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Shoulder Pain, shoulder instability, physical therapy clinic, sacroiliac disorders, shoulder discomfort, Hampton roads, physical therapistsFrom lifting heavy objects and doing chores around the house to playing sports and exercising, many everyday activities put your shoulders at risk for an injury. As many people soon discover, shoulder injuries can make even simple tasks, such as getting dressed, extremely painful.  Injuries to the shoulder muscles, ligaments and tendons can take months to heal.

Fortunately, by protecting the shoulder joint, many injuries can be prevented, according to the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons.

“Strengthening and stretching the muscles that support your shoulder joint can keep it stable and restore range of motion to help reduce the risk of injuries,” said AAOS spokesperson and orthopaedic surgeon Brent Ponce, MD, who specializes in treating shoulder injuries.

Shoulder injuries send millions of people to the doctor’s office every year. In 2010, roughly 16 million people sought help for a shoulder injury, according to a news release from the AAOS. Of these patients, more than 2.7 million were diagnosed with a sprain or strain of the shoulder and upper arm.

As the most flexible joint in your body, the shoulder is susceptible to instability and injury, according to the AAOS. The joint allows you to place and rotate your arm in many positions.

“If you suspect unusual pain in the joint, do not ignore it,” Ponce said. “Seek professional care to avoid further damage.”

The AAOS encourages the public to take steps to protect their shoulder joint.

Exercises to help strengthen the shoulder muscles include:

  • Basic shoulder strengthening
    Attach a stretch band to a doorknob at home. Gently pull the band toward your body. Hold for a count of five. Repeat five times with each arm.
  • Wall push-ups
    Stand facing a wall with your hands on the wall and your feet shoulder-width apart. Slowly perform a push-up. Repeat five times. Hold for a count of five.
  • Upper back/ shoulder blade exercise
    Lie on your stomach with your arms by your sides. Gently draw your shoulder blades together and down your back as far as possible. Ease about halfway off from this position and hold for 10 seconds. Relax and repeat 10 times.

Source: AAOS news release

+ Learn how the physical therapy programs at Bon Secours In Motion can help you with shoulder problems.

+ Are you having shoulder pain? Know when it’s time to seek a specialist.

Bon Secours In Motion Physical Therapy and Sports Performance, personal training, senior health, core stability and strength, personal trainer, certified training, sports performance specialistMany back problems can be prevented by using correct posture, lifting objects properly and avoiding movements that jolt or strain your back. In fact, many work-related injuries are caused by heavy lifting, repetitive motion and awkward posture, according to the National Institutes of Health.

Fortunately, the risk for developing back pain can be reduced by keeping your back healthy. Federal health authorities recommend low-impact exercises if you’ve been inactive for awhile. Walking, swimming and riding a stationary bike for 30 minutes a day can help increase muscle strength and flexibility. Always consult a physician first before trying any exercises.

Here are some more tips from the NIH:

  • Always stretch before you exercise or do any strenuous physical activity.
  • Don’t slouch when standing or sitting. The lower back can support a person’s weight most easily when the curvature is reduced. When standing, keep your weight balanced on your feet.
  • At home or work, make sure work surfaces are at a comfortable height.
  • Sit in a chair with good lumbar support and proper position and height for the task. Keep shoulders back. Switch sitting positions often and periodically walk around the office or gently stretch muscles to relieve tension. A pillow or rolled-up towel placed behind the small of the back can provide some lumbar support. During prolonged periods of sitting, elevate feet on a low stool or a stack of books.
  • Wear comfortable, low-heeled shoes.
  • Sleeping on one’s side with the knees drawn up in a fetal position can help open up the joints in the spine and relieve pressure by reducing the curvature of the spine. Always sleep on a firm surface.
  • Don’t try to lift objects that are too heavy. Lift from the knees, pull the stomach muscles in, and keep the head down and in line with a straight back. When lifting, keep objects close to the body. Do not twist when lifting.
  • Maintain proper nutrition and diet to reduce and prevent excessive weight gain, especially weight around the waistline that taxes lower back muscles. A diet with sufficient daily intake of calcium, phosphorus, and vitamin D helps to promote new bone growth.
  • Quit smoking. Smoking reduces blood flow to the lower spine, which can contribute to spinal disc degeneration. Smoking also increases the risk of osteoporosis and impedes healing. Coughing due to heavy smoking also may cause back pain.

