COVID-19- Nutrition Tips

Similar to when we gain the “Freshman 15”, we are now having new experiences that can potentially lead to gaining the “COVID-19” Whether sheltering in place or providing care as an essential employee, this unique situation filled with stress and anxiety lends itself to developing unhealthy behaviors. Below are some steps you can take to help maintain both your physical and mental health.

Create Structure— when staying at home, it is easy to graze throughout the day instead of eating set meals and snacks. It is important to set a mealtime schedule and stick to it. This may be a good time to take advantage of not having afterschool activities and other errands– plan a nutritious dinner and reconnect as a family around the table. Just as important as your meals, plan out your snacks as well and make sure to practice good portion control.

Stock your Pantry and Fridge Strategically— it is important to keep items on hand so that you can prepare healthy meals for yourself and your family. Stock your pantry with non- perishables such as whole wheat pasta, brown rice or ancient grains, canned beans, canned tuna packed in water, whole grain cereal and crackers, tomato sauce, popcorn kernels, and fruit cups packed in juice. Try to limit chips and cookies to just one variety to help avoid overeating empty calories. Load up your fridge and freezer with eggs, low fat milk, yogurt, cheese, frozen vegetables, frozen fish/chicken/lean ground turkey, and frozen waffles/pancakes. Keep fresh pro- duce on hand that does not spoil quickly such as apples, oranges, green bananas, baby carrots, celery and potatoes.

Allow One Treat Each Day— it’s great to have something to look forward to without over- indulging. Leave the container and take out a single portion so you are not tempted to eat more. This is also a great time to get your kids in the kitchen so they can help bake cookies, frost cup- cakes, etc. Consider baking from scratch so you can substitute some healthier ingredients.

Maintain Hydration— thirst can easily be confused with hunger, especially when we are looking to snack out of boredom. Most adults require around 2L or 68 ounces of fluids each day, and it is recommended to choose mostly calorie-free options. Remember that your morning coffee or soup for lunch contribute to your overall fluid intake. Consider saving a one or two liter bottle and refilling it with your calorie-free beverage of choice to help track your daily intake.

Written by: Julie Tasher, RD

So you Started Walking More……

In these unprecedented times, many people are turning to walking outside to relieve stress, spend some time outdoors, and maybe even to walk off a couple extra pounds they’ve gained while staying home. Walking is a great way to improve your cardiovascular health, boost your mood, and increase your endurance. It is a low-impact activity, so it is gentle on your joints. However, a sudden increase in repetitive physical activity can lead to the development of pain or injury. As you spend more time being active throughout your day, make sure you slowly build up your mileage/the time in which you are walking each day to prevent overuse injuries. If you are not used to walking for long periods of time, start with 10 minutes a day and slowly increase the amount of time you are walking until you reach your desired length (30 minutes per day is a great goal). You can even break up your walking into shorter, more frequent walks throughout the day to limit fatigue. As you walk, it is important that you wear supportive shoes to prevent the development of pain from poor alignment or poor body mechanics. If you have recently developed pain from an increase in exercise, have questions about the proper footwear for your body part, or are interested in learning more about other exercises you can do as you stay home, please contact our office to schedule a physical therapy evaluation today!

Written by; Dr. Chloe Smith

Tips to Decrease Your Fall Risk at Home

As everyone is stuck inside more often these days, it is important to take a look at your home environment to decrease your risk of having a fall. Falls in the elderly population can lead to serious injury and should be avoided at all cost. Multiple factors place a person at an increased risk for falls. These factors include advanced age, poor vision, muscle weakness, poor balance, fear of falling, and home and environmental hazards. There are many steps that you can take to prevent falls. Here are just a few:

  1. Keep rooms in your home free of clutter to prevent tripping.
  2. Walk in shoes that have a good grip. Avoid wearing socks to decrease your risk of slipping.
  3. Keep your home well-lit to avoid tripping on objects that are hard to see.
  4. Make sure that all rugs in the home, as well as the bathtub and shower floor are nonslip.
  5. Stay active to improve strength, balance, and flexibility.

