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Blog: Physical Therapy & Chiropractic

Physical therapy for spinal injury - Forest Hills NY

Yes! Physical Therapy Can Actually Help Spine Injuries!

Did you know that August is a month of awareness for Spinal Muscular Atrophy (SMA)? This is a condition in which patients suffer from reduced muscle tone and significant muscle weakness. It is common in children and to a lesser extent, in adolescents. It is a genetic disorder, and patients tend to deteriorate over a period of time.

The management of patients with SMA is multi-disciplinary. This means that different healthcare professionals work together to help improve the quality of life for the patient. The physical therapist is an integral part of this team. This is a very complex condition and outcomes vary between patients. A lot of treatment options (gene testing, gene conversion) have been investigated, and the research is ongoing.

In any condition (or injury) involving the spine, the probability of nerve damage is significant. This has the potential to affect movement, function and muscle strength. Simple things like rolling in bed, sitting up straight and reaching for objects can become a challenge. There are several things that physical therapists can do for patients with spine injuries.

The Link between Spinal Health and Physical Therapy

As part of a multi-disciplinary team in the management of spinal muscular atrophy, physical therapists often recommend the following:

1. Exercise

Physical therapists design exercise programs to increase muscle strength and improve balance in order to achieve independence in simple things such as walking, rolling, and sitting. A home exercise program is also provided to patients.

2. Orthotics

These include devices that assist the patient to move around with some degree of assistance. Orthotic devices may be custom designed based on the specifications of the physical therapist. Orthotics help align joints and muscles in an appropriate position and encourage independence.

3. Aquatic Therapy

Exercises in a swimming pool tend to be fun and relaxing for patients, especially children. The effect of buoyancy provides an ideal environment for a safe and supervised exercise program.

4. Weight Bearing Exercises

This involves the use of a patient’s natural body weight to provide resistance to joints and muscles. Several exercises to improve upper body, lower body, abdominal and lower back strength can be performed without using any equipment.

5. Chest Physical Therapy

Normally, muscles that lie between the ribs (called intercostal muscles) tend to be weak in children with SMA. As a result, the cough reflex may be inhibited. Physical therapy can help prevent chest infections. Physical therapists will train parents to place their children in certain positions to help get rid of secretions. In addition, they may perform certain measures that will enable the child to cough out secretions with minimal effort.

6. Advanced Techniques

Physical therapists may use advanced techniques like proprioceptive neuromuscular facilitation and manual therapy to encourage movement and muscle control. Helping the body learn (or rediscover) movement patterns is the foundation of recovery for individuals with spinal injuries.

Our Commitment to You…

There is always a light at the end of the tunnel, and as your physical therapists, we will stand by you to help you get better, no matter what we need to do, and no matter how long it takes.

Injuries and conditions involving the spine can vary in severity. Once we determine the extent of the problem (bone, joint, nerves, muscle), we will create a plan of action and discuss it with other members of your healthcare team.

The ability to do simple things in life like reaching, pushing and pulling and doing day-to-day tasks without pain and restrictions matter to patients with spinal injuries. We understand our responsibility to serve you, and appreciate your trust and faith in us. We are committed to helping you live a happy and healthy life, regardless of physical limitations. Reach out to us if you (or anyone you know) has a spinal injury. We are standing by to help them.


Queens physical therapist in forest hills NY, Fabricio Rodrigues PT

Physical Therapy Queens Post: Wrist Fracture

A Colles’ fracture refers to a fracture around the wrist. Typically, it occurs due to a fall on an outstretched hand. Specifically, the fracture occurs at the end of a bone in the forearm called the radius (at the cortico-cancellous junction). Dorsal displacement and dorsal angulation are common characteristics of such a fracture. Falling on an outstretched hand can be a consequence of either tripping or losing balance, and it is the body’s defense mechanism against falling flat on one’s face. While this sort of fracture is not prevalent in younger patients, it is commonly seen in older patients, patients with osteoporosis, and those with any other form of bone disease.

