Category Archives: Women’s Health

diastasis recti abdominal separation

What You Can Do About Diastis Recti (Abdominal Separation)

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diastasis recti abdominal separation

There’s a lot to absorb when you become pregnant. You have a whole new person growing inside of you, and with that the excitement of what they’ll look like — and what kind of mother you’ll be — to this brand new human. And of course, there are a lot of physical changes that women undergo. From morning sickness to foods that seem unpalatable (or highly desirable), our bodies seem to have a mind of their own when pregnant. Along with gaining a healthy amount of weight and planning on what birth will look like for you, there’s also residual effects. One of them that can come with motherhood but can also affect other people is called diastasis recti (abdominal separation).

This condition occurs with the dramatic change in belly structure that happens when women become pregnant. The abdominal walls separate, leading the belly to stick out more. Who else does this affect and how can you deal with it? This graphic explains it.

What is Diastasis? And What You Can Do About it
“What is Diastasis? And What You Can Do About it” on Health Perch

Ask for Help.

If you are unsure of whether or not you have diastasis recti talk to your OB-GYN or physical therapist and ask them to evaluate your core. If you do have abdominal separation, a physical therapy program can give you all of the tools you need to bring the muscles back together.

Physical therapy programs for diastasis recti patients may include:

  • Core stabilization and postural strengthening
  • An abdominal brace to provide support and reduce pain
  • An exercise program designed to stretch overly tightened muscles
  • Education and training on how to lift and carry your baby as your abdomen recovers

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PT News PTandMe

PT News October 2018

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PT News PTandMe

This time in PT News we recap what our clinics have been posting throughout October, 2018. Featuring published articles from PTandMe partnering clinics!

Kicking injury aside Rebound Physical Therapy Review

1. Kicking Injury Aside and Back on the Field
Written by Rebound Physical Therapy with 10 physical therapy locations throughout Bend, OR and the surrounding communities.

Physical therapists help patients with all kinds of disabilities or injury. Read about Kaylee’s journey through rehab as she goes from being a soccer athlete to having to relearn how to walk, and eventually get back into her sport.  Read more

 

Transitioning Indoor Activities

2. Transitioning to Indoor Activities
Written by the Therapy Team at The Jackson Clinics with 18  physical therapy locations throughout Northern VA and soon branching into Maryland.

While summer offers opportunities to walk, jog, bicycle, garden, play sports and get into shape, cold weather brings the temptation to eat more, move less and hibernate indoors. Shorter days, frosty air and holiday parties can threaten the fitness gains you made during the summer.  Read more

women's health

3. The Importance of Physical Therapy on Women’s Health: All You Need to Know
Written by the Therapy Team at Cornerstone Physical Therapy with 5 physical therapy locations in Ohio.

Ever since the #1 New York Times bestseller entitled “Men Are from Mars, Women Are from Venus” by John Gray was published, more and more people have asked the question “What makes men and women so different?” Read more

physical therapy and ovarian cancer

Physical Therapy and Ovarian Cancer

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physical therapy and ovarian cancer

Every 23 minutes, a woman is diagnosed with ovarian cancer, which is the number one cause of gynecologic cancer deaths. September is Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month and in honor of that, here is some information on what exactly ovarian cancer is and how adding physical therapy into a treatment plan can be beneficial.

What is Ovarian Cancer?

Ovarian Cancer is a disease where different types of malignant tumors develop in the ovaries and eventually can spread to the pelvis and abdomen in later stages. Early on, it is easier to treat and the treatments are more successful. Unfortunately, the disease is most often caught in the later stages when its harder to treat because this is when the symptoms first start to present themselves. Other lesser health problems share many early symptoms of ovarian cancer such as fatigue, changes in menstruation, and bloating, which leads to ovarian cancer often being misdiagnosed as more common health issues.

