Latest Physical Therapy News

Aurora Physical Therapist: To Sit or Not to Sit…That is the Question

November 3, 2017

What is the best position to work in at our desks? Do we sit in a chair, kneel on a kneeling chair, sit on a exercise ball, stand in place, or use a treadmill desk? How about a combination of all of the above? How often do we do each position? Is this good for everyone? It can all be quite confusing. We have many patients at Body Image Physical Therapy in Aurora who deal with pains contributing from and/or while working at their computer desks.

In recent years, there has been a rising popularity of standing desks and other alternatives to sitting methods. These alternatives to the traditional work chair aim to bring passive benefits to your health throughout your work day. People argue that spending an extended time in traditional desk chairs is sedentary and unnatural for human biology. The idea is that humans evolved as hunter-gatherers who are meant to be moving more consistently.

A number of studies have been conducted to try and determine exactly how long hours of sitting can be detrimental to your wellbeing. Some of the findings suggest that sitting causes issues related to your back, posture, weight, insulin levels, longevity, and even certain types of cancer. While there is dispute among the validity and extent of some of the conclusions drawn by various studies, it is generally believed that taking some regular level of break from the typical sitting position is positive for your health.

Taking breaks from sitting can often be incorporated somewhat naturally into the workplace. For instance, you could walk over to your colleagues to talk to them rather than email or call them. If you are talking on a cordless phone or headset, you may want to pace around the room over the course of the conversation. Plan regular water breaks where you walk around a bit while getting hydrated. Take the stairs when feasible. If you are unable or infrequently able to do these things, then try to plan short breaks specifically for walking or stretching once or twice an hour. You can tell your boss these types of breaks have often been shown to increase productivity.
If you are looking to incorporate more than occasional sitting breaks, there are a few fairly common substitutes for your average desk chair. Here are a few tips and considerations as you negotiate this maze of options:
  1. Kneeling chairs really only work for a small percentage of people. They claim to be better for your back and neck while burning more calories by engaging your core. However, kneeling for extended periods of time can cause it’s own issues and isn’t necessarily better for your back or neck. In general, I do not recommend this, especially if there has ever been knee or hip issues.
  1. If you sit in a chair, you do not have to have an expensive chair to have it work for you. It needs to be adjustable in all directions, have a built in lumbar support that fits your lumbar curve, and, when possible, armrests that fit so that you can truly rest your arms on them as you drop your hands onto your keyboard. Try to monitor your posture when possible to avoid craning your neck or bending over your keyboard. Follow these tips on how to sit at a computer to minimize some of the common strains of desk work.
  1. Exercise balls should really only to be used only part of the time, not full time for most people. It is a lot of work to sit properly on a ball. It also has to be the right height for the desk and keyboard to keep stress on the body low. Exercise balls keep you moving and engage you physically, reducing back problems and burning more calories. I generally recommend that a ball be used only 10-15 minutes out of the hour. If you are using a exercise ball with a ring on the floor, or with a seat back on it, then the purpose behind using a exercise ball has been lost. The ball has to be able to move to be useful.
  1. Treadmill desks seem to work for those who can do two things at one time. Obviously walking is an low exertion exercise that yields several benefits to the body. However, walking engages gait control which places demands on the brain. For most people, walking will deter their ability to focus on more intensive tasks. It would not be recommended for anyone with balance or vestibular issues or for anyone who has experienced foot/ankle, knee, hip or spine issues. Your core needs to be strong as do the hips/pelvic muscles.
  1. Now to speak to the newest and most prevalent trend… the sit to stand desks. This is a great idea in theory. It still requires the user to have a decent core as well as the awareness of knowing how to stand properly. It allows people to change the position of their body quickly and conveniently. The ability to stand for a while instead of sitting should be beneficial for most people; it just needs to be done properly, just like how sitting has to be done properly. Read these tips for using a standing desk.

