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Author Archives: Matt Smith PT

Do you feel Born to Run, but Walk instead to save your Knees?

As long as your joints are healthy to begin with, it may be safe to pick up the pace.

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If you’ve been reluctant to make running one of your New Year’s resolutions, fear no more. A common misconception is that running puts tremendous wear and tear on the knees and can even bring on osteoarthritis. But a new study of almost 75,000 runners shows just the opposite: There was no association between running and osteoarthritis. In fact, runners were less likely to develop arthritis than people with lower activity levels. Running isn’t necessarily a higher-impact exercise, biomechanically speaking. While runners do apply more force with each step, that force is distributed over fewer steps (since their strides are longer). Walkers apply less force but take more strides. The bottom line: The impact of running or walking on your knees may be the same.

But keep this in mind: If you’re a woman over 55 or a man over 45, the American College of Sports Medicine recommends that you get your doctor’s okay before beginning an exercise program. While running may be easier on our joints than previously thought, it is still considered moderate to strenuous cardiovascular exercise, so it’s smart to make sure your heart and lungs are up to the challenge.

 

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Be Prepared to Fight a Winter Cold!

Be prepared to fight a winter cold. Know which two remedies can nip it in the bud.

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Though your drugstore is stocked with a multitude of cold meds, there are really just a couple of things that have actually been proven to speed up a cold. They are: vitamin C and andrographis (and your mom’s chicken soup). Take regular doses of these the moment you start feeling symptoms. That’s 500 mg of vitamin C four times a day, with plenty of water, for the next two or three days — or andrographis (as 48 mg of standardized andrographolide extract) three times daily. These remedies, alone or in combination, can reduce the average time that a cold lasts from roughly five days to three.

Excerpted from YOU: The Owners Manual, Updated and Expanded Edition by Michael F. Roizen, MD, and Mehmet C. Oz, MD.

 
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Posted by on January 2, 2014 in Clinic Reviews

 

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Keep Moving!

Keep Moving! A new study found nonoperative treatments were just as effective at reducing pain and disability as spinal fusion surgery for patients with lumbar degenerative disc disease.

PT found effective as spinal fusion for pain Nonoperative treatments, including physical therapy, were just as effective at reducing pain and disability as spinal fusion surgery for patients with lumbar degenerative disc disease. Nonoperative treatments, including physical therapy, were just as effective at reducing pain and disability as spinal fusion surgery for patients with lumbar degenerative disc disease, according to a recent study.

According to an American Physical Therapy Association survey, 61% of U.S. residents experience low back pain, of which degenerative disc disease is one cause. The same survey found just 40% of those with low back pain will try movement as a way to relieve the pain.

Researchers with the University of Virginia Health Sciences Center, Charlottesville, and the Thomas Jefferson University Hospital, Philadelphia, reviewed 200 consecutive patients with back pain and concordant lumbar discogram who were offered the option of spinal fusion then followed up with the patients to compare outcomes of those who chose fusion or nonoperative treatments, such as physical therapy. Their study was published online Sept. 17 in the journal World Neurosurgery.

The team used follow-up questionnaires including the pain score, Oswestry Disability Index, SF-12 and satisfaction scale. Researchers conducted follow-ups with 96 patients (48%). Patients who lacked follow-up data were slightly older and less likely to be smokers. Overall, pain score at initial visit, body-mass index and gender were not significantly different between patients with and without follow-up results.

Of the 96 patients with follow-up, 53 were in the operative group and 43 were in the nonoperative group. The researchers found no significant differences between the groups based on age, pain score, BMI, smoking or gender at baseline. The average amount of time that elapsed before follow-up was 63 months and 58 months for the operative and nonoperative groups, respectively.

According to the findings, patients in both groups reported much less pain at the final follow-up. The authors concluded the two groups �did not demonstrate a significant difference in outcomes measures of pain, health status, satisfaction or disability.�

Abstract: http://www.worldneurosurgery.org/article/S1878-8750%2813%2901111-X/abstract

 

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Physical Therapy Improves Balance & Prevents Falls

Research has shown that approximately 1/3 of all adults over the age of 65 suffer from at least one fall annually, the prevalence increases to 50 percent in adults over the age of 80. Falls are not only an inconvenience, but have also contributed in a major way to health care costs and disability in the older adults. Studies have shown that 20 percent of falls require some sort of medical attention. Furthermore, up to 10 percent of people who suffer from a fall sustain major injury such as major contusion/laceration, head trauma and disabling fractures. Fractures are a greater risk for patients with osteoporosis. You may also be surprised to find out that complications from falls are the leading cause of death from injury in adults over the age of 65.

