Concussion Tests Are Essential For Student Athletes

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didyouknow?Concussions are one of the most common and most difficult sports injuries to manage. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, between 1.6 million and 3.8 million brain injuries occur in sports each year, with around 63,000 affecting high school athletes. With recent advances in neuroscience, sports medicine clinicians are discovering new and better methods to protect brain health.

Sports concussion experts agree that the diagnosis of acute concussion usually involves the assessment of a range of domains, including clinical symptoms, physical signs, behavior, balance, sleep and cognition. The Medicine in Motion team uses special computerized testing to evaluate whether an athlete is suffering from a concussion. This tool, in combination with a physician evaluation, is the best way to determine the presence of a concussion and when it is resolved, thereby allowing an athlete to return to play.

“The absolute best way to manage concussions is to have baseline testing prior to the start of a sports season,” said Dr. Martha Pyron, Austin sports medicine doctor and owner of Medicine in Motion. “If a head injury does occur, we then repeat the test for comparison. By doing this, there is a unique and direct comparison from healthy brain to concussion for the clinician to evaluate.”

When to use concussion testing?

1. Athletes involved in contact sports (such as football) should have a baseline test before the season begins.

2. Athletes incurring an injury should be evaluated, regardless of whether or not they received a baseline test.

3. Anyone who has had repeated concussions in the past should be tested to determine the possibility of any long term complications.

4. Non-sports participants that receive head injuries should also be tested to evaluate cognitive abilities.

5. Parents of athletes should have their children baseline tested every other year until they reach adulthood to ensure their brains are protected.

Medicine in Motion (MIM) specializes in providing top quality sports medicine in Austin, Texas, for athletic individuals of all ages and levels. The staff at MIM believes active bodies are healthy bodies, therefore it is the office’s goal to keep patients energetic and fit. To that end, MIM provides treatment of injuries and illnesses, including the use of physical rehabilitation; promotes healthy living with personal training and nutrition coaching; and offers comprehensive sports medicine evaluations to optimize health, activity level and sports performance. For more information or for questions regarding sports medicine in Austin, contact Medicine in Motion at 512-257-2500 or visit the website at http://www.medinmotion.com.

How To Get At The Roots Of Memory Slips

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Interesting topic from June from PRWeb and Harvard Health Publications, please share your thoughts below…..

brainA variety of factors can contribute to general forgetfulness. They include poor health, medications, sleeplessness, lack of exercise, stress, depression, and alcohol use.

Age-related forgetfulness, although annoying, is common and essentially harmless. Nevertheless, pinpointing its exact cause isn’t always easy. But according to the June 2015 Harvard Men’s Health Watch, asking some simple questions can reveal some of the reversible causes of memory problems and provide the basis for a helpful conversation with a doctor.

“Having an honest discussion about memory and getting tested may help open up discussions about other areas of health too,” says Dr. David Hsu, a geriatric psychiatrist at Harvard-affiliated Brigham and Women’s Hospital.

After middle age, many people start to worry that simple forgetfulness may be the harbinger of Alzheimer’s disease. But sometimes the causes are more mundane. They include fatigue from an unrecognized medical condition, the effects of sedating medications, lack of good-quality sleep or regular exercise, and the effects of chronic stress.

Dr. Hsu notes that a perceived change in memory performance may simply be due to a slight slowdown in thinking speed that comes with aging. “Remembering takes a little more time, but this is entirely normal,” Dr. Hsu says. Getting frustrated with memory slips won’t make them stop; actually, it could make it harder to remember things.

Read the full-length article: “What’s causing your memory slips?”

Also in the June 2015 Harvard Men’s Health Watch:

* Yoga for men

* Who should be tested for an abdominal aortic aneurysm?

* Weight gain and heartburn

Early Detection For Arthritis

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legslotionDr. John D. Tomasin, MD, a Northern California Medical Associates (NCMA) Orthopedic Surgeon discusses living with arthritis, exploring the latest research on the care of arthritis and explains when total-joint-replacement is necessary.