There is little doubt that continuously sitting or remaining in any singular position over a long period of time is not ideal for health and fitness. The point really is that changing positions frequently, getting up and moving around on a regular basis is just a good idea regardless of how you are positioned at your desk throughout the day. The same positioning does not work for everyone, and your needs might change from year to year.

If you need help because nothing is comfortable…you may need to be in physical therapy.  At Body Image Physical Therapy, we help rehabilitate patients with a variety of disorders, aches, and pains. We educate our patients, so they understand what we are doing and how they can help themselves. Give us a call to see if we can help!

Common Female Fitness in Weight Training Myths

October 25, 2017

There are countless fitness industry myths out there which can lead to a lot of confusion. In fact this industry generates over 80 billion U.S. dollars of revenue each year - and it’s only growing. We are inundated with advertisements for the perfect body, best abs, toned muscles, with a growing number of gyms, workouts, diets, products, and Insta-famous fitness gurus touting “the best” results for women it’s hard to know where to turn.

Sometimes it feels like an over abundance of information that can be confusing and hard to know what works for your body shape, size and goals. Do this workout, exercise like this, drink these shakes, takes these supplements. With a vast amount of knowledge and research behind the best workouts for women, it seems like it should be easy to understand, however, that is not always the case.

Learn more about the top 5 weight training myths for women.

1. One common myth regarding women in fitness is that they should not lift heavy weights and stick to a small weights with high reps to avoid becoming “too” muscular.

This is not true, because women produce smaller amounts of testosterone (a muscle mass and strength building hormone) than men do, therefore, participating in strength training exercise allows women to develop a lean, feminine physique that is accompanied by a boost in metabolism, lower body fat percentage, increased bone density and muscle tone. There can also be a general decrease in injury risk due to greater structural strength in ligaments and tendons that protect and surround joints.

2. Another common myth in women’s fitness is, building muscle will make you heavier.

This is also not that case, more or less, building muscle will create a leaner look. You might not be lighter on the scale, however, you will notice that your clothes are fitting better and your body is more compact. Experts recommend staying away from the scale and simply using your jeans as a measurement tool for results, otherwise you might feel frustrated that you aren’t seeing results.

3. Participating in cardio activities burn more fat than weight lifting.

Actually, this is false. Just because cardio may burn more fat during the workout, weight training burns fat for longer after the workout is complete. Typically fitness experts suggest a HIIT (high intensity interval training) workout, for the best overall body results. To learn more about easy to do HIIT workouts, check out bodyweight HIIT workouts in Women’s Health magazine.

4. You need to workout at a gym or fitness center to build muscle.

Again, this is false. There are a number of workouts you can do from the comfort of your own home, using your own body weight. Make a routine out of trying new, different types of workout videos on YouTube. You will be pleasantly surprised at results you will see after creating a routine. If you need assistance with finding what works best for you, working with an experience physical therapist is the best route to take.

5. Muscle will turn to fat once you stop training.

This isn’t true. You may gain more fat if you continue to eat the same way you did when you were working out. This happens because you no longer have the muscle in place to burn the same amount of calories, you could gain weight. Muscle and fat are two different types of tissue. Slacking off can cause atrophy but not actually turn to fat. It is best to stick to a regular schedule and make lifestyle changes to keep fitness and healthy eating at the forefront of your routine. As a reminder, many experts explain that weight loss is based 80 percent on your diet and 20 percent on exercise.

When adding strength training to a workout plan, best results are achieved when performing no more than 60 minutes per day, 3-4 days per week. For this particular type of exercise, more is not always better, and smart training is more beneficial than heavy training, so you avoid injury. Current research is showing that functional exercises that use natural body movements are more beneficial than isolation techniques. Isolation work is when you use only one muscle group at a time, which is an old lifting technique that is generally only used in “body building” exercise plans. Performing more functional movements that require 80 percent effort to attain 8-12 repetitions will enable most people to accomplish their goals.

