What’s New at PTNow? More Guidelines and Systematic Reviews Enrich an Already-Robust Resource

The range of conditions that physical therapists (PTs) and physical therapist assistants (PTAs) face every day can be expansive, and staying on top of the latest effective treatment approaches can seem like an impossible task. PTNow is helping to change all that by bringing members the evidence they need in just a few clicks.

Best of all, the association’s flagship site for evidence-based practice resources continues to expand in ways that help PTs and PTAs easily find an even wider array of information. If you haven’t visited the site lately, check it out soon. Here’s a quick take on the latest additions.

Full story at APTA

Working through pain to get rid of pain: A physical therapist’s perspective

In my job as a physical therapist, the impact of the opioid epidemic is impossible to ignore. A large percentage of my patients are dealing with some degree of pain. For some, it is the result of a surgery, for others, a sports injury, and some have been living in chronic pain for over a decade. I understand why patients are prescribed opioids, and I don’t discount them as a valuable tool in treating acute pain. However, I believe it’s important to match the pharmaceutical intervention to the severity of the condition and provide a treatment plan that ultimately works toward little or no pharmacology whenever possible.

A recent study from Penn Medicine examined emergency room visits in the U.S. for ankle sprains — one of the most common injuries in sports for which the acute treatment is rest, ice, compression and elevation. An anti-inflammatory, such as ibuprofen, helps to reduce swelling and usually provides adequate pain relief. The researchers found on average 25 percent of these patients were prescribed an opioid in the ER. This is an example of a mismatch between injury and medical prescription. An ankle sprain will rarely necessitate an opioid prescription, and this study highlighted the over prescribing practices taking place across the nation — in some states more than others.

Full story at Orlando Sentinel

New Physical Activity Guidelines Stress the Importance of Movement of any Duration

You want blunt? The US Department of Health and Human Services can do blunt—at least when it comes to physical activity (PA) recommendations for Americans.

“Adults should move more and sit less throughout the day,” HHS says in its latest edition of nationwide guidelines for PA. “Some physical activity is better than none.”

That’s the bottom-line recommendation that HHS rolled out this week in its revised Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans. And there’s arguably little room for nuance: according to HHS, 80% of all Americans are not meeting current PA recommendations, a failure that is contributing the prevalence of a host of chronic health conditions.

The new guidelines, with their emphasis on the importance of movement to prevent disease and extend life no matter an individual’s age, echo many perspectives long-championed by APTA and its members.

Full story at APTA

Is EMS Training the Missing Link to Your Dream Body?

THE THING ABOUT building muscle, cutting fat and otherwise getting in shape is, well, you have to work out. No fair, right? But what if someone – or something – else could do a lot of the work for you? Such is the commonly perceived promise of electrical muscle stimulation training, aka EMS, a type of technology that activates your muscles from the outside while you activate them from the inside.

“It’s an efficient workout,” says Jackie Wilson, a lawyer-turned-personal trainer who founded NOVA Fitness Innovation, a network of boutique fitness studios in New York City that offers one-on-one EMS training sessions.

While the specifics vary depending on the model of equipment itself and the type of supervision you’re under, in Wilson’s studios, the training involves wearing a wetsuit-like outfit embedded with 20 electrodes that sit atop major muscle groups like the pecs, biceps and quads. As clients go through a body weight or lightly weighted workout – say, a circuit including squats, pushups and jumping jacks – he or another trained staff member uses a wireless device to send impulses of varying intensities to those muscles that are contracting.

Full story at US News

Study Finds Tennis Elbow Treatments Provide Little to No Benefit

BOSTON – The painful condition known as “tennis elbow” results from overuse of the tendons in the forearm, typically in a patient’s dominant arm. A repetitive stress injury, tennis elbow affects not just athletes, but also tradesmen, food industry workers, manufacturers and office workers – anyone who uses the hands and wrists for hours each day. Numerous treatments are available to the 200,000 new patients diagnosed with tennis elbow in the United States each year, but few high quality trials have compared these approaches.

In the largest analysis to date, researchers and clinicians at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center(BIDMC) have compared the efficacy and safety of non-surgical treatment options for tennis elbow – also called enthesopathy of the extensor carpi radialis brevis (eECRB). Published today in the American Journal of Sports Medicine, the meta-analysis reveals that none of the 11 non-surgical treatment options – including physical therapy, acupuncture, oral anti-inflammatory medications, local botulinum toxin injection therapy, ultrasound, laser therapy and more – performed significantly better than placebo in addressing patients’ pain and that all increased patients’ odds of adverse events.

Full story at bidmc.org

What are the best stretches for tight hamstrings?

