physiquality blog: how physical therapy can help patients with cancer

One of my other clients, EDUCATA, has been partnered with the Oncology section of the APTA (the national professional association for physical therapists) for a long time. I’ve had the privilege of working with some of the top PTs in the field, women who have specialized in helping patients with cancer recuperate from not only the disease, but also the treatments.

This has become a personal issue for me in recent years. I’ve watched my husband lose both of his parents to lung cancer. His mother in particular was fighting for strength near the end of her life, as a tumor in her hip had weakened the bone, which led to complications including a festering wound and a broken hip. Survivorship in general is increasing, but what does that mean for their quality of life once they survive the harsh treatments that eradicate the cancer? (Treatments are getting less harsh, but keep in mind the scale of treatments still includes radiation that burns and kills cells.)

Physical therapists are a key component of the wellness team that can help these cancer survivors live and thrive after treatment. Read on to learn more about how they can help improve a survivor’s quality of life.

How physical therapy can help patients with cancer

with advice from Mitch Kaye, PT

By any measure, cancer is one of the most prevalent and lethal diseases today. According to the American Cancer Society’s Statistics Center, in 2018 alone more than 1.7 million people will be diagnosed with cancer — 4,750 new cases every day.

While the statistics can be daunting, there is good news and hope for those who receive a cancer diagnosis. Death rates across multiple types of cancer are holding steady or decreasing. But what does that mean for cancer survivors?

Read the full entry at physiquality.com!

physiquality blog: playing football safely

I’ll admit, this was a tough one to write. We are parents of a boy and have recently moved to Texas; football is not a sport down here — it’s a religion. As my husband and I watched the Bears play the Packers on Sunday night, I asked him if our “touch football only” rule with our son seemed hypocritical when we watch football every weekend, both college and professional. He disagreed, since it was the same rule instituted at his house growing up. They could watch football games on TV, but couldn’t play on any teams due to the risks inherent in the sport.

But football has changed since we were kids. It has gotten progressively more difficult for me to watch football, particularly the style played in the NFL. The hits are harder, and it seems like the injuries are both more frequent and more gruesome. (While not life-threatening, the one burned on my brain is the hit Marcus Lattimore sustained in 2012 while playing at the University of South Carolina. He tore EVERY ligament in his knee. All four. It flopped over like it belonged to a puppet.)

That said, I know that players condition more to help come back from injury. We watched several replays of the Packers quarterback, Aaron Rodgers, falling and having a Bears player land on his left leg. It looked bad. But he went, had some tests run (I’m assuming to rule out major injuries and ligament tears) and came back to lead the Packers to victory. Stupid Packers. (If you can’t tell, I’ve been a Bears fan for a long time.)

Despite my personal feelings against those in the green and gold, Rodgers’ (and the team’s) reaction to the injury was textbook. Condition well. If you’re injured, don’t immediately go back in — talk to the doctor. Run some tests. And take care of your body.

Playing football safely

with advice from Mark Salandra, CSCS

It’s that time of year — the kids are back in school, pumpkin spice is starting to spread into stores, and football season has begun. So it’s a good time to remind parents and coaches of some of the more common injuries that football players can sustain, and some ways to perhaps avoid them.

The speed and contact inherent in football make it a relatively high-risk sport, says Mark Salandra, CSCS, who coached both of his sons through peewee football and watched one play at the high school level. It leads all other youth sports in the number of injuries per year. A certified strength and conditioning specialist and the founder of StrengthCondition.com, a Physiquality partner, Mark knew what injuries to look for when his sons were on the field. He says there are several types of injuries that parents and coaches should watch for:

Read the full entry at physiquality.com!

physiquality blog: why do my hips hurt?

I’ll be succinct — my own hips hurt right now, but it’s not related to bursitis, the topic of today’s post. It’s because I’ve been sitting on the floor for the last three hours as I’m in the middle of moving from the D.C. area to Dallas. So I’ll let my words below speak for themselves.

Why do my hips hurt?

with advice from ActiveWrap

Our hip and shoulder joints are a little different than the other, linear joints in our body. These joints are ball and socket joints, which allow us a wider range of motion than our knee and elbow joints.

