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PHYSICAL THERAPY NEWS 2014

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Tracy Zukowski, our Director of Physical Therapy and Sports Rehab, is publishing a series of articles in local papers to share news and insights in Physical Therapy. Check back frequently to read the articles reposted here. You can also contact us today to sign up for our email newsletter to ensure you don't miss out on any Club or Physical Therapy news.  If you have specific questions for Tracy, you may contact her directly at tracyz@theclub.org.

If you have any questions or would like to make an appointment, please call 732-636-5151 today. We accept most insurance and are happy to contact yours to determine your benefits. And remember, you have the right to choose your own therapy facility. Choose the one that will treat you the way you want. You can find us at The Club at Woodbridge – 585 Main Street. Where Medicine and Fitness Meet.

PT Spotlight


The Home News Tribune, 14 April 2014. Print.

BACK ON YOUR FEET!

When suffering injury due to disease or trauma, patients should submit themselves to diagnosis, treatment and rehabilitation. It is the last element of this formula for restoring health that will be the subject of our column in the weeks and months to come. Our purpose is to inform and advise you, the public, about the variety of therapeutic and rehabilitative techniques and services available. They may be of considerable value in restoring comfort, strength and function to body and soul. In simple terms, physical therapy offers patients their best assurance that they will “get back on their feet” after a physical setback. The column will also be useful in providing information that can help avert injury in the first place.

We would like to welcome you to our weekly column about physical therapy. We hope you find today's column, and future installments, to be informative and inspirational. We pride ourselves on providing a comprehensive and informative atmosphere for our patients. We understand and treat orthopedic, sports, and work injuries, as well as muscle imbalances, and repetitive stress injuries.

P.S. At the first sign of a sprain, observe the “RICE” prescription: Rest, application of Ice, Compression of the injured area and Elevation.


The Home News Tribune, 21 April 2014. Print.

A WELCOME DELAY

If you are experiencing hip pain stemming from degenerative arthritis, you may be considering hip-replacement surgery. However, before you commit to this procedure, you might want to see if an exercise regimen can help you avoid the need. Research shows that, when assigned to a program of exercise therapy and education about hip osteoarthritis, patients were better able to avoid the hip-replacement procedure. After six years, only 40% of those in the exercise/education group needed to undergo total hip replacement, compared with 57% of those receiving only education. Moreover, the exercisers who eventually needed surgery were able to wait more than five years before having the procedure (compared with 3.5 years among those in the education-only group).      

Are you experiencing hip pain caused by degenerative arthritis?  If so, please call us. Our friendly and compassionate therapists can provide the hands-on attention that could delay or even prevent hip-replacement surgery altogether. We can also provide therapy if you're in pain for other reasons, like a bad fall, a car accident, a sports injury, or surgery. 

P.S. The study mentioned above included subjects suffering from mild to moderate osteoarthritis of the hip.


The Home News Tribune, 28 April 2014. Print.

CORE VALUES

Foundational “core” muscles ensure effective movement of the hips, knees, and ankles needed for stability. These muscle groups include the rectus abdominis (abs) at the front of the abdomen; the internal and external obliques in the front and sides of the abdomen; the transverse muscles that run horizontally across the lower abdomen; the erector spinae, which are the large muscles on wither side of the spinal cord; the muscles surrounding the shoulder blades (scapulae); the gluteus muscles in the hips and buttocks; and the iliopsoas and quadratus lumborum muscles in the pelvis. These muscles provide stability to the trunk and link the upper and lower body, enabling it to move in any direction or stand upright without losing balance.

Strong core muscles can alleviate pain in many parts of your body, as well as improve balance. If you want to work on improving your core, call us. Our hands-on therapists provide the manual care that can strengthen your core and prevent or relieve a myriad of problems. We will work with you and your doctor to create a regimen based on your unique needs.

P.S. Strengthening core muscles under the supervision of a physical therapist helps take the pressure off the spine, therby alleviating pain caused by bulging discs.


The Home News Tribune, 5 May 2014. Print.

STRIKE UP THE BANDS

Even though they could benefit from strength training, many people are too self-conscious to lift free weights or use a weight machine. Fortunately, there are ways to build muscles without resorting to using heavy weights or expensive machines. Resistance bands consist of loops of rubber or lengths of rubber with handles on each end. By looping them around the ankles, users can perform hip-strengthening exercises by simply widening their stances. As their name suggests, resistance bands provide resistance against which muscles must work. Standing upright and looping a band with handles under their feet helps exercisers increase and tone biceps by pulling the ends of the bands upward with elbows bent. There are many other effective exercises as well.  

We use a variety of equipment to help ensure that you build your strength carefully and safely. Our hands-on physical therapists can provide the thoughtful manual care that can improve your strength and help you recover from an injury, accident, or surgery.

P.S. Resistance bands comes in different strengths so that users can progress from one band to the next much in the same way that weightlifters increase the weight on their barbells.


The Home News Tribune, 12 May 2014. Print.