Physical Therapy and Ovarian Cancer

Because physical therapy may not be the first route of healthcare cancer patients think of, most people are unaware of how helpful it can be to add it into a cancer patients exercise regimen. There is recent research on how adding physical therapy into a patient’s treatment plan can improve daily function, quality of life and health. Not only can it be helpful during treatment, but also during recovery. Because of the ever-increasing survival rate of cancer, more recovery strategies, like physical therapy, are being studied.

The course of treatment for cancer is grueling and leaves many patients exhausted and sometimes incapable of doing mundane tasks. Individualized exercise programs can be designed by physical therapists to be both safe and practical for each patient. There are certain things that should be taken into consideration by your physical therapist while discussing a new exercise program:

  • Current Exercise Regimen
  • Physical Limitations
  • Capabilities During/Post Treatment

It is recommended to do both moderate and vigorous exercises before, during, and after the treatment of ovarian cancer to improve the outcome as well as prevent recurrence. Some examples of this are:

  • Moderate Bike Riding
  • Brisk Walking
  • Badminton
  • Hiking
  • Jogging
  • Basketball

There are certain things that should be taken into consideration by your physical therapist while discussing a new exercise program:

  • Current Exercise Regimen
  • Physical Limitations
  • Capabilities During/Post Treatment

The main focus of creating an exercise program for a cancer patient is to simply increase heart rate and muscle flexion through minimal physical exertion in order to boost tolerance for treatments. Things you can expect to be included in a physical therapy program for ovarian cancer patients may include:

  • Flexibility Exercises
  • Strength Training
  • Range-of-Motion Training
  • Light Resistance Exercises
  • Cardiovascular Activity

If you are interested in adding physical therapy to your treatment plan, talk to your doctor to refer you to a physical therapist who specializes in working with oncology patients.

What Happens to your Body After Pregnancy

What Happens To Your Body After Pregnancy

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What Happens to your Body After Pregnancy

Congratulations! You have just brought home a new bundle of joy. Now it is time for feeding every two hours, diapers, little sleep, and a flurry of casseroles and visitors. It is so easy for mom to forget to take care of herself.

Research shows that there are a number of processes that occur in the body after giving birth that make it important to focus on maternal nutrition, exercise, mental health, and physical recovery (Walker & Grobe, 1999; Wilcox et al., 2018). For example, gestational weight gain is normal but can present a challenge when the weight is hard to lose after delivery. That extra weight can be stressful to the mom and can actually lead to additional mental and physical health issues in the future (Cuco, et al, 2006). Pelvic pain is another stressful side effect of giving birth. Understanding your postpartum pelvic pain is extremely important to your recovery as a new mom. This type of pain is very normal to experience as your pelvic bones expand and loosen while preparing your body to give birth. In turn, this expansion will make your ligaments much looser, especially after birth. More than a third of women end up with pelvic floor disorders which can lead to other serious issues that should be checked out by your doctor.

Following a physician-approved exercise plan and making necessary lifestyle changes can have a beneficial effect on both the mom and the baby as energy increases, moods stabilize, and physical activity becomes less taxing. In addition, a diet that targets low sugar and beneficial fats can reduce inflammation and improve both the recovery from childbirth and the nutritional value of breast milk (Raffelock, 2003).

While a woman is pregnant, there are specific changes in hormones that allow for the development of the baby’s skeleton and structures. As many moms-to-be can tell you, there are often visible changes in her hair, nails, and teeth that suggest a shift of her chemistry to help the baby form correctly (Gonzalez-Jaranay, et al., 2017). In fact, there are pretty specific changes in the bone density and the balance between bone degradation and bone repair (Gulson, Taylor, Eismen, 2016). While many of these processes reverse naturally after childbirth, some women (5-37% of all new moms) continue to experience poor posture, low back pain, and general muscle weakness (Bivia-Roig, 2018; Ferreria & Alburquerque-Sendin, 2013). Physical therapists can assess the problem and then create goals that focus specifically on the activities of a new mother.