But it also means there are multiple causes of pain in these joints, particularly as we grow older and these joints deal with more wear and tear.

When it comes to hip pain, one common cause is arthritis. The joint is held together by ligaments and muscles, and cartilage on both the femur and pelvis help to avoid friction between the bones, which can cause pain. When the cartilage gets worn away, this creates arthritis in the hip.

Read the full entry at physiquality.com!

physiquality blog: strength training for kids and adolescents

Strength training for kids and adolescents

with advice from Mark Salandra, CSCS

When most of us think about strength training, we think of oversized bodybuilders with rippling muscles, like Arnold Schwarzenegger (during the 1970s, not as the governor of California). Or the guy from the Planet Fitness commercial that lifts things up and puts them down.

Done in moderation, however, strength training can benefit people of all ages, including children and adolescents, says Mark Salandra, a certified strength and conditioning specialist and the founder of StrengthCondition.com (a Physiquality partner program).

Read the full entry at physiquality.com!

physiquality blog: how to lace your running shoes

I have mentioned before that I am not a runner. But I can appreciate how your shoes affect your sport. As a dancer, whenever I wear shoes, they have to be anchored to my feet securely, no matter what kind of shoes I’m wearing or what I’m doing. So this running post made more sense to me than most.

How to lace your running shoes

with advice from Orthopedic Rehabilitation Specialists

For most of us, when we purchase a new pair of sneakers, we keep the laces the way they are when we tried them on. We might have a preference on how they are laced, but it’s primarily aesthetic — do you want the lace at your toes to be outside the grommets or inside?

But when it comes to running shoes, lacing is one of many aspects that becomes strategic. There are particular ways to lace your shoes for arch support, wide feet, numb toes… The list is longer than most people’s daily runs.

Read the full entry at physiquality.com!

physiquality blog: if you’re in pain, try physical therapy before relying on painkillers

So this is one of my fears. Having dealt with chronic knee problems for most of my life, I am reluctant to take painkillers, particularly opioids like Vicodin or Oxycodone, as I know they are addictive. Given the number of addicts in my family (even when they are more prone to alcohol than anything else), I’ve been a bit paranoid about taking anything that could lead me down that path.

This is why I have always been in the physical therapy first, or at least adjacent to, taking painkillers. PT is the long-term solution, trying to fix the cause of the pain, rather than the symptom. If you are dealing with chronic pain, it’s best to at least try physical therapy for relief. Your stomach, kidneys and liver will thank you later.

If you’re in pain, try physical therapy before relying on painkillers

with advice from Michael Weinper, PT, DPT, MPH

You are on your way home from working out at the gym or playing a game of softball. You press on the brake to slow down at a stoplight, and pain sears through your knee. It’s not the first time this has happened, so you decide to talk to your doctor. Do you ask for painkillers, or do you talk to your physician about seeing a physical therapist?

There’s no question that pain hurts, says Michael Weinper, a physical therapist and the owner of PTPN and Progressive Physical Therapy, a private physical therapy practice. It’s how you respond to the pain that will affect your health in the long run.

If you merely rely on painkillers to treat pain, particularly opioid painkillers, you could be setting yourself up for long-term problems like depression and addiction without ever treating the cause of the problem.

Read the full entry at physiquality.com!

physiquality blog: walk more, be healthier

I will admit that since I became a mother, I have focused more on convenience and less on movement. Most shopping is done online (with the exception of the groceries). I work from home, so my commute is up a flight of stairs, and I have noticed (thank you, Apple watch) that I do not move enough during the day. At least in New York, I could walk everywhere. Moving to a more suburban environment means that the only place within walking distance was a BBQ truck, and that closed more than a year ago.

So what’s a mom to do? I’ve written about this for a long time — walk. Even just walking 30 minutes a day can improve your cardiovascular health and help you lose weight. The reality is that it’s still winter here, and as I look out my window I see wet streets and melting snow. But I’m promising myself that as soon as our weather is less brutal, I’ll be walking more every day.

Walk more, be healthier

with advice from Libbie Chen, PT, DPT and Polar

Technology has made a lot of things easier. If you need to buy something, order it online. If you need to get somewhere, just drive your car.

