February was National Heart Awareness Month, so we wanted to take a moment and discuss the difference in heart attack symptoms between men and women.
MEN AND WOMEN ARE DIFFERENT!
Shocking…. I know. Heart attacks and heart disease are just another way that men and women differ. Although, both genders are susceptible to heart disease and heart attacks, a woman presents differently during a heart attack than a man does. Unfortunately, for us women, it is less clear that what is actually a serious concern is not “just nothing” like heartburn, the flu, or anxiety.
In fact, HEART DISEASE is the number ONE killer of women in America. So how do we know if we are having a heart attack?
- Uncomfortable pressure, squeezing, fullness or pain in the center of your chest
- Pain in one or both arms, back, neck, jaw, or stomach (MORE DIFFUSE THAN THE CLASSIC SIGNS OF LEFT ARM PAIN IN MEN)
- Shortness of breath (aka dyspnea)
- Cold sweats, nausea, lightheadedness, dizziness
- Extreme fatigue
ANY of these signs may indicate heart attack, therefore, if present, call 911 immediately.
Women are MORE LIKELY to present with atypical symptoms of heart attacks than men, however, chest pain is still a pretty good indicator to go to the nearest ER.
HOW can we prevent heart disease and heart attacks?
- Get Active! If you already have cardiac disease, or any other co-morbidity, your physical therapist is the best person to determine an exercise program for you!
- Eat Better! Diets lower in fat and bad cholesterol are proven to lower the risk of heart disease.
- Lose weight
- Stop smoking: this is the number one risk factor for heart disease and can cut your risk of coronary heart disease in half if you QUIT!
- Manage your blood pressure: High Blood pressures may be a sign of a more serious problem, and if managed effectively, can prevent your risk of more serious issues
So, to recap, as women we have a lot of heart! We consistently put our families and loved ones first in our lives, often brushing our own needs off. It’s especially important for us to take care of health, however, so that we can live long enough and well enough to continue to make the most of time with our families!
Karla Wente, PT, DPT, CLT
Legacy Physical Therapy
Women’s Health Clinical Resident
BONE HEALTH FOR ALL AGES:
Why does bone health matter?
Healthy bones can help you stay strong and active throughout your life. If good bone health is achieved during childhood and maintained, it can help to avoid bone loss and fracture later in life. For bones to be healthy, it is important to maintain physical activity with a healthy, balanced diet full of calcium, vitamin D, and other supplements as needed.
So what is a physical therapist’s role in bone health?
Physical Therapists are experts in the movement system. They can help patients achieve peak mobility and strength, all while keeping your individualized care in mind. The advanced knowledge of PTs is especially important for patients who already have compromised bone health or risk for fracture like: osteoporosis, female athlete triad, fad dieters, obesity, post-menopause age, long-term steroid therapy, cigarette smoking, high alcohol intake. This is not a complete list! Based on information HERE: Fracture Risk Factors!
What is osteoporosis and what does it have to do with physical therapy?
Osteoporosis is a common bone disease that affects both men and women (mostly women), usually as they age. It is associated with low bone mass and increased fragility of bones, making them more susceptible to breakage. This is typically diagnosed by a physician with a bone mineral density scan, taking into account blood levels of vitamin D, calcium, and history of prior fracture. For more information about osteoporosis in general look at: National Osteoporosis Foundation!
Physical therapists are the ideal providers to create an exercise program for those individuals who have osteoporosis, osteopenia (low bone density, but not quite osteoporosis), or those who have risk factors for fracture or falling. PTs are trained, as part of their 3 year doctoral program, to understand postural alignment, movement, gait analysis, balance, and the importance of weight bearing exercise to increase bone density and prevent injury.
So what are weight-bearing exercises and how can I do them?
First off, noone who is at risk for falls, fracture, or who has a known medical condition should start an exercise program without the consultation of a physical therapist or physician first!
Second, weight-bearing exercise includes anything the stresses the bones through their long axis. This includes:
- Walking (best results for strengthening the femoral neck, thereby decreasing risk for hip fracture)
- Yoga (Controversial: may provide whole body weight-bearing, however, can increase risk of lumbar bending which can increase compression fractures; Additionally, fall risk should be assessed before performing higher level balance exercises.) Read more here: Yoga, vertebral fractures, etc.
