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Physical Therapy Isn’t Just For Pain. It Can Keep You Healthy For Life.

Physical Therapy Isn’t Just For Pain. It Can Keep You Healthy For Life.

You know that physical activity is good for you. The benefits are well researched, and the list is impressive.

Here’s just a sampling:

  • Releases endorphins to make you feel good and fight depression
  • Helps control weight
  • Prevents diseases like stroke, diabetes, and some forms of cancer
  • Improves sleep
  • Helps you live longer

Recent studies even show that physical activity strengthens your immune system, with a protective effect against COVID, and that staying active through middle age protects your brain as you age.

Physical activity is a wonder drug. If it was a pill, you’d buy it and take it every day. But even though activity is free, less than 25% of Americans meet the CDC recommendations for activity. We clearly need help.

 

Exercise shields from disease

Physical Therapists Are the Experts in Human Movement

To be active, you need to be able to move. Physical Therapists do more than help you recover from surgeries or major injuries. They are the experts in human movement. Sure, you could see a strength coach to lift weights, hire a personal trainer, go to a yoga class to work on your flexibility and balance, and see a chiropractor for adjustments. But that seems like a lot of people when a PT can help you with all these things and more. Nobody knows more about human movement or looks at your health the same way a PT does. Your PT can help you with every aspect of movement including strength, range of motion, flexibility, endurance, balance, and coordination.

As medical professionals they can help you with injuries or other issues. Your PT can work with your doctor to help use activity to manage things like diabetes, cholesterol levels or blood pressure instead of prescriptions. Your PT is also trained to work with people of all ages, so you can develop a long-term relationship and they can continue to adjust and modify your routine as you age or your goals change.

People need PT to stay healthy

Stay Healthy for Life

Staying active has a long list of benefits both now and in the future. But chances are you’re not moving enough to make the most of those benefits. Most people need help. Physical therapists are the most qualified professional in existence to help keep you healthy now and in the future. So don’t think of your PT as someone you see when you need help with pain or an injury. Think of them as your partner and coach working to help you stay healthy for life.

Movement is the key to the healthier future

lET US HELP YOU GET AND STAY HEALTHY

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Value of PT: Insurance Companies Encouraging More people to Get Physical Therapy.

Value of PT: Insurance Companies Encouraging More people to Get Physical Therapy.

PT is Highly Valued
Value of PT: Insurance Companies Encouraging More people to Get Physical Therapy.

TRICARE, one of the nation’s largest insurers wants its members to get physical therapy for back pain. They think that treating back pain with PT is so important that they’re willing to waive the cost to their members. That’s a huge deal. When’s the last time you remember an insurance company covering the entire cost of anything?

Let’s dive into back pain treatments and see why TRICARE likes PT so much.
You probably already know that back pain is a common problem. What you might not know is that the medical system isn’t very good at treating it.

“Non-drug treatments like physical therapy” are the first treatment recommended for back pain.

Unfortunately, many providers don’t follow this, and treatments are often recommended based on opinion rather than research.

This means insurance companies and patients often end up spending a lot of money on outcomes that are less than stellar.

Lowering Cost of PT
Here’s how it usually goes:
You go see your doctor with back pain.

They might give you medication, recommend rest, some stretches, send you for x-rays or an MRI.

Next will likely be a referral to a specialist like an orthopedic surgeon.

Chances are you won’t be having surgery right away, so the specialist will either refer you to PT or back to your PCP where you’ll end up with a PT referral.

The path will look different for each person, but the end result is usually the same – multiple failed treatments, imaging you probably didn’t need, and a delay of weeks or months to get to a physical therapist.

Multiple large studies have looked at the effects of early physical therapy on low back pain with impressive results.
Low cost to PT
One of them was done in 2006 in Seattle by Virginia Mason Health Center. They teamed up with Aetna and Starbucks to send workers with back pain to see both a physical therapist and physician for their first treatment. The use of MRI dropped by 1/3, people got better faster, missed less work, and were more satisfied with their care. The cost savings were so great, that Virginia Mason was losing money on treating back pain and Aetna ended up paying them more for PT treatments because Aetna was saving so much money.

