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How about a walk?

How about a walk?

Don’t let those joints get stiff in this cold weather!

Have you received prompts from your cellphones or wearable devices/activity trackers such as Fitbit, Apple watch to move around and walk?

Whenever you are inactive, your activity tracking app on your smartphone your wearable activity tracker device will remind you to move around. And this is a good thing.

My patients always complain that the cold weather makes it difficult for them to move, or they are in more pain and their muscles ache more than usual.

It is funny how we always blame the weather for those aches and pains.

I agree that our perception changes with the change in weather, and when the weather is damp, cloudy, or cold, we feel lazy. We tend to be less active compared to when it is sunny outside.

The reason for this feeling is because as it starts getting cold around us, our body starts rerouting blood to our internal organs and away from the extremities. That leads to stiff joints and muscles, resulting in aches and pains in joints.

In this situation, the best thing to do is get joints warmer to get more movements.

Staying in one position for too long is not suitable for anyone. That is why I suggest all my patients working from home keep moving every few minutes. I am sure; if you are wearing a smartwatch, it might remind you to move every few minutes.

Here are some tips to help you avoid your muscles getting too stiff and prevent them from aching.

Following these tips should help you even if you have arthritis.

1. Start your day with some gentle stretches and exercises:

The best way to start a day

Of course, the type of exercise might differ depending on how you feel but warming up before you start your day is the best way to get ready for the day. Most people I talk to complain of having the most pain in the morning when they wake up, and the reason behind this is that they slept in one position for too long, and when they wake up, their muscles are stiff.
The best way to start your day is with some easy gentle stretching, loosen up your body and prepare for the day.

2. Avoid staying in one place for too long

Move around every few minutes. If you are working on a desk all day, remind yourself to stand up and walk around, stretch back by twisting and turning, shrug your shoulders, move your neck to the sides to relax neck muscles.

3. Remind yourself to move

Staying in one position for too long is not healthy. You might have experienced a tight neck or stiffness behind your shoulder after sitting in one place for too long. It is advisable to remind yourself to change position. Also, do some easy stretches such as moving your neck to sides, rolling shoulders, twisting trunk, and so on…, every few minutes.

If you wear a wearable activity tracker that might remind you to move if it finds you inactive for some time.

4. Get into a habit of sitting with a better posture.

It is essential to be mindful of how you sit while doing your day-to-day activities. To avoid the neck pain or back pain, make sure to sit with a correct posture. If needed, use back support that will allow you to sit straight. Make sure to keep your head straight while looking at the computer and avoid slouching over. Adjust the monitor’s height, so you don’t have to look down or tilt your head while looking at it. If needed, zoom in or make fonts bigger to make it easier for you to read.

5. Take Hot Shower

When joints and muscles are stiff and are aching during cold weather, taking a hot shower is a great way to feel better. It will help you to have better mobility and less muscle tightness.

6. Use heating pads

If you have pain in any specific area, the hot shower is insufficient to relieve muscle aches. In that case, use a heating pad to warm up that particular area. A heating pad will help improve blood supply to that part and relax muscles and joints in that area.

These tips will be helpful for you to stay warm and stay active during this cold weather. It is essential to keep active, keep moving, and not let the cold or damp weather affect our day-to-day lives. Of course, if your problem is not from a change in the weather and if you have the same level of discomfort regardless of the weather change, you need to talk to your healthcare provider.

Suppose you have aches and pains with any specific activities. In that case, whether it is cold or warm outside, it is essential to get it checked by your licensed physical therapist.

By talking to your physical therapist, you can better understand what is causing that pain. It will give you an idea of what you might need to do to reduce that pain.

We will suggest visiting a PT or needing to be seen by a specialist. Email us at info@activekarept.com with the subject line “I need Help” and give us more information about your problem.

You can also reach us by calling us at 248-432-1618 or chatting with us with our chat tool on the website.

We answer your questions and give you the best advice possible as per our expertise and allowed by the physical therapy scope of practice.

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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...

Better Health Care is Our Mission

Same Day Appointments and Weekend Appointments are available

(248) 432-1618

info@activekarept.com

43200 Dequindre Road, Ste. 109, Sterling Heights, Michigan

DIFFICULTY KEEPING UP WITH YOUR NEW YEAR’S RESOLUTIONS?

DIFFICULTY KEEPING UP WITH YOUR NEW YEAR’S RESOLUTIONS?

