Category Archives: Aging

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.

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FLYR_FallPrevention_HomeFalls

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


    
Sarcopenia

Fighting Sarcopenia (Muscle Loss Due to Aging)

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Sarcopenia

Sarcopenia, or muscle loss due to the normal aging process, is common as the body becomes resistant to regular growth signals. After a person turns 30 years old, the average rate of muscle mass decrease per decade can be as high as 8%(1).  Sarcopenia causes a person’s body to become functionally impaired and frail in old age. It is estimated that the range of clinical sarcopenia exists as low as 8.8% in older women and up to 17.5% in older men(2). Older people who experience this muscle-wasting condition have various treatment options, including physical therapy and body contouring for muscle loss. These non-surgical cosmetic treatments can help to firm and tone muscles.

How Does Aging Cause Muscle Loss?

Adults usually achieve peak muscle mass at some point during their early 40s(3). Gradual muscle loss happens afterward. Age-related decrease of skeletal muscle mass and disease can affect muscle performance and physical function. Meanwhile, the decrease in physical function and mobility connected to sarcopenia can lead to falls(4).

Researchers are studying ways to slow, reverse, or prevent such conditions. Medical professionals diagnose sarcopenia by examining flexors and extensors for signs of muscle loss. People can also take steps to slow or reverse muscle loss due to aging.

Overcome the Main Factors that Accelerate Muscle Loss

Besides the normal aging process, other factors can cause a muscle imbalance, including:

  • Not Moving Enough: Inactivity includes a sedentary lifestyle, like sitting at a desk all day or lying in bed after an illness or injury.
    Not using muscles is a common trigger of sarcopenia(5), resulting in faster muscle loss and increased weakness.
  • Inflammation: Inflammation helps the body rebuild damaged cells after injury or illness. Long-term diseases like rheumatoid arthritis (RA), however, can cause inflammation that leads to muscle loss. A person’s body may experience decreased muscle mass due to a low-protein or low-calorie diet. Other factors include age-related lifestyle changes, such as problems cooking or altered sense of taste.
  • Chronic Physical Stress: Sarcopenia becomes more common in several health conditions that increase stress on the body, such as chronic kidney disease(6).

Exercise Regularly

Keeping muscles active is one of the most effective methods to fight sarcopenia. As the timeless adage goes, “If you don’t use it, you lose it.” A good workout program combines weight-resistance exercises, aerobic exercises, and balance training. An older adult should consider doing two to four exercise sessions every week to get the optimum results(7).

Here are some of the best types of exercises to consider:

  • Fitness Training: Physical activity like endurance training and aerobic exercise can help control sarcopenia. Older adults could combine aerobic and resistance exercises for workout programs(8).
    More research is needed to determine whether aerobic exercises without weight resistance exercises would produce the same results.
  • Resistance Training:  Some examples include weightlifting and resistance bands. These exercises create tiny tears in muscle fibers, boosting muscle strength and muscle mass(9).
  • Walking: Significantly reducing walking for two or three weeks can drastically reduce muscle mass and strength(10). Another benefit of this exercise is that it is usually free unless people walk on a treadmill in a commercial gym. Senior citizens can take different approaches to add more steps to their daily lives. For example, they can try to increase their daily walking distance by 10% every month.

Boost Intake of Muscle-Friendly Substances

A diet deficient in protein, particular vitamins, and minerals, or calories can cause a higher risk of muscle wasting. Here are some nutrients people can add to their diets:

  • Protein; Nutritional issues like protein deficiency become more common among adults over 60 years old(11).
    Some good sources include:
    ● Meat
    ● Fish
    ● Eggs
    ● Soy
    ● Whey

Leucine is among the nine essential amino acids (EAA) people must get from food and supplements. Its functions include increasing muscle mass(12).

  • Amino Acid (Creatine): The liver, kidneys, and pancreas make this byproduct amino acid. Sources like meat or Creatine supplements might trigger muscle growth.
  • Vitamin D: Studies show Vitamin D deficiency is linked to sarcopenia. However, more research is needed about the reasons for this relationship(13).
    Minimally processed food is always the best source of nutrients. Nevertheless, some studies show that Vitamin D supplements may boost muscle strength(14).
  • Omega-3 Fatty Acids: Fatty fish like tuna, salmon, and mackerel, and shellfish are some foods high in omega-3. They could also boost muscle growth, although more research is needed about whether this is due to omega 3’s anti-inflammatory properties(15).

