Living With Chronic Pain? Quality Sleep Might Be The Key To Managing Your Pain.

 

Over half of adults over the age of 60 experience chronic pain. Chronic pain is defined as any pain lasting longer than 3 months and is a very different experience for your brain than acute pain.

And unfortunately, chronic pain can have lasting implications on brain health in older adults, even increasing the risk of developing dementia.

One of the most common problems we hear from our clients living with chronic pain is how their sleep suffers. Chronic pain creates a vicious cycle of disrupted sleep in which lack of sleep causes heightened sensitivity to pain. Increased pain will impair your ability to sleep, and the cycle continues.

Disrupted sleep is yet another risk factor for dementia, so it’s critical to address lack of sleep if you are living with chronic pain. Sleep is also necessary for your body’s ability to heal and recover from the pain you’re experiencing.

There are many reasons why you might not be sleeping well from struggling with falling...

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The Story of Steroid Knee Injections and Healthcare in America

As a physical therapist, I’m often asked by patients about steroid injections for knee arthritis pain. I’ve worked with many who’ve received them, only to find mixed results. For some individuals they’ve been a lifesaver, the pain-relieving effects lasted for months. Others may have noticed improvement for several days, only to have the same pain return within a week. And for others, they noticed absolutely no difference. So what gives? Why such mixed results?

Research on steroid injections for chronic pain due to arthritis reveals less than stellar results. One study even found the use of injections accelerated the breakdown of healthy cartilage in the knee and had no impact on reported pain levels in those who received the injections.

Interpreting the Results

Understanding what’s happening here requires us to take a step back and look at the big picture of the human body. And the way our medical system views the body and the healing...

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Want to Feel More Balanced? Start with Your Feet.

Did you know that 25% of your bones and muscles are located below the ankle? And yet our feet tend to be one of the most overlooked parts of our body, at least as far as proactive care goes. No one thinks about their feet until there’s a problem.

Due to the volume of joints and muscles of the feet, stiffness in this area of the body is one of the biggest contributors to balance problems. Your feet play a major role in the intricate systems that keeps you balanced. The more rigid your feet, the more difficult it is to balance.

One of the best places you can start to improve your balance is to improve the mobility of your feet. The more impact from the environment your feet absorb, the less work the rest of your body has to do to keep you balanced.

The first step to better foot mobility is to consider how you treat your feet daily. What kind of shoes do you wear? How much time do you spend with shoes off? How are your toes moving? Do you have foot pain? Are there caluses,...

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Try These 11 Home Hacks to Start Moving More Today

Intimidated by the thought of exercise? Not sure how you’ll find the time, or even how to get started?

In my work as a physical therapist, I help clients explore their movement on a daily basis. Most people end up in our clinic because they’ve always struggled to form an “exercise” habit.

But what if we framed the conversation around movement instead of exercise? How much does that change the conversation?

A shift in perspective might be all you need to meet your health goals. If you get enough movement in your day, there would be less of a need for a formal exercise program.

There are an infinite number of ways you can alter your home environment to facilitate more movement. And better yet, this can happen with little to no investment in time or equipment. All it takes is a little thinking outside the box. Below is a list of suggestions to get you started.

1. Ditch your laundry basket.

I have yet to see anyone carry their laundry basket using...

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Need to Get Moving But Feel Overwhelmed? Start Here.

Do you realize your balance is declining, but feel lost on where to start improving it? Notice that your mobility isn’t what it used to be, but not sure how to take the first step to make it better?

We all get a little lost sometimes, especially when it comes to our health as we age. As a physical therapist, my job is to break things down into the smallest possible pieces to help get someone moving and build confidence. Taking small steps gets the ball rolling and banishes overwhelm.

Just remember, all it takes is just one step every day in the right direction. If you’re feeling overwhelmed, start with the list below to guide you in the right direction.

