3 Exercises to Strengthen Your Shoulders and Spine

3 Exercises To Strengthen Your Shoulders & Spine

Our arms and shoulders assist us with almost all of our daily activities, so it’s easy to see why strong shoulder muscles are so important! Weak shoulders can increase your risk for injury at the gym or going about your day lifting kids, household items, grocery bags and more. Poor posture can also lead to neck and back pain.

Don’t let back pain and decreased range of motion sneak up on you. Try these three, easy-to-do shoulder and spine exercises at home. No equipment necessary.

1. Wall Angels

This upper-body mobility exercise not only strengthens the muscles responsible for holding your shoulders back (and improving your posture), it can also help maintain full range of motion. Our physical therapists recommend wall angels for everything from shoulder injury rehabilitation to improving minor back and neck pain.

  • Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, 6-12 inches away from the wall, and your back against the wall. Your arms should be resting at your sides.
  • Bend your elbows 90 degrees and rotate your arms so that your shoulders, arms and back of your hands are touching the wall in a “hands up” position.
  • Slowly move your arms up and over your head to form a wide “V” while maintaining contact between your elbows, hands and the wall. Only go as high as you can to keep the backs of your hands and elbows in constant contact with the wall.
  • Bend your elbows and lower your arms back to the starting positions by actively pulling your shoulder blades down.
  • Raise and lower your arms like this for two sets of 15 reps. You should feel your muscles working between your shoulder blades.

2. Quadruped Scapular Retraction

Never heard of “scapular retraction?” Essentially, it’s pulling your shoulder blades (scapulae) back to improve posture and strengthen your shoulders. Modern life, and all of our sitting and/or hunching over computers and smartphones, has made us all much more likely to slump our shoulders.

  • Start on all fours with your wrists stacked directly under your shoulders, and your knees stacked directly under your hips. This creates a “neutral” spine.
  • Push into the ground, round your back slightly, and actively pull your shoulder blades together. Try to keep your shoulders relaxed and away from your ears.
  • Repeat 10-12 times for 1-2 sets.

3. Lateral Arm Raise

This simple exercise can be done while standing or sitting, and with or without hand weights. You will strengthen your lateral deltoid muscles on the side of your shoulders, as well as the muscles in your upper back.

  • Stand straight with your feet hip distance apart and your arms down at your sides.
  • With or without weights, raise both arms to the side with palms facing down until they are at shoulder level and parallel to the floor.
  • Hold the position for one second and slowly lower your arms.
  • Repeat for two sets of 10-12 reps.
Uploaded ToTop 5 Reasons to Try Cooled Radiofrequency Treatment for Chronic Hip & Knee Pain

Top 5 Reasons to Try Cooled Radiofrequency Treatment for Chronic Hip & Knee Pain

Chronic hip and knee pain can really slow you down. Dr. James Brunz is fellowship-trained in pain management and dedicated to staying at the forefront of pain management technology. His arsenal now includes COOLIEF Cooled Radiofrequency (RF) Treatment—a non-surgical procedure that builds upon his years of expertise using Radiofrequency Ablation for patients with arthritis of the spine.

We sat down with Dr. Brunz to discuss the top 5 reasons Cooled Radiofrequency Treatment can help chronic hip and knee pain.

“Cooled radiofrequency treatment can be an excellent option for people who have had a knee or hip replacement but continue to have chronic pain, or for those unable to have replacement surgery because of a health condition,” said Dr. Brunz.

  1. Effective Pain Relief: COOLIEF Cooled RF is a minimally invasive, outpatient procedure that can safely treat chronic pain. This advanced procedure uses cooled radiofrequency energy to safely target the sensory nerves causing pain. You should begin to feel pain relief within one to two weeks. In some patients, the relief can be relatively long-lasting. In others, additional treatments may be required.
  2. Minimally Invasive: COOLIEF Cooled RF involves no incision, only a small puncture at the insertion site. You may experience some discomfort at the radiofrequency site for a short period, but this discomfort can be treated with common over-the-counter medication.
  3. No Narcotics: COOLIEF circulates water through the device while heating nervous tissue to create a treatment area that is larger than conventional RF treatments. This combination targets the pain-causing nerves without excessive heating, leading to pain relief.
  4. Quick Recovery Time: Every patient is different, but you can expect to return to work and normal everyday activities within several days. Dr. Brunz will recommend a specific amount of rest based on your unique needs and procedure requirements.
  5. No Overnight Hospital Stay: Procedure time varies, but it’s all done in an outpatient setting. COOLIEF requires no general anesthesia, and you should be able to return home shortly after the treatment. A responsible adult is required to be present in order to drive you home.

Ready to learn more? Schedule an appointment with Dr. Brunz to see if this treatment could be right for you.

