A positive way to transition into menopause


Menopause is a hallmark of a woman’s biological ageing. But there are a lot of changes happening before it sets in.
The menopausal transition is accompanied by vasomotor symptoms such as weight gain, decrease in bone density, change in mood etc.
Reduction in basal metabolic rate and decrease in lean body mass contributes to weight gain and comorbidities.
Our goal as we approach that magical number of 40+ should be to take care of the changes which are happening inside our body.

1) Building up the bones
As the menopause approaches, there is a drop in oestrogen levels and hence the bone density also decreased. The best exercises for improving bone density are Weight-bearing exercises and strength training.

2) Lifts your mood
We all know the positive effect of exercise on our mental health. The release of those “feel good” hormones will improve your mood.

3) Prevention from cardiovascular diseases.
Daily aerobic exercises will definitely help to improve your cardiac and pulmonary health.

Some ideas for a healthier lifestyle:

1) Dedicate 30 min to 45 min every day for working out.
2) Aerobic exercises such as walking, jogging, biking, swimming should be performed 4-5 times per week.
3) Strength training should be performed at least 2-3 times per week. Get those therabands and some dumbells and start strengthening those muscles. If you don’t have any props, no worries, what can be better than your own bodyweight to perform different variations of workouts!

  1. Dedicate first few minutes of your day in journaling, meditation, breathing exercises or reading a motivational book.
  2. Nutrition is one of the major factor affecting your mental and physical health hence eat nutrition-rich food.
  3. Most important SMILE and be with people you love.

Welcome this new transition with a healthier version of you!

Muscle fever: A positive sign after exercise!


Muscle fever A.K.A Delayed onset muscle soreness (D.O.M.S) is a response of the muscle to an unaccustomed exercise. Sometimes it is mistaken as a muscle strain.

D.O.M.S happens due to temporary inflammation or damage to muscle fibres when it is loaded. The muscle soreness starts a day after your workout and usually peaks at 48 hours.

HOW and WHY does it happen?

  • Concentric( muscle is in shortened position) and eccentric(muscle is in lengthened position) exercises disrupts the structure of the muscle fibre. The effect is seen more in eccentric exercises.
  •  Some studies have shown that there is an increase in the muscle enzyme causing the muscle ache.
  •  Unaccustomed exercise can cause building up of metabolites causing a rise in osmotic pressure which results in accumulation of fluid and thus sensitizing the nerves.

How to differentiate it from muscle strain?

One way of differentiating D.O.M.S and muscle strain is, the later causes an immediate focal pain while contracting concentrically.

Usually, D.O.M.S will go away in 2 to 4 days.

What to do about it?

  • Active recovery: Light exercises must be performed to improve the blood flow.
  • Stretching: Gentle stretches are effective. Avoid ballistic stretching.
  • Foam roll: Gentle massaging effect of foam rolling may help to alleviate symptoms.
  • Massage: Avoid deep tissue massage. Gentle light massage may help with the draining of metabolites in the lymphatic system.
  • Compression garments also can be used.
  • Hydration
  • Optimum warm up and cool down exercises help in exercise recovery.

D.O.M.S is actually a positive sign that the muscle is healing into a stronger state. 

Please follow the tips to improve your symptoms and let us know how it helped.

Happy exercising!

Exercise: Key to your mental health!


“Exercise keeps me occupied, which is good for my mental health!”-Gail Porter.

Exercise ensures successful brain functioning. There is a long history of how our ancestors knew the importance of fitness and maintaining an active lifestyle. Some studies suggest that this relationship is a part of the evolutionary process as physical activity is associated with survival. There has been overwhelming evidence of how exercise helps to in delaying or preventing the neurodegenerative changes in the brain and also helps in improving mental health.

How does exercise help?

