Origin Rehab Physical Therapy, Health, And Wellness

Physical therapist is screening a patient for their risk for falls.

Preventing Falls in the Elderly and 65+ Adult Population

With recent celebrity deaths linked to falling, we wanted to highlight the risks and dangers of falling in senior adults. Even more important, we wanted to help you move beyond being afraid of falling to understanding your real risk and develop a plan for safer mobility.

Origin Rehabilitation is a recognized expert in prevention of falls for seniors. Our physical therapists have presented at the North Carolina Assisted Living Association Convention and other professional organizations teaching others fall prevention strategies for older adults. Our team has helped numerous clients physically recover from their falls and has prevented countless more. We are excited to do the same for you.

What Increases Risk for Falls in the Elderly

Falls have been studied for a long time. Fortunately, a great deal of information is known about the circumstances that lead to older adult falls.

Top Risk Factors for Falls in Adults Over 65 Years:

  • One or more previous fall
  • Fear of falling
  • Use of multiple medications or use of common medications for anxiety and depression
  • Weakness or loss of strength
  • Use of an assistive device like a cane or walker
  • Pain with activity

Each of these risk factors increases a person’s fall risk on its own.  The presence of more than one of these only increases risk further.

How to Address Non-Physical Risk Factors for Falls in the Elderly?

Healthy adults over 65 years without ANY other risk factors have a 1 in 4 chance of falling in any given year. Risk for falls only increases with age (even in spite of good health) and when other risk factors are added to the mix.

There’s not much that can be done about the past, so your personal history of falls will be one risk factor that remains. However, some research suggests that the greater time since you’ve experienced a fall, future falls become less likely.

A fear of falling is rooted primarily in the future but based on past experience and current ability. Often, the treatment provided to address other risk factors helps to reduce our clients’ fear of falling.

Prescription medication is outside the scope of our training and expertise. We do encourage clients to talk with their medical provider about their medications often to ensure they’re on only the medications and dosages needed and not more.

How We Address Risk for Falls in Older Adults?

While we can’t expect to keep the same strength at 75 as we had at 25 and age commonly brings conditions like arthritis that can cause pain, these should not stop an older adult from participating in activities you enjoy.

Often, improving strength through common movement patterns can help to reduce pain as well. Instruction in technique may be needed to improve mechanics and this is exactly where a physical therapist will commonly focus treatment sessions for fall prevention.

Application of strength is another way to think about balance and better balance is often what is needed to reduce reliance on the cane or walker. We like to use these strategies in sequence usually in the same visit for our clients: address strength then teach the client how to move through a particular movement pattern using that muscle group.


  • Even healthy older adults over the age of 65 have a 1 in 4 chance of falling in a given year. It’s important to know any additional factors that can increase your fall risk.
  • Falling is not inevitable.  It is not a “sentence.” Proactive steps can be taken to modify your risk in your favor.  Some steps can be taken on your own (if you feel comfortable).  Others may need the help of your medical provider or a physical therapist.
  • Movement is medicine in that it can help with pain, strength, and balance. This way, we may even be able to reduce your need for your cane or walker.
  • If you’re concerned about falling and don’t know where to start, hire a physical therapist experienced in working with older adults to lower your fall risk today. Start here (Get to Know YOUR Risk for Falls)
Dry Needling Near Me,Dry Needling,Dry Needling Physical Therapy,Trigger Point Dry Needling

The Ultimate Guide to Dry Needling Therapy

Dry Needling Near Me,Dry Needling,Dry Needling Physical Therapy,Trigger Point Dry Needling

We get a lot of questions about dry needling from patients who have heard about the procedure from a friend or family member. Other times, we recommend dry needling to patients who have not previously considered it but may benefit. Understanding the procedure and dispelling myths about what dry needling is and is not will help you decide whether it’s for you.

Certification to Perform Dry Needling

In 2010 later updated in 2017, the Federation of State Boards of Physical Therapy, an organization that advises state regulatory boards regarding physical therapy policy development, first published a white paper (link here) detailing the required to safely perform dry needling in a clinical setting. They determined that roughly 85% of the knowledge required to safely perform dry needling was required of entry level clinical staff. The remaining 15%, primarily needle technique and clinical decision making regarding the need for dry needling, could be learned through classroom study, lab practice, and testing.

Knowing that your provider is an expert in the technique and has been specifically certified to perform needling can help ease initial fears. The physical therapist at Origin Rehabilitation is certified in dry needling through the American Academy of Manipulative Therapy (AAMT). It is our strict policy that any clinician performing dry needling be certified by a recognized industry educational leader. We can perform dry needling treatment at our physical therapy clinic in Mint Hill or through our mobile service.

What is Trigger Point Dry Needling?

Dry needling is a procedure where a very thin needle is used to penetrate the skin to reach the trigger point or “knot” within the muscle. These trigger points can cause pain and limit movement.  A variety of techniques can be used which can include either removal of the needles immediately or leaving the needle(s) in place for a period of up to 20 minutes.

Once the needle has been placed, the physical therapist may manipulate the needle in several ways depending on the intent of the treatment. The needle may be left in place for a period of time, moved up and down with a technique known as “pistoning”, turned until resistance or stretching is felt.  Pistoning with movement, often in a circle is known as fanning or coning and used to effect a wider area than pistoning alone could.  Twisting until resistance is felt then gently pulling is a technique known as “tenting” and used to stretch very specific tissue.

