Therapy Achievements is dedicated to helping people with physical, cognitive and visual limits re-gain function and reach their potential. By providing out-patient physical, occupational and speech therapy services, we help people maximize their independence and reach their potential. Our multi-disciplinary team approach to rehabilitation enables us to tailor your plan of care to your specific and unique needs.
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Lymphatic Flow By Cathy McNeely
I have been a Physical Therapist since 1989. Being a Certified Lymphedema Therapist with a background in orthopedics/sports medicine, I am always searching for innovative therapeutic exercises and natural remedies to improve lymphatic flow and return in my patients with swelling.
Complete Decongestive Therapy which involves Manual Lymph Drainage, use of compression (compression bandaging, vasopneumatic pumps, and/or compression garments) and remedial exercises is the standard for treating any chronic swelling in the body. Chronic swelling is generally thought of as swelling that lasts greater than 6 weeks. The majority of time lymphedema therapists treat the superficial lymphatic system which is present in the tissues below skin, but above muscle. The deep lymphatic system is present in the abdomen and each internal organ has lymph nodes associated with it. The difference between regular body fluid and lymphatic fluid is mainly the presence of large protein molecules and fat cells. During a twenty-four hour period, 2-4 liters of fluid are processed through our lymphatic system. If there is a dysfunction in the venous and/or lymphatic system these large protein molecules can build up in the tissues causing hardness of skin and eventually fibrosis. The good news is that the lymphatic system can be stimulated to take up the extra fluid and protein molecules so that skin can be soft again!
So knowing that what you take in your body is being circulated throughout might make you think twice about what you put in. A diet that has lots of water, is low fat and low sodium, and full of fresh and frozen vegetables is what is recommended for lymphatic health. An eating plan like this will help your system eliminate toxins and improve your immunity. I have been informed of some unusual herbs that can assist with lymphatic drainage including : Cleavers (Galium aparine), Calendula officinalis (Pot Marigold), Echinacea agustifolia (Narrow-leafed pale Purple Cornflower), Astragalus (astragalus membranaceus), Dandelion (Taraxacm officinale), Wild Indigo Root (Baptisia tinctoria), and others. See HERBS That Promote Lymphatic Drainage, October 12, 2014 by Hillary Hilliard.
Occasionally I treat patients with swelling in their abdomen post-liposuction or other abdominal surgeries. I began taking Pilates classes 17 years ago and I have taught a community Pilates class. I saw the benefit of the timing of deep breathing with muscle contractions, especially of the pelvic floor, transverse abdominus, and iliopsoas to assist the lymphatic system in picking up more fluid.
Many times physicians have not been informed about how much Complete Decongestive Therapy can help their patients with swelling. These patient’s swelling continues longer and becomes more severe over time. If you have swelling in your body you may need to ask your physician to refer you for this type of therapy. At Therapy Achievements I am able to utilize the skills I have obtained over the years in both Complete Decongestive Therapy and Pilates-method exercise to benefit my patients.
Loss of a limb produces a permanent disability that can impact a patient’s self-image, self-care, and mobility (movement). Rehabilitation of the patient with an amputation begins after surgery during the acute treatment phase. As the patient’s condition improves, a more extensive rehabilitation program is often started.
- Level and type of amputation
- Type and degree of any resulting impairments and disabilities
- Overall health of the patient
- Family support
It is important to focus on maximizing the patient’s capabilities at home and in the community. Positive reinforcement helps recovery by improving self-esteem and promoting independence. The rehabilitation program is designed to meet the needs of the individual patient. Active involvement of the patient and family is vital to the success of the program.
The goal of rehabilitation after an amputation is to help the patient return to the highest level of function and independence possible, while improving the overall quality of life—physically, emotionally, and socially.
