WHAT IS A CONCUSSION?
According to WebMD, a concussion is "a type of traumatic brain injury that is caused by a blow to the head or body, a fall, or another injury that jars or shakes the brain inside the skull." Concussions are a surprisingly common occurrence in sports. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) estimates that 1.6 million to 3.8 million people experience concussions during sports and recreational activities annually in the United States. These numbers may be underestimated, as many cases are never reported. High school athletes in particular suffer thousands of concussions every year, most often in football, ice hockey, and soccer.
WHAT HAPPENS AFTER A SPORTS-RELATED CONCUSSION?
Sports-related concussions often result in mental and physical symptoms (i.e., inability to concentrate, forgetfulness, headache, fatigue, dizziness). For many athletes, the symptoms disappear after about 2 weeks and typically do not last more than several months. In some cases, however, concussions lead to persistent physical, mental, emotional, and behavioral symptoms, sometimes referred to as post-concussion syndrome. It is unknown whether persistent post-concussive symptoms result from primarily medical or psychological causes. In rare cases, when repeated concussions occur over a brief interval, athletes may suffer from second impact syndrome, a pathological response of the brain that can be life-threatening if not treated promptly. Those affected should seek careful evaluation and management of any sports-related concussion.
HOW SHOULD A SPORTS-RELATED CONCUSSION BE EVALUATED?
Concussions are typically managed according to their severity. Immediately after a concussion takes place, medical evaluation is neccesarry to determine an individual vital signs and level of consciousness and to rule out any other injuries, such as those to the spine. Recent guidelines indicate that anyone who loses consciousness as a result of trauma during a sporting event should be evaluated by a hospital emergency department. In less severe cases, athletes are typically evaluated on site rather than in hospital emergency departments. There are a variety of approaches to the "sideline" assessment of concussion. Guidelines are also available to assist in deciding when a child is ready to return to play after a concussion.
A physical therapist can assess symptoms of a concussion and treat the injury by guiding the patient through a safe and individualized recovery program. Treatment for concussions may include:
- Rest and recovery. Your physical therapist can help you and your family understand why you should limit any kind of activity after a concussion, until it is safe to return to these activities. A period of rest helps the brain heal and helps symptoms clear up as quickly as possible.
- Restoring strength and endurance. The physical and mental rest required after a concussion can result in muscle weakness, and a decrease in physical endurance. Your physical therapist can help you regain your strength and endurance, when the right time comes, without making your symptoms worse. It is common for elite-level athletes and fit “weekend warriors” to experience exercise intolerance with concussion and brain injury. Your physical therapist can help you to identify and treat your specific symptoms.
- Stopping dizziness and improving balance. If you are experiencing dizziness or difficulty with balance, your physical therapist may be able to help reduce your dizziness and balance problems after a concussion using special treatments or teaching you specific exercises, some of which you may be able to do at home.
- Reducing headaches. Your physical therapist will assess the different possible causes of your headaches and use specific treatments and exercises to reduce and eliminate them. Treatment may include stretches, strength and motion exercises, and the use of technologies such as electrical stimulation.
- Returning to normal activity or sport. As symptoms diminish and you regain your normal strength and endurance without symptoms returning, your physical therapist will help you gradually add normal activities back into your daily routine. They will help you avoid overloading the brain and nervous system as you increase your activity level. Overloading the brain during activity after a concussion interferes with the healing of the brain tissue, and can make your symptoms return.
Changes in the rules for athletic competition have reduced the number of sports-related concussions. After the National Collegiate Athletic Association made the use of the head when tackling illegal in 1976, the annual number of head and neck injuries in football declined by about 50%. The required use of helmets in many contact sports and improvements in helmet design has also resulted in fewer head injuries. Making sure helmets and other gear fits and are worn properly, as well as asking a coach or other sports professional about safe playing techniques will also make a difference.
If you or a loved one have suffered a concussion, The Smith Clinic can help! Call us today at 901.756.1650 to make an appointment and get started on your road to recovery!