In the pursuit to increase muscle tone it is also important to keep in mind the nutritional aspect of achieving muscle gain. A healthy well balanced meal plan is essential if one is to properly gain muscle mass. Many fitness experts suggest a diet high in protein to reach your goals. Learn more about a muscle building diet for women.

If new or old injuries are getting in the way of your fitness goals, working with a physical therapist can help. Physical therapy in Aurora, CO will help guide you to the best workouts for your body type and physical limitations. Strength training is important in building a better future. Starting with your core. Building strength with exercises such as yoga, pilates, and weight training will help build a solid base for whatever curve balls life throws your way. Learn more by reading the 15 best workout tips of all time.

The professional staff of Body Image Physical Therapy, along with the trainers in the onsite Saddle Rock Fitness gym, can assist you in overcoming old injuries, and create a functional program which will meet your strength goals, improve your appearance with less risk of injury, and cause less repetitive damage to your joints. Our hours are Monday thru Friday, 7am to 7pm. Don’t hesitate to contact us today at 720-870-8900 for more information!  

Aurora Physical Therapists Explain Proper Post Injury Care After A Head Injury

September 28, 2017

It’s the time of year again for a new season of sports, and it is important that we are aware of the consequences of our favorite high-impact athletics. As aurora physical therapists, our staff has seen more than our fair share of sport related injuries.  Concussions have been a major topic of recent news, but how do we know when a bump on the head can be a serious condition requiring medical attention?

There have been many findings about the number of undiagnosed concussions that occur in athletics and the consequences of improper post injury care. Even without symptoms of a typical concussion, there can still be long term effects that can appear slowly even years later.

This increased awareness of the long term effect of head injury has given rise to concerted efforts to prevent, recognize, and treat any blow to the head that may result while engaging in athletic competition. Football is a prime example of a sport that has placed an emphasis on improving the effectiveness of head protecting helmets and making major rule changes in attempts to ensure the safety of players.  

That being said, the physical nature and competitive environment of high-impact athletics continue to inherently produce a level of injury risk. Although there continues to be attempts to minimize the frequency and severity of head injuries, it remains important for everyone, particularly those coaching and playing, to educate themselves in reacting to possible concussion scenarios.

In this article, we will be discussing what a concussion is, methods for detecting the symptoms, and post injury care after sustaining a blow to the head.

What exactly is a concussion?

A concussion is a type of traumatic brain injury (TBI) that can alter the function of the brain caused by any direct trauma OR rapid movement of the head.  While concussions most commonly result from a strike to head, it can occur from any jolt or impact to the body hard enough to shake the brain within the skull.

Spinal fluid typically serves to cushion the brain from the skull, but the force in a concussion is great enough to cause the brain to collide with the skill. The collision causes enough damage to brain cells to create chemical changes. The result is a number of possible physical and/or emotional effects.

Signs that someone else may be concussed:

Diagnosing a concussion is not always straightforward. The symptoms of a each concussion and their severity can vary. Some symptoms may appear immediately after the injury or they may not appear for days/weeks after the initial injury. Sometimes a symptom can last for a few hours and sometimes that same symptom can last for weeks. As a parent or coach, you may notice signs an athlete has been concussed such as:
  • Appearing confused or dazed
  • Forgetting an instruction
  • Unsure of the score during a game, or even who the opponents are
  • Clumsy movements
  • Slow to answer questions
  • Pupil dilation and responsiveness to light
  • Impaired ability to follow objects with their eyes
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Changes in mood, personality, behavior
  • Cannot recall events prior to or following the trauma

There are a variety of preliminary test one can do to try and better gauge if a concussion has been sustained. These include tests that analyze vision, hearing, balance, reflex, memory, coordination, and mental processing speed.

These tests involve practices that have the injured person answer a series of questions and perform a variety of tasks that would normally not present a challenge to them. The Sports Concussion Assessment Tool can be used directly and/or give you an idea of how to investigate an injury.

