Seniors wrestle with a variety of medical issues that can make it more difficult to stay steady on their feet. Each year, more than one-third of people age 65 or older fall. Of those who fall, up to 30 percent suffer moderate to severe injuries, such as hip fractures, and increase their risk of early death, according to the CDC. Falls and related injuries can seriously impact a senior’s life, limiting certain activities or even making it impossible to live independently.
Balance exercises are crucial to help prevent falls by improving a person’s ability to control their body. Frequently doing a few simple, at-home exercises will help seniors enhance their coordination and decrease the risk of falling.
One great thing about exercises to improve balance is that they can be done as often as you wish, anytime, anywhere. Before you begin, make sure you have a sturdy chair, person, railing or countertop nearby to hold on to if you feel unsteady. It’s also a good idea to talk to your doctor about any exercise-related concerns. Don’t engage in anything that feels overly uncomfortable.
Here are four balance exercises for older adults:
1. Stand on one foot. We’ll start off simple. Find a sturdy chair to stand behind and hold on to for balance. Lift one foot up and hold it for 10 seconds. Repeat this 10 to 15 times, then switch and do the same thing with the other leg. It may be easier to stand on one leg than the other – this is totally normal. Once you perfect this move, try reaching your raised foot as far as you can out to the front.
2. Walk heel to toe. Start by putting one heel in front of the toes of your other foot. You want your feet to touch. If they can’t touch, get them as close as you comfortably can. Choose a spot in front of you to focus on. Start walking, putting one heel in front of the toes on your other foot. Walk 20 steps like this, staring at your spot for balance.
3. Rock from side to side. For this exercise, begin by placing your feet hip width apart, pressing into the ground with the same force in each foot. Slowly transfer your weight to one side, lifting the opposite foot. Hold it up for for 20-30 seconds. Transfer the weight back into both feet and repeat on the other side. Repeat this process five times on both legs.
4. Balance walk. Pretend you’re a tightrope walker in the circus. Raise your arms out to your sides, parallel to the floor. Choose a spot ahead to focus on and walk towards. Start walking in a straight line. As you walk, lift your back leg up and hold it for a few seconds. Repeat this while alternating legs, walking 20 steps.
As your balance gets better, you can modify these exercises to make them more difficult. To challenge yourself, try holding onto the chair with only one hand. With time, try holding on with only one finger and, finally, with no hands. Once you’re steady on your feet, try doing the exercise with your eyes closed.
As you age, it’s important that you are able to balance well. Steady balance is essential to avoiding dangerous falls. Start small, doing a few repetitions of these exercises every couple days, gradually allowing your coordination to get better. Staying active will help keep you or your senior loved one’s body and mind healthy and happy.
Start using these balance exercises for fall prevention today.
Questions? Feel free to call us at 858-792-1124 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org today
If arthritis is limiting your activities, a physical therapist can help.
A physical therapist (PT) can help you get moving safely and effectively. Physical therapists are licensed professionals with graduate degrees and clinical experience who examine, diagnose and treat or help prevent conditions that limit the body's ability to move and function in daily life, according to the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA).
Physical therapy focuses on the body’s ability to engage in movement. Movement can be anything from getting in and out of chairs to climbing stairs, walking in your neighborhood, playing a sport or doing recreational activities.
Goals of physical therapy in arthritis include improving the mobility and restoring the use of affected joints, increasing strength to support the joints, and maintaining fitness and the ability to perform daily activities.
What Can a Physical Therapist Do for You?
Develop an individualized plan of exercises to improve flexibility, strength, coordination and balance to achieve optimal physical function.
The goal of a physical therapy session is to teach you how to do things in your treatment plan – such as performing certain exercises, or how to best use hot/cold compresses – for yourself. The visits are often short and focus on identifying problems with your physical function and giving strategies for care that you can do at home.
The key to a successful outcome is learning the exercises from a physical therapist and practicing them at home over the long term. Improvement is gradual – the body gets stronger and more adept slowly over time – so consistent practice is essential.
When visiting the PT, think clearly about what your complaint is and what you would like to be able to do after physical therapy. Your goal can be getting in and out of your car without pain, raising up on your toes or raising your arms to reach items in your kitchen cabinets, taking a walk or performing your job without pain in the hips, knees and feet. Your PT can then work with you to develop a plan that is right for you to achieve your goals.
