Ways to Minimize the Spreading of the Corona Virus (COVID-19)

Ways to Minimize the Spreading of the Corona Virus (COVID-19)

What are the symptoms of the Corona virus 2019 (COVID-19)?

  • Fever
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath
  • Your symptoms could initially start with a sore throat
  • Tired and achy

The virus is primarily spread by person to person via respiratory droplets in the air. It is also thought that it can spread through surface contact and then bringing your hands to your face; however, the virus does not live long on surfaces. The New England Journal of Medicine in the most recent research states that the COVID-19 virus can live in the air for 3 hours, and that it’s viable on plastics for 72 hours, 48 hours on stainless steel, 24 hours on cardboard, and 4 hours on copper.

This tells us that if an environment is person free for more than 72 hours, the virus is non-existent. For example, a school or office space that been person free for more than three days won’t need to be cleaned in an attempt to kill the virus because the virus has already expired. To keep your living environment clean, first clean the surface with a soap and water or cleaning solution, and then use an EPA approved disinfectant/antibacterial cleaner or wipes. You can create your own disinfectant by adding five tablespoons of bleach to one gallon of water, or use an alcohol solution that contains 70% alcohol to 30% water. I would advise you to wear rubber gloves while you do this to protect your skin, and make sure the area is ventilated well.

So, how does the virus travel once in our body? The virus enters the body through the mouth, nose, and possibly around the eyes. It enters the lungs attaching to the airways and our body then creates a thick mucus and the result is restricted or closed airways, which will make breathing difficult and labored. Your symptom at this point is shortness of breath.

To decrease the possibility of it making its way into the lungs there are a few things that you can do. Drink fluids frequently, every 15-20 minutes. It’s been advised to drink hot liquids which can aide in killing the virus. This will keep the tissues in your mouth, oropharynx, hypopharynx, and esophagus moist. Once the virus has flowed into the stomach, the stomach acid will kill the virus. Hot drinks can include coffee, tea, soup, warm water, etc…

You can also treat the mouth by using an oral antiseptic like Listerine or you can make your own by combining small amounts of salt, vinegar, and or lemon to warm/hot water (not hot enough to burn yourself). This will lyse practically all of the virus that’s in your mouth.

What about your nose? You can use a Neti Pot or something similar, cleaning the sinuses with a warm salty solution. I would advise you to boil the water first, and let it cool down to a warm temperature first. This will help to clear your sinuses of the virus.

If you have to go out or go to work, when you get home, go straight to the bathroom and take a shower, washing your hair, face and entire body. You can also throw your clothes into the washing machine and wash your clothes daily. The detergent and water will kill any virus that’s on your clothing. If you can’t wash your clothes daily, you could hang your clothes out in direct sunlight which is effective at killing viruses.

If you’re in a warm environment, a good place to be is the beach. The sun and saltwater will kill the virus significantly. However, it’s advisable to avoid crowds of people.

If you get a sore throat, zinc creates a barrier over the tissue in your throat. A few ideas I have for adding a barrier to your throat is Zicam dissolvable tablets, which coat the throat well. You can also take vitamins with zinc or a zinc supplement.

If you begin to experience a sore throat, immediately take action as described above. i.e. drink hot liquids, create a zinc barrier, clean nasal passages with warm salty water, use oral antiseptic, take a warm/hot shower and clean your entire body.

Don’t forget to do what we always should be doing. Wash your hands frequently (every 20 minutes), keep your hands away from your face, don’t shake hands with another person, and avoid crowds.

I hope this helps you and your family. If you have any questions or concerns, you can reach me through my contacts page at https://spectrumpt.com/

Dr. Gary Welch PT, CFCE, CFMT, CKTP, COMT
Spectrum Physical Therapy
100 Hospital Road, suite 112
Patchogue, NY 11772

For accurate information on COVID-19, research the CDC at

https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html

How to become a Morning Person

The mornings can be very beautiful

Your genes have some influence over your preference to rise early, or later in the day. Your gender and age also play a role in this, but even all of these factors combined don’t have the last word on your predisposition to be a night owl or morning lark. You can choose to become a morning person with a few simple changes to your routine.

