Preventing Rock Climbing Hand & Tendon Injuries: Part 2 - Techniques For Open Grip Strengthening

People are often injured by trying to progress too quickly and this is very prevalent in rock climbing. People fall hard for the sport and enjoy the challenge of pushing their limits, but lack the knowledge needed to stay healthy, prevent injury, and thus climb for a lifetime and not have to take months and month off due to tendon or pulley injuries in their hands or forearms.

In this video you'll learn the how-to principles of hand strengthening to cross train to improve open grip strength and reduce hand pulley and tendon injuries for rock climbers. Climb better, climb harder, climb longer. Climb for a lifetime.

For a personalized assessment, contact us at our Portland office.

If you have injured this area, make sure to give sufficient rest and see your local PT who specializes in manual therapy & treating climbers to learn how to get back to your prior level and incorporate this open hand strengthening to improve your grip and reduce compensatory strategies that overload your pulleys. Also find out how shoulder weakness, for example, can influence which grip you choose. 

This is Part 2 of a 2 Part series, with the possibility of a Part 3 adapted to interest, questions, and feedback from the first 2 Parts. Watch Part 1 to learn why hand strengthening matters to prevent injury and the important of incorporating into your climbing routine. Questions? Should we do a Part 3?

Let's Get to the Source, and TOGETHER, Let's Get Moving!

Preventing Rock Climbing Hand & Tendon Injuries: Part 1 - Why Hand Strengthening is Important

Are you a long-time rock climber who wants to climb for a lifetime? A beginner climber who wants to train right and train smart to prevent injury? Are you currently side-lined due to a tendon or pulley injury in your hand and want to know how to rehabilitate it?

In this video, Liz explains why injuries commonly occur in the hand and tendons/pulleys of the hand, how your technique may be contributing to this, and why strengthening your hand, not just your forearm is important for preventing this and rehabilitating injuries here.
This is Part 1 of a 2 Part series, with the possibility of a Part 3 adapted to interest, questions, and feedback from the first 2 Parts. Watch Part 2 to learn specific techniques, strategies, and exercises to incorporate into your climbing routine.

The weather is warming up and it's time to climb!

We can take it to the next level and help you with focused and personalized examinations in our downtown Portland location or with mobile therapy throughout the Portland, Oregon area. 

 

Quick Yoga Sequence for Runners: Stretching with Some Core

New video out!

In this video, Doctor Elizabeth (Liz) Bottrell PT, DPT, FAAOMPT of Artisan Physical Therapy in Los Angeles, CA demonstrates a quick and effective yoga sequence for runners. Whether running your first 5k, training for a marathon, triathlon, or an ultra, you need to stretch. Stretching takes time and knowledge. In this video, you'll learn a quick vinyasana or flow yoga sequence that efficiently stretches your hamstrings, calves (gastrocnemius & soles), and hip flexors (Iliotibial band and iliopsoas) to maximize your time, as well as incorporating abdominal strengthening and control and cross training strengthening for the pectoral muscles and triceps. This fast routine, also trains balance, breathing, and improves motion in your back and abdominal muscles!

You can repeat and hold longer as needed. Do not hold your breath!

Pay attention in the video because you need to make sure you know which muscles to stretch. Follow-up videos will show specifics for a few other essential muscle groups for runners to stretch.

Try it and let us know what you think.

Is What You Are Eating Keeping You Hurting?

What you eat has a big influence in how you feel. Not too many people will disagree with this statement, however many are not aware the extent that this is true.

Your diet could be perpetuating your back pain, our contributing to your achy knees, or be prolonging that car accident our recent injury pain.

What do we know?

AVOID eating refined carbohydrates, french fries and other fried foods, soda and other sugar-sweetened beverages, red meat (burgers, steaks) and processed meat (hot dogs, sausage), and margarine/lard.