- Dancing (Those dancing with the stars celebrities are protecting their bone density!)
- Tai Chi (TONS of benefits, see effects on bone density HERE)
So, isn’t this just for “older” people?
NO! Starting healthy habits sooner ensures more compliance later. It is much more difficult to start an exercise program after diseases or injuries have already occurred, so better sooner than later! Additionally, your peak bone mass is about 18 in women and 20 in men…. so START NOW!
For fun activities for your loved ones who are younger check out: Best Bones FOREVER!
What does posture have to do with it?
Obviously, as a physical therapist, I am biased about good posture. However, I know how hard it is to make this a habit. The reason it is so important is that proper posture can prevent injury, pain, falls, and FRACTURE. This is critical for those high risk people! Here are some tips:
- Remember the plumb line: Keep ears in line with shoulders in line with hips in line with ankles. See PLUMB LINE!
- Use pillows when sitting or lying to support yourself in a good position.
- Bend your knees and keep your back relatively straight while you lift things. Always keep loads close to your body.
- Maintain regular fitness as staying active can prevent injuries.
Remember: By 2020, over 50% of Americans are expected to have osteoporosis. Let’s try to keep that number lower and reduce fracture risk in the future!
If you feel you are at risk or you already have osteoporosis, call us today at Legacy Physical Therapy to set up an appointment to see how physical therapy can help. 636-225-3649
Karla Wente, PT, DPT, CLT
Legacy Physical Therapy
Clinical Resident in Women’s Health Physical Therapy at Washington University in St. Louis
Did you know that there are physical therapists who focus especially on female issues? In fact, there are physical therapists here in St. Louis who are Board Certified in Women’s Health Physical Therapy (WCS).
There are multiple times in a woman’s life in which physical therapy may be appropriate. We will talk about 2 important time periods in this article: 1) during pregnancy, and 2) postpartum
Physical therapy can be a wonderful adjunct care provider during pregnancy to help with common pain complaints such as:
- Low back pain
- Sacroiliac joint dysfunction
- Carpal tunnel syndrome
- Pelvic and pubic pain
- Foot pain
- Incontinence (bladder leakage)
- Round ligament pain
Physical therapy treatment during pregnancy may include:
- Posture education to avoid injury and decrease pain
- Manual therapy to restore alignment and improve soft tissue guarding
- Therapeutic exercises for improving muscle performance and posture
- Abdominal and pelvic floor training
- Fitting for various support belts to help with stability and pain
If you are like many pregnant women, you may have concern about what exercises are appropriate during pregnancy. A physical therapist is a great resource for instruction on the do’s and don’ts of exercise during pregnancy.
The stresses of pregnancy, vaginal deliveries, and C-sections may lead to myofascial complications following the birth of the baby. Many women suffer in silence because they feel their symptoms are “Normal” after they have a baby. Fortunately, many of these symptoms can be easily treated by a physical therapist specializing in postpartum care.
Common Postpartum Complaints include:
- Low back and lower extremity pain
- Upper back and neck pain associated with breastfeeding
- Upper extremity pain or numbness associated with child care
- Diastasis recti: Separation of the abdominal muscles which commonly occurs during healthy pregnancies.
- Pain with intercourse or orgasm
- Clitoral, vaginal, rectal, pubic, or tailbone pain
- Pain and decreased mobility at scar of C-Section, episiotomy, or perineal tear
- Pelvic floor weakness
- Urinary or fecal incontinence
- Urgency and frequency
- Pelvic pain
How Physical Therapy Can Help:
- Soft tissue mobilization, myofascial release, deep tissue massage
- Therapeutic exercise for improving abdominal and pelvic floor muscle performance
- Posture, lifting techniques and biomechanics
- Home exercise program
- Abdominal binder/brace fitting
- Scar massage
- Therapeutic ultrasound to breakup clogged milk ducts
- Modalities for pain control
- Instruction in return to exercise safely
- Instruction in proper lifting/carrying of baby, stroller walking, and other activities of daily living to avoid injury
Pregnancy, childbirth and childcare are all events that result in significant physical changes and new stresses on a woman’s body. Women’s Health Physical Therapists are specifically trained to meet the special needs of women during this time of their lives and beyond.
