Tag Archives: shoulder

True or False: Changes in the Weather Can Make Your Joints Stiff or Achy

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For many people, the flare-up of an arthritic knee or shoulder appears to signal a change in the weather—usually hinting that a storm is imminent.

The belief that achy joints accompany a weather change is so widespread, in fact, that it has just about been accepted as reality. Many doctors listen to patients complain that they experience stiff or aching joints before, during, or after changes in temperature, barometric pressure, or humidity.

Yet, in spite of the widespread belief in a connection between aches and pains and inclement weather, medical researchers have come up with little evidence to support it.

Evidence for the Health Claim
Changes in the weather such as barometric pressure, humidity, and temperature could theoretically affect the synovial fluid that lines and lubricates the joints if, for example, they had a chemical effect on the fluid which somehow increased inflammation (which causes pain). However, there is no conclusive evidence that supports this theory.

Since at least the mid-1800s, a number of medical, and so-called bio-meteorologic research studies have been carried out in an effort to establish a connection between health and changing weather conditions.

The results of these studies have been varied. Based primarily on a compilation of patient anecdotes (reports of arthritis sufferers, for instance), increased barometric pressure (in fair weather conditions) has been associated with increased joint pain. Conversely, others studies have shown a relationship between increased joint pain and decreased barometric pressure (in stormier weather). Still other studies have suggested that changing weather conditions can cause immediate pain in some patients and delayed pain in others.

weather changes

Evidence Against the Health Claim

It is important to note that because most studies on this subject have been based on anecdotal reports rather than carefully designed observational studies, their conclusions don’t constitute reliable scientific evidence. Furthermore, many doctors claim that the wide variety of arthritic conditions and sheer complexity of atmospheric variability makes coming up with meaningful connections between joint pain and weather conditions next to impossible.

There is also a psychological aspect to this belief. What are the chances that the connection between health and the weather is simply coincidental? Is it possible that arthritis sufferers link their stiff and achy joints to changes in the weather as a way of explaining an otherwise mysterious exacerbation of their condition? Some doctors suggest that patients who observe weather conditions when they experience pain may pay little or no attention to the weather when they don’t have any pain.

Furthermore, there is no definitive evidence that moving to a warmer or drier climate provides a cure for aching joints. Some doctors report that many patients claim that the pain disappears for a while, only to return a few months later.

by Rhianon Davies

REFERENCES:
Aches and Pains Index. UK Weather Channel Interactive Web site. Available at http://uk.weather.com/activities/health/achesandpains/achesandpainsindex.html. Accessed July 25, 2006.

Cold Weather Can Cause More Aches and Pains for Arthritis Sufferers. Marshall University Orthopaedics Web site. Available at http://musom.marshall.edu/medctr/orthopaedics/cold weather.asp. Accessed July 25, 2006

Shmerling RH. Whether Weather Matters For Arthritis. Available at http://www.intelihealth.com/IH/ihtIH/8799/9273/35323/341624.html?d=dmtHMSContent. Accessed July 25, 2006.

Weather and Joint Pain. Any Connection? Mayo Clinic Web site. Available at http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/joint-pain/AN00102. Accessed July 25, 2006.

Weather and Our Physical Health. BBC News Web site. Available at http://www.bbc.co.uk/weather/weatherwise/living/effects/. Accessed July 25, 2006.

EBSCO Information Services is fully accredited by URAC. URAC is an independent, nonprofit health care accrediting organization dedicated to promoting health care quality through accreditation, certification and commendation.

When Is the Time Right for Physical Therapy?

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Often, we end up in physical therapy based on the referral of our physician after dealing with and injury for a certain period of time. However, physical therapy can be used for many different ailments and can actually help cut down the time off work, off of sports and promote healing much faster.

Physical therapy can be used for many of your minor and major injuries. Following surgeries or traumas (accidents, dislocations, fractures, sprains) it can cause a considerable reduction in swelling and allow things to heal 75-80% faster than if without therapy. It has been shown that following surgery, the quicker someone goes for therapy, the less likely they are to stiffen up or have complications due to loss of range of motion. It also helps to significantly reduce pain and swelling.

