It didn’t take me long to realize that, as a Physical Therapist, my job is really one big body-hacking experience. I take bodies in one state, and tinker and provoke them with the help of their owners, and end up with a body in a different state. One that hopefully works better.
I started thinking, what are the best body hacks I know?? I came up with a list that I think are the most useful. Some you can perform yourself, others you probably need some help, least you end up with a broken spine. I tried to focus on those that can be performed independently. My science brain required me to post some evidence supporting each.
Without further ado…
The Top 5 Physical Therapist Recommended Body Hacks:
1. Repair your posture by fixing your muscle strength and overall fitness, NOT by sitting up straight.
2. When you experience low back pain, respond by activating your core muscles.
When our bodies feel back pain, one of the first reactions they have is a bit paradoxical and harmful to the situation. Back pain inhibits the activity of your core muscles. The health of the core muscles are important in preventing back pain. See the dilemma? You can help by doing some simple core stabilization exercises whenever your back feels sore to help stave off developing back problems. You’d be surprised at both how little pain it takes to shut these muscles down, and how helpful it can be to your back to wake them back up!
3. Lengthen your hamstrings to prevent most body pain and boost your athletic skills.
If I had to pick one muscle that I wished was more flexible in any of the bodies I treat, I would surely pick the hamstrings. These play a role in how you walk, as well as back, knee, and hip pains. Their health and ability to function has a lot to do with how athletic you are. The hamstring muscles cross two joints, making them big players in the precise control of your lower limb. Please never let them get tight, or stay that way. Stretch!
4. Slow, gentle stretching provides the biggest bang for the buck.
For most people, stretching is an exercise in futility. Muscle fibers are strong, and exist at a fixed length. When leaning hard into a muscle to stretch it, that sensation you feel is nothing more than your body fighting back. Greater gains in flexibility occur with prolonged, slow, easy stretching. Research supports techniques that focus on stimulating your muscles to relax, allowing a gentle stretch of the soft tissue that surrounds them. I like to tell patients, on a scale of 1 = no stretch, and 10 = I just snapped your muscle in half, aim for an intensity of 3-4.
5. Manipulate your thoracic spine to fix your neck.
Here’s one you need a professional for, but I included it because of how cool it is. Research that has investigated neck pain has found that sometimes, moving the bones of your thoracic spine can ease the pain in the neck. This takes into account the interesting fact that your posture below the head has a lot to do with the workload of the muscles that support the head. So, if you have neck pain, make sure the person who helps you with it doesn’t neglect your t-spine. More specifically, find an Orthopaedic Manual Physical Therapist to help mobilize the joints in your spine that are problematic. Your neck will thank you for it!
2 Replies to “Top 5 Physical Therapist Recommended Body Hacks”
What a fantastic post. This is so helpful for people like me with assorted aches & pains, who also work alone at home all day. Thank you!
Very nice! I am the writer of “Top 5 things to do in Istanbul” This was my first group activity, but i liked it very much. http://meeting-continents.blogspot.com/2007/05/top-5-things-to-do-in-istanbul.html Have you ever been to Istanbul which links east to west, and west to east like a weblink. Istanbul played such a critical role in the world politics and culture throughout the history. Now i have a dream i would like to share with you and Darren Rowse. All the Probloggers should meet at Istanbul and join the 29th edition of the Eurasia Marathon on Sunday 28th of October, 2007. Let’s meet where the continents meet : As the Istanbul Eurasia Marathon starts from the Anatolian side while taking the runners to the most beautiful spots of town, signing its name under a touristic attraction as well. The Bosphorus is one of the most beautiful spots on the world and as you run through it, history of the centuries run with you on the streets. I joined the 28th Intercontinental Istanbul EurAsia Marathon on 5th of November, 2006 together with my friends, Joe and Suat San. We enjoyed the wonderful Bosphorus, and beautiful streets of Istanbul on a cold but sunny Sunday morning. The slogan for last year’s marathon was “let’s run for a non-smoking world”. this was my blog post for last year’s marathon: http://meeting-continents.blogspot.com/2006/12/intercontinental-eurasia-marathon.html I would be happy to invite you to the 29th Intercontinental Istanbul Eurasia Marathon, the only marathon to run between two continents – Europe and Asia. Istanbul is one of the oldest settlements on the world. What about participating in the 29th EurAsia Marathon in 2007 which takes place in the most beautiful places of a wonderful city that has been the capital of three empires ? You may find details about the marathon here: http://www.istanbulmarathon.org/english/main.asp Please let me know if you are interested. Have a nice day! Mert
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