Enjoy healthy elbows, wrist and hands, with these circle exercises

Elbow Circles

The elbow joint is actually made up of 3 joints. These joints allow the elbow to bend and straighten as well and pronation and supination (turning the palm down and up when the elbow is bent).

To perform this exercise:

  • Begin with your elbow straight and your palm facing forward. Begin to bend your elbow. During this time supinate (turning the pinky side of the hand up towards the ceiling) the forearm as far as you can.

  • Once you have bent your elbow completely, turn the palm over towards the floor, att

  • empting to rotate the thumb to the floor as far as you can (pronating).

  • While you are pronating straighten out your arm.

Wrist, thumb and finger circles 

For the wrist:

Flex the wrist down as far as you can and then try and scribe out the largest circle

For the thumb

If you place your hand down on a table with the palm up your thumb can move up and down (abduction and adduction), in towards the pinky and out away from the pinky (flexion and extension) and it can rotate so that the pad of the thumb can touch each finger (opposition).

Start by lifting your thumb up towards the ceiling as far as you can and then towards your pinky circling around to the pads of the fingers and then away from the pinky finally ending up pointing back up towards the ceiling.

This can be performed in the other direction as well.

For the fingers

The base of each finger can also create a circle as well. The joints in fingers for the most part bend and straighten. To work these joints simply bend and strengthen them as far as you actively can.

Self Myofascial Releases of the Teres Minor Muscle (rotator cuff)

The teres minor  muscle is one of 4 muscles that make of the  rotator cuff muscles. It aids in stabilizing the shoulder joint and externally rotating the shoulder outwards

Often when this is a problem you will experience discomfort in the back of the shoulder. Reaching up and backwards can aggravate your symptoms.  This muscle can be aggravated during a motor vehicle accident while holding onto the steering wheel. This muscle can be overused by Rock climbers, overhead exercise (snatch, overhead squat), swimmers,or  baseball players

Trigger points in this muscle will refer to shoulder.

To locate the teres minor, reach under your armpit and feel the lateral border of your shoulder blade. Feel for a bony ridge that runs vertically.  Covering up the upper two thirds of this ridge is the teres minor..

Self Myofascial Release of the Teres Minor muscle

Place a ball over the muscle and pin the muscle by leaning against the wall.  Then reach over head. To get a little extra you can turn the elbow pit away from the wall.

*** Disclaimer *** This video is for educational purposes only. It is not medical advice. If you are in pain, please visit your local health care provider or contact Dr Notley if you are in Winnipeg

Self Myofascial Release to the Muscles on the Back of the Neck

There are a number of muscles that reside in the back of the neck.  They are mostly covered by the trapezius.  Some of these muscles of the neck travel straight up the spine while others travel diagonally up and towards or away from the centre of the spine.  Many of these muscles start in the upper part of the thoracic spine and either end up in the neck or end up on the back of the head.

The main action of these muscles is to extend the neck and if they attach onto the skull they aid in extension of the head. Because some of these muscles travel diagonally they will also aid in rotation of the spine.  Therefore, when releasing these muscles, a rotation of the neck will provide a little more stretch.

Depending on the muscle involved pain can be referred to the neck, the top of the skull, behind the eyes.

These muscles can become over worked from head forward postures or from lifting heavy weights off the floor while hyperextending the neck.  Straining the neck to lift the weight up. These muscles are often associated with upper cervical joint dysfunctions and a hypomobile thoracic spine.  It is also important to check the muscles of the front of the neck as well.

There are a number of ways to release these muscles.  Acupuncture,  Active Release Techniques, dermal traction (cupping) instrument assisted soft tissue manipulation,  along with changing movement habits.


Self myofascial release of the muscles on the back of the neck.

There are a couple of ways to release these muscles on your own. You can use a ball or half ball help you with this.  Look up slightly and place the ball anywhere  from the base of the skull or down the back of the neck.  You can even extend this down into the upper back.  You will have press down through the trapezius muscle. Once you have made contact with the muscle bring your chin down towards your chest.  You will feel tension pulling on the ball resist this tension by directing your pressure in the opposite direction.

To get a little more out of this movement slightly turn your head left or right and feel the tension.  When turning make sure you maintain contact in the same spot.  Feel the tension and hold for 30 seconds to a minute twice a day.