Call us today at 636-225-3649 to set up your FREE SCREENING to see if physical therapy is right for you.
The American Physical Therapy Association (APTA) and fellow members of the Therapy Cap Coalition, a group of almost 50 associations, organizations, patient and consumer groups, are working together to make sure Congress addresses the Medicare therapy cap before December 31, 2013.
APTA representatives have been a constant presence on Capitol Hill all year long, advocating for a permanent repeal of the Medicare therapy cap, but it’s crucial that legislators hear from their constituents. Thus, the Therapy Cap Coalition has created several coordinated grassroots opportunities to maximize impact.
Already, the coalition raised awareness with a 24-hour social media and e-mail effort on November 3, 60 days ahead of the expiration of the therapy cap exceptions process. But your help is still needed!
Take Action TODAY!!!
Use e-mail and social media to flood Congress with messages on December 2, 30 days ahead of the expiration of the therapy cap exceptions process.
Ask your legislators to permanently fix the therapy cap or at the very least extend the exceptions process by December 31, 2013.
Download the APTA Action app (members and nonmembers). Search “APTA Action” in the Apple or Google Play app stores to download the app, then select the “Action Center” button to e-mail your legislators.
Urge at least one friend or family member to use the Patient Action Center to send a prewritten e-mail to their legislators.
We at Legacy Physical Therapy know how beneficial physical therapy can be for our patients. We do not want the therapy cap to limit patient’s ability to receive quality care here. Please take a minute to contact your legislator today!!
Legacy Physical Therapy is excited to announce that we are now offering health coaching services. Legacy’s owner, Brooke Kalisiak has had personal success with the Take Shape for Life program. Read her personal story below:
“When I had my son 7 years ago I put on 70 pounds and never really lost the baby weight. With the long hours of work involved in the opening and running Legacy Physical Therapy, my health got put on a back burner. Finding out that my best friend was getting married in Clearwater Beach, Florida in February 2014 was the motivation I needed to get healthy. On July 1, 2013 I started the Take Shape for Life program. I am still a work in progress, but as of October 1, 2013 I have lost 34 pounds. See my Before/During photos below. I have more energy, am sleeping better, and generally just feel better. I am passionate about the success I have had with the program and have therefore decided to pay it forward and assist other people in achieving optimal health.”
Result may vary. Typical weight loss is 2-5#/week in the 1st 2 weeks and 1-2#/week thereafter.
Legacy Physical Therapy’s Health Coaches help you understand your unique health risks and create a unique and individualized plan to optimize your health. The health revolution at Legacy Physical Therapy uses proven strategies and simple lifestyle changes that make your health and wellness wishes a reality. With the help of your FREE health coach you can:
- Lose 2-5 pounds per week for the first 2 weeks and 1 to 2 pounds per week thereafter.
- Learn how to keep it off with this physician recommended plan.
Contact one of our health coaches today at 636-225-3649 to develop a health improvement plan that works!
Vaginal pain is a condition that millions of women will deal with at some point in their lives. Unfortunately many women will never seek treatment or if they do they will be told that there is nothing wrong or nothing can be done. An article in The New York Times urges women to be persistent in seeking treatment, because there are things that can be done.
One of the treatment options recommended is pelvic physical therapy. Check out our website for more information on how physical therapy can help.
National Women’s Health Week is a weeklong health observance coordinated by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Office on Women’s Health. It brings together communities, businesses, government, health organizations, and other groups in an effort to promote women’s health. The theme for 2012 is “It’s Your Time.” National Women’s Health Week empowers women to make their health a top priority. It also encourages women to take the following steps to improve their physical and mental health and lower their risks of certain diseases:
- Visit a health care professional to receive regular checkups and preventive screenings.
- Get active.
- Eat healthy.
- Pay attention to mental health, including getting enough sleep and managing stress.
- Avoid unhealthy behaviors, such as smoking and not wearing a seatbelt or bicycle helmet.