1. Start small and safe.

The best place to start to build balance and movement confidence is to break things down into smaller parts, perform a lot of repetitions, and set yourself up in a safe environment.

A great place to start is to write a list of all the movements you don’t feel confident doing. For...

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5 Tips to Get More Walking in Your Day

Walking 3 to 5 miles per day is a human physiological requirement. Our bodies have a need for natural movement, and walking is one of the best ways to fulfill this need. Your body only functions at optimal capacity if you’re walking each day. Your blood flow, nerve function, and the ability for your cells to get nutrients are all impacted by your movement, particularly walking. 

We’re often asked, “Can’t I just run or ride a bike to get meet my daily movement requirement faster?”

And our answer is a resounding NO. There is no problem with running or biking, but it can’t replace walking. They have different physiological effects on your body. So feel free to run or hop on a bike only AFTER you’ve met your walking requirement for the day. 

Another question we often address is, “What do I do if I don’t have the time or space to walk these long distances each day?”

And for that question, we have great news! The...

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The Difference Between Aging and Being "Under-Moved"

One of our favorite quotes from one of our favorite books on aging! It is possible to be young and weak because you aren't moving enough, just as it is possible to be old and strong because you move often. 

Being "under-moved" as a society is a great health crisis than aging. Make the choice to start aging well today by getting yourself moving in any way you can. Let us know how you are moving today in the comments, we would love to hear about it!

 

Want to learn more about mindful movement? Sign up for our email newsletters and receive our Balance, Falls, and Brain Health course FREE today.

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Stop Trying to Defy Aging. Embrace It Instead.

“Ageism is prejudice against our own future selves.” -Ashton Applewhite

We see the phrase “anti-aging” everywhere. It’s obviously at the forefront of everyone’s minds.

But newsflash: we’re all aging.

There isn’t anything you can do to stop it.

And yet all we hear about are the negative aspects of aging. And this constant push to try to put a stop to a process that’s an inevitable aspect of life.

It’s become painfully apparent we live in an ageist society.

If you look around, you’ll notice a pattern. Of all the advertising to buy products or services to “hide” the fact that we’re aging.

And the real danger here is our thought patterns dictate our actions. Both our individual actions and the actions of society. When you take a look around, it becomes obvious we’ve structured world to discriminate against older adults. This TED Talk on ageism by Ashton Applewhite sums this up perfectly.

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Balance: Does Your Perception Meet Reality?

 

Last summer for my 32nd birthday, I thought it would be a great idea to climb a tree. I hadn’t climbed a tree since I was very young, but it’s something I used to do all the time. So I thought nothing of it. Our front yard has a perfect climbing tree I’d been eyeing for some time.

We’ve all climbed trees as kids and felt confident in our ability to do it. The last time I climbed it was no problem and I assumed I would feel that way going into this. In fact, I thought getting myself onto the first branch would be easy. I could see a clear path to climb up a few branches beyond that.

But I think we all know where this story is going.

It turns out, climbing a tree is pretty difficult when you haven’t done it for a few decades. Not only did I need help getting up to the first low branch, once I was there I didn’t feel confident in my ability to stay balanced at all. I found myself staring at the ground, both hands on the branch, feeling as though I...

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How To Create A Movement Habit And Stick To It

Ever tried to develop an exercise habit and found yourself unable to stick with it?

If so, you aren’t alone. The difficulty in maintaining an exercise habit happens for a variety of reasons. It might be that you tried too much too soon. Or more likely, you just didn’t find something you actually enjoyed enough to stick to.

One of the most common questions I hear as a physical therapist is, “What kind of exercise program is best for me?”

My answer is always, “The one that you enjoy enough to show up for every day.”

There really isn’t a right or wrong answer. And while this approach sounds simple in theory, it can take some trial and error to figure it out.

One of the most common problems I run in to is the use of the word “exercise”. For some, it carries a lot of baggage because they think they have put off developing an “exercise” habit for too long. They fall into the trap of thinking it’s too late for...

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