Are You Suffering from Chronic Fatigue?

If you have ever felt tired or fatigued after physical activity, it will normally disappear shortly after a good rest. Imagine if that tired feeling, loss of energy, or joint pain continued on well past the time of physical activity. Chronic fatigue syndrome is a disorder where that tired feeling never goes away, and can last for months or maybe longer depending on the case or the person.

Chronic fatigue syndrome, or CFS, is characterized by overwhelming fatigue not improved by bed rest which that can get worse after physical activity or excessive mental exertion. Chronic fatigue syndrome is very hard to pinpoint and diagnose as the symptoms have to have been going on for some time and a certain amount of symptoms are required before a proper diagnosis can be reached.

Chronic fatigue syndrome has many symptoms as fatigue, in general, can be a symptom for many diseases or disorders. It is sometimes misdiagnosed because of the broad list of symptoms. In order to be diagnosed with CFS, it is required to have unexplained or persistent fatigue lasting at least 6 months, in addition to having at least 4 out of 8 of the following symptoms:

  • sore throat
  • memory/concentration loss
  • enlarged lymph nodes
  • joint pain with no swelling/redness
  • headaches or new types/patterns of severity
  • unrefreshing sleep
  • unexplained muscle pain
  • extreme exhaustion lasting more than 24 hours after physical or mental exercise

Doctors and scientists have yet to be able to determine what exactly causes chronic fatigue syndrome, but it’s possible that viral infections, immune dysfunction, abnormally low blood pressure, nutritional deficiency, or even stress can be considered triggers. Diagnosing chronic fatigue syndrome is usually done only after ruling out other possible illnesses, as to be sure it not to accidentally start treatment for an unrelated condition. The doctor will go over the patient’s history and perform both physical and mental health examinations before treatment. He or she will also conduct additional screenings or tests if needed to pinpoint the patient’s disorder as well as for 4 out of the 8 other symptoms mentioned above.

Treatment for chronic fatigue syndrome is specific to the individual as the disorder affects people in different, varying ways. A physical therapist will help the patient choose exercises best for that person in order to help them regain strength and endurance. Exercise will gradually increase as well as the intensity to aid in strength and endurance increases over time.

Chronic fatigue syndrome affects your life greatly if you are suddenly diagnosed and live an active lifestyle. It is a scary disorder that can leave you feeling a loss of control over your life. Contact the physical therapists at Island Sports Physical Therapy for information today!

Physical Therapy for Balance

Physical Therapy for Balance

Physical Therapy for Balance

Did you know that about one-third of people over the age of 65 will fall at least once this year? Maintaining good balance is very important as your body structure must provide stability for you to complete your bodily functions and movements. Your body parts may lose strength and mobility as you get older or if you are in an accident and this may be the result of poor balance and limitations.

A balance problem occurs when an individual struggle to maintain their footing and an upright position without outside support. Balance problems can also be a result of weak muscles, the stiffness of joints, old age, lack of exertion/physical activity or even a side effect of the medication. Island Sports Physical Therapy has a team of physical therapists that will help you with strengthening exercises to maintain balance and prevent falling.

Increasing your activity level is helpful for maintaining good balance as you must learn to maintain your footing and upright position. First, you must improve and strengthen your static balance before learning to keep your balance while being mobile. The physical therapist will target any weak muscles by designing a program that consists of strengthening exercises while increasing your activity level. These exercises are important as your muscular system plays an important role in the balance support of your body.

The therapists at Island Sports Physical Therapy will increase your range of motion as your strength improves so that you become more flexible as your posture improves. Our therapists are fully licensed with years of experience and hands-on training and we want to help our patients regain balance and independence in their life outside of physical therapy. We will tackle all issues as to why our patients may be struggling with their balance as some of the solutions may be in the reduction of fall risk.

Island Sports Physical Therapy will design an individual treatment program for you to help in all aspects of your life. The fear and risk of falling will reduce as while your strength and balance will increase.


Physical Therapy for Chronic Pain

Chronic pain is something that 100 million Americans deal with on a day-to-day basis. Chronic pain takes it’s toll on you both mentally and physically over time whether the injury was due to an accident or ageing. Chronic pain affects an individual’s mobility as the pain in which they suffer in acts almost as a disease itself and can prevent you from doing daily activities that many take for granted. The symptoms of chronic pain can lead to depression and anxiety as many cannot interact with others in the ways they would like also making it difficult to participate in the activities in which they wish.  