  1. Depression: It is said the exercise is the most underutilized drug for depression! Various studies have supported the role of exercise to improve symptoms of depression. The reason is attributed to the secretion of neurotransmitters like serotonin and endogenous morphine which produce a state of euphoria.
  2. Anxiety: High-intensity exercise has shown to improve anxiety. 20 to 30 minutes of aerobic exercise has a positive effect. Some hypothesis behind the positive effect is increased in temperature causes a decrease in muscle tension. Another possible reason is the activation of the sympathetic nervous system causing an increase in adrenaline. This provides a catalyst for the parasympathetic nervous system and the acetylcholine released causes the calming effect.
  3. Cognitive functioning: It’s an important party of mental health and well being. Regional cerebral blood flow improves with exercise causing an increase in glucose uptake and oxygen. All this will help to improve the cerebral activity.

Incorporate 20 to 30 minutes everyday and perform some sort of exercises. Aerobics in form of walking, dancing, jogging, biking. Include strengthening exercises in your routine 2-3 times per week.

Its never too late to start exercises and continue doing them as a routine. “Sound mind resides in a sound body”!

References:

https://www.karger.com/Article/PDF/223730

Prehab : A plan to improve your surgical outcomes !


Rehabilitation is an integral part of the course of treatment following surgery. But did you ever consider a prehabilitation before surgery?
Prehabilitation a.k.a prehab simply implies physical therapy before undergoing surgery.
Why do I need to go for physical therapy if a surgery is anyway scheduled and rehab is planned later?
So, here is a scenario, you get injured, and Doctor runs tests and reports you that you will need surgery in the coming weeks. You plan, mark a date and leave the office. But after you are home until the date of the surgery all you are left with is the uncertainty of what to expect post-surgery, how to cope up with it, and will I be able to function as before.

Well, there has been overwhelming evidence of how a prehab can help the patient to understand
1) The course of recovery
2) What to expect
3) How to prevent a potential decline in functional status
4) Make the muscles stronger and flexible which will help post-surgical recovery outcomes and thus improving functional exercise capacity.

Interacting with your therapist before the surgery will help you to educate yourself, learn techniques to alleviate pain, swelling, modified positions, Do’s and Dont’s. It also helps to build a rapport with the therapist and thus setting a goal to achieve optimal results.

For some injuries if the area is completely immobilized or in a plaster until surgery, working with a physical therapist will help you to make the contralateral side stronger which will bear the brunt after surgery as you will be over dependent on it. Benefits are endless with prehab and you will be empowered to continue with an optimistic role towards your recovery.

Talk to your Doctor and physical therapist about how you can start with your prehab !

You are not your M.R.I!


Ouch ! that joint hurts. The first thought comes to anyone is should I get some imaging done to see whats going on? Patients are hesitant to start physical therapy before they get their M.R.I report. And some are anxious when the doctor tells them about findings in the report.

The most common terms seen are degenerative disc disease, spondylosis, disc protrusion or prolapse at some levels, shoulder arthritis or rotator cuff tear, knee meniscal tear or arthritis. And the list goes on.

Let me tell you this, don’t let a piece of paper define you!

A study was done by Bribjikji, et al in 2014 concluded that many of us might have similar M.R.I findings. But some populations might be completely asymptomatic. Degenerative changes observed are attributed to the normal aging process, just like how our skin age. So the pain may not be due to that disc bulge or ligament tear.

There are so many aspects to why your body part is hurting. Muscle weakness, one of the most common reasons, tightness of muscles, abnormal posture, repetitive stress due to work or related activity, or maybe that one wrong move in the gym.

Our body has an amazing capacity to heal itself. So, does the disc go back if its prolapsed ? Yes ! It can in some cases, if right rehabilitation is done. So many studies have time again proved how conservative management helps and physical therapy outcomes are almost the same as the ones after the surgery.

M.R.I has its place to rule out many conditions or abnormalities but don’t let it dictate your clinical presentation. Don’t wait for your rehabilitation to start. Medications, injections can mask the pain but the real impairment needs to be addressed so the problem doesn’t resurface when the effect of the medication is weaned off.