Research, led by the University of Warwick in the UK published recently in the journal Scientific Reports reveals that the first blood test for detection of early-stage osteoarthritis could soon be developed. Researchers who say that the biomarker they identified in the study makes it possible to detect the painful joint condition before bone and joint damage becomes obvious.Dr. John Tomasin, NCMA Orthopedic Surgeon, points out that this development will help to bring treatment for arthritis to patients when it could actually have the greatest impact; in the early stages of the disease.

Researchers suggest that this discovery raises the potential of a blood test that can help diagnose the most common forms of arthritis, RA and OA — as much as several years before the onset of physical symptoms. “With this sort of advanced warning orthopedic physicians would be able to manage and treat symptoms well before the disease reaches its more painful state and starts to become degenerative,” Tomasin says.

The sooner the diagnosis, the better — as most types of arthritis can be managed fairly well, and the pain and disability minimized when caught in the early stages. While it may be some time before advance detection is available by way of a blood test, treating arthritis as symptoms arise and knowing when to make an appointment with an orthopedic specialist will help to give patients a better outlook on living with arthritis.

Common Forms of Arthritis

It may surprise some people to learn that arthritis is the nation’s most common cause of disability affecting an estimated 52.5 million adults in the U.S; that figure translates to about 1 of 5 adults currently living with some form of arthritis. According to the Center for Disease Control, as the U.S. population continues to age, the number of adults with arthritis is expected to increase to a whopping 67 million by 2030.

Arthritis is most commonly diagnosed in adults 65 years or older but people of all ages – including children, can be affected. It tends to affect women more than men (26 to 19 percent respectively) of all racial and ethnic groups. Arthritis is thought to be caused by inflammation of the tissue lining the joints. More than 100 different category of rheumatic diseases and conditions exist under the umbrella of an arthritis diagnosis; the most common being osteoarthritis which usually develops are part of the aging process, and most often affects the fingers, knees and hips. Other forms of arthritis that occur includes:

* rheumatoid arthritis

* lupus

* gout, pseudo gout

Arthritis is also more commonly diagnosed among adults who have issues of obesity, and is less likely to appear in those who maintain a healthy weight. There is no known cure for arthritis, but there are many treatments that can help slow down the condition and provide some relief. Symptoms universally include pain, aching, stiffness and swelling in or around the joints. Certain forms of arthritis such as rheumatoid arthritis and lupus, have been known to affect organs and cause pervasive symptoms throughout the body.

How Is Arthritis Treated?

Arthritis treatments are aimed at providing pain relief by controlling inflammation and increasing joint mobility. “Early, aggressive treatment is particularly important for rheumatoid arthritis in order to help prevent further damage and disability down the road,” explains Dr. Tomasin. Common treatment options may include medication, an exercise regime specific to the condition, application of heat or cold compresses and use of joint protection. When these methods fail to provide relief surgery may be considered.

When it’s time for Total Join Replacement

Total joint replacement is a surgical procedure where aspects of an arthritic or damaged joint are removed and replaced with prosthesis. This type of prosthesis is constructed from plastic, ceramic or metal and is designed to perfectly replicate the movement of a normal, healthy joint.

According to the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons the vast majority of patients report a significant decrease in pain following total joint replacement surgery; up to 90 percent of all patients. “Most patients quickly return to normal daily activities and are usually able to continue to stay active for years to come,” says Dr. Tomasin. “In many cases, following total joint replacement surgery we see our patients resume activities they enjoyed prior to being diagnosed with arthritis.”

A variety of conditions can cause joint pain and disability that lead patients to consider joint replacement surgery including damage to the cartilage that lines the ends of the bones called ‘articular cartilage’ usually due to arthritis, a fracture, trauma or some other condition.

It is reported that about 1 million total joint replacements were performed in the United States as if 2011. The most common type of joint replacement is hip and knee but replacement surgery can also be successfully performed on the ankle, wrist, elbow and shoulder.

