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Facts about being a Physical Therapist: Did you know?

By PSSM Staff

Physical Therapy is a fascinating field since the dawn of its conception in the 1920s. Since that time the field of Physical Therapy has grown to an entity that has been pushing the envelope to what therapist can and cannot do.

  1. Did you know Physical Therapist can treat beyond the normal orthopedic / post-op patient?

Physical Therapist can be certified and/or specialized in different methods and techniques. Many do not know therapist can treat patients with vertigo, pelvic floor dysfunctions, cardiovascular and pulmonary dysfunctions, and neurological disorders to name a few.

  1. Did you know Physical therapist can work in a variety of settings?

With the addition of working with variety of patient populations, a Physical Therapist is present in hospitals, outpatient clinics, private practices, home health agencies, schools, nursing homes, and even the Emergency Room.

  1. Did you know a Physical Therapist can obtain an advanced degree, Clinical Doctorate?

Many patients are surprised when they find out that Physical Therapist can hold a Doctorate degree. In the field of Physical Therapy they have been pushing forward for all Physical Therapist to obtain a Doctorate in Physical Therapy to advance our profession and scope of practice. A few years ago being a Physical Therapist you only needed a bachelor’s degree to practice. However, our scope of practice and knowledge of medicine and human movement has grown that most Physical Therapy graduate programs offer an entry-level 3-year Doctorate of Physical Therapy (DPT) degree. Physical therapists have to pass a medical board exam in order to obtain their state license to treat patients.

  1. Did you know Physical Therapist can evaluate and treat without a MD prescription?

In many states, you can be evaluated and treated by a physical therapist without seeing your Primary Care Physician. These states have Direct Access with more states following suit. According to the APTA, currently 18 states have unrestricted patient access, 26+ states have patient access with provision, and 6 states have limited patient access. Check the APTA website to see what your state is categorized under, as of now New Jersey and Pennsylvania have patient access with provision.

  1. “No Pain, No Gain” gets toss around a lot at the PT Gym

Although at Physical Therapy we are here to help strengthen your muscular imbalance or stabilize joints through exercises, working through pain does not always hold true. There are exceptions to this statement, such as range of motion for a patient post op total knee replacement or frozen shoulder. Most of the time, treatments and exercises should be to patient’s tolerance and pain-free.

  1. Did you know your Home Exercise program is important to your care?

The most important aspect of Physical Therapy is that you as the patient are compliant with your plan of care and performing your prescribe exercises. There is a reason that your physical therapist puts in the time and effort in designing a home program specifically for you. Being compliant with your HEP will help your recovery and return you to your prior level of function.

Stop Sitting

By PSSM Staff

Our bodies aren’t designed to sit all day. The evolution and advancement of technology has caused a de-evolution in our physical sustainability. Studies are showing that on average people with desk jobs are now sitting more hours per day than they sleep which is terrible for your overall health and wellness. Increased sitting contributes to insulin resistance and type II diabetes, increased risk for cardiovascular disease, drops in the healthy cholesterol your body needs, decreased calorie burning ability, muscular de-conditioning, and much more. If you work in a job that requires you to sit all day take frequent walks around the office to counteract the sitting you’re doing, take the stairs when you can, stand at your desk and march in place while working multiple times per day.

Seasonal Allergy Survival

By PSSM Staff

Allergy season is upon us! Many patients contend with the havoc seasonal allergies wreak on their wellbeing this time of year. If you are someone who struggles with this yearly, and needs help with making it through these crucial first weeks of warm weather, here are some tips that can help make it more bearable.

For many this goes without saying, but for many others it may not occur to you to check back in with your allergist/primary care physician to have your allergy medication re-calibrated. If you have been taking the same medication to help with your allergies your body may have become accustomed to the dosage, or the medication altogether, and it may not be working for you now as well as usual. Of course higher pollen counts can also contribute to this and your medication may not be the issue, but in either case a check-up with your physician to make sure you’re on the right track may not be a bad idea.

Consumption of local honey is suspected to help your body get a “preview” of the pollen in the air where you live. This method is said to be more helpful for the end of winter in the weaks leading up to spring as a pre-emptive; so it may be more helpful for next season. Assuming you don’t have any underlying allergies, or that you don’t have any severe reactions to bee pollen, try finding a local vendor for natural honey native to your area and using it in small regular doses; perhaps in a tea (hot or iced) you like.

