Tuesday, August 27, 2019

Don't Forget your Feet!!

Is Your Exercise Program Missing Something??
It is no mystery that exercise is beneficial for our bodies. People exercise to increase energy levels and boost their mood, reduce pain and chronic illness, improve heart and brain health, build bones and muscles, reduce blood pressure, manage or lose weight, improve sleep quality, and enhance their sex life. Most exercise programs recommend working large muscle groups throughout the core and trunk to support the spine, and throughout the legs and arms to build strength and endurance for daily activities such as walking, bending and lifting. Many group exercises include a thorough routine of activities from head to toe but only have the time to do a few exercises for each body part. It is important to spend extra time working on body parts that are often neglected in regular exercise programs, including your feet!! Luckily, it is about to get easier to focus on your feet!! 

Small but Mighty
Feet are amazing structures within the human body and deserve your attention. Feet consist of 26 bones (which is one quarter of the bones in the entire body!!), 33 joints, and 100 muscles, tendons and ligaments. Small but mighty, the surface area of the feet are able to support and carry the entire weight of the body for standing, balancing, and walking activities, to name a few. Feet bear the brunt of all weight bearing activities and it is no wonder that they can often fall prey to injuries and pain. "According to the Framingham population study of older adults, approximately 19 percent of men and 25 percent of women have significant foot pain on most days of the week that often limits their ability to function."[1] Foot pain can vary from person to person and be felt in different parts of the foot such as the Big Toe (Turf Toe, Ingrown Toenails, Bunion or Gout), the little toes (Hammertoes), arch (Plantar Fasciitis), top of the foot (Morton's Neuroma or Metatarsagia), front or sides of the ankle (Sprained Ankle), pain underneath the heel pain (Heel Spurs) or on the back of he heel (Achilles Tendonitis). For such a small area of the body, there sure can be a lot of places for pain to be experienced! Because of all of the sensory receptors located in our feet, pain here can be felt as so much more severe than many other places, especially during weight-bearing activities. 

It's ALL Connected
As humans, our parts are all connected so it is possible that a problem in one area can affect not only that area but other places as well.  If other body parts "up the chain" are not working efficiently, excess pressures fall upon the feet. Sometimes dysfunctions in the feet aren't felt as problems there but exhibit themselves as knee, hip, and back pain, or even headaches!  Therefore, it is important to be sure that all of the muscles are working well in your feet and if there are weakness above that cause the feet to be overworked and sore, those issues need to be discovered and resolved too. 

Are you "Out-Sourcing" your Feet's Job?
For years, humans have been shoving their feet inside of shoes that are ill-fitting and don't allow normal foot mechanics to support the arches, which provide natural shock absorption and propel our leg throughout the phases of the walking cycle. Instead, we've been brainwashed into thinking that our feet need external support, such as arch supports, full-shoe inserts, or shock absorbing rubber soles, to do the work for us. Although these technological advances can be helpful for some individuals, our feet were designed to move in and out of "pronation" (flattened arch to serve as a shock absorber) and "supination" (increased arch to create rigid foot to push off) as natural phases of the walking cycle. Our foot muscles that create and support these positions can become weakened if our shoes are taking over those jobs or limit the natural movements available to our feet and ankles. 

Find your Feet's Happy Place! 
The time has come to make FEET the focus of an entire exercise class! 1212 Bodyworks is hosting it's first class to address this common problem affecting so many men and women! 

"Happy Feet" Workshop Series
Thursday 10/10, 10/17, and 10/24 at 10am 
(Three 60min classes...Only $36)

For 3 consecutive weeks, participants will learn and experience therapeutic self-massage techniques, perform specific range of motion and strengthening exercises for the neglected and often weak foot muscles, and will move through standing, walking and balancing progressions. Attendees will walk away with new understanding of the workings of their feet and ankles, as well as tools and techniques that they can apply themselves to address their specific issues and challenges. If you, or someone you know, have experienced foot pain or are struggling to find relief from any of the diagnoses listed above, this class is FOR YOU! This workshop is being offered to only 10 people so contact me today to reserve your spot as space is already filling up quickly! Your feet deserve to be HAPPY FEET!! :) 

Saturday, July 27, 2019

From Limping to Pain-Free in Less Than One Hour!

