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California Therapy Solutions
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No matter your age, neck pain can be a nuisance: There’s a good reason that we often call things that bother us a “pain in the neck.” Neck pain is one of the most common health problems in the world, and it’s second only to back pain in terms of painful muscle and bone disorders. Statistics vary on just how prevalent neck pain is, but some figures estimate that as many as 80% of Americans experience it at least once each year. Depending on your age, there are different types of problems that can affect the neck, but the result is usually the same: neck pain and discomfort that gets in the way of normal movement. The skeletal part of your neck is called the cervical spine, which is made up of seven bones (vertebrae). The vertebrae are referred to as C1-C7—the “C” stands for cervical—starting at the base of the skull (C1) and counting up towards the chest area (C7). Between each vertebra is an intervertebral disc, which cushions the bones and serves as a shock absorber. We use our cervical spine every time we nod, turn, or rotate our head in any direction, and this wide range of motion is one of the main reasons neck pain is so common. For children and young adults, neck pain is far less common than it is later in life, but there are still plenty of issues that can occur. In this age group, most neck problems are due to strains and sprains of the muscles and ligaments in the neck. Here’s what usually happens: * Neck muscles and ligaments are flexible, but sometimes they can be pushed too far * This often occurs from holding bad postures—like staring down at a computer or cellphone—for extended periods of time, or sleeping on the neck wrong * Symptoms include pain and discomfort in the back, side, or front of the neck that limits movement and activity As we get older, neck strains and sprains remain common, but a number of other neck-related conditions are also more likely to start developing. In the course of the normal aging process, several age-related changes begin to occur in certain parts of the cervical spine. What generally tends to happen is that the structures that make up the neck become weaker, the intervertebral discs lose some of their height, and the joints in the neck adapt to other changes in the body. Eventually, these changes make the structures of the neck slightly less effective, and as a result: * Osteoarthritis may develop, which occurs from losing some of the protective cartilage that surrounds the ends of bones * Spondylosis is another general term used to describe any pain related to age-related changes in the spine; this also becomes more common with aging * Problems with the intervertebral discs can lead to a herniated, or “slipped” disc, which may cause pain and other symptoms that radiate through the arms These types of issues typically tend to develop between ages 40-60, but can be seen even earlier in certain individuals. Symptoms also range significantly, as some people experience regular pain and physical limitations, while others don’t notice any symptoms, even though these age-related changes are still occurring. For adults over the age of 65, age-related changes continue to occur and may begin to become more advanced in some cases. This means that conditions like osteoarthritis and spondylosis are even more likely at this age, and they can be more severe for some individuals. Other conditions like spinal stenosis and osteoporosis also become more common in older age and add to the list of possible neck problems. Spinal stenosis is a narrowing of the spinal canal that puts pressure on the structures within it, while osteoporosis is a condition that causes bones to become weak and brittle. Other mobility limitations could make neck-related issues even more of an impairment for the elderly, but all of these problems are still treatable. What’s important to understand is that while there is nothing that can be done to stop the aging process, there are countless changes you can make to your everyday life that can significantly reduce your chances of experiencing neck pain at any stage of life. http://dlvr.it/QwMK7C
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Recipe Wednesday - Turkey Bolognese With Shell Pasta: The anise seed in this recipe gives the turkey the flavor of Italian sausage -- but you don't have to indulge in the same amount of saturated fat! Click here for the recipe! http://dlvr.it/QwH6g8
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Motivational Monday: -Julia Sorel http://dlvr.it/Qw7KGS
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Supervised therapy is found to be effective for a wrist fracture: This type of fracture is especially common in older adults The radius is the larger of the two bones of the forearm, and the end of this bone closest to the wrist is called the distal radius. A distal radius fracture is another term for a broken wrist, and it is one of the most common of all injuries. Fractures of the distal radius account for between 15-20% of all fractures, but they are especially common in individuals over the age of 60. In this age group, they are the second most common type of fracture behind hip fractures. Treatment for distal radius fractures typically consists of realigning the broken bone and then putting the patient in a wrist cast. Unfortunately, more than 50% of patients continue to have problems with their wrist after this procedure, which can lead to poor long-term outcomes. After the cast is removed, patients are usually instructed to follow a course of physical therapy. This can either be accomplished with a supervised program within a physical therapy clinic or with a home-exercise