by Theresa Scully
According to the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA) 2012 survey, low back pain affects the daily function of 69% of Americans. Furthermore, in a survey conducted in 1999, 60% of orthopedists reported back and shoulder pain in children due to heavy backpacks. Overall, non-traumatic low back pain develops due to poor posture and muscle strain. Wearing heavy backpacks and wearing them improperly can lead to back pain, shoulder and neck pain.
There are no studies yet that address the long term affect of back pain from backpacks, but in my 14 years as an orthopedic physical therapist, I have seen postural faults and low back pain beginning in youth manifesting into chronicity in adult life. Why risk long term muscular imbalances and spinal degeneration if prevention is a choice? The way a heavy backpack affects a young developing spine is simple. Weight is distributed unevenly on one shoulder, causing the child to compensate and shift the hips and upper back over center line to counterbalance the load. This causes improper muscle activation and non-activation on one side of the spine and the other, causing a “scoliotic-like” spine that can cause stress and pain in the joints and muscles. Posture is severely affected not only with this sideways shift as in one shoulder backpack carrying, but also with carrying a heavy backpack on both shoulders with rounded shoulders, forward head, severe front lean, and a flattened low back. Growing tweens and teens already have a battle with holding themselves in proper posture. The last thing they need is a heavy back pack worsening things.
The APTA recommends limiting backpack weight to 10-15% of the body weight of the child. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends a lightweight backpack such as canvas with two wide, padded shoulder straps because narrow straps can dig into shoulders. A safe backpack should also have a padded back, which is comfortable and protects kids from being injured by sharp objects such as scissors, pens, wire notebooks. A waist belt and multiple compartments can also help distribute the weight more evenly.
Overall, be an advocate for your child and look for signs and symptoms of back stress. Ask your child if his/her back is sore or achy. Perform a visual inspection before you send your child off to school and see if your child’s posture is affected by the backpack. Conference with the teacher to ensure that there is enough time in between classes to return to lockers and exchange books.
If pain in the back, neck and shoulders persist even after proper measurements have been taken. Seek the medical help of a physical therapist. Chances are pain can be reversed with proper muscular strengthening, stretching, and manual therapy. Your therapist will include home exercises to treat muscle and postural imbalances. Such as the cat/cow stretch, hamstring stretch, mid-back stretch and upper trapezius stretch. Strengthening will include rows, scapular stabilization, and core strengthening. Manual therapy will reduce abnormal tissue tightness relieve stress on the spine bones. Apply ice for 10 minutes for new onset, intense pain because the cause is most likely inflammation. Use heat sparingly as heat can increase inflammation and therefore increase pain. Only use heat as a contrast to treat the inflammation. The contrast is applied with 10 minutes heat and 10 minutes ice immediately afterwards. This contrast technique will help “pump” the swelling out of the tissue.
I am a firm believer that if you keep adding micro stress on a joint or muscle over time, the muscle and joint complex will break down. Just as a butter knife cutting away at a 6 inch thick climbing rope will eventually cause the fibers to fray and fracture.
Backpack Carrying Tips:
by Dr. Raquel Watkins, Allergist
Watkins Allergy & Asthma Clinic
The common cold and chickenpox aren’t the only ailments parents should worry about this back-to-school season. Allergy and asthma are the most chronic illnesses in children, and are a leading cause of missed school days in the United States. Asthma accounts for 10.5 million missed school days annually. Symptoms of these conditions can also interfere with nightly sleep, concentration in the classroom and cause learning disruptions.
According to the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (ACAAI), 28 million American children have allergies and 7.1 million suffer from asthma. There can often be many more allergy and asthma triggers in the classroom than in the home environment, causing children’s immune systems to over respond.
With schools commonly known as being a petri dish of germs and viruses that get passed around from child to child, parents shouldn’t just chalk up breathing difficulties and runny noses to yet another cold. Both can be signs of something more serious, such as allergies and asthma.
To help parents understand if their child is at risk for missing school days due to allergy and asthma, Dr. Raquel Watkins, Jacksonville’s board certified allergist and the ACAAI offer the following tips.