In observation of National Women’s Health Week, the American Physical Therapy Association in combination with the Section on Women’s Health has created a wonderful resource: Women’s Health Across the Lifespan. This eBook is intended to provide insight into some of the many conditions common to women and the many ways in which a Women’s Health Physical Therapist can help to treat them. There are some conditions that women may be hesitant to discuss with their healthcare providers. The good news is that conditions such as incontinence, pelvic pain, lymphedema, those that occur during pregnancy and following birth, and others, can all be treated by a physical therapist, often with solutions that do not involve surgery or long-term use of prescription medications.
Here at Legacy Physical Therapy, we hope that you take this call to action to heart and take charge of your health. If you are dealing with any of the conditions discussed in Women’s Health Across the Lifespan, we hope that you contact us at 636-225-3649 to set up your FREE screening to see how physical therapy can help.
HAPPY NATIONAL WOMEN’S HEALTH WEEK!
IT’S YOUR TIME!
Do you go to the bathroom when you don’t need to “ just in case,” hoping you won’t have to when it is inconvenient? Just in Case peeing or JIC’ing can cause havoc for your bladder. By JIC’ing you are actually training your bladder to empty more frequently and often prematurely. This can lead to bladder issues such as urgency, frequency, and leakage.
To break yourself of this habit, before you JIC trying asking yourself “Do I really have the urge to go to the bathroom now or am I going because it is convenient?” If the answer is the latter then do not go to the bathroom. Instead wait until you feel an urge to urinate.
Working with a pelvic physical therapist can be a great way to help you break this bad habit and retrain your bladder if you have already developed symptoms of urgency, frequency, or leakage. Check out Legacy Physical Therapy for information on how physical therapy can help and call us today for your FREE screening 636-225-3649.
Bladder control issues are not a normal part of aging and they are definitely not something that you just have to live with!!!! Take this short quiz courtesy of the American Urogynecologic Society to find out if it is time for you to do something to take back control of your bladder.
YES NO Are you using the bathroom so often it disrupts your day?
YES NO Do you find yourself making a mental note of where all the bathrooms are when you enter a building?
YES NO Do you find it hard to make it to the bathroom, maybe even having accidents sometimes?
YES NO Are you using pads or other forms of protection to absorb bladder leakage?
YES NO Are you worried that you will leak with sneezing, coughing, lifting heavy objects, laughing, exercising?
YES NO Have tampons become too uncomfortable to use or do they fall out?
YES NO Are you experiencing pressure or bulging in your vagina, especially after you stand for long periods of time?
YES NO Has your urine stream become weak or turned into spray?
If you answered YES to one or more of these questions, consider talking to your physician about your symptoms and available treatment options. To learn more about physical therapy as a treatment option for bladder control issues visit the Legacy Physical Therapy website or call us at 636-225-3649 to set up your free screening appointment.
Back in May, I posted about my own personal fitness challenge for National Women’s Health week. It is now almost 2 months later and I realized that I have not updated anyone on my status. If you remember I signed up for the Rock ‘n Roll St. Louis half marathon on October 23rd.
These past 5 weeks I have been trying to keep up with a training schedule for a 5K race, so that when it comes time to start the training for the half marathon at the beginning of August, I am in decent enough shape to do so. In this training program I am supposed to be running at least 3 days a week. I have to say that I am not succeeding at this too well. I am lucky if I get in 2 times per week.
It took me until now to make the connection, but now it is pretty obvious to me that my poor running and update frequency are linked! From now on I am going to use this link to help hold me accountable. Starting today, I will post weekly what I did in my training program, as well as give updates on how the running and attempt at weight loss are going. What better way to be held accountable than to openly post about your progress and get your friends and supporters involved. SO HERE GOES…
WEEK 5 Training
2 2.5 mile runs completed, both on the treadmill, which is not my favorite at all. I still have to do a run/walk combination, but that is getting better.
WEEK 5 Body Stats
Weight: 230 lbs Height 6’2″
Biceps 15″ Bust 44″ Waist 41″ Hip 48″ Thigh 29″
I am not going to post body stats every week, but I wanted to get these measurements down and out there so that I knew there was no turning back.
I hope you will join me in your own personal fitness challenge and we can motivate each other together!!