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Male patient having consultation with doctor or psychiatrist who working on diagnostic examination on men's health disease or mental illness in medical clinic or hospital mental health service center

Is Hand Therapy Right for You?

At Contact Physical Therapy, we are happy to offer hand therapy to our patients. For those of you who didn’t know hand therapy was a thing you may be thinking… what are the reasons I would need to see a hand therapist? Well, we are here to break that down and tell you. If you have any questions wondering if hand therapy is right for you, feel free to give us a call, we would be happy to help!

 

Hand therapy is a type of rehabilitation performed by an occupational or physical therapist with patients that suffer from conditions affecting the hands and upper extremities. Patients who are candidates for hand therapy may have been in an accident or trauma leaving them with scars, burns, wounds, injured tendons, nerves, fractures, amputations of the fingers, hands, arms, etc. Other candidates may be ones who suffer from carpal tunnel syndrome, tennis elbow and other chronic problems such as arthritis or stokes.

 

A hand therapy specialist can provide:

  • Accurate assessments, immediate care and effective treatment to reduce treatment time
  • Faster recovery results in decreased medical costs
  • A continuum of care eliminating the needs for multiple medical providers
  • Functional outcomes ensuring a faster return to work and productive lifestyle
  • Most comprehensive care for their patients

 

Still wondering if you should see a hand therapist for your pain? Below are common reasons hand therapy would be good for you.

 

  1. You have injured your fingers playing sports. Many times these types of injuries will get taped up and forgotten until weeks later when the fingers become problematic. When this is caught early, a hand therapist can often treat these injuries with minimal visits. If this sounds familiar with the sports star in your life, it may be time to give a hand therapist a call!
  2. Wrist Fractures. This common injury can be more complicated than you think. Hand therapists can work one on one with you and your injury to determine the best exercises and treatment for your specific wrist fracture.
  3. Elbow Fractures. Elbow fractures can be stubborn to treat and regaining range of motion can be lengthy. Seeing a hand therapist can lessen your treatment time and get you on a quicker path to recovery or sent to a specialist to better help you.
  4. Carpal tunnel syndrome. This can be in your hand or arm and you are feeling a tingling, severe pain, muscle weakness or numbness by a pinched nerve.
  5. Arthritis. Intermitted sharp pains, swelling, stiffness or decreased range of motion in any part of your upper extremities caused by infections, normal wear and tear and some diseases.

 

All these are reasons you should see a hand therapists, plus many more. If you think hand therapy may be right for you or if you have any questions, give us a call. We would be happy to answer any questions and get you scheduled with a hand therapist!

Young woman in bed

Tips to Improve your Sleep Habits

Getting a good night’s sleep is just as important to your health and wellbeing as your diet and exercise can be. Poor sleep can negatively effect your brain function, mood, hormones, exercise, weight and more. Sleep quality has gone down over the past few decades with the rise of electronics, but sleep is one of the most important functions to keep you healthy. If you’re looking for ways to improve your sleep habits read on for tips to sleep better at night.

 

  1. Increase your bright light exposure during the day. This helps your body’s circadian rhythm and know when it is time to be awake and time for sleep. Studies have shown people with insomnia who increased their daytime light exposure found themselves sleeping better at night. If you find yourself constantly inside during the day, try taking breaks and spending some time outside. You can also try sitting by a window during your day. If none of these options are possible for you, try brightening your work environment with light blubs and lamps.
  2. Reduce blue light exposure in the evening. While exposure to light is good during the day, in the evening it has the reverse effect. Blue light is immitted from our smartphones, computers, electronic devices, etc. To reduce your exposure to blue light you can do a few things to better your nighttime routine.
    1. Wear glasses that block the blue lights.
    2. Install an app that will block blue lights on your phone.
    3. Use “nighttime mode” on phones, tablets, etc.
    4. Stop watching TV and turn off bright lights two hours before sleep.
  3. Try to sleep and wake at consistent times. Your body’s circadian rhythm is set on a loop. Staying consistent with your waking and sleeping times better helps your sleep quality in the long run. Studies have shown that staying up later on the weekends ruins your rhythm and you could be at risk for poor sleep.
  4. Don’t drink alcohol nightly. Drinking a couple drinks per night can negatively effect your hormones and sleep pattern. It also alters your nighttime melatonin production which plays a key role in your body’s ability to tell itself its ready to go to sleep.
  5. Reduce long or irregular naps. Short “cap naps” have been proven to be beneficial, but long, irregular naps in the day can effect your ability to sleep at night. Daytime sleeping can confuse your body’s internal clock, making it difficult later on. You may also find yourself more sleepy after a long nap during the day, which can ruin your productivity for the rest of the day and possibly worse sleep at night.