Know what Triggers Symptoms – There are a number of inhalants in schools that can trigger allergy and asthma symptoms, such as the classroom pet, pollen and dust that has settled in the school which can contain mouse allergens. Peers with a pet at home can also trigger an allergic reaction in your little one, since these allergens can be transferred to school via clothing and backpacks. If a child says they are coughing, having difficulty breathing, have a rash, runny nose, or are sneezing, these could all be signs they are allergic to something in school.
Know the Difference – It is easy to mistake a cough and a runny nose as signs of a common cold or respiratory infection. If symptoms are persistent, lasting more than two weeks, it’s likely due to allergies. Colds evolve, usually starting with a stuffy nose, throat irritation and low grade fever. Next comes the sneezing and a runny nose, with thickening mucus that often turns yellow or green. Trouble breathing, wheezing, chest tightening and often a cough that won’t stop are signs of asthma.
Find Relief – Parents should make an appointment with a board- certified allergist to have their child tested, diagnosed and treated for allergies and asthma. An allergist can also help a child understand what is causing their symptoms and how to avoid triggers. For children with particularly bothersome allergies, an allergist may prescribe immunotherapy (allergy shots) which can modify and prevent allergy development. Patients under the care of an allergist also have a 77 percent reduction in lost time from school.
Inform, Educate and Carry – A child’s school, teachers and coaches should all be informed of any allergy and asthma conditions and have medications available. But the education shouldn’t stop there. Children should understand what triggers their symptoms and any warning signs to watch out for. If they are prescribed life-saving treatments, such as a rescue inhaler and epinephrine, they should know how to use their medication. Many schools allow students to carry medication, making communication between parents and the school the key to a healthier child.
Dr. Raquel Watkins is a Board-Certified Allergist who treats infants, children and adults with asthma and allergies to pollen, pets, and insects as well as skin allergies. Her office is centrally located in Bartram Office Park, 13241 Bartram Park Blvd, Suite 2601 Jacksonville Fl 32258 http://www.watkinsclinic.com/
by Nancy Cohen, RDN LDN Nutritionist & Owner of Feeding the Body Feeding the Soul
In a few short weeks, the backpacks will be out. The first day of school clothing selected, and the opportunity for your children to grow physically, mentally, socially and emotionally has begun again. Kids have so much energy to expend during their busy days. The best solution is to make every calorie count and pack it with nutrients that offer stability, value and sustained energy release. A great “out of the gate” strategy for eating well this school year is just what you need to send your kids into a successful flourishing calendar year.Try these Winning Strategies to make our kids the best learners they can be!
Frequent Meals and Snacks
Kids do best when they receive calories with a little protein every 3 hours- they are growing, using their brains and muscles and food supports all this and keeps them calm and focused.
Food Group Balancing
Be sure to incorporate something from every food group at most meals- for kids this would be starches, fruits, veggies, dairy, proteins and fats. Try to see that you hit the mark by the end of the day. Missing a whole food group? Consult with your pediatrician or Licensed RDN Nutritionist.
Avoid Energy Dropping Foods and Beverages
Offering your children sugary soda,sweetened coffe drinks and candy is a guaranteed way to expect an energy crash in one to two hours.Offering your children water, milk, nut milk, unsweetened teas or healthier snacks can stave off the crankies.
Snacks are a kids best friend
Providing fuel in the form of a carbohydrate and a protein is a win-win situation. You get peak performance, better focus and continued energy supply for growth.
For more Nutrition Guidance and Nutrition Counseling contact Nancy Cohen RDN LDN at www.feedingthebodyfeedingthesoul.com or 904-687-0720. St. John County, St. Augustine, St. Johns, Jacksonville.
by Nancy Cohen
Nutritionist, Dietitian & Energy Healer
Feeding the Body Feeding the Soul
Building a healthy plate is easy when you make half your plate fruits and vegetables. It’s also a great way to add color, flavor and texture plus vitamins, minerals and fiber. All this is packed in fruits and vegetables that are low in calories and fat.
Make 2 cups of fruit and 2 ½ cups of vegetables your daily goal.
Try the following tips to enjoy more fruits and vegetables every day.
