Sitting for 40 hours a week isn’t something most people choose. Often times, the culprit is a desk job: eight hours in front of a computer screen, day in and day out.
No matter how rewarding, desk jobs take a toll on wellness over the long term. The fact of the matter is that bodies are meant to move, not spend hours each day in the same position. When we force our bodies to be still for so long, especially over many years, negative health effects eventually begin to make an appearance.
Since the 1950s, studies have explored the negative effects of long-term sitting. Here are just a few of the most recent findings:
- Researchers have found a connection between long periods of sitting with obesity and metabolic syndrome. (The latter encompasses a number of issues, including excess body fat around the waist, abnormal cholesterol levels, high blood sugar, and high blood pressure.)
- Other researchers have uncovered links between a sedentary lifestyle and worsening cardiovascular health, as well as higher rates of type 2 diabetes, cancer, and cancer-related deaths.
- A collection of 47 in-depth studies discovered that people who sat for long periods actually had a higher risk of death from all causes. This was true even for those who exercised regularly, though the effect was stronger in those who did not exercise.
- Other issues include aches and pains in the upper body, shoulders, and arms, as well as a flattening out of the curve of the lower back.
The evidence is clear: If long-term wellness is one of your goals, you must take action to counteract the effects of long-term sitting. Since quitting your job isn’t an option for most — no matter how much you might want to! — a few good strategies are:
- Using phone calls as an opportunity to stand or walk around.
- Having “walking meetings” in which employees take a stroll around a block instead of sitting around a table.
- Sitting on an exercise ball to challenge the back and abdominal muscles.
- Propping up your keyboard with a box, tilting your monitor upwards, and standing at your desk for at least half an hour a day.
There are plenty of ways you can begin to incorporate movement into your workday. Be kind to your body and start thinking up some ways that work for you!
Want to inspire better health in your office? Schedule a complimentary Wellness Lunch with Lyceum Physical Medicine. We’ll come to your workplace with some delicious, nutritious food and talk to your employees about a customized topic. Popular topics include stress reduction, proper nutrition, positive mental health, and anti aging. These events are perfect for staff meetings, training days, and employee appreciation days, so give us a call: 215-508-5555 or contact us here.
Want more? See our blog about what to expect during this year’s allergy season.
At long last, winter is finally making way for spring! We couldn’t be more excited to welcome in the season of new leaves, flowers, and even those long afternoon rains.
Of course, spring is also the season of allergies for many of our patients, since those blooming flowers release lots of irritating pollen. If you always suffer from allergy symptoms at this time of year, you probably have no doubts about what’s causing your sniffing, sneezing, running nose, and other problems.
But maybe you’re unsure about whether or not you have allergies. In that case, this article is for you. We’ll be listing some ways to tell the difference between a cold and allergy symptoms. This won’t be quite as helpful as, say, seeing a Philadelphia allergy specialist, but it should help you begin to solve the mystery of your symptoms.
What Is a Cold?
The first step is to define these very different conditions. What we call the “common cold” is actually hundreds of different viruses that all cause similar symptoms. You contract a cold when someone with one coughs, sneezes, or shakes hands with you.
What Are Allergies?
Unlike colds, you can’t “catch” an allergy. They’re the result of an overactive immune system: The body responds to harmless substances like pollen with an immune response. While allergies aren’t contagious, you can inherit the tendency to develop them.
Cold Symptoms Versus Allergy Symptoms
A pollen allergy may look a lot like a common cold, but there are subtle differences between the experience of each:
- Time of year: With a cold, most often in winter. With allergies, any time of year, but often seasonal.
- Duration: With a cold, between three and fourteen days. With allergies, symptoms last as long as the allergen is present.
- Symptoms onset: With a cold, symptoms take a few days to reveal themselves after you’ve been infected. With allergies, symptoms start immediately after exposure to the allergen.
- Aches: With a cold, sometimes. With allergies, never.
- Cough: With a cold, often. With allergies, sometimes.
- Fever: With a cold, rarely. With allergies, never.
- Itchy, watery eyes: With a cold, rarely. With allergies, often.
- Fatigue: With a cold, sometimes. With allergies, sometimes.
- Sore throat: With a cold, often. With allergies, sometimes.
- Runny or stuffy nose: With a cold, often. With allergies, often.
One of the biggest differences is that a cold will almost never last longer than two weeks. If your symptoms persist after that, they may be the result of allergies — or of another problem, which is why you should see a physician.
If you’re afraid allergies will keep you indoors this spring, come see us! Our experienced Philadelphia allergy specialists can help determine the source of your symptoms and come up with an individualized treatment plan to lessen or relieve them. Our resources include the best in allergy testing, allergy shots, and other treatments.
We’ve blogged before about the health detriments of sitting for long periods, which include heightened risk of obesity, metabolic syndrome, type 2 diabetes, and cardiovascular disease. What’s more, prolonged sitting puts you at risk for aches and pains in the upper body, shoulders, arms, and spine.
How to combat these effects when your job demands that you sit for eight hours a day, at least? Along with following some of the tips we offered in our last blog, you can try incorporating these simple exercises into your day. These movements relax tissues, prevent stiffness, lubricate the joints, improve circulation, reduce fatigue, and build your stamina. For best results, we recommend taking some “moving time” at least once every thirty to sixty minutes.
1. Spread your fingers as far apart as you can, then clench your fists and release.
2. Rest your elbows on your desk. Using your left hand, gently bend your right hand back toward your forearm. Hold for a few seconds before relaxing, then repeat on the other side.
