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Watch your step!

As cooler temperatures sweep through the Upstate, people are falling victim, literally, to icy patches on sidewalks and roads. While you would like to stay 100% injury-free, you still have to go on with your daily routine. So we’ve thrown together a list of what to expect when wintery weather comes your way!

Be Prepared
Watch your local news broadcast to know when winter weather is expected. That way, you can have advanced warning of what’s to come. After that, winterize your home! If you have any cement walkways or surfaces that may become slick if icy, spread potassium-based melting granules over these surfaces. Unlike plain salt (or sodium-based melters), potassium-based melters will not damage cement surfaces, vegetation, or indoor surfaces if tracked inside. In addition, winterize your car! Add a few extra minutes to your morning routine in case your vehicle windows are covered with frost or winter precipitation. Invest in an ice scraper, which can be found for under $5 in most retail stores. Or, you could plan ahead and put an old towel or sheet over your windows to prevent any precipitation from sticking. Above all, DO NOT pour warm water on your windows to melt frost, ice, or snow. The two extreme temperatures may cause your windows or windshield to crack! Whatever you do, please do not try to drive your vehicle if your line of vision is blocked by winter precipitation. Not only is it dangerous, but it is considered illegal to drive with an obstructed view.

Walk Like a Pro
If you absolutely have to walk on surfaces that may be slick, it’s better to be safe than sorry. Walk with slow, small strides and try not to be hurried. Wear boots or shoes with treads; avoid shoes with smooth surfaces. If at all possible, try not to carry heavy loads that will cause you to be thrown off balance.

Fall with Grace
Should you find yourself in a slippery situation, knowing how to fall can reduce the risk of injury. When falling on ice, your natural reaction is to catch yourself with your hands. WRONG! That would be the best way to inflict injury to your wrists. Instead, fall forward and to the side, keeping your hands close to you. Try bending your knees as well, which may lessen the fall or prevent it altogether.

We hope these few helpful tips will keep you safe in wintery conditions in the New Year. If you do have an accident, call one of our offices so that we can get you back on your feet again!

The Holiday Survival Guide

By now, the home stretch of the holiday season is within arm’s length. Cards have been sent, (most of the) gifts have been purchased, wrapped, and placed carefully under the tree, and you’re preparing for what will arguably be the busiest, but most fulfilling weekend of the year—full of family, friends, and fellowship. Throughout the inevitable hustle and bustle, don’t get your tinsel in a tangle! Here are a few suggestions from Santa’s helpers at Elite Integrated Therapy Centers to keep you sane and moving through your holiday activities:

Travel Advisory…
For many of us, the more time we spend in our cars driving to see family or to the ends of the earth for that last minute gift, the more of a pain in the neck and back it becomes…literally! To make your travels more pleasant, try this: As you’re driving, it is important that you maintain a relatively straight spine. When the curves in your spine increase, so does the strain on your low back, neck, and shoulders. Keep your seat adjusted so that your spine and seat are in approximately a 90 degree angle to each other, with your arms and legs within easy reach of the wheel and pedals. This will help keep you, your neck, back, and shoulders in the holiday spirit.

The Kitchen Marathon…
Turkeys and cookies and pies… Oh my! The kitchen marathon is a grueling test of both culinary skill and physical endurance. Often your lower back becomes the first to succumb to the pressure. It begins to hurt when the curve in your lower spine increases. This commonly occurs from standing in the same position for an extended period of time. One way to combat this is to stand with one foot slightly elevated. In your kitchen, simply open a cabinet door and place the ball of your foot on the lower shelf. This will minimize the curve in your lower back, and give you the time you need to finish the race.

Holiday Headaches…
The holiday season is upon us and for many, so are the headaches that come with it. Headaches will start in your neck due to poor joint movement, muscle tension, and poor posture. Should you fall victim to a holiday headache, Elite can help! By correcting these problems, you can find relief from headaches and, best of all, learn exercises designed to minimize your headache’s intensity or even prevent their unwanted return all together.

Cheers to a happy and healthy holiday season from your friends at Elite Integrated Therapy Centers!

TMJ – Here’s the jaw-dropping scoop

Think PT; Think ELITE

TMJ – Here’s the jaw-dropping scoop

YOU have TMJ, YOU have TMJ, EVERYONE has TMJ! Commonly misunderstood as a diagnoses for jaw pain, the abbreviation “TMJ” actually stands for TemporoMandibular Joint, which is where the temple and the mandible meet to form your jaw joint. When it becomes dysfunctional, it is appropriately termed TMJD (TemporoMandibular Joint Dysfunction) or just TMD (TemporoMandibular Dysfunction).

