Hi, I'm Doctor Jo, a licensed Physical Therapist and Doctor of Physical Therapy. I hope my physical therapy videos for common injuries and syndromes will help put you on the road to recovery. If you have a question, just ask! Be safe. Have fun. And I hope you feel better soon.


When, Why and How to Use a Walking Cane or Quad Cane

There can be many different reasons you should use a cane. A cane is mainly for balance, and should not been used for complete support.
 
One big reason why people don’t want to use a cane is because they don’t want to look old. My response is always, well if you fall and break something, you will need a lot more than a cane, and then you will definitely look old. 
 
So when, why and how should you use a cane? Canes come in many different shapes and sizes. Today we will talk about a standard cane and a pronged/quad cane. A standard cane should really be used to help with balance and to help you stand more upright when you walk. A pronged or quad cane has more support at the bottom, and can help stabilize you more if you need more help when walking, but it still should not be used if you are putting more than about 20% of your body weight on it. If this is the case, you should look into getting a walker or crutches.
 
One of the big things I see is furniture walkers. These are people who use their furniture to hold onto when they are walking at home. They will grab onto the couch or counter top, or even the walls. Since they are at home, they know where everything is, and that makes them feel safe. However, when they get out in the community, they don’t know where things are to grab onto for balance, and then they risk falling and getting hurt.
 
The other issue can be your pet on the ground. If you don’t have a lot of balance, you might trip over your pet or they might walk in front of you and make you fall. 
 
Sometimes people also drag their foot, which can cause someone to fall. You might also walk differently with a limp or favoring one side. Even if you can walk without falling like this, you risk causing muscle imbalances, and that can make other things hurt.
 
Once you pick out the cane that is right for you, make sure it is properly fit. The most important part to start with is to make sure your cane is the right height. Most canes have a pin you can push in to change the height. On your upper leg there is a bone that sticks out called your greater trochanter. It is just below your hip. This is where you want the top of the cane. You should have a slight bend in your elbow about 20 degrees. If the cane is too high, you might irritate your shoulder, and if it is too low, you might lean over too much.
 
Now for the walking part. The cane should be in the opposite hand of the injured side. The cane should always move with the injured side. If the injured side goes forward, the cane goes forward for support. Again, this is how our bodies naturally move; so don't think about it too much. Just move how you would normally move. The cane should be for balance and safety, and if you feel like you are pushing really hard on it, or if you can't walk smoothly, then you probably are not ready for a cane yet.
 
Once you get the hang of it, it becomes very easy and natural. When we walk normally, our opposite arm swings forward with our opposite leg. When using a cane, you want the same technique so you don't risk injuring something else while you are recovering.
 
The technique is similar for a pronged or quad cane. Since this one gives you a little more support, you might need to use a step-to instead of step-through pattern. This means instead of stepping all the way through with your step, you will bring the cane and injured side forward, and then just bring the good side right to the cane. This might be for a more serious injury or if you have suffered from a stroke or traumatic brain injury.
 
So basically, if you don’t feel like you are walking normally. If you are off balance or limping, you should use a cane.
 

Quadratus Lumborum (QL) Stretches

The Quadratus Lumborum (QL) is a deep lower back muscle that sits over the kidneys. It can be hard to stretch since it is underneath larger muscles. Here are some stretches for your QL.
 
For the first stretch, you are going to sit on the ground with your legs crossed or out in front of you at an angle. Take your arm of the opposite side you want to stretch, and place your hand underneath and push out and away. At the same time, take the arm of the side you want to stretch, and take it up and over your head to the other side. Hold this stretch for 30 seconds, and do it three times.
 
For the next stretch, you are going to lie down on your back. Prop your knees up, and then rotate your legs to the opposite you want to stretch. Then take the leg closest to the ground, and hook it over the other leg on the side you want to stretch to help pull your leg over and down. Try to keep your hips on the floor and not rotate your back when you stretch. Hold it for 30 seconds and repeat it three times.
 
