Not One Profession Can Do It Alone. Team Approach for Prevention.

Hey, folks!

     Welcome back to a traditional blog post! It has been some time since I posted one of these. Most of my writing lately has been dedicated to our Wellness Wednesday tips and #WellfieWednesday initiative. This is a topic that has undoubtedly been touched on a number of times, but I felt it necessary to bring it up again. 

     We cannot do it alone. We cannot change population health with the unique skill set of a physical therapist or any single healthcare professional for that matter. We need a more collaborative team approach when it comes to preventing chronic disease. If you’re a PT trying to offer preventative wellness services but have no RDN (registered dietitian nutritionist) on speed dial, or vice versa, you’re doing it wrong; you’re not offering your patient or client a well-rounded approach to their care.

     Physical therapists may have the skills to help prevent, from the standpoint of exercise benefits and quality movement, but lack extensive dietary knowledge and the ability to offer nutritional counseling. Dietitians possess the nutritional component to educate healthy eating but lack the skills of promoting appropriate movement patterns and exercise prescription. Hell, even I, the one trying to juggle both of these amazingly beneficial professions, will not have everything needed to prevent. No one person has it all unless of course, you have MD, PT, OT, RDN, PhD, etc. after your name. And if that is the case, props to you, please share how you keep up with all those licenses and what your con-ed looks like. 

     We need a preventative model with multiple disciplines on board, making an array of services available to an individual if they need them. Now remember every person lives in a world of different circumstances. One person may be eating healthy but not moving enough, while another is getting adequate exercise but eats like crap, and a third requiring extensive behavioral change due to struggles with both. Specialties specialize for a reason, so take advantage. Now I’m not saying everyone needs a team of six to prevent the onset of diabetes or cardiovascular disease, but they should have the option if their health disparities call for it. 

     However, on the flip side. If education was done right and done early, we wouldn’t need a huge team of people trying to play catch up. And that is where change needs to occur. Just something else to chew on and indeed requires a post in itself. 

Thanks for reading and enjoy your week!

-    Dr. Patrick Berner, PT, DPT

FreeTheYoke Starts Today!!

     Happy Saturday! I hope you’ve had a wonder week! And for those of you who work a schedule similar to mine, make this week your best yet! Today’s post is about FreeTheYoke. Certainly check out the website by clicking the link here, but I’ll do my best to give a quick summary of what this is.

     FreeTheYoke is a movement aimed at creating awareness for the chronic diseases that burden our population. Basically letting people know you don’t have to live that way. And with some education and behavioral lifestyle changes, you can reduce your odds of having poor health outcomes. Simply by being physical activity, eating right, not smoking, and getting enough sleep. May sound like a lot, but there are healthcare professionals that can help. They’re called Physical Therapists!

     FreeTheYoke is shedding light on the fact that physical therapists can be active participants in helping prevent illness and death that result from lifestyle-related chronic diseases. So how are they trying to let the public know that a physical therapist can help? Attempting to break a world-record for the longest bike relay, going from PT clinic to PT clinic, from San Francisco, CA to Manasquan, New Jersey. What this does is allow physical therapists to portray their healthy habits and be a model for other individuals.

     So how can you take part? RIDE! You can check out the course by clicking here. And don’t worry, if you’re not near any check points you can join in on the virtual ride. Simply log your hours by clicking here. Doesn’t matter if you’re commuting to work or on a spin-bike at the gym, join in on the fun! Most importantly, SHARE your ride! Whether it’s Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram, use #FreeTheYoke so your accomplishments can be shared with everyone taking part.

     If you have any questions or want more information, reach out to @FreeTheYoke or @mikeeisenhart on Twitter.

Thanks for reading!

Dr. Patrick Berner, PT, DPT

Everyone Deserves General Nutritional Information.

     Hey, Everyone! So just to give a little update on myself, since this past month or so has been pretty hectic. Once we got back from Europe, we took a cross country road trip, but what I should really say is that we moved across the country. Started my first travel PT assignment this week in Reno, NV in a skilled nursing facility and so far it has been great! So enough about me and onto the topic of choice this week, nutritional education. This post is intended for clinicians, but also the consumer (patient or client).

     Getting straight to point with this one, I find that many physical therapists and some other healthcare providers don’t always take the time to educate their patients/clients on the importance of nutrition and the huge role it plays in recovery, as well as the normal day to day function of the human body. Everyone deserves to know this information, and just because you as a clinician may not have a strong background in it, doesn’t mean your patient shouldn’t be informed.

              Image Source

             Image Source

     I’m not talking counting calories, perfecting the grams of protein, and all that kind of detailed counseling that should be left to a dietitian. I’m talking about discussing general nutritional information, such as the importance of calcium for your elderly patient (really all ages), adequate protein for recovery following surgery or injury, reducing saturated fats for someone with high cholesterol, and healthy weight gain for a client that is pregnant. The list can go on and it ends up including every single person you as a healthcare provider come in contact with. And as for the consumer reading this, there is always some aspect of what you eat that can be improved.

