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Role of Physical Therapy on Heart Health

The impact of heart disease is significant, since it affects the quality of life. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death in the United States; one in every three deaths is from heart disease and stroke, equal to 2,200 deaths per day.

The good news is that lifestyle changes can make a difference. Your physical therapist can play an important role in improving your heart health. Don’t wait until your physician tells you it’s time to exercise, take some pre-emptive action. Call our office today and ask us to craft a “heart healthy” exercise program. Even if you have never exercised before, we’ll improve the health of your heart with a safe, progressive exercise program. Expect to work closely with us, and together as a team, we’ll improve the way your heart functions.

If you currently suffer from heart related issues, your physical therapist can help you regain an active lifestyle by working on three specific areas:

  • Mobility issues
  • Healthy eating and lifestyle changes
  • Physical activities geared towards your specific abilities and goals
The Heart – An Amazing Organ

The average heart rate of an average adult is 72 beats per minute. If you live to be 80 years old, your heart could beat almost 3 billion times. The heart is an amazing organ that keeps beating involuntarily and powers blood circulation for the entire body. Here are some important considerations for heart health.

  • Understand the impact of lifestyle – While genetics play a part in heart disease, lifestyle choices have a significant impact. Smoking, overeating, eating unhealthy food and a sedentary lifestyle are factors that must be improved, especially when heart disease runs in the family.
  • Eat healthy – Minimize the consumption of sodium and trans fats. Eat healthy fruits and vegetables daily (try frozen versions when fresh produce is not in season as they hold the most nutrients).
  • Join heart healthy programs – Several programs can help you achieve a heart healthy lifestyle. In September 2011, the CDC launched a national initiative called A Million Hearts that includes a list of partners (federal and private sector) committed to keeping people heart healthy. Among those participating are the American Heart Association, the YMCA, Walgreens, and numerous health insurance companies. You may want to consider challenging your family and friends to take the Million Hearts™ pledge (or taking the pledge yourself) at www.millionhearts.hhs.gov
  • Keep Moving – Being active doesn’t mean having to run on a treadmill or attend a workout class. Simple things like taking a daily walk, taking the stairs instead of the elevator, parking farther away from your destination and walking to it can make a difference. Just keep moving!
The ABCS of a Healthy Heart

Although exercise is an important part of heart disease prevention, it is important to remember the ABCS of a healthy heart. Consult your physician for more information on these four key factors:

A – an Aspirin a day can help keep your heart healthy. Ask your physician if low dose aspirin is a good idea for you.

B – know your Blood pressure numbers. If your blood pressure remains high for a period of time, you may be at risk for heart disease. Ask your physician for more information.

C – know your Cholesterol levels – your body has ‘good’ cholesterol and ‘bad’ cholesterol. The ratio between these numbers is an important determinant of heart health.

S – there’s no question Smoking is detrimental to the heart! Smoking has a detrimental effect on other organs including your lungs and has been proven to cause cancer.

As your physical therapists, we are committed to helping you live a healthy lifestyle brimming with energy and abundance. A strong, healthy heart is the first step, and we want to help you. Don’t wait, just give us a call today and ask us for more information. You owe it to your heart.

Rehab for Rapid Recovery of Pulled Hamstring

The hamstring muscles, located at the back of the thigh, are comprised of three muscle groups. Injuries to this muscle are common in athletes participating in sports such as football or basketball. They are also common in ‘weekend warriors’ and individuals who participate in walking, jogging or running without a period of adequate warm up and stretching.

This muscle group allows your knee to bend, and plays a critical role in every activity involving the lower body. Your hamstrings are contracting every single time you take a step, climb a flight of stairs or get in and out of your car.

The anatomy of this muscle group

The three muscle groups that comprise the hamstrings include the biceps femoris, semi-membranosus and semi-tendinosus. A partial or complete tear of either of these muscles is a likely possibility in hamstring injuries.

hammy

Cause of hamstring muscle injury

A sudden, excessive stress on this muscle group is a common cause of injury. An individual with a previous history of hamstring injuries is more likely to get re-injured. Hamstring muscle tightness and inadequate warm-up can also cause injuries.