Dry needling is not acupuncture. We do not claim to know what acupuncture is and all that it can do but understand it to be a key component of traditional Chinese medicine using needles at strategic places on the body to influence energy flow and treat a variety of conditions and ailments. Origin Rehabilitation uses a similar needle product, though with a western medicine understanding of ailments and the intent to influence specific soft tissues (muscles, tendons, and ligaments) often showing signs and symptoms of injury. Many of our patients also seek acupuncture treatment in addition to supplement our treatments.

How Does Dry Needling Work?

The answer to this question is a little complicated.  With such a wide variety of techniques, there are also a number of different ways dry needling is thought to work:

● Leaving the needling in place for a period of time.

Thought to trigger an autoimmune response to the area as your body recognizes a foreign substance – the sterile stainless steel needle – to defend from infection. Often this involves triggering a hyper-local (right where the problem is) inflammatory response.

● Pistoning and Fanning

Since we are causing a “micro-trauma” by poking tissue with the very thin needle, the same inflammatory response that answers when you have a cut is active here. Your body senses “damage,” which we cause by poking chronically inflamed muscle which triggers an acute inflammatory response to heal the chronically irritated tissue.

● Twisting and Tenting

The intent of trigger point dry needling is to remedy spasmed or hyperactive muscle tissue. This technique is used to effect a hyper-local stretch in an effected muscle. Instead of a broad stretch of the hamstrings, we may locate a spasm in the lower portion of the biceps femoris – long head (one of the individual muscles in the group that makes up the hamstrings). We would hold the “tent” for a similar amount of time we hold a traditional stretch.

What Conditions Does Dry Needling Help?

Dry needling can help with a variety of conditions pain or limited mobility.  A short list of conditions helped by dry needling includes:

● Arthritis – Generally Osteo Arthritis & not Rheumatoid Arthritis

● Carpel Tunnel

● Headaches

● Muscle Spasm

● Plantar Fasciitis

● Sciatica

● Sprains & Strains

● Tendonitis – Tennis Elbow, Golfers Elbow, Achilles Tendinitis, Rotator Cuff, etc.

● TMJ disorders

What Risks Are Associated with Dry Needling?

The best research to date describes dry needling as a very safe treatment. While we take all necessary precautions to prevent adverse events from happening, invasive procedures like dry needling will carry a certain amount of risk. In the most comprehensive studies, up to 8.6% of patients reported experiencing at least 1 side effect.

● Minor bleeding, bruising, and pain – most common

● Feeling tired, faint, nauseated, dizzy, or sweating – less common

● Infection – no reports of infection from dry needling found in published literature.

● Broken needle – very rare (less than 1 / 10,000 treatments)

● Pneumothorax – very rare (less than 0.01/10,000 treatments or 1/1,000,000) and can only happen when needling in the thoracic area (the area covered by the rib cage)

Does Dry Needling Hurt

Having performed dry needling on several hundred patients, I can safely say that the experience is unique to the individual. Most patients don’t report pain with the initial insertion of the needle. However, many do complain of an increase in pain with manipulation of the needles. This is understandable since we are often inserting the needles into already irritated tissue. Sometimes muscles will “twitch” which can be surprising and create soreness, especially the next day.

The end product, however, is expected to be pain relief. Whether the temporary discomfort of needles outweighs the on-going discomfort from your current condition is a discussion that you will have with your physical therapist.


● You should look for a physical therapist certified to perform dry needling therapy. Since not all states require certification, it’s an important question to ask before getting the treatment.

● Dry needling can be a part of your physical therapy plan to address pain and/or limited mobility. It is a supplement to your program and not the ONLY treatment that should be provided by your physical therapist.

● Often dry needling can accelerate recovery from short term or chronic soft tissue conditions.

● The specific needling technique used will be chosen based on your condition and the expected outcomes. In short, dry needling is expected to produce reduced pain and improved soft tissue mobility.

● Serious complications from dry needling are extremely rare. Minor side effects, like minor bleeding and bruising, are more common and resolve independently.

The Hidden Cause of Your Constant Neck & Upper Back Pain

Neck pain and upper back pain may be two of the most common ailments people experience. From struggling to move your neck, to worrying about the position you sit in on your favorite sofa, pain in the upper torso is debilitating. Yet, many of those who experience these kinds of issues haven’t suffered a fall, twisted their necks unnaturally, or been on rollercoasters since their pain started. For most people, the cause of neck pain or upper back discomfort can’t be pinpointed: there is no single unique moment in which their backs or necks could have been injured. What then? How did they come to be in so much pain? And if you’re reading this, you’re probably thinking the same thing about yourself. Fear not, however, because we’re here to help. In this post, we’ll be investigating the hidden causes that have led to your neck and upper back pain. We’ll also be looking at what to do about it and which steps to take next.

The really frustrating thing about constant neck and upper back pain is that, no matter what you seem to do, it just doesn’t want to disappear. You’ve tried everything: hot water bottles, massages, and even long periods of rest, yet nothing has changed, right? Well, the truth is, it isn’t going to get any better unless you find out exactly why you’re experiencing the pain. See, the thing is, neck and upper back pain often have pretty mundane sources: your everyday habits might be the culprits here. Thus, no matter what you do, if you don’t start there, nothing will change. In lieu of this, take a look at some of the fairly common mistakes people make:

Lack of Exercise

Now, I can hear you thinking from here… “I should be resting my muscles, not moving them!” Well, no, not really. By not moving enough, you are actually setting your recovery back considerably. Muscles and joints need to move in order to maintain mobility. If you aren’t moving your upper back and neck enough, your muscles will start to stiffen and shorten, thereby placing stress on your joints and decreasing overall movement. This invariably leads to the pain you’re experiencing now. So, while rest may intuitively feel like the right thing to do, it may actually be doing more harm than good. Why not try doing some gentle stretches to loosen up the painful area? Furthermore, if you sit at a desk for long periods of time, be mindful of getting up regularly and stretching your neck and upper back. Walk around a bit and, during your time off, take up a new sport like cycling, walking, or swimming.


