Penrose Physical Therapy
10
Apr 2019
Jennifer Penrose
Author
Jennifer Penrose

“My Doctor Told Me To Stop Bending At The Spine – Help!”

This was a reply by one of my patients that really was at a loss of how to move without bending the spine. She truly loved Yoga and wanted to know if there was any possibility of modifying yoga. Yes it is possible and I will explain more. How to bend without bending at the spine is one of the most common questions I get from my osteoporosis and osteopenia patients. It is often one of the most difficult things to learn in the beginning and once you have it down it becomes how you move all the time. Anytime our body has to learn how to move differently it feels very awkward and difficult. Learning to bend without bending the back will also prevent a low back injury! (We really should move like this all the time for good spine health!) First of all, why is it critical to learn to avoid bending the spine with osteoporosis and osteopenia? Because bending the spine when it rounds like the letter “C” places stress can create a compression fracture. More than likely you won’t feel it! They call them “silent” vertebral compression fractures and the research says 700,000+ happen a year. It’s more common than cardiac and stroke events combined! One happens every 45 seconds.   If you can learn to bend correctly, you will decrease your risk for creating a compression fracture. Think about all the movements you do all day that require some kind of bending. Getting in and out… Read More
03
Apr 2019
Jennifer Penrose
Author
Jennifer Penrose

Do You Ever Have The Sensation Of Spinning?

Since we have been talking about balance and falls, we need to talk about what can often lead to falls: vertigo. Let’s start with the basics about vertigo. True vertigo is the sensation of spinning or movement (such as the sensation of swaying). If you’ve ever been sea sick, this is a bit like the swaying sensation. Or if you ever got “the spins” in your younger years after too much fun with alcohol. These sensations are similar to what some people feel while exercising. There are 2 types of vertigo: “Inner ear vertigo” is the most common type that we help people deal with in the clinic. I’ll discuss it more below. Central vertigo is related to damage to the balance centers of the brain. This includes things like strokes, MS and Parkinson’s. People with central vertigo tend to feel more unbalances or unsteady in general, versus having sudden attacks of spinning. Today I want to focus on inner ear vertigo. People with inner ear vertigo have very specific symptoms. Typically, they have a hard time turning their heads rapidly and walking in busy environments (like the mall). Certain positions can cause a sudden sensation of spinning which can be pretty scary at times. These positions include tipping the head back, bending forward, laying down in bed, or rolling over in bed. So what’s going on with these people? Do you remember when you were a kid and you would spin around in the grass until you got really dizzy and… Read More
27
Mar 2019
Jennifer Penrose
Author
Jennifer Penrose

“I Didn’t Realize My Balance Was That Bad!”

The last few weeks we’ve seen a lot of people coming into the clinic with balance issues, worried about falling. It’s a common problem that we see quite a lot. However, not a lot of people know that physical therapists can help with your balance. We like to have a bit of fun when we’re testing balance, to make it easier for people to do. We like to play ‘one-legged darts’ and do the ‘can you walk in a straight line?’ test, to find out just how steady (or how wobbly) people are on their feet. After we’ve done these little tests, everyone always says: “I didn’t realize my balance was that bad!” And it’s true! Most of us rarely realize we have a problem with our balance until it’s made obvious to us. Even though not all of us have superhuman balance like gymnasts, we need a certain level of balance. It helps us go about our daily activities without falling over and hurting ourselves. So I wanted to share the most common signs and symptoms to look out for. Especially when it comes to wobbly balance and an increased risk of falls. One of the most common ones is ‘dizziness’. Everyone has a dizzy spell now and then. But the word ‘dizziness’ may mean something different to different people. For some people dizziness might be a fleeting sensation of spinning. While for others it feels intense and lasts a long time. If you find yourself feeling as though the room… Read More
20
Mar 2019
Jennifer Penrose
Author
Jennifer Penrose

Did You Know That It Is NOT Normal To Shrink?

I work with clients 40+ and I often hear them say with a chuckle; “Yep, I’m shrinking and my feet are getting bigger.” Honestly, this is no laughing matter. If you shrink more than 1/2 an inch a year or more than 1.6 inches in your lifetime then you likely have had a fracture in your spine (the vertebral column) due to soft bones, or what we call osteopenia and osteoporosis. Don’t panic. It’s healed but it has healed in a way that has left you shorter. Think of soft bones/osteoporosis like butter. If you slouch or work in front of a computer every day (which is almost all of us) then that can load the vertebrae/bone and cause a “silent compression fracture”. A “silent fracture” means you do not feel it happen! You only notice the loss of height or the shrinking over time. Can we help people gain height? Yes, but not by causing the bones to grow. We have seen patients gain an inch in height by stretching the tight posture muscles. Or by giving them posture activities and yoga type exercises. It is a myth to think that shrinking comes with age. It’s also a myth to think you can’t do anything for the rounded upper back posture. You can improve that rounded upper back posture and certainly prevent it from getting worse. If you are a pre or post menopausal woman with a rounded back you certainly need to keep reading. It’s amazing… Read More
13
Mar 2019
Jennifer Penrose
Author
Jennifer Penrose

Balance: “Why Does My Wife Keep Falling Over?”