If you do have low back pain, a complete medical history and physical exam can help you figure out what’s causing the pain. Some patients benefit from physical therapy, which can help strengthen core muscle groups that support the low back. Physical therapy also helps improve mobility and flexibility.

Source: National Institutes of Health, National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke

+ Read more about physical therapy and how it can benefit your condition.

+ Learn more about the physical therapy programs offered at Bon Secours In Motion.

Bon Secours In Motion Physical Therapy and Sports Performance specialists, osteoarthritis, physical therapy clinics, sports injury rehab, running analysis, foot and ankle injury program, athlete, female athletes, sportsmetric injury prevention, track and field, Hampton Roads, Norfolk, Portsmouth, Suffolk, Chesapeake, Hampton, Newport News, Virginia Beach, Yorktown, Carrollton If you feel knee pain while going up and down the stairs, you may be experiencing the first symptoms of osteoarthritis.

New research, published in the medical journal Arthritis Care & Research, found that climbing stairs appears to be the first weight-bearing activity that causes osteoarthritis pain. Researches say it’s important to detect the condition early because it can help increase the likelihood of people finding effective treatment

“At present we have little concept of ‘early’ osteoarthritis and often only see people when they have significant longstanding pain and loss of function,” said Philip Conaghan, professor of musculoskeletal medicine in the University of Leeds School of Medicine. “This research is vital to understanding early symptoms of knee osteoarthritisKnowing this will help us intervene earlier, perhaps leading to more effective ways of treating this very painful condition.”

Nearly 27 million Americans age 25 and older are diagnosed with osteoarthritis or, OA, according to published studies. Previous research reports that knee OA is the leading cause of functional limitation among older adults, making walking and climbing stairs difficult. About 80 percent of OA patients have some limitation in movement, with 11 percent of adults with knee OA needing assistance with personal care assistance, according to the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey.

For the Leeds study, the team looked at the cases of 4,673 people who had, or were at high risk of, osteoarthritis. Participants completed annual surveys for up to seven years in order to help the researchers track the emergence of pain during different activities over a long-term period.

The study revealed that using stairs was the first weight-bearing task in which people noticed pain. After stairs, they reported feeling pain while walking, standing, lying or sitting and then finally when resting in bed.

Health professionals recommend walking 6,000 steps daily to help prevent the risk of developing mobility issues associated with osteoarthritis. Previous research has found that walking 6,000 or more steps per day may protect those with or at risk of knee of OA from developing problems, such as difficulty getting up from a chair and climbing stairs. That study was published in the American College of Rheumatology journal, Arthritis Care & Research.

Sources: University of Leeds, Arthritis Care & Research

+ Read about advanced techniques used in total joint replacement at Virginia Orthopaedic & Spine Specialists, which helps patients recover faster.

+ Find out how to improve your mobility and strength with the Arthritis Rehabilitation physical therapy program at Bon Secours In Motion.


Bon Secours In Motion Physical Therapy and Sports Performance, personal training, senior health, core stability and strength, personal trainer, certified training, sports performance specialistExercise may help people with Parkinson’s disease improve their balance, mobility and quality of life but it should be started early on after diagnosis.

About 60 percent of patients who have Parkinson’s suffer a fall every year. Two-thirds of them fall repeatedly.

“The resulting injuries, pain, limitations of activity and fear of falling again can really affect people’s health and well-being,” said study author Colleen G. Canning, PhD, of the University of Sydney in Australia.

For the study, 231 people with Parkinson’s disease either received their usual care or took part in an exercise program of 40 to 60 minutes of balance and leg strengthening exercises three times a week for six months. This minimally-supervised exercise program was prescribed and monitored by a physical therapist with participants performing most of the exercise at home. On average, 13 percent of the exercise sessions were supervised by a physical therapist.

Compared to those in the control group, the number of falls by participants who exercised was reduced in those with less severe Parkinson’s disease, but not in those with more severe disease. Those who had less severe disease and exercised, experienced a 70-percent reduction in falling.

