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

Transverse Abdominus

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

How do you know if your health care provider is doing right by you?

On Friday a patient 0f mine came back for a recheck.  I hadn’t seen her in about a month.  She had started treatment about 3 months ago and had received 6 treatments before her recheck.

At her recheck she was doing much better,  in fact she was now able to lift rain soaked flower pots and could sleep through the night.  When she first started treatment she was waking up many times per night due hip pain, and could not tolerate more than 20 minutes or so of light yardwork due to back pain.    After receiving exercises for hip weakness based on Chris Powers PhD PT’s research at USC and exercises for multifidus/transverse abdominis/pelvic floor  coordination and strength training (core) based upon Paul Hodges PhD PT’s research at the University of Queensland she followed through diligently and is much better.

As I was finishing up treatment with her I remembered back to her first day of treatment when she brought in a thick  3 ring binder notebook.  This notebook was  FULL  of exercise sheets she had received from various gyms and physical clinics in another state, and she wanted to show them to me so I could get up to speed.  Very few of the exercises were based on Hodges’ or Powers’ research, and I thought to myself, “how can that be?”  How were these exercises missed?  and more importantly, what could she have done to get a jump start on knowing what questions to ask about her specific condition and what treatment was best?

One suggestion for future patients as to advance your knowledge about what kinds of treatment are best for your condition is to  log onto pubmed, http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/ , a centralized database of up to date research and type in your condition are look through the research abstracts which can help you know what the latest findings and treatments are that are relevant for your condition.

For example:  type in “low back pain treatment guidelines” and here is the link’s first page  http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/?term=low+back+pain+treatment+guidelines

Of if you want to know if a specific kind of treatment is helpful for your condition, such as “physical therapy” for hip arthritis, here is that link:  http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/?term=physical+therapy+for+hip+arthritis

Happy Researching!

 

Back Pain When Shoveling Snow? Try a few of these exercises {Olympia, Wa}

Did you get an achey back after shoveling snow?  You may wonder why that happens.  It happens because the deeper supportive muscles get tired and the larger lumbar paraspinals take over but they become achey.  Here is a picture of the lumbar paraspinals:

What exercises can you do?  First get onto your bed or floor, and stretch your hips back towards your knees.

Then, to relax the larger muscles and strengthen your core, contract your pelvic floor (Do a Kegel’s) and while holding the Kegel’s, pull your tummy in towards your spine.  Hold for 5 seconds, and do 10 repetitions.  Here is a picture of the deeper core muscles:

Have fun in the snow!

Working your core and still have back pain? Here’s why

Out of sync muscles cause pain cycle

Have you had a back injury, worked your core muscles and still hurt?  Have you wondered why you still have pain?  Even if you work your abs, you may not be working the true "inner core."  The secret to getting better with back pain is working the true inner core; retraining it to contract at the right time to protect your back, and getting your Muscles In-SyncTM.  

It turns out the the "inner core" is programmed like a computer to contract first before you reach your arm or kick your leg out.  It does this to support and protect your back.  When your back gets hurt, it starts contracting after  you move your arm or leg.  At first, after an injury, this actually helps to protect your back;  the bigger muscle spasm to lock up your back so you don't move farther and hurt your back more.  

The problem is the spasms stick around and don't unlock, and the "inner core" keeps contracting after the big muscles.  When the big muscles fire first it causes low back pain.  

A vicious cycle gets set up that keeps the pain going.  

How do you break the pain cycle? You get your  true "inner core"  Muscles In-SyncTM .   Begin by contracting your true "inner core". What exactly is the true "inner core". It is the transverse abdominus, pelvic floor and multifidus.  It get the best result, come to Comstock Physical Therapy where we can use our Ultrasound Imaging machine to take a look at your true "inner core."  Here are images of the transverse abdominus (TrA):

transverse abdominal muscle contracting on cue