Welcome to Advance Physical Therapy, Inc. Newsletter

Here we are preparing for the Fall routine of going back to work and back to school. It's difficult to ramp up quickly when the summer mode hasn't quite left our system. Soon enough, the holidays will approach and another year will be coming to a close. So what have we done in the last 8 months to practice better wellness? Are we living a more balanced lifestyle and can we breathe deeper and more steadily as we multitask? Or are we running harder than ever in that hamster wheel, tirelessly trying to keep up with life's demands at the sacrifice of our own well being?

This life challenge of finding balance is more noticeable now in our younger generation. They are experiencing added school, social, emotional and physical pressures at a younger age than ever before. Technology has brought more efficient tools for us to work with and doesn't require us to get out of our seats to be productive. Young children find themselves glued to smart phones or tablets for longer periods of time and the poor posture, neck tension and back pain is becoming more rampant.

School is back in session! Here are some tips that can help us and the younger generation to minimize unnecessary stress and strain on our bodies.

To your health,
Advance Physical Therapy, Inc.
 Backpacks and Back Pain

Times have changed. Kids of this generation have daily homework starting in about the first or second grade. Besides notebooks, the young kids may be toting planners, textbooks and workbooks back and forth to school each day. Older elementary school kids by 4th or 5th grade are assigned reading and work from textbooks as well. 

While a handy nylon tote bag was sufficient to hold an elementary schoolkids' books forty years ago, these days, even small kids are wearing backpacks. Middle and high schoolers are toting
laptops along with their notebooks and books in their backpacks. 

The weight of the backpack can put excessive loads on the lumbar spine and cause low back pain and fatigue. The way the backpack is worn can effect how much load is transferred. No matter how old the child is, the backpack should not hang down below low back level. Hanging the backpack from a single strap, instead of sharing the load with both straps over the shoulders also causes excessive strain. 

Sometimes a backpack comes equipped with smaller straps for wrapping around the pelvis. These should be used to shift some of the load.

The weight of the bag and it's contents should not exceed 10-15% of the child's body weight. That's only 10 lbs for your average 5th or 6th grader. Make it a habit to go through the backpack and notebooks every week or two to take out any old papers.

If possible, buy a rolling backpack, with the only disadvantage being its considerable weight due to the wheel mechanism, which the child must carry up the stairs. Most come with a secure handle.

At Advance Physical Therapy, we would be happy to size your child's backpack and make recommendations. We are also available to evaluate and treat any pains or strains resultant from the rigors of student life.

Thank you for making us part of your family's healthcare team!

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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Reducing Low Back Pain In Children

Could a back awareness education program and a few simple daily exercises reduce the risk of low back pain (LBP) in children? Researchers in New Zealand think so.

In a study published in the April Edition of Physical Therapy (PTJ), 710 children aged 8 to 11 were divided into 2 groups: 1 group of 469 received education on "spine awareness" and were taught 4 spinal movements to be practiced daily, and 1 group of 239 received the education only. The programs were conducted in 4 schools, and monitored for 270 days. According to an APTA news release, the study is one of a "small number" of trials involving young children and LBP.

Researchers found that while both groups reported a reduction in LBP episodes, the reduction was greater among the children who received exercise instruction—down from 23% at day 7 of the study to 13% at the study's conclusion, compared with a concluding rate of 24% of the children who received education only. Children in the exercise group were also less likely to report a lifetime first episode of LBP and experience a longer time to onset of a first episode when one did occur.

The exercises themselves involved 4 simple movements that encouraged flexion, extension, and lateral flexion of the lumbar spine. Authors write that the exercises were designed so that "they could be completed quickly without supervision, were easy to remember, were enjoyable, and could be combined with existing routines to maximize adherence." Still, adherence did drop off over time.

The back awareness education program, called "MySpine," teaches strategies believed to keep the spine healthy and encourages healthy behaviors.

Authors write that "it is unlikely (although not impossible) that the 4 exercises in this study were sufficient to have a physiological effect," but they speculate that "it is possible that monitoring participants and talking about the spine … and introducing the concept of back care, movement, and spinal awareness confers some therapeutic effect."

"Perhaps vigilance creates opportunities for control," authors write. "By participating in the MySpine program, children may have been empowered to identify and adjust behaviors to reduce the risk of LBP."

Back pain does not discriminate and we are seeing a higher incidence of children experiencing back pain symptoms that can be easily avoided with a comprehensive physical therapy assessment, proper education, exercise and physical activity.

Let us know if you have any questions or concerns regarding low back pain in children. The best medicine is to prevent them from occurring.

 Exercises to Reduce Snoring

Among people who snore, including those with mild form of obstructive sleep apnea, mouth-and-tongue exercises can reduce snoring frequency by 36% and intensity of sound by 59%. People that experience cases of sleep apnea often times need to use a CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure) machine to deliver sufficient oxygen necessary for the body to restore itself during sleep. More often than not, people who are challenged with sleep apnea experience fatigue, difficulty focusing, losing weight, decreased immune system, disrupted sleep cycles and intense snoring.

The following exercises have shown to reduce snoring frequency and intensity:

1) Push the tip of the tongue against the roof of the mouth and slide the tongue backward.

2) Suck the tongue upward against the roof of the mouth and press the entire tongue against the roof of the mouth.

3) Force the back of the tongue against the floor of the mouth while keeping the tip of the tongue in contact with the bottom front teeth.

4) While eating, bite down, then lift your tongue to the roof of your mouth as you swallow, without tightening your cheek muscles.

Try these exercises and hopefully you'll be on your way to a better night's rest.

2944 Broadway Street                         1208 E. Arques Avenue Suite #105
Redwood City, CA 94062                    Sunnyvale, CA 94085

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