Trying to decide which healthcare provider to see? Seeking medical advice online?

Finding a new healthcare provider or specialist can be a daunting task.  It’s important and natural to seek the advice of family, friends, and neighbors.  Just remember while you are sifting through this valuable information, that healthcare needs are as unique as you. 

For example, a rotator cuff surgery on one patient may be more complex with additional joint repair, than what may be needed for someone else.  A patient’s back pain could be caused by a strained muscle or by vertebral issues.   Add in a patient’s adherence to the provider’s recommendations, medical history, and personality traits, which make direct comparisons difficult.   You should also not be afraid to ask the providers you are considering specific questions about their experience. 

Doing your due diligence, but keeping these possible differences in mind will help you in your search for reliable information about healthcare providers.

 

Kristen Pagano

March is National Brain Injury Awareness Month

Concussions are a type of traumatic brain injury involving a bump, blow or jolt to the head.  They can be the result of direct contact to the head or by a hit to the body that causes the head to rapidly move back and forth.  This rapid head movement causes the brain to bounce off of the skull which results in chemical changes in the brain and damage to the brain cells. 

Some of the most common signs and symptoms of a concussion can be summed up in the acronym HEADS.

  •  H: Headaches and/or vomiting
  •  E: Ears ringing
  •  A: Amnesia, altered or loss of consciousness
  •  D: Double vision and/or dizziness
  •  S: Something wrong/ something not quite right

It is important to recognize these signs and symptoms to minimize long-term effects.  Second impact syndrome is a serious complication that is preventable.  If a person suffers a concussion and then experiences a second concussion prior to being fully healed from the first, permanent brain damage or even death can result.  An example of this scenario is when an athlete suffers a concussion in a game, continues to play, and then gets hit again.  In this scenario, the athlete who suffers a concussion should be immediately removed from play and follow appropriate guidelines for return to play.  Another example could be if a concussion was sustained during a car accident and the individual then falls at home hitting their head again. 

For most individuals who suffer a concussion their symptoms will improve within a few weeks, but for others, their recovery can be prolonged.   Having a prior history of concussions or brain injury can increase the risk of prolonged recovery.  Other factors that can impact recovery are neurological or mental health disorders, learning difficulties, increased family or social stressors, and prior history of migraines or vestibular issues.  

Post-concussive syndrome is defined as symptoms such as headache and dizziness that persist for weeks and/or months after the initial injury.  Individuals with this prolonged recovery may benefit from physical therapy.

 So what can PT do to help?

  •     Rest and Recovery: Provide education and guidance on proper rest and recovery in the early stages of concussion and facilitate/ monitor progression to activity.
  •     Treat dizziness and balance: Using Vestibular rehabilitation techniques to address dizziness symptoms, and exercises to improve balance and coordination
  •     Address Headaches: Using stretches, strengthening exercises, and hands-on manual techniques to reduce/eliminate headaches.
  •     Restore strength and endurance: Often with prolonged recovery individuals have been limited with activity and would benefit from a customized strength and conditioning program to restore function.
  •     Facilitate return to Sport/Activity:  Developing programs that progressively challenge the individual while monitoring to avoid overloading the healing brain. 

 

 

Jennifer Buono, PT, DPT

Arthritis Tips for Winter Weather

-Layer up! Think about under layers for your clothes, scarves for your neck, gloves and extra socks. Keeping the cold out is priority one when venturing out on those extra cold days, especially if your joints are feeling stiff and achy.

 -Get your vitamin D. Vitamin D is usually gotten through diet and sunlight but short winter days may leave your levels low. People with rheumatoid arthritis and other inflammatory conditions display more severe pain when their vitamin D levels are low. Aim for 600 IU of vitamin D daily through supplements or food unless otherwise directed by your doctor.

 -Stay active. Exercise helps reduce pain levels, increases joint mobility and increases strength. All necessary components of maintaining healthy, happy joints. When your joints are very sore, even gentle range of motion can be beneficial in reducing pain and dysfunction.

-Heat up. Heat helps boost circulation and can relax tight muscles and relieve joint stiffness.  Anything from a warm shower to a heating pad or even a warm cup of coffee in your hands can be helpful.

 -Stay safe on slippery surfaces. Exercise caution on icy or snowy stairs, slopes or even perfectly level sidewalks. You can use slip on traction spikes for over your own shoes or even something like trekking poles that hikers use to help with balance and safety so that you to get out and walk safely in winter weather.

 -Try out compression gloves. These gloves provide light compression and warmth to achy joints in the hands and wrists and may help reduce swelling, pain and stiffness.

 Wintery, cold weather doesn’t have to equal pain and stiffness in your joints. Use some of these options to stay comfortable and active until warm, sunny days return.

 

 

-Stephany Primrose, P.T.

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