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!

Thanksgiving feast

5 Tips for Enjoying the Thanksgiving Feast

Thanksgiving feastAlthough the holidays are meant to be about family, connecting with people you care about and gratitude, the season often becomes much more about something else: food. Surviving the holiday season is no easy task! The primary focus on food around Thanksgiving can be challenging for many. Whether you stress eat or struggle to continue eating healthy when delicious foods emerge this time of year, Thanksgiving is tough! However, don’t panic and take time to enjoy the holiday. To help you survive the season, our Wellness Coordinators put together 5 tips for enjoying the Thanksgiving feast.

Something you can keep in mind: what you do on and following Thanksgiving Day will determine how quickly you recover.

Here are our 5 tips for enjoying the Thanksgiving feast:

1. Stop Being So Hard on Yourself

  • So, you ate a day and a half’s worth of calories in one sitting…? Half of America did the same! Whether it’s been five minutes since your Thanksgiving meal or it’s the day after, it is most important to get your mind right. You will not “undo” all the progress you have made up to this point in one day. Acknowledge it, accept it, and then move on. There’s enough stress already attached to the holidays, so don’t add ‘worrying about what you’re eating’ to the list. Start making better decisions immediately and remain positive!

2. Go for a Walk / Get Moving

  • Over the years, numerous studies have been published showing the benefits of walking and exercise; this data continues to remain true. Researchers have found that a post-meal walk, as short as 15 minutes, can help aid digestion and improve overall stabilization of blood sugar levels. So, get up and get moving with a family member – before OR after – your Thanksgiving meal!

3. Get Back on Track

  • The key to getting back on track is to do so immediately. This could be meeting up the next day with your trainer, hitting the gym with a friend, or going for a walk outside. It’s important to get right back into YOUR routine; no excuses! Put those calories to use. Physical activity is your secret weapon.

4. EAT

  • That’s right, EAT! One of the worst things people can do following a Thanksgiving binge is to NOT eat the next day. Your body still needs calories for energy and to function that day. Try eating smaller meals throughout the next few days. Be very mindful of what you eat. Eat your meals when you’re hungry, and continue to drink plenty of fluids. As always, choose foods that are healthy and full of nutrients, such as: whole-grains, quality proteins, colorful fruits and leafy greens.

5. Plan Ahead

  • ‘Fail to plan, plan to fail,’ as the old saying goes. There are many strategies to keep you from overeating: using a smaller plate, drinking water before and after your meal, eating a salad first, eating slowly, etc. Most importantly, however you go about your Thanksgiving meal, make sure you enjoy the foods you look forward to every year, while avoiding other foods you might pick at just because they’re there.
    What about next day leftovers? Keep tempting items out of sight or get them out of the house altogether. Try making a few meals for the day and stick to those. Plan, plan, plan!

Overall, remember to enjoy the holiday season. One bad meal won’t break a healthy lifestyle, just like one healthy meal won’t fix it. So, go ahead; dive into that turkey and stuffing… And, don’t forget to enjoy some desserts, too!

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.

New Year, Best You

New Year, Best
You

It’s 2019! With the new year comes new motivation to set and crush your resolutions. One of the most popular resolutions year after year is to get in shape. But did you know almost 80% of people give up on their resolutions by the second week in February? Luckily, Elite’s Wellness Coordinators are here with tools to help keep you on track all throughout 2019!

Goal
Setting

The best way to make sure you don’t get lost in the frenzy
of the new year is to set realistic goals. Setting smaller goals along your way
will help you stay motivated and prevent you from getting burnt out. When
setting these goals remember to stay “SMART”!

Specific:
Your goal should be well-defined and easy to understand.

  • Instead of: “I will be healthy in the New Year”
  • Try: “I will lose weight in the New Year”

Here, you go from a vague and all-encompassing goal to one
that focuses on a specific aspect of being healthy.

Measurable:
Continuing with our example of losing weight, that is still not enough. We must be able to measure and track progress. To
make your goals measurable, try assigning numbers to make sure you can track
your progress!

  • Instead of: “I will be more active in the New
    Year”
  • Try: “I will jog 3 days a week for 30 minutes
    each”

Attainable:
You must have a realistic target goal in mind. It’s great to know how much
weight you want to lose overall, but keep in mind that healthy weight loss
usually means losing between 1-2 lbs. per week. So be careful here! It’s great
to be ambitious, but don’t get extreme. On the other hand, don’t make the goal
so easily attainable that you’re not challenging yourself!

