Did you know that humans spend roughly a third of their lives sleeping? Even though we sleep to “rest”, your body and brain really need that down time to keep your body functioning optimally. In the U.S., 62% of our population experiences sleep problems several nights per week. We know there’s mounds of evidence that poor sleep can lead to a myriad of health issues such as diabetes, dementia, increased fall risks, to name a few. So how does your team at I.P. address your sleep health when typically, your sessions at the clinic are far from restful?!? Because an added bonus from your PT sessions and a question we are always interested in throughout your rehab process – are you sleeping better?
Sleep quality and pain perception are inversely related. The worse sleep you get, the higher sensitivity to pain you have. The more pain you have, the harder it is to get to sleep, stay asleep, and sleep efficiently. Poor sleep over the lifespan is closely related to cardiovascular issues, depression, anxiety, cognitive function and impairs motor skill learning. All of these contributing factors can make the rehab process slower than it should, or could be.
The therapists at I.P. care about how you’re sleeping – we ask questions about whether symptoms flare at night, how your symptoms vary before and after waking. The immune system works in synchrony with your body’s sleep-wake cycle. We have pro-inflammatory processes that enable our body’s immune response to be working overtime while we sleep. Additionally, our stress systems (like the sympathetic nervous system) downregulate during sleep, allowing us to fight off illness and promote tissue healing in the body.
The work we do at I.P. promotes a healthy sleep-wake cycle during your sessions, and our therapists are able to make specialized sleep hygiene recommendations to help your sleep cycle improve. Exercises or postural adjustments to your sleep habits can also help to reduce disturbances that are causing sleep disruption.
Check out this gentle exercise that’s simple to perform right before bed!
Taking a break from movement…what about sleep?Jennifer Valerio2022-06-22T22:35:50+00:00
Overwhelmingly, studies show that regular exercise boosts your immune system. The somewhat obvious caveat to this is that you must not overtrain or injure yourself in the process…this would lead to a major decrease in your immunity. In comes physical therapy to save the day!
Did you know physical therapists do way more than just address acute and chronic injuries? They prescribe series of movements and exercises that will protect and enhance your overall physical functionality (our therapists do this in a very specific way). These series of targeted exercises can help boost your immune system in ways regular exercise does not. One example of this, is that some exercises can be prescribed can help flush bacteria out of lungs and airways which reduce the likelihood of getting sick with a virus (Virvick & Zieve, 2020).
Another great example of how physical therapy can strengthen your immune system, is by improving the quality and amount of sleep you are getting. If you are one of the 60 million Americans that has sleep related problems, physical therapy can help reduce the underlying pain or discomfort that prevents you from great, uninterrupted sleep. Through expert evaluation and analysis, our team can work directly with you to resolve those underlying ailments and get your resting easy again!
Finally, physical therapy can reduce stress related hormones that suppress the immune system. Physical therapy can reduce these stress hormones in a number of ways. One way is the indirect benefit of being pain free. Pain is a leading cause of stress; physical therapy can help reduce pain which will directly reduce stress levels. Similarly, studies have shown that elevated levels of anxiety can negatively affect systemic systems in the body and ultimately lower your ability to fight disease (Otto et al., 2007). Physical Therapy can target and improve the performance of these systems to keep your body functioning and healthy. Staying healthy is more important than ever, especially now!! Contact your I.P. team with any questions or to see how we can help you start boosting your immune system today!
Otto, M. W., Church, T. S., Craft, L. L., Greer, T. L., Smits, J. A., & Trivedi, M. H. (2007). Exercise for mood and anxiety disorders. Primary care companion to the Journal of clinical psychiatry, 9(4), 287–294. https://doi.org/10.4088/pcc.v09n0406
What is prehab? And why does it matter? Prehab is just a fancy term for physical therapy before an event or occasion. This could be surgery [surgery is a top one] but PRP, marathon/military training or even activities of daily living are included. Prehab differs from rehab in that it is a proactive plan designed to prepare you for whatever life brings at you next. Here at IP, you know we love pumpin’ prevention to help patients optimize their potential!
