headaches!

Even changing your sleeping or resting posture can help reduce the amount of pressure put on your head and neck helping to reduce problems. If you have had problems falling asleep  or staying asleep craniosacral therapy has also shown to help with these issues. It can even help with mental health issues such as depression and anxiety!

While prevention is definitely worth more in the long run if you have found yourself having problems with migraines, insomnia, or neck pain Body Image PT can help you with some Craniosacral Therapy. We can even help you adjust your habits and posture to prevent more problems from occurring in the future.  

Don’t let craniosacral problems lead your life any longer. We can help relieve the pain and pressure that these issues cause because our job at Body Image Physical Therapy & Fitness is to provide the highest quality of care to the health needs of our community, Body Image Physical Therapy & Fitness, P.C. seeks to maintain the highest treatment standards and be a great source of information. If we can help you, contact us today!

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Loss of balance and endurance….is this really part of growing older?


August 2, 2018

Some things we can blame on age, and some things we just can’t.  Loss of balance and loss of endurance are two items that often occur together later in life, so it may seem that the timing would support this as an age related issue.  My 78 year old uncle who has had both knees replaced would beg to differ. He plays tennis, walks any terrain at a clip that would challenge a mountain goat, and will do so for hours at a time, completely unaffected.  Yes, he may have good genes, but that did not build endurance or bolster his balance capability to this extensive level.

Lack of Endurance


Lack of endurance generally means activity levels have been low for a while, and the body has adapted downward.  The mistake most often made, is giving in to the lack of endurance, thereby lowering the standards of what we expect from our bodies.  If we do less because we have low endurance, our tolerance to higher levels of activity will quickly adapt and decrease even more. Eventually, a sedentary lifestyle ensues, which brings an entire list of new  medical issues with it. Lack of endurance is countered simply by doing more sustained activity, slowly increasing over a period of time.

Why Endurance is Important


Physical endurance is your body’s ability to perform repetitive motions, lengthening and contracting over a period of time and last or continue an activity during fatigue, stress or other conditions.

As we age improving or maintaining endurance is important to quality of life, makes everyday task easier and give you more energy. Muscular endurance has beneficial effects on bone and joints as well. Healthy bones and joints may decrease the risk of osteoporosis, bone fractures and reduce the likelihood of injury.

Building endurance will have positivity influence your metabolism, helping you burn extra calories to loss weight or keep you at a healthy weight.

Lack of Balance


Lack of balance can be less obvious at first glance. When we are used to standing flat on both feet, centered, and symmetrical, we get used to flat, centered and symmetrical.  When was the last time you brushed your teeth standing on one foot….holding the toothbrush with your non dominant hand…..with your eyes closed? Ok…maybe try just one of those at first.  The classic test is this: Stand with your feet hip width apart (no…your hips are not that wide), cross your arms at your chest and close your eyes.  Can you stand still without wavering? Now try it on one leg. Yes, we are supposed to be able to do that.  Now can you juggle the good china overhead while standing on one leg?

Why Balance is Important


Balance is key to functional movement. Balance involve your postural equilibrium, muscular balance, joint dynamics, neuromuscular and stability. Balance is important to maintain stability and flexibility.

Balance is control. It is not surprising that balance is learned but can be improved. Building dexterity and strength that promotes good balance help you move smoothly and assuredly daily, whether we are gardening, playing with grandchildren, chasing down a taxi, or simply walking up the stairs. A good sense of balance along with a strong kinesthetic awareness of where your body is in relation to the things around you will help you react fast and prevent accidents and injuries.

The moral of the story is one we really already know; your body gets good at the things it practices.  If your lack of balance or endurance is due to injury, see your physical therapist for help. Improving your balance requires use of a little  imagination, but try just starting with some simple tasks as noted above, perhaps minus the good china. Endurance is pretty straightforward. Just beware of falling into the “I can’t walk that far, so I’ll just sit here and wait for you” syndrome.  Spring is here and summer is on its way. Time to get up and juggle some china.

Our job at Body Image Physical Therapy & Fitness is to provide the highest quality of care to the health needs of our community, Body Image Physical Therapy & Fitness, P.C. seeks to maintain the highest treatment standards and be a great source of information. If we can help you, contact us today!
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How Does CranioSacral Physical Therapy (CST) Help with Chronic and Acute Pain?


