Home-based telehealth therapy program effective for stroke rehabilitation, shows study

In-home rehabilitation, using a telehealth system and supervised by licensed occupational/physical therapists, is an effective means of improving arm motor status in stroke survivors, according to findings presented by University of California, Irvine neurologist Steven C. Cramer, MD, at the recent 2018 European Stroke Organisation Conference in Gothenburg, Sweden.

“Motor deficits are a major contributor to post-stroke disability, and we know that occupational and physical therapy improve patient outcomes in a supervised rehabilitation program,” said Cramer, a professor of neurology in the UCI School of Medicine. “Since many patients receive suboptimal therapy doses for reasons that include cost, availability, and difficulty with travel, we wanted to determine whether a comprehensive in-home telehealth therapy program could be as effective as in-clinic rehabilitation.”

Full story at News Medical

Early physical therapy benefits low-back pain patients

Patients with low-back pain are better off seeing a physical therapist first, according to a study of 150,000 insurance claims.

The study, published in Health Services Research, found that those who saw a physical therapist at the first point of care had an 89 percent lower probability of receiving an opioid prescription, a 28 percent lower probability of having advanced imaging services, and a 15 percent lower probability of an emergency department visit—but a 19 percent higher probability of hospitalization.

The authors noted that a higher probability of hospitalization is not necessarily a bad outcome if physical therapists are appropriately referring patients to specialized care when low back pain does not resolve by addressing potential musculoskeletal causes first.

Full story at Medical Xpress

Advanced Cancer Patients Can Benefit From Structured Exercise, Say Researchers

Incorporating structured exercise into supportive care can help improve the lives of patients with advanced cancer, say researchers in an article e-published ahead of print in the Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation. In an analysis of previous studies, authors found that both aerobic exercise and resistance training improved many cancer side effects.

Authors evaluated 25 studies, for a total of 1,188 participants, that measured the efficacy of exercise interventions on physical function, quality of life, fatigue, body composition, psychosocial function, sleep quality, pain, and survival. All studies used more than 1 session of structured exercise as the primary intervention and specified the “frequency, intensity, time, or type” of exercise. More than 80% of participants in each study had been diagnosed with “advanced cancer that is unlikely to be cured.” Some studies used control groups, and some did not.

Full story at APTA

Prosthetic arms can provide controlled sensory feedback

Losing an arm doesn’t have to mean losing all sense of touch, thanks to prosthetic arms that stimulate nerves with mild electrical feedback.

University of Illinois researchers have developed a control algorithm that regulates the current so a prosthetics user feels steady sensation, even when the electrodes begin to peel off or when sweat builds up.

“We’re giving sensation back to someone who’s lost their hand. The idea is that we no longer want the prosthetic hand to feel like a tool, we want it to feel like an extension of the body,” said Aadeel Akhtar, an M.D./Ph.D. student in the neuroscience program and the medical scholars program at the University of Illinois. Akhtar is the lead author of a paper describing the sensory control module, published in Science Robotics, and the founder and CEO of PSYONIC, a startup company that develops low-cost bionic arms.

Full story at Science Daily

What to Know About a Career in Physical Therapy Education

When I graduated with a DPT in 2013, I never considered that I might someday end up going back to school, in any capacity.

I spent the first four years of my career in the outpatient orthopedic setting full time, and also worked a per diem weekend gig in the hospital in order to pay off my hefty student loan bill as quickly as possible (which I can proudly say I have now accomplished!).

By the end of that I was definitely starting to feel a bit of burnout. However, during that time, I had taken the APTA Credentialed Clinical Instructor course, and had the opportunity to take on the role of Clinical Instructor, in which I found a great deal of joy. This prompted me to consider a more significant role in physical therapy education which, though I knew it was something I enjoyed, at first seemed outside the realm of my abilities and qualifications.