The Role of the Physical Therapist

The role of the physical therapist is extremely important in managing patients with hamstring injuries. Prior to treatment, the therapist will obtain a detailed history and perform a clinical examination to ascertain the degree of injury and the muscle groups involved. This will help create a foundation for a safe and effective treatment program.

If the injury was sustained recently, the therapist will recommend rest, since the primary goal is to avoid an increase in pain and excessive strain on sensitive muscles and ligaments. You may be asked to avoid exercise and in some cases, avoid walking. You may be asked to use crutches for support.

In an effort to deal with the pain associated with such injuries, the therapist may recommend an ice pack and a compression bandage to reduce swelling.

Physical therapists will prescribe and supervise a structured exercise program once the acute injury phase (and the associated pain and swelling) has subsided. These can include –

pulled hammy1. Muscle strength exercises – including static and dynamic strength exercises to help regain strength as quickly as possible.

2. Range of motion – including active and passive range of motion exercises that can be partial, or complete range of motion. This helps maintain mobility and minimize muscle tightness.

3. Provision of support devices – The use of assistive devices like crutches, walkers or canes to walk short distances is helpful for patients during the recovery phase. The physical therapist will help analyze the need for such a device, identify the right device (if needed) and assist in acquiring such a device.

Restoration of Control

In addition to the restoration of strength and mobility, an important objective of physical therapy is the restoration of muscle control and balance following hamstring injuries.

When the hamstrings are injured, the strength ratio between the quadriceps (muscles at the front of the thigh) and the hamstrings is also impacted. Weakness or tightness in the hamstrings (as a result of an injury) can also put you at an increased risk of injury to the ACL, or anterior cruciate ligament, which is a ligament that facilitates with knee stability.

Exercises involving balance, weight bearing and unexpected shifts in direction can improve strength and stability in the hamstring muscles. For an athlete recovering from hamstring injuries, a physical therapist will work on motor control and help train sport-specific movements.

Whether you are a weekend warrior or an athlete suffering from a hamstring injury, physical therapy can help. In fact, the scope of physical therapy extends far beyond hamstring injuries and includes pain relief and restoration of function for any muscle injury in the body. Give us a call, and we’ll help you regain control of your muscles as quickly as possible.

Choose Life, Choose Physical Therapy

Did you know that YOU have the right to choose your physical therapist? When you get a physical therapy referral from your physician, you can visit any provider you like. It’s common for the physician’s office to recommend a provider if the office is familiar with or has an affiliation with that provider. The choice is yours. You can either visit the provider recommended by your physician, or any other provider that you feel comfortable with.

Did you know?

  • Most states allow the patient to see a physical therapist without a physician’s referral. If you don’t know whether you need a referral, don’t worry. Just call our office and we’ll get the answer for you.
  • Some insurance policies may require a visit to your primary care physician before attending physical therapy or may require you to use ‘preferred providers’ only. This is also something we can look into for you when you give us a call.roll the ball
  • Your physician may advise you to visit their own in-office physical therapy facility or one that is run by a large hospital. You can do so, or research and use an independent physical therapist in private practice – the choice is yours.
  • You are not obligated to go to any particular physical therapy office / clinic; even if your surgeon or physician suggests that office.
  • The American Physical Therapy Association (APTA) requires it’s members to abide by the Association’s Code of Ethics. This ensures that they are committed to providing competent and compassionate care.
Choosing The Right Physical Therapist For You

As a consumer, you have the opportunity to research your physical therapy provider before you make a decision. After all, you want to feel comfortable with your decision. Here are a few guidelines to keep in mind when choosing your physical therapist:

  • Any physical therapist you choose should be licensed by the state he / she is practicing in.
  • Physical therapist assistants (PTAs) should always be supervised by a licensed physical therapist.
  • Make sure the clinic participates with your specific insurance company and plan. Ask them and they will find out for you.
  • There are times when you may find a physical therapist who specializes in a skill that is related to your particular needs / condition that may not participate with your insurance. To ensure that your needs are best met, you may consider paying out of pocket for these specialized skills.
  • Find out if your physical therapy clinic submits insurance claims on your behalf. If not, then you will have to submit your own claims.dang
  • Your insurance company should be able to verify how many visits they allot for your particular problem and be able to tell you what your co-pay is. In most cases, the physical therapy clinic can also verify this information for you. You should also ask whether or not you have met your insurance deductible amount.
  • Ask the physical therapist’s clinic to help you determine what you will be responsible for financially.
First Visit – What To Expect

 Your first visit to your physical therapist office will include a detailed initial evaluation. This evaluation will help the therapist to identify your problems using special testing procedures.

Once your physical therapist has evaluated your condition, they will be able to design a plan of care that specifically meets your needs. If you have certain concerns or goals, make them known at this time so your therapist understands what you are expecting from your visits. As a part of the program design, expect a treatment timeline with realistic goals. This timeline may be changed as you progress, depending on how well your body responds to treatment.

Along with regular visits to your therapist’s clinic, you will most likely receive a home exercise plan (HEP) in which you will be given specific exercises to do at home in between your regular office visits. This will help facilitate faster recovery, so stick with the program at home!

Always speak openly with your therapist if you have any concerns or limitations. As your physical therapists, we will work with you closely and help you recover as quickly as possible. We hope to get the opportunity to work with you.

Delivering Care to AIDS Patients in Physical Therapy

Acquired Immuno-Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS) is caused by the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). It is a global health problem that results in a significant impact on one’s emotional, physical and psychological state. With recent strides in medicine, AIDS can now be managed effectively. This allows patients to maintain a reasonable quality of life as the disease progresses. Physical therapy forms an important part of the treatment process.

Why physical therapy?

The long, protracted course of AIDS can manifest in different ways. The impact on the patient can range from mild and progressive to rapid and devastating. Physical therapists are trained individuals who can identify muscular and joint deficiencies in AIDS patients during different stages of progression. Exercise therapy is an important foundation of AIDS treatment. A structured program can help patients maintain and regain optimum function to manage the activities of daily living. It can help improve energy levels and allow patients to maintain self-confidence.

Doing More With Less…

Exercise therapy can range from aerobic exercises to resistance training. Exercise helps improve overall fitness, improve cardiovascular health and maintain independence. A physical therapist will emphasize exercise quality over quantity. A well designed exercise program can help patients achieve greater results in a shorter period of time.

1. Aerobic exercise

This involves exercises that increase the heart rate and blood circulation. Activities include brisk walking, walking uphill, jogging, and swimming. Aerobic exercises burn fat and help improve body composition. In a group environment, light to moderate aerobic exercise fosters a sense of community and motivates patients to ‘stick with the program’.

goals

 2. Resistance training

These include exercises that involve weights or some form of resistance. Muscle wasting and weakening of the immune system is common with AIDS. This can result in an increased risk of infections and an inability to exercise. The best way to maintain muscle strength is with a simple, progressive home exercise program. It’s possible to use one’s own body weight as a good form of resistance. Such exercises can help improve strength and muscle tone. This helps improve joint stability and balance for AIDS patients.

Understanding Your Limits

For an AIDS patient, self-pacing is an important safety precaution during exercise. The right kind of exercise will leave the patient feeling energetic, instead of feeling tired and fatigued.

If you feel weak, nauseous or experience joint pain, listen to your body and avoid exercise. Your physical therapist will help you set fitness goals that are realistic, measurable and attainable. The components of fitness include cardiovascular training, flexibility training, resistance training and balance training. Here are a few benefits of physical therapy:

1. Improved capacity to perform daily tasks

Everyone likes to be independent. Physical therapists recognize the need for freedom and mobility for AIDS patients. Patients can live a healthy, happy quality of life without feeling dependent on other individuals.

