5 tips for avoiding pain while working in the garden

I will be the first to admit that my place is not in the garden, at least if anyone wants the plants to survive longer than a few days. Between my allergies (to both plants and mosquitoes), my fair skin, and my propensity for heat stroke, I’m an indoors girl.

That said, I can respect the work it takes to create a lovely garden. No garden can grow well untended, and the best take hours of work every year — planting, weeding, watering, repeat. So if you’re starting to feel some aches and pains after tending your garden, try these tips to feel better so that you can truly relax in that beautiful landscape of yours.

5 tips for avoiding pain while working in the garden

One of the joys of retirement, I’ve been told, is tending a garden — digging deep into the soil to build a landscape in which we can relax and, both literally and figuratively, enjoy the fruits of our labors.

But sometimes those labors can lead to aches and pains in one’s neck, back, knees and more. Here are some tips on how to reduce your pain while working in the yard.

  1. Set realistic goals before you put on those gardening gloves.

One of the best ways to avoid wasted time, money and effort is to make a plan. Think about what exactly you want to do in your garden and make sure you plan for the time and effort to buy your plants and flowers as well. People often set aside the time for weeding and planting without thinking about how long it will take to select what you’ll be setting into the ground, or that you might be sore after loading and unloading everything at the store and at home.

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physiquality blog: will I have arthritis after my knee injury?

As a person who has had five knee surgeries now, this is a very personal subject. One particular pre-op appointment comes to mind. I was living in Los Angeles, and I was preparing for a cartilage implant. After years and years of dance (many on tile floors), I’ve shredded my cartilage, and the doctors agreed this would help to repair the hole in my right knee’s cartilage.

So I go to see my GP for blood work the week before surgery. He looks at what is supposed to be done, looks up at me, and asks when I’m going to have my knee replaced. I dunno doc, can I get through this surgery (that’s supposed to delay a knee replacement) first?

In my own estimation, I was doomed from the beginning. I had arthritis in my right knee at 14. My left knee started sounding like Rice Krispies in my 30s. But I know that if I don’t remain active, I’ll simply put on more weight, and I’ll be more at risk for arthritis, as well as lots of other things. So it’s better to be as active as I can, with the hopes of postponing these other issues and surgeries as long as possible.

Will I have arthritis after my knee injury?

with advice from Mitch Kaye, PT

Unfortunately, if you have a traumatic injury to the knee like an ACL tear, a meniscus tear or even certain types of fractures, your chance of developing osteoarthritis increases significantly.

Osteoarthritis, which is the wearing away of cartilage, can occur normally with years of use, but it can also occur more readily after trauma around the knee. The Arthritis Foundation estimates that 700,000 knee injuries a year account for 12.5% of post-traumatic arthritis cases in the U.S., and they warn that younger athletes with ACL injuries are at risk of developing arthritis before they are 40 years old, often within 10 years of the original injury.

If you’re an athlete who has had one of these types of injuries, it’s not something you probably wanted to hear.

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physiquality blog: can physical therapy help with pelvic pain?

Can physical therapy help with pelvic pain?

with advice from Jessica Hice, PT, DPT

Pelvic pain is a symptom that is easy to ignore. When considering talking to a doctor or physical therapist, women (and men) think about the awkward conversations, and the prospect of an invasive examination, and they often decide to postpone such uncomfortable situations.

But like any bodily pain, the longer it continues, the more likely that chronic pain is a sign that something is wrong and needs to be treated.

Pain that continues for six or more months would be considered chronic and worthy of discussion with a healthcare professional, according to the Section on Women’s Health, a subset of the American Physical Therapy Association that offers training for physical therapists who want to specialize in women’s health or pelvic pain. Pelvic pain can present in the lower abdomen, pelvic or perineum, the Section notes, and it could also feel like aching or burning.

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physiquality blog: working toward a better body

In revamping this post (it was originally “work out like a model,” which isn’t easy to relate to physical therapy and general wellness), I may have been speaking for myself, as well as my family back in the Midwest, when I wrote about the weather. Friends in Kansas City have had 10 snow days at this point of the year. My sister-in-law in Chicago has had multiple days with highs hovering around 10 degrees.

Dallas may not have been as bad as either of those, but I have done my fair share of hibernating during our first winter here. And now I need to find a way to shed some of the weight gained in the last few months. Luckily, I found some advice on that very subject. Read on for more information…

Working toward a better body

Working toward a better body

As spring break approaches, many of us are starting to realize how much we have hibernated during this overly cold and snowy winter. Trapped inside our homes, we may have been eating more and working out less.

