5 signs (that you may ignore) that you need to see a physical therapist

Let’s face it…you probably would call a physical therapist if you’ve sustained an obvious injury, or you are experiencing pain so intense you need immediate relief.  But many people often ignore some of those nagging symptoms because they are too busy for it today. They think they can simply live with the pain or wait for it to go away. Sometimes it does, but often, those small issues over time develop into bigger issues with more pain and limitations.  When left untreated, these issues can become very costly in terms of time, money, and the limitation of doing the activities you love.   Physical therapists help eliminate small problems before the risk of them becoming larger sets in.

Here are five signals (that you may ignore) that you should see a PT:

  1. You’re having to modify exercises, your recreational activities or daily function. While the pain doesn’t restrict you from activity, you still must modify or make small compromises. You may feel sore, so you limit your activity. PTs can help determine the root of the issue and fix it before an injury occurs or reoccurs.

 

  1. You’re starting a new workout or training programPhysical therapists are movement experts and understand how best the body functions.  They help you understand the proper mechanics, so you can train correctly and reduce the risk of sustaining an injury.  Why leave it to chance?

  1. Your recovery period is way longer than normal. It is normal to experience soreness following a race or post-workout if it dissipates in a few days.  However, if routine activities cause pain lasting more than 3 days, you should call your PT immediately.  It could involve a muscle, tendon, ligament, or joint that should be addressed.

  1. You’re waking up sore, but you didn’t do any strenuous activity. You shouldn’t wake up from sleeping feeling sore.  Sure, you may need time to warm up your body, but you shouldn’t be in pain.  More than likely, it is your sleep position, poor mattress or pillow.  A PT can help determine the cause of soreness and help you get a more restful night of sleep.

  1. You’re noticing unusual pain, or unexplainable, visible changes. If you observe swelling or other changes to your joints or other parts of the body, especially after a training session, you should contact a physical therapist as soon as possible. You could be making an underlying injury even worse.

 

Don’t let the nagging issues turn into bigger injuries.  Call Baudry Therapy Center today if you are experiencing any of the 5 signs above.  Invest in your best asset – your own health!

Standing Desks…Are they really the solution to back and neck pain?

Sitting at a desk for long periods of time has been labeled the “quiet killer”, worse than smoking these days. As a result, standing desks have become extremely popular to combat the effects of sitting. But are standing desks really the solution?  First, we need to determine what is really going on with our bodies when we sit to really understand.

Our bodies will adapt to almost any situation. If you sit all day long, your body adapts to your position. Your posture begins to round, then the shoulders round and then the chest tightens due to the lack of movement. The body adapts by limiting range of motion and tightening muscles that are shortened regularly. You lose strength in the muscles and can cause tissue damage. In the end, you experience tension in the back and neck, ultimately leading to pain.

While sitting can be the cause of common neck, shoulder, and low back pain, you should remember the issue is really a lack of movement. 

So are Standing Desks the solution?

The answer is yes and no.  It’s not the only solution, but it can help many desk-bound workers alleviate low back and neck pain.

While standing will help with a lot of issues (poor posture, tissue damage, tight quads/hip flexors), you can’t switch to a standing desk and expect your pain to go away. Your body will adapt, but you should know that standing 8+ hours per day leads to its own set of problems, specifically with feet, calves, legs, and back.

The ideal solution is a combination of standing and sitting, as well as getting on a regular exercise program. Simply put, you need to move more!

Baudry Therapy Center does suggest standing desks, but there are some things to consider before purchasing one.  You’ll want to buy one that offers flexible height adjustment so you can alternate between periods of sitting and standing. Once your desk arrives and you’re ready to set it up, you should consider some basic ergonomics.

 

 Proper Standing Desk Ergonomics

 

Desktop:

  1.  When standing, your desktop should be roughly at the level of your elbows.
  2. Your desk surface should be clean and clear of clutter.
  3. If you read forms or papers frequently, you might look for a tool which would hold the paper up, next to your computer screen, so you don’t have to look down at it repeatedly.

Computer Monitor:

  1.  Your monitor should be set directly in front of you.
  2. The top of the monitor should be at your brow level.

Anti-Fatigue Mat:

  1. You may also consider an anti-fatigue mat, which offers an unstable surface that keep the leg constantly in motion.
  2. This constant motion goes practically unnoticed and allows us to stand longer with less detrimental effects.

Phone:

  1.  If you are on the phone a lot I would suggest a headset
  2. While using the phone keep your neck in an upright position.

Movement Alarm:

  1. Set an alarm for every hour to remind yourself to move around. This could be a few squats, a trip to the water cooler or a quick walk around the block.
  2. Have a set of reliable stretches/movements that you use throughout the day as needed to get relief.

At the end of the day, a standing desk can certainly help your neck, back, and shoulder pain, but to truly alleviate it you need to move more! If you are experiencing pain and want to get a jump-start, call Baudry Therapy Center today. We can help you with one simple consultation.

If a standing desk is just not for you, click here for 4 Tips on how to help your back and neck pain while sitting.