165 Lilly Rd NE, Suite B, Olympia • 360.455-8014

Balance

Get your glut muscle workout with every day activity!

Gluteus Maximus

Gluteus maximus muscle-get your workout with everyday activity

Do you want to strengthen your gluteus maximus during day to day activities? Why is it even important? The gluteus maximus is important in preventing hip, knee and foot pain. It supports the thigh, knee and foot when you shift your weight onto your leg when you walk or run. It is absolutely essential for good balance. The gluteus maximus also supports the hip by keeping the ball and socket of the hip held closely tight, instead of allowing larger, longer muscles such as the hamstrings to pull ball towards the edge of the socket. At the image below, from “Diagnosis and Treatment of Movement Impairment Syndromes” by Shirley Sahrmann PT PhD FAPTA, it can be see on the top image, that the

Glut max versus hamstring

Gluteus maximus versus hamstring

that the gluteus maximus, the muscle on the top of the thigh, hugs the ball into the socket. In the lower image the hamstring can be seen pushing the ball forward in the socket, which can cause groin pain in the short run and hip arthritis in the long run.

To strengthening the glut with day to day activity do the following:
1) get in to a sitting position in a chair (or even on a toilet) and tuck your feet under you
2) reach around behind you to your buttocks
3) activate (tighten) your gluts
4) use your gluts to push you into standing
5) when moving from standing to sitting reverse this procedure

If you have in leg or back problems, be sure to check with your health care provider before attempting this exercise.

Vertigo Treatment

Vertigo  taken by "Vertigo 08018" by Nevit Dilmen - Own Photograph. Licensed under " href="http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/">CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons.

Vertigo taken by “Vertigo 08018” by Nevit Dilmen – Own Photograph. Licensed under Wikimedia Commons.

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Have you ever felt like the world is spinning around you?  Do you feel nauseated when you move too fast?  Does it take a minute for you to feel stable when getting out of bed because you feel unsteady?  Do you find yourself closing your eyes when you roll over because things start to move?  If you answered yes to any of these questions, you might have positional vertigo.

 

Although feeling like this is scary, the good news is that positional vertigo CAN be treated effectively no matter how long you have had it.  A physical therapist that has been specially trained to assess vertigo will test you to see if you might have a problem with the “level sensors” in your inner ear.  These level sensors are called the semicircular canals.  You have 3 of them in each side of the skull.  It might sound strange but inside these canals are crystals or “rocks” and they sometimes get where they do not belong.  When they are in the wrong place, and you move your head (up, down, right or left), the crystals will continue to send signals to your brain that you are moving even after you have stopped moving the head.  So the brain gets 2 different messages: one from the ears saying that you are moving and one from the eyes saying that you have stopped moving.  The brain is used to getting the same message from the eyes and ears and so it doesn’t know what to do with the different signals and thus it feels like you are spinning.  The spinning sensation does subside usually within seconds as the brain quickly realizes that the eyes are the ones with the correct information. 

 

Of course there are other reasons that you might be feeling vertigo, dizzy, or unsteady but positional vertigo is a very common reason.  And the good news is that it can be treated quickly and easy.  Nearly 80% of patients with positional vertigo only require one physical therapy treatment session. 

 

Come in to Comstock Physical Therapy to learn more about positional vertigo and get fully assessed to see if vertigo is truly the reason that you are spinning or feeling off balance.  Don’t think that you just have to live with it because it might be possible to get rid of it and be stable once again! 

 

 

 

Better Balance

Balance

Balance

Do you ever catch your toe on a floor rug or maybe a slightly raised curb?  Do you find yourself grabbing onto the walls or furniture when you lose your balance?  Do you feel like you should use a cane but don’t want to?  Do you want to prevent a “bad” fall before it happens? 