The treatment of Colles’ fracture requires the application of a cast to facilitate compression and prevent motion in an effort to promote healing. In some cases, surgical correction may be required. Once pain and swelling is reduced, the objective of the healthcare team changes. The new priority is joint range of motion and restoration of muscle strength. This is where physical therapy plays an important role.

How Physical Therapy Can Help
Physical therapy can help in the recovery of wrist fractures in several ways:


The use of Rest, Ice packs application, Compression and Elevation (RICE) is universally applicable after injuries to reduce the extent of injury and facilitate healing.

2. Therapeutic exercises

Muscles tend to lose tone, strength, and mass due to a period of inactivity. Stretching and range of motion exercises can minimize the phenomenon of ‘muscle atrophy’.

3. Massage therapy and Mobilizations

Manual therapy from a skilled physical therapy on the joint or on the surgical scar site is very helpful. This helps reduce pain, decrease swelling and improve blood flow to the area to improve healing.

4. Electrical stimulation

Used to improve muscle tone and strength, it can involve application of a tiny electric current on muscle fibers to stimulate muscle contraction.

5. Balance therapy

If a Colles’ fracture has occurred in an elderly patient due to loss of balance, then treatment is aimed at improving core strength and balance. At times, aids like a walking stick or Zimmer frame may also be provided.

Given the importance of the wrist in daily activities, the objective of physical therapy is to help regain full motion of the affected wrist. However, physical therapy can also help reduce swelling, controlling pain, improving strength, improving balance and regaining independence, especially in older patients. Physical therapy helps the healing process. Recovery from Colles’ fractures can be hampered by unnecessary and extreme motion after removal of the cast. This can be minimized or avoided under the supervision of a licensed physical therapist.

The Care You Need
Physical therapy is important in the full recovery of wrist motion and strength after an injury.

Expect the therapist to start with gentle mobilizations of the wrist and hand to improve joint circulation and encourage motion. As the pain subsides, the therapist will encourage (and supervise) gentle exercises to regain full function.

Your physical therapist will provide the care you need, when you need it. If you are hurt and in pain, there is a good chance that physical therapy can help you. Reach out to us today, and discovery why individuals across the community are experiencing the benefits of what physical therapy can do for you.

Visit Us At: http://www.foresthillsrehab.com/elbow-pain.html

Physical Therapy Queens Post: Hamstring Injury

Rapid Recovery from Hamstring Injuries
The hamstring muscles, located at the back of the thigh, are comprised of three muscle groups. Injuries to this muscle are common in athletes participating in sports such as football or basketball. They are also common in ‘weekend warriors’ and individuals who participate in walking, jogging or running without a period of adequate warm up and stretching.
This muscle group allows your knee to bend, and plays a critical role in every activity involving the lower body. Your hamstrings are contracting every single time you take a step, climb a flight of stairs or get in and out of your car.

The anatomy of this muscle group
The three muscle groups that comprise the hamstrings include the biceps femoris, semi-membranosus and semi-tendinosus. A partial or complete tear of either of these muscles is a likely possibility in hamstring injuries.
Cause of hamstring muscle injury
A sudden, excessive stress on this muscle group is a common cause of injury. An individual with a previous history of hamstring injuries is more likely to get re-injured. Hamstring muscle tightness and inadequate warm-up can also cause injuries.

The Role of the Physical Therapist
The role of the physical therapist is extremely important in managing patients with hamstring injuries. Prior to treatment, the therapist will obtain a detailed history and perform a clinical examination to ascertain the degree of injury and the muscle groups involved. This will help create a foundation for a safe and effective treatment program.
If the injury was sustained recently, the therapist will recommend rest, since the primary goal is to avoid an increase in pain and excessive strain on sensitive muscles and ligaments. You may be asked to avoid exercise and in some cases, avoid walking. You may be asked to use crutches for support.
In an effort to deal with the pain associated with such injuries, the therapist may recommend an ice pack and a compression bandage to reduce swelling.

