Physical Therapy Can Help with Balance and Fall Prevention

By Jackie Oliver, DPT
jackie@excelptmt.com

According to the APTA website, one-third of people over the age of 65 and up to half of people over the age of 80 will end up falling this year. Falls can diminish your ability to lead an active and independent lifestyle. Decreased balance and increased risk of falling are two things that inevitably come with aging. Fortunately, there is something you can do about it. 

Balance has contributions from three sources; the inner ear, the feeling on the bottom of the feet, and your vision. If anyone of these is affected it can really decrease your balance. For example, if you suffer from macular degeneration that affects your vision or diabetic neuropathy that affects your ability to feel the bottom of your feet, then you may be at greater risk of falling. Other contributing factors include age, lower extremity weakness, using a cane or other walking device, medical conditions like stroke or Parkinson’s disease or a history of previous falls. If you have any of these risk factors and are concerned about falling, then physical therapy can help. 

Physical therapists are highly trained professionals that can conduct balance assessments to determine if you are at an increased fall risk. If the screening shows that you are at risk, we can design a program tailored to your specific needs to help decrease your risk of falling. Strength, gait, range of motion and balance are all things that may be included in your plan of care to improve balance. 

Staying active is one of the best ways to reduce your risk of falling. Yoga, gardening, Tai Chi or a regular walking program are all things that have been shown to increase a person’s confidence levels, improve body awareness and improve balance. Falling or fear of falling should not simply be accepted as a normal aspect of aging. A lot can be done to improve balance and keep you functioning at your highest possible level and physical therapy can help you get there. 

Jackie Oliver, DPT is a physical therapist at Excel Physical Therapy in Bozeman and Manhattan, Montana.

WHAT IS DIRECT ACCESS AND WHY YOU SHOULD CARE?

By Jackie Oliver, DPT
jackie@excelptmt.com

Direct Access. It sounds like an exclusive VIP backstage pass but, in reality, it’s an all access pass for individuals to see their physical therapist without a doctor’s referral. That’s right, you don’t have to spend time and money to go see a doctor before seeking physical therapy treatment. 

A study done by GALLUP, asked individuals which profession was the safest and most effective for treating neck pain. Overwhelmingly people answered physical therapy.  Though surprisingly when asked what profession they sought treatment from first, only 6% said physical therapy.  Most went to their medical doctor first. 

A lot of people are not aware that physical therapy is a direct access profession. Direct access benefits you in many ways. It streamlines your care, by eliminating the time between a physician’s appointment and getting in to see your physical therapist. By seeing your physical therapist first, you can start to improve your function, decrease pain and restore quality of life without delay. Furthermore, you could save hundreds of dollars on care. Medical doctors may do x-rays or prescribe medications that can end up costing a lot of money but don’t really solve your problems. Physical therapy is a great alternative to dangerous opioids and is often more effective than opioids, and in some cases surgery. If you think that your injury or pain is musculoskeletal in nature, a physical therapist should be your first stop. This will promote optimal outcomes and recovery. 

Not sure if we can help? Physical therapists are highly-trained professionals that are well equipped to be able to recognize if a problem isn’t musculoskeletal in nature and, if necessary, able to refer you on to the proper health care professional to address your issue. Physical therapists are not meant to take the place the of physicians, in fact, we work very closely with them to optimize your care. Keep physical therapy in mind the next time you have an ache or a pain that just won’t go away. We can help get you back to doing what you love. 

Call us today to schedule a thorough physical therapy evaluation in our Bozeman or Manhattan office.

Advanced Training...we're at it again! Jackie Oliver, DPT completes shoulder and knee course in Seattle

By Jackie Oliver, DPT
jackie@excelptmt.com

Jackie Oliver, DPTphysical therapist with Excel Physical Therapy of Bozeman and Manhattan, recently completed the Kevin Wilk Shoulder and Knee Course in Seattle, Washington. This advanced-training course presented the most recent, relevant and state-of-the-art treatment options for the most challenging and unusual problems of the shoulder and knee joints. This evidence-based course also focused on the most comprehensive and effective information regarding shoulder and knee post-operative treatment as well as rehabilitation tactics for general knee and shoulder pain. Kevin Wilk is our country’s leading authority in sports and orthopedic injury rehabilitation.

What's The Best Medicine For Your Back Pain?

By Jackie Oliver, DPT
jackie@excelptmt.com

It’s summer time and all you want to do is to be outside enjoying the weather and many outdoor activities that Bozeman has to offer. The only problem is, you have this nagging low back pain holding you back. You keep thinking, should I stay home and rest it or do you push forward and continue participating in the activities that you love? Will you hurt your back more if you charge full steam ahead? 

Statistics show that up to 80% of people will experience low back pain at some point in their lives. It is considered the leading cause of activity, limitation and work absence throughout much of the world. The good news is that most of the time, low back pain has a favorable diagnosis. The question remains, what do you do in the meantime? 

Research shows that even though it might feel like you are doing your back a favor by taking a few rest days. In reality, you are doing yourself a disservice. It has been demonstrated that best rest after an acute onset of low back pain can lead to secondary complications such as depression, blood clots and decreased muscle tone. 

Studies show that moving is the best medicine for your low back. Early resumption of normal or vocational activities will help you get back on your feet sooner.  Promoting movement, such as stretching, while avoiding aggravating activities will help your back feel better. By incorporating low intensity, submaximal fitness and endurance type activities into your daily routine, you will help keep your back strong and decrease your chance of suffering from reoccurring low back pain. Specifically, exercises that target your core, low back and legs will help support your spine. 

The thing to remember is that there are many different causes of low back pain and many ways to treat it. If movement and exercise doesn’t decrease your low back pain and it continues to persist, a visit to your local physical therapist may be beneficial to help get you on the fast track to feeling better.

 

Jackie Oliver, DPT completed her Doctorate in Physical Therapy at the University of Utah in Salt Lake City, Utah. Jackie is a certified dry needling provider with advanced training from Evidence in Motion and KinetaCore. Jackie has an intense passion for helping and educating others as well as preventative medicine. Because of her college sports background, Jackie loves working with athletes and has experience with biomechanical training and injury prevention in sports. Prior to completing her Doctorate in Physical Therapy, Jackie played basketball for Carroll College in Helena, Montana, while also obtaining a Bachelor of Arts degree in Health Science. Jackie was Academic All-American her last two years at Carroll. Jackie enjoys outdoor activities such as downhill skiing, trail running, disc golf and especially enjoys hiking with her husband and two dogs. 

Are You an “ACTIVE" Couch Potato? 

By Jackie Oliver, DPT
jackie@excelptmt.com

A big draw to the city of Bozeman, Montana is the proximity to recreational activities and easy access to outdoors. In this community, we are above average when it comes to being active but have we really decreased our health risks? We exercise on a regular basis so we don’t have to worry about the slogan “sitting is the new smoking”, right? Wrong. A growing body of evidence has demonstrated a decreased life expectancy for those individuals who sit for most of the day, even if they exercise on a regular basis. It is entirely possible to meet the current physical activity guidelines outlined by the World Health Organization, while still being incredibly sedentary. (more…)

"Great work, very friendly environment, flexible schedule." --Bozeman Patient

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