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To John Lucero, Colorado resident, fishing is about connecting to the soul of nature and it’s more important than the obstacles he may find getting to a pond, river or lake. It links him to what he used to take for granted and reminds him to enjoy each day to the fullest.
Francis Bevern, (name changed to protect patient identity) had to stop wearing her wedding ring. Even though her husband had died a few years back, she wanted to keep wearing the ring as a reminder of their relationship. But taking off the band was a necessary step because it didn’t fit her swelling finger. She had trouble fitting into her jacket and blouse sleeves and she experienced an odd and restrictive feeling in her arm and shoulder.
The fountain of health lies in belonging to a group. At least that’s what the research reveals. In the last sixty years there have been numerous studies that show that either loneliness or isolation or the combination of both, have a significant impact on an individual’s health, especially in the elderly.
For decades, the prevailing dogma in neuroscience was that you can’t teach old dog new tricks - meaning that the adult human brain is essentially unchangeable. The general consensus among neuroscientists, as well as popular belief, was that brain architectures become fixed and cannot change past adulthood.
Putting weight onto a ‘bum’ knee, forcing heaviness onto a diminished joint or placing a load onto an inflamed nerve, can be problematic and painful for many people. But what if you could avoid Earth’s gravitational field? A trip to the moon, which has just 20 percent of our planet’s gravity, would be a therapeutic game-changer. An individual weighing 200 pounds would be the equivalent of 40 pounds in space making load and force less of a burden.
Obviously, it’s not possible to fly to the moon for therapy. But it’s possible to unload body weight here and now on Earth. It’s done in water or in the chamber of an anti-gravity treadmill. Getting into a therapeutic pool past shoulder height can unload as much as 90 percent of weight. And with the latest treadmill technology from NASA, you can decrease 80 percent of load and force.
Unloading body weight opens the doors for positive improvement and walking. Some people think it’s their torn knee cartilage, worn joint surfaces, an impinged nerve or a host of other maladies that keep them from comfortable and safe movement.
Medical experts know the real culprit is mostly weight and gravity. “The field of biomechanics (the relationship between forces and motion in the body) gives us some interesting information about loads that our weight bearing joints undergo. In the hip and the knee, two joints that are commonly affected by arthritis, joint forces are approximately 1.5 times body weight when walking on level ground. This means that when a person weighing 200 pounds is walking along a level sidewalk, the forces on the joint are the same as for a 300-pound person standing still. Other activities place even greater forces on the joints. Getting up out of a chair increases the force to approximately 2 to 3 times body weight. The same is true of going up and down stairs. With more vigorous activities, such as running or jumping, the forces on the joints can approach 4 to 5 times body weight,” noted online by Dr. Carlton Savory from Hughston Health Clinic in Columbus, Georgia.
“Patients don’t have to sit on the sidelines and watch their strength, endurance and function decline – there are positive choices to getting them back to reduced pain and their prior level of fitness,” says Mindy McCleery, DPT and director of rehabilitation for Orchard Park Rehabilitation Center.
“Many people will opt for surgery to correct what weight and force have done to joints,” she says, but most lower extremity post-surgery protocols come with doctors’ orders for partial weight bearing or weight bearing as tolerated. Recovery is again delayed because most regimens require a healing time period before weight-bearing exercises can comfortably begin,” says McCleery.
Gravity can be an enemy and many people don’t know what kind of force they can safely lean onto their limbs. McCleery says the newer technologies and the therapies that can unload weight takes the guesswork out of each step. “Now we rely on science, not luck, to determine comfortable exercise,” she says.
How the New Technology Works
The latest treadmills operate with differential air pressure (DAP). It’s patented gravity know-how that’s rooted in science. Robert Whalen, a NASA researcher, is founder of the concept using advanced DAP machinery for weight support and the biomechanics of exercise in space.
Whalen’s antigravity field made science fiction more of a reality for the legs of real world users. For patients, it means they can start post-surgical lower extremity therapy earlier than expected because of the ability to offset weight.
