Tag Archives: michele jang

Conservative Care for Spinal Stenosis

michele jangBy Michele S Jang, PT

Recently a dear patient of mine gave me a cutout of Dr. K’s newspaper column advising a patient with back pain to try physical therapy first. Doctor K is a health-oriented newspaper column that runs weekdays in hundreds of newspapers. The column is presented by Harvard Health Publications. I’d like to expand on this and the reason why physical therapy works.

Back pain will affect eight out of ten people at some point in their lives. There are various causes of back pain and treatment is often dictated by the cause.

Conservative treatments such as pain relievers and physical therapy are often the first line of defense; although some causes are believed to be best treated surgically.

One such cause is spinal stenosis, which is a narrowing of the opening for the spinal cord inside the vertebrae. The narrowing of the spinal canal can put pressure on spinal nerves, causing pain. New research is questioning if spinal decompression is really the gold standard of treatment or if conservative care is just as effective.

In a recent study, participants were divided into two groups. One group received surgery to alleviate pressure on the spinal nerves and the other received six weeks of physical therapy. The interventions performed by the physical therapy group included instruction on lumbar flexion exercises, general conditioning exercises such as stationary cycling or treadmill walking, lower extremity strengthening exercises, and patient education to avoid postures involving hyperextension of the lumbar spine. Results demonstrated that at the two-year mark, both groups had very similar outcomes.

If you are experiencing back pain, physical therapy should be considered as an equally effective, less risky, and much less costly first treatment option to the alternative of surgery. This conservative treatment includes gentle, hands-on alignment of tissues and structures, along with education of specific rehabilitative exercises and lifestyle modification suggestions tailored for the specific cause of your back pain.

Michele S Jang, PT is a physical therapist who likes to look outside the box. She has been a physical therapist for over 20 years and has extensive training in manual therapy or the use of hands to help rehabilitate the body. Michele has been an instructor both in the United States and abroad. She offers Free Consults on Tuesday afternoons. Michele also has a team of therapists at Spirit Winds who offer an array of expertise on exercise, fall prevention, foot and shoe assessments, body mechanics and proper breathing technique to increase awareness and healing. Michele can be reached at 805 543-5100 or [email protected]

Take a Hike! Health Benefits of Nature Walks

michele jangBy Michele S Jang, PT

The next time someone tells you to “take a hike”, maybe you should! Research shows that nature walks result in greater mental health benefits as compared to urban walks. Maybe this is why the San Luis Obispo area ranks as one of the happiest cities in America. We are still fortunate to have exposure to natural environments; unlike urban dwellers surrounded by concrete jungle. Continue reading Take a Hike! Health Benefits of Nature Walks

Are Cellphones Hazardous for Your Health?

michele jangBy Michele S Jang, PT

How often do you carry your cellphone on your body; in your pants or shirt pocket for example? Cell phones emit low levels of radiofrequency energy and scientists have been conducting studies to determine if release of this energy can adversely affect your health.
Back in early 2000 when pagers were more popular, I would perform an experiment for a class of therapists that demonstrated how pagers can affect your body. I would have one of the students wear their pager, usually on their hip. As a class, we would observe their posture and measure range of motion and strength.  Then I would ask the student to remove their pager from their body.  The change was remarkable!  Posture, range of motion and strength all improved!
Current communication technology has resulted in much more powerful equipment that we hold or wear in close proximity to our tissues for longer periods of time.  Not only do we have cellphones, but we have smartphones which transmit electromagnetic radiation signals at a much higher rate than pagers do. Continue reading Are Cellphones Hazardous for Your Health?

The Importance of Physical Touch

michele jangBy Michele S Jang, PT

Did you know that physical contact is important to the healing process?  A simple pat on the back is not just an acknowledgement of the other person but also has additional benefits. Even a handshake can go beyond a simple greeting. Physical touch is a way to connect with another person in a more intimate fashion. Touching can reassure, acknowledge the other person, lessen fears, as well as soothe and calm. Continue reading The Importance of Physical Touch

Do you have Good Posture?

michele jangBy Michele S Jang, PT

How do you know if you have good posture? At Spirit Winds Physical Therapy we have an exercise that we call the “3 – S” posture drill.  Stand against the wall and feel what parts of your body touch the wall.  When you have good spinal alignment, three parts of your body will touch the wall.  These three body parts are what the “S’s” stand for.  They are your Sacrum, Shoulder blade(also known as your scapula) and lastly, your Skull.
In order to have your sacrum flush with the wall, it is important to engage your abdominal muscles and perform a slight posterior pelvic tilt as if tucking your coccyx or tailbone between your legs.
For most people, keeping our shoulder blades against the wall means rolling our shoulders backwards, gently squeezing the shoulder blades together and down. Continue reading Do you have Good Posture?