Penrose Physical Therapy
03
Jul 2019
Jennifer Penrose
Author
Jennifer Penrose

Back Pain: 5 Daily Habits That Reduce Stiffness

I wanted to answer a common question I get asked all the time at Penrose Physical Therapy all about stiffness: “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. 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 are 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. Where to start Not drinking enough fluids and dehydration can also lead to stiff muscles. Muscles are active tissues, which means they’re the kind of tissue that requires 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. Another cause can be related to stress – when we’re… Read More
25
Jun 2019
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… Read More
18
Jun 2019
Jennifer Penrose
Author
Jennifer Penrose

Back Pain: 3 Things That Cause Back Pain That You Didn’t Know Until Now

Quick question: How many of you have Googled ‘preventing back pain’? I thought so. We’ve all heard and read about what can cause back pain; incorrect lifting, bad posture, sports injury…but did you know that you may be making a common mistake in your daily routine, that might be encouraging back pain? What I’m about to tell you might sound surprising, but hear me out and I’ll explain why it can cause your back pain to worsen, as well as give you some tips on how to change it. Right, here we go… Bad Diet I don’t mean like Weight Watchers! That’s a way to manage your weight. However, I am more concerned about the reason you may go to slimming clubs. Being overweight can have a great impact on your health AND your back pain. If you are overweight then you are putting extra pressure on your back. An example of this can be shown where we store sugar. When we eat sugar, any energy that we don’t use from it, is stored on our back. Another place that it can be stored, along with caffeine, is at your lower back, a.k.a your love handles! If you now think of all that excess weight being carried on your back from sugar and caffeine, is it surprising that a bad diet can lead to back pain? To overcome this issue, try cutting down on the sugar, caffeine and processed foods and choose more natural foods. This could be chicken breasts, potatoes… Read More
11
Jun 2019
Jennifer Penrose
Author
Jennifer Penrose

Back Pain: How To Live With Less Of It When Working In An Office

Do you work in an office based job? Or find yourself struggling with neck, shoulder or back pain after sitting for long periods of time? Do you wish there was something you could do it reduce the pain? Well there is a solution to create a more safe, healthy and comfortable working environment for you. You don’t have to put up with annoying aches and pains. Let’s start at the bottom with your ankles… Research suggests your ankles should be supported via a foot rest. Keeping the ankle joints at just over a 90 degree angle is best. The same rule applies to your knees, keep them slightly at over 90 degree angles. Do this with at least 80- 90% of your thighs supported on your seat parallel to the floor. Basically, when your feet are planted firmly on the floor, you’re not sitting in a twisted position. I know it can be easy to do after sitting for hours without regular breaks! Low Back Positioning Moving on to those troublesome lower backs… A lot of us are guilty of having poor sitting posture. Slouching in our chairs at work and creating extra unnecessary stresses through our spine and the soft tissues. These muscles, tendons and ligaments support our spine and body! To avoid this extra stress, it’s important to ensure that your butt is touching the back of the chair. So get your wiggle on and shuffle right to the back of your chair. Don’t be worried if your feet come off the floor,… Read More
04
Jun 2019
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, it is all around us (and even in us). As 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. This probably explains why we feel a lot better when we drink enough of it. 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? 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… I know you already know that water affects every organ and cell in your body, but it also plays an enormous role in the health of your back and spine. 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 rehydrate themselves again (so long as there is ENOUGH water in the body!). Here’s Where Water Comes Into Play… Read More
28
May 2019
Jennifer Penrose
Author
Jennifer Penrose

Back Pain: How To Get The Housework Done Without Making Back Pain Worse

Has this ever happened to you? You’re going about your day doing your usual day-to-day jobs like taking the trash out or changing the sheets. All of a sudden you feel a sharp pain in your back and you can hardly move… Sound familiar? 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 relaxing, she decided to do get the housework done. Anne was fine to start, but as she went to turn over her mattress she put her back out completely. 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. 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. Most of us do some form of jobs around the house – that’s a lot of backs that could potentially become sore! And not just that, most… Read More
21
May 2019
Jennifer Penrose
Author
Jennifer Penrose

