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Cancer Fatigue Physical Therapy

Physical Therapy can Help Battle Cancer Related Fatigue

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Should you Consider a Physical Therapy Cancer Fatigue Program?

Cancer treatments are rigorous and can take a toll on the body. If you are feeling tired all the time you’re not alone. The number one complaint of cancer patients, affecting 78% to 96% of those undergoing treatment, is cancer related fatigue(CRF). The goal in Physical Therapy is to help you become as independent as possible. Anyone who experiences signs and symptoms of pain or loss of function would benefit from an individualized physical therapy program.

Physical therapy can help you recover from:

  • Chronic pain
  • Leg pain
  • Shortness of breath after light activity
  • Difficulty walking short distance
  • Difficulty performing daily tasks
  • Extreme weariness and tiredness
  • Difficulty paying attention or concentrating

What to Expect from A Physical Therapy Cancer Fatigue Program

Licensed Physical Therapists provide specialized therapeutic services that address the needs of CRF patients. Therapy sessions last approximately thirty minutes to one hour, depending on the patient’s tolerance. The average number of visits per week is 2-3. The physical therapy program is concurrent with cancer therapy and may last throughout the entire treatment phase. Most programs require a thorough physical therapy evaluation and a team approach with your physician is maintained.

Consider it a stepping stone approach towards your recovery.

  • Address pain—which in turn can alleviate fatigue
  • Use non-drug based treatments such as physical modalities:
    – Soft tissue & joint mobilization
    – TENS
    – Heat/Cold
  • Coach patient on how to exercise
  • Alleviate musculoskeletal dysfunction
  • Improve posture
  • Combat effects of bed rest
  • Help to maintain muscle strength and flexibility, and restore muscle balance
  • Help to decrease depression by increasing endorphins
  • Improve balance
  • Improve endurance
  • Core body strengthening

Lady bandana

The Motivation Behind a Cancer Recovery Program

From a physical therapy perspective, one of the main reasons for helping cancer patients comes from seeing individuals for pain problems who were S/P cancer and chemo/radiation. When asked about their the post-treatment care, they said that either; there was none provided, or that they got a few sessions with a lymphedema nurse. Their fatigue and pain symptoms were not addressed.

In looking at what was offered in the community (with the exception of lymphedema nurses) there appeared to be no one addressing the cancer patients—once medical treatment had been completed.

Previous advice for cancer patients was often to get more rest and avoid activities that are physically challenging. Recent studies have shown that exercise was found to be effective in preventing or reducing CRF. No adverse effects of exercising have been reported. Identified as “remarkably underutilized”, exercise is one of the few interventions suggested to diminish CRF and other psychosocial symptoms. If you are struggling to regain your strength and endurance talk to your physical therapist and see if they offer a cancer-related fatigue program that can help you get back to doing the things you enjoy.

Information Provided by PTandMe Physical Therapy Partner, Advance Rehabilitation. Advance Rehabilitation has locations throughout GA and Northern FL. More information about Advance Rehabilitation can be found on their website at www.advancerehab.com.

For more information on cancer-related physical therapy programs click here:

    
Back Pack Safety

Back Pack Safety 101

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Back Pack Safety
With summer coming to an end and the need for school supplies and backpacks returning, here are a few tips to keep in mind when shopping with your child. Continue below for back pack safety tips to make sure your kids don’t have any unnecessary back pain this year.

Size

  • Should Not Extend Above Shoulders
  • Should Rest In Contour Of Low Back (Not Sag Down Toward Buttocks)
  • Should Sit Evenly In Middle Of Back

Fit

  • Shoulder Straps Should Rest Comfortably On Shoulders And Underarms, With Arms Free To Move – Tighten Shoulder Straps To Achieve This Fit
  • Tighten Hip And Waist Straps To Hold Pack Near Body
  • Padded Straps Help Even Pressure Over The Shoulders

ThinkstockPhotos-78779211

Weight Of Pack

  • Should Never Exceed 15% Of The Child’s Weight To Avoid Excess Loads On The Spine

BackPack Weight Charts

Lifting Of Pack

  • Proper Lifting Is Done By Bending The Knees, Squatting To Pack Level, And Keeping Pack Close To Body To Lift First To Waist Level And Then Up To Shoulders

Carrying The Pack

  • Keep Both Shoulder Straps In Place And Pack Centered
  • Spinal Forces Increase With Distance From The Body’s Center

Posture

  • Uneven Stresses On The Spine Can Cause Muscle Imbalances. This Can Lead To Pain And Possibly Functional Scoliosis.

