Posted on 12/1/2020
In today’s “new normal,” day-to-day life, personal health and wellness is at the forefront of all of our minds. We are protecting ourselves, cleaning more often and trying our best to live fit and healthy lives. One of the most important factors in determining our long-term health and wellness is the food that we put into our body. Especially during this time of year, when sweets and rich foods are easily in reach, it’s more important than ever to make sure our diet is full of nourishing foods to fuel our immune system and fight off illness.
While a healthy, balanced and colorful diet is extremely important, there are a few key vitamins and minerals that help build our immunity more than others. They all act on different parts of our body’s reaction to illness, allowing the body to fight longer and harder against these intruders. These particular vitamins, and some of their function in the immune system, include:
- Vitamin C – Protects your cells against free radicals, and absorb/store iron
- Vitamin B6 – Makes antibodies to fight disease
- Vitamin E – Defends your cells against free radicals
Luckily for us, these vitamins are found in many of the foods that we eat on a daily basis. Some common foods that contain these nutrients include:
- Vitamin C – Oranges, strawberries, bell peppers, spinach, broccoli, and kale.
- Vitamin B6 – Tuna, salmon, chicken, chickpeas, bananas
- Vitamin E – Vegetable oil, peanuts, sunflower seeds, almonds, spinach, broccoli
The above is by no means an all-inclusive, but definitely a good starting point to begin making changes to help strengthen your immune system. Although these vitamins can easily be found in the health and wellness aisle at your local grocery store or pharmacy, it is not the best way for our body to absorb and take in these nutrients. Including foods that contain high amounts of each of these vitamins into our diet is a much easier, and healthier, way to get our body’s fill.
Another important aspect of strengthening our immune systems that comes in handy during the current times is daily physical activity. This could include walking, running, hiking, yoga and strength training. Any time you are getting your heart rate up and blood pumping, you are stimulating your body to build stronger muscles, flushing out the lungs and heart as well as boosting your immune system. Exercise helps recruit specific cells that find pathogens and wipes them out, as well as increases the amount of these cells that flow through the body on a regular basis.
If you have questions, a nagging injury that is limiting your ability to perform daily tasks or are unsure about the right path to take for your personal wellness journey, please reach out to your health care provider to discuss the best plan for you.
By: Erica R. Konopka, P.T., DPT. Erica is a physical therapist and multi-site center manager for Select Physical Therapy in North Carolina.
RUSH Physical Therapy is part of the Select Medical Outpatient Division family of brands.
Posted on 11/10/2020
Did you know that exercise is one of the most under-utilized tools for managing many aspects of your health? It is well known that exercise can help with weight loss by boosting your metabolism and burning calories, but there are so many more benefits, especially as we age.
Individuals naturally lose bone density and muscle mass as they age. Studies show that after the age of 50, bone breakdown occurs more than bone strength. Women particularly see an acceleration in bone loss around menopause, which puts them at a higher risk for osteoporosis. While there are supplements to help with this, regular weight-bearing exercise reduces the risk for osteoporosis.
At age 30, we naturally begin to lose muscle mass; physically inactive individuals can lose between three-to-five percent muscle mass each decade after 30. These factors lead to an increase in frailty, which in turn increases the likelihood of falls and fractures. The good news is that you can offset these problematic changes by sticking to a regular exercise program.
Here are some other great and important benefits of regular exercise:
- Exercise helps to reduce the risk of chronic disease. According to The National Institute of Health, lack of regular exercise is the primary cause of chronic disease in the United States. Getting into a fitness routine can increase insulin sensitivity, which in decreases blood sugar, blood pressure, fat levels in blood and cholesterol. It also improves cardiovascular health.
- Do you have a high stress job? Do you easily allow anxiety to interfere with life? Regular exercise can help with that. Exercise triggers your brain to release endorphins in your body which are mood enhancers and natural pain killers. They create a feeling of well-being. Along with being a mood enhancer, exercise also helps to increase energy levels. Exercise has been shown to begin to help elevate moods in as little as 10 minutes into the activity.
- Improving brain health and memory. Exercise increases your heart rate, blood flow and oxygen to your brain. According to a study by the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, regular aerobic exercise increases the size of the hippocampus, the part of your brain that is involved in verbal memory and learning. Exercise also stimulates the release of growth factors chemicals in the brain that affect brain cell health, the growth of new blood vessels in the brain and even the survival of brain cells. Reduce your risk factors by beginning an exercise program today.