POST-STRIKE REHABILITATION

Every year, approximately 700,000 people suffer a stroke in the U.S., and approximately two-thirds of this number survive the event and require rehabilitation. While the efforts of physical therapists may not “cure” the effects of stroke, they can certainly help stroke survivors become as independent as possible and reach their fullest quality-of-life potential. To these ends, rehabilitation efforts focus on helping stroke patients relearn the skills that were lost as a result of brain damage.

Stroke survivors may also learn new ways to perform tasks, such as learning how to bathe and dress with the use of only one hand. Beginning to regain the ability to perform the basic skills of daily activity is the first step. 

P.S. At least one-quarter of all stroke survivors suffer language impairments involving the ability to speak, write, and understand spoken and written language.


The Home News Tribune, 19 May 2014. Print.

BONE-PRESERVING EXERCISES

Women who have been diagnosed with osteoporosis or who have experienced a fracture might be wary of exercise. However, there are a number of very safe exercises that can be performed that increase bone density and prevent falls. These include weight-bearing exercises (such as walking and climbing stairs), which strengthen bones by forcing the body to work against gravity. In addition, muscle-strengthening exercises that utilize weights, resistance bands, or weight machines should be performed at least twice a week. Next, balance exercises (including tai chi and yoga) help prevent falls. Lastly, flexibility exercises keep muscles limber and joints mobile. A physical therapist can recommend an exercise regimen that takes fitness levels and ability into careful consideration.

Whether you have osteoporosis or are trying to prevent it, weight-bearing exercises are a great idea for women of all ages. Our friendly therapists will help you by designing a regimen just for you, taking into account all your unique factors. We can also provide therapy if you're dealing with pain in your back, neck, hips, or wrists.

P.S. Higher-impact weight-bearing exercises strengthen bone more than lower-impact exercise; however, a person should only do what his or her fitness level allows.


The Home News Tribune, 26 May 2014. Print.

DEVELOPING COURT SENSE

If you play court sports such as tennis or basketball, you are at higher risk for specific injuries. Hard playing surfaces, fast lateral movements, confined playing areas, and foot collisions between competitors can result in injuries such as sprains and stress fractures. Court sports necessarily involve quick, lateral movements that invite sprains. Beyond that, there is the increased likelihood of shock-related injuries such as stress fractures in the foot or shinbone. Most stress fractures occur in the metatarsal bone, which can create swelling in the forefoot. However, stress fractures can occur in any one of the foot’s 26 bones without many symptoms. One way to help prevent such injuries is to wear shoes that are designed for the sport.

Whether you compete on a court or on a grass playing field, our therapists understand the unique needs of athletes from every sport. We offer the personalized therapy that you need to heal from any injuries. We can also offer tips and exercises that can help prevent future injuries. Not only can we help you recover from sports injuries, we can also help you after a car accident, a surgery, or a bad fall. Remember, you have the right to choose your own physical therapy facility. 

P.S. Jogging shoes, which have no lateral support, are not appropriate for playing basketball, tennis, or other court sports.


The Home News Tribune, 2 June 2014. Print.

PREPARING FOR YOUR NEW KNEE

Total knee-replacement surgery requires months of post-operative physical therapy that enables recipients of new knees to regain their strength and range of motion. The pace of this recovery can be very much affected by what knee replacement patients do prior to their surgeries. With this in mind, it is helpful for knee-arthroplasty candidates to consult with a physical therapist, who can outline steps that can improve the odds of a quicker recovery that is free of complications. The keys to quick recovery include exercises that stretch the hamstrings and calves and strengthen the quadriceps and hamstrings, as well as supervised aerobic activity. With the right preparation, full rehabilitation can optimally be expected within approximately three months.     

If you are scheduling a knee surgery, call for an appointment with one of our experienced therapists right away. We can provide this sort of manual care to optimize your recovery time. We will work with you and your doctor to create a regimen based on your unique situation. In addition to help preparing for surgery, we can offer the thoughtful post-surgery therapy that you need to get back on your feet. 

P.S. After knee-replacement surgery, the hospital stay is usually about three to four days.


The Home News Tribune, 9 June 2014. Print.

GET UP OFF YOUR CHAIR

Many adults think that all they have to do to remain healthy is to engage in at least 2.5 hours of weekly moderate-intensity exercise; however, that is not enough. They also must make every effort to get up out of their chairs and get their bodies moving the rest of the time. Research shows that postmenopausal women who sit more than 11 hours per day were more likely to die (especially of heart disease and cancer) than their more active counterparts. Sedentary men over the age of 45 are more than twice as likely to develop heart failure (the heart’s inability to keep up with its workload) than active men. Physical therapy can help promote health maintenance.

Starting an exercise routine can seem daunting for some. If you want to get more fit but don't know where to start, please call us at 732-636-5151 right away. Our hands-on physical therapists can create a regimen that we will design just for you. Then we can help you get fit in a safe and effective manner. We also offer Fitlinxx Interactive Fitness Network, a state-of-the-art interactive system designed to help us track and develop your individualized program.

P.S. Anyone who experiences chronic pain or immobility that prevents them from being active  should get a referral to a physical therapist, who can help them work through these issues.


