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Total Joint Replacement: Advances in Surgery & Recovery

Dr. John Dundon at The Orthopedic Institute of New Jersey spoke with NJ.com to discuss how lengthy hospital stays after total joint replacement surgery might be a thing of the past. Here is the original article from NJ.com.

Surgery today, home tonight: How far total joint replacement has come.

Imagine having an artificial hip surgically implanted in your body and then walking out of the hospital later that day. It’s hard to fathom. Yet some orthopedic physicians are now offering same-day total joint replacement for the hip and knee. Dr. John Dundon recently spoke with NJ Advance Media about the ever-progressing field of total joint replacement and the many benefits to patients.

Q: Is it possible to replace a knee or hip and have a patient walk that same day?
A: I know it’s hard to believe, but it’s not only possible, it’s beneficial. In the past, patients would stay overnight in a hospital and could remain immobilized for days after a total joint replacement surgery. Recently, there’s been somewhat of a philosophy shift and we’ve seen the many benefits of getting patients mobilized immediately after a procedure. Of course, we use numbing agents so that patients aren’t feeling pain and can begin their accelerated recovery process right away. Becoming mobilized quickly after surgery also helps lower the risk of blood clots post-operatively.

Q: What are the main benefits of same day surgery for patients?
A: Cost is one of the main benefits. With many insurance plans, patients are responsible for a portion of the cost. Take a full night in the hospital out of the equation and you’re looking at a significantly lower bill. Another benefit is that the patient is home and comfortable in their own bed that same night. Not only do patients have more control over their own recovery but they aren’t exposed to any infectious agents that could potentially be found in hospitals.

Q: Is everyone eligible for same-day total joint replacement?
A: Unfortunately, not every patient is a proper candidate for same-day total joint replacement. When screening candidates, we’re looking for patients to be fairly active and independent. Motivation also goes along way—we love seeing people who are motivated to recover quickly and get back to an active, healthy lifestyle. Another component that is important is the pre-screening process at a physical therapy clinic that is up-to-date on same-day surgical procedures. Patients who may be good candidates for same-day surgeries can come to Northern Physical Therapy, where we’ll conduct a series of tests and screenings.

Total Joint Replacement: Advances in Surgery & RecoveryQ: What tests can patients expect during pre-operative physical therapy?
A: The physical therapists at Northern Physical Therapy will conduct balance screenings, functional tests and even evaluate the patient’s home environment to ensure their recovery will be ideal. They will also perform some strength testing and gait training to make sure there are no issues that could complicate the recovery process after the procedure. Finally, the physical therapist will train each patient to walk with a walker and crutches so that they’re properly acclimated post-surgery and are less likely to suffer from a slip or fall, causing a set-back in their recovery process.

Q: Are there reasons someone may not be eligible for a same-day total joint replacement?
A: Factors such as a patient’s age and previous complications will play a role in determining whether they’re a proper candidate. The best way to find out if you are eligible is to come in for a free consultation.

Q: When should patients consider a total joint replacement?
A: It’s all about quality of life. If pain, stiffness or tenderness in the knee or hip is affecting daily life, it’s important to come in for a consultation. Our physical therapists are always happy to meet new clients and help evaluate options to improve their quality of life – because no one should have to live in pain.

If you have questions on knee or hip pain, or total joint replacements, contact us today to set up a free consultation. One of our physical therapists will be happy to talk to you and determine the best steps to get you moving in the right direction!

This article was written, in part, by our friends at Ivy Rehab.

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4 Ways to Combine Yoga & Physical Therapy

Yoga is on the rise and while you may only think about it in terms of a modern day workout, it’s making quite an impact on conventional physical therapy. Yoga incorporates meditation, breathing exercises, self-reflection, along with body alignment and balance to aid in physical, mental, and spiritual health. It’s popularity has risen over the years because the practice can be altered to fit any age, condition, and physical ability.

If used in conjunction with conventional physical therapy, new research is suggesting that yoga has the ability to aid with treating multiple muscles at once, potentially speeding up recovery, improving muscle movement and focusing the mind. The more we learn about the benefits of these seemingly different aspects of health, the more we realize the combination of the two goes well beyond flexibility and strength building.

1. Improved muscle response
All muscles are covered by fascia, a strong connective tissue that surrounds and separates muscles. Fascia is adaptive and plays a role in posture, movement, and sometimes even pain, after an injury or surgery. Within fascia, there are receptors that are part of the nervous system, and relay information about movement. Yoga poses stimulate this tissue, promoting adaptation that may not be efficiently addressed with single joint exercises.

2. Faster recovery
While more research is needed, some evidence supports that combining yoga and conventional physical therapy may yield favorable results in recovery. A study by Nilima Bedekar (2012) examined conventional therapy with the addition of yogasanas (movement postures) in patients following total knee replacement surgeries, and found that combing yoga and physical therapy leads to improved pain relief, less stiffness, and improved overall function.

3. Treat multiple problems
Oftentimes, items that seem unrelated may contribute to certain pains. For example, hip weakness or poor ankle flexibility often plays a role in knee pain. When injured, a physical therapist will look at more than just the problem area and assess multiple joints to target their treatment. Often, these muscle deficiencies in various locations can be challenged by a single yoga pose. For instance, child’s pose can target shoulder, back, and hip mobility promoting a more complete treatment. This allows the therapist to utilize more effective exercises and address multiple problems simultaneously.

4. Body and mind
The physical component of yoga is one of its many branches. Strong research is emerging in the field of psychology supporting the use of meditation and yoga principles to help address distressful emotional states including anxiety, depression, trauma, and pain. Pain, especially when chronic, is more than just a physical irritation to the body. Psychological factors and mal-adaptive beliefs about pain often contribute to symptoms. Incorporating yoga philosophies in certain populations might have a powerful effect in regulating pain and improving well-being.

If you’d like more information on how to treat chronic or injury-induced pain with yoga and physical therapy, schedule a free consultation and we’d be happy to talk more about your condition.

Want to give yoga a try? We offer classes, sign up here.

Physical Therapy for low back pain can save you money

A new study of people with low back pain found that physical therapy was cheaper in the short-term than alternatives such as injections or surgery. It also found that the earlier treatment was started after a diagnosis of low back pain, the less money was spent over a 12-month period.

“We felt it was important to look at claims data to demonstrate how a physical therapy-first approach can improve outcomes and reduce overall medical expenditures,” stated APTQI Executive Director Troy Bage, PT, DPT. “We’ve known this to be true from our experiences as physical therapists, but we wanted to investigate the hard data that bear this out.”

Physical Therapy for low back pain can save you moneyWe see a number of clients with back pain each month and we’ve seen the results that physical therapy can have. This report is helping to show that early access to physical therapy is a cost-effective solution for people who are suffering from low back pain. As clients continue to analyze healthcare spending, physical therapy intervention is a great value that provides exceptional outcomes.

Physical therapy cost savings over time

According to the American Physical Therapy Association’s analysis of this study, people who “received physical therapy within the first 15 days of diagnosis incurred lower average treatment costs than those whose physical therapy began later, and those savings continued through the 12-month study period.”

In addition to physical therapy being the more cost effective option, the results indicate that fewer people who received physical therapy as an initial line of treatment for low back pain subsequently went on to have surgery. Michigan has direct access for physical therapy, meaning you can visit a physical therapist without a prescription or referral from your doctor.

If you’re experiencing low back pain, visit a physical therapist first.

Click here to request an appointment at any of our clinics across West Michigan. Remember, you do not need a prescription or referral and we offer free consultations.

This story was brought to us in part by our friends at Ivy Rehab Physical Therapy.

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