Renowned for its ability to improve balance and decrease stress, yoga apparently benefits breast cancer survivors by reducing fatigue and inflammation, according to a new study.
In fact, researchers found that the more the women practiced yoga regularly, the better their results, a news release from Ohio State University states.
“This showed that modest yoga practice over a period of several months could have substantial benefits for breast cancer survivors,” said Janice Kiecolt-Glaser, lead author of the study and professor of psychiatry and psychology at Ohio State University.
“We also think the results could easily generalize to other groups of people who have issues with fatigue and inflammation.”
Researchers recruited 200 women for their study. All of them had completed breast cancer treatments before the start of the study. Only yoga novices were recruited, the news release states.
After doing yoga for three months, the results showed that on average, fatigue was 57 percent lower in women and their inflammation was cut by about 20 percent compared to breast cancer survivors not doing yoga.
Researchers said they focused on breast cancer survivors because the treatment affects their ability to exercise.
“The treatment is so debilitating and they are so tired, and the less you do physically, the less you’re able to do,” Kiecolt-Glaser said. “That’s one reason we think there are higher levels of inflammation in cancer survivors, meaning that an intervention that reduces inflammation could potentially be very beneficial.”
Chronic inflammation is linked to several health problems including:
Women in the study who practiced yoga also reported sleeping better.
“Yoga has many parts to it – meditation, breathing, stretching and strengthening,” Kiecolt-Glaser said. “We think the breathing and meditation components were really important in terms of some of the changes we were seeing.”
Six months into the study, the women who did yoga continued to see health benefits: fatigue was 57 percent lower and inflammation was up to 20 percent lower compared to women not practicing yoga.
Sleep may play an important role in the numbers.
“We think improved sleep could be part of the mechanism of what we were seeing. When women were sleeping better, inflammation could have been lowered by that,” Kiecolt-Glaser said. “Reducing fatigue enables women to engage in other activities over time. So yoga may have offered a variety of benefits in addition to the yoga exercises themselves.”
Source: Ohio State University news release
+ Learn about the breast cancer rehabilitation program at Bon Secours In Motion.
+ Many cancer patients are turning to physical therapy to help improve their health. Read more about the physical therapy programs offered at Bon Secours In Motion Physical Therapy and Sports Performance.
As residents in South Hampton Roads prepare to shovel out their walkways and driveways, it’s important to consider proper form to avoid any back and neck injuries.
Shoveling snow sends many people searching for an ice pack. In 2012, more than 34,000 people nationwide wound up in their doctor’s office or a hospital emergency room for hurting themselves while shoveling snow, according to data from the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission.
“Snow removal is high stress on the back if done incorrectly and is especially dangerous if you do not exercise regularly,” said Dr. Steven Morgan, spokesman for the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons. “Always proceed with caution when removing snow. If you have a medical condition, consider hiring someone or asking for help from friends, neighbors or family members to remove the snow.”
Some of the injuries from snow shoveling may involve torn muscles and shoulder pain.
To help people avoid injuries, the AAOS recommends the following tips to avoid injury:
- Push snow, instead of lifting it. If you must lift it, take small amounts and lift using your legs. Squat with your legs apart, knees bent and back straight. Lift by straightening your legs, without bending at the waist.
- Do not throw snow over your shoulder or to the side. This creates a twisting motion that can put stress on your back. Instead, walk to where you want to dump the snow.
- Clear snow early and often. Begin when a light covering of snow is on the ground to avoid having to clear packed, heavy snow.
- Pace yourself. Take frequent breaks and replenish with fluids to prevent dehydration. If you experience chest pain, shortness of breath or other signs of a heart attack, seek emergency care.
Source: AAOS news release
+ Learn about the benefits of massage therapy offered at Bon Secours In Motion Physical Therapy and Sports Performance.
The nation’s leading health experts predict the number of people suffering from arthritis to rise rapidly with the aging of the nation’s population. In fact, about 1 million people every year will be newly diagnosed with this debilitating disease.
Thankfully, there’s something they can do about it.
People with arthritis benefit from even small amounts of physical activity, according to the Arthritis Foundation. Not only does it improve mobility, but it reduces pain, increases balance and strength and improves overall health.
A recent report released by the Centers for the Disease Control and Prevention found that arthritis affects 53 million in the United States – costing the economy $128 billion annually.