July 4, 2018

If you've never heard of craniosacral therapy, you're not alone. John Upledger was the first person to bring Craniosacral therapy to the forefront in the 1970's. The term marries both "cranium" and the pelvic bone connected to a spine. As an alternative therapy in the medical world, Craniosacral therapy employs a gentle method aimed at strenghtening the physiological system. This system is comprised of the membranes and cerebrospinal fluid that surround and protect the brain and spinal cord. These intricate systems work together to play a central role in the overall controlling functions of the body. As a result, when something goes wrong with this system, it can cause issues throughout the entire body such as lower back pain and knee pain.

Using very little pressure, practitioners give relief to the central nervous system by manipulating the blocked pathways. This is aimed at re-balancing these structures and is  necessary even decades after injuries have occurred throughout the body. Many injuries can continue to persist for years beacuse the trauma was never fully addressed.
 
How does Craniosacral Therapy help with chronic and acute pain? Let’s take an in-depth look at what is chronic pain and acute pain?

What is Chronic Pain?

Pain that is considered chronic lasts more than three months. This type of pain is different than cutting your finger or injuring your knee while running. Chronic pain is usually more of a constant dull pain that never seems to heal, but can also commonly be experienced as pain that is throbbing, burning, shooting or stiffness.
 
Many people experience chronic pain after an injury that hasn’t been taken care of properly. When an injury is suffered, surrounding pain sensors send a signal from nerves to your brain. As an injury heals, the strength and existence of these pain signals dissipate until they are no longer felt. However, in the case of chronic pain, the nerves do not stop transmitting these signals to the brain after the body has recovered.
 
Many times, however, it is a puzzle when it comes at identifying the pain points where the chronic pain starts to originate and beacsue of this, practitioners use trial and error. When left untreated or ineffectively treated, this ongoing discomfort can make it difficult for a person to function on a daily basis. This interference with the performance of routine activities can often lead to mental health issues as pain is intertwined with emotions such as anger, depression, fear, etc.
 
While finding the right treatment might be difficult to find, it is not possible. The following are regularly causes of chronic pain, though there are many others. If any of these issues are present, consider using CST to address pain:
  • Back problems
  • Neck problems
  • Past, untreated injuries
  • Arthritis
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Migraines
  • Infections
  • Nerve Damage

Acute Pain

Acute pain is classified differently than chronic pain because of the duration. Acute pain typically lasts less than three to six months and is related to soft tissue damage such as scrape or a sprain. Chronic pain differs from acute pain in that acute pain will cause discomfort until the injury heals and is always easier to eradicate. The pain can easily be assigned to an existing trauma and more easily addressed.

How Craniosacral Therapy Helps
The membranes and fluids that surround the central nervous system are subjected to strains throughout daily activities. Overtime, this can cause the craniosacral system to develop tensions that restrict the body’s ability to function naturally. Craniosacral therapy aims to remedy the pain processing and the brain and spinal cord and release the tension that has become present and causes ongoing problems.

As a tool that encourages the body's natural healing processes, CST is used as a preventive measur and helps at curbing disease as well as a multitude of medical problems.
 
  • Migraines/Headaches
  • Chronic Neck and Back Pain
  • Motor-Coordination Impairments
  • Central Nervous System Disorders
  • Concussions
  • Traumatic Brain and Spinal Cord Injuries
  • Chronic Fatigue
  • Stress/ Tension-Related Issues
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Temporomandibular Joint Syndrome (TMJ)
  • Neurovascular Disorders
  • Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
  • Pelvic Pain
 
Craniosacral therapists use the rhythm of your body to create a healing blood flow. Often times their work releases trapped traumas from physical injuries, emotional and psychological stresses throughout the individual's life. There are many individuals who have been told that their condition is genetic or caused by stress, and if no effective treatment has been found for them, they may have to learn to live with it. Craniosacral work offers lots of hope in taregting specific issues and is goes strigh to the source--n the cental nervous system.                                                                                                                                                        
 
This is a specialized type of treatment, and Body Image Physical Therapy has several practitioners who have used this as part of their normal physical therapy practice for over 25 years. Many patients have dramatically improved their pain after starting to implement   craniosacral therapy. A craniosacral session goes for about 45-60 minutes and may be covrered by insurance.

Contact Body Image Physical Therapy today at 720-870-8900 or fill out our contact form on the website to get help living the life you love, pain free. We are the experts in this field and are excited to help you with Craniosacral therapy in Aurora. We offer a wide range of both traditional and alternative treatments aimed at serving the community with the highest standards of care. We can help with neck pain treatment, lower back, chronic back pain and more.  No matter what you are experiencing, we are here to help you recover. We look forward to working with you soon!
 
