By Paige Hrdlicka, PTA
Tension or cervicogenic headaches can cause symptoms of pain and tightness at the base of your neck. There are a group of small muscles at the base of your skull called suboccipitals. If these muscles are tight, they can cause this tension type of headache. The pain can wrap across the top of your head to your forehead, and sometimes the pain can be focused on one side more than the other. People often experience neck stiffness and light sensitivity with these types of headaches. They are typically the result of an injury, though neck pain can be spontaneous.
Treatment for cervicogenic and tension headaches can consist of manual release techniques, stretching, cervical spine strengthening, posture activities, and working on neck and thoracic spine range of motion. Symptoms may vary from person to person, and an evaluation from a skilled physical therapist would be best to determine the right exercises for you.
If you are experiencing some of these symptoms, here are 2 stretches and 3 exercises you can try at home to alleviate some of you pain:
Neck flexion and extension
Image from https://universityorthopedics.com/educational_resources/neck_exercises.html
Neck lateral flexion
Standing chin tuck
Still point inducer
You can also complete chin tucks while laying on the still point inducer.
If you suffer from these, PT may be able to help. Call 918-392-1482 today to schedule an appointment with a PT. We are one big team here at Tulsa Bone and Joint, and we would love to work with you to help find relief for all your orthopedic needs.
By Lacy Clevenger, PTA
If you’re experiencing a nagging, achy pain on the outside of your hip or knee, you may be dealing with IT band syndrome. This is common with running and endurance sports or any activity that requires repetitive bending of the knee. The IT band is a thick connective tissue that starts at the top of the hip and attaches below the knee. Pain starts to occur when there is friction between the IT band and the bones of the hip or knee, though pain is more commonly experienced at the knee. Weak hips and lack of lower extremity flexibility can make you more prone to this.
Here are 5 stretches/exercises to treat IT band syndrome and help prevent recurrence:
- Foam rolling: Lie on the affected side with the foam roller just below the hip bone. Slowly roll until the foam roller is just above the knee joint, then roll back to the starting position. Repeat this 10-15 times. Discomfort is common with this, but will improve with time.
- Hip flexor stretch: Sit on the edge of a bed and hug one knee toward your chest. Lie back, then actively pull the opposite heel down towards the floor as well as back towards the bed. This should create a stretch along the front of your hip/thigh. Hold this for 30-60 seconds and repeat 3-5 times.
- Glute stretch: Lie on your back with knees bent and feet flat on the floor/bed. Cross one ankle onto the opposite knee then pull your knee towards your opposite shoulder. A stretch should be felt on the back and/or side of the hip. Hold this for 30-60 seconds and repeat 3-5 times.
- Clam shells: Lie on your side with both knees bent. Try to keep your shoulders, hips, and knees in a straight line so that your feet are resting behind you. Keep your heels together and lift the top knee, stopping just before you feel the hips start to roll backwards. Repeat slowly 20-30 times. An elastic band can be added around the legs, just above the knees to add resistance and increase difficulty. \
- Side leg lifts: Lie on one side and lift the opposite leg up towards the ceiling, keeping the knee straight. As you lift the leg, keep it slightly behind the hip which helps to engage the glutes. Do not let your hips roll backwards. Repeat 20-30 times or until muscle fatigue is felt.
Whether it’s running, walking, soccer, or another outdoor winter activity, it’s important that you prepare your body for the cold temps you will experience when you exercise outside.
Here are a few tips from Tulsa Bone & Joint Physical Therapist Amanda Lynch, who is also an accomplished ultra marathon runner:
- Wear layers, especially on the top. The outermost layer should be wind and water-resistant.
- Wear a hat to help retain body heat and prevent exposed skin. Keep as much of your body covered as possible.
- Keep drinking to stay hydrated, even if you don’t feel thirsty like you would when it’s hot outside. You can still get dehydrated and cramp in the cold weather.
- Know the signs of hypothermia, particularly uncontrollable shivering, slurred speech, and confusion.
- Have warm, dry clothes immediately after your outdoor exercise to change into.
Stay safe during your winter exercising! If you should need a physical therapy consultation, please contact us at 918-392-1482.
By Kayla Cheney, PTA, Tulsa Bone & Joint Owasso
The human body has an innate mechanism to promote physical and mental health that is often better than certain pharmaceuticals. Laughing has been proven to help individuals of all ages overcome difficult life situations both physically and emotionally. Thousands of studies have been done all over the world on this very topic. One study from Norway followed over 53,000 participants for 15 years and found those with a better sense of humor that laughed more readily outlived their counterparts by an average of 8 years.
So what does laughter actually do for our bodies? The Mayo Clinic and the University of St. Augustine for Health Sciences have compiled a list of physical and mental health benefits of laughing:
● Laughing is a natural painkiller. When you laugh, your body releases endorphins, the happiness hormone, which decreases the perception of pain.
● Laughing increases the intake of oxygen-rich air which stimulates heart, lungs, and other organs. This increase of oxygen in the blood improves vascular function and decreases the risk of heart attacks.
● Laughter stimulates circulation and aids in muscle relaxation, which can be especially beneficial for a postoperative patient.
● Laughing can lower blood pressure by releasing endorphins that negatively affect stress hormones.
● Laughing boosts the immune system by combating the chemical reactions created by negative thoughts and emotions. When you laugh, you release infection-fighting antibodies and neuropeptides that help fight stress.
● Laughing assists in weight loss. Chronic stress causes weight gain. Laughing for 10-15 minutes a day can burn 40 calories.
With so much evidence supporting better heart health, improved immune system, and the release of stress fighting endorphins, we would all benefit from more laughter. Did I mention the weight loss thing? Laughter has no negative side effects and is readily available. Perhaps we should take laughter more seriously in living a longer, healthier life.
Although physical therapy is no laughing matter, at Tulsa Bone & Joint Physical Therapy, we strive to make your experience positive, encouraging, and enjoyable.
Tulsa Bone & Joint Associates is pleased to collaborate with Professional Physical Therapy Inc. (PPT) in the opening of its fifth physical therapy location at 4612 S. Harvard Ave. in Tulsa.
Tulsa Bone & Joint Midtown PT combines the expertise of physical therapists Helen Pratt and Cindy Odle, along with Tulsa Bone & Joint DPT Shawn Mayes. PPT has specialized in the care of orthopedic conditions for more than 39 years, so it is a natural fit into the Tulsa Bone & Joint family.
“We are excited to offer Tulsans a midtown physical therapy clinic that combines our 39 years of expertise with Tulsa Bone and Joint team’s excellence in orthopedics,” says Helen Pratt, PT. “We have worked with their patients for years and have a great relationship that can only improve care with closer cooperation.”
All Tulsa Bone & Joint Physical Therapy locations accept prescriptions from any physician – not just orthopedists. Additionally, PT clinics are able to see patients without a physician’s referral through direct access. Tulsa Bone & Joint and Professional Physical Therapy Inc. welcome the opportunity to show all Tulsans our compassionate, patient-centered care at any of our PT locations.
The other four Tulsa Bone & Joint Physical Therapy locations are located at the main campus at 4800 S. 109th E. Ave. in Tulsa, Bartlesville, Owasso and Sand Springs. Tulsa Bone & Joint Midtown PT can be reached at 918-744-1331.