“These results suggest that minimally-supervised exercise programs aimed at reducing falls in people with Parkinson’s should be started early in the disease process,” Canning said.

Overall, those who took part in the exercise program performed better on tests of ability to move around and balance, had a lower fear of falls and reported better overall mood and quality of life.

The study was supported by the Australian National Health and Medical Research Council and the Harry Secomb Foundation.

Source: American Academy of Neurology news release

+ At Bon Secours In Motion our physical therapy clinic at DePaul Medical Center offers a non-invasive treatment program for Parkinson’s patients struggling with the activities of daily living. “BIG” is the treatment of Parkinson’s through an evidenced based intensive amplitude-based exercise program for the limb motor system and re-education of the sensorimotor system. The goal of the BIG program is to help these patients perform their activities of daily living with greater ease.

Bon Secours In Motion Physical Therapy, foot and ankle injury rehabilitation, balance and fall prevention, sports injury rehab, sports performance specialists, physical therapist clinic, Hampton RoadsCan you balance on one leg? New research suggests it may reflect a person’s brain health and their risk for having a stroke.

Struggling to balance on one leg for 20 seconds or longer was linked to an increased risk for small blood pressure damage in the brain and reduced cognitive function in otherwise healthy people.

“Our study found that the ability to balance on one leg is an important test for brain health,” said Yasuharu Tabara, Ph.D., lead study author and associate professor at the Center for Genomic Medicine at Kyoto University Graduate School of Medicine in Kyoto, Japan. “Individuals showing poor balance on one leg should receive increased attention, as this may indicate an increased risk for brain disease and cognitive decline.”

Nearly !,600 people whose average age was 67 participated in the study. They were each asked to stand with their eyes open and one leg raised. The maximum time for keeping the leg raised was 60 seconds. People in the study performed this test twice and the better of the two times was used in the study analysis. Cerebral small vessel disease was assessed using brain magnetic resonance imaging.

Researchers found that the inability to balance one one leg for longer than 20 seconds was associated with cerebral small vessel disease – small infarctions without symptoms.

While previous studies have looked at the connection between gait and physical abilities and the risk of stroke, this study closely examined how long a person can stand on one leg as an indication of other overall brain health.

“One-leg standing time is a simple measure of postural instability and might be a consequence of the presence of brain abnormalities,” said Tabara.

Source: American Heart Association

+ Learn about recovering from injuries and conditions through the physical therapy program at Bon Secours In Motion.

+ Read about balance and fall prevention techniques taught at In Motion.

Yoga Chronic, low-back pain – a common problem that’s often difficult to treat – may be eased with the practice of yoga, according to two studies.

But before anyone rolls out their yoga mat for the first time, they should understand that yoga does not replace conventional medical care. It should also not be used to postpone seeing a doctor or health care provider for any pain.

Current research suggests that yoga poses can reduce low-back pain and improve the ability to walk and move, according to the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine. Studies also suggest that practicing yoga regularly may also reduce heart rate and blood pressure and help relieve anxiety and depression. Yoga has also been shown to improve overall physical fitness, strength and flexibility.

Benefits found:

  • One study of 90 people with chronic low-back pain found that after six months of practicing yoga, they had significantly less pain, disability and depression.
  • A 2011 study found that people who did yoga and conventional stretching exercises had better results than when they followed a self-care book for chronic low-back pain.

Studies on how yoga affects osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis have been inconclusive.

Before taking a yoga class, it’s important to make sure the instructor is well-trained. Some yoga teacher programs require hundreds of hours of training while others require very little. Professional organizations can often recommend certified instructors.

Hot yoga, which has become a popular trend in recent years, is when the room is heated as high as 105 degrees.

People interested in trying hot yoga should consult their physician first. People who have heart disease, lung disease and a prior history of heatstroke may want to avoid this type of practice. Many hot yoga classes recommend drinking water before, during and after a hot yoga class.

Source: National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine

+ Do you suffer from arthritis? At Bon Secours In Motion,  individualized treatment programs for arthritis care and rehabilitation are developed based on each patient’s initial evaluation. Our multidisciplinary treatment team of experienced physical therapists relies on a variety of non-invasive treatment options.


