How to Test your Safety at Home

March 31, 2020 – Now that you have learned about how to be safe in your home, safe in your community, how fast you should walk, and what vestibular rehab is, we should explore how you can test your fitness at home to ensure you are as safe as you can be. (FYI, if you haven’t learned about all of this stuff yet just click on our blog page at wittephysicaltherapy.com and you can get caught up!).

There are several easy tests for home to see how your overall fitness is and how safe you are to be at home and be a low fall risk.

  • One Time Sit to Stand Test: Get in a normal height and sturdy kitchen table chair. This chair should not have wheels. See if you can stand up one time from that chair without using your hands to hold onto anything, push yourself up, or lower your self down. Every adult living at home along should be able to do this safely. If you cannot please contact us.
  • Five Time Sit to Stand Test: Get in a normal height and sturdy kitchen table chair. This chair should have wheels. Time yourself to see how fast you can stand up and sit down from this chair five times without using your hands. You should be able to complete this in under 11 to 14 seconds depending on your age.
  • Timed Up and Go Test: Get in a normal height and sturdy kitchen table chair. This chair should not have wheels. Please an object 10 feet from the front fee of the chair on the ground. Time how long it takes you to stand up from the chair, walk around the object on the ground, and sit back down on the chair. You should be able to complete this in under 9 seconds.

These simple tests can help you determine your fall risk and safety at home. If your scores do not fall into the norms of these tests, please call us in Louisville at 402-234-3333 or in Plattsmouth at 402-298-4747 to set up an evaluation. Physical therapy is more than just help for pain or for issues after surgery. We want to work with you to keep you in your home and moving safely.

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Your Witte Physical Therapy team

#homegrown #backtolife

Are you dizzy?

March 24, 2020 – If you have ever wondered, “Can you fix vertigo or dizziness?” My question back to you is “Have you heard of vestibular physical therapy?” As we continue our March discussions on balance, we need to understand all the parts of our body that we use for balance. These include our core and leg muscles, our eyes, and our ears. Vestibular rehab focuses mainly on your ears and how they can affect your balance.

Vestibular rehab is an exercise-based program to improve dizziness and other balance issues. We use our muscles to help keep us up right when our balance is tested. We use our eyes to help us maintain our balance by using our landscape to know what is upright. We use our inner ears, or our otolith in our vestibular canals, to help us maintain our sense of our body in space. If one of these 3 systems is out of whack our balance can become severely hampered.

Vestibular rehab focuses on exercises that can help with your inner ear issues that are contributing to your balance problems. If you can stand still with your feet together, but when you move your head like you are saying “no” really fast your balance becomes worse, this could be a vestibular issue. This is a simple test and is only one of the many tests that we can perform to help you assess your vestibular balance.

Witte Physical Therapy has the knowledge and expertise to treat your balance issues caused by weakness, lack of proprioception, or vestibular issues! Call us at 402-234-3333 in Louisville or 402-298-4747 in Plattsmouth today!

You Witte Physical Therapy team

#homegrow #backtolife

How fast are you walking?

March 17, 2020 – As we are living in an uncertain world and the healthcare system becomes more and more strained and consumed with the COVID-19 virus, it is important that we do our part to ensure we aren’t putting extra strain on hospitals and nursing homes. One of the biggest causes of hospital and nursing home admissions are falls and the cascading of other health problems they can create.

Image result for free images of people walking

Most of us think that if we take our time and walk slower that it can help us avoid falling, but this is not correct. Did you know that you if you walk slower than 0.60 m/s you are more likely to fall. A test at home you can do is to mark out a 3 meter course (about 10 feet) and time yourself. You should be able to walk from start to finish in under 5 seconds. If you cannot do this safely, then you need to seek treatment to help you increase your gait speed.

Appropriate and safe gait speed are:

  • 1.3 m/s to climb stairs
  • 1.1 m/s to do yard work
  • 0.9 m/s for household activities
  • 0.67 m/s for activities of daily living such as showering and dressing
  • Less than 0.60 m/s leads to an increased likelihood of hospitalizations or longer stays in a skilled nursing facility

If you have concerns about how fast or safely you are walking please contact us at 402-234-3333 in Louisville or 402-298-4747 in Plattsmouth.

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Your Witte Physical Therapy Team

#homegrown #backtolife

Are You Safe to be Outside?

March 10, 2020 – March is patient safety month so let’s take some time to explore many different aspects of safety. This week we are going to focus on how to be safe in your community environment.