The Home News Tribune, 16 June 2014. Print.

TAKE A DEEP BREATH!

Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), one of the most common lung diseases, makes it difficult to breathe. While it certainly helps when COPD patients exercise regularly, they shouldn’t limit themselves to aerobic exercise alone. Aerobic exercise works the heart and pushes breathing limits, but strength training also confers important benefits to COPD sufferers. Strength training builds muscle and makes muscles more efficient at extracting oxygen from the blood. If the muscles are growing larger and are simultaneously extracting oxygen from the blood, it stands to reason that a COPD sufferer’s commitment to strength training will lead him or her to experience less shortness of breath when performing cardiovascular exercise. He or she can also exercise longer before becoming fatigued.  

Of course, when you're dealing with something as serious as COPD, you need thoughtful supervision by a professional to exercise in the safest and most effective way possible. Our friendly therapists will work with your doctor to design a regimen built around your specific needs, including COPD and other physical limitations. We can also provide therapy if you're recovering from surgery.

P.S. Most pulmonary rehabilitation exercises focus on building endurance.


The Home News Tribune, 23 June 2014. Print.

DOWN AT THE HEELS!

"Plantar fasciitis" is a very painful condition involving the fibrous band of connective tissue (“fascia”) at the bottom of the foot. The pain is centered on the spot where the fascia attaches to the heel bone. One of the most telling symptoms that helps in diagnosing this problem is foot pain that appears the first thing in the morning as the person gets out of bed. It may feel better as he or she walks around, but the pain usually returns after sitting down and getting back on one’s feet. Another telling sign of plantar fasciitis is unevenly worn heels, which can place unbalanced forces on the feet. If so, new shoes with firm arch support are recommended. 

Whether or not it's caused by plantar fasciitis, pain in your feet can affect every aspect of your life. Our therapists use a variety of modalities to help reduce your pain and get you back on your feet fast. In addition to pain in your feet, we can help if you're dealing with painful ankles, knees, hips, or shoulders. Remember, you have the right to choose your own physical therapy facility. Choose the one that will treat you right.

P.S. Plantar fasciitis can be caused by “fallen arches,” or stiffness in the main tendon in the foot (posterior tibial tendon).


The Home News Tribune, 30 June 2014. Print.

GOING TO EXTREMES

Ever since the inaugural X Games in 1995, children and young adults have enthusiastically embraced so-called “extreme sports” such as mountain biking, skateboarding, and snowboarding. However, as their collective name implies, these extreme forms of sports and recreational activity come with their own set of dangers. In fact, recent analysis of information shows that there have been more than 4 million extreme-sport injuries since 2001. Each year, extreme sports are linked to more than 40,000 head and neck injuries, about 2.5 percent of which are classified as “severe,” meaning that they involved a fracturing of either the skull or bones of the neck. Injury avoidance becomes altogether more difficult as young athletes take sports “to the next level.”

Our therapists understand the needs of athletes, no matter how extreme their sport.  We will work with you and your doctor to create a regimen based on your unique situation. In addition to help with athletic injuries, we can get you back on your feet after a surgery or car accident. 

P.S. Athletes of all kinds are strongly encouraged to wear protective gear that shields them from concussions and neck fractures, which can produce life-altering injuries.


The Home News Tribune, 7 July 2014. Print.

ICE BAG OR HEATING PAD?

When pain strikes the lower back or another area of the body, your choice between an ice bag and a heating pad could be dictated by your response. Because nerve fibers that transmit the sensation of pain also sense change in temperature, stimulating the nerves with either hot or cold may bring comfort. Which one you choose is largely up to you. Some health experts recommend hot or cold treatment on the basis of its effect on blood flow. The application of ice serves to constrict blood vessels and reduce the swelling caused by sprains and strains. Heat encourages blood flow that relaxes muscle fibers that are either tight or in spasm.

Heating pads and cold packs are fine for minor injuries, but sometimes they just aren't enough. If you find that your injury isn't getting better, it's time to call us. Our hands-on physical therapists can provide the therapy that you need to heal fully, whether you're dealing with a simple sprain or something more complicated like recovery from surgery. And always remember that you have the right to choose the physical therapy facility that you want -- choose the one that will treat you the way you deserve.

P.S. Never apply heat or cold directly to the skin, and never use either for more than 15 to 20 minutes at a time.


The Home News Tribune, 14 July 2014. Print.

HELP FOR CHRONIC BURSITIS

Bursitis is inflammation of the fluid-filled sacs (“bursae”) that act as cushions between bones and other soft tissues (muscles, tendons, skin). A bursa that becomes inflamed and filled with fluid can cause discomfort, swelling, and limited mobility. The skin covering the area may also be warm, reddish, and tender to the touch. In most cases, bursitis pain can be managed with applications of ice within the first 48 hours, followed by heat in the days following. When bursitis develops as a result of injury or poor posture, which often occurs when arthritis sufferers shift their body or alter their movements to avoid pain in their joints, physical therapy may help patients achieve better body alignment and restore normal body mechanics.