  • Instead of: “I will lose 25 lbs. this month”
  • Try: “I will lose 5 lbs. this month”

Relevant:
Align your goals with where you are in life. Make sure you are setting goals
that are important to you. For example, don’t set a goal to cut out fast food
if you don’t eat it regularly. However, recognizing and eliminating an
unhealthy habit, such as drinking multiple caffeinated beverages in a day, is
more relevant to your daily life.

  • Instead of: “I will cut out fast food”
  • Try: “I will cut out Diet Coke”

Time-bound:
Set a deadline. Having a known end-point can help motivate you to get started.

  • Instead of: “I will lose 20 lbs.”
  • Try: “I will lose 20 lbs. by my birthday”

Now that we understand how to properly set goals, let’s talk
about how to successfully plan for exercise.

Planning for Exercise

In the fitness and wellness world, when talking about exercise
program we refer to FITTE.

Frequency:
If you are just starting out or refocusing, then it is important to determine
how often you plan to exercise. Buy a calendar solely for your workout schedule
and stick to it! Nothing is more satisfying then checking off a completed
workout.

Intensity:
Check your goals and decide how hard you need to work. If you are just starting
out, don’t overdo it. You’ll be able to build intensity over time. If you are
already on a regimen, then maybe it’s time to switch it up and challenge
yourself with a higher intensity.

Time:
How much time each day are you willing to dedicate to exercise? Again, for
beginners you should start slow and build tolerance. Knowing your limits and
respecting them will help prevent you from burning out and throwing in the
towel on your resolution.

Type:
Now it’s time to determine what types of exercise you would like to partake in.
There is no shortage of types to choose from: weightlifting, bodyweight
training, walking, swimming, running, dancing, etc.! Remember to vary your
exercises to avoid overuse injuries and keep yourself interested in your fitness
journey.

Enjoyable: Most
importantly, we come to enjoyable. Make sure to choose exercises that you like.
If you enjoy your workout, then you are more likely to stick to the new plan!

Now that you have these goal setting tools in your toolbox
you’re on your way to having a great new year and being the best version of
yourself! Don’t be afraid to ask for help – we’re here for you! You can always
stop by one of our offices and chat with one of our Wellness Coordinators about
how to further your goals.

Battling Bone Loss: Using Exercise to Combat Osteoporosis

Osteoporosis

One of the most widely common problems is also one you might not even know you have – osteoporosis. Osteoporosis is a condition that makes bones weak and brittle because new bone creation does not keep up with old bone removal. This condition that can lead to even more serious problems like falls and broken bones.  Osteoporosis mostly affects women over 41-years old (4). However, exercise is a great way to be proactive! Most of us have heard that weight-bearing exercises are effective in preventing and treating osteoporosis, but have you ever been told why? Luckily, we’re about to tell you! We are going to delve into how and why loading up the body helps rebuild bone structure.

Your Ever-changing Bones

Let’s start by talking about general bone structure. Your body is constantly stripping bone away and replacing it with new bone; similar to your skin sloughing away and regenerating new cells. The problem with osteoporosis comes when your body can’t replace bone at the same pace as it removes bone. In order to initiate new bone growth, stress that is slightly greater than the stress caused from everyday tension must be put on bones. Once this happens on a regular basis, the body allocates resources and nutrients to build bone mass in order to resist fractures (2). A regular exercise routine provides both the necessary stress to the bones and regular occurrence needed for the rebuilding process to occur.

What Kind of Exercise is Best?

Exercise is crucial because physical inactivity has been shown to decrease bone density and cause other health issues. At this point, you may be asking yourself what kind of exercise you should be doing to prevent osteoporosis. While both aerobic exercise and resistance training can provide the weight-bearing stimulation needed for bone growth, resistance training in particular is able to be more site-specific than aerobic exercise and it can target certain body parts (3). Other types of exercise are helpful to prevent osteoporosis, but a progressive loading style resistance program, one in which the weight you are lifting is increased little by little after each set, is best for stressing bones in a way that promotes bone growth.

Exercise Plans

Since we have determined what type of exercise you need to be doing, let us discuss the structure of your exercise program. Exercise structure can be changed up in order to keep things fun. For example, check out the two exercise programs below for simple sit-to-stands below:

Tip: To do a sit-to-stand, set up a chair in your home and stand up and sit down without using your hands

Option 1: [4×12] Routine. T

  • Round 1: 12 sit-to-stands. Rest.
  • Round 2: 12 sit-to-stands. Rest.
  • Round 3: 12 sit-to-stands. Rest.
  • Round 4: 12 sit-to-stands. Rest.