Why it’s beneficial to be a morning person
As the saying goes; ‘The early bird catches the worm’. Being a morning person comes with a host of benefits for many areas of your life. Science has shown that morning people are more agreeable, proactive and less prone to bad habits. They also tend to be happier and have better moods. Being a night owl on the other hand has been linked to depression. If you’re a night owl looking to change your habits, read our tips below.

Tips for becoming a morning person
Switching our circadian rhythms from night own tendencies to becoming an early riser can be influenced by a few changes in our behavior. One of the greatest influencers of our inner body clock is natural light and blue light.
Increasing exposure to daylight in the morning to a minimum of 20 minutes and reducing your exposure to blue light in the evenings – the kind that comes from a TV, phones, and other electronic devices – will help to reset your body clock and aid in becoming an early riser.
If you’re planning on getting up earlier in the mornings, you’ll need to go to bed earlier in the evening. Each of us requires a certain amount of sleep according to our age and gender. If you’re used to going to bed late and rising late, it’s best to make small incremental changes to your bedtime. Taking in back by about 15 minutes for a few nights and then repeating this again until you’re heading to bed before 10:30 pm. This will give you time to get enough sleep and rise before 8am each morning.
The things you eat can have a huge impact on how easy it is to get asleep and how well you sleep. Caffeine and nicotine are obvious culprits for making it difficult to sleep. Spicy food, foods high in fat, protein and water are also bad for your sleep. The great news is, there are also foods that are helpful for relaxing your body and helping it to produce the hormones needed for a good night’s sleep. Foods with high levels of tryptophan, magnesium, calcium, and vitamin B6 help us to produce melatonin which is one of the main chemicals our body needs to sleep. What’s more, certain foods naturally contain melatonin too – tart cherries, grains, some nuts and seeds are great sources for this. Many of these foods can be incorporated in a delicious white night cookie that can be eaten an hour or so before bedtime to help you drift off.

Making small and consistent changes can help you triumph over a genetic, age or gender related predisposition to being a night owl you may have and reap the benefits of becoming a morning person.

By Elise Morgan

How to pick out and adjust the proper backpack for your child

How to pick out and adjust the proper backpack for your child

All of our kids these days are wearing backpacks to school and are actually considered a fashion statement these days. You see some millennials wearing them at events that don’t even warrant a backpack, but are worn because they are perceived as a cool piece of apparel.  So, they’re being used a lot by kids these days. But, are you aware of the hidden dangers behind these backpacks, and the long term effects they have on our bodies?

This article is to educate both the children and the adults about buying the right backpack and how to adjust them correctly for the best fit and to reduce the stress they can put on our shoulders, neck, and back.

Have you noticed how heavy and big your kid’s backpacks have gotten over the years, even the young kids in elementary school? They’ve gone from holding 10-15 pounds to holding 35-45 pounds. Now add the frequency and duration that the kids are wearing them and now we have an overuse injury waiting to happen.  As a little side note; with today’s technology, I don’t know why we haven’t gone to electronic books that we can store on our computers or pads.  If the kids could have all of their school books stored on a computer, that would prevent them from carrying so much weight in their backpacks.  Schools, are you listening?

Long term use of wearing a heavy backpack can cause strain injuries to the muscles around our neck, shoulders, and mid to low back.  The compression on our spine from the weight cause the discs to compress, increased pressure on the vertebrae and can even cause scoliosis, a curvature of the spine.