Having bad posture is one of the leading causes of upper back and neck pain. Slouching leads to a variety of ailments in the long run, but a tell-tail sign of poor alignment is the nagging discomfort you come to experience in your upper torso. Start becoming mindful of how you sit and stand: make sure your spine is aligned correctly. If you’re sitting at a desk all day, make sure your chair supports your back correctly, and that your computer – if you use one – is at eye-level.

Everyday Habits: Strain on you Upper Back and Neck

You may not know this, but some of the things you do daily actually affect your upper back and neck considerably. Think about driving, for example. How long do you sit in the car for? And, when you drive, do you turn your neck or just blink into the rear-view mirror when necessary? These are the types of things you need to start considering when it comes to the health of your upper back and neck. How long do you stare at your phone for, and do you slouch while you do it? When you bend down to pick up the groceries, the school bags, or your pot plants, do you do it mindfully or without regard for your upper back and neck? What about when you clean the house, play golf, brush your teeth and hair, or shave your legs? All these daily decisions and actions accumulate over time, and the effect their incorrect execution may have is usually far too understated. Make a change today: be mindful and cognizant of how you do certain tasks, how often you do them, and whether you’re aware of what your body is trying to signal to you. The devil is in the details.

When it comes to tackling the issue of upper back and neck pain, as has been mentioned earlier, movement is your best friend. Move as much as you can and as often as you can. Be conscious of the fact, however, that you should always be sensitive to the type of activities you’re able to do. Some safe activities on your road to health include Pilates and yoga, both of which offer you the opportunity to enhance the flexibility and mobility of you upper back and neck muscles. You could also try walking, swimming, and relaxing hikes in order to jumpstart your journey to a pain free life.

In addition to the extra physical activities we suggest, physical therapy is by far the best, safest and most effective way of tackling and overcoming your upper back and neck pain. With the help of a professional, hands-on physical therapist, you’ll not only find the root cause of the problem, but your particular issue will be treated accordingly, thereby permanently relieving your pain. And not only that, a physical therapist with equip you with the tools to maintain your pain free life by giving you tailor-made stretches and exercise routines suited to you personally. Physical therapy will mobilize your joints, relieve stiffness, and rid you of your pain so that you can enjoy the life you deserve.

If you’re unsure about where to start, or you feel discouraged by the daily pain you’re enduring, contact us today. We’re here to uncover the hidden causes of your neck and upper back pain so that you can get back to living the life you dream of. We invite you to fill out the form below in order to speak to one of our highly qualified, professional physical therapists… find out how we can help you eliminate your pain, today!

Why Back Pain Isn’t “NORMAL” Even if You’re Getting Older

Back pain: very few people go through life without feeling its debilitating effects. From dull aches to sharp, stabbing sensations, back pain can afflict many of us in various ways. For a some people, back pain is a prolonged struggle that can strike at any moment, the intensity and heartache of which seems to increase over time if left untreated. For others, however, back pain seems to appear later on in life, and the predominant assumption is that it is therefore age related. Here’s the thing, though: it isn’t necessarily true. Yes, that’s right. Back pain – especially when you’re older – actually has very little to do with your age and a lot more to do with your lifestyle. In this post we look at why we often mistake middle-age back pain for something “normal” or “natural”, and we discuss some of the ways in which you can overcome the pain and get back to the active, mobile lifestyle you deserve.

The biggest issue with back pain in later years is that, well, it’s accompanied by general acceptance. Most people who experience back pain when they’re older just accept it and try to work around it, so to speak. And while we’re not denying that back pain may come with age, we are saying that the pain is NOT a product of age, rather that it is a result of an aging mindset or imbalanced lifestyle.

Let’s think about this for a moment: it is true that, as we age, our bodies require a little more maintenance. We no longer have the metabolisms of 18 year olds, and we can’t really keep up on the soccer field. Yet, that doesn’t mean we have to give up on trying to be active or healthy. The problem with middle-age back pain is not that it is a natural response to aging, but that we allow it to be defined by age. If we maintained healthy lifestyles, kept active, and enjoyed a healthful diet, our age would not determine the health of our backs – our lifestyles would. In other words, age is just a number, but you really, truly are what you do. Here are some of the reasons you might incorrectly assume that your back is sore simply because of your age:

Breaking Good Exercise Habits

When you were younger you had the motivation and will to run the extra proverbial mile. Getting up at 6am to go to the gym wasn’t a chore, and the pay-off at the end of the day was worth the endurance it took to stay slim and healthy. However, as you aged, you had to work a little harder, struggled a little more to wake up early, and found that juggling a job, kids, pets, and a social life left little in the way of time for exercise. And the result? You aged. Yes, that’s right. As controversial as that may seem, the minute you let yourself break all the good habits you had when you were young, you started to age. And, sadly, the consequences of that meant – yeah, you guessed it – back pain. Here’s the thing: the habits you forge define who you are and how you feel. If you incorporated movement, exercise, cardio, and stretching into your life, right now, you’d jumpstart your journey to health by strengthening the muscles in your back. You’ll feel and look younger! Do some yoga, Pilates, or Tai Chi – whatever you choose, stretch and move those muscles! If you want something a little less adventurous, why not start by taking

a daily walk, getting up a couple of minutes earlier to hit the yoga mat, or joining a spinning class in your local gym? It’s amazing what a mind-shift can do you for your body.