Intel ran a similar program with their employees, getting people with back pain to a PT within 48 hours. Previously it took about 19 days for people to get to a PT. With the earlier access, patients completed their care in 21 days, compared with 52 days previously, and costs dropped between 10 and 30%. Intel also found more satisfaction with care and a faster return to work.

The data is out there proves physical therapy is the cheapest and most effective treatment for most people’s low back pain.
It’s clear that people with back pain should start treatment with their physical therapist, but most don’t. TRICARE’s pilot program that waives copays for up to three PT visits aims to change that. If successful it will lead to lower costs for both TRICARE and their members while delivering better outcomes in less time. Currently, Molina makes sure their members start PT for their musculoskeletal injuries before they get any other type of treatment such as pain injections. By following such protocols, insurance companies are ensuring earlier access to PT to avoid prolonged disability.
Lowering Cost of PT
With the success of TRICARE’s initiative to encourage PT for their members, there is a good chance other insurance companies will come up with their own program so more people choose PT over other modes of treatment.
If you are suffering from pain and thinking to start PT, call us now to find out how your insurance might cover your PT treatment.

Do not delay your recovery by worrying about the cost. Take the first step to reduce your pain.

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Finally, Some Good News About Back Pain

Finally, Some Good News About Back Pain

 

Back pain is a huge problem in developed nations worldwide. It has or will affect most of us.

The current estimate is that 80% of people will experience back pain at least once. It is the single biggest cause for disability and the third most common reason for doctor visits.

It is one of the most common reasons for missing work.

Even locally in south-east Michigan, back pain is one of the most common condition that people suffer from.

In Sterling Heights, Michigan, where we are located, we have seen many patients suffering from back pain. Total cases of lower back pain is much higher than any other conditions people suffer from.

 

Back and neck pain makes up the biggest healthcare expense in the US

With higher number of cases of lower back and neck pain it is also very expensive.

Back and neck pain makes up the biggest healthcare expense in the US, totaling $134 billion spent in 2016.

The next two most expensive conditions were diabetes — $111 billion in spending — and ischemic heart disease at $89 billion.

Diabetes and heart disease being so expensive to treat doesn’t surprise most folks – they can both lead to other major problems, require long term medication, could require surgery, and both can be fatal.

Back pain won’t kill you, usually doesn’t require long term medication, and usually doesn’t require surgery either.

Then why is it costing this much to our healthcare system?

Why is it so expensive?

The first reason is that it’s so common. 

The second reason is that our current system isn’t very good at treating it.

Current recommendations include starting with activity modification, and active treatments like physical therapy. Research backs this up, showing better outcomes and lower costs with early PT.

Unfortunately, only 2% of people with back pain start with PT, and
only 7% get to PT within 90 days.

At the same time, a study looking at about 2.5 million people with back pain in JAMA showed that 32.3% of these patients received imaging within 30 days of diagnosis and 35.3% received imaging without a trial of physical therapy.

Both of these things go against current practice guidelines for treatment of back pain.

Current trends that we have noticed includes medications, followed by injections to treat back pain by the PCP and if that does not solve the problem may be patient will be referred to PT. 

A Major Reset is Needed to Change The Healthcare Mindset.

A major reset is required to change the healthcare practice and to treat back pain and other musculoskeletal conditions in general.

It is important that not only patients byut

 

A new pilot program being rolled out by TRICARE, the insurance system used throughout the US military is waiving the payment owed by the patient for up to three PT sessions in an attempt to improve the use of what the Defense Health Agency calls “high value” treatment for low back
pain. 

The theory is that once a person sees some benefit from PT treatment, they’re likely to go back for more.

This is the “try it before you buy it” approach – think of the 7-day free trial Netflix offers, free samples poured in wineries and craft breweries, or the folks you see standing around in supermarkets with food on toothpicks. TRICARE’s data seems to indicate that it works just as well for healthcare as it does for other businesses.

In a press release they state that once people attend one session of physical therapy, they’re likely to go back for more, no matter what their co-pay is.