Bon Secours In motion Physical Therapy and Sports Performance, physical therapist, physical therapyPhysical therapy after total knee or hip replacement surgery is an important part of a patient’s recovery.

But seeing a physical therapist before surgery can also help, according to a new study published in the Journal of Bone & Joint Surgery.

Undergoing physical therapy before joint replacement surgery can diminish the need for postoperative care by nearly 30 percent, researchers say.

In fact, this type of therapy – called prehabilitation – saved an average of $1,215 per patient in skilled nursing facility, home health agency and other postoperative care, a news release from the American Association of Orthopaedics states.

The findings could have widespread implications as the nation’s population ages and more people need total knee or hip replacement. Roughly 50 million adults nationwide have been diagnosed with arthritis by a physician. As the condition progresses, arthritis patients often need to have their hip or knee replaced to maintain their mobility and quality of life.

Researchers estimate that the number of hip replacements will grow by 174 percent between 2005 and 2030, while the number of knee replacements will increase 673 percent in that same timeframe.

In the study, researchers found that patients who received physical therapy before their surgery showed a 29 percent reduction in postoperative care use.

Additional benefits of have physical therapy before surgery included:

  • The percentage of patients needing postoperative care services decreased from nearly 80 percent to 54.2 patients for those who had physical therapy before surgery.
  • Patients who underwent preoperative physical therapy saved $1,215 each by not needing as much care in a skilled nursing facility or from a home health agency.

“This study demonstrated an important opportunity to pre-empt postoperative outcome variances by implementing preoperative physical therapy along with management of comorbidities before and during surgery,” said Dr. Ray Wasielewski, co-author of the study.

Source: AAOS news release

+ Learn more about the physical therapy programs offered at Bon Secours In Motion.

back, injury, physical therapy, Spine Center, Virginia Orthopaedic & Spine Specialists, back, neck, pain, injury, treatmentBack injuries can happen to anyone – including young students who head back to school wearing a backpack that’s too heavy or big for them.

Indeed, more than 28,600 people were treated in a hospital or by a doctor for injuries related to wearing a backpack in 2013, according to statistics from the Consumer Product Safety Commission. Of those patients, nearly 30 percent were children between the ages of 5 and 18.

“Improperly used backpacks may injure muscles and joints and can lead to severe back, neck and shoulder pain, as well as posture problems,” said Dr. Daniel Green, orthopaedic surgeon and spokesman for the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons. “Parents and teachers should educate kids on the proper way to wear a backpack to reduce the risk of injury.”

To avoid any injuries to the back or shoulders, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends the following tips:

  • Choose a backpack with wide, padded shoulder straps and a padded back.
  • Pack light. Organize the backpack to use all of its compartments. Pack heavier items closest to the center of the back. The backpack should never weigh more than 10 to 20 percent of your child’s body weight.
  • Always use both shoulder straps. Slinging a backpack over one shoulder can strain muscles.
  • If your school allows, consider a rolling backpack. This type of backpack may be a good choice for students who must tote a heavy load. Remember that rolling backpacks still must be carried up stairs, they may be difficult to roll in snow, and they may not fit in some lockers.

Parents can also help prevent backpack-related pain by taking the following steps, according to the AAOS and Pediatric Orthopaedic Society of North America:

  • Encourage your child or teen to tell you about numbness or tingling in the arms or legs, which may indicate a poor fit or too much weight is being carried.
  • If the backpack seems too heavy, have your child carry some of them in their arms to ease the load on their back.
  • Make sure the backpack is the appropriate size for your child.
  • Watch your child to see if putting on or taking off the backpack is a struggle.
  • Encourage your child to drop off heavier books at their locker throughout the day, if time permits.

Source: American Academy of Pediatrics; American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, Pediatric Orthopaedic Society of North America

+ Learn about the physical therapy programs at Bon Secours In Motion.

+ Help a child reach their healthy weight and prevent diseases associated with childhood obesity. Learn about the Bon Secours In Motion Youth Fitness Program.

Bon Secours In Motion Physical Therapy, arthritis rehabilitation, joint pain, physical therapy clinic, occupational therapists, hand therapistsHaving arthritis puts people at a higher risk for falling and fall-related injuries, according to new federal statistics.