Posture Problems

Let’s face it, when we’re young we really don’t worry too much about the position in which we sit, how we stand, or how evenly we distribute our body weight. The only problem with this is that our mistakes eventually catch up to us. Poor posture is one of the leading causes for back pain experienced in middle age – not only does a lack of mindful joint and muscle positioning mean that you place stress on the spine, but it also means that you constantly repeat the same detrimental stances and gait. You end up entrenching the pain by destabilizing your body’s balance. Thus it comes as no surprise that the battle against back pain is the battle against poor posture. And, of course, poor posture makes you feel older: you’re bent downward and you feel less inclined to move. So, in a bid to rid yourself of discomfort, start by correcting your posture and practicing more mindful ways of positioning the spine during sleep and the hours spent at your desk. Your back will thank you.

Weight Gain Woes

Here’s the rub, right? Weight gain is perhaps the most quintessential middle-age battle; we gain weight as we age and, unfortunately, the weight carries a lot more than a few extra pounds. Gaining weight often means excess stress not only on your organs, but on your joints and muscles, too. Your back actually incurs a dramatic increase in pressure as you gain weight, the result of which can often lead to disc damage or spinal injuries. Controlling your weight is absolutely vital is maintain a healthy back. So, why not opt for a cooking course to learn a few new recipe’s, or take your partner up on that new dish he or she has been dying to make. Increasing the amount of vegetables, berries, fruit, healthy oils and fats, as well as beans and legumes in your diet will help you maintain a healthy weight.

Let’s be frank: back pain can rob you of your happiness and joy. We also realize that living with back pain is something that can feel too big to tackle on your own. And that is why we know that the tips above, no matter how badly you want to start doing them, may seem daunting to begin with. What can be done, then? Feeling younger is as much about the changes you choose to make as the mind-shift you need to implement. Make a change, right now – get the help you need.

For the safest, easiest, most effective way of tackling your back pain, contact a professional, hands-on physical therapist. Physical therapy offers you the opportunity to regain your joy and for you to feel younger and happy again. With a physical therapist, you’ll receive hands-on, caring treatment aimed at treating the root cause of the problem, thereby giving you a permanent solution to the daily pain you’re suffering. And not only that, physical therapy gives you tailor-made, targeted exercises and stretches for you to do at home, thereby equipping you with the tools you need to maintain a pain-free life. No painkillers, no surgery, and no temporary fixes: physical therapy is the best way to overcome your back pain, right now.

Age is just a number, and back pain does not have to be a product of your age. You can overcome your back pain and get back to the life you deserve. For more information about how we can help you do just that, contact one of our professional physical therapists, right now. We’re here to help: don’t let back-pain steal even one more moment of your life.

The Basics of Macros – A Recap of Our Workshop

It’s RECAP day…if you missed the Nutrition Workshop with Guest Speaker Heather Wilson (owner of AGT Wellness) last week or knew you wouldn’t be able to join live, we are bringing you the inside scoop (and a chance to grab access to the REPLAY link).

Benefits of Counting Macros
Counting macros can help determine your body composition. It’s a more individualized way to meet your specific goals. Think of it this way: we count calories to change our weight, we count macros to change our body composition.

Counting macros can improve awareness of portion sizes, improve the nutrition density in the food you eat, and improve awareness of your habits (like snacking, mindless eating or emotional eating).

What percent of Carbs, Protein and Fat should you have in your diet? How do you calculate your daily intake needs for each macro based on your goals?
These are excellent questions that Heather tackles head-on. In general terms, the recommended ratio is 45-65% Carbs, 10-35% Proteins, and 25-30% Fats. It’s important to have each of these macro nutrients in your daily nutrition plan because they each play an important role in your health. Excluding one, commonly carbs, can lead to an imbalance and nutritional deficit. The majority of our carbs should come from whole, unprocessed foods like fruits and vegetables rather than items that contain processed simple sugars (like gummy worms, my favorite).

Enjoy the foods you love while making better decisions about your health.
Counting macros is not just about placing limits. It’s about improving our relationship with the food that fuels our bodies. This often includes the process our bodies use to self-repair through physical therapy. We discussed practical tips and common measures to enjoy the foods we love and not feel hungry or like we’re on the diet roller coaster.

Take the next step to dive deeper into Macros and learn how to practically start using this valuable information this week by getting the replay link.

WHY is Origin Rehabilitation, best known for our AMAZING physical therapy services, offering Free Nutrition Workshops?

We’ve been helping our community reduce pain and improve their health for years. We plan to continue to bring you speakers who are experts in their field and who can help you improve your health and ability to enjoy doing the things you love to do with the people you love.

Well… since we’ve made it our mission to help our community to be the healthiest it can be and since knowledge and understanding is the foundation to making changes, putting a small, no cost “class” together seemed like a GREAT way to fulfill our commitment.

We want to see you take your health to the next level, whether it’s through Mint Hill Physical Therapy office (7900 Matthews Mint Hill Rd, Suite 107E, Mint Hill, NC 28227) or our home health physical therapy service, Wellness, Dry Needling, Titleist Performance Institute Golf Assessments, Training Programs, or connecting you with experts and valuable resources in our community, we are here for it! Check out our website to learn more about Origin Rehab and what we’re doing in the community at www.origin-rehab.com.

Nutrition that Makes a Difference

At Origin Rehab we’ve been helping people improve their health for years and will continue to bring you speakers who are experts in their field who can help you improve your health and ability to enjoy doing the things you love to do.

Today we want to introduce you to our friend and Guest Speaker for our May 18th Nutrition workshop: Heather Wilson. Grab a cup of coffee and join us as we get to know more about Heather and the components needed to change lifestyle habits to achieve your goals.

