Pelvic Floor Strengthening 101 – Prevent Pelvic Pain, Incontinence and More!

Pelvic Floor Strengthening 101 Call us for same-day appointment TODAY!   718-520-8480 108-14 72nd Ave, 4th Flr – Forest Hills – NY-11375 Have you heard of the pelvic floor? The pelvic floor includes a group of muscles and ligaments that form a “floor like” structure that supports key organs. These include the bladder and bowels (and uterus for women). A strong pelvic floor is important for preventing issues like urinary incontinence for men and women (the involuntary loss of control of urine) and pelvic organ prolapse. Pelvic organ prolapse occurs when the muscles and tissues supporting the organs (i.e. the pelvic floor) weaken. This can be caused by various issues including childbirth, aging, chronic cough, hormonal changes such as menopause, excessive straining due to constipation, constant lifting of heavy objects, obesity and pregnancy. How To Strengthen Your Pelvic Floor Muscles All men and women should regularly exercise the pelvic floor muscles. It is highly recommended that women do pelvic floor exercises daily to prevent weakness and, if needed, to improve the strength of the pelvic floor muscles. As with any muscle, consistently performing the right exercises always helps. Gentle exercises (like walking regularly) can also help strengthen the pelvic floor muscles. Identifying and Engaging The Right Muscles Step one = Identify the right muscles In order to identify where your pelvic floor muscles are, you want to tighten your muscles in that area. Identifying the muscles correctly is the first step towards muscle engagement and increased control. Step two = Learn to engage (contract) the pelvic floor muscles properly Contracting the muscles is not difficult, but you want to be sure you are doing it correctly. Begin by contracting the muscle upward and inward. The best way to think about this is – imagine you are going to the bathroom. You want to stop yourself midway (or midstream) by actively contracting your pelvic floor muscles. Step three = Pace yourself You need to train your pelvic floor muscles just as you would any other muscle group, through repetition. If you have any questions, please get in touch with one of our skilled physical therapists and we will be happy to steer you in the right direction. Kegels For Pelvic Pain Anyone who’s ever experienced pelvic pain or pelvic organ prolapse will tell you it’s a frustrating and painful ordeal. If you or a loved one suspect pelvic floor dysfunction, call your doctor for an immediate check-up. If your doctor recommends “shaping up” of the pelvic floor muscles, you might want to consider “Kegel Exercises” (most women have heard of Kegels). Experts agree that Kegel exercises are the most effective way to tone and strengthen the pelvic floor muscles. According to several studies, women after the age of 35 lose approximately 5% of their body’s muscle mass every 10 years. This loss of muscle mass affects every aspect of a woman’s body, including the pelvic region. So how can physical therapy help women (and men) tone and strengthen muscles, especially in the pelvic area? Physical therapists can design a full pelvic workout, including exercises called “Pelvic Clocks” and “Kegels” to strengthen the muscles in the pelvic region. To find out how you can benefit from these and other exercises, call our office today to schedule an appointment. Let us help you regain control of your pelvic floor muscles. Don’t wait until you suffer the symptoms of pelvic floor weakness to take action. Call us today and take preventive measures. Note: Please do not start any exercise routine without the consent of your physician.

Stay Healthy & Lose Weight During the Holidays – Holiday Food Consumption Guide 101