With the prospect of spring break trips and summer weather on the horizon, here are some ways to shed those winter pounds and to shape up your physique.

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physiquality blog: why is physical therapy important after a joint replacement?

Joint replacement surgery has become fairly common in recent years. It has become easier to recuperate from, and the implanted replacements last a lot longer than they used to. In the 1980s, I was told a new knee would last 10-15 years; now, they can last up to 30 years.

The older patients who often get these surgeries may not have been through orthopedic procedures before, and I’ve come across some who shrug off the prescription of physical therapy as unnecessary. Unfortunately, without the strengthening and work done in PT, these patients could end up with the very same chronic pain that drove them to have the surgery in the first place.

To learn more about why PT is such an integral part of joint replacement procedures, read on…

Why is physical therapy important after a joint replacement?

with advice from Shelly Cloughley, PT, DPT, CSCS

Joint replacement surgeries like knee and hip replacements have been on the rise in the new millennium. With many Baby Boomers approaching their 70s, it’s a trend that most likely will continue.

But while patients might think long and hard about what the surgery will entail and the expertise of their surgeon, they don’t often consider the role of physical therapy in their recovery.

A patient’s decision to undergo a joint replacement is often a result of chronic arthritis or pain, as well as a loss of function and quality of life. Throughout the process of rehabilitation, patients are commonly frustrated about meeting their expectations of having the joint replacement. Patients aren’t usually prepared for the discomfort of the process of healing, and the challenges of restoring their full range of motion and building the necessary strength to return to a functional level that fits their lifestyles.

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physiquality blog: four signs you should STOP working out

When a new year begins, it’s a natural time to start new habits, particularly ones related to your health. You may or may not have eaten or drank your way through the holidays, and the lack of social events in January is a good time to start eating better, drinking less (alcohol) and moving more.

However, at any fitness level, there are ways your body is telling you that your activity is too much and that you need to stop. Immediately. (I know this from personal experience — I’ve had to walk out of two different dance classes due to a sharp, stabbing pain that eventually led to joint repairs and orthopedic surgery.) These are not signs to “rub some dirt on it” and get back to exercising. They are your body’s way of telling you to sit down and possibly call your doctor or physical therapist to see what is causing the symptom.

Four signs you should STOP working out

with advice from Mitch Kaye, PT

January often brings resolutions of better health and exercising more. After a month (or 6 weeks) of indulging, hectic holiday plans, and falling off the wellness wagon, it makes sense to try to improve your health through exercise. But there are times when you should listen to your body and stop exercising.

Despite the mantra “no pain, no gain,” if your body hurts, it’s trying to tell you something. Here are four things to be aware of when working out.

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physiquality blog: should I switch to a standing desk at work?

We pick our blog topics for Physiquality months in advance, so the irony was not lost on me when this topic came up the same week I had hip surgery. The thought of standing all day while working was, suffice it to say, not a pleasant one to have as I prepared to hobble around on crutches for the next couple of months.

That said, I was truly curious whether standing desks are helpful in maintaining one’s health. My husband’s office has integrated them into the new campus they have built, and when I visit him at work, it seems like they are in use quite a bit. But after speaking to a couple of physical therapists, I’m not convinced this is the best solution for most people. Read on to learn what I found out from our experts, as well as the studies they have reviewed that evaluate just how beneficial standing is as compared to sitting.

Should I switch to a standing desk at work?

with advice from Mike Stare, PT, DPT, CSCS, CNS and Mitch Kaye, PT

We’ve all seen the headlines that emphasize the dangers of sedentary behavior. Yes, Sitting Too Long Can Kill You, Even if You Exercise. Too Much Sitting Is As Bad for the Brain As It Is for the Body. Sitting Is the New Smoking: Ways a Sedentary Lifestyle Is Killing You.

These headlines may grab your attention and scare you, but they don’t convey the wide spectrum of studies you’ll find that may or may not show how sitting too much can lead directly to death. Mike Stare, a physical therapist and a co-owner of Orthopaedics Plus (a Physiquality network member in Massachusetts), has written about this for his clinic’s own website, and he points out that while the studies seem to contradict each other, there are a couple of conclusions to be made when you compare all of the results:

Read the full entry at physiquality.com!

physiquality blog: how often should I exercise?