You don’t need to exercise for hours at a time to see results in your general well-being. By setting aside 30 to 45 minutes most days of the week for moderate physical activity (brisk walking, swimming, strength training), you can reap the rewards of enhanced health and wellness.
Now that you are aware of all of the great benefits from regular exercise, why not jump in? You don’t have to be a seasoned athlete to exercise. If you are nervous about beginning a program, a physical therapist is a great resource to help design a safe and effective program for you. Physical therapists are movement specialists who are more than qualified to set up an appropriate program to fit your needs.
In most states, you can choose to see a physical therapist without a referral from a physician. If you do need a referral, most primary care doctors will gladly provide you with a prescription for physical therapy so that you can begin your journey to a better, healthier you.
Make time for your wellness before you are forced to make time for your illness. Your physical therapist can help.
By: Colony A. Hopkins, P.T., DPT, COMT, AIB - VR/CON. Colony is a physical therapist with NovaCare Rehabilitation in Uniontown, Pennsylvania.
RUSH and NovaCare are part of the Select Medical Outpatient Division family of brands.
Posted on 10/12/2020
For the management of some types of pain, prescription opioids can certainly help. However, there is not enough evidence to support prolonged opioid use for chronic pain. We sat down with Katie McBee, P.T., DPT, OCS, M.S., CEAS II, PYT-C, regional director of our WorkStrategies Program, to ask her a few questions regarding opioid use, chronic pain and the benefits of physical therapy as a safe alternative to prescription medication.
1. In your opinion, what are the main reasons for the opioid epidemic in the United States?
There is no simple explanation as to what caused the opioid epidemic in the United States. Opiates are not a new drug and have been abused at other time periods in American history, but not nearly to the extent that is happening now. For example, with health care access issues due to COVID-19, opioid prescription rates are on the rise with death rates up 30% since the pandemic’s onset.
Initial research on opiate medications said they were effective and safe and addiction was rare when used for short-term pain.1 The development of FDA approved OxyContin in 1995 had labeling that stated iatrogenic addiction was “very rare,” and a widespread marketing campaign to physicians started to build medical providers’ confidence in prescribing these medications to decrease pain-related suffering.2 Add to that the 2001 standards implemented by the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations for organizations to improve their care of patients with pain medication and this is probably what catalyzed the beginning of our current opioid epidemic.
With medical providers focused on pain as a vital sign, pain quickly became the enemy and had to be eradicated to show successful management for many conditions with an increased focus on post-operative pain management. As drugs became more widely available, aggressively advertised and culturally acceptable, a three-fold increase in prescription rates for these medications ensued. With the increase in opioid prescription rates, death rates from side effects also increased by three-fold to more 16,000 in 2011.
2. What is the difference between chronic pain versus pain suffered as a result of an injury?
Pain is a mechanism designed to protect us from harm. Pain is not the enemy. A common misconception about pain is that it is not a simple cause/effect relationship. The amount of injury does not equal the amount of pain we experience. Pain is a complex process based on many areas of the nervous system and the brain communicating together to let us know what we need to prioritize and protect. The more threatening the brain perceives something, the more we potentially feel pain.
Acute pain or pain suffered immediately after an injury or surgery to the body’s tissues is a protection mechanism from the brain to remind you to protect the area so that no further harm is done. As the tissue heals and time passes, there is less threat of injury so the brain stops signaling, the pain eases and you slowly get back to normal activities.
In chronic pain, the tissues are not signaling danger to the brain as much as they are in acute pain. When the brain perceives threat for extended periods, it starts to change the nervous system to become a pain-producing machine. It creates new nerve junctions to make things hurt that wouldn’t normally hurt, like light touch on the skin. It can decrease the amount of pressure needed to create a pain signal. It creates more chemicals along the nervous system so it can create greater pain experiences with fewer stimuli. Research is still trying to figure out why some individuals have pain that goes away as the tissues heal and others have pain that persists despite the fact that the tissue has healed.
Individuals can be at risk of developing chronic or persistent pain for a number of reasons, including unhelpful coping strategies, stress, chronic illness and poor sleep habits. It appears the more emotional or physical stress going on at the time of the injury and/or during the healing process, the more at risk you can be of developing a persistent pain issue. A holistic approach to address some of these drivers of persistent pain is showing promise in being able to reduce the pain and get people with chronic pain back into their normal lives again.
