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.

Life After Physical Therapy, Avoiding Re-Injury

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joggerExpert advice and tips from Post-Rehab Conditioning Specialist Ashley Jacob with Armonk Physical Therapy and Sports Training on getting back into the game—and avoiding re-injury.

In many cases, a sports-related injury—a twisted ankle or knee, a wrenched shoulder—means a trip to the doctor’s office (if not the ER), followed by several weeks of physical therapy. “After PT, most people figure they’re good to go—so they go,” says Ashley Jacob, a Certified Personal Trainer, Medical Exercise Specialist and Post-Rehab Conditioning Specialist at Armonk Physical Therapy and Sports Training. That typically means going right back to the pre-injury routine at the gym or the running track, with only a vague idea of how to regain lost fitness and avoid another injury in the future.

Unfortunately, this strategy might also be sending the patient right back to the doctor (and physical therapist), Jacob says, because it’s missing two critical elements: a genuine understanding of how to further repair—and avoid repeating—the injury and the physical conditioning necessary to completely heal the damage and restore function in the injured area. But working with a qualified post-rehab personal trainer means working out (and returning to pre-injury fitness levels) with the assistance and oversight of an exercise and fitness professional.

A targeted approach

For any patient, regardless of age or athletic prowess, returning from an injury is a lengthy process, Jacob says. Even the best medical treatment and PT regimen usually leaves the patient with residual functional deficits that require targeted strength and conditioning work, she explains. “Effective rehabilitation really needs a graduated exercise program that’s specifically designed to return the injured body part to its normal and healthy function,” she says. “And that’s something that needs to continue long after the doctor’s appointments and PT sessions are over.”

Effective rehabilitation needs a graduated exercise program that’s specifically designed to return the injured body part to its normal and healthy function.

A qualified personal trainer can design a post-rehab exercise program that closely follows the physician’s or physical therapist’s advice, she explains. (No matter how closely a patient listens to the doctor or therapist, a non-medical person is bound to miss or misunderstand or simply forget something, she says.) But equally important, she says, certified post-rehab specialists are also trained to apply the doctor’s (or physical therapist’s) directives to the individual client, taking into account the many variables—age, athletic conditioning, lifestyle, etc.—that make each client unique.

“Certified post-rehab specialists are specifically trained to work with clients who have injuries or other conditions that require special consideration,” she says. For example, they can help clients to “train around” an injury, by substituting activities that won’t put undue strain on damaged tissues.

Specifically, today’s post-rehab specialists focus on a few things, Jacob says:

* Mobility—restoring flexibility and range of motion—as well as strengthening and conditioning injured muscles, while keeping a close eye on the client’s pain levels. This address the loss of muscle mass and strength that typically accompany sports-related injuries, Jacob says.

* Alignment and form. Qualified post-rehab specialists are trained to evaluate a client’s movement patterns with an eye toward proper form and alignment.

* Muscle recruitment. Post-rehab trainers also work with re-educating muscles, which can be out of balance after an injury, thus ensuring correct muscle recruitment and preventing imbalances.

* Muscle feedback. Trainers also work on what’s known as proprioception—the messages sent to the brain from the injured tissues, which is another common post-injury problem that can lead to repeat injuries—by incorporating exercises that build stability and balance.

* Motivation. Like other personal trainers, post-rehab specialists coach clients in fitness as well as lifestyle, thus helping them maintain and improve their physical fitness as well as their mental focus.

– Ashley Jacob is a certified personal trainer with the Aerobics and Fitness Association of America, a Certified Medical Exercise Specialist and Certified Post-Rehab Conditioning Specialist with the American Academy of Health, Fitness, and Rehab Professionals, and Certified to Provide Dietary Guidance for her clients with the Cooper Institute. Armonk Physical Therapy and Sports Training provides personalized, integrative, and skilled one-on-one physical therapy services. http://www.armonkptst.com

How Hypnosis Therapy Works

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By Godwin Ian

hypnosisYou may be interested in trying out an alternative form of therapy, but there may still be doubts lurking in your mind. A common alternative method is using hypnosis to treat a variety of conditions, but you may be wondering just how hypnosis therapy works. Well, a little background information may help you to gain more insight into their treatment method as well as how it may be beneficial to you.

A Brief History of Hypnosis

Believe it or not, hypnosis therapy has been around for centuries, and was even used in ancient times by the Greeks and Egyptians. The overarching belief of hypnotizing someone was that you could get them to fall into a sleep-like state. This would help the observer to better understand the person’s dreams, which were said to hold the keys to curing illnesses. While hypnosis may have started out with more mystical origins, throughout the centuries it has gained more scientific meaning and support. By supporting and interacting with a person’s magnetic field, hypnosis can help people to get clearer answers and suggestions that may point to a possible solution to a problem or condition.