The hamstrings are very susceptible to injury, and people who participate in sports that involve running or sprinting are prone to developing tightness or injury in these muscles.

The hamstrings refer to three different muscles in the back of the thigh that run from the hip to the knee. This muscle group helps us walk, run, and jump.

Because people use their hamstrings in everyday movements such as walking, it is important to keep these muscles loose. Stretching will help people avoid strains and muscle tears.

This article will discuss seven of the best hamstring stretches, when to use them, how often to use them, and the benefits of hamstring stretches.

Full story at Medical News Today

Functional regeneration of tendons using scaffolds developed via microarchitectural engineering

The underlying structure-function relationship of living tissues depends on structural and hierarchical anisotropy. Clinical exploitation of the interplay between cells and their immediate microenvironment has rarely used macroscale, three-dimensional (3-D) constructs. Biomechanical robustness is an important biomimetic factor that is compromised during biofabrication, limiting the relevance of such scaffolds in translational medicine.

In a recent study, Zu-Yong Wang and co-workers have detailed a polymeric three-dimensional scaffold engineered with tendon-like mechanical properties and controlled anisotropic microarchitectures. The construct is composed of two distinct portions for high porosity while retaining tendon-like mechanical properties. When tendon cells (tenocytes) were cultured on the scaffold in vitro, phenotypic markers of tenogenesis such as type-1 collagen, decorin, and tenascin were expressed more significantly than in non-anisotropic controls. Now published in Science Advances, the results demonstrated a highly aligned intracellular cytoskeletal network with high nuclear alignment efficiencies. The study also suggests that microstructural anisotropy may play the role of epigenetic mechanotransduction. The work further included an in vivo study where the biomaterial was implanted in a micropig model, with resulting neotissue formed on the scaffold to resemble native tendon tissue in both composition and structure.

Full story at Medical Xpress

Paralysis breakthrough: Electrical implant helps man walk again

A recent case study could overturn existing beliefs about certain paralysis types. An approach combining spinal cord stimulation and physical therapy has now helped a man living for years with lower-body paralysis to stand and walk.

Paraplegia is a condition wherein an individual’s lower body is paralyzed.

A 29-year-old man left with the condition after a snowmobile accident in 2013 has recently been able to stand and walk with some assistance.

This is all thanks to an electrical implant that can stimulate nerves in the spinal cord.

Full story at Medical News Today

Could singing relieve the symptoms of Parkinson’s?

According to a recent pilot study, singing therapy might reduce some of the difficult-to-treat motor and mood symptoms associated with Parkinson’s disease.

Parkinson’s disease is a progressive neurodegenerative condition that affects more than 10 million people worldwide.

Because Parkinson’s predominantly affects older adults, as the population of the United States ages, its prevalence is increasing.

Symptoms include tremor and difficulty coordinating movements. Also, mood changes can occur, with anxiety and depression being relatively common.

Full story at Medical News Today

New study in STEM CELLS could lead to therapy that does away with joint replacement surgery

Durham, NC (October 31, 2018)– A study released today in STEM CELLS moves scientists a step closer to finding how to help the body regenerate joint cartilage ravaged by disease. Their work reveals a new method to quickly and efficiently produce virtually unlimited numbers of chondrocytes, the cells that form cartilage, from human skin cells converted to induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs). For the 54 million Americans suffering from arthritis – the nation’s Number One disability – this could be great news.

While a May 2018 report by Modern Healthcare says that currently over 1 million joint replacement surgeries occur every year in the United States alone — and that number is expected to exceed 4 million by 2030 — many medical researchers believe that the future of arthritis therapeutics lies in the application of stem cells to grow new joint cartilage (a process called “chondrogenesis”). Human iPSCs (hiPSCs) are a promising cell source for cartilage regenerative therapies and in vitro disease-modeling systems due to their pluripotency and unlimited proliferation capacity. Furthermore, iPSCs provide a means of developing patient-specific or genetically engineered cartilage to screen for osteoarthritis drugs.

“That’s why finding methods to rapidly and efficiently differentiate hiPSCs into chondrocytes in a reproducible and robust manner is critical,” said Farshid Guilak, Ph.D., from Washington University’s Center of Regenerative Medicine and Shriners Hospitals for Children (St. Louis, Mo.). He is a co-senior author of the study in STEM CELLS along with Charles A. Gersbach, Ph.D., from the Department of Biomedical Engineering at Duke University (Durham, N.C). Scientists from Cytex Therapeutics (Durham, N.C.) and Stanford University (Stanford, Calif.) also participated.

Full story at Stem Cells Portal