If your child does start to complain of constant back pain, talk to your pediatrician and make sure that it isn’t a more serious issue such as scoliosis.

Scoliosis is a medical condition in which the spine is curved either front to back or side to side and is often rotated to one side or the other. It can occur at birth (congenitally), develop over time having no obvious cause, but often seen related to posture and growth (idiopathically) or due to an injury or the other condition (secondarily), such as cerebral palsy or muscular dystrophy. The most common type is adolescent idiopathic scoliosis. It usually develops between the ages of 10 and 15, during periods of rapid growth. There are two kinds of curves, single or “C” curves and double or “S” curves. “C” curves are slightly more common than “S” curves. The curve can occur in the upper back (thoracic), lower back (lumbar), or a combination of both.

Strength for necessary upright postures of daily life is essential. Sometimes it cannot be maintained due to a “growth spurt,” fatigue from daily postural demands or poor postural habits common among adolescents. A physical therapist can analyze a patient’s history, habits and activities which may be contributing to their curvature and symptoms. Common findings include tightness and decreased motion and strength in the hips and pelvis, causing the lumbar spine to compensate with side bending and rotation. Treatment will include muscular re-educating techniques and manual techniques to restore motion, posture training, specific strengthening and home exercises.

sun safety

Sun Safety

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sun safety

The official start to summer is fast approaching and for many of us, the end of the school year marks the start of outdoor activities and beach vacations. While enjoying yourself this summer be sure to take precautions. The sun’s ultraviolet (UV) rays can damage your skin in as little as 15 minutes. Follow these sun safety recommendations to help protect yourself and your family.

  • Shade
    You can reduce your risk of skin damage and skin cancer by seeking shade under an umbrella, tree, or other shelters before you need relief from the sun. Your best bet to protect your skin is to use sunscreen or wear protective clothing when you’re outside—even when you’re in the shade.
  • Clothing
    When possible, long-sleeved shirts and long pants and skirts can provide protection from UV rays. Clothes made from tightly woven fabric offer the best protection. A wet T-shirt offers much less UV protection than a dry one, and darker colors may offer more protection than lighter colors. Some clothing certified under international standards comes with information on its ultraviolet protection factor. If wearing this type of clothing isn’t practical, at least try to wear a T-shirt or a beach cover-up. Keep in mind that a typical T-shirt has an SPF rating lower than 15, so use other types of protection as well.
  • Hat
    For the most protection, wear a hat with a brim all the way around that shades your face, ears, and the back of your neck. A tightly woven fabric, such as canvas, works best to protect your skin from UV rays. Avoid straw hats with holes that let sunlight through. A darker hat may offer more UV protection. If you wear a baseball cap, you should also protect your ears and the back of your neck by wearing clothing that covers those areas, using sunscreen with at least SPF 30, or by staying in the shade.
  • Sunglasses
    Sunglasses protect your eyes from UV rays and reduce the risk of cataracts. They also protect the tender skin around your eyes from sun exposure. Sunglasses that block both UVA and UVB rays offer the best protection. Most sunglasses sold in the United States, regardless of cost, meet this standard. Wrap-around sunglasses work best because they block UV rays from sneaking in from the side.
  • Sunscreen
    Put on a broad-spectrum sunscreen with at least SPF 30 before you go outside, even on slightly cloudy or cool days. Don’t forget to put a thick layer on all parts of exposed skin. Get help for hard-to-reach places like your back. And remember, sunscreen works best when combined with other options to prevent UV damage.

How sunscreen works. Most sun protection products work by absorbing, reflecting, or scattering sunlight. They contain chemicals that interact with the skin to protect it from UV rays. All products do not have the same ingredients; if your skin reacts badly to one product, try another one or call a doctor.

SPF. Sunscreens are assigned a sun protection factor (SPF) number that rates their effectiveness in blocking UV rays. Higher numbers indicate more protection. You should use a broad spectrum sunscreen with at least SPF 30.

