Friday, March 31, 2017

9 Things You Should Know About Pain

1. Pain is output from the brain. While we used to believe that pain originated within the tissues of our body, we now understand that pain does not exist until the brain determines it does. The brain uses a virtual “road map” to direct an output of pain to tissues that it suspects may be in danger. This process acts as a means of communication between the brain and the tissues of the body, to serve as a defense against possible injury or disease.

2. The degree of injury does not always equal the degree of pain. Research has demonstrated that we all experience pain in individual ways. While some of us experience major injuries with little pain, others experience minor injuries with a lot of pain (think of a paper cut).

3. Despite what diagnostic imaging (MRIs, x-rays, CT scans) shows us, the finding may not be the cause of your pain. A study performed on individuals 60 years or older who had no symptoms of low back pain found that 36% had a herniated disc, 21% had spinal stenosis, and more than 90% had a degenerated or bulging disc, upon diagnostic imaging.

4. Psychological factors, such as depression and anxiety, can make your pain worse. Pain can be influenced by many different factors, such as psychological conditions. A recent study in the Journal of Pain showed that psychological variables that existed prior to a total knee replacement were related to a patient's experience of long-term pain following the operation.

5. Your social environment may influence your perception of pain. Many patients state their pain increases when they are at work or in a stressful situation. Pain messages can be generated when an individual is in an environment or situation that the brain interprets as unsafe. It is a fundamental form of self-protection.

6. Understanding pain through education may reduce your need for care. A large study conducted with military personnel demonstrated that those who were given a 45-minute educational session about pain sought care for low back pain less than their counterparts.

7. Our brains can be tricked into developing pain in prosthetic limbs. Studies have shown that our brains can be tricked into developing a "referred" sensation in a limb that has been amputated, causing a feeling of pain that seems to come from the prosthetic limb – or from the "phantom" limb. The sensation is generated by the association of the brain's perception of what the body is from birth (whole and complete) and what it currently is (post-amputation).

8. The ability to determine left from right may be altered when you experience pain. Networks within the brain that assist you in determining left from right can be affected when you experience severe pain. If you have been experiencing pain, and have noticed your sense of direction is a bit off, it may be because a "roadmap" within the brain that details a path to each part of the body may be a bit "smudged." (This is a term we use to describe a part of the brain's virtual roadmap that isn’t clear. Imagine spilling ink onto part of a roadmap and then trying to use that map to get to your destination.)

9. There is no way of knowing whether you have a high tolerance for pain or not. Science has yet to determine whether we all experience pain in the same way. While some people claim to have a "high tolerance" for pain, there is no accurate way to measure or compare pain tolerance among individuals. While some tools exist to measure how much force you can resist before experiencing pain, it can’t be determined what your pain "feels like."

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Machines are not needed for relief from fibromyalgia symptoms gained by Whole-Body Vibration

Whole-body vibration exercise may reduce pain symptoms and improve aspects of quality of life in individuals diagnosed with fibromyalgia, research shows. Whole-body vibration exercise involves standing, sitting or lying on a machine with a vibrating platform that causes muscles to contract and relax as the machine vibrates. The machines primarily are used by researchers but have begun appearing in fitness centers and are sold commercially. 
A study by Indiana University researchers found that whole-body vibration exercise may reduce pain symptoms and improve aspects of quality of life in individuals diagnosed with fibromyalgia.
Regular exercise participation is one of the best known therapies for patients with fibromyalgia, a disorder characterized by widespread musculoskeletal pain and fatigue. Many patients, however, are averse to participating over fears of pain that may be associated with increased physical activity. As a result many patients continue to spiral downward, further exacerbating a sedentary lifestyle that often leads to a worsening of symptoms.
However, some forms of yoga and Feldenkrais use Rhythmic Oscillations that are self-induced without a machine. Such movements can be a moving meditation by shaking your head and vibrating your body. This will bring you relaxation and healing energy. To begin with you just need to close your eyes and turn your head right and left, right and left, focusing on the center of your brain and keeping a rhythm. You proceed with shaking, tapping and bouncing of other body parts. Afterward an hour session you feel very rejuvenated! 