There can be many causes of TMJD such as poor posture, oral surgeries, bruxism (grinding teeth or jaw clenching at night), stress, or trauma. Any of these factors can cause abnormal stresses to the muscles that connect to the joint, causing it to become dysfunctional and/or painful. TMJD can lead to jaw pain, headaches, and difficulty chewing some foods.

But wait—there’s good news! Physical therapists are trained on the anatomy and treatment of TMJD! How can a PT help?

•  Postural correction
•  Soft tissue massage to muscles that have become tight around the joint
•  Joint mobilization to increase the mobility of the jaw
  Education of positions and foods to avoid
•  Exercises to stretch muscles around the joint
•  Exercises to allow better jaw relaxation
•  Potential recommendation for mouth guard

Through a thorough evaluation, physical therapists can determine what factors are contributing to the dysfunctional joint, which will in turn guide a treatment program that will improve the function and mobility of the joint. And this, of course, will lead to improved quality of life. At Elite, our (j)awesome therapists always strive to make quality of life a top priority, so CHEWs us for all of your physical therapy needs!

The Physical Therapy Approach to Oncology Patients


The Physical Therapy Approach to Oncology Patients


At one time, patients being treated for or recovering from cancer were advised to abstain from physical activity.  Medical professionals are now arguing just the opposite—and have the research to prove it!  According to recent studies, too much rest can lead to loss of body function, muscle weakness, and reduced range of motion.  During and after oncological treatments, patients often experience physical limitations and discomfort, including but not limited to exhaustion, weakness, deconditioning, nerve damage, weight variation, pain, and genitourinary complications, such as incontinence or sexual dysfunction.  This is where your local physical therapists can help…

According to a study by the American College of Sports Medicine, oncological rehabilitation is safe (and possible), resulting in improved physical function and quality of life, helping patients maintain independence and tolerate treatment.  Throughout the course of physical rehabilitation, the physical therapist assesses the patient’s fitness level and safely progresses an individualized treatment plan—very similar to typical physical therapy procedure.  However, during the course of oncological rehabilitation, the physical therapist also monitors for any developing adverse conditions, while also applying functional training and strengthening techniques designed to reduce fatigue, improve physical function, and increase muscle strength, joint flexibility, and general conditioning.

As with any diagnoses, there are certain factors to consider when prescribing the patient’s course of treatment.  For example, if the patient presents pain with movement, rapid heart rate, or shortness of breath, they may not be a good candidate for oncological rehabilitation.  Similarly, certain characteristics of the patient’s diagnoses could act as a red flag against physical activity, such as the type and stage of cancer, type of cancer treatment, or the patient’s stamina, strength, and fitness level.  Even after determining the patient safe to move forward with a physical activity plan, studies show that the patient is best suited in the capable hands of a licensed physical therapist.







Benefits of Pre-Operative Rehabilitation

Think PT; Think ELITE

Benefits of Pre-Operative Rehabilitation

While physical rehabilitation post-surgery seems to be standard operating procedure, did you know pre-operative rehabilitation is just as important?  In fact, implementing a rehabilitative program prior to surgery can actually cut down on recovery time, complications, and even healthcare costs!

Following surgical procedures, patients often experience a decline in strength and function, as well as increased inflammation, pain, and swelling.  Keeping this in mind, over a clinically suggested 6 week time frame prior to surgery, a physical therapist will assess the patient for muscle and joint strength, ability to move and perform day-to-day tasks, and degree of independence; all of which are crucial in creating the patient’s individualized pre-surgical rehabilitation plan.  From there, the goals of this plan are simple:

  • Mentally prepare patient for surgery
  • Reduce pain and inflammation
  • Restore range of motion
  • Improve muscular control of the affected area
  • Normalize movement patterns prior to your surgery
  • Improve overall well-being and fitness
  • Gain a good understanding of the exercises that you will perform immediately after surgery

By addressing key muscles, joints, and tissue anticipated to be affected by the procedure ahead of time, physical therapists are able to enhance post-operative outcomes.  According to the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA), participating in just 1-2 pre-operative rehabilitative sessions can reduce postoperative care by 29%, which translates into healthcare savings of more than $1000 per individual.*

*study based on patients with total knee or hip replacement