 

EAT MORE tomatoes; olive oil; green leafy vegetables - spinach, kale, and collards; nuts like almonds and walnuts; fatty fish like salmon, mackerel, tuna, and sardines; fruits such as strawberries, blueberries, cherries, and oranges.

Eating this way helps reduce diseases associated with inflammation: e.g. heart disease and cancer. You can read more about this at http://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/foods-that-fight-inflammation.

But eating this way will also contribute time reduce your musculoskeletal and orthopedic pain. (Read -  less pain in your muscles, discs, joints, fascia, and ligaments). Sounds great, right?

If you're not seeing the consistent pain reduction you want from changes in posture, strength, stiffness, and flexibility, consider taking that next step to reduce what my be stagnant inflammation in your body and change your diet to tips towards anti-inflammatory in addition to all the good work your doing with exercise, position, rest, icing, etc.

Every little step towards healthier living counts!

Car accident blues

Were you in a auto accident? Rear-ended? T-boned? Don't relinquish control of your health!

One of the biggest mistakes we see people make after automobile accidents is not taking responsibility for their health. Waiting on payment from insurance and settlements before receiving professional medical care to rehabilitate from whip lash, pulled, strained, and sore, achy muscles, joints, and ligaments is common and results in prolonged injuries, negative outcomes, side effects, and chronic pain.

The best thing to do is to receive professional care as soon as possible, and what better, than a physical therapist? Physical therapists are EXPERTS in musculoskeletal movement dysfunction and rehabilitation.

Make sure to rest, limit extremes of body range of motion and speed, let your body recover, and take steps to reduce inflammation in your body. Don't put off take care of your health. It is your livelihood. It is your life. First get the quality, personal, and focused care you need to deal with your motor vehicle accident (MVA).

At Artisan Physical Therapy, you don't get generic treatments such as lying on hot packs, getting electrical stimulation, and ultrasound. Instead you get quality and focused manual therapy specifically suited to your needs to reduce swelling, inflammation, pain, stiffness and tightness so that you can get back to doing what you love and when you want to do it. We give you things to put you in control of how you feel - education on the specifics of what to do and what not to do in your daily activities and active body movements and therapeutic exercises.

It's not uncommon that people through care with Artisan Physical Therapy can learn more than they even knew about their bodies and live healthier lives than they did even BEFORE their car accident.

A Physical Therapist's Back Pain Confessional

Dang it, even therapist's have injuries, so let's talk about it. In our latest video, Dr. Liz Bottrell shares her personal experience with an acute occurrence of low back pain (aka - lumbar spine pain). Learn what happened and what she's doing about it and what you can do when you experience unexpected pain that lingers.

Back pain can come on suddenly and unexpectedly as it did for our physical therapist, limiting the ability to sit and lift and do normal daily activities. Learn how to recover as quickly and as optimally as possible. Note - you may have to change your behavior!

6 Effective Tips to Less Back Pain with Sitting

Do you have difficulty completing work due to back pain with sitting?

Does your low back pain limit your social life with things like sitting at a restaurant, driving, and sitting through a movie.

Low back pain with sitting is common with disc and muscle injury.

To get yourself feeling better, try these 6 simple tips:

  1. Use the back rest on your chair
    • Sitting up is hard! 
    • Give those muscles a rest by allowing your back to use the support of the backrest.
    • Don't sit at the front of your chair
    • Keep your chair close to what you are working on, so you can stay all the way back in the chair.
  2. Use an extra and portable back support
    • Chairs are often not designed ergonomically for ideal posture.
    • Chairs are not one size fits all! Our bodies differ wildly in shapes and sizes from one person to the next.
    • You should maintain the same amount of curve in your back while sitting that you have while standing.
    • To assist with this, I recommend some thing like the Wonder Roll, which you can find online at www.wonderroll.com. It changes support quickly and easily while being portable, yet can stays in place on your chair with a simple strap.
  3. Take frequent breaks
    • Let your body heal and get stronger, by planning and not sitting longer  that your back can tolerate. 
    • If it starts every 30 min, get up every 25 minute, etc.
  4. Make sure your hips are flexible
    • Remember the song you sang about the human body? "The back bone's connected to the hip bone, the hip bone's connected to the thigh bone..." (You get the point).
    • Stretch the back side of your hips both the muscle and joint, so your back isn't being strained.
  5. Increase the strength and endurance of your low back muscles
    • If your back muscles are tired, they will do one of two things.
      1. They will start to complain and be your source of pain.
      2. They will stop working and let you go into poor posture thus putting bad stress onto the passive structures in your back: discs, ligaments, and joints.
  6. Watch your posture
    • If you saw your posture from an outside perspective, you might be horrified!
    • Set regular reminders in your calendar and alarms on computer and phone to remind you even when caught up in tasks and projects requiring your full mental attention.
    • Give permission to those around you to remind you when you are sitting with poor posture, so you spend less time there and thus strain your disc, ligaments, and muscles less.

Thanks for reading. If we get enough interest, we will make some videos about how to sit with less back pain. Leave a comment about how it works for you and what tips you use.

Let's Get To the Source, and TOGETHER, Let's Get Moving!

 

 

Do you say sorry too often?

I came across this blog post via some friends on Facebook. It's specifically from the perspective of a mountain biker, but it's a good universal principle and good attitude shift towards appreciation versus self deprecation. This switch could make a big change in your physical fitness and health goals and even throughout your life. The jist? Don't apologize for being slow, instead thank your companions for their patience.

http://www.sydschulz.com/mountain-biking/stop-saying-sorry

Free Personal Advice!

Come out this Saturday, Feb 13th for your free 15 minute consultation with a movement & injury rehabilitation specialist. This is the next installment of "PT Days with Liz Bottrell" at Fleet Feet - a great and friendly running store in Burbank, California. If you're keen, join in the weekly 3 or 5 mile run beforehand. To sign up, use this link from their website.  Liz is looking forward to venturing out of Echo Park to chat it up with the running community.

Can't make it? Subscribe to the newsletter by Sunday the 14th and get your free transformative Runner's Stretching Guide delivered directly to your inbox.

Let's show ourselves some self-love this month & spend a little extra time taking care of our physical health.

A Simple & Effective Exercise to Minimize Headaches

A new video from Liz went live earlier this week! Do you have headaches or know someone with headaches who would like to reduce their frequency or intensity and even eliminate them entirely?

In this video Dr. Elizabeth (Liz) Bottrell, PT, DPT, FAAOMPT, manual physical therapist and movement specialist, demonstrates a simple but effective exercise to reduce the frequency and intensity of headaches.

Many people have cervicogenic headaches - headaches arising from tight muscles and joints in the neck or poor posture - but think they are migraines or other types of headaches. This basic, easy exercise will stretch your neck muscles and reduce referred pain to your head. It is also effective for neck pain after a car accident or whiplash.

Try this exercise, 3 sets of 10, without pain or just to the point of pain.

If you have more questions about what other exercises to do for your condition or would like hands-on, manual therapy to improve joint range of motion, reduce pain, improve circulation, enhance muscle flexibility, and increase ease of movement and maintaining good posture, contact Artisan Physical Therapy to schedule an appointment for your physical therapy evaluation and treatment session.

Let's get to the source, and TOGETHER, let's get moving!

5 Best Neck Posture Exercises

Have you noticed a prominence or lump developing in your upper back and wondered what it was, and if you can do anything about it?

A friend of mine last week asked a question. What is this lump on the back of my neck? When I heard the word "lump," I was not hopeful that this was something a physical therapist could help with. A quick examination revealed that his spine was changing shape over time and he was developing a bony prominence where his neck and upper back meet. Why? This often takes place from repeated stress on the area over time. The forward slouched sitting posture so many of us find ourselves throughout the day while we are doing activities such as studying, working on the computer, driving, and reading.

