Pregnancy and Physical Therapy

pregnancy and physical therapy

Pregnancy and Physical Therapy

Did you know a physical therapist can effectively treat many diagnoses both during and after pregnancy? Few people are aware of this option, although the benefits are well worth it. A women’s health physical therapist can treat a large range of diagnoses, including but not limited to: back pain, pelvic pain, incontinence, carpal tunnel, headaches, painful intercourse and diastasis recti (separation of abdominal musculature). Often these symptoms are disregarded because of how commonly they occur with pregnancy. However, you do not have to suffer through these symptoms; we can help you overcome them for improved quality of life during pregnancy.

Why Would I Need Physical Therapy During Pregnancy?

During pregnancy, women experience many changes. As the baby grows, a mother’s ribs must expand, organs slide out of the way and the abdomen stretches. As the baby grows heavier, the pelvic floor also has more pressure being pushed down onto it. This extra pressure can cause pelvic floor symptoms, such as pelvic pain or incontinence. A women’s health physical therapist can work with you during pregnancy to reduce and/or prevent these symptoms altogether. 

Pregnant women may also experience back pain, carpal tunnel and headaches during pregnancy. Poor posture, stress, the additional baby weight and the change in your center of gravity can all contribute to these symptoms. However, these are all musculoskeletal issues that physical therapists are able to address with positioning considerations, manual therapy techniques and gentle therapeutic exercises for optimal posture and strength. Any of these conditions can be effectively treated at any point in your pregnancy. Your physical therapist will evaluate you and provide an individualized plan of care aligned with your trimester of pregnancy. 

Physical therapists can also provide tips and techniques for labor and delivery, while taking into consideration any musculoskeletal pain or impairments. Previous injuries or painful regions, especially in your back or hips, may become irritated or worsened from labor or delivery. To prevent this, you can set up a third trimester appointment with one of our women’s health physical therapists. During the third trimester visit, we will discuss your medical history, perform a thorough musculoskeletal evaluation and discuss potential laboring positions. We will also talk about the functions of the pelvic floor and how to prevent tearing during delivery. Then, following your third trimester visit, you can schedule a postpartum evaluation to ensure you are on track for a good recovery.

 

What About Postpartum Physical Therapy?

In the past few years, studies have shown that women do not feel they are adequately prepared for the postpartum experience, termed “the fourth trimester.” Typically, women are seen for many doctor visits before the baby is born but only one visit postpartum. In 2018, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists published guidelines for postpartum care, which included a referral to physical therapy for urinary or fecal incontinence. It also explained that postpartum care should be an ongoing process, rather than just one visit.

There are many diagnoses a women’s health physical therapist can treat following delivery. A few common examples are: low back pain, pelvic pain, urinary or fecal incontinence, pain with sexual intercourse and diastasis recti (separation of abdominal musculature). Therapeutic exercise and manual therapy techniques are used during treatment of these depending on your individual presentation and symptoms.

A women’s health physical therapist can even be useful for a postpartum checkup to provide you with the necessary knowledge to prevent future issues. This can be especially important if you want to return to working out or running. It is even more highly recommended if you experienced a tear or surgical cut during your delivery to make sure your body heals correctly without any complications. A women’s health physical therapist can help you gradually return to your normal daily activities and manage any pelvic floor symptoms that occur along the way.

Exercise is also an important aspect of the recovery process postpartum. We can create a program focusing on strengthening and stability to improve motor control and overall well-being. A women’s health physical therapist is trained to do this, while also considering any postpartum complications to ensure your safety. If there is a post-surgical scar, this is extremely important so the scar is not re-opened from too much rigorous activity. A therapist can suggest adjustments and specific exercises based on your functional capabilities and limitations.

 

When to Call Us?

If you are experiencing any of the symptoms discussed above, women’s health or pelvic floor therapy may be a great option for you. This includes:

  • Pain during or following pregnancy, especially pelvic pain, hip pain or low back pain
  • Urinary or fecal incontinence (leakage) in general or during exercise
  • Diastasis recti
  • Pain with sexual intercourse
  • Carpal tunnel
  • Headaches
  • Back pain

During your first visit, we will take a subjective medical history and chat with you about your goals. We will also perform a musculoskeletal exam of your trunk & lower extremities and, when indicated, an internal pelvic floor examination. Follow-up visits will include therapeutic exercise and manual therapy dependent upon the findings of your evaluation.

