Physical Therapy for Heart Disease

Physical therapy for heart disease in Portland OR - New Heights Physical Therapy.

After suffering a cardiac event, it can feel difficult to start the journey toward recovery. Healing from such a distressing incident takes time, and physical therapy can aid the rehabilitation process as well as improve your overall heart health. At New Heights Physical Therapy, we’re dedicated to helping our patients recover and gain back strength after any injury or disease-related complication. If you’ve recently suffered from or have ongoing heart-related issues, we’re here to support you and stand by your side in the recovery period.

Beginning the Rehabilitation Process

Whether you’ve experienced a heart attack, heart failure, angioplasty, or heart surgery, cardiac rehab is essential to properly healing both mentally and physically. Your doctor will work with you to develop a plan that is best suited for your health and may consult a physical therapist in evaluating any impairments that need to be taken into consideration. Once you are approved to participate in a cardiac rehab program, it’s time to  take the next step toward recovery!

Recovery Through Education

When you begin your rehabilitation, one of the most important steps is education. Your physical therapist is dedicated to helping you better understand your own heart health and will work with you every step of the way. Education methods include:

  • Understanding the current state of your heart and why you are experiencing heart-related issues.
  • Learning about proper exercise procedures and how to safely practice them.
  • Being taught how to monitor your own heart rate and asses your exertion levels during exercise.
  • Knowing what to avoid in the healing process and understanding what will help you achieve success.
  • Identifying stressors that hurt your heart and learning how to tackle sources of stress.
  • Setting goals for your heart health that will give you something to work toward.

Through education, patients are often more confident in their ability to heal and have a smoother recovery period. By getting familiar with your own heart health, you can make better lifestyle choices post-recovery.

Cardiac Physical Therapy Exercises

Because your heart is still in recovery mode, it is crucial not to overdo your exercise regime. This is why physical therapy plays such an important role in cardiac rehabilitation. Working together with your physical therapist enables you to be monitored and learn about what exercises are best for your particular situation. Independent and group exercise can help you gain confidence, and the presence of a physical therapist ensures you are increasing your exercise tolerance safely. An array of activities may be included in your rehab program including flexibility, strengthening, and aerobic exercises. Once you feel confident enough, at-home exercises will continue to help you get back to normal and decrease the risk of future heart disease complications.

Physical Therapy for a Better Heart

Even if you haven’t suffered from a serious heart-related issue, physical therapy and monitored exercise is essential to adopting a heart-healthy lifestyle. Physical therapists are committed to helping patients lead a healthier life through education and exercise. At New Heights Therapy, we know how life-changing heart disease is and love helping our patients improve their heart health and confidence after a traumatic experience. You owe it to your heart to be committed to anything that helps you live a long and healthy life!

Exercise to Recover from Concussions

Exercise to Recover from Concussions - New Heights Physical Therapy - Portland OR

If you have suffered from a concussion, you know the immediate effects it can have on your ability to function physically, cognitively, and behaviorally. Concussions are traumatic brain injuries caused by direct force or a blow to the head that severely rattles the brain. It has been estimated that more than two million people suffer from concussions in the United States each year. If you have or think you have a concussion, it’s urgent to seek immediate help from a medical professional. At New Heights Physical Therapy, we take concussions very seriously and encourage all patients to consult their doctor before we can help you recover.

What Causes Concussions?

Concussions can occur during rapid movement changes or, most commonly, when there is a direct blow to the head. Because the brain is affected by this, there is immediate or delayed changes in the brain’s chemistry and function. There are a number of incidents that are known to cause concussions:

  • Motor vehicle accidents or collisions
  • Sports-related injuries to the head or neck
  • Falling or tripping (the leading cause)
  • Accidents at hard-labor jobs
  • Violent assault or abuse

Signs of a Concussion

Because concussions can cause long-term damage, it’s important to recognize the signs and symptoms of a concussion and seek professional help immediately. It’s also essential to note that symptoms can show immediately or even months after the incident. A few of the symptoms of a concussion include:

  1. Physical symptoms: Nausea/vomiting, difficulty balancing, headache, difficulty sleeping or increased sleepiness, blurred vision, exercise intolerance, sensitivity to light and sound, slurred speech, dazed and confused staring, etc.
  2. Emotional symptoms: Irritability, anxiety or depression, aggression, restlessness, inability to handle stress, mood swings, or a noticeable change in personality or behavior.
  3. Cognitive symptoms: Worsened long-term or short-term memory, confusion, difficulty concentrating/focusing, slower processing, difficulty with decision-making, etc.
  4. Long-term symptoms: Fatigue, weight gain, muscle weakness, chronic headaches, loss of libido, developmental problems in children, low blood pressure, etc.