 

There are many ways to insure a better sleep at night, but using these tips could set you on the path for a more restful sleep tonight!

Baby at PT office

Physical Therapy for Babies and Kids

Physical therapy can be a great tool for health and wellness as adults, but did you know that babies and kids can benefit from physical therapy too? Physical therapy is a safe, natural and effective way to help and cure pain and injuries as well as correct misused muscles.

 

Infant physical therapy can be considered as one of the most effective forms of rehabilitative treatment for babies who need assistance with muscle control, balance, milestones, and more. Many physicians recommended physical therapy for infants who have developed disorders, regardless whether they developed from birth injuries and genetic abnormalities.

 

Each person, child and baby are different from one an other. Each individual treatment will vary according to disability, disorder or pain relief. Babies who are born prematurely often hold their shoulders close to their ears and a common goal for these babies is to help maintain proper posture with gentle massage and pushing the infant’s shoulders down. This treatment might be different to a baby who has a genetic abnormality. Common exercises will also very depending on the age of the baby and the disorder.

 

Your doctor or physician can recommend physical therapy If they feel your child may need it. Other way to know if your child may need physical therapy:

  • Fails to meet development milestones during the first year of life
  • Favors one side of the body and/or tilting the head to one side only
  • Has poor posture
  • Has been diagnosed with cerebral palsy, torticollis, and other neuromuscular disorders
  • Has floppy and/or stiff muscle tone
  • Has excessive or limited joint mobility
  • Has difficulties with balance and coordination

 

Doctors often recommend physical therapy for kids and teens who have been injured or have movement problems from an illness, disease or disability.

 

After an injury, physical therapist work with the child to decrease pain and improve movement, just as they would for an adult patient. The treatment could include teaching the child exercises designed to help them regain strength and range of motion.

 

It is important than every child have the ability to perform their job of playing. Physical therapists are concerned with a child’s ability to participate in daily movement activities as well as sports. Treatment may be used for children who play sports and want to avoid injury on and off the field.

 

Contact Physical Therapy is here to answer your questions and see if physical therapy is the best option for your child or infant.

Types of Physical Therapy

Physical therapy has been practiced for ages. Documents show physical therapy being practiced in 460 BC by Hippocrates when he introduced the idea of manual manipulation for pain relief. It has since grown from more of a massage type practice then, to multiple different types you see in modern day physical therapy, today. Physical therapy has advanced and grown over the years to the many types you may or may not know about.

 

Geriatric Physical Therapy

As people age the need for routine physical therapy may grow with them. Getting older can be tough on the Skelton and muscles. When the body is younger, you may compensate for pains or things such as bad posture, but as you get older those problems become harder to ignore. Misuse of the body may also increase the need for physical therapy as you age. Your muscles become weaker and you may not be able to compensate for the way you were previous living. Physical therapy can help fix or reverse pain and damage. It is safe, effective and less stressful than surgeries or medication.

 

Orthopedic Physical Therapy

This type of physical therapy may be on you are familiar with. This type is designed to help you and your body recover after a surgery to strengthen your muscles that you injured. You may be surprised by the positive effects that physical therapy has on the body. Whether the injury is old, reoccurring or rebuilding strength after a surgery, therapy can target key muscle groups to get you back to your healthy self.