About Dr. Tomasin

Dr. John D. Tomasin attended medical school at the University of California, Davis-School of Medicine, and completed his residency at the University of Mississippi Medical Center and the Scottish Rite Hospital for Crippled Children in Atlanta, GA. Dr. Tomasin completed his Sports Medicine Fellowship at Hughston Sports Medicine Clinic in Columbus, GA, as well as an AO Fellowship in Munich, West Germany. Dr. Tomasin has been published in numerous professional medical journals, including Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery, Journal of Orthopedic Trauma, and The Physician and Sports Medicine. Dr. Tomasin has been the team physician for numerous high school athletic programs, including Healdsburg High School and Cardinal Newman High School. He is also been the acting medical consultant for the Northern California Rugby Football Union, and the team physician for the Santa Rosa Rugby Club. Dr. Tomasin is committed to the health of the Sonoma County community, and he has been in practice in Healdsburg since 1988. To learn more visit our website or call 707-4330-0126 for an appointment.

Resources:

First blood test for osteoarthritis could soon be available – http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2015/03/150320091317.htm

Arthritis: The Nation’s Most Common Cause of Disability – http://www.cdc.gov/chronicdisease/resources/publications/aag/arthritis.htm

Arthritis Basics – http://www.webmd.com/osteoarthritis/guide/arthritis-basics?page=3#1

Arthritis Foundation – http://www.arthritistoday.org/

Living With Arthritis: Health Information Basics for You and Your Family – http://www.niams.nih.gov/Health_Info/Arthritis/default.asp

Interval Training Helps Build Cardiovascular Fitness

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Courtesy of PRWeb and Harvard Health Publications, please share your thoughts below…..

weightsInterval training means alternating between short bursts of intense exercise and brief periods of rest or less-intense activity. It builds cardiovascular fitness, but it does require exercisers to push their personal limit.

Wondering whether interval training is the best way to enhance your workout? Interval training simply means alternating between short bursts of intense exercise and brief periods of rest (or less-intense activity). The payoff is improved cardiovascular fitness.

“Aerobic or cardiovascular training is designed to develop a healthier heart and circulatory system,” explains Howard Knuttgen, research associate in physical medicine and rehabilitation at Harvard-affiliated Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital, in the September 2015 issue of the Harvard Men’s Health Watch. “Some regimen of aerobic training is really essential to good health.”

Interval training requires the person to exercise for very brief periods at a higher intensity or velocity than he or she could otherwise sustain for five to 10 minutes before becoming exhausted, Knuttgen says. Here are a few ways to turn a typical moderate-intensity workout into a session of interval training:

Swimming. Swim one lap as fast as possible. Rest for about the same time as it took to swim the lap. Repeat.

Walking. Walk as fast as possible for a minute or two. Then walk at a leisurely pace for the same period. Repeat.

Gym machines. Treadmills, elliptical trainers, and stationary bicycles often have a built-in interval training function to put gym-goers through their paces.

Read the full-length article: “Interval training for a stronger heart”

Also in the September 2015 issue of the Harvard Men’s Health Watch:

* How to lower blood pressure without more pills

* The truth about how much water you need every day

* New guidance on how to overcome spine-related back pain

* Influenza vaccination tips

The Harvard Men’s Health Watch is available from Harvard Health Publications, the publishing division of Harvard Medical School, for $20 per year. Subscribe at http://www.health.harvard.edu/mens or by calling 877-649-9457 (toll-free).

Media: Contact Kristen Rapoza for a complimentary copy of the newsletter, or to receive our press releases directly.

New Study Shows Combatting Childhood Obesity In Schools Is Working

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obesityResearch Finds the Alliance for a Healthier Generation’s Healthy Schools Program Reduces Prevalence of Childhood Obesity.

According to a recently published study in the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s journal, Preventing Chronic Disease, schools can win the fight against childhood obesity. The study found that the Alliance for a Healthier Generation’s Healthy Schools Program is an important means of supporting schools in reducing students’ rates of obesity.

