Penrose Physical Therapy
13
May 2020
Jennifer Penrose
Author
Jennifer Penrose

Back Pain: 5 Daily Habits To Reduce Stiffness At Home

I wanted to answer a common question I get asked all the time at Penrose Physical Therapy about being stiff: “Jennifer, do you have any advice for someone like me who isn’t in a lot of pain? I’m just incredibly stiff when I wake up on a morning, and I feel it throughout the day, which means I can’t do things as easily as I’d like. Any advice?” I’ve got plenty of tips and advice to help reduce stiffness and back pain. But first I want to clear up ‘why’ we feel stiff in the first place. A lot of people we see think that stiffness is something we feel as we get older – and while there’s some truth in that, stiffness isn’t always directly related to how old you are. Yes, as you get older your joints and muscles might get stiff if you don’t exercise regularly. And it’s true that your joints become less flexible as the lubricating fluid inside them decreases, and the cartilage becomes thinner as you age… But there’s some other points to factor in too. Back pain, or even just stiffness have multiples factors involved. What Else Is At Play? Not drinking enough fluids can also lead to stiff muscles. Muscles are active tissues, which means they require the most water in the body. Inactivity is another culprit – leaving your muscles in one place for a prolonged period (sleep, sitting in a chair, driving for hours etc.) can cause them to stiffen. Many of us are guilty of this… Read More
07
May 2020
Jennifer Penrose
Author
Jennifer Penrose

Back Pain: “I Get Back Pain Doing Crunches-Is Something Wrong?”

A lady emailed the clinic a few days ago and asked: “I get back pain when I’m doing sit-ups/ crunches. Am I doing something wrong, or should I avoid them?” Great question! I’m glad she asked this! During this current state of lockdown, many of us have turned to new exercises and workouts at home. Some us may not be used to these exercises or not using proper form. Additionally, there are some exercises you may want to avoid – including crunches to “get those abs”. If you’ve ever done an ab workout and halfway through your back was feeling “off”, you’re not alone. For most of our patients it’s any ab exercise where you sit up on the tailbone that causes that feeling. Which is frustrating when you want to keep active but can’t because your back is in pain! To understand why this happens, you first have to remember that the abs and lower back are part of your core. While we often think of our core as being our abs – the abs are only one part of the equation. Your core is made up of a group of muscles that work together to support the body. It wraps around the entire body, and includes muscles that are in your lower back too. What Makes Up Your “Core”? When you do exercises for the core, you’re impacting all the other parts  too – including your lower back. Lower-back pain during exercise involving your core is usually a sign that your core is… Read More
29
Apr 2020
Jennifer Penrose
Author
Jennifer Penrose

Back Pain: “When Do I Use Ice And When Do I Use Heat?”

A question I get asked a lot by clients and people who suffer with back pain is a really simple one: “When do I use ice and when do I use heat?” Rightly or wrongly, 9 out of 10 of my clients tend to favor heat – a nice hot water bottle, a soak in the bath, or one of those lavender scented wheat bags to try and ease their back pain. (I think a lot of people don’t like the idea of putting cold ice on their back, unless it’s really hot outside!) As you can appreciate every health concern and injury is different. Sometimes it’s ice to cool it down, or heat to help relax it… it can be very confusing! When To Use Ice There’s one time in particular we say to use ice and that’s when something just happened and it’s very painful, likely hot and maybe swollen. This is an ‘acute’ injury. Acute meaning it just happened. For example, an ankle sprain or pulled muscle. When it comes to your back pain, the time to use ice is if your back has suddenly ‘gone’ and you’re in a lot of pain, or you’ve overdone it and your back becomes very painful towards the end of the day. You see, your body is actually very clever. Let’s use an ankle sprain as an example… When you sprain your ankle your body will immediately try and protect itself. This is why you get swelling and it becomes very hot and… Read More
22
Apr 2020
Jennifer Penrose
Author
Jennifer Penrose

Back Pain: Why You Need To Drink More Water To Help Relieve It

Quick question: How much water have you drank today? For most people, the answer would be “not enough”. From everything we drink and swim in, to the ice that reduces swelling, water is all around us (and even in us), a matter of fact – it basically is us! Water makes up around two thirds of who we are, and influences every single process in our body – which probably explains why we feel a lot better when we drink enough of it. Believe it or not this plays a role in our back pain! Now, you might be aware of the many ‘tips and tricks’ that are out there on “how to avoid a bad back”, and “how to relieve pain” – but have you ever heard of drinking more water to help with that? My guess is you haven’t! I get that it might sound ‘too simple’ to make a difference, but dehydration really can be one of the culprits of back pain, and one of the reasons why it stays around for longer than it needs to. Let me explain… Here’s How It Can Help In between each section of the spine (the vertebrae) lies a disc – these are mainly made up of water. During the day when we’re standing up, they slowly become dehydrated, then at night when we’re laying down, they re-hydrate themselves again (so long as there is ENOUGH water in the body!). If there’s not enough water in your body, then… Read More
15
Apr 2020
Jennifer Penrose
Author
Jennifer Penrose