Preoperative Physical Therapy Results in 'Significant' Reduction in Postoperative Care Use for Patients Undergoing Hip or Knee Replacement
A new study has found that as few as 1 to 2 sessions of preoperative physical therapy can reduce postoperative care use by 29% for patients undergoing total hip or knee replacement, adding up to health care cost savings of more than $1,000 per individual.
Researchers in Ohio reviewed 4,733 Medicare cases involving total hip or knee replacement from a combination of 169 rural and urban hospitals with wide geographic distribution, and found that 79.7% percent of patients who did not receive preoperative physical therapy required postacute care services. That rate dropped to 54.2% for patients who received even a small number of physical therapy sessions before surgery. The study was e-published ahead of print in the Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery (abstract only available for free).
After adjusting for demographic variables and comorbidities, the study's authors estimated a 29% reduction in postoperative care use among the preoperative physical therapy group, which translated into adjusted cost reductions of $1,215 "driven largely by reduced payments for skilled nursing facility and home health agency care."
Patients with at least 1 billed encounter using CPT codes designating physical therapy evaluation or self-care/home management training were included in the preoperative group, providing they had received the service within 30 days of their surgeries.
Researchers believe that the benefit of preoperative physical therapy was derived mostly from the way it prepared patients for postoperative rehabilitation. In most instances studied, they write, preoperative physical therapy was limited to 1 or 2 sessions, which "suggests that the value of preoperative physical therapy was primarily due to patient training on postoperative assistive walking devices, planning for recovery, and managing patient expectations, and not from multiple intensive training sessions to develop strength and range of motion."
"Our study demonstrates a significant reduction in postacute care use associated with the use of physical therapy during the preoperative period for total joint replacement surgery," authors write, adding that in settings where replacement surgery has been recommended by an orthopedic surgeon, "physical therapy appears to provide value within the structure of a standardized preoperative joint replacement education and planning program in which physical therapists may play an important role."
While researchers acknowledge that more work needs to be done to pinpoint the best way to balance resource allocation between pre- and postoperative activities, they cite the current study's findings as a good first step in refining new models of care.
"As payments in health care move from a fee-for-service basis to more global payments that require some risk sharing by providers," authors write, "the ability to manage populations across the continuum to high-quality outcomes at low cost will be imperative."
It’s important to maintain exercise, especially as you age. As physical therapists, you may be seeing more active seniors looking to stay fit after injuries or orthopedic surgery.
But active seniors who are keen on keeping their bodies fit may be signing up for gym classes or doing routines that are no longer safe. Think of all those Zumba classes or senior weight training classes. Who knows if the instructors are aware of their medical conditions and past injuries.
This can lead to serious complications and even new injuries that can derail a fitness program.
Since active seniors have different exercise needs than a younger population, it might be difficult to determine what kind of program would best serve them. Can they be well-managed by a personal trainer? Or are they better off with a physical therapist? Both are needed, It’s just that they both have different roles.
The Role Of Personal Training
Personal training is a structured workout program that allows clients to exercise on a regular basis under supervision to maximize results.
The Role Of Physical Therapy
Our Physical therapists rehabilitate and educate patients who are hurt and return them to their regular routine, skillfully providing treatment plan designed to correct dysfunctional movement and return Seniors to their previous level of function, inclusive of a daily workout routine to maintain the progress they made during therapy.
Issues With Pain And Mobility
Seniors who struggle with pain, balance, and coordination, and who need rehabilitation are best suited for physical therapy.
Personal trainers are trained to help patients improve their fitness level, not heal injuries or deal with pathology. The danger in relying solely on a personal trainer is if they push a patient too far beyond their limits, there is a risk for injury. There should be a team approach, and we seeing a physical therapist when there’s an existing condition that makes exercise hard. Some preexisting conditions that need to be taken into consideration, extremity asymmetry, gout, or swelling in their knees or other joints that limits normal range of motion. This can also apply to seniors with neurological disorders like Parkinson’s.
It’s A Team Effort
Personal trainers are no replacement for physical therapists and vice versa. However, both have important roles to play in maintaining health as people age.To decide if a patient needs a personal trainer or physical therapist, take into account their fitness level, their health (if their bones or muscles are injured), and their goals (fitness or rehabilitation).When you have an injury, it's always best to see a physical therapist first. Your physical therapist will devise a treatment plan, which may include working with a qualified personal trainer or clinical exercise specialist.