3. Why is physical therapy important and what are some of the benefits to patients?
Physical therapy is an ideal treatment for many types of acute and chronic pain and should be a part of any single or multidisciplinary treatment plan for pain. The goal of physical therapy is to increase function and keep people in their meaningful life activities while they are healing. Physical therapists are trained to address many of the drivers of chronic pain and can perform testing and screening to see if your pain system is sensitized and adjust treatment to desensitize the pain system as well as address the functional limitations many people often experience when they are in pain.
Physical therapists have many tools they can use to decrease pain and desensitize the pain system. These tools include education on pain to discover what could be driving pain issues. Once the pain drivers are discovered, a physical therapist will develop a holistic plan to address these drivers, including increased activity, sleep hygiene, stress management skills and pacing techniques.
The best thing about physical therapy for pain is that the outcomes for some of the techniques are better than many medications and procedures available; plus, there are no negative side effects. If you or someone you know has an issue with pain, please request an appointment today to begin physical therapy treatment.
1. Porter J, Jick H. Addiction rare in patients treated with narcotics. N Engl J Med. 1980;302:123.
2. Van Zee A. The promotion and marketing of OxyContin: commercial triumph, public health tragedy. Am J Public Health. 20:99 (2):221-227.
Posted on 9/24/2020
Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania, and Chicago, September 24, 2020 — Select Medical Corporation, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Select Medical Holdings Corporation (NYSE: SEM), today announced a joint venture agreement with Rush University System for Health (RUSH) to manage operations of a critical illness recovery hospital, inpatient rehabilitation hospital and 63 physical therapy centers throughout the greater Chicago and Northwest Indiana region. Select Medical will serve as both the majority owner and managing partner across the three post-acute care lines. Subject to the approval of the IL Health Facilities and Service Review Board, the agreement also includes the construction of a new state-of-the-art 84-bed hospital at Rush University Medical Center on Chicago’s West Side, with 30 beds dedicated to critical illness recovery and 54 beds for inpatient rehabilitation. Anticipated completion of the new facility, which will be named Rush Specialty Hospital, is 2022. In the interim, Select Medical will manage the existing Rush Rehabilitation unit located in the Johnston R. Bowman Health Center on the Medical Center campus.
“This partnership brings together a top academic health system and the leading post-acute care provider to serve the growing needs of the Chicago metro area and Northwest Indiana,” said David S. Chernow, president and chief executive officer of Select Medical.“ RUSH and Select Medical share a strong commitment to clinical excellence guided by innovative, research based care, quality and safety. Together we will deliver world-class care and outcomes to patients with critical illness or catastrophic injury that puts them on a recovery path back to community and home.” Under the agreement, the combined outpatient rehabilitation centers contributed to the joint venture include 62 NovaCare Rehabilitation, Select Physical Therapy and Michiana Orthopaedic & Sports Physical Therapy locations from Select Medical, as well as the Rush Rehabilitation center. All 63 outpatient centers will be rebranded as RUSH Physical Therapy.
“In a post-COVID-19 world, post-acute services will be even more important, and as a national standard-bearer of quality and safety, RUSH was looking for a strategic partner that would complement the excellent care our patients and their families have come to expect,” said Dr. Ranga Krishnan, chief executive officer of Rush University System for Health. “Providing this broad offering of services will help us further the RUSH mission, and this partnership with Select Medical enables us to make significant advances that will benefit patients in important ways.”
About Rush University System for Health
Rush University System for Health (RUSH) brings together the brightest minds in medicine, research and academics. Driven by discovery, innovation and a deep responsibility for the health of our communities, RUSH is a national leader in outstanding patient care, education, research, community partnerships and empowering a new generation of health care providers. Rush University Medical Center is ranked among the top hospitals in the nation by U.S. News & World Report. The Medical Center was also ranked No. 1 in the nation by Vizient and named a Top Teaching Hospital by The Leapfrog Group. RUSH includes Rush University Medical Center, Rush University, Rush Copley Medical Center and Rush Oak Park Hospital, as well as an extensive providers network and numerous outpatient care facilities. Rush University comprises four colleges: Rush Medical College, the College of Nursing, the College of Health Sciences and the Graduate College.
About Select Medical Holdings Corporation
Select Medical is one of the largest operators of critical illness recovery hospitals, rehabilitation hospitals, outpatient rehabilitation clinics, and occupational health centers in the United States based on number of facilities. As of June 30, 2020, Select Medical operated 101 critical illness recovery hospitals in 28 states, 29 rehabilitation hospitals in 12 states, and 1,757 outpatient rehabilitation clinics in 37 states and the District of Columbia. Select Medical’s joint venture subsidiary Concentra operated 522 occupational health centers in 41 states. Concentra also provides contract services at employer worksites. At June 30, 2020, Select Medical had operations in 47 states and the District of Columbia. Information about Select Medical is available at www.selectmedical.com.