For more tips*See “Color Your Plate with Salad” at www.eatright.org/nutritiontipsheets for more tips on creating healthy salads
by Theresa Scully of Arch Pilates
When that first little one enters your life, it is truly a gift, and your primary focus is providing, snuggling, protecting, and bonding with your new baby. That foggy, sleepy brain you wear for 3 months is a happy ailment, because you know that it affords precious moments with this little human who needs you in the middle of the night, around the clock, 24/7, always and forever. But, you wouldn͛t have it any other way! As weeks pass by, though and you start falling into a groove, there is a sneaky, foreboding realization that your body needs attention. No longer are you the same shape and size as you were before baby, and you tell yourself, I have to get back in the gym. Looking at that sweet cherub in the crib, makes you put it off for another day, though. Tomorrow, youl go to the gym, you promise yourself.
Two months later, working out becomes a thing of the past, finding the time, a babysitter, a child watch at the gym doesn͛t seem like a use of good quality time with your child. Sitting on the floor and watching your baby play on her mat, hold her head up in tummy time, and rock in a crawling position seems more fun! Well, did you know that all that work your baby does in sitting, crawling, and pulling to stand is her way of exercising!? Why not follow along and work out together! Mommy and me exercising is becoming more popular. Just think a baby who weighs 10 lbs is a good weight. Your child is in sponge stage, absorbing everything in her environment. Movement, exercising, sounds, and sensations shape a baby͛s brain. Exercising with baby and showing baby how to exercise starts a healthy routine of wellness at a very young age.
When exercising with your child take a few things into caution.
1. Get clearance from your doctor. Especially those with cesarians. It may take 3 months before
the cesarian is clear.
2. Watch for baby͛s head control. You and your baby can work out as early as 6 weeks postnatal. However, the child͛s head will be wobbly at this age, so always support her head and move slow when using her as a weight
Some of the movements can require repetitive movement of the baby which stimulates your baby's vestibular system. So if your baby is sensitive she will complain. It is a good place to train her brain however go slowly and give her breaks.
Place baby on mat underneath you so you can lock eyes. Hold a rattle in your hand, spine neutral, don't sag your back. Bring opposite elbow to knee curl your abdominals, close your eyes and as you reach opposite arm and leg away, open and look at your baby say, "peek-a-boo" and/or shake the rattle. 5-10 reps on each side would work well!
Baby Carrier combo squat and arms (photo at top)
Put baby in carrier. Stand in front of a mirror for visual stimulation. Hold onto a stretchy exercise band, legs wide with toes and knee pointed out, comfortably. Reach arms overhead and as you squat do a side crunch and pull the band down with elbows bending to 90 degrees. Just lightly touch the top of your head with the band and slide the shoulder blades down into back pockets. 10 reps with breaks is great!
by Nancy Cohen, Nutritionist
It’s that time of year - the clothing is ready, the back packs are packed, the schedules are posted and our children are returning to their routines of school and after school activities.
Let’s add something new to the back to school list this year. Let’s add the winning CPF strategy of feeding our kids for optimal focus, fitness and fun! Fun? Did I say fun? We all know as parents that there is nothing worse than a grumpy, hungry kid. Imagine that if you knew the secret formula for lasting energy- there could be more laughter, better attention and better self-esteem associated with making great breakfast, lunch, dinner and snack choices!
What is CPF?
CPF stands for Carbohydrates, Proteins and Fats. Using this threefold formula can make any meal or snack have greater duration, steadier blood sugars and assists in less hunger and dare I suggest moodiness?
So how do you implement such a plan? At every meal or snack you match a starch or a fruit with a protein and a little fat. So let’s have some simple examples:
Cheesy Egg sandwich with juice or fruit.
Sliced Apples with nut butter and a glass of milk
Waffle or toast with nut butter or chicken pork/veggie sausage and fruit.
See the pattern? (Of course you can substitute gluten free and vegetarian options along the way).
A great Snack might be: nut butter on crackers, a string cheese with fruit or a rolled up piece of turkey in a small pita or slice of whole grain bread. You could also send a yogurt with nuts or granola and a spoon. The idea is to pair the carbohydrate with a protein.