Get a Good Night’s Sleep

Research on the possible relationship between sleep disorders and sarcopenia is limited(16). However, a recent study showed a possible link between these two health conditions among seniors.
Sleep experts have learned that getting enough sleep is beneficial for muscles through tissue repair and growth(17). More research is needed to determine whether sleep and age-related sarcopenia are connected(18).

If you suffer from muscle loss or are in need of a strengthening program please reach out to one of our physical therapy teams near you.

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References

  1. Muscle tissue changes with aging: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2804956/
  2. Sarcopenia: https://mayoclinic.pure.elsevier.com/en/publications/sarcopenia
  3. Slowing or reverse muscle loss https://www.mayoclinic.org/medical-professionals/physical-medicine-rehabilitation/news/slowing-or-reversing-muscle-loss/mac-20431104
  4.  Ibid
  5. Sarcopenia: https://mayoclinic.pure.elsevier.com/en/publications/sarcopenia
  6. Sarcopenia in patients with chronic liver disease: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/27372291/
  7. Exercise frequency, health risk factors, and diseases of the elderly: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/23748185/
  8. How can you avoid muscle loss as you age?: https://health.clevelandclinic.org/how-can-you-avoid-muscle-loss-as-you-age/
  9. Want to lose weight? Build muscle: https://health.clevelandclinic.org/build-muscles-lose-weight-by-adding-strength-training-to-your-workout/
  10. Role of exercise in age-related sarcopenia: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6165967/
  11. How older adults can stay on track to eat healthfully: https://health.clevelandclinic.org/how-to-age-better-by-eating-more-healthfully/
  12. Leucine: https://www.urmc.rochester.edu/encyclopedia/content.aspx?contenttypeid=19&contentid=Leucine
  13. Sarcopenia in post-menopausal women: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/25882761/
  14. Effects of vitamin D on muscle function and performance: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3513873/
  15. The influence of omega-3 fatty acids on skeletal muscle protein turnover in health, disuse, and disease: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6742725/
  16. Association between sleep duration and sarcopenia among community-dwelling older adults: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5348186/
  17. Sleep and muscle recovery: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/21550729/
  18. The impact of sleep on age-related sarcopenia: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/26216211/
Physical Therapy for Rheumatoid Arthritis

Physical Therapy for Rheumatoid Arthritis

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Physical Therapy for Rheumatoid Arthritis

The World Health Organization (WHO) reported that rheumatoid arthritis usually begins between the ages of 20 and 40. This disease may cause deformity and pain due to the weakening of bone joints and ligaments.

Rheumatoid arthritis is typically diagnosed through blood tests or looking at the bone structures through imaging tests, such as computed tomography (CT) scan, X-rays, and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI).

These methods reveal the severity of rheumatoid arthritis and help plan out the appropriate treatments for the disease.

Usually, medications are prescribed to ease the pain and other symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis. However, other non-pharmacological methods like occupational therapy and physical therapies are also done to help patients manage this disease.

Benefits of Physical Therapy for Rheumatoid Arthritis

The Arthritis Foundation says physical therapy can help people with arthritis to move safely. Physical therapy (PT) can increase joint strength, improve mobility, and maximize the ability to perform life activities.

Physical therapy can help alleviate rheumatoid arthritis. Usually, PT routines include exercises that enhance balance, flexibility, coordination, and strength.

During therapy, your physical therapist will engage you in activities and exercises to help you maintain proper posture.

A PT can also assist you in using walkers and canes and suggest modifications that can help ease pain and improve everyday functions.

Exercises to Help with Rheumatoid Arthritis

Some people with arthritis fear exercise. However, exercise can actually help reduce the disability risks of arthritis.
Doing light exercises regularly can help strengthen muscles and boost flexibility that may help support joint function in rheumatoid arthritis. These constant movements may also help improve your emotional state and reduce fatigue.

The following low-intensity exercises are recommended for people with rheumatoid arthritis.