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Stop Relying on Your Old Supports/Braces!


June 6, 2018

One of the most common comments we hear in physical therapy and in the fitness center is…

”You know….I do have a few knee braces in my closet….maybe I should wear those again” (Or back brace, ankle brace, elbow brace, etc.). 

Unfortunately, many people believe that once an injured joint, muscle, tendon or ligament, always an injured body part. That is not always the case! This kind of thinking causes people to keep their braces safely tucked away, just in case they might need them in the future. Although we do have some people that might need to go back to their old supports for specific activities, it should really be limited. The goal is to heal completely and properly and retire your support/brace. But when do we know when the time is right?
Here are some general guidelines for when it comes to using support devices:
 

Post Surgery

If you had a surgery to correct a mechanical problem and that surgery really did correct that issue, like an ACL reconstruction, or a spine fusion, you will usually graduate to the next phase of healing. The next chapter is usually the use of a support/brace for a specified period of time. Following that you will start retraining the muscles to support that area correctly. Once that has occurred, it would be no longer be necessary to use that support or brace. The retraining of the muscles supporting the area is as important as the surgery in making sure that you get long-term relief and you cannot properly do that if you are consistently relying on a brace. If you are still experiencing trouble with the affected area, you should contact your medical professional or physical therapist to understand more clearly why your body is failing to fully recover properly. Relying on a brace can cause long-term problems if your muscles are not retrained.
 

Post Therapy

There are many kinds of injuries that might require a support or brace for recovery and can be common, especially for high impact careers and athletes. This can include but is not limited to a blown out knee, ligament damage, fractures, and torn muscles. If you had a non-surgical injury, then the same pathway is generally followed as with a postoperative status. There may be some kind of brace or support, followed by rehab to help the body recover strength, balance, and endurance. At this point in your recovery process, it is vital to use the brace prescribed so you can retrain your muscles affected. But be sure to only rely on the brace for as long as prescribed by your If the area of concern is deemed to be permanently unstable, then a brace may be appropriate at certain times. Your rehab specialist will help you make this determination and will instruct you on how and when to rely on the brace.
 

On-going Pain

Do you suffer from on-going pain after a surgery or injury? If you are reaching for your braces and supports anytime you even consider activity or feel pain, perhaps the issue was never fully resolved. Have you seen a professional about it lately? There have been significant advances in surgery and physical therapy and your issue may be one that can now be addressed more easily than it once might have been. Remember that oftentimes, chronic issues can cause secondary concerns or overcompensation that can actually be worse than the original injury. This can happen because the patient may have chosen to just deal with the injury or suffer through it instead of fixing it properly by engaging the help of a medical professional. Once the mechanical fault has been addressed (and this does not always involve surgery), rehab or physical therapy will help ensure a complete return to a normal lifestyle. 
 

Here are three things you should remember when recovering from an injury:

  1. Be careful to not have too much impact on your injury. If you have on-going knee pain, it might benefit for you to alternate exercise to something that has less impact on your knee. Talk to your rehab specialist to discuss equivalent activities that you can participate in. Instead of running, you might switch to something that isn’t as hard on your knees, such as swimming.
 
  1. Don’t rest too much. Although your doctor might recommend down time, you will also need to restore and rehabilitate the injured muscles eventually. A lack of activity can cause weight gain, stiffness, or a lack of adequate healing. This can cause your recovery time to increase even more. It is important to follow directions provided by your  physical therapist as they might provide you with specific stretches that are directly associated to your injury. Make sure to talk to your doctor about which activities you can start out with that are low impact before you graduate to your regular exercise regimen. Another issue that is commonly related is weight gain associated with down time. Weight gain can affect your injury too and it is vital that you get back to your regular exercise schedule as quickly as possible to minimize that happening.
 
 
  1. Wear the right shoes. Be sure to understand what shoes and inserts are the best option for you based on your injury, body type, and shape of foot. If you have high arches, you need a shoe with stronger support. There are a multitude of options available for you to choose from when it comes to shoes. You can even consider getting custom inserts made that are perfectly formed to your feet for the ultimate support.
Give those braces away, and make more room in that closet for hiking boots, skis and biking shoes. Life is short…and time is precious.  Worry about whether or not you still fit into your uniform, and not whether or not you still fit into your brace.

If you have any questions about whether or not you should be using an old brace, please contact Body Image Physical Therapy & Fitness Center to schedule an appointment or get more information at 720-870-8900! We are more than happy to help you be on your way to a full recovery.
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It's April in the Rockies and Time to Work Out the Winter Kinks!