What this also means is that Americans are walking and moving less. This is one of many factors leading to the ever-increasing waistlines in our country. And even if you haven’t been gaining weight, moving less can contribute to heart disease and other health issues.

Read the full entry at physiquality.com!

physiquality blog: 6 habits for a healthier heart

Full disclosure: I am a sorority girl. Not one that skulked around the edges, either — I was our philanthropy chair as a junior, and was in charge of retention as a senior. While I have drawn more close to my university alumni groups rather than Alpha Phi social groups in recent years, women’s leadership has always been a cause that is close to my heart. In my sorority’s case, that was literal, as Alpha Phi funds cardiac care research and has for some time embraced what became a national trend: National Wear Red Day, a way to support cardiac care research, particularly for women.

Of course some may ask why this movement focuses on women. It’s because cardiovascular disease in the U.S. kills approximately one woman every 80 seconds. EVERY 80 SECONDS. It also kills more women than all types of cancer combined.

The American Heart Association has some tips for having a healthier heart, which I wrote about this week and link to below. But this is my plea for you to wear red tomorrow and donate to cardiac care — for women’s health, and for everyone’s.

6 habits for a healthier heart

in honor of American Heart Month 2018

Most of us know that exercise improves your cardiac health — you get moving and your heart pumps more, which helps your heart remain strong. But what else can you do to improve your heart health?

A few years ago, the American Heart Association, or the AHA, created Life’s Simple 7: seven ways to improve your cardiac health. One of those seven is exercising more. Your PT can help you create an exercise regimen to help you get moving, in the best way for your particular body. Use our locator to find a Physiquality therapist in your neighborhood.

Here are the AHA’s six other ways to make your heart stronger and healthier.

Read the full entry at physiquality.com!

physiquality blog: sarcopenia and loss of strength

I know this term more from working with physical therapists than I do by observing my own grandparents — my grandfather was lifting weights and riding his bike into his 70s, and my grandma swore by her morning walks into her 80s. But they are not only the exception, they demonstrate how exercise and activity can slow down the slippery slope of aging toward frailty discussed in this post.

Aging isn’t fun for anyone. My grandmother is 90 now and describes herself as “meaner than a junkyard dog.” She can’t hear very well, and she’s pretty much blind due to macular degeneration. But I believe she is able to take care of herself and live on her own due to the healthy life she has lived for decades, one of moderate drinking, healthy eating, and plenty of activity. If I’ve learned anything from her (aside from the value of a good looking shoe), it’s that I will be striving to do the same in order to have a better chance at being healthy when I’m her age.

Sarcopenia and loss of strength

with advice from Daniel Butler, CEP

Sarcopenia, the loss of skeletal muscle mass, is a part of what has been called “the slippery slope of aging.”

As people age, they often start to experience sarcopenia, as well as osteopenia and osteoporosis. Having weaker muscles and bones, plus the arthritis caused by years of wear and tear, can make movement more difficult and painful. The pain leads to less activity, which contributes to weaker bones and muscles, making it even more difficult to move. And so on.

Doctors and scientists are still not quite sure what causes sarcopenia, but they have linked a number of factors to its development, according to the Mayo Clinic: age-associated hormone changes, physical inactivity, inflammation, and diseases like cancer and diabetes. Because inactivity can lead to sarcopenia, doctors encourage older adults to exercise more to build muscle mass.

Read the full entry at physiquality.com!

physiquality blog: five ways to beat fatigue and have more energy

The holidays can be hard. Even the New York Times has acknowledged that the increased activity in December, plus the quantity of time spent with family, can lead to fatigue. And while you may want to turn to alcohol and coffee to get you through this, studies have shown that both can actually make you feel more tired. Which will not help you when you’re stuck in a corner with Cousin Al.

So if you’re looking for ways to gain more energy for your upcoming holiday calendar, take a look at what I’ve put together at the pqBlog.

Five ways to beat fatigue and have more energy

Winter is coming. As December begins, so does the holiday whirl. Office parties. Family get-togethers. Late nights spent trying to put together toys that have instructions written in a foreign language.

It can be easy to get overwhelmed, and feeling tired will make it more difficult to get through the month. So here are five ways to beat some of that fatigue, giving you more energy to face whatever is on your calendar.

Read the full entry at physiquality.com!