Knee Pain

How To Prevent Knee Pain When Working From Home

With more and more people working from home, taking care of your health is as important as ever. On average, 1 in 4 adults struggle with knee pain, and with remote work becoming more popular that number is trending up. 

So how is working from home causing more knee pain? A huge contributing factor is inactivity. Did you know that inactivity is actually hard on your knees? It can lead to weakened knees, increased risk of arthritis, and increased the risk for osteoporosis. 

Luckily there are some simple, easy things you can implement to stay active, even while working from home (or from your work desk!) No matter where you spend your 8-5, you can start on these quick tips to make sure you prevent knee pain in the future. 

Light Stretches

The best and easiest way to ensure your knees aren’t inactive is to, well, be active! You can do some light stretching throughout the day to relax your muscles and ease your tension. You can also do some strengthening leg exercises such as knee lifts, calf raises, and knee curls. See below for a more thorough explanation:  ​​

Knee Lifts: Stand straight and lift your left knee to hip height, lower your knee and repeat with the right knee. Alternate knees and continue for a few minutes. 

Calf Raises: Stand straight and and push up on the balls of your feet until you’re almost on your tippy-toes, hold for 3 seconds then lower your feet all the way back down so they’re flat on the floor. Repeat.

Knee Curls: Stand straight, bend your left leg back and hold your foot with your left hand, you’ll feel the stretch in your thighs. Lower your left and repeat with the other side.

 

Better Work Chair

Sitting for long periods of time can cause stress on your knees, especially the cartilage surface. The more your knee is constricted, the more stiffness and soreness you’re exposing yourself to. Luckily, an easy way to bypass this is to make sure you have a good work chair. You’ll need to look for one that has an adjustable height and that’ll allow you to move or flex your knee more often. Also look for a chair that will give you better posture.

Take A Break

The easiest solution to ensure you’re moving about is to take intentional breaks throughout your day. Set a time every hour and stand and walk around for a bit. It doesn’t have to be a long break, a minute at most will create a big difference in your overall routine. Taking this simple measure will not only make a difference when it comes to your knees, but on your overall health.

See Your Physical Therapist If Pain Persists

Even though we can make all the correct changes on our own, sometimes our knee pain will continue to bother us. Or you could have been taking all the preventative measures and still end up with pain. Don’t allow yourself to be discouraged or try to fix the problem on your own! Make sure to give us a call and schedule an appointment to see what’s going on. Call today to schedule your appointment 201-563-8418

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The Importance of Core Strength

What do you think about when I say the following: “Core Strength”? It’s natural to think of your core as just your abdominal muscles – surfer ‘6 packs’ and ‘washboard abs’. It’s natural to want that, too! But, what if I told you that core strength is something entirely different? What if it isn’t about having the perfect beach body or wearing a bikini like a model? What if core strength is about being strong… not so that you can pick up boulders, but so that you can stay mobile for longer? That’s exactly what this post is all about: we’re giving you the low down on what core strength is, why it’s important, and how you can achieve it. Stay tuned – here we go!

The truth is, core strength involves more than just your abdominals. In actual fact, it’s the ability of all the muscles in your mid-body to remain supple, strong, and flexible under stress and pressure. Yes, your abdominal muscles are involved, here, but so are your pelvic floor muscles, oblique muscles, and pectorals. Overall, your trunk houses a multitude of muscles, each of which plays a major role in feeding into ‘core strength’.

The medical profession mentions core strength fairly often, and if you’ve been struggling with back problems, in particular, my hope is that you’ve at least heard of it by now! Core strength – the strength and endurance of your trunk muscles – plays a vital part in upper back, lower back, and even leg and shoulder health. Without core strength, these major nerve centers lose structure, stability, and ultimately, mobility. More on that later, though.