Get fit and avoid overuse injuries!

With New year, everyone is excited because the new year comes with new hopes, new energy , new opportunities.

Like most people, I have decided to make positive life changes this new year. I have decided to focus better on health, fitness, balancing professional and personal life, and so on.

I am sure you must have thought about making some positive changes to your life as well.

Like many people, you must have thought about getting more active, getting regular with your workout routine, and getting healthier. But most of the time, we fail to achieve our goals from new year resolutions. There is a lack of organized efforts and planning to achieve those goals.

In this article, I want to share something that might help you stay on top of your goals to get more active, stay active, stay consistent with your workout routine in the new year, and prevent any injuries that might slow you down.

Regardless of your workout routine, there are certain things that you should keep in mind.

Most of the time, I see people getting motivated to work out and sometimes do too many exercises and end up hurting themselves. It affects their motivation to get back to the active routine. To avoid this, I have some tips that might help you stay active, stay motivated with your workouts and get the best results out of your activities.

1. Start Slow

If you are not used to working out regularly or getting back to your workout routine after a break, you need to start slow. It is best to start with easy exercises, fewer repetitions, and less weight (lifting weights). Do not get exhausted on the first day and progress slowly. I have seen my patients going through this all the time because everyone is looking to get fit fast. But to get into healthier habits, we need our body to get used to it. That’s why I suggest the same thing to my patients: start slowly and steadily and stick to your plan to get healthier longer.

2. Start with a warm-up and end with a cool down.

The best way to prepare your body for a workout is to start with warm-up exercises. I would suggest starting with gentle active movements (not stretching), slow cardio (slow walk, slow biking), followed by your regular exercise routine. End your exercise routine with a cool down. It is the best time to stretch the muscles you’ve worked out. It will help to avoid any post-exercise soreness. There is a general misconception that stretching is part of the warm-up. You should avoid stretching muscles until you have adequately completed warm-up to prevent any unwanted injuries to the muscles.

3. Start with 2-3 times/week

The best way to stay motivated is to avoid exhaustion and slow progression. It includes the frequency of exercise days. Some people like to get into a heavy workout routine five days/week right away and push themselves through the limits. It might work for them, but most of the time, this type of exercise behavior will put you at the risk of injury and burnout that will eventually affect your ability to continue with your exercise routine.
So, start probably 2 to 3 times a week initially so that you can balance your work-personal life with your new schedule. As you are more comfortable with your time, you can increase your exercise days. Starting this way also helps your body to recover between workout days.

4. Talk to an expert

If you are new to exercises, chances are you might do things the wrong way. Most common workout injuries happen because of faulty exercise mechanics. There is an option to speak with your physical therapist and get suggestions on what to avoid to prevent damage or consider getting the best out of your exercises without hurting yourself. If you are not sure how to do some activities look at the videos on Youtube, ask your friends to observe your mechanics and correct you if needed. You can also talk to the fitness trainers present at the gym to suggest any corrections.

5. Schedule a Tune-up Session with PT before starting your workout routine

Physical Therapists are movement experts. We help someone get back their everyday life after the injury, but our job as physical therapists is also to educate and help prevent injuries. If you think Physical therapists are only for pain and recovery from injuries, you are missing out. Scheduling a tune-up session with your physical therapist will give you a better idea about your specific postural habits, muscle impairment, or muscle weakness. Getting this detailed information will allow you to target your particular needs better. It will help you to achieve your goal faster without hurting yourself in the way.

We at Active Kare Physical Therapy believe in getting our patients back to their active life. We help our patients to achieve their specific goals from PT, such as bringing back to playing golf, going back to the gym, ability to run, and playing with kids.

If you or anyone you know would like to learn more about Tune-Up Session or talk to us before you start with your exercise routine, we are offering a Discovery Visit.

During this Discovery Visit, we will go over your history of injury, your present issues (if any), and answer any questions you might have regarding your health-related goals.

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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...

Better Health Care is Our Mission

Same Day Appointments and Weekend Appointments are available

(248) 432-1618

info@activekarept.com

43200 Dequindre Road, Ste. 109, Sterling Heights, Michigan

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

Schedule your PT Appointment now.

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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.

Schedule a Discovery Visit

Schedule Telehealth Appointment

Schedule Your Next PT Appointment

Contact Us

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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.