Missoula’s Physical Therapists Since 1984.
Valley Physical Therapy is a locally owned and independent private practice that has been serving our local community since 1984. We are also physical therapist-owned and that means we value quality, personalized care for our patients. Our team consists of talented employees - both clinical and non-clinical - who have a strong reputation for clinical quality, effective outcomes and positive customer service.
Our mission is to provide quality, comprehensive physical therapy services through growing knowledge and skills, empowerment of clients, and promotion of health and wellness. We emphasize individual client evaluation and treatment to help clients meet their personal goals.
For Your Health...
Summer Time Travel Ergonomics
Summer time means vacations and travel! Most longer distance travel requires us to sit. Once we get to our destination we love to partake in all we have planned. If we develop pain while traveling to a destination it can limit our ability to participate and have fun. No matter where you are or what you do make good ergonomic practices part of your life. Here are some helpful tips on how to arrive ready to enjoy all you want to partake in!
Packing for your vacation is part of traveling. Be aware of the position of your back and neck when lifting and carrying luggage, coolers or other gear. Move at your hips and knees keeping your chest up and avoid forward bending of your low back by the dropping of your rib cage. This helps engage the muscles of your back which helps protect it. Keep your ear lined up over your shoulder and avoid shearing your head forward in front of your body. This reduces strain into your neck. Ask for help when lifting heavier item especially on/off the top of your vehicle or in/out of your trunk.
Traveling may require sitting in a vehicle, airplane or airport. Have you ever noticed the longer you sit the worse your posture becomes? Our bodies tend to have less pain if we attain and maintain good posture or alignment while sitting. Ergonomics while traveling in a sitting position is in part determined by the seat height from the floor, seat cushion angle, seat back and in a vehicle the distance from the steering wheel. Ideal alignment is a straight line running from your ear through your shoulder and hip. Move hips back into the seat and think 2 inches taller than you have been told you actually are. In a vehicle the steering wheel should be 10-12 inches from your chest to avoid injury from the airbag should it deploy. With prolonged travel movement is your friend and highly recommended. Stop and get out of your vehicle at least every two hours to stretch your legs. When the seatbelt sign on the airplane turns off get up and walk to the back and front of the airplane. While sitting turn your head from side to side and look up and down when it is safe to do so. Shrug your shoulders, pinch shoulder blades together and then relax, clench fist slowly-hold and spread open fingers or keep your head still and turn your trunk toward the right and left. Arch and round your low back within comfort, lift one hip slightly and then the other, move one thigh forward and the opposite thigh back and transfer the weight into your feet from heels to toes. If you are a passenger and help time pass by using a phone, laptop or electronic game avoid looking down for long periods of time. Ideally the screen should be in front of your face as if you were looking at the horizon. Movement can help prevent poor posture.
Once you arrive at your destination we often unload or move our possessions. Realize that your body has been exposed to vibration during travel. Because the vibration has altered your normal joint receptor function it is ideal if you wait 20 minutes before lifting heavy items. This can help prevent possible injury.
No matter where you are or what you do during travel or on vacation make good ergonomic practice a part of your life!
Linda Redfern, PT