Your physical therapist will do a thorough assessment and also check the red flags which might need an immediate Doctor referral. The therapist will assess the strength, flexibility, range of motion, functional limitations, and give you an outcome measure to assess your levels while doing certain activities listed.

Patient education is a key aspect of treatment. Making the patient understand their M.R.I findings and explaining how they may or may not be consistent with the findings during the evaluation. This helps the patient to better understand the reason for pain and what steps can be taken to improve his/her quality of life.

If you have pain talk to your physical therapist and get a thorough assessment and evaluation. Please let us know your experience with imaging and physical therapy. We can provide a tele-rehabilitation i.e through a video call and provide you with right guidance.

Reference:

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/25430861/

Telehealth: a new revolution.


 

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Covid-19 has changed our perception of everything.  A new revolution is happening in healthcare: Telehealth.

So what is a Telehealth?

Telehealth is a live one on one call with your healthcare provider via telephone or a video call.

As the clinics closed and elective surgeries got postponed the whole patient care system took a set back. But who knew Doctors and physical therapists could be just one call/video call away. Not just due to Covid-19, there has been a problem with access to care. The remote areas in any country cannot have easy access to the best healthcare system.

Telehealth physical therapy has opened an exciting new avenue to provide the best possible care to so many patients. Though manual therapy is one of the important components of physical therapy treatment, there have been some pilot studies suggesting the effectiveness of a telehealth PT similar to in-person treatment.

Our safety is important but the same time not able to visit a physical therapist may lead to more problems such as deconditioning and difficulty in getting back the loss of strength, range of motion, and functional activities of daily activities.

The benefits :

Due to the online availability of a physical therapist, you can get the best care from a specialist whose accessibility is difficult even when the clinics are open.

There is no waiting time and you can set the appointment according to your convenience. Also, the transportation time is saved.

A home exercise program can be modified during each televisit and also the caretaker can discuss directly with the therapist.

A physical therapist can assess you, taking detailed history of present complaints, past medical history, and a quick assessment can be performed depending on complaints. The patient is also given an outcome measure which is a form to assess progress with the therapy.  There has been a good success rate with a telehealth visit.

We are already dealing with opioid crisis, and not able to get physical therapy might lead to people taking more medications to alleviate pain.

I personally feel another reason to do telehealth is to be able to interact with your health care provider and discuss the problems. Just few minutes of call will help people to get that human connection needed in this crisis.

Depending on which country you live in, some insurance providers are paying for the services. Some PTs are doing it pro-bono and some are doing it for a reduced cost.

This is an excellent opportunity to address the musculoskeletal problems one might be having and due to the work schedule, the plan to get the help was delayed or ignored.

Feel free to contact us if you are interested in knowing more about it.

Your physical health is as important as your mental health.

Stay safe and healthy.

 

 

Trigger finger: What to do?


trigger fingerHave you ever experienced a snapping in one of the fingers, difficulty in quickly opening the fist or you have to manually open the fingers to extend them? The reason may be a Trigger finger.

Our fingers can move freely due to a pulley system that runs along with each digit of our hand. When there is inflammation in one of the pulleys, typically in the A1 pulley which is at the base of the finger can result in abnormal gliding on the tendon.

Trigger finger can happen to anyone. The most common age group is in their 50s or 60s. The chances of trigger finger are slightly higher in the population with Diabetes. Also, there are some potential causes such as occupational, prolonged flexion activities like holding the bag, writing, knitting, etc.

Clinical presentation

The most common presentation is painless clicking in the finger while moving it. Gradually it will progress to painful popping sensation. Swelling, decrease in range of motion may accompany. A palpable nodule may be noted at the base of the finger.

Treatment options

Your doctor may recommend the use of corticosteroid injection or lidocaine injection and refer to Physical therapy.

What to expect at Physical therapy?

The physical therapist will get your detailed history to know the duration of the problem, the nature of work, or what might have triggered it.

A detailed evaluation is performed which includes palpating the area to see if any tender spots are present, range of motion, muscle strength, flexibility, and activity limitation is noted.

