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.

Probiotics Lend A Hand To Brain Functioning – Part 3

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By Christie Korth

Part 3 of 3

Continued from part 2 of this article…..

soup5) Miso Soup: Miso, a staple of Japanese cooking and medicine is commonly used in macrobiotic cooking as a digestive regulator. Made from fermented rye, beans, rice or barley, adding a tablespoon of miso to some hot water makes an excellent, quick, probiotic-rich soup, full of lactobacilli and bifidus bacteria. Beyond its important live cultures, miso is extremely nutrient-dense and believed to help neutralize the effects of environmental pollution, alkalinize the body and stop the effects of carcinogens in the system. Yaaay for Miso!

Our favorite pick: Kid Friendly Chicken Noodle Miso Soup by Food Network

Ingredients:

1/4 cup miso
1/4 cup warm water
6 cups water
1 large red chile, sliced
1 tablespoon finely grated ginger
3 green onions, thinly sliced
2 chicken breasts, trimmed and thinly sliced
100 g snow peas, halved
250 g rice noodles
3 green onions, thinly sliced for garnish

Directions:

1. Place the miso paste and warm water in a small bowl and stir to combine.

2. Place the water, chilli, ginger and green onions in a large saucepan over high heat and bring to the boil.

3. Add the chicken, snow peas and noodles and cook for 3-4 minutes until the chicken and noodles are cooked through.

4. Stir the miso mixture into the noodle mixture.

5. To serve, spoon into bowls and top with extra green onions.

Book of the Month Review:

Sophie – Safe Cooking: A Collection of Family Friendly Recipes that are Free of Milk, Eggs, Wheat, Soy, Peanuts, Tree Nuts, Fish and Shellfish by Emily Hendrix

Description: Sophie-Safe Cooking houses over 100 recipes very neatly laid out, one per page. Most of the recipes contain less than ten ingredients (always a top feature for me) and for the most part the directions are just a few straightforward sentences. Emily adds in helpful, but brief, notes with several of the recipes. Most of the recipes are Sophie-Safe versions of familiar family favorites, such as Granny’s Meatloaf, Shepherd’s Pie, and Chocolate Cupcakes (frosted of course!). While a few unique concepts caught my eye, like the Whipped Pinto Beans, Zucchini Brownies, and Taco Vinaigrette. Enjoy!

References

1. Kirsten Tillisch, Jennifer Labus, Lisa Kilpatrick, Zhiguo Jiang, Jean Stains, Bahar Ebrat, Denis Guyonnet, Sophie Legrain-Raspaud, Beatrice Trotin, Bruce Naliboff, Emeran A. Mayer. Consumption of Fermented Milk Product with Probiotic Modulates Brain Activity. Gastroenterology, 2013; DOI: 10.1053/j.gastro.2013.02.043

Christie Korth is a Crohn’s disease survivor, author, certified health coach and holistic nutritionist who found her way to health and wellness after nearly succumbing to a severe case of Crohn’s disease. After harnessing the power of nutrition and gaining her health back, she then went on to be the founder and director of Happy & Healthy Wellness Counseling based just outside of NYC. She studied at the Institute for Integrative Nutrition, Columbia University and the Clayton College of Natural Health and is a certified holistic health practitioner with the American Association of Drugless Practitioners. Christie is the Corporate Nutritionist for Brain Balance Achievement Centers, where she designs the nutrition protocol for franchises across the country. Christie is a nutrition expert for Dr. Oz’s Sharecare.com and frequently contributes nutrition articles to Long Island Parent Magazine. Christie is he author of The IBD Healing Plan and Recipe Book: A Guide to Releive Crohn’s and Colitis with Whole Foods. Christie lives in New York with her son, her husband, and her cat.

Probiotics Lend A Hand To Brain Functioning – Part 2

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By Christie Korth

Part 2 of 3

Continued from part 1 of this article…..

tea2) Kombucha: A type of fermented tea, Kombucha contains a high amount of healthy gut bacteria. This probiotic- rich beverage has been used for centuries and has been shown to help increase your energy, enhance your well being and maybe even help you lose weight. However, kombucha tea may not be the best fit for everyone. For instance, if you have suffer with candida, Kombucha may not be appropriate while treating candida infection.

Our favorite pick: GT Synergy

3) Kimchi: Popular In Asia, this pickled Saurkraut is an extremely spicy and sour fermented cabbage, typically served alongside meals in Korea. Besides beneficial bacteria, Kimchi is also a great source of beta-carotene, calcium, iron and vitamins A, C, B1 and B2. Kimchi is one of the best probiotic foods you can add to your diet, assuming you can handle the spice, of course. You can make Kimchi without all of the heat, as I have gone ahead and done here.

Our favorite pick: Kid/Family-Friendly Kimchi Recipe by Mama in the Kitchen

• Chop into bite size pieces or slice: 1 big or 2 small Napa Cabbages, cored

• Place in a non-metallic container. Your best bet would be to use big glass mason jars. You can also try using the lining of a slow cooker.

• Massage cabbage with ¼ sea salt

• Cover with water, place a plate with a weight on top (I used 2 mason jars full of water) or bamboo sticks fixed to the top of a jar to make sure all the cabbage is submerged in water. Leave overnight. The next day, drain the water and rinse the cabbage.

Now, mix the cabbage with:

Ingredients:

1 cup of water
1 clove garlic, minced
2 tsp. sea salt
1 green apple, grated
2 green onions, sliced
3 large carrots, grated
½ cup local honey
1/3 cup raisins

• Mix together well. Make sure there are no air pockets by pushing the vegetables down. Again, place a plate with a weight on top or bamboo sticks fixed to the top of a jar to make sure all the cabbage is submerged in liquid. Cover with a towel and leave for 3 – 4 days. When done, place in mason jars and refrigerate.