program designed by a physical therapist. Although both of these types of programs are commonly used, it's not completely clear which is more effective. For this reason, a powerful study called a randomized-controlled trial (RCT) was conducted to compare a supervised physical therapy program to a home-exercise program for older adults with distal radius fractures. Patients randomly assigned to one of two six-week treatments Patients older than 60 who had been diagnosed with a distal radius fracture were invited to participate in the study. A total of 74 individuals were accepted and randomly assigned to one of two treatment groups: the supervised physical therapy group or the home-exercise group. All patients were treated with realignment and a cast for about 6.5 weeks and began their rehabilitation afterward. The supervised physical therapy consisted of hour-long sessions 2-3 times per week for a total of 12 sessions, and each session began with 15 minutes of wrist and hand exercises performed in a 93°F whirlpool bath. After this, the therapist performed a specific set of mobilizations of the wrist joint and then instructed patients to perform three other exercises designed to improve the flexibility of their wrist. For the home-exercise program, a physical therapist taught each patient how to properly perform a set of exercises at home during a 30-minute session. Their home-exercise program lasted 20-30 minutes and was to be performed twice a day for six weeks. It consisted of various stretching exercises and got progressively more difficult as time went on. All patients were evaluated before treatment began, immediately afterward and then after six months for wrist pain and function, as well as several other outcomes. Patients in the supervised physical therapy group experience greater improvements Results showed that overall, patients in both groups improved in all of the measurements taken. However, the participants who followed supervised physical therapy experienced significantly greater improvements in wrist function, as well as less pain and better wrist flexibility, compared to those who followed a home-exercise program. This was found to be the case immediately after treatment, as well as six months later. These findings suggest that a supervised physical therapy program will lead to better outcomes for individuals older than 60 with a distal radius fracture, but more research is needed to confirm this. In the meantime, patients who experience this injury should seek out the services of a physical therapist for appropriate treatment, since both forms of physical therapy were found to be beneficial for all patients in this study. -As reported in the March '17 issue of The Journal of Hand Therapy http://dlvr.it/QvsZ2d
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Happy New Year! http://dlvr.it/QvlDh8
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Older adults with depression benefit significantly from exercise: Although research has been performed on the topic, several questions remain Depression is common in older adults, with statistics showing that up to 9.3% of this population is affected by it. Dealing with depression later in life is often a significant burden, as it tends to result in increased health care costs, impairments in physical and mental functioning, and a higher risk for suicide and death. Antidepressants are the most common treatment for depression, with a class of drugs called selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) typically offered as the first line option. Unfortunately, antidepressants are associated with a number of side effects in older adults, including falls, fractures, epilepsy, and heart-related problems. In addition, many individuals would prefer not to take medications for their condition, and this shows why alternative strategies are needed. Exercise has been suggested as a non-drug alternative treatment for older adults with depression, and several studies have evaluated its effects on this population. One large-scale review of these studies called a meta-analysis found that exercise provided a small-to-moderate effect on older patients, but there were several problems with this study, and many important questions remain. For this reason, researchers decided to conduct and updated meta-analysis to develop a clearer idea of how exercise affects older adults with depression and if it should be recommended. Six medical databases searched for relevant studies Investigators performed a search of six major medical databases for randomized-controlled trials (RCTs) that evaluated the impact of any type of exercise on adults over the age of 60. RCTs are high-quality studies in which groups of patients are randomly assigned to undergo different treatments, and they are considered the gold standard for determining if an intervention is indeed effective. This search led to eight RCTs being included in the meta-analysis, which contained data on 267 adults with depression. In these RCTs, 129 patients underwent an exercise program, while the other 138 did not participate in any exercises and served as controls for comparison. Once collected, these studies were reviewed and their findings were compared to one another with the goal of establishing a clear conclusion. Researchers conclude that exercise should be considered a routine part of treatment for older adults with depression The results of this meta-analysis showed that exercise had a large and significant antidepressant effect on older adults with depression. More specifically, researchers found these large and significant effects to be associated with exercise of moderate intensity—such as brisk walking—and in studies that used both aerobic exercise and strength training, and in both