  1. Walking
    Low-impact and straightforward exercises are great for rheumatoid arthritis. Make sure to start your pace slowly and constantly drink water to stay hydrated. Walking promotes aerobic conditioning and boosts your mood.
  2. Stretching
    Stretching can help reduce joint stiffness, promoting flexibility among people with rheumatoid arthritis. Developing a stretching routine may help improve your range of motion. You can start your stretching routine with a warm-up for three to five minutes and proceed with mild stretching. Remember to hold the stretch for 10 to 20 seconds before releasing the stretch. You can repeat each stretch exercise two to three times.
  3. Cycling
    Low-impact aerobic exercises like cycling benefit the joints. Cycling may have beneficial effects on your cardiovascular health, which may be at risk when you have rheumatoid arthritis. You can ride a bike outside or cycle on a stationary bike with the supervision of a physical therapist.
  4. Yoga and Tai Chi
    Building your strength through these low-intensity exercises may increase your muscle strength and joint flexibility. These activities encourage flowing movements and deep breathing that are also advantageous for balance to avoid falls.
  5. Hand Exercises
    One of the symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis is joint pain, especially in the smaller joints of fingers.

Here are some helpful hand exercises that you can try.

  • Making a Fist
    Start this simple exercise by stretching out your hand with your fingers straight, and then slowly draw them together to form a fist. Make sure that your thumbs are not tucked under your fingers. Hold the fist for a minute and repeat it as many times as you want.
  • Pinching Fingers
    Start by opening your hand again. With your thumb, try and touch each finger and press it firmly by doing a pinch action. You can hold the pinch for a second or two before moving to the next finger.
  • Stretching Fingers
    You can do this stretch by slowly and gently opening your hand and stretching out your fingers for several seconds. This stretch can strengthen the muscles and reduce the stiffness of finger joints.
  • Lifting Your Fingers
    Place your hand facing down on a flat surface. One by one, slowly lift each of your fingers, starting from your thumb to your pinky. Hold the finger lift for a second or two before lowering it.

Other Physical Therapy Treatments for Rheumatoid Arthritis

There are passive ways that PT can help with rheumatoid arthritis. A physical therapist performs these treatments.

Massage Therapy
This relaxing treatment can help target specific muscles and release tension. Massage can also stimulate healthy blood circulation and manage stress.
Note that massage therapy is not recommended for painful joints during a rheumatoid arthritis flare-up.

Hydrotherapy
This type of therapy involves submerging the affected area or the whole body into warm water to relieve arthritis pain.
Hydrotherapy can be passive therapy or active therapy. Some physical therapists assist rheumatoid arthritis patients in performing light movements and exercises in the water.

Cryotherapy Therapy
This therapy is performed by putting a cold compress on the affected area to reduce swelling and help alleviate pain.

Heat Therapy
Heat therapy is done by placing a warm towel on the affected area to promote circulation. This therapy may also stimulate blood flow and soothe muscle tension and pain.

Ultrasound
Therapeutic ultrasound uses vibrations from sound waves to reduce stiffness and pain, improving joint function.

For help with your arthritis pain please reach out to a physical or occupational therapist near you.  We can work to manage your symptoms and still keep you doing the activities you love most!

physical therapy near me

This article was written by Ruth Riley. She is an educator, writer, literary enthusiast, and a regular contributor at Motherhoodcommunity.com. By utilizing her expertise in teaching and writing, she wishes to educate more people and provide insight into health and wellness.

snow shoveling safety tips

Snow Shoveling Safety Tips

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snow shoveling safety tips

Snow Shoveling: A common cause of soft tissue injuries & low back pain

An average of 11,500 people are treated at emergency rooms for injuries and medical emergencies related to snow shoveling each year, according to a report released Jan. 17 by the Center for Injury Research and Policy at Nationwide Children’s Hospital.  Data from between 1990 and 2006 shows the majority of the injuries were soft-tissue injuries, with the lower back being affected 34 percent of the time. Acute musculoskeletal exertion was the cause of injury in 54 percent of the cases, followed by slips and falls (20 percent) and being struck by a snow shovel (15 percent).  Study authors recommended individuals talk to their doctor before shoveling snow, particularly those who do not exercise regularly, have a medical condition or are in a high-risk group. They also recommended alternative snow removal methods.

