Posts Tagged ‘physical therapy’

Understanding the Potential Benefits of Physical Therapy

National Physical Therapy MonthThe American Physical Therapy Association (APTA)’s National Physical Therapy Month (NPTM) is celebrated each October as a way to bring awareness around the potential health benefits to be sustained via physical therapy. Over 90% of back and neck problems, for example, will resolve themselves without surgery, and for some patients, there are unique benefits achieved from treatment by a physical therapist.

Physical therapy is a form of treatment—practiced by a licensed physical therapist under the referral of a physician. The purpose of physical therapy is to improve and/or restore mobility in patients for whom it is limited due to a medical condition, surgical procedure, accident or fall, neurological disease or other medical condition that has limited a patient’s functional mobility.  Often the injury limits the performance of everyday tasks.

Physical therapy programs at Emory Healthcare are available to support every type of mobility and functionality issue patients may experience. Whether a patient’s functional mobility issues relate to a neurological occurrence like a stroke, or an athletic injury like a torn ACL, our physical therapists available on both an inpatient and outpatient basis are here to help.

For more information on our physical therapy programs, including information on our department of Rehabilitation Medicine, please visit the links below.

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Can Yoga “Wreck” Your Body? A Physical Therapist’s Perspective

Emory’s David Pasion, MPT, physical therapist at the Emory Orthopaedics and Spine Center was recently interviewed by the team at CNN in response to a recent article in the New York Times titled, “How Yoga Can Wreck Your Body.”

yoga physical therapist perspectiveAs Pasion put is, “Reading that article, if somebody wasn’t familiar with yoga or let’s say they were planning on doing yoga, if they read that article, they’d say, let me find something else to do. And so, in that aspect, no, I don’t think it was fair. There was too many negatives thrown out.”

While David Pasion agrees that it is possible to sustain injuries while practicing yoga, he also believes the article was “alarmist” and lacked context to present a fair assessment of the health benefits and risks of practicing yoga.

To get David’s take on the article and potential risks of participating in yoga, check out the video from CNN below:

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Why Your Rotator Cuff Matters More Than You Think – Part 1: How Your Rotator Cuff Works & What Happens When It Fails

Rotator Cuff painIt’s no surprise that the rotator cuff muscles are often ignored and rarely properly trained. A set of four relatively small muscles and tendons in the shoulder, their job is to keep the ball of the shoulder joint in place. That task may sound relatively simple, but consider the enormous forces that sometimes pass through our shoulders, putting serious strain on the little rotator cuff muscles. If they fail, a combination of pain, weakness and inefficient mechanics may prevent you from performing certain activities, limit your athletic pursuits or hurt your job performance.

The good news is that rotator cuff problems can often be prevented, and, if caught early, these injuries can often be treated with physical therapy alone. More serious rotator cuff injuries may require surgery. Our surgeons at Emory Sports Medicine are experts at performing rotator cuff surgery and getting you back to regular activity as soon as possible.

When The Rotator Cuff Fails…

Let’s back up and talk about what happens when your rotator cuff develops a problem. There are three stages of rotator cuff injury. The first stage is tendonitis, a simple inflammation of the rotator cuff, which can be painful but is relatively simple to treat. The second stage is tendinosis, in which the tendons of the rotator cuff start to degenerate. The third stage is a tear of the rotator cuff.

Tendonitis and tendinosis can usually be treated with physical therapy alone, with a high success rate. Very small tears may also be treatable with physical therapy, but generally a larger tear will require surgery to repair, followed by physical therapy to rebuild the rotator cuff and help prevent a future injury.

Signs of a Rotator Cuff Injury

The very best thing you can do to successfully treat a rotator cuff injury is to recognize it early and seek treatment promptly, hopefully before a tendonitis or tendinosis becomes a tear. Early treatment can mean the difference between physical therapy and surgery, and the difference between returning soon to the game or your work and an extended absence while recovering from surgery.

Early warning signs of a rotator cuff injury include:

  • Pain in your shoulder when you’re getting dressed, particularly when you are putting your shirt on or taking it off.
  • Pain in your shoulder when you’re reaching behind your body, such as to grab something out of the back seat of your car.
  • Pain when sleeping on your shoulder.

If any of these signs persist for more than a couple weeks, you should get your shoulder looked at promptly.

Signs of a more advanced rotator cuff injury include:

  • Weakness or a sense of instability in the shoulder.
  • “Night pain” in the shoulder: pain experienced when you are lying on your back and resting, pain that continues through the night.

If you have these symptoms, you should get your shoulder examined at Emory Sports Medicine right away. People over 50 who experience any of these symptoms are considered even more likely to have a rotator cuff injury.

So what are your treatment options if you injure your rotator cuff? And, more importantly, how can you prevent rotator cuff injuries from occurring in the first place? I’ll address those questions in part two of this post, so check back on the blog in about a week.

Michael Biller is the director of physical therapy for Emory Physical Therapy’s Perimeter and Sugarloaf locations and currently treats patients at the Perimeter location. He graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill with his physical therapy degree in 1992. He is a board certified clinical specialist in orthopedics and is a McKenzie credentialed practitioner. Biller is a guest lecturer on many topics, including the spine and extremities, and serves as a book reviewer for the Journal of Orthopedic & Sports Physical Therapy. He is also Emory Physical Therapy’s clinical coordinator for student education. He is married to his lovely bride, Rachel, who is also a physical therapist, and has two children. Biller enjoys getting outdoors on the weekends, especially to go mountain biking and hiking.