 

Neurological Physical Therapy

Problems with your neurological system such as: spinal cord injuries, stroke, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, brain injuries or cerebral palsy all strike at the nervous system. The nervous system is how your brain controls your body. Most of these disorders are chronic which mean they are unlikely to be healed completely, but physical therapy can have a great positive impact on life with these disorders. Therapists can teach small therapeutic exercises which can make the effects on muscles and movement become more manageable.

 

Cardiovascular/Pulmonary Physical Therapy

Cardiopulmonary physical therapy has a main goal about building independence if you have a serious problem with your heart or circulation. These problems could include: heart attacks or pulmonary fibrosis and therapy can help you grow strength in target muscles to help improve your endurance.

 

Physical therapy includes all these and more. If you think physical therapy may be right for you call our office to talk about your pain and options.

Kids Lunch

Healthy Back To School Lunch Ideas

It’s that time of year again. It’s time to set the alarm clocks for early wake up calls, busy mornings and running off to catch the bus. It’s time for back to school! Kids and parents are both equally excited to hear the school bells ring, but the thought of making healthy and nutritious lunches everyday may sound daunting. If you’re running out of ideas before the first spelling test, then read below for healthy back to school lunch ideas.

There are a few things that may make lunchtime easier for you and your children.

  1. Have your child help assemble their lunch. If they have a hand in picking out what goes inside their lunchbox, they will be more inclined to eating it come lunch, yes even their veggies.
  2. Pack lunches the night before. Mornings are hectic enough, take some of the pressure off of you and start it the night before.
  3. Find the balance of food that isn’t leaving them hungry, but they aren’t coming home with a waste of uneaten lunch leftovers.
  4. Encourage a small special treat if there is enough veggies and protein to make up for it. (Think yogurt, small piece of chocolate, chocolate covered almonds, etc.)
  5. Small containers with lids keep food fresh and it doesn’t get smashed along the way.

Keep lunches interesting this year and avoid the guilty feeling come May when you realize you stopped with the healthy lunches after the first week of school.

 

Option #1- Homemade Lunchable

Turkey and Cheddar Roll Ups

Carrots

Fresh berries

Yogurt

Trail mix

*Ditch the bread with this homemade lunchable. Add organic wheat crackers for something a little extra.

Option #2- Greek Day!

Hummus

Pita Bread

Cucumbers

Chicken Breast

Cherry Tomatoes

Oranges

*Including something sweet, like fruit, will encourage children to learn that fruits can be the sweet special treat and not something loaded with fake sugar.

Option #3- Deli Bar

Meat and Cheese Kabobs

Red Peppers

Pretzel Thins

Organic Fruit Snacks

Apples

*Watch for added ingredients in kid’s snacks like high fructose corn syrup, fake sugars, etc. that you wouldn’t want them to eat.

Option #4- Mexican Day!

Cheese, black bean and corn quesadilla

Guacamole

Salsa

Tortilla Chips

Strawberries

*Beans are a great way to add some protein without being noticed much.

Option #5- Protein for Lunch

2 Hard Boiled Eggs

Veggies with Organic Ranch

Grapes

Cheddar Cheese

Piece of dark chocolate

*Frozen grapes are great in the summer months. The sweet ice-cold treat tastes more naughty than nice.

Option #6- The Classic with a Twist

Organic peanut or almond butter with Jam

String cheese

Homemade fruit leather

Gold Fish

Yogurt

*Homemade fruit leathers are surprisingly easy to make, and many recipes can be found on Pinterest. Make some on the weekend and have them ready to go for lunches!

Option #7- Pizza Party

Leftover Veggie Pizza

Cucumbers and Hummus

Grapes

Popcorn

*Homemade popcorn will make any kid happy and this healthy snack is filled with fiber!