Katrina: Welcome Heather! Can you start by sharing a little about your background and what you do?

Heather: Yes, I am the owner of AGT Wellness. I’m a Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW), Working Against Gravity (WAG) Certified Nutrition Coach, and a National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM) Certified Personal Trainer. I’m also a NASM Corrective Exercise Specialist, have completed the Pain Free Performance Specialist Certification (PPSC) and am a CrossFit Level 1 (CF-L1) coach. I think it’s safe to say that education and continued professional development is important to me!

I believe that the way we eat, move, and think are the keys to living a happy, fulfilled life. The changes I’ve seen in my own life through support of others has fueled my passion to help those who face challenges when it comes to nutrition, exercise, and mindset. The struggle is definitely real and becoming the best version of ourselves is a continual process. AGT Wellness offers Nutrition Coaching, Personal Training, and Life Coaching to help individuals transform from where they are today to where they want to be in their health, fitness, and happiness.

I offer nutrition coaching services designed for individuals who are tired of yo-yo dieting and want to make changes that are sustainable and fit into their lifestyle. Coaches create individualized nutrition plans that help people meet their goals

Katrina: What do you love about what you do?

Heather: I love connecting with people, helping them figure out what works for them when it comes to how to achieve their goals, and seeing the ways they change as we work together. The sense of fulfillment that comes from being a part of someone’s journey to better themselves is something that I can’t really describe but it lets me know that I’m doing what I was meant to in my career.

Katrina: WHY does it help to see someone who deals with nutrition, exercise and emotions versus just seeing a personal trainer?

Heather: I firmly believe that focusing on all three components – how someone thinks, eats, and exercises – is the best way to help someone develop the habits that are necessary to become the person they want to be.

I think of the saying I’ve often heard coaches say to players: “get your head in the game.” Coaches recognize that what the player is thinking about is influencing their performance during practice or games. The same thing applies when it comes to developing and maintaining a healthy lifestyle. The way we think influences how we act, which influences the progress we make towards our goals. Mindset matters and is a big component when it comes to changing our habits, which is essential when it comes to making changes in our lives. Bringing mindset components into a health improvement plan helps people recognize how the things they think may be causing them to get in their own way when it comes to achieving their goals. Learning to challenge and change any self-defeating beliefs is a skill that improves someone’s chances of achieving their goals. Recognizing and talking about the emotions behind why we do what we do makes it easier to plan to do something differently the next time we’re in a similar situation.

Also, nutrition is a significant factor when it comes to achieving goals to lose weight or improve muscle tone. Working with a nutrition coach, in addition to personal training, allows for a more comprehensive plan to be developed when it comes to someone’s nutrition. It allows for dedicated time to specifically help someone learn healthy habits when it comes to nutrition and to talk through any challenges they may be having with their nutrition plan.

Katrina: Who would benefit from coming to the nutrition workshop?


Someone who’s heard the term “macros” but isn’t sure what it means

Someone who isn’t sure what foods are considered proteins, fats, or carbs

Someone wondering healthy ways to add more protein, carbs, or fat to their diets

Heather & her family at Yellowstone: Husband Josh, son Justin, and daughter Ella

Tips for Avoiding Back Pain While Driving This Season

There’s something about driving, isn’t there? The long roads, the beautiful landscapes, great music on the stereo, and back pain. Wait, what? Back pain? Yes, that’s right. While we all love taking long road trips with loved ones, or indulging in the much-needed down-time on our drive to the take out, driving can take an unanticipated physical toll. On that note, the festive season is upon us and it’s my guess that the gas tank is full and you’ve already packed your elf costume for a visit to grandma’s, right? Well, in that case, you best keep reading. I’m here to tell you all about why you get back pain when driving and what you can do to avoid it. Let’s jump straight in!

Maybe you’re wondering why you never really thought about driving as back pain being related. And that’s ok! It may not seem immediately obvious – in fact, it’s often the last place people think to look. Ironically, though, it’s probably the first culprit to turn to. Here’s why:

Poor Posture

Sitting in a car seat can be tough on your back at the best of times, but being stuck in that position for long durations of time, or for many days consecutively, can wreak absolute havoc on your back muscles and spine. Not only is your mobility and general movement restricted, but your neck, shoulders, back, and hips, are forced into a largely unnatural position. The result? Pain… and at times, a lot of it.

Lack of Movement

As mentioned above, car rides restrict movement. I’m sure you’ve experienced the frustration of not being able to stretch your legs or arms as you’d like to, right? Well, it goes even deeper than that. Your muscles stay unnaturally still during long journeys, thereby causing them to spasm or, over long periods of time, become very inflexible. All of this can result in back pain, more spasms, and ultimately, a vicious cycle.

Not Stretching Ahead of the Drive

I don’t think you realized how important this is, did you? If you don’t stretch your muscles before you drive, the consequences can be far reaching: stiffness and pain at the end of the road, but looking further ahead, prolonged back issues if you’re not careful. Many, many people could avoid back pain if they just stretched prior to driving.

To be honest, the list can be exhaustive when it comes to back pain and driving, and really, the key to avoiding injury and discomfort is to prepare ahead of time. Nope, I don’t mean grabbing a Starbucks before hitting the highway, though that would be nice. I’m talking about making sure that the environment and your body are both ready for the journey ahead. Let’s see how you can do that…

Stretching Ahead of Time

You knew I was going to say this, didn’t you? Stretching ahead of your journey remains the single most important thing you can do to stave of back pain during and after your drive. Make sure you run through all the major muscles in your back, legs, shoulders, and neck – don’t skip through the stretches to avoid traffic! Give yourself enough time to really ease into the stretches – lengthen your muscles and prepare yourself for the relatively cramped car seat.