Some states requires a physician’s prescription for starting physical therapy but many states now have some form of direct access where no prescription is needed. You can search for a local physical therapist by going to PT&Me.com and entering your zip code. Maternal health supports baby health. Take the time today to care for new moms

References:

Bivia-Roig G, Lison JF, Sanchez-Zuriaga D. Changes in trunk posture and muscle responses in standing during pregnancy and postpartum. 2018;13(3): 10.1371/journal.pone.0194853

Cuco G, Fernandez-Ballart J, Sala J, Viladrick C, Iranzo R. Dietary patterns and associated lifestyles in preconception, pregnancy and postpartum. European Journal of Clinical Nutrition 2006;60(3):364-71.

Gonzalez-Jaranay M, Tellez L, Rao-Lopez A, Gomez Moreno G, Moreu G. Periodontal status during pregnancy and postpartum. PLoS One 2017;12(5): doi:http://dx.doi.org.ezproxy.brenau.edu/10.1371/journal.pone.0178234

Gulson B, Taylor A, Eisman J. Bone remodeling during pregnancy and post-partum assessed by metal lead levels and isotopic concentrations. Jrnl Bone. 2016;5(5): https://doi-org.ezproxy.brenau.edu:2040/10.1016/j.bone.2016.05.005

Rafflelock D. Pregnancy and postpartum nutrition. Total Health2003;25(3):3.

Walker LO, Grobe S. The construct of thriving in pregnancy and postpartum. Nurs Science Quart. 1999;12(2): 151-157.

Wanderley C, Ferreria S, Alburquerque-Sendin F. Effectiveness of physical therapy for pregnancy-related low back and/or pelvic pain after delivery: A systematic review. Physiotherapy Theory and Practice. 2013;29(6):419-431.

Wilcox S, Jihong Liu C, Turner-McGrievy A, Burgis J, Wingard E, Dahl A, Whitaker M, Schneider L, Boutte A. A randomized controlled trial to prevent excessive gestational weight gain and promote postpartum weight loss in overweight and obese women: Health in pregnancy and postpartum (HIPP). Contemporary Clinical Trials 2018;66:51-63.

PT News PTandMe

PT News May 2018

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PT News PTandMe

This Month in PT News. Featuring articles from PTandMe partnering clinics!

1. 4 Common Signs of Concussions
Written by the Therapy Team at IRG – Sports Physical Therapy Kirkland, WA

It’s important to be able to recognize the signs and symptoms of concussions in order to prevent further injury Read more

 

2. Hands-on physical therapy effective for common shoulder conditions
Written by the Therapy Team at Rehab Associates of Central Virginia 

Shoulder problems are one of the more common issues that affect the musculoskeletal system, as its prevalence in the general population has been reported as high as 4.8%.  Read more

3. What to expect on your first visit with a pelvic Physical Therapist
Written by the Therapy Team at Ability Rehabilitation – Central Florida

You may be wondering how this will help with your concerns and symptoms. You may be wondering “how does this work”. What will happen during the first visit and follow up treatments. Read more

Lymphedema

What are the Signs and Symptoms of Lymphedema?

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Lymphedema

Lymphedema can occur in any body part. Some common early symptoms include:

  • Tightness, swelling or thickening anywhere in the extremity. Initially the swelling may fluctuate but over timeit worsens.
  • A burning sensation or tingling sensation radiating down the extremity.
  • Complaints of heaviness or aching of the extremity.
  • Inability to wear rings, jewelry, watches or clothing secondary to edema.

STAGE 1 – Reversible Lymphedema

  • Lymphedema disappears with bed rest and/or elevation especially over night.
  • Edema is soft and pitting, no resistance is felt. Indentations are easily made.
  • No or little fibrosis. No alteration of tissues.