Physical therapists will prescribe and supervise a structured exercise program once the acute injury phase (and the associated pain and swelling) has subsided. These can include –
1. Muscle strength exercises - including static and dynamic strength exercises to help regain strength as quickly as possible.
2. Range of motion - including active and passive range of motion exercises that can be partial, or complete range of motion. This helps maintain mobility and minimize muscle tightness.
3. Provision of support devices - The use of assistive devices like crutches, walkers or canes to walk short distances is helpful for patients during the recovery phase. The physical therapist will help analyze the need for such a device, identify the right device (if needed) and assist in acquiring such a device.

Restoration of Control

In addition to the restoration of strength and mobility, an important objective of physical therapy is the restoration of muscle control and balance following hamstring injuries.
When the hamstrings are injured, the strength ratio between the quadriceps (muscles at the front of the thigh) and the hamstrings is also impacted. Weakness or tightness in the hamstrings (as a result of an injury) can also put you at an increased risk of injury to the ACL, or anterior cruciate ligament, which is a ligament that facilitates with knee stability.
Exercises involving balance, weight bearing and unexpected shifts in direction can improve strength and stability in the hamstring muscles. For an athlete recovering from hamstring injuries, a physical therapist will work on motor control and help train sport-specific movements.
Whether you are a weekend warrior or an athlete suffering from a hamstring injury, physical therapy can help. In fact, the scope of physical therapy extends far beyond hamstring injuries and includes pain relief and restoration of function for any muscle injury in the body.
Give us a call, and we’ll help you regain control of your muscles as quickly as possible.


Our Location: 108-14 72nd Avenue, 4th Flr., Forest Hills NY - (between Queens Blvd. & Austin St.)

Physical Therapy Forest Hills Post: Breast Cancer

Can Physical Therapy help Breast Cancer?

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, which is an annual campaign to increase awareness of the disease. Unknown to most people, physical therapy can play a role in the treatment of breast cancer.

Depending on the severity of the disease, extensive chemotherapy and sometimes surgery may be required. Following treatment, patients feel drained and worn out. This can lower the patient’s quality of life by significantly affecting day-to-day function.
Physical therapy helps with pain management, range of motion and muscle function. In fact, the American Cancer Society strongly recommends a structured exercise program and physical therapists are uniquely qualified to assess the need for, plan and implement such a program.

Post Surgery and Long term Care
Broadly speaking, the role of the physical therapist in breast cancer can be divided into two parts: input immediately after surgery, and long term care input.

1. Immediately after surgery
Breast cancer surgery not only involves removal of the affected breast tissue, but can also include the nearby lymph nodes and some blood vessels as well.
Exercise facilitates healing and helps restore function in the affected side. As soon as pain subsides, the physical therapist can help increase range of motion and encourage muscle contractions. Physical therapists will prescribe and teach certain stretching and strengthening exercises for surrounding joints like the shoulder and elbow to maintain mobility and muscle function.
Breathing exercises allow for increased expansion of lungs and movements of joints in and around the rib cage. Postural precautions (not sleeping on the side of the operation for a few days for example) are also provided by the physical therapist.
The prevention of swelling in the lymph nodes (lymphedema) reduces levels of fatigue, helping patients to remain active.
2. Long term treatment
A physical therapist can help patients regain confidence, improve lung capacity, move without pain, remain physically active and live happy, healthy and productive lives. This is achieved using a combination of exercise therapy, manual techniques and home exercise programs.
Patients may also be asked to participate in group exercise activities involving other cancer patients. A social environment is a good way to promote rehabilitation and allow the patient to recover in a relaxed and comfortable environment.

