Life is a Movement Journey, Here’s How PT Can Help

Now that spring has arrived, temperatures are starting to rise in New Orleans. And that means the transition from heating our homes to cooling our homes is right around the corner. No matter what method you use to cool your home during the warm spring and summer months (central air conditioning, window units, or fans and dehumidifiers), each spring you cross your fingers that your approach still works. If not, you might be calling an expert for a tune-up, or in extreme circumstances, you might need a complete overhaul.

Just like an AC system that has probably been dormant for many months of the year, a body that hasn’t been physically engaged on a regular basis may have trouble getting started again. And yet, this time of year, the warm temps draw many people to city and suburban streets, tracks and trails, ready to take that first run of the season. A good percentage of these spring runners haven’t kept up their strides throughout the winter. It should come as no surprise that a 4-mile run for a previously inactive person is going to stir up a few aches and pains. Especially as we age, our ability to move undergoes changes. But whether we’re talking about a college student or a retiree, returning to an activity without proper planning is a recipe for disaster. That’s where physical therapy comes in. Physical therapists are trained to treat injuries and ease the pain, but they can also help their patients prevent injuries and safely prepare to participate in new activities.

Think of physical therapists as “movement consultants” who can ensure that your body is physically ready to tackle a new challenge—or resume a favorite leisure activity. Here’s another example to illustrate what we’re talking about: Let’s say that you play in an adult soccer league and you’re preparing to play in your first game of the season in a few weeks. You probably hung up your cleats when the last season ended months ago, but expect to pick up just where you left off. But it’s simply too much to ask for your 2019 debut on the field to be on the same level as the last game of the previous season when you likely had reached peak performance.

This is a good time for you to let Baudry PT step in and help you shake off the rust. We can customize an exercise plan to help you slowly return to sport and avoid an injury that could sideline you for the whole season. Or like cleaning the filters before firing up your air conditioner for the first time this year, the rehab expert can help to ensure that your body is prepared to return to its former activity level following a hiatus. Let us get you back in the game. Call 504.841.0150 to book your appointment today!

5 Healing Mechanisms to Help You Recover

5 healing mechanisms to help you heal faster

As physical therapists, we deal with injury every day. Our job is to assist patients in accelerating the healing process. The better a patient manages their injury, the better the outcome.  Injuries cause inflammation, pain and movement dysfunction.

A successful recovery depends in large part, on the extent of the injury and how the injury is managed.

Our bodies have a tremendous capacity for healing, if we help it. Often times the very things we do or don’t do cause extended and unnecessary delays in healing.

Many are familiar with the old RICE acronym: Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevation. This is a good place to start immediately after an injury, but there is often much more to do.

To maximize your healing,  follow these 5 steps:

  1. Manage the swelling

    Swelling is the body’s natural reaction to an injury. It occurs as a result of the body bringing in healing nutrients to the area of injury. The swelling is the byproduct of healing reactions. Excessive swelling can delay healing, and cause pain and stiffness. Compression and elevation are 2 good ways to manage swelling. These actions help the body reabsorb and dissipate the excess fluid, allowing the body to flush it out. You can achieve compression with an ACE wrap, a compression-type garment, or a compression pump. Elevation simply means getting the injured body part above your heart level to allow gravity help disperse the swelling.

  2. Manage the activities that put strain on the injured tissues.

    If you load an injured tissue with too much force it will have a hard time healing. Working through pain is seldom a good idea. This is where consulting a physical therapist can be beneficial. A physical therapist is skilled at determining what activities will make the injury worse and what activities will make it better. Tissues heal better when the harmful daily activities which can perpetuate the injury, are effectively managed. It’s important to recognize these harmful activities to reduce the likelihood of a repeated injury to the same tissue. Imagine if you keep pulling on an open cut, it certainly will have a hard time healing.

  3. Promote healthy inflammation

    Inflammation is our body’s natural way of healing. It’s only when inflammation is prolonged or out of control that poses a problem. Appropriate levels of exercise/activity help manage inflammation naturally. Light resistance exercise will increase circulation to the injured tissue and stimulate the body’s natural healing mechanisms.

    Another way to improve and manage inflammation is to increase circulation to injured tissues.  Soft tissue mobilization stimulates blood flow to the injured tissues. It can be done by hand or with instruments like balls and massage tools. Sometime doctors will use techniques to improve circulation to injured tissues. The only way to accelerate healing is to improve circulation and manage the waste products of the swelling. The better the inflammatory process is managed, the faster the body heals.

  4. Re-condition the injured tissue

    Healing tissues need stimulation to grow strong. Physical therapists use modified tension to appropriately load the injured tissue to stimulate healing. The right amount of resistance activities will put light strain on the injured tissue, but at a level that stimulates regeneration. The level of exercise must be below pain threshold to be beneficial. Exercising above pain threshold is not advised and will lead to compensations or delayed healing. The right amount of resistance, challenging but not painful, will produce best results.

  5. Address compensations, muscle imbalances and weaknesses that affect the injured tissue

Each of us have weak, tight muscles that affect our risk for injury. This is where physical therapists use smart or corrective exercise. Corrective exercise promotes movement symmetry. And symmetry of movement has been shown to reduce injury risk.  Tight, weak or overdeveloped muscles may contribute to an injury and delay healing. Strengthen the right things and the body will respond positively. Your recovery will be more rapid and complete.

When injuries occur, work through these 5 steps to accelerate the healing process. Consult with a physical therapist if you have any questions.