Alignment 101: Why We Teach Alignment

At Advanced Balance Clinic, a major part of our treatment philosophy focuses on body alignment to help get people moving better. When we refer to alignment, we mean how each body part is positioned relative to each other. For example, if you are standing and you look down where is your foot pointed relative to your hip? Is in angled out, angled in, or pointed straight forward? You might wonder why we spend so much time emphasizing these subtle variations throughout the body.

There are several components to this answer. The human body is complex. We might be focused on alignment, but also realize this is far from the whole picture. Take chronic pain for example. A focus on alignment might be a good start for some people, but pain is much more complex than meets the eye. More and more research demonstrates that chronic pain has nothing to do with what we call “posture” and is not even not well correlated with disease state. For example, someone can have terrible...

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Are You an Abstainer or a Moderator?

In a previous story, we discussed the importance of finding your why and changing your mindset for better health. However, this is just the first step of the process. Finding better health and living life to the fullest is a journey, one which is full of layers. Knowing why you want to live a better life and then changing your mindset to one of growth is just the first layer. The next big step is to learn more about yourself and how you form habits in order to make meaningful change.

Ever wonder why some people do just fine quitting a bad habit cold turkey while others who try that approach fail within a matter of days and go right back to what they were doing? This is the difference between an abstainer and a moderator, as Gretchen Rubin outlines in her book Better Than Before: Mastering the Habits of Our Everyday Lives. Several years ago, this author caught onto these subtle differences among people that make a big impact in terms of habit formation, and dove into...

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Health Has Everything to Do With Your Mindset

At Advanced Balance Clinic, we firmly believe that health is not the absence of disease. Our mission is to bridge the gap between managing a medical condition to living a vibrant, healthy life. Living a life of vitality is a journey, and we are here to facilitate that process through a variety of means. Healthy living looks very different for everyone.

In our years of experience as therapists, we realized there was one big difference in our clients who make drastic improvement to their quality of life and those who don’t. No matter what the diagnosis was, the answer is not found in one particular exercise, medication, or diet plan… There is no magic bullet solution when it comes to health.

So what does actually make a difference?

The answer is MINDSET!

When we first start working with new clients, progress will not be made unless we help them get to the root of their motivations, habit patterns, and overall mindset. We boiled our process down into smaller pieces to...

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Brain Health Series: Balance, Walking, and Brain Health

Brain health in is a topic not discussed often enough, especially within the medical community. The conversation around mental health and access to mental health services has been increasing in recent years, however the aging brain is often left out of the conversation. There are so many questions left unanswered surrounding the decline of brain health associated with aging. The medical profession has made observations about those who ultimately experience brain atrophy and those who don’t, so we are slowly gaining clarity. However, there are still many questions left unanswered.

Research has identified some clear correlations and patterns in those who ultimately receive a diagnosis of dementia. Keep in mind, however, that correlation does not equal causation. We know that balance problems and risk of falls increase with increasing severity of cognitive decline. We know poor mental health increases the risk of developing dementia. We know that muscle weakness is associated...

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Brain Health Series: Chronic Pain and Brain Function

Brain health in is a topic not discussed often enough, especially within the medical community. The conversation around mental health and access to mental health services has been increasing in recent years, however the aging brain is often left out of the conversation. There are so many questions left unanswered surrounding the decline of brain health associated with aging. The medical profession has made observations about those who ultimately experience brain atrophy and those who don’t, so we are slowly starting to gain clarity. However, there are still many questions left unanswered.

Research has identified some clear correlations and patterns in those who ultimately receive a diagnosis of dementia. Keep in mind, however, that correlation does not equal causation. We know that balance problems and risk of falls increase with increasing severity of cognitive decline. We know poor mental health increases the risk of developing dementia. We know that muscle weakness is...

