Tag Archives: back pain


Summer Travel: How to Arrive Pain Free

kristen jayson tight head shotBy Dr. Kristen Jayson, PT, DPT

imagesSummer is finally here, the season many of us look forward to most; warmer temps, longer days and vacation! Whether it’s taking that five-hour road-trip to your family reunion or flying overseas, travel goes hand in hand with prolonged sitting, which can create pesky aches and pains or exacerbate pain you may already be experiencing.

Fortunately, I have some tips and exercises below to help you arrive PAIN FREE!

Keep Moving

For every 30 minute period, 8 minutes should be spent standing, 2 minutes moving around and only 20 minutes sitting still. This may not work perfectly for a road trip, but it’s certainly doable at cruising altitude on a plane or even after you arrive and you’re happily on your beach chair all day (ahhhh!). Even if you can’t easily move around, here are some other suggestions to help you feel great when you arrive.

Maintain Good Posture

Sitting and slouching puts extra stress on the ligaments and soft tissue structures in our lower back, which can cause pain. To make sure you’re sitting in a prfig-1oper position, do this quick test periodically:

  • Slouch forward into bad posture, hold for 1-2 seconds.
  • Sit up very straight, pulling your shoulders down and back, hold for 1-2 seconds.
  • Relax 10-15%! This is now your ideal position for sitting.

If you’re driving, it’s a great idea to use your rear-view mirror for feedback. images-2If you check your mirror and can’t see much, you know you need to correct your posture. Another good tool while traveling is a lumbar roll that provides a little extra support to your low back, which helps maintain proper positioning.

Movements That Work

Stretching during travel is an excellent way to stay loose and comfortable. The exercises below are also effective when you return to work, but let’s not think about that now.

Back Stretch

When given the opportunity for a rest stop, park far away from the entrance so you get a chance to stretch those legs and move around. When you get out of the car, you can combat low back pain by doing some standing back bends to redistribute pressure across the intervertebral discs and ease tension on the surrounding structures.


  • With feet about shoulder width apart, place your hands on the small of your low back
  • Gently lean backwards at your waist, keeping your knees straight, until you feel a gentle stretch, hold for a few seconds and then return to an upright position
  • Repeat 5-10 times

Hamstring Stretch

It’s also important to stretch your hamstrings, the muscles along the backScreen Shot 2016-07-11 at 1.44.05 PM of your thighs, which can tighten with prolonged sitting.

  • With the car door open, place one leg up on door or on a bench
  • Keep your hips pointing directly forward
  • Gently lean forward keeping the elevated leg straight
  • Hold 30 seconds, 3 times and then repeat on other leg up

Heel Raises

Get some blood pumping through your legs with heel raiseimages-2s!

  • Stand with feet shoulder width apart and hold onto something for support if necessary
  • Lift both heels up, rising onto toes, pause for 1-2 seconds
  • Slowly lower both heels back down to the ground
  • Repeat 10 times, do 2 sets

If you’re unable to get out of your seat, you still have some options. Instead of standing heel raises, you can pump your ankles back and forth for the same effect.imgres

  • Point your toes all the way to the ground, and then pull up towards your face as far as you can
  • Repeat for 2 sets of 10.

Neck and Shoulder Stretches

The lower back isn’t the only joint affected by prolonged sitting. If you feel a stiff neck coming on, perform some chin tucks to wake up the muscles that are responsible for holding up our heavy heads all day. You can also roll your shoulders forwards and backwards to help loosen the muscles along the top of your shoulders. Last but not least, stretch out those shoulders and chest.

  • Chin Tucks

    • Looking straight ahead, slowly move your head backwards as far as you can go keeping your eyes and chin level
    • Maintain this position for 3-5 seconds and then relax
    • Repeat 10 times, do 2 sets
  • Shoulder Rolls

    • Relax your arms at your sides
    • Slowly circle your shoulders up and back then lifting up and forwards
    • Repeat each direction 10 times
  • Posterior Capsule Shoulder Stretch

    • Reach one hand across your chest, reaching for your opposite shoulder
    • Use the opposite arm to grab the back of your elbow and gently pull your arm towards your chest until you feel a gentle stretch in the back of your shoulder
    • Hold for 30 seconds, repeat 3 times with each arm
  • Pectoral Stretchseated-chest-stretch

    • Reach behind your lower back with both arms, if you’re able to grasp your hands together or grab onto the chair
    • Squeeze your shoulder blades together, lifting your chest up the ceiling, until you feel a stretch across your chest
    • Hold for 30 seconds, repeat 3 times

I hope you have some great travel plans this season to practice these easy movements and stretches. Have a safe and healthy summer!!!




Positive Attitude + Physical Therapy – Back Pain = Wellness

Patient of the Month

Meet Mark, our May 2015 patient of the month! Mark is someone who exemplifies the power of a positive attitude amidst life’s challenges. He not only brings enthusiasm to every session, but he is one of the funniest people I have met. He literally has the entire clinic laughing by the time he leaves. 
As a doctor, I most appreciate Mark’s ability to receive and apply the information we discuss. I know that he will really utilize the knowledge and skills he’s learned in therapy as he moves forward. It was a true pleasure to support Mark in his journey towards wellness! 

In his Own Words…

Three Words That Describe You:  Artistic – Amiable – Altruistic

What brought you to PT? Word of mouth recommendation
along with a bulging disk that prevented me from doing
movements that I took for granted.

How have you benefitted from PT? Mentally, I realized
how important a daily regimen is. Physically, I recognize and
understand how important core strength is as well as balance.
All in all, I now realize how important it is to keep moving and
not become complacent or sedentary ever.

What would you say to someone with the same injury?
I would (of course) recommend Iron PT to anyone I come across who is suffering. Actually I already have. In the 3 months that I have been a patient, I have seen many different injuries or ailments come through the door that needed resolution. For example, my wife was a patient for her painful wrist. Now, she not only has no pain, but also knows what she did wrong that created the situation and strives to implement the corrective measures learned at Iron PT. So at Iron, you not only get pain relief, but also get educated on top of it…a win/win in my book.

What are you most excited about getting back to?
I am excited to get back to the links. I drove 20 or so practice
balls the other day pain free. I’m just excited to get out of bed
and stand without much pain anymore, and of course I will use
all of the education I learned going forward.

Snow Removal Safety Tips!

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Shoveling is sno’ joke! Winter is upon us! Here are some tips to keep you safe and pain free! 1) Warm up for about 10 minutes. Get your blood moving with a brisk  walk, marching in place or other full-body movement. Also include some upper … Continue reading


How To Save Your Back with Safe Holiday Lifting!

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Save Your Back with Safe Lifting ow does Santa deliver gifts to over 365,000 children per minute and with no back pain?       He lifts correctly and safely! Before you lift the object, think about where you need … Continue reading


Mommy’s Back Hurts (POM 1/14)

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Patient of the Month Meredith battled the physical and mental challenges of chronic pain with an amazing attitude and level of commitment. She would teach all day and then come to therapy ready to be pushed in every way. Even … Continue reading


Best Sports Bra.

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 By Meri Mayes . I am active. I have real breasts that have ranged from 34C to 36DD. I have had two children. I need a good sports bra. I am tired of  trying on hundreds of sports bras that … Continue reading


Battle Overuse Injuries with Active Release Technique (ART)

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WHAT IS ACTIVE RELEASE TECHNIQUE (ART)? ART is an extremely effective technique developed by Michael Leahy where a provider uses his or her hands to detect adhesions in soft tissue (muscles, fascia, tendons, ligaments and nerves). Once located, the provider … Continue reading