There are multiple reasons why people fall and they include prior history of falls, visual deficits, gait abnormality, lower extremity weakness, arthritis, balance deficits and environmental hazards. As we age balance regresses, joints become more arthritic, flexibility decreases and reaction time slows down. However, balance impairments can be improved and the risk for falls can be reduced, with practice.

Medical studies show effectiveness of physical therapy interventions in treatment of balance dysfunction and therefore decreasing the risk for falls. Exercise programs may target strength, balance, flexibility or endurance. Programs that contain two or more of these components reduce rate of falls and number of people falling.

A skilled physical therapist is capable of accurately diagnosing balance dysfunction and risk for falls by a comprehensive evaluation including history taking, physical examination, as well as functional/balance tests. Physical therapy treatment should be patient specific and based on needs established during initial evaluation. Most often it will consist of a combination of balance activities, functional training, strengthening and stabilization exercises, as well as environmental awareness/modification training with the patient.

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Find Balance during the Holidays

Start your day with the stork pose to help you find balance during the holidays.

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What better way to center yourself during this busy time than with a yoga pose that promotes strength and balance? Yoga’s stork pose helps you focus the mind and calm the body. It’s just what you need when your days are filled with shopping, cleaning, cooking, travel and social events. Ready to be flooded with zen? Simply stand tall and focus your gaze at a point in front of you. Gently lift one foot and try to stand on the opposite leg for as long as you can. If you falter, just put both feet back on the ground and steady yourself; then try again. Keep your gaze on that focal point, breathing gently and evenly. If you’d like more of a challenge, rotate your raised ankle and draw circles in the air with your foot. Return your foot to the ground and repeat on the other side. You can even practice stork pose while standing on line at the bank or grocery store. It will help you float through your errands gracefully.

 

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Be Happier & Improve Job Performance taking Time Off!

Take some time off this holiday season. It could make you happier and improve your job performance.

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Are you planning to take a vacation this holiday season? Too busy at work, you say? Well, consider this: In a recent survey, 35 percent of participants felt better about their jobs and were more productive at work after taking a vacation. It makes perfect sense, really. But according to the same survey, the average American uses just 14 of their 18 allotted days. Compare these numbers to the Europeans: German, Spanish and French citizens receive 30 vacation days each year, and only the Germans leave any of it on the table. If traveling isn’t an option, how about a “staycation”? You can still enjoy many of the same benefits — relaxing walks, hot soaks in the tub, a new restaurant, or a great book — without actually having to leave home. You might even consider planning a future or fantasy vacation, just for fun. The vacation planning itself can release positive emotions and benefit your brain by boosting mental flexibility. That’s something your employer is sure to appreciate.

 
 

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Make a Mess!

Go ahead and make a mess! The cluttered desk might just help you find a solution to a difficult problem at work.

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If you’ve been stymied by a challenge at work, don’t waste another minute straightening up your desk or office space. Having a disorganized work area actually inspires the kind of creative thinking that stimulates new and interesting ideas that lead to problem solving. The disorder seems to help you break free of “inside the box” thinking. When given a choice, people with messy offices are also more likely to prefer a new product instead of an established one. Tidy surroundings, on the other hand, seem to encourage people to do exactly what’s expected of them. So if “clear the clutter” is on your to-do list, focus on all the other things you really must do during this busy time of year. The mess on your desk can wait.

source: cleveland clinic

 

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Maintain Exercise Momentum

Want to maintain your exercise momentum? Commit to shorter, moderate-intensity workouts rather than lengthy, high-intensity ones.

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Here’s an early Christmas present: 30 minutes of moderate exercise is about as beneficial to your health (not to fitness) as a full hour of intense training (and much easier to fit into your busy schedule). What’s more, you’re more likely to be energized by moderate workouts and more motivated to keep doing them. “When you do a 30-minute moderate workout, you increase your energy levels without depleting them completely, leaving you with more energy to continue with the rest of your day,” says Melissa Hendricks, MEd, manager of the Cleveland Clinic Fitness Centers. So pop in your favorite workout DVD, take a vigorous walk or hop on the elliptical at your gym and watch how quickly those 30 minutes fly by.

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Food as Energy

Your body relies on the energy and nutrients you get from food, so what you eat — and when you eat it — can either drain you or sustain you.

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Whenever you go more than a few hours without eating, your blood sugar drops, and that may be bad news for your energy. Plan on refueling with a healthy snack or meal every few hours to keep your blood sugar steady. And never skip breakfast! Eat something within an hour of waking, when your blood sugar is lowest. Choosing a breakfast with either soluble fiber or insoluble fiber — the kind in beans, fruits, vegetables and whole grains — actually protects against blood sugar spikes and crashes later in the day.

 

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Gobble Gobble

from our family at Matt Smith Physical Therapy to your family…
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Posted by on November 28, 2013 in Matt Smith Physical Therapy

 

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