STAGE 2 – Irreversible Edema

  • Protein enriched edema which does not decrease with elevation/nights rest.
  • Connective and scar tissue formation (i.e. fibrosis). Fibrosclerotic changes.
  • Non pitting edema, strong pressure is able to produce pitting.
  • Edema becomes hard. Indentions are difficult to make.

lymphedema

Precautions and Guidelines

  • Maintain a well balanced diet, with low sodium intake. Keep a healthy weight, avoid obesity. Good nutritional guidelines are provided by the American Heart Association and the American Cancer Society.
  • Keep the affected arm or leg, clean, and well moisturized. Lotion should be at a relatively low pH balance. The goal is to prevent skin breakdown.
  • Use antibacterial and hypo-allergenic soap when washing.
  • Avoid injections, vaccinations, flu shots, blood draws and IV lines in the affected extremity. Remember, if this is an emergency, it is more important to treat the patient than to worry about putting an IV in the affected arm.
  • If at all possible, avoid having blood pressure taken in the affected arm.
  • Many people enjoy having a manicure. There is always a risk with this but you can decrease your risk by keeping your cuticles moist with lotion and push them back instead of cutting them. You could also consider buying your own manicure set and have the salon use only your tools.
  • When cleaning the house, wear a good quality rubber glove when handling harsh chemicals such as ammonia, bleach, furniture polish, abrasive cleansers etc.
  • Avoid using a razor or depilatory creams for the armpit or leg hair. The safest tool would be an electric razor.
  • When cooking, wear long protective mitts (to the elbow) when taking food out of the oven and when boiling a pot of hot water.
  • It is important to avoid pet scratches, insect bites, spider bites etc. Using an insect repellent may be necessary but remember some brands are very harsh. Look for a natural insect repellent if possible.
  • Avoid sunburn at all cost! Especially if you have received radiation therapy.
  • Be aware of items that can cause a burn such as a curling iron, an iron, space heaters etc.
  • Avoid saunas, hot tubs, and hot showers. Avoid extreme temperatures, very cold or very hot.
  • Avoid lifting or moving heavy objects.
  • Avoid tight fitting clothing or jewelry.
  • Exercise, and be knowledgeable of how exercise effects the lymphedema.
  • Check your skin daily, and call your physician immediately if you notice any adverse changes in your lymphedematous body part or if you have fever and redness.

 

Additional Precautions for Leg Lymphedema

  • Proper shoe wear is essential in avoiding blisters and ingrown toenails, avoid high-heeled shoes.
  • Do not walk bare foot, especially outside.
  • Get all fungal infections treated immediately.
  • Do not receive injections to remove varicose veins in the affected leg.

This information is for educational purposes only. This information should not be used without consultation with your healthcare professional. If you have questions regarding the material or its application, seek professional assistance from your provider. This information is not intended to diagnose any medical condition or to replace healthcare professional consultation.

 

breast cancer physical therapy

Breast Cancer Awareness Month 2017

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October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. There were 1.7 million new cases of breast cancer diagnosed in 2012 worldwide. In honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, we are providing this helpful information, facts and statistics about breast cancer.

What is breast cancer?
Breast cancer occurs when cells in the breast divide and grow without their normal control. Tumors in the breast tend to grow slowly. By the time a lump is large enough to feel, it may have been growing for as long as 10 years. (Some tumors are aggressive and grow much faster.) Between 50-75 percent of breast cancers begin in the milk ducts, about 10-15 percent begin in the lobules and a few begin in other breast tissues [4].

Learn more about breast anatomy.

Non-invasive breast cancer – ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS)
Ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS) occurs when abnormal cells grow inside the milk ducts, but have not spread to nearby tissue or beyond. The term “in situ” means “in place.” With DCIS, the abnormal cells are still inside the ducts. DCIS is a non-invasive breast cancer. You may also hear the terms “pre-invasive” or “pre-cancerous” to describe DCIS. Although DCIS is non-invasive, without treatment, it can develop into invasive breast cancer.

Learn more about DCIS and the risk of invasive breast cancer.

Learn about treatment for DCIS.

Did you know?
In 2017, it’s estimated that among U.S. women there will be*:

  • 252,710 new cases of invasive breast cancer
  • 40,610 breast cancer deaths
  • 50,000 cases of ductal carcinoma in situ, a non-invasive breast cancer

There are more than 3.1 million breast cancer survivors in the U.S. today. Thanks in part to Susan G. Komen’s investment in research in early detection and treatment, breast cancer mortality (death) in women in the U.S. declined by 38 percent from 1989-2014 [1].