2. Enhanced cardiovascular fitness

Aerobic exercise improves your body’s ability to use oxygen and increases the efficiency of the heart. This allows the patient to participate in physical activity and reduces the tendency to get out of breath.

success3. Pain reduction

AIDS patients can develop neuropathy, which involves the nerves. This can result in varying degrees of pain from mild, aching pain to sharp, stabbing pain. Exercise can be a valuable tool in pain reduction, and a physical therapist will guide patients to work within the limits imposed by pain.

Physical therapy has a number of benefits for patients suffering from HIV. In fact, individuals all over the world are embracing the benefits of physical therapy. They are recognizing all the benefits of an experienced, caring physical therapist.

We are here to help every individual in our community. Please reach out to us today, and give us the opportunity to show you how physical therapy can change your life, and the lives of those around you.

The Surprising Link Between Physical Therapy and Urinary Incontinence

Incontinence is an embarrassing condition that affects men, women and children of all ages. A common symptom is the loss of bladder control when coughing, sneezing, lifting and laughing.

Incontinence can be temporary or persistent. Temporary loss of bladder control is related to diet, alcohol, caffeine and prescription medications. Underlying medical conditions such as urinary tract infections and chronic constipation also play a role.

Persistent loss of bladder control may be related to pregnancy, age-related changes in the bladder, menopause and enlarged prostate. Disorders of the brain and spinal cord like stroke and Parkinson’s disease can also cause loss of bladder control.

This has vast social implications for patients, who turn to adult diapers, medications and even surgical interventions.

Getting Back the ‘Mind-Muscle’ Link

Incontinence can be treated effectively with a variety of physical therapy techniques including, but not limited to:

Kegel Exercises – This involves controlled contractions of the pelvic floor muscles, using a hold and release pattern for a designated number of repetitions and sets. The frequency and intensity is gradually increased over time.

Clinical Pilates – These specialized exercises help strengthen the core and pelvic floor muscles.

Electrical Stimulation – The use of mild electrical currents to stimulate the pelvic floor muscles tends to mimic the ‘hold and relax’ pattern of Kegel exercises.

Biofeedback – A technique used to build the ‘mind-body’ connection between the brain and the muscles of the pelvic floor. This helps patients identify, contract and control specific muscles surrounding the urinary tract.

Your physical therapist may use a combination of techniques, and may design a home exercise program to help you achieve results as quickly as possible.

Regaining Control of your Life.

Incontinence can take an emotional toll on a patient. Social implications include feeling of guilt, shame, and depression in some cases. Family members and physical therapists must work together to support and help the patient prepare for ‘accidents’ by planning ahead prior to outdoor activities.

Incontinence is more prevalent than most people realize. It can be treated with a combination of traditional medicine and physical therapy. Mental health counseling may be required in some cases.

Physical therapy, in particular, plays an important role in the strengthening and retraining of the pelvic floor muscles. Therapy can also strengthen the lower back and realign posture to dramatically improve the quality of life.

If you or someone you know is suffering from incontinence, schedule a consult with us. Physical therapy will help you regain control of your life in more ways than one.

The Power (and Weakness) of the Wrist

Wrist injuryA wrist fracture has the potential to impact daily life for an extended period of time. Wrist fractures result from falls, sports activities, and improper lifting. Owing to the complex architecture of the bones, muscles and ligaments in the wrist and hand, healing can take a while.

The wrist itself is not a bone, but a joint connecting the hand and the forearm. The type of treatment will depend upon the nature and the extent of injury to the bones, muscles and ligaments. Typical symptoms include pain, swelling and bruising especially with movement.

In some cases, nerve involvement can result in a tingling sensation in the fingers. It is important to rest and restrict motion to allow the injury to heal and to prevent displacement of bone fragments and other complications.

Wrist fractures are typically treated by applying a cast that holds the wrist in place, provides protection from movement and helps reduce pain. At times, surgery may be required.