A backpack should never weigh more than 15% of your child’s normal body weight.  This does not hold true if your child is overweight.  Here’s an example. Lets say your child weighs 100 pounds, their backpack should not weigh more than 15 pounds.  If they weigh 125 pounds, the backpack shouldn’t weigh more than 19 pounds.  Encourage your child to only pack what the really need. Throwing a lot of unnecessary items in the backpack can lead to the backpack becoming overweight.  Ask for a duplicate book in some cases so that you have one at home and it doesn’t need to be carried back and fourth to school.  Keep the books in a locker and only carry the books that are needed for the next one or two classes.  We know that we want our kids to stay hydrated, but a large water bottle weighs a lot. Maybe keep it to 16 ounces and they could refill their bottle at school.

Buying the right backpack

The backpacks over the years have gone from small to very large, engulfing some of our little kids and simply just too large.

  • Look for a backpack that is light made from a lightweight canvas, rather than leather or suede.
  • Look for wide straps. The wider a strap is, the less pressure it puts on the neck and shoulder areas. A smaller strap increases pressure on these areas.  Also look to see if the straps are padded, this can help reduce pressure. Also, a little padding on the front side of the backpack will help add comfort and reduce some pressure on your child’s back, and can reduce the possibility from a pencil poking through the material into your child’s back.
  • Another thing to look for is a waste strap. This can help distribute the weight throughout the trunk and decrease some of the pressure on the shoulders and also keep the backpack from moving around too much.

Wearing it right

I see kids and adults wearing their backpacks over one shoulder. This is an easy and maybe cool way to wear it, but all of the weight is going onto one shoulder.  The weight should be evenly distributed over both shoulders to decrease the pressure and to help keep the pack balanced.  Here are several ways to adjust to your backpack.

  • Shoulder strap adjustment so that the top of the back pack is at the level of the shoulder blades with the bottom resting in the curve of the lower back. Some backpacks are so long, that this fitment wont’ be possible. Try your best to make it fit!
  • Wear the waist strap, which will help keep the backpack secure to your trunk and prevent the backpack from moving around causing weight shifting, and help with balancing the weight across the body.
  • Don’t forget to weigh the backpack loaded and keep it under 15% of your childs weight.

 

Enjoy your new backpack and make the weighing of the backpack a fun and learning experience.  Have your child weigh themselves on a scale and then put the loaded backpack on the scale and do the math.

Reducing The Two Most Common Overuse Injuries

Reducing The Two Most Common Overuse Injuries

In the past, we have heard the old adage “you only have one body, treat it good”.  So, what happens if we don’t abide by this advice?  I believe that the body will begin to break down at a quicker rate, causing muscle pain, tendinitis, quicker cartilage wear, disc degeneration/herniated discs, etc…

Well, this is the reason for this article, to reduce the effects of bad lifting techniques, that will slow down the degenerative effects from poor body mechanics.  Every time we lift, we are putting forces on our limbs and our spine.  When we lift with poor body-mechanics, we place huge stresses on our spine and shoulders; but, if we can change a few simple habits, we can reduce this stress on our body.

There are two bad habits, when lifting from the floor, that I would like people to break, which can help to reduce back injuries.  One is lifting while bending over or twisting and the other is lifting or carrying weight away from their bodies. I will break down each bad habit and replace it with a good habit.

Ok, here we go!  First, the back muscles are shaped like small spindles grouped together as bundles that course up from the low back to the mid back, and are designed for movement. The spinal muscles are Not designed for lifting, they are designed for movement!

So, which muscle group is designed to do the lifting? The anterior thigh muscles, or quadriceps, are the muscles that work best for lifting.  If you bend at the knees, to pick up the weight on the floor, when you stand up the quads are the muscles that allow for this movement. And we don’t typically hear of people straining a quad muscle when lifting!  So, when lifting from the floor to waist height, think of yourself as an elevator, moving vertically up and down, not like a crane where you bend over at the waist. Bending over that way will increase the compressive load on your back and cause the back muscles to work hard.  When you lift like an elevator, you reduce the chances of straining your back significantly.

