Welcome to Advance Physical Therapy, Inc. Newsletter
Are we in the middle of winter? It certainly hasn't felt like it when most of this season has been more spring-like with sunshine and pleasant breezes. While we desperately need rain as we face drought conditions, the East coast would love our sunshine and a stop to the below zero conditions. We are fortunate to not have to deal with the blistering cold weather. At the same time, we realize that we have no control over what mother nature brings and the only thing we can do is learn how to react and protect against the elements that come our way.
Many times we act the same way when it comes to our own health and wellness. We take a reactive,
more passive approach to taking care of ourselves as opposed to a more proactive
approach about our health. There is nothing wrong about reacting to experiences as they occur when it affects us in a positive way but when our experiences involve injury or illness, our quality of living becomes more concerning. Implementing small preventive measures with proper fitness, conditioning, nutrition and education can greatly provide assurance for healthier living.
This month's newsletter will discuss how physical therapy can directly impact your life and chronic pain and how specific supplements and nutrition can help you avoid the flu bug and sleep deprivation.
To Your Health,
Advance Physical Therapy, Inc.
Direct Access to Physical Therapy Care
Taking an Active Role in your Musculoskeletal Health
Patients today must take an active role in managing their own health care. To do this, you need to know about your options and your rights as a patient. Patients across the country are becoming better educated and have come to expect more options from their medical providers and health insurance companies. The right to physical therapy services is an important option, and it is your right as a patient.
Who needs Physical Therapy?
The public requires the services of physical therapists throughout the life spectrum. Statistically speaking, everyone will need physical therapy at some point in their lifetime. We are all guilty of taking our musculoskeletal health for granted. It is not until we experience injury or disease that affects our ability to move pain free that we begin to appreciate physical health. As healthcare providers and experts on musculoskeletal health, we encourage everyone to make a commitment to long term physical health. Maintaining physical health is not a passive endeavor, but rather an active, lifelong commitment. The role your physical therapist plays as your medical provider depends upon your physical needs. As the healthcare experts on musculoskeletal health, physical therapists remain your best choice for prevention, management, and rehabilitation of your musculoskeletal system.
Direct Access to Physical Therapy?
State laws provide direct access to licensed physical therapists without a physician’s referral or prescription. That means that as a consumer of healthcare, you can seek medical treatment for your musculoskeletal issues directly from the physical therapist of your choosing. This places physical therapy as a first line provider for your musculoskeletal health.
What does Direct Access mean for you?
- Immediate evaluation, diagnosis, and treatment from your physical therapist for your musculoskeletal injuries without the delay of visiting another healthcare professional
- Immediate consultation with your physical therapist to determine if therapy is needed or if further examination by another healthcare practitioner is warranted
- Strong potential for decreased healing time for your injury due to receiving treatment without delay
- Freedom to choose a physical therapist as you would an MD, DO, chiropractor, dentist, or other healthcare professional
- Continuity of care as you return to your physical therapist for all of your musculoskeletal needs, including relief from injury as well as prevention and overall wellness
How do I find a good Physical Therapist?
Recommendations from family, friends, colleagues, and other healthcare providers you trust is the best way to find a good physical therapist. Once you establish a trusting relationship, your physical therapist should be considered a permanent member of your ongoing health care team. Good physical health doesn’t happen by accident, and having an expert as part of your health care team can make all the difference.
Physical therapists graduate from accredited schools with extensive training in rehabilitation and specialize in various fields of medicine that include orthopedics, geriatrics, sports medicine, cardiac rehabilitation, neurological rehabilitation and pediatrics to name a few. Consumers are advised to ask questions of their therapist to ensure their physical needs are met. Common questions may include the following: What is your treatment philosophy? What are your areas of expertise? What experience do you have in my specific condition? Open communication is important with all medical providers, and you should feel comfortable having these conversations with your therapist.
At Advance Physical Therapy, Inc., we specialize in orthopedic manual therapy, sports physical therapy and neurological rehabilitation that include sub-specialties in balance and vestibular rehabilitation, chronic pain management, temporo-mandibular joint (TMJ) treatment, and pre-natal and post partum care. We have advanced credentials in orthopedic manual therapy and integrate the latest research and evidence-based treatment techniques that provide quicker recovery and healing.
When should I call a Physical Therapist?
A comprehensive and thorough assessment is essential to identify the root cause of a problem or injury. Please contact us if you have any specific questions regarding treatment of any particular condition.
