5 Natural Movements You Should Be Able to Do at Any Age

In recent years, research continues to find that physical mobility is one of the strongest indicators of the risk of chronic disease as we age. In hospitals around the country, staff members at all levels are being trained to help screen patients for mobility upon admission and before their return to home. Walking is now considered a 6th vital sign and physicians are increasingly encouraged to screen their patients for their walking ability. 

In the clinic, we often aren’t seeing clients until they’re having a problem with their mobility. It’s our mission to make sure everyone has an awareness of subtle warning signs before there’s a problem. Upon every initial assessment, we screen our clients for 5 natural movements that give us a comprehensive picture of their mobility and help them guide their course of action. 

Below is the list of movements we perform at every initial assessment. If you can perform the 5 below movements AND maintain your...

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Video: How and Why to Do the Forward Bend

 

One of the keys to core stability, minimizing low back pain, and powerful walking is being able to maintain a neutral pelvis throughout the day. If you're dealing with tight and/or weak hamstrings though, it's impossible to get yourself into a neutral pelvis position.

Due to excessive time spent in chairs, most of us have developed BOTH tight and weak hamstrings. The hamstrings are a large muscle group that runs up the back of the thigh, attaching just below the knee and to the base of the pelvis. This tightness of the hamstrings pulls your pelvis into a tucked position, rendering your core useless and putting excessive compression on your low back. Not a happy situation for your back or pelvic floor!

Our favorite way to lengthen the hamstrings is to do a standing forward bend. This is a stretch we've all seen before, but also has a lot of potential for some compensations we want to avoid. Most mistakenly believe the goal of this stretch is to touch the toes... However, as we...

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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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Video FAQ: Let's Talk About Osteoporosis

 

Osteoporosis is a topic we've written about in the past, so we thought it would be helpful to talk about it for a video FAQ!

We are often asked, "What can I do for osteoporosis?" and the answer is there are so many simple steps you can take to both prevent osteoporosis or reverse it.

In this video, we cover:

  • What osteoporosis is and what it is telling you
  • How your bone either builds or loses bone density
  • What your shoes have to do with your hip bone density
  • And the simple actions steps you can take to build healthy bone density

We hope you enjoy! Have more questions related to osteoporosis? Reach out to us at [email protected] and we would be happy to address them!

 

Get your free copy of our Ebook: 5 Simple Steps to Take Control of Your Chronic Pain to finally have an understanding of where your pain is coming from and start taking action TODAY!

 

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Video FAQ: Does Shoulder Weakness Always Cause Pain?

 

There is a common misconception that muscle weakness around a joint always causes pain within that joint. This could not be further from the truth! It is possible to have a weak and painful joint, but sometimes people also have pain when they are strong. Pain is often more complicated than faulty body mechanics or muscle weakness.

For the shoulder joint in particular, there are indicators outside of pain that point to muscle imbalances within the joint. These might include:

  • Tight shoulders
  • Shallow breathing
  • Weak grip strength
  • Numbness or tingling in the hands
  • Muscle weakness in the forearm, elbow, or wrist
  • A loss of shoulder motion

If you are experiencing any of these you could benefit from a shoulder strengthening program! Shoulders provide stability for use of the arm and hand, so shoulder joint health is very important. Consider seeing a physical or occupational therapist for an appropriate shoulder exercise progression based on your needs. 

 

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Alignment 101: Why We Teach Alignment

At Advanced Balance Clinic, we teach body alignment to help get people moving better. But there tends to be confusion around the term alignment.
 
When we refer to alignment, we mean the positioning of each of your body parts relative to each other. For example, if you are standing and you look down, where is your foot pointed relative to your hip? Is it angled out, angled in, or pointed straight forward?
 
And for most people, the first question is, "why does this matter?" It seems silly to spend so much time exploring these subtle variations of your body.
 
But it is important. And there are several reasons why.
 
The human body is complicated. When we focus on alignment, we also realize this is far from the whole picture. Take chronic pain, for example. Alignment work might be a good start for some people, but pain is more complex than meets the eye. As we've discussed in the past, research shows that chronic pain has nothing to...
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Are You an Abstainer or a Moderator?

In an earlier post, we discussed the importance of finding your why and changing your mindset for better health. But this is only 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 changing your mindset to one of growth is the base layer. The next step is to learn more about yourself and how you form habits make meaningful change. And for that, we need to explore the difference in habit tendencies.
 
Ever wonder why some people do 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 author Gretchen Rubin outlines in her book Better Than Before: Mastering the Habits of Our Everyday Lives, there are major differences in how individuals form strong habits.
 
She caught...
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Alignment 101: Foot Alignment Points

Happy, healthy feet are the key to healthy movement. As we've said before, your feet are the foundation of your body. You wouldn’t want a foundation of a house that's not aligned, so you don't want the same from the foundation of your body.

Again, when it comes to alignment we want to stress that the ultimate goal is not perfectionThe goal is to recognize that how you move plays a huge role in how your body functions. If you're striving to change your movement, explore your movement habits using alignment points.
 
Better foot alignment will optimize your walking, stabilize your core, and improve your balance. Maintaining correct foot alignment requires mobility of the joints and strength of the muscles of your feet. The more mobile your foot and ankle, the better they absorb reaction force of walking. This reduces the reaction force that goes through your hips and knees, leaving your joints happy and healthy. In the end, walking with rigid feet demands...
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Quick Test: Are Your Hips Actually Weight-Bearing?

In order for your hips to be building bone density through the day, they need to be supporting the weight of your pelvis and torso in a certain alignment. 


A common pattern we see with resting standing positions is standing with the pelvis pushed slightly forward (as in the first picture). It's subtle but has major implications for bone health of the hips (not to mention the long term impact of this position on foot health, core strength, and balance).

Shifting the pelvis back so your body weight is carried over the heels (second picture) and maintaining this position throughout the day allows for optimal bone health. However, getting to this position if this is not your usual requires taking a closer look at the muscle groups that attach to the pelvis. 

A quick and simple test to help you determine where you carry your center of mass: make a plumb line from string with something weighted at the bottom. Position yourself facing sideways toward a mirror and find the boniest...

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The Whole Picture of Chronic Pain Isn't What You Think

Disclosure: Some of the links below are affiliate links, meaning at no additional cost to you we will earn a commission if you click through and make a purchase.

As the chronic pain epidemic continues to pour over into the opioid epidemic, new research continues to break down the complexity of chronic pain. Just a few short years ago, chronic pain was viewed completely from a biomechanical perspective. When the medical community realized that treating only the injury was not only not working, but the epidemic of chronic pain continued to worsen they realized they needed to take a step back and look at the whole person. What has been discovered has been an eye-opening look at how chronic pain involves factors beyond what is happening within body tissue. Now, we take a broader look at the whole person and understand chronic pain has a multitude of origins.

The Actual Risk Factors for Chronic Pain

Over time, physicians and other professionals realized the amount of tissue damage...

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