Why It May Be Unnecessary
Imaging for first-time lower-back pain may be unnecessary. It might not reveal the cause, and could also complicate treatment. According to Max Wintermark, MD, chief of neuroradiology at Stanford University, "if you take 100 random people and do an MRI [magnetic resonance imaging] of their lumbar spine, a number of people without pain will show the same abnormal findings as those with pain." One study found that 81 percent of adults with no symptoms showed a bulging disk.
Finding an abnormality doesn't mean it's the source of the pain, and treating based on scan results might lead a patient down a road of potentially unhelpful interventions, including surgery.
At best, imaging results likely will not change the treatment recommendation:
In many instances, doctors will prescribe
physical therapy no matter what a scan reveals.
WHAT TO TRY INSTEAD:
A combination of rest, anti-inflammatory medication, and physical therapy for six weeks. Revisit the option of imaging only if pain has not improved.
If you have red flags such as numbness or osteoporosis, imaging may be necessary.
Call The Smith Clinic For Physical Therapy today at 901-756-1650 to schedule an assessment with one of our Physical Therapists. We can help determine the best course of action for your back pain!
Are You Living Life To The Fullest?
I was recently on a return leg to California after spending the week in Washington, DC on a business trip. Since most of the business related to the way physical therapists can help people return to doing the things they love is in a low-cost, non-invasive way, I was still seeing through that lens while flying over the Potomac River and back home. To kill some time, I thumbed through the Southwest Airlines magazine and was struck by the contrasting messages of the articles and the ads of the magazine.
Naturally, the articles promote traveling for sports events, exotic cuisines, and relaxing vacations. Each weaves a story of adventure and paints a picture of experiences that can only be had in specific locations around the globe. These ads feature magical destinations aimed at exceeding expectations and encourage readers to be active thrill-seekers and explorers of the world and it’s many cultures. Simply put, the articles focused on our ability, when healthy, to live life to the fullest.
Maybe it was because we were thousands of feet above the ground, but I found it easy to keep my head in the clouds and picture my family and I discovering ancient Aztec ruins, walking on a beach in the Caribbean, and skiing Jackson Hole, Wyoming. Then, with the turn of the page, my head snapped back to reality with whiplash like force. I had spotted a reminder of why my parents and millions of others around the country would have to settle for dreams rather than authentic experiences. I spotted a medical advertisement.
You know the ones I’m talking about. It’s those ads using the smiles and confusing credentials of the surgeons to sell invasive, expensive, and generally unnecessary surgical ‘cures’ for chronic low back pain, joint pain, and rotator cuff tears. There’s no mention of success rates or the months of rehab required following the surgery, and all seem to be the ‘best’ or ‘only’ choice in dealing with your pain. Unfortunately, these ads redirect the focus from dreams to disability. To those with pain, they say ‘remember that your pain will prevent you from living life.’ To those who have already had a surgical procedure, they say ‘after paying the insurance deductibles, you can’t afford to take such a vacation’. However, among the disappointing medical ads, there was one ray of hope that offered a meaningful, low cost, and non-surgical solution to all of this. It came from the unified message of the California Physical Therapy Association- “Physical Therapists Improve the Way You Move.”
Physical Therapy Improves The Way You Move
Research shows that receiving physical therapist services have the same (if not better) success rates compared to surgical options for neck, shoulder, low back, and knee pain. And it does all this with significant cost savings to you in a shorter amount of time! Seeing a physical therapist should be the first option to get rid of pains related to nerves, muscles, and bones. In all 50 states, consumers are able to access physical therapists directly, meaning that you don’t have to see a doctor for a referral to physical therapy.
With the help of a physical therapist, you’ll be able to manage your pain in less time and less cost to you. Keep dreaming of those vacations!
Post Courtesy of Matt DeBole, an Outpatient Orthopedic Doctor of Physical Therapy at Palo Alto Medical Foundation.
Sleep makes you feel better, but its importance goes way beyond just boosting your mood or banishing under-eye circles. Adequate sleep is a key part of a healthy lifestyle, and can benefit your heart, weight, mind, and more.
3 Factors That Could Be Keeping You Awake:
Back pain, headaches, and TMJ (problems with the jaw muscles) are the main causes of pain-related sleep loss. Try taking control of your thoughts before bed, or during the night if you awake. If you lie in bed worrying about how you will be able to function in the morning or cope with increased symptoms and pain in the day, or if you become anxious before trying to sleep, both of these reactions can lead to increased insomnia.
