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Safe Physical Therapy

Four Safe Physical Therapy Exercises You Can Try Right Now

Many of us may feel aches, discomfort, and stiffness from time to time. Often, they can be improved by proper stretches and movement. The problem is, if you do exercises incorrectly, it can actually lead to further injury. If you want to start a physical therapy exercise regimen on your own, it’s best to get proper instruction from a licensed physical therapist first, to learn the suitable techniques that will assist with your healing and improve mobility.

Most people utilize the expertise of a physical therapist after injury or surgery to restore function and mobility. But PT can be used to promote healing for a myriad of medical conditions, illnesses, or injuries that limit normal movement.

With health and wellness top-of-mind these days, the strengthening and stretching exercises used routinely in PT are also suitable as part of your daily exercise routine to improve overall body aches and strains. Keeping the body flexible only improves its’ performance.

Physical Therapy on Your Own

Therefore, it is completely reasonable to do physical therapy on your own. That is, after all, the goal of physical therapists — to get their patients to a point where they understand the goals and proper form and can help themselves. Bear in mind it is advised to seek the guidance of a of an affiliated pain management specialist from National Spine & Pain Centers, to first diagnose the issues to determine if there is a deeper underlying issue causing your pain that should be treated in a different manner. Certainly, you don’t want to exacerbate a latent health condition. And you don’t want to begin any routine aggressively. Start slow.

Typically, the types of exercises used in physical therapy include:

  • Range of motion
  • Muscle strengthening
  • Coordination and balance
  • Walking (ambulation)
  • Conditioning
  • Transfer training

Exercise Frequency

You can use PT stretches and movements once a day in your daily routine or as instructed by a physical therapist or healthcare provider. If you are doing therapeutic PT, it’s usually one to three times a week. You must take caution, however, that with any movement, whether it’s part of rehabilitative health or you are simply using it to feel good and improve body function, not to continue if there is pain. Generally, in this case, experts say, less is more. For example, when being treated by a physical therapist, they will tell you the proper number of sets and repetitions to complete for each movement. That number is set for a reason. It is to assist in healing and avoid further damage. The same is true when you decide to do physical therapy on your own.

Soreness vs. Pain

If you hurt more after doing physical therapy-style exercises, you may have overdone it. When working out, it’s OK to feel that muscle soreness to the discomfort stage, but not to a degree of pain. If you are experiencing muscle soreness that won’t go away after home remedies like icing or heat, or you experience pain or swelling, or you are unable to properly use a muscle, it’s time to stop.

Many physical therapists believe in a warm-up period prior to therapy or even using heat on the injured area to warm up the tissues. Most therapists believe in a proper cool-down period and icing and resting the injured area post-exercise. It’s also important to remember to stay on a balanced diet and drink plenty of water whether you are going to PT or safely doing physical therapy movements by yourself.

Contact National Spine & Pain Centers to schedule an appointment with an affiliated pain specialist today.

Four Stretches to Include in Your Routine

If you are looking for specific exercises for the various body parts. Here are four great stretches you can incorporate into your routine.

  1. For legs, consider hamstring stretching exercises. You will do this exercise lying on your back. Then you raise your left leg, clasp your hands around the back of your left thigh and pull your knee close to your chest.

Keeping your knee near your chest, slowly straighten your left knee until you feel a stretch on the back of your left thigh. You don’t have to completely straighten that knee. Hold for 30 to 45 seconds, repeat the stretch on the opposite side.

  1. If you are experiencing back pain, there are several back-pain stretches commonplace in physical therapy to alleviate pain. While some are specifically designed for different parts of the back, one that is often utilized are bridges. Bridges are extremely helpful if you want to strengthen your lower back.

To do a bridge properly, lie down on your back and rest your outstretched arms by your side. Lift your hips off the floor, keeping your body from the head to the knees in a straight line. Hold and lower.

  1. Next are hamstrings. There are many ways to loosen problems with a tight hamstring. Often, people will suffer a hamstring injury during sports. But you may also experience sciatica, and a chair hamstring stretch can be used to alleviate pain. To do this, sit near the edge of the stationary chair with your back straight. Keep your feet flat on the floor. To stretch the right leg, straighten it with the heel on the floor and the toes pointing toward the ceiling. Bend forward at the hip and place the hands on the left leg for support. Make sure your spine is in a neutral position. Hold the stretch for 10 to 30 seconds. Repeat two to four times.
  1. If you want to improve mobility, the idea is to increase your range of motion and strengthen your muscles. That will usually incorporate working the core or your abs to keep your back and legs strong. You may try a “glute stretch.” Begin by grabbing the back of your right knee, then pull it towards the chest. Keep your tailbone in contact with the floor. Stay in this position for five to 10 seconds, repeating the routine two or three times.

Next is the piriformis stretch. You can do this while lying on your back. You will cross the right ankle over the left knee and, using your hand, push the right knee down to feel the stretch. Stay in this position for five to 10 seconds, repeating the routine two or three times.

Then try the abdominal stretch. You will lie with your stomach in contact with the floor, keep your abs firm, and place your hand right under your shoulders for an abdominal stretch. Press up with your hands gently to stretch your abs.

Remember, prior to performing any stretching, strengthening, or mobility exercises, it is best to get clearance from your physician to ensure your pain is not a more serious condition. Schedule an appointment with an affiliated provide at National Spine & Pain Centers. Find a doctor near you.

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