• Serve kimchi with vegetables or noodles. Be creative, it can also be used on a sandwich or wrap or as a salad dressing!.

4) Saurkraut: Grab an organic beef hot dog and a gluten free bun and it’s a picnic in the park. If you want it to pack a nutritional punch, go for the addition of raw sauerkraut. Made from fermented cabbage (and sometimes other vegetables), sauerkraut is not only extremely rich in healthy live cultures, but might also help with reducing allergy symptoms. Sauerkraut is also rich in vitamins B, A, E and C.

Our Favorite Pick: Rejuvenate Foods Raw Sauerkraut. Not just sauerkraut, Rejuvenate offers all types of cluttered vegetebles and even tahihi, live salsas, ketchup and pickles! Excellent choice for kids, particularly those who are picky!

Stay tuned for part 3 of this article shortly…..

References

1. Kirsten Tillisch, Jennifer Labus, Lisa Kilpatrick, Zhiguo Jiang, Jean Stains, Bahar Ebrat, Denis Guyonnet, Sophie Legrain-Raspaud, Beatrice Trotin, Bruce Naliboff, Emeran A. Mayer. Consumption of Fermented Milk Product with Probiotic Modulates Brain Activity. Gastroenterology, 2013; DOI: 10.1053/j.gastro.2013.02.043

Christie Korth is a Crohn’s disease survivor, author, certified health coach and holistic nutritionist who found her way to health and wellness after nearly succumbing to a severe case of Crohn’s disease. After harnessing the power of nutrition and gaining her health back, she then went on to be the founder and director of Happy & Healthy Wellness Counseling based just outside of NYC. She studied at the Institute for Integrative Nutrition, Columbia University and the Clayton College of Natural Health and is a certified holistic health practitioner with the American Association of Drugless Practitioners. Christie is the Corporate Nutritionist for Brain Balance Achievement Centers, where she designs the nutrition protocol for franchises across the country. Christie is a nutrition expert for Dr. Oz’s Sharecare.com and frequently contributes nutrition articles to Long Island Parent Magazine. Christie is he author of The IBD Healing Plan and Recipe Book: A Guide to Releive Crohn’s and Colitis with Whole Foods. Christie lives in New York with her son, her husband, and her cat.

Probiotics Lend A Hand To Brain Functioning – Part 1

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By Christie Korth

Part 1 of 3

brainMany people may hear the word bacteria and find it synonymous with creepy critters or contributory to a case of the sniffles. And yes, of course that is partially true. At the same time, the nutrition world is ever buzzing about one of the most interesting concepts in time. The notion that bacteria is bad is not always correct, in fact bacteria can be extraordinarily beneficial for the brain, immune system, intestines, cancer treatment and prevention and has even been proven to help stroke victims.

Most recently, probiotics are yet again in the spotlight, this time being hailed as a paramount promoter of cognition and emotional well being. Everyone can better from thinking clearer and a more positive emotional response, right?

UCLA researchers now have the first evidence that bacteria ingested in food can affect brain function in humans. In an early proof-of-concept study of healthy women, they found that women who regularly consumed beneficial bacteria known as probiotics through yogurt showed altered brain function, both while in a resting state and in response to an emotion-recognition task.

The Gut / Brain Connection

The knowledge that signals are sent from the intestine to the brain and that they can be modulated by a dietary change is likely to lead to an expansion of research aimed at finding new strategies to prevent or treat digestive, mental and neurological disorders, said Dr. Emeran Mayer, a professor of medicine, physiology and psychiatry at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA and the study’s senior author. (University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), Health Sciences (2013, May 28). Changing gut bacteria through diet affects brain function.)

So the bottom line is, consuming good bacteria is really something to consider adding to your daily diet as well as your family. So= besides yougurt and supplements, where can you find those brain boosting bacteria? Check out our list below.

Foods Highest in Probiotics:

1) Dark Chocolate: Long touted for its richness in minerals like magnesium and zinc and its high level of antioxidants, dark chocolate can also pack a wallop in probiotics. You have to know where to look, but there are some high quality chocolates that contain probiotics.

Our favorite pick? – Go to attunefoods.com and check out their chocolate bars which are chock full of beneficial bacteria, like Bifidobacterium lactis HN019, Lactobacillus acidophilus NCFM, Lactobacillus casei LC-11

Stay tuned for part 2 of this article shortly…..

References

1. Kirsten Tillisch, Jennifer Labus, Lisa Kilpatrick, Zhiguo Jiang, Jean Stains, Bahar Ebrat, Denis Guyonnet, Sophie Legrain-Raspaud, Beatrice Trotin, Bruce Naliboff, Emeran A. Mayer. Consumption of Fermented Milk Product with Probiotic Modulates Brain Activity. Gastroenterology, 2013; DOI: 10.1053/j.gastro.2013.02.043

Christie Korth is a Crohn’s disease survivor, author, certified health coach and holistic nutritionist who found her way to health and wellness after nearly succumbing to a severe case of Crohn’s disease. After harnessing the power of nutrition and gaining her health back, she then went on to be the founder and director of Happy & Healthy Wellness Counseling based just outside of NYC. She studied at the Institute for Integrative Nutrition, Columbia University and the Clayton College of Natural Health and is a certified holistic health practitioner with the American Association of Drugless Practitioners. Christie is the Corporate Nutritionist for Brain Balance Achievement Centers, where she designs the nutrition protocol for franchises across the country. Christie is a nutrition expert for Dr. Oz’s Sharecare.com and frequently contributes nutrition articles to Long Island Parent Magazine. Christie is he author of The IBD Healing Plan and Recipe Book: A Guide to Releive Crohn’s and Colitis with Whole Foods. Christie lives in New York with her son, her husband, and her cat.