Another tip is to go to bed and get up at the same time each day – yes, that means weekends and vacations too. This helps to maintain a regular sleep cycle in your brain.
Some stop caffeine after about 2pm, others can have a cup at 4pm and still manage to sleep. Find what works for you and stick to it.
Try to spend the last hour before sleep doing entirely passive, non-stimulating activity. So for example, reading by a low light is ideal.
Meditation is a wonderful way to wind-down and relax before sleep. Often simply changing the habits that are reinforcing, or indeed worsening your already challenging situation may be enough to lessen your insomnia, even when pain is high. It may take a few days for your body to adjust but you will sleep better when it does.
Insomnia is both a symptom and a cause of depression and anxiety. Since the brain uses the same neurotransmitters for sleep and mood, it's often hard to know which starts first. Stressful situations or events, such as money or marital problems, often kick off insomnia that can become a long-term problem.
Shortly before bedtime, try a relaxation strategy that incorporates mindfulness, such as yoga, deep breathing, or meditation, all of which boost sleep time and quality.
Sip Chamomile Tea. This herb can help lower anxiety, making it easier to fall asleep.
Take a Hot Bath or Shower. A pre-bedtime soak is relaxing. Plus, going from warm water into a cooler bedroom will cause your body temperature to drop, naturally making you feel sleepy.
Worry Earlier in the Day. When your mind is racing with concerns while you’re trying to fall asleep, that can make it nearly impossible to drift off. Instead, dedicate 15 minutes during the day to process these thoughts. Writing a to-do list or thinking about solutions can be a healthy way to deal with stress and prevent it from interfering with sleep later.
An estimated 30% to 50% of Americans snore, most without consequence. But in some cases snoring is a symptom of sleep apnea, a disorder linked to heart disease, high blood pressure, and stroke. There are several factors that facilitate snoring:
First, the normal aging process leads to the relaxation of the throat muscles, thus resulting in snoring. Anatomical abnormalities of the nose and throat, such as enlarged tonsils or adenoids, nasal polyps, or deviated nasal septum cause exaggerated narrowing of the throat during sleep and thus lead to snoring. Functional abnormalities (e.g. inflammation of the nose and/or throat as may occur during respiratory infection or during allergy season) will result in snoring. Sleep position, such as sleeping on your back, may lead to snoring in some people.
If your snoring is keeping you awake at night (or keeping your spouse awake!) then talk with your doctor so that they can help you find the right solution to this common but also treatable condition.
Physical Therapy Can Help You Be Your Best At Any Age
Ageism is defined as stereotyping or discriminating a person or group because of their age. Here’s a quick test: What comes to mind when you think of an elderly person? How do you define the word old?
How you answer that question is very important as it guides how you interact with and care for someone that is elderly.
For example, if I associate old with frail, I may not let my grandmother carry her own groceries because I’m afraid she may hurt herself. In my mind, I’m caring for her. Yet, in reality, I may be robbing my grandmother of an opportunity to physically challenge herself and maintain (or even gain) strength.
What comes to mind when a physical therapist thinks of an elderly person? How do we define old?
Let’s use the grocery store example again. If I associate old with strength, I won’t stop my grandmother from carrying her groceries. As rude as that may seem to some, I may actually be caring for her by encouraging her to be independent. She may be old, but doesn’t have to be weak!
Physical Therapists are in the business of redefining the word old. Physical therapy is the perfect profession for this task as we understand the changes that happen to the body as we age. Physical Therapists see elderly people and think of opportunity, not limitations. We work to get people strong, mobile, and able to do the things they want to do – regardless of their age.
I challenge you to consider how you define old. Do you associate being “old” with opportunity or limitations? Weakness or strength? Hope or despair?
As you or your loved ones age, consider physical therapy as your first stop to redefine what it means to be old. Seek the counsel of a physical therapist at The Smith Clinic for Physical Therapy to ensure you or your loved ones get “old” in the most desirable way possible.