Clearing snow & Ice

Clearing snow and ice from driveways and sidewalks is hard work. To prevent injuries, follow these safety tips from the National Safety Council, the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, and other prevention organizations.

  • Dress warmly, paying special attention to feet, hands, nose,
    and ears.
  • Avoid shoveling snow if you are out of shape. If you have a history of heart trouble, do not shovel snow unless your doctor says it’s okay.
  • Do light warm-up exercises before shoveling and take
    frequent breaks.
  • If possible, push snow in front of you. If you have to lift it, pick up small amounts and lift with your legs, not your back. Do not toss snow over your shoulder or to the side.

Use ergonomic lifting technique

Whenever possible, push the snow to one side rather than lifting it. When lifting the snow shovel is necessary, make sure to use ergonomic lifting techniques.

  • Always face towards the object you intend to lift (ie have your shoulders and hips both squarely facing it)
  • Bend at the hips, not the low back, and push the chest out, pointing forward. Then, bend your knees and lift with your leg muscles, keeping your back straight
  • Keep your loads light and do not lift an object that is too heavy
    for you
  • If you must lift a shovel full, grip the shovel with one hand as close to the blade as comfortably possible and the other hand on the handle (handle and arm length will vary the technique)
  • Avoid twisting the back to move your object to its new location – always pivot your whole body to face the new direction
  • Keep the heaviest part of the object close to your body at your center of gravity – do not extend your arms to throw the snow
  • Walk to the new location to deposit the item rather than reaching or tossing

Video provided by the Center for Physical Rehabilitation with locations throughout Grand Rapids, MI. Check them out online here.

snow shoveling safety tips PTandMe

SENIORS NOTE:

Whenever possible, avoid shoveling snow first thing in the morning. If this is not an option, a proper indoor warm-up will prepare the body for additional activity. Jogging in place, or using a treadmill or stationary bike for 5-10 minutes are options for safely raising the heart rate while in a neutral temperature. As with any exercise, drinking lots of fluids will help maintain electrolyte balance and prevent fluid loss.

 

For more cold weather safety tips to keep you out of harm’s way this winter check the articles below!

Staying Warm in Winter PTandMe  Winter Safety PTandMe  

 

Need help from a physical therapist?

We work with expert teams around the country to make sure you have access to the best care possible.

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Physical Therapy for Seniors in Retirement Homes

Physical Therapy for Adults Living in Retirement Communities

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Physical Therapy for Seniors in Retirement Homes

Physical therapy for adults in retirement communities is common. Physical therapy programs can restore a great degree of functionality and bring independence to an elderly after he/she has sustained an impairment either from some chronic condition, injury, or illness. It also works when a person is recovering from surgery.

Physical therapy can be used to manage injury, deformity, or disease using physical methods rather than surgery or drugs. Typical methods include stretching, strengthening through exercise, and manual therapy. Today most outpatient physical therapy clinics and assisted living facilities for disabled adults would offer these as part of their services.

Under physical therapy, a trained therapist will evaluate and assess a person’s condition and accordingly devise a plan to suit their needs. The goal is to restore mobility and prevent future injuries. Treatment plans are usually long-term that keep in mind the degree of independence to which a person was accustomed and aim to bring that back.

Common Types of Physical Therapies for Seniors

Orthopedic Physical Therapy

When needing physical therapy for adults living in retirement communities, outpatient PT clinics offer an array of valuable services. Injuries related to the musculoskeletal system are treated by orthopedic physical therapists. Seniors recovering from orthopedic surgery are also ideal for undergoing this form of therapy. It aims to restore the functioning of joints, bone, muscles, ligaments, and tendons.

Seniors who have a hard time balancing or have reduced physical strength can also benefit from regular physical therapy sessions. It can help seniors in improving and maintaining better endurance and muscle tone enabling them to live more freely and independently. The goal is to decrease their risk of falling and accidental muscle/bone damage.

Patients suffering from post-intensive care syndrome can also benefit from physical therapy. Post-ICU physical therapy programs help patients get back into their daily routines and activities by working with them to reduce the effects of muscle loss and weakness.

Trained therapists who work at outpatient clinics and assisted living for adults with disabilities often create restorative therapy programs for the residents. These programs are led by nursing staff and caregivers with the specific needs of the patient in mind. The nursing staff prescribes certain exercises that improve strength and range of motion.

