Sunday, July 31, 2011

Fibromyalgia and Physical Therapy

What is Fibromyalgia?

Fibromyalgia is a pain condition which is characterized by chronic widespread body pain, fatigue, and tender points throughout muscles, joints, and other soft tissues.  These tender points can be located in the neck, shoulders, back, hips, arms, and legs.  

What other symptoms are found in people diagnosed with Fibromyalgia?

    --Numbness and tingling in hands/feet
    --History of depression and/or anxiety
    --Difficulty sleeping

How is Fibromyalgia diagnosed?

It is important to know that the cause of Fibromyalgia is not known but it is believed that there is a change in how the brain interprets pain in the body.  Physicians will often diagnose a patient with Fibromyalgia if the patient has had pain for longer than 3 months and at least one of the symptoms from the list above.  Along with this there must be at least 11 tender points (out of 18) around the body.  Before a formal diagnosis is made a thorough physical examination should be completed to rule out other disorders.  Physical therapy is often used to rule out this chronic condition by decreasing symptoms with manual therapy and normalizing body movement.  

Once diagnosed with Fibromyalgia how can Physical Therapists help? 

Recent research has shown that exercise can help decrease the symptoms  associated with Fibromyalgia.  "Aerobic conditioning, aquatic exercise, stretching, strengthening ... recreational activities, and manual therapy/or modalities for pain relief have shown to decrease pain and  improve function, general physical health and sleep in individuals with Fibromyalgia."1  The problem is that people with this diagnosis are often reluctant to participate in exercise secondarily to the fear of exacerbating their symptoms.  "A Physical therapist can help an individual learn to interpret pain signals, and manage and decrease symptoms through exercise."1  Physical therapists are healthcare's experts in restoring and improving motion in people's lives.  Your physical therapist at Hayashida and Associates Physical Therapy Hcan help develop a individualized treatment program.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Understand Pitching Mechanics to Avoid Injury

As baseball becomes more competitive at all levels of the game more and more parents, players, and coaches are worried about the health of the athlete’s throwing arm.  “Each year nearly 6 out of 10 young pitchers hurt their elbows.1 One of the main keys to having a long sporting career is preventing injury.  Over the past 10 years guidelines have been put in place at all levels to help avoid injury.  These guidelines often work to limit pitch counts per practice, per game, or per week.  Recently the Journal of Orthopedic Sports Physical Therapy (JOSPT) added new insight to the forces placed on the elbow and shoulder during baseball throwing. 

What did the study show us?

The study of 17 college-level pitchers attempted to look at pitching mechanics during fastball pitching both on and off a mound as well as long distance throwing (>180 feet).  The researchers found that participants tended to lean farther forward as the pitching distances increased.  The forward lean increased the forces placed at the elbow and shoulder. 

My Advice

Flat-ground throws fewer than 120 feet should be used as warm-up or conditioning exercises.  Increasing the distance beyond this point can cause injury or inhibit full rehabilitation to a recovering player.  Physical Therapists are often touted as “movement experts.”  This means that physical therapists can best analyze movement patterns during pitching and can retrain athletes to use safer pitching movement patterns.  This makes Physical Therapists the best in the medical profession to “progress pitching in a way that helps recover and to limit future injury.”1

Reference:   J Orthop Sports Phys Ther 2011;41(5):304. doi:10.2519/jospt.2011.0503