Researchers from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that when people had arthritis, they were 1.3 times more likely to have a fall, 2.4 times more likely to have two or more falls and 2.5 times more likely to be injured after falling.

“It’s important to know the risk of falling that comes with arthritis,” said Dr. Alexander Aboka, an orthopaedic surgeon with Virginia Orthopaedic & Spine Specialists. “Many patients can help protect themselves by staying active, maintaining a healthy weight and avoiding joint injuries.”

Falls can be extremely dangerous. They can cause hip fractures and brain injuries. They can also affect a person’s ability to do daily activities, be physically active and stay social.

“Although each patient is different and needs careful evaluation, some people are able to improve their gait, balance and lower body strength by exercising,” Dr. Aboka said.

The number of people nationwide with arthritis is growing by about 1 million each year, according to the CDC. About one in five adults in the United States or 52.5 million people have arthritis. Arthritis is the most common cause of disability among adults in the U.S.

While most people are familiar with the risk of falling for older people, falls and fall injuries are also common among middle-aged adults with arthritis, CDC researchers have found. One risk factor for falling is poor neuromuscular function, which affects balance and gait speed.

Federal health officials recommend arthritis patients follow these guidelines:

  • Learn arthritis management strategies. These strategies give those with arthritis the skills and confidence to effectively manage their condition.
  • Be active. Research shows physical activity decreases pain, improves function and delays disability It is recommended that people with arthritis undertake 30 minutes of moderate physical activity at least 5 times a week, or a total of 150 minutes per week. The 30 minutes can be broken down into three ten minute sessions throughout the day.
  • Watch your weight. A healthy weight can limit disease progression and activity limitation In fact, for every pound lost, there is a 4 pound reduction in the load exerted on the knee. A modest weight loss (5 percent or 12 pounds for a 250 pound person) can help reduce pain and disability.
  • See your doctor. Early diagnosis is critical to maintaining a good quality of life, particularly for people with inflammatory arthritis.
  • Protect your jointsAvoiding injuries to joints can reduce the likelihood of developing osteoarthritis.

Sources: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, May 2

+ Learn about advanced techniques used in total joint replacement at Virginia Orthopaedic & Spine Specialists.

+ Find out how to improve your mobility and strength with the Arthritis Rehabilitation physical therapy program at Bon Secours In Motion.

Brain, concussion, ImPACT™ Neurocognitive Testing Children who suffer from a concussion can experience a number of symptoms immediately after being injured. Physical symptoms – headache, dizziness and fatigue – begin immediately after the injury.

But emotional symptoms may appear later on during recovery, according to a new study in the journal Pediatrics.

For the study, researchers examined questionnaires from 235 children aged 11 to 22 who sustained a concussion. They answered questions regarding symptoms, cognitive and sports activity, and school and athletic performance for 3 months after their head injury or until all symptoms resolved.

While most children recovered from their concussion within two weeks of being injured, they experienced a large number of symptoms during that time period, according to a news release from the American Academy of Pediatrics. More than two-thirds of patients still had a headache one week after the injury. The most common symptoms were physical complaints such as headache, dizziness, and fatigue, which tended to start immediately after the injury but resolved over time.

Emotional symptoms such as frustration and irritability were not as common right after the injury, but developed later during the recovery period in many patients.

A majority of patients also experienced cognitive symptoms such as difficulty concentrating and taking longer to think.

The authors of the study conclude that physical symptoms of a concussion are likely to be more burdensome immediately after the injury, while the emotional symptoms often begin later even as the physical symptoms subside.

Understanding this is important for caregivers and families who will be managing symptoms and helping with the child’s recovery, the news release states.

Source: American Academy of Pediatrics

+ Learn about ImPACT™ Neurocognitive Testing at Bon Secours In Motion Physical Therapy and Sports Performance. ImPACT™ is a computer-based program that tests multiple aspects of brain function. Athletes, especially those involved in contact sports who are susceptible to concussions, should have a test before the season begins, to establish a baseline. If they sustain a head injury, they should be retested. This gives athletic trainers, physicians and other health care professionals a comparison to determine if it is safe for the athlete to return to play.