Thank you for submitting your questions! In this video, Megan Starr, DPT, answers your questions about physical therapy, low back pain, posture, etc. Enjoy!
If you would prefer to read Megan’s responses, please see the Q & A below:
Q: What are some of the most common injuries that Endurance Physical Therapy treats?
A: Many of the injuries we treat include the spine, including low back strain/pain, whiplash injuries from car accidents, and shoulder strains and impingement. We see a lot of runners here at Endurance, which usually means foot pain! We treat patients with Plantar Fasciitis regularly. Hip issues are also common, along with “runner’s knee.” A lot of active people have those types of injuries.
Q: I always leave work with low back pain from sitting at my desk all day. Do you have any tips on how to avoid this?
A: The first thing you want to do is observe what your posture is like while sitting at your desk:
- You want your feet flat on the floor.
- You want your bottom all the way back in your chair.
- Use some sort of lumbar roll to help hold you up tall on your sit bones. You don’t want to sit back on your tailbone.
- Lift your collar bones up to the ceiling and bring your chin back and in.
The more that you can sit yourself up in your chair and adjust everything around you, that will help. Take plenty of breaks, every 15-20 minutes, to stand and reverse your posture. Try chest stretches, forward bends, hip rocks, and hamstring stretches (demonstrated in the video).
Q: What stretches or exercises are best for improving posture? Is there anything you can buy or wear to help you train?
A: The best stretches for posture include releasing your chest muscles, which get really tight. By turning your palms up and opening up through your sternum, pulling your shoulder blades back and down, it helps open up your chest and arch your back. This helps reverse the forward tilt of the shoulders which is what most commonly happens with bad posture.
You can also use a foam roller, by laying on it and opening up your arms to the sides. You can lay across it (only from the base of your neck to the base of your shoulder blades), lay over the top and arch your back. You can also purchase a TheraBand to work on the strength of your posture muscles; hold the band in both hands and pinch your shoulder blades together, pull your arms out to the side, release, and then repeat.
Q: What makes physical therapy different from chiropractic or massage therapy?
This is a tricky one! I’m trained in physical therapy, not chiropractic or massage therapy, so I can’t represent all of what they do. However, I can comment more on what physical therapy is and what we do. We do all hands-on manual therapy; we address the muscles, joints, nerves, and fascial systems, and we address all of it together. We work to loosen up all the tight, restricted joints that aren’t moving well and we strengthen and stabilize them with exercises, primarily through a home program.
If you would like to submit a physical therapy question for our next Ask a PT video, click here.