“The number of U.S. adults with arthritis is increasing,” said Dr. Wayne H. Giles, director of the division of population health at the CDC. “This amounts to an average increase of approximately 2,400 individuals per day. Because arthritis occurs so often with other conditions like diabetes and heart disease, arthritis limitations may be interfering with the recommended management of those conditions, especially in regards to physical activity.”
Simple exercises such as brisk walking and swimming can help improve arthritis pain and help fight off the disease.
Federal health officials recommend adults exercise every week at a moderate intensity, such as brisk walking, for two and half hours.
“Being physically active is a giant step toward improving Americans’ health by lowering risk for arthritis, as well as other diseases such as heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes and depression,” said Arthritis Foundation Vice President of Public Health Dr. Patience White.
Sources: Arthritis Foundation and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention news releases
+ Learn more about managing arthritis symptoms through arthritis rehabilitation at Bon Secours In Motion Sports Performance and Physical Therapy.
Proper form is an important part of any exercise program. But for baby boomers, those born between 1946 and 1964, it’s even more critical because they are at a higher risk for exercise-related injuries.
In fact, nearly 241,000 baby boomers last year sustained an injury that was related to exercise, according to the Consumer Product Safety Commission.
According to the American Association of Orthopaedic Surgeons, baby boomers face a higher risk for the following exercise-related injuries:
- Arthritis – deterioration of the joint cushions.
- Back pain
- Bursitis – inflammation of the fluid-filled sacs that act as cushions between bones, tendons and muscles in the shoulder, elbow, hip, knee and heel.
- Tendonitis, tendonopathy and tendon tears – inflamed, damaged or torn tendons, which attach muscles to bone.
“Exercise is essential to ensuring an active, independent and healthy lifestyle, especially as we age,” said Dr. Nicholas A. DiNubile, an orthopaedic surgeon and spokesman for the AAOS. “However, as we age our bodies change and become more vulnerable to injuries. More than ever, proper equipment and clothing, regular warm up exercises, and slowly increasing the intensity or duration of exercise, are critical. In addition, certain orthopaedic conditions require exercise modification, such as incorporating some of the exercises learned in rehabilitation into our daily exercise regimens.”
To help people prevent injuring themselves, the AAOS offers the following exercise safety tips for anyone older than age 50:
Warm up and Stretching
A warm up is different than just stretching, and usually requires “breaking a sweat” before you begin a more vigorous work out. Walking, bending, jumping jacks and running in place before exercise gets and keeps the circulatory system moving, and prevents injury. Stretching can be done before or after a work out.
Don’t succumb to the “weekend warrior” syndrome. Try to get at least 30 minutes of moderate physical activity every day. Remember that moderate physical activity can include walking the dog, working in the garden, playing with the kids or taking the stairs instead of the elevator.
Focus on Form
Consider taking lessons for the sport you love. Whether you’re a beginner or a long-time enthusiast, proper form and instruction reduces the chance of developing an overuse injury like tendonitis or stress fractures.
Wear the Right Gear
Select the proper gear and shoes for your sport. For example, if you inline skate wear a helmet, knee pads and wrist and elbow pads. If you ski, snowboard or ride a bike, always wear a helmet.
Listen to Your Body
As you age, you may find that you are not as flexible as you once were, or that you cannot tolerate the same types of activities. If so, modify your exercise routine to accommodate your body’s needs. For example, if you’ve been a daily runner for many years, consider replacing a day or two of that activity with swimming, biking or another sport that puts less impact on your joints.
Use the 10 Percent Rule
When changing your activity level, increase it in increments of no more than 10 percent per week. Slowly build up to more miles each week until you reach your higher goal. This will prevent overuse injuries that may keep you from exercising or enjoying your favorite sport for some time. For strength training, also use the 10 percent rule and gradually increase your weights.
Maintain a Balanced Fitness Program
Develop a balanced fitness program that incorporates cardiovascular exercise, strength training and flexibility. A balanced exercise program will provide a total body workout, keep you from getting bored and lessen your chances for injury.
Take a Break
Remember to take a break, if necessary. Hard workouts can take a toll on your body, and thus require strategies aimed at recovery. Learn to take a day off or cut back your training to allow the body to adapt and recover. Gentle stretching, light aerobic exercises and proper nutrition and hydration are all helpful to the recovery process.