supervised and unsupervised formats. They also determined that some of the results published in the prior meta-analysis were underestimated due to bias, meaning that the actual effect of exercise was likely greater than the analysis suggested. With this in mind, researchers concluded that exercise should be advocated as a routine component of treatment for older adults with depression. One of the best ways to help older adults get involved in an exercise program is through physical therapy. Physical therapists are movement experts that work with patients on an individualized basis to provide a customized exercise program that considers their strengths and goals. Working one-on-one with a physical therapist can help depressed older adults become more active in their daily lives, leading to better overall health and reduced symptoms as a result. -As reported in the July-Sept. ’16 issue of Revista Brasileira de Psiquiatria http://dlvr.it/QvRjWg
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Recipe Wednesday - Asian-style steamed salmon: Less than 200 calories in each serving? Enjoy without the guilt! Click here for this tasty recipe! http://dlvr.it/QvN7gt
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Merry Christmas! http://dlvr.it/QvKMJJ
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Today is Winter Solstice, stay warm and cozy. http://dlvr.it/Qv4lND
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If stress is weighing you down, exercise may be the answer: Stress is everywhere in today’s world The world we live in today can seem like a breeding ground for stress. As a result, stress is an unavoidable part of life for a significant portion of the population. Recent statistics suggest that 70% of Americans experience some form of stress or anxiety every day, and most say that it interferes with their lives to at least a moderate degree. While daily stress generally comes and goes, about one in four individuals will go on to develop a mental health condition of some sort in their lifetime. Whether stress is an occasional inconvenience or an everyday impairment, most of us would probably agree that we could benefit from less in our lives. These days, there seems to be nearly as many apparent cures for stress as there are causes for it, and the effectiveness of each one varies significantly. But one of the most tried and true solutions to reduce stress is actually pretty simple: get more exercise. Exercise benefits the body and brain in a number of ways Getting regular aerobic exercise—which includes walking, running, and any other activity that increases your heart rate—will bring about a number of positive changes to your body, particularly to your metabolism and heart. It can also exhilarate and relax, and provide both stimulation and a calming effect by the same process. This calming effect is how exercise can manage stress and stress-related disorders like anxiety and depression as well. There are several explanations as to why exercise is responsible for these mental benefits, but it seems likely that the changes are related to both chemical and behavioral factors. On the chemical end, exercise has been found to reduce levels of the body’s stress hormones, such as adrenaline and cortisol. It also stimulates the production of endorphins, the body’s natural painkillers that are responsible for the “runner’s high” and feelings of relaxation many people experience after a hard workout. Behavioral factors have also been found to play a role in this process, as positive changes reinforce and encourage positive actions. What this means is that when you see improvements in your body—such as increased strength, better stamina, or a smaller waistline—it makes you feel better about yourself, which will all go on to reduce your stress levels as a result. Take your pick from the many exercise options available When done regularly, nearly any time of exercise will help bring about these positive physical and mental changes for you. Brisk walking and jogging are some of the most popular and easiest ways to get active and clear the mind, but others may prefer hiking, biking, swimming, yoga, high-intensity interval training, kayaking, or even rock climbing. It’s really up to you to find some type of exercise—or several—that work for you and do them on a regular basis. There is also a special sort of exercise known as autoregulation exercise that is specifically designed to replace the vicious cycle of stress with a cycle of relief. Several approaches may be used to accomplish this, such as deep breathing exercises, mental exercises like meditation, and progressive muscle relaxation, which focuses on loosening up tight and tense muscles throughout the body, one group at a time. A physical therapist can help get you on your best foot forward Current guidelines recommend getting about 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise (like brisk walking) or 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity exercise (like jogging) every week. If you are just starting to integrate exercise into your life or increasing the amount you already do, it may take time to reach these marks, so a gradual approach is always best. Seeing a physical therapist can also help you get to where you want to be. Physical therapists are movement experts that work with patients on a personalized basis to help them move better and more frequently. So if you’re trying to increase your weekly exercise, a physical therapist can provide you with recommendations on what types you should attempt, or they may find a specific exercise program based on your abilities and goals to help you succeed. -Summarized from an article published in Harvard Health http://dlvr.it/QtrgJc
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