The following is a sample list of common disorders that we treat:
- Headache, neck, and back pain
- Joint pain (shoulder, knee, hip, foot, ankle)
- Any injury due to a fall or trauma
- Poor posture
- Jaw pain/TMJ
- Pre- and post-pregnancy issues
- Rheumatoid and osteoarthritis
- Premature aging and decreased muscle tone
- Decreased ability to walk/general decreased mobility
- Poor balance
- Chronic fatigue and fibromyalgia
- Pain/decreased mobility/decreased strength due to obesity
- Fatigue/poor endurance due to pulmonary dysfunction
- Poor endurance due to cancer and related treatments
Tips to Prevent the Flu Bug
They say an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Fever, fatigue, cough, headaches, runny nose and a sore throat – we get chills
just thinking about it. Flu season peaks in February, so bone up on your “Flu I.Q.” to ward off the bug from biting in the first place!
First, don’t forget the basics of flu prevention. Grandma’s advice still stands – diligence in hand-washing, avoiding sick people, covering the mouth and nose when sneezing or coughing, and getting adequate rest and exercise significantly decrease the risk of contracting the flu. It’s all about building the best flu prevention system there is – the body’s very own immune system.
Not to be discounted, food is medicine (or a toxin, depending on your choices) . The gastrointestinal tract is an essential immune system component, so the first line of defense is to reduce sugar intake. Sugar tends to create a fertile breeding ground for pathogenic bacteria, yeast, and fungi that can leave the immune system vulnerable to respiratory virus. Just say no to sugar!
A balanced diet rich in colorful foods is a top contender for flu prevention. But, our convenience driven society requires supplements to ensure adequate intake of the vitamins and minerals found in nature’s medicine cabinet. That’s where Natty P comes in! We know where you can get the world’s purest, most potent supplements. Check out our top 5 picks – supplements with sturdy reputations for stopping the flu bug in its tracks.
Put up a Fight with the Right Supplements
- Omega 3’s: There’s nothing fishy about this! Be certain to choose a high-quality Omega 3 supplement. Essential fatty acids help reduce inflammation that can prevent the immune system from achieving its full potential.
- Vitamin D: In the winter, most people don’t get enough sun exposure for adequate Vitamin D levels even if they hail from sunny Scottsdale, Arizona where Natty P is headquartered. In addition to supplementation, good sources of Vitamin D are fish and fortified diary. Turns out, many of us are deficient in the sunshine vitamin, which can yield higher rates of upper respiratory infections. In addition to regulating the absorption of calcium and phosphorus, Vitamin D promotes a normal functioning immune system during flu season and beyond.
- Astragalus Herb: Funny name, but incredible medicinal benefits! A traditional Chinese medicine, astragalus has long been hailed for its ability to boost the immune system, so take the extract all season long in liquid, powder or chewable form.
- Zinc: The most vulnerable among us – the elderly and children – often don’t get adequate levels of zinc, a mineral found plentiful in beans, nuts, spinach and grains. Zinc bolsters the immune system. So, if the kids turn their noses up at the table, the right supplement, under the right supervision, will do the job.
- Ginseng: Known for its preventative and also healing agents, the two types – American ginseng and Asian or Korean ginseng – can be taken before and after the arrival of flu (or cold) symptoms for a few weeks at a time. (Across traditional Chinese medicine, American ginseng is considered less stimulating than the Asian variety.) A popular medicine throughout the world, ginseng is touted for its immunity boosting support, and cannot be found in food sources.
Which Supplements Help You Get Some Sleep
Think the brain is busy when it’s active and awake? On the contrary – the brain is doing some heavy lifting while the body sleeps.
While sugarplums dance in our heads, the brain forms new pathways that promote memory, and enables the vascular system to enjoy a well-deserved break.
A body at sleep also produces cytokines, bolstering the immune system’s ability to fight infections and chronic inflammation. Sleep is a highly regulated pattern the body requires for optimum performance – hardly passive!
Sleep is critical to our physical, mental and emotional well-being. Without enough sleep, the body constantly produces adrenaline and stress hormones, so blood pressure and heart rates don’t have a chance to slow down, posing a risk to heart health.
In the spirit of American Heart Month, sleep along with nutrition and exercise should be a vital part of the conversation. Insomnia, one of 70 known sleep disorders, wreaks havoc in 1 in 3 people across the globe.
Q&A: Getting Enough ZZZZZZ’s:
According to the Sleep Health Foundation, consider the following:
What causes insomnia? Depression, anxiety, stress, loss, chronic pain, illness, some medications, caffeine, alcohol or smoking, any a combination of these, can cause insomnia. Sometimes, there is specific cause of a sleep disorder, other times, there is none.
Who is more prone to insomnia? The elderly, women, and shift workers are at a higher risk for insomnia.
What health risks does insomnia pose? Decreased concentration, compromised emotional stability and irritability are only the beginning. A range of mild to severe consequences are associated with insomnia and sleep disorders (such as sleep apnea) including lethargy and fatigue, hypertension and heart attack, obesity, diabetes, and stroke. Sometimes, lack of sleep poses risk to people operating vehicles or heavy machinery at work.
Supplements vs. Sleep Aids: Effective?