The other bad habit of lifting is with the weight out and away from your body, which increases the compressive forces on your back significantly, and causes a huge strain on your shoulders. Here’s an example; let’s say you are lifting 40 lbs and you have that weight 20 inches in front of your body.  Multiply the 40lbs by 20 and you have approximately 800lbs of compressive force on the lowest lumbar vertebrae and disc (L5-S1). Bring that weight in by 10 inches and you’ve decreased the compression by 400 lbs. Hold on a minute! What if you bring that weight right up against your body while lifting it?  The weight is now back down to approximately the original 40lbs.

Some factors that can complicate this is being overweight; this forces you to hold the weight further away from the spine, plus factor in the compressive force on the spine from the increased body weight.  When you’re ready to set the weight down or place it on a shelf, get your body as close as you can so that you avoid the reach, which reduces compressive forces on the spine and stress on the shoulders during a shoulder height or overhead height lifts.

One other bit of good information, on reducing these common injuries, is how to properly warm up the muscle groups that are doing the work. First, cold muscles will strain/tear a lot easier than a warm muscle. So if you’re about to lift some boxes that are on the floor, you know that you’re going to need to use your thigh muscles. So, before lifting the weight, start out by doing a few squats. This is the movement you’re going to do anyway, but without the weight! So, warm up your quads by doing a few squats before you load the muscles during lifting.

For the shoulders, reach forward and then up and down five to ten times to warm up the shoulders and then a shoulder stretch by reaching across the chest and holding your arm there with the opposite hand for about 10 to 20 seconds.  Now, you’re ready to lift up to shoulder or overhead heights with less chance of straining your shoulders.

So keep in mind these few changes and make them your new habits.  You will be protecting your own body and working safer.

I hope this helps reduce injuries in your future, so that you don’t have to experience pain and to reduce your medical costs.  If you have any questions, or you can’t lift properly, feel free to contact me.

 

Dr. Gary Welch PT, CFCE, CFMT, COMT

Certified Functional and Orthopedic Manual Therapist

Certified Functional Capacity Evaluator and Kinesio Taping Practitioner

Medicare Cap Repealed

Medicare Cap Repealed

After two decades of advocacy, we have finally come to a successful fruition, as a 2-year funding deal recently signed into law includes a full repeal of the cap on Medicare outpatient physical therapy, occupational, and speech-language pathology services.

For 21 years the therapy cap threatened to undermine the health and quality of life of millions of Medicare beneficiaries. Physical therapy practitioners were faced with the possibility of denying services to those who needed them.

“I am grateful that President Trump along with Congress has finally put an end to this flawed policy and would like to thank all of our law makers for finally changing this for the Americans who have earned this insurance coverage”. This is not an entitlement, it’s been paid for over a persons life time. They deserve it.

The repeal came just as some beneficiaries were beginning to hit the $2,010 therapy cap. With the turn of the calendar year, the therapy cap of $2,010 went into effect, and putting more than a million beneficiaries at risk of losing access to essential outpatient Medicare Part B therapy services.

Be sure to pass this on to family members and friends who have Medicare services.

Osteoarthritis

Osteoarthritis
A young woman massaging her painful knee

A woman massaging her painful knee


Osteoarthritis (OA) affects millions of people in the united states and can cause pain in every joint in the body. However, the major joints affected the most are the hips, knees, and shoulders.  When the joint looses cartilage, the underlying osteochonral bone can become exposed. Thus, reducing the slippery surface provided by the cartilage, and now you have a bone on bone situation, which increases the friction at the joint. The most predisposing factor for OA is age. The condition primarily affects the middle-aged to elderly population, most often over 60 years (J Orthop Sports Phys Ther 2009:39 (4) A1-A25).

When the joint becomes painful and/or swollen, the person tends to reduce demand on that joint by compensating their movement.  This causes several issues: decreased mobility of the joint, decreased synovial (lubricant) production, decreased strength and stability around the joint, and decreased flexibility of surrounding musculature, all from disuse of the joint. The compensatory movements will also cause pain in other extremities and joints.