Reapplication. Sunscreen wears off. Put it on again if you stay out in the sun for more than two hours and after swimming, sweating, or toweling off.

Expiration date. Check the sunscreen’s expiration date. Sunscreen without an expiration date has a shelf life of no more than three years, but its shelf life is shorter if it has been exposed to high temperatures.

Cosmetics. Some makeup and lip balms contain some of the same chemicals used in sunscreens. If they do not have at least SPF 30, don’t use them by themselves.

Information supplied by the CDC

low back pain relief

Low Back Pain: There is relief

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low back pain relief

Understanding back pain: You’re not alone & there is relief

Low back pain affects nearly everyone at some stage of life and is one of the most common ailments seen in medical practices. It is referred to by many different names including lumbago, lumbar sprain or strain, slipped or bulging disc, degenerative arthritis, or, when it extends into the leg, sciatica. Research suggests that between 60% – 75% of the population who experience back pain once will experience recurring or chronic problems. Most patients will not consult their physician for first-time problems their back, so you may be one of the thousands worldwide who continue to have recurring problems with their back.

To most people, their low back pain is confusing and frustrating. Many times it starts without warning and for no obvious reason. It will interfere with the performance of basic daily activities and the ability to get a good night’s sleep. Then, often the pain will subside just as unexpectedly as it started. When in acute pain, most people are unable to think clearly about the trouble and simply seek pain relief. When episodes of back pain subside, most will then go on to forget about their back trouble. Due to a lack of understanding of the specific nature of the back problem, we are unable to deal with the problem ourselves and are unable to prevent future episodes.

The majority of back pains are mechanical in nature, meaning that they are caused by problems with the moving parts of the spine. Therefore, certain movements that you make and positions you adopt can lead to the onset or worsening of pain. A very common example of this is patients who complain of worsening pain with bending forward for prolonged periods. Also, sitting for prolonged periods at work or while driving will bother these individuals and they might find it hard to get up from a sitting position. In some cases, it might even take a few minutes to be able to stand upright properly.

If you are like most patients with mechanical low back pain, you are better when you can move around frequently and worse when you have to remain in one position for long periods. You feel better when you are walking or are able to change positions frequently. There are times in the day where you will be much better and might even have no pain at all, and there are times when it is much worse. There are some whose pain will have worsened to the point that it is constant and the changing of positions is necessary to simply find some relief from the pain.

If you are a back pain sufferer, be encouraged that most patients can get significant help with their back pain. Exercise and activity need to be a regular part of your management strategy, but the exercise must be specific to your problem. Your program should include a daily walking program if possible. Management of your back problem is each individual’s responsibility, but we are here to help you. You may benefit from an individualized consultation with a physical therapist with specific training to evaluate mechanical spine disorders if your pain does not subside.

Common Back Problems Seen by Physical Therapists:

  • Strains & Sprains
  • Herniated Discs
  • Degenerated Discs
  • Sciatica
  • Piriformis Syndrome
  • Spondylosis
  • Spondylolisthesis

Low Back Pain Quick Assessment

If 3 or more Yes’s are present then the patient would likely benefit from a Mechanical Diagnosis and Physical Therapy Examination.

The more YES’s that are present, the higher the probability of a successful outcome with a mechanical examination.

  • Are symptoms present for less than 16 days in the most recent exacerbation? Yes or No
  • If the patient has lower extremity symptoms, are the symptoms above the knee? Yes or No
  • Does the patient’s low back pain vary in intensity? Yes or No
  • Do movements or positions change the patient’s symptoms? Yes or No
  • Does the patient have a hard time standing after sitting? Yes or No
  • Are the symptoms worse after bending, stooping, or sitting? Yes or No
  • Are the symptoms usually worse in the morning? Yes or No

physical therapy near me

For more information about back pain, physical therapy click the links below.

Low Back Pain Physical Therapy  chronic back pain  beware bed rest for back pain

fall prevention at home

Fall Prevention: Risks & Tips in your home

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fall prevention tips at home

While falls can happen anywhere, more than half of them happen in the home. One in every three adults 65 and older fall AT HOME each year in the U.S. One of the easiest ways to help prevent a fall is to make sure that certain tripping hazards are addressed and removed. We’ve compiled a short list below to help you get started.