If you are experiencing any number of these symptoms, you need to contact a medical professional. If symptoms are ignored, the problem can become worse and lead to long-term brain defects.

How Can Exercise Help Treat Concussions?

At New Heights Physical Therapy, we know how distressing a concussion is and are dedicated to helping our patients recover from their traumatic injury. Because we are specialists in sports medicine, we are accustomed to treating athletes that have suffered a sports-related concussion (SRC). No two concussions are the same and we will work hard with you to determine the best course of treatment. There is extensive data suggesting that exercise, especially aerobic exercise, may help patients recovering from a concussion. Some of the ways physical therapy may help treat concussion include:

  • Determining the appropriate amount of time to rest and recover before treatment.
  • Restoring strength and endurance through closely monitored exercises, and overcoming exercise intolerance.
  • Improving balance and confidence through specific monitored exercises.
  • Improving headaches and pain through stretching and strengthening exercises.
  • Helping patients return to normal activity or sport through renewed confidence in endurance and strength.

Professional Physical Therapy for Concussion

Rest and monitored physical exercise or activity can help patients recover from a concussion. We know the trauma and life-altering changes a concussion can bring, and are dedicated to helping those who are suffering from the symptoms. If you are interested in learning more about how exercise and physical therapy can help treat the effects of a concussion, give the professionals at New Heights Physical Therapy a call today to set up a consultation today!

Manual Therapy: Scar Tissue Massage

scar tissue massage in Portland OR - New Heights Physical Therapy

Surgery, fractures, sprains, and even cuts can lead to injured tissues that cause scar tissue. While this is part of the normal healing process, it can become an issue if the scar develops improperly and is left untreated. Many people are unaware of the problems associated with scar tissue and are led to believe they will have to live with the lumpy, unattractive scar for the rest of their lives. This is where physical therapy can help! At New Heights Therapy, we’re dedicated to providing our patients with helpful information and compassionate service that will aid the healing of scar tissue.

Causes of Scar Tissue

When an injury to a muscle, tendon, skin, or ligament in the body occurs, the inflammatory system will begin to heal the injury site. During this process, old debris in the injured area is cleaned up before new cells are brought in that will eventually become healthy tissue. Some of the new cells are collagen cells, which is what causes scar tissue. Normally, collagen is aligned in specific ways that promote strength in the tissues. However, the body does not know how to arrange collagen cells after surgery or injury, causing them to clump together, lose their natural structure, and cause scar tissue. The good news is that this newly developed scar tissue is not inherently permanent and can be remodeled to look like normal, healthy tissue once more.

3 Reasons Why Scar Tissue Management is Important

Once scar tissue develops, it’s essential to work on promoting healthy tissue as soon as possible before possible problems arise. Remodeling the scar makes it so the injured tissue can tolerate the stress and forces the body encounters every day from regular activity. Tissue remodeling can help in three ways:

  • Decrease pain
  • Improve range of motion in surrounding joints and muscles
  • Restore normal mobility and function

Using Physical Therapy to Promote Healthy Tissue

Before undergoing treatment, it is necessary to consult with your both your doctor and your physical therapist before proceeding with any treatment. In cases where scars are not fully healed, massage could delay healing or even open and expose the scar to bacteria or infection. If you have scar tissue that has fully healed, a physical therapist may perform scar tissue massage to help with the remodeling process. Massage promotes the gentle stretching of the scar tissue, helping align the collagen fibers

Scar Tissue Massage Techniques

When you start physical therapy for scar tissue management, there are several procedures your therapist will perform to help heal scar tissue:

  • Lubrication. A small amount of baby oil, lotion, or vitamin E oil may be used to keep the scar and surrounding skin pliable during massage.
  • Cross friction massage. This involves using one of two fingers to massage the scar in a direction perpendicular to the line of the scar. Performed for 5–10 minutes, this technique ensures proper alignment of collagen fibers.
  • Myofascial release. In this technique, the hands are used to slowly and lightly massage the skin and underlying tissues around the scar. Your physical therapist can feel for restrictions of tissue, also known as fascia, and work to improve movement in those areas.
  • Instrument assisted massage. A relatively new technique, instrument assisted soft tissue mobilization (ISATM) involves using specialty stainless steel instruments of various sizes to massage and mobilize tissues, helping break up the built-up collagen cells.

