By: Dan Marmo, SPT
The importance of building a strong core and stabilization in the extremities is the guiding theme to most physical therapy programs. This is true whether you have lower back pain, neck pain, shoulder pain, or nearly any other issue.
There are many ways to accomplish these goals, many of which you may be doing in physical therapy right now. And once you reach a higher level, you’ll feel the need for more complex exercises. Introducing the Slosh Pipe.
The slosh pipe is a 5–10-foot PVC pipe filled with an amount of water that can give you an awesome workout. As the pipe moves, the water “sloshes” inside the pipe, causing an increased need for you to use your muscles to stabilize. So when those squats and lunges you’re doing get too easy, we now have a tool to make them even more challenging. Even simply carrying the slosh pipe, which typically weighs 20 pounds, is a workout in and of itself.
Examples of exercises that the slosh pipe may be used with:
- Bench press
- Grip strength training
- Simulating potential work environments
Do you think you’re up to the challenge? Come to your local Sports PT location and check it out!
One of our patients, Lisa, was in her first trimester of her second pregnancy and having significant low back and sciatic pain down her right leg. She had a three a three-year-old son at home and went to her OB/GYN for some guidance on what to do, as she didn’t want to take any medicine.
Lisa described her pain as a 7/10 when she would get in and out of bed, pick up her son, and get in and out of a car. The pain was affecting her sleep and she wasn’t able to be a care giver for her son.
Her OB/GYN referred her that day to Sports PT of NY. The Physical Therapist evaluated Lisa and determined that her increased joint laxity was creating sacroiliac instability and putting tension on her sciatic nerve.
The Physical Therapist was able to diagnose and effectively treat Lisa within 7 visits so that she was able to restore function and reduce her pain for the remainder of her pregnancy.
Lisa was thrilled because she enjoyed her pregnancy and was educated on the exercises to reduce her symptoms as the pregnancy progressed!
As it was with Lisa, physical therapy can be a natural alternative to reducing pain during pregnancy. Contact us to learn more.
By: Dr. Aimee Alexander, PT, DPT, OCS
Have you or someone you know had a fall that caused injury? Perhaps your elderly parents or another loved one seems to be at risk for falls.
The good news: Licensed physical therapists are experts at identifying and helping to reduce the risk of falling among older adults by creating an individualized program for each person.
Did you know?
- Falls are the no. 1 reason why older individuals lose their independence!
- One-third of adults over the age of 65 fall each year – and less than half of these people tell anyone about it.
- Every 29 minutes, an older adult dies from a fall
- One out of 5 falls cause serious injury (fracture/head trauma)
- Direct medical costs for injuries related to falls is over $28 billion annually.
Most falls occur due to a combination of risk factors, and a risk for falling increases with each fall. But the overall risk can be reduced; it just requires a level of awareness and some extra planning.
Risk factors are categorized as extrinsic (environmental factors) and intrinsic (those that relate specifically to the individual).
Intrinsic risk factors may include:
- Advanced age
- History of falls
- Weakness in the lower body
- Gait abnormalities/difficulties
- Generalized muscle weakness
- Vision deficits
- Postural blood pressure changes with position changes (postural hypotension)
- Balance deficits
- Conditions such as: stroke, Parkinson’s disease, diabetes, arthritis, incontinence (in a hurry to get to the bathroom), dementia
- A person’s fear of falling actually increases the risk
Extrinsic risk factors may include:
- Home environment: stairs, lack of grab bars in the bathroom, throw rugs, pets, dim lighting
- Slippery surfaces
- Polypharmacy: the more medications you take daily, the more likely your risk of falling. Certain types of medications create more risk than others (psychoactive medications such as benzodiazepines, “sedatives,” and sedating medications such as Tylenol PM, Benadryl, and any medications having anticholinergic side effects, including blurred vision)
- Improper use of an assistive device or improper device for level of weakness/function
What can you do to reduce your risk?
- Begin an individualized exercise program designed by a physical therapist to improve your strength and balance
- Review your entire medication list with your physician or pharmacist
- Have an annual eye examination and update your eyewear
- Reduce extrinsic risk factors at home: remove tripping hazards such as clutter or throw rugs, put railings or grab bars on all stairs and in bathrooms, improve lighting in all rooms
Sports PT is committed to reducing falls in the community, and we’re proud to participate in Falls Prevention Day on Tuesday, September 23. Each Sports PT location is serving their community with a Falls Risk Assessment that week. For more information on Falls Risk Assessment in your area, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
By Dot Hall, VP, Human Resources
It is no secret that medical costs in the United States are continuing to escalate. There are mixed opinions on what approach would help alter this cycle, everything from a country-wide insurance plan for all as well as more preventative coverage, to a reduction of unnecessary procedures and medications. All of these approaches have pros and cons, but one thing is for sure: as a society, we need to understand our medical system better. We need to educate medical consumers, medical providers, and insurance carriers with evidence-based information that will help us make better decisions about treatments, with the goal of quicker healing and lower costs.
