The Importance Of “Unshrugging”

Many of us hold our shoulders up to our ears, also known as shrugging. Why do we shrug our shoulders?

  • Stress can cause our neck muscles to carry more tension which leads to shoulder shrugging.
  • Sometimes we shrug our shoulders in response to a question or as a nonverbal form of expression.
  • Chronic overuse on a computer, tablet, or other electronic device can cause our shoulders to round forward and shrug.

Regardless of “why” we shrug our shoulders, we should try to focus on “unshrugging.”

Unshrugging is the opposite of shrugging. It’s all about lowering your shoulders - think about hanging your arms by your side, making a fist with each hand, and punching down toward the floor. If you feel a stretch across the top of your shoulders and into your neck, then you probably shrug your shoulders more often than you think.

Unshrugging will stretch the upper trapezius muscles (one of the muscles across the top of the shoulders). This is important because...

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How To Take The “Ouch” Out Of Elbow Pain

If you have ever experienced elbow pain, then you know how it can wreak havoc in your day.


The simple act of typing on a keyboard, using a mouse, opening a jar, or squeezing a ketchup bottle - all can cause pain when your elbow is unhappy.


In my latest video, I provide several options to decrease elbow pain, whether it is on the outside of the elbow (tennis elbow = lateral epicondylitis) or on the inside of the elbow (golfer’s elbow = medial epicondylitis).


Elbow pain does not discriminate. It doesn’t care if you are an athlete, an office worker, or a machinist. When it hurts, it prevents you from doing what you need and want to do.


You have lots of options that you can do from home. Watch the video to learn more.


Or, if you try these options, and your symptoms are stubborn and still don’t want to go away within 7-10 days, then I recommend you contact your local Doctor of Physical Therapy so they can direct you in your next steps....

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When this “I Just Slept Wrong On My Neck” Becomes That “When Will My Neck Pain Go Away?”

Neck pain is one of the most common reasons I see people in my office. Patients often say,


“I don't know why my neck started hurting…I think I must have slept wrong.”


“My neck hurts worse in the morning when I get’s just really stiff.”


“My neck is fine in the morning but gets worse throughout the day.”


“I hear all this popping and cracking in my neck when I turn my head. It’s kind of sharp when I turn to check my blind spot.”


Even though every single person has the common complaint of neck pain, the root cause of their neck pain is different in each of their complaints.


Let me walk you through my brain when I hear these complaints:


“I think I slept wrong on my neck” - Most of the time this complaint is going to be related to a muscle strain, specifically the levator scapulae muscle. One end of the muscle attaches on the cervical vertebrae closest to...

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Check 1, Check 2, Check 3...For Your Posture Check

One of the most common injuries I see in my office is poor posture. In fact, regardless of the primary reason a patient comes to see me for physical therapy, I could argue that 99% of my patients have “abnormal posture” as a secondary injury.


A twenty-something-old started physical therapy a few weeks ago. His primary complaint was shoulder blade pain with reaching forward. His secondary problem was occasional low back pain.


Guess what the root cause of his problem is?




Yes, I am screaming at the top of my lungs because posture affects EVERYTHING!


If your shoulders are rounded forward, your neck is forward, your mid-back is slumped, and your lower back lacks its normal curve, then you will have problems.




Because your entire body is more forward than it is supposed to be so your center of gravity is also forward. Your body does not work as efficiently when our center of gravity is in front of hips and...

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How To Scrub Your Floors Without Back Pain

Cleaning can take a lot out of you.


Wiping off countertops, sweeping the floor, vacuuming, and scrubbing floors - these can be intense activities!


Many of my patients often abandon the thought of a clean house because it’s too painful for them to achieve that sparkle and shine without having pain for days.


When patients share that they are unable to do many day-to-day tasks like cleaning because of their pain, I make sure to include these movements in their physical therapy plan. 


I’m a problem solver so we get to the root cause of the problem and fix it in therapy so they have less pain, better mobility, increased strength, can get back to what they need to do (like cleaning), AND get back to what they want to do so they can have more fun!