Physical therapy can help if you suffer from chronic pain. Physical therapy for chronic pain is designed to help strengthen your muscles and relieve any tension or stiffness so that your body parts may work better together and have more support when relying and putting weight on certain areas. The physical therapist may use heat to loosen your muscles or ice to reduce inflammation and both the beginning and the end of each session. As licensed professionals, physical therapist’s care about your well being and will go the route which will lead you to the greatest success.

The physical therapist often designs a custom program that targets different parts of your body with exercises and stretches that work best for each patient. As chronic pain is classified as something that lasts more than six months, physical therapy is something the patient may have to stick with weekly and sometimes even daily depending on the severity to help make life and activities easier. Chronic pain is something you don’t have to curl up and accept as a fate as there are ways to manage and fight it. Physical therapy is a great option to consider if you are experiencing chronic pain and would like to get back to doing the activities you love to do!

People of all ages may experience some sort of difficulty in maintaining their balance throughout the day to day life, but they may not realize physical therapists can assist in improving their balance. Balancing is being able to maintain an even distribution of weight in order to stay upright, and by having good balance, the chance of falling will be less likely, along with the injuries that can occur from falling.

The reasons someone might be having difficulty balancing include muscle weakness, joint stiffness, inner ear problems, lack of activity, aging, and certain medications. Medical conditions may also be the cause of one’s balance issues, including strokes, Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis, brain injury, arthritis, spinal cord injuries, cognitive diseases, and diabetes.

Meeting with a physical therapist can help in diagnosing your balance issues, which they will then be able to create a plan to improve your balance for the future. Discussing health history will be the physical therapist’s first duty in trying to diagnose the situation. Treatments can begin as soon as balance issues are diagnosed and evaluated.

Depending on the needs of the patient, a physical therapist’s treatments can vary. If someone is at a higher risk of falling, the physical therapist can help in assessing problem footwear or hazards in the home that may increase the risk of falling. The fear of falling may also decrease with the help of a physical therapist as they can help you regain confidence in your balance and mobility. Mobility can also be improved with the help of a physical therapist to ensure you move around with more ease and coordination, improving your balance overall.

Static balance, which is balance while standing or sitting still, and dynamic balance, which is maintaining balance while moving, can be improved with individualized exercises a physical therapist teaches their patients. Along with these exercises, there will be an increase in strength that will allow for improved balance. A physical therapist can be beneficial in assessing your balance issues and can help to improve your balance for years to come.

American Heart Month: How to Be Heart Healthy

We learn at a young age in health class that being physically active, following a healthy diet, and not smoking are some of the most important ways to keep your heart and lungs healthy. It is unfortunate that many Americans are not active enough and do not follow these guidelines to a healthy life, but fortunately, physical therapy can help to get you and keep you on the right track. Lifestyle changes can make a difference and physical therapist can help with these changes.

Physical therapy can help carve a heart-healthy exercise program that is suitable for you. A physical therapist will take the time to learn who you are and what you aren’t capable of and will set boundaries as well as expectations. All plans are safe and progressive, even if you have never worked out a day in your life. Working closely with a physical therapist can greatly improve the way your heart functions as well as the rest of your body in a safe environment.

Depending on if you suffer from any heart-related issues, your physical therapist will work with you on specific areas, whether it be mobility, lifestyle changes, or any physical activity specific to your abilities and goals. The heart is an amazing organ and the most crucial part of our body as it powers the blood circulation through our entire body. Research shows your heart would have beaten almost 3 billion times if you live to be 80 years old. There are four considerations to keep your most important organ going strong.

  1. Eating healthy. Everyone knows that eating food processed foods, such as McDonald’s, is not good for you. At the moment it may seem fine but your body will be hating you after. Eating healthy consists of daily servings of fruits and vegetables. Minimizing the consumption of sodium-filled foods and fats can help keep your heart healthier, longer.
  2. Keep moving. Being active is the best thing you can do for your body. It doesn’t mean you have to go out and join and gym and go every day for the rest of your life, but something as easy as taking a daily walk around the neighborhood, taking the stairs to work instead of the elevator, or parking further to your destination (requiring walking) can all make a difference in the long run.
  3. Blood pressure. Know your blood pressure numbers and try and keep track. If it becomes high on a consistent basis you should consult a doctor as you may be at risk of heart disease.
  4. Cholesterol. The ratio numbers between your body’s “good” and “bad” cholesterol can be detrimental to your health.

Physical therapists are committed to helping you live a healthy and more productive lifestyle. They are there to bring up your energy and help set and succeed in life goals. You owe it to your heart to seek the help of a physical therapist’s if you are in need.

