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

Core Muscles

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!

Why are you giving me Shoulder Blade exercises if I have Shoulder pain–Part 3 Olympia WA

The video demonstrated below, by an orthopedic surgeon, shows the mechanics of why shoulder impingement happens with the tendons.

See the small space between the ball acromium? That is where the impingement happens. Making sure the supraspinatus tendon, which pushes the ball down as the arm bone is lifted by the deltoid, is working well is a big part of the picture of shoulder healthy function. BUT….if you raise the shoulder blade UP by STRENGTHENING the muscles which lift it up, (such as serratus anterior) and STRETCH muscles which PULL it down (such as latissimus dorsi) you can gain more space, which puts less pressure and pinch on the supraspinatus tendon.

serratus muscle upwardly rotates the shoulder blade

serratus muscle upwardly rotates the shoulder blade

latissimus dorsi pulls shoulder blade down

latissimus dorsi pulls shoulder blade down

http://comstockpt.com/2011/11/22/neck-pain-stretches-out-olympia-wa/ This link will show you some latissimus stretches, and if you refer to Part 1 in this series of blog posts, with the man leaning against the wall you can see how to strengthen the serratus anterior

Pelvic Health Physical Therapy–Physical Therapy treats WHAT?

Okay, today we are discussing a very sensitive issue–Pelvic Health Physical Therapy. Having pelvic health issues can be intimidating–because, it is soooo personal. You may be wondering, what issues do people suffer that have poor pelvic health?

Lots of problems can happen down south. There are muscles in the pelvic floor (the levator ani aka pelvic floor muscles or PF) PF muscles can spasm or become weak, just like shoulder muscles, or any other muscle groups. The difference with these muscles causing problems, however, is that spasms here can cause other problems with how the pelvic organs function. Stress incontinence (leakage when you lift, cough, sneeze, run) can happen, often in women but also in men who have had prostate cancer surgery, from weakness.

Levator ani muscles, otherwise know as Pelvic Floor muscles

Levator ani muscles, otherwise know as Pelvic Floor muscles

Urge and frequency incontinence happens when the bladder muscles decide it is time for your bladder to let go, even if You don’t think it is time, and then… you leak. Medicine can be helpful for urgency and frequency, but they leave you with dry mouth side effects.

These muscles can also spasm causing a lot of pain and difficulty with fully emptying your bladder.

A lot of other pelvic health conditions can be treated by pelvic floor physical therapy…more tomorrow

Ever had whiplash? Do you still hurt? Do you want to get better? You can!

Ever had whiplash? Have you been in a car accident and been rear ended or hit from the side?

whiplash pain

whiplash image

Chances are you have had treatment, maybe physical therapy, chiropractic or massage? Perhaps you have had to take pain medications? You’re probably somewhat better, but you’ve got that nagging headache, right…or…nagging tingling and numbness in your arm…or upper back pain…or all three. There is hope. New science has come out that tells us there are “core muscles” in your neck that need to be re-programmed to contract in the right order, then strengthen your neck.

Longus Colli and Capitas  "Core" muscles of the neck

Longus Colli and Capitas
“Core” muscles of the neck

Why is there a need for a “special” training program? If you have whiplash the order of the muscles contracting becomes messed up. Normally the core muscles contract the make your neck stable, then large muscles sternocleidomastoid and scalenes) pull on the neck to rotate it or pull on your neck as you lift your arm.

Sternocleidomastoid by Ken Hub

After whiplash, large muscles (the big ones you can see on the sides of your neck) contract first to splint the neck. The problem is, the right order of muscle contraction does not come back and the large muscles (sternocleidomastoid and scalenes) keep contracting, which causes headaches (see the headache referral pattern for sternocleidomastoid) and arm tingling and pain (see the scalene brachial plexus picture below).

Referral pain pattern  headaches from sternocleidomastoid

Referral pain pattern
headaches from sternocleidomastoid

"Wikipedia medical illustration thoracic outlet syndrome brachial plexus anatomy with labels" by Nicholas Zaorsky, M.D. - Nicholas Zaorsky, M.D.. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons - https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Wikipedia_medical_illustration_thoracic_outlet_syndrome_brachial_plexus_anatomy_with_labels.jpg#/media/File:Wikipedia_medical_illustration_thoracic_outlet_syndrome_brachial_plexus_anatomy_with_labels.jpg

“Wikipedia medical illustration thoracic outlet syndrome brachial plexus anatomy with labels” by Nicholas Zaorsky, M.D. – Nicholas Zaorsky, M.D.. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons – https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Wikipedia_medical_illustration_thoracic_outlet_syndrome_brachial_plexus_anatomy_with_labels.jpg#/media/File:Wikipedia_medical_illustration_thoracic_outlet_syndrome_brachial_plexus_anatomy_with_labels.jpg

>What can you try at home to help this pain?  Nod your head in little tiny nods, like you are nodding “yes” to getting better.

photo (1)

 

 

If that does not clear up your pain or tingling, give us a call to schedule an appointment to get relief from your whiplash pain!

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