Welcome to Advance Physical Therapy, Inc. Newsletter

We hope your enjoying the summer and taking time off to decompress from the your daily routines. Many of us are probably balancing work, planning some vacation and tackling home improvements projects that have been put off for months or even years. Bottom line is that there is never enough time to get everything done and we constantly find ourselves over prioritized with appointments, deadlines and projects.

Over booked schedules can lead to stress and fatigue especially when we can't find the time to pace ourselves well and slow down. Our bodies need to rest to rejuvenate, but often times, self-restoration is not booked in our schedule until pain stops us in our tracks. This month's issue highlights the importance of injury prevention and how adhering to some simple rules can save you a lifetime of pain.

To Your Health,

Advance Physical Therapy, Inc.
An Ounce of Prevention is Worth a Pound of Cure: The Wisdom of Early Intervention

We live busy lives. There may be one or two income earners in the family, kids, elderly parents, pets and a house to keep up. Retirement, these days too, is not without many obligations.

With so much going on, it is understandably easy to ignore the small aches and pains we all suffer. A few days rest may have been sufficient in the past. Or maybe we had success changing our shoes, workout routine, or a particular over-the-counter analgesic patch. Eventually, however, the problem doesn't go away completely with our best efforts, or worse, presents as a new pain that hurts more.

Now that Californians have direct access to physical therapy services, there is no need to delay getting that problem checked out and resolved through a course of physical therapy care. We know there is no time to waste, so why wait? Come directly to us, let us start you on the road to recovery and we will advise your physician about your condition as appropriate.

Here are some common reasons to see a physical therapist:

1.  you have an obvious injury
2.  you have swelling or deformity of a body part
3.  you have been feeling joint stiffness, pain or ache for more than 3 days.
4.  you are limping or favoring a limb because of pain
5,  you feel numbness or tingling
6.  your legs are "giving way" or experience balance and fall issues
7.  your posture is causing a movement problem
8.  you need advice on improving some aspect of your workout routine
9.  you need advice on how to improve your sports performance
10. you are planning to exercise or return to sports after an extended illness

Of these, the most urgent reasons are an obvious injury, you are experiencing a new onset of numbness or tingling, or your leg(s) are suddenly weak or giving way. Numbness, tingling and sudden weakness suggest a nerve problem that is spinal in origin and should be assessed immediately by your physician or physical therapist. Swelling or deformity of a body part without obvious injury, such as a sprained ankle, could also be serious and demands immediate attention.

Preventive medicine is the best solution and having the knowledge and the right tools to prevent injuries from getting worse or slowing you down are key to better health and wellness for the years ahead.

So don't let the pain slow you down! Give us a call today to find out how we can get you back to your best condition.
 How to Wreck Your Back
Six Mistakes that Causes Pain

Close to 88% of Americans will experience some form of back pain at some time in their lives. Back problems are among the main reasons for doctor visits and second to the common cold that brings people in for an emergency room visit.

What people don't realize is that most back injuries are predictable and how to avoid them may be easier than you realize. Here are six mistakes that people do that put their backs in harms way.

Weight and Effort Mismatch
Have you ever lifted a box that is heavier than you expected or maybe you've lifted a box that appears heavy but turns out to be lighter than you expected? In both situations, the sudden contraction of unprepared or over prepared back muscles can cause an instant strain or "snap" in the muscles. To protect yourself, it's best to test the weight before lifting something. Slide it a few inches or lift a corner to assess what you're dealing with. If it's heavy, get your legs under you to lift upwards instead of using your back muscles. If it's light, lift with a smooth motion using your legs and avoid any initial jerk motion to get things moving.

Overhead Bin Reaching
A very common complaint that causes back strains is reaching into overhead bins on airlines. Travelers often overstuff their carry-ons so a 20-pound bag on wheels can feel like 50-pounds when you're off balanced and lifting overhead. Unloading luggage from overhead bins is also a problem since you'll likely need to wedge, angle and stuff your bags to fit and removing them requires a sudden jerk or pull of your back muscles. To protect yourself, pack light and a bad within 10-pounds is more easily managed even with outstretched arms and on your tiptoes. Use both hands to place the bad into the bin and avoid swinging it up with one arm. Store it with the handle facing out so it's easier to grab and pull with better arm support. For bags that are heavier, it's always wise to check them in and avoid the risk.

Soft Recliners
There exists that great feeling of sinking into a soft sofa or chair with the remote in hand. But this very position puts the back into a slumped posture and, in fact, makes the back muscles work harder. When you sit in a firm chair, the back is well supported so it relaxes. A soft chair doesn't provide the same sensory input of feeling supported therefore the muscles stay contracted. This is why the back may feel strained after sitting an hour even though you didn't do anything more strenuous than reading a book. To protect yourself, choose a chair that provides sufficient back support. It doesn't have to be hard, but it should be firm. If you have a history of back problems, standing up for a minute or two every 15-20 min would be helpful.

Car Trunk Lean
Have you experienced the "pinch" or "jolt" when you lift a grocery bag or suitcase from the back of the car trunk or cargo area? It's not necessarily the weight, but your standing to bending position that causes problems. You are not using the big muscles in your legs to lift and your back muscles are at a mechanical disadvantage. Back muscles aren't very strong and their primary role is to stabilize the spine and not designed for heavy lifting. To protect yourself, get close to the trunk as possible so your leg muscles are ready to perform the majority of the lifting.

Bending with a Twist
How often do we bend forward quickly to pick something up without thinking where our body position is. More often than not, people bend forward with a twist and their trunk is off to the side with their knees straight. This leads to the "spasm" or "jolt" of pain that can occur abruptly. This is not a smooth motion for the spinal joints because they are designed to shift front to back more easily than side to side. Therefore, side to side motions can lead to twists and strains of the muscles and ligaments. To protect yourself, take a few seconds to move yourself into a position of strength, have both feet face the object, squat down and use your legs to lift.