Consult a Doctor
If you develop or have had a sports or orthopaedic injury like tendonitis, arthritis, stress fracture or low back pain, consult an orthopaedic surgeon who can help design or modify your fitness routine to promote wellness and minimize the chance of injury.
Source: AAOS news release
+ Thousands turn to Bon Secours In Motion in Hampton Roads each year for exceptional physical therapy, including speech therapy and occupational therapy, sports rehab and sports performance. Learn more about our fitness, nutrition and weight loss programs.
The pain, swelling and stiffness that comes with osteoarthritis in the knee makes many people want to give up the very thing that could make them feel better: exercise.
In fact, many people with arthritis could enjoy their lives a bit more and reduce their health care expenses if they met the national guideline for exercise: 150 minutes of moderate to vigorous activity each week, according to a news release from the American College of Rheumatology.
“Regular physical activity improves health and reduces mortality in the general population,” said study author Dr. Kai Sun in the news release. “Furthermore, physical activity promotes arthritis-specific health benefits including improving symptoms, function and psychosocial outcomes, as well as reduced disability.”
Despite the many health benefits of exercise, the majority of adults in the U.S. do not attain the recommended amounts of physical activity, Sun noted.
“The costs associated with the treatment of inactivity-related diseases and injuries, lost productivity and diminished quality of life poses an economic burden,” Sun said. “Therefore, promoting physical activity is an important component in promoting overall health, addressing the epidemic of obesity and other chronic illnesses, and reducing health care costs in the long term.”
Osteoarthritis leads to progressive damage to cartilage, causing pain, swelling and limited mobility around the joint. Factors that increase the risk of knee osteoarthritis include being overweight, age, injury or stress to the joints, and family history, according to the news release.
The preliminary findings, scheduled to be presented at the American College of Rheumatology annual meeting, are based on the physical activity levels and the quality of life years of 4,700 adults who have arthritis of the knee or are at-risk for the condition. The researchers wanted to determine if increased physical activity in osteoarthritis patients would correlate to better Quality-Adjusted Life Years, or QALYs. QALYs are a measure of health outcomes based on both quality of life and survival duration a particular medical intervention would add to the patient’s life. Cost effectiveness for any treatment can then be determined by the cost needed to improve QALYs by one, the release states.
“Because physical activity conveys many health benefits, the Department of Health and Human Services published physical activity guidelines in 2008 for all Americans including those with osteoarthritis,” Sun said. “The guidelines recommend 150 minutes of moderate to vigorous activity a week performed in bouts lasting at least 10 minutes. The objective of our study was to investigate if meeting the 2008 DHHS physical activity guidelines translated into better QALYs among adults with or at risk for knee OA, and to postulate whether interventions to increase physical activity could be cost effective.”
The researchers found a significant graded relationship between higher levels of physical activity and QALYs. Over the course of two years, those who met physical activity guidelines had QALYs that were 0.11 higher than those who were inactive, and even those who were insufficiently active had QALYs that were 0.058 higher than those who were inactive after adjusting for socioeconomic and health factors, according to the news release.
These numbers represent about 10 to 20 additional days of perfect health over a year. Interventions to encourage adults to increase their physical activity level even if guidelines are not fully met could potentially translate to better quality of life, added years of healthy life, and thereby lower overall health care costs, the study’s authors concluded.
+ Source: American College of Rheumatology
+ Find out how to improve your mobility and strength with the Arthritis Rehabilitation physical therapy program at Bon Secours In Motion.
October is National Physical Therapy Month. Think you might be a good candidate for physical therapy? Here are some frequently asked questions about Physical Therapy and physical therapists to get you started.
What is physical therapy?
Physical therapy is a type of rehabilitative health care that uses exercises and equipment to help people improve or regain their physical abilities. A physical therapist is someone who provides this type of care.
Who should get physical therapy?
Anyone could need physical therapy at some point in life. Physical therapy helps people to regain or improve their ability to move and perform daily activities in their lives. People may need physical therapy after an injury, after having a stroke, after surgery, or after being diagnosed with a chronic illness or health condition.
How does physical therapy work?
A physical therapist will work with you to identify what challenges you’re facing and the best ways to meet them. An individualized plan will be devised to meet the goals of treatment, whether that means regaining functional independence and being able to return to a normal life or simply developing good habits to live a healthier life. The plan will include different exercises and treatments done in the clinic to help you meet your goals. You may also have to do some exercises at home.