Option #8- Eata Pita

Whole wheat pita with grilled chicken and bell peppers

Yogurt with berries

Sugar snap peas

Chocolate covered almonds

*Grill an extra chicken breast at night to make lunch prep simple!

Option #9- Fancy Sandwich

Tuna or favorite lunch meat on a croissant

Root chips

Banana

Apples with peanut butter

*Many chips are loaded with fat, but root chips are a great way to eat healthy without missing that familiar crunch with your lunch.

Option #10- Leftovers

Leftover pasta, meat, etc. from Dinner

Side salad

Apple sauce

Animal cookies

*Give you imagination a break. Who doesn’t love some leftovers!

Opioids

Physical Therapy VS Opioids

Many Americans suffer through back and body pain. Often times people jump to the conclusion of intense back surgery or masking the pain with opioids. Both of these could have highly dangerous outcomes and could prolong or worsen your problem. Before you jump to conclusions, physical therapy may be able to ease or solve your pain without drugs or surgery.

A study conducted by The University of Washington in Seattle, Washington and George Washington University in Washington, D.C., showed that patients who saw a physical therapist before trying other treatments such as surgery or an opioid prescription had an 89 percent lower probability of needing such treatments. This study also concluded that patients of physical therapy have a 28 percent lower probability of having any advanced imaging done as well as a 15 percent lower probability of making one or more ER visit.

Physical therapists have specialized knowledge in pain management and how to correct your body to relieve yourself of pain, such as lower back pain. Therapists can guide patients through regimens and exercises to strengthen and improve muscles which can ease pain.

If you are deciding if physical therapy is right for you vs other options consider these points.

The risk of opioids outweigh the rewards- potential side effects of include depression, overdose, and addiction, in addition to withdrawal symptoms when stopping opioid use. Because of these risks experts believe that opioids should not be the first option or routine therapy for chronic pain.

Pain lasts 90 days or more- Pain is considered chronic at this point. The CDC guidelines state that nonopioid therapy is preferred for chronic pain and opioids only should be considered if the benefits for both pain and function outweigh the risk to the patient. Try to consider physical therapy as a first option for chronic pain relief.

Pain is related to low back pain, hip, knee or fibromyalgia- Physical therapy has shown high evidence stating that exercise as part of treatment for these conditions can help reduce and heal pain.

If opioids are prescribed for pain- It is recommended to receive the lowest effective dose and still be combined with nonopioid therapies, such as physical therapy.

Before starting any opioid treatments consult with your doctor and physical therapist to find the best treatment for you and your pain.

Elderly women with physical therapist

Goals of Physical Therapy

Physical therapy is sought out for many different reasons, but may have the same end goals in mind. Physical therapy is often the first choice when feeling aches and pains and could be the answer for nagging pain without big surgeries, or constant medication. People see a physical therapists for all types of reasons with the same goal of your relief, often in mind.

Rehabilitation and recovery may be the end goal for you physical therapy visits. Regardless of the reasons that led you to physical therapy, the thought of finally feeling relief is at the top of your mind. Regular visits to your physical therapist will help achieve this. PT will improve your pain or movement restrictions. If prescribed to do so- seek out a physical therapist so you too can feel freedom of your pain.

Prevention of injury may be another goal when visiting your local physical therapy office. While this is a seemingly broad group of people, athletes and people who live an active lifestyle tend to be the ones who have this on their mind. By practicing and learning movement in the proper form can prevent injuries and physical longevity can be improved. Treatment for this can include dynamic stretching and resistance training. Here at Contact Physical Therapy we have therapists who specialize in sports therapy and can get yourself or your young athlete ready for his or her upcoming sports season.

Optimal function and movement of the human body is another goal of those who see a physical therapist. People consider this when they are feeling pain when doing normal tasks such as walking, bending, etc. Physical therapy can help get their bodies back to a normal function without pain. Treatment is personalized, based on the person’s goal. This can even be led to living a healthier lifestyle and become able to improve the longevity of athletic activities.