Along with these massage techniques, stretching and flexibility exercises may also be implemented to help elongate and improve the mobility of injured tissues.

Professional Help for Scar Tissue Management

Physical therapy can play a vital role in properly treating and healing scar tissue. Whether you’ve developed scar tissue after a surgery, a car accident, or a cut, fracture, or burn, it’s important to talk to a physical therapist to learn how scar tissue massage can help promote remodeled tissue. At New Heights Physical Therapy, we are trained in helping patients treating their scar tissue through a variety of techniques. Give us a call today to start healing your scar tissue!

FAQs About Scar Tissue Massage

Can PT help scar tissue?
Yes, physical therapy will help improve movement and the healing of scar tissue.

Can you massage away scar tissue?
Yes if the scar is no more than two-years-old. We perform three different massage techniques to help heal scar tissue including, cross friction massage, myofascial release, and instrument-assisted massage.Is it good to massage scar tissue?
Yes, there are different massage techniques physical therapists use to break down scar tissue and collagen cells. This helps align the collagen fibers.

Can massage break down scar tissue?
Yes. the body does not know how to arrange collagen cells after surgery or injury, causing them to clump together and lose their natural structure. Massage breaks them down and helps align the collagen fibers.

How long does it take scar tissue to heal after surgery?
Every patient and surgery is different but it typically takes about 6-8 weeks for scar tissue to heal.

How do you break down scar tissue?
To break down scar tissue we first lubricate the affected area with baby oil, lotion, or vitamin E oil. Then we’ll perform different massage techniques including cross friction massage and myofascial release which help improve the alignment of collagen fibers and improve movement. We may also use a steel instrument to break up the built-up collagen cells.

Can you stretch out scar tissue?
We often use kinesiology tape on an injury as it provides a low-intensity stretch to help properly align collagen cells.

Does physical therapy help with scar tissue?
Yes, a physical therapist will massage the scar tissue to promote healing and help align the collagen fibers. A physical therapist will also help improve your range of motion and help alleviate any pain.

Ultrasound Imaging of Musculoskeletal Disorders

Ultrasound Imaging for Musculoskeletal Disorders with tips provided by New Heights Physical Therapy

Ultrasound imaging is a safe and standard procedure that has been used for decades, but is becoming more widely available. This noninvasive approach helps physicians and physiatrists diagnose and treat medical conditions, including musculoskeletal disorders. In addition to a clinical exam, using ultrasound imaging to help diagnose issues is a low-cost, reliable, and painless medical procedure that can aid in managing musculoskeletal disorders. Here at New Heights Therapy, we’re dedicated to aiding our patients and that begins with accurate, reliable diagnoses. Here’s how ultrasound imaging helps us do just that and more!

How Does Ultrasound Imaging Work?

An ultrasound imaging device is made up of a transducer, a transmitter, a receiver, a monitor display, and often a digital storage medium for collecting the images or videos. Ultrasound imaging involves the use of a transducer and ultrasound gel to collect high-frequency sound waves, which travel through the body and encounter acoustic interfaces. These interactions are then reflected back to the transducer and finally formed into images by use of a computer. These images can show the structure and movement of the internal organs as well as blood flowing through blood vessels.

What Can Ultrasound Imaging Help Diagnose?

While no single imaging method can diagnose all musculoskeletal disorders, ultrasound imaging can aid physiatrists in the first steps of diagnosing a variety of problems, including but not limited to the following:

  • Tendon tears or tendonitis of the rotator cuff, patellar tendon, Achilles tendon, and more
  • Ligament sprains or tears
  • Masses or fluid collections and inflammation or effusions in the joints
  • Nerve entrapments, including carpal/tarsal tunnel syndrome
  • Chronic or acute muscle injury

 

What are the Advantages and Limitations of Ultrasound Imaging?

The benefits of using ultrasound imaging in diagnosing musculoskeletal disorders are plentiful.

  • Ultrasound examinations do not use ionizing radiation (as used in x-rays), so patients are not exposed to any radiation.
  • An ultrasound exam is noninvasive and not painful to patients, and patient comfort is of the utmost importance to any physical therapist carrying out the exam.
  • The procedure yields high-resolution imaging, which in some cases is even more productive than MRI or CT in assessing soft tissue structures (tendons and nerves).
  • Ultrasound imaging is a faster procedure than taking an MRI and allows for quicker, real-time examinations.