Effect of the Healthy Schools Program on Prevalence of Overweight and Obesity in California Schools, 2006 – 2012, is the first peer-reviewed journal article published about the Healthy Schools Program’s impact on child obesity rates.

An analysis of 281 schools in California that participated in the Program from 2006-2012 concludes that the Program is “an effective model for addressing childhood obesity among engaged schools,” and that meaningful participation in the Program is linked to reductions in the prevalence of overweight and obesity among students in high-need schools.

Ten years ago, the Clinton Foundation and the American Heart Association founded the Alliance for a Healthier Generation with the goal of reducing the prevalence of childhood obesity, and this study confirms the organization is delivering on its mission and that healthy school environments are having an effect on student weight.

“It’s encouraging to see the proven positive impact of the Healthy Schools Program on childhood obesity. Over the past ten years, the Alliance involved all stakeholders ‒ schools, companies, communities, healthcare professionals and families. The combination of commitment and cooperation has made the difference,” said President Bill Clinton.

kidsexercisevector“This study is evidence of our 2005 dream realized. While we know we have much more work to do to reverse the tide of obesity, we’re showing signs of success through the Alliance’s Healthy Schools Program,” said Nancy Brown, CEO of the American Heart Association.

The Alliance’s Healthy Schools Program, which was launched in 2006 with funding from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, provides schools with a framework, assessment and action plan, as well as virtual and onsite training and technical assistance and access to national experts to help them create sustainable healthy change. While the study looked at schools in California, the Program serves more than 29,000 schools nationally, the majority of which are high-need ‒ 40% or more of a school’s students receive free or reduced price lunch.

The study demonstrates the power of providing high-quality training and technical assistance to help schools make policy and system changes that improve children’s access to healthy foods and physical activity. The more that schools engaged with the Healthy Schools Program, and the longer they engaged, the greater reductions they saw in student rates of obesity. For example, for each additional year of exposure to an Alliance national advisor, schools saw a nearly 2% decline in student rates of overweight and obesity.

“Healthy school environments are critical to ensuring that every child grows up at a healthy weight and to RWJF’s goal of building a nationwide Culture of Health,” said Risa Lavizzo-Mourey, MD, president and CEO of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. “This study reinforces the critical role that the Alliance’s Healthy Schools Program can play in making a healthy school the norm and not the exception in the United States. We are proud of our commitment to initiate and expand the Alliance’s Healthy Schools Program over the past decade, and we look forward to continued progress in our joint efforts to reverse the childhood obesity epidemic.”

“We’re pleased the findings confirm that the Alliance’s Healthy Schools Program is delivering on our mission: to reduce the prevalence of childhood obesity,” said Dr. Howell Wechsler, CEO of the Alliance for a Healthier Generation. “Reaching more than 17 million students across the country and growing, we will continue to positively impact children’s health on a national scale.”

About the Alliance for a Healthier Generation
The Alliance for a Healthier Generation empowers kids to develop lifelong, healthy habits. Through our Healthy Schools Program, we help to build healthier school environments for more than 17 million students by improving physical education, health education, child nutrition, and staff wellness policies and programs in more than 29,000 schools. Learn more and join the movement at http://www.healthiergeneration.org.

About the Clinton Foundation
The Clinton Foundation convenes businesses, governments, NGOs, and individuals to improve global health and wellness, increase opportunity for women and girls, reduce childhood obesity, create economic opportunity and growth, and help communities address the effects of climate change. Because of our work, more than 29,000 American schools are providing kids with healthy food choices in an effort to eradicate childhood obesity; more than 85,000 farmers in Malawi, Rwanda, and Tanzania are benefiting from climate-smart agronomic training, higher yields, and increased market access; more than 33,500 tons of greenhouse gas emissions are being reduced annually across the United States; over 350,000 people have been impacted through market opportunities created by social enterprises in Latin America, the Caribbean, and South Asia; through the independent Clinton Health Access Initiative, 9.9 million people in more than 70 countries have access to CHAI-negotiated prices for HIV/AIDS medications; 75 million people are benefiting from disease prevention efforts and investments in the U.S.; and members of the Clinton Global Initiative community have made more than 3,200 Commitments to Action, which have improved the lives of over 430 million people in more than 180 countries. Learn more at http://www.clintonfoundation.org, on Facebook at Facebook.com/ClintonFoundation and on Twitter @ClintonFdn.