Upon arriving home for the day take off your shoes and clothes that you wore. This will limit repeated exposure from any particles on your clothing while you are in the house. Try putting your clothes in the washer each day (adding up to a full load by the end of the week) or into separate hampers that you keep away from the common areas of the house (IE: in your laundry room or your basement if that is where your washer and dryer are stored). It may additionally be helpful to shower upon arriving home as well. You’ll be able to wash off any particles that may have stuck to your skin and the steam may help open and drain your sinuses.

Speaking of sinuses try salt water rinses for your oral and nasal cavities. Neti pots, or equivalent products, may help with flushing out your sinuses. Gargling with salt water will help with sore throat relief from incessant coughing as well.

As always, if your symptoms worsen or become unusually more intense than usual take these signs seriously and consult your physician. If you feel you’re having an anaphalactic reaction seek emergency medical care immediately. Better safe than sorry.

Pain while travelling

By PSSM Staff

A common complaint for people who have to drive or fly far distances for work or travel is that their back begins to ache while sitting for a prolonged period. There are a few ways to try and reduce this pain for the everyday traveler. One tip is to use a lumbar support for the low back to promote proper sitting posture. You can purchase a lumbar roll or even try rolling a beach towel for support to trial how the roll would feel. Another adjustment that a person could make is to use the seat warmers that most new cars provide. This is a good way to reduce muscle tension and spasm and ease pain in the low back with heat. The last tip is to take standing breaks if available. When on a flight or on a long trip it is a good idea to try and stand for a period of time, especially when driving or flying long distances. Prolonged positioning of the spine, especially in a flexed position, can cause joint pain and discomfort. This is especially important if you notice numbness or tingling down the leg when sitting for a long time.

Detox Diets

By PSSM Staff

Detox diets are common with people trying to “cleanse” their bodies of toxins accumulated from food, drink, the environment and even stress. These diets promise to boost energy, help you lose weight, clarify the skin, reduce headaches and decrease bloating.

While there is no standard definition of a detox, most begin with restriction of processed foods, meat, sugar, wheat, eggs, salt, caffeine, alcohol and nicotine. It is recommended to consume only liquids for the first few days after which time, raw vegetables and grains other than those containing gluten are introduced. Eventually lean meats and healthy fats can be eaten.

Some detoxes call for supplements including laxatives and herbal products in addition to probiotics, antioxidants and even colonics.

The organs responsible for detoxifying the body are the liver and the kidneys and they appear to do a good job of this. It is only speculation that the body requires assistance with this process. There is no research that I know of that suggests the need for additional cleansing of the body from toxic substances. Nor are there studies confirming the efficacy of the detox diet.

Furthermore there is potential for these diets to be harmful, especially if coupled with laxatives and colonics. They can leave the body dehydrated, nutrient-depleted and out of proper metabolic homeostasis. These diets can lead to cramping, fainting,and loss of lean muscle and can hinder the metabolism.

There are countless people though who would give personal accounts of the benefits of the detox diet. It is possible these effects can be attributed to many things other than detoxification. Increased water intake, decreased overall food consumption including chemicals from processed foods and salt and sugar, elimination of drugs and just eating a higher concentration of nutrient-dense foods. These concepts are in line with a healthy diet and that would explain why so many people have felt better after taking part in a cleanse.

– Gary Fuschini

COLD VS FLU

By PSSM Staff

Have you ever woken up in the middle of the night coughing, sneezing, and achy all over?

These symptoms can be present in both the common cold and the flu.

So what is the difference between the cold and the flu?

A cold is milder than the flu. A cold may make you feel bad for a few days and the flu can make you feel very sick for a few days to a few weeks.The common cold may start with a sore throat that quickly goes away. You may notice some nasal symptoms such as a runny nosefollowed by congestion. Most of the time there will not be a fever associated with a cold; although, a fever may be present.

Did you know that during the first three days of a cold, you are contagious! During this time, it is best to keep your children home from school or to finally use that sick day from work.

After a week, if your cold symptoms do not go away, then you may need an antibiotic. To get an antibiotic, you will need to schedule an appointment with your primary care provider. During this appointment, he/she will examine you and determine which treatment is best.

Those are common symptoms of the cold, but what are common flu symptoms?

Flu symptoms start rapidly. You may feel fine one hour, and then next hour you are achy and not feeling well.

Flu viruses enter your body through the mucous membranes of the nose, eyes, or mouth . So think twice about putting your hands near these areas while you are sick! This is how illness spreads. Make sure to wash your hands under warm soapy water for the 30 seconds to prevent the spread of germs. It is also beneficial to educate your children on hand washing and proper hygiene to prevent the spread of germs while at school. Typically, schools are a breeding ground for colds and the flu. The more children understand how to prevent germs, the fewer germs will be spread.