A gentleman called the clinic the other day with growing concerns about his wife and asked us: “Why does my wife keep falling over?” He continued to tell us that his wife, Sally, 71, has good health, but she’s been having difficulty controlling her balance lately. With each fall she loses confidence – so much that she’s scared to leave the house without him, or their daughter. Losing your balance is a scary thing. And it’s something we hear people worrying about all the time. It’s not uncommon that as we get older we begin to feel unsteady on our feet. People have told us that when they’re out doing their grocery shopping, they have to rely on the shopping cart. Other times they lean on a loved one to help them get around safely… Fear of falling spoils their confidence to leave the house alone, or even move around the house independently. It’s a worrying thing that happens. Most of the time, people don’t understand why it’s happening to them all of a sudden. So why is it that falls are one of the main causes of accidents and injuries in people aged 65+? Here’s just some of the reasons why falling can become more of an issue as we get older… Poor eyesight and difficulties with hearing properly are one of the most common changes that comes with ageing. Any issues with hearing and eyesight will make you feel unsteady. Let me explain… The inner ear has five, hair-like sensors… Read More
28
Feb 2019
Jennifer Penrose
Author
Jennifer Penrose

“Last Night My Neck Pain Got So Bad… I Couldn’t Even Turn My Head…”

If you or a loved one suffer from chronic pain – so bad that you struggle to do simple things like turning your head to look over your shoulder or sleep at night without pain, then reading this report may be the most important thing you do this year. It may unlock the agonizing mystery of your neck pain and show you a way to get back to the life you deserve… A life where you can sleep at night without tossing and turning, hoping to find one position where your neck pain stops. Where you can read a book before bed… or newspaper on a morning…without the fear of more neck pain. A life where you can wake up in the morning and not suffer from headaches or migraines… One where you can plan family time with your kids or grand kids, without worrying over if your neck pain will strike!…Basically, a life without chronic or severe neck pain! Finally one of the nation’s leading neck experts, Jennifer Penrose, a specialist from Lacey recently released a new report. The “Neck Pain Consumer Awareness Report” reveals the best kept secret in Lacey. How to actually get to the bottom of your Neck Pain without talking to your insurance. Even how to do it without regular trips to see the chiropractor, or needing a referral from your doctor. This report reveals how weekly, (and costly) visits to a chiropractor are NOT always needed. It also addresses how pain medications and muscle… Read More
22
Feb 2019
Jennifer Penrose
Author
Jennifer Penrose

Could Your Lifestyle Be Making Your Shoulder Pain Worse?

So far in this series, we’ve covered all things neck pain, shoulder pain and even headaches. I just want to quickly recap what we’ve looked at, for those who might have missed one or two. First we looked at why everyday activities can cause neck pain and what you can do to change that. Then we looked at how sleeping can cause neck and shoulder pain. It can be eased by sleeping with only one pillow, trying different sleeping positions that are comfortable and supportive. We then switched gears a little to look at headaches, and how most people think that they can be caused by something they’ve eaten. It’s more often down to neck and shoulder tension causing a headache. Try things like relaxing in a warm bath to help ease the tension, or talking to a member of our team. Shoulder pain then became topic and I gave you some simple exercises that you can do from your desk to help ease it. Finally, last week we looked at how stress can actually be a big cause for headaches. Try finding ways to relax can be really beneficial, including trying Yoga. This week I want to switch back to shoulder pain. It can sometimes be hard to see what you are doing wrong in your lifestyle because, well, it’s your lifestyle. Your daily routine is so well known to you that it can become second nature to read before bed, look on your tablet or going for that game of golf on a… Read More
13
Feb 2019
Jennifer Penrose
Author
Jennifer Penrose

Headaches: More Than Just A Pain In The Head!

Headaches are a pain. We all get them now and again, but for some of us, they’re more of a regular occurrence than others… And at the clinic it’s incredible just how many people we see, tell us that they’ve suffered from headaches. They just consider them to be a regular part of life they end up dealing with. That’s why things like ibuprofen and other types of painkillers are such big sellers. But drugs can only relieve the symptoms temporarily by masking the pain. Many times, the recurring headaches may actually be the result of something else! Take a look at this email I received from a new patient last week as an example: “Hi Jennifer, after reading your neck pain and headaches booklet, I wanted to send you an email to see if you could help me! I’m 48 years old and the last 6 months I’ve been suffering from some of the worst headaches I’ve ever had. I sit in front of a computer daily for at least 8 hours in a job that is stressful most of the time. Recently I visited the doctor who gave me pills to take the pain away, but the pain still exists. All I feel is constant tightness in my head. I don’t know what to do, or what the cause could be, it feels like pounding at the front of my head. Do you have any ideas? Thanks Jennifer.” – Alison, 48, Lacey. Of course, I have several ideas of what could be causing Alison’s headaches! In my years of experience it’s often the case that if… Read More
06
Feb 2019
Jennifer Penrose
Author
Jennifer Penrose