There are many veins and nerves in our anatomy and many times they get affected and cause the pain. There is one major nerve called sciatic nerve that is made with tiny roots of nerves that comes from lower back area of spine. When this nerve is compressed a medical issue arises that is called sciatica. Today the majority of the people are aware of this condition and also the treatments because it is common to get affected by this condition. Physical therapy is the most remedy to relieve the apian in the patients. There are many physiotherapists who can help you out.
Physical therapy for sciatica
It is very simple to get this treatment, but it is also important that you consult a professional sciatic nerve therapist for this condition. It is important to consult one first. Professionals are going to educate the patients, which is another important thing. After that they are trained with the accurate moments. The sciatica physical therapy includes forces, manipulation of frequency like things and all this is done by the therapists in the right way. This therapy has become very popular among the patients because the oxygen amount in the blood is also increased. This increase in the blood circulation and relieves the pains to a great extend. In case patients are suffering from oxygen deprived sciatica, then this is the best for them.
More to learn
Physical therapy as you know is the best treatment to ease the sciatic nerve pain. Experts are going to tell you about several; treatment plans, exercise, stretches that these treatments are very effective and takes less time to heal the patient. Today we all are living busy lives and it s hard to get out time for regular therapy appointments. It is also going to be tiresome and exhausting. The patient must be commitment to them and follow the program step by step to get the results.
There are top notch benefits of the physical therapy and you are going to learn various types of exercises and stretches on the daily basis. You will have to follow them step by step. Therapist is having lots of experiences and they can understand your needs the better. They can eliminate pain as much as they can. If you need to heal faster than overall outcomes are going to depend upon you totally. There are doctors and therapists both available and he choice is going to depend all upon you, which you are going to choose. You must prepare a goal sheet and this is going to keep you busy and motivated.
It is possible to get rid of the sciatica and get rid of the pain. You will be able to do all the things which you love to-do. You are going to be back on your feet and will run all over. You just have to make sure that you are choosing the right therapist for your condition to get the treatment and heal faster and in the more effective way.
Many patients arrive at their first physical therapy appointment expecting to receive hot packs, ultrasound and instructions on how to complete a series of exercises. These modalities are warranted in many instances and most therapists would agree that exercise is needed to help restore muscle imbalances. However, many therapists now approach the restoration of function from a different perspective. These therapists are interested in why a muscle isn't functioning properly and view back exercise not as the driving mode of recovery but as a complement to manual therapy. They may, for instance, look to restore proper sacroiliac or lumbar joint function to treat piriformis syndrome rather then directly manipulate the piriformis muscle through exercise.
Manual physical therapy is a specialized form of physical therapy delivered with the hands as opposed to a device or machine. In manual therapy, practitioners use their hands to put pressure on muscle tissue and manipulate joints in an attempt to decrease back pain caused by muscle spasm, muscle tension, and joint dysfunction.
Manual Physical Therapy is Less Established for Back Pain Management
While all physical therapists have the option to use manual therapy in their practices, many don't spend the time or the resources to become efficient in this area of practice. Patients should be aware that it is a lesser known physical therapy technique among physicians and may not be as commonly prescribed. Also, many of the conditions that practitioners treat with manual therapy are not demonstrated with imaging or lab tests but rather during motion testing and treatment, and therefore insurance company reimbursement may be limited.
While patients may be referred for physical therapy treatment by their primary care doctor, an orthopedic surgeon, or other doctor involved in their back care, most states have direct access laws permitting patients to seek help for low back pain from a licensed physical therapist without having to seek a written referral.
Manual therapy can be helpful for the treatment of joints that lack adequate
mobility and range of motion in certain musculo-skeletal conditions. This
limitation can cause discomfort, pain, and an alteration in function, posture,
and movement. Manual physical therapy involves restoring mobility to stiff joints and reducing muscle tension in order to return the patient to more natural movement without pain. Thus, manual physical therapy may provide back pain relief both for patients with chronic back pain involving joint problems, such as sacroiliac joint dysfunction, and acute back pain from soft tissue injuries such as a back muscle strain or a pulled back ligament. Although extensive clinical studies have yet to be performed on all areas of manual therapy, limited clinical data and patient reports support the assertion that manual physical therapy can be effective in relieving back pain for certain patients.
As a group, manual physical therapy techniques are aimed at relaxing tense back muscles and restricted joints in order to decrease back pain and increase flexibility. In general, manual physical therapy techniques employ the following types of movement:
So-called arthroscopic knee surgery is becoming a less common treatment for adults with torn cartilage or painful arthritis as a growing body of evidence shows little benefit from these operations, a U.S. study suggests.