Physical therapy is not only used following surgeries or sports injuries, but can be extremely helpful in preventing symptoms from getting worse and developing into more problems. If you’ve been having pain in your shoulder for 3 months or so, your body now has altered the way it moves your shoulder and in turn, you have developed some compensation patterns which could cause things to develop into other areas, such as your neck from your altered movements. This then, can lead to more significant problems which could have been easily avoided if therapy had been started and symptoms had gotten under control.

Remember, the quicker you get into therapy following an injury or persistent pain, the quicker your response time will be to therapy. If you are having some issues, talk to your physician about starting therapy. You don’t have to wait until it has a complete impact on your life or your recreational activities. Stop pain in your life and feel better by visiting one of our PT & Me physical therapists today.

hockey upper body images

Most Common Hockey Upper Body Injuries

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Hockey season is getting ready to start and the sport of hockey can be quite dangerous. It is important for players to know how to prevent and treat injuries that occur during games. Unfortunately, these injuries leave us with some questions with descriptions such as “lower-body” and “upper-body” injuries. These injuries are purposely vague to leave some question as to the exact nature of the injury.

The accompanying infographic gives players an assist by listing off some common “upper body injuries.” It features tips and tricks to remain healthy both on and off the ice. The following should ease the minds of players who want to play the game as safely as they possibly can.

Click arrows in the bottom right corner to expand full screen

Upper Body Injuries by Pro Stock Hockey, an online resource for authentic pro stock hockey equipment (https://www.prostockhockey.com/)

Guidelines to Prevent Throwing Injuries

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In this third intallment of our series to prevent throwing injuries, we examine the proper ways to exercise and prevent throwing injuries in baseball. If you have any sudden significant increase in pain, swelling, or discoloration while performing or following exercise, discontinue immediately and contact your primary care provider.


INTERNAL ROTATION WITH SHOULDER AT 90 DEGREES OF ABDUCTION
Attach band high up on a doorway and face away from door. Hold band and move your arm out sideways away from your body until your arm is parallel with the ground. Bend your elbow to 90 degrees and point your fist toward the ceiling. Rotate from your shoulder bringing your hand forward while keeping your arm parallel to the floor and your elbow bent to 90 degrees.


EXTERNAL ROTATION WITH SHOULDER AT 90 DEGREES OF ABDUCTION
Attach band high on a doorway and face toward the door. Hold band and move your arm out sideways away from your body until your arm is parallel with the ground. Bend your elbow to 90 degrees and point your fist toward the door. Rotate from your shoulder bringing your hand away from the door while keeping your arm parallel to the floor and your elbow bent to 90 degrees.


SHOULDER INTERNAL ROTATION AT SIDE
Attach band to the doorway at chest height. Stand perpendicular to the doorway with the arm you are exercising closest to the door. Keep your arm at your side with a towel roll under the arm and bend the elbow to 90 degrees. Bring your hand toward your stomach while keeping the elbow bent to 90 degrees.


SHOULDER EXTERNAL ROTATION AT SIDE
Attach band to the doorway at chest height. Stand perpendicular to the doorway with the arm you are exercising furthest from the door. Keep your arm at your side with a towel roll under the arm and bend the elbow to 90 degrees. Bring your hand away from your stomach while keeping the elbow bent to 90 degrees.

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.

See the entire Guidelines to Prevent Throwing Injuries series here:

   Prevent Throwing Injuries

   prevent throwing injuries

throwing injuries PTandMe

repetitive strain injury

Repetitive Strain Injury (RSI): Prevention Tips for Strain and Injury in the Workplace

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The Following are Seen as Causes of Repetitive Strain Injury:

  • The overuse of muscles in our hands, wrists, arms, shoulders, neck and back
  • The area is affected by repeated actions, which are usually performed on a daily basis over a long period
  • The repetitive actions are done in a cold place
  • Forceful movements are involved
  • Workstations are poorly organized
  • Equipment is badly designed
  • The individual commonly adopts an awkward posture
  • There are not enough rest breaks

RSI

Prevention 101: Nine Easy Ways to Reduce Your Risk of Developing Repetitive Strain Injury:

  • TAKE BREAKS when using your computer. Every hour or so, get up and walk around, get a drink of water, stretch whatever muscles are tight, and look out the window at a far off object (to rest your eyes).
  • Use good posture. If you can’t hold good posture, it probably means it’s time for you to take a break from typing. If you are perpetually struggling to maintain good posture, you probably need to adjust your workstation or chair, or develop some of the support muscles necessary for good posture.
  • Use an ergonomically-optimized workstation to reduce strain on your body.
  • Exercise regularly. Include strengthening, stretching, and aerobic exercises. Yoga and pilates may also be helpful.
  • Only use the computer as much as you have to. Don’t email people when you could walk down the hall or pick up the phone and talk to them. It’s not only better for your hands – it’s friendlier. Think before you type to avoid unnecessary editing.
  • Don’t stretch for the hard-to-reach keys, e.g. BACKSPACE, ENTER, SHIFT, and CONTROL… basically everything but the letters. Instead, move your entire hand so that you may press the desired key with ease. This is crucial when you are programming or typing something where non-letter keys are used extensively.
  • Let your hands float above the keyboard when you type, and move your entire arm when moving your mouse or typing hard-to-reach keys, keeping the wrist joint straight at all times. This lets the big muscles in your arm, shoulder, and back do most of the work, instead of the smaller, weaker, and more vulnerable muscles in your hand and wrist. If you find it difficult to do this, then your shoulder and back muscles are probably too weak. It is OK, and in fact a good idea, to rest your elbows/wrists when you are not typing.
  • Use two hands to type combination key strokes, such as those involving the SHIFT and CONTROL keys.
  • When writing, avoid gripping the writing utensil tightly. Someone should be able to easily pull the writing utensil out of your hand when you are writing. If your pen or pencil requires you to press too hard, get a new one (my favorite is Dr. Grip Gel Ink).

Article provided by Fit2WRK. The information noted above is a summary of one of the components of Fit2WRK.

shoulder surgery

Self Care: Safe Dressing Following Shoulder Surgery / Injury

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When recovering from shoulder surgery, it can be difficult to dress and undress without assistance. With the help of one of our trusted Certified Hand Therapists (CHT) they have compiled a list of tips to get dressed safely and independently while recovering.  It is highly recommended that you follow the instructions prescribed by your surgeon or attending physician.

DRESSING

Upper Body
• Bend forward at your hips and let your affected arm dangle loosely forward
• Always dress the affected arm through the sleeve of your shirt first
• Proceed to dress the unaffected arm

Lower Body
• One handed techniques to don socks: touch all fingers to your thumb, then slide the sock over your hand. Spread your fingers apart to open the sock and slide it onto the foot

Bra
• Clip the bra from the front and as low as possible to your waist. Guide the bra enclosure towards your back. Slide the strap over the affected arm and then slide

shoulder_3D

GROOMING

• Bend forward at the hips and dangle arm in order to clean and apply deodorant

These post shoulder surgery dressing tips were provided by The Hale Hand Center, with locations in Melbourne and Rockledge, FL. The Hale Hand Center offers both physical therapy and certified hand therapy services, as well as provides custom splinting. More information about The Hale Hand Center can be found on their website here.

ice hockey injuries

Common Ice Hockey Injuries

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Ice hockey is one of the most popular sports played in North America. Physical therapy can provide specific treatment to a number of specific ice hockey injuries. Here are a few injuries that can happen during a hockey game or practice:

Common Ice Hockey Injuries

BACK INJURIES
Hockey players are at risk for low-back injuries due to the flexed (forward) posture of skating and the frequent hyperextension (backward) stress. Low-back pain and/or a pulled muscle are the most common injuries. Stretching of the hip flexors along with strengthening of the back and abdominal muscles will help avoid these injuries.

HIP INJURIES
The hip joint and groin muscle are susceptible to injury due to the mechanisms of the skating stride. Some of the most common soft tissue injuries in hockey players include a groin strain and a hip flexor strain. Off-season strengthening and dedicated stretching before and after practice are important to prevent these injuries. In addition, a direct blow to the outside of the hip can cause a hip pointer or trochanteric bursitis. Hockey pants with reinforced padding over these areas may help protect them.