Multiple Benefits

So now you’re probably curious as to how hypnosis therapy works to benefit others. Normally, a person seeking therapy is forced to battle the voluntary and inherent reactions and thoughts the bubble to the surface from their minds. It can be difficult to sort through the pre-conceived thoughts and feelings that we want to get out, which is why some people choose to use hypnosis therapy. This way, they can get to a subconscious state and bypass the noisy babble of their everyday thinking to get to the root of their issues or conditions.

Putting it Into Practice

When you go to a therapist for a hypnosis treatment, they may use one of several methods to help you achieve a subconscious, dreamlike state. Guided visualizations, music, and mental images are often used to help the client relax and quiet their mind. Once this happens, the therapist can use words and suggestions to help you view the problem from a more detached perspective, as well as determine possible solutions and outcomes. It’s not a therapy alternative for some, but for others is helps to reduce their anxiety, depression, sleep disorders, and more! If you have a habit that you’d like to stop, or some deep-rooted pain or grief that you need to come to terms with, hypnosis therapy may be worth a try.

Separating Fact From Fiction About Physical Therapy

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informationredPhysical therapist Sridhar Yalamanchili with Atlantic Spine Center debunks common misconceptions about physical therapy and offers tips.

Getting to the truth of the matter is never more important than when our health and well-being are at stake. So when it comes to physical therapy – which helps people improve their ability to move about pain-free – it’s vital to separate fact from fiction in order to make the most of this crucial resource, according to Sridhar Yalamanchili, PT, MSPT, and Director of Rehabilitation at Atlantic Spine Center.

A September 2014 nationwide survey by the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA) revealed alarming misconceptions many adults have about physical therapy, which the Physical Therapy Journal estimated was utilized on an outpatient basis by 9 million adults in the middle of the last decade.

With an aging Baby Boomer population in the U.S. and pain-free movement so critical to pursuing job and leisure activities, the role of physical therapists – who are experts at improving movement and motion – is more important than ever, Yalamanchili says. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, jobs for physical therapists are projected to grow 36% between 2012 and 2022 – much faster than the average growth for all other occupations.

“The biggest obstacle posed by these myths about physical therapy is they might prevent people from seeking care that can change their lives for the better,” says Yalamanchili. “That’s why it’s so crucial to get the truth out there.”

Top myths about physical therapy

What did the APTA survey – which conducted 500 online interviews of men and women – uncover? The top misconceptions about physical therapy include:

Myth: A physician referral or prescription is required for evaluation by a physical therapist.

Fact: “Anyone in the United States can be screened by a physical therapist without a doctor’s prior referral,” Yalamanchili says. “We can be your first step, rather than part of a series of steps to address a problem.”

Myth: Physical therapy is painful.

Fact: “The job of a physical therapist is actually to minimize pain, working within a patient’s pain threshold to enable healing and restore movement,” Yalamanchili notes.

Myth: Any healthcare professional can perform physical therapy.

Fact: “While some clinicians perform treatments that seem similar to physical therapy, the precise set of skills employed by physical therapists can only be gained through the high level of training and education they undertake,” he says. “Physical therapy can only be done by licensed physical therapists.” Physical therapists possess a unique skill set to assess movement, identify muscle imbalances and improve efficiency of movement to help in healing and preventing injuries.

Myth: Physical therapy is only for injuries or accidents.

Fact: “Though many people are introduced to physical therapy to rehabilitate after trauma from injuries or accidents, physical therapy is a great and evidence based tool to help restore full range of motion and function after surgery, ” Yalamanchili states. In some cases pre-surgery physical therapy helps to expedite recovery after surgery. “Others, suffering from chronic conditions such as back pain, discover its potent effects on reducing everyday discomfort.”

Myth: Physical therapy isn’t covered by insurance.

Fact: “Most medical insurance covers some type of physical therapy,” he says. “Also, physical therapy actually saves medical costs by helping patients avoid unnecessary expenses from tests, surgery, drugs and further injuries.”

Yalamanchili emphasizes that a patient’s relationship with a physical therapist is collaborative, with the ultimate goal of educating patients on maximizing their mobility, minimizing pain and empowering them in their recovery. “Despite what many people seem to think,” he adds, “physical therapy can be cost-effective, easy to access and unquestionably improves quality of life.”

Atlantic Spine Center is a nationally recognized leader for endoscopic spine surgery with four locations; West Orange, Edison, North Bergen and NYC. http://www.atlanticspinecenter.com

Sridhar Yalamanchili, PT, MSPT, is Director of Rehabilitation at Atlantic Spine Center.

The Success Of New Gene Therapy For Heart Patients

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heartBel Marra Health, who offers high-quality, specially formulated vitamins and nutritional supplements, has reported on new research that has shown the success of the first ever biological pacemaker that could put an end to invasive surgeries.

Bel Marra Health, who offers high-quality, specially formulated vitamins and nutritional supplements, has reported on new research that has shown the success of the first ever biological pacemaker that could put an end to invasive surgeries.