Alice limped into the office holding her back saying, “Oh boy, Chuck had me running around again this weekend and now I need my “Muscle Magician” to put me back together again!!” Sweet Alice always makes me smile when she comes in. It makes you wonder how she ever worked in her younger years as she is one of the most involved retirees you’ll ever meet!! From weekly card games, to volunteering at the local hospital, playing the piano at church, to sewing for a charity--the energy of this 72 year old amazes everyone!! Her husband Chuck is an active senior, playing golf several times per week, and singing in the church choir. They love to go out bird watching together, but lately Alice hasn’t felt up to joining Chuck because of her chronic foot and back pain. “I was able to get to my Water Yoga class last week, but oh boy, did I feel it in my back later that day!! I could barely sit through our grandson’s baseball game because my muscles were screaming at me!! I just wish I could move like I used to when I was younger.” Unfortunately, Alice is not the only one who feels this way. Most of my clients would love to turn back the clock to feel as good as they did in their younger years. 
We got to work assessing Alice’s mobility and she was really locked up with her left hip motion. After activating only 3 muscles, her hip joint moved so much more freely. “Wow! This process never ceases to amaze me! I’m so glad my neighbor told me about your treatments! I was so frustrated with not being able to move like I wanted to, but I thought I was too old and my body was too far gone to be able to make any changes. I reminded Alice about how far she has come in just a few weeks. When we first met, she walked with a cane because of her foot pain but she was able to walk without it after just a few weeks of treatment. Her foot is feeling much better now without the cane, but the pain is not gone completely. Now we are focused on reducing her lower back pain by getting her hips balanced. Alice sat up at the edge of the treatment table and looked around. “My back didn’t hurt when I sat up. I don’t get it...we worked on my hip and my back feels better? How does that work?” I asked Alice if she ever sings “The foot bone’s connected to the leg bone…” song to her grandkids. She smiled. I told her that the hip muscles are attached to the pelvic bone, which is the “foundation” of the spine. When the hip is moving better, the forces throughout the pelvis and back are more evenly balanced so the pain can be minimized. “That makes sense!” As she stood up and walked over to the chair to put her shoes back on she gasped!! “Are you okay, Alice?” I reacted quickly. She excitedly answered, “My hip bone must be connected to my foot bone because that doesn’t hurt anymore either!!” She gave me a big hug and sauntered back out to the waiting area pain free. Chuck stood up from the chair to greet her and he said, “Alice!! I haven’t seen you move like this in months!” She told him, “Emily reconnected my hip bone to my pelvis bone and now my back and foot don’t hurt! Maybe we can take that evening bird hike after all!”  Sweet Alice made my day! 
Are you frustrated by nagging pain or tightness that doesn’t respond to other treatments? It may take a little further investigation to find all of the areas contributing to the problem. To see if your pelvic bone is “connected” to your back bones or hip bones (or any other body parts for that matter) and want to see your pain go away, schedule your session today! 
Be one of the first 3 people to schedule a session before Aug 1 and receive a special $20 discount. 
Text/Call me at (414) 405-3956 between 12-2pm or email me at 1212bodyworks@gmail.com  to set up your appointment.
Keep moving well! 

Monday, April 29, 2019

Head to Toe Healing in ONLY 20 Movements!

Back, neck, hip, knee and foot pain are the most common challenges faced among Physical Therapy clients of 1212 Bodyworks.  A smaller majority of clients experience issues in their shoulder, elbow, wrist and hand. Some clients also report feelings of tightness, limited mobility, impaired balance, and weakness. Over the past 2 decades of working with clients to resolve the muscle imbalances at the root of their frustrating symptoms, some common areas of muscle weaknesses have been discovered. As part of the celebration of my 20th Anniversary of being a Physical Therapist, I'm letting you in on my discovery! Below is a comprehensive list of 20 movements to perform for yourself to activate these key areas of weakness. Your whole body will receive a natural boost of energy as you move through these various positions. Remember to listen to your body's signals as you keep your movements within a comfortable range of motion. Tune into the sensations you feel from your right and left sides of the body and take note of the areas that feel different or have less movement available. Take healing into your own hands and KEEP your body moving well from head to toe! 

Begin by lying on your back. 
1. Diaphragmatic Breathing: Draw air into your belly, allowing your shoulders and chest to stay relaxed, as you inhale. Let your breath out slowly as you exhale and relax your body. Repeat as many times as needed to activate the diaphragm muscle below the lungs and allow it to do the work of inspiration that it was designed to do!
2. Ankle Dorsiflexion: Extend the top of your foot and toes toward your nose. Repeat 3 times. 
3. Toe Extension: Reach your toenails up to your shin as you spread the toes out wide, as if putting on a pair of toe "gloves." Repeat 3 times. 
4. Ankle Inversion: Rotate your ankle and foot inward so the bottom/sole of the foot faces the opposite foot. Repeat 3 times. 
5. Knee Flexion: Bend your knee as you slide your heel all the way back toward your hip/buttock. Repeat 3 times on each side. 
6. Hip Internal Rotation: With your knees straight, rotate your thigh bones inward so your knee caps face the midline of the body. Repeat 3 times on each side. 
7. Hip External Rotation: With your knees straight, rotate your thigh bones outward so your knee caps face the outside of the body. Repeat 3 times on each side. 
8. Hip Flexion: Keeping your knee straight, raise your leg up toward the ceiling. Repeat 3 times on each side. 
9. Hip Abduction: Keeping your knee straight, slide your leg out to one side, keeping the knee cap facing the ceiling. Repeat 3 times on each side. 
10. Pelvic Approximation: Bend one knee and place that foot on top of the opposite thigh. Use your lower abdominal muscles to lift the pelvis up and allow the bent knee to reach toward the place where the ceiling meets the wall. Repeat 3 times on each side. 
11. Trunk Sidebend: Bend sideways at your waist as you slide your upper body all the way to the side, as you slide your hand down the side of your thigh toward your knee. Repeat 3 times on each side. 
12. Shoulder Abduction: Keeping elbows straight, reach your arms out to the side and up toward your head as if trying to make a snow angel. Repeat 3 times on each side. 