Posted on 10/7/2020
Up until a few months ago, my life as a physical therapist was pretty normal. I went to work, did my job, helped my patients and team to the best of my ability and went back home. At the time I was working in a critical illness recovery hospital with some of the sickest patients in my geographic area, people recovering from major trauma and significant illnesses. I was part of a great team, but it was heavy work. I felt myself becoming burnt out and struggling to do my best work. I have done hospital-based and outpatient work throughout my career, so I began to think that a transfer to Select Medical’s Outpatient Division might be my next move.
Fast forward a few months and interviews later and I accepted a site supervisor position at an outpatient center. About a month into my new role, COVID-19 wreaks havoc on the world. It was a daily pivot in terms of center operations and managing a team during a global crisis. I was also in a really unique position because I had spent almost 10 years working in critical illness, learning about cardiopulmonary physical therapy, infectious diseases and protective equipment. I felt confident I could lead my team effectively with the best information I had. As we started to move through the pandemic, our greater area was looking for someone to help lead a developing COVID-19 recovery program and I felt uniquely qualified.
Rush Physical Therapy's clinical team had put together a top-notch Recovery and Reconditioning Program for those compromised by a variety of acute and chronic conditions, such as after-effects of the flu and cardiovascular disease. Developed in partnership with leading physicians, including physiatrists and infectious disease specialists, the program focuses on identifying key areas of deconditioning and weakness in patients. Rush Physical Therapy's licensed physical and occupational therapist are specially trained in the program, with each clinician having access to the most up-to-date COVID-19 information, best practices and safety precautions.
Physical, occupational and speech therapy is critical in helping COVID-19 survivors get back to their lives and jobs. This virus can be extremely debilitating on its own, and even worse when combined with the effects of limited mobility during hospitalizations, prolonged mechanical ventilation or additional medical complications. As physical rehabilitation professionals, we are uniquely qualified to work with these patients to:
- Increase mobility, balance and stability
- Decrease pain, soreness and general fatigue
- Improve range of motion and breathing capability
- Address cognitive impairments, dizziness and weakness
- Ensure a safe recovery to activities of daily living
Our clinical team believes firmly in safety first and have put out guidelines for monitoring patients to ensure we are exercising them hard enough to make progress, but not overstress their systems. We are also educating these survivors on how to monitor themselves during home exercises or simple household activities like cleaning and chores.
While this global pandemic has had a lot of challenges and negative aspects, when I really step back and look at the whole picture I am impressed with how we positioned ourselves. Every day, we are committed to putting patients first, keeping patients and clinicians safe and assisting those who have survived COVID-19 back to their highest quality of life. That’s something to be proud of, and we look forward to helping more and more heal through our Recovery and Reconditioning Program.
By: Erica R. Noel, P.T., MSPT. Erica is a physical therapist with Banner Physical Therapy in Phoenix, AZ. RUSH Physical Therapy is part of the Select Medical Outpatient Division family of brands.
Posted on 10/2/2020
It's official, our favorite month of the year is here: National Physical Therapy Month. Please join us as we celebrate our amazing team members and the power of physical therapy throughout October. #NPTM2020 #ChoosePT #ThePowerOfPhysicalTherapy
View our National Physical Therapy Month video
Posted on 4/24/2020
At RUSH Physical Therapy, there is nothing more important to us than your health and safety during this unprecedented time. The Department of Homeland Security and state governments have deemed physical therapy an essential component of health care during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic; therefore, many of our centers remain open to serve those in need. We are taking extensive preventative measures, guided by the CDC, to protect our patients and employees who enter our centers.
We hope that by providing this information, you can make a clear decision to continue your plan of care with us during this time. The following protocols are now in place:
- Patient Screening: All center patients are screened at the time of their appointment confirmation phone call. For centers located in our inpatient rehabilitation hospitals, patients are screened prior to admission. This process includes taking patients’ temperatures. Patients presenting any level of symptoms do not receive therapy until they are cleared.
- Staff Screening: All employees are screened daily upon arrival at the center, including temperature monitoring. Those presenting any level of symptoms are removed from the center and undergo the required 14-day self-quarantine, not returning to the center until they are cleared.
- Masking: All therapists are universally masked and we are now requiring patients in our centers to be masked as well.
- Telerehab: Offering telerehab to all patients who would prefer to be treated in the safety and comfort of their home.