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For Better Health, Be Like a KidĀ Again

he other night, I was watching my barely one-year-old son attempt to pick up a garden hose in the backyard. Starting in a deep squat, he kept trying to stand up with something that was pretty heavy for his size. Standing unsupported without holding anything is a skill he has yet to master, and here he was trying something that seemed physically impossible. After about 50 tries, he finally got it and looked just so proud of himself when he did.

In watching my children grow over the last several years, I realized kids are invigorated by the most difficult of physical challenges. Driven by curiosity to learn about their environment, they develop new motor skills along the way. I am not sure where we lost this as adults, but developing this mindset and drive of a child would solve most of our health problems. Adopting this approach would bring more mindfulness to movement, paving the way for healthier aging. Let’s talk more about what we can learn from children to make our own...

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How Does Balance Work Anyway?

Every wondered how your body keeps its balance? Well wonder no more! This is the question we will address in this blog post.

We often work with balance issues that start to appear in all age groups. It's no secret that the human body is complicated. Balance is no different. Our brain relies on input from several different systems to map out our position relative to our environment and help us stay upright to move about our world.  

Our body uses three main systems for this purpose. All of these systems communicate information with one another using the nervous system, so your brain has awareness of what position you are in at all times. A majority of this happens on a subconscious level and it is not until there is a issue that we become aware. Balance problems arise when any one of these systems, a combination of them, or the communication between these systems start to malfunction. 

Vision

Our brain relies on input from our eyes to determine how we...

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3 Exercises for Weak or Painful Shoulders

Acute or chronic shoulder pain is a common reason a person might seek out the services of a therapist. In this blog post, we will cover the starting point of our favorite exercises for weak or painful shoulders. First, we will discuss different types of exercise and how we use each type to promote pain management. Then we will demonstrate shoulder alignment and give instructions for strong, healthy shoulder joints!

Sound like a plan? Here goes...

When we initiate a plan of action for either acute or chronic pain, we structure an exercise sequence in a specific order. The first goal is to calm down the pain response and bring more stability to the joint in order to allow for bigger movement. Once pain is addressed, we look at underlying movement patterns and reinforce patterns to promote optimal joint health! Let's take a look at the difference between different types of strengthening exercise and discuss a starting point for weak or painful shoulder joints.

Different types of...

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Quick Test: What Does Actual Shoulder Mobility Look Like?

Image may contain: one or more people, people standing and indoor

Image may contain: one or more people, people standing and indoor

A key component in maintaining strong, healthy shoulder joints is understanding how to differentiate between using actual shoulder mobility v. other joints to compensate for a lack of shoulder mobility.

As the above photos demonstrate, more than one joint can be used to reach arms overhead. Many of us mistakenly believe we are strictly using shoulder mobility to accomplish this motion. The first photo shows someone reaching arms overhead to touch the wall behind them. At a glance this might look like fantastic shoulder mobility, but take a closer look at what is happening at the rib cage. It moved away from the wall to help move the arms further overhead. Once the end of actual shoulder mobility is reached, rib cage thrusting can help us achieve further movement without using the shoulders but using the low back instead. 

Is this a problem? Not always. But if you are looking to improve actual shoulder joint mobility, compensating with rib cage thrusting bypasses the...

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What is a Floor Transfer?

Image may contain: 1 person, shoes and indoor

Image may contain: 1 person, indoor

The ability to get on and off the floor without using hands is strongly correlated with early disability and death. This is why one of the first skills we cover with new clients is getting on and off the floor. Not only is this a life-saving skill but it is also one of our favorite strengthening activities! There are an infinite number of ways you can get on and off the floor, as well an unlimited options for sitting positions once you are on the floor. Having the confidence to know you can safely and easily get off the floor decreases your future risk of falls! If you are currently able to get yourself on and off the floor, continue to practice this skill daily. If you are unsure, see a physical or occupational therapist for a floor transfer test. 

A floor transfer test is nothing fancy. As shown in the pictures above, the test involves getting on and off the floor trying to use the hands as little as possible. This test can tell you a lot about your overall strength and...

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