Become the “coolest lunch packing parent” ever!
Sandwiches always work, salads with protein in them or yogurts with cereal or fruit.
A smoothie is a good choice if it is dairy or protein based or has protein powder or yogurt in it. Be careful to look out for smoothies that have unnecessary added sugar and are as sugar loaded as a Slurpie or canned soda.
Slip in veggies and dips - and so many other ways to bring in those necessary vegetables.
The science behind this tasty formula is that when we overload our children with starches or fruit without a protein source, then the blood sugar stands to drop sooner than if we add protein or fat to any meal or snack. So bring on the fun! Make a breakfast burrito with eggs, beans or cheese. Be clever, be consistent- the same for after school but rename it to something fun.
Repeat the same for dinners. Use your new CPF guide. It’s simple, straight forward and takes the guess work out of meal planning for good health. We love our kids, we want the best for them and we want it to be another great year full of good work, good times and great accomplishments. Their nutrition does make a difference. You now have the winning strategy to make it all come to life.
For more Nutrition Guidance and Nutrition Counseling contact Nancy Cohen RDN LDN at www.feedingthebodyfeedingthesoul.com or 970-875-7114. St. John County.
by Nancy Cohen,
Feeding the Body Feeding the Soul of St. Augustine
Reiki, Integrated Energy Therapy and Universal Rays Healing are all modalities that bring soothing energy to the body and release energies that do not serve you. These practices are similar in their scope to acupuncture which releases blocks, massage which sooths sore muscle and other practices like yoga which relaxes the mind and muscles of the body for a sense of well being.
The unique healing practice of Integrated Energy Therapy® is a hands on gentle process that uses a channel of integration points and with careful administration- releases the energy of emotions stored in the cellular memory of the body. The release of these energies allows the chakras and cells of the body to feel lighter and therefore allows one to have better focus and health. This is not to suggest that any healing modality replaces medical treatment- that would never be the suggestion of any IET® Practitioner, however these processes can offer a relaxing process that promotes healing and become part of a protocol of overall health.
What does an IET® session feel like?
Most people experience a deep sense of relaxation during their sessions. Some see colors or visions. There may be sensations of heaviness or lightness. Frequently people will go to sleep or go into a "delta" state. It is common to experience feeling lighter and more joy-filled after a session.
What do I "do" during a session?
IET® sessions are a little over an hour in length. You needn't "do" anything. You will remain fully-clothed and lie on a massage table. Typically,there will be a pillow for your head and a sheet or blanket to cover up with. As the energy begins to flow, it is natural for your body temperature to drop. Relaxing music is played. Some people will talk through their sessions others will rest or fall asleep.
How does IET® work?
IET® works using gentle, hands-on touch directed to specific areas of the body where we hold emotions. As these emotions are released and cleared, you will begin to experience a greater sense of balance in your life and in your relationships. . This healing energy process removes emotional issues from the cellular memory of your bodies tissues. IET® is beneficial for a large variety of issues including stress management, physical issues, emotional stress and focus issues.This process is safe for children,teens and adults. Nancy also teaches this method to students here in St. Johns County and Nationwide.
For more information contact Nancy at Feeding The Body Feeding The Soul, 970-875-
by Theresa Scully of Arch Pilates in Mandarin
Many people still don’t know what Pilates is, and that’s okay. It is the responsibility of those like myself and Pilates students to spread the word and continue to boast about the amazing body transformations that occur with this innovative exercise program. But, to call it an exercise program, is giving it a disservice. The Pilates method has aided me to help so many patients. Sixteen years ago, as an orthopedic physical therapist, I began researching treatment programs that were successful in treating chronic low back pain and neck pain. I was just not satisfied with the treatment programs I learned from traditional physical therapy programs. I knew something was missing. So, somehow I came across the Pilates Method while researching exercises for low back pain and a small article on Pilates popped up. I wanted to learn more, so I purchased a Pilates DVD and the book, “Pilates for Dummies.” This book taught me the basic Pilates principles and exercises to apply to therapeutic exercise and activities in the clinic. I started to see results! My patients were reporting decreased pain and increased function. And, so my interest and commitment for Pilates began!