But TRICARE found that higher co-pays could be a barrier to people trying
that first visit. For the group of patients with the highest co-pays in the system, only 38% of the people prescribed PT attended the first visit. That’s about half the rate of attendance found in the lowest co-pay group.

The fact that such a major insurer is looking into the value of PT is great news for everyone.

If TRICARE can show that lowering the cost of PT for patients can improve outcomes and save insurance companies money, other major insurers will likely follow.

This could improve the lives of millions of people every year while reducing the huge cost of treating low back pain for the country.

That seems like a win for everyone involved.

Share your thoughts here by commenting. We will love to hear your thoughts. 

Are you suffering from lower back pain?

If you are suffering from back pain and trying to find your option.
Start by scheduling a free Discovery Visit now.

Just click on the link below and fill out a contact form or call us at (248)432-1618 and we will get in touch with you soon.

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Holidays an Ideal Time for a Refresher on Proper Lifting

Holidays an Ideal Time for a Refresher on Proper Lifting

Digging out boxes of holiday decorations, hauling packages to and from the car, hiding gifts away on the higher shelves at the back of your closet … the Holiday Season certainly requires its fair share of bending, lifting and reaching. This, coupled with the cooler weather, makes December the ideal time for a refresher on proper lifting methods. 

Back pain, after all, can put a real damper on the Holiday Season. 

As one of the most common conditions treated by physical therapists, back pain and injury will even about 80 percent of all Americans at some point in their lives, making it one of the top causes of disability in the U.S. Fortunately, it’s a condition that’s preventable, and one of the ways of doing this is to learn proper lifting techniques. 

But, preventing back pain isn’t the only concern when we talk about proper lifting. Using the proper techniques for lifting and carrying awkward and/or heavy objects is about minimizing strain on the entire body. 

The goal, in other words, is to put yourself in a position that allows the body’s musculoskeletal system to work as one cohesive unit, without putting too much strain on one area, such as the lower-back or shoulders. 

So without further ado, strongly consider the following tips for proper lifting during this Holiday Season … and throughout your lifetime: 

Warm Up: 

Don’t ever assume your body’s ready to lift heavy objects without first being thoroughly warmed up. Take the time to stretch you lower back as well as your legs and hips. Also, do a few jumping jacks to get the blood flowing to the muscles in your body. 

Get Close 

Avoid reaching for a heavy or moderate-sized load. Get up nice and close to the box or object to minimize the force (in the arms, shoulders and back) needed to lift, and always hold it close to your body. 

Bend & Lift with the Knees 

We’ve all heard this before, and it’s true. But in doing so, keep your back straight and your body upright as you lower yourself to the object in question, then use your legs to rise back up. 

Get a Grip 

This seems to go without saying, but if you can’t get a strong, comfortable grip on the object in front of you – even if you know you can carry the weight – don’t try to be a hero. Find someone to help you or an alternative way of getting the object from A to B, such as a hand cart or dolly. 

Reverse the Steps 

When you get to where you’re going, set the item down just as you picked it up – but in reverse. Keep it close to the body, lower with the legs and move slowly and deliberately. You can just as easily injure yourself setting objects down as you can picking them up. 

In addition, keep from twisting or reaching while lifting and/or carrying a load. Don’t rush through the process of lifting, and if you’re tired, put the work off until later 

And finally, if you do feel pain during or after lifting, or you have an injury or condition you feel is holding you back from moving properly, visit a physical therapist for a full assessment prior to trying any sort of heavy or awkward lifting. 

Physical Therapists Adapt to Keep Clinics Safe

Physical Therapists Adapt to Keep Clinics Safe

While the coronavirus pandemic continues to be front and center in the news and in the thoughts of many people, other health issues have not gone away. People are still getting back and neck pain, overuse injuries and hurt while at work. Many of these people would benefit from seeing a physical therapist, but some of them are reluctant because of concerns over COVID-19. That’s understandable, PT clinics are busy places, with lots of people coming and going, right? They used to be, but things are different now. Just like every other business and public place, PT clinics have made changes to allow them to continue to serve patients while keeping both patients and staff safe. Here are some common changes clinics have made to reduce the risk of COVID spreading among patients and staff.