 

Well you’re in luck because balance CAN be improved if you work on the right things; no matter your age.  You might wonder, “How can my balance get any better?  It just seems to be getting worse with time.”  It’s true, balance does seem to deteriorate over time but only because our ankles, hips and reaction times get to be less than optimal.  But the good news is that you can improve in all these areas.  The physical therapist will look at your flexibility, strength and reaction time to assess your specific balance needs.  Is it surprising that these few little things could help?  Well here are the basics on HOW it will help:

 

Flexibility is important in order to “catch yourself” when becoming off balance.  If you are too stiff in the ankles or hips, you won’t have the flexibility to do this with even a small loss of balance which could lead to a fall.  Better flexibility will assist make it easier to get dressed, get in and out of the car as well as moving around the kitchen or workshop. 

 

Strength is important in both the ankles and hips to regain your steadiness.  The stronger the ankles and hips are, the better your chances of being able to balance yourself with small and larger stumbles.  More strength makes it easier to go upstairs, garden, and travel.  You can always get stronger no matter your age, come in and we will show you how. 

 

Reaction time will help you react to a stumble quicker and thus making it easier to regain your balance.  We can help you regain that quickness with specific practice on unsteady surfaces.  This will help you when you are on uneven or rocky terrain, and even dancing.  

 

Come to Comstock Physical Therapy to learn the right exercises to improve ALL these areas!  Don’t be discouraged by your age; anyone can get stronger, faster and more limber if you do the RIGHT exercises.

 

We can also discuss home hazards that may be putting you at risk for unnecessary falls.  Remember PREVENTION is the best INTERVENTION!

Physical Therapy in Olympia, Tumwater and Lacey, Where should I go?

There are many fine physical therapy clinics in the Olympia, Tumwater and Lacey area. How do you chose where to go?

You can choose based on location. A friend of mine told me today she chose to go to physical therapy at a clinic close to her house. What would prompt a close choice versus reputation? Maybe she needed to go 2 or 3 times per week. If someone needs to go to PT 2 or 3 times a week for a month or so, then going close to your house would be very convenient, HOWEVER, ask yourself the question: does your condition warrant 2 or 3 times per week?

Recently a former patient returned for a new session of physical therapy. She is a fairly frail 80 something year old, and was sent for BOTH headaches AND shoulder pain by her physician. Her prescription from the physician was directed to be 2 to 3 times per week for 4 to 6 weeks. She may have thought she needed to come that often, but…….when I evaluated her headache AND shoulder pain, I determined that both problems were mainly caused by the same anatomical structure.

I gave her an exercise program based on this one problem, and added customized and specific exercises for the shoulders and neck. As of Friday (January 30) 100% better in the headache and 75% better in the shoulders. She came for 6 visits at 1 x per week.

So the bottom line is, unless you actually NEED to have therapy 2 or 3 times per week consider going somewhere that uses less visits more effectively and you may save yourself some time and money.

The therapists at Comstock Physical Therapy, Joyce Mills, Lori Waterman and Linnea Comstock have extensively studied the body to make our exercise programs very effective and efficient. Give us a call if you would rather go to PT once per week instead of three times a week!

The “new” core–the “Piston”–Diaphragm, Transverse Abdominis, Multifidus and Pelvic Floor

New information from a class I just took:  the "core" as a piston that moves with you!    Turns out that the stability of your trunk, in other words your rib cage to your pelvis, is dependent on the diaphragm working together with the transverse abdominis, multifidus and the pelvic floor. 

What does this mean in for you if you have pain or you are trying to get more fit?  When you are going to lift something heavy do the following: 

  1. make sure to breathe in before you lift, letting your tummy relax and lower ribs expand as you prepare to lift.
  2. start breathing out by pursing you lips then quickly lift your pelvic floor and then pull your tummy in as you lift

Here is a link to a video from the instructor of the class, Julie Wiebe PT: 

Core as a piston

Enjoy looking at her video!

How does this concept apply to Muscles In-Sync(R)?  It directly applies because the muscles, to work best, need to work at the right time and the right way, and we can help you feel better by getting them In Sync!The "Core" as Piston for back pain