As Bel Marra Health reports in its article, (http://www.belmarrahealth.com/heart-health/heart-patients-to-live-longer-thanks-to-new-gene-therapy/), the study was conducted by Los Angeles’ Cedars-Sinai Heart Institute and published in Science Translational Medicine in July. For this study, 12 pigs with heart block – a condition where the electrical signal is slowed or disrupted as it moves through the heart – were injected with either the single gene, called TBX18, to reprogram cells, or a fluorescent green protein acting as a placebo.

The patch of peppercorn-sized cells acted as a pacemaker for a two-week period, performing the function of a conventional one. During this same period, cardiologists looked at the average heart rate of the pigs in the morning when they ate and at night when they slept.

They found that the gene therapy was fast-acting, reprogramming enough muscle cells to effectively regulate heart rate within 24 to 48 hours. After eight days of testing, the average heart rate was much higher in the pigs that received the therapy than ones that did not.

This “biological pacemaker,” as it’s been dubbed by researchers, could be useful for certain patients, such as those who develop infections from electronic pacemakers and need to have the devices temporarily removed, or fetuses with life-threatening heart disorders who cannot have an electronic pacemaker implanted.

Spokesperson for Bel Marra Health, Dr. Victor Marchione, says, “Since the early 1960s, pacemakers have been widely available, and they’ve constantly improved, becoming more safe and sophisticated.”

Conventional pacemakers are electronic, implanted into the chest to control an abnormal heartbeat. Electronic pacemakers restore regular function to slowing and arrhythmic hearts by using electricity to stimulate heartbeats. That’s a function usually performed by a cluster of thousands of cardiac cells that tell the heart to pump at a regular rate.

These mechanisms are lifesaving for many people with abnormal or slow heart rhythms. But they require an invasive surgery to be installed. So scientists have been waiting for the day when an implant is no longer needed by patients.

Of course, the applications of this new research are still a long way off. And the benefits of a pacemaker usually outweigh the risks. Still, pig hearts are similar to human hearts in their size and the way they work, so there’s good reason to think that the new findings could translate to humans.

(SOURCE: Y.-F. Hu, et al., Biological pacemaker created by minimally invasive somatic reprogramming in pigs with complete heart block. Science Translational Medicine, 2014; 6 (245): 245ra94 doi: 10.1126/scitranslmed.3008681)

Bel Marra Health is the maker of Heart Rescue a high-quality nutritional supplement to help support and maintain heart health. All ingredients are backed with scientific evidence. Every product is tested for safety, quality and purity at every stage of the manufacturing process.

Furthermore, Bel Marra Health products are produced only in Health Canada approved facilities, going the extra mile to ensure that our health-conscious customers are getting top-quality products. For more information on Bel Marra Health visit http://www.belmarrahealth.com or call 1-866-531-0466.

– Courtesy of PRWeb

La Peer Health Systems Recognizes National Physical Therapy Month

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newsExperts at the Joint Surgery Center of Excellence in Beverly Hills honor physical therapists during Physical Therapy Awareness Month.

Physical therapists are being honored this October during National Physical Therapy Month. The purpose of this event is to recognize the important role these professionals play in helping patients recover from joint surgery.

“Physical therapy perform a critical role in helping our patients regain their physical health and mobility,” said Dr. Joseph Isaacson, a board-certified orthopedic surgeon at the Joint Surgery Center of Excellence, a division of La Peer Health Systems. “The right program is essential to restoring range of motion and strength after joint surgery.”

Dr. Isaacson specializes in treating patients with congenital abnormalities and small stature. He also specializes in joint reconstructive surgery in young adults.

“Many of the cases we work are the results of sports injuries,” added Dr. Jason Snibbe, the Medical Director of La Peer’s Joint Surgery Center of Excellence. “For athletes, physical therapy is an absolutely crucial part of rebuilding physical fitness and returning to the previous level of performance.”

Dr. Snibbe also treats patients for hip and knee conditions at La Peer’s Knee Surgery Center of Excellence. Earlier in his career, he was an assistant physician for many Los Angeles area sports teams including the Lakers, Dodgers, Angels, Kings, Mighty Ducks, LA Avengers, and Galaxy.

Throughout the year, La Peer Health Systems participates in a number of other awareness programs including Prostate Cancer Awareness in September and National Colorectal Cancer Awareness in March.

About La Peer

La Peer Health Systems is an outpatient surgery center in Beverly Hills, founded by doctors and focused on providing excellent patient care alongside the most cutting-edge medical treatments available. With 50 world-renowned physicians in 14 specialties, comprehensive medical treatment is offered that takes patients from consultation to diagnosis, treatment, surgery, and ultimately aftercare. The 14 medical departments include orthopedics & sports medicine, gastroenterology, head & neck surgery, colorectal & general surgery, podiatry, ophthalmology, pain management, plastics & reconstructive surgery, gynecology, spine surgery, interventional cardiology, bariatric surgery, thoracic surgery, and anesthesiology. Unlike large hospitals, La Peer’s unique structure offers extremely personal care in a safe and controlled environment.

To learn more about La Peer Health Systems, visit http://www.lapeerhealth.com.