Injury-Prevention Tips for Physical Therapy Month

“Injury-prevention exercises are an integral part of keeping people healthy and fit. And with the fast pace of New York, slowing down is not an option. Keeping muscles strong and limber can avoid pain, muscle strain, and injury,” said Dr. Joe Ciccone, 30, associate director at Columbia Orthopaedics Sports Therapy.

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“Injury-prevention exercises are an integral part of keeping people healthy and fit. And with the fast pace of New York, slowing down is not an option. Keeping muscles strong and limber can avoid pain, muscle strain, and injury,” said Dr. Joe Ciccone, 30, Associate Director at Columbia Orthopaedics Sports Therapy. “The earlier the symptoms are addressed, the quicker the fix,” he said.
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“A lot of people use laptops and start hunching their backs. Their shoulders get very round and their neck gets extended,” said Ciccone. Stack books underneath the laptop to allow screen to be at eye level, which helps you maintain good posture. And “get an external keyboard so you don’t have to lean forward,” Ciccone recommended.
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Stand up and rotate your arms outward as far as they go – palms outward. This causes the shoulders to pull back. While keeping the shoulders in that position, allow the arms to relax. “The more frequently you do it though out the day, the quicker your neuromuscular system will adapt so that it senses the appropriate position your body should be in,” said Ciccone.
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Strengthening Exercise: hold the Thera-Band, elbows relaxed to your side. Bend arms to 90 degrees.Rotate arms out as you pinch shoulder blades together. Hold for a count of one to two seconds and then come back.nPerform three sets of 10-15 repetitions.
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For knee pain, stand on your involved or bad side. Kick out to the side and come back. Keep your foot in the air. Repeat three sets of 20. A Thera-Band, which can be bought online or in a sporting goods store, can be wrapped around the feet to add resistance.
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Most people have a trigger point in their low neck/upper shoulder area – called the levator scapulae muscle, Ciccone said. Grab the back corner of your head with the opposite hand then gently pull forward and across as your head is rotating slightly towards the arm that’s pulling. Hold for 20 seconds three times.You want to feel a light pull, no pain. Let yourself ease into the stretch, almost like butter melting.
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"Having an incorrect squat is bad because it places a lot of force on your knee in a biomechanically inappropriate way,” said Ciccone. That stress on the joint can cause hip, back or/and knee pain.
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Stand feet shoulder-width apart with your weight distributed equally in the front and back. Your knees should be aligned with your foot and your weight equally distributed on each leg.
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“What you want to think when you’re coming down is that you want to keep your butt back. And maintain the normal curvature in your back and keep your shoulders back. Look straight – do not look down,” said Ciccone. Perform three sets of 10-15.
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