How Flexible do you Need to Be?

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Flexible enough that you are pain free and functional.

That’s really what matters for day-to-day living.

Muscles, tendons, ligaments and skin all have collagen which is a major connective tissue that provides elasticity. Collagen is the most abundant protein in your body and aids in strengthening your tissues. Before the age of 30, collagen is plentiful and in some cases, too much, as in joint hyper mobility.

But as we age the “amount of collagen in your body decreases over time… 1-2% per year. This reduction is the body’s response to the aging process and is a natural part of what happens as we age. The protein structures within our bodies begin to reduce flexibility and are more likely to break or be degraded over time.”- Visit blog on AbsoluteCollagen.com 

So what can you do to maintain your flexibility? Stretch daily and perhaps try collagen supplements available over the counter that “can help improve skin health, relieve joint pain, prevent bone loss, boost muscle mass, and promote heart health.” Please consult your physician if you have any questions about supplements. Visit Healthline.com to learn more.

The ‘other side of the coin’ is to be hyperflexbile or Hypermobile.

This has its advantages for many sports and hobbies, but be cautious so as to not over stretch your joints as they can dislocate or move too much causing pain. Hyperflexibility is common in people diagnosed with scoliosis.

It can also be a symptom of Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome which is a connective tissue disorder that is “characterized by joint hypermobility (joints that stretch further than normal), skin hyperextensibility (skin that can be stretched further than normal), and tissue fragility.” Several criterion must be met to be diagnosed with EDS as it is a complex diagnosis. You can discuss this further with your doctor and read more at Science Direct .

The Beighton Scale is one of the  clinical tools used to assess widespread hypermobility and multiple factors are assessed.

  • One point if, while standing and bending forward, the individual can place their palms on the ground with the legs straight
  • One point for each elbow that extends more than 10degrees
  • One point for each knee that extends more than 10 degrees
  • One point for each thumb that, with the wrist flexed and arm straight, can be manipulated to touch the forearm.
  •  One point for each fifth finger that extends beyond 90 degrees
You have generalized joint hypermobility if you scored:  6 or more for children and adolescents 5 or more for men and women up to age 50 4 or more for men and women over the age of 50 Download this PDF to get more information if you think you have joint hyper mobility and contact your doctor if you think this describes you.

The ultimate goal is BALANCE of the connective tissues in your body to help you live a pain free and highly functional lifestyle!

Here’s another quick quiz that evaluates certain areas of your body for flexibility:

Modified from “These Tests Will Measure Your Flexibility from Head to Toe” by Samantha LeFave 1/14/2020

  1. Hamstring test: Bend forward from an upright position and reach for the ground with your hands • Both hands completely touch the ground = 2 • Both hands touch your ankles or lower shins = 1 • Both hands touch at mid shins or above your knees or your hands touch unevenly to your shins or above knees = 0
  2. Hip Rotator Test: Lie on your back, with the left foot on the ground and right ankle resting gently on top of the left knee. Lift the left leg up off the ground and try to reach for your hamstring or shin, bringing it in closer to your chest or into a Figure 4 position. Repeat on other side. • You are able to bring both legs close to your chest and easily grab the shins = 2 • You are able to grab behind your thigh and lift both legs so that the knees are in line with the hips = 1 • You cannot reach the back of your leg and/or lift it off of the ground 1-2 inches or one leg lifts higher than the other = 0
  3. Spine Test: Lie on your back and bring both knees into the chest.Then, keeping your upper body flat on the ground—it may help to stretch your arms out to each side—slowly rotate both knees to one side, getting as close to the ground as possible. • You can rotate easily from side to side while keeping your back and buttocks on the ground = 2 • You can rotate your legs from side to side but your pelvis/ buttocks lift off of the ground = 1 • You can rotate your legs unevenly side to side and/or less than 45 degrees either side =0
  4. Shoulder test: Start standing with feet together and arms down by your side. Bring your hands behind your back and aim to grab the opposite forearm. • You are able to reach to the opposite elbow or above the elbow = 2 • You are able to reach to the opposite forearm between the elbow and wrist = 1 • You are able to reach to the opposite wrist or hand = 0
  5. Neck test: From a seated cross-legged position, slowly rotate your head to one side and look behind you. • You can easily look over your shoulder without lifting your chin up or down = 2 • You can turn your head to nearly your shoulder = 1 • You can turn your head in line with your collar bone or less and/or with pain = 0

Let’s see your score by adding up the numbers:

8-10 points: You are very flexible! Your exercises need to include stability and strength and not to push your joints to hyper mobility or laxity. Be cautious not to dislocate your joints. 5-7 points : You have good flexibility! You need to maintain an even exercise routine of flexibility, strengthening and stability. 0-4 points: You are tight! You need to stretch often and with longer holds. Got more questions or concerns about your flexibility? Contact Joy of Therapy  and get to work on either stretching or stabilizing your body today!