*American Cancer Society. Cancer Facts and Figures 2017. Atlanta, GA: American Cancer Society, 2017.

Content provided by Susan G. Komen. For more information visit the Susan G. Komen website by clicking here.

SI pain physical therapy

Women’s Health: The Sacroilial (SI) Joint and How It Affects You

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It has been estimated that about 95% of the population will experience low back pain at some point during a lifetime. Low back pain may be due to many different causes and anatomical structures, one such structure is the SI joint. Here is some pertinent information about the SI joint and how it may affect your general health.

8 FUN FACTS:

What is the SI joint?
It is a joint connecting the sacrum and the ilium, 2 bones included in the pelvis. The pelvis connects the upper body to the lower body, more specifically the spine to the hips.

What does the SI joint do?
It helps to stabilize your core during functional and work activities and helps with shock absorption during weight-bearing activities including walking. Stability is also assisted by the ligaments, fascia, and muscles that attach to the joint. This includes back, gluteal, hip, and pelvic floor musculature.

Who feels SI pain?
People with leg length discrepancies, asymmetrical lower extremity weakness, scoliosis, pregnant women due to increased ligamentous laxity, women > men due to pelvic anatomy, and those who have experienced a traumatic event such as a fall or a motor vehicle accident or that perform repetitive activities with poor body mechanics including lifting and bending.

Where would you feel SI pain?
Directly over the SI joint, in the buttock, lateral or posterior thigh, or sometimes in the groin.

When may you feel SI pain?
Rolling in bed, rotating your trunk, walking, stair ascent or descent, standing from a sitting position, single leg activities

What positions/activities should be adopted?
Sleep with a pillow between your lower extremities, perform slow, controlled movements, maintain equal weight-bearing through lower extremities with transitional movements and standing, log roll during bed mobility to keep lower extremities symmetrical, swing lower extremities out of the car before standing up to prevent trunk rotation.

How can PT help?
Physical therapy has been found to help patients with SI pain get pain relief, reduce inflammation and muscle spasms, improve healing, muscle extensibility, joint mobility and range of motion, strength, muscle control, and gait mechanics.

What does PT treatment for SI pain involve?

Stretching, mobilization techniques, education on proper body mechanics with functional activities, massage, myofascial release, modalities including electrical stimulation for pain modulation and ultrasound to assist with healing and inflammation, muscle energy techniques, and a core stabilization and strengthening exercise program, tailored to the individual patient. If a leg length discrepancy is found, a heel lift may be helpful to restore abnormal forces being placed through the SI joint with weight-bearing activities. An initiation of a home exercise program is also an integral part of physical therapy treatment.

Baby Mechanics

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BabyMechanics_FBsize

Proper lifting mechanics is important for everyone, especially for a new mom. Caring for a young child/infant significantly increases the strain to one’s low back. Luckily, there are steps that one can make to decrease that strain and reduce the risk of injury.

Always remember to: lift the child/infant close to you and bend through your legs versus your back.

As your baby begins to gain more independence and mobility, lower the height of his mattress to keep him safe. Be aware that the lower mattress height can increase strain on your back, so lower the mattress height as gradually as possible. When lifting your baby in or out of the crib, keep baby as close to your body as possible while keeping your back straight and bending through your legs. For older babies, help him get into a sitting position before lifting him out of the crib. Once baby can stand, lift him out of the crib from a standing position.

Just like lifting baby out of the crib, keep her as close to you as possible, bend through your legs and keep your back straight. Keep your abdominal muscles tight as you lift her up. If possible, get into a deep squat position to lower your center of gravity before picking up baby.

Avoid the “hip shift” position with baby propped on one hip while shifting your body to that side. Instead hold baby in front of you with his legs out on either side of you. If you are going to be holding baby for an extended period of time, use a baby carrier to keep your baby supported in a neutral alignment.