COMMON WARNING SIGNS FOR FALLING ARE:

  • Feeling pain or stiffness when you walk
  • Needing to walk slower or to hold on to things for support
  • Feeling dizzy or unsteady when you get up from your bed or chair
  • Feeling weak in your legs
  • You take more than one medication
  • You have problems seeing
  • You have had at least one fall in the past year

RISKS TO CONSIDER WHEN FALL PROOFING YOUR HOME:

Lighting

  • Is the lighting adequate, especially at night?
  • Are stairwells well lit?
  • Is there a working flashlight in case of power failure?
  • Can lights easily be turned on even before entering
    a dark room?

Surfaces

  • Are there any wet surfaces that are frequently wet?
  • Are steps and stairs in good repair and the
    appropriate rise?
  • Do steps have handrails in good repair?

Trip Hazards

  • Are there throw rugs in the walking path?
  • Does the family pet often sleep in walking paths?
  • Is the carpet in good repair without tears or fraying?
  • Are there extension cords or raised door sills in the walking paths?
  • Is there a clear path from the bed to the bathroom?

If you feel that you are at risk for falls, talk to your physical therapy provider. Most physical therapy clinics offer fall risk assessments that can help determine any areas of risk. By participating in a fall prevention program, you can reduce the likelihood of a fall and increase the ability to live independently. Fall prevention programs mainly focus on core strength, flexibility, and patient education.

physical therapy near me

 

FLYR_FallPrevention_HomeFalls

For more information about balance and fall prevention click the links below:


    
fall prevention physical therapy

Fall Prevention Programs Can Keep You On Your Feet!

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One in every three adults 65 and older fall each year in the United States – WWW.CDC.GOV

The numbers are staggering. Apparently not only does the eyesight go, but balance along with it. The two could be seen as going hand in hand since the worse your vision gets, the more likely you are to bump into or trip on something unnoticed. Fear not worried reader. Physical therapy may not improve vision, but it does improve the ability to manage and reduce the likelihood of a fall and even more importantly, a resulting hip fracture.

Fall prevention physical therapy conditioning programs offered by physical therapists are designed to increase independence with functional activities, functional mobility, and safety awareness while decreasing fall risk. Research has shown that a successful fall prevention program must be multi-dimensional. A program must address all underlying factors in addition to strength and balance. Physical therapists use valid and reliable assessments to determine all the factors affecting each individual’s fall risk. Therapy focuses on reducing the factors and decreasing fall risk. This is consistent with the protocols recommended by: The American Geriatrics Society and the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons’ Panel on Fall Prevention Guidelines.

THE MAIN GOALS OF THE FALL PREVENTION PHYSICAL THERAPY CONDITIONING PROGRAM ARE:

  • Increase independence with Activities of Daily Living (ADLs)
  • Increase independence with functional mobility
  • Decrease fall risk
  • Prevent future fall
  • Increase safety
  • Patient education

Still on the fence?
Don’t take our word for it. We have included an adapted Tinetti Balance Assessment Tool to help assess the likelihood of a fall. The Tinetti tool is the oldest clinical balance assessment tool and the widest used among older people (Yelnik, Bonan 2008). The advantages of Tinetti’s balance assessment tool are its inclusion of both balance and gait and its good inter-rater reliability and excellent sensitivity. (You can read more at the US National Library of Medicine).

Once you have taken your test – ask your physical therapist to go over the results and what options are available to decrease the risk of falls. Find your PT HERE!

Tinetti-Balance-Tool

For more information about balance and fall prevention click the links below:


    
post mastectomy physical therapy

Post-Mastectomy Physical Therapy

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The word cancer is a scary one. Even though we all hope that it never becomes part of our lifetime of trials, more often than not, we know someone that has had, or is currently dealing with cancer. It is a testament to the medical community that so many women are able to wear the pink ribbon as a sign of triumph and pride, but we still mourn with those that wear it as a sign of remembrance and loss. More than once, while talking with women that have begun treatment for breast cancer, the topic of whether or not to have a mastectomy has come up. It’s not a decision taken lightly, often one with multiple concerns about what happens after surgery. Will the cancer be gone for good? Will it hurt? How long will it take to recover? A physical therapy post mastectomy program can help address these issues.