Back Pain ‘Driving’ You Mad? 7 Tips To Alleviate Back Pain While Driving

If you’re driving fairly long distances to and from work every day, it’s likely you’ve experienced back pain. Around 30-60% of drivers report having back pain at some point in their life. We see lots of people in the clinic in pain as a result of 30 minutes+ on the road, almost daily! But why does something as simple as driving trigger off back pain when it’s not exactly strenuous? Driving for long periods of time exposes the body to many different forces. These include acceleration, sudden stops, and most notably vibrations from the road. These forces especially affects those who drive larger vehicles. Driving also involves the use of your feet to control the cars pedals. This means they are not used to help stabilize and support your lower body as they normally would when sitting. It’s no wonder why a combination of these factors, along with inadequate design can cause problems for many of us. Back pain can make driving unpleasant (in some cases, unbearable). So, I put together a list of tips to help make your next journey as pain-free as possible. Here are 7 tips to help you: 1. Get Comfortable Before You Set Off – A small irritation can quickly grow into an unbearable pain. If you’ve got a long journey ahead, or in the car for 20 minutes, this can affect your day. So, before you set off, take a few moments to settle into a comfortable position. Check… Read More
14
May 2019
Jennifer Penrose
Author
Jennifer Penrose

“I Didn’t Realize My Balance Was That Bad – Now I Know Why I Keep Falling Over…”

Have you or a loved one have fallen recently? Do you feel unsteady on your feet or lacking the confidence to move around independently? Or are you worried to even leave the house without someone there to help support you just in case you fall? Then I’d like to invite you to attend this new, fun and educational workshop. It may be the most important thing you do this year. Or it may help you find out if you have problems with your balance that you weren’t even aware of. It will show you exactly what to do if you, or a loved one have recently fallen. Additionally, it will show you a way to get back on your feet and the life you deserve before balance issues struck… A life where you can walk around the store without relying upon the shopping cart, or a loved ones arm to keep you steady… Where you can move around the house independently and not take 20 minutes to move from the couch, without feeling lightheaded and dizzy… A life where you can pick up and play with your kids/grandkids without worrying when a ‘dizzy spell’ is going to come on and leave you feeling worried… Or a life where you can do and enjoy all the things you see so many others doing and enjoying, but a fear of falling has kept you from going out and crippled your confidence…Basically, a life without the fear of falling and feeling unsteady on your feet. If… Read More
08
May 2019
Jennifer Penrose
Author
Jennifer Penrose

Afraid Of Another Fall? 7 Tips To Help You Avoid Another Fall And Improve Your Balance!

Last week I spoke to you all about the downward spiral of having another fall. I also gave a quick recap of everything we’ve covered in this series so far. With any luck, you’ve had time to digest all of this information and that it’s been helpful. It’s applied to those of you who may be dealing with balance issues, or even osteoporosis or osteopenia. I even told you about my free report that was all about osteoporosis and osteopenia. Those of you who wanted more information on the subject can download from last week’s email. Hopefully you’ve had a chance to digest that information and that it’s helped you. To wrap up the osteoporosis topic, we will be offering yoga for osteoporosis, specially designed to improve balance and posture. If you’re interested, just email info@penrosept.com to register your interest. I hope the information on balance and fall prevention has been helpful to you. Maybe you’ve even been able to start trying some of the tips I’ve given you over the last few weeks. Or maybe you’ve been able to share this information with a friend or loved one. If this sounds like you or a loved one, and you’d like even more information about how to avoid another fall, regain confidence and maintain independence, I have even more valuable information that I want to share with you today.  Over the last 10 years, I’ve worked with hundreds of clients who’ve experienced one or several falls, and I’ve had the opportunity to… Read More
30
Apr 2019
Jennifer Penrose
Author
Jennifer Penrose