Geriatric Physical Therapy

The main emphasis under geriatric therapy is on the needs of the aging individual. Common conditions that receive treatment are – joint replacement, balance disorders, cancer, osteoporosis, and arthritis. Special programs are devised to improve fitness levels, reduce pain, and restore mobility to the maximum range.

Aquatic or Hydrotherapy

Aquatic therapy is beneficial for a few key reasons. Water decreases the gravity placed on weak limbs unable to bear much weight. This makes it easier for a patient to move, with less stress on joints, muscles, and bones. Physical therapists also utilize water to surround the patient’s body and help blood circulation in the legs. This can also reduce swelling in the patient’s ankles and feet. As the swelling decreases, the range of motion can increase.

Neurological Physical Therapy

This therapy is slightly different from all the other therapies in that it focuses on restoring brain health. Neurological physical therapy is best for the elderly who have neurological conditions like ALS, Dementia, or Parkinson’s. Those who have sustained some kind of brain injury can also benefit from it. A neurological physical therapist trains the patient to adapt to mobility, visual, and muscle loss impairments and balance issues to make their daily living as easy as possible.

Occupational Therapy

The focus of occupational therapy is on fine motor movements and hygiene-related tasks. Ideal candidates to receive this therapy are the elderly with arthritis or those who have suffered a stroke. These conditions can affect a person’s mobility and movement. An occupational therapist teaches ways to handle daily tasks with the least difficulty. It also focuses on incorporating adaptive equipment to help a person regain independence which eventually boosts the elderly’s body awareness and self-esteem.

Cardiopulmonary physical therapy

Cardiopulmonary therapy works best for individuals who have had a heart attack or suffer from some kind of heart condition. Common pulmonary conditions such as pulmonary fibrosis and Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease can also benefit from this therapy. It helps to restore functional independence and endurance.

Speech-Language Therapy

The focus of this therapy is on the mouth and language-related concerns; and not just on speech as one may assume. Seniors who have a hard time chewing food or swallowing can benefit greatly from speech-language therapy. Additionally, seniors with short-term memory loss should also work with a speech-language therapist. The focus of this therapy is on cognitive issues, language deficit, and judgment concerns that are often a result of stroke or dementia.

Respiratory Therapy

Respiratory therapy is for seniors who struggle with breathing issues. It’s not uncommon for a common cold to sometimes turn into pneumonia in an occasional elderly. This can take a toll on the breathing quality. A respiratory therapist uses tapping and massage lessons to loosen the mucus which encourages easy breathing.

 

How Physical Therapy Benefits Seniors

Can manage chronic pain

Most seniors suffer from conditions like osteoporosis, arthritis; and as a result, suffer from pain almost every day. Studies tell that almost all elderly over the age of 65 have some degree of arthritis in their spine no matter whether symptoms persist or not. Physical therapy can preserve strength and joint health so that the onset of symptoms is delayed. If a person already has arthritis, via physical therapy they can learn therapeutic methods to reduce the level of pain and everyday discomfort.

Can significantly reduce the risk of falls

Falls happen to be the leading cause of bone and head-related injuries/accidents. Also, one fall often leads to multiple falls. Physical therapy can ensure stability and strength via balancing techniques to prevent future falls.

Reduces dependence on pain medications

Physical therapy is often more effective in restoring balance and managing pain than medications prescribed by the doctor. When performed properly, it can produce almost the same kind of result in treating spine-related issues as surgery.

Reduces risk of injury

With advancing age, a person loses flexibility and muscle strength making them more prone to injuries. As part of physical therapy, a person learns several extension exercises that preserve flexibility and maintain balance to prevent falls and ensure correct posture.

Helps to regain independence and aid a healthy lifestyle

Many of the old age injuries and illnesses are due to lack of activity and mobility. Physical therapy programs incorporate various exercises to keep the elderly strong and fit. In this way, it enables them to complete everyday tasks all the while maintaining a healthy weight.

Outpatient Physical Therapy and Telehealth

Thanks to the transformation in digital technologies; seniors don’t always need to subscribe to an inpatient facility. They can work with an outpatient clinic wherein they receive physical therapy and go back to their home.

