• 2018 National Physical Therapy Month Logo

    Posted on 10/24/2018 by NovaCare Rehabilitation and Select Physical Therapy

     

    Every October, the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA) hosts National Physical Therapy Month to recognize how physical therapists and physical therapist assistants help restore and improve motion in people's lives.
    This October, the APTA’s focus is once again on the risks of opioid use and that physical therapy is a safe alternative for managing pain. The APTA wants you to #ChoosePT… and so do we!

    According to a recent study, researchers found that patients who started physical therapy within three days of receiving an acute low back pain diagnosis were less likely to use advanced imaging, specialist care and opioids than those who started physical therapy later.1

    In another study, physical therapy as a first treatment strategy resulted in 72 percent fewer costs for the patient within the first year. Patients were less likely to receive surgery and injections, and they made fewer specialists and emergency department visits within a year of primary consultation.2

    You can determine your need for physical therapy and choose which physical therapist you want to help manage your care before seeing a doctor. Whether you have neck pain from sleeping wrong, lower back pain from gardening, an ankle sprain or tennis elbow, our experts can create a plan of care specific to you and your rehabilitation goals.

    To give you an idea of the importance and value of physical therapists, here are five quick things our team can do for you:

    Physical therapists are trained diagnosticians. Seeing a physical therapist before you see a doctor, get an X-ray or start medication is a great way to get a jump-start on an injury or condition. You do not need a physician’s referral to start physical therapy with our clinical experts... visit us today!
    Physical therapists can help with a cardiovascular program and improve your sport performance. Wish you were a runner but get out of breath on the way to the mailbox? Want to take your game to the next level on the field? Start now with a physical therapist and/or athletic trainer!
    Physical therapists treat balance disorders. If you or a family member has had issues with falling and/or dizziness, make sure it isn’t something more complex. A balance test with a physical therapist is a great way to put aside fears, improve strength and coordination and lessen symptoms.
    Physical therapists treat neck pain and headaches, too. We can isolate the tightness in cervical muscles and figure out what may be causing tension headaches. By getting to the root cause of headaches, physical therapists can often stop them before they start.
    Physical therapists can survey your jobsite. Wonder if your desk and chair is the right height? Is the floor hurting your feet from standing all day? Talk to your employer about onsite ergonomic evaluations and then talk to us! Physical therapists can evaluate your worksite and make recommendations that will reduce pain and the chance of injury.
    Our licensed physical therapists will work directly with you to get you on the road to recovery. Contact a center near you today to request a complimentary consultation and experience the power of physical therapy. 

    1. today.ucf.edu/back-pain-treatment-costs-opioid-use-drop-when-patients-seek-immediate-care/

    2. orthopt.org/uploads/content_files/Downloads/Articles/Brennan.pdf

  • girls wearing backpacks

    Posted on 9/26/2018 by Anne Marie Muto, OTR/L, CHT

     

    Now that students have a few weeks of school under their belts, their backpacks – which were relatively light from a few school supplies – are now filling up. Not only are children feeling the weight of nightly homework, but also the weight of their book, binder and electronic-filled backpacks.

    Aside from considering the right cartoon character/super-hero, color and cool factor, the backpack should also be the right fit. In honor of National School Backpack Awareness Day, here are few things to keep in mind when picking out a backpack:

    The width should be about the same size as the student; the length should be no longer than the torso (trunk or central part of the body) and not hang more than four inches below the waist. Remember to check the bag each year, especially for younger children who are experiencing growth spurts.
    Select a backpack that has a padded back, two padded shoulder straps and a waist strap to help evenly distribute the weight from the shoulders to the body’s core and hips. The extra padding will help protect students’ neck and shoulders which are rich in blood vessels and nerves and when constricted can cause pain and tingling in the neck, arms, and hands.
    Finally, choose a backpack that is light-weight and has multiple compartments which can help distribute the weight more evenly. It’s also a good idea to think about picking a backpack with reflective material or adding reflective tape for younger students.
    After picking out the perfect backpack, students should also be reminded on how to properly wear and pack their “shoulder shadow.”