Stay Healthy and Lose Weight during the Holidays The holidays are a great time to celebrate with family and friends but they are also associated with an abundance of food and a decrease in physical activity. This can cause weight gain, which can cause aches and pains. With these 10 simple tips, you’ll be able to stay healthy (and possibly shed unwanted pounds) this holiday season: Always try to plan your meals, including snaking or dining out, at least two to three days ahead Be conscious about what you eat at all times Always exercise at least two to three times a week Limit your alcohol intake Drink more water Find healthy alternatives to traditional holiday foods Find ways to make physical activity a part of your family holiday experience Change your workouts to keep yourself motivated Savor the flavor of holiday foods – opt for quality, not quantity Learn to say “no” to certain foods and don’t give in to the social pressures of eating With a little bit of discipline and planning, this can be one of the healthiest holiday seasons you’ve ever had. Holiday Food Consumption Guide 101 If you are trying to lose weight, the holidays can be a challenging time. Here are some tips that will help you stay on track with your healthy eating lifestyle: Make sure your diet and exercise program is something you can stick with. Don’t restrict foods. This is a time to indulge a little, but remember to do so in moderation. Remind yourself of your goals by placing a sticky note or picture of “where you want to be” on your refrigerator or mirror. When visiting family or friends, make sure to eat something healthy before you visit, so you don’t overeat. Try to share your health and wellness goals with as many people as you can. You will be less likely to overeat. Sip water at regular intervals throughout the day. Carry a glass of water around with you at parties. This keeps your hands busy and stomach feeling full. Try to reach for the healthiest foods when you are hungry. Chew food slowly. It takes time for your brain to perceive ‘fullness’ in your stomach. Besides, chewing food slowly allows you to savor the taste of the food. Eating too quickly is a common cause of weight gain during the holidays since you consume more calories than the body needs. How Physical Therapy Can Help This Holiday Season Physical activity is extremely important at this time of the year, given the inevitable increase in calorie intake during the holidays. Diet is just one part of the equation, which is why physical therapy is so important. Physical therapy can play a valuable role in helping you stay healthy and pain free this holiday season. It’s a good idea to schedule an appointment with your physical therapist to learn a safe, effective exercise program to maintain optimum muscle strength and flexibility. When you combine discipline in your diet with a personalized exercise program, the holidays can become a time of great rejuvenation. Physical therapy can help relieve aches and pains with a combination of exercise and (possibly) massage. Massage can help relieve tight muscles and boost blood circulation. Give us a call right away and we’ll work with you to make this a healthy, happy, and safe holiday season. Our highly skilled, licensed physical therapists have been specially trained to help you enjoy the holiday season with a structured exercise and massage therapy program. Come to our clinic and enjoy a professional and relaxing environment. Let us help you make this a healthy holiday season.

The Importance of Sleep

The Importance of Sleep As your physical therapy providers, we help you relieve pain with a combination of exercises and other treatment techniques, but nothing helps muscle recovery more than rest and relaxation. We would like to take a moment to have you step back and help you reexamine the importance of sleep. Sleep is a very important part of our lives for the following reasons: 1. Learning and memory Sleep helps the brain commit new information to memory; a process called memory consolidation. 2. Metabolism and weight Being overweight can increase the likelihood of suffering from sleep disorders like apnea. On the other hand, chronic sleep deprivation may cause weight gain. That’s why the right amount of sleep is very important. 3. Mood/quality of life Lack of sleep (long- or short-term) may result in symptoms like irritability, impatience, inability to concentrate, and moodiness. In some cases, anxiety and depression are also likely to occur. 4. Cardiovascular health Serious sleep disorders like insomnia and sleep apnea have been linked to high blood pressure, increased stress hormone levels, cardiac arrhythmias, and increased inflammation. 5. Immunity/risk of disease Though all the mechanisms aren’t clear, scientists have found that sleep deprivation alters immune function. If you don’t get enough sleep, you may find yourself falling sick more often. How Much Sleep? 7 Hours or More… Sadly, we live in a sleep deprived society. Some studies suggest that 50 to 70 million Americans are affected by some type of sleep disorder. It’s likely that you need to make a conscious effort to get more (sound) sleep. The human body needs at least 7 to 8 hours of sleep every night. However, it’s not just the duration of sleep, but also the quality that matters. Lack of sleep can cause several problems. Aside from drowsiness, it can cause immune, nervous system, endocrine and cardiovascular issues. The Impact of Sleep Deprivation As your physical therapists, we want you to get the most out of every exercise routine we design for you, but adequate sleep is the foundation for recovery and strength. Sleep deprivation can set off a chain of events that can affect different parts of your life. These may include: Poor health caused by bad food choices. A study in the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine discovered that people, especially women, who suffered from sleep apnea tend to consume foods that are high in cholesterol, protein and fat. Impaired sugar metabolism and diabetes are more likely in those who get five hours of sleep (or less) a day. Both factors above can lead to weight gain and obesity. The incidence of car accidents increases when sleep deprived individuals are behind the wheel. Heart attacks are more likely when you sleep five hours or less. Balance problems and falls are more likely (especially in the elderly). Children who don’t get enough sleep tend to be irritable, and in extreme cases, show behavioral issues. When you get enough sleep, your body functions better. We want you to be the best you can be, physically and mentally, which is why we want you to get enough sleep. Getting enough sleep and planning an exercise program to improve your strength and flexibility will be one of the most important things you do in 2012, and we are standing by to assist you. Forest Hills Rehabilitation Our Website: Phone: 718-520-8480