Stand Up. Stand Out. Stand Tall.

A Quick Formula for Strong Posture

I often get asked, “my kid/parent/spouse’s posture seems to be worsening. What can be done to help?”

First, it’s up to that person to want to make the change.

Second, you can model it yourself with a simple formula that can be done without anyone being the wiser for it!

Drooping or rounded shoulders, a forward leaning head, or rounded upper back is of concern due to the awesome power of gravity and life stressors. But that can all be countered with daily posture corrections in a few easy steps.

So what does ‘good posture’ even mean?!

I prefer to say ‘strong posture’, as that is what it takes to maintain a solid upright position for a long period of time such as when driving, watching TV, working on a computer or eating. The strength must come from your core and thankfully that doesn’t require loads of sit-ups or burpees!

A strong posture can be achieved through the power of your breath and that is something all of us can do easily with just a few key points.

Here’s my formula for a strong posture:

  1. Create a base of support by pushing down through your feet if you are standing or through your seat/buttocks if you are sitting
  2. Add  a line of pull from the top of your head to the ceiling/ sky to create a lengthening or elongation of your spine 
  3. Relax your shoulders and rib cage down and broaden through your shoulders
  4. Now it’s time to add the strength by breathing .  You want to think of expanding your chest by breathing forward and out.

Once you get the hang of this, it will become quick and effortless and may even help you gain that extra bit of height that you thought you lost !

Check out the video below with the arrows to help visual these tips.

If you’ve been diagnosed with Schuermann’s or Scoliosis, then a good place to start is to work with a physical therapist who is trained in the Schroth Method. A thorough evaluation is key to determine exactly what will be best to achieve that strong and effortless posture.#tallahasseephysicaltherapy #joyoftherapypt #scoliosis #schrothmethod #posture #scoliosistrength #scoliosispt #spine #Schroththerapy #postureexercises

Inquire here about how to get a strong posture

 

 

Five things everyone should know about Manual Therapy

You may be asking yourself, well what does this have to do with me?

If you have had traditional physical therapy elsewhere,  I truly do hope that you had a positive outcome.

But if it was just ‘ok’ then maybe it was because the therapist put you on exercise machines, watched you do exercises or put a hot or cold pack on you while simultaneously treating other patients.

And never once put their hands on your ache and pain.

two hands massaging a foot

Your therapist should be TOUCHING the part of your body that hurts! Not simply looking at it and prescribing exercises.

  1. Manual Therapy Techniques are skilled hand movements of joints and soft tissue that are intended to increase range of motion, induce relaxation, mobilize or manipulate soft tissue and joints, decrease pain and reduce soft tissue swelling, inflammation, or restriction.
  2. Manual Therapy Techniques may include manual traction, massage, mobilization/manipulation, and passive range of motion.
  3. Manual Therapy should not leave a bruise or be painful after 24 hours of treatment.
  4. Manual Therapy is one on one treatment with just you and the therapist. It is not a group activity and certainly not to be done while the therapist is treating another patient.
  5. Manual Therapy can reduce or eliminate nerve pain in your arm or leg

So if this speaks to you and you have physical pain that needs to be effectively addressed by a physical therapist, then contact the Joy of Therapy today to experience quality manual therapy that works just for you!

Feeling Sluggish?

Want to know one of the simplest and quickest ways to solve feeling sluggish …

Soak in Epsom salts.

Yep, your grandmother was right all along! A good portion of the soil that our food is grown in is depleted of magnesium which is necessary for energy production. So all you need to do is pour 2 cups of Epsom salts in a tub and soak your body or even just your feet in a foot bath up to your ankles for 20 minutes. Magnesium is best absorbed through the skin so that’s why bathing is better than a tablet (plus when you take it orally it can leave you with loose stools…) Or another alternative is Morton’s Epsom Salt Lotion which works fabulous too! Check out these symptoms: Early signs of magnesium deficiency include loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting, fatigue, and weakness. As magnesium deficiency worsens, numbness, tingling, muscle contractions and cramps, seizures, personality changes, abnormal heart rhythms, and coronary spasms can occur. Try it today to start feeling better:)

Epson Salt