3 Types of Foot and Ankle Pain You Shouldn't Ignore

3 Types of Foot and Ankle Pain You Shouldn’t Ignore

You should never ignore any type of pain, but pain in your feet or ankles can take an extra toll. That’s because if  you have trouble walking, you are more likely to stop being physically active—which can lead to further health issues down the road.

Pain-free mobility is essential to your quality of life! Learn more about the three types of foot and ankle pain you shouldn’t ignore. 

1. Bunions

Just because they’re common, doesn’t mean you should ignore them! Bunions are essentially a deformity of the big toe. Patients with bunions have a toe which points outwards, as well as a bump on the inner side of the foot. (Hint: See our pedorthist for help with orthotics and shoe modifications.) As a bunion gets bigger and calluses form, it can force you to shift your weight to avoid pain when you walk—potentially causing back and neck pain. Ignoring bunions can lead to:

  • Painful swelling
  • Cracked skin
  • Overlapping lesser toes (leading to pain elsewhere in your foot)
  • Difficulty standing or walking
  • Increased risk of arthritis
  • Increased risk of falls

2. Pain on the top or sides of your feet

From tendonitis and stress fractures to bone spurs, joint inflammation and more—pain on the top or sides of your feet should always be taken seriously. Have you picked up an activity recently that your feet might not be used to? Or, maybe you’ve been squeezing your feet into shoes that are too tight and/or don’t have much arch support. No matter the cause, it’s important to see a foot and ankle specialist to diagnose and treat the pain.

3. Foot pain right away in the morning

Even if you’re not a “morning person” who jumps out of bed with a smile to start the day, you should not be in pain when you step out of bed. Shooting pain in your foot or ankle right away in the morning is most often a sign of plantar fasciitis. This condition caused by inflammation of the tendons that connect your heel to your toes. Other causes of morning foot pain could include:

  • Ill-fitting shoes
  • Bone spurs
  • Flat feet (“fallen arches”)
  • Arthritis

While there are aches and pains that don’t warrant a visit to the doctor’s office, it is always better to err on the side of caution. If you have persistent foot or ankle pain that lasts longer than a week, make an appointment to come in and see the experts at Orthopedic Institute.

Not sure you need an appointment right now? Check out these everyday tips for fighting off foot and ankle pain.

5 Benefits of an Orthopedic Walk-In Clinic

5 Benefits of an Orthopedic Walk-In Clinic

Injuries and illnesses don’t always occur during business hours – but heading to the ER can be expensive and time-consuming. That’s why walk-in clinics are so great! Where else can you get high-quality care, with less wait, without an appointment? That being said, not all walk-in clinics offer the same types of care.

If you suspect a muscle, bone or joint injury, here are five benefits of an orthopedic walk-in clinic.

1. Specialized expertise

Primary care walk-in clinics are staffed with general practitioners for good reason. They see everything from colds and flu to chest pain and eye infections. An orthopedic walk-in clinic, on the other hand, specializes in bone, muscle and joint injuries. A medical specialist, with extensive training in orthopedics, will look over your injury and carefully evaluate the situation.

2. Coordinated follow-up care

Whether you’ve broken a bone, torn a rotator cuff, hurt your back or one of any number of orthopedic injuries, odds are your primary care physician will refer you to an orthopedic specialist for follow-up care. From initial diagnosis to ongoing care, starting the process at an orthopedic urgent care clinic is like cutting out the middle man. No need for unnecessary appointments.

3. Less expensive than the ER

Emergency rooms are for critical and life-threatening situations. If your orthopedic injury can’t wait, but it’s not life-threatening, save yourself the expense (and the long wait times) of an ER. Just like hospitals, an orthopedic walk-in clinic has the ability perform X-rays, MRIs, and other procedures. And because most are an extension of an orthopedic practice, the cost savings over an ER visit are substantial.

4. “What if” sports injuries

Any athlete, or parent of a student athlete, knows the drill… something hurts, but it’s (probably) not broken. The coach says, “tough it out.” A friend says, “ice it.” These types of “what if” sports injury situations occur everyday—and more often than not, athletes try to play through pain. But what if they end up injuring themselves worse? Good news! An orthopedic walk-in clinic can help diagnose the issue in a timely manner so they can start their recovery right away.

5. Hands, wrists, elbows, feet, ankles, shoulders, necks and backs

If you’re thinking “that’s just a list of body parts that could be giving me pain on any given day,” you’re right. Orthopedic walk-in clinics specialize in bone, muscle and joint care. When you experience a sudden injury or pain that can’t wait, skip the primary care clinic or ER and go straight to the experts.

Orthopedic Institute is proud to offer two OI Now walk-in clinics in Sioux Falls and Yankton. We’re here for you and your family, no appointments or referrals necessary unless required by your insurance.