Concussion Prevention in Children

Concussion Prevention in Children If your child participates in sports, there may be a cause for concern as it pertains to head injuries and concussions. Concussions can happen at any time, especially if your child is involved in a high impact sport like ice hockey. A groundbreaking study on Canadian junior ice hockey published in the November 2010 edition of Neurosurgical Focus uncovers alarming head injury/concussion data and trends that raise many questions about the safety and well-being of teenagers and young adults who participate in this popular sport. So what is a concussion? Basically, a concussion occurs when trauma to the head and neck causes a vigorous, unnatural impact to the brain. In most cases, the side-effects of a concussion are short-lived and appear as a headache. However, in some situations, a concussion may result in impaired brain function. So how do you prevent a concussion? Besides wearing a helmet, it’s crucial for children to learn neck-strengthening exercises. The strength and stability of the muscles of the neck and trunk will help minimize the impact of injuries and the likelihood of concussions in high impact sports like football and hockey. For children (and young adults) participating in sports, an evaluation from a licensed chiropractor or physical therapist can help determine potential areas of weakness and instability. Information from the evaluation will help your chiropractor and physical therapist design a neck-strengthening program that can help avoid serious injury and possible concussions due to weak neck muscles. Is it Really Possible? It’s almost impossible to prevent concussions, but it is possible to reduce their risk. One of the easiest and most effective ways to reduce the risk of a concussion is to wear a protective helmet. Even if a sport does not require the use of a helmet, we strongly suggest that you encourage your child to use one anyway. The earlier you can instill this habit, the better. Teach them that a helmet is not an option but a necessity. If children begin wearing helmets at an early age, they will be more likely to use them as they grow older instead of thinking that a helmet is not ‘cool’ enough. The first rule for your child’s safety should be: “If you want to play, you need to wear a helmet.” Chiropractic and Physical Therapy For Concussions What is the damage caused by a concussion? Concussions can be detected years after they occur in MRI scans as ‘white spots’. The meaning of these spots is often debated, along with the long-term impact of a concussion. Regardless of the severity of concussions, you want to minimize them as much as possible. Concussions have been known to cause temporary visual impairment, speech impairment, balance issues, memory loss and other problems. How long these effects last depends upon the severity of the concussion and the time between when the concussion occurred and when it was treated. Chiropractic and Physical therapy can help Your chiropractor and physical therapist can work closely with other health professionals responsible for your child’s safety. The therapist can help your child by creating a structured, personalized neck strengthening and core strengthening program. This will minimize the risk of concussions. If your child works closely with a coach, a trainer and a chiropractor or physical therapist, he or she will be able to handle the physical stress associated with the sport. When it comes to the head and neck region, an ounce of prevention is certainly worth (more than) a pound of cure. Give our office a call and set up an appointment to discuss how we can help your young athlete be safe and injury free. Phone: 718-520-8480 or 888-595-7282

Health Update: Neck Pain

Neck Pain – Can Chiropractic Really Help? Neck pain is a very common problem affecting up to 70% of the adult population at some point in life. Though there are specific causes of neck pain such as arising from a sports injury, a car accident or “sleeping crooked,” the vast majority of the time, no direct cause can be identified and thus the term nonspecific is applied. There are many symptoms associated with patients complaining of neck pain and many of these symptoms can be confused with other conditions. Wouldn’t it be nice to know what neck related symptoms are most likely to respond to chiropractic manipulation before the treatment has started? This issue has been investigated with very favorable results! The ability to predict a favorable response to treatment has been termed, “clinical prediction rules” which in general, are usually made up of combinations of things the patient says and findings from exams. In a large study, data from about 20,000 patients receiving about 29,000 treatments, was collected and analyzed to find out what complaints responded well to chiropractic treatment. The results showed that the presence of any 4 of these 7 presenting complaints predicted an immediate improvement in 70-95% of the patients: 1. Neck pain; 2. Shoulder, arm pain; 3. Reduced neck, shoulder, arm movement; 4. Stiffness; 5. Headache; 6. Upper, mid back pain, and 7. None or one presenting symptom. Items not associated with a favorable immediate response included “numbness, tingling upper limbs,” and “fainting, dizziness and light-headedness in 4-12% of the patients. The “take-home” message here is that was far more common to see a favorable response (70-95%) of the patients compared to an unfavorable response (4-12%), supporting the observation that most patients with neck complaints will respond favorably to chiropractic treatment. So, what do we do the chiropractors at Forest Hills Rehabilitation do when a patient presents with neck pain? First, after gathering preliminary information such as name, address and insurance information, a history of the presenting complaint is taken. This consists of information including what started the neck complaint (if you know), when it started, what makes it worse, what makes it better, the quality of pain (aches, stiff, numb, etc.), the location and if there is radiating complaints, the severity (0-10 pain scale), timing (such as worse in the morning, evening, etc.), and if there have been prior episodes. Various questionnaires are included that are scored so improvement down the road can be tracked and a past history that includes a medication list, past injuries or illnesses, family history and a systems review are standard. The exam includes vital signs (BP, pulse, height, weight, temperature and respiration), palpation, range of motion, orthopedic and neurological examination. X-ray and/or other “special tests” may also be included, when needed. A review of all the findings are discussed and after permission to treat is granted, a chiropractic adjustment may then be rendered. A list treatment options may include: Adjustments; Soft tissue therapy (trigger point stimulation, myofascial release); Physical therapy modalities; Posture correction exercises and other exercises/home self-administered therapies; Education about job modifications; Co-management with other health care providers if/when needed. Please visit our chiropractic forest hills page for more information: or call anytime toll-free: (888) 595-7282