Finally, prescribing a personalized plan for your individual needs to keep you active and free of pain is a goal of physical therapy. After an assessment of your pain or what you would like to achieve while visiting a physical therapist, he or she will discuss with you a plan to accomplish this. Some plans may take longer than others and require your help out of the office. Most of your daily life is not spent inside a physical therapy office and the therapist will teach you proper ways to move and heal to avoid further injuring yourself or future injuries.

If any of these issues are threatening your way of life, it may be time to seek physical therapy so you too can have freedom of pain and a healthy lifestyle. As always, consult your doctor to see if physical therapy may be the right treatment for you.

Young female runner warming up

Tips for Working Out in the Heat

The summer temperatures are starting to really heat things up. Is this effecting your workout routine? There are many ways to keep your fitness consistent despite the rising thermometer with tips for working out in the heat.

Staying healthy all year round is important to maintain a consistent lifestyle for your overall health. Avoiding any “yoyo-ing” effects in your weight and health is often advised. Many people say: summer bodies are made in the winter, but what about when the heat gets cranked up and the thought of your outdoor run becomes exhausting to even think about? Follow these tips when working out in the summer to keep you healthy all year long.

 

  1. Stay Hydrated: It is important to not only drink water while working out, but downing the H2O before and all day after. With the rising temps, there is a greater risk for dehydration.

 

  1. Stay cool while you sweat: If your plan on working out outside, in the sun, invest in a cooling towel. Before you start your workout, get it wet, ring it out and put it behind your neck to keep you cool. This will help keep your blood at a lower temperature, in turn keep you cooler for longer.

 

  1. Think about your clothing: Wear clothing that is moister wicking, loose or less than what you would wear in cooler temps. Summer is not the time to run in a sweatshirt with hopes of extra detoxing and weight loss.

 

  1. Know when it’s too hot: Keep an eye on upcoming temperatures when you plan on taking your workout outside. If there are any heat warnings, switch up your workout to stay indoors. Also avoid working out in the hottest part of the day which may mean getting up earlier or working out later. Now is not the time to push yourself. You know your body best and when it is simply too hot, change your plan.

 

  1. Embrace your vacation workouts: Heading north or to the beach? Take advantage of getting out of the desert and take your workout outside then. Find a path lined with pines or run near the water for cooler temps. Make sure you have a plan and know where you’re going when you’re in an unfamiliar place.

 

  1. Brush up on your in-home workouts: On the days where the temperatures are just too brutal, open up your internet and find a workout you can do in your living room. Many blogs have full workouts that require little to no equipment and can be done in small places.

 

Don’t let the summer heat ruin your workout plans. You can stay healthy in the heat with few tips or small changes that will keep you happy and healthy. Remember to drink water and allow time to cool off after your workouts!

Healthy Couple on Vacation

Staying Healthy While on Vacation

Finally, sweet summertime has arrived. Temperatures are rising, and beaches are calling. You may have spent a lot of time to prep your health and body for your summertime vacation, but you don’t have to throw away all that hard work for nothing. Find out how you can stay healthy while on vacation. Stay on track this summer and come back feeling just as good as when you left.

 