Researchers examined data on all surgeries done on patients 18 and older in Florida from 2002 to 2015, including a total of 868,482 arthroscopic knee procedures. Overall, rates of these operations declined 23 percent during the study period, with sharper decreases after 2008.
Many experts believe doctors don’t change the way they treat patients when studies show those treatments don’t work, and knee arthroscopy is often cited as an example, said study author David Howard of Emory University in Atlanta.
“There was some evidence that use of arthroscopy was declining, but this study shows that the decline was large and has been sustained,” Howard said by email. “I think patients can be reassured that doctors reacted to the evidence.”
During this operation, a surgeon makes a small incision in the knee and inserts a tiny camera called an arthroscope to view the inside of the joint, locate and diagnose the problem, and guide repairs.
While this is minimally invasive, it’s not risk-free. Patients receive anesthesia, which in any surgery may lead to complications such as allergic reactions or breathing difficulties. In addition, this specific knee procedure has the potential to damage the knee or trigger blood clots in the leg.
Multiple studies have shown that knee arthroscopy isn’t any better than non-operative treatments for conditions like arthritis, torn cartilage and knee pain, Howard notes in JAMA Internal Medicine. But evidence to date hasn’t offered a clear picture of how much doctors and patients are avoiding the operations as a result.
Between 2002 and 2015, knee arthroscopy rates in Florida declined from 449 procedures for every 100,000 adults in the population to 345 procedures for every 100,000 adults, the current study found.
Declines were steeper after 2008, when a second major trial was published that failed to detect a difference between surgery and “medical management,” which might include things like medications to ease pain or inflammation or use of heat or ice, or physical therapy.
These declines in surgery happened even as the prevalence of knee osteoarthritis among U.S. adults more than doubled from 6.6 percent in 1999 to 14.3 percent by 2014, Howard writes.
The study wasn’t a controlled experiment designed to prove what factors might have influenced any declines in these surgeries or whether or how patients might have different health outcomes as a result. And it only included data from Florida.
Still, the results suggest that doctors and patients are getting the message that these operations aren’t the best approach for wear and tear that contributes to knee pain as people age, said Andrew Carr, a researcher at the University of Oxford in the UK who wasn’t involved in the study.
“Rest and time are often very helpful,” Carr said by email. “If symptoms persist then other treatments including physiotherapy and the use of anti-inflammatory medication may be of benefit.”
There are still, however, far too many operations being done on patients who may not benefit and may be harmed instead, said Jonas Bloch Thorlund, a researcher at the University of Southern Denmark who wasn’t involved in the study.
“There is still room for improvement,” Thorlund said by email. - (Reuters Health)
Be sure you understand your diagnosis.
This sets the tone one and is the key to your Physical Therapy success because it gives you a big picture and what to expect in the weeks and months to come. Physical therapists identify movement impairments and dysfunction, so a PT diagnosis may be more detailed than your surgical or injury diagnosis or the diagnosis written on your doctor’s referral. After the initial full evaluation, the physical therapist will give you their diagnosis. That diagnosis then dictates treatment intervention and plan of care, outlining goals for therapy as well as frequency and duration of treatment. By understanding your diagnosis, it will provide insight as to why particular treatment methods are necessary and why they will be effective. That way, whether you're doing exercises at home or having manual therapy performed by your PT, you'll understand why and how your treatment works.
Ask the right questions.
Asking the right questions can help in the prevention and avoid getting that injury ever again, and much of your ability to do that depends on your therapist and how willing they are to put in that preventative work with you.
You can ask something like: "What will you teach me that will keep this from being a problem again in the future?" Your PT should not only be interested in helping get you back to full function, but also in teaching you about 'why' behind treatments, your movement, recovery, and how your overall lifestyle plays into it all.
Keep a journal.
Motivation can aid you during a long recovery process, so it's helpful to look back on how far you've come. Keep your own notes on pain levels and how you are feeling from day to day (happy, sad, motivated, discouraged, etc.). Recovery can be slow, so by having notes of how your feeling over time lets you see the progress. Seeing results also helps keep patients motivated to continue with their recovery process."
Frequency of Physical Therapy Sessions .
Most people think that the more often they see their PT for a session, the better. But this isn't always the case. Oftentimes, physical therapy referrals read two to three times per week; However, when you seek hands-on, one-on-one treatment with a physical therapist for 45 to 60 minute sessions, weekly or biweekly sessions may be more appropriate, depending on your condition. Not only will these types of sessions help you get better faster, but they'll be more cost-effective, she says. Given that you are invested in your health and healing and therefore compliant with your program, fewer sessions could actually be better than more! For those who aren't dedicated to following their program, greater frequency or duration of sessions may be necessary."