The type of treatment provided ranges from:

  • Using TENS/ Parrafin wax/heat packs
  • Soft tissue massage
  • Joint mobilization
  • Passive stretching
  • Supervised hand & finger exercise program to regain strength, dexterity & flexibility.
  • Splinting or Taping

Patient Education

Since the trigger finger is observed as an overuse injury, education is very important. Education should be given on:

  • Rest
  • Modifications of activities
  • Specialized tools
  • Splinting
  • Posture

Exercises

  • Perform a series of tendon gliding exercises ( check out the exercises in the reference given below).
  • Perform hand and wrist strengthening exercises.
  • Focus on lengthening the finger flexors.
  • Avoid activities that involve a sustained grip. Hold off on the use of grip strengthening devices or exercises involving repetitive squeezing – these put stress on the irritated tendon.

Soft Tissue Mobilization

  • Massage or soft tissue mobilization may help reduce the severity of your trigger finger or thumb constriction.
  • Massage also helps relax tightened muscles, which may facilitate other trigger finger exercises for greater efficacy and benefits.
  • One method of massaging a sore trigger finger is friction massage, which a physical therapist can do or you can do yourself. Stroke the affected finger in a downward motion toward the palm or upward toward the tip of the finger. This may help relieve pain and stiffness caused by nodules & lengthen the finger muscles and tendons.

Splinting

The first step in treatment is to stop doing activities that aggravate the condition. Splinting is one of the best ways to limit motion. There are various ways to splint a patient but, ultimately, it will depend on what provides the patient with the most relief. It should be noted that splinting yields lower success rates in patients with severe triggering or longstanding duration of symptoms. 6-8 weeks of MCP splinting with 15 degree flexion has shown to provide relief in most of the patient.

If the problem persists, the doctor may recommend an injection or tendon release surgery. Post-surgery physical therapy is recommended to gain back the strength, range of motion and flexibility and to maintain the scar tissue pliability.

Feel free to message us if you have any questions.

References

Tendon Gliding Exercises

 

 

DISCLAIMER: Please consult your medical professional before beginning exercises.

 

5 Ways to Deal with the Lockdown


It’s been seven months since the world turned upside down. The Coronavirus pandemic has knocked our life out of balance. And coping with these long term changes hasn’t been easy for us all, leaving us feeling less like ourselves – difficult nights sleep, stress with work or even the weather. ⠀⠀

The days you struggle and your mental health isn’t great, and negativity creeps in with all the uncertainty that we are facing right now, remind yourself that life is all about balance. ⠀⠀

The next time you feel overwhelmed, use these 5 tips to pull yourself towards a more positive mind frame:

  • Set Realistic Goals

The most important thing is to remember to accept that this might happen. And to be realistic. ⠀⠀
So, if during this period, you’re setting goals, goals and more goals for yourself, be ready to be disappointed. Why? This is not a time to transform, this is a time to transcend your limits, when it comes to consistency and discipline. So set realistic weekly goals keeping in mind that there will be days where you may not be able to achieve what you had planned, and that is absolutely alright!

  • Observe your Self-Talk

Remember, your mind is always eavesdropping on your self-talk. So instead of fighting for your limitations, consciously choose to be aware of your self talk. Even if you think a negative thought, don’t beat yourself up, correct it with something simple like the word ‘yet’. “I’m not great at this…yet.”
This is that phase where you’re just gonna put in work and give priority to your mental health. Begin this now, and you’ll thank yourself later.

  • Focus on the Present

Obviously being positive 24×7 isn’t practical or realistic. But being conscious, present in the moment and aware of your thoughts when they turn against you is the way to go right now. Acknowledging, accepting your thoughts and telling yourself that, this too shall pass, is the best first step you can take for your mental health.

  • Keep a Routine

Obviously we can’t maintain our old routines, but creating a daily routine of waking up at the same time, eating at the same time, dressing as if you’re going to work and working at a designated spot at home are some ways to maintain a semblance of routine. These will help you feel more grounded and mentally present.