Many people want to know which are more effective – more natural solutions such as calming supplements, sleep aids, over-the-counter or prescribed?
First, many sleep problems can be turned around by making consistent lifestyle changes. While prescribed or over-the-counter sleep aids can be effective, many contain antihistamines, and the tolerance to the sedative effects can develop quickly. Plus, they often promote a feeling of grogginess the following day. (Which leads to more caffeine, which leads to night-time wakefulness, etc.).
When recommending calming supplements to promote relaxation and sleep, look for ingredients including Melatonin, L-Theanine, and Valerian among others . Take a look at the benefits associated with each:
Melatonin: The (circadian) rhythm is going to get you … back to sleep
Also a powerful antioxidant, melatonin is the primary hormone of the pineal gland, from which data about light and dark is processed and transmitted to cells throughout the body. The signal for darkness can help maintain normal circadian rhythms to promote a restful night’s sleep, especially for individuals experiencing the lingering affects of jet lag and night shift work.
L-Theanine: Tea Time for Sleepy Time
A unique amino acid derived from tea, L-Theanine has been recognized for its relaxant properties. Free of the side effects commonly associated with other relaxing agents, L-Theanine helps promote a restful, relaxed state without diminishing daytime alertness. Furthermore, L-Theanine has been reported to moderate the effects of caffeine on the central nervous system.
Valerian: Hippocrates knows best
A perennial plant native to Europe and Asia, Valerian has been used as a medicinal herb for centuries, its therapeutic uses even described by Hippocrates. Many human clinical trials conducted on Valerian and have demonstrated positive results in achieving a restful night’s sleep without the “hangover” effect associated with pharmaceutical sleep aids.
All supplements used to support restful sleep should be taken under the careful supervision of a health care provider to ensure proper dosage, frequency, and to ensure safety in combination with other medications.
Finally, everyone can benefit from establishing a calming routine to create optimal sleep, so advise your sleep-deprived patients to:
Reference from Natural Partners Wellness Blog
- Establish a sleep schedule. Go to bed at the same time each night (or day, for shift workers), and create a calming cue that signals a wind down period for your body, including a warm shower, a decaffeinated cup of tea, or listening to music. (And turn off the devices – those can stimulate rather than relax the brain.)
- Refrain from foods and beverages that stimulate. Avoid caffeine, alcohol and nicotine, and limit the intake of fluids before bedtime to eliminate waking up to go to the bathroom.
- Get comfortable. A good portion of our life is spent sleeping, so invest in linens and pillows that offer a soft, warm place to saw off some zzzz’s.
What To Do When the Pain is Chronic
The physical therapy profession has long been one of many health care disciplines to address painful conditions. Medical doctors, nurse practitioners, and physician assistants can prescribe pain relievers, and muscle relaxants. Medical doctor specialists, like orthopedists, may recommend surgery, or give pain-relieving injections. Acupuncture can also help to calm the system. Most people know that physical therapy helps by restoring movement to joints and tissues through hands-on treatment and specific exercises to strengthen weakened muscles. Most of the time, with an injury, or after surgery once the joint is healed and muscles are properly activated, the pain starts to fade away. However, in some cases, the physical therapy treatment works better with collaborative care.
But what if the pain persists beyond the normal time for healing? At this point, a person has "chronic pain." It can be constant, or intermittent, severe or less severe. It is often very difficult to treat for many reasons. Some of these include the lack of correlation between pain and activity, its effect on the person's sleep, and the lowering of the pain threshold. All the while, the person's system wears down and muscles weaken in a downward spiral of inactivity and further weakening. Helping people with chronic pain is one of the most challenging problems that physical therapists and their medical colleagues face.
At Advance Physical Therapy, Inc. we are accustomed to seeing patient caught in this downward spiral. Our first goal is to find out how debilitating the pain is by defining the level of disability the patient has. For example, does it disrupt work life or only family/home activities? Are they able to tolerate a regular workout routine, or does their pain "punish" them later for trying to exercise? Once we know what the threshold is for worsening pain, we try to help the patient function under their pain threshold in order to avoid flareups. Flareups are best avoided, since the pain response may take several days to several weeks to run its course, slowing the progress of the rehabilitation. The next step is to introduce small, but gradually increasing increments of exercise and movement to the tissue at fault. Our intent is to keep the workloads and repetitions modest enough so the patient's tissues can adapt without triggering a painful response. In the last 15 years, the research has shown that the pain signals in a chronic pain patient are amplified, which explains why relatively small insults can cause an disproportionate amount of pain. Lastly, we educate the patient on the biology of nerve conduction, the significance and purpose of a pain response and pain processing in the body. Sometimes, it can be extremely helpful for the patient to understand that pain does not imply damage or injury, and that the pain response is out of proportion to any possible "overdoing."
If you or someone you know is challenged with chronic pain, we encourage you to give us a call to find out how we can help.