To schedule an appointment with one of our women’s health physical therapists, you can either give us a call directly or you can ask to be referred by your physician. Please don’t hesitate to also reach out if you have any questions or if you would like to learn more about pelvic floor physical therapy & what we can offer. We would love to help!

Elite Home Visits: Bringing the Clinic Experience Home

home visits

Elite Home Visits

Elite Integrated Therapy Centers offers physical, occupational and speech therapy services in the home and in assisted-living facility settings. Our home visits are offered to anyone in the Upstate area with no restrictions or extra costs. It is billed exactly as if you are in the clinic with us, and there are no guidelines that need to be met to qualify for in-home treatment. This program also serves as an effective home health discharge plan reducing re-hospitalization/readmission rates for vulnerable patient populations.

Who Qualifies for Elite Home Visits?

Anyone and everyone! There are no limitations on who can receive these services. In contrast to home health, we bill Medicare Part B rather than Part A. Therefore, there are no additional fees or qualifications. Your copay will be dependent upon your insurance. We will also pre-verify your benefits before your first appointment so there are no surprises.

Those Who Benefit the Most

That said, this program is more beneficial to some more than others. We strongly encourage patients to attend their therapy sessions in the clinic. However, we realize that is not feasible for everyone so we wanted to bridge that gap.

Our home visit services are ideal for those who:

  • Are immunocompromised or have a respiratory condition at this time.
  • Are home-bound.
  • Have transportation issues.
  • Reside far from healthcare facilities.

If you fall into one of these categories, Elite home visits would be a great option for your physical, occupational and/or speech therapy needs. Our goal is to help you live your best, pain-free life.

Physical Therapy vs. Occupational Therapy vs. Speech Therapy

Physical, occupational and speech therapy all mutually focus on targeted tasks and problem solving to promote success in the home environment. However, each one can then be further broken down into assisting with the following objectives:

  • Physical Therapy: functional mobility, rehabilitation, assistive device utilization and balance.
  • Occupational Therapy: activities of daily living (bathing, dressing, driving), returning to work and fall prevention.
  • Speech Therapy: speech & language, cognition (memory, problem solving, safety), feeding/swallowing, fluency and voice disorders.

Treatment methods vary dependent upon your specific needs and goals. Your doctor may refer you for one of these services. You may also call us personally to schedule your appointment – no referral necessary! We will continue to keep your primary care physician updated with your progress throughout treatment.

What to Expect

Now that you have made your appointment, what can you expect?

We provide you with a two hour window in which we will arrive at your house and will call you the day of when we are on the way. Upon arrival, we will review your insurance information, as well as some general paperwork. The first part of your evaluation will be spent discussing your medical history, symptoms and goals. Various tests will be performed to determine your functional capabilities and limitations. Your results are then used to create a unique, individualized treatment program. We will work closely alongside you, helping you achieve your goals and measuring your success along the way.

Added Bonus!

In addition to these services, our in-home speech language pathologists can also help during this time for those who have suddenly become tasked with being an at home educator, which includes special education services. Our therapists can help bridge the gap and prevent regression. We are able to work with all ages, including infants, children and adolescents.

For Your Convenience

We accept most commercial insurances, Medicaid, Medicare and offer private pay services/payment plans. We are happy to work around your schedule to find a time most convenient for you. Our goal is to assist you as best we can during this unprecedented time. Continuing progress in therapy prevents regression or worsened symptoms of pain or injury, which is why we have chosen to remain available to those who need us the most. We are continuing to treat in the clinics, as well, and going above and beyond all CDC and WHO safety guidelines.

Macronutrients: What, Why, and How?

Macronutrients are the latest craze in the fitness industry. Maybe you’ve been in the gym and have overheard a trainer talking to a client about ‘macros?’ You may have wondered: “What are those?” “Is this for me? “How do I get started?” Well, it’s much simpler than you might think. You’ll only need a food scale and some patience!

So, WHAT Actually Are Macronutrients?

It is widely known that people count calories to lose or gain weight. While that is a very valid tool in reaching health and wellness goals, tracking macronutirents can provide you with much more insight. Macronutrients, or macros for short, are everything we consume on a large scale when it comes to nutrition. This includes: carbohydrates, protein, and fat. Understanding the macros your food consists of can help you pinpoint specific nutrients you may be consuming too much or too little. This can then aide you in setting and achieving your nutrition goals.