Self Myofascial Release of the supraspinatus muscle (rotator cuff)

The supraspinatus muscle is one of 4 muscles that make of the  rotator cuff muscles. It aids in abducting the arm along with the deltoid and trapezius. The supraspinatus also pulls the humerus into the shoulder aiding in stabilizing the shoulder joint. It is responsible for preventing the shoulder from displacing downwards and is active throughout the full activity of abduction

Those that work with their arms elevated, like hairstylists, are susceptible to supraspinatus tendonitis. The supraspinatus may also be aggravated by carrying heavy bags/objects or walking a dog that keeps pulling on the arm. In athletes we may see aggravation of this muscle with farmer carries and over head squats.

When this muscle is a problem it can refer pain to the deltoid or on the outside of the elbow.

To locate the muscle place your opposite hand over your shoulder and feel for a bony ridge.  That bone ridge is the scapular spine. Place your fingers just above the spine. Deep to the trapezius, the supraspinatus is found there.

To attempt to release the supraspinatus muscle find a tender spot in the muscle. Pin the muscle down with your fingers, mobo system, theracane or ball and reach behind your back and across to the other side. Using a door jamb or door handle pull the arm further across to the other side.

*** Disclaimer *** This video is for educational purposes only. It is not medical advice. If you are in pain, please visit your local health care provider or contact Dr Notley if you are in Winnipeg.

Review of a stand up desk converter

Movement is an important part of a healthy lifestyle.  Sadly, many of my low back pain patients are suffering with adisc injury because they sit for long periods of time. For these patients I often recommend they move more, get out of their seat more, going for walks, performing back bends, etc.  To keep them productive at work, I may suggest a stand up desk.

For most companies and patients, the cost of purchasing an adjustable desk is too costly.  An alternative to an adjustable desk is having a high desk and then using a stool to quickly go from sitting to standing. But again this can be costly too.  Another alternative is to use a regular desk and have a standing desk converter placed on the desk.

I was recently asked by AnthroDesk to review one of their products; the AnthroDesk: Sliding Standing Desk Converter (Black.

** Please note that this is not an affiliate link. The product was given to me so I could do a review.  I told them that despite receiving the product for free my comments on their product would not be biased. *

Anthrodesk Standing Desk Converter Review

I would like to note that I have only had the converter for approximately 3 weeks but here are my thoughts:

Pro:

  1. It was quick and easy to assemble the converter. An Allen key is provided and no added tools are necessary. It took me 10 minutes to assemble it.  The website said it could take up to 15 minutes.
  2. Once assembled, the converter feels sturdy.  In my video you can see the monitor shake but the converter felt solid.
  3. The latches have a safety mechanism to prevent accidental unlatching.  Though this might be difficult to unlatch when needed i’d rather have difficulty unlatching than having my monitor fall.
  4. With the monitor as far back as it can and the front end of the bottom shelf right at the edge of the desk the monitor is an arms length from the user.  A general rule of thumb for monitor distance is one arm’s length from the screen
  5. At the current price (February 3, 2019), the converter is $99.99 CAD.  This is a lot cheaper than an adjustable table.

Cons:

  1. It is loud when changing the heights of the shelves. In an open office setting this might not be desirable but in an home office room this might not bother you.  
  2. At the lowest position of the lower shelf it can be difficult to get the shelf up.
  3. When moving the shelves there are moments of sticking.
  4. The support post height is limited to the heights that it can support.  For shorter individuals this will be of no use.

Other Thoughts

At its lowest position the bottom shelf will stand 1.25 inches off the desk.  If your desk is currently at the right height for your keyboard this may alter your ergonomics.

It takes approximately 15 to 20 seconds, for me, to adjust the converter up or down. This may be considered long when comparing to a fixed height desk with a tall stool which takes seconds to adjust. I also don’t know how long it takes for an adjustable desk to change heights.  I would think that if it feels even remotely inconvenient you may end up not using it at all.

I’m curious to see if the noise from my converter is just a flaw in the converter given to me or if it is experienced on others. If this is what happens on all of the devices this might not be a product that would be desirable in an open office setting or a reception area.

Conclusion

 For the price, this product is a cheap alternative, and if you don’t mind the time it takes to change the heights of the shelves or the sound then this could be a good option for a stand up desk.

Effects of Long Standing

Remember movement is the most important part.  If you think that just switching to standing all day is going to fix all your problems, long standing can have its own negative effects.

  1. Lower back fatigue and discomfort.
  2. Carotid arteriosclerosis, leg edema, orthostatic symptoms (light headedness or dizziness), heart rate, blood pressure, and venous diseases (varicose veins, chronic venous disease and chronic venous insufficiency).
  3. A number of studies have shown that exposure to prolonged standing tasks can increase the physical fatigue and discomfort reported by workers.