Centuries old benefits of coconut oil come into vogue

By PSSM Staff

Coconut oil is being touted as a new cure-all, but Our staff said it’s no fad, the benefits of coconut oil have been known in other cultures for centuries.

One of the most debated claims of coconut oils is that oil pulling, a practice where one swishes a tablespoon of coconut oil in the mouth for 20 minutes, can help reduce bacteria in the mouth.

our staff said some people think there is only pseudo-science behind the practice, but it’s not true. There is evidence that it helps fight gingivitis, plaque and the microorganisms that lead to bad breath. Staff said this happens because micro-organisms in the mouth consist of cells that are covered with a fatty membrane. Once they come into contact with coconut oil they naturally adhere to one another making it easier to pull out the bad bacteria. While oil pulling can be performed with other oils, coconut oil is preferred as it contains lauric acid which is a well know anti-microbial.

Pssm Staff said that to start oil pulling it’s recommended to start with just five minutes a day of swishing oil, working up to 20 minutes. She said be sure not to swallow the mixture and not to skip normal brushing and flossing. She said oil pulling is an adjunct to normal dental hygiene not a replacement.

“Oil pulling appears to have become a growing trend but it’s not new,” said our staff. “It has been a part of Ayurvedic medicine for 3,000 years.”

Another claim of coconut oil is that it can be a replacement for other oils for healthful cooking, but staff warns that more study is needed in this area.

“At the present moment, the literature points to olive oil as being the healthier oil,” said pssm staff. “Olive oil has more “good fat,” monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats, than virgin coconut oil.”

Our staff said a quick analysis shows that coconut oil contains more than 10 times the amount of potential bad fat compared to olive oil, but that assessment is too simple, because saturated fats from some plant-based products are not as bad as those from animal-based products. Most of the saturated fats in coconut oil comes from lauric acid, which she said, can increase bad cholesterol (LDL) but also good cholesterol (HDL).

“Because it increases both good and bad cholesterol, the risk of using coconut oil may not be as significant, or even significant at all,” said pssm staff.

Pssm Staff said the benefits of coconut oil can be attributed to the presence of lauric, capric and caprylic acid, and their respective properties, such as antimicrobial, antioxidant, anti-fungal, antibacterial and soothing qualities.
’’The health benefits of using coconut oil include hair and skin care, stress relief, cholesterol level maintenance, weight loss, boosted immune system, proper digestion and regulated metabolism. It also provides relief from kidney problems, heart diseases, high blood pressure, diabetes, HIV, and cancer, while helping to improve dental quality and bone strength,” our staff said.

Get Clued in to Bad Posture

By PSSM Staff

It doesn’t take Sherlock Holmes to solve the case of a “C” shaped back, when the curve of the spine moves away from its intended “S” shape, posture is almost always the culprit.
Dr. Chris Cush of Performance Spine and Sports Medicine in Newtown said that bad posture from desk jobs is extremely common today.

“We live in the perfect environment for bad posture,” said Cush. “People are glued to their computers, we are always on our cellphones looking down. I never see anybody upright, texting in a good position. You can only get away with this for a while, before it starts causing pain.”

The first tell-tale symptoms of somebody with bad posture that works at a computer is a forward head position. It’s followed by rounded shoulders and tends to give the spine a rounded “C” appearance. He said the overall look is a slump. And the “C” shape creates a lot of tension in the upper back, shoulder blades and lower back.

One way to combat bad posture is to have an ergonomic assessment of your work place. Cush said the problem of bad posture has led many companies to hire consultants to make sure that employees are using the proper desks and chairs to meet each person’s needs. This has led to an increase in standing desks, which can be helpful for people with lower back problems.

For those that can’t get an assessment Cush gave his top three tips for helping to combat posture problems:
1) Get up and move every hour.
2) Make sure your computer monitor is at eye level.
3) Periodically squeeze your shoulder blades together

He said each of these tips helps balance the effects of sitting for too long. He said there needs to be a balance of sitting, standing and movement for proper posture. It’s not ideal for people to stand all day just as it’s not great for them to sit all day.

He said that in terms of cardiovascular health, sitting has become the new smoking.
“People are putting in more hours sitting down, which systemically is not great”.

He recommends carving out time to get regular exercise and making sure that posture issues are addressed early.

“Most people think blowing a disc is all about acute injury, but bad posture is usually the pre-curser. It can lead to something larger or more ominous. It can bring out herniation’s and disc bulges.”