Rapid Return to Function

During the healing period, the wrist is kept immobilized. This allows sufficient time for the healing process. The physical therapist will select the appropriate rehabilitation option to reduce pain and restore functionality. Some of the options include:

Exercise – After removal of the cast, patients may experience some discomfort and weakness as they start to use their wrist again. A customized physical therapy exercise program is a critical component for easing pain and building strength while restoring functionality and dexterity in the affected area.

Hot and Cold Therapy – Hot and cold packs are used to alleviate pain and swelling once the cast is removed and throughout rehabilitation.

Mobilization – A therapist performs manual therapy techniques to relieve joint stiffness and restore a normal range of motion.

Ultrasound – Soft tissue is stimulated below the surface of the skin using audio waves to accelerate the healing process through cellular regeneration while decreasing pain and swelling.

arm

Electrical stimulation – This method is an effective tool for alleviating pain, strength training and rehabilitation for joints that have been inactive for extended periods of time.

Therapeutic Massage– Therapeutic massage offers many benefits. It can relieve stress in stiff joints (giving the patient a better range of motion) and enhances the body’s own ability to heal itself. Depending upon the needs of the patient, a variety of massage techniques can be used to reduce inflammation and relieve pain.

Don’t Get Sidelined

Often, patients seek over-the-counter painkillers to deal with wrist pain, since it’s an inconvenience.

Sometimes, patients are reluctant to schedule time to have a wrist examination, despite significant pain. Getting the wrist checked as soon as possible is important since it can help avoid serious complications down the road.

Wrist fractures are painful and affect the ability to perform daily tasks. Without proper strengthening and rehabilitation, recovery can be a long, painful process. If you are experiencing pain from a wrist injury, we can create a customized treatment plan that will reduce pain, restore mobility and facilitate recovery. Call us today to ensure a quick and speedy recovery.

The Definitive Bone Strengthening Protocol

Osteoporosis is a condition in which the amount of calcium and minerals in the bone decreases, leading to a reduction in bone density. As a result, bones become fragile and prone to fractures. A fracture can occur from a minor fall or simple actions like sneezing or bumping into furniture.

Treatment involves calcium supplements and prescription medication. Physical therapy plays an important role in maintaining quality of life for patients with osteoporosis, and for good reason. Muscles and tendons can be strengthened to provide a protective effect for bones. Although it cannot be cured, the rate of progression of osteoporosis can be decreased with physical therapy and medication.

Living with Osteoporosis

Here are important factors to consider when living with osteoporosis:

1. Dietary measures

A diet rich in calcium and vitamin D provides the body with important minerals that form the building blocks of bones.

2. Weight bearing exercises

Always seek approval from a physician before starting any exercise program, especially if you have been diagnosed with osteoporosis. Simple exercises like walking and climbing up a flight of stairs are beneficial. A physical therapist will prescribe an exercise program tailored to the needs of the patient.

3. Muscle strengthening exercises

Supervised weight training helps improve muscle strength. A physical therapist may recommend the use of tools such as elastic bands, free weights and exercise equipment. Patients are also encouraged to use their own body weight to perform a number of exercises.

4. Core stabilization exercises

These exercises improve posture and balance. They help in the prevention of falls, injuries and fractures. Yoga and Pilates are examples of exercise used to improve posture and balance. All exercises should be done under the supervision of a licensed physical therapist.

New Horizons Await You

If you have been diagnosed with osteoporosis, don’t despair. Millions of individuals with this condition live healthy, productive lives. As long as you work with a physical therapist and take the right precautions, you can experience a renewed awareness of movement and function.

Physical therapy can improve balance, increase strength and reduce the incidence of falls. Ask your physical therapist for precautions about movement, lifting, and injury prevention. In the unfortunate event that you do experience a fracture, your physical therapist is uniquely qualified to help you in the recovery process. The use of assistive walking devices (cane, walker) may be suggested by your therapist.

Don’t allow fear of injury to hold you back. Talk to a physical therapist and learn about the differences between safe and unsafe exercise. A new world of freedom and independence awaits you. We are here to help you improve your life with the benefits of physical therapy.

Yes! Physical Therapy Can Make You Smile!