What conditions can physical therapy help with?
Physical therapy can help with a number of conditions. These include arthritis, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, balance disorders, brain injury, back pain, cerebral palsy, changes to the body before and after pregnancy, concussions, heart and stroke rehabilitation, incontinence, infant disabilities, limb amputations, long-term breathing problems, multiple sclerosis, muscular dystrophy, orthopedic injuries, neck pain, neurological or nerve disorders, pain management, Parkinson’s Disease, recovery after an injury or surgery, spina bifida, spinal cord injury, TMJ, and many more. Physical therapy can also be a great source of information and education about fitness and wellness.
In addition to physical therapy, Bon Secours In Motion also provides diabetes counseling, nutrition and weight loss counseling, occupational therapy, massage therapy, speech therapy, and sports performance services.
Interested in learning more? Contact us today.
It’s hard to exercise when your knees hurt from osteoarthritis. But when you don’t exercise, you run the risk of gaining weight, which can make knee pain even worse.
A new study in the Sept. 25 issue of JAMA offers a possible solution. It suggests that some people might benefit by combining two strategies at the same time: eating healthier food to lose weight and exercising regularly.
“Osteoarthritis (OA) is the leading cause of chronic disability among older adults,” according to background information in the article. “Knee OA is the most frequent cause of mobility dependency and diminished quality of life, and obesity is a major risk factor for knee OA. Current treatments for knee OA are inadequate; of patients treated pharmacologically, only about half experience a 30 percent pain reduction, usually without improved function.”
Researchers set out to examine whether losing 10 percent in body weight, with or without exercise, would “reduce joint loading and inflammation and improve clinical outcomes more than exercise alone,” according to a news release from The JAMA Network Journals.
After following nearly 400 people – all of them overweight or obese with pain and radiographic knee osteoarthritis – the researchers determined that people lost more weight when they combined diet and exercise than when they changed their eating habits alone.
And those who exercised and ate fewer calories also had less knee pain, better function, faster walking speed and better physical health-related quality of life compared to those who strictly worked out without changing their diet.
“Osteoarthritis and other obesity-related diseases place an enormous physical and financial burden on the U.S. health care system,” the authors wrote. “The estimated 97 million overweight and obese Americans are at substantially higher risk for many life-threatening and disabling diseases, including OA. The findings from [this trial] suggest that intensive weight loss may have both anti-inflammatory and biomechanical benefits; when combining weight loss with exercise, patients can safety achieve a mean long-term weight loss of more than 10 percent, with an associated improvement in symptoms greater than with either intervention alone.”
+ Find the right weight loss and fitness program for you at Bon Secours In Motion Sports Performance and Physical Therapy.
+ Whether you’re an athlete, an expectant mother, or a post-operative patient, massage therapy can help relieve stress, decrease muscle tension and stimulates the release of endorphins that work as your body’s natural painkiller.
Ah, fall. Cooler temperatures, colorful leaves and a long afternoon spent raking in the yard.
Unfortunately, if you’re not careful, it can also mean a trip to the doctor or physical therapist.
Indeed, more than 38,000 Americans were injured while raking in 2012, according to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission.
It’s not hard to fathom how many people end up with achy, pulled and torn muscles with all the bending, twisting, pulling and reaching motions that are required to rake the yard.
“If done properly, leaf raking provides a great opportunity for outdoor exercise during a beautiful time of year,” said Dr. Raymond B. Raven, an orthopaedic surgeon and spokesman for the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons. “However, if you have not exercised your shoulder, arm and neck muscles for some time, you can be seriously injured. Raking is vigorous exercise.”
Raven said everyone should warm up their muscles for at least 10 minutes with stretching before even picking up a rake. “In addition, be sure to wear gloves while working in the yard and in the garden,” he said. “Serious injuries and infections can easily be prevented.”
In addition, the AAOS recommends the following safety guidelines while raking:
- Avoid twisting your back. Keep it straight and turn your whole body while raking. Use your legs to shift your weight instead of your back, and avoid throwing a bag of leaves over the shoulder or to the side as this twisting motion also can strain the back.
- Use short strokes to reduce the risk of over extension injuries.
- Vary your movements. Avoid excessive stress on one muscle group.
- Bend at the knees and squat rather than at the waist when you pick up heavy piles of leaves or lift garbage bags or bins.