  1. Resist the Urge to Splurge while eating out. Usually while on vacation most of your meals are eaten at a restaurant. Pick which times you would like to indulge in a high fat, rich meal and try healthier choices for other meals. Often times, on vacation you may stay in a hotel which means no refrigerator for leftovers and results in eating a much larger portion than needed.
  2. Everything in Moderation. You are on vacation, so live a little. Don’t deprive yourself and when you’re craving chocolate cake, have a bite so the next time you get offered dessert you don’t go crazy and eat the whole cake. Think about moderation and if you’re eating for pleasure and hunger and not boredom.
  3. Walking is huge. Take a stroll after dinner. Walk to breakfast. Keep moving so when you’re indulging in a delicious dish, you won’t feel as guilty.
  4. Drink Plenty of water. While water should always be consumed, sometimes you forget to keep up with your intake while on vacation. Traveling can be dehydrating as well as soaking up the sun. You may feel more encouraged to order tropical drinks with your meals, and cocktails and water is usually not on your mind. Keep up your water consumption by bringing water with you everywhere you go and drink a glass at each meal along with your other drinks.
  5. Stay Active. This doesn’t mean you have to stick to your rigorous workout routine, but take a little bit of time each day to get your heart rate up and get moving. This could be swimming in the ocean for 10 extra minutes or playing catch on the beach. If you feel like waking up and working out while on vacation, then definitely go for it!
  6. Skip the elevators. Whenever possible take the stairs. Your room is on the third floor? Think about how many extra steps you’ll take each time you run up to the room for the forgotten sunscreen and book.

 

This summer while enjoying your vacation, you can still stay on track and come back to your routine with ease instead of sudden shock. Small changes can go almost unnoticed on your vacation to keep you happy and healthy.

Essential Oils

Benefits of Essential Oils

Holistic healing has become increasingly more popular and mainstream even though it has been around for centuries. Essential oils are one of those holistic healing practices that has been used for hundreds of years and now seen everywhere. Essential oils can be very beneficial and used many different ways. Find out what the benefits are and how they can help you and your family.

Essential oils have been used for over 5,000 years from many different cultures and can be used for physical, mental and emotional health. Pure essential oils are extracted directly from the bark, flower, fruit, leaf, tree, etc. and one drop can have a powerful health benefit.

There are very many different essential oils with many different uses. They can be used in a variety of ways which include: diffusing, topically and ingesting. Before using essential oils be sure to do your research and using them correctly. They can be very powerful in good, but possibly harmful ways if not used correctly.

Each essential oil has compounds with unique healing and therapeutic benefits. Below are some of the most popular essential oils and how they can be used.

 

Clove: Antibacterial, anti-parasitic and antioxidant protection. Can be used to make vapor rub, homemade cleaning product and more.

Cypress: Improves circulation, reduces varicose veins, helps with rashes and minor cuts, lifts confidence and heal broken bones.

Eucalyptus: Improves respiratory issues like allergies, bronchitis and others. Also purifies the body and can be used for homemade lotion and cleaning products.

Frankincense: Builds immunity, reduces inflammation and helps with healing scars and age spots. Also supports brain and may help fight cancer and detoxifies the air when diffused. Great to diffuse when yourself or someone in your household is sick.

Grapefruit: Supports metabolism and cellulite reduction. Great oil to diffuse before or while working out to support your mood. You can make your own cellulite reduction rub by mixing grapefruit oil with coconut oil and rub on your skin. This oil can also be ingested, if it is pure and food grade.

Lavender: Helps with relaxation and great to include in your sleep routine. You can mix a few drops with water and spray on your pillow before bed. You can also diffuse lavender when you want to relax. It also helps heals burns and cuts.

Lemon: This citrus oil is perfect for homemade cleaning products and will leave your home smelling very fresh and clean. It has antibacterial properties to help disinfect surfaces.

Peppermint: Supports digestion, and boots energy- great oil to start your day with. Also is a fever reducer, headache and muscle pain relief.

Rose: Great for reducing skin inflammation and good for getting glowing skin. A few drops added to your moisturizer could help your skin become even toned, but is known to be one of the most expensive essential oils. It takes over 65 pounds of rose petals to make one 15ml bottle and could cost up to $1000.

Tea Tree Oil: natural anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, reduces bad odors and can help stimulate the immune system.

 

Essential oils can be used in many different ways with different solutions. They have been known to be great for pregnant women who are sensitive to smells. Many of them that poses healing powers can be very beneficial for physical and mental health. Visit your local natural store and find which essential oils may be best for you and your family.