    Always wear both shoulder straps to distribute the weight evenly. Using one only shoulder strap can cause too much leaning and threaten to curve the spine.
    Adjust the shoulder straps so the pack fits snugly across their back. When possible, pack lightly and carry only items that are required for the day.
    Never allow a student to carry more than 15 percent of their body weight. For example, if a child weighs 100 pounds, the backpack should not weight more than 15 pounds.
    When organizing the content of the backpack, distribute the weight evenly by packing the heaviest items toward to the center and lower portion of the bag to keep the weight off their shoulders.
    Finally, here are a few tips to keep in mind to help lighten the load:

    Ask if textbooks are available digitally, or if extra books are available to leave at home.
    Consider having a “homework box” at home that contains schools supplies (pens, pencils, ruler, markers, highlighters, etc.) to reduce the amount of unwanted weight in a backpack.
    Encourage kids to use their locker or desk frequently throughout the day instead of carrying an entire day’s worth of books. Only bring home the books which are truly required for homework or studying each night.
    Pick up the backpack using proper lifting techniques, encouraging students to bend at their knees and use both of their hands when lifting the bag to their shoulders. It may not be a bad idea for students to participate in back-strengthening exercises to assist in building up muscles required to carry a backpack.
    We hope you have a fun and healthy year at school! Happy learning!

    By: Anne Marie Muto, OTR/L, CHT, from NovaCare Rehabilitation’s Broomall and Boothwyn, PA centers. Anne treats patients dealing with upper extremity injuries and is a preferred provider for the Graston Technique.

    NovaCare Rehabilitation and Select Physical Therapy are part of the Select Medical Outpatient Division family of brands.

  • therapist testing patient

    Posted on 9/11/2018 by Brian Brewer, CPT

     

    School is back in session and fall sports are underway! From the gridiron to the soccer field to the volleyball court, athletes of all levels are hitting the field. With increased play, however, there is also an increased risk for injury.

    Did you know that there are movement assessments designed to assess ACL injury risk? Within Select Medical’s Outpatient Division*, we provide movement assessments using dorasaVi wireless wearable sensors to measure exactly how individuals move. This technology allows our highly trained clinical team objectively analyze body movement and muscle activation, utilizing a test called the Athletic Movement Index, or AMI. With this testing, we are able to accurately determine an athlete’s ability to safely perform higher level movements, such as cutting, pivoting and deceleration, all of which can lead to ACL injury if not performed efficiently.

    The ACL is one of four ligaments in the knee that provide joint stability. Roughly 70 percent of ACL injuries during high-risk sports are non-contact injuries, meaning no collision occurred when the ACL tore. As an athlete begins to tire throughout the course of a game or event, their efficiency in movement begins to suffer, their mechanics become faulty and their risk for injury is heightened. If we can recreate these conditions during movement assessments, we are more able to determine an athletes risk for ACL injury. The AMI is a test that simulates the fatigue factor that plays a role in ACL injuries.

    The AMI runs the athlete through a battery of movements, designed to assess core strength and stability, hip strength and mobility and efficiency moving through single-leg movements, such as a single-leg squat and a single-leg hop. The single-leg movements analyze the movement of the knee, whether it is collapsing inward or outward past neutral and the degree of loading, or depth, that the participant is able to go to, both of which are important indicators in assessing ACL injury risk. If the knee is not staying neutral during single-leg movements, then there is weakness in the hip, specifically the gluteus medius muscle, which is leading to inefficient movement. The higher the speed that the knee is moving out of neutral, the higher the risk of ACL injury there is. Similarly, if the athlete is not loading deep enough, and that is coupled with a high speed of displacement, then their risk is increased even more. Through strengthening the hips and core effectively and deliberately, based on the test results, clinicians can help reduce an athlete’s risk of injury dramatically.

    Our exclusive ACL Play it Safe Program is an ACL prevention program, designed specifically to go hand-in-hand with the AMI and address the faulty mechanics that lead to ACL injuries. The program consists of a mobile application, with pre- and post-practice exercises and drills to be performed. Additionally, there is an ACL Play it Safe Kit that consists of equipment designed to improve strength and conditioning of the muscles responsible for controlling mechanics during dynamic movements that can cause injuries.