Shoulder Pain: Simple Exercises You Can Do From Your Desk

Sometimes, it can often surprise us how the smallest things in life can actually affect our health. Small things like wearing that heavy bag on the same shoulder every day, or that terrible posture you’ve learnt at work, but so desperately want to get rid of. That’s right everyone… it all adds up and can even be causing your shoulder pain. Today I’ll be going over the importance of exercising in the workplace and how it can help your shoulder pain. The reason why I’m writing about the workplace is because not many people realize how much time you spend at work. For example, the average full time worker spends on average every year,1,650 hours at work. That’s equivalent to 68 days or 9 weeks of day-in-day-out work! Now, imagine if you had an office job, or if you DO, think of all those hours you actually spend sat down, not moving and potentially developing poor posture. It’s no wonder you have shoulder pain! That is why it’s important to exercise at work and to keep moving as much as possible. Having only 5 weeks away from work can take it’s toll on your body. This truly shows how long you are at work for and how it can affect your health. With that in mind, here’s a few of my tips that are handy to use to ease that shoulder pain… Yoga before and after work is a MUST to stretch away those potential aches and pains in… Read More
30
Jan 2019
Jennifer Penrose
Author
Jennifer Penrose

Headaches And Migraines: “Was It Something I Ate?”

Let’s talk about headaches and migraines. Ranging from a mid-afternoon head pounding ache, to an agonizing pain that leaves you sensitive to light. Headaches are something most, if not all of us, have experienced at some point in our life. For some, headaches are a bigger problem and can even affect everyday life, just like Lauren who is a patient of mine – here’s what she wrote in an email to me before she came to see us: “Hi Jennifer, I’m 56 and have been suffering from migraines ever since I was a teenager and I’ve never been able to get to the root of the problem. Usually in the past I put my migraines down to stress or a lack of sleep. Then I thought it might be something that I’m eating instead. I took away all of the foods that are said to set off headaches like cheese and chocolate…but nothing really changed. I don’t know if this is true, but I heard that tension in your shoulders can bring headaches on? Then I thought you’d be the best person to ask. Is this right or am I being silly? Do I get headaches because of something I eat? I’m tired of getting migraines when I least expect them! It’s awful when they strike in the middle of shopping.” – Lauren, 56,Olympia, WA Let me tell you now, Lauren certainly was right about tension in your neck and shoulders being related to this common problem! I can imagine you… Read More
24
Jan 2019
Jennifer Penrose
Author
Jennifer Penrose

Neck & Shoulder Pain: Say Goodnight To Neck Pain For Good

Let’s talk about one of the most common causes of neck and shoulder pain – sleeping! Not just sleeping, but the way we sleep (and even what we do before we sleep). Have you ever woken up in the morning with a stiff and slightly painful neck? Often it’s just an annoying ache that eases off shortly after you’ve got out of bed, but after days of waking up feeling like this, it can become a lot more painful. It’s something that we don’t usually think about, but one of the most important things to consider is the effect that sleeping can have upon our neck and shoulders. Let me explain: An increase in neck or shoulder pain is a common problem that many people experience as a direct result of resting for 8 hours or more in an awkward position, either an old mattress which needs replacing, or on the wrong types of pillows. Why? Having your neck twisted or bent in a position for long periods of time isn’t good for the body. After a while your body becomes so used to being in a certain position when you go to sleep (the position you’ve been sleeping in for most of your life!) – night after night, so no wonder the neck becomes painful. But it’s not only down to the way we sleep… Another thing I see a lot of people do before they turn in for the night is they watch TV or read. But the thing is, while doing these… Read More
16
Jan 2019
Jennifer Penrose
Author
Jennifer Penrose

Why Everyday Activities Can Cause Neck Pain And What You Can Do To Change That

Have you ever had a slight pain in the neck but didn’t really think it was a big deal, especially if you knew it was because you slept awkwardly? Yes? I thought so. I hear this quite often from my clients when they first come in to see us – they’ll mention the annoying pain that’s going on in their neck when it comes to the end of their session because 9 times out of 10, they think it’s something that will “just go away” on it’s own. But here’s the thing – it doesn’t always “just go away”! Think of your neck like this: Your neck supports one of the most vital parts of your body – the skull and the brain. Not forgetting that the top of your neck is where your nerves begin. Now ask yourself this – do you still want to brush off that neck pain you’ve woken up with this morning? I thought not. Some of the main reasons as to why we shouldn’t brush off neck pain is because we all have ways in which we make it worse. We don’t mean to, but sometimes our lifestyle just gets in the way! Have you had your hair done recently? It can often be an enjoyable experience, but have you ever considered how your neck feels? When you’re getting your hair washed make sure the chair and basin are adjusted accordingly. The seats are meant to adjust for a reason! Also, sometimes it can take a… Read More

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