Five Tips for Lifting

Whether the new year means lifting weights to get in shape or lifting boxes as you clean out some clutter, it’s important to keep these five things in mind so that you can stay strong and healthy.

Keep a wide base of support

Stand with your feet separated and lined up just past you shoulder width, creating a wide base of support. This increases your balance and stability and allows you to use your leg muscles more than your back muscles. 

Squat down bending at the hips and knees rather than the back.

Bending forward from the back puts too much load on the fibers that hold your discs in place. Too much bending and lifting or lifting too heavy of weight, with poor form, can cause disc slippage or herniation. 

Don’t arch or lean back with your upper back.

Just like bending forward and lifting is bad, bending backward is as well. Bending backward puts added pressure on the bones and discs in your back and can also pinch your nerves. Keep a straight spinal posture by contracting your abdominals by pulling belly button in towards your spine to flatten your low back. Your abdominal muscles are your body’s built in corset that provides stability for the spine. If you engage those muscles while lifting and keep a straight posture, you will minimize unnecessary stress on your bones and ligaments. 

Hold the load as close to your body as possible, at the level of your belly button.

Keeping the item close you your body lowers the amount of forward weight and makes it easier to lift against gravity. It also sets you up for having better spinal posture. This will decrease the chance of suffering an injury. 

Use your feet to change direction, taking small steps. Do not twist at your back.

The most common injury happens when someone is bending forward and twisting their back while lifting something from a low level. Twisting is the motion that causes the most damage to the discs in our spine. Instead take small steps and turn your body as one. This will save your back in the long run. 

If you or a loved one is in need of Physical Therapy, give us a call today at 586-323-2957 to set up your FREE 30 minute screening.

Make the Most of Your At-Home Christmas

This holiday season is going to look a little different for most of us however; there are still some ways to have some fun this holiday season from the comfort and safety of your own home! 

Stay up to Date with Santa’s Reindeer

Check out what Santa’s reindeer are up to as they prepare for the big night with Reindeer Cam

Candy Cane Hunt around the House

Another fun idea is a candy cane hunt! Add an extra special touch by getting extended family on Zoom or Facetime to read clues to the kiddos so you can still spend some time with family if they can’t be physically present. 

Watch All Your Favorite Movies

Create your very own movie night and watch as many Christmas movies as your holly jolly  heart can handle. 

Camp Out under the Christmas Tree

End your night of holiday fun by camping out under your Christmas tree and add in a cup of cocoa (or two). 

We hope you and your family are still able to find the magic and spirit of Christmas this holiday season. From all of us at CWJR, we wish you a Merry Christmas!

When the Weather Gets Cold, Don’t Forget to Warm Up!

Colder weather means some changes to how we exercise. Of course it’s harder to motivate yourself to get outside for a run or bike ride when the temperature drops, and the shorter days compress our schedules, but there are changes in your body that affect your ability to exercise too. For many people with arthritis or other joint problems, cold weather brings more complaints of pain. To stay warm, our bodies narrow blood vessels to reduce blood flow to the skin, and more superficial muscles. That means that there is an increased risk of muscle strains in the cold. There is also an increased strain on the heart because of the narrowed blood vessels. This isn’t to say that you shouldn’t be active outdoors in the cold, it just means you may have to make a few changes to your routine. Here are a few to consider:

Warm up right

A good warm up is always important, but because of the tendency for joints to be stiffer, and blood flow to muscles to be reduced in the cold, it’s even more important that you do it right this time of year. To start, do something to get your heart rate up a bit, maybe a brisk walk or light jog. Follow that up with a dynamic warm up rather than static stretches. This could include walking or jogging while pulling your knees up high to your chest. Maybe some high kicks in front of you with straight knees to get your hamstrings loosened. A walking lunge with an upper body twist can get your whole body moving. Cater your warm up to what you have planned in your workout. If you’re not sure how it should look, ask your physical therapist!

Dress right

Dressing in layers allows you to adjust your insulation to your activity level. After you warm up, you might want to take off a layer to avoid getting too hot during your main activity. You’ll have it there later to put back on when your activity level drops and you start getting too cold.

Don’t forget about the sun either – just because it’s cold doesn’t mean the UV rays are gone. Sunscreen and sunglasses aren’t just for the summer. A lip balm with SPF can protect you not only from the sun but from the wind too.

Stay hydrated

Drink water before, during, and after your workout. The temperature may be down, but you’ll still sweat and you’ll still lose water vapor in your breath. The drier air in winter lets your sweat evaporate more quickly, so it’s easy to underestimate how much fluid you’ve lost.

Cool down

When you’re done, don’t rush to get inside and crawl under a blanket. Cool down properly. Keep moving with a walk or another form of active recovery to let your heart rate come down. After exercise is the right place for static stretching. You can also head inside for some foam rolling or self-massage.