Outpatient clinics often use telehealth for physical therapy (online appointments) to work with patients that may not yet feel comfortable going into the clinic. These online telehealth appointments are more than a consultation. It is a:

  • Is a full therapy visit
  • Is a private, secure, and compliant way to receive care
  • Sessions can be done on a computer, tablet, or phone
  • Appointments are accessed on a user-friendly platform

Telehealth is a great option for seniors that are in need of care but are unable to make it into the clinic.

Final Thoughts

If you or someone you love needs physical therapy for adults living in retirement communities to recover from an illness, weakness, or injury, talk to your local physical therapist or primary care provider, and ask for more information.

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PT News PTandMe

PT News May 2020

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PT News PTandMe

This time in PT News we recap what our clinics have been posting throughout April & May 2020. We are excited to bring you current physical therapy based posts featuring published articles from PTandMe partnering clinics!

1. COVID-19 Scientific Update and Masks

Written by Mishock Physical Therapy with multiple locations throughout Berks & Montgomery Counties in PA.

The fact that many people are asymptomatic is excellent news; however, it also means that COVID-19 could be spread to those most vulnerable unknowingly. This is why vigilance in continuing the CDC prevention techniques (frequent hand-washing, wear a face mask, clean and disinfect, social distancing, stay home when sick, cover cough or sneeze) is critical as we open up our communities.  Read more

 

2. Keeping You Safe While Serving Your PT Needs

Written by Momentum Physical Therapy, an outpatient physical therapy practice with multiple locations throughout Greater San Antonio, TX 

What are we doing to keep our clinics a safe place to receive care? Below are the steps we have taken to ensure the safety of our patients and staff is preserved. Read more

 

3. Heart Rate Zone Training

Written by The Center for Physical Rehabilitation an outpatient physical and hand therapy practice with locations throughout Greater Grand Rapids, WI.

Wanting to make good use of your extra time at home? Take a look at the facts below to learn how to use heart rate zones to increase your cardiovascular fitness. Modes of cardio: walking, running, biking, swimming.  Read more

Find these locations and others to start feeling better today!

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PT News PTandMe

PT News February 2020

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PT News PTandMe

This time in PT News we recap what our clinics have been posting throughout February 2020. We are excited to begin a new year of new posts featuring published articles from PTandMe partnering clinics!

1. 8 Great Pelvic Floor Stretches to do During Pregnancy

Written by Ability Rehabilitation with multiple locations throughout Tampa and Orlando, FL.

Stretching and strengthening your pelvic floor muscles during pregnancy can help relieve your aches and pains — and alleviate stress and tension too. Pelvic floor stretches will also help you have an easier delivery and decrease your risk of urinary incontinence later on.  Read more

 

neck pain

2. Treat Your Back and Neck Pain with Our Advanced PT Methods

Written by Cornerstone Physical Therapy, an outpatient physical therapy practice with multiple locations throughout Greater Columbus, OH

Did you know that studies say approximately 90% of people will be plagued by back or neck pain at some point in their lives? While it is a common complaint, it can sometimes be difficult to determine where the pain is originating on your own. Read more

 

3. Older is Better: Strength Training for the Aging

Written by Wright Physical Therapy an outpatient physical and hand therapy practice with locations throughout Idaho.

Aging adults often attribute their aches, pains, and illnesses to “getting too old”. Age can be used altogether too much as a crutch to avoid exercise and activity. When it comes to health in general, the aging individual has so much upside to focusing on wellness in their lifestyle.  Read more

Find these locations and others to start feeling better today!

physical therapy near me

Safely get in and out of a chair after surgery

How To Safely Get In and Out of a Chair After Surgery

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Safely get in and out of a chair after surgery

After going through total replacement surgery, it can be difficult to move around. Shortly after discharge, but before outpatient physical therapy begins, most patients will be seen by a home health nurse or physical therapist. Their visits with you will focus on making sure the wound heals properly and that you are able to perform essential functions around the home. This can include bathing, getting in and out of bed, and even walking up and down the stairs. In this article, we want to focus on how you can safely get in and out of a chair after surgery. 

One of the easiest things you can do is to choose to sit in chairs that are at an appropriate height for you. Your thighs should be parallel to the ground and your hips should NOT be lower than your knees. Avoid low chairs and overstuffed sofas and couches as much as possible. The ultimate goal is to be able to go from sitting to standing, vice-versa with even weight distribution on both legs.