As a general rule of thumb:

  • Carbohydrates provide 4 calories per gram
  • Protein provides 4 calories per gram
  • Fat provides 9 calories per gram

WHY is it Important to Track My Macronutrients?

Everyone is different, and therefore, has different nutritional needs. By calculating your macros, you can see firsthand if you are eating a balanced diet for YOU personally. Tracking your macros, instead of calories, can also help ensure that you continue to eat correctly while achieving your goal of losing, maintaining, or gaining weight.

For example, 100 calories of an avocado (fat) are different from 100 calories of a delicious Krispy Kreme doughnut (carbohydrates). While both have the same number of calories, the 100 calories in an avocado are primarily fat, while the doughnut is made up of mostly carbohydrates. The avocado may also fulfill your entire daily requirement of fat, but the doughnut most likely will not. The avocado provides a much more dynamic amount of vitamins, minerals, and quality calories that your body will use, too, compared to the doughnut. However, when you’re looking at only the calories, they are equal!

Real Life: Calculating Macronutrients

Grab your food scale, and let’s take a look at Quaker oatmeal for a real life example! If you ate one cup of oatmeal and wanted to calculate your macros for that meal, you would first need to determine how many servings you ate. If the serving size is a half-cup, measured dry (40g), you would simply multiply every number on that label by two. So for eating one cup of oatmeal, your macros would be: 54g carbs, 10g protein, and 6g fat for the meal. Now do this for EACH of your meals (or every time you eat) throughout the day. At the end of the day, add up all your macronutrients to visually see your total for the day.

Quaker Oats Macronutrients Calculation ExamplQuaker Oats Nutrition Facts Macronutrients Calculation Example

Macros into Calories

You could also easily take this a step further to determine your overall calories for the day. For reference, scroll back up to the calories per gram of carbohydrates, protein, and fat. Multiply each macronutrient total by the number of calories in each unit. That’s it! You now have your total macronutrients for the day, as well as your total calories.

So, if all you ate in a day was oatmeal (side note — we’re not suggesting this!), your total macronutrients for the day, as we calculated above, would be: 54g carbs, 10g protein, and 6g fat. To turn those into calories, take each macronutrient, multiply it by the relevant amount of calories per gram, and add up your totals:

  • Carbohydrates: 54g x 4 cal = 216 calories
  • Protein: 10g x 4 cal = 40 calories
  • Fat: 6g x 9 cal = 54 calories
  • 216 + 40 + 54 = 310 Total Calories

It’s that simple! To help speed up determining your macros in the future, write your meals down on a piece of paper or keep a “food log” for quick reference. Now, next time you eat oatmeal you won’t have to add up your macros!

HOW Do I Determine My Macros?

Your optimal macronutrient intake depends on several different factors including: gender, age, current weight, activity level, lifestyle, diet plan and goals. The college recruit who is trying to add lean muscle, while dropping weight, will be eating according to a different nutritional plan than a retiree now focusing on longevity.

So, where do you start??  Just buy a food scale (Amazon, Target, Walmart) and START! Food scales are relatively inexpensive and are well worth the investment. Before immediately changing your normal routine, eat your regular meals for 1-2 weeks while tracking your numbers. At first, this may seem like a lot of work: writing down meals, calculating numbers, and tracking EVERYTHING. However, the benefits are absolutely superior! Tracking your macros reveals so much. Are you eating too many or too few carbs, protein, or fat? Are your numbers fairly consistent or all over the place? Do you find yourself eating too much in the evenings or eating extremely unhealthy on the weekends? With a little dedication, you’ll be reading labels, learning which foods are high or low in your specific macro areas, and seeing results in no time!

Finally, it is essential to establish some baseline numbers that align with your lifestyle and goals. A good starting point is: 50% carbohydrates, 20% protein, and 30% fat. Do some research online; there are several “macro” calculators that can assist with establishing baseline numbers. MyPlate and MyFitnessPal are also two very useful apps to help track your macros. MyFitnessPal offers a large database of food and lists out the calories, carbs, fats, and proteins to save you calculation time, as well. Search for the food, brand, or restaurant on this page.

Let’s Get Started!

Tracking your macronutrients is important, whether you are on a specific diet or just want to eat well for your overall health. It teaches you if you’re eating too much or too little for your body and how to properly read nutrition labels. Educating yourself on WHAT you are putting into your body is a huge part of maintaining overall wellness. Once you’ve established how much you should eat, counting your macros might be exactly what you need to see the results you want. If you have further questions about macros or exercising, please reach out to us to set up a FREE consultation with one of our Wellness Coordinators!

