About Flex Therapist

FlexTherapist CEUs provides professional online training to Physical Therapists and Physical Therapist Assistants. Our courses are approved by boards throughout the United States for CE renewal. We blog about news and research related to the field of physical therapy that will keep licensed professionals informed.

New study aims to improve walking in children with cerebral palsy

Noelle Moreau, Ph.D., PT, Associate Professor of Physical Therapy at LSU Health New Orleans School of Allied Health Professions, and Kristie Bjornson, PT, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Pediatrics at Seattle Children’s Research Institute, are the co-principal investigators of a $2.7 million grant to study an innovative training method to improve walking in children with cerebral palsy (CP). The five-year grant was awarded by the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health & Human Development of the National Institutes of Health.

The researchers, at LSU Health New Orleans and Seattle Children’s Research Institute, will compare short bursts of vigorous intensity locomotor treadmill training to traditional locomotor treadmill training. Children with CP are at greater risk for inactivity and functional decline with age. Children’s physical activity patterns are very different from adult patterns, yet the current locomotor treadmill training protocols designed to improve walking in children with CP simulate adult protocols.

Full story at News-Medical

The New Postacute Care Payment Systems: 5 Tips to Help You Find Your Way

There’s no doubt about it: the new payment system that the US Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) put in place in October for skilled nursing facilities (SNFs), and the system that will start up for home health agencies (HHAs) on January 1, 2020, represent major changes by Medicare. And like most major changes, the new approaches have sparked myths, misunderstandings, and inaccurate interpretations—sometimes at the expense of physical therapists (PTs) and physical therapist assistants (PTAs) who work in the SNF and HHA settings and their patients.

Discussions on what would become the new systems—the SNF payment model is called the Patient-Driven Payment Model (PDPM) and the HHA approach is known as the Patient-Driven Groupings Model (PDGM)—began 3 years ago, and APTA immediately began a dialogue with CMS that continues to this day. Those interactions, fueled by strong grassroots efforts among APTA members and other stakeholders, have helped to shape final rules that are far from perfect but significantly less problematic than many of the early proposals from CMS.

Full story at APTA

Facial injuries related to cell phones have risen steeply

According to the study, which was published yesterday in JAMA Otolaryngology-Head & Neck Surgery, the incidence of these head injuries spiked around the year 2007, when the first iPhone was introduced.

Most of the injuries occurred among people aged between 13 and 29 years and were due to being distracted by cell phones whilst driving, walking, and texting.

The research was led by a facial plastic surgeon Boris Paskhover at Rutgers New Jersey Medical School, who says his experience treating patients with cell phone injuries prompted him to investigate the problem.

Full story at News-Medical

10 exercises for a pinched nerve in the neck

A pinched nerve is a nerve that has become irritated or compressed. The nerve is not necessarily pinched, but people use this term to refer to a range of symptoms. A pinched nerve can occur at various sites in the body, including the neck. When it affects the neck, doctors call it cervical radiculopathy.

A person with a pinched nerve in the neck may experience tingling, numbness, or weakness in their neck, shoulders, hands, or arms. Pinched nerves often appear with age or due to arthritis or wear and tear on the spine.

Many people with pinched nerves are reluctant to exercise because of pain and tingling. However, staying still can actually make the pain worse because it can cause tension and wasting in nearby muscles.

Full story at Medical News Today

Beyond Opioids: The Future of Pain Management

March 14, 2018 — Cindi Scheib wanted to die.

A three-day weekend spent jumping and dancing on Labor Day 2014 had left her with a neck injury – specifically the cervical spine – that was possibly an exacerbation of an unrecognized mountain biking injury earlier that year. To make matters worse, her doctor performed the surgery to fix the injury on the wrong part of her spine.

Now 54, Scheib has lived with constant neck pain and other unusual sensations throughout her body ever since. These sensations, including electrical shocks down her spine, buzzing, vibrating, burning sensations, ringing in her ears and sensitivity to normal noises, had gotten so bad, she said, that “I wanted to go to bed and not wake up tomorrow. This life was so bad, so horrible, that I couldn’t imagine how I was going to live the rest of whatever life I had,” says the Harrisburg, PA, nurse.