Physical Therapy can’t answer all of those questions, but one thing a physical therapy post mastectomy program can do is aid in the overall recovery process by focusing on regaining strength and increasing the range of motion in your shoulder and arm. Early intervention by a physical therapist can help women regain full function following mastectomy surgery, regardless of whether or not a woman has had reconstruction. Rehabilitation is always tailored to each patient’s specific needs. Not every patient experiences the same recovery, and as such physical therapists are prepared to help patients experiencing a multitude of symptoms – some have been highlighted below.

Size, location and the type of mastectomy are important considerations when choosing a type of treatment. Exercises to maintain shoulder range of motion and arm mobility may be prescribed as early as 24 hours after surgery.  These exercises are important in restoring strength and promoting good circulation. As rehabilitation progresses these exercises may be modified to meet new goals.

After mastectomy surgery, patients may experience tightness around the surgical site. This is caused by scar tissue formation. The result can be very dense tissue under the incision, which is painful and can restrict range of motion.  The restricted range of motion puts a woman at risk for a painful condition known as frozen shoulder. Early treatment by a physical therapist can help reduce the pain and help regain functional range of motion and strength.

Numbness and/or nerve sensitivity at the surgical site can develop post-mastectomy. Manual therapy can help restore sensation and relieve nerve pain. In severe cases, a chronic condition known as post-mastectomy pain syndrome may develop.  This is caused by scar tissue impinging on nerves. Physical therapy can be very effective at releasing scar tissue and reducing this nerve related pain.

Axillary node dissection can lead to a condition known as cording or axillary web syndrome.  Cording presents as a moderate to painful tightening, which appears as “cords” emanating from the armpit and extending down the arm. Cording significantly restricts range of motion and arm function. Manual therapy and therapeutic stretching helps to resolve this condition quickly.

Radiation treatment after mastectomy surgery can exacerbate posture and range of motion problems, causing fibrosis and skin tightness. Manual therapy can remediate these issues and may prevent them from ever becoming a problem.

The Benefits of Exercise and Physical Therapy post mastectomy treatment programs can differ greatly as seen above, but there are a few benefits that all patients can benefit from:

  • Improved shoulder range of motion
  • Improved shoulder strength
  • Improved functional mobility
  • Improved posture
  • Decreased pain at the surgical site
  • Decreased edema on the affected side
  • Improved sensation at the surgical site

Meeting with a physical therapist before surgery can help you feel more at ease and more confident in your overall recovery goals. It’s never too early to ask questions! To find a physical therapy clinic near you click here.

For more information on cancer related physical therapy programs click here:

    
walking zombies

How Much Walking Can Zombies Do?

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walking zombies

As Halloween approaches it’s hard not to consider our monster what-if’s. So we just decided to go with it and take a look at just how far our limbs can carry us without sustaining injury, assuming they weren’t eaten during the unfortunate event that caused us to turn into zombies in the first place. Zombies quite frankly do a lot of walking; most of it is rather aimless but all in all they seem to cover quite a bit of distance. If we were doomed to spend eternity in a constant state of walk/run/hobble we would likely find that zombies might experience many of the same injuries that our fellow runners face.  Here’s a few that we came up with.

IT (Iliotibial) Band Syndrome is caused by improper footwear and the increasing of mileage and/or intensity too quickly. Symptoms manifest after a short period of running with a sharp pain on the outside of the knee.

Piriformis Syndrome is commonly caused by increase in mileage and/or intensity, and poor running mechanics associated with weak hips and core. The symptoms include local pain and tightness in the buttocks with possible tingling or numbness down the back of the leg.

Shin Splints, caused by improper footwear, lack of flexibility in the calves and running on hard surfaces, they cause a throbbing or aching pain along the front of the shin usually occurring during or following a prolonged walk or run.

Runner’s Knee, caused by increasing distance and/or as well as poor running mechanics. It’s symptoms include swelling and aching pain behind and/or around the kneecap and pain walking up and down stairs.

Now, how do we combat these injuries?