About the American Heart Association
The American Heart Association (AHA) is devoted to saving people from heart disease and stroke—America’s No. 1 and No. 4 killers. The American Heart Association team with millions of volunteers to fund innovative research, fight for stronger public health policies, and provide lifesaving tools and information to prevent and treat these diseases. The Dallas-based Association is the nation’s oldest and largest voluntary organization dedicated to fighting heart disease and stroke. To learn more or to get involved, call 1-800-AHA-USA1, visit heart.org or call any of the offices around the country.

About the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation
For more than 40 years the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation has worked to improve health and health care. The Foundation strives to build a national Culture of Health that will enable all to live longer, healthier lives now and for generations to come. For more information, visit http://www.rwjf.org. Follow the Foundation on Twitter at http://www.rwjf.org/twitter or on Facebook at http://www.rwjf.org/facebook.

Association Between Chronic Pain And Obesity

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obesityThe literature suggests that obesity and pain are significant co-morbidities, adversely impacting each other. The nature of the relationship however is not likely to be direct, and many interacting factors appear to contribute.

The Journal of Pain Research has published the review “The Association between Chronic Pain and Obesity”.

As corresponding author Professor Akiko Okifuji says “Both obesity and chronic pain are serious public health concerns in our society. They also co-occur often, although it is not to say that one causes the other. Rather, there appear to be multiple factors that contribute to each of these conditions. It is clear though that when they do co-occur, the adverse impact of the problems is much worse than each of them alone. Treating each of these conditions can be challenging; obesity further complicates the treatment of chronic pain and vice versa.”

Professor Okifuji continues “Our paper highlights the significance of the relationship and need for further research. Further clinical research evaluating the nature of the relationship is urgently needed in order for us to develop innovative and optimal therapies to address the comorbidity of pain and obesity.”

As Dr. Michael Schatman, Editor-in-Chief, explains “This paper represents an important contribution to the literature, given the increasing rates of obesity as well as the stigmatization of obese pain sufferers.”

The Journal of Pain Research is an international, peer-reviewed, open access, online journal that welcomes laboratory and clinical findings in the fields of pain research and the prevention and management of pain.

Dove Medical Press Ltd is a privately held company specializing in the publication of Open Access peer-reviewed journals across the broad spectrum of science, technology and especially medicine.

Hard Truths Of Fighting Fat

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This article is courtesy of PRWeb and Beverly Hills Physicians…..please share your comments below as weight loss surgery has always been a controversial topic. According to WebMD, you may be a candidate for weight loss surgery if:

* You’re an obese adult, especially if you have a weight-related condition, such as type 2 diabetes.

* You know the risks and benefits.

* You’re ready to adjust how you eat after the surgery.

* You’re committed to making lifestyle changes to keep the weight off.

Ultimately, this sensitive topic should be discussed with your physician to see if it is the right move for you.

weightlossballtextSouthern California based medical group Beverly Hills Physicians (BHP) sees a great many patients exploring weight loss surgery as well as non-surgical paths to weight loss, and they typically experience a surge of interest from prospective patients with the beginning of every new year. A Las Vegas Sun article published December 27 notes that people who truly want to lose weight must think beyond quick-fix diets and unsustainable exercise plans if they actually want to make their dreams of becoming permanently thinner and healthier a reality, and that the only path to success is permanent lifestyle change. BHP agrees, but adds that weight loss surgery and other techniques can make dealing with the hard truths of weight loss a great deal easier.