Employers play a key role in educating consumers on medical insurance and treatments. With 90% of our population employed in some capacity, employers can serve as a conduit to sharing programs that create lower costs, provide alternatives to medication-only treatments, and encourage a healthier lifestyle. For the 1 in 5 adults who have high cholesterol, early detection can make the difference in avoiding or controlling heart disease (and all the higher costs associated with treating the condition). Early detection of diabetes can have a significant impact on the cost of treatment. Given the 20.6 million people dealing with Type 2 diabetes, and 54 million with pre-diabetes, just getting these symptoms in control early can reduce overall medical costs. And perhaps eliminate the 2 out of 3 people with diabetes who will die from heart disease or stroke.
Employers who offer wellness programs are helping reduce our nation’s medical care costs. We encourage employers to think about offering these types of programs:
- Smoking cessation
- Reimbursement for exercise programs
- Annual blood draw analysis to detect cholesterol, blood pressure, and diabetes conditions
- Walking programs
- Weight management programs
Many of these are low or no cost to employers. The investment also pays huge dividends to both individuals and the business in the long run.
By: Julie Wolfley, DPT, OCS
While lower back pain is extremely common, the symptoms and severity can vary greatly. Here are five tips that can help you to manage the pain:
- Maintain flexibility of hip and leg muscles by stretching once a day or every other day. The three main muscles to stretch are your hamstrings (15-30 times for each leg), hip flexors (30-second hold three times for each leg), and the piriformis muscle, an external rotator (30-second hold three times for each leg).
- Maintain core endurance with prone planks, side planks, and bridges. Start by doing the moves six times, holding each one for 10 seconds, and work your way up to one 60-second hold. Do these every other day.
- Walk two to three times a week at a comfortable pace for at least 20 minutes.
- Avoid lifting or carrying heavy objects that make you arch your back.
- Take regular breaks (every 20-30 minutes) during any prolonged activity at home or work to avoid stressing your back.
If you do suffer from lower back pain and need to seek out a physical therapist, contact us here
1. What made you want to enter the healthcare field?
Entering the healthcare field (and PT in particular) stemmed from a long bout of rehab surrounding an amputated leg as a teenager. I went from being bedridden to walking, hiking, and farming again — all thanks to PT. They gave me my independence back, and that’s something I want to now help give others.
2. What do you enjoy most about working with Sports PT?
I love the team-working atmosphere that places a strong emphasis on quality, ethical, evidence-based, and fun patient care.
3. What is your favorite piece of advice that you give your patients?
I always remind my patients to be mindful of “form fatigue”—if the form isn’t perfect, then take a rest. Also, keep up with your homework!
4. What is the most rewarding part of your job?
Getting to see my patients get back to what they love doing without pain!
If you’re in the Saratoga, NY, area and need to visit a physical therapist, you can contact Rebecca here.
By: Alanna Pokorski, PT
Neck and wrist pain is becoming increasingly common with the frequent use of smartphones to communicate. In physical therapy, we are seeing more and more injuries from overuse, as they relate to texting, for two main reasons:
- Poor overall posturing while texting
- Sheer volume of texts is becoming an “overuse” injury to our postural muscles and smaller wrist/hand muscles
Here are some tips for avoiding “texting neck” and “texting wrist”:
1. Change your phone position. Instead of looking down to text (which causes excessive flexion of the neck and mid back), bring the phone up to your eyes so that your spine is neutral.
Bad Texting Form Good Texting Form
2. Take breaks. Be aware how of long you are texting so that it isn’t a strain for your postural and hand muscles. Frequent breaks will help your neck and wrist muscles relax and be able to handle the stress of this activity.
3. Stretch your neck. Open up your chest muscles frequently throughout the day by squeezing your shoulder blades down and in, and sticking your chest out. This will help to counteract the forward-neck positioning of texting or computer use. Hold 5 seconds and repeat 20 times.
4. Stretch your wrists. Your wrists are typically in one position throughout the day, so you should perform these simple movements a few times throughout the day. Hold 30 seconds and repeat 3 times.
5. Talk. There is great value in verbal conversation. Instead of texting your coworker, ask if they want to go to lunch, or walk down to their office and ask in person!
Physical therapists are experts in posturing and identifying areas of muscle imbalance. If you feel that you have pain related to computer use or smartphone use, please make an appointment with us here.