As with all procedures, there are a few limitations to ultrasound imaging, such as its inability to penetrate bone/intra-articular structures or deeper structures inside some patients. However, ultrasound imaging is a great procedure for physical therapists in treating their patients due to its ability to diagnose musculoskeletal disorders.

How Can Physical Therapists Use Ultrasound Imaging?

With ultrasound imaging becoming more readily available for physical therapists to use in helping their patients, it is becoming very common in the practice of physical therapy. That said, some special training is required for physiatrists to incorporate it into their practice. Not all ultrasonographic transducers yield high enough resolution for musculoskeletal evaluation, and not all physical therapists or physicians are as familiar with specialized techniques necessary for this type of imaging. At New Heights Therapy, we’re dedicated to ensuring physical therapists are as knowledgeable as possible when it comes to diagnosing patients. Our upcoming two-day seminar on medical imaging will cover the basics of ultrasound imaging for local physical therapists interested in this innovative practice.

Recovery for Post Breast Cancer Surgery

New Heights Physical Therapy provides excellent support and recovery for post breast cancer surgery in Portland OR and Vancouver WA.

Recovery for Post Breast Cancer Surgery

Breast cancer can be treated in several ways. Surgery is often part of the picture to enable the oncologist to get rid of all of the cancer. The surgeon may remove the entire breast, which is known as a mastectomy, or they may only remove part of the breast. While this is often a life-saving treatment, it can result in some unwanted side effects, such as lymphedema.

What Is Lymphedema?

At its most basic, lymphedema is a swelling of the lymph nodes. In the post breast cancer surgery recovery time, it may occur in the lymph nodes of the arm, chest, breast or hands. It may occur for only a brief period, or it may continue for years following the treatment.

Lymphedema happens gradually as the lymphatic fluid can no longer drain as it once did. This happens because some of the lymph nodes around the breasts or armpits have been removed as part of the surgery to prevent or treat the spread of cancer. The symptoms of lymphedema may include the following:

  • Numbness and tingling
  • Aching
  • Difficulty moving the arm
  • Swelling in the arm, chest, hand or armpit
  • Inflexibility
  • Tight skin

How Does Lymphedema Limit Arm Movement?

When the shoulder and underarm area is stiff or sore, it can be difficult to move the arm. The shoulder joint is a special type of ball-and-socket joint that is designed to move in all directions. However, individuals with lymphedema here may find that they cannot lift the arm above the height of the shoulder, or that they cannot swing it as far to the front or the back as they once could.

How Can Physical Therapy Help with Post Breast Cancer Surgery?

Physical therapy has proven helpful in many cases of lymphedema. During recovery from post breast cancer surgery to improve range of motion in the joint, thus reducing stiffness and weakness. New research from early 2018 shows that even one session can improve arm movement. Plus, it was shown that an individualized physical therapy program can further improvement movement.

A physical therapist can help individuals know what exercises are safe after surgery, and can help patients move past the post-surgical discomfort to discover full range of motion. Therapy can also decrease fatigue and improve one’s overall quality of life.

Professional Therapy For Post Breast Surgery Recovery

Research continues to show the amazing benefits of physical therapy for improving body dynamics. In particular, it can help dramatically in those who have undergone surgery for breast cancer, helping them feel more like themselves once again. By being able to return to their normal ways of life quickly, patients can feel empowered to live healthfully and happily despite their prior diagnoses. If you think you could benefit from physical therapy, call New Heights Therapy today! Our staff of therapists would be more than happy to work with you, helping you recover from breast cancer surgery.

Restless Leg Syndrome

New Heights Physical Therapy provides physical therapy services for restless leg syndrome in Portland OR and Vancouver WA.

Physical Therapy and Restless Leg Syndrome

Restless legs is characterized by by a feeling of itching or crawling on the legs. This sensation makes the individual want to move the legs constantly, and he or she will bounce, jiggle or rub them. It can be frustrating for the person afflicted with the condition, as well as for the people around him or her. It can be particularly brutal at night when the individual wants to get some sleep, but is kept awake with restless legs. September 23 is dedicated to awareness of this condition, in the hopes that increased education can lead to relief and an eventual cure.