BHP explains that, while weight loss fads typically produce only the most minor and short-lived results, even individuals who set out to make genuine lifestyle changes have an extremely difficult challenge before them. These people are often able to achieve some loss of weight, at least at first. One problem identified by BHP is that, over time, strong desires to overeat actually become all that much stronger the more weight an individual loses – and that means severely obese patients who have the most weight to lose, and the greatest need to lose it, have the hardest task before them. For most, the medical group notes, the constant pangs of appetite are simply too difficult to ignore over the long term.

BHP notes that there is a preponderance of evidence supporting the fact that weight loss surgery options such as the gastric sleeve and Lap Band can make permanently defeating obesity a great deal more achievable because they get to the root of the problem by actually reducing the patient’s appetite. Doctors have found that both of these procedures make it uncomfortable to overeat, while the sleeve procedure – which removes roughly 75 to 85% of the stomach – may also have some added benefits in terms of reducing the body’s production of hunger-stimulating hormones.

Of course, the medical group adds, a great many individuals with weight issues may not meet the definition of severe obesity (a BMI of 40 or more, or 35 or more with related health problems). For them, BHP offers both non-surgical assistance in the form of coaching and medical monitoring, as well as the new Obera balloon weight loss system. They explain that the latter is a temporary procedure which reduces the stomach’s capacity, but is intended for individuals whose weight may be a health issue but who may not be sufficiently obese to be candidates for the other weight loss procedures.

However it is accomplished, experts agree that real weight loss that lasts takes time and commitment – but that doesn’t mean that the challenge can’t be made significantly less difficult with the help of outstanding medical professionals like the team at BHP. To learn more about their options, interested readers can call 800-788-1416, or visit BHP online at http://www.BeverlyHillsPhysicians.com.

Sinus Problems?

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didyouknow?Sinusitis is inflammation of the sinus passages, producing a stuffy head and pain. Antibiotics are usually not effective. Try to use saline rises, decongestants, and pain relievers to ease symptoms until the body heals itself.

The sinuses (the hollow spaces behind the nose) are prone to infection by various microorganisms. In a sinus infection, also called sinusitis, the sensitive lining of the sinuses swells up and gushes mucus, triggering nasal stuffiness, a runny nose, and facial pain. Once upon a time, sinus sufferers headed straight to a doctor to get an antibiotic, but we now know this is usually a waste of time. Most cases of sinusitis are associated with viral infections, which are bulletproof to antibiotics.

Taking simple steps to ease symptoms while the body clears the infection makes the most sense, according to the November 2015 issue of Harvard Men’s Health Watch. “Everybody thinks of antibiotics as the magic cure-all, but the vast majority of people will get better without ever having to consider an antibiotic,” says Dr. Jeffrey Linder, a primary care physician and associate professor of medicine at Harvard-affiliated Brigham and Women’s Hospital.

Basic self-care steps to soothe symptoms include:

– saline (salt water) rinses, using either a neti pot or prepackaged saline nasal sprays

– decongestants, either in nasal spray or pill form

– pain relievers — any kind is fine, but nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) like ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin), naproxen (Aleve), or aspirin will ease inflammation in addition to pain.

“If you have been doing all the right things for 10 days and you’re not getting better, then it’s totally reasonable to call your doctor and ask about an antibiotic,” Dr. Linder says.

Read the full-length article: “Inflamed sinuses: It’s best to watch and wait”

Also in the November 2015 issue of the Harvard Men’s Health Watch:

– Exercise to banish aches and pains
– Easy diet upgrades
– Is your heartburn pill really working for you?
– How to stop the flu in its tracks

The Harvard Men’s Health Watch is available from Harvard Health Publications, the publishing division of Harvard Medical School, for $20 per year. Subscribe at http://www.health.harvard.edu/mens or by calling 877-649-9457 (toll-free).