Josef Pilates’ History
Josef H. Pilate was born in Germany in 1883. He suffered many childhood ailments and healed himself by studying anatomy and normal movement. He studied both Eastern and Western forms of exercise and movement philosophies including yoga, Zen, and ancient Greek and Roman programs. His physique was perfectly defined that by the age of 14 he was asked to model for anatomy diagrams. He moved on to become a skier, diver, boxer, and in 1914 a circus performer in a Roman gladiator act. Working as a “nurse-physiotherapist”, he rehabilitating wounded soldiers in WWI. He was then imprisoned as a German Nationalist in Lancaster, England. As a POW he developed his philosophy of “Contrology.” He was allowed to work with injured internists. He used the spring parts of the hospital bed to develop the first of many Pilates apparatus, Trapeze table and the Reformer. It is boasted that because his fellow internees followed his exercise regime, his camp on the Isle of Man survived the flu epidemic of 1918 that killed many others. When released from the camp, Josef spent time training boxers and the Hamburg Police. When he was asked to train German soldiers in 1923, he refused and quickly moved to America with the advice of his family. Josef opened his New York studio in a boxing gym that also housed many dance studios. Josef’s passion was working with boxers, but dancers flocked to his studio to treat stress injuries. Pilates pioneered a philosophy of exercise training that integrated the mind/body connection. He died at the age of 83 due to complications with emphysema due to smoking too many cigars! He was a health guru, but he loved cigars and whisky!
The Therapeutic Benefits
The basis of the Pilates Method is core strengthening, utilizing nine principles that connect the mind, body, and spirit. The principles are: Breathing, Concentration, Control, Centering, Precision, Balanced Muscle Movement, Rhythm and Flow, Whole Body Movement, and Relaxation. Exercises are dynamic and performed in all body positions. Specific muscles are targeted and performed in 8-10 repetitions. Pilates exercises will strengthen your abdominals and back, improve balance, increase coordination, and decrease stress mentally and physically. Strength and stability along with body awareness and mental focus enables the body to move with efficient neuromuscular control. This optimal neuromuscular control carries over to all movements in life. Thus, treating and preventing painful movements as well as improving strength and coordination at all stages of life. As a physical therapist, I can appreciate the emphasis on postural alignment and movement from the center of the body outward. As I continue to enhance my education in the physical therapy realm, I have discovered many concepts that anchor my dedication to Pilates. Mr. Pilates was an ultimate body observer, spending hours watching animals and humans move. He spoke of concepts and movement patterns that we know today as proprioceptive neuro-muscular facilitation, anatomy trains, myofascial planes, integrated functional movement, kinesthetic awareness, and much more. He didn’t have the medical training, he just observed and worked with so many bodies that he instinctively knew how to stimulate symmetrical and beautiful movement. As a therapist, beautiful movement is not about the aesthetic of dancing, as many people attribute to Pilates. It is the beauty of being able to perform hours of sitting at a desk with good posture. It is also the beauty of performing repetitive lifting, pulling, pushing, and twisting as a construction worker. It’s the ability to endure hours of cycling, running, golfing, and toddler chasing! It’s also very beautiful to see an NFL player increasing strength and flexibility on a Pilates reformer! What can I say, I’m a huge football fan!
Research Supports Pilates as Therapeutic
Research is now marking the medical arena, giving Pilates substantial backing of its therapeutic effects. I have treated many chronic conditions such as fibromyalgia, migraines, myofascial pain syndrome, osteoporosis, aneurism, stroke, Parkinson’s, Familial Dysautonomia, and Autism. I have earned these clients respect and dedication to Pilates. I have changed their function so much. Of that, I attribute to the Pilates method and the drive and commitment my clients put towards every session they attend. Please reference the library of research articles available online at www.Polestarpilates.com and www.Pilates.com.
Pilates for the Modern Day Person
In its development in the New York City studios, Pilates exercises naturally evolved through dance influence. But, now, many fitness and wellness professionals have brought it to the mainstream and has made it more accessible to everybody wanting and willing to work out their core and improve their bodies. Athletes can improve their game and performance. Individuals seeking weight loss, strength, and improved physical appearance partake in Pilates. Chronic pain sufferers and older adults enjoy Pilates because of its low stress on the joints. Medically complex populations can exercise in a safe and ultimately therapeutic environment. And, ultimately, Pilates is NOT just for women! A man invented it originally for men!
