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: 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: sarcopenia and loss of strength

I know this term more from working with physical therapists than I do by observing my own grandparents — my grandfather was lifting weights and riding his bike into his 70s, and my grandma swore by her morning walks into her 80s. But they are not only the exception, they demonstrate how exercise and activity can slow down the slippery slope of aging toward frailty discussed in this post.

Aging isn’t fun for anyone. My grandmother is 90 now and describes herself as “meaner than a junkyard dog.” She can’t hear very well, and she’s pretty much blind due to macular degeneration. But I believe she is able to take care of herself and live on her own due to the healthy life she has lived for decades, one of moderate drinking, healthy eating, and plenty of activity. If I’ve learned anything from her (aside from the value of a good looking shoe), it’s that I will be striving to do the same in order to have a better chance at being healthy when I’m her age.

Sarcopenia and loss of strength

with advice from Daniel Butler, CEP

Sarcopenia, the loss of skeletal muscle mass, is a part of what has been called “the slippery slope of aging.”

As people age, they often start to experience sarcopenia, as well as osteopenia and osteoporosis. Having weaker muscles and bones, plus the arthritis caused by years of wear and tear, can make movement more difficult and painful. The pain leads to less activity, which contributes to weaker bones and muscles, making it even more difficult to move. And so on.

Doctors and scientists are still not quite sure what causes sarcopenia, but they have linked a number of factors to its development, according to the Mayo Clinic: age-associated hormone changes, physical inactivity, inflammation, and diseases like cancer and diabetes. Because inactivity can lead to sarcopenia, doctors encourage older adults to exercise more to build muscle mass.

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physiquality blog: cycling for better health

I’ll be the first to admit that I do not feel comfortable on a bike. I’ve always preferred my feet on the ground, and a few close calls (and one firm embrace) with trees have left me hesitant to get on a bike unless there is an urgent need to do so.

But cycling is a great way to burn calories and strengthen your body without a great deal of impact. I actually did ride a stationary bike for several months in 2007, to build my bone density after months of rehabilitation and compensating had left my right leg weaker than my left. I was bored out of my mind for those daily rides, but I had stronger bones and muscles. If you’re capable of riding in your neighborhood without the constant prospect of running into a tree or car (again, unlike me), I’d highly recommend trying it as a way to get exercise and run errands without burning any gas.

Cycling for better health

with advice from Anna Dark

How are those resolutions coming? Are you cooking more at home? Have you seen your dentist (or at least made an appointment for your annual cleaning)?

If you’re looking for a way to increase your activity, cycling or bike riding is a great way to be active.

Anna Dark, the Fitness Director of the Take Charge Fitness Program (a wellness facility run by Physiquality member Clinton Physical Therapy Center in Tennessee), says that cycling has many health benefits. Cycling is an aerobic activity, which is great for your heart and circulation. Going for regular bike rides also increases muscle strength and flexibility, while also improving joint mobility and bone strength.

Read more at physiquality.com!

physiquality blog: improving your health in the new year: 5 resolutions to make for 2017

New year, new habits. It’s easy to see why people make resolutions in January — a new year can feel like a fresh start. Early January is a good time to evaluate your lifestyle and determine whether you need to make some changes to live a healthier life.

Improving your health in the new year: 5 resolutions to make for 2017

We all get into bad habits in our life, in one way or another. Perhaps you don’t talk to your grandmother enough. Or you eat too much fast food. Or you stopped working out. Setting resolutions for the new year is a good way to try to work on these bad habits.

There are many habits that can be damaging to your health, but here are five resolutions you can make for the new year to improve your health.

  1. Evaluate your eating habits.

Evaluate your eating habits.Have you been skipping breakfast? Snacking constantly instead of sitting down to dinner? Picking up food on the go instead of cooking at home? These are all habits that can cause us to gain weight and damage our health. Take a look at the latest guidelines recommended by the Department of Agriculture and Health to compare to your eating habits.

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physiquality blog: how Pilates and PT help you stay active as you get older

While I’ve written many times about the importance of staying active as you age, I think this is the first time I’ve cited Isaac Newton when reminding others about the importance of activity.

How Pilates and PT help you stay active as you get older

with advice from Rachelle Hill, PT, MSPT, CSCS,
Kristina Holland, PTA,
Jessica Loncar, PT, MS, OCS, Cert. MDT,
and Mika Yoshida, CSCS, EP-C

As we grow older, our bodies change. While it may sound counterintuitive, staying active is the best solution when our joints start to ache and our energy starts to fade. (Isaac Newton probably had no idea he was also talking about the human body when he explained that a body at rest stays at rest, and a body in motion remains in motion.)

Two ways to remain in motion as we age are physical therapy and Pilates. As we’ve pointed out in the past, physical therapy helps maintain and improve your health as you age. “Therapy helps to promote an increased awareness of your body,” says physical therapist Rachelle Hill. At Moreau Physical Therapy (a Physiquality member in Louisiana), Rachelle and her fellow PTs apply therapy to improve posture and reduce back pain, evaluate gait to make walking more efficient and less painful, and improve balance to reduce the risk of falls, she explains.

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physiquality blog: challenge your office to be healthy

When the TV show The Biggest Loser started becoming popular, my husband’s office had a weight-loss challenge. While I appreciated the attempt, focusing on weight loss versus making healthier choices is a tricky path. People who focus on weight loss, as compared to determining to living a healthier life, rarely keep the weight off.

When I stumbled upon the Global Employee Health and Fitness Month website, I thought its goals were much more attainable, and the idea of a challenge that could be adapted to a variety of environments was great. Unfortunately, as I don’t think my office mates of toddler boy and five-year-old bulldog are up for the idea, I’ll have to focus on my own decisions, which is why I’ve been challenging myself to work out at least 30 minutes a day for six days out of the week. What’s your challenge?

Challenge your office to be healthy

with advice from Mitch Kaye, PT,
Stefania Della Pia and Polar

Did you know that May is Global Employee Health and Fitness Month? Created by the National Association for Health & Fitness (NAHF), a network of state-based councils and groups that promote healthy living, the group encourages daily physical activity and quality physical education in our schools. Through Global Employee Health and Fitness Month, the NAHF asks employers to create a workplace environment that promotes healthier living.

There are a variety of reasons to do this as a business owner or manager, or for employees to suggest it to their bosses. For a start, the CDC points out that healthier employees take fewer sick days, incur lower healthcare costs and are more productive; in fact, one study found that by promoting physical fitness and regular check-ups, employer healthcare costs could be cut in half. In addition, wellness programs can be seen by some prospective employees as a great benefit. It shows that the company is willing to invest in its employees, leading to a more positive work environment, better morale and higher retention.

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