April 11, 2018

Springtime: April showers, digging in the yard, hiking, biking, climbing, running, skateboarding, soccer, baseball, park days…..that time of sliding out from under the winter blahs and back into all those outdoor activities. It’s that time for those activities that Colorado affords us the opportunity to do 6 months out of the year by providing us clear skies and the perfect temperature. Of course, if you are a true Coloradan, you have already had the shorts, t shirts and sandals out for months.

Whether you are an extreme outdoor enthusiast or a casual admirer of CO’s beautiful weather, there are steps you should take to shake off the winter cobwebs. Jumping head first into your favorite spring activities can lead to soreness or even muscle and joint injuries. It’s a story we hear all the time here at Body Image Physical Therapy and Fitness. Here are a few exercises that can help with full return to activity and which can also lessen the possibility of needing to see your orthopedist or PT anytime soon:

Back bends:

Back injuries are both common and can be very serious. Dealing with pain from a back injury can take you out of commission for a significant period of time. It is important to take the necessary preventive steps to make sure you aren’t wasting any of your spring days stuck laying down on the couch. Back bends are especially important after bending over in the garden or spending an extended time in a forward bent posture, come back up to erect position slowly, while squeezing the butt muscles isometrically, and then gently bending slightly backwards a few times. This helps with realignment of the spinal segments and encourages the muscles to pull you back into a fully erect position more comfortably.

Pectoral stretches and scapular squeezes: 

We also spend so much time with our arms in front of us (think driving, computer work, knitting, holding a book, holding any electronic device, etc) that our chest muscles tend to get short and the postural muscles get too long and ineffective. Spend at least 60 seconds a couple times per day, putting your hands on your doorframe about eye level and leaning your body gently through the doorway to stretch the chest muscles. Then drop your arms at your sides and pull the shoulder blades gently down and together to help activate the postural muscles. This is a subtle motion and the arms should not move when you do this; just pull from the blades.

Quad and Hamstring stretching:

Another 60 seconds on each leg for the quads and the hamstrings will go a long way in loosening up the rest of the body. To stretch your quads, stand erect and bend a knee, bringing your heel to your butt. Keep the knees in line with each other and hold your foot with the hand on the same side as the bent knee. Place your other hand on a stable object in order to brace yourself for balance if you are struggling to hold the position. Next you will want to work on loosening the hamstrings. Simply begin by facing a chair (or any flat surface of a similar height), stepping back away from the chair, keeping all toes pointing forward, and placing one heel on the chair with the knee straight. Keep your body upright, and lean forward but all the way not down (like trying to keep your nose above water).
 

Calf Stretches: 

Calf stretches can be especially important for hiking. Calf cramps are zero fun and can happen easily if you don’t take the time to loosen them up. To stretch your calf you will want to find a wall or some other stable upright structure of some sort. Face the wall and step backward with your right foot, bringing your right heel all the way to the ground. Be sure you are keeping the toes of both feet pointing forward toward the wall. Your right foot should be stepped back far enough to where your left knee bends. Place your hands on the wall for balance. You want to be in a comfortable position, yet still feeling the stretch in your right calf. Hold this stretch for 30-60 seconds. After, switch the position of your feet to stretch your left calf.

Groin Stretches: 

When you have tightness in your groin and inner thighs, you may experience pain in both your hips and lower back. The following simple stretch is another great warm up for nearly any outdoor activity. The first step is to stand upright with your feet spread apart and toes pointed slightly outward. You will want to slowly lunge or bend your knee to one side until your knee is roughly over your foot. After holding the position for 30-60 seconds, stand back upright, and repeat the move to the other side.

Taking a few minutes to stretch is a much better option than taking a few days, weeks, or months to heal after damaging your body. Remember to stretch about a minute (watch the clock, please) as your muscles need time to understand they are being required to lengthen. Do not only stretch before engaging in physical activities. Also be sure to stretch after activities to re-lengthen the muscles and do dynamic warm up before activities to get the blood circulating for action.

When you incorporate a routine of pre and post stretches surrounding physical activity, you are doing more than helping to prevent injuries. Increasing blood circulation to muscles, improving your posture, acquiring a greater range of flexibility,  reducing overall soreness resulting after strenuous activity are all health benefits of stretching. However, there is no foolproof protection against sustaining an injury. If you do get hurt during your spring adventures, contact Body Image Physical Therapy & Fitness to help get you back in action in the shortest amount of time possible.
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