  • Keep Moving

Yes! Exercise! Of course don’t over do it with working out two three hours a day! Keep an hour daily for regular exercise. Add in other physical activities to keep yourself active – household chores, cooking, playing physical games with family. You can also develop a walking routine to complete a set number of steps.

So let’s learn to enjoy these days at home minus the guilt of not doing enough and also, accept that we will probably take longer to get to our goals but this time you will with peace, patience and practice.

“Our body benefits from the movement whereas our mind benefits from the stillness, mix it up with good intentions and we’ll find our balance.”

Tell us in the comments below, how do you manage your mental health on such days?

We’re Back!


Uncertainty is the only certainty there is, and knowing how to live with insecurity is the only security.”

(Neeraja) I always wondered what uncertainty felt like. Just a few months ago I was in the Maldives and then in India with my family enjoying every bit of my time. We came back to New York headed back to our daily routine, juggling life between work, a kid, and home. Then came Covid-19 and life came to a standstill. Gradually the state got locked down, the country was under emergency, and borders closed.
Before we could make sense of all this, it started affecting our daily lives. So now our new normal was to cook 4 meals a day, clean, plan activities for kids and work from home.
Its been almost 2 months the world’s turned upside down and now I know what uncertainty is. But then as I pen this down, I also realize its been so many years I never had time to sit down with my kid and husband 24/7. I now had time to catch up with my school and college friends. I returned to my hobbies and I started setting new goals for my future. So finally it feels like I’m getting an idea of how to make this lemonade as life gave us lemons.

Meanwhile in India, (Anuja) things were getting bad due to COVID-19. Luckily for me, the lockdown gave me a chance to get back to things I skipped out in the last few years. But as the lockdown period extended, I realized it started affecting my mental and emotional health.
Days when I make these big goals and long to-do lists. Days when I’m extremely productive – workout, eat well, sleep well. Complete my lists.
And then there are days when I didn’t feel so good. I’d go through the entire spectrum of feelings – stress, anxiety, exhaustion to moody, and just downright low.
Like Neeraja said, when life gives lemon, it’s time to learn a kickass lemonade recipe! Being consciously balanced is a lesson I’m learning daily thanks to Corona.

We’re sure many of you must be struggling with this lockdown right now. Missing that physical human connection which we will value more once these restrictions are over.

We started Fitnesspedia 8 years ago, but it ended up taking a backseat as life got in the way. Now as we see our goals more clearly, we decided to restart it!

We want to say thank you for showering us with so much love, even when we were absent for so many years. And we hope to make a difference in your lives with our words and connect with you much more often!

Here’s to this blog becoming a companion for your physical and mental wellbeing!

Till the next time we meet, stay safe, stay healthy!

Drink more Water


The more you exercise, the more important it is to drink the right amount of water before, during, & after your workouts.💪💦
People differ a lot in body size, how much they sweat, the type and amount of exercise they do, and the climate in which they exercise. So “one-glove-fits-all” rule cannot apply.
Dehydration can make it hard to get the most out of your workout, & in extreme situations, can even be dangerous to your health.
🚱Mild dehydration:
1⃣Be a little thirsty
2⃣Feel as if you have to work significantly harder to maintain your performance level
🚱🚱Severe dehydration:
1⃣Lightheadedness
2⃣Uncoordinated
3⃣Muscle cramps
4⃣Symptoms of heat exhaustion, & that can progress to heat stroke, which is potentially fatal & needs medical attention.
The good news👍 is that staying hydrated💦 during exercise really isn’t complicated for most people. If your typical exercise session is around 60 minutes or less, & doesn’t involve vigorous activity outdoors in hot, humid weather😓🚫, you probably don’t need to interrupt your exercise session for a drink unless you prefer to. A healthy, average-sized person can produce as much as 32 oz of sweat during an hour of moderate to vigorous indoor exercise. The goals of fluid intake during exercise is to prevent dehydration from occurring & to not drink in excess of one’s sweating rate.

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