Daily archive for April 7, 2013

McKenzie Certified Physical Therapist: Treating Back Pain

Congratulations to our very own Diana Painter who has received her certification in Mechanical Diagnosis and Therapy, which means she is now certified in the McKenzie method of treating for the spine and extremity.

To acquire the certification, Diana had to complete extensive course work involving the mechanical diagnosis and treatment of the cervical, thoracic, and lumbar spine as well as the extremities. In addition, she was required to complete a five part written exam and practical performance simulation.

Diana says she loves working with patients of all ages and diagnoses, but her interests in spine pain led her to obtain this particular certification. She feels the McKenzie method is a great tool for assessing and treating patients with back pain.

Way to go, Diana!

Best Work Injury Prevention Tip: Stay close to your work!

The physical and occupational therapists at Northern Physical Therapy often treat clients who have been injured while working. At NPT, we believe that education about prevention of re-injury is an important part of the rehabilitation of any injured worker.

Although injury prevention training is unique for each individual and their condition, a few techniques are applicable to many situations. One technique that applies to all work settings is to keep work within close ranges. This technique is simple to apply, but does require intentional effort. Here are some examples of how to use this tip:

1. Keep your upper arms parallel to your trunk while driving, keyboarding, using tools, and handling objects. This will allow you to maintain upright postures as well as minimize risk of injury to shoulders and elbows.

2. Long handles are an effective way to allow you to do work without reaching or bending. There are many options for lengthening or adjusting handle heights. Consider adjusting handles on carts, and using long handles on cleaning tools, kitchen tools, hand tools, yard/garden tools, office tools, sprayers, and shears.

3. Keep loads in your power zone to prevent back injury. Objects in your power zone will be close to your body, between thigh and chest level.

NPT has Occupational Therapists that specialize in work injuries and they are available to come to your office or workspace to make sure you’re working in the safest and most ergonomically correct environment possible. Contact any one of our five west Michigan locations to get more information.

May is Arthritis Awareness Month

Arthritis is a term we’re all familiar with, but what do you really know about the condition? Generally speaking, arthritis refers to joint inflammation, but the overall condition encompasses much more.

Arthritis is a term for more than 100 rheumatic diseases and conditions that affect joints, the tissues which surround joints, and other connective tissue. The pattern, severity, and location of condition can vary depending on the specific form of the disease. In general, rheumatic conditions are characterized by pain and stiffness in and around the joints and the symptoms can develop gradually or come on suddenly.

Because there is no cure for arthritis, the focus of treatment is often on pain management. Many patients find physical therapy an essential part of treatment because it helps them cope with pain and disability caused by arthritis. The goal of physical therapy is to get you back to performing normal, everyday activities without difficulty.

Occupational Therapy as Part of Arthritis Management
An occupational therapist’s job is to help you regain ease of everyday tasks. In addition, occupational therapy emphasizes joint protection and proper body mechanics as far as daily activities are concerned. They teach you how to move in such a way that minimizes stress on your joints. Daily activities that can be affected include getting up out of furniture, lifting, bending over, reaching for objects, and gripping items.

Keeping a good range of motion is key to having the ability to perform daily tasks so the focus of therapy is to increase that range of motion of the joint. Building strength in the muscles surrounding the joint also is extremely important, since stronger muscles can better stabilize a weakened joint. Therapists teach you exercises that help preserve the strength of your joints and they show you the best way to move from one position to another.

If you are suffering from arthritis pain, we can help. One of our trained therapists can show you how you can benefit from therapy. Pain management is key…it’s time to start moving again!