Monday, March 27, 2017

Seniors need to know

You can thrive and not  just survive 
You are often told, ‘‘You’re gettin’ old”
That advice is excusitis
All you suffer is arthritis
With little therapies like brown rice
Coupled with wonderful Feldenkrais
Harmonious health can be easily restored
You can eliminate tension
By paying close attention
You’ll gain tremendous improvement
In all your daily movement
You’ll stand taller and walk faster
Your better understanding
Will make your balance outstanding
Our seniors say they again feel sexy
With the help of our special therapy
Yoga, Pilates, Exercise, Tai Chi
Soothing massage and mobilization is key
All of our methods are purely exquisite
They will surely be able to awaken your spirit
If you want to become rejuvenated
We’re here to have your goals facilitated
Pick up the phone and dial our number
Get back on your feet and out of your slumber
In case you wondered
It’s 212-765-48 hundred
Once you get help, you’ll become so nimble
Who would have thought it would be so simple?

Thursday, March 23, 2017

You can’t do yoga?

This week, two brilliant doctors separately told me they are not good at yoga because they are too stiff. I frequently hear this assumption from patients. Yoga is defined as the union of the mind and body to become enlightened or to better contribute to the happiness and freedom of others. That being clarified, stiffness should not prevent one from the practice of yoga. The classic 84 yoga poses or asana where thought to be originally created so that one can learn to sit firm and comfortably in order meditate at ease. Hey, how many of us would like to learn to sit comfortably aligned for a full day at our workstation?
Yoga will give you any result you intend if you do it long enough. What you are thinking about when you perform an action will determine the result of that action. You become what you contemplate. If you want yoga (the practice) to bring you to Yoga (the goal—enlightenment), then the intention underlying your practice must be Yoga. You are not going to achieve Yoga as your goal accidentally—you must desire it with your whole being. Those who are stiff will become less stiff. With more practice they will no longer be stiff. Continued practice will make them loose. Even more training will change the poses from difficult to easy, from shallow to deeper. 
Suggestion: You may attend a class with the one intention of learning or growing loose. A “stiff” may aim to become less stiff or loose. This goal will not be achieved after the first session. Think that you will become loose after weeks, months or even years. 
Yard by yard, life is hard. Inch by inch, life is a cinch. You should not attempt to actually perform any pose perfectly. You should perform the pose within your own comfort zone using props for support when necessary. You want to respect your restrictions and   honor your limitations. By forcing the pose deeper one may stay stiff or even become stiffer. When moving within the comfort zone, the pose eventually becomes easier over time and  even later on, elegant. Challenge yourself to be patient and you will grow. One day in the future IT will dawn upon you that used to be stiff. That is learning. 
Yoga can be easier than you think with greater results than you can imagine.

Friday, March 17, 2017

Nine Tips To Help You Age Well

The American Physical Therapy Association has published nine tips to help educate the public about common age-related conditions—including chronic pain, frailty, falls, heart disease, osteoporosis and Alzheimer's disease—that effect millions of Americans but that scientific studies show can be prevented or delayed with appropriate physical activity and other healthy behaviors.

1. Chronic pain doesn't have to be the boss of you.
Each year 116 million Americans experience chronic pain from arthritis or other conditions, costing billions of dollars in medical treatment, lost work time, and lost wages. Proper exercise, mobility, and pain management techniques can ease pain while moving and at rest, improving your overall quality of life.
2. You can get stronger when you're older.
Research shows that improvements in strength and physical function are possible in your 60s, 70s, and even 80s and older with an appropriate exercise program. Progressive resistance training, in which muscles are exercised against resistance that gets more difficult as strength improves, has been shown to prevent frailty.
3. You may not need surgery or drugs for low back pain.
Low back pain is often over-treated with surgery and drugs despite a wealth of scientific evidence demonstrating that physical therapy can be an effective alternative—and with much less risk than surgery and long-term use of prescription medications.
4. You can lower your risk of diabetes with exercise.
One in four Americans over the age of 60 has diabetes. Obesity and physical inactivity can put you at risk for this disease. But a regular, appropriate physical activity routine is one of the best ways to prevent—and manage—type 1 and type 2 diabetes.
5. Exercise can help you avoid falls—and keep your independence.
About one in three U.S. adults age 65 or older falls each year. More than half of adults over 65 report problems with movement, including walking 1/4 mile, stooping and standing. Group-based exercises led by a physical therapist can improve movement and balance and reduce your risk of falls. It can also reduce your risk of hip fractures (95 percent of which are caused by falls).
6. Your bones want you to exercise.
Osteoporosis or weak bones affects more than half of Americans over the age of 54. Exercises that keep you on your feet, like walking, jogging, or dancing, and exercises using resistance, such as weightlifting, can improve bone strength or reduce bone loss.
7. Your heart wants you to exercise.
Heart disease is the No. 1 cause of death in the US. One of the top ways of preventing it and other cardiovascular diseases? Exercise! Research shows that if you already have heart disease, appropriate exercise can improve your health.
8. Your brain wants you to exercise.
People who are physically active—even later in life—are less likely to develop memory problems or Alzheimer's disease, a condition which affects more than 40% of people over the age of 85.
9. You don't "just have to live with" bladder leakage.
More than 13 million women and men in the US have bladder leakage. Don't spend years relying on pads or rushing to the bathroom. Seek help from Central Park Physical Therapy 212-765-4800.