Courtesy of getpt1st.com
Simple Office, Car or Airplane Stretches
Whether you are stuck in the office or traveling this week, these easy stretches are great for helping to ease muscle tightness and stiffness. Sitting for longer periods of time, or sitting in different positions than normal, can often cause you to have pain in areas that you might have not had in the past. Incorporate these into your day, and help avoid the pain!
1 - Neck & Shoulder Rolls With Closed Eyes
Benefits: Rests the eyes which prevents eye strain; lubricates and stretches the neck joints; relieves tension in the neck, shoulders, and upper back
The Pose: Begin by sitting on the edge of your seat with feet hip width apart and flat on the ground. Extend the crown of the head toward the ceiling creating an elongated spine. Inhale deeply. Exhale and allow the eyes to close. Inhale, lengthen the spine and slowly lower the right ear to the right shoulder. Exhale, lowering the chin to the chest. Inhale, lifting the left ear to the left shoulder. Exhale, lowering the chin to the chest. Repeat five times with the eyes closed. Inhale, roll the shoulders forward and up to your ears. Exhale, rolling the shoulders back and towards the floor, allowing the shoulder blades to slide down the back. Repeat five times in both directions.
2 - Chair Twists
Benefits: Whittles the waist by trimming inches; stretches the spine, shoulders and hips; relieves lower back, neck and sciatica pain; aids in digestion; massages internal organs which pushes out toxins and allows the organs to refill with fresh blood.
The Pose: Begin by sitting on the edge of your seat with feet hip width apart and flat on the ground. Inhale, lengthen the head towards the ceiling. Exhale, twist to the right side bringing the left hand to the outside of your right leg. Place the right hand on the left side of the upright seat back. Allow the head to follow the twist of the spine and allow the eyes to gaze beyond the chair back. Inhale, coming back to center and repeat on the other side.
3. Seated Child’s Pose
Benefits: Rejuvenates the body; stretches the spine; massages the abdominal area
The Pose: Inhale, lengthen the spine toward the ceiling. Exhale, fold forward placing the chest on the thighs. Allow the arms to drop to the floor. Breathe deeply and relax for 30 seconds. Inhale, engage the abs and raise the upper body to a sitting position.
Variations: (1) Turtle pose: While in child’s pose, open the legs to hip distance. Thread arms between the legs and around the calves. Attempt to grasp the outside of the foot with the hand. (2) Hands Clasped Behind the Back Pose: While in child’s pose, reach the arms behind the back and clasp the fingers together. Lower the hands toward the head.
4. Eagle arms
Benefits: Work your upper body and release shoulder tension.
How to do it: Stretch your arms forward, parallel to the floor, and spread your shoulders wide. Cross your arms in front of your torso, so your right arm is above the left, and then bend your elbows. Snug the right elbow into the crook of the left, and raise the forearm perpendicular to the floor. The backs of your hands should face each other, and your right thumb should pass in front of the left hand’s little finger. Press your palms together, lift your elbows, and stretch your fingers toward the ceiling. After 15 to 30 seconds, unwind your arms, and repeat for the same amount of time with your arms reversed.
• 2 Chicken Breast
• 2 tbsps Extra Virgin Olive Oil
• 2 Yellow Onion (diced)
• 2 Garlic (cloves, minced)
• 2 tbsp Ginger (grated)
• 4 tbsp Tomato Paste
• 2 tsp Paprika
• 1 tbsp Curry Powder
• 2 tsp Garam Masala
• 1 tsp Sea Salt
• 1 tbsp Chili Powder
• 1/4 cup Water
• 1 cup Organic Coconut Milk (full fat)
• 1 head Cauliflower
• 1/2 Lime (juiced)
1. Dice your chicken into cubes and set aside.
2. Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Saute your onion, garlic and ginger. Stir in tomato paste, paprika, curry, garam masala, sea salt and chilli powder. Cook for 1-2 minute or until fragrant.
3. Add diced chicken and stir until cooked through, about 5-7 minutes. Add in the water and loosen the paste.
4. Stir in coconut milk and reduce to simmer for about 5 minutes.
5. Meanwhile, create your cauliflower rice by adding the florets to the food processor. Process until the cauliflower has a rice-like consistency.