If you have a history of falls, are fearful of falling, or feel that you have problems with walking, balance, or decreased strength, a telehealth appointment with one of our physical therapists may be right for you. This will allow the therapist to identify possible hazards in your home in addition to providing you with appropriate strength and balance exercises.

Written by Dr. David Reymann

Physical Therapy: Fact vs. Fiction

There are some common misconceptions out there about physical therapy. This list was created to help clear some of those up!

  1. I need a referral from a doctor before I can see a PT. FALSE

Because of direct access in the state of MD, you are able to schedule an appointment with a PT without a referral from your PCP.

  1. Any medical professional can perform PT. FALSE

Physical therapy services must be provided by a licensed physical therapist.

  1. Physical therapy is the same thing as massage therapy. FALSE

If you have been to PT before, you may have had some massage incorporated as part of your treatment. This is only one tool that some therapists may incorporate into your treatment. PTs are trained as movement experts and are focused on improving function. A lot of PT is exercised based and may incorporate strength training or balance training for example.

  1. PT is only for injuries. FALSE

PTs are trained to treat a myriad of different conditions and many PTs go on to specialize in specific fields. A few different areas that PTs can work in include pediatrics, geriatrics, sports rehab, chronic pain, vestibular, orthopedics, neurological, and cardiopulmonary to name a few.

  1. Surgery is my only option. FALSE

There are many studies that show that physical therapy can be as effective or more effective than surgery in many cases. Trying physical therapy first is a safe and smart approach to treatment for several different conditions.

Written by: Dr. David Reymann

How to Create an Ideal Home Work Space

As many people are working from home these days, it is important to think about your home work space.  If your work space is not ideal, you could develop neck, shoulder, and back pain. Therefore, check out these tips below on how to create a home work space to prevent pain and injury:

  1. When sitting at your work space, your feet should be flat on the ground. You should be sitting all the way back in your chair so that your lower back is supported by the chair’s backrest and your knees should be about level with your hips.
  2. Your computer screen should be level with your eyes, and about an arm’s length away from your face.
  3. Your elbows should be supported by your chair’s armrests or on the surface in front of you, and your wrists should be straight as they are typing.
  4. While sitting at your work space, it is important to remember to keep your shoulders back and your head looking straight ahead (rather than down at a screen).
  5. You should perform 15-20 backwards shoulder rolls and/or 10 shoulder blade squeezes every 30 minutes to an hour as a reminder to keep your shoulders down as you work. If you feel your shoulders rising, it might be a good time to take a quick lap around the house to help your body relax.

If you have questions about your work space set-up or exercises you can perform to improve your posture, reach out to us to set up a physical therapy evaluation! We would love to help you set up your home office. During a telehealth video visit, we will be able to see your home work space to evaluate your set-up real time! To schedule, give us a call at 443-524-0442 or visit our website at www.hpt.machtmedicalgroup.com.  Written By: Dr. Chloe Smith
Staff Physical Therapist at Harbor Physical Therapy

Telehealth PT- Can I Eventually Return to In-Person Physical Therapy at HPT??

Of course! During COVID-19,  Harbor Physical Therapy is offering telehealth physical therapy for the safety of patients and staff. We are committed to providing our patients with the best possible care during this time through telehealth physical therapy in the safety of your home. However, once the risk of exposure has decreased, you can transition safely back to your in-person treatment sessions at Harbor Physical Therapy.

Telehealth- What Equipment Do I Need for my Physical Therapy Session?

While absolutely no equipment is required for a telehealth PT session, some pieces of equipment that the PT might ask for you to grab during the session are: a tennis ball (lacrosse ball or other type of firm ball), a theraband from your home exercise program, a towel roll, a broomstick, a pillow, and/or canned goods (great for adding weight to an exercise). The therapist will typically let you know before your appointment time if any equipment is necessary. If the therapist has something else planned or requires more equipment, he/she will contact you prior to your first appointment, or will discuss it with you during your appointment time. Some patients also find it helpful to have a water bottle or a cup of water close by for easy access during their appointment time!