Tummy time isn’t just good for babies! During tummy time, get down on your stomach too. Stretching out on your stomach is good for you, and it also allows you to better interact with your baby.

During story time, be aware of your posture and always sit up straight. Place a pillow behind your back for extra support.

Use a nursing pillow under baby to help prop her up closer to you. Bring baby to you instead of leaning forward towards her to avoid strain. Placing a pillow behind your back can provide extra support and help you maintain the proper posture. If you are bottle feeding or for older babies, place a pillow under the arm that is supporting baby’s head to decrease the strain on your shoulder and neck. Although making eye contact with baby during a feeding can help strengthen your relationship with baby, it can cause strain on your neck. Be sure to bring your head to a neutral position throughout the feeding to decrease the tension on your neck.

baby car seat

When lifting a car seat, be sure to keep the car seat as close to your body as possible. Bend through your legs and keep your abdominal muscles tight as you pick up the car seat. Instead of carrying the car seat in one hand at your side, use both hands to hold and carry the car seat in front of you whenever possible.

Getting the car seat in and out of the car can be tricky. Remember to keep the car seat as close to your body as possible, keep your abdominal muscles tight and your back straight. If your car seat is placed in the middle position in your car, put one leg up into the car to protect your back while keeping the car seat close to your body.

This information was written by Metro Spine & Sports Rehabilitation, an outpatient physical therapy group with locations in the Chicago Loop and Lakeview areas. At Metro Spine & Sports Rehabilitation, their number one priority is the patient. For more information click here.

women's health

The Benefits of Physical Therapy for Women’s Health

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Women’s health can cover a multitude of subjects, from pregnancy to aging – the female body undergoes many changes. Physical therapist’s most common women’s health clients come in experiencing incontinence, osteoporosis and pregnancy related back pain.

URINARY INCONTINENCE
Urinary incontinence is a loss of bladder control that results in leakage when the muscles of the pelvic floor are weak or overactive. Causes include child birth, hormonal changes, surgical trauma, pelvic fractures, chronic cough, obesity, muscle weakness or even repetitive lifting. Physical therapy can help decrease or resolve urinary leakage, identify bladder irritants and strengthen pelvic floor muscles through an individualized exercise program.

OSTEOPOROSIS
Keeping the bones strong as you age, especially after menopause, is a challenge many women face. An excessive decline in bone mass is called osteoporosis, and it is a leading health care concern for women. A physical therapy program can help improve your posture and strength, prevent falls, and decrease your risk for fractures.

A physical therapist that specializes in women’s health treating pelvic floor dysfunction can help as well.

older_woman

PELVIC FLOOR DYSFUNCTION 
Exhibits Several Symptoms: 

Urinary Incontinence
Fecal Incontinence
Constipation
Diarrhea
Pelvic Floor Pain

PREGNANCY RELATED BACK PAIN
Many women experience low back pain during pregnancy. This is due to several factors such as:

Hormonal Changes – this causes increased looseness of the pelvic ligaments to prepare your body for birthing your baby.
Increased Weight Gain – This places increased stress on all the joints of the body. Increased breast weight can overload
the neck and upper back.
Postural Changes – Body weight shifts forward as the baby grows and this increases the arch in the lower back. Stomach
muscles and the lower pelvic muscles become weaker which decreases support for the lower back.
Altered Movement Patterns – Due to your changing body, women often begin to move in different patterns that can increase stress to the low back or pelvic joints.

This information was written by Advance Rehabilitation Physical Therapy, an outpatient physical therapy group with 24 locations in Georgia and Florida. Advance Rehabilitation is a physical therapy practice that focuses on providing the highest quality rehabilitation services. We specialize in physical therapy, sports medicine, industrial rehabilitation and athletic training. Our staff includes highly-trained professionals that serve as a bridge between injury and recovery to help patients get back to pre-injury status as quickly as possible. For more information click here.