So, as you grow wiser in your lifetime and want to remain healthy, active, and non-painful, give Pilates a try. There is a program for every body type. It could be 10 minutes of mat exercises every other day or a rigorous twice a week reformer program. I guarantee you will see a difference in your body.
In honor of Pilates Day, I have gathered testimonials. Please take a quick look at them on www.facebook.com/archpilates. Join studios in the area celebrating Pilates day and find out what free offerings or discounted classes may be available for you to try: www.facebook.com/pilatescommunityjacksonvillesaintjohns
Theresa Scully, PT, CPI. Owns and Operates Arch Pilates & Physical Therapy in Mandarin. 904.860.5392. Theresa@archpilates.com Arch Pilates
by Geoff Thomas, Head Trainer, Orangetheory Fitness
Your fitness goal should never be to lose weight. Let that sink in for a moment. Your true goal with any fitness regimen should be to lose fat. You see, if you only focus on the scale and lowering that number, you may be losing valuable muscle instead, which can result in long-term fat gain and ultimately bigger numbers on that scale. Trainers often, myself included, toss around the phrase “muscles weighs more than fat,” but what does that really mean to you as our clients?
The truth is that when placed on a scale, one pound of fat is going to weigh the same as one pound of muscle – just like one pound of bricks is going to weigh the same as one pound of feathers. Where the confusion comes in is that muscle and fat differ in density (muscle is about 18% more dense than fat) and one pound of muscle occupies less space (volume) than one pound of fat.
When the number on the scale does not budge, it is important to remind yourself that the scale only shows you a portion of what is going on. It is only showing your total body weight – which includes fat, muscle, bones, organs, skin, etc. and not the composition of that weight within your body. Your total body weight represented on the scale may be the same as when you started your weight loss program, BUT if you are building muscle mass and losing fat tissue, your body composition will be much different and you will find those clothes fit better despite the scale saying the same number.
Utilizing a different number other than just the one on the scale is a great way to reengage in your fitness journey and give you a more accurate idea of what’s going on inside your body. A body composition scan like the InBody we use at Orangetheory Fitness will give you those numbers and with the help of a trainer you can interpret these numbers to customize the best fitness plan for you.
Geoff Thomas is the Head Trainer, ORANGETHEORY FITNESS
AFAA Certified Personal Trainer
by Geoff Thomas of Orange Theory
A well-rounded physical activity program includes aerobic exercise and strength training exercise, but not necessarily in the same session. High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) helps maintain or improve cardiorespiratory and muscular fitness and overall health and function. HIIT is commonly 12 to 20 minutes of training at 84% or higher of your maximum heart rate, the maximum number of times your heart will beat in a minute without overexerting yourself. The workout continues with the alternating work and relief periods totaling 30-60 minutes.
HIIT training has been shown to improve:
aerobic and anaerobic fitness
insulin sensitivity (which helps the exercising muscles more readily use glucose for fuel to make energy)
abdominal fat and body weight while maintaining muscle mass
Interval training has been an integral part of athletic training programs for many years because a variety of sport and recreational activities require short bursts of movement at high intensities. Interval training is becoming an increasingly recognized and well-liked method of training. The incorporation of interval training into a general conditioning program will optimize the development of cardiorespiratory fitness as well as numerous other health benefits.
The physiological theory behind the Orangetheory workout is known as “Excess Post-Exercise Oxygen Consumption,” or EPOC. By providing you with a heart-rate monitor and POD, we can monitor your 5-zone interval training sessions. During the 60-minute workout, you will perform multiple intervals designed to produce 12 to 20 minutes of training at 84% or higher of your maximum heart rate. This program design produces workout "Orange" or “afterburn” effect, which is an increased metabolic rate for 24 to 36 hours after the workout. When combining the amazing workout with EPOC, our clients burn an average of 500 to 1000 calories.
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