- Make sure your rake is the proper height and weight. If it’s too short, you could strain your back. If it’s too heavy, it will put added strain on your neck and shoulders.
- Wear gloves. Opt for a rake with padded handles to prevent blisters.
- Don’t obstruct your vision. Wear shoes with slip-resistant soles.
- Start slowly and pace yourself. You don’t want to overexert yourself, especially if you have a lot more leaves to rake!
Source: AAOS news release
+ Learn about the health benefits of massage. Whether you’re an athlete, an expectant mother, or a post-operative patient, massage can help relieve stress, decrease muscle tension and stimulates the release of endorphins that work as your body’s natural pain killer.
+ Read about myofascial release - a therapeutic massage that gently manipulates the fascia, the tough, connective tissue that covers the body like a web stretching from head to toe.
By the time most of us leave work every day, nobody feels like running to the store and making a meal from scratch. Don’t even mention stopping along the way to sweat out some calories at the gym first.
Sadly, relaxing usually means sitting in front of the TV – not unrolling a yoga mat.
And that’s exactly why it’s important to take note of compelling research that, if taken to heart, can positively affect our health and wellness.
Consider the latest study that comes from scientists at UC San Francisco and the Preventive Medicine Research Institute. A small pilot study shows – for the first time – that changing what you eat, how much you exercise and controlling your stress can actually lengthen your telomeres. That’s pretty significant when you understand that telomeres are the parts of our chromosomes that affect aging.
“Our genes, and our telomeres, are not necessarily our fate,” said Dr. Dean Ornish, lead author and president of the Preventive Medicine Research Institute in a news release. “So often people think ‘Oh, I have bad genes, there’s nothing I can do about it.’ But these findings indicate that telomeres may lengthen to the degree that people change how they live. Research indicates that longer telomeres are associated with fewer illnesses and longer life.”
Telomeres, the protective caps on the ends of chromosomes, affect how quickly cells age, according to the news release. And when they shorten, the cells age and die faster.
Most importantly, shorter telomeres are associated with several diseases including: obesity, osteoporosis, diabetes, cancer, stroke, cardiovascular disease and vascular dementia.
“Telomere shortening increases the risk of a wide variety of chronic diseases,” said Dr. Peter R. Carroll, co-author. “We believe that increases in telomere length may help to prevent these conditions and perhaps even lengthen lifespan.”
+ Decrease your stress with massage therapy at Bon Secours In Motion Physical Therapy and Sports Performace. Whether you’re an athlete, an expectant mother, or a post-operative patient, massage can help relieve stress, decrease muscle tension and stimulates the release of endorphins that work as your body’s natural pain killer.
+ Do you struggle with type 2 diabetes. Try group or individual counseling to learn strategies for coping with this chronic disease.
Today’s students may want to lighten their load when they head back to school this fall. Last year, more than 24,000 people were treated in the hospital or at their doctor’s office for injuries related to backpacks, according to the Consumer Product Safety Commission.
Nearly 40 percent of the injuries were for children ages 5 to 18.
“Backpacks are designed to distribute the weight of load among some of the body’s strongest muscles,” said Dr. Michael Wade Shrader, an orthopaedic surgeon and spokesman for the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons. “But, when worn incorrectly, injuries such as strains, sprains and posture problems can occur. While some of these injuries can be minor, others can have a lasting effect on kids, and follow them into adulthood.”
Numbness or tingling in the arms or legs can signal that a backpack is too heavy or fits poorly. Make sure to try readjusting the backpack or carrying some books to ease the load on the back.
The AAOS and Pediatric Orthopaedic Society of North America suggests the following tips to lower the risk of injury and improve comfort:
- Use both shoulder straps. This helps distribute the weight. Adjust the shoulder straps so the backpack stays close to the back.
- If the backpack is too heavy, try rearranging the items. Place heavier items low and toward the center.
- Don’t let children carry backpacks that weigh more than 20 percent of their body weight.
- Children and adults should bend at the knees when lifting a backpack.
- Store backpacks where people can’t trip on them.
- Students should drop off books at their locker throughout the day if time permits.
- Only carry books that are needed.
Sources: American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons; Pediatric Orthopaedic Society of North America
+ Learn more about Bon Secours physical therapy programs. Our physical therapists help patients recover from all sorts of injuries.