Think about the elderly person with the stooped posture and rounded upper back. This didn't happen over night but was from poor sustained postures that resulted in progressive stiffness and weakness that eventually prevented them from sitting and standing with a straight back and neck. I like to say the body adapts to what we do to it and the spine is like wet cement that is hardening - what position do you want it to stiffen into?

(Disclaimer: Some people with stooped postures (aka excessive kyphosis) have pathological conditions in their spines that lead to these deformities, not simply due to impaired posture).

What can be done about it? My friend wanted answers! He might not be able to change his "lump" that is already there due to bony changes that have already occurred but maybe we can help it from increasing by working on some posture exercises to improve the flexibility of the thoracic and cervical spine and improve the strength of the muscles that hold these positions. Fortunately for him, His condition isn't painful yet. Doing some simple posture exercises can prevent painful conditions from forming in his neck and shoulders and even reduce headaches.

Subscribe to the blog and get access to the to 5 Best Neck Posture Exercises delivered to your inbox! Who doesn't love free professional advice?

Comment below for any questions you have for a physical therapist and Liz may answer your question in a future blog post!

 

Chasing Your Goals

How 'bout them New Year's Goals?

It's been a busy summer transition into fall here at Artisan PT and in life in general. The seasons are changing even though here in Southern California it doesn't always feel like it. We have (hopefully!) made it to fall (finally!).  The Weather Channel app is telling me just a high of 74 deg, so I'm going to risk it and say: "we made it!" Here's to wearing layers, enjoying hot beverages, having comfortable workouts, and eventually enjoying falling leaves.

It's been 6 months since the last post about one of my goals: To do a race this year. September 19th, 2015, it happened. I competed in the Nautica Malibu International Distance Triathlon. 1.5 km swim, 40km bike, and 10 km run in the books!

As a special bonus, I got to race with good friends. Nothing makes it more fun than to create memories together!

As a special bonus, I got to race with good friends. Nothing makes it more fun than to create memories together!

It's been 9 months since I started training for the race. I was even training for the race 4 months before I signed up! Someone might ask - isn't 9 months a bit excessive for training for an Olympic distance triathlon? After all, it's nowhere near the length of an Ironman! My answer would be that it depends how you think about it. Starting in January of this year, I joined a local gym, which was my first traditional gym membership in the past 5 years. I hadn't lifted weights, for at least that many years, and I hadn't been running for at least 2 years. As a physical therapist, I wanted to be healthy and decided to practice what I preach.

One of my PT mantras is that: Your body WILL change, but change takes time!

Body composition takes time to change, as does developing muscle strength and hypertrophying (i.e. increasing the size of your muscles), so does endurance, and cardiovascular adaptations. I don't want you to think that in those 2-5 years I was inactive, I wasn't. I'm a firm believer in activity and varied activity; I was simply doing other exercise. The first few years of those 5 years I climbed a lot and hiked. Then I got back into biking and would do that whenever I could with some swimming sprinkled in there. My enjoyment of swimming while in LA has taken birth. Prior to living here, I worked it into my routine simply because I new it was good for me or 10 years ago because I needed to in order to perform reasonably well in my triathlon races, not because I enjoyed it. Here, I've grown to love it, particularly during the sustained Indian Summer months that we just survived through, yet again.

Having not run in so long, I knew that my hip strength, in particular, would be limited and this would in turn affect my running and my mechanics during running. If not addressed, I would run a much higher chance of becoming injured. If I wanted a healthy race, I needed a healthy base. I think it's noteworthy that at that time I didn't even know what race I was going to do yet alone what distance, sports, or time of year I'd be competing. I simply knew that I needed to start with the basics. So I worked on leg, core, and upper body strength, I stretched, and worked on all the imbalances that I knew I have. I worked on exercises that combine single leg balance and strength. 