Take the Time to Adjust Your SeatEven If Youre Switching Drivers Along the Way

Do you remember your driving test? Remember how meticulously you checked your mirrors, your seat, your seatbelt, and your neck rest? Well, why do anything differently when it comes to back pain? You have to make sure that your seat is adjusted properly: don’t lean too far forward or back, and make sure your feet are able to reach the pedals comfortably. If you drive an automatic vehicle, ensure that you aren’t crammed up against the dashboard, but are well within reach of the break. Make sure you are able to stretch your arms out ahead of you without straining, and give yourself enough lee-way to stretch your neck: check all mirrors accordingly. There is nothing more uncomfortable than having to drive scrunched up and being restricted.

And What About the Steering Wheel?

You didn’t think I would forget about the most important part of your posture-alignment did you? The steering wheel takes first prize when it comes to reducing back pain! Always take the time to adjust it in such a way that your back remains supported and you do not strain forward. Some cars may do this automatically, but if not, make sure you understand how to adjust the height and length of the steering wheel.

Work on Your Posture

It’s very easy to slip into a ‘sofa’ pose as your cruise down the road listening to the Beetles, but it is incredibly important to remain aware of your posture at all times. If you feel yourself slumping or leaning too far back into the seat, take a minute to re-adjust your posture. Your back will certainly thank you for it when you reach your destination!

Take Regular Breaks

If you needed an excuse to stop over for a coffee and a snack, then I’m happy to give you one. Taking regular breaks during longer journeys is essential when it comes to avoiding back pain. Once you park, make sure to get out of the car, stretch, rehydrate, and re-center your focus. Ensure that you’re aware of your posture and, if you’re in pain, make the necessary adjustments to your seat and mirrors.

Cruise Control

If your car is equipped with cruise control, then you’re quite lucky! Cruise control enables you to take a break from one single seating position in order to shift into another. Be sure, though, that whichever position you choose is supportive of your back and ensures that your posture remains correct.

Here’s the thing… as much as we crave grandma’s homemade apple pies, long distance or continual driving can end our festive season before it even starts. Back pain related to driving is very much a present you don’t want to open. So, why not contact a professional, hands-on physical therapist to help you prevent it? Yes, that’s right, physical therapists can help you avoid back pain by showing you how to correct your posture, adjust your seats, and stretch properly. And not only that, physical therapy will help you eradicate back pain if you’re already suffering from it! By treating the root cause of the problem, physical therapy will help you maintain a pain free life while simultaneously equipping you with the tools to carry on your healthy journey at home!

So, really, the road to a pain free back is much shorter than you think. Don’t let long distance driving put a damper on your festive season – give us a call to find out we can get you back on the road safely and securely.

3 Causes of Hip-Pain Unrelated to Injuries

We’ve all been there… our hands clutching at our thighs in the hope of relieving hip-stress as we get up or sit down; a grimace on our faces as we try to grapple with what we think are signs of aging while easing into the bath; a frown as we get out of the car, straining to carry the weight in our legs, not our hips. Hip pain: most of us have experienced it, and if you’re reading this, you’re probably still suffering from its tell-tail discomfort. And yet, for most of you reading this, your pain isn’t related to any sort of injury you can think of – it just arrived and has decided to stay. The good news is, though its origins are unknown, hip-pain can be treated and alleviated. In this post, we’re looking at some of the reasons you might be suffering from hip discomfort – and better still – some of the ways in which you can become pain free, right now.

I know what you’re thinking – you haven’t fallen, tumbled, or tripped recently. In fact, you tend to take fairly good care of your hips in so far as you know how. And that’s great! The truth is, though, for the majority of us, joint health is something we don’t really consider in our daily activities. In other words, when it comes to our hips, we often don’t realize that small irregularities in our postures, habits, and routines, can affect the health of our hip joints in the long run. That having been said, take a look at some of the most common reasons you’re experiencing inexplicable pain in your hip area:

1. Sitting All Day

It’s possible you’ve already considered the fact that a largely sedentary lifestyle might be contributing to your hip pain – if so, you’re on the right track. Sitting for numerous hours a day will eventually lead to stiff, tight muscles, the presence of which will result in pain. Your hip joints are incredibly important when it comes to mobility – not moving or stretching them throughout the day will cause a decreased ability to move with comfort, hence the pulling, stabbing, or dull ache your feel when you leave for home or get out of bed in the mornings.

2. No Exercise

Your muscles and joints need to be lubricated, stretched, and strengthened in order for them to maintain their flexibility and functionality. And the best way to do this is… yes… you guessed it: exercise. Excluding exercise from your daily routine is a sure-fire way to end up experiencing hip-pain. If you don’t use your muscles often, they weaken and lose their ability to add structural support to your joints; in this way, then, weakening hip muscles can lead to damage in the hip joint, thereby causing and aggravating hip-pain.

3. Repeated Exercise Routines

Though exercise is a great way to keep your hip-joint healthy, the continual repetition of one single exercise, stretch, or routine can actually cause breakdown within the muscle, thereby aggravating hip-pain instead of alleviating it. Constantly focusing on one single type of activity places continuous pressure on one group of muscles, and so places stress on them while weakening those around them: this is the point at which injury, and thus the possibility of serious damage, may occur.


If you’re doing one, two, or even all of the above, don’t fear – your hip-pain can be dealt with. Fortunately, there are ways in which you can tackle and alleviate your pain. Take a look:

1. Stretch

Doing stretches which target your hip area can be very helpful in loosening and lengthening tight, stiff muscles which may be causing you discomfort. Find the time to hit the mat and stretch out your hip muscles, even if it means getting up 10 minutes earlier.

