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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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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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Don’t Let Holiday Stress take the Fun out of the Season!

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Head off holiday anxiety early by coming up with a stress management technique that works for you before stress strikes. Research shows that you are likely to deal with stress in ways you already know, so make them the most effective strategies for you.

The next time you feel stressed, try a few of these strategies from the American Psychological Association. And remember, the more often you use these strategies, the more comfortable you’ll become with them.
• Get connected. Strong, healthy relationships with family and friends are important to your well-being. Think of the holidays as a time to reconnect with those around you. Don’t be afraid to accept help and support from those who can help alleviate your stress.
• Set realistic goals and plan ahead. Establish small, concrete steps to handle holiday tasks. Don’t overwhelm yourself with lofty goals that are too time-consuming for the hectic holiday season.
• Keep things in perspective. Put stressful situations into context by taking a long-term perspective. Work to avoid blowing events out of proportion.
• Take care of yourself. Pay attention to your own needs during the holiday season. Participate in activities that you enjoy and find relaxing.
If you need help learning strategies that will work for you, try our proven Stress Free Now online program with relaxation techniques, step-by-step instructions and daily support!

source: cleveland clinic

 

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Walk your way to Younger Skin

Exercise flushes toxins and improves cell regeneration for a healthy, youthful glow.

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If you already think of exercise as the fountain of youth, you’ve been paying attention. After all, it helps us to feel good, look good, and stay limber and independent. Climbing up a steep hillside to catch a glimpse of the sun setting, for instance, gives you an invigorating and powerful sense of self. Huffing and puffing up a flight of stairs? Not so much. But one benefit of exercise that you most likely rarely think about is how it affects your skin. Physical activity increases circulation throughout the body. Better blood flow to these regions means an influx of nutrients and a flushing of toxins. For the skin, this means quicker healing and cell regeneration, which promotes a more youthful glow. So get out for a daily walk, run or activity of your choice, and watch what happens — as long as you don’t mind whistles.

source: cleveland clinic

 

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Tone Muscles using Resistance Training

While you can’t target fat loss in trouble spots, you can tone muscles in those areas for a more defined look.

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You can’t spot-reduce the parts of your body you don’t like (your body decides where the weight comes off first). But that doesn’t mean you can’t target the muscles in your trouble areas. But how? Incorporate resistance training into your workout. The best way to tone your muscles: Do each exercise with a higher number of repetitions (about 15 to 20) and a lighter weight than you could lift just eight to 10 times. You can also get a leaner look by lengthening your muscles through stretching and yoga.

source: the Cleveland Clinic Wellness site

 

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Jouranal to Reduce Stress

Feeling frustrated? Journaling about difficult times or lofty goals makes it easier for you to manage stress and put a smile on your face.

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Research shows that writing about your grievances — as well as your hopes and dreams — can lower stress levels, speed up healing and boost your mood. To commit yourself to the practice, invest in a journal in which you will enjoy writing.

 
 

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Get Moving!

Just move! Even brief episodes of brisk exercise can make you thinner and better able to do the fun things you want to do in life.

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Try 30 minutes of moderate exercise — such as a brisk walk — most days of the week, for better emotional and physical health. New research shows that even brief episodes of vigorous activity can help prevent weight gain and promote better health. The key is to get your heart rate up so that you’re working your lungs, heart and muscles. If today you have only 10 minutes to spare, use that time to go for a brisk walk. If there’s a hill nearby, or even a staircase, try to tackle it! You may even find that you enjoy it so much you’ll find 15 minutes to spare tomorrow.

source: cleveland clinic

 

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Exercise Consistently to help with Insomnia

Regular exercise can help you sleep more soundly, but be patient. Results won’t happen overnight. Stick with it for lasting results.

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If you spend your nights tossing and turning, or you take hours to fall asleep, begin an exercise plan. Regular physical activity is a wonderful prescription for insomnia. However, one sweat session on the treadmill isn’t likely to lead to better zzz’s that night. Researchers have found that, though effective, exercise is a long-term treatment for insomnia. So you’re going to have to keep at it and not get discouraged. Also, “You need to be careful about when you exercise,” says Michelle Drerup, PsyD, sleep psychologist and behavioral sleep medicine specialist at the Cleveland Clinic Sleep Disorders Center. “Remember that exercising too close to bedtime (within three hours) can interfere with sleep. Exercise stimulates your heart, brain and muscles — the opposite of what you want if you’re trying to snooze. It raises your body temperature right before bed, which can be counterproductive as well. But I still promote exercise for people with sleep problems, and here’s why: Contrary to what most people think, exercise can help you sleep longer and more soundly, plus feel more awake during the day. People who are physically fit also have better quality sleep.”

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source: the Cleveland Clinic Wellness Center

 

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