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Zeena Dhalla

Author Archives: Zeena Dhalla

a couple of weeks ago

Posture, Pain and the Pelvis

These visual results are pretty stunning, don’t you think? Don’t just look at the upper back posture, also be sure to check out his pelvis.

This client was introduced to me at Sarton Physical Therapy, a premier pelvic floor physical therapy clinic that offers Posture Alignment Therapy services 2 days a week.

What is “pelvic floor physical therapy?” It’s a very specialized kind of therapy that focuses on dysfunctions of the pelvis. More on this here.

Working with clients at this physical therapy clinic requires me to think outside the box. When dealing with pelvic pain clients, there are many exercises that would normally we within the recommended postural alignment protocol, but that don’t work for someone in acute pelvic pain.

Instead I have to work around the potential pelvic pain problem and address the posture by using the concepts of the kinetic chain. We often have to choose exercises that move the body in a gentle way, instead of attacking it with challenging exercises that activate the whole body.

We eventually get there, but it takes commitment on the client’s part, and patience on everyone’s part.

Read more about Ryan’s experience here. He’s an incredibly committed client and his journey is remarkable.

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a few months ago

The Most Important Holiday Exercise

It’s a ridiculous time of year. Joy, happiness, gratitude, and merriment are all supposed to be the important emotions. But isn’t it STRESSFUL trying to actually FEEL these emotions when suddenly you have a thousand things on your plate?

So today I will highlight my most favorite of exercises of all. In fact… you really can’t call it an exercise. Because all you do it lay there and RELAX! Doesn’t this sound amazing?

As benign as it looks, this particular position (called Static Back), has actually eliminated pain for clients almost immediately. I had one client recently report that his hip pain rated at a 9 (out of 10), dropped down to a 3, in one week of doing static back. Just ONE week!

So when you are taking a breather from online shopping, or baking Christmas cookies, or decorating the tree, or making plans, all you have to do is lie in this position for 5 minutes. Get in the correct position, take a deep breath, exhale slowly, and relax. 

There are many bio mechanical reasons why this position is ultimately amazing for you body. First, the hip-flexed position (with your knees bent and directly above the hips) is great for realigning the pelvis if you happen to have rotation (a lot of people do). Holding this position also mildly activates the flexors of the hip. In this position, the thoracic spine is forced to open up and the hands up position helps to open the chest and encourage external rotation in the shoulder joint. Once you’re in this position, gravity and breathing can help realign the body and provide immediate relief to your spine. The goal is to hold Static Back for 5 to 10 minutes a day. 

Here are some more important quick tips on how to perform Static Back correctly:

  1. Find a chair or ottoman that is the correct height for your legs. You want to make sure you have a 90 degree angle at the knee and at the hip joint. The knees should also be placed directly above the hips (not wider). If you notice your legs “splay” out to the sides when you prop up your knees, this means the chair/ottoman is too low for you.  Add a few folded blankets under your shins to elevate the lower legs. There is a great option for a block that works for a lot of body sizes that you can purchase HERE
  2. If you find your head uncomfortably tilted back (where you are looking at the ceiling behind you) that means you might need to place a small rolled up towel under you head. Otherwise keep your eyes looking directly up, turn your palms face up to that your thumbs almost touch the ground, and plant your arms at a 45 degree angle.  
  3. Engage in deep diaphragmatic breaths. Inhale deeply as you expand your ribcage to the sides, then exhale deeply letting all the air out. Do this slowly and deeply and really think about the air moving into your ribcage (versus your neck and shoulders). 
  4. If you want more chest opening, and you know you tend to internally rotate the shoulders (most desk job warriors do!), then try the position below. Take both arms and place them like football goal posts on either side of the body with the palms face up. Be sure not to flare the ribcage up towards the ceiling. Hold this position for 3 to 5 minutes. 

Enjoy this… my holiday gift to you! Please comment below and let me know if you’ve tried this position before. If not, I would love to hear how it feels! I respond to every comment!

Have a safe, healthy, and UPRIGHT Holiday season!

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a few months ago

Construction Job Back Pain… RESOLVED!

Some results can’t be summed up in a picture. In the case of this client, Jon, his pictures don’t tell the whole story. Sure, his posture has shifted. But not nearly as much as the shift in his daily energy, his pain relief at his construction job, and his focus on daily pain relieving exercises.

The time between these two pictures is approximately 5 months. In that time, Jon discovered, that when doing his posture therapy exercise menu regularly, he was able to work at his construction based job with less pain, and better productivity.

When he didn’t, his body suffered.

After taking some time off, he came back for more sessions and exercise menus that both integrated therapy techniques (with some tough full body exercises that challenged him) and kept him engaged.

I’ll let him tell you his story in his own words:

“Half of my job is physical labor and one day my back hurt so badly, I had to lay on the floor and NOT move. I was in trouble.

Zeena walked me through some simple stretches that eliminated the pain immediately. I couldn’t believe it. She sent me home with a daily routine to survive the physical demands of my job AND stay out of pain. It worked.

In subsequent sessions she has slowly taken me back to full strength and new routines that rival my army days in the gym.

Her expertise saved my back and my career. I am deeply grateful and look forward to her continued therapy. “

Find out more about VerticAlign’s Posture Therapy Programs, here.

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