What Causes Restless Leg Syndrome?

Restless leg syndrome affects millions of people. Researchers have not been able to pinpoint a cause for this condition. There are some situations that can make it worse or could be linked to restless legs, including:

  • Pregnancy
  • Having parents who had restless legs
  • Being deficient in iron
  • Peripheral neuropathy

Can Home Remedies Help?

The most obvious remedy that people use to stop restless legs is getting up and moving. Leg movement can often only help for a very short period of time. Here are some alternative remedies for reducing symptoms:

  • Hot or cold therapy: icing the legs, or taking a warm bath to relax the leg muscles before bed.
  • Decreasing caffeine intake
  • Decreasing alcohol intake
  • Giving up smoking
  • Taking a vitamin D supplement
  • Massage
  • Regular exercise
  • Deep breathing exercises
  • Yoga

Can Physical Therapy Help Restless Legs?

Exercise is a huge component of any restless leg treatment program, and a trained physical therapist can play a major part in prescribing the right program for getting the joints moving. Gentle joint pressure, hot and cold therapy, and manual manipulation can also be used during the physical therapy session to provide long-lasting relief.

In addition, a physical therapist can teach individuals techniques and exercises that they can use at home to decrease symptoms on their own. Leg exercises in particular can help contract the problematic muscles and can re-oxygenate them with fresh blood. Ellipticals and rowing machines are popular choices for this reason. Physical therapy can also manipulate the pelvis and feet, to increase functionality throughout the entire area.

Professional Help for Restless Leg Syndrome

A physical therapist has a vital role in calming the symptoms of restless leg syndrome to help patients get relief. With regular treatments, individuals can regain good sleep patterns, feel more relaxed when they are at rest, and experience better quality of life overall. At New Heights Physical Therapy, we practice cutting edge and proven methods of relieving restless leg syndrome, and we would love to help you find some relief!

Invisible Conditions

New Heights Physical Therapy provides relief and physical therapy for invisible conditions in Portland OR and Vancouver WA.

If you have been accused of “faking” an illness, you are certainly not alone. Many people struggle with health problems that don’t have a definable cause or currently available diagnostic criteria. While these conditions may be difficult to diagnose, they do create real problems, including pain, fatigue, and other life-altering symptoms. If you have one of these invisible conditions, you may be able to find relief with physical therapy.

Symptoms of Invisible Conditions

Invisible disabilities or conditions can have a variety of symptoms, including the following:

  • Fatigue
  • Dizziness
  • Pain
  • Difficulty with concentration or memory

The symptoms could be related to hundreds of different conditions, and they may even come and go. You may be accused of faking your symptoms, or you might have gone through multiple rounds of testing, only to be told that you’re in perfect health. It can be incredibly frustrating to be told that “nothing’s wrong”, and many patients give up on ever resuming their normal lifestyle. You should know that there are doctors and physical therapists that understand what you’re going through, and new research is being conducted on a daily basis to discover the cause of these invisible conditions. Your symptoms are real, and many studies have shown that these conditions do exist.

What Are the Most Common Invisible Conditions?

  • Chronic fatigue syndrome is one of the most common invisible disabilities with extreme fatigue as its main characteristic.
  • Fibromyalgia is similar to chronic fatigue syndrome but is set apart by the focused tenderness in nine major spots around the body possibly caused by pain receptor issues.
  • Endometriosis is characterized by extreme pain in the lower abdomen especially during a woman’s period. Although you may try to push through these symptoms for a while, believing that they are not really as bad as they seem, diagnosis can reveal extra tissues in your ovaries or Fallopian tubes.
  • A variety of thyroid conditions can also create a host of ambiguous complaints caused by high or low levels of thyroid hormones.

How Can Physical Therapy Help Invisible Conditions?

Physical therapy can decrease your pain in these and other invisible conditions by using a variety of treatment modalities. Therapy can improve mobility in the joints, muscle tone and flexibility, and decrease long-term fatigue. By using your muscles and joints correctly and often, you can decrease the pain, inflexibility, fatigue, and stiffness that often accompanies many of these conditions. Your therapist may use a combination of manipulation, exercise, electrical stimulation, and hot or cold therapy.

If you’d like to see if physical therapy can help you manage your symptoms, call New Heights Physical Therapy today! We’ll work with you to find the best treatment for your body.