Current treatment approaches include:

Over the counter pain medications can be taken for OA pain as well as prescription strength NSAID’S (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs).

Physical Therapy to regain lost movement, flexibility, strength, endurance, and return to normal functions.

Artificial synovial fluid (Synvisc) injections can be administered to provide the patient with lost lubricant in the joint, thus reducing friction from bone on bone contact.

Surgical interventions include arthroscopy for mild to moderate OA, unilateral compartment Osteotomy (removal of sub-chondral bone), unilateral joint arhroplasty (joint replacement of one compartment), and total knee replacement (arthroplasty).

 

Dr. Gary Welch PT, CFCE, CFMT, CKTP, COMT

Spectrum Physical Therapy
100 Hospital Road, Suite 112
Patchogue, NY 11772

Bicycle safety helps peddle away from the emergency room!

Bicycle safety helps peddle away from the emergency room!
mountain bike with helmet showing safety or sports concept in nature

mountain bike with helmet showing safety or sports concept in nature

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASELocal Physical Therapists Help Keep Cyclists Moving Forward
Patchogue, NY (April 23, 2013) – More Americans ride bicycles than those who ski, golf or play tennis combined, according to the National Sporting Goods Association. The Private Practice Section of the American Physical Therapy Association says biking-related injuries are largely preventable.

“Cyclists, roughly 580,000 Americans, visit the emergency room each year for injuries sustained while riding,” said Gary Welch at Spectrum Physical Therapy in Patchogue. “It is common for private practice physical therapists to treat cycling injuries such as anterior knee pain, perineal pain (Pelvic Floor) , tendonitis and head injuries including concussion.”

Seventy-five percent of fatal or serious cycling accidents occur at or near road intersections in urban areas, according to the Network of Employers for Traffic Safety. Basic habits, including knowledge and use of appropriate hand signals and wearing of protective gear – helmet, knee pads, etc. – aid in prevention of trauma among children and adults alike, and save Americans an estimated $8 billion in health care costs per year.

PreventInjury.org recently cited that cyclists can enjoy a safe ride by checking the level of their seat, the position of their handle bars and the extension of their knees as well as maintaining good posture and stretching before and after a ride.

“During spring, local physical therapists strive to lower injury rates by providing preventive measures so cycling enthusiasts and their bikes are operating optimally and safely,” continued Welch. “Local physical therapy clinics are available to review the rules of the road and recommended biking methodologies to ensure fewer people become emergency room statistics.”

Editor’s Note: Gary Welch is available for discussion on these safety tips by email –spectrumtherapy@gmail.com – Website www.spectrumpt.com – or Facebook at Spectrum Physical Therapy.

Dr. Gary Welch PT, CFCE, CFMT, CKTP, COMT
Certified Functional Capacity Evaluator

Certified Functional Manual Therapist
Certified Kinesio Taping Practitioner
Certified Orthopedic Manual Therapist

2013 Brookhaven Award Recipients

2013 Brookhaven Award Recipients

Gary Welch, Human Resources and Occupational Medicine Division

Gary Welch

gary welch

bnl.gov – Gary Welch is recognized for his outstanding service to the Laboratory by establishing a top quality on-site physical therapy (PT) service with a well-equipped facility and outstanding staff. This service provides over 4,500 treatments per year to Brookhaven Lab employees recovering from occupational or personal injuries and other musculoskeletal disorders.

Employees have overwhelmingly rated his service as excellent. They appreciate avoiding co-payments and not having to travel off-site for PT. This service has also realized the recovery of several thousand hours of productivity per year by avoiding off-site trips for PT during the workday.

Welch has developed a deep understanding of the physical challenges of work at the Lab, which has guided him in his therapy, always geared towards employees’ rapid recovery and resumption of their work duties. He has also engaged in a variety of injury prevention activities with the Lab’s Safety and Health Services, most notably the education of workers about the injury potential of their jobs and mitigation of risks.