If you're suffering from bursitis or arthritis, you need to call us. Our experienced therapists will provide the hands-on therapy that you need to reduce your pain and regain your mobility. You deserve to have less pain and move more freely. Let us help you. We can also provide therapy if you're recovering from surgery. 

P.S. Bursitis is usually caused by repetitive movements or from a sudden, more serious injury. Age also plays a role.


The Home News Tribune, 14 July 2014. Print.

MORE MUSCLE, LONGER LIVES

While much is currently made of excess body fat and body mass index (BMI), recent research suggests that overall body composition is a more important indicator of longevity. Specifically, the more muscle mass that older adults have, the less likely they are to die prematurely. While the research does not definitively establish a direct cause-and-effect relationship between muscle mass and survival, it does indicate that muscle mass seems to be an important predictor of death. With this in mind, older adults may want to exercise more and incorporate more muscle-strengthening exercises into their routines. If arthritis, obesity, or another limiting factor stands in the way of doing so, the physical therapist can help overcome any problems. 

No matter what your age, if you want to increase your muscle mass and feel better, you should call our office for an appointment. We can create a regimen that is designed specifically for your body and your goals. And then our experienced therapists will work with you to ensure that you build muscles safely and effectively. Remember, you have the right to choose your own physical therapy facility. Choose the one that will treat you right.

P.S. Consuming protein increases the amount of amino acids that are available in your body for muscle formation.


The Home News Tribune, 21 July 2014. Print.

QUIVERING AT THE KNEES

A primary cause of knee problems among women is weak quadriceps. This group of four muscles at the front of the thigh is known as the “quadriceps femoris.” The “rectus femoris,” which stretches from the pelvis to the kneecap, works to flex the hip and extend the knee. The three “vastus muscles,” which run from the thigh bone (femur) to the kneecap, are responsible for knee extension. The innermost vastus muscle (vastus medialis) also helps stabilize the kneecap, which is important because, if the kneecap moves laterally, it can produce sheer forces that can damage the cartilage that lines the back side of the kneecap. To help avert injury to the kneecap, leg raises are recommended to strengthen the quadriceps. 

Whether you want to prevent knee injuries or need help healing from one that you've already suffered, you should call our office. Our therapists understand the unique mechanics of women's bodies and we will work with you and your doctor to create a regimen to help get you back on your feet. In addition to help with knee injuries, we can help you heal ankle, hip, shoulder, neck, and back pain.  

P.S. Women’s pelvises predispose them to knee problems because they orient their thigh bones at sharper angles to their knees, compared with men.


The Home News Tribune, 28 July 2014. Print.

GETTING ARTHRITIC JOINTS MOVING AGAIN

Anyone afflicted with osteoarthritis or rheumatoid arthritis that limits his or her range of movement and functioning ability may be helped by a physical therapy program that safely and effectively reduces pain and stiffness. Adherence to prescribed range-of-motion exercises can help maintain and even improve mobility. The beauty of exercises such as “shoulder sweeps,” “elbow curls,” “shoulder rolls,” and “thumb touches” is that they can be performed without any special equipment. Under the direction of the physical therapist, these exercises can be performed, beginning with three repetitions (including doing the exercise on both sides), two to three times per day. As long as the exercises do not worsen pain, patients can build up to ten repetitions.

We know how arthritis pain can tarnish every aspect of your life. Let us help you reduce your pain and improve your mobility. Our hands-on physical therapists can provide the manual therapy that you need, as well as creating and supervising an at-home long-term regimen.

P.S. Some of the exercises that the physical therapist can prescribe for arthritic patients include “hip stretches,” “heel-to-toe stretches,” “knee benders,” “knee straighteners,” and “prone leg lifts.”


The Home News Tribune, 4 August 2014. Print.

GET A GRIP ON HYPERTENSION

If you have high blood pressure, defined as a consistent reading of 140/90, you may want to know about a surprising new way to get your hypertension under control. Based on a review of more than 1,000 scientific studies, researchers have found that regular isometric exercises (such as those used by golfers to strengthen their grip) can lower blood pressure readings by as much as 10%. The exercises involve grasping and releasing an object, such as squeezing a stress ball for ten seconds and releasing your grip, or pressing your hands together firmly in a prayer pose for ten seconds, and then releasing. Performing these types of exercises for 15 minutes a day five times a week proved beneficial.                                                     

If you're dealing with high blood pressure and your doctor prescribes an exercise regimen, you should call us. Our experienced therapists will provide the hands-on guidance that you need to build a routine that will get you into shape quickly and safely. We'll work with you and your doctor to create a plan that takes into account your unique goals and your limitations, to make sure you're getting healthy and not hurting yourself.

P.S. Exercise such as walking lowers blood pressure by ultimately reducing strain on the body and decreasing the activity of the nervous system.


The Home News Tribune, 11 August 2014. Print.

