Muscles: the bread and butter of Physical Therapy. Physical Therapists (PTs) and Physical Therapist Assistants (PTAs) are the muscle specialists. Muscles do everything from enabling us to breathe, moving our eyes to look at our loved ones, or even pumping blood throughout our body. Yes, the heart is even made of muscle! There are around 840 muscles in the human body, based on how they are defined. Physical Therapy deals with approximately 650 of these muscles. These muscles are known as skeletal muscles, which is a fancy term for muscles that attach to bone and move your body. This means that PTs and PTAs are the movement specialists as well!
So let us take a closer look into more of what the muscles do for you. As I mentioned above, muscles are a big part of breathing. Breathing is something that most of us never worry about because it is automatic. We do not have to think about breathing, we just do it!
There are 24 muscles that help us each time we breathe in or breathe out. These muscles are located around our ribs, chest, abdominals, neck, and mid and low back. Out of these 24 muscles that help with breathing, 19 of them have other jobs that are their first priority. The other jobs include turning your head when backing up your car, pushing the door open to go into your house, and bending over to pick up a napkin that has fallen on the floor. Your body is busy multitasking all of the time, and it is very good at it!
So what happens if you hurt one of these muscles? That is where PTs and PTAs come in to the picture. Remember, we are the muscle and movement specialists! We know exactly what muscles to stretch and what muscles to strengthen. We can teach you how to use all of your muscles to the best of your body’s ability. PTs and PTAs give you the tools to continue with your day to day tasks, breathing included. We get you moving efficiently again!
Poor posture leads to headaches, back pain, hip pain, and shoulder pain! How do you continue to keep your muscles at their best on your own? Here is the good news: you do not need a complicated workout routine. It is all about the little habits throughout your day!
First, watch your posture. Do you remember that we have 24 muscles that help with breathing? Most of those help with your posture too! So take time throughout your day to stop, take a deep breath, and relax your shoulders back and down. Second, go for a walk. Yes, a simple walk! It doesn’t have to be fast- just a comfortable pace with relaxed breathing. The body loves to keep moving so keep it happy by moving. Also, this helps your overall well-being, so treat yourself to a walk because you deserve to feel good!
Last, if you have pain and/or difficulties with your day to day tasks, then do not hesitate to see a PT and PTA. One of the top statements I hear are, "I haven’t felt relief in such a long time", and "I can't believe that I waited this long to get help." Everybody needs help sometimes. While the body is a great multitasker and a well-oiled machine, it is not perfect. Come for physical therapy to get a tune up! We are here to help! These are some tidbits about the wonderful and complex muscles of the body. So next time you pick up a mug of coffee, think of your friendly neighborhood PT and PTA. Think of how lucky you are to be able to just enjoy drinking your coffee because they are thinking of the 18 muscles working together, helping you take a drink!
Enjoy without worries! We've got you!