How would you like to schedule your next PT appointment?

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Scheduling and patient flow

  • Clinics have reduced the total number of people they see each day to allow for social distancing in the clinic
  • Many clinics are using a staggered schedule to avoid people coming in at the same time
  • Many clinics have implemented a “virtual waiting room” having people wait in their car and notifying them when their clinician is ready via a phone call or text message
  • When possible, clinics may be using separate entry and exit points

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Treatment

  • Clinics may be screening patients and staff as they enter the building using questions, temperature checks, or other means
  • Clinics may have designated areas for each clinician and their patients to reduce contact between different groups of people
  • Equipment will likely be spaced out further than you’re used to and there may be less of it to allow for more distancing between patients
  • Many clinics are leaning more heavily on telehealth when appropriate for patients to reduce the number of patients physically present in the clinic

How would you like to schedule your next PT appointment?

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Physical therapists are medical professionals who were trained to deal with infectious diseases and keep people safe long before COVID-19 existed. By making changes throughout their workflows and patient experiences, physical therapy practices have reduced the risk of spreading COVID among their staff and patient populations, while continuing to deliver needed services to the public. If you are in need of PT treatment, but are hesitant to go into the clinic, give your PT a call and talk about what policies and procedures they have in place. To reduce or eliminate going into the clinic, ask about using telehealth either exclusively or in combination with in-person treatment. This is a time of uncertainty, but people are reacting with flexibility and creativity. Don’t let concerns over COVID keep you in pain or from the treatment you need.

At Active Kare Physical Therapy we take all the safety precautions to keep our staff and our patients safe and provide our patients excellent treatment.

How would you like to schedule your next PT appointment?

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If you still have any question, call us at (248)432-1618

Active Kare Physical Therapy in Sterling Heights, Michigan

 ...Get Back Your Active Life

Lazy Summer or Deconditioning?

Lazy Summer or Deconditioning?

The weather is hot, the gym is closed, and you’ve been relaxing – enjoying the lazy, hazy days of summer. Taking a day off here and there is no problem, but if you’ve been consistently missing your regular run, bike ride, or gym session and notice some aches and pains showing up, you might have the beginnings of deconditioning.

Deconditioning explained

Exercise creates many changes in your body – your heart begins to pump blood more efficiently, your muscles use oxygen more efficiently, they contract in a more coordinated manner, and your body gets more efficient turning food into fuel to name just a few. Deconditioning is the reversing of these changes. Exercise is a “use it or lose it” kind of thing, and deconditioning is the process by which we “lose it.”

How long does it take to decondition?

As with most things related to a system as complex as the human body, it depends. According to the ACSM, two weeks without exercise can lead to significant loss of cardiovascular fitness. Two to eight months of detraining can erase virtually all of your gains. As you detrain, cardiovascular fitness tends to decline first, with muscle strength declining later.

Other factors are your age, and your exercise history. If you’re younger, you’ll probably lose fitness at a slower rate than someone older. If you’ve been consistently exercising for a long time, or at a high intensity, your losses will probably be slower than for someone who just started.

Reversing the losses

PT can help with aches and pain.

If you’re just undergoing a period of increased time commitments at work or with family, using a shortened exercise routine can help minimize your losses. Even one session a week will help you keep most of what you’ve gained. Other options are to use shorter but more intense interval training sessions, or breaking up your activity into multiple short chunks during the day. If your layoff was longer, it may take just as long to retrain as it did to make the gains initially. If you’re having those aches and pains due to inactivity or need help designing a safe program to either maintain your fitness or gain it back after a layoff, your physical therapist can help. Injury and illness are other common reasons for detraining. Your PT can not only help you recover faster, but they can also find activities to maintain your fitness while safely working around an injury or illness.

Did you have a lazy summer? Do have aches and pain from from not being very active this this summer?

Have been working from home and now you are suffering from aches and pain? Don’t avoid your pain. Get help you need so that you can stay productive at your work

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