- Treatments to help improve wound healing and stump care
- Activities to help improve motor skills, restore activities of daily living (ADLs), and help the patient reach maximum independence
- Exercises that promote muscle strength, endurance, and control
- Fitting and use of artificial limbs (prostheses)
- Pain management for both post-operative and phantom pain (a sensation of pain that occurs below the level of the amputation)
- Emotional support to help during the grieving period and with readjustment to a new body image
- Use of assistive devices
- Nutritional counseling to promote healing and health
- Vocational counseling
- Adapting the home environment for ease of function, safety, accessibility, and mobility
- Patient and family education
Lymphedema, also known as lymphoedema and lymphatic edema, is a condition of localized fluid retention and tissue swelling caused by a compromised lymphatic system, which normally returns interstitial fluid to the bloodstream. The condition is most frequently a complication of cancer treatment or parasitic infections, but it can also be seen in a number of genetic disorders. Though incurable and progressive, a number of treatments can ameliorate symptoms. Tissues with lymphedema are at high risk of infection.
Traumatic brain injury, often referred to as TBI, is most often an acute event similar to other injuries. That is where the similarity between traumatic brain injury and other injuries ends. One moment the person is normal and the next moment life has abruptly changed.
In most other aspects, a traumatic brain injury is very different. Since our brain defines who we are, the consequences of a brain injury can affect all aspects of our lives, including our personality. A brain injury is different from a broken limb or punctured lung. An injury in these areas limit the use of a specific part of your body, but your personality and mental abilities remain unchanged. Most often, these body structures heal and regain their previous function.
Brain injuries do not heal like other injuries. Recovery is a functional recovery, based on mechanisms that remain uncertain. No two brain injuries are alike and the consequence of two similar injuries may be very different. Symptoms may appear right away or may not be present for days or weeks after the injury.
One of the consequences of brain injury is that the person often does not realize that a brain injury has occurred.
MS symptoms are variable and unpredictable. No two people have exactly the same symptoms, and each person’s symptoms can change or fluctuate over time. One person might experience only one or two of the possible symptoms while another person experiences many more.
Explore the list below to find more information about the symptoms you or someone you care about may experience. Most of these symptoms can be managed very effectively with medication, rehabilitation and other management strategies. Effective symptom management by an interdisciplinary team of healthcare professionals is one of the key components of comprehensive MS care.
Occurs in about 80% of people, can significantly interfere with the ability to function at home and work, and may be the most prominent symptom in a person who otherwise has minimal activity limitations.
Related to several factors including weakness, spasticity, loss of balance, sensory deficit and fatigue, and can be helped by physical therapy, assistive therapy and medications.
Numbness of the face, body, or extremities (arms and legs) is often the first symptom experienced by those eventually diagnosed as having MS.
Refers to feelings of stiffness and a wide range of involuntary muscle spasms; can occur in any limb, but it is much more common in the legs.
Weakness in MS, which results from deconditioning of unused muscles or damage to nerves that stimulate muscles, can be managed with rehabilitation strategies and the use of mobility aids and other assistive devices.
The first symptom of MS for many people. Onset of blurred vision, poor contrast or color vision, and pain on eye movement can be frightening — and should be evaluated promptly.
People with MS may feel off balance or lightheaded, or — much less often — have the sensation that they or their surroundings are spinning (vertigo).
Bladder dysfunction, which occurs in at least 80% of people with MS, can usually be managed quite successfully with medications, fluid management, and intermittent self-catheterization.
Very common in the general population including people with MS. Sexual responses can be affected by damage in the central nervous system, as well by symptoms such as fatigue and spasticity, and by psychological factors.
Constipation is a particular concern among people with MS, as is loss of control of the bowels. Bowel issues can typically be managed through diet, adequate fluid intake, physical activity and medication.
Pain syndromes are common in MS. In one study, 55% of people with MS had “clinically significant pain” at some time, and almost half had chronic pain.
Refers to a range of high-level brain functions affected in more than 50% of people with MS, including the ability to process incoming information, learn and remember new information, organize and problem-solve, focus attention and accurately perceive the environment.
Can be a reaction to the stresses of living with MS as well as the result of neurologic and immune changes. Significant depression, mood swings, irritability, and episodes of uncontrollable laughing and crying pose significant challenges for people with MS and their families.