Joint Pain – Chiropractor at Forest Hills Rehabilitation

Is Joint Pain Slowing You Down? Any injury that affects the ligaments, cartilage or bones can contribute to joint pain. Joint pain can affect any part of the body from your neck to your feet. Joint pain is common amongst seniors, but anyone can be affected by it. It can occur all of a sudden, and can be sharp and painful (acute joint pain). On the other hand, it can last longer and can be dull and achy in nature (chronic joint pain). One of the causes of joint pain is bursitis (inflammation of the bursae). The bursae are fluid-filled sacs that cushion and pad bony prominences, allowing muscles and tendons to move freely over the bone. Arthritis, traumatic injuries, sprains and strains can contribute to joint pain. At times, joint pain may be associated with tingling, numbness, or weakness. Symptoms like these should be reported to a physician as quickly as possible. Joint pain can trigger muscle compensations across your body, which is the body’s way of helping you cope with the joint pain. Overcoming Joint Pain In most cases, joint pain can be treated with progressive, supervised exercise which is exactly where your physical therapist can help. Exercising will also help you reduce or maintain your ideal weight, which helps decrease stress on weight-bearing joints like the hip and knee. Walking is the easiest exercise. No special equipment is needed, other than a good pair of walking shoes. Parking further away from your destination will help increase walking distance. Using the stairs instead of the elevator is another way to get some extra exercise. If you have joint pain, a warm bath and massage can provide some short-term pain relief. Your physician may ask you to get some rest, and seek the advice of a licensed physical therapist. Gradual, progressive stretching is a good way to reduce joint pain. Please consult a physician or a physical therapist before you start stretching. Physical Therapy and Joint Pain Joint pain is an indication that you may need professional help. It may be a result of an undetected condition or an injury. Your physical therapist will conduct a detailed evaluation to determine the cause of your joint pain. Expect your physical therapist to ask questions to get to the root of the problem. These questions include: What caused your pain? Which joint hurts? Is the pain on one side or both sides? How long have you had this pain? What is the nature or type of pain? Have you injured yourself in any way? To learn more about how physical therapy can help you deal with joint pain, please call us today and schedule an appointment. We don’t want you to experience any type of pain, and as the experts in joint motion and muscle strengthening, we would like to do everything possible to assist you. Our goal is to help you lead a pain-free lifestyle.  