One of the tips I teach my patients with back pain is a pain-free position that is safe for their back AND allows them to get chores done without aggravating their symptoms.


Watch this ...

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Why Your Hips Might Be The Answer To Your Back Pain

Did you know that 80% of Americans will suffer with back pain at some time in their life?


While there are numerous reasons a person can have back pain, an often overlooked cause is poor hip mobility.


That’s right, if you have tight hips that lack rotation, your back can start hurting because it is trying to compensate for lack of mobility in your hips.


For 2 quick exercises to help increase hip mobility, I invite you to check out a recent Facebook video I did:


The 2 exercises I share in the video help with hip internal and external rotation. When the hips internally rotate, it’s like when you cross your legs. When your hips externally rotate, it’s like resting your ankle on your opposite knee to tie your shoe. If your hips can’t rotate well in either direction, then you can strain your back.

Take home message: Happy hips = a happy back!

To Your Best Health,


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How To Decrease Heel Pain And Plantar Fasciitis Symptoms

The mid-to-late summer months are typically ripe with feet issues. By this time, people have ventured more outdoors, increased their walking and activity, and are trying to enjoy the warmer weather before Fall and Winter rush in too soon.


It’s great to see people trying to be more active. The only problem is that many people are wearing the wrong types of shoes, do not have the endurance to physically increase their activity, or aren’t strong enough.


Recently, I did a quick video on 3 Quick Tips About Heel Pain and Plantar Fasciitis.


I’d like to expand on these tips a bit.


    1. Shoe wear - Flip flops are not supportive shoes. Sometimes they are as flimsy as soft foam or thin cardboard. Although flip flops serve a purpose in preventing your feet from burning as you walk from your chair to the pool or in preventing foot fungus in a public locker room, they were never...
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Natural Pain Relief - Feeling Better Faster

If you google “natural pain relief”, you will be inundated with a countless number of commercial products, supplements, herbs, etc. You could have your own small pharmacopeia of over-the-counter remedies. 

The question is do any of these products actually work?

Besides natural pain relief options, you have the option of prescription medications. With the rise in opioid use and abuse, many physicians are a bit more stingy with prescribing pain medication and many patients are shying away from wanting to even start them. Unfortunately, there are still too many people dependent on both prescription and over-the counter medications to mask their pain - whether it be physical, psychological, or emotional pain that grips them.

What happens when the prescription medications no longer work or the physician stops prescribing them?

Many people turn to alcohol and/or illegal substances to self-medicate. What starts out as one drink turns into another and another and another....

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How Do I Get Rid Of A “Kink In My Neck”?

As I write this blog, I am reminded that September 6th is National Read A Book Day.

Have you held a book in your lap and after reading it for awhile, tried to look up but felt a “kink in your neck”?

Or, maybe your son or daughter stayed up late cramming for an exam and then complained about a “kink in their neck” the next morning?

In my own personal experience, I have awakened with a “kink in my neck”.

Why does this happen?

One of the most common reasons the “kink in the neck” occurs is because of muscle imbalances. 

What’s out of balance?

Stand up wherever you are right now.

Stand and move your chin to your chest to look down at your feet. Do you feel a pull in the back of your neck?

Imagine standing or sitting in this position for 1 hour. The muscles in the back of your neck would get nice and stretched but the muscles in the front of the neck would get nice and tight. 

When someone is reading for awhile and...

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Self-Massage Technique #2: Who Knew That Rolling Foam Along Your Back Could Reduce Tightness?

Not all foam is created equal.

You actually need a foam roller to reduce muscle tightness, muscle tension, and muscle soreness.

A foam roller is another tool that allows you to reduce muscle soreness in the comfort of your own home. Using a foam roller when you are feeling tense after a day’s work or feeling tight after a challenging workout will help promote circulation and muscle recovery so that you feel looser and less sore.

And, please feel free to share this blog with your friends and family who may also benefit from less muscle tension and soreness.

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