Stretches to keep you going while Black Friday shopping

With the holiday season, right around the corner (3 Fridays left before Christmas to be exact, but who’s counting), long lines, chatty cashiers and arms full of bags and goodies are sure to be on almost every person’s agenda. While it is important to mark off a gift for every person on your list, it is also important to make sure your body stays healthy and pain free during the shopping spree. These three stretches will keep you running through the doors for those ever-anticipated Door Busters.

The Calf Stretch. Ready. Set. Go! With your sprinting shoes leaving all the other shoppers in the dust, you will want to make sure that your calves (lower legs) are in good working order.  The gastroc stretch can be done leaning against the wall with both elbows on the wall, keeping one leg further back. The back leg will be left straight, with the heel on the floor. Then, the shopper can lean toward the wall until a stretch (no pain) is felt in the back leg. The soleus stretch is done the same way with one leg further back and the heel on the floor. However, this time, the back leg is slightly bent. Lean into the wall until a stretch is felt in the back of the lower leg.

The Chest Stretch. Not very many of us are Olympian lifters and we don’t claim to be, however, carrying around 50 pounds of toys, clothes and the latest DVDs may make one feel like she just entered the strongest woman competition. The weight from these gifts can sometimes cause back pain from being hunched over while carrying them all to the car. A quick stretch that can help with that upper back pain is the chest stretch, otherwise known as the door stretch or corner stretch. The corner stretch involves both upper arms parallel to the ground with the shopper facing a corner. The elbows are bent and the arms are on the adjacent walls. The shopper will then lean into the corner with the arms remaining stable until a stretch is felt across the front of the chest. The shoulder blades should be together and down in the back. The door stretch is similar except the shopper’s arms are in the side frame of the door and the shopper leans into the doorway in order to feel that stretch across the chest.

The Forearm Stretch. Whether it be the 35 pound turkey for dinner or the 50 pound life size pony for your little girl, any shopper may find that lugging around these types of goodies can take their toll on your forearms. A good stretch to keep you limber and being able to handle 2 separate runs to grocery store for those ingredients because the guest list for Christmas dinner just keeps growing and growing is the forearm stretch. With this stretch, the shopper will hold her arm straight in front of her, parallel to the floor, with her palm up. She will then pull her fingers downward with her opposite hand until a good stretch in the forearm is felt.

We all want the best for our families and friends and strive to find them the finest goodies during the holidays, however, it is very important to make sure that our “once a year shopping spree” can continue for years to come. Try these stretches out during this holiday season before you begin feeling sore in order to ensure prime shopping capabilities and Good Luck to all of you gutsy enough to brave the long lines and tough crowds.

By Stephanie Klein, DPT

Maintain Good Posture & Prevent Low Back Aches

As 2015 rolls along at a steady pace, CPT is sure that we’re all working hard on our “New Year’s” resolutions and have not given up on them!  Ok, so even if you are not, don’t we all have just a few minutes during the day to work on maintaining good health?  Here is one simple stretch to help prevent low back pain and help maintain good posture.  By maintaining good posture, we can prevent that dreaded ache in our low back, decrease the work load of our muscles and even prevent decline in other organs of our body (such as work of breathing and support of our internal organs).  This is a great exercise to be performed if you spend a lot of time sitting or in a bent forward position while standing.
Lumbar Extension Stretch:
1.  Stand Upright with feet slightly apart, place hands on the small of the back with the fingertips pointing so that they meet in the center of your spine.

2.  Bend your trunk backward at the waist as far as you can, using your hand and fingers as a pivot point.  Keep knees straight as you do this.

3.  Maintain this position for a count of 2 and then return to the starting position.

4.  Repeat and try to go further each time.  Perform 5 repetitions for every 2 hours that you spend in the same position.

Conditions You May Not Realize Physical Therapists Treat

Low back pain, sports injuries, arthritis – all well-known issues that physical therapists are known to treat.  However, there are unexpected ways a physical therapist (PT) can improve a person’s health, ranging from dizziness to cancer treatment side effects.

1.  Dizziness:  There is a severe type of dizziness called vertigo that causes a sudden spinning sensation.  In most cases, this is caused by an inner ear problem, and can often be eliminated using exercised based therapy that helps regain a sense of balance and is used to relieve dizziness and symptoms of concussions.

2.  Concussion: Often times what seems to be a minor bump to the head from a fall or even heading the ball in soccer can cause a concussion.  This results in the brain being jarred from the impact.  This sometimes leads to long-lasting health effects such as sleep problems, depression or memory loss.  PT’s can help the brain recover through a management plan that includes evaluation, treatment and continual monitoring of the patient.

3.  Jaw Pain:  Temporomandibular Joint Disorder, commonly known as TMJ.  This is often noticed as a loud clicking or popping in the jaw joint when talking or eating.  A PT will often help correct poor posture (yes proper posture is important while eating), offer exercises to reduce the pain and provide treatments to help improve the alignment of the joint and increase mobility.

4.  Headaches: Stop and/or reduce the pill popping.  Physical therapy can address most of the common causes of headaches which are poor posture, stress, muscle tightness and neck injury.  Treatments range from exercises that loosen muscles to massages.

5.  Cancer-related discomfort:  A common side effect of treatments are swelling of the arms or legs, which occurs after lymph nodes are removed.  This is especially common in breast cancer patients.  A PT can help alleviate discomfort using massage, wrapping techniques and designing individual safe exercise programs. 

Columbus Physical Therapy provides complimentary consultations  to help people with these and other health problems decide the appropriate next steps toward a Feel Good Life.  Visit www.columbusphysicaltherapy.com to see all of the many services that we offer and conditions that we treat.  You will also be able to find more information on our physical therapists and physical therapist assistants.  We can help get you relief.