THERAPY THAT IS DIFFICULT TO RESIST

“Aquatic physical therapy” takes advantage of water’s buoyancy to help patients conduct treatments in pools without bringing their weight to bear on injured joints, ligaments, tendons, and muscles. Under the supervision of a physical therapist, therapy conducted in an aquatic environment also helps patients regain strength and range of motion  by using water’s omni-dimensional resistance to force the body to work harder than it would otherwise outside the water. The fact is the resistance (or drag coefficient) of water is twelve times what it is in air and works on the body in all directions. Moreover, working out in water is fun, so much so that able-bodied individuals are increasingly signing up for fitness classes in local pools. 

Aquatic therapy is just one of the many modalities available at our facility. Our experienced therapists can create a regimen that is designed specifically for your body and your needs, whether you're recovering from an injury or getting back on your feet after a surgery.

P.S. Pool temperature for water workouts should be around 83º to 85º Fahrenheit, with air temperature about two degrees higher.


The Home News Tribune, 18 August 2014. Print.

PAIN IN YOUR NECK?

If you wake up with a “crick” in your neck, the problem is probably due to sharp muscle contractions (spasms) caused by muscle strain. Pain in the neck may also be due to a “sprain” (due to a stretched ligament) or inflamed tendons (tendinitis). In all these cases, the application of cold can help numb initial acute pain and reduce inflammation. Restricted use of a neck collar may also help rest painful muscles and soft tissues, as well as ease discomfort. Once the acute pain subsides, a heating pad or a warm whirlpool may help further relieve symptoms. To avoid future problems, guided therapeutic exercise under the supervision of a physical therapist can prove most helpful.                                                                    

A pain in the neck can affect your whole body and ruin your whole day. If you are dealing with regular pain in your neck, back, or shoulders, you should call our office for an appointment right away. Our therapists will design a regimen of hands-on care that can relieve your pain and get you back into the swing of things. We can also suggest at-home exercises that can prevent the pain in the first place.

P.S. Exercises that stretch and strengthen the neck, shoulder, and upper back muscles can reduce future neck-pain flare-ups.


The Home News Tribune, 25 August 2014. Print.

CARDIOPROTECTIVE EFFECT FOR DIABETICS

If you want to avail yourself of the many health benefits that regular exercise confers but have a chronic condition that prevents you from doing so, a consultation with the physical therapist may help get you on your feet. This is particularly important for those with type 2 diabetes, who face twice the risk of heart attack or stroke than those without diabetes. Inactivity only increases the risk. According to recent research involving over 15,000 type-2 diabetics (average age of 60), those who rarely exercised at the beginning of the study were 25% more likely to have a heart attack or stroke (and 70% more likely to die from one) over a five-year period than their more active counterparts.   

Whether you have diabetes or not, a regular exercise regimen is vital for your continued good health. Let our therapists at design one for you. We will work with you and your doctor to create a routine that takes into consideration your body and your needs, making sure you reach your goals safely and efficiently. In addition, we can help you get healthy after an accident, a sports injury, or surgery.

P.S. Physical activity (along with diet and medication) is a cornerstone of treatment for diabetes. Moreover, physical activity is a cornerstone for diabetes prevention.


The Home News Tribune, 8 September 2014. Print.

INVOLUNTARY MUSCLE SPASMS

When muscles contract, stiffen, or spasm involuntarily, the condition is referred to as “spasticity.” As a result of these sometimes uncomfortable and/or painful symptoms, affected individuals may find it difficult to walk, move, or talk. The problem rests with damage or interruption of the nerve pulses that control muscle movement, which can be caused by conditions such as spinal cord injury and brain injury and diseases such as amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and multiple sclerosis (MS). In the case of MS, spasticity may help those with weak legs gain the rigidity needed to help them walk. In these instances, the goal of physical therapy is to relieve pain while maintaining necessary rigidity.

If you're dealing with spasticity and your doctor believes that physical therapy is likely to help, then please call us. Our experienced therapists will provide the hands-on therapy that you need to relieve your pain, improve strength, and regain ability. We'll work with you and your doctor to create a plan that takes into account your unique situation. In addition, we can help if you're recovering from surgery, a sports injury, or a car accident.

P.S. For those who suffer from spasticity from unknown causes, physical therapy can help prevent or alleviate frozen joints, pressure sores, and compromised functioning ability.


The Home News Tribune, 15 September 2014. Print.

OUT OF THE DEEP FREEZE

Adhesive capsulitis (“frozen shoulder”) involves inflammation of the shoulder’s normally smooth lining, which leads to scar tissue that renders the shoulder too stiff to move. This condition may occur due to prolonged inactivity caused by an injury, illness, or surgery, particularly among patients wearing a shoulder sling for a long period. Most become aware of a frozen shoulder due to pain that limits movement and increases stiffness. Eventually, reaching for an item on a high shelf becomes a difficult (if not impossible) task. Physical therapy is the most common treatment for frozen shoulder, the goal of which is to stretch the shoulder joint and strengthen its tendons. Results may be seen anywhere from a few weeks to nine months later.

A frozen shoulder can affect your daily life in a thousand ways. Let us help you regain your mobility. Our experienced therapists can get your arm back in the swing of things with hands-on care. In addition, we can help with sports injuries, recovery from surgery, and help after a car crash.