Full story at WedMD

Magnetic nano-sized disks could restore function for Lou Gehrig’s disease patients

For decades the renowned English physicist Stephen Hawking lived with a motor neuron disease until his death last year. People who suffer from this condition lose functionality of brain cells that control essential muscle activity, such as speaking, walking, breathing and swallowing.

To help individuals afflicted by MNDs, UTSA has embarked on revolutionary research that uses magnetic nano-sized disks and magnetic fields to individually modulate functionality to crucial neurons. This research could open the door to reversal of degenerative conditions like Hawking’s to restore the quality of life for about 1 million adults across the globe.

Full story at Medical-News

Standard methods not adequate to detect prosthetic joint infections in rheumatic disease patients

Standard diagnostic methods are not adequate to identify prosthetic joint infections (PJIs) in patients with rheumatic diseases, according to findings from a new study by researchers from Hospital for Special Surgery (HSS) in New York City. The study was presented at the American College of Rheumatology/Association of Rheumatology Professionals annual meeting in Atlanta on November 12.

Lead study author Susan M. Goodman, MD, a rheumatologist at HSS, said that while patients with rheumatic diseases are more prone to developing PJIs, it is also harder to make a PJI diagnosis in this population because many of the typical inflammation features of PJIs are similar to those seen in inflammatory arthritis flares. “If a patient with osteoarthritis comes in with a swollen and inflamed prosthetic joint, it is an infection until proven otherwise, but for patients with rheumatoid arthritis, it can be very hard to sort out whether this is part of an overall flare of disease or if it is a true infection,” she said. “None of the available tests are that helpful.”

Full story at News-Medical

On the PTA Payment Battleground, We Are All APTA

I was working as a physical therapy technician when Congress instituted the Medicare cap on therapy services on January 1, 1999. I was to graduate as a physical therapist assistant (PTA) in May of that year, and, at that time, I had no idea or even much concern about what the cap would mean for our profession or my career.

I heard horror stories about layoffs of physical therapists (PTs) and PTAs due to the payment changes, but as a new graduate I was focused solely on finding a job in my chosen profession. It was not until years later, when I began working in outpatient care and seeing problems with payment, that I realized the importance of getting involved with advocacy.

Since that time, I have been as engaged as possible at the local, state, and national levels to be part of the solution to problems that arise for our profession, including payment for the services that we provide to our patients on a daily basis.

Full story at APTA

New Research: Prescriptions for Narcotics Are Surging for Knee Pain

Although physical therapy and lifestyle changes have been shown to bring significant improvements to those with knee osteoarthritis, new research suggests U.S. physicians may be leaning toward pain medications instead.

Published in Arthritis Care & Research, the study looks at 2,297 physician visits for the condition, data that’s kept in a national database. Researchers found that PT and lifestyle suggestions—like losing weight, quitting smoking, eating healthier foods, and getting more exercise—declined from 2007 to 2015, while prescriptions for nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, narcotics, and opioids increased.

In fact, during study period, lifestyle recommendations and referrals for physical therapists were reduced nearly by half, while prescriptions for narcotic pain relievers nearly tripled.

Full story at Runner’s World

Multicomponent home-based treatments improve mobility in older adults after hip fracture

Each year more than 260,000 older Americans are hospitalized for hip fractures, a debilitating injury that can severely and permanently impact mobility. Researchers at the University of Maryland School of Medicine (UMSOM) studied two types of home-based interventions and discovered that these treatments are effective in helping individuals regain their ability to walk, but not enough to do every day functions like crossing the street.

Jay Magaziner, PhD, MSHyg, Professor and Chair of the Department of Epidemiology and Public Health at UMSOM was the Principal Investigator for this research and Rebecca L Craik, PT, PhD, FAPTA, Dean of the College of Health Sciences at Arcadia University was Co-Principal Investigator. The research was a multidisciplinary partnership involving investigators from epidemiology, physical therapy, geriatrics, orthopedics, gerontology, health economics, biostatistics and health services research. It was conducted at UMSOM, Arcadia University and UConn Health at the University of Connecticut. The research compared two different types of multi-component home-based physical therapy programs, both of which showed significant improvements in the ability to walk but not enough to be independent in the wider community.

Full story at Science Daily