How to sit down in a chair after surgery

  • Back up with your walker until you feel the chair with your legs
  • Slide your surgical leg forward. Reach back for the arm-rests one hand at a time.
  • Lower yourself using your arms and your nonsurgical leg.
  • Scoot back into the chair using your arms to assist.

how to safely sit in a chair after surgery

How to get up from a chair after surgery

  • Avoid low chairs and chairs without armrests in your immediate post-operative phase.
  • Scoot to the edge of the chair keeping your surgical leg in front of you.
  • Push up using your arms and nonsurgical leg until you are standing. Do not pull up using the walker.
  • Reach out and take hold of your walker.
  • Make sure your balance is secure before you take your first step.

how to get up from a chair after surgery

Whether you are working to safely get in and out of a chair after surgery, make sure you DO NOT pull up from the walker or sit down holding onto the walker.

The tips above will work in most cases, but not all. It is important to follow the advice and restrictions given to you by your health care provider. In our next post about how to safely manage movement after a hip or knee replacement, we will be covering the proper steps for getting in and out of chairs and the bed. We wish you all the best in recovery. If you are looking for an outpatient physical therapy clinic please stop by the Find a PT page.

physical therapy near me

More reading on total hip or knee joint replacement recovery:

manage movement after a hip or knee replacement

 

Protect Seniors from Winter Injuries

5 Ways to Protect Seniors from Winter Injuries

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Protect Seniors from Winter Injuries

While winter is undoubtedly a time of joy – with the holidays and all the Christmas spirit – it is also a time of harsh weather, dark nights, and worsened moods.
Seniors can often feel winter more strongly than younger people do, as the weather conditions can limit their access to shops, family, and even doctors. It’s typically a time when they’re cooped up at home, afraid of harsh conditions and potential injuries, which doesn’t make for an enjoyable experience.

Here are 5 ways to help you protect the seniors in your life from winter injuries.

Bundle up

As we get older, we tend to lose body heat much more quickly, and we can even be unaware of how cold we actually are. This can lead to colds, pneumonia, or even hypothermia, which, in turn, can also lead to heart problems, kidney problems, or even death.

To prevent this, seniors need to dress in layers and stay as warm as possible. Remind them of the importance of wearing layers and make sure they have plenty of winter gear at the ready.

Stay active

On the other hand, the cold weather and snowfall will often mean seniors are stuck in the home for long periods of time, which will have a detrimental effect on their mood and wellbeing. This makes staying healthy in the wintertime that much more of a challenge.

Moving around is crucial, especially as we get older, as is keeping our moods up and eating healthy food. Try to encourage your seniors to do what they can – exercise at home, focus on the positive aspects of winter and the bad weather, and take it as a time to recharge rather than a limiting factor.

Help them move around as much as you can by taking them out, bringing them healthy foods, and encouraging them to stay active in the house as well.

Stock up on the necessities

Stock up their cabinets with food that can last for longer periods of time (for example, canned and frozen foods) well in advance, so that you won’t have to worry in case bad weather comes along and prevents you from getting to them. Also, make sure they have plenty of drinking water, and that their medicine cabinet is stocked up not only with their prescriptions but also with anything else they might need in an emergency.

Ask their neighbors to include them in their weekly shops for the things you can’t reasonably store, like bread, fresh veggies, and fruits. That way, they won’t have to leave the house and risk falling on the ice.

Talk to them about the weather

If there’s a severe storm coming, expected to affect either them or yourself, talk to them about it and help them understand what they can and can’t reasonably do. If you expect to be cut off from them for a while, help them understand it’s due to the weather, and that there is nothing you can do about it.

Have a communications system set up in case the power or phone lines are cut off. Once again, enlist the neighbors to check in on them, just to make sure they are okay and have everything they need.

Prevent falls and potential hip fractures

Broken hips are a common injury in seniors, and they can lead to serious health complications.

To prevent them, make sure they don’t venture outside before the ice and snow have been cleared up from their preferred paths. If they are going outside, try to encourage them to have an emergency kit with them, with a bottle of water, a whistle, a flashlight, and their most urgent medications. Of course, they should also have a cellphone on them, but in case they are not quite sure how to use it, a whistle can draw the attention of passersby.