Did you know the face has 43 muscles? These are tiny muscles that control facial expressions like smiling, smirking and frowning. In fact, there is a condition called Bell’s palsy that affects facial muscles, as a direct result of nerve damage.

The dysfunction affects a primary cranial nerve that controls facial muscles, resulting in temporary paralysis for some, but others experience lingering effects that can last several years.

Causes include brain tumor, stroke or Lyme disease. Other causes include viral infections like herpes simplex 1, chickenpox, German measles and mononucleosis. In some patients, no definitive cause can be found contributing to Bell’s palsy.

Patients may experience difficulty blinking and closing the eyes, raising their eyebrows, and smiling and frowning. This can also affect taste. Individuals may also experience balance problems, tingling of the face, memory problems and weak muscles. Bell’s palsy can appear as a single condition or as part of a larger neurological dysfunction.

Some patients achieve a spontaneous recovery and regain near-normal function. Patients may have lingering problems such as the inability to close one or both eyes, necessitating protection to prevent the eye(s) from drying out. Hearing loss is also common. Men and women are affected, and those with diabetes or upper respiratory ailments face additional risk.

Let’s Face This Together
Various physical therapy methods can be used to help patients with Bell’s palsy. It’s essential to begin physical therapy as soon as possible. Options include:

Acupuncture/Dry Needling – Used to stimulate specific nerve and muscle sets to maintain facial tone, ease pain, and release stress. Reduces the potential for further neurological damage.

Electrical Stimulation – Stimulation of muscle and nerve groups to maintain tone and improve function. Reduces muscle ‘wasting’ or atrophy.

Facial Muscle Exercise – Mild facial exercises maintain facial tone and reduce muscle weakness. Activities are tailored to each individual. Improves coordination and maintains ‘muscle memory’.

Clinical Pilates – A loss of balance and coordination can be treated with a specialized exercise program that focuses on small movements to build strength and regain balance.

Heat Therapy – Supervised application of hot packs helps circulation around nerves and muscles.

Biofeedback – Helps individuals regain movement control by identifying and isolating the pertinent muscles. Helps increase patient awareness of facial muscles.

Time to Face the World

The face is the most recognizable part of the human anatomy.

It provides others with insight into our feelings. The muscles of the face allow verbal and non-verbal communication.

The loss of control over facial muscles (or any injury to the face) can be extremely intimidating, but we are here to help. A physical therapist is a specialist in movement control for all joints and muscles in the body. We can help you regain function and control. We can also help prevent potential complications.

If you suspect you may be suffering from Bell’s palsy or know someone who is, don’t hesitate to call us. We treat a wide variety of diseases, syndromes and conditions to alleviate pain and restore functionality. The sooner you begin, the better. Call us today, and together, we’ll help you face the world.

Falling, Balance and Physical Therapy

Falling is a common problem amongst the elderly, and it can result in serious injury. It is estimated that one in every three adults aged 65 and older suffer from a fall every year. Fall related injuries range from hip fractures to head trauma. After a fall, patients experience a significant loss of confidence and a fear of falling when walking unaided. Recovery from a fall involves physical as well as psychological elements. It is important for the patient to seek physical therapy for treatment and fall prevention.

Why do elderly patients fall?

Visual problems, muscle weakness and low blood pressure can cause a loss of balance, which leads to a fall. Other reasons include conditions such as Parkinson’s disease and other conditions that affect the nerves.

Occasionally, middle ear problems (vestibular problems) can occur and balance can be affected. The good news is, falls can be largely prevented with the right precautions.

 

Can Your Body Act as Resistance?

A physical therapist is trained to help individuals improve balance between muscle groups and increase joint stability. The physical therapist will begin with a detailed neuromuscular assessment to identify muscle imbalances and integrity of the nervous system.

The physical therapist will conduct different tests to determine your sense of balance as you sit, stand and walk. The speed and the stability with which you walk are also evaluated. This becomes the foundation for a balance program, in which you can use your own bodyweight as a source of resistance.

