Monday, July 24, 2017

Lasting Impressions

Lasting Impressions

As the July boards have just past, new graduate physical therapists anxiously await to find out their board results after months of preparation have come to an abrupt halt. During this time of year, I can’t help but reflect upon this past year when I was in their shoes just one year ago.

As a novice, I thought that test was the biggest hurdle I was going to have to overcome as a new physical therapist. Flash forward to July 23rd, 2017, where early mornings and late nights, finishing notes, and fixing billing errors is my new norm. But what I didn’t anticipate would be the lasting relationships I have made this past year. Relationships with patients, co-workers, patients, office staff, nurses, and doctors are what make me able to even have a job as a physical therapist.

I have learned quickly that in order for my patients to get the best care, I must be able to communicate with their other health care team members. I never anticipated that, in addition to my job duties of hands on treatment and documentation, that I would be going to meet doctors to carry out clinical discussions, all with the common goals to from new relationships in order to obtain patients and progress and successfully treating those patients.

So what have been some of the key concepts of this networking and relationship building experience? Well, for starters, establishing patient rapport and making sure my patients know that I am their listening ear, cheerleader, and health care provider is by far the utmost importance.  Then comes networking with physicians. I think of this like dating but in the health care profession. Learning about physicians on a personal and professional level. What do they like to do as hobbies? How do they communicate? Is it by phone, email, text? Which like detailed updates on patients? Which do not want you to contact them unless there is an issue?  All of this information helps develop relationships in order to have a smoother patient- doctor-PT relationship.

The past year have been one of meeting memorable patients, developing relationships with local physicians, and giving back to the community with health care related talks. I look forward to what the next year will bring and to see what new lasting impressions will be made. 

PTW’s Catie Grumbein, DPT is the Clinical Supervisor at our Montgomeryville clinic. For an initial evaluation, call Catie at 215 855 1160 today for an appointment as soon as possible!

Monday, July 3, 2017

The Truth Behind Concussions

More Than a Ringing Bell…
Within the last couple years, concussions have come to the forefront of injury prevention, especially in regards to sports. However, in addition to slamming into another person, you can get concussions from motor vehicle accidents and falls. As more research has come out, concussions are more than just a knock on the head; there are chemical and metabolic changes that occur in the brain.

Cascading Chemicals
A concussion occurs when there is a shearing or stretching of the axons of a neuron (see picture). When this happens, a number chemical changes occur in the brain and the normal balance in the brain is thrown off and some chemicals are concentrated in the wrong area. When those neurons try to fire later, those chemicals prevent normal function. So when you try to read, exercise, drive, work, etc., you get tired quickly and might experience headaches, fatigue, nauseousness, or dizziness. Think of your brain like a muscle: after an injury, both do not function properly and need time to heal before returning to normal activity.


What Can Physical Therapy Do?
Like muscle injuries, physical therapists can be essential in helping to recover from a concussion. About 80% of concussions resolve themselves within 10 days. It is the other 20% that require further care. Since our expertise is exercise, we are able to gradually re-introduce exercise in a controlled environment, monitoring symptom response and progress when patients are ready. We can also perform balance and visual-motor exercises; both systems can be effected concussion. As symptomatic response (headaches, fatigue, dizziness) decreases, we are able to slowly add in more complex activities to help the brain return to normal function. Over time, these activities can improve the balance of chemicals in the brain to the point where normal function levels are restored.

If you have questions on what else can physical therapists can do for concussions or think you might be a candidate for physical therapy, give any of our seven locations a call. Some links below are also great sources for more information on concussions and concussion physical therapy.

 PTW’s Sean Vanin, DPT is the Clinical Supervisor at our Quakertown clinic. For an initial evaluation, call Sean at 215 538 9911 today for an appointment as soon as possible!

APTA Article Beyond Rest: Physical Therapists and Concussion Management

UPMC Sports Medicine Center “Concussions Facts and Statistics”

Center for Disease Control and Prevention “Traumatic Brain Injury and Concussion”