Using the new treadmill takes a few steps. Patients don a pair of therapy provided neoprene shorts and step into a flexible air chamber. Being encircled waist high, they are zipped into the pressure tank to create an airtight seal. The machine is than calibrated by a therapist in order to give the appropriate levitation. The chamber inflates and the air pressure inside creates upward lift, floating patients up and off of gravity.
Elements of Anti-Gravity - Aquatic Therapy
Patients who find weight bearing on land difficult due to surgery, pain, loss of balance or a neurological condition will be surrounded by elements of buoyancy and resistance. Submersion in water supports weak muscles and provides resistance to strong muscles. Water is unique in the fact that it’s buoyant but can also provide 600 times more resistance than air. And resistance is multi-directional, which allows balance and strength to improve in all directions.
McCleery reports a breakdown of the latest hydrotherapy benefits new to this area that includes resistance jets used in conjunction with underwater treadmills created by HydroWorx®.
She says the pool is equipped with an underwater video camera and pool deck monitors that allow therapists to instantly give cues to improve gait normalcy. Patients can see each step via the monitor and then practice walking and moving against resistance, while at the same time minimizing the effects of gravity and weight bearing.
Research indicates that warm water coupled with exercise can mitigate the effects of arthritis. Hydrotherapy is an effective way to perform aerobic exercise while not placing too much stress on affected joints. Reports also show that warm water relaxes muscles, improves blood flow to the injured area and leads to an improvement in range of motion.
The increase in stretching ability also comes from the direct water pressure on the extremities to decrease joint swelling and pain. In addition to decreasing pain, the flowing resistance of water has been reported to also increase extremity sensation ability on land.
Orchard Park Rehabilitation Center experts claim that one of the biggest benefits for patients undergoing anti-gravity therapy is the decrease of body weight on joints. Exercising in this way provides a manageable alternative and progresses patients to better movement on land.
The anti-gravity - aquatic therapy difference
“People get a more-comprehensive workout, often strengthening muscles they’d never even have dared to with land exercises,” says McCleery and reports that gravity-defying therapy is geared for the following conditions:
What are super-agers? It’s people in their 80s who have memory performance and brain size equivalent to people who are in their 50s. The term was defined by Dr. James Galvin during a recent “CBS This Morning” interview conducted in April 2013. Dr. Galvin, a professor of neurology and psychiatry at NYU Langone Medical Center in New York, studies brains via MRI scans.
Maybe you spent the winter snug on the couch. Now it’s May, National Bike Month and the longer days are calling you. If you haven't heeded the urge to get out and bike around the neighborhood, here's another reason – you’ll be supporting our state’s ranking and it'll be a great gift to yourself.
It’s not surprising that obesity is linked to sedentary activities and there is a known link between sitting and diabetes, heart disease and more chronic conditions. Many experts agree that a sedentary lifestyle is a common cause of increasing waistlines and can be considered a catalyst for diabetes, high blood pressure and joint damage.
Even in the midst of adversity, is there a formula—some mix of love, work, and adaptation for hardship— that make for a long life?
Not on a dare and not on a whim Francis Beveren (name changed to protect patient identity) jumped out of a plane 2 miles above earth and fell at a rate of 120 mph for 50 seconds. To skydive was on her bucket list. She did not know that this short jump would start her on a long journey of enduring a chronic condition called lymphedema. Many people who have had their lymph nodes removed after breast cancer surgery don’t realize that air travel can lead to a chronic condition of lymphedema.
With more and more seniors getting fit inside the gym at rehabilitation centers and major advances in technology, plan to see way more electronic fitness resources in 2013. The most advanced rehabilitation centers use “Smart Card” technology. By sliding the card into the small computer monitor, the machine remembers your last workout. The machine’s memory includes personal settings, such as weight, age and gender and also adjusts factors for the speed, resistance and number of reps in physical rehabilitation. The Smart Card system is for exercise planning, recording, feedback and instructions. It also sets up the exercise machines repetition and resistance automatically.
Marla Grant has always been active and never gave it a second thought that all of her basic abilities could be stripped from her. But it happened in August 2012, when she fell on a slick kitchen floor. The result of the fall left her with a traumatic brain injury (TBI).