Understanding Golfer’s Elbow

New Heights Physical Therapy provides treatment options for golfer's elbow in Portland OR and Vancouver WA

Golfer’s Elbow vs Tennis Elbow

Golfer’s elbow, or medial epicondylitis, is the strain or damage to the muscles and tendons surrounding the elbow. It can also be referred to as “climber’s elbow”. Golfer’s elbow specifically refers to pain or damage felt on the inside of the elbow. The main cause is repetitive or intense usage, and any movement that strains the inside of the forearm can cause golfer’s elbow. Pain or damage that occurs on the outside of the elbow is called tennis elbow, and while these two conditions occur in different areas of the elbow, they are treated in exactly the same way.

What Causes Golfer’s Elbow?

  • Overuse
  • One-time direct injury, like falling on the elbow
  • Ill-fitting sports equipment, like golf clubs or tennis rackets
  • Lack of general fitness or proper conditioning

The most important thing to remember is that golfer’s elbow is typically an overuse injury. Avoid straining the elbow further by ceasing the activity that caused the injury. If you haven’t done an activity (like golfing or rock-climbing) in some time, take it easy and go slowly. Your elbow needs time to regain strength and conditioning.

Signs and Symptoms of Golfer’s Elbow

Golfer’s elbow commonly begins with a mild strain, with pain being felt on the inside of the upper forearm. Golfer’s elbow can cause pain anywhere from the wrist to the elbow joint itself. As the pain gets worse or progresses further along the forearm, symptoms advance to weakness and stiffness. Movement restriction is common as the pain increases, and you may even experience tingling or numbness.

Treating Golfer’s Elbow

The most important first step is to stop overusing the elbow. Avoid the activity that caused the pain in the first place, and make steps to avoid any movement that continue to compromise the joint. Because golfer’s elbow is a soft-tissue injury involving muscles and tendons, the following steps (R.I.C.E.R) should be taken:

  • Rest
  • Ice
  • Compression
  • Elevation
  • Referral

If the R.I.C.E.R. regimen is followed within the first 48-72 hours, the injury is much more likely to heal faster and without further complication. Once ice has been applied on and off again for three days or so, heat and massage should be used to prevent scar tissue and to speed up the healing process.

When most of the pain has been reduced or removed entirely, the elbow joint, tendons, and muscles should be stretched and rehabilitated to regain their former strength. Your elbow has been compromised, and it needs to be restored to proper conditioning. If pain or stiffness lasts longer than a couple of weeks, it may be time to consider physical therapy.

Golfer’s Elbow Prevention

  1. Listen to your body. Golfer’s elbow is an overuse injury, meaning that at some point pain was produced in the elbow, and the activity was continued anyway. The science of how muscles are formed and are maintained is still being researched, but we do know that if a muscle is not allowed to heal, the injury or strain will continue to get worse. When you feel strain that is intense or sharp, stop!
  2. Strengthen and condition. Your elbow works because of an intricate network of tendons and muscles. When those parts of your body haven’t been properly stretched or strengthened, they are more prone to strain. Make sure if it’s a new activity, or one you haven’t done in some time, that you take it slowly and carefully. It takes time to properly condition muscles, joints, and tendons!
  3. Rest, therapy, and modifications. If golfer’s elbow is a recurring source of pain for you, consider bracing and strapping, modifying or replacing sports equipment, taking extended rests, or going to physical therapy. There may be another injury co-occurring, making it difficult for the elbow to truly heal. Our bodies are made up of a network of interconnected muscles, and every area of the body is affected with an injury–even just on the elbow!

If you’re having difficulty healing, or you feel that the injury is getting worse, it’s probably time to consult a physical therapist or doctor. Repeated or prolonged injuries can produce scar tissue, making it ten times more difficult to heal the next time. By resting and treating the injury, you are respecting your body and preventing a worse injury.

Understand and Avoid Workplace Injuries

Avoid Workplace Injuries in Portland and Vancouver - New Heights Physical Therapy

Understand and Avoid Workplace Injuries

Although workplace injuries may seem infrequent, they are actually incredibly common. In a recent year, over 600,000 workers were injured on the job in the United States and reported their injuries. These injuries can equal a huge loss of job hours and countless dollars spent on insurance payments by companies. More importantly, they can significantly change the lives of those who are injured.

What Are the Most Common Workplace Injuries?