Think of your PT sessions as education, not exercise.
It’s important to remember that you're not here to work out; you're there to learn how to heal your injury and prevent it from happening again. To get the most out of your PT session, think of your session not as an exercise session, but as an educational session. “An effective physical therapist must be an effective educator. That's why learning as much as you can from your PT is critical. Take advantage of the opportunity to ask questions, because Physical Therapists often have much more time to answer basic questions than most health-care providers. A therapist may not be able to answer all your health-care questions, but can often help you seek out the appropriate answer by contacting the appropriate channels.
Ask your therapist for feedback.
Physical therapists keep track of metrics like range of motion that tell the story of progress, but many times patients don't know to ask about it. Check in with your physical therapist every few weeks or once per month to understand how you are improving quantitatively.
Be honest with your PT.
Didn't have time to do your exercises? Feeling worse than when you started PT? Tell your therapist! Physical Therapist’s appreciate their honesty. Sometimes this will alert me to other stressors in a patient's life or allow me to suggest changes. Physical therapists are trained to make recovery possible, but if they don't have all the information, it can be tough for them to make appropriate recommendations. " The more your physical Therapist knows the more they can be a resource for you.
Distracted driving can cause crashes, injuries, and even death; it's a prevalent public issue that the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS) continues to champion. But what about distracted walking? What are the consequences of pedestrians talking on the phone, texting, listening to music, or selfies.
Today, more and more people are falling down stairs, tripping over curbs and other streetscapes and, in many instances, stepping into traffic, causing cuts, bruises, sprains, fractures, even death. Alan Hilibrand, MD, chair of the AAOS Communications Cabinet reports, "The number of injuries to pedestrians using their phones has more than doubled since 2004, and surveys have shown that 60% of pedestrians are distracted by other activities while walking.
In Physical Therapy this position is known as a half lunge. There are many variations of this pose. This modified Yoga pose (Asana) is an excellent example of specific muscles lengthening and contracting around the hips.
The blue color represents muscles which are contracting and the muscles in red are lengthening. This image is shared graciously with permission from BandhaYoga from their book The Key Muscles of Hatha Yoga by Ray Long, MD. To see their amazing YogaAnatomy books, visit their website.
The muscles in blue which are contracting:
1. Left sided Triceps
2. Left sided Hamstrings
3. Left sided Iliopsoas
4. Right sided gluteus maximus
5. Right sided hamstrings
The muscles in red which are lengthening:
1. Right sided Iliopsoas
2. Right sided Quadriceps
This is a great asana posture to stretch the iliopsoas.
•Origin (1st attachment site):
Transverse process of L1-L5 and anterior ilieum
•Insertion (2nd attachment site):
Flexes the hip and trunk. Laterally flexes trunk ipsilaterally.
Involved in sit-ups.
This muscle tends to get very tight and shortened in individuals who sit a lot of the day. Most of us would benefit from regularly stretching this muscle.
Musclces that are very tight or weak can cause misalignment of joints and posture. These muscle "impairments" (such as tightness and weakness) can lead to painful movement or discomfort in certain postures. Physical Therapists (P.T.) are experts in movement and posture. By assessing the body in different positions and planes of movement, a skilled P.T. can determine which muscle imbalances exists and then take the proper steps to correct for the musculo-skeletal impairments. For instance, certain muscles are commonly shorter on one side and longer on the other, while others are stronger on one side and weaker on the other. This can set up a muscular "tug of war" between muscle groups. In the hips, there is often a complex tug of war that goes on between the iliopsoas and it's antagonist, the gluteus maximus.
There are a number of other muscle interactions as well, which will be addressed. Applying out knowledge of functional Anatomy, we gain a deep insight in how to overcome pain conditions of posture and movement.
Physical Therapists who are also trained in Yoga, such as those at Zenergy
PT, utilize their knowledge of Anatomy and Yoga to correct muscle imbalances and
postural dysfunctions using Yoga postures and techniques. There are many other ways to address muscle imbalances as well.
Future blogs will go into more detail about common muscle imbalances and how to treat them using out knowledge of Anatomy, Yoga, and Therapy.
Comments are always welcome!!
Kenneth Mauck, MPT, MS Lead Physical Therapist