Heavy Shoveling
We see a lot of new patients in the spring and summer after they have been working hard in the yard shoveling, mulching, digging and planting. To protect yourself, warm up before picking up the shovel. Stretch out the back, arms, shoulder and legs and walk around the house for a few minutes. Let your legs do the work and bend your knees when you load the shovel, then straighten them when you lift. Don't bend your back more than you have to and don't pack in the heaviest shovelfuls of dirt that you can manage. Gardening supply stores have a variety of ergonomic shovels that allow you to stand more upright which can make your shoveling days much easier.
Pain Free Gardening
Ergonomic Tools to Protect Your Back, Knees & Hands

It's summer time and gardening is a favorite outdoor activity for millions of Americans. But gardening can be tough on the body especially since it requires much repetitive lifting, squatting, stooping, bending, kneeling and gripping. These repetitive tasks can lead to cumulative wear and tear of the body resulting in carpal tunnel syndrome, back and neck pain, shoulder strains, knee pain and tendonitis.

To make gardening easier and more enjoyable, we need to learn how to prevent the natural wearing of our joints and tendons by utilizing more ergonomic garden tools that are out there. These tools are more lightweight, comfortable to use and ergonomically designed to protect your body from physical strains.

So here are some the best tools on the market according to writer Jim Miller of "Savvy Senior:"

Specially designed gloves improve your grip and protect your hands.

Atlas Nitrile Touch 370 Garden Club Gloves are form fitting and made of breathable nylon knot with palms and fingers that are coated with Nitrile. This thin and flexible synthetic rubber provides excellent grip with less effort and can withstand punctures from small thorns.

ReliefGrip Gardening leather gloves have durable silicone fingertips and padding in the palm and finger joints that improves gripping power and reduces calluses and blisters.

Ergonomically designed tools can help take stress off the wrists by reducing the bending and twisting wrists movements that often come with digging and weeding.

CobraHead Weeder and Cultivator is a steel hook-shaped blade that flares at the tip, resembling the head of a cobra. It requires you to primarily use your arm muscles rather than your wrists to dig and chop into the soil.

Miracle-Gro Five-Piece Ergonomic Tool Set has hand tools with curved handles that keep your wrist in a natural, straight position. The set includes a scooper, weeder, transplanter, cultivator and trowel.

Radius Pro Stainless Transplanter is a multipurpose shovel that has a large O-shaped handle that allows you to comfortably grip it with both hands for better leverage. It also has a narrow blade and oversized area for foot placement on the blade to provide better balance.

Fiskars makes three types of pruning tools that have earned the Arthritis Foundation's Ease-of-Use Commendation, which recognizes products that make life easier for people with arthritis and similar limitations. These tools all have "PowerGear" mechanisms that increase leverage to make cutting easier than traditional pruners.

Fiskars PowerGear Hand Pruner is for cutting stems and branches up to 3/4 of an inch thick. It has a contoured handle that rotates toward you when you squeeze it to reduce  hand and wrist strain.

Fiskars PowerGear Loppers cut tree and shrub branches up to 2 inches thick. Loppers come in 5 different lengths ranging from 15 to 32 inches.

Fiskars PowerGear Hedge Shears are for shaping and trimming hedges and shrubs. These shears give you 3 times more power on every cut.

Knee pads and garden seats protect your knees and save your back when you're working close to the ground.

Jolly Kneeler is a lightweight polyurethane knee rest that is molded to support your knees and has a built in handle.

Garden Kneeler is a multipurpose knee pad with steel support handles to help you raise and lower yourself. Flip it over and it becomes a padded bench to sit on for weeding or planting.

Deluxe Tractor Scoot with Bucket Basket is a height-adjustable, swivel garden seat on four wheels. It has a pull handle that doubles as a support to help you get up and sit down, a built-in accessory tray under the seat and a rear basket mount that allows you to carry tools, plants and other equipment.

Lightweight garden hoses and hoses that put themselves away can make watering chores much easier. Ergonomic spray nozzles are easier to grip and squeeze.

Water Right 400 Series 7/16-inch Slim & Light Polyurethane Garden Hose weighs just 3 pounds for every 50 feet of hose and provides a 4-5 gallon per minute flow rate, which is adequate for most watering chores.

Professional Water Coil Hose by Water Right is good for watering in small areas around a porch, patio or small garden. It's made of polyurethane with a 3/8 inch diameter inside diameter that retracts when you're not using it which makes it easier to put away.

Suncast Hydro Power Auto Rewind Hose Reel uses water pressure to automatically rewind the hose with just a flip of a lever.

Easy Squeeze Spray Nozzle has an ergonomic, insulated grip with a front-pull lever that is 4 times easier to use than traditional back-pull lever. It provides 7 spray settings from gentle mist to forceful jet, a water flow adjustment and a trigger lock that keeps the handle in position to reduce hand fatigue.

True Temper Total Control Wheel Barrow is a lightweight (35 pound) one-wheel wheelbarrow with a six-cubic foot polyethylene tub and steel loop handle grips that make it easier to maneuver and dump than straight handles because you don't have to readjust your hands.
If we can answer any questions or field any topics of interest regarding  physical therapy, health and wellness or about our programs, please contact us. We'd love to hear from you.
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2944 Broadway Street                         1208 E. Arques Avenue Suite #105
Redwood City, CA 94062                     Sunnyvale, CA 94085

(W) 650.261.0330                                 (W) 408.720.8225
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