KNEE INJURIES
The medial collateral ligament is the most susceptible to a sprain because of the leg position – pushing off the inside edge of the skate blade – and contact to the outside of the knee. Anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) disruption and meniscus tears (torn cartilage) can also occur but are less common in hockey that in other sports such as football, soccer and basketball.

hockey_goalie

SHOULDER INJURIES
The most common shoulder injuries in hockey are a shoulder separation and a broken collarbone. These injuries occur from direct contact of the shoulder with another player, the boards or the ice. Treatment can include a sling, rest and in serious cases surgery.

ELBOW INJURIES
The point of the elbow is a frequent area of contact, which can result in the development of bursitis. Thick and scarred bursal tissue (which feels like bone chips, but isn’t) can be a source of recurrent inflammation. The best prevention method is wearing elbow pads that will fit well and have an opening for the elbow, soft padding and a plastic outer shell.

WRIST INJURIES
A fall on the outstretched arm or contact with the boards that forces the wrist up or down, may cause a fracture. Players should try bracing themselves against the boards using their forearms instead of their hands.

Backpack Safety

Backpack Safety 101

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It’s that time of the year again when the kids are heading back to school. Learn the proper guidelines and precautions about backpack safety in this week’s PTandMe blog post.

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

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

backpack

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.

PT News

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

old man tennis

1. Tennis and Golf: Keep Swinging as You Age
Written by the Therapy Team at the Jackson Clinics Physical Therapy – Middleburg, VA

It’s a hard fact to swallow: Age eventually catches up with all of us, no matter how active we may be. Unless we work to maintain strength and flexibility, we slowly lose both as we age. Read more

track girl

2. Bridging the Gap
Written by Jess VandenBerg MS, AT, ATC, CSCS at the Center for Physical Rehabilitation – Grand Rapids, MI

If you have ever rehabilitated an athletic injury, you know there is a big difference between completing your rehab, and returning to competition. You are pain free, have full range of motion, and are completely functional, but are you prepared for the true demands of your sport, both mentally and physically? Read more

spine

3. Is There an Association Between Radiological Severity of Lumbar Spinal Stenosis and Disability, Pain, or Surgical Outcome?
Written by the Therapy Team at Oregon Spine and Physical Therapy – Eugene, OR

Last week I wrote a blog about a new research article about the shoulder and MRI. It helps us better understand the role of an MRI when trying to figure out the best plan to deal with a painful or injured body part. The old belief that an MRI is the “gold standard” is rapidly dying when it comes to understanding what to do with muscle and joint pain. Read more

golf stretches

Dynamic Golf Stretches

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Golf requires strength, flexibility, endurance and power to create pain free movement and improve your game. The most common golf injury is low back pain followed by shoulder pain and knee pain. A physical therapist can assist you in improving your pain and correct your body’s deficits.  These golf stretches will make your golf game less painful and reduce those extra strokes:

hamstring stretch

Hamstring Stretch
(move from upright into stretched position 10x)

back extension stretch

Back Extension Stretch
(hold club backwards overhead, repeat 10x)

hip back shoulder rotation

Hip/Back/Shoulder Rotation Stretch
(hold club behind back and rotate torso to each side 10x)

calf stretch

Calf Stretch
(move from upright into stretched position 10x)

lumbar rotation 1

lumbar rotation 2

Lumbar Spine Rotation
(hold club, plant feet as shown, rotate to each side 10x)

forearm rotation 1

forearm rotation 2

forearm rotation 3

Forearm Rotation
(hold club straight up, then rotate to each side 10x)

This information was written by Mishock Physical Therapy and Associates, a privately-owned, outpatient physical therapy practice operating 6 clinics in 2 counties located in southeast Pennsylvania. They actively participate in the community by providing services to schools, retirement communities and local businesses. Their mission is to provide the most efficacious, state-of-the-art physical therapy services to relieve pain, restore function and return you to the highest quality of life possible. For more information click here.