Signs that you may be concussed:

The person who sustained the injury may notice symptoms such as:
  • Headache or pressure in head
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Dizziness or balance problems
  • Blurry or double vision
  • Sensitivity to light and/or noise
  • Feeling foggy, sluggish, hazy
  • Trouble with concentration or memory or seeming generally confused
  • Feeling down or just not right
  • Low energy levels
  • Changes in sleeping patterns

Athletes are not the only ones who can sustain a concussion, so look for the same signs with any injury to the head or jarring impact to the body.

Impromptu concussion tests can be somewhat subjective and do not necessarily provide a conclusive answer. If there seems to be any signs of a concussion, it is important that a doctor examines the injured person. There can be serious problems associated with concussions and head injuries that may not be immediately clear.

Even if there does not seem to be a concussion and the injury sustained seems casual, be sure to keep an eye out for delayed or increased symptoms that may signal a more serious injury.

Post Injury Care

It is important to report any of these symptoms, as the brain requires time to heal after a concussion. During this healing time, rest is a major priority as the brain is more susceptible to another injury immediately after the concussion. This not only includes physical rest, but also mental rest.

Anything that is causing a resurgence in symptoms is likely too mentally or physically demanding until you have had more time to heal. Alcohol, tobacco, marijuana, illegal drugs, and non doctor approved medications will often delay and interfere with the healing process. Ice can be used for 10-20 minutes at a time to reduce swelling. In rare cases, recurrent concussions can cause permanent brain damage and some may even be fatal.

If you or your athlete suspects a concussion, remove the athlete from play and seek medical attention. At Body Image Physical Therapy & Fitness, our therapists specialize in a long proven concussion therapy known as Craniosacral therapy, along with other proven techniques, to promote healthy recovery, whether the injury was sustained in an accident at home, in the car or on the field. Help to ensure a safe return to sports and life activities by proper post-concussion care.  Questions? Please contact Body Image Physical Therapy at 720-870-8900.

How Does Craniosacral Therapy (CST) Help with Chronic and Acute Pain?

August 24, 2017

You might be asking, what is Craniosacral Therapy and how can it help with pain management? The practice of Craniosacral therapy was established by John Upledger in the 1970’s as an offshoot of cranial osteopathy. The term craniosacral refers to the cranium (skull) and the sacrum, a pelvic bone that connected to the spine. Craniosacral therapy (CST) is an alternative therapy that employs 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. These 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.

Using a soft touch, practitioners release restrictions in the craniosacral system to improve the functioning of the central nervous system. Re-balancing of these structures  is oftentimes necessary even decades after injuries have occurred throughout the body. Many injuries hang on for years just because this system was never rebalanced following trauma.

How does Craniosacral Therapy help with chronics and acute pain? Let’s take an indepth 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 strenght 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.

Unfortunately, it is often to difficult to pinpoint the exact source of one’s chronic pain, which results in making effective treatment often a process of 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 you have any of these consider using CST to manage and eventually eliminate 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. Unlike chronic pain, acute pain goes through the typical process of subsiding as an injury heals. It is usually experienced as a sharp, more severe discomfort. 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 attempts to restore the area around the brain and spinal cord to its optimal and balanced state easing discomfort and pain.

By complementing the body's natural healing processes, CST is used as a preventive health measure for its ability to bolster resistance to disease, and it is effective for a wide range of medical problems associated with pain and dysfunction, such as:  
  • 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 there 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. There may still be hope and opportunity in the form craniosacral work even if the issue seems to be circulatory based. Seemingly unrelated issues may continue to return with after other treatments because the root of the problem in the central nervous system has not been addressed.                                                                                                                                                                                   
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 had great results after adding craniosacral therapy to their treatment plan. A craniosacral session is generally 45-60 minutes in length, and is considered a normal part of physical therapy services/sessions, and is therefore covered 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 physical therapy and Craniosacral therapy in Aurora. We offer a wide range of both traditional and alternative treatments aimed serving the community with the highest standards of care. No matter what you are experiencing, we are here to help you recover. We look forward to working with you soon!