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Strengthen your core without hurting your back

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Research indicates that core strength is very important because it creates a strong and stable base for the body and can help us function better with less pain and risk for injury.  For those who experience back pain, increasing core strength can be particularly valuable to provide support for the spine and surrounding structures.  However, many of the traditional methods for strengthening your core also stress your back.  Consider the following when strengthening your core:

1- Traditional sit-ups can strain the neck and low back by putting compressive forces through the intervertebral disc and surrounding structures.
2- Abdominal exercises which involve rotation of the spine (crunches with rotation) can also strain the neck and low back by putting compressive forces through the intervertebral disc and surrounding structures.

3- It is best to keep you neck and spine neutral when strengthening the core. You might consider Supine Alternating Arms/Legs, which maintains good alignment in …

We can determine the true cause of your pain and give you lasting relief.

Do you or someone you know experience pain that won't go away? Maybe you've been to multiple doctors, maybe you've even tried physical therapy, or maybe you haven't even done much about your pain, and have just been waiting (and waiting) for it to go away.   The key to recovery is having true cause of your pain properly diagnosed and treated, but many times the symptoms of the pain can be distracting.  If only the symptoms are treated, you will not have true relief of your pain symptoms.  Consider this example (the patient name has been changed): John has pain in his upper back that has been diagnosed as "muscle spams." John loves golfing and has not been able to play without pain. He tried stretching, massage, and even received some physical therapy to treat his spasms through strengthening exercises, but no one ever looked deeper.  As it turns out many symptoms can cause upper back pain and it is important to test for all of these dysfunctions. At Best Life P…

Beat your knee pain with physical therapy: runner's knee/ITBS

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Correctly diagnosing the true cause of "knee pain" can complicated. Often the process begins with doctor's appointments then moves to X-Rays/MRI and finally ends with a referral to physical therapy.  This happens often because swelling and pain on the outside of the knee causes many people to mistakenly think they have a knee injury, when in fact they have Iliotibial Band Syndrome (ITBS).  

ITBS is a very common overuse injury. It occurs when the iliotibial band, the ligament that runs down the outside of the thigh from the hip to the shin, is tight or inflamed. The IT band attaches to the knee and helps stabilize and move the joint. When the IT band isn’t working properly, movement of the knee (and, therefore, running and other repetitive exercise) becomes painful. 
ITB syndrome can result from any activity that causes the leg to turn inward repeatedly. This can include wearing worn-out shoes, running or walking downhill or on banked surfaces, running or walking too many …