The days being shorter and the temperatures being lower don’t mean you’re stuck inside for all of your exercise. If you follow these tips, you can safely keep moving outside.

If you or a loved on is in need of Physical Therapy, please reach out to us at 586-323-2957 to set up a FREE 30 minute screening.


Every Thanksgiving, one thing that I always enjoy doing is to remember all the things I am thankful for. For me, I am thankful for my husband, my family, my job, my co-workers and my health! It is so important to get up and move our bodies every single day to keep us healthy and to helps our arms and legs move properly. This Thanksgiving, as you remember what you are thankful for (and before or after we eat a wonderful Thanksgiving meal), let’s get up and move our bodies to the word “Thankful”

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We all know that frequent handwashing is the best way for us to avoid getting sick. Germs that cause the cold or the flu spread quickly if you touch our eyes, nose, or mouth so it’s important to keep your hands clean.

Below are the 5 steps for effective handwashing

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CWJR’s Commitment Amongst COVID-19 Concerns

With the rising numbers of COVID-19 throughout the state of Michigan, CWJR wants to assure you that the health and safety of our patients remain at the forefront of all that we do. 

To reinforce that commitment, our staff continue to undergo intensive training based on CDC recommendations in order to clean our equipment and provide the proper equipment to eliminate the spread of germs. 

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Physical Therapists Adapt to Keep Clinics Safe

The COVID-19 pandemic continues to be in the thoughts of many people. However, other health issues have not gone away. People are still getting back and neck pain, overuse injuries and hurt while at work. With concerns for both individual and loved one’s health remains a concern which keeps patients from seeking treatment.

PT clinics are a busy place with lots of people coming and going but now things are different. Here are some common changes CWJR has made to minimize the spread of COVID-19.

Patient Flow

  • Stopped utilizing our waiting room. Instead, our patients wait in their vehicles and call the front office when they arrive
  • CWJR is utilizing separate entry and exit points


  • CWJR screens patients and staff as they enter the building using questions, temperature checks, or other means
  • CWJR has designated areas for each clinician and their patients to reduce contact between different groups of people
  • Telehealth has become an option when appropriate for patients to reduce the number of patients physically present in the clinic

Our therapists are medical professionals who are trained to deal with infectious diseases including COVID-19. These changes have been implemented in order to continue delivering services while keeping staff and patients safe.

If you are in need of PT treatment, but are hesitant to go into the clinic, give your PT a call and talk about what policies and procedures they have in place. This is a time of uncertainty, but people are reacting with flexibility and creativity. Don’t let concerns over COVID keep you in pain or from the treatment you need.

CWJR’s Commitment to Flexibility

Back to school has a whole new meaning right now. Some may be returning to a physical classroom and some may be returning to the kitchen table to learn via ZOOM. No matter how your family is planning to go back to school, CWJR knows that therapy remains an important part of your child’s routine. As uncertainty continues around the upcoming school year, we know that family schedules are up in the air. 

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Lazy Summer or Deconditioning?

The weather is hot, the gym is closed, and you’ve been relaxing – enjoying the lazy, hazy days of summer. So, it’s no problem to take a day off here and there. However, if you’ve been consistently noticing some aches and pains showing up, you might have the beginnings of deconditioning.

Deconditioning explained

Exercise is a “use it or lose it” kind of thing, and deconditioning is the process by which we “lose it”. Exercise creates many positive changes in your body. Deconditioning happens when these positive changes start to reverse due to inactivity.

How long does it take to decondition?

As with most things related to a system as complex as the human body, it depends. According to the ACSM, two weeks without exercise can lead to significant loss of cardiovascular fitness. Two to eight months of detraining can erase virtually all of your gains. As you detrain, cardiovascular fitness tends to decline first, with muscle strength declining later.

Other factors are your age, and your exercise history. If you’re younger, you’ll probably lose fitness at a slower rate than someone older. If you’ve been consistently exercising for a long time, or at a high intensity, your losses will probably be slower than for someone who just started.

Reversing the losses

If you’re just undergoing a period of increased time commitments at work or with family, using a shortened exercise routine can help minimize your losses. Even one session a week will help you keep most of what you’ve gained. Other options are to use shorter but more intense interval training sessions, or breaking up your activity into multiple short chunks during the day. If your layoff was longer, it may take just as long to retrain as it did to make the gains initially. If you’re having those aches and pains due to inactivity or need help designing a safe program to either maintain your fitness or gain it back after a layoff, your physical therapist can help. Injury and illness are other common reasons for detraining. Your PT can not only help you recover faster, but they can also find activities to maintain your fitness while safely working around an injury or illness.