P.S. Diabetics are at three times greater risk for frozen shoulder than the general population.


The Home News Tribune, 22 September 2014. Print.

AVERTING CHRONIC PAIN

Nearly everyone knows that obesity can cause hypertension, diabetes, enlargement of the liver with fat, and coronary artery disease. What many people do not take into consideration, however, is the fact that obesity can also cause physical pain, particularly in the lower back, hips, and knees, as extra weight strains these joints. The good news is that weight loss and exercise can significantly reduce the risk of chronic pain. Studies show that the more people exercise, the less likely they are to experience chronic pain. Moreover, while obesity has been linked to pain, exercising for one or more hours per week helps to reduce the effect that a high body mass index (BMI) has on one’s risk for chronic pain.

If you are overweight and would like to begin an exercise regimen, please call us. Our therapists will design a regimen that is tailored specifically to your body's unique needs in order to help you reach your goals safely and effectively. In addition to help with fitness training, we can also get you back on your feet after a car accident, a sports injury, or a surgery.

P.S. It is important that obese persons work with someone, such as a physical therapist, who is experienced in designing a weight-loss program that is well-suited to individual needs and capabilities.


The Home News Tribune, 29 September 2014. Print.

PREVENTING ACL TEARS

Much has been made of the fact that, in recent years, increasing numbers of children and teens are tearing their “anterior cruciate ligament” (ACL), which provides stability to the knee. This injury most often occurs among young female athletes who participate in sports such as basketball, soccer, volleyball, and gymnastics. The good news is that specific types of training can reduce the risk of young athletes tearing their ACLs by as much as 72 percent. For instance, neuromuscular training programs designed to strengthen lower-extremity muscles, improve core stability, and teach athletes how to avoid unsafe knee positions significantly help to avoid injury. It is incumbent upon coaches, parents, and athletes to avail themselves of these programs.

Of course, even the best preventive training can't stop all ACL injuries. If your daughter is recovering from ACL surgery, you need to call us. Our compassionate therapists understand the unique needs of the adolescent athlete and we will provide the personalized care your child needs to get back on her feet quickly and safely.

P.S.  ACL surgery is approximately 90 percent successful in restoring knee stability.


The Home News Tribune, 6 October 2014. Print.

NEUROMUSCULAR TRAINING

While resistance training involving the use of free weights or elastic bands builds muscle mass, it is only the first step toward optimal muscle health. The large muscles of the body are composed of smaller bundles of muscle fibers and the nerves that stimulate them. The nerve-muscle units are needed to perform all the tasks that the body may be called upon to do, but the nerve connections weaken with age. In an effort to preserve the body’s ability to move in a coordinated fashion, it is also necessary to perform “neuromuscular exercise” that tweaks the nerve-muscle connections, thereby preserving balance, coordination, and agility. Also known as “functional fitness training,” neuromuscular exercise training works multiple muscles simultaneously. 

Recovery from injury or surgery is a complicated matter. If you need rehabilitation, including neuromuscular exercise, please call us. Our experienced therapists will provide the holistic hands-on therapy that you need to get healthy again, including functional fitness training. We'll work with you and your doctor to create a plan that takes into account your unique situation to make sure you recover quickly and safely.

P.S. One example of functional training exercise involves using a medicine ball to perform the motions required to squat down, grab an object, rise from the floor to a standing position, and place the object on an overhead shelf.


The Home News Tribune, 13 October 2014. Print.

PREVENTING FALLS

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that one out of every three people aged 65 years and older experiences a fall each year. For older people, falls can be devastating events. Aside from the obvious physical effects associated with bone fractures, there are the potential psychological consequences that include fear of falling again, which may limit engagement in physical activities. As a result, seniors may become socially isolated, depressed, and at increased risk of chronic disease. Limiting activities may also lead to weaker muscles and poor balance, making falls more likely. To prevent these unwanted effects, seniors are encouraged to consult with physical therapists about aerobic, balance, and flexibility exercises, as well as gait and coordination training.

If lack of mobility is limiting the way you experience life, please call our office. Our experienced therapists can get you moving again, safely and with less pain and fear. In addition to fall prevention, we can help you get back on your feet if you've already suffered a bad spill.

P.S. With a physical therapist’s help, seniors may want to walk or bicycle regularly to strengthen the muscles of their lower body. Hand weights, elastic bands, or weight machines can be used to build upper-body strength.


The Home News Tribune, 20 October 2014. Print.

A VERY COMMON SPORT INJURY

A sudden sharp pain at the back of the thigh while sprinting or high-kicking is usually indicative of a “hamstring strain” involving one or more of the three muscles that run along the back of the thigh. A hamstring strain/tear involves one or more of these muscles being stretched too far. Hamstring strains are graded 1, 2, or 3 in accordance with how severe they are. While a grade 1 injury may only be a slight twinge, a grade 3 can result in the inability to walk coupled with consequent swelling and bruising. After treating the injury with rest, ice, compression, and elevation (RICE), a comprehensive hamstring strain rehabilitation program is needed for healing and recovery.