How to Prevent Muscle Cramps

Muscle cramps happen when a muscle involuntarily contracts, tightens, and does not relax as it normally should. Anyone who has been unexpectedly stopped in their tracks with a cramp or even awakened in the night from a charley horse knows the extreme pain muscle cramps can cause. Here are some tips on how to prevent and how to deal with muscle cramps.

Many experts can agree that dehydration can be the leading cause of muscle cramps. It is important to stay hydrated, especially while exercising. Not having enough water and sodium surrounding your muscles can cause them to be hypersensitive and puts you at a higher risk for cramping. Drinking electrolyte-rich drinks may prevent those painful side cramps that many people experience while exercising while also keeping you hydrated.

Your diet may also be an important factor in preventing muscle cramps. Certain vitamins and minerals, such as potassium, calcium, and magnesium can all impact your muscle function. Certain fruits and vegetables can be 90% water, so eating plenty of these will help you stay hydrated and healthy. Eating bananas can be helpful in preventing cramps because the added potassium in your diet can help to balance your electrolytes as well as create a strong defense against muscle spasm.

Another factor contributing to muscle cramps is from overuse of your muscles, or muscle fatigue, which is caused by vigorous exercise or long periods of physical labor. Cramps can occur during physical activity or can sneak up on you up to 6 hours afterward. Be sure you get in a good warm-up to prepare your body for physical activity in order to prevent muscle cramps and muscle fatigue. Stretching should be done before and after exercise to gently warm up your muscles and increase your flexibility. Continuous strenuous exercise can bet the cause of cramping, so it is important to take occasional breaks to reduce the strain on your body.

Unfortunately, cramps are extremely common, and almost everyone experiences them sometime in their life. The good news is cramping will almost always be treated with self-care and will resolve in a short amount of time. If the pain is severe, long-lasting or occurring frequently, you may have suffered a muscle injury and you will need medical attention.

What Is Direct Access Physical Therapy?

What is direct access to physical therapy? We believe it should be the norm for healthcare systems as it can save money as well as make things faster and easier for the patient. Direct access lets people seek out treatment from licensed physical therapists without a referral or a prescription from a physician. Anyone who has been to a doctor before can probably relate to the frustration of needing a referral if you need to see a specialist or need further help in recovering from injury. It takes time to schedule different appointments and also costs money jumping from doctor to doctor. What if, though, you didn’t need permission and you could go out on your own to seek the treatment you want to get and not the doctor’s opinion of treatment. What if you were denied a referral to a physical therapist you think you need in order to get better? Direct access can amend these issues as well as cut costs for the patient and the time to get the treatment you want.

As of last January, all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and the U.S. Virgin Islands allow patients to seek some type of treatment from a licensed physical therapist without a referral or prescription. In many states, though, it is individual state laws that put restrictions on treatment. Restrictions include limiting the number of visits or services related to treatment without a referral. There are some who are concerned with direct access and the effects it could have on the patient in the long term. What if the physical therapist who is treating your were to miss an underlying condition and you were to take a turn for the worse? Of course, it makes sense that some people would want the approval of their physician before seeing a specialist, but sometimes it can take a long time waiting around for a referral and checking with insurance companies. Rates of malpractice insurance among physical therapists has been no higher in states where direct access is working compared to the states who make patients get referrals for seeing a physical therapist.

Direct access has many benefits for both patients and therapists. You should be able to seek the services they are interested in without restrictions. With direct access, there is less jumping through hoops and waiting time as the patient can do it on their own time when they really need it. This could really save not only time and money, but hopefully, it could save lives in the long run, and make people happier with the healthcare they are receiving.  

Need Physical Therapy now? Call us and make use of direct access here at Island Sports Physical Therapy.

Physical Therapy and Controlling Blood Pressure

Physical therapists work their hardest to ensure you live life to the best of your ability when faced with pain or injury. Your vitals will help your physical therapist determine a correct evaluation of your condition or injury as well as determining the type and amount of care you need.

Fear not if you are one of the 75 million Americans dealing with high blood pressure as it can be controlled and prevented. It is advised to seek help from your primary care doctor as well as a physical therapist if you have high blood pressure. Your risk for high blood pressure increases as you get older. Exercise can make a big difference as it can help get your blood pressure under control if it is already high, but this does not necessarily mean you have to join a gym or run until your heart and lungs feel as if they are about to burst. As long as your routine involves keeping your muscles active, you do not need to go all out, especially if you are older.