How To Get The Housework Done Without Back Pain During COVID-19

Many are home due to shelter in place and are likely doing more house chores or yard work. In fact let me tell you a story of someone that reached out recently. Just a few weeks ago this happened to one of our patients, Ann, 57 from South Bay. She was making the most of a quiet weekend, and before she planned on relaxing, she decided to do get the cleaning done. Anne was fine to begin with, but as soon as she went to turn over her mattress she put her back out completely. “It’s Just A Stiff Back, Right?” At first the pain wasn’t so bad, but then a few hours later her back began to stiffen up. Like most people we see, at first she thought “It’s just a stiff back, I’ve probably got a bit carried away with the cleaning, it’s happened before.” But the next day the pain was still there, and it felt even worse! Anne’s back started to ache when she sat down, she struggled to find a comfortable position to fall asleep in, and she couldn’t even bring herself to stand without being in agony AND she had a weekend away planned. How was she going to get away with a back so painful? You might be thinking this won’t happen to you, not with something as basic as everyday chores, but when you consider that most of us do some form of jobs around the house, that’s a lot of backs that could potentially become sore!… Read More
13
Apr 2020
Jennifer Penrose
Author
Jennifer Penrose

Is Back Pain Bothering You During The “Stay At Home”?

Due to COVID-19 more and more people are Teleworking or sitting at home! We are getting more people calling in about back pain from less than ideal work stations at home. Around 30-60% of people who need to sit for work report having back pain at some point in their life, and a lot of the people we see in the clinic come to us in pain as a result of spending 30 minutes or more in a seated position, almost daily! But why does something as simple as sitting trigger off back pain when it’s not exactly strenuous? Sitting for long periods of time exposes the body to many different forces such as sustained stress, abnormal pulling on joints from poor posture and most notably – the lack of proper positioning and support needed to help us sit properly for periods of time. Sitting for long periods of time can also can lead to tightening of your quads, hamstrings and hips which means they start to pull on your lower body and back as they normally wouldn’t if not sitting for long periods. It’s no wonder why a combination of these factors, as well as the inadequate design of some seats can cause back problems for many of us. Back pain can make sitting unpleasant (in some cases, unbearable), so I put together a list of tips to help make your next seated adventure as pain-free as possible. Here are 7 tips to help you:… Read More
01
Apr 2020
Jennifer Penrose
Author
Jennifer Penrose

Don’t miss this free VIRTUAL Knee Pain Workshop!

If you or a loved one suffer from chronic knee pain – so bad that it can even stop you from walking – then attending this virtual workshop may be the most important thing you do this year. It may unlock the agonizing mystery of your knee pain and show you a way to get back to the life you deserve… A life where you can walk up and down the stairs without worrying when your knee is going to ‘give-out’, or the pain stop you in your tracks. One where you can enjoy leisurely walks with friends and family and not worry if you’re gong to make it or not, restricted by a knee so painful. A life where you can pick up and play with your grandkids without worrying when your knee is going to stop you from getting back up. A life where you can do and enjoy all the things you see so many others doing and enjoying but your bad knee has kept you watching from the side-lines. …Basically, a life without the curse of knee pain. If You Feel Let Down, Disappointed, And Even Skeptical About What Can Be Done To Help You, Then Read On… My name is Jennifer Penrose, the nations leading knee pain specialist, and I have been helping people live with much less knee pain for more than a decade now – all across the country. people are confused by the advice they’ve previously been given, unsure about why it didn’t work out…… Read More
19
Mar 2020
Jennifer Penrose
Author
Jennifer Penrose

Knee Pain: Why Knee Pain Gets Worse With Exercise. Plus COVID-19 updates

Got this question sent to me yesterday by a “confused” reader of my newspaper articles suffering with knee pain… “Hey Jennifer, I’ve been suffering with a pain in my right knee now for a few weeks. What I can’t put my finger on is what I did to make it start in the first place, and even more confusing is that it’s most painful when walking down the stairs, and only comes on 10 minutes into a run. Sometimes it aches, sometimes it feels tender and dull, but I don’t understand why I could run fine before and now I can’t without having to stop after 10 minutes. Can you help?” – Mary, 46, Lacey. What Causes This? There’s a good chance that the same thing is happening to Mary as it does to most people this time of year… And it’s no surprise as we see off the end of Summer and start heading into Fall. This time of year we see more people than ever at Penrose Physical Therapy with painful knees. The reason why? Because it’s around this time of year that people decide to be more active and take things up like running and walking for longer distances, making the most of the nice weather and generally being more active. And even if they’re used to running, people tend to step it up and run a little longer than usual to get ready for upcoming races, sometimes adding in extra running days going… Read More
11
Mar 2020
Jennifer Penrose
Author
Jennifer Penrose

