At our non-traditional physical therapy clinic, we tend to do things...well, unconventionally! One of our favorite unconventional activities is walking with walking poles. Keep reading to find out just why we love walking poles...
If you think that we use walking poles with our clients to improve balance, like an assistive device to prevent falls, you'd be correct. But, that is just one very small reason. Here are some unique conditions and treatments we use with our physical therapy clients:
Hip Pain. Our clients with significant hip pain, no matter the age, tend to have loss of range of motion in their hip, back, or pelvis. Walking poles help restore a natural walking cycle and improve range of motion without painful stretching and exercises.
Scoliosis. One of the biggest problems our clients with scoliosis struggle with is their ability to shift their system "the other direction" or "against their curve." Walking poles encourage rotation through their thoracic spine and encourage movement in both directions.
Parkinson's Disease. This is a big one. Our clients with Parkinson's have great difficulty with alternating (which is why the majority of them develop scoliosis....see #2). Walking poles are a VITAL part of their rehab problem because it triggers the autonomic nervous system and forces alternating of their arms and legs. Clients with Parkinson's Disease tend to not swing their arms and cannot shift side-to-side well. Walking poles really help them with this!
Neck pain, headaches, and dysautonomia. Necks, just like spines and ankles, need to be able to wobble back and forth. "Stiff" necks are stiff because musculature is attempting to create stability in the neck since the body is lacking stability somewhere else. This creates neck tension, headaches, etc. Among other issues, this is also commonly seen in our clients with EDS or dysautonomia. Walking poles help you improve grounding, and the alternating use of the sticks helps your neck muscles turn on and off appropriately.
Post-operative conditions. If you have had major surgery on a limb (upper or lower), your body becomes immobilized on one side or limited in function for a period of time. Walking poles help to restore normal kinetic motion through the trunk as well as the hips. Using walking poles for a short time improves range of motion quickly, and helps to restore function.
There you have it! Walking poles are a great tool to have in your wheelhouse of rebuilding functional movement patterns. If you're interested in purchasing your own pair, click the photo to find our favorite recommended poles! *As an Amazon Affiliate JEMC may earn from qualifying purchases when you use the link below.
Are you a client here at JEMC and used walking poles with us before?! Let us know below in the comments!