Pilates on the Swiss Ball

Our Physical Therapist, Amy Alcorn, once again brings a fantastic program utilizing a Gym ball for various movements, range of motion, stability work for spine and shoulder, core work and stretching. She incorporates proper breathing and discussion on how to properly perform within your ability certain ranges of motion.

This video is approximately one hour in duration. This is accessible for all fitness levels and feel free to modify as needed. As always, contact your physician first before beginning any exercise program. Enjoy this exercise program!

Excercises for DOT drivers

While I have never been a truck driver, as someone who works with truck drivers I believe that I understand some of the demands involved. A lot of the drivers that I know are hard working guys who find little time to sleep let alone get in a workout, but their jobs are physically demanding. From the demands of taking care of the truck to the over use injuries that can result from driving for long periods of time, truckers are vulnerable to becoming injured which can prevent them from doing their job. For this reason, and because drivers need to maintain their health to pass their DOT Physical exams, I recommend drivers start an easy to perform exercise program, that they can do on a regular basis. In particular I recommend 3 different exercises. I recommend drivers do cervical retractions, lumbar bridges, and go for short walks.

Cervical Retractions

Neck injuries are common for truck drivers. This is often due to the position that they sit in for long periods of time and the vibrations of the road. To combat neck injuries cervical retractions strengthen the seldom used deep neck musculature. The great thing about this exercise is you can do it while in your truck. To perform sit up straight. While keeping your head in an upright position tuck your chin in as much as you can. Hold this position until you feel mild fatigue then release. Perform 3 sets of this exercise in a row.

Glute Bridge

Low back injuries are also very common to truck drivers. Again this can be due to being in the seated position for long periods of time and the road vibrations. Strengthening the muscles of the back prevents injuries to the area. Glute bridges are one of the best exercises to strengthen the muscles that support the core and low back.
To perform Lie on the floor, bend your knees, and place your feet flat on the floor. Keep your arms by your sides. Engage your glutes and lift your hips off the floor until they form a straight line with your knees and shoulders. Hold until you start to feel the onset of muscle fatigue then relax. Repeat for 3 sets.

Go for a short walk at least once per day of driving

This is the simplest exercise but does take a time commitment. I recommend walking at least 10 minutes a day and more optimally for 20 minutes. Walking while simple is very effective at maintain mobility. The longer you maintain mobility the better off you will be. This decreases your risk of developing injuries and can help you stay pain free. In addition walking does benefit the cardiovascular system. It can help to keep healthy, despite its simplicity.

- Dr. Alex Tauberg D.C. is the owner of Tauberg Chiropractic & Rehabilitation and performs
CDL DOT Medical Exams in Pittsburgh.

There is so much more to a foam roller!

While the foam roller is commonly used for releasing soft tissues (ex "rolling out the hamstrings"), our Physical Therapist Amy takes you through many more uses including stability and mobility work in addition to "loosening" various soft tissues.
Give these a try. There is so much more to a foam roller!

Having trouble with your tennis serve? The answer may be simpler than you think…

Tennis is a repetitive motion sport that requires consistent and quality movement while playing. The most common area of repetition is with the overhead serve. Many tennis players who struggle with the serve often complain of shoulder, elbow or even neck/upper back pain. While it is assumed by most players that the shoulder is just tight and needs to be stretched out, which could be the case, there is a more common problem:
limited thoracic spine (mid back) mobility!


Why is thoracic mobility important?

The thoracic spine, specifically the upper thoracic spine, may be the most commonly restricted area in the locomotor system (1). Limited motion in this area of the spine can be related to cervical spine issues, as well as shoulder impingement and rotator cuff injuries. That is why proper motion in this area is crucial in injury prevention.


Mid back mobility also has a very significant effect on shoulder range of motion. The higher an athlete raises their arm overhead, such as with the tennis serve or throwing a ball, the more thoracic spine motion that is needed to allow full shoulder range of motion (2). If the mid back can not extend to allow the shoulder to fully move, the lower back tends to then hyperextend to get into the desired position when hitting a serve or throwing. Individuals who have had shoulder impingement typically have less thoracic mobility and a more kyphotic, or rounded, posture in the mid back (2). This will lead to compensation elsewhere in the body and that is why those who have limited mobility also have pain/tightness in the shoulder, neck or even lower back as a result.


How can this be addressed and improved?

1. Chiropractic Adjustments
A study published by The Journal of Manual and Manipulative Therapy assessed the effect of thoracic spine manipulation on patients with shoulder pain and found that the immediate effect of manipulation to the thoracic spine resulted in both improved shoulder range of motion and decreased pain (3).
2. Thoracic Mobility Exercises

Try out these two exercises below that are focused on thoracic extension and rotation.

Assess your shoulder range of motion before and after to see if there was an improvement.

Perform 3 sets of 8 reps for both exercises

Thoracic Extension: Click here

Thoracic Rotation: Click here

Michael Meersman, DC, MS


1. Winchester, B., DC, & Liebenson, C., DC. (2011, June 17). A Key Link in the Locomotor System: The Upper-Thoracic Spine. Retrieved from https://www.dynamicchiropractic.com/mpacms/dc/article.php?id=55399
2. Feil, C., DC, & Morgan, W., DC. (2010, May 06). The Importance of the Thoracic Spine in Shoulder Mechanics. Retrieved from https://www.dynamicchiropractic.com/mpacms/dc/article.php?id=54622
3. Strunce, J. B., Walker, M. J., Boyles, R. E., & Young, B. A. (2009). The Immediate Effects of Thoracic Spine and Rib Manipulation on Subjects with Primary Complaints of Shoulder Pain. Journal of Manual & Manipulative Therapy,17(4), 230-236.

Elderberry Syrup - “The secret sauce to staying healthy during winter”

Pasted Graphic 1

The berries in the picture may look like blueberries but they are actually elderberries. These berries may be the key to avoiding the flu or stopping it in its tracks this winter. With the temperatures dropping and the flu season upon us, it is time to be thinking about how to arm your body to battle the threat of sickness.

Elderberries have long been used in “folk” medicine for many years. They contain a compound called flavanoids, which have been shown to have anti-viral characteristics against parainfluenza and influenzae viruses. Typically the flu (influenza) lasts 5-7 and include symptoms such as fever, headache, muscle aches, sore throat and a cough.

A 2004 study examined the effectiveness of taking an elderberry extract while having the flu. There were 60 participants, half receiving the elderberry syrup (ES) and the others receiving a placebo. According to the article. “a complete cure was achieved within 2-3 days in nearly 90% of the elderberry treated group compared to at least 6 days in the placebo group.”

Consuming an elderberry syrup may be an effective way to expedite the recovery from the flu and other seasonal illnesses. Pre-made extracts can be found at natural health food stores. You can also make your own. Keep reading for more information on how to do so!

Resources: Zakay-Rones, Z, Thom, E, Wollan, T, Wadstein, J. Randomized Study of the Efficacy and Safety of Oral Elderberry Extract in the Treatment of Influenza A and B Virus Infections. Journal of International Medical Research. 2004;32:132–140.

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