- Hygiene Protocols: Continuous reinforcement with staff regarding hand washing. In addition, general environmental controls are in place, including deep cleaning of centers with EPA approved cleaners.
- Procurement Audit: Assessment of equipment and supplies to ensure centers are fully prepared to handle potential exposure to COVID-19.
- Employee Safety: Ongoing education and communication to all center employees.
That said, if you do not feel comfortable coming to a center for care during this time, we will gladly reschedule your appointment for a later date. In addition, many of our locations are now offering telerehab services so that you can easily connect with one of our licensed therapists through web-based technology that is HIPAA compliant. Learn more.
For patients coming to our centers for care, we ask that you please limit the number of people who accompany you to your appointments, unless they are necessary for transportation or assistance. If for any reason you are not feeling well, please contact the center and we will be happy to reschedule your appointment.
To help prevent the virus:
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth.
- Stay home when you are sick.
- Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue and throw the tissue in the trash.
- Clean/disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.
Thank you for helping us ensure the safety of our patients and employees, as well as families of both.
Posted on 9/8/2020 by Aileen Lysaught, M.S., CCC-SLP/L
As a therapy team, we understand that parents and children are experiencing many unexpected challenges this year. Parents are adapting to e-learning and facing difficult decisions around what to do for the upcoming school year. Children are learning to adjust to a new and different way of learning. They are also navigating the new experience of wearing masks and social distancing from their friends. As a parent myself, I have struggled with my child missing out on the socialization and hands-on learning that comes from school, as well as how to explain the current situation to him in the best possible way.
As parents, you have difficult decisions to make; however there is no “wrong” choice. You have to do what is best for your child during these unprecedented times. That choice may be in-person learning, remote learning or homeschooling. All of these options have their own challenges and benefits.
Additionally, parents of children with special needs are faced with especially complicated decisions. Many children may struggle with mask compliance due to sensory processing difficulties and benefit from in-person learning and therapy. Other children may have compromised immune systems and in-person learning or therapy is not necessarily an option for them.
My son receives physical therapy for low muscle tone and coordination issues and is in need of occupational therapy to address fine motor skills. We have been lucky enough to receive this therapy in-person throughout the pandemic in order to ensure he continues to make progress. Although we haven’t made our final decision on whether or not to send him to school, we are grateful to have the option to receive the additional help he needs in a safe, one-on-one setting, regardless of what we decide.
As autumn approaches, NovaCare and Select Kids Pediatric Therapy are here and available to support families in their individual decisions. We are committed to assisting your child’s unique needs by providing in-person physical, occupational, speech and ABA therapy in a safe environment. Our centers are taking extensive preventative measures – guided by the CDC, state and local government – to protect children and their families. We are also pleased to offer care virtually via telerehab. Through web-based technology, telerehab lets you and your child connect with our therapists from the convenience of your home.
Our therapists also provide parents with consultation to support e-learning at home. We will communicate with school teachers and school-based therapists to carry out your child’s IEP goals and promote continued progress. We also provide e-learning and hybrid learning resources to help your child succeed.
Please contact your local NovaCare or Select Kids center to discuss the various options for your child and determine if therapy may be beneficial.
By: Aileen Lysaught, M.S., CCC-SLP/L. Aileen is a speech-language pathologist for our NovaCare Kids centers in Orland Park and DePaul Fullerton, IL.
Posted on 3/27/2020
RUSH Physical Therapy now offers physical, occupational and speech therapy from the comfort and safety of your home through our telerehab program.
If you're limited by travel, injury or a weakened immune system, we will virtually bring our services to you so you may heal, build strength and get back to the things you love.
What is telerehab?
Telerehab lets you easily connect with one of our licensed therapists through web-based technology, all from the convenience of your home. Sessions are delivered one-on-one in real-time, and are private, secure and adhere to HIPAA requirements.
How does it work?
Telerehab sessions may be offered in place of or in addition to in person center sessions, dependent upon your condition and preference. All you need is a computer or device with a camera, microphone and internet access to begin.
- Simply click a link we'll send you - no downloads or accounts necessary!
- Just like the care you'd receive in our center, we'll cover:
- Pertinent paperwork
- Exercises, education and techniques to address your pain and impairments
- Instruction on how to best move forward with your therapy program
Our physical, occupational and speech therapists will work with you to make sure telerehab is right for you. No prescription or physician referral is needed. Our goal is to help you feel better physically while making sure you're comfortable and an active partner throughout your treatment. Request an appointment today.