Treating Neck Pain and Headaches

The Neck and Headache Connection Patients with headaches also commonly complain of neck pain. This relationship is the rule, not the exception and therefore, treatment for headaches must include treatment of the neck to achieve optimum results. The term, “cervicogenic headaches” has been an accepted term because of the intimate connection between the neck and head for many years. There are many anatomical reasons why neck problems result in headaches. Some of these include: The first 3 nerves exiting the spine in the upper neck go directly into the head. They penetrate the muscles at the top of the neck near the attachments to the skull and therefore, any excess pressure on these nerves by the muscles or spinal joints will result in irritation and subsequent pain. The origin or nucleus of the 5th cranial nerve called the Trigeminal, innervates the sensation to the face and is located in the upper cervical region near the origin of the 2nd cervical spinal nerve, which innervates sensation to the back of the head up to the top. Therefore, problems located in the upper neck will often result in pain radiating up from the base of the skull/upper neck over the top of the skull to the eyes and /or face. The 11th cranial nerve that innervates the upper shoulders and muscles in the front of the neck arises from the top 5 to 7 spinal cord levels in the neck. Injury anywhere in the neck can result in spasm and pain in these large muscle groups. Other interconnections between the 2nd cervical nerve and trigeminal/5th cranial nerve include communication with the 7th cranial / facial nerve, the 9th cranial / glossopharyngeal nerve, and the 10th cranial / vagus nerve. These connections can affect facial muscle strength/movements, taste, tongue and throat movements, and stomach complaints such as nausea from these three cranial nerve interconnections, respectively. When patients seek treatment for their headaches, a thorough examination of the neck, upper back, and cranial nerves is routinely performed for the above reasons. It is common to find upper cervical movement and vertebral alignment problems present in patients complaining of headaches. Tender points located between the shoulder blades, along the upper shoulders, on the sides of the neck and particularly, at the base of the skull are commonly found. Pain often radiates from the tender point over the top of the skull when pressure is applied in the upper neck/base of the skull area. Tenderness on the sides of the head, in the temples, over the eyes, and near the jaw joint are also common. Traction or pulling the head to stretch the neck is often quite pain relieving and this is often performed as part of the chiropractic visit and can also be applied at home with the use of a home cervical traction unit. Chiropractic adjustments applied to the fixated or misaligned vertebra in the upper neck often brings very satisfying relief to the headache sufferer. Exercises that promote movement in the neck, as well as strengthening exercises are also helpful in both reducing headache pain and in preventing occurrences, especially with stress or tension headaches. courtesy: Forest Hills Rehabilitation

Hip Pain & Physical Therapy

Hip Pain & Physical Therapy Never Ignore Hip and Thigh Pain (Here’s Why) The hip is an important weight bearing joint in the human body. Repetitive stress to the femur (thigh bone) over time can lead to the formation of cracks in the hip joint, which is the junction of the pelvis and the femur. For most individuals, simple cracks can heal over time without the need for surgical intervention. For others, it may escalate into a fracture. A fracture can occur in one of three possible locations – at the top near where the femur joins the pelvis, in the middle of the thigh bone, or the bottom near the knee joint. The femur reaches a breaking with a fall (a particular risk for seniors), vehicle accident, or during competitive sports. Regardless of the location of the fracture, an individual will experience extreme pain and movement restriction. Tingling or numbness in the area may accompany the pain, along with swelling and the inability to walk, stand or tolerate pressure on the leg. If left untreated, complications may include uncontrolled bleeding, blot clots, infection and pneumonia. The femur is a major weight-bearing bone and the rate at which it heals is dependent on factors such as age and underlying medical conditions such as diabetes. Full recovery can take approximately 12 weeks to several months and may require surgical intervention. Get Treatment Immediately… Time is of the Essence Thomas Edison once said, “There is time for everything”. We live in a very busy world, and it’s easy to ‘ignore the pain’ and just carry on. But as your physical therapists, we can tell you that it’s important to make time for a physical therapy evaluation if you have any pain or discomfort. If you have hip pain, it’s important to rule out a fracture in the hip joint and seek physical therapy right away. This will protect your balance, ability to walk unhindered, eliminate pain and improve bone strength. Depending upon the severity of the injury and the stage of recovery, physical therapy may involve a combination of exercise, stretching, balance training and pain relief modalities. When the correct movement pattern is reinforced in the muscles and joints, the process of recovery begins. This is called ‘neuromuscular re-education’ and includes a variety of advanced techniques to speed up recovery. The use of water as a medium to reduce pain and swelling, increase strength and improve mobility is also helpful. Massage under the guidance of the physical therapist also helps relieve pain and improve mobility. Several exercise programs can be prescribed to build core and pelvic floor strength to aid in balance and prevent falls. In some cases, the therapist may recommend mobility devices such as crutches and canes. Hip Hip Hurray! Let’s face it – no one wants to be in crutches or have to struggle to walk. Hip pain can impact every aspect of life, from getting out of bed in the morning to driving and walking. The good news is that physical therapy has two significant benefits for anyone with hip pain: – Improve healing so you have less pain and can get back to doing the things you enjoy doing. – Prevent further damage to the hip joint and reduce your risk of falls. The benefit of physical therapy extends beyond strength improvement in the hip joint and pelvic muscles. This can also help reduce or treat low back pain, improve posture and boost the quality of life. Hip Hip Hurray to that! If you or someone you know is experiencing hip discomfort, please have them contact our office. You can also call our office and request us to call them on your behalf, and we will reach out to them. (718) 520-8480 – We are committed to serving your needs and improve the health and well-being of everyone in our community. Thank you for the opportunity to assist you. Forest Hills Rehabilitation 108-14 72nd Avenue, 4th Floor, Forest Hills, NY 11375

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