Balance exercises such as single-leg standing under the supervision of a physical therapist are beneficial. Different activities to improve balance while walking and changing positions and direction train the body to prevent falls. The objective is to be able to handle different tasks at the same time while staying in an upright position.

MULTIPLE BENEFITS OF PHYSICAL THERAPY

 

Physical therapy is an important aspect of fall treatment and prevention. For starters, a physical therapist will assess your footwear and the safety of your home to eliminate factors that could result in an inadvertent fall.

Your therapist will use several techniques including core stabilization exercises and manual therapy to improve balance and stability. Your bodyweight is an excellent source of resistance for your muscles. The therapist will challenge your sense of balance in a controlled environment by shifting your center of gravity. This activates important muscle groups in the neck, trunk, abdomen and hip muscles.

As the body adapts to these exercises over a period of time, the risk for falls reduces. The therapist will also provide you with a simple exercise program that you can do at home, without the need for any equipment or devices.

Amazing Benefits of Physical Therapy to Female Athlete Triad

The Female Athlete Triad is a group of interrelated conditions that affect female athletes, particularly teenage athletes. It is widely believed that an energy imbalance is the cause, combined with competitive forces. This disrupts eating patterns and body image for female athletes. Despite the fact that this is common in athletes, several aspects of the triad are seen in non-athletes as well.

The three medical conditions associated with the triad are:

  1. Disordered eating: anorexia, purging, induced vomiting
  2. Amenorrhea: stoppage of menstrual cycles
  3. Osteoporosis: low bone mass/density

Causes

There are times when the athlete exercises excessively while the body is experiencing an energy deficit. A reduced caloric intake combined with malnutrition leads to a pattern of disordered eating.

The pressure to ‘be thin’ is compounded by a society that idolizes celebrities and pop stars. This can result in compulsive dieting and exercise. For a growing teenage athlete, bone density can be compromised if there are deficiencies in protein, vitamins and calcium. For female athletes participating in figure skating, ballet and gymnastics in particular, awareness is critical.

Symptoms

Coaches, parents and guardians should be aware of the following warning signs:

  • Rapid weight loss or marked leanness
  • Obsession about weight, body image and food.
  • Shin splints that don’t heal and stress fractures.
  • Reduced participation or loss of interest in sports
Exercise and Nutrition – A Healthy Foundation for Every Individual

Treatment involves:

  1. Prevention of compulsive dieting by working with a sports nutritionist.
  2. Increasing the strength of muscles, ligaments, bones and joints.
  3. Be in a progressive exercise program designed by a physical therapist.

Physical therapy for athletes begins with a detailed evaluation of the flexibility, strength, range of motion and athletic goals.

The physical therapist is a critical member of the healthcare team and works closely with a coach and athletic trainer. The physical therapist may use a combination of the following treatments:

  • Ultrasound to heal connective tissue (tendons and ligaments).
  • Manual therapy that includes stretching and massage.
  • Resistance training to increase muscle strength.
  • Cold compress for acute injuries and heat to relax muscular spasms.
  • Russian Electrical Stimulation aids in reactivation of muscle.
  • IFC Electrical Stimulation for pain relief.
  • The use of tape to support muscles and assistive devices as needed to support joints.
Success Starts with the Right Attitude

Physical therapy can keep young athletes healthy, strong and safe, but success begins with the right attitude towards the inner and outer self. Every physical active female should take three simple precautions to protect against the triad:

  1.   Eat healthy meals at regular intervals. Use nutritional supplementation if necessary.
  2. Discuss menstrual irregularities (or sudden fluctuations in body weight) with your physician.
  3. Track exercise and calorie expenditure.

An environment that makes the female athlete feel safe and comfortable encourages honest conversations that help identify underlying problems. If you suspect that someone in your family has some of the symptoms associated with the triad, seek medical attention immediately. Physical therapy is an important part of long-term treatment of this condition. In fact, physical therapy can help most individuals to live a healthy, improved quality of life. Call us today to schedule an appointment. Your success is our success.