     Now let’s say you don’t know those general nutritional needs, don’t be afraid to admit it and do the right thing, refer them to a registered dietitian nutritionist. The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics has a great resource on their website that allows you to find an RDN in your area. Click here for the link. And I’m advising the use of an RDN because they are licensed and hold the highest qualification to provide nutritional education and counseling.

     So whether you are a practicing clinician or a patient, seek out nutritional information, incorporate that knowledge with exercise and safe movement, and live a more preventative lifestyle.

Thanks for reading!

- Dr. Patrick Berner, PT, DPT

Inspiration and Thanks

Hey there!

     I want to start off by saying thank you to everyone that has supported our video, either by simply watching it or sharing. It makes me proud to be a part of a profession that can truly speak volumes. I want to give special thanks to Dr. Chaconas, who has supported me in all my efforts throughout my time at the University of St. Augustine and with the inspiration to make our video. I want to thank Sean, "the GetPT1st guy," as he was called for a tiny bit for helping us promote the video. I want to thank our amazing actors and actresses, Dr. Todd Bourgeois, Dr. Kerri Waegelein, Dr. Holli Flippo, Gretchen Davis, Erin Marsh, and Jules. And lastly, I want to thank Franchot at That Moment Productions for his awesome cinematography and making one hell of a video. 

     As day four rolls around, we sit at around a quarter of a million views with a reach of about a million people. By the way if you haven't seen or shared our video, go to my homepage or check it out here. I am in awe to say the least, Dr. Chaconas and I never expected these outcomes from such small fundraising efforts. With that said, our video was not tremendously expensive to produce, though we did work with a great cinematographer who I'm pretty sure cut us a deal. Thanks Franchot! 

     My biggest hope is that this sparks a fire within physical therapists around the world, whether you are a lone therapist or a part of a larger organization. Our profession has a lot to offer and unfortunately it is something that the general public doesn't know. We need to work harder at spreading the word and that starts with individual efforts. But yes, our organizations on the state and national level could do a better job at promoting the tools and skills of a physical therapists. And from what I have been seeing, many state chapters are changing their thoughts on how marketing the public actually works. 

     Thank you!!

- Dr. Patrick Berner, DPT

 

Links:

Dr. Chaconas

GetPT1st

Franchot

Educate Yourself Before Trying Something (Runner Edition)

     I recently volunteered at marathon here in Florida, where I was a part of the medical team in the orthopedic tent. We were located at the finish line and available for runners that displayed signs of needing assistance or whom voluntary sought help. Keeping with my prevention approach, I wanted to mention just a few things that could have been prevented with just a few simple tips.

       A majority of runners I saw presented with signs of dehydration and muscle cramps, blisters, and possible stress fractures. There were however a couple runners we saw that fell during the race and displayed signs of arm fractures, but that’s a different story. Runners that were far worse, with signs of hypothermia or other conditions, were cared for elsewhere in the medical tent. 

 

     Simple Tips to Prevent 

  ·   Adequate Hydration

Before, during, and after a long run make sure to drink water and something that has electrolytes, like Gatorade or Powerade. It is important to replenish electrolytes lost through sweat to avoid muscle cramping. Rule of thumb is to drink 16oz for every pound of body weight lost, which relies on you weighing yourself before and after. However, to steer clear of all the math, just drink a couple glasses and have a banana.

·   Recognize Overuse

Your body has just ran over 26 miles and soreness is bound to happen. Don’t be surprised if you feel like you have been hit by a bus, your muscles and tendons have most likely fatigued and been overworked. Utilize available ice to decrease soreness and possible inflammation, but keep your application time to 10-20 minutes.

·   Do Not Stop Moving & Know How to Self-Stretch

After such a long race your body has been built up with lactate acid. Continue to walk around  after, while pretending to do some bicep curls, to help circulation and prevent some muscle soreness. Stretching is another way to help increase circulation. I have a few favorite lower extremity stretches, but I’m saving that for a future post. 

·    Inspect Your Shoes

Looking at the bottom of your shoe reveals a lot, especially for a physical therapist. Repetitive wear on one particular side can indicate a biomechanic issue or an improperly fit shoe. Shoes that don’t fit well can lead to stress fractures if you have constantly been putting pressure on one spot. They can also create an environment for forming a blister. If your shoes don’t protect against blisters, look into padding sensitive areas and ensuring you have good socks.

·    Do Not Run in New Shoes

If you find the need to purchase new shoes, do it far beforehand. This allows time for you to slowly break them in during training. Most of us wouldn’t buy a new car and drive it across country without getting to know all the features or how it handles. Don’t put your feet and lower extremities through that pain.

 

Based on what I saw, many runners need to be educated. They should know what to expect and how their bodies will react, only then can they decide if they are truly injured. Remember to always utilize available medical staff and volunteers to rule out serious injury. 

- Patrick Berner, SPT

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