    The pre-practice exercises are dynamic warm-ups that should be used to increase flexibility and mobility in the hips, knees and ankles:

    Dynamic lunge
    Sumo squat
    High knee with calf raise
    These pre-practice exercises should be performed for 15 yards down and back, two times each. This will help to warm-up the hips and knees, and prime them for efficient movement.

    The post-practice exercises utilize the TheraBand CLX, TheraBand Ankle Cuff and TheraBand Stability Trainer. These should be done after practice when the athlete is tired. If an athlete can strengthen and train with proper mechanics while they are tired, then it will be that much easier for them to perform efficiently on the field when they reach the same level of fatigue. There is a multitude of post-practice exercises, with some listed below:

    CLX spiral technique
    TB cuff side stepping with kicks
    Single leg toss on stability trainer
    CLX plank with kicks
    All of the post-practice exercises are designed to help strengthen the core and gluteus medius muscle and prevent a displacement of the knee during dynamic movements. Of course, as with any exercise routine, static stretching and/or foam rolling should also be performed following the completion of the program.

    Through objective analysis of muscle activation and subjective observations of movement, clinicians are able to determine ACL injury risk with high accuracy. If we can address poor mechanics of movement through assessment prior to when an athlete takes the field and introduce them to ACL Programs designed to addressed these poor mechanics, we can start to minimize lost time on the field, see an increase in performance and help athletes be more confident in their sport.

    *NovaCare Rehabilitation and Select Physical Therapy are part of the Select Medial Outpatient Division family of brands.

    By: Brian Brewer, CPT, is a strength and conditioning specialist for NovaCare Rehabilitation in Annapolis, Maryland.


    Categories: Physical Therapy  

  • Posted on 8/23/2018 by Marge Krengel, OTR/L, CHT

     

    Summer activities often mean more upper extremity injuries associated with overuse, poor posture and unconditioned muscles. In the summer, everyone is excited to get outside and work on gardening, lawn improvement and home repair projects. Others are going back to the gym or taking up sports like tennis and golf.

    The terms “wear and tear,” overuse injuries, osteoarthritis and degenerative joint disease have been used in the past to describe these types of injuries. More recently, terms such as repetitive motion injury, repetitive strain injury and cumulative trauma disorder (CTD) are used to define and diagnosis musculoskeletal impairments caused by overuse.

    An overuse injury can happen when you try to take on too much physical activity too quickly or when you are causing repetitive trauma to a muscle or joint. For example, if you use poor form as you perform strength training exercises or throw a baseball, you may overload certain muscles and cause an overuse injury.

    Certified hand therapists are specifically trained in job and activity analysis and to address CTDs. We have many methods to decrease pain, inflammation and recondition the injured area to tolerate normal use again. In addition to eliminating pain, therapists can educate individuals on different ways to perform the same activities and lower re-injury. Our goal is to return patients to the level of activity they are accustomed to.

    Here are few ideas shared by the American Society of Hand Therapists for preventative treatment:

    A therapist can assess your work, leisure or home repair activities by simulating these in the center or looking at photos or videos of you performing an activity. If you are having problems at work, in some instances the therapist can visit your job site.
    Sometimes different tools are needed. If you find you are adding padding or modifying how you are doing something, then the tools being used should be re-evaluated for their effectiveness. Ergonomically designed tools are available.
    Take 30-second breaks every 15 to 30 minutes when performing repetitive activities. Use this time to stretch the muscles in the opposite direction from your working pattern.
    If possible, break up your day with different activities to avoid over-repetition with one activity.
    In addition to these tips, a therapist can design exercises specific to your unique needs to address your upper extremity condition.
    Speak with your physician before starting any new activity or ramping up your current routine and contact a hand therapist if you are experiencing pain in your hand, wrist, elbow, arm or shoulder. Regardless of the activity you want to enjoy, make sure you can reach your optimal performance and avoid unnecessary injuries.

    Enjoy the remaining weeks of summer and remember to see a certified hand therapist if you need help reaching your goals!

    By: Marge Krengel, OTR/L, CHT. Marge is an occupational and certified hand therapist for Emory Rehabilitation Outpatient Center in Marietta, GA.

    Emory Rehabilitation, Select Physical Therapy and NovaCare Rehabilitation are part of the Select Medical Outpatient Division family of brands.