Many of us, especially as we get wiser in our years, have issues or concerns as we go out for our daily tasks. These issues can include navigate curbs, going through a crowd, the length of the walk to and thru the store, driving in traffic, among other items.

How do we navigate through these obstacles? Is it ok to feel like we should be avoiding these things for our safety? These are great questions that we are going to answer.

First, navigating through these obstacles is very much attainable. Using a suitable assistive device can help us navigate curbs and work in a crowd. Staying close to objects for stability can also help. Getting a shopping cart to help us make the walk into and thru the store can make that trip not seem too long. Avoid busier traffic times may also help.

We should never feel like we need to stay in and avoid what we want to do in order to be safe. There are always ways to make these activities and others that make us feel unsafe a better situation for us. These include things that we can help you address in physical therapy. Call us at 402-234-3333 in Louisville and at 402-298-4747 in Plattsmouth.

Your Witte Physical Therapy team #homegrown #backtolife

How Safe is Your Home?

March 3, 2020 – March is patient safety month so let’s take some time to explore many different aspects of safety. This week we are going to focus on how to be safe in your home.

Image result for patient falls

First we must identify what safety hazards can be found in your home. These items are very commonly found in many of our houses and they are not often thought of as safety hazards.

  1. Rugs: The bumps and uneven surfaces can catch our feet
  2. Pets: These can become tripping hazards as they run around our feet or jump up on us
  3. Darkness: Poorly lit walkways, especially if we wake up at night, can cause issues with our balance and safety
  4. Cords: Any exposed cords can be tripped on
  5. Stairs: Any stairs that are too steep or too narrow can be difficult to navigate
  6. Low Stools or Chairs: Toilet seats, kitchen chairs, or bar stools can be difficult to sit down on with control and to stand up from with good balance and strength

Making simple changes to these items or eliminating those items that we can (of course we wouldn’t eliminate our pets) can be a big step forward in preventing a fall and causing further medical issues such as a hospitalization or a stay in a nursing home.

If you are worried about these issues or falling in general please call us in Louisville at 402-234-3333 or in Plattsmouth at 402-298-4747.

Your Witte Physical Therapy team #homegrown #backtolife

What is Vital about your Vital Signs?

February 25, 2020 – When we all visit our physician, we also get our vital signs taken. They like to see what our pulse, blood pressure, and oxygen levels are. What is considered a healthy range for these numbers?

Body Temperature

  1. Normal range is 97.8 to 99 degrees
  2. If measured under the arm the amount is usually about 0.5 degrees lower than by your mouth
  3. Can be measured on your forehead or ear with the correct thermometer

Pulse Rate

  1. Normal range is 60-100 beats per minute for most adults
  2. Healthy and active adults can have pulse rates below 60 beats per minute and still be healthy and without any problems
  3. Pulse can be taken with monitors or by using your index and middle finger and finding your pulse on the palm side of your wrist just below your thumb and wrist crease

Respiration Rate

  1. Normal range is 12-16 breaths per minute for most adults

Blood Pressure

  1. Normal is usually between 100 and 120 mmHg on the top number and 60 to 80 mmHg on the bottom number
  2. The top number measures the pressure of the blood in the artery when the heart is pumping, and the bottom number measures the pressure of the blood when the heart is filling

Understanding these simple numbers can help you screen yourself at home for any early signs of potential problems. A thermometer and a simple electronic blood pressure cuff can be purchased inexpensively and can be great life saving tools for you to keep around your house. If you ever have any questions or concerns about what you are measuring, you can contact us at 402-234-3333 in Louisville or 402-298-4747 in Plattsmouth for guidance.

Your Witte Physical Therapy Team #homegrown #backtolife

How to Feed your Hungry Heart!

February 18, 2020 – How does that cheeseburger and side salad affect your heart health? Can you have that fruit smoothie and not have to worry about your heart? We probably don’t think too often about our diet and how it affects our heart health, but since February is Heart Month it is important to understand how hard we can work our heart physically and through the food we eat.

Foods that we should eat include:

  1. Cooking in extra virgin olive oil and not other vegetable oil
  2. Eating more berries for our fruit intake
  3. Making sure we are eating enough nuts per day, but not too many
  4. Green leafy vegetables are the best vegetables
  5. More plant-based proteins than animal based protein

Image result for images of heart healthy foods

Foods that we should limit or avoid include

  1. High dose antioxidant supplements
  2. Juicing of fruit or vegetables with pulp removal
  3. Foods containing gluten
  4. Eggs
  5. Southern diets (fried foods and processed meats)

Planning out what you are going to eat ahead of time will make following these changes easier. We can try to exercise our heart better (see previous blog posts), but if we don’t eat right then we are only going to see partial results. This works in the opposite way as well, eating right and sitting on the couch won’t get us the results we want. Our heart health is very important to a long a health life.