1. Stand and raise your arms in front of you. Rotate your arms so your palms are face up, then rotate until the backs of your hands are facing each other.
2. Drop your arms to your sides and gently shake for a few seconds.
1. With elbows bent and thumbs up, raise your arms in front of your body. Then pull your elbows back and squeeze your shoulder blades together, holding for a few seconds before releasing.
2. While sitting, gradually stretch yourself as tall as possible. Hold for a few seconds and relax.
1. Bend your neck so your right ear approaches your right shoulder, then switch sides.
2. Gently rotate your head as far as comfortable to the left, then the right.
3. Circle your shoulders forward, then back.
4. Pull your shoulders down and back.
5. Gradually raise your shoulders toward your ears and hold for a few seconds before relaxing.
1. Cup your hands lightly over your eyes for 30 seconds to give them a rest from the light. Don’t touch your eyes when you do this!
2. Focus on a distant object for a few seconds before looking at your computer screen again.
3. Roll your eyes counterclockwise, then clockwise.
A few signs that you may want to seek chiropractic care, medical massage, or even physical rehabilitation include enduring pain, numbness, weakness, and any other muscle problem that stops you from completing everyday tasks. If you suspect your daily lifestyle is giving you back, neck, or shoulder pain, we’d be happy to assess the issue and point you toward a treatment and prevention plan!
Just call us at (215) 508-5555 or visit our brand new facility at 6062 Ridge Avenue in Philadelphia.
Photo: andriuXphoto, Flickr Creative Commons
Ankle sprains are one of the most common joint injuries in the United States: Each day, 25,000 Americans sprain their ankle and nearly half of all sports injuries in the U.S. are ankle sprains. Because ankle sprains are so common, people often don’t seek appropriate treatment and, as a result, their injured ankle may not heal properly or completely. These ankle twists and sprains can end up causing chronic pain, even if the injury happened years ago.
We know physical therapy can help treat recent injuries, but what if an old injury is flaring up? Can physical therapy still offer the same benefits? Yes! With physical therapy services from Lyceum Physical Medicine, you can reduce chronic pain and improve mobility.
What is an Ankle Sprain?
When your foot twists or turns beyond its normal range of motion, the ligaments (bands of tissue that hold joints together) overstretch and/or tear. Once an ankle ligament is injured, it is not uncommon for it to be reinjured. In fact, 73% of people who suffered a sprained ankle are likely to experience another sprain. If the muscle strength and balance are not restored to preinjury levels – or beyond – the chance of reinjury increases. Physical therapy helps strengthen the ligament to prevent reinjury and offers relief from pain and stiffness.
What Can Physical Therapy Do For Me?
If you are healthy enough for light movement and exercise, Lyceum’s physical therapy services can help you recover from old injuries and improve your quality of life. While physical therapy isn’t an instant cure, we have a large arsenal of treatments at our disposal to help get you back on your feet. There are different types of physical therapy, each with their own set of goals:
- Exercise therapy aims to improve strength, flexibility and coordination, as well as prevent future problems. The treatment plan is created specifically to treat your specific illness, injury or condition.
- Manual therapy is meant to relax your body, decrease pain and increase your flexibility. This is achieved through massage, mobilization and manipulation of your muscles, joints, tendons, and ligaments.
- Muscle stimulation uses electricity to contract your muscles and rehabilitate them while increasing your mobility and strength.
- Ultrasound and heat therapy uses focused sonic and heat waves to increase blood flow, which speeds the healing process and stimulates your cell membranes.
- Education is a key element of physical therapy. We give you insight into your body and how it functions, along with steps you can take to diminish the issues you are facing.
Physical Therapy Services from Lyceum Physical Medicine
Do you have an old injury that keeps you from participating in sports or daily activities? Don’t suffer another day: call Lyceum Physical Medicine at (215) 508-5555 for a free consultation, and let our experts get you started on the road to recovery.
Hypogonadism is the medical term for insufficient production of testosterone, the hormone that plays a key role in men’s health. Testosterone levels naturally decline with age, but new studies show that 1 in 4 men over the age of 30 suffer from low testosterone. Signs and symptoms of low testosterone in adult males include:
- Erectile dysfunction
- Decrease in beard and body hair growth
- Decrease in muscle mass (muscle loss or weakness)
- Development of breast tissue (gynecomastia)
- Loss of bone mass (osteoporosis)
Decreasing testosterone can also cause mental and emotional changes. Some men may even experience symptoms similar to those of menopause in women. These include:
- Decreased sex drive
- Difficulty concentrating
- Hot flashes
Currently the most effective treatment for low testosterone is testosterone replacement therapy (TRT). Patients who receive TRT generally experience:
- Improved mood, enjoyment, self-confidence and sense of well-being
- Improved sexual satisfaction, function and drive
- Improved distribution of body fat
- Increased energy
- Increased body mass
- Improved memory and ability to focus
- Improved sleep quality
New advances in new stem cell research show promising alternatives to treat low testosterone may soon be available. Testosterone is actually the end result of a much longer process: Leydig cells (found in the testicles) produce androgens, which in turn is biosynthesized into testosterone. Researchers in regenerative medicine are searching for alternatives to traditional androgen replacement therapy.
The researchers turned to stem cells, since they tend to have fewer side effects than traditional treatments and can be turned into any other cell in the body. In a recent study, researchers were able to create Leydig cells from stem cells. These new Leydig cells were then tested in rodents. Not only did these cells survive, normal testosterone levels were successfully restored in the rodents. The physicians at Lyceum Physical Medicine are already familiar with the regenerative uses of stem cells, so we look forward to seeing this new treatment develop!