Studies have suggested that clinical depression — the severest form of depression — is among the most common symptoms of MS. It is more common among people with MS than it is in the general population or in persons with many other chronic, disabling conditions.
Speech problems, including slurring (dysarthria) and loss of volume (dysphonia) occur in approximately 25-40% of people with MS, particularly later in the disease course and during periods of extreme fatigue. Stuttering is occasionally reported as well.
Swallowing problems — referred to as dysphagia — result from damage to the nerves controlling the many small muscles in the mouth and throat.
Tremor, or uncontrollable shaking, can occur in various parts of the body because of damaged areas along the complex nerve pathways that are responsible for coordination of movements.
Seizures — which are the result of abnormal electrical discharges in an injured or scarred area of the brain — have been estimated to occur in 2-5% people with MS, compared to the estimated 3% of the general population.
Respiration problems occur in people whose chest muscles have been severely weakened by damage to the nerves that control those muscles.
Pruritis (itching) is one of the family of abnormal sensations — such as “pins and needles” and burning, stabbing or tearing pains — which may be experienced by people with MS.
Although headache is not a common symptom of MS, some reports suggest that people with MS have an increased incidence of certain types of headache.
About 6% of people who have MS complain of impaired hearing. In very rare cases, hearing loss has been reported as the first symptom of the disease.
Parkinson’s disease (PD) is a neurodegenerative disorder that affects predominately dopamine-producing (“dopaminergic”) neurons in a specific area of the brain called substantia nigra.
Symptoms generally develop slowly over years. The progression of symptoms is often a bit different from one person to another due to the diversity of the disease. People with PD may experience:
- Tremor, mainly at rest and described as pill rolling tremor in hands. Other forms of tremor are possible
- Slowness of movements (bradykinesia)
- Limb rigidity
- Gait and balance problems
Stroke is one of the leading causes of long-term adult disability, affecting approximately 795,000 people each year in the U.S. The very word “stroke” indicates that no one is ever prepared for this sudden, often catastrophic event. Stroke survivors and their families can find workable solutions to most difficult situations by approaching every problem with patience, ingenuity, perseverance and creativity. Early recovery and rehabilitation can improve functions and sometimes remarkable recoveries for someone who suffered a stroke
After a serious injury, illness or surgery, you may recover slowly. You may need to regain your strength, relearn skills or find new ways of doing things you did before. This process is rehabilitation.
Rehabilitation often focuses on
- Physical therapy to help your strength, mobility and fitness
- Occupational therapy to help you with your daily activities
- Speech-language therapy to help with speaking, understanding, reading, writing and swallowing
- Treatment of pain
The type of therapy and goals of therapy may be different for different people. An older person who has had a stroke may simply want rehabilitation to be able to dress or bathe without help. A younger person who has had a heart attack may go through cardiac rehabilitation to try to return to work and normal activities. Someone with a lung disease may get pulmonary rehabilitation to be able to breathe better and improve their quality of life.
Physical therapists (PTs) are highly-educated, licensed health care professionals who can help patients reduce pain and improve or restore mobility – in many cases without expensive surgery and often reducing the need for long-term use of prescription medications and their side effects.
Physical therapists can teach patients how to prevent or manage their condition so that they will achieve long-term health benefits. PTs examine each individual and develop a plan, using treatment techniques to promote the ability to move, reduce pain, restore function, and prevent disability. In addition, PTs work with individuals to prevent the loss of mobility before it occurs by developing fitness- and wellness-oriented programs for healthier and more active lifestyles.
Physical therapists provide care for people in a variety of settings, including hospitals, private practices, outpatient clinics, home health agencies, schools, sports and fitness facilities, work settings, and nursing homes. State licensure is required in each state in which a physical therapist practices.
Visual Retraining Exercise for Stroke Patients
Physical, Occupational & Speech Therapy for
- Balance and Mobility
- Speech and Swallowing
- Lymphedema Therapy
- Driving Rehab
- Functional Living Skills