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Survey: Half of US Adults Expect to Lose Strength and Flexibility with Age

A majority of American adults expect to be living independently at age 80, and yet roughly half expect to lose strength and flexibility with age, according to a survey conducted by the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA).
Americans are conflicted on aging
Survey respondents seemed to be resigned to physical decline (51 percent expect to lose strength and 49 percent expect to lose flexibility as they age despite optimism about their future mobility and independence (68 percent expect they will still be able to engage in the same type of physical activities at 65 and older, and 59 percent expect to be living independently at home at age 80).
Americans are also conflicted about when the effects of aging begin, with younger respondents expecting to see signs begin when people reach their 40s and 50s, while 53 percent of all respondents believe people start to notice signs of aging in their 60s or older.
Aging effects can be slowed
Experiencing some effects of aging is inevitable, but physical therapists want people to know that many of the symptoms and conditions associated with aging are not always a matter of bad luck, and improvements can be made even at an advanced age.
"Many patients come to physical therapy believing they have no option—that they have arthritis and will have to learn to live with it," said Central Park Physical Therapist and Feldenkrais Practitioner Rik Misiura, PT, GCFP , "these patients are truly appreciative and amazed to realize conditions like low back pain, arthritis, diabetes and even bladder leakage—can be managed or even reversed with physical therapist treatment." Patients consistently report that they are pain free, regain some lost height, stand taller and brag about increased function in their activities of daily living.
Central Park Physical Therapy (CPPT) can help
Physical therapists, who are movement system experts, help adults stay strong and remain independent, enabling the kind of lifestyle survey respondents hope for, despite widespread beliefs that the negative effects of aging are unavoidable. For instance, research shows that an appropriate exercise program can improve muscle strength and physical function in one's 60s, 70s, and even 80s and older. CPPT employs Therapeutic Exercise, The Feldenkrais Method and Yoga to help adults achieve surprising results. One option that CPPT offers is the Seniors Exercise Classes (SExC) and Therapeutic Restorative yoga classes.
Central Park Physical Therapists are uniquely qualified to prescribe the most effective exercise regimen, which may help individuals avoid painful, costly procedures, like hip and knee replacements that require months of recovery, if initiated before extensive damage is done.

Thursday, March 9, 2017

Study: Manual Physical Therapy Works Sometimes Better Than Surgery for Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

Authors of a new study on carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS) say that when you toss out the splints, steroid injections, lasers, and other treatments often lumped in with physical therapy as part of a "conservative" approach and focus solely on a debate about surgery vs specific multimodal physical therapy, physical therapy makes a compelling case for itself. 
How compelling? Researchers found similar improvement in self-reported function and CTS symptom severity for both surgical and physical therapy patients after 1 year, but the physical therapy group reported more significant gains in the first month. That speedier gain early on is worth noting, researchers believe, because it allows these patients to return to work and other activities sooner than their peers who underwent surgery. Results were published by Fernández-de-Las-Peñas C et al. in the Journal of Orthopaedic and Sports Physical Therapy.
The specific techniques included:
  • Soft Tissue Mobilization of the pectoralis, biceps muscles
  • Dynamic Stretching Stroke the wrist Ligaments
  • Mobilization of the small finger muscles found between the hand bones (Metacarpals)
  • Joint and soft tissue mobilization to the neck
  • Mobilization of the Upper ribs and collarbone

Patients in the physical therapy group also received cervical spine exercises for stretching neck muscles, which they were encouraged to perform at home during the follow-up period as needed. The physical therapy group showed average 1-month gains that exceed those of the surgery group. When reassessed at 6 and 12 months, however, both groups posted similar scores on both assessments.
Better short-term outcomes were found with manual therapy, patients may be able to return earlier to their activities of daily living and work when they receive manual therapy, compared to those who undergo surgery.
While earlier studies tended to give surgery the edge over conservative treatments, those "conservative" approaches usually lumped in physical therapy with a host of ineffective treatments including splints, steroid injections, lasers, and transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation. Authors of the current study say theirs is the first to make a clean comparison between surgery and well-defined multimodal manual therapy.