Between rounds, add weight little by little to increase the load.

Option 2: Drop Set [5×12, 10, 8, 6, 4]

  • Round 1: 12 sit-to-stands. Rest
  • Round 2: 10 sit-to-stands. Rest
  • Round 3: 8 sit-to-stands. Rest.
  • Round 4: 6 sit-to-stands. Rest.
  • Round 5: 4 sit-to-stands.

The key to this type of routine is to increase the weight between rounds at a greater rate than in the [4×12] routine. Since you are doing less reps you should increase the load more significantly each set.

Get Moving!

Your choice in movement is also a factor in an effective workout routine. Exercises that involve multi-joint movements have been shown to have a more significant change in bone structure than exercises that isolate one muscle or body part (2). Bending simultaneously at the hip and knee is a good way to encourage bone growth at the hip and femur. Pulling and pushing motions while bracing the core are great ways to incorporate multi-joint movements to increase bone density in the arms, spine, and shoulder structures. For spinal health, isometric (not changing muscle length) core-specific training is key and make sure to avoid core movements that require forward bending, like crunches (1).

Now that we’ve covered designing your structured movement plan, you are ready to prevent or reverse osteoporosis! These adaptations generally take about six months to see a change in bone density, but the change is initiated within the first few sessions (2). Be patient and don’t get discouraged! Come in and see one of our physical therapists for an evaluation and to talk about some more ways to safely strengthen your bones to prevent falls and increase bone density. Keep working hard and graduate to work with one of our Wellness Coordinators and progress your movements to the next level!

 

  • Bone, Muscle and Joint Team. “The Best Workouts for Osteoporosis.” Health Essentials, 2018, health.clevelandclinic.org/the-best-workouts-for-osteoporosis/.
  • French, Duncan. “Chapter 5: Adaptations to Anaerobic Training Programs.” Essentials of Strength Training and Conditioning, by Greg Haff and N. Travis Triplett, Human Kinetics, 2016, pp. 97–99.
  • Layne, JE, and ME Nelson. The Effects of Progressive Resistance Training on Bone Density: a Review.1999, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/9927006.
  • Mayo Clinic Staff. “Osteoporosis.” Mayo Clinic, 2018, www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/osteoporosis/symptoms-causes/syc-20351968.

 

4th of July Workout

Did you kickstart your 4th with fireworks? Kickstart your day off with this 7-4-2018 workout! Pick seven exercises (Month), with four rounds (day of the week), at 20 reps for rounds one and three and 18 reps for rounds two and four (year). Sometimes it can be hard to motivate yourself during the holidays, so performing a HIIT (High-Intensity Interval Training) workout can be something short and simple to start with. A HIIT workout is a cardiovascular exercise focusing on short, but intense, bursts of exercise that typically last 30 min or less. To help you get started here are seven body weight exercises:

  • Squat Jumps: Start in the squat position with feet shoulder width apart and explode up. You want to land softly and absorb the jump going back down into a squat.
  • Side Planks: Start on either your left or right side with your body inline from your shoulders to your feet. Your elbow should be placed under the shoulder with your weight distributed through the forearm. Then lifting your hips off the ground maintaining a straight line.
  • High Knees: Stand in place with feet hip width apart. Then alternate bringing each knee up as high and fast as you can, while maintaining a tight core.
  • Push Ups: Hands should be placed slightly wider than your shoulders with your shoulders between 45-degrees to 60-degrees. Push up while maintaining a tight core.
  • Alternating Lunges: With upper body straight and core engaged, step forward with one foot and lower hips until both knees are at a 90-degree angle. Be sure to not let your back knee touch the floor and your front knee is above the ankle.
  • Superman’s: Lie face down with arms straight in front of you. Then raise arms, chest, and legs off of the floor. Use the muscles in your back and bum to make this happen.
  • Burpees: Start the in the squat position leading into placing your hands on the ground outside of the feet. You will then jump both feet back ending in a plank position. Once in the plank position perform a push-up, then in the up position bring both feet back underneath the hands and jump up as high as possible.

Go through all seven exercises with little rest between each exercise and then rest 2-3 mins between each round.