For further guidelines or questions please contact us at 402-234-3333 in Louisville or 402-298-4747 in Plattsmouth.

Your Witte Physical Therapy team #homegrown #backtolife

What is Aerobic Exercise?

February 11, 2020 – What do you think of when you think aerobic exercise? Walking, biking, swimming, golfing? The truth is that all of these are great examples of aerobic activity and these are just the tip of the iceberg.

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(image obtained from study.com)

Some people find it much easier to participate in aerobic activities in the summer months. We generally get more sun and because of that we are usually in a better mood and thus more active. It is easier to go for a walk or a jog outside, to head to the local pool or lake for a swim, to go to our great State Parks and do some hiking or rowing. But what about this time of year?

In the winter most of our days are spent inside trying to get exercise. This is hard to do as we are usually stuck inside working and then don’t want to go outside in the sloppy and cold winter weather, making it hard to get a good workout in. At the gym we can get on the treadmill, exercise bike, stair climber, rowing machine, or elliptical to get our heart rate up. But sometimes, getting around some other people makes that workout seem better. Taking a kick boxing or dancing class can get our blood pumping. Working on circuit training or doing other aerobic classes can also help.

Once you find an activity that you enjoy then we need to understand how well it works on our heart. In our blog last week we presented ways to measure how hard you and your heart are working. Typically moderate intensity aerobic activities could include walking, biking, golfing without a cart, or dancing. Vigorous activities including running, soccer, basketball, cross country skiing, or swimming.

For further guidelines or questions please contact us at 402-234-3333 in Louisville or 402-298-4747 in Plattsmouth.

Your Witte Physical Therapy team #homegrown #backtolife

How Hard Are You Working?

February 4, 2020 – When we are working out there are certain measures we should be at. These include what our heart rate is at and for how long, how we feel on rep 1 versus rep 10, and how long we do certain activities. For aerobic activities we can look at two measures, RPE and Target Heart Rate.

RPE stands for Rate of Perceived Exertion. It is measured on a scale of 0-10 and is used as a subjective measure to determine how hard you are working while doing certain activities. For exercise the ideal number is between a 4 and 6. A 0 is equal to sitting on the couch and a 10 equates to pushing a car up a hill.

Image result for rpe scale"

Target Heart Rate is the heart rate you should be at when working out to achieve proper aerobic stress. It is calculated by figuring out your maximum heart rate. Take 220 minus your age and that is your maximum heart rate. Ideally you should be at 50% for a beginner and up to 85% for an experienced aerobic trainer. For example, a 36-year-old man who works out 3 days per week would have a maximum heart rate of 184. Therefore, his target heart rate should be about 70% of his maximum heart rate or 129 bpm.

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Following these simple guidelines will help make sure that every minute that you put into your workout is maximizing your potential to reach your ideal aerobic and cardiac health levels. By doing this you are decreasing your risk of heart disease which is a leading cause of complicated health conditions and death in the United States. Please contact us at 402-234-3333 in Louisville or 402-298-4747 in Plattsmouth if you have any further questions.

Your Witte Physical Therapy Team #homegrown #backtolife

General Neck Exercises

January 28, 2020 – If you have taken the time to read our previous blogs for the month of January you have seen a common theme, postural issues causing neck problems. Now that you have read this previous information, lets take the next step. What can you do about it?

At home you can start with some basic daily exercises to help with your postural awareness and to decrease strain on your neck. These include general neck range of motion exercises. We call these yes, no, maybes. Making the motion with your head of these simple movements (without shrugging your shoulders) can help keep your neck moving normally. Also, adding in some basic neck stretching for your upper trap and levator muscle groups will help keep these relaxed. Finally, doing some simple shoulder blade squeezes will remind us to sit up straight and keep those muscles strong.

Image result for upper trap stretch picture

Of course, doing these simple things will reduce your chance of developing neck and postural pain or headaches, but it can’t eliminate the risk. If doing these simple things doesn’t work for you then contact us at 402-234-3333 in Louisville or 402-298-4747 in Plattsmouth.

Your team at Witte Physical Therapy #homegrown #backtolife