Occupational Therapy Offers Relief For Hand Pain From Arthritis

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newsOccupational Therapist Roxanne Perry with Armonk Physical Therapy & Sports Training with tips on how OT can help manage osteoarthritis hand pain and prevent further joint damage.

Opening a jar, buttoning a shirt or brushing your teeth are everyday activities that feel far from routine for those with arthritis in their hands, a highly common condition causing pain and disability for millions of Americans. But occupational therapy, or OT, focusing on the hands can ease pain and increase range of motion for these patients, whether used on its own or after surgery, according to Roxanne Perry, a licensed occupational therapist and certified hand therapist at Armonk Physical Therapy & Sports Training.

With 27 bones in each of our hands (including the carpals which are the small wrist bones and are often involved when a patient has arthritic pain) perhaps it’s not surprising that osteoarthritis is the most common cause of hand arthritis – a word that literally means “inflamed joint.” Osteoarthritis itself is the most common type of arthritis in the United States, affecting about 12% of American adults and occurring when the smooth cartilage covering joints gets worn away because of age or overuse – causing pain, stiffness, swelling and sometimes knobby finger joints.

Hand therapy is a specialized practice area among occupational therapists, who treat these patients to preserve or increase their hand mobility so they’re able to perform everyday tasks more easily and comfortably.

“As a non-surgical option or a way to boost your recovery from hand surgery, occupational therapy is tailored to fit each person’s individual situation and needs, both at home and at work,” says Perry, who has more than 20 years of clinical experience treating injuries of the upper extremity. “The ultimate goal is to restore and optimize the way your hands function as well as to improve your independence and overall quality of life.”

Preventing further joint damage

For those with hand osteoarthritis for which surgery isn’t recommended, OT serves a preventative role, Perry explains. Patients are taught ways to prevent further joint damage, which can include:

Splinting: Immobilizing affected joints, particularly at night, helps them rest when you do and cuts down on joint inflammation, pain and swelling, Perry says. Splints used during sleep are made of a thermoplastic material that stretch and mold closely to the shape of the hand, while neoprene splints may be prescribed during the day to allow movement while also providing support. An occupational therapist will ensure splints are fabricated and fitted to each patient’s needs.

Home exercise program: In addition to working with hand osteoarthritis patients during office visits, occupational therapists also teach them range-of-motion exercises and gentle strengthening techniques they can perform at home. These therapeutic movements may include finger touches, curls, stretches and bends. A typical OT schedule involves office visits twice each week for 4 to 6 weeks and is generally covered by insurance with a prescription.

Information on pain management: Occupational therapists can offer education about over-the-counter and other types of anti-inflammatory medications to reduce pain. Other pain management techniques may include soaking the hands in warm water or dipping them in warm paraffin wax. Additionally an OT can provide information on joint protection and adaptive equipment that can help increase patient’s independence.

“Avoiding further joint damage is a big part of effective treatment for hand arthritis,” Perry notes. “It’s not something you’d want to attempt without the guidance and expertise of an occupational therapist.”

If surgery needed, restoring strength and function

Surgery for osteoarthritis of the hand may be suggested when a patient either suffers from too much pain – a highly individual decision – or too little function. Surgical techniques can include; basal joint arthroplasty, also known as a joint replacement of the thumb, osteotomy, in which part of the bone of a joint is removed to realign the joint, and fusion of the joints, a procedure use when arthritis is particularly bad.

But even in this scenario, OT can play a crucial role in restoring a patient’s quality of life. If surgery is indicated, OT helps patients to manage post-operative pain; reduce swelling; promote wound care and healing; and restore range of motion, strength, and function.

“While a conservative, non-surgical approach is generally successful for managing hand osteoarthritis, sometimes surgery is the best course,” Perry says. “But either way, an occupational therapist can improve patients’ hand function and pain levels, reducing the stress on involved joints. OT shouldn’t be a last resort – it should be the first thought for people who develop hand arthritis.”