Living Life Up to Par: Physical Therapy to Prevent Pain and Injury

Feel ‘up to par’: Physical Therapy prevents pain and injury!

While physical therapy is commonly thought to address existing pain or the onset of an injury, it just may be the best kept secret to preventing pain or injury. We’re here to let this secret out, just in time for you to enjoy much-anticipated summertime activities!

Injury Prevention

 

Whether you’re an avid athlete or a weekend warrior, knowing the right way to go through the motions of your preferred activity can play a big role in injury prevention. Same concept as knowing proper lifting mechanics so as not to injury your back, a physical therapist who understands your activity of choice can assess injury risk factors and make corrections as necessary. For example…

  • Do you experience soreness in your back or shoulders after a round of golf?
  • Are your muscles tight after pulling weeds in your garden?
  • Does it take some time to recover following a run around the neighborhood?

Perhaps this is your body’s way of sending you a message. While you may experience muscle pain or soreness following activity after you’ve been dormant for a time period, you should not be experiencing it following activities that you perform on a regular basis. Reviewing your activity with a physical therapist will help them determine potential movement-related risk factors, which in turn can curb potential injury. Moreover, a physical therapist will make corrections to your movements which will help lessen risk factors later on down the road. This can include, but does not limit to…

 

Performance Improvement

 

Not only is physical therapy beneficial for injury prevention, but it’s also helpful for “healthy” individuals as well! Particularly targeted toward the athletic community looking to improve performance in a sport or activity, physical therapy can target strength, agility, flexibility, and coordination.

 

At Elite, you not only have access to excellent clinical care from our therapy staff, but our Fitness and Wellness program is also available for individual and group personal training.

 

Interested in how physical therapy can help you with your goals? Call any of our 9 locations to speak with a physical therapist—no strings attached! Should you be in need of physical therapy, we can accommodate you within 24-48 hours, no referral needed.

Your Wait Time Will Be…

From two day shipping to grocery concierge services to being able to know in real time which traffic route is the fastest just by pulling up an app on your phone—we live in a day and age of instant gratification and convenience. Wouldn’t it be nice if healthcare worked the same way? What if, at the onset of pain, injury, or physical inconvenience, you were able to contact your healthcare provider and be seen within a week? a couple of days? a matter of a few hours? As evidenced by the growing number of urgent care facilities in the Upstate, there’s certainly a need that’s being addressed in the community. However, when you’re in need of a specialist, the process can become lengthy and in some cases, your health care should not be put on hold.

Fortunately, the state of South Carolina recognizes this sense of urgency and has Direct Access regulations in place that allow you to be seen by a physical therapist for up to 30 days, no referral needed! At Elite Integrated Therapy Centers, we make it our mission to accommodate you within 24-48 hours. During your first visit, we will evaluate the issue and create a plan to treat the root cause of the problem, not just the symptoms. On the back end, we will loop in your primary care physician to keep things on pace, just in case we anticipate going over that 30 day mark. Physical therapy is a great option to not only address your issues quickly, but is also cost effective in the long run. For example, a recent study found seeing a physical therapist within 14 days of onset of pain can minimize health care costs by 50%!

Curious as to what physical therapy can treat? While physical therapy is commonly thought of for back pain or athletic injuries, it can address so much more: muscle pain, joint pain, vertigo, TMJ/lock jaw, pre- & post-surgery, pain pre- & post-pregnancy, and incontinence, to name a few. Why put your healthcare on hold? Call today to speak with one of our team members at Elite Integrated Therapy Centers!

THE NESS FEST

MARK YOUR CALENDARS… for the premier health and and lifestyle festival of the year!

Elite Integrated Therapy Centers is proud to be a sponsor and presenter at the NESS Fest, coming to Fluor Field in Greenville October 20 & 21, 2018. Join us for the two day community-driven health and lifestyle festival, explore the pillars of wellNESS, goodNESS, fitNESS, and wholeNESS, and experience all that the Upstate has to offer direct from the leaders in our #teamNESS community!

While you’re there, you’ll have two opportunities to see Elite Integrated Therapy Centers take the stage:

 

SATURDAY, OCTOBER 20 | 2:15pm | Dry Needling
Paul Hecker, PT, DPT, OCS and co-owner of Elite will be presenting on and demonstrating dry needling therapy. This is a unique technique used to help with back pain, headaches, and other muscle spasms!