2. Varied Exercise

Having realized that a sedentary lifestyle is causing you discomfort, it’s time to begin making some changes. Start by incorporating some exercises in the office: get up every 15 – 20 minutes, and walk for 2 minutes every 30 minutes. In addition, try adding some extra activities to your daily routine. Why not try walking for 30 minutes a day, or cycling along the promenade or in the park? Getting those muscles moving is essential for your recovery and pain-free life. Remember, though, vary your routine as you go along.

3. Physical Therapy

Physical therapy is by far the fastest and safest way to get rid of your hip pain, right now. If you’ve never considered physical therapy, or have misunderstood the benefits of this therapy, it’s time to reconsider. With the help of a hands-on, qualified, and dedicated physical therapist, you’ll not only be rid of your hip-pain once-and-for-all, but you’ll finally be given the information you’re looking for, thereby gaining peace of mind in the process. Unlike other forms of treatment which offer temporary, often harmful solutions for your pain, physical therapy tackles the root cause of the problem safely and non-invasively, thereby giving you permanent relief from your hip discomfort. In addition, a hands-on physical therapist is able to offer you tailor-made exercises and stretches to suit your needs, thus allowing you to maintain a pain free life and finally gain access to the lifestyle you dream of. Period.

Hip-pain doesn’t need to be a precursor to a life of immobility: it can be overcome and you can gain access to the active, mobile, healthy lifestyle you dream of. By following the above tips, and by contacting a professional, hands-on physical therapist today, you’ll be saying goodbye to your surprising discomfort in no time. Don’t waste even a moment more puzzling over the cause; find the answers you’re searching for – and take the actions needed – right now. For more information about how we can help you overcome your hip-pain, why not contact one of our dedicated, friendly physical therapists today. We look forward to helping and guiding you on your journey to health!

Falling: Facts Behind the Fear

If you generally step more gently as you go down the stairs, hold the hand-railing a little bit tighter, and take careful note of where your feet land next… you’re not alone. The vast majority of us either consciously or subconsciously fear the sudden jolt and feeling of vertigo related to feeling taking a tumble – not to mention the pain that comes afterwards! Our worst fears are realized when we start to think about the horrendous consequences of a fall: hip-fractures, muscle tears, back pain, even broken legs all come to mind. Yikes! Is it any wonder that a common nightmarish theme is falling out of bed? In fact, a fear of falling is so common that most people don’t even know they’re afraid! That’s right – the fear isn’t consciously spoken about or acknowledged, rather it translates into minute, prolonged posture and gait abnormalities which, if left unnoticed, can wreak havoc on one’s mobility and self-confidence. That’s why this post looks at why most people are secretly afraid of falling, why most don’t even know they’re afraid, and – thankfully – what we can do about tackling this problem.

Being afraid of falling is more than a cautious tip-toeing around objects: it’s an overarching alteration of the way we assess, approach, and interact with the world around us. Unbeknownst to many of us, the fear of falling actually restricts our movement, thus it can, in fact, cause pain and immobility over time. And not only that, it can actually reduce self-esteem, restricting us from otherwise social interactions along the way. So few of us ever really acknowledge the overarching effects of our fear that, consequently, we forget how our daily lives are being impacted – we become accustomed to limitations and we accept our worry as part of life. And yet, it doesn’t have to be that way! Take a look at some of the most common reasons you might be afraid of falling and what to do about it:

Decreased Balance

As you’ve gotten a bit older, you’ve stopped riding on your bicycle, stopped practicing yoga, and stopped rowing down the river in your canoe. The result? Your balance has deteriorated and you’ve started feeling the impact this has had on your mobility. The less balance-orientated activities you do, the less you hone your balancing skills, thereby allowing weight to be unevenly distributed throughout your body. This causes straining and overcompensation in certain areas and weakness in others. Subsequently, an unbalanced body wreaks havoc on your brain: is it that much more likely to fear falling… after all, it knows your balance is off! The answer? Well, get back on the yoga mat, dust off the bicycle, and start practicing activities that increase your balance; a daily effort to evenly distribute weight and create a greater awareness of your body’s balance is, ultimately, a giant leap on your road to overcoming the fear of falling.

Muscle Weakness

Just as you’ve given up the rowing, you’ve also neglected to do your daily walks or stretches, thus your muscles have started to weaken and lose strength. Without muscle strength, your body

isn’t capable of giving you the confidence needed to overcome a fear of falling. Again, your mind understands that your body is incapable of compensating for a fall if you have weak muscles, thus it trains you to restrict movement accordingly – it lessens the probability of a fall. Why not start walking for 30 minutes a day? Muscle weakness starts alongside a sedentary lifestyle: get active and feel the confidence return to both your body and mind.


When it comes to falling, footwear matters. Yes, of course, wearing 9-inch heals to the park is asking for a tumble, but realistically, wearing shoes that are incapable of supporting and distributing your weight evenly is setting you up for failure. Footwear needs to be comfortable and stable, thus giving you the reassurance of a good, strong, supported stride. In addition, good footwear offers you balance! So, don’t hesitate to ditch the heels and opt of support and comfort – your body and muscles with thank you for it!

Obstacle Awareness

Clutter, mounds of clothes, various sofas, and random chairs in your home place before your body a daily obstacle course – from stepping over a coffee table, to swiveling around a badly-placed chair, these movements impact your peace of mind, place stress on your already weak muscles, and increase your fear of falling. The stress associated with navigating the living-room is, at its most basic level, akin to traversing an uneven hillside: the fact that you do it every day makes your mind and body feel as though you need to be protected, and thus your movements become limited. Obstacles feed your fear. If watching Marie Kondo is motivation enough to clean out the clutter, then waste no more time! Clear a path to freedom from fear!

