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!!