Now roll over onto your stomach. Place a small rolled towel under your forehead so you can breathe or allow your head to come off the bed with your chin resting against the edge of the mattress. 
14. Shoulder/Scapular Retraction: Squeeze your shoulder blades together toward your spine. Repeat 3 times on each side. 
15. Spinal Extension: Lift your head and shoulders off the bed up toward the ceiling. Repeat 3 times.

Finally, come to a comfortable seated position. 
16. Shoulder/Scapular Depression: Sink your shoulders down away from your ears and feel the shoulder blades slide down the back of the ribcage toward your back pockets. Repeat 3 times on both sides. 
17. Shoulder Flexion: Keeping your elbows straight, raise your arms up toward the ceiling bringing your arms as close to your ears as possible. Repeat 3 times on each side. 
18. Shoulder External Rotation: Bend elbows to at a 90 degree angle, keep elbows next to your side/ribcage and allow your shoulders to rotate outward. Your forearms and hands will reach out to the sides as if pulling an accordion apart. 
19. Cervical Side Bend: Sitting tall, bend your neck so your ear comes down toward your shoulder but keep your face forward without turning your head to look down. Repeat 3 times on each side. 
20. Cervical Rotation: Sitting tall, rotate your head to one side as if you are trying to look over your shoulder and behind your body. Repeat 3 times on each side. 

How do you feel? How fluid or symmetrical are your movements? Is one side of your body more limited in several of the positions? Keep track of the sensations or how far you move so you can maintain your current level of mobility and function. If you begin to notice changes over time as you move into more comfortable range of motion, that is a sign of progress!! If you feel discomfort as you move into a position or throughout different points along the journey that doesn't resolve on its own, you could benefit from some assistance to get to the root of what is contributing to the imbalance or discomfort. Take advantage of 1212 Bodyworks' Complimentary Consultation if you are a new client to share your concerns and learn how I can help you resolve the issues you are experiencing. For current clients, you can take advantage of the 20th Anniversary Special throughout the month of May 2019 and get 20% off of your next treatment package! 

Here's to 20+ more years serving others to help them MOVE, FEEL and LIVE better!!

Tuesday, March 26, 2019

Top 3 Tips for Spring Cleaning your Body

After a long cold winter, most of our bodies are ready for some more sunshine to kiss our skin, and more movement and time spent outside, breathing in fresh air. Before you hit the ground running with your Spring activities, consider these "Top 3 Tips for Spring Cleaning your Body" to prepare for this season of renewal! 

1) Water your Internal Garden! 
Hydration is key when increasing your activity level and being outside for longer durations. Not only do we need H2O for all of our cellular processing, but our gut health depends on it for helping to flush out all the toxins from our system. Using a re-usable water bottle is helpful way to transport your water where ever you go. Personally, I use a glass or non-BPA plastic bottle daily and try to keep track of how many times I have filled it up to be sure I am getting the proper amount of hydration in a day. If you need a little flavor to keep you motivated, throw in a slice of lemon, cucumber (or both), or other fruit to liven up your hydration experience. 

2) Walk before you Run!! 
Some of you may be ambitiously planning to participate in a 5K or other type of actual race this year. For others, tackling house cleaning projects or yard work may SEEM as daunting as running a marathon! Regardless of your activities, be sure to actively warm your body up before heading into more strenuous movements. If you are following a "Couch to 5K" program, or working with a coach to train for your races, good for you!! Listen to your body and take breaks as needed as it is much easier to steadily increase the demands on your body than to pick up the pieces after "over-training" injuries may occur! For those of you tackling the home/yard projects, most of them are done in front of the body or "flexed" positions. To counteract all of the sorting, lifting, scrubbing, raking, planting, and pulling positions, be sure to include some Extension activities in your routine: Stand up straight, reaching your leg back behind your body (one leg at a time). Reach your arms all the way up overhead, or out to the sides like you are forming a letter "T" to open your chest and shoulders. These will help to reduce tightness and soreness from the forward flexed postures that are required for your Spring Cleaning tasks. 

3) Wring out your Waists & Wastes!!
Many of you know that our muscles MOVE our bodies from place to place. Did you know that our muscles are also responsible for pumping our Lymphatic Fluids out of the body? The lymphatics are the waste removal system of the body. They rely on the pressure from muscle contractions to serve as pumps for the flow of the waste materials out of the body. Regular movement is required to keep our "pipes" clean. Even more reason to get back in for a session to make sure that ALL of your muscles are functioning efficiently!  Some other ways you can help the lymphatic flow are by dry brushing your skin, or bouncing on a trampoline (also known as rebounding). Since many of our lymph ducts are in our armpits, abdomen and groin, marching in place and bringing your opposite elbow toward your knee will allow your core muscles to massage your internal organs and flush those major lymphatic ducts.  Ask me at your next session to teach you my favorite Lymph blaster, "The Jiggle" as that one is easier to teach (and funnier to watch) in person. Hee hee! :) 

Looking forward to helping you MOVE into Spring and beyond!

Keep Moving Well!