Prehab has recently gained more traction in the research community. On the surgical side, prehab before surgery increased the likelihood of a successful recovery by 38% in one study (Gillis et al., 2014). Another study showed that patients who pre-habbed prior to surgery reduced the total health care costs to the patient by 45% (Gometz et al. 2018). Meaning that prehab can not only set you up for a better and easier recovery from surgery but can save you money in the process.
In non-surgical situations, prehab seriously decreases the chances of injury. Getting ready for hiking or ski season, but know it always bothers you knees for days afterwards? Preparing for a race but feel like your back has always held you back from really hitting your peak? Trying to pass physical testing for military testing? Prehab at IP would be of benefit to you! With our specialized biomechanical tips and tricks, we can help you prevent falls, sports injuries among other orthopedic ailments.
If you or someone you know is interested in learning more about how prehab could benefit you, ask one of your IP team members and we are more than happy to help get you started!
Gillis, C., Li, C., Lee, L., Awasthi, R., Augustin, B., Gamsa, A., Liberman, A. S., Stein, B., Charlebois, P., Feldman, L. S., & Carli, F. (2014). Prehabilitation versus rehabilitation: a randomized control trial in patients undergoing colorectal resection for cancer. Anesthesiology, 121(5), 937–947. https://doi.org/10.1097/ALN.0000000000000393
Gometz, A., Maislen, D., Youtz, C., Kary, E., Gometz, E. L., Sobotka, S., & Choudhri, T. F. (2018). The Effectiveness of Prehabilitation (Prehab) in Both Functional and Economic Outcomes Following Spinal Surgery: A Systematic Review. Cureus, 10(5), e2675. https://doi.org/10.7759/cureus.2675
Prehab vs Rehab: How Physical Therapy Increases OutcomesJennifer Valerio2021-12-08T16:15:44+00:00
The days are getting shorter, the air is crisp and cool (and kind of gloomy)…We’ve been hearing consistently across our patient groups that the motivation to move is down and the craving for comfort foods are up. Did you know that physical activity levels decline significantly in the winter months? This seasonal decline in activity is connected to higher blood pressure, increased body fat and many other health related problems (Shepard & Aoyagi, 2009). The color changes this fall sure have been exceptionally beautiful, but your I.P. team wants to help keep you moving as we transition into winter months!
We know as the weather cools down and days get shorter it gets increasingly difficult to exercise – especially before the opportunities for winter activities begin. Keeping up with exercise and eating nutritious meals are ways to combat the season change in activity and boost your energy levels. Your I.P. Team wants to give you some tips to keep the body, mind and spirit hardy as we head into hibernation season!
Exercise of the Month – Bear Crawl [into hibernation]
Getting outside to exercise may not be as much of an option in the fall and winter for many people. Dr. John and Dr. Lindsey recommend a simple exercise that you can do at home in any open space to stave off the seasonal slump. Try adding this Slider Bear Crawl for 8-10 reps for 2-3 sets to keep your low back stable and your core strong! From this 4-point position, slide feet back to a plank position and return to starting. For more simple exercises you can do at home or modifications, don’t forget to ask Dr. John, Dr. Lindsey or Jen when you come in for your appointment.
Tag us on social media when trying these exercises out!
We can’t talk about staying healthy through seasonal changes outside of our control, without talking about mental health. Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) effects 5-10% of the U.S. population. If you’re feeling the winter blues, you’re not alone! Some ideas to help lift your spirits:
Get outside when you can for some Vitamin D
Stay in touch with friends and family
Join a group activity, take a class with a friend
Stay safe and stay warm!
Shephard, R. J., & Aoyagi, Y. (2009). Seasonal variations in physical activity and implications for human health. European Journal of Applied Physiology, 107(3), 251–271. https://doi.org/10.1007/s00421-009-1127-1