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Random Physical Therapy Considerations for the New Year

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How many people make New Year’s resolutions these days, and of those, how many are kept?  I was thinking of some conditions that Physical Therapists are able to help with that might be a bit random, things that most people wouldn’t think of their favorite Physical Therapist when they consider seeking treatment.

Before we start with the random conditions, let’s just review the basics of when to seek treatment.  For acute injuries, those up to six weeks old, it’s good to ice, elevate and compress.  Wait and watch for two weeks.  Continue if you are improving, if not, seek treatment.  For chronic injuries, those lasting longer than 6 weeks, if treatment is going to help, it’s never too late.  I have treated injuries that were 50 years old with success.

Now for the random conditions: Vertigo can be caused by a disruption in the semi circular canals that are housed within your ear.  Some people are diagnosed by their doctor with BPPV or benign paroxysmal positional vertigo.  Their symptoms may include dizziness with turning their head quickly from side to side (backing your car up) or with looking up or down.  Often patients complain of dizziness with rolling in bed, sitting up from laying or standing from sitting.  Some doctors perform the Epley Maneuver to assess the situation and send patients home to do this as their treatment, but I find that patients don’t like it.  I am able to successfully help patients with CranioSacral Therapy which is much more comfortable for them.

Falls prevention is another area of treatment.  Medicare is especially interested in having patients screened by a Physical Therapist if they are over the age of 65 and have fallen one time in the past 6 months with an injury or twice without an injury.  Physical Therapists are uniquely qualified to assess not only balance but also strength.  Many folks over 65 loose much of their leg and buttock strength due to reduced activity.  Ask yourself, can you stand from sitting without pushing off from the chair with your hands?  Can you sit from standing without plopping down or holding the chair?

Urinary incontinence is also a big problem that many women think is a normal part of aging.  It is not.  Women often have a strong urge to urinate that they can’t suppress, or may leak urine with coughing or sneezing.  Often these symptoms can be corrected by strengthening the pelvic floor muscles.  Like any other muscle in the body, those of the pelvic floor become weakened when they are not used.

You don’t have to live with any of these ongoing conditions.  Ask questions and seek help to have a healthy upcoming year.

Mary Boyd, MS, PT is a member of the Sandpoint Wellness Council and owner of Mountain View Physical Therapy .  She can be reached for questions at 290-5575 or on the web at

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