The “Downward Spiral” Of Having A Fall

We’re coming to the end of our series on balance, falls and osteoporosis . We’ve covered a lot so far in this series. I want to do a quick recap of what we’ve covered so far. First we looked at what things could cause bad balance and what to do about it. We then looked at why it’s not normal to shrink. After that, the most common signs to look for when it comes to wobbly balance and increased risk of falls. Next we looked at the sensation of spinning and vertigo. We then switched gears back to osteoporosis and how yoga can help to avoid people bending at the spine. Following that we looked at how we were able to help one of our clients improve her balance and mobility. Then last week we again looked at how yoga can help with osteoporosis, but in more detail. Next we looked at the sensation of spinning and vertigo. We then switched gears back to osteoporosis and how yoga can help to avoid people bending at the spine. Following that we looked at how we were able to help one of our clients improve her balance and mobility. Last week we again looked at how yoga can help with osteoporosis, but in more detail. That’s a lot to cover in 7 weeks! This week we’ll be switching back over to balance and falls as we approach the end of this series. I talk a lot about balance and fall prevention at workshops and… Read More
24
Apr 2019
Jennifer Penrose
Author
Jennifer Penrose

I Was Told Not To Bend Or Twist With Osteoporosis; Yet Research Shows Yoga Increases Bone Density

Yoga has along list of health benefits, including greater flexibility and range of motion, stronger muscles, better posture. Even balance, reduced emotional and physical stress, and increased self awareness and self-esteem. Yoga’s forward folds have to be eliminated for the osteoporosis crowd but the rotational poses actually increase bone density. Dr. Loren M. Fishman is a physiatrist at Columbia University who specializes in rehabilitative medicine. He has been gathering evidence on yoga and bone health, hoping to determine whether yoga might be an effective therapy. The idea that yoga helps with bone density is not widely accepted in the medical community. More than 700,000 spinal fractures and more than 300,000 hip fractures occur annually in the United States. Dr. Fishman hoped that this low-cost and less dangerous alternative to bone-loss drugs is worth pursuing.  Bone-loss medications can produce adverse side effects like gastrointestinal distress and fractures of the femur. A study published in “Clinical Interventions in Aging” found that of 126,188 women found to have osteoporosis, all of whom had Medicare Part D drug coverage, only 28 percent started bone drug therapy within a year of diagnosis. Most people do know that the prescribed medications come with complicating factors and risks. On the other hand, yoga’s “side effects”, Dr. Fishman and colleagues wrote recently, “include better posture, improved balance, enhanced coordination, greater range of motion, higher strength, reduced levels of anxiety and better gait.” How does yoga work to increase bone density? “Yoga puts more pressure on bone than gravity does,” he said… Read More
16
Apr 2019
Jennifer Penrose
Author
Jennifer Penrose

How We Were Able To Help Susan Improve Her Balance & Mobility

If you’ve been following our osteoporosis and balance series over the last weeks, you might be wondering how to put this information together. Today, I’m going to help you do that by telling you about a lady we worked with recently. Let’s call her Susan. I’m going to tell you how we assessed her 3 Balance Systems as well as the other various contributing factors. Then we’ll discuss how we used this information to design a successful treatment plan for her. Here’s Susan’s story in a nutshell: Susan came into the clinic after she fell 6 months ago while walking to her car in a gravel parking lot. She ended up with a couple bumps and bruises, but otherwise was uninjured. However, over the next several months, she became more and more worried about having another fall. She started limiting her activity level, especially walking on uneven surfaces (walking on the gravel was partly why she fell). She decided to come in for physical therapy because she’s been feeling even more unsteady on her feet. She’s had several near-falls where she’s had to catch herself on a piece of furniture or wall inside her home. If you have had a few falls where you caught yourself or just a few bumps and bruises you may not realize what weaknesses may be contributing to these little mishaps! Hopefully this story will make you think about what might be contributing to your less steadiness. After talking with Susan and assessing her various balance… Read More

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