The most common type of injury in the workplace can generally be categorized as accidents. Slips, trips, and falls happen quite often due to new items in an area, cords placed across walking paths and spills. Muscles strains and sprains are also quite high especially in workers who frequently lift, push or pull something. Repetitive stress injuries may creep up slowly but are no less concerning as they can lead to great discomfort, especially in the joints. Back pain, carpal tunnel syndrome, and elbow, knee and shoulder complaints are high in certain professions.

Other common workplace injuries include the following:

  • Injuries from heavy lifting or moving machinery
  • Vehicle-related accidents
  • Cuts and scrapes
  • Injuries from noxious fumes
  • Auditory injuries from loud noises
  • Workplace fights

How Can Workers Prevent Injuries from Poor Posture?

Those who work at a desk for most of the time may believe that they are nearly immune to injuring themselves at work. However, the simple inactivity of a desk job can lead to huge problems in the neck and back, which are supported by the spinal column and the surrounding muscles. Poor posture while sitting can lead to a great deal of pain and even chronic problems.

When sitting at a desk, individuals should sit up straight with their backs against the back of the chair. The feet should be firmly planted on the floor with the knees level or slightly higher than the hips. When typing at a computer, the arms should be at 90-degree angles at the elbows, and the computer should be directly at eye level.

How Can Workers Prevent Injuries from Lifting and Moving Items?

Upper and lower back pain, muscle strains and sprains can all result from improper body mechanics when lifting or moving heavy items. Very heavy items should be lifted with a team approach. However, when lifting something oneself, the chest should always be forward, and the individual should crouch at the hips rather than bending down with the lower back. This will keep the weight close to the body.

How Can Workers Prevent a Variety of Accidental Injuries?

While poor body mechanics are often a huge cause of injuries, some simply occur due to problems with equipment, accidents or confusing instructions. Managers have a clear role to play in preventing injuries by educating employees. However, all employees must also take the time to put items back where they belong, clean up after themselves and always keep their minds on the job.

Consider these tips for preventing all sorts of workplace accidents.

  • Wear protective equipment, including earplugs in certain environments
  • Use appropriate staffing measures to ensure that no one is overworked
  • Inspect company vehicles and machinery regularly
  • Keep the workplace clean and tidy with clear walkways

It is the job of everyone in the workplace to stay aware of the environment and to work wisely and safely to avoid injuries. Because many injuries are due to accidents, staying awake and alert on the job can help individuals avoid all sorts of injuries. Plus, good posture, smart body mechanics and frequent breaks for those doing repetitive tasks can be incredibly helpful.

Relieve Stress with Pilates

Relieve Stress with Pilates, Stress Relief at New Heights Physical Therapy Portland OR Vancouver WA

At first glance, Pilates may seem to be similar to yoga, yet those who study it more closely or who participate in several sessions will quickly see the differences. This method was originally designed by a man of the same last name who firmly believed that flexibility, spinal health and core strength were all integral for a healthy body and healthy aging. His practice typically used a special apparatus known as a reformer, which is still used today in many exercise studios. However, people also turn to this workout at home, using only mats for a series of flowing exercises.

What is Pilates?

This low-impact workout is an excellent solution for those who are looking for a strength-based regimen that does not have a lot of cardio involved. It works every muscle in the body but especially focuses on the core, which includes the muscles of the abdominals and lower back. Those who want to gain strength while improving posture and balance will love this type of class, which typically lasts from 30 to 45 minutes. It is good for people of all ages and fitness levels.

Not only does this activity improve physical strength, increase balance and tighten and tone all the muscles, but also it is a powerful stress reliever. Cortisol is the hormone most frequently associated with stress, and some types of exercise, particularly those that are very intense, can actually raise cortisol. However, this routine can calm your mind using flowing exercises that slow the breathing, lower the blood pressure and improve restfulness. It does this by helping individuals focus their minds on just one thing, namely, their breathing connected with their movements.

Importance of Stress Relief

Stress relief is vital because unresolved stress can lead to numerous physical and mental issues. Unrelieved stress can quickly manifest itself in the body by causing sleepless nights and by lowering one’s immunity, leading to frequent sickness. Stress has also be tied to such diseases as cancer, liver disease and heart disease. It can even lead to weight gain and faster aging of the body overall. On the emotional side, it can promote long-term anxiety and depression, decrease critical thinking skills, lead to poor memory and decrease mental concentration.

Pilates is an amazing way to work out one’s entire body, leading to improved physical health, while also helping to relieve stress and improve the mental and emotional side of one’s health as well.