You can also install a medical alert system in the home, or have them wear an emergency bracelet that they can use to call for help if a fall does occur.

Final words

Preventing an injury or illness is often better than actually treating it. By using the above ways to help protect the seniors from winter injuries, we hope this winter will be full of fun with as little stress and worry as possible.  If you do find yourself in need of a physical therapy team that can help a loved one recover from injury, please reach out to one of our partnering locations and let us help you get your 2020 back on track.

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manage movement after a hip or knee replacement

How to Manage Movement after a Total Hip or Knee Replacement

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manage movement after a hip or knee replacement

 

After going through total replacement surgery, it can be difficult to move around. Shortly after discharge, but before outpatient physical therapy begins, most patients will be seen by a home health nurse or physical therapist. Their visits with you will focus on making sure the wound heals properly and that you are able to perform essential functions around the home. This can include bathing, getting in and out of bed, and even walking up and down the stairs. In this upcoming series of blog posts, we will be showing you how to safely manage movement after a hip or knee replacement. We would like to begin by preparing your home before you go into surgery. We call it our pre-op prep!

Simple things you can do to make your home safer and more comfortable as you heal from a joint replacement. 

  • Keep a cordless phone near you or carry your cell phone in your pocket.
  • Move furniture to keep a clear wide path to your kitchen, bathroom, and bedroom.
  • Remove throw rugs that may cause you to slip or trip. Tape down any loose edges of large area rugs that cannot be removed. Make sure extension cords are out of traffic areas or tape them down if needed.
  • Wear rubber-soled shoes to prevent slipping.
  • Keep commonly used items in your home at waist level within easy reach. This will prevent you from bending over to reach items. Use a reacher to grab objects and avoid excessive bending at the hip.
  • Make sure there is adequate lighting in the house. Add night lights in hallways, bedrooms, and bathrooms.
  • It may be helpful to have a temporary living space on the same floor if your bedroom/bathroom is located on the second floor of your home. Walking up/downstairs will be more difficult immediately following surgery and could increase your risk of falls.
  • Arrange for someone to collect your mail and take care of pets or loved ones if necessary.
  • Prepare frozen meals in advance to assist you with cooking.
  • Stock up on groceries, toiletries, and any medications you might need.
  • Purchase a shower chair or a tub bench will make bathing much easier. Do not take soak baths until your physician allows you to do so.
  • Install an elevated toilet seat. This will be helpful with toilet transfers and with following post-surgical precautions or guidelines.
  • Purchase assistive devices for dressing such as a reacher, extended shoehorn and/or sock aid may be necessary during your post-operative recovery.

After surgery, your health care provider will show you how to use a walker. Use your walker for as long as directed by your surgeon. This is important since the walker relieves some of the weight off of the leg and can protect it, even when just taking a few short steps.

Steps to take while using your walker on a level surface

  1. Advance the walker
  2. Step up to the walker with your surgical leg
  3. Next, step forward with your nonsurgical leg
  4. Make sure all four legs of the walker are in firm contact with the floor or ground.

using a walker on a level surface

How to use your walker while going upstairs

  • Place your walker sideways with the opening toward you.
  • Firmly grasp the stair rail with one hand and the walker with your other hand.
  • The walker’s legs should be against the stair riser with all four legs in contact with the stairs. (2 legs on the top step, 2 legs on the lower step)
  • Step up with your nonsurgical leg.
  • Follow with your surgical leg to the same step.

how to go upstairs with a walker

How to use your walker while going downstairs

  • Place your walker sideways with the opening toward you.
  • Firmly grasp the stair rail with one hand and the walker with your other hand.
  • The walker’s legs should be against the stair riser with all four legs in contact with the stairs. (2 legs on the top step, 2 legs on the lower step)
  • Step down with your surgical leg. Follow with your nonsurgical leg to the same step.

how to use a walked going downstairs

The tips above will work in most cases, but not all. It is important to follow the advice and restrictions given to you by your health care provider. In our next post about how to safely manage movement after a hip or knee replacement, we will be covering the proper steps for getting in and out of chairs and the bed. We wish you all the best in recovery. If you are looking for an outpatient physical therapy clinic please stop by the Find a PT page.

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