The Road to Recovery

Ask your doctor if exercise is right for you, and if the answer is yes, request a referral to a physical therapist.
Your physical therapist will teach you a gentle, progressive exercise program and will encourage you to work within your pain limits. Wear lose, comfortable clothes as you do some gentle exercises. Never push yourself to the point of pain. Always take long, deep breaths, and never hold your breath while exercising. In the first few weeks of recovery, always exercise under the supervision of a physical therapist.
Physical therapy plays an important role in the road to recovery for patients with breast cancer. Give us a chance to help you, and we’ll show you everything we can do to change your life.
Forest Hills Rehabilitation
(888) 595-7282

physical Therapy Queens: Preparing For Orthopedic Surgery

Prehab - The Role of Exercise Before Surgery

If you or someone you know is preparing for an upcoming surgery, the information you are about to read will be very useful. Most individuals are familiar with the thought of rehabilitation after surgery, but the idea of pre-surgical rehabilitation is gaining recognition.

Often, there is a period of waiting involved prior to any surgery. This time is valuable, and it can be utilized to prepare the body for surgery and facilitate a better outcome after the surgical intervention. When muscles, bones and joints are in optimum condition before the procedure, the impact of the inevitable muscle loss and joint stiffness is minimized post operatively. Essentially, the stronger a person is going into surgery, the better the chances of an easier and faster recovery after the surgery.

Individuals who participate in a pre-surgical rehabilitation program tend to regain function and return to their daily lives faster than individuals who do not participate in pre-surgical rehabilitation. Traditionally, a physical therapist helps with post-surgical rehabilitation, but you may be surprised to learn that the therapist can also be your biggest ally during the ‘pre-hab’ process.

Pre-Surgical Rehabilitation 101
It is common for the region that is about to be operated on to be inflamed and weak. With a carefully planned exercise routine, a physical therapist can help reduce inflammation and improve blood circulation to the affected area. This improves mobility and helps with pain relief. This also helps promote correct movement patterns and minimize compensatory movements like leaning and uneven weight bearing.

Improving health and fitness, and being in optimal physical health can go a long way towards the facilitation of post-operative recovery.

These are some simple guidelines to follow with a pre-surgical rehabilitation program:

Start the program at least six weeks prior to the surgery.
Start slowly. This is not the time to aggravate an existing issue or trigger a new one.
If you are physically fit, consider increasing your intensity, frequency, or duration as long as it doesn’t interfere with your current injury.
Yoga is an excellent way to prepare both the mind and body for surgery. The combination of relaxation and soothing movements can be beneficial before and after surgery.
One of the requirements for post-surgical discharge is that a patient is able to complete certain activities. Your physical therapist will collaborate with the surgeon to design your goals and establish benchmarks for recovery. For example, you may be expected to walk a certain number of steps or climb stairs before you are allowed to go home. Once this pre-requisite is met, you can start a home exercise program. Patients who are physically prepared for surgery can leave the hospital sooner and are likely to suffer fewer complications.

Physical Therapy and Pre-hab
A consultation with your physical therapist will involve an evaluation to determine:

Muscle and joint strength
Ability to move and perform day-to-day tasks (climbing stairs, getting in and out of bed)
Degree of assistance required from friends and family members
By working with a physical therapist prior to surgery and creating a pre-surgery rehabilitation plan, you will create a strong foundation for rapid recovery. Similar to the post-surgical collaboration, you can expect your physical therapist to work closely with your doctors to facilitate recovery even before you have surgery.

The physical therapist will help you familiarize yourself with walking aides and other supportive devices like crutches, walkers, or canes should they be needed. You will discover the importance of breathing, proper techniques and range of motion of important exercises that you’ll be doing after the surgery. This will reduce the stress and apprehension associated with discharge and facilitate independence. As your physical therapists, we are committed to keeping you as healthy as possible. If you or someone you know is considering surgery, schedule a consultation with us. 'Pre-hab’ is a great way to speed up rehab and we are here to help you every step of the way.


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