SUNDAY, OCTOBER 21 | 2:15pm | Fitness & Wellness Demonstration
The team of Certified Personal Trainers from Elite’s Health & Wellness Program will be discussing how they can help people in all stages of their fitness journeys be the best version of themselves!

 

Save 10% on your tickets using our discount code ELITETHERAPY10

Dry Needling… Getting to the Bottom of a Sticky Situation

By now, you’ve probably heard of (or may have even been stuck by) the popular treatment method in physical therapy today: dry needling. Although this technique may seem to be relatively new to healthcare, its origin dates back to the 1940s. Research proved that patients were responding to “wet needling”, or the introduction of a supplement or medication through a needle, without actually being injected. Fast forward to present day, healthcare professionals are finding dry needling beneficial for those experiencing:

• Acute/chronic injuries
• Headaches
• Neck/Back pain
• Tendinitis
• Muscle Spasms
• Sciatica
• Hip/Knee pain
• Muscle strains
• Tennis/Golfer’s Elbow

How does it work?
A dry needling certified physical therapist will insert a solid filament needle into your muscles, which activates trigger points and treats muscle pain. This technique is typically used when a physical therapist can’t reach particular muscle groups or relieve pain with their hands alone. You’re probably wondering, what is the difference between dry needling and acupuncture? While both procedures use a solid filament needle, dry needling improves muscles function through breaking up trigger points and resetting the muscle, whereas the traditional Western medicine acupuncture approach focuses on meridian points in the body. For patients with an aversion to needles, the question arises, ‘does it hurt?’. Typically, dry needling isn’t painful. However, reactions to dry needling can vary and muscle soreness tends to be the most prevalent among the possible side effects of treatment. Keep in mind, as goes with any form of exercise, when working muscles that have been stagnant, soreness is expected.

FUN FACT:
Some reactions to needling can be quite funny! Patients have been known to giggle uncontrollably, sweat, fall asleep, twitch, or cry (tear reaction).

While this is a great treatment method to use, dry needling isn’t for all patients. A certified, licensed physical therapist will be able to assess appropriate patients on a case by case basis. If this isn’t the tool is needed, it remains in the toolbox!

Interested in seeing if you’re a candidate for dry needling? Elite Integrated Therapy Centers has dry needling certified physical therapists at all 7 locations. Just a phone call away, their team can help you schedule an appointment within 24-48 hours—no referral needed!

Cross Your Heart

While this time of year is typically associated with Valentine’s Day, there’s another reason to keep your heart in check. February is American Heart Month and, now more than ever, efforts are being made to increase awareness of cardiovascular disease, educate the general population, and take preventative measures to keep your heart healthy. Here in South Carolina, heart disease is still the leading cause of death. Fortunately, 80% of heart disease and stroke events can be prevented by:

• Increasing physical activity
• Eliminating tobacco use
• Adjusting diet and maintaining healthy weight
• Getting plenty of sleep
• Managing stress
• Getting regular health screenings
(monitor your blood pressure, cholesterol levels, and diabetes)

Who is at risk?
Cardiovascular issues can affect anyone, but symptoms and risk factors can fluctuate based on a number of variables such as age, gender, ethnicity, and lifestyle choices. For example, although heart disease is the leading cause of death for both men and women, women are believed to be more at risk than men as symptoms aren’t as easily identifiable. In order to raise awareness by educating those at higher risk, there are programs and campaigns in place at local and national levels geared towards very specific demographic groups.

How can ELITE help?
By definition, physical therapy improves quality of life for people of all ages who have medical conditions, illnesses, or injuries that limit their regular ability to move and function. But that’s not all! Physical therapy can be utilized as a preventative measure for various conditions—cardiovascular health included. Significant improvements in blood pressure, weight, quality of life, and other health indicators can be made through exercise under the supervision of a licensed physical therapist, in conjunction with other health professionals such as primary care physicians, dietitians, health and wellness professionals, etc. In fact, studies show habitual physical activity helps reduce and sometimes prevent symptoms in patients with cardiovascular disease.

Need assistance starting a preventative exercise routine, or looking to transition to a higher level program?
Think of Elite Integrated Therapy Centers as your partner in establishing a healthier lifestyle! Just a phone call away, their team can help you schedule an appointment with a licensed physical therapist within 24-48 hours—No referral needed!