Full story at The Non Clinical PT

Paralyzed man walks London Marathon in 36 hours in exoskeleton

A paralyzed man walked the London Marathon route wearing an exoskeleton suit, finishing around 11 p.m. Monday, nearly 36 hours after he started, according to British media.

Simon Kindleysides was diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumor in April 2013 and was paralyzed from the waist down, he said on the BBC before the race.

“I want to be a role model to my children so they can say their daddy’s been the first paralyzed man to walk the London Marathon ever,” said Kindleysides, a 34-year-old father of three, according to the report.

Kindleysides predicted he would finish in 37 hours, completing the first half of the 26.2-mile race on Sunday, then sleeping a few hours and walking the final 13.1 miles on Monday. Kindleysides said after finishing that he spent 26.5 of those 36 hours walking the marathon.

Full story at NBC Sports

PTJ Special Issue Podcasts: Physical Therapy for Pain May Reduce Overall Costs, Opioid Use

For some patients, physical therapy can both decrease overall health care utilization and save money down the road—especially if delivered sooner rather than later. These were the takeaways from 2 articles in a May 2018 special issue on nonpharmacological management of pain published by PTJ (Physical Therapy), APTA’s scientific journal. PTJ Editor-in-Chief Alan Jette, PT, PhD, FAPTA, interviewed authors of each of the studies via podcast.

One study, coauthored by Xinliang “Albert” Liu, PhD, examined the effect of timing of physical therapy on downstream health care use and costs for patients with acute low back pain (LBP) in New York state. The patients were categorized by whether and how soon they received physical therapy after seeing a physician for LBP: at 3 days, 4–14 days, 15–28 days, 29–90 days, and no physical therapy. Patients who received physical therapy within 3 days (30%) incurred the lowest costs and utilization rates, while those who didn’t see a PT at all saw the greatest of both.

Full story at APTA

What is calcific tendonitis and what causes it?

Calcific tendonitis is a condition caused by calcium deposits building up in a person’s muscles or tendons. If calcium builds up in an area, a person may feel pain and discomfort there.

Although this condition can occur in other parts of the body, the most common area for calcific tendonitis to develop is the rotator cuff. This is the group of muscles and tendons that provide strength and stability to the upper arm and shoulder.

Although medication or physical therapy, or a combination of the two, can usually treat the condition successfully, surgery may be required in some cases.

Full story at Medical News Today

Surprisingly, opioids may increase risk of chronic pain

After surgery, opioids — such as morphine — are routinely used to manage pain. However, according to a new study, the drugs could actually raise the likelihood of experiencing chronic pain.

Opioids are big news. The “opioid epidemic” in the United States is destroying lives from coast to coast.

More than 100 people die from opioid-related overdoses each and every day in the U.S.

Despite the horrors of addiction, one aspect of opioid use that is rarely questioned is just how effective they are at fulfilling their primary function: to quell pain.

Full story at Medical News Today

Flex: New CEU Courses

MULTIPLE SCLEROSIS AND PHYSICAL ACTIVITY

Exercise is safe for people with Multiple Sclerosis (MS) and is necessary to combat the secondary deconditioning resulting from MS-related weakness and fatigue.  The goals of this CEU course include reviewing the importance of physical fitness in persons with MS, examining if self-efficacy and physical activity have relationships with quality of life (QOL) in individuals with MS, investigating the perception of barriers and facilitators to exercise for those with MS, and comparing the effects of Pilaties, static stretching, and elastic bands resistance training.

CHILDHOOD OBESITY, EPIDEMIOLOGY, AND BONE THICKNESS

Childhood obesity is one of the most serious public health challenges of the 21st century.  Problems during the childhood and adolescence phases of the human development, during which the adult bone mass density is determined, could compromise bone health in adulthood.  The goal of this CEU course is to analyze the relationship between abdominal adipose tissue and bone mineral density (BMD) in obese children and adolescents.

For more information on these new courses and many more, visit Flex CEUs