Happy Holidays from all of us at CTS

Thank you for trusting us with your health in 2018! 
We wish you a happy and healthy holiday season and look forward to our continued partnership in the new year.

Please Note: CTS will be closed on Christmas Eve 12/24,
Christmas Day 12/25 and New Year's Day 1/1.
Don't let back pain from increased stress spoil your fun.

The Holidays are upon us and this means both joy and often stress. If you are someone who holds tension in your muscles when you are stressed, then your back may suffer. Between cringing at Uncle Joe's terrible jokes, wrapping presents on the floor longer than you planned, or sucking in your core so your ugly sweater doesn't look like it includes a Santa Belly, there are plenty of reasons for unnecessary tension on your spine. This makes your back hurt. With a few pro-active steps you can give your back the gift of comfort and joy this Holiday Season!

A little Nutcracker inspiration: A study by Gildea et al, 2014, looked at ballet dancers with and without back pain. They found that ballet dancers with increased tension in their core had more back pain than those who did not. Both groups had strong deep core muscles, but only the dancers with tight back and stomach muscles had pain. At CTS, we have the ability to use ultrasound imaging to determine the health of your core muscles including strength, coordination, and ability for muscles to slide freely.

Wish list from your back to you:

1. Relax!
  • Take time each day to decompress for 5-20 minutes. For some, diaphragmatic breathing helps. For others a peaceful walk outdoors does the trick.

  • Pay attention to how often you hold tension in your stomach muscles, pelvic floor muscles, shoulder muscles, and jaw. Some people like placing a sticker on their smart phone so each time they see the sticker, they remember to relax clenched muscles. This year, I plan to let sparkly items give me the cue to take a breath, relax my muscles and enjoy the beauty of a lovely decoration.

  • Try laughing at that annoying joke instead of cringing. Uncle Joe will keep re-telling it regardless. And your laughter may spread a little joy, release a few endorphins, and actually relax your skeletal muscle! It's a win all around
2. Avoid slouching, especially for a long time.

Wrap presents on a table. Then change it up and wrap a few while standing. Take breaks to stretch or walk around. If you know how to find your neutral spine, find it and keep it. If not, ask your PT to help next time you come in!

3. Stretch 2x each day - these should be pain free.
Stop if they hurt!
  • How long should you hold? About 3 slow breaths duration, sink into the stretch gently a little more during each exhale. Repeat 3x.

  • If you are stretching cold or first thing in the morning, remember to stretch slow and easy. Forcing a stretch does not help. For best long-term results from stretching, warm up first, which includes any light exercise that makes you a little sweaty. This warmth allows your muscles to stretch more deeply.

Abdominal Stretch in Prone Press-Up or Cobra: Lie on your stomach, using your arms lift your chest as high as you comfortably can. You may like to start on your elbows and work your way up to your hands. Keep your back completely lazy. Feel the stretch in your abdomen. Try sagging your belly button to the floor more with each exhale.

Abdominal Sidebend in Doorway: Stand in a doorway, gently reach overhead and bend to one side until your hands reach the edge of the doorway. Hold on and gently lean away to increase the stretch on the side of your stomach and trunk. Try this with elbows straight and elbows bent to see what gives you the best stretch.

Low Back Stretch: Start in child's pose, then walk your hands to one side, take a few breaths and feel the stretch on one side of your low back, then walk your hands to the other side and take a few breaths.

Hip/Low Back Stretch: Sitting in a chair, cross right ankle over left knee, sit up tall, then lean forward keeping your chest up until you feel a good stretch deep in your hip/low back. Repeat on the other side.

4. Roll out your back with tennis ball, racquet ball, or Pinky Ball
  • Do this twice per day. I love to use it before and after a taxing activity like a putting up decorations (yep carrying boxes, awkward ladder use, and the repetitive decoration placement DOES count as a taxing activity), day of shopping with long lines and elbow to elbow people, marathon cooking, or wrapping presents.

  • The Pinky Ball is my new favorite rehab item. It's going in everyone's stocking this year!

  • Stand with your back against a wall. Move your feet forward about 2 feet away from a wall. It can help to start with your knees bent a little. Place ball on a tight area of your back (not directly on the bony spine of your back), press the ball into the wall and bend/straighten your knees as a repetitive squat. Feel the ball massage your sore back muscles!! Only press as hard as you feel is comfortable. The beauty of this is there is no wrong place for the ball. Try different areas of your back. Try close to your spine, far from your spine, and everything in between. Just avoid pressure directly on your spine, that doesn't feel good.

This is your healthy back's wish list of relaxation, stretching, and rolling so it can feel Comfort & Joy now and for the New Year! Think your back needs a bit more this year? Let CTS help you problem solve and create a more tailored wish list for your back this Holiday Season!

Gildea, et al. Morphology of the abdominal muscles in ballet dancers with and without low back pain: A magnetic resonance imaging study. Journal of Science and Medicine in Sport, 17 (5), 452-456, 2014.
Crystal Hazelton, PT, OCS
We value a team approach at CTS and often highlight complimentary practitioners. Enjoy this informative article by Dr. Lori A Futterman featuring psychotherapeutic treatments to heal your mind, body and soul.

Psychotherapeutic Treatments are commonly utilized to assist in bringing balance into one's life. Whatever is affecting the physical aspects of the self also affect the psychological aspects of self and vice versa.

Treatments may occur individually, with Couples and Families. Some commonly utilized approaches are psychodynamic, cognitive-behavioral (CBT), clinical hypnosis and eye movement desensitization reprocessing (EMDR), mindfulness training and many others. Two techniques that are often used in short-term psychotherapy and are empirically-based are clinical hypnosis and EMDR. These approaches can be integrated with mindfulness as well as cognitive-behavioral strategies in working with difficult situations.

Clinical Hypnosis works with the assumption that the unconscious mind drives our motivation, beliefs and behaviors (Lynn, Rhue, Kirsch, 2010). It is mostly used in addition to other forms of psychotherapy (Kirsch, Montgomery, & Sapirstein, 1995).

The way clinical hypnosis works is that it uses specific mental skills and techniques such as visualization, imagery and mental rehearsal.

It releases unproductive and unhealthy emotions and transforms negative beliefs, habits and behaviors through use of positive suggestions.

Changes result in sensation, perception, thought, and behavior (Kirsch et al., 1995).

Eye Movement Desensitization Reprocessing (EMDR) allows healing from psychological and physiological and symptoms which have resulted from trauma (Shapiro, 2002). EMDR is considered an effective psychotherapeutic method for treatment of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and trauma-based symptoms (Van Etten & Taylor, 1998; Schubert & Lee, 2009; Lee & Cuijers, 2013). It is also effective in the treatment of anxiety and depressive disorders. and stress-related symptoms (Maxfield, 2007).

The way EMDR works is that it facilitates the accessing and processing of traumatic memories in order to release emotional distress.

It enhances information processing related to the maladaptive memory of an event and it can create new adaptive associations so that positive emotional connections and cognitive insights can develop.

It releases unproductive and unhealthy emotions and transforms negative beliefs, habit and behaviors through use of positive suggestions. Changes result in sensation, perception, thought, and behavior (Kirsch et al., 1995).

To read the full version of wellness articles, please visit www.drlorifutterman.com References can be given on demand.

Lori A. Futterman R.N., Ph.D. PSY8636
(619) 297-3311 * laf1@cox.net
591 Camino De La Reina #705 * San Diego, CA 92108
Guest Post by Lori A, Futterman RN, Ph.D.