For the last stretch, you want to roll over onto your side. This time the side you want to stretch will be on the ground. Put your legs on top of each other in a perpendicular position to the floor. Push up with your arms so your upper body is off the ground. Then roll your hips forward until you feel a stretch. Hold the stretch for 30 seconds and then repeat three times.
 
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Text Neck Pain Relief Stretches

Text Neck is literally a pain in the neck! Here are some simple neck stretches, exercises and posture adjustments that should help relieve some of the pain.  

The first thing that will help with text neck is to change your posture.When you are bending over at your neck and hunching your upper back, your neck muscles get tight in the front of the neck and overstretched in the back of the neck and upper back.
 
So the first exercise is a simple chin tuck. You don’t want to tuck it down to your chest, but take your chin, and pull it backwards. You can put your finger on your chin, as a target or starting point, and then tuck it in. Hold it for about 3-5 seconds, and then relax. Do this about 3-5 times. 
 
The next one is to open up the chest area with a scapular squeeze. You want to imagine that someone has their hand on your spine in the middle of your back. Squeeze your shoulder blades back towards your spine and hold, and then come back. Hold it for about 3-5 seconds, and do it about 10 times to start.
 
The next stretch is going to be a chin tuck lying down. Roll up a towel and put it right in the curve of your neck on the ground.  Push down towards the floor. Hold that for about 3-5 seconds. Do this 3-5 times. The towel's there to give you a target, so you're pushing those muscles in towards the towel. 
 
For the last stretch, grab a pillow, turn over onto your stomach, and put the pillow right at your stomach and chest area. Now you are going to exercise your upper back muscles. Put your hands on your lower back. Keep your neck in a neutral position, and lift your upper body up off the floor. Hold it for about 1-2 seconds, and then come back down. Start with 10 times.
 

Nayoya Back Hook Massager Review

The Nayoya Back Hook Massager is not only a great way to get good pressure on achy muscles, but it also saves your finger joints from having to do it yourself. To purchase the Nayoya Back Hook Massager, visit the Doctor Jo Physical Therapy Store.
 
The massager has 9 knobs throughout the hook to give you options for each portion of your body. It applies precise pressure to knots, trigger points, and tender areas. It helps get down to the deep tissue to help release the tension without damaging your fingers.
 
This is a great alternative to using your hands to massage out achy painful muscles. If you have achy back or neck muscles, back spasms, stress, headaches, tight tendons or muscles, or soreness in general, the Nayoya Hook Massager might help you on your road to recovery.
 
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Nayoya Acupressure Back Pain Relief Kit Review

Got back pain? The watch my review for the Nayoya Acupressure Back Pain Relief Kit which is designed to use acupressure to give you back pain relief.
 
 
The Acupressure Mat has over 6,000 acupressure points for back pain relief while the Neckupressure Pillow has almost 1,800 acupressure points for neck pain relief. The pressure points are designed to improve circulation, relieve headaches, and relax muscles. 
 
The acupressure circles are plastic and very sharp, so be very careful to distribute your weight evenly.
 
For the first 2-3 minutes, it is slightly uncomfortable, but shortly after that, the skin becomes warm and tingly, and the muscles start to relax.
 
If you have achy back or neck muscles, back spasms, stress, headaches, or even trouble sleeping, the Nayoya Acupressure Mat might help you on your road to recovery.
 
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DISCLAIMER: The videos, posts and comments contained on this website are not medical advice. Doctor Jo is a licensed Physical Therapist and Doctor of Physical Therapy; however, she is not YOUR Physical Therapist and can't possibly diagnose you through the Internet. So don’t use this website to avoid going to your own healthcare professional or to replace the advice they have given you. This website is only intended to show and discuss correct physical therapy exercises and information and should not be used to self-diagnose or self-treat any medical condition. If you are not properly diagnosed, the information on this website won’t help, and it could make things worse. So seriously, check with your healthcare professional before doing any of the techniques discussed herein. If you experience any pain or difficulty while exercising, stop immediately and see your healthcare professional.