Like many people, exercise has been a challenge to fit into my schedule as I’ve grown older and have more commitments in my calendar. If you’ve ever wondered how frequently you should be exercising in order to stay healthy, you’re probably not alone. (And you’re probably not exercising enough.) Read on to see what our strength and conditioning expert had to say about workout frequency and your health.

How often should I exercise?

with advice from Mark Salandra, CSCS

As the weather begins to get colder, many of us may be retreating indoors and not walking around as much. If you didn’t exercise regularly when it was warm outside, you’re probably moving less now that it’s not.

The recommendations from the U.S. government (through the Department of Health and Human Services) focus on aerobic exercise and strength training. They include 150 minutes a week of moderate aerobic activity, or 75 minutes a week of high intensity training, plus strength training at least a couple of times a week.

Read the full entry at physiquality.com!

physiquality blog: how physical therapy can help patients with cancer

One of my other clients, EDUCATA, has been partnered with the Oncology section of the APTA (the national professional association for physical therapists) for a long time. I’ve had the privilege of working with some of the top PTs in the field, women who have specialized in helping patients with cancer recuperate from not only the disease, but also the treatments.

This has become a personal issue for me in recent years. I’ve watched my husband lose both of his parents to lung cancer. His mother in particular was fighting for strength near the end of her life, as a tumor in her hip had weakened the bone, which led to complications including a festering wound and a broken hip. Survivorship in general is increasing, but what does that mean for their quality of life once they survive the harsh treatments that eradicate the cancer? (Treatments are getting less harsh, but keep in mind the scale of treatments still includes radiation that burns and kills cells.)

Physical therapists are a key component of the wellness team that can help these cancer survivors live and thrive after treatment. Read on to learn more about how they can help improve a survivor’s quality of life.

How physical therapy can help patients with cancer

with advice from Mitch Kaye, PT

By any measure, cancer is one of the most prevalent and lethal diseases today. According to the American Cancer Society’s Statistics Center, in 2018 alone more than 1.7 million people will be diagnosed with cancer — 4,750 new cases every day.

While the statistics can be daunting, there is good news and hope for those who receive a cancer diagnosis. Death rates across multiple types of cancer are holding steady or decreasing. But what does that mean for cancer survivors?

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physiquality blog: playing football safely

I’ll admit, this was a tough one to write. We are parents of a boy and have recently moved to Texas; football is not a sport down here — it’s a religion. As my husband and I watched the Bears play the Packers on Sunday night, I asked him if our “touch football only” rule with our son seemed hypocritical when we watch football every weekend, both college and professional. He disagreed, since it was the same rule instituted at his house growing up. They could watch football games on TV, but couldn’t play on any teams due to the risks inherent in the sport.

But football has changed since we were kids. It has gotten progressively more difficult for me to watch football, particularly the style played in the NFL. The hits are harder, and it seems like the injuries are both more frequent and more gruesome. (While not life-threatening, the one burned on my brain is the hit Marcus Lattimore sustained in 2012 while playing at the University of South Carolina. He tore EVERY ligament in his knee. All four. It flopped over like it belonged to a puppet.)

That said, I know that players condition more to help come back from injury. We watched several replays of the Packers quarterback, Aaron Rodgers, falling and having a Bears player land on his left leg. It looked bad. But he went, had some tests run (I’m assuming to rule out major injuries and ligament tears) and came back to lead the Packers to victory. Stupid Packers. (If you can’t tell, I’ve been a Bears fan for a long time.)

Despite my personal feelings against those in the green and gold, Rodgers’ (and the team’s) reaction to the injury was textbook. Condition well. If you’re injured, don’t immediately go back in — talk to the doctor. Run some tests. And take care of your body.

Playing football safely

with advice from Mark Salandra, CSCS

It’s that time of year — the kids are back in school, pumpkin spice is starting to spread into stores, and football season has begun. So it’s a good time to remind parents and coaches of some of the more common injuries that football players can sustain, and some ways to perhaps avoid them.

The speed and contact inherent in football make it a relatively high-risk sport, says Mark Salandra, CSCS, who coached both of his sons through peewee football and watched one play at the high school level. It leads all other youth sports in the number of injuries per year. A certified strength and conditioning specialist and the founder of StrengthCondition.com, a Physiquality partner, Mark knew what injuries to look for when his sons were on the field. He says there are several types of injuries that parents and coaches should watch for:

Read the full entry at physiquality.com!