When it comes to core strength, the important thing to know is that you ought to keep it up – even if you feel in good health and aren’t currently experiencing pain, it’s in your best interest to maintain that pain-free lifestyle by strengthening this group of muscles. It may actually surprise you quite how much having core strength benefits you. Just take a look at some of the activities core strength can either hinder or improve: sitting, standing, sleeping, working out, running, walking, playing golf, cycling, swimming, picking up your grandkids, driving a car… the list is practically endless! The bottom line? Core strength matters!

The other side of the coin in, of course, that a lack of core strength can result in injury and chronic pain. If you’ve read some of our other blogs, you’ll know by now that muscle function is interconnected – they aren’t independent of one another. Each muscle has an affect on the next – if one fails, the other will overcompensate and, in turn, will fail itself. A dramatic, sometimes life-changing knock-on effect can ensue. It’s no different when it comes to core muscles. If you fail to strengthen them, they’ll affect the other muscles in your body. In this instance, you’re likely to suffer from a variety of issues including, though by no means limited to, headaches, spasms, back pain, abdominal pain, pelvic pain, sciatica, and even foot and knee pain! It’s a bit of an eye-opener, isn’t it?

Luckily, core strength is attainable – and no, I don’t mean you need to eat raw eggs and spend a daily six hours in the gym! Simple, consistent routines and exercises can go a long way in helping you gain – and maintain – your core strength… and thereby, health. Here are a couple of examples you can try right after reading this post!

Planks

  1. Lie belly down on a yoga mat or floor.
  2. Place your hands by your side – at shoulder level – and lift your torso up.
  3. Make sure your legs remain straight.
  4. Lift your body off of the ground until your arms are just slightly bent.
  5. Remain in this position for 30 seconds at a time.
  6. Do not let your pelvis drop to the floor – try to remain as ‘straight as a plank’ from your shoulders through to your heels.

Side Planks

  1. As with the plank routine, lie down on your belly.
  2. Turn over onto your side, making sure your heels remain together.
  3. Lift one arm straight up, in line with your shoulder.
  4. Push yourself away from the floor with your other arm.
  5. Make sure your supporting arm remains slightly bent.
  6. Create an unbroken line from outstretched fingertip to supporting hand. 
  7. Lengthen your entire body and make sure it’s straight across – from your shoulders to your heels.
  8. Do not let your hip drop down to the mat.
  9. Hold this pose for 30 seconds at a time.

Bridge Pose

  1. Lie down on a mat, with your back touching the floor.
  2. Make sure your legs are stretched out and your arms are at your side, palms facing down.
  3. Place your feet squarely on the ground, now, and bend your knees.
  4. Without lifting your shoulders or elbows from the floor, slowly lift up your pelvis until you form a straight line from your shoulder to your knees.
  5. Your knees should be bent at around 90 degrees.
  6. Hold this pose for 30 seconds at a time.
  7. Do not lift your hands from the floor, and make sure your arms do not leave the ground at any point. 

Yoga/Pilates

A good way of strengthening your core strength is by doing regular Yoga and/or Pilates. The routines in each form of exercise lend themselves well to overall strength as they vary in focus, yet they are particularly effective when it comes to core strength. Why not try a local class for some inspiration and motivation?

Those suggestions aren’t that hard, are they? None of that body-builder stuff is needed! Fitness is essential in maintaining health, and keeping up your core strength is a massive part of that. If you’re stuck, though, and you’re not quite sure where to start with building up your core muscles, why not contact one of our professional, hands on physical therapists? Not only will physical therapy help you build up your core strength, but it will give you the tools to maintain that strength on your own! How? Well, you’ll get tailor made exercise and stretches! Whether you’re currently suffering from back pain or any other ailment and just want to regain a pain-free, healthy lifestyle, or even if you just want to get started on building up your core strength in order to avoid injury in the future, physical therapy can help. 

Now is a great time to start building your core strength – no matter how old you are, what injury you may be suffering from, or how fit/unfit you think you are… core strength is for everyone! Contact us today for more tips, support, and advice!

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