Always begin activity with a light warm up 10 minutes spent following that light rustle in the woods would serve you better than an all-out sprint towards your next unsuspecting victim

Stretch, reaching overhead to get the foot on the ledge or bending down to get to the snack hiding under the car

Rest, when that same snack locks you in a closet just go with it you could use the break.

And lastly shoes. Proper footwear is essential so let’s hope that you weren’t turned on flip flop day or in those 6 inch heels.

But in all seriousness whether you are a runner, walker, pro, novice, or zombie you never have to live in pain. Don’t be afraid to seek help if injury occurs, the best treatment for an injury is early management and education.

 

Hot Weather Exercise Tips

Hot Weather Exercise Tips

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Hot Weather Exercise Tips

As the temperatures continue to rise, we have decided to put together a few hot weather exercise tips to consider while staying active and for staying hydrated through the summer.

Set your alarm: Sunrise is generally the coolest time of day, so get up and get out early. It may be more humid, but it is generally still hot at sunset because the ground radiates accumulated heat.

Hydrate: It is recommended to drink at least eight ounces of liquids prior to heading outside to exercise and 6-8 ounces of fluids every 15 minutes, switching between water and an electrolyte drink. Remember to drink plenty of fluids post exercise to speed recovery.

  • Remember to drink water and other fluids throughout the day. Carry a water bottle with you or grab a drink each time you pass a water fountain.
  • Drink 16oz of fluid 2-3 hours before exercise
  • Drink an additional 10oz of fluid 10-20 minutes before exercise
  • Consume 20-40oz of fluid for every hour of exercise
  • Always have water available. Take a bottle to work, the gym or wherever you are headed, and remember to use it.
  • Drink up any time you are in the sun. Just being outside can lead to dehydration
  • Children and the elderly are more susceptible to dehydration
  • Finally don’t rely on thirst as a signal to drink water. Thirst is actually a sign that the body is under stress and by the time you feel thirsty, dehydration has already begun to set in. Other symptoms of dehydration include dry mouth, irritability, headache, weakness, dizziness, cramps, nausea and fatigue. Even mild dehydration can lead to diminished performance, elevation of core body temperature and increased cardiovascular strain.

Acclimatize: It is advisable to gradually build up your tolerance for exercising in warmer conditions

Wear Technical Fabrics: Technical fabrics wick sweat from your body to keep you cool. Also, wear a visor to keep sun out of your eyes, not a hat, which traps the heat.

Slow Down: For every 5 degree rise in temperature above 60 degrees F, slow down your activity intensity by 5%

Protect: Use sunscreen to protect your skin and prevent sunburn.

Be realistic: Do not overestimate your level of physical fitness; set realistic exercise goals.

Blood Flow Restriction Therapy

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blood flow restriction therapy Frisco

Blood Flow Restriction Therapy is a new tool used to decrease the time to return to sport postoperatively.
(http://www.sportsmed.org/AOSSMIMIS/members/downloads/SMU/2017Spring.pdf)

After an injury or surgery, the body’s ability to increase strength is significantly compromised. Individuals who are not able to bear weight or have chronic pain can suffer from muscle atrophy which can take 6-12 months to recover from. Now a patient no longer has to run the risk of significant muscle atrophy during the early recovery phases when Blood Flow Restriction Therapy (BFRT) is combined with low intensity resistance training. (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20175789)

Blood Flow Restriction (BFR) Has Been Scientifically Proven To:

  • Significantly increase muscle size (hypertrophy) and strength with less resistance, quicker than traditional therapy. (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24476782)
  • Patients have less soreness and muscle fatigue 24 hours after treatment than traditional strength methods.

BFR also provides a natural increase in factors that improve healing such as:

  • Human Growth Hormone
  • Insulin Like Growth Factor
  • Myogenic Stem Cells
  • Decrease in Myostatin Improving Strength

Blood flow restriction therapy is a relatively new technique used by physical therapists to help promote healing in athletes with less risk of re-injury. It is currently being used by 57 major university sports programs, 20 NBA teams, 23 NFL teams, 19 MLB teams and 10 NHL teams nationwide.

Written by the Therapy Team at Frisco Physical Therapy – Frisco, Texas. Frisco Physical Therapy is currently providing blood flow restriction therapy for its patients. The licensed therapists have completed additional training courses in order to provide this service.
To learn more about Frisco Physical Therapy click here.