At the end of the day, we know and understand that your fear of falling is far-reaching: from your body to your mind, your mobility and lifestyle are both being affected. That’s also why we know that seeing a professional, hands-on, caring physical therapist is by far the best, most effective, and safest way of tackling the issue. A qualified physical therapist is able to diagnose the root cause of the problem, assess posture, gait, and muscle tension, and work with you in order to free you from your daily anxiety. Furthermore, physical therapy offers you tailor-made exercises and stretches, thereby allowing you to maintain a strong, stable body and a life free from fear! With physical therapy, the self-confidence to step out proudly, strongly, and bravely will become second nature to you.

Being afraid of falling is as much about your body as it is about your mind: the limitations your mind places on your body is affecting your life for the worse. And that’s why we know that the freedom from fear enables you to live the life you dream of, do the activities you long to do, and be the person you hope to be. We’re here to help you, and we look forward to speaking to you about how we can assist and guide you on your journey to achieving confidence in yourself and your body. Call us today; we look forward to hearing from you!

FORE! Shoulder Pain and Playing Golf

Golf… it’s a sport that calls to mind beautiful Saturday mornings, a cold beer at the club after a great 18-hole day, and that elusive birdie you’ve been trying to get for years. And while this all sounds pretty much idyllic, you might be surprised to know that playing golf causes nearly as many injuries as some contact sports! It’s true, and while shocking, it actually makes a lot of sense. The techniques players employ in their swings, gaits, and strokes, often have painful consequences for the back and shoulders. In fact, shoulder pain is so common amongst golfers that it has fast become one of the injuries we treat most often. So, in this post we chat to you about what it means to have shoulder pain, how you know it’s golf-related, and what to do if you’re suffering from it right now. With that having been said, let’s tee up and get started!

For all you golfing enthusiasts out there, the title probably makes some sense. No doubt you’ve yelled ‘fore’ out onto the green after miscalculating the wind gusts, right? Well, just as you might warn the unsuspecting golfers out ahead of you, so too your body yells its equivalent of ‘fore’ at you when it’s in distress and pain. Really, as you’re playing golf you might actually feel a tug, a pull, or even discomfort in your shoulder as you swing – that’s your body telling you to ‘watch out’ and ‘look out ahead’. In fact, it’s your body’s extremely sophisticated way of warning you about probable damage and/or injury to your shoulder if you continue swinging the way you are. And yet, despite this impressive alarm system, many golfers continue to swing through the pain as though it will disappear on its own. And what a mistake that is! For those who ignore the signs, shoulder pain is really just a few yards away.

Well, what happens if you’ve ignored the warning signs and are now experiencing shoulder pain and discomfort? What does that mean and what can be done? One thing to understand is that the shoulder is a complex joint; the movement and mobility of it hinges on the rotator cuff, that is, the section of your shoulder made up of muscles and tendons designed to keep your arm in the socket of your shoulder. Hence, shoulder pain in this area is often referred to as a rotator cuff injury and, yes, you guessed it, these are most commonly seen amongst avid golfers.

It’s not too difficult to take a guess as to why the rotator cuff is at risk during a golf game. The movement involved in swinging your club actually places massive amounts of strain on the rotator cuff, causing the muscles and tendons to twist and bend in ways that are mostly unnatural to them. So, while repeatedly swinging a golf club overhead may well be great for your game, it’s not equally as good for your shoulder. The constant, unvarying repetition of a single incorrect movement can, in fact, wreak havoc later down the line. In effect, golf actually places your shoulder at a much highest risk of injury than almost any other sport.

And, unfortunately, the pain that accompanies a rotator cuff injury is far from pretty. Symptoms include the following:

  • Aches and pain in the shoulder itself.
  • Weakness when raising the shoulder.
  • Popping sounds in your shoulder as you swing.
  • Difficulty doing routine tasks: combing hair, brushing teeth, showering.
  • Difficulty holding things above waist height.
  • Trouble sleeping.
  • Loss in your range of motion.

In addition to all of the above, experiencing a shoulder injury while you are playing golf means that all aspects of your life will be affected. From your actual game, to your social life, family life, and peace of mind. We have met so many patients who, before coming to see us, have felt completely defeated by their golfing injuries.

So, what can be done? If you haven’t yet experienced an injury, that’s great. However, it doesn’t mean you’re out of the woods yet. It is absolutely vital that you learn the correct golfing posture and swinging technique in order to avoid injuries in the future. A physical therapist will gladly help you with this information. Wear the right golfing gear, too, and be mindful of the weight you carry out on the green.

If, however, you are currently experiencing shoulder pain related to golf, the best possible action you can take is to visit a qualified, hands-on, professional physical therapist. A physical therapist will treat the root cause of your problem, thereby relieving pain effectively and safely and making sure that your recovery is a permanent one. There are no temporary solutions, here. Furthermore, a physical therapist will give you specific, tailor-made exercises that you can do at home in order to ensure that you remain pain free. What’s more, you’ll learn the correct techniques for the best golf game of your life. You know as well as we do that your golfing prowess is less about how hard you swing the club, but much more about how you do it. Find out what’s best for you by visiting a physical therapist today.

We know how debilitating shoulder pain can be, especially if you love golf. Unfortunately, getting back into the swing of things can be a struggle. If you’re not sure how to do it, or where to start, we invite you to talk to one of our professional, friendly physical therapists, today. We’ll eliminate your pain and get you back to playing the game you love. Ask below about cost and availability.