We all have our issues and we all need to do our best to stay on top of them! I spent 3 months focusing on weight-training, stretching, and doing my "PT" exercises. Any runs I did were very short and focused on good form. Any leg pain? I would immediately stop. Any break down in form? I would stop.

I followed up that 3 month phase with cardio that built up all the way to my race. My goal was to do cardiovascular exercise - working in biking, swimming, and running - for one hour per day. As I got closer to race day, I started combining workouts (bricks) and doing 2 workout days to get the endurance for the multiple hours required for the race.

I had an almost unspoken goal of 3 hours for my race. I calculated this by simply combining my individual time from workouts for each portion of the triathlon. It was mostly "unspoken" because it was a dream time. I didn't know if I could do it all back to back that fast.

Well, I raced and I'm happy to report that I did it in 3 hours and 6 minutes. So close to my unspoken dream goal!

Most importantly, I was healthy the whole time and, in fact, my muscles and joints felt better than they had prior to my commencing training. I finished the race motivated to compete again, knowing that with the knowledge I gained from my training, I could reach my goal. Goals are important. Setting high goals are important. It helps you expand yourself and growth, whether you obtain the goal or not! Part of my purpose with the race, was not just the physical. I wanted to train my mental fortitude, too, in a way that I wasn't able to when I competed in triathlons previously in my 20's. I focused and learned from leaning into the discomfort that accompanies continued on when things get hard.

Don't wait until the pain comes, schedule a physical therapy visit with Liz at Artisan Physical Therapy to learn how to reach your goals healthily!

Let's get to the source and, TOGETHER, let's get moving!

Stayed tuned for future blogs to read about how to tweak my training from what I learned from the experience. Let me know any questions you might have.

Liz

Exercise recommendations for Minimizing IT (iliotibial) Band Tightness

Did you watch the first video in my 2-part series about IT (iliotibial) band tightness and have been waiting ever since for video 2? Well, wait no longer, for that moment has finally arrived! In part 1, I explained the anatomy of the IT Band and how it can become tight and problematic. It is often muscle imbalances that lead to this or sometimes just shear volume of activity and training.

In this video, I detail some of the practical, basic stretching and strengthening exercises that I recommend for people's whose IT Band and tensor fasciae latae (TFL) are tight, particularly due to the TFL/ITB serving as an "overachiever" muscle in the hip.

Enjoy the video.  Contact me with any questions and/or suggestions for future video topics.

Let's get to the source, and together, get moving!

Liz

Race Goal for the Year

My first blog post of the year highlighted some of the goals I had for the year. How are your goals coming along? Typing this question, alone, is making me want to stop and go back to recheck on all my goals and see what progress I'm making & if I'm forgetting anything!

The goal on the forefront of my mind currently is my goal to train and participate in a race this year. I'm so pleased to report I reached a milestone! I signed up! "What race?" you ask. Well, I am opting for a triathlon - the Nautica Malibu International Distance Triathlon - to be precise. Now I'm excited and nervous. I got a lot to learn about ocean swimming and I've got some training to do to hopefully "race" it.

What do I mean by "race" it? It has to do with your fitness level. I am fit right now in terms of overall health and wellness in disease reduction activity lifestyles and with respect to my body weight and composition. I could participate in the triathlon event and complete it, possibly even this week, but it wouldn't feel good. I want not to simply finish it - although I think it is a great feat. I want to prepare, train, and give it my all - to go fast - that is, to "race" it. Let's be clear when I say race or fast, I mean my fast (not going to be winning any races here)!!

I'd love to hear about what your training for in life, how you're learning to persevere and be disciplined, and elevate what you think you're capable of. For me this all fits into the bigger picture of learning to live more WHOLE-HEARTED (my theme for the year) and even helping people living healthier, more satisfying lives with my work at Artisan Physical Therapy. Also let me know what training questions you have!

Together - Let's Get Moving!

Liz

Liz Bottrell - Artisan Physical Therapy - biking