Can exercise lower blood pressure as effectively as drugs?

Millions of people live with high blood pressure, which can place them at risk of developing cardiovascular diseases. For this condition, doctors typically prescribe blood-lowering drugs, but could exercise help just as well?

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), approximately 75 millionadults in the United States have to manage high blood pressure, where it exceeds the threshold of 140 millimeters of mercury (mm Hg).

The condition can increase their risk of developing heart disease or experiencing a stroke, both of which are leading causes of death in the U.S.

Full story at Medical News Today

Early physical therapy associated with reduction in opioid use

Patients who underwent physical therapy soon after being diagnosed with pain in the shoulder, neck, low back or knee were approximately 7 to 16 percent less likely to use opioids in the subsequent months, according to a new study by researchers at the Stanford University School of Medicine and the Duke University School of Medicine.

For patients with shoulder, back or knee pain who did use opioids, early physical therapy was associated with a 5 to 10 percent reduction in how much of the drug they used, the study found.

Amid national concern about the overuse of opioids and encouragement from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and other groups to deploy alternatives when possible, the findings provide evidence that physical therapy can be a useful, nonpharmacologic approach for managing severe musculoskeletal pain.

Full story at news-medical.net

5 Surprising Issues That Physical Therapists Treat

What do dizziness, headaches, jaw pain, and erectile dysfunction all have in common? These might sound like symptoms you experience after a wild night out, but they are actually all symptoms you probably didn’t know could be treated with physical therapy.

One common misconception is that physical therapists treat only musculoskeletal pain—or, in layman’s terms, you’ll only see them when you have an issue with injuries or pain in your bones, muscles, or joints. While that is a huge component of what we do, it is also only one portion of our treatments.

More and more Doctors of Physical Therapy (DPTs) are specializing in treating other systems, including the vestibular (inner ear) system and the male genitourinary system (this includes the male pelvic floor muscles and conditions such as erectile dysfunction). If you are in pain, it is always recommended to see an MD to rule out other problems before beginning physical therapy. But you should know that multiple treatment options probably exist for whatever it is that’s ailing you.

Full story at Mens Health

Early physical therapy associated with reduction in opioid use

Patients who underwent physical therapy soon after being diagnosed with pain in the shoulder, neck, low back or knee were approximately 7 to 16 percent less likely to use opioids in the subsequent months, according to a new study by researchers at the Stanford University School of Medicine and the Duke University School of Medicine.

For patients with shoulder, back or knee pain who did use opioids, early physical therapy was associated with a 5 to 10 percent reduction in how much of the drug they used, the study found.

Amid national concern about the overuse of opioids and encouragement from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and other groups to deploy alternatives when possible, the findings provide evidence that physical therapy can be a useful, nonpharmacologic approach for managing severe musculoskeletal pain.

Full story at news-medical.net

Cochrane Researchers ‘Confident’ in Pelvic Floor Muscle Therapy as Effective UI Treatment

Pelvic floor muscle therapy (PFMT) “could be included in first‐line conservative management programs” for women with urinary incontinence (UI), according to the authors of a recently updated Cochrane systematic review. While the conclusion itself isn’t new, the revision includes more evidence that makes the case for PFMT even stronger.

Authors analyzed data from 31 trials including a total of 1,817 women. The studies examined whether women were “cured” or “cured or improved” as a result of treatment for stress urinary incontinence (SUI), urgency urinary incontinence (UUI), or mixed urinary incontinence (MUI). Researchers also looked at the effects of PFMT on quality of life.

The results were clear, according to authors: women with all types of UI experienced greater benefit from PFMT than from no treatment or control interventions, which included sham electrical stimulation, placebo drug, or other inactive treatments such as educational pamphlets.

Full story at APTA

Financial difficulties add to patients’ cancer struggle

One in five cancer patients could be experiencing financial difficulties because of their care needs, according to new research published in the Journal of Cancer Survivorship.

Lead researcher Dr Alison Pearce from the Centre for Health Economics Research and Evaluation at the University of Technology Sydney (UTS), says financial difficulty or ‘toxicity’ adds to the distress cancer patients experience, so it is important to find ways to reduce this.

Overall, more than 20 per cent of people with cancer in the new study reported financial difficulty as a result of their cancer care. For the unemployed the rate of financial difficulties was 27 per cent, compared to 16 per cent for those in work.

Full story at News Medical

PTJ: Physical Therapy Continuity of Care Linked to Lower Rate of Surgery, Lower Costs

Patients with low back pain (LBP) who see a single physical therapist (PT) throughout their episode of care may be less likely to receive surgery and may have lower downstream health care costs, researchers suggest in a study published in the December issue of PTJ (Physical Therapy). “Limiting the number of physical therapy providers during an episode of care might permit cost savings,” authors write. “Health care systems could find this opportunity appealing, as physical therapy provider continuity is a modifiable clinical practice pattern.”

Authors examined data from nearly 2,000 patients in Utah’s statewide All Payer Claims Database (APCD) to look for associations between continuity of care for LBP patients and utilization of related services such as advanced imaging, emergency department visits, epidural steroid injections, and lumbar spine surgery in the year after the first primary care visit for LBP. APTA members John Magel, PT, PhDAnne Thackeray, PT; and Julie Fritz, PT, PhD, FAPTA, were among the authors of the study.

Patients were between the ages of 18 to 64 who saw a PT within 30 days of a primary care visit for LBP. Researchers excluded patients with certain nonmusculoskeletal conditions; neurological conditions, such as spinal cord injury, that could affect patient management; and “red flag” conditions such as bone deficit or cauda equina syndrome.

Full story at APTA

UA scientist hopes to heal bone fractures using combination of 3D printing and adult stem cells

Not all broken bones heal. But one scientist at the University of Arizona hopes to remedy that problem using a combination of 3D printing and adult stem cells.

“Imagine an impact that causes half of a long bone to shatter so that it can’t be put back together – no current surgical treatment can ensure that kind of injury will heal,” explained John A. Szivek, PhD, a scientist at the UA College of Medicine – Tucson. “This is a really big problem for the military, where explosions or combat injuries can cause big bone defects.”

To help military personnel with these devastating injuries, Dr. Szivek, a biomedical engineer and professor of orthopedic surgery, has received a five-year, $2 million grant from the U.S. Department of Defense to launch a study to determine how to heal bone fractures using a combination of 3D printing and adult stem cells.

Full story at news-medical.net

8 stretches for the middle back

Mid back pain or stiffness can have a significant impact on daily life. However, certain stretches can help relieve pain and improve flexibility.

Back pain, especially short-term pain, is one of the most common medical complaints in the United States. A variety of lifestyle factors, medical conditions, and injuries can lead to pain in the middle back.

Symptoms of mid back pain can include:

  • short, sharp pains
  • a dull, constant ache
  • muscle tightness or stiffness
  • a reduced range of motion\

Full story at Medical News Today

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