Written by: Dr. Chloe Smith
Staff Physical Therapist at HPT

Telehealth- Where in my House Should I do my Telehealth Physical Therapy Session?

You can perform these telehealth sessions in any part of your home. Your physical therapist can adapt your session to the space available. During a typical telehealth session, the patient will perform exercises in a variety of positions, including laying on their back/stomach/side, sitting in a chair or at the edge of a bed, and standing. Therefore, an area large enough for the patient to change positions is ideal. If the patient has the capability to use a camera phone, a laptop, or other portable technology, the patient is able to move to different places around the house during the session as necessary to complete the exercises. As always, please let your PT know if you feel uncomfortable performing an exercise or feel you do not have space adequate for performing the exercise, as there are other variations of the exercise you can try instead. We want you to feel as comfortable as possible during your session!

Written by: Dr. Chloe Smith
Staff Physical Therapist at HPT

Who can Benefit from Telehealth Physical Therapy?

A lot of people who are used to being seen in-person for PT sessions may be wondering, will telehealth PT still benefit me? The answer is YES!

Reasons that patients come to PT vary widely. Regardless of your diagnosis, whether you suffer from aches and pains, a specific injury or surgery, a neurological condition, or general deconditioning to name a few, there is more often than not an exercise component to your treatment. Exercise is key to improving strength, flexibility, range of motion, and endurance.

The great thing is that patients can easily be instructed on how to do their exercises through video. Even if you do not have any exercise equipment at home, your physical therapist will be able to adapt your exercise program to your specific needs and home environment.

You may still be asking yourself, what about the hands-on treatment I receive during my sessions? Don’t worry! Your PT can provide you with self-manual techniques that you can use to work on your tight muscles or stiff joints.

While the amount of time until we will be able to see you again in-person is uncertain, one thing that you can be certain of is that you don’t want to regress on all the progress you may have already made in PT. If you have never had PT before, you can easily start now from the comfort of your own home regardless of your condition. Our PTs will be able to assess you and provide you with the best treatment plan possible!

If you would like to schedule an appointment, go to www.hpt.machtmedicalgroup.com and click the book now button or call us at 443-524-0442.

Written by: Dr. David Reymann
Staff Physical Therapist at HPT

 

Harbor Physical Therapy Video Visits

As our country and the world battles the global pandemic of COVID-19, HPT has transitioned to video visits to continue to safely treat our patients.

Why do a video visit?

It’s an easy commute! Just like an in-person PT session, the physical therapist is there to offer their expertise to help you continue to progress forward with decreased pain, increased strength, and an increased quality of life. You will receive one-on-one attention throughout the session to help you reach your physical therapy goals.

What does a video PT visit look like?

During a video visit, one of our physical therapists will connect with you over video while you are in the comfort of your own home. The first few minutes will involve a chat with the therapist as you update them on how your injury or condition has evolved since you last saw them. The physical therapist may talk you through some self-massage and self-mobilization techniques that you can perform at home using things like tennis balls, towels, and belts so that you can continue to get the relief you need with the guidance of an expert. The rest of the session will involve a combination of safe strengthening, stability, and stretching exercises designed to help progress you forward. At the end of the session, the PT might ask for you to demonstrate the exercises from your home exercise program to make sure that your form is correct and to give you pointers on how to progress the exercises as necessary at home.

Does Insurance cover this?

Yes, most insurances are covering physical therapy video visits.  Some insurances are making video visits free!  If you would like to learn more about your insurance coverage, email info@machtmecicalgroup.com

How do I schedule a video visit?

There are a few ways to schedule your first video visit. Please visit our website at http://www.machtmedicalgroup.com/harborphysicaltherapy/, call (443) 524-0442, or email info@machtmedicalgroup.com to schedule your appointment today.