Why Knee Pain Gets Worse When You Exercise And How To Ease It

Got this question sent to me yesterday by a “confused” reader of my newspaper articles suffering with knee pain… “Hey Jennifer, I’ve been suffering with a pain in my right knee now for a few weeks. What I can’t put my finger on is what I did to make it start in the first place, and even more confusing is that it’s most painful when walking down the stairs, and only comes on 10 minutes into a run. Sometimes it aches, sometimes it feels tender and dull, but I don’t understand why I could run fine before and now I can’t without having to stop after 10 minutes. Can you help?” – Mary, 46, Lacey. Why Is This Time Of Year Different? There’s a good chance that the same thing is happening to Mary as it does to most people this time of year… This time of year we see more people than ever at Penrose Physical Therapy with painful knees. The reason why? Because it’s around this time of year that people decide to be more active and take things up like running and walking for longer distances, making the most of the nice weather and generally being more active. And even if they’re used to running, people tend to step it up and run a little longer than usual to get ready for upcoming races, sometimes adding in extra running days going from twice a week, to four times a week. What’s likely… Read More
04
Mar 2020
Jennifer Penrose
Author
Jennifer Penrose

Knee Pain: Why Knee Pain Gets Worse During Nighttime And How To Ease It

So far in this series on knee pain, we’ve covered a lot of different topics. We’ve looked at the 3 things you could be doing that make knee pain worse, which included wearing the wrong shoes, sitting with your legs bent and taking it too easy. We then looked at the 3 ‘quick fixes’ people think will help knee pain, but don’t. (Painkillers, resting and wearing a support). Next it was looking at whether knee replacement surgery could be avoided. Most recently, we looked at how to stop arthritis before it stops you. That’s a lot to cover in just 4 weeks, but we’ve still got more to cover. Knee pain is something that a lot of people struggle with at any time of year. But especially when in the warmer months, as people tend to be more active. Which leads me to this week’s article… Question for Dr. Penrose This question was sent to me yesterday by a reader suffering with knee pain: “Jennifer, I’ve been suffering with on-off type knee pain now for more than a year. What I can’t put my finger on is when it started or why. What’s more confusing is that my pain gets worse as the day goes on. But whenever I wake up, the pain is gone – or is considerably less. By the end of another day, my knee aches, sometimes, hot and swollen with considerable pain. It’s especially bad if I’ve been out for a long walk… Read More
26
Feb 2020
Jennifer Penrose
Author
Jennifer Penrose

Knee Pain: How To Stop Arthritis Before It Stops You

Many people just like you are becoming victims of knee pain. This is quickly becoming one of the most common things we see at Penrose Physical Therapy, and one of the areas that we treat the most too. But before I tell you why, have a look and see if this sounds familiar to you? There’s a familiar pattern that emerges with knee pain (before arthritis sets in). It starts with a few clicks of the knees, just here and there. But nothing painful, and you think nothing of it. Then as the years go on,  they start to ache a little bit more, commonly under the knee cap and inside of the knee. Walking around the stores for a few hours and they begin to feel sore. And getting back up again after sitting down watching your favorite TV show, you notice it takes a few steps for them to ‘get going’… And they become even WORSE in the cold weather. Does that sound familiar? I thought it might – with or without arthritis this is the case for many people.  Well, let me share this with you; so many people are becoming victims of bad footwear trends. What is “bad footwear” Plimsolls and pump-style shoes are the top of that criminals list that I come across almost on a daily basis, but there are many more besides them, more commonly work now than before. They have zero support for your feet. Absolutely none. So eventually, with time,… Read More
18
Feb 2020
Jennifer Penrose
Author
Jennifer Penrose

Can Knee Replacement Surgery Be Avoided?

Most people think that when they get knee pain, it’ll eventually “ease off” and go away on its own. That they’ll wake up one morning and like “magic”, knee pain will be a thing of the past… But then 6 months later you’re still living with the discomfort of knee pain – often even worse than it was when it came on. Does that sound like you? Another scenario we see all the time at Penrose Physical Therapy is when people go to their doctor. The well-meaning doctor tells them to “rest”, “try these painkillers” and “come back in 6 weeks if it’s no better”… But then, 6 weeks later, they end up going back to the same doctor again because it hasn’t gotten any better. They’re often given ANOTHER prescription of even stronger pills or maybe a knee support. Even worse, told that the ONLY thing left to do, is to go down the route of knee replacement surgery. The Reality of Knee Surgeries I hear worrying stories each week from people who have said yes to knee surgery – to find 6 months down the line, knee pain comes back. Knee pain after knee replacement surgery is a tricky topic. Most medical professionals will tell you that knee replacement surgery is the “solution”. Whether for anyone with arthritis or painful knees that have lasted for months. But the reality is, once the procedure is done it doesn’t guarantee anything after surgery. Which worries me! Especially when we’ve… Read More

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