6. Squeeze lime juice on cauliflower rice and transfer into a bowl.
7. Remove from heat and ladle butter chicken over cauliflower rice. Enjoy!
Notes: Skip the chicken and replace with chickpeas, lentils or beans. Use Greek yogurt instead of coconut milk. Serve over brown rice or quinoa instead of cauliflower.
We Sit Way Too Much
Unfortunately for most of us, the majority of our day involves sitting. When you drive – you sit. When you watch TV – you sit. When you have a desk job – you sit for eight hours straight. You would never guess it, but Many studies have shown that sitting for long periods of time can lead to some serious health effects. In fact, it has lead to the creation of the phrase, “sitting is the new smoking”.
Negative Impact Of Sitting:
What can you do to combat these effects?
* Use a standing workstation.
Choosing The Right Nut Butter For You
The best nut butters are those that are made with the simplest ingredient: the nut! Look for organic varieties that are made with only a little added salt, seek out jars with minimal added sugars and shun hydrogenated oils. Here are our favorites:
Ounce for ounce, almonds are one of the most nutritious nuts. They’re a great source of riboflavin, magnesium and manganese (which is great for the prevention of osteoporosis as well as a healthy metabolism), and also provide an impressive amount of vitamin E per serving. By choosing almond butter as your spread, you’ll also get flavonoids, compounds that are extremely useful in fighting heart disease and cancer.
A great alternative for those with tree nut allergies, sun butter is a powerful seed-based butter. Sunflower seeds can provide even more fiber, magnesium and vitamin E than traditional nut butters. Sun butters are also a wonderful source of protein, vitamin E, B vitamins, folic acid and selenium. Studies have shown that sunflower seed butter is also anti-inflammatory and preventative against cancer and heart disease.
While the classic nut butter shares some health benefits with other nut butters, there tend to be fewer healthy versions available on the market. Peanut butters are most often processed with hydrogenated oils and sugar, so make sure you check the label carefully. Organic is always your best option!
With a rich, smooth texture, cashew butter is slightly lower in calcium than other varieties, but can still pack a nutritional punch. It’s a good source of phosphorus, magnesium, calcium and copper, and shouldn’t be overlooked. Magnesium boasts a myriad of health benefits, such as helping your body relieve various conditions like constipation, insomnia, headaches and muscle cramps, as well as regulating the immune system and supporting brain function. Cashews also contain a good amount of biotin, which will help keep your locks shiny and lustrous.
Are You Feeling Worn Down?
It’s the end of a long day. Your mind is tired and your body aches. You don’t remember any injury or incident really, it was just another day. You wonder if this is what it feels like to get old. But it’s not; at least it doesn’t have to.
The human body is truly remarkable. 200+ bones, 360 joints and more than 500 muscles all working precisely to make it move. Throw in the nearly 1000 ligaments and the roughly 2000 gallons of blood pumped per day and it’s a pretty complicated apparatus. The good news is, when it’s working well, it’s not fragile. The even better news is, when it’s working well the maintenance schedule is not super-complicated (move enough, fuel it right, recover fully, repeat). The not as good news is, once it’s injured, it can take a lot of work to fix….but perhaps the best news is, those aches don’t have to grow up to be pains….and pains don’t have to grow up to be injuries….if you know what you’re looking at and get after it early.
Your Body Was Built To Move
The human body thrives on movement; it relies on it. Without movement, blood and nutrients can’t get into the working tissues and harmful byproducts can’t get out. Without movement, soft tissues get stiff, joints can’t get through a full range of motion and instead of gliding, surfaces compress and grind. Sometimes you can feel this — a hitch or a catch gnaws at you. Sometimes you can hear it — with clicks and pops acting like warning bells. Sometimes, if you know what to look for, you can actually see it — the body is no longer moving like a body should. It’s not always easy to see, but it’s there, everything you need to know, the answer to the question: “why am I feeling like this?”.
Physical Therapy Can Help
Physical Therapists are conservative healthcare providers who spend years learning to understand the risks, read the signs, interpret the symptoms and alleviate the burden that results when a body isn’t moving like a body should. Although we have the knowledge and skills to help unravel pain anywhere along the risk to burden pathway, the earlier we are able to see the way you move, the better. Give us a call today at 901-756-1650 to see how we can help you!