Did you pull your hamstring or suffer some other sort of injury while running or playing sports? Our compassionate hands-on therapists can get you back in the game. We can use a variety of proven techniques to help you heal from a hamstring pull, runner's knee, tennis elbow, or any other sports-related injury you may suffer.

P.S. Hamstring muscle fibers gradually become tendon fibers near the knee.


The Home News Tribune, 27 October 2014. Print.

THE KNOCK ON EXERCISE

To see if you are knock-kneed, stand in front of a mirror with your feet hip-width apart. If your kneecaps turn inward and are not aligned with the centers of your ankles, you have some degree of knock-knee. Depending on the severity of the condition, knock-knees can place you at increased risk for a variety of conditions while performing high-impact exercise because it can place added strain on your hips, knees, lower legs, ankles, and feet. When running, knock-knees can cause the feet to roll inward too much (over-pronate). If you have knock-knees and are thinking about taking up running or other high-impact exercise, consult with a physical therapist to devise an appropriate workout plan.   

Whether you're dealing with knocked knees or a sprained knee, if you're in pain then you should call our office right away. Our experienced therapists know that painful knees can affect your entire life. We'll use a wide variety of modalities to improve your strength and flexibility. In addition, we can help if you're dealing with misaligned elbows, hips, or ankles.

P.S. Strengthen knock-knees by doing exercises such as seated quadriceps contraction, leg-strengthening exercises, and hamstring curls.


The Home News Tribune, 3 November 2014. Print.

HOW PHYSICALLY FIT ARE YOU?

There is little question that individuals who are physically fit are healthier overall and rehabilitate faster from injury than their less-fit counterparts. Which category are you in? According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, fewer than 20 percent of U.S. adults meet the government guidelines recommended for aerobic and muscle-strengthening exercise. The aerobics recommendation includes at least 150 minutes/week of moderate-intensity, 75 minutes/week of vigorous exercise, or a combination of the two adding up to a total of 150 minutes/week.  In terms of strength training, the recommendation is for at least two sessions of muscle-strengthening exercise  per week. If physical limitations prevent you from getting as much exercise as you would like, the physical therapist can help.   

If you choose to get into better shape, you should do so carefully and thoughtfully. You don't want your attempts at getting healthier to cause damage. Let our experienced therapists create a workout regimen that will increase your strength and endurance safely. And if you have suffered an injury, we'll get you back on your feet.

P.S. A recent study indicates, perhaps not so surprisingly, that a person’s likelihood of meeting physical fitness goals declines as he or she gets older.


The Home News Tribune, 10 November 2014. Print.

GAIN WITHOUT PAIN

When a physical therapist puts a patient through the paces of strengthening injured muscles, experience and knowledge help dictate the amount of resistance needed to do the job. It is important to start challenging the tissue during rehabilitation by working the muscles and building them up gradually in order to avoid further injury. Instead of overwhelming the tissue, it is necessary to load it step by step to promote strengthening. Frequent movement, proper stretching, and light loads are emphasized for a proper recovery. While soreness may be acceptable, sharp pain is not. It is an indication that the tissue is being overwhelmed. Unless caution is exercised and patience observed, re-injury looms as a distinct possibility.

Our therapists have years of experience and we understand how to get you back in shape after you've had an injury. We can use a variety of proven techniques to help you heal quickly and safely. It doesn't matter if you were hurt in a sports injury, car accident, or are recovering from surgery, we'll help you regain your strength safely and effectively. 

P.S. Healing soft tissue needs proper rest to recover from the demands made by controlled exertion.


The Home News Tribune, 17 November 2014. Print.

YOUNG ARTHRITIC KNEES

Osteoarthritis, which is commonly referred to as wear-and-tear arthritis, is generally associated with advanced age. However, as symptoms of knee osteoarthritis are being increasingly noticed among much younger individuals, new research indicates that the median age for the diagnosis for knee osteoarthritis is currently 55. Thus, it is now estimated that nearly one in ten U.S. adults will develop the disabling condition by age 60. The most likely reasons behind this projection are the rising prevalence of obesity, which puts added strain on the joint, and knee trauma among young athletes. To counter these effects, the general population is advised to maintain a healthy weight, and young athletes are strongly advised to adequately treat and rehabilitate injured knees.  

Whether you're combating arthritis or trying to prevent it, you should call 732-636-5151. Our therapists have the experience to help you get and stay fit in the safest way possible, including advice for how to prevent arthritis in your knees (or elsewhere). We can also help mitigate the pain of arthritis if you are already suffering. Remember, you have the right to choose your own PT facility. Be sure to choose the one that will treat you best.

P.S. One of the primary causes of knee trauma in child athletes is overuse. Cross-training and rest help keep muscles fresh and joints healthy.


The Home News Tribune, 1 December 2014. Print.

