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Don't Just Sit There!

Sitting can be harmful to your health! More studies are showing that sitting for hours at a time is a health risk regardless of what you do with the rest of your day. Stand up, it could save your life!

Researchers have linked sitting for long periods of time with a number of health concerns, including obesity and metabolic syndrome. Too much sitting also seems to increase the risk of death from cardiovascular disease and cancer. Sitting in front of the TV isn’t the only concern. Any extended sitting-such as behind a desk at work or behind the wheel-can be harmful. What’s more, spending a few hours a week at the gym or otherwise engaged in moderate or vigorous activity doesn’t seem to significantly offset the risk. Rather, the solution seems to be less sitting and more moving overall. You can start by simply standing rather than sitting whenever you have the chance.

Some of the health risks of sitting include: high blood pressure and elevated cholesterol, and people with the most sedentary time are more than twice as likely to have cardiovascular disease. Studies have linked sitting to a greater risk for colon, breast, and endometrial cancers. Regular movement boosts natural antioxidants that kill cell-damaging-and potentially cancer causing-free radicals. When you stand, move or even sit up straight, abdominal muscles keep you upright. But when you slump in a chair, they go unused causing tightness in back muscles and weakness in abs which leads to back pain. People who sit more also have tightness in their hips which leads to problems with walking and can increase your risks of falls. Sitting for long periods of time slows blood circulation in the legs. When we are sedentary for a long time, everything slows, including brain function. If most of your sitting occurs at a desk at work, craning your neck forward toward a keyboard or tilting your head to cradle a phone while typing can strain your neck. Sitting also puts increased compression and strain on our discs in the spine leading to increased risk of herniated discs. This picture shows the “right way” to sit! Even when sitting with good posture, remember to get up and move around frequently to prevent problems.

Contact the physical therapists at Campbell Therapy Center at 731-641-8111, for your physical therapy appointment, with further questions or if you are having pain. We are here to help you!

Why is my arm hurting if the problem is in my neck?

A pinched nerve in the neck is also called cervical radiculopathy. It is characterized by radiating pain from the neck to the shoulder, shoulder blade, arm, or hand. Weakness and lack of coordination in the arm and hand can also occur. Athletes, heavy laborers, and workers who use vibrating machinery are commonly affected. People who sit for long periods of time, or individuals with arthritis in the cervical region can also be affected. Conservative care, including physical therapy, can help reduce symptoms. A physical therapist can help alleviate the acute neck and arm symptoms that result from the condition, as well as improve general strength and function. Most cases of cervical radiculopathy are resolved with physical therapy and do not require surgery.   What is cervical radiculopathy? Cervical radiculopathy occurs when a nerve root coming off the spinal cord becomes compressed. The compression can occur when a cervical disc herniates or as a result of arthritis or decreased disc height in the neck region.

The neck has 7 cervical vertebrae (the bones that form the neck region). Each vertebra is separated by a gel-like disc. The discs provide shock absorption for the spine. The spinal cord travels through a canal in the cervical vertebrae. Spinal nerve roots extend from the spinal cord and branch off going to specific locations in the arm. The spinal nerves send signals to our muscles for movement as well as sensations that we feel in the entire arm. Spinal nerves can be pinched by : arthritic changes with age, bulging discs from trauma or degeneration, spinal stenosis or narrowing of the canal of nerves, or a tumor which impinges the nerve root. When the spinal nerves are impinged, they cannot properly send messages to the muscles from the brain, or receive proper sensation from the arm. Everywhere the spinal nerve travels will be affected. That is why a pinched nerve in the neck can cause pain, weakness, and loss of sensation in the arm, even though the pinch is in the upper neck region.

The symptoms may include pain in the neck, shoulder blade, or arm, with pain radiating into fingers. Pain may be described as “sharp” or “pins-and-needles” or “popping sensation” in the neck. Pain may also be described as a general dull ache or numbness anywhere along the pathway of the nerve. Sometimes, there is weakness in the arm or hand. The pain may lessen when the arm is lifted over and behind the head.

Physical therapy is an effective treatment for cervical radiculopathy. The treatment may include pain management, manual therapy, posture education, and range-of-motion exercises, strengthening exercises and functional training. There are ways to prevent this type of neck pain from recurring, including: maintaining proper posture, setting up your workstation to minimize undue forces on the spine, continuing with regular exercise, and keeping a healthy weight.

Call us at Campbell Therapy Center today if you have neck or arm pain. We can help relieve the pain and get you back to your normal daily activities. 

Got Back Pain? Check out these Tips!

Back pain is a very common problem for so many people. Here are a few things to keep in mind for a strong, healthy and pain-free back.

1.       Keep your hips mobile-whether it is at a desk, at school or work, in the car or relaxing in front of the TV, we tend to sit too much. It is important to incorporate more standing positions throughout the day to relax the hips and strengthen our core muscles. Try to perform more standing stretches and lie on your stomach daily to stretch out your back and hips.

2.       Extend your back. Part of the function of our core is to resist forward bending or flexion so try to add extension and core stability exercises to keep everything in balance. Anytime that you must bend forward, be sure to bend your knees to better assist your lifting and take pressure off of your low back.

3.       Avoid sustained postures for extended periods of time. The healthiest backs are the ones that are moving frequently. Try to keep moving and change positions frequently. 

Physical therapists are experts in restoring and improving motion in people’s lives and play an important role not only in treating persistent or recurrent low back pain, but also in prevention and risk reduction. If you need advice on beginning a specialized exercise program for improving your back health with core strengthening, give the therapists at Campbell Therapy a call. If you are currently experiencing back pain and it lasts more than a few days or gets worse, you should schedule an appointment to see your physical therapist. See a health care professional immediately if you experience the following symptoms: loss of bowel or bladder control, numbness in the groin or inner thigh, or pain that does not change with rest.

Physical therapy goals are to decrease pain, increase function, and provide education to prevent further recurrences. A physical therapy program for back pain usually has two components: 1) passive physical therapy to help reduce the patient’s pain to a more manageable level, and 2) active exercises. Active exercises include a combination of stretching, strengthening and low-impact conditioning as the patient is able.

At Campbell Therapy Center, we frequently use aquatic therapy exercise programs for patients with back pain who find it difficult and painful to tolerate land-based exercise. We offer an onsite pool for patients to have one-on-one treatment sessions with their therapist.  Give us a call today, we are here to help with back pain!