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News Room: October is Physical Therapy Month

Ankle Sprains
The Physical Therapist can design a specific treatment program for you to follow at home to help speed your recovery.  The therapist will advise you to use 10 – 15 minute ice treatments , elevate your swollen ankle and possible use bandages or supports for the first 24 – 48 hours.  (R.I.C.E.  = Rest, Ice, Compress, and Elevate).  More severe sprains may require a special brace to provide extra support for your ankle.  The therapist can also instruct you on the use of crutches if necessary.

As you recover, it is important to regain your range of motion, muscle strength and balance after the injury.  A therapist can instruct you in a home program to aid in your recovery.

Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo (BPPV)
BPPV is an inner ear problem that causes short periods of dizziness when your head is moved in certain positions.  It occurs most commonly when lying down, turning over in bed or looking up.  No medication has been found to be effective in treating BPPV.  A Physical Therapist can perform very specific head and neck exercises that are designed to move the crystals from the semicircular canal back into the appropriate area in the inner ear (in the utricle).

The most common treatment is called the Epley maneuver and the therapist will instruct you how to move through a series of 4 positions of your head.  There are also other techniques that might be used and your therapist will determine which will be the most effective for you.

Backpack Safety
Make sure the weight of the backpack is not more than 10 – 15 % of your child’s weight.  Only those items required for the day should be carried.  It is best to organize the backpack by placing the heaviest items closest to the back.  If possible, have two sets of books so that they do not have to be carried back and forth to school each day.  Encourage your child to use both straps so that the backpack is better distributed.  Using only one strap causes one side of the body to bear all of the weight and can lead to back pain and poor posture.

Gardening and Yard Work
Warm up before you begin – you will be using muscles that might not have been used for a while.  Try a 10 minute walk followed by some stretches for your upper and lower back, neck, arms and legs.  Don’t overdo it!  If you experience an aching , slow down and stretch, or stop and switch to a different task for a while.  Use a garden cart or a wheelbarrow to move tools and heavy items.  Don’t kneel on both knees.  Keep one foot on the ground to give your back more stability.  Change positions frequently to avoid stiffness or cramping. End your time working in the yard by taking a short walk or some light stretching.  Take a warm bath or shower to help prevent next-day soreness.

Snow Shoveling
Snow shoveling is a repetitive activity that can cause muscle strain to the lower back and shoulders.  These injuries are more likely to happen to individuals that do not know that they are out of condition.  Here are some tips to help prevent injury.  Lift smaller loads of snow, not heavy shovelfuls.  Use a shovel with a shaft that lets you keep your back straight while lifting.  A short shovel will cause you to bend more and a long shovel will make the weight at the end heavier.  Step in the direction in which you are throwing the snow to prevent your low back from twisting.  Take frequent breaks when shoveling.  Stand up straight and walk around to extend your low back.  Backward bending exercises while standing will help reverse the excessive forward bending of shoveling: stand straight and tall, place your hands toward the back of your hips and bend backwards slightly for several seconds.


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