– Armonk Physical Therapy & Sports Training has provided personalized, integrative, and skilled one-on-one physical therapy services to residents of Westchester/lower Fairfield counties since 2001. http://www.armonkptst.com/ – Roxanne Perry, OTR, CHT, is a licensed occupational therapist and certified hand therapist at Armonk Physical Therapy & Sports Training.

Washington DC Is The Nation’s Fittest City

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This article is courtesy of ACSM, please share your comments below…..

joggersResidents of the nation’s capital, followed by Minneapolis-St. Paul, and San Diego enjoy a variety of outdoor exercise options and have relatively low rates of smoking, obesity and diabetes. That combination of measurable health and community indicators makes them the three fittest of the 50 largest metropolitan areas in the U.S.

Oklahoma City, Memphis and Indianapolis rank last among the 50 metro areas studied in the eighth annual American Fitness Index® (AFI) ranking being released today by the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) and the Anthem Foundation. View the rankings and individual metro data here.

There’s good news and areas of concern from the largest sports medicine and exercise science organization in the world. The AFI reveals a troubling 11.3 percent drop in the percentage of individuals who exercised in the last 30 days, and a 7.8 percent increase in the diabetes death rates from 2014 to 2015. The AFI ranking also notes a 5.5 percent drop in those who eat enough fruit each day. Five metro areas dropped significantly in the rankings, falling five or more positions.

On the more positive side, there was also a 9.5 percent decrease in the percentage of respondents who reported that they had been diagnosed with angina or coronary heart disease, and a 5.5 percent increase in the number of park units from 2014 to 2015. Nine metro areas improved their ranking by five or more positions.

With funding from The Anthem Foundation, ACSM studies Metropolitan Statistical Areas (MSA) using a composite score to measure the health of each MSA. Access to public parks was added as a new measure in 2015, and the Washington-Arlington-Alexandria metro area topped the list for the second consecutive year with a score of 79.6 out of 100 possible points, a two-point improvement over 2014.

“The AFI is two things: a measure of how healthy a metro area is today, and a call-to-action for urban and suburban leaders to design infrastructures that promote active lifestyles and lead to positive health outcomes,” says Walter R. Thompson, Ph.D., FACSM, chair of the AFI Advisory Board. “Our goal is to provide communities and residents with resources that help them assess, respond and achieve a better, healthier life.”

“We have proudly sponsored the American College of Sports Medicine American Fitness Index® for the past eight years and have witnessed the growing impact this report can have on the health and well-being of communities,” said Sam Nussbaum, MD, chief medical officer for Anthem, Inc. “Across the United States, government, business and organizations have proven that by working together we can improve the health of our cities. These coalitions are using the actionable data from this report to drive health improvement. It is heartening to see a city’s health improve, and this year there were some remarkable shifts in rankings. Opportunities remain and measurement, shared learning and commitment to healthier lifestyles will benefit individuals, our cities and our nation.”

Last year, ACSM also released its first series of AFI data trend reports recapping and documenting progress during a five-year period for each metro area. You can learn more about community health data trends in a given area by going here.

Because physical inactivity has become an epidemic in the U.S., ACSM encourages Americans to exercise for at least 30 minutes and participate in 10 minutes of stretching and light muscle training five days a week. Modeling healthy behavior by reducing sedentary time, incorporating activity into the weekday schedule, joining walking clubs, setting goals and involving family and friends can improve fitness, reduce the risk of chronic disease and enhance quality of life.

At the community level, the AFI data report can be used as an assessment and evaluation tool to educate community leaders on the importance of key indicators of physical activity. Leaders can then focus on policy, systems and environmental change (PSE) strategies that are evidence-based and create sustainability for the community.

ACSM is a global leader in promoting the benefits of physical activity and advocates for legislation that helps government and the health community make it a priority. ACSM encourages Congress to support continued funding of parks, trails and safe routes to school, as well as the need for all Americans to meet the prescribed physical activity recommendations included in the National Physical Activity Guidelines, and the need for the guidelines to be regularly updated every 10 years.

View the rest of the article here.