Physical therapists create exercise routines that help target the problem you face. Each activity provided by a physical therapist is designed specifically for you. Regular physical activity makes your heart stronger (with less effort needed to pump your blood) and blood vessels more flexible. A stronger heart and more relaxed arteries require less work to pump blood throughout your body and lowers your blood pressure.

You can reduce your high blood pressure by becoming more physically active. Regular exercise is enough for many people to reduce the need for blood pressure medications completely. Exercising also helps in maintaining a healthy weight. It may not be ideal to drop 30 pounds in two weeks (although many of us would like to), but considering weight management will also help to reduce high blood pressure. We all want to stay as healthy as possible in order to live a happy and healthy life, so consider contacting a physical therapist so you do not have to take on the stress alone!

Chronic Pain as a Possible Cause of Falling

Chronic pain may be the reason adults older than 70 years of age have an increased chance of falling according to a study published in the November 25th issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association. Dr. Suzanne G. Leveine is the lead author of the study who conducted the research and stated that the findings showed adults reported chronic musculoskeletal pain in two or more locations, mainly the joints of the arms and legs.

Doctors are able to use these findings to prevent injuries by informing elder patients about what may happen if they do not target the problem that has caused them pain or discomfort. The study was conducted using 749 adults over the age of 70. Those who were enrolled in Maintenance of Balance, Independent Living, Intellect and Zest in the Elderly participated in the study.

Each participant was interviewed regarding their health and asked questions about their overall pain. In addition to the interview, patients underwent a physical examination by a nurse.  Within an 18 month span, the participants documented any falls that they had on a monthly calendar postcard which was returned to the institute. Researchers concluded: “During the 18-month study period, the 749 participants reported a total of 1,029 falls, with more than half the participants falling at least once during this period.” In addition, Leveille states that a comparison of participants who reported no pain with those who had chronic pain in at least two joints showed that the chronic pain group had a 50% greater risk of falling.

According to another study published in the American Academy of Family Physicians, the treatment of chronic pain involves an approach using medication and functional rehabilitation.  Seeking a physical therapist to eliminate pain can benefit you because they are trained, educated, and specialized in the treatment you may need.

At Island Sports Physical Therapy we know how difficult it is dealing with chronic pain and when it leads to falls in the elder generation it is important to seek help. Call us and let us help limit the pain and prevent future falls from happening.

Proper Shoveling Techniques

CAUTION: WET FLOOR. Don’t you wish someone would put these signs outside as a heads up during these icy months? Although we have been lucky with some strangely warm weather, the cold is rolling in and we can surely expect snow in the upcoming weeks. Not all of us have a young teenage boy in the neighborhood who goes around offering to shovel for a small fee so therefore the task is left to you.

Shoveling sounds simple but can be dangerous if you aren’t wary of your footing on the layer of ice that may have frozen over under the snow or if you do not use the proper muscles to dig up and clear the snowy path from your driveway to your front/back door. Back injuries are the most common injury caused by improper shoveling techniques. At Island Sports Physical Therapy, our mission is not only to help patients regain mobility and recover from surgery or injuries but to prevent any possible injuries from reoccurring by strengthening the body for future mobility.

It is important to choose the right shovel to carry out the task. When making your selection, make sure the shovel is small and lightweight with a plastic blade as it will require less energy and muscle to lift with each scoop. The snow will already have weight to it so there is no need to add to this by using a heavy tool. While at the store purchasing your shovel of choice it will also be helpful to buy some salt that you could pour on the area you are shoveling. Salt acts as a natural agent to melt icy surfaces making your job easier. It can also be helpful to get a shovel with a curved or adjustable handle as this will lessen the bending of your knees when scooping up piles of snow.

Prior to shoveling, you should always stretch your limbs as you would before any exercise. Just as the proper stretches are necessary before exercising, so are proper forms and muscle mobility so that you do not harm yourself during the process. When shoveling up each pile, do not toss the snow over your shoulder. Always throw it forward to avoid pulling or twisting any limbs and/or muscles.

Try to get out there early with the snowfall instead of letting it pile up. Lower levels of snow will be easier to clear out and lift as opposed to letting a foot or two compile. We receive on average 10 inches of snow with each snowfall in New York and it can add up quickly! At Island Sports Physical Therapy, we love seeing our patients, but it’s even better seeing them healthy and living a mobile pain-free life more. Please use these tips to stay healthy and out of harm’s way during the winter season!