By: Ben Antonucci, SPT
A concussion is a mild form of a traumatic brain injury that can disrupt the way your brain function with every day activities. Some very common symptoms of a concussion include:
1) Cognitive changes: Changes in memory, difficulty concentrating, feeling slowed.
2) Physical symptoms: headaches, nausea, dizziness, poor balance.
3) Emotional changes: moody, sadness, increased anxiety.
4) Sleep changes: Increased or decreased sleep, difficulty falling asleep.
If you suspect that you may have suffered a concussion, what should you do?
1) REST: First and foremost, you must rest both your body and your mind. That means take a break from the gym or playing those video games for at least one week!
2) Go see your local Physical Therapist or Primary Care Physician: If you’re having cognitive changes or difficulties with balance, your local physical therapist can assist you with returning back to your normal function. A script from your doctor is not required for you to be seen by a physical therapist; simply call and make an appointment.
A concussion can drastically alter long term brain function if not properly treated when it first occurs. Make sure to properly address the symptoms you are experiencing with the suggestions above to prevent prolonged damage and ensure a normal recovery.
By: Chris Campoli, SPT
A question that invariably comes up when discussing the course of treatment with a patient is how many sessions they’ll need until they have a desired result. The first step to come up with this number is determining your diagnosis. From there, physical therapists combine their assessment of you along with their research on tissue recovery and treatment to help decide the frequency and duration of your therapy. As exercises are added to your program it is crucial that they done with good form, so the feedback and reinforcement from your therapist is vital. After a few visits, hopefully you are beginning to feel better, but this is just the beginning! Muscles, tendons, and other structures take weeks to adapt to the new stresses on your body from therapy. Often the focus is on pain, but when you begin to feel an improvement it is important to continue addressing the cause of that pain to make those positive changes more permanent.
The length of time you may need to come to PT will vary based on the injury. For a case like shoulder impingement (compression of rotator cuff), research recommends 8 weeks of therapy to allow the PT time to improve flexibility and strength as well as educate the patient on postural awareness and how to control symptoms at home. The case of a surgical procedure like rotator cuff repair with a greater amount of tissue healing may require therapy over a 16 to 20 week period, as it is key to gradually stress the tendons involved. The average frequency of physical therapy recommendations is two visits per week, however there could be a routine that consists of one visit per week or 3 visits per week, depending on the extent of injury and urgency to return to activity.
Factors that can impact the amount of time it takes for your body to adapt:
- Physical activity level
It’s important to keep all of the following in mind when talking with your physical therapist about frequency and duration of a physical therapy program.
Mueller MJ, Maluf KS. Tissue Adaptation to Physical Stress: A Proposed “Physical Stress Theory” to Guide Physical Therapist Practice, Education, and Research.
Tate AR, McClure PW, Young IA, Salvatori R, Michener LA: Comprehensive impairment-based exercise and manual therapy intervention for patients with subacromial impingement syndrome: a case series.
By: Kelly Sweeney, SPT
Whether you’re running on the treadmill or taking your workout outdoors, here are 5 tips to help you become a more efficient runner:
- Be light on your heels. This doesn’t mean you have to run on your toes, but you should have quick transitions from your heels to your toes.
- Keep your strike under your hips. You want to strike under your center of mass. Prevent overstriding by keeping your ankle almost behind your knee as you strike the ground. This will reduce excessive impact and braking forces.
- Run with a slight forward lean of the body. Having a slight forward trunk lean (5-10 degrees) allows you to “fall” forward rather than having to pull yourself forward, which requires extra effort. But don’t lean forward too much. You don’t want to hunch over at the waist or shoulders.
- Strike softly with a slight toe out. Also, relax your hands and shoulders. Tension in the upper body wastes energy.
- Keep a quick tempo. In order to minimize contact time and help prevent injury, increase your tempo. A recommended cadence is 88-90 strides/minute or 180 steps per minute.
As with any exercise, remember to stay hydrated, pace yourself, and listen to your body. Consult with your healthcare team if you have any questions or concerns.
Walsh, M. The Running Athlete: Part B- Clinical Assessment and Rehabilitation. MedBridge Continuing Education Online
By Allison Pulvino, MSPT
Posture is often overlooked, but is critical for both health and wellness. Here are the top reasons why:
1. It allows you to move your body more freely and easily without expending more energy than you need to.
2. It prevents back and neck pain, as well as shoulder pain during the day.
3. It helps to keep the core strong during daily activities and sports.
4. It slows aging! Good posture can help slow down arthritis.
5. Having good posture feels and looks better than slouching!
If you experience pain from poor posture, contact us here.
By: Jeremy Plochko, SAT
As a certified athletic trainer, prevention is one of our main focuses. Whether you’re walking on an ice hockey rink or your slippery driveway, here are a few tips to help keep you safe:
1. Proper footwear is the first line of defense against slips and falls. Boots with rubber or Neoprene composite soles provide better traction on ice and snow than leather or plastic. Specialized slip-on traction additions for shoes are also another great option.
2. Brace yourself by holding onto a stationary object (car, hand rail, etc.) and slide one foot on the surface before stepping on it to determine if it is slick. Continue to hold onto stationary objects as you walk, if you can, to support yourself.
3. Avoid walking with heavy objects if you can. If you have to carry anything, carry with both arms as close to the body’s mid-line as possible, keeping your center of gravity over your feet.
4. Walk like a Penguin! Keep your knees loose, point your feet slightly out, extend your arms to the side for balance and take short, slow strides. Don’t keep your hands in your pockets!
5. Know how to fall. If you do slip, try not to catch yourself by reaching out your arms. Fall on your buttocks and protect your wrists.
Also keep in mind that exercise and physical therapy can help improve your gait, balance and core strength helping to reduce your risk of falls by 13% alone. Be safe out there!