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Therapeutic Restorative Yoga at Central Park Physical Therapy

Therapeutic or restorative yoga sessions are often recommended for people recovering from injuries or for those with chronic pain. A Restorative Therapeutic Yoga class is one in which the student slowly moves and props oneself on the matted floor in deep relaxation. Students practice restorative yoga to help them release layers of tension and feel at ease in their bodies. You carefully stretch and loosen your body and then walk away feeling loose and calm with a smile on your face.  
Students will learn:
·         Relaxation strategies
·         Improved alignment to minimize postural stress and promote optimal energy flow
·         Restorative poses for therapeutic recovery and healing
·         Breath-play 
·         Meditation and visualization for healing
·         The use of props to achieve soothing comfort in poses 
·         Restorative yoga as a form of relaxation, pain relief  and increased function
·         Strategies for improved sleep
·         To decrease pain
·         How to increase flexibility and strength
·         Improve balance
·         Lower resting heart rate
However, therapeutic yoga isn’t only for those with lingering body pain. It can benefit almost anyone else including those who don’t stretch much and for people who sit all day at work.In restorative yoga, you don’t need any cute yoga clothes and you probably won’t even break a sweat.  No downward dogs required. In fact,  This yoga class is all about nourishing and restoring your life force. You should never be in pain during class, or even uncomfortable.
Give therapeutic yoga a try and enjoy a nourishing, relaxing session in the studio. Many first time students are surprised and impressed with the positive results achieved with such pampering of your body and soul.

Your Teacher:  Jenna Crivelli RYT200
Jenna is an aide at CPPT, a  Physical Therapy student, and a yoga practitioner for 10+ years. She completed her  yoga certification at the Yoga Room  and has completed advanced yoga teacher training workshops at goodyoga in Brooklyn, NY. 
The class logistics:
·         Date: Fridays
·         Time: 6:00 p.m.
·         Location: 30 East 60th Street
·         Cost: $11 per class
·         The Theme of each class is determined by the needs of the students in the class. So each class is “all about you” 
 "I align with B.K.S. Iyengar:  It is through the alignment of the body that allows for the alignment of my mind, self, and intelligence." – Jenna Crivelli

Friday, March 3, 2017

Mocha Banana Peanut Butter Smoothie – This is a quick, yummy and perfect breakfast, mid-afternoon snack or dessert for quick energy

1-2 frozen banana
1 cup iced coffee
1-2 tablespoons peanut butter
1-2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
1-2 teaspoons honey, agave or maple syrup
Optional: ¼ cup Vanilla Yogurt or milk
Add all ingredients to a blender and blend until smooth. Pour into a glass, serve, and enjoy!

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Let Food Be Thy Medicine- Oatmeal Balls Recipe

Nutritional education becomes an incredibly useful tool to improve overall health outcomes for physical therapy patients and specifically to reduce inflammation qualifying the oft-quoted Hippocrates' "Let food be thy medicine”. Nutrition is a major link to help patients manage and relieve pain. Nutritional strategies can make a difference in several conditions associated with pain. For example:

Inflammation. Copious inflammatory foods, including vegetable oils, populate the Western diet. Most studies show a diet rich in healthy fatty acids, fruits, vegetables and fiber, provides anti-inflammatory benefits. Among specific conditions, studies show a Mediterranean diet rich in polyunsaturated fatty acids and antioxidants provide anti-inflammatory effects that benefit individuals with rheumatoid.
Obesity. Obesity contributes to numerous chronic pain conditions, and the pain in turn can lead to sedentary behavior that increases obesity. Studies prove weight loss must become a crucial aspect of overall pain rehabilitation.
Osteoarthritis (OA). Studies have shown a relationship between pain and food intake among overweight and obese patients with OA. One study found scientific evidence to support specific nutritional interventions–including omega 3 fatty acids–to relieve symptoms among patients with OA. Studies also show various nutrient deficiencies, including vitamins C and D as well as selenium, contribute to OA.

Re energize with this super easy to make post exercise snack:

Oatmeal Balls:
1 cup oatmeal
1/2 cup peanut butter
1/2 cup cut up dried dates
1 cup coconut flakes
1/3 cup honey
1/2 cup flax seed
1/2 cup chocolate chips
1 tbs of vanilla extract

Mix all dry ingredients, then add honey, peanut butter and vanilla extract.
Mix and shape into balls.