SURGERY-AVOIDANCE THERAPY

If you’re considering hip- or knee-replacement surgery, you might want to consider physical therapy, which may help prevent pain and surgery. Treatment undertaken to avoid hip or knee surgery focuses on strengthening the muscles that support the joints. Foremost among these are the quadriceps at the front of the thigh and the hamstrings in back, which are vital for knee strength. Because the “quads” absorb the shock of weight-bearing activities, stronger quadriceps help to lessen the load transferred to the joint. Also important are the gluteal muscles in the buttocks and the flexors in the pelvis, which are important for hip strength and flexibility. After four to six weeks of daily exercise designed to strengthen these muscles, changes become evident.

If you are interested in exploring a less-invasive option than joint replacement surgery, please call 732-636-5151. Our experienced therapists offer the careful manual therapy that you need to avoid surgery, reduce pain, and improve mobility. And if you do need surgery even after therapy, we can provide your post-surgery rehabilitation.

P.S. Weight loss is an important key to avoiding hip- or knee-replacement surgery.


The Home News Tribune, 8 December 2014. Print.

HOT OR COLD?

When you strain a muscle or sprain a ligament, should you apply ice or a heating pad? Ice applied immediately after injury helps control pain and swelling and decreases inflammation, internal bleeding, and muscle spasms. Ice should be kept on the injured area for no longer than 20 minutes at a time; otherwise, it may damage skin and nerves. Ice can be reapplied every two hours for the first one to two days. Heat should not be placed on an injured muscle or ligament immediately after injury because it stimulates blood flow, which may increase swelling. Heat can be used after pain and swelling have decreased, usually about two days following the injury, to relax muscles and reduce pain.

Ice packs and hot baths are useful at-home remedies for minor injuries. But if they aren't helping enough or if you have a serious injury, please call 732-636-5151 to make an appointment. Our experienced physical therapists can provide the hands-on help that you need to get back on your feet. In addition to sprains, we can also help you recover from sports injuries, surgery, or a car crash.

P.S. If nothing else is available to apply cold to a strain or sprain, try a bag of frozen peas, which will conform its shape to the area of the body upon which it is placed.


The Home News Tribune, 15 December 2014. Print.

TWO STEPS FORWARD, NO STEPS BACK

After suffering injuries, most athletes are anxious to get back to their sport. However, it is important to allow enough time for an injury to heal properly before returning to physical activity. Otherwise, injured athletes who return to action too soon risk re-injury and even permanent damage. This means that athletes may not only compromise their ability to return to their athletic activities of choice as soon as they might like, but they may even find it difficult to engage in some everyday activities that they now take for granted. For instance, an improperly rehabilitated rotator cuff can make dressing a real chore. With this in mind, it is important to maintain a long-term perspective when rehabilitating an injury.

Our experienced therapists understand the special needs of athletes, from dedicated professionals to part-time players. We will help you recover safely and completely from any athletic injury by providing hands-on manual care as well as good advice on how to limit your activities. Helping you to reach your highest level of performance is our ultimate goal.

P.S. Pain is a message that the body sends to the brain that something is wrong. Playing through pain is hardly the correct response.


The Home News Tribune, 22 December 2014. Print.

MID-LEVEL MANAGEMENT

One of the best ways to avert back pain is to strengthen “core muscles” in the back, buttocks, sides, and pelvis. While the rectus abdominis muscles (“abs”) at the front of the abdomen and the internal/external obliques (layered on top of one other in the front and side of the abdomen) are important for stability, the transversus abdominis muscles are even more important. These muscles, which are commonly referred to as the “lower abs,” stretch horizontally across the lower abdomen. It’s also very important to have strong back muscles, including the erector spinae, which are the large muscles on either side of the spinal column. Strengthening these muscles, along with the scapulae (shoulder blades) muscles, reduces strain on the back.     

Back pain can touch every aspect of your life, coloring everyday activities and your joy. Strengthening your core is just one part of a multidimensional strategy that we use to help you reduce or eliminate your back pain. Our hands-on therapists provide the manual care you need to move more freely and with less pain.

P.S. While strengthening core muscles normally includes planks, sit-ups, push-ups, and crunches, the physical therapist can suggest less strenuous exercises for older individuals wishing to avoid injuring themselves.


The Home News Tribune, 29 December 2014. Print.

TREATING PAINFUL HANDS

Whether hand pain, stiffness, and swelling are caused by osteoarthritis (worn cartilage), tendinitis (inflammation of the tissue that attaches muscles to bones), or nerve problems (such as pressure exerted on the median nerve in the wrist or the ulnar nerve near the elbow), there are non-surgical solutions. To begin with, heat can be used to loosen hand stiffness, and the application of cold to the affected area helps pain that results from activity (such as sports). In addition, the physical therapist can focus on affected muscles and tendons. Treatment will likely involve guiding the patient through exercises designed to stretch and strengthen the muscles, making them more capable of absorbing the stress on hand joints that cause pain.  

If you are suffering from a pain in your hands, please call 732-636-5151. Our experienced therapists offer the hands-on manual therapy that can help you regain the mobility and strength you need to really grab hold of life. In addition, we can help if you find you need to improve your mobility, flexibility, balance, or strength.

P.S. Splints are helpful in stabilizing the position of the fingers, thumb, or wrist to help calm inflammation that causes pain during flare-ups of arthritis.


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